Living Louisiana – Gratitude

I have many people to thank for their kindness, generosity or simply their smile during my time in Louisiana. I may not acknowledge them all here but know if you came into my world these past two weeks you made an impact on my life and for that I am grateful. Specifically I’d like to thank:

Donna M. Butler for opening her home and sharing her family and friends with me and for calling me big head. We’ve shifted to a new level. Get ready for the ride of your life.

Ivy Butler for being my walking partner and unexpected life coach and for great tasting breakfasts. If you want a coach call Ivy now, don’t leave it another moment.

Ariane, beautiful Ariane, for sharing her room and all that she does to keep her family’s home tidy and the members fed. Someone needs to get her a flat iron and roller for her birthday.

Ellie, Michael and Savannah for being great kids and making me smile everyday. Always be detectives and find solutions to your problems.

Arielle for entertainment while watching The Bad Girls Club and Housewive’s of Beverly Hills.

Haley Patterson for flying in pregnant to co-host with us, and her boys who stayed at home.

T.A, Zarrius & Mikeayla for great hugs.

Tristan for being such an adorable little boy and making motherhood look so inviting with your happy, content attitude.

Nina for pinch-hitting on the show and for sharing her incredible talent. Also for her infectious cackle.

Pat and her family for making me feel at home and for delicious Louisiana cooking.

Jim Colbert for believing in TBWC and bringing in the crew to film our first shows and broadcasting his radio show live from there.

The Joan for a great cut and color, what could be very fun opportunity, and stunning earrings and a bracelet that rock!

Mikeayla Butler for dropping by to say hi. Stay longer next time girl.

The sponsors of our Attitude Shifting event who sent books, CD’s & food.

All the women who came and took part in the event including, Michelle for that very cool thing you did. Jacque and Janine for sharing sage advice.

Cynthia for a gorgeous silver ring which I will cherish as I do our long time friendship.

Donna’s mum for the coffee pot and being a generous when we were up against it.

Anne and her Mum for a great mani/pedi and THE treat.

To Shirnell and Kenyatta for their style. Butterfly rings and all.

The gang at Chili’s for taking good care of us.

And to my significant other, John, for surviving while I was away, his undying support of my dreams, and not losing his only suit that wasn’t moth-eaten in our old house.


Living Louisiana – Leaving Louisiana

“Have a nice flight ma’am”, the gentleman at the ticket counter at Baton Rouge airport said as I was collecting my carry on bags and heading off to the gate for boarding. Today, I left Louisiana. (See my previous entries titled Living Louisiana, for the entire story, if you missed them.)

As I sat waiting for the announcement to board I noticed two billboards in the airport lounge. The first one read – southern hospitality, of which there was much during my time here. Then next to it, was one that stated:

New View, Same Vision

A coincidence? I think not. It has been a new view traveling to the south yet our (meaning my partners and I) vision for The Broke Wives Club remains the same. The goal? To create the world’s largest tow chain of women inspiring, coaching, sharing with, and supporting one another on their journey from broke to stoked and beyond through developing our awareness of who we are, what we truly want and the thoughts, feelings and paradigms that hold us back from being all we can be.

These past 17 or 18 months creating this movement of women who are shifting their attitudes and revving up their lives from broke to stoked, by shifting their thoughts, patterns and beliefs that have limited their growth as purpose-driven beings, has definitely been attitude shifting for me as well, yet it took this weekend for the realization to settle in that I am already stoked. My enthusiasm for life and to create a life I have always dreamed of has always been there. The thin veil around it just needed to be lifted. Who I am, who I am to be, has always been available to me, I just needed to open my eyes and let the fog of pessimism, the feelings of deprivation and lack, and the limiting beliefs and unflattering behaviors that no longer serve me as a strong, confident, vital, successful, loving, inspiring woman fade.

As with everything and according to our friend and titanium link of The Broke Wives Club, Dr. Alex Ledgister, practice makes permanent not perfect. This permanency comes through the practice of self-awareness. Becoming conscious of our thoughts, behaviors, patterns and beliefs that often rule our existence is paramount to shifting from a life of limitations and self-doubt and to one of abundance and generosity without expectation.

We have tools available to us to shift anything we set our minds to. One participant of this weekend’s Attitude Shifting event was sharing with me that she knew she talked too much and that her motor mouth had curtailed the number of friends she has. She shared with me that friends rarely call her to go for a quick coffee. She is always the one instigating the get together. This obviously made her feel sad and frustrated. By becoming aware that she talks more than necessary is her first step to shifting her social life from broke to stoked. Acknowledgment of these types of things is key to making a positive difference in your life.

This is not a difficult process if you are willing to look deeper into your life and the role you play in your lack of contentment. To start, she acknowledged she talked too much and then she figured out she did that because like most everyone she likes to talk about herself. It’s what she knows and in that knowing comes comfort. Talking may be her way of covering up nervousness in a crowd or a need for attention. It could be any number of reasons but the sheer act she knows she does it, is tremendous.

Her exercise to take home with her is to simply be aware that she is prattling on and stop herself, take a breath or pause allowing the other person or people in the conversation to respond. Take time to listen, avoid interrupting, and edit out the peripheral chatter that just takes up time. You may find yourself involved in more meaningful conversation with this easy fix. This simple practice may make all the difference in the world for her and her relationships with other people.

Practice makes permanent so get out on the field of life and play the game with heart, enthusiasm, make smart plays by being aware of the entire field ahead of you, and focus on the goal. When you do this you win.

Tomorrow I will close this Living Louisiana series writing about gratitude, another vital aspect of shifting gears from broke to stoked and beyond.

Living Louisiana – Lights and Action

“Where’s Siobhan? We need her on set”, could be heard throughout the house here in Zachary, Louisiana as the film crew was gearing up to turn the cameras on and point them in the direction of myself and my co-hosts, Haley Patterson and Donna M. Butler. Yesterday, we filmed episodes of our new brand of talk show. In addition to our show on Blog Talk Radio, The Attitude Shift, we’re now doing a TV version.  Where was I? Doing my own hair and make-up. As with the entire creation of The Broke Wives Club there was no budget for that luxury.

We are making it happen for ourselves by doing what we can with what we have and what is donated.We’ve come to this point by working our way from broke to stoked using the advice and tools from our expert mentors who have guided us on everything from being more aware of our thoughts and patterns that no longer serve our needs, to learning about creating financial freedom.

One of our generous sponsors in Baton Rouge treated me to a cut and color and I must say I’m looking good! The Joan , owner of MoHair Salon, is not only a talented hair stylist and colorist she has quickly become a friend and a strong, guiding light and titanium link for the club sharing her advice and experience with our attitude shifting movement. She built her entrepreneurial success on courage to reach out to others, strength of commitment to get the job done, an impressive willingness to share what she has and knows with others, and love for life.

Tonight we all went to Donna M‘s sissy’s house for some delicious Louisiana style food. I got to eat some red beans and rice, a dish that had eluded me on this visit until today – many thanks to Pat for making it for us. It’s the day after filming and today we had wealth accumulation expert, Janine Bolon of Smart Cents Inc and author of Money: It’s Not Just for Rich People, here to share how she went from living with the empty wallet syndrome to a multimillionaire in 7 years without buying real estate. She tells us there are 3 steps to financial freedom.

Up on Pat’s treadmill was speaker and author, Jacque Miller. She’s a behavioral nutritionist so not only was the treadmill an appropriate stage, she shared some tips on how to make healthy lifestyle choices and explained how your behavior effects your health. If you feel health is a major part of your life then she’s a great person to hear from. Jacque said something very powerful, “There are two choices you have when you are in a situation that is stressful. You can change the situation or change how you think about it.”

I am definitely grateful for the people who turned out this weekend and for those who have stood with me and to my loved ones who encourage me everyday to keep on keeping on to make this dream a reality. I certainly have several thank you notes to write this week.

P.S. The tattoo is a temporary one Jacque Miller had stenciled on for our attitude shifting weekend event. Very cool. 

Living Louisiana – Laginappe

“Laginappe, a little bit of everything “. Laginn’ what? Laginappe. Laggin’ what? Laginappe. Donna M and I have been volleying back and forth like this, as I have been learning how to pronounce this term. Laginappe is a saying in Louisiana meaning, a little bit of everything and this blog will be just that. I’ve been here a week and it’s been an incredible time. I of course miss my man yet I am not at all lonely. How could I be as I’ve met most everyone in the state. A slight exaggeration but really I’ve met more people this week than I have this entire year. What a warm, loving family I stepped in to. Donna M is the most fortunate woman I know. She has the love of a great number of people who know her as Mum. If you listen to our show you know Haley, her eldest daughter but then there’s Arielle, Ariane, Ellie, Michael, Mikeayla, Zarrius, T.a. .. I’m missing some …Then the gang at Chili’s treat her like she is the wise woman of the south. Delicious margarita’s there and Ross at the bar is my new best friend. We’ll be taking the women who arrive this weekend there for some chips and salsa and refreshments. Her extended family is large and loving. Then her friends and acquaintances bring the numbers beyond what I could possibly keep track of. Her BFF down the street, Nina,  is a riot and I hear I’ll be meeting more great friends this weekend, one driving all the way from Houston just to give her moral support.

I’m not even sure where to begin we’ve done so much. We’ve interviewed been on the radio. We’ve been in Walmart when a fire started and we were evacuated leaving our grocery cart mid-aisle. I played the role of ace reporter getting interviews with willing Zachary citizens as we waited for the building to be cleared to return to. It was all very exciting with firemen in full fire fighting gear.

There has been news of tragedy within her extended family twice this week and Donna M herself hit her face on a closet bar, cracking a tooth which, will be pulled tomorrow morning, just a few days before we do the taping for our first shows. No you can’t make this stuff up. It’s a little bit of laginappe, she tells me.

A search for her clear nail polish has not been successful. Although she knows where it is, she still can’t get her hands on it as Arielle keeps driving away with it in her car. The life of a Mum whose children borrow things. I’m doing my best to keep track of my flat-iron and barrel roller – so far so good. The girls have  had gorgeous hair all week. Did I mention all Donna’s children are good-looking. The apples of her eye don’t fall far from the tree.

Sunday, I actually went with her family to their church and was introduced to some wonderful people. I even stayed awake and enjoyed the reciting of the poem, Flanders Field, penned by a Canadian in the trenches of WW1. I will however have a blog coming up about a comment I heard that I didn’t agree with. Think about who in your life is worthy. I have some commentary on that topic.

Lunch yesterday, ended up being an impromptu filming of another talk show that’s being auditioned for here, and I felt so comfortable with the other people on the panel as we talked about why spouses cheat. Quite a different style than Donna M, Haley and I do on our show but very entertaining all the same.

Oh and that lunch was to die for. We were at Dorothy’s Soul Food restaurant in Baton Rouge and for something like 5 bucks I had a kid’s plate which must have been for some really big kids. I had catfish, potato salad, corn bread, macaroni, smothered chicken, cabbage and green beans. Oh yeah, you’re going to book your next vacation here.

I am in love with a boy. He’s about 18-months old and Donna M’s grandson. Tristan is such a beautiful baby boy that you just want to drink him in. He was here overnight for the second time this week and when he left tonight I got a kiss. I may never wash my cheek although I was grateful someone else changed his nappies.

I got to sleep past 8am today, since it was chilly out and my new walking partner, Donna M.’s husband, Ivy “Daddy-Man” Butler, postponed our outing for a half hour. I had my toque on and could have used mitts but after a bit my hands warmed up and all was good. Ivy is an excellent coach and adds some really cool things to what is usually just exercise for me. When I get back from these walks around and around and around the block I feel rejuvenated and ready for the laundry list of errands Donna M and I have lined up to accomplish.

Have I mentioned her sister Pat? She’s a funny woman. She is warm and loving and definitely a much better cook than I am. We had some meat and gravy dish that was mouthwatering…and whole bunch of other delicious food both evenings we were invited there for football games.

Donna M’s Mum I hear really likes me, and the feeling is mutual however we have yet to sit down and chat. I cannot wait until Thursday when we go to her home and I grill her about Donna M… you’ll want to read that blog. I have a feeling she has some amazing down to earth advise for me and women around the world.

In closing, it’s been quite a week as we’ve booked some incredible guests for the show as well. I am stoked about tomorrow’s show as we host, Pax Prentiss, the co-founder  of Passages Malibu, the alcohol and drug treatment center in California that you see on all the commercials.  Then on January 19th, Sarah Brokaw, daughter of news legend Tom Brokaw joins us for a little bit of everything – laginappe.

Living Louisiana – Warming Up

“Eat my comfort zone”, the line that cut the air tonight as Donna M and I were convincing a friend of The Broke Wives’ Club over the deafening cheers for the Seattle Seahawks, to introduce us at the filming next weekend. Stuck. That’s what with her. She’s stuck like a tongue on a freezing cold pole and you know how that can hurt if you attempt to take it off. That kind of  ‘it’ll hurt’ type of fear stops many people from taking advantage of opportunity that comes their way, reaching their potential and realizing their dreams. As she tried to pry us off her, she threw out every excuse she could come up with not to do this task. Yes, I certainly understand fear of speaking in public as I still don’t have that down but everyday I just keep pushing it forward as Donna M encourages me to do and one day it’ll be like water off a ducks back.  The funny thing is, this woman is smooth and polished when she speaks in public yet she gives us grief for asking her to do something we feel she shines at. We have to believe in ourselves, drop the self-consciousness and keep taking steps that create opportunity for us to practice those things we shy from doing. One day we’ll say ‘ bring it on’ and mean it.

As day 4 in Louisiana comes to a close, Donna M and I’ve been planning, planning and planning our attitude shifting event weekend. We have shifted our attitudes over the past 18 months from that fear stance to an ‘it’ll all come together’ attitude, and we do not let not knowing how it’ll turn out frighten us from moving this event forward. One dip in the road we’ve hit that isn’t churning our stomachs is that we’ve been able to fly Haley in from Seattle but not back.. yet. Will she get home after the event. Yes. Are we sure?  Yes. Do we know how. No, yet we know something will come along and make that a reality. We may not know what do about some aspect of the event today but we have faith and confidence we can get it all accomplished because we are giving it our all.

Living Louisiana – Getting Settled

” Get the ball in”, a shout out that pierced my quiet corner of the couch at Donna M’s sissy’s home as LSU battles … well…some other team! Watching football, other than The Grey Cup and the Seattle Seahawks from time to time is foreign to me. It’s Day 3 living Louisiana and today I’m beginning to settle down and settle in. My comfort level is increasing, the running headache has subsided, and the bone tiredness was cured with 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

My day began at 8am. Donna’s daughter and my bunk mate for the time I’m here, Ariane, woke with a sore throat and I suggested Vics Vapour Rub and a towel around her neck to calm her throat – a remedy John swears by and giving me chance to feel useful. Then we were whisked off (without coffee mind you – note to self – get up earlier), to a meeting that Daddy Man, aka Donna M’s main man, had to attend where he was asked and honored to lead the opening processional during next week’s Martin Luther King Celebration in Baton Rouge. I’m thrilled to be here long enough to be able to go to that before I fly out. I met a beautiful soul at that meeting, Marjorie, who I would have loved sitting and talking to longer. When she asked where I was from and I told her originally from Ontario, Canada. She’d been there and had visited Uncle Tom’s Cabin historic site.(Checkout the link to get the history on this.) It took a woman who lives thousands of miles from Ontario to teach me significant history of my home and the connection to the Underground Railroad. There’s a lesson in learning to understand that when we go, we grow. I may have never have learned of this if I had opted to stay in my comfort zone and not make the trip to this area. It makes me wonder how many people are missing out on some great things in life simply because they don’t want travel.

The afternoon found us at a meeting for The Broke Wives’ Club. There I met a character and the host of a radio station based here in Baton Rouge whom when I said I’d like to try out a live mike in a real studio, made that become reality and broadcast a half hour long interview with Donna M and I to his audience. Very cool. He then called a person, The Joan, a popular hair stylist in the region, and was telling her that  I was coming in for a hair pool. A what? Through what I consider a heavy Louisiana accent, I heard hair pool. Well, that just about did me in. A hair pool? What in the world is that I’m thinking to my perplexed self.  Was he inviting me for a swim in his pool or… well, there wasn’t an or…  it was beyond me what he meant. We hit a language barrier. How did I handle that? I told him I didn’t understand upon which he proceded to say it again. I looked over at Donna and feeling sorry for me, she wrote down what he was saying…Hair pull. Oh,  hair pull not pool.. oh now I get it – not. Yet right there is where the fun lies in the adventure we call life. Embracing differences and learning new things. You can decide for yourself what hair pull is – I’m certainly not explaining it but it made for a lot of laughs and I’m booked for some hair something with The Joan of Mo Hair, later next week in time for our attitude shifting weekend that is being filmed. I’ll explain that one next week, it’s not the wool sweaters are made of.

What a day. We’re now winding down and tomorrow I am guessing will be as eye opening as today as.

Living Louisiana

“Who left the kid? “A question asked by Donna M’s 7-year old son, Michael when he came out of his room and once again the Butler’s revolving door of welcome spun and one of Donna M’s grandbabies arrived for the night. I’ve been here less than 48-hours in Zachary, Louisiana for the first of many Broke Wives Club Attitude Shifting events, and it’s been a whirlwind of activity. It’s a shift in lifestyle and attitude which I have to manage. I’m here for 2 weeks. So how do you handle an unfamiliar environment? You go with the flow or don’t go at all. Going and finding out about new places, faces and spaces is a way to shift to a new, improved attitude. It’s those times in your life when you see how other people live, what another part of the country or world is like, that you begin to understand we are all connected at a base level. We are all human beings. We all bleed the same color blood. On so many levels we are alike. It’s the things where we differ that create a fantastic environment for learning about yourself and tearing down barriers.

I’ll blog more about what I learning, discovering, and shifting as the visit continues however one thing I know to do is get enough sleep to deal with the excitement and frantic pace life takes in Donna M’s world.