Take Back The Night

A few weeks ago, I got an invitation via Facebook to go to an event called Take Back The Night. My gut reaction was, “Heck no!”

Take Back The Night is a night for survivors of sexual assault, friends, family, and the community to get together to raise awareness about sexual violence. At some point my adamant, “Heck no!” turned into, “Maybe I should consider going.”

On my way into town, I called my mom and asked her to join me. She served on Hope Harbor‘s Board and had been to Take Back The Night in the past.  She accepted the invite.

I’m not a survivor of rape but as a former chronic worrier, that violent act has always been near the top of Sarah B’s Top 10 Fear List.

Even now that I’ve learned I can’t control ANYTHING but how I choose to react to what happens, and now that overwhelming daily fear and worry is a distant memory, self defense comes to mind from time to time. What would I do if someone tried to hurt me? Jujitsu? Pray and hope for the best?

Going that night was important because I wanted to take the first step to acknowledge and deal with my fear.

I didn’t know what to expect but I felt like I was in for an emotional night.

We walked into the church’s fellowship hall and the room was full of mostly women, but plenty of men, children, and dogs as well.

A group from a fraternity had on shirts about respect.

fraternity brothers

We registered and got our free t-shirts.

A woman from Hope Harbor gave an introduction and some statistics.

If I remember correctly, in Kentucky 47% of women and 20% of men are sexually assaulted. That number is higher than the national average. What the heck KY?!

A teenage girl, named Abigail took the stage next. As soon as she started talking I teared up. I don’t do live events very well. Abigail said she would be the voice for those that didn’t feel like they had one. I reigned in my emotions as she went on to deliver a passionate spoken word poem about being strong enough to slay her own Monsters.

After Abigail and two rounds of applause, a university student got up and broke her 2 year silence about having been raped. She talked about hope and not letting this act of violence define her.

After the girls spoke, the lot of us took to the streets and marched around the city square and a couple of blocks.

Take Back The Night 2016

My mom and I may or may not have skipped that last block and taken a short cut back to the church.

When everybody else got back, there was a candle light vigil and a group singing of This Little Light of Mine, followed by a moment of silence for the survivors present.

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Everyone was then invited to an art show and live music at The FFOYA House, a couple of streets over.

My mom sat in the car while I popped in to look at the art.  As I walked around the house looking at the art, I listened in as the women around me introduced themselves to one another and traded credentials. This one teaches social work on campus. That one works at The International Center. As is the theme of my life these days, I stood there asking myself what it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

What’s holding me back? Fear? Fear of change? Fear of hard work? Fear of picking the wrong path? Fear of making a move when the most important work I could be doing is in my own home? These are the people that need me more than anybody else. BUT!…will I make a bigger difference in their lives if I push myself to grow, give myself more earning power, and have myself set up to provide fully for them in case tragedy strikes or should my sometimes rocky marriage ultimately crumble?

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An image from the night that had a huge impact on me about the reality of what we were all there for, was a cute little girl about 5 years old with dark skin and brightly colored clothes.  She was stomping happily in a rain puddle while holding up a sign about innocence.

What am I supposed to be doing with my life?

I’m blessed to call Bill Cumming my friend. He’s worked for 30 years to do his part to end violence and he’s invited me into this work with him. He began his important work after realizing he had the capacity to kill the man that raped his then 8 year old daughter.

When I see people in pain from daily hardship or hear of violence, I feel like part of what I’m supposed to be doing with my life is to connect them to Bill and his program, What One Person Can Do. He’s conducted this life changing program in schools, churches, prisons, corporations, with individuals, and is currently working with the Vermont Air National Guard.

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m going to try to get Bill to Take Back The Night next year as a speaker.

If you haven’t watched Bill’s Tedx Talk yet, what are you waiting for? :)

Would you like to have a conversation with Bill or me about this program or about any possibilities that came up for you while you were watching?  You can reach us here.

As I was driving into town that night, and my mom and I were discussing the event to come, facing my fear of bodily harm and the pesky details of the unknown future were playing in the back of my mind. Even though I spend a minuscule amount of time fearful or worried these days, I noticed that night that I still have plenty of fears yet to conquer and except for sky diving, I’m up for the challenge. Bring it!

Much love and peace!
Sarah

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I Will Not Sit In Silence

busy mom

What started out as sheer annoyance with a family member last night has turned into this mushy desire to get involved.

Have you ever known somebody that has an answer for everything, even if it’s the wrong answer?  That’s my cuz.

Last night, he was being pretty nasty to his wife and kids and I’d had all I could stand.

He snapped at his daughter, “Stop being an idiot and don’t cry if you wreck. Crying’s for sissies.”

She walked by me with her tear streaked face and I couldn’t sit in silence.

Too often I sit in silence when people are being borderline ugly to each other, so I spoke up. “You’re NOT an idiot and it’s PERFECTLY okay to cry if you get hurt.”

Later on, he and I were talking about parenting and I urged him, “Don’t call your kids idiots. You’ve got to build them up. You’ve got to tell them they’re strong.  They’re going to grow up having such low self esteems and then they’ll turn to mean men for validation.”

He sputtered some nonsense back at me. I asked him, not out of meanness but out of curiosity, “Did your parents call you an idiot?” His eyes seemed to soften as he shared with me the list of worse names he was called.

The thing is, all names are bad names and I would argue that being called idiot your whole life is just as hurtful as being called a mother fucker.  (I’m not slamming his parents. I’m sure if I asked them, they’d have similar stories to share about their childhood.  We ALL make mistakes as parents and my kids will happily list off every single time I’ve been hateful and completely lost it…but, I digress.)

I was SO frustrated with him last night that I wanted to hit him with Lorraine (his belt) but this morning, I really want the opportunity to sit down and tell him there’s a better way than all of that stress and anger that he’s currently carrying around. I want to say, “Trust me. This works. You can be happier. I WANT you to be happy. I love you all. Please give me a chance to share.” (This side of the family isn’t mushy at all and this would totally freak them out.  I’d probably get shunned.)

I don’t know that I’ll ever get the chance to share with him but for some reason (and thank you for doing so) YOU are reading this and I CAN share it with YOU.

The What One Person Can Do conversation is a life changer.  I know this because it changed mine. It not only helped me see that I’m capable of doing tasks that I once found hard or overwhelming, but it helped me through one of the hardest times in my life, being separated from my husband; and it’s been extremely useful in reconciling. I use what I learned on a DAILY basis to help my day go more smoothly and to love on the people around me.

If I could give you one gift, it would be this conversation/program. Give it a chance. If you’re struggling with anger, overwhelm, depression, stress or you’re worried about someone you love who’s struggling, GO THROUGH THE PROGRAM. You’ll feel more peace in dealing with your own set of rough circumstances or in being there for your friends and family.

It’s a conversation for ALL people because it’s about the basics of being a person. It’s not rocket science. It’s not information that’s not also being shared in other places, but it’s been put together in such a way that you’re not just learning about it, you’re experiencing it and it’s useful all day every day.

This program needs more exposure. Look at it. Go through it but don’t stop there.  Figure out how to share it with people you care about: your immediate family, your church, your schools, your prisons, your community. Get in touch with Bill Cumming, the program’s founder and ask him to come speak at one of those places. Ask him to work with your family.  Ask me to. I tend to defer to Bill because he’s been at this for 30 years and I’m new at it, but if he’s busy, ask me 😉

The more people that understand their own value, the less damage we’ll all do to each other and the less damage we’ll all have to deal with in the form of road rage, broken homes, drugs, rape, murder, corrupt corporations and governments. No, we can’t fix all the world’s problems or all the broken people, but we can do our part to make our little corner a nicer place to be.

“Sometimes you need to believe in people, even if the cost seems too high. Because the real cost of not believing in people is huge.” -Chris Morris

What One Person Can Do is available as an online course here or it’s available one on one, via phone or skype. Contact information for Bill Cumming and I can be found here.

Don’t put this off. Your world needs a joyful, peace filled YOU!

Love,
Sarah

I’ve included Bill’s Tedx Talk below so you can “meet” him.

 

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Comparing Apples to Giraffes

Thank YOUfor being a friend!

I’m on overload today.  My thoughts are a jumble of indistinguishable whatnots. I feel overwhelmed by the should do’s and want to’s.  After having read a couple of wonderfully written articles, I feel deeply moved and am further questioning what I’m up to in life.

Earlier this morning, I was torturing myself by comparing my life and talents with everyone I hold on a pedestal, which is pretty much everyone but me…I promise that I DO love myself.  I’m growing as a person, but it’s taking FOREVER.  I feel like I should be further along in the process than I am.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

One thought I had while comparing myself to one such POWERFUL woman friend who went back to school a few years ago and is wrapping up her first year of teaching, was to get my butt off the sidelines and join her in the action…whatever that looks like for me.  It could be the decision to pour myself into my family and let go of any other dreams.

20160327_124059-1The family dream is a beautiful dream in and of itself and worthy of every minute of my time.  I admire women who run their homes so well, regardless of where they work both in and out of the home.  Maybe it looks like going back to school or doing what I’ve already been trained to do by stepping out of my comfort zone (that’s full of excuses) and offering to tell people about What Every Person Can Do.  Maybe it’s a combination and I haven’t hit on the right mix yet.

It feels like decision time and there’s no wrong decision, except indecision. I can ALWAYS change my mind at any time and pick a new route.  I don’t have to have everything figured out.

I am creating my life one day at a time.  We all are.

While I’m figuring out what my next move is, I want to share with you these two articles that touched my heart today.  They are both about how we belong to each other and full of moving and powerful quotes and they are located below my post.

When you’re done reading the articles, I would love to know what you think about them. Did they move you too or was that just me?  Do you relate to life being brutiful? Do you want to save all the kids?  Please share your thoughts.

Thanks for reading and discussing!

Much love,

Sarah B


 

Life Is Hard But They Are Brave
we ache

“Heartache is a signal to you that you’ve stumbled upon something worthy of your life. Do not run, do not turn away: follow your heartbreak. The broken road is the road less traveled. Take it, walk it, it will make all the difference. Everything beautiful starts with a broken heart.” Glennon Doyle Melton

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From Chris Morris

chris morris

“Sometimes you need to believe in people, even if the cost seems too high. Because the real cost of not believing in people is huge.” -Chris Morris

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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I’ve felt blocked for months.  I’m going to share and see what happens.  That was my original intent anyway on this journey to personal power.  There are times when I feel like I’m supposed to have answers for my life that I don’t have and so I get quiet.  

Good, bad, ugly…I’m going to say where I am and how it’s affecting me.  You’ll either judge me and go away, or you’ll relate, or you’ll have something encouraging to share.  

Fear

The other day I saw an online article meant to induce panic.  It gave the scenario of a woman becoming friends with a man she didn’t know on Facebook, thinking that she’d probably met him somewhere and forgotten.  He seemed nice so she accepted his friend request.  Later on when she shared a post of her child, he took that picture and offered it to his sex trafficking customers.

HOLD THE PHONE!  

Needless to say I analyzed what I make public on my page and if I wanted to shut it down on the spot because it’s definitely not worth having one of my babies abducted over.

After calming down a little and further consideration, I thought about all of the millions of people using social media, including authors, bloggers, and YouTubers whose kids go un-abducted every day.  With my overprotective nature, my kids will continue to be as safe as they’ve always been and I can keep sharing through this creatively satisfying process of blogging and Facebook posting.

Don’t let FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) keep YOU from enjoying what makes you happy. We can live in constant fear if we choose to, but fear and worry truly are misuses of our imaginations.  Let’s use our minds to create a beautiful present moment, instead of worrying it away.

We’re all interconnected.

It seems like every time I’ve thought about shutting down my page, in moments of self doubt, fear, or guilt (feeling like I’ve taken way too much time from my family for this time consuming, zero income producing hobby)…anyway times like these are when POWERFUL women seem to step out of the shadows and send a message letting me know that they appreciate the page.  That happened this morning and it’s always the boost I need to keep on keeping on.  THANK YOU to those of you who have sent messages or made encouraging comments!  I appreciate it more than you know!

My Life

It’s a mess, both literally and figuratively this week.  I am surrounded by boxes.  Four months ago we moved out of my brother in law’s house but didn’t move all of our stuff with us.  He recently got married to a wonderful woman and moved out too.  They’re selling his house and so we HAD to move the rest of our crap.  Jason wanted to throw it all away but I objected, so now I have to deal with it all.  I’m dealing with it by writing this post.  That works, right?

Our personal mess is upstairs and one third of Jason’s business is downstairs as he transitions from one building to another.  We’re up to our eyeballs in stuff.  I said I was sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The following picture is of Jason’s goods, but they don’t look so good piled up in our downstairs living room. Parts of our house look like an episode of Hoarders.

Possum Junk

Donald Trump

Don’t even get me started.

Marriage

Jason and Sarah Carousel

I said I was sharing good, bad, and ugly so…

My marriage has suffered the last few months and a lot of the problem has been my thinking about our marriage.  I’ve stirred pots and picked emotional scabs and…I started going to counseling a few weeks ago to break the cycle of my stinking thinking.

I’m a big fan of counseling.  We went to family counseling over the summer a few times and I was geeking out.  I LOVED IT and wondered why we hadn’t always been doing it.  I think my enjoyment of family counseling had something to do with my enjoyment of my family.  We’re all a bunch of goofballs and that means a lot of laughter, even in counseling.  These family sessions were being filmed because the two counselors were still under supervision..  One day on the way home, my 15 year old admitted to giving the camera random glances like Jim in The Office.

jim-halpert

NBC The Office

 

That’s comedy my friends.  I wonder what the “counselors in training” and their supervisor thought when they watched the video.

Back to marriage.  Marriage is T-O-U-G-H but our lifelong friendship, love for our family, and mutual disgust with Donald Trump make the load lighter and the days brighter.

Work

I’m still making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a factory.  With Jason’s work picking up for the Spring and Summer, I’m able to go down to two days a week!  Yay!!!  That starts this week!  I’m looking forward to helping him out, being home more, and having more energy to put toward creative projects and having the What One Person Can Do conversation with POWERFUL women.  I actually have time to do that again!

The Future and Work

It’s up in the air.  I’m still thinking about going back to school.  I especially think about going back to school on Peanut Butter Jelly days.  It’s just a matter of fitting all the pieces together.

Kids

Saturday we took a road trip.  This is a normal event for us but it was not a normal day.  In the history of road trips, this one’s going down in the books as one of the worst.  Our girls were DIFFICULT.  By the end of the trip, Jason and I decided we’d just go alone next time.

We set out to go to an exotic animal auction to see zebras and camels.  We were about an hour late.  SHOCKER!  We paid $5 a head just to get in.  We missed the exotic animals, but a couple there had a little capuchin with them.  We did see a zdonk in with some plain old boring donkeys. We learned that one zebra sold for $10,000 and one of the camels sold for $20,000!!!

We watched a couple of miniature horses sell and walked around and looked at the normal animals.  I don’t know llamas from alpacas, but I’m pretty sure it wanted to eat me.

Exotic Animal Auction

I LOVE going places I’ve never been before and I LOVE taking the road less traveled.  We saw some of the most beautiful scenery…giant hills and deep valleys and cows grazing on steep hillsides.  As we were driving up and around one hill, there was a turn off onto another road.  We could see that second road down below us, making a wider curve around the hill.  It was such an interesting view of both roads.  I wish I’d taken a picture.

Road Trip

As much yelling and fighting as our girls did, there was the usual laughter and fun too.  Even though we came away from the road trip worn out and a bit frustrated, the experience wasn’t a total wash.

Road Trip 2

Why yes.  That is a two headed doll that we lovingly refer to as Two Baby.  Nora picked Two Baby out when she was four.  He/she resurfaced during all of this moving of STUFF. The whole family is sentimental about Two Baby. #BoucherStyle

The girls’ rough housing earlier in the day was bad enough that Amelia’s new earring came out. When we got back into town, my boys accompanied the two of us to the mall to get her ear re-pierced.  We ended up eating dinner at a sushi train.

Sushi Train

That was a fun meal, even though Amelia dropped a WHOLE PIECE of sushi onto the floor!

My boys LOVE sushi!  They DON’T love hanging out with their little sisters.  Every day with 3 little sisters is like living our road trip over and over and over again, so this dinner was especially nice. Chuck played Paper Rock Scissors with Amelia and attempted to teach her how to use chop sticks. Sam took over while Chuck and I finished eating.  They watched Youtube videos of animals to pass the time.  I’m a REALLY slow eater and Chuck was going to get as much sushi out of the deal as he could.

The night ended with the purchase of a new laptop.  I’ve been using the slowest computer known to POWERFUL woman kind.  This new one is so speedy!  Is it bad that I told Cortana to refer to me as YOUR HIGHNESS?  Maggie helped me come up with that :)

And now after months of silence…you’re all caught up.

Thanks for reading this lengthy post.  As I’m finishing it up, it seems fitting to end with the little things quote.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

-Robert Brault

Wishing you a heart full of love for yourself (in addition to all of the other people you love) peace, and joy in the little things in your own life!

Love,

Sarah


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Daily Self Care

I was told about the benefits of daily Self Care 5 years ago.  While I have tasted the sweet fruit of getting my day started off on the right foot with Self Care many times, I have yet to make it a discipline.  What the crap?!

5 years is a long time to know that doing this leaves me feeling happier and peaceful (even when life isn’t playing fair) and still not do every day.  I guess it’s no different than anything else we know is good for us that we choose not to do, like eating healthy, exercising, budgeting, and so on.  What I’m told will happen and I hope to prove to myself, is that by making Self Care a discipline, not only will I have better days more often, BUT I will be able to be more disciplined in other areas of my life by learning to be disciplined in this one.

Here are the 4 thoughts I was taught to spend time thinking about each morning.

1. We live in a miracle.

2. Everything is interconnected.

3. The ONLY thing I can control is HOW I CHOOSE TO BE in the world today.

4. Be gracious with myself.

Four thoughts.  That’s it!  That’s REALLY easy, easier than eating healthy and definitely easier than exercising.

The other day I was at work, feeling a little low and I decided to turn to Self Care to lift me out of my funk.  I started with the first thought WE LIVE IN A MIRACLE, which for me has turned into THIS DAY IS A GIFT.  I tried to get in touch with that grateful/excited to be alive feeling but it just wasn’t happening.  I didn’t feel like the day was a gift at all.  I felt sorry for myself.  Here I am standing in one spot for 12 hours, doing a really boring job, and missing my family.  The whole day is over by the time I get home.  Some gift.

I stayed in pursuit of the feeling.  I kept exploring different thoughts and then I hit one.

I thought about Joey Feek, the world’s most famous dying person.  She’s truly a beautiful soul.  I’m sure she’d like more time with her family and wouldn’t mind working in a factory to get it.  She’s not the only one. There are women all over the world and whether they are dying or in poor health, they would do ANYTHING to be able to come home and hug and kiss their families at the end of a long day.

That did it.  The “feeling” was there!  The THIS LIFE IS A LIMITED TIME OFFER/THIS DAY IS A SPECIAL ONE thought was locked in.  I was grateful for my health, for a pleasant work environment and great co-workers.  I felt grateful for the opportunity to keep creating my life, to exploring possibilities because I’M NOT STUCK. I have choices.  WE ALL DO!  Even if we get to a place in our lives where, like Joey, our choices are less and less, we still have one choice left, perhaps the most important choice of all.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—

to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

-Viktor E. Frankl

Writing this post has me raring to go.  If taking a few minutes each morning to do Self Care can help me live each day more POWERFULLY, if it can help me be more present with my family, if it can help me face hard times with more peace, what the heck have I been waiting for?

I’ve been thinking about this for a week already, but it’s time to quit thinking and start doing. Tomorrow morning, I’m waking up 30 minutes early to do Self Care instead of getting thrown into the day.

Here’s one of the first posts I wrote about Self Care way back when, if you want to see more about how I do it.

Do you have a morning routine?  I’d love to hear about it and be encouraged by your discipline as I start my own.  Leave your thoughts here or on Facebook :)

I Am A Powerful Woman shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

If YOU are ready to experience more peace and less struggle, I’d LOVE to personally go through the What One Person Can Do program with YOU.
This conversation has been conducted in schools, corporations, prisons, and one on one with the program’s founder, Bill Cumming, and other program conveners for 30 years.  Space is EXTREMELY limited for anyone wishing to go through this with me.  I only have room to work with 10 women, so click HERE to contact me (or Bill) with questions and to grab your spot.
There’s also an online version of the program available HERE.  It’s an incredibly affordable option. 12 weeks of support for what 1 hour of counseling would cost!  But…and I know this firsthand, even reasonably priced is not an option sometimes, so don’t write this off. Partial and full scholarships are available for those that need them and are serious about going through the work for both the online and one on one programs.

 

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Happy Belated New Year!

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a good New Year’s Eve post. Naturally it was about coming to the end of the year and preparing for the new one. She talked about writing things down that you want to put behind you and creating a ritual of burning, burying, or immersing the paper. Ain’t nobody with 5 kids got time to burn pain (or to write a New Year‘s post within the first week of the year for that matter. That’s not entirely true, but it’s my excuse for now, so indulge me.)

She talked about loving the feeling she gets on New Year‘s Eve,

“that the universe has been generous to me, to have let me stick around for another year, and to now erase the slate and give me another chance.

Tomorrow I will be gifted with a brand new year – with no mistakes in it yet, and no heartbreaks yet, and no failures yet. I get to try again. Amazing.

You will be gifted with this huge blessing too. A clean and empty book awaits us all. Maybe we will be able to write things differently this time. Maybe a bit better. Maybe we will be wiser this time. At least we get to try.

We have all been given a fresh chance.

Let’s close the old book, and open a new one.”

As I read her words I got a thrilling feeling thinking about approaching EACH NEW DAY this way (without the burning, burying, or water mess, but if you have time for that, go for it.) But seriously, EACH DAY is an occasion, a celebration, a fresh start, a new chance, a clean slate, a new book. “Maybe we will be able to write things differently this time. Maybe a bit better. Maybe we will be wiser this time. At least we get to try.”

Taking time to reflect on the day we’ve lived, what went right, what we’d like to do better tomorrow, how we want to be, that is Self Care. It’s living intentionally and it makes for a beautiful life experience, one that YOU are present for and fully engaged in. I want to challenge myself to live this way, one day at a time.

I read Liz’s thoughts and had thoughts to add to her good thoughts, so I’m assuming YOU might have some thoughts to add too.  Please do!  Leave them in the comment section here or over on Facebook.

Happy belated NEW YEAR and a very HAPPY TOMORROW!

Love,
Sarah

12039258_1112188048793064_2036349768224857505_n

If YOU are ready to experience more peace and less struggle, I’d LOVE to personally go through the What One Person Can Do program with YOU.
This conversation has been conducted in schools, corporations, prisons, and one on one with the program’s founder, Bill Cumming, and other program conveners for 30 years.  Space is EXTREMELY limited for anyone wishing to go through this with me.  I only have room to work with 10 women, so click HERE to contact me (or Bill) with questions and to grab your spot.
There’s also an online version of the program available HERE.  It’s an incredibly affordable option. 12 weeks of support for what 1 hour of counseling would cost!  But…and I know this firsthand, even reasonably priced is not an option sometimes, so don’t write this off. Partial and full scholarships are available for those that need them and are serious about going through the work for both the online and one on one programs.
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No He Didn’t – He’s Out Of Control

Have you ever been somewhere with a friend and they do something that might be considered socially unacceptable?  Perhaps they burst into song or talked too loudly.  Maybe they acted ugly about the service they received at a restaurant and you wanted to crawl under the table and die.

Those particular situations don’t happen in my family very often but this sort of behavior does ALL THE TIME.

Jason and I took Nora to the doctor on Friday and had to wait a little too long.  Jason got bored and decided to put his “medical knowledge” to use.

Dr Appt 1

Needless to say, I was HORRIFIED as he picked up each instrument and proceeded with his “examination.”

Dr Appt 2

He noticed irritation and drainage.

Dr Appt 3

Any minute the door was bound to open.  My heart was racing as I documented the fun.  I was amused and fearful.

Dr Appt 4

Good doctors ALWAYS wash their hands after an exam is over.  After a thorough washing, Jason proceeded to explore the cabinets.  He’s always opened the drawers at doctor’s visits but never actually played with what he found like he did this time.

Dr Appt 5

Thankfully he only picked the blood pressure cuff up and put it right back.

Dr Appt 6

I had a choice to freak out and be mad about what was happening around me or accept it for what it was and let him be responsible for his actions.  I could’ve huffed and puffed and been angry, but that would’ve only stressed me out.  This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from the What One Person Can Do program that has saved me a great deal of stress over the years.  The ONLY thing I can control is HOW I CHOOSE TO BE in the world.  I can’t control my nutty husband.  All I can control is my reaction.

Dr Appt 7

I wouldn’t go back and undo one moment of this experience.  Nora enjoyed the whole thing thoroughly.

Dr Appt 8

We could hear the doctor and a difficult patient in the room next to us, so Jason was telling Nora that they’d be able to hear us too and to keep quiet.

Dr Appt 9

A bio-hazard bag may or may not have made its way into Jason’s right pocket.  I’m not advocating any of this.  I’m just reporting the facts.

Dr Appt 10

As the fun was drawing to a close, Nora said, “It’s time to Buddy The Elf this cotton ball.”

Dr Appt 11

 

What a fun girl!  I’m extremely thankful the doctor didn’t walk in on any of this because after dealing with the cranky guy in the next room, she was NOT in a good mood when she walked into ours.

In all situations we have a choice.  Have you ever noticed the moment that you chose to react in a certain way to people or circumstances that happen to you?

I’m really mindful of my choices now.  I remember choosing to get out my phone and start snapping the insanity instead of freaking out about it.

I am mindful EACH time I decide to react angrily towards whichever child is disobeying my instruction to do A, B, or C.  I choose calm or anger.  I have the thought to say angry words and whether I’ll say them or not.  Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.  My kids don’t “make” me do it.  Their behavior doesn’t make me yell.  I choose it.

My husband wouldn’t have made me react angrily to his actions.  I would have chosen to.  I’m so glad I chose to be laid back this particular day and just enjoy the chaos that is my family.

Giving up the idea that I can control other people and recognizing my choices more often are 2 of the many practical and powerful tools found in What One Person Can Do.  If YOU are ready to experience more peace and less struggle, I’d LOVE to personally go through this program with YOU.

This program/conversation has been conducted in schools, corporations, prisons, and one on one with the program’s founder, Bill Cumming, and other program conveners for 30 years.  Space is EXTREMELY limited for anyone wishing to go through this with me.  I only have room to work with 10 women, so click HERE to contact me (or Bill) with questions and to grab your spot.

There’s also an online version of the program available HERE.  It’s an incredibly affordable option.  12 weeks of support for what 1 hour of counseling would cost!  But…and I know this firsthand, even reasonably priced is not an option sometimes, so don’t write this off. Partial and full scholarships are available for those that need them and are serious about going through the work for both the online and one on one programs.

Wishing you all the peace and happiness your heart can hold,

Sarah

duck face

 

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Running Out Of Time

Saturday I wrote my most well received blog post to date.  (You can read that HERE.)  It’s been really exciting!  Usually when I share a post it gets 2-5 likes.  That’s right TWO – FIVE.  This one got over 60! and several people took time to tell me they enjoyed it or that it touched them.

It was awesome to get all of that LIKE love but I couldn’t figure out what I’d done to make this one appealing.

We were all in the living room later that night and Jason said, “Do you know what happiness is?”

I quickly replied, “2,000 views on your blog post!”

He was actually referring to family time, but whatever :)

When thinking about why this post was embraced and the others go mostly unread, I decided it was because the picture and title I chose made it look like Jason and I might be Moving On from each other.  And so I’ve decided that all future blog posts will be teasers of some sort.

Thanks to all of you that read, liked, commented and shared that post.  That really was a treat!

I feel like there’s a lot of pressure in writing subsequent posts now.  I sat down for an hour or two last night and tried to write something worth reading.  I got nothing.  

I sat down again this morning about 9:30 and threw out some thoughts that will EVENTUALLY be posts but it’s just not happening yet.  

It’s 11:30 a.m. and I’m starting to freak out a little.  I was supposed to go to work this morning but I called out in order to have more time to get our stuff ready to move.  Instead of organizing, I’m obviously writing.

Thankfully Jason is out “adulting” so I can finish this post, get dressed, and appear to have been working hard by the time he gets home.  Unless one of you talks, he’ll never know.  

It’s no secret that I’m unorganized.  I’m literally running out of time today.  It’s decision time.  Will I sit and continue to let time slip by or will I wrap these thoughts up and move on to the next task?  

I’ve made a decision.  Here are my TIME TO WRAP IT UP thoughts.

  • No guilt.  It’s 100% okay to do something enjoyable, whether or not it makes a larger contribution in some way or produces an income.  If it contributes to your personal happiness, that is MUY IMPORTANTE!  Nurture yourself.  Buy and read that book.  Watch that movie.  Go out with that group of friends once a month.  Take that class.  Take time to write.  Be good to yourself.  It’s been said many times by many people that taking care of yourself allows you to be there MORE for others.  I can vouch for that.
  • You matter too.  YOU wouldn’t deny ANYONE ELSE the right to take time for themselves; time to relax, to create, to soak in life.  YOUR need for that time is ABSOLUTELY as important as theirs.
  • Think about the BIG PICTURE for the day and find a balance. – What is the feeling you want to have at the end of the day?  How do you want to use your time?  Make a plan and go for it!  Don’t forget to do nice things for yourself too.  

If I think about my day at this point (I’m embarrassed to say what time it is now) and what I’d like to accomplish, then I know what I need to do to make it happen.  I can take an honest look at what’s most important to me for the day, when I think about the feeling I want to have when I go to sleep tonight.  It might mean I don’t finish this post right now.  I know making progress on the house would FEEL GREAT.  I know that if I don’t haul butt upstairs and organize, then while I’m at work tomorrow and Jason moves stuff over to the new house, he gets to decide what gets moved and what gets tossed.

Uhm…yeah…gotta go!

I really enjoyed reading your responses to the last post so let’s do that again :)

What is it you love to do or would love to do more of?  Are you good about making time to do it?  Leave your answer here or over on Facebook.

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Moving On

A year ago our family of 7 moved out of our 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,000 square foot home into my brother in law’s spacious old farm house on 5 acres. We’ve been renting the upstairs of the house while we attempted to save a chunk of cash.

It’s been a good year. There was lots of brother bonding time, lots of mini farm life fun with goats, chickens, turkeys, puppies, and a duck, and lots of zombie watching.

amelia and goatsThe year wasn’t all fun and zombies though. We had our share of drama. It’s hard sharing living space with another family. My brother in law was very brave to take on the chaos that is our family.

This past week Jason and I drove by a cute little house with a for rent sign in the window. There is a ridiculous shortage of decent rental property in our tiny town so we called right on the spot, met the homeowner within an hour, put down a deposit, and signed a lease the following day.

We are so excited about the new house! We’re excited about moving on.

Moving on can be sad or scary when it’s a move you didn’t choose for yourself, like losing your job, divorce, illness, or the death of a loved one. It can be really hard to do but it’s still necessary. We can choose to stay in the pain but that won’t be good for us and it won’t be good for anyone around us. So here are 3 of my personal goals for moving on.

1. BE PRESENT
Have fun.
Embrace the challenge.

I’m going to accept this sudden move in all it’s chaotic disorder. I’m going to relax. I’m going to do what I can each day to help it go smoothly, but I’m also going to take time to do things that bring me joy, like write this blog post, the 3rd one in 1 week!  And…make sure we have some Fall Break Fun with our kids.

2. BE THANKFUL

This past week a woman who lives in a house like this

big house

told me and my husband that she was embarrassed to tell her clients where she lives because they live in houses like this.

bigger house

Her housing dilemma helped me realize that the poorest of us spoiled Americans, myself included, can benefit from reality checks every so often so we can remember to be thankful for all we DO have. I’m choosing to be thankful for our little rental house with heat in the winter, cold in the summer, and clean drinking water. For the first time in 15 years, we’re going to have 2 toilets!!! The second potty doesn’t even come with a sink, but who cares?  I’ll be happy anywhere as long as I get to live with these goofballs.

boucher fam 2015

3. GET RID OF THE JUNK
This is an opportunity to get rid of our junk. Even though we got rid of bags and bags of toys, clothes, and kitchen gadgets we never used in our old house, we never fully unpacked here and then we collected even more stuff. We have an opportunity to weed out again, to take what we love and discard the rest.

Besides physical stuff, there’s emotional crap to leave behind as well. My husband and I separated in August of 2012 for 9 months. When we decided to reconcile, we merely coexisted for 1 ½ years. I wrote a couple of posts about it last year when I was exploring my feelings on how to go about reconnecting. This resulted in a “talk” in December about possibly calling it quits for good. At that point we made the decision to recommit. It’s been almost a year of connectedness, but I’ve been holding on to some of the relationship “junk.” I’m making a commitment to let it go and leave it behind. I’m looking forward to a fresh start in our new home where we’ve only ever loved and been committed to each other.

“Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”

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While I’m leaving emotional junk behind, I’m going to leave as much as I can bag up and throw away (which it just occurred to me that we can choose to do this EVERY DAY if we’ll only remember to do so.)

When I leave this house, I’m choosing to see myself as a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, ready to soar. I’m leaving my feelings of insecurity, guilt, and failure in the cocoon. I’m enough. I’m enough every day and so are you! We don’t have to carry old baggage around with us.

That baggage is a story. It may be a story based on actual events but it’s still a story. It may be a story you are telling yourself or it may be a story that someone else has been telling you your whole life about WHO YOU ARE and how you do things, but you can choose to change the story at any point as many times as you want to, EVERY DAY even. You are not stuck! You have the power to write your story and make it beautiful. Don’t give your power away. Don’t let anyone else write your story. If it’s not a happy one, for Pete’s sake, change it. Only you can.

If you want to change your story but don’t know how or where to start, I encourage you to consider What Every Person Can Do.  I’m here to answer questions and support you any way I can!

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How To Have A Great Day

Friday was a GREAT day! I got the kids on the bus, made a quick call to Bill to catch up with him after his recent workshops in England.  I got off the phone and decided to take a little bit of quiet time and plan my day and maybe even write a little before tackling the house.  It was a wreck.  I’ve been working 3 twelve hour days a week for a little over a month.  On my days off, instead of staying home and cleaning, I’ve been off with Jason in search of fun inventory for The Awesome Possum or house hunting.    

I sat down with a cup of coffee and started writing.  I don’t do it enough and I REALLY enjoy it.  There are ALWAYS other tasks that need to be done and I’ve felt so stifled creatively, but the words flowed that morning.  As I was wrapping up my post (you can read it here) I got a text.  

beth and sarah

My friend Beth wanted to drive 40 minutes to see me.  Panic set in.  I wanted to spend time with her.  We haven’t seen each other in 6 months but she couldn’t possibly come over.  Beth is so organized and put together.  She’s one of my oldest friends and has seen my messy house many times but this time was different.  She’s got 8 month old Finlee now and I couldn’t imagine that sweet baby on my dirty floor.  My vehicle decided to give me grief a week ago and we’re down to 1 car for the time being, so I couldn’t meet her anywhere.  I told her she couldn’t come over but we could go out to eat.  

You’d have thought I was going on a date the way I prepared for lunch. Like I said, Beth is ALWAYS put together (for example she and 8 month old Finlee were both wearing WHITE! AND STAYED CLEAN!!!) but she also works for a dentist. I took extra care brushing with toothpaste and hydrogen peroxide for EXTRA bright teeth. I don’t get out enough :)

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We had a nice lunch and then went to a few little shops around my tiny town in search of birthday presents for a couple of friends, to no avail.

When she dropped me back off, I went inside and started cleaning.  I worked for a few hours.  The kids got home from school in the middle of the cleaning stint.  I could’ve cleaned for days, but settled for the downstairs being good enough.  We ordered pizza and watched Hocus Pocus.  CLASSIC! The girls loved it.

I fell asleep during the second movie but when we moved upstairs to bed, I got a second wind and stayed awake until around 2:00 watching Friends on Netflix.  I’m so not okay with the fact that all of those actors and actresses are now in their 50’s and I’m quickly approaching 40.

There was nothing extraordinary about the day but it felt special.  It felt complete.  I love days that feel complete.  They occur more often when I take time to think about my day, when I take time to do Self Care.  When I don’t take time to “set my intentions” for the day or to recognize that life is going by quickly (Jennifer Aniston is 50 for crying out loud!) then I’m just reacting to what life hands me instead of creating a day that feels complete.  

Yesterday wasn’t a great day for me.  I didn’t take time to get grounded in my well being.  I didn’t take time to pray/do Self Care.  I woke up and fell into the day.  I chose to dwell on some pretty unpleasant thoughts ALL DARN DAY.  I KEPT on choosing them over and over.  I kept choosing to look at a picture that triggered the thoughts.  It was a choice.  I created my unpleasant day.  It was rough.  There was a happy period in the day when my kids asked me to play games with them.  As you’ll recall, the upstairs of the house hadn’t been cleaned yet.  I told my son I had work to do and he insisted I take time to play.  I’m so glad I did.   

Anyway, this morning I woke up a little down and these thoughts helped me get back on track this morning and I hope they’ll be of use to you too.

Don’t get going on your day just yet.  What do you want from today?  How are you going to live today fully?  What do you want to do with your time?  Who would you like to spend time with?  How do you want to feel at the end of the day?  Think about it.  

Now…you’re ready.  Make it a great day.

For more on Self Care click here and here.

If you’re struggling or dealing with a loved one in pain, check out What Every Person Can Do.  It’s incredibly affordable.  12 weeks of support for what 1 hour of counseling would cost!  But…and I know this firsthand, even reasonably priced is not an option sometimes, so don’t write this off. Partial and full scholarships are available for those that need them and are serious about going through the work.  If you have questions for me, you can get in touch with me here.

 




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