Thursday, December 31, 2009

12 Personal Highlights from the Past 12 Months

1) Intentions: I set an intention for 2009 to live my life more boldly, fully and freely. (I also started my blog and joined Twitter to share, connect, and grow with other free spirits.)
2) Celebrations: I honored Kestan on his big, first birthday,
and celebrated 6 years of marriage to this awesome guy.
3) Gained Insight: I learned a great lesson on this wonderful, summer day, from my sweet little boy, about Going Shoeless.  I also reread Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, and listened to his podcasts. I discovered Oprah's Soul Series, and enjoyed the teachings of Wayne Dyer, Rev. Ed Bacon, Elizabeth Lesser, and so many others.
4) Wellness:  Enjoyed abundant tomatoes in our garden, perfected my hummus recipe, and experimented with gluten-free cooking.  Loved dancing at Zumba each week and occasionally hit a yoga class.
5) Inspiration: I had the privilege of participating in some amazing on-line courses that made me see things in a new way. From Elise's Get Crafty class, I was reminded to see the special details in the everyday. In Lisa's Visual Journals workshop, I was reminded how journaling has always been a huge part of my life and creative process, and her insight helped me embrace myself as an entrepreneur.  SARK's Juicy Journaling simply reminded me just how much I love SARK.  She has always been a source of inspiration to me. In fact, for years, I used to say, "I want to live a SARK lifestyle."  (Like keeping time by the amount of tea cups you've used, or taking naps every day!)  I actually started living the lifestyle I've always dreamed of, and SARK is one person who's helped me get there.  (During her course, I got to personally thank her, which was a very special moment for me.)
6) Risk-Taking:  I left a consistently paying job to become a stay-at-home and work-from-home mom.  Getting my Iphone allowed me to go mobile.  I was able to keep Kestan out of daycare and merge my personal career goals with being a hands-on mommy.
7) Pure Love:  In October, we celebrated my gorgeous sister's magical marriage ceremony to her wonderful husband, Matt.  My husband took the photos, my brother's band played the music, and many family and friends lent their helping hands.  It truly was a family affair, and the most beautiful celebration of what it means to love another.
8) Creativity:  Enjoyed a creatively inspiring month of making art EVERY day, and joined the Create Every Day group for next year.  I reconnected to a deep longing to paint.  It was a transformative experience for me, one that opened my heart and reminded me what it means to trust.  Thanks, Leah!
9) Abundance:  I started my Etsy shop. (and made some sales!)
10) Connection:  I created, developed and opened registration for my first ever e-course:  Inside Out - A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery. This is a whole new journey for me, one that makes me feel as though every cell in my body is radiating with excitement and happiness. (And, a little scary, too!)
11) Joy:  The joy I feel about being a mother is somewhat indescribable.  What I can say is that spending the days with my little guy is a great gift.  I am full of gratitude for an amazing holiday season, with Kestan's first knowledge of "anta, and more snow than we've had in years - sledding and snowman making galore!  Watching him grow is like Christmas everyday.

12) Space: I introduced Reduce Clutter; Create Space 2010 and was overwhelmed by the response from other like-minded souls who want to take this journey with me.  I invite this new year, as a year to simplify, to reduce, and to make S P A C E for what's most important.

Whoa.  It's been a big year.  Now, I sit back.  I take a big breath.  I exhale fully and smile.  And, now it seems, a nap is a really good idea.

Happy new year to each of you!

Your Personal Reflection: What are YOUR highlights and celebrations of this past year? 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Creating a Life We Love - Together!

Not sure where this will lead to, but it's something I feel driven to do.  This is my intention for 2010: to reduce the amount of mental, emotional and physical "clutter" in my life, so that I can create more s p a c e for what truly matters.

Would you like to join me?  I don't have anything formal set-up, as I think this year-long project will organically evolve and define itself.  So all I'm asking is that if any of you are inspired to reduce clutter in your life, so that you can regain that much needed space for all the things you love - those things that make you feel more alive - then come along.  Let's do this thing together! 

Let's put ourselves first.  Let's put our art first.  Let's put our hidden, quiet, secret dreams first.  Let's be bold.  Let's live more fully.  Let's be our true selves.  Let's let go of MORE so that we can find that place, that s p a c e, where our hearts are open and free.

And, let's share our journey.  You are invited to use one of these badges on your blog to help get others involved, or simply as a way to post a visual reminder for yourself.  Feel free to link it to this post.  Also, let me know if you plan on joining me for this "Reduce Clutter; Create Space" year-long challenge.  I will add your link to the sideline of my blog.  If you aren't interested in participating, yet, want some tips on how to reduce clutter in your life, I will be posting regularly about this topic, so check back often!

Also, if you use Twitter and will be sharing about your reduce clutter journey, add this hash mark:  #reduceclutter to your tweet so we can read each others posts!

Your Personal Reflection:  Ask yourself these questions:  "What is working in my life?"  "What isn't working as well?"  "What small steps and changes can I make this year to continue creating a life I love?"

As of January 4, 2010:  I've added a Twitter "Reduce Clutter; Create Space" list.  Let me know if you want to be added to it.  Also, you can join this "challenge" at anytime throughout the year.

As of July 12, 2010:  Nearly 70 people have joined the challenge.  We all have stories to share and through support, we are connecting, learning and growing.  It has been an amazing 6 months so far.  Let's continue to create more space - one step at a time.  Are you next?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Intentions for a New Year

For me, this photo represents vast spaciousness - something I find myself needing more and more of with each passing day. (And one of the reasons why I took a week off from my blog. Glad to be back!) What started as a de-clutter December project, has now turned into my personal quest for the year of 2010. (This week I'll be introducing "Reduce Clutter; Create Space, 2010" project. I hope you'll join me!)

What does this mean? Well, every year around this time, I grab a warm drink, my favorite pen, and my journal, and I reflect on the past 12 months. I write about the events and celebrations that stand out. I write about lessons I've learned. I write about where I find myself in this moment as I approach a new year.

Rather than write resolutions, I usually write a word or phrase that sets my intentions for the coming year. Sometimes I think about it for weeks, and sometimes the phrase comes instantly. This past month of clearing clutter has erupted a deep desire in my soul to let go of more.

So my intention for this next year is to create S P A C E. I intuitively know that the more space I create, the more open my heart feels. And the more open my heart is, the more peaceful I feel.

I look around my environment, and what was once a place that suited my needs, has now felt as though I'm being swallowed in it. The more I clear, the more piles I find. And these piles are sneaky and hidden. Because on an external level, my house looks clean and orderly. But, when I start to go deeper, I find more and more treasures to sift through and learn from. It's hard. I get why so many of us avoid going deeper in our lives. Sometimes it's easier to not see. To stuff it away. To hide it in the closet. The drawers. Sweep it under the rug. But the physical stuff, the tightness in my throat, and the mental chatter reminds me that I CAN'T live that way. I need to go deeper. I need to clear. I need to breathe. I need to feel free. I need to be.
The creation of more space in my life is SO exciting. I see the open road, and I smile.

Your Personal Reflection:
What is your intention for this new year?

(You can see the list of what I de-cluttered for the month of December on the right side of my site.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Time for Celebration and Renewal

Here we are, the week before Christmas, and a time for celebration! If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, today marks the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. For many of us, we're moving into colder weather, however, the solstice reminds us that the daylight will gradually increase, and the warmth will one day return.

In the meantime, though, winter is a season that invites us to embrace solitude. It's a time to slow down, snuggle up and stay in, and it offers us a beautiful opportunity for internal reflection and deep renewal.

I have been feeling incredibly busy over the last several weeks, especially after opening registration for my e-course. I am still finalizing many details for the class, and the fact that it all hits around the holidays and new years (not to mention my entire families birthdays!), I've definitely been feeling the stress.
So to honor this new season, and my deep desire of wanting to be present for the holidays, I've decided to take one week off from my blog (and reading blogs!). My intention is to "create space". (In fact, "creating space" is going to be my theme for this next year, and I'll share more about that when I return!) For me, in order to make space for something, I have to let another thing go. I need to make space for my journal, to reflect on the past year, and to get grounded for the new year. I need to make space for family connections. I need to make space for play. Letting go of Internet writing and reading for one week will help me create some much needed space for the things I need most right now. Ahhh, I'm already feeling less stressed just typing these words.

The best thing we can do for ourselves in celebration of the solstice and the holiday season is to connect to our inner stillness, for it is in the stillness that we can more clearly see where we want to go in the future. This is a great place to be as we prepare for 2010.
So bye-bye blog world for the week. I have so much gratitude in my heart, and I'm especially grateful for each of you. Thank you for visiting. I wish you a mindful, peaceful and super-fly fun holiday!

Feel free to leave a comment and share:

Your Personal Reflection: How will you celebrate the holidays? What are you grateful for? Do you have enough space in your life that allows you to connect to your inner stillness? How will you prepare for the new year?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

4 Creative, FUN, & Inexpensive Gift Ideas that Moms (and kids) will Love

Looks like we've got another computer junkie in the family. I informed Kestan that he couldn't start blogging until he was at least two! So until January I have offered to write his blog posts for him. Here are some of his ideas, for all the mommy's in the world, on some creative, fun and inexpensive gift ideas this holiday season. A few ideas are for your kids, some are to do WITH your kids, and some are just for YOU (or moms in your life).
1) Toilet Paper Roll Recycled Cars
I found this idea in Family Fun magazine and I couldn't resit trying it out for my car-lover.

* toilet paper rolls
* plastic lid tops
* toothpicks
* straws
* nail & hammer
* hole puncher
* scissors
* hot glue gun

First, paint the paper rolls and let them dry. Use a hole puncher to create holes on both ends for the straws. Cut the straws just a little smaller than the toothpicks. You will insert the toothpick inside the straw, then the straws inside the holes, creating the axle for the wheels. Use your hammer and nail through the center of each plastic lid, (using a nail the width of the toothpick). This will create the hole for the toothpick. The lids will go on each end of the toothpick and hot glue in place.

You can find a fancier "How To" version here.
I have to add that these aren't the sturdiest cars! They certainly didn't last very long, but were very fun to make and a great lesson to teach your kids how to recycle ordinary things in new ways! I thought they could make great stocking stuffers.

2) Frame Your Child's Masterpiece
This is so easy and can be a great treasure for any grandma, mom or special family member to receive. I purchased half price pre-cut matte's at the local craft store. Tape the artwork on the back, and tape a piece of yarn, length wise, for hanging.

3) Support Hand-Made Artists
Times are tough and money is tight. Think about spending your money more wisely this year by discovering and supporting a new artist. So many of us creative mom's want to stay home with our kids, but still have to nurture our creative spirits (and bring home some bacon), and nothing helps more than keeping our art going!

Go to ETSY and play around. And check out a few of my new favs:

Andrea Stern
(10% of her proceeds in December go to Toys for Tots)

(Ok, yes, this is me! I have found it hard to promote my own artwork,
and I'm changing that. I have to be one of my favorites, right?)

Give your kids the best gift ever, by giving YOURSELF the gift of rejuvenation!
5) Take a Virtual Restore and Renew Retreat
You can find so many amazing mom's doing really amazing things through the web. The following women offer mindful writings, products and services that support your personal wellness.
Owning Pink is a beautiful community started by the lovely Lissa Rankin. Her blog offers wonderful reminders and support that invite you to feel safe while exploring your truth. Give yourself, or a mom in your life, the gift of renewal by introducing her to this lovely community.
Hip Mountain Mama is one of my favorite Twitter friends. Suzy owns a family business in Colorado that offers all natural products for mama's and babies. She also shares awesome craft ideas on her blog. And sticking with the recycling theme, check out her "One Small Change" project and join the challenge. You are bound to feel revitalized after a visit there.
Here I go again...but let me remind you, that Kestan put me up to this blog entry. He loves his mommy and thinks my upcoming e-course is going to be especially awesome for other mommies. (And so do I!)

If you are looking to renew your spirit, set intentions (and stick to them) for a new year & new life, looking for more balance between your personal wellness and interests with your responsibilities, and wanting to put YOURSELF first, then think about signing up for Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery. It's the best $39 you can spend on you, and you get to participate at your own pace, in your comfy home, under your favorite blanket. Learn more about why I created the class, here. (Gift certificates available!)

Your Personal Reflection: What small gift will you give yourself this season that doesn't cost much, but offers huge rewards?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Creativity Emerges When the S P A C E Allows

What a beautiful concept - to be creative EVERY day. Thanks, Leah, for the continued inspiration. I truly believe that each of us are creative, that we are here to create, and that we have a responsibility to be the creators of our own lives.

Too often I meet people who say, "I'm not creative. I can't even draw a straight line. Making art is just for kids." WHAT? Why do we sell ourselves short? Why do we keep ourselves small? Why do we set such limitations and restrictions, to the point where we don't know how to play anymore? Why can't we call ourselves artists? How do we get to the place where we become complacent and accept "what is" rather than "what could be"? We all can create a life that is beyond our imaginations - a life that we truly LOVE.

I can relate to many of these limiting thoughts, and for years I couldn't call myself "creative" or "an artist". Now, I find myself in a place where I can loudly say, "I AM AN ARTIST!" and I feel that my heart is more open than ever before. (To learn more about my creative journey, visit here.)Yesterday, my creative inspiration was sparked by my de-clutter December project. The clearing bug has such a hold on me that I don't want to bring another thing into this house! So when I ran out of wrapping paper I quickly realized that I had to think up another solution because I was not going to run out and buy more!

A bag of potatoes, a brown grocery bag - and an idea was born.

How to Make Personalized Recycled Wrapping Paper
* paper bags
* potato
* scissors
* kitchen knife
* paint & brush
Cut the bottom of the bag and open the paper flat on your table. Cut a potato in half and use the knife to carve out your image. This will create your stamp. As you can see I chose hearts and trees, but use your imagination to think up other fun designs (i.e. variety of circles, stars etc.)
Add the paint directly to your potato stamp. Press the stamp firmly on your paper. I chose to be random with the placement, however, you may choose to create patterns.
I love how the packages turned out! I'm so grateful that my de-cluttering continues to free up energy for new creative inspiration.

I also want to give a big shout out THANK YOU to Suzy, at Hip Mountain Mama, for interviewing me for her blog this past week. She is SO awesome and you must check out her "One Small Change" recycling project.

Your Personal Reflection: What positive changes do you experience when you de-clutter? What creative recycling can you do as you celebrate the holidays this season? What is one small thing you can do, today, to nurture your creativity?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Honoring Abundance

I've been meaning to organize my receipts as part of de-clutter December, and I found that the best way to do this was simply to hand over the job to Kestan.
But seriously, is stuffing my wallet with clutter, and always moving "balancing checkbook" to the bottom of my "to do" list, really a way of honoring my money?

All I know is, I feel less mental clutter when my wallet is organized, when my bank statement is balanced, and when I respect the abundance and wealth in my life.

Your Personal Reflection: What does your wallet look like? Are there small changes you can make today to feel more freedom regarding your finances? What are ways in which you celebrate, honor and respect the abundance and wealth in your life?