Friday, March 30, 2012

Butterflies and Goosebumps...

WOW... I need to be pinched, seriously... like now! My blessings are on overload today; I don't think a scalpel could get this smile off my face right now. Corey and I closed on our new home and the next chapter of my life has officially begun; this is an awesome feeling. 

I am amazed...thoroughly amazed at what has happened in my life in the past two years. In July of 2010, I felt like my world was crumbling on top of me, I was struggling to keep things going after making the decision in September of 2009; seven months pregnant with my fourth child, to ask my husband to leave; I wanted a divorce. It was a tough decision but hands down the best one I had made up to that point, and with what has happened since then... I know it was the right one. 

I was at the end of my rope, hanging on for dear life because everything I had tried led me to another wall. I had nothing left in me... so I made the choice to ask God to take it all into His hands. DON'T stop reading because I mentioned God... I am not going to "preach" to you I am simply telling you my story, and if you can't appreciate that then I don't want you reading my blog anyway ;) Okay ... back to the story. So I was on empty, no more fuel and I distinctly remember praying and asking God to "take the wheel." This was the second time in my life I had asked for such a thing and it worked the first time, so I figured it would not hurt to ask again. This day came about a week before I started my book; I was trying to occupy my brain with writing instead of my crumbling walls, and it worked.

 I am stubborn; REALLY stubborn and being type A personality, I tend to like to hold the wheel myself... I am telling you this in case you can relate, it's HARD to let go.

The next day I felt a sense of peace, my world was still crumbling, but I woke up feeling different somehow. That night before bed I took out my Bible, dusted it off and opened it to Proverbs. I began to read, and although I cannot recite the exact scripture right now my "Ah-ha" moment came when I read a verse that said something to the effect of "a man stricken with worry does not have faith" . This one REALLY made me think for weeks, it hit home. I thought about how much less stress I would have in my life if I stopped worrying and had faith that it would all work out... but I couldn't do it, at least not until I took my mind off my worries and began to write my book. As the words poured out like rainfall, I made the decision to truly let it all go... and stop the worrying, I needed to write, to share my story with others. It was that moment that my life began to take a turn.

Now... nearly two years later, my life has changed direction by 180 degrees. The day I stopped worrying about what was happening to me, I allowed myself to wonder what was going to be... I began thinking of what COULD be and my whole mindset changed and my life followed. A million blessings in disguise have finally allowed me to open up the best gift of all... happiness, contentment and thankfulness for everything I have. It is no longer what I want in life, it is now what I am going to get out of life... it's made all the difference in the world.

I am laying my head down tonight with butterflies and goosebumps after perhaps the best day of my life up to this point. It's not because we closed on a house, but because I have grown as a person through all of this and I know that I am now a better person because of it. Be grateful... stop the worrying and have faith that your life will turn around when you let it all play out exactly as it should. 

"Stop fighting what is meant to be, because your Happy Ending could be right around the corner."
~S. Giard ©2012~

Cover of my book

The next chapter of my life begins NOW! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Bullies, The Fakers, and the Trouble Makers

I am all grown up now, and one thing that I have gained because of that is wisdom. I have lots of "been there, done that" scenarios and learned all of my lessons the hard way. Unfortunately I suffered a lot of grief, anger, worry and sadness to get where I am today... MY HAPPY PLACE.

Throughout my life I always KNEW what it was I wanted, I had set career goals as a high school Sophomore and never let them leave my mind, even when people thought I was crazy for thinking that I could accomplish them. I was bullied, made fun of and surrounded by nay-sayer's and I will admit that in some instances I let them sway me; but when it came to my dreams after school ended, nothing  people said or did to me affected what happened... in fact, it only fueled me more in the long run.

I will never understand why people, (most often females) cannot be happy for you when you are doing good, when you are happy, when you are beaming with excitement; yet they will roll around in the dirt that may come up in your life from time to time and act like they care about you then. We all make mistakes, we all go through tough times, we all have defeating moments and feelings of inadequacy, but when we are up, we are up.... "on top of the world looking down on creation" and cloud nine just makes us want to hop on over to cloud 10...11... and 12. Support is nice, but when you are up far enough... not even the lack of it can bring you down; at least that SHOULD be the case.

You see, what people say does not matter... unless it's true. If it's true, then you must look at the situation and decided if you should work on it or not. If it's false then the truth will eventually show it's face and they will look like flaming idiots, leaving you with the truth badge. It's why karma... or God's wrath (whatever you choose to call it) is so much sweeter than any revenge, argument or fist fight I can conjure up. Have I ever wanted to smack someone around, beat someone up, or rearrange the mouth the lies are coming out of? Sure... and I actually did once, (the only fight I ever got in) and it did feel good, I won't lie; but it solved nothing.

 These types of people... the bullies, the fakers, the troublemakers, have an agenda... and that is to bring you down to the bottom where they are digging trenches. That IS why they do it ya know; they are miserable, unhappy, and jealous of your happiness and accomplishments and instead of getting off their duff's to make "happy"  part of their every day they would rather bother those of us who are working hard to fulfill our dreams. Why? Well, because it's easier than getting off their duff.

I wrote this blog tonight in honor of two friends that are dealing with similar issues right now, both are VERY good people trying to do something BETTER with themselves and I, as a true friend and beaming with pride for BOTH of them. Unfortunately, not everyone is cheering them on. Girls... keep on keeping on. Only you and what YOU stand for matters... their words will only affect the outcome of your dreams if you give up, believe they are right, and begin digging trenches with them.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Compelling Cab Ride... Influencing people wherever you are

I just love moments that are cool, you know… the ones that are supposed to happen to you all along. I call those defining moments… they are the moments you will hang onto all your life, the moments that make a difference because they influence behavior or emotion in you. After a 5-day business trip to DC for Photoshop World, (AKA PSW), I am now sitting in a restaurant at the Baltimore-Washington Airport waiting for dinner before my flight and I had to type this blog post about my cab ride. Although my hope was to fly straight into DC, the flights were ridiculously high even three weeks out, so I found a better priced flight into Baltimore/Washington International and booked it. I figured spending $170 round trip for the cab ride to and from my hotel was still better than paying $450 more for a flight into D.C.

When I got in the cab today I began a conversation with the driver trying to negotiate a deal for the ride to BWI; I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try and being that I typically negotiate like a master, I thought it may work. He was entertained to say the least at my attempt to finagle a discount of at least $10 and it started up a conversation about what I did for a living. He said I struck him as a great business woman. I told him that I did makeup, hair and wardrobe for print, TV and special events and the conversation continued from there. He found out where I was from, how many kids I had, that I wrote a book, and a blog, that I am twice divorced and he even asked me which husband I liked the most, which made me laugh. This brought on a more compelling conversation, as I told him that both marriages had good things and bad, but what I could say most definitively was that I learned more lessons from the second one and had no regrets for either one, despite their negatives.

I found out he was from Ethiopia which brought on a very interesting conversation, that he was 42, and had been in America for 10 years. We talked the WHOLE way to the airport, not one silent moment; from laughing to intense conversation about psychology, goals and racism in America. I gave him a “pep talk” when I found out he went to school in his country to be a teacher. This guy was smart… VERY smart and he drove a cab. Cool thing is he has DREAMS of being a business owner, and I told him he could LIVE those dreams.  I let him know that waking up every day he could decide to be happy… to be happy that he could drive in order to support his family, to be happy he woke up with food; being from Ethiopia he knew what being without it was like. I told him to wake up every day and tell himself that he was going to be a better driver today than he was yesterday…. and to never take his mind off of his goals.

I told him that making the choice to be happy while keeping your mind on your goals, and being thankful for where you are, even if it’s not where you hope to be, will help you live out your dreams. He stopped me after I said these things and said “Shelley, you are one amazing lady, you have totally inspired me, you should be a speaker, you are SO good at this” To which I smiled and said “Well, that is MY ultimate goal, so you saying that inspires me!”
As we pulled up to the terminal he asked me if I would send him a book when it was out, and of course I said yes. He gave me his email address and helped me with my bags. He probably would have given me that discount… but I decided the ride was worth the $85 and I tipped him another $5.

The moral of this story?
Never underestimate anyone because you never know who will inspire you; or who you may inspire… you simply never know who will make an impact in your life. I encourage you to pay attention, talk to people… and listen to what they have to say. I cannot wait to send him my book and I have no doubt that he will become a business owner one day!

If you are reading this blog, Thanks Getiyek… that was a compelling cab ride!

Friday, March 23, 2012

On my way to DC I Met Mrs. Obnoxious!

My intention was to post this last night, but after arriving at the hotel starving having not eaten since 2, I decided to grab a bite in one of the hotel restaurants... saw some of my photographer friends whom I joined and before I knew it it was 12:30 am... too pooped to be a coherent blogger. So.... I grace you with my presence this morning, sorry for the delay, I will make this story worth the wait :)

Airports are likely the most entertaining places on earth in my mind if you open yourself up to your surroundings. I have always been a fan of curbside check-in as a convenient and swift way to get things done when you arrive; I am not a fan of lines. Being that I was flying alone and had way too many bags it seemed like the perfect option for me yesterday, however the line was unusually long. Oh well, I thought, it will go fast. Little did I know that Mrs. Obnoxious and her friend were the cause of the hold up.

I am not negative... I steer clear of this toxic emotion as much as possible, but getting irritated is not beneath me and blast it as I may, it happens. Here we all are standing in this line at curbside check in and Mrs. Obnoxious is talking to the attendant about all of her fabulous travels in a VERY loud and boisterous voice. While they are laughing and chatting away we are all looking at each other saying "really?" But as irritated as everyone was nobody would speak up. She had questions about her ticket, the gate, her seat, and this was all in between her storytelling. Finally I lost my cool when she pulls out one of her bags, opens it, steps to the side and proceeds to pull out this huge blanket of some sort to show this attendant. She had apparently been visiting Florida and began to show him what she bought while here. NO, I am NOT kidding. At this point being that the attendant was totally engaged in this woman's antics, I said diplomatically but with a somewhat irritated tone... "Um excuse me, can you not see that there is a large line here?" everyone smiled at me. The attendant looked at me and said "there is no line inside ma'am if you'd like to go in there." To which I replied, "I was checking in curbside for a reason, that reason being that I had a lot of luggage that I had hoped not to have to awkwardly lug in."

After another few minutes with no movement I finally went inside, had my baggage checked and boarding pass in hand before Mrs. Obnoxious was even finished. Unbelievable! Needless to say I had a few people follow me inside. I got to my gate, sat down, relaxed and began to people watch. (great stuff).The best was a lady with a hot pink outfit on wearing a red ant antenna hat, kind of resembled the "bugs life" hats you see in the Disney stores. The guy beside me laughed and said "wow" to which I said... (being the optimistic one) "there has got to be a reason" and the guy across from me said "can't be a good one."  Free entertainment at it's best!

After boarding the plane and all seated, it was quiet until... LOW AND BEHOLD Mrs. Obnoxious boarded the plane and her boisterous voice broke the silence. I won't give all the details because this would not be a blog post anymore but a short story... but let's just say that everyone had experienced Mrs. Obnoxious by the time we landed in Baltimore, especially the guy she hit in the head opening all the overhead bins when we landed. HA!

Have a great day everyone and smile .... IT'S FRIDAY!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Finding My Rainbow in a Stressful Week...

As I end this CRAZY day and my hectic week at home (off to DC tomorrow for Photoshop World), I am exhausted given all that had to be done in the three days before I left. I woke up this morning with a full heart and a warm smile because it was World Down Syndrome Day and I get to celebrate the beautiful little life I created two and a half years ago because of it. March 21st (3/21) is the day we recognize that our little bundles of joy were born with 3 of the 21st chromosome (Trisomy 21) which causes Down syndrome. 
We have come along way... because as little as 30 years ago, these little bundles were institutionalized at birth because they were "no good" and considered blasphemous to society as far as doctors were concerned and most parents were told they had to put them away; the average life span was about 10-15 years. In my opinion, it was neglect  that killed them. Without love and proper care we are all dead. Every time I think of this I want to cry... so many children like my sweet Abrielle were tossed into hulls and considered crazy... they were called Mongoloids, retards and many other horrible things just because they were "different" never to be thought of again.
I have news for anyone out there who thinks this way... they ARE different, you are right about that! They love with no limits, give hugs with no end, laugh at things we don't recognize and smile as big as rainbows. They are unconditional, wonderful human beings, and the reason they are so special is because despite their disabilities they bring life lessons to anyone who comes into contact with them. 
So... on this tired day, I will lay my head down on my pillow knowing that I am blessed, I have a reason to smile every day and she taught me that. I no longer take things for granted... and cherish every small hurdle, every tiny accomplishment because regardless of how small they are it is forward motion towards a goal or purpose. I also learned to never sweat the things I cannot change.
To my precious daughter Abrielle... You are my sunshine, Mommy loves you with all her heart and all her might and I hope to be here when you graduate from college because I know you will. You have many cheerleaders, and your determination will get you there! You AMAZE me my little "Brie!" ~love Mommy~
IN HONOR OF MY DAUGHTER ON THIS DAY, I share her very first you tube video with you, which was posted last October. If you have already seen it watch it again... it will make you smile! 
 Watching Mickey Mouse 
 Her brother calls her HIS baby... only 14 months apart
 At 6 months old...
 She finally discovers putting things in her mouth
 She loves eating her hand... if you look at the reflection, her brother is watching out for her as always
Shortly after she was born at only 4.5 lbs she stated in her sleep what she was here for "PEACE"

"More alike than Different!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Embrace the Dreamer....

"All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose."

That quote is by one of my favorite motivational speakers, a mentor, and mastermind of success coaching: Brian Tracy.  I agree with that statement wholeheartedly and have LIVED it every day since I graduated high school. It's been a long journey thus far and it's a good thing that I like roller coasters, otherwise I would have ended this ride years ago. Hills and valleys are fun... right? Yeah well, maybe not when you are speaking about life; but a roller coaster IS much less boring than a straight and narrow road with nothing to look at but wheat fields even if it does make you barf. (And what do we do when that happens? we get back on and do it again.) That's how I look at life... and because of that the wrenches I am thrown are just big hills to me, and I know that on the other side of that hill is a fun and effortless ride .

I have realized through the many people that I meet everyday that there are people who no matter what you say, they cannot be motivated... brought out of their dungeon of turmoil simply because they don't know how to change. It's sad, and I want to erase their hard drives and start over fresh... "if only I could save the world." I have to accept  the fact that not everyone can or wants to change... that does not mean I will stop dripping on them.... I just have to realize that sometimes my drips will fall to the ground without "touching" them. That is hard when you are someone like me, but I do my best to keep it subtle... even though I want to shove a motivational book down their esophagus and say life CAN be better, you just have to ERASE your hard drive and only save the good stuff from now on; the rest needs to go straight to the trash. I know... for I have lived it.

I was always a dreamer, I had crazy goals... mad passion and drive that could win an Indy race in seconds... I got mocked, eyes were rolled, comments were made to try and kill my spirit, did I let that stop me? NO, I let it fuel me because DREAMS are REAL and they CAN become your reality, all you have to do is believe in yourself. I don't give two seconds of thought to people who doubt me... as long as I don't doubt me THEY don't matter. It has proven well for me, and it will for you too.

Embrace the dreamers; they are the people who change the world!

DREAM BIG, and WORK HARD to make it your REALITY; you WILL get the results you seek... That's a promise!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Sitting in the Dr's office today I overheard a man next to me talking to a family member on the phone about his wife having a negative cancer check up and that "it was back." During the conversation he said many times, "we will get through this it’s not the first time, we will be okay and hopefully she will go into remission...again."  It is amazing to me that so often if you open up your ears  to other conversations when you are in public, you can hear things that will inspire you, things that make you feel blessed on days that you may have woken up feeling cursed. Hearing a story such as this where a man was so determined to get his wife through this again positively hoping for the best when everything about his body language said he was tired, sad, hopeless and afraid spoke very loud to me so I had to pull out my Ipad right after the appointment and write this blog post.

It is something that I often talk about... your attitude during times of adversity will likely give you the will to keep going and has everything to do with the outcome. Despite his obvious fear, this man was allowing hope to take over, and me being me... it made me smile. When he hung up the phone, he put his face into his hands... head down, on the verge of tears. He then suddenly breathed deep looked up and over at me, and said... "it shouldn't be too much longer of a wait I have been out here waiting on my wife for an hour... it makes you feel they don't think our time is important, but it certainly is."  I smiled and nodded in agreement as he patiently waited for his wife. A few minutes later my name was called and I felt blessed for the short wait I had.

I will tell you this my avid readers, life is much more fulfilling when you remove yourself from the equation sometimes; think of others, give to others, listen and be there for others... when you do this...whatever is going on in your life that is bringing you down is no longer your forefront clouding your vision and you will likely end up feeling that what you have going on isn't so bad after all. Hope is the opponent of fear and hope often wins because it causes different actions, it will not always bring you victory in the fight, but if you must go down, you will go down in flames!

"You gotta face the clouds to find the silver lining" 
(quoted from one of my favorite inspirational songs)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patty's Day Humor

Happy St. Patty's Day! Is it Paddy's or Patty's? THAT is my million dollar question of the day. You would never know by looking at people's Facebook status' because it was an even divide, however I came up with the conclusion that for us "Northern born" it's Patty's for sure. Either way it's a day that American's have adopted into their traditional "day to drink" schedule. It is commercialized with wishes of good luck, pots of gold, and funny looking red-haired short people in odd green outfits that hang out by rainbows stealing money.

Oddly enough it is a day that was originally and actually celebrated for the arrival of Christianity in Ireland characterized by going to church in green attire and lifting lent restrictions. Leave it up to Americans to twist that into a holiday to drink massive quantities of alcohol. HA-HA! An interesting Oxymoron? I think so! I have always gone out with friends to have a beer myself, but I pass on corned beef and cabbage (it smells and looks like canned dog food.) and this year was no different, I had one cold beer, shot 4 games of pool (won 3 of those games) and I called it a night at 9:30. I was really hoping for a little red-haired dude to walk up, wink at me and give me money but unfortunately, that never happened. 

Had my kids been home this weekend I likely would have had a little fun with it since my ten-year-old FIRMLY believes in Leprechaun's and likes to make traps in hopes of catching them. Quite funny I think...and cute... and weird. The imagination on that little girl is wild and furious which will make her a great writer one day; she has already started her journal collection and creative writing is her forte for sure. Hmmm... have no idea where she gets THAT from! ;)

I hope all of you were safe, lucky, and did not get pinched because green is not your color 
(Would love to know the obnoxious person that stared THAT!) For my International readers who have NO idea what I am talking about here; in the U.S. if you are caught out in public on St. Patrick's Day without wearing the color green, you are likely to get pinched by people you know... just another reason for you to make fun of us. (HA-HA)

Short, sweet and somewhat simple post tonight. I don't ALWAYS lecture my readers, but I still want you to be smiling after you read this! :) 
Thanks for engaging even the silly ones and may you have a little luck and a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of a rainbow someday!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trying to FIND Happiness? Look HERE>>>>

Happiness is one of the single most confusing, misunderstood, desperately sought after feelings that I know of, it is what the universe seems to revolve around and that is somewhat phenomenal. Some people “seek” happiness nearly all of their lives only to end up claiming that they never “found it” they think that their lives have been wasted… and they are absolutely right! A wasted life it is when you “seek” happiness because chances are with that attitude you will never find it.

Happiness is NOT a physical object that can be found, it’s not concrete… you can’t “put your finger on it”. Happiness is an emotional decision that we have full control over. We can wake up and decide to be happy. Yes… it's true. We all wake up tired, grumpy and want to crawl in a hole and never come out on occasion... (some more often than others, but that's a different blog altogether) however, when this happens we can choose to stay in that mood or we can change our state of mind and DECIDE to be happy even on the worst days ever. Is it easy? Ummm... NO, especially when you are having the day from "you know where"… but the bottom line is that happiness IS a choice, a state of mind, an emotion that we control and if we are not “happy” it cannot be blamed on anyone but the person in the glass.

I was not always this obnoxiously happy. I was once like many of you out there that felt like happiness was never going to be found because I kept hitting dead ends, I was optimistic but deep down it seemed like I had met my destiny… and I would say to myself "this is my life." (insert sad face emoticon) I felt the weight of an anvil with stresses and would blame others for my unhappy state of mind which caused resentment and bitterness that consumed me. I never once felt that I could CHOOSE to be happy; after all, not even Merriam Webster tells you that. (should I rewrite parts of the dictionary?)

My “aha” moment came one day when I was shopping in a store looking for decorations for my new studio 4 years ago. At the time I was very unhappy in my life, so I wanted my salon to be an escape… for me AND my clients.  My goal was to create a positive place that would erase all the worries on the outside for everyone who stepped inside including me. As I looked around the store I saw this vintage style sign that said “Happy is what we make it... always has been always will be” and that was it!  I stood there looking at it for a second feeling “wow”... like someone had just hit me in the head as they said “DUH Shelley!”, and as silly as this may sound, that little sign changed my life, so I bought it.

My story tonight is to let you know that even if you have goals you have not reached, bills you cannot pay, clothes you can't afford and love you haven't felt... you can still be happy. You have breath, you have friends, you have family, you may have a pet, a favorite book, a favorite show or song... you have simple things that create a happy feeling in your life, everyone does. Focus on those more and I bet things will begin to turn around; they did for me. You will begin to reach those goals, pay those bills, buy those clothes and find true love all because your mind is in the right place for it all to be attainable. I speak from experience not out of my "donkey", so drink my Kool-aid and listen up, it's REAL! 

"The mind is the most powerful thing we possess; but you have to push the pedal to the floor to experience it's horsepower."

The little sign that changed my life still hangs in my private little studio and 
 I think of it every time I am having one of "those" days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Joneses are In Debt!

 I am diverse... I talk about everything, in my blogs and I hope that keeps your interest... but I speak out of wisdom, ALWAYS. You see, being the rebel that I am (and I don't mean that in the southern way) I have learned everything the hard way by making TONS of mistakes. THAT is how you gain wisdom my friends, and by my calculation; being that I have lived on my own since I was 17, I have the wisdom of someone twice my age... with that said, the best thing you could do is listen and learn. HA HA! (not spoken in a bossy way)

For a gagillion YEARS I have heard the phrase... "Gotta keep up with the Joneses" and although I knew what it meant in society today, I often wondered where it originated. (thanks Google, you are always there when I need you for useful information that seems useless to others!) I will not post all that I learned about the origination of this phrase, although it was very interesting; but if you are interested in the short version, here is a link for the knowledge.

We all know what keeping up with  the Joneses means today. And if we can't keep up, we have been brainwashed to believe we are inferior and pathetic. I hate ANYTHING that makes anyone feel inferior. The only thing that makes you inferior in my book is being dishonest, period the end.

When I was 19, I  was able to buy my first home after establishing "good credit" from the age of 17. Having credit available to me at a VERY young age was both good and bad. I was pretty responsible with it and only charged what I could afford to handle a payment for, but when I got married at age 20 that began to change. I was no longer the only one charging but still the only one making money and paying the bills. Needless to say I ended up over my head and could not afford the payments. I don't blame anyone but myself at this point in life... you get what you accept and allow and I allowed it to happen. I ended up losing my wonderful credit score and although I managed to continue to pay most of the debt back, I was consistently behind with my fluctuating income. I was no longer "credit worthy" I was branded with the scarlet "C" and had to begin living on what I made when I made it. I was bitter back then, mainly because I worked so hard to get what I had only to be left credit naked, and it was not directly my fault. However in hind sight it was ABSOLUTELY the BEST thing that could have ever happened to me.

So for the next seven years I lived on cash... if I wanted something I had to save for it. If I did not have the money, I did not get it until I did. WOW, what a concept huh? It did me good and after that seven years was up, I never went back. Now I will admit that when I was in my worst debt, it never exceeded $4,000 (excluding my home and car) , so when I hear of stories today where people are ten, twenty and even over fifty thousand dollars in credit card debt I begin convulsing! They ARE the "keeping up with" people to the extreme, and quite frankly it seems glutenous. Social society is to blame for the most part because of the status vice we are gripped with. The people in debt are merely victims of "socialitis", ridden with the "I will have more than you have" syndrome hoping to be looked up to and admired for the things they possess. (Not impressive or admirable in reality)

I was humbled losing my ability to charge, and for several years I felt "inferior" but I must tell you, it did not take long for me to figure out that I was the smart one... and being smart is certainly not inferior.

Today, I can say that I have continued to learn more and more about money. I am teaching my kids how to be responsible with it. They must earn it, I don't just give it to them. I spoil them with kisses, hugs and love but not with material things. They have what they need and most of what they want but over abundance is NOT in my household vocabulary. The best thing I did to solidify that what I was doing was right was to take the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Course a few years back. Although most people seek his guidance when they are in debt, I sought out his knowledge to learn how to fund my retirement as a self employed individual. I will say that learning his principals almost made me WANT to be in debt so I could use his teachings to erase it. I encourage ANYONE married, single or engaged to find a 13 week course in your area... go together as a "date night", with a friend, or by yourself! It will enrich your life, and teach you how to make the Joneses look homeless! And you WON'T be in debt in the end.

If you are someone who has had to make or needs to make serious financial life changes due to trying to keep up and impress people you don't even care about; there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel... you are not inferior, you are wonderful and you have every ability to gain the financial knowledge you need that will allow you to bounce back better!

Love you all!

Here is the link to the Dave Ramsey  course I spoke of, although you can get the DVD's and the CD's and do this at home, I encourage you to physically GO to the classes which are typically held in local establishments. There is something to be said about being around other people who are going through the same thing as you are. Would LOVE to hear from you if you end up doing this! I have shared this with so many people I know and have heard their success stories and would LOVE to hear yours too! I LOVE a good story, don't you?

Reflection Can be Liberating

Do you ever sit down and go through old photos, old letters, cards or mementos? If you have, you know all too well what reflection is and how it can pull every emotion both good and bad out of you in a split second. The enormous power of a written word, a photo, or moment in time deeply embedded forever in our minds; yet only takes one second to bring us back right where we were however many days...weeks...months even years and years ago, it's amazing... don't you think?

I am in the midst of packing for a move; the best part of moving is purging things you don't really need... but through this, I am finding things that are making me smile, laugh, and even tear up as I am brought back to moments in my life. When I began writing, truly writing... not just writing in my diary or journals which I have kept since I was 10, poetry was my thing. I kept every poem that I wrote, most of which were written when I was a love sick young girl  in 1988 hoping to meet my prince charming. I also had a love for nature... and apparently needed peace. (if you buy my book you will learn why I needed peace) It was the outlet to my confusion; my bottled up emotions, feelings of hurt and grief from losing my sister all spit into words onto paper back then, and I am so thankful I kept it all.

I am finding papers I had turned in as an English student stating my goals... dreams and hopes. I talked about best friends, loves of my life, peaceful feelings and mean people. I have not written a poem in years, (I have moved on to blogs, inspirational stories, and a memoir) but as I was re-organizing, sorting and purging papers that I have kept (I am an organized paper whore) I came across my old folder of poetry and began to read. Some were typed on an old fashioned typewriter and many were hand written depicting the stages of my penmanship which was kind of cool to see. From big bubbly cursive to capitalized print so neat that you would swear that I had typed it. It was a trip down memory lane, and I must say... I was quite impressed with some of them, and could not believe I wrote some others! (ha) What a sappy girl I was back then,  maybe I should have been a love-song writer! (Adele and her break ups could not compare to my sad sappy lonely self!)

My whole point is to reflect once in a while... look at old things, smile...laugh...cry and celebrate how you have grown as an individual, a partner, a mom, a friend. It's cool, it's important, and quite honestly it tells you a lot about who you truly are as a person and who you "became" in a "moment." If you reflect and realize that you have not at all changed, maybe it is time you start. If you reflect and see as I have that you have grown, learned and accomplished things you had set out to do, it's pretty liberating and helps you realize that once you write something down, it sticks.

Goodnight my Kool-aid drinkers. I appreciate you stopping by to listen to me babble. It really means the WORLD to me! (Please, don't ever forget that!) I will leave you with one of my old poems... I was deep, even back then!

Dream of Peaceful Feelings ©Shelley Giard 1990

The wind whispering in my ears as I walk the sandy mile; a peaceful feeling runs through me.
Total silence and isolation, time for thoughts and memories of the past and hopes for the future.
Waves crashing like thunder against petrified rock, then breaking into a mass of white fantasy.
A lonely walk so full of company; nature being my companion.
A sky full of light, sparkling like a diamond; peering into a new world light years away, yet so close I can touch it.
Cool moistness seeping through my toes, chills running up my spine; a feeling of freedom.
As the sun peeks above the end of the earth, I hear seagulls screaming. It is a new day to live to the highest expectations.
As I take another step, the scene fades into an ebony blur and my fantasy scene is gone.
My mind is boggled; where am I? Then... I awake and realize it was only a dream.
The wind whispered in my ears as I walked the sandy mile; a peaceful feeling ran through me.

The "spill" of my poetry folder with poems dating back to 1986 
A list of goals I had written in 1989 
(Sophomore year of high school)
Kind of funny to see that other than my hope for going to college for writing, 
I have accomplished all of what I had set out to do.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Parent of the YEAR!

Hello my Kool-Aid drinkers ;) my hope tonight is to be both funny and inspirational, with a topic that I am sure everyone can relate to. I am often baffled by stupid people... I wonder if it would strike a nerve if they could see what we see and realize the idiotic things they do if given the chance to somehow hover over themselves as they function in everyday life; and if they could would they change or stay the same? I am all about educating yourself, I may have only graduated high school, never to "officially" take it further but I fill my head with useful information (no information is useless as far as I am concerned... unless we are talking about tabloids, it's just not my forte'... I am not judging those who read them) I read a lot of non-fiction books on every topic imaginable, psychology and sociology magazines as well as other informative, educated magazine articles (my eyes burn in the grocery isle until I see Better Homes and Gardens, Health, Allure or Paula Dean's piercing blue eyes and over-retouched face) I was also thankfully and Godly blessed with common sense. I do however realize that there are people out there that either leave their common sense at home everyday thinking that it will be stolen or they just don't have any to begin with.

When you get divorced in the state of Florida and have children, you must take a mandatory class on parenting prior to being "awarded" the divorce.  Hmmmm.... I wonder why they don't make people take a parenting class BEFORE getting married or if having a child prior to marriage, how about as part of their prenatal care? How about THAT America? Apparently we are not about preventing disaster are we? (oops sorry got a bit side-tracked...HA) Anyway... last week I had to take this parenting class being that three years after my separation with my ex, I am finally in the last stages of my divorce (and just for the record, it was not me who delayed it.)  I did chuckle when I was told that I had to take this class, simply because being that I have 4 children... (my oldest being almost 20 and my youngest being 2 years old with special needs might I add) it seemed a bit late to "learn" how to parent... that would have been super useful 20 years ago when I was becoming a mom at 18 and had NO idea what I was doing. However finding out that this class strictly teaches you how to "parent" during and after divorce I figured I would actually learn something useful, and I did. I love knowledge and never claim to know everything... so I was optimistic. Besides, being crabby never pays off anyway... especially when it's out of your control to change the situation.

As I approached the door of the classroom 30 minutes before class (we were asked to get there 20 minutes early) I was only one of three people in the room, however as the time came closer for  "the bell to ring" the class began to fill up and the later it got the more interesting the classmates became. I suddenly flashed back to the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Spicoli (played by Sean Penn) stumbled into the classroom stoned. People from all walks of life shuffled in; male and female, some looked wealthy, some not, some with sad faces, some fueled with anger and bitterness, others appeared intoxicated or stoned and then there were those of us who were simply there for the formality of our last phase before we sign on the dotted line. Two minutes before the class started a girl walks in smoldering with the aroma of a stale cigarette, sport bottle in hand, hair disheveled and obviously irritated to be there; much to my luck she sat right in front of me. (perfect view for pictures)

My quick observation told me THIS was going to get interesting as I looked at the big bold words, written on her sport bottle... (and of course I took this picture just before the warning to turn off our cell phones)
"Don't look at me, THAT'S NOT MY KID

Hello McFly! Being that this is a class on how to parent, you probably would have been better off to leave that bottle at home. (duh) Later in class, her behavior and outbursts about how "HER" kids were "NOT going to go visit their dad for an entire summer, no way in HELL" left all of us wondering what was in that bottle (doubtfully water) and we all felt sympathy for the father of her three daughters (and the daughters even more.) Which leads me to my punchline... What's worse than people with no common sense? The fact that they reproduce and lead by example. (sigh)

And tonight's inspiration? Well... if you were not born with common sense, you owe it to yourself and the rest of us to read some self help books on how to obtain it, and if you are not yet a parent, find a lass on parenting to sit in... you may actually learn what to do BEFORE they become a science project! Inspiring you to be a better human/and or parent is never wrong!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Without Purpose You Are Broken"

Feeling a bit yucky, I took it easy for the past several days, swore off the internet (although I did check email and make a few random comments on Facebook) and now as I end the weekend, I decided this would be a great close to the week. "Without purpose you are broken." A great line from the movie Hugo, which Corey and I pulled up on Apple TV over the weekend. A fantastic movie which for me was all about having a goal, a purpose, a dream and achieving what your heart desires. The story of a young orphan boy who was fulfilling a goal his father was unable to accomplish and of a filmmaker whose dream-come-alive was later crushed by circumstances... then reborn; a movie which gives everyone who watches it something to think about. If you have not seen it I STRONGLY encourage you to watch it; and promise you will be moved or inspired or both... (if not... I am concerned with your state of mind...just sayin'.)

~PURPOSE~ we all have one. Some of you may not yet have discovered what it is, but we are all here for a reason, at least that is what I have always believed. Over several years as my passions became stronger; I discovered what I feel to be mine, and that is to do everything I can to encourage others to dream again, to live with purpose, to have hope that you can do anything or be anything that you want; despite what anyone else thinks or what odds you have against you. That is what I have done all of my adult life... through rain, sleet, snow and softball size hail...(metaphorically speaking of course) and it has not failed me yet. I may have fallen... but I have NOT failed, falling only lead me further down the path to where I want to end up. You only fail when you stop trying and give up, (not an option in my world.) In order to find your purpose you must ask yourself some questions. What do you want to define you as a person? What do you wish to leave behind when you are gone? What one thing fuels and excites you more than anything else? Within those questions you will find your answer.

SO....I continue to trek down this path which is called my life in pursuit of what it is I have set out to accomplish. Slowly, yet surely things are falling into place one by one and although I have not fully exhaled, I am allowing small bursts of air to escape my lips; through sheer excitement.

 I encourage you to stay determined long enough to accomplish whatever it is you hope to accomplish or die trying; in the end nobody can fault you for that. You can only be faulted for complaining all of the time and not taking action to change the things you are complaining about, for never setting goals or for not being a good role model for your children, for wandering around aimlessly watching and wishing you were someone else with a better, easier, more fulfilled life. GO GET the life you want! If you dream it, you can pursue it, and if you pursue it long enough you will get what you set out for... it's like gravity; it just happens. Find your purpose, fuel your passions, feed that desire and life will be good. Even if you never reach that highest point, the tales of your journey will be fascinating and wonderful and maybe even be inspiring to others.

My favorite line from the movie Hugo by far was the one below... read it over and over, let it sink in and then wake up every day thinking this way. I bet if you do life will never be the same!

"I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine... I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason." Hugo Cabret


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Conformity... NOT the best policy!

This blog post is brought to you by Shelley Giard... 
Rebellious in nature, kind at heart. Leader, lover, rule breaker, box squashing extraordinaire!

I woke up a bit tired, but even when my brain is tired it still ticks. Low and behold as I was driving my daughter to school and after only 1/2 cup of coffee, a thought popped in my head which prompted a Shelley "quote" and hence a topic for my morning blog post (I owed a morning one to my readers since I was too tired to blog last night.) I quickly spoke into my cell phone to log the idea and here I am now... finishing my cup of coffee and writing to you.

Conformity by definition: 
1: Compliance with standard, rules, or laws
2. Behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards

BLEGH! That just sounds BORING! Now, I am not saying that you should forfeit the obedience of all laws and rules... that would be a bit of a stretch and quite scary. However, being socially standard... or caring what other people think of you "socially" can be taken too far. My thought is this... BE YOURSELF, be who you are and there are people who will love you for that. If you are rebellious? I love you. I am too. I would not have accomplished HALF the stuff I have in my life if I had not broken rules, taken chances that were feared by others around me and I certainly began to care less and less about what people thought of me as I grew up... as long as I was being true to myself . Because of this, I have earned respect from people who used to hate me and have awesome friends who love me for ME. That is golden! ( a few hater too but they don't matter)

I wish I could find the time to run for office... (totally joking) I hate politics... but I do feel very strongly about certain things one being teaching people to conform when we should do just the opposite. I would insist on schools teaching our kids how to be safely rebellious, to think outside of the box, to be a leader, not a follower. They would be much better business people and a thriving economy would  not be a bad thing. I would insist on teaching them to be yourself and care less about what others think as long as you are being respectful, kind and diplomatic with the delivery of your opinion. I have had haters in the past who don't appreciate my blunt nature.. and that's okay, I am not for everyone and neither are you. Fact is though, people who embrace it love it, they KNOW that if they ask my opinion they will get the truth; no sugar on top. 

At some point when you are speaking, you need to sit back and listen to yourself and ask... is what I just said or about to say a statement of WHO I AM? If you do this, you will know how true to yourself you are. So many people walk around with their "fake" goggles on that they don't even know who they are anymore. They are trying to impress people they don't even like... how ridiculous is that? Anyway... my point is this.... (my Shelley quote for the day)

"Such irony that we are brought up to conform... to follow the leader and abide by rules; only to learn later that the most successful people are often rebellious rule breakers who lead instead of follow. Perhaps conformity is NOT the best thing to teach." ShelleyGiard2012

Love you all, thanks for reading! 

"I prefer to live in a cone... it is open ended and you can fill it with anything you want!" ShelleyGiard2011


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Exactly What You Need When You Need It...

Although my eyes are on fire I felt had to do this, maybe for you or maybe for someone else... but fate has hold of my fingers tonight. I sat down to begin this blog post hours ago (it is now almost 1:00a.m. my time) but before I did, I scrolled my Facebook page to see what everyone had posted before I put my fingers to work. (it's my television) Low and behold... I found two things. 1. a friend who posted about his struggle with faith due to current circumstances to which I responded in a private message and just after responding... 2. a post regarding a sermon that caught my eye.  I stopped at the post because of the explicit title and because the description that was written underneath spoke of a former porn star named Crissy who had been saved and turned her life around. My mind said two things... 1. Cool, an inspirational story and 2. I think I may know Crissy. So... I clicked and immediately got sucked in because it was the Crissy that I knew. Years ago, I had been hired to do her makeup and hair for a three day shoot in Key West. SUCH a small world,  I thought. I was speechless as I watched and listened to her story.

I knew Crissy was "in the industry" after all, I was hired to do her makeup and hair. I am not saying that I am proud that I took the job; but in my defense I was a bit lost myself back then. It was an all expense paid trip to Key West staying in a million dollar home. I was in my twenties, a bit reckless as I myself was struggling with self esteem issues and dating guys who only wanted one thing. She was a "celebrity", and I was trying to become the next big makeup artist. It was quite the wild weekend I must admit. We all have things we are ashamed of... so if you are judging me, look in the mirror right now. I just put mine out there so other people can learn from my mistakes.

As I watched this sermon like a hawk, many things ran through my head. I related on many levels to what this man was saying because I have been in relationships where this topic was an issue, and everything he said was true. I was saddened to hear Crissy's story, but happy that she has found a new life, one that will likely reward her and help her realize that she is worth more than she has been in the past. I was certainly inspired by her courage in putting it all out there in hopes of helping others, and was reminded once again that God does not judge, he forgives.

As for my friend that is struggling with their faith... as I said in my message to you, I have lost faith many times in my life (all Christians do) when things don't go our way after we pray or when we want it now yet forced to wait for what is meant to be... but the only way I ever bounced back from strife was to stop worrying, to believe and have faith that it would all be okay. And guess what? It always was. 

Often, we have to hit rock bottom... be shaken to the point of having nothing left in us to fight in order to receive what is planned. Given our stubborn nature, and the will to fight which we are born with, we must be weakened enough to let go. It is then that we fall to our knees and THAT is when miracles happen. I have seen it... I have felt it... I have lived it.

Have a great night everyone... my hopes are that whatever it is you believe in... that you are blessed with at least one miracle in your lifetime.


The link that inspired this post: 

Below is another excerpt from my book:

©" I Need the Happy Ending" by Shelley Giard

In August of 1991, just a few months after graduation, my life was changed forever once again when I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter Cierra at the young age of seventeen. My aspirations at that moment could have been tossed overboard if only I had given up hope, but I didn’t. My Dad told me I had ruined my life, and that what I had set out to do was never going to happen now. I was a Daddy’s girl, so that hurt… but I used those words as fuel to empower me. I would prove to him that what he said was not true, and I never let my circumstances overcome my ability to reach goals from that point on. I am so glad that he said what he said, and he knows now that I am stronger than he ever knew. I heard this same song and dance from a few others in my family as well, I was told it would be a hard road; they were disappointed, and told me that I had chosen my path and would have to live with it. My thought now is that this path chose me… it turned out to be one of many milestones to a future I was meant for. For without this path… you would likely not be reading these words.
When we are children, we aspire to be princes and princesses, heroes and beauty queens; we have high hopes of living “happily ever after” because that is what every fairy tale is about. What happens to us as we grow up is the reality of life, it so often steals this fairytale, robs us of hope and wrecks our ability to think we can ever have that happy ending. Along my journey I have felt like this more times than I can count. I have felt that I had truly suffered all the blows I could take.  Just as soon as I feel that mindset taking over; typically after a meltdown and a good cry; I rise above it, suck it up and just keep going… the alternative just doesn’t seem that attractive to me.
After just a few years of pushing myself, I made my Dad eat his words by reaching my initial goals. I couldn’t move to Europe so I aligned myself with a European hair care company instead and was “European” trained. I bought my first home at nineteen and opened my first salon at the age of twenty with no loan and only one month’s rent in my pocket.  I reached and exceeded my goal of making $30 an hour early in my career and now make over $100 an hour with my freelance work. I remember laughing at the thought of how people said “yeah right” and it was another sweet victory. It was time to set more goals and do it again!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Time For Friends....

Busy... always busy... it's hardly an excuse but it is used often because well, life is busy for the most part. Between working, taking care of the kids, crazy schedules, deadlines, shopping, meetings, ... etc etc. it is really hard to carve out time to meet up with friends sometimes, but it never fails, when I do it is always such a great time and well worth the whittling I do to make it happen. Friends are as important to me as family; they are a necessity and spending time with them is a priority even if it's only once a month, it does the spirit good.

There are many kinds of friends... there's the new ones that you are so excited to meet, the kind you see or talk to all of the time, the kind that you keep up with via Facebook, Skype or email because of distance between you, and the kind that you may only talk to a few times a year, but you pick up right where you left off. I am blessed to have friends in each of those categories, and love them all the same. I feel fortunate to have a list that is long and diverse enough to have separate "play dates" each month. I have also had people in my life that I "thought" were friends and turned out to be well... not a friend at all. Being a softy, I often get taken advantage of because my heart is warm and tender and I have a giving soul. I often trust too much, (I have learned good lessons there) and I tend to give people the benefit of doubt. Once in a while however, something happens that shocks me... sends me to the thinking chair wondering if I am that gullible or if people are just that good at faking it.

Good thing is, this kind of thing used to really hurt me... now I just let it roll and move on because that's what you have to do to stay free of the grief. There are people who are conditional... they care only about what's in it for them and unfortunately, they happen upon all of our lives from time to time. Spending a lot of time on trying to figure these people out is a complete waste of time, so don't bother. Instead, focus on the ones that matter, they know who they are and so do you!

Here's to making (and keeping) healthy lasting friendships!

"The way to have a friend is to be a friend" 
~Ralph Waldo Emmerson~

"If a friend is there to listen when things are a mess but cannot be happy for you when you are doing great... they may not be worthy of the name "friend" 
~Shelley Giard 2010~


 Mandy, Kellie and I having some fun at a shoot 2011

Christine, me, Nancy, Stacie & Deanna girls night out 2012

Me Lara & Benny 2009 Umm yeah... don't ask!

Boat night 2008 with the boys! 

 With my crew after a Sarasota Fashion show @ Ringling School of Arts

Tres, Donnie, me and Jeff at Corey's birthday bash 2011

 Arbonne Incentive Trip 2011 Atlantis ...Bahamas Me, Valerie and her friend

Me, Adam, and Jeff 2011

 Meredith, me and Adam 2011
Carol & I  2011 

Meredith and I Christmas 2011

Tandra and I at Evenescence 2012

Emily and I at our Friend's 70's themed party 2011          

Lara and I Thanksgiving 2011

Deena me and Tasha 2009

80's night  me with Nicole, Natalie and Shannon 2009

My 35th birthday dinner with friends

New Year's 2005

Me and the Nelson Twins 2005