Do Something Revival

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Today's podcast is a mini-episode where I talk about how fear made me both quit things and never start them.  This might sound familiar to you (I hope so), because I tried to start a series called, "Do Something" where people do something that scares them.  It didn't really take off like I imagined it would, but I'm not ready to give up on it yet!

Do Something? It can be big, like shifting careers; it can be small, like signing up for a fitness or cooking class.  But I think we all need a little push to face our fears, challenge ourselves, and make something special of our lives--and of course, all with this focus in mind: PROGRESS, not perfection.

In this mini-episode I share one of the biggest things I quit out of fear, the many things I never started because I was afraid, and how I have tried to face my fears this past year including starting this blog, creating a podcast, and doing some design projects.

Here is what I want to revive: I want to encourage a movement where people choose that "something" that makes them nervous, inspired, and excited, and face it head on.  For some, it will be a dream they had growing up that they abandoned; for others, it will be signing up for a new hobby or interest.  For some, it will be leaving their horrendous job and pursuing another career they've long put off.  For others, it could be calling insurance to argue over a claim.  And for many, it might be that they have to take a good look at themselves to figure out where to even start.

I want to recenter my focus on sharing "Round-ups" and highlighting what people are doing that scare them.  Those round-ups will appear both on the blog and on the podcast--in fact, I'll do a mini-highlight on a listener's "Do Something" every week from here on out.  I also want to do guest posts here on the blog, where people talk about their story with this focus in mind, in addition to whole podcasts highlighting this series.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you--both what you are up to and people you'd like to nominate to be highlighted!

Please share your "Do Something" by tagging me on social media with #aboutprogresspodcast or by emailing me (find my info here), and private messaging me on Instagram or Facebook, where my handle is @aboutprogress.

You can listen to more about all of this on the podcast below, on iTunes, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" in your podcast apps.

Lisa Schader || Running toward fears while battling postpartum anxiety

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It took a lot for me to convince Lisa Schader to do this podcast interview; she protested that she had so few "followers" and wasn't "famous" for anything.  Guess what?  Lisa is exactly the type of person I want to interview.

That's because Lisa is a wonderful recovering perfectionist.

I'd be hard-pressed to find any one else who is more knowledgeable on all things self-improvement and human development related.  Lisa has a wealth of knowledge on these topics in great part because of her insatiable desire to learn and improve her life; but it also came from the huge struggles she faced after the birth of her first son.  Lisa found herself immediately facing extreme postpartum anxiety; anxiety fueled by perfectionism Lisa didn't fully realize was in control; anxiety so intense that she couldn't sleep or eat, take care of herself or, most devastatingly, take care of her baby.  Lisa describes the low points of being the opposite of her usual self, how she made recovery her top priority, and the growth she has built the past five years as she has run towards her fears instead of away from them.

Lisa is in a much better place now, is still passionate about self-improvement, but also has great wisdom in how to do so without being obsessive and imbalanced.  There are so many jewels in this interview, including Lisa's tips on how to set goals and manage them in a way that they are achievable in our day-to-day lives.

Listen below, on iTunes, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" in your podcast apps.

Show Notes:
Lisa's blog (please resurrect it!)

Aubrey Greenan || Placing your heart in the work that matters most

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

May I be straight with you?  Aubrey Greenan is a female unicorn.

She is gorgeous, obviously; she is mega talented as a professionally trained opera singer (and I'd add so many more talents to that list); she is incredibly bright, knowledgeable, and eloquent; and, the best part, Aubrey is one of the most sincerely kind and level-headed people I've ever known.

In the podcast today, Aubrey and I speak about her path to attending one of the most prestigious vocal programs in the country, her struggles with health and anxiety that humbled her, and how acknowledging her limits and what mattered most to her better empowered her to choose a path that looked very different from the one she easily could have pursued.  In short, this woman chose family over fame.

I know Aubrey's interview will empower you to take stock of your own needs, your deepest goals in life, and to better place your heart in the work that matters most to you, instead of what the world tell you to.

Listen below, on iTunes, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" in your podcast apps.

Meg Miles || Owning our gifts and finding true strength comes from balance

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

If you haven't heard of Meg from MOMSTRONG, then let me introduce you to this rare jewel of a human being.

Meg is blessed with an abundance of gifts, from her knowledge of health, exercise, and nutrition (she is a pediatric nurse and a certified trainer, after all!), to her amazing food recipes, mom tips, and even her photography and interior design savvy.  But Meg is unusual in that she works incredibly hard at all of these, and does so in an effort to light the lives of those around her, particularly women.  She isn't in it for the glory; she is in it to spread the love.

I was first drawn to Meg's Instagram account and then her blog.  She was the first "fitness" social media guru who actually made me feel inspired AND good about myself at the same time.  That is no easy feat!  Her workouts, food recommendations, and more are all geared to help women become stronger and healthier, sure; but even better, she wants each woman to accept herself for who she is, to remain balanced, and to not give in to society's dictates on what a well-rounded, healthy woman looks like.  As Meg says, "healthy looks different for everyone."

Meg shares about some times in her life where she struggled greatly with the weaknesses of her perfectionism.  During these times, she compared herself too much and too often to the girls around her and struggled with her self-confidence. Despite looking like she was on the top of her game from the outside, Meg felt everything but that on the inside.  For a good while, Meg tried to stuff down the talents she possessed out of fear of not measuring up, as well due to her experiences of getting made fun of by her peers for being good at something.

But as a young adult, she learned to shed those voices and strove to accept herself, work on her gifts, and then share them with the world in hopes to help other women discover and share their own talents as well.  Meg also talks about how her work as a pediatric nurse has also inspired her balance-minded focus.  Finally, Meg speaks more about what inspired her interview series, The MOMSTRONG Project and what she has learned from the remarkable people she has interviewed.   Truly, this woman has a heart of gold and I can't wait for you to hear more!

Listen below, on iTunes, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" in your podcast apps.

Show Notes:
Small Seed website for free Light the World downloads.
Meg's website, blog, and Instagram

Reading with My Buddies

Monday, December 5, 2016

(This post is not sponsored, but the links included are affiliate links.)

I fail in a LOT of ways as a mom.  Among my myriad of weaknesses, I'm not naturally good at getting on the floor with my kids and playing make-believe.  I mean, I can do it, obviously; but it's something I have to remind myself and force myself to do.  I don't really come up with the fun games my husband seems to do at the drop of a hat.  And craft projects are not the regular around here, even including something simple as play-dough.  (Although, my daughter colors all the time--but that's all her!)

But reading?  Reading with my kids might be the only thing about motherhood that I picked up naturally. (Must be the English-Major and Former-English-Teacher in me . . .)

I read to my oldest daughter right from the start, and it's been the same with her two little brothers. Nothing makes me happier than when my 16-month old comes from the across the house with a book he wants me to read to him--and he won't stop hitting me in the face with it until I do, ha!

There is something about grabbing a big stack of books, piling on the couch together, and feeling the weight of my children's little bodies next to mine that feels like my most glorious part of motherhood.   We connect, we learn together, we don't get stuck on the boob tube, and it can even be free. (Library!)

We don't allow much screen-time in our home because my children turn into selfish demons if I they watch anything more than twenty minutes.  Seriously!  The resulting behavior is so not worth it to me.  And I just never caught on to even using educational apps on other screens. So reading books, or even the kids quietly looking at their own, is a big part of our go-to family entertainment; I feel like it is actually foundational to who our family is.

I say this all not to make others feel guilty.  Believe me, I stink at almost everything else "mommy"-wise.  But reading has been the glue that has kept our family (mostly) happy.

I don't feel too bad about spending money on my kids' books, so we regularly get them for rewards and presents. (I would rather buy ten books than one big toy, my poor children! And we often give books for friends' birthdays.  Sorry, kids!)  But, I'm also cheap.  So my go-to's to find cheapish books are usually TJ Maxx, library sales, sales on places like Brickyard Buffalo, the Today Show's Steals and Deals segment, Amazon, and my neighbors' hand-me-downs.

Some of our very favorites are: For baby books, we are obsessed with anything Sandra Boynton.  They are so witty and the rhythm of what you read somehow makes even a two month old smile!  We also love any of the Olivia books, Angelina Ballerina and No David series (my 16 month old current favorite is No David!), Creepy Carrots, and just whatever stack we've taken off the shelves from the library without looking twice, which usually includes a lot of books about trucks for my obsessed 3 year old.  (PS: if you are looking for someone who reallllly knows her stuff, check out Everyday Reading.  She knows everything and anything about books, including children's books.  She's a former librarian!)

We are in the thick of the Christmas season now, and reading Christmas books at least every night was a big tradition in my family and we're carrying that on.  My mother has gifted us several amazing books, but we want to grow our collection.  So, Brad and I started a new tradition a couple of years ago to get a few Christmas books from the bookstores on our anniversary every year.  Our anniversary is December 28th, so the books are usually heavily discounted by then.  It takes care of our date and presents, too, especially during an already busy and tapped-out time of the year.

Below I'm sharing our most very favorite Christmas books so far.  If you are looking for a new book to add to your collection or are wanting to even start this tradition, you will not regret any of these!  They are a good mix of sentimental, touching, funny, and instructive.  

1) The Wild Christmas Reindeer: I love anything by Jan Brett.  The Scandinavian illustrations are so beautiful, and the kids love the little side stories she includes in the borders.
2) Penny's Christmas Jar Miracle: This story makes this non-cryer cry almost every dang time.... Teaches kids that Christmas is about serving others who need it.
3) Annie and the Wild Animals: Another Jan Brett one!  My kids love all the animals in this one.
4) Merry Christmas, Curious George: We've always been huge Curious George fans.
5) The Jolly Christmas Postman: This book is new to us this year and it is AMAZING!
6) The Touch of the Master's Hand: Another tear-jerker that does a beautiful job reminding us the true source of the Christmas season.

What Christmas books does your family love?!  Please share.

Some other mamas are sharing their favorite books--Christmas or otherwise!  Check them out below, and see Madeline and Kiana's blogs to sign up to participate in the next series.

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts // Madeline at CaseyLand // Juli at Enjoying the Journey
Rachel at Tutus and Heels // Lori at Love My Big Happy Family
Cayli at Nightchayde // Shani at Sunshine & Munchkins // Chelsea at Tessa Marie

Positive Things on the Internet

Friday, December 2, 2016

It's been a few weeks since I shared some positive things I found on the internet.  That is for two reasons: 1) With all my new "hobbies," I have had even less time to actually read much, which is something I'd like to change! 2) The internet wasn't really a happy place around the election . . . Am I right?!

So, let's bring it back!

Here are some things I read recently that made me have
a little more faith in humanity:

1) You all know what I fan I am of Hungry Runner Girl...  This post was excellent because of what she shares on HOW to talk back to negative thoughts, obsessiveness, or self-doubts.  Spoiler: you ask yourself, "What good is it going to do?"

2) I love what my friend posted about 8 Things Your Child Should Know By 8 Years Old.  It is short, not-preachy, and helpful.  (Also, check out her Gilmore Girls inspired photo shoot and a sweeeeet story with her husband!)

3) I am trying to make this Christmas way less about spending money on presents and more about service, including donating to worthy causes.  This article of a woman you left her must-million dollar events business for a charity she founded blew my mind.

4) Speaking of service, I recently learned about Go Jane Give.  This is like gofundme for worthy causes.  You volunteer of your talents and interested to create a fundraiser that matches what you are willing to provide (teaching lessons on baking, classes on rock climbing, hosting birthday parties, art, etc.).  The money goes to a worthy, credible cause of your choice.  I have created one myself but am feeling a little nervous about posting it...  But I hereby promise to do that on by early next week!

5) I know I am slow to really take advantage of what The Small Seed has to offer; however, I finally took the time to peruse their actual website.  This article really spoke to my heart and reminded me to be grateful for the body I have.

I also printed off their free downloads for the #LightTheWorld campaign, including a giant tree for our little family to add service-star to, as well as a calendar that gives you a little service to do each day of December.  It's not too late to start, even if that ends up being next week!

What positive things have you recently found on the world wide web?
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