04sq5x-l-610x610-yellow+shoes-shoes-yellow+bag-bag-fashion+bags-heels-fashion+shoes-stylish-stylish+eve-pink-bracelets-colorful-spring-trends-chanel-michael+kors-bag+pursesWhat I realized looking back on my 20s is that my friends have always more supportive, more reliable and more insightful than any guy in my life.

Reflecting on that, I can’t help but shake my head at a nasty cliche I used to hear repeatedly from a male friend in university: “All women secretly hate each other.”

I never understood this because I never experienced it. Roxanne Gay, in her book Bad Feminist, had this to say on the subject: “Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses — pretty but designed to SLOW women down.”

via Who Needs A Man With Friends Like These | Sadiya Ansari.

Yes, I’m not afraid to admit it, I thought this quote was great! About time too. For too long I believed that quote, that women secretly hate each other. I did experience it, but like most experiences, I’ve found perspective is key in unraveling them.

After taking time to notice, I realized that really there are crappy friends on both sides of the gender equation.  There are crappy significant others on both sides of the equation too.

The necessary skill is to ensure you’re picking the best possible people in your life. Period.

Today, take a look at your life.  Today is a new day – start spring cleaning now, it’s not too late.  Keep what’s working and say goodbye to what’s not. Let your relationships help you grow and move forward.  Pretty is fine, but don’t let it slow you down.

Be all you can be and be the friend who helps someone else be all they can be too.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I don’t know where I first read “The Mouse Trap” but I saw it again this morning and as always it reminded me to look past my nose and to help others out even if I don’t see a personal gain. Thanks June M for sharing.

The Mouse Trap

A mouse looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opening a package; what food might it contain?

He was aghast to discover that it was a mousetrap!

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning, “There is a mouse trap in the house, there is a mouse trap in the house.”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell you this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me; I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mouse trap in the house.”

“I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse,” sympathized the pig, “but there is nothing I can do about it but pray; be assured that you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow, who replied, “Like wow, Mr. Mouse, a mouse trap; am I in grave danger, Duh?”

So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house, like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught.

In the darkness, she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital.

She returned home with a fever. Now everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.

His wife’s sickness continued so that friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer’s wife did not get well, in fact, she died, and so many people came for her funeral the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide meat for all of them to eat.

So the next time you hear that someone is facing a problem and think that it does not concern you, remember that when the least of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

Source unknown

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riselikeair:

The gratitude attitude. I think I’ve found my next 30 day challenge.

30 days. 30 gratitudes.

1. Mad Man Knitting blogs

What are you grateful for?

Originally posted on Mad Man Knitting:

No, you didn’t read it wrong. It does say “Thank,” and I wasn’t being colloquial, nor speaking in vernacular, nothing like that.

I’ve written this sort of post before. But, this one is a touch different.

I’ve taken radio silence the last week or so. It’s imp0rtant for me to do that on occasion. To slip back for a second and just listen, not talk so much, and just listen. Be receptive. And when you do that, you get a loud message. HUGE, I tell you. You hear nothing else.

The message I got was of a need to truly explore gratitude.

Don’t get me wrong. I am truly grateful for the amazing life I’ve been living. A wonderful life that no one in the world could have foreseen. I was given something precious. I was given something rare and exceptional. And I don’t dismiss it. But, I haven’t really…

View original 413 more words

“Delta continues with class,” tweeted @BillyTheKidWitt. “Stuck due to weather and the crew ordered everyone pizza. #deltaairlines.”

via Delta pilot orders pizza for delayed flight – CNN.com.

Wow, can you get better press than that? I mean, really, that’s worth almost as much as a spot during Superbowl no?  I’ve travelled by numerous modes of transportation and suffered the frustration of delays in all forms. Sitting on a runway, regardless of how valid the reason, is not something anyone looks forward too. I’ve seen how a civil crowd can suddenly become uncivil, succumbing to the impatience, following the group mentality. The pilot and crew of this Delta flight really showed their kindness and empathy. A real win win, the passengers could keep their patience in tact a little longer and the pilot and crew could keep their sanity in tact as well. Let’s not forget that they’re just as stranded as everybody else. Compassion and empathy, a two way street.

Contrast that story to United Airlines approach this week that was experienced by Canadian singer Sarah Blackwood of the band Walk Off the Earth, and her toddler son. 

She says that while the plane was taxiing down the runway, her son fell asleep. However, the plane didn’t take off and turned back. Blackwood and her son were then asked to exit the plane.

“When I got up to get off the plane, other passengers were infuriated,” she says. “They were standing up saying, you can’t ask her to leave the the plane, her baby’s now sleeping, everything’s fine, he was just crying, she was doing her best. It was just a really unbelievable situation.” – cbc.ca

Posts to United Airline’s Facebook page would seem to substantiate Ms Blackwood’s claims.

Paul William Moore said he was on the flight Wednesday afternoon and was sitting two rows behind Blackwood. He said she was trying her best to keep her son quiet.

“The only person that was not empathetic to the clearly stressful situation was the flight attendant, who warned the mother three times to keep her kid quiet,” Moore wrote. “Sure enough, the flight attendant followed through on her warning and had the plane return from taxiing … to the airport.” – cbc.ca

I read these accounts on the same day, and thought that the flight attendant here made a choice as well. I’m not sure I would say it was a winning choice for anyone at this point.

I wondered, who would I rather fly with? Work for? Work with?

I know these are individual examples and not necessarily indicative of the culture or business attitudes of United or Delta at all.

What I do know, is that today employees on two airlines made choices. In one, there was a shining example of empathy, compassion and kindness today and that was by choice. It was a very good choice. In the other, well, I didn’t seen any kindness, empathy or compassion.

Today my son attended a Skills Canada event. He said there were three types of groups at the career fair portion.

The first group sat there, said nothing and did nothing to engage the students or invite them to their booths. Students Lose, Corporations Lose,

The second group smiled charmingly and handed out swag but gave no context or information on what they were about. Students sorta Win, Corporations definitely Lose

The third group engaged the students by offering swag as they invited them to learn about what they had to offer. Students Win, Corporations Win.

Who would I rather hire? Who do I want to work for? Who do I want to work with?

It’s all about choice and perspective. Kindness, helping others –  wins, every time.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Photo credit: ©2015 J Fries

Photo credit: ©2015 J Fries

If you’ve been following us on twitter and Instagram during the month of May you’ll have noticed pictures of nature and the hashtags #NatureIsCalling and #30x30challenge. The David Suzuki Foundation challenges us to be active and get out and enjoy nature for 30 minutes each day during the month of May.

Over the past three years, the 30×30 Challenge has inspired tens of thousands of individuals and hundreds of workplaces and schools to cultivate the nature habit. They took to the great outdoors, doubling their time spent outside. Our research showed that participants were sleeping better, felt calmer and less stressed. Impressive results for a half hour a day! ~ 30×30 Challenge

Participants are encouraged to post their pictures, video and stories each day using the hashtags #30x30challenge and #NatureIsCalling and to tag @DavidSuzukiFDN. Each week a draw is made for a sponsored themed prize.

We already know fresh air and exercise are good for our physical health but many of us forget that it’s equally important for our mental health as well. Studies have shown that people suffering with depression and anxiety can find significant relief by engaging in nature and exercise.

The Minding Our Bodies project was started by the Canadian Mental Health Association in Ontario Canada and ran from 2008-2013.  They were partnered with Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, Nutrition Resource Centre, YMCA Ontario and York University.

The goal of the project was to change how we treat Mental Health problems by also promoting physical activity and healthy eating for people with serious mental illness to support recovery. Why? Because that’s the direction the evidence points.

In March 2013 Elizabeth Lines, a health promotion consultant provided the following facts:

  • Total annual health care spending in Canada is now over $200 billion (CIHI, 2012); in Ontario, health care spending consumes over 40 percent of the provincial budget. Finding ways to contain health care spending is a priority.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide (WHO, 2012) and a leading contributor to the economic burden of disease.
  • Chronic stress is pervasive, and related to depression and the development of chronic disease.

She goes on to talk about studies showing the positive effects of nature simply from viewing it.

For example, Ulrich (1984) found that hospital patients who could view the outdoors through a window recover from surgery faster than those with restricted views; that students who watched a stressful film recovered faster in a natural setting (Ulrich, 1991); and that prisoners with a view of nature show stress symptoms less frequently (Moore, 1981)

In another study from Sweden being in nature also showed marked health benefits.

A Swedish study of the rehabilitative impact of nature on crisis response found that the simple experience of being in nature was most rehabilitative for those experiencing the highest levels of stress. Walking in nature also had a positive effect, though the difference was not as great. For those experiencing low-to-moderate stress levels, social interactions in the natural setting contributed more to stress reduction (Ottoson and Grahn, 2008).

Studies have even shown interactions with nature can improve attention and we seem to be in short supply of attention spans.

Some findings suggest that the benefits to attention of walking in parks are greatest for those with the greatest deficits. Along with attention improvements, walking in nature as opposed to an urban setting reduced anger, improved positive affect, and reduced blood pressure (Hartig, Evans, Jamner, et al., 2003).

All this amazing evidence lead to the question what about putting nature and exercise together?

In a systematic review of 11 studies comparing the effects of activity (walking or running) in an outdoor natural versus indoor environment, Thompson Coon, Boddy, Stein, et al. (2011) found that many of the self-report findings suggested greater improvements to mental well-being (moods, feelings) from outdoor than indoor activity. Benefits included “greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.… Participants reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and declared a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date” (p. 1761). However, the authors caution that these measures were taken following single episodes of exercise, with unknown effects on adherence; moreover, methodologies tended to be weak and varied, making it difficult to compare results and interpret findings. Participants again were usually young adults, with an average age of 25 years.

While not all the findings so far are definitive, it’s fairly certain that at least some level of benefit is derived. The website and Literature review are worth reading in their entirety. The Literature Review also lists all the sources of studies and various useful links.

It’s beneficial all around. It’s inexpensive. In most cases it’s easy to do. Where I live it’s really easy. I live with over 160 acres of nature surrounding me yet there are days where I still have to force myself. Maybe the weather isn’t inviting or I’m feeling guilty about a too long to do list. Whatever the reason often I’m pushing myself out the door.

This challenge and some nice spring weather have made the commitment easy. Walking the trails around me every day made me intently aware of the subtle changes that happen around me that I don’t notice. How one day there were patches of tiny violets where the day before there was barely a patch of green showing amongst the leaf debris from last fall.

One morning I commented that the tiny buds on the native aspen trees would soon burst into green. When I walked along that afternoon the buds had burst open during those few short hours creating a green shadowing  in all the treetops. Noticing subtle changes, seeing the process rather than just the result has been an unexpected reward of this challenge.

I’ve also realized that by the time I’m done I’ll have a nature streak of 30 days! Somehow that feels validating. And once I have a streak going I’d really hate to break it. So just maybe I’ll have formed a healthy habit and I won’t feel guilty even on the busiest of days. Summer certainly makes it easier. Gardening, outside chores, lazy days at the lake. Hoping the momentum will also carry me through the long cold months we experience.

The Literature Review ends with a sobering thought,

According to 2011 census data, more than 86 percent of Ontarians live in urban areas. Meanwhile, the natural environment continues to be degraded or eliminated by advancing urban and suburban sprawl, commercial/industrial land use and climate change; natural settings are disappearing.

While leaving the door open for real change.

The challenges are great. But, perhaps the mounting evidence that a “dose” of nature is good for health will contribute to the preservation and maintenance of the natural environment, as well as directly improve quality of life and reduce the health care burden.

They also have their final evaluation reports available online here.

I’m learning to love nature in all it’s forms, in all it’s seasons. It’s fun, it’s good for my mind and it’s good for my body. Are you ready to play?

Sound like a great idea but think you don’t have time or aren’t close enough to nature? Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

  • Map out where the green spaces in your area are and plan a visit to each one
  • Plant a flower box garden on your balcony
  • Find a community garden group and become a member
  • Local greenhouses or public atriums are a great place to visit and relax
  • Start a community group to create or refurbish a green space

With a little creativity you’d be amazed how much time and nature you can enjoy starting right now.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I stayed at home to work today and was pleasantly surprised when my husband and daughter walked in with my favourite flowers for my veranda pots. I didn’t even think they’d remember what I like. They added yellow and pink to the palette and I can’t wait to get them transplanted. Now we have orange symphony, lemon symphony and sweet blue sunrise, which is pink. 

A symphony of colour waiting to blossom in abundance on this overcast May Day. 

In the hurry of getting things done it’s important to stop and appreciate the little things that happen, to take time to say thank you for, adding a symphony of colour to my day. 

Maybe having to work wasn’t so bad after all.  I’m grateful, thank you. 

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Being a mom is an interesting path to walk at the best of times. We joke that kids don’t come with a manual and it’s true. No matter how well read you are, how trained you are, even with all the skills and patience you bring to the task, there’s still a lot of trial and error and just plain luck involved. We all have our plans about how we’ll be super moms, but in reality our relationships with our children will have ups and downs and will grow and morph in many ways over hopefully many wonderful years.

Unknown-1I believe most mother’s really do want the best for their children. Sometimes, I admit, we make mistakes and miss the mark. It can range from simple to complex. We’re  a little over protective, maybe we make too many choices for them. For the most part we all work it out and over time our relationship, we hope, grows stronger.

I know when I became a mother, my world changed in many ways. Nine months of gestation produced more than a baby.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh

As I saw mother’s day played out on social media I realized that there is truly a huge range of emotions and experiences that transpire around this celebration. Within my own group of friends and news feeds, the expected joy and beauty was truly apparent. Right along side of it, with the same intensity was grief and anguish.

There were mothers who lamented children no longer alive to celebrate this special day with them. A hole left in their lives that will never be filled.

Loving daughters and sons who didn’t look forward to the day because mom was no longer with them to celebrate. It didn’t matter if the loss was recent or decades ago. An old wound was reopened.

Moms who feel aching loneliness, lamenting their children’s indifference over outdated misunderstandings. Grandchildren who  only know stories but not grandma’s warm embrace. The absence of celebration or the pain of loss while celebrating the joys that remain.

Children and husbands holding tightly to mothers who they know will be leaving them far too soon.

A mother who celebrated her very first mother’s day unaware it was the last day she would there to celebrate at all.

The new mother welcoming her first born just before mother’s day only to lose her a few days later.

Mothers separated by vast distances from their children, connecting through technology that didn’t exist when the mothers were their children’s age. Not the same as sharing the same space but so much better than the alternative.

Grown children who were certainly babes in arms a short time ago, towering over mothers in loving embraces. The smiles and joy spilling from the page and into my heart.

The little child’s fist full of dandelions thrust up towards his mother, her most treasured gift.

What became clear was that Mother’s Day was different for each mother, as different as each of our children are. What remains constant is that each mother and each child no matter how old, how far away or estranged, is in someway moved. The bond, no matter how strained or strong is marked somehow, whether it is visible or invisible, acknowledged or not.

My mother is aging faster than I’d like to admit. I know that my time with her is limited. Time goes by too quickly, we never know just how much we have.  One of the biggest things people say they wish they would have done differently was to have forgiven someone, or to have said “I love you.” more. I was reminded of this even more this year. In which case, there is really only one thing to do.

phonto

It really doesn’t matter who it is, if there’s a relationship to repair, appreciation to show, love to give, choose to do it now. Life life, make memories, no regrets.

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years~ Mike & The Mechanics “In The Living Years”

I love you mom.  Thanks for all you’ve done and all you do, especially for making memories that will keep you with me forever.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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What are you doing today?

Is it worth remembering?

It’s up to you and only you. Enjoy the power.

IMG_0753-0

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Mother's First Bouquet Photo Credit: J Fries

Mother’s First Bouquet
Photo Credit: J Fries

To all a happy Mother’s Day
And this a mother’s first bouquet
Clutched in a small and grubby  fist
Accompanied by a sloppy kiss
Nothing brings a quicker smile
Than a child awed by nature for a while
Sharing their love in this simple way
To wish you a Happy Mother’s Day
And if this time for you is past
Wishing you memories that forever last.

 – J Fries

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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©Jade Beall Photography Charity, mother of 3

Jade posted on FB the other day about a photo shoot she had with a lovely mother of 3, Charity.

Women feeling dissatisfied with our own bodies is nothing new.  The movement toward self acceptance and self love is a challenge for many. The fact that our bodies are constantly changing, especially when we have children, doesn’t help. We have to constantly learn to love and accept differences that weren’t there before.

I know our acceptance of ourselves is affected by external influences and something Charity said to Jade showed me just how important the attitudes of those around us are as we develop our views about our own bodies and those of others.

I also grew up with veiny women in my family and my dad actually has gnarly variscosities in his legs too. When I was a kid, I thought it was normal and liked the way they felt like worms under the skin. My mom and grandma never took measures to hide their veins and no one really talked about them being unsightly, so I guess I just accepted them as normal.  ~ Charity

via Jade Beall Photography.  Click the link to read the entire interview.

“I just accepted them as normal.” Normal, not something to be ashamed of or to hide. Just a normal thing that occurs to varying degrees in many bodies, both male and female. No big deal. It just is.

Just think about the difference that belief makes. No pressure, no feeling bad, no hiding. It’s freeing, it’s empowering.

Think about the influence we as adults have on children. Our actions and our words that we use with little thought are moulding the beliefs and attitudes our children will hold about themselves and others as they grow up.

“If only I could lose five pounds.”

“Why doesn’t she take care of herself?”

“Did you see the size of Mildred’s veins?”

“I’ll just have salad, want to watch my girlish figure.”

“Ah she knows I fell for her long legs.”

“I’d never stay with a woman who let herself go like that.”

“Short hair on a woman is too masculine.”

Laughable except that I’ve heard every one of those things recently said in front of children.

Charity’s family helped her develop a sense of body image that has helped her find an inner security many would envy. Her attitude is evident as she speaks about her pregnancy.

Pregnancy is one of those states of being that changes our anatomy and I’m just so grateful for the gift of bearing this child that I see all these changes to my body as a small price to pay. ~ Charity

As a mother with that kind of attitude, I have a feeling Charity’s children will grow up feeling empowered and learning how to love themselves unconditionally right from the start.

Thank you Jade and Charity for sharing such a wonderful lesson.

Jade is also working on a new project to develop a Beautiful Body Project Multi-Media Story Website.

We are currently building a dynamic digital-newspaper-style website which will be the global media platform to showcase the videos images and stories of the women these photographers & videographers find in each of their countries, forming a cohesive yet diverse body of work unlike any existing media platform available today, dedicated to truthful images and inspiring stories of women about topics that aren’t often explored in mainstream media: birth, breast-feeding, living with cancer, miscarriage, loss, eating disorders, self-harm, sexual abuse, and beyond as a way to illuminate hope with the larger goal of building healthy self-esteem in current and future generations of women!  ~ Jade Beall

If that’s a project you see the value in follow the link to see how you can be a part of making the vision a reality.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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