Friday, July 22, 2011

A Love of Books and the Library

I love books. I always have. I often had my head buried in a book and was known for reading while walking, eating, and while I couldn't read while sleeping, I did regularly fall asleep with my head on a book while reading late into the night. I finished those summer reading challenges to read x number of books within a week of getting out of school.

As a young child, my mom introduced me to the smell of a new book. It was one of the first things we did when we got books. I ran my fingers over the cover and the spine almost tingling with excitement to discover  the world contained within. Then, I'd open the book, press my nose to the middle, and breathe deep.
I simply wanted to devour books with all their sensory goodness.

When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up the answers varied only between author or librarian. In particular, I wanted to be an elementary school librarian so I could share my love of books with children early in life and spend my days reading to the various classes that would visit me. I loved to learn about the authors and illustrators of my books and by third grade I could tell you about the person who wrote the book I was reading, what else they had written, what awards they had received, and a little bit about their life.

I want my kids to love and appreciate books as much as I do. In fact, all of the things I want to impart on my children this is only rivaled by my desire for them to love nature. I want them to be excited about the possibilities of a new book. I want them to dive into magical worlds and travel to exotic places all from the comfort of their bunk bed or a rocking chair on the front porch. I want to join them on some of these journeys, and others I can't wait to watch them set off for on their own.
One of the many piles of books laid out in order waiting to be read in our house.
 With this in mind, I have a confession. It was only this week that I finally took my children to the library and got library cards for the town we moved to two years ago. My older son had been to story-time at our old library a few times when he was 2, but other than that my boys didn't know what a library was. In fact, Wednesday morning when we were reading the piles upon piles of books they had taken off the shelves to read and I looked at the two of them and said hey do you want to go to the library to get some books? my 4 year old responded but mama we don't have money for that.  So, we see that not only do they not have a clue how the library works, but also that I've explained to them all too often that some things cost money and that means we can't do them all the time. Of course, the sweet book-loving boy that he is he quickly said But wait! I could get my money from my piggy bank! before I could explain that the library is free.

We went to the library. We got library cards. I soaked in the moment when we walked into the children's section and my son looked around in awe saying they are just so. many. books. Do you think we could read them all? Oh what we have been missing. Now, it's not to say it was a perfect trip. Elijah, at 2, decided to freak out when he didn't have a balloon like the kids coming out of a children's program, and he was quite impatient with the idea that I had to give the book of his choosing to the woman at the desk to check out before he could take it home. But, Benjamin? Oh and Ben and I could have sat there for hours.... running our fingers along the spines, sitting at the table with a carefully selected pile, and reading every single one. In fact, as we did just this for a little while I had a few small children gather around us for our own little story time. Maybe, I am fulfilling those childhood dreams of imparting a love of books to children and spending my days reading to them after all.

Source: via I on Pinterest

I am excited to have a weekly library routine with the kids to nurture our love of books, connect with the community, and learn the responsibility of keeping borrowed books safe and returning them promptly. (I might not have been so good at that last part in my youth, so we'll work on that lesson nice and early.) And before I know it, I'll be begging for the boys to pay attention because it's time to wash up for supper and they are off fighting dragons or solving mysteries right before my eyes. I can't wait.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Realize: A Habit of Affirmation

The Realize eCourse I am taking that I told you about is well under way. We are talking about goals - the big and the small - along with the behaviors and habits that help us accomplish them. With 21 days left, Dawn has challenged us to start a new habit and stick with it for the rest of the course. I can't tell you much more about how it all ties in with the work we're doing, because, well, you just need to take the course for yourself!

But, I will share the habit I've chosen. I'm committing to 21 days of daily affirmations, because through my struggles with depression and anxiety, positive self-talk and a positive outlook is a big challenge I face. I've written my personal list of affirmations on my bathroom mirror to read every morning. I'm telling you for both accountability and support.

I've never been a big affirmation kind of person. First because I am a master at negative self-talk and a recovering perfectionist, but also because it all seemed a little too 'self-helpy' and flaky to me. I'm coming to find I could use more than a little quality self-help, and I am discovering that the sarcasm and cynicism I've worn as a badge of honor for some time now is not serving me. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I will transform into a Suzy Sunshine or lose my love of sarcastic humor, but I think re-framing the way I think about who I am, where I am, and how I am is an important step in my journey to seek wellness.

Do you use affirmations? What positive habit could you start for the next 21 days? And have you checked out Dawn's blog which has great little nuggets to consider as you look at your own goals and habits?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Links I Love

Here's some link love, and I hope I'll be able to do some more writing this week. But we'll see. Summer is a little unpredictable around here!

Mayim Bialik on discovering her son is colorblind @ Kveller. I usually love Mayim for her great perspective on holistic parenting, but this post steps outside of those lines. It's a beautiful look at the lessons our children have to teach us when we choose to listen to who they are and where they are coming from.

Dear Erica Jong @ Raising My Boychick is a spicy response to the controversial piece Erica Jong wrote on attachment parenting imprisoning mothers and killing their sex lives. Google it, no desire to link.

Creating Children's Spaces in Every Corner of Your Home @ Childhood 101 displays a beautiful home and a beautiful way to live with your children.  You mean it's their home, too? You mean I might want to be able to spend time with them while doing things I enjoy or need to do? Yep. Lovely.

Working the Kinks Out @ priorfatgirl is a real and honest look at the journey to overcome emotional eating and find healthiness that overcomes everything about you, inside and out. On a similar note, you need to read you need to love the part of you that binges if you've ever struggled with binge-eating.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

*that* mom's bookshelf - July 2011 Edition

This was originally going to be the June edition but I find myself taking weeks to get a book finished lately. Here are a few of my latest reads.

While reading this book, I felt this constant feeling of having the wind knocked out of me. I was overwhelmed by how much it resonated with me. I've never read a lot about depression and a few lights went on while reading this. Depression is exhausting.  Physically so. It's not just in my head.  The constant anger and irritation I feel when I'm not feeling quite so down-in-the-dumps is not normal or me, it's still the depression. This made me realize how often I feel the effects of depression even times when I thought I wasn't having symptoms.  For many people, living with and recovering from depression is really hard and a lifelong endeavor. I won't lie, this terrifies me.  The frank discussion of the effects maternal depression has on children was both upsetting and awakening.

This book deserves a blog post of its own, and I have about 3 drafts started and abandonded. I was overwhelmed by how much this book made sense to me, and yet how it turned everything I've been taught about children upside down. It really defines a difference between what some call gentle discipline or gentle parenting with this radical look at unconditional parenting, where the goal is not simply to have a child who listens or who behaves as you'd like but to have a child who grows up confident, strong, compassionate, and joyful. Kohn asserts that rewards are as bad as punishments and that manipulating our children with behavior management fails to help them develop their own moral compass. With a rewards and punishment system, they are listening, behaving, or displaying manners for selfish reasons, for the reward or to avoid the punishment. Whereas, Kohn suggests we cultivate an awareness of the results of our actions, how others feel, and above all else focus on the child knowing that no matter what they do or how they do it, they will be loved. They do not need to earn that love or attention with behavior or accomplishment. It's been a few weeks now, and I feel like I need to read the book again. I feel like it really embodies what my husband and I would like to embrace in our parenting and lines up with what we believe theologically and the way we have been called to raise children. (It's not a religious book; I just found it in line with our own spiritual and religious perspectives.)

I struggle with food, eating, and weight. I have most of my life. I am continually trying to read on the subject of emotional and compulsive eating. I enjoyed the second half of this book much more than the first.  It is very Christian, as in conservative, Bible-belt-ish Christian. It regularly compares our struggles with food with other struggles like that of premarital sex. While my theology does not line up completely with the author's, I did take some good tools and perspective from what she wrote. I felt comforted from hearing another's story and inspired to continue to deepen my faith and reliance on God while making healthy choices for my body. I had been looking for a text that connected our healthiness journeys to faith and spiritual discipline and this did that.

 I love Jennifer Weiner. It was love at first chapter when I read Good in Bed in college. Laugh out loud funny and real. From that point on, I was getting every book she wrote the day it was released. Since then,I've gotten behind on my fiction reading. My husband got me this one for Christmas and I finally got around to reading it. It was good. It wasn't the laugh out loud and cry at the same time experience I've had in some of her other books. This one was a little more mellow, but that was ok. I read it quickly when I haven't been able to get past the first few chapters in other fiction lately. I always love Weiner's characters. They are vivid, real, and always quirky. Certainly worth a read!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Strike of July '11 is Resolved!

I am delighted to tell you that the strike is OVER.  A week and a half ago, I told you how my son had gone on a nursing strike all because of my purple Barney boobs caused by gentian violet and that I was leaving him for four days with no idea how it would all end!

I returned Sunday night from a much-needed four day vacation with 15 amazing women in Branson, Missouri. I started talking to these ladies on an online forum in April 2006 when we were pregnant with babies due in January 2007. Since then there have been more babies born, online forums changed, and so much more. Some of us have met in person along the way, but this trip to Branson was the largest gathering of our group of almost 30 women. It was a fabulous weekend of fun, sun, and relaxation.

But, I won't say that it wasn't without stress on my part thinking of my little boy at home who wasn't even asking to nurse while Mommy was gone. The little guy enjoyed what he came to refer to as "mommy's milk water" in his sippy cup (water because that's all that ever goes in his cup, and yet he realized it was mommy's milk). I pumped twice a day and took my fenugreek faithfully. In the meantime, I had no idea how it was going to turn out when I returned. I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was so upset about the whole situation.

I felt guilty for leaving my son despite being in loving, caring hands and despite him having an absolute blast while I was gone. I felt guilty because he might wean permanently because I took a trip, although the strike started with the gentian violet I used for thrush. Still my fault.

I felt regret for not soaking up every last minute of our time nursing because I assumed he'd continue to nurse for a while just like his brother did. I felt regret for wishing away those night nursing sessions and for saying no sometimes when it wasn't a convenient time to nurse and I knew he could wait.

I felt scared at the idea of having to figure out how to parent this little boy without breastfeeding as a tool. I wasn't going to be able to nurse away injuries or reconnect after a crazy day in the trusted way we always had. I was scared at having to handle naptimes and bedtimes without this tool. I was scared because of all the things I strive to do as a parent and often fail whether with my patience or creativity or whatever, nursing is one thing that I had almost always gotten right. What kind of mother would I be without that? What kind of mother would I be if I had screwed up the one thing I knew I could do?

Sigh. I returned late Sunday night. I was thrilled when he nursed overnight half asleep. I soaked in every second of it. My husband tried to talk to me as we were going to sleep and I shushed him because I savoring what might be our last nursing session. He nursed in the morning still groggy. I had hope. But, at nap time he asked and then refused. My heart broke. I was crushed.  He cried. I cried. I didn't know what to do. He had asked to nurse so I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't actually nurse when I went to latch him.

After some Q & A time between us (always interesting with a 2 year old), I finally offered to nurse him sitting up instead of side-lying and he agreed. We nursed! HOORAY! I snuggled him and loved it, and snapped a few pictures with my phone of course. (Again what if this was the last time?).

The next few times were a little tentative, but we seemed to now be over whatever hump it was. He may ask to nurse sitting up once in a while still, but will also nurse side-lying and doesn't hesitate to latch. I can see the relief in his face as much as I can feel it in my heart. Together, we've figured it out.

Blurry fireworks picture. They get so big so fast. These are the moments.

It was a big reminder that I need to be more aware and present in my parenting. There are no givens. Nothing can be taken for granted, not even a little nursing session before bed. I am soaking in the moments more often, and I am working to be aware of the other ways I can positively parent this little boy. Some day he will be done nursing and together he and I will figure that out, but I am so glad it wasn't now and it wasn't like this.

What's Growing in My Garden

It's a beautiful day, and I am enjoying a little bit of on my porch with some green smoothie catching up on a few computer things. I love this spot!

It's time for a garden update. It's getting pretty exciting in our garden, and despite some flea beetle issues, things are doing pretty well.
Just kind of looks like a jungle from here.
 We got a lot of lettuce, some spinach and some kale. Unfortunately with some really hot weeks and full sun, our lettuce bolted early this year. Our front porch hanging baskets are doing okay, although they'd be doing a lot better if we watered them more often. We might transplant them into the garden to get a second right of lettuce.

Our strawberries are done for the season but we got a couple pounds out of them despite having some tiny critter climbing in to chew on some.  We are still getting handfuls of grean beans at a time but we just didn't have enough seedlings make it for those to be plentiful.

Tomatoes are looking good. We picked 5 big zucchinis and two tiny purple peppers from our chinese five color pepper plants.

Our herbs are doing great except when I forget to water them (oops). Our extra beds we planted without fencing got half eaten but we expected that. They are some happy tomato plants in them though.

I need to start figuring out fall garden stuff because I'd really like to do a second planting this year. Do you plant a second crop? Any tips or resources?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Strike of July '11.

My son is on strike. A nursing strike that is.

Beware. There will be talk of boobs, nipples, breastfeeding and more in the following post.

It all started with some thrush. The boy was up all night for a few nights in a row, nursing non-stop. I might have stayed in a sweaty sports bra too long a few times. Circumstances conspired against me and I felt the tell-tale burning feeling of thrush along with hot pink nipple to boot. I dutifully started my probiotics and grapefruit seed extract. Instead of getting better or staying the same, it got worse and fast. I cried when I took a shower from the water hitting my chest. Nursing was extremely painful.

It was time to pull out the big guns. The gentian violet. Gentian violet is a remedy for thrush that I have found to be effective when nothing else is. The big problem with it is that it turns everything it comes into contact with bright freaking purple. Really. The last time I used it was a few years ago when I was tandem nursing both my boys. The baby didn't care what color it was, but the 2 year old thought it was fantastic that his brother's mouth was purple. He couldn't nurse enough because he wanted to be as purple as possible. Did I mention we were going to one of my grandparent's funerals that day?

So, this time around, I nursed the boy to sleep one night, and then applied my purpley cure. We nursed overnight and in the morning when he first woke up no problem. I thought all was well, until I went to nurse him down for his nap later in the day.

He took one look at my bright purple Barney boob and pointed. "what dat". It's mommy's medicine. "You blue." Well, yes I am purple. "You blue, nooooo." Do you want to nurse?  "Nooooooo!" This was followed by an hour of screaming, crying, rocking, and doing anything else I could to help him fall asleep for naptime.

For the next few days this continued. He nursed late at night if we brought him home almost asleep, and it was too dark to see my lovely purpleness. He nursed once in the morning when he was groggy and not paying attention. But awake and aware, he will not go near me if nursing is the topic.

The purple is nearly gone now; it's just the tiniest tinge, but still he won't nurse. We tell him it's all gone, and he gets excited, but once he goes to nurse and sees my nipple, you'd think it was trying to bite him. Mama's gonna get a complex here.

So here we are in the middle of a nursing strike. Something I've never really experienced before, except for maybe a day or two with my first son when he was still a baby. He is 2 years and 4 months old. People have said, "great, wean him!" or "I don't understand what's wrong, you nursed him long enough." I understand they are well-meaning, but I believe in the benefits of child-led weaning. It was a wonderful experience when my older son weaned at 3 years 10 months. Then, I knew it was the right thing. I knew he was ready.

Sure, between ages 2 and 4 is a common age for weaning. And while most weaning occurs rather gradually over time, children have been known to wean quickly and abruptly in the same way that some children learn to use the toilet and ditch the diapers seemingly out of nowhere. The problem is I just don't know. If I knew this was all him doing this and not my purple Barney boobs, I still might be sad and a little uncertain. Because I figured we had at least 6 months to a year before this happened. It makes bedtime and naptimes a nightmare. It shortens our cuddle time in the morning. And, it would be the end of a 4.5 year continuous stint of breastfeeding. I'm not sure what to do if I'm not a breastfeeding mom. But in the end, if this was on his terms then I'd know it was right and that I met his needs in the best way possible for as long as he needed it.

To make the situation worse, I leave tomorrow morning for 3 nights away. It's a trip planned with friends, and he has always done very well when I was gone picking right up with nursing when I returned. I've gotten more than my fair share of flack for leaving my attached nursling previously, but he is also the son of a very attached co-sleeping daddy and a devoted grandmother who now lives with us and has always met his needs. It's not the same as mom being there, but we've all gotta make decisions. Considering the last time I left the kids, I was violently ill for the first 48 hours as a result of sheer exhaustion, I think they are better off for me taking a trip every once in a while for some much needed rest and recovery

However, tonight, I sit here knowing that the few seconds he latched on this morning before figuring out that I was still vaguely purple may have been the last time he'll nurse. It makes me want to cry, throw up, and admittedly even rejoice all at once. Weaning wouldn't be so bad, but I don't want it to happen like this. I'll be crossing my fingers and dragging my pump and my fenugreek with me on the plane so that I can make sure I have milk for him if he wants it when I return.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Running Community

If you've been reading for a while, you know that I just started running last summer. I used the Couch to 5k program, and before I knew it I was running a 10k and then a half marathon. It's been a really awesome journey. I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned about what my body can do and a little bit of what it can't do. I've learned just how much of the sport is mental. I've begun to discover the amazing benefits physically and emotionally to running. One of the things I've been most surprised by is the amazing gift of community that running brings.

I've found overwhelming support for this journey from so many places. My dear friend Kristie, a marathon runner and USA-Fit Philly coach, has been a never ending source of encouragement and wisdom. She ran my first 10k and my first half marathon with me, and she cheered me on when I ran my first 11 miles as part of the Gettysburg Marathon Relay despite having been sidelined unexpectedly herself. She tolerates my text messages after almost every workout telling her how well it did or didn't go. She responds to my questions about foam rollers, training plans, and possible injuries. She's pretty much a saint.

But my supporters didn't stop there. The virtual community is pretty awesome. From here on the blog to Facebook and twitter, I've had so many people willing to cheer me on offering support and guidance along the way. Relationships have blossomed. For instance, I started reading a woman named Paula's blog when I saw my friend Kristie comment on a link about it. She is another PhillyFit coach. We offered each other support via blog comments for upcoming races, and next thing I know Paula sent me my very own PhillyFit shirt and an encouraging note before my half marathon. That's the community I'm talking about.  Runners who have gone out of there way to welcome me with open arms assuring me that it didn't matter how slow or how far I went, I was doing something really great and I was, in fact, a runner.
Sweet inspiration from blogger friend Paula!
 When you're running 11-12 minute miles, it's easy to think you don't belong with all those people who call themselves runners as they talk about 9 minute miles being slow jogs. I've come across my share of snotty folks to be honest. Races where they won't give you the time a day or they run out of water at the water stops after the 8 minute mile pace group comes through. I even had someone tell me condescendingly that it was cute I was doing the Couch to 5k program. But the fact is, they have been the minority.

This past week, I met my local running club for the first time and did my first ever track workout. I was nervous. I didn't know anyone. I am pretty slow among runners. I am still learning the jargon, and I've never done a track workout. I emailed the president of the club who invited me to come check it out and assured me they had folks running my pace. The hardest part was awkwardly introducing myself to some random runners not knowing who I should talk to when I first got there. After that, I was made to feel so at home. There was one woman who ran my pace or a little slower; she told me to stick with her. As it turned out, she took a walk break during the first 1600 and I decided to keep running. I fell in step with another slightly faster runner who was doing an easy workout after having had a hard workout with her trainer. The coach and club president cheered me along as we past them on their recovery laps. They checked into see how I was doing and make sure I was still smiling.

The next day I got an email asking how I was doing, inviting me back, and reminding me not to worry about anything else because this was about me and not anyone else. They invited me to be a part of their club which they hoped would be more like a community, a family of support for reaching whatever goals I had in mind. I know this club is not the only great club in this way. I mean I know there are some snobby clubs out there, but these clubs that welcome anyone with open arms and just want to share the joy of running and the pride of reaching new goals are what running is all about.

As a result of all of this support, I've been able to offer my support to others. I've watched a number of friends tackle the Couch to 5k program, and I have been thrilled to cheer them along and so excited for them when they met their goals. This past Saturday, I got to run my sister's first 5k with her! She completed the Coach to 5k program a few weeks ago. We attempted her first 5k two weeks ago, but they messed up the course and it was only 2 miles! But this Saturday, we got it right. I was honored to cross that finish line with her after hearing about her workouts along the way, celebrating on good days and offering suggestions or support on bad days. It was a hot day and had a lot more hills than her regular terrain, but she kept going, hoping to finish and dreaming of finishing under 40 minutes. And she did, at 38:25! Go Jennifer! Congratulations, you are a runner!

I'm blessed to be a part of this running community continually being inspired and hopefully being a source of inspiration. It doesn't get much better than a group of people just wanting to help each other improve, grow, and meet their goals!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Personalized, Organized, and now onto Realize!

Today marks the end of the Organize e-course I told you I was taking with Dawn Trautman.

As part of the course, we picked a project to complete that would be an active step in organizing our lives while we dove into re-considering our habits, how our external and internal spaces interact, and how the organization (or lack thereof) of our time, space, and money affect each other and our lives.

I am on a bit of a successful high, because not only did I meet my recent running and fitness goals but I completed my project for this course in time.

I chose to clean out and organize our office/guest room. It is the room where everything has gotten shoved over the past year or so, and much of it was never unpacked from when we moved in two years ago. It holds lots of important paperwork and belongings that produce stress when we cannot find them. It is also home to many of our books and pictures which are a source of joy for us. We were missing out on that joy when we could not get to them.

It feels fantastic!  Ready for some before and after pictures?  I thought you might be.  Here's the "before"
... (pretty bad, no?)

Eeek!  But look at this lovely "after"!

Look at all that floor!
Clean desk and pictures on the wall

Simple and clean.

Even the closet is organized!
Check out all that clean organized space. I love it. I walk by the room and I cannot help but smile because it is so inviting, and it's the result of completing a goal!  Even those desk drawers and filing cabinets are nicely cleaned and organized.

There's lots of things I could dream of doing to this room that would cost money and involve completely re-designing it. Those ideas were part of what stopped me from doing this project before. When I let go of this idea that it had to be done 'perfectly' I was empowered to tackle it. I spent about $7 on the whole room, and that was used for spray paint to paint those shelves white so they matched better.

I have some projects left to do in the space like organizing pictures and  filing some paperwork. But now, I can do all those things, because I can get to them! It's an enjoyable space to be in.

Additionally, I created a peacemaker's basket. This was an idea from the 30 Day Vegan e-course I took with Heather @ Beauty that Moves. (She's starting another e-course soon so now is a great time to go check it out). Yes, I know, I really like e-courses, but I have learned so much from some great people! Anyway, the peacemaker's basket is a basket filled with things that bring you peace when you are having a rough day or rough moment. I didn't make one when I was in the other e-course because I felt like I had no quiet, peaceful place to put it where I could actually enjoy using it or go to it stress-free.

I have come to realize that my disorganization leads to stress and disconnects me spiritually in addition to all the other things it does. But, when you think about spirituality or faith as one more thing on your to-do list or one more place that you can't manage to find enough time or the perfect space, it makes that stress and disconnect grow bigger. The peacemaker's basket is a simple way to ground me when I need a moment to myself and it enables me to grab small opportunities to nurture my spirituality and faith.

A peacemaker's basket will be unique to the person it's for, and the contents may change overtime. Mine holds the following objects:
My peace stone, given to me by my child's Montessori teacher as they have them in the classroom. Holding it's smooth, cool surface is calming and relaxing.

My tattered, devotional Bible. This is not my Bible choice for study, sermon preparation, or anything scholarly, but it is well-loved, well-highlighted, and full of bookmarks. It is the Bible I carried through many challenges and rough times growing up.

A favorite candle from SimplyHenry (so I know it's safe and phthalate-free) and matches.

A set of Chinese meditation balls I've had for years. They make the most beautiful sound when you master the motion of them in your hands.

A journal and pen.
Over time I am sure I will add and take away from it. Other things might include music, photo of loved ones, favorite tea and mug, essential oils, inspirational messages or images, a small piece of dark chocolate, or anything else that helps you find renewal and reconnection.

Next, I will be joining Dawn in the final e-course of her series, Realize. In Dawn's words,

Realize: From To-Do Lists to Life Lists and Back

This course is based on the latest scientific research about setting and achieving goals. Learn the difference between different types of goals, the way you respond to various challenges to your goals, and the best ways to overcome challenges and reach your life long goals.

Week 1: Create exciting lists of your own future achievements for different areas of your life.
Week 2: Choose a short term goal and create a plan.
Week 3: Take action on your plan in a few easy steps.
Week 4: Evaluate, Celebrate and Plan for the next goal.

"Realize" is best for: Someone who understands themselves and wants to learn how to make a positive impact on their own life and the lives of the people around them by setting and achieving lifelong goals.
I considered not taking this last course or at least taking a break. I have been taking a lot of e-courses lately, and it is a time commitment. At the same time, it is such a great experience to connect with others on this journey, gain some valuable outside perspective, and interact with a certified life coach at a really economical price. I always walk away with new insights and having taken the time to focus on my goals and aspirations in a way I wouldn't with outside accountability and perspective. And my husband singing Beauty School Dropout with the lyrics changed to  "Dawn Trautman School Dropout" might have been a little shove in this direction, too.
Dawn Trautman school drop-out, no graduation day for you
Dawn Trautman school drop-out, missed your midterms
and flunked shampoo??

Okay it doesn't work that well, but he didn't have to sing much for me to get the point. I'd love for you to join me (again, my disclaimer is that I'm telling you this because I like Dawn and I think her courses are valuable! I'm not receiving anything in exchange for my statements) in Realize or for you to take Personalize or Organize and share about your experience! Not ready for a course, but want to hear more from Dawn? Check out her blog.