Tag Archives: life

5 Ways to Thrive in the NICU [or any challenging environment]

Today marks the tenth day of little Lennon’s arrival. Although being in the NICU is not ideal, it’s been a great opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. There are a few things I’ve picked up on over the past week and a half on how to not just survive this experience but to thrive. If you’ve been in a situation like mine or one similar, what things have you learned to help along the way?

1. Positivity breeds positivity

When dealing with a seemingly negative situation count your blessings. It’s amazing what a positive attitude can do for you, your baby, and those around you. Austin and I won’t allow negativity into the room. So when we’ve been tired and start to get cranky with one another, we pause and focus back on having a positive conversation. We even change the tone of our voice! We want Lennon to be surrounded by positivity. When I was pregnant, I wouldn’t even allow myself to listen to negative music. So when music came on full of strippers and hoes or angst or anger, I changed the station. Even now, I focus on putting good in so that my output is good. 🙂 It’s amazing what our subconscious picks up.

2. Keep deodorant with you

In all seriousness, the NICU is warm. Plus every day I’m carting in my tote bag, our meals for the day, my massive Law book and more! So by the time I get up to see her, I’m already a bit hot! Then after my skin-to-skin care with her, I have to peel myself off the leather chair. It may not be cute, but the sweat is real! I’ve also read that after giving birth, you tend to sweat a  bit more as your body regains balance and eliminates extra fluids. Keep it fresh. Your baby and nurses will thank you.

Another quick tidbit is if you wear contacts be sure to pack some solution. If given the opportunity for a quick nap, you’ll need to refresh your eyes.

3. Be nice

You would be surprised at how rude people can be – well maybe not. In every interaction, we try to focus on being kind to those around us. People around here are under a lot of stress and emotion. It’s easy to judge and be critical of behavior especially when you’re tired and dealing with your emotions. When I find myself slipping into ‘judgment zone’ I try to focus and silently pray that the Lord will bless that person. This sounds soo cheesy! However, it helps me regain focus on what’s important.

4. Go home

It’s hard to leave your baby, Period. It’s important for her health and mine that we go home to recharge and rest. It’s that simple. Go home when you can and be sure to take care of yourself and your relationship with your partner. When your home take care of your to-do’s for instance, make dinner the night before or throw in a load of laundry. Each day choose a small task to conquer. Doing so will help you to avoid building a mountain ‘to do’s’ and allow you to focus when with your baby.

5. Get dressed

It’s so easy to throw on sweats, put on no makeup, and make little effort to look presentable. I’ve found though that by getting up and dressed my mind is better focused and prepared for the day ahead. I’m not in mourning. I’m not depressed. So, why look that way? By getting dressed, I’m setting myself up for a successful day. Again, the power of attitude can make all the difference in how we deal with the daily opportunities.

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

The P word

Actually, when you think about it, everything boils down to the P word, that is priorities. Everything. And that’s a lot. A priority is not something you simply do. It’s something you won’t compromise in order to accomplish the things you need/want. A priority is immovable. It’s a commitment. It’s focus.

How should your priorities impact your choices? They are your choices. If you have to compromise your priority in order to take on a new project, a new job, a new anything then you should turn the opportunity down. (gasp!) In our culture, we wear busyness like a badge of honor. Yet, if your busyness impedes upon your priorities then it’s time to reevaluate what you have going on.

For me, creating priorities allows me to create boundaries on what I will and will not do. Although, there are great opportunities all around I am clear on what I won’t compromise. Saying no is often more powerful than taking on more. So if I by saying ‘yes’ one my priorities is compromised then it’s a definite ‘no’ for me.

It’s liberating to have these boundaries set in place knowing that my relationships and goals won’t be compromised because I was distracted by a shiny object. So, what are you priorities?

xoxo,

Blonde Chick

International Women’s Day: 2016

Celebrating-International-Womens-Day-2014-650x410Today is a day of excitement, opportunity, and progress. Today is International Woman’s Day. Why is this important?

Because women still don’t have equal pay. Because people are more concerned with how Hillary looks than what Trump says. Because women in the U.S. have only been able to vote since 1920, less than 100 years. Because women grow humans in their bodies. Because women suffer pain that men can never experience. Because women are strong, we are built this way. Because women should have the same rights as men everywhere. Because women should be given the same opportunities to reach their potential.

The experiences privileged to women know no boundaries. You can’t build walls, or turn people away from the shared experience united in sisterhood.  International Women’s Day reminds us of the inequalities that are easily forgotten in the day to day. Women face barriers in education, in the workplace, in family planning, and in career opportunities. This day is about uniting here and across the globe to bring a voice to those who don’t have one. IWD is a day of empowerment, of awareness and of celebration.

‘My hope is that then one day we won’t need this special day at all. In reality, we should be having conversations about women’s achievements every day of the year if we are to really bring about change. But unfortunately, we still need International Women’s Day in 2016. We need it until we have an equal number of women in leadership positions, women earning the same as men for the same work, and women across the world having the same rights as men. Because until that happens, every other day of the year is basically International Men’s Day.’
Quote by Janneke Niessen, European Digital Woman of the Year and is co-founder of Inspiring Fifty and Improve Digital

photo cred: http://guardianlv.com/2014/03/celebrating-international-womens-day-2014/

It’s All in the Details

My hubz and I really enjoy watching travel shows especially the Anthony Bourdain series. There was one episode we watched recently about Tokyo and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! Traditionally, the Japanese are known for paying attention to detail to an extreme — just look at bonsai or exquisitely crafted sushi! This same obsession to detail can apply to several scenarios in our life. For me, I kept coming back to focusing on the details that shape goals. Culturally, the Japanese focus on one thing or one pursuit in order to reach as close to perfection as possible, beginning with the tiniest of details.

In our overworked, overloaded and distracted society just thinking about being able to focus on one thing seems impossible. Yet, but what would it mean for your life if you could? If you could focus on just one thing at a time? I’m the worst at doing this. My mind rushes from one thing to the another, from one idea to the next always seeking the latest best thing. Lately, however, my mind keeps going back to the same handful of ideas. So I’m challenging myself to focus on the one thing to in order to see what will develop. Instead of flip-flopping through my plethora of ideas – I need to focus on the details that will enable me to create my bigger picture goals.

I challenge you to also identify what one thing in your personal or professional life for you to focus on. Make it a goal to intentionally spend time focusing your energy and mind towards accomplishing that one thing. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day, start by identifying the details that form your goals. Then as you master each detail of one component you can add on from there. Slowly but surely, you will create what you set out to accomplish by focusing your efforts on the details that make up the bigger picture.

Anything Can Happen…and It Usually Will

As I laid around this past Sunday after celebrating the Mothers in my life, I thought just how lucky I was. Not in the usual way of feeling lucky or blessed, but in a new way. How lucky am I to know that anything can happen and actually believe that it will. The world is cruel, harsh and cold. Even in the business world it’s cruel, harsh and cold. People are (no matter what your mission statement says) in it for themselves or their families.

Living in a society that is less human and more social media can cause you to lose hope or sight of your why.  So how do I keep my thinking elevated? How do I sit back, smile and sigh knowing that while now is good the best is yet to come? My perspective is how. I can control how I choose to see things. Pain is inevitable if only temporary so why let one little burden bury me? I won’t. I refuse. I keep progressing forward. Check out my 3 quick tips on how stay positive knowing that anything will happen.

My perspective is how. I can control how I choose to see things. Pain is inevitable if only temporary so why let one little burden bury me? I won’t. I refuse. I keep progressing forward.

Check out my 3 quick tips on how I stay positive with that ‘knowing anything will happen’ attitude:

1. My sister (Amber) is an amazing woman with four adorable little kids. She not only writes, runs and manages her home, but she makes time for me, pretty much every day! This time together, although brief, helps me to redirect my thoughts and keep my goals on track. She recently wrote a blog, Co-Creation, that illustrates the importance of working together versus taking on the mountains in our life alone. By having someone to continually co-create with and to offer fresh perspective keeps me outward looking rather than festering inwardly. She should win ‘saint of the year’ for all the venting rants she hears from me on a weekly, if not daily basis! Moral of the story – find your Amber, someone to help challenge your perspective while offering a place of accountability and trust as it relates to your goals.

2. Just show up. This can be the hardest advice to take especially after a hard day, night, week, year etc… Yet, just showing up keeps you moving even if the direction will ultimately change. I can’t tell you how many times this has proven the difference between my success and my failure. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most talented, the most disciplined, the smartest, but I always show up when it comes to going after my goals. Your character is often defined by doing what you have to even (especially) when you don’t want to. So get out of bed, put that smile on and show up! Any day is a new day to allow anything to happen. Don’t miss it by missing out.

3. Change your perspective. You are in control of your thoughts, your actions, and your mouth, which in turn is your happiness. It can be cliche to talk about happiness in this ethereal way. However, your happiness can’t be measured in material items, it can’t be measured in Instagram hearts, it can’t be quantified. As life gets rough, as it always will, change the way you look at the situation. In the book, Before Happiness, it describes what a positive genius is and how to be one. If you can learn to see the world through a positive lens, not rose-colored, only then can you summon all your motivation, emotion, and intelligence to achieve your personal and professional goals. Next time you’re faced with an obstacle flip it upside down and look at the possible positive outcomes. Flip it and reverse it (your perspective that is).

 

Me first.

There are so many times in my young life where I’ve sought for clarity and wisdom. Looking for a way to make tough decisions and feel confident in the choices I’ve made. While I do seek council, weigh the options and meet with new people as ways to gain more insight, I still find myself apologizing for the choices I make. Why??

I think we, women especially, are subconsciously trained to be apologetic if/when they put themselves first.  Yet, I know as a woman, when I think of myself first then I know I can be my best for others. Think of traveling. When you are on a plane who do they instruct that you secure oxygen for first? Yourself before anyone else. So in our life as ‘selfish’ as it sounds you have to secure yourself first.

 

 

 

Reflections

Recently, we were fortunate enough to take a trip to Paris and London. To say that it was life-changing would be cliche and a bit exaggeratory. However, it was eye opening and offered 10 days of clarity. I eliminated distractions for the most part. I focused on where I was in the present as well as on the people I was with. We were exposed to some amazing architecture, art and of course, history. In visiting, I was humbled to realize just how small, young and insignificant I really am. It forced me to think about my life and how I can make a meaningful impact on those I’m blessed to be around. As I truly believe, as corny as it is, that all the interactions we have and the people we meet are destined. On this trip, we met some great new people as well as connected with some old friends. It always amazes me how strong the human connection is no matter how great our differences may be.  We often get stuck in our own issues, our own gossip, and our own head trash to take stock of what’s really happening in the world around us. This week – and holiday season – let’s challenge each other to look around and connect with those we are blessed to have in our lives. If you’re going to listen to the noise of what’s going on around you then take a positive action towards making an impact in  your corner of the world.

Never Stop Defining

I think it’s safe to assume that at a certain age we are expected to stop defining who we are. Isn’t there a magic age where we have it all figured out? I’m quickly learning that it just isn’t so. I have the fortunate opportunity to be surrounded by some amazing people both professionally and personally at all different ages and stages of life. What have I found as the common thread? They are all still figuring it out. From who they want to be, what they want and how to get there.  I saw this quote from Ricky Gervais, “The best advice I’ve ever received is, ‘no one else know what they’re doing either.” Its good to know that we are all in the same boat. The pressure is off. If you’ve figured it all out then lucky you. As for me, I’ll never stop defining, progressing or improving. If you think it’s permanent, then its permanent. If you think you’ve lost, you lose. If you think you’ve reached your limits, you won’t go on, if you think you’re weak then you are. Change your thinking. Remove the limitations and embrace the always forming definition of you.