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Monday, October 27, 2014

Staying focused on the dream

240Ah, the grand plans of a dreamer... one of the things I noticed about when you dream of doing something big, something always gets in the way. I no sooner launched my art journaling class than a minor catastrophe hit our household. I ended up having to focus at least two hours a day on this situation. Completely beyond my control, and absolutely necessary for me to deal with. On top of that, I had some important book deadlines, some major events happening in my world, and it felt like everything was spinning out of control. Times like that, it's easy to wonder if maybe you weren't meant to pursue your dream after all.

If your dream was what you were meant to do, wouldn't it be easy?

That faulty thinking stopped me in my tracks a lot in the past. If I were to list every single thing that has gone wrong in my life in the past month, it would almost be funny. Um, yeah, no. I'm still finding no humor in it. That said, all the muck I've had to wade through has been a source of valuable lessons. And, if I'm really looking for silver linings, some really precious time with my family. But it's also given me tremendous clarity.

When you make the decision to move from one state of being into your dreams, it's almost as if the universe is asking you, "do you really want this?" So many times, we're able to step back and justify remaining exactly where we are. It's easy to fool ourselves into thinking that maybe the timing is wrong. When things settle down, THEN we'll go after that dream again. But you know what? Things never settle down.

Challenges are your dream's way of testing to see if you're worthy of having that dream.

Now, I'm not talking worthiness in terms of saying you stink, so you don't deserve your dream. But I do think that when we want more, we have to prove that we're willing to be more. Are you willing to face the dragons that are in front of you? Are you willing to fight them? Do you believe so strongly in your dream that you are willing to overcome what you need to overcome to have it?

If it were easy, you'd already have your dream.

Think about it. Why don't you have your dream now? No one's handed it to you, and no one's going to.

Which brings me back to the challenges I faced earlier this month. It's been two weeks of doing a bunch of stuff I don't want to do, don't have time to do, but I don't have any alternative but to do it. But I also didn't give up on my dream. I didn't do as much work on it as I'd have liked, and I went without a little more sleep than I would have liked, but I did what I had to do.

Are you being pushed to your limits in pursuing your dream?

I hope so! That means you're on the right track! And if you're looking for a little encouragement or some tools to help you along the way, I'd love to help. Sign up for my Unleash Your Creative Spirit class, and let's get you unstuck and moving forward. Your dreams are worth pursuing!

Now it's your turn... What's holding you back on following your dreams?


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Your Dreams Matter

[caption id="attachment_4643" align="alignleft" width="300"]Let's have tea at Kensington Gardens. Let's have tea at Kensington Gardens.[/caption]

The past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind for me. Some of you were part of my great big huge prayer request and know that I'm stepping out on faith to pursue my dream and start my art journaling business. Coincidentally (HA! Does anyone really believe in coincidences? Thank you, LORD, for aligning everything in such perfect timing), I'm taking the blog challenge with Jeff Goins, and his lesson today was on finding the theme and purpose of your blog.

You have no idea how perfect that timing is for me. One of the reasons I haven't started my art journaling business is because I am still fuzzy on my purpose. But as I thought about my blog and its purpose, it really clarified for me what I'm doing.

Right now, you may be wondering what that has to do with YOUR dreams mattering. Well, I'll tell you.

My purpose, my deep down heart's desire, is for you- yes, you- to know how very much your dreams matter.

The theme has been there, staring me in the face, and I couldn't see it. I thought my online name, "Dream," was just an accident. I took it from an old email address I used based off my husband's business name. So let's back up to that place. One of the things that attracted me to my husband was that he used to have this manifesto on his wall that really inspired me. It said something like, "Bigger Dreams, Brighter Future," and I thought, I want to be with the kind of person who has big dreams in life. More importantly, though, a lot of his dream was about other people, and helping them. I wanted to be a part of that.

However, time has passed, and a lot of those dreams hubby had that first inspired me are now irrelevant. Different path in life, nothing bad, nothing wrong with changing them. But the thing inside of me that wanted to help people, it never died. In fact, as I look back on what I've been wanting to do with my life, I realized that even when I was younger, as early as 12, maybe even before that, I wanted to help people.

Everywhere I look at my life, at my past, I see an undercurrent of two things: I want to help people, and dreams matter. Even the title of my very first book, one of my dreams come true, reflects that- Rocky Mountain Dreams. My dream is simply not complete unless I'm helping others get theirs. I don't want to be alone taking tea at Kensington Palace. Maybe tea isn't your thing, but there is something out there that is. Maybe you are so lost in your world that you don't even know what you want anymore. I want to help you find it.

A long time ago, I found myself so beat up by the world that I stopped dreaming. I stopped believing I could do it. And then I found art journaling.

Once I started art journaling, something deep inside me broke free. The voices of all the things I wanted to do with my life WOULD. NOT. SHUT. UP. I started being braver, taking risks, doing things I'd always wanted to do but put off because I didn't think I could. I went to England. I took all kinds of classes that stirred my soul. And now, I am stepping in to live my dream and fully be the me that God created me to be.

Friends, that is the core of my business. Who I am, what I want to do, and why I am doing it. The subject of my blog is dreams. My theme is that every woman (and man, but I think women probably relate to me more) has the ability and the power to reach their dreams. My objective is to encourage women to pursue their dreams and to equip them to do so with my art journal tools.

Your dreams matter. I believe in you, and I believe that whatever it is that you want to do, you CAN do it. So if there is something stirring inside you, a dream that you've buried, or even a dream that no matter how hard you've tried, it just doesn't seem to work, come journey with me. Let's do this thing together!

Tell me your dream, and if you want to continue the conversation, sign up for my newsletter, and I'll start sharing some of my dream-making tips in your inbox soon!

My brand new about page!!

[caption id="attachment_4615" align="alignleft" width="300"]Say hello to my little Peep. Say hello to my little Peep.[/caption]

I'm totally blog cheating so that I have a post for today's blog challenge. Okay, not really, but sort of. I went ahead and updated my About page as part of the blog challenge from Jeff Goins, and that took all the time I set aside for blogging (and then some). But I really wanted to create something that spoke to who I am and what I do in a more meaningful way.

So tell me what you think of my new About Me page.

Do you like it? Does it resonate with you? For those of you who know me well, or maybe not so well, does it sound like me? Is there anything I'm missing, or that you think I should add?

Also, because I spent so much time talking about my chickens, I'm thinking about adding a chickens page. Is that too weird? Or just totally awesome?? (I'm leaning toward totally awesome, but you all know how biased I am toward my chickens.)

While I'm picking your brain, if there's anything you do want to know about me, be sure to let me know.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Where is your focus?

[caption id="attachment_4635" align="alignleft" width="225"]What are you focused on? What are you focused on?[/caption]

Earlier today, I was driving to an appointment and thinking about what I'd be blogging about today since I'm taking a blog challenge from Jeff Goins and I need to post daily. But then, something happened, and what was a really super awesome mood is just now, well, meh. I'm feeling a little deflated and a little discouraged. Which is when it occurred to me. Losing your focus is really easy.

Maybe that sounds a little too obvious, but sometimes I think we forget.

When we have a big dream, it's easy for little things to slip in and take away our focus.

I went from being rah-rah, I can do this, and here is what I have all laid out, to really feeling bad about myself, beating myself up, and feeling insecure. And immediately, I forgot all about the other plans I had. The good things I wanted to do. Fortunately, I didn't remain in that place for long. I asked myself an important question- is this what I want?

If we're focused on all the negatives and reasons why we can't, or even just the things that are dragging us down in other areas of our lives, we leave no room for the good things to come in.

With no room for the good things to come in, how on earth am I supposed to get the things I really want?

I'm not saying this is easy. Trust me! Even as I write this, I'm tempted to go back to that thing that's really upsetting me, and think about it. Which is completely ridiculous, because there is nothing I can do about it. I have to keep reminding myself that the thing I can do something about, achieving my dreams, IS something I have control over, and I need to just do it.

So that's what I'm doing. I'm sitting here, reminding you, reminding myself, that there are far more important things to focus on. Things that I can give my attention to and feel good about.

And that brings me back to the title of this post- where is your focus? Are you letting the junk in life drag you down, or are you bringing your attention back to the thing you really want?


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The road to your dreams starts with self care

[caption id="attachment_4629" align="alignleft" width="225"]The place where my dreams are born. The place where my dreams are born.[/caption]

I just returned from a wonderful retreat in Park City, Utah. Many of you read my post about my BIG DECISION, and I wanted to share one of the really important components of making that decision. I engaged in a ton of self care. I stayed at a gorgeous hotel in a wonderful suite that had so many things that really nurtured me.

Nurturing myself gave me the freedom to really see the future I wanted for myself.

One of the most nurturing things my hotel had was a HUGE bath tub. I'm a shower girl if I just want to get clean. But when I need to take care of myself, I take a bath. This tub was spectacular. I went to Whole Foods on the first night, bought myself some yummy (and healthy!) food, and a big container of bath salts. Each night, I took a long bath with a cup of tea and a book. One night, I spent about two hours in the tub with my journal. That might sound like a lot, but for me, that's the best rejuvenation time in the world. Even when I'm at home, if I've had a bad day, or I'm not feeling myself, the best way for me to snap out of it is to spend some time in the tub. I often say that I go into the tub with a book, a cup of tea, a glass of water, and sometimes a glass of wine, and I don't leave until I've finished them all.

I've learned that taking care of myself makes me a better me so that I can more effectively reach out and help others.

Yes, that also includes my role as wife and mother. Everyone in my life is better for the time I spend taking care of myself. I can't give to others when I am empty inside. If I try to make a decision from a place of not feeling healthy and grounded, I invariably make the wrong decision. Or I make the right decision, but it doesn't feel good, because I did it from a harried place.

When you're trying to move in the direction of your dreams, you have to be in a place of strength.

That doesn't mean that there's an absence of fear, or that you feel totally incapable of doing what you're dreaming of. Those are natural feelings when you're chasing your dreams. But it's so much easier to deal with those feelings when you're taking care of yourself.

So what are you doing to take care of yourself? How can you take care of yourself today so you feel good about where you're going tomorrow?

Friday, October 03, 2014

Taking a leap of faith

[caption id="attachment_4626" align="alignleft" width="300"]Where I'm spending time clarifying my vision. Where I'm spending time clarifying my vision.[/caption]

Last night, I asked for prayer about a major decision I was facing. The truth is, I knew what I had to do, and I was scared to do it. After lots of prayer, and hearing from a number of wonderful friends, none of whom knew the decision I was making, that we have to act on faith, I had enough affirmation to know that my fear was not from God, and the only direction to go was forward.

So... for those of you wondering about my big scary prayer request. :)  Some of you know I've been talking about teaching art journaling classes for a long time, and I've done a few online classes to get my feet wet. Well, today I signed up for an intensive program that's going to help me launch my art journaling biz! It's definitely a stretch for me, and a huge act of faith, but I truly believe that this is the direction God is sending me in. Your prayers really helped me clarify that, and I'm really grateful to each person who prayed.

I had a great talk with one of my wonderful friends this afternoon, and he asked me what he could do to support me. I decided that I should probably share what I told him with all of you as well.

1. Please continue to pray. Trust me when I say that there is no way I can do any of this on my own power, and I really need to work closely with God on this. I'm walking purely in faith right now, and sometimes the fear is pretty overwhelming.

2. As I launch my biz, please do spread the word and share the love in any way you can. If you know of places where I can teach or share my information, please let me know. You can check out my art journaling page for more deets as I figure them out (and sign up for my art journaling newsletter!).

3. Please continue supporting me in my writing. I have every intention to continue that dream, and my pursuit of becoming America's favorite author! You can pre-order my book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Tattered Cover, or if you're super impatient, and want it now, it's already available on Harlequin.com.

Really, this leap of faith is all about me becoming more in line with the woman God created me to be, and following a passion and dream I've had for a long time. I remembered this morning (as I was journaling and praying about my decision) that some of the dreams I wrote in my journal when I was 12 years old would be accomplished through this. Apparently, I needed a lot of time to be molded into the person God needed me to be to make this dream come true. I'm still being molded, for sure!!

I really appreciate everyone's prayers and I feel very blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. Thanks so much for all of your support!