Sunday, January 19, 2014

Equality Through Music

We are already twenty days into this new year.  Are you accomplishing your New Year's resolutions/goals?  I just finished a quick polish change on my nails, and a lady offered me a ginger snap cookie.  The first woman she offered the cookie to quickly said, "no thank you…I'm on a diet".  As you can imagine, without much convincing and in minutes, she was soon enjoying the ginger snap cookie.  Hopefully, you have made strides to keep that promise to yourself.

Last night I was thrilled to have date night with the hubby.  If you are married with kids, you know those moments don't always come often but when they do you feel like a free bird, if only for a few hours, to talk about anything other than the "happenings of the house".  Once the sitter comes and the boys are settled we sit in the car, gaze at each other and just breath.  Instantly, our world is much quieter so we soak in that rare moment.

I was excited all week that I was going to attend a jazz concert.  I LOVE music.  But I read the invitation and realized it was a jazz orchestra from Moscow.  I thought, how will I understand the words of the songs.  Who would translate for me?  What would I wear to this Russian jazz concert? Moscow just seemed like the last place someone would know anything about jazz music.

Igor Butman & the Moscow State Jazz Orchestra

Boy was I wrong.  As I sat in the theatre, I realized that MUSIC is the language that brings us all together.  

No matter where you are from or what your cultural background, a song can be played and instantly turn division into unity.  Generations understand one another through the melodious notes played from a radio or orchestra.  That was my experience last night.

I was surrounded by people who only wanted to hear a great jazz concert, not politics - just great music.  From sultry jazz, bee-bop to big band jazz compositions my ears were a flutter and my feet a tapping.  Many of you might not know, but I played piano for many years growing up.  My father established in us a great love for music.  Igor Butman and the Mocow State Jazz Orchestra blew me away.  Some of my favorite compositions was the tribute to Dizzy Gillespie.  The vocalist, Fantine,  rendition of Ella Fitzgerald, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" was outstanding and passionate.

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., we are reminded that we can all HOPE for a world without ANY inequality.  We've still not arrived at this place. Globally and even in America, humans are discriminated against because they might "appear" to be different.  We CAN keep the dream alive that a day of freedom will soon come for all mankind.  (Posted by Roslyn)

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." 
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Intention of NOW

Happy New Year!

2014 is here and another holiday season is behind us.  This year my mom made many baked goodies with yeast, so I feel I have a few more holiday pounds to shed.  As we all do, the thought of denying myself food in the new year forced me to eat more before the holidays ended.  One more yeast biscuit, one more piece of cake, one more homemade cinnamon roll - YIKES!

I've already started my detox with a regimen of morning tea - water, lemon and honey and my kale soup for lunch/dinner.  It's the perfect combination to clean my system of all the food and drink from the holidays.  

One special moment this year was the celebration of our family just being together.  I work in retail, so leading up to Christmas I spend numerous amounts of hours out in stores and away from home.  The holiday provides the perfect respite to reconnect with my loved ones.  I love to hear the constant giggles and rowdiness of the cousins.  Whether they were playing, "Just Dance 2014" or air hockey in the garage, it's a blessing to have them all healthy and bursting with energy.  

I made the intentional effort this holiday not to worry about work.  If you are like me, you take vacation but scan through work emails because they are sent to your phone.  You call into the office to make sure everything is running smoothly.  I wanted this vacation to be different.  I wanted to engage fully with my family that surrounded me in those moments.  Recent tragic events at the end of 2013 forced me to realize - no moment is more important than the moment you have NOW.

All of us, as we head into a new year brimming with opportunity, must engage in the NOW.  You are never promised tomorrow, but you do have right NOW.  (Posted by Roslyn)

Be intentional this year to LIVE IN THE NOW!

Believe in NOW

The most important time in your life is NOW.
The most important person is the person you are looking at right NOW.
The most important activity in your life is the one you are doing NOW.
The best way to prepare for the future is to be totally present NOW.
Remember that NOW is the moment that never ends.
~Deepak Chopra

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Top 3 Weight Loss Tips

If you're like me, you are tired of hearing about weight loss.  It's everywhere these days.  Workout clothes are on sale in retail stores, weight loss plans have commercials on every station, and it's the topic of several magazine covers.  Most everyone desires to lose a few pounds here or there, especially after the holidays, so why not capitalize on the desire of so many Americans.

I love food. 

The thought of having to give it up in any shape or form is not an easy thought for me.  I don't just eat food, I experience it.  I'm a slow eater because I love to savor every morsel.  Just like most, I want to lose some weight.  Instead of starting a diet, I decided to make a few changes.

Here are 3 simple lifestyle changes:

1.  Drink a cup of warm lemon water every morning

This tip came from my sister's nail technician.  She starts every morning with a cup of warm lemon water.  I decided to research the benefits and was surprised by the numerous health benefits. ( Here's a blog that shares in detail the benefits of lemon water).  You're going to love these!
  • Aids in digestion
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Freshens breath
  • Cleanses your system (liver & colon)
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Boosts immune system

It's recommended that if you are 150 lbs or less, squeeze 1/2 lemon into an 8 ounce cup of water.  If you are over 150 lbs, use a whole lemon.  Since lemons are highly acidic, it can weaken the enamel on your teeth.  Brush your teeth before drinking the lemon water or 30-45 minutes after.

2.   Drink a gallon of water everyday

I heard Gabrielle Union say this was her beauty secret on Good Morning America this week.  She says it's done wonders for her hair and skin.  I've been trying to chug down the 128 ounces that's in a gallon.  I normally get to about 100 ounces and then I feel like I'm floating.  I will keep trying though because drinking water is such a large part of a healthy lifestyle.  Alot of times we feel that dieting is the way to go, but if you want to be healthy, lots of water is the solution.

3.  Eat one meatless meal each day

Toxins can enter the body through the foods we eat, especially meats.  Why not give it up once a day?  Instead of eggs and bacon, eat Greek yogurt and granola.  Instead of a sub for lunch, eat a salad full of fruit and veggies.  Crusty bread and homemade vegetable soups are always a winner for dinner.

Doesn't it sound easy?  Hopefully my small changes will inspire your own changes.  If it does, let us know your lifestyle tips by leaving a comment below. (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

One Word for 2014

It's that time of year again.  Time to reflect on the year ahead and commit to just ONE WORD.

Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap that long list of goals you won’t remember three weeks from now anyway.

Choose just one word.

One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.

It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps. Discover the big impact one word can make.

One word. 365 days. A changed life.

If you missed my words from year's past, here's the posts from 2012 and 2013.

My word for this year is SUDDENLY!

I just believe that my world will change (for the good) in ways I couldn't have ever imagined........suddenly.  My word means that the atmosphere around me will shift abruptly.  Movement will happen without warning.  Quick. Abrupt. Rapid.

When God moves, will I be ready?  I'm sure I will, because I was born equipped with everything I need!

What do you want to focus on in 2014? Commit to your one word, and let’s walk this road together. (Posted by Renee)