Friday, August 30, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 25... and New Blog Name!

Happy Friday, lovelies! Before we get to the blog challenge, I want to announce that as of tomorrow (Saturday), I will be changing the name of this blog to better suit the direction it's heading in. Sweet Maple Life will be changing to Goddess Within. I will still be blogging about my life and all the cool stuff I come across, but there will be much more than just that :) I hope you all stick around for this new path of my journey!

30 day challenge

Today's topic is about four key areas to master to truly enjoy being location independent. These key areas are:

- Productivity
- Staying healthy
- Keeping up with clients
- Keeping in touch with your network

"What skills do you need to build or refine to be a happy Suitcase Entrepreneur?"

What I will put into practice to master the key areas:

- Write in bulk and program it so it can be released while I'm away or focusing on other things.
- Exercise every single day, even if it's just for 10-20 minutes.
- Stay offline while working! This will dramatically increase my productivity.
- Be more realistic in the challenges and goals I give myself.

Keeping up with clients and networking doesn't really apply to me yet, as nothing's up and running. But for keeping up with folks, I find HootSuite to be a great social media platform where I can view everything at once and quickly contact people.

See you tomorrow as Goddess Within! I've got to get to making a banner and site button :)

Love and light,

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Good evening, goddesses! It's that time of week again. Here are my gratitudes...

- Getting a little job cleaning a family friend's house. Some income's better than no income!
- Being well enough in my mental health to start seeing joy again.
- Being well enough in my anxiety to do more things on my own, including taking a taxi.
- Getting to swim with my friends again on the weekend. My body had been craving water immersion for a couple weeks, so when I got in that pool, I felt a joy like no other. It was like every cell of my body was singing!
- Receiving an unexpected little package from my biomom. It contained a lovely card showing the beauty of Bedford County, and some craft bits 'n bobs, and two delicately crocheted bookmarks for Elisa and me. It made my day!
- The weather heating back up as an end-of-summer hurrah.
- That my best friend will be flying over from England in 2-3 months' time!!! SO stoked!
- Having fun at the CNE, eating crazy food, laughing into the wind, and getting licked by a Holstein heifer.
- It's almost a long weekend for Trevor, so I get more of him! More late nights :)
- I'm finally starting to accept myself as I am. No more hate. Just pure love and encouragement.

What are you thankful for this week?

Love and light,

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 23-24

30 day challenge

Hello lovelies! I hope you're having a good week in your corner of the galaxy. We went to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) last night and it was so much fun. I forgot my camera, so unfortunately there are no pics, but trust me when I say it's always my favourite part of the summer!

Here is Day 23's prompt...

"What’s your level of location independence and your nomadic quotient?"

In today’s post, Natalie outlined these three different “levels of location” for our consideration:

- For some just the ability to work from home or a café close by, on their own schedule, is the perfect form of freedom.

- For others they want just enough location independence to take off to a new country for a month or two each year, and still run their business or work remotely as an employee.

- Then there are people who love to change it up every one to three months in a new city or country and keep exploring but spend enough time to get a real feel for the culture, people and area.

I am definitely that second option. As I said the other day, I wouldn't dream of leaving Canada at this point in my life. My soul wants to be here. I'm a homebody and while I want the freedom to travel and to temporarily live elsewhere if we choose (such as New Zealand or Japan), I usually don't want to stray far from home.

Day 24's prompt:

"What are your travel essentials for your chosen destination(s) ?"

Natalie's Top Tip: You can answer this in two ways: either list out the actual physical packing list of your most essential items you couldn’t live without or you could focus on the destination, and the essential elements you’d want it to have (like history, sunshine, etc.)

For travelling, I would take my laptop, Kobo, iPod, sketchbooks and other art supplies, and obviously the super-important things like clothes and toiletries. A good pair of shoes, especially!

At my destination, I need culture, nature as well as city, good weather, good food, and good people. :) Festivals don't hurt, either!

Love and light,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 22

30 day challenge

Now we're in Phase 3 of the blog challenge, and here Natalie Sisson will be teaching us how to live homeless. That is, being able to live anywhere while doing your work!

"If you chose to live anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?"

I came to Canada for a reason, and it's the place where my soul has driven me for years. I don't intend on leaving any time soon, not permanently. My heart is gloriously happy here. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be in this stage of my life. If I get a calling to go elsewhere, then I will follow it. But for now, I thoroughly belong to Canada, body and soul. Maybe we would move to coastal British Columbia, or Nova Scotia, or just further away from Toronto. But I can't imagine myself ever leaving this country forever.

That being said, it would be wonderful to travel long-term without worrying about getting home to a job. I would love to make enough income to retire my husband from his job and take exciting vacations every six months to every year. That is true, gorgeous freedom to me.

In North America, I would like to see...
- See all of Canada's provinces and territories.
- Visit all 50 states.
- Spend time in California, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Colorado.

Overseas, I would like to visit or live temporarily in...
- The UK
- Ireland
- Japan
- Hong Kong
- Australia
- New Zealand
- Thailand
- Israel

So there are my travel dreams. Maybe one day, they will become succulent reality.

Love and light,

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lovely Things 8-26-13

To ease your Monday blues, have some sweet pics of our cats and foster kittens!

Love and light,

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 19-20

30 day challenge

Happy Monday, lovelies! I hope the week has begun on a good note, and even if it hasn't - tomorrow's another day! I spent the weekend with friends again, picnicing in Toronto and then continuing my swimming lessons. The leaves are beginning to change here, and it's time to go apple picking. I'm really excited for fall! How about you?

Day 19's topic was about being a “mediapreneur”. Natalie Sisson suggested a couple of avenues:

- Be a leading learner, or a person who is continually teaching themselves new skills to stay ahead of the curve; and then showing you how to do this too. You don’t have to be the expert you just have to learn and apply and teach others how they can do the same

- Become a mediapreneur (coined by David Siteman Garland), or a person who builds their own platform and brand using their unique skillset, and from this develops information-based products and programs that package their expertise so you can learn from them

"Which methods do you want to use to build your platform and increase your influence?"

Guest posting on big blogs is high on my list, as is creating a Youtube channel. The Youtube part scares the hell out of me because I fear negative attention, and Youtube is LOADED with that.

But you know what?

Screw negativity! Shove it into a hole and bury it. Stomp on it.

I will be pouring my passion and soul into art, writing, and helping other women learn to be the fantastic goddesses they are deep inside. I will grow in whatever direction the light comes from and see how very weed-like I can become so that I am far-reaching and tapping into big resources of knowledge and influence and readership.

I'm very excited about building my online community. On top of my upcoming art and books, I love writing about difference experiences in life, be it a great restaurant, a trip, a street festival, or a book. That's what this blog was formed on; me learning how to live life after years of isolation in rural Virginia.

Day 20's prompt:

"State your top three tools that you will use (or already use) to save time and money and make your online world more seamless."

- Mailchimp - Using this to create my newsletter will be fantastic! And it's easy to use!

- eJunkie - An awesome (and inexpensive) platform with which to easily sell my products. I'm also thinking Etsy, but the site has some unfair practices and I'm not too keen on all the listing/relisting fees.

- HootSuite - Here I can monitor multiple social media accounts and save a lot of time. I can also set up posting schedules for posts and tweets and create keyword searches.

And with that, I am two-thirds finished with this challenge! Wow!! I've been learning so much and it feels much less overwhelming now to get out there in the online world. There's no blog prompt today, as Natalie said let there be a day of rest. I'll be back in a little bit with Lovely Things, and I'll see you tomorrow for Day 22 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge!

Love and light,

Friday, August 23, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 17-18

30 day challenge

Here are Days 17 and 18's prompts combined :) They are brief answers, but very important.

Day 17's prompt...

"What three steps can you take to build trust and credibility online for you, your brand and your business?"

- Consistency.

- Staying true to my form, art, and the goddesses to whom every fibre of my being speaks.

- Writing from the heart.

Day 18's prompt...

"What does your dream sales team look like and how will you ensure they help you build your business?"

It's a bit hard for me to imagine having an affiliate team from where I am right now, but it's not like it's impossible, right? But if I can imagine them, I imagine them to be trustworthy, and placing their trust in me. I imagine them to be like-minded goddesses who want to help others be the succulent women they are.

I would give them the tools and and information to share with their audiences, which would help me build my business. This includes writing guest posts for them, running specials that they can promote to their readers, and more.

I've been inspired by Natalie Sisson and some of the bloggers in this challenge to use eJunkie to sell my future programs and ebooks. I can track my affiliates' activity from there too, which is awesome!

Love and light,

Thankful Weekend 8-23-13

Hello lovelies! I'm late posting this, but better late than never with gratitudes! :)

- I'm thankful that the adoption of one of our dear foster kittens, Luthor, went beautifully today and that I was there to see him off. I miss him, but knowing he's in his forever home makes it all worth it.

- I'm thankful that my Cipralex increase seems to finally be taking effect. It's great to feel happy!

- I'm thankful for getting projects done in a timely manner for once!

- I'm thankful for getting a small, sporadic housecleaning job that I start next week.

- I'm thankful for hot tea late at night when I'm creating.

- I'm thankful that the weather has heated back up to proper summer temperatures! I do LOVE fall, but stay in your own designated months, dangit!

- The sound of crickets singing and whirring in the warm night.

- No matter what, our cats love us unconditionally and seeing that pure love in their eyes makes a bad day better.

- Getting inspired.

- Cadbury chocolate. Ohhhh yes.

Love and light,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge Days 14-16

30 day challenge

Hello lovelies! Wow, I can't believe we're already on Day 16 of this challenge. That means I've been blogging consistently for over two weeks now. It's been a LONG TIME since that's happened, and I'm pretty sure it was last November when I did the Thanksvember challenge! I might not have blogged every day, but I've caught up within a couple days and that's saying something for my lazy, procrastinating butt! ;)

Speaking of catching up, here I am catching up!

Day 14's prompt:

"What are two key ways you could use the habits of a millionaire to monetize your blog in the next month?"

Woo boy...

The first habit would be... NO EXCUSES!!!

I have lots and lots and lots of excuses on a daily basis. My art isn't good enough, I'm not ready to put all my thoughts into my ebooks, I'm on a creative block, I'll do it tomorrow for sure (my favourite), I don't have the energy/patience, I'm too depressed, I can't concentrate with people in the room.

So... the first thing I can do is very simple, really.



No more excuses, no more self-doubts, no more second thoughts or any of my typical hesitant behaviour. No more approval seeking. Just get active and don't even stop to think! RUN LIKE THE WIND! Ride that wild donkey until it's been mastered!

The second habit that resonated with me was to always move forward. Every single day, do something that gets me closer to that sparkly destination. Big or little things, every thing helps forward momentum! So to that end, I'm going to open up my Incredible Year workbook and set up a project section where I write down exactly what I want to do, what I need to acquire or learn to do it, and I will go after it!!! NO EXCUSES.

I have to make this happen. No one else is going to do it for me, and wishing won't bring it into being.

Day 15's prompt:

"How are you building your email list?"

Natalie's Top Tip: If you’re not at this stage you can instead choose to answer what the purpose of your email/ newsletter would be, how often you’d like to send it and the type of content and value you would provide to readers. In fact this is good to include in your blog response regardless!

You know what? There's actually a LOT I hate about email subscriptions and newsletters. Too sales-pitchy, no personal content (just ads, giveaways and other filler!), too messy (If I get lost in a sea of ads, jumbled graphics and crazy fonts, I'm lost forever), oh and TOO MANY. Yeesh!

I know, that really made me sound like a bitch!

But what do I LOVE about email newsletters? I love rich, personal slices of life sprinkled with good humour and excitement. I love tidbits of inspiration, snippets of upcoming goodies, and basically whatever brings a smile to my face and makes me glad to open my email.

So when I build my email list, I would like it to be the following:

- To smile as I write the newsletter!
- To be positive about the whole process and not view it as another chore.
- To get great feedback about the newsletter and its contents.
- To have a clean, concise newsletter that's informative and interesting, with easily readable formatting and neat little snippets, perhaps a monthly freebie as well. I don't think I'd send out a newsletter any more frequently than twice a month. And I want it to be enjoyed every time!

Day 16's prompt...

"How will you build a team around your vision and work smart instead of hard?"

For right now, I can't imagine relinquishing control when I haven't even begun yet!

I might like to have two or three contributors to the blog to share stories, inspiration, and other tidbits.

If what I'm doing gets big enough and brings in enough revenue, I would probably look into a personal assistant, perhaps some social media marketing assistance, and someone who was good at web design/troubleshooting.

But that's not for right now.

I hope you all have a great night (or day, depending on where you are in your personal galaxy!) :)

Love and light,

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lovely Things 8-19-13

Happy Monday, lovelies! I hope everyone's gotten a nice start to the week. Today I want to share some beautiful quotes and inspirational prints that keep me on track to being an abundant goddess.

via { dear musketeer }

via { emily mccarthy }

via { the wheat field }

via { the wheat field}

via { the wheat field }

via { girls of lincoln park }

via { leonie wise }

via { kind over matter }

via { silver tree art }

Deepest love and light,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 11-13

30 day challenge

Hello lovelies!! I've really been slacking the last couple of days! No worries though, this is me catching up! I hope you all had a great weekend and that there's some exciting stuff in the week to come.

Day 11's prompt:

"Which business model is best for you and what one revenue stream is most feasible?"

Basically, there are two types of business models. One is selling the products or services you create. The other is to sell other people's products. So my business will offer both types of models. I will have my art, e-books and whatever other creations, and I will have an affiliate program section where I help sell other people's products (such as Leonie Dawson's e-courses and such).

With this in mind, both revenue streams (Active; the things I sell, and Residual; from affiliate programs and the like) will be working for me.

Day 12's blog asks us to look at ourselves and answer questions on what sets us apart from others, what would make us a driving force and help get our sites more traffic.

"What is your USP (Unique Special Proposition) that sets you apart from the crowd?"

I'm silly, have a crazy sense of humour, and I'm on a very unique spiritual journey. I'm very creative, know ways to feel like/be a goddess, and I'm very eager to inspire other women and help them feel like the lovely goddesses I know they are. I'm great at being me!!

Here is Day 13's prompt:

"What three things would you most like your website to have and how will you go about getting them?"

In short, my answers are:

- A beautiful, colourful header/banner made with my own art.

- My own art featured on site elements, such as sidebars and dividers, to have a unique layout made with my own creations.

- A clean, professional, concise layout.

How to get these? CREATE!!! :)

See you tomorrow, my friends, for my next Lovely Things post as well as the next instalment of the blog challenge. I will soon be sharing pics I took on board the Kajama, a beautiful schooner that does cruises around the Toronto Harbour! It was an awesome experience and I can't wait to share it with you!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 9 and 10

30 day challenge

Here is Day 9's prompt:

"Whose online business do you admire most and why?"

Leonie Dawson is my business and goddess idol. She has created a multi-million-dollar business by doing what she loves. Her e-courses, Create Your Incredible Year workbooks, beautiful art, inspiring blog posts, and her Amazing Business + Life Academy have been touching thousands of lives; more and more so every year. It all started from a dream, and inner drive.

If I could emulate anyone's business and life style, it would definitely be Leonie's.

- She's in touch with her inner wild, succulent woman, and knows how abundant her life is. She is passionate in all things she does, touches, sees, hears, and tastes.

- She paints like a goddess; flowing her very being into her art.

- She expresses creativity through her writing.

- She creates AWESOME e-courses and workbooks.

- She lives somewhere she absolutely LOVES.

- Her Amazing Business + Life Academy has helped over 30,000 women so far live the lives they've dreamed.

- Creativity, inspiration and encouragement through blogging, podcasts, videos, and mentoring her circle.

- She lives and creates passionately even with one daughter and another baby on the way. She's very much in love with her family.

- She is immensely well-organized in her business and has a great staff.

- She seems very connected and confident with Spirit.

I really admire how happily she lives and loves her life. She positively swims in her joy of living. Not everyone can say that. She feels fulfilled and she knows she's doing what she's been called to do. That takes a lot of courage, hard work, and incredible passion and love for what you're doing.

Who wouldn't want that kind of life and business? I know I do.

And here is Day 10's prompt:

What are the key ways in which you want to make money online in your chosen business OR Which are the key online revenue streams you want to focus on in your existing business?

Obviously my business isn't up and running yet. At the moment, I am looking at ways to make money online:

I really want to make money via e-courses, e-books, my art and other creative ventures. Affiliate marketing always helps, too! :)

So how can I bring this all together? Keep my mind, heart, and soul open. Staying close to the people who inspire me the most, and breathing art. Write from my soul.

I can do this. And so can you.

Thankful Thursday 8-15-13

Hello lovelies! It's almost the weekend again. I'm joining in on Thankful Thursday postings, which will help me take a step back and think about that I'm grateful for this week even when I'm swimming in this stupid ocean of depression.

- Cooler, less humid days. I don't do well in high humidity coupled with super-hot melty days, even though I LOVE LOVE LOVE summertime. I can go outside and not feel like I'm going to immediately pass out.
- Feeling like my creativity and energy are slowly returning.
- Hazelnut creamer in my coffee, reminding me of the autumn that is to come.
- My beloved and his undying support in anything I try or do.
- Trev and I are going on a lovely schooner cruise around Toronto's harbourfront this weekend. We really enjoy spending time alone with each other, and this looks like a lot of fun. I've been wanting to do a harbour cruise for ages!
- My swimming lessons with my ladies are going really well. I'm still afraid of the water, but much less so than I was. I hope for even more improvement next time!
- Feeling bittersweet that my youngest sister is entering her senior year of high school today, but grateful that she's become such a remarkable, beautiful young woman.
- My cats for loving me unconditionally, just looking up at me with adoring eyes and happily greeting me when I wake up in the morning.
- One of our foster kittens discovered my iPod and dragged it around when I wasn't in the room, nearly severing one of the earbud cords. Amazingly the earbuds still work perfectly fine after I wrapped cute washi tape around the damaged part.
- I'm very thankful that our newer foster kittens' medication regimen is almost over. They've been on three different meds, administered twice a day, and you can't exactly explain to an animal that what you're doing is helping them, not hurting them!

I'll be catching up with the 30 Day Blog Challenge later on today, so stay tuned for that, my friends.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 7 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge

30 day challenge

Hello lovelies! It's already almost the middle of the week, and the middle of August. Tonight's downright chilly, which is SO unlike the Augusts I'm used to. I'm here in my jammies with a cup of hot tea, and I'm about to write day 7 of the 30 day blog challenge.

"Which key tools will you turn to regularly to maintain your mindset and how will you use them effectively?"

And here are my simple answers:

- Meditate
- Art, art, art.
- Yoga.
- Free-flow journaling and writings.
- Earlier bedtime.
- Leonie Dawson's Create Your Incredible Year workbook and business e-courses.
- Inspiring books and blogs that I have all in one place.
- Time limits on social networking sites.

How will I use them effectively? By turning them into a daily routine. Once routine forms, everything flows easily and I don't have to force myself to do yoga instead of wasting three hours on Facebook, for example! This act of blogging every day is already forming part of my routine, and I'm feeling happier and more creatively energized just from doing that!

Social networking sites are a dangerous thing for me. I waste so many hours, somehow unable to peel myself away from the keyboard and stay away from Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. It's kind of ridiculous. So having strict time limits on them will help me a lot, I believe.

Day 8 doesn't have a blog prompt, as Natalie has offered us a day of rest and reflection. I have so many ideas already that I'm SO excited to implement, thanks to this challenge! I can't wait to share it all with you :)


Lovely Things 8-13-13

Hi there! Sorry for this first of many Monday postings to be so late that it's now Tuesday. I spent a total of six and a half hours at my friends' pool, and I've been exhausted ever since! :)

Today I'm going to share with you some gorgeous galaxy print things that I've found on the web. I'm a sucker for this pattern and I really don't care if it's trendy or not! I found some great leggings that I'm going to get for those fast-approaching autumn days and nights.

One of many beautiful nebula necklaces from Rainforest Necklaces

I need this print from Symphony of Stars!

And I need this one, also from Symphony of Stars. Go check out this beautiful shop!

Via Pinterest

Amazing nail art by Chalkboard Nails. I tried this look once; it was SO much fun to do!

What a pretty batik journal from Patiak! I would probably use this as a dream journal.

Via Pinterest

Can't forget the galaxy tights or leggings! :) These are from Crazy Galaxy.

I would really like this dreamy scarf from Dream Express.

I want to try my hand at making a DIY galaxy shirt, skirt, or shoes like these ones gifted to Jordyn from P.S. Heart...

I hope you all have a fantastic day, wherever you are in the galaxy! :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 5 & 6

30 day challenge

Good morning, lovelies! Today I wanted to catch up on the blog challenge before I go spend the night and Monday with two of my best friends. Tomorrow I'll be introducing a weekly post called Lovely Things, where I make your Monday brighter by sharing pretty things I've found on my adventures around the web :)

My first prompt for today (and one I really had to think hard about) is this one:

"What does your perfect day look like?"

I would spend it at home with my kitties, working and writing and creating. I would be both working and playing at the same time, because I believe that when you're doing what you love, that is soul's work and is a joy instead of a chore. It wouldn't "feel" like work. I'd be sitting at my desk, or the sofa, or in the backyard under the apple trees, writing and creating like mad. I would be enjoying a mug of fresh, cream-laden coffee in my favourite mug, and I'd already be energized and feeling good after starting the day with a big green smoothie. I would be comfortable, content, but also challenged. I would be challenged to connect with more people and to grow and sustain my soul-driven, heart-centred business.

Here's a step by step breakdown of what my perfect day would look like:

8am - Wake up and make a green smoothie for breakfast. Check email/blogs/etc.
9am - Yoga and strength-training
10am - Work on my business, email correspondence, blogging
12pm - A proper lunch (I tend to skip meals)
1pm - Create art and/or write
4pm - End of work day!

The rest of the day would be spent going out, spending quality time with Trevor, reading, watching a movie or anything else that relaxes me. I would end the day with a nice hot shower, getting into my favourite pyjamas, and making a big mug of green tea. And I would go to bed at a proper hour instead of 3am!

"What are my three priorities for the next 30 days that will move me closer towards living life on my own terms?"

My priorities and goals for the next 30 days include factoring in yoga and at least 10 minutes of strength-training, making a green smoothie for breakfast, and having a proper lunch.

Here are my three goals for the next 30 days:

- Get up earlier/go to bed earlier.

- Use "perfect day" afternoon hours to focus solely on creating.

- Stay close to people who strongly inspire me.

What would be your three actionable goals if you were participating in this challenge?

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 4

30 day challenge

Hello lovelies! I am writing to you again in the middle of the night; my prime-time working conditions. What is your best time to work + play?

We continue with the blog challenge by responding to this prompt:

"What is your definition of location independence?"

My personal definition of location independence is the freedom to work from home, a friend's house, or from another province or country. It just seems so gorgeous to me. Non-crippling. Not having to take transit, deal with the public, or fit myself around anyone else's working hours. It would be a huge amount of freedom, to me, to be able to choose exactly what I do and when I do it.

How does this resonate with you?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 3

30 day challenge

Hello lovelies! I'm a bit late in getting this posted, as I was out all day and then fell asleep pretty early (the consequence of which is that I'm now awake at 2:30am!).

I'm feeling a calling to change my blog name to better suit what's coming very soon down the road. I'm working on some creative projects and I need a fresh title. What do you think about that idea? Should I change it? Should I stay Sweet Maple?

Here is my answer to Day 3's prompt. The topic to write on today is a carry-on from yesterday.

"What’s your definition of freedom in business and adventure in life?"

I know I said I dream of opening a beautiful little store with purple walls, preferably in Kensington Market, but for me, total freedom in business would have it being online where I can always work from home or on the road. I wouldn't be tied down to a brick-and-mortar location, even though I can't ever see myself leaving the Toronto area.

I could travel across Canada in an RV if I wish, not worrying about getting to my job every single day, because it would be right in front of me on my laptop. Everything about my work is fluid and flexible, with tons of creative time.

I could check my schedule and smile.

I could work in a coffee shop, play in the woods, work in a car, create in a little blanket fort filled with lights.

I could say no to things that didn't suit me or my business.

I could say YES to things that enriched me or my business.

I have fewer belongings which can up and travel with me at any given time.

I would have more facetime with my children.

I would quit playing it safe, and let loose the wildness in my heart. I would be a succulent wild woman, the kind born right from one of Sark's lovely books. I would self-experiment and always seek new knowledge, understanding, and experience.

My anxiety would not cripple me as I set my own pace, style, and live my creative dreams of birthing my art babies into the world and inspiring people to live both amazingly and simply.

Freedom is always an option, and adventure is always all around you.

How does this resonate with you? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 1 and 2

30 day challenge

Hello again lovelies! Yes, wow, I am posting twice in one day. Something must be in the air! :) I have good reason for this.

I saw this blog challenge tonight on another blog, and I couldn't help but join in. I'm a day behind, but I'm answering both days 1 and 2 here. This challenge will take me outside my normal posting habits (as infrequent as they are!) and maybe (just maybe) reveal some new ideas and thoughts to me and to you, my maple-loving readers. Click on the pic above to get the full details. I'll be waiting right here while you check it out!

Done? Yay! Let's have at it!

This is my Day 1 challenge response. The prompt is:

"Write a post on why you started your blog, who you wanted to reach, what you wanted it to be all about. Then state why you joined this blog challenge and what you want to get out of it."

I started this blog as a life companion to my former digital scrapbooking blog, which was called Sweet Maple Scraps. I wanted to write about my new life in Canada and how I was experiencing it day to day with a sense of wonder and enjoyment, all the while growing as a person and creator.

I had wanted to include tons of reviews on books, makeup, local eateries and shops and all the fun little places one discovers on random walks through a big city. I had wanted to post daily outfits. It was something I wanted to deeply enjoy and perhaps to inspire others.

I wanted to reach out to anyone who was willing to read a personal blog -- I had no specific target in mind. As my blog became more spiritual in nature, I hoped to reach out to like minds to share my love for my new journey. I gained many readers on blog hops, but not a lot of commenters. I kept wondering how the most popular, beautiful blogs were getting the most readers.

I wanted my blog to document my life and my steps toward a more creative, abundant, spirit-driven Mary. I feel that it is working so far, but I need to post more as this black fog of depression lifts from me.

I found this challenge on another blog and thought about all the good it could do for me to be held accountable and be driven to post thoughtful answers each day, all honest and straight from the heart because I don't know any of the answers in advance.

I'm hoping to discover new things about my purpose - living creatively and abundantly.

Here is the Day 2 prompt:

"If you woke up tomorrow and were free to do anything you wanted with your life, what would you do and who would you be?"

I would be a busy entrepreneur, spending my days creating, writing, and connecting with kindred souls. I would be owning my own lovely goddess shop, full of handmade products from myself and other local artisans, all with women in mind. It would have purple walls, potted plants everywhere, and tea and tarot readings.

I would be living a life of ease and abundance, happy with life and with my work. I would be making a good, contented living doing what I love; encouraging others, writing, making art, and supporting others on their creative and spirit journeys.

Trevor and I would be living in a sweet little house, with children and critters and with a big art studio that has windows all around.

I would have conquered depression and anxiety, worrying little and allowing my light to completely shine through me. I wouldn't be afraid to feel pure joy at all the little things.

What would your answers to these prompts be? I would love to know! :)

Summer is Ending

Hello, my dear lovelies. I hope all is well in your corners of the universe.

In the lush emerald green of a Canadian summer, I've been trying to connect myself, but time and time getting pushed away by my own increasing depression. I sit in the house so much, filling out applications and despairing when I can't keep my anxiety under control. It is why I haven't been updating. I've felt weak, uninspired, and disconnected.

But I can't always avoid the cure-all that is Mother Nature. Even just having one window open all day and evening drastically lifted my spirits. A short walk in the sun felt glorious to every inch of my body. I felt renewed each time; picked up just a little bit more until I was no longer sludging along the ground like a slug, instead standing a little higher, a little taller.

Increased time with close friends has also helped me a great deal, especially with Liat and Alora, best friends who live together in an adorable little apartment with their dog, Monkey. Not only is it a lot of fun and laughs, but it's helping me gain more personal independence.

And my Cipralex dosage was increased to the maximum, 20mg. I've been on this higher dose for a week now and have had no negative side effects to speak of, except for insomnia that I've had for ages anyway. I would really love to gradually switch to something herbal, but for now I marvel at modern medicine working in my brain and helping me to not be in a dangerous mental place any more. Because life is far too precious, my friends.

Now some trees are changing because Mother Nature seems to think it's September instead of August. The nights have been downright chilly and the days much cooler than they had been. It's slowly heating up again, but I realize autumn is not far off. The Wheel still turns, and I sit and ponder why it has turned so fast. It seems like just yesterday was January.

I have done a few more things in my 100 Things to Do in 2013 list, awesomely! Yes, awesomely is a new word.

22. Learn to swim.
I'm still working on this one, and as much as I seem to fear the water, it will take me time. I improve bit by bit every time I try. On Monday I spent 3 1/2 hours in my friends' building's indoor pool and had a blast. I'm going again on Sunday/Monday and hope to see even more improvement.

62. Continue learning personal independence.
I mentioned this above. This task for 2013 was very important to me. My anxiety issues have caused me to cling hard to Trevor since the beginning, and thank the Universe he is a very patient and understanding man. Travelling alone to be with friends, spending the night or weekend with Liat and Alora, and doing things as simple as grocery shopping on my own and going wherever I please. It's made a world of difference in my life, especially lately, and I'm no longer clutching Trevor's apron strings (lol! now isn't THAT a mental image!). I suddenly know a freedom that has no bounds other than lack of money, haha!

65. Get a cell phone.
Yeah, yeah, I'm the last young adult in western society to not own a mobile. But I'm no longer putting it off. I have my MIL's Blackberry Curve that I'm going to unlock and take in to Koodo to get a monthly plan. Having a mobile will increase my feeling of independence even more. I'm looking forward to getting to text my friends and use things like Foursquare. :)

86. Have coffee grounds or tea leaves read.
This is something I vowed to do this year after learning that Liat's mom has been reading coffee grounds for over two decades. Why not, I thought with a little shrug. I honestly don't know how much I believe in this world, but I do know there is far more than what meets the eye. Call it another plane that interacts with this one, or magick, or what have you, but there is something there. And I am open to almost anything.

Susie, Liat's mom, doesn't know me very well, but I absolutely adore her. She's a sweet little Israeli beauty full of spitfire and fun; a strong lady who recently fought breast cancer and not only won, but stomped it hard into the ground and set its remains on fire. For years Trevor has called her his second mom.

Her birthday was this past week, so on Sunday we had a little dinner party for her at Liat and Alora's place. After finishing our meal, Liat made Turkish coffee and I was instructed to put the saucer over the cup and turn them both over so that the cup was upside-down on top of the saucer. We waited a little while, then Susie picked up my cup and saucer and looked hard at them for a while, turning the cup this way and that and studying the patterns the coffee grounds had made.

She told me that hardships were ending, that things were about to make a turn for the better and that my incessant worrying would soon see relief. She said something good was coming, such as a job or a move, and that I have a very important (and good!) letter coming in two or three months' time. She said that I need to stay connected to the family I have deeply bonded with recently, and she saw that I had lost someone dear to me. When I told her my mom died last November and Dad back in 2009, she smiled and said they were okay and were watching over me. She concluded by saying that I am closely surrounded by many people who will raise me up in happiness and love, in particular three females who will help me the most.

So that was really interesting, I thought, and we'll see what comes of it. Especially the letter! I have an idea of what it might be, but again, we'll see.

My biomom shared a really nice graphic with me on Facebook earlier. It read:

"Live the life you want to live. Never be ashamed of anything. Make decisions. Make mistakes. If you fall, at least you fell because you tried. No regrets. It's life."

What a wonderful affirmation to help me clear the last of these black clouds in my mind and heart! We'll see what tomorrow brings, and I'm glad to be able to say that.