Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Spotlight On: Author Tara LaDue


I first met author Tara LaDue on Instagram. She is a beautiful, positive soul, and watching her make her book come to life, has been incredibly inspiring. Came To Believe, A Journey of Trust, Faith and Perseverance is Tara's spiritual memoir and is currently our Book of the Week! Enjoy getting to know Tara with my interview below:

SG (Suitable Gifts): This is your first book, congratulations on such a wonderful accomplishment! When did you first realize you wanted to write?  

Tara (Tara LaDue): I always loved writing back in school.  I talk about this in the book.  Writing was my outlet, and my escape. 

SG: Why did you decide to write this book?

Tara: I wrote to help me in my healing journey initially.  I wanted to tell my truth with no edits as a way to release pain and shame.  Then as I was writing it and telling people about it, I was made aware of how much this book will help others.

SG: Tell us about your book.

Tara: Came to Believe is a Journey of Trust, Faith and Perseverance.  It is my spiritual memoir of how I had a shift in perception about my life.  It is my healing journey from growing up in a fatherless home, being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, living with the disease of alcoholism, and the unconditional love between a mother and daughter.  By trusting in a power outside of myself, putting my faith in the Angels and the Universe I persevered.  This memoir is how I Came to Believe in the power of manifestation and miracles.

SG: Why did you decide to self publish?

Tara: Well, I didn’t win the Hay House writer’s course contract, but I didn’t want that to stop me.  I knew my story was important, and realized that publishing a book through a big publisher isn’t the only way.  Also, I have learned that through self-publishing you have more control.

SG: Tell us about you.

Tara: Where do I start?  I am a Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Sprit Junkie, the best dog mom ever, an Auntie, an awesome daughter, a wonderful friend, a go-getter and I love working on my spiritual development.




SG: Tell us about your social media business.

Tara: I coach spiritual entrepreneurs how to build their social media platforms with integrity and authenticity, I also manage accounts and I wrote a Social Media Guidebook for Spiritual Entrepreneurs of all my tips and tricks that is pretty inexpensive! It can be purchased at gum.co/kwRm



SG: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Tara: Kundalini Yoga, walking, Social Media, playing with Chester, my adorable shih tzu.




SG: What was one of the most surprising things you learned creating your book (about the writing process)? 

Tara: It brings up a lot of emotions.  Also, I learned that I needed to remove distractions!  I love to write, but my mind would often wander to other things.  

SG: What was one of the most surprising things you learned creating your book (about yourself)? 

Tara: I have accomplished a lot!  And, I should be very proud of myself.

SG: What is the writing process like?

Tara: I remember Doreen say to write at least 1 page a day. I tried this, but for me I would be on a roll for 3 months and bang out 5 chapters, then I would have to take a break and come back to it.  Also, I felt I needed to get things done fast, I learned mid-way through to slow it down!  Don’t rush, so I can write from the heart.

SG: What advice do you have for other writers? 

Tara: Begin.  Start now!  Slow and steady wins the race after you begin. Be gentle on yourself, and remember self-care as you write.  A lot of stuff comes up so it important to have a support system.

SG: Who inspires you?

Tara: So many people! Going through my Instagram newsfeed and seeing what everyone has accomplished.  My mom inspired this book.  I wanted to tell a story of healing between a mother and daughter.  Gabby Bernstein has been a big influence on my journey.  My Spirit Junkie sisters and brothers.



SG: I watched you on Instagram manifest this book, can you share a little bit about how? 

Tara: I am a big manifestor and this book has a lot of manifesting stories and ways to manifest in it!  So, I’ll let everyone read it to find out! 

SG: How did writing your story heal you?  

Tara: As I put my thoughts to paper, the tears shed, the shame dissipated.  As I put my stories to paper, I smiled and laughed and realized I accomplished a lot of amazing stuff!  It was all healing.

SG: Do you view writing as a type of spiritual practice?

Tara: Yes, In Alanon I was suggested to write 5 things I was grateful for a day.  This causes a complete shift in energy.  This is when I first realized writing caused spiritual growth.

SG: Do you have a ritual or spiritual practice before you write?

Tara: I ask my Higher Power to write through me.   I have my larimar crystal that helps to write from the heart and my moonstone crystals near me.  I burn incense and meditate first.

SG: Did you feel that you were divinely supported while you were writing your book?  

Tara: Absolutely.  My angels held my hand and hugged my little girl all along the way.

SG: What was the most challenging part of your book to write about?

Tara: The chapter where I talk about my childhood trauma of being a survivor of incest.  It was the hardest for me to begin, but once I put my fingers to the keyboard it just flowed out of me.

SG: What was the most joyful part of your book to write about?

Tara: The healing with my Mom and I, but also the idea of finding your tribe and how I did it. 

SG: How long did it take you to write your book?  

Tara: The writing took a year and a half, but I started my social media platform for it 2 years ago.

SG: Did you write every day? For how long?

Tara: Not every day. I wrote when I felt moved to write and I wrote for as long as I knew it was coming from my heart.

SG: What authors do you like to read?  

Tara: My girl, Gabby Bernstein.  Marianne Williamson.  Wayne Dyer.  Caroline Myss.   

SG: What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing? 

Tara: All of Gabby Bernstein’s books.  Also, Rebecca Campbell’s books.  Doreen Virtue is really who made me feel like I could do it!

SG: What’s next? 

Tara: Wow! I really want to enjoy the accomplishment of this book, Came to Believe.   I already have my second book which will be titled, “You Are Only As Sick As Your Secrets,” which will be about my healing journey from childhood sexual abuse through Alanon, Kundalini Yoga, therapy, EMDR and EFT.  


Thank you Tara for taking the time to share about your new book, your writing process, and your life. It is an honor to know you, and I am so thrilled that so many others will get to know you too, and will be helped by your book!

For more information:
To buy Tara's book or Kindle version: Came To Believe
Tara's website: http://www.taraladue.com
Alanon – 12 step program from the friends and family of alcoholics www.al-anon.org
EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique www.thetappingsolution.com
EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing www.emdr.com


In Gratitude & Love,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

FLOATing Into Fifty


Over the past couple of years, I've made it a tradition to do something special for myself for my birthday. I love going out of my way on birthdays for the people I love, and I realized I needed to include myself as well. This year is a big one for me, so I wanted to do something really different.

This year I decided to try floating! FLOAT offers pods that are essentially sensory deprivation chambers. I have heard of these for awhile, and when I found there was a place to go to in San Antonio, I knew I wanted to try it to celebrate my half century. Before I went, I meditated, prayed and chose an oracle card from Sonia Choquette's Ask Your Guides Deck. Before I choose a card. I usually ask for my spirit guides to show me what it is they want me to know for the day. This day I asked for a message about my upcoming FLOAT experience. I wanted to know who I might connect with during that experience. When I pick a card, the deck is face down and after shuffling I hear a number so that I know which one to pick. If I hear 5 for example, then it is the 5th card from the top to pull. Everyone uses these decks different ways, but this is how it works for me. The card I picked was "Solitude," so appropriate for this experience. The spirit guide connecting with me was my owner Higher Spirit. 




I said a prayer in the car for a good experience and headed on my way. The pods are filled with ten inches of water and up to 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt. I love me an Epsom salt bath, but I've never used enough to make me float, maybe only a cup or two! But even that small amount of salt relaxes and recharges me, and releases the negative junk in my auric field. I was a little concerned about the salt level. One time I tried a five pound bag of Himalayan sea salt in my bath and I felt so yucky after it. It was serious detox and dehydration. I didn't know what to expect with this, but I took a giant bottle of water with me just in case.



I had a choice between an i-sopod or a Zero Gravity Suite, which is less claustrophobic. I really wanted the full experience, so I opted for the i-sopod. I arrived at FLOAT and was soon greeted by Meredith, who was so kind and informative. She showed me to the dressing room and bathroom. It had lockers, two mirrors, chairs, and tables filled with lotion, combs, hair dryers, curling irons, hairspray, and more for after floating. I took everything off, and put on one of their soft, comfy robes. They had flip flops too, but I usually trip over myself, so I walked barefoot to the next room.



Meredith led me to a small room with three massage chairs. The room was dark and peaceful. I chose my chair, sat down and Meredith started the chair in motion. I relaxed for fifteen minutes while gentle waves were projected on the walls, "stars" and "moon" were overhead on the dark ceiling, while sounds of nature chirped throughout. I felt like I was on a camping adventure, well maybe more glamping since I was in such a high tech massage chair! But it was very relaxing. This was not your regular nail salon chair. It had rollers at my feet, kneading my heels, all the way up through the balls of my feet. The leg rests periodically squeezed my legs and ankles, as did the arm rests atop my hands. Every once in awhile, after the rollers went down and up my spine to my neck, the sides would squeeze my shoulders together. It was awesome!




After the massage, Meredith brought me to my room (pod #5). The sound-proof room was small, and the pod was big! There was room to hang my robe, a small table with ear plugs and vaseline (to keep out the sting of the salt if I had any open cuts). In the corner was a shower with shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. Everything was provided for, which made it convenient not to have to pack a bag for this, other than some makeup. Meredith told me to shower first (they don't want oils or anything in the pod). She showed me where the latch was inside the lid of the pod for when I needed to open it. She said to keep it closed as much as possible to keep the temperature as it should be. It is supposed to be the same temperature as our skin.





Meredith opened the pod and it was lit in blue. The water was clear. I don't know why, but I expected it to be thick and salty looking, but it wasn't at all. Inside on the left was a button to push to turn the blue light off when I was ready for darkness. She said for awhile I would see light from the room peeking through the seams of the pod lid until the room light went off. The floating experience also starts with calming music, but that fades away too. On the right inside the pod, was a button to push if I needed any help (a panic button I thought, that I hoped I wouldn't need!).

She talked about ways to relax, breathing, how to rest my arms - she suggested placing them over my head to open up and relax more. She showed me a flotation ring for my head, hung on the wall, that I could use if needed. She said the head seems to be the last thing to relax. I can understand that, since tension always seems to show itself in my head and neck.

I was ready to roll, so Meredith left the room and I was on my way to my sixty minute adventure (they have 90 minute sessions too)! I took a quick shower and hopped in the pod. I closed the lid over me, layed down in the water and was floating instantly! The music was peaceful, as was the blue light. It was ethereal. I looked around briefly and noticed a decent amount of room in the pod to feel comfortable. It was warm. I really prefer to feel cool and breathe in cool air. That wasn't happening here, and I started worrying myself that I'd overheat or panic. It wasn't that hot, I was just overthinking. I turned the light off. Breathe, breathe, breathe. 

It was really fascinating to be floating in this unique experience. When the room light went out, it was so dark I couldn't see any difference with my eyes opened or closed.   My neck hurt. I had been to the gym in the morning and it was already sore, but I must not have been relaxing it completely. I had to pop the lid to get the neck support. Dang. I wish I had brought it in with me. I opened the lid and grabbed the ring and got back in. It was nice to get a little bit of cool air.

I settled back down, turned the light off again, and not too long after, the room light went out again. I prayed. I asked to connect to God, my spirit guides, my higher self. Everything started to look red. I don't know if it was from my blood pumping harder. At times I could feel my pulse beating in my ears. I didn't use the earplugs, I really wanted to feel everything. But the beat was really loud at times. I know how hokey this sounds, but you know I'm going to say it anyway...I saw the face of Jesus. I often see flashes of people, places and objects when I meditate. I have not been able to slow down the images enough to put together the meaning. This time I saw his face, large, just for a brief moment. After that I saw this jumbled mass of red and dark. It was kind of like a lava lamp, but more in the shape of a cloud.  In the mass, small faces appeared and receded. It was creepy and a little scary. It didn't feel like good energy. I prayed to Archangel Michael to clear it. Breathe, relax, breathe.

Off and on I could hear my heartbeat loudly in my head and at one point I heard a really loud sound that made me jump.  It's a sound-proof room, so I don't know what it was, but it jarred me for a second. It could have been from my own body, as my ears were under the water and the sound is amplified. They recommend eating an hour or so before the float so stomach sounds aren't distracting, so it could have been digestion in progress!

I struggled with the heat in the beginning, but I really wanted to stay in the pod for the full hour, so I just did it. I knew it really wasn't anything that would hurt me, I just needed to get used to it. I had a conversation with a friend of mine the night before the float, and she said she wouldn't be able to do it because she had an unexpected panic attack just getting an MRI. That vision popped in my head, and my heart beat faster. I let it go quickly. Breathe, breathe, breathe. 

I relaxed as I would when I meditate. The head rest was a huge help. Every once in awhile it felt like my shoulders were scrunching up, so I put my arms over my head as Meredith suggested. It felt much better. When my eyes were closed, and I relaxed more, I felt myself  moving. It felt like I was floating on a calm sea..at night...with no sharks. The music came back on when my time was up, it seemed like it all went by so fast. 

I popped the pod back open and showered again, dried off and put on my robe. After I opened the door and walked down the hallway, Meredith was there to bring me back to the changing room. I felt peaceful as I got dressed and dried my hair. Meredith had mentioned that I could go to a sitting area to relax as long as I wanted to after, so I did. It was a room with couches, coloring books, water, kombucha to purchase (which I did!), and tea. As I grabbed some water, Meredith and I chatted about my experience. I told her I didn't get to the spiritual place I wanted to, but I felt good and know that if I tried it a few more times, I would be able to relax as I do when I meditate. She said it usually takes a few sessions to relax as well. She also suggested maybe a 90 minute session might be better for me and I agreed. It really does go fast, and I think more time would be ideal. I also think I might try the Zero Gravity Suite and see if I feel better about the warmth in that environment.




I grabbed some locally made kombucha and walked to the entrance to pay for my float. Meredith had stepped out, so I was able to meet one of the owners Jeremy Jacob. He was just as kind and helpful, and rounded out a great new experience. Aside my quest to transcend my body and connect with spirit, this experience was relaxing, good for my joints and muscles, peaceful, and a welcome break from social media, news, and sensory overload.  I will definitely float again and continue to let go, relax, and breathe. 


For more information and a virtual tour:
FLOAT: http://www.floatsa.com/

In Gratitude & Love,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Magic And Deepak Chopra



Oh the joy of being able to see one of your spiritual heroes in person! The first time I met Deepak Chopra was in 2015 and I was so looking forward to seeing him again. 

As I always do, I prayed in my car on the drive to the venue. I expressed my gratitude and prayed for a sense of calm and peace when I would met Deepak at the meet and greet. I asked for a lovely evening and to remain fully present. I do this to practice gratitude, to remember my spirit, and acknowledge the fact that I (and all of us) are always supported by the universe. When I am in this state of recognition, magical things always happen too. I don't expect anything, other than knowing that all will be well, and that is more than enough. The truth is, the magic is always there for all of us, but living in a state of gratitude makes you more aware of it.

I arrived at the Tobin Center early, and parked in a small lot that I've used before. I got out and saw half of the lot closed off. There was a police officer there, so I asked if I could park where I was. He said no, they were using it for valet service that evening, but I could park right across the street. He pointed to a spot in front of a construction sign, just behind a row of parking meters, and before a fire hydrant. He said I would be plenty of feet away from the hydrant. I walked back to my car and saw a butterfly at my feet. Butterflies are always a beautiful sign for me, I always thing of Dr. Wayne Dyer, and I know good things are to come. Magic.

The kind officer didn't know my rudimentary parking skills, and when I drove to the spot across from where he was standing, I chickened out and drove around the corner. I came back around, and while he was standing in the street. I rolled down my window and smiled "I got scared," I laughed. "I saw that!" He smiled and assured me again that it was fine to park there. So over to the same spot I went, grateful and trusting in the universe. A free parking spot for the night...magic!

I walked around the corner to the entrance of the Tobin Center, and was able to walk into the vestibule to wait until they opened the doors. There was an older woman waiting too, so I said hello and we chatted a bit (I'll call her Lois for this story). Soon her companion, who I'll call Shawn, joined her and we all continued to chat. It was interesting listening to them. Lois was talking about past events she had been to and wanted to know what to expect at this meet and greet. I told her how it went the last time I met him and she seemed surprised that there wasn't more to it. I was pretty happy just to meet him. I have been to smaller meet and greets that are more intimate, but Deepak is widely known, so I consider him visiting our city quite a treat. She was prepared, really prepared. She brought Sharpies, tape, a journal for her friend, and had actually printed photos of Deepak for him to sign. She reached into the folder in her handbag and told me she had extras and gave me one! Magic! 



Shawn mentioned that we shouldn't have Deepak personalize what he signs because it's not as valuable. He planned to sell if afterwards. Admittedly, my eyes rolled in my mind when he said that. They both talked about other events they've gone to and how they couldn't get elbow room where they sat and this time one of them had an end seat. They were contemplating how this would be tonight. I started thinking about my choice of seating, I purposely picked the center of the first row, just to be as close as I could be. It seemed like a great idea! There were aspects of this woman that so reminded me of me, the times when I got so caught up in being in control of how things would be, instead of just enjoying the moment and letting the universe take over. After all, as Deepak's book says: You Are The Universe, so why not expect it all to be great?! I don't mean any of this as a judgement, because in each of them, I saw me. Even Shawn with his interpretation of value. It's not good or bad, and it's all my perception of the evening, theirs would be totally different, as would someone observing the three of us. They both offered a reflection of some aspect of myself, and I appreciated it, and them.

When we were finally allowed into the venue, I walked up to the book table, picked up You Are The Universe, and paid for it straight away, no line. Magic! Then I started to walk towards the door where the meet and greet was. A woman was slightly ahead of me, and she seemed shy and stopped to let me go. I told her to go ahead. We walked down a small, dark hallway and when we reached the end, we were the first in line! Magic! 

Lois and Shawn were soon behind me and Lois was frantically trying to figure out how everyone would take photos of each other, she was organizing and contemplating and organizing some more. I was reminded again of how many times I've tried to make the experience "perfect," but things have been much better when I let it happen. I still picture things in my mind, and honestly, the reality is usually quite close or better. You know that whole law of attraction thing, it really does work. Expect the best always. But, it's ok for me now if it doesn't work out that way, which is a big improvement for me.

I offered to take some photos for the quiet woman in front of me, but as soon as I stepped out to help, there were two people assisting at the event to do that for all of us. It was a really kind gesture, and it made things so much easier to spend a moment to ourselves with Deepak Chopra. The gentleman who took the photos on our cameras was super generous, giving all of us almost a dozen photos each! Magic!





The first time I met Deepak two years ago, I thanked him for introducing my son to meditation through his 21-day meditation series with Oprah Winfrey. I gave him a t-shirt I had made with sanskrit writing for "I am love," and I told him that's what he was. I also asked him for a quick selfie together and he obliged!  This time I approached the table and told him that I had the honor to meet him in 2015, and since I was meeting him again today, that meant we were friends. We both laughed. I thanked him for teaching me to meditate and for being a profound spiritual teacher. I told him that I hoped he had as great an evening as all of us would be having. He was quiet and kind, signed my book and photo, and I left the room grateful for the opportunity. Magic!


I went back to the lobby with plenty of time before the lecture started, so I got a glass of champagne. Well not a glass actually, it was in a plastic cup with a lid...and a straw. Maybe I'm not meant to be classy. I found my initial friends from the vestibule and thanked Lois again for her kind gesture in giving me the photo. 



The theater doors soon opened and I walked to my seat. It was perfect, first row center, so close I could touch the stage with my feet if I extended them. I sat down and said hi to the woman next to me. She was my twin. I smiled to myself as I saw her dressed as I was last time I met Deepak. She had a suit jacket on and a t-shirt from her business, just like I had done. She was really sweet (of course, she's my twin!), and told me that she had thanked Deepak and had given him one of her shirts as I had done previously. I didn't mention any of the similarities to her. I didn't want it to be a "yeah me too" moment, which can sound a bit unbelievable. She was a reiki master and founder of a local monthly spiritual venue that I've been interested in being a vendor at. It was very cool to meet someone that taught reiki as it is on my to-do list to be certified. Best of all, she was very kind and great to chat with, and our goal for the evening was the same - to enjoy the teachings of this brilliant man.

The lecture was wonderful, he was clever, funny, intelligent...he was Deepak Chopra! He talked scientifically and spirituality about living a healthy life. He included information on the benefits of meditation, eating well, getting enough sleep, Earthing and more. He discussed different herbs to lower inflammation in the body such as black pepper, cardamom, cayenne, chamomile, ginger, and turmeric to name a few. He ended the lecture with a beautiful meditation. It was a relaxing way to end a lovely evening.

After the event I walked back to my car, no ticket, all was good! There was no waiting in line to leave, I just drove straight home. Magic! I said a prayer of gratitude for a wonderful night. I arrived at home and excitedly told my husband about the event, grabbed some water and headed up to bed with my book and signed photo tucked inside. After I changed for bed, I looked at the photo and part of the signature was smeared. Gah! The smeared part was transferred to my hand. I must have gotten water from the side of my glass on my hand and hit the photo right where the signature was. My temporary frustration reminded me of Lois and Shawn and the quest for perfection Maybe that was my lesson tonight, to let go even more. It was still all magic. It's kind of clever how the universe pointed that lesson out with a "magic" marker!

In Gratitude & Love,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Faux Anxiety


I have struggled with anxiety for most of my life. What works best for me now to maintain balance are natural methods including meditation and a daily spiritual practice. Both keep me grounded and at peace. I am sharing an experience I had last month, because for the first time, I had an induced anxiety experience. 

One night when I was trying to sleep, my heart started to palpitate. It was beating normally, and then there was this periodic hard beat. It hurt and it scared me. I would change sleeping positions and it would go away for a time, but eventually it came back and I would have to readjust myself again. I felt extremely nervous and I couldn't sleep. I have infrequently experienced this sensation before, but I could never figure out what was causing it. 

The next morning my whole body was a nervous wreck. I didn't have the chest pain, but I felt awful and stressed. I tried to figure out what brought this on, it was extreme anxiety and it wasn't typical for me. 

I had skipped a few meditations, so I thought maybe that was it. I meditated and felt calm for a short time after, but it soon came back in full force. I went food shopping and felt horrible on the drive and at the store. I was so nervous and the feeling kept coming in unstoppable waves. I tried becoming aware of my breath, and doing some relaxing breathing, but it didn't help. It was beyond anything I had ever experienced before, and I couldn't stop it. 

There was nothing exceptional going on in my life that was troubling me or weighing on my mind. I couldn't imagine where this was coming from. It felt like a constant panic attack. From what I have read, panic attacks go through a cycle, peak and then subside. This didn't subside, it was relentless and unbearable. 

I went through daily anxiety and nightly chest palpitations for two days when I finally figured out what it was. It was this:



I normally avoid artificial sweeteners, as I know they can affect mood, and I don't think that they are particularly healthy. Well, I let that rule slide because I've been on my never-ending diet, and I wanted something low-cal to drink besides water. I bought a case of my favorite, tasty, diet drink: Fresca. When I have bought it in the past (rarely, but like I said, it's so tasty!), I have no more than one can every few days. This time, I went on a binge and had two cans a day. It was a very bad idea and I should have stuck to water, seltzer, and tea.



It took four days to get the effects of the aspartame out of my system. And now thinking back, perhaps the times that I have had palpitations, it was when I had a Fresca (or something else that I didn't notice had an artificial sweetener in it). I probably didn't notice the cause before because I wasn't drinking as much and didn't have the other excessive symptoms. After this experience, I have become even more label conscious and realized aspartame was lurking in my yogurt and sucralose in my favorite fruit cup. Those who are sensitive to aspartame can experience headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, blurred vision, severe depression, irritability, anxiety attacks and more. I have also learned that when I see this on the label: Phenylketonurics - contains phenylalanine, it is another indicator that aspartame is in the food.

I wanted to share this not as a substitute for medical care. Obviously if you having heart palpitations or anything that is out of the ordinary, see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. But I wanted to share my experience as a suggestion to think beyond stress, hormones, or brain chemistry as the cause of anxiety and panic attacks. It is possible that it could be something lurking in your food, it just could be faux anxiety. And the best part is, with simply monitoring of the ingredients in the food you eat, this can be staved off.

In Love & Gratitude,


Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Kindness And The Cake Fairy


I had just returned from a relaxing weekend at the coast with my family. We unpacked the car and while my husband vacuumed the sand from the trunk, I decided to take my son to the Wendy's around the corner from us to pick up some lunch.


We pulled into the Wendy's parking lot and a white pickup truck pulled ahead of us in the drive-thru lane. There were a couple of cars ahead of us. In less than a minute, the white truck decided he couldn't wait. Because he was so close to the car in front of him, he backed right into my car to get out of the line. I could hear the awful crunching of the front of my car, it sounded like all of the metal was being mangled. I couldn't get out of the way of the mess that was happening, I felt helpless.


The truck pulled out of line, and I did too, expecting that we would both pull over and sort through this accident. Instead, the truck went flying around the parking lot. It was obvious that the driver was trying to get away. I was shocked and angry that someone would do that. It's not normally in me, but I tore after him because I wanted to get the license plate number. I kept repeating the plate number to my son who recorded it on his phone. As the car sped out of the parking lot, and into what is normally a very busy street, I stopped at the edge of the parking lot. I wasn't getting into a road rage scenario over this, or jeopardize my son's safety.  

I turned into the first empty space in the parking lot. I was feeling stunned that someone would actually do that. My son was fine and just as surprised as I was over the whole incident. He was actually a little jazzed about all of the excitement. With dread, I got out of the car to assess the damage. It sounded so awful. I don't get attached to physical things, but I actually really like this car. It's still new and I am trying my best to really take care of her (Jophiel). She's the Kind Car for my Kindness...Pass It On missions, and I try to treat the car with the love that it is being use for. Before I got out, I called my husband, but he was still cleaning out the sand, so didn't hear my initial call.

When I walked to the front of the car, I was so relieved to see that there was only damage to the plastic grill. That sound must have just been the hitch of the truck gnarling that small part of my car. I was still upset, but very thankful that it wasn't worse.




I pulled my phone out to call the police when a car pulled right beside mine. Soon after another car pulled beside that one. Out of the first car emerged a lovely couple. I noticed the magnet on the side of their car immediately and it made me smile, it said "The Cake Fairy." Shelly Leonard (aka The Cake Fairy) and her husband were kind enough to stop. My legs were shaking from pure adrenaline and Shelly asked if I was ok. She was so sweet and caring. Not only did they stop to see if we were alright, Shelly actually got the license plate number for me in case I didn't! I seriously am still so overwhelmed by her kindness to a complete stranger. 




I asked Shelly if she would mind if I took her information just in case the police needed a witness. Without hesitation, she started to give me her number, while her husband popped his head back into their car to pull out her business card. When I saw that, I thought, not only is he being generous and helpful, I could see that he was honoring his wife for this beautiful business she created. That touched me too. Having someone support you in your passion is such a gift, and I was witness to it in that moment.




I didn't talk as much with the gentleman in the second car, but he let me know that the truck was a Ford F150 Platinum. I am very grateful to him too. There is such beauty in knowing that there are people who are willing to stop and help just because. It wasn't for a reward or for something for any of them, it was just because that's who they are. There are just incredibly wonderful people in this world. The intention of today's blog isn't about the accident, or the runaway truck, it is really about gratitude for such kindness given. It is easy to focus on the bad, but the more important piece is the goodness.



After they left, the police and my husband arrived and I reported everything necessary. I chatted with Shelly afterwards via text and she continued to be kind and willing to help if needed. Of course I looked up her Facebook page to see all of her incredible creations. You can see the love (and talent!) she puts into what she does from cookies to cupcakes, cake pops, cakes and more. She is able to create a design for any age, occasion or theme including weddings, showers, birthdays, and holidays. She told me "I love what I do and I am so grateful for my customers. The saying, 'You'll never work a day in your life if you do what you love' definitely applies to me. Not only am I passionate about creating cakes, but I'm passionate about my family so my business allows me the freedom to spend my time and energy with them." Well, her passion sure shows! The more I read about what she does and who she is, I can see why she stopped that day. Shelly has a beautiful heart and shares her heart with her family, her cakes, and everyone she meets. She has had serious challenges and profound loss in her life, but chooses to help others including donating a birthday cake monthly to children who are living at the Strong Foundation



Thank you Shelly for your kindness and compassion. I wish you continued success in your beautiful business and all the best to you and your family always.

Visit The Cake Fairy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shellythecakefairy/ or email her at shellythecakefairy@gmail.com .

For curiosity sake, I can tell you after reporting it to police and my insurance company, the reason why the truck rushed off was because it wasn't registered to the driver. It was purchased 8 months ago at an auction from a commercial leasing company. They didn't register the car in their name, the plates were from the original owner, so they couldn't have had insurance either. It doesn't justify leaving the scene of an accident, but it does explain it. 

In Gratitude & Love,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review: Percolate by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino


I was first introduced to Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino through social media. She is intelligent and beautiful (inside & out) with business savvy and an endless supply of energy. She is also a mom to four sons, and her love for them and her husband is palpable. She is a go-getter as the CEO and Founder of The Best Ever You Network, The Best Ever You Show, Best Main Life, Best Ever You Books, Food Allergy Zone, and top it all off, she is a Hay House author! 

When I was writing my notes for this blog, one of the first descriptions of Elizabeth I jotted down was "perky." It is quite fitting that the name of her book is Percolate! She radiates joy, and after reading her book, and learning about her life, I have an even bigger admiration for her contagious enthusiasm. 




Percolate - Let Your Best Self Filter Through is a 9-step guide to making changes, empowering yourself and living your best life.The coffee theme is cleverly weaved throughout the book, accentuating each chapter. In order to effect positive change in our lives, Elizabeth thoughtfully guides us through self-evaluation of our beliefs, values, and desires. She provides questions to journal, along with positive steps for positive growth and change. Each chapter ends with a "Coffee Break" discussion with Elizabeth and Dr. Katie Eastman. Along with Elizabeth's delicious humor, tales of a hamster, an aardvark, and a platypus, I was completely hooked by the time I reached the section of her book entitled What Would Betty White Do? 



What stands out for me the most, is Elizabeth's authenticity. She walks the talk. This book dives deep into her life, and she truly lives through example. Not everything has been a cup of tea (er, coffee I mean) for her. She writes of several harrowing life-threatening experiences to herself and family that would have fractured most. Yet, no matter what has happened, she chooses to live her best life. And the most beautiful thing is, she wants to share what she learns with everyone. She wants us all to rise and be the best that we can be. 

I highly recommend this book. Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino doesn't just live her best life, she gives it too. This quote, generally attributed to Picasso, rings true for Elizabeth: "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." Thank you Elizabeth, for sharing your gift through Percolate and everything you do.

You can find Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino and her work at:
Book: Percolate
Website: http://www.elizabethguarino.com/
The Best Ever You: http://www.besteveryou.com/
Best Maine Life: https://www.bestmainelife.com/
Best Ever You Books: http://www.besteveryoubooks.com/
Food Allergy Zone: https://www.foodallergyzone.com/
The Best Ever You Show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/besteveryou

In Gratitude & Love,

Kerri Mulhern
www.suitablegifts.com


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Now That I'm Spiritual, You Have To Be Too


Um, no. No you don't have to walk my path. That's the whole point, this is my path, and you have yours. Sometimes we walk together, and sometimes we don't. And that's just fine.  

I found a lovely group to connect with through the spirit guides class I took recently. Twyla, the teacher, put together a monthly group called Spiritual Happy Hour through the Meetup app. Awesome app, by the way, to find local like-minded souls in whatever it is you enjoy: yoga, meditation, business groups, and more. 

So last Friday was our first get together. We met up for happy hour at local spot called Barbaro. I ordered a Blanche Devereaux to drink, as I'm not just mystical, but also a rather passionate Golden Girls aficionado. The evening was as fun as I expected! We had good conversation including everything from crystals, past lives, current lives, our careers and more. One of the gentlemen I'll call "Sam," (since that was his name :) asked me and Twyla if our husbands were on board with our spirituality, or if there was a conflict. I've heard this conversation many times, and I have listened to people say how they were on a new path and now they couldn't relate to the people in their lives anymore. Some have left relationships or were considering it. 


When I first started really tuning in to spirit, I did have a time when I felt alone. But it was self-imposed. I thought I had to hide how I was feeling and what I was discovering. It was actually because I wasn't comfortable with it yet. It is very easy to project onto others what we are actually feeling about ourselves. After awhile I didn't care anymore and began to talk and write about it. I also started opening up about my small business and blog. I'm here to be myself not someone else, as we all are. There wasn't any earth-shattering stomping away of people I was close with. And there wasn't anyone that I felt compelled to run away from. Relationships do come and go, evolve and change, and through my heightened intuition, I am just more aware of the people that are truly kind and genuine. And I am also aware of my energy, and what I want to bring to others.

For a time I wanted everyone to hear about what I was learning, it was all so exciting (well, to me that is). Of course my conversations were welcome with others who listen to similar programs or read the same books and articles as me.  But not everyone is interested in everything that I am, even within the spiritual world there are thousands of paths.

Once I made peace with myself on what was important to me, and respected myself for what I believe in, it really didn't matter if anyone else felt the same way. For me to call myself spiritual and exclude someone who doesn't believe the same way, doesn't feel very spiritual to me. I don't need to prove what I believe in, and neither does anyone else. For me, spirituality is about BEING it, not preaching it. It is something I am working on, and my ultimate goal is just to be love.

So as far as judging others who don't walk my path, I don't. Instead, I choose to see what is really there, and it is more beautiful than can be found in a book or a course. As I told Sam, my husband doesn't need to practice spirituality, he IS it without trying. My husband looks up at the stars, the moon, a beautiful sunrise or sunset and says the most sincere and loving thank you for their daily gifts. That is BEING it. He speaks of this elderly woman he sees when he drives to pick up our son at school. He notices her getting off the bus a few blocks from our home every day in the blazing sun, walking to her home in our subdivision. He is contemplating how to help, if he can figure out a way to give her a ride, or buy her an umbrella to shade her. That is BEING it.



I will continue with my books, courses, learning, and groups because I love it and it's part of my path. But I will always be mindful to BE it and really SEE it in others. 

In Gratitude & Love,

Kerri Mulhern

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