Honoring Fred Rogers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?Mister Rogers In Studio

That simple sentence of “Won’t you be my neighbor?” conjures up the simple song whenever we hear it.  Some of us may be too young or old to have watched “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” as children, but  those of us in the USA know of him.  Currently, the documentary based upon his life is showing in multiple theaters to rave reviews. Many people have told me it brought tears to their eyes.  I know I did not see a dry eye in the house as I left the theater. No explanation for the tears will be given here, as  everyone should experience a movie without a spoiler.

What could have Mr. Rogers meant by “neighbor?”

Dictionary definitions all concur that a neighbor is someone who lives close by. With this vast universe, how could we all live by Mr. Rogers?  The Bible says to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Thus, it is safe to assume Mr. Rogers was implying love towards all as we love ourselves.  That’s a heavy concept! For the purpose of analogy, my writing is geared toward those with self love.

Mr. Roger’s Legacy

We already know Fred Rogers promoted tolerance, self esteem and kindness as his legacy. What I did not catch before was that many of his shows were tied in to current events.  Without delving directly into those shows, I think of today’s current climate.  We are technology driven, which is a great thing, but turns ugly when misused. There are the “keyboard warriors” that feel free to say hurtful things they would not voice in person, political sniping,  news media showing the worst of others, people staring at their phones in lieu of conversation, and more.

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Then, there is the wonderful side of technology:  more access to education, formation of friendships,  calls for help being answered, knowledge of the plight of others, promotion of small business…the list goes on.  Mr. Rogers used the technology of television to promote what is good in the world.  What a trailblazer!

 

How can we continue the legacy of Fred Rogers?

Fred Rogers did not have just a “children’s show.”  His shows send us all a message of tolerance, helpfulness, and world peace. This begins with his message of self esteem. Once we have good self esteem, we are able to help others in many ways.  Most of us do help others day to day by offering empathy, smiles and service. That caring touches lives and sends a ripple of goodwill throughout our communities.

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How may we send that ripple across the ocean?  Think of how peaceful the world could be if we simply understood each other!  There are many ways to gain understanding and peace:  mission trips, cultural exchange, podcasts, You Tube, books, initiating conversation with those we perceive to be “different,” visiting cultural fairs, etc.

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Living the Legacy

I challenge myself and each and every one of us to live the legacy of Fred Rogers! Many mission trips are funded by donations through churches or incentives, such as Evolv Health’s Impact trips. You could host a foreign exchange student through CETUSA, whose mission is  reaching out to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding.”  Here is an educational podcast from a woman living a multicultural life: Petronella..  Ted Talks are informative, inspiring videos on many topics.  Here are the 5 top Ted Talks on Diversity/mulitculturalism:  Ted Talks. Plus, there are a slew of books on Amazon or your local library on a multitude of cultures.

 

By understanding those that appear to be “different” from us, we learn of our similarities, gain new friendships, and in the case of foreign exchange, a new family member.  It starts with the person in the mirror.  As Gandhi said ” be the change you want to see in the world.”

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for more information on student exchange, please visit http://www.cetusa.org or send me a message at:  julie.froberg@cetusa.org

 

 

Be the Peace

Busy Busy Busy 

It seems life a few decades ago was slower. I am not sure if that is true or not, but it is a perception many of us have. Most of us are working for the weekend.” We rush about trying to get to work on time, run  errands,  attend school and family activities and by the time the weekend rolls around, we want to tune out and relax!

Peaceful Week Days

You can have a peaceful week/work day!  First of all, start the day right.  Do not lay in bed too long filling your brain with dread to get up.  Think happy thoughts, journal, pray or meditate to set a positive tone before starting your  work day.

Set aside 30 minutes (more if you can swing it) just for you! Meditation. prayer, yoga, working out, bubble baths, reading or watching a vintage television show are all relaxing activities.  Make these things a priority!

Barraged With News

Gone are the days of a leisurely cup of coffee over the local newspaper to find out what is happening in the world.  Our phones ping with news, social media blasts news, our email inbox fills up with news, we have talk radio in our cars and if there is time to watch television, we have “breaking news.”

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We hear “fake news,” political news, opposing viewpoints, celebrity gossip, accusations, justifications and not enough “feel good stories.”  It is no wonder some of us get a bleak view of the world today!

Think

Now, think of this: people outside of the USA are also barraged with news. As we hear unflattering news about other countries, it makes sense they also hear bad things about the USA.  We know despite all the tragedy, most people in the USA are good,  we enjoy many freedoms and have more prosperity and privilege than most. The difference is a few decades ago, we had less news sources and therefore life seemed “safer.”

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Think again

Could it be that things are not as bad in other countries as we hear through the media?  That may or may not be so.  One way to get an unbiased perspective would be to travel the world. Although that sounds wonderful, it is not always feasible.

War and Peace

Without delving into history or politics, common sense should dictate that the more we understand someone, the less likely we are to harbor mistrust or dislike. Although the preceding statement references people, it is people that make up countries! Thankfully,  there are diplomats throughout the world working to keep our world peaceful. Unfortunately, those efforts are not always rewarded.

What We Can Do to Promote Peace

There are many things we can do to promote a peaceful world.  As Gandhi said: “be the change you want to see in the world.”  We can be less quick to judge, take time to know our immigrant community, walk away from conflict and “count to 10” before responding to negativity. This can promote a ripple effect.

We can cut back on social media, turn off the television, do our own research when we hear something sensational or “tune out” the bad.

Another way to promote world peace is through cultural exchange.  Cultural exchange is when families host students from other countries  for part or all of a school year. When the students go back home after their foreign country experience, the ripple effect spreads  when they talk of their favorable experiences in the country that hosted them.  Over 300 world leaders have been exchange students!  Wouldn’t it be exciting to find out your former exchange student is now a president?

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Following are testimonials from former host families:

J. Anzek Orr We have hosted 11 students in the past 20 years, I see the difference between the students from back than and the students now with social media. We are very proud of our “Bonus Kids” and how they have grown, went to Universities, amazing jobs and having families of their own now. Sometimes you don’t see it right away what difference you make, but one of my Thai students from a couple of years ago was very shy and was not social here in the States. A year later he told me that he was out with his family and he heard some Americans’ sightseeing and they were lost, he went up to them and talked to them in English and helped them find where they wanted to go. To me that made us proud of him and that we made a difference and gave him the courage to walk up and speak English in his own country. ❤️

B.  Iszler We’ve hosted daughters from Thailand, France and Sweden next year. We’ve learned so much about other cultures in the journey. I highly recommend hosting an exchange student to anyone who is willing to open their heart and their home to a very well mannered student.

T. L.  Hughes Absolutely the best learning and cultural experience a family can share!

T.  Fredricks We have hosted from Spain, Brazil, Sweden, Germany, Taiwan and in fall Italy. Our experience is hard to describe hosting as anything less than amazing. It has grown our family and encourages us to dare to be that “different” family! My children have learned so much about living with different cultures and customs. With each new student my husband and I always wonder if our heart is big enough for the task of hosting. However, each time we are left so proud of our international son or daughter of everything that was accomplished and our hearts are so full  and they leave as a member of our family…

S. Welch Great experience!! We hosted a boy from Spain. Even though we are miles apart, we are always close in the heart.

The Time is Now!

We all have the tools inside of us to help create a more peaceful world.  The tools are simply changing some habits, saving money for travel or participating in cultural exchange.

Learn More

To learn more about hosting an exchange student from  another country, or to consider the possibility of sending your high school aged student abroad, visit:  cetusa.org.

 

 

A Visionary Woman

What is a visionary woman?

There are many connotations associated with visionaries, but the first definition in Merriem-Webster defines the visionary woman we are celebrating today: having or marked by foresight and imagination.  This visionary woman persevered through childhood bullying, a physical impairment and heartache to become a fine jewelry designer, inspirational jewelry retailer,  marketing expert,  shopping club entrepreneur and leader in the self development industry!

What is her story?

I will not share all I know about her story, as that is her tale to tell. What I will tell you is she has helped dozens of people I know find their purpose and passion in lives, raised two beautiful and successful daughters as a single mother, and is a young, lively, glamma!   She is an expert “shifter”, teaching people how to reframe their self defeating thoughts. This expert shifter envisioned her ideal husband on a vision board before she met him and lifted herself from near poverty to enjoying a second ocean side home in addition to her home in Minnesota.

How did she achieve her dreams?

Only she can tell this wonderful story properly!  The expert shifter and visionary woman we are celebrating is Mary Hartmann, owner of Mary Hartmann-Simply Shift and Mary Hartmann Designs.

Mary offers you a first breakthrough coaching session for free, as her giving heart wants to help all who seek her assistance.  Mary says:

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“If you’re like me, you’ve asked yourself this question more times than you can count and came up empty. No matter how many books I read or positive affirmations I recited, at the end of the day, I was mostly back to square one. It didn’t make any sense.

So I started digging really deep. I wanted answers. I wanted to truly change my life. There seemed to be some door locked tight, shutting me out of life’s good things, peace, joy and happiness.

Then one day, something clicked. Like a stubborn key finally releasing a lock, I learned about the subconscious mind and the paradigms controlling us that we don’t even realize are there. 

 Once that door opened, I never looked back. You can open that door, too.”
Mary doesn’t sell a hodgepodge of jewelry.  Her designs are either original or hand picked for meaning. The following is Mary’s original, trademarked design:
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From her website:
Wearing symbols which represent our desires, our milestones or the steps we’re taking on our journey is a tangible way to express gratitude for all that we are and all that we are growing to be.
If you are not where you want to be in life, take advantage of Mary’s free coaching session while it is  still available. Whether you desire coaching or not, it only takes a moment to click on the link to Mary Hartmann Designs to view her symbolic jewelry offerings.
For my overseas readers, Mary coaches through Skype.  I also want to disclose I am never paid for my articles and receive no compensation from anyone I highlight. It is my calling to write when the inspiration comes from the Spirit.
Namaste

 

 

Robotic Women

28029856-female-robot-holding-a-serving-tray-with-a-blank-card-advertisement-with-room-for-text-or-copy-spaceDisclaimer: Although this piece is geared toward women, I do understand there are many men that may also relate to the thoughts presented here.

 EarlyAutumn:  A chill begins to descend as the daytime wanes and the trees begin to shed their leaves. We take inventory of our childrens’ clothing and footwear, peruse Pinterest for Halloween costume and home decor ideas.  We may get the slow cooker out so our families come home to hot meals.

The notices from school come in: fall conferences,  concerts, supply lists, parent organizations.  We try to keep up on our childrens’ needs after working all day and attempt to have a healthy meal ready to share with whomever we live with. There are sporting events and activities to dash off to.  We may have time for a bubble bath or work out at day’s end, but oftentimes our beds call out to us before that occurs.

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School fundraisers begin.  We call upon our friends and relatives to buy magazine subscriptions or trinkets they really do not want or need. Classroom teachers request  volunteers and there are Halloween costumes to make or buy. Our homes may need winterizing, the autumn  rains bring in muddy footprints, we have bills to pay, organizing to do and it is time to begin planning holiday gatherings. Meanwhile, the kids may be coming down with viruses and we may be losing  pay to stay home with them.

As moms, we take this all in stride and the rewards of a happy family are worth all the extra effort. It seems we are always on the go and the demands and requests are supplied endlessly.  We pat ourselves on the back for a job well done or lament that we could not  fit everything in.

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Late Autumn/Winter

We just finished up with either hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, or visiting loved ones throughout the day.  Even if we did not host, there were extra errands and cooking to do to make this a memorable day of thanks. Chances are many enjoyed football on television, board games or visiting while the people that did all of the cooking are now doing the clean up.

With Thanksgiving over, it is time for holiday shopping, baking,decorating and cleaning.  We scour the ads for good deals, stand in lines, decorate, stay up all hours looking for perfect gifts online, plan parties, attend parties,  and may even make homemade gifts.  There are usually extra activities at church, synagogue or mosque, cookie swaps, craft fairs and  fundraising drives for the less fortunate.

Every year there is a new electronic or toy “all the kids” want that we “must” supply to our children.  We envision our families delight as they open gifts for the holiday we celebrate.  Most of the time, we are successful in creating a happy day for our loved ones.  The children play with their new toys and our partner relaxes while we do clean up.  Usually, we are fine with carrying the holiday workload, as that is what generations of mothers and grandmothers have done before us.

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Late Winter/Early Spring

The magic of the holiday season has worn off.  Depending on where we live, we have been sunshine deprived and are weary of driving on ice and scraping off car windows. The kids are getting bored and we are feeling cranky. We may try to immerse ourselves in a good book or movies to escape, but those fleeting times are peppered with “Mom..can you…?  Honey…can you…?”

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The air is less chilly and signs of new life are appearing outdoors.  We feel hopeful and are looking forward to walks, biking, swimming and picnics. If Christian, there is Easter to plan for.  There is more mud to contend with, spring cleaning, new clothes to buy and the kids have spring school activities.  By this time, we have established an ebb and flow, so it feels less hectic than the beginning of the school year.

With summer’s arrival, the main concern is childcare if our kids are school aged; yet too young to be left alone.  We plan vacations, family visits and picnics. The past year flew by quickly and summer goes by way too fast,  We try to cram in as much fun as we can.

Robotic Women

There seems to be a pattern moms/parents/nurturing women follow.  We go through the day trying to make sure life flows smoothly for our loved ones.  If we are empty nesters, we may still be acting as the the “glue” that holds family together:  hosting holidays, caring for parents, and still acting as the primary housekeeper in our partnership. Our earlier  patterns may be continuing.

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Who said you have to be the one that holds it all together for family?  Ponder this for a moment.

If it brings you joy to do all of the things discussed earlier, great!  Keep on doing it. If you feel stressed or worn out most of the time, most likely you are becoming a robotic woman.  How do we change that?  Do you feel stuck?

Now, let’s go back to the earlier question:  Who said you have to be the one that holds it all together for family?   I think the answer is : ourselves.  Stop telling yourself lies!  We are not responsible for another’s happiness.  Happiness comes from within!

Practice using the word No, take time to play, lock the bathroom door when you take a bath, schedule a spa day,  meditate, take a fun class, demand an hour of uninterrupted time, let the deli do the cooking for your events, ask for help,  take shortcuts, have fun!  The world will not come to a halt if you do these things!

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One thing I do to for healthy meals on the go is enjoy delicious bars called Life Bars.  They fill me up and on especially hungry days, I enjoy with a handful of nuts.

CHEERS!

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Aging: An Inspirational Tribute

Dear readers, I took a hiatus due to the passing on of a family member, which I will address here. However, it’s a story of lasting joy! Of course many tears were shed and we are still grieving, but I am referring to the everlasting joy of the family member that transitioned to the after life.

I met this amazing man in 2012 and he ended up becoming my brother in law. I call him amazing for many reasons. First of all, he suffered a debilitating stroke about 12 years ago and never stopped having fun! He threw huge parties complete with live music, enjoyed wagering on sporting events, flirted with the ladies, enjoyed meeting people online, keeping up on current events, staying in touch with siblings, friends and more. He was a doting father and that never changed. When we cleaned out his room, I found inspirational readings, complete with Bible verses.

Secondly, although wheelchair bound, he would “dance” at his parties and worked hard to stand. He always participated to the best of his abilities to transfer from his chair. Working hard with his physical therapist, he never lost hope of living in his own home again and talked of buying a new car. In fact, yearly he visited the Auto Show with my husband.

A little over 3 weeks ago, this dear man suffered a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. The doctors were not optimistic and I entered the hospital room with dread. Holding back tears and hiding my eyes with glasses, there he was, having a little party with his daughter, her friend and a cute nurse! Jokes abounded and he was laughing so hard at one point, that he couldn’t speak!

The dire news of a risky surgery that was not recommended did not perturb him. He stated ” do it! I have a lot of life to live!” The procedure accomplished less than we had hoped for, but his good spirits never wavered. A transition to a good care facility was looked forward to. Two days after the surgery, he was on the phone and enjoying the excellent care and attention of staff. His last conversation with my husband involved compliments of his beautiful and kind nurse.

We met that beautiful and kind nurse the following morning after we received the news of a peaceful and quick passing. She and other staff worked hard to revive him, but he was called away to host parties in heaven.

“A lot of life ” was still lived, as my brother in law put a lot of life into each day. The stories at his celebration of life were full of business accomplishments, fun, golf and laughter. In his honor, it was held at a beautiful country club with wine and fine food. There was never a word spoken of his great suffering, as he always remained “whole ” in attitude.

What legacy will we leave behind? I’m inspired to put challenges of the past behind and live each day with joy!

Baby Steps to Healthy Aging

We all have been told over and over what to do to be healthy: eat less of this, more of that, go to the gym every day, sleep more, walk more, run, skip jump, stress less! I don’t know about you, but I get a bit stressed looking at all these commands.

It’s no wonder we are tempted to tune out, grab a soda and relax in front of the television. We’re told what to do, but in the myriad of choices, where do we begin?

Try starting with one habit you know you should change. If you drink two sodas a day, taper to one and eventually switch the one out to a healthy drink.

There is green tea, sparkling water and natural beverages sweetened with Stevia.

If you love chocolate, find a healthy chocolate. There are dark chocolates bars sweetened with Stevia and lower sugar bars available.

Artificial sweeteners will not do your body good, as your digestive system doesn’t process them in a beneficial way. If you can’t give up your milk chocolate, don’t! Simply reduce the amount you eat. Life shouldn’t be about deprivation.

Do you love fried foods but not the fat? Saute in good fats like coconut or olive oils. Look at investing in an air fryer. I love air frying so much, that I own two!

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Are you addicted to salty, crunchy foods like I am? I take a small handful of gluten free crackers and mix them with raw nuts for a tasty, filling treat. When only chips will do, I dole out a small amount of organic chips, sometimes even mixing those with raw nuts.

Ice cream! We all scream for ice cream! Although it’s not a healthy choice, who doesn’t love a cold and creamy treat on a hot summer day? There are alternatives! If you are feeling adventurous, you can make your own.

Exercise can come in many forms. Choose the method that works best with your schedule. If you don’t have time for the gym, don’t sign up as a member, thinking you will have time later. Exercise at home! If even that seems daunting, take baby steps; literally! Take the stairs, jump in place, dance to a favorite song, walk briskly, just get up and move!

Qigong

If you have physical limitations, there are exercises you can do from a chair. Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi are also less strenuous. Just 10 minutes a day is something!

Lately I’ve been telling myself I’m too busy to do yoga. Today is a new day, and my yoga practice is startng again in a few moments. Which baby steps can you start today? Just one step leads to another.