Sunday, September 30, 2012

More Art, More Healing

My sincerest gratitude goes out for the emails and comments (both here and on the Tickled Pink Woman Facebook page) in response to yesterday's blog post.

I truly believe in the healing power of positive thoughts.  She's got a long road to recovery before her, but following Saturday morning's emergency surgery to alleviate cranial pressure caused from her recent stroke, my dear, sweet sister-in-law is doing a bit better.  Each step forward is exactly that--a step forward.  For that, we are so very thankful.

Following her surgery, I stood in a corridor of the hospital.  There, I felt a moment of calm and joy while viewing a lovely painting of white peonies.  It's featured in the photo above.  In fact, in the neurological intensive care unit of the hospital, lovely, large photographs of flowers were hung outside each patient's room.

There's no doubt that art heals--as do the wonderful thoughts and intentions of those among us.  Again, thank you, Friends!  T.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Art as Therapy

It has been one mixed-bag of a week.  Monday evening’s exciting gala and my exuberance for fall’s emerging splendor has been tempered with a day off work due to feeling about as ill as I have in some time (Tuesday), and then, receiving the very sad news of my dear sister-in-law’s heart attack and subsequent stroke on Thursday.

She had been hospitalized earlier in the week due to chest pains. Tuesday evening, we received word that test results indicated she had a golf-ball-sized clot in her heart.  Naturally, we feared for the worse—yet, held hope for the best. 

Late Thursday afternoon, Mark called me at work with news of her stroke.  In shock, I sat aside the financial report I’d been working away at.  All those numbers suddenly seemed foreign; my mind non-functioning. 

That evening, waiting for Mark to arrive home, my mind raced.  It chattered.  It encouraged me to feel guilty for not being at the hospital (even though that was eight hours from where we live).  It replayed the cherished, warm online discussion she and I had instant messaging on Facebook the night before (me in my home office—her from her hospital bed).  Her parting words to me: “Love to you both!”  Mine: “Back at ya, Sweetie!”  Understandably, I was somewhat of a wreck—feeling cagey—unable to write or focus or do anything but listen to that grating, internal chatter.  My head literally felt like it could spin off. 

As strange as it may sound, amidst the chaos, I pulled my art journal out and folders containing images.  Spreading it all out on the floor of my den, I found myself gluing images onto the page. 

No, the feelings of worry and sadness didn’t subside.  They were still there.  The incessant thoughts—shooting from every direction imaginable—those began to soften a bit—to take a backseat to the task I had before me (to sit and create art).  In those moments, I found somewhat of a sense of calm (at least more so than beforehand).  When Mark arrived home, I was able to be more fully present and in tune to his pain, his worry.

She has a long road to recovery before her, but we are holding the highest intentions for a full recovery.  Any intentions, prayers, dedicated thoughts you can offer to her are most welcome.

Joy & peace. T.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Possibilities. Intentions. Destinations…

“My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”   --Diane Arbus

The quote above speaks volumes to me; yet, it does so in a unique way.  You see, when I think of places I’ve never been to, actual, physical destinations aren’t what I envision.  Nope, not me...

Instead, the images in my mind are of the personal triumphs I hope to enjoy, the boundaries I dream of transcending.  Some of the most enjoyable "places" I've been to are when I have ventured out beyond my comfort zone, dared to act (rather than just dream), stood tall and played the part, and experienced a whole host of other yummy self-empowering joys. 

Listed below are a few of the cherished destinations I have uncovered as a result of my “travels.”  I’ve found them to be great places to visit—time and time again.  Perhaps, you’ll note one you have not yet enjoyed.  If so, I invite you to pack your mind with possibilities, book your clear intentions and set sail for one, fab time!

Those places I heart visiting time after time:
  • Using my voice to speak my truth, firmly and assuredly (even when adversity is present!);
  • Allowing my appearance to mirror my inner artist;
  • Shining brightly without concern of what others might think (I believe in the stained glass window theory.  To read more about it, click here.);
  • Affirming myself with all of my heart;
  • Adhering to the wisdom of the Wise Self;
  • Honoring my gifts;
  • Embracing the knowledge that there are no failures only lessons;
  • Investing in myself as a lifelong learner and business owner;
  • Claiming stillness as a value;
  • Choosing “no regret” over “not possible.”
 Happy trails and happy Friday to you! T.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recent Growth Journal Reflections...

My growth journal and a program from last Monday eve's event...

This past Monday evening, I had the privilege of hearing Gloria Steinem deliver the keynote address at a local fundraising gala I attended.  Wearing a long black vintage dress and adorned with layers of faux pearls, my "edged in bright pink" growth journal was in tow and very much a part of my semi-formal ensemble (smile). (A past post defining my growth journal and its use may be accessed here.)

I met up with a few girlfriends at the event and they literally raved at the idea of my bringing a growth journal along.  Mind you, I didn't write down everything Ms. Steinem said.  I did, however, capture the thoughts that most resonated with me.  Here are a few of the gems I captured that evening:
  • Social justice is shared story telling.  It's about each of us telling our own stories.
  • The women's equality movement isn't over!
  • Every cause undertaken is linked to addressing something else equally as important.  Linkages are so very important.
  • The solution to stimulating the economy? Pay women wages commensurate with our counterparts.  This puts more money into the economy. We women know how to spend it!
  • It is transformational for women to be strong.
  • The Iroquois Indians have no words to describe "nature" or "gender." Humans are one with nature.  Everyone is equal.
  • The ballot box is one place we all equally have a voice.
  • Why does our system see more value in the harvested tree than the one in the ground?
  • Adopt this worldview: "Everyone matters." 
So glad I was in attendance that night--with growth journal in hand (more smiles!).  Joy, peace & growth!  T.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Growth Journal: What it is. How it's used.

Ta da! Presenting my lovely growth journal!

I heart my growth journal just like I do my writing journal and art journal!  Suppose I'd best explain myself a bit--define what a growth journal is and how I use it, huh?  ;)

Be it good or be it bad, there's still a bit of the "Type J" personality I possess that is firmly planted and here to stay (smile).  I like to organize, categorize, etc.  For me, this works.  Perhaps not as much for others, but this enables me to process my thoughts in a more logical way.  As a result, I wanted to share my growth journal concept in the event others found it useful as well.

My writing journal is where I pour my heart and soul out onto each page.  See past posts about my writing journal here, here, here and here.

My art journal has become a comfort book I refer to again and again.  I plan there, hone concepts I first wrote about in my writing journal and/or growth journal.  Memorialize events.  Note and track my monthly goals in artistic form...  See past posts about my art journal here, here, here, here and here.

Regarding my growth journal... My growth journal is somewhat of a glorified note-taking book.  It accompanies me to workshops, women's retreats, lectures, etc., that I attend.  I also use it to record thoughts when participating in tele classes, informational podcasts, e-courses--you name it!  I even utilize it to take notes when reading or completing exercises contained within a personal development book.

Often, my growth journal is used in conjunction with my writing and art journals.  For example, I may further reflect on an idea gleaned from a workshop I attended in my writing journal or excerpt key concepts from a podcast and carry them forward into my art journal (after first noting said pieces in my growth journal).

One of my earlier growth journals (It's all filled up now!)

Do you also utilize a growth journal?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!  Happy Wednesday, T.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Musings On Female-focused Films...


A bit under the weather today, but hoping to mend by this evening.  

You see, I had penciled in on my calendar a weekday date with Mark to see Welcome to the Dollhouse at the Gish Theater (I adore the Gish Theater! To see a past article I wrote for the Examiner about this fab place, click here.).

This eve's film sounds like one that would definitely take me back to those not-so-memorable junior high years, dealing with issues of female self-esteem, struggling to fit in--the stuff so many of us, unfortunately, experienced in youth.

I used to run from these types of memories.  They were too uncomfortable for me to simply sit with.  The more I embrace the fact that it's all about the now versus my past or future, the easier it has become to objectively go back in time, occasionally.  Although I haven't seen the film yet (and, unless I recoup a bit more likely won't tonight), I am hopeful that it sheds the spotlight on a myriad of struggles that still plague far too many young women, today.

Films that depict strong women characters, bring to light and/or deal, constructively, with women’s (and girls') issues are always of interest to me.  In fact, these types of films are amongst my faves.

Here are a few I highly recommend:
What are your favorite female-focused films?  I’d love to hear them!  T.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Self-investment... So Worth It!

From my art journal: last spring's "Public Speaking Skill-Building Plan"

Seems like I'm hearing more and more about it--self-investment that is...  Every time I peruse other authors' blogs, participate on a teleclass or listen to an inspirational podcast; a myriad of accomplished folks accredit their own overall well-being and success to it.  Self-investment.  Hmmm.   

Self-investment can certainly take many forms; self-nurturing being one of those.  Self-education is another.  I think I'm doing pretty good in both these areas.  In terms of self-nurturing, I adhere to my established minimum daily standards of self-care.  In fact, I even go beyond that (e.g. my monthly artist's dates, attending yoga classes, taking dedicated lunch breaks, etc.).  Regarding self-education, I read no less than two non-fiction books a month (generally, I read more than two!). I listen to informative podcasts. I even participate in personal development teleclasses and creativity forums from time to time.

Despite all this, I haven't truly invested in my own personal and professional development in 2012 as much as I should have.  All that is about to change, though (smile).

Tonight, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to attend a local fundraising gala event which features Gloria Steinem as the keynote speaker.  Through her self-assurednesss, many meaningful accomplishments and authentic brand, she has served as an inspiration to me for years.  This evening, with growth journal in tow (will provide more insights on what this is and how I use it later on this week), I will record added gems which will enable me to be inspired and grow even further.

Of course, my participation in Toastmasters this past few months has been a personal and professional self-investment.  What truly makes this so is--not only have I carved out and honored my commitment of time in attending these meetings--I have also participated, in some form, at every meeting I have attended.  I've decided, however, to up the stakes a bit more.  Yup, I've enrolled in a half-day online class through Dale Carnegie Training (Successful Public Speaking).  Quite honestly, I am looking forward to the challenge!

And... Yesterday, I did something I have contemplated doing for some time now.  I signed up for author Leonie Dawson's e-course, Become a Business Goddess.  After finally understanding I own a business, I decided it's high time I took a business course (or two) along the way.  This one is great, as I can work it at my own pace!

What about you?  What self-investments have you made that you'd like to recommend?  Please share your insights!

Have a fab Monday!  T.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stillness is Bliss!

Yesterday's artist's date didn't quite go off as originally anticipated...

All began according to plan.  I browsed quaint little shops, bought vintage goodies (smile), walked and savored each sight, every step.  A lovely crisp fall day, it was marked by sunshine and clouds alike.

Late in the afternoon, packages in tow, I dropped by the village coffee house to buy a tea.  On a whim, I bought a highlander grog java ladened with soy milk, instead. Plan deviation aside (wink), turns out I enjoyed every last sip...

Sitting outside, at a cafe table, I pulled my journal from my bag.  Per this femme's already established agenda, it was time for me to engage in an Autumn Equinox reflection activity.  Didn't quite go down that way, though... Instead, I people watched.  I listened to the wind dancing in the trees.  I admired my purchases. I wrote a few lines about my enjoyable afternoon.  I relaxed.

After a short while, I realized I just wasn't going to get into that "reflective space" as planned. Rather than push against myself, I decided to surrender to the gentle urging within--the Wise Self's insistence that I simply be.  You see, more recently I've come to understand that there are times when plans just don't need to be followed.  So, I snuggled up with stillness--sacred stillness...  And, it was sheer bliss; despite this planner extraordinaire's plan gone astray. ;)

Perhaps, today, I will find that reflective space.  If not...I'm guessing I'll be still and savor a bit more stillness-related bliss, which works every bit as well for me.

Joy, peace & bliss to you! T.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This Artist has a Date!

Excitement is in the air, today! Yes, I am embarking on an oh-so-anticipated artist’s date.  Headed to a quaint little village about two hours south of where I live to browse vintage and handmade goodies (Tipp City, Ohio!).

There’s an adorable little coffee house there as well.  It is a favorite haunt of mine—a “must do” every time I visit.  Will get a cafĂ© table outdoors, ensure tea and journal are at hand, and engage in the Autumn Equinox activity I recommended earlier this week

Last October, I headed to that same little town to check out the shops, sip tea and write in my journal (No surprise, it was that month’s treasured artist’s date!).  That evening, I came home and created an art journal tribute to memorialize the day.  That same collage is pictured above.  What I wrote is featured below:

This artist savored a sacred, solo date for one.
Strolling the street, as I browsed for vintage treasures,
I savored each potted mum.
While journaling and sipping tea at an outdoor cafe, 
I realized the streets were adorned with corn stacks, tied with orange ribbons!

Happy, happy Autumn Equinox!  xox. T.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Simple Acts of Self-Kindness

Amazing what a simple act of kindness can do for someone, isn't it?  Brightens another's moment. Perhaps, changes the course of their day. Maybe it even encourages them to, in turn, do something kind for someone else.

The same principle applies for simple acts of self-kindness.  You know--the Sunday afternoon nap on the sofa versus mopping the kitchen floor, voicing your truth in the face of adversity, choosing an inspiring read over the 9 to 5 work you packed home...

Amidst a busy workday, earlier this week, I took a much needed lunch break (And, yes, a chocolate-banana soy smoothie was, yet again, involved (smile.)).  Giving that time to myself was decidedly an act of self-kindness.  

I took my kindness a bit further, though.  Rather than grabbing my smoothie and hurriedly rushing back, I added in a quick (albeit glorious) walk while sipping my smoothie; savoring all the little signs of autumn’s presence—sprinkled here and there.

Turns out it was pretty good use of my time, too.  I felt reenergized when I returned to the office—much more productive than beforehand. Even made a sizable dent in those budgets I've been working on.  Yay!!!

I’ve captured some of the lovely sights I saw that day.  They are featured throughout this post.

Envision one simple thing could you do, today, to cherish yourself.  Of course, if you feel compelled to do more than one act of kindness for yourself (like I did), opt for that option, instead! Thereafter, you may find you extend that kindness even further...and change the day's momentum (for the good, of course!). 

Sending you scads of loving kindness! Have a wonderful Friday, T.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Making Your Creative Mark; Markedly So

I'm honored to announce that, a few days ago, I appeared as a guest blogger on fave author Gail McMeekin's Creative Success blog. That's right, it's the same guest blog opportunity I mentioned in a recent post (smile!).

About three years ago, I read, for the first time, Gail's book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor.  At that time, I'd have never imagined myself as someday being featured as a guest writer on her blog.  Since that time, I've read several more of her books (Loved them all!) and participated on her Facebook forum which correlated with the 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women Journal (Adored that as well!).

Sure hope you will check out my guest blog post!  It's entitled Making Your Creative Mark; Markedly So, and sets forth my five favorite ways to establish your creative time as sacred space.  Enjoy!

xox, T.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Journaling/Art Journaling: Autumn Equinox Activity

It's almost Autumn (my favorite season)!  Bear with me, please, as I enter a time warp...

You see, I grew up on a farm, and my parents owned a produce market.  Lovely displays of cornstalks, flanked by mounds of pumpkins of every size and type, gourds, squash, decorative corn, apples heaped into white paper bags with handles, glass jugs of apple cider gleaming in the sunlight; naturally, I associate this time of year with the harvesting season. 

Perfect for me (smile), I heard about a lovely fall equinox activity, a few years ago, that deals with harvesting and preparing for what comes afterwards.  With some personalization, it has become a ritual I engage in annually, this time of year.  In fact, it’s generally been the focus of my September artist’s date. 

This form of harvesting, however, has nothing to do with turnips or persimmons, though.  Rather it is about reaping the efforts amassed thus far in this year; assessing, celebrating and utilizing them to further personal abundance even more, which is equally as yummy as the fruits of the fall harvest.

Below is my variation of that exercise, the one I’ve adopted and used these past two years:

Find a cozy, personally-significant or scenic spot for this activity. Have comfort items handy (blanket, throw, pillows, water, hot tea, etc.) Bring your journal and/or art journal and needed supplies. Establish an intention for your efforts. Engage in at least one ritual that is meaningful to you (light a candle, savor a favorite yoga pose, play soothing music, burn incense, etc.). 

Using your journal or art journal (or both (Write; then, collage, paint, etc. your reflections)), respond to the items listed below:

1)    What have I harvested in my life, to date, this year?
2)    How has this harvest enriched my life?
3)    Celebrate and recognize my efforts this year in producing this luscious harvest.  List the “tools” used, time spent, challenges overcome, barriers transcended, growth from previous harvest seasons, etc. Like the sun, use this time to shine brightly on yourself!  
4)    What do I hope to reap from the year’s late harvest (remaining quarter of this year)?
5)    What steps can I take, now, to prepare myself for a bountiful harvest in the coming year?

End your session with a silent meditation, toast, affirmation or other action that resonates.

The autumn equinox is Saturday (September 22).  Guess what I’m doing? :)  T.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Woman's Welcoming of Fall

Fall officially arrives later this week.  I've already welcomed her presence; though.  And, I've done so in an an intuitively-led manner.  Walking the tickled pink path, somehow this seems right to me.

As women, I believe we own the environment we occupy in a unique way.  We make way for, welcome, and place our own mark on the spaces we inhabit.  Sometimes this is done with much forethought and intention.  At others, it just happens. Similar to our ownership of environments, we have a knack for owning our intuitive gifts, too.

The past few weeks, I've found myself (without a plan to do so, beforehand) reorganizing things randomly.  My craft basket, the magazine clippings I've gathering for art journaling expeditions, the drawer where my cooler weather tights are kept...  One evening I found myself pulling my favorite pair of boots from the closet--just to look at them.  Hmmm.

Two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon, while cleaning the house, I rather unexpectedly headed to the basement and carted up a plastic storage box.  It contained treasured fall decorations.  The housework was placed on the back burner for a bit as I eagerly decorated the fireplace mantle and hearth, filled baskets and set out cherished pieces I'd gathered in years gone by--all celebrating this lovely season that's already made her majestic debut.

This past Sunday, I again took a break from my writing and housework agendas.  This time, it was to journey forth to purchase mums, which I thereafter potted for display on the front porch and flower gardens.  Hanging the fall wreath I crafted a few years before, I stood back and smiled.  "Welcome, Fall," I thought.  Seems only a short while ago, I wistfully longed for the arrival of spring...

How will you clear space for the coming season?  More importantly, how will you welcome her?  Please share your insights!  Would love to hear them. And, yes, my mums are pink!!! :) T.

Monday, September 17, 2012

On the Journey & Little Steps Taken...

My art journal is a place where first steps are often taken.

Saturday evening, post a wonderful afternoon art journaling workshop with like-minded women and dinner out, Mark and I ventured forth for a walk.  It was a beautiful fall evening.  The sun was still shining brightly, and there was just a slight chill in the air.

We decided to hike the local college campus, a favorite spot of ours.  Passing by one of the buildings there, Mark stated matter-of-factly, "Do what you love."

"Huh?" I said.

"It's on that sign," he noted while pointing. Sure enough; there it was, prominently displayed in what appeared to be someone's office window.

"I wish I could," I said, sigh in my voice.  Mark countered, "I think you are doing what you love."

"Well, yes," I said, "But, only during the early morning hours, evenings and weekends."

I remember hearing the sound of the wind softly rustling the leaves in the trees as he simply said, "The longest journey begins with a single step."  Huh... Point well taken.

His sage words forced me to think even further...  Yes, I am on a journey.  From all indications, I am not alone.  Others walk this same path as well.  Some are further along; others a few steps behind me.  Our destinations vary.  Along the way, we stop to offer each other support, joy and friendship.

I've toyed with this a lot, recently--my sojourn to that magical point of "arrival."  I keep reminding myself that joy is not found in where I end up. It is the walk, itself--the steps taken each day--that I must savor and celebrate.  The inspiring people encountered, cherished interactions, wisdom gleaned from others' could the destination be any better than the journey itself?

Thanks for taking this path with me.  Joy and peace to you this lovely autumn Monday morning!  T.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

E-book Winner + Art Journal Joy!

Congratulations to the lovely Tricia Resto!  She is the winner of a complimentary copy of my e-book, Eternal Presents: Accepting and Using the Precious, Intangible Gifts Others Give Us.  Tricia was participant one of four.  The winner (#1) was selected using the random number generator provided by  Tricia, please email me at, and I'll forward your book electronically.  Enjoy!!!

Yesterday, I gathered with a beautiful group of women for an afternoon of art journaling and camaraderie!  This was the first workshop I conducted for women (I've conducted a couple, now, for tween-aged girls).  Tea, candlelight, chocolate, creativity, yogi tunes, and the fellowship of amazing women--what an afternoon!  The Internet connection initially threatened to be spotty, so Mark stayed close by--in the event tech support was needed (what a dear!!!).  Fortunately, all went off without a hitch (smile).  I thought you might enjoy a few photos taken prior to the event...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Simple Joys in September

One of the week's joys=spying the appearance of berries on the yew shrubs!

In the spirit of September’s focus on simplicity, this week’s basic (and cherished) joys include:
  • Took a few minutes (before a meeting) to sit on a sun-soaked bench and bask in the glory of an early-autumn day;
  • Yoga class (every minute of it!);
  • Centered myself during a busy day, using breathing techniques;
  • Spoke up (a time or two, actually);
  • Enjoyed dinner on the patio one evening after work;
  • Journal writing while sipping a glass of dry rose; 
  • Date night with Mark;
  • Rendered a seven-minute speech at a local Toastmasters club meeting (based upon this past post);
  • Gathered with friends and community leaders to celebrate the launch of BGSU’s Golden Z Club;
  • Lunched with a wonderful group of gal pals;
  • Practiced yoga at home late one evening;
  • Connected with dear blogger friends;
  • Sipped chrysanthemum tea while working and listening to vintage jazz tunes as the rain came down outside my office window. 
What was your favorite simple joy this week?  Would love to hear about it!  T.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Artful Living: Rocking Style Creatively

In true tickled pink fashion, I let my creativity come out to play each day.  One of my favorite quotes is by author Alexandra Stoddard, "Make living as an art your quest, your personal mission." One way I strive to do this is through dress.  Fittingly (no pun intended), this post is dedicated to creative ways to style this fall.

Don't you love the sweet vintage flower scarf above?  I bought this one on Etsy for $6.  It arrived just a few days ago.  It can be worn with the flower close to the neck choker syle and the tail trailing over the shoulder and down the back, with the flower part at mid-chest like a necklace, or even as a belt. I can also don it as a headband!  This one piece is going to allow my inner artist lots of playtime this autumn--no doubt.

A long necklace can be worn in a variety of ways.  Of course, there’s the traditional manner (simply clasped and worn long). Lately, however, I’ve been wrapping my long necklaces around a time or two; then clasping.  This lends itself to an almost choker-like appearance.  Want something really creative? Wear your long strand as a belt!  Sure wish I could take credit for this one, but I can’t.  This fun inspiration came from Jessica Quirk’s fab book, What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style.

Shake it up a bit.  Sport a leather jacket (sleeves pushed up) with a little black dress.  Toss your jean jacket over your shoulders while showcasing a vintage taffeta gown.  You can certainly go smaller-scale with this, too (e.g. wear ballet flats with a pencil skirt).  Doing the unexpected, in terms of fashion, is very French according to Ines de la Fressange, author of another great read, Parisian Chic: A Style Guide

Add a statement piece to a simple outfit (for example, a white tee shirt + black trumpet skirt).  A brightly-colored vintage scarf, chunky art deco necklace, leopard-print hat, show-stopping belt… All are great examples of classic statement pieces. 

Living your art includes the look you rock.  With that in mind, let the good times roll! 

Friday joy to you!  T.

Looking for past posts related to style/fashion?  Click here, here, here and here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Practice Makes Comfy

Hitting it extra hard at the 9 to 5 this week.  It’s the time of year when department heads where I work (including me) prepare our budgets for the coming year. I will admit that I am by no means a “numbers” person.  In fact, long ago (and far away), I would have termed myself somewhat “numbers phobic.” 

With scads of practice, though, I’ve developed a decent level of comfort in working with numbers, budgets, statistics, etc.  You see, that’s the whole point.  The more I engage in budgeting, formulating fiscal projections, using numerical data to document community needs, etcetera; the more proficient and (indeed) relaxed I am with anything related to numbers.

As a grants administrator, I find I’m preparing budgets (and financial reports) of various sorts all throughout the year.  When budget time comes, I find I am far less uncomfortable than some of my counterparts who have much smaller budgets. 

Time and experience has taught me that this same principle can be applied to pretty much any area of my life (building courage, confidence, grace, etc.).  If I want to overcome something (e.g. fear of public speaking) or gain a proficiency within a given area (writing), it is my frequent engagement within that area that will allow me to get comfy with it—in time, maybe even master it.  

Speaking of public speaking… I’m headed to my Toastmasters meeting today at lunchtime, where I’m scheduled to deliver a speech.  Last week’s blog post about my goal setting tips seems to have resonated with a lot of folks. As a result, I have selected this as today’s speech topic.  If you didn’t see that post, feel free to access it here.

What areas in your life are begging for practice?  Engage in them frequently, and find yourself getting a bit more comfy. 

Joy & peace! T.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Owning My Moonlight + Own Business

Ever discount something about yourself; maybe not even claim it?  I’m not necessarily suggesting this is done on purpose, either.  Perhaps, you simply overlook something (e.g. your efforts toward an accomplishment or even a talent you possess).  Despite my ongoing attempts not to, I admit the fact that I still do (at least, from time to time).

Case in point:  Last week, I explored the possibility of submitting a guest post for publication on a favorite author’s blog. Following my submission inquiries, I received a response email asking me various questions regarding my experience as a writer (Sure. No problem!). 

Then, I was asked to discuss a bit about my business (Uh oh, what business?).  Rather than instantly hit the delete button on my computer, I chose to put some space between that email and myself.  Sometimes, a breather is exactly what I need in order to gain resolution.

Turns out this was another one of those times.  Later that evening, while driving home, I discovered something, or rather, owned something about myself.  My art (blog, book, art journaling workshops, etc.) is my business.  No, my (um) ventures do not amass me much mula.  Yes, I do work a day job (40+ hours a week).  Regardless, by the light of the moon, I am living out my dream by pursuing my passions.  Yup, I have a plan and am working toward it.  My business may be in its infancy, but it does exist. 

As a result, I responded in part; explaining the nature of what I do and my current status as someone living a (somewhat) double life (smile).  Happily, I was invited to submit a piece for further consideration (itsy-bitsy, part-time biz and all).

Of course, I’d be thrilled if my post got published on this other blog.  Nevertheless, this whole experience has yielded something of tremendous importance to me--a realization of what I had ignored before this point. 

A couple of years ago, while freelancing as a writer for the Examiner, I wrote an article about women who build their businesses moonlighting while they work for an employer full-time.  It was entitled Moonlight Feels Right: Thoughts on Entrepreneurialism.  From where I stand, here and now; moonlight does feel right, and I own every bit of it!  

If you are so inclined, I hope to see you under the moon's lovely light as well. Hugs!  T.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Promise Yourself...Optimism

About 16 years ago, I met a truly remarkable woman who served as a volunteer for the agency where I worked at that time.  She possessed an amazing ability to lead others, accomplish a myriad of wonderful things, and always had such an inspiring presence about her.

During an orientation event, where she had been asked to give a brief speech to other volunteers, she read a piece called “The Optimist Creed.”  I clearly remember hearing those first few words. They resonated with me, instantly, “To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.”

Afterwards, I shared with her how clearly the Creed "spoke" to me.  A few days later, she brought me a little card which displayed the Creed in its entirety.  She told me she read it every morning, before her day even began. I found this to be truly inspiring!

For many years, I did make it a point to (most days) pull this little card out and give it a read before starting my workday.  Although I no longer read it daily, it still sits on my desk (at the 9 to 5), and it does get read at those times when things are a bit chaotic, challenging and well…not as fun and glam as I might wish them to be (smile). It has never failed to make me feel, in a word, "optimistic."

Below, I’ve included the entire Creed.  Guess one might say I’m finally paying it forward… Hope it inspires you as much as it does me. T.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself…

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Monday, September 10, 2012

How My Art Journal Inspired Me to Write...

From my art journal (September 8, 2012)

The depiction below is taken directly from my beloved art journal (9/8/12). 
It is is my account of actual events (smile).

Today, my Wise Self whispered.  Told me, "Paint in your art journal. Then, you will write--creatively, freely, and well."

For a while, I sat at my computer and waited.  Nothing came to me--no words, no inspiring thoughts, no ideas.

"Okay, Wise Self," I said, art journal in hand, "I will paint--as you asked." 

A short time later--back in front of my computer...  I wrote--creatively, freely and well.

The moral to this little story is that when the Wise Self whispers, lend her your ear, grab your art journal; then paint.

Have a great Monday, T.

NOTE: If you missed my earlier post, containing an art journal painting demonstration, feel free to click here.  Missed my April post about why I heart art journaling? Click here.  Looking for ways to get started in art journaling?  Click here for another past post.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Worthy Plan + Latest Giveaway Details

It’s a gloriously-gray, damp September Saturday morning, here, in Northwest Ohio. This is the kind of day I enjoy doing little more than writing, reading and relaxing.  In accordance with said philosophy, that’s my plan for today, and I’ve deemed it a worthy one (smile).

Of course, I do have a breakfast date planned, with Mark, this morning, downtown.  The Black Swamp Arts Festival is going on, locally, so I may also do a bit of browsing while I'm there; see if I can't glean some inspiration.'s all about writing, reading and relaxation.  Yum!

As promised, I am launching another Tickled Pink Woman giveaway.  This time, an electronic copy of my book, Eternal Presents: Accepting and Using the Precious, Intangible Gifts Others Give Us is up for grabs.  To be eligible for this random drawing, you must complete at least one of the items listed below (through 9/14/12):
·      Provide a comment on today’s blog post (“Latest Tickled Pink Giveaway Details,” published 9/8/12), sharing what you enjoy best about the Tickled Pink Woman blog; and/or
·      Join the Tickled Pink Woman Facebook page (like the page).

Stay tuned, as I will announce the randomly-drawn winner on 9/16/12, here on the blog.

Have a wonderful weekend!  T.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Note to Self…

Like my art journal, writing a 'note to self' brings me personal clarity

Several months ago, I engaged in a simple, albeit highly-luxurious, practice.  In fact, it’s one I subsequently recommended here, on the blog.  I wrote a letter to myself (a love note, actually!).  If you missed that past post, please take a moment to check it out by clicking here.

I am excited to share that this same, cherished letter (to myself) has been included in author Jo MacDonald’s latest book, Note to Self: The Secret to becoming your own Best Friend (see a sneak peak inside the book here). A copy of this glorious read arrived to me late last week.  Amidst one of the busiest weeks in recent history (sigh!), I eagerly carved out sacred time along the way to read this inspiring book (which I absolutely adore, BTW!).

When Jo asked me to submit a letter for her book, I felt quite honored to do so.  Writing a note to myself, though; this was unchartered territory for me at that time.  Sure, I write in my journal and art journal, avidly.  Nevertheless, I had never written anything specifically to myself.  Having now engaged in this activity, I can tell you that the insight gained from doing so has been tremendous. That one letter, written to myself, is currently helping me to better understand which direction to take in writing my second book. 

When it comes to assessing the value of writing a 'Note to Self,' Jo sums it up best (Note to Self, p. 20), “Give yourself a gift. A ‘Note to Self.’ A gift of words, a gift of love and acceptance, the greatest gift in the world. Give yourself permission to say all the words you have ever longed to hear.  Be bold, be passionate, be honest, but most importantly, be you.”

 Joy, peace & happy Friday! T.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Simple Goal Setting Tips

From my art journal...a goal-setting collage (September 2011)

In response to a couple of recent inquiries, I’ve crafted a simple list of my key tips for goal setting.  I am not going to pretend to be the be-all-end-all authority on goal setting (smile).  The sole purpose of these tips is to merely share with others what works best for me (following years of my own trial and error).  

Establish monthly goals.  Monthly goals are the easiest for me to set, track and, quite frankly, achieve.  I have found this method to be far-less overwhelming than quarterly or even annual goal setting. Monthly goal setting is the bite-sized way to accomplish. Bite-sized works best for me as it makes things more likely to happen.

Goal achievement should be fun!  Every month, I include easy, sometimes indulgent self-care items, artist’s dates, and things I just-plain like to do as a part of my monthly goals.  Even my heavy-duty goals (e.g. launching this blog) are broken into simple steps over a period of months.  “And...the fun?” you ask.  I schedule dates with myself to work on these more challenging tasks, cozying up in front of the fireplace with my laptop, at a favorite local coffee house or on my beloved outdoor patio.  Of course, my work sessions always include something yummy to sip on and candlelight (where possible!).  When good times are involved, I’m far more likely to engage myself.

Visually track your goals.  Mine are recorded into my art journal.  I carve out time each month to create a visually-pleasing collage containing the coming month’s goals.  No less than weekly, I pull out my journal, pore over my goals, and check them off as they are achieved.  Being able to see my monthly plan keeps me focused, progress-bound and more likely to celebrate my attainments (big and small!). 

When it comes to my goals, I am in charge Goal-setting should be about self-love not self-judgment. I do not achieve every goal I establish for myself.  Some goals, I carry forward to the next month.  Others, after careful consideration, I totally remove from my list.  You see, I am in charge of determining the path I wish to take (I heart that part!).  Also, I select how few or many goals I wish to undertake each month.  When I hold the reins; well…that’s not only empowering; it ensures continued success and happiness! 

Please share your goal-setting thoughts with me here on the blog.  I would adore hearing them!  

Joy & peace, T.