Monthly Archives: November 2013

Feelin’ The Love Friday

No bueno

Welcome to the post-holiday hangover. You’re likely feeling it too. If you’re the cook, your feet are a little tired and you’re not interested in cooking for the remainder of the long weekend. If you’re the eater, and that does not preclude you from being the cook as well, there’s a sort of sheen over your tongue and though you may have been up for a few hours already, you’re not sure you ever want to eat anything ever again, unless it’s a green smoothie, and then only after copious amounts of water, and time, sweet, healing time.

I’ve never been much of a Black Friday shopper. I’m sure part of that is because for many years I have been the cook. My feet are tired. I think for a few years, when we had limited budgets and young children, my sister and I gave it our best efforts, but it just wasn’t that fulfilling for us. Maybe we just weren’t doing it right.

ImageThese days I look to extend my holiday weekend by spending time with family, eating pie from time to time and relishing the events of the Thanksgiving day feast. It was a good one this year. But I feel that way every year.

On this particular holiday weekend, my mother is in town and the two of us are going to decorate my house for Christmas. This pleases me enormously as mom loves a good project and my holiday season is brimming full already. Plus she’s better at it than I am.

For the above mentioned reason, I proclaim this day as “Feelin’ The Love Friday”. First of all, names are important, and “Black Friday” never sounds like a shopping festival to me, but a day to avoid getting the bubonic plague. May God have mercy on our souls.

Secondly, while I’m all about shopping and supporting the economy, today seems like a challenging day to do it. It feels forced like one of those holidays people believe with all their souls the greeting card companies created to boost sales, only ALL retail companies created this one…

And third, Michelle At Play is all about making our own choices. It’s about looking at the how we’re told to live our lives, choosing the parts that fit and then making the rest of it our own, personalized adventure.

Decorate your house, paint a picture, go to the movies or stay in your jammies all day and play games. It’s all your choice, and that’s the important part, the part where you choose.

I’m going to do a little bit of a lot of the above. Whatever you do today, I hope it makes you happy. I hope it feels like play, and I hope you do it on purpose.

Happy Feelin’ The Love Friday, my friends.


Thankful ~ A List Of Ten Things

ImageI like to believe I live in a place of gratitude, but the truth is that I’m just like everyone else. From time to time I get whiny. I forget how good things are, I look in the direction of lack and misuse instead of shifting my gaze just a bit until I see that I have more than I can ever use, I have more love, more support, more food and a very generous life. Really, for the most part, we all do. It’s just a matter of perspective. 

It is for that reason I love all opportunities to revel in gratitude. Here is a list of ten things:

  1. I am grateful Mr Dreamboat went to jail. I cannot communicate how searingly painful and nighmarish it was. I can’t imagine doing it again. But the priceless lessons I learned, the support, the confidence in my ability to handle whatever comes my way is something I am deeply grateful for. 
  2. It was a unique blessing to grow up in a small town where I was oblivious to status and materialism. It probably existed, but I wasn’t paying attention. That rock solid foundation in a belief in “making due” and putting “your shoulder to the wheel” has made the ups and downs in life way more fun. And I do mean fun. 
  3. Though I loathe being predictable, I can’t have a list of gratitude and not include the fundamental and pivotal blessing of being Imagemarried to Aaron Scott Young, my Mr Dreamboat. He is such a unique and loving man. We married very young and growing up with this man by my side has altered the course of my stars. I am truly honored to be his wife.
  4. And… of course… I have 5 children and they amaze and delight me every day. The opportunity to be taught at the feet of such lovely and giving souls is simultaneously a pleasure and a pain. They make me laugh, they scare the hell out of me and at the end, when we’re all gathered around a table together, eating and laughing and loving one another, I know there is a heaven and it is right where we are, together.
  5. Adventure Girl is one of my favorite compliments to give the strong women in my life. I was blessed to be raised by one. I grew up in a home without the influence of a man, and yet we mowed the lawn, she paid the bills, we went on vacations and camping. It never occurred to me to sit around waiting for a man before I could do something. I am grateful to have been raised by an Adventure Girl.
  6. I believe that we are each given unique opportunities to learn very specific lessons in our lives. We don’t have to learn the lesson, but the opportunities never stop coming. One of my favorite lessons I’ve learned through some pretty gnarly events has been resiliency. I am grateful for all the times life kicked me to the curb. I know how to get back up and I am so grateful for it.
  7. ImageArt. I am grateful for art. It makes me look at the world differently. I see colors I never noticed before, I see the painterly ways of a Benevolent God and I am transformed. Art really does make the world go round.
  8. I am grateful to be on this side of forty. There are too many voices out there proclaiming that youth is where the power is, and while smoother skin and a tighter… well, being young is certainly prettier, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the foundation that a few more years under the belt and a lot of water under the bridge can give.
  9. I would like to thank the haters. I am grateful to them and to the lessons I learned about being authentic and then walking away. I learned so much about being true to my beliefs and knowing who I am, and more importantly, who I want to be. To you I am grateful.
  10. I am grateful to know about possibilities. This last year in particular has opened up a world to me that I didn’t know existed. I am grateful to be surprised. I am grateful to be in a position to explore opportunities. I am grateful there is so much to do and to learn and to experience.

And I am grateful for you. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.


Holiday Survival ~ We’re All Gonna Need A Bit Of Help

I have some credos by which I live. This will not come as a surprise to you, as I preach them in nearly every post. I reiterate them, I Imagedress them up and put them in stories and analogies and I push my little children out into the world to you. Because they are things I’ve learned. Because they are precious to me and because I love them and I want to share them with you.

Like I said, I usually dress them up, but this is a serious situation we have here. We’re embarking on THE HOLIDAYS! 2013! You should read that in your head as a yell. Kind of like YOLO!, only not as cliche’.

The holidays, under the best of circumstances are an opportunity to be disappointed, to find ourselves in sticky situations and embark upon safaris of self criticism and ugly comparisons. I’m going to say this straight; Don’t do it! Don’t go there. Don’t give in to the ugly demons.

It is because these are cliffs and pitfalls we each will encounter over the next few weeks, over the rest of our lives, I’m giving it to you pure. I’m giving you the juice and I’m not watering it down. Here are some of my own, personal tools, and I give them to you with love and hope for truly joyous holidays. Just keep these little babies in your pockets and hold on to them tight when things get sketchy:

  • Count your successes, not your failures
  • Live your ideal life imperfectly
  • Grow up. Act Out
  • Be naughty, eat dessert first
  • Whatever you’re doing, make it a grand adventure
  • Dream small and then live it big
  • When you fail, fail with purpose
  • You already have what you want, you’re just not looking at it the right way

Life is an imperfect art. And the holidays seem to be a time for the imperfections to shine. That’s okay. It’s really all about the expectations. When we expect imperfections and then look for the shining moments that surround them, we can be fully happy. Even during the stressful holidays. We can live the grand adventure with happy hearts, all in, no regrets.

I believe these things will all my soul and when I can find the balance enough to live them, I live in complete and unrestrained happiness. You come too.

We all have our tools. Share your best ones with the rest of us.

Holiday Pep Talk ~ A List Of Ten Things

Our holidays look like this… Only sexier.

I am sitting here in my bedroom, typing this. My house is full of people for the holidays and I am delighted to have them here. I am excited to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. I am overwhelmed and a little uptight. And I don’t want to be.

I love the holidays, not in an, “I’m going into the Christmas stores on my vacations,” sort of way. But in an, “I’m looking forward to the traditions and the peaceful feelings and the time with family and friends,” type of deal. But getting that peace and enjoying those traditions are a sort of carnival act. They take smoke and mirrors sometimes. And a ton of work.

Yesterday’s post was admittedly a pep talk for myself. Today’s is much the same. These are things I would have my mentor tell me, if, indeed, I had a mentor:

  1. If you take a few deep breaths and know that the holidays will come and go and there will be delights to be had without the blood, sweat and tears you’re known to give, you will be glad. Breathe deep. Feel… not in control so much as, in the flow.
  2. Seeking the perfect holiday is like believing you will achieve perfection before you die. Not. Gonna. Happen. Give into it and trust that good enough is good enough. And good enough, when looked at in the right light, is perfect.
  3. Perfection comes in moments. Look for them and that elusive feeling we had as children will return and the magic will be ours again.

    thanksgiving prep
    Perfect moment.
  4. The only way to feel good over the holidays is to forget ourselves. Look to make magic for others. Seek the opportunity to put on the cloak of Santa and create delights and joy. That’s the only way to really get it all back again.
  5. Contradicting myself is an art and so: Take good care of yourself over the holidays. Get enough rest. eat healthy foods and do the things that make you feel pampered.
  6. Pumpkin pie is breakfast food if you don’t say it in front of a nutritionist or a Fit 4 Life coach. Shhhhhhh…
  7. It’s the quirky events and the silly follies that we remember from years gone by. The Charlie Brown Christmas, the truly dreadful gifts, those are the things we remember years later. Not how pretty the decorations were. Not how perfectly the tree was decorated.
  8. Make a fire in the fireplace or get one of those dvd’s with a crackling fire to put on the TV. Fire = Cozy
  9. Read Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. It puts things in perspective.
  10. The holidays will come and go. There will be magic, there will be the mundane business of our lives. But the relationships we nurture, the kindnesses we extend to others and to ourselves our true celebrations of life and we should care for them without reservation. All year long.
For this I am grateful.
For this I am grateful.


Monday Morning Motivational ~ The Pep Talk I Could Use

It is a busy morning… in my head. I have things to do and thoughts to think and a new adventure to begin and I am positively… well… I’m not sure there’s a word for it in English. It is somewhere between terrified and exuberant. It’s in the neighborhood of scared, only if you take a left and head down the street toward hopeful, that’s closer to where you’ll find me.

And though I am headed down paths unknown to me with the debut of my radio show, really, each of us begins a new day, a new week, a new hour somewhere in that same neighborhood. And we usually judge the outcome of that hour, day, week or project fairly harshly. We find fault when we end up being human, short of perfection, long on disapproval.

Me? My plan for the morning is to take it as it comes, smile at the opportunity and call it a success because I am willing to fall. And in the willingness, in the attempt, it is possible I will learn to fly. And when push comes to shove, that’s all there is to it, to simply try and call our willingness to be vulnerable, success.

At least that’s my story for today, and I’m sticking to it. Wish me luck, but better yet, tune in. Come be a part of the game and send me happily on my way.

Here are the deets: Go to at 10 a.m. Pacific, 11 a.m. Mountain, 12 p.m. Central and 1 p.m. Eastern.

Click the pic at 10 a.m. Pacific, 11 a.m. Mountain, 12 p.m. Central and 1 p.m. Eastern.

Parenting Teens ~ A List Of Ten Things

Big, big tree in my yard.

Yesterday I sent my son out to rake four billion leaves. When I sent him out I didn’t know there were four billion of them, but because I realized I was a lazy, horrible, middle-aged, parental hypocrite since would not want to have to spend my Sacred Saturday Morning raking leaves, I went with him. A job I thought would take a “few hours” for him, took 3 1/2 with the two of us and the last hour we had Carrie and Dakota helping.

This is what I learned:

  1. As adults, we expect things from kids we’re not willing to do, and that’s not right.
  2. We can stand to the side and tell the youth of today how they should be doing things, but we’re overestimating our knowledge of the situation. It’s different in the trenches than it is on the sidelines.
  3. People who criticize the youth of today should SHUT. UP. No seriously. Shut up. It’s not helping and you fumbled through it too. You just forgot.
  4. Four billion leaves is a lot of leaves. Everyone should have a buddy system on a task like that. Or a village. A village would have made it go faster.
  5. Back to the buddy system, parents should behave like parents, no doubt. But there should be an element of camaraderie, of kindness and of understanding. Everyone needs a buddy to get through the rough spots.
  6. When we work with our kids, they work harder.
  7. Question everything you know about being a teen. The fact is, it’s different now than it was then.
  8. A little time working on a project is worth a lot more than time just hanging out.
  9. Teens today are really cool. They are smart, they are funny and they have quite the burden just getting through the maze that is puberty.
  10. Four billion leaves is a lot of leaves.

The Path To Body Acceptance ~ It’s Gonna Be A Long Walk

This photo, as well as others, by Howard Schatz has been all over the internet lately.

Photo Credit: Howard Schatz

I am in love with it. I am transfixed to the beauty of the individual athlete. I am mesmerized by the shapes and sizes of each woman. Each of them, short, tall, thin, fat, apples and pears and pixie sticks of women and they are all so different. And they are all so beautiful.

Truly mesmerized by these images, I continue down my path to body acceptance. As I look at them it becomes obvious that each athlete was born with inherent attributes making her naturally gifted in one area or another. She has simply capitalized on her strengths.

How unfortunate it would be if the pixie-like girl on the uneven bars sat at home heartbroken that she didn’t have the height to play basketball. How tragic to think the solidly built shot putter would live with self-loathing because she wasn’t born with the same body as the long distance runner.

But really, I am feeling empathy for these imagined women, and how many times have I lived out the tragedy in my own life? Always dreaming I should look like, well, for some reason I think I should have the shape of the gymnast. Yeah. That’s just sad.

So I’m practicing, because I think it will take hours and hours of practice, I am practicing appreciating what my body was made to do. I am practicing appreciation for my strengths and the inherent beauty I have as opposed to those attributes I mourn not owning.

I understand these are remedial tasks I’ve taken on. I realize it has taken too much energy and too much thought over the years. But I keep thinking about the women my daughter, who works at an upscale women’s clothing store, tells about. They come in, and they are beautiful and normal and real, and they try on clothes and they beg their husbands to give them some reason to believe they are beautiful and they cry, they cry! in the dressing rooms.

I don’t want to be those women. And I know in my heart, though I keep my emotions closer to the vest, that I AM those women. Or at least I have been in the past. And it’s time to accept that I’m not the gymnast. It’s time to accept that I have my strengths and I have my beauties.

And I have this blog to tell you that I hope today you love yourself. I hope you look in the mirror and you see something precious and beautiful. And I pray you treat yourself like an athlete.

No more crying in the dressing rooms, teammates. No more crying in the dressing rooms.


Casting Off The Smelly Shawl Of Insecurity

A family to love.

I’m feeling a delightful sense of optimism that’s been absent from my day to day lately. I’m not sure about the shift though there are likely many contributors. The sun is shining and it is a crisp, autumnal brilliance outside. I have a day before me set aside almost uniquely to art. And that soothes the soul of this savage beast.

But that’s probably not all of it. It’s likely attributed more to a short conversation I had with my daughter Zoë last night. She and her younger brother Max are living in Nashville. They have a townhouse and are slowly but surely making it into a home for themselves. This is not easy. Living so far, and without a safety net, the challenges are many and sometimes a little intimidating.

A bed to sleep.

Zoë called last night in a good mood. She was especially anxious to go to bed, she told me, because she finally has a bed to go to. Up until recently the two of them each had their individual rooms, but Max slept on his bedroll, brought from home, and Zoë on memory foam mattress cover. It’s going to be a great story someday, likely a part of a talk she will give, but for now it’s just been a less than comfortable way to sleep. She told me she never wants to take a bed for granted again. It’s just such a great feeling to understand the blessing that it is.

I love that my children are teachers to me. I love that they are people who revel in gratitude and remind me to find mine, pick it up, polish it and let it shine in the sun where it should have always been. But we all lose things from time to time.

The month of November brings out the “Thanks” on our social media sites. I read people complaining that OTHER people, not them of course, complain for the rest of the year and one month a year go public with gratitude. I can imagine being accused of worse. I’d rather do it for the one month than never at all. A little gratitude is worth more than a boatload of discontent.

Food to eat.

My misgivings about, well… everything, are still hanging on my shoulders like a weighty, smelly shawl of insecurity. That’s okay. Sometimes we have to wear the little beast until we’re strong enough to cast it off completely and fully live in the sun. Until then, I have sunshine in my soul today.

I am grateful for lovely, lovely children. I am humbled to be married to a great man who considers himself lucky to be with me. I am warm and have my projects, my dreams and my art. And tonight, when I am tired and want only to close my eyes and dive into the wilds of unconsciousness, I have a bed to sleep in. And I never want to stop being grateful for that. 

In gratitude, that’s where I want to live.

And more and more and more family to love…

My First Radio Show Guest ~ Introducing My Very Own Canadian!

Yesterday I finally went in to have some important documents transferred to digital. I felt like such a big girl. It was one of those things that I’d been procrastinating and I finally put it on a list. Those lists, man, they’re powerful little tools of accomplishment.

Anyway, I went into the little hole in the wall business and waited my turn for the one man show to start performing for me. Brian was a pleasant sort of fellow with a sadness about him that told me it wasn’t today that made him sad, but all the days and weeks and months and many of the years that had preceded today.

But he was nice enough and we went over what I wanted done and he graciously complied.

I bring this up because somehow in the conversation I mentioned my radio show airs this coming Monday (SHAMELESS PLUG…). He asked what it was about and when I explained it’s about living life more like you’re playing, being happier, feeling gratitude and joy and interviewing the many people who accomplish this on a regular basis, his response was,

“That’s impossible. No one lives that life.”

I responded like a MASH unit to a battle zone, “No! Dude! It’s possible! I have a bitchin’ cool life. We all can!”

He simply replied with a conversation stopping disbelief, “Huh. Good for you.”

I totally want Brian to come along for the ride with me, but I don’t really think he’s my target market. Anyone who has already decided Life At Play isn’t a possibility, is right. Not with that kind of attitude.

But you? Well, you’re here aren’t you? You put up with me and my ramblings, you generously comment and at the very least you sit at home mocking me, and that’s something right there.

So today I am introducing you to one of my favorite people. I’m introducing you to the woman whom I will interview on Michelle At Play on Monday morning at 10 a.m. PST on Dr Kevin Radio Network, on my show debut. You know her as “My Very Own Canadian”. The rest of the world knows her as….

Ms. Andrea Reindl!

This really is Andrea. Yes, she DOES like sushi.

Passionate. That’s the word I’d like to be remembered for. In business, time with my kids, alone time or with my family being passionate is where it’s at. Helping you build your message and company around what you do best is what I do best. I love to take your brilliance and make it understandable, clear and concise. Then take those concepts and shine them up a bit. Add some pretty graphics and multiple layers to show your brilliance to your future raving fans.

Four years ago I was introduced to the world of Personas, 12 Steps of Intimacy and The Wizard Academy, I fell in love the first weekend. The concepts around different types of people and decision making styles jazzed me up beyond belief. I studied under Roy H. Williams amongst others and have now created dozens of messages and brands using this technique.

Just a bit of back story…born with the horrible condition of ‘Build A Better Business Syndrome’ I’ve spent my whole life as an entrepreneur. My Mom’s value that she instilled in us was that she wanted us to be able to look after ourselves. By the time I was 9 I was making and selling crafts at the local Farmer’s Market, later to be followed up with a business selling custom fit bras. (yep – for real!)

In the past 15 years I’ve, climbed the ranks of a multi level marketing company to be the youngest leader at the time, tried my hand at owning a residential real estate portfolio (still have a bit of that left), & worked with multiple clients helping them brand their companies. I currently co-own Promote A Book an organization dedicated to helping thought leaders spread their message. We have a fun mix of tools we use to work with clients to help them brand themselves. I am a Myers-Briggs certified facilitator and love to talk anything to do with people and behavior, I’m fascinated with what makes us tick.

I have 2 beautiful kiddos, my biggest joy and proudest accomplishment in life is being blessed as their mother. They’ve truly taught me more than I could have imagined.