Stand Up

Stand Up

I have always been an advocate of the underdog.  I have never liked situations that are unfair, or unequal or that are set up to do harm to others deliberately.  Name calling, bullying, unfair treatment of those that don’t have the resources to stand up for themselves.

By “resources”, I am not just talking about money. Some people do no have the physical resources, the intellectual resources, the political resources, or the emotional resources to deal with the life circumstances they find themselves in.

And they are being taken advantage of by the exploitation of countries, politicians, education systems, societal pressures and economic threats that push them to make decisions that are not in their best interests–just to serve the wants of the current power structure.

For those who do not know me, let me describe myself a little.  I am a woman, 4′ 11, 124 lbs.  Not large by any means.  As an empty nester, I have reached the beautiful age of 50, so I am not young, but also not old or infirm.  I am a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, and wife.  I am a teacher, a life long learner, an advocate of others. I am a very proud American of hispanic descent.

Those attributes make me stronger not weaker.  I have been attacked and bullied, mostly verbally, at times, because I do not conform to the waves of thought that go through this country from time to time in regards to women’s rights, education, work place politics, gender and ethnicity roles and the larger rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

What people fail to see in me and more importantly, in themselves, is the power they have in their own opinions.  No one has to believe what they are told if they can see something different with their own eyes.  No one has to take at face value that things are right if they feel in their gut that things are wrong. Yet they do, every day, and then are sorry whey they are manipulated, bullied, and taken advantage of.

Here is a list of examples we should all take a hard look at in our own lives and stand up for what we truly believe–whether you are right or wrong.  Find your compass, listen to your gut–not to the thousands of screaming heads we encounter in our daily lives:

  1. The “me too” mentality–we all encounter some sort of sexism in the world during our lives. All of us, at one time or another, men as well as women.  Pick a side, once and for all.  It is up to you–not to the person using sexism as a weapon or to the people around you that have an opinion about it–you. Decide if you want to be a victim and wallow in self pity, never moving forward in your life or decide if you want to stand up for yourself, own it and put it behind you.
  2. Our education system–our education system is broken, it has been for a long time but at the same time forms the backbone for developing our children’s ability to question, study, research and learn.  We cannot blame the system itself if people–you and me–do not stand up and either change it, or if we cannot, then use it for good.  As parents we have the responsibility and the right to teach our children MORE than what they are learning from their books and curriculums in school.  Decide if you want the current powers that be mold the minds of your children or if you want to take the responsibility of building the minds of your children to be critical thinkers.
  3. The wage disparity among men and women.  It may exist.  I don’t really know because I have been able to find and read research on both sides of this argument that sound credible.  Here is what I know.  We live in a wonderful country that lets us choose our line of work.  If you accept a job at a certain amount of compensation for certain duties then that is your choice.  If you feel that you are not being compensated fairly for your work because of your gender–then you have the choice to CHANGE YOUR JOB.  Decide what you want to do with your life and work hard at it, the money will come.
  4. The immigration issue.  I believe in the rights of the underdog.  I always have and I have often stood up for others that cannot stand up for themselves. But I have also always said and lived the fact that “if you are going to do something, do it right.”  There is always a right and wrong way of doing things.  The current immigration situation in our country is a problem of our own making.  We must take care of ourselves–our citizens–FIRST, before we attempt to help citizens of other countries that want to come here. It is the responsibility of other countries to take care of their people FIRST, if they are not doing that–IT IS NOT OUR FAULT or OUR RESPONSIBILITY to make up for their failures. Decide which side of the issue you are on.  If we ruin this country, we will no longer have the power to help the people of other countries.
  5. Our ethnicity and our responsibilities as Americans.  I am proud to be of hispanic descent. I am proud that I am bilingual.  But I am more proud that I am American–that I live in a country in which many cultures can live together and work towards a common goal:  keeping America a free, safe and prosperous nation. That comes first–ALWAYS–before any other consideration of cultural celebrations and traditions, language rights, or family loyalties from other countries. Decide if you really want to be American, and if you are willing to live up to the responsibilities of what that requires.  We all have a choice here.  Decide if you want to not just live in this country but be a PART of it–if not then decide where you would be happier and go there.

It is time to stand up! It is time to decide what you want for you and your family. There is no right or wrong in this decision. There is power in your thoughts and in how you want to live your life.  It is your choice.  Make it!

Don’t be the underdog, stand up for your convictions. Don’t play the victim, the only person that allows victimhood is yourself.  Don’t stop learning because someone told you this is all there is, there is always more. Don’t accept that others are telling you you don’t get paid what you deserve–work harder, Don’t allow others to call you names because you want to protect your country from the problems of the world, take care of your country and let others take care of theirs. Don’t let people view you as a part of a minority when you are in the majority as an American, you give them your POWER when you let them. The world is a beautiful place–Stand up and find your place in it.

Lessons from Horner Park

Lessons from Horner Park

When I was a young girl, I would go to day camp every summer at Horner Park.  It was amazing.

Each day was filled with outdoor activities, crafts, sun and ice cream.

It never rained.  At least I don’t remember every having a rainy day those summers.

I climbed crab apple trees and ate the sour crab apples right off the branches.

I swam and I played on a T-ball team and I rolled down a grass hill.

Here are the lessons I learned at Horner Park that are still important to remember today:

  1. Physical exercise is important for health and happiness.
  2. Being outdoors in the sun is good for the soul.
  3. Never skip the ice cream.
  4. Don’t forget to climb the trees in your life and eat the crab apples.
  5. Play as part of a team–teamwork is important.
  6. Never give up a chance to roll down the grass hill.

Time passes too quickly to forget the lessons we learned at the park.  Life does not have to be complicated. Find the lessons and enjoy life.

 

 

 

Poor Columbus

Poor Columbus

Christopher Columbus has developed a bad reputation over time as an oppressor of people, an abuser of women, the destroyer of a culture.

This story has been slowly transforming the story of Columbus by people who want to influence other people’s opinions about a person who used to be revered as the one person who discovered the American continent which would later become our home.

It seems to me that this is being done, especially, by people with the idea that everyone must fall into some kind of victim status–and as victims, we must have someone to blame.

Worse than blaming poor Columbus–these people and ideas are influencing how the story–or the history–on how Columbus is being taught in schools.

In my childhood we were taught that “in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the Ocean blue…”, we were taught that thanks to him, Europeans continued to voyage to the Americas . That eventually led to the 13 Colonies that “soon”–in 1783–with the victory of the American Revolution,  became the United States of America.

Now students are being told that Columbus and his men deliberately killed native peoples, abused their women and stole their gold–by order, of course of the King and Queen of Spain–King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Here are a few truths–as I see them.  Native Americans did die.  The majority died of disease because they were not immune to the viruses that Spaniards brought with them. That is an accident of nature.

They also died from wars, because there were conflicts between the Spanish explorers and the Native Americans. Native Americans, not happy with these new people coming to their lands looking for their gold, attacked them. Spaniards fought back. Many died–on both sides.

Now some Spaniards were also cruel to Natives–who they saw as heathens, because they were not Christian.  Remember these explorations are occurring at the same time that the Spanish Inquisition was occuring in Europe–in which scores of people died for their religious beliefs.

As for the abuses hurled on women by the Spaniards.  Well, as with every century in every land and every culture–there are abuses. Women are abused by men, men are abused by women. This is not a new phenomenon.  This does not make it right–but it certainly was not a new situation, nor is it one which humanity has yet to solve.

These were horrible times in the world–but certainly not the fault of any ONE man.

In hindsight, I think we–as much smarter and humanitarian people of today–should be honest, at least with ourselves, that these new attacks on one person for all the perceived ills on the humanity of the Americas of the 1500s–are ridiculous.

Let the children have a hero in Columbus for doing something good. He was one of the first people from Europe in the Americas.

Keep in mind, if Columbus had not discovered the Americas–certainly someone else would have–and then I’m sure people would be blaming him.

So enjoy Columbus day! Celebrate the courage and innovation of a man and his crew to create progress in their time–so we could enjoy a wonderful country and a day off in ours.

To GMO or Not To GMO

To GMO or Not To GMO

These days with all the misinformation and biased information we hear, I have been very skeptical of all that I previously thought I knew to be true.  So in true fashion I have been doing a great deal of reading and questioning and deciding what is true for me.

In my quest to eat healthier I have been reading, watching documentaries and following the news about Genetically Modified  Organisms.  And I am still not sure which side is the right side…

But I do know this–all of the negative reputation that has been brought upon GMO companies, GMO farming practices and GMO foods seems to be a  little over the top.

I remember the saying that if something seems to be too good to be true then it probably is.  And the negative stories of GMOs seem too perfect an argument to boycott the use of them.

After all, if you think about it, foods, specifically the seeds of the foods we grow, have been genetically modified for hundreds–probably thousands of years.

Granted, a thousand years ago, when farmers were choosing the seeds of the strongest plants or cross pollinating plants they were doing so slowly.  Not by choice but because they lacked the knowledge and technology to do it any faster.

The science, over time, has improved the way we grow food, given us the ability  to grow more food using less resources and that has given countries the ability to feed their people and for our country the ability to feed people all around the world.

I ask myself why this is a bad thing?

On the other side of this are the “realities” that question and have concerns about the safety of our food.  That GMO foods are affecting our bodies negatively producing obesity, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, and cancer to name a few.

So I have read a great deal and watch documentaries and informative videos (and will continue to read and watch) until I am satisfied with the information I am gathering.

I have yet to come across any scientific study that proves anything definitively about the GMOs.

Do I believe that people are now suffering from more lifestyle diseases like diabetes II, gluten sensitivities, heart attacks, and strokes?  Yes.  Do I believe that chickens and cows and other farm animals are grown under harsh and sometimes unsanitary conditions? Sure. Do I understand that the same pesticides that help our food grow strong and yield high amounts may cause us humans damage? Absolutely.

But what I don’t believe is that this whole industry is in existence to control the world’s food supply and ultimately cause the destruction of the world like it is depicted.

I am not a crusader–but I do question other crusaders: what are their motives?  Who are these people that ask, protest and try to convince the American people to boycott Monsanto and all the brands it owns plus the financial companies like Vanguard that have their financial holdings?

Are they really concerned with the well being of others or of advancing their own careers through the articles, books and movies they create?

Now–I am not saying that everyone should just eat whatever they think tastes good without checking labels, ingredients, and recommended serving sizes or that all GMOs are good and we should leave ourselves in the hands of these companies.

But what I am saying is that we are intelligent people and we should be careful what we believe.  We should look for the motives behind the movements that are currently raging in our society.

Could these people that are so vehemently against GMOs really be people that have been worked up by others that really want to destroy successful companies in an effort to disrupt the financial structures in our country?

Everything is interconnected.  There are bad people in the world–but I believe and have always believed that there are more good people than bad people in the world and that ultimately we are all striving for a better life. I do not believe that all the scientists trying to make better crops for our food supply are bad people.

So eat as healthy as you can eat.  Enjoy your life. And be careful about the information that is being fed to you!

Leave a comment, tell me what you think!  I appreciate everyone’s opinions!  If you like you can also email me at emptynestsaavy@gmail.com!  Have a great day!

50 Things I Love About Being 50

50 Things I Love About Being 50

I have only been 50 for a couple of months–but so far things are pretty good.  Here is a compilation of 50 things I love about being 50:

  1. I can now say I have known certain people for over 30 (or 40) years–because I have!
  2. I am no longer shy about meeting new people.
  3. I see things differently than I did 5 and 10 years ago–or even last year.
  4. It is acceptable to not know where your car keys are.
  5. People tell me I don’t look 50!
  6. I have the time to take better care of myself.
  7. I have found a new appreciation for sunrises.
  8. I don’t have to make excuses anymore about why I go to sleep by 8pm.
  9. I am old enough not to want to over do any work out session.
  10. I am young enough to still stretch myself and reach higher goals in my workouts.
  11. I cook less–because I am watching what I eat.
  12. I love this new world filled with technology.
  13. I love that I can call one of my kids to explain the technology to me.
  14. No one worries that I am driving too slow anymore.
  15. It is okay to be lost–even with GPS.
  16. No one cares that I don’t drink anymore.
  17. I enjoy talking to my dogs and am sure they understand what I am saying.
  18. No one expects me to wear high heels.
  19. Less makeup is more.
  20. With Netflix–I no longer need cable.
  21. The 40’s were so last year!
  22. I am closer to retirement.
  23. I don’t mind if I am late to places and events.
  24. The music from my youth is still the best music.
  25. My gray hairs grow in a streak across my head.
  26. But I am still young enough to want to color them!
  27. I can do something ridiculous and call it a “mid-life crisis”.
  28. At this age I know money doesn’t buy happiness.
  29. I no longer sweat the small stuff.
  30. I know God is always with me–and He has a sense of humor.
  31. I love that I can name all four of the Beatles.
  32. I realize time is limited and precious.
  33. The empty nest is not as scary and sad as I thought it would be.
  34. I’ve lived long enough to see the world change in amazing ways!
  35. I’m not afraid of the dark, lightning or the boogie man anymore.
  36. Happiness doesn’t seem so hard to reach.
  37. I feel strongly about my opinions.
  38. I know my opinions don’t matter to everyone.
  39. Things seem funnier to me now.
  40. I don’t care what others opinions of ME are.
  41. I get discounts at some restaurants!
  42. It is easier to forgive others.
  43. It is easier to forgive myself.
  44. I love that I don’t know everything.
  45. I love that I know more than I thought I did.
  46. I love that I still have years to learn more.
  47. There is no guilt in falling asleep in front of the TV.
  48. If the dishes don’t get washed tonight, they’ll get washed tomorrow.
  49. I enjoy eating well and exercising–even through others criticisms.
  50. Other people’s criticisms don’t matter anymore.

Turning 50 happened much quicker than I expected it to…but I am enjoying it and looking forward to the next 50!  

The biggest lesson I have learned in the first 5 decades of my life?

Those people that matter don’t mind if you are yourself, and the people who mind you are yourself, don’t matter!

Enjoy your years–we don’t know how many we will be given.  No matter what age you are embrace the life in your years!

Comment below and share your thoughts on getting older.

 

The Journey to Becoming a Health Coach

The Journey to Becoming a Health Coach

Sometimes we go looking for opportunities and sometime opportunities come looking for us. In this new empty nest chapter of my life I made a commitment to myself to keep growing and learning new things–like photography.

I love taking pictures, cataloging pictures and creating albums and other crafts with photography–but I never have felt that I am very good at it. So one of my goals is to get better at it–faster and smarter!

My motto of living my “post-raising children life” faster, better, smarter is not to DO more but to BE more–mostly for myself– and the benefits of that will hopefully go out to others.

So as you have read me explain before: Faster means learning from those who came before me.  Better means how can I do this differently that will serve me better.  And better for me means if it served me better–can it serve others? Smarter means finding the best way to do whatever you want to do.

On top of that I realize I am a “fixer”.  I like to “fix” things or help people if I can. I do not like injustices or wasted resources.  But I also realize that people are not perfect–I am not perfect–Thank God.

How boring life would be if we all knew it all, could take care of it all and basically did not need each other.

These ideas crashed into my other ideas of being the healthiest person I can be. And somewhere in the confusion and the research I was doing for myself I repeatedly came across health coaching as a thing.

I tried it. I found a health coach that would talk to me about my health goals, help me put the ideas in my head into a cohesive plan (she even provided an easy to follow plan) and she became my cheerleader! She also was there to hold me accountable.

It was worth every penny of her fee. Why? Because in our busy run around lives it’s nice to have someone think of all the logistics for you so you can actually do what you want to do–not think about what you want to do.

It was easy to schedule–all our meetings were on the phone for 50 minutes at a set time once a week–so it did not interfere with any other parts of my life or responsibilities.

And this led me to  an online school so I can learn and certify myself as a health coach so that in the future I can help others.  So–at 50–I’ve gone back to school!

This has become a journey in itself! And a scary, wonderful one at that. I am learning new information and new skills. I am meeting new people and have a fabulous cohort of fellow students to discuss new learning and stumbling blocks with. I am both nervous to reach out and help others and at the same time excited to do so.

This journey has become a very important part of my faster, better, smarter life because it encompasses all I have set out to do in my empty nest years: learn, be active, grow as a person and give back.

I know from working with my cohort that everyone is looking at this opportunity in a different way. What I feel we all have in common is that we want to help others reach their health and life goals in the most painless and efficient way they can. Faster, Better, Smarter.

We want to make a difference.  We don’t want to DO more for people, we want to BE more of a support in their journey to their more fulfilling life.

Like Dorothy down the yellow brick road–this journey is helping us find knowledge, heart and courage.  I think in the end, although this is all new to us, we will find that we all had it in us all along.

Our journeys are not easy for a reason–otherwise we would not learn–and develop–all the different parts of us that make us us.

So today I leave you with this:  I am a wife and mother. I am a daughter and sister. I am a teacher, I am a leader in my community. I am a health coach.

Comment below and tell me your thoughts.  Is there a journey that you are on that scares you and excites you at the same time? How are you managing all the hats you wear?

Like and share this post if it resonates with you and join me on Facebook and on my Pinterest page! And no matter what else you do today–Have fun!