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?

Never Underestimate the Power of Taking Action


The best way to feel better when you are feeling down is to stay productive. Take action that gets you closer to the life you want to live. -Simply Topaz

Part of the reason we tend to feel lethargic and defeated is that deep inside we know that we are not doing what it takes to move forward/toward and into the life we were created to live…the hopes and dreams that call out to you in your sleep. Your compass. When I am taking action, I begin to feel different.

It is as if I am sending a message to myself that I am moving forward and through this all the way to the other side. That mountain is mine.

Stay productive. It makes you feel so much better. Even if you have to force yourself a little because you do not feel like it, just do it.

Even on the days you do not feel like it, take steps forward. If a baby step is all that you can do, then do that. Start where you are but do not plan on staying there.

Set goals for yourself. Write them down. Write a plan of action. What are you going to do to get yourself there? Then do that. 30 day challenges are a great way to challenge yourself to push forward. Or if you are not up to 30 days, start with a 1 day challenge or 7 day challenge. Once you realize that you can do it, you will be ready to keep doing it and maybe even push yourself a little more. Here are some free 30 Day Challenge and Goal Tracking Worksheets to get you started.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much it empowers you to accomplish something that you did not think you could do. -Simply Topaz

What action can you take today that will help to propel you into the future you want?

Never Explain Yourself…

Never explain yourself to those who simply do not matter.

-Simply Topaz

never explain yourself

Sometimes while we are in the middle of creating a beautiful life, we find ourselves in the middle of something ugly with someone. Most of the time this is someone who is more of a thorn in our side or someone for whom we have little respect or they for us, than a person seeking to be in a healthy relationship. Or maybe to some degree they even matter, but you know you are showing up to a ridiculous conversation due to the immaturity, or perhaps even craziness, of the person.

And sometimes, these people are really doing the best they know how to do. But they are stuck in healthy living patterns and are still going to bring you down if you show up.

This is not to say never explain yourself, but I am talking about those certain people who are going to believe and think what they want to believe. They are not interested in the relationship.

Do not feel the need to explain yourself to those people. It weakens who you are. And rarely do they listen anyway. Keep your power and walk away. In some situations, less is best. Life is too short to live it on someone’s terms when they do not even matter to you and only seek to steal your joy.  This is your one and only life.  Live this one glorious life on your terms and do not let others drag you into arguments where you do not need to be. Do not meet them where they are. Choose your own path.  The moment you begin to explain or defend yourself to someone who does not matter, you have appeared, in their eyes, to need their approval.

Drama can only happen if you show up. Yes, it will hurt you, but do not show up to the party, and do not let it dictate who you are.

Walk in love and wisdom, hand in hand. We do not need to show up to every party where we are invited.

Sometimes the right thing, the strong thing, the confident thing is to walk away. The person with the last word is not always the winner. Sometimes the real winner is the person who doesn’t show up to a ridiculous conversation.

Instead of spending valuable mental energy in meaningless and ugly conversations, do something positive with your time and energy. Focus forward. Give your time and resources. Help those who you can genuinely help. Create something beautiful, something important. Grow into the person you were created to be. That, my friend, is time well spent.

How are you dealing with the negative people in your life?

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?