11 March 2011

Mother Doing Good

Self Magazine has an award contest called Women Doing Good. It honors women who give their time and talents to charitable organizations. I know such a woman: my mother. I am fortunate to have been raised my a woman who is always seeking to do good things for others. She has been a great example to me, and I think she should be recognized for it. I admit (sorry, Mom!) that I am doing this without telling her first. I think she'll forgive me. Following is the essay I submitted to the magazine on her behalf. Love you Mom!!

My mother is a remarkable individual, both as a mother and a woman. When I think of a woman doing good, she is absolutely the first one that comes to my mind. She is a the kind of person that would rather do something for someone else than for herself.

My mother retired about a year and a half ago, and has been just as busy without a full-time job. She works tirelessly as a board member for Riverlink. Her role is the Chair for the Executive Committee. Riverlink "supports efforts to address water quality concerns throughout the French Broad River basin, expand public opportunities for access and recreation, and spearhead the economic revitalization of Asheville's dilapidated riverfront district (Riverlink.org)." The French Broad River is the main river that runs through Asheville, NC, the city I grew up in. (As a side note, my home town is listed in the March issue of Self, as being one of the happiest cities!) My mother loves the city she and my Dad raised their family in. She strives to make Asheville an even better place, so that future generations will have it to cherish as well.

When she is not working on projects for Riverlink, my mother is working for the children of Buncombe county. She acts as a guardian ad litem for children who have been placed in foster care. She provides a voice for these children in the court system, helping to place them in a safe a stable and living environment. As a guardian ad litem, my mother meets with the children, reads about their situations, prepares a report, and presents her findings before a judge. She has talked about doing this for years, and I know she is grateful to be able to do this rewarding kind of work.

On a more personal note, my mother enjoys practicing yoga and playing tennis. She has also been a member of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church for many years. At the church she has been a part of Presbyterian Women, volunteered in the nursery, taught Sunday School, and played in the hand bell choir.

My mother has always been a wonderful example to me, the kind of woman I strive to be. She is selfless, kind, and giving. I will always be grateful to have been adopted into such a wonderful family. She is very deserving to be a recipient of Self magazine's Women Doing Good Award.

15 February 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Sun

Although I have not been blogging everyday, I have been keeping up the other end of the bargain...for the most part. I have been doing something for myself every day. On Thursday, I spent time with a girlfriend at a concert. On Friday, I took the day off from work and did things at my own pace. Then I had a weekend away with my sweetheart: time to linger over a meal, have conversations not about work. While it was a weekend not just about me, it was about awareness. I was mindful of my enjoyment and the value of my relationship with my partner.

This exercise has become one of considerations, thoughtfulness about alot of things and not just about me. Have I been kind to myself, did I remember to tell my sweetheart how much I cherish him? Today, I took the time to do things for other people, this created a new layer of mindfulness. If I am considering others, this is an act I did on purpose..which makes me feel positive. Today I bought my niece a stuffed animal, I called my mother for a chat, and took my love out to dinner. Do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you.

09 February 2011

Mindful Me: Round 2

Though I did not actually blog about it, I did do something for myself yesterday: I took some time at the end of the day to read an article from my favorite magazine.

And interestingly, making the commitment to do more mindful things, actually made me think about and look forward to creating this time for myself. I felt satisfied (and a little smug) that I accomplished my goal for the second day in a row. I fully admit that I am not known for my follow through. Personally, baby steps really help. I don't put so much pressure on myself to be mindful, which makes the process more natural. This way, I hope that more awareness and mindfulness will creep into my life. One day, I hope to wake up and realize how much I've improved my own life....without depending on anyone else. Yay day 2!

07 February 2011

Mindful Me

The definition of mindful (according to Webster's) is as follows:
1: bearing in mind: AWARE
2: inclination to be aware

I'm inclined to NOT be very aware of myself lately. My mind-body connection has faltered, I'm tuned out from own channel. This means less exercise, less restfulness, less focus on me. This has lead to a general funk that I desperately want to leave behind. I know I'm not alone in wanting to be a better version of myself: brighter, fitter, smarter, cuter, more organized! Sounds like a self-help article in a magazine, doesn't it? Regardless, I do strive to be all of these things. But before I get there, I need to start at the beginning.

This is day one of my journey out of the slump. Each day, I am going to one thing just for me: meditation, exercise, read a book I've been trying to finish. To show my commitment and keep myself honest, I'm going to document this forward step every day. My goal is start with one thing, and eventually live in a perpetual state of mindfulness.

Day one: 9 minute and 30 second Loving Kindness meditation

09 November 2009

I Fell in Love with a Republican

There was a time in my life, where I had a strict set of rules about what my ideal mate was going to look like. Anyone who knows me, is well aware that I am very much a pro-choice, Obama-loving, gun-hating Democrat. How did a nice girl from Asheville end up falling for a gun-toting Republican?