Positive Thinking, You Are What You Think

The other night I walked out onto my back desk to a thunder storm cloud that made my stomach do flip-flops, you see I really don’t like aggressive storms. Blame it on growing up in the midwest and hiding away below ground during to many tornadoes. I took a deep breath and really looked at this lumbering cloud overhead, I could embrace the fear or I could embrace the beauty. It really was beautiful with the setting sun lighting magnificent water colors through it. You see, this is a choice each of us are faced with every day. Is it the storm you focus on or the brilliant water color?

Life has a funny way of forcing us to look at each moment with either rose colored glasses or dark and stormy thunder clouds. What I feel we most often forget is, life is truly created by the choices we make. We are how we think. If you allow dark and stormy to rain on the parade of thoughts within you head, the world around you will have the same ongoing downpour. However, if you opt to imagine the world as a brilliant sparkling diamond, the world around you becomes a fantastic glimmer of light and warmth. The brilliant thing about light and dark, is that we all posses the choice. The choice to decide on the world we live in.

Truth be told no matter how much you try, you will never be able to control anything outside of yourself. You can’t micromanage others into the perfect happy bubble. Just like you can’t live a life of dancing and laughter if you brain is consumed with negative thinking vomit. That’s exactly what negative and controlling thoughts are, vomit. Vile acidy tidbits of nothing that seep through our thoughts tarnishing the good and corroding everything into a giant melting pot of upheaval. If you take away nothing else from this blogvice remember this, negative breeds negative and positive breeds positive. You’ve heard the saying, you are what you eat, I say… you are exactly what you think.

The bad, goodness knows that negative thought fairy is all around. Your car gets a flat tire, you get laid-off, your niece spills fruit punch down your favorite sweater, or your ManFriend is watching ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ for the 1,928 time this week. The negative fairy dancing on your shoulder is going to tell you that your day is destroyed because of that stupid flat tire. She’s going to tell you that you’re an ultimate failure because your boss let you go and not the nitwit three cubicles down. She’ll say that children are the spawns of satan because not even dry-cleaning will knock out that juice stain. She might even get your annoyed to the point of picking a fight with your ManFriend for having the nerve to mellow out and watch the same movie AGAIN. In short…. Negative Nancy Fairy is a twit who starts drama, kick her little fairy butt to the curb.

Now Penelope the Positive  Thought Fairy is a sassy diva. She’s all smiles and flies around trying to catch your eye with her sparkle, so that you ignore that other fairy. Penelope the Positive Thought Fairy leaves a trail of warmth and sparkle in her wake. She sees the flat tire as an opportunity to push up those sleeves and take charge or as a great reason to see ManFriend again before the work day begins. Flat tire + One more good morning kiss = perfection. She’ll remind you that a layoff is a brilliant opportunity to stretch your legs and see what other adventures are out there for you. She helps you see your niece as beautiful and amazing. She’s not perfect… but your life is truly a better place with her in it. You can buy a new sweater, but little kiddos are priceless. She will show you that ManFriend treats you well and bless his heart he likes to watch the same thing over again, what a perfect time to curl up with him and recite your favorite parts. In short, Penelope the Positive Fairy is your BFF, hold onto this one, she’s a keeper.

The truth is negativity weighs us down. It invades our thoughts forcing us to live in the past or the future. By doing this we aren’t enjoying what is happening right before our eyes. Worry, negativity, doubt, fear… they are all simply distractions. Distractions that you can choose to ignore. Sure it may sound like a daunting task, but truth be told it is really an exiting adventure. A way for you to live your life like a dance party instead of like a never ending lecture.  The choice is yours, shall you dance or shall you sit in a lecture of worry?

You are the queen of your thoughts, you direct your attention… so choose to focus on the amazing. It is a beautiful day outside, the sun in shining and the sky is a spectacular shade of blue. Find the good, forget the bad. Remember, our world is created by our thoughts, and our thoughts dictate our actions. Everything around you has good within it, look for it. Fill your head with so much love and positivity that you walk on cloud 9 each and everyday. If you feel a negative though creep into your mind, quickly replace it with something brilliant. Would you rather worry yourself into frown lines or tone that butt by dancing and your abs by laughing? Replace no no thoughts, with anything warm and fuzzy. Tell yourself you are amazing, remind yourself of a kind act you completed, laugh because laughter feeds the soul. You are the author of your story, create words that inspire not only others, but yourself. Be your biggest inspiration… and that begins with finding the good and positive in even the most trying situations.

Create the world your heart desires.

Brooke

Little Miss Excuseopotamus

Darn you little miss Excuseopotamus…

The Excuseopotamus is an elusive creature that scurries around our lives without detection. It is wrapped in a disguise of reasons and explanations, but when you strip away the hogwash you’re left with a monster beast of epic proportions. You see this tiny creature is actually a gargantuan, an ogre, a run as fast as you can to escape from it sort of thing. Don’t let the Excuseopotamus confuse you, it’s not your cuddly warm fuzzy friend, it’s an evil foe to be slayed like a fire breathing dragon.

My Excuseopotamus has got the best of me this year, that sneaky little she-devil. I was going to start “running” this year, I swear I was, (raises right hand) truly I had every intention of enjoying the fresh air and “running”. I really really was going to “run”, but…. it was too hot, cold, windy, sunny, rainy, earthy, sinusy… EXCUSEOPOTAMUS.   Truth be told I chose to sit on my but and drink wine instead of “running”. What happened, I Excuseopotamused myself. It’s okay, I’ve figured out how this creature works.
This year I was going to focus on my writing. I really truly honestly for sure was. Then I became a sensitive artist and talked myself right out of writing. I can’t do it, I just can’t, sniffle, poor me. How can I ever compete with all of these other amazing authors. I suck, whine, whine… ooh wine, I love wine. I should drink wine instead of write. EXCUSEOPOTAMUS ATTACK…. run! Truth be told I made the choice to not write and spend hours watching Netflix. Yup poor me and 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (totally forgot Seth Green was in this, hello middle school crush that never left).
It’s a Tuesday like any other Tuesday except for one tiny fact. Today is the day that I package up my Excuseopotamus and ship it to the Arctic Circle. I send it with a one way ticket, holes punched in the box of course, and a pledge forget what that pesky little thing ever looked like. Today, rain is something to dance in, not something to hide from.
I want to encourage you to tell your Excuseopotamus to move on and ship it. You have an amazing life to live without the weight of a 1 million billion trillion ton beast. Honestly who wants to stand on a scale and see any extra weight. Free yourself and do your thing girl.
Brooke

10 1/2 Things to do When You’re Bored Instead of Snacking

It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon, nothing ahead but you and the sofa. You’ve already had lunch and dinner is still a few hours away, when suddenly a familiar twinge strikes. Hunger… or is it? This hunger attack is what I like to call the Bunchies (Bored Munchies). You aren’t really hungry, you just ate. You don’t really have anything else to do, so mindlessly shoveling waves of tortilla chips while watching reruns of Teen Mom sounds like an awesome idea. I beg of you, just say no to the the Bunchies. I’m here to help you distract your brain from giving into the tantalizing call of your kitchen.

10 1/2 Thing to do When Your Are Bored Instead of Snacking

1. Blog, that’s right get a head start on the upcoming blog week. Write and extra post, post a dozen times a day if you have to. I will gladly read your photo heavy blog post about your cat Mr. Freckles adventures in a paper grocery sack. The world can always use more adorable images of cats (even though I’m a dog person), I will always, ALWAYS stop for a cute kitty cat picture.

Adorable Sleeping Kitty

 

 

2. Take your dog for a walk. Fiddo would love to entertain you by stopping to smell every mailbox, he does this because he cares. What a perfect walking buddy, you can jabber away while you walk and he won’t interrupt you once. Plus getting a little exercise is way better that getting extra calories. And I can’t share a cat picture without posting one of my puppy pictures, 1…2….3….. awwwwwww.

cute puppy picture

3. Update your iPod. Odds are you have the same music on your iPod you did when you bought the thing. So toss out old song that don’t get you jazzed and motivated. Now you have all kinds of extra space for new songs that  spice up your time at the gym or hitting the pavement.

4. Read a book, read a magazine, read a blog. It’s summer, the perfect time to kick back with a cool glass of lemon water and enjoy some you time. Escape to another world for awhile. If you haven’t read Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, you so should. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to get pigeon tattooed on your wrist. I’ve read this book honestly about 10 times. Buy it… read it… you’ll thank me I promise.

5. Clean. I don’t care how much of a neat freak you are, there is something you can clean. Cleaning is a great way to get moving while also checking things off your to do list. You know that dust bunny that has been taunting you with it’s little bunny hopes and dreams for at least a month. Sweep him up and send him to a new bunny home. Finally dust off your blinds that have so much dust on them it looks like your house has been through a volcanic eruption. I wouldn’t however recommend cleaning your kitchen, that puts you to close to the food.

6. Call up some friends and invite them over for an old fashion game night. Pull out Dream Phone, Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity and get your game on. When everyone gets bored sitting around, challenge them to hide and go seek or tag. Seriously, when’s the last time you let your inner child out and played hide and go seek? I played kickball over the weekend with the kiddos in the neighborhood and had a blast. You are never to old to let your inner child out to play.

7. It’s summer which means shorts and bikini season, so pamper yourself with a sugar scrub leg treatment. I make an awesome citrus sugar scrub that leaves legs feeling smooth and healthy looking. Did you know that if you don’t exfoliate your legs your leg hair can actually become ingrown? Doesn’t delicious smelling sugar scrub for beautiful summer legs sound better that that box of chocolate cupcakes you were thinking about eating?

8. Lose a few hours in Pinterest. Find a DIY project, research new healthy recipes, or pin a couple of beauty secrets. If you can’t waste at least an hour at a time on Pinterest… please tell me your secret because that place is like black hole sucking me in from afar.

9. Do something nice for someone. Leave little notes for your significant other telling them how sexy they look. Mow the neighbors lawn because you know her husband is deployed and she has her hands full with a couple of kiddos. Take your mom flowers. Whatever makes you feel warm and fuzzy share that with others. You never know how your actions can change someones day.

10. Dance around to your favorite 90s boy band. Proud NSYNC fan since 1998. Yes I said it, I’m not ashamed.

10 1/2. Logic with yourself. Are you really hungry? Are you really in desperate need for some sort of entertainment? Is the bag of mini M&M’s worth more than a body you can rock at the lake in a bikini? You are strong enough to say no to the bunchies. Don’t go into the light of your refrigerator. Walk away friend.

Brooke

The Cure for any Breakup, Layoff, or Bad Day

Let’s face it bad days happen. Boys dump us, our boss is a witch with a capital B, and our dog ran away… again. Man, even our dogs hate us. These days are unavoidable. No matter how hard we try to chipper up and put on our big girl pants, days of suckage abound slamming into us like a freight train now and again. Since there is nothing we can do to dodge this speeding bullet, the best we can do is deal with it. You’ve come to the right place because I have the perfect cure for your summer time life is awful boys suck blues.

Wallow Break Up Chick Flick

Wallow… that’s right I want you to wallow and wallow so epically that they will consider making it an Olympic Sport. Now before you go all, I am woman hear me roar, hear me out. Because I might just convert you to a wallower by the end of this scheduled programming.

Here’s the scenario I want you to consider. You are driving home in a parking lot that once was the interstate, wishing beyond wishes that the jerk in front of you would stop riding his brakes. Then, ding ding, text message. You glance at it, it’s from your sweetie pie. Since your aren’t going anywhere anytime soon you decide to go ahead and read it (side note: don’t text and drive). “Hey Gurl, it’s been fun, but I don’t think this is working out. It’s not you it’s me. You’ll find a guy that deserves you.” Are you kidding? That’s right, you just got dumped via text in the middle of the highway…. heart broken.

Your friends are going to tell you to go out, forget him, he was a jerk anyway. That’s not an entirely bad idea, but what it does is mask that crappy feeling in the pit of your stomach. You feel like crap, he was a jerk, but you need time to feel all those crappy emotions. So ask the girls for a short raincheck and follow this game plan instead.

Go home and start by putting on the baggiest comfiest pjs or sweats you own. Order in mass quantities of takeout: Chinese, pizza, sushi, hot wings… really anything that will deliver to your location. Now plop your happy butt on the sofa or in bed and commence Operation Wallow. Fill your belly with junk of epic proportions. Ice cream, M&M’s, soft pretzels, nachos… whatever guilty pleasures you normally deprive yourself of so you can fit into your skinny jeans. Do this while watching heart wrenching chick flicks and romantic comedies. “If you’re a bird I’m a bird.” “You complete me.” “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love me.” Cry. Not a sniffle sniffle cry, but a full blown ugly faced cry. Heck watch yourself ugly cry in the mirror, we’ve all done it.

Then go to bed and sleep off your sugar hangover. When the sun comes up it’s a new day. No more tears over what’s his jerk. No more binge eating your feelings away. No more hiding in the darkness of your room watching Twilight for the 15th time. Get up, shower, put on something sassy. Do your makeup, spoil yourself with an awesome shade of butter lipstick by Nyx. Feel fabulous today, leaving all your negative juju in yesterday. Call your girlfriends and take them up on their dance party invitation.

When something craptastic happens we all deserve a wallow day to truly feel those junky feelings. Thus freeing us for a clean slate in the morning.

Today is a fresh step forward, no looking in the rearview mirror, today is to fabulous to miss even a moment of it.

 

Brooke

Fighting Battles For Others, Be Switzerland

floral on path

I’m a giver, a fixer, a what can I doer, and most of all I’m a wear my heart on my sleever. You er, get the point. For as long as I can remember friends have jokingly called me “Ma” do in large part for my desire to make sure everyone is okay. If you’re sad, let’s fix it. If you’re hurt I have a bandaid. If someone broke your heart, I have a shovel. Protecting people is what I’ve always done, it gives me purpose, but it can also give me a great deal of stress.

There comes a time as we grow up, 30 years old and still growing up here, that we have to step back and allow people to take care of themselves. We have to be Switzerland or marooned on an island without offering advice to the outside world. This was such a foreign concept to me, it felt like I was turning my back on those I care about. By protecting them I was helping them, I was showing them I cared right? Wrong. I ended up enabling them and taking their stress onto myself.

Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself knee deep in crap and in desperate need of mud books. I was in deep, so deep in fact my entire body felt it. My head hurt, my body ached, I was feeling overly anxious about everything. A dear friend of mine was suffering greatly in a situation just far enough out of reach she couldn’t fix it. I’ll spare you the gory details, but we’ll say it involves yucky boys and their yucky choices. In my desperation to dry her tears and mend her heart I chucked myself smack dab in the middle of Yuckville, population me. It was dumb.

What started out innocent enough ended up with me becoming the scape goat for a whole slew of problems that had not an iota to do with me. BUT, since I’d dove headfirst into the mud and the muck, I became an easy target. For the lack of having a more eloquent way to word it, the situation sucked, hard. The positive thing about it though, I had brought it upon myself thus had total control to fix it. And so I did, today, like right now.

I’ve become Switzerland. My job as a friend is to sit back, drink some Swiss Miss Coco (or a margaritas, whatever), and listen. That’s right listen,  just quietly take it all in. It’s exhausting riding in with the Calvary every time a war doctrine is signed by a pal of mine. I tend to walk away with far to many unnecessary battle wounds. So a girls got to do what a girls got to do. Look at me like you’re sounding board, a comfortable place to vent, and feel safe to cultivate a game plan. However, that’s where the drama llama train stops. I have no opinion and once the conversation is over I’m clicking the erase button. In fact I’m inventing a bigger erase button.

Why do we all need an erase button? Have you ever had a friend confide in you about an injustice in their life? You are so fired up about, for example what an idiot their hubby is, that you then vent for 6 months about it. Fred is such a jerk, how could he eat all the white chocolate covered pretzels when he knows they are Wilma’s favorite. Then when Wilma asked him to get more at the store he laughed at her. What? What a jerk… you get the idea. Now all your hubby or BF hears about it what a jerk Fred is instead of what a hunk he is for putting his dishes in the dishwasher. When you hit the erase button, you are still being an active listener, you just aren’t taking the drama llama home with you. Houses are for dogs and cats, not llamas.

Does anyone else take on the problems of those around them? How many drama llamas have you put out to pasture?

Brooke

Signs You May Be A Control-A-Holic

Control copy

 

I would like to come clean right here and now, I am a recovering control-a-holic. I’m not proud of it, but I have spent the better part of my nearly 30 years as a micromanaging control freak.

Hey you, yes you the one in the shirt reading this post, don’t read it while holding your head like that. You’ll stress your neck bone and get a migraine and not get your stuff done and have to take yucky medicine and and and…..(controlling hyperventilation starting now…)

Often times my controlling dictations began as what I ignorantly called, helpful suggestions. However, if my suggestion went ignored I pushed a little, then a little bit harder, until finally my frustrated head was spinning around spewing green goo. At it’s worst festering point everything I said was one of those unwanted forceful “helpful” (inset major air quotes) suggestions. Imagine my surprise when my family and friends got more than a little sick of it all.

Duh, I know right.

10 Signs You Might Be A Control-a-Holic

1. No one can accomplish any task without you adding your 2 cents, but of course you know exactly how to install a circuit breaker control panel… you saw it on YouTube once.

2. Your children can’t function without you directing them precisely what to do… freedom of thought, what, when did that start? “Mom what do you want me to do?” “Okay, what do you want me to do now?” “And now, now what do you want me to do?”

3. Your husband/boyfriend/manfriend, cringes when you use the word “suggestion” “thought” or the phrase “can I say something?” How could the possibly think they no how to do anything better? You’re only trying to help them get the job done quicker, better, smarter, etc etc.

4. When your gal pal asks for relationship advice you dictate a 25 page monologue, insisting she take notes. Then you email, text, Facebook, Tweet, and smoke signal her hourly to make sure she is following the “Relationship Rules” you outlined for her.

5. You’ve booted Father Time and taken control of all that is scheduling.  4pm- snack time, 4:25pm potty break, 5:00pm movie time (your choice of course), 6pm dinner (you don’t care what it is as long as it’s exactly what you want), 7pm-dinner clean up (plates facing to the left in the dishwasher and the glasses at a perfect diagonal)…..What time is breathing scheduled?

6. If someone helps you out by completing chores/tasks, you follow behind and redo it to your specifications. Heck no we don’t fold socks in this house, by gosh we roll them. “So you’ll roll’em and you’ll like it mister.”

7. People tense when you are around, it’s of course because they respect you. Not so much, that tense up, stand a  tension, is called fear not respect. People tense and walk on egg shells because they don’t want to hear the fallout from displeasing you by drying their hands on the wrong towel.

8. You are quick to point out others mistakes and turn a blind eye to yours. You told them not to frost the holiday cookies like that and now look what happened. See the house exploded because they mopped vertically instead of horizontally, you told them so. Billy cheated, well you told her he was a loser, but did she listen to you, noooo. Sure enough everyone’s lives would be so much easier if they just listened to you in the first place.

9. You wear the sexy panties, therefore you decide when the sheets get some playtime. Your man is left groveling, begging, and getting shot down in the bedroom. Those who wear the panties dictate sexy sexy time, leaving frustrated unhappy men in their wake.

10. You’ve made a store clerk cry.  How dare he think cans and boxes can go in the same bag. It’s not that hard she should know of every single item in the big box store that is one sale. The nerve. Suddenly you see red and all basic kindness goes right out the window, but they should have known better. ( I actually watched this on go down today over a Rainbow Loom, the poor cashier was in tears.)

Bonus: You talk things to death, because if you say it a 12th time in the 4th different way they will really understand. A topic that should take 2 min, “Hey sweetie can you please shut the fridge door when your done.” Turns into, “Lauren what did I tell you, when you leave the fridge door open after getting your juice box the electricity bill goes up and you kill the earth. Do you want to be a murderer little Lauren. Because if you….” (Keep on talking because they aren’t listening.)

If any or all of these sound like you, take a deep breath, we can get through this. Check in next week as I share great ways to tackle the control-o-holic monster. You too can decrease the stress of control and ease the tension of those around you. It’s never to late to turn over a new leaf and enjoy each and every day to the fullest. After all, today is here and now, get out there and live it.

 

Brooke

Have a Trav Sort of Day, Be Kind

Travs smile

I was going to write about lipstick today, pink lipstick in fact, but then I took a shopping adventure. Radio was blaring, I wish I could say the windows were down, but it’s been a typhoon for the past 24 hours. The rain did not deter me from singing, loudly and off key, to every song on the radio. Then Kenny Chesney “I Go Back” came on and my singing abruptly stopped. You see, people lovingly call me an audiophile, I relate a great deal to music. This song has a line, ” And I go back to the loss of a real good friend. And the sixteen summers I shared with him. Now “Only The Good Die Young” stops me in my tracks. Every time I hear that song.” I mumbled the lyrics, fighting back tears, with a gigantic  smile on my face.

That smile is always on my face when Trav crosses my mind, even if from time to time tears accompany the smile. That goofy grinning guy above, sorry for the picture it’s a print circa 2001, is my best friend. My strength and laughter for countless days of my life. We lost him suddenly in 2003, but this isn’t about his death… it’s about how he lived.

And he lived a selfless amazing life.

If you needed something you could count on Trav to be the first one there. He smiled with laughter that filled an entire room. I didn’t realize until I got a few years under my belt that he’d spent the better part of our friendship protecting me. I never asked him to, I was as proud at 10 as I am now at 30, but he knew that my world could be a pretty scary place even if I couldn’t admit it. His heart was so very gentle and kind. In short he was my gentle lion. Quiet and reserved, but would attack to protect those he cared for.

He lived his life embodying the word, kindness.

Some days I forget to live my life with that same kindness. I honk angrily at the car in front of me who crawls 10 miles under the speed limit in the fast lane, side note please don’t ever drive under the speed limit in the passing lane. Life gets the better of me and I snap at my little kiddo when we are running late. Instead of going to bed I stay up watching Netflix until 4 am, so 7 am I’m grumptastic to say the least. I simply forget to be happy and make a world of selfless action around me. It’s so easy to go through your day tired and crabby or rushed and irritated. What I want to do is encourage you to take a breath and release the negative juju before it impacts the world you are creating.

The only guarantee in life is change, everything at some point in time will change. We can’t avoid change or force time to stand still, but we can remember to roll with the punches. When the world gets you down, laugh at it. There is humor all around us if we can simply turn off the negative thought record player in our heads. Focus on the good, embrace the awesome, and trust that the rest of the stuff will work itself out. Practice random acts of kindness, do something special for those who mean the most to you, and don’t forget to take care of yourself too.

What Trav taught me is to love life, love others, and love myself. It’s really hard to be a big ole jerk face when you’re smiling and embracing kindness.

When you’re out there today, think before you speak or act. Have a Trav sort of day.

Brooke

(Closing with one of Trav’s favorite groups)