Not Mad. Motivated. to Share – Carrie, the Photographer

I was once very thin and it took a random shopping trip for me to figure that out. As a graduate student, I worked in a research laboratory within my department. Somehow, I ended up going shopping with a undergraduate student with whom I worked. She suggested a size 2 pair of jeans for me. I doubtfully tried them on and, surprisingly, I could “fit” them. After reading Carrie, the Photographer, the latest book from author Kira Parris-Moore, I remembered just how difficult it can be to see an honest, unbiased image of one’s self.

Book cover of Carrie, the Photographer

About Carrie, the Photographer

Carrie is a young woman who is forging a successful career as a photographer. Although Carrie takes beautiful pictures of others, she struggles with how she sees herself and develops an eating disorder. This book, for children age 9 and older, follows Carrie’s journey from self-doubt and self-harm to self-love.

Carrie, the Photographer is not just a story, it is a great way to start a conversation with children about body image. Please do not underestimate how important it is to help children develop a healthy image of themselves. A negative body image can lead to many self-destructive behaviors; conversations and modeling healthy behaviors can make a big difference.

After the Book: Let’s talk!

The lack of body confidence as a child or young adult can follow a person for a lifetime. Imagine the negative health impact caused by the mental angst over food and exercise. This is not only an “invitation” for the development of eating disorders, but can also

  • lead to other mental health disorders (including depression and anxiety)
  • affect one’s ability to be an integral part of the community leading to isolation and feeling unaccepted
  • become a building block for toxic relationships with harmful people.

There are direct and indirect messages telling children and young adults that they are not good enough. Play an active role to enforce that they are! Here are a few ways to help:

  • Let them know that every BODY is different and make being different normal – because it is!
  • Help them find beauty everywhere and they will learn to find beauty in themselves.
  • Compliment them often; not just about their looks but on their skills and intelligence, too.
  • Don’t insult anybody’s body – not even as a joke. Children can internalize your words even if your words are not aimed toward them.
  • Love your own body. Be the model that they need!
  • Listen to them. Make their voices matter and help build their self-worth.

Lessons From Carrie, the Photographer

There are many great lessons that you can take away from Carrie, the Photographer. This book is about a young adult named Carrie, but the story is actually told by a younger cousin. This help us remember the need to model healthy behaviors.

Carrie finds strength to get better with support. This lets us know that good support is the key to our success. No matter what your goal is, having support makes it easier to attain that goal. Children need to know that they are never expected to go through any difficulty alone.

We also learn to accept our differences and to focus on what makes us special. Let us make a point to show our children just how special they are to us and to the world.

The final lesson that I want to share is one that I did not expect from a children’s book. Remember: your benchmark for success will change as your self-worth and self-awareness improves! I love this. Too often, we gauge success on the money we make and the things we can buy. However, often, when we value ourselves more, the positive impact we have on others defines our success better than our bank accounts.

I’m Not Mad. I’m Motivated.

I was very active as a teen and a young adult. Running track and participating in marching band, along with many other activities, kept me moving throughout high school. I walked SO MUCH in college and graduated school because I did not start driving until I was 24. And with the diverse group of students I interacted with in graduate school, I also danced a great bit! I stayed active. My body weight was healthy. Yet I found myself worried about how I looked physically many times during those years.

Did my lack of confidence in my appearance leave me vulnerable to a toxic relationship as an adult? Probably likely. But I am Not Mad. I am Motivated. Motivated to share stories like Carrie, the Photographer in the hopes to remind you that you are Beautiful – so that you can remind the children in your life that they are too!

Go tell someone that they are beautiful! This card I made will go to my 16 year old niece.

“Not Mad. Motivated.” to Find Solutions

Life presents obstacles . . . daily. It is sometimes the smallest, most mundane difficulty which seems to multiple any other hardships you are experiencing. You know what I mean, right? You are juggling the ‘world’ while cooking dinner and making sure the kids are participating in virtual learning and then . . . you spill a cup a milk. The reality is that we sometimes cry over the [tip-of the-iceberg] ‘spilled milk’. After that “cry”, it’s time for a “Not Mad. Motivated. to find solutions” mindset.

This year, most of us have found ourselves at home more then usual. With schools closing in March and virtual school this fall, my youngest son has much more time and opportunity to get into things. He is quick and quiet when he wants to be. And he has proven that toothbrushes, toothpaste, and shampoo are not safe around him. Regardless of his special needs, I must teach him how to interact with household items. However, until that lesson is learned, solutions were needed to relieve some unnecessary stress.

More time home? More time for small hands to be busy!

1. Wall Mounted Adhesive Toothbrush Organizer Stand

Many toothbrushes – and a few tubes of toothpaste – have gone missing over the past few months. Some have been recovered, often behind beds and mostly in a bare state (without bristles). After buying yet another pack of toothbrushes, I decided to look into a solution to keep these valuable grooming tools safe.

I decided to give a wall mounted toothbrush organizer a try. The system should be sufficient for two people – I purchased one for each bathroom. It is easy to assemble and to secured with the included adhesive strip. After a month, there is been no issues with it moving or shifting, and no toothbrushes have gone missing. A win so far!

2. Door Monkey Door Lock & Pinch Guard

We recently had a room change in my house. My youngest son moved out of a room that was his for most of his eight year. I expected that he would continue to go to this room and treat it as his own, even though his brother’s belongings would now be in there.

I thought about adding a chain lock to the outside of the interior doors; although I did not like this idea. I was ecstatic to find a temporary solution that did not require drilling, plus every one who is suppose to open the doors could easily do so. It keeps the door slightly open, but can be pulled off with no problem when complete privacy is needed. However, it only works if it is on the door, so remembering to return it is important to our success!

3. Rustproof Suction Basket

Have you ever spent a little extra money for a good bottle of shampoo or conditioner – and then see it going down the drain? I had my new bottles of hair care items in the reach of my son while he was in the bathroom. What a mistake! I went to the next room, briefly, and I returned to see his bath water full of my investment. When I replaced my shampoo and conditioner, I also picked up an handy basket to keep items higher .

The suction on this basket has been 100 percent reliable so far. My son has not paid too much attention to it yet. If he started pulling at it, I will really see what it is made of. However, for now, it is serving it’s purpose – eliminating a small bit of unnecessary stress from my day!

Bonus Solution: A “It’s-Right-Here” Fanny Pack

I recently purchased a fanny pack in hopes that it would help me keep up with medicine, and small items that I may need at anytime. Here are some items I keep in my “It’s-Right-Here” fanny pack:

  • Nose Spray
  • Nail Kit (clippers, emery board, nail file. . .)
  • Box Cutter (for opening and breaking down boxes)
  • Eye glass screwdriver (mainly for tightening small screws)
  • Assortment of writing utensils (pen, pencil, Sharpie, Expo marker)

What would you keep in yours?

Not Mad. Motivated. to Find Solutions

Sometime, the smaller obstacles in our daily lives can feel tremendous when they are placed among other taxing problems. Look for solutions that can help ease those smaller obstacles. You will not only relieve a little stress but you could also build up confident and motivation to conquer bigger tasks! Your ability to problem-solve is infinite. Get creativity and find what works for you! And remember, do Not get Mad. Get Motivated. to find solutions!

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Teaching Future Leaders

Every day is a opportunity to make a better tomorrow!

For weeks, the lyrics to Greatest Love of All have been playing in my mind often. I believe the children are our future. Really, I do. Teach them well and let them lead the way! We are constantly teaching the youth in our lives with our words and actions. Whether we like it or not, what we say or do to or around children can greatly influence our future leaders and communities. In other words, we can make a difference on how they view themselves and others, how they react to disappointments and difficulties, and how they celebrate accomplishments. So when we are around children, we should remember that we are teaching our future leaders!

Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Let us encourage the youth. Highlight their strengths, while advising them in areas that they have opportunities for growth.

Give Them a Sense of Pride to Make it Easier

A Little Bit of Everything: Hygiene

There is a segment in the Not Mad. Motivated. Newsletter called A Little Bit of Everything: Starting Conversations with the Youth in Our Lives. In our first issue, January 2020, our focus is on hygiene. Although most children learn about aspects of hygiene at an early age, it is important to keep those conversations going and the lines of communication open.

Talk about the different types of hygiene and the benefits of healthy practices. Discuss when and how to wash hands, clip nails, brush teeth, etc. Evaluate if skin and hair are getting moisturized properly. If there is physical evidence of the need for improvement, help pinpoint what is being done incorrectly. Revisiting these types of lessons can be very helpful.

Poor hygiene habits can also affect your self-esteem. Looking and feeling presentable can give you a confidence boost and a sense of pride in your appearance.

Creating a Personal Hygiene Routine: Tips and Benefits

If necessary, establish a hygiene routine. Include tasks such as washing clothes, changing sheets, towels, and pillowcases, and cleaning living environment. These tasks are not just chores, they are extensions of our wellness habits.

A Little Bit of Everything: Following Instinct

Our second issue, February 2020, we are encouraged to speak to our youth about trusting their instinct. One way to do this is to talk to them about their feelings and to value the thoughts that they share. We have to help build their confidence while they are young so that they are better equip to make those hard decisions later.

Acknowledge their perspectives, and value their choices. Don’t fault them for trusting their own instincts, even if their choice doesn’t match yours.

5 Ways To Teach Your Child To Trust Their Instincts, According To Experts

Check out 25 Things You Can Do Right Now To Build a Child’s Confidence!

Let the Children’s Laughter Remind Us How We Used To Be

No one has a perfect childhood. Therefore, being reminded of how things used to be may not always bring up the best memories. However, if your childhood is overshadowed by negativity, let the youth of today be your way to “make it right”. Be reminded of the good that you experienced. As far as the bad, be reminded of the love and compassion that you deserved! Let’s stop teaching our future leaders destructive cycles of hurt (disguised as anger) and abuse.

Home and school should be safe havens for our youth. Everybody’s searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to. Be that person that the youth in your life can look up to! We do not want to make “our children” look too far for a hero; they may find someone not worthy of that title. So be the model that they need to see.

Teaching Future Leaders: A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

My oldest son has been struggling academically, while my middle son struggles with behavior at times. Although there are some elements of each of these circumstances that have been frustrating, I have decided to get back to the basics! Starting with establishing better hygiene practices to build a solid foundation of confidence and self-esteem.

It could be easy to get upset and blame children for their challenges but I understand that their “failures” are really representations of my own failures. So I’m Not Mad. I am Motivated. I want to encourage my children, and any child, to look at their struggles as opportunities for solution. Above all, I want to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to model the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset to the children in their lives. We need to uplift our future leaders and accept that if they fail, it is because we failed them somewhere along the way.

End-of-Inventory Sale on Youth Shirts!
Stay Motivated!

Help us get the Not Mad. Motivated. message to communities across the country by purchasing a t-shirt or tote! We want to spread encouragement to people of all ages, but have a special interest in uplifting our young community. With this in mind, our youth size t-shirt will be sold at $10 each until we run out of our current inventory.

#Read4MentalWellness

Communities across the U.S. have celebrated Read Across America (RAA) Day on or around March 2 for 22 years. This year, RAA Day is also the inaugural World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Since reading can have a positive effect on mental health, let us encourage our communities to use reading as a tool for mental wellness! Let’s #Read4MentalWellness!

#Read4MentalWellness today and everyday!

Read Across America

The National Education Association (NEA) launched RAA with the main focus of motivating children to read. As the nation’s largest celebration of reading, a major goal of RAA is to improve performance in school.

“The year-round program can fit reading fun into your calendar daily, weekly, or monthly and includes big celebrations of reading on March 2 and throughout National Reading Month in March.”

ReadAcrossAmerica.org

On Read Across America Day, you can expect a great number of schools, bookstores, libraries, and more to host reading events. However, one event that is especially exciting is the #FillEveryShelf matching opportunity at DonorsChoose.org! When you donate to a DonorsChoose book project during this event and your donation doubles! You can help get books to students quicker! The match will be available from 7:00 AM ET on March 2nd until 3:00 AM ET on March 7th, therefore making this an ideal time to give!

World Teen Mental Wellness Day

Retailer Hollister is declaring March 2, 2020 the first World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Hollister is wants teens to use March 2 to practice self-care and silence self-doubt!

“World Teen Mental Wellness Day aims to raise greater awareness of mental health issues among teens, as well as provide education about removing stigmas surrounding preventative mental health.”

February 12, 2020 Press Release

Up to $12,000 will be donated to the Hollister Confidence Project Fund when teens use #WorldTeenMentalWellnessDay to share how they recharge!

Positive Effect of Reading: #Read4MentalWellness

My oldest son, who will be 13 this summer, has been struggling in a couple of classes. I told him to read more! I explained that reading will help improve vocabulary and writing; therefore allowing him to communicate better and feel more confident. I also mentioned that reading would allow him to be exposed to situations and experiences that he may never experience, or not yet experienced, first hand. In other words, giving him new insight and point-of-views from which to learn. But how much does reading help mental health and wellness?

8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book

The article 8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book, from Real Simple, discusses eight reasons we should read books. Amazingly, reading literally changes the mind. Here’s how!

  • Increases intelligence
  • Boost brain power
  • Make you more empathetic
  • Flipping pages can improve understand
  • May help fight Alzheimer’s disease
  • Can help you relax
  • Reading before bed can help you sleep
  • Reading is contagious

Establishing a love for reading is easier at a younger age. However, it is never too late for that one special book to create a life long reader! So this week, provide a classroom with books and get students a step closer to mental wellness. Need help finding a classroom to support through DonorsChoose.org? Check out this Twitter thread for ideas.

Support Not Mad. Motivated.

This week, Not Mad. Motivated. will help support students and teaches with daily donations to at least one DonorsChoose book project while the #FillEveryShelf match is active. We will also share projects so that other donors have the opportunity to make a difference!

We are brainstorming how to make a bigger impact within our communities and would love your support to ensure that we are able to grow! We invite you to shop at our online store, subscribe to and share our blogs, and subscribe to our newsletter. We may be small but we are eager to make our impact great!

So when you take your favorite books to share with your favorite people, have your Not Mad. Motivated. tote ready to help you carry the load. And remember to #Read4MentalWellness today and everyday!

Celebrate Often and Be Peppered with Possibilities!

Many parents experience difficulties with children having ‘picky’ eating habits. This challenge is often magnified for Autistic children because of the increased probability of sensory processing complications. Whether the food overstimulates or underwhelms the senses, it can be a quick and easy refusal of food on sight or smell alone!

Of course there are Autistic children who enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruits. However, many parents – including myself – find it difficult to persuade our Autistic child to voluntarily and consistently consume the most healthiest of foods.

One minor solution to help increase vegetables/fruit intake is to hide these items among food that your child already enjoys. For example, try adding a purée of carrots to spaghetti sauce if your picky eater loves spaghetti. One may conclude that ‘hiding’ fruits and vegetables is a good start. However, the ultimate goal is finding the right healthy foods that your child will be eager to eat!

For more ideas about boosting meals with purées, check out this book.

The Right Super Food Made it to the Table

I admit that I have not been the best at preparing and eating vegetables. I recognized that changing my eating habits could directly influence the habits of my son. This thought, along with some unexpected weight gain, helped guide my decision to participate in a Reset and Rebalance Program. The “Reset” included a week of all the vegetables that I could stand. So when it was time to dice all those vegetables to make some easy and filling soup, I had my seven year old son sitting at the table with me. To my surprise, he picked up a piece of a bell pepper and took several bites!

I must admit that when he first tried bell peppers, he only chewed then (which got messy). But my “Celebrate Often” excitement of knowing that he chose to opened his mouth and try peppers overruled my concerns over the mess. Now, whenever I chop and dice vegetables, I try to have my youngest son sitting with me, leaving every type of vegetable within his reach.

Small Change, Great Reward

You might think that adding bell peppers to a diet is not much to celebrate, but you would be wrong. There are many amazing benefits of bell peppers. They are high in vitamin A, supporting eye health. They are a great source of vitamin C, which supports tissue health and immunity. The folate in peppers supports the functioning of red blood cells. The lycopene, in red bell peppers fight free radicals that are acquired from natural exposure to environmental toxins. Are you celebrating yet? All these benefits are great, but there are a couple more benefits, or possible benefits, that really causes me to celebrate!

The high sources of potassium and the good source of fiber helps keep fluids and minerals balanced and can help regulate digestion. Since my son regularly suffers from constipation, these combined benefits are greatly reflective of his nutritional needs. Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, consumption of bell peppers may help lower the risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal, breast, and prostate. Although my son is only a young seven, his Autism is thought to be a symptom for a rare disease, PTEN Hamartomous Tumor Syndrome (PHTS), which can increase the risk of cancers such as colorectal, breast, and prostate. Amazing, right?!

The Not Mad. Motivated. Mindset

When it comes to a picky eater, just like in life, it is important to create new paths and possibilities to success. We all come across difficult situations, some more difficult and more traumatic than others. These situations are ours to overcome! Whether we have the support of a community, or we are in our “corner” alone, it is ultimately our decision to use all the strength within and around us to survive and seek success.

Not Mad. Motivated. was created to be a reminder to use current and past difficulties and challenges as motivation for forward movement toward positive change. Help us spread the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset by purchasing your Not Mad. Motivated. shirt today!

Not Mad. Motivated. short sleeved t-shirt in Royal Blue with white print.

Coming this week: New Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise!