Saturday, December 15, 2012

When Tragedy Strikes... How Do We Respond?

I work all the time, either in the office counseling children and families who have been through abuse, divorce, or have behavioral issues.  I host a weekly radio show, which involves  setting up guests, preparing for the show, posting the show, and tweeting it out for all of you to find it and download it.  I am a children's book author and I peddle my books at signings, events, book clubs, etc.  I also blog.... which is what I have found time to do today amidst all the unfinished Christmas shopping yet to be done!

So it is no great surprise that I didn't know about or even hear about the horrific scene that played out yesterday in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School until much later yesterday evening.  When I heard about it; like many of you, I was deeply saddened and in shock.  It will never be okay for innocent children or adults to be killed, gunned down, and families destroyed by another person.  "How could this happen?" was one of my first thoughts.... but I already know.

Since the beginning of time, we have not lived with compassion. We have convinced ourselves that solving problems through wars and killing millions of people and destroying property is okay if we get what we are fighting for.  We have allowed ourselves the right to hate specific groups or individuals based on their religious beliefs, color of their skin, sexual orientation, or the team they play on!  As I read the posts on Face Book it is clear, that many people now feel justified in calling the gunman names.  They feel justified at waging war against him.... so what does that make them?

Raising compassionate kids starts in the womb.  You have to love yourself and love your baby with all that you have within you for the connection to start.  When the baby is born it is vital that you spend quality face time with your baby connecting with them, being tuned in, meeting their needs, and showing them the way.  Families are quick to buy kids expensive presents and lavish gifts to make up for the time they don't spend with them.  They allow school, after school, teams, coaches, and friends to give their kids quality time instead of having the face time with their kids that they really need to have.

So, I already know, that in some cases when a tragedy like this occurs; there has been a disconnect, first from the person's internal compassion for others and a disconnect from their loving Creator.  Whether that happened because the family is disconnected or there is mental illness that has disconnected the individual from their own value system is always the question.  It doesn't make what happened right, but we can't sit in judgement of an individual because then we are not in compassion anymore and looking for vengeance.  Hate will always destroy us from the inside first, and then we destroy others.

So, I surround all families, children, and individuals with love and light.  I open my heart to learn the lesson that may be meant for me through this horrific event.  I thank the angel children who died yesterday for the light they put on this earth before they passed.  To my earthly brother who was born into a different family, and  who lost his way, I release my anger at what he did and love the spirit within him because that is who I am called to be.  Namaste

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Four Saints Brewing Company, A Dream Becoming a Reality

Joel McClosky and Andrew Deming are amazing guys.  I went to their special backer incentives pick up today to tour the BREWERY and to hug the guys that so inspire me.  They have gone from a thought, to a dream, to the reality of having the building in downtown Asheboro!   They hope to be up and selling in about six months.  

Although the brewery is not open for business, Four Saints Brewing Company has already earned the Best In Show Beer and Best of Show for the Big Sip Expo!  The vision that these guys have for the very first brewery in Randolph County is exactly what I want!  A place where I'm called by my name when I show up and the feeling that I
am really welcome.  As I listened to Andrew talk about the renovations; exposing the aged bricks that have so much character and a story to tell; I could see the vision. I imagined myself sipping a jalapeno beer next to that brick wall in the warm and inviting lights and creating my own stories with old friends and new friends that are sure to be met in that special place.

So, how do you go from a thought, to a dream,  to the dream becoming a reality?  It is all about passion, vision, and the most fearless word of all, YES!  Joel and Andrew chose to say yes to their dream and then give all of us a chance to take the ride along with them.  As a backer of the Four Saints Brewing Company I am so happy that good guys do finish first!  I believe in the power of dreaming and these guys will always be my heroes!  

What lesson can we learn?  ANYTHING is possible, and these guys are proving it!  When you're in down town Asheboro, take a walk on Fayetteville Street and check them out!  As cliche as it is.... this will be a place where, "Everybody knows your name."

Four Saints Brewing Company  ( OPENING SOON!)
218 S. Fayetteville St.
Asheboro, NC 27203

To hear the guys on the Second Chances Radio show; click here!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Teaching Kids To Be Thankful

If you want to raise compassionate kids who are thankful; you have to begin when they are young.    Children will emulate what you say, do, and feel from the moment they are aware of the outside world. You smile at them, they smile back.  You goo goo gaga, they respond.  

When children are absorbing the world around them that is your moment to begin teaching compassionate and thankful living.  Are you grateful for the simple moments in your life?  Do you feel happy just being quiet?  Do you feel content sitting on the deck and listening to the birds?  Many times we forget to just be thankful in the moment without the bells, whistles and new big kid toys.  

If your children grow up watching you "needing" the next new thing to make you happy, they too will become a "I want it" kid.  I've actually heard people say they will not be really happy until they get__________; whatever it is they are dreaming about.   If you cannot choose to be happy in the moment you are in and find thankfulness for what is.... you cannot teach that to your kids.  You'll get caught up in buying the newest toy and overwhelming them with stuff instead of your time.

Life is all about choices, and here are some ways to embrace and model thankfulness this season:

  • Make a conscious choice to show your kids the simple pleasures. (Take a walk, listen for bird sounds, help out someone in need...)
  •  Spend face time with your kids and tell them how happy you feel just being with them. (Make cookies, do crafts, teach them a sport...)
  • Avoid using toys and things to show your love. (Quality time will be what they remember and will last a lifetime) 
  • Tell and show your kids that people are ALWAYS more important than things by always putting people in the family and outside the family first.
  • Model selfless service and involve your family in community giving.  (Volunteer, donate.... )
Choose to be happy... and look for the blessings in each moment.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Embracing the Right To Vote Teaches Kids To Use Their Voice

It is so important to teach your kids the power of their voice.  It starts early on when they are given the choice of which snack to eat, or which color to wear, or what they want for their birthday.  All these little choices along the way begin to teach kids that they can think for themselves and that their voice matters and can change the outcome of their day.

When teaching young people the power of their voice it is vital that you support their opinions and avoid trying to make your child a "mini me," you know, a short person that thinks, chooses, and acts just like you. Although it may be cute to watch your child mimic you, it is not cute to see a whole family choosing hate or an entire family pushing their values on their children who may really be completely different in their opinion or what feels natural to them.

If you really want to raise empowered and compassionate kids... you will embrace their thoughts and their right to choose.  On this election day, we all have the right to choose, but it is important that in our choosing we model for our children how to be kind, loving, and compassionate to others who may not think the way we think.  Kids will emulate their parents to some degree, but realize that you are raising a unique individual who is a free thinker.  Show respect for their voice, respect their right without judgement and avoid pressuring them to be your "mini me."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Second Chances: Social Vegan!

Second Chances: Social Vegan!: Quinoa and Black Beans Choosing to live your life as vegan is a huge commitment!  It affects what you eat, where you can eat, what you ...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Social Vegan!

Quinoa and Black Beans
Choosing to live your life as vegan is a huge commitment!  It affects what you eat, where you can eat, what you can buy, and how you manage parties, Holidays, and social events.  It is also an emotional  journey that I never expected I would take.  

As a child, I hadn't even heard about vegan ism and I LOVED Kentucky Fried Chicken and often ate it at my maw maw's house after church.  As an adult, that used to be my go to meal after a camping trip.  Most people would have referred to me as a huge carnivore when I started eating for my blood type ( a book I read once) and it involved serious animal protein.

Then the events of the year 1998 happened.  I had been eating large amounts of meat and working out at the gym for an hour to an hour and a half every morning.  My dad; who had been a smoker since he was 18 years old and joined the navy; was dying of emphysema and could no longer leave the home without oxygen and was attached to a oxygen tank at the home 24 hours a day with a 30 foot hose.  We knew my dad was dying, but the exact time was unknown.

The morning of February 4th, 1998 I received a phone call from my brother telling me that daddy was in the hospital emergency room and it didn't look good.  Instead of getting ready for work; I found myself preparing to go into my parent's home; not knowing what the outcome would be.  My dad died before I even left the house that morning and while driving into Hickory to attend the visitation and funeral; I started coughing.  I was told two weeks later that I did in fact have whooping cough.  The next several months were spent out of work, struggling to keep my breath and avoid respiratory distress, and sitting up in the recliner because I had pulled muscles away from my ribs while coughing and couldn't lie down.

When I finally recovered from that illness, I was left weak, unable to breath, and disconnected to my body.  I tried working out again; but it was too traumatic.  So, I chose instead, to try yoga. Something I could decide how fast I went and what I could do.  Yoga was so healing for me because I could affirm what I could do and wherever I was; was exactly okay.  As I explored yoga I also explored my diet and realized that for me at that time, the my choice to live in compassion became very important.  I read a book entitled:  Vegan, The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus. That book changed my life.  I read the book in one week, and stopped eating meat right then and there.  My partner suggested I not go all Vegan right away.  I chose a vegetarian path for the next ten years which which was difficult enough in social situations.  But, as my consciousness continued to rise and my love for animals and for my own body, I chose to take the next step and go all in and embrace the vegan lifestyle.  This means that I do not eat any animals, animal by products (cheese, butter, milk) or wear/buy leather products or anything that an animal has had to die for.

Imagine going out to eat with friends or showing up to pot lucks and trying to make a Thanksgiving dinner without animals or anything animals make!  It has been a challenge; but I have found amazing cook books and I love to cook; so through this journey I have been able to eat well and feel great about my choices.  I've been able to find tofurky and vegan stuffing and amazing products that give me the taste and texture of "chicken" without hurting any chickens.  

When I go to restaurants I challenge my waiter and the chef to whip up vegan alternative dishes from the menu and I've always been delighted with what they choose.  I bring my own dish to pot lucks and parties to make sure I have something to eat, and my friends, sister,  and mother in law are always choosing things to cook that is "Midge friendly."  Gotta love that!  Just last night I spent a great evening with friends and took along an amazing Quinoa and Black Bean dish that I want to share with you!  ENJOY and know that when your heart is in the right place a path opens to take you where you need to go!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Happy and Healthy Child with Great Inner Love Starts in the Womb!

When you decide to plan your pregnancy, and in the best scenario, it would be planned….you become the most important person in your baby’s life.  At the moment of conception, your body, your mind, your energy, and your spirit all work together to provide the best possible start to the child that you will love and encourage throughout their childhood.
As a clinician for children and families, I have seen a huge increase in kids with rage filled explosions, lack of empathy, and an inability to focus. Parents are overwhelmed and don’t know how to make things better.  What they don’t want to hear, is that everything they exposed their baby to; even in the womb, makes a difference in how that child develops, handles difficult situations, and how they feel about themselves.
When an embryo begins to form, everything the mom thinks, feels, eats, drinks, as well as, the environment she is exposed to affects the development of that embryo.  There are very specific times in an embryos development that only happens in a day or in a few minutes.  If the mom is ingesting alcohol, drugs, and/ or cigarettes, her embryo may develop behavior problems, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, mood disorders, and a host of physical problems. 
It isn’t just what she eats and drinks though.  If a mom is dealing with depression, under a lot of stress, or living in domestic violence, that also affects the embryo. Children can be born, not only addicted to drugs and go through withdrawal, but they can also be born with a lack of connection to their birth mom. This will affect their ability to connect and love in appropriate ways. These children may develop attachment disorders if they didn't attach to their birth mom. This can occur when the baby is adopted and never had a chance to bond with their birth mom.  Children can also be affected if the energy and thoughts from the mom about her pregnancy are disengaged, angry, or depressed.
The first person a child attaches to is the mom, and this begins at conception. Once a child is born, what happens after that sets into motion a child with confidence, inner love, happiness, and success or a child with a whole host of emotional, physical, and behavioral problems that take a lifetime to manage.
To raise a child that will achieve her purpose in life and be all that she was created to be, the parent has to mirror love and respect toward them. In the beginning, a child looks to the parent for loving eyes, respect, and direction.  If a child is ignored, shamed, or disrespected; the child will mirror that. They will learn to hate themselves and then they will hate others.  A child can only give to themselves and others what they have inside.  If they see their parents fighting and disrespecting each other, if they see their parents screaming at them, putting them down, and disrespecting their presence, the child cannot be anything other than that.
There are things you can do to ensure your child’s success.
  1. Be a healthy and emotionally connected person.
  2. Model for your kids how to love and approve of yourself, by loving yourself.
  3. Engage you kids in a healthy lifestyle; not just for them, but for you and the entire family
  4. Be a part of your child’s life.  Show up for the activities they are involved in and ENJOY spending time watching your child.
  5. Allow your kids to take risks and try new things, this builds self confidence.
  6. Support your child in beginning the person they are created to be, not a mini you.
  7. Praise your child often; for trying, for being a decent person, and for the things they do well
  8. Allow your kids to become independent and encourage them to do things by themselves
  9. Respect your child’s right to choose their passion and their style
  10. Tell them often that you love them and then show them by hugging them and being there both physically and emotionally for them

Friday, October 12, 2012

How Do You Claim Your Second Chance?

So, morning has broken and you wonder, now what? Perhaps you've read a new self help book, or you were at a conference, or you listened to one of the Second Chance radio shows and felt inspired.  :) You promised yourself that today will be different and you will be different.... so, now what?  How do you start over and make it all better than before?

There is an awesome book by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson entitled: YOU CAN CREATE AN exceptional LIFE.  In that book, they describe ways to start your day, show up at work, go through your day, ready yourself to come home, make your bedtime peaceful, and be there for your life in a very positive way.  The main ingredient is.... you guessed it.... YOU!

First and foremost, you have to believe that your are worthy of all good things and that life is there for you, supporting you, and has your back.  Many people say they have faith, but they live in fear, not faith. They live their life fearful of change and fearful of failure.  I've heard many friends say, "I'm on this new diet, but I know it won't work, it never does."  Well then, it won't!

So, morning has broken and you wonder, now what?  I say that the first thought is the most important. That first thought that follows, now what, will make or break the day.  Wayne Dyer's book Wishes Fulfilled focuses on I AM statements that claim your inner divinity and the power to create your life.  So here are some options:
I AM love
I AM peace
I AM supremely happy to be awake
I AM ready to create my day
I AM worthy
I AM brave
I AM compassion
I AM grateful for: my life, my animals, my children, my job

You get the picture... all positive statements that will create the day you want.

So, morning has broken and you wonder, now what?  I AM ready to change and I AM ready to love me and live in compassion toward myself and others.  Welcome to second chances!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Inspired Living, A Lesson for Us All!

I am a BACKER!  That’s right… I supported the inspiring efforts of Joel McClosky and Andrew Deming as they took an idea, followed their inspiration and enthusiasm, and never wavered in their unimaginable dream of funding a brewery, “first time ever in Randolph County.”  Even though my favorite passage in the Bible is, “Jesus turned the water into wine,” and I was thrilled when Lumina opened their doors, I couldn’t help myself when I saw that these guys were living their dream and not taking doubts for their answer!  I had to offer my support.

So, I will be one of the first to take a pour from these guys when Four Saints Brewery opens its door, not only because I am a BACKER, but because I believe in Second Chances and I believe in positive and affirming living.  They followed their love of beer and then used their imagination and positive beliefs to pull this off.

What a lesson to us all. ANYTHING is possible.  Yes, ANYTHING.  Which brings me to the Fifth Saint I’d like us to consider-St. Francis of Assisi.  The patron Saint of animals said, 
  "Not to hurt the creatures brethren is our first duty to them,
but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission -
to be of service to them wherever they require it."
Saint Francis

Randolph County just funded, FULLY FUNDED, even over and above what the goal was to establish a first time ever brewery in our county.  We, as a community can do ANYTHING that we put our minds, beliefs, time, effort, and money into.  We absolutely can.  So why do we still have over 7, 000 animals go through our animal shelter?  Why don’t we have enough foster homes for animals waiting for a forever home?  Why don’t we feel inspired to spay/neuter our animals so that generations of animals will be spared neglect, starvation, illness, and death?

I don’t have the answer for why…but I do know we can!  We can band together and do the right thing.  We can lower the numbers of animals that go to our shelter.  The shelter can be there to protect our county from diseased and aggressive animals, but we can realize a no kill shelter in this community if we first follow a higher mission to be of service to the animals that need us now.  

Three Cheers to Four Saints Brewery and its owners, Joel and Andrew for showing us once again-we can do ANYTHING.  Now, it’s our turn. What can you do to make a difference?

-DONATE to spay/neuter efforts at the shelter and through the Humane Society
-Be a foster parent
-Adopt an animal that needs you at the shelter

and then lets meet together and share a cold one!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Joy Rising Out Of Sorrow

The stars are bright amid a smattering of clouds, but you know in the stillness that everything is as it should be & that in this moment I am standing in the place I have created for me...I AM joy rising out of sadness and life loves me. Take a moment today to feel your joy & pass it on to others ;)

That is how I felt this morning as I walked my solo journey around the block with our four-legged kids.  It was so quiet; and after supporting my beloved partner yesterday on the day she found out her father had crossed over; I felt the emptiness of all that had been, all that could have been before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and all that won't ever be.  In that moment, the stillness surrounded me like a blanket.  As I looked up; the stars bravely fought through the clouds and made themselves so evident that I was reminded that joy does always shine through.

When I first heard Oprah use the phrase; "Joy Rising" I owned it for myself.  There are so many times that I have to remind myself that no matter what is in this moment.... I have the power to claim I AM JOY RISING and I don't have to stay in that moment of sadness.  

I love the fact that I can feel sadness, support my partner, and still know that life will work out for me. It will for you too!  I invite you to claim your own joy rising and allow yourself the gift of knowing that life will always work out for you if you choose to be in a state of love, compassion, and openness to attract.... joy rising.

Monday, October 8, 2012

How Did You Know You Were Straight?

On this day of National Coming Out Week; I'd just like us to think for a moment about our own sexual orientation journey.   Exactly when did you know you were straight?  How did you find out?  Did someone guess?  Did someone gossip behind your back and you found out about it?  Did it get publicized on public television and you had to finally admit it?  Did you finally have to come out as straight to your parents because they were hammering you about why you wanted kids, and why you were hanging out with this other person who was not of your same gender?

Silly, right?  Not really, if you happen to be gay.  The world assumes that everyone is straight. It is expected. It has been deemed as moral.... but if you happen to be born gay.... the previous scenarios are all too familiar and can be devastating.  It shouldn't have to be that way and would be so much healthier if we could all explore our inner voice and live the lives we are created to be.

I implore you as parents to be open to your child's journey.  It is their journey to take and they were created to be there own special person... and that goes for their sexual orientation as well.  When they realize their own inner voice and if that voice is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or straight-surround them with unconditional love and embrace them.  Guide them to be who they are called to be-not to be you.  You've been there done that and now it is their turn to carve out the life that makes sense to them.

I applaud all of us who have been able to find our voice.  To be proud in the skin we are in.  To rid the shame of society's belief about who we should be.

Happy Coming Out Week!  If you'd like to tell your story; call in to Second Chances this Thursday at 9pmEST on