On Not Giving-Up

Wanted to share my personal goal for the week as it is perfectly relevant here. My goal: Not to Give Up. Or with a more positive spin: Just keep going. Keep doing what I’m doing. I am not seeing/feeling progress in a few areas of my life where I am really working hard and I can’t help but think, why work so hard if it isn’t working? Why? Because of my why, that’s why! Okay, way too many why’s so how about some how’s…How am I going to keep myself going and not giving up?

I am going to remind myself of my big why I am after the goal in the first place (personal health to prevent illness, personal growth so I can show up better for myself and my kids, and more.)

I am going to remind myself that change takes time. That small steps add up to big gains. That sometimes progress isn’t seen even when it’s there.

I am going to remind myself that giving up gets me nowhere, but staying on the path gets me somewhere even if that somewhere is right where I am but STILL on the path.

I am going to remind myself to be patient (which I hate being.)

And I am going to challenge my thought that there is no progress – I am going to find something each day, actually any time I feel like giving up, that shows progress, even if it isn’t the standard result.

Starting now. Ugh, harder than I thought lol. Not giving up  I have been waking up at 5:30 consecutively for three weeks now which is a HUGE change for me and a mini-goal that is allowing me to goal after the other goals so I can achieve change.

If you feel like giving up today on yelling less – or any other personal goal because guess what, those goals and achieving them will help you feel less by default – remember what you have done so far. (Here’s a hint: having a goal and knowing what you want is a great step…admitting struggling and getting support is another…trying again is another…there are so many options here!)

How I Stop My Cranky Moods so I Yell Less

(Audio version included!)

Y’all. Yesterday…yesterday was a crap day. Within ten minutes of waking up, I felt a storm coming. I am not talking about a weather storm (although I do always feel those comin’ in my knees….) Nope, I am talking about a cranky mood storm where I just feel off and can’t precisely figure out why so I end up snapping more and sometimes even yelling more than I like. I felt agitated. I couldn’t focus and when I could I wasn’t productive. I felt exhausted but knew I wasn’t tired. I didn’t have a pep in my step even though I had done the things that normally give me energy.

Although I didn’t know what the heck was going on with me, I knew for certain that if I didn’t get ahead of this storm and prevent it from happening (or at least tame it a bit), that it would end up hitting right around 5:00 when all four kids come home hungry, and overwhelmed with exhaustion and school work. And I knew for certain that my personal cranky mood would most likely spread to the boys (moods, good and bad, are contagious!) and that we would then go from a personal storm to a total, utter sh*t storm. This doesn’t even consider what moods they would be bringing home!

Obviously, a total utter sh*t storm was not desired. I can tolerate an average one, that is just expected around here 😉 but a total utter sh*t storm? No thanks. They suck.

I tried everything I could to ease my crankiness.

I went for a walk (nature is very soothing for me.)
I drank cold water (helps the nervous system amongst other things.)
I listened to happy music (seriously, listen to happy songs and try not to sing along.
I talked to my therapist (perfect day to have that scheduled!)
I sat outside in the sun and imagined a favorite vacation this summer (distraction.)
I made another cup of coffee because I love the smell of it and I hadn’t fully enjoyed my morning cup (find joy wherever)…and I used my favorite minions mug because it brings back happy memories with my boys.


Not only did I not want a sh*t storm later, but I didn’t like how I felt and I had so much to do and not being productive was just making me feel worse.

So I went to my back-up bag of tricks to ease my crankiness. I sat down and tried to write. Often when I write, my thoughts kind of sort themselves out. Folks, even this didn’t work! So now I was two levels into my “how-to-uncranky-myself” handbook. Onto the back-up, back-up. I went for another walk to “clear my mind.” No podcasts. No music. No dog to slow me down. Just the sounds around me.

My mind kept telling me, “Sheila, your mood is driven by that damn scale you stepped on this morning! You are working so hard to get healthy (another post) and you aren’t getting any positive feedback from the scale or anywhere. Progress pictures? Not helping. Measurements? Nope. Better mood? Okay mostly but not today. Looser clothes? As freakin’ if.

I wanted to hang my hat on this explanation for my cranky mood so that I could move forward, but I still felt unsettled. And then it hit.

The lack of perceived progress with my weight wasn’t the real issue (although it sure as hell wasn’t helping). The weight of parenting was – I just hadn’t fully allowed myself to process all that was going on with back to school.

The first two weeks of school have been a doozy, as they always are. This year though, there is an added layer (or a thousand) of worry. So, while I wasn’t tired yesterday per say, my mind and body were exhausted. My pep was gone because it has been in over drive supporting my kids. I was agitated because well, I love my kids and there is so much I want to do for them/with them to support them and to help them grow into wonderful adults and yet given the strain of the first two weeks, I was starting to wonder if I was getting any of the parenting thing right! AND if I would ever get it right or even close? (Because folks, there is NO complete right way to parent.)

The scale yesterday frustrated me because it didn’t give me positive feedback despite my hard work. This led to self-doubt and the desire to say f*ck it I won’t try so hard. Funny, parenting can be the same. Kids don’t necessarily give you feedback that your hard work is working. There is no guarantee that if you do everything “right,” they will be okay. There are moments, for sure, but they are fleeting. But that doesn’t mean we stop trying. It just means that we have to keep the faith.

And that we have to keep watching our own storms brewin’ so that we can be at our best for them when their storms brew…and hit!

Despite me having this huge moment of clarity on my walk – I still felt cranky. (Normally I feel lighter after such moments; knowing what’s up brings me peace because then I know I can at least make a plan to work through it.)

So, I went to my back-up, back-up, back-up bag of trips and reminded myself,

“It’s all good. Somedays are just hard. Just do your best to get through the day. Go to bed early. Tomorrow brings a new day.”

And I forewarned my kiddos, “Guys – mom is wicked cranky. It has nothing to do with you. It’s just me. So, I am going to try really hard to not snap but if I do, please just remember it isn’t you.”

It took A LOT to get through the evening because my boys brought home a lot with them!  I relied on my original bag of tricks quite frequently – I would pop outside and take breaks, I drank cold water and instead of envisioning a warm, relaxing vacation…I envisioned bedtime 😉

And I listened to my current, favorite uplifting song “Keep the Beat.” The lyrics couldn’t be more perfect…

“All I can do when the road bends…is lean into the curve…and
All I can do…when the tanks run dry…is see what’s in the reserve.”

Orange Rhinos, somedays your reserve will be more full than others. But you always have a reserve – you just need to know when it is going to be needed and how to get there.

RELEVANT TAKE-AWAYS for your Orange Rhino journey to YELL LESS and LOVE MORE:

  • Do you know the physical signs in your body that a storm is brewin’?
  • Do you have a go-to set of things to try to head off the storm so it doesn’t grow?
  • Do you have a game plan for when all else fails?
  • And do you have a back-up for when the back-up doesn’t work?

Don’t fret if you don’t have the answers to any or all of the above, just pick one and ponder it…and remember, tomorrow brings a new day.

1st Day Back as The Orange Rhino!

Hello everyone!

Wow, it feels surreal to be sitting at a desk, typing a blog post again after almost three years (but really, closer to what, seven?) I have so much to say, to write, to explain, to explore, to admit, to face and to do!!!

Before I do that, I am going to very quickly get a few things out there.

To all NEW ORANGE RHINOS: Welcome! I will write more about me in upcoming days but for this post, most important things to know are:

  • I started The Orange Rhino in 2012. My book published in 2014. I sadly stopped regularly writing probably in 2015. (Here is my original story)
  • I have four sons, James, Edward, Andrew and Mac. When I started they were all under 5! Now they are almost 16 (holy shit), 14, 13 and 11. I essentially have four teenagers because Mac has the influence of three older brothers so…yeah, it is crazier in my house now than it was when I started. No joke. And I didn’t think that was even possible.

To all Original ORANGE RHINOS: Hi! Oh, how I have missed this community and the positive, supportive people in it. I have constantly struggled for the last seven years really feeling like I let you down by becoming quiet. But alas, I am back and I am ever so grateful you are still here.

And to everyone (myself included)…

Just take one step.
It doesn’t have to be perfect.
It doesn’t have to be fully planned.
It just has to be one step taking you in the direction that you want to go.
Just one step helping you become the person you want to be tomorrow (or shoot, even later today!)

Just one step towards your goal.

My goal right now, and I share it with all of you so that I can be held accountable, is to bring The Orange Rhino® back to life. I don’t know entirely what that looks like, or means, or how I am going to do that, but I do know that I just need to start and keep going, even when I feel unsure, insecure or overwhelmed. And most importantly…even when I feel like my plan isn’t perfectly outlined.

I have learned a lot about myself since I took a break from full-time commitment to The Orange Rhino®. A LOT. One of those things is that my need for a solid, clear plan/path to success actually kept me from achieving many of my personal goals. I haven’t  DIDN’T start going after many of my goals or ideas because I didn’t feel like I had enough supports/resources/answers in place to succeed. Maybe if I figured out one more detail, then I would be guaranteed to succeed. Or wait, if I figured out just another detail after that, yes, then I would definitely succeed. Or better yet, what if I knew the answer to every single “what if…?” and knew every single to-do? Yes, then I would most definitely be set up to succeed!

If I am going to be honest with myself, my focus wasn’t just about guaranteeing success. It was also (more so) about guaranteeing that I didn’t fail. That I didn’t let myself down again. That I didn’t let others down again. That I didn’t get disappointed again. That I didn’t get hurt again.  Ironically, all my over-preparation to succeed did just the opposite. I am not going to say I failed; I am moving away from that word that my brain apparently has a strong attraction to 😉 Instead, I am going all “elementary school poster” and saying that I had seven years of


Learning about…
What works for me, what doesn’t.
Who I am, who I am not.
Who I want to be, who I do not want to be.
What I yearn for, what I desperately fear.
What I love about myself, what I hate don’t really like so much about myself.

And learning that I need to just freakin’ start.

I don’t need all the details to move forward.
I just need one first step towards my goal and then the other steps will follow.
They might not come as fast as I wish; they might not go in the order I wish and they definitely won’t be executed as perfectly as I wish…but they will come….as I long as I just freakin’ start and keep going.

This is going to be very hard for me, the whole, no formal plan thing and putting out work that isn’t presented perfectly. But…I am gonna do it anyways. Because if I don’t start now, fear will come back and take over and I have had enough of sitting back and watching my goals pass me by.

So who is with me, just freakin’ starting going after a goal…even if hesitant, scared or doubtful?

As I take my first steps towards (1) bringing The Orange Rhino back to life and (2) being uncomfortable putting stuff out there that isn’t perfectly planned, I truly hope you take any first step towards your goal of yelling less and loving more. I will be here to support you, as will the community. Again, I don’t know all of my steps I will have in place to personally support you (and you know it is killin’ me that I don’t, but you know, charging forward anyways) but I do know that I will be reading my book again and will be doing another 30-Day Challenge. But don’t wait for all those details 😉 start today with one step.

Here is one simple(ish) step:

  • Tell someone you trust, who is supportive and non-judgmental, that you are working on being an Orange Rhino and yelling less and loving more. It’s okay if you haven’t downloaded all the resources from this site, or read my book, or read past blogs. Just start mentally getting excited for the wonderful change you are going to experience.

WE got this. Let’s freakin’ go!

The Orange Rhino