Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I had the pleasure of watching the Mr. Rogers documentary this morning. I was pleased to see it at our local library already. This was a show I grew up on. I think it was on before Sesame Street each day while my grandma babysat my sister and me. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a kid.

I have even more appreciation for his great insight now that I am an adult. The messages he shared were so deep but were shown with such simplicity. He was a radical, as they said. He talked about subjects that were scary- death, divorce, war, just to name a few. How was he so ahead of his time?

It is a shame that Mr. Rogers is not on PBS any longer. I get it. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has some of the same messages but with a different look to entertain the new generation of kids. Our kids could learn a lot by listening to Mr. Rogers. Daniel’s messages just don’t quite hit home like they should for the scary things our kids see in today’s world. Look at his neighborhood and the recent shooting. I would like to see more of us embrace each other like he did.

I don’t remember hearing that Fred Rogers passed away in 2003. Although, I was in college and at a different point in my life. I cried for his passing this morning- like an awful sobbing mess. Rest In Peace, Mr. Rogers, and may more people act like you did.

Happiness Project: Passions and Mindfulness

Here I am, finally sitting down to write about September and October’s Happiness Project. September focused on Passions and October was on Mindfulness.

September almost made me sad when I read the chapter and prepared for the month. I almost avoided the subject to be honest. Passion is a hard subject for me. Part of the problem is I am too passionate about too many things. Interior Design, Art, Reading, Exercising, Healthy Eating, Music, Movies…and then there is my family and friends. How can one fit all of that into life? Well, I try, and then I get sad when I can’t do some of them to the extent that I want to. I know life is a balance. I know that I can’t do all of the things listed to the fullest extent that I want to at the same time. I feel like my passions are a “need” in my life, not a “should”. I don’t feel complete when I think of not being able to do some of these things. I don’t like to be told that I can’t do something, even when it is myself saying I can’t do something because of time restraints. It is a battle that I deal with daily. I think this paints a picture as to why I tried to avoid the focus of passions and essentially avoided writing about them too *sigh, smile*. I tend to dive both feet in with whatever passion I focus on. This is why I read 5 books of the Anna Todd series, After, within a few weeks. This is why I can be dedicated to my workouts for a month and then find myself geared towards my blog at full force for the next month- slacking on my fitness. All of these things make me happy, I know this, I have to continue to be mindful of being happy with whatever passion I choose to focus on when the kids are in bed, work is complete and the house is tidied up.

The focus for October was mindfulness. A word I feel has been an underlying part of The Happiness Project month after month. There has been a focus each month and with that comes mindfulness of that topic.

One of the fun take aways from this chapter was using mindfulness in conjunction with a password. So many of us need to use passwords each day for the technology we use. Take a topic you are focusing on and create a password with it. *Breathe2018*. *Smilemore2018* *Getupfromyourchair2018*

These are only suggestions and not passwords I am using *smile*

Gretchen Rubin suggested to make a list each day of items you are thankful for. I was already trying to do this as it was a suggestion from Rachel Hollis. I was feeling overwhelmed by the suggested list of ten Rachel recommended. I was at a work conference last weekend and one of the speakers suggested a list of three things at the end of the day. Now, this seemed more manageable. Not that I am ungrateful for ten things each day, but Rachel’s suggestion was to be extremely detailed with the list. For example, one day I was walking Emery into school. It had snowed that day so this little munchkin of mine was in large snow pants stomping in her clunky snow boots. She had this strut. A strut of confidence and sass. It made me smile and giggle to myself. I was thankful for witnessing that moment. I was thankful that I was not in a hurry so I could be fully present with her.

Two months left. I can not believe that this project is coming to an end. Attitude is the focus for November. Oh goodness! Focus in Kirsten, this is a good one for you!

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. I am grateful for those around me and take the time to read through my thoughts.

Coffee and a Good Read- 2018

I am an avid reader. Here I will list the books I read during this year. I will provide a few words to describe my feelings of the stories told without giving away the book.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Unforgettable love. Inter-racial struggle. Ahead of the times. A must read.

https://www.target.com/p/calling-me-home-target-club-pick-jan-2014-paperback-signed-edition-by-julie-kibler/-/A-14850406?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=bing_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Entertainment%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Entertainment&LID=700000001230728pbs&network=s&device=m&querystring=calling%20me%20home%20book&gclid=[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

Darker by E.L James

This is the 2nd book written through the eyes of Mr. Grey. Enlightening. Additional details. Further perspective.

https://www.target.com/p/darker-fifty-shades-darker-as-told-by-christian-paperback-e-l-james/-/A-53057835?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=bing_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Entertainment%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Entertainment&LID=700000001230728pbs&network=s&device=m&querystring=darker%20book&gclid=[*GCLID*]&gclsrc=ds

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffen

Something Blue by Emily Giffen

One does not have to read both books and it does not matter which one is read first.

Lovable characters. Chic Lit at its best. Why did it take me so long to read her books?

https://www.target.com/p/something-borrowed-reprint-paperback-by-emily-giffin/-/A-11338498#lnk=sametab

https://www.target.com/p/something-blue-reprint-paperback-by-emily-giffin/-/A-13305904#lnk=sametab

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Held my breath. Not your typical Nicholas Sparks book. Suspenseful love. Root for the underdog.

https://www.target.com/p/see-me-hardcover-by-nicholas-sparks/-/A-49168470#lnk=sametab

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

Artistic writing. Hopeful. Why do his books not get old?

https://www.target.com/p/two-by-two-paperback-nicholas-sparks/-/A-53420456#lnk=sametab

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

This is the third book in the series. Me Before You was a tear jerker. After You was good but Still Me made me feel whole again. A great follow up to the second one as I was left feeling a bit disappointed.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This was my suggestion for the book club I was in. It is one of Oprah’s 2018 Book Club selection, but also one I kept seeing float across the Instagram account for Book of the Month. It had me at page 5 when one of the main characters references Love Jones, a movie I had on VHS back in the day. It has a soundtrack that I still frequently listen to. It is an emotional and intense read. I longed for it to be longer with more details of the love triangle that it is. Silver Sparrow did an excellent job with this piece of work.

Girl, Wash Your Faceby Rachel Hollis

Full book review here

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

Brief book review here.

Party Girl by Rachel Hollis

Read review here

Sweet Girl and Smart Girl by Rachel Hollis.

Here explains my love for these books.

Every Day by David Levithan

Book review here.

Another Day by David Levithan

My thoughts on the book are found here.

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz

Thoughts here on my first Enneagram experience.

Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner

See my thoughts here on this gem!

Silence, Broken Silence, Players Bumps and Cocktail Sausages, Silent Night by Natasha Preston

The After Series by Anna Todd

book reviews here

Equality & the Minority

There has been so much banter about equal rights lately. Well, for as long as I can remember, really. It’s amazing how it changes over the years, and it’s even more astonishing to me as I grow older. In the words of Rodney King “can’t we all just get along”? It’s true. It seems so simple. Why? Why can we not get along? God made us different but I have a hard time believing he wanted us to live in a world where there is so much hatred, negativity and disbelief. I don’t know the Bible well, but I know there are words in there that showcase God’s wishes for love, positivity and trust.

I listened to a talk this last week. It was between two men, both caucasian, that said they are at a point where they feel they are the minority and don’t dare say anything in fear of offending someone. Why should it be that way for them? As long as they are being kind to the people around them, what does it matter? With that being said though, why has it been that way for women in the past? Or African-Americans? Or any race or minority for that fact? Are we all not a minority at some point; depending on our location? Yes, it appears that Caucasian men have had it “easy” in years past, where their words mattered most. That their words were the way of the world. Thank goodness that is changing. I know the concept of “we are all created equal” could be up for debate. Some people are born with certain talents, some are born into certain family structures that cause life to be easier in some ways, some people work harder to move up in the world. So it easy to understand that maybe “we are not born equal”. I have to believe that God wants us all to be loved, respected and supported equally in a positive light.

I grew up with a family that supported me, I surround myself with strong women who work hard to make a positive difference in our world, I get to mold my children to be strong thinkers who help lift their friends up and showcase their passions.

I pray that we continue to move to equality. I pray that we love one another for our differences. I pray that we support each other’s talents. I pray that we acknowledge other’s weaknesses and encourage change for the better.

Friday Favorites: Stretched Too Thin

I have posted on Instagram and this blog many times already that I love this book, Stretched Too Thin. After listening to the audio version (link) once I had to read the paper copy. Thank you again, Jessica Turner, for allowing me to test drive this book for you. Here are my top 10 favorite quotes from the book. Now, there were plenty more, but these one caught me. My pen and highlighter got a workout!

1). “I love my family. I do great work. I’m thriving”. Page 13

2). “This ‘mental load’ that a person carries is defined by work-life balance coach Marie Levey-Pabst as the ‘largely invisible work of remembering and noticing.’ Because this load is carried inside our heads and isn’t visible in the same way going to an office is, we often don’t recognize it as real work. We lump it in as ‘what moms do,’ mentally reducing its significance and burden.” Page 21

3). “Women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle.” Page 47

4). “Do not let your emotions undermine your self-worth and calling.” Page 50

5). “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing, particularly thanks to social media.” Page 57

6). “Don’t ‘Should’ all over yourself.” Page 60

7). “A lie many working moms tell themselves is that self-care is selfish.” Page 68

8). “Counseling is far beyond fixing people’s problems; it’s opening up people’s opportunities.” Page 74

9). “Resentment is anger that’s turned inward.” Page 131

10). “Brene teaches that saying yes inspires trust with our kids.” Page 156

Now, if you are a mom, feeling too exhausted to chase your passions and dreams (small or big) put down what you are doing and get this book. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Friday Favorites: Stretched Too Thin

I have posted on Instagram and this blog many times already that I love this book, Stretched Too Thin. After listening to the audio version (link) once I had to read the paper copy. Thank you again, Jessica Turner, for allowing me to test drive this book for you. Here are my top 10 favorite quotes from the book. Now, there were plenty more, but these one caught me. My pen and highlighter got a workout!

1). “I love my family. I do great work. I’m thriving”. Page 13

2). “This ‘mental load’ that a person carries is defined by work-life balance coach Marie Levey-Pabst as the ‘largely invisible work of remembering and noticing.’ Because this load is carried inside our heads and isn’t visible in the same way going to an office is, we often don’t recognize it as real work. We lump it in as ‘what moms do,’ mentally reducing its significance and burden.” Page 21

3). “Women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempt to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even seamlessly switch to another noodle.” Page 47

4). “Do not let your emotions undermine your self-worth and calling.” Page 50

5). “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real thing, particularly thanks to social media.” Page 57

6). “Don’t ‘Should’ all over yourself.” Page 60

7). “A lie many working moms tell themselves is that self-care is selfish.” Page 68

8). “Counseling is far beyond fixing people’s problems; it’s opening up people’s opportunities.” Page 74

9). “Resentment is anger that’s turned inward.” Page 131

10). “Brene teaches that saying yes inspires trust with our kids.” Page 156

Now, if you are a mom, feeling too exhausted to chase your passions and dreams (small or big) put down what you are doing and get this book. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Friday Favorites: Podcasts

I am not certain why it took me so long to realize what a podcast is, but I am so thankful I finally did. It is weird how things come into our lives at the right time. I listen to one which references another, I listen to that one and it references another. So on and so on. There are brilliant women out there, and men I am sure *wink* The podcasts I have been drawn to are women lifting up women, moms talking about how normal all of these abnormal things are. I am not alone. These women are inspirational. They lift me up. They lift others up. They are artists, they are creators, they are authors and speakers. They leave me feeling like I want to do more. Not that I need to do more, but really encourage me to live life with passion and reach for fulfillment. I have women in my life, a mother, a sister, aunts, cousins, friends, these women are real, they are my physical soulmates, they are right here with me, but Rachel Hollis, Elyse Snipes, Jessica Honegger, Meg Tietz and Jen Hatmaker– they are there during the morning when I am getting ready for the day, they are with me in the car on my way to work and as I wind down for the night. I feed off of their dreams, their goals, their advice and make me yearn for more. Maybe they can do the same for you.

Rise Pocast with Rachel Hollis

Trailer Cast with Elyse Snipes

Going Scared with Jessica Honegger

Sorta Awesome with Meg Tietz

Rise Together with Rachel and Dave Hollis

For the Love Podcast with Jen Hatmaker

Morning Goals

I have always been a morning person. For the longest time I woke up at 5:30 to work out. Once I had Stella I woke up at 5:30 so I would be prepared for the day before she woke up. Emery was born and she was my 5:30 alarm! Heck, she was my 5:00 alarm for the longest time. Just within the last few months has she slept past 5:30 on a consistent basis. I thought to myself, maybe I should try working out again at 5:30. When I further evaluated my mornings I knew this was not possible without waking up someone in the house. I decided I needed to wake up at 5:00 to accomplish things I always wanted to do, but had yet tried to do.

For the last month I have woken up at 5:00 and have done the following 4 things consistently before leaving for work:

#1- Deep Breaths

I start by taking 30 deep breaths. My mind easily moves towards the list of things ahead of me for the day, I try to rope those anxious thoughts back to my deep breaths. This step is the hardest for me. I have tried off and on for years to meditate. I probably won’t master this task ever, but I would like to get better.

#2- Tibetan Rites

I move to my yoga mat in my dimly lit workout room. I complete the 5 Tibetan Rites. I first learned of these movements from the yoga instructor I had in Fargo, Andrea Paradise. Like meditation, I have done these “exercises” off and on. They seem to give my body an oomph of energy to get the day started. Supposedly, these 5 exercises are going to keep me young. *wink* I would like to find a good book to explain this theory more. I figure, if I don’t get exercise into my daily schedule, I at least moved my body for 10 minutes. With these movements I also complete a few yoga moves to stretch my body out of its tired and tight feeling- sun salutations, cat and cow and child’s pose.

#3- Prayer & Journal

This next step is the one I am most proud of. I grab my journal and I write prayers to God for 5-10 minutes. I tell him things I am thankful for from the previous day. I ask him to guide the people that surround me, to love them, to be with them during times of hardship. I take a minute to read a page out of one of my devotionals. This forces me to take God into my day in a way other than what I believe I need help with. He gives me something to focus on in his own way.

#4- H2O

I drink 4- 8 ounce cups of water before I leave the house. This is half of what my goal is each day to drink. I find once I get to work it is difficult to drink water.

I have completed these things each week day for the past 4 weeks. The weekends throw me off, but I do find myself yearning for them and come Sunday evening I look forward to waking up Monday morning to head to my space. I use my Bedtime alarm on my iPhone to alert me to go to bed so I get 8 hours of sleep and be awake by 5:00. I love the feeling of accomplishing goals. I hope this is a routine I can keep up with. Dark winter mornings are hard on me mentally, I hope this brings some light to my routine.

Happiness Project: August & The Enneagram

Contemplate the Heavens Gretchen Rubin said in her Happiness Project book. Read memoirs of catastrophes, keep a gratitude journal and imitate a spiritual master. Reading this chapter made me the least excited thus far on this Happiness Project journey. Early on in the month I heard a few podcasts that talked about the Enneagram test. I had never heard about it but all of a sudden I was hearing about it left and right. On a trip to the library I picked up The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz. I soon after opened up the latest Magnolia Journal where there was a brief article by the same author. I felt an electric pull to dive in. The book did a nice job explaining the background of the Enneagram. Christopher says “it reveals our path for reviving our true identity and helps us navigate the journey home to God”. And there it was, my connection to what Gretchen wanted me to do, maybe not exactly, but it was going to help me become closer to God and the Heavens. To live in the present in a more Godly way. I took a free Enneagram test online which explained my personality type as a 2- a helper, a giver. Through reading, it explained to me a few of the following points:

• I operate from the heart in love and kindness

• So much of what I do is for other people and lack self love

• I may “be what others think of me”

• Solitude will help me focus back on what my needs are

• It may be hard for me to ask for help, but once I do, I will become a better person, a healthier person

• “Twos learn to rest in the grace that they are loved for who they are, not for what they offer the rest of us”- page 211.

The last bullet item is what I have been working on for the past 9-12 months without even realizing this point. Wow! I am on the right path, well, according to Mr. Heuertz. Barnes and Noble just delivered the following two books:

Discovering Your Personality Type by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self Discovery by the same two authors

I am anxious to read and get their perspective. There are other books by them that I may purchase after I read these two. More to come on the blog I am certain *wink*

I didn’t read about a catastrophe but I did watch the movie War Room. This was a movie not about a catastrophe per say, but it was about a relationship that needed work otherwise the relationship probably would have bombed. Now, the acting is not great, but the message was what I needed at the moment. If you have ever seen the movie Fireproof you may understand the bad acting/great message feeling that I am referring to. If you are even a bit Christian, pick up the movie, I don’t think you will be sorry. It will help you lean in to God and your faith a little bit more.

It triggered me to pray more, and not just on my way to work, or when I feel the NEED for something, I have tried to sit down each morning for even a couple of minutes with my pen and paper and write out my prayers. Writing words have always helped me manage my thoughts and kept me on track. These prayers are for me, my family, my friends, my co-workers. These prayers are words of thanks to God for his help and reassurance. Gretchen Rubin, you are helping me in more ways that I ever imagined!

Stretched Too Thin

I have a couple of friends that I call my twins. This is how cool one of them is, she just got a tattoo of a stack of books with cup of coffee sitting on top! I literally want to drive hours to pick her up, take her to a tattoo shop and tell the artist, give me what she has! It turned out great!

She tags me on Instagram posts weekly with things she knows will speak to me. Recently she tagged me on a post from Jessica Turner. Jessica is launching the publication of her book, Stretched Too Thin. She was providing people with a chance to preview her book via the Christianaudio App. I prefer to read books rather than listen to them, especially books like this where I know I will want to highlight words and dog ear pages for reference. I was in for listening to it though, after all, it was free! Within the first chapter I was trying to figure out how to bookmark passages on the app. Within the first two chapters I knew I was going to need a physical copy, it was that good. Jessica is the one that narrates the book. As much as I was hesitant about listing to the book, it was like I was getting free therapy while driving in my car each day.

When I returned home last night after a full day of meetings and running the kids to Back to School Night, there was a physical copy of Stretched Too Thin sitting in my mailbox. What?!?! I guess part of the deal (that I missed) was that we would be receiving a paper copy!! This brings me joy. I finished the audio version last weekend. I have a stack of other books to begin reading, but I am rereading his gem with my highlighter out and pen in hand!