Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tweet - A - Thon

In conjuction with an earlier posting (please refer to a Powerful Noise), I would like to inform you of another avenue you can show your community support and activism. This boulevard is particulary in efforts to help fight hunger, with just a few clicks of your keyboard. National CineMedia’s (NCM) Fathom will host the first-ever sponsored Tweet-a-thon, an online Twitter community campaign, March 2-5. On those dates simply posts your tweet on twitter with a comment such as:

I support the end of global hunger worldwide with this tweet. Each tweet raises 10 cents for CARE. #apowerfulnoise

And yes, you did just read correctly - each tweet will raise .10 cents for the global humanitarian organization CARE. And all you did was Tweet! Pretty Sweet!

... A Saturday morning giggle...

This morning I woke up with a heavy heart, and not much (I felt) I could laugh about ... out of the normal for me, I know; but some days are meant to be reinforcement to your "reminders" as you find your way.

Checking my email this morning gave me on such reminder: Never underestimate the joy of life’s simple pleasures… like the Saturday morning giggle. Waiting for me in my inbox was message from a Katie, who works at PURE a PR firm out in Denver. She had stumbled upon Plan B, and read the piece written on A Powerful Noise.
Fast forward - I went to PURE's blog and found it fresh and trendy, and full of pieces that make you smile ... and even some that give you the Saturday morning giggles. One of the posts was a game you can play with the help of Google ... I did as instructed and here is what came of my mind relaxer this morning - enjoy!

To play, go to Google and type in your first name and the rest of the phrase. Don’t forget the quotation marks!

1. Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search: Chrissy needs a yard to run and play in (maybe to relieve myself in as well?)
2. Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search: Chrissy looks like Tinkerbell in denim.
3. Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search: Chrissy hates me doing this but I have to.
4. Type in "[your name] goes" in Google search: Chrissy goes to Washington, and the operating room!
5. Type in "[your name] loves" in Google search: Chrissy loves the Melbourne Storm! and bringing humor to every occasion ....
6. Type in "[your name] eats" in Google search: Chrissy eats the pie by mistake, and tries to replace it with a pie made by a local baker.
7. Type in "[your name] has" in Google search: Chrissy has more commuting stories than you could shake a stick at!
** Go on - shake your sticks! **
8. Type in "[your name] works" in Google search: Chrissy works hard to support a child that she is raising by herself. She tries to be "everything" to this little boy. She believes in the American dream...
** this one not so funny, but I had to smile because its true!**
9. Type in "[your name] lives" in Google search: Chrissy lives in a cage, but she spends most of the times out of it.
10. Type in "[your name] will" in Google search: Chrissy will make a nice addition to your holiday doll collection.

I spent 15 minutes with the giggles as I read what google was producing ... and although today is more trying than most, I see myself remembering to laugh often. Besides, its not every day you find out that your Tinkerbell looking rear needs a yard to play in. Don't forget I will make quite the addition to your holiday doll collection; don't delay your purchases as I am sure I will sell out! I wonder how much I would cost ... giggle....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Remember to Find Your Way

When something is troubling your worried mind, ask yourself this question: “Will this issue really make a difference in my life one year from now?” If the answer is no, move on.

If we would apply the above logic to our lives, I have a sneaky suspicion each of us would be living an extremely different life. When I saw this article, Reminders to Help You Find Your Way, in my email inbox, I admit I was skeptical; my impression was I was about to read a "follow the marshmallow trail to the chocolate fountain" type of material and easily get one line in and accidentally hit that little x up in the corner ... it would have totally been an accident, scouts honor. However, I was proven wrong, and I do not like to admit that (at least out loud). The article held logical, APPLICABLE, instructions that could be helpful in your journey of finding your way... simple instruction that once read and carried out, has the power to make an impactful change on your life. There are 34 of them ... I am not asking you to live each one to a creed, but I hope that you can walk away from this reading with a few of your favorites that can make a difference in your world. I know I have mine ....

Live in a few different cities, states, or even countries before your time is up. The life experiences gained in each location will open your eyes again and again for the first time.

Beginnings and endings… Both are powerful. Both are memorable. Both are necessary. Don’t be afraid to start. Don’t be afraid to bring something to an end.

Dreams will remain dreams forever if you don’t take action.

As long as you are alive, there is always more to learn.

Don’t spend your whole life waiting for the ‘right time’.

A Powerful Noise

I am a member of ONE - a grassroots organization committed to fighting extreme hunger in our world. I received an email from them today in regards to an event they are showcasing next week; it is the one night screening of "A Powerful Noise" ... Watch the trailer - I am sure you will be as moved as I was no matter what your gender, heritage, or age demographic.

After the screening next Thursday, March 5th, at 6:30 there will be a live town hall discussion panel with speakers including Madeleine Albright, Natalie Portman, Dr. Helene Gayle, Christy Turlington Burns, Nicholas Kristof and more. The presentation will discuss how women, equipped with the proper resources, have the power to help families and entire communities escape poverty and change the world.

Where: Esquire, 76706 Clayton Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63117
Tickets are $18 and can be purchased by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Go on, Be Fearless!

I read, and re-read, last night an article in Psychologies magazine (a mag that is my drug of choice sent to me from the UK). The article is an interview of actress Ellen Barkin, where she speaks openly about her past, and where she is heading. In her past she, like many of us, have been in a relationship where you give yourself completely to the other person; and she, like many of us, seem to not mind a bit – that role you take on is another side of you that you not only give, but you embrace. And she, like many of us, have seemed to be taken advantage of and tend to ‘regret’ that relationship ever entered your life for the draining it has done to your emotions, your time, and your own well-being.

No surprise that I love this article. I fall into the category ‘like many of us’ … and for the longest time I shut myself off to the possibility of being in love again because I was scared of the NEGATIVE impact it would have on my life. BUT … over the past year of my self-renewal and over the past six months since I began Plan B, I have been growing leaps and bounds as a person (and my hope is so have you ….). I view things in a more positive aspect – in the eyes of Chrissy before she had her heart broken. I try to view situations from other angles, summarize in positive light, and capture the moments instead of allowing them to slip by.

Barkin’s interview has a key point that I walked away with: Go on, Be Fearless. Connect on a real level, or not at all. Barkin states at one point, “I will fall in love quickly, say ‘I love you’ first, and not worry if he doesn’t say it back.” She continues to say, “Oh yeah. Another thing – I’m very comfortable by myself … It’s a wonderful power, in a way, because it makes you fearless.”

Not just in love, but in life be fearless. Give into your happiness and allow yourself to feel – capture the moments. We have a tendency to be very negative, very cynical … and yes I am speaking to you … and you. We hold back from a new career, the possibility of change, the opportunity to feel emotions, because we are scared. If we step outside of our comfort zones we would be forced to explore – and exploring frightens us.

Remember when we were eight years old and we would take bike rides that seemed to never end? The afternoon would pass by and we would be busy finding new routes to take, new places to hide, new avenues to venture to. I lived out in the country and despised being indoors; I would spend as much time as I could with the wind in my hair and the earth under my feet. I would travel down to the river where I would sit for hours skipping rocks and playing in the water; on my afternoon excursions I would discover and engage myself in the world around me. As I type, I am remembering the smell of the flowing water … I love that smell. I would lie on my back listening to it flow, while watching the clouds and using my imagination as to what they looked like … using my imagination as to what my future would be like. Why is it now as an adult I neglect to remember something so meaningful to me, something that ignites a passion in me, something that causes me to think about where I have been and where I am yet to venture to?

Somewhere between our infancy and the present day of this flaccid of adulthood, we have misplaced our inner urge to be explorers. I reflect to one of my favorite Pink songs, Glitter in the Air … “Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, I just don’t care.” When is the last time you threw glitter in the air? Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight? Closed your eyes and trusted, just trusted? Been touched so gently that you had to cry? Invited a stranger to come inside?

Today I ask you, invite that stranger from your childhood to rejoin you on your journey. Go on, Be Fearless. Take it to the mattresses – for life is not waiting for you, it is here, it is now, and you have a decision to make. Change your thinking and improve yourself; take risks, be brave, conquer your fears and relish in your accomplishments … imagine the feelings you had when you would explore … a sense of being, a sense of acting, a sense of doing. Venture outside and listen to the flowing water … peddle like the wind and let go of the handle bars … you will fall, you will skin your knee … but … let go … imagine … explore ... apply …. Go on … Be Fearless …

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let Lent Begin.

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow. Forty Days of Lent is about to commence. I am dreading the phone to ring …

“Christine, what are you going to be giving up for Lent this year?? Hmmmmm???”

“I don’t know Grandma, maybe [your phone calls] Curse Words again.”

“Okay Miss Sassafras, what will you be giving up?”

I don't know, I struggle with it every year! The Lenten Season has a purpose that is supposed to bring us closer to God; whether by taking something out of our lives, or adding to it, or a combination of the two. This is not an easy task or to be taken lightly by any means, at least it is not supposed to be; however over the years I have seen myself waiting to the last minute to decide on my sacrifice. In turn I wind up grabbing something random out of the air ….

Last year I gave up my snooze button since I am always late to everything. I thought it would make me on time for things, allowing me to slow down and take notice to that around me. I could spend the extra time at a more relaxed pace talking to God. Instead, I made it to day number five where I was cursing the world; by the way, my deepest apologies to those who my twenty minutes of sleep deprivation affected – you know who you are.

The year before that I gave up chocolate. Once day number uno began and I was being subjected to the notion that I could no longer be enjoying the sweet morsel, well I began cursing at the world; again, my deepest apologies to those, you know who you are.

Before that it was, how do I put this … as a single woman in her twenties I enjoy pleasure … and as a woman in the comfort of her own skin I can admit that I tend to enjoy that pleasure personally …. Do not judge me, I am single and frustrated! However, I was once again facing a deadline and needed a resolution and I grabbed it out of the option pail … give up self pleasure. To those who this affected, again, my deepest apologies; I will make no excuse for my behavior but I will say it was similar to the chocolate, once given up I needed it to function!

Each of these choices was just something I jumped into because the hour is late and a decision must be made.

Interesting. How many of us have made decisions today alone based on this concept: The hour is late and a decision must be made. For every action there is a reaction and for every choice there is a consequence. Look at my history – my consequence is I am forced to apologize for my behavior after every Lent season instead of being embraced by a closer understanding to the meaning of sacrifice. I feel forced to make a choice and then get pissed off for I know it was the wrong one, yet feel it is too late to change it now!

WRONG! As the creator of our lives God gives us free will, and inside that free will we are shaping our destiny, making our choices. We are human and must learn that at times we will make bad choices … at times we will regret the decision made. But we forget that we have the power to not only change our decision, but take the time to think it through and make numerous selections if need be. We do not have to stand by one particular decision if it means it is tearing us apart; if it is not providing a comfort, a satisfaction, an addition in a positive aspect to our lives. Just as we have the option to make choices, we have the option to re-evaluate and make changes. Sometimes this means scrapping the ideal / decision / option / thought / rationalization / choice completely and sitting in neutral until an alternative can be met.

For the next forty days I refuse to let another Lent season pass by with me filled with remorse for not finding a more meaningful resolution. Instead when this season is over I will be in harmony as I have finally tackled a true sacrifice - letting go of the past choices in order to fill life with those of greater meaning … choices that support our happiness, and balances, rather than making us tight-walk.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grab that Net ...

.... and catch that beautiful butterfly, pal!
As kids we learned that lady bugs are a sign of good luck, lightning bugs make excellent jewelry (in the ring department), Midwest summers bring out the June bugs, and butterflies are one of the most beautiful insects known. I am sure I am not alone in saying I have done my fair share of capturing these mere insects and enclosing them in a jar for my pure entertainment, certainly not theirs …. Poor lightning bugs never stood a chance with a girl who loved “jewels” …..

Fast forward to the present day … how many of you feel Caged? Trapped? Locked up? Tied up? (Okay that one is wishful thinking) Discouraged? Fearful? I know in the past few weeks I have had a heavy heart for so many of my closest loved ones who have been hurting. For some, they have had feelings of loss; deaths of beloved family members, relationships shattered over unmanageable differences, people taken out of their lives by someone else’s choice. For others, there has been downsizing at their place of employment, loss of their job (or the dead end yet again to find a new one), pay cuts, setbacks, and discouraging days of hard work and little return. Many have cried, had feelings of doubt, wept at what the circumstances of life were bringing forth. There was worry, there is worry.

We worry too often about what other people think and their feelings; neglecting our own … we surrender to the comfort zones in life. We worry about how we can help the one we love for subconsciously we endure their pain out of the love we possess for them. We worry about how to provide, how to maintain, how to preserve. We worry about whether to go or stay, to walk away or run, to stand and fight or surrender … We flutter our wings and pray for an outlet but we are dying in the bottoms of our mason jars in life.

The poignant part? Most of us are refusing to embark on our true journey in life. We neglect to take chances, to break free, to move on. We have yet to taste the sweet sensation of open skies and wind in our hair. As the lyrics are playing in my head now … “I still haven’t found, what I am looking for” … I ask you the question, what are you looking for? And how do you prepare to at least reach for it? We each have a passion, initiative strives to excel and succeed, and we each have strengths and qualities I believe we have not tapped into. We are looking for the next step, seeking the next page to be turned in a new chapter of our lives.

With the permission of the wonderful back in the STL Ann-Marie, I am able to share the following with you – Thank you Ann-Marie!
Back in November, I took a road trip to the fabulous Las Vegas. I knew this trip was about to change four girls in a way that Sinatra changed the voice of music. We took the trip to move Ann-Marie into her new home; but we all new the 26 hour car ride would forever change our thoughts in life. I wrote to the three of them before we left:

From: Chrissy Kohler (
Sent: Thu 11/06/08 8:55 AM
To: Ann-Marie (; Jessica Thiemann (; Michele Boyd (

So it is official - we are taking our girl, Ann-Marie, to Vegas in 15 days. All of us now have our plane tickets back, our bags kind of packed, and a sense of excitement that we cannot begin to measure. I thought I would send an email to once again let Ann-Marie know that we are here to help with anything - just ask .... This is an exciting time and we are here for you my dear. I also wanted to take a moment to put out there what we are all feeling:

Each of us is looking for something. Each of us are searching, are on a quest, to find peace. Each of us is trying to discover ourselves at a time that is crucial to us. Four of us will make the journey out there. The 1600 miles or so that will change the course of our lives for ever. Three of us will make the flight back home. Each of us will be forever changed; enlighten beyond measure of what the value of friendship means, what the strength of our inner-selves can provide, and what four days of inhibition and new sights can provide in our quest of discovery.

With that said, it is Vegas bound, and life ahead.


Last week I received an email from Ann-Marie:

Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 20:13:16 -0800
Subject: No More Vegas...

Ladies –

Hope you’re all doing well. I wanted to let you know that I’m moving back to St. Louis. My old job has requested that I come back, so with no job offers on the horizon (the one company that offered me a position went out of business the next week!) and the current state of the economy, this seems like the best choice. I even get all my benefits back right away – a very good thing for a diabetic who needs health insurance.

It took me a long time to come to this decision but I’m certain it’s the right one. I don’t want you to think that I just threw my dream of living in Vegas away…I learned a lot about myself while I was there, I don’t regret it, and I think I’m actually better for doing it. The psychic did say that moving to Vegas was good for me, I think that’s because it gave me a chance to figure out where I’m headed, etc. I guess that’s pretty subjective though.

My fear is that you’ll be disappointed that I didn’t last longer or think I’m stupid for moving without a job lined up. I prefer to think of it as ballsy, but I’m sorry if I let you down. Thank you for all your help and prayers. I hope you don’t feel like they were wasted.

See ya soon!

My response to Ann-Marie:

Subject: RE: No More Vegas...
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 22:35:46 -0600


I think I speak for everyone when I say this: The only way you would have failed us, is if you had not tried Vegas. When you made the choice to move there, you inspired all of us, and the wave of inspiration is not going to stop because you no longer have the NV zip code on your return address. In fact ... i think it will grow stronger. You know the one thing we said over and over again, on the plane ride home and to anyone we share our Vegas journey with? I wish I had a part of Ann-Marie in me; a part of me that faces the fear of the unknown, and makes something happen to our lives. The part that wants more, that seeks more, that FINDS MORE.

Now, on to my confession; A part of me is selfish and has missed you and will welcome you back with open arms and a comforting shoulder. True friends embrace every moment of your life ... and that my dear, you have found in me. I will never say that I lived in Vegas, and I envy you for that (you know I want to write NV on the damn address!!!) .... but I will say I had a friend, a dear friend, who moved there knowing little of herself, and came back a changed woman ready to embark on the next journey of her life. And in this journey, both near and afar, my dear adventurous Ann Marie ... you will always have friends supporting you and encouraging you to take chances, to be brave, and to chase your dreams.

Welcome back to the STL, and to the next chapter in your journey. Don't ever feel like you have let us down - our prayers were you find yourself, your happiness, and your place in the world ... and my dearest, if you read what you wrote us you will see - our prayers were answered.

See you soon ... let me know when you arrive; we will all be waiting with cocktails in hands!
Love you!!!!!

Take from these emails what you can use. And the next time you feel trapped in a mason jar, play dead – they empty the jar to use it again, and you fly away to taste life ….

Who wants to be on my team???

…. As some of you may or may not know, after years of tests, needles, doctors, medications, hospital visits, and frustration, I was recently diagnosed with Coronary Artery Spasms / Variant Angina. In English this means my arteries constrict, blocking the blood flow to my heart. The severity is that these spasms come on even when I don’t feel them and especially in the early morning hours of 3 – 5am while I think I am comfortably sleeping. Two weeks ago I began taking medication twice a day every day from now until ……. I have a good diet, but need to watch certain things; exercise is making a comeback into my life; and emotional stress needs to be kept at a minimum (chuckle…). No matter how much this news devastated me, untreated I will have a heart attack; so bring on the pills I say! I am here, and while I am here I will continue my course to make a difference in the lives of others, and in research.

On Saturday, May 2nd, the American Heart Association, the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, will be having the annual HEART WALK, hosted at Busch Stadium beginning at 8am. If you wish to be apart of my team, please send me your information (and anyone that may be joining you) on or before April 24th.

You know you wanna walk …. You know you do …. There will be water carts ….

I know I am not the only one that I know who is affected by a heart condition, or sadly, died of one; and though you each know me (some of you personally ...), I am sure there are many others treated and untreated in your life that are affected.

I hope you will join me in my efforts, and I encourage each of you to seek your own avenue to support … we can never do enough to support research!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Change our Minds = Increase our Serendipity!

I read an article today because the attention grabber on the email declared: Chance encounters aren't necessarily accidental; in fact, you can make your own luck by opening yourself up to the world. And no, I am not a ‘sucker’ for ‘catchy’ marketing phrases; I know that’s what you all were thinking – Chrissy, the gullible one! This phrase grabbed my attention because it made me think. I thought to myself about all of the chance encounters that have happened to me just this morning! Then I thought about all of times I have blamed things on luck and began to feel foolish. Do not mistake me, anyone who knows me well knows I am a firm and true believer in serendipitous moments; and when you think about it, serendipity and chance encounters are practically holding hands.

As the statement implies, you can make your own luck by opening yourself up to the world around you. However, how many of us actually do that? I for one find myself wanting to believe I am this happy go lucky, on top of the world, in charge of my own fate type of a gal; but after the tequila wears off I feel negative, and at times cynical by some of the cards I feel were dealt my way. When moments in life happen, of both the good or bad nature, that I find no rational answer to, I find myself chalking it up to, “must have been time” or, “not my time”, or “time to deal with it.” What is this time that we speak of? In that sense I mean, I thought this ‘time’ belonged to us? If that is the case, why are we not making the most of it?

I found myself not only reading the article, but printing a copy and highlighting the key phrases – such as: “Lucky people create, notice, and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives. If luck means being in the right place at the right time, then being in the right place at the right time is actually all about being in the right state of mind.” I read this phrase and I felt both enlightened and inspired!

Change our minds = Increase our Serendipity!

Take the time to read the article; I am certain it will capture your attention as much as mine and for the next thirty days (like it suggests) conduct your own experiments; I know today is just the starting point for me! I hope you implement the suggested keys to success; I will be interested to know if your luck increases by the 40% on average! After all, you cannot fail at this … you can only improve your chances!

[I wanted to have the four key principles on the site for easy reference, so I borrowed them from Ben Sherwood and added my own flavor underneath; however, dig deeper into Sherwood’s words and I think within sentence one you will already be changing your “luck”: ]
Prepare your mind:
Change your thought rational. Change your thinking. Leave chance encounters preparing yourself for the good to happen, and in turn prepare your mind to receive it.
Give chance a chance:
Simply put, explore your world! Pursuing an active life opens up a breading ground of possibilities!
If you don’t you will be too overwhelmed, uptight, anxious, distracted …. And these emotions may be the reason why you walked past money on the ground or missed the opportunity to speak to someone in a bank lobby.
Build your network of luck:
I think this meant to have, “Plan B: Life’s Discussion” at the end of it! Seriously, engage with each other, either on this blogsite, in person, on the phone, or backpacking across Europe … but with each day try to meet new people. Make smiling a habitual routine!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Make a Break for It!

Over the weekend I made it down to the Chase Park Plaza, one of my favorite buildings in St. Louis, to catch the movie I have been longing to see - Revolutionary Road. Some friends and I met up at SubZero Vodka bar to catch a few drinks and dinner before the movie began. The conversation had was enlightening; each of us sat around a table drinking our martinis and venting about the frustrations in life - work, money (or lack there of), strains, pressures, relationships (or again, lack there of ...) - And yet somewhere in the emotions of the dialogue there was a peacefulness. Each of us was feeling the same way and admitting it out loud for a change. I did not see the irony in this moment, until later, after the movie had ended, we had all went home, and the morning light would bring my ‘revolutionary road’ to focus.

Sunday morning, I got up, threw on some workout pants under my black nightie, and some socks to keep my tootsies warm. It was one of those mornings that you look in the mirror and think, I have some work to do ... yet, my hair never looked better. I walked around the house in a daze surveying the work to be done before the real estate agent was to bring yet another round of strangers into my home. After the beds where made, and the floors vacuumed, I made my way into the kitchen to tackle the dishes before grabbing my morning shower. It was there, between the floors and the shower, where I was overcome with emotion.

April said it in the movie, “I don’t want to be second rate.” And here I am feeling every syllable of the word. Look at me! Nearing the age of thirty, single mother, struggling to find her direction and purpose and knowing that right now in this moment I am feeling exactly as those characters were ... second rate. Lost. Confused. Needing more. Wanting more. And asking myself the tag line: How do you break free without breaking apart?

For the next twenty minutes or so I threw myself a pity party. It was a good party too; always one to be a good hostess I am! I took a shower and sat on the bed. Water dripped down into my hands; sourcing from both my eyes and hair. I asked myself the question: Am I breaking apart? I looked up, into the mirror and began to laugh. My laughter answered the question: You break free without breaking apart by moments like these! Moments like at the restaurant with your friends, talking about life, discussing where we are and where we are going. We break free by taking chances, by allowing ourselves to cry, by both feeling AND facing the fear inside. We break free by giving more than we think we can give, by taking chances and trying new approaches, by believing in life through joy and despair. We break free by truly being ourselves.

The next time you are sitting at a table with those whom you love, who you share with, who you laugh with … think … in those moments you are breaking out. You are reaching out. You are learning more than that moment can appreciate. Breaking free, without breaking apart, is simply done with the support of both the laughter and the tears; and with the sharing of fears of those who are closest to you. Lean on them when you feel you need strength, trust in them to listen to your uncertainties, and believe in them, and yourself, to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and make your break to be you. And each morning, when you wake, give yourself a chance to laugh … today you will break if want – make it a clean one, with a side of laughter and promise of hope.