Thursday, May 28, 2009


So at church on Sunday, our pastor shared a story about his trip to Kenya. He said the main language was Swahili so 99% of it went right over his head. But there was one word he knew: "mazunga" It was their word for "white man". The interesting thing is that the literal translation of that word is "one who spins".

What a picture! How are we viewed by those around us? Are we spinning around in a tizzy? With summer just around the corner, I have found that many people actually relax and change gears - what a concept! Taking time to enjoy the warmth and beauty of summer is so important, not just for us but for our kids.

When I look back on my growing-up years, one of the memories that is very prominent is summer vacations. These days, I have the opportunity to go on weekend retreats periodically. I love these because I am completely unplugged. I don't have computer access and I leave my Blackberry off.

So what is it about summer that makes our brain switch into this more laid-back mode? How do we capture that same mindset, say, a week before Christmas? It is important for us to model this to our kids year-round. I am beginning to realize that relaxation is a learned skill!

I have started meditating in the mornings and I am starting with a "simple" exercise: I close my eyes, breath and count to 10 and back to 1. The trick is that I am supposed to focus on nothing other than the numbers. Not as simple as it sounds. Here's and example of my inner dialogue:

"One.....Two....hey I'm doing pretty well! Whoops! .....Three....Four.....I need to get milk......"

I challenge you to try this. It takes less than a minute but it is very eye-opening how hard it is to quiet our minds just for a minute!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Off the Shelf

I shared this story with my team this morning but thought it bore repeating.

I have wrinkles. I am now closer to 40 than I am to 30. And my age is starting to show. Not alot, but enough. My skin doesn't have the same youthful vitality it did a few years ago. However, I have the tools! I have invested in a great skin care anti-aging, anti-wrinkle system. Scientifically proven to reduce the look of fine lines and deep set wrinkles! Great! So why does my face still look the same? Because I don't use it.

I am lazy. When bedtime draws nigh, I just want to hit the pillow. Sometimes I even ask myself "Do I really need to pee or can I make it til morning?" So needless to say my skin care regime does not get done every night or even ever other night. The creams sit there in the cupboard feeling useless. I know, I know - if I would just take 2 minutes a day, I would look and feel so much better. The products could do their stuff.

Well, this is much like my business. I have all the tools but if I don't do anything with them, no one benefits. I can know all there is to know about my product and my customers but if I leave the toys on the shelf, what good is that? It is when they are put into the hands of a child that the magic happens (much like my under-eye cream!).

So what prevents me from doing that? Same as all areas of my life. Could be laziness, fear of failure, too busy, you name it. But when I do what I know I am supposed to do, I feel so much better! And I have helped someone else too. Whether it's sharing a parenting tip, helping a stressed out mom with her teething baby or listening to a team member who had a bummer show, I am at my best when I am sharing. When I share my passion, the magic happens.

The only problem with that is that it makes me smile. And that just causes more wrinkles :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Biggest Loser

Those of you who know me know that I am a bit of a reality tv freak. There are certain shows that I just simply must watch and I don't know why. Case in point, America's Next Top Model. I have no idea why I feel the need to watch this show but I am drawn to it. Now when I look at magazines I find myself analyzing them like some Tyra Banks-wanna be.

I think what attracts me is that they are so utterly mindless. I don't have to think. I don't have to engage. Now, LOST on the other hand requires my undivided attention and adoration. It is the steak in my TV dinner. America's Next Top Model would be the soggy vegetables that I roll around with my fork and try to convince myself there is some nutritional value there.

But then there is The Biggest Loser. This is the first season I have actually watched this show. I found it very inspiring. As someone who is always encouraging people to push through their obstacles, I found myself utterly sucked into this show and immersed in the characters' struggles. Oh, Sione, I like Bob too!

The season finale was this week and I could not believe my eyes. I could tell that there were certain people that just finally got it - they had actually changed their lives, not just by losing weight but by getting to the heart of the matter and shedding their baggage. They learned new ways to deal with obstacles and heal past hurts.

There's the lesson for us all. Whatever it is we use to mask the pain and the struggles we deal with everyday will never heal the wound. Only getting to the core of the issue and being honest with ourselves will get us onto the road to redemption. We owe it to ourselves to be truthful with ourselves. Often that is the hardest person to face. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else and our internal dialogue keeps us always just out of reach of our full potential.

Whatever it is that holds you back, know that you can break through it. Take time each day to focus on your victories. Reward yourself for little milestones as well as big ones. You deserve to live your life to your full potential!

Tara before:

Tara after:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Quality....not Quantity

So I stopped in at Battery World to get a new battery for our home phone. While there, I saw this sign:

Doesn't that just hit the nail on the head?? How many times do we cheap out and then regret it. We know full well that "we get what we pay for" but we still do it! We are continually lured in by the thought of saving a few bucks in the moment that we don't think about the big picture.

I have to say, that when it comes to our kids, this is so important. We get them something of poor quality just for the sake of getting them something and then they are heartbroken when it breaks. Think about what that does to a child. They can have much deeper attachments to things, whether it is a favorite toy or a special blanket, and when it falls apart and they see it go into the trash, is that really sending the message we want? Don't get too attached because it will just end up in the garbage anyway. Hmm....

And this isn't just for kids. I am a big fan of TLC's What Not To Wear. Over and over, the message is pounded into our brains: buy fewer pieces of clothes that are of higher quality. Seriously, this really does make so much sense!! And look how good those people look! And think about how good you feel when you put on a piece of clothing that cost a bit more. I have to say, I got a pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses last Christmas - actual Ralph Lauren sunglasses. In the past I have never spent more than about $10 on sunglasses because I have broken several pairs and the thought of having my pricey sunglasses stepped on because I set them on the stairs when I came in the door was a hard pill to swallow. Well guess what - those sunglasses have never once been set on the stairs. They actually get put back in their case. Why? Because when we have to put out a bit more coin for something, we tend to take better care of it, right? These glasses came with a really nice case. It's at the back door so that every time I come into the house, I can put them away - and I do! I also have a really nice suede suit jacket. You'll never see it in a pile on the floor, but you will see my crappy cardigan there.

We send ourselves quite a strong message by choosing to constantly cheap out. We are subconsciously saying that we are not worth it. For our children, we send the message not to draw too strong of a connection. Freckles has been saving her allowance and birthday money - she currently has over $70 saved. She is learning about saving for something she really wants. Think of the care she will put into her purchase, knowing that she has had to wait and save to get it. Frogurt, on the other hand, has a hard time saving (this has to do with age differences as well). He doesn't quite get delayed gratification yet. He will spend his few dollars every week on something that doesn't last long and that becomes yesterday's news in an awful hurry. Yesterday, however, he had enough saved up for a bigger item. He got himself this great sticker mosaic set and took so much pride in making these pictures, all of which are now displayed proudly in his room.

So next time you're tempted by that $5 t-shirt on display next to the lettuce, think about it. Think about all the other $5 shirts that have worn out before their time and how pooling all those $5s together could get you a much nicer shirt. Think about how much prouder you would stand. Think about how much your child would love it if their favorite toy never broke (commercial time: Discovery Toys has a lifetime warranty!). I can tell you, it is a much better feeling. We are all worth it. No, money doesn't buy happiness but that's no reason to throw it away.