Begin and End Happy

I knew when I woke up this morning that inspiration would find me, bringing something new with it. I didn’t know what it would be or how it would find me. And I didn’t have to wait long to find out. 

Scanning through Facebook this morning, I came across a TED Talk by way of Liz Gilbert’s page. She introduced her followers to Sarah Trimmer. I am so grateful that she did!

Diagnosed twice with breast cancer within the span of a few short years, Sarah decided to enhance her own health and recovery in an interesting way. She focused her energy on raising her level of happiness with a simple set of statements. Twice a day, every day, she took time to complete these five sentences:






I was intrigued! I watched Sarah’s inspiring TED Talk. Using a timeline to chronicle life events, Sarah explained how she appeared to be living the adage “if something can go wrong, it will”. Refusing to give up on herself or her health after her diagnosis, Sarah sought a simple yet effective way to naturally raise the levels of her body’s feel good cheerleaders, dopamine and serotonin. 

She wrote the five statements and created the daily habit of writing out her answers. Even on her most challenging days, Sarah discovered that completing those open ended statements triggered gratitude, which in turn brought peace and happiness. She chose to begin and end happy each day. 

Listen to Sarah’s TED Talk HERE

I love this idea. It is a natural addition to journaling or free writing and I’m excited to incorporate the statements into my daily routine. 

Here are my answers for today:

1) TODAY I AM GRATEFUL FOR…the many ways inspiration calls out to me. 

2) TODAY I HELPED SOMEONE BY…taking time to get answers about a potential problem for one of my clients by setting up a meeting with a knowledgeable expert. 

3) SOMETHING THAT MADE ME HAPPY TODAY WAS…running into my cousin Michael at Target and having a catch up chat. 

4) TODAY I LEARNED….about Sarah Trimmer, thanks to Liz, and her five statements. 

5) TOMORRROW I WILL…do this exercise again, at the end of the day. 

I know the difference gratitude makes in my life. I’m looking forward to intentionally focusing on raising my gratitude on a daily basis, and being responsible for my own happiness. Will you join me? 

Journey 363: Finding My True North

What perfect timing it has been, to begin again in The Artist’s Way this week. Chapter 8: Recovering a Sense of Strength explores making practical and immediate changes in my current life. I have been encouraged to examine ways in which I have settled for less than I desire in my creative life. 

The perfection is that I traditionally use this final week in December to reflect on and release the past year, as I prepare to embrace the upcoming new year. One of the assignments in Chapter 8 was to put a name to my dream and write it down. 

I did. I wrote, “I am a writer, an author.”

Next Julia instructed me to name one accomplishment that would signal the realization of that dream. On my emotional compass, this would signify true north. 

I wrote, “I want to know that I have created the best writing that I can, and have it published. My true north is to create my best writing for publication.” 


As I am preparing to surrender to next year’s journey, I appreciated this opportunity to become clear on the direction in which I’m heading. 

So what does it mean to find my true north? 

In Bill George’s book, True North, he says, “It’s the internal compass that guides you successfully through life. It is your orienting point – your fixed point in a spinning world – that helps you stay on track. It’s based on what is most important to you, your most cherished values, your passions and motivations and the sources of satisfaction in your life.”

Knowing my true north lets me start exactly where I am, get oriented, and head out, moving in the right direction, using my internal compass as a guide. I can align myself with the Divine, make my desires known, and trust the guidance I receive. 

I continued with the assignment, writing out long and short term accomplishment markers to guide me, now that I had my true north. These actions included sending out a query letter and book proposal and researching submission requirements for several magazines I’d like to submit articles to. 

I recently finished Liz Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, in which she shares her own true north. Toward the end of the book, Liz shares about having fierce trust and doing what you love to do, creatively, because success or failure, it is what you must do. She says do it for you. Not to help or inspire other people. Do this because it helps or inspires you, and then it cannot help but inspire others. 

I am a writer. My creativity has roared back to life as a result of my year of firsts and my year of journeys. My desire to write was at the heart of both adventures. I write because I must. I write for me. I trust that what helps me, in turn helps others. 

As I journey next year, I have my true north and the Divine to guide me. I have fierce trust, and people like Julia Campbell and Liz Gilbert who are shining examples to learn from. I am about to launch out, my heart open, knowing that the flow of life will take me exactly where I need to go, bring me exactly what I require, as I travel with clarity and purpose. It’s going to be another extraordinary year of adventures. 


Journey 362: Big Magic Chai

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, offered this homey recipe this morning on her Facebook page. She called it Big Magic Chai, a homemade concoction she created that will cure everything!

I was intrigued! I love teas…Scottish tea, English tea, green tea, and I make my own blends of herbal teas. Nothing says comfort to me like a steaming cup of hot tea. I enjoy chai, however, I’ve never made it myself so I was excited to try the recipe.

Crushing cardamom pods for the chai. 

This evening presented the perfect opportunity. The rain transitioned to snow and freezing rain today. The storm system finally moved on through, leaving cold temps behind. A cup of hot chai sounded wonderful.

Here’s the recipe:


Bring 3 cups of water to boil.


3 Cinnamon sticks
1 to 2 inches of ginger, diced (1/4 teaspoon dried if fresh isn’t used)

1 teaspoon of cloves

1 teaspoon of whole black pepper

About 8 – 10 pods of cardamom, crushed.

Bring it all to a boil, let it simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.

Add 2 black tea bags. (If you like, you can throw a vanilla pod in there at this time, as well. If you want to go really nuts, throw a star anise in there, too. *But be careful. Star anise is the beets of spices — it takes over EVERYTHING.) *Liz’s funny remark! I went a little nuts and threw in half a star anise.

Simmer again for about 5 minutes.

In the bottom of the biggest mug you’ve got, put a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and a tablespoon of coconut oil.

Take a bit of the chai liquid, put in the mug, and whisk it until the honey, turmeric powder, and coconut oil are all blended. (Alternatively, you can blend it all in a blender, but it works with a whisk nicely.)

Now fill your giant mug 3/4 of the way with hot strained chai liquid.

Heat up (or froth up) some milk or milk-like substance of your choice. Top off the mug with the hot milk, and stir.

Sprinkle with cinnamon.

The kitchen smelled wonderful as the tea was boiling. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, except fresh ginger, so I substituted ground ginger. I buy cardamom pods and star anise at the health food store. Half a star anise was perfect and didn’t “take over” the other flavors.

This chai was so flavorful. I think I’ve found my new nighttime drink. The recipe makes enough for one giant mug or two regular mugs. Not only does it taste great, but it’s good for you. Liz’s playful claim that it cures everything may be exaggerated, but not by much! The ingredients make this an anti-inflammatory drink that’s good for easing colds & the flu, digestive troubles, and aches and pains in general. My stuffy head immediately cleared up, and I was warmed from the inside.

Liz Gilbert suggests drinking the chai down while reading a good novel, which is a brilliant idea.  I enjoyed sipping on it while working on the assignments in The Artist’s Way and writing out thoughts about the upcoming year. However it is enjoyed, Big Magic Chai is love in a cup, meant to be savored.

Journey 285: Liz Gilbert Offers Big Magic

I’ve been a fan of Liz, ever since I read her best selling book, “Eat, Pray, Love”, and saw the film adapted from that true story. Her authenticity, her sometimes painful growth as a result of the challenges in her life, and the transformations that she shared as she journeyed, spoke deeply to me. I connected with Liz on her Facebook page and read her posts daily, drawing inspiration from her often humorous and always spot on observations of life.   

In January of this year, as I was creating my vision board for 2015 with my mom and sister, I talked about Liz and the impact she has had on my life. I consider her my mentor, my teacher, even though she doesn’t know that. She is, nonetheless. A few minutes later, my mom found a photo of Liz in a magazine. What are the odds of that? Chatting about a woman I greatly appreciate, and there she is, moments later, smiling from a magazine page. I cut out that pic and added it to my board, creating the intention to hear Liz speak, in person, or meet her. How or when that happened was not up to me. 


In September, Liz’s newest book, titled Big Magic-Creative Living Beyond Fear,  released. I saw on her Facebook page that Liz was doing a book tour, across the US and in several countries. I checked her tour schedule, thinking she might be in Dallas or Kansas City. I knew if she was speaking within 300 miles of me, I’d do my best to be there. I was so excited to see Wichita, KS on the list. The time and place had been decided. I could accept the invitation or not, my choice. You know what I decided. 

Tonight I joined 400 – 500 other people in a church auditorium in Wichita. As I waited for Liz to appear, I read the first two chapters in Big Magic. I am going to love this book. In her open and honest style, Liz invites the reader to move past the fears that keep creative living at bay. In the first section, called Courage, she asks this question: ” Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” She goes on to say, “The hunt to uncover those jewels…that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place…that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. ”  I was already captivated. 
Liz arrived, amid cheers and applause, and for the next hour and a half, shared about courage, and overcoming fear (she presented a long list of fears and excuses that hinder us) and living the creative life. Her energy was amazing.  I laughed. I nodded in agreement. I teared up. My heart expanded in my chest and my beliefs expanded as well. With her characteristic transparency, Liz spoke from her own experiences of dealing with crippling fear and feelings of inadequacy, about learning extreme self care and how she won the trust of her creativity, and how she said no to things that stole her time and instead engaged joyfully in creative pursuits. I have such a full and overflowing heart tonight, that I need to process it all for a time, and perhaps share insights and ahas later in future blog posts. I left the event encouraged and inspired, my own creative life calling sweetly to me. 

I am eager to embrace that calling. And I am not immune to fear. As I pondered Liz’s powerful words, the movie Home, that I watched last night, rose in my mind. The Boov ran away from danger, and also from opportunity and life and growth. Oh, the hero of the story, learned to run toward danger. Doing as Liz encourages, and following my curiosity, I looked up the word danger to discover its origins. Danger originates from the Latin word dominus, which birthed such English words as domain and dominion. Its common meaning was “power of a lord” and was used to mean one was in someone’s power. It later included the meaning of someone’s power to hurt. 

What if, in running from perceived “danger”, I am running from someone’s power and domain? What if that power and domain are my own? I am done with running away. Like Oh, like Liz, I am moving beyond fear, and running toward danger, running toward my own power, regardless of risks, running headlong  into a creative life. This is Big Magic, indeed. Liz Gilbert, I am grateful. 

This ticket is going on my Vision Board, next to the photo of Liz, to remind me to dream big, stay open and let go of outcomes. 

Journey 98: BlinkNow…Maggie’s Story


My journey today is to share about another’s amazing journey, and how her courage and love have impacted so many people. I learned about Maggie Doyne through Elizabeth Gilbert, and her Facebook page.

After high school, as Maggie’s friends headed off to college, this 18 year old boarded a plane and set off to explore the world. With only a backpack and an open heart and mind, she traveled through four countries before finding herself in the Himalayas, hiking along the dirt roads of Nepal’s poorest villages. In the midst of this poverty, Maggie met Hima, a six year old girl breaking rocks to sell to help feed her family. Although she was barely surviving, Maggie saw a spark within this child. Most people might feel compassion for the plights of such a child. Maggie decided to take action as well.

She began by helping Hima, sending her to school, paying for her tuition, uniform and textbooks. Seeing the transformation in this young girl’s life, Maggie helped a few more children, and then a few more. The need was great. The children needed a home. Over the next two years, Maggie’s dream of providing one for the children took shape. She used her life savings to purchase land in Surkhet, Nepal. She founded the organization, Blinknow, and with the help of the Nepalese community, supporters from Maggie’s hometown in New Jersey, and people from around the world, the home was built, brick by brick.

In 2008 the Kopila Valley Children’s Home opened its door. Currently 51 children reside at the home, with Maggie as their mother. Her BlinkNow co-founder, Top Bahadur Malla heads up a team of caregivers, cooks, “aunties” and “uncles” who help care for the children. In 2010 a primary school was opened. More than 350 children from Surkhet and the surrounding area are getting an education, many of them the first in their families to ever go to school. Beyond schooling, the children are provided with health care and a nutritious healthy meal each day.

On the BlinkNow website, which you can visit HERE, is this quote:

At BlinkNow, we believe that every child in the world should be provided with the most basic needs and rights – a safe home, medical care, an education and love. And with that, they will grow up to be adults with a social conscience and the skills to continue our mission of ending the cycles of poverty and violence in our world. We believe that in the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference.

Elizabeth Gilbert, who has shared Maggie’s story previously, is making a difference as well. She threw down a challenge this week. If people would donate $10,000 to BlinkNow, her favorite charity, she would sing Total Eclipse of the Heart during karaoke at The Diamond Horseshoe Club in NYC, and post the video. Her challenged stemmed from her desire to push herself beyond her own comfort zone, by singing karaoke. When people asked for evidence of her singing, she came up with this challenge, pledging to match the donations, dollar for dollar. If somehow $20,000 was raised, she’d also sing a rendition of Faithfully, by Journey.

As of this morning, more than $30,000 has been raised for the children of BlinkNow, with more donations pouring in all day. A very generous donor has agreed to contribute an additional $50,000, meaning that so far, more than $110,000 has been raised for this very worthy charity. I made my donation as well, touched by the heart of this teenage girl who didn’t walk away from suffering and poverty, but rolled up her sleeves and asked, “What can I do?” And…I want to see Liz’s karaoke video! It will be posted tomorrow and I will update this blog post with it. Donations are still being accepted HERE until midnight tonight, if anyone feels so led to contribute to make life better for these kids. Type the world KARAOKE in the special instructions box, as Liz is still matching donations. And of course, regular donations are accepted by BlinkNow at any time!

Maggie says, “What have we done as a human family that our children are living this way? More importantly, what can be done to reverse the course?” The children of the world are our future. All the children. I am grateful to have learned of Maggie and her kids, and the BlinkNow organization. In the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference, indeed.

blinknow children

Liz singing karaoke

Journey 95: An Eclectic Meandering Path

day of reading

Today was Easter Sunday, and a cool, rainy one at that. It was the perfect opportunity for a day of reflecting on Life and Joy, feeling gratitude for the One who defeated death and tore the veil in two, and spending time reading in a wide variety of books. With various cats nestled in my lap throughout the day, and both iced and hot tea at my side, I had a sweet time of rest.

In keeping with the laid back day, I am writing a simple blog tonight, sharing a quote from each of the seven books that I read in today. I am a multiple book reader, preferring to have several books going at the same time. Rather than finding that practice distracting I find that the themes in the books often flow together in unique and amazing ways, often meshing together to highlight a message through repetition or combining to elevate my awareness. I normally grab the book that I feel drawn to in that moment, so it was a special treat to have time to read in seven.  I continued in five books that I had already begun to read, and started two new books today. Five are non-fiction while two are fictional tales.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon Book 2 in the Outlander Series

I’m loving this series set in Scotland and France during the 1700’s. As I read in this book, I begin to speak with a Scottish accent…in my head! In this quote, Claire is explaining to the head of the local hospital why her husband allows her to volunteer. It made me smile.

“’So, you are not only a milady, you are with child, but your husband does not object to you coming here? He must be a most unusual man.

‘Well, he’s Scottish,’ I said, by way of explanation, not wanting to go into the subject of my husband’s objections.’

‘Oh Scottish,’ Mother Hildegarde nodded understandingly. ‘Just so.’”

Trowel & Error: 700 Shortcuts, Tips & Remedies for the Gardener by Sharon Lovejoy

A great find at Cracker Barrel, this book is full of wonderful advice for gardeners and home spun remedies for creating and maintaining a healthy, vibrant garden.

“Go outside today (pajamas permitted) and visit with your plants. Just a few minutes of this quiet time of reflection and inspection can change the way you look at and tend your garden. You will begin to discover not only problems, but also the small miracles (often overlooked) quietly unfurling, blooming and hatching everywhere around you. Cultivate wonder in your garden, and expect the unexpected.”

Love from Heaven by Lorna Byrne

I have had my awareness raised and my eyes opened concerning the presence of angels as God’s messengers of hope and love to mankind, as shared by this precious woman from Ireland. This is the fourth book that I have read of hers and I am touched each time by her messages.

“When we allow ourselves to love life we get energized mentally and physically, and start to see more purpose in our lives. We become happier and healthier people, more able to cope with whatever life throws at us. We become more compassionate and loving, less judgmental.”

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I have read a couple of non-fiction works by Liz. This is my first novel by the author of Eat, Pray, Love. I’m enjoying this story about a young woman who is a botanist. In this passage, 16 year old Alma has been assigned the task of organizing the estate’s library.

“She was also physically strong enough to carry about the heavy crates and boxes. Too the weather was so poor in 1816 that there was little pleasure to be found outdoors, and not much benefit to be gained by working in the garden. Happily, Alma came to consider her library work as a kind of indoor gardening, with all the attendant satisfactions of muscular labor and beautiful unfoldings.”

Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels

I have enjoyed following Melissa’s blog, The Inspired Room, and looked forward to digging into her first book, which just released. It offers simple ways to embrace your style, get organized and delight in where you are.

“Home is right where you are. As for those dreams you have about what a home should look like? They can come alive wherever you are, in any size, shape or style of house, with all its limitations and frustrations, once you embrace who you really are, what you love, and your own authentic style at home.”

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Life-changing Lessons from Heaven by Theresa Caputo

Yes, this is THAT Theresa Caputo, also known as The Long Island Medium. I have attended two of her live events and I am blessed by her ability to share messages from Spirit with those who are grieving or lost in their journeys. This is the second book of hers that I have read. The chapter I read today was titled, Nobody Wins the Blame Game.

“Address a situation and move forward without being defensive or slinging blame. You can make every excuse in the world, but how will you make things better?”

A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World by Thomas Moore

I so appreciated Moore’s book, The Re-Enchantment of Every Day Life, that I moved on to this book of his when I completed it. I am not fond of the word “religion”, preferring the word “spiritual”, however, I like this quote:

“Religion is our creative and concrete response to the mysteries that permeate our lives.

When you are religious in a deep way, you sense the sacred in things, a faint and mysterious pulse. Both in the world and in yourself you catch sight of the numinous, a hint of something more than human. In developing a religion of one’s own, it’s important to cultivate an eye for the numinous, a sacred light within things or an aura around them, the feeling that there is more to the world than what meets the eye.”

What a beautiful and a restorative time of reading. The interwoven themes today centered around being who I am and doing what I love, which includes all things Scottish, gardening and puttering around my home, and letting go of what doesn’t serve me on my journey. Thomas Moore says reading is a spiritual practice. I agree. I had the privilege and joy of practicing much spirituality today.

day of reading with cats

Angel’s turn to curl up with me


Journey 68: The Quest


Curiosity led the way again on today’s journey. I opened YouTube this morning, to look for a music video, and instead, my eye was caught by an Elizabeth Gilbert video in the suggested list. YouTube is smart, knowing from my viewing history what might appeal to me. Liz is my mentor, unbeknown to her! She is farther along on a path that is becoming familiar to me, a guide who beckons me “ONWARD”, as she is fond of saying.

The video was titled, “The Telltale Signs Your Purpose is Calling”. I was intrigued, and allowed curiosity to win out, pulling up the short video to listen to Liz. As is usually the case, I was inspired as she shared with Oprah about how our purpose signals first with a call. We can respond to the call….however, most resist or refuse the call initially. We find lots of excuses for not accepting the call. I can’t, I’m a woman, I’m too old, I’m too young, I don’t know how, etc. The call won’t leave us alone though. It returns. It calls in a louder voice. It sneaks up on us and surprises us as it appears from a different direction.

And then we begin the journey. I sat up a little straighter. There was my word for this year. I knew this was important. This was for me. And then, Liz shared, the road of trials appears. From my own experiences, I know that the bumps in the road, the difficulties, the battles, are not there on the path to defeat me. They are there to help me grow. They are there to help define who I am and what I am meant to do.

For, as Liz concludes, the journey is the quest. And the quest, which is related to the word question, asks “What have I come here to do with my life?” That’s the question that begins every single quest, that guides us on the journey, that returns again and again to be answered. That’s the call. That’s how our purpose calls to us. Answering that question, “What have I come here to do?” gives the answer to what our purpose is.

I have thought about this little video all day, asking myself the same question. I spent time late this afternoon, looking up the word “quest” and the word “question”. They both come from the same Latin root word, “quaerere”, which means, to ask, to seek. To be on a quest is to be on a journey, sometimes a long and arduous journey, seeking, searching for something. A quest is to question, as we journey.

So I’m asking. I’m seeking. I’m on a quest, as I journey. “What have I come here to do? What is my purpose?” I didn’t receive the whole answer today. This is, after all, part of my journey, to discover the answers to these questions as I travel. I know I am on the right path. I know who I am, and at my core, what I am to offer. I am becoming. I am moving into my purpose, answering the call, by continuing to put one foot in front of the other, remaining open. Liz calls out, by sharing her own experiences on the road, “Onward.” I hear that call from the Divine, appearing as signs that guide along the path, “Onward”. I hear it whispered within my own soul, as my heart quickens with anticipation, “Onward.” I don’t know where the path goes, as it disappears around the next bend. I don’t know the hows or see the final destination. I only know I am to keep going, journeying, questing. Yes….onward.

And check out Liz’s last book, on the creative journey, at an awesome price!

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may make a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you! Thank you for considering the purchase of this book, or any other products, by going to Amazon through my link.

Journey 6: Ascend Toward Stubborn Gladness

stubborn gladness

I loved where curiosity led me on my journey today. I have connected deeply lately with Elizabeth Gilbert, reading her posts daily on Facebook, and feeling so aligned with her journey. Watching her authentic life, I was inspired to read her best selling book again, Eat, Pray, Love. I just finished it and felt that inward stirring that lets me know I am on the right path.

In the book, Liz refers to the Brazilian man that she met while in Bali (the Love portion of her journey) as Felipé. On her website recently, I saw a picture of her with a smiling handsome man and assumed it was her husband. The man in the photo was named José. I realize that for the sake of privacy, many of the names in Eat, Pray, Love were changed. So curiosity led me to the internet today, to discover if Felipé and José were indeed one and the same.

Thanks to Google, I quickly found pics of Liz and her husband, José Nunes. The couple married in 2007. That question answered, my eyes were caught by another headline on Google that stated, Steep Your Soul: A Quote That Made Elizabeth Gilbert Want to Marry Her Husband. Well that was intriguing! Allowing curiosity to continue to lead the way, I clicked on that link and discovered a short video of Liz appearing as a guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday program. I watched the video, very curious indeed about what José had said that won the heart of Liz, who had vowed she would not marry again after the painful and difficult ending of her first marriage.

What an amazing 3:32 video. Liz shares that quote that won her heart. José told her, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen, with her feet up, drinking a glass of wine, watching her husband cook her a meal.” And yes, for most women, that man is a keeper! However, going further, Liz shares that what’s really going on when she sits with her feet up, drinking her wine while her husband cooks, is connection. José loves to cook, influenced by his Italian mother. That’s a gift that he enjoys sharing with his wife. But the real gift that he offers to Liz is his attention. As he gets her comfy, he says, “Now, Darling, tell me everything. What happened today?” Not every man likes to cook. And for some, those roles would be reversed in the kitchen. What struck me was his genuine invitation to share….share everything, while he listened, while he prepared a meal to share, as well. That is what touches the heart, a genuine interest in what’s going on in the life of another.

Liz says she asked herself, “How did I win this life?” A very wise friend of hers told her she blossomed into the type of woman, the sort of person, who attracted this type of man to her.
After her divorce, during her year spent in Italy, India and Indonesia, Liz grew, and shifted, and released the past and cared for herself in such a way that she drew another to her that was aligned with the woman she had become. That part of the video brought tears to my eyes. That’s what the journey, what MY journey is about….becoming the best version of myself…and drawing like hearted, like minded people to me to share the journey. This is NOT a formula for attracting a mate, although soul mates are not excluded. It is a recipe for life. A way of living. A shift that enables a view of oneself that is so rich, so loving, so nurturing that those who appear in our lives are those who are able to sustain themselves in the same way. The journey that is then shared is magical, supportive, encouraging, without neediness or a tendency to look to others for happiness. Those truths resonated deep within me as my soul whispered Yes….I want that for my own journey. I want to care for myself and nurture my growth in such a way that those who journey most closely with me are drawn because they too are experiencing a similar walk.

Liz closes the interview with her favorite quote, which I immediately looked up. From poet Jack Gilbert (no relation to Liz) she shared, “We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” (From his poem, “A Brief for the Defense”) Even with all the joy that flows from the soul that is focused in the now, that is connected to Source, that looks within for peace and happiness rather than without, there is no denying that in this world there will be days of sorrow, times of stress, unforeseen problems. The “ruthless furnace” is there. It does not have to define my life. Like Liz, I love that idea of holding on to a stubborn gladness in the face of such trials. It’s not denial. It’s not just a positive attitude. It is striving for a higher feeling, a higher vibration, in spite of all that is going on. It is knowing, in my own heart and soul, that who I am is unshakeable. I can be stubborn. Ask anyone who knows me well! What grace and strength to be stubborn for the sake of gladness.

I am undone by my journey today. I am so grateful that my curiosity beckoned me onward and that I followed to see where the trail would go. Take three and a half minutes to watch this video. For your heart. For your soul. For the sake of stubborn gladness.

Day 345: Good or Great

Good or Great

Today’s first was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert. I catch Liz’s posts daily on Facebook, and appreciate her insights so much. This morning, after reading her post titled Don’t Give Up the Great for the Good, I challenged myself to reflect her on words as I moved through my day and come up with my own list of Great Things to share.

Liz herself was inspired by Pastor Rob Bell, while both were on the Life You Want Tour, with Oprah. Rob shared that we only have so many hours in a day, and more importantly, only so many days in a life. We can fill our day with GOOD things, stay busy doing GOOD things. We have important things to do, items we must cross off our to-do list, important things to accomplish in our businesses, lives and relationships. My list might include: take care of clients, shop for groceries, pay bills, answer emails, texts and phone calls, clean house, service my car.

These are all responsible, good things to do.

There are GREAT things we can do too. Each person knows what lies within that definition of great, and it is a different list for each of us. As Liz shared, there is a clue. My great things are whatever makes my soul ignite, my heart sing, and whatever makes me say, “Oh my God, I’m so excited that I get to do this GREAT THING today!”

Liz then shared her list of Great Things, which was my inspiration for creating a list of my own. After much thought today, and much contemplation about what makes my heart come alive, what lights my face up and infuses my soul with joy, I created this list, in no particular order of importance:

  1. Meditation and reflective time
  2. Time spent in quiet and solitude, especially in nature (non-meditation time)
  3. Writing
  4. Gardening…getting my hands dirty…knowing the satisfaction of creating a living, changing landscape
  5. Creating intimate, peaceful, joyful spaces
  6. Connecting with others, especially those I love
  7. Sharing in a meaningful way
  8. Creating beautiful and interesting vignettes and items
  9. Savoring tea time
  10. Traveling, especially to Scotland, but also to new places
  11. Learning something new that helps me grow and then helping others grow
  12. Increasing my awareness….spiritually, physically, mentally, intuitively

That’s it…at this time in my life. Next year, the list might change. For now, these are the GREAT THINGS  I can do that feed my soul and enlarge my boundaries, bring me joy and make me look forward to starting my day. When my days are full of the good things, full of the responsible things, and the great is crowded out, then it is time for me to simplify or eliminate some of the good, to make room for the great. It is all my choice. If I’m not doing the things that light up my life, I need to ask myself why.

I believe I’ll print out the list or even better, work the GREAT THINGS into my vision board for 2015, as a reminder that I am made for something more than the good things that I do. I am created for great things. I intend to experience one or more of the items from my list, on a daily basis, ensuring that I am growing and being and offering from the core of who I am.

I love this quote of Howard Thurman’s, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I am alive, as I pursue the Great Things on my list. The world needs me. The world needs us all, awake and aware and alive.

Good or Great quote

Day 337: Sharing Blogs


In spite of the fact that I’ve written daily in my Going Beyond blog, since January 1 of this year, it has taken me a while to recognize that I am, in fact, a blogger. Surprisingly, it’s just been in the last month or so that I’ve understood that I don’t just journal, or write, I blog. I share my journey with others in a public way through my site. I know, that should be a given. But when I started this adventure, I began the blog so that I would have an account of my firsts, a roadmap that showed where I started and where I finished up. It was a personal accounting, and a way of remembering, because I knew at the end of the year, there would be no way that I’d be able to remember what I did as firsts last month, much less in January!

It has been a surprise, and a delight, to develop a following and find out that others read and enjoy the blog. I smile when I walk into a business and the owner says, “Oh, I hope this is your first today!” Or when someone walks up to me while I’m out and mentions a blog post that she or he read. It is humbling and encouraging, to know I can impact another’s life. Blogging has become a very important part of my life and I’ve found that the blogging community is full of supportive, creative people. My desire, for my first today, is to share just a few of the blogs that I visit regularly, in support of blogging and these amazing writers and tip sharers.

The Hometalk Blog: Full of DIY projects and tips, this blog was created to share trends, news and updates from a team of contributors. I can find holiday crafts, gardening tips and repurposing projects here. There is also the occasional give away. If you enjoy Do It Yourself projects, this site will keep you supplied with endless possibilities and easy to follow instructions.

blogging hometalk

The Inspired Room: This beautifully done blog by Melissa Michaels focuses on creating a lovely, livable home. She shares simple, very doable ideas to decorate, organize and love the home you have. Here you can learn how to simplify house cleaning and make no-sew curtains, decorate with what you have, and prepare for house guests. Melissa includes home and room tours to really show the reader her results and lovely pictures from her home and a variety of other sources.

blogging the inspired room 2

Elizabeth Gilbert: Author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE and The Signature of All Things, among other books, this down to earth soul shares from her heart about her own journey and the lessons she’s learning. I have really connected with Liz’s writing lately and every post I read of hers uplifts and encourages me. I appreciate her honestly in sharing both her struggles and her triumphs. Her ahas and insights are always right on target for me.

blogging elizabeth gilbert

Lu Ann Cahn Blog: The woman who inspired me to create my own year of firsts, Lu Ann traveled this path in 2010 as a way to get “unstuck” in her life. Out of her blog came the book that I found last year, “I Dare Me”, which both chronicles her year of firsts and offers suggestions on firsts that the reader can do. Lu Ann continues to dare herself to experience new things. She would say, and I agree, that life opens up and becomes so much more rich and amazing as a result of doing first things.

blogging lu ann cahn

When I blog, I am giving others a peek into my life and often, into my heart as well. Last year, I attended a One Thing Conference, taught by the owner of Keller Williams, Gary Keller. When he challenged each of us to choose one thing that we wanted to do, and create a new habit by doing that one thing every day for 66 days, I wrote down writing. I wanted to develop the habit of writing. I confess that I failed at writing every day, for 66 days, last year. My intention went out, however, and came back to me late in the year when I allowed myself to be drawn to having a year of first experiences and blogging about it every day. I haven’t just written for 66 days. I have written for 337 days. It has become more than a habit. It has become a way of life for me, one that I am enjoying immensely. I love how that intention flowed back to me as an opportunity….and an invitation. I am so grateful that I accepted it.