What is blooming for you?

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As the world outside comes back to life, the birds sing once again, and the sunshine sheds its light on the goodness around us, we know that hope is blooming.

Growth

–What is blooming for you? It could literally be flowers and vegetables, but it could also be something inside you that you want to grow. Or a project that you want to build. A change that has been bubbling all winter that you are ready to manifest. Maybe it’s within something you have no control over, but have to accept it into your life. If you aren’t sure, writing about possibilities will help the ideas take root.

Seeds

–Once you know what you want to grow, get specific. Here are some suggestions:

Personal–health, reducing stress, self-care, relaxation, exercise

Job stability or a new one–going back to school, getting a promotion, changing careers, retirement or what to do now that you have retired.

Simplicity–downsizing, decluttering, slowing down, spending time with who and what matters.

Rain

–In spring we often view rain as a hindrance to our ability to enjoy ourselves or the outside world. Rain is needed to nourish the earth so that flowers can grow, trees can bloom, birds can find worms to eat. Without the rain nothing would grow. April showers do bring May flowers, but we have to find the goodness in the dark clouds or setbacks that may affect what we want to grow.

–What do you see as rain in your life? What is the negative that you feel is preventing the growth, that you might have seen as a hindrance, but actually can help you bloom and nourish what you planted?

Sunshine

–What positive sunlight can you cast on your seeds to help them grow?

–What can you do to nourish yourself and what you are blooming?

–Shifting your perspective to seeing the good in very situation will make the harder parts of growth and change a bit easier.

Flowers

–Once those seeds sprout and you are growing what you planted, how will you feel? –What will it change or affect in your life?

–What does it look like? Describe it like you would a flower or plant.

Create a visual. It could be flowers with what you want to grow in the petals or a garden with the seeds noting what you want to bloom. It can be a quick reminder and motivator in our daily path to grow, heal, and become more aware of who we are. Writing in your journal helps to translate what you want on the page into your life.

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Visual example by Arthur Forest

Write about the process of what you are growing. Every moment of our growth or transition into spring, into change, into something different whether we want it or not needs to be a gentle movement. The more we ease into the moment, the easier the transition, the more we are aware of our intention and our potential.

 

 

Months in Review

January2019

January was a blur of catch up, rush, get overwhelmed, then catch up again. I literally accomplished one item on my publishing company goal, but finished a great deal of goals and updates for the foundation. This included a new website. Check it out at www.fighttobehealed.org

February2019

February’s focus was on family and finishing the first draft of Sketchy Dinosaurs, the third book in The Puzzle Quests‘ series. I scheduled when I would write and made it my priority. I also stayed home. That is a theme for me–keeping myself still is very difficult. The nature of my work involves meetings, events, teaching, and visiting patients, so I schedule stay at home time.

One change that really worked for me in February was a daily intention. My life/purpose word is HOPE. Everything I do with the foundation and my writing is driven by my desire to share, create, and grow hope.

But just like having a long-term goal, I needed smaller daily words to keep me on track. Every day I thought of an Intention Word that would help me accomplish my goal. I also wrote why or how this word applied. Sometimes it ended up as a phrase. Some were:

Deep Breaths of Gratitude

No Self-Doubt

Eat Clean and Healthy

Love Myself

Be Present

Patience

Acceptance

Joy

Peace

Persistent

At the end of the day, I wrote about the word and whether or not it resonated or helped with my goals. Some days it reminded me of my plan of action. On my Persistent day, I wrote for four hours. Other days when I didn’t set my intention, I titled my journal entry. Some were: Fatigue, Conflict, Reminders. There was a clear connection on how well my day went when I wrote down my word.

On the day my word was Simplify, I didn’t even write an entry. Using my journal as a reminder for my purpose, calendar, and entries kept me on track and gave me guidance on what was or wasn’t working.

I did incorporate Sunday Simplicity to plan for my week, which helped me rejuvenate and not feel as stressed. I relax, read, enjoy family, prepare my weekly calendar, order my food through Hannaford to Go, and do that never-ending laundry. Doing this lowers my stress levels and gives me time to take care of myself.

For March!

My big goal was getting the 2nd draft to the editor. Done! Check that off my list!

Keep Sunday Simplicity

Title my entries and continue Intention Words

I also wrote a list of my goals/to-do’s for the month, so each week when I plan my calendar, I have the list handy and can break them down into manageable projects. There’s nothing better than crossing off those finished items!

Reviewing your previous week/month guides you on whatever path you take, but you need to write it down in order to know what you have done. Schedule in that journal time. You’ll see and feel the difference it can make!

 

Sunshine Memories

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Draw or print out a smiling sun. Along the sun’s rays, write down who and what brings you joy. Maybe it’s certain people in your life, activities you like to do, self-care like yoga, massage, reading, exercise, sleep. Whatever makes you happy and brings a smile on your face. Fill out all the lines–maybe not all today, but you can keep adding.
 
Then journal about that person or activity and why it brings you joy. You could write one a day. It becomes your positive memory bank. A place that you can return to when life feels too hard or you simply have a bad day. It reminds you that the sun will always shine.
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Decorate your positive memory bank page. Make it yours. There’s only a right way for you to journal, so do what makes you feel happy. Let your inner creativity shine through.

July Month in Review

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July began and ended with Nick’s Fight to be Healed events, was packed with writing goals, creating space deadlines, and lots of family fun.

I had so much on my plate. The biggest deadline was getting my Saving Atlantis manuscript done. I had to push back the date and I wasn’t happy about it.

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Annual July 4th float

It feels like the July 4th parade had happened months ago. I think it had to do with being very present in most everything I did. I didn’t hand out candy. I watched the teens hand it out and took note of the children’s happy faces.

The best part of July was all the gatherings with my family and friends.

 

My nephew and his wife drove through and stopped by, so of course a big gathering happened. Family always gathers for the July 4th festivities, and I felt the love and connections.

Good news came for one of our Melodies families. Regan received her last spinal treatment and will be done in September! Karen captured the moment.

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I finished Saving Atlantis and got it to the printer and now will wait for the final product! That was probably my biggest stressor. It’s a positive one to have, but the need to get it right adds a lot of pressure on me.

 

One of my most thrilling moments of July was Stephen getting his motorcycle license and riding with his dad and myself. He has jumped in with both feet and absolutely loves it. He is holding Liam, who will be riding next to him some day.

The month ended with a beautiful fundraiser to honor my son Nick during the 11th Annual pig roast that our wonderful friends hold every year.

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In between the foundation events, family moments, finishing a book, and creating space in my house, which I noted in separate posts, I still managed to journal and enjoy the world around me.

For August I will keep: connecting with people who lift me up and break down my goals into accessible parts.

I will stop: booking myself out for so many nights and day appointments and putting so much on my plate.

I will start: reserving Fridays for cleaning and organizing my office and catching up on reading.

It was a fantastic month, and I’m grateful I captured so much of it to remember.

Create Space–Tracking Goals

I woke up this morning with a renewed clarity for my business. It stemmed from the goal tracking I’ve been working on for the last couple months for myself and my journal workshops.

Last month in journaling class, we worked on specific goals. This included what accomplishing that goal would mean to us, why we were doing it, what was standing in our way, and what detailed steps were needed to achieve this goal. Of course a deadline was included. The goals ranged from self-care, losing weight, writing a book, and planning a trip.

I did this for general self-care, which included journaling, lowering or eliminating gluten and dairy, as well as increasing exercise, and meditation. It’s still a work in progress, but I have been tracking it and journaling how I feel physically and mentally.

However, I also wanted to Create Space in my personal life (home) and my business (office). I have written many times about having too many balls in the air. I have recently tossed some to others or to the side. As a result, I have chaos throughout my workspace and home.

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Need I say more? Embarrassing, but I’m going for full disclosure here & I want to see if this process of using my journal works.

Over the last couple weeks, I identified what I wanted to accomplish–clearing specific rooms, cleaning them, throwing away clutter, and organizing papers and files. What stood in my way was time, the sheer enormity of the project, fear, and still having to work.

I broke it down into clearcut areas. I rearranged my schedule to take this week off (so if you don’t hear from me, you know why). Each morning I am committed to editing my book, because that is still on a deadline.

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I want to do this, because my goal is to have a successful publishing/writing business and a healthy and empowering personal life with less stress from the mess!

I’ll journal about the process each day and what clearing this space means to me and why fear comes up. I think it’s because once this is done nothing is standing in my way, so the fear of failure looms, but lets see what happens!

I have my support group and scheduled yoga and walks mixed in to keep me centered and sane.

Each part of this process is broken into specific daily steps. Today’s goal: J9’s office space!

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The details even came down to specific meals for the week and moving a meeting.

 

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Keeping it positive, light, and bright are essential for getting the work done. Daily mantras will be huge!

I’ll circle around each night to let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

Easter Memories

Easter is probably my favorite holiday, because it welcomes spring, new beginnings, family gatherings, and egg hunts. Since my mom sold her home in Greenville, we have  hosted Easter. I love packing the plastic Easter eggs with coins, candy, and clues. Oh yes, the scavenger hunt is always one of my favorites.

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Easter 2001 on Cambridge Avenue, Clifton Park

As you can see in the photo, the little ones are all in the back of my SUV around their prize. But they had to work to get there. It might be a puzzle, word finder, word scramble, or hunting for eggs, which held vital clues. They would be age specific, with tougher ones for the older children. It brought them together in excitement and challenge.

Stephen and Nick were five and seven in this photo, Marisa six, Alysia, Justine, and Charlie all four. When I was little, we always dressed up for Easter in our bonnets and bright spring colored dresses. We’d wear our white stockings and don our new patent leather shoes. I smile at this photo as all the children followed that tradition, whether they wanted to or not! The boys looked spiffy in their vests, dress shirts, and pants. Nick loved hats and so the cowboy hat had to be a part of his ensemble. I am intrigued by all that I am reminded of when looking closely at the details.

Nick and his sassy smile. He always had something in his pockets. I’m not sure what was in his back pocket in the top photo. He’s wearing a Pokemon pin on his vest, and I could almost guarantee he had a Pokemon character (probably Pikachu) in his front pocket. Stephen with his top button undone and wearing sneakers. It was a win just to get dress clothes on him, now that’s all he wears. Marisa and Alysia wear their fancy hats and are holding jump ropes in their hands.

Of course the boys were into Legos as shown in the photo with their gifts. Stephen was starting baseball, so was given a new glove. There was some Disney item and more Legos. I’m sure I have photos of their actual gifts and listed them in their journals. Details that I wouldn’t remember, but bring back so many memories.

Some things don’t change and Stephen is being hounded by his uncle to get a smile out of him. Since I probably was taking the picture, Stephen was most likely begging his father to save him. We did manage to get a smile.

Even before the family gathers, the Easter egg coloring happens. Laying out the plastic tablecloth, then newspaper, arranging all the supplies, preparing the colored dyes, always having crayons to write family names. Giving them as gifts Easter morning as everyone arrived.

Justine, Alysia, and Charlie are now 18, but I still have some tricks up my sleeve if they want their basket of candy. Yes, they may outgrow some of the activities, but we never outgrow the love of family and connection we feel when everyone gathers together. Even those you can’t be with us are never far away. These memories are sustaining, precious, and challenge me to find more ways to maintain tradition, joy, love, and celebration.

What is your favorite Easter holiday or spring tradition? Write about the memories or from a photo. Look closely, you never know what you may remember.

Month in Review–February

I can either say that I needed a few more days in February or I have to continue my quest for time efficiency. Of course I can be the most efficient person, but if I take on too much, I’m not going to get everything done.

That was the theme of February for me. There were fun times, happy moments, first birthday party for my nephew, Liam. Here’s a photo in case you need some cuteness in your day.

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Valentine’s Day date with my hubby, outings with friends, my sister, and sunny days to walk my dogs.

But there were a lot of days where I didn’t get the work done that I needed or scheduled. I have become better organized using my journal as my calendar. I did start prioritizing by listing my monthly goals, but they aren’t translating into my daily business.

As I review my journal entries, I see a shift toward growing my writing and teaching business, plus lots of ideas that tend to distract me. There are entries like: “I’m not getting my work done.” Or “I bought mechanical pencils and I have no idea what happened to them! I frustrate myself!” The dogs didn’t eat them. In my frenzy of activities, I probably threw them out. Another entry, “I’m still saying yes too much.”

Seeing how much I had in my schedule did make a decision for me not to take on a mentorship, even though it would have been wonderful. If I can’t put 100% into it, I shouldn’t do it.

There was at least a week of not journaling. Not straight in a row, but a couple days here and there. I’m out more nights than I’m in and that is plain exhausting.

Where I thrived and hummed with happiness was when I was writing and teaching my Writer’s Journal program to fourth and fifth graders at Karigon. I know this is where I should be spending my time. Writing and sharing how to write is a huge part of my journey. I only need to clear the path.

One of the best parts of February was getting outside more, being on my yoga mat, and putting my health in the forefront of my day. I feel the benefits.

March

My goals for March? Stay home as much as I can. Get a solid 2nd draft of Saving Atlantis done to share with my beta readers in April. Plan more school writing workshops and write, write, write! Writing my goals down and what I want to happen is the first step. The second is scheduling it into my calendar and sticking to it.

How was your February? What are your goals for March? What is important enough to spend your time on?

Keeping track on how you feel about what you are doing gives you an idea of what is nourishing, dragging you down, or revving your engine! Pay attention and put it into action!

A Single Snowflake–Photo Prompt

snowflakes-ElizabethFoxPhotography
Photo by Elizabeth Fox Photography

A single snowflake. Dynamic in its uniqueness, clarity in its lines. It has a beauty and gloriousness all on its own.

As it falls with the millions of other snowflakes, they band together and pack a powerful punch. They can stop cars, delay schools, and cause havoc. But these snowflakes also can silence the world like a blanket, reflect the sun creating a shimmering landscape, and bring fun to every child and adult in all forms of activity.

Alone or together a snowflake is like every human being. Individually unique, beautiful, and filled with potential. Together a powerful force that can empower positive change, instill hope, and connect a community through love.

What does this photo mean to you? Write whatever you feel for 10 minutes.

Finding Purpose–What Will you Grow?

Finding purpose in life and what drives you is a lifelong endeavor. It will change as your life circumstances do, but being aware of where you are and want to be is the next step. If you have followed the Finding Purpose series, you have established your values, what is important to you, and the type of person you are.

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Everything wonderful starts with something small. Life forms from a tiny acorn.

Journal about the following questions:

  1. What do you want to grow within yourself?
  2. What or who do you want to grow into?
  3. What kind of life do you want to live?

I’d like to grow a sense of community through my teaching and writing. Through my written word and connection, I instill a sense of hope that we can all make a difference, even if it’s a small one. As with the acorn, a small act of kindness can grow into something incredible and self-sustaining.

Old oak

 

acorn
Template to use on your personal oak.

Use this acorn or draw your own and write the words you came up with on your quest for growth. For me it’s writing, yoga, community, personal health, family, connection, hope.

You have the power within yourself to be the best person you want to be. It’s all in you. Nurture it and watch it grow into something beautiful and amazing.

 

Finding Purpose–Your Core Character

The third part in our Finding Purpose series is developing your core. I am referring to your character core, who you are as a person, or who you perceive yourself to be.

As with our bodies, the trunk of a tree is the core to its strength and ability to bounce back when the storms of life try to knock it over.

trunk
Photo by Alysia Thomas

To work on your core, answer these questions:

  1. How do you describe yourself?
  2. How do people describe you?
  3. Is there a difference?
  4. Why do you think that is?
  5. Write those words on the trunk of the oak tree you have already begun. If you want to start from the beginning of this process, visit my previous posts, You are Awesome! and then Root Values.

Remember not all of your characteristics will be positive. Maybe there are some you want to work on, especially if they are characteristics others have described you with. As someone in my last workshop said, “I am stubborn or at least my kids say I am.”

Being stubborn may be seen as negative, but it can also be a positive. If some words cause a reaction, journal about why you are seen that way, and whether you want to change or nurture it.

Keep going! This is important and you have to do the work to find the purpose!

Great journaling and let me know how it goes!