Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.

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Coping with Tragedies

There’s one notion that I can’t seem to let go unchecked… it’s been weighing on my mind so heavily for the last few days. This is the notion that we can be shamed into not talking about the tragedies that happen in our communities, our neighboring communities, our “grandmother’s best friend’s mom’s community.”

In the wake of what is happening across our nation, in our schools, and within our kids’ minds and hearts, we cannot be afraid to speak up or ask questions. On Valentine’s Day, we all learned of the tragic event that took place in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Growing up in south Florida – although never attending this particular high school – it hit close to home. Parkland is a small, beautiful and affluent community. I have several friends that have attended this high school. So, reality set in that this tragic event can happen any where and at any time and to anyone. Being a mother of two school-aged girls (8 and nearly 9.5 years old), this was a scary feeling. I had lots of questions: Why? How did this happen? Like… How was he allowed on campus when he is no longer a student? How did he get an AR-15 into the school without anyone noticing? Why hadn’t anyone voiced serious concerns when he posted such things on social media? How do you prepare children – especially young, innocent-minded children – for something so violent? How do you even begin to have such a heart-wrenching conversation?

Mulling over all of these questions and reading the Facebook posts of some of my south Florida friends and families, I came across a few seemingly shaming posts about how we shouldn’t make this event about ourselves, or how everyone “is trying to find some connection to this shooting.”

Listen up, the problem sits right here in those very statements. We are being shamed out of talking about difficult topics. We are being told that we can’t relate to this event – or feel deep sorrow and compassion about what took place in our own communities. Hell, I even saw a comment linking this to mental illness and assigning judgement to it. The mere fact that we are shaming people about mental illness or ascribing judgement to individuals who suffer from mental illness, in my opinion, should be a sign of mental instability – or at the very least fear or ignorance about it. There have also been several articles, social media posts, and comments laying blame to a political party because of access to guns. At this point, it’s beyond political. It’s personal. My readers: the next victim – or suspect – could be your child, your niece, or your best friend’s son. It could be your childhood teacher.

I think as individuals and parents it’s our job to ask these questions, to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It absolutely is our business and we should make this about ourselves and our own children or else we will be facing the same horrifying events as other parts of the country. Don’t let others silence you or shame you into speaking out and asking questions. Ask all the questions. Get involved. Talk to your kids. Talk to your child’s school administrator. Ask how this happened and how can we prevent it from happening again. A 19 year old walked into a school he wasn’t attending, with an assault rifle, without being detected. He took 17 lives. He crushed the hearts and souls of parents across the world. Let’s ask the questions.

My heart goes out to the families that were affected. ❤


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Happiness is a Moving Target

If you’re an introspective person, at some point in life you’ve asked yourself the question, What do I want?

What do you want out of life? For over a decade, when asked what I want out of life, my answer has always been “happiness” and inevitably there’s a follow up question about what happiness looks like to me or what will bring about happiness for me. This has lead me to modify my answer over the years to be, happiness… whatever that looks like. Kind of like saying, “whatever’s in my cards…”

Not many of us can truly articulate what will bring about happiness and for each individual, that answer is different. Quite often, we don’t really know what will bring about our own happiness. We merely guess towards objects or goals that are ultimately attainable such as a clean house, a better paying job, or a boat. But what happens when you’ve obtained that goal or item?

What I’ve come to learn is that I am not really seeking happiness… I am searching for joy.

Joy is the feeling of jubilation, a sense of renewed energy, and a feeling of safety and security (emotionally, physically, financially).  Joy comes from moments of happiness like celebrations, good news, or acts of love and kindness.

I’ve modified my answer to truly express what feeling I want to aim for each day because happiness itself can be a moving target from day-to-day. What might bring about happiness today (like tackling something heavy on your to-do list, getting a pedicure, or buying that gadget) may not promise you happiness tomorrow. It’s like the dream job that you’ve been chasing… once you obtain the job and assume the role, you are forced to then redefine happiness by whatever that next level of achievement will be. 

And while joy can fade in and out as you do your dance with life, your target will always remain the same… a feeling of pure and overwhelming jubilation.

~ always in search of joy ~

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Comfort is the Enemy of Progress

Last night I went to see The Greatest Showman in theaters with some friends. First of all, let me just say this was an incredible movie! Whether the character was a true depiction of the actual man or not, P.T. Barnum is an individual that doesn’t give up on his dreams, no matter what unfortunate circumstances arose. He believed in his dreams, and in something bigger than himself. He didn’t give up on his pursuit despite what was considered unfavorable or unpopular. He believed in others even when they didn’t believe in themselves. He saw the bigger picture. And… he knew that what he needed to do in order to see his dreams through would require him to think outside the box and step outside of his comfort zone. After the movie, a quote from P.T. Barnum lingered on my mind, “Comfort is the enemy of progress.”

Stepping out of our comfort zone requires us to step outside of ourselves. If we are going to strive for progress, whether professionally or personally, we have to get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable. This isn’t easy for everyone. For someone like me, who is self-prescribed introvert, this can be difficult. Stepping out of our comfort zone requires extra effort, energy, and sometimes forced experiences. It requires us to set aside our fear and be vulnerable. We have to be willing to try something new, different, difficult, or even something that’s never been done before. We have to put ourselves out there – trusting in ourselves and trusting others with our most vulnerable self. It’s a frightening thought. What if we get it wrong? What if we look silly? Will it be worth it in the end? Will I stand alone? What if I fail? Oh but, what if I succeed and evolve? 

That feeling of fear reminds you that you’re still alive. The worry of not knowing what to do when you get there reminds you that you have more room to grow and learn. The frightening feeling of being exposed and vulnerable reminds you that you’re not alone and that you’re human. What’s more exciting than knowing you haven’t quite reached your full potential…. that this great state you already exist in is only just the tip of the iceberg… and that even as magnificent as you are right now, it is only a glimpse of the incredible potential still within you?

What are some things you have been avoiding because it’s outside of your comfort zone? What has fear kept your from pursuing? I’d love to hear from you, so leave a message below in the comments!




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Resolve to Dissolve

It’s New Year’s Eve and many of you are reflecting on the past year and contemplating how 2018 will serve you. I find myself here at the end of every year. I can’t say that I am happy to rid myself of 2017 because it was a great year for me. A lot of productive and necessary changes took place for me in 2017. Quite of bit of opportunity showed up for me in 2017. I showed up for me in 2017. And while this year has been transformative, I am very much excited to take on 2018 and yes, I have a list of goals/resolutions.

I never understood people who minimize New Year’s Eve resolutions. Resolutions, or as I prefer to call them: goals, are a guide post for happiness. When we create a list of resolutions, we are putting out into the world our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Whether small or gigantic proportions, each goal leads you somewhere productive or serves as a force of motivation for change in your life that will ultimately bring you joy. So, what’s not to love?

I love to nerd out about my goals. I make a short list of my top five, and usually they’re vague. Under each one, I describe how I will achieve it… action items, if you will. This is what works for me. Mapping it out and visually seeing the plan in front of me helps me get there quickly and on the straight and narrow. Instead of writing things I no longer want to do, I focus on what I want. I stay focused on the positive.

If you’re someone who scrunches up your face at the word resolution, I wonder if it brings up memories of failure, fear, pressure, or expectations. Resolutions can be intimidating if you allow them to be – but how about this: If for one year, you make ONE resolution.

Resolve to dissolve all things in 2018 that no longer serve you.

Plain and simple. Ditch everything in your life that no longer serves you. Negative thoughts. Poor excuses for friends. The clutter in your home (or maybe in your head). Dissolve what you think you are suppose to be. Expectations that others have of you that don’t line up with your own personal expectations or ideologies. Just dissolve all of the negative and see how you show up for you. 

If you have resolutions, I would love to hear them! If you decide for now that you’ll only “resolve to dissolve,” then I commend you for being brave. Put your resolutions out into the universe by leaving them in the comments below!

Cheers to you, and to a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!  ❤

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The Power of Expectation

Expectations have such a hold on each one of us. Marveling at its possibilities with wide eyes and lusting after what could be, you become hooked and drawn into believing it’s whispers that “this is reality.” It’s so right, so perfect. 

And WOMP! Expectations have a way of letting you down, crashing in disappointment, possibilities unraveling before your own eyes. Feelings of emptiness where the hope for what could have been once live. You think, “how could this be?” And maybe you throw yourself an adult tantrum (yes, it’s a real thing) at not getting your way. The vision was so clear and so seemingly real and possible. 

Behold… the power of expectation. 

Let go of what should be and embrace what is, each day and each moment. 

Set yourself free. 

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Wo(man) on a Mission

So, you’re on a mission… You set your sights on a goal, you get hyped about starting, and stoked to see your dreams become reality. And then life happens and you get distracted, and you wander off the path for a bit. How do pick back up and find the bread crumbs you left for yourself?

I know this all too well… here I go again… I’ve lost sight of my vision many times but I always find myself coming back to it. It happens, we all get distracted. Building a home and planning and preparation can be any easy excuse… But I won’t tolerate my own excuse(s).
How do we hold our vision? How do we stop ourselves from making or allowing excuses for losing our vision?

We enlist support in friends and colleagues. We rally our families and make sure they know what our vision is and the end game, and what it’s going to take to get there. We ask them to hold us accountable. 

How do we motivate and get back up off our tush? Shake off the shame from ditching your dreams (temporarily) and just start somewhere. Find the groove again, pick a point to start and just go. 

And lastly, stay on target! Don’t allow yourself to lose focus for too long, and persist. Because, why? Because you don’t want to look back and regret not chasing your dreams… 


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Are you an over-sharer?

Hey, over-sharer! Yes, I’m talking to you. You’re an over-sharer, and so am I. Over-sharing is a learned behavior that’s snow-balled over time, with the increased use of social media platforms and the ever-increasing need to impress.

Let’s talk about sharing privileged and personal information, what it means, and how to reel it in. Let’s first define what over-sharing is. To over-share is to reveal an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life. Key word here is personal

We all have someone in our lives – or it may be ourselves – that shares a little too much information. You’re walking down the street and you run into Sally. You ask her how she is doing and she unravels a lengthy, grueling story about her entire 2016 so far. And maybe you care to hear it because Sally is a dear friend, but you’re caught off guard with the verbal vomit that comes spewing out – and you were totally unprepared to be there for her emotionally or physically (timing is important). Maybe Sally’s just an acquaintance and you were not expecting for her to open up so freely.

Listen up, the story of our lives is privileged information to be shared with only those who are deserving. Sharing your story (whether exciting or scary news) with the wrong person can lead to private information getting into the wrong ears, or misinformation about you.. ring, ring… hello, remember the game of telephone?! Over-sharing is not only happening in our personal encounters with others, it’s also taking place on social media platforms every day – some use it as a means for managing others’ impressions of us. Do we really need to know every time you check into the gym? 

We must discern who we deeply open up to and what information to share. Next time you hear yourself begin to chatter about all the details of your life to an acquaintance, reel it back in and consider who’s standing in front of you. This is your chance to exercise a little self-regulation.

Even more, if your sharing information about someone else, we must honor that person and show respect for their privacy. Exercising restraint with someone else’s personal information can save friendships and keep you from looking like Ms. Gossip Queen (or Mr. Gossip Queen – I know some men who like a good gossip more than any woman I’ve ever met!) Over-sharing someone else’s personal information, or straight-up gossiping, will cause a person to refrain from befriending you.

So, what does it mean when someone over-shares? Generally, we can ascertain that over-sharers need to be heard. They long for connection, for sympathy, a moment to vent and let go of all that they’ve been holding onto (emotional stress). Over-sharers have a very admirable quality…  they’re trusting, although at times too trusting with the wrong people. Over-sharers are courageous in that they’re unafraid to be vulnerable and to truly be seen.

And while we all overshare a time or two (guilty!), it’s important to remember that we are not defined or limited by our stories and our experiences. These experiences are opportunities for growth!

Information about you is a gift, and to truly know you is a privilegeBy all means, forge connection with others, but do so with reverence.