ART, GETTING CREATIVE, POEMS

Poems of Motherhood

03/07/2019

I believe creativity needs to be stoked in all areas of life. So today, rather than an article or story, I share with you three poems that I wrote about motherhood. I hope you enjoy!

 

Time to Go

20 minute countdown

You announce to all.

Not a flinch from the children

As you make your call.

 

“Did you hear me?” you say

To your daughter and son.

They nod and continue

To play and have fun.

 

The seconds tick by

And turn into minutes.

You announce “15 to go

You’d better get with it”.

 

You leave the room

to get yourself dressed

And upon returning you see

That the kids are a mess.

 

No shoes are on,

No jackets in sight,

Every toy on the floor

You’re ready to fight.

 

But you keep your calm

And say “We’ve got to go!”

And they fire back

“Why didn’t you tell us so?”

 

Well there goes your temper,

You lose your cool.

You’d think today

Was the first day of school.

 

“We do this daily”

You say with a tone.

So they know you mean business,

You put down your phone.

 

“Every morning you get dressed

And ready by eight

So we can be out the door

Without running late…

 

You know the drill

You don’t need me to tell you

It has been the same routine

Since you were age two!”

 

The shouting continues

Everyone’s mad

And you think to yourself,

“Do they do this for dad?”

 

You continue to nag them

Until they’re ready to leave.

You make it to school

by the skin of your teeth.

 

You made it! Success!

You give kisses goodbye.

You take a deep breath

And let out a sigh.

 

You start heading home

Knowing this isn’t the end,

Tomorrow morning

It starts all over again.

 

Then your smile spreads wide

And the stress fades away.

Because you realize with joy

Tomorrow’s Saturday.

 

 

The Elusive Cup of Coffee

Oh coffee coffee

In the pot

How I wish I could drink you

When you were hot.

 

My cup of Joe

Sitting all day.

Let’s warm you up

In the microwave.

 

Yet you sit again

You are such a tease.

Can I just have you all

In one sitting please?

 

It’s the end of the day

I pour you out with sorrow.

Knowing full well I will

try again tomorrow.

 

Murphy’s Law

Have you met Murphy?

A good friend of mine.

A charlatan, trickster,

And stealer of time.

 

He’ll bait you and trap you

And get you to play.

His games always spin off

In the most inopportune way.

 

You see, he has created a law

Which is his all alone.

A law that affects you

Once you are grown.  

 

And if you’re a mom

You are surely in luck,

Because Murphy likes to play

With your offspring like such.

 

If you stay up too late

on a Friday night,

He’ll wake your child at dawn

With no nap in sight.

 

If you are running behind

For an appointment at noon,

He’ll instigate a tantrum

Before even leaving the room.

 

Meltdowns, spills, and blowouts

That rub you raw,

Are the tell tale signs

Of one “Murphy’s Law”.

 

So watch out for him

Because he is waiting for you,

When something is important

A game will ensue.  

 

 

Copyright © 2019 by Jessica Regan. All rights reserved. Poems and articles or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author.

 

All poems are

BEST SELF, INSPIRATION, TIME FOR CHANGE

The Struggle with Self Doubt

02/28/2019

There is an overpowering amount of self doubt that is seeded in our lives from a young age.  Teasing, taunting, and terrorizing both internally and externally. We see these behaviors through our peers, the public, and of course our own personal thoughts.  

How is it that we come into the world bright eyed and bushy tailed excited to be the next princess, doctor, astronaut, ballerina, firefighter, professional athlete, and president and end up losing sight of these dreams before we’ve even began to work towards them.  I know there is a reality that not everyone will become the next president and perhaps it is even less likely for one to become a princess, but the meaning behind the statement lies within our lack of belief in the possibility for the remarkable to happen. It is as if we lay down and give up on being much above the status quo.  Why is this?

I have many theories of why and how we lose our passion, but in all honestly there is no true difficulty in figuring out how we lost our excitement for life, so we will focus instead on how we get it back.

How do we change our viewpoint in life and start believing in something bigger than ourselves?  When my daughter was four year old daughter and I would ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she typically answered with only one response – a princess.  And when she did, I would look into her big brown eyes and say “Yes. And if that’s what you want, that’s what you shall be”. Who am I to say that she will not become a princess?  I do not know her future any more than I know the answers to world peace. Her future is yet to be determined and I want her to know that in fact, anything is possible.

I try to remind myself of this as well. When working as a counselor at a local university counseling center, I often made comments that I am still trying to figure out what it is that I want to be when I grow up.  They typically look at me and laugh because from an outward perspective it would look like I am fully immersed into my professional life, but I then and still now I can’t seem to squelch that inner thirst for more.  That internal feeling that there is something bigger out there and that I have yet to figure out my professional destination.  Despite having various certifications and degrees, I simply look at these as stepping stones in my journey and I am just as curious to what I will be when I grow up as I am to see what my daughter too shall do with her life.  

I would bet that most of us still experience that burning for more.  The longing to make a difference. To have an impact, whether it be in our families, in our towns, in our cities, in our states, or even worldwide.  Being great does not mean that we will each reach superstar status and walk the red carpet or have a street or building named after us. It simply means finding our peace in life, our happiness, and perhaps our own personal meaning.  This means something uniquely different to every individual. We each are born with so many unique gifts and talents that we yearn to share with others, but yet we often keep them within because at some point in our lives we believed that we were not worthy of success and we stopped putting out the effort to reach greatness.

I truly believe that the world is abundant.  There is enough space for each of us in this world to be great.  To shine. To find our place. It is not the opportunities that are limited, it is our belief.  Our belief that we too are capable and deserving. We live in a society that preaches scarcity and drives us to fear.  When we live our lives scared of what may happen we limit our ability to grow into the person we can be. The person, I believe we were meant to be.

Having worked with a college population in a counseling setting, there was often a lot of anxiety around career choice and areas of study.  The narrow thinking when it comes to career choice was very apparent during conversations about career. I would often hear statements of struggle when students realize despite deciding that they wanted to be a doctor at the age of 8 that they do not actually enjoy the course work and are having second thoughts about their career field.  To challenge their mindsets in regards to possible careers I like to ask the question “How many people in my graduating class do you think strived to work for Google upon graduation?”. They look at me a little perplexed as they have no idea how to answer this question, knowing nothing about my graduating class of course. I only give it a moment of awkwardness before I say “zero”.  I then ask if they know why, and of course I typically get another blank stare as a result. I then inform them that the reason that none of my classmates had any interest in working for Google, a highly sought after and prestigious job opportunity, is because it did not exist. The career we may be best suited for, the piece of the puzzle that may help give us a feeling of purpose, may not even exist.

So we must ask ourselves, what would we do if we were not afraid?  What if we were incapable of failure? What would our lives look like?  

I believe that the one thing that separates most of the population from those we view as great is the ability to preserve regardless of fear.  The ability to look at their fear and anxiety and let it drive them rather than to stop them.

Now, that said I think there are a minimal amount of people who can naturally, without much effort, live in this world without self doubt and fear penetrating the majority of their thoughts.  I can say that it is something I struggle with not just daily, but often moment by moment. It takes an active choice to look that fear in the face and choose to keep walking forward regardless of its monstrous grin.  And some days, I just don’t have the energy and I curl up in a ball and go to sleep – well, metaphorically at least. 

I have to constantly remind myself that the world is abundant.  That there are gifts to be had that we cannot even imagine. I struggle with the feeling of self doubt far too often myself, but I’m continuing to work on pushing through my fear and putting myself out there for new opportunities and experiences. I try to take at least one step each day, whether big or small in the direction of my passions. We’ll see where it all takes me, but for now I’m simply trying to enjoy the journey.

If you weren’t afraid – what is it you would do?

 

BEST SELF, HEALTH, TIME FOR CHANGE

Sleep – Tips & Tricks for a Better Night!

02/22/2019

Since beginning The Hourglass Project a few of years ago, I’ve really been trying to reflect on how to achieve balance in my life.  Despite the ups and downs and unexpected turns – I’ve really been able to learn a lot about myself and what I need to help me stay centered in my life.  My experiences have only made me more confident that the fundamentals of The Hourglass Project – sleep, activity, and nutrition while paired with a focus on mind, body, and soul are truly the keys to finding happiness.

Each time I find myself off kilter in regards to my personal mental or physical well-being, I can honestly say that it is typically connected with my neglecting one of these areas.  The most common culprit for throwing off my balance is lack of sleep.

Sleep seems to be the most pivotal component to finding balance.

I do realize that all together so many behaviors that are better for our health are easier said than done.  But instead of focusing on trying to change all unhealthy elements at once I’d encourage your entire focus to be on taking one small step at a time towards better sleep, because without good sleep, it is extremely difficult to achieve sustainable, healthy changes in our lives.

Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way in regards to help improve your sleep.

First, schedule is important!  Anyone with kids can tell you how true this is.  From the point we are born our body craves structure.  Having a relative schedule that we can stick to in regards to sleep is important.  Now sometimes this is impossible, so just do your best, but if you have the ability to construct a bedtime and rise time for yourself I highly encourage you to do so.  Having a set time you go to bed helps tremendously in allowing your body to get on a schedule. It’s kind of like muscle memory. Go to bed at 10 o’clock every night and when that time rolls around your body will naturally tell you it is tired and ready for bed.

Second, cut out caffeine – as much as possible.  I know that it may be asking a lot to ask you all to give up caffeine all together.  I mean, I drink coffee so who would I be to tell you to stop, but it is important to be aware of how it affects your body and your sleep cycle.  Often times we do not think it affects us because we have consumed it for so long, but we cannot see the actual effect until there is a substantial absence of the stimulant. When I am working to get my sleep back on track I will abstain from all caffeine until I am successful. So, try cutting back on caffeine or cutting it out all together.  At the very least find a time in the morning to be your cut off point. I make sure not to have caffeine after noon because I find that on days I do, I have difficulty shutting my brain down at night.

Caffeine is a chemical and has a half life, it takes time to get out of our system and even though it seems to wear off throughout the day it does have a lingering effect which can affect us even 12 hours later.  So my advice, follow my lead and cut out all caffeine intake after 12 pm. Or even better 10 am!

Third, get into a routine.  So beyond just setting a schedule, create a routine for yourself.  This again is similar to the muscle memory. If you follow the same routine every night of getting in your pajamas at a certain time, drinking a soothing glass of tea, and cuddling up with a good book (not electronics!) your body will start noticing these cues and work to shut down your body. You will notice over time that your body will be able to get into relaxation mode faster and just simply getting into your pajamas may trigger a sleepy response.

And lastly cut out other stimulants beyond coffee.  This means get away from your computer, your television, and your smartphone.  The bright lights, noises, and data that come from each of these products are stimulating to your brain and do not allow you to unwind.  Additionally, the stress from checking last minute emails can be detrimental to your sleep cycle. What I suggest is to sleep with a notepad next to your bed and write down any “urgent” thoughts that may come up as you try to get to sleep so that you can deal with them first thing in the morning.  Most of the time these urgencies are not truly urgent and can wait til morning, we just fear that we will forget. In the morning take your list and read through them and attend to any truly pressing matters.

If you can handle it, I suggest sleeping with your phone in another room completely, or at least on the other side of the room so you are not tempted. If you use your phone as an alarm clock – invest a whopping $10 in an old school digital plugin and throw that excuse in the trash. Your health and well being is well worth the small investment.

Follow these basic tips and you should see a significant difference in your sleep quality within a few weeks.  But remember, change doesn’t happen overnight, so you have to trust in the process and give it time. I’d love to hear if you have tips or tricks of your own to share – or if you’ve tried these techniques, how they’ve worked for you! Comment below!

 

BEST SELF, GRATITUDE, HAPPINESS

A New Take on Vision Boards

02/06/2019

Vision boards are not a new concept by any means.  People have been creating vision boards for many decades, working to manifest their dreams or simply as a way to work towards a specified goal. In a way, a vision board is a storyboard for our desired lives. I have engaged in creating my own vision boards over my lifetime at various retreats and workshops and also on my own after watching “The Secret”.

My vision boards have changed over time depending on where I am at in my life as they are typically reflective of my current goals and trajectory. I am sure if I pulled out my old vision boards, there would be a few things that remain consistent, but plenty of pieces would no longer be relevant – because we change.

The last vision board I completed was probably 6 or 7 years ago. I remember doing one that was full of beautiful images of photography studios and women’s portraits, because at the time I was engaged in creating a successful photography business. However, the goals I had then are not aligned with the goals I have now – at least at the moment.

I had the opportunity this fall to create a vision board at an adult camp that I attended, but declined to do so. It was not really the craft that I had hoped for and did not feel pulled to create one. I went to the crafting station and rifled through the magazines, but I did not feel a strong attraction to any of the images. A lot of the magazines were already cut up and decimated. It almost felt like the activity was put together last minute to fill a void in the schedule rather than a true vision board activity. Or perhaps it was just my mindset at the moment and I was unable to fully embrace the activity due to my own lack of self confidence and skepticism. Honestly, it was probably the latter.

Rather than create a vision board I opted to do more of a ripped paper collage creating a sunset ocean scene – which in a way could be looked at as its own sort of vision board. I was seeking peace, serenity, and surrender. A sunset can represent a vision of closing chapters and moving on – which was what I was in the process of doing. The same image could also be viewed as a sunrise, which can be representative of new beginnings. Either way, the activity was peaceful and enjoyable, but it got me to wondering why I had shunned the vision board activity.

When returning home from the weekend away, I noticed the growing stack of magazines in my home. I held onto these magazines for a long time, despite never truly sitting down to read them. It worked against my desire to declutter, so I decided to make it an active project to read through them and remove them from our home. In the process I noticed myself pulling out images that spoke to me. Over the last few months I have been able to read through the entire stack of magazines, but I was left with a huge folder of ripped out pages and no real plan of what to do with them.

I decided to make a vision board.

Over the past week or so, I’d take a little bit of time to sort through the pages and images, cutting out and pulling aside the ones that really spoke to me and placing them in an envelope. I was intentional about the ones I saved, releasing all others into the recycling bin. I had a large picture frame that used to house a family portrait until the glass broke. I decided that it would be the perfect host for the vision board.

Yesterday I completed the culling process and sat down on my floor, spread out the pictures, and started to create my vision board.

The process of creating the board was an incredibly cathartic experience and I reflected on each image as I carefully selected where it was placed and glued it down to my board. When it was done, I felt a sense of pride and excitement. It was beautiful and a true vision of what I’d like my future to look like.

Completing this project taught me two very valuable lessons that I’d like to share.

First, creating a vision board is not necessarily a “sit down in an hour and pull together pictures” kind of activity. It took me several months of organically pulling out pictures that spoke to me from a variety of magazines and catalogs. I was not limited from where I pulled the images from or in how many hours it took me to complete this project, which allowed for a more honest reflection of my vision. I highly recommend this approach for a more authentic outcome.

Second, whether or not you believe in the law of attraction, a vision board is an incredibly useful tool in reaching your goals.  As I reflected back onto the completed board I asked myself the very pointed question – am I taking steps every day to try to make this vision a reality? Does it align with who I am and who I want to be? Or is it simply who I think others would like me to be? It doesn’t matter how many images of yogis and healthy food that I put on my vision board – if I never take action in that direction and I sit on my couch binging on Netflix and Cheetos, the vision is never going to become a reality. And if the vision is not truly mine, but a vision of how to impress others or gain their approval, that also will not culminate an authentic life.

A vision board is only useful if it honestly aligns with your dreams and if you are taking steps towards them. The value comes in using it as a prompt and a reminder to take action each and everyday towards those goals. I reflected honestly on each picture and sometimes I answered yes, that I was making positive progress towards those goals, but other times I had to say no. In which case, I had to ask the followup question of whether or not that was truly my vision and something I wanted in my life, or if I just liked the idea of it. If it was indeed something I wanted for my future, I glued the image down and came up with action steps to work towards making it a reality.

I do believe in the law of attraction, but only to the degree in which your positive attracting mindset is also aligned with action steps to get you there. I’m not a believer that sitting on the couch dreaming of yourself behind the wheel of a Ferrari will manifest itself into someone knocking on your door and handing you a set of keys for one. We have to be taking steps towards our goals – and now I have a beautiful visual reminder of my goals that will help give me a boost of confidence and excitement when I start feeling overwhelmed or questioning whether the hard work is worth it.

Although this activity may feel elementary, it was a wonderful process which taught me incredible lessons and gave me a vessel for self reflection and goal setting. I highly encourage you to take some time to go through the same process. I’d love you to share your finished boards on the Facebook page or to comment below, sharing what you have learned about yourself from engaging in the process. As always, thanks for reading!   

HEALTH, NUTRITION, RECIPES

Mint Chocolate Chip Clean Eating Popsicles

02/01/2019

As I’ve shared, since late August I’ve been focused on clean eating. This was kickstarted by the Whole30 diet plan which has now transitioned into a lifestyle for me. Although I have been focused on healthy eating, I believe diet is really personal so I have not forced my diet choices on my family – however – after getting through the fall without any sugar or processed foods, I became very aware of how much sugar and processed foods the kids (and my husband) were eating.

Some of the foods were ones that we purchased as a family, including snacks, cereals, and granola bars, but for the most part the processed or sugar foods they ate were outside of the home. This included school celebrations, extracurricular activities, dining out, and of course all things holidays.

I addressed my concerns in December, but it did not seem like the timing was right to make any major changes. We were amidst the holiday celebrations and about to go on vacation with my family. It did not feel right to ask them to give up sugar at that time. But, it did seem appropriate to discuss it as a family and come up with a plan for change. I explained my concerns and asked the children if they would be willing to do a one month no sugar challenge. We discussed how we would overcome obstacles and what I would do in order to make the month easier. This included coming up with special treats that were made from whole foods and did not require added sugar. The kids agreed and so we began the challenge January 1st.

Overall, the month went really well and the kids did a great job explaining to friends and their parents about our challenge in order to follow through with their commitment.  I have to say I am quite proud. And as they stayed true to their word, I also stayed true to mine. We came up with various treats that they could still enjoy throughout the month. Our absolute favorite was our clean eating popsicles in which we used coconut milk and dates as our primary base for the popsicles.  We have had so much fun testing various flavors this past month.

One of our absolute favorites was one that I created for my birthday. I’ve never been a big ice cream fan, but I love me some mint chocolate chip – so I was determined to create a simple recipe for mint chocolate chip popsicles – and I succeeded.  We LOVED these.  I posted them on my instagram (@thehourglassproject) and got several direct messages asking for the recipe, so I figured I’d write it up on the blog. It is super easy and only takes about 10-15 minutes to prep and then of course overnight to freeze. I hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Mint Chocolate Chip Clean Eating Popsicles:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of coconut milk (13.5 oz)
  • 5-6 dried dates
  • 1/4 cup of cacao nibs
  • 1 cup of spinach (for color!)
  • 1 tsp of peppermint oil

Process:

  1. Soak dates in hot water for a few minutes (not necessary, but helps with blending)
  2. Pour can of coconut milk in blender, add dates, spinach, and peppermint oil
  3. Blend on high til smooth and creamy
  4. Add cacao nibs into mixture and stir around until incorporated
  5. Pour blend into popsicle mold
  6. Put in freezer and wait til frozen
  7. Enjoy!

Feel free to modify the recipe to your taste as well. You can always taste test the mixture before you pour it into the molds and freeze. Perhaps you like more mint or more nibs! Or maybe you want more spinach for a brighter color – or no spinach in your popsicles.

Also, we have two sets of popsicle molds. I purchased one at Ikea for a few bucks and I also invested in a stainless steel popsicle mold from Amazon (as pictured). They both work great – so don’t feel like you need to get anything crazy expensive to make this work! Also, a helpful tip is to run them under warm water really quickly to help release them from the mold before serving! We try to make them nightly taking them out of their molds and storing them in pyrex with wax paper separating each popsicle, so we have them ready to go at all times. They have been a wild hit in our home and will help us continue the process of clean eating way past this January challenge.

Let me know if  you try this recipe! I’d love to get your feedback!