I have always dreamed a little; and then a little more, and then a lot. I wondered if my dreams as a little girl would come true and what it would take to make them a reality. From an early age, I always found ways to write and my earliest memory of my writing was when I was 9 years old and living in New Jersey with my mother and father.
A few years later, when I was almost 12 years old, my mom and dad separated and later divorced and my mom, sister, and I moved to Maryland to live with my maternal grandmother. At that time, I thought my dreams of wanting to be a writer would stop before I actually got started. Being a writer was always something I wanted to do and I would play teacher as a little girl and assign writing assignments to myself and anyone else who would listen.
Sharing this story of my dream as a little girl has come true over the last year. A good friend of mine, Michelle Hammond of I Am 2 Inspire TV, put a call out for women to share the dreams we had as a little girl and how we have made them a reality. My dream of being a teacher never went away although I decided to pursue a different field as I grew older. Having the chance now to share my story with other women and 6 co-authors as we came together for this vision of sharing our dreams is so inspiring. After reading the stories of my co-authors, I was even more inspired and still want to do more to encourage others that it is never too late to start following your dreams and pursuing your passion.
I was 41 years old when I started this blog and 43 when I published my first book, A Life With A View. I still see sharing my stories, my dreams, and helping other people along the way as teaching. With meeting so many wonderful women along the way, we have continued to encourage each other and lift each other up so we can continue doing the work that excites us on a daily basis. The key here is doing the work to make your dreams come true. We need good, positive people in our corner to stand with us side by side so we keep going and remain inspired.
On June 8, 2019, the 6 women came together for our book signing for Little Girls Dreams Metamorphosis to Women Realities at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center in Annapolis, MD. The rich history of the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center made this journey come full circle as we embraced history and connected with people who were a part of the legacy of this historic location. This made the book signing and sharing our stories connect and resonate even more with those who attended as our stories are and were relatable to each person who attended the book signing. The kind words we received along with the hugs, laughter, and tears meant everything to me especially having the opportunity to share and be embraced by the women who I now call my sisters.
Our journey is just beginning and your journey, no matter where you are on your quest to follow your dreams, you are still here and can make your dreams a reality. Here is an excerpt of the book and a glimpse into my journey:
“After the move to Maryland and settling in, the first three years of high school was a blur to me meaning the time went by so fast and all of a sudden I was in the 12th grade. What was I going to do with my life after high school? I had a job where I could put my writing skills to work and this inspired me to read more and write on purpose, for a purpose.”
To read more about my journey and the journey of my co-authors, you can purchase your copy of Little Girls Dreams Metamorphosis to Women Realities here on my website and on Amazon. You will love the book and our stories will touch your heart and ignite your journey. We would love to hear your thoughts on collaborating with others to help you reach your goals and follow your dreams. Share in the comments a dream you have and one you want to pursue or, how you have or are following your dreams. One winner will be chosen from the comments to receive a free copy of the book. Look forward to hearing from you!
I am inspired by so many things. When I think back to almost six years ago and why I created this blog, I was inspired by faith and hope. I wondered back then if I could get through the pain of separation and then eventual divorce. Here we are just about six years later and I am in a different place; a much better place. The outlook on life is clearer and brighter and definitely more positive. I am all for positive surroundings in this life.
When starting A Life With A View, it looked much different than it does today. The more I read books and magazines, and eventually connecting with other writers, bloggers, and storytellers the more comfortable I felt about what I wanted out of life; to be happy and to fulfill my purpose. I had a story to tell and not only the good stuff; the not so good stuff too.
I began with a theme. Ten words to get me started and I centered my blog posts around the ten words which mean the most to me: Faith, Love, Happiness, Friendship, Honesty, Integrity, Trust, Respect, Openness, Acceptance. Next, I began to write and could not stop writing. For months, my blog posts centered around these topics and then I began to expand in my writing. In 2014, I had an idea of turning these posts into my first book, A Life With A View. I kept feeling something move internally within me and this fire kept me going even when I didn't feel like writing.
Now what was it that moved me to keep writing? It took me a few years since starting this blog to figure it out. I knew I wanted more and to express more and tell my story. Sharing my feelings out loud through my writing has never been a strong area for me. I have had to grow over the years and come out of my shell. Was I afraid to step out of my comfort zone? Oh yes! It is a scary thing sharing your deepest thoughts and opening up to the world about the things that trouble you in life.
To expand the blog a bit more, I published A Life With A View in 2015 and I began to think of ways to inspire other people to follow their journey and go after what they dream about the most. Doing this for other people also helped to inspire me and I realized in 2016 that I outgrew my blog and moved to a website which gave me the flexibility to expand A Life With A View and also grow with my readers. This is when the excitement kicked in! I am able to have a blog and also share my book, and events, and people can get to know me a lot more.
Then in early 2017, it came to me: I have been holding back my story. I promised my readers I would have a second book out in the near future. What did the near future actually mean? Well, it certainly didn't mean take forever to get it done so I had to take my own advice and get busy, step out on faith, and get it done. I needed a push to feel comfortable and what came to me when needing the push was inspiration. I needed something I could feel and see which expresses my deep roots and also how I am feeling. So I had t-shirts and mugs designed to inspire my journey and also the journey of others. The tree of life lives on within me and the t-shirts and mugs were designed in honor of my father and grandmother. I know they would have loved to see their gift of inspiration which also lives within my children and I know our lives have a view.
What is your gift of inspiration? For me, it is the journey to where I am today and I am still going and sharing my story and journey. A good friend reached out to me recently and asked if I would participate in a book collaboration with six other women and share my story of when I was a little girl and what I dreamed of at that time. The story never stops I thought and as long as we are still here, we will journey through life and have a story to tell. Click here for more details on my latest writing journey and the book collaboration. Stay tuned for more as I journey with six wonderful women sharing their stories of how they used their gifts to follow their dreams.
Who knew this would become a series? The Girl Behind the Brand, Finding Color Inspiration to Write, Why I Blog - all of these themes came to mind and what do you know, a series was born. This certainly was not planned. I write from the heart and I wanted to share more about my journey and why I am inspired to write. My writing has definitely developed into more storytelling as I continue to share more about me and this detour I took in my early 40s. Did I ever thing I would be a writer or even publish a book? No way, that's for sure.
Even still and as this "series" developed, I wanted to share more about what inspires me: my family, friends and new found freedom with the connections I've made since starting my blog. Internally and deep down in my soul, I crave good authentic connections with meaning. This goes back to my childhood and being surrounded by family where we would get together just because it was a Tuesday and not necessarily for anything special. Although my family went our separate ways, I still held onto to the belief in deep roots and still think about my father, grandmother, and great-grandfather; my roots.
The deep down inspiration which I feel and see daily comes from within and it took years to pull this out in a visual sense. I wanted to keep it bottled up as I sometimes do with my writing. Since I read more to become a better writer, I realize that I must release all of the bottled words, phrases and this is where visually I wanted to do more with color. Blues, greens, and a logo to show what roots mean to me - the tree of life; A Life With A View. Inspired by my family and our deep roots and to my family members who are no longer with us, my father and grandmother, I created this brand in their honor based on what was already living inside of me.
My vision came to life and I am sharing with you my inspiration behind the brand, through all of life's challenges, there is a sea of good and not only in color. I created The Shop right here on the website with the hope to inspire your creativity when you put the shirt on or take a sip out of your mug.
I would love to hear what your deep down inspiration is and how you plan to share visually the reasons you keep following your dreams and navigating through your journey.
I love sharing and experiencing life through pictures. And look at this, I am smiling in each picture and this is a representation of how I feel on a regular basis. We all have good and bad days and my journey to self-care and self-love has me right here where I want to be.
So what's next on the horizon for me? Well, I plan to pick up my writing on the blog, host an in-person networking event, and continue updating the website social media with the new photos. I am loving the royal blue I will incorporate this into my brand.
Want to check out my writing on some of my favorite topics all in one place? Check out my latest book, Inspiring Creative Passion where I expand on topics of Faith, Love, and Happiness and many more topics to inspire your journey.
About a year ago, the second book in the A Life With A View Series, Inspiring Creative Passion was released. It took almost a year to finish writing the book, editing, re-writes and my new book was finally released. Thinking back to this time I think about where I was emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I was ready to publish my second book in the A Life With A View Series and I had so much to say and so much more to do. I thought about the things I wanted to share, things I was afraid to share, and all the things I held back on sharing in my first book. How did I know I held back in my first book? Well, for one I knew in my heart I could not share everything I was feeling or going through for fear of being judged and two, one of my readers told me she could tell I was holding back. Wow! I thought if she could see that I was holding back then I am quite sure others could too.
So with the second book, back to the long nights of writing, re-writes and edits. I wanted this second book to be my sophomore success and a deeper dive into the values I hold close to dear: faith, love, happiness, friendship, honesty, trust. I also wanted to be an example to my kids and show them that they can do whatever they put their minds to and the things they go through are life lessons and can be used as building blocks to get to where you want to be.
So how did we get here? Well, about a two years ago I moved to a new website platform and it was a must for me branch out a little more and come from behind the keyboard. The old blog was nice, but I needed a fresh perspective and I wanted to take A Life With A View in the direction I have dreamed of for several years. Writing inspirational posts, books, products filled with inspiration and tell a story - this is where I wanted to go for myself and for my readers and people connected to me and even for those who I hadn't met yet.
I have faith that when you read Inspiring Creative Passion you want to grab your tea, coffee, wine, or other favorite beverage and sit down to read like we are having a conversation. You will laugh, you will cry, you will see yourself in the stories of fear, triumph, getting brand new, and moving forward with positive affirmations that you can take with you along the way.
Inspiring Creative Passion has already been on the road and this is so amazing to me and not what I planned. I do believe this is God's plan and after traveling to New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida, I realized I have some work to do to continue spreading a positive message and meeting, talking and connecting with people. To date, I have met some amazing people who are interested in me; a girl from New Jersey with a dream, a pen, one piece a paper and a name - A Life With A View.
My dream is to touch and help at least one person and they share the message and this keeps going. In order to do this, I had to put myself out there a little more and stop hiding. Although I am outgoing, I tend to be a little shy and reserved and second guess myself. The only way to get through this is to write more, write confidently, write strong. Maybe pushing the envelope in my writing is key? Maybe stop being afraid of what to say or not to say? I do believe we hinder ourselves and I was doing this too.
Well, I know I still have some growing to do and this is why A Life With A View is a series and I hope to get better and better at writing and storytelling to help others do the same whether in writing, expressing themselves through poetry, short stories, long stories, and even through speaking and spoken word. We can do this; and do this together. Do not hide your gifts even if you need time to share them. It is ok to share them little by little; even if in a series.
Change can come in many forms and I used to be afraid to embrace what change had to offer - whether good or bad. When I first set out on this blogging journey almost 5 years ago, I often wondered who would read this stuff? I had to first embrace the change I was going through and face those changes with confidence. I did of course what was comfortable for me; and that was writing. Digging up old writings, embracing new content and some of my writing content would pop into my head. Letting it flow was key for me and also not trying to be someone else or write like anyone and to just be me.
This is part of the reason why and how A Life With A View was born. We are now two books in and several blog posts into this journey. The first book, A Life With A View released in January 2015 focused on faith, love, happiness and friendship and it is a collection of my early writings and blog posts. The second book, Inspiring Creative Passion released in September 2017 is a deeper dive into faith, love, happiness and friendship and also focuses more on self-care and inspiration.
What else is A Life With A View? Well, we are a movement, a safe space for readers to connect with people who want and need to hear positive words and affirmations to get them through every day life. We also have a Shop which has the books as well as t-shirts, mugs, and pens to inspire your journey.
This all began with a blog over on another platform and we eventually outgrew the old platform and moved to something more dynamic. I am so excited to have you along and I hope you continue to take a look around and check out what A Life With A View has to offer. This is not only a blog, book, or a shop – but also a portal for joining some great discussions on inspirational topics as well as a little inspiration delivered right to your Inbox.
For the first three years in this space, I would blog a little here and a little there and then I dabbled in some other things. When A Life With A View the book was born, I began to take change more seriously and I wanted to share more - even beyond what I was sharing with my audience in weekly social media posts. I have had this itch and the urge to do more; being more personal with my readers and connect with people who are doing similar things and making a great impact.
This all spells Change. I was so afraid at first. Afraid of putting myself out there. Afraid of not being heard or liked. Afraid of not being accepted. I was fearful of what people would think and did I say “putting myself out there” already? Oh yes, I certainly did. Over the last two years I have joined several writing groups and connected with people who are making an impact in their writing and in their every day lives. Initially I had a ways to go to become consistent and get familiar with the tools and resources in people, social media and most importantly, reading. The last two Summers, I signed up and attended online Webinars, participated in Writing Challenges and in-person events and I completed a writing challenge for my readers where I encouraged the participants to tap into their creative energy and find their creative spark.
I hope you stay around a while and check things out! Let’s get connected and don’t forget to subscribe and join the discussions right here on the blog. Have an idea? Is there anything you want to see from A Life With A View? Connect with me via email and through my social media outlets. I would love to hear from you!
Thank you for being a part of A Life With A View!
Much Love and Inspiration,
Last, but not least - love yourself always and continue to love strong and with confidence. I say last but not least since I feel I have saved the best for last since love is the foundation for all things. A lot of times we blame love for the best and worst of things which happen in life. Sometimes it is warranted and other times, not so much.
With love being the foundation, I thought it very appropriate to have love round out our Inspiring Creative Passion writing challenge! Yes, a week late but we are still here or should I say I am still here. You may be ahead of me since I had a slight setback falling ill leading up to the last week in December 2017. Imagine that - all the excitement and me getting sick. I think it was time for me to slow down and show myself a little love.
When I think about love, I think about it as the foundation to everything in life. Without love, we would not be here and I could not do what I love to do - helping others, writing, inspiring myself and others to be their very best. There was a point in my life where love escaped me, disappointed me - so I thought. I blamed love for everything that was going on in my life a few years ago. I loved too hard, too strong, too weak - I said all of those things to myself. The mistakes I made I blamed them on love and me not facing and seeing things as they were. I learned to stop discounting love; running from it and I realized that love was not always pretty. We have to sometimes do things out of love which may not be popular in everyone else's eyes. This is the strong part of love - sticking with your stance when it comes to deciding what is best for you.
Loving with confidence comes from within and takes time to build especially when you feel afraid to make decisions which benefit you the most. I know all too well about this. How did I overcome this? Well, it is still a work in progress - loving with confidence but it started with loving myself.
You can love strong and love with confidence but if you do not love yourself, you will not get very far. I know first hand and the first thing I had to do was to dig deep to see what made me happy first. Did I want to continue in a relationship where I was not being loved? What about a job or a career which felt overwhelming or unfulfilled? I had more questions than answers when it came to loving myself. One thing I knew for sure was that change was needed and it needed to come quickly.
Here are three things I did to make sure love remained as the foundation in my life:
Take care of myself and invest in my mental health
Letting go of past hurt and pain - although not easy, I prayed and asked for help when feeling down
Showing love and loving others how I wanted to be loved
Number 3 was very hard at first. The interesting thing is once I started showing love and putting the positive vibes out there with love as the forefront, I saw my life change in positive ways. I no longer felt sorry for myself and bad about situations which did not work out. Maybe it wasn't meant to be and that is ok. I have enjoyed loving strong and more confidently and most of all, loving myself.
I talk more about love as a foundation which keeps you whole in my book, Inspiring Creative Passion. Learn more about the Inspiring Creative Passion movement and click the button below to purchase.
This new year certainly snuck up on me while trying to organize my thoughts in writing. Here we are at 2018 and instead of thinking about all of the things I wanted to do or didn't get done in 2017, I decided to focus on the year head and reflect on my wins. This post is part of the Inspiring Creative Passion Writing Challenge that I started last year and was hoping to finish. But, guess what? I had to take a break for some self-care.
Before I knew it, we were in mid-December 2017 and realized I had a lot of leave left to take from my full-time job. Even when I would take off from work I would still check emails, log in, follow up on tasks and this would eat back into the leave I needed to take. Although I took off for 5 days and headed to Miami in early December, I found out I still needed time and my body was telling me to take a break. Did I bite off more than I could chew? Sure I did and I was feeling it.
The "it" for me was the overwhelming feeling of doing too much and still feeling like I was not doing enough. Then I had to think about it - didn't I write a blog post or two or even an eBook about this? This is a lesson in practicing what you preach. In order for me to be whole, I had to practice my own advice and also look to many others who have written books, articles, and blog posts about self-care and the benefits.
When you set out to do everything under the sun whether it is working, writing, pleasing others, taking care of other people - you eventually burn out. I learned about taking care of myself (again) at the start of the new year when I was down for the count and did not have the energy to write. So here I am back, all self-cared up, and in the swing of things. In my self-care eBook which you can grab for Free by clicking the button below, I list 10 ways for you to help yourself to your own self-care. For now and for this post, I list 5 ways to get you started right now and you can grab the Free eBook for the rest:
Choose a word or phrase to start your self-care journey
Surround yourself with people who inspire and encourage you
Choose at least one day a week to dedicate to your self-care routine
Set aside time do something you love; we excel at what we love to do
Remove anything negative from your thoughts to free your mind to continue on your self-care journey
How do you practice self-care? I would love to hear your tips also to share with our community. Don't forget to click the button below to download your free self-care eBook!
Here we are...in the middle of the holiday season, the rush, and the change of seasons in many areas around the world. While writing this post and thinking of the season, of course for me the first thing which comes to mind is Christmas, followed by the New Year which is exactly two weeks away. When I put it like this, I instantly feel the rush to get things done, make improvements in my life, and begin to plan what I would like to accomplish for the coming year.
Well, that was certainly a mouthful, huh? Now if it could only be that easy, right? It certainly sounds good. :) I write and speak a lot about life's challenges and how to get through them. There was a point in my life when I only wanted to embrace the good things not face the bad or challenging things. More energy was put into making things look and feel good around me so there were times when I did not face or embrace my season of change and when it hit, it hit hard and fast.
Sure, I would love to have everything all planned out, in order, labeled, fixed, duct-taped and everything else. But, I now know as I approach my 46th birthday in two weeks that there is a reason for the season; a reason for change, and more reason to embrace it. I was sitting at the cusp of change six years ago around this same time wondering what I would do over the next few weeks, months, and years to come. It was at this point six years ago when my husband and I decided to separate and he moved out of our home just after the new year in 2012. At this time, I was approaching my 40th birthday and thinking to myself: "What would I do with two young children, on my own from day-to-day?" Facing this time in my life was certainly the toughest season from what I can remember besides the passing of my father in 2010.
Embracing this season of change was certainly not easy and I had to face many things which I did not want to come to grips with. One of the things I had to face was telling everyone my story; even my closest friends who had no idea what was going on until January 2012. So here we are, almost in January of 2018 and because you asked, yes - my birthday is January 2. As I approach my 46th birthday, I am so excited and filled with purpose and passion. I do not think I would be where I am today if I did not embrace and face the challenges met over the years. As the title of the post states rest, relaxation, and renewal - I must tell you where I am now six years later:
Rest: After the dust settled in 2012, I carved out one evening each week to rest and be still. This is hard for me since I love to be on the go and my kids love being on the go also with their activities.
Relaxation: Yes, this is a bit different from rest as I consider this time to be an extended period where you take vacation whether from work or other activities. Usually for me this is around the holidays where I take about two weeks off from work and continue to spend time doing everything I love.
Renewal: Part of renewal for me is forgiveness. I was holding onto so much although smiling on the outside. I took some time to repair myself, forgive what was done to me, and take ownership of my mistakes also. I am in a much better, renewed place.
Where am I today? I must share with you I recently realized what I was going through has lifted a bit, or a lot I should say. Time definitely heals (and a little vacation too!...future post coming!) I have been more confident in doing the things I love and also not being so quick to judge others based on what I would do. Yes, this is a weakness of mine. I am learning to meet people where they are and not where I think they should be. As of now, I continue to practice what I preach and my ex-husband and I are in a better place where we co-parent well and communicate much better. There are days when things aren't perfect and just knowing that I am happy and the kids are happy and doing well is plenty for me.
How are you embracing your season of change? Share in the comments, write in your journal, and tell a friend. We can all use advice, tips, and best practices in this area. For more on my story, I have shared many posts here on the blog and also in my books which you can find by clicking here. I encourage you to share your story too since you never know who is waiting for you to lead the way.
Can you believe we are half way through this writing challenge? How are you coming along? Ironically, this week's topic focuses on writing the words you are inspired by. When I sat down to think about what to write, I didn't have to think too hard as I know I can be very wordy at times. (so they tell me!) This is one of those easy topics for me where other topics, the words do not come so easily.
In my writing, I strive to write with more confidence while being intentional with my words or phrases. This can be a tough balance and the more I write the more I continue to work towards this goal. What about you? What words inspire you to write; or better yet - to follow your dreams and goals?
I remember so vividly now 4.5 years ago how I struggled to write my very first blog post. I was thinking way too much and not focusing on being my natural self. Writing for me has not always been easy but I have always had it in me to share my words and my story on paper. Even when I was down and had to claw my way out of being depressed and sad because of what life dealt to me, words, positive words got me restarted and charged up to keep pushing.
Think about a situation in your life or something that significantly changed you forever or even for a period of time. We can all identify with something that changed us and for me I had to get my words together and out of my head. This is where A Life With A View was born. Ten words which mean the world to me and I have been able to build my writing and my books around these words: Faith, Love, Happiness, Friendship, Trust, Integrity, Honesty, Respect, Openness, Acceptance.
With over four years of blog posts and two books, I have remained inspired to keep writing and those words are now phrases which became my inspiration to keep going. For you, try with one or two words and then grow to three or four. Why ten words for me? I had been holding back for so long and I had lots to say well before 2013 when this blog was started. I would say don't wait a long time - get it out in the open whether you write your words, speak them into a microphone, or confide in someone close to you. Getting your words out there for the world and for you to see and hear keeps you inspired wherever you are on your journey.
Leave a comment below and share the words you are inspired by. It could be one, two, or more and even a phrase that gets you up and going. Also share how this writing challenge inspires you and what you'd like to see more of as we continue to write and grow together.
This second blog post in the Inspiring Creative Passion blog series really hits home for me. I wondered for many years what my passion was even though I knew it was writing of some sort but it took a while for the spark to come. Over the last year or so, I have been on a discovery of sorts and it is now all coming together as I have worked hard to write even when I did not feel like it. Joining writing challenges and now starting my own writing challenge holds me to my word and the commitment to write every day.
I have to admit that I was afraid to write sometimes and the words just would not come. Was I losing my passion for writing or was I just scared? I believe it was a combination of the two. Who would want to read this stuff if I wasn't passion about what I was writing? The fire in me started and stopped many times and the spark to keep writing did not come easy. So what did I do? Now I couldn't just sit back and do nothing so I looked for inspiration - other writers who inspired me by the way they tell their stories and what inspires them.
But still, I would start and then stop; then start and stop again. Upon connecting with other writers and people who I am inspired by, this held me accountable to make time to write and the spark of writing was not behind or ahead of me, it was with me and right in sync with what I was writing each day. And then, about 4 years ago I started the blog, FIRE - Faith In Renewing Each Other. At the time, I needed a strong word or phrase to get me started. I remember exactly where I was when I made the decision to come up with a title for my first blog post. I was having dinner and wine with a friend and we were both going through a very hard time. As I was sitting at her house, it hit me and I wrote my very first blog post: Change: A Not So Scary Thought. You can find the post by clicking here.
And here we are today - approaching 2018 and going on 5 years of blogging for me. I have many lessons learned, triumphs, setbacks, and successes and definitely more to look forward to. After reading this post, what is on your mind? What do you do to boost yourself up and ignite your passion? Well, I have 5 quick tips for you to take with you to continue on the path to ignite your passion:
Look for the positive in what you set out to accomplish.
Surround yourself with positive people.
Invest in yourself - you are worth it!
Find an accountability partner and connect.
Smile at yourself and your accomplishments.
Do you have any tips to add? Leave a comment below and let's add to this list!