New Year's Resolution - 2015 Here I come!!

* Write in my blog more often
* Get my art resume updated
* Run your own race. 
* Sign up to NYC and Marine Corps Marathon lotteries and Sign up to Rehoboth Marathon and North Face Endurance again! 
* Don't try to fix everyone's problems, let people live out their choices on their own....
* Be more conscious with money PLEASE!
* Find other ways to give gifts that does not require $, bake for them, help them out, cook them a dinner, listen to them....write them
* Trust your first impressions, they are almost always right on target, stop doubting yourself so much
* More morning runs (Please, catch more sunrises this year)
* Continue to floss EVERY day.....(I have bad teeth, okay!)
* Reach out to all people who matter.....stop wasting precious time thinking you have time....we may not
* When with the kids, live in the moment...soak it in. They are only young once. Cuddle with them as much as possible....soon it will be uncool to even cuddle. 
* Assume the best first, always.....going to the worse conclusion first makes me into a bitter person
* Forgive, forgive, forgive....seriously, let go of those unhelpful thoughts and get over the small stuff....forgiveness heals the forgiver
* Be the best and most supportive great-auntie ever!!! woot woot!
* Pray more, pray with my kids, be open about what you pray for ...encourage them pray too.
* On Facebook: no more than 10 minutes a day...live life, don't spend most of it watching others live theirs. 
* Make art daily....it does not have to be the next solo show.....just make art, it makes more happy thoughts, happy moments. 
* Time to close the thought door to some folks who have caused pain in the past, and are still populating my mind...good bye already! 
* Get rid of clothes you do not wear....donate them....gift them away
* Place all art I make, no matter how small, on Etsy....just a year experiment.....let's see what happens...
* Read some of my blog posts to my kids.....I realize they don't know that side of me. 
* Take more family portraits....stop being the photographer always....kids need to see more of mom in the albums. 
* Help kids with their BIG ideas, no matter how silly they seem at first. Encourage their BIG dreams by providing what they need to make it happen....(but don't become the primary driver of them. )
* Be present with kids...get off the damn computer already and be PRESENT!!! 
* With hubby, don't hang things over his head if something did not really bother me.....be unpredictable for once and just let it go. 
* Water.....drink more water.....maybe get a water bottle that works 
* Continue more art playdates with whomever wants to make art AND deal with my kids at same time
* Run without music once in a while....don't be afraid to hear breathing for an hour.
* Let inspirational people inspire you, and if possible, let them know just how much they affect you
* Volunteer with kids....make it count
* When the kids want to do something, make time to do it.....fully
* Write letters.....and send them
* Leave for work on time.....allows you to drive safer
* Kiss kids and hubby every day before work
* Hug kids more.....lots and lots of hugs a day
* Cook better dinners damn it.....how about COOK dinner?
* LISTEN to what is not said....try to listen to all that is being expressed
* Tell each child what they are good at on a social-emotional/ personal level.....(not academics, or club talents)
* Clean up apt. more often so kids can have friends over more. Come up with a sustainable clean-up system
* Invite more people over to dinner


Moving Beyond Seeking Approval...

             Growing up is tough. I use to need, crave, and work super hard for approval from all those around me. The focus was never about me and my needs, but it was more always about getting that "stamp of approval", and at all costs.  To worsen it, when you get those around you used to you being this "flexible" (to put it mildly), they soon learn to use their approval (or non-approval) to sway your actions. Altogether, I've learned that being so needy takes a heavy toll on any relationship. This week, I realized I was finally free of this need to be anointed the ever-important stamp of approval, of wanting to be on good terms with those around me at all costs. While, yes, I do, of course, want peaceful and civil relationships with those around me, I do not need any relationship to be in perfect balance for me to be fine. I now know that simply because someone chooses to withdraw their affections towards me that it does not mean I necessarily NEED to do anything.  Well, oops, that is not entirely true. I do DO something. For example, if someone says something hurtful, I may emotionally retreat, I may need to re-define what my specific needs of this person are....but what I now realized is that I do not need to directly or engage with someone else's conflict. This may be 'small potatoes' for some of you, but to me this is incredibly liberating. I guess you can say I've officially 'flown the coop'. 


Times Square NYC on December 30th......

We went to a diner and as always, Luke orders way too much food....he has long stopped ordering from the kids' menu. 

Look at that amazing smile.....I love his smile

Family selfie......Mom's arm is not long enough. 

Dad's selfie skills are no better.....

There are tons of people dressed up as these characters....here is Bart

A silver tin-man.....he was making a killing 

Finally, we ask a total stranger to take our picture....30 degrees....felt like a lot colder. 

The scariest Minie Mouse ladies come after us later for a TIP.....tons of them surround you....Next time I know....no pictures with them....they are like sharks...

The toy store has a ride!!! we had to wait an hour and a quarter...so we did not do the ride....

Luke's dream toys.....this one Chris and I thought would be god if we have guests....we can all break out into a fun Nerf gun shooting frenzy.....

Caught Mrs. Liberty counting her money.....way too funny not to photograph. 

Woody has put on a few pounds.....and seems like he's in an argument with his gal....

Somewhere up there is the ball....the infamous ball.....

Great skylight on the way back to my mom's in Long Island. 


Let Girls be Girls Damn It!

This is a response to a video supposedly created to empower girls to like more science. It was made by a female engineer that felt too few women were in the field. You can find the original post HERE.

I think girls just like different things....Nora likes easthetics, animals, is very keen on relationships, endless chatter with friends, graceful movement, etc. Luke, on the other hand, likes science, learning about the best of the best in all sports, large rough movements, running, being loud, climbing to the top of anything, racing, competing, roughhousing, AND reading about all of the above, etc. This video makes me think that if only we made girls more like boys, but how about making girls more like girls??I Interpersonal relationships, social relationships, all these skills could easily be our future peace talks leaders, our diplomats, our marriage counselors, we have our strengths too. It's should not be about "ripping away" the princess from the girl, it's should be about valuing what girls value and making girls away that those gifts have value. Nora went through a "pink stage" and so many moms would comment on it as a problem, they even gave her anti-princess books to make her become more, "empowered", to wash away the pink essentially; as if I made her this way, AND as if it was a problem. I did not put it there so I treated it as it was, a stage. so I think the video is not really looking at girls and who they are, what they are interested in, and yes, it may not be THE SAME thing boys like, and that should be okay. I empower my daughter every day by simply allowing her to define herself...limiting external images of girls/women as much as a I can in this modern world and what comes out can't help to be just fine. 


What I've learned in my 40's

I just read this awesome article called, "What you learn in your 40's" by Pamela Drukerman and decided, heck, I can make my own list of what I learned in my 40's...(Mind you I am only 41, but, a very mature 41 I'd say....so, here it goes...

1. I learned that having lots and lots of friends is not any better than having a few great friends. Definitely, quality over quantity when it comes to friendships in our 40s. I find myself pairing down my facebook friend list, rather than trying to build it up.

2. When people reveal themselves to you now, I believe them. I not only believe them, I remember it and act on it. You can be an meanie once to me, but, to get a second chance after an offence, it is almost impossible.

3. I stay FAR away from characters. By that I mean anyone that just talks for talk's sakes, or people who care far more about their social image than simply being themselves. "Characters" have a way of prioritizing on their image and should not be trusted, ever. Their insecurities are so intense that any day you can find yourself under a bus.....not a real bus....

4. I listen to whatever tunes I like now. Years back I might have been seeking tunes that carried a certain embedded identity, but these days my playlists are so eclectic, there is no rhyme or reason to them...One thing's for sure, nothing stays on that list unless I love it.

5. I see young people making mistakes and saying things that sound utterly out of this world and I try hard not to say a peep and just let them be. I was young once too, and man, the things that would come out of my mouth make me cringe to this day......In my youth, I might have wanted to correct them, but now, I simply try my best to allow the young to be young, say the crazy things they will say and and pretty much let them be....correcting them will not do any good, plus it would take energy to do that

6. External validation is not so urgent in my 40's. I have found ways to validate my own successes personally and feel very independent of others', proverbial, "pat on the back". You can say what you want to say, or not.....but, I am much more emotionally self-sufficient and will work hard to follow my own path.

7. I am a much better listener. Possibly due to the fact that I am not jumping around like a chihuahua anymore looking for validation, I am now able to just sit back and allow people to share their stories with me. I love to hear people's stories, they are like mini-novels full of surprising twists and turns. Unfortunately, I have found there are very few real good listeners out there. Surprisingly, even close friends forget to ask questions of one another.

8. Cool is what I say it is, totally subjective. Cool is no longer dictated by my female buddies, or magazines, or TV, or celebrities. Cool has its own unique flavor seasoned by me....no one else.

9. My politics have become a lot more solid and clear in my 40's. Whereas in our youth we fear offending others with our strong opinions, in our forties, we secretly want to repel all people who disagree with us away from our circle so as to make our lives drama-free. General rule of thumb here is, "You don't like my politics? then unfriend me, walk away....run away....please! This old dog ain't changing".

10. In our 40's we vote with everything we do. We vote with our friendships, we vote with what we teach our children about the world, we vote with where we shop, what we eat, what we wear, whom we buy our clothes from, even where we work or whom we choose to grow old with. I am not sure about men, but with women, there is a certain fearlessness that takes over in our 40s. We become more pointed and purposeful in everything we do.

I can pretty much claim I am having a blast!!

What have you learned in your 40's?


 All new work...check out my Etsy Store for detailed pictures and story....click HERE.


Perspective Series

Please go to my Etsy Store to see details and more variations in the series. 

I have been reflecting on the varying perspectives coming up around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this summer and as openly discussed on various Facebook pages I frequent. These "perspective" work series are representations of my experience reading these opinions coming from both sides. Work signed, labeled and dated on back. 


The value of living inspirations....

                              I once read a book by Linda Goodman, I don't remember which for I read them all and they blend together in my mind, but in this one particular book Goodman mentions that the Universe, God, Great Spirit (what ever YOU may call it) sends down human anomalies in order to give us hope. Mind you, these are not her 'exact' words, but my mere interpretation of her message, so bear with me. Goodman's one of many examples of such anomalies were of people who have managed to live way, way beyond humanly believed possible. But without going so far out there, let's look at even less extreme examples of these human anomalies, like people who accomplish great feats whom we hear about in the news, or read about in history books. In my mind, I think, "no way can I rise to the same level as these great men and women, and in thinking that way justify in our minds that we and them are essentially night and day. Through THAT line of thinking we allow ourselves to stay where we are. But what if, what IF we are sent these great leaders in human form, specifically so that we can think JUST the opposite? How about the thinking that perhaps these people were placed on this earth at these times, to inspire us to aim higher in the rungs of humanity? Why not? we have whole religions built on just that scenario; someone is born and lives a human life, suffers, and in their human life do amazing things, and inspires others by example. 

                             In my life journey so far,  I have found running and daily juicing as these powerful catalysts for my own personal change. The daily supplemental juicing of daily 60+ ounces of vegetables and fruits has eliminated most of my food cravings. In addition, juicing has given me the gift of emotional balance, and health and energy beyond ever experienced. Running has given me the gifts of mental toughness, confidence and keen self-awareness; and these, mind you, are just some of the benefits. We could easily be here all day going through the varied benefits of running. Suffice it to say that this transformation has been so beyond my wildest dreams; I could have never 'planned' to come this far, I only imagined it vaguely and began arming myself with one right action after another. Often, I will share on Facebook, on in my blogs on on Twitter about my feats of the week. Perhaps some may conclude about me that this type of personal sharing on such a public forum to be a form of bragging, maybe annoying, maybe even, boisterous. Yet,  I know the nature of inspiration now after years and years of futile and turturous attempts to change those around me via various methods such as lecturing, begging, manipulating, pouting.  Why go through all that? No one changes for others and stay that way for long. Yet, all along the answer is quite simple; all it takes to help change others for the better is to first and only change oneself, all other external attempts to change the world are a total waste of time. 

                           I know a tad about inspiration. Inspiration is what gave me hope in my darkest hours and provided me a map to a brighter future. Unfortunately, I have never been, and still to this day I am not, one to do therapy or bear my soul to a perfect stranger. Tried it a few times and it felt plastic and the suggestions I was getting lacked something else I needed but could not pin point.  Therefore, while growing up, when I needed answers and a way to label and make sense of all baggage I had carried with me up to that point, I turned to books. Authors became my guiding light, my confidantes, my coaches, my therapy. I often state that reading books by great people with an open heart has saved my life. As time went on and with the upsurge of the internet, I began following the works of living inspirations online, not just authors, but people of all walks of life and found that, in fact, all around us, great, amazing, wonderful, strong, beautiful, and compassionate people abide. People who have done great things despite what seems like unsurmoutable obstacles. My focus became fine-tuned to finding these living inspirational 'anomalies', as I call them. I was thirsty to find the light keepers, the people whom despite enduring great hardship have remained positive, light, open, then have gone on to conquer their fears and turn their lives around. Why reinvent the wheel when these people were right here sharing their battles, their formulas, their entire cadre of wisdom through their books, their blogs, their very actions even? Amazing humans around us are living testament to what we too can become. And contrary to the way we traditionally treat gurus and great teachers, they are not primarily placed here to be oohhhdd and ahhhed over some altar. They help no one sitting in an altar. Their journeys are meant to be more like maps, life maps. Like snails on a dewey morning, they leave behind trails that literally anyone can follow. 

                                   I have long stopped giving people a list of authors or of people to look up as a way to inspire them to begin their own transformational journey. Everyone has to find their very own teachers in life. Teachers come in all forms and they are as individual as you are unique. What helped me, may not speak to you. Although my journey is a map to what is possible, you still need to fine-tune your heart to be able to recognize what moves you, what speaks to you, what calls you. The secret here being .....WHAT. MOVES. YOU. When found, the secret of what moves you will feed you, comfort you, fill you with purpose, you will feel and be invincible and life will feel successful regardless of external factors. 

                                  But some adults have a hard time knowing, identifying and even looking for what moves them. Being hopeful and dreaming big is something that is in us naturally, but can be lost for more practical considerations.  Unfortunately, everything about current life seems to work hard to tamp down hopes and dreams. Security breeds fear. Fear, if believed, tells us to stay put, and there, in an instant, our dreams are sacrificed for the sake of security. When my own kids tell me they are BORED, for example, this is my wake up call. Boredom is not bad per se, but what one does when bored, or with their time in general, is very telling of the health of their big dreams. These days, our children need to be supported in finding what moves them. Sadly, every 'happiness' children now profess to have seems to be externally produced. To name a few: Video games, TV shows, Ipad app games, iphones, texting, and messaging. IF a child reaches for externally-driven fun within 1.3 seconds of experiencing the first wave of discomfort there is a huge problem. It's an addiction. I call it an addition because that is what it is, plain and simple. Here's the test to prove to you that yes, in fact, it's an addition. Take just one of your child's external fun away for 2 or even days and see this seemingly docile child become a total monster for those two days. THAT is an addicted child. (note: If you are afraid to try this little test, then the addition is pretty far along already and you will need a serious intervention) Life happens outside screen time. Let me repeat, L.I. F.E. happens outside screen time. If LIFE is not experienced as a child, then when will they learn to live it?

                                All of us have the ability to rise up to do great things in this precious life, ALL of us have that little diamond nugget of a seed inside our hearts that, when listened too, can guide us in the right direction, but first we must be taught that it's even possible to reach great heights and that yes, we have the ability to follow our big dreams and that is called hope. We must look for and surround ourselves with people in our life that carry this hope, that inspire us and expect us to be our best selves. Last, we must raise our children to reconnect with their own simple, self-driven inner contentment so that they may live a life with purpose, and full self -awareness. 


Adventures in Jones Beach

                           We love going to the beach after the crowds have died down in the summer. The breeze is cool and the smell of the ocean is everywhere.

Nora and I decided to walk down and test out the waters. The ocean was a bit wild. This picture is of Nora running and creaming as the surf comes in.

Sunset in Jones Beach....the sun goes down behind the Ocean.....amazing colors.

Nora finding 'treasures'

Luke and dad brought their baseball and did some field practice....Luke loves 'diving catches'. 

An empty beach and a beautiful sky.......I brought my book, but typical, got swept up in collecting sea shells and wooden sticks to make a beach sculpture with Nora.

Here is our final piece....we found a cool black silky ribbon which added a nice touch to our otherwise very still sculpture.

Nora dancing around the sculpture.

I love watching her singing and dancing. I aim to be as free and joyous as she is daily.

Getting dark....Dad and Luke still doing baseball drills. This time it's Luke practicing pitching to dad....

A few people remain as the sun goes down....The sky is endless.

The sun has finally gone down.

Our sculpture from above.

Nora's treasure collection fit nicely in her shoes...
She wanted to pose with her findings.