Let It Go, and Other Lessons From ‘Frozen’ (With Video)

Let It Go, and Other Lessons From ‘Frozen’ (With Video)

What Frozen Taught Me about Love, Sisterhood, and Snowmen

The whole world has gone a little ice crazy over Frozen, another hit movie from Disney. It’s full of princesses, trolls, and appreciation for the bond between sisters.

Anna and Elsa are the sisters driven apart by Elsa’s magical powers. She’s like Midas, except she turns things to ice rather than gold. In fact, she plunged the whole kingdom of Arendelle into eternal winter. When Anna comes to Elsa’s rescue, it proves the power of love. Consider these lessons from Anna, Elsa, and their friends.

Lessons on Love and Sisterhood from Frozen

1. Face your feelings. Anna and Elsa’s parents meant well, but they started trouble when they urged Elsa to hide her powers and stop feeling. The first step in managing your emotions is to examine them.

2. Talk about conflicts. Anna felt hurt when her parents removed Elsa from her life with no explanation. Relationships thrive on direct communication.

3. Let go of fears. When Elsa accepts herself, she starts to feel free even while she’s still deep in permafrost. Tackling challenges head on helps us to conquer anxiety. Our actions teach us that we’re strong enough to survive and flourish.

4. Reveal your secrets. Keeping secrets uses up a lot of energy, and makes you feel uneasy. Practice disclosing information as appropriate to create more intimacy and peace of mind.

5. Surround yourself with family and friends. After years of isolation, Anna winds up being a little too excited about Elsa’s coronation. Build time in your schedule for connecting with your loved ones on a regular basis.

6. Pace your relationships. Loneliness also caused Anna to become engaged on the same day she met a flashy prince. Taking a gradual approach will make your romances more stable.

7. Consult a love expert. Arendelle is blessed with a giant supply of wise and helpful trolls. Think about whom you can turn to when you need encouragement and advice. Role models help us spot the skills we want to work on.

8. Appreciate fixer-uppers. As the trolls point out, we are all fixer-uppers. Give yourself and others the chance to change and grow.

9. Rely on acts of true love. When we put the needs of others first, we can overcome any setback. Maybe you’ll need to battle an evil prince trying to usurp the throne, or just stay up an hour late to comfort a friend going through a recent breakup.

10. Look on the bright side. Turn adversity around. In the end, Elsa learns to use her powers for good. Rather than freezing people, she creates ice sculptures and skating rinks.

Lessons from Olaf the Snowman

1. Hug your friends. Judging from most reviews, Olaf the Snowman is the character that people love most. He wants everyone to know that he’s a big fan of warm hugs and funny songs. A cheerful attitude will draw people to you too.

2. Express gratitude for any gift. Olaf is delighted when Anna makes him a small nose. He’s equally happy when his nose is made longer. He doesn’t even mind when Sven the reindeer wants to take a bite. If you look for something to like in any situation, you’ll find a way to be content.

3. Take risks. Olaf raves about summer, even though he’s unsure what it means. While everyone else thinks that he would melt, Olaf manages to enjoy the sun because he dares to go after what he wants.

Develop the courage of Anna and the optimism of Olaf. Instead of giving someone the cold shoulder, warm up your heart and relationships with true love.

FitBit Challenges: Where have you been all my life?

FitBit Challenges: Where have you been all my life?

“The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.” ~Howard Cosell

gamify weight lossYou might have heard about how much I’m in love with my FitBit, but until a couple days ago, I didn’t realize there was a built-in function that is basically the thing that has been missing from my life for…well, ever. 

I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends are tired of hearing about how much I love it, but its really that amazing, this feature. 

See, I recently discovered FitBit challenges, which are built in to the FitBit app. The challenges allow me to connect and compete with other FitBit users in various kinds of step-goal competitions. 

For example, I’m currently involved in a Work Week Hustle challenge (coming in at second place last I checked, but I’ve been back and forth between second and fourth since I joined a little late). This one has to do with meeting a weekly goals. I’m also competing in a Daily Showdown challenge (which, at the time of writing, I’m winning by a nose!), which is to compete for who can get the most steps in a day.

Yesterday I was in a Daily Goal challenge, which was just to see who could meet their goal for the day. I thought I’d won (we all met the goal, but some took more steps than others post-goal) but when I woke up, I discovered one of my worthy opponents had surpassed me. I was totally happy for him, of course, and on a completely unrelated note, I am even more inspired to beat him, uh, I mean…compete harder today. 

So I guess what I am saying is that this whole FitBit challenges thing is definitely something I’d try if I were a person who was habitually kind of unmotivated about exercise, and/or a person who just needed a little motivation to step it up a bit. 

Read more: How I Lost 100 Pounds (With Video and Before/After Pix)

The challenges are simple and super fun, and they don’t require anything except your body, the ability to walk, and of course the FitBit. There are also plenty of compatible (and otherwise) apps out there with similar concepts involved – the idea of gamifying fitness and weight loss is here, people. Take advantage of it. 

For the record, although I would be totally open to working with the FitBit people on some kind of awesome sponsored challenge deal, this post is completely unsolicited and I paid for my FitBit out of my own pocket about six months ago. I am just a user who has fallen madly, madly in love with this thing. (And yes, if for any reason I’m not wearing it, I feel as though my steps are for naught. No joke!)

(Hey, let’s keep in touch! Join me on Facebook or sign up for my free newsletter. Or both! <3 )

So lemme hear it! Are you gamifying weight loss and or fitness? If so, how are you doing it? If not, would you consider it? Let’s discuss it.

Let me know what you think on our Facebook page, tweet me or leave a comment below and share your thoughts. 

Marilyn Monroe’s cousin is my husband’s birth mom: What I want to say to her

Marilyn Monroe’s cousin is my husband’s birth mom: What I want to say to her

Believe it or not, the title of this article is not just an attention-seeking device. In fact, it’s a true statement, and the baby boy in question grew up to become my husband, Bill Atkinson. Today, I’m asking for help from the blogging community and anyone else who might be able to help us spread the word and finally get the answers we’ve been seeking. 

Please understand that this is not a regular blog post; rather, this is a genuine plea for your help.

I know it’s outside of my usual scope, but rest assured that I’m not asking for money or even much time – just for a little help to spread the word about something that’s really important to me, and something that, after more than a decade, I realized that I can’t do alone – it’s going to take a village (or two) to get this one done. 

The love of my life: the reason for this post. 

You see, a few months after I met my husband, he told me this amazing story – one I didn’t quite believe at first. It turns out he was abandoned at birth – and not at a hospital or fire station, but in a telephone booth at a gas station one June morning in 1972. 

(See more here: Abandoned 42 years ago, man takes adoption search to social media: How you can help him find his birth family)

My husband has obviously been curious as long as he’s been aware, but it wasn’t until we got together and had our first child that we really started digging. To be honest, it was mostly me at first. 

After looking at my own baby boy and realizing he probably looked very much like his dad did at that age, I felt compelled to start searching. To date, we’ve had no luck finding a mother, father or siblings, but we have found some second and third cousins, thanks to DNA testing. 

Speaking of DNA testing – let’s discuss the Marilyn factor. 

Marilyn Monroe’s Cousin? 

 Also of note? We found out hubs is related to the beautiful and amazing Marilyn Monroe – second cousins, from what we’re told. Pretty neat, huh? (Not that I’m into her or anything. Really…okay, I have a major interest in Marilyn – and I’m not gonna lie to you – the fact that she’s my daughter’s third cousin? Really makes me happy!)

So yeah, I have a good excuse for including this gratuitous Marilyn photo, as well as for the title of this post. Marilyn_Monroe_in_Gentlemen_Prefer_Blondes_trailer

Anyway, I recently wrote an open letter to his birth mom, from mother to mother, and I’m really hoping she will see it. If you read this and you’re not her, and you don’t know her, could I ask you for a favor? Would you please share this post with everyone in your own network and help me to get the word out? Thanks in advance. 

If you are her, or if you know her, please, please read this letter and consider reaching out to us – you can email me personally at [email protected] – please use the word “adoption” in your subject line so I don’t miss it!

Here’s the letter I wrote to Bill’s birth mom. 

 Dear Birth Mom,

You or someone you know left your beautiful, healthy baby boy in a phone booth at 7-Eleven on Metropolitan Ave. in Kansas City, KS, sometime before 9 a.m. on June 7, 1972 – presumably after giving birth to him up to 12 hours earlier on June 6, 1972.

See, I’m the mother to your grandchildren, the ones you’ve never even met and probably don’t know exist. They are both strong and smart and amazing, by the way – good genes, right?That baby you had grew up to become my husband, and because of that, you and me? We’ve got some things to discuss.

Before we go on, I want you to read this quote I just found, because it very much sums up how we feel about you and what you did for Bill – we are so grateful!

“Adoption isn’t a birth mother’s rejection but an unconditional love that inspires her to put herself last and do all she can for her baby.” – Mary Hines

My husband was adopted by an amazing family called the Atkinsons who have been nothing but loving and wonderful for his entire life – he can’t complain about his beautiful, storybook childhood (outside of the fact that his dad died when he was 12 and his whole life forever changed – his mom was pretty awesome and he never knew that she struggled at all).

He weighed just under 6 pounds when he was found, and he had blue eyes and probably not a whole bunch of hair. We’ve never seen newborn pics, but based on the two babies we’ve had together who look so much like him, I’m guessing he had a little bit of blonde fuzz for hair around then.

If you’re the mother (or father, or other interested relative) of this adoptee, my husband Bill, you should know some things.

First, we are not out to disturb your life, and we’ll keep your secret if that is what you want. We are not trying to “find a new family,” though we’re not opposed to keeping the lines of communication open and possibly forming some relationships, if you want that.

But if you don’t want that, please, understand that we won’t push anything, ever.

I can imagine how scared you must have felt to do what you did. I know you were holding an amazingly gorgeous child in your arms, and I know you didn’t want him to be hurt because you made sure he was found fast. I am pretty sure you may even have called the “abandoned” baby into the police station yourself, though I could be wrong.

I do know it was a woman who called it into the station and that the police never spoke to her (according to what I’ve learned up to this point). Maybe it was your mom, or your friend, or your big sister? Maybe you were told your baby died or that he’d been taken somewhere else.

I don’t know, and honestly, it doesn’t matter. I think you probably did what you had to do at that moment in your life, and I hope that you think about that baby on the regular – because I promise you, he’s thinking of you – and for the last almost 15 years, I think about you too.

As the mother of your grandkids and the wife of your son, I want to meet you. I want to know your story, and I want to look into your eyes and let you know that EVERYTHING IS OKAY NOW! We are happy and healthy, and we aren’t out to settle any score or cause any drama in your world.

We just want information, and we’d like to have it before it’s too late. See, Bill is 42 now, and his beloved (adoptive) mother passed away in December 2013.

We are not trying to replace her (it would be impossible – she was an amazing and beautiful woman, inside and out), but in our grief, we just realize that NONE of us are getting any younger, and basically, it’s now or never.

I am asking you, MOTHER TO MOTHER, to please, please just reach out to us and tell us Bill’s story – your story. Please help us understand what you were dealing with, and just allow my husband to have some closure, at the very least and some information.

My children are beautiful, and they don’t look much like me. I’ll bet you’d recognize the adorable dimples my daughter has or the curly hair they all sport. Maybe you’ve looked in the mirror or in the face of another one of your kids and seen those beautiful turquoise-blue eyes too?

Bill was born with a condition called amblyopia (also known as “lazy eye”), but it was corrected early in his life and he doesn’t struggle with it today. Other than that, he is 100 percent healthy. He is smart, strong and a great dad.

We aren’t in need of anything from you as far as money or significant time or anything else – we just want information and if that’s all you can give, we will gladly take it and be on our way – we won’t even ask to meet you if that’s what you want (though, to be honest, we would absolutely treasure that opportunity, if it should present itself!).

Listen, I just need you to know that Bill doesn’t hold any anger or hate for you in his heart. Mostly, he’s curious, though I know it means a little more to him than he’s letting on.

Please, if you’re out there, or if you know someone who can help me figure this out, please reach out to me at angyatkinson (at) gmail (dot) com and let’s put this mystery to bed. We will let you lead the way from there – maybe just allow us to ask a few questions via phone or email and if you want to leave it at that, we can do that.

Nothing But Love,

Angie, Your Son’s Wife and Your Grandchildren’s Mother

Phone booth baby

We recently took our story to  social media with this photo. The message is a basic rundown of Bill’s story and reads as follows.

Abandoned at Birth: Please Help Me Find My Birth Family.
My name is Bill Atkinson. I was born June 6, 1972. I was found wrapped in a towel inside of a phone booth at 7-Eleven on Metropolitan Ave inKansas City, KS. 

He posted the photo along with this message.

Friends, I need your help. As many of you know, I was abandoned at birth and found hours old in a telephone booth at 4039 Metropolitan Ave., Kansas City, KS. I was born at approximately 3 am on June 6, 1972. I was found at approximately 9 am the next morning. My wife Angie and I have been searching for years and after a recent DNA test, have located second, third and fourth cousins. My story has been covered by theKansas City Star and the KC Times, among others, and my wife keeps a blog with our story at http://phoneboothbaby.blogspot.com/ You can help by liking, sharing, tweeting, Instagramming and otherwise passing this post along. To my birth family, I have been blessed with a wonderful loving adoptive family and I don’t want anything from you – just information and maybe the opportunity to meet. Thanks in advance for your help.

In case you’d like to know more about our story, here are a few quick links to get bring you up to speed. 

How you can help us find Bill’s birth family

Can you help us find Bill’s birth family? We are very excited to learn where he comes from. He has taken a DNA test and his results are available at Ancestry.com/DNA.

If you or someone you know knows anything about this case, please reach out to me at [email protected] and let me know. If you don’t know anything but you want to help, the best thing you can do for us is to talk about it. Share the photo on your social media profiles and ask your friends to do the same.


Bee Hot: Improve Posture and Lose Weight

Bee Hot: Improve Posture and Lose Weight


ange stand upLet’s not make this all about losing weight, but let’s be realistic and enjoy the fact that improved posture means weight loss for many reasons.

Your weight shouldn’t define you, so just take that as a side benefit. Your posture is the thing that really counts.

It can make you look and feel better as well as reducing the risk of serious health conditions. And the best part is that your posture is one of the easiest things to work on.

If you had a grandmother like mine, you had many lessons and comments concerning how you should be sitting up straight.

My grandmother spent the last few years of her life in a hospital bed because of her problems with her back. I have scoliosis and (obviously) a family history of back problems.

However, when I was a kid I thought that good posture was as senseless as anything else.

posture photo: posture c-qsilver.jpgMy grandmother had a valid point though. As women age, even the ones who never had back problems need to start worrying about things like osteoporosis. Exercise, a healthy diet, and some focus on posture can lead to better health in general.

So, what’s the best way to enhance your posture? The best way is to not focus on your posture at all, but to focus on your core.

That’s right, we aren’t going to be taping any yardsticks to your head, but you would be doing yourself a huge favor if you invested in a stability ball. It’s really the only tool you need to improve your posture.

As you sit on a stability ball with both of your feet on the ground, you have no choice but to stabilize your core.

posture photo: Posture Correction sendi13_zps596f1b5f.jpgThis means you sit up straight and use your back muscles as well as your abdomen muscles to keep your core steady.

You will also be using your legs to keep the ball steady.

Make sure to keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t let any one part of you touch another part of you. For example, don’t put your elbows on your knees. And yes, the stability ball can be lots of fun to play with too.

Your core is where it all starts. When you hunch over, you restrict the blood flow to your vital organs as you put pressure on them.

If you happen to be overweight already, you are already making your heart work harder than it should without hunching over. When you hunch over, you just about double the effort your heart has to put forth. Use the stability ball in place of your desk chair or favorite lounge chair. You will breathe easier, feel better, and enjoy a whole new posture. As a result, your body language will attract more people to you.

If you like the fact that this very low impact method is so effective, try planking next. You’ll be amazed at the results!

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