Lessons I've learned at 40

This week I will turn 40! So far I haven't jumped off the deep end and freaked out, unless you call eating an entire box of Chips Ahoy and a carton of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream a problem (I call it normal). Truth be told, I can't believe I even made it to this age. Like all of us, I've been handed a shuffled deck of cards filled with problems, disappointments, and loss. I've also been given a few aces along the way. I've made it. The big 4-0. Yikes.  And to show how much amazing wisdom (ha!) I've gained, I've decided to share my Top Twenty Favorite quotes that have changed my life. It goes hand in hand with my Instagram @themoonlightmom where I share quotes daily (shameless plug, but feel free to follow me). 

But in all seriousness, I must confess this life has been an interesting roller coaster of wild ups and scary downs, yet through it all I've managed to make it to 40 with a life I could've only dreamed about. Don't get me wrong, I haven't won the actual lottery yet (I'm in talks with God about it), but in the grand scheme of things I've kind of already won the lottery of life with three amazing children and a husband who is my best friend. I have food on my table and friends and family that I love. Sure, there have been times of sickness, anxiety, abandonment, poverty, betrayal, and heartache; but, those are the experiences that have molded me into the unique person I am today. And, at 40 years-old, I actually like me. Nah, I can positively tell you that I love me (disclaimer-this took years of counseling and cookies).

I was reflecting on my life yesterday and I wondered what I'd tell my younger self, if I could meet her. And, since I'm a big movie buff and I love motivational videos. I'd simply give her the awesome words of Rocky Balboa:

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!" - Rocky Balboa

So, here I sit, typing at my desk with a smile on my face, a cup of hot cocoa, a few chocolate chips cookies, about 30 pounds to lose, an almost overdrawn bank account, a less than par credit score, a healthy body, two dogs looking up at me, three children at work/school, and a husband who is snoring in the bed just besides me. And, you know what? Life has hit me, but it didn't keep me down.
I wish the same for you.

1. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney




2. "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." - C.S. Lewis




3. "Don't let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace." - Dalai Lama




4. "Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people. People who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories." - Jack Canfield




5. "Your experiences will be yours alone. But truth and best friendship will rarely if ever disappoint you." - Anne Lamott




6. "It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela




7. "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all--in which case, you fail by default." -J.K. Rowling




8. "Spread love everywhere you go, let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." -Mother Teresa




9. "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." - Maya Angelou




10. "When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it." - Paulo Coelho




11. "If you want to fly you have to give up the shit that weighs you down." - Toni Morrison




12. "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." - Psalms 27:10




13. "I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn." - Anne Frank




14. "Some people are worth melting for." - Olaf (Frozen)




15. "Waking up this morning I smile. Twenty-four new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion." -Thich Nhat Hanh




16. "One of the oldest and most generous tricks that the universe plays on human beings is to bury strange jewels within us all, and then stand back to see if we can ever find them." - Elizabeth Gilbert




17. "Love God. Love people. Do stuff." -Bob Goff



18. "The only way to do great work is to live what you do." -Steve Jobs




19. "You had the power all along, my dear." -Glenda, The Good Witch




20. "I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed." -Anne Lamott

So, there you have it! 20 Awesome quotes that have impacted me. All quotes from folks I admire. I hope you found a few that you enjoyed. Remember to follow me on Instagram for daily quotes, motivations, and stories (@themoonlightmom). 

-C a r o l

Women are Powerful!

My schedule is swamped. Ask anyone who knows me. Yet, I try to make time for different speaking engagements. I'm booked out a few months, if not one year, ahead of time, but a few months ago my good friend, Camille, reached out to me and asked if I could speak for her women's group, "What Now?" a group her and her friend, Sarah, have organized to help women discover their hidden gifts and step into their purpose. And, because I believe in empowering women, I said "Absolutely!"

Fast forward a few months later.

The night of my speaking engagement (last week).


I walked into a room full of women, no more than a baker's dozen, cozy in Camille's living room. The minute I walked in I could feel it--Greatness. It's not hard to describe. You've all felt it before. When you are in the presence of it, it's almost palatable, like you can reach out and cut a slice to take home later. And I wish I could have. Truly.

I felt enamored with the spirit of the room.

I stayed quietly in the back of the room, awaiting my turn to speak, when one of the sweetest women I've ever met sat quietly next to me. I assumed she was the "other" guest speaker they were having that night because she too kept an observing eye on the happenings in the room.

I listened as women talked about breakthroughs in their life. Some with new jobs. Others learning to trust again. A few laughing about life mishaps. One woman talked about the courage she'd found in attending the group. Some cried, though mostly tears of joy. I felt like I was a fly on the wall in a room filled with great women.

Mighty women.

Warriors, even.

When it was time for the other guest speaker to grace us with her story of courage, overcoming, brilliance, entrepreneurship, love, and hope, I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. We all loved her. Just the way she was.

And, you know what. Shouldn't that be the way we are with everyone?

Love them.

Just. The. Way. They. Are.

It's a hypnotic thought, if you think about it.

But, I didn't have to think about it that night. I just got to bask in the glow of the room filled with women who were GREAT. 

This month is Women's History Month and I love what President Jimmy Carter said in his message to the nation: "Men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well."


So, I believe last week, as I sat in the back of a women's group, observing (and speaking) to them, I realized one very important truth--Women are Powerful! With all of the things that separate us as women--degrees, children, no children, religion, faith, appearance, humor--we are ALL born with greatness and power.

I know, because I witnessed it last week, sitting in the back of a room.

A handful of women. Courage. Love. And, above all, Greatness.

Women of the world, I share with you my anthem for this month. Be awesome. Be great. Be bold. Be daring. Be courageous. And go forth with pride in the great women who have walked before us, paving the way for so many things we take for granted today.

Be Great! 

{For more information on Camille and Sarah's mentoring programs you can read more on their website: You Unlimited }


Journal Writing: Cheaper than Therapy

A girl's best friend is diamonds, so the famous cliché says. But I'd have to say for me, it's my journal. Don't get me wrong. I'd never deny myself a diamond, or shoes, or clothes. But, journal writing helps me focus on the important things in life, instead of, let's say the new Fall boots from Nordstroms.

1. Easy

It takes zero brain cells to write in a journal. You don't have to be creative or witty. Just be you. Write what you are feeling, thinking about, or write about the annoying lady who always calls you "Cupcake." Write about whatever you want. Just make the time to journal every day. A few years ago several people started a journal where they wrote down what they were grateful for, try that. I often write what is on my mind, my goals, my dreams, what I want to eat, what makes me happy (or sad), what I wish I could do better, or what I think I'm doing right. This is ground zero for you. Write whatever YOU want.

2. Cheap

It takes a journal and a pen. Cheap items you can find at the dollar store. My current journal is from the bargain bin at Tuesday Morning and it cost me less than $3. You don't need any fancy machinery, electricity, monthly dues; just put your pen to paper and write.

3. Cleansing and Healing

If I can't sleep, I journal. If I'm upset or frustrated with life (or people), I journal about it. If I want to scream and holler at someone, I write it all out. It helps me to cleanse my soul of impurities. It stops me from any type of rage or over-the-top-ideas I might have and helps me to be rational and calm. Studies show journaling helps raise healthy immune cells, reduces the symptoms of arthritis and asthma, and even helps us come to terms with problems by accessing our analytical brain.


4. Creativity

Hello, Creatives! Journaling should be a MUST for your creative life. From artist to writer, from musician to doodler, journaling helps to access the creativity energy pent up inside of you. Use it to free your imagination in writing or to access the emotions you need to compose a new song, or paint the picture you've  envisioned. Journals have been used by all of the great artists, musicians, and writers in the past, so, by default, you should using this awesome technique as well.

As for me...

Journaling has helped me deal with some tough, deep issue. Sure, I've used it for my creativity and it's actually crucial for my writing. But, I've also used it when life dealt me some heavy blows, or a fight happened with someone I loved, or I was confused by a situation. I've always ended up in a better place due to journaling.

So, get started! You  might be surprised how much it helps.

Toxic Day; Go Away!

I hate bad days. I know we all have them, but, really, some of them just suck. Here are a few ideas to get through those sneaky little bad days:

1. Laugh

I put on Pandora and pop on my comedian of choice (FYI: Dane Cooke and Jim Gaffigan). How can you continue to have a bad day when you are laughing? Really. It is my number one go-to when I'm having a rough patch at work or home. If you don't know about Pandora, it is a free streaming app (for both desktop and phone) that allows you to stream music (and comedians) for free.

2. Drink

No, not that kind of drink, although, I'm sure many of you have had those kind of days. I'm talking about having a comfort drink on hand. My choice is always hot cocoa. But, I do have herbal teas and even my favorite soda, on hand at work. Sometimes I need to take a mini-drink-break. If you have the kind of schedule that allows for you to dive out for a moment to go to Starbucks or Jamba Juice, take that time to rejuvenate and hydrate.


3. Pray or Meditate

Prayer should've been number one. I pray throughout the day to God. Little things. Big things. But, when I'm having an intense moment, I duck out to the bathroom or my car, and say a prayer. Meditation is huge for me as well. Sit at your desk and breath in for the count of seven, hold for four, and breath out for eight. Repeat ten times. I use this technique, hourly.

4. Walk

Get moving. Get out of the office or house and go for a walk. There is nothing better for you than getting your blood pumping and clearing your head. In Arizona I have the advantage of beautiful weather almost year-round, but for you folks in colder climates, I'd suggest just getting out of the office and walk. Anywhere. Even if it's just climbing the stairs.

Bad days come. Good news, they don't last forever. Try these four tips and see how they work.

Why Dogs are Healing!

A girl's night out. That's all it was supposed to be. Bridget Jones, the gals, and laughter. Instead, the lights dimmed in the movie theatre, the smell of fresh popcorn drifted through the air, and the screen jumped to life with the previews. The first preview, A Dog's Purpose, left me a blubbering, whiney, mess and made me wish I was at home snuggling with my pups.


Why are they so darn special?

 1. Tears

Try crying in front of your dog. Do it. Real, thick, crocodile tears. I can guarantee you one thing, your dog will not like it. Instead, he will cuddle up next to you and lick your face. He'll snuggle with you, hoping, whatever (or whoever) has done this to you, will pay. Until then, your furry friend will hope his love is enough. And, it is.


2. Love

Feeling left out or out of place? It's as if your dog knows. He will race to greet you the minute you walk through the door, like you are the only human being on the planet. They L-O-V-E you! Just you. It doesn't matter how your day has gone, seeing their little faces (and, I swear, they look like they are smiling) can brighten any sulky, dreary day. The love of a dog has no limits.


3. Laughter

Dogs are little comedians. Having a rough day (pun intended) or need a little pick-me-up? Dogs have a telepathic way of knowing you need a good laugh. Whether it's running around the house like a maniac-dog, barking playfully, or just running into walls (oh, that's my dog, Jake, he's the dog-version of Jim Carey); dogs know exactly when to be silly.

4. Safety

Besides barking and biting strangers, dogs have a way of sniffing out the people you bring around as "company" and "friends". If they don't like them, chances are, you shouldn't either. Hey, I can only point to a few friends that my doggies weren't fond of and they ended up being real, well, let's just say, jerks.


5. Confidants

My dogs know everything. They know when I'm mad, and who at, and why. I've told them all of my deepest darkest secrets. They know when I'm upset about work, or friends, or kids, or anything; they just sit, obediently, and listen to my stories, and seem, at least to me, to really care. The good news with dogs is they can't tell anyone (but, I don't think they would, even if they could speak).


See, Dogs are healing.

I don't know where I'd be without my furry little friends.

One thing is for sure, I never want to find out.

Why Thursday is Quit Day! (And you should be doing it!)

Three years ago I took a big step. I left a job that was killing me, literally. So, I quit. Walked out the door, smiling.

Happy. Content.

That was Thursday, October 10th, 2013.

Pay attention. There is a reason I tell you this and it all circles back to the New York Times Best-Selling Author, Bob Goff.

Bob Goff encourages people to quit something every Thursday. A job. A bad habit. Soda. Sugar. Judging others. Sleeping in too late. A club. A credit card. The list can go on and on and on.

I was introduced to his radical way of thinking (and loving others!) when I went with my mom to a church event where he was the main speaker. My life changed, forever. The minute he got on the stage, his very presence, made me listen to what he said. Dynamic, funny, whimsical, and filled with love for other people, I felt myself drawn into his stories about love (more to come on that in another post).

Today, is for quitting.

Typically quitting is considered bad. Looked down upon. Discouraged. But, Bob Goff teaches it's good to quit one thing every Thursday. It doesn't have to be monumental (ex:me quitting my job) but it can be something small, almost insignificant.

I'll be transparent and let you know that today I am quitting weighting myself everyday. Yup, every morning I wake up, naked (as if that somehow helps) and weight myself and I've let it determine my happiness.

Today, I quit doing it.

I've found myself, and my life, much happier since I started this practice.

Thanks, Bob Goff.

I knew being a quitter was a good thing.

Six Lessons I Learned from Riding the Bus

The bus. A major vehicle of transportation in many industrialized cities, but in Arizona, fifteen years ago, it was a nightmare. A tangled web of waiting for hours, mixed with walking for miles. Yet, we were without a car and we needed to get from point A to point B. Try that in 120 degree weather with three children. No thanks.

When I look back on those days, I find I learned more than I realized from the hardship.

1. People are Unique

People come in all different shapes and sizes. This is quite an elementary concept, but, when I was riding the bus I was exposed to all walks of life. Different languages, cultures, backgrounds, and histories. I listened to the stories of different homelands and foods, one day, one of the old women I rode with every day to work, brought some of her homemade bread from Denmark. I really learned to appreciate the differences in human beings by riding the bus, and, yes, there were a few bad apples in the bunch, but that just made it more exciting. I truly learned to appreciate the different types of people and cultures from riding the bus.


2. Love Others

I found myself more compassionate. If an old woman was staggering to get on the bus, I'd help her. If a pregnant woman was standing on a crowded commute, I'd get up and let her sit down. A crying baby, I'd help the mom. I served so many people on my little drive from home to work and at the end of the day, I never remember feeling sorry for myself. I can't say that about myself now. Interesting...

3. Kindness Prevails

As much as I helped others on the bus, others helped me. Probably more. I remember one night I had all three children with me and a large Monsoon ( that's a crazy, rain storm for those that don't live in AZ) hit the Valley. I could barely see through the pouring rain, when a nice, young man helped me load my stroller and children onto the bus. Another time, I was late to catch the LAST bus home. I would've missed it, but a kind older gentleman banged on the side of the bus for me until the bus driver stopped for me. Kindness at its finest.

Looking back...

There are also LOTS of hilarious stories to tell you guys as well (another, post, maybe?), but, I wanted to emphasize that I learned a lot of good lessons from a period in my life that I felt was difficult, harsh, and sometimes unbearable. I had to stand in the rain, in 115 degree heat, sweaty, smelly, grouchy, moody, and with children, nonetheless, but I made it through that season of my life and I am a much better person because of it. A bus. Who knew it would have such an impact on me.