Abbey Lou, Taking Style To Class

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Brand New Year (and You)

Jennifer Smith - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

At the end of December I went to get my hair cut with the same stylist I have been using for years. When I walked into the salon the first words out of her mouth were "I am sooooo excited for the new year!" I laughed and asked her "why?", assuming she would tell me about some fun plans she had. Instead, she proceeded to tell me how New Years is her very favorite holiday - not because of parties, or friends, or football, or traveling - but because it is a brand new start. She loved the excitement of not knowing what this new year will bring. She loved the feeling of getting a fresh start and making new dreams and goals. She loved reflecting on the last year and assessing where she was and where she wants to be.

As I have spent the last week taking down decorations and cleaning up the Christmas clutter, I have thought a lot about Aimee's excitement with the new year. My house always looks bare where the decorations come down, but it also looks clean and fresh and I have had that same sense of "out with the old, in with the new" that a new year can bring. As a family we talked about making new year's resolutions and the importance of setting goals for yourself and working hard to achieve them. We also talked about how to do this - because it requires so much more than just thinking "I really want this!" It requires a plan on how to achieve it and regular assessment of where you are in relation to that goal. Say you want to get straight A's. How are you going to make that happen? Maybe it is setting a certain amount of time you are going to study every night, or joining a homework club, or getting a tutor. Whatever your goal is, carefully plan out the steps you need to take to reach it - and then DO IT!! It also helps to tell your family and friends about your goals so they can help you and keep you focused.

I truly believe that with enough desire, hard work, and determination, you can achieve anything you want to achieve! So what will 2013 bring for you? A spot on the volleyball team? The lead in a play? Maybe a new friend or the ability to speak French? Perhaps you want to run a marathon or learn to snowboard? Whatever it is, go for it...and good luck!

P.S. Thank you for your inspiration and enthusiasm, Aimee!

Having the Courage to Try

Jennifer Smith - Thursday, August 16, 2012

Matt Damon, playing Benjamin Mee in We Bought a Zoo, gives this tender advice to his son, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery.”

Twenty seconds!? It sounds crazy, but think about it. Sometimes the scariest situations in our life only require twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery.

Welcome Brave New Owners

Trying something new, trying something old or trying something again can be so scary. There are so many unknowns, but worst of all what if you fail? What if you walk on that stage and fall flat on your face? What if you get to the microphone and can’t remember a single word? What if you step onto the court and miss the play completely? What if…What if…What if…

Of course there’s a chance of failing. There’s always a chance of failing. Some of the world’s most successful individuals failed over and over again before they were finally able to reach their goal. But, they kept on trying. Trying can be scary, but just give yourself twenty seconds of insane courage.

Take that first step and try your hardest. You’re worth that try. You are worth giving it all you got, knowing that you did all that you possibly could.

So step onto that stage, grab hold of that microphone, or march onto that court. No matter what your scary situation is, face it with courage. Have faith in yourself that you can give something your all and walk away with your head held all.

And who knows, maybe when you get on that stage you will hit every note perfectly, maybe you will be more eloquent than you could have believed and maybe you will make the game winning play. But, you’ll never know what you can do if you don’t let yourself try.