my birthday wish

ageless mug

We’re still recovering from a jam-packed birthday celebration for my just-turned-11 year old. An epic slumber party, a family pizza party, cards and gifts and cake and singing “happy birthday” at the top of our lungs. And Ryder beamed through it all (well, except for the times he was weeping from being so tired after the epic slumber party).

This is the way birthdays should be, in my book. A chance to connect with people we love, who love us just for being born, and then do whatever feels like a joyful shout-out to this life we get to live.

But that ain’t happening with most of my peers.

The older I get, the more I’m aware of so many women who barely want to acknowledge their birthdays. While scrolling through kind messages from Facebook friends, they’re quietly feeling like another birthday is more of a life sentence than a life celebration. One step closer to their expiration date, one day closer to not achieving all they’d hoped.

I love the way kids can’t wait to get older, thrilled to the brim by all the potential that comes with a new year. But for middle-aged women, all those candles on the cake are more likely to represent the running tally in their heads: grievances, failures, losses, set-backs, wrinkles and the crushing pressure to make the most of the years they have left.

Research shows that, on average, our happiness hits an all-time low around age 50…and then slowly rises with each passing year. The happiest people on earth are 80 and older; they’ve had a chance to make peace with their choices, to look back and see the big picture, to accept rather than fight their aging bodies, and feel grateful for – rather than pressured by – the days they have left.

But I refuse to wait that long for happiness. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. Yes, I’ve suffered loss. Yes, I’ve cried me a river. Yes, I’ve been unkind to my body. And YES – all of it made me who I am, provided wisdom for the path I’m paving, led me to deeper love and connection, made me all the more grateful for little joys. There are huge gifts in the wrinkles. I know there will be more, many more. But there will also be fireworks and delight and glorious growth. And really good cake.

When I turn 40 this year, I intend to celebrate like a kid: thrilled to the brim by the potential of what’s ahead. And when I blow out all those candles that shine a light on where I’ve been and where I’m going, I’ll make a wish for me and you: for the strength to choose happiness in the now, in the aging, in this life we get to live.

 ******

This post is part of a birthday celebration for Susannah Conway, who asked a beautiful group of blogging friends to share our thoughts on aging as she enters her 41st gorgeous year today. My kind of party!

4 Awesome Videos to Make Your Season Bright

Four Awesome Videos To Make Your Season Bright

I am such a sucker for inspiring videos; I love being catapulted into elation while I sit here in my jammies! You, too? Yesterday, I was all teary watching several videos posted to Facebook. As I was watching them, my little angel Tru said HE wanted to make a video.

This boy has adored the song Angels We Have Heard on High for as long as we can remember, so I asked him if he wanted to sing it to my camera. As many of you know, Truman’s on the autism spectrum; repetition, movement and music are soothing and so joyful for him. Watching him and listening to him sing this song he loves just fills my heart and I thought it might do the same for yours. My favorite part? Where, instead of saying “Christ the Lord” he says “Price the Log.” LOL!

So, I’m happy to share his video with you…and three others that have touched my heart this week.

Angels We Have Heard on High…by 5 Year Old Tru :)

Awww…the bowing at the end just slays me. Love that little guy. Okay, moving on to the other three heart-stirring videos…

Flash Mob for Nelson Mandela


This is a flash mob by the Soweto Gospel Choir, staged at a Woolworth’s store in South Africa after Nelson Mandela’s passing. When they raise their hands in the air? Yeah, I lost it then.

Airline Teams Up With Santa To Surprise Passengers

This is a marketing stunt by WestJet Airlines, but a brilliant one. I was all teary when the packages started arriving. What a joy to watch people so stunned by this act of kindness!

The Tutu Project

When his wife got cancer, this hubby tried to cheer her up with a tutu. And now that tutu is cheering up and cheering on other cancer patients, too. Amazing.

Got any other faves? Feel free to share links below!

angels, rock stars and the power of intention: our bon jovi miracle

Bon Jovi, Xcel in St. Paul, April 7 2013

photo via Pioneer Press :: pretty sure Jon is reaching out for us here :)

This is the longest post I’ve written in a while – but I’ve got a story that so full of awe-inspiring goodness, I couldn’t stand to leave out the details. Ready to rock?

Over the past 24 years, I’ve lost count how many times Bon Jovi has performed in Minneapolis, but I’ve been there every time. And last fall, they announced they’d be coming back on April 7, 2013. YES!!! I was thrilled. This band has provided a soundtrack for my life since I was in my early teens and I’m so into what they’re about as human beings: compassion, persistence, service to others, seizing the day and doing what you love. (Oh…and…um…I might still have a schoolgirl crush on the lead singer. So, there’s that.).

I’ve attended shows with a wide range of friends and family over the years, but I had someone extra-special in mind this time around:  my 10-year-old, Ryder. My dad had taken me to my first big concert – yes, BON JOVI – when I was 14. Just the thought of doing the same thing with my own kiddo got me all choked up.

But I needed some help to make it happen. 

I turned to my buddy Michelle, who is a concert junkie known for her amazing ability to snap up the best seats (seriously, you should read some of her stories here). She gave me the pep talk I needed, reminding me the perfect tickets would find their way to us. See, Michelle doesn’t go for just any seats; she always taps into the power of intention, visualizing the perfect seats for each concert, fully believing they’re possible to get, and trusting her instincts about when and where to purchase. Knowing that I approach many things the same way, she encouraged me to take some time to envision the perfect seats at the perfect price. I did. I pictured us to the left of the stage, a few rows up, and on an aisle so that Ryder could see everything clearly (on the floor, everyone’s at the same level and his view would surely be blocked). I could feel the excitement, the thrill of it! I didn’t need to know how it would happen; I just needed to trust it could and would.

Months passed and I occasionally checked the ticket sites, but didn’t see anything enticing. The original section I’d envisioned us sitting in was 118 – and the ticket prices seemed to be rising there and everywhere. Even though Ryder and I really wanted to go, I couldn’t justify spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on tickets for each of us. I tried not to worry and kept telling myself that if we were meant to go, we’d find a way.

But nothing materialized.

Last week rolled around and I started checking sites every day – Ticketmaster, StubHub, TicketKing, Craigslist, eBay. The tickets in 118 and most of the lower level were crazy-expensive and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of sitting in the nose-bleed seats for Ryder’s first show. Then, several days before the concert, lead guitarist Richie Sambora backed out of this leg of the tour. For many bands this wouldn’t be a big issue, but Richie and Jon are an iconic pair and amazing performers together. Honestly, it made me feel a tiny bit better about potentially missing the show.

By Sunday, the day of the concert, I still had no tickets. And folks…I was feeling a little low.

My heart was still all-in – but my head had already decided it was too late. I spent the day working on taxes in my pajamas (could there be anything more depressing?!). Eventually, I went upstairs to take a shower and settle in for a quiet evening at home with the fam. It was 4pm; the concert would start at 7:30. I thought about the band arriving in the Twin Cities, glad they had a sunny day to greet them. I thought about them prepping backstage, about their crew making final tweaks to the stage and sound system, about the thousands of fans giddily getting ready for an incredible night. And that’s when it hit me: a wave of clarity and a voice in my head, asking me what the heck I was doing just standing there. I thought about much I would regret not taking a chance to make a memory with Ryder; I wanted him to be able to say, years from now, that his first concert was Bon Jovi – and that he went with his mom.

In mere minutes, I went from feeling down in the dumps to all fired up!

I rushed downstairs and revealed my new plan: Ryder and I would drive down to the arena, ask our angels for some serious help and find two perfect seats at the perfect price, somehow some way. Ryder was worried: “But what if we don’t get in!?” Brad smiled and said, “I know your mom. You’re getting in.” Ha! Loved that!

We rushed to get ready (so much so I forgot the battery for my camera – gah!). Everything was working against us – time, ticket prices, ticket availability – but I had to quiet the doubts in my head and just follow my heart. As we hopped in the car, I continued whispering to my angels and envisioning those same aisle seats I’d been eyeing all along. The only tickets I’d seen available in section 118 were going for over $400 and that had been days earlier. So, I told myself that just getting in the building and sharing that experience with my boy would be exciting enough…but I told my angels that 118 would be especially heavenly. ;o)

We made a quick stop at the ATM; as I withdrew $300, I felt a twinge of anxiety. Would it be enough? Would it be too much? Would I regret spending all that money on crappy seats? I stopped myself from diving down the rabbit hole and set an intention, choosing to expect that the money I spent at the concert would swiftly work its way back to me – maybe through a new client, a few ecourse signups, whatever. That allowed me to move forward without any guilt or worry attached to it.

Meanwhile, Ryder’s biggest worry was whether or not the concert would include his favorite song, “Shot Through The Heart” (a.k.a. You Give Love a Bad Name). :)

Okay, this is where the story gets really good…

We arrived at 6:50pm (40 minutes to show time!!!), practically flew down the stairs of the parking ramp and spotted a scalper on the next corner. I knew the seating chart by heart and knew exactly where his tickets were – way too far from the stage. He walked with us over to the arena, where two of his cohorts had more tickets on-hand. Friends, these guys were sleazy…but they had some decent tickets. One pair was to the right of the stage, which they first offered for $350. Couldn’t do it. $300? Still no. $280? Okay, maybe (that’s actually what I had left after paying for parking!). I almost agreed to the deal, but a great big guy with kind eyes leaned in and said, “Ma’am, when you’re done with them, come see me. I think I have some tickets you might like.” This, understandably, ticked off the three stooges, who were yelling at me to make a decision. But I was curious and needed to know my options, right? I took a couple of steps towards the big guy and he handed me two tickets: Section 118, Row 16 for $260 total.

I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for a second. 

I had not said that section number out loud to anyone but Brad, Ryder and the angels. “These are aisle seats,” the big guy said. “So you know your little guy will be able to see.”  Holy crap. Was he an angel?? I said YES, of course – and he was kind enough to walk us into the arena so we could be sure the tickets were real before I handed over the money.

Ryder and I were so excited, we squealed and jumped up and down as we made our way through the crowd. When we got to our seats, they were awesome – just up from the stage and Ryder could see perfectly.

Before the Bon Jovi concert, section 118!!!

The lights went down, the crowd went crazy and Jon’s voice rang through the crowd: “SHOT THROUGH THE HEART…AND YOU’RE TO BLAME…YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME.” Ryder and I just looked at each other and screamed! We couldn’t believe the one song he hoped to hear was the very first song they sang. Seriously, those angels pulled out all the stops. 

Jon Bon Jovi, St. Paul, MNAt one point, the band played one of my favorites – Lost Highway. I put my arm around Ryder and we swayed to the music…and I started to cry. Thankful for that first concert 24 years before with my own dad (and knowing he was with us Sunday night). Thankful for angels who rock it out every time I put my trust in them. Thankful for the enduring power of intention and for people in my life to remind me of it. Thankful for a band that has cheered me up and pulled me through so much. Thankful for such an incredible moment in time with my boy – one neither of us will ever forget.

The night was amazing – and it ended on the perfect note. After the concert, Ryder called home from the car to give a full report to Brad. He excitedly told him all the details and then Brad said he had something to share. While we were gone, he decided to go through Saturday’s junk mail, which included a plain white envelope he nearly threw away. When he opened it, inside was a check for a deposit we’d made years ago and never thought we’d get back. It was just enough to cover our tickets, our parking, our drinks and even Ryder’s new Bon Jovi hat. Yes, really.

See why I wanted to share the whole story!? I hope that it not only made you smile, but also serves as a reminder that when we lean into the power of intention, lean on our support systems – angelic or otherwise, and lean toward the notion that anything is possible…guess what? Anything is possible. Rock on, fellow sparklers.  

 

Shock & Awe: The Blissed-Out Video!

Every Friday, the Little Bliss List provides a chance for us to celebrate the little things that brought us hope and happiness this week. I do believe when we focus on the sweet stuff of life, the sweet stuff multiplies. And by sharing those small gifts in our lives, we help others notice the gifts in theirs. 

Yesterday, we wrapped up our family vacation in Chicago. Waved goodbye to our hotel and took one last stroll down Michigan Ave. Ate one last handful of Garrett’s Chicago Popcorn Mix. The kids were prepared for an eight hour car ride back home – but we had other plans.

The Big Surprise!

We told the boys we’d be stopping briefly in Wisconsin Dells {a popular family tourist attraction full of hotel rooms and water parks} just to see if we could tour a hotel} to look around and decide if we’d ever want to stay there. What they didn’t know was that we already had a reservation to spend the night at Great Wolf Lodge!! So hard to keep that secret – but I knew the surprise would be worth it!

We pulled up and Brad went inside, claiming to be asking if we could walk around the resort. He returned to the car and said we had the green light. Below is what transpired on video once we got inside and began looking around…


It’s one great big ball of bliss, isn’t it? After I stopped filming, I had to wipe away a huge crocodile tear rolling down Ryder’s cheek; that’s how blissed-out he was by the surprise. Stunned into silence, which never happens!  Soooo sweet.

That’s my unconventional bliss list this week, packed with pleasure and oodles of outings. Wanna track your own bliss? You can participate in the link party below through Sunday at midnight central – or simply leave a comment!

{Wanna share the badge? Click here to get yours!}

Pinned With Love {4 Ways To Play Fair on Pinterest}

a popular pin, via vol25

 

Let me first say that I love the premise of Pinterest. The way it allows us to so easily share beautiful images with each other – art, quotes, ideas, DIY projects – is pure genius. But as the site grows like crazy, I find people are pinning recklessly, without any consideration for the person who made or photographed the original image they love. I’d hate to see this site, which was developed to celebrate and share creativity, actually become more hurtful than helpful for the creative community.

 

The image above has been pinned many times, rarely with proper credit. I saw it yesterday in a friend’s Pinterest feed and loved it. But before I re-pinned it, I wanted to make sure it linked to the artist behind it. No such luck. It took me through several blogs – none of which credited the artist – which finally led me to an error page on an abandoned blog. Not cool. It took me a while searching the web to finally discover Jessica from vol25 – an Etsy artist I already loved – had created it. Like so many artists, me included, she’s not sure how to handle situations like this. Do we complain and risk sounding like whiners? Do we report it to Pinterest as a terms violation? Or do we play nice and bite our tongues – again and again?

 

Pinterest can’t possibly monitor the legality of every pin and re-pin, so it’s up to each artist or creative organization to decide how to handle these situations. But it’s also up to those of us within the Pinterest community to treat the images we pin with love and show some respect to the artists and photographers that created them. Agree? Here are four ways to pin with love:

 

Be Original

See an image on a blog or site you want to pin? Make sure it credits and links to its original creator. If it doesn’t, do a little research to find out where it came from {search Google images using a description of the picture or the quote within in} and then link from the real source. I know this sounds like a pain, but you’re not only helping the artist – you’re helping yourself. Upon joining Pinterest, you agreed to follow copyright rules, so make sure your pins give credit where credit is due.

 

Follow That Link!

Do the same thing with any image you love that’s already on Pinterest. Your Pinterest home page is full of pins from the people you follow. If you see one you want to share with your followers, click on the image…and then keep clicking until you arrive at its source page {the place from where it was originally pinned}. If you find it easily, great – go ahead and re-pin. If not, don’t continue to share that pin. You might even want to inform the person who pinned it that it’s not properly credited {I would totally want to know if you find anything like that on my Pinterest page; I know I wasn’t as diligent about this early on}.

 

Pin the Permalink

If you’re pinning an image from a blog, make sure it links to the post it was part of – not just to the blog’s home page. Let’s say you want to pin this sunrise image. If you’re reading this post on the main/home page of my blog and pin it, the link will take people right back to the home page. That’s a problem weeks or months down the road, because people looking for the source of this image won’t find it on my home page. It will be filled with other blog posts by then. SO – click on the headline of this post to be taken to a page where just this post appears. Now, when you pin the image, it will capture the permalink – the unique URL for that blog post, where the sunrise image resides.

 

Show and Tell

If you share images elsewhere {via your own blog, a company web site or even on Facebook}, you have the power to give artists and other content creators the credit they deserve. Whenever you share someone else’s image in a blog post, be sure to link with love: include a caption and link the image to the web page where you found it, ensuring that page also gives proper credit to the artist or photographer. I’m especially appalled by so many blogs on Tumblr where it seems nearly impossible to find the source of photos. What is going on over there?? Meanwhile, if you’re going to share an image on Facebook, find out who created it and include their name in your comment section {better yet, a link to his or her site or Facebook page}.

 

It’s only fair. If you love an image, pin it with love.

 

The Little Bliss List #5 – Share Your Joys!

Every Friday, the Little Bliss List provides a chance for us to celebrate the little things that brought us hope and happiness this week. I do believe when we focus on the sweet stuff of life, the sweet stuff multiplies. And by sharing those small gifts in our lives, we help others notice the gifts in theirs. 

 

I totally want to know what’s on YOUR Little Bliss List! Share your own list in the comments section or share your blog post in our link-up so others can visit you! Here’s my Little Bliss List for the past week…

 

1) Today’s the last day of my second edition of the How To Build a Blog You Truly Love ecourse and it has flown by so quickly! I’m excited to have some breathing room after the past six weeks, but will miss all the phenomenal participants. What a joy it’s been to watch them bloom!

 

2) Ryder told me the favorite word he’s learned in third grade is “personification.” That totally tickled the wordsmith in me! We talked about it and came up with all kinds of examples of personification. So fun!

 

3) I found a mix CD in my car from 2009 and I love it!  Been jamming all week!

 

4) Brad surprised me with a bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day and I just love watching each one unfold.

 

5) In case you didn’t notice, I am head over heels for berries this week: raspberries, blackberries , and strawberries. Seriously, I’ve probably eaten more berries this week than I had in the previous 3 months! They are delicious, people.

6) I got back into my dudio; hadn’t painted in a while and it felt so good! I also ran over to one of my happy places, Dick Blick. Man, I love getting new art supplies!

 

Okay, your turn, grab your badge for the little bliss listlovelies!

{Wanna share some badge bling on your blog? Click here to get yours!  You can link up your blog here through Sunday at 11:59pm central}

The Mother Lode of Aha Moments

Silver Town and Country Minivan

{how the hell did that get there?}

 

Yesterday, I opened the garage door and was flabbergasted to see a minivan parked inside. Utterly shocked. I shut the door quickly, hoping it would magically disappear. It did not. Turns out the giant silver bullet is mine.

 

This happens every few weeks: moments where I’m stunned to realize my house has been taken over by toys, I’m wearing the same thing I did the day before, there’s a minivan parked in my garage and two kids who look vaguely like me keep calling me “mom.” It usually only lasts a few seconds, but it feels like I’ve been plunked right into a life I don’t recognize and never planned on.

 

Oh, please tell me this happens to you, too.

 

I vividly remember standing in my boss’s office about a dozen years ago, telling myself I would never wind up like him. He had three young kids, hadn’t been to a movie with his wife in ages, and couldn’t even be persuaded to attend an after-work happy hour {“too many family commitments, blah-blah-blah”}. I remember him saying someday I would understand. I wholeheartedly doubted it. At the time, I was on a different plane to a different city most weeks, creating PR events and babysitting celebrity spokespeople. Life was good…and fun…and easy…and I figured someday I would have a family, too – just not the kind that takes over your life and keeps you from going to happy hours. And no way, no how would I ever own a mom-mobile.

 

Fast forward to 2012 and looky here: I’m knee-deep in that life I was once so sure I’d loathe. Every now and then, I have a multi-second freak-out, like yesterday’s “oh-my-god-i-have-a-minivan?” moment. I also survived yesterday’s “take that fruit snack out of your nose” moment, several “stop hitting your brother” moments and approximately 127 opportunities to say, “do you have to go potty?”

 

But I also had a great big a-ha moment. Just after making a bagel-and-cheese-and-chocolate-milk lunch for Tru, I was invited to a last-minute happy hour. With grown-ups I like and big girl drinks and no one wiping their mouth on my sleeve.

 

But I said no.

 

I could have gone – it was on the one night of the week when nothing was scheduled {no basketball, no choir, no play dates}. But I knew in an instant that I’d rather be at home, chilling with my family, than out on the town. I didn’t want to miss bedtime stories, pajama snuggles or sharing favorite parts of our day. Right then and there, I realized someday had arrived: the day my boss predicted, when I would finally understand why he steered clear of happy hour, why he was constantly carpooling kids from here to there, why date nights took a backseat to…well, everything else.

 

This is my someday…and it’s nothing like I’d planned. It’s way better.

 

 

 

 

 

Four Ways To Find Dream Catcher Friends

achievement celebration page

a section of our celebration page

Last night, I met with my intention circle {love those girls!} for our first meeting of the new year. Before diving into discussions about the current projects on our plates and dreams in our hearts, we took a few minutes to rewind through 2011, celebrating and honoring all the stuff we’d been through, achieved and learned.

Do you have anyone you can do this with? It’s so meaningful to have your own journey reflected back to you by people who care about your well-being. These ladies are like dream catchers for me; I’m repeatedly amazed by how much I forget about my own steps to success {and all the struggles that could have clipped my wings – but didn’t}. It’s like when someone else notices how much my kids have grown over a few months’ time; the changes in my kiddos are not as obvious because I’m with them day in and day out.

Same thing with dreams. Sometimes you  just need someone else to catch them mid-air and point out how far you’ve come. Who can be your dream catchers? Think of friends who give you honest feedback, support you unconditionally, and can relate to your work and home life. Can’t think of anyone? Need more? Here are four ways to find them…

1) Set Your Intention: Ask the universe to deliver one or more dream catcher friends to you by crafting an affirmation like “I’m attracting new friends into my life who lift me up, challenge me to grow, believe in my dreams and want me to do the same for them.” Repeat it often, visualizing how beautiful it will feel to have such a strong support system.

2) Open Your Eyes, Open Your Heart: We naturally gravitate towards other people who seem very similar to ourselves – similar background, culture, age, life experiences  - but we do ourselves a disservice by not looking beyond our comfort zone. Be open to expanding your horizons and, in turn, your sacred circle of friends.

3) Go Where Dream Catchers Dwell: My intention circle was originally born out of a weekend class on the power of intention a few years back, in a room full of people who were open to discovering the power of thought. It wouldn’t have happened had I not signed up and showed up. Look for your tribe in places/classes/gatherings that would likely attract the kinds of people you think you want to find. Reach out to kindred spirits online {I’m already seeing amazing chemistry and connections between some of the students in BBTL – so fun to watch!}.

4) Stay Positive: Don’t get frustrated if your dream catcher friends don’t show up in your life the minute you set your intention. This could take some time. Be a good friend to yourself in the meantime and trust that your peeps are working their way to you.

*****

build a blog registration ends friday

Are You Missing From Your Own Pictures?

Last month, as I was skimming my 2011 photo files for great shots to feature in our Christmas card, I noticed something pretty important was missing.

Me.

There were plenty of shots of the boys with Brad, with relatives and with friends. But it looked as if I hadn’t bothered to show up for a single birthday party, school function, or family get-together. I was there – I swear! It’s a shame, because each photo tells a story about the time and place and people in it. I love flipping through pictures from my childhood – especially those with my parents included. Each one is like a little gift; a treasure chest of memories. And I want my kids to have that; for them to have evidence that their mama was truly present. But last year, I disappeared from our photos. Time and memories I can’t get back. And there are two reasons why I went missing…

1) I was almost always the person taking the pictures vs. posing for them. 

I think most mamas can relate to #1. We’re so engrossed in getting good shots of our family and friends that we forget {or feel too shy} to ask someone to get good shots of us.

So, despite not being a huge fan of resolutions, I’ve resolved to stick out my neck from behind the lens and ask to be included. On New Year’s Eve, we walked the candlelit trails at a local nature center; I took photographs throughout the evening, trying to capture the sweet outdoor celebration. Just before we left, I asked Brad to take the camera hanging from my neck and snap some pictures of me with the boys.  When he showed me the shots – with all three of us looking so cozy and happy – I squealed with delight. I was so relieved to have proof I was there, ringing in 2012 with my boys, knowing someday they’ll have that photo to remember the night, our bond, our joy.

2) If I was in any pictures, I deleted most of them.   

This is a harder pill to swallow. I love the ease of digital photography, but it also makes it so easy to instantly erase any photo I don’t love. Goodbye bad hair day. Goodbye extra weight. Goodbye zit. I realize, in retrospect, what a disservice I’m doing  - not only to my kids, but to me.

Each time I delete a photo of myself, I’m wiring a message to my brain that I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, radiant enough – not good enough. Even though, years later, I tend to love the photos I once hated. Don’t you look at pictures of yourself from 10 years ago and wonder why in the world you didn’t like the way you looked?

I’m starting to get there with this one: a photo of me and the kids last summer, up at Split Rock lighthouse as a giant storm rolled in. I remember I almost deleted it on the spot, but Brad wouldn’t let me. He LOVED the picture – the happiness on our faces, the wind whipping through our hair, me without makeup. So I kept it, begrudgingly. And now I’m starting to see past the flaws. Now I’m remembering that magical moment up there, watching the distant clouds move across Lake Superior, running through the rain to our car. Thank God I kept the picture, right?

So, part of following my bliss this year will be simply showing up and honoring my own beauty, my own place in this corner of the world. Not seeing past the imperfections, but finding the good in them. Capturing not only the beauty around me, but in me. And giving my kids the gift of knowing – and seeing – that their mom was right there with them, clutching them tightly and so happy to be there.

 

 

 

New Year, New Home {+ Goodbye GoDaddy!!}

WELCOME to my new home!!! Many months in the making, this site is the new destination for Choosing Beauty readers;  so glad you’ve followed me to this neck of the woods!

I love the look and feel of this new space {and really hope you do, too}, but my excitement over this major move is about more than aesthetics. It is about me waving my victory flag, finally able to feel awesome about where this blog lives and feeling in control of my blog’s content and future.

When I started this blog over five years ago, I was a novice; I went with whatever was easiest and cheapest, which was a free blog platform called Blogspot {now Blogger}.  It was very user-friendly, but I wasn’t aware that by hosting my blog on a free platform, I wasn’t in full control of its destiny. It was kind of like squatting in someone else’s house; you have no say if they move your stuff or turn off the power – you’re just happy to have a place to stay. And any of those free services have the right to move/change/delete your content. I’ve wanted to move to WordPress.org {the paid version of WordPress} for a long time. There was just one problem…

Years ago, I purchased all of my domains – including choosingbeauty.com - through GoDaddy, an affordable and well-marketed Internet service. They convinced me I needed all kinds of protection plans and analytics programs, and I took the bait. And because I wanted a Choosing Beauty email address, I bought my email plan through them, too. I felt really good about having all that stuff in one place – until I realized how out of sync that place was with my core values.

I didn’t feel good about paying money every month to a company that uses leather-clad, cleavage-baring women to advertise their web products. {How sad is it that most Americans know Danica Patrick more for her racy ads than for her race car driving!?} The more I talked with web designers and programmers, I heard horror stories about Go Daddy – from creepy management to over-charging. My last straw came last spring, when GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons killed an African elephant for sport {and celebrated on video}, then tried to justify it. I was so disgusted and set the wheels in motion to start moving all of my stuff away from the Internet giant.

It’s taken many months and lots of pulling teeth to move everything, but the timing is perfect: just last week, after GoDaddy threw its support behind SOPA and angered millions of Internet services and bloggers, a massive {and successful} “Leave GoDaddy” campaign was launched. In the last week, thousands of domains have been moved from GoDaddy to other providers {like HostGator, where I moved}.  As of today, none of my online dealings – no domains, no email, no nothing – lives with GoDaddy.  I realize none of you ever knew any of it did, but I did – and it just felt wrong to let Choosing Beauty be affiliated with a company like that.

These moves were a great big undertaking and I couldn’t have done it without Michele Bergh of Be Inspired Design. She is my behind-the-scenes angel {and those of you taking my blogging ecourse will get to know her soon!}. Even last night, we were emailing each other at 2am about final details. I am breathing a giant sigh of RELIEF today! There’s lots of goodness in store for Choosing Beauty – and I’m so glad you’re here to be a part of it.