Use Your Hands To Share

Today’s the day!

Hot off the presses and available for purchase!

“Use Your Hands To Share: Exercises for Hearts & Hands”

 

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This PDF downloadable booklet offers discussion questions, exercises, and craft activities for ages 3-11 years to expand and deepen the concepts in the book.

The booklet is 19 pages of fun and you’ll have immediate access upon purchase.

Already have a copy of “Your Hands Can Change the World!”?

Perfect! Get the new PDF companion here.

You can order an Ebook bundle for instant access to BOTH the book and educational resources here.

Prefer a book you can read in your hands? No problem!

You can get a signed copy of the book, and add-on of the PDF companion here.

Since the publication of my book in July 2017, I’ve had so much fun sharing it and meeting all of you. Through my books and workshops I aim to be an example of how to maintain a global perspective and sharing consciousness as a way of life. I hope you have enjoyed the book so far.

Thanks for supporting my dream, and I hope that by sharing it, we’ll inspire everyone to follow their dreams!

Together we can CHANGE THE WORLD!

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Eczema, Humility, and Strength

My son turned 2 at the end of August, and my daughter started Kindergarten this year. First of all, WHERE DOES THE TIME GO? Right!? I’m thinking about milestones and the quick pace of life. I remember when they were both infants and I thought the sleepless nights would never end. Now, I can’t keep up with how fast they’re both changing.

My son arrived in the world earlier than expected, but healthy. He’s a happy baby. He’s affectionate and funny. He’s almost always in a good mood, and he’s never met a stranger. But, his first year of life was extremely challenging.

His first three months were perfect. Normal infant stuff. But, at the 3 month mark, he developed a rash on his cheeks. This rash spread to his chest, the back of his knees, and eventually, the rest of his body. The first time I took him to the doctor about the rash specifically, she diagnosed him with eczema caused by a milk allergy. I was nursing him, so I immediately cut out all dairy from my diet. The rash persisted. And it grew to a full-body, unrelenting, swollen and angry red albatross.

Subsequent doctors’ visits were a guessing game. Our pediatrician prescribed steroids which improved the condition but only temporarily. She prescribed antibiotics in case it was bacterial. She told us to use topical creams. About the time we got the first round of steroids completed, my son caught the strep virus from my daughter, causing a major setback. More steroids and more antibiotics.

I had well-meaning friends and family come out of the woodwork with advice and questions. Everyone was understandably concerned. We tried every suggested cream, oil, essential oil blend, and home remedy. Allergy testing was suggested, and he tested positive for food allergies. Eradicating those items from his diet and mine seemed to help a bit, but his irritation was unrelenting.

In the middle of all of this, our family moved, thereby requiring a new pediatrician. Her suggestion was to do additional testing, which was uncomfortable for him and us but was ultimately a huge blessing because we found out what was going on. Basically, due to the amount of medication he had in his first year of life, combined with a (lighter) schedule of vaccinations, his little gut couldn’t handle the toxins from the medicines and his digestion was all out of whack. The doctor explained that the body’s entire immune system is controlled in the gut, and his rash was a manifestation of his imbalanced gut bacteria. She prescribed some medication and a non-dairy probiotic. He’s doing great today. He has some eczema patches here and there, but nothing compared to what he experienced the first few months of his life.

I want to write about the process because I can see how far we’ve come. The experience was humbling. People seemed to have no filter whatsoever. Comments and questions like “what’s wrong with his face?” and “oh my god, is he ok?!” were a daily occurrence. Many time I didn’t even want to leave the house. I just didn’t want people asking about it, and I was afraid of being judged.

The situation taught me a lot. First, my son is incredible. Who could blame him for being fussy or irritable during all of this? — but he wasn’t! He was happy, sweet, and very snuggley. He actually cries more now as a toddler than he did at that time. There were times that the rash was so severe and his face was so swollen his eyes were almost shut, and still, no complaining on his part. He’s a great example for all of us to be happy despite being so uncomfortable.

The situation also taught me to trust the Universe, and to trust myself. My emotions about it often got in the way, but in the moments that I was able to filter the well-meaning comments of onlookers and really tune into my own inner guidance, the message I received was that this was a process we all needed to go through. I knew that it would get better, and to keep working hard with the doctors until we got to the root of the problem. I got a great lesson in not giving up, even when results seem far away.

Today I hope that he outgrows his food allergies. We still continue with the probiotic, but he is doing really well. He’s beautiful and his eyes are wide open, bright, and shine with light. He’s strong and wild. Today, instead of shocked expressions and worrisome questions, we get comments about his beauty.

The other day I was in the grocery store and had both children with me. It had taken us a long time to get into the shopping basket and into the store. In the bread aisle, a woman approached us and she told me that she had watched us in the parking lot. She said, “I just wanted to tell you that you’re a really strong mother.”  As a mom, there have been a ton of moments when I felt anything but strong. But she’s right. I am strong. And I know I can get through anything now.

Why Me?

I have several branches of writing work here on My Circle Game, and I hope to be able to highlight things one at time. This week, I’m working hard on preparing something I’m proud of, and have been excited to offer – Write to Change Your World – an Intuitive Journaling Workshop.

I wanted to take a moment and talk about why I created the workshop, and how it can help you. What’s this workshop all about, and why should you work with me?

write to change your world

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. Somewhere along my life path I lost my way, so like many aspiring authors, I took a circuitous path to acting on those dreams until I was older. I have always written in my journal, and my notebooks are full of stops and starts, and some strong completed pieces I never shared. Does that sound familiar?

When I committed completely to writing no matter what, I found that I had some serious obstacles. I had disparaging self-talk, fears about my worthiness, and self-doubt. I know that I’m a good writer, but sometimes those negative thoughts are louder than my soul voice.

I’ve taken a lot of writing courses, and they were all great. I’ve received valuable skills to enhance my own writing talents, and I got a lot of great writing prompts and ideas. I even made a few new friends. I also took spiritually based courses to clear my negative thoughts, expand my own energy, and generally re-connect to that joy and zest for life that I felt I was missing. But, I wasn’t able to find a class or workshop that combined the creative skills with energy work. I wanted something designed for the creative arts, even if it wasn’t specifically about writing.

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So, after a lot of practice, I created this workshop because it’s something I want to see in the world. I began combining my favorite tools and over time developed a formula that helped me to clear out my limiting thought patterns and create from a deeper space of connection – to my truest voice.  I do not use this formula every day, but I use it when I feel stuck or when I feel I need some internal clarity.

I’ve had some positive results: in 2017 I wrote and illustrated a children’s book, and I created this website. I also created this workshop in 2017, and it continues to evolve and grow.  I published my book in July 2017, and I’m actively developing my second book and educational resources to extend the book series in a classroom setting. While I don’t feel it’s ethical to promise specific results for you, I do feel this workshop is a powerful tool you can use as needed to enhance your own capacity for creativity.

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Me at a recent book signing.

I’d love to share it with you.

Is now the time?

If this resonates with you, I’m offering the workshop LIVE online on Sunday, February 18th at 11 a.m. CST.

For additional information, or to reserve your spot, please see the event on my Facebook page.

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If you can’t make it in person – you can still sign up! In addition to the 1-hour workshop, you’ll receive all the handouts used in the course, and a recording of the workshop.

Shiny Sparks: February 5

Last week was challenging, and finding inspiration wasn’t my main focus. In truth, finding beauty usually comes easily to me. I often see it in the world despite crazy things happening all around us, and I prefer to look at life from a brighter perspective. But this past week I had a financial surprise, my daughter was home sick for the entire week, and I had some deadlines that were stressful. My husband and I didn’t exactly argue, but there was pressure on both sides from external stressors, and we weren’t as unified as usual. So, there wasn’t a lot of time for movie watching and book reading. I did get some writing done, but I didn’t have any extra room in my schedule. It was business and survival mode!

But this is exactly why I decided to write a weekly blog about things that inspire me. What do we do when we don’t have a lot of time to connect to the muses? How do we keep our internal spark engaged when everything around us is real life and responsibility?

This week, I kept it simple. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I had a big desire to keep my consciousness elevated and focused, so I relied on one of my new favorite things: The Universe Has Your Back card deck by Gabrielle Bernstein. Beautifully illustrated by Micaela Ezra, this 52-card set is based on Bernstein’s bestselling book with the same title. The book is great, and Bernstein’s story is powerful and absolutely worth reading. But these cards are nuggets of deep wisdom made accessible and urgent, and Ezra’s artwork makes that wisdom vivid and gorgeous. These cards are wildly uplifting and insightful. Take a moment to just consider the title itself. Isn’t it great?!

TUHYB Deck

 

My ritual for working with the cards is simple: I take a deep breath, close my eyes for a moment, and ask the universe for the messages I need. Then I randomly pull 1-3 cards from the deck. I use them as a contemplative tool for the day, and I find the process heart-opening and revealing. Here are some of the cards I pulled out of the deck this week:

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Aren’t they gorgeous? I think the quotes are extremely rich and as I stated, deep and contemplative, heart-opening, and energy expanding. I love them and I think they’re an uplifting and positive addition to anyone’s collection of spiritual go-to tools.

Do any of the cards pictured speak to you or help answer a question you’ve had lately? I would love to hear about it, or any other tool you use that helps you maintain your joy and zest for life.

This week, today, this moment – I hope I am always aligned with my truth. I appreciate the people who are sharing their truth widely so that I can be reminded of what I already know to be true. Universe…show me something beautiful today. And may I always have the integrity to access my truth from within, so that I may share it with others.

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*Please know this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you choose to purchase something I recommend, I’ll get a small percentage. I really appreciate the opportunity to share awesome things, and I appreciate your support of my blog. If you’re not into affiliate links, please don’t click on them…but I hope you’ll still read my words anyway.

 

Thank You, Half Price Books!

I had an in-store book signing at Half Price Books in Dallas on Sunday. I’m excited to share some of the pictures, and share a little about the fun experience.

Many bookstores will host book signings for independent authors. Each bookstore is a little bit different – some take a portion of your sales, some offer your book on consignment, and some will simply host your event for free. Half Price Books is a great opportunity because it doesn’t take a portion of the profits from what you sell, and you get to sell your books directly. You don’t have to get your book into their inventory or do sales through the cash register. Also, the location I was at is a high-traffic location, and I was there at prime time on a Sunday. I feel it was a successful day, and I am truly appreciative to Half Price Books for hosting me. I had a great experience.

Thanks to everyone who came out. I have just a few copies left, so if you’ve been thinking about grabbing your signed copy, be sure to purchase it here at the special author price.

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Diamond in the Rough

My father came to visit one afternoon

he triumphantly presented

a small blue box with an appraisal

my grandmothers wedding ring

he said this is yours now

 

I don’t have a lot of experience with diamonds

I don’t wear bling

my wedding ring is a modest silver band

with a little message on the inside only I can see

I don’t have a lot of experience with diamonds

I don’t have a lot of experience with my grandmother

 

The diamonds on her ring

are not the pristine princess cuts of my prime

no, they’re an organized little cluster

that looks quickly encased

in a time more ragged and primitive

rough diamonds

I think I’m a rough diamond

 

I imagine what my grandmothers ring

her diamonds

would feel like in my mouth

crystalline points cold against my tongue

little rocks scratching the thin layer of my inside cheeks

I hear the stones click against my teeth

 

Maybe if I swallow the gems

feel them travel down my trachea to land

cushioned in my gut

I will understand the allure

the diamonds could shine from my insides

and then I could shine

we could shine, she and I

 

I think my grandmother was a rough diamond too

undeveloped and battered

sometimes a diamond looks more like coal

 

I want to turn back our time

I want us to be diamonds

our ruffled tangled outside transformed

transparent and free from flaws

now precious stones, she and I

 

Where are your from?

The first week that I was an Uber driver, I learned that my problems are small.

And being an Uber driver is a nightly adventure in surprising ways. For example, you could potentially get your first ride of the night while sitting in your driveway. An hour later, you could be on the complete opposite end of the metroplex in a neighborhood you didn’t know existed. Each customer is a dice roll, people and groups, and the places we go, an endless variety. I am a happy Uber driver overall. I enjoy the people.

The first week I was an Uber driver, probably my first Saturday night shift, I found myself in North Frisco in a neighborhood I didn’t know existed. It was getting later, close to midnight, and I was annoyed when I pulled into the apartment complex to pick up my rider. There was no apartment number. There was a gate code and no one answered the phone on the account who had hailed my car. After a few minutes, a man pulled up in a car and told me he was my rider. I was nervous and visibly agitated because the name on the account was a woman’s name. Also, he had driven up in a car. He explained that it was his wife’s account. That he had to leave the car here for someone to pick up. I called the account holder again from the Uber app, and she answered, and confirmed everything he had said. He was getting on my nerves, but my gut told me he was harmless, so we got our trip started.

He knew I was annoyed. He was apologetic. He wanted me to trust him. He began explaining that he didn’t have a phone that could carry a lot of apps, so they had to use his wife’s phone for Uber. He didn’t need to use Uber a lot, so they didn’t think it was a big deal. He was switching cars with so-and-so, over at so-and-so’s place, which is where we were going, and his complicated explanation forced me to reconsider my initial judgment that he was a nuisance, or worse, dishonest.

“Where are you from?” I asked. He had a heavy Spanish accent. He spoke in broken English. A sign of bravery.

“Venezuela.” He answered. “We have been here for almost a year. We had to leave our country because there was no food.”

He continued. His wife and children, and his parents fled Venezuela and came to a Dallas suburb to live with a distant cousin. In Venezuela, he was an Engineer. Here in Frisco, he is a cook at a mom-and-pop hamburger shop. His wife is cleaning houses.

He carried with him a substantial load of groceries and based on the aroma, hamburger and fries for everyone he was going home to. He talked about his hopes and dreams, not his problems, and he had a determination I seem to have lost.

When I dropped him off, three family members came outside to help him unload his items. They said nothing, just nodded and took a portion of the bags dutifully. He wanted me to know his story. That he was no lazy mooch. That they had no choice but to start over.

I felt admiration for him. I felt humbled by our conversation. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the experience planted a seed in my thoughts. I watched him go back into their home, and I thought about my attitude an hour earlier: annoyed, inconvenienced, and a little judge-y. I knew, in that moment, that I have it so much easier. I am privileged. I know that by societal standards, I’m not The Other.

In the United States of America, to be an Immigrant is to be seen as a Nemesis. A large portion of our native population believes that hardworking people who want the best life possible will somehow be the downfall of our country. That they are an external threat for which we must keep vigilance. That they will take something from us, and we will be less because of it. When focused on a collective of disenfranchised, the arguments against Immigration are generally based on the fear of loss.

I don’t receive that kind of judgment just for existing. I grew up in the suburbs of 5 states in America. My existence here is forged and expected. My Nemesis isn’t an outside force. It’s the part(s) of me that still fall to the limited perspective, the “mine!” mentality and the separation. Even if it’s over something as small as an Uber ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He and I

He adds items to our luggage after I think we are finished packing for a trip. I say we won’t need it. I say we should pack light. I always say that. I tire easily when preparing for a trip. My excitement usually peaks, then crashes into irritability and fatigue right before we start to load the car. I gripe about why we’re taking so many bags. Why it takes so much time and effort to pack the car. He is always right about the last-minute items. I am always appreciative. “I’m so glad you thought to bring that,” I’ll say. He never says “I told you so.”

He was a Boy Scout and then an Eagle Scout: a childhood career of citizenship, commitment, survival skills, and “Always Be Prepared, Always Do Your Best.” He is still an Eagle Scout. I was in the Girl Scouts for less than a year. Like many of my childhood interests, I quit after one season. I still find it hard to persevere.

He is our children’s playmate. I am the one who nurtures and organizes our flock. It isn’t that I don’t like to play. It’s more that I’ve forgotten how. Our daughter will invent a game and he will see the whole picture, enthusiastically synthesize her vision, and they will enter the new world of their creation. I struggle to unearth the child I’ve buried inside. On the rare occasions that she does come out, we are late to the party. If I am honest I should confess – I used to resent this. Now, I’ve come to accept, even love, my role as observer. If I watch long enough I will learn the secret that only they seem to know. If I watch long enough, I’ll grow out of my fears and join the fun.

But even before parenthood, he taught me about adventure. Once, in the very early days of our relationship, during one of our first out-of-town trips together, we found out that one of our favorite musicians was playing in the same town. We were visiting my parents. I still felt young enough to need my father’s permission to go, and was nervous to ask. Requests for impromptu fun were tricky with my Dad.

I waited in anticipation: Did he enjoy our visit? Does he like him? (PLEASE LIKE HIM) Is he in a good mood? Is he worried about me?

He said yes!  And then – I lost my mind. We didn’t go to the concert. I cited our early morning departure and low cash flow as evidence to the idea’s absurdity. Why did he agree with me? Why didn’t we go? What were we thinking?

18 years later he surprised me on my birthday with a ticket to see the same artist. He stayed home with the kids – our son was still an infant. It wasn’t until I got to the concert that I recognized a sneaky fear that I would not assimilate to my younger self. Had motherhood, many years of marriage, and life in the suburbs altered my reality that much? Had the childhood part of me been eradicated? Snuffed out during the process of growing up?

But, at the show, I was 19 again. Safe in the familiar landscape. Anonymous in the dark, smoky venue. The music started. Goosebumps. Joy. Youth. This music gets me. The songs written just for me. He is not here – my partner, sidekick, inspiration. My co-parent, co-pilot, co-conspirator, with whom everything is brighter and more fun. Was he off on an adventure with our daughter? Castaways on a princess pirate ship crashed on a cookie island?

He easily transitions from work to play. I am almost always thinking about some type of work. But now, our adventures include 2 small people, all of them propelling me to let go. With them, with him, we seesaw between our early days together and the future we’re creating. And despite our differences, we are doing it all together. He and I.

 

This Morning in the Kitchen

 

“Look, Mommy! Dust molecules!”

 

I hadn’t noticed the floating dots.

 

I hadn’t seen them until you galloped through

You, fresh creature, illuminating the specks

You danced together

 

I swear I saw a flash of light not originally a part of the sun shaft

as you gamboled, cheerful and delighted

 

Delightful was your light, dancing in the dust

Let’s Play!

Here are some fun prompts to write about.

Use them to connect to your Inner Child, have fun, lighten up, and create some magic.


Ask: What age would I like to be today?

Write a letter to your grown-up self with love from your 5 year-old self. Laugh at your adult-ness.

Try a rhyming haiku.

Describe cotton candy to a blind person.