Monthly Archives: December 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011! :D

“Cheers to a new year and another chance

for us to get it right.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

At the beginning of 2010, I had two major goals; sell one of my paintings; & travel overseas.

In April, I achieved & my first goal. In fact, not only did I sell a painting, ten of my original pieces were featured in my first ever art exhibit.

That whole experience was so much fun, from creating a theme that promoted women empowerment & self-love, & spending the first few months of the year doing nothing but painting every day, to sending out the invites & the excitement of opening day.

It was AWESOME & it felt so right that I know I will be doing it again in the future.

At my first art exhibit

Next to one of my paintings

Three months later, I achieved my second goal of 2010, when I moved overseas for a year. This goal wasn’t just a 2010 goal; it was a goal I had dreamt of achieving for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’ve actually done it!

On our way to China!

Arriving at Beijing Airport

Exploring Daqing

Outside of a Buddhist temple in Hailar, Inner Mongolia

I’ve crossed off a few other things from my life goals list this year too; getting engaged; using my artistic skills to help raise money for charity; & experiencing a white Christmas.

Just after Mike proposed ♥

Nonprofit campaign promo I designed

My first 'snowing' experience!

White Christmas!

Then there’s just the bonus experiences & moments that were completely unplanned but will always be great achievements in themselves. Things like white water rafting in the mountains of far north China, walking through the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, where I also explored underground Japanese tunnels from before WWII, & most recently, starting this blog & being published on Tiny Buddha.

Rafting

Inner Mongolian Grasslands

Underground Japanese tunnels

My Tiny Buddha Guest Post!

I am so grateful for everything I have accomplished, experienced, seen & learned this year. I know I have come a long way, & traveled on a path with many highs & lows & even some u-turns, but I couldn’t be happier with where it has all lead me.

So, I wave goodbye to 2010, with a big, cheesy smile & a heart full gratitude for everything it brought me.

Now, it’s time to say ‘Hello!’ to 2011, I welcome this new year with open arms & another big, cheesy smile.

My major goals for 2011 are:

  • Walk along the Great Wall of China
  • Go to the Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Return home to Melbourne
  • Marry the love of my life

Mike & I at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens

♥ Mikey & Me ♥

I have a few other goals that I’m already working on, such as finding more ways to use my blog & art to inspire others, collaborate with amazing women to make something awesome, & learn Mandarin.

Another goal of mine is to post to this blog at least once a week in 2011, so I signed up to do the WordPress Post Challenge. Part of signing up means I have to mention it in a blog, so:

‘I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.’

Most of all, I just want to take a lot of action in 2011. I’ve been trying to decide whether ACTION should be my word for 2011 (I mentioned this to someone who commented here recently), it’s either going to be ACTION or INSPIRE. Then there’s always the option of combining them to make INSPIRED ACTION. Yes, I think that’s it.

2011 is my year to take inspired action.

By the end of 2011, I want to be a better version of myself. I want to be stronger, wiser, much more confident & independent, & I want to have achieved a lot & have really made a positive impact on the world.

So, my goals are set, my hopes are high & I’m ready for the AWESOMENESS of 2011! 😀

As you say goodbye to 2010 & welcome 2011, think of how far you’ve come over the past twelve months.

Remember the good times & how much happiness you felt, & consider the not-so-good-times & the lessons they brought you.

Think of all those special moments that you will always treasure, & take note of all the things & people you are grateful for from 2010.

Now, imagine how amazing 2011 is going to be. Think of all those positive things & people that made 2010 so great, & imagine all of that & more being a part of 2011.

Last week I wrote a post about how we have the power to choose the kind of day we have; imagine the possibilities if we apply that knowledge & power to an entire year! As long as we remember to enjoy the great times & learn from the challenges we face, there’s no stopping us!

Let’s make this our best year yet!

Here’s to 2011! 😀

Jen ♥

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Goals & Gifts – #reverb10 :)

December 28 – Achieve What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Mohr)

Today, when I looked at all my goals, hopes & dreams for the next year, I noticed a pattern begin to form. They all involve personal growth, inspiring others, & experiencing all that life & the world has to offer.

As I connected them even further, I realized that my most desired goal for 2011 is to end it with even more love, happiness, health, & purpose than I am ending 2010 with.

If, a year from now, I can look back on 2011 feeling like the best version of myself I have ever been & knowing that I gave it 100%, I will be satisfied & proud.

I’ve decided to go with the ‘10 thoughts’ option in order to experience those feelings of confidence, accomplishment, joy, love, purpose, satisfaction & pride today, because what you think about, you bring about.

(While these aren’t really ‘new’ thoughts, they are definitely ones I could think more often!)

1. Take action.

“When you don’t know what to do, do the thing in front of you.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot. Another good quote for this thought is: “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” ~ Will Rogers

2. Yes, I can.

“My motto is; If a person can do it, I can do it.” ~ Geena Davis

3. Live with purpose.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

4. Anything is possible.

“Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

~ Napoleon Hill

5. Stay focused.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”  ~ Henry Ford

6. Dream big.

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” ~ Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) in ‘Back to the Future’.

Another good quote for this thought is: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ~ Les Brown

7. Be wild.

“Why sit in the bleachers, timid & afraid? When you could be the whole parade!” ~ Hairspray – Big, Blonde, & Beautiful

8. Think, do, be, positive.

“I crossed the street to walk in the sunshine.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert in ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’

9. Share the love.

“Freedom lies at the heart of my willingness to love everything.” ~ Alanis Morissette

10. Follow your bliss.

“If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.” ~ Joseph Campbell

December 29 – Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

The defining moment for me this year would have to be the moment we decided to move to China.

As I described in my Tiny Buddha guest post, there have been so many ups & downs & lessons learned through a whole series of events that all lead back to that one decisive moment.

I am so grateful for that moment & everything I have experienced since, & I am 100% certain that I would not be who I am today without it.

December 30 – Gift Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

The two most memorable gifts I have received this year, aren’t special to me because of their monetary value, one of them didn’t even cost a thing. These gifts are special to me because of their meaning, & what they symbolize in my life.

The first, I received back in April; an engagement ring from my soulmate. And while I do think it’s totally romantic & awesome that it boasts diamonds, my birth stone, & was designed by Mike especially for me, I get the most joy out of what it symbolizes.

It’s not just a ring, it’s a symbol of Mike’s love for me, & his commitment & desire to spend the rest of his life with me. It represents our friendship, our love, our past & our wonderful future together.

The second gift I received only last week; a link to a YouTube video from my brother.

It may not seem like much, but it is one of the sweetest, most meaningful & comforting gifts I have ever received.

The video is of British comedian Tim Minchin, singing a song he wrote about Christmas called ‘White Wine in the Sun.’

For most of it, I just thought it was really cool that this guy had summed up all my feelings about Christmas in a song, from consumerism to family.

In fact, the chorus could be about my family at Christmas:

“I’ll be seeing my dad

My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum

They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun

I’ll be seeing my dad

My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum

They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun”

Towards the end of the song, he sings to his daughter:

“And if, my baby girl

When you’re twenty-one or thirty-one

And Christmas comes around

And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home

You’ll know what ever comes

Your brother and sisters and me and your Mum

Will be waiting for you in the sun

Whenever you come

Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles

Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum

We’ll be waiting for you in the sun

Drinking white wine in the sun

Darling, when Christmas comes

We’ll be waiting for you in the sun

Drinking white wine in the sun

Waiting for you in the sun

Waiting for you…

Waiting…”

This is when I started to cry like a baby.

This is when I realized that my brother wasn’t just sending me a video about Christmas, he was sending me a message. He was letting me know that he misses me.

He was letting me know that, even though I’m ‘nine thousand miles from home’, my family – Mum, Dad, him, my other brother & sister, my aunts, uncles, cousins & my Nana, were spending their Australian Christmas in the sun, & missing me, thinking of me, & waiting for me.

It makes me tear up even writing about it. But I love it so much, & it means more to me than almost any other gift I’ve ever received. I’ll never forget it.

(More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/tim_minchin/#share)

Stay tuned for a couple more posts over the next day or so, one of which I made especially for all of you! 🙂

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Wise Words Wednesday: Rising Above.

“One resolution I have made,

and try always to keep, is this:

To rise above the little things.”

~ John Burroughs

At a time when everyone is remembering 2010 & eagerly awaiting 2011, a few things have come to light in my life that make me see just how much I’ve matured since leaving home this year.

Very recently, I’ve discovered that there are some people in my life who aren’t being truthful with me, & even though I’m literally thousands of miles away, I’ve found myself suddenly wedged in the middle of a game of ‘he-said-she-said’.

Six months ago, I would have dived head first into this mess & drowned myself in all the details, asking for direct quotes of everything that so-and-so said about me, & spending hours discussing how I’d been ‘wronged’ & ‘betrayed’.

Yesterday, when I discovered things had been said about me & lies had been told, I had no interest in requesting a word for word dialogue or stewing over the details. Someone else’s lies & perception of me is none of my business, & it says more about who they are than it does about who I am.

While it did sting a little bit to find out I’ve been lied to & gossiped about, I’m not angry or vengeful. It’s not the first time it’s happened, & it won’t be the last. In fact, I’m thankful for this experience; it has shown me just how far I’ve come & how different I am from the person I used to be earlier this year.

Six months ago, something like discovering false friends would have been devastating for me. Now, after everything I’ve overcome here in China, it seems pretty simple:

Phoniness, dishonesty & any other useless noise, has no place in my life, & I won’t let it distract me from what’s really important.

There’s a whole world out there, & we’ve only got one life to live, so…

I’m rising above.

I’m only interested in authentic, considerate people who love life & who are secure enough within themselves that they can support my growth instead of feeling threatened by it. I’m grateful that I already have quite a few people in my life who fit that description.

Those are the people who will be coming with me into 2011 🙂

We have the power & the potential to make this next year as AWESOME as we want it to be, all we need to do is stay focused on the positive & remember what really matters.

Everything else is just noise.

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

#reverb10 – Playing Catch-Up :)

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

The only thing I can think of is speaking up more, in situations where I was being bullied or mistreated. I didn’t stand up for myself because I was too scared, but it has taught me how to be assertive & how important it is to speak my mind, especially if someone is mistreating me.

December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

So, I’m imagining future Jen writing to past Jen, but past Jen is, in fact, the future Jen to me; the present Jen? Easy.

Dear 2011 Jen,

The next year is going to be extremely AWESOME. You are going to have so many amazing experiences that you will never forget, & you are going to achieve some things that you never thought possible.

My advice to you is this; just enjoy it. Give everything 100%, be as present as you possibly can, & soak up all the awesomeness. Forget about the petty things that don’t matter in the long run, just focus on the important stuff – love, purpose, family & friends. Make this quote your mantra:

“Do what makes you happy,

Be with who makes you smile,

Laugh as much as you breathe,

Love as long as you live.”

Keep Smiling!

Love, future Jen.

To my younger self, from 10 years ago, I would say:

You’re right, it will get better. I promise.

I wouldn’t say much more than that to my past selves, because if ‘Back To The Future’ has taught me anything, it’s that knowing too much about your future can dramatically affect the space-time continuum & even destroy the Universe itself. Great Scott!

December 22 – Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

This year I really kicked ass in the travel category of my goals list. Living overseas has always been something I’ve wanted to do, & I am very proud & happy to have achieved that this year.

Next year, I want to visit Beijing & walk on the Great Wall of China. I would also love to visit Shanghai & Hong Kong (especially Hong Kong Disneyland!) before we leave.

As for other places around the world, we are still deciding on where to go for our honeymoon – at this stage it might be Ubud, Bali. Also, we are going to Fiji two weeks after our wedding for Mike’s brothers wedding. So traveling is absolutely going to be a major focus of 2011, which makes my heart smile.

December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

I love my name. It’s perfect for me, & I would never change it, not even for a day. I’m Jen, it’s who I am 🙂

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

After my guest post was published on Tiny Buddha, I re-read it. Reading it again, I realized just how much I had been through & how much I really have grown & learned from it. Seeing it published, & reading all the comments from people who could relate & who were inspired by my experience… that’s when I knew it was all going to be alright, because I can handle anything.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Author: Tracey Clark)

This photo was taken, by Mike, as we were walking through a small patch of forest about a block away from our apartment complex. I love this forest, especially in the snow, we walk through it every time we go out.

I chose this photo because I look really, truly happy… because I am 🙂

I’m in the beautiful snow, surrounded by my wise friends; the trees, & you can tell by my loving smile that I’m more focused on Mike than the camera. I’m full of love, light & joy. This is how I always want to be.

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

There’s a few meals that come to mind; the vegan quesadilla that Mike used to make back home is so good, & I can’t wait to have it again when we go home; pizza always makes me smile; & the food at both the vegetarian restaurants (& only vegetarian restaurants!) here in Daqing is both delicious & healthy. One of them makes mashed sweet potato balls that are so good! Yum 😀

December 27 – Ordinary Joy Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)

I love this question! I just had one of these moments on Christmas Eve. It was our first Christmas away from home, so I was trying to make it as special & as jolly as possible; I put our three presents under out little tree, lit some candles & had Christmas carols playing.

When Mike came home with our Christmas Eve pizza, he took me by the hand & started dancing with me in the lounge room. It was so perfect. I was completely in the moment, dancing with my love to John Lennon’s ‘Happy Christmas’, & admiring the candles as we waltzed around the room. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Get ready for another Wise Words Wednesday post very soon!

Keep Smiling 🙂

Jen ♥

More #reverb10 Catch-Up!

 

December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)

Living in a developing country has taught me how blessed I am to be able to call Australia my home. To think that just by being born in Australia, I immediately have so many more opportunities & luxuries that others won’t ever have is such an eye-opening realization.

A lot of people here in Daqing have never even left the city, & overseas travel is so expensive that only the very wealthy can afford it. The Chinese teachers that work with Mike have to be at the school all day, 6 days a week, & a lot of them live together in small apartments. All they do is work & sleep. Keep in mind, this is one of the better jobs to have, I’ve seen old women out in -20°C sweeping the busy roads with a brooms made out of sticks, & guys selling corn out of a cart pulled by a donkey.

Being a communist country, conformity is pretty popular here. Everyone does what they’re told, no questions asked – even if it’s ridiculous; when girls reach a certain age at school, they all have to get the same short, bobbed haircut. If they don’t, they are given lower grades. I’ve never been more grateful for the opportunity to explore & create my own style, & the encouragement to be an individual.

The health services here also leave much to be desired. The cure for anything is hot water & an IV. A friend of ours even went to the hospital with a ruptured eardrum, that was causing her ear to bleed, & the doctor told her it was because she ate too much spicey food. Oh, & shaving your armpits causes cancer.

Another thing I have come to appreciate about Australia is the general values of the people, especially when it comes to equality & animal cruelty. Women don’t get treated with much respect here, I started to realise that whenever our boss would shake Mike’s hand & ignore me, even when he was firing me he was talking to Mike instead of me. Animals have it much worse, though.

At the theme park here, there’s a ring toss ‘game’ that uses caged puppies & kittens as prizes – if you can land a ring around the cage, you get to keep the animal inside. Those poor things are so drugged up they don’t even move. And since winter started, all the fur coats are coming out; I’ve never seen so much fur in my life.

In Harbin, there’s a tiger park that allows you to throw a live chicken into a tiger pen. I recently watched a video of this that was filmed by a friend here, the chicken is tied to a stick, which is then poked through the cage & the people laugh as the tigers jump up & eat the poor chicken. I’ve heard that, if you pay enough money, they will push a live cow in there to be devoured for your entertainment. It’s disgusting & horrible. I just don’t understand how people can think any of this is okay, there’s absolutely no excuse for any of it.

To sum up, I’ve never been more appreciative & grateful to be Australian. When I go home, I will be appreciative of everything, from decent plumbing & drinkable tap water to the values of the people.

December 15 – 5 Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)

There are three things from 2010 that I will always remember; my first art exhibit; the night Mike proposed to me; & coming to China & everything I’ve learned since being here.

December 16 – Friendship How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

One of my best friends in the whole world, Pip, has really inspired me this year. She has overcome a hell of a lot this year & has completely turned her life around for the better.

Even though she is on the other side of the world, she was there for me during my hardest moments this year, & the strength & positvity she has shown in facing her own troubles really inspired me to do the same.

Knowing that she was there to support me & love me no matter what gave me the extra strength I needed to get through my darkest moments & turn my life into something positive. This year, Pip was more than just a friend to me, she is my teacher, my role model, & my sister.

Watching her transform her life proved to me that it was possible to turn ruins into rainbows.

December 17 – Lesson Learned What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)

The best thing I have learned about myself this year is that I really can handle anything that comes my way. I am much stronger than I ever thought possible, & I don’t need to be afraid of challenges because I will always be able to overcome them.

I’ve also learnt that most people will accept me for who I am, not despite my flaws & mistakes, but because of them. Being authentic & imperfectly me is what I do best, & people can relate to & feel comfortable with someone who doesn’t pretend to be perfect.

Perfection is boring. Authenticity is AWESOME.

December 18 – Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

I think I tried everything I wanted to this year, with no regrets. In 2011, I want to try to live in the moment more, but at the same time be more outgoing & express myself more.

December 19 – Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

Ruin healed me this year. It was extremely sudden, but I still haven’t stopped growing from it. Ruin forced me to re-evaluate every aspect of my life, from who I am to what I eat, & helped me to heal the parts of myself that weren’t serving me, & start developing new parts of myself that will lead me to live a better life.

In 2011, I think this healing process will continue, & there will be more experiences in my life that will cause even more healing. I think traveling will be a very healing experience, as will going home for the first time in a year, & getting married to the love of my life.

See you again tomorrow for more reverbs!

Keep Smiling 🙂

Jen ♥

#reverb10 Catch Up!

I’ve finally started to catch up on all the #reverb10 prompts, so I will be posting 6 answers every day for the next four days.

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of a few different communities this year, both online & otherwise.

Online, I’ve met some amazing women. Amazing. I’m proud to be a apart of communities started by strong, empowering & inspiring women who I can learn from, communities such as Tiny Buddha, I Want Her Job, The Happiness Project, She’s The First & Starfish One By One. Not to mention all the cool women I follow online, whether it be through blogs, twitter, or even just facebook friends.

Also online, I love my community of readers. All of your comments, tweets & emails make me love writing this blog even more than I did before. You made me realize I can make a difference. Thank you.

Offline, I was introduced to a very different community than what I was used to – the Chinese community. As much of a shock it was when we first arrived, I love it here now. Sure, we get stared at all the time, people spit everywhere & use the sidewalk as a toilet, but it’s all a part of the experience. I’m only here for a year of my life, so I may as well enjoy it while it lasts.

Another community I am a part of as a result of being an extreme minority in a foreign land, is the Western community. We estimate that there are only about 50 westerners, in a population of over 2 million, here in Daqing. It’s an awesome little community to be a part of though, all of us from different parts of the world, traveling together & experiencing the highs & lows of living in China.

In 2011, I want to continue to be apart of all of these communities, as well as build on them & create new communities. When I go home to Australia, I will be much more appreciative of the communities I am a part of there, & I won’t be taking anything for granted.

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

My optimism, & the belief that we can do anything we want with our lives, has always been a big part of what makes me different. People have always thrown statements like ‘That’s not realistic’ & ‘Get your head out of the clouds’ at me, but I didn’t listen to them, & I will never listen to them, because the voice that tells me ‘I can’ is louder than any outside voices telling me that I ‘can’t’.

I think that I started being beautifully different in high school, when I realized that it’s my differences that make me who I am, & I started to show them instead of hide them. That’s also when I started to love myself just the way I am, & I made being authentic & honest my one of my highest values.

December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

This year, the Melbourne Mind, Body, Spirit Festival was awesome. I love the people, the events & the different stalls that are always displaying unique & interesting things. The energy there is always so brilliant, & I always feel like I leave with a more open mind than I had when I entered.

This year though, I had an amazing experience at the MBS Festival, one which really changed my life & the lives of the people I’m closest to. I won’t go into too much detail here, because it’s very personal & I’m not sure I want to make it public it yet, but even if I do decide to write about it, it deserves an entire post dedicated to it.

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

My decision to view my experiences as gifts instead of curses, & to make the best out of what I was given, will always be one of the wisest decisions I have ever made.

December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

As you know, I prefer to focus on the positive, so instead of listing 11 things I don’t want in my life, I’ve decided to write about 11 things that I do want in 2011.

I’m still pointing out what I don’t need, for example; number 1 says I want to have a vegan diet, meaning I want to eliminate dairy (I have already eliminated meat), but I’m doing it in a more pro-active way.

1. A vegan diet. This will have to wait until we are back in Australia, but it’s something I really want to do.

2. Free my mind more in regards to creativity, imagination & taking action.

3. Take more action in my life

4. Trust myself & my instincts more

5. Focus even more on the positives

6. Pay more attention to family, friends & myself & less attention on media & useless noise

7. Remember that most things aren’t personal

8. To be even more authentic & really express myself more

9. Speak my mind more

10. Count my blessings more

11. Enjoy the present moment more

By achieving these things my life will be more aligned with my true self & I will feel more of a sense of purpose, not to mention I will be even healthier & happier than I am now.

December 12 – Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

After being so sick a few months ago, staying healthy has become so important to me. The moment I started to feel completely healed in all aspects of my life & I started to follow my heart; everything else fell into place for me; mind, body & soul.

I’ll throw in prompt #13 too, just because it’s so short:

December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

At the moment the ideas I’m working on require a lot of brainstorming, research, & organizing & planning with the people who I want to be involved. Still early stages, but I know 2011 has a lot of awesomeness in store for us 🙂

See you tomorrow for more reverbs!

Keep Smiling 🙂

Jen ♥

Merry Christmas! :)

As I sit here, listening to John Lennon’s ‘Happy Christmas’, enjoying vegemite on toast (& feeling just a little bit homesick), I am hoping that you are all having a very merry Christmas 🙂

I had a couple of presents to open this morning, with carols playing in the background, Christmas movies to watch, a few little decorations around the apartment & even snow outside my window. But…

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without family & friends.

It’s not about the presents, it’s about seeing my Dad dressed up as Santa & giving out presents to all my cousins – something that my Papa used to do every year too. It’s not about the food, it’s about the laughter my brothers & I share when we throw peas at each other at the table. It’s not about the new Christmas CD, it’s about hearing my Mum singing a long to it as she does things around the house.

As with everything, it’s the love we feel, the laughter we share, & the moments we have with our loved ones that really makes Christmas time so special.

So, share the love, spread the laughter & recognize those moments that will later be fond memories, & enjoy this special day with the people you love most.

To finish, here’s an Elf Yourself video I made, of me & Mike 🙂

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Jen ♥

Wise Words Wednesday!

“Life is very interesting… in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.”

~ Drew Barrymore

I’m on a Drew Barrymore binge this week 🙂 I love watching her movies, she has the greatest sense of style & individuality. I’ve admired her since I was a teenager; her cool hippy personality & child-like excitement for life has always inspired me, & she’s probably one of the reasons why I’m such a hippy.

Also, Drew’s my birthday twin, which is just plain awesome 🙂

Speaking of AWESOME! How are you today? Smiled at yourself in the mirror yet? I hope so 😀

My Wednesday is coming to an end, but I know for most of you it has just begun – & you can make of it whatever you like! Even if it hasn’t started out exactly the way you wanted it to, if you’re feeling the stress of the holiday season or if you just woke up grumpy, YOU have the power to turn it all around.

My day today didn’t start off the greatest. The past three mornings I’ve been woken up at the crack of dawn by our upstairs neighbours hammering & doing renovations. Our walls are already thin enough that we can hear our neighbours flushing their toilets, so the hammering sounds like it’s happening right in our apartment. I’m usually a pretty ‘zen’ person, but loud, constant knocking on the walls while I’m trying to sleep is enough to drive me insane in the membrane.

Yes, it’s frustrating at the time, but I don’t let it determine the rest of my day. As soon as I’m out of bed, it’s out of my mind. I smile, stretch & let it go. I know that I can choose whether or not it affects my mood & my day. And now, it’s almost midnight, & I can honestly say I’ve had a really great day 🙂 I even forgot about the hammering until I started writing this post.

If your day didn’t start out the way you would have liked it to, the rest of your day can still be Awesome, with a capital ‘A’!

You have the power to create your day, so don’t give it to someone else – even if it seems like people are hammering your walls down to get it 😉

Keep Smiling!

Jen 

Tumblr Tuesday!

Here are some of my latest favourite Tumblr photos 🙂

Tonight marks a full moon, the winter solstice & a lunar eclipse. According to the Huffington Post, it’s the first Solstice eclipse since 1638, & the next one isn’t until 2094, so it’s a very unique time for all of us. It’s a time for letting go, cleansing & preparing for new beginnings. It’s just going to get AWESOME  from here 🙂 (Read more about it here & see photos here)

Pfft, ‘normal’. I mean, really? Let your freak flags fly, people! 😀

Truth.

Something I’ve always loved doing at Christmas time is walking around my neighbourhood & admiring all the lights & decorations on all the houses. This year, aside from a few cardboard Santa cut-outs at the local McDonalds, there’s no lights & decorations for me to admire, so I miss it. The snow is awesome though; I’ve always wanted to experience a white Christmas! 🙂

Thanks to the Katy Perry video I posted last week, I’m loving fireworks at the moment. Luckily for me, I’m living in a country that uses fireworks for pretty much every occasion – from weddings to store openings – so I see & hear fireworks quite often 🙂

Isn’t it, just? 😀

 

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

“The least & most each of us can do is make sure we release something good into the Universe regularly.” ~ Oprah

I’ve been thinking about the above quote & wondering what good things I have released into the Universe today. I’m a firm believer that what you send out you get back, so I’m always trying hard to be conscious of the things I think, say or do.

When I look at myself in the mirror, I make sure I think kind thoughts about myself, & I always give myself a big, cheesy smile. My Dad, who is a psychologist, executive coach & public speaker, told me once that smiling at yourself in the mirror shows your mind that you are happy, & the happy feeling follows. It’s so true 🙂 I guess it’s the same as receiving a smile from a friend or a stranger, it always leaves you feeling brighter.

Sometimes I lose myself in conversations with people & often say things that don’t resonate with the person that I want to be, whether it be getting caught up in a bit of gossip or me just trying to portray myself as a tough-skinned, sociable person, when I’m really quite sensitive & a real introvert.

Online, I find it much easier to be my true self, express my thoughts & feelings, & I can be completely conscious of what I’m sending out into the Universe through tweets, status updates, emails & blog posts such as this.

In regards to doing things that release something good into the Universe, I feel that I have finally started to do that they way that I have always wanted to, thanks to this blog & all the amazing opportunities it has lead to. Things like contributing to a good cause by designing a promo card for the I Want Her Job campaign that is happening right now – $1 is being donated to the sponsorship of girls in Guatemala for every “like” on Facebook & follower on Twitter.

So, today, I have a challenge for you. Well, technically, three challenges.

1. Every time you see your reflection*, look yourself in the eye, & SMILE!

I mean really smile, the kind of smile you would show to your best friend, or your hero. (*While I do want you smile any time you see your reflection, I definitely don’t mean while you’re driving or doing anything else that requires your full attention!)

2. Give someone a compliment.

Tell your spouse they look gorgeous, tell your child how proud you are of them, tell a friend how amazing they are, or tell a coworker how funny they are. (Preferably, these compliments should be honest. Sending lies out into the Universe is no good. Come on, you can find something good in everyone!)

3. Send out a positi-tweet or an upbeat status update.

It can be a quote, a few words of gratitude, or a mass-compliment, telling everyone how AWESOME they are. (That reminds me, you are so damn AWESOME! :D)

If it helps, start off small. Do at least one of these every day & know that you are making the Universe a better place through your thoughts, words & actions 🙂

And, most of all, Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥