200th Post Link + Love Party!

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” — Oprah Winfrey

Does your life ever feel, oh I don’t know…slightly hectic? I can hear some of you laughing. (“Ever? How ’bout hectic is my middle name?”) I get that. For the most part, I prefer life that way—staying busy and doing work I adore. At times for all of us, though, the load can seem so heavy, it’s no longer about having a lot on our plate, but feeling as though there’s no plate large or sturdy enough to support it all.

I was feeling that way recently when news arrived that sucked the wind out of my stresses. My husband’s grandmother was extremely ill, and it was time to visit her one last time.

If platonic love-at-first-sight exists, I felt it with Grandma Tovar. I met her at her 80-something-th birthday party in El Paso, to which she wore a shimmery black dress with a diamond pendant, her eyes more sparkly than her jewels. She was always that sparkly—cracking jokes, brightening spirits, giving advice and telling stories—until very near the end. She passed away on Sunday, and will be greatly missed.


The one thing I’ll probably remember most about Grandma T. was her ability to embrace and celebrate life. Well after a successful career and raising four children, she stayed active. She read constantly, took up harmonica lessons and bowling just last year, learned from her mistakes and was never too proud to admit or laugh at them. She had friends of all ages, related to most everyone and maintained a sharp, open mind. (She even talked to me about Girl Boners, but I promised I wouldn’t get into that. ;)) And given the slightest window of opportunity, the woman partied like crazy.

I’d considered skipping a blog post this week, regardless of my plan for a 200th post celebration. But how could I skip a party with Grandma T., the party QUEEN, profoundly in my thoughts? She’d NEVER bypass such an opportunity. If she’d been a writer, her blog would have been overflowing with virtual martinis, mariachi singers, fabulous food and colorful dancers.

In honor of Grandma T., and the 200 posts many of you have so graciously supported, let’s play music, don our sparkly duds and paaarty—keeping in mind that every day holds a reason to celebrate, no matter how crazed we may feel.

How to play:

In the comments below, share a link to one of your blog posts and one to another’s post that really struck you. While you’re at it, tell me your favorite party drink! Stick around or pop back later to check out others’ links. It’s a great way to mix, mingle and make new friends. Remember to click “like,” comment, share and/or follow blogs you really dig. Let’s get the sparkly support flowing…

explosion of love

Huge THANKS to all of you, for your ongoing support. ♥  May you always find ways to savor the storm.

*Party idea inspired by Chuck Wendig.

Soul-Speak and Sundaes: Saying YES to Writing Dreams

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”  — Oscar Wilde

Love Heart on the beach

Last spring I shared a post called Saying No — A Successful Writer’s Must. We can’t fulfill our creative goals if we say yes to everything/everyone 100% of the time, I asserted. If we do, we’re essentially saying no to our dreams. Today I want to talk about the flip-side: the importance of saying yes to not only our goals, but our hearts and instincts.

As some of you know, I provide nutritional therapy and mentorship to individuals with psychiatric conditions, namely eating disorders. I can often predict whether an individual is going to recover successfully by the way she talks about her goals and dreams outside of her illness. Consider the following examples:

Alexa: “I can’t think about anything else, and I don’t want to. Controlling my weight is all I know. It makes me happy, or at least the happiest I could be. I don’t have other interests. This is it.”

Jen: “All I know is I don’t want to feel like this. I can’t fucking take it anymore! Sure, I had dreams once. I used to paint and make jewelry. I was going to start my own line someday. [sarcastic laugh] I don’t even have friends anymore…”

Sandy: “I miss the piano. I’ve been playing a little again… [smile] I’m good at my job, but it doesn’t make me happy. Maybe it’s silly, but I feel like I could write songs. And maybe teach.”

You can probably guess that Sandy has the greatest odds of recovery. She has something beyond her illness to say yes to, and a genuine desire to do so. Jen can get there too. If she continues to explore her frustration, it can be the launchpad for positive change. Alexa has the toughest cards in her deck. Until she starts questioning her disease and believing in, or at least hoping for something brighter, she’ll likely remain stuck or worsen.

As artists, denying our hopes and dreams is like a disease. On the milder end, we suffer artistic “colds,” mere sniffles and congestion from too little artistic nurturing. In the worst cases, we stifle our dreams completely. I’m pretty sure this can land me in the hospital. (Arguably, it has.)

We are blessed to have passions and dreams. Saying no to influences that draw us away from them won’t do much good if we then fail to say YES! to our hearts’ desires.

I’ve been reminded of this recently. Since my book release, even amidst the euphoria, I sensed a sort of void—a nagging feeling in my gut. I thought I merely missed writing fuller-time, having taken on marketing and promotions, but there was something more. A book project has been knocking on my heart’s door, and though it wasn’t my intended next step, I have to pursue it. Sure, it makes my workload heftier, but at the risk of seeming melodramatic, it makes my soul lighter. I bounced out of bed at five this morning, eager to dive in. Upon making the decision, my mood turned sunnier, and the body aches I barely recognized have vanished. It’s a lot like falling in love.

When our soul speaks, we best listen. I’ve learned this repeatedly. I see it in my own life, and in the lives of inspiring individuals facing seemingly unbeatable odds. I’m giddy each time I meet a “Sandy,” for I already sense the wonder she’s going to experience and carry out into the world. Authentic, passionate people make the world a better place. As artists we have significant opportunities to be them.

Yes, I’m an ooey-gooey pile o’ mush today—totally fine by me. As author and activist Geneen Roth wrote in Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Just About Anything, “We don’t want to EAT hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to BE hot fudge sundaes.” There’s nothing wrong with savoring decadent treats, but sometimes our longings run much deeper. The real sweets derive from being true to ourselves.

I hope that whatever dreams your heart holds, you’re going for them. I’d love to hear the ooey-gooey details. What goals are you stoked about? Have you ever felt slightly lost, then found? Do your instincts speak louder than words? I ♥ hearing from you.