Totems Around Town! #TGIF

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:43+00:00 May 29th, 2015|beach, Life, ocean, stress relief|

No need to be crabby, it’s FRIDAY!!!

Get a leg up on the weekend!

Get a leg up on the weekend!

Happy Friday everyone!

Stay well.

Does your Totem like the beach? Take a picture of your Totem and send it to me at julie@totemtamers.com and maybe you’ll see it here! Don’t have a Totem to take to the beach? Click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and get one today!

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY or The story of Taylor's Bear.

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:44+00:00 May 27th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, childhood, Life, parenting, stress|

I will say this over and over again, I love what Totem Tamers allows me to do, and that’s talk to people and share with people and ultimately help people. There’s a satisfaction that comes from it that I can’t compare to anything, except maybe the wonder of a butterfly stretching its wings for the first time and taking flight, or a foal finding its legs to stand and walk. When I discover people that have been impacted by Totem Tamers, it’s that validation that keeps us pushing forward. About a month ago, I found that validation in an unexpected situation. I wrote about a memorial service I attended for my friend and Dentist, Larry. He was one of the first to get behind Totem Tamers, and supported us by having Totems in his office for his patients to use while being treated in the dental chair. He was a kind and brilliant man, and that was evidenced by the people gathered at his memorial. There were people I expected to see and others I was surprised to see, including a bunch of mom’s from child’s school. Larry knew everyone (or everyone knew Larry!) Somehow someone mentioned Totem Tamers, and that’s when I met and learned of this week’s WARRIORS. Yes, there are two WARRIORS, a mother/daughter team. Our mom WARRIOR, Kim, was a familiar face to me from the school yard, but we didn’t really know each other. Now she was sharing with me how Bear had helped her daughter, and how Bear had been a gift to her daughter from our dear friend, Larry. Listening to her story through my tears, I asked Kim to share her story with our Totem Tamers family. In her words:

“Taylor turned 7 yesterday. I remember when she got the bear, she was I believe  4 years old. I remember noticing how she always had the bear in her hand at home and if for some reason she couldn’t find it, she would have me looking high and low and it was always close by. It was a little piece of security that she loved and made her feel calm. Taylor had an anxiety disorder called selective mutism.  I say “had”because she is for the most part cured. Taylor’s disorder disabled her from speaking to most people and participating in fun activities. She was burdened by an extreme anxiety that took over. The bear was a steady, known comfort that calmed her nerves and she felt in control with. As tiny as this bear is it made her feel brave and big.”

Taylor's Bear

Taylor’s Bear

This is a picture of Taylor’s Bear and the special place she keeps it, and these are Taylor’s words:

“I like this bear because it makes my hands warm.  Sometimes I like to hold it while I sleep.  I really like tiny things.  I collect little things because they are easy to hold and keep.  One time I brought it to school for show and tell. I have kept it on my night table, my special shelf, in my safe and now on a beautiful display above my bed, which is a very important shelf.  Even though it is so small, I never lost it.”

Thank you Kim and Taylor for being WARRIORS and sharing your story, you are both an inspiration to us all!

Stay well.

If you need a Totem, get a Totem!! Just click on any of the images on the left and choose yours today!

Be a Star!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:44+00:00 May 21st, 2015|inspiration, Life, meditation, motivation, stars|

I love when I’m out early in the morning with my dog and I see something so simple that inspires me in a great way.

Sidewalk Star!

Sidewalk Star!

Seeing this sweet star just hanging out among the leaves and the cracked cement, had me thinking about people and their dreams and wishes. So many want to be stars, in the sense that they are recognized for greatness and hopefully have some positive impact in the world. The reality is that we are all stars. We all have the opportunity to shine, and we all have the opportunity to make someone’s wishes come true, even our own! It may be that your star doesn’t hang above the universe for everyone to see, but there are always people watching, so be a star. Be someone that others want to look at and be inspired by. Be that beacon that lets someone know they are heading in the right direction. When you are confronted with a troubling situation, shine your way through it and that light will reflect on everyone around you and inspire them to do the same the next time they encounter a similar situation. Sometimes being a star means taking a step back and letting someone else shine. Either way, we are all stars, we are all shining lights, we are all guides to someone, if not everyone. Be a star today, and let the world see you shine!

Stay well.

The glow of the bronze from a Totem can be a constant reminder to shine. Get your Totem today by clicking on any of the Totems on the left.

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:44+00:00 May 20th, 2015|anxiety, Life, mental health|

Diane Keaton is one of those classic New York actresses, thanks in part to Woody Allen, of course, and the movies she’s made with him. She also commandeered a fashion sense that made pants and suit wearing for women, sexy, acceptable, and fun! She’s got a movie out now with Morgan Freeman, called “5 Flights Up”. I haven’t seen it yet, but the two of them in a film should certainly be good! The irony, that was discovered in a Daily News article promoting the film, is that Keaton is afraid to fly. That she freely mentions her anxiety, is what makes her this week’s WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

Keaton and Totems!

Keaton and Totems!

Keaton discusses that she doesn’t travel much because of her fear of flying and uses medication to manage. Totem Tamers understands that medications can be helpful in extreme cases, but we hope to give people the tools to remain calm, so that maybe at some point, medication can be an option, not a necessity. I would guess that Ms. Keaton might choose OWL to accompany her on her travels, but you never know what Totem someone might connect with. It’s the simple techniques of visualization, deep breathing, and repetition that can help keep you calm in potentially overwhelming situations. What Totem would you choose?

Thank you Diane Keaton, for your courage in sharing your anxiety, and we are proud to call you this week’s WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!

Stay well.

If you would like to have a Totem travel partner, just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and buy one today!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T…I'll tell you what it means to me!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:45+00:00 May 18th, 2015|childhood, children, Life, parenting, stress, teenagers, teens|

It means everything. Without respect we lose ourselves as human beings and it is only downhill from there. I am always grateful and touched when someone points out how respectful my children are, or comments on their good behavior, because it’s validation that we must be doing something right in how we are raising them. Don’t get me wrong, my kids aren’t angels, but they seem to understand respect. Some of their friends however…..

I want my house to be the house that the kids come and hang out at after school. That’s purely selfish mind you, because it means I get to keep an eye on them and also listen in on their chatter a bit, too. I also believe that when you are present in your kids’ lives and make eye contact with their friends, the respect you require (and deserve) is easier to communicate.

Totems learning respect!

Totems learning respect!

I’ll set the scene for you. Four teenaged boys, hanging out and giggling, playing on the  PS4. Some munching on junky fast food, others munching on homemade grilled cheese sandwiches. One kid had to leave for a bit, but he was heading back shortly. I’m now in my office, and it’s great to hear them all laughing and having a good time. I eventually hear the front door open and all the kids holler out to the boy who had now returned from his errand. Hmmmm, what hadn’t I heard? There was definitely something missing from the scene. So, out I went into the living room where I welcomed the boy back. Then I asked “Did you knock or ring the doorbell when you just came in?” In that instant, he had realized his mistake and he willingly admitted that he knocked but hadn’t waited for anyone to answer and basically waltzed right in to someone else’s home. With that, I smiled, and thanked him for being honest.  I told him I wanted him to always feel welcome, however, in the future, please respect me and my home, and knock or ring the doorbell and wait to be let in. He got it, because he smiled back and said he was sorry. Within two minutes, maybe less, I was able to clearly state my needs, and this young man, will now go out in the world, and hopefully think twice before he enters someone’s home. It’s that easy!!! We all need to be on the same page here though, or our kids will have no hope. I am happy to share my wisdom of respect with all the kids who pass through my doors (after ringing the bell, of course), but I can’t do it alone!! Oh, and it’s not always about calling out bad behavior or wrong choices, the message really hits home when you can say to a child “Thank you for being a polite and respectful guest.” Positive reinforcement is great, and if it comes in a teachable moment, even better!

Stay well.

Totems are respected in many cultures for their symbolism and power. We respect Totems because they help keep us calm. If you need a Totem, just click on any of the Totems on the left and get one today!

The ball is in your court…a public service announcement from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:45+00:00 May 15th, 2015|anxiety, co-parenting, divorce, Life, marriage, parenting, stress|

***Warning*** The following blog post will contain information that may make you cringe, shudder, raise your eyebrows, and definitely look some stuff up!

I say it all the time, and I can’t say it enough, but I am grateful for the co-parenting relationship my ex-husband and I have worked very hard at maintaining. It becomes all the more apparent and precious when one of our kids is hurt and we need to work together. So I will start off by saying “Thank you” to my kids’ Dad, for being able to remain calm and supportive, even when I’m freaked out and telling you what to do! 🙂 No, that’s not the PSA, but it could be, co-parenting is a choice not an option!

On to the more weighty issue at hand, my son’s huevos, nads, brass ones, bawls. Yup, he knows I’m writing about him/them, and as long as I didn’t use visuals, he was ok with it. We spent several hours in the ER last night, because my son was complaining of pain in the nether region. Thankfully, and unfortunately, we had been here before, because although it had been years, he had experienced this pain before. There’s nothing like having your then 10-year-old, walk into your room and saying “Mom, my balls hurt.” I hadn’t seen “the boys” in quite a while, and my son wasn’t thrilled when I said “Drop ’em!” Fast forward 5 years, and now my 15 year old, 5’11, size 14 shoe wearing kid says “My balls hurt”, and there’s only one thing you can say. “Get in the car.” That’s because 5 years ago we learned that there is a mere 6 hour window to save a testicle if it’s twisted. Yes, 6 hours ONLY! So we don’t mess around when there is even a hint of pain. I’m a mom of 3 boys, and I had never heard this before and I was shocked, but glad for the information. This time, as well as last time, my son didn’t have torsion of a testicle thankfully, but what he did have was a case of epididimytis, again. The only thing to do is go to the hospital to get a sonogram to make sure there is proper blood flow to the testicles and if the answer is yes, then it’s just rest and anti-inflammatory meds for pain and swelling. This is your PSA, if your son ever complains that his testicles hurt, run, don’t walk, to the nearest ER for a sonogram. My son’s all good now, a little tender, but back at school with a hospital bracelet to get him out of homework and get sympathy from his pals. Deep breath. It seems a little extreme to go running to the hospital every time, but I was validated by the ER doc who said to me with a knowing smile, “You don’t have a choice.”

Having a "ball"!

Having a “ball”!

It’s a good thing my son and I have great senses of humor, so we deflected our anxiety by making each other crack up, and the hospital staff,too! During the sonogram, which was performed by a very macho and stocky radiologist, and witnessed by an also macho “chaperone”, my son and I were cracking jokes. We were having a “ball”, for example, then my son quipped that something had gone over his head, corrected himself and said “well, actually under my head.” Everyone laughed, and it made the whole experience tolerable. While we waited for the results, we giggled some more, and then my boy leaned his head on my shoulder for a dose of reality and motherly comfort. Through all of the anxiety and the joke-telling, the inappropriate comments and stories about his childhood, the moment he rested his head on my shoulder, he was my baby once again, and I was reminded of how blessed I am to be his mother. Hopefully, you will never need this information, but it’s important to have it, just in case!

Stay well.

Always good to have the principles of Totem Tamers at hand, even if you don’t have a Totem. Deep breathing and visualization is key in times that are overwhelming, learn them when you get your Totem Tamers Set, by clicking on any of the Totems on the left!

Flower power!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:46+00:00 May 12th, 2015|anxiety, flowers, friendship, Life, stress|

I like flowers. They are pretty. Most of them smell very nice. They are a reminder of nature and all things Mother Earth. I love the flowers that are picked from my mom’s incredible garden, for example. What I don’t love, is people spending money on flowers, at least not for me. Sure that has something to do with my issues of “receiving”, but I’m also very practical. I would sooner prefer someone cook me a meal, or take me on a beautiful hike, for example. That creates a lasting memory, as opposed to the flowers that I will have to watch whither in their vase and eventually toss. I’m not totally without appreciation though (and certainly not as dark as that sounds), and I get that there’s sentiment behind the gift of flowers.  I just bought Sunflowers for a ten year old because she did something courageous and magnificent, and when I saw the Sunflowers, I thought of her sunny disposition, and knew I needed to get them for her. She loved them by the way. Hold your peonies, I am getting to the point.

Flower Hour!

Flower Hour!

Someone brought me flowers the other day, and it was a complete surprise, and it was a wonderful surprise. It was just the boost that I needed. So maybe, just maybe, my “practicality” isn’t all that practical, because the warm feelings, the happiness that has continued these last two days from seeing the flowers, that’s worth it!! So the good news, is that I now have a better attitude towards receiving, and receiving flowers in general, so feel free!! 😉  I will definitely consider buying flowers more often, and not just as gifts for others, but maybe just for myself! There’s something serene about their colors and something calming about their presence, the Totems nearby are helpful too!  So on your way home from work today, maybe consider picking up a bunch of flowers, not necessarily for someone else, but how about just for you?! You deserve it.

Stay well.

Giving the gift of flowers is lovely, giving the gift of a Totem is lasting. Buy a Totem now for someone you love and they can carry it with them always. Just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and get one now!

Motherhood is like a freshly baked cookie!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:46+00:00 May 10th, 2015|anxiety, childhood, Life, motherhood, parenting|

It doesn’t matter if you’re into snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter or classic chocolate chip, you know the brilliance of a cookie when it comes out of the oven. Still warm, still soft, and even gooey. Oh yeah, that’s magic right there. That’s the only way I can describe what it feels like inside my core, when I sneak a peek at my boys in the middle of the night as they dream.

IMG_2948 IMG_2947

My sleeping angels.

My sleeping angels.

Yes, they will probably shun me for posting those pics, but I often say that if they aren’t frustrated with me about something, than I’m not doing my job! People have been asking what my plans were for today, and my response is “pretty much what I do every day!” I will walk the dog, make the breakfast, clean the dishes, yell about the homework, beg them to go outside, but I will also hug my kids, and tell them I love them, and thank them for allowing me to the best Mom that I can be, and for letting me screw up and loving me anyway. I am blessed to have the gift of being able to love my children and receive their love in return. And now, I think I’ll go put some cookies in the oven!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing Mom’s out there (even if you’re a Dad)!

Stay well.

Give the gift of calm by giving the gift of a Totem Tamer! Just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and help your Mom stay calm for those times you are late for curfew and your phone battery is kaput and you don’t have the presence of mind to borrow someone’s phone to text her that you’re ok and stuck on the train, as an example. 🙂

Totems Around Town!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:46+00:00 May 7th, 2015|anxiety, bird lovers, birds, Life, stress|

Owl and friend!

Owl and friend!

You never know when you’re going to bump into an Owl lover!!! Owl is always happy to meet other Owl friends. Thank you to this lovely 9 yr old for sharing her love of Owls!!

Stay well.

Do you have an Owl to take around town? Get one of your own just by clicking on the Owl Totem on the side of the page! There’s also Bear, Bulldog and Shark, and they would be just as happy to make your acquaintance!

Totem Tamers appreciates Teachers!!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:47+00:00 May 5th, 2015|anxiety, children, education, Life, mental health, school|

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Day!!! Thank you to all the teachers who influenced me along the way (both in good and constructive manners), and for helping me navigate some of the trickier years of development. Now as I watch my three boys navigate their way, I am grateful for the teachers that have taken the time to get to know them and care about them and school them. I am also grateful for the ones that haven’t done right by them. Yes, even them. It helps my kids (and me) really take notice when a teacher cares, and actually makes an effort to connect and engage.

Appreciate your teachers!!

Appreciate your teachers!!

When you get the chance, give a shout-out to the teachers that pretty much act as co-parents right along with you.

Stay well.

Give the gift of a Totem to the teachers in your life, to help them stay calm anytime, anywhere! Just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and buy one today!

Cardinal Rule!

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:37+00:00 May 3rd, 2015|anxiety, birds, cardinals, Life, Owls, stress, stress relief|

Or better yet…Cardinals rule!! The cardinal has long been a favorite bird of mine (and my mom’s), maybe it’s the plumage, maybe it’s the distinct call they make, or probably more to the point, it’s the way their color cuts through just about any nature scene. I hear them chatting to each other all the time, and it’s comforting to me as I navigate the cityscape on a regular basis. I can usually find the source of the call when I have time to stop and look, but sometimes, I am gifted with a clear sighting. This picture was one such gift, but also very poignant as well.

What sign? You see a sign? I don't see a sign.

What sign? You see a sign? I don’t see a sign.

Even in the midst of sirens, and babies crying, and cars honking, this beautiful bird gave me pause and a chance to chuckle at the irony of it’s landing spot. I can only hope it found some nice grubs to bring back home in that newly seeded lawn. Hope you’ve had the chance to take pause, but more so, that you’ve had the chance to chuckle!

Stay well.

While we don’t have a cardinal Totem (yet), we do have Owl, and Owl is definitely awesome. If you want Owl to help give you pause, then click on the link on the side of the page and get one today!