tgiF- Who Are You, Really?

think. grow. inspire Friday -Who are you, really?

When I was working in the Human Services field, there is a term in use “Social Role Valorization”. Basically it means that society tends to identify certain groups of people as “different” and therefore of lesser value. For example, the difference in our perception of people asking for money. If we see a homeless person doing it, we call it begging, if it is a sports team, we call it fundraising. Our “social roles” are how we identify ourselves and others. So who are we really?

When I was born, I was an only child. That changed when my brother was born 3 years later. I became a big sister, and the only girl in the family. That changed when my sister was born when I was 5. Now I was the oldest of three, the responsible one, the helper.

At this time, I started kindergarten at the school where my father was the Principal. I’m sure I was treated differently by some of the teachers because of this. I know that I got a lot of attention from older students. When I started grade 2, we moved to St. John’s from the small community where we lived, and I became “the new girl”. Through my elementary and junior high years, I was the day dreamer, the bookish one, and the one who just didn’t do well in gym. I was nerdy, and an outsider, even in the group of kids in the neighbourhood.

Then there was another move, this time to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Where the new girl in school started over again. I was also a Newfie on the mainland, who spoke just a bit differently than everyone else. I made friends with a girl who lived close by and who was involved in the school band, so I tagged along with her to all of the band functions. Now I was a teenager, and socially awkward, and trying so hard to be one of the crowd.

Three years later, and another move. This time to Moncton, the summer before I started grade 12. The new girl again, but now in a school where everyone had grown up with each other, and were preparing to graduate from high school. I became Ray’s girlfriend.

Five years after that, I became Ray’s wife.

In the years that followed, I became a stay at home mom and a working mom. I am a Black Belt, a body builder and a Bikini competitor.  I am a business woman, a writer, a friend and supporter to my friends.

So when I look at all the roles I fill in my life. I sometimes (often) wonder if I am doing the right thing at the right time. So many times I am “being” one person, and feeling guilty that I am not “being” another. Trying to be all things to all people is a sure recipe for disaster. I am learning to be in the “now moment”, and it’s not always easy. So many things vie for our attention, and it is hard to shut them off and focus on the project at hand. And to get back to my original paragraph, it is how we value ourselves in each of these roles that impacts us the most.

So, my challenge for you all this week, is to identify your different roles and to recognize the value you have in each one of them, and if one takes over a bit more time than the others, then give yourself permission to be that person.

Thank you for reading today!  tgiF!

~Michelle

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Other columns by Michelle: CLICK HERE

 

TGIF- Facing Fear

Think. Grow. Inspire. Friday.

Hello, and thank you for reading my column! I am very excited to be a contributing writer to Everything Unscripted, and I look forward to sharing my insights with you.

I am a 52-year-old wife, mother of three grown children, mother in law to one, and “elected” mom to a bunch of others. I have been a stay at home mom, a working mom, and now self employed as a franchise owner of Sculpt Health and Wellness, Canada in Riverview, New Brunswick. I have a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, and have competed in 3 Body building shows in bikini. I feel that the range of life experiences that I have had will give me lots of inspiration for this weekly format.

As I read through Facebook posts every week about people grumbling about Mondays and wishing for “thank God it’s Friday”. I thought, “wouldn’t it be awesome if people lived lives that they were grateful for every day that they had?” So I decided to post things that might help people to change their outlook, and thus my version of tgiF was born!  When Ruth Ann asked me to write for her page, it seemed a perfect name for my blog.

My intention with these writings is to share my life experience and things I have learned along the way in the hope that it will be relevant, and help someone else to realize that they are not the only one going through a situation, or to help someone look at a situation in another way. I do not wish or expect you to take my opinion as your own, but to have a discussion and to share ideas. We are all wiser from shared experiences and stories.

So now that you know a bit about me, and my intention for this blog, let me share with you some insights I have had about the nature of fear. One of my favorite quotes is by Marianne Williamson.

 

When I first read this quote years ago, the truth of it struck very close to home. So much of my life was spent not doing things because I was afraid of not doing them perfectly, and how others would judge me because of my “imperfection”.  When I was watching my two youngest children in their Tae Kwon Do class, and especially at testing time, I realized that I wanted to have that experience for myself, to learn something new and to handle disappointment and challenges, so at age 40, I started classes. It was a huge step outside of my comfort zone, and I was going to stop before I got to the board breaking and sparring part, but somewhere along the way, I learned about the power I had inside me.

 

There were so many life changing moments for me in that journey from white belt to black belt. The first was that I was not “mom” in that space, I was the lower belt to my kids, and always would be. So after a few classes of me watching them from the back row, I realized that I was there to focus on what I was doing, not them. It was a great lesson for all of us about our roles and building our own strengths. Then there was the night when I was still a white belt and we finished the night with “no contact” sparring. Of course, as I really didn’t know what I was doing, I contacted with the other person, and my toes were bent back, and I was hopping around in pain. Then I did something that I never would have done before, I kept going, I kept moving. When I got home, the whole top of my foot was bruised, and I propped it up on a pillow and iced it, and was strangely proud of my first “sports related injury”. This was new territory for the geeky girl who grew up avoiding sports.

 

Just about everyone who starts off in martial arts is very timid when it comes to expressing oneself when you kick or punch, especially adults, and female adults even more so. I was no exception, but the class when I “found my yell” was amazing. It came from a place that I didn’t know I had in me, and it felt GOOD! By the time I got to my green belt test, I was learning to tap into that inner strength and I broke a board with my hand, first try! Then there was sparring… Not my favorite part of the process, but necessary as I continued on my journey to Black Belt. What I learned from sparring was that the ultimate goal was more important that the momentary discomfort, and that I can get through anything if I put my mind to it. Again, in the past, my fear would have stopped me from going forward, and I would have missed out the opportunity to do what only a small percentage of people have achieved, earn a Black Belt.

 

These have just been a few examples of how I faced up to fear, through Tae Kwon Do, and the lessons that I have learned have stayed with me, and have been used in many areas of my life. Sometimes they get forgotten, and I have to be reminded of my call to not play small, but I am lucky to have many people in my support network that I will give me a push in the right direction.

My challenge to you this week is to find something that you are “afraid” of and to take a look at where that fear comes from. Then take one step forward into that fear and share with us how that made you feel. All the best to you all this week. I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback. Until next time, think, grow, inspire, not only on Friday, but everyday!

~Michelle

10 Frugal & Fun Indoor Activities for Kids

IndoorActivities This winter has presented many challenges with all the storms, and it's not over yet! Then there's Spring which is guaranteed to have some rainy days, and be an extra messy season with all the snow melting 
If you're like me, you are searching books & websites frantically for things to keep the kids busy inside while the weather outside just isn't cooperating.
I've put together a list of 10 Frugal & Fun Indoor Activities for Kids loved by all ages. I tried to keep the equipment required limited to things most people would have at home.
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1. Limbo Party

Grab a broom or mop handle, even a skipping rope could work. Play music and continue to lower the broom after each child does the limbo.

2. Painters Tape

If you have a roll of painters tape around, you can use it to create activities for an entire day!!
Indoor Hopscotch:
How to play Draw a hopscotch board on the floor with painter's tape and give each player a game marker—a beanbag or rolled up sock. Each player, in turn, throws their marker on the board, starting in square one. (If the marker lands outside the box, they miss their turn and the next person goes.) He then hops on one foot in each square to the end of the board, hopping over the square containing his marker, then turns and hops back, retrieving his marker. Player's lose a turn if they step on a line. The first to get their marker to 10 wins.
ROADS:
Create large roads for play cars & trucks, another activity to do with the taped roads would be to give the children a Frisbee or plastic plate to be a steering wheel and pretend to drive on the road while running and turning the plate.
You could also create a long jump, or a balance line for walking toe to toe with arms extended. And once they have mastered that, you can have them place the Frisbee/plate on their head and try again.

3. Bake

Children love to bake. Mine love to make banana bread and its a great way to use up those spoiling bananas and the ones I froze for later use.
Try my recipe here.
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4. Have a parade 

For this one you can use kitchen items, like banging 2 wooden spoons together, a juice jug fill of utensils, a pot and spoon to bang like a drum etc.  Parade around the house making your own music or play music to accompany you. 

5. DIY Puzzle

Choose a magazine page or the front of a colouring book for example, glue it to a piece of cardboard (the kind that comes in the back of Dollarstore computer paper, for example), make your own puzzle lines, cut it and allow children to spend time making the puzzle.
You can make it as easy or difficult as you want. If multiple children make one, they can trade puzzles as well.

6. Inside Blanket Tent & Picnic

Bring out some large blankets, to drape over furniture. Set up a picnic blanket for the picnic outside the tent and more blankets for sleeping bags inside the tent. Grab a flashlight and books to read inside the tent.

7. Balloons

Kids love balloons. I like to keep them on hand. The possibilities are endless, all ages love the game of trying to keep the balloon from touching the ground, which is great played individually or as a team! They could also; race with it between their knees, play volleyball, rub it in their hair and make static in the mirror.
For 30 more great ideas from Hands On As We Grow, CLICK HERE.

8. Play Book Store

You need a toy cash register for this one. Don't have one? Make it out of a shoe box & duck tape or whatever supplies you have.  Play money is fun but not required (borrow board game $). Old gift cards will also do the trick just fine!! (Just make sure the register has a place to swipe). Elect a cashier & provide recycled bags.
Set up books that are for sale. The children can shop, pay, and later have a turn to be the cashier too. I love this activity because I encourage the children spend time reading the books they "purchased".

9. Do a Science Experiment

Baking Soda Vinegar Volcano:
All you need is a large container, baking soda and vinegar.
Place baking soda in the container and then pour in some of the vinegar and watch for the reaction to take place.  You can use a tube or smaller container in the Center for a more intense reaction.
20 More Science Experiments can be found on Playdough to Plato, HERE.
 

10. Create a Toy Rotation

Not so much a rainy day activity, but rather something you could do in advance to prepare for it.
If your like my family, your children have too many toys and never seem to play with them!! Here are 2 tips I have if you are experiencing this in your house: I purchased a few large Rubbermaid bins (Walmart Anniversay Sale $4) and store toys away for a few months at a time. When I bring them back - it's like they are new again and it occupies them for a few hours.
The second is that I bought large clear bins when I found a clearance at superstore (less that $3 each)!
I separated toys that are a "set" like marble works, kitchen set food, pet shop, dress up, etc. I keep them out of reach (closet shelves) and offer them periodically and ensure they are returned to the bin after.
 
I hope these tips will help you to plan your day next time your stuck inside!