My future self: here’s the skinny

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

In a couple recent posts, I mention a new writing venture. As many readers know, I’m an aspiring published novelist. Although I’ve authored numerous online and print articles, I’ve always dreamed and talked about writing and publishing books. Since graduating with my B.A. in literature, writing and film from ASU in 2010, I’ve invested time and finances toward countless writing conferences, workshops, writing and critique groups, as well as books and courses focusing on all things craft-related. Yet, I’ve used every excuse—and, quite honestly, played the blame game—as to why I “still” haven’t written my book. But 2020 is different (on myriad levels!). During a self-improvement program I’m taking, participants were challenged to officially share our “future selves” with three people—so I figured why not hundreds more? Here’s the skinny: I hired a writing coach. I’m learning about limiting beliefs and taking a big leap. And I’ve written 45,000+ words toward a 60K manuscript and my future published novelist self.

Who is your future self?

 

And just like that: it’s a new year

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Two days before Christmas, and all through the house (and workplace): I threw down a full-fledged menopausal meltdown. It was as if I’d been issued the challenge to: Go big, or go home. Eventually, I proceeded with both and dubbed myself the Grinch. But once I realized it was hormone related, I approached my muddled emotions with a clearer sense of direction. And that’s when I knew: my 20/20 vision and plans for “growth” aren’t about knocking out a bestseller (although at the top of my list) or greater financial stability (still up there), it’s about growing into the purpose for which I was created, and growing in the areas I mention in “…bidding farewell…”—my convictions, fortitude and peace. It’s about knowing who I am and growing in that knowledge, discovering and honing the tools I need to succeed. It’s about putting this season of all things menopause to work for me vs. against me. 2020, here I come!

How do you plan to grow this year?

Size doesn’t matter: the power of prayer

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Christmas Day dawned cold and rainy. For the second year in a row, my husband and I volunteered through the Salvation Army to deliver dinner to the homebound. While driving to the Phoenix Convention Center to pick up meals, windshield wipers slapping at the spitting rain, I mentioned my prayers for a clear day. “I must not have prayed hard enough,” I said, noting the heavy clouds hovering over the mountaintops. “You don’t really expect God to answer that prayer when other people, like farmers, could be praying for rain?” I glanced at my husband in the driver’s seat. “Uhm… yes.” A few deliveries under our Santa Hats later, the clouds parted to reveal blue skies, the sun a yellow glow that warmed me from the inside out. “What were you saying about God answering prayer?” I said, a big smile on my face. “I just love when He shows off.” Never underestimate the power of prayer—even the small ones.

When have you witnessed answer to prayer?

Image courtesy of nunawwoofy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

It’s your birthday! Sharing the gift of ourselves.

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To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
~ Bessie Anderson Stanley

As we mature, birthdays can be a funny thing. Some people dread them; others don’t afford them a second thought. Still others, like me, welcome them with a childlike excitement. Recently, I renewed my annual membership in Club 50, complete with “signature” tiara and full-day (OK, three-day) celebration. Nothing fancy—except my princess attire—I embraced every moment. Because here’s the thing: birthdays are non-negotiable until they run out. And, if nothing else, they offer an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months of our journey, as well as provide a blank slate on which to write our stories for the next 365 (or 366) days—much like a brand-new calendar year. My plan? To be a better steward of my life going forward. After all, there’s no better way to give to others than to share the gift of ourselves.

What’s your take on birthdays?

Get up, dress up: showing up for your ‘best day ever’

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The other morning, a whirlwind in jeans and boots and a flirty (if I say so myself) smock, as I passed a gentleman in the parking lot who shares an office near mine, he asked, “How are you?” To which I replied, “Great, and you?” His response: “I’m great too; best day ever! Every new day is the best day ever!” Did I experience a drama-free day? No. Did I get cranky when my laptop acted up? Yes. But when we get up and dress up, it’s our job to be intentional with how we show up. Try these 10 ways to jump start your best day ever: 1) be present, 2) do less, 3) get one important thing done, 4) plan your perfect life (and start taking steps), 5) declutter, 6) go for a walk, 7) focus on three projects, 8) listen to great music, 9) watch a sunrise or sunset and 10) spend time with a loved one.

What’s the secret to your best day ever?

How to determine if you’re an amateur or a professional

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In a recent post, I talk about taking massive action to fight for your goals. The article I reference focuses on the importance of changing our mindsets. And that it isn’t just trying something once, or trying and failing and then quitting. It means trying until we get the results we want; i.e., mastering daily habits that ultimately lead to success. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and the creator of the Habits Academy, it’s about the power of schedule and creating a daily routine. Clear says, “Stop waiting for motivation or creative inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.” Further, give yourself permission to deliver a less-than-average outcome. “The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.”

So what’s the verdict—amateur or pro?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Taking massive action: fight for your goals

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I’ve mentioned a friend of mine—KM—in previous posts. We met during a four-day writers’ retreat in Port Townsend and, in some ways, I’m surprised by our connection; in other ways, it makes sense. As she once said to me: It just is. Over time, she’s become a sounding board, the voice of reason (aka my conscience), a cheerleader and mentor of sorts. My hope: to reciprocate in kind. Recently, KM emailed me one such token of her “tribal” (e.g., the battle cry of writers, bloggers, yogis, etc.) affection—a link to an article intended, I believe, to make me think (she’s subtle like that) about why I haven’t been fighting for my goals. After all, I’ve always believed if you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. A word of caution: avoid hinging that something on someone else. We must pick up the gauntlet and take massive action by fighting for ourselves.

Are you ready to take massive action?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Walking proof: the catalyst to inspire

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After a recent sweat session—aka Bikram yoga class—I conversed with a young lady who practices at the same studio. Her story inspires: 50 pounds heavier last year, she suffered with depression perpetuated by the chronic recitation of self-defeating thoughts and words. One day, she began to listen to and read positive affirmations daily and also established an at-home yoga practice. These new habits served as the catalyst for the person she is today, one who exudes confidence from the sparkle in her eyes to the smile that lights up her face. She knows she’s amazing and beautiful (she repeats this mantra habitually). What’s her secret? She mentioned synchronicity—the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. Yet we both know it’s what I tout in my posts: That what we think, what we believe and what we speak are essential to attracting abundance in our lives. This young lady is walking proof.

What does your life prove about you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Hop aboard: hanging on for the ‘thrill ride’ of your life

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Thrill ride. My new favorite phrase coined by my great niece, Julia. That’s life in all its glory, right? A journey that sometimes feels like a roller coaster I close my eyes on until it reaches steadier (and safer) ground. Other times its scary twists and turns require faith that I’ll make it from Point A to Point B—my body often jostled and bruised from the onslaught of life’s challenges. But then there are those frissons of joy that bubble up from within as I share the ride—all its ups and downs and unexpected surprises that delight—with those closest by my side. And, if I had a choice, I don’t think I’d pick a different ride or trade my seat for another. I’m simply hanging on since it won’t last forever. Because, one day, the ride will slow and inevitably come to a stop, and it’s at this moment I want to shout: “Wow! What a [thrill] ride!

What does your thrill ride look like?

Image courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Last ditch efforts: are they worth it?

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About six months ago, I attended my first writers’ retreat in a tiny idyllic town bordering the Puget Sound. Since then, I’ve joined numerous online workshops studying the writing craft and then: poof. The desire to write anything at all escaped in a puff of imaginary smoke—all my ideas and excitement and dreams tamped out as if they’d never been. A few weeks ago, I received a second invitation to register for yet another course. With one quarter left until a new year begins, I figured that if I plan to end 2019 with a bang, then it’s now or never. The phrase “last ditch effort” flashed behind my eyes. And now here I am, four of 12 lessons in and, for the first time in a long while, I’m having fun writing again. The moral of this post? Last ditch efforts might not prove successful every time. But it only takes once if it’s meant to be.

Could your life benefit from a last ditch effort?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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