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Thursday, December 30, 2010

For Keeps

With the start of a new year often come changes.

Some changes we can control and live with for the most part.

Other changes seem to come at us from nowhere, leaving us feeling perplexed and sometimes even victimized. Those are the kind of changes we would rather do without.

As the Serenity prayer reminds us, if we can except the things we cannot change, and have the courage to change the things we can, we can ask for the wisdom to know the difference.

Changing the things we can. Those are the changes we want to make, ones we know we should incorporate into our lives to bring good and positive energy, helping us in our journey onward, giving us purpose and meaning.

Those are the changes that can be 'for keeps'.

Perhaps you already have a few of those because you either already made the change in the past or these positives in your life have always been a part of who you are.

Keeping a journal. Yes, this one has been at the top of my 'for keeps' list for over twenty years, and for good reason. It simply works! The longer I spend my minutes keeping journal entries for each day, the better I get to know myself, become more aware of my intuition, and learning to say no when necessary. It also gives me a place to express my emotions in a safe context, just for me, which gives me what I consider important validation.

Keeping a positive mindset. Knowing where you start is key to this one. If you can find a proper center, a good grounding place, then you'll have a good launching pad for your day and even for your life. Knowing your purpose each day and following the values that are important to you is a great motivator for getting up in the morning!

Keeping an exercise regiment. I don't necessarily mean the same old thing. Try something you ENJOY doing to keep your body moving. Take a walk or a hike. Go swimming or biking. Enjoy some meditative yoga or play a Wii game. Just stay active and do something you know you want to do so you'll make it a part of your routine.

Keeping a peaceful environment. That means, get the clutter out! Do whatever it takes to get organized; let go of things you don't need that are taking up priceless space. Free up the energy in your space. Ultimately it will help free your mind.

Keeping a hobby. Do something that feeds your creative spirit, whether it's collecting things that bring back good memories, painting, drawing, crafting, art journaling, scrapbooking, bird watching, or whatever keeps your interest. Perhaps something you used to do as a child. Feed your soul and spirit. Pay attention to the things that bring you joy. And keep them a part of your every day life.

Keeping relationships vibrant. Spend time with those you love. Watch a movie together. Chat in the car. Hugs and kisses are wonderful ways to show your love to those you care about. Text with your friends and family. Stay in touch. Even write letters, if that's your preference. Spend time with others who make you laugh. And if you have a significant other, spend time with them, listening to what is on their heart. Don't take relationships for granted. Give them the time they deserve. It will be one less regret to have!

Keeping a spiritual connection. To me, this is one of the more important aspects to life. The Light and Life of the Creator is essential and will give what other people or things cannot. Whether it's through prayer/meditation, reading spiritual texts, or spending time in nature, whatever works for you, make time for it. Every day.

Yes, changes may come. But some changes, the ones we can purposefully bring to our lives that can make all the difference...those can be the ones 'for keeps'.

What will you keep for the new year?

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Steps

One step forward; two steps back.

One step at a time.

The first step you take.

The steps you climb on your first day of school.

The steps you climb on a patio or porch when you arrive home.

The steps you run up to the comfort of your bedroom.

The steps you run down to meet a boy/girl or a family member you haven't seen in a long time.

The beginning steps you learned in ballet and tap class.

The steps you mastered to the choreography of your first dance performance.

The steps you climbed out of the deep water after going down the 25 foot high slide for the first time.

The steps you retraced to find something you lost.

The steps you retraced at the scene of a crime.

The steps you take to reunite with a loved one at the airport, perhaps after many years apart.

The step you take toward forgiving someone.

The steps you take on a daily walk.

The steps you take in your journal to resolve conflict.

The steps of a new task you learned at a new job.

The smaller steps you take to reach a Big Goal.


Life is full of the steps we take each day to get from where we are to where we want to be.

We don't always know exactly where we will end up with each step we take.

And we don't know how many steps we have left before we take our last.


Let's choose each step carefully, thoughtfully, lovingly, deliberately, kindly, and purposefully.

Because we don't know how our step will affect someone else's.
Or our own.

So, what is your next step?

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Synchronized Center

I asked myself a question the other day:
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you wake up in the morning?

My initial answer was, "The day of the week, appointments to be kept, any errands to run. And housework. Always the housework."

Of course, when the day of the week springs to mind, I usually know right away the rest of the information I need without looking it up on a scheduler. That's the benefit of routine.

But is that what I really want to be thinking about when I wake up in the morning? Almost sounds heavy handed, nothing to get me excited enough to climb out of the cozy, soft covers of my bed. (Of course it always helps when my cat Sophie meows me awake in the morning, looking for a scratch behind the ears that initiates a purr fest.)

After some discussion with hubby, I realized what I lacked. I had the Wrong Focus.

Of course, keeping the house in order, taking care of errands, and being prompt for appointments are well and good. I will continue to be diligent with such matters.

But with all of these things it can feel as if there's is always Something. There doesn't seem to be a place to rest the mind when there's something else on the agenda that could or should be done.

Thus, a underlying sense of inappropriate guilt pervades the mind, like a nasty, creepy goo that stifles and chokes any possibility of joy or passion.

Something is seriously wrong with this picture. I have sensed this for quite some time but had not come up with a sensible solution, something that would really Work. And not just for me, but also for my family.

What resulted from this discussion for me was truly profound.

What I focus on each day becomes my center. If I am always centered on keeping my house in order, I will eventually burn out, fall behind, and thus, feel lousy about my perceived inadequacy with taking care of things like I should.

I didn't appreciate that picture, and neither did hubby.

So we decided to make some changes. Good Changes. Appropriate Changes. Synchronizing Changes.

Instead of focusing on things that are always ongoing Monday through Friday, I would instead focus on my responsibilities for our business, Bill's Quality Electric, LLC as well as my writing business, JournalWriter Freelance.

Of course, I have always given attention to these very important dimensions and responsibilities in my life, but I always felt my house duties eclipsed this focus, since there was always something that needed doing.

But now, I have determined, when I wake up in the morning, I think of what day it is, and I am excited, passionate, and peaceful about accomplishing the tasks of our electrical contracting business as well as my freelance writing business rather than feeling distracted, with my mind going in a million directions. I now have a focus and purpose to my day that I feel in sync with. And of course, giving my all to this dimension in our lives makes everything easier, for me and for Bill.

So that's a win-win.

Now you may be wondering, what about the housework? Ah, I was coming to that. ;) We certainly wouldn't just leave that undone there, now, would we?

We decided to make house cleaning a family affair: On Saturday mornings after a relaxing wake up/breakfast time, we would all chip in and work to get the house cleaned and organized for the week.

Now, in previous times, I might have balked at this idea since I had an inborn aversion to doing housework on Saturdays in connection with the residual boredom with which I associated such duties from my childhood days.

But now it feels different. It is appropriate. I appreciate taking a day on the weekend to focus on the home and put all of my energy into those tasks. (Of course, the smaller stuff like laundry and dishes I still do during the week days, tasks that don't overwhelm.) And whatever I accomplish for that day will be satisfying to me, since I'm not alone in this newfound approach.

I don't feel split in a myriad of directions which makes for a more calm, centered foundation to living and taking care of responsibilities.

Each day I know precisely where I'm going and what I'm doing, and I can put all of my energetic enthusiasm toward my place in the home and in the business world as well. And if something comes up I didn't plan on, I know it's OK, since the unplanned events don't need to be seen as an interruption but part of the bigger plan for the day or the week.

And of course, when I'm going about the tasks I've taken on the responsibility to do, I have the support and blessing of the Creator of the Universe to help me every step of the way.
My tasks then take on a multi-dimensional meaning. I'm not just cleaning the house; I'm caring for all that I have been blessed with and being a blessing to my family in the process with what I contribute.

It's a win-win for everyone.

Now that's something to be Thankful For!

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crosswinds

Resistance: Resisting, the power to resist something; an influence that hinders or stops something.

Exactly. (I could feel the irony of resistance in the process of writing this essay to share with you!)

When you try to do something on your agenda or something that really means a lot to you, you may find yourself meeting with resistance. In other words, your mental and physical efforts can feel like crosswinds as you pursue each task or angle, as if it's harder than it should be. You're not 'in the flow'.

Resistance comes in many forms, whether it be a very slow moving vehicle in front of you on the highway, standing in a long line at the grocery store, or even experiencing mental or physical fatigue.

Sometimes circumstances arise in our every day lives that make us either slow down or stop altogether. And on the other end, we're still pushing, or at least wanting to, so we can move forward, make progress, do Something instead of feeling like all the odds are against us.

In other words, we resist the resistance! Talk about tension. And stress. And wasted energy.

Energy we could be using toward something else, or at least holding in reserve for when things begin to open up again in due time. But, instead we feel tired, worn, lethargic.

We don't like it when we meet with resistance since we often view it as something that is in our way, something that is negative, something that Shouldn't Be There. And we can sometimes take it personally. And that leaves us feeling upset, disappointed, and even angry.

Then we ask: Why do I have to wait? Why didn't this work out for me like it worked out for another? Why do I always feel singled out? Why does it seem like those around me are moving forward, and I'm just feeling stagnant, useless, inadequate?

Yes, we fight resistance hard. But we're actually battling ourselves when we do this. Instead of trusting the situation or the Universe to open things up for us when the time is right, we fight for what we want instead of what is better or great. Or even FABULOUS.

Can you imagine passing up fabulous for what you originally wanted when it pales in comparison?

When you look back on previous times when you have fought resistance, does the evidence show you were benefiting from that fight? Or do you see now you were fighting yourself in the process instead of listening to your instincts and nurturing yourself and regrouping and looking inward to understand where the resistance was coming from?

When you find the source from the inside, you can often dismantle that resistance and dissect what is causing it, and work toward a satisfying resolution.

When you meet up with resistance, stop yourself. Think: Am I fighting it? Once you become more aware of your reaction, learn from it. Learn about yourself. Understand what the situation reveals about you and why you're meeting with this resistance. Then take small steps toward the solution of the problem; you may find this approach opens up the possibilities naturally when you work with it instead of against it.

It's really like working out with weights. You use the resistance as an opportunity to grow as a person in all dimensions and become stronger and more resilient in the process.

But do be patient with yourself. Take your time. Nurture your mind, body, and spirit as you proceed. And watch with amazement as those huge hunks of resistance transform into building blocks of growth.

And that growth will only profit you, especially when you see the positive side of resistance, which is essentially the wind in your sail blowing in the precise direction of where you want to go. In the flow.

Now, doesn't that feel better?

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Friday, October 15, 2010

Driving Lessons

Check the mirrors. Start the engine. Go. Then Stop. Try not to slam on the brakes. Watch for kids on bikes. Drive between the cones without knocking them down. Don't turn the wheel too hard. Go really slow. Take your time.

Driving lessons. For a beginner, it can feel overwhelming. A major multi-tasking adventure. Parts can be fun, especially when you think you were definitely going to knock down that cone with that sharp turn, but you made it. Or when you actually nail the parallel parking when you thought for sure you wouldn't even come close.

You've been in that blasted parking lot for several weeks getting used to the feel of being behind the wheel, finally making those 180 degree turns with grace and ease after many practice off-the-mark turns to get between them cones from the *other* side.

Then you get on the road. Ah, bliss.

But, of course, now you have even more distractions to deal with: other cars on the road, people walking and texting, More road signs than you can count. Then there's the four way stop, and you don't remember who got there first.

Enter the highway: high speed, fast lane changes, and more drivers than you care to contend with. So you go 45 in a 60 mph zone. And you stay in the slow lane. Very slow lane.

You try to get used to seeing even more road signs and watch other cars pull out onto the highway, some in back, some in front. You hope no one will notice you, or that they'll just drive around you.

But then you notice as the weeks pass, you begin to relax a little. Some of the aspects of handling a vehicle are becoming second nature. You even roll down your window and turn on the radio. And hear one of your favorite songs.

And then you sing your heart out. Because you've succeeded at learning a new, necessary task.
And you're celebrating, like you should be.

Every time you face a new challenge, ease yourself into it. Take it slow. Give yourself time to acclimate to the change. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind in how you respond to the mistakes you make. Because you will make them. It's part of the action in the territory we call life.

Life is a learning experience. Just take it one step, one moment at a time.

You may run into an unexpected detour that takes you out of the way you wanted to go. Don't run into a panic. Just go with the flow. Take it a bit slower around those construction cones. You will run into those things from time to time.

You may find yourself getting lost once in a while, not knowing which way to turn. Because you forgot the directions or wrote down the wrong landmark. Yes, the trip can get confusing on occasion. Just be patient with yourself and ask for help if you need it. There are others who have gone before you and know exactly how to help you find your way home.

But you will make it home. Where you can relax, sit back, and ruminate on the progress you've made.

Don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back for a trip well taken. And for a task well learned.

You may find yourself smiling when you look at your well earned driver's license next time you're ready to take a trip; whether it's just driving to the grocery store or riding off into the sunset.

Enjoy the journey. With the top down, of course.

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wait

The butterflies are migrating. I have seen them in all sorts of places in small numbers. We happened to run into one in a WalMart parking lot the other day when we were loading up the trunk after a shopping excursion.

My daughter, Hannah, happened to notice it a moment too late just as she closed the lid of the trunk after we finished unloading. We were alarmed as we saw just the wings of the butterfly on the outside, the rest of it under the hood. So we quickly unlocked the trunk and released the butterfly which landed on the ground directly below.

Hannah was so concerned about the butterfly, wondering if it would manage to eventually fly again or if the damage done to it's body parts was too far gone. So she thought to pick it up and bring it in the car to give it some time to recover from this unexpected injury.

But getting the butterfly off the ground wasn't an easy task. I wasn't quite sure what to do. Hannah attempted to pick it up by the wings but unsuccessfully. So she asked me to try. I've never handled a butterfly up close before so I knew nothing of the proper way to do so. I was also concerned for my safety with cars coming and going behind me. So I carefully nipped the top of its wings with tips of my forefinger and thumb and plopped it into Hannah's waiting hand.

I was to discover later when sharing the event with my husband that touching a butterfly's wings will automatically make it impossible for the butterfly to fly again because it causes a disturbance of the white powder dust that resides on the silky surface. (Hannah noticed the dust later on the palm of her hand.)

Thus, even though we meant well in trying to save the butterfly, we ultimately did it irreparable harm unknowingly.

Situations can arise that cause perplexity. And when we don't find an immediate solution, we can act in haste. We feel like if we don't do something Now, something else may go wrong to make the situation worse. (Like, the butterfly being run over by a car.)

So we get our hands in the situation. And often without knowing it, we can cause irreparable harm, where there's nothing we can do to remedy the situation. And, of course, in our hindsight we realize we should have waited to act.

We later see how timing is so important when making decisions, when choosing to do this or that. When we act prematurely, we may be heading off opportunities that were in the process of developing but were not yet ready for our involvement.

Keeping ourselves centered along with our immediate and long term goals in front of us will often give us the structure we need to keep our feet on the ground and our hands from stirring up the pot before it's ready to cook.

The steam will rise in due time. And if we wait for just the right moment, when the time is ripe, we will get what it is we are looking for, what we dream of. And it will taste of perfection.

Listen to your instincts. Don't move in haste out of fear or ego. Wait until the appropriate time. Let the rumination process come to its completeness, its fullness. Don't rush destiny.

The Creator of the Universe is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Listen to that still small voice.

And when the time comes to act, all will be in the proper place, and all the dimensions will come together in one beautiful fell swoop.

As if on the wings of a migrating butterfly who knows exactly when and where it is going.

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Whispers

Have you ever noticed when the seasons begin to merge, you get whispers or quick peeks at the coming changes? Dips or rises in temperature seem the most noticeable. There are the visual reminders of birds migrating or the subtle hues of changing color in leaves. Rain showers after a long, dry, hot summer. Or the humidity dissipates, leaving a cool sensation of beautiful breezes on your skin.

A day here, an hour or two there. Glimpses. Snapshots of the full glory that is to come.

You see a quick visual in your mind's eye of change ahead. You feel the coming transition in your bones. You know a bit of the direction you must take to move forward, but you don't have the full, detailed picture yet.

So you seek it out. You journal it. You meditate on the possibilities. You allow your dreams to flourish. You flesh out and add dimension of what you hope is to come.

You realize it won't come together all by itself. It takes a constant vision, a plan set in motion which only adds to the anticipation and excitement.

You take another step forward, perhaps warily so. After all, positive change can bring risk, the unknown. Courage comes to call, and you answer heartily, throwing the door wide open. You are grateful for the company, knowing you don't have to go it alone, even if you are looking forward to the benefits of positive change.

It still takes a bit of guts to get out there and make it happen.

And sometimes you encounter obstacles whether outward or inward. But you work through the resistance, because you know it will all be worth it to make it to the 'other side'.

And when you begin to see more clearly the bigger picture, you throw more of your enthusiasm into the mix. You see it coming together. And it's good. It's very good.

You can feel this positive change filtering out everything else. You feel it's multi-dimensional effects. Every aspect of your life begins to come together in one glorious picture. And the gold threads weaved throughout only add wonderful texture and color to your every move.

Your purpose and destiny are clear and vibrant, all because you listened to the first whispers of the changes that were to come. And you embraced them like the sun's rays embracing the skin on a pleasant spring day.

You. Are. Here.
And you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
And there's nothing else like it.

You are in your element, and you are making positive change that dramatically impacts your world, one person at at time.

And only you can do what you do.
And you're doing it. One step at a time. One day, one moment at time.

And your ear is always open for the next whisper.
Because you'll know it when it comes.

And when it does, you'll be ready.

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Magic

Two sisters come home from school and head into the kitchen for a snack as their mom asks how school was that day.

The older curly-haired blonde sister pulls out a package of Keebler fudge-striped cookies and notes that there is only one cookie left. Her sister, a shorter-haired brunette, looks on, waiting. The older sister takes the one cookie that is left and holds it in her hand, contemplating what to do. She looks her younger sister in the eye, sees the look of anticipating hope and smile, and decides to give her the lone cookie, not even breaking it in half so she can have some too.

Her younger sister is pleased and, with a smile, takes the cookie while saying, "Thank you."

In the meanwhile, the older sister goes back to the package, and much to her surprise, another cookie is sitting in the package, as if it is waiting there just to delight the eyes and taste buds of that selfless sister who sacrificed to make her sister happy.

After she takes the cookie from the package (which, of course, is accompanied by the magical music of Keebler which only adds to the sweet drama of the moment), she has a contemplative, thoughtful look as if she's trying to figure out how that cookie got there. Then she smiles as she goes to take a bite.

And off in the corner hiding behind a metal toaster on the opposite side of the kitchen is a Keebler elf, who, after watching, lets out a huge sigh of relief while wiping his brow when he sees that the Keebler magic has done the job of making the older sister happy with her own cookie, while off in the distance you see the two sisters eating their cookies at the kitchen table.

This is, no doubt, a brilliant commercial. It touches the heart when you see how the magic makes a difference in a young girls' day after working hard at school and being so kind to her sister.

You see, each decision we make really does make a difference in another's life. It may not necessarily be a cookie we give away; but anytime we do something that costs us a little in order to bring a blessing to another, we release a bit of 'magic' into the air, that, without realizing it, may come right back to us, often with a delightful surprise, to make our day.

We just have to keep our eyes and hearts open for opportunities to bless someone who probably could really use a helping hand or positive word, just to know someone cares. Not only will we receive a wonderful sense of purpose and contentment in knowing what we have done has made a difference, we also become conduits of positive energy in our world which comes back to us sooner or later.

And often when we least expect it.

So,just like that little Keebler elf, spread a little magic into your world today; you never know what surprise awaits--maybe even right in front of you. ;)

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waterlogged

It looks perfectly harmless.

The largest section of the water park is filled with all kinds of fun attractions, like water slides of varying heights, hands on toys, jungle gym, and fountains in a backdrop that specializes in a wet, refreshing experience, featuring flowing water-filled walkways and fountains and waterfalls to assist in helping you stay cool and comfortable in the summer heat.

Not exactly the kind of atmosphere you would expect a challenge. ;)

So I don't think to cautiously approach the area that looks like it was created for the younger set, even as small as toddler, with low rise slides and shorter spouts.

Once I climb a few steps up into the second level, I'm not prepared for what awaits me. Red cones inconspicuously placed is several spots on this expansive water wonder fill up with water within 15 seconds or less and then unceremoniously dump on the nearest passerby, of course, from overhead, and sometimes with a little help from another bather. Totally unsuspecting--the first time.

After that experience, I walk more cautiously, my head and shoulders hunched with my hands near my face to protect myself from getting sprayed in the eye from nearby fountains.

Water falls and shoots from other areas periodically cover me and other bathers. Plus a huge bucket featuring a Hawaiian Face, which takes approximately 2 minutes to fill up, completely unloads its water haul on everyone below, some unsuspecting and completely surprised.

All are completely drenched before having the chance to take a whirl and a swirl on the lower, middle, or upper slides that are taken all the way down.

After taking a complete round several times with my daughter Hannah in tow, I choose to take a break and hang out with hubby who is relaxed and periodically dowses himself with a local waterfall to keep cool.

I go back with Hannah a bit later after I catch my breath from all the multi-level climbing and swishing through slides.

Next we take a stroll on the wet waterways and the dry sidewalks to check out other areas with steep water slides, a ride with two-holed tubes that take you up a wave and back, and one where you are literally a torpedo, being dropped vertical to make a huge splash at the bottom.

We eventually go back to that most happening dumping section. (Yes, I don't really learn my lesson the first time now, do I?) I return with Hannah several more times; but I find myself being sprayed in the face so much, I can't see. I quickly spot the first red cone that typically fills with water which is now on its side, with the spout of water which normally fills it up, spraying against the side full force and into our faces. I decide to turn around and head back down, my eyes burning from the chlorine, until Hannah hollers for me, and I make my way around to where she is and follow her down the water slide.

At this point, I find myself with a mild headache, having been dumped on the head with water so many times, I feel water logged. You would think I had gone under a heavy 5 foot wave from the ocean or something. I knew it was time to take a break and rest for the remainder of the day.

Do you have days when you feel weighted down, hunched over, by troublesome, unresolved issues that you didn't notice until they began to take their toll? Or are you dealing with hostility of the in-your-face variety, of which you've tried to blow off that still festers? Or maybe life has just gotten too complicated, and you feel like there are too many things coming at you, and you need to block them all out before they overwhelm you.

We can only tolerate situations that are uncomfortable or unpleasant for so long. At some point, we all need a place and time to take a breather.

To sit and relax, pull back, and give ourselves space to refresh and recoup.

Sometimes just talking with a friend or loved one, dumping in your journal, praying/meditating, or taking an old-fashioned nap can be just the jump start you need to gain a clearer perspective, to resolve conflict, or to just persevere in a tough situation.

Only you truly know your limits. Honor your instincts and listen to your gut when it says to STOP, take it easy, refresh yourself before you lose it or have nothing left to give.

Don't push yourself to the breaking point. Listen to your bodies signals and take care of yourself.

You're the only one you've got. Treat yourself with Tender Loving Care.

Then you'll be ready for whatever comes your way. From any direction.
Even if it looks perfectly harmless.

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Thursday, July 8, 2010

From Within

"Peace, Beaver."

That's what Aslan said to Mr. Beaver in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when Mr. Beaver was all busy telling Aslan, the Great Lion, about the audacity of the White Witch and her claims. "Queen of Narnia! Why, of all the cheek!"

Nothing like a conflict or confrontation to shake things up and agitate us. And steal our peace.

Our equilibrium loses balance in connection with our reactions to things, people, circumstances. And we have a tendency to blame those outer sources for our trouble.

But, alas, the source of the conflict comes from within.

How can you know?
By asking yourself, "Why?"

Conflict and confrontation of any kind can easily steal our peace. Since not having peace is a miserable place for most, the first thing we want to do is get our peace back as soon as possible.

For me, my journal has come in handy for just such a purpose. As I think over my day, I review what agitated me, what caused conflict, what really got my attention.

Then I ask myself, "Why?"

Sometimes one of the most challenging questions to ask is "why"; and you know why it's the hardest question to ask? Because in order to get the answer, you have to be honest with yourself. There is no place for denial if you really want to know the truth of the situation.

And sometimes the answer you get when you're honest with yourself reveals emotions and parts of you that aren't necessarily attractive. Like feelings of resentment, jealousy, bitterness, anger, insecurity, and fear. And you may wonder, where on earth did that come from? You may not want to know. Those are not the things we like to think about, let alone work through. That's what brooms and rugs are for.

But once you've come this far, half the problem has been solved. At least you know what the source of the trouble is. Now you can take the bull by the horns and decide for yourself what needs changing and actually implement it.

Yes, navigation can seem tenuous at best when we excavate the source of our trouble. Our discoveries will be profound, intense. They can be viewed as rubble or a gold mine. It really is a matter of perspective. Yet, still, we may prefer to look the other way, deeming the process as too much trouble or too messy.

But we all have issues that, when provoked, rise to the surface at one point or another. We aren't alone in our maladies. That's just a part of being human.

When I journal about the issues that steal my peace, patterns of emotions, feelings, and thoughts emerge, and I consider what they are telling me about my inner person, at the core of who I am.

When we take the time to dig deeper and discover what makes us tick...or what ticks us off, we can work through these issues and determine what the next step is toward making positive changes...ones that will make a difference in our daily existence and activity.

When we see the patterns of our behavior, and when we recognize what we can do to make things better, we will feel good about those changes. And the more specific we get, the more accurate an assessment we can have, which will lead to permanent change that refreshes and invigorates.

You may find yourself sleeping better at night, having better digestion and lowered blood pressure, and maybe even more laughter in your interactions with others.

In other words, you will dramatically improve your quality of life when you choose to address those issues that steal your peace, determine why, and make those changes that will become new habits that will make refreshing, healthful differences in your life and in those with whom you come in contact.

It's really a win-win.

More peace. Less conflict.
More serenity. Less agitation.
More love. Less resentment.
More light. Less darkness.

That's change we can all appreciate.

We all know what happened to the White Witch.

Peace to you, my friend.

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best Friends

Best Friends.

When you read those words, what comes to mind?

A confidant with whom you can share your inner most thoughts who doesn't judge you but appreciates your point of view.

Someone who stands up for you when another criticizes.

The source of the beautiful smile that brightens your day.

One who affirms you and appreciates your terrific qualities but doesn't condemn you for the ones that are not so terrific.

Someone you just love to go shopping with who always knows what really looks good on you.

The person who knows all your favorites and can sometimes finish your sentences.

One who trusts you to keep a secret and knows how well you will really understand her struggles.

The person who stands by you when you are in your darkest moments, no matter what.

If you have a person in your life who reflects these qualities, you probably thought of them after the first line. You might even have had a fun or poignant memory surface that you treasure. Perhaps you thought about something funny they said that you knew you would laugh about later, prompting a chuckle.

Best Friends leave a mark on our lives that is indelible. Each one carries a star quality that no one else has; you appreciate their uniqueness. They bring out nuances in you no one else does.

And it's mutual: Respect. Care. Love. Faithfulness. Appreciation. Kindness. Laughter.

When that friendship comes to an end for whatever reason, it changes you. It marks you for life. Because that friend who you truly valued added a dimension to your life that you won't forget. It will always live in your memory.

Friendship is a vital part of our lives. It's something that cannot be taken for granted. Especially when you know it may not last forever.

There is a time and place for people, for friends, in your life. Some stick around for years, to the point where you can't remember what life was like without them. Some stick around for just a short time because whatever their purpose was in your life has concluded.

When it's time to say goodbye, it is often unexpected. Sometimes it's due to a move to another city, and you simply lose touch.

Or issues arise that cannot be remedied, and they become a barrier to the friendship you have created; and when it ends, it leaves a scar. It pains you to let it go.

And you wonder how you'll go on without their dimension in your life.

People always have a purpose in our lives. When we understand that, it is easier to look back, appreciate all we experienced and learned, and then Move On. No, it isn't easy. Sometimes it can break your heart.

But a broken heart can be mended, made whole. And a new, vitally important person will enter your life, with a multi-dimensional purpose to help you grow from where you are right now.

This can be one of the most complicated areas of our lives to understand. But when time is taken to assimilate where we are in our friendships and where we would like to go, we will have a clearer perspective on what is and isn't working.

Then we'll see the good in all of it. And embrace whatever change in necessary or unavoidable. We're then ready to move on and become the person we are meant to be as a result of that friendship.

If you feel you need to step out of a person's life because you are no longer on the same page, please do it gently, kindly, and with compassion. Otherwise, it can leave a injurious scar that may take many years to heal.

And if you know someone who is hurting because a Best Friend has rejected them and said hurtful things, embrace that one and let them know how valuable and important they are, so they know they are not alone.

Because you may have been or may be there yourself.
And to have a friend is to be a friend.

That's what friends are for.
What kind of friend are you?

© 2010 by Dawn Herring

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Graduate

She's 18 with lots of potential and a heart full of dreams. Yet she feels the challenge of responsibility with starting a new life outside of school walls.

I watch the continuous alphabetized slide show of the 2010 Princeton High school graduates that includes my daughter, Sarah Grace Herring. My youngest daughter, Hannah, and I watch with anticipation as the H's go by, and then we hoot, holler, and clap our hearts out when Sarah's off-the-shoulder style graduate picture shows up accompanied by several photos from different times in her childhood, giving just a glimpse of the Sarah Grace I know.

I take a snapshot of the slide when it comes up the next time (we see it four times in a row during the hour we sit to wait for the processional to begin), while my daughter takes video, where we can later hear ourselves hooting and howling our support of Sarah as our graduate.

As the waiting hour progresses, I notice other folks in the audience audibly sharing their support for their own graduates from various places in the room.

The building excitement is palpable.

The ceremony is set to start at 7 p.m. We notice that most of the seats are filled a little past 6:30, a clear picture of why we were encouraged to arrive an hour before the start time so we would at least get a seat. So many were reserved for family and friends when we arrived, I was quite surprised by our rear seat being we got there so early. But later when I saw guests lining up against the walls, I was grateful for my seat!

I look over the multi-paged slick-cover white program guide which lists the highlights of the evening as well as an alphabetical list of the graduates. I plan to hold on to mine as a keepsake of this most momentous occasion.

Seven p.m. rolls around as more guests arrive, some seated in reserved spots while others are in standing-room-only areas. We continue to hoot and holler for Sarah when her pic shows up again for the fourth time.

Then finally, the slideshow stops, leaving a blank, blue screen to admire. Then the screen opens up again to reveal administrative folks making their way onto the platform. Excitement crackles in the air as we prepare to see the evening's itinerary begin.

Mr. Lovelady, principal of Princeton High School, opens the evening as he works his way through his introduction amongst shouts and applause from the audience as he speaks of the success of the 2010 graduates and the much awaited events about to take place.

Then the processional begins. Oh, boy, this is the part I'm waiting for! At the rear of the room enters in alphabetical order (of course) each graduate ready to receive their diploma as they make their way up the aisle created between the two main seating areas on either side of the room. I stand in front of my chair, ready with my camera, my knees a bit shaky with excitement, my daughter Hannah on the other side of my husband who stands next to me on my right. Then I make my way outside the chairs and stand ready to take a snap shot when I see Sarah begin to walk up the aisle.

My pride bursts with my heart's rapidity increasing, my hands shaking, tears springing, as the flash goes off to capture the smile on Sarah's face as she tries to cover her nerves.

There are hoots and hollers and applause throughout the processional as each graduate makes their way to their chairs in the front area of the room reserved just for them.

After the Pledge of Allegiance to the American and Texas flags and the singing of the National Anthem, which I join in to sing, is complete, the itinerary moves forward. The honor roll students are announced and are told to stand in their places when their name is called, as the applause and hoots continue.

We then listen to two speeches, one from a student who plans to major in English and who uses the essay as a metaphor for life in high school. Another uses a strong sense of humor to get his point across, highlighting his experiences of being a student from kindergarten til graduation.

Then it is time for the big moment: the name announced and diploma given in a leather-style book with the graduate then walking through a flower-covered bough where they stop, turn their tassel and have their photo taken to commemorate the significant cross over the high school finish line.

When they get to the G's, Hannah and I make our way up to the front, attempting to get a better view when Sarah's name is called. I manage to squeeze my way in to the front just in time to snap a photo of her under the bough. Hannah takes video from another spot, capturing her walking across the stage.

Then we both head back to our seats as the remaining graduates receive their diplomas and listen for the accompanying hoots and applause from friends and family.

Later the school song is performed by the choir. Then we are dismissed.

We wait expectantly for the crowd to disperse and for Sarah to make her way to us in the seating area where she left her belongings in our care. We heartily embrace as I call her my graduate. She is so excited to finally have made it, to have moved from where she was to where she is now.

And where to go from here? The sky is the limit! There is no telling what wonderful experiences and opportunities will come her way as she moves on to the next step in her journey.

That's what makes a graduation such a spendid occasion. It's the perfect time to dream, to open up the creative portals of the mind and reach for the stars!

And give a hearty congratulations to the deserving graduate for a job well done.

To our daughter, Sarah Grace Herring: may you reach for the stars with your feet on the ground, with dreams and goals afresh in your heart. There is a big world out there just waiting for you to step out and make your dreams come true. Don't be afraid to make your authentic mark, the way only you can do!

© by Dawn Herring

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Real Thing

I usually use the rain option on my sound machine for its consistent rhythm with no lulls, but I decided during a recent evening to check out the other optional sounds to see if there was another one I liked that was just as effective.

I chose the rain forest option to be met with the sound of what I would assume to be a variety of tropical birds. As I listened for a few minutes at the quality of the birds' tweets, which sounded very close to the real thing, I thought of my cat Sophie and wondered if she would notice.

Sure enough, within minutes, she had picked up the sound from whatever distant place she was located at within the other parts of the house and came to investigate. I sat down in my recliner to wait and watch for her reaction.

The recording of the birds had her ears twitching as she attempted to figure out where the sound was coming from. After all, there were no birds in the room she could see. She jumped onto the writing surface of my desk and then tiptoed around the edges of the attached shelf where the sound machine was located, sniffing and listening. She remained in the area for several minutes, even going behind the headboard of the bed to see if she could find something tangible that would be making the sound of birds in a rain forest.

She came back out to the desk, sniffed one more time, and then settled at the foot of our recliners to relax, with her ears still twitching to the sound of tweeting. It looked as if she had given up on finding the 'real thing', but wanted to stay close by just in case it showed up unannounced.

The Real Thing. Something genuine: the definition and evidence of Authenticity.
A Star Quality that makes us who we are and how we make a difference.

And we all have it.

Some of those star qualities lay dormant in our authentic selves yet to be discovered. Some are used every day and perhaps we don't even realize it.

The undiscovered chef who has a knack for detecting high quality in their cooking ingredients and is able to produce a gourmet meal satisfying to anyone's palette.

The master mechanic who can turn a clunker into a muscle machine that purrs.

The savvy stylist who can make all of her clients look and feel like a million bucks.

The hostess who knows how to organize and execute the most festive party that leaves a lasting memory with all who attend.

The master story teller who keeps listeners on the edge of their seat or has them laughing themselves to the point of tears.

The snappy dresser who can give The most masterful makeover, transforming average to eye popping.

The interior decorator with such an eye for color and design, all those who view are immediately wowed.

A smiling, cheerful cashier who makes sure you have all you need and makes an ordinary shopping day pleasurable.

A word smith with the ability to string together a line of words that leave a burning or exhilarating impression in the mind, not be forgotten.

Star quality. Authenticity. Is it something you actively pursue or does it lay dormant inside your deepest self, just waiting for expression and the chance to make the difference in a way only you can make in your world?

Each one who investigates their own star quality and pursues its expression to the fullest will be the ones who can change the world one person and one action at a time. And even be the catalyst toward helping someone else discover their own star quality.

What you do with yours, once you discover what it is, can bring immense satisfaction and purpose to your life. And you'll be the real thing. Your true authentic self.

Which is what we are all meant to be. Even the birds. :)

And, of course, Sophie would choose to watch the 'real' thing outside her window over a recording any day.

© by Dawn Herring

Monday, May 10, 2010

Caught

As I was spending some quality quiet time in my bedroom the other morning, I noticed two insects on one of the window panes under a fully opened blind.

One was a nickel-sized brown striped, almost furry spider moving about in one of the corners attached to his fancy silk string.

The other was a common house fly. Not the super zippy kind, mind you. This one was acting a bit drunk as it moved slowly on foot in somewhat of a zigzag from the bottom to the top of the window pane.

And unbeknownst to him, the spider had its eye on the winged one, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to make its move on this obvious prey.

I watched in fascination to see what would happen. Yes, I was somewhat in suspense, wondering if the fly would be unintelligent enough to fall for the wily, legged spinner of webs.

As the fly bopped around on the window's pane, it acted as if it didn't know there was a spider on the prowl. It came so very close, enough so for the spider to take a flying leap to catch the unsuspecting insect, but it missed! It flew up it's web line so fast that if I hadn't been watching, I would have never guessed it had moved at all. It retreated for just a moment, regrouping, waiting for another chance to capture its prey.

The fly bounced around, doing a silly dance, almost as if to antagonize the waiting spider in the wings, not realizing, perhaps, that the spider would attempt to strike again.

And it did! And it missed again.

Back to its corner, regrouping, pulling back a little more than before, instituting its wily ways.

This time, the fly looked like it was ready to buddy up to the spider and have some lunch with him (I honestly couldn't believe it got soooo close after just having missed being snagged twice!) when the spider took another very short leap and landed squarely on the fly. I could almost see that one coming. ;)

I could hear the fly flapping its wings furiously against the window pane..you know that obnoxiously annoying sound it always makes when it's just asking for a fly swatter to nail it!

After just a few minutes of the longer-legged creature's victory, it slowly managed to bring the insect through a hole (off to its nest, I assume) to be seen no more.

As I considered the play by play of the insect games, I thought of the possibility of two distinct points of view.

The one of the fly...not really seeming to pay much attention to the danger present, not running (or flying) for cover while it had the chance. After all, it didn't have to stay in that window pane. But it chose to hang around just a little too long, even after almost being struck down twice. Sometimes, there's a time to MOVE ON, before you get caught.

Then there's the one of the spider...tenacious, refusing to give up after two tries in capturing what it needs. Has true vision, knows what it wants. Waits for just the right amount of time. Then jackpot! Victory! Success...a perfect opportunity caught and won.

Life can be an instinctual dance. You gotta know when to hold the dream and vision caught in your heart and when to let go of the unsuspected nightmare that has caught you unawares.

If you stay in a place for too long, it can truly hold you back from an even better place.

Make room for the dreams you hold in your heart.
You never know where they may take you.

© by Dawn Herring

Friday, April 23, 2010

Echoes

Last week after I came back from dropping my daughter off at school, I got out of the car and could hear several mocking birds in the trees in my front yard. I found myself enthralled by their winged chorus line. They sounded like they were singing a round together, echoing each other in succession.

The next day I listened to the same birds in the same trees (at least I think they were), only this time their chorus was a bit off key, with one bird singing one tune while another was doing something totally different.

It amazed me how much I could hear in just a few minutes giving my attention to my front and back yard mocking birds. Whether it resonated or clashed, the sounds fascinated me. They were distinct.

I began to ruminate on the mocking bird itself. It's not an especially colorful bird, not overly large, but you can hear its song from a long way off. And of course, its song is not an original. It is truly a mimic of other birds and insect sounds. But you can hear them above the other birds in the neighborhood as if, even though they have no sound of their own, they seem to have no trouble getting attention with their chorus of tweets.

Sometimes I've gotten the impression from my local mocking bird that it enjoys showing off its vocal talent. As if it is saying, Look at me. Although I have no sound of my own, I'm still an awesome bird, and let's see if you can sing as well as I can. Maybe I should pull out all the stops, set up a spotlight for him, give him a mike, and let him do some feathered karaoke. ;)

Of course, this bird gets its name for the very 'mock' sound it imitates as it sings its repetitive song. And yet despite this name, I find myself drawn to this special bird. It amazes me how many different sounds (up to 40) it can make. Listening to the succession of tweets it makes never gets old.

It seems ironic to me that the bird that stands out the most to me would be the one who can only imitate what it hears.

When it comes to human interaction, the people who have the most recognized voices are usually the ones who stand out. Whether it's an author's distinctive voice in fiction or memoir or newspaper column, or the sound of a famous vocalist who is spotlighted in his or her genre. A distinctive voice can be seen as the catalyst toward success in whatever genre of business you work in.

Yet, when you speak to a person who achieves success with that distinctive voice, they can usually tell you the influences that helped to bring them where they are, whether it be musical influences, authors they enjoy reading, or a political figure who exemplifies their point of view.

Those who influence us most powerfully become our source of inspiration, a catalyst of sorts in helping us find our distinctive voice. Although we all have our unique points of view, they are collaborative from all that has come before and has influenced us. In a sense, we echo what we learn from others.

And that echo can be the most beautiful sound, especially when it comes from the heart.

Who are you echoing today?

© by Dawn Herring

Thursday, April 8, 2010

For Granted?

A good night's sleep in your bed.
A relaxed state of mind.
A delicious, savory meal.
A vibrant, soulful conversation with a loved one.
A warm or cool dry house.
A car that runs without stalling.
Money in the bank.
A paycheck.
Food in the pantry.
Solid relationships with each family member.
Very close friends.

All things we can easily take for granted. And in a moment, they can all be removed in one way or another.

Insomnia.
Anxiety.
Food poisoning.
Silent Hostility.
Flood, Fire, Homelessness.
No transportation.
Bankrupt.
Empty shelves.
Estrangement.
Isolation.

When you look at the opposite end of the spectrum, the positive things are more apt to be seen as a gift.
Because that is what they are.
Whatever life you do have, even your very breath, is a gift. Life can end at any moment.

Many times we don't realize how blessed we are until something happens to take away what we had.

As we respond to the gifts in our lives, awareness of what we speak, what we think, and how we act will go a long way in helping us to be deliberately grateful.
Then we will see each relationship, each job, each home, each vehicle, each paycheck as a gift. Then we can bring that awareness to a new level and do something with it to benefit another.

Gifts, when seen in all their glory, really do shine even more when they're not taken for granted.

What is shining in your life today?

© by Dawn Herring

Friday, March 26, 2010

Simple Things

My husband started his truck, and when the radio came on the classic rock channel,
a song by Elton John called Your Song was playing. One of the lyrics I noticed said,"It may be quite simple."

Yes, it's a simple song, and I believe that's what makes it so endearing. That's why Your song is the song my husband chose for our song 21 years ago and it still hits home and heart today.

It's the simple things that often hold the greatest meaning and joy in life.

Listening to the mocking bird in the tree out in my front yard while he shows off his melodious talents. I honestly think he smiles while he's at it.

Listening to the laughter induced by a humorous remark I make to my daughter and watching her laugh and laugh again. It's nice to know I hit the funny bone. :)

Watching my cat chase her tail (yes, she chases her tail) which always gets me smiling at such antics. Talk about focus on the important things in life. ;)

Taking my time with a task, walking slowly through my house instead of being in a rush.

Enjoying a relaxing journaling session with a simple journal and pen, nothing fancy. Unloading my cares of the day through word and thought.

Waking from a restful night's sleep in my bed.

Enjoying a delicious slice of pecan pie.

Resting in the presence of the Creator of the Universe, enjoying the fellowship under the shadow of wings.

Loving a good book that resonates with my own experience, making it relevant and thought provoking.

The simple things. Things we may take for granted or don't think very much about. But when we stop to think, it's amazing how many simple things we can experience fully, thus allowing those great feelings of joy and contentment to fill up our inner soul.

Every day it's worth thinking through the simple points of the day and jot them down to remember them.

The silky touch of my cat's fur, the warm embrace of a cozy sweater, and the joy of connecting with those I love. The simple things.

It's worth it to slow down and pause to embrace and assimilate the goodness that life has to offer. Take it in, talk about it, and give thanks.

And remember to keep it simple.

© by Dawn Herring

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Off Pitch?

With all house responsibilities taken care of, I decided I was going to have a very relaxing morning with reading and napping to refresh my body and soul. As I prepared my pillows to suit me just right, my cat Sophie decided to join me, after her initial gazing at me, looking as if she was wondering what had come over me, getting back into bed once I had gotten up, almost unheard of.

As she curled up in a ball of fur after doing a thorough washing of herself, she settled in for a relaxing, refreshing nap. I had done some reading while she was busying herself with her cat agenda, so when she settled to nap, I decided to doze.

I promptly closed my current reading material, took off my glasses, and hunkered down in my multi-layered covers and closed my eyes.

As I fell into a completely relaxed state, I became more aware of the sounds inside the house; the popping and settling, considered typical back round noise no one pays attention to (unless something is wrong), what you may notice more at night when all the lights are out, when everyone is ready for sleep.

As I vaguely listened between my dozings, I began to realize what the source of the sounds were. It's as if my house were a living, breathing organism, with heart-like action in its center: the hot water heater popping and hissing, turning on and off to keep the warmth of the water in readiness to go into the various arteries and sections of the home, like life-giving blood pulsing through veins; the furnace belching softly as its motor, prompted by an automated thermostat, turning on and off, to fill each room with soft, warm air, keeping it as just the right temperature, just like the ability of the body to keep at the right temperature, revealing peak health.

Of course, on colder days, the frequency of the outpouring is increased, with the outdoor elements prompting it to work harder and longer to keep things at their proper setting, for both heat and water, two essentials for our human comfort.

Then there are times when those essential mechanisms of the home are in need of maintenance or repair. They've come to a point where they are no longer able to put out what and when they are meant to.

Maintenance is also essential for optimal health to benefit body, mind and spirit, especially when we encounter undue stress or unexpected difficulties or challenges. The care and keeping of our inner hearts is just as important as the keeping of our homes.

Sometimes unexpected 'cold spells' can freeze us up, leaving us winded and gasping for air, undoing our equilibrium.

Keeping our fingers on the pulse of our inner lives helps us to stay aware, be more conscious of legitimate need to refresh and invigorate the life-giving flow to those areas that are broken, struggling.

Keeping our ears open to the sounds of our daily rhythms and melodies will help us to stay tuned in when something goes off pitch or beats to a foreign drum.

And when we do, when we choose to maintain ourselves in ways that will strengthen and refresh, the effect of our life's flow will invigorate others, and, in the process, fulfill the unique place and gifting we have to share with ourselves, our families, our world.

How melodious is your inner world?

© by Dawn Herring

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Can You Hear the Laughter?

The sun is shining as I write. It is a glorious sight outside my office window.

When we have days in a row of rain, grey skies, and cold winds, the warmth and beauty of the sun's rays is a welcome sight and experience. I often get impatient to see the sun come out to play, thinking the clouds are having their way once again. Sometimes I feel like I need to have a word with them, scolding them for taking up so much space, not letting the sun have some time to sing and dance and play on the swings. A sunny day is always the perfect day for a walk and relaxing time in the park.

But there is a place for the clouds. If we never had the precipitation they provide, we would indeed be dried out. Drought is never a pretty sight, with hay colored grass if there is any grass and low levels of rain water in the much-needed rivers.
There have been times when droughts have been so severe, there has been a need for rationing of water usage.

Yes, they have their place. Even if they sometimes seem to hang around just a little too long.

But then there's always the possibility of too much rain, causing flooding, which can lead to severe damage to homes and businesses.

Balance, I believe, is key. And timing is everything.
To every thing, there is a time and a season.

Of course, when we're smack dab in the middle of a cold, wet winter, we're ready for spring before spring is ready for us.

She needs time to primp and ready herself for her 2010 debut. She knows when the time is right; we must be patient, expectant, hopeful.

Because when she does come out to play, we'll be ready and waiting to swing on the swings with her, hang from the monkey bars, and jump rope to the sound of laughter ringing in the air.

And we'll be happy because it is TIME. The right time.
We must not hurry things; if they come too soon, the great things in life will not be fully ripened. And we know that fruit is too hard and sour to eat before it's ready to delight.

Yes, there is a time and place for everything. A time for sun and a time for clouds.

Don't be discouraged or disheartened when you see a delay; believe things will come together when they are meant to be. Be patient.

Because when you see the sun shining on the horizon for the first time in a long time, it will be the gift you have been waiting for and so much more.

The sun will shine again. Just you wait and see.
And when it does, the time will be just right. Perfect. Beautiful.

I can already hear the laughter.

© by Dawn Herring

Friday, February 12, 2010

Surprise, Surprise!

I love surprises.

I like taking spontaneous drives with my husband just to chat and see some new territory we haven't covered in our great state of Texas. We often see things we don't expect, which makes the journey even more pleasant.

I love the surprise of a Monarch butterfly flitting its way past me on a beautiful summer day, or the spread of wild sunflowers along a strip of road, with their bright, sunny, laughing faces.

Or the rich red of the cardinal's feathers in a small tree outside the window; he, in a short flight of feather, comes and goes quickly. But if I have my eye open at just the right moment, that colorful element of surprise can waken a quick smile, and maybe even a laugh when my cat Sophie takes a long, mischievous look.

When I'm standing in line at the grocery store, it's a nice surprise when another cashier shows up to take me first in line, freeing up my time to get home to my family.

My husband always loves it when a parking space opens up right in front in a very crowded parking lot when he least expects it.

There have been times when I have shopped for a specific item, keeping my eye open for sometimes years at a time, and I finally find exactly what I'm looking for. I can't wait to bring it home and tell my hubby about my great find, especially when it was for a great price on sale.

Or when my Sis gives me a gift for Christmas that is absolutely perfect for me, something I've been wanting for a long time.

These surprises just Hit The Spot!

How about snow in Texas! Especially inches of snow! That is always a surprise for those of us who reside in the Lone Star state.

I think one of my favorite surprises, ultimately, is receiving a warm, delightful, sincere compliment from a friend, family member, neighbor, or reader. I never forget those wonderful moments or those who spoke or wrote them. They are a treasure.

As much as I like to receive delightful surprises, I also want to be a initiator of surprises, whatever the occasion or word might be. How can I sincerely make someone's day? How can I be a refreshment and encouragement to others?

A Special Something we can all take a minute out of our day to do for another: speak from our hearts, write a kind note of Thinking of You variety, or do something we know they will love, when they least expect it.

A surprise can be a gift of sorts; a gift of time, word, action.... and ultimately, LOVE.

And it's not just for Valentine's Day.
It can be every day.

When was the last time you received a delightful surprise?
When was the last time you gave one?

Put a smile on someone's face today; you may find yourself smiling back.

© by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Be...Like a Cat

One of the things I have learned from my cat Sophie is the way she chooses to just 'be.' Cats have a reputation for napping all day long, curled up in a tight ball of fur, often with their paws over their nose or face as if to block out light and distractions from their kitty sleep.

I love to watch Sophie, after she's been curled up for a while, when she takes a moment to stretch, letting out tension and kinks, and repositions herself for another session of just 'being.'

Of course, I've never seen Sophie question whether or not she should nap, thinking, oh, I really should just go chase a mouse or play with that toy that has that thing on the end I like to chew or chase that thing that runs across the floor, or better yet, check out the latest squirrel I noticed in the back yard the other day.

No, when Sophie wants to nap, she just does.
She chooses to rest her body to prepare for the next phase in her day or night, whatever that may entail.

I often comment to my husband that the cat's life seems to entail such bliss.

Now, of course, when Sophie is napping, it is only on occasion that she deeply sleeps, and even when she does that, it doesn't take much to wake her. When she's in the curled up position, resting, her ears are always on the alert, ready to pick up the slightest sound, which may clue her into to something she just can't miss.

Sometimes, she'll jump immediately from her place of pause to investigate where that noise came from: was it a squirrel making a scratching noise in the wall? Was it a stray cat in the neighborhood stopping by to say 'Meow'? Or was it someone in the kitchen just waiting to hand out a tasty morsel for her to sniff and nibble on?

Sophie knows there is a time and place for rest or to just 'be' and a time to investigate and be alert to her surroundings.

Our days are always filled with those things that need to be investigated, aren't they? Have you ever noticed that there is always a 'to do' list that can be written? Between our jobs, our homes, our families, and our community, every day contains something, even things pertinent, to occupy us.

So, how do we know when it's time to just 'be?'

Just like Sophie, we have to take time. We need to make our rest and being time a priority. Whatever we choose that refreshes us, whether it be a nap, time to journal, to pray or meditate, or just sit in our recliners, resting our weary bones and cluttered minds, that's what we need to do.

And there's no need for guilt or wondering if we should go wash the dishes or put on another load of laundry or finish writing checks to mail or fix that repair. Because, when you are finished with your 'being' time, all of those tasks will still be there waiting for you.

When you prioritize your being time, you will have more energy to take care of all those other things. Sometimes all it takes is ten minutes to refresh and recharge. And the benefits of just being are enormous.

When was the last time you refreshed yourself and took time to just be? Do it today. Do it every day. Make it a habit.

Now, that's a resolution worth keeping.

© by Dawn Herring

Popular Posts

Dawn's #JournalChat Favorite (formerly Pick of the Day)

You can now view Dawn's #JournalChat Favorites on my website: http://www.dawnherring.net/journalchat-pick-of-the-day.html

Wednesday's Pick (9/27) Dream Journaling Puts Your Dream Fairy Back to Work for You by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (9/24) Journal, Breathe, Dissolve by Cate Baily

Monday's Pick (9/23) How to Keep a Career Journal by Dolly Garland

Wednesday's Pick (9/18) How Journaling Makes Everything Better by Faith Watson

Tuesday's Pick (9/17) The Simple Way to Leave Your Stress at Work by Drake Baer

Monday's Pick (9/16) Why Did You Stop Journaling? by Jennifer Sikora

Wednesday's Pick (9/11) 21 Ways I Use My Notebook by Mike Swickey

Tuesday's Pick (9/10) 5 Reasons Why Journaling is the Ultimate Tool for Self-Development

Monday's Pick (9/9) Allowing Space by Daisy Ann Hickman

Wednesday's Pick (8/28) From Journal to Memoir by Sharon Lippincott

Tuesday's Pick (8/27) The Dark Side of Journaling by Leary Gates

Monday's Pick (8/26) The One Easy Daily Habit That Makes Life More Awesome by Laura Vanderkam

Wednesday's Pick (8/21) "What Should I Write in My Journal?" by Quinn McDonald

Tuesday's Pick (8/20) 7 Tips I Have Learned About Connecting with My Purpose for Writing My Memoir by Kathleen Pooler

Monday's Pick (8/19) Beyond Certainty by Daisy Ann Hickman

Wednesday's Pick (8/14) Making the Mind-Body Connection by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (8/13) Writing Prompts that Always Work by Christine Houser

Monday's Pick (8/12) What's Your Story by Debra DiPietro

Wednesday's Pick (8/7) 5 Reasons Journaling is a Life Changing Skill by Dolly Garland

Tuesday's Pick (8/6) A Two Step Journaling Process (for when you're feeling stuck or scared by Jill Winski

Monday's Pick (8/5) Blogging vs. Journaling by Diana Raab

Wednesday's Pick (7/31) Christian Journaling: Will Letters to God Overcome Resistance? by Thomas Freeman

Tuesday's Pick (7/30) Write It, Speak It, Just Try It by Michael Eric Frye

Monday's Pick (7/29) Pen to Paper: Soulful, Loving and Guilt Free Self-Care through Reflective Journaling by Lynda Monk

Wednesday's Pick (7/24) Voices in the City School by Dr. Julie Ann Connor

Tuesday's Pick (7/23) Start a Journaling Practice by Minette Riordan

Monday's Pick (7/22) Journal for Decisions Making by Mari McCarthy

Wednesday's Pick (7/17) Happy Beads by Juliet Platt

Tuesday's Pick (7/16) 360 Degree Journal Writing Tool by John Robson

Monday's Pick (7/15) Journal to the Center of Yourself by Jordan Rosenfeld

Wednesday's Pick (7/10) To Make Better Decisions, Map Them Out by Drake Baer

Tuesday's Pick (7/9) Comfort in Journaling by Susan Wilson

Monday's Pick (7/8) Don't Forget to Check Inside by Jill Winski

Wednesday's Pick (6/26) 5 Steps to Hot Summer Journaling by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (6/25) How Art Journaling Saved My Life (and what it can do for you) by Kristal Norton

Monday's Pick (6/24) Journaling Your Way to Personal Growth by Marquita Herald

Wednesday's Pick (6/19) What is the difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary day? by Debra DiPietro

Tuesday's Pick (6/18) Dear Diary: The Importance of Keeping a Journal by Victoria Herrera

Monday's Pick (6/17) Why You Need to Run a Timelog (and How To Do It) by Scott H. Young

Wednesday's Pick (6/12) Coach's Corner: Danielle's Journal by Kim Ades

Tuesday's Pick (6/11) Journaling to the Center: How Writing Encourages Insight and Healing by Douglas Mitchell

Monday's Pick (6/10) Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start Doing It TODAY by Ericson Ay Mires

Wednesday's Pick (6/5) Writing for Your Children by Hugh Roberts

Tuesday's Pick (6/4) Art Journal Inspiration: Open Up Your Journal and Play by Tammy Garcia

Monday's Pick (6/3) Journaling Time: Let's Take a Fearless Inventory by Terri Cole

Friday's Pick (5/31) "Dear Journal" - Journaling Insights #2 by Juliet Platt

Wednesday's Pick (5/29) A Question of Privacy by Juliet Platt

Tuesday's Pick (5/28) Transformative Journal Writing by Janine VanderWhitte, LPC

Wednesday's Pick (5/22) Journaling: What I Learned About Tomorrow by Karen Samford

Tuesday's Pick (5/21) DIY Solo Retreat: Portrait of Self by Tina Bradley

Monday's Pick (5/20) Reflections on My Mother’s Circle of Love: A Memoir Moment by Kathleen Pooler


Wednesday's Pick (5/15) Creating the Space for Self-Exploration by Isabelle Rizo

Tuesday's Pick (5/14) Keeping a Journal Can Facilitate Good Writing by Sheila Bender

Monday's Pick (5/13) 10 Things You Should Write in Your Productivity Journal by Craig Jarrow

Friday's Pick (5/10) Write In Your Journal: Defrag Your Brain by Ruth Folit

Wednesday's Pick (5/8) Journaling: The Best Kept Secret for Staying in Shape by Karen Ficarelli


Tuesday's Pick (5/7) Journal Writing: Tweets for the Tweeps by Mari McCarthy

Monday's Pick (5/6) Six-Word Stories, Statements, and Exclamations: A Journaling Exercise by Eleanor Haley


Friday's Pick (5/3) Become an outrageous rock star – or write a journal by Juliet Platt

Tuesday's Pick (4/30) 12 New Ways to Get Your Journal On by Stephanie Seibel

Monday's Pick (4/29) Journaling Your Way to Discovery by Angela Wilkinson

Friday's Pick (4/26) Get More You Into Your Art Journal Pages by Tammy Garcia

Wednesday's Pick (4/24) How to Overcome Creative Blocks by Hannah Braime


Monday's Pick (4/22) Purposeful Pathway Biz Tip: Business Journaling by Caroline Gavin

Friday's Pick (4/19) Perfect Health: Journal Writing Your Way to a Better Body by Mari McCarthy

Wednesday's Pick (4/17) 5x5x5: The Simple Way to Achieve Your Big Hairy Audacious Goals by Hannah Braime


Tuesday's Pick (4/16) "If Only..." 3 Fun Journal Writing Prompts by Mari McCarthy

Monday's Pick (4/15) Inviting Silence by Daisy Ann Hickman

Friday's Pick (4/12) How Journal Writing Pushed Me Beyond My Limits by Joseph Bernard, Ph. D.


Wednesday's Pick (4/10) 4 Ways to Use Journaling to Calm Your Inner Critic by Hannah Braime

Tuesday's Pick (4/9) Kicking Fear to the Curb with Journaling by Jasmine Cianflone

Monday's Pick (4/8) Why Journal Writing is Soul Work by Lynda Monk

Friday's Pick (4/5) Continuous Reinvention=Blossoming Potentials by Tina Bradley

Wednesday's Pick (4/3) Write Into Your Pain by Amber Lea Starfire

Tuesday's Pick (4/2) Self Care Is NOT Selfish Care by Amy Frost

Friday's Pick (3/29) I Am sure of myself by Debra DiPietro

Wednesday's Pick (3/27) Speed Journaling: Get Your Self Unstuck Write Away by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (3/26) Journaling for Self-Care: The Healing Power of Writing by Lynda Monk

Monday's Pick (3/25) Emotional Vomit on the Page by Julie Luek

Friday's Pick (3/22) Thursday Q&A // Journaling by Sarah Danaher

Wednesday's Pick (3/20) Which Is Better: Inspiration or Influence? by Cynthia Morris

Tuesday's Pick (3/19) Behavior Modification for the Creative Soul by Quinn McDonald


Friday's Pick (3/15) 3 Tips to Attract Abundance by Bethany Butzer, Ph.d.

Wednesday's Pick (3/13) I AM These Thirteen Things by Debra DiPietro

Tuesday's Pick (3/12) Wings--Art Journal by Norma Gomez

Monday's Pick (3/11) Clarity Heals Suffering by Nathan Ohren

Friday's Pick (3/8) Journaling Techniques: Writing on the Stream of Consciousness by Amber Lea Starfire

Wednesday's Pick (3/6) The Many Health Benefits of Journal Writing by Beth Miller

Tuesday's Pick (3/5) Art Journal Tip: Meditate with a Mandala by Valerie Storey

Monday's Pick (3/4) Feed Yourself Images-It's Good for You by Jill Winski

Friday's Pick (3/1) Tossed Aside by Daisy Ann Hickman

Wednesday's Pick (2/27) How to Use and Create Masks with Mixed Media Collage by Erin Leigh

Tuesday's Pick (2/26) The Doodle as SoulStory by Kristen Radden

Monday's Pick (2/25) How Food Journaling Helped Me Become a More Intuitive Eater by Sean Devenport


Wednesday's Pick (2/20) Taking Action on What You Know by Jill Winski

Tuesday's Pick (2/19) Journal to Find Your Core Self by Mari McCarthy

Monday's Pick (2/18) 10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow, and Thrive by Loran Hills

Wednesday's Pick (2/13) Want to Start Journaling? Write One Sentence Per Day by Chamonix Thurston-Rattue

Tuesday's Pick (2/12) The Best Kept Secret in the Business of Ideas! by Kerry Kilpatrick

Monday's Pick (2/11) The Benefits of Keeping a Work Journal by Madeline Stilley

Wednesday's Pick (2/6) Keeping a Cancer Journal: Your Private Healing Journey by Dr. Laurie Nadel

Tuesday's Pick (2/5) Journal to Memoir: Planting Seeds for Story by Kathleen Pooler

Friday's Pick (2/1) Write Your Way to Change in the New Year by Debra Marrs

Wednesday's Pick (1/30) 10 Famous Authors on the Importance of Keeping a Journal by Emily Temple

Monday's Pick (1/28) What Are You Committed To? by Debra DiPietro

Friday's Pick (1/25) What to Write in Your Fancy Schmancy Journal by Ian Duncan

Wednesday's Pick (1/23) How to Restart Your Journaling Habit by Nathan Ohren

Tuesday's Pick (1/22) Art Journaling: Eyes Like Rudolph's Nose by Julie Kirk

Monday's Pick (1/21) Keeping a Writer's Journal by Dolly Garland

Friday's Pick (1/18) Three Fun Journaling Techniques to Open Your Heart after Brain Injury by Barbara Stahura

Wednesday's Pick (1/16) Uniquely You by Rachel Thomasian


Monday's Pick (1/14) What Should I Write In My Journal by Dolly Garland

Friday's Pick (1/11) Keep a Daily Journaling Practice Forever by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (1/8) Blueprint for Daily Living by Terri Cole

Monday's Pick (1/7) Create the Life You Want- Start an Action Journal by Sherri Carter, MS

Friday's Pick (1/4) Preview 2013: Ten Journaling Questions to Help You Envision Your Ideal Life Next Year by Rosetta Thurman

Wednesday's Pick (1/2) Awakened Consciousness by Dr. Micheal Pearlman


Wednesday's Pick (12/19) Journaling by Rachel Thomasian

Tuesday's Pick (12/18) The Secret to Happiness and Productivity by Ken Makovsky

Monday's Pick (12/17) Journal Joy by Rebecca Jensen

Friday's Pick (12/14) 5 Steps to Achieving Your Goals (and creating the life you want) by Dolly Garland

Wednesday's Pick (12/12) Writing From Your Heart by Jacqui Malpass

Tuesday's Pick (12/11) Eleven ways to write away worry in a journal for a better night’s sleep by Debra DiPietro

Monday's Pick (12/10) Vulnerability and Courage by Quinn McDonald

Friday's Pick (12/7) 7 Astounding Benefits of Journal Writing by Juliet Platt

Wednesday's Pick (12/5) Make Travel Journaling Fun! by Jennifer Miller


Wednesday's Pick (11/28) Writing Tools: The Journal by Nutschell Windsor

Tuesday's Pick (11/27) 5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Journal Writing When the Words Won’t Flow by Adela Rubio

Monday's Pick (11/26) My Gratitude Journal Taught Me I am a Food-Obsessed, Greedy Cheater Who Still Loves Life by Jayleigh Lewis

Friday's Pick (11/16) Finding the Real You by Lynn Sambrano

Wednesday's Pick (11/14) Do You Aspire to Mediocrity? by Dolly Garland

Tuesday's Pick (11/13) Wouldn't It Be Interesting If...By Debra DiPietro

Friday's Pick (11/9) How Writing Saved My Weary, Pushed-to-the-Edge, New-Mother Soul by Karen Horneffer-Ginter, PhD

Wednesday's Pick (11/7) Travel Tuesdays: Writing and Reflecting by Michelle Cusolito

Tuesday's Pick (11/6) From Journal to Memoir: The Floorplan of Your Mind by Rita Jacobs, PhD

Monday's Pick (11/5) From Journal to Memoir: Capturing the Past through Sense Memory by Rita Jacobs, PhD

Friday's Pick (11/2) Just the Way You Are by Melanie Kindrachuk

Wednesday's Pick (10/31) A Journal Writing Prompt Blooms in My Garden by Ruth Folit

Tuesday's Pick (10/30) Want to Know Yourself Better? Ask Yourself These Questions by Gretchen Rubin

Monday's Pick (10/29) Moments Journal Writing Prompt by Karna Converse @LiteraryMama

Friday's Pick (10/26) Writing in My Journal by Carol Berg

Wednesday's Pick (10/24) Dealing with Fear This Halloween by Debra DiPietro

Tuesday's Pick (10/23) Journal Writing Ideas: Daily Gratitudes by Melissa Donovan

Monday's Pick (10/22) Art Journaling: No Rules by Leah Michon

Friday's Pick (10/19) How Writing Saved My Life by Amanda Duran

Wednesday's Pick (10/17) Make Journal Writing Therapy Your New Wake Up Call by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (10/16) The Importance of Journaling by Ehen Akpan

Friday's Pick (10/12) Use Your Journal for Storytelling Practice by Amber Lea Starfire


Wednesday's Pick (10/10) 15 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Right Now by Amy Shearn


Tuesday's Pick (10/9) Feeling Like a Fraud? Fearlessly Embrace and Own All the Good! By Terri Cole

Monday's Pick (10/8) Journal Writing Therapy Playing Word Association by Mari McCarthy

Friday's Pick (10/5) A Weekend Wondering Exercise: What Will You Change? by Stacy Vajta

Tuesday's Pick (10/2) How to Get Past Fears That Stop You From Living Your Dreams by Dolly Garland


Tuesday's Pick (9/25) Writing in Your Dream Journal by Debra DiPietro

Monday's Pick (9/24) Letting Go by Sarah Richardson

Friday's Pick (9/21) A Weekend Wondering Exercise: Your Inner Critic by Stacy Vajta

Wednesday's Pick (9/19) What to do with the "E" word by Yvonne Root

Tuesday's Pick (9/18) What You See is What You Remember by Quinn McDonald

Monday's Pick (9/17) 16 Life Lessons Learned from Journaling by Dolly Garland

Friday's Pick (9/14) The Confusing Lines We Draw by Quinn McDonald

Wednesday's Pick (9/12) Do You Feel Guilty When You Don't Journal? by Dolly Garland

Tuesday's Pick (9/11) From Journal to Memoir: 8 Reasons to Keep a Journal by Rita D. Jacobs, PhD

Monday's Pick (9/10) Key Words: The Madeleines of Journal Writing by Joycelyn Campbell

Friday's Pick of the Day (9/7) How to Journal with Your Teen by Candy Gibbs


Tuesday's Pick (9/4) Wise Choices by Bruce Black

Friday's Pick (8/31) Journal Writing and Memoir: Using Your Journals for Research by Kat Collins

Wednesday's Pick (8/29) Journal Writing Shifts by Shannon

Tuesday's Pick (8/28) De-Clutter Your Cranium to Make Room for the Good Stuff by Terri Cole

Monday's Pick (8/27) One Journal for Everything or Separate Journals for Different Things? by Dolly Garland


Friday's Pick (8/24) Spark Your Self Acceptance with Three Small Questions by Rosie Molinary

Wednesday's Pick (8/22) Ahhh...Am I Really Ready for the Next Level?!?! by Molly Rider


Monday's Pick (8/20) Celebrating a Reached Goal by Quinn McDonald

Friday's Pick (8/17) Writing the Chapters of Your Life by Patti Testerman

Wednesday's Pick (8/15) Daily Creative Practice by Effy Wild

Tuesday's Pick (8/14) Warp Your Journal by Joel Basgall

Monday's Pick (8/13) When One Door Closes, Another Opens by Debra DiPietro

Friday's Pick (8/10) Re-Frame Your Fear of Failure by Terri Cole

Wednesday's Pick (8/8) 5 Ways to Develop Your Writing Style by Lisa Cherry

Tuesday's Pick (8/7) Journaling as a Coping Device by Kelley Harrell

Monday's Pick (8/6) Seeking Serenity: Journaling for Mindfulness by Bruce Black

Friday's Pick (8/3) Why I Gave Journaling Another Try by Leary Gates

Wednesday's Pick (8/1) How to Make Your Writing Pop and Shine by Jessica Morrow

Tuesday's Pick (7/31) Self-Confidence: What Is It, and Where Does It Come From by Dolly Garland

Monday's Pick (7/30) So I Will Write It All Down by Vivienne Borne

Friday's Pick (7/27) The Naked Writer by Laura M. Talley

Wednesday's Pick (7/25) The 5 Blessings of Keeping a Journal by Bruce Black

Tuesday's Pick (7/24) The Elevator Pitch the Write Way by Joanna Tebbs Young

Monday's Pick (7/23) Something Yours by Patty Froese

Friday's Pick (7/20) Journals and A Writing Exercise by Lauren B. Davis

Wednesday's Pick (7/18) Do You Have the Disease to Please? by Terri Cole

Tuesday's Pick (7/17) The 7 Benefits of Keeping a Daily Journal by Michael Hyatt

Monday's Pick (7/16) Jealousy: How to Work Through It by Quinn McDonald

Friday's Pick (7/13) What Are You Making Time for in Your Life? by Debra DiPietro

Wednesday's Pick (7/11) Journaling After Brain Injury by Barbara Stahura

Tuesday's Pick (7/10) 8 Ways Journaling Can Help Simplify Your Thoughts by Dolly Garland

Monday's Pick (7/9) I Create; Therefore I Am by Julie Flygare

Friday's Pick (7/6) Journal Writing with Children by Michelle

Monday's Pick (7/2) The Art of Journal Writing by Elizabeth Beck

Friday's Pick (6/29) Write for the Health of It: Five Reasons Why Writing is Good for Us by Debra DiPietro

Wednesday's Pick (6/27) Where is the Happy Happening? by Terri Cole






































































































Monday's Pick (12/26) Day 12: The Ritual to Get You Writing by Quinn McDonald


Tuesday's Pick (12/20) Journaling for Self-Discovery by Rosie Molinary

Friday's Pick (12/16) Journal Writing Prompt 31-Priorities by Dolly Garland

Monday's Pick (12/19) Keep a Dream Journal-Why Bother? by Patti Testerman

Today's #JournalChat Pick of the Day






















































Thursday's Pick (9/15) Journaling video by Will Steger









Thursday's Pick (9/1) A Challenge and Some Journalng Prompts by Amy Sorensen









Friday's Pick (8/19) Altars to Remember by Amanda



























(6/14): Journaling Your Travel with Book Journals

(6/13) Last Seen....Journaling

(6/10) Joy of Journal Writing

(6/9) Using Your Journal to Clear Your Clutter


(6/7) Personal Journaling Sure Beats a Bad Day

(6/6) 4 Journal Writing Prompts to Spark New Insights

(6/3) "What Oprah Knows For Sure"-#1

(6/2) Sharing Your Thank You and Love through Personal Journaling

(6/1) Kid Quotes are the Best

(5/31) Journaling-The Art of Deep Communication with the Self

(5/30) Spiral-Bound and Spellbound

(5/27) Dare to Dream

(5/26) What Lies Beneath

(5/25) Biggest Mistake Forgiven

(5/23) Journal Writing Your Wrong Ways

(5/20) Journaling Techniques for Writers with Tina M. Games

(5/18) Travel Journal For Kids

(5/17) Planning Ahead, Looking Back

(5/16) Journal Writing Prompt 21: Right Now

(5/13)Mind Your P's and Q's: Part V

(5/10) Art Journaling Prompt: Happiness

(5/09) Journaling with Photos

(5/6) MIA by Rachel with Pen to Paper

(5/5) How to Combine Reflective Writing with Meditation and Yoga

(5/4) Journaling

(5/3) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: The Nature of Resistance

(5/2) Collages, Your Mom, and more

(4/29) Dear Diary: The 4 Payoffs from Writing a Work Journal

(4/28) Secrets Journaling Prompt

(4/27) The Miracle of Mindfulness

(4/26) Your Philosophy

(4/25) Journal Writing Basics: Ask How

(4/22) What Inspires You? What Excites You?

(4/21) Journal Writing Prompt 18: Busy Life/Stress/Responsibilities

(4/19) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: Expanding Creativity


(4/15) Journal-Keeping: Tips and Ideas for Writers

(4/14) Mind Your P's and Q's: Part I

(4/13) Journal Writing Through Life's Passages: Moving

(4/12) Appreciate Journaling: Children Need to Write

(4/11) Journaling for Healing, Health, and Happiness
(4/7) Yellow Legal Pad

(4/6) Meet Brooke Snow! An Amazing Mom!

(3/30) Let the Left Brain Know What the Right Brain is Doing: An Interview with Dr. Lucia Capacchione

(3/28) Movies Journal Prompt

(3/25) The Power of Forgetting

(3/24) Ten Ways to Keep a Great Diary

(3/23) Journal to the Soul

(3/22) A Reflective Writing Honoring of Women's History Month

(3/21) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: Vulnerability

(3/18) How Journaling Changed My Life: Receiving Journal Insight


(3/14) Let Them Play in the Backyard


(3/11) How to Keep a Journal When You Don't Ever Have Any Time

(3/10) Memories

(3/9) Journal Writing through Emotions: Disappointment

(3/8) Revolutionary Act 3: Reclaim Your Mornings

(3/7) 7 Reasons to Start a Journal

(3/4) "I Wish.."










































































































































































































































































































































Three Steps Toward Accountability...to Yourself (as published in SFC Newsletter, Dec 08 edition)

Accountability: to give a reckoning or explanation for one’s actions, responsible.

When most people think of accountability, they often negatively associate it with answering to others, such as a spouse, a friend, a mentor, or, in most cases, a boss. As a writer, you are your own boss, which is one of the reasons that you need to be accountable to yourself. And it can be a positive experience rather than a negative one.

The first step in being accountable to yourself as a writer is setting goals for your writing and keeping track of projects you want to finish. Incurring a deadline for yourself can help
motivate you in this area. This step can also include daily writing goals. Some authors plan how many words or pages per day they will write.
I’ve set goals for myself as a writer by making them reachable and attainable. This year I have set a goal to write at least one scene for my novel per week and at least one other piece,
whether it be memoir or essay, per week. That can mean just making notes, writing a first draft, or revising a draft.
As long as your goals keep you moving forward and you’re making progress, then you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Once you have your goals set, the next step in accountability to yourself is writing down what you accomplish each day. You can use a daily calendar just for writing or keep track of your
daily accomplishments on your computer. I designed a custom monthly writing calendar. It helps me track what I write daily, whether or not I’ve met my goal for the week, and it has
space for ideas for future writing pieces. I also have a spot to keep track of books I’m reading for that month. I use abbreviations to keep the daily writing easier and to save space. As I review each completed month, I can go back to see what I’ve accomplished and keep track of when I wrote each piece.
Whether you use something pre-made or customize something for yourself, use whatever works for you and helps you stay accountable to yourself.

A third, and perhaps most important, aspect in accountability in your writing is taking care of yourself as a writer. Than can mean giving yourself space and not being hard on yourself if
you don’t reach your goals each day or each week.
Flexibility and refreshment are paramount to your health as a writer. It also frees up your creativity and can actually help you produce more quality writing in the long run.
I enjoy writing in my journal, reading fiction or memoir, and watching a good movie with my family. Taking a walk, listening to music, talking with your family members, and just taking time to sit and enjoy life are all ways you can be good to
yourself—and ultimately accountable—as a writer.

Learn to celebrate your accomplishments and your uniqueness as a writer. That’s one of the best ways to be accountable—to yourself!