COURAGE + KINDNESS IN THE NEW YEAR

75-years
As we approach 2017, I look back at 2016 with a flood of emotions.

This year has been absolutely life-changing. And it’s been a year filled with “the feels.”

Why?

It all came down to a decision to change. Not because I didn’t like who I was… I did (and that’s important. I want everyone to LOVE exactly who they are).

I decided that I wanted a great adventure. A fairy tale. A dream.

I wanted the thing that we’re told as a child that we can have… that we will have… and then, as we enter adolescence and early adulthood and beyond, we’re told by a thousand other voices here and there that we are no longer allowed access to that life. That the dream is impossible. That we’re asking for too much. That we should be comfortable where we are. That it’s ungracious to strive for more.

I call bulls$%t.

2016 was the year I decided to dream again. Believe. Wish.

I only needed one motto to make that change (and it aptly came to me in a fairy tale… Cinderella, in fact): “Have courage and be kind.”

That’s it. Two life rules to make everything change.
1. Courage
2. Kindness

The only thing standing between you and everything you want, deserve, and used to dream about is fear. With courage, bravery, persistence, and unabashed vigor (accompanied with constant kindness)… you can break through the illusion of fear.

Don’t get me wrong… it is not easy. Being brave is hard. Really really hard. There are sleepless nights, doubt, anxiety, and tears that accompany bravery. To grow, one must experience growing pains. In those moments, it is important to keep going.

Before any fairy tale character ever got to the castle, they had to brave the dark forest.

One of my dreams is that 2017 will be a year that we all learn to support one another’s fairy tale. The dark forest isn’t so dark if you aren’t alone. The dream isn’t so far away if the voices telling you it isn’t real don’t exist.

I commit my 2017 to the fairy tale. 2016 showed me that it’s oh-so-real (and worth every single sleepless night). Who needs sleep when reality is better than your dreams?

Wishing each of you an absolutely magical 2017. I hope that every single one of you lives a life that’s a little different (in small or big ways) this year than it was the last. Here’s to the dream. May you courageously earn your place in the sun.

THIRTY

thirty scott cutler

photo credit: Scott Cutler

I thought thirty would look a little something like this…

Happily married.  Two children under the age of five.  A 2,200 sq ft “cottage” with a white picket fence, solar power, grey water, and a chicken coop.  A career (lawyer, real estate agent, POTUS) that generated considerable financial success.  A published book that resulted in moderate national renown.  Home-cooked Sunday brunches hosted in the backyard (all eggs provided by aforementioned chickens and produce provided by the yet-to-be-mentioned hydroponic garden) with a mimosa in hand, scratchy jazz playing, and a spattering of the most interesting, accomplished, jet-setting company that one could imagine.

No, no, no, I hadn’t put much thought into it.  None at all.

The truth was that I had put so much thought into it that it had become real.  I believed that this entire world existed and that the day I hit thirty I would magically acquire all of it.  I don’t know if I thought the hard work I had put in would cause it to just appear.  I don’t know if I thought it would come my way via osmosis.  I didn’t think much about the “how”… I just focused on the “why.”

Why?

Because I believed that was the script that would result in happiness.  I hadn’t even considered an alternative script.  There was no alternative.

Until I turned thirty.

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KINDNESS


Here’s a little #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) from my time in the hospital last week… (This should explain my lack of recent blog posts!)…

I had an incredibly close call during my hospital stay and, in an instant, I had a moment of clarity that I felt compelled to share. People constantly talk about the purpose of life. I am one of these people. You know what I think? I think that we all overcomplicate things and that our purpose here is simple; our purpose is to be kind. Through it all. Bad days, good days, laughter, tears… be kind. Make the days of those around you beautiful and full… this is the most honest kind of love. You cannot exhaust yourself from being “too kind”… there is no such thing. Kindness is the greatest strength we each have because sometimes it is the hardest thing to be.

Can you imagine how incredible the world would be if we all made kindness our priority? I know it’s mine. I am committed to it. I hope you are, too.

*I am back up and at it again… so please don’t concern yourself with my health! For proof that I’ve bounced back quickly from my stint in the hospital you can look at the picture below of my sister and me attempting to golf yesterday! 😉

HAPPY NEW YEAR


{above image modified from an image found here}

After a whirlwind 2013 involving growth, loss, love, lessons, friendships new & old, & some of the most incredible experiences possible, I am pretty sure that 2014 is going to be one spectacular year.  My resolutions {though I don’t really have any set in stone} can be summed up simply as followed:

Happy 2014 to you and yours!!!

HOW TO MAKE CARE PACKAGES FOR THE HOMELESS {aka BLESSING BAGS}


I hesitate to write about volunteering and charity for fear of coming across as “preachy” or a “self-indulgent do-gooder” or a myriad of other negative terms that one can apply to someone who participates in charitable ventures simply for the praise that may result from the participation.  After much thought, I decided to share my Christmas tradition with you… simply because I thought that the more people that took part in this tradition, the better Christmas could be for so many others.  On Christmas Day, I load my canvas totes with care packages to give to the homeless {some refer to these packages as “Blessing Bags”… a term that is a bit too ostentatious for my taste}.  Below, there is a graphic showing you what I suggest to be included in your care package {though you can include anything you like!}.  Everything should fit in a gallon sized ziplock bag {for ease of distribution and ease of carrying after it has been gifted}.  It is also wise to carry these in your car year-round to give to anyone who may be asking assistance on the side of the road or at a stoplight.  What do you do to give back to your community?

Suggestions for inclusion: tissue, deodorant, mouth wash, shampoo, toothbrush, cotton swabs, band-aids, toothpaste, soap, chapstick, raisins, cookies, crackers, & anything else you can think of! Make as many of the bags as you can afford to create and walk around handing them out or keep them in your car in preparation for running into someone in need.