With a Tiara and a Little Confidence


With a tiara and a little confidence... artofabeautifullife.com

With a tiara and a little confidence, we could change our world. -Topaz

There is a little girl in all of us whose heart still skips a beat at the fairy tale story of a princess. We were captivated by Princess Diana, and we are enamored with Princess Kate. Who does not want to be that girl?

Even now, no matter how old we are, there is still a little something in us all, who wants to be the princess in the story, who wants to be the princess in our own story. When we watch a movie like Princess Diaries or The Prince and Me, there is still a little girl inside imagining for a second what that would feel like.

We get older and realize it is not even all about a prince charming.   Princess Diana definitely did not have a fairy tale marriage, but we were enamored with her, not her Prince.  And in the first Princess Diaries, there really is no significant love interest. It is about her. It is about being that girl…the way she walks, the way she talks, the way she acts. She is a leading lady.

What we are really wanting to be is a leading lady.

In these stories, while there is a title, is it the title that really matters? Even when Princess Diana was no longer a princess, she was still a princess in our hearts.  And that is my point. When we want to be the princess in our own story or the leading lady in our own story, it is about how walk, talk, act, and how we carry ourselves.

It begins with a decision, a decision to let our inner princess out, our leading lady.

Then there must be action. We must be intentional about the way we live and the choices we make.

  1. Build your confidence. 
  2. Read an etiquette book.
  3. Be intentional with your style.
  4. Be a kind person.
  5. Set aside some of your time for others, for causes, for something bigger than yourself.

One of our local news anchors, Octavia Mitchell, recently was the Mistress of Ceremony at a winter gala. She looked like a princes complete with her coach. I remember looking at these pictures and thinking to myself that every woman should have that moment, the moment where she is dressed like a princess, complete with the dress and a tiara, and the coach was a nice touch, too. Or she should know what it feels like to walk the red carpet. Or to have paparazzi following her taking her picture. I remember watching  The Talk once, and Melissa Peterman who played Barbara Jean on Reba was sharing a story of when Reba invited her out on stage at a concert of hers and how everyone applauded and cheered and how fantastic it was. She said everyone woman should know what that feels like. There should be a place where any woman could walk up on stage and be cheered and applauded. I loved her for saying that. Whether we do any of these things (which I absolutely think we should) or not, know that you are still just as amazing as every princess, and you are the leading lady of your own life.

Shine on, my beautiful friend. Shine on.


You Are Creating Your Future

You are creating your future right now. Today.

I am not sure what the time frame for how long we can struggle with something…thinking on it, running it over and over in our minds when something reminds us of it, or maybe it is a negative attitude we have adopted, but I do know that if we are not careful and we stay on that path, it will change us.

What begins as a single thought today could be a way of life in 10 years.

You Are Creating Your FutureWhen my sons were young, I thought it was important that they learned to be givers, so we volunteered at a nursing home. On the very first day, we sat in on game time, and what I learned that day has stayed with me the rest of my life. Granted, learning to be a good student of it every day is a little more difficult, but it is always there, in the back of my mind, urging me toward a better path. As I watched the residents, I was struck at how, while they were all in the same place and dealing with similar problems, they varied tremendously in how they responded to their life. And I realize one can argue that people are just different. Yes, but we still have choices that we can make along the way. One might also argue that our environment molds us. Yes, but we still have choices. One resident in particular was the absolute sweetest woman. She always had a smile on her face and a gentle response with kindness in her voice. Another resident was outwardly angry. She was sharp-tongued and was not quiet about it. In one life changing moment, I saw my future. It had two paths. But I must choose this day. If I wanted to grow up to be the amazing older woman that I hoped to be one day, I must start living like her today. Because just as when our mothers used to tell us to stop making a face or it would freeze like that, we must be just as careful with our heart, lest it freeze like that.

I was going through a very situation at the time, but I realized, no matter what I was going through, I needed to guard my heart above all and to not become my circumstances. If I did not, my heart would freeze like that. And that would be my future. But I get to decide that today. Today. Today is the day.

The person I am today will be the person I am tomorrow and for the rest of my life if I do not make an intentional choice to change.

Be careful with the thoughts you have today. You are creating your future.

It is time today to choose the person you want to be today, and the person you wish to be when you grow old. Do you want to be that amazing person that your great-great-grandchildren will be talking about how amazing you were…how kind you were….how much you loved Jesus and the faith you had, how much you went after dreams at every age…how much you were fully alive and amazing? How much you are the person they want to grow up to be one day? We create this person, whoever she turns out to be, by our daily habits and thoughts, the thoughts and habits that we have today. Once we set a pattern in life, our heart begins to freeze like that.

We do not become those wonderful things in the future if we are not intentional about it today.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Psalm 4:23 (NLT)

I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become—as a woman thinks, so she is. –Oprah

Be careful lest your heart freeze like that.

What kind of person do you want to be? Are you being her today? Will your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren want to be like you one day?

10 Ways to Make a Memorable Holiday

Make a Memorable HolidayWhether your tribe is big or small, there are steps we can take to make it special and memorable. it is important to plan a memorable holiday on purpose.

Sometimes it’s about making conditions right for the magic to happen.

Make the holidays what everyone looks forward to and talks about all year and what bonds everyone together. Even the planning can be fun and a great way to bond.

Our last holiday was beautifully memorable. We mixed the old and the new and made some fun memories.  I took this time while it was all fresh in my mind and wrote about my favorite part of the holiday, and I also wrote about what I would do differently on my personal blog, Where Art Meets Soul (creating a beautiful life}.

Here are some tips that I jotted down after I wrote about our holiday for my personal blog.

10 Ways to Make a Memorable Holiday

  1. Traditions – Traditions give us those special things to look forward to and make it feel familiar.  Traditions can be about all of the things in this list. It can be a traditional game of flag football, the special dishes we prepare, the aromas. And never underestimate the power of traditions to unite and make the holidays extra special.
  2. Pictures – Pictures are not only fun and important to us, but they become our memories. So many of our memories are attached to times and events where we have pictures. It keeps it fresh when we see it from time to time.  Ask a few people to be in charge of being sure to get it all captured. Setup an account on Google+, facebook, smugmug, zenfolio, or whatever account you prefer and upload for everyone to get a copy of the pictures they want. And if you really want to have some fun, setup an area for a photobooth. Oh, the fun you will have.
  3. Games – Games are just one of those things that setup the perfect environment for hilarious things to happen. If it is an ongoing game, it even gives everyone something to look forward to each year.
  4. Aromas – Have you ever noticed the way a scent can take you back in time? Whether it is a natural scent like cinnamon or apple, or a perfume/cologne, or food, it can transport us through time. I was cooking collards one day, not something that I do very often, and my son walked into the kitchen, smiled and said, “It smells like Granny’s house.” It took him back and brought up really special memories.
  5. Food – It seems like everyone has a special dish that people just love. Do those.
  6. Music – A little music in the background sets a tone, a beautiful tone. You will be surprised many years later when you hear a certain song, and it reminds you of a special family holiday.
  7. Drinks – It could be hot apple cider in the winter, a special flavored/spiced coffee, or a healthy fruit concoction. I still remember the first time I had hot, apple cider. The out of the ordinary drinks are just a little something to make the day/evening special.
  8. Reminisce – It’s a wonderful time to tell those old stories and look at those old pictures.
  9. Make a notebook or journal – Keep all of the little details and notes in it so that it doesn’t have to be planned from scratch each time.
  10. Take time to breathe. I know it is hard when we are so busy putting an event together, but delegate, plan ahead, and give yourself time to enjoy it all. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It takes a village. Even the planning can be fun if you get a group of you planning it. How fun would some nights out at Starbucks be while you laugh and plan your memorable holidays?

Mix the old with the new to keep it comforting and familiar while throwing in a little fresh and new.

With the holidays upon us, what are you doing to make your holiday family time memorable?

The Choices We Make Reveal the True Nature of Our Character

The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character. -Guinness

This, my friends, is what it is all about. Watch this beautiful video for a surprise ending.

It is so easy to become so inwardly focused that we forget what living an amazing life is really about. I am reminded of a quote by Ben Edwards at the memorial service for the beautiful, brave, kind, and giving, Jen Burgess Thompson.


The best way to heal our heart is to live outside of it. -Ben Edwards

This is the stuff that changes lives. Forever.

I challenge each of us to commit to doing an unselfish act each week. Pin a reminder on your computer, tie it on your finger, just anywhere that you will see it frequently. It matters. It matters a lot.

I am so guilty of getting lost in my own problems that it is often difficult to see past them to see anything else. But is that how we are meant to live? Is that part of our problem? I read the most beautiful article this past week that you will probably see me reference. A lot. Missing the Storm by Tara Banks (Seacoast) is a poignant article on what happens when we turn our eyes upon Jesus in the storms of life. Instead of focusing on the storm, what would happen if locked eyes with the Savior? I just cannot get it out of my head. I believe messages of truth are like that. What if, just what if when we focused on God and others, we found ourselves on the other side of our own storms more fully intact and beautiful?

When it all comes down to it, what kind of person do we want to be?

The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character. -Guinness

The Right Time to Live Is Now | This Is It. This Moment. This Is Life.

The right time to live is now, just the way you are, wherever you are.
Embrace today. Embrace the way you look. This is life. Right now.
This is it.

-Simply Topaz

I love fall, and even more specifically, I love November….for oh so many reasons. It is the month with Thanksgiving. It is the month with the most beautiful and warm colors. It is the month with the most perfect weather with that beautiful crisp feeling in the air. And it is the month in which I was born.

I live in the South, and it’s either wet or hot in the summer, and sometimes it’s both. So I began counting the days until my sweet November. And. Then. It. Hit. Me. I turn 50 this November. Wait, WHAT????? Put. The. Breaks. On.

All of a sudden my hot, wet summer is looking pretty good. It made me realize how much of life is lived like that, not appreciating what we have or where we are but always looking forward to something in the future or sometimes even just missing the past.

The same thing happens with age. We bemoan our age at every new decade. At 29, we do not want to turn 30. At 39, we do not want to turn 40. At 49, we do not want to turn 50. At 59, we do not want to turn 60. At 69, we do not want to turn 70. And on it goes. At 90, ANY of those numbers are looking pretty dang good. But when we were there, we were spending our precious time dreading the coming year and not appreciating the moment in which we were living.

In a similar vein, we do not appreciate the way we look today. We tend to not take pictures with our children, family, or friends because we do not like the way we look. We are too fat or too skinny. We do not like our eyes, our smile, our nose. Twenty years from now, we would most likely look at the picture that we never took and think how beautiful we look. We would not pick apart the way look. Oh sure, we might laugh at the fashion fads, but we would think our younger self was just beautiful. We would laugh and smile at how young we were and what a fun memory the picture brought back. And we would think that she was crazy for not liking the way she looked back then.

this is itThe Right Time to Live Is Now This Is It. This Moment. This Is Life. If we could realize this one thing today, oh how much better it would make our tomorrows. Oh, how full and rich our lives would be. Instead of looking back and realizing that we never started living because we were always waiting for something else to be perfect, we would have so many wonderful memories of how we were so alive and lived and loved so fully in every moment. Our life is happening now. Right now. This very moment. Here. Now. This is where life is lived.

This is it.

The weather is fine. You are just the right age. You are beautiful. Just the way you Are.

This is it.

Enjoy the moment. Take more pictures.

The right time to live is now.

We all like to think we are living like this now, but are we really? When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time you challenged yourself to be brave and to go out of your comfort zone? When was the last time, you said, “Hey, let’s take a picture?” I am sometimes guilty of not always embracing the moment, guilty of waiting for some magical moment in the future when things will be perfect. As I have gotten older, I realized that magical moments do not just come. We make them happen. We make our moments magical by living in them, fully present, fully appreciating the gift of that moment.

Are you embracing the moment and living your life right now?