[Foodie Friday] Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

My son came home on Monday last week with a hand-out from his teachers letting us know that they would be collecting apple recipes to create a class cookbook in honor of Johnny Appleseed. Today, they’re having a Johnny Appleseed Tasting Treat. Now, I’m sure everyone and their mother has an apple pie or an apple crumble recipe up their sleeve. I thought I’d have a bit of trouble figuring out a unique apple treat for my son to share with his class, but then it hit me — Annie’s Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls! How perfect for celebrating apples during the early autumn days! They are unique, they are delicious, and my son’s bound to get his teachers and classmates hungry for plenty more. Follow the above link for the recipe, but keep in mind that I decrease the powdered sugar in the frosting and chose a different variety of apples this time around. Also, I’ve made tinier rolls for tinier hands.


[Thankful Thursday] Balance and Recovery

Today I’m incredibly grateful to have gotten some semblance of balance back into my life — why, Mount Washmore’s actually been kept in line! I’ve learned how to organize my time on work days, squeezing in whatever chores need completion before leaving for a full day’s work. During my meal breaks, I also know how to make that hour into my own. Mr. Hemingway’s literature takes me away to Europe. It doesn’t hurt to know the bills will get paid. I’m relieved to say Christmas will be reasonable, and a February move date looms on the horizon. Life is going mostly my way right now, and I’m thankful that I can finally say that again. It’s been a very difficult past year, but everything’s beginning to fall into place.

Can I also say how glorious it is to have autumn temperatures beginning to roll in? After 14 years in Florida, it’s nice to see a cool down in September instead of December.


[Mindful Monday] Review of September

September’s been jam-packed with changes: my son started public school, I started a part time job, and clients have been knocking on my door. I’ve been focusing on balance and recovering from a difficult time period. As the month ends, I’m happy to share that my focus on recovery has been successful. I’m still working on balancing everything out, but I think I’m becoming more accustomed to my varying schedule. I’ve scheduled posts for nearly everyday in September, minus Friday and Saturday — but I think I can forgive myself those two days considering. I have explored what matters to encourage myself to focus on balancing and recovering. I have found inspiration in the usual places, as well as some unexpected places.

Looking ahead, October and November will be about rebuilding. During the next two months, I’ll be focusing on rebuilding routines, rebuilding our savings, rebuilding my websites, and rebuilding my life. In December, I will be reverberating. In January I will finish realigning my websites — and my life’s focus — in order to make 2012 successful.


[Trust30] Nothing to Lose

Nothing to Lose by Tanner Christensen

“Self-censorship is not just self-betrayal and self-abandonment (which would be bad enough), but soul-betrayal and betrayal of our Muse, out inner voice, our highest self.”

Too often we censor ourselves, our actions, and our work in hope or fear of what might happen if we otherwise don’t. What words would you write today, and what actions would you take, if you had nothing to fear, nothing to lose?

For too long I’ve been censoring myself because I don’t have fancy CSS layout designs to present. I’ve been censoring myself because I was terrified that plain black-and-white html coding would look unprofessional. Then last week I got an email requesting my English expertise — after being linked my way through a comment on a blog I frequent. I received a large confidence boost as a result, and I was inspired to create new blank slate pages. Some availability issues also inspired me to create a public availability calendar. It doesn’t show the public viewers the details, but it shows when I’m busy and when I’m free to provide my English consulting services. I’m not entirely sure about pricing for each individual service just yet, so I’m simply requesting that potential clients ask about pricing when requesting my services. I’m leaving behind fear and putting myself out there, ready and waiting to be hired.

And so with that being said, I will again shamelessly self-promote myself. Visit ElectrateEditorials.com and MeredithShadwill.com to learn more about English consulting and all that it entails. Let me help you with your English skills.


#ThankfulThursday Internet Inspiration

If it weren’t for this lovely tool we call the Internet, I don’t believe I’d find even half the inspiration I’ve found that feeds my soul these days. I’m filled with appreciation for all the wonderful people who inspire me to achieve my goals and live a life worth living. Today, I’m going to show some love by linking you to some wonderfully inspirational people who will change the way you live your life.

Gwen Bell
Nicki A. M.
Jeanne Hewell-Chambers
Kaileen Elise
Cali Harris
Patrick Rhone
Brenda Della Casa
Ashley Ambirge
Teresa Deak
Kelly Gurnett
Diana Rosenfield

I’ll let their words tell you more about them. They’re all very eloquent, wonderful people who will encourage you to reach for higher meaning and creating a life worth living. Yes, I say that a lot: a life worth living. We only get so many seasons here before we are recalled to wherever you believe we go after we cease to be. Thank you to all of these people who keep me feeling optimistic, who make sure my dreams stay alive.


#Trust30 Overcoming Uncertainty

Overcoming Uncertainty by Sean Ogle

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on. For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal. Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty. When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from. Now you’ll be able to make a smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal. So begins the process of “trusting yourself.”

I have yet to achieve my major life goal of becoming my own boss, never having to work for someone else ever again — although I have begun to take action to achieve it. My fears revolving around this goal include: the inability to predict how much I can reasonably expect to earn through my services; the potential to be turned down for comfortable housing because I don’t have an employer to list on a lease or mortgage application; and not knowing if people will see my services as useful.

Honestly, I’d like to earn a certain amount of money through my business before I quit any day job because I need financial security to raise my family. I don’t have the luxury of simply living in a tent eating ramen noodles over a camp fire — my kids depend on me to feed them nutritious meals and provide a weather-proof form of shelter. Additionally, I have goals for a certain standard of living of which I’d love for my family and me to which to become accustomed. I can get on board with decluttering and minimizing, but I refuse to compromise for certain standards, such as having comfortable furnishings.

Moreover, I’m going to need to obtain comfortable housing. I refuse to live with my in-laws for much longer, and quitting the job I just started to completely devote my time to building my business seems irresponsible and illogical to me. Again, I need comfortable housing to shelter my family because I have growing children who require a stable, secure environment in which to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. And they’re not the only ones who need that stability and security — I do, too. I need my own living space in order to thrive. I need a positive, comfortable living place that I’m happy to call home. I have a place to live right now, but it isn’t my home. It just doesn’t feel like home to me, and returning here doesn’t necessarily inspire feelings of comfort and security. That’s no way to live.

Finally, I’m worried that people may not see my services as useful. Perhaps I’m seeing a need for something that others might not care as much about. Our society focuses so heavily upon mathematics and the sciences, but English is relegated to the humanities — the inferior subjects. I see that we need good reading and writing skills in order to succeed in any subject area, but I don’t know how many other people out there agree with me. I fear that I’m placing too much stock into my expertise. I believe in the value of comma placement and subject-verb agreement, but do you? However, this uncertainty worries me less than the uncertainties that revolve around my family’s security.

I’m not sure what small changes I would need to instate in order to get passed these fears — honestly, it would seem to me that I merely need to push through this difficult situation. I have the employer, and I just need to find a place to live. Once I’ve got our own living space and steady self-earned income, I shouldn’t need to fear retaliation. Rent/ mortgage payments are good regardless of who writes your paychecks. If I save enough for a down payment and have good records of my business earnings, I can still buy a house. Also, I know better than to fear a lack of demand for my services as I’ve had clients figuratively beating down my door. The clients are finding me, the money will come, and the fears will be squashed.


#MindfulMonday Reframing

Last week I read an essay by Patrick Rhone about how we apply frames to what we do and how we go about doing it. For a while, I had come to terms with the word “blogger,” sort of allowing myself to become a blogger who blogs. I remember when I originally started this, the term “blog” seemed vulgar to me. I hated it. I didn’t want to say it aloud. And yet here I am, a blogger who blogs — not anymore. I am a writer who merely hasn’t published any major works just yet. I write nearly everyday, and I simply use the blog platform as a means to publish my essays. If I continue to view this as blogging to be a blogger, I’m not going to move forward with my goals of writing. I want to publish meaty works, but I’m still practicing and honing my craft via essays. These aren’t your public school five paragraph essays, but they are essays. I have no need for a thesis statement with three neatly sculpted points to make before concluding with some well-thought out conclusion. I assume my readers grasp the main concept behind my essay simply by reading through it — from start to finish.

This ties in with my efforts to realign myself and my work. If I don’t add reframing into the recipe, I would be missing a key element to achieving my dreams. And because I’m brimming with “re” words these days, I’m currently working to reinvent myself. I’ve been inspired by Jasmine of the The Brokins and her Project Totus, and she asked me what I’m doing in response to my comment expressing as much. Well Jasmine, I’m not quite sure yet — but I know that I want to stop living in this place, in this frame of mind that continues to oppress me. In following with that inspiration, Gwen Bell’s weekly intentions got me thinking about making my own weekly intentions. I currently have a sticky note on my laptop that reads “my intention for this week is to escape oppression.” In short, I’m tired of feeling like I have to deal with the day-to-day drama that seems to permeate my life without my permission. I have a few options to deal with these feelings, but I know in my heart that I desperately want and need change. I’ve already been granted a means to affect that change, but now the ball rests back in my hand, awaiting my next move. Where I throw that ball next remains to be seen — but you can bet I’m going to channel the inspiration that seems prevalent in my life, even when more negative energy seems to monopolize my environment.


#Trust30 Fault and Change

Fault and Change by Carlos Miceli

I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think of all the things that are not working in your life. That job you don’t like, that relationship that’s not working, those friends that annoy you. Now turn them all on you. Imagine that everything that’s not working in your life, is your fault. How would you approach it? What would you work on to change your life to the state that you want it to be?

Thinking more along those terms, it’s true — it IS my fault. Everything. I’ve made decisions to be where I am right now, so I only have myself to blame for anything and everything that’s not working in my life. In fact, I’m going to go a step farther and admit something right here and now: I’m depressed. It’s this situation. Who would enjoy something like this? I certainly don’t. When I go out somewhere, I smell like I’m the one sitting there, puffing away on cigarettes all day long. My hair, my clothes — everything. It’s permeated through everything I own. I knew it would, too. I knew the smoking wouldn’t stop just because we were going to be moving here. Oh, but that’s only one facet of my circumstances. To make a very long story short, I have been wallowing much more than doing over the past several months. I could have and should have been able to make my business a viable option earlier this year. I should have been working hard — what else did I have to do? I certainly wasn’t busy working for someone else. And so you see, it really is all my fault. I haven’t fought hard enough, and it shows.

I’m supposed to be a pillar of strength, but there are many deep cracks in my foundation. If I’m going to change anything at all, I’m going to have to change myself first. I know that I have been doing well enough to change the situation for the past few weeks, but I’m still feeling like I haven’t given myself enough attention. It was through Gwen Bell today that I realized it all boils down to one very important guideline: love yourself. I don’t think I do that nearly as much as I should. If nothing else, I must approach my dilemma with love for myself and encourage myself to continue doing so. Nothing gets accomplished when you simply throw yourself onto the nearest piece of furniture, pondering misery, and merely wallowing in negative self-talk. And just because my laundry’s getting washed, dryed, folded, and put away doesn’t mean I’m ending the day on a high note — my to-do can’t just be about the day-to-day anymore. I’ve got to include tasks that involve recovery. After all, my theme for September has been balance and recovery. As I adjust to my new job, I notice that each subsequent day I’m feeling less worn out and less achy.

I must work on myself in order to advance myself. If I don’t take care of myself, who will?