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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Rewind of 2012: My Life Dimensions

I find it such a joy to look back at this past year to see and remember all I have experienced both personally and professionally. I wanted to share my musings and rememberings with you, my dear readers!

My Life Dimensions of 2012:

As Grandma: I have had the joy of watching my grandboy grow and develop into the precious person he is and to know what a difference he makes to me and to my family. His laughter, his conversation, his point of view, his stepping stones, and his personality just light up my world adding wonderful, creative and insightful energy to my life experience which I enjoy sharing with friends and loved ones.

As Artist: I continue to immerse myself in the fun and fabulous world of art journaling, collage, and watercolor exploration. I have immensely enjoyed watching videos, reading and seeing art journaling/collage in living color on blogs, in newsletters and in books, and experimenting with my own layouts with new products and new approaches. Watercolor continues to be my medium of choice both solo and in my art journaling work (or should I say, PLAY!) I love its transparency, its versatility, and its vibrancy in my work as an artist. I look forward to every moment spent in my art studio in 2013 as I make time to refresh my spirit and soul in the process. It is my True Authentic Refreshment!

As Writer: I am delighted to share the publication of my first book, an e-book, titled, "The Birthday Wall: Create a Collage to Celebrate Your Child," a how-to book that shares our story of making a creative visual collage I put together for each of my daughters, and now for my grandboy, for their birthdays each year. It has been a fun journey to put the word out about how parents (and grandparents) can create a collage to celebrate their child's (grandchild's) birthday.

I was delighted to have my good writer friend, Sarah Bryant, share how The Birthday Wall helped her connect with her son for his birthday and beyond.

I have enjoyed sharing a fresh perspective in all of life's dimensions through my weekly Refresh Journal which coincides with my weekly #JournalChat Live for all things journaling.

When I have been impacted by a life experience that I find insightful and meaningful, I have enjoyed sharing these gained insights with you, my dear readers, right here on this blog, Refresh with Dawn Herring~For a Fresh Perspective. I appreciate all comments and feedback from those who have shared and with whom my message has resonated.

I also have had the wonderful opportunity to share and contribute to book tours. One was featured on my newest blog, The Birthday Wall, called, "Happy Birthday To You: My Childhood Memory," to spread the word about the book, Finding Emma by Steena Holmes. The other was featured on my #JournalChat blog, titled, "A Mom's Point of View on Mental Illness with Madeline Sharples," in connection with #JournalChat contributor, Madeline Sharples with her book, Leaving the Hall Light On.

I have written book reviews on Raw Art Journaling by Quinn McDonald and Creative Journal Writing by Stephanie Dowrick.

I have also published articles, "Finding Your Authentic Refreshment," (starts on page 25) in Outlet Zine, a online magazine focused on creative outlets and on All Things titled, "Journal Your Way to Refreshment."

As Host of #JournalChat Live for all things Journaling on Twitter: I must say it has been a delightful, insightful and inspiring year of chatting with folks about the life-enhancing and life-changing benefits of keeping a journaling practice. Each week has been enlightening, fun and enlivening as we have shared personally about keeping a journal, asked questions, perused journaling resources from our #JournalChat Pick of the Week, and as we've encouraged one another to keep our practice as only We Can Do. Journaling is a Custom Creation of the Heart. MY THANK YOU.

As Journal Writer: I continue to benefit from a journaling practice that continues to thrive and grow and change as I do. This year I added a morning entry with no set page number where I can ready myself for the day, make plans, set goals, and remember what needs doing. I also write a nightly entry to help me summarize my day, write down my insights gained, and congratulate myself on a daily job well done. Journaling continues to help me appreciate, validate and nurture myself the way I need to each day, custom created by whatever approach, question, prompt I decide to use.

I have read many journal writing book titles to learn from other's approaches and read other's journal entries, and understand even more the benefits of journaling. There is always something new to learn from others who have kept a journaling practice and can share how they  have benefited; something I never tire of.

This has a been a delightful trip down memory lane as I've considered all of my wonderful life experiences; it has helped to give me a fresh perspective on all of my life dimensions and it fills my heart with gratitude for all I have been blessed with.

To my family, my friends, my network of artist, writing and journal writing friends, my readers and my subscribers, I wish a Fabulously Refreshing New Year of 2013.

May your year be filled with authentic refreshment that feeds and nurtures your heart and soul to enliven and enable you to make your very best mark in the world.

Don't ever forget to refresh yourself; from my heart to yours.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What You Did Do

As an avid journal keeper, I write a summary of each day's events, experiences, and goals met. Of course I write in detail about other things as well, but the issue of what I accomplished sometimes weighs heavily on my mind.

I find myself thinking, What didn't I do today?

I'm sure I can always write a full list of what didn't get done that I either meant to do or simply didn't have time to do.

As I considered this issue, I noticed that my feelings and emotions were getting tied up and weighed down by such a perspective; it certainly wasn't a celebratory energy I was creating.

I knew there was something wrong with this picture. But what to do?

I knew I couldn't pretend to have gotten done what I felt needed doing if I didn't do it, right? I wanted to be a realist about my tasks and to dos.

But that didn't mean I needed to be overbearing with myself over my lack of accomplishment each day.

But that's just it. I WAS accomplishing many things each day. I WAS getting things done. And many of those things are vitally important to me.

So, why wasn't I paying attention to what I WAS doing each day instead of focusing on my "not do" frustration?

That's when I decided to record in my journal what I did do; well, actually, I already do that. But this time I was celebrating what I Did Do instead of just seeing what I accomplished as my status quo, what I simply expect of myself, as what I should be doing.

Celebrating what you do every day is important. It's easy to gloss over doing the laundry. Oh, everybody does laundry. Yes, they do. But you got it done. Everything is neatly folded, right? Or maybe not. But at least it's clean. And that's what matters.

Taking the time to put a smiley face or a check mark or a heart in your journal to show yourself some appreciation for a job well done, is a great way to encourage yourself, to keep at it, and to recognize how you are using your energy for good in your life, in your community, in the world.

Don't dismiss what you have done as something you simply expect of yourself. See it as something worthwhile and pat yourself on the back. Every Day.

Don't skip it. Don't forget it. Don't just keep going on to the next task.
Bask in the moment of what you are doing.

When I began to see what I was accomplishing (and I was surprised when I really took the time to consider it: Wow.), I felt a wonderful shift take place in my energy.

All of a sudden, I felt OPEN. Expansive. Light. Happy.

There was a place for joy, appreciation, validation, and nurture in what I was experiencing.

I felt like my True Authentic Self.

And that's the way it's supposed to be.

So, the next time you're ready to scold yourself for not getting something done, especially if you haven't done it in a while and it's driving you crazy, remember to recognize what you DID do.

Bask in the glow of a job well done. And Smile.
You'll feel energized, lighter and truly YOU.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Open Up

creativity n. the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work

creative adj. inventive; imaginative

Idea. Inspiration. The Muse. The Zone. Ideas. Imagination. Flow.

All places, spaces, and approaches to what we would hope will be the opening of a creative life.

Whether we're on the dance floor, painting an image, writing a story, or sculpting, our goal is to create something of value, something that will reflect our emotion, our point of view, our creative core.

But do we? Are we able?

Sometimes it's easier to have a specific agenda, a pre-planned reason or a structure we choose to follow which raises our expectation for the resulting product and perhaps it's sale-ability. We may find ourselves trying to imitate another who has inspired us, only we find we fall short of what we thought we could do.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with having a plan, an idea, a structure, or even another person as our muse if we are inspired by them at the outset of our creative time. Without it, we may feel too open-ended with a lack of focus.

But if we use these structures as our center for ourselves and our creativity, we may find we develop a  block of sorts.

We may eventually feel closed to our authentic creativity. We can't seem to express ourselves quite the way we want to.

The colors are all wrong. The words come out flat. The music has no pizzazz. There's no dimension, no light.

It's all in our heads, noisy, confused, leaving us disappointed and discouraged.

That's when we can go inward. We can give ourselves space, time and nurture to re-energize, refresh, and open up to play.

Pull out all the stops, pull down the walls and the structures that have held you back and just have Fun.

Do something just because you want to with no concern for the outcome.

Listen to your heart. Let yourself dream. Feel your energy lighten. Let Inspiration Flow.

Relax. Enjoy.

Now, from that open place, refresh your vision, your purpose, starting from the source of your authenticity, your true voice of expression. Be Truly You.

Remember what it feels like to have that o-p-e-n creativity so you can stay or return to that place in the event that you've lost it.

You will find a gentle natural flow for whatever your creative endeavor entails. And you will also remember well where your creativity was stymied and take time to nurture yourself regularly to keep that natural flow going.

Trust the process; stay open. Be authentic. Your creativity will speak for itself.
And the message will be meaningful music of the heart.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Competition or Complement?

Are you one to write a "to do" list each day to keep yourself on track with your goals and tasks?

If so, do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed by its sheer volume, as if you'll never catch up?

Do you find it difficult to decide what tasks or responsibilities should take priority over the others? Do they all seem priority and you don't know which one to do first?

Ah, yes. Those tasks can often seem to take on a persona of their own, as if they were people vying for your attention, competing with the other tasks, hoping to be noticed for how important they are. You might even hear them saying, "Don't you care about me? Why do you keep ignoring me? I'm IMPORTANT, aren't I???!!" Right?

When we take on this perspective with our tasks, we may find ourselves feeling defeated before we even start. You know the guilt, the criticism, the beating ourselves up when we think we're not doing enough.

This doesn't have to be a competition. 

No, it doesn't.

Perhaps taking a new view on each task will help you know what direction and process to take, one that is authentic, intuitive, and even rewarding for you.

Here's the key: What if you saw each task or responsibility as a complement to each other? You know, how they work together to enhance the function of each, kind of like how our body parts work together to help us breathe, digest, and assimilate what we take in and experience in our daily lives?

I have several dimensions of my life that I work with mostly on a daily basis; all of them to me are VERY important, not to just one area of my life, but holistically.

It would be easy for me to see each of these dimensions separately and feel a bit nonplussed on how to get it all done without feeling like I'm leaving something out.  

There's my study/writing time; there's the work I do online; there's my artistic pursuits; and my time for home and family. (Of course, my office work is always priority since there are immediate deadlines with much of it; our electrical contracting business, Bill's Quality Electric, LLC, is service oriented.)

Yes, it can seem overwhelming sometimes when it doesn't all get done in a way I'd like it to. Sometimes something will fall to the wayside, and I'll feel the effects of what hasn't gotten done. The effects can sometimes create fatigue or lack of energy or stamina. I find this is especially true if I don't make enough time for my artistic pursuits.

But when I see all these ingredients of my day as compliments to each other, it helps me to have a different view of these activities. Instead of them vying for my attention, I can see each one as helpful to the other.

When I write, then my artistic side is enhanced. If I study, then I feel grounded and centered for my writing. Life experience feeds life experience. So when I see each task as something that can enhance my well-being, I don't feel as apt to get discouraged when something falls to the wayside. It's more of an awareness than a criticism.

When I see my life holistically in this way, I feel better overall about what I do and when I do it and how much I do it.

Just a few minutes of creating a stippled rendering in colored ink can lift my spirits. Doing a bit of cleaning can help to clear out negative energy for a more healthful flow at home.

Listening to my intuition on what comes next helps me to see things naturally and organically, rather than competitively.

Yes, I sometimes write a "to do" list when I have things to do that I don't want to forget. But I don't write one every day. Most days, after an a.m. journal entry, I know the flow I'm looking for and aim to do what I know is best for the moment.

And I need to be satisfied with that. No Guilt. No Overwhelm. No Criticism. No Bullying.

Just a peaceful contentedness that all is as good as it needs to be with my world--in all of its dimensions.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are You Listening?

We all have an inner ear.

We hear things from different sources.

Some voices are loud and cacophonous, irritating and annoying, even criticizing.

But how can you separate the voices in your inner ear? How do you know which ones are true and which ones are just noise?

There are several ways we can discern the difference, if we're listening carefully from all possible "venues."

1. Our Body
Yes, our bodies speak to us all of the time, and if we listen carefully, we can learn a lot from what our body has to say. Whether it's the food you ate for dinner last night, for better or for worse. Or a tightened feeling you get in your belly when a certain topic comes up in conversation or when you meet up with a person who is toxic to you. There's your body's energy, either by the depletion or the increase of it; you may notice it in your daily experience, especially when you're exhausted and didn't take the time to recharge or when you meditate and feel invigorated afterwards.

2. Synchronized Messages
When a message must get to you in response to a question you have asked, you will see an answer in various places that may seem totally unrelated but are actually in sync with each other. You may read something in a spiritual or self help text that really resonates with you, and then see it again in another form, and it all adds up to what you were looking for. Or someone may simply say something to you that you already read that day or that another person already said to you and you notice it.

3. Inner Wisdom
We are all birthed with an inner wisdom given to us by the highly intelligent Universal Energy (or God or Creator) that we can access simply by asking, whether in prayer, meditation, or through a more hands-on/ artistic application of journaling, art journaling or collage. This inner wisdom is powerful and personal, and when we listen carefully, it can have a profound, even life-changing effect on our lives.

4. Intuition
Call it a gut feeling. A Mother Bear response. A Protection from toxic energy or from danger. You could be drawn to something that ultimately adds to your energy; you may not know why at first, but when you embrace it, revelation comes. As a result, you are elated and encouraged. You may find a book title that actually changes your life. You may run into a person who becomes a fast friend. And you notice the inner feeling of intuition when it happens.

Yes, we all have wonderful sources of positive, life-enhancing messages for our inner ear to hear. But it takes an awareness, a decision to slow down long enough to hear it clearly, even if it's just a whisper.

Sometimes what it says may seem a bit odd or different or even crazy. But when we follow through on those messages and give heed to them, we may find ourselves in a better, more authentic place, one that challenges us, but in a good way.

But we have to keep our inner ears open and listen carefully. To the whisper, the idea, the intuitive hunch, the warning of danger, or even just a word to keep us out of a traffic jam.

Whatever it is, take heed and follow that lead.

It might just make your day.
It might just change your life.

Are you listening?

Monday, August 6, 2012

The First Time

You know the thrill, the surprise, and sometimes, the anticipation.

Every experience takes on a "Land of Oz" quality.

Wonder can often be seen, especially in the face of a child.

Colors seem brighter.
Names can take on an odd, fun or silly quality.
Sounds and how they are made make for absolute fascination.

Textures, no matter the founding source, such as fabrics, plastics, and even metals based items, are handled with pleasure, fingered for their unique design or purpose.

Mastering new tasks can often be met with dazzling delight.

But do you feel that "Oz" like sensation or quality when you experience something in life for the first time?

If not, it may be due to the questions in your mind:
Will I do this "right"?
What if I make a mistake?
What if I end up humiliated because of what I don't know?

Trying something for the first time can seem risky, especially if you're unfamiliar with the source.

Plus, the Inner Critic has a loud, cacophonous, belittling voice that can intimidate us and cause us to pull back, second guessing ourselves from trying something new.

But if you pay very close attention to what that voice is really saying, you'll notice its vagueness, its fuzzy indiscriminate message that has no true foundation for such a protest.

Instead, listen even more closely to that sweet, courageous, intuitive sound of flow, fun, and the fantastic.

When you watch a child learning something new, when they hit on success (which is usually something very small they've accomplished), they will let out a shriek of delight, a laugh of "A-ha!"

They revel in the sensation, the mystery of discovery of every day life. All is novel to them. They follow their instincts and intuition naturally.

It's when we begin to stop listening to the right voice that we lose our sense of wonder, glee, and delight in our life experiences.

But you can get it back.

Listen carefully to that sweet, inner voice that gets your curiosity aroused, your creativity sparked, your intuition humming, and your heart inspired.

And then actually do it--whatever it is that it leads you to--as if for the first time. Even if you've done it a million times before.

Then watch your life experience take on a whole new glow.

Welcome to your Land of Oz where you'll find there's no place like the home in your heart.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Monday, July 9, 2012

Your Authentic Self

You can see it in his eyes.

When you ask him a question, he studies you as if looking for the answer; or maybe he just responds with a smile or a soft sigh.

He takes his time when trying out a new toy; he studies each piece and has to make a choice between one thing or another; he seems reluctant to let one go for the other; he goes back and forth then settles, satisfied--for the moment.

He remembers the song on his piano as you sing it to him; he smiles and laughs in recognition of the tune and even tries to sing along with new longer sounds.

He studies different fabrics, whether the softness of a blouse, the waffle-like pattern on a robe, or the string from a tie. He fingers them slowly, repeatedly as he absorbs texture, movement, color.

His laughter is soft sometimes, depending on what he is responding to; perhaps a repeated song or a question. Or when he is asked a question and given an answer with a funny animal sound or two, he laughs heartily, showing his growing, unique sense of humor.

He makes choices; when he goes too far from his center on the living room floor, he is called back. He turns each time he hears his name and decides what to do. Sometimes he's not sure and wants to keep going. Often he turns around to return to center where he knows he'll enjoy interaction and play with another.

He hangs on to his Nuk Sippy Cup, the one with the blue and orange handles, after he finishes chugging it in less than a minute, even when you suggest giving it up to be washed.

He is already experiencing what it is to possess something.

He also knows when something doesn't belong to him and you say no.
He cannot put other's clothes in his mouth; he cannot pull at necklaces and earrings.
He knows, with reminders, what  his boundaries are.
Sometimes he pushes them; other times he remains content to just be.

Choices. Memory. Response. Desire. Action.

All requirements to develop an authentic self.

He doesn't wonder if he is authentic in his personality; he just absorbs the love, the care, and the sincerity that surrounds him and grows naturally from that place.

Sometimes it can help to return to that natural inner child; the place of authenticity, of a new reality.

Each choice, each memory, each response, each desire, each action has potential to teach what is not known, to inspire to greatness, to reveal inner workings of the mind and heart, and to nurture what is true and lovely on the inside.

Listen to your heart; pay attention to what you are drawn to; love yourself; aspire to do your best with what you have.

Your Authentic Self will emerge and grow as you look to sincerely be who you really are.
In all of your beautiful, magical, creative, practical, and logical dimensions.

Let your Inner Child refresh you from the inside out...and watch what happens.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



The sound of that words makes me want to sit up straight and take notice. It actually means "very great merit or quality." If you do something with excellence, you're doing your very best, putting your whole heart into it.

We all want to hear folks tell us that we did an excellent job on something, especially when that job goes unappreciated most of the time, if it's not normally our responsibility, or when we just want to be validated.

Like when our elementary school teacher thought we did an excellent job on our writing page, with our letters written nice and straight. We might even get a gold star with an A+ written on it. With a smiley face too, if it was really good.

How do we know when what we are doing is done with excellence?

Generally speaking, when you look back on the task, do you feel like it's a job well done?

There are small household tasks like doing dishes, folding laundry, and sweeping the floor. It's easy to see visually how well we did. But most of the time, no one notices that kind of job unless you don't do it. So it may be considered lesser than one that would be perceived as "excellence" worthy.

There are work tasks like sending an email, writing a blog post, making a phone call, or connecting with a new client. You don't always know how folks will respond to those connections unless they tell you specifically how much they appreciate your work. That's why it's always nice to get feedback from folks to affirm you're doing an excellent job.

One of the issues we may run into is desiring to do something different, something larger than what we are already doing. In other words, we may not be satisfied with what we've done so far and are looking for something more meaningful or purposeful.

The first thing to do when that sort of thought arises is: Pay Attention. Take notes. Don't ignore the urge to start something new if that's where your heart is leading you.

But First. Look at how you are doing what you are already doing. Are you doing the best job you can irregardless of whether or not it's appreciated? Are those menial tasks getting done without procrastinating or are they being put off for another day when they really could get done right now?

In other words, are you doing all you do Right Now with Excellence? Can you answer unequivocally yes? No? Hmmm. Then you might have some work to do before you making a running start in a different direction.

Why, you ask?

Because how you do things now won't change how you will do things in a different place or venue. Your habits are ingrained, and if they aren't excellent, they won't be that way anywhere else either.

Take a good look at what you accomplish each day. If it's lackluster or half-hearted, try writing down why you feel this way. You may discover an underlying issue that needs addressing to help you get into a better mind frame with your work tasks. Once you discover what needs changing and implement that change so you can honestly assess excellency with your current work, then you may be more ready to move in a bigger, more purposeful direction.

Excellence really does matter, no matter what you do, whether it's for your home, your work, your kids, or yourself.

When you determine to have an "excellence" mindset in all of life's dimensions, you will find your world expanding and attracting the kinds of opportunities you're looking for, or maybe even better than you can think or imagine on your own.

Then you can give yourself a gold star with an A+, and if you really want to go all out, add a smiley face too, for a super job well done.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


freedom n the condition of being free, independence; frankness, outspokenness; exemption from a defeat or duty; unrestricted use.

When you think of freedom, what comes to mind?

The ability to come and go as you please? Eat whatever foods you want? Shop for your wardrobe without a concern for price? How about getting up and going to bed anytime you choose? Or being your own boss? Maybe it's choosing the activities that refresh you without regard for guilt or someone else's expectation for your time.

There are some dimensions of life that we wouldn't necessarily see as 'free' in our experience.

We have to budget our money, setting aside what is needed for clothing, food, shelter, etc. So we don't just buy whatever whenever, right? Otherwise you just end up in debt or worse. So we're more careful with how we handle our finances. But does being careful give us less freedom or more freedom? Do we feel inhibited by our choices or grateful that we have choices to make?

There are the choices we make for our work. Are we free to choose our own business rather than being employed outside our home? If we do, do we feel run by our business instead of us running it? Do we feel a sense of freedom to choose clients, or do we feel overwhelmed by our choices with whom to work for?

How about our relationships? In a sense, we are free to choose who we spend time with, whether with family, friends, or even colleagues, depending on the circumstances. But does our freedom to choose inhibit or liberate us? Do we feel obligated to be with someone when we don't necessarily want to be? Or do we know that the choices we make determine our sense of peace and personal freedom because we know how to set proper boundaries without severing ties, if we need not do so.

Sometimes responsibilities that we know aren't ours get into the life mix; what do we do with what feels like a loss of freedom in connection to those unexpected tasks and relationships? How can we fix a situation that we don't deem fixable? Do we compromise, yield, give in to whatever is asked of us and not getting what we know is important for our well being? Do we give up what we thought was freedom in our situation before this unexpected responsibility came up?

Or do we simply need a change in our mindset?

How we view or perceive things will determine the sense of freedom we actually have, whether concerning relationships, circumstances, responsibilities, challenges, new expectations laid upon us by our own selves or another, or choices we make in our daily existence.

If we understand that what we experience is presented to us as an opportunity to grow, to mature, to love, to nurture, these opportunities will enhance the quality of our lives when handled with gratitude, expectation, and willingness to let the Universe do what it will. Then our sense of freedom will grow and become an underlying mainstay.

When we resist the circumstances or the developments in a relationship and see them as just bothersome, heavy handed, and too challenging for our taste and refuse to transform it into a mine for gold, then our sense of freedom will be skewed, leaving us feeling angry, resentful, and even bitter toward our life circumstances.

And that's not a win for anybody.

It's not always easy to see the gold just below the rippling or even raging surface. But it's there. Just waiting to be discovered, appreciated, and used to our great benefit.

And when we become the stronger, the more capable, the more flexible, the more wise in the process, then our sense of freedom emerges and grows and spreads like a gold fire, filled with all kinds of possibilities that we would not otherwise know or experience.

The next time you sense your freedom being infringed upon, keep an open mind and an open heart to new possibilities. It will grow as you do.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Every Little Bit

He turns his head from side to side as he wakes himself out of slumber. He scratches the fabric on his crib mattress, testing the texture with his fingers. His cheeks are rosy from the warmth of his skin. He moves his feet, flexing his legs, as he adjusts from his belly position, readying to lay on his side. He begins to hum and make bubble sounds as he absorbs his surroundings, looking up for a familiar face.

He finds one. He smiles as I talk to him gently, as I ask him if he's had a good shnootz.

He goes back to stretching his legs and begins to work his way onto his back for a better view.
I watch his every move as I take in his attempts to learn this new body movement, rolling, which could give him even more options if he knew how to get back to where he started.

Sometimes in the process, I hear him grunt with his efforts as he works different gross and fine muscle groups to determine what will work best to get him in the preferred position. Sometimes the move he makes is satisfying. Sometimes it's frustrating with the inability to change back and forth, a skill he has yet to master.

I tell him he's such a big boy, able to roll into those positions for a better view. He'll learn how to get back to where he started in time. And the time moves so very quickly.

Before he knows it, he'll be crawling at high speed and then walking from one room to another.

Learning a new skill takes patience, endurance, and even a little faith in yourself, believing and expecting your skills to increase and grow as you make the effort to learn whatever is necessary to get where you want to go.

We can't expect to learn new skills overnight. Practice, observation, and even learning from someone else who has been there can go a long way toward helping us achieve our goal.

It can also be helpful to take a breather from our efforts, knowing we've put our time in, getting better and stronger with each attempt.

Every little bit helps; every step we put forth gets us further along the path we travel.

He's not in any hurry as he tries these new steps toward new skills and, eventually, independence. But he doesn't give up either. He keeps at it until something changes: he masters the movement. Then he smiles wide as if to say, "I'm proud of myself!"

And he knows I'll be there cheering him on.
And sometimes, that's really all that matters.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Monday, February 27, 2012


You see them along the road as you drive. Some give you directions, some inform, and some warn you of danger. You have to pay attention to these signs every time you go out on the road since, if you don't, you might run right into some major problems, like getting lost, going too fast, or slamming into another car. All it takes is one wrong turn or ignoring a stop sign or going up the wrong way on a one way street.

My daughter, Hannah, is learning the importance of road signs as she navigates the rules of the road in preparation to get behind the wheel. It's amazing how much one pays attention when the rules become personally relevant.

My mom always likes to take a road sign and give it a whole different application using her sense of humor and a little imagination. Like the red arrow you sometime see that shows you a different route to take: Detour. Well, Mom says that's just letting you know they're taking us on De Tour somewhere. Where would you like to go?

That's a good question. It's always given me food for thought. And whenever I see that red arrow, I always smile since I know what Mom would say. Life is full of detours and signs.

Like the four important signs that the Great Lion, Aslan, gives to Jill Pole after she and her friend Eustace enter Aslan's country in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair. He gives them a task to find the lost Prince Rilian of Narnia who has been enchanted by the Emerald Witch and needs to be set free. Of course, Aslan doesn't tell them exactly what to do, just to memorize and follow the signs and do whatever they say.

But when Jill and Eustace allow the very same witch to catch them off guard by sending them in another direction, they end up in a very bad state that they must get out of or end up being eaten by giants in Man Pie!

When they find themselves in the Underworld and are welcomed by the man who is to marry the witch and listen to the plans she has for taking over the land of Narnia, they finally face the final sign. They are to take a great risk and set this man free from the Silver Chair  because he asks in the name of Aslan.

But once he is unbound from the Silver Chair, (the same one that has kept him under the enchantment), he turns around to destroy it, unmasks himself and introduces himself as the prince they came to find!

It truly pays to follow the signs, both on the road and in life. We are all given a task to do, a vision to discover, a destiny to fulfill. In other words we have a specific purpose for our lives. But we always need to be on the lookout for the signs, the ones that guide us and give us direction. We all have an inner compass, an intuitive voice, a spiritual light that shows us what to do.

We see the synchronicity in our lives with events, experiences and the people we meet as we're walking in the right direction because we are paying attention to and following those vital signs. We can always tell when we're on the right track. We see things come together unexpectedly and in a timely fashion.

And our inner voice and heart are in sync; we know where we're going. We may not know exactly how we'll get there, but we have faith. And we're willing to go where those signs will lead us.

Even if it's into an unknown place, like the Underworld or into a city we've never been to.

It may take courage and perseverance and focus, but we're willing to do whatever it takes. Because that's what we're here for.

We'll keep going until the next sign gives us a new path, a new direction.

Where is your 'road' sign taking you?

&#169 2012 by Dawn Herring

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Change It Up

I am finding a new approach to my daily work and home schedule that seems to be working for me fairly well. Of course, old habits are hard to break. But this change for me has made enough of a difference that I'm implementing it into all working aspects of my life.

I have a tendency to stay at a task for long periods of time; I get immersed and don't realize how much time has gone by. This can make for uncomfortable issues with posture, resulting in fatigue and reduction in attention span and mindfulness.

So I decided to change it up.

Instead of sitting for an hour or two working on one project at a time, I'm sitting for fifteen or twenty minutes and then get up to do something else.

For example, if I'm busy posting links for #JournalChat Links Edition, I take a break for a bit. I may work on some collage elements. Or add more to my current watercolor project.

Or I may just get a bite to eat and stretch or take a walk.

What's interesting about changing it up is not only are you getting the benefits of giving your body a physical break, you also get the mental recharge you need to stay mindful to your task.

I pay more attention to what I'm reading because I'm more alert and aware. Which makes the reading more pleasurable.

Actually this approach makes most things I do more meaningful and pleasurable because I am more mindful.

So when I take a break from one task to work on something else, my mind keeps working. But not in a cluttered way. It gives my subconscious mind a chance to ruminate on the things I am absorbing and learning and helps me assimilate the information better.

Plus, when I change it up, I have more energy to put out in connecting with my friends, readers, subscribers, and fellow writers, artists, and journal writers.

I also notice I get more work done overall. It may take a bit longer, but what I do has a higher quality. And I enjoy the process so much more.

When I give myself a break between tasks, this new approach gives me a fresh perspective and a lighter, more buoyant feeling.

Plus I have more time to chat with my husband and daughters and spend time with my grand-boy.

When you incorporate a change into your work habits or routine that makes enough of an impact to cause you to have more pleasure, more energy, and a higher quality of life, you know you've hit on something good.

So the next time you find yourself getting fatigued from working on a single task too long, give yourself a break. Change it up. Do something that gives you joy and more energy. And when you come back to that initial task, you'll have a clearer, more productive mindset, which can only enhance the quality of your work and your life.

Oh, and don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. You Deserve It.

© 2012 by Dawn Herring

Popular Posts

Dawn's #JournalChat Favorite (formerly Pick of the Day)

You can now view Dawn's #JournalChat Favorites on my website:

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Monday's Pick (12/26) Day 12: The Ritual to Get You Writing by Quinn McDonald

Tuesday's Pick (12/20) Journaling for Self-Discovery by Rosie Molinary

Friday's Pick (12/16) Journal Writing Prompt 31-Priorities by Dolly Garland

Monday's Pick (12/19) Keep a Dream Journal-Why Bother? by Patti Testerman

Today's #JournalChat Pick of the Day

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Friday's Pick (8/19) Altars to Remember by Amanda

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(6/13) Last Seen....Journaling

(6/10) Joy of Journal Writing

(6/9) Using Your Journal to Clear Your Clutter

(6/7) Personal Journaling Sure Beats a Bad Day

(6/6) 4 Journal Writing Prompts to Spark New Insights

(6/3) "What Oprah Knows For Sure"-#1

(6/2) Sharing Your Thank You and Love through Personal Journaling

(6/1) Kid Quotes are the Best

(5/31) Journaling-The Art of Deep Communication with the Self

(5/30) Spiral-Bound and Spellbound

(5/27) Dare to Dream

(5/26) What Lies Beneath

(5/25) Biggest Mistake Forgiven

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(5/6) MIA by Rachel with Pen to Paper

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(5/4) Journaling

(5/3) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: The Nature of Resistance

(5/2) Collages, Your Mom, and more

(4/29) Dear Diary: The 4 Payoffs from Writing a Work Journal

(4/28) Secrets Journaling Prompt

(4/27) The Miracle of Mindfulness

(4/26) Your Philosophy

(4/25) Journal Writing Basics: Ask How

(4/22) What Inspires You? What Excites You?

(4/21) Journal Writing Prompt 18: Busy Life/Stress/Responsibilities

(4/19) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: Expanding Creativity

(4/15) Journal-Keeping: Tips and Ideas for Writers

(4/14) Mind Your P's and Q's: Part I

(4/13) Journal Writing Through Life's Passages: Moving

(4/12) Appreciate Journaling: Children Need to Write

(4/11) Journaling for Healing, Health, and Happiness
(4/7) Yellow Legal Pad

(4/6) Meet Brooke Snow! An Amazing Mom!

(3/30) Let the Left Brain Know What the Right Brain is Doing: An Interview with Dr. Lucia Capacchione

(3/28) Movies Journal Prompt

(3/25) The Power of Forgetting

(3/24) Ten Ways to Keep a Great Diary

(3/23) Journal to the Soul

(3/22) A Reflective Writing Honoring of Women's History Month

(3/21) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: Vulnerability

(3/18) How Journaling Changed My Life: Receiving Journal Insight

(3/14) Let Them Play in the Backyard

(3/11) How to Keep a Journal When You Don't Ever Have Any Time

(3/10) Memories

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Three Steps Toward Yourself (as published in SFC Newsletter, Dec 08 edition)

Accountability: to give a reckoning or explanation for one’s actions, responsible.

When most people think of accountability, they often negatively associate it with answering to others, such as a spouse, a friend, a mentor, or, in most cases, a boss. As a writer, you are your own boss, which is one of the reasons that you need to be accountable to yourself. And it can be a positive experience rather than a negative one.

The first step in being accountable to yourself as a writer is setting goals for your writing and keeping track of projects you want to finish. Incurring a deadline for yourself can help
motivate you in this area. This step can also include daily writing goals. Some authors plan how many words or pages per day they will write.
I’ve set goals for myself as a writer by making them reachable and attainable. This year I have set a goal to write at least one scene for my novel per week and at least one other piece,
whether it be memoir or essay, per week. That can mean just making notes, writing a first draft, or revising a draft.
As long as your goals keep you moving forward and you’re making progress, then you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Once you have your goals set, the next step in accountability to yourself is writing down what you accomplish each day. You can use a daily calendar just for writing or keep track of your
daily accomplishments on your computer. I designed a custom monthly writing calendar. It helps me track what I write daily, whether or not I’ve met my goal for the week, and it has
space for ideas for future writing pieces. I also have a spot to keep track of books I’m reading for that month. I use abbreviations to keep the daily writing easier and to save space. As I review each completed month, I can go back to see what I’ve accomplished and keep track of when I wrote each piece.
Whether you use something pre-made or customize something for yourself, use whatever works for you and helps you stay accountable to yourself.

A third, and perhaps most important, aspect in accountability in your writing is taking care of yourself as a writer. Than can mean giving yourself space and not being hard on yourself if
you don’t reach your goals each day or each week.
Flexibility and refreshment are paramount to your health as a writer. It also frees up your creativity and can actually help you produce more quality writing in the long run.
I enjoy writing in my journal, reading fiction or memoir, and watching a good movie with my family. Taking a walk, listening to music, talking with your family members, and just taking time to sit and enjoy life are all ways you can be good to
yourself—and ultimately accountable—as a writer.

Learn to celebrate your accomplishments and your uniqueness as a writer. That’s one of the best ways to be accountable—to yourself!