Category Archives: Inspire

What’s Next?

 

It’s been ages since I posted and this year has been filled with twists, turns and unexpected trials and triumphs.  With my son moving up to 1st grade and my daughter going into her last year of nursery school, I found myself at a crossroad with no idea of the next direction I would go.  Being a stay at home mom for seven years was a gift that I am lucky to have had.  I started my role as “Mommy,” “Mama,” and “MOM” after teaching 1st grade for eight years and loved my new identity.  Time has flown by and I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been home almost as long as I was in the classroom and can’t imagine jumping back into a teaching career when I’ve been out of practice for so long.  So…where does that leave me?  I’m no longer a first grade teacher, an identity I cherished and was proud of, but I’m also not a mommy of babies and toddlers anymore which is what I came to love even more than my previous role.  I felt like I was slowly becoming NOBODY.

Bigger kids means bigger financial needs and the strain of a single income was becoming apparent.  The obvious solution would be going back to teaching.  However, there are no words to describe the anxiety I felt when even thinking about returning to teaching.  Being out of the classroom for so long makes it that much harder to imagine going back.  If I had taken a maternity leave and gone back right away my kids wouldn’t know any different and neither would I.  Problem is I know how much I love bringing them to school and picking them up.  I love “Mommy and Abby days” when she doesn’t have school.  I couldn’t imagine giving it up.

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Conflicted with finding an answer that would be best for our family I had one of those MEANT TO BE experiences that has changed the path from uncertainty to determination.  I have always believed that certain people come into our lives for a reason.  There is no doubt in my mind that Tracy was one of those people.  My husband went to high school with Tracy and we have been facebook friends for a while.  She lives in Georgia and was a marine biologist, but is now a division leader with lia sophia.  For those of you who are not familiar with lia sophia it is a direct sales company that offers gorgeous jewelry at affordable prices (Think Tupperware party, but with jewelry)!  One day Tracy sent me a message asking me if I would be willing to host a facebook virtual jewelry party so she could show her team that it is possible to connect with friends from out of state and build your business through technology.  I thought about it and mentioned it to my husband and he said to me, “Maybe you should talk to Tracy about selling lia sophia, she was a marine biologist and is now really successful doing this and is home with her kids.”  That was it…I talked to Tracy once and signed up!  That was two months ago and boy has my world CHANGED for the BETTER!  Through friends and family who volunteered to host parties I have been able to get my business started and already recruited a customer to join my “team”!  I am on my way to promoting to Unit Leader and am still in awe that this practically fell into my lap.  Tracy has guided me EVERY step of the way and has been my biggest cheerleader.  It is AMAZING to work for a company that encourages women to be their own boss, set goals and attain them, and live their dream.  My dream has always been to be home with my kids.  My fondest memories are of my mom being home with me and my sister.  I completely understand that this is not an option for many and that there are many women who even if staying home was an option would choose to continue with their career.  The choice we each make does not DEFINE the type of mother you are.  It does not make one of us better than the other.  It is simply the path that each mother takes on the road to raising their children to be the best they can be!

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In the past two months I have gained a new level of confidence and am proud of the work I have done to build my business.  Dressing up my “Mommy” clothes with all of my new jewelry has added an element of fun to my days.  I LOVE being my own boss, making my own hours, and helping our family out with finances.  People do come into our lives for a reason…Tracy came into mine to be the light on this exciting new journey that I am on.

Visit my business Website!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Dream Big, Finances, Good Life, Hard Reality, Inspire, Life, Marriage, New Jersey Robyn, Relationships, Self Image, SelfImprovement, You

Declutter Your Life

In the last month or so I have made a lot of ChaNgeS in my life.  First off, I recently had another garage sale which proved to be just as successful as the one in the fall.  I finally have a clutter free home.  I made a point to go through EVERYTHING, and if I didn’t LOVE IT, I sold it.  There were things that were hard to get rid of, mainly due to habit and feeling like I “had” to keep it around the house “just in case”.  Let me tell ya, it was worth it because everything is organized and I can keep better tabs on what we need and what we don’t. declutter-wordle1

Once I was able to declutter my home, it was only natural to want to DecLutteR other areas of my life.  Several weeks ago, Robyn wrote a post called iPhone Mommy.  It struck a chord with me.  For months I had been feeling like the internet and social media were a huge distraction and temptation.  I wish I was like those of you that are disciplined when it comes to social media, but I am not.  I kept making excuses that I HAD to check my facebook several times a day to make sure I wasn’t missing personal messages or notifications from groups I am involved in.  Robyn’s post motivated me to make some cHaNgeS once and for all.  I tied up lose ends with my personal FB messages and notified leaders to any of my groups.  I told these people that I wouldn’t be checking facebook as often and to contact me via email or phone if they needed something right away.  Everyone has been very understanding and I guess I figured if someone needed me bad enough, they could find a way.  It was really that simple!  Now, I only check facebook once every couple of weeks, which allows me to catch up on information or messages I may have missed!

To take things one step further, I changed the settings on my phone so I no longer get an email “ring” for new emails AND I deleted the facebook icon so I’m not tempted to check it.  This has made a huge difference when I am around my kids.  My phone isn’t dinging all the time and we spend more quality time together in random places.  When we use to wait in the car I would sit there and read the internet while they were in the backseat.  Now we try to play games or talk about fun stuff!  In addition, if we are playing and the phone rings, I don’t answer when I feel like the kids are really engaged in what we are doing.  Several times they’ve asked, “Mom, aren’t you going to get the phone?” and I say, “No, I want to play with you right now.”  The look and smile on their faces when I say that….PRICELESS :)

Last but not least, I am writing to say that Robynn, Robyn (Jersey Girl) and I are going to take the summer off in regards to blog posting.  We don’t want to give it up for good because we really enjoy writing and sHaRinG things with you.  But, like we talk about so often, if it doesn’t bring you PEACE then you need to make some changes.  Now that the kids are going to be home all summer we feel that not being tied to anything (a.k.a the blog) will bring us the most peace.  We know you understand, and we thank you for that.  The plan is to pick up in September once kiddos are back in the grind of school.  I didn’t even put a dent in my “Home Makeover Series” so I hope to share more of that with you, along with the normal LIFE posts that I share.

I hope that this lengthy (sorry! *wink*) post has encouraged you to declutter areas in your own life.  I cannot tell you how much jOy and fReedoM it has brought to mine.

Have a wonderful and memorable summer and we look forward to writing in the fall!

Cheers,

Lara

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Filed under Getting Real, Inspiration, Inspire, Junk Drawer, Life, RANDO•RAMA

Honoring Teachers, Nurses, and Mothers!

It just occurred to me that this week we are celebrating three of my favorite professions…NuRsEs, TeAcHeRs, and MotHeRs!  Having been a first grade teacher for the 8 years prior to having my children I know how teaching can sometimes seem like a thankless job.  There are MaNy parents who go out of their way to let you know that they appreciate the difference you are making in their child’s life.  BUT…for every parent that thanks you there are 5 that say nothing and 5 that do nothing but complain about what you are NoT doing for their child!  I saved every card and thank you that was ever given to me by a parent or student and now being a parent myself know how important it is to simply say…ThAnK YoU!

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Next up…Nurses!  I have to say up until my late 20′s I had little experience with nurses.  I never broke a bone or needed surgery and had no reason to visit a hospital.  I guess I saved up my need for nurses for the grueling 2+ year struggle with infertility and then my 2 time bought with postpartum depression.  There is No WaY I would have made it through both of these experiences without the support of the nurses who took care of me during these times.  When going through my 3 IVF cycles, it was truly the nurses, not the doctors who knew my story.  I saw the doctors every morning on a rotating basis, but it was my nurses Mary and Pat who were my true cheerleaders.  They cried with me through the disappointments and were on the phone with me when I found out I was expecting my miracle baby.  It takes a SpEcIaL kind of person to be nurse and share in the highs and lows that come with the fragile life we are given.  To all of you…ThAnK YoU for all you do!

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Finally…a huge thank you to all of the MoThErS, AuNts, and GrAnDmAs!  For years I dreamed of having a baby and being a stay-at-home mom.  I am not sure what exactly I thought I was getting into, but I can remember saying a few times in the very beginning, “Where are the cute baby bunnies and little yellow duckies?!!!”  Baby gifts and baby cards always have cute little animals on them with cheerful little expressions…there have been MaNy a day that our house looks like a bull ran through a china shop and I have yet to see those cute animal faces!  That being said, I believe that being a mother is the hardest JoB in the world.  Every single decision you make directly affects those you hold so dear.  I wish all of you a VeRy HaPpY MoThErS DaY!

!BZQn3U!!2k~$(KGrHgoOKigEjlLm,etkBKl)tRL8Lw~~_12

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Good Life, Holiday, Inspiration, Inspire, Life, People, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Uncategorized

Get Your Posse and Get Your {Exercise} Groove On!

Source:  girlgetstrong.com

Source: girlgetstrong.com

If you read Robyn’s post The Weight Is On yesterday, you can probably relate.  As spring approaches it is just natural to want to get in shape whether you have gained excess winter weight or you’re just feeling like you’ve been stuck inside for way too many months and are needing a ChAnGge oF sCeNeRy.

Sometimes it can be hard to get started when you see the long road ahead to reach your WeiGht-LoSs GoAl.  Afterall, overcoming the inertia can be a difficult thing to do.

On Monday we had a little pep talk and we decided that we would overcome the inertia together.  So we made a 2-MoNtH pAcT to exercise consistently from now to mid-May, basically, the beginning of summer.  It is actually quite motivating when you look at it in the context of  summer being right around the corner.

One thing that really motivated us in our new goal was this website from the National Institute Of Health that can help in your weight loss efforts.  Here’s the link:  http://bwsimulator.niddk.nih.gov/ .  It allows you to put in your weight, goal weight, and a few other items.  It will then tell you how many calories you need to consume each day to reach your goal.  We played around on it and found it quite addictive.

(You do need to have Java installed on your computer.  You can install a free version by going to www.java.com ) Here is what the simulator looks like:HWS

Overwhelmed by the idea of tracking your calories?  No worries!  Check out this quick, easy and free calorie counting website:  http://www.myfitnesspal.com/  They also offer a free app for your phone!

So, if you’re like us and you need to overcome inertia, GeT yOuR PoSsE - a group of friends, an exercise group, your neighbors, or family members and get your exercise groove on.  After all, there’s only about 60 days until summer!

Lara, Robyn, & Robynn

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Make a Pact

Every once in a while Doug and I will catch ourselves wAsTiNg a lot of time rehashing an upsetting incident, discussing something negative, or spending way too much time on something that we shouldn’t.  Do you ever do that? Recently, we have done something helpful to avoid these ongoing situations.  We “make a pact” with one another to no longer waste another minute on that specific topic.  When we catch ourselves in a conversation that makes us feel sour, one of us may say, “Okay…for the rest of the month we need to work on not bringing up_______.”  From then on we hold each other accountable by giving “the look” or a quick reminder when conversations head the wrong direction.pinky-swear1

Is there something that you are doing, saying or thinking about that you need to nip in the bud?  By regurgitating the same negative conversations you are adding unnecessary depression to your day AND to those around you.  Doug and I always have to remember…the kids are aLwAys watching and listening!!  Whatever we talk a lot about, they will believe!

What conversations can you remove from your life by mAkiNg a pAcT to stop?  Don’t forget, with the help of someone else, you can achieve this goal much easier and catch old habits before they creep back in your life!

Lara

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What’s On Your Mind?

What is the last thing on your mind before you fall asleep?  Or when you have a lot of road time, what do you spend most of your time thinking about?

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The reason I ask is because what people spend time and energy thinking about is usually what they are most passionate about.  Yes, we can get consumed about “life” issues that take up a lot of our thoughts (worrying about kids, replaying embarrassing moments in our head).  But with those things aside, what is usually on your mind?  Are you aNxiOusLy brainstorming a new meal to cook that night?  Envisioning the next vacation you want to take?  Predicting how the sports season is going to turn out?

The cool thing about this question is that your answer may vary from year to year or even month to month.  Want to know the most current thing “on my mind” these days?  Interior design.  I LOVE colors and furniture.  I love changing the way a room looks and turning something junkie into something pretty.  I can spend hours faNtiCiziNg about ways I could transform a space and can get lost in textures and fabrics.

Discover your hidden obsession by taking note of where your mind spends its time.  Next, do something about it.  I’m not saying you need to switch careers, but if you are only thinking of this great thing, why not take the first step and actually put it into practice.  For me, it would be easy to find an excuse such as not having the funds or time to transform my house in the ways I’ve envisioned.  BUT, in the meantime I can still get excited over small projects that don’t cost much and allow me to enjoy transforming a space or furniture piece.

If you can slowly act on these thoughts, you may find that they will become more and more of a reality.  Five to six years ago I would daydream a lot about being my own boss.  To my surprise, it soon became true and I’ve been living that dream for over 4 years.  It didn’t happen overnight, but by actually applying some things on my mind, I ended up discovering new ways to make it happen.

Your passions may just be hobbies.  They may turn into a career.  They may be something that will make you money when you retire.  You will never really know how they end up, but I can tell you one thing…they will always just be a dream if you don’t do anything more than that.  And what fun is that when you could be LiViNg iT?!

Happy Dreaming ;)

Lara

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I’d Be Missing Out

We can all think of a time when we wanted to isolate ourselves from the wOrLd.  We believe if we didn’t have jobs, we wouldn’t have to deal with stress or deadlines.  If we could disconnect ourselves with people—family, friends, strangers—we’d never have to deal with awkward moments or conflict.  If we didn’t have to run errands, we could avoid being reminded of how great everyone else “has it” when we are out and about.

As the year of 2012 wrapped up, I found myself thinking a lot about all the awkward, uncomfortable, stressful and difficult moments of the year.  And you know what I realized?  If I was able to erase those moments of my life, I would have been missing out.  If I would have quit my block business after making some stressful mistakes, I would no longer get to experience the J O Y I receive when customers send me thank you notes after their blocks arrive.  I could have avoided an awkward moment by not talking to a stranger on a plane, but I would have missed out on an aMaZinG cOnVerSatiOn about his faith journey.  Not to mention the moments with friends and family through the year that involved moments of frustration, confusion or discomfort.  If I never had those interactions, our relationships wouldn’t be as close as they are today, let alone the sPeCiaL mEmoRieS we made together.  And as you know, sharing the move of our house last summer required a major gulp of humility, but I would have missed out on the sense of FREEDOM I felt by sharing my real life…just how it is…and knowing that you accept me…just the way I amgirl

Wearing your heart on your sleeve, doing things out of your comfort zone (looking for a new job, trying a new hobby, meeting new people), and standing up for what you believe in are all very hard things to do.  Many times they don’t even seem worth all the effort they require.  But let me assure you, they are.  Your life is richer, more meaningful, and above all, impacting more people, all because you are willing to face your fears, deal with hurt, and conquer challenges by moving on despite the outcome.

So what will 2013 look like for you?  This year I am welcoming more embarrassing moments, uncomfortable conversations and feelings of defeat as I work toward new goals.  You are going to have to deal with these weird feelings/emotions regardless (because we are human!) so why not do them while enriching your life?!  I don’t want to MiSs OuT on the best life I can have….do you?

Lara

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Pile of Problems

Is life getting you down?  Do you feel like you have bigger problems than those around you?  Consider this…

If everyone were to pile all of their problems into the middle of the room, and you could swap yours out,

you’ll probably be in a hurry to grab yours back.

The grass is ALWAYS greener.  When we look at everyone around us, we never see the whole picture.  Same goes for other people.  They probably look at you and wish they could swap their problems with yours.  (I know you are laughing, but it is true!)  Your life may be tough right now, but don’t be so quick to envy someone else.  Your issues may not be so bad after all!

~Lara

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Live-It List Lesson

Last year at this time The Suede Sofa began talking about the “Live-It List” - which is sort of like a bucket list, but with the emphasis on living rather than on dying.  Well, 2012 is coming to a close and I’ve been working on my “Live-It List” all year long.  In January, I started out with a lengthy list of things that I thought were important.  Although it felt great to get those items checked off my list, the one thing that my “Live-It List” revealed to me was what is important and worth pursuing and what things are really, well, just a distraction.   My list contained “good” things be sure, but good things can steal your focus from the best things.  So in 2013 I am going to do things different from what I have ever done before and just pick one.  The best one.

Are you focused and going after only the best, or are you like I was in 2012 - all over the place and although accomplishing a lot of things, not really accomplishing anything really significant?   This may come as a relief to know that you can streamline your life and eliminate activities that don’t serve your best interests.

What is your purpose?  What deserves your focus and attention?  Could 2013 be your year to “Pick One”?

:) Robynn

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Random Acts Around Us

Last night I decided on a whim to take my kids out to dinner to a restaurant that gives out balloons to every kid when they enter the restaurant.  My kids LoVe this and discuss what color balloon they are going to choose the entire car ride there.  As parents it is not such a great perk because we spend most of our meal reminding the kids not to let the balloons touch the ceiling because they can pop, not to let the balloons get caught in the ceiling fans, begging the kids to let us tie the balloons to their chairs, and the list goes on and on and on!  As many of you know my son Nicholas just loves to push the envelope every chance he gets and last night this little game of taunting Mommy with the green balloon was really pushing my last button.  I always tell my kids that they only get ONE balloon at the restaurant whether they lose theirs or if they pop theirs…ONE and that’s it, the rest are for the other kids who come to eat with their families.  When we walked outside to get into our car I decided that I wanted to take a picture of Nicholas and Abby with their balloons.  The sun was in the perfect spot to cast a shadow of their little bodies holding their balloons and I wanted to save that moment.

Not two seconds after I snapped the picture…Nicholas let go of his balloon.  He has never lost a balloon before, but knowing Nicholas I knew his reaction was not going to be good.  He starting crying and begging for me to go inside the restaurant to get him a new one.  I knew I could quickly stop the scene by running in and getting him a new balloon, but then I would be going back on my one balloon rule so that was out of the question.  As my mind raced to somehow make this situation better out of nowhere appeared a little girl no older than 10 years old.  She saw how upset Nicholas was as he was pointing and yelling at his green balloon in the sky and she handed him a blue balloon that she had received from the restaurant.  As she walked away I stopped her and told her what a wonderful thing she had just done and how happy she had just made my son.

It is NeVeR too early to start teaching kids that kindness counts.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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