Valentine’s Day may appear to be just another overly commercialized and silly American holiday, BUT, I encourage you to push aside your apathy and instead take time to ponder what love is to YOU.

We throw the word around so frequently, it can be tough to really know what it is. And not just in words – what does love feel like to you? Where do you feel love in your body?

For me, my heart chakra swells and tears form when I think about those I love. I have the overwhelming urge to hug them and connect with them, in any way possible. I find it most easy to express my love through writing, but I also know how important it is to make eye contact with a loved one and tell them in the most simple, yet beautiful way possible that I do, in fact, love them.

Love, to me, is the unconditional reaction to care for, be present with and honor a person in your life. It means that no matter what the outside circumstances are in life, you love them. In addition, to me love is about ACTION. Actions show priority and when I love, I work hard to make sure I’m showing my feelings. Without that extra step, the kind words, a hug, or a thoughtful gift–how will the people in my life know that I love them?

I’m working on a project around this topic – so I await your responses. What is love to YOU?
Submit your answers/ideas here! Or, email me at: heather@risingupforlove.org.

And in the meantime, reflect and write down the names of the people in your life that you truly love. Then, make a point to show them in a special way that is all your own.

Oh, and be sure to check out Byron Katie’s most excellent article on love. Self-love is a HUGE area that I coach often on, as it also happens to be one of the biggest pieces missing from the love puzzle. More on that in the very near future…

Much love to YOU,
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

I love this recipe and hope you will too! It’s perfect for lunch during the week. I typically make this on a Sunday and eat it for lunch all week long. Yum!

-1 can black beans
-1 can refried beans (I love chili lime flavor)
-1 can enchilada sauce (red or green – your choice!)
-1 red pepper, chopped
-1 avocado, chopped
-1 package of Lisanatti almond pepperjack cheese, grated
-Salsa, as needed
-1 package small corn tortillas (I love Trader Joe’s brand, of course)
-9×13 glass baking dish

Preheat oven to 350. Soften tortillas by placing them on stove burner set to low for a few seconds each side. Heat up black and refried beans in one pan, add 1/8 cup cheese. Heat enchilada sauce on low. Scoop bean mixture, 1T enchilada sauce, red pepper, avocado, a sprinking of cheese and 1T salsa into corn tortilla. Roll up and place in baking dish. Repeat until dish is full. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of rolled tortillas. Sprinkle cheese over top until lightly covered. Bake 30 minutes.

Happy Eating!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

As my impending move to Kauai, Hawaii looms before me (3 weeks away!), my “stuff” is slowly decreasing. I’ve decided to make this move economical, which means selling virtually everything I own and starting fresh in Kauai. I’ve never been a “stuff” person – I live in a 400 sq. ft. studio for god’s sake! But, when faced with parting with every single one of my belongings, bizarre attachments began coming up.

Like my books.

They are literally the story of my life. Each book, from my early Agatha Christie paperbacks to my stack of memoirs to my feminist books from college and my beloved Abraham-Hicks publications share a piece of my life. Each book marks a point of growth, a break-up, a new development, a new career–so much.

I found myself sorting my books into stacks: what I’ll take to Kauai (via USPS), what I’ll store (thanks mom!) and what to take to Powell’s to sell. Guess which was the smallest pile? I kept finding reasons to keep books (it was my first book on freelance writing, purchased 7 years ago after all!) meanwhile reminising about their impact on my life.

And then there’s the stuff that decides to show itself during a move–from past relationships, jewelry I was sure I lost and clothes that no one should ever wear. I mean never, ever. I don’t know what I was thinking (about the boys or the clothes!).

Let’s also not forget about the journals. I prefer handwritten poetry and journal entries, which means a storage container full of my life’s travels. It seems silly to keep them, but I also can’t imagine throwing them away. What is one beautiful life, if not the words and photos that documented it in a way a BMW or a huge house never can?

Speaking of material possessions like cars, I sold my car on Craigslist and even that was tough. It wasn’t anything special either. While my younger sisters have preferred to spend lots of cash on pimped out rigs, I’ve always preferred simple and practical vehicles. They depreciate anyway, right? Even so, I’ll miss Sheila, my white Toyota Corolla–she was a good car.

So, I’m selling it all and trying not to feel too sad–because when I’m spending every day in 80 degree weather, living a huge part of my dream life, am I really going to wish for that Hemingway book or a pair of sneakers? Probably not.

Saying good-bye to my stuff has been an excellent lesson for me about attachment. I’ve always viewed myself as a very non-materialistic person–I don’t need to spend lots of money on stuff and I certainly don’t need a lot of stuff. I am however, discovering my sentimental side, as I keep handmade Christmas ornaments, my Buddhas, hordes of photos (before digital cameras yo), beautifully written cards and lovely gifts. I will be shipping far more than I intended to Kauai, simply because I realized the things in life that really matter to me. Who woulda thought?

Oh, and if you need dishes or candles or a table or a camera or a bookcase, let me know. I just may have something for you. πŸ™‚

Happy Writing!

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

Try this delish smoothie for mixing up the breakfast routine. Great after an intense workout!

1/2 a banana, chopped
6 frozen strawberries
2 c unsweetened chocolate almond milk (recommend: Blue Diamond brand)
3 T soy protein powder
1 T flaxseeds
1 T honey

Mix well, on high, in a blender for 2 minutes. Enjoy the frothy yumminess!

Happy Eating!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

I have a problem. A big problem.

I’m addicted to email. It’s ridiculous. I log more hours on the computer than I would ever like to keep track of. The thing that keeps me coming back for more?That damn refresh button on gmail. Maybe a publisher has gotten back to me and is eager to publish my book, maybe a long-lost classmate will reach out to connect with me…the possibilities go on and on.

My only solution was to quit cold turkey.
I used my recent 10-day vacation to Kauai as a way to kick the email habit. I didn’t take my laptop and made sure that the place I was staying didn’t have a computer either. I was shocked to discover that when one is basking in the sun, the thought of email is completely eliminated. I didn’t even feel the itch to login. I was sure I was healed.

Fast forward 4 weeks to present day, and my email addiction is back. It’s not as paralyzing as it was pre-Kauai, but it’s still there. I’ve limited myself – when I’m on the phone coaching (which is most of the day) I will only let myself check personal email at lunch time and after work. But, I still keep getting the nagging feeling to go completely off the grid. All the time. Is that possible??

The problem is that my work — writing and coaching — almost exclusively require computer and email time. Well, that’s not entirely true. For writing, I only really need access to a browser to search for resources, and word processing for actual writing. For coaching, I don’t need the Internet at all, unless we’re working specifically on locating resources for job and career transitions.

So, there is potentially a lot of time to NOT be on email…right?
I only wish there was a way to do my work and not be stationary all day.

Any ideas?
How do you keep the email addiction at bay?
What strategies do you use to stay focused and be in the moment–not sidetracked by email?

Leave your tips here!

Much love,
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

When my local grocery store ran out of grain-sweetened chocolate chips, I had to get creative. So, I grabbed a bag of trail mix (with grain sweetened chocolate chips in it, along with dried cranberries and mixed nuts). The result? A delightfully delicious batch of trail mix cookies.

-1/2 c non-dairy butter, melted
-3/4 c sugar substitute (I use Splenda)
-1 organic egg
-1 t vanilla extract
-1/2 t baking powder
-1 3/4 c spelt flour
-1/2 t sea salt
-1 c trail mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir well, until completely mixed. Fold in trail mix. Bake for 10-12 minutes until done.

Happy Eating!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

As a woman, I have been both disgusted and mortified as our culture continues to promote an anorexic, underweight body as the body type of choice. The result of this campaign of unhealthiness? Record numbers of perfectly fantastic women denying themselves food and purging when they do–heaven forbid–eat.

Meanwhile, we’ve all sat around apathetic as unhealthy looking models and actresses are offered up as the status quo.

So, what can we do?
-Cancel all subscriptions to “beauty” magazines of any kind.
-Stop watching television shows that promote these unhealthy attitudes (I just nixed having TV all together.)
-Speak up! See a girl/woman in need–go talk to her. See/hear a man/woman making negative comments about women’s bodies? Call them on it.
-Write to your favorite actresses/models who are underweight and share your thoughts. Better yet, write to his/her agent as well.
-Join the Healthy Models Coalition.

Change starts with us, so it’s important that we first have a healthy body image and feel good about ourselves. Working with a skilled counselor or coach may be necessary. Then, we can stop spending money towards enterprises that fuel these unhealthy images. From there, joining organizations that adore women and treat them as goddesses – no matter what the size (I’m thinking Bitch mag, Planned Parenthood, Codepink) is in order.

What else can we do? Follow in the steps of France, who has banned all anorexic looking models!!! Those French people, are SO ahead of us…But, perhaps with the Obama administration, our country will work towards being healthy in every way. It’s time for the dysfunction to end.

Leave your comments here!

-Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

Boulevards Hot Chocolate is hands-down the best hot chocolate you will ever have. Seriously. It’s produced by a family-owned business, so you can feel good about supporting our local economy. To top it off, all of their products are wheat-free. You just can’t go wrong!

My favorite way to drink the dairy and sugar-free version? With unsweetened vanilla almond milk. My sister is a-okay with sugar, so she tried the dairy-free version and LOVED it as well.

These products are a must-try. And it’s a perfect treat for Sunday mornings or when you find yourself snowed in. πŸ˜‰

Happy Eating (and drinking)!

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

I love pie. Which means I’m also a fan of quiche. With the cold days here to stay, I’m cooking up lots of warm, yummy food.

This is an easy recipe to follow. Use a premade spelt crust or use Pamela’s Products recipe for a gluten-free crust.

Veggie & Tofu Quiche
4 organic eggs
1 1/2 c non-dairy cheese (I love Lisanatti’s almond cheese, pepperjack)
1 c soy milk
1 T garlic salt
1/2 package chopped spinach (frozen)
1 c firm tofu, chopped
1 c veggies (I love shredding carrots, cherry tomatoes, asparagus)
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, garlic salt cheese and soy milk together in one bowl. In a skillet, saute spinach, onions, tofu, veggies and olive oil. When veggies are golden brown, stir in with egg mixture. Pour into crust. Bake for 45-55 minutes until center of quiche is firm. Use toothpick to test. Cool and then eat.

Happy Eating!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

I spent my time during the holidays on the beach in Kauai, Hawaii. I know, shocking, right? People travel during a r********?! (it’s curse word in my world). Actually, people are doing a lot of traveling and shopping during this alleged lull.

It wasn’t just me and the locals in Kauai, I can assure you of that.
As I laid out my towel on Po’ipu Beach on Christmas Day, I looked around at the sea of people before me. We were all crunched together, trying to make room for one another.

The ocean had so many people in it, boogie boarders and snorkelers were bumping heads.
I couldn’t help but chuckle. With all the negativity in the media about the country’s economic woes, it was refreshing to see that not everyone is buying into the fear-mongering.

And when I couldn’t get into, not one, but TWO restaurants on a random Monday night in Po’ipu, I couldn’t be angry. I was thrilled. Take that CNN, NBC/ABC/CBS/FOX, Bill O’Reilly and the like (you know who you are). Ever noticed how those guys get so worked up when they are delivering the bad news? It’s almost like they’re enjoying it…thriving on the negativity, if you will.

It always blows my mind how easily we the people tend to believe whatever the media is sending our way. We panic, which only makes matters worse. What we actually need to do is go out to restaurants, travel, shop and support one another.

Because in case you hadn’t noticed, the mega-media conglomerates and government officials aren’t hurting for money. The people that suffer when big business and government go corrupt is the regular folks. So, if we refuse to play the game and instead go out there and spend our cash and support local businesses, we won’t crumble–we’ll get stronger.

It wasn’t just in Kauai where people were out spending cash either. I saw it in Honolulu as well. The beaches were so packed in Waikiki, I could barley make my way to the bar to order a Mai Tai. At 11am (sorry I had to, I was on vacation!).

Now that I’m back home to the freezing temps and snow there isn’t much to do, so I decided to take refuge at Powell’s. Except that it was so crowded and the lines to buy books were so long, I couldn’t even spend time wandering like I typically do.

So to those fear-mongers out there preaching doom and gloom: get over it.
The rest of us have.

Wishing you the most ABUNDANT and fabulous 2009!!!
Happy New Year!!!
xoHeather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More