She dives into crystal blue water, fit, toned and rocking her #bestlife bikini. She works from exotic locations, with her perfectly pedicured feet in the warm sand. She sips espresso on the beach, with her laptop handy. She reaches every dream and for just a small fee…she will tell you just how you can do the same thing. Reach, reach, reach, hustle and grind your way to your #bestlife…right? Then hustle just a little more on the side. Tick tock, tik tok…here’s all my tips on how to attract the #bestlife job, the #bestlife relationship, the #bestlife home, the #bestlife bank account, the #bestlife bod. Or not. Have you found yourself incessantly stumbling upon this idea there is something better you should be reaching for and doing anything less is somehow dooming you to mediocrity? While the girl with everything living her #bestlife is amazing, smart and killing it, I’m going to play angel’s advocate for a minute. What if your life is actually already great, today? What if what you do, how you look and how you show up in the world right this minute is actually #goodenough?

Each time I am challenged with the task of attracting everything I ever wanted in my “dream reality,” I find myself thinking the same thing- that’s not me. My goal is not to have better, more, now, now, now. But instead, to find contentment…now. While dreams and goals are a normal part of our lives and it’s a beautiful thing to achieve them…there is something almost delightfully rebellious about appreciating where you are today and not always striving for something better and greater. Loving your body just as it is. Loving your life, even when it’s not everything you ever dreamed of as a kid…that kind of thing. There is strength to be found in appreciating the simple things in life and counting your blessings today, having gratitude for this moment, however imperfect. It’s somewhat of an uncommon sentiment. We are challenged at all times, to overcome the mentality that if only we had a certain goal achieved, we would be happy. Or that we couldn’t possibly be happy as we are today because we haven’t reached some theoretical “level” that we need to keep racing toward. When in fact, happiness is just a state of mind that can be achieved at any time and is not dependent on external circumstances, which are always subject to change.

The more we associate happiness with our present circumstances, the less happy we are likely to be. The more we compare our lives to the lives of others, the less we appreciate our own unique story. God makes us each different for a reason and we aren’t all going to be in the same “season”. Where someone else seems to have it all going on, they may be struggling in ways no one is aware of. Public images and personas create perceptions that don’t always tell us the whole story. We never know what someone else is going through no matter how positive or negative their life appears to be. I realize how easy it is, telling people not to compare themselves to others but the reality is, our brains go there. Young people, in particular, are clearly impacted by the images and opinions they encounter on the internet and in media that points to what is “ideal”. If we could just say, “don’t compare yourself to others” and that actually worked, then statistics would not be pointing to a lowering of self-esteem and an increase of self-harm. While I can’t change anyone’s brain chemistry or the effects of popular culture on any of us, I just want to say one thing today…

You are so good. Your life is good. Your job is good, whatever you do. Your hair is good, even when it’s messy in the morning. Your skin is good- the level of your glow is completely sufficient. Your body is good. Yes. IT IS. Because, I hope, it works. It does the needed tasks like breathing and processing nutrients, getting your soul around this lovely globe, right? Your brain is good, your mind is sound. Your heart is good, it loves someone out there. I like your outfit. It’s good! Don’t forget, your feelings, your thoughts, your opinions, they’re good- it doesn’t matter what they are because your feelings are valid. You know what’s the best? You are! Did you know that you are just like 99.9% of the other people who are on their phones, or the internet or iPads or whatever, that are also NOT reading this or any other article from a cabana, in a tropical setting, while looking “flawless” in a bikini? It’s true. It really is.

Maybe the combination of pandemic effects and natural disasters we’ve seen increasing of late, can potentially redefine a few things for us, like, #bestlife, means…alive! And since we’re alive today, why not like ourselves? I don’t mean to encourage anyone not to have goals or want to be successful, in any way. The question I would pose is, how do you define success or greatness? Who are your role models, and why? Success and greatness are relative terms, based on your perspective. You get to define what makes a person great or successful, for yourself. If you rely on the internet to tell you, you very may well come away thinking your greatness is defined by the shape and size of your butt in ratio to the circumference of your waist. So come up with your own equation. Better yet, let God remind you of His definition. Whenever the web tries to catch me up in believing that my level of greatness depends on my appearance, the number of degrees I have, my career status, my level of productivity and so forth, I go back to Jesus’ sermon on the mount and I remember the greatest of us don’t come to be served but to serve others, sharing good news and healing. I remember that God has a really different definition of what #bestlife means, compared with how it’s typically defined in popular culture. I find healing in focusing more on God’s definition of what is best than what I see on Instagram or Pinterest.

Jesus teaches us the greatest blessings and attributes are counter-intuitive to how many in the world would define success in modern times- to be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be meek, righteous, merciful and pure in heart. We learn that to make peace with others, to be reviled and persecuted on account of God is to be successful. Jesus said whoever becomes as humble as a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. How do these things measure up with what you might see in an average day on Instagram, on Tik Tok or what you hear in pop music?

When I am bombarded by image after image and post after post that want me to believe that my #bestlife is only achieved when I am sipping champagne on a terrace in the Mediterranean, while watching the sunset in a form-fitting dress, enticing my attentive partner with my hourglass figure and glowing tan, while dripping with jewels and celebrating my latest achievement, God inevitably sends me the following message:

How do you define what is best for you? And where is the messaging coming from? Could it be that much of what we are sold as the image of perfection, success and “wealth” is really just tempting us away from being content with our unadorned selves, in our PJs, making breakfast and thankful there’s breakfast to make? I hope that today, you will go look at yourself in the mirror, with no make-up on, messy hair and a stain on your t-shirt and say, “HECK YEAH. I’M GOOD ENOUGH.” Humbly, of course. Because God made you and loves you just the way you are today. You never have to be more beautiful or successful for God to love you. So why do you need to be “more” or “less” than what you are right now, to love or like yourself? What could you possibly need to do or prove, to be worthy of God’s love if you know God already loves you? What could any of us possibly need to do or prove to anyone else to be worthy of their love or respect, if we know it’s our spirit that makes us who we are, not our achievements or others’ opinions? Since God knows our minds and hearts, here’s a few goals I set for myself every day.

I pray for you to achieve whatever dreams or goals you may have, while finding contentment in this moment. May you humbly accept yourself as worthy of feeling good enough, even when life isn’t the #best and find a blessing to count, no matter what today looks like.

Dreamy Tangerine Bath Blend


Below the recipe, you can find a breakdown of the benefits of each ingredient. With the dry air from cold winds outside and heat indoors, I find this is the perfect blend right now to soothe aching joints and muscles, calm dry skin issues and generally promote an uplifted mentality. With the relaxing bath salt, and delicious scent, I’m going to call it a TKO. If it’s You vs Winter, get ready to be a winner. Enjoy!

  • Dead Sea Salt has many benefits for the skin and can be used to treat various skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and general dryness but can also be used to address aches and pains from arthritis and muscle soreness/stiffness, post-workout, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. As per the name, this salt is harvested from the Dead Sea in Israel and has been known and used for its miraculous healing properties for thousands of years. With regular use, you should notice a significant decrease in any redness, dryness and arthritic symptoms. You can also substitute epsom salt in your bath, as magnesium is the key to reducing inflammation from arthritic symptoms. However, it is the solar ultraviolet radiation in the dead sea which offers key benefits in treating skin conditions. So dead sea salt is my choice for bath salt, due to the added skin benefits. Dead sea salt has no known safety concerns however, it should not be ingested. I also caution against using too much, as using more than the guided amount (about 2-4T is enough) can be toxic. Per clinical studies, a 20-minute bath, daily for three weeks showed significant improvement in symptoms of skin conditions.
  • Virgin Coconut Oil has increased in popularity in the last few years as a healthier alternative for cooking oil. But its benefits as a topical treatment for skin is also widely acknowledged by dermatologists. Raw, virgin coconut oil, which has not been bleached or refined, in particular, proves a perfect candidate as a skin moisturizer. Research shows that regular topical use of coconut oil results in increased skin hydration, producing higher surface lipid levels on the skin, that closely resemble oils produced naturally in skin. In other research, coconut oil has been shown to have excellent anti-bacterial properties, actually increasing bacterial resistance- a great benefit for current times! Due to the combination of skin barrier repair and antibacterial properties, this is my go-to carrier oil for essential oil recipes. I have been using coconut oil for my skin for about ten years and can attest to its benefits personally- greater moisturization that is longer lasting, less itching, eczema completely cured and decreased acne breakouts. Studies also show that the risk of allergic reaction to this oil is low. Everyone’s skin is different so you may prefer another carrier oil such as Sweet Almond or Jojoba. My skin has a clear preference for coconut oil. If you find that your skin feels “too oily” when using coconut oil as a moisturizer, it may just be that you need to rub it in better. I find that it absorbs readily but does require to be rubbed in more vigorously than your average lotion. When used in the bath, as in this recipe, I also recommend using a washcloth to gently rub down your skin towards the end of the bath, this helps exfoliate dead skin cells and wipes off excess oil. You can also do a quick rinse off after your bath and begin rubbing in the oils prior to exiting the shower. Toweling off will also dry up some oil, so patting the skin down rather than rubbing skin with the towel will help prevent too much oil being absorbed and increase the benefits of your soak.
  • Rose Hip Oil comes in as a close second place with skin health experts in terms of benefits. Another ancient wonder-remedy whose praises have been sung for centuries, like its friend, coconut. Made from the seeds of rose hips, this oil is chock full of vitamin A, C, E and F, antioxidants and fatty acids that make it an ideal moisturizer for body and face. Vitamin F is associated with cellular membrane and tissue regeneration, so this oil may help address not only issues with dryness but also may reduce fine lines, scars, redness and dark spots. Research concludes that the vitamin C in rose hips can actually stimulate collagen production and restore elasticity and combat free radicals that cause skin damage, making it a natural anti-aging remedy that can compete with Botox for effectiveness, while being totally safe and natural. I can personally attest to the benefits of this lovely oil for reducing acne scars and stretch marks and also preventing breakouts, while being very light and absorbent, as a moisturizer. While I add this oil to my bath blends, I also like to take a few drops and rub it on my clean face for about a minute during bath time.
  • Tangerine Essential Oil is shown to promote healthy skin and relieve pain, along with just smelling deliciously exhilarating! This aroma is known to promote relaxation and reduce nervous tension. Vitamin C in citrus oils have a brightening quality that give skin a healthy glow and also boost collagen production, addressing the effects of aging, similarly to rose hip oil. But for me, the main benefit of tangerine essential oil is that it improves mentality and calms anxiety. When used in the bath before bed, it may improve sleep and generally improve overall mental wellbeing. Its pain-relieving properties, combined with its mood boosting properties make is an ideal oil to use for relieving PMS symptoms like cramps but is also another great oil for arthritis and muscle pain relief. I can’t get enough of this fragrant citrus oil and I love how the pleasant aroma lingers on the skin after the bath.
  • Vitamin E Oil is actually a combination of fat-soluble vitamins that contain antioxidant effects. In addition to moisturizing dry skin, some research has shown vitamin E promotes wound healing and has similar benefits to rose hip oil for combatting wrinkles, stretch marks and other signs of aging and also promotes nail health. No matter what aromatic essential oil blend I am using in my baths and skin care recipes, Vitamin E is always on the list.
  • Patchouli Oil is also known for its many skin benefits such as treating skin conditions, dryness, acne and cracked skin. While patchouli may help tone and tighten skin, it can also help address dandruff and oily scalp. So go ahead and slide all the way into this bath- your scalp will also be happier! The anti-inflammatory properties in this oil will also help address scarring and aid in wound healing. But it may be most widely known to promote feelings of positivity and intimacy. I find the fragrant combination of the patchouli with the tangerine to have a dreamy quality- relaxing, uplifting and warming.
  • Cypress Essential Oil is clinically shown to reduce fluid retention, so it is an excellent candidate to use on the skin if there is any issue with swelling or edema. Cypress oil comes from the evergreen tree of the same name and is powerful in its ability to fight infection, aid in breathing and relieve anxiety. This oil may speed the healing of wounds and prevent infection while also treating muscle cramps, spasms and injuries. As a diuretic, cypress can help flush toxins, which in turn helps reduce swelling and prevent acne flare ups. It can also aid in relieving the symptoms of respiratory conditions. Combined with the tangerine and patchouli oils, you may find all your winter woes addressed with this one blend. All while smelling heavenly! After a foot injury, I bathed with the cypress oil daily for weeks and it made a huge impact on my recovery. I found I had less pain, decreased swelling and faster healing time. This oil has really helped with my Mom’s edema.
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil is a well-known skin oil for treating all kinds of skin conditions and promote overall skin health. Perhaps most well-known for its ability to conquer acne issues, modern research backs up why so many have used this oil for centuries. Tea tree is a safe, natural and gentle alternative to many pricey acne fixes that may irritate the skin. It has also been shown to help treat cold sores and other bacterial infections, promote wound healing and soothe dry skin due to the terpenes in the oil which have antimicrobial properties. I find the addition of a couple drops of this oil sets off the other scents in this blend just perfectly as well.

All ingredients are considered safe and effective for most people, however if you have any concerns, please discuss with your health care provider.

Love: A Superpower

Love is the sacred flame that burns in me. It cannot be extinguished. Like everyone, I’ve been through heartbreak, disappointments, break-ups and even a divorce. Yet, love still very much lives in my heart. God blessed me with many people to love but mostly, with His. Without God’s love, what would I be? When I think about love, I don’t really think about relationships or romance, specifically. I think of love as the Holy Spirit. When love moves in you, the Holy Spirit is moving in you. I think of love as energy that can improve every area of our lives, including our relationships, if we allow it to.

Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his spirit.

The Holy Bible, NRSV: John 4.11-13

As my relationship with God grows deeper, and as my faith has matured, I have come to see love as the most sacred possible gift…an energetic frequency, higher and more powerful than any other. No energetic force has more capacity to heal, restore and transform our lives. No matter what happens in the external circumstances of life, we can choose to focus on maintaining a loving spirit. This is true worship.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

The Holy Bible, NRSV: John 4.16-21

When our dear fellow humans come at us in less than loving ways, think of it as an opportunity to grow the love within yourself. Hatred, bitterness and grudges have a way of hardening the heart. When we focus on past hurts, betrayals and traumas, these are types of friction that create a hardening or callousing of our heart. God wants to demolish the callous that separates us from loving others. But really, it seems to me that God predominantly wants to remove the barrier that keeps our love from Him. We can move past thinking of love only in terms of relationship to the other or even self. I am thinking of love in this way- your very own energetic well that exists within you that is your connection to the divine. Regardless of your relationship status or past relationship experiences…or how drained and dried up that well may feel, God can refill it. God is the source of love that we give and receive among each other. So even when we are alone, maybe even for long periods of time, God’s love can sustain us. When we abide in love, we are never alone. God is with us and working through us.

Recently, I saw unconditional love referred to as a “toxic relationship trait”. But really, it’s people who have toxic relationship traits. Unconditional love is not a license to harm or be harmed, by any means. When we really love others, we prioritize being honest, correcting gently when needed, setting healthy boundaries, openly communicating needs and frustrations. If our boundaries are repeatedly violated and we choose to limit or end a relationship, we can still choose to go about it with the most loving possible approach. If others are not able to co-exist with us in a loving, respectful manner, we can still choose grace in the face of these challenging relationships, praying for them instead of cursing them. Sometimes just choosing not to air someone’s business, gossip about them or engage in an argument with them is an act of love. No matter what someone else chooses to do or say, I am responsible for my own thoughts, words and actions. When I choose to be loving, I rise above and don’t fall into any enemy snare.

Just as forgiveness is a skill we develop through habit over time, so is love. When I look at the world, I see the devil working overtime to kill any iota of love that exists between us, desensitizing us to everyday hatred, taking over the TV and radio with drama, chaos and meanness. It’s hard to flip through radio stations without coming across a bitter breakup song. Not many songs say, “Hey, you know, it didn’t work out but I still 100% wish you the BEST! I know we weren’t a good fit but I ain’t mad at ya! In fact, I love you!” Because of this, I endeavor that much harder to eradicate any dark, hidden, bitter root within myself. Because I don’t think the devil needs one more foothold.

God draws me back to love more automatically every time I get frustrated or sad. When anger comes up, God brings me back to calm, back to peace…reminds me to tame my tongue, helps me express myself with more and more grace over time- all lessons on loving more perfectly. I can testify, I NEEDED Jesus in this area. My heart callous removal required heavy machinery; I’ll be the first to admit. I am always a work in progress, as I believe we all are from birth to death and beyond. There is no limit to our growth potential. Who will not benefit by learning and practicing loving more, loving better…more gently, more purely, without the expectation of return on investment or at the very least without vengeance?

When I see someone treated unfairly who responds with love and grace, they shine like a lighthouse, in my eyes. If we all loved like God wanted us to, what would this world look like? If love was the superpower, we each prayed to have, I think the world might look more like Paradise than ‘End Game’. The Lord reminds me there are times for war and times for peace, times for love and times for hate. But I am convinced that if we want to work for the highest good of all, in a harmonious, peaceful and civilized society, love is in need of love today (Stevie Wonder knows things). Love is the key. Don’t be afraid to show someone love today, whether it’s smiling at a stranger, being kind to someone grumpy, being patient with someone difficult, calling a loved one, lending an ear, hugging your kid. One thing we know is, tomorrow is not promised, so why not find a way to show up with love today? Even just by sitting and focusing on love, breathing peace and love in and out, you are doing more of a service than you realize. We all live in one big energy pool, what do you want to fill the pool with?

Many blessings of peace and love to you and yours. If you would like to ask God to bless your heart with more awesome love power, here is a prayer for you.💕

Freedom in Forgiveness

God put a word on my heart today: “Forgiveness”. Every time I pray the Lord’s Prayer, the line that stands out the most to me is the prayer to forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. For me, this is the most transformational concept. Why is it so important, so critical for our spiritual growth and maturity, to learn it? Because it can truly have the power in our lives to set us free.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Romans 12.14-18

Forgiveness is a way of life, a sign of humility, a path to freedom. When we can truly forgive ourselves and others for all sins and past mistakes, we are no longer slaves to bitterness. Grudges keep us in a form of bondage, otherwise referred to as “trauma bonds”. When we forgive others, we break the chains that bind us to the people and events that have hurt us. When we ask God to examine our hearts for unforgiveness, we are developing a healthy habit, in pulling out any dead roots in ourselves and giving a gift to others in the process.

In daily life, learning to forgive can prevent us from overreacting to the minor offenses of family, friends, co-workers, strangers…even ourselves. It’s the easiest way to demonstrate the grace we have received from God and maintain peace both inwardly and outwardly. Tests, trials and tribulations you experience in life are opportunities to show your growth. When we are tempted to judge or be angry towards others, we have the chance to look at them with new eyes. Eyes that understand that others make mistakes, just as we have. When we feel attacked or unloved by others, we can remember how many times we may have lost our own cool or may have come across as aloof. I could be angry about someone else’s sin, but I can’t forget how God has forgiven mine. I know God wants me to give this gift I have been given, generously. When I think of some of the worst behaviors in this world, I pray to God to show me how to forgive these. How do we forgive what seems unforgiveable?

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord. No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this, you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Romans 12.19-21

We can forgive what seems unforgivable, when we can surrender the need to judge others. We surrender the need to judge others, by remembering who the Judge is. When we remember that God sees and knows all things, we can give Him the person or situation in prayer and surrender the burden to Him. We can ask God to heal them and bless them and let it go. Let God decide what to do with them and focus on who God wants you to be. God asks me to be patient, kind, loving, peaceful and gentle. I can’t control the behavior of others, but I can control my own thoughts, energies and actions to align with the person I know God wants me to be.

When we sincerely endeavor to forgive ourselves and others, there are helpful habits we can put in place to ensure our success. Those places of unforgiveness within us, are some of the mountains God can move, if we allow Him to work in us. Along my path, it helped me to remember that forgiving others is not the same thing as condoning or excusing their behavior. I learned that I can forgive someone and still create healthy boundaries in the relationship that work for the highest good of everyone involved. At times, I have asked the Lord, “How many times can I forgive this person or behavior if they continue to do the same thing?” God pointed me to Matthew 18.21-22:

Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.’

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Matthew 18.21-22

I know that God expects me to forgive everyone, for everything, every day. Not because they deserve it. But because I desire forgiveness from God for any mistake I may make. How can I expect forgiveness I won’t give? God desires for me to forgive others so I may be at peace with everyone. If someone refuses to be at peace with me, for whatever reason, then that will be their choice. But I can rest in the knowledge that it is not because of my own pride or stubbornness. When we love other people, we owe them our honesty. Sometimes our honesty can be delivered in ways that provoke unpleasant emotions. Even when we do our best to correct others gently, they may respond in hostile ways. When I want to forgive someone for their hostility, it helps me to remember that every person’s behavior and perspectives has more to do with them than it does with me. We each have our own unique life experience that shaped us, our own brain chemistry, our own energy. If I let people take responsibility for their behavior and the energy they put out, it allows me to focus on my own.

When we practice forgiveness daily, we grow in compassion, automatically. Instead of jumping to anger or defensiveness, we become calmer and more understanding in our responses to others. We soften our hearts toward others. Even those we see as our foes and frenemies in the world serve a purpose in God’s plan. If God can take away your sins, he can take away another’s. If I remember that we are all one in the body of Christ, then I must also remember that refusing to forgive my brother or sister is really refusing to forgive myself. Even people who have sinned against us or made poor decisions that impacted us have redeemable qualities. When we remember that God sees us as His children, we can begin to see everyone as a child of God, equally deserving of mercy. We can have compassion on those who lack compassion because of who we are in Christ, knowing that everyone in our path is designed to help us learn something. Everyone in our life serves a purpose.

As regards the gospel they are the enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Romans 11.28-32

As part of my practice of forgiveness, I have learned to ask God, “What am I meant to learn from this experience,” rather than asking, “Why is this happening to me?” I know that every person and experience in my life serves a function. Sometimes the most challenging people and experiences in our lives are the very experiences that give us the greatest opportunities to grow in forgiveness. While we may experience pain and heartbreak in life, the peace we keep and the forgiveness we bring to the table is akin to bringing Christ into the room. Do you have some unforgiveness within you that you wish to resolve? Please try the prayer below. I wish you peace in your practice of forgiveness. May God bless you.

New Life Resolutions

Living on the East Coast, this is the time when I look for the beauty in winter and patiently await the time when I am back in the garden, back at the shore with my toes in the sand. In a new and improved life, I aim to see the bright sides and silver linings. Staying positive requires a certain energy level. That seems to be the key factor in sticking to any resolution or positive change- some people call it “good vibes” but to me it’s all about energy. And lots of it. Here’s a list of the ways I am increasing my energy and keeping a smile on my face through the days of gray skies as I combat those winter blues with remedies I know are good in any season…all in step with a NEW and IMPROVED LIFE! 😃

Pray With Love– To start my day right I meet with the Maker and give thanks, asking for love, guidance and protection. Prayer is a priority for me, connecting with God is connecting with Love. When I meditate on the Word, read the bible and spiritual books, journal or write poems or prayers, my life is brighter. My days start better when I give them to God first thing. But there is never a time in the day when it is too late to start the conversation. Prayer keeps me focused on what I want to thank God for, which keeps me in a spirit of gratitude and focused on love. Praying never fails in terms of energy management. Someone make your day? Give thanks for them. Someone on your last nerve? Pray for them. The New Life mentality I have is a gift from God. Without God, I wouldn’t have this life at all. There is no situation too great for God to handle. If you take the time to pray, trust that God is listening. And then return the favor and listen to Him. Do you want answers in life? Answered prayers? Miracles? Healing? Blessings? Increase? Guidance? Pray to God and answers will come. Drown out the noise of the world and pray. Pray for you, pray for me, pray for everyone and watch things change. Life and death lay in the power of the tongue. Prayer changes things, so let your words be blessings not curses. Wish the best for everyone. This type of unconditional love has its own energetic frequency. I’m not sure what is a higher frequency than love. Anger, grudges, bitterness…all of these things belong in your past. Open your heart to giving and receiving love and kindness, or at a minimum- respect for others.

Music, Music, Music– Next to prayer and love, music is the most transformative influence in my life. If you want to change your energy or improve your mood quickly, music is a key component in the equation. The songs we choose to listen to speak volumes about where we are, emotionally and energetically. Choose music that uplifts, encourages and energizes you. Avoid that song that reminds you of that sad thing that makes you cry… We’re aiming for a new life, so we don’t need to fixate on old memories that bring us down, right? Sing as loud as you want. Particularly at stop lights. Then smile at the car next to you. See, now you’re spreading joy.

Thought Self-control– Pay attention to your thoughts. Honor your feelings and release them. Validate yourself. When we go through some challenge or difficulty, we also face the challenge of managing our thoughts and emotions through it. Anxiety, stress and depression are the enemies of positive energy and we really want to leave them in the Old Life, as much as we can. We have times when we need to sit in our uncomfortable emotions and face them head on, but we sure don’t want to stay there forever. I often think to myself, “don’t invite these feelings to tea.” Learning to let thoughts come and go, rather than ruminating in them helps us more consciously bring positive thoughts to the foreground and keep them there. If a troubling thought arises, I give it to God, take a deep breath and keep my head up. But I also have days when I just cry my eyes out- I honor my feelings and pour my heart out to the Lord about it. I always know my mental rainbow will rise again after the storm. Speak life over yourself and others in a way that reflects confidence and faith, rather than dwelling on what is lacking or bothersome.

Gratitude- Life has plenty of stressors and triggers. But learning to be truly grateful about what is going RIGHT is a major life changer. No matter what is happening that may trouble us, something is always happening that we can be grateful for. My life is much improved when I focus on the fact that I have a roof over my head, shoes on my feet and food in the cupboard. So many folks can’t say that. If we get lost in our disappointments over things we wanted or still want that haven’t manifested, something will always feel lacking. True abundance in life begins with the recognition of abundance you have today. Are you blessed with comfortable, clean clothes and blankets? A good friend? Children? Every blessing we count helps us see how full our lives already are with good things and draws us away from thoughts of disappointment and lack. In our New Life, let’s resolve to see the silver lining in every situation. When we appreciate adversity as a learning opportunity, we can ask ourselves, “what am I meant to learn here,” as opposed to, “why is this happening to me?”. Life is school. Live and learn, grateful for every lesson.

Protect Your Time– Our time is precious. If we are truly resolved to live a New Life, we have to be willing to give up the things that weighed us down in the Old Life. While I believe service to others can certainly be energizing, what can we give if we are on empty? One of the most liberating mantras I have adopted is, “No,” is a complete sentence. You have the right to say it whenever you need to. In my New Life, I don’t overcommit. I don’t say yes if I don’t mean it. If I’m not feeling it, I don’t force myself to do things when I don’t have the energy to give. If there is a person, activity, tv show, music…anything really, that feels draining, I limit it or cut it out. Healthy boundaries are essential in a peaceful life. Take time to recharge your battery and be assertive on your own behalf. Let your yes mean yes and no mean no… guilt free! God loves a cheerful giver. If you are showing up places with a smile on your face but annoyance or exhaustion in your heart, that’s not very cheerful. Resolve to honor yourself and resist over-commitment. Let go of guilt if there are relationships that fall away because you are committed to a new way of being. We will have many relationships come and go in our lives, but we can all aspire to forgive and move on gracefully when relationships change or dissipate. Let your new life mentality be a home base you can return to and keep on taking it one day at a time.

Get Moving– Whenever I feel the dark clouds looming…and hovering…I know exactly what I need to do and that is get moving. This is, of course, sort of a run-of-the-mill New Year’s Resolution but for me it’s definitely a tenet of any New Life Resolution. There is no time of the year that physical activity doesn’t give me a gigantic mental boost! I find it helpful to enjoy ways of moving that don’t require a lot of effort to prepare. Just throwing on my sneakers, grabbing my headphones and heading outside is perfect. Walking is low impact for the most part but as long as your legs and feet work, you can do it! Find a way to move that feels good for you. Cardio classes, weightlifting and other activities may be for you. But if you have to drag yourself there, consider other ways to get moving that you really enjoy. Hiking out in nature is my favorite. Dancing always cheers me up. Dancing down the trail, up the mountain, in the car, while I cook, in the line at the grocery store…I can’t really tell my feet no, can I? Give your feet what they want! This is their New Life too.

Nature Time- Nature time goes hand in hand nicely with getting moving. But my outside time is not just for fun, it’s a complete necessity. Fresh air, trees, flowers, plants, animals- I need these things in my life. I need the sounds of nature- the quiet pond, the rhythmic lapping of ocean waves on the shore, birds singing, summer breeze blowing or the still silence of a winter night. I need hands in the dirt from spring through fall. There is nothing that inspires me to ponder life, connect with Spirit, inspire artistic creativity or appreciate existence itself, more than time spent in nature. If you feel disconnected or down in the dumps, take a walk in the woods or sit by some water and just breathe. Appreciate the sky. I sat outside one night recently, talking to God and I saw twelve shooting stars! God speaks to me in so many ways through nature. What is more beautiful than that?

Take Silly Seriously- Do you have a tendency to get stuck in funks? Is it difficult to overcome feelings of doubt, sadness, anger? Smiles and laughter are actually extremely effective at combatting negative emotuons. I have a tendency to take things too seriously at times and I know how much simply smiling and laughing will change my whole perspective around. I 100% believe in feeling your feelings when you feel them. You may have a profound reason to frown. Life is not all sunshine and rainbows, we know this. But here, we are talking about New Life Resolutions and one of the ways I commit to my New Life is by being that sunshiny rainbow person regardless of what comes or what happens. I may not be her 100% of the time, because I do not believe in suppressing my urges to mourn, weep and grieve or yell at dogs that steal bread from the pantry. However, I know I can’t let myself stay in that place. Here is a challenge. When you feel like you are in a funk or indulging too much in despair… smile really big. Even if you don’t feel like it AT ALL. Smile even bigger. What begins as a fake smile, will turn into a real one. You won’t be able to help it. Try it right now! I am so blessed to have funny people in my life and I LOVE to laugh. There are so many opportunities presented to us every day to feel sad, stressed or angry, whether it’s the news, work, family issues- things that we have limited or no control over. What we do have control over are our own faces. Choose smiles. When you are out in the world, the smile you give others is a little energy gift. Be generous.

Relax- The world says to hustle and grind and side hustle and side grind. Oof. Sometimes I just really need a nap. Or quiet time. Sometimes I just lay down and imagine God wraps his wings around me. Totally safe. Totally calm. Totally at peace. Spending time relaxing is going to be different for everyone. Maybe it’s a cup of tea and a book. Maybe your thing is getting a massage or meditating. But for me, no matter how I do it, relaxing is a daily necessity, not a once in a while treat. My preference is soaking in the tub with essential oils and Epsom salt. A new woman steps out of the water every time. A happier woman, who smells delightful and has very relaxed muscles and joints. You know how babies sleep better after a bath? The same applies to grown-ups. I may just sit/lay down and deep breathe with calm music or while praying. If we resolve to have a New Life, why not give ourselves the gift of downtime in it? Time to just be and not worry about anything. Better yet, combine relaxing time with nature time and smile time! Find that still pond, breathe and rest and then smile about it. You just re-fueled your energy tank. Boom.

Intake=Output- A New Life mindset is going to require proper fuel. What we put in the tank has a direct impact on the output we can give ourselves and others. What we eat and drink daily changes how we feel, think, look and operate. Too much of one thing and not enough of something else will trigger some imbalances and exacerbate others. You may not become a clean eating champ overnight but even little changes in our nutrition can have positive impacts on our mood and energy. Our bodies need healthy foods and plenty of water. My old body wants coffee but in my New Life, my body needs lemon water. Our New Life has lots of organic vegetables and less sugar. If we want to feel our best and have plenty of energy, we can help ourselves out with good fuel and better choices. That being said, I think it’s an important aspect of any new life, to resolve to love ourselves as we are and not who we might be in a few months. Eat well because you care about yourself today and not because you don’t like who you are today. That’s the idea! And remember, if you want to make a lasting change that takes root, have patience with yourself and keep trying. In our New Life, we don’t try to compete with Instagram Models, we focus on our inner beauty and quiet spirit. We fuel for energy and joy, not to chase “perfection”. Mindset is everything.