Monthly Archives: April 2014

Getting A Facelift

My husband and I realized we could no longer put off the inevitable—our house desperately needed a facelift.  Some of the wood trim had rotted, and the paint had worn in patches.  The longer we let it go, the harder and more expensive it would be to resolve.  IMG_3587 2

As the crew took down all the shutters, started sanding, and pulled away the rot, it occurred to me that I, too, could use a facelift.  Not literally (well, maybe, but I’m too afraid to let anyone take a blade to my face).  I do, however, think it’s time to freshen up for spring and summer, and not just on the outside.

Sure, I’m always up for trying a new lipstick, highlights in my hair, or a pretty pair of new earrings.  Those are easy, quick fixes to perk up one’s mood, but they don’t mean much at the end of the day.  What I’m really talking about is a spring-cleaning of the spirit.

It’s been a bit of a rough winter around here: career hiccups, health matters, and extended family crises, all buried under mounds and mounds of snow and ice.  If you’re facing any of these kinds of issues, you know how easy it is to let the weight of everything affect you in ways that aren’t visible to the naked eye.

But just as the roots of the trees and other plants are feeding the new buds and blooms on their branches, it’s time for the rest of us to dig deep and tap into the things that get our juices going. Time to reflect on the choices we’ve made during the past several months and revisit things that aren’t working out so well, and invest more in the changes that are working.  Time to call on old friends, get back into reasonable exercise routines, trim the fat from the diet, and read a few good books.

It’s tough to get started, but it’s the only way I know to break through the doldrums and renew the optimism my family needs from me in order to thrive.

I think this is something all women share…a desire to be role model and inspiration to her family.  So help me out and tell me how you renew your spirits and find the best part of yourself, because I’m always up for trying something new!


Moving Mountains

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any – Alice Walker

Does the phrase “I can’t do anything about it” sound familiar to you?  I know I’ve heard (and said) it many times throughout my life.  It’s easy to say, and easier to believe.  After all, the world is huge, and one person’s life and influence seems rather insignificant and powerless in the face of it all.influence1

But then I read stories about how a single person made a huge difference and positively impacted millions of people.  Need examples?  How about Jack Andraka, the Maryland high school student who became inspired to invent a screening test for pancreatic cancer after losing a close family friend to the disease?  Working essentially on his own, with initial resources like Google and Wikipedia, he sought grants, secured an internship with Johns Hopkins University, and developed a pancreatic cancer test similar to a pap smear.  Or Brad Katsuyama, the young RBC executive who noticed the so-called stock scalping being done by certain high frequency trading, and instead of ignoring it, he alerted others, found solutions, and started a new stock exchange (IEX) impervious to such antics.

Most of us will never achieve anything nearly as spectacular as these two young men.  But we do have the power to effect change within our families, our communities, and beyond.  It begins with believing in yourself, in your ability to find solutions, and in your ability to persuade others to join your cause, if necessary.

Moral conviction.  Passion.  Intellectual curiosity.  Ambition.  These traits do not belong to a select few.  We are all born with these gifts.  Don’t be afraid to unleash them, or to fail the first time you try to make a difference.

Imagine a world where people who thought “Nothin’ I can do about it” stopped and thought again.  Imagine yourself a soldier in an army of optimists where each small step could lead somewhere wonderfully unexpected and life-changing (for yourself and others).  Imagine looking back over your life and seeing a thousand examples (some big, most small) in which you left your mark.

Are you pumped up?  I am, but I think I’ll start small—take a page from Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror and first change those things about myself I don’t like.

How about you?  Where can you make a difference?