#ThankfulThursday Fresh Starts

It’s the last day of 2015, and I’m looking forward to the blank slate that comes at midnight. Depending on where in the world you’re living, it may already be the new year for you. I’ve become a pretty big fan of the fresh starts we get each year — sometimes you don’t even need to wait for January 1st. Ah, but this January 1st is kind of a big deal for me. I have so many big plans in store for 2016. I haven’t been this imbued with hope since December 31st, 2012. Obviously, I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic, given that little tidbit, because we all know that January 2013 became one of the worst months of my life. Still, I have faith that this new year will be different. I have faith that 2016 is going to be a great year full of great accomplishments and happy memories. Here’s to a fresh start!


#MondayMotivation Cultivate 2016

Cultivate 2016 is almost here! Starting on January 11th and running through January 31st, I’ll be sending emails that include a quote, image, and prompt to get our minds focused on thriving in the new year. These prompts will help you plant, nurture, and harvest a life worth loving. You can respond on your blog, in your journal, through another artistic outlet, verbally to yourself, or through meditation. The method of response doesn’t really matter — what matters is that you answer yourself truthfully with a method that suits you best. If you’d like to batch prompts together, you may choose to do so as well. To sweeten the deal, this year I’m offering a prize to two lucky winners of a random drawing. The lovely Teresa Deak will offer a Rock the Butterfly Essence session of the winners’ choosing. She has a variety of crystals, and I highly recommend her celestite crystal if you’re in need of a good night’s rest. Teresa has an amazing energy and a talent for helping others. The winners are in for a special treat!

A little back-story behind the Cultivate series: I started the Cultivate series in January 2012 after the creators of Reverb10 stepped down. Some of us opted to create our own Reverb 11 prompts, carrying the torch into future Reverb series. I wanted to move away from the whole Reverb premise — I wanted more focus on cultivating a better life and less dwelling on the past. I wanted to nurture myself and my dreams, to foster healthy relationships and communities. I wanted to create a life worth loving. Everyone deserves a life worth loving. Over time, Cultivate has evolved into its own and leaves space for us to participate in other December projects before manifesting what’s next. If we want to manifest what’s next, we need to cultivate what’s next. The Cultivate project is about living a life worth loving. It’s about planting the seeds for our dreams and goals. It’s about nurturing and tending to those seeds so we can harvest the rewards. It’s about nurturing ourselves and our loved ones. It’s about thinking about the bigger picture and seeing the simpler, smaller things in everyday life. I believe in the power of practicing happiness and gratitude on a daily basis. I’m very excited to share these prompts with all of you, and I hope the prompts help you cultivate your dreams and intentions. And because sharing is caring, please feel free to spread the word by tweeting with the hashtag #cultivate15, forwarding this email, or sharing the sign-up link on Facebook (http://eepurl.com/pRFHb).


#ThankfulThursday Family Time

I love this time of year. Decorations adorn windows, trees, lawns, stores, and so much more. We gather to celebrate and feast. I bake so many cookies. This year I’ll be rolling out and baking cookies with my daughter, who has taken quite an interest in cooking and baking. She adores programs on Food Network and Cooking Channel. The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) and Rosanna Pansino from Nerdy Nummies are her two favorites. I’m so grateful to have a daughter who’s found one of her passions in life at such a young age. Her older brother has found the trumpet, and her younger brother loves drawing. They are such distinct individuals, and that’s what makes them so special. I look forward to spending many more holidays together with my family.


#TalkTuesday 2015 Farewell Nurture, Hello Restore

I chose the word Nurture to follow me through 2015. I give much thanks to Susannah Conway for offering her free 5-day ecourse to help find your word. It has supported me during moments of fear and anxiety. I bring my focus back to nurturing, and I found more moments of peace and clarity when I nurtured myself and my little family. I spent more time relaxing and focusing on that which matters most. The threads of Nurture wove my life back together in 2015, giving my heart the healing it craved. My life changed because I focused on moving forward and tending to broken spirits. I remembered who I am and what I’ve survived. I realized that although we went through some terrifying times, I’m still stronger for having lived through them. My word for 2015 has served as a mantra for everyday life, and I’m not sure I’m ready to bid it farewell. However, I’m ready to welcome Restore in 2016, which is sprouting from Nurture — so in a sense, I’m still carrying Nurture with me.

I began the 5 day course without much of an idea for a word, but by day 4 I’d seen enough signs to bring me to Restore. In 2016, I want to restore traditions that got broken by the strife of 2013 and 2014. I want to restore my health. I want to restore good routines and habits for myself and my family. We have done well to nurture ourselves during the healing process. Now it’s time to regain ourselves and find our way back to our paths. The threads leading out to supporting words and phrases to keep my focus are plentiful. I’m ready to take on 2016 — to renew my spirit, recharge my energy sources, to grow and cultivate my life.

If you’re subscribed to my Cultivate prompts, I’ve got a special treat in store for 2 lucky winners of a random drawing this go-round. If you’re not already subscribed, jump on board! I promise this little surprise will bring you joy.


#Reverb15 2016 Manifesto

Your last challenge for Reverb15 is to write your manifesto for 2016.

Kat recommended Alexandra Franzen’s 5 Ways to Write a Blow-Your-Mind Manifesto, in addition to reminding us of last year’s Day 21 post. I thought it would be neat to look at what I said last year, recap how that transcended into 2-15, write another list of statements for 2016, and then take a shot at the manifesto. I have had a soft spot for manifestos for almost 10 years now, thanks to taking several classes with Dr. Gregory Ulmer.

In 2015, I am open to… changes. I am open to the possibilities that will unfold before me. I am open to ideas that may not yet be known to me. I did indeed stay open to possibilities and new ideas. Plans changed, and I stayed open to the experiences.
In 2015, I want to feel… safe, loved, and nurtured. I want to feel that life is beautiful once again and unafraid of what’s next. I have felt that life is beautiful again. I still have moments of fear about the future, but I think I’m learning better techniques to feel the fear without becoming totally unglued.
In 2015, I will say no to…
living in fear. I will say no to compromising myself when I know full well I can’t nurture others unless I’ve nurtured myself. I’ve had my moments. However, I have put my needs and those of my family forward this year. I took an extended break from tutoring, and I took the summer off of blogging.
In 2015, I will know I am on the right track when…
I wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Good habits will feel natural, and I will see the happiness reflected in the faces of my children. On days when I have stuck to my intentions, I’ve seen the results. Good habits still aren’t coming as naturally as I’d like…
But when I find myself veering off course, I will gently but firmly…
remind myself of all I have overcome. I certainly have the strength and ability to overcome so much, and there’s no reason to revert to fear, anxiety, worry, and depression. I always remembered what I have survived. I had a terrifying panic attack in June, but I have reminded myself of who I am and what I’m capable of.
In December 2015, I want to look back and say…
I have accomplished my intentions of nurturing myself and my loved ones. I want to look back and say that I followed my heart and my dreams, that I found my path once again. I’m not quite clear on things just yet, but I know that I’m finding my path once again. I’ve followed my heart and dreams. I’ve been nurturing myself and my little core family. I think I’ve had a fairly good 2015.

In 2016, I am open to… restoring good habits and traditions that didn’t come naturally the last year and a half. I’m open to more possibilities and new ideas — to the answers finding me.
In 2016, I want to feel… refreshed, recharged, revived, healed, nurtured, and restored.
In 2016, I will say no
to… negative thoughts, words, and actions. Too many times I’ve allowed the negativity of others poison my days. I’m firmly saying no from now on. I want to restore myself — that requires positivity energy.
In 2016, I will know I am on the right track when…
 I feel healthy, strong, fit, flexible, renewed, motivated, and accomplished. I will see it reflected in my surroundings and loved ones.
But when I find myself veering off course, I will gently but firmly…
 practice gratitude and happiness. Somehow writing things out always makes me feel better.
In December 2016, I want to look back and say… 
I had another good year — in fact, I want to say I’ve had a great year. I want to look back on this post, smile fondly, and remember that I’m strong and capable. I’m a woman of great character, and I want to continue building upon that character.

And now for the manifesto: I believe in the mysterious — in fate; I don’t believe in waiting idly for what you want. I want to live in a world where my children can grow and thrive as individuals, where people smile more often, laugh a lot, and stop being so uptight. Here’s what I know for sure: you win more flies with sugar than vinegar. Always smile!

Image credit to Kat McNally
Image credit to Kat McNally