#MondayMotivation - Illinois Park Project

This past weekend I had the opportunity to join my friend Jen on a hike/cleanup with her passion project called the Illinois Park Project. She created this organization to help the parks of Illinois with their trash, trails, and whatever else they need. You can read all about their mission, ideas, plans, etc on the Illinois Park Project website. If you want to get in touch much faster with them, hit up their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re in the Midwest and want to help make a difference, they’ll be doing more cleanups throughout Illinois.

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I’m promoting and sharing and going on and on about this weekend, this group, the affiliate groups, etc because it was such a motivating and inspirational 48 hours for me. I arrived to low 40 degree weather with the chance of rain and very high winds. I arrived to a parking lot with damn near 10 people ready to make a difference. People came from all over Illinois and I came from Texas because we all believed in the same cause and I am a sucker for a road trip.

It’s easy to say you agree with someone’s idea, or join a virtual group, but when you cement it in person with hugs and actions, it elevates to a whole new level of something else. I’ve only had a handful of experiences that are so deep and motivational, but this one was easily the best.

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I’m using this high point to motivate myself. I’ve already reached out to my friends about starting a cleanup here and I’m brainstorming. Now that I’ve seen one in action, know what to expect, and know what I want to get out of it, I’m ready. Let’s clean up Texas, y’all. You want in on cleaning up trails, parks, roadways, etc with me? Get in touch.

Side note, I’m going to add some links here of various websites from participants at the cleanup. Check them out if you want, they’re all good people just loving life outside. And, to everyone who was there, I genuinely enjoyed meeting you, connecting, and of course scheming for our next hang out.


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#MondayMotivation - Happy Birthday Nikki!

Happy Birthday, friend!

It’s my friend Nikki’s birthday today, so we’re going to celebrate her with some good memories! Nikki came into my life in 2012 and I’ve been better for knowing her ever since. Speaking from my view of our friendship, I’d say we connect on a pretty deep level. Beyond the daily happenings and surface shit, we can really get into some real topics. We can talk about the weather, but that’s boring. I like that we dive deep, to the core of everything and explore topics freely without judgment and criticism. Nikki is one of my favorite hiking buddies, road trip buddies, and overall hang out buddies. She is a lot of things - wife, mom, friend, daughter, etc - but she’s human and sees the value in other humans and treating one another with respect and dignity. I wish her a very happy birthday and cheers to many, many more.


Some of my FAVORITE memories (of all time)

This was my first trip to Big Bend. Eric and I drove out earlier in the day and Nikki got off work and hauled ass out there. We camped, we hiked, we drove every main road in that damn park - in one day. It was quite a day!


That time her, Eric, and I went on a Road trip through Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Vegas, and then Zion. Something I can’t wait to do again someday!


Nikki’s bachelorette party took us to Austin and was also a birthday celebration for her. What a fun time. We hiked, we partied, and we went home. HA!


One of my favorite hiking buddies - we ford rivers together! (physically and metaphorically)


Thanks for doing fun 5K walks, hikes, and everything else. Keep on keepin’ on! Happy birthday! <3 Me

Gear Forward - Operation Outfit the Scouts

Gear Forward is a wonderful organization that raises money and collects gear (new and used) for kids across the country. Right now, they’re looking to raise money over on their Facebook page for two scout troops that need some stuff. If you can, head over there and throw ‘em so dough. If you can’t donate, but want to help, share their Facebook posts and spread the word! Thank you!

Link to Facebook Fundraiser

Link to Gear Forward’s website - can also donate through the website if Facebook isn’t your thing

Link to Gear Forward’s Facebook page

From the Gear Forward Fundraiser description:

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“Troops 1695 and 695 in Uniontown, PA support 20 young boys, and girls who love being outdoors. However, the Troops presently don't own any of their own gear to support the youths desire to go camping on a regular basis. 

The Troops have facilitated programming and camping by borrowing camping gear and supplies from friends, family, and neighbors. Gear Forward is committed to outfitting the next generation of adventurers... but we need your help to do it. 

Gear Forward will be supplying over $2,000 in tents to the two Troops (one boy and one girl troop) in addition Gear Forward will be making a purchase of brand new sleeping bags to assist those youths with a gear deficiency. The funds generated by this fundraiser will assist Gear Forward in the purchase of the camping gear and the shipment of the tents to Pennslyvania in time for the Troops next spring campout. In total the Troops will be receiving over $3,000 in outdoor camping gear from Gear Forward. 

Remember... every donation helps! Help us get and keep these kids outdoors!“

#ForestFriday - Spring?

In Texas, it feels like summer. Reports from friends/family in Michigan say it still feels like winter. Here are a few photos from April of 2009, almost to this exact week, where spring was surely sprung. I hope you find the forest, or the forest finds you. Get out there!

Location: Aman Park (Michigan)

Land of the Odawa and Peoria

#MondayMotivation - Fancy Mixed Nuts

I often lose sight of my goals when I get caught up in the work necessary to achieve them. I constantly forget why I’m doing what I’m doing, so I create lists and trackers to help me along.

One of my goals was to save for a kayak and also drop a few pounds for said kayak. You can buy heavy duty kayaks, but I still wanted to be a little lighter so I could bring a cooler or camping gear along. I’m slowly making my way to the goal, both in saving and losing the weight, and I was reminded of the “WHY” I wanted to do this beyond getting healthier and not adding to my debt. It’s an attainable goal, with no real end date so I’m setting one. I’m going to drop 30 lbs and get the kayak by my birthday this year. Added mini goals to the big goal are to find a way to store the kayak at my apartment and save enough for the car rack and paddle. I have ropes, PFD, and water clothing already. Attack a goal bit by bit, right?

On the topic of goals… I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a trail race. Mind you, I’ve never even run an entire mile in years (decades) or on a trail beyond maybe running up a hill to get it over with. I hike, I jog intermittently, but I haven’t really done much beyond those things. So, if I can whip myself into shape and get in the runner mindset over the next month, before the race registration goes up in cost, I will register. I don’t care if I come in last, I just want to participate and complete one in the near(er) future. I finally participated in a 5K last year, though it was mostly intermittent running. I wasn’t last, and it made me want to do more of them because no one cares how slow or fast you are they’re just worried about themselves and their goals. I think if I get back on the wagon and just start doing it I’ll be able to do the smallest loop of the trail in the course by the August race date. I’m putting this all out there so I remember and so I can have some public accountability. Back on the treadmill this week, unless I get the courage to try the outdoors.

What are some goals you have? Do you lose sight of them or lose track of them if you’re not vigilant? Keep it real—istic. You can do it, people, whatever “it” is.

A NOTE: From the time I came up with the idea for this post (about 9 hours), to the time I finished writing it and posting it, I binge ate a lot of Kirkland fancy mixed nuts. Sigh. I remembered I hadn’t finished this, remembered I had goals, and then went for a walk. On the walk, I regretted the fancy mixed nuts and also the fact that I forgot to write/publish this before going for a walk. Either way, mistakes happen - accidentally or not. It’s all about going with the flow and remembering the goals. Carry on and don’t let a little bit of fancy mixed nuts stop you from your dreams.

#ForestFriday - Along the Coast of Lake Michigan #PureMichigan

Continuing with the theme of the week… Michigan’s lovely coast. These photos are from the summer of 2010, and I’m almost 95% sure it was at the Rosy Mound Natural Area near Grand Haven, Michigan. My memory is a little rusty, but with the dunes in the distance and the Forest Overlook sign, I’m almost sure of it. Either Way, enjoy some coastal forest photos from where I spent the majority of my life.

#WayBackWednesday - Ludington State Park, 2007. #PureMichigan

Back in 2007 some friends and I took a trip to Ludington State Park on Michigan’s west coast. The park sits along Lake Michigan with dunes, trails through the woods, and access to nearby lighthouses. The whole coast of Lake Michigan is amazing, but this little slice is extra nice. If you get the chance to visit Michigan, make sure to travel along the shorelines of the Great Lakes and stop at Ludington State Park.

We lived in nearby Allendale, MI where our college was located so this was an easy little trip for us. We were a bunch of twenty somethings headed camping and we definitely made some memories. The photos I share are from an old camera and are mostly the natural beauty. I didn’t find many photos from our campsite, probably because we were having a real good time.

Spring here in Texas reminds me of summer up in Michigan. The temps are warm enough, the sun is plentiful, and the air is breezy. Here’s to the summer nights of the past and hopefully some in the near future on one of Michigan’s coasts.

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: March 2019 Check-In

It’s not enough just to live a life
Simple measures to survive
It’s like living should be easy right?
But there’s always something
Heavy on heart
Heavy on my mind
Falling on me all the time
There’s always something
— Said the Whale "Moonlight"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 340,702

Average daily steps: 10,990

Highest daily steps: 22,180 (March 23)

Lowest daily steps: 3,563 (March 18)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 80.83

Total miles hiked: 17.48

Days with over 7 hours of sleep: 9 days over 7, 7 days between 6-7

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 46 minutes


Standing up top the Lost Mine Trail
@ Big Bend National Park

The Good

  • Number of miles of hiking, walking, or running is way up from February

  • Daily step average is up from February

  • My commitment to daily activity is more of a second nature than before

  • Days of activity and days with closed Apple Watch rings are up from February

  • Hiking mileage is up from February as is my desire and willingness to hike

  • My average length of sleep per night is up a few minutes and my days over 7 hours is much higher than before


The Not-So-Good

  • I didn’t track food for most of the month

  • I likely gained weight

  • I ate my feelings and stress daily

  • I haven’t hiked as much as I should have

  • I had to stop couch 2 5k after week one because work had consumed me

  • My eating is out of control and I drank more often than I would have liked


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Mental Health

  • It’s been a long month filled with stress from a project at work. It’s over and so my stress should move back down to normal levels in regards to work.

  • I’ve been insecure about everything.

  • I found a book called “The Book of Awakening” and it’s sort of a daily dose of meditation and mindfulness that I’ve really enjoyed.

  • I’ve left the disappointment behind in regards to calories and food - I’ll get there, and I’ll keep trying so there is no need to get so upset over it.

  • Exercise is helping me clear my mind, find some calm, and take deep breaths.

  • I plan to read more actual books in April. I listened to a few in March, but want to actually read a few in April.

  • I’m journaling daily now, which is a big help also. It really helps to get shit out on a page.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • Pizza just needs to be off limits because I have ZERO self control (this hasn’t changed since February)

  • When I’m feeling drained, I don’t want to be good. I shall try harder.

  • I need to give up the convenience of eating out and make it convenient to eat at home.

  • I’m going to exercise even more in April.

  • I plan to eat frugally and more healthy in April.

  • Daily mindfulness is great for really centering my stress. The time I set aside for my book really helps me realize it could be worse and it could be better but it doesn’t matter. I need to be here, let shit go, focus on current shit, and be present in life.


March Wins & Goals for April

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip
  • Read/Listen to at least 8 books

  • I’m going to continue to try to drink less alcohol - to make it more of a special occasion instead.

  • Take a weekend off of social media

  • Going to restart Couch 2 5K on April 1

  • I increased my days over 10,000 steps from 57% to 61% of the month and thus want to reach that 75% mark in April.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind out in west Texas

  • I want to incorporate longer daily walks and lunch walks.

  • I need to take a mindful break daily.

  • Read and write daily

  • Daily walks at least 6 times per week, regardless of Couch 2 5K workouts or hikes

#ForestFriday - Big Bend Edition

When I think of Big Bend National Park, I think of the Chisos Mountains and the forest that covers them. Piñon Pine, also known as Mexican Pine, cover the hills and were a highlight for me on a recent trip. Enjoy a few photos of that glorious tree within the landscape that is Big Bend National Park.

#WayBackWednesday - The Four Trips that Started it All

I’m a little overloaded this month with work, so I’m going to share an old series of Way Back Wednesday posts that I created at the end of summer. These posts celebrate the four big road trips that cemented my love for the adventure and seeing as much as I can on an adventure. There are four posts linked on the page below, choose your own adventure! I’m hoping to get back to regularly scheduled programming in a couple of weeks, once my big project wraps up. Until then, please enjoy some of my favorite memories in this crazy life!

#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 4 - a day late)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week four

  • I’m thankful for REI dividends from both REI shopping and my REI branded credit card. I’ve earned enough points with spending and paying off that I have new shoes coming that I didn’t pay for!

  • I’m thankful the month is closing and the projects are wrapping up too.

  • I’m thankful people were nice to me even if I got real grumpy with the stress of work projects

  • I’m thankful to have 450 miles on my hiking shoes before needing new ones.

  • I’m thankful for the privilege to visit Big Bend in one day, even if the 18 hours of driving was a little insane.

  • Thankful for visitors from Michigan and an excuse to day drink

I may have had limited amounts of time and funds this month, but I look forward to what April will bring with a little more time and a little more cash flow. I have a park cleanup in Illinois and some good ideas for hiking planned. May will bring even more fun with backpacking (my first time) in Arizona and potential work adventure. I’m hoping to save and plan for some random weekend in Michigan and maybe even a quick trip to California in May - pending the right conditions (plane ticket prices).

I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I’m afforded and work for. I know I’m at an advantage and I’m constantly conscious of that and grateful for everything in my life. Have a great week and a wonderful rest of your month.

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#ForestFriday - Northern California!

ALRIGHT, I have a few minutes so I thought I’d throw together some of my favorite photos from the 2009 road trip we had in Northern California. Now, I’ve revisited in 2016 and it’s still (or more) magical and again in 2017 with the same feelings. Enjoy some sun streaming through some big, green trees! Happy Friday, Happy Forest Friday, and just Happy Day. Find the joy, find the forest, and have a good one.

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#WayBackWednesday - The Four Trips that Started it All

I’m a little overloaded this month with work, so I’m going to share an old series of Way Back Wednesday posts that I created at the end of summer. These posts celebrate the four big road trips that cemented my love for the adventure and seeing as much as I can on an adventure. There are four posts linked on the page below, choose your own adventure! I’m hoping to get back to regularly scheduled programming in a couple of weeks, once my big project wraps up. Until then, please enjoy some of my favorite memories in this crazy life!

#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 3)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week three

Inspired by the wonderful Pattie Gonia on Instagram (link here) and my group of outdoor blogger masterminds (Inner Compass) (Jenny the Trailhead) (Indoorsy Camper), I’m thankful for every outdoor experience no matter what it is. Everyone’s version of the outdoors is a little different, but as long as you’re following the laws of public lands and leave no trace, it doesn’t matter what you prefer. Live your best outdoor life. Love the outdoors in any way you can that suits your abilities and desires.

Some of my favorite ways to get outside:

  • Road trips - sometimes even without hiking because I don’t have the time

  • Camping - state parks, federal land, private campgrounds… it doesn’t matter!

  • Hiking - both (soon to be) backpacking, local trails, loops, in and out, short hikes, long hikes

  • Nature walks on paved paths in the metroplex through the various trail systems - there are a ton of birds to watch, that’s for damn sure!

  • Walking my dog in the neighborhood nearby and/or visiting the city park

  • Boating with the family on the lake - this includes just cruising, swimming, or any combination of the two

  • Sitting in someone’s back yard with a bonfire, having a drink, and listening to the frogs in the nearby creek

  • Standing outside in my freeway-adjacent parking lot staring at the sunrise - sure, it’s not ideal, but it’a all I got on a Monday morning before work!

I get outside as often as I can, in any form that I am able to do so. I love every minute I get, even if it’s not exactly what I dream of doing at that second in time. I know, parking lot sunrises probably don’t hold a candle to backcountry sunrises, but sometimes you just take what you get and you love it for what it is. So this week, be thankful for any experiences you get outside and own them.

Have a great week, get outside if that suits ya, and enjoy yourselves!

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#WayBackWednesday - The Four Trips that Started it All

I’m a little overloaded this month with work, so I’m going to share an old series of Way Back Wednesday posts that I created at the end of summer. These posts celebrate the four big road trips that cemented my love for the adventure and seeing as much as I can on an adventure. There are four posts linked on the page below, choose your own adventure! I’m hoping to get back to regularly scheduled programming in a couple of weeks, once my big project wraps up. Until then, please enjoy some of my favorite memories in this crazy life!

#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 2)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week two

I’m genuinely so lucky to know such wonderful people. Some are people I know well and see often, some are virtual friends, and some are long time best buds who I don’t get to see very often at all. I’m just lucky. I’m thankful. I have a circle of people who represent a wide range of life experiences and who bring different bits of expertise to the table when it comes to getting through all that life has to offer.

THE CLOUD

I don’t have the luxury of unlimited vacation time or funds, so I don’t get to see this wonderful circle of people as often as I’d like. Living in DFW metro area is a bit nuts, too, as I have family just 70 miles southwest and rarely get to see them because it just takes forever and battling traffic on a Friday night is almost more work than working for eight hours. These are all small problems to have, I know, and I realize it’s my cloud and not everyone’s dilemma.

THE SILVER LINING

Sometimes, I get to power through a Friday drive and visit my family at their respective houses here in Texas or even do the 20 hour drive to Northern Michigan. I am lucky because I have a flexible work schedule and paid time off so I get to utilize that time to visit with friends (new and old) as well as family all while seeing new places along the way. I have reliable transportation and I accumulate airline miles as well as set money aside for travel. The real silver lining is that I have people in all sorts of places and I’m lucky to be able to visit them and vacation at the same time. That’s winning at life, in my book.

My point, I knew I had one, is to treasure the relationships you build that work out. People, near and far and of varying connection levels are important and truly wonderful. You just never know who you’ll meet, virtually or not, so dare to be bold about it and make the connection. Say YES to invitations, say YES to offers, and say YES to life. Also, be the one that makes it happen and make an offer to your circle; advice I’m going to take more seriously this year.

Met some folks from Twitter and am lucky enough to be adventuring with some of them this year.

Met some folks from Twitter and am lucky enough to be adventuring with some of them this year.

#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week one

This month, and generally speaking, I want to work harder to motivate myself and others through being more thankful for something I already have. I personally lose sight of things when I get overwhelmed, and I’m sure that is a common reaction to stress. I’m going to try to focus on some silver linings of situations that are less than amazing, but unavoidable for me and maybe it’ll inspire you to see the other side of your situation.

THE CLOUD

Today, and probably for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be busy working. It is what we in the biz call “Greenhouse Gas Season” as all companies who have to, must report their greenhouse gas emissions before March 31. I’ve been doing this since 2015, which isn’t long, but the first quarter of the year is devoted to it and the work can consume my brain. It’s affecting my attitude and sleep, but I don’t know why and the only reason I can think of is that I’m doing the work in a new way this year and it’s taking a lot of getting used to overall?

THE SILVER LINING

I am learning so many new techniques with the work this year and at my new job in general. I can EASILY say that in the few months I’ve been on board, I’ve learned more than I ever did in two years at my previous job. Now, I’m not here to talk shit about it, it is just two different companies and their employee development focuses are different. As mentioned, I have an excellent support system at work with experts from all backgrounds who can usually help me fix an issue or answer a question quickly. This will all be over, also, and a new project will come along and I’ll be busy with that and I’ll have to remember things always keep going!

I’m going to try my best this week and I hope you find your way down the best path for you!

From this week back in March of 2016 (Lake Granbury - Granbury, Texas)

From this week back in March of 2016 (Lake Granbury - Granbury, Texas)

A Healthier Mike - February 2019 Check-In

Don’t stop
When it all drops
Saying maybe something good is coming
Maybe something good is coming my way
— Dear Rouge "Little By Little"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 292,001

Average daily steps: 10,429

Highest daily steps: 19,013 (February 3)

Lowest daily steps: 4,050 (February 9)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 56.76

Total miles hiked: 14.82

Days with over 7 hours of sleep: 2, with 6 days at 6-7 hours

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 35 minutes


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The Good

  • Number of days with activity is up from January!

  • Daily step average is up from January.

  • My willingness to get out and do some activity is up from January

  • I closed the rings on my Apple Watch more days than January, with better days and higher goals.

  • More active days than January!

  • My jeans are too big now, which is both nice and really annoying

  • The dog is forcing me to walk on days I don’t want to because he basically expects his miles now


The Not-So-Good

  • My average sleep is down 11 minutes per night and that’s kind of depressing.

  • I broke even on weight, which isn’t bad or good, just a bummer. I know I did not try as hard as I could have to eat better, but I certainly walked more. Here’s to pushing it a bit further in March.

  • I have been so depressed this month and thus have been eating to comfort myself and that’s not always the most productive way to handle it. Exercise has helped and I plan to increase the frequency and difficulty.

  • I didn’t really take any “super” long hikes, and I’d like to do something a little more intense. Plans for March.

  • I lost a snowshoe in February, not really health related, but it needed to be said.


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Mental Health

  • It’s been kind of a shitty month.

  • I’ve been insecure about work because I’m learning how to do things, despite having wonderful coworkers who really do take the time to help and guide.

  • I’ve been grumpy because of the rain keeping me indoors.

  • I’ve been upset that I can’t stay on track with a moderate amount of calories.

  • Exercise is helping me clear my mind, find some calm, and take deep breaths.

  • I plan to read more in March, that should help too.

  • I’m journaling daily now, which is a big help also. It really helps to get shit out on a page.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • Pizza just needs to be off limits because I have ZERO self control

  • When I’m feeling drained, I don’t want to grocery shop or make dinner or clean up the kitchen afterwards. I need to work out a system for these days so I don’t fall so far off the wagon of trying to be healthy.

  • I honestly don’t recall the last time I went out of my way to order a pop.

  • Kombucha is still my favorite drink.

  • My body isn’t REALLY craving anything bad - I never desire candy or cookies. I want cheese and bread. All is good in moderation, but…ya know.

  • I think I’m truly lactose intolerant. I’m on a mission to avoid all dairy with the exception of hard/aged cheeses, Greek yogurt, butter, sour cream, and the occasional splash of heavy whipping cream. The real bummer is giving up ice cream, but it is for the best. (I know non-dairy ice cream exists, but what’s the point?)


February Wins & Goals for March

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip
  • Read/Listen to at least 8 books

  • I’m going to continue to try to drink less alcohol - to make it more of a special occasion instead.

  • Take a weekend off of social media

  • Going to restart Couch 2 5K on March 3

  • I increased my days over 10,000 steps from 41% to 57% of the month and thus want to reach that 75% mark in March.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind out in west Texas

  • Found new routes in February and want to incorporate them more often in March.

  • Work on getting the household and friends on board with my life goals, so it’s easier to interact and live day to day together

  • Read and write daily

  • Daily walks at least 6 times per week, regardless of Couch 2 5K workouts or hikes

#ForestFriday - Urban Oasis

I spend a lot of time in the city. I live in the center of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and it can take hours to get through it all to escape as the sprawl is out of control. When I’m at home, I try to find little parks that have trees and a nice path to take the dog for a walk. Here are some photos of the paved paths at River Legacy Park in Arlington, Texas. This park has miles and miles of paved paths connecting multiple areas throughout the city. There are always shaded paths to seek refuge in the summer and little openings to find the sun in the winter. Enjoy a few photos of the places I am fortunate enough to have found!

#MondayMotivation - Get Creative!

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This past week I took an online course to expand my creativity. I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know what I believed about creativity, and didn’t know how I’d participate. Turns out, it wasn’t hard because the prompts and ideas were all so open and there was zero pressure. Without going on and on about it, just know that I took a ton of knowledge away from this course and it truly opened my mind to other ways to be creative.

The course had me doodling and writing daily, which forced me to slow down and dedicate time to thinking creatively. Taking time to be creative or to get my thoughts out was one of the best things. I wrote daily in my personal journal as well as the creative class journal I was keeping. It felt good to just write whatever I wanted, without needing to present it or do it a certain way.

Sometimes I get stuck on what to read/listen to/write/create next. Sometimes a little push or a search session on YouTube unearths something new. I got creative, and I’m now exploring new ideas and seeing things slightly differently.

How do you get creative? How do you get through a mental block?