Sunday, October 4, 2015

I Believe in the Immeasurable Power of Love

After many years of struggling to get to where I am, I realized some very important things that I would like to share with you:

Never give up on your dreams.

Even if you pushed your dreams out of the way because someone told you they were impossible to achieve, they’re still your dreams; you’ve merely set them aside.
Think back and remember the dreams you once had, whether it was to go to college or to become an animal rescuer or even to travel the globe. Your dreams have never truly gone away. If you work hard enough and do all of the necessary planning, you can achieve any goal that you set.

Learn to take risks and ignore all of the “what ifs.”

When I first started freelance work, I had enough “what ifs” to build an entire country. What if I can't find clients? What if I can’t handle the demands? What if I have to deal with financial pitfalls? What if, what if, what if…
I finally had the nerve to just kick the “what ifs” off of the boat and take the plunge into the sea of dreams. You can conjure up all of the “what ifs” that your mind will allow, but that energy is better spent working toward your goals.

Meditate and live in the present moment.

I am going to assume that if you put your life’s dreams on the backburner, it’s because they seemed insurmountable at the time. I am not telling you that it will be a walk in the park, because that has not been my experience, but I will say that taking each piece bit-by-bit makes it a lot easier to chew.
Don’t dwell on the past and do not worry too much about the future; just…be.
Meditation, something I never thought I’d ever do, has been my saving grace. I incorporated a meditation routine into every day (just like brushing my teeth), and it has virtually eliminated all of the stress and anxiety associated with my experiences in life.

Make friends with your obstacles.

I used to despise certain tasks, and the more I couldn’t stand them, the more difficult everything in my life became. I finally realized that, because I never gave it a real chance, I did not have the right to be so angry at it. Just like when we first meet someone, it is better to be friendly toward that person rather than to judge him or her and simply walk away.
If something is standing in your way, try your best to give it some gentle understanding. Perhaps you were looking at it all wrong from the start.
Make friends with the things that aggravate you and find reasons to like them; it makes it so much easier to master something when you no longer consider it an obstacle.
It is never too late to fulfill your dreams and become the person you have always longed to be. You just need to let go of fear and step into the unknown.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Go Beyond Your Tangled Thoughts; Find the Splendor in Truth

1. We learn from our mistakes, yet we’re always so afraid to make one. Where is this true for you?

2. What risk would you take if you knew you could not fail?

3. What is your greatest strength? Have any of your recent actions demonstrated this strength?

4. What are the top five things you cherish in your life?

5. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

6. When do you stop calculating risk and rewards, and just do it?

7. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

8. What do you most connect with? Why?

9. What one piece of advice would you offer a newborn child?

10. Which is worse—failing or never trying?

11. Why do we do things we dislike and like the things we never seem to do?

12. What are you avoiding?

13. What is the one job/cause/activity that could get you out of bed happily for the rest of your life? Are you doing it now?

14. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

15. What are you most grateful for?

16. What would you say is one thing you’d like to change in the world?

17. Do you find yourself influencing your world, or it influencing you?

18. Are you doing what you believe in or settling for what you’re doing?

19. What are you committed to?

20. Which worries you more – doing things right or doing the right things?

21. If joy became the national currency, what kind of work would make you wealthy?

22. Have you been the kind of friend that you'd want in one?

23. Do any of the things that used to upset you a few years ago matter at all today? What’s changed?

24. Would you rather have less work to do or more work you enjoy doing?

25. What permission do you need/want to move forward?

26. Really, what do you have to lose if you go for it?

27. How different would your life be if there weren’t any criticism in the world?

28. We’re always making choices. Are you choosing for your story or for someone else’s?

Powerful questions can change the very fiber of our construction. They give us a chance to challenge our own ideals and perhaps shed some light on what we are and are not committed to.

It’s important to understand that we’re always committed to something. If it’s not success out on our own, it’s staying safe in the comfortable success of someone else. If we’re not committed to creating our opportunities, we’re committed to floating around, hoping, waiting, and wishing for circumstance.

Are you more committed to dreaming it or doing it?

Ask yourself some of these questions when you feel stuck. What comes up just might surprise you!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Memories Fall Upon My Dreams

1. Where’s your happy place?

I’d probably have to say anywhere outdoors. I love to run. I love to walk. I love to hike. I love being outside. I tend to be stuck indoors more than I like because I write for a living, but I make it a point to go outside every day. Growing up, my father, when he wasn't out of town on business, would take the family to parks for picnics, the lake, up to the mountains, out camping, and even shooting in the desert. I'm a girly girl with tomboy tendencies. I really like that balance in my personality.

2. Have you booked your next holiday?

Yes. I will be heading to Texas to visit with my baby sister and her family. The original plan was to go to Texas and then take a flight to Philadelphia/New York to handle some business. I've changed those plans to allow myself some writing time during the snowy winter months. I'm not a fan of snow, and I know that area gets more than I care for. While I have my Texas trip planned, I don't have definitive dates for Philadelphia and New York. I just know I'll be there in the spring.

3. What was your favorite subject at school and why?

Math. I was a straight A student when I went to school, graduating with honors, in the top percent of my class. While I was good at all subjects, math was just something that came naturally easy for me. Oddly enough, English was my worst subject. My teacher was constantly trying to get me to be more technical with my writing, but I was more of a creative writer. She'd give the class certain assignments, I'd go over her words counts because I was too descriptive. I still passed with an A, but English was always my lowest A.

4. Glamping or all-inclusive?

All-inclusive because I feel camping is not a glamorous activity. It's meant to be rough. When I go camping, I sleep in a sleeping bag inside of a tent. Roast marshmallows over a fire. Tell campfire stories. I would never want to be a part of a luxury camping trip because I think it spoils the concept of camping. Whereas all-inclusive vacations are nice because you don't have to worry about the details. You can just enjoy the holiday.

5. What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Quitting my job to work from home full-time. Watching my income streams grow. I feel more accomplished writing/marketing than I ever did working full-time for someone else. Getting to a point where I am comfortable sharing little details of who I am on this blog. I feel like I'm growing as a person. I'm getting more comfortable in my skin, accepting myself, and writing about it.

6. How did you decide what to name your blog?

It's a play on my first and last name. My last name is a French name in origin. My first name is a gemstone, and it's color happens to be purple. The name sounds like an exotic flower. It sounds pretty to me. My plans for the future is to find a graphic artist and have him/her design a logo that embodies the name.

7. Halloween or Christmas?   

I'd say Halloween because I love dressing up for the holiday, but Christmas has this amazing magic to it. Halloween is an in the moment holiday, whereas Christmas is an event. Halloween you dress up and do it, but with Christmas I have memories attached to the season. I remember my father driving us around neighborhoods to look at lights. I remember watching Christmas movies with my siblings. I remember the big dinners. I remember my parents would buy boatloads of gifts. Along with toys, they would get us electronics systems and test them on Christmas Eve. My brother, sisters, and I could hear my mom and dad playing them. We would sneak out of bed and try to get a glimpse of what they were doing. We'd always get caught, and we knew we were going to, but it was a curiosity that got the better of us. We had to check out what was going on. I have fond memories as a whole during the Christmas season.

8. What was your all time favorite trip and why?

I took a trip, when I was married, to North Carolina. It was a road trip. While driving that kind of distance was exhausting, seeing all the places on the routes was incredible. I can say I've been to places I would not have intentionally planned to go to. I've eaten local cuisine. I've met incredible people. It was a wonderful trip. I've done a similar road trip later on, but it wasn't quite as extensive. I flew to St. Louis, drove to Chicago, Ohio, and then back to St. Louis. Both were incredible trips but in different ways.

9. What’s next for your blog?

I’m not sure yet. I'd like to move from two days a week postings to three and then four, but it would have to be done in a way that wouldn't burden me with more work. I love coming over here and connecting with fellow bloggers, but I have time constraints. I would like to make a stronger commitment to the blog, maybe showcase more of my writing, and maybe even bring in more of a fashion presence. It was intended to be a fashion blog, but I feel it's become more personal. I feel like it's more of a journal in its current state. I think that's a good thing, but I do have advertising on the blog. I want to keep the personality of the blog while creating a more solid income stream.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Heart, Soul, Honesty and Compassion Makes One Beautiful

I employ a basic philosophy - before you judge someone, make sure that you know enough facts, and I'm not talking about the surface details (the stuff they let everyone see); I'm talking deep details, real information about that person so that you can make a reasonable and informed decision. In most cases, you don't know their whole story: where they've come from, where they've been, what their problems are, or what worries they face. It is very important to hold off on making any sorts of judgements until you know all the facts related to them. Instead of judging a person, you should try to help them, and if that doesn't seem like a reasonable option, then leave them alone. Not knowing an individual is the most obvious reason why we shouldn’t judge other people. 

When you judge other people, you don’t define them, you are actually defining yourself.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Good Head and a Good Heart are Always a Formidable Combo

1.  I'm a breakfast girl, and I do believe breakfast can and should be eaten at all times of the day.  Eggs and bacon, French toast, pancakes, waffles, and even yogurt with granola, honey, and fruit mixed in are some of my favorite foods.  I have been known to dine at IHOP at midnight, and I always order the stuffed French toast with apple compote unless they have pumpkin or gingerbread pancakes in which case I will order those instead.  I love cereal, especially marshmallow filled or chocolate, and will eat it with or without milk, depending on my mood. 

2. I love everything about music, and my favorite tunes tend to be the heavier, edgier kind.  It's the music that motivates me the most when working out.  When I am exercising, I can't listen to slow music or love songs, they don't have the right rhythm to keep me moving.  I prefer metal because it gives me energy while I'm running.  When I'm writing, I tend to prefer something more in-line with what I'm writing about.  If I'm writing a break-up scene, I listen to songs about breaking up.  If I'm writing a love story or a dating scene, then I'm going to listen to love songs.  I listen to what I am feeling in the moment to help put me in a mood.  When I am in the right frame of mind, I find it much easier to write a scene.  I listen to music most of the day, every day, and do not consider myself a music snob.  I can listen to just about anything, with a few exceptions.

3. I will write about you.  If I get to know someone and find personality traits that would make for a great character, I will, from my observations, create a character who acts in a similar manner.  It is not my being disrespectful to any person.  I use real life experiences to help develop characters.  They say you write what you know, and I have a tendency to do just that, with a whole lot of creative freedom mixed in.  They also say every character you write has a tiny amount of the author in them, that is also true to a point.

4. I’m 5’9″.  It's a question I get asked quite frequently.  For the longest time I thought I was 5'6” until the doctor who measured me pointed out that I was not.  I still feel bad for all those guys who told me they were 5'10” or 5'11” and I told them they were wrong.  I couldn't see much difference in our heights.  Turns out I should have been measured before I opened my mouth because I had apparently had a growth spurt and didn't realize it. Oops… My roommate is 5'6” and you can see a considerable difference in our heights.  I can and do admit when I'm wrong.

5. As a woman, I believe in women's rights, and I would fight hard to protect them if I felt they were being threatened, but I am not a feminist.  PETA is obnoxious, and I don't agree with their methods of getting their point across.  I don't support them, or any organization that acts in a similar manner.  Throwing paint on someone borders on assault, and they definitely destroy property.  I pretty much dislike any overly radical organization.  I believe in rights, but I can also see when certain groups take things too far.  You should be an advocate for causes you believe in, but not in a manner that steals the rights of another individual.

6. When going out with a guy, I will let him pay for the first couple of dates.  It's a way to gauge how he's going to treat me if I date him long term.  After the initial first few dates, I'll want to pay.  I believe in equality.  I don't believe a guy should always pay when I feel like going out.  I don't feel like I should always pay when he feels like going out.  I employ the take turns method.  I believe that if you are going to date someone both parties should be involved in the dating process.

7. When it comes to using terms like 'lol' or 'omg' on my social media posts or text messages, I am not a fan, but I find that when I don't use them some individuals take my messages to mean something more than what I intended them to mean.  Words are hard to decipher unless you are the writer.  Terms like lol are meant to lighten the mood, and while I don't care to use the acronym, I will in order to keep my messages from sounding cold or aloof.

8. I do not drink often, and do not find drinking to the point of getting drunk to be appealing.  I have never been drunk in my entire life and I pretty much want to keep it that way.  I'm not sure how anyone finds any enjoyment out of waking up on the bathroom floor after having spent the entire night puking their guts out.  I don't like throwing up when I'm sick so I can pretty much guarantee I won't be purposely inflicting it upon myself.

9. I like winning, but I am not competitive.  I don't get overly excited when I win, and I don't get upset when I lose.

10. I am an awful dancer.  I, however, find dance to be a beautiful, artistic expression, and am quite jealous of those who dance with such ease.  I have always wanted to take dance lessons, but I'm not really sure that I would go out dancing even if I knew how to do it.  I'm not a club girl.  Still, learning to dance is an item on my bucket list.

11. I get shy and quiet around large groups of people, regardless of if I know them or not.  I'm friendly when meeting new people, but a room full of people exhausts me.  Especially a crowded room, and that's mainly because I end up feeling claustrophobic.  It's the introvert part of my personality that causes me to shy away.  I'm not a fan of crowds, and it's best if you are going to introduce me to new people, you do it slowly.  On the flip side of this, when I was working retail and when I tended bar, I had no problem with customer service.  Being around the guests never bothered me because I took it as part of my job responsibility.  I have a suck it up and get the job done personality.  I take my job seriously, and am proud of the work I do.  With customer service, you meet people for the moment, and then they disappear.  It was never an exhausting experience for me to talk to them because I knew I'd never see them again, and I was fascinated by the stories they were telling me.

12. We live in a world where text messaging is the way of communicating.  Don't freak out if I don’t answer a message immediately.  Sometimes I have my phone near me, sometimes I don't.  I am not attached to technology, with the exception of the computer, because I make money writing articles for on-line use.  If I wasn't making my living on the computer, I wouldn't be attached to that either.  I sometimes deliberately ignore text messages when I am trying to get something done, or when I am at work.  Sometimes I forget to grab my phone or leave my phone in the car.  If I don't respond, you should assume I'm nowhere near my phone, and I probably haven't seen my messages.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I Desire Always to Stretch My Dreams Further and Further

Fall is wonderful, now.  It wasn't always my favorite season.  Fall marks the beginning of the school year, and what kid likes going back to school after spending long summer days out playing with their friends and causing trouble around the neighborhood.  That's not a hundred percent accurate, I was a good kid, and I rarely caused trouble, but summer did mean I had a certain level of freedom.  I could stay up all night, and sleep all day, because I didn't have anywhere to be the next day. 

Fall is a season I grew to appreciate, and as I grow older I fall more and more in love with the season.  The colors, the holidays, the changes, the food, the clothes, the boots – everything about fall is like magic to me.

Every year the autumn months are similar - a beautiful change of season - everything goes into a sleeping state, nature begins the process of readying itself for the harsh winter.  Leaves change color, and fall from the trees.  Some animals and bugs are getting ready to hibernate, and some are getting ready to migrate to warmer climates.  The morning and evening air shifts, and the days shift from brutally hot to a more bearable temperature; that slight morning chill dissipates as the day progresses into the afternoon and returns when darkness blankets the sky.  The days are comfortable, the evenings make you want to curl up in front of a roaring fire, and the mornings make you grateful for the warmth of your bed.

Muted colors are everywhere.  They become the theme of the season.  Orange is everywhere, and so is brown, wine colored reds, as well as olive and forest greens.  Colors are toned down to reflect the mood of the season.  This is the season when the fashion world flourishes.  I love fashion.  I love fall fashion.  Skirts and dresses paired with boots can be seen worn by everyone. Plaid and argyle (my two favorite patterns) can be found prominently displayed in storefront windows.  Sweaters and light jackets make their appearance.  It's a fun time of the year to experiment with your look.  Men in trench length wool jackets… sexy.  I don't know why, but I love it.

Pumpkin is everywhere.  My favorite foods make an appearance during the fall months: pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pancakes, apple cakes, cinnamon spiced foods, turkey, soups and stews.  And some of my favorite beverages occur at this time as well: warm apple or cherry cider, hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream, pumpkin spiced everything, and hot tea.  It's not the pumpkin I love.  It's the spice mix, found in pumpkin flavored foods, that I love. It's not just the taste either, I love how it makes the entire house smell when you are cooking it.  Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg baked together is a heavenly scent combination for me.  Cinnamon is my favorite scent. 

Halloween and Thanksgiving occur during the fall, and of the two holidays, Halloween is still my favorite fall holiday.  I don't care how old I get, I love getting dressed up and taking my niece and nephew trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. On the reverse, when I can't be with my niece and nephew, I love handing out candy to the young children who don't actually understand why they are dressed the way they are, knocking on stranger's doors, holding out a bag or bucket unsure if that is what they are supposed to do, uttering a phrase, and then seeing the delight on their faces when they realize what they were just given. It's a special feeling, and because I'm the generous candy lady, I usually get repeat visitors.

Football season starts, and while I am not a rowdy fan, I do have a team I root for.  For me it's the spirit that comes with the sport, the ribbing and the teasing, not necessarily the game itself. I think it's interesting to be around like minded people who get so involved in a team that the team's win or loss becomes almost personal to them.  I love the energy and the excitement of the game.  The winning or losing doesn't matter to me, I'm not the one being paid millions of dollars to play the game.  It's a fun sport to watch, but I don't take my love for the sport to an extreme.  Still, there is nothing like going to an actual game, rooting for your team, and then watching them win.

Travelling.  When I was working full-time, I had to plan my vacations around business levels, and that meant I could not take vacations during the summer months.  I favored taking my vacations during the fall months with an occasional spring trip.  School starts in the fall.  With kids back in school, less people travel.  I get some of my best travel discounts and deals during the fall, and I have the opportunity to explore cities at their least crowded moments.

I'm not sure what it is, but there's something so intense about fall that makes you feel more deeply than any other season. I love spring, but it's a rejuvenating love, but fall is deep joy and eventide love. There's so much beauty in things beginning to die and rest, the colors are keen and vivid, and those beautiful memories linger and bring their warmth into winter.

Every year my love for this season is rekindled. Just like an old spark that turns into a flame… I fall in love with fall every year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

This Has Been My Life; I Find It Worth Living

Goal Weight, Goal Behaviors, Goal Thoughts :

I am back from my Labor Day off and happy to see everyone here.  I had a great time just relaxing and taking care of myself for the day.  There was no pressure to get anything done.  I took time for me.  I enjoyed the day.  It's not often that I get just for me moments.  I spent two hours walking, enjoying nature, and the morning in general.

If you know me then you know that I'm diligent about maintaining my weight, and I try not to allow it to fluctuate more than a couple of pounds.  I try not to snack, and eat only when I'm hungry.  I try to drink plenty of water.  I try not to sit for too long.  I try to add higher fiber foods, and more protein to my meals.  I exercise every day.

This isn't a one hundred percent vanity thing, although I do like that I easily slip into a size two dress, I am not on a diet, nor am I trying to lose weight.  My love of fitness has more to do with health.  I have allergies.  I have asthma.  While I control my allergies with medication, I absolutely despise taking my inhaler.  Exercise built up my lungs so I don't have to.  My goal when I workout is to maintain my health, and if my dress size doesn't suffer than that is a bonus.

My family has a rich history of diabetes.  My family has a history of heart disease.  My family has a history of breast cancer.  Exercise is preventative maintenance and a sleek, toned look is the bonus my body receives.

I don't exercise for hours.  I exercise for an hour.  I do cardio: running outdoors, walking, and bicycling.  I do bodyweight exercise.  I lift using free weights.  I have not paid for a gym membership in ages because everything I need I have at home.  I have an incredible running trail that starts right behind my home and leads to an area beside the petroglyphs, the city provides this to me, and all of its residence.  It's a public trail, and it sees a lot of traffic.  It's a safe area for me to run. 

Being outside is important to me.  Nature is important to me.  This planet is important to me.

I'm not an environmentalist per se, but I do believe that if you can take preventative steps to save the planet then you should do it.  We have plenty of renewable resources, there is no logical reason to cut down a forest when we can recycle the paper the tree we cut down before it created.  I feel the same way about driving when you are close enough to walk to your locations.  The cost of gas is ridiculous, and that is why I limit the amount I drive.  The water company just punished the entire city with a rate hike for conserving too much water; they failed to meet their quota.  So yes, I am about finding better energy resources that benefit the community and the environment, not punish them.  I do have environmental goals, but I'm not an extreme radical in the way I present them.  For me, I enjoy being in and around nature, and I don't like the idea of our planet being destroyed for the sake of corporate greed.

I do believe in human rights.  I believe we should be treating each other with respect and dignity, regardless of what country we live in.  Human Rights is a touchy subject to talk about because many countries don't have the same rights as the country I live in, and many don't understand what these rights mean.

I don't talk politics, but I vote in every election.  There is nothing more sacred than the right to vote.  I do have a vision as to how I'd like to see our nation evolve.  My voice is in my vote.  I am registered to a party, but that doesn't mean my vote is limited to that party.

I believe in animal rights, but I'm not going to tell someone not to slaughter a cow when I just ate a steak.  I am not a vegetarian.  I understand that we raise certain animals as a food source.  I also understand that an overpopulation of any creature can destroy an entire ecosystem.  On the reverse, killing off an entire population of animals can also have negative effects on the ecosystem.  Killing an animal for the sake of a trophy, or a tusk to make trinkets, makes no sense to me.

Obviously I have work goals, and goals that pertain to where I hope to go in the future.  It's not just about where I live, or how many books I plan to write.
I am happy to see that my websites have generated the best week ever for me, and it's not just by a small amount, but by an increase of about fifty percent.  I've made sacrifices in my personal life in order to build up a business that I could be proud of.  My commissions and income from writing sources have already been growing steadily in the past three years, but there is still room to grow, and places to build.  I am on pace to not only reach my business goals, but to blow them clean out of the water.  I may even need to set some higher goals.

My goals are not just to produce an income for myself.  I would love to teach my family and friends how they can create income streams on-line.  That takes dedication on their part.  If I tell them to start a blog, and they haven't yet, then they are obviously not dedicated to the process.  It takes time and effort to build a steady following.  I can't just go in and wave a wand and make it happen for them.  I love watching others succeed, and I would love to be a part of that, but I can't do it for them.