Take a moment out of your day to read this. I pray every morning that my eyes and heart will be open to opportunities to show compassion to others. Even in the smallest of ways. A smile to a stranger. Patience even when in a rush. Making someone laugh. Making someone feel beautiful and strong. Somedays I fail miserably but I always wake up the next day vowing to try my best to touch the lives of those I cross paths with that day. To somehow impact their life in a positive way. All my life I have felt a calling to help people, to inspire them, to make them smile, to make them feel good and to basically make their day better. I just used to think I had to do something huge to do that, like go on a missions trip or volunteer for a huge non profit event. (don't get me wrong, I still want to do those things) But I realized I didn't have to wait for those things to happen to touch the lives of those around me. That one small act of compassion and kindness could have the same ripple effect of a grand gesture or event. So take that first step. Today. Don't ignore that feeling inside to stop and help that person, or show patience and understanding to someone in a less than perfect situation. Or just smile and tell a complete stranger how wonderful they look today. Just do something. : )
It’s sometimes hard to sympathize with your spouse, much less the cashier who is fumbling with your change. But that’s compassion—caring about another’s suffering and trying to help (even if that means just waiting patiently). Experts, including the vice president of a hospice organization and a prison minister, show how a little love goes a long way.
John Mastrojohn: Lighten a LoadI’ve seen how simple things make such a difference for family caregivers who never get a break: a neighbor going to the grocery store for them or a local teenager shoveling the snow. One hospice volunteer was a beautician, and she would do hair, makeup, and nails for the patients and their families. Folks appreciated it so much. They would say, “I don’t have time to go out of the house to do this.” I remember one time I had just picked up some clothes at the dry cleaner when it started pouring rain. Everything was going to get soaked on my way back to the car, so I stood there, hoping the storm would pass. A stranger came up to me, opened her umbrella, and said, “Can I help you get to your car?” It was a small thing, but I thought, I now have to pay that forward.
John Mastrojohn is the executive vice president of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Helen Riess: Don’t Judge—HugIf someone is upset or acting unusual, consider why before you judge or get annoyed. There’s probably a backstory that would make you react differently. And when someone does share, you don’t have to have a perfect answer. You can just say, “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you.” Don’t forget the power of touch, especially for children, who thrive on feeling accepted as whole people. Give hugs and pats on the head or a squeeze of the hand. For a stranger who seems open to it, the area between the shoulder and the elbow is considered the safe zone for touching. And you can always simply say, “I want the best for you.”
Helen Riess, M.D., is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the founder of Empathetics, a company that makes Web-based empathy-training e-learning products. She lives in Wayland, Massachusetts.
Jim Liske: See Yourself in ThemFor the first 18 years that I was a pastor, I was ignorant of those who committed crimes. I just didn’t see them, nor was I aware of their families. Then my nephew went to prison, and suddenly I had empathy. The main difference between those behind bars and everyone else is they’ve been caught. A lot of people have texted while driving and were lucky enough not to have had an accident. We incarcerate many people for addiction, not crime, and we all have an addiction. I’m a workaholic. Once we find our empathy, it’s easier to act—helping children whose parents go to prison or lobbying for mental-health programs. Look for what’s broken and think about how you can fix it.
Jim Liske is the president and CEO of Prison Fellowship ministries. He lives in Holland, Michigan.
Melinda Gates: Let Your Heart BreakThe world is full of what seem like intractable problems. Often we let that paralyze us. Instead, let it spur you to action. There are some people in the world that we can’t help, but there are so many more that we can. So when you see a mother and her children suffering in another part of the world, don’t look away. Look right at them. Let them break your heart, then let your empathy and your talents help you make a difference in the lives of others. Whether you volunteer every week or just a few times a year, your time and unique skills are invaluable.
Melinda Gates is the cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She lives in Seattle.
Carrie Cole: Respond, AlwaysCompassion means you can see the other person’s side, and it’s especially important in your marriage or relationship. Any time your partner is hurting and speaks out, he wants a connection with you. If he didn’t, he would keep the thought to himself. Stop and acknowledge him and comment in a positive way—in a tone of voice that sounds sincere, not placating. It can be hard when you’re feeling annoyed, so try to think about the wonderful things that made you fall in love with him.
Carrie Cole is a master-certified Gottman relationship therapist and the co-owner of the Center for Relationship Wellness, in Houston. She lives in Houston.
Check them out for ideas, tips, and simple ways to make life easier.
Public Functionary founder Tricia Khutoretsky hosted the event once again this season, introducing all three levels of the packed Orchestra Hall lobby to the Ignite models (some of whom were making their runway debut), the designers, artists, and musicians including Greg Grease, Proper T, and DJ Just Nine.
For the first time, Envision also invited a DJ to collaborate with the designers on a customized set of remixes for the runway show. Monsieur Adi, one of Beyoncé's tour DJs. The perfect pairing for each of the designers.
There’s a lot of people in Minneapolis that create. There’s not necessarily a lot of people that stick with organizing something, and for every artist that we have… we need the people that are willing to bring them together and help them make something beyond their art. That producer role is really important. Keep organizing ways to showcase artists!
Hair | Haus Salon
Makeup | Kristine Loehrer (Key)
Styling | Amy Shetler (Key), Paige Frandsen (Assist)
Recent fashion project I did with MCAD student Ellena. So fun to be on the other side of a fashion shoot! I always have a newfound appreciation for models and how hard it is after I do a shoot! My 2 fav fashion looks right now: edgy glam and festival boho
I had the pleasure of attending MN Red Dress Show. It was an amazing night! If you get a chance to attend next year, I highly recommend it!
Twin Cities celebrities walk the runway in original red dresses designed by local designers.
All proceeds from the show will benefit the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women program.
To learn more about the MN Red Dress Collection visit www./ReddressMn.com
My happy new year post:
I am thrilled to be bringing in 2015 and know that it's going to be a great year bc even if it's not, I'M still going to be great.
With everyone posting reflections and videos of their 2014 being "the greatest year ever" I thought well mine wasn't the Greatest for sure and I won't be posting a look at my awesome year video. I just won't post anything I thought. But why not? Why not just be real? I have always prided myself on being authentic and honest. Why mask my hard year in silence? There are many people out there that didn't have the best years ever either. And if I can touch and inspire even one person, it's worth it.
2014 brought many challenges, hardships and heartbreaks to not only myself personally but to my family. My mothers cancer and the emotional fight this year had been, our house fire and loosing everything we own and having to rebuild from nothing, to people I thought would be in my life forever not only hurting me but betraying me, and coming to the realization that I wasn't where I wanted to be in life and not doing what I was meant to do and I was actually miserable and making my family right there with me. All these things suck. They sucked bad. But I refuse to let "not having the best year ever" define me. I'm not going to focus on the misfortunes of my year but the strength and change that happened within me instead.
"Our reactions to situations have the ability to change the situations in itself"
You have to find the good in each horrible life struggle. I really do believe that without suffering I wouldn't have my compassion. Without struggle I wouldn't have the fight and work ethic I have. Without hurt I wouldn't appreciate the love in my life.
So although when I look back on 2014 I think wow that was ruff. A sense of pride washes over me. I survived that. Not only survived but really lived it and I'm a way better person, mother, daughter, wife, and friend than I once was because of everything. And that means more to me than just having one great year. Bc one really sucky year has shaped me into a person that's going to have many many great years to come. I learned from it, I grew. We can't always see it at the time but sometimes the struggle is worth the outcome. I'm entering into 2015 with a positive and thankful heart. My mother completed her treatment and is feeling stronger everyday, we rebuilt our home and learned the value in family not in things. I shed my life of negative non loyal people and appreciate and love the relationships I do have. And I have truly found myself again. What I want, who I want to be and where I want my life and career to go. I reignited my passion and love for my profession and found a studio and office that feels like home and where I'm meant to be. Im continuing my passion for makeup (that will never change) and am growing and putting more focus on my other passion, fashion. I'm learning to say no and to know the value in my time and talents and choose things I do more wisely. I'm taking time for myself, for my girls, for my husband, my family and my friends. Who where patient with me the last several year while I was just stressed and working 24/7 now it's my turn to be there for them and I truly love and appreciate the small group friends I do have! I'm on a true path of happiness knowing that I have to make my own happiness. No person or situation is going to give it to me.
I wanted to share this with you all, but more importantly for those of you who like me, didn't have the best year ever. It's ok! This year won't define you if you don't let it! Find the goodness around you, focus your energy on that. Take control and responsibility of your life and happiness. You got this! Dust yourself off and go get 2015!! Cheers to a way better 2015!!!
The Impossible Quest for Perfection.... I Give up :) It's very freeing. You should try it.
As I am sitting here trying to organize about 300 projects I have coming up, crazy weekends, holiday events, children concerts and school parties, all while trying to stay connected to my friends and family. Do fun christmas things with my 4 girls and still have time and energy to connect and hang out with my husband. I remember this mornings crazy rush of getting my 3 oldest girls on the bus and then getting the 4th dropped off and me out the door to start a full day of admin duties I have been putting off. I cringe because then I remember what my house looked like when I left. UGH.
It then opens up a flood gate of FML thoughts, things I forgot to do, people I didn't call back, places I needed to run to, laundry I didn't put away, the list is long...lets just stop there.
These are not rare feelings for a woman, a mother, either staying at home, working part time or full time. Whatever the situation is. I realize we all feel like this. Often friends overly voice this frustration on Facebook, or brag on their accomplishments of the day.
But for me, these are rare feelings for me to share. I'm never going to be the one complaining on social media or acting flustered when I show up, or look rushed or discombobulated at all. But it's something I struggle with like everyone else. People often say to me in admiration, I don't know how you do it all! You always look so put together and your house is always clean and you're so organized.
I would think to myself, how do I do it? I don't sleep and i'm killing myself everyday to keep things "perfect"
I never sat down. Never relaxed, rarely slept, and I was crabby. Often.
So after some soul searching and really simplifying my life. Choosing who and what was in it. And freeing up (compared to what it used to be) my holiday season so I could enjoy it with my family. I was excited to have time to get everything "perfect" It wouldn't be so stressful now that I had more time to organize and clean more and so forth. Wrong. It still was and I wasted my time, energy, and talents sweeping the kitchen floor 100 times in a day or insisting the Christmas tree was just perfect or whatever task I was doing with whomever. It had to be perfect.
Why? Why does everything have to be perfect? More importantly why do I have to be perfect? I don't. I'm not. Nobody is. If they pretend to be they are lying.
I have been on this quest for peace and the ability to "Let it go" (yes I totally just sang that out just fyi) for awhile now. To not only be able to walk away from a dish in the sink, or the unfinished to do list at work, or just throwing on a hat and walking out the door with (gasp) no lipstick on. I mean who cares!? But as I have been getting better about doing these actions. The guilt is still there and i'm working on that. I had an AAAHHH HAAA moment the other day while texting a friend and fellow mother of a buttload of kids. She asked how my week was, and I said "great besides I can't seam to keep this house clean with these crazy kids, husband gone a lot this week, and me trying to work and still go to family and friends events. I can't seam to keep everything perfect."
She laughed out load (so she said) : ) And said Perfect is not possible but good enough works for me.
Profound wisdom from a laid back cool chick. I used to be cool. When did my quest for perfection make me so well, uncool.
It's a process, and I have come along way. But I definitely learning to not only say, but truly mean, I am not perfect! And I'm ok with that. Because I'm pretty awesome. And that is better than being perfect.
Elle Magazine held a writing competition, I guess you could call it. Selected pieces will be in their October Personal style issue. The article had to be about a piece of clothing or accessory and how it has changed or influenced your life. Here is my article, I hope you enjoy it!
My Mother’s Chandelier Earnings
As most little girls do, I used to go into my mothers room and play dress up. My favorite thing to get into was her jewelry box. It was always filled with brightly colored rings, necklaces, bracelets and my favorite: her earrings. I put on as much jewelry as possible, but would always save the earrings for last. My mother always wore chandler earrings--or "dangley" earrings as I used to call them. My favorite ones were silver and had red gems on it. I loved them because they matched her favorite red lipstick.
How could one single accessory forever change one’s life? How could a single pair of earrings change my outlook on life? It seems impossible when I say it out loud, and people often laugh when I tell the story, but it's true! That single accessory of my mother’s turned into a whole mantra of life for me!
I grew up the youngest and only girl in a family of 6. My parents were working class people with a simple home. My father, a construction worker left for weeks at a time. We lived in the middle of nowhere, USA. My mother mostly stayed home with us, but worked on and off at a small local mercantile grocery store. She went to beauty school, married young, and moved away from her family to start a family with my father, who was in the Minnesota National Guard. Every single day, it didn't matter what we were doing or who we were going to see, my mother would do her hair, put on full makeup (she would never leave the house without bright red lipstick on), and always added the finishing touch of over sized, ridiculous chandelier earrings. She didn't care what anyone thought of her. She would put on her smock for the grocery store and hold her head up high. Men would come in and give her all sorts of jokes, “Those earrings look like fishing lures, Carol!” “Why! Where do you think you’re going?” “Who do you think you are?” She heard it all, and she never cared. Why? Because she felt fabulous! It didn't matter that we didn't have money or that we didn't live in a big town, she was going to be as ridiculously fabulous as she wanted to be! “Money can’t buy class,” she would say. “Always be a lady, Tressie”, she would tell me. For a young girl to see this amount of self-confidence was truly amazing. My mother knew the value in herself. I grew up under the most loving caring mother that told me I was beautiful every single day. She always put the needs of everyone else far above her own, but never lost who she was. To this day she has not stopped wearing those over the top chandelier earrings!
How did this affect me and my style and outlook on life? Proudly, I am just like her. It’s funny how history repeats itself. I too married a military man when I was very young. Both, my parents and I are still happily married. I went to beauty school as well (it's in our blood I swear) and went on to own my own salon and spa. I wouldn't dream of leaving the house without being dressed to the nine with bright red lipstick and of course chunky statement earrings. I am over-the-top and fabulously dramatic in every aspect of life (just like those earrings)! People ask me where I draw my style inspiration from or how did I get to be the way I am today. My answer is always the same. A women, living a simple life, wearing not so simple earrings, it all started there. Today I live in a somewhat smaller town in central Minnesota, and I wear fur jackets and over the top everything, even to the grocery store. People look at me like I'm a weird crazy lady, but I don't care. My mother taught me to dress for me, not for anyone else. To live life to the fullest and be who you are no matter what. I only hope that I too can inspire my 4 beautiful daughters to love life and be as glamorous as you want to be, and to teach them to have self-worth and confidence. I try to show them if a single article of clothing or accessory brings you joy and you feel confident, wear it! It’s different for each of them and it’s so fun to watch them come into their own style. My husband some days will say, “I can’t believe you let Grace (our 3 year old) wear Dora rain boots to daycare when it’s 90 and sunny!” Of course I let her, who am I to tell her she looks silly? She feels fabulous and happy! That is what we all should feel like when we get dressed for the day! Excitement and happiness! What we wear says who we are! A single accessory can be a symbol of how we live life. My mother and I choose to live over the top and glamorous, always! People are going to stare anyway, so give them something to look at.