#ThankfulThursday: Joyful Art Expressions – Coupon Code!

YOU GUYS!
I have something SUPER cool for you!
My crazy-talented friend Michelle creates AMAZING artwork. It’s all hand painted, custom ordered, and SO COOL! Check out her Etsy shop to see her designs, and totally e-mail her if you have something custom in mind. I’ve seen her work on Facebook, and I’ve been meaning to order some myself too! And now, she has graciously offered up some coupon codes–one is exclusive to my followers! (I bet you can guess which one. Haha!) 
20% off any order $14.99 or more
Use code: FruitSoHard20
or
Buy 2 Get 1 Free
Digital Download Art
Use Code: 3For2Digitals

Big thanks to Michelle for being so generous!
Share with me what you buy!!

#ThankfulThursday – Experience

Today, I am thankful for experience.

Last night, I went to a concert with a friend of mine. I went to a few concerts this past summer, but this one was unlike those in that it was all general admission, no seats, and a packed crowd. Malaika and I were so close to the stage, and that was an amazing experience, but the energy of the crowd so so drunk that it was almost hard to enjoy. People were taking photos and videos through the whole concert, and I spent a lot of my time in total confusion as to how you could pay money to be somewhere you want to be but spend the time completely through the lens of your phone’s camera.

Let’s take this back in time for a second. Josh took me to a Puscifer concert a couple of years ago, and the band had requested that cell phone use be banned during the show. Literally, the security guards were watching for cell phones being used and taking them away. I was outraged. Today, however, I’m mortified by the memory of how mad I was at this. Honestly, I still believe we should have the choice. I’m all for snapping a few pictures and getting back into the music, but that STILL takes out of the present moment.

So I used last night as a reminder of this. I did take a few pictures to remember the moment, and I also took one video of the chorus of a song I adore. The rest of the time? I was singing, dancing, and living in the shared experience of a crowd listening to live music by some very talented musicians. Until less-than-sober girls got pushy and started chatting with their friends during the performance of the man they had come to see–yet another thing I don’t understand. Am I just too old for that kind of thing? Probably. The bass was a killer. ;o)

All in all, the experience was one I won’t forget. It was a lesson to remember to live in the moment, be present, and enjoy what’s in front of you. Experience gives you perspective. allows you to grow, and becomes a part of you. Experience is LIFE. So live it! Don’t spend it behind your phone. Get out there and EXPERIENCE things. <3

Hugs and love to you.

#ThankfulThursday – Friends

Today, I want to thank my friends.
I’m going through some weird stuff. Like, weird stuff. It all feels like nothing major but something so significant at the same time. I can tell I’m in some bizarre shift right now. Things are changing, and I have a lot of choices to make. And one day, a Thankful Thursday post will be about my voice and being able to pick and choose things to make these changes, but today, I want to thank the people who are my sounding board so I can make those choices wisely.
Because y’all rock.
Like, seriously.
I think some seriously strange things! And you guys listen to it, gently remind me that I’m not crazy, and then help me figure out where to go after that. Things happen in my life and I need advice about how to approach things. People come and go, feelings get hurt, and time certainly heals wounds, but friends who lend ears and hearts speed up that process. When my feelings, thoughts, or ideas are validated, my world feels like it’s on solid ground. 
And for that, I thank you.
My poor husband is the best of them all. I say “poor” because he has to answer the truly off-the-wall questions that come out of my mouth. Some days, I’m not sure whose brain is in my head because the stuff I think up astonishes even ME. But he listens, answers, and carefully gives explanations to these things. Or he’ll ask questions back that help me think out solutions to my mysteries so I do it on my own. More things to think about. Yay! But it really does help. 🙂 
I could name names here, but you know who you are. Whether we talk on a daily basis, visit only when you’re in town, chat solely online, or have dinner together monthly, you’re very special to me. I don’t want to live this life alone, and you’re there for me, guiding me, aiding me, soothing me, and keeping me grounded and sane. And I’m so touched when you think of me when I’m not around you, when we’re not in contact at the moment. <3
If I could explain how blessed I am to have such positive, inspiring, spiritually rich, and joyful friends, I would. I can put it into words, but they’ll never fully give you the extent of it all. I’m lucky. So, so lucky in this life. I have a great family, but you’re the incredible family I chose, the people who choose, in turn, to stick by me. I learn new things from you every day, and I can only hope to spread some peace and joy in your lives as well. 
My journey is always changing. It’s fluid, constantly moving along, fluctuating in ways I’m unaware of sometimes. But it’s a path that’s lit with the lights of my friends, and I have some friends who shine SO bright! Please keep shining your light. Keep it sparkly and full of life and energy. Know that you are loved by me and countless others. Because you’re amazing and I love you. <3
Thank you.

#ThankfulThursday – Pets

If you know me, you’ve probably seen this photo. It’s the “epic puppy photo bomb” picture. In the foreground is Max, but you can see Titan behind him with his tongue sticking out. How freaking cute!

I remember taking the photo, but I don’t remember taking it with the purpose of capturing the photo bomb moment. That was one of those happy accidents in life. And today, my heart is heavy while remembering the loss of one of those happy accidents in life.

You see, if you know me, you’ll also know that Max passed away early last year. A year ago today, to be exact.

This dog was incredible. He might have been smart, but we’ll never know. He wasn’t exactly dumb, but learning how to do stuff we asked him to do wasn’t high on his list. 🙂 He certainly knew how to give the puppy-dog eyes so he’d get snuggles and treats though. I mean, who wouldn’t cuddle the heck out of that dog? Seriously.

He loved eating cat poop and nibbling on our ears. He loved his brother a lot as well. But he loved us so much too, and I loved the heck out of him. I still do, but it’s different now, naturally. He was just a lover. Friendly to everyone (except for Josh and me if we ever came home too late–we’d never hear the end of that). A true inspiration. I mean, he’d been given up as a seriously young puppy to a pound. Who knows what could have happened to him? But he rolled with the punches and ended up a happy dog with us.

Until he got sick.

Honestly, I don’t want to spend much time thinking about those final few days. Today, I want to celebrate his happy little life. Today, I want to look back and remember how sweet this dog was, how kind and loving he was. Because he was. Always.

We’d wake up in the morning and find him stretched out between the two of us–sometimes perpendicular to us, forming the horizontal line in a human/dog H in bed. If I’d been working too long, he’d come up behind me and put his paws on my back, reminding me that we all need to take breaks every now and then.

Which is something I need to remember to this day. Luckily, his brother, Titan, has taken over that duty. 🙂

Everything there is to learn about love and kindness can be found in our pets. That’s the moral of this story. I’m blessed with animals who are sweet, kind, and caring (at least they are to me… LOL). I look to them when I need to remember that things aren’t always what they seem, that my worth isn’t based upon success or beauty, that I can make someone’s day with a kind word or gesture. I’m alive, so every moment is full of choice. They choose their own happiness and do whatever floats their boat.

My dogs play when they feel like it, nap when the mood strikes, and eat when they’re hungry. Me? I work, work, work. Then I stress out, try to sleep, and then wake up at 1:30 in the morning because I remember that I didn’t do (fill in the blank) last night, so I have to get up and do it right now or the whole world will end.

NOT.

Meanwhile, my dogs are sleeping soundly. The only thing that wakes them up at night is the occasional midnight bathroom break. Sure, their feathers get ruffled when someone knocks on the door and that doesn’t bother me, but we all have certain things that set us off, right? 🙂 The point is that they live simpler, easier lives. Which they should, considering that they live shorter lives. They take advantage of the time they’re given.

No, they don’t have to work or anything like that. I get that. I’m not saying that we should all give up and nap all day because we feel like it. I’m just saying that we should take a page out of their books and at least take some time for ourselves. That’s all.

And today, I’m doing that. I’ll be working today, but I won’t be checking social media, my phone, or my e-mail. Why? Because I can. Because I’m choosing me today. I’m choosing life–real life–today. I’m going to kick butt at work, probably take a nap, and snuggle some puppies before Husband gets home. And if that’s not how the day goes (because we all know that things can change at the drop of a hat), then I’ll roll with the punches, just like Max would have.

#ThankfulThursday – Take A Deep Breath

Welcome to the first Thankful Thursday!! I don’t have a full plan about what this day will be, and that’s because I’d rather let it flow. I’ll likely show you updates of the Gratitude Chain I’m working on this year and talk about some tips and tricks to stay positive and full of thankfulness. <3

Today’s Thankful Thursday is a reminder to be grateful for everything you have even if you aren’t feeling your best. I had a semi-sleepless night with a lot of anxiety and a sick dog, but I’m still here, still alive, and still kicking. 🙂 I may feel overwhelmed, but I have so much to be thankful for. I’m blessed in this life, truly, so I give thanks to the universe for reminding me that I’m never given more than I can handle, even if it seems like my world is crashing down on me.

Last night was a huge reminder to just take a deep breath, listen to my body, and remember that everything is okay.

Everything is always okay. <3

Gratitude Chain
We’re on day 8, but day 8 isn’t over yet, so I have seven links on my chain. 🙂


Have you been working on yours? It’s a fun thing you can do with your kids every night. 🙂 Let me know! #GratitudeChain

All my love and hugs,