Back to Basics ~

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IMG_6835I have had a great deal of inner dialog lately that seems to surface at unexpected times during my day. It feels like my subconscious is sending out warning signals, interrupting my thought process, trying to remind me to stay connected. I have been in deep thought about what I want and how I am going to achieve it, physically, spiritually, mentally, financially and in love. Times up, todays the day!

The physical part is easy…just do it. Put your shoes on and go! Lately I have lost my connection with that feeling of being exhilarated by movement. I crave it! I am starting to understand why.

“Hi my name is Tracy Westerholm and I am addicted to massive amounts of social media!” There I said it. Social Media has been the instigator to my disconnect. Too much time with my face in my phone engulfed in every iPhone app related to connecting with others, which has made me feel disconnected with myself and oddly enough…others!

WARNING RUN ON SENTENCE AHEAD…

Lets be honest all the social media that is out there is actually NOT allowing us to connect with one another up close and personal! I don’t have time after I log in to Facebook and check my messages, upload a pic or two, say hi to a few friends, BBM the handsome dude back East, answer my Text Messages, scroll Instagram, WhatsApp my non iPhone friends, check out who checked me out on OkCupid, answer my regular Email (not one but 4 accounts) Facetime my daughter in the other room, Skype, Snapchat, Pinterest, download a new song from iTunes, listen to it, YouTube the latest cool video, MapMyRun but now I am so tired…I don’t run! Good God no wonder I don’t have time to meet you for coffee! I need a nap just reading that!

I am deactivating ( <~a true addict) distancing myself from Facebook (insert gasp here) and although I know I will go back at some point, I need this brake break. (<~ thanks Bon…see I need your balance…come back!) I need to fall back in love with me, so I have taken a few steps to unplug all the distractions that are preventing me from becoming a better me. I need to find my focus.

Reconnecting with my spirituality has also been on my mind, but has been clouded by the chaos that I have allowed to surround me. I need to reconnect with what is important to me. I need to listen to my heart without all the distractions of my head.

Financially I am starting to feel in control. It is about balancing needs and wants. Having the desire and drive to achieve short and long term goals you set is critical in seeing them to fruition. If you don’t set these goals you lose sight of where you are heading. Having spent the last year working at Envision Financial I have become very much aware of what is important in finding a balance in my financial life. I have also experienced first hand how having a plan in place helps you reach your goals, no matter what they are. I love my job and the women I work with, they are so willing to share their knowledge and support with one another.

Mentally I strive to be in a place that makes sense. I think too much. Although I am ready to take on whatever comes my way it can be daunting at times. I remind myself ~ It’s how we react to tough situations that makes us truly who we are, building our character along the way. I think all of us need to take a mental vacation from everything to see clearly what we need to change. I know I do, I am.

Love! I can’t write anything without there being an underlying voice of love, it’s who I am. It truly is all we really need. Loving unconditionally without boundaries or restrictions is the purest form of love. I have struggled over the years to understand what I want and need in regard to love. I think I may be searching for a moving ship. Some days I sink, other days I float.

One thing I know for sure is that I need my girlfriends! Female energy is nurturing. When I  walk next to one of my girlfriends, whether my heart is heavy or light, whether I have tears of sadness or joy they always seem to balance my energy with theirs making us feel empowered and able to take on the world once again!

Have a wonderful long weekend everyone! Be safe and connect with someone up close and personal, it matter!

Svaha ~

Tracy signiture

Powerful Women vs Women in Power

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IMG_0096_3_2“With great power there must also come –great responsibility.” ~ Stan Lee

Not all Women in Power are Powerful Women. There are women who exude personal power naturally, and those who have to work for it. Those who come by it naturally generally don’t take advantage of it because they are secure in who they are. (there is always an exception to the rule) Life experience or character building is usually along the path in finding it. These women can’t help but walk into a room and have other women feel their vibe. They don’t flaunt it, or try to draw attention to it, it just is. If women are secure within themselves they admire it, are even attracted to it like a pyro to a flame. They recognize and appreciate from where it came.

It makes me smile when I am in the presence of such women. It’s sexy, inspiring and female energy at its best! Its like admiring a woman who takes care of her body, you appreciate what they sacrifice to be their personal best. Just as I admire a woman who takes the responsibility of her own personal power to heart, not using it against the sisterhood, but to help her sisters with it.

The women who crave this type of power for the wrong reasons end up stepping backwards. They try to find ways to achieve it but aren’t willing to do the work to get there. You don’t gain personal power by stepping on or pushing other women down. You can’t take another woman’s personal power, unless they allow you to. Consider it a gift and pay it forward if you manage to steal a little!

Now lets not confuse powerful women with controlling women. There are control freaks are all around us, but usually theses type of women only affect the work place, personally we can just let that friendship go. In business, these women don’t delegate, they command, they don’t lead, they boss and they certainly don’t inspire. When you delegate as a leader you show you have confidence in others and inspire them to do their best, which in turn benefits ‘the team‘.

Deep down if you peel the layers off these controlling individuals you find insecurity. They have yet to find their own mojo. These women need help, and by help I mean a helping hand. This is where the responsibility of those who have worked hard to attain personal power comes in to play. It’s their responsibility to help direct these women to the path that benefits everyone. If what you are doing personally or in business is not benefiting those in your circle, you need to question what your motivation is and what you are trying to achieve. The first step in finding your personal power is understanding we are all part of the same circle. We all benefit from working together. In the big picture it’s about finding happiness and joy, paying it forward, letting go while we do what we love…sharing!

So lets follow this through a little further to where I believe in my heart all women can thrive. Women helping women! We started Tara Cronica 5 years ago to inspire other women to live their most authentic lives. We are a support network if you will. Networking and sharing our personal stories for the sake of others to give encouragement, inspiration and allow personal growth.

There is no longer room for ball busting bitches in the board room, it’s not necessary or a positive way to motivate others. You don’t need to have that reputation to succeed in business or be admired in the corporate world or otherwise anymore.

What legacy do you want as a woman to leave behind? I ask myself that often, having a daughter who appears to have been here before. She already ‘gets-it’ at 12 years old!

I came across this show, and if you know me you know I don’t tune in to the boob-tube often so I think I was meant to see this particular series on women inspiring women!

The Stiletto Network…

Inspiring women, inspiring women, doesn’t get much better than that now does it! How could you NOT want to be one of these beautiful female energies!

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…and for those interested in the Women’s Power Wheel which is the photo I used above, here is a link of a site I found very inspiring ;)

P.S…my fav is the second from the left, classic black! :)

Tracy signiture

Girl-Power!


There are so many beautiful amazing young girls out there who are making a difference in the world. They listen to their friends and give positive advice. They compliment one another. They are a comforting shoulder to cry on and hand out tissue when needed. They remind each other how important it is to be strong and supportive of other female energy. They empower one another! They take being a girlfriend seriously.

There has been so much sadness in the News this last week with the passing of Amanda Todd. She made a mistake or mistakes that ultimately should not have lead to her death. Young girls need to know they are not alone when it come to making mistakes. We all make mistakes as we navigate through the challenges of life. With each life lesson we learn a little bit more about who we are and what we are capable of. We learn to identify a true friend as we learn to become one ourselves. We grow and unfold as we face these challenges head on. Young girls need to know they matter!

It’s hard to understand while you are in the midst of being a teen that you will one day reflect on your path and the choices you made with a smile, but you will. You will smile, you will laugh and you will even say “Oh god, what was I thinking!”

Take time to reminder the young girls in your circle how important they are. We all go through tough times, it’s not just a teen thing! Grown ups make mistakes as well, we have just leaned not to be so hard on ourselves through experience. We are given opportunities every day to reach our hand out and help someone up! It is up to each of us to stop and take the time to recognize who needs a moment or simply a smile, a kind word or a helping hand.

Be kind and supportive of your friends whether they make mistakes or not because it’s the right thing to do.

Young girls need to band together to inspire and empower one another…here is a little video that shows us how precious our little girls really are!

My condolences to the Todd Family, they have lost their Princess ;(

Girlfriends at My Side ~

I am on a path of Enlightenment just like the Goddess Arya Tara who we chose to represent us here on Tara Cronica over 3 years ago. I am growing and unfolding along the way, learning life lessons, making memories and expanding my circle of friends. I believe I have evolved as a woman while writing what’s on my mind each week. Writing is my passion and it has also been therapeutic. Women communicate and learn from speaking to, and listening to, other women, it’s what we do.

I have had so many laughs and shed many tears along the way. One thing that has been consistent are the girlfriends who stand at my side day and night, 24/7. Men have come and gone but the beautiful nurturing souls who I am blessed to say are my girlfriends stand strong at my side. I need my girlfriends, it’s that simple. I love the male energy as you all know, great men inspire me to be a better me.

Life would not be the same without my beautiful soul sisters!

My Mom shared this link with me (she is more than my Mom she is also my girlfriend) and it rung so true to me I needed to share it with you. Thanks Mom I love you!  xo

They Teach it at Stanford;

“In an evening class at Stanford the last lecture was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other thing, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious. Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physcially this quality ‘girlfriend time’ helps to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very GOOD for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym. (Hallelujah to that!) There’s a tendency to think that when we are ‘exercising’ we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged – not true! (I know not ONE of my girlfriends agrees with that statement!) In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!”

So every time you grab a java with friends or chat over a glass of wine, keep in mind it’s good for your well being! It soothes the soul!

This does not mean I am not going to go on and on about the male energy, that will never change! I love my friends male and female!

Svaha Girlfriends…and Man-friends!

Do Vancouver Men Really Suck?

I was watching Global News the week of Valentines and they had a series called ‘The Things We Do For Love’ which covered all the basis from the pursuit to married with child. Did you know there was such a thing as a wedding proposal planner for the bride groom who doesn’t want her his special moment to be anything less than perfect? Is that starting off on the wrong foot, trying to be perfect? Are women putting that much pressure on their man to be perfect? Are both parties setting themselves up for disappointment in the future when the honeymoon stage is over? Or do they just want a little taste of the fairy-tale while it’s still attainable? I’ve written about Fairy-tales & Happy Endings! (Fairy-tales are make belief, and Happy Endings will cost ya!) Have women lost faith that the male energy can create and orchestrate his own moment…and it be just right?

The series included a serendipitous meeting of a couple who met online by mistake when an email was sent to the wrong address, who are now married with a 2 yr old. Unpredictable and unplanned! Su-weet story. Who cares how long they will last, what’s important is that they took a chance, embraced the unknown and jumped in with both feet. I wish them years of happiness for doing just that!

* romantic sigh *

They also had a Match Maker who thinks men and women hide behind their computers which doesn’t allow them the chance to get out and mingle like they used to. I agree with her wholeheartedly! Nobody talks face to face anymore, communication is via Facebook, Text, Skype, Twitter, E-Mail, BBM, iMessage, MSN ect. There is simply nothing better than standing close to a man, staring into his eyes as he speaks to you. (insert deep inhale here)

There was attention brought to an article in Vancouver Magazine “Do Men in Vancouver Suck?” and although they only included a few female opinions they all agreed they do! In the article the women said single men in Vancouver were passive with no plan, uninteresting and uninterested. Uninteresting is such a general statement to make about someone. There is someone for everyone, so to say someone is uninteresting doesn’t mean they are to everyone. Uninteresting to a specific woman or man perhaps but certainly not to all. Uninterested is also a very general statement. You can’t fake interest in someone, you either are or you aren’t. It’s such a personal attraction and sometimes there’s simply a lack of chemistry so it really doesn’t matter what you do there isn’t a connection. Build a bridge and get over it!

Male energy as you all know intrigues me. I have always had lots of great man-friends. I relate to men and understand them to a certain degree. They are far from perfect as are women. When we come to terms with that, they’re much easier to navigate as are we. I am not sure if men are passive because they have no plan, I think men have slowly been put in the back seat because women of this generation have goals of their own to achieve. Husbands and family are no longer their number 1 focus in many cases. ‘Don’t make someone your priority when they treat you as an option’ works both ways! Women are self sufficient and don’t need men anymore. There are even ways around conception that don’t require a man in the same room. So why wouldn’t men just sit back and watch women succeed without them? Woman can be unapproachable, and lets face it no one likes rejection. Men find comfort in their man-cave watching the game with their buddies, eating hot wings and laugh their asses off with no pressure to preform in a socially acceptable manner. Women find comfort sharing stories with their girlfriends over a glass of wine, laughing their asses off just being themselves. The trick is to be able to do what makes you comfortable with or without your partner in the room, it should be no different whether they are there or not. You need to get out and do what YOU love, and if you’re joined by someone you dig perfect, if not perfect! Just let it be…

I have met some great men over the last couple of years, a good % of them have not been available because of circumstances at the time we meet. Timing is important for sure. Everyone is just doing their best in their situation, trying to navigate life. That can be a difficult task on its own, let alone adding kids and jobs, personal time, living arrangements ect ect ect. Life is more complicated than its ever been for men and women, and I think in time things work out the way it’s meant to be. We all just need to settle down and relax, take one patient step at a time and don’t put so much pressure on one another to meet a socially acceptable time line. Be you and allow the man you have your eye on to be who he is, authentic and true. Follow your heart and eventually you will know if it’s worth exploring further. Accept those who walk into your life for who they are NOW, you have no control or shouldn’t want to control who they unfold to be in time.

When you just start living your own life, things just seem to come together. Start walking, you might be surprised who joins you. Get rid of your expectation because there is no guarantee how long each person will walk along with you in this crazy thing we call life.

I personally think the men in Vancouver are just reacting to the women in Vancouver in their own way. You get what you give in most cases.

 

The Truth Shall Set You Free…

I didn’t get where I am today which is a pretty sweet place in life without a whole lot of honesty. It wasn’t always easy but looking back worth it. Honesty and truth always get you further than dishonesty. Avoiding the truth is just the same as a lie. I am the chic who crosses the boarder with a guilty look on her face because she didn’t declare the gum she’s chewing. Take note; I’m not the one you want to go cross boarder shopping with if you wear everything back you bought because you’re way over your limit!

I’ve never been good at lying. I am not sure if it started as a child with a Mom who always seemed to know if I was even inching towards a lie or if it’s the relatively good clean conscience I was born with. Lies usually catch up with you in time…usually :) To be clear I am not in any way shape or form saying I haven’t had a whopper roll out of my mouth from time to time, I am human after all. I don’t see the point unless you’re saving the feelings of someone you care about, then I say indulge in a white one. That can be a slippery slope so be careful.

I have fudge the truth, un-exaggerate it from time to time but when it is really important and involved the lives of others I try my hardest to be as honest as I can. The truth can hurt and it’s hard to say in some circumstances but at least everyone involved can then decide themselves what to do with the truth they’re presented with. It’s an unselfish way to live. I was joking with a male friend of mine recently telling him he was so inappropriate but somehow pulled it off and his reply was ~“honesty is not always appropriate” and “appropriate can be a huge waste of precious time” I agree and love his attitude, always have always will! Say it out loud and hope for the best…well hope it goes how you would like it. There are also times in life when it’s best to hide the truth in a really good spot and just let it percolate for a while. Life doesn’t alway work out the way we plan but at least if you speak the truth no one can fault you for it.

There may be a few bumps in the road, mountains even, some worth climbing others might be a little further than you are willing to go. What we do with the truth is a personal choice when it’s presented to us. Fight or flight? I’ve teetered on the edge many times in regard to both.

When someone give you the truth they are giving you the ball to either run with or pass back. You are handed the paddle of power, not over them but to empower yourself with choice. The question is what do you want to do with it? It’s no longer about them or what they have done or not done, it’s what you want to do with the information they gave you. The truth is a gift in my opinion. Although it is not always seen as one initially in time the truth is always a gift if it’s looked at in the light of a new day.

Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you…I do…most of the time! (unless you ask me if your ass looks fat in those pants, then you’re getting the little white lie…assuming you’re asking because it is)

The truth shall set you free…or it could put your sorry ass in jail, or get you a slap across the face…you decide!  :)

The Man Rules ~

I was working on a post about Taking Chances but I am not finished yet and I hate to be rushed so it’s sitting in the drafts file percolating. I am feeling dumb and cheerful today so we will just go with something light!

Men in general make me laugh. I like their honest and uncomplicated gender. Although they can sometimes be confusing, it’s usually only when I am being a ‘girl‘. With a little guidance from my man-friend I usually snap out of it and they start to make perfect sense again. I have always had a ton of male friends and think I relate to men concerning women quite often. I was sent this by a friend of mine and it made me giggle. My voice is in (RED).

The Man Rules

Men are NOT mind readers. (THANK GOD…giggle) Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down. (can you say urinal) Sports, its like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be. Crying is blackmail. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it! (I totally agree!)

Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days. (my standard answer is “I can’t remember, it was sooooo long ago, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday!”)

If you think you’re fat, you probably are. Don’t ask us. (NEVER point out your questionable bits to a man, they don’t see them especially when your NAKED!) If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one! You can either ask us to do something Or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it , just do it yourself.

Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials. (Nothing worse than someone talking during a great show!)

Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we. (ROFL’ing…say what?)

ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what Mauve is.

If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” We will act like nothing’s wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle. (that cracks me up) If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear. (This is the reason I love men, you know exactly where you stand with them as friends 24/7)

When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine… Really . Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as Football or Hockey. You have enough clothes. You have too many shoes. I am in shape. Round IS a shape! (unless you’re willing to spin that perfect mirror around, let it slide ladies!)

Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don’t mind that? Its like camping! ~ The End…

Men are pretty basic creatures ladies. We all know Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Throw in a few from Uranus and it all balances out in the end. Regardless of where your man comes from, you know deep down you love and accept him for who he naturally is…no seriously! There really is no point in trying to change the male gender, just accept them for who they are and either Love’em, Lose’em or Leave’em! I choose Love’em!

Girlfriend Threesomes!

Have you ever been involved in a Girlfriend Threesome? It can be a lot of fun, confusing, or upsetting if you’re not careful. Each girlfriend needs to be aware and conscious of the others feelings when girlfriend threesomes exist! I have never been involved in one myself that lead to hurt feelings but know friends who have. I’ve always been a bit of a loner so it never bothers me when other girlfriends get together and I don’t go.

My daughter had a friendship trio last year that caused her hurt feelings and it was painful to watch her navigate through it. My advice to her was to expand her circle of friends, and be confident in who she was, which is hard when you’re only 9 but these types of lessons are good to learn at an early age. It all worked out in the end with very few pieces to be picked up and no friendships lost. She ventured out of her comfort zone and widened her circle of girlfriends which made her stronger and more independent. Lets face it, being a girl can be very difficult, and being a girlfriend is even harder!

As we age and become more confident in who we are, you’d think these sort of girlfriend troubles would disappear, but they don’t. Girls turn into women and have the same problems, they’re just older. However, as we mature and gain experience, we do become more equipped to deal with issues that pop up with friends, but there are still threesomes that cause hurt feelings.

Have you ever been involved in a girlfriend triangle which let to hurt feelings? I’d love to hear how you navigated through it if you have. Growing up my girlfriends came from two different areas so I was always hanging out with different crowds that didn’t know one another. I think that was the foundation of my friendship style. You don’t see each other all the time but when you do it feels like it was yesterday.

Bonnie and I as you all know have been friends since we were 15, but haven’t always lived close to one another. Throughout the years we have had lots of close friends, together and independent of one another, Jacquie, Carri, Anna, Teri, Lorellei, Chris and Deb are great examples! One of our friends, Jeannie, we found out years later, Bonnie was related to! (small world) Still when I see Anna its like it was yesterday that we were hanging out, same with Teri and Deb, yet we haven’t lived in the same city for years! I never thought of another close friend of Bonnie’s as a threat to our friendship because when we get together we usually haven’t seen each other in person for a couple of months so it’s always fresh and exciting! We do talk almost every day via every social network out there though. When I hang out with Jacquie it’s the same, I get her all to myself because her friends are from a different circle than mine. That could be the reason I have yet to have a girlfriend threesome which involved hurt feelings. Variety is the spice of life, even with girlfriends!

I think the most important part of being a girlfriend is honesty, “Does my ass look fat in these pants?” “Your Booty Rocks!” You see, there is no physical criteria for being a great girlfriend, just acceptance of being different and the same! Unconditional love of the female energy is wonderful! I embrace all the unique friendships I’ve had over the years, young and old, and look forward to the new ones I’ve yet to meet on my path of enlightenment! Encouragement, support, acceptance and unconditional love is what every girlfriend should be willing to give!

Cheers Girlfriends! I love each and every one of you for the unique individuals you are! :)


Do You Have A Filter?

I have a girlfriend who doesn’t have a filter and constantly gets chastised for it. She just says it how it is, and I guess some people just aren’t comfortable with her honesty. Do you ever wonder what a day with your friends would be like, if we all had to remove our filters? I know for certain I would be rolling with laughter all day long. The Movie The Invention of Lying is basically what it would be like if we did remove our filters. Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner are hilarious together! I laugh at just the thought of my thoughts becoming words at times!

I love when people have the courage to speak their minds. Not many people do anymore. I think my girlfriend is hysterically funny, she makes me laugh in a away that is always unexpected. The kind of laugh that makes you spit your drink out of your mouth or snot shoots out your nose. I have on several occasions almost pee’d my pants while in her company because of the stuff she says out loud! She also doesn’t have an inside voice so when I say out loud I mean out LOUD! That’s what cracks me up so much about what she says, its like no one ever told her as a child that sound travels! I think she actually has a filter she’s just misplaced it, or chooses not to use it around cerain people. I find humour in that.

It’s hard to deprogram leaned behaviour, which is sometimes a good thing but not always! Don’t you wish you could just be brutally honest with some people who catch you off guard! I’d like to just let it fly sometimes just to see what people would do. Think before you speak is becoming wayyyy to common and ordinary blah blah blah. We need those who don’t think before they blurt out the obvious. They are like adding colour to a black and white photographed society. That’s why their type is calledColourful. Don’t get me wrong, we need to know when to keep our pie holes mouths shut too. If we could express ourselves without causing too many waves or hurting feelings it would be a perfect balance. Nobody wants to cause a Tsunami everywhere they go but a nice healthy 20 footer every now and then to keep everyone on their toes would be fun!

Here is an example of perhaps going too far!

If we did have a day that required us to tell the truth would you stay home or bust out the door and enjoy your day? Would telling the truth inspire change? I dare ya to remove your filter and see what happens!

Women Who Have Shaped Me

Tomorrow is Mothers Day.  I’ve been thinking about my mom and how she has helped shape my life.  A mother is a powerful influence on her daughter in many far reaching ways.  Some positive, some maybe not so positive, but a mothers influence is very powerful never the less.

I’ve also realized there have been many other women who have had an influence on my life.  For a bit of fun I thought I create a list.

In order of when I was influenced by them, the following women made my list. Who is on yours?

My mom ~ She has taught me so much that I don’t even know where to start…so I won’t.  (I just saw a mothers day card that cracked me up.  It had a little girl sitting on a pottie on the cover, the inside said something like “thank you for teaching me so much, especially how to use the pottie – that one comes in handy every single day.”  Ha! )

My grandmother ~ She taught me how to find fun in the little things.  My grandmother was also a bit subservient to my grandfather and watching that made me determined not to follow in those footsteps when I grew up.

Lucille Ball ~ Watching the Lucille Ball show as a little kid I remember thinking how funny she was in her ridiculousness and how sweet it was that her husband always forgave her in the end.  I wanted to find a husband who could forgive me my silly mistakes too.

Cinderella ~ I cheered for her resilience.  She kept a good attitude even when people were being really mean to her.  I admired that all of her perseverance and hard work paid off in the end…which was really the beginning but I didn’t know that then.

Barbie ~ I imagined I would look like her one day, and that my future husband would look like Ken too.  I could hardly wait for the camper we would buy one day! (OMG, I just realized we have one that looks almost identical to the photo!)

Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) ~ She was a pretty single woman living alone in the city and working at a really cool job! Wow! Who knew!

Nancy Drew ~ This was one smart girl.  She could solve any mystery thrown her way.  I loved her!

Laura Ingalls ~ She was ferociously loyal to her family and adventurous.  I loved her spirit!

Kathryn Hepburn ~ She wore pants when other women didn’t. She was athletic.  I always admired her unconventional, straightforward attitude.

Tracy Westerholm ~ Tracy is someone I have admired and loved for over 30 years.  She has shaped my life in innumerable ways. It’s what happens when you are close to another woman since your teens.  We have shared all of the important milestones in each others lives and there is no doubt she will always be a big part of my life. Plus she makes me laugh… a lot!

Mother Teresa ~ For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.  I watched her in awe my whole life.  If I could be just a fraction of what she was…

Princess Di ~ To me, she was the real-life Cinderella.  An ordinary girl becomes a princess…it could have been me!  My wedding dress was similar and so was my bouquet. Yikes! In the end I admired her for breaking tradition to find her happiness (and her charity work of course).

Madonna ~ She taught me you don’t need to be able to sing that well to become a famous singer.  Ha ha! She did get much better over the years (and after singing lessons). She was the first woman I ever saw re-invent herself again, and again, and again…
She was/is pure determination.

Oprah ~ I watched Oprah way back in the very early days.  There were some years when I tired of her shows, but then she started to change.  When I began watching again, I discovered that I was learning something new almost every time I tuned in.  Cool! There are not too many women who haven’t been able to relate to her at one time or another.

All my girlfriends ~ I know that every girlfriend that I have had over the years has taught me something.  I love how we support and learn from each other.  Thank you all past, present and future girlfriends!

The Making of a Girlfriend ~

I have been watching the dynamics of my daughter and her girlfriends lately and it’s made me aware once again how difficult it can be finding the right group of girlfriends, as a young girl or as a grown woman. There are so many insecurities in girls and women. I think some girls never lose these insecurities even as they evolve into young woman. I believe if we are aware, we can change that.

Young girls don’t yet have the tools to navigate friendship, mostly because they haven’t experienced much as a girlfriend. Girls learn pretty quick what they don’t want when it comes to friendship. They gauge every situation on how it feel, which is a good start, trusting your instinct, but there is a lot to learn as a female in the world of friendship dynamics.

Some girls are confident by nature, but there are those who aren’t who bring down their friends in order to feel better about themselves. As a young girl we don’t understand that but realize as we grow and evolve its life. Jealousy is a big part of why girls knock their friends down as apposed to lifting them up. Jealousy is a horrible emotion that is a sign of insecurity not one of love. We need to build up the confidence of our precious little girls so that they have a chance at being a best friend one day. I learned that if you surround yourself with confident positive friends you will always leave their presence feeling just that, confident and positive. I love my girlfriends, each and every one of them for giving me that unique gift of friendship.

One of my daughters teachers told me that there is already a lot of ‘girl gossip’ going on which doesn’t surprise me. I am a Mom who stands outside my daughters class twice a day and I see what’s going on with attitude and simple facial expressions they trade back and forth. Girl gossip or drama what ever you want to call it, can be hard for some girls to navigate away from, my daughter seems able to so far. I worry more about her than my son because girls just generally seem to be programmed to gossip. Girl gossip lead me to more friendships with our male counterpart growing up, now I have a healthy combination of both! Life is too short to spend a single moment with those who uninspired you.

As a young girl I had lots of different friends from different groups. I attended different schools and played sports which added to my circle. I loved the variety, no judging, just accepting everyone for who they were. It was comforting to know you had friends everywhere.

Girls navigate through their friendships with fear, they are naive and need to learn what it is to be a good friend. My daughters come home with hurt feelings because of others and it’s hard to just stand by and watch, but necessary for her to learn what she wants in a friend so she can be a good friend too. I am confident one day she will surround herself with great friends that will stand the test of time. She will learn that those who put her down or bring negative attention to her efforts will not be standing at her side in years to come, but she will learn from them what she didn’t want in a friendship.

Friends come and go and if your lucky you find a Best friend who will stand by your side throughout your life like I have with Bonnie. I think you need to earn the status ‘Best friend’ though and it comes with time and experience of being a good friend, eventually evolving into a Best friend.

So my advice to young girls is be kind to your girlfriends and they will give you unconditional love forever. With real friendship you feel safe, supported and completely yourself and with that you can do anything!! 

What To Do When Your Girlfriend Dumps You~

tracy-pic3Have you ever been dumped by your Girlfriend? I think it would be worse than being dumped by your boyfriend but that’s just me. I have never been dumped by a girlfriend, that I was aware of. Girlfriend tend to drift apart depending on what’s going on in our lives, but the real ones are always there no matter how much time has passed since you saw them last. I am so lucky to have girlfriends like that!

I am fortunate that my close girlfriends are very understanding and independent, we have known one another for a long time, so we just get each other. I don’t think I have ever done anything that would be classified as dump worthy, at least nothing that is morally wrong or value based. Every women who has blood flowing through their veins has “questionable moments”, it’s our hormones and personality quirks that cause us to be a difficult friend at times. I strive to be a better friend and the girlfriends I do have make me want to be a better person.

When I first started this post I said I had never been dumped by a girlfriend, but in the time it took to publish (couple of weeks) I found out I had been dumped by a long time friend. We only kept in touch through Facebook but I was happy we at least had that. Facebook allows you to continue friendships that would otherwise be lost because of distance or our busy lives. After wishing her husband, one of the greatest guys I know, Happy Birthday on Christmas Eve, and not getting to talk to her, I logged into Facebook to reconnected again…she deleted me as her friend! I was shocked, especially after just writing this post days before. I don’t know what I did, perhaps she was just “cleaning house” with everyone she doesn’t see on a regular basis, I too have been guilty of that. Regardless of the reason, it made me feel like I had lost a part of my past, an important one to me. When someone consciously deletes you from their life, no matter whether it’s a male or female, in person or online, it doesn’t feel good.  So there you have it, I have been dumped by a girlfriend, on Christmas Eve no less, someone I felt was a part of my circle. I still love her husband though, and will continue to call him on his birthday!

Here’s what I found online~ According to Irene S Levin, PhD, author of Best friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, the romanticized notion that best friends are forever is a myth. She says being ditched by a close girlfriend can be incredibly painful, especially when you had no idea you were going to be dumped. Here’s how Irene would navigate this difficult situation:

Put the breaks on your reaction, first off, step back and really think things through, because reacting out of anger or hurt could make the situation even worse. One of the most important things to consider is whether you actually want to salvage this friendship. “Use this as an opportunity for assessment. Are you just hurt because your once-friend dumped you or because it is truly a friendship that you valued?” says Levin.

If you want to save the friendship you’ll need to summon up the courage to talk and be the one to extend the olive branch. Until you do talk, you have no idea of what is really going on. Levin says that women often fall into the trap of assuming that they know what their friend is thinking, although that may be completely erroneous.

Be prepared to accept responsibility if you did do something wrong. “You may have disappointed your friend or betrayed her trust. Whatever the case, don’t be too stubborn to be the first to apologize or forgive. Admitting your own blame may open the door for her to assume her share of responsibility for the misunderstanding,” says Levin.
If however, your ex-friend is not interested in trying to fix what went wrong, you need to respect the boundaries they have set.  It may have less to do with you than with other things going on in her life.

So how can you get over the loss if the friendship is truly over, feeling heartbroken is a normal reaction.  Levin says that there are stages of grief that women characteristically go through after the loss of a friend: These include: shock and denial, loss, self-blame, embarrassment and shame, anger, and finally, acceptance and sometimes relief.

Grow from the experience, once the shock has worn off, look back and see what you got out of the friendship. There may be many great things that you learned from being her friend, or perhaps not.  Ending a friendship that isn’t working leaves you more time for more satisfying ones.

My girlfriends are one of the best parts of my life!

To my circle of girlfriends~ I love you !

Tracy signiture

Touch Me ~ Hug Me!!

TracyI was enjoying coffee with a couple of girlfriends, sharing stories, when one of them admitted to being really touchy.  Not sensitive touchy but touchy feely.  I did actually noticed that she was very touchy a few times, but it felt nice to me, in a platonic kind of way.  It didn’t make me feel uncomfortable or anything like that, it was a fleeting thought really.  To be completely honest I love when girlfriends are touchy.  It make me feel like there is a real BFF bond there.  It automatically brings you closer to the person.  But when she was explaining that she was touchy, she sort of apologized for it.  I felt bad after that she was associating her touch with a negative feeling.  It’s really something you should naturally feel good about, being affectionate.  Most of us crave affection because we just don’t get enough.  That’s an underlying problem I think in most relationships but that is an entirely different topic.  We all started talking about how people hug and if they hug like they really mean it or like a stiff board.  Oh, we have all had the stiff board hug from someone who has hug repellent on.  It’s a horrible awkward moment.  I think the stiff board hug goes with the back pat!  I love hugs, they are such a uplifting gift to give and receive.  They are free and have absolutely no calories !!

hug couple rainHugging is a form of physical intimacy that usually involves holding your arms around another person or group of persons.  The hug is one of the most common human signs of love and affection, along with kissing.  I posted about Kissing XXX awhile back if you missed it check it out !  A hug can be given or received either publicly or privately without stigma in many countries, religions and cultures, within families, and also across age and gender lines.

A hug can be a romantic exchange between two people or just a sign of support and comfort.   We hug when we feel affection and emotional warmth towards someone .  Brief at times, it is used to show many levels of affection.  Hugs are not just exchanged between humans, many species of animals also engage in similar exchanges of warmth.  Hugging has been proven to have health benefits. One study has shown that hugs increase levels of oxytocin, and reduce blood pressure.  There is a good reason right there to start hugging the guy or gal next to you while waiting in a slow lineup at the bank.

hugsA simple conversation between friends can make us aware of those around us, allow us to be more in tune with our friends, provoke a thought which in turn leads to reaching out to touch someone…lol.  (Not there!)  No seriously though, flu or no flu I am going to start being more aware of connecting with those around me.  So if by next week I am known as the touchy feely lesbian, you’ll all know why.  I ‘m okay with that if it makes all of us more aware of the beautiful human being standing next to us in the line up for java.  So reach out and touch someone!  Better yet reach out and hug someone !  Sometimes all the person standing next to you needs is a little lovin, hug style.  We would all be much happier if we did have a little more human contact.

~Peace Out ~

Love this Video !! Free Hug Campaign goes all the way to Oprah!

Free Hug Campaign Website

Sick Puppies “All The Same”

Free Hugs on Oprah

Tracy signiture

The Truth About Power!

TracyI was reading ‘O magazine’ the other night and found a great article on ‘Power People’ that I found interesting and wanted to share with you.

Selected Power People were asked to finish sentences and here are a few examples.  Try to finish them for yourselves afterwards or even before you read what these Power Women have said.  There was a lot more to this article if you want to pick up O magazine to read it for yourself.

Elizabeth Lesser: Co Founder of the Omega Institute

I feel true power when…“I trust my soul’s voice. I feel peaceful yet strong, gentle yet courageous.
Too often people confuse power and …”Ego.
I feel least powerful when…”I am stingy, fearful, or unloving.”
When I need a power boost…“I place my hand on my heart, take a deep breath, and feel my connection with everyone.

Gloria Steinem: Writer and feminist activist

I feel true power when…“I hear someone say that anything I did or said or wrote helped to change her or his life for the better.
Too often people confuse power and …”Money for it’s own sake.”
I feel least powerful when…”I’m misunderstood or am watching people be invisible or humiliated.”
When I need a power boost…”I sit in a circle with (mostly) women who also are trying to create a world in which everyone matters.”

Stacy Schiff: Pulitzer Prize-winning author

I feel true power when…  “I unravel a problem to my satisfaction, which by definition means the problem was someone else’s in the first place.”
Too often people confuse power and…“Money, title, ambition, and a fancy address.”
I feel least powerful when…  “I’m in the presence of a new piece of technology- and it’s operating manual.”
When I need a power boost… “I double the caffeine, turn up the music, and head out for a run.”

Here are my answers:

Tracy Westerholm: Co Creator of Tara Cronica

I feel true power when…“My mind, body and soul feel balanced and I am living in the moment.”
Too often people confuse power and…“Wealth and Occupation.”
I feel least powerful when…“I have neglected my exercise routine and not connected with my circle of close friends who always make me feel grounded.”
When I need a power boost…”I call a girlfriend and if there is no answer I put on my ipod and go for a long run to clear my mind and energise my soul, it’s all about balance.”

Ask yourself these questions and see what you come up with.

Oprah ended the article with this and I couldn’t agree more… The secret is alignment: when you know for sure that you’re on course and doing exactly what you’re suppose to be doing, fulfilling your soul’s intention, your heart’s desire, or whatever you choose to call it. (they’re all the same thing) When your life is on course with its purpose, you are your most powerful. And you may stumble, but you will not fall.

Tracy

Girlfriend Bonding Recipe

TracyGirlfriend bonding is equally as important as spending time by yourself.  It’s empowering to spend time with girlfriends sharing stories, swapping tips, giving opinions, and belly laughing for days in a row.  I think I have found the perfect recipe for a just that!

It starts with a destination of your choice, add girlfriends for spice and mix in a few excursions here and there.  Let the conversations marinade and Voila the recipe is complete!

Jacquie and I went for a road trip up to the Okanagan to spend time with our BFF and partner Bonnie for a little girlfriend bonding of our own.  The road trip gave Jacquie and I lots of time to catch up and reconnect before arriving at Bonnie‘s house.

We started out with a day of stimulating conversations which really got our creative juices flowing.  Being in the same room together allowed us to really get the others vibe!

We went to Genesis Designs Tattoo and made a memory together that can’t be removed…easily!  What a powerful moment that was for all three of us.  If you missed it check it out, Tara Cronica Ink’d at Genesis Designs Tattoo.

Predator Ridge SpaWhat’s a girlfriend bonding getaway without a Spa experience.  We had ours at The Predator Ridge Spa.  I chose a facial which was a combination of two, Aveda Green Science Facial & Enbrightenment Facial.  If I had to describe my facial in one word it would be ’Spiritual’.  For 60 magical minutes I was pampered by Michelle Snider. Michelle’s hands and expertise made my entire facial heavenly and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better…it did.  My face, shoulders, chest, feet and scalp were massaged.  My facial included hot lavender face wraps, essential oils, hot rock massage, brushed on luscious creams and gentle steam.  I was massaged, cleansed, moisturised and reminded how wonderful it was to be a woman.  I will definitely book an appointment with Michelle on my next visit.

The reconnecting with Bonnie and Jacquie made our bond even stronger than it was before.  It’s important to have a place you feel safe to express yourself and girlfriend getaways are the perfect venue.  We hope that coming here to Tara Cronica to visit gives you a sense of that girlfriend bonding experience when you can’t create an excursion of your own.  We are all on the path to enlightenment and welcome you to join us on ours.  We hope we make you feel comfortable to add your comments or let your voice be heard through this medium.

These moments together have reminded me how lucky I am to be surrounded by friends who are so amazing, non judgmental, giving and effortless to be around!  Svaha !

Tracy

Where Did You Meet Your Girl Friends?

Jacquie’s take~

Growing up I never had much difficulty finding friends.  Even as a small child I think I had the ‘disease to please’ and so I know I kinda went along with any game plan that was put on the table.  I was really easy going and just didn’t care to rock the boat.  I kept a lot of my emotions and opinions to myself and as a result I always had a lot of friends to play and laugh with.  In high school I met Naava, an out-spoken artsy/intellectual who jumped for no one and, literally, danced to the beat on her own drum.  We totally clicked for some reason.   I think because with her I felt I could just be me and I wasn’t afraid to not be perfectly agreeable.  For the first time I had a friend who I felt really liked the real me and not just the ‘fun’ me, and that was huge.  I learned so much from that friendship about quality, not quantity.

When I think about where I’ve met all my closest girlfriends what surprises me as that there really is no recurring theme except that they’re all quality women.  They’ve all popped into my life from different angles;  work, travel, school mom, friend of a friend’s spouse, neighborhood, and I am soooo grateful for them all.  I guess the point is you never really know when a new amazing friendship is going to find its way into your life.   Every girlfriend I’ve had has given me something special and made me a better, happier, more in-tuned human being.

My mother used to say that the friends you make in high school will always be close because you’ve seen each other go through one of the most difficult periods in your lives and that’s incredibly bonding.  While I think there’s a lot of truth in that, I also think that it’s equally possible to make deep bonds with new girlfriends at any stage in your life.  Once you’ve experienced a true connection with someone you know it’s a feeling you never want to be without.

I found a really interesting site last year when I was online looking for book club ideas.  It’s called www.meetups.com and it works like this; you punch in your zip code and up pops a list of different clubs or groups that are meeting in your area.  Joining is as easy as tapping a button.  I’ve used this site to join a book club, coffee club and a walking group.  When my sister moved to Australia last year I told her about it and she found a writer’s group in Sydney she wanted to try out.  I think this is a really inspiring site and what the internet is all about.. feeling connected.    Your newest BFF could be one of the ladies at the Fabulous and Forty Wine Tasting Club!

Bonnie’s 2 cents~

Bonnie and Dorrie

I'm the one on the left with the strange bloomer shorts on. Dorrie is on her bike/pretend horse behind me. Yes, it was in the days before colour film.

I still remember seeing her across the street playing in her yard.  She kept glancing over at me but then she would look away as soon as our eyes met.  Her every move fascinated me.  What was she imagining with her dolls.  I wanted so badly to play with her.  I’m the shy one.  Other kids always come over to me first.  I went inside and talked to my grandma about it.  “Just go over and tell her your name.  Then ask her if she wants to play with you.”  my grandmother said in her matter of fact tone.   “Can’t you go over and ask her if she wants to play with me?”  My grandmother just shuffled me out the door and told me not to be so silly.  I was 4.  We stared at each other for a while longer and then finally one of us ( I think it was her)  shouted out “What’s your name?” and that was all it took.  We were great friends from that moment on…until I moved away shortly after.  Her name was Dorrie.  I wonder how she is now?

I’ve met girl friends all over the world.  Unfortunately, I’ve moved all over the place too and have left many behind.   I’ve always had the best intentions about keeping in touch but as time goes on and my life has taken different turns, I’ve lost touch with many really great friends.  This is one of my biggest regrets.  Thanks to Facebook however, I have been able to reconnect with some and that has been wonderful.

One of my life’s greatest blessings has been the one constant friend I’ve had since high school, Tracy.  We’ve had our ups and downs but through it all we have learned some valuable lessons and have grown closer and closer.  When I think back on our years together I realize we haven’t lived in the same city for many of them but I don’t ever worry that we will drift apart.  Our bond is too deep.

Looking back I realize I have always had at least one close girlfriend near at all times.  I have so many fond memories of all the great women I’ve had the opportunity to get to know well in my life.  They’ve all helped mold me into the woman I am today and I’m truly grateful to all of them.

Tracy’s thoughts~

Where did I meet my girlfriends you ask?  Strip clubs mostly, after hours.  I’m kidding.  I used to have mostly guy friends in my teens and twenties. Girls judged and gossip too much for me, guys were much less complicated.  I feel differently now.  I embrace the female spirit.

There was one girl who was always there, the one who knows every single deep dark secret of mine in detail, Bonnie.  Some say the truth shall set you free.  In my case, her aging mind will.  Here’s hoping she loses the long term first.  I want her to remember who I am, just not what I did.  It would be so fun if she lost her mind before me so I could convince her it was she who did certain things, not I.  Our conversations would go something like this.  “I still can’t believe you did that!”  Tracy says jokingly.   “Did I do that?“  Bonnie says confusingly.  “I should know I was there when you did it!”, Tracy says, while looking down to the left because it’s a big fat lie.   “ I always thought it was you who did that?“  says Bonnie, while she starts to doubt her inner voice.  “Nope that was you.“ says Tracy with her best acting face ever!

Bonnie and I met in Acting class when we were 15.  Good thing we didn’t meet sooner because I would have FOR SURE told on her for some of the things she did.  We were partners in class and our task was to find out as much about the other person and then introduce them to everyone.  It was fairly basic for us, “Hi  I’m so-n-so, I live in North Van, I’m 15.” and then we laughed and giggled for the rest of the time.  I guess right then we knew we would be best friends forever so we didn’t want to find out too much too soon.  It has taken me 30 years to get to know Bonnie and still to this day she amazes me daily at how non judgmental and unconditional her friendship is.  She is one of the most multi-faceted souls I have had the honor to meet.

But how lucky can one girl be, 12 years ago I had the most incredible luck and met Jacquie on set of the movies.  We have become very close over the last couple of years because we make the time to see one another.  We embrace who we are, we work well together balancing one another’s quirks.  She makes me want to be a better person.  Sometime that’s hard! But I love her for it.  She challenges me which is such a turn on (not in that way).

Making memories is what friendships are all about.  Friends come and go, we learn, we grow.  I have a circle of friends now that I absolutely adore, some old, some new, some borrowed and men too.  It doesn’t really matter where you meet them, just that you do.

Girlfriends !!

‘Friends with Benefits’

Tracy

When I first started writing this post I had a humorous view but when I weighed my options of making a point that I feel is very important and finding humour in almost anything, my humorous view almost flew out the window and the real me came forward.  I think I can do both, find humour and make a point.   Let’s see.  We have all heard the term ‘friends with benefits’.  It’s basically having hopefully great sex with no strings attached.  In my day, I remember that being called a one night stand or a booty call.  There was a reason for feeling bad after having one but I can’t remember why now…the age thing and memory starts to fade when you hit 40!  But with teens now it doesn’t  just happen one night or time, it lasts as long as they want it to.  But who ends it, why and when?  That’s where the emotions come in and I think where things go awry.

Am I right?  Correct me if I am wrong girls or guys out there.  My girlfriends son told her it is quite normal for teens to have ‘friends with benefits’ and they don’t get looked down upon.  Sign me up I guess if both parties are consenting and are having safe sex it’s their decision to make.  Would I want a friend with benefits?  Would you?  We all have the opportunity, it’s whether we take it or not.  I am struggling with this right now and don’t know if it’s my conditioning or a generation gap.  Part of me say’s well “Whyy nott” but the other part of me says “it’s not good for the soul”.  To not know where you stand with someone is hard enough when there is no sex involved.  Emotions and chemistry is what give sex such passion.  The moral side of me says ‘Live by example’ and the fun side not so moral side says ‘live with no regrets’. Stay with me here I am working through this as I write.

What I think bothers me about this the most is that it is happening younger and younger and some teens are not mature enough to make this decision on their own. They are afraid of being judged by their own peer groups.  It’s much like bullying in the way that when boys are rough with one another, it is possible that one of them doesn’t really want to participate but is forced to out of pressure of not wanting to appear weak.

Friends with Benefits sounds to me like a decision that is made without the thought process that should take place when deciding to give a sacred part of yourself to someone who doesn’t really care if it’s you or not.  I am a confident strong woman but I didn’t get this way from making poor moral decisions in my life.  (Bonnie stay out of it ! ha)  I think it is up to us as parents to do everything we can to make sure our sons understand the self-esteem issues young woman get when their self worth is questioned.  It’s also our responsibility to make sure our daughters have confidence and respect for themselves, as well as from the opposite sex.  I am not sure I could have a friend with benefits unless of course  Gabriel Aubry walked through my bedroom door, then I would be naked in an embarrassing nanosecond.  Humour is important in life and helps lighten certain topics of conversations, but morals and values are the basis of your character.   Teach your kids first as a parent.  Live your life as a soul enriching your existence.  Live by example.  Try to make good decisions and learn by questionable ones.  And always remember it’s about assessing blame. (joking)  So I think I like my friends just the way they are!

Tracy