Believe in Yourself For Real

I see this motivational quote pinned all over Pinterest: Believe in Yourself.

Three little words that are meant as an encouragement, but, do we really believe in ourselves?

Sometimes it is easier to believe the “bad” stuff others say about us, but the good stuff goes in one ear and out the other. Why is that? What would it look like if we believed the good things others said about us? Not just take the compliment, then swept it off with the broom of negativity.

What would it look like if we stopped waiting for others to tell us how awesome, fantastic, glorious we are and believed in ourselves, right here, right now? The heck with others say about us anyway!

It's time to believe in yourself for real

Background photo source: DeathToStock

What would it look like if we believed in ourselves and really mean it? Not just because it makes a great quote. Because if we really believed in ourselves we would stop listening to the negative things people say, and listen to the truth. We would listen to our heart.

We would stop the negative talk that happens in our heads. We would stop comparing ourselves with others. We would be our best cheerleader. We would look in the mirror and see the truth. We would see how great and brilliant we really are.

What would we do if we believed in ourselves? Where would we go?

Let’s make a pact. Let’s believe in ourselves for real.

Changing the Game in the Fight Against ALS

It’s been eight months since the viral sensation #ALSIceBucketChallenge swept the nation. This is a hashtag success story with $115 million donated during the campaign, and $220 million donated to related ALS charities around the world. Because of this, we are changing the game in the fight against ALS.

It has been eight months since we participated in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Denver.

Team McCormick, the small but mighty !

Team McCormick, the small but mighty !

It will be four years on July 4th, since my step-father, Ron McCormick lost his 10 year battle with this disease.

My favorite picture of Ron before ALS changed his life

My favorite picture of Ron before ALS changed his life

Did you know it cost $2 billion to bring a new treatment to market?

ALS info graphic, we can't stop now

InfoGraphic courtesy of ALSA

Two Billion Dollars. That is some serious fat stacks.

May is ALS Awareness month. I know all too well how this disease can devastate a life and the lives of loved ones. Every year that we participated in the Walk to Defeat ALS, we walked under the name Team McCormick, for Ron. The money we raised may have been a drop in the bucket, but you can’t get a full bucket without many drops. So, there is no such thing as a small donation. One dollar can make a difference.

I can’t cure ALS but I can participate, write letters and donate. It’s the little things that make a big difference.

Because of the Ice Bucket Challenge, ALSA is on their way to $2 billion. We can’t stop now.

My birthday is Thursday and I can’t think of a better gift than a donation to ALSA.  ⇒ [HERE]

And cheesecake. Any flavor. I am not picky.

* * * * *

Together we can make a difference in the lives of others.

Links: Ron’s Story | Denver Walk 2014 | #IceBucketChllenge | Donate ALSA

Dear Ladies, Your Story Matters

Dear ladies,

There is something that you need to know…YOUR STORY MATTERS.

Yes, you.

You, working two jobs to make ends meet, keeping your kids feed. You, caring for an aging, sick parent while working a full-time job. You, fighting some sort of addiction. You, mentoring youth-at-risk.

You, changing diapers, cleaning up puke, and doing laundry. You, facing the prospect of divorce. You, who spent years caring for a terminally ill husband.

You, missionary in your own hometown, helping migrant workers. You, struggling to care for a person with mental illness. You, in the fight of your life against cancer.

You, struggling with a defiant teenager. You, empty nester, raising grand-children. You, hanging on by a thread, one step forward, two steps back.

Maybe, you think your story isn’t interesting…or life changing…or nobody would make your life story into a movie. I am here to tell you that you are flat-out wrong! I used an exclamation point because I want to pay attention to this one:

Wherever you are in life…YOUR STORY MATTERS.

Inspiring Womens Stories

Cover Illustration, The Giver by JoDee Luna // Editor, Aliyah Jacobs

When we share our story with others it can become very a powerful thing, creating a community of women who care.

I want to introduce you to a woman who knows the power of sharing ones story.

Her name is Aliyah Jacobs and she has compiled an e-book entitled Windows Across Oceans. This collection of inspiring stories is “Written by women, who dare to care”.

“Dare to care” is the key words here because all the women in this e-book are daring to tell their story, right where they are.

* * * * * *

I am blessed to have been chosen by Aliyah to tell my story too. It’s a reminder that we are all growing in faith, trying to find who we are going to be in this world.

My story is entitled, Discovering Yourself.

Sometimes when I get frustrated, questioning the point of my life and where I am going, I remind myself of a few things.

One, it’s not my vision of my life…it’s HIS. Second, whatever I am doing, it matters to someone. Big or small. It matters.

Excerpt from my story:

I grew up in as small town in Missouri. As the John Mellencamp song goes, “Educated in a small town; Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town…”

Fearing Jesus? Yes, the church I attended, the same Religion my mother, and her mother, and her mother’s mother all attended, was strict on teaching about sin, but short of the love of Christ. Doomsday was quickly approaching, there was no time to waste.

Follow the rules, be good, and don’t rock the boat. God was to be feared. The Book of Revelations was driven home. I was taught to believe in Christ but not to know His love for me.

I was the good girl out of fear. Fear of not being liked, accepted. Fear of going to hell. Fear of not being loved.

But, I was brave a few times.

When I was old enough to leave that misguided ideology behind, I did. I left the church and never looked back. I went to art school. I believed He had no room for me. I tried to live life “my way” with minimal results. Depression and anxiety gripped me for many years. I was lost.

I moved from that small town with little opportunity to the big city where the world was waiting. I dreamed of big things, grand adventures, and changing the world.

Little did I know He would change me.

Look, not all of us will have our name printed in history books or have Sandra Bullock portray us on the big screen.

“No, I am a woman of Christ who is doing what He has planned for me. His plan may not be my-name-in-lights kind. It may be a simple plan, share His love and compassion with other.” (excerpt Discovering Yourself)

“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NLT

So, do you want to read about these women who dare to care? Good. This is where you click to get the e-book, Windows Across Oceans. It’s just $5. Five bucks, the price of a grande coffee. Also, the money goes to charity that helps other women. Women helping women. That’s a small price to pay in exchange to read these women’s stories.

Because, just like you, their story matters.

LINKING UP with brave and inspirational women, who tell their story everyday. Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart and Bonnie at Faith Barista. Jennifer Dukes Lee is also giving away an inspirational book. Please click over to read what these women are doing, and maybe find other kindred spirits in the link up. Also linking up at Literacy Musing Monday’s with Mary-andering Creativity with family friendly books review and links.

Art Journal :: Zentangle Art

Continuing on with my One Word, CREATE this week… Here is another new-to-us project we just discovered called Zentangle.

What is Zentangle? Basically, it’s doodling on steroids. But, it’s more than doodling. It’s structured doodling that is good for your brain, providing inner focus and relaxation.

Zentangle Design

Why Zentangle?

  • The designs we create with Zentangle are repetitive; and repetitive creative work is self-soothing. It’s a calming stress reliever.
  • It’s simple. No expensive art supplies are needed. All that is required is a pen and paper. And, anyone can do it! Even those of you who say, “I am not creative.”
  • Since you are using pen and ink, you will make mistakes. You can’t erase. You are forced to “Make it work.” Thank you Tim Gunn for that nugget of wisdom.
  • Create a state of mindfulness. In other words, instead of always striving to go-go-go, you stay-stay-stay in the moment of creating the next tangle and enjoy the process without an agenda. It’s zen art.
  • It can go wherever you go…carry a pen and small sketchbook in your purse for an instant stress relief.

 

ZentangleDesigns Zentangle hot air Balloons Zentangle Doodles

Need more convincing? Zentangle is an actual, copyrighted company. Check out their website here.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out my Pinterest Board entitled CREATE: 365. Now…go create something!

Art Journal :: Mandala Art Project

A few posts ago I talked about a Spring Re-do…or starting over with my One Word, and although it’s been a challenge at times to commit to making time to CREATE, I am doing it. This week the girls and I bought a new art journal, and I want to share a new-to-us project we just discovered called Mandala art.

What is Mandala art? “The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.” -Mandala Project

When I first saw Mandala on an art blog I had no idea the designs were based in Hinduism. I was just draw to the graphic-ness of the designs.

The Cross-Cultural of Mandala. Mandala Project states, “The mandala pattern is used in many religious traditions. Hildegard von Bingen, a Christian nun in the 12th century, created many beautiful mandalas to express her visions and beliefs.”

Mandala designs can also be found in Native American (medicine wheels), Taoist (yin-yang), Aztec (Aztec calendar), and Tibetan cultures. You can read more about the origins at the Mandala Project at your leisure…but let’s get on with the Mandala show-and-tell.

Looks complicated, right? Once I watched a few YouTube Videos, I figured out that the Mandala is pretty easy to draw using a compass. I put together a quick (i.e. lazy) tutorial in pictures for you below but this YouTube Video is a great how-to as well.

MandalaCompass

First, using a compass, draw all your circles in pencil.

Mandala Sketch

Next, I sketched out my design idea in one section of the Mandala. Then, repeated it in each section. This helps me stay on track with each piece. Then I use a pen or marker to freehand the whole thing.

Mandala Design

Once finished, erase the pencil…and, viola! You have a beautiful Mandala art that will impress your friends! What are you waiting for? Go create something!

And, speaking of creating something…I am linking up this week with Just Us Four Blog.

Why Gwyneth Paltrow, and Other Celebrities, Don’t Get Hunger in America

Gwyneth Paltrow made headlines this weekend with her little food stamp challenge she posted online. Despite their best efforts, Gwyneth Paltrow, and other celebrities, prove they just don’t get hunger in America.

It’s cute when an uber-rich celebrity tries to relate to the rest of us who struggle to buy groceries every week.

Why Gwyneth Paltrow, and Other Celebrities, Don’t Get Hunger in America

Gwyneth Paltrow makes it so easy for us to dislike her.

 

She tweeted the above challenge and was promptly eaten alive by online critics for it. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, which allows $29 per person to help with a family grocery budget. She was challenged by celebrity chef, Mario Batali to the #FoodBankNYCChallenge, to spend $29 on groceries for one week.

She also tweeted she is “walking in their shoes to see how far we get” (*gag*), but let’s face it, she really is not.

First, SNAP is meant as a supplement program and not to fund an entire grocery budget. SNAP recipients get $29 per person, not $29 for an entire family. The amount also varies by state. Those on SNAP have a job, but need a hand up when it comes to feeding their family.

Second, this grocery haul by Gwyneth isn’t enough to feed a single human being for a week, even a super-skinny one. This picture reminds me of a cleanse one might see on her popular blog, Goop. Also, people who are hungry don’t choose to buy seven limes and organic cilantro, as these are garnishes. We buy protein (like chicken), canned beans, bread, eggs, milk and jars of spaghetti sauce and dry noodles.

Lastly, being poor, struggling, and hungry is seen as a fun challenge to celebrities, not reality. They get to suspend their reality for seven days, ending it with a #IDidIt.

People struggling to feed their family are forced to live this reality every.single.day. Families who are hungry in America are not who you think. Hunger in America isn’t a fun hastag to them with a a self-congratulatory-look-at-me at the end of seven days. It is a hard reality with harder choices.

If celebrities really want be challenged, try living it as real life. For instance, try being a struggling single mom with three kids, a broken down car, and working a 9 hour day. After a long day, that started before dawn, all that mom wants to do is get food on the table for her hungry kids, because it’s 6:30 p.m. and she still needs to help them with homework, bath time, and any other drama that comes along with being a single parent. And, do it for more than a week…Try a month, or three to start.

Try understanding the slight humiliation a mother feels when having to pay for groceries with an EBT card. Knowing that her card is ready to expire and she has to reapply, being forced to prove that she can’t provide fully for her family. Knowing that because she had to spend extra money on an unexpected car repair bill, she will have to also visit the local food bank this week to help with groceries or go without. Telling her child ‘no’ to the name brand cereal and opting for the cheaper cereal. Forget about eating organic, too.

I know other hashtag challenges have been wildly successful, can we say #IceBucketChallenge, but this one is different. What is the point of proving celebrities can eat on $29 a week? To say they did it?

Hey, I will give Gwyneth a #NiceTry and #Kudos only because the internet and talk shows are talking about hunger in America today. But, she gets a #HugeFail on her shopping list and her understanding of the real problem.

Because it’s not about food. It’s about so much more. Until they understand that, they won’t get it.

REAL SOLUTIONS & REAL PEOPLE | Feeding America, No Kid Hungry

Inspiring Free Books for Your Weekend

Could you use a little encouragement? I know I could. Do you need a little faith-based inspiration?  I am raising my hand here. Give yourself the gift of inspiring reading this weekend with free books and ebooks from Gospel for Asia.

FreeBooks

“How are you doing? Discouragement can sneak in quickly and subtly, through even the smallest things. Learn how to stay encouraged in every season of life, no matter what the circumstances may be.” -from the book Stay Encouraged, by K.P. Yohannan. Get your FREE EBOOK here.

“Are you feeling alone or overwhelmed in your journey with the Lord Jesus? In this volume of letters, originally addressed to women serving on the challenging mission fields of South Asia, Gisela Yohannan shares precious lessons from her own life and insights from God’s Word that will fill your heart with faith and strength, no matter where you are in your walk with Jesus. By His grace, you will make it!” -from the book Let Me Walk With You, by Gisela Yohannan. Get your FREE EBOOK here.

“Remember learning how to ride a bike? It was all a matter of balance. The same is true for our lives. Learn how to develop that balance which will keep your life and ministry healthy and honoring God.” -from the book A Life in Balance, by K.P. Yohannan. Get our FREE EBOOK here.

“Those with no voice, the suffering children of Asia, tell their stories. And as you listen to them, you share their anguish and rejoice in their triumphs. The world world seems to stop as you look on.” -from the book No Longer a Slumdog, by K.P. Yohannan. Get your FREE BOOK here.

Gospel for Asia is spreading encouragement…for free. There are loads of ebooks, audio books, print books on GFA’s site. Head on over get yourself some free books this weekend!

10 Reasons Why I Hate Doing Homework with My Kids

Homework is supposed be for the benefit of my kids. It should only take 20 minutes a night to complete. It says so right in black and white in the school handbook. Insert me laughing, hysterically.

After yet another homework fight with my second grader, I wrote a little I Hate You, Homework list. Because it helps me deal.

Then, I renamed it: 10 Reasons I Hate Doing Homework with My Kids. It‘s eloquent, I know.

  1. Twenty minutes of crying because the homework instructions are confusing. And we’re talking about me crying here.
  2. Realizing I am not smarter than a second grader. Or, seventh grader. Or any grader.
  3. Doing the science fair experiment twice, and we still couldn’t grow crystals. Opt for colored carnations instead, which will never win first place at the science fair. Or, any place.
  4. Running to four different stores to find sugar cubes to build a small replica of the great pyramids. Buying every box they had. Total spent: $32. Grade: A. Kind of feel like I bought that A.
  5. Being told, “Your child should complete the majority of this simple machine project.” Then, see the other projects turned in, complete with motorized cranes and laser lights. Obviously, not completed by a second grader.
  6. Another twenty minutes of tears because…Kid: “That’s not how the teacher told us to do it!” Me: “I don’t care! That’s the answer. Write.It.Down!”
  7. “Go to your room and calm down,” kid says to me.
  8. It’s 9 p.m. and I hear this, “I forgot. I need to write a short story using all my 15 spelling words. It’s due tomorrow.”
  9. No matter how many times I Google explanations to Algebra problems, I will never understand it. 
  10. Homework wastes paper. Save the ink…and the trees. I am a graphic designer and I have never uttered those words in my life, so you know I am serious!

“I love doing homework with my kids!” Said no one. Ever.

Don’t be Alarmed. He Has Risen!

  Easter bible verse

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” (Mark 16:1-8 NIV)

I don’t know about you, but if I was the one standing in that tomb to find Jesus had risen, I would have been freaking out. I would have ran away, trembling, too.

Do not be alarmed, in other words, do not be afraid. In the Bible, “Do not be afraid”, and other variations of the phrase (don’t be alarmed, fear not, do not fear) appear a lot. One popular myth is that it appears 365 times, but it is closer to 150ish times. 

Fortunately for us, the disciples pushed through their initial reaction of fear. They went on to spread the Word, despite the fear of persecution; and they had very good reason to fear persecution.

Today is Easter Sunday. Let’s take in the heaviness of that day. The day the women went to the tomb to find Jesus risen. There was fear, at first, then there was hope, and probably tears of joy too.

Even in death, Jesus is teaching us a lesson. Push through the fear because on the other side there is hope. There is also faith, comfort, and courage.

The Lord our God is with us. Do not be afraid.

RESOURCES | 365 “Do not be afraid” phrase in the Bible? Miley’s Scribblings has put together a great list here.

11 Ways to Combat Text Bullying

You remember the days of prank phone calls. Chances are you made this one:

“Hello.”

“Is your refrigerator running?”

“Yes…”

“Then you better go catch it!” Hang up. Laugh hysterically.

Admit it. You did it as a teenager. It was annoying to the person on the other end of the line but innocent.

Oh, how times have changed. Today, messages via texting, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram have replaced the prank phone call. And, they’re not telling lame jokes.

A few months back, our family had a big fat lesson in internet safety, and thanks to our local Police Department, it’s been an eye-opener for us and our daughter.

Then, this past week, we were tested, again. Sigh.

This time it was a harassing text from a girl to my daughter. My daughter took it very seriously. Thank you again, Police Department, she was listening. The exact details of what was said in the text isn’t as important as what you, as a parent, should do if it happens to your child.

cyber bullying

11 WAYS TO COMBAT TEXT BULLYING:

  1. Never dismiss text bullies as innocent pranksters. Text messages (or online messages) that are harassing in nature, physical or verbal, is the definition of cyber bullying. In some cases, it is a criminal act.
  2. If there is name calling, it is cyber bullying. Period.
  3. If a threat is made to do bodily harm, this is a criminal act. Yes, the Police should be involved.
  4. Remind your child not to respond or engage. Instead document everything, i.e. with screen shots of your child’s phone or computer, or print outs, but ALWAYS keep the actual data on the phone as evidence. Never delete it.
  5. Do not underestimate the distress a bully can have on your child. Words do hurt. Never tell your child to “ignore it”, or “it’s just a joke”.
  6. Recognize it early, and take steps to stop it immediately. This could mean contacting the police, your child’s school, or the other child’s parent to have a little chat. (I will tell you from experience, a chat with the parent is not fun, but they may not realize what is going on, and will take steps to stop it.)
  7. Know that there are apps that allow a bully to use a number that is hard to trace. Now days kids know more about their phone than we do, educate yourself. Being a parent in this technology-savvy world means you need to know a thing or two about it.
  8. Understand why bullies do what they do. They crave attention and gratification. It is our job to hold them accountable for what they say and do. Their nasty words are NOT a reflection on your child, nor your child’s fault. Reassure your child of this fact.
  9. Text bullying is similar to stalking. Learn if you can block a phone number on your child’s phone. Some phones can, some can’t. If you can’t, consider changing the number and only allowing a limited number of people to have the new number. It’s like changing the locks on your door. If the bully doesn’t have the number, they can’t text.
  10. Insist on ZERO TOLERANCE for cyber bullying. It is a crime. Teach your child to speak out about cyber bullies. Let them know it will it be tolerated in your house. Let them know the consequences if they do it. Encourage them to be part of the solution against such bullies. Resist the urge to take away your child’s phone if they are the victim of a text bully. It’s not their fault.
  11. Encourage you child to talk to you openly if they experience cyber bullies, or if they witness it. I don’t need to link stories of children who have taken their own life because of cyber bullies. We know it happens.

Kids need to coexist with technology not be bullied by it.

A side note: Just as there are rules in our house, there are rules with her phone. When my daughter first got her cell phone (in 5th grade) she signed a Cell Phone Contract with us. On the list was spelled out what is expected of her with the privilege of a cell phone. Same is true when she got her iPod. This included no text bullying, no sexting, she must hand over the phone whenever I ask, and I am allowed to go through it if there is probable cause. Here is a great contract, and this one has a sense of humor about it. It’s never too late to talk about cyber bullying.

HELPFUL RESOURCES | BullyOnline, LoveYourChildrenUSA, TextBullyingStats, StompOutBullying

*Background photo source: StockVault.

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