Editing my life for 2015

Home is where the dog is.
Home is where the dog is.

If you had the ultimate power to edit your life in 2015, what would you change? Do you have people who don’t support you? Do you have a home that doesn’t support you? Do you have a habit that no longer serves you? The good news is that you have the power to change these situations!

In 2015, I want to edit my novel and my life.

Novel Editing

I’m three highlighters deep into editing my first draft of my novel from NaNoWri (excerpts in case you missed them). I bolster myself to be brutal each time I pick up the highlighter. No mercy! I think.

Where I thought I would have to cut a lot, I need the opposite. My novel writing style seems to mirror my poetry writing style: sparse. I need to put some weight on the bones of the words I already have and fatten the story up!

Life Editing

As for editing my life, I see it in two parts: home and self.


My home needs streamlining. We have too much stuff for the space we live in. That is the reality.

This realization helps me to not feel guilty. No matter how many systems I try, the problem is more stuff than places to put it all away.

To start, I focused on our bedroom as the place to make spacious and open.

First, I removed all the boxes I stored under our bed and moved them to the bathroom. Who knew I had so much memorabilia? How much do I need to remember?

I still have to go through all the boxes and steel myself to edit their contents with a hard eye. If I try to hold onto everything, I won’t have space to welcome the good things that are coming to me.

So memorabilia weeding is in my future. For now, the space under the bed is clear so I am called that a success.

Next, I saw the floor of the closet after a big cleaning out. I’m afraid I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen that floor. I know it didn’t happen in 2014. Now I can actually walk in my closet. Novelty!


The editing of self comes with healthier eating, regular exercise and working with God.

For 2015, I created a healthy four-week meal plan. This will help reduce our costs and shopping time. With our meals already decided, a menu will free my mind to think of other things. I built in making extra of some meals so others are already taken care of. So far, it’s been efficient. I will let you know more about it later after we’ve gone through a few cycles.

My exercise plan focuses on making exercise a daily habit. Some days, we only do eight minutes of yoga. But I call that success! My sister taught me the power of accumulation. Even a few minutes a day adds up to something respectable for the year. At the end of 2015, how proud will I feel if I say I exercised every single day? And even if I only do eight minutes a day, I will have 48 hours of exercise total.

Finally, my plan for spiritual growth will be a new prayer for wellness this year. Last year, I held the word simple in my heart. I sang about simplicity. I felt these prayers work in my life. Today I have less intensity about acquisition.

This year, I will focus on wellness and well-being:

  • I know things will work out. With God, all things are possible.
  • All is well.
  • May my loved ones be well.
  • May my valued readers be well.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to change something about your life? Even if you haven’t had success this first week, it’s not too late to try again.

Think about your life as a practice in editing. Make little changes and those little changes will add up to a good story. Never give up! Keep practicing so you can feel happy of yourself!

Do you have prayers about wellness or hopes for the new year? I welcome them in the comments! Have a wonderful week!

Light for the New Year


2014 was a good and bright year! One of the highlights was the book signing in September. I had fun seeing everyone and getting a taste of celebrity (and that is all I need…just a taste).

If you remember my 2014 resolution, I did well with my singing and sang almost every day. My husband was sweet enough to sing with me. The song acted as a way to start the day with a reminder of what matters. It’s not the race to be fastest on the highway or be most powerful but what matters is a humble, thankful heart. Life can be as simple as I make it.

An ongoing source of joy was time with family, friends and animals. Our home is a place of sanctuary and peace for me. I’m grateful to learn that I made a difference in people’s lives, as shown in this story by a former student of mine, A profile in how to live a joyful life: Genevieve Howard.

My plans for 2015 include

  • Edit my story that I wrote during NaNoWriMo and publish it
  • Improve my physical health so I’m more flexible and vibrant
  • Finish my Creative Women’s Devotional and publish it
  • Encourage others in their faith, creativity and hope

My most popular posts of 2014

  1. Four points of prayer shawls
  2. If Mother’s Day hurts
  3. Box baby and my brother’s camera
  4. What happens when a pastor, a poet and an artist walk in a house?
  5. Say the wrong thing

I’m glad to see these are the most popular. They were all close to my heart: prayer, crochet, honesty, my family and my writing. Thank you for your support of my blog.

I wish you loving people, interesting adventures, a lightness of spirit and health in the coming year.

May God bless you!

Time to make your (mid) year resolutions!

Pixie pony

Ready, set, reset!

Pixie ponyI recently heard a thought-provoking speech in my Toastmaster’s club by a friend about her plan to make mid-year resolutions. She pointed out that many businesses have July 1 as the start of their fiscal year. It makes sense that now is a natural time to assess where we are and where we want to be by the time the holidays roll around. We still have a chance to make changes before 2014 goes down in history.

You might remember my New Year resolution. Have I met my goal? Yes! I sing every day. I make the space for it during my long commute. My husband and I drive in together, and we sing in the car. We take turns who sings flat and who sings sharp. Honk next time you see us, the Singing Howards!

On singing Simple Gifts every day, he says, “I love it. It’s bonding for us, and a nice reminder not to try so hard all the time.”

I agree. I find the message of the song grounding. It acts an anchor for my spirit. My life now is a life in motion: fetching groceries, going or coming from work, running an errand or hurrying on my way to an activity. The song says if I stop, humble myself and look up to God, I am free. My self-importance fades. The little annoyances of life are mosquitoes brushed away. Have I gained true simplicity? Not yet…so I have to keep singing.

What resolution will you make that will feed your spirit? Pick one small adjustment to enrich your life. Here are some ideas.

  • Eat more nourishing food that what you usually do.
  • Connect with a friend every week.
  • Make a change in your home so it’s a more supportive space for you.
  • Find a special prayer and make it your own so you know it inside and out. (God hears you!)
  • Take regular walks.
  • Write ten reasons to be grateful.
  • Sing every day!
  • Get support for a dream. Start talking about it. Nurture it so it can grow stronger. (I have a pony, so I can say with authority that dreams do come true!)


Gracious God, thank you for daily chances to change.
Give us willing spirits and strong arms to serve you.
Make them arms that give hugs.

Today let us feel your holy hand on our shoulder,
guiding us toward your purpose.

Tell me your thoughts!

What is your intention for the last half of the year?

Forget resolutions…Sing in the new year!

simple art

simple artWhen my son was little, we sang to him every night. We had a song book and picked songs each night. He liked to request his favorites like Blackbird and Baby Beluga. It is possible we sang Baby Beluga 5,000 times. Well, at least 1,000! We enjoyed Michael Row Your Boat Ashore, Swing Low Sweet Chariot and Dirty Old Town.

We stopped singing him to sleep when he grew older, but we kept the daily singing habit. Now we sing spontaneously about doing the laundry, watering the plants or making coffee. We are enthusiastic, determined and throaty but not what you would call “good singers.”

I believe singing—even (or especially!) amateur attempts like ours—is natural and holy.

I’m grateful we started the tradition of singing because it makes our home cheery. Even a little hum helps grow happiness. Try it right now! Hmmmmmm

Find your power

In church on Sunday, I sat in front of a professionally trained singer named Kathy. With a voice as clear as meditation, she found the notes for us. She made it easier to join the harmony and our pew sounded better than usual. She clarified our muddy sounds on the strength of her ability alone.

It’s important to surround yourself with strong people. If you are around watered-down people, you will find dilution normal. Find people who are seeking what you are seeking so you can travel together. Befriend people who use their voices. They can help you find your song.

Forget resolutions

I love list-making, planning and SMART goal setting. Most years, I relish the opportunity to make resolutions. But not this year. After prayer, I recognized that if I focus on Spirit and the joy of living, everything else will fall in place. Rather than set goals, I need to relax and let God work.

Instead of a resolution for 2014, I have decided to pick a theme song. My song for this year will be Simple Gifts. I plan to sing or hear it every day. I will let the lyrics speak to me and guide my life.

I hope we sing our whole lives, even when we are frail and our legs stop working. I hope we’ll sing about that.

And then when we lose our voices, I hope we’ll sing with our eyes.


all the earth hums your frequency of union.
Our lives overlap like a musical round.
May we sing your name so it rings out
over mountains
in rivers
above clouds.

Help us shed our self-absorption.
Keep our focus on you.
Like the little drummer boy,
may we offer you all we have with pure hearts.

Bless us with reasons to sing and
voices to make a joyful sound!

Tell me your thoughts!

Is there a part of your life that needs healing or adjustment? What music soothes your soul? Who makes you sing better? What will your song be for 2014? I’d love to hear from you!

Way to go, you! Do this now for a better new year

party with balloons and confetti

partyImagine you’re the boss of your life and you’re preparing a report for yourself. You’ve been working hard. Now’s the time to revel in your progress!

The best way to get ready for the new year is take a flyover and see your existence from a distance. Pull back and reflect on what was most meaningful.

Write down your top five things accomplished in 2013.

Beyond the obvious resume-type accomplishments like graduating or getting a new job, what did you learn? Do you have a new skill like juggling, baking bread from scratch or dyeing yarn?

How did you affect people?

Is your life in a better place than last January?  Was it a good year for you? If not, what is in your power to change for next year?

Think about aspects such as faith, relationships, home, health, money, career and creativity.

Ideas about what you might have achieved (any of these true for you?)

  • I got socks and shoes on my young children every day. (Any parent will appreciate that this is a major accomplishment!)
  • This was the year I flossed.
  • I made the bed in a semi-regular way.
  • I let myself daydream.
  • I let my passion breathe.
  • I let myself laugh.
  • I let myself grieve.
  • I opened the door just a crack for hope and joy to sneak in a little.
  • I found meaning in my faith.
  • I trusted the Lord even when I didn’t understand everything that happened to me.
  • I forgave myself for losing my patience.
  • I experimented with a new way of doing things!
  • I was willing to change.
  • I wrote poetry.
  • I made art.
  • I sang, and the music carried me.
  • I read a book that changed my thinking.
  • I read the Bible and let the Holy Spirit infuse my life.
  • I built an afghan rack.
  • I lived life with a sense of humor.
  • I enjoyed strong, nourishing and stimulating friendships.
  • I remembered to say “thank you” for the marvelous gift of being alive.
  • I loved my pony as if I were a little girl. (Did you guess…this is one of mine!!)

Why celebrate?

Celebrating your accomplishments energizes you! Completion gives us a sense of joy and fulfillment.

When you discover what gave you the most satisfaction this year, you can bring more of what nourishes you to your life.

Remind yourself of how you’re thriving!

Put your list up on the mirror for the next two weeks.  Rejoice in your successes! Acknowledge how much work you’ve done.

We live in a future-thinking culture that makes to-do lists. January 1—the big day of resolutions—is around the corner. Why not look back for a moment? Looking back and defining your values will propel you forward in the direction you want to go.

Know what matters to you and what you’re capable of so you can plan where you want to go in 2014. This is your time. Use it!

Take it to a friend

My sister and I enjoy sharing our lists with each other. Telling another person about what you’ve done is a powerful way to deepen your sense of purpose.

What is your favorite accomplishment of 2013?

Let’s hear yours, and how you managed to achieve it in the comments below!

Live your dream in 2013!

Do you have a dream? Learn how to make it come true in 2013 by using three steps:

  • Focus
  • A plan
  • A partner


First, narrow your focus. Let’s say you want to get married, lose weight, become financially secure, find a new job, publish a book and get a pony. Do any of these sound familiar? They’re all worthy dreams but focus on only one. Don’t dilute your effort. What do you feel called to do? Pick what speaks to your heart.

Maybe your dream is to get a pony. Is there a certain breed, size, color or age of pony you want? Do you want a friendly or mean pony? Sharpen your focus and write down exactly the kind you’re looking for. This applies to other ideas like finding a spouse or job. Will anyone do for a spouse? Will any job work? Be specific.

Describe your dream in detail: what you want, what you don’t want and what would be a deal breaker. This process will help you get to know your dream and flesh it out.

You should be able to say in one sentence what your dream is. When you have your sentence, put it where you can see it. Post a relevant picture as a reminder.

A plan

Next, write a thorough plan for achieving your dream. Without a plan, you risk your dream staying only a daydream.

Be extravagant with the details. Each action item should include the resources needed and a due date. A plan without deadlines is like a boat adrift. For my pony plan, I would include this action item:

  • Research places within a 150-mile range that offer small, young ponies for sale or adoption. Resources needed: time and Internet access. Due by Jan. 31.

A partner

Lastly, make a dream support team! Find at least one other person who believes in you. Say your dream out loud and go through your plan. This powerful step helps make your dream real.

Having people behind you will give you strength to meet the challenge of change that achieving a dream demands. Their faith in you will keep you going after your initial enthusiasm fades and you begin doing the work required.

Ask your support team to hold you accountable to your plan. Check in every month and show them how you’re doing. In an ideal situation, your friends will seek their own dreams and you can support them!

Going for it!

Now you know the three steps to living your dream in 2013: focus, a plan and a partner. Let yourself be absorbed into the pursuit of your dream. It will change you for the better. Action brings blessings. Make your life an adventure! Believe in yourself and go for it!

What dream do you want to live in 2013? Tell me about it in the comments!

i dream of ponies running