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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!

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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!

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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

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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

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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?

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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!

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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!).

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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

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Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume 42

And here it is Tuesday again, and as promised, Total Gratitude Tuesday has returned.

I’ll be honest – it’s been rough keeping up with my gratitude practice lately. The last few months have been a genuine struggle overall, and as anyone with depression knows, it’s rough to keep up healthy practices when depression takes over. While writing is sometimes therapeutic, I’ve found that the pressure of finding a positive spin to put on things has paralyzed me into a kind of long-term writer’s block. That’s a limitation that I’ve put on myself but it’s also because I know that I don’t have any particular interest in writing a blog that’s just a diary of depression, nor would I have any interest in reading one. I’m the girl that likes looking for (and hopefully finding) the silver lining, not just the clouds. It’s the cruelest irony that depression takes away your motivation and energy to do the very things that would help to alleviate some of the symptoms.

And when you add recent events across our nation and the world to the mix, the struggle becomes even more difficult. I have never been someone who could build any armor around my heart and I have a really hard time tuning out the misery of others which means that there are times when the weight is too much to bear. It’s difficult to keep a positive outlook when all you see around you are people being cruel to one another and on such a grand scale. I try to bear in mind that the world has always been a cruel place in some ways, but with those silver linings in human form to give us hope.

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Still, there are silver linings even if they are difficult to find sometimes. And I am ever grateful for the love and support of friends and family, as they do make even hard times easier to bear. I am especially grateful for those who understand my need to retreat to my spiritual blanket fort and don’t get irritated with me over it.

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And a big “thank you” to my husband for always being understanding about my need to retreat when life gets overwhelming. This photo was taken on a hike we took in Yellow Springs to get away for a few minutes after a particularly rough few days. I love that he “gets” me even when I make no sense to myself.

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And on to the gratitude list – this is at the top for the moment. My husband and I went to see Duran Duran and Chic live last Tuesday in Clarkston, Michigan. First of all, if you’ve never been to Clarkston, it’s a neat little town to check out. The main street reminds me a lot of my hometown but because it’s just outside of Detroit, Clarkston is jumpin’. There are some great restaurants and gorgeous buildings to check out and lots of neat little boutiques and such. We stopped at Union Woodshop for some of the best barbeque I’ve ever had. (Yeah, in Michigan! Who’d have thunk?) And then on to the show. I have waited to see Duran Duran my whole life. I mean, it really was a check on the ol’ bucket list. And the fact that Chic opened for them? Absolute perfection. I am an unapologetic fan of disco. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with music for the sake of dancing and feeling good, and nobody does it better than Chic. And they’re just as good as they were in the 70s and 80s. And Duran Duran – what can I say? They lived up to every single expectation in every way. They still have the same energy and vibe and the music is as great as ever. I missed Nick Rhodes not being there, but even so, it was perfection. And a quick getaway with my husband is always good medicine.

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This is the KEEP Collective design I wore to the concert. I’m pretty sure the guys could see it from my spot out on the lawn. 😉 

On the professional front – it’s been a slow couple of months with KEEP Collective, which is pretty natural in the summer. Everyone’s got plans, myself included, so it’s hard to live up to the stellar month I had in May, but even so I just found out that I earned Level 1 Consistency Club (qualifying 4 of my first 6 months with KEEP) and will get a $75 product credit and recognition at Hoopla (our conference) which is in just a couple of weeks!

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Had to take this photo at an angle because of the glare in my bright orange kitchen!

And thank you to my best friend Amanda for this beautiful gift and also for being another person who understands and supports me when things get rough.

And odd as it sounds, I’m really thankful for the whole Pokemon Go craze. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen more kids out on bikes than I have in the last fifteen years and my own grown kids have met people all over the place and had conversations and gotten out in the fresh air and explored our city – all good things in my book. Pokemon fans have caught a lot of shit online from people who I guess have nothing better to do than criticize other people for their hobbies, but to me, it seems like something that’s bringing people together in a fun way, and where’s the harm in that? I should think with everything that’s going on in the world right now, people would see it as a good thing.

Onward and upward, right? One foot in front of the other and looking forward to a good week.

Much love. – Mama Bear

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Happy Firstaversary!

That’s right – Mama Bear Said So is one year old! They grow so quickly, don’t they? *sniff*

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I wish I could say that I deliberately skipped “Total Gratitude Tuesday” to celebrate the first year anniversary of this blog, but in reality, the holiday weekend messed me all up and I went around all day yesterday thinking it was Monday. Just FYI – it wasn’t. So today’s post is a combination of a celebratory post and a gratitude post. A two-fer, if you will.

I’m not sure if the blog has evolved as much as my attitude about it has. It’s very easy when you start blogging to get too caught up in all of the chatter about monetization and ads and audience and numbers. There’s a constant push to get your numbers up, to work on SEO, to get your name out there, to make money…it gets exhausting, especially if you’re the type who doesn’t have any desire to become a millionaire motivational speaker and isn’t terribly concerned with how many thousands of followers you have on social media. I basically just wanted to write, and it’s taken me a long time to be okay with that being my main ambition – not money or followers or fame.

But like most things in life, it just takes a little bit of peace and quiet and ignoring outside voices to find your own true voice. And trying to keep up with all of the reading and advice on how to make this blog bigger and better was exhausting and took a lot of the joy out of blogging for me. But I’m finally realizing that staying true to my own ambitions and wishes for this blog, and being authentic to my own vision is what will make this venture a success. It may not ever be a success according to the blog gurus, but if it feels like a success to me, that’s all that matters. So, with that in mind, I plan to return to blogging on a more regular basis and do it my way. It’s so much easier to enjoy yourself when you’re focused more on the journey than on the destination, whatever that is.

So a giant thank you to everyone that’s come along with me on this journey. I hope you’ll stick around for the next leg of the trip!

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And now for this week’s helping of gratitude…

We had a big holiday weekend! Saturday night we went out to our friends’ house for their annual July 4th bash. It’s always a big to-do with fireworks and lots of great food and fun. Sometime during the evening, there’s also a ritual sacrifice of a stuffed toy so that none of the adults operating any fireworks will be injured. This was this year’s victim:

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Yeah, I’m sure you have a lot of questions about this, but let’s just leave it alone, ‘kay?

Later that night, in spite of having had nothing to drink most of the day, I wound up getting a bit tipsy (or maybe a lot) and schooling a few young’uns at flip cup. And then I got all maudlin about Prince and a few other things and sobbed for awhile and went to bed. Overall, a really great day, even with the sobbing! We also got to spend some time on Monday with my extended family, who I don’t get to see nearly often enough. Again, great food, great company and a lot of fun just hanging out with the people we love best.

And last night, we had a great meeting with Equality Springfield. It was a long one and emotional, given all that’s happened in the last month or so. We talked a great deal about how to open dialogue with people who perhaps don’t necessarily share our views on equality, and how important it is to keep the conversation about the violence in Orlando going and to remember those lives lost in a meaningful way. I’m so glad we found our way to this group. Equality is something I’ve always been passionate about, but it’s frustrating to feel that you can’t find a way to put your passion into action. Finding a group of other people who think the same way and want to put their efforts toward making progress toward equality has made a real difference. It’s also helped to keep some of the pessimism that’s set in lately at bay. It’s easy to forget how many good people there are in the world when the news is full of danger and turmoil and violence.

And wow, yesterday was a fantastic mail day! For starters, we got this bit of loveliness in the mail:

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It’s the wedding invitation for our son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law! It’s just a bit over two months now until the wedding, and we couldn’t be more excited! Somehow seeing the invitation just made it more real, I think.

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And then I got my stack of “Skinny” bracelets from Color by Amber yesterday, too! Aren’t they gorgeous? I love supporting fellow direct sales sisters, but especially when I can get something so pretty, like these little resin beauties! I especially love the map and novel ones.

So it’s been a pretty big week! And the next couple of months are going to be just as big. I’m really looking forward to what the coming months will bring!

Take care and have a beautiful week!

Much love. – Mama Bear

la vie est belle

Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume 41

Yep – you guessed it. I reached the limits of my knowledge of Roman numerals. But hey, it was fun while it lasted, right?

I’m not going to lie; it’s been hard coming up with posts for awhile. It’s not that I’m not grateful or that there aren’t plenty of things for me to feel grateful about in my life. It’s that I’ve been struggling to stay in that space. It feels a lot like some kind of rite of initiation where you’re standing atop a platform while the rest of the village throws stuff at you to try to knock you off. (Or was that just a thing in “Ace Ventura”?) You climb back up to the top of the platform but it’s difficult to maintain your position there for very long. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one feeling this way, particularly with all that’s going on in the world lately.

I get this way when I get overwhelmed, and honestly, it doesn’t take much to overwhelm me anymore. I get tired of having the 24-hour news cycle in my face, especially since most of it is just reckless fear-mongering. I get tired of seeing man’s inhumanity to man played out over and over again on a daily basis. I get all fired up about some of the things that are going on and convinced that I have to stay active and informed in all of it because y’know, somehow, I’m going to be able to change something. 

Well, it’s time for me to take a step back and spend more time doing the things that restore my own peace of mind and keep me in a place of gratitude. I don’t need to be tuned in 24/7 to know that there’s danger and pain in the world. I know it’s out there. But I’ve spent too much time focused on that and not focused on all the good that’s still there.

So, I had to dig a little deeper to hit that place of gratitude, but it’s still there. And here’s what made my list this week:

I don’t have cable, so I didn’t get to see the BET Awards live, but they had promised weeks ago that they were going to really deliver a fitting tribute to Prince. And they did not disappoint. It was hard to watch,because it just smacks you in the face with the realization that he really is gone, and really nobody can do Prince’s music like he could, but the tributes were heartfelt and they had at least a bit of his energy and soul. My favorite (of course) was Sheila E. and the NPG. If you didn’t see it, check it out on BET’s website.

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Yep – that’s His guitar in their hands. 

Sunday we took a break and went to see “Finding Dory” with 2 of the kids. If you’re feeling low, Dory is truly the perfect medicine. And I really think this movie is better than the original (mostly because it features Dory, which was my favorite part of “Finding Nemo”). It’s definitely a hit.

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And now, I’m off to go and find something happy to watch and maybe work on some project that makes me smile. Maybe I’ll just go inside my pillow fort with some crayons. It’s time for a bit of peace. Have a beautiful week!

Much love – Mama Bear

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Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume XL (haha)

No, I don’t think this volume of Total Gratitude Tuesday is any bigger than the rest; I just think it’s funny that “XL” is 40 in Roman numerals.

It’s definitely been a rough week or so for a lot of people. Whether you’re a part of the LGBTQ community, an ally, or just someone who is tired of seeing innocent people being slaughtered for no reason at all, it’s disheartening and frustrating that there’s so much violence in our country, and so few who are willing to work together to figure out solutions. And it’s easy if you’re the sensitive type, to get overwhelmed and feel like there’s just not enough good left in the world. When that happens, I always remember this:

What beautiful advice. And he (well, his mom) was absolutely right. There are always helpers. You just have to look for them.

And in the midst of all the pain and sorrow and violence, I got the chance to attend two different Pride events – one before the tragedy and one after. I’m happy to report the mood in both cases was upbeat and joyful. Of course the Columbus Pride parade, coming as it did a week after the murders, was tinged with sadness and sorrow but underneath it all there was a stubborn determination not to let the actions of one criminal ruin the day. And as it turns out, there were over 600,000 people at the festival – that’s double the number in attendance last year. It was a great testimonial to the strength and resilience of the LGBTQ community, and I’m so glad we got the chance to attend.

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That evening, we attended a candlelight vigil at a local club with local clergy, members of the LGBTQ community and other allies. It was a much more sober event, and rightfully so, but it was beautiful, too. We released 49 balloons, each with the name of one of the victims from Orlando. And different members of the community spoke, and one of the ideas that stuck with me was when one man called places like Pulse a “sanctuary” for gays, and how important those sanctuaries are, since often gays and lesbians aren’t welcomed into churches and other places you’d typically think of in that way. And how much worse that makes the devastation because those people were killed in a place where they sought sanctuary, not just a bar, much like the church shooting in Charleston last year. More than anything, I think it was important to get together and offer support and remembrance. And we need to be that for one another.

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The balloons as they were released and the name attached to my balloon.

And on to happier topics –

Last Sunday, we celebrated our youngest son’s 17th birthday (I had to type that 3 times because it felt like a mistake!). We went to an Escape Room together (yes, we escaped) and then had dinner. And then we got together again this Sunday for Father’s Day, and played board games and laughed until my sides ached. I’m constantly amazed at  how well all the kids get along and how much fun we have together. I don’t know how in the world we got so lucky but we always have a good time when we’re all together. I appreciate the time I have with them now more than ever because with jobs and everything that’s going on in everyone’s lives, it’s more difficult to get together. But I am very aware of how lucky I am to have them all as my family.

And I found out over the weekend that I had won a contest on my KEEP Collective team! I got so excited about double promoting last month that I’d forgotten I was even in the contest, but my director messaged me and let me know I’d won! What did I win? Well, this super cute pair of Tory Burch flip flops! I think I’ve won more contests in the past year than I have in the last 45 combined but maybe that’s because I’m putting myself out there more. Either way – wow!

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And I went on a little spending spree with the $575 in product credit that I got for my double promotion last month! It was fun to splurge a little on myself and it was a really good week mail-wise!

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My latest KEEP haul – all free!

And I finally got a bit of down-time last week, which I really needed. Sometimes I forget, in all the hustle and bustle, that it’s okay to relax and slack off just a bit. But you’ve got to take care of yourself first to be able to take care of anybody else, right?

Anyway, have a great week!

Til next time!

Much love – Mama Bear

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Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume XXXVIV

In light of the recent tragedy in Orlando, I’ve chosen to change things a bit this week.

I am grateful for many things, and I focus on those things every week on this blog. Last week, I had the opportunity to connect with a wonderful group, Equality Springfield and plan a fundraiser to help them in their efforts to bring true equality for all of our local citizens. While marriage equality became a reality in America a year ago, in our area, it’s still perfectly legal for employers to fire employees based on their sexual orientation, and it’s legal for landlords to discriminate on the same basis. Equality Springfield is dedicated to changing that. Our local Pridefest was Saturday and I had the chance to participate and join in the fun! I met people from all walks of life and heard their stories and saw my first drag show (I know, I don’t get out much) and nearly got heatstroke and just had a wonderful time (in spite of the heatstroke). It’s very rare you get to spend the day with people who are all coming together for one singular purpose and such a positive one, besides. So much to be grateful for just in that one day.

And then I woke up Sunday to the news about Orlando.

And now, the fundraiser for Equality Springfield has turned into something bigger. We’ve decided that the proceeds from the fundraiser are going to go to the Pulse Orlando GoFundMe account. Equality Springfield decided (and I totally agree) that perhaps there was a more pressing need in Orlando, and I am really hoping that we get to send a huge donation to Orlando to help the victims and families there.

So here’s all the details:

If you don’t know about KEEP Collective, we’re a sister brand of Stella & Dot with interchangeable keys (charms) and Keepers (bracelets, key fobs and necklaces). All of the keys fit on all of the Keepers. And I’ve designed 4 products that customers can buy outright to honor the victims in Orlando (click thru to see each design):

In addition, you can customize any of those designs or make something one-of-a-kind and the proceeds will still go to Orlando if you order through the Equality Springfield KEEP Collective social link here. You can order through June 25.

Here are some other Pride designs for inspiration:

And here are some other ways to design your own one-of-a-kind look with KEEP Collective:

And if you need help placing an order, or would like to see your design before you buy it, contact me either through this site, or by emailing me at mamabear@mamabearsaidso.com.

This week, reach out to your LGBT friends & family members, check to see how they’re doing, and be as kind as you can to everyone you meet. I don’t know the answers to stopping things like this from happening, but I have to believe that they start with being kind to each other.

Much love. – Mama Bear

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Total Gratitude Tuesday: Volume XXXVII

If it tells you anything about how busy my Tuesday has been, I nearly missed my TGT post! But it’s been a good kind of busy, so it’s okay!

First, let’s acknowledge that today is Prince Day – at least in Minnesota (and with his fans, no matter where they live). Today Prince would have turned 58. It still seems impossible to me that he’s gone, but I love keeping his memory alive with his music. So, Happy Prince Day!

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We just finalized all of our plans for our trip to Canada in August! We’re staying in Niagara Falls for two days, then to Quebec City for 3 days and then to Montreal for 4 days. It feels good to finally have all the details nailed in place and now I can relax a little and look forward to the trip! With Hoopla for 4 days in August and then the trip to Canada, August is going to be a busy month!

Our son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s wedding plans are coming along as well! The guys have found their clothing for the wedding, and it’s shaping up to be absolutely gorgeous. We’re all really excited about it!

And last night, we got almost the entire extended family together for my mother-in-law’s birthday! That doesn’t sound like it would be a big deal, but there’s 25 of us spread all over Ohio (and then 4 living out of state that unfortunately couldn’t make it)! But she’s a really amazing woman, so I’m glad we were able to work it out to celebrate her birthday together. It’s funny when I hear people talk about their mothers-in-law because mine has always been more like a mother to me and to all of the other in-laws as well (I’m the only daughter-in-law!). She has a big heart and there’s always room in it for more family and we’re all so very blessed to have her.

I’m coming off a really huge month with KEEP and it’s so amazing to me. My team had amazing sales last month and I double promoted and got the biggest paychecks I’ve ever received at any job, plus a ton of bonuses for my promotions! I went from thinking I wasn’t cut out at all for sales to hitting every one of my goals for the last two months.

I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I’m going to Springfield PrideFest and running a fundraiser for the group that’s running it, which is really exciting (my first fundraiser for KEEP Collective!), and on Sunday, we’re all getting together to do an Escape Room experience for our youngest son’s 17th birthday!

Hope you have an amazing week (and weekend) as well!

Much love. – Mama Bear