Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Whether you think you can or you can't - you are right

When I was in Elementary school, I was a very good student. Some people may go as far as calling me a teacher's pet - and those people would be right. I loved school. I craved the teacher's approval. Nothing could please me more than those gold stars they would stick next to your name when you did well on your test. 

With one exception - Math. I was only decent the first four years of school, and gradually slipped down to somewhere in the mediocre/dismal category. But I was fine with that. Because my mom told me that she had always been terrible at Math. Lots of girls were bad at it. Nobody expected me to do any better - so I didn't. All my life I just accepted it as a fact: I couldn't do Math. 

Fast forward to the year 2006. After many trials and errors in the career department, I set my heart to go to x-ray school. It seemed like a good fit in many ways (it is), and I was very determined. The only fly in the ointment? I needed to have a B (or better - ha) in Physics and Math. Oh dear. Physics was in the same category as Math for me - something I simply wasn't good at. But now, I needed to be. What to do?
I sat myself down and gave myself a stern talking to. "Miriam", I said in my best no-nonsense voice, "you can do it. Well, you don't have a choice, you have to do it. You like bones, you like the job, you need Math. Simple as that. So stop messing around, get your shit together, and do it! You're actually not stupid, you surely can figure it out, right? Right???!!!" (That last one was delivered in a threatening voice to myself. I needed to scare myself straight.)

Guess what? I did it. I, of the firm conviction that I just couldn't do Math, didn't want to, hated it, would never get anything better than a C- (usually worse) - I managed to get that B that I needed.
Thus I awakened an unfamiliar force - the power of the mind.

Hearing about it is one thing. "You can do anything you put your mind to" is all nice and well, and I used to nod along to those words with the rest of them. But actually, truly believing that I could be that person? No, I did not.

You see, it's easy to sit around the campfire with friends, a couple of glasses of wine in, and philosophize about life. Seriously, there is nothing better. In those nights, with the stars shining bright above you, the glow of the fire warming you, and your friends nodding encouragingly beside you, you truly believe that anything is possible.

But then the next day arrives. And with it the sobering reality of work, having to pay bills, being just so tired, and Netflix beckoning at night. And before you know it, a year has gone by, and you still haven't even attempted to make those dreams a reality.

Time is slippery. It moves quietly, without attracting notice. People of a certain age will all tell you that they don't know where the time has gone. Honestly, I have yet to meet someone who says: "You know what, it's about time I finally reached 50, it took forever."

Don't wait for some magical time in the future, thinking one day you will have the wisdom, courage and time to fulfill your goals. Because that day never comes. You have to do it now. Don't be afraid if you don't know exactly how to do it. Take it one step at a time, puzzling it out as you go along. You can do it!

Because here is the thing. You have to understand, at a deep, profound level, how powerful your mind is. If you are determined, and believe in yourself, you will figure out a way.

Once you have set your mind on a goal, what is there to stop you?

Doubts. Ah yes, those little buggers. They are formidable opponents. If you are doubting yourself, really questioning your capabilities, starting to believe that you can't do it - you won't be able to do it. "Whether you think you can or you can't - you are right." 
The power of the mind at work again - but this time against us.
The good news is that you can turn it around.

Whenever doubts creep in (which happens frequently for me), I use this little trick: I look at other people who are doing what I want to do. I try to analyze them, their strengths and weaknesses, their secrets to success. I ask myself: "Is this person a genius? Are they super-smart?" And you know what? They usually aren't. It is not their superior brain power that got them were they are. They are not always richer, or more influential, then the next person. But what they always are, is this: determined. Focused. Not afraid to fail. Not afraid to work hard. Dream hard. Work out their goals - and then go for them.

Does that sound too simple?

Many difficult questions have simple answers. But the simplicity is deceiving: You have to dig deep inside yourself to find the answers that will make you happy.
Once you do though - believe that you can achieve it. Because if you do, you will!

Think positive!

xoxo Miriam

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Monday, 15 September 2014

5 blogs that will knock off your socks

Have you ever met someone new, and there is a spark? This instant connection that makes you feel a bit giddy? The overwhelming need wanting to get to know them better? It doesn't happen a lot, but when it does, it is magic!

That's how I feel when I find new blogs that excite me. Today I thought I would share with you five blogs that are brightening my days. They are not all new to me -  I have been an enthusiastic follower of three of them for quite some time, and only the last two are recent finds.
They are all unique, lovely and creative in their own ways, and I'm sure you will like them as much as I do!

First up: Scarphelia

I can't remember when I first found Katie, but I would guess it was about a year ago. She has had me enthralled ever since. This girl is such an inspiration! She "refuses to remain unremarkable", goes on wild adventures, and dreams huge dreams. But the thing with Katie is: she doesn't simply dream, but makes them a reality! She plays in a band (or two?), is currently reporting at London Fashion Week for a magazine, and is a fantastic writer. 
All of September she is in the midst of a writing challenge, weaving extraordinary tales of fiction. 
This girl will go far, and I hope she will take us all along for the wild ride! 

Lost Love Found Style

Kristen is a relatively new blogger, but seasoned fashionista. She is a real life friend, make-up enthusiast and fashion lover with impeccable style. Her photo shoots are so professional, I am deeply in awe - and just a little bit jealous. So amazing! Check out this cutie and her bold fashion choices, she is fabulous!

I fell in love with Jillian when I found out that she loves mumus. She not only never wears pants, but manages to look positively stunning in her dresses and tutu. She writes about her love for muumuus, does the occasional hilarious poetry, and is all around just a wonderful, quirky writer.

Vanagon Champion 

I don't know Amy yet as well as the other 3 bloggers above. But when I read her post about cellulite (so good! so eye-opening!), and then this post about body confidence and confirmation bias, I knew that I have to get to know this girl better. She is raw, honest, and awesome. 

Sometimes, I'm weird. Or simply very, very slow. I had been following Claire on Instagram for positively ages, totally fascinated by her endless creativity when it comes to photography. And posing. Seriously, check her out! However, it never occurred to me to check if she may have a blog or not. Duh! Of course she does! A very successful fashion blog from the looks of it, that I literally discovered last week. So I don't know too much about her yet, apart from that she does most of her photo shoots herself, with a tripod, just like me! But that's were the similarities end.
She is so creative, stylish, and cool. Yes, a really cool chick, studying fashion in NYC, being fabulous, and very humble. She calls herself an amateur! This is crazy talk. I find her endlessly fascinating!

Take a look at these incredible ladies!

Love, Miriam 

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sometimes, good things happen to those who wait

Happy Sunday friends!
I decided to whip off a quick post, because a couple of surprising, neat little events have happened last week, and it's always good to spread happiness around. 

Let's start with a little change on this blog. Have you noticed the new ad to the right? I got accepted by BlogHer, a blog publishing network, which thrills me to no end! There is a fun little twist to this story which makes it even more special to me: I applied all the way back in January - and got turned down. Not really that surprising, but it was a bummer nonetheless. However, after licking my wounds, I decided to move on and forgot all about it. 
Then last week, 8 months after my initial application, I received an email telling me that I had now been accepted! Lesson learnt: reach for the stars, even if they seem way out of reach. You never know what can happen!

Happy event number 2 just occurred yesterday. While we were on vacation in August, somebody broke into our community mailbox. Since we had been gone, I did not know exactly when it happened, and how many/if any mail was stolen. We didn't expect anything important, so I wasn't too worried about it. By the time we came back home it had been repaired, a bunch of mail was waiting for us, and it all seemed in order.

Also, another detail you need to know is that we had a flood in our house last year. We do have house insurance, but there were a few minor difficulties getting everything reimbursed. We had received a small amount of money initially, but tried to get the full amount. That all happened a long time ago, and we never heard back.

Okay, with the back story in place, let's return to yesterday. On our way out, the phone rang. Rich internally debated if he should pick it up or let it go to voice mail, but in the end he picked up.
It was a police officer. With good news! He informed us that they had arrested a guy who had a cheque in his pocket, addressed to us, in the value of over $1,300.00, from our house insurance.  

Several things are amazing about this: We didn't expect a cheque. Since we never heard back from the insurance, we assumed that they had turned us down. Because of that, we never knew that it had been stolen. How crazy is that??
Not only is my faith in our insurance company restored, but faith in humanity as well.   

On this note, stay positive! You never know what can happen, life is full of surprises. Sometimes even good ones! ;-)

Have you had any happy surprises lately? Do tell!

Love, Miriam

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