Thriving Christmas

In years past, I’ve survived Christmas. No thriving about it.

My childhood Christmases were magical and teenage Christmases were fun. Christmas in my twenties was pretty go-with-the-flow. I thought Christmas was going to explode with magic again after we had a child but, lemme tell ya, I was wrong.

Jamie’s first Christmas was sweet. He was 9 months old and didn’t really get it, but a few toys wowed him. It was cute.

The next four Christmases are a complete blur. I worked in retail for 3 of those 4 years and the stress at work took over my life. In fact, it was late fall of 2015 that drove me to seek help for anxiety and depression. (I didn’t realize that’s what I was experiencing at the time. I thought if I had a pill to help me focus and have more energy it would give me what I needed to do all of the things. More on this journey another time.)

I sit here thinking, wanting to drop some little memories from those years, and I truly can’t think of anything other than the precious, over-the-moon excited look on Jamie’s face when he discovered that Santa Claus brought him toys. Christmas had become a huge burden. It was an energy suck. A money suck.

Some years (in retail) I was disgusted with the collective superficial hype to spend ridiculous amounts of money on people, and the pressure the retail industry puts on customers to buy more, more, more knowing they don’t want it and they surely don’t need it. Other years, I was nearly-debilitatingly depressed after months of spinning out of control and not being confident that my “dream career” choices could bring in enough money.

I remember rushing at the last minute, buying things for the sake of giving something. Rarely was a gift I chose thoughtful and truly considerate. I hated decorating. I was totally over Christmas music by December 3rd. I was constantly worried, constantly stressed, constantly unhappy. As grateful as I was for the gifts our family received and the time we spent with loved ones, there has been a dark, dark cloud hanging over me during Christmas for years and, quite simply, Christmas has sucked.

Until this year. This year, I started playing Glee Christmas tunes at the beginning of November. This year, I shopped way ahead of time and was thoughtful with my purchases. This year, decorating our home was so much fun! This year, wrapping gifts was exciting. This year, cleaning and cooking (preparing our home for our family) was a truly cheerful experience. This year, baking cookies was a blast! This year, watching Jamie and Arthur open their gifts was magical. The whole season was magical and I am so grateful.

What changed? Well, a few things.

First and foremost (as much as I want to tell you it’s all of the personal development work and nutrition work I’ve done, which has helped A LOT) it’s my job. We spend so many of our waking hours at work and if our work is unfulfilling and the main cause of our stress and chronic unhappiness, it impacts our entire life. On the flip side, for me, not having a reliable income created it’s own experience of panic and depression.

This year, I enjoy my job so much. The environment is super healthy, my coworkers are all lovely, my boss is an exceptional leader and I enjoy my tasks and responsibilities. I’m happy with my income and my schedule is ideal for me in this phase of our life. Spending 5 days a week in this environment is healthy for me. When I leave work, work stays at work.

Secondly, my spiritual and personal development work has transformed my mindset this year. I have stayed committed to inner growth and spiritual development and, even though there were many times I felt like I was making zero progress, I can see how my work is paying off in a huge way.

I’ve learned to set boundaries, I’ve learned to say no. (It’s still really hard for this people-pleasing gal.) I’ve learned so much about intention and what it truly means and how to keep it front and center in my life. Activities that are proven to drain my energy and make me tired, unhappy or stressed I have allowed to fall away from my life - releasing the things that no longer serve me. I choose to fill this time with things that do give me energy and fill my cup like reading, beach combing, or visiting with friends. I’ll always be on this journey of internal exploration, personal alignment, and overall bettering myself.

I want to say clearly that, for a person who seeks instant gratification, I am so grateful for the slow and steady transformation I have invited into my life and allowed to take place at a pace far slower than my ego finds acceptable. It’s the slow, thorough nature of this journey that makes it so effective and special. Whatever it is you’re seeking in your life, I hope you continue to chip away at it, even just a little bit, every day because over time you’ll see incredible progress.

Lastly (but not really lastly, more like subsequently) my deeper understanding of how precious and fragile life really is. A huge part of me has always known this and been fearful. Now, I thank fear for it’s valid concern and I dismiss it. Instead, I consciously call in gratitude. My mom’s cancer recurrence in May shook me. Two things happened. First, I realized that I’m given this moment with the people I love, and that’s all that’s promised. I’ve been a lot better at soaking up the moments and feeling gratitude for this life, this body, this human experience. Second, my interest in wellness skyrocketed because I know (deep down we ALL know) that we are what we eat and if we 1) don’t nourish our body and equip it to detect and fight disease or 2) feed our body things that cause disease, then we’re consciously choosing disease.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are diseases and disorders that take down even the healthiest of people for no reason at all. I’m talking about our society as a whole. We are eating fake food that makes our life much less enjoyable than what we are capable of experiencing. We are eating food that ultimately kills us. And by we I mean me too, by the way. I’m far from perfect.

It has become my personal mission to share my own rocky transformation in hopes of encouraging you to begin or carry on your journey to wellness - mental and physical wellness.

My biggest goal for 2019 is to share, share, share. I’m doing so through this blog, through live workshops and events, and through digital programs I feel inspired to create.

I shared my condensed story of how Christmas became magical again for me. I also want to make sure I hold space for those of you who struggle with the holidays. I honor you right where you are. I send you light and love and acceptance. This is a season of your life and the season will eventually change for you. I encourage you to genuinely thank your ego/mind for wanting to be and do so much, and then dismiss it. Invite love and gratitude to settle in in the ego’s place. Easy? Nope. But, practice (and intention) makes progress.

Merry Christmas, friends.

I am...

I was on my team's weekly huddle call Sunday night and we talked about remembering that our best self is already within us and how to take action to get pumped up and back into alignment. My leader & friend even took a minute at the end of the call to speak directly to each of us and tell us what she sees in us and admires about us. Talk about meaningful "work"... so grateful.

Anyway, one of the suggestions was "I am" statements. Remember when people told us about this when we were kids and teens? I thought they were nuts. *eye roll*

Y'all, they work. I have two recent stories to prove it. 

The first story is kind of funny… It was a Monday (December 10th) and I was frazzled and stressed and had no less than one hundred things to do personally and professionally… and I felt the stiffness and chilliness in my chest… and I also felt like I wanted to lie down in the floor… a cold floor, flat on my back, eyes closed, allowing life to go on around me. I was super aware that I was spiraling but I also felt like I couldn’t do anything about it. (I’ll take the awareness as a win.)

I remembered our chat the night before and my success with I am statements a few weeks ago and decided to whip that tool out of my tool bag and put it to good use.

So there I sit, eyes closed repeating I am statements in my head. Why is this funny, you ask? Well, it’s funny because I did this in the bathroom while tinkling. Multitasking at it’s finest.

  • I am productive.

  • I am energized.

  • I am positive.

  • I think clearly.

  • I get shit done.

  • I take one step at a time.

  • I prioritize well.

  • I am productive.

  • etc.

And when I was done, I stood up and continued my I am statements. I turned to wash my hands, still repeating my I am statements.

Guess what? This actually helped me. It worked. I embodied the feelings as I said them and my energy skyrocketed and I drank a fizzy and I ended up cranking out everything I needed to do that day without feeling miserable or frazzled.

My second example isn’t so funny but it matters.

I was in a situation where I had to defend, say things that made me uncomfortable (people-pleaser, right here!), get to the bottom of some serious stuff, and make my feelings crystal clear. I avoid situations like that, as most of us do.

In the shower that morning, I spoke to myself using I am statements. I was so scared. I was nervous, and terrified that I was going to blow it. One of my biggest insecurities is about how I communicate, especially when all eyes are on me or when in not-so-pleasant situations. I kind of space, black out, get so wrapped up in the emotions that I forget how to think and speak. It turns into a jumbled heap of word vomit… or silence. One or the other.

So my I am statements that morning were…

  • I am confident.

  • I am articulate.

  • I am committed.

  • I speak truth.

  • I am thoughtful.

  • I am patient.

  • I am calm.

  • etc.

When the time came, I was still nervous as all get out… but I knew that if I was going to show up the way I wanted to show up, I’d have to fake it until I make it. I told myself I am confident and articulate… I sat up straight and put my shoulders back… and I nailed it. There are a lot of proud moments in my life, and this one is up there on the list. I’ll always remember it. And I’ll always remember the work I did to embody the feelings I wanted to feel.

It’s there. It’s already within you. It’s already within me. Our best self is already within us. We just forget… and I’m here to remind you today.

Get in the zone, realign yourself with the universal goodness that is always within you… and go rock your day!


Holiday Ritual

Confession: If you asked me if I'm a Positive Polly or a Negative Nelly... I'd tell you I'm TOTALLY a Negative Nelly. (That's why I spend so much of my time trying to become a better person.)

Well... last week I decided to do something very positive for myself and I have to share it with you because I think it's something everyone should do. I made a funky little scribble page of all the (main) positive things that happened in 2018. I shared this at my women's circle meeting last weekend and received lots of encouragement and celebration from my gals. It felt so good.

So often we get wrapped up in what we haven't accomplished and goals that have gone unmet and places we didn't go and weight we didn't lose and... and...

I was getting caught up in the swirl of “you’re not good enough” and I recognized it and decided to fight back. Making this list was kind of hard at first (it ain’t easy to praise yourself!) but now I treasure it and I’m so glad I did it.

Here are some of the extra noteworthy things on my list:

  • New job. This one is at the top of my list because I am a sponge for my surroundings. I draw in the energy around me or I create energy based on my experience and when I’m spending most of my waking hours somewhere, it completely impacts the rest of my life in a HUGE way. There are many reasons why I love my job but I’ll shout out a few - it’s flexible and supportive of my busy life, it’s based around Jamie’s school schedule, it’s less than a mile from Jamie’s school, and my coworkers and my boss are lovely.

  • Mom finished treatment! Whew, what an ick year for her but my super hero mama didn’t skip a beat. She was diagnosed, she battled, she conquered. Bam! Take that, cancer.

  • I quit alcohol. Yep, completely. You can read more about it here.

  • I quit birth control. Sit down, friend, pregnancy ain’t the goal. I’ll blog about it one day but basically, between my mom’s cancer diagnosis and quite a bit of research, I decided to get rid of artificial hormones as much as possible and that was obviously the main source for me.

  • Jamie started Kindergarten. It was a rough start. And that’s an understatement. But, my little toot worked hard (and we worked hard, and his teacher worked hard, and his school worked hard) and I’m happy to report that he absolutely loves his school, we love his school, and he is now doing very, very well in Kindergarten.

  • I started IIN. Back in July, I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It’s a year long online integrative nutrition program and it is truly amazing. It takes up a lot of time and staying on schedule is pretty stressful but I love it and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

  • I joined the Bay Center for Spiritual Development. I decided to join the board of the Bay Center for Spiritual Development which is a lovely space here in my tiny town that encourages spiritual growth and exploration and provides a safe space for everyone who steps through the door. They hold grief support groups and workshops, cancer support workshops, nutrition classes, yoga classes, and many other positive events for our community.

  • Re-launched For the 16th time, I relaunched this website and shockingly I haven’t fiddled with the layout, photos, etc. I was determined to make this an authentic space without expectations and I feel like, so far, I’ve totally accomplished it. This is my art, y’all. This website (my programs, blog, etc.) and beach combing are my ART and I love keeping this space alive.

  • Re-launched Arbonne. It’s been over two years since I originally joined Arbonne. I have so. much. anxiety. around Arbonne - it’s really silly. I’ll blog about it another day but it all stems down to not wanting to copycat a friend and holding onto a nasty feeling around sales in general. I’m working through those insecurities every day and sharing the products I choose to use, why I choose to use them, and inviting others to give ‘em a whirl, too.

  • Intentional living. It definitely isn’t 24/7 but if you were to compare my current self to my 3-years-ago self… they’re practically different people in the same body. I can confidently say that I live much more of my life intentionally, not on autopilot. (But, to clarify, I have A LOT MORE WORK to do in this area, and always will.)

  • Rosey. I thought I hated cats until I realized that’s a story someone else told me that I’ve chosen to believe to be real my entire life. This little nugget brings so much joy and playfulness to our home, I’m so glad we adopted her and, as it turns out, I’m totally a crazy cat lady. Boom.

This practice was SO WONDERFUL for my soul and I encourage you to give it a try. Think about the wins from 2018, big and small, and remind yourself. See your progress on paper. Look at all of the good things that you experienced this year. Let this happy, accomplished, I’m-on-a-roll place be the place from which you set your intentions and goals for the new year.


Magic Green Smoothie


Need more greens in your life? Whew, me too sister! Here’s my go-to (as in, every single morning) green smoothie recipe. It ain’t fancy, but it’s a quick and easy way to get my Pop Eye on and start my day off on the right foot.

1 hefty handful of organic spinach
1/2 green apple, chunked
1/2 lemon (peeled) or 1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp organic ground flaxseed
1/2 - 1tsp spirulina
1/2 scoop vegan protein powder
4-5 ice cubes
8oz+ water

[Do you shop via Thrive Market? If not, I recommend checking them out. If you decide to join or place an order, please use this super special link. I get a little kick back. ;)]

I use a Magic Bullet Blender and it is perfect. Easy cleanup and simple to use. I like to let the ice sit in the water for 5-10 minutes to soften up so it’s not quite so icy, just super cold. Mmmm.

If you have some frozen blueberries, throw a few in there, too! You can’t really go wrong. Just keep the sugar to a minimum… and by sugar I mean extra fruit.

Notice that I use water as my liquid. I see a lot of smoothie recipes using almond or another type of “milk”. Look, I’m all for a dairy alternative. That’s what we use in our home, too. But just because it’s not dairy doesn’t mean it’s healthy. There’s a lot more to these fake milks than just almonds and water... fillers, flavors, thickeners, etc. Unless you’re making it at home, please minimize the use of these store bought milk alternatives.

Be warned: This will not taste like a fruity smoothie from Starbucks. It tastes pretty darn good and it’s full of protein and micro-nutrients. Stick with it and you will get used to it. Cheers!

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