Another Year of Living, Another Year to Grow

Last week, my birthday marked the passing of another year. I consider this a special time to reflect on the year that passed. I ask myself, what am I proud to have accomplished? What are the things I did that made me really happy? And where would I request a “redo?” I also set goals and intentions for the year that lies before me. I focus not on the fact that I’m getting older, but celebrate the fact that I am growing wiser.

In case you are wondering: The homemade muffin and frosting (pictured above) fit in to my real food lifestyle. Eating it I felt nourished and special, without the sugar rush and cravings that follow the processed versions. The pumpkin carrot muffin is from Nom Nom Paleo. And the decadent frosting (made from cashews) is from PaleOMG.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase an item through my link you will not be charged extra but I will receive a small percentage of your purchase. I only recommend products that I have personally researched or tried and loved. I hope you love them too. Thank you for your support!


One Word Theme

I have been listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier, for several months now. By the way, I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. It’s a little bright spot in my week that makes my long commute fly by. Each episode contains useful tips and relatable stories. It usually makes me laugh and always gives me something to think about. And if you have not read her book, Better than Before, that is all about habit change- I suggest you do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today!

But I digress…. Gretchen suggests picking a one-word theme for the year as a way to make a resolution or shape your year. You can read about that here.

The word that I chose for the year is ABUNDANCE. I’m not just talking about money; I want to experience abundance in all aspects of my life. When I think about abundance, I think about quality, about giving AND receiving. A simple reminder that there is more than enough.

It has been said that doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life. And that is what I aspire to do. Tuning in to my passions and being truly gratitude for all that I have are areas that I want to concentrate on this year. If you haven’t read my post on gratitude, check it out here.

Wayne Dyer says that abundance is not something we acquire… it’s something we tune in to. I aim to be fearlessly open; A state of allowing that feels relaxed, calm, open, harmonious, and joyous. I want to relinquish my need to control or attach to an outcome.

I also chose a mantra to support my theme: What would love do?

When I find myself hesitating, holding back, or contemplating my options, I plan to ask myself this simple little question. I really like how it has the potential to reframe and bring to the fore what is really important.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks

Family Hike

When my husband asked what I’d like to do for my birthday, it took me all of 5 seconds to exclaim, “Hike, of course!” When hiking, I am present, happy, connected, and vibrantly alive.

In fact, I also chose to close out year 35 with a hike. My son and I are part of a group of adventurous babywearing hiking mamas. I am incredibly grateful to have these mamas in my life. Not so long ago, I found myself in a new town, in the middle of winter, with an infant, and this group offered me a community and restored my sanity. To read more about these Half Pint Hikes, click here.

On the day of my 36th birthday, the sky was a brilliant shade of blue with just a few clouds along the horizon. The sun shone brilliantly down on us as we hiked to the Fire Tower. My husband endured brutal wind gusts and confronted his fear of heights as he climbed to the top. With our son on his back. Yeah, he’s pretty special.

Fun Fact: The Fire Tower on top Mount Nimham, itself more than 1200 feet high, stands 90′ above the mountain top making it the tallest existing fire tower in New York State. The view from the tower is all-encompassing, taking in NYC to the south through to the Berkshires and the Catskills 75 miles away.

Hiking has become our way to mark special occasions. It is how we celebrated the purchase of our first home, my first mother’s day, and our son’s first birthday. I love that we continue to carry on this tradition. We have made so many precious memories.

Free and Fearless-2

Fearless Art Making Ritual

After our hike, I chose to spend the afternoon in my studio/office participating in a virtual art experiential. In addition to being a holistic minded hiking mama, I’m also an art therapist. I understand the power of the creative process and have used it to heal myself and others. I don’t spend nearly enough time making art as I would like.

I recently finished Dr. Lissa Rankin’s book, The Anatomy of a Calling. This book both inspired and terrified me. It has had an incredibly profound effect on how I view my passions and understand my purpose. When I saw that Dr. Rankin was offering a virtual art experience on my birthday, I knew this was how I needed to spend my afternoon.

Dr. Rankin and her colleague, Shiloh Sophia, led the group in conversation and creative ritual. It is difficult to put into words all that transpired but I will share these two concepts that particularly resonated with me:

  • Consider that every time you choose love you weave it into a fabric that becomes something larger.
  • Develop a new relationship with uncertainty, get comfortable with the discomfort and even welcome it. Uncertainty is a gateway to possibility.


I’d say the year is off to a great start. I am open and grateful, inviting love and abundance to flow through me.

How do you celebrate your birthday? I’d love to hear about your rituals and if you have chosen a word to shape your year.


Recommended Reading:

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life

The Anatomy of a Calling: A Doctor’s Journey from the Head to the Heart and a Prescription for Finding Your Life’s Purpose



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