Foreward from Women On Fire Book by Janette Barber

I have been reading through my Women On Fire book again, preparing for the Chicago, Women On Fire Retreat that is next week. In this book are 20 inspiring women that share their life secrets in order to save YOU years of struggle! 13 of them will be at the retreat! I am looking forward to meeting each of them.

Unless you go, you will have no idea the impact it will have on your life. To be surrounded by so many supporting women is simply life changing. It is different from any other organization I have been apart of. One of the things I like about this event, is that it is not a huge event. It’s one that is purposely keep small so that you can connect with other women, and you will leave knowing that you just made some life long friends!

Support is no more than a phone call, tweet, email, or facebook post away!

So how do I get you to understand how important this event is for you to be at?

Last night I read the foreward of the book, Women On Fire, to my daughter and thought, women need to hear this. I am going to post it here on my blog. I hope that if you are on the fence about going that it will help you make that decision. Debbie will be closing out this event on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010….get your tickets to this event now, you will not regret it!

Women On Fire Click here to order your book!

Foreward written by Janette Barber, talking about her first introduction to Women on Fire Tea Parties:
Janette is six-time Emmy Award-winner, author, stand-up comic, executive producer Rosie O’Donnell Radio Show, New York City .

I once read that if you were to take a drop of pond water and view it under a microscope you would see, in microcosm, the entire pond. I believe that also holds true with people.

We see in each person’s story all of our stories. That is what makes the individual accounts in this book so important. There is a part of all of us in these reflections. We have all dreamed and we have all achieved and we have all been on fire about something.

What Debbie Phillips gives us is the chance to be on fire together. Connecting gives us a way to recharge our own dreams and our own belief that we can achieve by bonding with other women in celebration of our goals, whatever they are. One thing I’ve learned is that when we “burn” together, the fire gets so much brighter.

I found Women on Fire by accident. I was at the first of the now famous Women On Fire Tea Parties. (If you say to yourself, “Famous? I haven’t heard of it.” Well…I can’t be responsible for that, can I?) The Tea Party is famous among us Women On Fire.

It’s where small groups of us come together to meet other women and celebrate success by drinking tea and eating cakes. At the tea party, it becomes clear that success is really already yours and that everything imaginable is within the realm of possibility (including chocolate-covered strawberries, scones, and clotted cream….).

It was September 2004 and my friend Agapi Stassinopoulos was in town promoting her book, Gods and Goddesses in Love. She had invited me to her press luncheon, which was lovely, and then she said to me, in her wonderful Greek accent, “Dahling, come to a tea party with me.” I thought “Good! There’ll probably be tea.” Little did I know. We walked into Lady Mendl’s Tea Parlor on Irving Place in New York City, and as soon as I crossed the threshold I felt like Alice going through the looking-glass.

Inside its elegant and Victorian. It was immediately clear that I had mystically left New York City and had time-warped into someplace that still had manners. For example, there isn’t a coat room where you have to stand like herd animals waiting for your turn. Instead a well-dressed, soft-spoken, handsome young man in a suit will take your coat for you . Nice.

In this distinctive atmosphere, I met Debbie Phillips for the first time. Debbie feels like the most wonderful harbor you could ever imagine sailing into. She sets the tone. If you have never been to a Women On Fire tea party, it’s very hard to describe. On the one hand, nothing happens. On the other hand, everything happens.

Through these tea parties, Debbie Phillips has created a movement about women connecting with women. A Woman on Fire tea is a place where women share their strength and their dreams and open the door to becoming who they had always intended to be but maybe forgot somewhere along the way. It’s a place where growth is inevitable and transformation happens.

All my life I’ve been hearing about the “Old Boy Network”—–that mysterious patchwork of men who are suppose to be able to shift lives and careers with a slap on the back and a handshake. Well, women definitely have to fight to find a place in the old boy network, so for myself, I’d rather skip that battle.

I’d rather be part of a new network of Women on Fire . Imagine! A world where every major city you go into has a Women On Fire network to plug into! That could so easily happen because Debbie Phillips definitely has a mission—to connect with other women and not to be satisfied until every woman can raise her own voice with authenticity and satisfaction and know that she is living her best life.

That is what it is to be a Woman on Fire. It means that you are ready to open, to connect and to grow. Join us. Together we will be a conflagration!

Since Janette has written the forward for the Women On Fire book, she has hosted one of the teas in New York City and will also be one of the key-note speakers at the upcoming Women On Fire Retreat in Chicago!

What can change for you by attending this event? Only you being there and time will tell. You don’t want to miss this opportunity.

I hope that this helps you in making your decision. If your gut is telling you to go, then take action and take it now…time is running out!

Ask your self this…Am I happy?

If not, we (as fellow women who understand) are here to help you to find your way back to happiness! It is not an overwhelming task, but something that happens when you make Small Changes on a daily basis.

Small Changes make a BIG difference!!

Click here to go and register for this life changing event! Women On Fire Retreat, Chicago

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The foundation for change

I have my clarity and my vision of what I want to do. I’ve always wonder how people get to this point. How do they find their passion, what changed in them to want to find it? This blog is about how I got to this point of clarity.

One of my big clarity moments had to do with my kids. Not business, but family…however, business will feed in to this whole picture later. Right now, I am going to live up to my promise from my previous blog and be honest. Share some of the things that most women won’t. Why? Because I don’t want other women to ever feel alone like I did. I don’t want them to ever feel like that there is no way out. There is, but they have to find their way like I did. So the story goes……

The day my son was born, my life was changed forever. If you are a mom or dad, you know what I am talking about. My entire pregnancy I had horrible dreams that my son would not love me, wouldn’t let me hold him , feed him, etc. I realize this is common, but part of reason I had these dreams is my fear that I would be like my mother and if I was, then my baby would not love me. I am happy to say…THAT DID NOT HAPPEN!!!

In the words of Thumper on Bambi…I was TWITTER PATTED! Wow, the second he came in to this world,he took my breath away, I could not utter a single word. The love I felt was so over whelming!! I can feel that moment even as I type this. That feeling only grew over the next few weeks. I would just sit and cry out of pure and utter happiness. I was praising God everyday for this little person that he blessed us with.

Before his birth I swore I would go back to work and could never be a stay at home mom. Well as you will soon see that was BEFORE his birth. That all changed! I was so in love with this little man that I did not leave his side for over 8 months! No dates with my husband, nothing. The night I finally left him, so that my husband and I could go on that much needed date, I was either crying or controlling my self not to cry. It amazed me that 8 months ago I would have never thought another person could make me feel this way! Surprisingly enough, he lived while I was gone :). I am not sure how he survived that hour or two with out me but he did! LOL

The years that followed were nothing short of perfection! He was an easy baby in every way. Sleeping through the night at two weeks, always happy, all and all VERY EASY! From time to time I would think about various ways that I could bring additional income into our home to lessen the burden my husband was carrying. I could never find what I was looking for, but I did keep searching. Watching, looking, listening to those around me.

The fairy tale changes….dun..dun..dun.

Baby number two comes along. She was not so easy. I knew that my son was not the norm and I might pay with the next one. Yep you guessed it….I paid. Just her entrance alone should have given me a clue! From the moment I felt my first tinge of pain to her surprise arrival, it was only 2 hours. Seriously!! It was a week before my due date. We didn’t want over react and leave at the first tinge, but we should have. She was born at home in a quite spectacular way. All in all it was an amazing experience and if we were to have another child we would purposely deliver at home!

What followed was not so wonderful. There was a disconnect with her and I. It took me a few weeks to connect and really begin to love her the way I had with her brother. At about 4 weeks she became colicky, nothing soothed her. I was so exhausted and felt overwhelmed. I didn’t ask for much help and I should have. She would cry from 4 in the afternoon to 1-2 in the morning. Nerve racking and exhausting! I remember sitting on the edge of the bed rocking her at 1am in the morning. I was crying from pure physical exhaustion. After some research and advice, I finally figured out she would sleep if I swaddled her SUPER TIGHT (thank you Happiest Baby on The Block!!) and if I pulled her tight up next to my body. So that is how it went for a short while. She and I slept together for months, so that we could both get some rest! My body and mind were so weak and I wasn’t taking care of my self. Thus, I began my journey into post Postpartum depression.

It was not pretty. I was fortunate enough to realize the signs, but really fought going to the doctor as I did not want to be put on medication. However, it all came clear to me that is exactly what I had to do for me and my family. You see on an not so extraordinary day, I was feeding my baby girl and rocking her, when my 3 yr old son walked in to the kitchen to get him self a glass of water. He was doing nothing wrong, he was smiling and happy. However, every ounce of my being wanted to get up and beat him. Shocking admission, yes, but I know that I am not alone!

I did not react on that feeling, but sat there and cried. I was turning into my mother. Now you think that would be enough to push me to the doctor, but no, I could fix this on my own. Shortly after that, I did react to that feeling and it was horrifying! I could see my mother in me. I pray that moment has left his memory, but it will NEVER leave mine. I finally got help!

I went to the doctor and she put me on anti depression medication and while it was suppose to take a week to take effect, I could feel a difference with in days. I put my son in day care just for my sanity, for his well being, and to get my self together. It didn’t happen. While it was better, I was still not my self. The days felt so long. Looking back I would describe it as a HEAVY weight physically holding me down. Darkness encompassing me at times.

I never reached out for help but I should have!!

The change came when my daughter was old enough to go to daycare. She started as half days and quickly moved to full days. It was a very difficult thing for me to do. I LOVE MY CHILDREN!! I truly believe that they should have been at home with me. However, I had to fix me to be a better mother for them.

That first day was so difficult, but incredibly freeing.

On that first day back to school, I went back to work. Lucky for me it was at my husband’s office. I did not have to deal with the stress of going to work for someone else. I could still leave if the kids were sick, show up and be lunch mom, etc.

My first day I attended Kennedy Glazier Insider Circle lunch with my husband. UGH! A networking event on my first day back to work! You have got to be kidding me! He was thrilled and I grudgingly went along.

It was at that lunch when I began to find myself again. It was so nice to sit in a room full of adults and take that step out of darkness. We signed up for a seminar that day. Something that we were both interested in. Afterward, Robin Hughes co author of Women On Fire told Nile to have me connect with Debbie Phillips on Facebook. I did and when her book was released she sent me one of her first autographed copies! (I am crying right now, my how things have changed since I connected with Debbie) http://www.amazon.com/Women-Fire-Inspiring-Secrets-Struggle/dp/0982047789/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269447319&sr=8-1

Many things began to change for me, I was feeling good, the kids and my husband were happy. We attend the above mentioned seminar on how to do seminars and we loved it! We connected with some incredible entrepreneurs that weekend.

It was that weekend when I learned about coaching. I was intrigued and began asking questions. It just so happens that there was a coach there that was a mom of two small children about the same age as mine. That was when a seed was planted in my mind to become a coach to help other moms get out of their comfort zone, teach them about the importance of self care, and help them on their way to finding their passion if that is what they wanted.

I have been working on my self since then, making the changes that need to be changed with in myself. While growing and expanding my possibilities I learned about http://www.visionday.com/. My husband and I went, we set our mutual goals, family goals, financial goals, and individual goals all in one day!! This cleared the way for us to accomplish so much more than we could have ever done on our own!!! It also brought us the clarity we needed.

While it seems like an awfully long journey, it has only been about a year and half since I first went back to work and I can not be more thrilled about my life now!!

There is so much to look forward to, so many wonderful people that I have connected with.

What are some of the lessons I have learned?

#1 The only way to change things is to get moving and change them.
It’s not going to happen on its’ own!

#2. It is my number one job to take care of my well being in order to do
the same for my family.

#3. Find your passion and do what you love!

The old saying goes….”If Momma is happy, then everyone is happy!”

I hope that by sharing this experience with you that you know you are not alone! If you are dealing with what I went through, I urge you to please find help! Don’t be afraid to get on medication. This will not last forever and great things are in front of you!

What can you do for your self today? Tomorrow? This week? This month?

Take care of yourself in order to take care of those that you love most in your life! All it takes is little steps one small thing at a time.

To learn more about Postpartum and to find some support go to http://www.postpartum.net/

P.S.
I tried to insert the links into my posts, but it was not working :(….ah more to learn 🙂 Please copy and paste them into your browser!

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Clarity & Vision

Wow! Don’t you just love those days when everything clicks together in your mind?

Today is one of those days for me!

The clarity and vision that I am receiving feels life altering.

I have been on a journey, a journey of finding my passion. To do what I truly love most in life. That journey is to help as many moms as I can, find their passion. To be able to do what they truly love and still spend quality time with their family that they long to have.

I have been on a 4 year journey. A journey to find my passion, the thing I truly love most in life. The thing that inspires me. The thing that makes me feel like I’m on fire. The thing that I could sit and talk about all day and never tire of. I discovered that passion and now my journey involves a mission. My mission is to help other mom’s do what I did, to find their passion. To take that passion, that something they truly love, and create opportunities to live it while still spending quality time with their families.

My journey continues to lead me in many different directions. I find that sometimes I have to take a step back and analyze what is going to work best for my faith, my family and most of all, for myself. At times it feels like living my journey is an excruciatingly slow and even painful process. Other times, like today, things become amazingly clear and I feel invigorated!

I wish I could capture this feeling I have today, this clarity that surrounds me, and hold on to it. I wish I knew where it came from. How it happened. This is the recipe I want to share with other moms. This is something I wish everyone could feel. Maybe the recipe for this incredible feeling I have is this:

Follow your journey, discover your passion

Don’t get discouraged, re-evaluate

Arrive at a point in your life when YOU are ready for change

Make a commitment

DO IT!

For a long time I have struggled with what to do with my blog. I’ve followed my journey. I’ve discovered my passion. I’m at the point of change. I’m making a commitment. I guess it’s time for that final ingredient.

Let’s DO IT!

I’m making a commitment to start utilizing my blog as part of my mission to help other moms. Over time, I have struggled with what topics to cover. My coach Debbie Phillips (you can find her and Women On Fire on twitter and Facebook) knows my wish and knows my struggle. Once on a phone conversation I told her how I want to blog my honest truth about life as a mom…the struggles and the triumphs. I hesitate because I wonder how people will react to my truth! Will they relate to my struggles? Will they be inspired by my triumphs? Will I help anyone? Through Debbie I found Penelope Trunk’s blog. She is much like me, straight forward and honest. I love her honesty! When I saw that she has a little over 50,000 followers I thought, “WOW! Maybe people will accept my truths and join me in my continued journey and mission.”

So I’m just going to DO IT. I’m going to blog about my life; the trials, the tribulations, and the celebrations. The God’s honest truth. I hope it helps other moms out there. I hope my friends and family members understand, embrace, and support me.

Today it all came clear. This is the path I have to take. I’ve been holding it back too long. I’m letting it go. I’M DOING IT!

Today will be my first blog about my life; its joys and its struggles. It will be a blog about the Small Changes that I am making to become a better mother, wife, and friend. I hope to support and encourage others along the way. I hope to learn from you and you learn from me. My hope is to make you laugh, let you know that you are not alone, and most of all hopefully inspire you to make the Small Changes in your life that lead you to live the passion you deserve.

Here’s to the journey of the past, present and future and all the SMALL CHANGES along the way!!!

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Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts in the Conspiracy Theroy? Maybe

Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts in the Conspiracy Theory?

I picked the title of my blog for several reasons. One is Mel is short for Melissa and Julia Roberts and I both have BIG smiles. The rest will become clearer as you read our story of adventure.

Girlfriends and Photography

It was just another beautiful winter day here in sunny Florida. Very much like all the rest. However, there was something special about this day. Oh yes! I was taking the day off and making a trek down to Ft. Myers for the day. You see, Melissa McClain of melissaAnne Photography, http://www.melissaannegallery.com/, was in Southwest Florida for a Group Vision Day in Naples, FL. http://www.visionday.com/vsdayfaq.html Before she left New York City, she invited me to come down and shoot with her. Before I even checked my calendar I said, “YES I can!!” Wahoo! An entire day of girlfriends and photography! It doesn’t get much better than that? I knew the day would bring lots of adventure….I just didn’t know quite what kind!

Melissa and I were so excited to get our day off and running. I made my way South down I75, enjoying an uneventful, quiet (no kids!), and relaxing drive. All the days possibilities were running around in my head. I finally arrived in Ft Myers around 10:30 that morning and there was Melissa waiting anxiously on the curb to get this day started.

Melissa had some ideas of where we should go shoot, having read an article on Southwest Florida in a magazine. We decided to start on Sanibel Island since Melissa’s hotel was just over the causeway. As we are driving down the main road on Sanibel Island, Melissa spotted a small little marina tucked away on a shell road between two big mangroves. “A marina!”, she exclaimed. I could hear the excitement in her voice. The average person might not have noticed this little boat yard, however to Melissa, boat yards are heaven. They are the canvas for her work. The studio in her mind. This is where she feels most comfortable with her camera and where all of her amazing melissaAnne Water Colors are created. YES a boat yard! We turned around, drove between the two mangroves into a quaint little marina. She spotted some boats off to the right that were exactly what she was looking for. I looked at her and said “Really, these are what you take pictures of?” To me they are just ordinary boats. Common elements of life in Florida, but to her they are magical treasures waiting to be discovered and transformed into colorful art! She was thrilled and I was excited to watch her work her magic.

My pitiful attempt at a mellissaAnne Watercolor

We meandered over to the boats…well I did! In a blink of an eye Melissa was taking pictures. I watched her and then began taking pictures of her taking pictures. All of a sudden, an agitated older gentleman began yelling, “HEY! What are you doing over here?!?!” I tried to explain what Melissa does and that we were not touching the boats (although in reality, Melissa does touch the boats gently. She says sometimes it’s part of the relationship and how they speak to her.) He didn’t seem to care about Melissa’s love of boats or artistic interpretation of them. He angrily told us how someone had recently stolen a motor from one of his boats. We sympathized with him and assured him we were just taking photos of the boats. He walked away, but unsatisfied with our explanation and his discomfort level rising, came back over and again told us to just leave!

So we headed for the van.

Before leaving, I offered to show him our pictures so that he would feel better before we left, but he wanted nothing to do with that. He was flailing his arms, shaking his head back and forth,yelling at us. We understood that having property stolen was terrible but couldn’t quite understand the anger that we were receiving.

As we sat in the van for those extra few minutes, I noticed a woman on the phone and the man lingering around to make sure we were leaving. A small part of me thought “hmmm I wonder if it would make him feel better if I told him to call the police?” But, I decided to let well enough alone. We left, and we laughed about this surprising adventure and “trouble” we had found on our day out together. Of course, with Melissa and I a Facebook update ensued:

“How exciting we just got thrown out of a boat yard! Let the fun begin!”
Rosemary Nickel

The Island Cow Restaurant

So off we went looking for the next adventure, which happened to be food! While we waited for our table, Melissa took pictures of the inside of table umbrellas. While waiting for our orders, Melissa took odd abstract photos of a fan. I took pictures of silverware, and the colorful benches where diners sat under shade trees to wait for a table.

After lunch we decided to pass on the beach and spend some time at Ding Darling State Park. We didn’t have a lot of time so this park was a good choice! You can drive through most of the park and stop on the side of the shell road when you want to take a picture. There we were, driving and stopping, zooming….framing….clicking, stepping in the muck, making sacrifices for the perfect shot! We both came away with photos of birds, interesting tree bark, and other magical nature items. We even saw a Blue Heron and a Roseate Spoonbill!

Melissa looses her shoe to the muck. Quite funny!

Melissa shooting some birds. Attempting a Rob Berkley bird photo.....(shhh don't tell Melissa that one of Rob's sercet is a Mac Daddy lens)

We finished up our day of bonding and photography and began our trek back to Ft. Myers. Leaving Sanibel Island on a 2 lane road at 4:00 means traffic! We were on the side that was going nowhere fast. As we sat waiting in traffic, we wondered if Melissa would be late for an event in Naples at 5:30 and talked about the exciting pictures we had taken and the fun of the day.

The Unexpected

All of a sudden a police car coming from the opposite direction does a 180 and throws his lights on. Cars try to move out of the way, but how much can you do on a small, two lane road! He worked his way in and spread the cars like Moses parting the seas. As he eased up behind us, a voice seems to come from nowhere. “Light Blue Van Pull Over”. Light blue……van…….wait……that’s……..ME? REALLY?

I am thinking of several things at this point….#1 I wasn’t speeding, I couldn’t if I wanted to! (Note: One of my nicknames is Mario Andretti …so this police light thing is not totally foreign to me ). #2 How the heck did he see that my tags are expired from the other side of the road in bumper to bumper traffic! This guy is GOOD.

I pull into a parking lot and into an empty space. Then, that voice again……“pull forward to the next space” Good grief! So I do as I am told and wait. I am thinking what the heck is going on?

He gets out walks up to my window and asks if we were taking pictures in a boat yard earlier in the day! Melissa and I look at each other. Stunned. In unison we say “SERIOUSLY?” He asked if a man asked us to leave the yard. We recounted our story. We proceeded to explain that we understood why this man was upset and when he asked us to leave, we left. Melissa offered up her business card and he immediately knew that the image on the back was from a boat.

The rest of the officer’s story completely stunned us. The Sanibel Island Police Officer (with the dreamiest eyes you have ever seen, seriously) said, “We have had problems recently with stolen boats and boat motors. The thefts are suspected to be part of human trafficking.” Melissa and I were stunned. We’ve all heard about this on TV, seen movies about it, but this was reality right in front of us. The officer went on to tell us that the thieves send their girlfriends to boat yards, pretending to be tourists, and they pose in front of the boats and take pictures. The photos are reviewed and the men come back and steal the boats or motors.” This was shocking enough in itself. The idea that we were suspected to be involved was unreal. The officer then tells me, ”Mam, you fit the profile. Your husband has a Silverado truck, the kind used to haul boats away.” Now this latest revelation floored me. How the heck did they know we owned a truck?!

You see, this was no laughing matter. The authorities had been investigating me all day. They had circulated my DMV picture and my information. They were looking for us all afternoon! After some time everything was cleared up and we were allowed to go. We had to laugh about this a little on our way out of town. We really didn’t know what else to do. We also talked about the horrors of human trafficking and how the story we heard today saddened us. We also felt badly that all of these agencies wasted so much time and money looking for us! It is truly scary that trafficking happens right in our back yard.

Human Trafficking: Did You Know?

Each year, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders (some international and non-governmental organizations place the number far higher), and the trade is growing. (U.S. Department of State. 2004. Trafficking in Persons Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State.)

Of the 600,000-800,000 people trafficked across international borders each year, 70 percent are female and 50 percent are children. The majority of these victims are forced into the commercial sex trade. (U.S. Department of Justice. 2004. Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Fiscal Year 2003. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice.)

Each year, an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country each year is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry. (U.S. Departments of Justice, Health & Human Services, State, Labor, Homeland Security, Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. 2004. Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice.)

These numbers are frightening and totally unacceptable. Melissa and I have a new understanding of human trafficking and want to use this “mis-adventure” to raise your awareness! For more information about eliminating human trafficking worldwide visit the Demi and Ashton Foundation.

http://www.demiandashton.org/

So our relaxing day of photo adventure had a strange twist. By the end we felt a little like Thelma & Louise!

I have to say for the remainder of the trip I felt a bit like Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts in The Conspiracy Theory. I was paranoid that every police car that passed by would pull me over. My imagination was in full swing! We were both looking over my shoulders for the next few days and Melissa learned her lesson. The rest of the boat yards she visited that week received formal requests PRIOR to any photography. She made some great new connections and even go some interest in her work by talking to the owners about what she does.

We would like to thank the brave men and women who police our streets and protect our borders!! While this story was a “funny” ending to our day, there is nothing funny about human trafficking or those who work to protect us and prevent it. Join us in visiting the Demi and Ashton site to learn more and take action today to help end trafficking!

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

Lover's Key State at Sunset

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What is the most difficult job in the world? Being a parent!

In 1974 Nile (my husband) and his previous wife became parents at the young age of 16. With the help of his wife’s parents, and her parents, they succeeded in raising a well-rounded adult. Fast forward to today. Nile and I have been married for 7 years. Together we have a 6-year-old son and a three-year old daughter. His son is married and has a 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. All this is a little history to help you understand my post.

November 15, 2009

Today Nile and I were purging paper work and came across an old file with applications, news paper articles, school tuition, etc. for his son. We even came across his baby teeth! Nile and I were reading, smiling, and laughing at old paper articles, photos, etc. We talked about what a great person his son is and how well he is doing now with his family and career.

We are at the point in our son’s life where he is loosing his teeth and we are beginning the frame work for the person we hope he will grow to be. Going through the paper work was fascinating for me to see. All that was involved in helping Nile’s oldest son to become the man he is, while we are doing the same with his little brother. I probably would not have looked at these as such precious treasures a year ago as I was not a parent yet.
It amazes me all that parents do to grow their children into, hopefully, well-functioning and successful adults. I can see how Nile played a BIG part in helping his son along in what is now his career. Guiding and directing him with his decisions, putting together resumes of his work, etc.

It might seem small to to his son, but now as a parent of a young one, I see all the small stuff Nile did on a regular basis that made his son in to the man his is today.

He is an impressive man!

Polite, articulate, professional, kind, and he is an AWESOME husband and father. He really is an impressive person. I easily see his father, mother, and grand parents in him.

He was fortunate to have had a wonderful combination of support from various family members. They all played apart of who he is. His grand parents that played a VERY big part in his life. With out them and his parents dedication to making it work, his life could have been totally different.

It is interesting to see what Nile’s son remembers versus what his parents remember. It helps me focus on what I need to do for my kids.

I personally have a VERY difficult time remembering anything that my mother did to help me become the woman who I am today. She was the only adult person in my life to influence me , so she obviously did all the work. Yet, I don’t feel she did anything. Why is that? Why can’t I see all the sacrifices she made for me? I carry very few positive memories of her when I was a child or even as an adult. Yet, I turned out to be a pretty great person and am proving to be a great mom. She was THE single biggest influence in my life! Regardless of how she did it, I am still grateful, because I do like who I am today. There are many life lessons she taught me that I am now teaching my children.

As children we are oblivious to what our parents are sacrificing for us. I worry, worry, worry, that my children will feel the same towards me when they become adults. It is my goal as a parent that my children love me, respect me, and have a close and healthy relationship with Nile and I, when they become adults. It is my BIGGEST HOPE AND DREAM in life! It sounds simple enough, but I know it will be hard work and even though I pour my heart and soul in to them, that one day they will turn away to go down their own path. That path may not include me in their life the way I hope to be. It’s painful to think about.

If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, you know that I love, love, love to post pictures! I do love photos, they are a great way to help tell a story. As a parent, I make photo story books for my children. (I just LOVE technology). I make them for two reasons. One is for them to have a way to remember and see all the blessings we as parents bring into their lives. The other is for me to remember all the great times and memories that I too may forget. I look forward to when they are adults and hearing what they remember about certain events, they will surely be totally different from the ones I remember. Another way that I try to preserve memories for them is that I keep cards in my van. When I have a spare moment, I sit and write to each child about what is happening in their lives. I don’t just right about the good stuff. I write about my struggles too. Parenting is not glamorous and neither is life. I want them to know that some of the most beautiful things in life come out of the most difficult times in our lives. I put each note in an envelope, seal it, then put their name and date on the outside of the envelope. All the cards are kept in a keep sake box for when they graduate, turn 21, possibly when they get married, or have kids. I will know when the time is right.

Everyday, I question my parenting skills and if what I am doing will affect my children in the long run. No one is a PERFECT parent, we all make mistakes. It is something I will have to accept as I grow and my children grow. I will be the best parent that I can be! I will continue to make the small changes necessary so that we can see the difference we’ve made in their lives. After all, isn’t it the small things that we remember the most? They always seem to make the biggest difference! Liberty & Jordan

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Good friends inspire and lift each other up

Girl friends & Melissa McCain and her BFFAs we go through our days, working, building our businesses, taking care of family, running here and there, we forget to stop to take time and nurture our friendships. I LOVE my friends and I really love spending time with them. However, I do get caught up in the day to day details of life and nurturing those relationships, fall by the way side and I suffer for it. We all suffer for it!

It’s only a matter of time before I begin feeling the effects of not having that much needed time with my girlfriends. I begin to have a feeling of loneliness, like something is missing. Life is off kilter for some reason. I love my husband and he is my best friend hands down, however there is just something about being with my girl friends. I long to sit and chat, to laugh about the things our children are doing, or some silly mindless thing that moms do. There are always great stories to share.

I particularly love my friend Jenn, because she will call me, and I will call her, when we really do something so dumb all you can do is laugh at your self! Love you Jenn!

As moms it so difficult to make time for ourselves. So many things are pulling us away, needing our time and attention. Our schedules always seem to clash. We make promises to set a date and spend some time with each other, yet it never happens. Time is simply, our arch enemy.

So we sacrifice…… and then finally the stars align and our schedules meld together. Ahhhh..the anticipation begins. Something to look forward to. Oh to sit and chat, let the rest of the world melt away and to just be you again. No responsibilities, no schedules, just you with your friend or friends. It’s one of my favorite feelings now that I am a mom. I savor those moments.

It fills me so to be surrounded by those who know me best. For example, I recently went to lunch with a good friend who I have not seen in months. We sat down and caught up, we smiled, we laughed, we talked about all the wonderful things going on in our lives, and the things we are struggling with. It was incredibly up lifting! We both left lunch, our cups filled to the rim with the giddiness and happiness that friendship brings.

Today I read a post by Debbie Phillips, http://womenonfirebook.blogspot.com/. She has girlfriends visiting her this weekend. They have all been friends since 6th grade!! As it always happens when old friends get together, they picked up right where they left off, like they were never apart!

It is such an incredible bond that God has blessed women with. So if you have not reached out to your girlfriends in a while….pick up the phone and give them a call. Do not hang up until you have a date, location, and time set to meet. Go fill your friendship cup! It makes all the difference!! You could even make it a weekend get away!!! How great would you feel after that?

Lots of girlfriend hugs to you all!

Rosemary

P.S. Keep your eye out for future posts! I have some special events in the works!

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