Sing Peace: The Power of Positive Intention

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Our scene opens to an Amphitheater. Its Grandparents Day and its my son’s first year at this Montessori School. I am excited to show my Father in Law and his wife how AMAZING this school is. It’s reputable accreditations, top notch facilities, child led education model, etc. Then the kids come out. They get in their positions for a song. Then the music starts…

Light a candle for peace

Light a candle for love

Light a candle that shines all the way ’round the world

Light a candle for me, light a candle for you

That our dream of peace, will one day come true

Sing peace around the world.

Goosebumps. Tears.

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I am utterly inspired by this song that my son’s Montessori Primary class is singing. Mesmerized by the message, I soon forget about all the impressive outward characteristics that the school offered. They, in front of my eyes, are showing me that they are teaching the kids about world peace.

What a notion! Light a candle for peace? Is it really that simple? Can I really believe that me lighting a candle for peace for all, will be enough to actualize that peace?

Yes, the power of positive intention is exactly that. Amazing, untapped, raw, power. 

“This morning, in this room, these children are using their power to change the world.”

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Many folks ask me whether or not I’ve heard the latest on local, national, or world news.  The many tragedies that happen daily, the “government’s latest screw up” and “this party is responsible for the demise of all humankind”. For those who absorb and feel energy,  frequently called Empaths, these types of things go beyond effecting just their thoughts. We feel this sort of devastation viscerally, which is why it can be hard for us to stay “up-to-date” with current events. It physically and emotionally hurts….quite literally.

There is a feeling of hopelessness that comes with constantly being bombarded with the negative things that go on in the world. It is not that we wish to remain ignorant, it is that the physical and emotional pain of feeling it becomes too much, and we must protect ourselves from it in order to live our best life.

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I know, kid. I feel it too.

Within the last ten years, I have developed a ritual that helps me feel the power of proactivity within what feels like a muddy bog of the energy of today’s world. When I feel taken by the overwhelming feeling of the worlds tragedy, I stop and light a candle. This grounding technique helps me to send up a prayer of protection for myself and the world. I take one moment to speak aloud my intention for that day. “I intend to live today happily and in gratitude” or “I intend to offer a feeling of peace to all whom I encounter.” Walking in that truth, I believe, has the power to effect maybe even ONE person. If I can effect one person, then the ripple effect can begin.

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I feel as though it is safe to say that most of us have heard of the Power of Intention. Ever heard of the book, The Secret? Oprah has!!!!

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Whaddup Oprah’s Book Club List?

The book explains that in the theory of Quantum Physics, everything has an energy; including thoughts. If we think about all that we have to be grateful for, we tend to open our hearts and minds to attract MORE of the same. This goes both ways. Both negative thoughts AND positive thoughts attract one another. Relying on this can have profound changes on one’s life. Simply speak your intention until it ultimately becomes your reality. In the book, that can mean financially, spiritually, romantically, or anything you else can imagine. We are, in essence, limitless.

After all, we’ve heard this same notion since we were littles ourselves.

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.” 

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Nice one, Jimminy. Thanks.

And why the heck shouldn’t they? If we are all individually powerful enough to make this happen,

imagine the potential energy of the collective?

The mountains of positivity that things like The World Kindness Movement can move.

An example lies in yesterday’s stresses I faced.  For me, they were almost too overwhelming for me to function. Money, parenting, and hormones (TMI? ah, lighten up;))got the best of me. So today, I woke up with the intention that I would feel nothing but butterflies, unicorns, and rainbows. (photo below) I even dressed the part as a reminder. Needless to say, I had an amazing day today in that I could see the good, the fun, and especially the hope in all the things that had stressed me the day before. Had I not intended to live differently today, I would have most likely felt the same stresses take me over. Silver linings are just that. Shiny lines in the proverbial sand that let us choose whether to stay on the side the negative, or to choose to see the positive.

There are ways you can get yourself involved bringing kindness to the world. The Random Acts of Kindness Organization has plenty of ideas, lesson plans, and even motivational quotes to help you on your way. If you’d like to keep it simple, then just smile at a stranger every now and again. It is said to be hella contagious:)

Or, be like this kid,  Maurice Adams, Jr..

We can all learn from Maurice. Well done, good sir.

Why I love bats, and why you will too.

Call me crazy, but I find myself obsessing over bats. They are my favorite mammals, other than my cat, for several reasons.

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The best reason ever is that they can eat over 1200 Mosquitos an hour and can consume their body weight in insects every night! That’s right. Stupid, disease carrying, biting, poopy mosquitoes. BUHBYEEEEE

They are also great pollinators! So at night when they are flying around, they are pollinating your area so that the ecosytem can be maintained. Thank you fruit bats!

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Thirdly…they freaking ECHOLOCATE! Not all species of bats do. Fruit bats, for instance don’t echolocate at all. It is said that in a light rain, they can navigate through the raindrops(I don’t care if this is true or not), but if it is then they are basically superheroes. They are the only mammals whose front limb has adapted into a wing and are capable of true flight! And boy, are they awesome to watch at dusk dive-bombing to find all those dumb mosquitos. DIE MOSQUITOS…actually, don’t cause then the bats would leave.

Before you FREAK OUT and go all “count Dracula” horror movie about bats, yes I know they can be freaky looking. They sleep upside down for goodness sake! But take some time to consider that, yes while vampire bats do exists, they do not “suck blood”. They lap it up. Ok ok ok, calm down! I know that isn’t any better. But unless you’re in South America where some bats have been seen to be lapping up blood from a cow or goat here and there, you’re fine. (sorry South American cows)

Ok now that I’ve convinced you of their awesomeness, lets look at how to attract bats to your property.

Bat houses

Make the bats feel welcomed! Build a bat house using plywood or cedar. The rough surface will make it easier for bats to climb in and out of the house. Keep the roughest side of the wood to the inside of the house. Bat houses work best if they’re at least 2 feet tall, 1 foot wide, and 3 inches deep. Keep the temperature between 85-100 degrees F, as bats prefer a warmer climate. To ensure this, place the bat house in a location facing the sun for the afternoon hours.  NO TREES as they are more susceptible to predators in a tree as well as too much shade.  To give ample enough room for the bats to drop before they take flight, put your bat house at least 15 feet up in the air. An east or west facing chimney is an ideal place.

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Cool, right?

Food and Water

Now that you’ve invited them home, give them food and a water source. Bird baths work well as ponds. Planting night blooming flowers can attract nocturnal garden insects, which, in turn, attracts bats! Marigolds, Dahlias, and Thyme are all good plant examples!

Screw you wasps

Make sure you check your house regularly so that you are not just making a home for bees, wasps, or hornets. Also check your house for holes before you put up your bat house! Seal and fill them as best you can. Bats can fit into a hole the size of a quarter, and we want to prevent cohabitation! After all, this roommate stays up ALL NIGHT!

Rabies

Yes, bats can carry rabies. But you’re more likely to have an encounter with a nasty raccoon or skunk than a bat. After all, they are way better at avoiding you with their echolocation than you are with your human eyes and ears. Plus, the benefit way outweighs the risk in my opinion, knowing that less than 1% of the bat population actually carry rabies. 2014-wildlife-us

Ok, so have I convinced you yet? Bats…do it…you’ll thank me later when you can enjoy your back porch without the Zika virus. Plus look how cute they can be!

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Momday Faves: Part Deux

To continue a “few of my favorite things” on these Momday Faves list….

Kristy’s turn:

Mommy Hooks

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Does this look like you running errands or enjoying a day out with kids in tow…one in a baby wearing device, one holding hands, and one in a stroller? Trying to run errands, go to the farmers market, store, zoo,shopping mall, anything can be overwhelming when the “stuff” piles up.

“mommy hold this” twice from each kid….plus picking up that package from post office and the flowers that I told you to buy for yourself a few posts ago…..

Heres your solution…The Stroller Hook!

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This one, by Toogli, is one that I like but there are several comparable brands to choose from here: Hook Options

This lovely thing clips ALL YOUR BAGS into your cart, stroller, backpack, wherever you want it! Its a heavy-duty carabiner that saved my life with two kids, a diaper bag, a baby wearing device, all the coats, shopping bags, etc!

Home Meal Delivery 

I am way into things arriving on my porch, ready to be made! Taking my kids to the store ended up getting extremely expensive for a family of four who eats wants to eat a paleo diet. We found Sunbasket.com and have LOVED every box we’ve gotten. They have very healthy options, and it saves us the time and money of getting all the ingredients at the store. Most of you know Blue Apron, but Sun Basket offers organic, free range, and different options for different dietary restrictions.

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For the price point, we’ve found Sunbasket to be the most convenient and the most excellent. As cross fitters, we need to focus on the fuel we put into our bodies daily.  With our schedules as they are, we wouldn’t eat as healthy as we do without Sunbasket.  Give it a shot!

And finally, a HUGE thank you to all of you who promoted our blog and got us to 50 followers. Keep sharing the good news and we will keep posting fun/informative/inspirational/random stuff!!

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Kristy, Au Naturale: Demystifying Doulas

In honor of the closing of World Doula WeekI asked my 7 year old son, “Honey, what do you think I do as a doula?” His reply was perfect, and what most folks (if they know doulas are a thing) think a doula does. He said “You help get babies to come out!”

In a word, “no” In a longer, roundabout way….yes.

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I am here to set the record straight on what a doula does and does not do.

I am, first and foremost, by no means, your primary medical caregiver. Whether the provider is midwife, OB-GYN, Nurse Practitioner, or even an EMT, they answer your questions about the medical care of your body and your baby, not the doula. 

So…. what is a doula?

One of the easiest and best definitions I have found comes from my doula-bible, Mothering the New Mother by Sally Placksin.

 “The doula’s basic role is to provide nonintrusive, nonjudgemental support according to the family needs and wishes”.

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We exist, and have since the dawn of birth in communal society, to assist a laboring mother’s relaxation and confidence that you can birth your baby, and to take away worries about anything else. We facilitate you and your partner (if present, whoever that may be) experiencing labor and birth however you have envisioned it.

That’s right. You envision a birth with no meds, in a tub with candles lit? We provide evidence-based assistance to help you there. You envision an epidural and watching comedy central while you dilate? We are with ya! What if something happens and medical advice doesn’t mesh with that? We help you through that adjustment to the vision. 

How does this work? A recent client had a fear of an epidural. Having had one previously, there was trauma about that experience. It was my role to talk about this prenatally. We talk about the benefits, the risks and how the couple wants to approach that decision this time. I’m there to allow the client to talk and tell her story about the reality of her trauma. And I’m there to do what can be done to make the coming birth experience empowering and under her control. Reassurance, peace of mind, and educational preparedness are our top roles prenatally and in the labor room.

IMG_0202Think the doula’s role is over once the baby is born? Nope. We also carry a role in helping facilitate breastfeeding and bottle feeding education and support. Some doulas are even IBLCE (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners) certified as a part of their postpartum role. We can help you prepare and get through those first days, weeks and months postpartum. 

In short, doulas help you feel like YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS. What is often missing from modern maternity care is the emotional support in prenatal care , in labor, and postpartum care for both mom, partner, and baby. THIS is the most important role we play as doulas. 

Are there benefits other than feeling supported? Hell to the yeah!

According to Robbie E. Davis-Floyd, author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage, a randomized study at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston Texas of 422 first time mothers were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) Control, had no one present. 2) Supported, doula present or assigned, or 3) just observed, someone there but no doula, showed:

“1)Epidural anesthesia and forceps use were much lower in the Supported group compared to the observed and control groups, and Cesarian section rates were halved compared to the control group”. From this, “They concluded that support during labor, even in the form of the present of a silent observer, has a therapeutic effect.”

Let me review: Lose your fear, feel empowered, AND potentially decrease risk of complications. Wait… can I get a life-doula?

IMG_9104Kristy Wright is a married mother of 2, doula, massage therapist, fitness coach and homesteader in the Richmond, VA area.

Adventures of Mommy Money: Introducing Margo!

“Mom, the teacher said that we are making lunches for homeless people.  How can people be without a home?” This was the question my 5-year old son asked me as I was rushing around the house at 6:30 am trying to get everyone to put on their clothes/shoes and get in the car.  “Well, my love,” I said, while trying to get my crazy ninja two-year old into her leggings, “some people don’t have enough money to buy or rent their own home.” I could see the look of absolute befuddlement wash over his face.  “But Mom, why can’t you just print them some money at work?”

Do you ever have that moment where you realize that you are so busy trying to manage career, wifehood, mommyhood and mayyybe a little self-care that you miss the mark on actually explaining to your child what it is that you do all day?!  Well, have no fear, I’ve had that moment for you. Multiple times, in fact. It wasn’t too long after this conversation that his teacher told me that when she asked him, “What does your mommy do during the day while you are at school,” he answered, “She donates blood and makes money.”  L. O. L.

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Me and my little loves

If this is your first foray into our blog, allow me to formally welcome you.  My name is Margo. In my career outside of the home, I am a financial advisor in a fee-only firm who primarily serves women looking to achieve a work-optional lifestyle.  But who am I really?  I’m a woman married to a hunk of a hubby I met in high school, the mother of a 5 year-old son and 2 year-old daughter, a student, a best friend to the three other ladies you will have the distinct pleasure of meeting in this blog, and a horrible chef/homemaker.  

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The good ol’ days!

How did I get to this place in my work life?  (I ask myself this quite often! Ha!) In all seriousness, I always wanted to be in finance.  When I graduated college, however, the job market was just starting to take a turn for the scary, so I jumped on the first offer for a job to make real money, which was as a fundraiser for a hospital in South Florida.  After making a few strategic career moves in the nonprofit industry, I was (thankfully) kicking ass at this career and thought perhaps I was wrong about the whole finance dream. Then, one day, I came home from work and my son, who was in preschool at the time, said to me, “Mom, look!  At school, we all were asked to draw what our dinner table looks like. Here’s mine! Isn’t it pretty? There’s me. There’s daddy. Do you like it?” Notice who was missing there? Me. It was like getting hit with Thor’s hammer. I wasn’t being true to myself or what was important to me (like being home in time for dinner), and I needed to make a change.  Shortly thereafter, I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse to join a stellar financial advisory team in my area, with a completely flexible schedule, and jumped on it with all of the enthusiasm of my 2 year old coloring on a newly painted wall.

So why this blog?  I had the distinct pleasure of meeting three amazing young women in high school who are my lifelines.  Somehow, we all managed to find totally different career life paths which make for a really awesome group text filled with varying types of expertise and knowledge base.  We joke that our “group text” is like an “Ask Us Anything” reality show, where we discuss super personal things, hilarious things, serious things, the meaning of life… Now we’ve decided to share it with you!  

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With my super awesome mom and sister

I certainly don’t pretend to have all of the answers to life, but if you need financial advice?  I’m your gal. Cooking? Nope. Dieting? I can stand with you in solidarity if you are like me and find yourself staring, adoringly, while drooling, into the front of a pizza shop while walking to a meeting.  Studying at 10 pm while your family is asleep and questioning all of your life choices and fantasizing about your bed? Without a doubt. Most importantly, though, if you need to laugh with someone who is thoroughly flawed and mostly failing  falling stumbling? forward in this thing we call life but just embracing it, then you’ve found the right place.

So… ask me anything!  It can be about finance, my handsome and hardworking hubby, kids, my messy house, why my treadmill is so lonely, or anything that strikes your fancy.  Can’t wait!!!!

Potato, potato and other messages from above

So, part of what led me to this awesome blog adventure is an ultra-inspiring book called The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear To Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein. The book plopped into my life at the exact moment I needed to hear her message: don’t let fears about the future stop you from following your passions.

Meditation and positive thinking have been shown to have very significant positive effects on all sorts of aspects of one’s health. And, I’m not just talking about mental health. In this study published in 2015 in the International Journal of Cardiology by CM Dubois et al on patients with coronary artery disease a meta analysis “showed  that positive constructs were associated with reduced rates of rehospitalization or mortality”. Let me break that down for you – if you had a positive outlook, you were less likely to have to go back to the hospital or DIE from your heart disease. There are similar findings for diabetes, arthritis, and of course depression, anxiety and all sorts of psychiatric disorders.

I had lived in fear about the time commitment of writing a blog, even though I knew it would be fun and fulfilling for me, for literally, years. Letting go of that fear was obvious. My Our decision about baby number 3 was more difficult. You see, even though my ovaries and soul (are those the same thing? a question for later….) were crying out for more, my level headed hubby was quick to point out all the reasons not to rock the boat. I couldn’t figure out if it was fear or logic holding me up.

I decided to sit down with one of Gabriella’s meditations where you clear your mind and ask [The Universe, God, Uncle Tony (if you’re my mom)] for a clear sign that you’re on the right path guided by love and joy. Having done yoga and meditation for about a decade, I still struggle to clear my mind every. dang. time I start a meditation. But, not this time!! When I wanted something to *pop* into my mind as my sign I’d look for, nothing. Blank, black, peaceful nothing. And then, finally, clear as day, this roars into my head:

“Potato potato, ching chong tomato!”

Um, excuse me Universe? That’s my sign?? The absurd line from an insomnia meme I looked at 3 days ago??  At the same time, I realized the Universe was probably looking at me going, “Really?? How do you expect me to pull that one off? Most people pick owls or the numbers 1234.”

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I decided to go for a second sign. Peanuts! I always think of little babies as a peanut. So, peanuts in the shell seemed like a much more doable sign.

On went my life in a bit of a blur. The usual day-to-day was extra-challenging because Noemi got the dreaded post-cold-ear-infection and was miserable and so clingy and whiny (and yes even doctor moms stress about whether their kid does or does not need antibiotics). Today, FINALLY, she was well enough to go back to preschool and I got to go to the gym and the grocery store without a child in tow – basically a mini-vacation! As I waltz through the grocery store in my post-workout chill, I am contemplating, “how in the heck am I going to find ‘potato, potato, ching chong tomato’?”. Maybe my sign was getting an ovarian cyst a month ago and that emotional breakdown and I am overdoing it asking for a specific sign… Suddenly, I’m starving and head for the deli section. And stop dead in my tracks.

The middle prepared food cart has, in this order, french fries – mashed potatoes – 2 containers of crappy “Chinese” food – and tomato-vegetable soup. I kid you not. Potato, potato, ching chong tomato. I almost keeled over in shock. Then, I immediately was mortified and mentally berated myself that I had associated the Chinese food with “ching chong”. I quickly convinced myself I was reading too much into this. In a daze, I ambled over to the produce aisle, where I ran smack-dab into the large display of…  peanuts in shells. Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. You could have knocked me over with a feather. (I start talking in all my mom’s southern sayings when I’m in heightened emotional states, it’s not something I can control).

So, friends, moral of the story is: If you’re unsure that you’re following your joy and a decision is right for you, ask for a sign! Make it specific, and then be open to find it. If it’s meant to happen, the Universe will find a way! And also, this blog will, probably at some point in the next year, feature my pregnancy stories if I am reading the signs right 😉

My favorite app for guided meditations is the Insight Timer (they don’t pay me). It is free, has thousands of guided meditations from 1 to 90 minutes long and also just a timer setting for quiet meditation.

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Last pregnancy, delivering babies at 36 weeks!