One Billion Rising Port Angeles

February 16th, 2013

I had the honor of organizing Port Angeles’ One Billion Rising Event with Extraordinary Women. One of my goals this year is to make connections, new friends, and find ways to strengthen my community – grow my tribe. I feel I am off to an excellent start.

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I hadn’t heard of V-Day or One Billion Rising until less than 3 weeks prior to Valentine’s Day – the day of the big event. Immediately after I read the article that was posted by The Intelligent Optimist Magazine on Facebook, I shared it and tagged the amazing women that make up Thriving on the Olympic Peninsula and Stephanie which I met through one of their workshops. I was overjoyed by their enthusiasm and support in making this event happen. We immediately started brainstorming, coordinating, making phone calls, and doing whatever we could to make the event a huge success.

This experience has made me even more grateful to live in Port Angeles. I can’t even begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of compassion, inspiration, and support I experienced throughout the whole process. Downtown business owners were very supportive of the event and many gave gifts for our raffle. Our team received many thank yous and compliments for putting on an event for such a great cause.

We started off the evening with a little bit of music, then I kicked it off with a short welcome speech and passed the mic on to Kristin. She set the tone of the event with a heart centering exercise. I then shared my story of overcoming abuse, which brought a tear or two. I hoped to give the message to be open to giving support to others and for those in a bad situation, accepting that support. I was nervous, so I’m not sure my message was clear, but I know I touched a few hearts as I saw others shedding tears with me.

Then Mindy talked about how domestic violence can happen to anyone, even a bright, intelligent woman as herself and offered her support to anyone in need.  Meghan shared a little bit about her background and then gave us a technique to be more aware of our surroundings. She teaches a women’s self-defense course, so her information was invaluable.

Becca from Healthy Families of Clallam County spoke about how common violence is. How it’s not just a female issue, but a human issue. Boys are being abused just as much as girls. One thing she said that was in line with my passion of helping parents and children was that children aren’t born abusers. They are made to be that way. Her words gave me more drive to try to help at the source of the problem. To help families maintain the strong positive connections to help children grow up and welcome healthy relationships. However, a family that is currently experiencing abuse is probably not likely to show up at an Attachment Parenting International of Port  Angeles meeting, so I hope to reach these families in others ways and provide support and guidance however I can.

Once everyone finished their speeches, I kicked off the dancing by sharing some dance moves for those that may be struggling or shy. I shared my husband’s favorite finger dance and added a little more to it. :) Our DJ Cody from NightHawk Design – formerly known as The Rage Productions played a hip-shaking mix of music that had everyone on their feet and dancing the whole time.

We had the amazing women of Rosalie’s team dancing with scarves.

We counted around 75 dancers during the two hour period. Ages ranged from 12 months to 80 years old. It warmed my heart beyond belief to see the older women dancing with the young teens. Each generation sharing dance moves with the other. Our youth need this interaction more than they know and I hope to provide opportunities for these connections to happen again in the near future.

I hope that everyone who attended the event left feeling full of love, inspiration, and motivation to make life better – either for themselves or for someone else. I hope they left knowing in their hearts that there are many people in our community that want to support them in that endeavor, including me!

I was truly inspired and fulfilled by the event and I’m brainstorming about what to do next. <3

 

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The Me Within

November 15th, 2012

November 5th I started The Chopra Center’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge. My initial goal for starting this challenge was to quiet my mind so that I could fall asleep faster and hopefully minimize bad dreams and wake up feeling rested. This is day 11 – I have missed a couple of days, so I am on Day 9 in the challenge and the results I have felt have been astonishing.

The best I can describe it is as if I am reprogramming my mind and getting back in touch with who I really am. My core. The me under all of the layers of life’s stresses, insecurities, worries, and inhibitions. I really don’t know how it has worked so overwhelmingly well. The abundance I have focused on centers around love and wealth.

I was first formerly introduced to the Laws of Attraction through the book The Secret. Reading this book seemed like a welcome reminder that what I spend my time focusing on – including worrying – is what will be attracted into my life.  I immediately began paying attention to my thoughts and focusing on how I want things to be and the positive in my life. I quickly started seeing positive changes in my life, but the stresses I carried were still there. I felt like I needed to sort through each of these, address them, resolve them – which is exhausting! – and move on. The meditation challenge has shown me this isn’t the case.

Since beginning my meditation challenge I have reconnected with great friends from my past that I have lost touch with over the years. Some of these connections I created intentionally and others seemed to cross my path out of no where. One particular person I connected with, I haven’t talked to in 15 years! This all seemed very odd to me that I felt the need to talk and connect with them, but it is all clear now. They knew me when I was me, before the mess of things I’ve piled on myself the last few years existed. Their impression and memories of me helped me find confidence in who I am again. And I am quite fabulous. ;)

This past weekend, my husband and I had more than half our kids and our grandbaby girl here in our tiny little house. Although there were 5 adults, a 4 year-old and 2 babies, I don’t think any of us felt crowded. Having everyone here in my energy circle caused my heart to overflow with love and solidified my path of healing. Mix this with the “remembrance” of who I am by connecting with old friends and I found the Me within bursting through the layers I’ve piled over myself. Before I was trying to sift through the pile of mess to find me, instead I have burst through the shell, much like a baby bird cracking it’s shell at birth. I feel like I have shed the layers and my core is so strong it’ll take great effort for them to build again. Effort I do not plan to give my energy to. I feel invigorated and so alive. Remembering who I am, reminded me of why I am so madly in love with my husband and it’s as if I’ve fallen for him all over again. I am grateful, happy, and so excited about all of the moving pieces in my life.  I feel like my playful self again. I am blasting my music and spontaneously breaking into dance with my family again. I am walking lightly and able to not take life and myself so seriously, trusting that everything will work out and fall into place – why? Because “I expect and accept abundance to flow easily to me.”

I am only halfway through this challenge. I am eager to see what comes next!

 

 

 

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Be Present

October 11th, 2012

Have you ever had one of those days where the baby girl has to be clinging to you or else she yells about everything, the 4 year old is yanking on the dog’s ears, you’re trying to get yourself a bite to eat – 2 hours after you fed the kids – while thoughts of things you SHOULD be doing for work are rattling around your head – but you keep dropping everything, your house is a disaster, and it’s taking everything in you not to sit down and throw a fit yourself?

Yeah – I’ve had days like that. Fortunately I’ve learned to slow down once I start feeling the urge to throw myself on the floor and scream – and be present. This lesson was learned after giving in once or twice and actually sitting down and screaming. I’ll admit that the screaming felt good and was a release of the built up tension in that moment, but afterwards it felt horrible. I had a baby looking at me like I’d lost my mind, a 4 year old that stopped dead in her tracks and was wondering whether to think I’ve gone mad or to fear me, and me seeing their faces feeling like a total ass.

Instead, now when I feel the tension building I stop. I grab a slice of cheese or any quick protein snack I can – my emotions are more stable when my blood sugar isn’t crashing – and I play with my girls. Whatever they want me to do. I am not getting any work done or house cleaning in the moment, so I push those thoughts out of my head and focus on enjoying my time with them. I look into my baby girl’s eyes and really see her – see her sparkle, her hunger for this connection with me. I see her energy change and she smiles and bounces and stares right back into my eyes. I ask my 4 year old what she wants to play and its usually some sort of role play game – that she directs – with her chosen dolls. We role play and Arwen walks to the couch and back several times as we are doing this. All of our emotional cups are filling and I can feel the day brightening and our spirits changing.

I remain present. I kill any wandering thoughts of what I need to do when we’re done playing, I put blinders on for my disaster of a house, instead I observe, take mental snapshots of my girls, what they’re doing, how they look, how they feel, smell, all of it. I stay present. I smile, I smile some more.

Amazingly my day has already turned around. I am doing what matters to me most.

This can go on for 30 min or 2 hours. It’s usually a need that shifts our focus – diaper change, lunch time, bathroom break, the phone rings – when this happens I bring the girls along with me and we carry on with the tasks of the day in harmony.

I’ve realized that the chaos that presents itself in my house is due to the fact that my mind is a million miles away. My girls sense this and do their best to bring it back. Arwen’s yelling, Eliana’s yanking on the dog’s ears aren’t to make my day worse or push my buttons, but cries for help. They need me present and calm. They are my little mirrors and I am their lifeline.

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I did it!

September 28th, 2012

On September 14th, API of Port Angeles was founded! I finished my API Leadership accreditation for Attachment Parenting International! Not only did I do that, but I decided to volunteer for API’s open Technology Coordinator position and landed that too.  As many of you know, sleep is a way of the past for me these days with my high demand project at work, a baby girl that absolutely refuses to let me sit at the computer during the day and the fact that I AM home with my girls all day. Why the heck would I squeeze in more responsibilities? Maybe I’m crazy…

Well, I am crazy. I don’t think there’s much argument there, but truly – adding API to my list is my way of working on my balance. I love being Mommy. This is my life. I love my job too. I’ve realized that technology IS one of my passions. Not just for technology’s sake, but for what it can do for others, and the fact that I’m GOOD at it. I love change. I love to learn new things and this never ends with technology. When I was exploring becoming a Doula and trying that idea on for size, it was during the time when Eliana was still a baby and the experience of her birth was still fresh. I loved my experience – even as hard as it was – and wanted others to feel the same way. When she became a toddler, then my passion seemed to move with her. I considered opening a children’s museum or Montessori school. This has happened at each stage with her so I realized that my number one passion is Mothering. Now that I have a baby girl, it seems the cycle has started over again, but mixed with the other one that is already in progress.

So how do I feed this Mothering passion besides obviously being a Mother? I help other parents. I help other children have a better start in the world. I find a community of support that helps me realize I am on the right path with my methods. I feel a sense of accomplishment and belonging by helping to strengthen an organization that feels the same way I do. Yes – that is what I am doing!

I still have my job – which I do love – but after 2 years of feeling like the project is always behind, I need a little something for me. Something I can do and show the fruits of my labor now. I also need to meet other like-minded parents in my area. I went through a period of worrying about my abilities as a mother that it truly was ruining my abilities as a mother. I’ve since gotten past this, but having a community -  a local community of support will help me when I cross that path again. Which I probably will. I am too passionate about getting it right not too.

So, good things happening all around.

 

 

 

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Hello World

June 11th, 2012

Every now and then I realize I have trouble thinking small. When I think of a blog post, I want it to be meaningful and perfectly written. When I think about getting involved with the school system, I think about becoming the Superintendent. When I think about helping parents create strong relationships with their children, I think about getting my PHD. When I think of opening a Children’s Museum, I want it to be huge with all kinds of exhibits. I have to remember that it still has to happen one step at a time, so I need to just put one foot in front of the other and start walking. I don’t have to have it all figured out now, but I do need to have a direction and a plan. I can’t let the idea of this huge task I want to undertake keep me from starting somewhere. So, I just wanted to write a quick post to say;

Hello World. I am alive and well. Happy and carrying on in the direction life has sent me on. My girls are amazing. I am a grandmother now! My husband and I are still very much in love and he is loving his new job. Port Angeles is great and I can’t wait to dive into the community to learn how I can be of service.

I’d love to hear from you and how life is treating you! :)

 

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Silence

May 8th, 2012

Silence is very powerful. It can represent many things. Exhaustion, elation, stress, reflection, focus, determination, faith…

I can say my silence has been filled with all of these. I am so behind on things that I have lapped myself at least a few times. I miss writing, yet, when can I? When should I write? I have a million other things more important to do, right? Time management is important, but so are priorities!

Here I am at 2am, behind on work and I’ve decided to write. This feels a bit irresponsible to me…

Have you ever seen that presentation of the glass jar and the large stones with the sand? If you put the sand in first, you have no room for the large stones. The sand represents all the busyness in life – the “small stuff” and the stones represent our top priorities – the things most important to us. My family is my biggest stone, which is certainly sitting square in the jar, but it seems work, our move, finances, etc which are all sand have filled my jar and left no room for any of my other stones – like maintaining my balance which leads to being a good Mom, playing, and relaxing, doing a good job at something!

So, here I sit. Wasting time, right? Nope. I need my dose of therapy. After all, I’ve only taken about 10 minutes so far to draft this, which has made me decide I need to go to bed. There. I’m working on my balance.

I can’t say with any form of confidence when I will write another post, but I have several in the works – in my mind – that I hope to get written…soon. Someday. So many wonderful things to say and no time. Well, I suppose it is time to work on that. :)

 

 

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Welcome Arwen Anaya!

October 20th, 2011

Arwen Anaya 10/17/11

I want to write a nice long post, but for now I am going to announce the arrival of our newest baby girl. After nearly 24 hours of labor, she made her appearance on October 17, 2011 at 12:48am. She weighed 7lbs 9.4ozs and was 19.5″ long.

I will write her birth story as soon as I find the time. Right now we are home recovering while Daddy takes great care of us. We are so blessed!

 

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Milestones

October 5th, 2011

Tonight is very significant in that it will be the first night that I have slept without my daughter, Eliana!  She is staying in Port Angeles with her Daddy tonight. My heart kind of hurts, but I am trying to take advantage of the alone time.  I think it’s pretty impressive that this situation hasn’t come up until now. I’ve made a point to not be separated from her, though, all of her life. I figured now would be a good time to try rather than the night I stay in the hospital. I don’t want her to think the baby is taking me away from her and it’ll give her and Daddy a chance to figure out what works for them without the excitement of a new baby involved. It will be odd sleeping in our king size bed all alone. I’m up every 2 or 3 hours to use the bathroom so I don’t think I’ll get any more sleep than I have been lately, but we’ll see! I’m also taking advantage of the night alone to write a blog post. It’s only been 3 months since you heard from me last! A ton has happened over the last few months. Most of them good, a lot of them stressful, but things are coming together, even if they aren’t exactly the way I had hoped. :P

I am also 38 weeks pregnant today. My body has been preparing for child birth for at least a couple of months now, so I am impressed I have made it this long!  My due date is October 19th. We’ll see if she decides to wait that long. She’s sitting so low now that I have that constant feeling of needing to use the bathroom. Every time I stand up I have to make a dash to the bathroom before I do anything else, so I tend to avoid standing up much at work. ;) I scheduled my last day of work for October 14th and I don’t know if I’m more anxious about not thinking about work for awhile or meeting our newest baby girl!  Haha…  It IS true what they say, though - The body remembers. I wasn’t this uncomfortable with Eliana until I actually went into labor. I have a feeling once I do finally go into labor, this baby is going to fly right out. I’m a little nervous about the whole dynamics of going into labor without a ride to the hospital, in the case that my husband is away somewhere (like he is tonight) and the fact that I don’t really have a backup plan right now.  I have a feeling I’ll be driving myself to the hospital!  Stay tuned for that story….!

The last few months Eliana turned 3, we persevered and were able to buy a little one bedroom house in Port Angeles, we still don’t have our house listed, my husband graduated the Police Academy and started his field training, I analyzed my stress load and got my priorities straight, our youngest adult child, Jenna, started college in Port Angeles, and my baby girl just keeps growing and growing – just to name a few things. It’s been a full 3 months for sure. So full, I haven’t even packed my hospital bag yet!  I’ve made a list, though! :)

It’s nearly 9:30pm, so I better call my little girl and wish her a good night. I hope she sleeps well with Daddy tonight. I’m going to miss them both terribly, but I will be in Port Angeles with them tomorrow!

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Time Keeps on Ticking, Ticking…

July 7th, 2011

I feel rather redundant each time I say to myself – where has the time gone?  Here it is Thursday of my week of vacation and I can’t believe the week is over half gone.  I can’t believe the year is over half gone.  I can’t believe Eliana is going to be 3 on July 11th!  I wish I could slow things down just for a little bit…

That’s why I love writing so much. As the minutes turn into months, it is easy to forget all of those little things that happened in between. As we get older, our ability to file every significant experience away gets harder because there are so many other experiences to compete with in our minds. I love going back over my writing and having the memories come rushing back. It helps me feel like I get to savour life a bit more and slow down time -  just for a little bit.

I may have mentioned before, but I keep a journal of letters to Eliana. I started it when she was 6 months old. In the letters I tell her what is going on with the family, what she is currently up to and learning, any significant events I want to share with her, and any random thoughts or plans I may have - much like a personal journal.  I think it’s probably time to start one for my new baby girl, since I’m already getting a sense of who she is. The stories may overlap, but I think it’s important I write to them both. I think these letters will be something the girls will always cherish as they bring back time and memories that they may not hear or remember any other way. Time may keep on ticking, but the memories will be safe. I just hope that too much time doesn’t slip away in between writing to them!  As it is, I only write maybe once a month to Eliana. I need to work on that! In fact, as soon as I’m done with this post, I am going to write those letters. :)

So like I said, it’s Thursday and this is the first moment I’ve had to sit and be still for a moment. Eliana is asleep on my lap so I have some time to reflect and plan. It hasn’t felt much like a vacation since I’ve had places I’ve had to be at certain times all week, but it has been nice to push the thought of work and the demanding project deadline out of my mind each time it tries to sneak in. One less thing to worry about.

I’ve completed about half the things on my To Do list for the week. The most important thing being prepping for Eliana’s 3rd birthday party on Saturday. There’s going to be a kiddie pool filled with bubble solution and huge bubble wands as well as a pool to search for sea creatures in. We’re going to have a blast!  That’s one thing my husband and I do very well – we throw great parties. :)

That makes me think of a bumper sticker I saw the other day – “Enjoy life, it is not a rehearsal.” Isn’t that the truth!  Nothing like reality to put things back into perspective. ;) I hope you find ways to slow down time and savour life a bit more. It is Summer – the time for youthful fun!  Be adventurous.

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A Bend in the Road

June 24th, 2011

Port Angeles, WA

If you asked me a year ago where we would be in 2012, I would have probably told you where we are now!  I would have known things would change after my husband’s retirement, but I had no idea the amount of change that would take place in our lives. The last 6 months have brought about many opportunities and decisions to be made. Ultimately we’ve decided that the family will be relocating to Port Angeles by the end of 2012. My husband got a job with WA Department of Fish and Wildlife as an officer in their Marine Division (his dream job!) and it is located in Port Angeles. He will be working on one of the biggest boats in their fleet, so I doubt he will want to relocate to another division closer to where we are now anytime soon. I am a firm believer that the family needs to stay together, so all of the gears are in motion to head in that direction, which changes everything.

There is a strong possibility I will be able to take my job with me, but I have to plan for the possibility that I can’t. This affects how much house we buy, when we move, etc etc. I’m sure things will all work out but the stress comes in analyzing what IS the right decision and when, then carrying that plan out. We have the factor of my husband’s mother that we’re supporting – we had to decide whether to sell her little cabin and buy a place, move it, or what? - we have a baby coming in October that affects our monthly income – we don’t know when Bryan will have to be there as he will probably be there before the family and will need a place to live. So many decisions and the decision of when all of these things should take place. I am trying to go with the flow, but I can’t help but over analyze things to make sure we’re doing the right thing. Money has been very tight since Bryan retired too, so that puts a new wrench in everything. Jenna needs to be there by the end of September, so she may beat us all there. We will not be able to buy until we sell our home, so when do we sell? Will it sell quickly?  Breathe!  I know it will all work out as it should and I am very excited to see where life takes us next, but there’s a lot we need to do to get there.

We didn’t know much about Port Angeles when Bryan got the job, but it seems to fit all of the things we must have in the place we want to live – such as waterfront, outdoor activities, close-knit community, farmer’s markets, family activities, festivals, good schools, and the list goes on. This is very exciting. We’ve also decided to live in town for awhile rather than out in the country like we do now, so this will be quite an adjustment. One that I think we’ll enjoy. Our way of life is going to change drastically as we learn to shave the extra 30 minutes we add to any commute and enjoy being part of a community that is within walking distance. Jenna has decided to go to the community college there and she loves the town. This has made the move even more exciting and lessened the blow of leaving our little piece of paradise behind. I look forward to creating a new piece of paradise where our whole family can gather and continue to enjoy life with us.

Everything is moving so fast, but I know everything will work out. Life has been very good to us so far and I know it will continue to be. All of this taking place makes me recite the quote – “The only thing we can count on is Change.” So true and I am one that thrives on change. It keeps life full and interesting.

Port Angeles Visitor Guide

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