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Reading:  In Search of Balance:  Keys to a Stable Life by Richard A. Swenson.  This one a great read that focuses on living intentionally with well-defined priorities at the center of all you do.  Living simply without overload.  Making a counterculteral choice to SLOW DOWN.  Perfect for this transitional spot I am in.   The Love Revolution by Joyce Meyer is another spectacular book.  It will inspire you to DO, to rethink your priorities, and to live a life of purpose and meaning.  Both books are radically shaping my thoughts for the coming year.

Watching: Mad About You (on every weekday morning from 8-9:00 am) – an old, old favorite.  I also completed the entire first season of The Paradise in less than a week.   Law & Order most afternoons.  I’m itching for true Christmas programming to begin!

Sipping:  Lots and lots of Peppermint Tea.  No soda at all since surgery (in fact I’m thinking about saying goodbye to it completely from this point forward).  I’m also drinking at least 8 cups of water a day.  I’m consciously limiting my daily coffee intake to 2-3 cups as well.

Doing:  I went out to lunch with my mom, a mini shopping trip with friends (that also included lunch), had an impromptu Date Night, and lots of driving.  Three days of sitting more than I have in the last three weeks and I am feeling the effects.  My post-op is scheduled for Monday and I am so looking forward to knowing exactly where I am at in my recovery.  It’s been slow (normal for this type of surgery) and filled with lots curveballs (also normal for this type of surgery).

Thinking about: The 2014 Winter Weekend Scrapbooking Retreat (printing pictures, finishing the cookbook, shopping with Tony).  My thoughts have also been swirling with medication side effects (one causes extreme bloating and discomfort), concerns about every new symptom, and flashbacks to my first pregnancy loss and my clinic’s mega fumble that lead to a perforated uterus, scar tissue, & fruitless procedures and surgery to correct the damage.  Every time I call my [new] clinic and am transferred to the triage nurses, I’m reminded of the dozens of times I called my [old] clinic regarding unusual symptoms that (in hindsight) were never properly addressed.  The whole time they had been assuring me all was fine because there was no fever.  All was not fine, not at all.  (I carried my dead fetus for months before it was discovered by doctors.)  Similarly, as long as my current symptoms have no fever they assure me all is fine.  But I have a “niggle” I cannot shake.   Regardless, my post-op appointment is on Monday; I just need to hold out until then!

Listening to: Love, love this collaboration between Paramore’s Haley Williams and Joy Williams:

Nibbling on:  Too many candy canes, homemade black coffee ice cream splashed with Bailey’s Irish Cream, loads of yummy dinners made by my friend Marci’s freezer meal club, Stacey cookies, and peanut brittle.

Thanks to Sometimes Sweet for the “currently” inspiration!

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one little word {2015}

I have taken part in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word tradition for several years now.   Better than any New Year’s Resolution, the practice of choosing one word as focus for the year has propelled me forward personally and professionally.  It has helped me to be intentional.


Each word reminds me of my journey – strengths, weaknesses, lessons learned, triumphs, and difficulties.  Memories to treasure.  I am sure my word for 2015 will be no exception:


lighten [lahyt-n]

1. To make light or clear; enlighten.
2. To shine brightly; sparkle.
3. To reduce in weight or quantity; lessen.

While recovering these last couple of weeks, God has brought several things to my attention.  Prior to surgery I had been caught up in my physical issues, the negative implications on my personal life and business, and all of the associated “what-ifs.”  When several “what-ifs” became real post-surgery, I let FEAR get the upper hand.  And I was miserable.

Until I got my rear back into scripture:

How I need to trust God will be when you cry for help!  As soon as he hears he will answer you.
- Isaiah 30:19

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…  For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
- Isaiah 41:10, 13

I needed to remind myself I wasn’t alone, God hadn’t forgotten about me.  Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the Lord holds me in high regard! I need to trust Him in the moment.  I need to trust God with the outcome.  So instead of giving in further to fear, I started looking for Him.


And that’s when I realized this massive slowdown was for my good.   It is time for a change, time to reevaluate.  I will be doing several things differently in 2015:

1. Never lifting (or pushing) anything heavier than a gallon of milk.
2. No running or squatting.  No sit-ups, planking, or any other physical activity that adds stress to the pelvic floor.
3. Putting my feet up and being intentional about rest.
4. Rethinking my camera bag and purse.  How can I lighten?
5. Changing how I shop. And cook.
6. Reevaluating my schedule and workload.  Revisiting my priorities.

Perhaps as I take my word for 2015 to heart, my life and business will sparkle in a new way.  At least that’s my hope.  :)

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seek his face always

© Tina Vega Photography

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

1 Chronicles 16:8-11

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mental wellness as a lifelong endeavor

There’s a lot of talk these days about mental illness. And in an effort to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, many organizations have even implemented ad campaigns to bring light to this formerly taboo subject.

© Tina Vega Photography

While the intentions are noble, I can’t help but feel these ads further isolate individuals struggling with mental illness by creating an “us vs. them” mentality => healthy vs. unhealthy/sound vs. unsound.

© Tina Vega Photography

As a woman whose life was once defined by mental illness, I have learned several things over the years:

1.  Mental wellness is LEARNED.  [Mental wellness is a positive concept relating to attributes that are present in a person’s life, including emotional well being, the capacity to live a full and creative life, and the flexibility to deal with life’s inevitable challenges. Breaking it down further, the components of mental wellness are a sense of self-worth, a sense of control over one’s life, the ability to acknowledge and accept the limits of one’s control, emotional awareness and coping, problem solving and creativity, and a sense of humor about one’s self and life in general.  See Peak Mental Wellness & Counseling for more information.]

2.  In my years of working closely with others in small group settings, having authentic relationships with women of all ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds one thing is certain: ALL OF US struggle to cope at times, ALL OF US have a tendency to revert to learned patterns of behavior when under stress, and MOST OF US haven’t a clue as to what “healthy” even looks like let alone know how to attain/maintain it.

3. Mental illness is not a disease to be cured or an infection to be erased with a magic pill. It isn’t something we wipe our hands of and move on from when symptoms subside. When we come to the realization that our way of life is not working and choose to seek help, mental wellness becomes a lifelong endeavor.

4.  Mental wellness is a beneficial pursuit for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US.  We are all works in progress.

© Tina Vega Photography

So where do we begin?  By seeking help from a sound therapist, going in with an open heart and mind, by being bravely REAL about struggles, and resisting the urge to blame anyone for the circumstances/feelings/difficulties faced.  Know that you are not alone, you are not unfixable – you are a work in progress.

© Tina Vega Photography

Never finished.  Always becoming.

© Tina Vega Photography

Messy and imperfect; one-of-a-kind. Beautiful.

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5 fun things friday

5 Fun Things Friday

1.  I absolutely ADORE this scarf!!


Click HERE to learn more about the Able Scarf!

2.  Wouldn’t these gratitude cards be a great addition to the Thanksgiving table?


Click HERE to find them at Paper Source.

3.  100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake.


Click HERE to find it on Amazon.

4.  Love these Baby Bandana Bibs from Paper Source.


Click HERE for details.

5.  This Stocking Laddier Advent Calendar by Pottery Barn recently caught my eye.


Happy Friday!!!

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