18th April 2014
End hunger. End poverty. What is you initial reaction to this directive?
What if I told you there was a way you could be a part of the community working to accomplish these goals by the year 2030? What if I told you that you could be a part of it through generosity of action and deed, willingness to share the message is all that’s required?
Would you do it? Would you be a part of it?
Let’s plan to get together so I can share with you how the Global Poverty Project is making a difference through education and information – I would be happy to help you learn more, and perhaps set up a presentation for you and your group.
Would you like to start making a difference sooner? Like today?
Join me as I #livebelowtheline from April 28th through May 2nd. I have promised to live on less than $1.50 a day during that week in awareness of those living in our own communities, countries and world who know extreme poverty. You can support me, and Global Poverty Project, by making a donation on my page.
You can also choose to participate in #livebelowtheline yourself, sign up at www.livebelowtheline.com.
End hunger. End poverty.
I am working toward a solution, are you?
– See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/participant#sthash.jFjCoSi5.dpuf
A close friend this week was concerned when my daily updates did not occur first thing in the morning, as is the norm. I believe the exact quote was “I was upset when you didn’t answer your cell and none of the Buddhist crap was posted.” Hmmmm.
It’s funny to me how often people comment on my social media posts being too positive. Too positive, too Pollyanna, too saccharine perhaps. While many say they enjoy the inspiration, there is a definitive desire for the snarkier side of my humor. In discussing this yesterday I considered a hash tag of #justsayin as a collection of my bitchier commentary on life as I know it. Is there really a call for me to add this darker turn? This side of me is reserved for those I know very well, and whom I trust to see the balance – for those who know my story and have the context
As my #justsayin experiment commenced throughout my day yesterday I came to a very important conclusion. To quote Aaron Sorkin, “you can’t handle the truth.” My black-hearted truth of all I am, have been through and how I feel is beyond the scope of public consumption. I remain very positive in my social media for some pretty clear professional and personal reasons, most importantly that the positive view is my truest voice. My positivity is also a testament to my truest belief that everyday is a choice, how we act and react is within our control. If I can let my past experiences remain in the past and not dictate to my present and future, not be my identity, then I can be a person who has unlimited potential.
My public persona will remain decidedly a positive one – for those looking for the darker, bitchier, more humorous and perhaps funnier side you will have to make the time to spend in person – #justsayin.
We were stuck in a holding pattern until my insurance company approved the iron iv infusion. At least a week of phone calls and tenacity on my part finally got the approval. It was so very frustrating as it seemed as if I they weren’t understanding just how important the treatment was to me. My first iron infusion therapy appointment on November 28, 2012 was nerve wracking for me, as it is administered in the same infusion suite where chemo is delivered it was a quick reminder just how fortunate I was to be here with a plan. The infusion has to be done where they are prepared for any allergic reactions and can act quickly to address adverse side effects, the surroundings remind you that this is not something to be taken lightly. I was searching within and without to find a way to calm myself, to focus, to visualize healing taken place – and then it happened. As the nurse approached me with the rather large syringe containing black liquid (my iron) I immediately saw her coming at me with Adamantium- I knew as soon as I started getting that force into my system I would be strong again and be ready to take on the world! Okay, so there was a slight moment of panic when I proved to be a bit allergic to Adamantium and started itching all over my body. I did get to see just how quickly the doctors, nurses and aides could get a crash cart over and start injecting benadryl into my IV. Once that passed I went back to my visualization, made even stronger by a dose of benadryl.
In case you are not familiar with Adamantium, in the Marvel Comics universe it is an indestructible metal alloy best known for being the substance bonded to Wolverine’s skeleton and bone claws. I saw the iron flowing into my body, bonding to my blood cells and bringing me strength. I saw myself running again, being active, being strong. Those images helped me hold on and get through the process. I left feeling pretty lousy, beat up and achy, happy to be able to make it home before I started vomiting. We had to call the doctor so he could prescribe anti nausea meds, with that I was finally able to sleep a bit. The next day I felt horrible, but kept revisiting my visualization and using the power of positive thinking sure that each day I would feel better. I knew I had one more treatment to get through and I had to believe that this would be the answer for me. Any other outcome was unacceptable.
Those unfamiliar with the importance and healing power of visualization in healing, and with that visualization having a personal power for the patient, tried to tell me that what I really should be thinking about was Iron Man – as the infusion was in fact iron. For me there is only one superhero who could save me – for me that syringe was Adamantium. I had my second of two infusions on December 6, 2012. I always find myself more apprehensive when I know what pain awaits me, when I have a clear idea of just how uncomfortable the getting to the other side of this thing would be. One benefit was that after my last experience I first received benadryl through the iv prior to the infusion – no itching, no creepy crawlies! Also, although I was exhausted and a bit nauseous afterward I did not throw up and was able to sleep it off most of the afternoon.
The next step was the waiting, and as Tom Petty sings, it truly is the hardest part. I would now wait six months and have my blood work repeated to see if this was my cure, my own personal Adamantium. If the levels made it up into normal range, I would then have the test repeated in another six months to check levels again. How often I need to have the iv iron infusion therapy will be totally dependent on how my body absorbs, stores and utilizes the iron injected into my body. Potentially the treatments could only be once a year – I won’t know until time passes. What I do know is that this will be a forever thing, considering all of the horrible things I narrowly avoided, this was totally acceptable.
In the mean time I had a very important goal that my recovery process was based on. Whenever I felt weak, I kept reminding myself that by December 10th my strength would return enough for me to make a very important date. Tenacious, determined, focused and unrelenting are qualities I have relied on to get me through even the most difficult of times. When I set my mind to accomplish something very little gets in the way of me and my goal. Even more so when I had a date to thank the person who in a unique way was part of my healing.
Update: On May 10, 2013 I had blood work done that showed all of my results falling into the normal range. I pride myself on never being defined as “normal”, but in this case it was wonderful news. As long as I remain symptom free, my next blood work will be in November of 2013 – hopefully I won’t need my next infusion of my super hero cure for quite awhile!
I have been informed by trusted friends that there is something missing from my blogs – something they feel is vital to me being me – snarkiness.
I agree with them but, much like Barry Manilow in the late seventies, I have been having trouble” tryin’ to get the feeling” of my inner black heart. Well, actually Barry was singing about losing the feeling for something else and I am pretty sure he can get a pill for that now – but back to me.
Perhaps part of the loss came from dedicating my website and blog to positive thinking – all of those heady thoughts about self enlightenment and growth really are important to me – but at times they run counter culture to dreaming of a reality show entitled “Did You Wear That On Purpose”. In wanting to offer a place that offered a shoulder, a forum and an environment of learning and acceptance perhaps I missed the fact that sometimes you also just want a place to “let it all hang out”. Less white wine and chai tea and more stiff cosmos and espresso. Hey – I can do that!!
Perhaps I lwas reminded of something really important here – being a positive thinker, looking for the good and focusing on kindness, compassion and service doesn’t mean we are not still only human. I teach that to my family program all the time and yet seemed to have forgotten for a bit myself. Being “only human” is something to celebrate – we can strive to do good and still enjoy the life we are living. The complexity of humanness is what makes us interesting, diverse and fun.
In the spirit of being true to myself, being human and being very snarky I promise to cover more bases here. I promise to let just a little more hang out and to remember that no one likes someone who is about being all good all the time. If you only knew the depth of material this has just unleashed……
Sometimes we arrive at a crossroads in our lives where the need for change is so clear. This is not always for negative reasons, in fact often the path offered to us is a road to bigger and better things. So why is it scary, why do we find decisions hard to make and why sometimes to we freeze at this point until we get run over by oncoming traffic?
The fear of success is very real, and far more common than you might realize. It is much easier to maintain middle of the road than to work toward excellence. Excellence brings with it the need for a work ethic, clear goals and letting go of habits, beliefs and people that stand in the way of our success.
Success calls for us to do away with thoughts that are holding us back as well:
- Who do you think you are?
- You think you’re better than everyone else.
- It’s selfish to spend so much time on yourself.
- What about us?
- Who is going to take care of us?
- That’s a pipe dream.
- You’ll never accomplish that.
Whether these thoughts are within us (messages passed along throughout childhood till the present) or the reaction of those around us it makes it very hard to move forward on the path to success. If we listen to these messages we hear that working toward our personal goals makes us selfish, egotistic, irresponsible and unrealistic. What we don’t take the time to think through is that those messages come from places or people that are invested in the status quo – a need for us not to change in order that who we are and what we do continues to provide for them or maintain their truth. Moving toward personal success requires us to take a risk that we may move away from ideas, actions and people that have been fixtures in our lives. They have helped us maintain the here and now, but if that is not our vision of success they may not be part of the future you are working toward. Part of moving forward on the road to personal success is to be grateful for all that has been and peacefully letting habits, thoughts and people go that are not supportive of your vision. The habits and thoughts will be replaced by positive actions and ideas that will enable you to achieve your goals, some of the people may choose to be supportive and move along the path with you – others will need to be respectfully remembered as those who were in your life at a certain point for a certain reason.
This process of getting over the fear of success may take a long time, in retrospect you might realize you have been allowing the fear to hold you back for quite awhile. When you are ready to move forward you need to take this steps:
- Create your vision of what success means to you – personally, professionally, spiritually
- Write down your goals and the pros and cons of each – cons being the thoughts, habits and people that you need to overcome to move forward
- Create a plan for moving forward – do you need to take classes, network, find a mentor, read and research? How will you get started?
- Create a vision page or book – physically in a notebook or online create a space where you put pictures, quotes and ideas of what components of your success look like to you
Be patient and be kind to yourself – but don’t let your fear continue to hold you back from the potential of what will be!!
Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays – I would rank it right after my birthday and right before Christmas. Long before boyfriends, flowers or feats involved to prove the depths of one’s love – I loved Valentine’s Day. My earliest memories include a Dad who brought home one of those huge cards with the lace and satin for my Mom, the largest Russell Stover heart and the smaller version for me (I am sure he bought my sister one, but I have blocked that part of this story out – it’s my blog!).
I loved picking out the assortment of Valentines for the class – the kind with one special one for the teacher included. I am sure they were mostly Barbie themed, with Batman, The Beatles and The Monkees thrown in depending on the year. Our class always had a Valentine’s Mailbox and in the later years of grade school I am sure it was primarily a vehicle for candy and finding out the class crushes. In my all girls high school the celebration continued in that there was a major emphasis on decorating and having class parties (yes, I picked the perfect school for me!).
I remember the first Valentine’s Day I spent with my husband. My then boyfriend walked through the door with a dozen pink roses and – wait for it – the largest pink satin heart filled with chocolates you could imagine. It was a sure sign that this one was a keeper! Not because of the beauty or the size of the gifts as much as the fact that without knowing about it he recreated my idealized childhood ideal of what it meant to have a Valentine.
Years have gone by and we have celebrated in the most extravagant ways, we have also sat with each other being sick, a few bouts of morning sickness thrown in, and then the amazing celebrations with our children. Most importantly over the years the celebration became more and more focused on the meaning of the day – a day to celebrate and honor love in all its many forms. With maturity you learn that love isn’t measured by the gift, but by the day in and day out of being there for each other. True love is so much bigger than two people – it’s opening your hearts to children, to family, to friends, to those in need. It is supporting your partner to be the person they dream of being, while being responsible to continue to grow and learn yourself.
And then, when all is said and done, it’s also about the shoes!! xoxoxo
Just in time for my favorite holiday – Valentine’s Day – I bring you some love in a cup! All Be Happy Coffee features the amazing combination of Laughing Man coffee, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Brandy and Half & Half. Add a dash of cinnamon to finish!
This delicious concoction is perfect as is – if you want to elevate it to a full blown dessert you can top it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If you have a super sweet tooth – stir in a teaspoon of Laughing Man Hot Chocolate or sprinkle some on top.
All Be Happy Coffee is also a great pairing with Laughing Man Tiramisu! You might also like to try Laughing Man’s new line of chocolates – decadent & delicious with all of the fine qualities that make the coffee & tea so special – it is fairly traded and Rainforest Certified.
Once you have this recipe down use your imagination and try different liqueurs. You can also kick it up a notch higher by adding vodka – try Godiva’s new chocolate infused vodka!
Most importantly – Enjoy & All Be Happy!
All Be Happy Coffee
- 1 cup coffee
- 1 ounce Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
- 1 ounce brandy (or cognac)
- Half & Half to taste
- Dash of Cinnamon
Delicious coffee, chocolate and doing good – like its namesake this dessert is a true triple threat! This recipe takes the best of the creamy goodness of a traditional tiramisu and adds chocolate in a starring role. The combination of flavors truly sing and will have you and yours doing a dance of joy!
- 3 eggs separated
- Three tablespoons granulated sugar
- Three tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- Three tablespoons Marsala wine
- 1 container Mascarpone cheese
- 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate baking bar (I used Ghirardelli) chopped in a food processor
- 16 – 20 ladyfinger cookies
- 2 cups strong coffee ( Laughing Man’s Dukales’s Dream or Reserve Indonesia Flores work well, experiment with 184 or your favorite! )
1. In a double boiler whisk the egg yolks, granulated sugar and Marsala wine vigorously until it thickens into a white custard consistency. As soon as it thickens remove from heat as not to overcook*.
2. In a stand mixer at a high speed whisk the egg whites and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks begin to form.
3. In a large mixing bowl add the custard and ¾ of the chocolate to the mascarpone cheese, fold with a spatula by hand.
4. To the mascarpone mixture add the egg whites, fold with a spatula by hand.
5. Line 2 8” x 8” serving dishes or one large serving dish with ladyfinger cookies; add coffee to the cookies slowly allowing it to be absorbed, once the cookies are saturated stop.
6. Spread the mixture evenly over the cookies gently as not to break them.
7. Garnish the tiramisu with the remaining chocolate, refrigerate for at least two hours, overnight is best.
You can also make individual desserts in glasses or use the mixture as a cake or pastry filling.
To order Laughing Man products visit http://shop.livelaughingman.com/
*This egg custard is the base for Zabaglione. You can use it just like this or check out recipes that add cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, additional sugar, etc. This is delicious over fresh berries, even better over pound cake and fresh berries! Be creative!!