30 June 2009

Mourning the Loses of our Memories

How do we pay tribute to someone who was so much a part of our lives but that we didn't even know? I am struggling with this yet again after the third American icon passes away in the past week. Ed McMahon, who entered our living rooms every Saturday night with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Farrah Fawcett whose poster adorned the walls of every guy we knew, weren't we girls tired of looking at that poster? It was everywhere! And then of course the amazing Michael Jackson. I guess I am totally revealing my age because there are so many young people who had absolutely no effect whatsoever by these three American Icons. I am struggling with how to mourn the loss. Why do I feel such grief and sadness? This is ridiculous, I didn't ever come remotely close to meeting Michael Jackson. This is the power of celebrity. They are embedded in our memories from so many life events that come rushing back to us when we hear a song or a video or watch a rerun or a movie. Their lives braid themselves into our lives, into memories of proms, of Saturday night dates. Of dances and graduations. Of first dates and last dates. Of life's milestone, accomplishments and failures. They were imperfect souls, as are we, but they were amazingly talented superstars... bazaar lifestyles and faults aside, sensational news stories behind us. We need to make sure we allow ourselves the time we deserve to mourn a memory and a portion of our lives as we lose these icons too soon. While doing this we also need to cherish those that we do have close to us, that we have deep friendships and familial bonds with. We need to remember to tell them often how much they mean to us, how they've impacted our lives and how we cherish the memories we share. Life is fleeting and this we are reminded of each day.

23 June 2009

Focusing on Ways to Move Forward

I was at lunch last week with some of my dear friends and we were talking about our lives, not complaining, just talking about how things seem to get so out of control this time of year and how much focus is needed to get back in control. Well, control is not the best usage of words here. Control is not always a good thing...but focus is better. While in discussion, my friend Sharon and I finished each others' sentence with the following thought: "You can't change your hardware but you can reprogram your software". How true is that?

We are all downshifting a bit right now. School is over and our focus is changing for a couple of months. We have to make it all good. While I review where I've been and where I would like to see my life go in the coming months, I've decided to give myself focus and incentive. Look at my approach and do a little self evaluation. Is there a way to do things differently in my life?

For instance, here's a way to start small, something so simple, yet effective. Each week throughout the summer I have jotted a note in my calendar on Monday. I am giving myself five days' leeway. If it doesn't happen on Monday, no problem, I have four more days to accomplish my goal. I will rest on Saturday and Sunday, something I never did during the school year. When I say rest, I mean no to-do list!

Each Monday is assigned a task of importance to me. It might be as simple as cleaning out the fridge. Not real important to my kids but a great need right now! It might be a more involved task, such as motivating my new high school senior to start on his college essays. Whatever it is, it will get done!

I am not setting myself up for failure, I am setting myself up for success by setting a goal, focusing on it and giving myself multiple opportunities to begin and reach completion. I am certain that the success I will achieve will be greater than if I set an unattainable goal for myself or my kids and feel defeat before I even begin. This is true no matter how simple the task. A positive approach will help me to be successful. This message can be a good motivator for us all, both to have not only a relaxing and fun summer, but a useful and productive one that will help set the tone for the fall. I'm feeling motivated already! Miriam

15 June 2009

Advocate for Your Family

Taking our healthcare into our own hands has risen to new levels and I have recently experienced this firsthand and feel compelled to impart this information to you. While we experience rising healthcare costs, physicians deal with over scheduling, medical malpractice and regulations that prevent us from obtaining the best medical care for ourselves and our families. I, in years past, have felt confident and secure knowing that we have some of the country's best medical facilities and as a result, excellent practitioners at our disposal here in the Philadelphia suburban area. Last week, due to overloaded schedules, rushing and probably great distraction, once again, I had to push the issue to find a diagnosis for symptoms one of my children has been struggling with for the better part of four months. I had respectfully asked for additional testing at the last visit with the specialist but either his ego or his ticking clock left him with a curt answer and no time to really listen and diagnose. I almost feel lucky that I have been plagued with such a vast assortment of health issues with my children, (did I just say that?), since I am aware of probably more implications than your average mom. Not only did I have information, symptoms and evidence to prove myself to be probably more than 90% correct, but I had a gut instinct that nagged at me leaving me with more than a few sleepless nights. My frustrations got the best of me and I went to another source, our pediatrician, who has come to trust me and my deep knowledge of my children. What I am telling you is do not discount a hunch, an instinct or nagging feeling that you might have whenever it comes to your kids. Make calls, research and persist to the point of annoyance if necessary. There is no better advocate for your child than you. And this brings me to my next problem. How do the elderly advocate for themselves unless they have family that is close by who knows their health and habits well and can represent them? It frightens me to think of the mishaps that must occur constantly! While I understand that these doctors do have the knowledge and the experience and more often than not do their job exceedingly well, and generally, are respectful of my concerns and my children's health, they are only human and they certainly can and do make mistakes. My thought to you is to be aware, question and listen to your heart. It's generally an excellent barometer that something is amiss! Miriam

09 June 2009

Green Is The Season

"Go green"! This is something that I do not tire of hearing; and it's something that I feel I can truly make a difference with. It's so easy but sometimes we need some gentle reminders so I am writing to inspire you to be more mindful and live green! Sophie Uliano, Author of Gorgeously Green and The Gorgeously Green Diet offers up some guilt-free ways to identify our Green-ness which definitely helps us to feel like we are contributing without having to totally recommit our lives and rebuild our homes before we can announce ourselves Eco-friendly. Reducing our own carbon footprint at our house has really been an ongoing process and it is something that I sometimes need little reminders for in some areas. Most of the obvious things we've all been doing for years. Lights off if nobody in the room, open windows instead of the A/C. Drive with your window's up on highways to conserve gas. Change to CFC lightbulbs. Recycle...everything you can. Snip soda sixpack holders for the fishes. Carry multi-use canvas totes for groceries. You get the drift. But Sophie mentions a couple of different ways to chose your Green-ness without guilt. Light Green, Bright Green and Deep Green. You can shift between the three and always feel like you are making a contribution. Light Green means, becoming eco-friendly sounds good to you in theory but you aren't interested in giving up your fav foods for flax seed and you'd rather use bleach than go slightly off white! You think you'd like to try it but will start small for now. Bright Green, means you're on the right page but you really want to do more. You already use a reusable bottle at the gym and canvas totes for shopping and your family recycles. You are ready to change the foods you purchase, even if it means spending a bit more to do so. You realize that it's a good idea to go it 100% but, unfortunately, life with your busy family doesn't allow it completely although you're willing to continue to work towards that goal to help both your family, your community and your globe. Deep Green means you are probably a vegan. You buy organic clothing, shoes and cosmetics. You grow your own heirloom vegetables and leave your car at home (which is a hybrid!) as much as possible. You compost and are searching out new ways to introduce healthier, locally grown foods to your family. You buy gifts for people that are trade free, organic or are donations to assist third world countries to become more self sufficient. I tend to fluctuate between Medium and Dark, depending on my free time. I'm considering composting this summer. I am thinking that with the boys home we can work on notching it up a bit as a family and live a little more in the Deep Green. You can too; give it a try! Visit www.gorgeouslygreen.com and find some tips that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. I'm hoping that you are doing your part already but if not...get busy! You owe it to yourself, your kids and your community! Miriam

02 June 2009

Judge Sotomayor a Rolemodel for All!

What you make of yourself is totally up to you...and the alignment of the stars! Anything is possible! I tell that to my boys all the time and I would have liked to have had a daughter that I could tell that to also. Sonia Sotomayor, a young woman raised in the South Bronx, rose to fame and power on a wing and a prayer...and ALOT of hard work! She bravely ventured out of her comfort zone in the Bronx to attend Princeton University. Her stars were definitely in alignment as she paved her way from Princeton to Yale. With hard work, dedication and a dream, she is the first Hispanic nomination for Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America. Fantastic! No pixie dust needed here! What next? What can we hope for from our young women? Will they reach goals unimaginable as did Sotomayor? Will they dream bigger because of her? Does she inspire our young men as well? I hope so! While some of her rulings have been overturned, and I believe one is awaiting a decision in the courts now, she set a precedent and it is a good one. And hey, she saved Baseball! What young boy isn't thankful to her for that! I would love to have lived her dream. It took dedication and a mindset unwaivering. She insists on being noted for her ordinary life and ordinary self. I find her to be extraordinary and I am inspired, whether I fully support her ideals or not. She had something inside her that lit a passion to make a difference and I hope that our young people who are moving into the workforce during these hard economic times can feel a passion to make a difference too. I hope they can see through the glare and the fog and have a vision for themselves as she did. I am inspired and I hope that you are too. Inspire yourself to do something new and bold. Take a chance. Risk something even if it is only to try a new sport or a class in oil painting. Who knows where it will lead! There is no statute of limitations on dreaming dreams and setting goals! Miriam