Look On the Bright Side

3 Simple Steps to Help You Look for & Appreciate the Positives

According to Rick Hansen’s Method – Taking in the Good, if we store more negative memories than positive memories, we start to see the world as depressing and/or threatening.

We as humans are mostly hardwired to remember the bad things and forget about all the good! Our brains tend to act like velcro for our negative memories and like “repellant” for positive memories. This is clearly not a good way to live life!

If you really think about it words, can have a “sticky” property to them, when someone calls us a name or makes fun of us or just makes us feel bad about ourselves, those things tend to stick with us more than the positive things that happen to us.

BUT! Not to fear! Hansen provides us with a way for us to make our positive feelings more “sticky” to us! Here are 3 ways to take in the good:

     1.) Actively look for the positive in every experience you have

2.) Hold those positive experiences in your conscious awareness             for as long as possible

3.) Savor the positive experiences- Remember the feelings you felt

If you’re not a part of my Smart Lioness Pride Facebook Group for women yet, what are you waiting on?! 🙂 You can watch a video on this topic that I did as well! If you are really trying to make some changes in your life, I have created a worksheet to help you to “see the good” in your experiences, or at least it will remind you that’s the goal, if nothing else! 🙂

Download the worksheet here:  Look on the Bright Side

Mommy Monday: Megan Rix

Mommy Monday: Megan Rix

from the Blog, “This Anchored Life: Measured by Love & Spoons”

This blog post goes out to all the moms raising strong willed child. Anyone who has a sweet, kind toddler, who sits quietly in a restaurant coloring or plays alone while you get things done will probably not understand this at all and will most likely think I am a horrible mom. But, I’m willing to lend my sassy pants beauty over for a trip to the grocery store in case you’re curious. Or just go to my google search history and see how many times I’ve typed the words, “activities for a strong willed child” and maybe that will give you some insight.

It’s funny. We say “strong willed” because calling your own kid an expletive that starts with an a and rhymes with shmashole is frowned upon in society. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little human so much it hurts. I would never try to coerce her strong willed character out of her. I know that it will make her into an assertive, brave, and confident young woman one day. But that doesn’t mean I am oblivious to how much she will test my human will on her way to becoming that strong young woman.

To begin, there’s consistent use of the word no. I’m not talking about the average toddler use of the word no. I’m talking about this being my child’s favorite word. A word that is used hundreds of times a day in defiance. A word that is said with brute force, attitude, and bellowed at a decibel that once again makes my neighbors (and anyone in public really) question my ability to parent. If you are a parent to a strong willed child, you know exactly what happens when you try to win the battle of “no” and challenge them to do something they have clearly indicated will not be done. I like to follow up these challenges with a bottle of champagne.          

Then there are the facial expressions. Little miss thang has a WTF face that literally makes me slightly afraid of her. It’s like she’s flipping you off with her eyes. It is even a running joke in my circle of friends that Mack is going to need Botox soon, because the wrinkles between her eyebrows will be so deep from frowning by then that she’ll have no hope by the time she’s 30. You receive this look anytime you try to initiate a conversation within 30 minutes of her waking up. When you get her juice-to-water ratio wrong. If you ask her to climb down from something or hand over a sharp object. If you try to stop her from eating dirt, marbles, plastic, legos, or prevent her from licking the sliding glass door. Or simply if she doesn’t like your face. Want to know what goes along with those facial expressions? Reread the paragraph above this one. 

 

 

No one is exempt from her attitude…most especially her big brother. My kids could not be any more opposite and what Mack possesses in sass, Grant carries equally in sensitivity. He’s the boy you’ll want your daughter to marry when they’re older, but right now he’s just an easy target. Mack knows exactly which buttons to push and spends her day antagonizing poor G by stealing whatever he’s currently holding, pulling his hair, kicking him in the face from her carseat, and my personal favorite, lying on the ground fake crying when he’s having a meltdown. No, not for attention. Because at 2, she is making fun of him by mimicking him.    

Mack is also fearless. To date, she has climbed the refrigerator, walked into my room with a butcher knife which she retrieved after scaling the cabinets with her toes, jumped off of every tall surface in our house, tipped the dining room chairs over a dozen times as she tried to tightrope walk across the backs of them. Fallen off the trash can. You get the idea. Daddy also had to build her a special frame on the floor for her crib bed to sit on because she could crawl out before she was a year old. 

Research you say? Yep, I’ve done that. I’ve read tons of mommy blogs and online articles. Basically the most consistent advice for not losing your mind is to put your seatbelt on, hold on for dear life, and harness patience from Tibetan monks. Oh, and love them like crazy, because one day that strong will is going to serve them abundantly in life. Until then, I will find the joy in watching her chug her sippy cup of “appy juice” and then hurl it to the ground like a viking warrior.

Because there is also an incredibly sweet and cuddly side to Miss Mack. One that melts your heart and leads you to cover her chubby little cheeks in kisses. She loves exclaiming that she loves you at random times, with as much gusto as her exclamation of “no!”. She loves when you read her books. She loves to share her snacks (on her terms). She loves to be rocked to sleep and while this can sometimes take up to an hour at night, I relish this time because in those quiet moments, when she’s snuggled in my arms, all is right in the world. I remember that the years when she will too big to sit on my lap will come fast and furious, just like her current attitude. I remember that even though she came at me with a right hook when I tried to put her hair in a ponytail, one day we will do all the things I still love to do with my mom. Even though I am married with my own children, my mom is still my best friend. I hope Mack looks at me that same way too.

So if you have a strong willed child, I see you. I understand you when other parents try to give you advice you’ve already tried, or tell you that it’s a phase, or that all kids are this way at some point. Side note, they’re not. I see the expression you make when people say, “just bring the kids with you, they’ll be fine.” I’m with you eating at home because restaurant trips are like the odds in Vegas. Not good. I feel your pain when you get looks of disapproval from strangers…because why yes, perfect stranger, I absolutely train my child to have epic meltdowns every time they come in contact with other humans.

One day, we’ll all sit back and smile when our strong willed children become CEO’s and professional athletes. The one thing I know for sure is that when people ask me if I am having any more kids.

My answer is one word.

No.     

SHARING IS CARING

Mommy Monday – Shannon Lusk

The Smart Lioness’ – 1st MOMMY MONDAY!!!
Introducing Shannon Allen Lusk
Shannon, Lucy, & her Husband James

Hi!  I’m Shannon.  I am a wife, Social Worker (with a degree from Auburn University), daughter, sister, and of course, proud mommy of a sweet and squishy little 6 month old, Lucy.

 

Lucy, 6 months

Hillary asked me to write an entry for her Mommy Mondays blog a few weeks ago, and I’ve finally mustered up the courage to share some of my new mommy “insight” with y’all.  With a little encouragement (and pushing) from Hillary, I finally decided to write on one of the most essential parts of every relationship we have: communication.

*DISCLAIMER: I’m new to this whole Mommy thing, so please take what I say lightly. This is in no way meant to mommy-shame or imply that I have it altogether, because I certainly do not. These are just some of the thoughts I have as I navigate through this new and unfamiliar phase of my life.

Lucy, Flower Child 🙂

After my husband and I got married on August 29, 2015 we knew we didn’t want to wait long before starting a family.  And to our surprise we found out I was expecting about a month before our first anniversary.  I went through all of the emotions you would typically expect after seeing that positive pregnancy test, but I can very vividly remember thinking, “Gosh, I hope it’s a boy.”  I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself the worst teenager but I also know that I wasn’t the easiest to live with, and I was (and still am) scared to raise a teenage girl because let’s face it, karma really is a b**$h.  But low and behold, here I sit with a beautiful, healthy, and happy six month old baby girl that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

As soon as I found out we would be bringing home the daughter that I was already terrified of, I decided that I would work my hardest to let her know how much I would love, accept, and support her.  I have had enough education and experiences (as a Social Worker) to know that communication between children and their parents will significantly impact the child’s life; your past relationships will always influence your current and future relationships.  But how do you communicate with a child who can’t speak yet and (probably) doesn’t understand a word you’re saying?

 

Before we get into that, I think it’s important to emphasize that every child is different and every mother is different, so as a result, every communication style between a mother and her child will be different.  The methods that work for Lucy and I may not have the same results for you and your child(ren).  Therefore, I believe it is important to develop your own style of communication that will help mold these important relationships. 

I’m sure you have heard of The Five Love Languages written by Gary Chapman (which I am a huge fan of and highly recommend you reading), but you may not know that he has also written The Five Love Languages of Children.  In the book overview he writes, “Everything depends on the love relationship between you and your child. When children feel loved, they do their best… Discover your child’s primary language and learn what you can do to effectively convey unconditional feelings of respect, affection, and commitment that will resonate in your child’s emotions and behavior.”

 

This is just one of the many resources floating around that can help you decipher how to better communicate with and love your child(ren), but again we’re back to the question I had earlier: How do you communicate with a child who can’t speak yet and (probably) doesn’t understand a word you’re saying?

To answer that question that haunted me for most of the 10 months of my pregnancy (that’s not a typo, 40 weeks = 10 months so don’t believe any of that 9 month garbage they tell you) I reflected back on my teenage years.  You know, back when I knew everything and thought my parents were clueless.  And I realized that, if I had known that my parents actually experienced, and understood many of the same emotions (and hormones) that I was trying to navigate through as teenager, maybe, I would have heeded their advice more often than I did. 

So I came up with the idea to write a journal to Lucy, one entry each month for the first year of her life and then at least one entry per year (I plan to have some “bonus entries” thrown in every now and then).  My strategy is to give the journal to her on her 16th birthday (when her teenage rage will most likely be at its peak) so she will hopefully understand that like her, I too have real emotions and can possibly relate to many of the hardships that she will no doubt experience in her teenage years, and even beyond. 

As of now, most of the entries are just chronicling the milestones she’s reaching each month, but I always make sure to include some of my hopes for her future.  I try to encourage her independence and reassure her strengths as a woman – I pray that she will fall in love with herself before she falls in love with anyone else.  I also write often about my marriage so she will be able to recognize and engage in healthy relationships of her own once she is ready.  And although I write about my life choices, I encourage her to choose her own path – one that will make her the happiest, and I assure her that I will always support the decisions that she makes.  The main goal I hope to achieve from this journal is for Lucy to one day be able to read all of the important things I may not get the chance or take the time to tell her.

 

Lucy with her journal

 

Another creative communication technique that may work for you (and something I intend to do as Lucy gets older) is writing letters to each other on a regular basis.  I think this is such a fun and non-threatening way to encourage honesty between you and your child(ren).  It opens up a line of communication that is constant and confidential, and also protects you from making the “Oh my gosh!” face in front of your kid if/when they drop some really shocking information on you. 

The Center for Effective Parenting states that, “Effective, open communication takes a lot of hard work and practice. Parents should remember that they will not be perfect. Parents make mistakes. What is important is that parents make the effort to effectively communicate with their children starting when their children are very young. The result will be a much closer, positive relationship between parents and their children.” 

Like I mentioned earlier in the post, these ideas may or may not work for you and your child(ren).  You might already be dealing with teenagers, or don’t have the time to sit down and write on a regular basis, or writing just may not be your forte.  But I challenge you to find a way to increase the communications you’re currently having with your child(ren), because it can only improve your relationship.  There is a plethora of resources online, or you could reach out to Hillary Ivey Montijo @thesmartlioness – she is an EXPERT in communication! 

If you have a creative and effective form of communication that you want to share, please comment below.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Thanks for reading,

      Shannon Allen Lusk

What Do You Mean.. “Unapologetically Me?”

“Unapologetically Me”

What does it mean to be “unapologetically me?” That’s the question, I have had on my mind lately, the “way of living” I’m trying to describe to you, and myself. I know it when I see it! That’s for sure! When you think of people who are unapologetically themselves, who do you think of?

First person that comes to my mind is, Wendy Williams! I just love that woman! She is just completely herself, or she’s a damn good actress because she seems genuine AF to me!

Another badass lady that comes to my mind is Lucille Ball! Hell! One of my favorite quotes is from Lucy herself, “Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.” And clearly, Lucille Ball had shit figured out! Now more than ever, is it important to remember this quote! So many people lose themselves in their partner, in their work, or into their problems, because we all, at least at some point in our lives, fail to follow this BASIC, BUT KEY RULE, of living a fulfilling and happy life!!

WHY? Why, Do we do this to ourselves?
  1. We think it’s our religious or Christian duty.

We think it’s our religious duty to “put others first, before ourselves,” or “make sacrifices.”  But God did not mean for us to do so at our expenses.  Become “one flesh” does not mean that you lose yourself in your husband, it means you make a life together, and you share an intimacy & bond that entwines your souls together, so you don’t have to lose yourself.  Your relationship is intimate not only sexually, but more importantly, emotionally.

2. We have damaged boundaries, or a lack of boundaries all together.

Our boundaries are our property lines, and what separates us, and what keeps us protected from other people. If you don’t have boundaries, it’s like being in a dark, dangerous alley at night and not expecting something bad to happen. Our boundaries keep us from being emotionally hurt or abused. Our boundaries are those lines that we lay down with everyone in our life, the people that love us and respect our boundaries have no problem dealing with this, however the people in your life that have boundary issues, will not handle it so smoothly.

3. We don’t value ourself, or know our own worth.

If you are the same woman that doesn’t take care of herself, because “she’s trying to be a good Christian,” did you forget that being a Christian means you are a child of God, born in his image. There’s worth in simply being that, girl! OPEN YOUR EYES! God made you to be some thing completely and totally unique, but you can’t see it because you’re too busy counting the wrinkles that keep popping up, or too busy pretending you are happy and fulfilled to realize you have totally lost your worth, your respect for yourself.

 

If you are guilty of one or all three of the above reasons I listed, PLEASE consider signing up for my NEW Program beginning October 1st. It is an 8 week interactive program that not only teaches you how to make a lifestyle change but helps provides everything you need to commit to living a life that’s yours!!

Do you feel like you base your happiness and worth on what other people think of you? 

Do you put everyone else’s feelings as priorities, but not your own? 

Is heartbreak becoming way too familiar to you? 

Are you experiencing more stress/anxiety & fear than you are health & happiness?

Well then, my Lovely Lioness, it’s time to make a change!! The first step starts with investing in yourself!!

 

  • 8 Lioness Lessons over the course of 8 weeks (Weekly Live videos)

– 8 Yoga Classes with Laura Lee Stjernstrom

– 6 Color Me Quickers – Adults That Love Coloring Adult Coloring Sheets


– Budgeting PDFs From Bossfidence


– 2 Workouts with Saje Cox Loftin from #SajeCoxFitness Sisters


+Plus: Gratitude Journal PDF, Self Love Journal Page, Goal Setting PDF, Self Assessments AND MORE SURPRISES ARE IN THE WORKS!!! 

+AND — I’m like having your very own Tinkerbell/Fairy Godmother/Cheerleader all in one!! 😉 You Message me & almost always get an IMMEDIATE answer!

Pay once for the Full 8 week program- $150 & SAVE $50
OR -The First 4 weeks for $100 —Pay another $100 later for second half.

When we invest money in ourselves and in our own personal development & growth, we tend to invest more emotionally as well. When you spend money on something, aren’t you going to try and get your money’s worth?? WELL you SHOULD! A Smart Lioness ALWAYS DOES!

Click here to sign up for “Unapologetically Me” Full 8 Weeks

Click here to sign up for “Unapologetically Me” Mini – 4 Weeks

Or Click here to message me on Facebook if you have questions!

 

13 Reason Why, You Should Watch, “13 Reasons Why”

13 Reasons You Should Watch “13 Reasons Why” WITH Your Kids

#13  It is one of the best stories I’ve seen In a very long time.

#12 The show covers almost every topic/issue that teens and their parents should be talking about.

#11 It shows examples of healthy vs unhealthy friendships

#10 It shows examples of healthy vs unhealthy romantic relationships

#9 It reminds you why, parents need to have open and honest conversations with their children about every topic possible, whether they are comfortable or not.

#8 The show gives parents the opportunity to have open, honest discussions about multiple topics that are extremely important for parents to talk about with their kids. (If your kids don’t get their information about sex from you, they WILL get it elsewhere and 50% of them will get it from the internet. Weigh the pros and cons of that one!)

#7 This show does have a lack of resources available to the students, so it is important that you and your child are familiar with the appropriate resources for suicide in your area.

*The best way to prevent suicide  is by having an open honest channel for conversation and discussion between you and your children. Your children should feel safe sharing anything with you.

#6 There is also a lack of communication between anyone and everyone, really. But, I believe that this is what was part of the problem. We aren’t communicating with each other! So it would be important to discuss with kids, the importance of a support system of friends and family members that are safe for them to talk to.

#5 Have an open discussion about anxiety/depression & mental illness. Does mental illness run in your family? If yes, then discuss that! These are things you need to talk about!!

#4 Have an open and honest discussion about safe and healthy relationships. Talk about spotting red flags in a partner. And what they should look for in a healthy relationship.

#3 There is also the need to have a conversation about peer pressure and what to do when faced with it. Come up with a plan with your kids for situations that they might be put in and what to do when it happens. Come up with a code word for situations where they might not be able to say anything.

#2 It is also important for you to watch the show before your kids watch it, so you can be prepared for what happens and when.

#1 Its a great way to deepen and strengthen your relationship with your kids! Don’t let your fears about the situation take that opportunity away from you!

**There is a some graphic images and situations that take place and children should be age appropriate- whatever you deem appropriate (you know your child best)

 

**I will say that if your child has a history of suicide ideation or attempts, you might reconsider watching this show, depending on your child and what you think would be best depending on your situation.**

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression and might be at risk, the National Crisis Hotline   is available by clicking here.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

And for teens there is, It Gets Better Project