Creating Community, Change & Choice

Liz

What are we teaching our children?

Single Parenting What are we teaching our children?  Have you ever paid attention to just how much your children are watching you? Do you see they do what you do (pretend to cook, clean or mimick the work you do)? Have you had a giggle over hearing them repeat some of your sayings?

More often than not, we really don’t realize how much we are teaching our children.  Oh sure, we sit with them and read, teach them their A, B, C’s and 1, 2, 3’s.  But what I’m talking about is the behaviours we pass on based on the beliefs we learned ourselves as children.  Did you grow up hearing your mom or dad saying “money doesn’t grow on trees”, or “you need to work hard if you are going to get ahead” or maybe even “boys don’t cry” and “big girls don’t cry, stop being a baby”.

It is easy to have more self control over our thoughts and actions when times are good and we are calm and centered.  But what about those times when we are feeling the stress of single parenting? When the bills are reaching an all time high, when you’ve had an extremely tough day at work and the kids just happen to be high strung and misbehaving?  It’s at those moments where we have those knee jerk reactions and unconsciously start spewing off those same comments that came from our parents or other adults we grew up around (those who strongly influenced us growing up). Then as we come down from those moments of anger and frustration and are back in “calm land” do we begin regretting some of those words.  I know, I lived some of those moments while raising my two boys.  After my marriage breakdown while in my state of anger, depression and frustration, I found myself struggling to be the better parent.  Shame and guilt rolled in and those many, many days of wondering how my words and actions would affect my kids long term.

The good news is that we have the choice to move up and out of that “zone”, that place that is not so pretty.  When we change, so do our children.  You see I saw how my children began living angry, rebellious and physical lives as I lived in my anger, depression and frustration.  I saw how they took it out on each other – for a long time it was a challenge to get them out of that “anger zone”.  I was feeling hopeless, because the guilt and shame led me to isolate myself from everyone!  I didn’t like where I took myself and my children, I certainly didn’t want to share my failures with anyone else.  But truth be told, everyone could see it – they could see it in how they behaved outside of my home – as much as it was in my home, it was outside too.

I met someone who is now a very good friend, who was a member of an organization that showed me my life and my children’s lives could be different – better!  It had to start with me – my personal development, my self-care and my beliefs – I mattered and I needed to realize that was my first step.  I’ve learned to let go of the guilt and the shame – my behaviours were that of a woman who only knew what she knew, many limiting beliefs that were imbedded in every inch of my being.  I welcomed the knowledge and committed to the process.  It wasn’t long when I noticed a difference in the way I felt, thought and behaved, but better yet, I could see how my children were changing!  It was true, to change your surroundings you need to start with YOU.  My boys are grown now, living their own lives.  And me? Well I get to share what I have learned and continue to learn with you and my granddaughter.  She gets a better version of me.  I continue to grow and expand who I am, and I love who I am becoming.

I invite you to join me as we create our community, embrace change and welcome choices.  Our Community Development team are planning some great information sessions where we can share conversations, challenges and successes.  Be sure to sign up to receive our “It Takes A Village” Newsletter to be first to learn about our events.

Hugzzz

Liz M Raymond



Growing Victory Gardens of Positive Beliefs

weedbeliefs copyI’m Awesome!”  I love to hear my granddaughter happily share this with me when I ask her what she is. This little lady is creative, intelligent, expressive and loves to learn.  Knowing that these are important years where she is forming her beliefs I am very conscious of what I say and how I say it.  You see I have been working alot with Limiting Beliefs in my own journey and with this learning I know better how to communicate with children so they can create their own positive beliefs.  I’m aware of this, not only with my granddaughter, but other children as well.

Nearly all of our beliefs are formed in our early childhood. As Dr. Wayne Dyer shares we are born with unlimited potential.  We form our beliefs (which are thoughts we believe are our truths) from our parents, relatives, teachers and others as well as from experiences we have during childhood.  Once they are formed, we start looking for things that reinforce them – until we become aware of the fact that they aren’t necessarily true – and then begins the work to “weed out” the limiting beliefs and plant new ones that allow us to grow with limitless potential.

Spring is a perfect time for growing a garden of positive beliefs. We often think of Spring as a “fresh start’ where we can do some spring cleaning, clearing out closets and best yet, growing beautiful gardens.  Like any garden, creating Victory Garden begins with weeding out your Limiting Beliefs. To grow any garden, you need to begin with rich soil, a variety of seeds and nutrients.  The weeding can be challenging but it is doable, the first step is becoming conscious of your thoughts.  I did this through journaling my thoughts.  I did this for 2 weeks to see what was coming up over and over again.  It really wasn’t surprising when I went back and read my journal.  What I have found, that we can find a “tribe” of people who will positively support us as we travel this journey of creating our “Victory” garden of positive beliefs.  I’ve found mine.  I am happy to create that tribe of support for single moms and single dads and all of our children.

I’d like to invite you to our Successful Single Parents Facebook Group so we can share in conversations, information and positive support.

Hugzzz

Liz M Raymond

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Following My Intuition

LettersFromLiz copy For months now I have been struggling with feelings of frustration and anxiety.

Life hasn’t been cooperating like it has in the past.  As I have been struggling with my own money challenges I have had to shift much of my focus away from SPFS. Much of my effort has been spent at bringing in work in my main gig, Liz M Raymond Professional Business Organizer.  PBO not only provides me with funds to support my day to day financial responsibilities, but it also helps to fund SPFS (my baby) while we are growing.  While focusing on one, the other loses out, or at least temporarily suffers.  I am excited for the new opportunities and successes that members of our planning team have found in their lives and businesses.  With their successes their priorities require a shift.

With the planning of the 2nd Annual Single Parenting for Success Symposium in full gear I noticed that there were important aspects of the event that were not coming together.  I began to feel that the Universe was sending me a message.  Someone pointed out that March 26th – the selected date – was on Easter Weekend — my heart sank and I began to panic.  I knew with Easter attendance at the Symposium would be very low.

My vision to create a fabulous event that would bring more awesome resources and celebrations to #Ottawa #SingleMoms and #SingleDads was slipping away.  “Open Talk” is important.  There are conversations that need to be had and an opportunity to share with each other that would release stigmas and discomfort.  This event matters too much to leave it to chance.

I sat quietly in my room on the edge of my bed.  No tears were shed, only deep breaths were taken as I closed eyes to ask my guides what I should do.  It wasn’t long when I allowed myself to listen intently to my intuition – another date had to be chosen.  I picked up my cellphone and called a dear friend of mine, someone who has been with me from the start.  The more we talked, the more she could hear that my intuition had already given me my answer.  A new date was booked and another plan put in place.  A new opportunity has appeared to create more mini-events in 2016 AND still celebrate #SingleParentsDay as it is meant to be celebrated — in 2017.  A new calm fell over me as I trusted this is the right decision.

Sitting quiet and listening and  learning to trust your intuition can help make decisions much easier.

Hugzzz

Liz M Raymond

Please feel free to share your comments and ideas.

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Creating a Community

directionsSaturday, March 21, 2015 marked a new day in Ottawa, Ontario, Single Parents Day where the isolation disappeared.  This is the date that I witnessed the beginning a the creation of a community for single parents.  One by one as each person arrived and took their seat, spread out amongst a sea of chairs, I thought “how alone do they look”.  Within a matter of hours we witnessed the community connection that had been my goal from the start of this journey.  There was no fear in sharing their stories or shame in asking questions.  The energy that filled the room was electrifying.  A real community connection had been made. The TEAM I was blessed with has helped me to create something life changing.

It has been a month and a half since that day and SPFS is slowly morphing with a goal to continue the growth of a single parenting community.  Locations are being scouted, collaborations are in the works and training is lined up that will allow us to offer more.  I understand fun family events are a “must have” to help build continued connection in community.  And so it continues…..

The theme for our Symposium was “Just Ask” and this is where I am at – I need to JUST ASK each of you what do you need?  What would you like to see happen?  What connections do you want to make? What can we do together?  Please add your comments and suggestions, the floor is yours…

Hugzzz

Liz M Raymond

P.S.  I have created a Facebook group Successful Single Parents, I would be honoured if you join us

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Save the Date! Ottawa Single Parents Day

On March 19th of 2014 I was at my laptop Googling when I came across an article that totally distracted me from my task at hand.  It read….

March 21st Single Parents Day – a day set aside to honour and applaud the hard work single parents do each and every day in raising their children.”  You can’t imagine what went racing through my mind!  A day for single parents!!  It was seconds when I grabbed my agenda and went flipping through the pages to see what day March 21st, 2015 fell on…  Saturday!!  Fabulous!!  It didn’t take me any longer than that to decide I was going to bring this to Ottawa!  And so the planning began!!

So here we have it, the stage is set Saturday, March 21, 2015.  The venue is booked (Gloucester Senior Adults’ Centre 2020 Ogilvie Road, above the Earl Armstrong Arena).  The planning TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) is in place and we are on fire!!

Our very own Katherine Dines, single mom, blogger and Majic 100 radio host has graciously accepted my invitation to be Master of Ceremonies for the day.  I have been manifesting her participation for months!! Thank you Universe!

Our website is up and our Keynote Speaker is booked.  We have five awesome speakers that on board to share their knowledge and expertise with our single parents and our team is excited and moving ahead to create the First Annual Single Parenting for Success Symposium.  This year’s theme is “Just Ask” because it is all about celebration, education and empowering Ottawa Single Parents.  This event is all about equipping you with knowledge you need to create awesome lives for you and your children.  It is an event that is sure to change lives, and this is only the beginning!!

Would you like to know more about me and my WHY?  Click HERE and have a listen

Hugzzz

Liz M Raymond

What comes first?

baby-chick-and-an-egg_663x763Sometimes when faced with a puzzle we are left pondering a question where the answer isn’t always clear. For example, what comes first, the chicken or the egg?  It is thus type of question I don’t spend an awful lot of time on.  However, there has been one question that I have a definite answer to.  Who do I look after first, me or my child?  Not to say I don’t look after my children because I always have and do.  But the one thing I have come to realize, is that if I don’t take care of myself, I will have nothing to give to my children.  This appears to be a bit of a challenge for some.  And for some they feel they need to focus on their children and not worry about their own needs.  Yes, I said “needs”.

I’m sure you have heard how the flight attendants always tell parents to put the oxygen mask over themselves first and then their children. It is the same story of the mom who goes to the well for water.  If there is no water in the well, she can’t offer any to her children.  The well must be full.  As parents, and especially single parents, we need to ensure our “well”  is full so that we “have” to give of ourselves to our children.   Think about yourself.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time to think about what fills you up, brings you joy, gives you that burst of energy to keep you going.

When I first became a single parent, I was so drained – drained of hope, faith, spirit. The struggles of my relationship and having stayed in it for too long, left nothing for my children, except for a mom in survival mode who was grieving for a relationship she thought she had, anger for all that was done to her and fear that she may not be able to provide for her children.  Survival mode will drive you to protect your children but thrivor mode is life changing.  As adults we need to keep growing, finding passion and joy.  When our children see us happy and thriving, they also are happy and thriving, because we have so much more to give.

The first step towards exiting “surviving mode” and entering “thriving mode” is taking time to ask yourself a few questions. First – what makes me happy? sad? joyful? mad?  If you can’t answer these questions, don’t fret, I couldn’t answer these questions either.  Can you?  We need to know who we are and what we believe, feel, need and want.  The beginning of my journey started as I worked through a workbook called “Finding your WAY” – I call it the Who Are You manual.

Do you know who you are? What makes you happy? sad? joyful? mad? Let me help you create your own “owner’s manual”.

Interested in joining our Successful Single Parents Facebook group by clicking HERE

Hugzzz

Liz M Raymond

The definition of “Single Parenting”

Tonight I have been sitting here at my computer, after a few hours spent updating our website and I having been pondering about what to write. Amongst the quiet in, scratching my left eyebrow and looking at the title I decided I would look up the definition of “single parenting”.

Symposium

Funny enough I found Wikipedia’s definition of “single parent” … is a parent, not living with a spouse or partner, who has most of the day-to-day responsibilities in raising the child or children. A single parent is usually considered the primary caregiver, meaning the parent the children have residency with the majority of the time.[1] If the parents are separated or divorced, children live with their custodial parent and have visitation or secondary residence with their noncustodial parent.[2] In western society in general, following separation, a child will end up with the primary caregiver, usually the mother, and a secondary caregiver, usually the father.

Yet there was no definition for “single parenting“. I suppose this is a term I and my Community Development Team created when I was considering the name of this resource centre.  It was something I couldn’t find anywhere on the internet.

So let me share my definition. “Single parenting” is the time spent invested in a child, or children, that helps them become self-confident, embodying a high level of self esteem, pride and knowledge that will take them through their life successfully.  The person guiding, teaching and letting that child be who they are as their natural talents unfold, could be anyone from a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, foster parent.  This person is the one special person who has committed to a child or children.

I am interested in knowing what your definition of “single parenting ” is, so please feel free to comment.

Why Single Parenting for Success ?

I have read about how “it takes a village to raise a child” and I’m sure you have heard that phrase somewhere too. However, I believe that it really  just takes a village, period.

community

In grade 7 I sat down with an elderly friend of my mom’s to interview her about the depression and how people managed and survived. The one important fact I learned from her sharing, was that back then everyone helped each other.  It was the village taking care of the village.

When I became a single parent at 32, it became a very lonely world for me. Instead of neighbours stepping up to be there for me, even just to say “how are you doing today?”, they stepped back and I could see them as they gathered to whisper.  They talked about what happened in my relationship.  They whispered about the dirty little secrets my ex kept.  Not one offered a helping hand.  And because of the shame I felt and the embarrassment that I “chose” to let this happen to me (something I couldn’t believe I let happen), I became isolated .  No village, just many days and evenings filled a lot of stress, sadness, bitterness and resentment.  That went on for too long.

Then one day I saw a little bit of light through the crack of a window. My, now good friend and mentor, Penny Lee Prevost of the GradUit Network saw something, or knew something I didn’t.  She was lovingly persistent and talked me into having a Dream Board Workshop.  That was the day it became apparent to me that life did not have to continue the way it was.  I could change my world, one step at a time.

Penny Lee became the leader of my village. You see, now I have more than a village, I have communities of loving individuals that inspire me as I am now able to inspire them.  I knew I had to share what I found.  I knew I had to help others either avoid challenges I encountered, or help them get through them easier – not alone.

And here, Single Parenting for Success was founded. Originally my granddaughter and I called it our “Dreams Come True Centre” because that was exactly what I wanted this centre to be. Where people who are parenting children on their own could come for support, education and training, not to mention a connection to the resources in the city, free of judgement.  This is where I could make my dreams come true of helping other single parents.  My vision, our vision, is one of a “home” filled with love and cozy furniture to hold workshops and get-togethers.  Our children could come with us and participate in children’s programs that would help them develop.  Children and parents can gain skills to embody self-confidence, empowerment and knowledge that will serve them well in every area of their lives.

This is only the beginning. What are your dreams?  What would you like to see at the Centre?  Would you like to be a member of our community/village?

Let your voice be heard, share your ideas, concerns and knowledge. Welcome!!

Hugzzz

Liz M Raymond