Tag Archives: health

A Letter To My Younger Self

Not long ago, I read a post by Jamie Ridler on Roots Of She, about the kind of advice she would give to her younger self. I think I recall writing a bit about it during #reverb10 as well, but I never allowed myself to get too far into it, because I was scared of what might come out.

But the other day, Jess at So Uprightly Burning did a post on her letter to her 10-years-ago self, and it inspired me to finish mine.

So here it is:

A Letter To My Younger Self.

 

 

Me at around 14, and me today, 10 years later.

 

Dear beautiful Jen,

Well, you’re 14 years old. And I can tell you that this year is going to be the hardest year of your young life so far. And the next couple of years after won’t be much easier.

Your anxieties at school will get worse, you won’t feel safe in your own home, your self-esteem will be virtually non-existent, and people you love will die.

You will feel so ignored at school that when your favourite art teacher reaches out to you, you will be so surprised that you won’t know how to respond. Don’t assume she’s just doing her job; she really does care. I know this because even today, ten years later, she still remembers you.

I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know that, no matter how unbearable it all seems, and how lost you feel, you will get through it, you will find your way.

It’s all going to be okay.

The next few years will be dark, but there is so much light, so much good, waiting for you on the other side. Everything you are going through will be worth it, and everything these tough times teach you, about yourself, about others, and about life, will one day serve to make you very strong.

Just remember, everything happens for a reason, and things will get better, a lot better. I promise.

Please know that those people who hurt you, they do it because they, too, are suffering. It’s not your fault. They hurt others because they are hurting. You don’t have to put up with that in your life. Speak up.

It will take a long time for you to fully trust others, but someone will come along who will show how to love.

While you are running around chasing boys and looking for someone to love you, your soulmate will be right under your nose, and he will have already fallen for you before you even know his name.

It’s okay; you can trust this one. This boy won’t hurt you. So don’t get suspicious every time he gives you a compliment; he really does think you’re beautiful. He really does love you. And he really will marry you one day.

He will heal your closed heart, help you see how amazing you are, and show you what it’s like to have a real home, one where you feel safe, loved, and free to be who you really are. You can tell him your secrets, your fears and your dreams, and he will love you even more in return.

He will love you completely, every part of you, the good and the not-so-good. And you will feel the same about him. You will be a blessing to him just as much as he will be a blessing to you.

He makes everything you are going through now so, so worth it.

In regards to friends… well, don’t go the extra mile for anyone who wouldn’t do the same for you. And remember, anyone who gossips to you, will gossip about you. Even the ones who you think you can trust with your life.

Some friends you have now you will still have in ten years. Others will try to take advantage of you, and as soon as you are strong enough to stand up for yourself, you will realise you don’t want them, or their never-ending dramas, in your life anymore. It will be a hard choice to make, but I promise you won’t regret it.

In fact, by cutting them out, you will see just how much negativity they brought into your life in the first place, and you will have so much more room to grow into the positive woman you are meant to be.

Also, don’t get caught up in the aftermath of that ended friendship. The more drama they create about it, and the more lies they spread, the more they prove to you that you don’t need them in your life. Send them love and move on to the more awesome things that are coming your way.

Keep drawing, painting, creating, writing, and expressing yourself through art. You have no idea how much you need it to heal, grow, and be happy.

And never stop dreaming. That life-long dream you have of living overseas? You accomplish it at 23. I know, pretty awesome huh? You will also have your first art exhibit at age 22. And all those other things you dream of? You can do all of it. You really can.

Don’t avoid the things, places or people that make you anxious. You know those freak-outs you have before school, that you think are normal? Those are panic attacks. One day you will be so ruled by them that you never leave the house alone. Not even to get the mail.

Don’t worry; you need to live through that. That’s what causes you to do something drastic, like moving to China for a year. That will help you to overcome the anxiety pretty quickly. You will learn that your fears aren’t real, and that every time you face the things that scare you, the stronger and happier you become.

Then you will realise how brave you are, to do things that terrify you every single day.

Also, it’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do. Keep trying new things until you find what fits. A lot of those people who put you down for changing your mind will end up feeling stuck, doing jobs that they hate, and having no idea what they want to do with their lives. So don’t listen to their opinions.

Only listen to those people who are already living the kind of life you want to live – everyone else is just guessing.

I know right now you don’t know much about positive thinking, but you are always trying to see the bright side. Don’t listen to those people who call you unrealistic. What they don’t know is that it is optimism that will get you through the next few years, and start you on an amazing journey that will lead you to living such a happy and amazing life.

So, there will be a lot of tough moments in your life over the next ten years. But there will be even more amazing, happy and love-filled moments. So just keep going.

Most of all: Be kind to yourself. You are so worthy of love and respect, but it starts with you. Love yourself first, and everything else will fall into place. Make loving yourself your number one priority.

I Love You.

Jen ♥

Creating Your Vision With A Peaceful Path – Sponsored Post!

I am so happy to introduce you all to the first ever My Smiling Heart sponsor, Karen from A Peaceful Path!

I first ‘met’ Karen after my Tiny Buddha guest post was published, and I felt an instant connection with her.

Like me, Karen chose to leave her comfort zone and create a new path for herself, which lead her to discover and fall in love with essential oils, a passion that she then turned into A Peaceful Path.

At A Peaceful Path (affiliate link), Karen blends and creates essential oils for every intention, from empowerment and self-love to imagination and good vibes. How cool is that?

Another reason I feel such a connection with Karen is our shared passion of creating our own lives.

Karen is putting this into practice by running a new workshop called ‘Creating My Vision’ – it’s a vision board party! Here’s what Karen has to say about it:

One of my very favorite ways to embrace changes in my life is by creating a vision board.

We dream in pictures, not sentences – that is why vision boards are so powerful.

The very act of choosing what we want to bring into our lives starts an amazing change of energy. What are you seeing? What do you want to see?

“Creating My Vision” is a workshop and a party.

It’s a chance to explore what you might not have realized that you would love. Maybe it will be the beginning of a new adventure. Maybe it will confirm what you know is in your heart.

I was so excited about this that I just had to be a part of it somehow, even though I’m oceans away. So, in another first, I’m so happy to announce that My Smiling Heart is sponsoring these workshops!

I will be providing some free positive printables for everyone at these workshops – that will otherwise only be available in my ebook (Yes! I’m creating a very AWESOME and fun ebook! Yay!).

“Creating My Vision” details:

Date:  Sunday March 20, 2011*

Time: 1-4 PM

Place: West Hills, CA

Workshop Fee: $25 per person or share with a friend for $40 for 2!

*Note: There are only two spaces left in this workshop! There will be another one in April if you miss out on a spot 🙂

So, if you’re in LA and feel like it’s time to start creating your vision (and you want a sneak preview of my ebook!) email Karen: karen@apeacefulpath.com and book your place.

A Gift For You!

Also, as a special gift for all the smiling hearts out there, Karen is offering a %15 discount on all A Peaceful Path blends and gifts until April 15th! Get the discount code here and enjoy!

Stay AWESOME!

Jen ♥

*Thank you everyone for all of your absolutely amazing support! All the wonderful comments on my last post, the Love Letter, truly made my heart smile bigger than ever before!

I want you all to know that I am working hard to turn My Smiling Heart into a full-time job of AWESOMENESS for me so that I don’t have to give it up once I go home to Australia in a few months.

If you or anyone you know is interested in sponsoring My Smiling Heart, please email me at jenartist@live.com.au.


Wise Words: Keep It Simple.

“I can express gratitude for the simple act of being able to breathe in and breathe out. I can move away from darkness and depression to light and hope.

I can be happy with who I am, not what I should be, or what I might have been, or what someone tells me I must be.

I am me, the true me; you are you, the true you – and that’s good. That’s beautiful. That’s enough.”

~ Janet Jackson

How AWESOME is this quote? So simple, yet so true.

I guess, when it comes down to it, life actually is pretty simple.

We breathe in, we breathe out. We drink, we eat. We rest, we move. We laugh, we love. We give, we receive. We share, we thank.

The real truth is, life is simple. It’s not complicated, it’s not hard, and it’s not unfair.

We are the ones who complicate it with our worries, we are the ones who choose to see it as hard, we are the ones who choose to live as victims rather than empower ourselves to live our best lives.

I am me, and you are you. It’s as simple as that. We are alive, we are healthy, we are loved, and we are blessed. That is enough.

And if you take the time, even just thirty seconds, to count your blessings for today, you might just see that what you have is, in fact, much more than enough.

Keep it simple.

Jen ♥

*MARCH already? 2011 is flying by! Now is a great time to go back and revisit the 2011 Virtual Vision Wall! Stay motivated, stay inspired, and most of all, stay AWESOME! 🙂

*My Smiling Heart was just featured on Positively Present, in a post called “be amazing anyway: self-love wrap-up + resources!” Check it out here 🙂

*Thank you to My Smiling Heart reader, Karen, for sharing this quote on Facebook and inspiring this Wise Words post! 🙂

Peace Wherever You Go ♥

Admiring the Summer Palace, Beijing

It’s amazing how much travelling can put personal growth and self-discovery into warp-speed mode.

Being in a new place, whether it’s around the corner from your home or on the other side of the world, heightens your senses and forces you to live in the moment, taking in everything you possibly can.

I learnt a lot about myself recently when Mike and I spent a week in Beijing. Even though we’ve been living in China for seven months, this was our first real back packing adventure with just the two of us, and something we had wanted to do for years.

Even though I had an amazing time there and will always look back on it as one of my best adventures yet, I wasn’t really looking forward to it beforehand.

We had organised to stay in a hostel, something I’d never done before, and even though we had booked a private room, I was a bit anxious about it. I’m a pretty shy and quiet person, an introvert, so being in a place that constantly has such a huge social atmosphere is a little overwhelming.

The overnight train rides to and from Beijing had also been making me a bit anxious, as it requires being in a cabin with total strangers for twelve hours, spending most of your time trying not to invade each others’ space while you attempt to navigate the bunks or move around the halls.

The fact that I had been worrying about these little things for the days leading up to our Beijing adventure obviously didn’t help anything either, so I eventually found myself losing all excitement for it.

But, as usual, I soon discovered that my worries were complete fiction, a waste of time, complete an utter bull.

I have learnt, during my years overcoming anxiety, the only way to stop being afraid of something, is to just do it.

The anxious mind is a trickster, a heckler, and a brilliant illusionist. And, as with any other form of unnecessary and unconstructive criticism, the best way to handle it is to not let it stop you from living the life you want to live, to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’

And that is just what I did.

The train rides were actually pretty fun, and not at all as bad as my mind had made me believe it would be. The hostel, well, that was just plain AWESOME. The people we so cool and friendly, the room was great, the food was freaking delicious, and we were encouraged to grab some textas and write on the walls. That is every artists’ dream!

The 365 Inn, where we stayed.

The message Mike wrote on wall

It ended up being one of the best weeks of my entire life, full of adventure, risk-taking, meeting new people, seeing amazing places, and coming home with a thousand awesome memories and a new sense of confidence, accomplishment and self-awareness.

In a traditional Chinese dress.

At the Summer Palace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A moment I know I will never forget occurred on Chinese New Year, Mike and I were standing on the rooftop of the hostel, counting down to midnight, and being completely surrounded by fireworks. Explosions of sound, colour, and cheers erupted again and again for almost an hour as families and friends throughout Beijing celebrated the new year.

I felt so blessed to be there to witness it, and I knew in that moment that I had come so, so far… too far to ever go back to the person I used to be. I felt a wave of relief as I realised then that my fears would never get in the way of me living my life ever again.

I was reminded of that rooftop moment just the other night. I was walking through the snow on my way to meet Mike for dinner, when fireworks started exploding right in front of me, continuing the 15 day celebrations for Spring Festival.

Fireworks in Daqing

As I looked up at the amazing colours falling from the sky, and felt the sweet kisses of snowflakes as they touched my skin, I realised I was, in that moment, proving to myself that I can do anything.

You see, a year ago, I was too afraid to open my front door when the doorbell rang. Too anxious to walk down our short driveway just to check the mail. I even avoided going into the backyard alone, in case I was seen by a neighbour and forced into a potentially uncomfortable or awkward conversation.

I would never have admitted it then, in fact I wouldn’t have admitted it even six months ago, but I was so trapped by my own fears that I just avoided them altogether, until I couldn’t leave the house unless I was with someone.

So, imagine my pride when I suddenly realise that I am walking through the streets of a foreign city, in a foreign country, at night, completely alone, and with a freaking huge smile on my face! Thousands of miles away from my comfort zone, and not a single worry or fear on my mind.

That’s what travel can do for you.

Not long after that amazing moment on a rooftop in Beijing, but before that amazing moment in the snow, I was walking through some markets and found a stall that sold rings. I noticed one with four Chinese characters on it, and asked the woman working there what it meant.

“It mean… Peace… When you leave and when come back. Peace wherever you go.”

Peace wherever you go.

I wrote that on the wall of the 365 Inn, so that others can be inspired by it just as I was.

I’m wearing that ring now, as I write this. And I will always wear it, as a reminder of how far I’ve come, and how much I’ve overcome, in order to find my own peace, peace within myself, peace with my fears, and peace within the world.

Take some time now to look back and notice how far you have come, and what you have overcome in the process. Be proud of everything you have achieved, and how much you’ve grown! And be grateful for all the lessons you have learnt in between.

Go smile at yourself,

Jen ♥

Written on the second floor staircase of the 365 Inn, Beijing.

* Are you on Facebook? So is My Smiling Heart! Come and join us for extra fun and daily doses of awesomeness!

The Importance Of Self-Acceptance

“I highly recommend inviting the worst-case scenario into your life.”

~ Portia de Rossi in Unbearable Lightness


I love books that change my life, & I just finished reading ‘Unbearable Lightness – A Story Of Loss & Gain’, by Portia de Rossi, &  it has already had a profound affect on the way I see the world.

It is such an amazing book. I couldn’t put it down.

In this beautiful memoir, de Rossi describes her childhood, her early career as a model, & her rise to fame after being cast in the hit show of the 90s, Ally McBeal.

But this isn’t just a book about Hollywood or an autobiography detailing the fairytale life of a seemingly normal girl from Geelong (near my hometown of Melbourne), Australia.

It’s so much more than that.

It’s about a girl who grew up feeling as though she wasn’t pretty enough or worthy enough to be loved by anyone, including herself. It’s about a girl who feels lost, & overwhelmed by the pressure to look, think & act a certain way in order to gain the approval of others & ‘fit in’. But most of all, it’s about a girl who, after overcoming the hardest challenges of her life, learns to love & accept herself for who she really is.

Isn’t that something we can all relate to?

De Rossi describes in detail how the pressure of the media & her low self-esteem lead her to anorexia & bulimia, & how terrified she was of the world finding out about her sexuality.

Portia reveals all of her vulnerabilities, sharing every thought she had about herself & about food during that dark time, from her extreme exercise routines & weighing small portions of food to the paranoia & anxiety at the thought of fat cells growing on her body.

This book has really opened my eyes & helped me to gain some sort of understanding of what it is like to have an eating disorder; the thoughts, the perceptions, the anxiety, & the lying & maintenance that is required to keep up such a painful ritual.

I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book as heartbreakingly honest & authentic as Unbearable Lightness. There’s nothing I love more than someone who is brave enough to be their complete authentic self, imperfections & all.

This is a must read for anyone who has ever felt less than or has struggled with self-acceptance. I’ve even read a few opinions of the book from girls living with eating disorders, saying they really related to de Rossi’s story & found it comforting to know that they weren’t alone in their illness & that there really is hope for recovery.

As for me, this book has made me question how much I focus on the way I look, & the ending was so beautiful, truthful, & wise that I don’t think I will ever stress about food or weight or exercise ever again.

Unbearable Lightness has helped me to discover more about myself & accept myself more than I ever have before.

I am who I am, whether that be straight or bisexual. It doesn’t matter.

And I look the way I look, whether that be a size 8 or a size 14. It doesn’t matter.

All that matters is that I love & accept myself for exactly who I am.

And the same goes for you.

You are who you are, & who you are is AWESOME.

It doesn’t matter what your sexuality is, what colour your skin is, what language you speak, how much you weigh or anything like that. All that matters is that you can accept yourself for who you are, & love yourself, flaws & all.

I’ll finish with another quote:

“The hotness is not about age, looks, body type, race – it is about honesty, knowing who you are and being who you are, without trying to front like you are better than you are. It is about the deep down authenticity of self, then living it, loving it and looking it.”

~ Margaret Cho

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Wise Words… Thursday?

[This Wise Words post is a day late because my awesome Dad & brother have been visiting so we’ve been travelling a bit, more on that soon 🙂 ]

“Everything you need is within you

right now.” ~ Unknown

It’s true.

You already have all the strength, courage & wisdom you need inside of you. It’s just that, sometimes, we need to overcome obstacles in order to find it.

It’s all there; the clarity to know which path to choose; the strength to change your life for the better; the confidence to be yourself no matter what; & the courage to start taking action on your dreams.

Sometimes, it’s all just buried so deep under our insecurities & doubts that it takes some digging to bring it up to the surface. The Universe, or God, or Higher Power, or whatever you prefer to call it, knows this, & so gives you opportunities & experiences that force you to find all these qualities & more within your own self.

It’s what we do with those experiences that make all the difference. We can do our absolute best to stay positive, & learn as much as possible from it. Or, we can play the victim & add it to our list of reasons why we can’t live the lives we want, & as a result stay stuck in a negative pattern.

If we take the first route; with every experience, we are moulded into better, stronger versions of ourselves. And even if we sometimes lose touch & let ourselves fall into the second category, that’s ok. It is always possible to build ourselves back up again. Always.

So, whatever you’re worrying about today, know that you can handle it.

You have everything you need within you, right now.

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Four Steps To Re-Awesomofication!

Hmmm… Do I use the word ‘awesome’ just a little too much? Oh well!

Hey, you! Yes, YOU!

You know you’re AWESOME, right?

What ever you’re doing right now, whether you are drinking your morning cup of coffee, stressing over your daily to-do-list, or sitting on the couch in your pajamas (10 points to anyone who is doing all three!), ask yourself this:

Am I feeling relaxed?

Notice your shoulders, your neck, jaw & anything else that feels tense.

Now do what ever you need to do to relax. Sit back in your chair for a second & just… sit. When was the last time you just sat? Not watching TV, not typing or Googling or stalking people on Facebook, just sitting with your head back & your arms relaxed by your side?

If you’re like me, you probably never do that. So stop whatever you’re doing & just sit, be still. Do it now. I’ll join you 🙂

…………………….

…………………….

……………………

Welcome back!

Now, take a moment to breathe. Right now.

Not a little, half-arsed breath. Put some effort into it. Stop whatever else you are doing – forget about the to-do-list for just a second – & slowly, take in a big, deep breath.

Breathe in.

Hold it.

And let it go. Slowly.

Do it again.

One last time. Breathe in. And out.

Feeling your awesomeness, yet?

If not, try it again. Really pay attention to your breath. Focusing on your breathing is a quick & easy way to bring yourself into the present moment, the only moment that matters – because all we really have is right now.

I lost touch of that today, & when I lose touch, I forget my own awesomeness. I was pushing myself too hard, stressing out & trying to accomplish a thousand & one things all at the same time. As always, that lead to me feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, & extremely tense.

Luckily, I know myself pretty well, especially lately, so once I become aware that I’m not feeling as awesome as I’d like to, I immediately begin the process of re-awesomofying myself.

My Four Steps To Re-Awesomofication:

1. Breathe.

The deep breathing & centering exercise that I just described is usually my first step. Breathe in…. Aaand out 🙂

2. Dance.

Put on your favourite playlist of songs. Songs that are positive, upbeat & just so fantastic that your awesome levels have no choice but to rise. It’s just like the slime from Ghostbusters 2 that (spoiler alert!) dances & comes alive to the music – only without that creepy Viggo guy from the painting (Random Fact: My number 1 fear? Viggo. *shudder*).

3. Vent.

Talk it out. Hearing yourself talk about the things that you’re freaking out about internally will always make you realise that you are okay, that it’s not as bad as you thought it was, & that you can totally handle it.

Most of the time I talk to Mike or my Mum or Dad, but if there’s no-one to talk to I’ll write about what’s worrying me, which is just as good.

4. Laugh.

Lastly, invest some time in something that will make you laugh. It can be a TV show or a classic funny movie, otherwise there’s always Youtube, or talk to people who always make you laugh – for me it’s Mike or my brother 🙂

By the end of all this, your awesomeness will be back to a healthy level & you’ll be ready to handle anything that comes your way!

But, of course, I do have a back-up plan for those rare occassions when all this doesn’t get me the results I want; sleep. If these 4 steps to re-awesofication don’t lead me back to my usual awesome self, then chances are I’m just exhausted & need to get some rest!

What do you do to re-awesomofy yourself & your life?

Do you have any kickass steps that need to be added to this list? I’d love to hear them! 🙂

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 ♥

Day 3: Cooking!

Today is Day 3 of Art Every Day Month. I’d been wanting to make a vegan shepherd’s pie for a while now, so I decided to do some cooking as my creative task for the day. I found the recipe on VegWeb, but I added some new ingredients (& disregarded a few other ingredients that seem to be unavailable here in China) & my version goes something like this:

Ingredients:

  • Lentils, cooked. (I used a whole bag so that we can have leftovers for lunch tomorrow)
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, cooked & mashed (Sweet potatoes are healthier but I’m not too keen on the taste so I compromised & used two normal, two sweet)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 green capsicum, chopped
  • 1 can of corn
  • tomato sauce
  • cooking oil

Note: I was only making this for Mike & I, & these ingredients gave us plenty, with some leftover for lunch tomorrow. Add more of whatever you like, this isn’t set in stone – be creative with it! 🙂

Due to my tiny kitchen & limited cooking supplies, I had to use our mini toaster oven to cook the meal, so my directions probably won’t be helpful to anyone, haha! Here’s what it says on VegWeb:

“Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Saute onion, celery, and garlic in a little olive oil.  Add lentils and tomato sauce and cook 15 minutes.  Pour into a baking pan and cover mashed potatoes.”

Here’s how it turned out:

I know it doesn’t really look like much, but it was delicious! And, best of all, it’s super healthy 🙂 Let me know if you try it for yourself!

Keep Smiling 🙂

Jen xo