Over the Moon (and a Give Away)

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Today, I did a full-on, two-minute Happy Dance in my driveway when my husband handed me the mail.  I have an article called Abundant Solitude and photos published in Issue 5 of Bella Grace Magazine, one of my favorite inspirational publications!

It is an amazing, validating, and surreal feeling to see my words and images published (for the first time ever) on the page. And to touch the paper (and it’s very nice, heavy-bond paper- I have a thing for nice paper).  They did such a beautiful job with the layout, and I am over the moon to be featured alongside women creatives whom I admire so much.

Thank you, Stampington and Company and #BellaGrace!  To celebrate, I am having a Give Away of one copy of Bella Grace, Issue 5.  At the end of September, I will select one recipient at random from the comments.

To leave a comment, please click on the bubble to the right of the title (at the top of this post), and you will see the “Reply” box appear at the bottom.  Tell me what YOU do to find solitude or feel centered when life rushes in and you are looking for some solace. Don’t forget to include your email with your input so that I can contact you if you win!

With enormous gratitude,

Tracy

{October note: Winner was Pat Newton of Columbus, Georgia, who received her copy of Bella Grace directly from the publisher.  Congratulations!}

Bella Grace is recognized as one of Library Journal’s Top Ten Magazines launched in 2014

 

Soul Smiles for 2015

Jan Newsletter

Welcome, 2015!  I always love the start of the new year (well, and my birthday is this month, and I’m all for celebrating). Best wishes, fellow Aquarians out there!

Normalcy is resuming after the holidays, with a slower pace. We enjoyed Christmas, with frequent, small gatherings of friends to share in the holiday spirit and ward off a bit of homesickness. It was special, too, to watch Ramsay grasp a better understanding of Christmas this year, and delight in the decorations, parties, and presents.

Are you someone who makes a gentle step or a bold leap into the New Year?  Is there something in particular you want to accomplish or shape you in 2015?  I didn’t make resolutions this year, however, I enjoy writing in my slightly clunky and well-worn paper Filofax calendar…documenting birthdays, writing to do lists, and planning vacations, art projects, and castles in the sky.

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I did choose a word I’d like to focus on for 2015: Authentic.  Being real and authentic in words and actions, letting go of pretense and things that don’t fit my lifestyle; a commitment to say more of what I think and like to do instead of putting the shoulds first, often not leaving time for the fun.  Nourishing all of the facets of my soul as much as possible, and emotionally investing in things and people that I love, worrying less about the rest.

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I read some great nuggets of wisdom over the holidays that I highlighted in my journal:

  • happiness stems from learning how to cheer yourself up and stand your ground
  • lay down the guilt and do things that make your SOUL SMILE
  • making life changes are scary, but regret is worse
  • focus on the FUN, not the fear
  • continue to look at the world around you with new and unique ways, for there is magic in the everyday if you open your eyes

 And I saw this inspirational little sticker on a wall:

IMG_7503Wishing you a year that unlocks your potential, makes your soul smile, one that is full of joie de vivre, passion for living, and a year of finding muses to tap into amazing joy.

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Happy New Year and Carpe Diem,

Tracy

 

 

 

Africa Burning and Nature Treasure Hunts

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Mbabane Mountain Fires at Night

The arrival of winter in Swaziland has brought dry, strong winds, brown mountainsides, and the beginning of “burning,” a winter tradition of setting fire to the fields, leaves, and brush to promote regrowth, get rid of trash, and decrease crime. (It gets dark early this season, and people walking get mugged (or worse) from criminals hiding in tall grasses, so I’m told). They even burn right along side the highway, flames licking the sides of the road,  billowing smoke thick like fog.

It’s an eerie, but beautiful sight to see hills glowing orange at night, red-orange sparks flying up into the sky.  But the smoke…. oh, the smoke. It fills our house, our nose, burns our throat and eyes. If someone will teach me a real rain dance, I will happily partake. Dust and soot is on everything, and ashes blow in clumps up to doors and window screens.

Fires get out of control quickly with the whipping breeze. Amazingly, the fire trucks have no water, but rather, firefighters use what look like rubber rakes to stomp out the flames. It’s actually quite effective, but some houses in town have been burned to the ground, an understood risk this time of year.

It has become a hobby for our toddler to look for fires and point them out, and he likes to say, “look! fire! ‘moke!”  On the bright side, there is gorgeous sun that brings warm days. When the smoke subsides, we venture out to finger paint or treasure hunt in nature for shapes, patterns, colors, bugs, baby tomatoes, and camouflaged animals. And to find our shadows and wave hello.

Here’s to finding inspiration where you can, and less fires for all of us,

Tracy