They’re Family, What Can I say?!




“I sustain myself with the love of family.” 
― Maya Angelou

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” 
― George Burns

“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more . . . secure.” 
― Jim ButcherPublicity and Advertising

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.” 
― Anthony Brandt

It’s Christmas eve and at the last minute I decided to make the three and a half hour drive home to spend Christmas with my family. Normally I spend Christmas alone-don’t worry, it’s my choice. My children spend Christmas with their father and then visit my parents and I get to stay home and watch Christmas luv stories, bake cookies and eat whatever I want. It’s my own tradition that I have created for myself.

But my mother has been bugging asking  me to come home to spend Christmas with the family. Now I gotta tell you, my family is “special.” Not like holiday T.V show special but more like different or not normal kind of special. But I guess any of us can make this claim about our family and probably do. I typically can spend about, mmmmmmm, half hour with my family before I’ve had enough shenanigans and am ready to head home to sin city. Living here is actually not as bad as spending extended periods of time with my family.

It’s been a very long time since I have been home with my parents and siblings for Christmas and thinking about it brings up fond memories of Christmas’ past and gives me chills at the same time. Aaaahhh, Christmas with the fam! Yep, there is no place I’d rather be than listening to my mother share with me her latest health discovery by her doctor all while smoking a cigarette and then listen to her complain about how she is the only one who cooks and cleans and how she is tired of everyone coming to HER house to celebrate the holidays and expecting her to cook huge meals. This is the same woman who complains if no one comes to her house to celebrate the holidays and eat “all this food” that she took the time to cook.

My brothers? Well, lets just say that it’s a special treat to spend time in their presence. It’s quite fascinating actually. I have never seen such a colorful bunch of folks streaming in and out of my parents house as I do when my brothers are home. It’s not unusual to have extra “family” members and fiance’s whom we have never met before until they show up with my brothers for the holidays calling my parents mom and dad and me sis. My mother, with her complaining luving self, always has extra gifts to give these “children” and future daughters-in-law of hers. You see, there is rarely a day that goes by that the UPS delivery driver doesn’t show up at her door with multiple packages for her from one of the home shopping networks. From hedge trimmers (she doesn’t have any hedges) to watches to cookware to complete skincare sets, my mother has it all tucked away in boxes underneath her bed and in the closets in EVERY room of the house. Ask her “what’s in the box(s) mom” and she will tell you that she has no idea and you will have to open it to see. She’s retired what can I say. My children absolutely luv to go to granny’s house! They’ve come home plenty of times after visiting my parents and say “mom,  look what granny gave me!”  What the h*** does a kid need with hedge trimmers?!

My father? Well lets just say that he spends most of his time sitting on the back patio listening to country music and complaining about my mother and how much of HIS money she spends. To let him tell it he has no ides what she does with HER money and can’t understand why she’s always broke. Everyday he’s fed up with her and his grown sons (who keep moving back home to save money so they can launch their latest entrepreneurial endeavor) and moving to a senior citizens home. He claims that the only one who listens to him is my 8 year old son whom he has declared is his best friend. and when they’re together it’s country music, coffee (yes, he gives my son coffee…watered down hopefully of course. what can I say, he’s my dad) and sitting in the back yard telling stories. My son tells lies stories just as good as my 78 year old father can. Yes, poppi has taught him well!

And then there’s me. I swear I’m adopted sometimes. At least I’d like to think I am but the fact that, according to my mother, I look “just like my father” and according to my father I look “just like my mother” gives it away that I was actually born into this circus family. The birth certificate with my and my parent’s  names on it that my mother proudly displays doesn’t help either.  And you know what, I luv them with all my heart and  honestly, there is no place I’d rather be than with my family…sometimes.

So whether you celebrate Christmas or not you can always celebrate and cherish your family. Because when it’s all said and done, no one will talk about you luv you more with all of your faults and defects than your family will. No one will encourage or celebrate you more than your family. No one will be there to pick you up when you fall and push you to try again when you just want to give up more than your family will. No one!  So take time today to tell your family how much you luv and appreciate them. Then go and have some dessert! You’re gonna need it!

Leisa

Keep Calm and Give Luv!







“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more….” 
― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” 
― Calvin Coolidge

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” 
― Bob Hope

“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.” 
~ (1912-1992), American newscaster. ” 

― Eric Sevareid

Recently, I saw a blog post from one of the sites that I follow and a mother asked the question: “What can I get my children for Christmas since we have very little money?” She went on to say that there had been some  issue with their truck being stolen with some money that they had saved up inside of the truck. This mother was worried that she had nothing to give her children.

I’m a mother of four children ranging in age from 8-14. Since they have been born I have raised them to understand what I believe the meaning of Christmas to be: giving luv and giving gifts from the heart. I have only ever bought my children three gifts (no electronics) each and there have been some years when they didn’t even get that many.

When we were going through our divorce a few years ago, there were times when all we could do in our house was give luv: we created family traditions and thought of creative ways to show each other how much we luv’d them and the people in our lives. This year for Christmas, my children baked cookies and gave them as gifts to all of their friends and teachers along with holiday cards and hand written notes about how much their friends mean to them.

The above quote about Christmas being a state of mind, I think, is perfect to drive home the point that Christmas really isn’t about how much money we need to spend on people to show them that we luv and value them. It’s sad to me that we have made what should be a time of celebrating the value and luv that we have for each other into a time of superficiality and commercialism. It amazes me how much stress we create in our lives because we don’t have the money to buy friends and family lavish gifts. Parents go into debt each year trying to buy their kids everything that their kids ask for including expensive electronic gadgets that cost more than some families utility bills. In tough economic times like the ones we’re in who can afford to do that?

I do hope that for those of us who celebrate Christmas, we will make this a time of simply giving that part of ourselves that money can’t buy and spreading kindness. The world is hurting right now and this is the perfect time of year to heal yourself and thus do your part to heal the world. No matter what religion you are or what your faith is, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can still be a part of the celebration of luv. Take time to encourage someone you know has been having a tough time. Kind words are often so much more valuable than material things. Tell someone how beautiful, amazing, and talented they are. If you have a particular skill, offer to share your skill and help someone for free who could use your services.

There are so many things that we can give to uplift someone and encourage them in the name of luv. My advice to the mother who asked what to get her children for Christmas is to instill in them a sense of worth. Tell them how amazing they are. Write them a note and tell them how much you luv and value them. Bake some cookies, pop some popcorn and watch movies. One thing I have learned on this journey of motherhood is that once the toys are all broken and the electronics no longer work children will always remember the time they spent with you and how you made them feel! So will everyone else!

In luv,
Leisa

The End of Your World!

“As the earth dies your spirit will bloom; as the world fades your soul will rise and glisten. Amongst the dehydrated crevices of a desert earth you will stumble upon your diamonds; in between the dry skulls and cracked bones you will find your sapphires.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

“Have you ever seen the dawn? Not a dawn groggy with lack of sleep or hectic with mindless obligations and you about to rush off on an early adventure or business, but full of deep silence and absolute clarity of perception? A dawning which you truly observe, degree by degree. It is the most amazing moment of birth. And more than anything it can spur you to action. Have a burning day.” 
― Vera NazarianThe Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

I believe the Mayans were on to something when they predicted that the world would end today! What an awesome coincidence that the end of the world CO-INCIDES (that’s another post) with the Winter Solstice. As one season is ending another is beginning. Of course it’s not the end of the physical world that we live in but the end of the world that YOU live in…the one that you have created within yourself and the one that is no longer serving you or your life’s purpose!

It’s easy sometimes to get caught up in the things that are ending in our life and to try and hold on. Relationships, jobs, material things…we tend to get attached to these things and want to hold on to them for life. I guess there is a fear of being without these things so we try to hold on even when we know that they are no longer serving us.

I encourage you to ask the question of yourself “What am I holding on to that is ending in my life?” If there is something in your life that is ending (and we always know when something is ending) I encourage you to let it end for in its ending there is a new beginning for something else. Even when the ending brings pain allow it to end because holding on only prolongs the pain. And even when the experience of letting go is painful we have the option of whether we suffer or not.

Don’t worry that you are giving up on someone or something whose time has come to an end in your life. Everything that we experience has come to help us grow and once its purpose has been served it goes back to being whatever it was so let it return. Cherish the experience and the memories that it created but don’t hold on to what is ending. Allow the new beginning to unfold without fear of the unknown and trust the the Divine is there guiding you every step of the way and that you are growing and evolving at precisely the rate that is right for you on your journey!

And as always, remember to begin each day with your daily “dessert” of gratitude, meditation, music or whatever it is that brings joy to your life and make every day a “new beginning” for yourself!

Your Dreams, Your Gift!

“Ester asked why people are sad.
“That’s simple,” says the old man. “They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.” 

― Paulo CoelhoThe Zahir

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” 
― Lao Tzu

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” 
― Walt Disney Company

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” 
― Henry David ThoreauWalden

I have always been a dreamer. As a child I lived in a dream world most of the time as it is the place where I found peace. It was my escape. As an adult looking back I realize that the dream world that I lived in was not only and escape it was my gift!

I believe that the ability to dream and to believe in those dreams is a gift. We are often taught as children not to daydream and to “face reality.” But dreaming, I believe, creates your reality and is the beginning of knowing who and what you are and what it is that you shall become. It’s the Divine’s way of giving you a glimpse into the future that is to be yours. When you deny yourself of your dreams you are denying the Divine the opportunity to show you your future.

But I know how challenging it can be to “follow your dream” when you have no idea how to do that or what it looks like to follow your dream. I think we all dream but we think they are just that…dreams. The challenge is how to turn that dream into your reality. My thoughts? Your dream is already your reality! If it weren’t it would not be your dream.

So how do you realize the reality of your dream? Trust! Trust that the path of life you are on is the one that will lead you right to the dream that is within you. Trust that every experience and challenge that life offers you  is part of the journey to that dream. Keep walking! Even when things look disastrous trust that it’s part of the plan and allow yourself to go through it. Trust that is has come to reveal something in you that is necessary for the fulfillment of your dream.

Many well known people who are living their dream can tell stories of tragedy that they experienced in life. They will also tell you that it was that experience that prompted them to do what they are doing. Challenges and tragedy can often give us the push that we need to move forward towards our dream. Keep moving,  keep dreaming and keep trusting that where you are is right where you are supposed to be!

Leisa Monique

Magnificent Monday-For One Day…



“For a day, just for one day, talk about that which disturbs no one and bring some peace into your
Beautiful eyes.” 

― حافظThe Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” 
― Maya AngelouWouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

Magnificent Monday to you all. I know by now that those of you who follow this blog and my writings have embraced Monday as a day to set the tone for the kind of week that you would like to have. I know that YOU look to Monday as a new beginning; a day to start all over and create a great week for yourselves.

But in light of everything that has happened in this country in the past week I can imagine how difficult it is for some of us to create happiness and peace for and within ourselves when it seems that the world has gone crazy. But creating happiness and peace for and within ourselves is precisely what this world needs each of us to do right now. For it is only when each of us is at peace with ourselves that we can be at peace with the world.

Feeling guilty for experiencing happiness and peace at a time like this is not what’s going to bring peace to our hurting world. It’s only when each of us cultivates peace, joy and happiness within ourselves that we can begin to spread peace throughout the world. So start where you are and take this most Magnificent Monday to BE and spread peace, luv and joy…and dessert!

Leisa Monique

The Value (less-ness)Of Our Children’s Lives

Every year nearly 2,500 children die from child abuse. U.S reporting tracks only about 1,800 deaths from abuse and mistreatment because these stats are based on the numbers of deaths that have been reported by child welfare agencies.  But the number is estimated to be much closer to the stated 2,500 because not all children who die from abuse or mistreatment have had contact with these agencies and therefore are not reported by these agencies. Recently, here in Las Vegas, a 7 year old boy was beaten to death by his mother and step-father for reportedly failing to read the bible and do his homework.

When I first heard this story all I could do was cry and it haunted me for days and continues to haunt me as I allow my mind to think about what this baby must have been going through at the hands of those who were charged with luving and taking care of him. This child will never get to live out the dreams that he had for his life. He will never grow up to experience having his first kiss, graduate from high school, getting accepted to the college of his dreams, fall in luv or to have children of his own. He, like many other children who have lost their lives at the hands of abuse, has been robbed of his future.

The child pornography business is big business. Peruse just about any porn site and you will see haunting images of girls that appear to be no more than my own daughters’ ages of 14, 12 and 9. As a parent I’m sickened by the fact that even though our country has some of the strictest laws against child pornography it’s still a business-one that is thriving.

The child sex trafficking business is another one. Every day young girls are forced into the business of prostitution. One story I recently read details what happened to a young girl in Los Angeles who was brutally murdered, set on fire and burned to death in the middle of a Los Angeles street. She was only 17 years old. There was barely a word about it in the media which highlights some of the attitudes that we share in this country when it comes to our children and abuse.

Child sex trafficking has become one of the most common forms of organized crime  yet we continue to turn a blind eye to it in this country. The U.S Department of Justice reports that 12 is the average age of entry into pornography and prostitution in the U.S. 12! A most impressionable age where young girls are beginning to grow into who they are becoming. An age where they are wanting to go to the mall and hang out with their friends, exchange hair, make-up and homework tips, talk about choir performances and what boy is cute. It’s also an age where their self-worth and self-esteem is most vulnerable; a time when they are most vulnerable to the advances of an unsuspecting pimp telling them how pretty they are.

A recent report by UNICEF found that of the 35 worlds richest countries the U.S ranked second on a scale of what economists referred to as “relative child poverty”–second only to Romania. According to the report 23.1 percent of America’s children live in poverty. The report states that:

 “failure to protect children from poverty is one of the most costly mistakes a society can make. The heaviest cost of all is borne by the children themselves. But their nations must also pay a very significant price – in reduced skills and productivity, in lower levels of health and educational achievement, in increased likelihood of unemployment and welfare dependence, in the higher costs of judicial and social protection systems, and in the loss of social cohesion.” 

I agree.

And what about these children? How do you dream the “American Dream” when you are going to bed hungry at night or being beaten on a daily basis or having to sell your body for money? What about these children’s dreams? What about the loss of these precious lives?

In this country we are all too willing to turn a blind eye to these epidemics and as a result throw away our children at the hands of abuse and neglect. And the entire nation is guilty!  We all read the stories and cringe…for a moment. We cry, light candles and say a prayer for the families and victims of these heinous crimes. We post on social media about how outraged we are. We post prayers and quotes and for a brief moment hug our children a little closer and shower them with luv. But do we think about the children who have no one to hug them but instead deprive them of life? We begin to blame everyone who we believe blame should be placed with…except ourselves. We look at the laws on the books and insist that “someone” do “something” to prevent these crimes from every happening again but rarely do we address the societal problem of how we treat people in this country.

Of the top 5 wealthiest nations the U.S is the only one that does not provide for it’s citizen’s well being through a universal healthcare system. Those most affected by this is, of course, our children. The U.S has the highest infant mortality rate of any of these nations and the lowest life expectancy at birth. Says a lot about what we really think of our children.

So when a gunman goes to an elementary school and opens fire killing 20 of our nations most precious citizens and the country is outraged and demanding that gun laws be changed to prevent this from ever happening again, I wonder. I wonder where our priorities as a country really are when it comes to our children. I wonder why it is that we are so outraged that these children will never grow up to live their dreams but not so outraged at the thousands upon thousands whose dreams die each year because their young lives have been snuffed out by child abuse, prostitution, neglect, and hunger. Will somebody please, please tell me the difference!

Sending prayers of luv and peace…

Like the rest of the country I am deeply saddened by the tragedy that happened this morning in Connecticut.  There are, of course, no words to express the sadness and grief that grips our country right now nor to comfort those that mourn. I ask that you join me in sending prayers of luv and peace to those affected by this tragedy and that is all of us.

Leisa

Launch and Go Live!

It’s Monday; my favorite day of the week. A day most people dread with a passion. A day most people wish would never come. But not YOU! You look forward to Monday with the same passion that others express in their dislike of Monday. YOU look forward to Monday because you know that it’s a day of new beginnings; a day to set the tone for the rest of your week!

What will you do with this day? What will you make of it? Here’s a thought: why not use today to launch! Launch what you ask? That business that you have in your head! That book, that blog, that website, that education, that career, that volunteer work that you want to do but don’t think you have time for. Why not take today to launch and go live!

Don’t think you have everything you need to launch? I didn’t either. You do and so did I! You already have everything you need to do exactly what you want to do. What you need you already have and what you don’t have you don’t need. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead…launch! #EMDF

Leisa