Changing Behavior


I’m parenting teens…and a 13 month old Lab Dog (Puppy)…and sometimes it feels like I parent my husband and then of course there is my ….


I’ve learned along the way that others learn through modeling.

So I’m trying to work on me, and change the things in myself that I feel are important lessons for my kids.

With that said, it is not easy…

And on those kinds of harder-like days, I at least feel I’ve connected with gaining some empathy for how hard it is to be a teenager who is trying to figure out

  • who the hell they are…
  • how to manage self care…
  • how to look forward instead of backward…
  • how to live in the moment while still maintaining long term goals….
  • …how to make changes that are beneficial to self!

The topic of SHAME keeps popping up in my universe. (My youngest accused me of “shaming him” into brushing his teeth when he was a 6th grader…and that zinger has stuck with me over the years since…I don’t respond to shaming from others…I have done enough to myself.)

Brene Brown’s books have really got me looking into myself and how shame is so connected to the choices I made around drinking…I’m ready for Shame Resilience.  (Future Post)

Then this popped into my email box today:  How to Change Someone’s Bad Behavior.  I enjoy Vanessa Van Edward’s work.

Tactics that DO NOT work to change behavior:

  • Helpful
  • Threatening
  • Incentivizing
  • Pleading
  • Shaming

Steps that DO work:

  • Pride
  • Togetherness
  • Progress
  • Tools

I’m using this as platform to give myself a pat on the back this last day in January.

I’m proud for not drinking since early December.  I’ve done it together with a community of others who are living a sober life.  I’ve accomplished much more in the past 50 days because my energy is up and I’m not wasting any time on hangovers.  I’ve added tools to my SOS Toolbox.  I have to agree that these positive steps have been much more effective.



I’m not sure where I found this image.  It’s just been sitting on my desktop.  Google is amazing…hunted it down and want to give a shout out to this artist – Kudryashka.  I want to wear this image on a t-shirt or get it framed on a wall to remind myself that….

Yoga provides me with grounding roots–keeps me centered.  Tough to throw a tantrum in a yoga pose.

Like leaves on a tree, seasons change them, and growth takes place…happens to most every living thing…CHANGE.





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I’ve been trying to surround myself with as much positive energy as possible.  I really enjoy @PowerofPositivity.  This Instagram post really hit home for me today.

It was a bumpy week with all three of my teenagers.  The media reports have been a shit storm too.  I’m really trying to ROOT myself so that I can find more humor in what I cannot control.  I beginning to understand that owning my core values will strengthen my foundation.  To own, I have to know.  Having numbed myself for awhile, I think I missed out on getting to know myself fully.

Time to get to work. Put on those boots.

I haven’t always felt super confident in my parenting skills and I’m constantly searching out parenting books.  Trying to gain knowledge and insight.  For some, parenting is just second nature (or so they pretend to display to the world).

I seem to second guess myself a lot.  I’m not happy with that.  I let outside forces (and my partner in all this) sometimes sway me from what my core tells me is best for MY kids.  Let’s face it……What’s good for one kid isn’t always best for all.  I DON’T look at education or parenting as a  “one size fits all”.  I feel we are all unique individuals.

Maybe I am just making all of this harder than it needs to be.  I’m trying to value my intuition more.  It is at times, so strong, that I try not to get caught up in impulsivity.

Maybe it’s because I am super sensitive…and reflective?

This is flying all over the place…but rather than over think it…and edit…I’m just going to keep typing…LOL…feel free to stop if your readers’ head starts spinning.

I take my role as a parent really seriously. We were “chosen”…literally by birthmothers to parent our first two kids (Girl, age 18 and Boy, age 16).  After 8 EIGHT miscarriages and 7 years of infertility, my youngest son, 14 (who I was told was miscarriage #9 and then a heartbeat was found a pre-op for D&C and tube typing) came into my life.  I went from 0 to 3 kids in less than 3.5 years.  Even the most sane would and could find themselves in overwhelm.

[5 hours later after a Yin Yoga Class and Guided Meditation]

Yoga is grounding.

My roots are growing…deeper…thicker… I will weather any upcoming storms with a lot more stability.


Book Notes: You Are Here

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Another great book that was “lingering” in my Kindle library.  I finished reading it last night.  When I “found” it last month, I put a few things into action.

I started mindfully breathing.  Paying attention to breathing in ..and breathing out.  The writing brought me awareness and recommends “talking to one’s self”… I am Breathing In…I am Breathing Out.  No control.  Just being mindfully aware.

The breath is like a bridge that links our body and mind (p.32)

The mindfulness is simply the breath.  Not the past, the future, pain, plans…you just breathe and attempt to unite the mind and body.

The author nudged me to try to strive to connect myself and be myself.  Recognize all are something and a positive factor to every community.

“Beginning anew” means being determined not to repeat the negative things we have done in the past. A new era begins when we commit ourselves to living in mindfulness. When we vow to ourselves, “I am determined not to behave as I did in the past,” transformation occurs immediately. (p. 49)

It’s as easy as:

“…We can all practice beginning anew.  We can always start over.”  (p. 51)

Embrace impermanence.  It is needed for transformation.  

“But everyone knows you cannot step into the same river twice.  A river is in a constant process of transformation, and so are we.” (p.104)

Don’t try to be what you are not.  It is a form of suffering.  

You are already what you are seeking to become.  When you have this insight, you can stop.  Stopping is peace.  Stopping is happiness.  (p. 109)

Embrace change.  Don’t fear it.  The author, Thich Nhat Hanh, uses the analogy of a kaleidoscope.  He reminds us that we don’t cry when an image in it disappears.  It’s just a new manifestation of a new work of art.  

And then this final challenge:

“…vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire selfconfidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or words that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.”  (p.132)

Mindfulness.  I’m practicing.

PDF you-are-here_-discovering-the-magic-of-the-present-moment-notebook

Letter from Polonius

My daughter sent me homework.

Her English class is reading Hamlet.  Early in the play Polonius (Father) offers advise to Laertes (Son) who is leaving home for France.  He tells him, among other things, to never borrow or lend money, to be careful in his choice of friends, to listen well to the opinions of others, but to speak his own sparingly, to avoid wasting money on flashy clothes, and above all to always follow his heart.

Her teacher has offered us, (Parents), the opportunity to share our own thoughts with our high school student.  Advice, Values, Lessons Learned as they head off to college.  (Kind of a cool assignment).

While procrastinating…I’ve popped over to this blog because I feel as if this experience of writing and reading and sharing with all of you serves as my “Letter to Myself”.  My goal is to get down my feelings and thoughts during these early days so that I don’t FORGET.

Maybe it’s because I did string 25 months together, and then just thought I could “dabble” as a moderate.  That worked out ok, for awhile, even a couple years…and then I sort of fell back into fuzzy and hazy goodbyes (dare I say blackouts),  embarrassment, regret, shame, denial, …dehydration, headaches, moodiness…just a self-inflicted HOT MESS.

The point being… I don’t want to dwell in the past and beat myself up, but I need to have a way of looking back and reading my own thoughts and words… My own Letter from Polonius.

A few quotes for Merry:



Like a wildflower; she spent her days allowing herself to grow, not many knew of her struggle, but eventually all; knew of her light.  – Nikki Rowe


“Your body is the only home you have to live, nurture it, honor it, love it and respect it.” -Melissa Ambrosini


“Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it”. Chris Assaad


That thing we call intuition? It’s your soul.  You can trust it.  -Unknown


“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” [Christopher Robin to Pooh] -A.A. Milne







Chicken Soup for….


Chicken Bone Broth is one of my go-to stables for feeling “better”.  That includes trying to get over sugar cravings (or the wicked wine want-somes).

It has to be the homemade “takes at least 2 days” kind for it to work it’s magic.  Nothing that comes off the shelf at a health food store or market.

I swear it is miraculous for colds and flu.  But I think I’ve found my nectar for calming my mood.

At least that was the case today.  I have three teens…all in high school…it’s been a frazzling week.

Thank goodness I made broth last weekend.

Want to know how?

I spend the extra and buy free range wings and necks.  Ask the butcher to crack them open so the marrow can release.  Buy about 4 pounds.

Throw them in a stock pot with lots of filtered water.  Organic Veggies.  2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to release the “marrow” from the bones.  Then I slow boil for at least 2 days.  The last 12 hours I add a bunch of organic herbs. Strain.  Pour into jars. Notice how dark mine is….it’s just chicken…the extremely slow 48 plus hours produces a richer bone broth.

You can watch….How to Make Bone Broth by Tara Reyburn – YouTube Video (5 minutes)

There is a ton of “research” out there for it’s health benefits.  But I like Dr. Axe and Katie the Wellness Mama.  Simple info.  One of the best benefits: Boosts Detoxification.  I believe that when my gut is healthy…most of my cravings diminish dramatically.

Bone Broth Benefits for Health by Wellness Mama

Bone Broth Benefits…  by Dr. Josh Axe

It’s Good for my Soul.

Book Notes: The Gifts of Imperfection

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 12.06.17 PM.pngJust finished Brene Brown’s book on my Kindle.  I’ve been highlighting like a fiend in this book.  So much good stuff I wanted to revisit.  I discovered there is a way to send these gems in a PDF to my Kindle Account.  Seems I found 84 Highlights (um…many of them were multi-paragraph to half page sections).  Merry’s Notebook: the-gifts-of-imperfection_-let-go-of-who-you-think-youre-supposed-to-be-and-embrace-who-you-are-notebook  is 12 pages!  (Her book is only 125 pages.)  I might even have to buy the paperback so I can write all over it and use all my multi-colored sticky notes.

Brene Brown made the choice that I have made for myself!  DAY 50 today!

“If you’ve read I Thought It Was Just Me, or if you follow my blog, you probably know that I’ve been sober for close to fifteen years.”  (p.70)

For my own processing…I’m picking 12 Highlights!


Shame hates it when we reach out and tell our story. It hates having words wrapped around it—it can’t survive being shared. Shame loves secrecy. The most dangerous thing to do after a shaming experience is hide or bury our story. When we bury our story, the shame metastasizes. I remember saying out loud: “I need to talk to someone RIGHT NOW. Be brave, Brené!” (p.9)

…Courage has a ripple effect. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver. And our world could stand to be a little kinder and braver. (p.15)

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self acceptance. (p.26)

Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable—it’s the total opposite of owning our story and feeling worthy. (p.39)

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. (snip) Authenticity demands Wholehearted living and loving—even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it. (p.50)

“Today, I’m going to believe that showing up is enough.” (p.62)

Most of us engage in behaviors (consciously or not) that help us to numb and take the edge of off vulnerability, pain, and discomfort. Addiction can be described as chronically and compulsively numbing and taking the edge off of feelings. We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions (p.69) … When We Numb the Dark, We Numb the Light (p.72)

Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments—(snip)… I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith. (p.80)

Most of us are not very good at not knowing. We like sure things and guarantees so much that we don’t pay attention to the outcomes of our brain’s matching process (p.88)…Intuition is not a single way of knowing—it’s our ability to hold space for uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed knowledge and insight, including instinct, experience, faith, and reason. (p..89)

If we want to live a Wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play, and about letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self worth. (p.102)

For me, breathing is the best place to start. Just taking a breath before I respond slows me down and immediately starts spreading calm. Sometimes I actually think to myself, I’m dying to freak out here! Do I have enough information to freak out? Will freaking out help? The answer is always no. (p.107)

Men and women who live Wholeheartedly do indeed DIG Deep. They just do it in a different way. When they’re exhausted and overwhelmed, they get Deliberate in their thoughts and behaviors through prayer, meditation, or simply setting their intentions; Inspired to make new and different choices; Going. They take action. (p.4)

This is a book that guides to DIG deep.  (Suggestions at the end of each section).


You can learn more about Brené and her research by visiting or by visiting her blog at For a Gifts of Imperfection reading guide and a list of book recommendations, please visit her Web site. (p.125)


Shrinking Violet


I always like the character of Violet in the movie The Incredibles.  She sort of just blended into the scenery and liked to be in her own little world of music and books.  I can relate.

When forced to help out in a family crisis, Violet discovers her superpowers: the ability to create force-fields and turn invisible.  She evolves into a strong and confident character.  Violet Blooms.


I think I found ways to turn “invisible” (…to even myself) in some social situations.  Cocktails provided me with superpowers – (or so I thought) – to do all kinds of things.

When teen/young-adult partying, turned to civilized cocktail events, I would shrink part of me.. as to not call too much attention to myself.

I think it could have been hatched “in the formative years” when I was told:

“If you don’t have anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all”.

Of course, that was meant to teach me a little tact and empathy…but I think for me I began to view it as the basis of “People Pleasing” behaviors.

  • Be civilized and avoid discussing politics and religion.
  • Don’t express real feelings, they might make people uncomfortable.
  • Hide your real beliefs, and avoid questioning other’s views that conflict with you own.

It’s just easier to put on a three martini smile (literally) and nod the head up and down with feigned interest.  Why take the time to debate and discuss, that would have been a buzz kill…OR…lead to a passionate honest rant…(next morning regret….blah blah blah)

I’m trying to Bloom this year, and part of that is expressing thoughts and ideas through writing, and trying to hear my own voice.

I’m trying to come from a place of honesty, vulnerability, putting it all out there.  I don’t want to play it safe.  I don’t want to censor my words for fear of offending.  I want to be raw.  (Of course that can lead to criticism…which can be very shriveling).

I felt some “perceived” criticism today (logical mind tries to convince emotional mind that it is not personal) and I wanted to run back into my safe, cozy, haven of the shadows.  But I am going to try to put on my superhero cape and be courageous and true.

I don’t want to be a bulldozer.  I want to be thoughtful, compassionate, empathetic…but speak and act with conviction and depth, rather than safety and agreeability.

I want to ride the seesaw how it is meant to be–pushing off with strong feet and flying in the air–enjoying the ride up and down.  I don’t want to be sitting there, balanced in the middle place on the fulcrum.  Just hanging out.

I want to be in the game…but taking chances means taking possible downs with high soaring ups.  I’m growing …

Be Bold

Be Brave




Monumentous got added to my vocabulary yesterday.  It was used by a CNN reporter when I was listening, live, while driving kids to and fro to their Saturday activities.

I was hoping that someone had taken all the aerial shots -of the sea of people who participated in all the marches- and put them all together in one big collage.  I’m hopeful that is coming soon.  For now… this is my visual of Monumentous…


I have a notebook to jot down ideas for this blog.  I pulled it out and started jotting down my takeaways as I was listening and watching the live feed back at home.

  • Gloria Steinem’s speech “We the PEOPLE”
  • Scarlett Johansson’s PASSION
  • Alicia Keys FIRE
  • Boston – NYC -Oakland – Chicago – all the underestimates of participation
  • Pink Sea – Seattle aerial 11:08am (took my breath away)
  • Los Angeles Aerial 11:09am (I grew up there….worked near Pershing Square)
  • Pink Hats
  • “It’s a march that is so big, they can’t march”.
  • “Shows how democracy could and should work”.
  • “Squandered last two months…”
  • I live in a country where this CAN and DID come TOGETHER.

I was one of those who HID during the election season.  As the weekend comes to an end, I am committing to being more active.  I don’t know that that will look like (besides that fact I will be sober during the adventure)…

At the very least, it is time for me to write my leaders who have decision making power.