Take Five

Take Five

The magic number 5.

When you get the news that you have cancer, the number you strive for is five! I’m happy to say that this is my fifth year as a cancer survivor.   To be honest, it has felt a little different…a time to pause and reflect on this stage of my life…where it all began and why celebration is key.

I recently held my sixth ‘Dress for a Cure’  fashion show which raises money for FORCE – Facing our Risk of Cancer Empowered. I founded ‘Dress for a Cure’ a year prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer because my mother was battling ovarian cancer. My mom and I were prepared since we both had learned we were BRCA1 positive (breast cancer positive).  BRCA1 is  the most common gene associated with breast and ovarian cancer.

When something big happens, whether it’s positive or not-so-positive, my approach is to look for a way to see it as an opportunity. In the past, my mother used to say “it is what it is” and she meant it in a positive way, like…ok, what’s next, and that helps me along the way. I love how she embraced life.

This year, more than any other, I paused and reflected on the past five years as a cancer survivor.  These are the TAKE 5 thoughts that have grounded me through it all:

1 – Heritage – remembering the past is special and the stories are the best part. Heritage…is what it is. I have felt the need to slow down and simplify life more. My mother lived a simple, but filled life. I have been craving ‘what is’ and perhaps that explains why my One Word “roots” came into my life this year. I went back to Oklahoma to visit my mom’s farm and family so that I could focus on where her life began and explore what’s been passed onto me.

What stories do you often talk about that have shaped who you are?

2 – Team and Community– go hand in hand. I have learned you can’t do it alone and why would you want to? A team is there to celebrate and cheer you on or lift you up when you fall down. My team on surgery day was key and I will never forget how I felt before going into my 13 hour surgery and how I felt all the weeks after. My community is what keeps me going year after year and it has grown over the years.

Who is on your team, and in your community that lifts you up and celebrates life with you?

3 – Be (+) Positive – this is something you have control of. B(e) positive is not only my blood type, it’s also my mindset and top strength. It is what gets me through life’s ups and downs. This mindset has played a big part of my life journey towards healing and becoming healthier and happier. I guess you could say it’s in my blood.

How do you handle the ups and downs in your life?

4 – Boots – resemble strength to me. I have been embracing my brave-girl boots. We have heard the saying, “you are what you eat”… how about “you are what you wear”! Putting on my brave-girl boots over the past five years has helped me feel stronger. It’s also why my ‘Dress for a Cure’ event  evolved to ‘Dress for a Cure: Give Cancer the Boot’. It’s why I called my trip to OK – Roots to Boots. I have made a strong connection – heritage to bravery.

What do you wear that makes you feel brave and strong?

5 – Celebration of Life – this is what life is about, in my opinion. As we go through life we look forward to celebrating milestones. I get to decide which milestones I celebrate.  They can be simple and small…or big, like my five year survivor celebration.

How do you celebrate milestones, big and small?

Truthfully, we are all survivors in some way. I am a five year breast cancer survivor.  I am also a survivor of many other things in life. I will continue to move forward and Take these 5 tips for myself.

How will you take them for you?

There is so much to be grateful for and to celebrate. I invite you to join the Wholistic Woman members and coaches at our annual Gratitude dinner on November 16 from 6-9 pm at Dutch’s Daughter. If you aren’t a member yet, you may join now for 2017 and attend this year’s gratitude dinner. Come appreciate and celebrate with us!  Click here for details

 

Today’s author: Kelye Rouse Brown, CHA, CHT is a business owner, joint venture partner, HR expert, certified coach, and training professional. Her 3 components: Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate help her clients develop, spark action, and grow a successful career/business and life from the core. Kelye can be reached at 301-371-9300 or by visiting her website: krbtrainingsolutions.com

Summer Fun

Summer Fun

This feels like the first year in a long time I have connected with summer time. I am such a fan of fall time and usually summer is just a season before my favorite time of the year. More and more, I try to enjoy every season and appreciate what each one brings.  This summer I’ve been thinking a lot about what I appreciate about summer.  Here is what I’ve come up with…

Summer makes me feel joyful when:
• Fireflies are around, they are such a treat!

Do you ever just sit and watch those cute bugs light up the sky? Just pause and enjoy the little pleasures of the bright spots around you.

• Sunny days wake me up and bring positive energy to the day!

Do you ever take a moment to enjoy the sunrise or sunset?  We all know that vitamin D is good for you.  Try soaking some in on the next  sunny day.

• Ice cream is just around the corner to chill the hot day! ….we recently stopped at DQ and enjoyed some hot chocolate sundaes and root beer floats. I didn’t get annoyed with the very long line. Instead, I just looked around at all the happy faces anticipating the yummy delight coming their way!

I am sure we all have favorite seasons, and can outline why each one is special to us and our personal needs. This year, I have really enjoyed focusing on the things I like about summer.  And speaking of “focusing”,  another fun thing that I’ll be doing this summer is attending Donna Kettell’s  upcoming ‘Be Focused’ session on visualization on August 31st.  If you’d like to join me, you can click here for details.

 

Today’s author: Kelye Rouse-Brown, CHA, CHT is a business owner, joint venture partner, HR expert, certified coach, and training professional. Her 3 components: Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate help her clients develop, spark action, and grow a successful career/business and life from the core. Kelye can be reached at 301-371-9300 or by visiting her website: krbtrainingsolutions.com

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Roots to Boots Tour….to Be Happier

Roots to Boots Tour….to Be Happier

Today I feel a sense of fulfillment from completing a trip that I have longed to take over the past few years. I called it my Roots to Boots tour because my family roots are in Oklahoma and I needed my brave boots from Texas to make this particular journey.

Designing the trip was fun, yet filled with uncertainty because I didn’t know how it would unfold. I can’t remember the last time I took two whole weeks off to spend time with my mom’s family members that I haven’t seen in over a decade (and probably only ten times in my entire life).

As I planned the trip, some of the questions I asked myself were:

Will my mom’s side of the family remember me…and embrace this trip as I do?

What surprises will I encounter to make this trip more challenging or complete?

I’m happy to say that these questions were answered positively and that I experienced some pleasant surprises. This trip was bittersweet as I celebrated both the successful three year anniversary of my Texas joint venture and the anniversary of my mom’s passing.

After reflecting on this much anticipated journey, I can truthfully say that I am happier than I was three years ago. I am happier because….

  • I’m celebrating a successful business milestone with greater opportunities on the horizon
  • I have reconnected with my family in Oklahoma, closing a lengthy ten year gap.
  • I brought my mom’s ashes back to her roots, where she started her life and felt complete
  • My husband and I made this journey, and celebrated this labor of love, together.

Recognizing and embracing the process of becoming happier is a wonderful, and joyful, benefit of this Roots to Boots trip. Planning this adventure made me uncomfortable at times. However, I realized that I needed to be courageous, and step out into the world, to bring a deeper level of peace and healing into my life. The timing seemed perfect. In hindsight, I see that I not only boosted myself with this trip but (according to my husband) I also boosted my extended family by traveling back to our roots.

I truly believe that happiness boosters are important in life.

What boosts your happiness?

What happiness boosters are you willing to explore to bring needed closure and peace to your life?

Remember that becoming happier is a lifelong pursuit. I encourage you to discover ways to rejuvenate yourself to feel happier.

Do you want to learn more about becoming happier?

Ladies, you’re invited to the Be Happier Evening Retreat where I will be teaching techniques from the book Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar on April 27 at Jo Jo’s Restaurant from 5:30-7:30 pm. Click here for details and to register and reserve your spot. Make a friend happier and invite her to join you!

 

Today’s author: Kelye Rouse-Brown, CHA, CHT is a business owner, joint venture partner, HR expert, certified coach, and training professional. Her 3 components: Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate help her clients develop, spark action, and grow a successful career/business and life from the core. Kelye can be reached at 301-371-9300 or by visiting her website: krbtrainingsolutions.com

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Keeping Spirits Bright

Keeping Spirits Bright

I love the holidays. I love the connection and spirit that surrounds us throughout the month of December. I’ve often thought that the magic of Christmas, or any holiday you celebrate, is a reflection of who you are in each season of the year.

We each have holiday traditions that have special meaning for us. When I was little we always opened a gift or two on Christmas Eve…which was my mother’s favorite day of the year and has become mine as well.

Over the years, for me, the holiday spirit has shifted from getting presents to giving them. I pause more often as I decorate the tree and remember details about each ornament. I decorate the house one day at a time instead of rushing through the process. When I send holiday cards I connect with some people that I have not been in touch with in 365 days.

I notice that many people feel rushed during the holidays and overwhelmed. In fact, a close friend of mine is offering a service especially designed to help those individuals. In the past few years I like to slow down, take it all in, and savor this delicious time of the year. Sometimes I feel a little like Mrs. Claus spreading the joy…and sometimes toys!

Here are my favorite ways to savor the joy of the holiday and keep spirits bright:
• Turn on the twinkly lights in the house during the day and night
• Wear festive sparkly clothes, dress up my pugs, and have an open house
• Plan lunch or dinner with close friends to celebrate
• Reconnect with friends and family through cards and family photos
• Play holiday music in my house and car and sing out loud
• Keep traditions alive and make new ones every year; like baking cookies or mixing nuts
• Watch at least three holiday movies – my favorites are The Holiday, Love Actually, and The Family Stone…as well as the classics too!

Watching the movie Family Stone recently sparked my interest to reflect on special moments. It inspired me to go through old pictures and I framed one of my mother and brother when he was just 10 days old. I plan to give it to him for Christmas. I know he will be touched by this gift of a reminder of our mother. The gift of memories is precious, indeed.

The holidays are not a one size fits all…no two are exactly the same.

What keeps your spirits bright over the holidays?

What traditions do you have?

How do you savor your holiday?

I hope you will embrace the surprises of the season and enjoy creating new memories that you might frame in the future.
Wholistic Woman Retreats sends you bright light and love this holiday season.

 

Today’s author: Kelye Rouse-Brown, CHA, CHT is a business owner, joint venture partner, HR expert, certified coach and training professional. Her 3 components: Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate are what help her clients develop, spark action and grow a successful career/business and life from the core. Kelye can be reached at 301-371-9300 or by visiting her website: krbtrainingsolutions.com

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My Brave Day

I declare today my brave day.  Everyone has one of those days, right?

Today is the 4th anniversary of being a breast cancer survivor and taking charge of my health and future.  What a journey it has been and today I reflect on the day.  I wonder…when you go through something major in your life does it add a protective shield or a layer of “I can do anything” to who you are?

Four years ago, I underwent a thirteen hour procedure.  Today I think about the timing of it all.  The prepping for surgery, removal of my cancer, and reconstruction lasted half a day.  Pretty amazing when you think about it!  I think of the competent surgeons and nurses, and my friends and family on the sidelines.  I think about how I was treated during the day.  I have very clear memories of everything that happened before I went under anesthesia.

I had a team of people present with me before going into surgery.  My team consisted of my sister-in-laws, Tobi and Linda, my Dad and stepmom Gail, my godmother Joan, my oldest high school friend Rachel, and of course, my supportive husband Steve.  I would have loved for my mom to be there but she was not healthy enough to be at the hospital with us.  My mom had been battling ovarian cancer for ten years prior to my diagnosis – a huge milestone for anyone with that type of cancer.  She was my model for bravery.  Now it was my time to fight!

As I reflect, I wonder…Why was I so brave and relaxed?  Let’s see:

  • My support team of family and friends by my side
  • My competent surgeons and staff on hand
  • My own positive mental attitude

My fight was planned from the start when my mother and I were diagnosed with the genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer called BRCA1.  I had a 50% chance of carrying the mutation, so it wasn’t a total shocker to test positive for it.  In fact, my breast cancer detection was caught early.  I was at stage zero.  It doesn’t get better than that!

My surgery lasted 13 hours but really this event of mine will last a lifetime.  I think when you’ve experienced something of this magnitude you earn the right to have a brave day.  That’s how I see it and why I declare today that day for me!

Do you have a day you can declare your brave day?

Just weeks ago I did something brave at our Wholistic Woman Adventure Retreat – Be Courageous.  I faced a new challenge called The Leap of Faith.  The picture you see in this post is me at the top of The Leap of Faith.  As I climbed a 22 foot pole, one step at a time, to reach the top and stand tall, I was reminded of my brave day.  The same components were in place.  I had a supportive coaching team and community, a competent staff, and most of all, my positive attitude!

Four years ago I underwent a major, life changing event.  I think about the protective shield that I now carry with me as a result of “my brave day”, and realize it is what prepares me for all the challenges ahead.  Challenges like The Leap of Faith as well as challenges still yet to come.  If you’d like inspiration to declare your brave day, check out our photo gallery of brave women participating in ‘Be Courageous’ by clicking here.

 

Today’s author: Kelye Rouse-Brown, CHA, CHT is a business owner, joint venture partner, HR expert, certified coach and training professional. Her 3 components: Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate are what help her clients develop, spark action and grow a successful career/business and life from the core. Kelye can be reached at 301-371-9300 or by visiting her website: krbtrainingsolutions.com

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The Pie of Happiness

I have been studying Positive Psychology since June of 2014. The recommended book I have been reading is “The How of Happiness” by Sonya Lyubomirsky. In her book, Sonya explains the 3 parts of happiness in the form of a pie – 50% of your happiness pie is set by your genetics, 10% by your life circumstances and 40% is made up of your intentional activities to be happy.  In essence you have the power to change and be happier. This research by Lyubomirsky is so empowering to know.

To make the statistics less scientific and more relatable, I translated her pie chart to pieces of pie in my life:

  • Genetics are like Rhubarb Pie – Tradition
  • Life Circumstances are like Lemon Pie – Tart
  • Intentional Activities are like Blueberry Pie – Mindfulness

Over the past decade plus I have been especially interested in learning more about genetics and how it impacts our make-up and life. In “The How of Happiness”, Sonya Lyubomirsky says that you have a gene set point from your biological mother or father or both. Having genetic testing done myself, I learned I have my mother’s genes. From age 2 to age 5, I had kidney issues that put me in the hospital every 6 months. My mom said I used to go to the hospital and say to the nurses and doctors, “Here I am.” It sounds a little like Johnny Carson’s introduction, but she said I had a pretty sunny disposition despite the health issues. Much later in life, in my late 30’s, my mother and I were diagnosed with the BRCA1 (breast cancer) gene mutation. I understand the research that 50% of your genes are who you are and my early breast cancer detection confirmed that. While preparing for the testing, my mom and I reviewed our family tree to better understand our history. My mother’s mom had breast cancer, my mom had ovarian cancer and lived beyond her prognosis. One doctor said my mom was “beyond science.” I believe my mom’s humor, positivity and sunny outlook are what kept her “beyond science” – and those ‘mother’ genes attribute to my 50% of happiness.

Why does rhubarb pie come to mind for genetics?

Growing up, our neighbors used to always give us rhubarb from their garden and we made pie. The rhubarb pie grew on me as a family tradition and stays with me from my past. It’s pleasant to think of my roots and rhubarb.

Rhubarb may not be what I would choose in life now, but it was what my mother made. What pie do you think of that reminds you of your heritage or past?

Why does lemon pie come to mind for life circumstances?

I had breast cancer, a life circumstance that fortunately I was more prepared for due to my genetic testing. My cancer was detected at Stage 0 – it doesn’t get much better than that! This doesn’t impact my happiness negatively, but it was tart like a lemon pie. This was a big event, but this doesn’t take up much of my happiness pool. I have amazing support and educate woman about the benefits of genetic testing to be proactive and deal with a life situation the best you can.

My life circumstance I describe was health and there are many more examples. What bitter sweet or sweet treat do you think of when you examine a life circumstance, positive or not so positive?

Why does blueberry pie come to mind for intentional activity?

Blueberries are healthy and good for you. They help with your memory and mindfulness. I can take health matters in my own hand. Just imagine if I eat more blueberries I can make a shift to a more positive life style, up to 40 %. That is a huge chunk of your life to work on the ‘Be Whole’ pie –  the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is be mindful about the choices you make – like eating Blueberry pie.

How are you mindful of your activities to enjoy the best of life and be happy? If you are not sure, try blueberries.

Focus on your favorite piece of the whole pie and don’t settle for less. My life has been rhubarb, lemon and blueberries wrapped into one and how sweet it is to know I can live wholeheartedly 40% of the time and appreciate 60% of what has shaped who I am today.

Are you interested in knowing more about positive psychology and how you can impact your own happiness?  Then come on out to Be Positive on May 27th at Jo Jo’s to explore more of the pie of happiness.  Click here for details

 

Today’s author: Kelye Rouse-Brown, CHA, CHT is a business owner, joint venture partner, HR expert, certified coach and training professional. Her 3 components: Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate are what help her clients develop, spark action and grow a successful career/business and life. Kelye can be reached at 301-371-9300 or by visiting her website: krbtrainingsoulutions.com

 

 

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