Total Gratitude Tuesday: Aug. 30, 2016

Haha – I told you I’d eventually get rid of the numbering!

Whew – the last week since getting back from vacation have been a blur, but in a really good way. I’m still on a bit of a “Hoopla high” and am devoting lots of energy toward my KEEP Collective business, and it is really paying off! I have 2 socials running now, 2 more starting in the next 5 days, 2 more later in September and 2 in October already! I made a fresh commitment to myself to try to work on adhering to a schedule every day and making sure that I am careful to keep a good work/home/fun balance. So far so good, even though I’m not one who likes routine normally. And the best part is, aside from my business going really well, I’m having fun at it!

end of summer sale

And all the wedding plans are coming along without a hitch! We scheduled the rehearsal dinner today, and I think it’s going to be really nice. It’s hard to believe the last year has gone by so quickly! It was right about this time last year that the kids were setting their date and here we are less than 3 weeks away!

willow tree

The venue – isn’t it lovely?

It’s been a lot easier lately to stay in a place of gratitude. I’m working really hard on starting my day on a good note by not leaping out of bed and immediately hitting the phone or computer or whatever. I’m taking a moment to just relax and focus on something good before I get out of bed. And I’m doing the same thing at night. Gratitude’s got to be more than a weekly practice!

One of the other things I’m doing is letting go of some of my “interests”. I have a tendency to want to try to do 1,000 things all at once, and my interests are all over the place which is no problem usually. But then I find myself buying a kit and all the goodies to try to learn to knit (didn’t happen), or all the sparkly, nifty super cool scrapbook supplies so I can make awesome scrapbooks of our life and our travels (hasn’t happened). But you know what I *can* do and actually *did* do? I made a point of writing in my journal every single day while we were in Quebec. And instead of collecting bags and bags of ephemera and brochures and stuff and leaving it sit in the closet for so long I can’t even remember what we did on vacation, I actually worked on adding that stuff to my journal last week and got it all caught up and finished within a week of coming back. BOOM!

So yeah, I’ve been keeping myself busy with actual productive work and fun stuff and you know what I’ve found? I’m so much more calm and relaxed and the depression has eased up a lot. I think that I’m a dangerous person if I don’t have something to keep my mind occupied. I have a sneaking suspicion a lot of people with anxiety are like that. If I give my mind good things to focus on and not a lot of time to sit around and go all “worst case scenario” on me, I do so much better.

I hope your week has been amazing! We’ll talk soon!

Much love. – Mama Bear


Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume 45

It’s been 2 weeks! I’ve missed y’all!

I didn’t write last week because I was on vacation!!! Yep, my husband and I, along with our youngest son, took a 9 day trip to Canada. We visited Niagara Fall, Quebec City and Montreal. It really was an amazing trip! I had no idea that we had a little taste of Europe right here in North America. And Quebec (QC and Montreal) are a really interesting mix of French culture and Canadian culture. Great food but WOW – I don’t know how they stay so thin! So much food, so mark me also thankful for my gym membership!

The vacation was a lot of fun, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to see and taste and experience things that were completely new to me. I’m grateful that I had the chance to share the experience with at least part of my family. I wish all of the kids could’ve gone with us. But I’m also grateful to be back home.

And our youngest son started his senior year of high school while we were on the trip! I don’t know where the time has gone! How is possible your kids can be graduating, getting married, getting jobs, moving house and you can still look at them and see the little babies they were? It’s so hard to believe how quickly the years have gone!

More than anything, I’m grateful for my new outlook. I know I have a lot of things that I need to work on, but I’m working hardest on being a little kinder to myself and forgiving myself my missteps and failures. I’m feeling so much better and more positive than I did even a few weeks ago. I just have to work a bit harder to stay in that head space.  I’m still on a Hoopla high so it’s easier to maintain a positive attitude.

And our oldest is getting married in just 3 1/2 weeks! So much to be grateful for!

I hope you’re having a wonderful August!

Much love. – Michelle


Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume 44


So that’s how MY week has been…how about yours?

I went to Hoopla. What is Hoopla, you say?

hoopla spongebob

Nope – not that weird thing from Spongebob.

It’s KEEP Collective’s annual conference. This year it was in Charlotte, North Carolina. My husband went with me, and though we had a bit of a bumpy start to the trip (his car leaked oil the whoooooooole way to North Carolina and the whoooooole way back – tip: don’t deal with KIA dealerships in the Charlotte area), and I was incredibly anxious before we got started, I can honestly say that the four days I was there changed my entire outlook.

To start with, I finally got to meet some of the amazing women I’ve been Facebook friends with over the last 8 months that I’ve been with KEEP. And they’re even more amazing in person than they are online! I’ve always said that I’ve never met a more supportive, encouraging group of women than my KEEP sisters and I know now how right I was. Every single woman there was cheering everyone else on and that is a tremendous thing to see. It was 4 days of motivational speeches, rewards, encouragement, sharing, tears, laughter, dancing, hugs, and learning. And a little alcohol. haha

I learned so much, and most of it really wasn’t just about how to run a business or how to be rich. It was about how to stop doubting myself so much. How to see opportunity when it’s right there in front of me and realize it really isn’t just for someone else; it’s for me, too! It was all about how to learn to close my eyes and leap instead of clinging to the ledge and worrying myself into missing out. I learned that I have everything I need already, so there’s no need to wait. And I learned and had reinforced over and over and over again that I don’t need to listen to the naysayers (even when one of them is me) because I have thousands of people rooting for me every step of the way.

Most of all I was reminded of just how lucky I am. And I really am. I could list out a million reasons why I’m lucky (and I guess that’s kind of what I do here every week) but most of them come down to admitting that I have a really good life. I have a really good marriage to a guy that I LOVE being around, even after almost 30 years together! I have 3 extraordinary kids that I love with every bit of my soul and who never cease to amaze me with their kindness, humor and drive. I have an extended family of funny, down-to-earth, supportive, genuinely good people. I have an amazing best friend that supports me in every single thing that I do and loves me even when I’m a total pain in the ass. I have a wonderful “job” that allows me to meet strong, funny and caring women and help them bring their dreams to life and design beautiful things that show off what they’re most proud of.

And I am AMPED, y’all! Not just for new opportunities with KEEP, but for new changes in every aspect of my life. I’ve committed myself to some new habits not only with regard to the KEEP opportunity, but my health, my relationships, my marriage and even my mental health. There’s been a change brewing for awhile and I think that Hoopla was the spark that I needed to ignite the change. So while “Can’t Stop the Feeling” was our official Hoopla song, this one really shows how I’m feeling about life right now, so…

And now, I am headed to Cleveland with my son to see one of his favorite bands, Fifth Harmony. So I hope you have an absolutely extraordinary week or two! (I’m going to be in Quebec next Tuesday, so I won’t post because this is a strictly no-work vacation).

Much love. – Mama Bear

headed to keep hoopla

Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume 43

I’m baaaaaaack!

Yep, it’s been a rough couple of weeks, but I’m back in gratitude mode.

In case you haven’t noticed already, I have a tendency to go into what I call “blanket fort mode” when the depression hits. It sounds better than saying I crawl into a cave, but it’s semantics, really. I withdraw at the time when really, I should be reaching out most. And that isn’t a problem, except that sometimes I don’t keep the right kind of supplies in my blanket fort and I get off-track. And to top it all off, this time I had a colossal screw-up with my medical insurance and they decided to stop paying for my antidepressants. So yeah, like I said, it’s been a fun couple of weeks! But thankfully, I’m starting to feel like myself again.

And it’s going to be a really big week for me. Tomorrow morning I’m headed to my company’s annual conference (we call it “Hoopla”) in Charlotte, NC. I’ll finally get to meet some of the ladies on my team, and we’re going to get lots of training and recognition and of course some fun time together as well. It’s just what I need right now. KEEP Collective truly has an amazing dynamic. I’ve never met a more supportive and encouraging group of women in my life. When one of us has a success, there are always plenty of girls there to cheer us on and when we hit a rough spot, there’s plenty of support for that, too! Nobody’s in competition with anyone else – we’re all rooting for one another. I even wound up connecting with a few awesome ladies this week to get some tips on how to deal with depression and keep my business up and running. Like I said – it’s amazing!

hoopla cover photo

And next week’s going to be pretty amazing, too! For starters, I’m taking our youngest son to a Fifth Harmony concert. And then we’re leaving on the 12th for a long trip to Niagara Falls, Quebec City and Montreal. I’m just so excited to get away for a bit, and especially because I get to hear French spoken a bit (also excited about the French food – not gonna lie!).

quebec city

Quebec City – isn’t it gorgeous?

And most of all, I am grateful that the depression is subsiding a bit, and that I have people who are there for me even if I don’t reach out for help when I’m suffering. I’ll share more later but for now, I’m just grateful.

I’ll see you when I’m back from Charlotte!

Much love. – Mama Bear