Tag Archives: inspiration

Teaching Kindness and Training Warriors

As a momma-to-be, there are already so many things I worry about for this sweet child I’m carrying. Am I eating the right foods to help her grow big and strong? Am I picking the right bedding, toys, and accessories so that he’ll be safe, secure, and happy? How do I prepare for the unknown worlds of birth, feeding, and tireless newborn care?

My biggest worry, though, is the overall prospect of bringing this little one into a great big world that is so bright and beautiful, but can also be harsh and mean and scary. For a while she’ll be protected by the cloak of babyhood – being constantly supervised and surrounded by people who offer nothing but kind words for this tiny new being. But in a brief few years she’ll grow up and go out on her own – at pre-school, at the park – and someone will say something unkind to her or another child. And the thought of that shatters my heart…

So how do I teach my child to embrace kindness even in the midst of a sometimes unkind world? How do I let him know that, no matter how strong meanness may seem, kindness will always win? How do I encourage him to face each day, brave and strong, as a warrior fighting for kindness for all those around him?

With small daily acts and beautiful inspiring words.

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Fortunately, my lovely sister-in-law, Katie Moore, has recently published an incredible children’s book on exactly this topic. Her book – You Are A Warrior – tells a beautiful, whimsical, and truthful tale of a little girl who is doing just that – being a warrior by fighting back against bullying with seemingly small acts of kindness that yield huge results. What makes Katie’s book even more special are the delightfully happy illustrations that are a compilation of her four talented children’s artwork combined with her own wise words. Without a doubt, this is an inspiring book and a meaningful message for adults and children alike.

Since I’m fortunate enough to know this witty and wonderful author, I asked Katie a few questions about the book in hopes of absorbing some of her awesome, love-filled wisdom:

What was your inspiration for writing this book?                                                               

My inspiration for writing this book was to give my kids something to hold and read and know that they contributed to a real book. Something tangible that they helped to create and build and feel that they could put it in their hands and say that they were a part of. I’m working on a novel that is aimed for an adult audience so it was important for me to get this one out first. Also on my blog I write a lot of things that are adult humor that I would never (ever) want them to come across, but a book that is for kids helps confirm that their momma really is a writer. It gives me some street credit. Plus (and most importantly) I am a huge fan of children’s books that send out a positive message. I want my kids and kids everywhere to be kind and aim for good every single day.      

As a mother of four (incredible) kids, why do you think this is an important book and message for children?                                                                                                                 

I think that it is desperately important that children realize that small acts can make a tremendous impact on this world. Bullying is rampant in schools, playgrounds and probably the most detrimental of all, on all sources of media. Kindness isn’t a slight thing, costs nothing and has the potential to bring hope to every generation. Children of all ages have the power to bring change.

I love the artwork in the book! Can you tell me more about your process for creating the beautiful and inspiring images?                                                                           

Thank you! I am in love with collage work with mixed media. I wanted to create something whimsical with my own kids’ artwork and add some words and light to bring each page its own type of faithful magic. The process is really glue, hope, glue, repeat. Roll with the mess and the mistakes… perfection is overrated.   

What is the number one lesson that you hope anyone reading – both children and adults – will take away from your book?                                                          

Show up. Be kind. That really would be a dream if that was the takeaway. Oh and have fun too. Warriors are rockstars.                                                                                                                                                                            

Thank you dear Katie!

There is still time to get the perfect Christmas gift for kids of all ages (including those grown-up kids who may need a little kindness reminder) by ordering Katie’s book on Amazon: You Are A Warrior.

While you’re there, be sure to pick up a copy of her lovely inspiration journal – Dream a Bigger Dream – to spark your own creative potential.

For more of Katie’s wit, humor, and wisdom, check out her blog, The Naked Momma, at www.thenakedmomma.com.  Or get her daily dose of inspiration and fun on Facebook and Twitter @thenakedmommakt.

PS – it just so happens to be Katie’s birthday today, so share the love!

What small but mighty acts of kindness have you seen or done this week? Leave a comment below with ways to share some joy this season and beyond, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of You Are A Warrior – a beautiful gift just for you! Happy kindness spreading friends!

Wanderlust & Adventures Ahead

This past weekend while visiting the lovely Pleasanton Goods in Paris, Kentucky for my cousin’s baby shower, my eye caught sight of a beautiful magazine. I was instantly drawn in by a single caption on the cover.

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Wander.  Defined as to “walk or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way,” wander is one of my favorite words and activities. Intrigued, I picked up the magazine and, flipping to the back cover, found the most wonderful quote.

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Yes. Yes. Yes. If I were to choose a life mantra, that might just be it.

While the love of wandering is always close to my heart; this quote, this idea, resonates with me even more in my current phase of life. Because, well, I’m doing it again. Quitting my job, that is, to take off on another grand adventure. Taking that leap of faith to live free and ready to wander.

Last time it was South Florida, so this time we’re going for the extreme opposite: Alaska. Since we’re older and wiser now, this trek comes with a little more foresight, in the form of a job. Andrew’s job offered him an unparalleled opportunity to do work in various regions throughout the 49th state and, fortunately, he was willing and able to respond with a resounding yes. The only caveat was, I wasn’t letting him go alone. No way was I going to miss out on an opportunity to explore the final frontier of American wilderness.

So we decided that Andrew would finish up the first leg of his work in the the tiny town of Unalakleet before I head up on to meet him in the comparatively populous Fairbanks. Once he finishes up another week of work there we’re off to, well, wander. Denali, the Kenai Peninsula, Homer, and Seward are just a few of the spots we hope to hit, but really it’s up to wherever the open road (or sky or sea) takes us.

As great as it is to have a plan sometimes, especially when traveling on a timeline or budget and trying to fit everything in; I believe there is something even more blissful about not having a plan. Allowing a trip, or life in general to become it’s own adventure.

I realize that we can’t all take off on an Alaskan voyage, as I feel simultaneously blessed that my life currently allows me this opportunity but also acutely aware that my days of flying to a far off land to spend a month are quickly coming to a close. Still, I don’t think adventure has to be limited to grand journeys.

As I flipped through the pages of that beautiful Folk magazine I picked up, I found that Tyler Axtell had already worded this very idea so eloquently in his article:

“Adventure is not just about physically traveling to the unknown. I think that the underlying truth of all adventures is that it draws a boundary, a line in the sand. We get to choose whether to cross it. I think that adventurous living can take place in locations other than the mountains or woods or overseas (although these adventures are highly encouraged). I believe it is a lifestyle choice, just as much as it is for someone who only purchases ethical, organic, handmade goods. So, too, the life of adventure can be chosen.”

Wherever you are in your life or in this world, don’t ignore that adventurous spirit within. The world is just waiting for wanderers like us.

The Flight

papou

The boy grasps his grandfather’s hand, calloused from years of hard work, and looks up, big brown eyes filled with wonder. He doesn’t look at his grandfather’s face, but beyond to the sky above, towards their shared dream and destiny.

The soft purr of a motor from afar grows louder as the boy and his grandfather instinctively shift their gaze, focusing their eyes and ears on the familiar sound until a faint speck appears in the distance. Gleaming in the midday sun, a small airplane comes into sight. It’s single propeller whirls as the adept pilot keeps the wings steady despite the afternoon breeze. As the the wingspan casts it’s shadow across the boy’s face, his heart swells with amazement. His mind races with the possibility of this impossible feat – earthbound man taking flight.

“Papou, can we fly?” the boy asks his grandfather, timid but excited.

His grandfather looks down into those brown eyes and smiles, a soft but reassuring grin, and leads the boy over to his plane. They push the plane out of the hangar together; the boy learning to believe in his own strength. Patiently, Papou walks the boy through each step of the pre-flight checklist. Like waves on the sand, each new piece of information washes over and exhilarates him as the boy soaks it all in. He’s attentive, yet tentative, as he learns about the instruments and ailerons. Though he intuitively understands the concepts of lift and airspeed and altitude, he carefully listens to every word his grandfather says, hoping to absorb his years of experience.

Finally they are ready for takeoff. After taxiing to the end of the runway, Papou instructs the boy to take the yoke – he will be flying. The boy is filled with fear, doubting his own abilities; but as he looks into his grandfather’s eyes, a reflection of his own, he sees them filled with trust and confidence. His small hands grip the yoke tightly, white knuckles steadying their shaking, as the propeller spins and the engine revs to full throttle. The plane speeds down the runway, and with only a little guidance from his grandfather, the boy firmly pulls back on the yoke.

They are aloft.

Out of the corner of his eye the boy sees the ground quickly dropping below him. He sees the green leaves of the trees wave farewell, beckoning him upward; then he’s above the towering trees. Up, up, up they climb – like Icarus daring to soar ever closer to the sun. Keeping pace with the altitude, the boy’s exhilaration and assurance continues it’s ascent, his apprehension fading with the landscape below.

As he levels off the plane, the boy looks to Papou with pride. But Papou is no longer visible. Confused, the boy looks down at his own hands and realizes something stunning – he is no longer a boy, but now a man. He is doing the impossible, taking flight, all on his own.

The man is in the left seat now; a pilot of his own dreams and destiny. Yet he’s always aware of his ever-present copilot, the source of his inspiration and motivation, Papou.

andrew air

This story is in honor of my incredible husband, who just fulfilled one of his greatest life dreams, becoming a private pilot, and in memory of his beloved Papou, who would have been 91 last week and has endlessly inspired Andrew’s consistent love and pursuit of flight.

In Pursuit of Passion

Passion and determination.  These are traits I truly admire in others. Why? Because they are areas that I feel slightly lacking in my own life.  I strive to approach things in life with both passion and determination, however, more often than not my passion burns hot and fast and I’m on to the next task before finishing the first.

Though I don’t (yet) have a passion to pursue with dogged determination, I am lucky enough to have a front row view from the sidelines of someone else pursuing their own.

My husband.

There has never been any question as to what Andrew’s true passion is – aviation.  I’ve heard the stories of Andrew as a young child thumbing through his grandfather’s flying magazines.  I’ve seen the proof in the pictures of his longtime love for all things plane…

AndrewNever have I see someone with such an intense and focused passion.  And although I can tire of hearing about ailerons and lift, of watching endless videos of flight on YouTube, I am endlessly impressed by his commitment to this crazy thing he loves.

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Andrew’s determination to pursue all paths towards flying has been steadfast and inspiring.  Over the years his efforts to become a pilot have been thwarted by everything from finances to job transfers to inaccessibility of airports.  Yet through it all, he has never lost his commitment to making it happen.  He’s saved, he’s studied, he’s learned the logistics of every airport in the area.  To many it would seem like time wasted; to Andrew it’s a mix of joy, purpose, and pure tenacity.

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And the magical thing that happens when you pour your heart and soul and efforts into something is that dreams come true. My husband doesn’t wait around for his dreams to be fulfilled, he tirelessly works to make them happen; which is such an incredible trait to see played out, and one that I envy (and strive for) more than a little. Because trust me, nothing about flying is easy, even for an aviation enthusiast.

So, at long last, I’m so glad to see that magic happening and his dreams coming true.  For the last few weeks Andrew has been back behind the yoke taking flight lessons. Yesterday, though it makes his mother and I cringe to think about, he took flight on his own, piloting the plane solo. Next stop is his pilot’s license and a lifetime of aviation adventure together.

So keep reaching for the sky…Andrew2With enough passion, determination, time, and effort dreams can come true – and there’s a whole lot of hope and happiness to be found along the way.

(Thanks for being an inspiration handsome hubs!)

Speaking of Dreaming

We all need a place to capture our wildest dreams.  Something tangible to to remind us of what inspires, what ignites our passions, and what brings us hope and joy.

In today’s digital age many of us (myself included) tend towards a tablet, keyboard, or even phone to express ourselves.  But I think there is something so magnificent and incomparable about actually writing – the physical act of putting pen to paper and letting your unique handwriting tell your tale.

Lucky for me (and you), my amazing and always inspiring future sister-in-law has just published a beautiful Dream Journal adorned with wise words, compelling questions, and plain fun.

dream

But what really makes this jornal wonderful is how you fill it.  With such encourgement and inspiration as you’ll find throughout, your possibilities are endless!

Happy Dreaming Friends!

And kudos to you Katie!