April 18: “The Face in the Looking Glass”

Helpful-Hints-165x200-Play-Experiment-Have-Fun“One of the ways that we can begin to love our faces is to enhance them with makeup.” Sarah Ban Breathnach

Sarah has captured so beautifully in today’s reading how I feel about makeup. Like Sarah, I have had different phases in my life when I questioned the authenticity of plying myself with “war paint,” but I finally came to the same conclusions that she did:

“I began to become aware of the fact that looking your best, working with what you have, and bringing out your natural beauty with makeup was not as superficial a goal as I had originally thought. Makeup was simply a tool to help me look my best. When I looked my best, I felt better. When I felt better, I had more energy and accomplished more and was more outgoing.”

Everything Sarah says here rings true for me. It is why I love being a Mary Kay beauty consultant. Giving women makeovers, taking before and after photos, and seeing their faces light up at the transformation is so rewarding for me. Likewise, teaching teenage girls the proper way to wear makeup so that they don’t hide their true beauty is equally as rewarding. There is something so gratifying in helping people to feel good about themselves, whether it is the application of makeup or helping them to earn some beautiful free jewelry. It all makes them smile, and making people smile is who I am.


April 12: “Learning to Love and Honor Your Body”

beauty-1“The body is a sacred garment. It’s your first and last garment, it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor.” Martha Graham

We women have such a love hate relationship with our bodies, don’t we? We envy the best features of another while discounting our own positive attributes. We wish we had Sally’s eyes or Megan’s legs, and we fail to appreciate and be grateful for our own unique qualities.

We all have them. Each and every one of us has been blessed with gifts that make us who we are. If you look critically at some who you find especially attractive, you may be surprised to realize that there really isn’t anything particularly outstanding about them compared to someone else – what makes them appear so spectacular is the fact that they feel spectacular, from the inside out. Continue reading “April 12: “Learning to Love and Honor Your Body””

March 24: “The Secret Saboteur: When You’re Feeling Blue”

plateau“Listening to your heart is not simple. Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to get to know who you are and what you want.” Sue Bender

Ah, this chapter resonates with me today. I have been finding it so difficult lately. Difficult to be still and go within. Difficult to be quiet enough to read or write. Difficult to get in my studio and be creative. Difficult to be me!

“Personal growth also comes in spasms: three steps forward, two steps back, and then a long plateau, when it seems as though nothing is happening.” Sarah Ban Breathnach

I have been a step beneath a plateau! Not only has nothing been happening with my spiritual growth these last few weeks, but I lost the foothold I had gained in this inner journey we have been on. I let go of the lessons I’d learned. I can attribute the setback partially to how busy I have been with my business and having difficulty finding balance, but I think there is more to it than that.

“When you’re about to step into a new level of your destiny, don’t be surprised if you hit a setback. That’s a sure sign you’re about to give birth to what God has placed in your heart … The enemy would leave you alone if you weren’t a major threat. He wouldn’t bother you if you didn’t have something amazing in your future.” Joel Osteen

Indeed, the closer we get to our purpose, the harder the enemy will work to keep us from it. When we are on the brink of reaching our highest potential, he works harder to hold us back.

“It’s important to realize that this dormant period always seems to precede a growth spurt.” SBB

The great thing about staying the course and never giving up is that you will prevail. There is nothing and no one who can stand in the way of God’s plan for you except for you. If you keep your eye on the prize and remain steadfast in your faith even through the plateaus that will inevitably show up, you will reach your highest potential, which is God’s plan for you.

I am ready to shed this dormant period and step up to the next riser. How about you?


February 27: “Committing to Your Spiritual Awakening”

Suzette1“If you commit to your spiritual awakening as the most important part of the process, something marvelous will happen.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

The impact that I see from this spiritual awakening is subtle and substantial at the same time.  I notice it most often at times when I would normally have found myself frazzled or tense, like when I need to be someplace and the dog is taking forever in the yard, or I am in traffic and want to hurry up and get where I am going.  I don’t have the same frenetic response that I would have had six months ago.  I am (mostly) no longer scolding Abby to hurry up; rather, I am enjoying the fresh air and listening to the birds sing to me while she finds the “perfect spot.”  I am peaceful in my driving, no longer rushing the person in front of me with frustrated words mumbled under my breath.  I am, simply, more relaxed.

“With each day of the journey, you have become more open to the mystery, the magic, and the majesty of the Master Plan because you are committed to your spiritual awakening.”  SBB

I am no less busy, nor am I working any less hard.  I am just less stressed about it.  I am relaxed, feeling the presence of Spirit, and paying attention when I get the message to take some time to feed my soul.  Tonight, for example, after enjoying dinner with friends, I took one of my guitars off the wall and played for two hours – the first time I have played in months.  There was work to be done, but I chose to listen to the whispers telling me that the work can be done tomorrow; for now, it is time to create.  I find that creation, artistic expression, is a beautiful form of prayer, and I am grateful to have awakened my soul enough to heed the message that this certain prayer time is long overdue.  I am transported to heaven, bowing my head over my guitar, smelling its varnished wood and listening to its melody while I sing with the voice that God gave me.  It doesn’t get much better than that.


February 25: Reordering Your Priorities


“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.”  Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

How have you been doing at taking your quiet meditation time each day? I hope you have been doing better than I have recently.  I am sorry to admit that these last few weeks, I have not spent enough time in silence.  I am living at this harried, frenetic pace, so much to do and so little time.  But then, once again, I hear the now familiar voice coming from within … “Relax.  Enjoy the moment.  All will be done as it is supposed to be.”  I smile to myself during those moments, recognizing the progress that I am making on this journey of transformation.

I took one of those moments last night, enjoying my grandsons for a few hours and ignoring the work I had planned for the evening.  I have been working so much I have barely seen them in recent weeks, and they were so excited to see me (and I them!) that I couldn’t leave them.  So I stayed.  I stayed and let my heart fill with the joy of listening to one after the other say, “Nana, watch this!”, so excited were they to have my attention.  They have no sense of time.  These beautiful little spirits live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest, with no thoughts about needing to hurry up and finish what they are doing because it will be bath time soon.  They don’t worry about that.  They don’t worry about what is waiting for them.  They are completely, wholly in the present and loving every minute of it.  Oh what we can learn from them, and what a gift it was to myself to allow myself time to be still and enjoy their presence without thinking about the work that was waiting for me.

“Today make getting in touch with the Silence within your first priority.  As you do, you will be amazed at how everything else seems to find its own order.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

I didn’t get here overnight, and the transformation isn’t going to happen overnight either, but as long as I am moving in the direction of positive change, I can be satisfied.  I will try harder to learn the lessons my grandsons teach me about enjoying the moment without worrying about what is next.  And I will work harder to get my butt in that meditation chair every day.  Maybe if I write it on my schedule that will help …


February 24: “Now That I’ve Gotten Your Attention”

“Sometime in your life you will go on a journey.  It will be the longest journey you have ever taken.  It is the journey to find yourself.”  Katherine Sharp

Hopefully everyone will take this journey at some point in their life, before it is too late for them to do so.  I wish I had done so earlier, but I am glad that at least I am doing it now.  Some days it is easier than others.

“I know how easy it is to find heartfelt excuses for why you can’t begin something new even if you yearn to, desperately.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

There have been many days in these past two months were I have spent time searching my soul, searching my memories, and listening to my heart and Divine guidance in this quest to become the person that I was put on this earth to become.  There have also been many days when I’m just tired.  My real estate business is important to me, and I am committed to making it a success.  I’m busy with my mind going in multiple directions, and sometimes I find it hard to remove that distraction long enough to be still and do the soul work that is so important to me right now.  But at least I am moving in the right direction.

“How many times in the past have we chosen not to change our lives for the better simply by not choosing?”  SBB

I have chosen.  I have chosen to become the very best version of my authentic self possible.  It is a commitment that I have made to myself, and I am sticking to it.  I may have days of lapse, but they are only temporary, and I know that the next day I will be back in my chair, meditating and listening to the voice of God whispering in my ear, leading me in the right direction.

“Keep your eyes on the horizon.  Or stay on shore.  But choose.”  SBB

I pray that you are keeping your eyes on the horizon with me.


February 22: “Excavating the Real You, Part II”

EXCAVATION“The excavation process expands your sense of the possible because it provides you with inner knowledge.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

How are you doing so far on your transformation?  Are you finding that Sarah’s book is helping you to discover and appreciate the real you?  I have found that the inner knowledge I have gained through this soul work has helped me to identify where some of my improper thinking has come from.  To gain this knowledge, to identify the errors in our thinking, is the first step in making real, authentic change.

“Would you really dig into yesterday’s garbage to make tonight’s meal?  Do you dig into old mental garbage to create tomorrow’s experiences?  The past cannot be changed.  The future is shaped by our current thinking.”  Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life

By identifying the errors in our thinking about ourselves, we can change our thought patterns, and hence our future.  Do you think you are not good enough?  Not talented enough?  Not smart enough?  Not _______ enough?  Fill in the blank.  Whatever it is, you are wrong.  For each and every one of us was created exactly as we are meant to be, perfectly designed to fulfill our individual purpose.

“Self-approval and self-acceptance in the now are the main keys to positive changes in every area of our lives.”  Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life

Whatever your erroneous thoughts about yourself are, and wherever they came from, it is time to change them and recognize the perfection that is you.  Not in an arrogant way, but in a way that you have the knowledge that “God don’t make no junk,” and He created you the way you are for a reason.  If you start each day affirming this to yourself, I guarantee you’ll have a better day, and you will see your future begin to change.


February 21: “Excavating the Real You, Part I”

IMGP2707“We must dig patiently with our pens to excavate our real selves.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

It does take time to discover who we really are, doesn’t it?  Or maybe we know all along, but we deny it or ignore it out of fear.

“Maybe being oneself is always an acquired taste.”  Patricia Hampl

I never liked myself growing up.  I always wished I was more like someone else.  I wanted someone else’s hair, someone else’s body, someone else’s athletic talents, someone else’s “coolness.”  I always felt awkward, like I didn’t fit in.  As an older adult, I learned that my shyness was sometimes taken as an aloofness by others.  Boys I had crushes on were actually afraid to approach me.  I guess the joke was on me.  I wish I could go back to that young girl and tell her that she was just fine, just the way she was.  Teach her that by being so shy, she was robbing herself of so much.

“Faith Baldwin tells us: ‘Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.’  The delay of our dreams does not mean that they have been denied.”  SBB

So the teenage me missed out on some things due to her lack of confidence.  But the beauty of life is, I am still ending up where God had planned for me to be all along.  It may have taken me longer to get here, and there may have been some painful detours along the way, but the final destination is the same.  Here I am in 2014, transforming my life with Simple Abundance and becoming the woman that I was always intended to be.  Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?


P.S.  If you are new to these posts, Transforming 2014 is an online book club of sorts.  We are reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance:  A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, together so that 2014 can be a transformative year for all of us.  Use the comment section to inspire fellow readers or share your difficulties so that we can support you.  You can find Sarah’s book on Amazon, and it is available in the Kindle version as well!

February 20: “The Authentic Dig”

photo (18)“Sometimes a person has to go back, really back – to have a sense, an understanding of all that’s gone to make them – before they can go forward.”  Paule Marshall

If I think back to when I was young, to when I was a teenager who allowed herself time to just be, it is easy to see the common threads between the girl I was then and the woman I am now.

“The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order.”  Eudora Welty

Though I have 52 years’ worth of memories, the ones that come to the forefront if I stop to think back are the passions that I had as a teen and still have today.  I can still see and feel the thick, light green, spiral bound notebook that I used to do my writing, the poetry and short stories coming to life on those lined pages.  I can see its tattered cover and smell the pages of that book that I held so close to my heart, carrying it with me so that it was always available when I was inspired and had the opportunity to write.  I regret to say that I no longer have it and have no idea what became of it.  But what I do have is its memory, still dear to my heart, a reminder that writing is indeed an integral part of who I am and what I was put on this earth to do.

“What you are searching for is a pattern of personal, authentic pleasures and preferences.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

Close behind the memory of that notebook is a memory of the hours I spent at the piano, so many hours in fact that my poor family would ask me to please stop practicing, as the piano shared the living room with our television.  I practiced with joy, never growing weary of it as I worked to perfect the song I was learning.  My passion for it has waned somewhat in adulthood though, with the life and responsibilities of a wife and mother getting in the way.  After having lost so many years of playing, it is difficult to get the skill level back that once was there.  I still enjoy it though, especially since Danny bought me a beautiful baby grand a few years ago.

It’s funny how things start flooding back as you go through this process, memories that you had entirely forgotten.  I used to buy graph paper and draw layouts for houses, my passion for architecture starting at a young age as well.  I had forgotten about those drawings until just now, and it makes me smile to know that I have come full circle to those things that came naturally to me when I was young.  Here I am at 52, working in the real estate business to work with architecture that I have a passion for, and writing more than I have since I was a very young woman.

The transformation has truly begun my friends, and it feels good.  I hope that yours has begun as well.  I would love to hear about it!


February 19: Rendezvous with the Authentic Archaeologist

mary_leakey3“The reason we want to awaken the authentic archaeologist is to excavate the real you.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

Memories.  There are so many piled on top of one another in a lifetime.  How is it possible to remember it all?  I have never had a good memory, and as I do this work on the path of Simple Abundance, I wonder if part of the reason is because there are so many memories that I am trying hard to forget.  Being teased in school.  Inappropriate behavior by an uncle and the husband of a babysitter.  The loss of a child.  Divorce.  The painful aftermath of divorce with my children.  So much pain.

“Prepare yourself for a gentle but authentic dig that will help you discover the Mystery in which your soul abides.”  SBB

I am beginning to recognize the importance of allowing all memories to coexist, because if you block out some, you block out all.  No wonder I have lived much of my adult life on autopilot, failing to live in the present.  If you are working so hard to forget, you can’t really enjoy and cherish the good times either.  Walls are erected to block it all out, growing stronger over time as the sediment thickens and passage becomes more difficult.  But outside those walls there is so much joy just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

To live a life full of abundance and authenticity, the walls must be destructed.  One by one, the bricks must be dismantled so that the light can shine in on your soul once again.  The bricks didn’t harden and thicken overnight, and the walls won’t disappear overnight either, but with time and patience, it can be done.  The painful past can be revisited as the distant memory that it is.  Wrongdoers can be forgiven.  Joy can replace sorrow, and you can live the life that you were created to live, learning to be the very best version of yourself possible.  What better way to make a truly amazing transformation in 2014, don’t you think?