A daily spiritual practice refers to any ritual that we perform each day to nurture our deep inner being. It needs to be something that helps you turn inward and connect with your own truth and purpose. You do not need to be religious or even spiritual to benefit from developing a spiritual practice. A daily spiritual practice is not about dogma or worship; it is about tuning in to your own sense of spirit. - Women's Health
Do you have a spiritual practice?
I have had one, off and on, for decades. And it seemed to morph and grow along with changing beliefs and trying out new spiritual practices I learned. Sometimes, my goal changed, as well.
Identify Your Goal
Before you begin or grow your practice, get clear on what your reason is or your goal. Are you hoping to deepen your relationship or connection with the divine? Is your goal to express devotion, or to deepen your faith?
Is it to create peace? Deepen trust? Those are my spiritual intentions for the year, in addition to spending more time visualizing what I want to manifest this year.
What are your spiritual intentions this year?
Whatever your intention is, once you are clear, build your spiritual practice around it. For example, if your goal is to deepen your faith, your practice might include reading inspirational books or articles. If it is to express devotion, you might decide to sing or dance.
Plan Your Spiritual Practice
How much time do you have? Don't believe that it has to be any particular amount of time. The practice you do every single day for 5 minutes may do far more for you than the one hour you spend every two weeks when you can find the time.
Another thing to consider is whether there are spiritual practices you might like to try or definitely want to use?
If it takes you a while to settle down and focus, you might want a series of steps that help you do that. You could start by lighting a candle, then you might listen to music if you'd like. Almost anything can become a spiritual practice if it's meaningful to you.
Find Reliable Ways to Relax & Connect
Life often moves so fast, that we need to slow ourselves down a bit to get into a spiritual practice. What can you do as you begin, that helps you relax deeply? It could be deep breathing, watching a candle flicker, or visualization or meditation.
What brings you peace?
And what will help you feel the most connected to your deepest, truest self or to something outside of yourself? It may take time to discover what those practices are, and discovering them is part of the process.
I encourage you to begin even if your plan is not perfect. And stay with it until it's just right for you.
See you tomorrow!
Hey, beloveds! I hit a wall in a couple of different ways this past week, toward the end. I think going to from rest to daily blog posts in what felt like 60 seconds is taking more out of me than I expected. I believe I will take weekends off from now on. The other wall was about this month's blog plan. I had an outline planned for each week & when I looked at it to start this post, I thought "meh." So I now have a plan for this week only, which is to tell you more about what I intend for my year, and then, maybe share how each part might benefit you.
A Break from the Routine
Confession: in many ways, I actually like routines. I get up in the morning and have a cup of tea. After we eat, my son and I do homeschooling. I read for a bit when we finish, and then, sit myself in front of my laptop.
But, as I said last week, our meal routines are boring us both. Our food budget is limited, so there are some meals that are both easy and cheap that we will keep out of necessity. But if I can add some excitement every other day or so, that will help tremendously to make dinner - and possibly, even breakfast & lunch - much less boring.
In order to do that, though, I need to create our meal plans in advance, and not just with an eye to honoring the budget. And, as I mentioned, I'd like to add some health without displeasure.
My Meal Planning Solution
Last week, I mentioned that I purchased the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
With over 1000 recipes and tons of meal planning help, I am sure I will have what I need to start our meal planning adventure.
I put off digging into it, though, until this weekend, since last week's meals were already taken care of, and am just beginning to look through it now. I like broccoli, and a doctor once told me it's so good for you, we should it all be eating it every day (every day?? Probably not), so I wanted to find a couple of meal ideas with broccoli in them first.
Dinner for a Dollar
My budget is LOW, so the first thing I started reading in the bundle was Dinner for a Dollar. It starts with the author's story about a child with food allergies, and how they were convinced that planning meals around that had to be expensive, so it was. Then, she slashed their budget and got it down to dinner for a dollar per person (they are a family of 6). I recommend checking out her advice on how to reduce your grocery spending if your family is on a budget, too. I love what she says about not wasting money on "the food of good intentions." LOL!
Vegetarian Meals + Salads and Sides
If you’re the type of vegetarian eater who loves big flavors and
Gotta admit I struck gold here, because most of these meals are easy to make for myself and my son can add meat to his. Do you remember what I said last week about salads? But the Sides part was awesome. I'm looking at these, so far...
Broccoli with Garlic Lime Butter
Deeply Flavorful Baked Sweet Potato
Simple Vegetables and Rice Pilaf
Slow Cooker Crockpot Baked Potatoes
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Vegetables
Simple Potato Salad
I think potato salad might be tricky for me - I tried it once and it wasn't quite right. I'm kind of picky about tastes, but I guess I'll try again, and see how it goes.
Have you ever made quiche? And if so, will you tell me the secret? :)
My son is not as in love with soups as I am during fall and winter, but he can be appeased by adding meat to his, draining out a bit of the liquid, and calling it stew. Soups are comforting to me, and I'd like to have a big bowl with a roll on the side at least a couple of times a week. Like these...
Cheesy Cream of Broccoli Soup
Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup
5-Ingredient Broccoli Cheese Soup
Chunky Cheese and Vegetable Soup
Poor Man's Potato Soup
Roasted Vegetable Soup
Spicy Tortilla Soup
There's a recipe called "The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make" that can go with these soups. And I haven't included the meat dinner recipes or soups, but there are tons of them. My son will be interested in the beef, hamburger and chicken ones.
Which soups do you like?
Breakfast for Dinner
About once a week or so, we eat breakfast for dinner, usually on the weekends. My son tells me he'd eat cereal all day long if I'd let him. But we have fun with breakfast for dinner, so I thought I'd look for a few different recipes we can try. The Breakfast book has 147 pages of recipes. I don't need that many, but I do want to try some of them - they all seem so yummy...
Baked French Toast
Breakfast Fried Rice
Easy Breakfast Quiche
Egg and Broccoli Muffins
Freezer Friendly Thick & Fluffy Waffles
Hearty Breakfast Casserole
Loaded Breakfast Biscuits
Kid-Friendly Sweet Potato Breakfast Bake
Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
Vanilla-Spiked Protein Pancakes
I have to admit that these might be the recipes I am most excited to try. Do you ever eat breakfast for dinner?
I'd like to try the protein pancakes for breakfast sometime.
I love quiche and there were several recipes for it, but I have never tried to make it myself. There's a restaurant here that serves it for breakfast and it's delicious. Perhaps, I'll give it a try at home.
Have you ever made quiche?
The Healthy Meal Planning Bundle
If you'd like to try any of these recipes, yourself, they are all available in the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
I bought it and joined as an affiliate, so if you buy it through one of my links, I will get a bit more to add to my "no more boring meals" budget. :)
See you tomorrow!
Everything in the Universe is comprised of energy. The energy in the places you live, work, shop, and socialize can have far-reaching effects on your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. If an argument, divorce, or robbery occurs in a home, and that energy does not get cleared, it can accumulate.
Do you ever feel like you've resolved something but you can still feel the feelings you had before it was resolved? Even with arguments, you might find yourself agreeing that it's over, but still feeling a bit disgruntled about whatever it was that went wrong.
So imagine that your thoughts and feelings exist as energy that might still be with you even when you move on to something else. Kinda like smoke that you can't see anymore, but can still smell or feel in your throat or chest.
And you know the joke people make when they say, "if these walls could talk...?"
Well, I know our homes won't actually tell our stories, but I believe they do live there, and to say a complete goodbye to the year, it might be good to say goodbye to the energy of your experiences during the past year.
How to Get Rid of the Energy of 2018
Many people think of cleaning and decluttering as they make the transition into the new year, and I recommend that, too, if you can. But on top of giving your home a fresh, clean face, you may want to clear its energy.
Out with the old! Here are three ways to use energy clearing to say a final goodbye to 2018...
(1) Fresh Air: Open doors and windows, letting air come in to fill the space with fresh energy as it clears out the old. The first time I ever tried this technique was in a duplex I was renting. Each room was filled with windows and honestly, the room didn't feel the same after I did it.
(2) Aromatherapy: Make an essential oil spray and use it in any area of the house you want to clear. Lemon essential oil is a good choice for clearing negative energy from a room. Here is a link for making your own aromatherapy spray.
(3) Sound Healing: Use a sound bowl, other sound instrument or a recording of one to clear the energy. Sound can be a powerful way to clear energy.
Strike it first and then move the mallet around the bowl in each room you want to clear. I suggest standing in the center, so the sound radiates in every direction.
As you should with each of these techniques or tools, start with the intention of clearing negative energy. Wouldn't hurt to have some specific ones in mind. :)
And after clearing away negative energy, what you're most likely to feel is a sense of lightness. Today, it felt to me like the energy sparkled!
If any, which of these ideas might you try? Have you ever used an energy clearing tool or technique?
See you tomorrow!
A new moon in Capricorn asks us to think big, not small. "This new moon is for setting goals, initiating projects, and making a serious commitment to achieving your financial and career success," wrote healer Carla Mary on her site. The Capricorn new moon asks us to dream big. What is your ideal scenario career-wise? What does financial freedom and comfort look like to you, and how can you attain it? - Nina Kahn, ...January 2019 Will Be a Goal-Oriented Month, from Bustle.com
I wonder if it might not be easier to start with a broad brush stroke as you begin to paint the new year. For example, what would you like this new year to feel like?
I would like to feel peace and experience comfort, to laugh a lot and feel the joy of spending time with my son, and to feel the gratitude that comes from knowing that I have helped people heal and connect more deeply with who they are.
I am open to other wonderful feelings, too. But those are the main ones. Peace, comfort, the joy of connection and the gratitude of doing my work in the world.
So the next step would be to consider how you might like for those feelings to come to you in specific ways. For example, when I think about the feelings of joy and connection I hope to have with my son, I think of chatting and sharing opinions, talking about what matters to him, laughing as we watch our favorite TV shows and movies, singing and dancing while we watch videos on TV, planning and preparing dinners and looking forward to what we have planned for the next day.
What do you think of or envision in response to those feelings you want to have?
My final suggestion about thinking about what you want for the new year is to practice having it & practice creating the feelings you want.
Take time each day to imagine your wishes and intentions coming true and let yourself feel it as you imagine it. And because energy attracts more of the same, if you want joy and you can imagine what that would look like, practice creating joy in other ways so that you can support the possibility of it showing up in the way you want.
This is a time to leave the past behind you, meaning that anything that bothered you in 2018 needs to be finished, something that you don't bring in to 2019 with you. A partial solar eclipse makes that even more powerful. The influence of a partial solar eclipse is very strong, and can be felt for about six months. -Jessica Booth, Bustle
I've been a healer for over 18 years now and what I have found to be true, in my healing practice, is that clients often know the change they want to make, or the dream they want to come true, and they know something is holding them back, but they don't know what.
The what is a collection of unhealed experiences and limiting beliefs about what is possible. And whatever has not been healed will go right with you into this year we're beginning.
An exercise you can do yourself is to write down the experiences from 2018 you want to release on slips of paper for each one, hold them in your hand and say silently or aloud that you are ready to let them go, and then, throw them into your fireplace or fire pit.
If you can connect them to similar experiences from the past, write them down and let them go, too.
Once that is done, meditate for a few minutes on how letting them go opens up possibilities for this new year & imagine what life will be like when they manifest. Whenever you set an intention, take a few moments each day to imagine it coming true.
And speaking of intentions, are you setting any today?
Mine are connected to the prosperity I want and are about becoming the person I want to be this year. They are both an inside job. :)
I'm wishing you the very best with any intentions you set this year!
It's the beginning of a new year. Have you decided on a diet yet? I think it's in the air we breathe. The ball drops, and we decide what we're going to do, or not do, about food. What did you decide?
I have been overweight almost all of my life. And I have probably tried almost all the diets out there. Even the 4-day weird one with the hot dogs, cottage cheese, beets and the weekend of pleasure eating.
For a long time, I thought each new diet, sometimes started by a three-day detox of fruit and vegetables, would be the last one.
I remember my favorite one. I joined the business opportunity and then, could not wait to get my hands on the diet program.
You took two supplements, twice a day and ate whatever you wanted. It worked because those supplements had cocoa beans and something else I can't remember. It was the answer to ephedra - it took away your appetite, but was much less likely to kill you.
Those supplements not only took away your appetite, but somehow, they also ate your fat. I lost the most I ever had at one time, and for the first time I could remember, I could buy shirts in medium sizes.
This was it, and maybe I would even keep going and lose even more.
Unfortunately, I got pregnant, and by the time I was ready to start again, that program no longer existed. Did I get out just in time?
I've tried a lot of diets during my son's life, too, and it took a while to realize that no matter what, I was always going to gain the weight back. Plus, more.
So I don't diet anymore. Even though my appetite increases every winter, just as the sunlight I need says goodbye until spring. Even though I crave carbohydrates, and sometimes gain weight as a result.
Because guess what! I don't gain as much weight when I don't diet. Last year, I actually lost weight while not dieting.
To eat or to diet? I find that eating works better!
2 Ways to Change What You're Eating that Work Better than Dieting
The Brewing Happiness website calls it the Self-Kindness Anti-Diet. And it starts with giving yourself back all those foods you think of as forbidden.
For me, it was cookies. And pizza. I often found myself eating far more of them than I intended, when they were available. So I thought it would be better to never eat them at home.
Maybe if I was out with friends, and everyone else wanted to order a pizza, or if I went to party and those cookies were just lying there on the table, I'd eat them. Because in my mind, their ability to harm me was limited.
But years ago, I heard about this thing called Intuitive Eating. What I read and heard suggested that if you stop thinking of a food you wanted as forbidden, you'd eat less of it. That thinking of it as forbidden meant you'd probably eat even more, because you'd tell yourself it was going to be the last time before that diet you planned to start.
The advice was to buy far more than you could eat in one sitting, so there would be visible evidence that there was more, if you wanted more. I tried that back then, but I was so immersed in diet culture that it felt wrong. Sure, I ate less of whatever it was, but I really shouldn't have it in the house in the first place, right?
In order to really give Intuitive Eating a try, you have to be willing to let go of the idea that you are one good diet away from the life you've dreamed of, and become convinced that dieting is the path to weight gain. Then, you have to work toward the belief that you can have whatever you want (you know, unless you're deathly allergic to it or it will cause your insides to explode.)
The intuitive part means trusting your body to find its way to your healthiest weight without dieting. And making it okay to eat the cookies whenever you want until that moment when you think, "wait a minute, these don't even taste good!" Or, it's fantastic, but it just stops whispering you name the way it used to do, telling you it would have you sooner or later.
The oomph goes out of the fight because you step aside.
I think I am gaining on it. I lost weight without trying this summer, and I don't feel the call of the wild anymore when it comes to food.
I still sometimes eat more cookies than my doctor would be happy with, but I'm not gaining weight. And I think my weight will take care of itself. Soon would be nice, but, whatever.
I'm in a Facebook support group for Intuitive Eating beginners. I've been at it for a year, but I still relate to a lot of what we talk about there. Here's the link, if you want more information:Intuitive Eating for Beginners.
Intuitive eating (or as I’d rather rename it – The Self Kindness Anti-Diet) is the state in which you are in tune enough with your body’s signals that you can understand what/when/how much your body needs to eat. This means you’re in touch with your signals for hunger and fullness (but not obsessively). It means that your body is telling you what it needs to eat in order to function best (and you are trusting it.) It means you find what is “normal eating” for your body. - Brewing Happiness
Add Healthier Food without Restricting
In the group I mentioned above, we often talk about how once the spell is broken, we get interested in healthier food. Especially if we have health conditions that inspire us.
And the same is true of me. I'm actually getting bored with eating the same things all the time, and decided I wanted to try some new recipes. I'd like to add more vegetables and soups to my meal plan, too, so would like recipes for them, as well.
My son loves to cook and does a lot of our cooking for dinner, but I love it best when we're in the kitchen together, working on a meal.
And I just found this healthy meal planning bundle the other day and bought it yesterday. It has over a 1000 recipes, so I doubt I will be bored for a while.
I became an affiliate for it, and if you're interested, you can check it out here.
The thing is, I want to think of eating healthier as kind of a fun adventure that I add to what I am eating already. Doing a complete switch and trying to get rid of anything that isn't considered healthy would not work for me.
But adding it on and having fun with it makes it easier. I think I'll attack the slow cooker soup recipe ebook first. My son is not so fond of soups, so we'll have to turn his into stews.
Okay, I'll admit I will be ignoring the salad recipes, because I just don't like them. The only way I have ever liked salads is if they were covered with meat, like chicken. And now that I am mostly vegetarian, there's no help for them. :)
Can't wait to check out the vegetarian recipes, though! They have all different kinds - paleo, whole30, keto, etc. Not for me, but there for anyone else who wants to try them. They also have a bunch of cookbooks, meal planners, among other things.
It's called the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle.
What kind of recipes would you like to try this year? And how do you handle all the diet info that pops up all around you at this time of year?
See you tomorrow!
It would seem like this post's headline is a mistake, right? I must have meant that the post will be about how to have a good year this year, in 2019. But no, I've got some magic to share about how to turn back time so that your memory of the past year is a good one. Weird, but true!
How to Have a Good Year, Last Year
I suspect that these intro paragraphs will give it away a little bit. You'll think, "oh, that's what she means." But I encourage you to play along as the post continues, because I think I'm on to something. If you know me, you won't be surprised when I say how much I love hygge.
I truly believe that running after it, in the ways that work best for you, can truly be life-changing. Hygge is about creating warm, cozy experiences that you embrace as they happen. When they are over, they immediately become sweet memories.
Could be big memories like having all your children home for Christmas, or small ones like the exquisite joy of the cup of cocoa you had right before you left for work one morning. You can anticipate hygge moments, too, like when you imagine how it will feel to come home after work, drop your purse or briefcase, and slip on your favorite pair of slippers.
So here's my great big belief about hygge - the cozy joy is cumulative and you can find ways to create it and experience it even when you are going through really hard times. It just means you have to be on purpose about it, when it doesn't come easily. And you have to decide that those moments count.
Here's an example - if you had an awful fight with your best friend when you met her for lunch, you might think about it for the entire rest of your day. And, going to bed that night, you might just hunker down under the covers and hope the next day is a good one.
OR, you could tell yourself that that fight was awful, but be grateful for those 2 really good cups of tea you had, the wonderful movie you watched curled up next to your husband on the couch, the way he hugged you when you told him about the fight, and those precious moments when you cuddled with your daughter as you read her two sweet bedtime stories. I mean, that almost sounds like a good day, right? Except for the fight.
Gratitude for 2018
I had very difficult 2018. SO many things went wrong, not the least of which was that my mother died. I wanted at least ten more years with her - some people live to their 90s, so why couldn't she?
But the reason I am not writing to you from under the bed is that I tried very hard not to miss the good parts. Sure, there were moments when I couldn't stop crying. And at least one panic attack that woke me up in the wee hours of the morning and kept me from going back to sleep.
So, I made sure to fully acknowledge the awfulness of some of the experiences I had last year. But I hesitate to write it off completely. To say that it was a "bad" year. Hard year, yes! But it had some very good moments.
I got to see my aunts and cousins several times while Mom was sick and then for the funeral. My cousin, Cheryll, stood next to me as I said the words I had planned to say for my mom, and then she was there when I cried while singing Carol Burnett's "I'm so glad we had this time together" song. It had meaning for my mom and me, but I couldn't quite get through it. But my cousin was right there.
And so many other things will become sweet memories. Doing karaoke in front of the TV with my son. Sitting next to him while we watch our favorite shows. Re-connecting with two good friends of mine and having them over for dinner.
All the laughter. The good Hallmark Christmas movies. The sweet potato casserole that came out just right for Thanksgiving. And so many other good memories.
What about your experiences in 2018?
Yesterday, I encouraged you to think or write through each month with an eye toward what went wrong.
Today, I encourage you to mine each month for good moments. For sweetness, kindness, hugs, your favorite desserts. Whatever warmed your heart.
Take a moment to hold them close and express gratitude for them. Hug them back in return for the warmth, coziness, or sweetness they gave you last year.
And then, feel your heart begin to open to everything wonderful that this new year might bring.
See you tomorrow!
I’m inviting you to think of your New Year’s Eve party more like a closing Night Celebration for The Epic Production Of 2018. In theatrical terms, the end of a show is a time of celebration. There’s usually copious bubbly and a whole lot of reminiscing. We’ll noodle on what went fabulously right, what went horribly off-script, and what we learned about ourselves in the process. I’m inviting you to sink into the ending energy, and for a few days, allow yourself to be in-between. In between who you were last year, and who you intend to become next. - Jacqueline Gates
The Ending & The In-Between
It's common to rush through the process of looking back at the year that is ending, coming to peace about it and embracing the year to come with hope. I have done it in the past in one day, on December 31st.
But I think it's better to take more time with it. So it sticks. :)
And I think that today, after the excitement of having a whole new year has had a chance to percolate a bit, it might be easier to begin to think through the past year, because we're already feeling the energy of "brand new year has started."
If we're going to do the good, the bad and the ugly about 2018, let's start with the worst of it so we get to end on a positive note. :)
Taking a Look at What Went Wrong
Take a moment to mentally travel through each month of the year, and take note of anything that went wrong.
You could do it in writing, too.
When I did that, and saw "January" written down, with blank space, I remembered a traumatic moment with my mom. She had cancer, and was suddenly taken to the hospital and we didn't know what was happening at first. The first several days of January went by before we understood that they had resolved the problem and she wasn't about to die right then.
Your last-year memories might be less traumatic but still troubling in the moments when they happened.
Deciding to think through them, month by month, may mean remembering things you got through but didn't fully leave behind.
If we develop sharp enough attention, we can see specifically what feelings and experiences we tend to cling to, or push away. Then we can consciously, gently refrain from pushing or pulling, and let the experience go. We can become free of the stress around a given experience, even while that experience is still happening. -David Cain, from Raptitude.com
Letting Go & Healing
When I remembered how upsetting those first several days of January was, I understood how they set the tone for the entire year. And I know that that is a moment I need to let go of and heal, so it won't be buried alive, still causing me trouble in the year to come.
Do you have moments like that, too? Release them and this year could be so much better than it might be otherwise.
Take a moment to give yourself a score, using a scale of 1 to 10. How ready do you feel to go forward into 2019? Granted, the year will march on whether we are able to embrace it or not. But being able to embrace it, too, might make all the difference.
Feel free to share your score in the comments, or tell me about something you are leaving behind in the wreckage of 2018. Oh, and if it's not a 10 (mine is at 7, I believe), tomorrow's blog post may help.
See you tomorrow!
Happy New Year!
Good to see you again, UBC bloggers! I missed you.
My life descended into hell for a while last year, after my mother died, and several other things went wrong. I had some health challenges add themselves to my chronic illness (chronic fatigue syndrome), so I took quite some time to rest, and missed the last two ultimate blog challenges.
I am back to blogging, but just barely. This month, I'll be focusing on this new year we've got going. But unlike other challenge months, I have not written every post in advance.
This is the only post I have written, just before New Year's Eve starts in earnest, and though I have a vague outline of what I'd like to write about, for the first time in many years, I will be writing as we go. Sheesh! I hope I make it to the end. :)
Speaking of New Year's Eve, how did you celebrate? I plan to make a bookend cup of tea tonight (this one, decaf), watch the ball drop and then, watch a Christmas movie on Netflix. Christmas movies give me more hope for the year ahead then singing "New York, New York" right after the clock strikes twelve.
I'd also like to know what you will be blogging about this month.
See you tomorrow, beloveds!
I am so excited to be starting this new blog.
But to be honest, it is still a bit unformed. Even in my mind. I intend for it to be a lifestyle blog. And I have lots of ideas about what I'd like to focus on, but I don't want to land, yet, until I get a better feel for the way this brand new year will go.
After a year of grief and loss, financial upheaval, an increase in health challenges and a sense of the world spinning, at times, I want to let things settle. And see what's next.
Meanwhile, I will spend the next month writing about how to make the next year whatever you want it to be. I just decided to do that today, so instead of having an entire month of blog posts already written, I will be writing them as I go. Fun!
Happy New Year!