Sweet Friends –
I have to apologize. I’ve recently realized I made a huge mistake.
This is NOT the SWEETLIFE ~
For years I thought it was. I told others it was. With a great team, we built a business saying it was. We gave out postcards and stickers and framed posters of it for the office wall.
And now I sit here with this crazy realization how mistaken I was.
In a clever twist, it took some seriously SOUR life for me to realize what a SWEETLIFE is. At first it seemed sad but it’s really not at all. It’s quite delicious actually.
Without a doubt, the images above were really SWEET moments in LIFE. We all have really SWEET moments in LIFE. They are golden. They are the fuel to our life fire. They light up Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest like nobody’s business. Capturing, honoring, celebrating, and sometimes sharing these SWEET moments in LIFE is critical.
But still, SWEET moments in LIFE do not mean we are living a SWEETLIFE. A SWEETLIFE cannot be curated through a series of shiny images.
Living a SWEETLIFE is a mindset. A chosen, practiced, and heavily nurtured mindset.
Oh wow, now we’re going deep. Buckle up.
Every moment in life, we get to choose how we will respond. Every. Single. Moment. We choose. I choose. You choose. We choose the words we use with others and perhaps most importantly, we choose the words we use with ourselves.
The choosing — that’s where the sweetness lives. The moments that happen don’t define us but choosing our mindset before, during, and after does.
So when life is all mountain tops and blue skies and accomplishment, we throw our hands up and soak in Mother Nature’s high-five for our awesomeness. Those SWEET moments in LIFE make it really easy to choose a SWEETLIFE mindset.
But what about when life gets SOUR? Like really, way expired carton of milk SOUR.
It was gulping some seriously SOUR moments in LIFE that got me chewing on all of this. It became crystal clear that I had to decide if experiencing SOUR moments in LIFE meant I was living a SOURLIFE.
It was suddenly that straight forward. I could gag and choke and get all whoa-is-me about my stinky SOURLIFE or I could freaking plug my nose, wash down the clumps, and go buy some new damn milk. (Option A was really tempting sometimes.)
Choosing to go buy the new milk, that is the SWEETLIFE. Choosing to seek out SWEET moments in LIFE as they sit ready and waiting all around us all the time, that is the SWEETLIFE. Choosing to celebrate others’ SWEET moments in LIFE with genuine love and happiness, that is the SWEETLIFE.
And here’s a very cool part. The SWEETLIFE is incredibly personal to each of us. It’s my SWEETLIFE, my mindset, my choice to make over and over again. I guide it. I honor it. I nurture it. There’s no way anyone else can SOUR up my LIFE if I keep fighting* to hone and protect my SWEETLIFE. *And in my experience it does require a serious fight because sometimes SOUR moments bring their A-game.
Inevitably life is going to serve us sweet and sour moments. Being grateful for all the SWEET ones is important for sure but learning to be truly grateful for the SOUR ones is too. Those little (& big) suckers offer our SWEETLIFE mindset the chance to shine the most.
There will be more to come on what this shift to my SWEETLIFE mindset may mean in terms of Sweetlife Adventures but for now its pure joy to say there’s definitely more sweetness to be explored. Thank goodness because Sourlife Adventures just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
ps– This year’s holiday cards had a bit of SOURLIFE flare. Glad we didn’t send them out. SOUR eggnog is a total buzzkill.
pps — Happy New Year.
Sweet Friends –
You are needed to HELP SAVE RYAN’S LIFE.
Ryan is a 9-year-old boy who has Duchene Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Until now, it has been considered terminal with no known treatment.
I don’t know Ryan personally, but our bffs (and many favorite friends) go to school with him in Denver. The community is rallying to share Ryan’s story and ask for your help.
There are two medications that have been effective in treating DMD when used during clinical trials. Ryan was in one of these trials and saw sweet improvement.
The medications are awaiting FDA approval. Ryan has had to be off the medications until they are approved. He is quickly seeing the decline.
There are drugs that Ryan and his family know will help but he can’t have them without the FDA approval.
It’s like a 9-year-old version of the Dallas Buyer’s Club.
YOU CAN HELP!
There is an online petition that needs 100,000 signatures to get the FDA’s attention for accelerated approval of safe, effective, therapies for Ryan and thousands of others suffering from DMD.
It takes 2 minutes to create an account (requires name and email only). I was the 9,550 person to sign. They need 100,o00 by March 29, 2014 for the FDA to respond.
Following is the full email from Ryan’s dad, mom, and brothers:
I would like to apologize in advance for the mass email blast. I know how much every body hates this sort of thing, but this is very important. I need 2 minutes of your time. If you don’t want to read this than just follow the link and sign the petition.
Most of you know my son Ryan. Ryan is 9 years old, a 3rd grader and has Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. DMD is a terminal disease that, until now, has had no treatment and no hope for long-term survival. Kids with DMD start to get weaker in elementary school and are often confined to an electric wheelchair by middle school. It does not get any better. The body becomes progressively weaker and the boys lose the use of their upper extremities, followed by weakness and loss of function of their lungs and heart.
There are two medicines that are awaiting approval by the FDA that can treat DMD. We know this because Ryan was part of a group of boys that were in a study last year to test the effectiveness and safety of this medicine. In the six months that Ryan was taking one of these drugs we saw marked improvements in his strength, stamina and health overall. He has been off the medicine since September and we can see him starting to slide down the slippery slope of DMD that ends in death.
This is where you come in. Ryan needs you to sign an on line petition to urge the FDA to approve the re-dosing of this drug immediately. We need 100,000 signatures. That is a lot. I don’t know that many people and I doubt that any of you do, but like that shampoo commercial if I tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on and so on. We can reach 100,000 pretty quickly.
They got way more than 100,00 people to sign a petition to get Beiber sent back to Canada in a matter of days and this is so much more important.
So, Here is the link:
please click it or cut and paste and follow the instructions and then bug your friends and their friends to sign this petition, share it on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you want. Copy any or all of the text. Please don’t put this off till later we need 100,000 signatures by the end of March.
Chris, Jen, Conor, Jack, and Ryan Dunne
We have an almost 9-year-old. Many of you do to0. In fact, while I was writing this post, Briggs came down to show me his outfit for his school play next week. I started crying as I took this picture.
I hope you have two minutes to spare tonight. Your sweetness will make a difference – for Ryan, his family, and so many others fighting a similar battle.
Ok technically not an entire box, but close.
Last Saturday morning, still half asleep, my mind inventoried the previous day’s activities. I put a little joke about it on Facebook ~
Later in the day, moving kinda sloooow, I went to Target to pick up some kids clothes I had ordered online with in-store pick-up (so I could get a 20% discount). The confirmation email said my things would be waiting at customer service.
44 minutes, 17 frustrated people, and countless eyerolls later, I was engaging my ujjayi breath as I exited the store.
Sparing you the details, the situation boiled down to a mix-up due to the online ordering/store pick-up option and applying the 20% discount.
It was all over $4.
Through the 20/20 lens of hindsight, it’s easy to see how the exchange flowed and why.
I wasn’t about to let a $4 miscalculation go. It’s a lot of money and it was mine! Although, if I think about, in my 1,000+ Target shopping trips, odds are pretty good that a few items have accidentally slipped through checkout uncharged for one reason or another. My guess is the teeter is still tottering in my favor on that equation.
Simultaneously, the young woman in the red shirt wasn’t about to be told she was wrong. I’m making some assumptions, but I can imagine when she debuted her large facial piercing in her cheek, she may have been told she was wrong by one or two people. My guess from her general aura of toughness is that she may have been unfairly (perhaps even heartbreakingly) told she was wrong from a very young age.
I wanted my money. She wanted to be right. In the end we created a situation that was both poor and wrong.
I got to thinking about the box of Samoa cookies I had eaten the night before – you know, for “dinner”.
It had cost $4.
I sure wasn’t engaging in any fights over that $4. (Other than fighting off the kids when they tried to eat one. Hudson actually did get a hold of 3 which is how I ended up only eating 12/15 in the box. Damn her.)
Not to mention, I wasn’t feeling my best – physically or emotionally – after the night of cookies and wine. Like I wrote about recently in terms of choosing kindness, my kindness muscle was totally atrophied.
The young Target Teammember may not even remember the incident, but its been bugging the heck out of me. I mean really – how much of the universe’s energy is $4 worth?
Maybe I’ll take her a peace offering next time I go. There’s an unopened box of Thin Mints hidden in the cabinet…
When sweet stars align, let them shine!
It is so exciting to introduce Alison Mikula who will be heading our Colorado adventures. She brings tremendous expertise and enthusiasm to the team and a love for exploring how to live that sweetly balanced life we’re all seeking.
Alison joins Sweetlife after nearly a decade of practicing law, and is excited to be part of the team creating opportunities for busy women to play and grow through adventures that are physical, soulful, and fun!
With the support of her partner, Paul, Alison enjoys the adventure of family life with their four children. Each brings endless sweetness to her life and together they keep her days full and sometimes frenzied!
As a working mom, Alison has come to appreciate the importance — and the challenge — of making time for herself. She finds that the sweetness and energy she generates while on her yoga mat, climbing a tough hill on her road bike, or hiking in the Colorado sunshine sustain her and help her to bring forth her best as mom, partner, community member and friend.
Her favorite part of Sweetlife? Helping other women live life in their own personal sweet spots.
Alison can be reached at email@example.com.
Wednesday night I was vacuuming up the gazillion bits of a dog treat that Stan had shredded all over the family room floor.
Perhaps my frustration with the mess was the spark that ignited it, but I could suddenly feel my eyes welling up. When Ned walked in and asked if I was ok, the tears started spilling out. The vacuum was still sucking away and I stood there sobbing. About nothing. About everything.
Without a word, he gently wrapped his arms around me and held me while I cried into his shirt.
I felt so sweetly comforted.
And then he did the most perfect thing ever.
Still snugging me just-right tight, he placed the sweetest, kindest kiss on my forehead.
I felt so sweetly safe.
It was exactly what I needed right then.
All the words, reassurances, and what’s-the-matters were spoken in that forehead kiss.
Like most, Ned & I have a healthy amount of sweet and sour moments. I’m sure there are times he’d really like to thump me on the forehead. Sometimes kinda hard.
But in that moment, with me standing there blubbering for no specific reason, he chose the simplest of gestures.
He chose kindness.
That sweet kiss on the forehead reminded me of the healing power of kindness. It may not make your battle go away, but it definitely gives you the strength you need to keep fighting.
We all want to choose kindness, don’t we?
For me, like many, kindness comes naturally when my personal strength bucket is full. But it’s when I’m not feeling good about myself for some reason that my kindness muscle can get lazy.
The obvious twist is that each route feeds itself: being kind makes us feel good so we are even kinder and being an a-hole makes us feel bad so we’re a bigger a-hole. I experienced this firsthand the day I realized there’s Nothing Sweet About Driving Like an A-Hole, although…let’s just say that’s still a work in progress.
We need to choose kindness every chance we get, don’t we?
Back to Wednesday night – Ned was being pulled in so many directions. He was swamped with work. And fighting a major cold. And
Nanny McPhee Raleigh desperately needed him to pull her tooth.
But he chose kindness.
Although it didn’t magically dry up my tears, it definitely gave me a big dose of sweet strength to better understand what was going on and explore options for making things better.
It also gave me (a little extra) strength to deal with more of this –
I wonder when Stanley will understand the vicious cycle of being an a-hole?
Let’s choose kindness. The cycle starts with each one of us, in big and small ways, in all aspects of our lives.
If your kindness muscle gets lazy, as it may, as I know mine will, there are always forehead kisses.
*With Bronco Fever running rampant this week, I thought I would pull some sweet talk from the archives (originally posted 12/16/11). From 2,000 miles away, we are still #UnitedinOrange. There will be many high fives on Sunday. Go Broncos!
At our son’s hockey game last weekend, I watched rink side. With Ned helping coach and the girls sleeping at Grandma’s, I was (happily) alone.
As the first big play went down, I heard my cheers echoing off the glass. Without realizing it, I quickly turned to the folks around me, hungry to share my excitement with other fans.
My response caught my attention.
Given that our little hockey players couldn’t even hear us from the other side of the glass, why did I have an overwhelming need to clap and yell and high five the strangers next to me? Why did this collective cheering feel so great…?
As I thought about it, I realized sharing an experience is what connects us – to the experience and to each other.
It’s the camaraderie and community of a synchronous “GOOOOAAAAALLLL” for which we as a species have an affinity.
We don’t just want it. We need it. We thrive in it. And yes, we high five in it.
Whether on the dance floor celebrating the birthday girl, in the audience when the school choir asks us to join in, or huddling around the goalie at the end of the game, it’s these shared experiences that nourish the human spirit.
Sing together in the car. Chat in line with strangers at Target. Play cards until midnight with Grandpa.
These metaphoric high fives are the gifts that keep on giving.
Last weekend the kids needed to be in different places at the same time. We decided Ned would take Briggs (& Raleigh) to Briggs’ three day hockey tournament and I would stay home with Hudson (& Stanley) for Hudson’s swim meet.
It was such a sweet treat to have Hudson all to myself.
For the two days of the meet I relished every second of watching her swim, eating out together, renting movies (Beaches – insert sob), and chatting about everything and nothing.
Sweet Hudson is an old soul – so wise, calm, and kind. (Just between us, she’s my favorite. Thankfully Briggs & Raleigh can’t read. Oh wait, yes they can. Crap… )
The hockey tourney ran through Monday night but the swim meet ended Sunday afternoon. This meant there were a few options:
1. Drive 2+ hours to hockey after swim meet to catch last 3 games
2. Enjoy a sweet local adventure with Hudson – hike? museum?
3. Stay home and catch up on some (not-pressing-but-eventually-must-be-done) chores
Given that options 1 & 2 had obvious appeal and that while browsing for a movie Saturday night we watched the trailer for Dead Poet’s Society so I had Robin Williams carpe diem-ing in my head, this is the part where I might launch into the profound and picturesque way we seized the heck out of the day.
Maybe it would look like this –
Or possibly this –
When I sat still and tuned into to the (usually crazy) voice in my head, I heard the answer in a soft but clear whisper.
Carpe (laundry) diem.
Carpe (laundry) diem.
“Seize the laundry day?”
Uh, ok…not exactly what I was expecting. No frozen glory or heart-pumping adventure. No soul food or mom/daughter bonding or pretty photo fodder.
Bleh. It was going to look about like this –
I’m not sure why, but somehow as soon as all the shiny options were off the table, the weekend fell sweetly into place. There was a calm, maybe even a little giddy, excitement about it.
thrilled maturely composed with the decision.
All darn DIEM we CARPE’ed the heck out of that everlasting (gobstopper) pile of laundry and many other lurking chores. It felt so good.
I was reminded that playing hard requires working hard.
And this was a day to work hard. A day to work together with Hudson so that we were washed, piled, and prepped for the (always) full week ahead of us. A day to soak in the sweetness of organizing our life.
This (rather boring) tale is a complete 180 from the moral of the Sweet Freak Out last spring. There’s no real enlightened reason why. Robert Frost never wrote “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I chose the one with the long to-do list.”
I guess it just comes down to our perspective at a given time:
The bonus was sweet Hudson found a great way for us to CARPE 10 MINUTES OF FUN every now and then. Each time we checked an item off the list, we jumped on the tramp together.
How do you balance work & play? Do you have a hard time knowing when to carpe diem and when to be disciplined? Share your sweet thoughts, tips, & tricks below.