Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween - To Celebrate or Not, that was the Question

We decided, after doing some extensive research, to stop celebrating Halloween. We will not be trick or treating or giving out treats this year. Of course, this was a very unpopular decision at our house. However, my kids are great and after we explained our position they agreed, begrudgingly. Now we are still having a great weekend. I don't want my kids to think they are deprived. No we just want to honor our Lord and Savior.

So they were allowed to wear their cool animal costumes to school for their costume parade. We went to church on Saturday for a great day of fun and fellowship that was created as an alternative to Halloween. There was a circus and all kinds of other cool activities. And yes, lots of candy. Then we went to my friends house for a fall party where there was also good food, candy and friends. What more could you ask for? I say nothing.

On the night of trick or treat, we will be enjoying a great night with our boys that does not include trick or treating. By the time this is all over, they will feel special; they will have honored our God and gotten the candy they want. For us the point is to teach our children they can live in the world without being part of it. I am grateful for God and the way he reveal his wisdom and the ability to hear his words.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Don't let her have the Final Word

I read with anger an editorial by Christina Blizzard in her column The Final Say. She was commenting about the US wanting to close it's borders to Canada and how a Cabinet member is not around to handle this crisis because she is on materinity leave. It is so far out there that I hope it is satire. But if it is not, read it and be amazed at the ignorance of some people. I am outraged that she actually put her thoughts in writing. I can only imagine the feedback she must be getting. Read it for yourself, I think you will agree, it should not be the final word.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Look what a woman can do!!!

I am always amazed at what a woman can do when they get an idea. Read this article from Oprah's magazine. The article called Women Entrepreneurs tells the story of five women who made it big. They were average women who did extraordinary things.

I really appreciated this quote from
Victoria Knight-McDowell: She says, "Ordinary women, people like me who don't have Harvard MBAs, are not encouraged to start businesses. But one thing I did from the very beginning was ask a lot of questions. I didn't know the difference between a P&L and a balance sheet, so I asked the woman who was helping me at the bank. I'm still asking questions; now it's about distribution channels and streamlining." Read the article, it is an encouragement.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The key is learning the lessons in the midst of the disappointments

I have been pretty up beat for the past few weeks so I should not have been surprised when I started to experience a low day. After all, you can't appreciate the highs without the lows. So today I had a child who went to school relatively well, and then I got the call - David's sick with a fever. So off I was to get him.

In my mind memories of last year and the winter of illness started to flood my whole being. Oh no, I don't want to do this again. How can I run a business? How can I make plans? Maybe I should home school and protect them from the world and it's germs. Calm down, Lia. Take a deep breath. As soon as I noticed all this noise and unrest in my head and felt it in my body, I got on the phone. I started calling the people in my life that will tell me I am not crazy. The ones who will encourage me and support me. I shared my fears and concerns and they said all the right things. Then I shared my anger over some work issues, and they of course told me to stay the course.

For me, this is a victory. I did not sit in it for too long. In fact, only as long as it took me to dial the phone. I am taking care of myself. I am surrounding myself with nurturing people and being open to the love and feedback. All in a days work for a streetsmart mom.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A cup of coffee and some friends . . .

It just doesn't get much better than that. On a bi-weekly basis I get together with some friends who are moms, entrepreneurs and soul mates. When we get together you can see the sparks and energy as we brainstorm. What makes it so special is that by the time we leave our two hour sessions, we have a to do list and a due date. I left with my marching orders: Create a community for moms who are passionate about life and living. Not just surviving but creating a real ful-filling life. My mind was reeling.

So as soon as I got home I listened to a CD on how to build a subscription web site by Milana Leshinsky. I then created a forum, chat room and mini-poll to add to my web site. So now I can take it easy for the next two weeks, right? No, now is the hard part, content and maintenance. Wish me luck and feel free to offer any advice and contribute. I welcome the feedback.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What a night!

After months of planning, it finally came. Women's Network brought in Soni Dimond to present about Power Talk and her new book "Life's a Pitch." She was great, the food was good and there was a great atmosphere. There was tons of stuff that she said that I really appreciated, and what I enjoyed most was one saying: "Don't build me the clock, just tell me the time." That statement alone was worth the price admission. How many times have I been talking to my husband (I process verbally, so it takes me a while to figure it all out) and my husband who is technical in nature wants me to just get to the point. The good news is he loves me any way and I also love him for being so direct and to the point. We have to embrace the differences for it is in this that we can come together to appreciate what we have in common.

Monday, October 17, 2005

If it works, who cares

I read a great article today about working moms getting a night off (a ladies night out). What was different about this article was these moms have husbands who are stay-at-home dads. As they shared with each other they noted it is not always easy because not everyone understands their arrangement. Of course if they were stay-at-home moms and their husbands worked it would be a no-brainer. Let's face it we are not playing on a level playing field.

The truth is there are times when the husband might be the better choice. Also, sometimes that is a better option based on earning potential. What really matters is that it is working for these families. I always focus on the kids. For me selling my business and becoming a sales consultant/coach was hard but it was the best choice. I could have chosen to steam ahead and put my kids in day care. But then that would not have been the right choice for me. I am happy and content. For these families they know their kids are safe and their husbands are really involved. I think that is what matters.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I'm still organizing and decluttering

Will this ever end? Actually, I am enjoying this. You know it's bad when it takes days to do one room. Granted I am squeezing it in to my life around work and kids. What makes this time different? After all I have tried to do this many times before. Hmm. Thank you for asking.

After careful consideration, I realize that I am ready, and I have gone about it from a different angle. You see I started listening to Anthony Robbins Personal Power. Before, when I did not declutter, it was because I associated the act of decluttering with pain and stress. So it was a negative experience. After listening to his tapes I realized I needed to focus on the outcome, the joy and the benefits of a clutter-free life. Bam, it hit. I am only on tape three, and I cannot tell you how empowered I feel. I have listened to tape three twice because I am a slow learner, but usually once I learn something I get it for good. There is no stopping me now.

I cannot tell you how my perspective on life has changed in just one week, just because I reached out for help, was open to listen and decided to change my behavior and try something new. I must say this is hard work and takes time. I also must say it is worth it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Is it me or have we gone too far?

I just read an article that on first blush seemed exciting to me. I am always excited when I see a business that is born out of a necessity. After all that's what entrepreneurs do. The premise of the article Metro Moms . . . is that families, in particular working mothers, face the challenge of working part-time or leaving work early so their kids can participate in afterschool and enrichment activities. Or they must just say no to their kids. To fill this need some resourceful entrepreneurs have created a buisness of transporting kids from school to activities or baby sitters. Seems pretty simple. Have problem, create a solution - win/win, right?

Then I got to thinking, what if the solution was to slow down. When I added up the possible cost of all this running and thought about the other expenses of working including baby sitting or after school programs/latch key programs, I couldn't help but wonder, what if we just said no to work. This might be easy for me to say because I have chosen to work part-time as a consultant/coach. This allows me the flexibility to have my cake and eat it to. I still have times when my kids need to stay late at school, or I have to make arrangements on the days they have off and the world does not. Yet, I also can go to PA meetings and talk to the teachers each day to see how my boys did. We play and color and work on projects every day.

If I had a traditional job it would actually cost me money to work based on what I would have to pay to have my kids taken care of when they were not in school. Not to mention when they get sick. Don't get me started on that. So I guess I am say that I like that there are people stepping forward to create industry where it is needed and also consider the option of creating alternative solutions of your own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Can it be that simple?

Today I did something amazing. I spent two hours with a professional organizer who held my hand and helped me set up a filing system. Now you must know that I really do know how to file. In fact, I did this for a living for my clients. But it is interesting how different it is when you have to take care of your own stuff.

What is really amazing is the simple filing system that Tammy developed. I bought it from her and then she came and helped me set it up. (Normal people don't need that, I do) There are no words to describe how liberating today has been. A weight has been lifted. I feel a lightness that I cannot explain. I must admit for the first time I can say the fear is gone. I have been paralyzed by the papers. When we first started it was all I could do to hold the papers and envelopes in my lap. I could hardly bring myself to open them. Tammy took pity on me and helped me through the process. By the time she left, I was opening envelops with abandon. After she left I literally went through two years worth of envelopes and junk mail and filled three garbage bags. I am not only caught up, but I can tell you where my things are and why.

No, I cannot explain how this happened. It is a God thing. God brought Tammy into my life and then he gave me the courage to ask for help. He also let me do this with some dignity. I didn't even get sick. Usually just talking about the bills is enough to make me feel ill. I am so grateful. You have to check out her filing system, it is not only functional but pretty and it comes with instructions that are easy and fun to read. She calls it FindnFile. I am in awe.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It's a myth-understanding . . .

I will be the first to admit that finances are not my forte. In fact, it is my achilles heel. So I am striving to conquer this, for I have been told "Your biggest fear will become your biggest strength once you have conquered it." To that end I am doing research to understand it more and maybe to reveal why this is such a monumental challenge for me. I even called my mom and asked her to try to see if there were any messages that I might have gotten in my childhood that would be affecting my current financial reality. Much to my dismay, she could not think of any so I am on my own to muddle through this one.

In my research I came across an interesting article on the Myths of Finances and I thought it was good enough to share. Of course reading an article has not cured me of this life long phobia, but it is a step in the right direction. Enjoy.

Joys of Friendship

I have had time lately to reflect on life and it's nuances. Yes, I am actually making time for reflection. Upon these moments I have come to realize that one of the greatest joys in life is friendship.

I have some great friends in my life. My husband has been my best friend for the last 23 years.
You can imagine in the last 23 years we have grown. The best part is we grew together. I think in a great marriage one can say "You complete me," like in the movie Jerry McGuire. Not to say that you are nothing with out that person, but that the two together make even more than one. The two are greater than the whole. For me that is what I have in my husband.

And then there's Kathleen. She entered my life about 8 years ago and from the time we met it was like we had been friends our whole lives. Our friendship is interesting. There are times when we see each other on a daily or weekly basis and then times when it can be a month before we have a chance to have a meaningful conversation on the phone. Sometimes I just go to be in her presence, not needing anything but her being. And there are other times when I really ask for a hand up. The best part is she can do the same with me. She's my sanity check when the world seems a little askew. We laugh together and cry together. You rarely find someone with that kind of bond, and when you do it is amazing. The best part of our friendship is that I know it will be timeless. No matter where we are and what we are doing, we will be able to pick up where we left off.

Why am I sharing all of this? First because I am feeling it, so I am naming it. But more importantly, because I believe to be a streetsmart mom you have to acknowledge that you cannot do it alone. You are as strong as your weakest link and with strong bonds of friendship, your links only get stronger and become reinforced. Without a great friend in your life, it is hard. And quite frankly not much fun. So make time for the friends.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I'm on a roll . . .

but I must not sit down or I might fall asleep. Now that I see my desk it's time to face the other areas. Today I tackled a big one, all the stuff from my previous business. I am amazed at how well I did. It was my baby before my children so I expected lots of emotional garbage to go along with the process. Much to my surprise it was minimal. For the most part it was a like a walk through a memory, I never felt stuck. Yes, a twinge of sadness, some regrets, some laughs over how I little I knew when I started and how much I had grown. Overall it was a positive experience. I must say it is hard to let go, but I know that is not who I am today and I am learning to embrace my life now. I must move on.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I can see my desk!!!!

Banner day in my home office. I have a great friend who agreed to hold my hand as I sorted, discarded and talked about life. As we solved the world's woes, or at least those in our control, we accomplished a lot. I have a pile of stuff to discard, to keep and put away, and a plan of action for the office. The best part is that I will be doing the same for her next week. We decided to help each other. Let's face it, it's easy to do when it's not yours. So she was ruthless with my stuff and helped me be realistic. I will be able to do the same with her stuff. It's awesome.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Okay, He said it -- out loud

I knew it was in there, but today he actually articulated it. He feels that I have the kids in school too much. In particular David. I knew he thought that, but I was hoping it was getting better. So now what do I do?

My dilemma is that I have certain hours I must work because of our training schedule, and there are times I need to leave open for appointments. The truth is that I really need "Lia" time. I have truly been spoiled the last month and really enjoying my schedule. So the thought of giving up any of the time is a bit depressing. I also think it might be disruptive to the system that seems to be working right now.

Well wish me luck and any prayers you want to send my way would be appreciated as I work through this and find a way to make this work. The last thing I want is to harm the family so I can have time. So I will really review this and decide.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Streetsmart Moms have a Just Do It Mentality

Let's face it, life really does come at you fast. In a blink of an eye, the kids are in school and the memories are a blur. Streetsmart Moms can think on their feet. We tend to have to multi-task. We have a load of laundry in the washer, one in the dryer, food in the crockpot, we answer our emails, catch the cell phone and change a diaper, all within minutes.

"It's so hard when contemplated in advance, and so easy when you do it."
Robert M. Pirsig
I am sure many great things happened because someone just did something without going to a committee or finishing their degree or calling for approval. Sometimes we just have to go for it. As Ms. Frizzle says on the Magic School Bus "Take chances, get dirty." So go for it!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Does your Business Plan include the Kids?

This has always been my dilemma. How do you balance your business and it's activities and behaviors and being a mom and time with the kids. It seems there are days when my business takes over like a Tuesday when I start my day with a meeting and end it in the evening with a meeting. On those days, quality time with the kids is non-existent. Yet there are days when I can play all day and do my follow up with a quick email. The kids and I get to play and I still get a little work in. I just read an interesting article that points out the pitfalls of entrepreneurs with kids. It's part of Entrepreneurs series I read on line. Check it out.

The point is to plan balance in your business and life now and not when you are successful. Also, if you become successful be sure you handle the success well. I really appreciate the wisdom of the people who have gone before me.