5 Resolutions You Should Keep – Even If You Don’t Keep Any Others

Every single year, people make resolutions. And every single year those resolutions fail for too many. Instead of making resolutions, I want to suggest a few positive habits to add to your life. You can still call them New Years Resolutions – or you can call them your Intentions for 2016. Whatever sentence feels better to you.

1. Give Yourself Permission To Walk Away

2. Be Kind To Everone

3. Invest In Yourself

 

4. Forgive Yourself

of your body (4)

 

I am wishing you all a wonderful and blessed 2016!

Claudia

The above post is a part of  the following blog hops:

No Rules Weekend Blog Party

Amaze Me Monday

Inspire Me Wednesday

 

Gratitude And Tea

 

It is really cold out there! Perfect time to sit indoors, with a hot cup of tea, a couple of cookies and in front of the computer, contemplating.

I am always contemplating on what-to-do-next. While this habit leads me to be goal oriented, it also has the downfall of creating anxiety, especially when not everything goes they way it was planned, or when the list becomes so large that it is overwhelming.

So taking my time to stop, make myself a cup tea, and focus on gratitude is not only a good idea but a necessity. Exactly that concept of mindfulness and the fact that I need to be mindful in order to function with clarity changed the direction of the book I am working on. Which brings me to the first thing, I am grateful for – the progress I am making with my tea book.

Working title “Happy Tea”, this book demanded to take on a different direction this week, completely unexpected. I thought I would write a book featuring tea traditions, rituals and recipes, but the Universe had something else in mind. Instead, I will focus on the mindfulness of tea, the connection of this beverage within meditation, gratitude and positive living. It seemed like this aspect of tea would serve you better. There are many wonderful books out there, who focus upon the technical aspects of the subject, so I can focus on this direction.

Another thing I am grateful for is the holiday season is almost over.  Yes, celebrations are nice, but they also mean extra work, so I am looking forward to having more time to write.

I am grateful that my daughter gets to see Star Wars with her boyfriend tonight. I am not a fan, but they are, so I am happy for them. I am sure they will have a great time.

I am also grateful for the decorations I have been seeing in the neighbourhood.While people do not seem to decorate as much here as in Tampa, the few who have did a great job. Almost made me want to join in. Then I looked at my to-do list and decided to just enjoy everyone else’s decor instead.

What are grateful for this week?

How do you deal with the holiday stress?

Blessings!

Claudia

This blog post is a part of the following blog hops:

Celebrate The Small Things

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday Link Up

 

 

Planning, Goals, Progress and Coffee

If you were coming over for coffee, I would greet you with a hug and some chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven. It has been a while since I posted on this blog, but I have been pretty busy. The fact that my computer has a nasty virus did not help either.

December is usually my busiest month, not only do both of my children have birthdays, and of course, there are the holidays, but it is the time where business picks up, and also the time to plan for the next year.

Which is exactly what I am working on this weekend: Goal and Action Plan for 2016.

I don’t believe in New Years resolutions. Of course, they can be beneficial, but why wait until a particular time to make a change? Yet I do plan the year, but not in a resolution kind of way.

There are overall goals to work out – that has to be the first step, never forgetting that there has to be a why, a reason behind each goal, otherwise, I am fully aware that I will not follow through on it.

Willpower can carry you far, reasons will carry you further.

Then there are the monthly goals – smaller steps that together build the picture of a successful year. Those are flexible, meaning, I can adjust those goals throughout the year to fit the progress I am actually making. The trick is to set these goals high, but not so high that they are not attainable. Otherwise,  the frustration of not reaching them will keep me from going further.

Next are tangible action steps. I ask myself, what do I need to learn to make this happen? How much time am I willing to invest into this goal? What do I need to do to see progress? Those answers will be based on the overall goal and the monthly  goals.

This leaves me with a framework for the entire year.

What I am questioning this year is about how public I should make these goals, and when. I have seen many bloggers and marketing experts, who put all of their goals and their achievements out there – that is wonderful, as it motivates me. But being an artist first, a creative, who might not see monetary results in such a profound way every month – while other months soar – I am not sure, I am going to do that yet. What do you think? How public do you make your goals?

If you were here with me, I would tell you that another year end practice I enjoy and intend to employ this year:

Expressing my thanks to those who inspired me.

Now, some of these people – some of whom are famous, some are very successful might never respond to my email, Facebook message or tweet, but some might (hey, I have had Brendan Brazer, the creator of Vega, and the author of Thrive, acknowledge my tweet the other day, where I was praising his mission, products and words), but that is not the point. It does not matter how successful you are, I am sure that it can not be a bad thing to hear something positive from someone who learned from you, or was inspired by you. Spreading a little kindness through expressing gratitude at the end of the year – and throughout the year benefits the receiver as much as the giver. It simply feels good all around.

So these are the questions I have for you this week:

Do you plan your year? Do you make resolutions? If you do, what steps do you take to allow yourself a better chance of success? And, how public do you make these goals and plans?

I am looking forward to hearing from you!

I hope you enjoyed the cookies. I enjoyed your company as always

Much love

Claudia

 

 

This blog post is a part of the following blog hops

Celebrate The Small Things

Weekend Coffee Share

Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursdays 2

No Rules Weekend

 

Disclaimer: The above blog post contains affiliate links.

 

The #1 Writing Tool

Coffee, Vegan Nutella, Gratitude And A Story

Hey, good to see you! I just made coffee, and I have fresh bread rolls that are still hot from the oven, ready to be topped with delicious jam or some homemade vegan Nutella. How to make homemade Nutella, you ask? Rather simple:

Take 1/4 cup of hazelnut butter (you can use peanut or almond butter, but trust me it is not the same then using the real hazelnut butter stuff), put it in a bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of raw agave nectar, and a tablespoon of cocoa powder. Mix it well. I recommend doubling the recipe though because most of the time someone else will want some too. Just like the real thing, this stuff is addicting.

Drinking our hot beverages, I would tell you that I am still not fond of the weather here. Way too cold. I am hiding under my blanket with a space heater next to me, simply because I like it cozy. If it gets too warm for you, let me know, and I will turn it down.

I was looking through my older stories, and found the following Flash Fiction again, and I wanted to share it with you. It is called, “A New Friend” and I hope you will enjoy it.

 

A New Friend

He wasn’t such a scary fellow. Ugly maybe, but who was I to judge him by his looks? Too many people tended to judge people by their appearance. But I knew better.
His eyes, not meeting mine for more than a second at a time, where big and full of mistrust. Hair, thick and unkempt, covered up most of his distorted face, his body bent forward in a mixture of agony and malformation. As he reached for the spindle, his broken left hand was surprisingly capable of doing the deed in front of him. Again he glanced, and again the glance ended as quickly as it had begun.

“I will do what you asked for.”
His voice, as broken as his body was soft, but determined.
“I am sure you will.”
“And you will do as promised.”, he demanded.
“As I always do.”
He paused, then nodded, continuing to work the spindle, swiftly, with a confidence that defied his outer appearance and demeanor. Two minutes later, he stopped, his crackling voice echoing through the silence “Why?”
“Why, what?”, I answered.
“Why do you watch?”
“Because I am curious.”
“Ahh”., he murmured, beginning to move again, repeating the motion that was so hard for able body me, and easy for challenged him. Another two minutes passed in utter silence. Stopping as suddenly as the first time, he glared at me longer, his green eyes darkening, as they penetrated through me, to my core.
“Why?” he asked once more.
“Why, what?”
“Why do you care?”
“Because you are interesting.”
“You have no fear?”, he questioned, surprised
“I feel no reason to fear you.”

He stroked his hair away from his misshapen cheek bones, pinning it behind his large ears, nodding, then with what was a twisted smile, that despite its broken shaped showed a kindness, apparent and deep.
“Then forgive me, my Lady. You have nothing to fear. And you owe me nothing for my work.”, his voice stronger this time, as he straightened as much as he was able to.
I smiled back at him, stretching my hand toward the old figure in front of me.
“So I shall give you my friendship, dear Sir, if you wish.”
“I would be honored indeed.”
We shook hands, swiftly, with the same efficiency, with which he had moved the spindle.
“What may I call you Sir?”, I dared to asked?
Rumplestiltskin.

___________________________________________________________

 

 

I did not write my gratitude lists on  the blog this week, not for Thursday, Friday, nor Saturday but I am using Thanksgiving as my excuse. Those three days belonged to my family. I hope you had a wonderful celebration, and were able to connect with your loved ones.
Because of this, I am going to share parts of my gratitude list with you today, and hope you will take a moment to reflect upon what you are grateful for as well.

  1. I am grateful for my oven, which has been and will continue to be used in over-abundance until
    all of the winter holidays have left us. I might gain some weight, as a result, but that is what new years resolutions are for.
  2. I am grateful for my husband’s business partner (and who happens to be my boss), who send me a pretty nice text message out of the blue on Thanksgiving, saying how thankful he was, that we are helping him with the business. It is nice to be appreciated.
  3. I am grateful for Canva and Picmonkey, which I used to make the typography throughout this post. Both have free versions (I use premium on both), that are wonderful for bloggers, especially now that my computer is acting up. I really do not want to fight with any more complicated programs, like Photoshop or Illustrator, when I have a laptop complicating things.
  4. I am grateful for that adorable not so little dog, with white eyes, who seems to have taking a liking to me. It belongs to a neighbor, but every time she sees me, she acts like my dogs do, after I been gone for a couple of hours. That is so cute. I tried to take a picture of her, but she is too hyper to hold still long enough I think she adopted me.

 

This has turned into a much longer conversation than intended. I am going to let you go, but not before telling you to take some of that Nutella – of course, I made extra.

Blessings!

This blog post is a part of the following blog hops

Weekend Coffee Share

Celebrate The Small Things

No Rules Weekend Blog Party

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Thankful Thursdays

Anger And Gratitude

the anger behind
that sweet smile you always show
is reserved for me

Domestic abuse – a reality many women – and men – experience in their relationship. The fear of those who supposed to be caring for us, making our homes a nightmare, instead of a safe haven is real, and never the fault of the abused.

Why am I choosing to write about domestic violence in a blog post that usually features “Celebrate The Small Things” and “Thankful Thursday”? Because I am thankful to be one of those women who do not have to live in fear, but I am also aware that this puts me in the situation to choose to ignore the plight of others, or do something about it.

While donating to organisations that assist domestic violence victims might not seem a lot, it is something many of us who live a comfortable and safe life can do. Just because we do not experience this type of environment, does not mean we can let ourselves be numb to those who suffer.

Anger And Gratitude

But, I am going to add this for my most eager readers, you should NEVER get directly involved. Domestic violence perpetrators are violent and dangerous, making anyone in their way a target just as much as the actual target they desire. If you suspect anyone you know being abused, or know that they are in need of help, look for local resources they can contact, or call them yourself, and ask them what actions they suggest for the abused to take. Those professionals are trained to assist victims and keep them safe, something that you and I are not.

If you are looking for organisations that help battered spouses, check out the following links:

Women helping battered women
 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
 Leaving Abuse

This blog post is a part of the following blog hops:

Thankful Thursdays

Celebrate The Small Things

Thankful Thursday (Pepi Smart Dog)

Reasons to be Cheerful

Reflect

 

The above art piece “Anger” is available on RedBubble, and I am donating 20 % of profits of this digital art piece to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Thank you for your support.

 

Releasing Anxiety – Learning To Say No

Releasing Anxiety - Learning To Say No

Overwhelmed, and over-stressed, not just something must of us only suffer throughout the holiday season, but rather all year long. No matter if you are your own boss, an artists trying to create on your time off, or work in your dream job, stress catches up with everyone of us at least every once in a while.

I am not an exception. But I am thankful that I have come across a little trick to keep at least some of this stress at bay – saying no. Not just to what others want me to do. Yes, that is important, because the demands of others upon our time and energy can be draining, but I am also saying no to myself.

There are always so many things I want to do, accomplish and create, that it  can feel like I am drowning in want to do lists, and should do lists. But there is no way I could ever create EVERYTHING I have on those lists, so I learned to tell myself no.

Floral - by Claudia H. Blanton

Floral – by Claudia H. Blanton

I gratefully said no to the following items on my want-to-do list

1. Post every day on this blog (heck, I had the Flu, work almost full-time, and run my own business, there is simply not enough time in the day)
2. Participate in NaNoWriMo.
3. Bake multiple batches of cookies during the week – I limited myself to once a week baking.
4. Have all holiday shopping done by end of November. No one will care when I bought them their present.
5. Work on multiple book projects simultaneously. I am finishing up my Flash Fiction book, publish it and then work on the next project.
6… and many more

This was an important decision to make, one that kept me from re-living those anxiety-filled moments, where I constantly worried about not doing enough. Those moments stole my sleep, and any type of ability to relax, and stay focused upon the most important aspects of my life – my family. It is hard to enjoy someone’s company, I realized, when their attention is on what he or she should be doing instead, making those around us feel like they are not as important.

Taking charge, and saying no to myself allowed me to make that healthy shift from anxiety to true productivity.

Do you feel overwhelmed with responsibilities at times? Are there any items on your list you could let go off?

Christmas Cheer Postcard

Christmas Cheer Postcard

One thing I do not let go off, are my gratitude lists. And because it is Friday, I am adding 5 things I am grateful for right now, to this post:

1. My thick red favorite sweater. That piece of clothing has become my best buddy over the last few weeks. I just wish I had multiples of the exact same one – warm, soft and cozy.
2. Coffee – of course. I am always cold – see above – so a hot cup of coffee is always by my side.
3. The loudest cat I have ever met, but who happens to have chosen us as his family. My goodness, I have had many cats, but never one as demanding and loud as this one. He talks. To me, the dogs and whoever is willing to listen.
4. Sleeping in – I was actually able to sleep in a little yesterday, which has been rare lately. That felt good
5. Silence – at this very moment, it is absolutely quiet in here – no barking, no talking cat – he is asleep – the kids are quietly busy, and the phone is not ringing. Ahh, this is nice!

I hope you have a lot of things to celebrate and be grateful for as well.
Today’s post is part of the following blog hops:

Friday Finds

Share With Me

What Are You Doing – Blog Hop

Inspire Me

Celebrate The Small Things

Appreciation, Flu, And “Winter” Blues

Appreciation, Flu And Winter Blues
Over the last few days I have been MIA from this blog – out of two legit reasons: 1. because my kids and I have been battling the flu, and 2 because this part time job, helping out someone with building a business has been resembling more a full-time job that hope that by the end of next week, all of this will be settled, and I can resume at least a more passing schedule.
But there are also many things to appreciate today. I woke up to the most wonderful notes from my children, wishing me a Happy Birthday, which was so sweet, and then I got to open many emails and social media messages filled with well-wishes and greetings. Every one of those put a smile on my face.
I feel gratitude for the fact that the sun came out to greet me as well, which suits me well, considering the last few days have been dreary, reminding me more of those days when Winter Blues set in, in Germany, and the days were one big sea of continuous grey. Not exactly the best sight. The morning sun, as I walked the dogs, felt like a balm to my soul, exactly when I needed it.
I enjoyed this afternoon’s crumb coffee cake in all of its sweet glory – on top of that, I enjoyed that I did not have to bake it, my family did instead – I am usually the one backing all of the goodies, so that was a nice change in pace.
I am enjoying the fact that I let go of some anxiety that came back this week, with not being able to accomplish as much as I usually would like to, by employing the power of no. I will write about the benefits of this wonderful little tool tomorrow. Let me just tell you now, that it is a sanity-saving tool everyone should apply.
I am  thankful, that my dogs seem to be having no problems with the colder weather, actually I am surprised how much my shorter haired Athena is enjoying it. Still, I am looking for sweater for her – which is harder for big dogs like her, especially for when it gets even colder  than it already is.
A Floral Heart Keepsake Box by Claudia H. Blanton

A Floral Heart Keepsake Box by Claudia H. Blanton

I am also in appreciation that I was able to design a tiny bit. One of these examples is the heart design I started you just saw. When I create something, at least a little bit of something, I feel a little more productive on a personal level. And that feels good.
So what have you been accomplishing this week? Was your week as crazy as mine, or did you have a chance to relax a little more? I hope you, and all of your loved ones are healthy, and I am looking forward to hearing from you all!.
Check out the following blog hops, that this post is a part of and give the other participants some love!