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Be Still

Can you look at this picture without seeing that the person in it still needs to get dressed for the day, and their floor needs vacuuming, and those things on the floor need putting away? I can’t yet, but I’m working on it. I took a break and was still, and my little dog who is always hiding away from the business of life behind a chair, is peacefully resting on my lap. We are enjoying closeness without me having to do a thing aside from be still.

And when I noticed this I thought about how my children do the same thing. When I am still, and unoccupied, they will simply sit with me, put my arm around them, and continue on their own activities.

There is always much to do. Acknowledge it in your mind, “put a pin it” and tell your brain you know it’s important. So is being still. Even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, I hope you have time to be still today.

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Where Is My Why

When you think about your day, do you think about what inspires you? No? Have you been inspired this past week, the past month, or the past year? Chances are you have, even if you think you haven’t. It’s just that inspiration isn’t usually a huge thing. It’s found in a piling of many small things.

I’ve been trying to rediscover my spark, my “mojo,” my inspiration for doing more than just letting life happen to me. I found it last year and it was the best thing ever. And then I lost it. And I couldn’t find it. And I couldn’t figure out how I found it in the first place. So I did the thing you do when you lose things. I retraced my steps.

In April of last year I became a “bag lady,” and joyfully started my own Thirty-One business. I sell the bags (and gifts because we are more thuan just a bag) because I love them, not the other way round. When I first began, my up-line talked with me for hours; on the phone, on messenger and in person. She is still there every single time I need her. She tells me she’s proud of me and we need to hear that so much, it always lifts my spirits.

But the most important thing she said to me was that my VIP group should be my ministry. Heather’s Dreams in a Bag should be a place where people come to because they want to hear from me. The bags don’t need selling, they’re amazing and are simply the background that allows me to connect to others.

I searched myself to find what unique thing could I give to others. What I found was my past, my pain, my prior knowledge and my triumphs. My journey to learn to love myself. That’s what I have to offer. Intentional positivity, self-love, and a driving desire for you to know that you deserve that too.

Here we are in January of the next year, where I found myself desperately trying to find again what inspired me before. I retraced my steps. I started again to meditate every day. I countered my paranoid thoughts borne of deep anxiety and past trauma with acknowledgment and discernment. I started again to listen to audio books about finding ways to make life better. I even repeated the ones I loved the most. Thank you, Rachel Hollis.

And then I looked for all of the little inspirations that I had throughout my day. A post that touched me and made me cry. Laughing at my daughters nonsense ADHD chatter and basking in the glow of my son’s constant and exuberant exclamations of love. Seriously, don’t ever believe the nonsense that children on the spectrum are emotionally numb. My children are emotionally stunning. They are the burning bright stars in my sky around which I orbit. I want them to love themselves too.

I’ve rediscovered my why. I am inspired by this life, this world, and all the beautiful messes within it. I want to share what I see through my lense with you. And I want you to feel inspired and loved and purposeful too.

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The other day I mentioned approaches to New Year’s resolutions. And well, it certainly wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without my adding my two cents into it, now would it?

That word across the top there? That is my one word New Year’s Resolution. Peaceful.

I want to lead a peaceful life. As a woman who has survived a number of traumas, and a mother and wife to those who have also not fit as neatly into this world as others, all I really want for all of us is a peaceful life.

I loved the radical approach to a New Year’s resolution as a one word overlying idea. How can one word change a life? This is what I have in mind:

1. Create a peaceful life through minimalism. Less stuff means less stress and less pain and more time.

2. More time means more one on one time with my children and my spouse. More direct time leads to less upset, less feelings of neglect, less desire to grab attention by any means necessary. More peace.

3. Having a family that actually feels the value I have for them in my heart creates a more secure household, more confidence, and less anxieties. This means more time for self-care–like meditation, workouts, socializing and actually going to the appointments I’ve scheduled that are meant to help me. Self-care means a greater sense of inner peacefulness.

4. Inner peacefulness means room for courage and growth. Courage and growth means taking chances, delving into new ventures and growing current ones. Growth means independence and financial freedom. Peacefulness then arrives through financial peace of mind.

That’s only one word, four steps, and one simple all-encompassing idea to encourage the growth of hope and joy I have for not only my life, but those lives over which I have stewardship.

And when you’re someone who wears positivity like a cloak and tenacity like a crown, four steps aren’t that many. So you grab your staff of hopes and dreams and walk into 2019 with your head held high like the queen you know you are.

Happy New Year. I hope the coming year brings you little joys that collect like pebbles until they grow into a mountain. See you next year 😉.

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Pinterest Perfect Life

A Pinterest perfect life. That’s what I have strived for and berated myself with a hideous inner dialogue for not achieving it, for years. Before “Pinterest perfect” was even a thing, it’s what I wanted.

I would be the Mom with the super organized home, the DIY wedding and birthday parties, the home-cooked nutritional meals every night by five, the Mom who read stories every night to her sweet little angels and went on outings with them and taught them yoga. I’d be the patient wife who did all her household duties without complaint.

I am not that Mom. And I am not that wife. And that’s ok.

I struggled this Christmas season and wished nothing more than a swift end to it all. I couldn’t keep up with the decorating or baking. I couldn’t make my brain fit in all the planning. The budget has been a miserable affair. I was snitty and impatient and, in general, terrible to be around. I shoved everything I could down as deep as possible, but it just refuses to stay there. Like little demons bubbling up from your gut and spilling off your lips, spewing hate and discontent where you had only wanted to spread love and joy.

But this year as I grappled with the utterly shocking fact that I am utterly afflicted in a negative way by the season I say I love the most, I learned something so very important. I am not that Mom and I am not that wife, and that is ok. What does this mean?

It means joyfully thanking my kids and spouse when they help around the house instead of saying “you missed a spot” and “this doesn’t go here!” It means no grumbling or long suffering sighs when I get help. It means less blame and more please and thank you so much! More you did a great job honey, thank you for sweeping the floor! More you worked so hard on that room, good job! With less stuff it’s going to be even easier!

As it is every year, there is much talk and many articles regarding resolutions and what we want for our lives. I saw a few things that very much resonated with me, things about one word and minimalism. Mainly, I hope to continue to find ways to be more courageous, more loving, and more peaceful. I hope to always remember that even though I may suddenly find myself looking at the world through hazy, gray colored lenses, I will always continue to notice they’ve been placed upon my nose unwittingly, and remember to take them off again. I wish you all the ability to keep finding joy even when your heart is heavy and your mind is numb. When it feels so big, all we really can do is practice finding one beautiful thing in each day. Keep practicing, as will I. And until then, I wish you well.

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Finding My Voice

I’ve spent my whole life trying to define myself, often by trying on bits and pieces of personas around me that I have admired.

In my younger years this was apparent in my journals in a very cringe-worthy manner. My voice was clearly not my own and I had so much growing to do. It was obvious I thought myself brilliant, of course, and I was going to keep these journals until the end of my days. I would share them with my children so I could espouse my youthful wisdom to them later in life. I got older. I read them again. I thanked the universe for my ability to learn and grow, for the answer “no,” and I burned some and threw away the others.

I quit journaling altogether for so many years. Until I was given a journal with a faerie on it for Christmas last year. My love for writing was renewed, and I learned to appreciate it for what it was meant to be, an outlet for myself. It was one of a few special key moments that brought me to the realization that what I really wanted in life was to write in a way that brought others joy and encouragement.

As I embark on this journey to encourage others, I am often overcome by fear. I mean, how am I qualified to encourage or teach anyone? I’m always scattered. I’ve collected bits about vernacular, self love, forgiveness, extreme parenting, looking back and looking forward, your own way being the right way, getting dressed to shoes, routines and on and on from family, friends, books, and the World Wide Web. (Thank you Mamma in the Rocks, FlyLady, and so many more that I would name if not for being half asleep.)

I was beginning to feel like a fraud and so I became silent. But as lay here awake, unable to sleep in the middle of the night I need to tell you something I just realized. As we pick up the pieces of brilliance and joy we find around us and fold them into ourselves, we create them anew. And our representation of this inspiration becomes our voice. And my voice was meant to encourage, and so that’s what I will continue to do. To whoever is reading this today, you’ve seen it many times over and I’ll say it again: you are loved, you are important, you matter, and you belong here.