Shelby asked me to take her to Target after school. She wouldn’t tell me why, because she was afraid I’d say no. When we got there, she grabbed a cart and took off on her own. Eventually, I caught up with her, and her cart was filled with crackers, raisins, granola bars and water. She had decided — on her own — she was going to make bags for the homeless. She wants to keep the snacks in our car, so when we see a homeless person we have something to give them. She even got dog food so she had something for the their pets. 

She paid for all of this with her own money … Christmas money she received from her Granda Linda. I’m not sure I know a lot of kids who would voluntarily use there Christmas cash to feed to homeless, but I’m not the least bit surprised she did. That’s who she is. She feels so much for those less fortunate than her. Her compassion is astounding. I know I was given this precious, astute soul because I need to learn more about sacrifice, compassion and acceptance. 

I could not be prouder of the woman she’s growing into. May we all be as kind as she tries to be. 

Note: she didn’t want me to take her picture or make a big deal about this. Her intentions are so pure. But I share this because I though we could all learn from her example.

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I love the chance to start over. With each new year, there is something magical about resetting and starting over. You can leave last year behind (YES! Can I leave that Trump chump behind too?) And you can make the new year whatever you’d like it to be. Whether you set goals or make resolutions, I feel like there is something powerful in closing out one year and starting anew the next. there is something magical about a new year. I lv

However … when I sat down and thought about what I wanted my 2017 to look like, I was surprised by how much my goals/resolutions mirrored my desires from the last few years. Broadly, I want the same things. I want to spend more time being creative. I want to be healthier and take better care of my body. I want to plan and execute BIG passion projects. I want to record my memories and reflect on the goodness I have in my life. Though the specific, small details vary from year to year, my heart definitely feels called to some larger themes (health, wellness, creativity, connection).

For now — it could change as the year goes on and I possibly feel differently or shift my focus — my goal is to do the following each day:

  • Journal. I’m using an app on my phone called Grid Diary)
  • Get at least 10k steps (Mike & I are running a half marathon on the 15th, so we’ll get plenty of steps that day!).
  • Make time for creative play (I’m working on a daily series of watercolor paintings, as well as couple of different encaustic series)
  • Work in my Passion Planner (this is where I’m mapping out my creative goals for 2017, which include submitting my work to some local shows/galleries)
  • Take a video (as a way to document our lives).

I know it’s only the fifth day of the year, but I feel super excited and motivated. Dare I say 2017 is going to be even better than 2016 (minus that part about having a misogynistic asshole as president)? I have a good feeling about this one … it’s gonna be awesome.

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2016 didn’t turn out the way I expected. Not one bit. If you would have asked me 12 months ago if I would have a new job or Donald Trump as our President Elect, I would have laughed and said “No way.” But that’s exactly what happened. 

When I was laid off in March, I was equal parts stunned and relieved. I cried when I heard the news (after I got off the phone with my former boss), but with a little time to get used to the change, I realized something: fresh starts are awesome and I needed a kick in the pants to start down a new path. I had a new job seven weeks after being laid off. I love my new job. I love the people I work with. And I feel more professionally challenged than I have in ages.

I didn’t even see it coming, but 2016 turned out to be pretty awesome. Funny how that works, eh?

2016  was a kick-ass year. It was filled with change. It was filled with magic. It was filled with travel. It was filled with laughter. It was filled with connection. It was filled with creative adventures and discoveries.

I didn’t even see it coming, but 2016 turned out to be pretty awesome. Funny how that works, eh?

I’d also call 2016 the “year I found myself creatively.” I had a creative play date early in the year and my friend Laurie introduced me to encaustics. It was love at first sight. The encaustic art I’ve created this year is without a doubt my favorite work. 

 I didn’t even see it coming, but 2016 turned out to be pretty awesome. Funny how that works, eh?

There were moment I though 2016 was going to break me. But, it didn’t. I ran more miles in 2016 than ever before. I lost 10 pounds (and have kept it off). I found my people, my tribe. For all the shit and muck, there was so much beauty. 

 I didn’t even see it coming, but 2016 turned out to be pretty awesome. Funny how that works, eh?

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Dear Park Mall Santa,

You had no idea when my little boy climbed on your lap tonight he’d just been crying. He was very worried he wasn’t going to be on the “good list”. He wiped his tears away, but when you sweetly asked him what he’d like for Christmas, the tears rolled again. I watched, a little nervous how you’d respond … And what you did cracked my heart wide open. You wrapped your arms around my sweet boy; you held him close; you wiped away his tears; and you whispered reassuring words to him.

You called me over and said “Mom, your boy was worried he’s not on my good list. But I told him he was. He’s on my good list because he has such a good heart and he’s working so hard at school. That’s what he’s on my good list.” He turned and looked at Cooper and said, “Everyone has bad days, but we just try our hardest and those bad days pass. But you have a good heart and that’s what matters.”

Dear sweet mall Santa, you went above and beyond your call of duty this evening. I’ll carry your kind words and compassion in my heart. You my friend, are what this season is about. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

This Mama

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