Monday, January 31, 2011

TOMS shoes

Hey everyone

Just a quick hi. Check out mine and my husbands wedding pictures and story on the TOMS shoes website.

This is an organization I'm very proud to support. They have an inspiring mission and I wanted to share. Surf the website too. The shoes are great!

BPositive :)


Monday, January 24, 2011

It's All Inside

I’d just like to say before I jump into my blog for the day, that I already wrote this blog once today. I wrote it, I perfected it, I re-read it and re-perfected it. And by the slip of a mouse and the o-so-convenient “auto-save” button, I lost it. I lost every perfect word.


Or perhaps it was a fateful mistake? 

I write this new draft and although, I am frustrated, I feel that this is an accurate representation of what's on my mind. I say this with a grain of salt, but it's sort of fun when something gets thrown at you that is the exact tangible example of what you're going through emotionally. (This is the silver lining way to look at it at least.)

So I will use my mistake and misfortune to get back into what I’ve been pondering today: The external vs. the internal

M friend J e-mailed me today, almost cosmically with her timing, to tell me about the miserable fate of January 24th. January 24th, according to this article has been deemed “the worst day of the year.”

What a title!!

This article confirmed and supported some unofficial research I’ve been doing lately. I do my very best to keep close tabs on the people in my life, and many of them have been uncharacteristically “blah” lately. And I mean that, not at all to be offensive, but just as the best way I can describe the way people seem to be feeling. Any number of things can effect us on any given day but it seems that right now, in the deepest, darkest part of the long winter months, we are all feeling a little down.

Initially, I felt like I was not so alone after reading this article. Great! Everyone’s feeling crappy! Lets have a pity party and dance around, damning this miserable winter day! But then I thought, pity parties are not fun! And I don’t need to participate in this debauchery. I don’t need to accept the misery of January 24th for myself. I can rise above it and laugh in its face and be great! 

Can't I?

J's email was cosmic in it's timing because I had sort of a crummy "January 24th" kind of morning. It started in blissful oblivion and escapist tendencies, when I turned on the heat in the apartment, stayed in my pajamas and watched "friend's" DVD's while I drank tea and made breakfast. I knew this coziness would come to a screeching halt when it was time to get dressed, open the e mails and face the realities of the day, but for that moment I indulged knowing what was to come.  And unexpectedly, I got a nice call from my mom, which left me feeling very loved and appreciated...but also very sad and longing. As my husband looked at me and said something sweet and comforting, the corners of my mouth turned down and crumbled into tears and sadness. The work stress, missing family, the winter woes, left the tears flowing with reckless abandon. To say the least, I was a bit defeated.  So I reached out and I e mailed M and just poured it all out. And here is what she said:

Nothing can take away what is inside of you. Nothing can take away who you are. B, you are a beautiful, strong woman and NOTHING can take that from you. Things outside of you can bash against the walls of your inner being with all the fear and shame, but nothing can take away your value. Even if society, even if family or friends may not help you see this, it's true. 

You are B. 

You are perfect just like you are

I sat silently taking in her words, tears still welling up in the inner corners of my eyes. The words actually halted me in my misery. I can't even say they "slapped me in the face" or "hit me like a ton of bricks." The only way to describe it, is they hugged me. M's words hugged me and brought me back to the real reality. Not the reality of stress and pressure and fear of everyday living but the reality of inner strength, prayer, beauty and creativity.

And what was most significant to me about her words was they were true. Her words had meaning, depth, and truth. The kind of truth that we look for when we are struggling. The kind of truth that we can pass on to others. The kind of truth that reminds us how lucky we are to be so beautifully complex!

The seasonal depression, the crappy, unfulfilling job, the financial struggles, missing your family and friends, etc, etc... These are all external things. They are things that happen to us. 

And as M so wisely said, these external things cannot change us at the core. If you're creative, nothing can take away your ability to create. If you have knowledge and experience, it will always be inside of you regardless of circumstance. If you have a feeling of identity, empowerment and respect for yourself, the on-goings of the world around you can never strip you of that distinctiveness. And what I feel is most important to remember, is that regardless of how much life is kicking you in the shins, you can always continue to build who you are and promote growth from within.  

I'm excited to post this blog today, because I've been blog blocked this week. I've been unfocused, tired, and a little lazy. But mostly I've been afraid. Afraid that the words wouldn't come out right. Afraid of not writing something useful and meaningful. But as I write the words I realize no matter what ends up being posted today, they are the right words, simply because I wrote them, and I wrote them from within

BPositive and BYou

and.... happy January 24th!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thank you readers!

Hi my friends

As you can see I'm making some changes to the blog and I am continuing to add and personalize the space to what I feel will accommodate creativity and free spirited writing. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for reading and letting me know through your kind words that my words have helped you. Please feel free to send this to friends or family who you think might enjoy. I'm very grateful to have a medium to express myself and readers who listen. Have a happy Wednesday!




Love the people around you. Find peace with your decisions even if they later become mistakes.

Explore always. Everyday we have the chance to look around us and find something new.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't be Embarrassed

When I was young, I often felt like I was a bit different from some of my surrounding peers. I never totally fit in. Truthfully, I was a bit awkward. Internally, I knew I was creative and smart and had the potential to do really great things, but as a child, I had no one to share it with!

As adults, we often meet more people that help stimulate our creativity, offer us an intelligent perspective on our decisions an ideas, and who provide us with a place to state our own thoughts, opinions and ideas. Whether you use social networking on the Internet or not, our lives are all about social networking; sharing, listening, and providing input back to the source. 

And that is all fine and dandy when things are going well. When we love our job and make a comfortable living, it's easy to call up friends and family and talk happily about our week's work. When we have a healthy and happy relationship, we want to shout it out to the world. When we're active and working out a lot, we love to tell people about our progress! But what about when the tables are turned...

...A lull in your romantic life, financial problems, being completely unsatisfied with work, having gained a lot of weight... At these times don't we automatically go into hiding a little. I know I do. I don't mean to. I love my family and friends and I need them for love and support. But frankly, it's less embarrassing to just deal with these things on your own. The people we love don't mean to, but they often try to help us see things "traditionally" and when you don't live your life traditionally, your stories tend to either:

 a) make people feel scared for you, causing them to help you solve your non-traditional life style "problem" and box it into a nice, safe little package where risk can't cause it any harm 


b) leave them silent on the other end of the phone while they pretend to understand what you're going through because they love you and care about you, but really you can hear in the tone of their voice that they can't even imagine letting a situation get to that point because why take that risk?

welcome to my life. 

The people who love us don't judge us on purpose. But we live in a society where we are supposed to live by a certain code. Go to college, get a job, get "financial security" and health care benefits, save in a traditional manner for retirement with a 401k, work 40 hours a week, take a vacation once a year, go out and have some fun on Friday and Saturday nights, join a gym... blah blah blah. 

But I don't buy it. So when times are tough for me I turn to my 100's. 

How to find the 100's in your life:

This is a neat little test that my mentor taught me. He's a successful entrepreneur who knows how to surround himself with the right kind of people. 

List the 5 people that you spend the most time with. 
I know this sounds like you are just categorizing people and it's obviously not the list that you show to your friends and family! But it's a simply little exercise to give you an idea of the types of people you surround yourself with everyday.

Now ask yourself 4 important questions for each person:
1. Is this person an Achiever or a Complainer? 
2. Is this person Happy or Unhappy?
3. Is this person Successful or Unsuccessful (you can decide what the terms of successful mean, it's different for everyone)
4. Is this person Positive or Negative

Now for every positive answer (achiever, happy, successful, positive) give your person 25 points. And for every negative answer, give your person 0 points. Now add up the points and you either have someone who's a 0, a 25, a 50, a 75, or a 100. 

I'm not saying that everyone in your life is going to be a 75 or 100. You may have relatives, even your children, or people you've forever been close with that don't get a 100. I'm not telling you to go dump these people! But unfortunately, if the people you choose to spend your time with are less than a 75, then you may causing yourself some unnecessary grief. 

On a personal note: I am very fortunate to have positive people in my life. But it didn't just happen like that. I've weeded out many negative influences and worked hard on relationships that I felt needed to grow in a positive direction.  

My dear friend M is a 100. M achieves what is important to her with ferocity and fearlessness.  She has a quality about her that always suggests deep and meaningful happiness even when she's having a bad day. M isn't totally sure what she is going to do when she gets her degree but she has such a deep understanding of her calling in this world that she is already a complete success! And M give me such vivacious positivity in every single conversation we have. Her voice sings positivity with every word. When it's dark and cold and scary and I'm not sure even one person on the planet could understand, M does.  If it were possible, I'd say she were a 1000. Hell, of course it's possible because I can make the rules! I'll find an equation that equals 1000 just to prove it. 

So when you're shying away from the world because socially, the things you are going through are.... "embarrassing" and they don't fit in that stupid little box that they are supposed to in this traditional world, find your 100 and ask for their open and non-judgmental shoulder. You really don't have to carry the weight alone. No one expects that of you. I hope everyone has at least one M in their life. And if you don't yet, don't fear! I didn't find M until I was 23. I searched many years for M and now, as she writes in a text yesterday "B, I love being there with you in whatever life throws at us...till we are old ladies!" I am thankful for this blessing. 
And remember it's not only about needing 100's in your life, but also being a 100 for the special people in your life.  

BPositive today my friends and B a 100 for the ones you love. 


Friday, January 14, 2011

Feeling a Little Gloomy?

Do you ever find your true emotions get buried deep, deep down in lew of the external stresses and symptoms? I actually forget sometimes that I need to allow myself to feel a certain way and not just treat the symptoms. I can be a classic "treat the symptoms" kind of a person. I'm very task oriented and I love to compartmentalize. Therefore if something is going wrong in someway, I make a list and I attack it with ferocity. This list could include phone calls, eating a healthy meal, running, cleaning, or working on craft projects. Basically, anything that keeps me occupied and busy and feeling as if I am doing something productive. I may even be attacking specific tasks that add the stress. But underneath is the real issue and I am a master at burying it deep and cleaning up on the surface. This list keeps me busy and focused and it takes my mind off of the emotional stress. The kind that sometimes takes away our ability to make rational decisions. Lately, I've been miss rational. Miss list maker. Miss task doer. Miss exhausted.

It took a rough night of sleep, (on the couch due to my poor congested husband's loud snores) a really not fulfilling and totally un-zen yoga workout, and getting a whole list of mundane tasks finished to realize that none of these things could possibly satisfy what I need right now. Moral of the story, I'm gloomy.

Gloomy= the feeling you get when you've gone too many days (or weeks or months! but I hope not!) without looking at the really emotional issue deep down inside.

Do you ever feel gloomy? Like there is a murky pond inside you where all those emotions sit waiting to be fished out. No light naturally shines in this pond. We must visit this gloomy place often enough to give it some sunshine! Being gloomy is a heavy feeling. Like sleepy eyelids and tired muscles.

Now, I'm not looking for pity because I am feeling gloomy today. I'm actually glad to be feeling gloomy because it means that I must immediately take action. I have to put down my lists and take the pressure off myself from doing specific tasks. It's time to shed some light in that ark space and figure out what's going on in there!

So what next? Well, I don't like to just accept that I'm gloomy and mope around making everyone else miserable. However, I do like to embrace it a little. This feeling provides me with contrast to the many happy things I have in my life right now and ultimately makes me feel quite thankful. And second, it gives me a true reason to really do something for myself. And I'm not talking about renting a movie and eating an entire tub of ice cream, I'm talking about setting aside time to actually take a look at myself and what I'm feeling emotionally and allowing myself to deal with it.

When I first recognized my gloominess, I made a promise to myself not to transform it into added stress and push it onto my husband or those around me. Instead I decided I would rationally bring up some of the things that could be bringing me down and make it clear to him that I just needed a few minutes of sympathy and to get some weight off my chest. A very successful conversation I might add. And then I decided to let out some tears. And not the "woh is me" "why does everything always happen to me"kind of tears, but the kind that release some tension and actually makes you feel better in the end. Sweet, salty release. ok, feeling a little less murky now! And now I sit here and write to all of you.

(On a side note: My little buddy J (the three year old son of the people I work with) just came into the office to give me a hug before his nap and tell me to have sweet dreams. Things like that make you smile no matter how gloomy you feel. I like to really let those moments penetrate and lift me up. Thanks little J. )

I'm realizing something about this blog. I knew from the beginning that it was good for me to get out my thoughts. I knew that I liked sharing my life stories, my recipes, my projects and experiences with friends and others who could benefit. But it only started occurring to me yesterday while on the phone with my friend K how much this blog does for me, emotionally. How much is pushes the gloomy right out from under my skin.

K was telling me about her job as a nurse and her search for a job that makes her happy. And as hard as it was for her to say out loud, she admitted that playing a traditional role as a nurse may not be what she is meant to do in her life. She cares about people and making them feel better, but the profession might not be her calling. She may never work in a hospital again like she always thought she would. And although nursing seemed to always be in her cards before, she is really starting to come to terms with perhaps a more nontraditional path (Go K!) After many years of studying in school, you can imagine how difficult this realization can be.  I, myself was in her shoes not so long ago.

I was a psychology major in college. I worked in the behavioral health field for a few years and had a promising start. I had Grad school, research, internships, and clinical work in my future. It was appealing at the time. It's fun when you're good at something. Who doesn't want to do what they are best at? Feel accomplished? and be exactly the thing you know how to do best? Well, me apparently. I liked helping people. I still like helping people. I enjoy seeing the weight lifted off a friend's shoulders, or a lightness in someones voice after our conversation. And I realized that I could help people even if I wasn't in the field of psychology, playing the traditional role I once thought was meant for me. And here I sit. Pouring my words out to whoever is listening, knowing that even if one little sentence can help just one person, I've done my job for the day.

And this my friends, is what really attacks my gloomy. Writing has given me a lot of hope and strength over the past couple of months. Every time I create a post, I feel infinitely better than when I started. And I feel privileged to have this medium in which to communicate and blessed to have good listeners in my life.

So if you find yourself feeling gloomy. It's ok. Embrace it. And then dig a little deeper and find a way to release some of that muck. Take the time for yourself to do what is best for your emotions and not just what covers up those deep, down darks. I promise you'll feel better. Right now, I know I do :) Thanks for listening and helping me indulge in what makes my gloominess go away.

Remember to BPositive


Monday, January 10, 2011

An Ode to Kale

I Love Kale. Period.

Kale is green, and leafy, and beautiful, and healthy, and tasty, and simply irresistible! I Love Kale! Did I mention that already?

I know it may seem crazy to dedicate a whole post to kale, but I am just so crazy about this delectable veg that I can't help but shout it out to the world! (or at least my small group of blog followers)

Today I will share with you my favorite kale recipe (super quick and easy!) the health benefits of kale, and why you should jump on the kale band-waggon (or at least just try it even once)

My Kale Recipe for Kale Chips Crunch! Crunch!
-One average size bunch of kale washed and dried really well with a clean dish towel (fyi: the picture I will show below is NOT an average scale it down by maybe two thirds)
-olive oil (I use PAM olive oil cooking spray or you can use regular olive oil in your own "spray" device, which is much more environmentally friendly hmm maybe I should invest...)
-fine sea salt
-garlic powder
-two cookie sheets

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the cookie sheets with the olive oil spray. Pull the kale off of the main stem. Break the kale into bite size pieces and lay them on the cookie sheets as flat as they will go. Try not to overlap kale too much. Spray the top of the kale with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste (a little goes a long way!) and sprinkle generously with garlic powder. Bake at 375 for about 9-11 minutes or until your kale is crispy and crunchy and no longer wet and floppy. The crispier the tastier! Kale will still be green but a much darker, deeper shade. A little browning in the center is no biggie. (I've been known to eat burnt batches which aren't so terrible either). Serve them right away as they stay crispy only for a little while!

As I lick the kale crumbs off my plate (and start a new batch in the oven) I will tell you that kale is an awesome source of calcium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, and Potassium.

Kale I can hide behind!

It's bigger than my head!

crisped to perfection!

Are you convinced? Kale is where it's at my friends. I promise you will not be disappointed.

So BPositive and as Pheobe from friends would say BLeafy! Add a little green into your life and feel the verdant love!!!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Running Mantras and Enlightening Thoughts

If you run, you understand that there are days where being out there just seems so boring. I sometimes feel very impatient and want to just get the run other with so I can get focused on other things. The whole time I'm thinking about the gift I'm knitting this person, the work e mails I need to attend to, the dinner I will cook later, the workout I will do tomorrow, etc, etc, etc.

Now sometimes this is a good thing. Many creative ideas are sparked from my long runs. Projects, gifts, new recipes. I think the running is inspiring and really gets my creative juices flowing. But my head gets so jumbled. Sometimes I have so many ideas that I feel like I'm going to burst if I don't get them started immediately. And I can't because I'm running! Which only leads me to frustration and agitation. Because, yes, I'm a perfectionist.

But recently, I've been realizing that there is a key aspect to my life in which I have been putting very little focus.  Spirituality and meditation.

I must say that I have been inspired by listening to the audio book Eat, Pray, Love. Initially, I was not enjoying this book. I felt like she was whining about her problems and I had my own problems to worry about. I didn't want to listen to her problems and I didn't have the energy to feel bad for her or even relate to her. That was until she began traveling.

I am an avid traveler. I am obsessed. I love to see new places, experience new cultures, and taste the air of foreign space. At first, while listening to the book, I was jealous. I want to spend time in Italy, India and Indonesia! It's not fair. I want to go too! But as I really listened, it started to inspire me to get a little more connected to the bigger picture. Particularly her words on her experiences in India. She talked about mantras and chanting and meditating for hours at a time. Eating cleansing, vegetarian food in moderation and working hard at one specific task for focus. I love listening to her time in India. It's the kind of thing that I think I would enjoy. My chaotic mind could truly benefit from time like this.

But alas, I am not in India (although one day I will go) so I have to figure out how I can practice these concepts here and now. Meditation and mantras. That might be a good start! However, the meditation part got me feeling all anxious and panicky inside. I can't even sit still and watch a movie. The guy who did the MRI of my ankle a few years ago had to come into the room several times to reprimand me. Sitting still is not my forte and being in my own thoughts doesn't always end well. So, as not to discourage myself, I decided to first initiate a mantra to help get me going.

Yesterday I did a little trial run (no pun intended.) I set out do do my 8 miles that I had planned for the afternoon. The air was crisp and the sun was shining. It was a perfect day for a run and some spiritual connection. My legs didn't feel heavy or light, just something in between.

I will be very honest with you in this blog. I believe in God. I just don't know who God really is yet and I don't exactly know my relationship with Him. So bare with me.

I began a chant inside my head. I have been struggling some with my daily tasks, my role as a supportive wife, being away from my family, and so on. I am normally pretty "together" but as anyone does, I have my moments. And I had one of those moments two nights ago. Crying, sobbing, the works! And what I took from my mini-meltdown is that it's time to ask for a little help. A little strength. So I chanted my mantra in my head.

"God, please, give me strength" over and over again. "God, please, give me strength" with every step the beat was just right. "God, please, give me strength" Much less a plea or cry for help and more a simple request for assistance during tough moments. "God, please give me strength" It even became a song after a while. "God, please give me strength" with a smile and confidence I repeated this for over an hour. And then it became "I am B, and I am strong" over and over again. "I am B and I am strong, sometimes I need help from God." over and over again.

I was quite pleased with myself. The people and dogs on the path were suddenly not a distraction, the jerks that honk at me from their dirty trucks with cigarettes hanging from their mouths couldn't penetrate my thoughts, and an 8 mile run just didn't seem very far. And I actually felt like God was listening to me. The sun felt warmer, the wind blew at just the right times, and my running path was vibrant and illuminated.

                                            South Creek Trail- Springfield, MO

Normally when I talk to God it's because I'm desperate or miserable or looking for some kind of answer. But on this day, I was really happy, enjoying the sun, enjoying my run, and looking for something more meaningful than my average thoughts.

I made a promise to myself to incorporate spiritual practice (of any kind!) into my blog, my reading materials, my writing, and my life in general. And this mantra was what I came up with.

I thought I'd share with you all my experience with my running mantra and how it progressed throughout the hour and a half that I ran. It occurred to me that running can be quite spiritual and all this time while I've been running 20 plus miles a week, I wasn't taking advantage of this calming and peaceful time that I get to spend outside with no one else but myself and God. So I challenge you to take an activity that you do quite often and find a way to do it without just "getting it over with" and take the time to create your own mantra or find your own way to connect spiritually.

Thanks for taking a spiritual path with me today. I promise not all blogs will be on this topic but I just had to share this! Enjoy whatever it is that you are doing today!

BPositive and BEnlightened