Book Review: Live Happy

It’s not often I come across a book I want to read a few times over. Live Happy: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy is one of those books. I read it three times so far!

Live Happy combines the science of happiness and ways you can create joy each and every day. From an attitude with gratitude to finding meaning even in the darkest of hours, we can all improve the quality of our lives through small, daily practices.

The book includes stories from people who worked through life’s challenges by simple acts they made each day. Some of the stories you’ll read are from celebrities like Alanis Morisette and Hoda Koth. Best selling positive psychologist, Shawn Achor, offers his research on happiness and is among the 40 stories available from all kinds of people. You will feel inspired about your own journey. Continue reading

A Mom’s Journey into Inclusive Play, Advocacy and Partnership

Inclusive playground visit January 2017.

Advocacy has many meanings. When I think of that word, I imagine protests in the streets to build awareness or a fight to right a wrong with a certain issue. It’s a way we rise up to support people who are under served. It’s how we support a cause to achieve a common goal for the greater good.

Parents with children who have disabilities are the strongest advocates I know. Between medical appointments, school IEPs, state rights and down to daily interactions in the community, we advocate for inclusion, support and compassion. A simple trip to a playground can be a battle of sorts when it’s not designed for all.

Our small town started promoting a new park build with a 10,000 square foot playground in 2016. I was so busy between my kids’ school, the work schedule and life I didn’t think much of the call for community comments. Continue reading

Planning a Petting Zoo Birthday Party for Special Needs Kids

Birthday party invitations are few and far between when you have child with disabilities. My daughter who is part of the SPED program at school has been invited to two birthday parties in the last 8 years. My son who is able-bodied and has a group of buddies he hangs with will get invited to birthday parties throughout the year.

Before we moved out of state from our hometown, it didn’t matter if the party invites came in for her because we had big birthday parties with grandparents, family and cousins. Living in Arizona, we don’t have that network so her parties became dinners with cake and a couple of my son’s friends. Continue reading

Horse Therapy for Kids with Disabilities

Horse Therapy for KidsI love horses. I do. I rode for years with a friend when I was growing up. She was a natural trainer when we were kids and has a successful training business today.

When my husband and I relocated to Arizona, I remember telling him one of my goals was to get back in the saddle. I missed it and was determined to start riding again.

Our new town has an equestrian culture and I stumbled across a horseback riding class for special needs kids. I put my riding aspirations on hold and enrolled our daughter who has disabilities. I was nervous the first session, but it was amazing to see her light up. Continue reading

Book Review: Strengths Finder 2.0

Strengths Finder 2.0Do you know your strengths? It’s likely you’re not able to use them every day while at the office or home. So many of us move through life without truly tapping into our talents and strengths.

Strengths Finder has been around for many years. The first version came out in 2001 and my husband introduced it to me several years ago when he was at a large Silicon Valley corporation that used it.

Strengths Finder 2.0 is a reference guide by Tom Rath that is based on research from Gallup and Dr. Don Clifton, Father of Strengths Psychology. I call it a reference guide because you can use for years after you complete the assessment tool that comes with the book. You’ll begin with the first chapter that sets up the importance of understanding our own unique strengths and how they impact all aspects of your life. Continue reading

Sensory Processing Issues and The Morning Routine

Sensory Processing DisorderSequence, lace and bows make little girl clothes cute and adorable. For the little girls with sensory processing issues, cute and adorable becomes a nightmare. It’s scratchy. It burns. It irritates.

Sensory processing issues was a new term we learned when our daughter’s conditions were finally diagnosed. Her conditions include a lengthy list with sensory processing issues plus developmental delays and intellectual disability.

Sensory processing refers to the way the brain receives messages from the senses and turns them into the appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Continue reading

5 Tips for Career Success

Five Career LessonsWhen I think about my career, five moments stand out as game changers. I never forgot the valuable lessons I learned and how each one taught me a way to manage to stay away from a career meltdown.

1) Avoid cardiac arrest with a side order of divorce
One of my first corporate jobs was at a start-up. It just went IPO, but still operated in start-up mode. People worked 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends. The perks of Silicon Valley companies come with strings attached. Don’t let the free food and dry cleaning fool you.  Continue reading

30 Days of Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

What's the Story Behind Be Positive Mom?September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and September 1 marks the start to 30 days of teal. The month will include gatherings, celebrations and fundraisers across the nation. It’s a reminder to educate ourselves and be diligent with our health. Ovarian Cancer whispers during the early stages so it’s important to listen to the subtle signs.

My sister was diagnosed when she was in her early thirties. She fought the battle for over two years and passed away when she was just thirty-four. Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month marks the a time to educate others and is a reminder the anniversary of her passing is October 4. It’s the season of remembrance and gratitude for the short time we had together. She always said if her story could help another woman detect this disease earlier than she found hers, then her fight was worth it. Continue reading

5 Ways Stay-at-Home Dads Are Changing the World

Stay-home Dads RockWhen we lived in Silicon Valley, we did what a lot of what Silicon Valley parents do. We had the double income, two mortgages and two car payments. We also had two kids with two childcare bills. The American Dream, right?

We struggled. We were miserable and knew it wasn’t for us anymore. It was hard to let go because we were both born and raised in San Jose, before the term “Silicon Valley” became so popular. We wanted something different from the norm and California was too expensive to raise our kids on our terms. It took us a few years to decide to relocate. We relocated to Arizona before we had kids and then moved back to the Bay Area. After we had kids, we realized we couldn’t make it work there and the costs were a constant struggle. Continue reading

Break The Parenting Mold

Break the Parenting Mold ContributorManaging a blog and being active on social media connects you with amazing people. When I managed my old site, Be Positive Mom, I met many working moms online. We collaborated, supported and cheered one another on as our career worlds unfolded as we grew our families.

Since our daughter’s diagnosis of intellectual disability, I’ve met more amazing people online. The beauty of our internet world is you can find support systems from states away and countries away. People out there are experiencing life’s challenges similar to you. They can help just by sending a virtual hug or some laughter. Continue reading