Archive for the ‘Motivational’ Category

Lessons Learned from Bin Laden’s Death

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

As I watched the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death unfold last night I had, as did many others, mixed emotions. I was happy that a man who had such an evil mind, a man who killed people like they were no more than ants, will no longer be around to spread his toxic hatred. But at the same time, I did not feel the urge to celebrate, as I know that his death is not the end of terrorism or hatred.

As I always try to do, I wanted to look for the good in this situation, and see how I can apply it to life in general, maybe even take something positive from it. In thinking about it I realized that the most important consequence of an event like this is that it reminds every American that we all have to stand together.

Do you remember what it felt like in the weeks after the twin towers fell? I do, and I will never forget that. People everywhere were kinder, nicer, more respectful. There was just a feeling of connectedness that I can’t explain. It was as if people stopped and realized that we were all joined in some way, that even though you may not have known someone who perished that day we are all Americans, and we are part of that which is so much bigger than just ourselves.

It is my hope that despite the horror of terrorism and natural disasters, death and destruction, and even mean people, we can all learn to respect each other just a little bit more, to be more kind. It is so easy to get caught up in our own busy lives, to watch the news and see things happening in other places and feel a moment of sadness before thanking our god that we and our loved ones are not suffering.

I hope that from this we can all remember what it felt like in the days and weeks after 9/11, that we are all vulnerable, and that we have to stick together. Out of every tragedy comes some good. Remember to smile and spread kindness and be a little more respectful, appreciate everyone and be thankful every day. This is actually a great lesson to teach our children, that from the bad comes something beautiful, and that Americans are strong because we all respect not only our freedom, but that of every other person.

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Feeling Down? Keep on Living

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

It is hard lately to not feel depressed. After what happened in Japan last week, with tens of thousands presumed dead and many homeless, with the now confirmed statement that there is a threat of death from radiation exposure to citizens, to the violence in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, and the ongoing problems in other parts of the middle east and our own economic problems here at home. There seems to be so much going on that it is hard to not feel sad. Many people question whether they should go on with their lives and have fun, do happy things, in the face of such sadness.

Moving forward and looking at things from different perspectives can help us all to recover. I know that my beautiful sister-in-law, my birth father, and many others who died too young would want me and my loved ones to carry on, to make a difference and help others. They are not here at all, and I am sure they would have given anything to live longer. In honoring their memory, and the many loved ones who have passed, I feel better and can move ahead.

I am talking with my children about all the problems that are occurring in this world right now, but I am also teaching them to go forward and live, to make each moment count. I teach them not to forget that others are suffering, and to give whatever they can to help those in need, to think of things they can do to ease the pain of others. It is a great discussion to have. We cannot be strong for others if we do not take care of ourselves. So find ways to give, to help, to make a difference. But don’t forget to live.

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Do You Take Time to Smell the Roses?

Monday, March 7th, 2011

This past weekend was a whirlwind of excitement in my family, and it made me appreciate the importance of family time, time away from work and routine. Both my children accomplished incredible goals this weekend–my daughter’s Odyssey of the Mind (academic competition) team advanced from regionals to the state competition, and my son won two trophies in his motocross races (including 2nd place overall). Needless to say I sent them both off to school this morning feeling pretty great about themselves (my daughter wearing her medal around her neck). I am sure that confidence will carry them through the day and more. Although I am exhausted and need a weekend to recover from my weekend, I feel happy and proud.

We all know that there are those things in life that can sometimes pinch us and make us realize what is truly most important. Sadly, many of us tend to put things on the back burner and keep trudging along, usually until something happens that makes us realize how important it is to spend time with family, take a day to yourself, have a leisurely lunch with a dear friend, or visit loved ones. In this fast-paced world, with things going faster by the minute, it is so easy to forget these life lessons.

If you haven’t taken some time to really enjoy the company of those you love, watch a sunset, read a good book, hike a beautiful trail, smell the roses or just laugh with a friend…do it. Schedule time to do a little of this every week, every day if possible. Not only will it lift your spirits, but it will make you feel fulfilled and energized. Life has to be lived, and the more living we do, the more we can contribute to not only our own success and happiness, but the success and happiness of others. Make it a fantastic week!

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What’s Going on in Carlsbad?

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

There is a LOT happening in Carlsbad, so whether you have a New Years resolution to be fit, spend more time outdoors or be more social, our beautiful city has you covered.

Trail Volunteer Event: Help preserve Lake Calavera by joining others on January 15 from 8:30-11:30. Girl Scout troops will assist volunteers in cleaning the trails, planting native species, installing new trail signs and making repairs due to trail erosion from recent rainstorms. Take College to Lake to Skyhaven Lane (near Calavera Hills Elementary School). Parking is on Skyhaven Lane. Follow the east trail entrance to the work area. For more information call 760-434-2978.

Carlsbad Teen Scene: Calling all teen bands…it’s that time of year again! Do you have what it takes to battle out other local teen bands? Registration is still open until January 10. Teen Scene will be Saturday, January 29 from 4-9 p.m. at the Calavera Hills Community Center. Entry cost is only $5, and there will be a film shorts festival, game lounge for video nuts and an art cafe. It’s a great night out for teens. For more information and to find out how to save $3 on tickets visit http://www.carlsbadca.gov/services/departments/parksandrec/Pages/teen-scene.aspx.

Carlsbad Triathalon: The Carlsbad Triathalon is Sunday, July 10 and registration is now open. You can even register online. If you wanted to get in shape this year there is no better way to do it, so start training! For more information on registration go to http://www.active.com/triathlon/carlsbad-ca/711-carlsbad-triathlon-2011.

Fitness Classes Galore! There are all kinds of ways to stay fit and have fun doing it here in Carlsbad, so no more excuses! Choose from swimming, trail hiking, yoga, pilates, martial arts, jazzercise, Zumba…the possibilities are endless. You can even try them all. To learn more about all the classes offered and to register you can pick up a copy of the Carlsbad Community Services Guide, or to see the online version click here: http://content.yudu.com/A1765q/CSG/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=.

Library Events: There is always something going on at the Dove and Cole Libraries. Join a book club, see independent films with the Cinema Society of Carlsbad, attend a poetry reading, or one of many events that the library hosts (including kids and teen events). For more information on what is happening at the library visit the library website at http://www.carlsbadca.gov/library/.

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Help Me to Help Children!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

I recently read an article in the San Diego Union Tribune that made my heart sing. It was about an organization called Just In Time here in San Diego. It is dedicated to helping young adults emerge from the foster system into the real world, aiding them in becoming successful adults and staying off the streets. This really touched me, as I was adopted at birth and have been seeking ways to give back to organizations that help with adoptions and the foster system.

For anyone who is aware of the realities of the foster care system in California (and many other states, I am sure), it is filled with many stories; from positive experiences to those that are truly devastating. Those not lucky enough to get adopted out to a permanent family may face challenges when they turn 18 and are all of a sudden on their own.

Just in Time focuses on helping young adults 18-26 years old as they transition into adulthood. Many of these young people do not have the support of family, which makes going out on their own difficult. They need guidance and help getting started—with school or a job, a place to live, transportation, and more.

As an adopted child I have been interested in the process for most of my life, but the last decade or so I have been seeking ways to give back to those who are in the system, to dedicate my time helping others. I have volunteered for the San Diego Department of Health and Human Services in their adoption department for several years. But I have also been looking for other ways to help make a difference in this arena, and Just in Time has me excited.

There is another organization that was recently started founded by NFL player Phillip Rivers called Rivers of Hope. It’s mission is to help children who are currently going through the foster care system. This is another wonderful organization that works with children within the foster system.

I will be donating a portion of my commission from every sale going forward to organizations like these, in the hopes that it will make life a little brighter for children in the foster system as well as those exiting it to start their own lives.

If you are interested in helping these great causes you can visit their websites to learn further information. For Just in Time visit http:///www.jitfosteryouth.org. For Rivers of Hope Foundation go to http://riversofhopefoundation.com.

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A Different Perspective

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Have we become a nation of whiners? I keep hearing that all over the place. Times are hard and many people have lost their jobs, homes, pride…and so much more. It can feel daunting at times and make us feel exhausted and even desperate.

Keep in mind during these times that there were times that were MORE difficult. I know when bad things happen to you it is sometimes hard to see this perspective, but have a look at these photographs. There is always someone who is worse off. So be thankful for what you DO have and take a positive step in the right direction. As Thanksgiving approaches find those things for which you CAN be thankful–your health, your family…

Images from 1935-1939

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A Lesson in Humility

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

With the crazy economic challenges of the last few years many people have begun to question the way they live their lives. This may take shape in the way we spend our money, what things we buy or decide to go without, the trips we take and what forms of entertainment we seek. Vanity has taken a back seat to humility in America, and you can certainly feel it.dreamstime_9853771

A wise man recently told me of the “Hedonic Treadmill,” a term that can be used to explain the roots of the current economic situation. He said that on this treadmill the higher our income rises, the more material things we desire. We run faster and faster in place on the treadmill to achieve our material goals. But the problem is that we are not striving for true happiness, only what we THINK will make us happy.

This example makes a lot of sense if you put it into perspective and apply it to the current economic situation. Take the housing market for example. In the early 2000’s millions of Americans were given a golden pass, allowing them to take on mortgages they could not afford so that they could buy homes that were beyond their ability to maintain.

Here in San Diego and other parts of California ‚ÄúMcMansions‚Äù were king‚enormous homes on small lots in nice areas. These homes were gobbled up and many of these areas have been the hardest hit in recent foreclosure waves.

dreamstime_4373458Another way to look at it is by comparing vanity and humility. Most people define vanity as self-obsession. However, the wise man I mentioned above told me that in reality vanity actually is a belief that because we have worked hard we deserve to be rewarded for our success.

Humility is defined as having an absence of pride or self-assertion. It is a recognition that we have not yet reached our true potential, and that there is more for us to accomplish and give to the world. In other words, when we are humble we recognize that we have not yet earned any rewards for our labors.

Many people these days seem to be striving toward humility over vanity. It does not seem to be as important to live in big homes as it was just a few years ago‚in fact I have talked to many people who have or plan to downsize, or those who at one point wanted a larger home but now feel content in the home they have.

Purchases of big ticket items‚luxury cars, vacations, jewelry, have gone down in the last several years. Yet more movie, museum and local play and musical ticket sales have increased. Volunteerism has gone up. Despite the struggles of many in the current economy there is a desire by many to help others less fortunate.dreamstime_3018332

So from the negative comes positive. Many of us have suffered: we have lower incomes, jobs that pay less (or no jobs at all), we have lost our homes or fear we will in the future, we are hurting.

But these situations are temporary. We WILL recover, things will get better. In the meantime we can give of ourselves, help those less fortunate. We can spend less on things we used to buy and have more family dinners and game nights, more walks and games of ball with our kids. We can look at this state as a time to regroup, to think of what is important, to re-prioritize. Think of it as a blessing, no matter how badly you hurt.

The ancient Chinese Tao teaches the following, and it is a fantastic lesson:

It takes thirty spokes to make a wheel:

But the hole in the center makes it useful for a cart.

It takes a lump of clay to make a pot:

But the empty space within it gives the pot it’s value.

A house needs walls and doors and windows:

But the empty space is what we call a room to live in.

Thus, fullness has its role, but emptiness redeems it.

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Find what is important to you in this life, this borrowed time that you have been granted, and make the best of it. We can always look back and know that we did our best and made the most of life, but it is too late when one looks back and realizes he/she should have done more.

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