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LiFE | Summer 2018 (Video)

Thursday, September 20

Summer ends officially on September 22nd.
That's only two days from now and, as usual, my mind is not wanting to bend in that direction.
It's the whole one foot in the boat and one foot on the shore mindset - loving both summer and fall with the added dimension of not being well-versed in letting go or saying goodbye.

Summer was the backdrop for a few milestones for my girls. We celebrated Ema graduating high school, high-fived Clara for being on the UCF Dean's list at the completion of her Junior year, and supported Ella's choice to walk away from gymnastics.

We grew tomatoes, rode scooters in the summer rain, drew sidewalk chalk towns together, walked on the beach, ate cotton candy, lost my sunglasses in the ocean waves, made homemade strawberry shortcake, invited friends over for playdates, enjoyed BFF sleepovers, lavished in pool days, among other fun things.

There was also one thing in particular I'm so happy we made time for this year.
We enjoyed a "Girl's Camping/RVing" experience with my mom at Salt Springs this summer.
In fact, it's one of the very first things we did which helped kick off our summer on the right foot.

Here's a visual diary I created of our time together...
(and mom...if you're reading this...I'm sorry...for that one part in the video). *covering eyes*

So yes, our summer may not have been filled with lush vacations and jet-setting around the world but our days, and more importantly, our hearts, were spilling over with adventure and fun.

They say forever is made up of the perhaps we really can have a "forever summer" because we certainly filled it with a lot of "nows" I will always remember.

With that said...I think it's time for me to do some letting go...

xoxo my sweet friends!!

I rolled my ankle stepping out of the RV on the first day of our camping trip. *laughing*
I fell on the ground and had dirt and grass all over me while Ella and my mom looked on in disbelief. 
I laughed so hard and could NOT believe I had done that while also holding back tears from the pain.
It swelled up immediately and I thought I had broken it. 
I put on a brave face, iced it every day and medicated myself with some Advil.
Thankfully I didn't break it and was still able to enjoy the rest of our time together. did take a solid two months for me to feel comfortable putting full weight on my ankle again.
(which has now exacerbated into lower back + foot pain because of my body overcompensating for it). *eyeroll*

BAKING | Hummingbird Cake + Cupcakes

Thursday, June 7

*Affiliate links are included in just about every blog post I share here on Pen + Paper Flowers.
 These links allow me to easily share with you the same or similar items and tools I use for recipes, crafts or projects. 
These links also provide me with a small commission should you decide to click on them and purchase something. 
The commissions, collectively, allow me to continue sharing ideas and content with you.
Thank you in advance for your ongoing support of my blog and small business.  xoxo, Jess

Hummingbird Cake is about as southern as it gets when it comes to cakes. In fact, this classic cake has been the single most popular recipe in Southern Living Magazine since it was submitted back in 1978. (Let me do the math for you on that...for 40 years!

So you would think this girl right here would have tasted this cake a time or two and even attempted baking it at least once by now, right? Nope.

I don't even have a good excuse for not having tried it yet. It could be that my memory just isn't the maybe I actually have tried it in the past and it's just been soooo long ago it just completely slipped my mind?

Umm...yeah...I'm really not buying that excuse because now that I have actually tasted this cake, (as of this weekend), I just cannot imagine it ever "slipping my mind" because it's just really delicious.

Having officially baked it and tasted it now, I've determined the Hummingbird Cake to be the sister-cake to Carrot Cake. The crushed pineapple and bananas in the Hummingbird Cake certainly seem to give a nod to the Spring/Summer season while the shredded carrots in Carrot Cake shake hands with Fall - the peak carrot season. 

So yes...if you love Carrot Cake (imagine me throwing both arms up in the air with an emphatic "yes!" and waving them around like a crazy cake lady) then you will love this cake too! Guaranteed.

Thank goodness my oldest daughter, Clara, came to visit for the weekend.
She had one thing on her mind: baking...with me. (you know that made my mama heart happy).

So that's just what we did too. We baked.
One of the things we made was this cake.
I'd like to say we had things all planned out before Clara even arrived but that would be far from the truth. We simply sat down together once she got here and thumbed through a couple of Southern Living Magazines I'd picked up over the last couple of months: Southern Living Famous Southern Cakes + Pies and the Southern Living Special Collector's Edition Cakes + Pies - apparently I have a thing for cakes + pies. *wink*

The Hummingbird Cake caught our eye and was in BOTH of the magazines. We just couldn't say no.
I didn't have three 8-inch cake pans so we opted to do a smaller 3 layer cake and made cupcakes with the extra batter. (plus she got to take the cake home and the cupcakes stayed here with me - a win for the both of us).

We love how the cake + cupcakes turned out. So moist. So delicious. And did I mention cream cheese frosting? very favorite.

I definitely encourage you to try it. It will not disappoint you or anyone who's lucky enough to sample it. I have an idea!! How about making it for any of those summertime potlucks and gatherings you've got on your calendar. (although be mindful that cream cheese frosting doesn't pair well with sitting outside in the heat - you'll want to make sure you have an air-conditioned space for keeping/serving).

by Southern Living Magazine


3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
2 cups chopped ripe bananas (about 6 bananas)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
vegetable shortening - for pans

2 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup salted butter or margarine, softened
2 (16oz) pkg. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

12- 24 pecan halves, toasted - for decorating top of cake
1/2 - 3/4 cups chopped pecans, toasted - for decorating sides of cake

1. Prepare the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring
     just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and toasted pecans.
2. Divide batter evenly among 3 well-greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. 
    Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, 
    about 1 hour.
4. Prepare the cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on 
    medium-low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high,
    and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Assemble cake: Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter; spread top with 1 cup of frosting. Top with
    second layer, and spread with 1 cup frosting. top with third layer, and spread remaining frosting over 
    top and sides of cake. Optional decorating: Arrange pecan halves on top of cake. For a more "fancy"
    finish, gently press chopped pecans around the sides of frosted cake using your hand.

Tip: For cupcakes, bake for 18-20 minutes. Once frosted, roll edges in chopped pecans. 

(Thought you might also enjoy this step-by-step video for Southern Living Hummingbird Cake I found while typing up this blog post). 

Enjoy my sweet friends!!
I hope you'll try it and report back.

PS - Let me know if you'd like a cute printable Hummingbird Cake Recipe Card. I'm not really sure if you all prefer just reading the recipe right off the blog or if you love the free recipe cards I've created and shared before? Or maybe you want both? I'd love your feedback.



1. I prefer my cream cheese frosting to be a tad tangier than this version but it's still delicious. (And until I find the recipe I want to share with you this one will have to do). Ha! And by all means, if you already have a fave cream cheese frosting recipe...use it!!

2. Clara and I didn't realize I only had a bag of pecan halves instead of the whole pecans we needed to to decorate the top of the cake. So, we did what any good OCD baker would do and we painstakingly took time to try to match up pecan halves to make them look whole. I think we did a dang good job. I can hardly tell when I look closely at the photos. Ha!!

3. These photos turned out surprisingly well despite the immense pressure I was under to "hurry up". Clara was trying to head back home and she was behind schedule so with each push of the shutter button on my camera and every rearranged shot of the cake I made in an attempt to capture the perfect image,  I could feel her hot eye balls glaring at me while she stood impatiently nearby waiting to drive off with the cake.  Some things never change - she's never been very patient when it came to me + my photo-taking. I still love her though. And besides, this cake wouldn't have happened this weekend without her. Thanks Clara!! *wink*

MAGNOLIA TABLE :: Lemon + Lavender Icebox Cookies

Tuesday, May 22

*Affiliate links are included in just about every blog post I share here on Pen + Paper Flowers.
 These links allow me to easily share with you the same or similar items and tools I use for recipes, crafts or projects, while also providing me with a small commission should you decide to purchase something. These commissions, collectively, allow me to continue sharing ideas and content with you. 
Thank you in advance for your ongoing support of my blog and small business.  xoxo, Jess

If you've been following me on Instagram then you know I've been sampling recipes from the *Magnolia Table Cookbook and leaving reviews and feedback in my InstaStories. (you can access my archived stories to catch up if you've missed it).

I even took a poll on Instastories to see which recipe I should try next...the Lemon + Lavender Icebox Cookies or Jo Jo's Chocolate Chips cookies. Obviously from today's blog post, you can guess who the winner was.

So, here are my honest thoughts + feedback on the Magnolia Table Lemon + Lavender Icebox Cookies....

My kitchen was filled with the scents of fresh grated lemon zest and *lavender as I was preparing the cookie dough. I'm telling you it smelled soooo very good my friends and my tastebuds could not wait to taste the final baked cookies.

The cookies are pretty simple and plain and I was thinking there would be more pops of noticeable lavender but the buds actually get lost in the dough for the most part.

Aesthetically, the cookies aren't going to visually "wow" a crowd...and I don't believe they are meant to. The flavor is soft and subtle, matching the overall appearance. In my mind, these cookies were never created to be the "star" of the show but rather as a simple addition to some afternoon tea.

Also, because these are slice and bake cookies there are lines left behind on the top of the cookies due to *the lavender buds you come across while slicing. It really can't be avoided. (see images below)

At first, I found the lines to be off-putting and looked at them as if they were somehow "imperfections". (and then I also immediately made the connection that perhaps that's why the cookbook photographer decided to stack the cookies and avoided an overhead shot of them for the cookbook?). *wink*

My perspective has changed though. I find the lines left behind from the *edible lavender buds to be charming - the "signature look" of the inscription of sorts with the message to anyone nibbling on these simple cookies that "these are authentically and lovingly sliced + baked and imperfectly perfect homemade cookies".  And I like that.  Better yet, I love that. *wink*

Magnolia Table Cookbook - pg. 313

4 out of 5 stars

✓ Easy-to-follow recipe
✓ Soft + subtle flavor
✓ Baked as expected
✓ Family enjoyed them

In a nutshell, these are simple cookies to make with a soft and subtle flavor profile.
They do require refrigeration time prior to baking - hence the "icebox" part of their name.
I gave them 4 out of 5 stars only because I prefer a little more "umph" in my cookies - meaning I like chunks and chocolate over a simple sugar or plain cookie.

I baked one "log" after a couple of hours and another log after a full week of refrigeration - both were great. Next time I will try adding a few lavender buds to the center top of each cookie prior to baking - just to pretty them up a little more. I tried pushing in some lavender buds on top of the cookies right when they came out of the oven but they didn't stick very well. I did not rotate my pans 1/2 way through baking as suggested but I can see where that would come in handy for some ovens.Very curious to try the key lime version mentioned in the time. And I have even considered rolling the dough into balls next time just to see how they turn out vs. the slicing method.


If you have not purchased the *Magnolia Table Cookbook and you love down-home cooking and baking - I think you'll love it. You know I love Jo and Chip and I'm a big fan of pretty much everything they do.

This cookbook is no exception; The black binding, the lovely cover image, the font selection, the photography throughout of the fun recipes and of Joanna in the kitchen truly makes this beautiful cookbook a great gift idea!! You can *purchase the Magnolia Table Cookbook right here.

I have already made the "Three Cheese Quiche", "Baked Chicken", "Chicken Spaghetti", "Best-Ever Fluffy Pancakes" and Jay made the "Beef Stew" this weekend. I'll be back with some reviews on those recipes as well!!

Love you friends!!

I do have to warn you that if you are watching your waistline...well...this cookbook is probably not a good fit for that. Unless you plan to choose to eat salad every night while your family enjoys the fun meals you've cooked for them. Ha!!  Just saying!!

And by the way, I was sure everyone would have voted for the chocolate chip cookies but I was so wrong. Lemon + Lavender cookies won with 71% of the votes.

PS - Do you love the new look of the blog? *wink*

LiFE | The Beauty in Change :: Daddy Daughter Dance 2018

Monday, May 7

"Everything is held together with stories"...

I love that quote.
It couldn't be more true about life.
That's what this blog has always been about for me...storytelling.
And through storytelling I share bits + pieces of my life...things that may inspire you, recipes that make me happy, things that add sunshine to my soul, and maybe even things that add a little sunshine to your own life.

My story today is about the beauty we can find in change.

Our move almost a year ago has certainly presented us with some tough days.
• tearful afternoon carline pickups with Ella missing her old school.
• getting lost + turned around a time or two trying to find our way around a new town.
• tearful prayers for me as a mom, missing my two older daughters who chose to stay behind.
• loneliness and disconnect at times.
• tearful tuck-ins at night with Ella missing friends and "home".

All of that is normal.
Those of you who have moved away from home know what I'm talking about.
You just miss the heck out of everything you ever knew and loved - people, places + familiar faces.

There's also soooo much beauty in change.
Although we've had some hard days and sad moments having moved away,
we have also thoroughly enjoyed the new experiences we've been able to have in our new town.
In fact, it truly has been an adventure of sorts.
There have been so many new places to see, restaurants to try, friends to make + meet, a beautiful neighborhood to explore and ultimately a new house to make into a home.

And then there was the daddy daughter dance this year.
If you've been following along for some time you know Ella's been enjoying this annual tradition at her old school since she was in pre-school.

This year, of course, was a much different experience for her...for us...since it brought with it a number of significant changes.

First of all, she didn't get to attend with her best friend Elise, like she has done every other year. (2016, 2015, 2014)

Second, her new school didn't end up hosting one, (even though it was on the schedule at the beginning of the school year).  When I found out they had changed the "Sweetheart Social" to a "Dance Party" for the entire school, I originally thought we just wouldn't even be able to continue our annual tradition.

However, here's the "beauty" part of things.
Our neighborhood made a surprise announcement it would be hosting an inaugural Daddy Daughter Dance  - right in our own neighborhood at one of our own beautiful amenity centers. Yes!!

So although Ella was missing her bestie, (and I was missing all of the usual traditions of the evening photographing Elise + Ella and their daddies together), she still had a very special night with her dad.

And they literally walked to the dance together, hand-in-hand, down the sidewalk and across a pretty grassy field.

Our neighborhood spares no expense in creating fantastic, memorable events and this one was no different. It was a small scale Daddy Daughter Dance compared to what we're used to but it actually turned out to be quite a magical night since it was more of an intimate setting; filled with sweet treats, photo booths, hula hoop competitions, daddy's on their knees holding their daughter's hands while exchanging daddy daughter promises to one another and of course dancing the night away.

I wouldn't change a thing about how the night turned out.
And I wouldn't change a thing about us moving either.

It's not been easy at times but there have been more than enough wonderful things that have happened since our move that have opened my eyes to the true beauty that can be found in change.
And for that, I am so grateful to be able to add this experience to our story.


It also doesn't hurt that the area we have moved to right along the St. Johns River is so gorgeous.
The sunsets here are absolutely stunning.

PS - I kind-of-sort-of made Ella's wrist corsage this year.
J brought home a boutonnière from Publix instead of a corsage by accident so I deconstructed it a bit and turned it into something she could wear on her wrist. Ha!!
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ART PRINTS | 365 Days of Art Prints Project

Friday, March 2

One of my creative-related goals this year has been to create one art print each matter how small or quick it might need to be.

I'm calling it my 365 Days of Art Prints Project and I'm even using the #pnpflowers365daysofartprints hashtag on social media whenever I post something related.

I've been sharing them on my Instagram feed periodically and wanted to share a few of them here today. (I'm keeping them in my story highlights so you can keep up with them there).

I love the pastel color family in these cuties...definitely a nod to Spring!
Some of the art prints I make will be freebies, some will be surprise giveaways and some will make it into my shoppe.

These three were loaded into the shoppe yesterday under a new section called $5 Downloads.
I'm not promising these will stay in that section for that price but that's where they are right now so if you love them go grab them!!

I'm even toying around with the idea of picking 5 random art prints and bundling them together once a month for a "Five 5x7's for $5 Friday" to keep things fun for everyone. If you'd like to see that happen, comment and let me know.

AND...if you have a quote or an art print you'd like to see me create, again, leave a comment.
Any suggestion made that I end up picking, the first person to have made the suggestion/request will receive the art print for free before it's revealed to anyone else!

And all of you email for periodic freebies sent right to your inbox!
Need to subscribe? SIGN UP HERE!

I hope you all are as excited as I am to see what kind of creations I come up with over the course of this year....we're on Day 61 today!! Wow!!

Have a great Friday everyone...and a fantastic weekend!


We are heading to Savannah, Georgia early this morning to get Ella to a gymnastics competition.
I got myself up extra early and got some stretching in and this blog post done before anyone else in the house stirs. Fist bump to myself for starting my day off right!!

RECiPE | Protein Packed Chocolate Muffins

Thursday, February 22

I have been meaning to post these delicious muffins ever since discovering the recipe some time ago.
I was in the middle of reading this book and it led me to this blog which ultimately led me to this recipe.

I was over-the-moon to receive a big thumbs-up from Ella when she sampled them and knew without a doubt these "healthy muffins" were a win after she continued to request them.

These muffins are a home run on so many levels!!
They are packed with protein and lots of good stuff making them perfect for breakfast, for snacks or to throw in a lunchbox or backpack.

Plus...they are super easy to make since all you need is a blender and a muffin pan - which then makes clean-up a snap!

Now...I do have to point out the original recipe doesn't call for the addition of mini chocolate chips...but that's how we do them around my house. And if you don't want the chocolate chips but like some "chunk" to your muffins...I've also topped mine with pecans or walnuts prior to baking. Easy.

I hope you try them out and come back to let me know how much you love them!
DOWNLOAD your cute printable recipe card right here!!

PS - Catch a glimpse of me making these over on my Instastories!!

Love you friends!!

Truth be told...Ella doesn't even like almond butter and these puppies are packed with it!! Ha!! to clean the bathrooms before we have guests arrive this weekend!!

FREE | All The Feels Emoji Themed Valentine's Day Ideas

Friday, February 9

I've got two adorable Valentine's Day ideas for you today everyone!!
And these, my friends, are for all of the emoji-loving people out there!
And for all of the people on Instagram and social media that use the term "all the feels" on a regular basis. I know you get me!

If you are unfamiliar with the phrase "all the feels" it simply refers to something that moves you emotionally...or something that gives you good vibes.

So...I thought it was a brilliant concept to combine the "all the feels" expression with the iconic "emojis" we are all familiar with - that essentially represent every emotion. *wink* Brilliant, right?

So here we go...
IDEA #1: Valentine's Day Treat Tags

I created these super cute Valentine's Day treat tags for Ella to hand out to her 3rd grade classmates. She's loves all things emojis and loved the idea.

And they are SO easy. Just print them onto white card stock, trim to size and tie onto a small cellophane bag filled with emoji themed chocolates or these cute emoji themed gumballs.
I picked up my chocolates from Hobby Lobby but I found them on Amazon as well!

 IDEA #2: Valentine's Day Ghirardelli Chocolate Bar Wrappers

This idea came about after Ella said she wanted to do a giant candy bar to mail to her best friend, Elise for Valentine's Day.  I just love her and her awesome ideas!!

So I whipped up this emoji themed Ghirardelli Chocolate Bar Wrapper - just like the Llama themed wrappers I shared the other day and these other black and white wrappers too!

And then I created a "Having YOU for a BESTIE gives me ALL THE FEELS!" tag to tie on.
I love how they turned out so much I was then inspired to create even more custom tags for Dad, Mom, Teacher, Coach, Friend and Sister. (shhhh - don't tell Clara and Ema they'll be getting one of these in the mail too from their little sister) Ha!!

Feel free to use the treat tags on the candy bars too!
Both of these ideas are so fun and so easy!
If you are inspired to whip some of these up too, here are the links to download the files:

Emoji Themed Valentine's Day Printables 

PLEASE NOTE: There are 7 different printable Ghirardelli wrappers - each one with a custom tag included. (i.e. Teacher, Dad, Mom, etc.) - Be careful to download and print the one(s) you want! *wink*

Love you guys!
Share your pictures with me if you make these!
Email: pnpflowersinc AT gmail DOT com
Tag me on Instagram: @pnpflowers


Just barely getting these loaded onto the blog before I jump in the car to grab Ella from school!
But hey! At least she finished an entire day of school today! She missed three days this week and came home early yesterday after attempting to go. Poor girl. She's on the mend though! Yay!!

FREE | Llama Themed Valentine's Day Ghirardelli Chocolate Bar Wrappers

Wednesday, February 7

Hello friends! We are already knee deep into February with Valentine's Day on our heels.
Today I'm sharing these super cute and super easy "Llama-themed" Ghirardelli bar wrappers to be given to anyone on your Valentine's Day list.

1 - Ghirardelli bar - removed from outer cardboard packaging. ---> 3.5oz like these
1 - Llama Candy Bar Wrapper printed on white card stock. (links at end of blog post)
double-stick tape

Print Llama Candy Bar Wrapper.
Trim to size using scissors.
Wrap around candy bar aligning image on front of candy bar.
Secure with double-stick tape on back of candy bar.

Tip: For a polished look, rub fingers along edges of candy bar for clear wrapper "creases". 

A "llama love" went into designing these for you guys!
Hoping you love them and most importantly....USE THEM!

Here's a fun time lapse video I shared on Instagram sharing the whole process of putting one of these together  - hopefully you can view it okay here on the blog.

DOWNLOAD your FREE Llama Love Valentine's Day Candy Bar Wrappers below:

Stay tuned for some classroom treat tags coming tomorrow!
Hint: You'll probably want some of THESE or THESE to go with them! *wink*

PS - If you love the idea of the Ghirardelli wrappers CHECK OUT THESE!


Ella has been down with a virus for a few days now so I apologize for not getting these photographed and up on the blog sooner!! 

iNSPiRE | My One Little Word for 2018

Wednesday, January 24

Hello January 2018!
I welcome your opportunities, your joy, your blessings, your happy memories + good health for myself, my family, my friends in real life, my friends that join me here on my blog and on social media. I embrace and welcome all of the good you have to offer each and every one of us and I celebrate the chance to do some good, to create some good and to feel some good. *wink*

Time for a new focus word and mine this year is....FREE.
And boy did I struggle for whatever reason to pick just the right word this year.
My word typically finds me without me searching.
Not this year.
Maybe because I knew it really needed to be a good one...
one with power...
but one that I would love to see written and spelled out...
because you know I love hand-lettered anything and I'm such a visual person.

(Heck! I even picked my children's names based on how it felt hand writing it out on a sheet of clean white paper). *wink*

But why the word "Free"?
I needed a word that represented an "unearthing" of sorts.
I needed a word that stood for "letting go", a "rebirth" AND an "elimination + purging" mindset.
A word that symbolized a "peeling away of layers".
A word that represented "healing".

I was searching for the perfect word to harness some beautiful energy for the journey ahead to rediscovering...and unburying...and reconnecting with the girl I once was.

Specifically to the girl who has buried her good health under layers of disappointment + shame, to be completely honest.
As I recently wrote in my journal, "I've been storing food reserves for a very long winter apparently." - lol  And this needs to stop. Self care is my number one this year. Period.
Everything else is secondary.
Essentially, if I can get a handle on my overall health everything else will see improvement.
I've played the victim to my own insecurities and unfortunately allowed myself to become a prisoner in my own body; a prisoner to my fears. A prisoner to my doubt. A prisoner to lies I had convinced myself to be truth.

I need to break out of the prison and be FREE!
I can visually see it in my mind.
I can see the girl I once was...the one I left behind. I'm looking at her. She's looking at me. Our eyes have locked and I am running fiercely to meet her; To grab her hand and continue the journey together;  To remind her I haven't forgotten her. I have NOT left her behind. I am back.

I'm running back to rescue the girl who's optimistic, cheerful, trusting heart has been crushed by life experiences.

I'm sprinting through the wide open prairie to wear she is standing and has been waiting for me to return. I can see this vividly in my mind. I cannot let her down. I cannot leave her standing there anymore. And I know when I reach her...I will not have rescued her....she will have rescued me.

Can you feel the passion in my words?  I hope so...because I can feel it in my fingertips as I type.

A spent hours upon hours looking up words that might be the word I was looking for!
Tend, restore, pure, clean, cleanse, reclaim, shift, return, reset, refresh, rebuild, dig, peel, chip, core, shed, center, root, foundation, excavate, create, carve, mold, chisel, unveil, beauty, unmask, claw, fight, war, take back, unbury, raw, stripped...and well.

I had convinced myself that my word was "well"! 
Then I changed it to "grit"!
And then I ended up at "free"!

"Well" was so awesome in so many ways but ultimately I decided it was too "soft".
So I then I did a 360 and chose "grit" which was a super tough and energizing word...but not "pretty" and appealing to me visually.

And then "FREE"....defined as:
No longer confined.
Not a slave.
Of power + energy.
Not bound.
Not subject to or constrained by.
Release from physical obstruction, restraint or entanglement.
Remove something undesirable.

BINGO!! That's it. 
It's an action word.
It's definition touches on everything I'm focusing on.
And it's aesthetically pleasing to my eye. *wink*

From my journal, "Free. That's nice on the ears and eyes and it touches on my 3 H's:

HEALTH - free from my physical prison - aka fat layers + less than desirable level of health
HEART - free from guilt, pain, hardness, numbness
HOME - free up space in my life by continuing to simplify, declutter + getting rid of things.

I know that was a lot to read and take in.
I'll finish with this last sentence...

From my journal: "This year ahead is going to be really hard physically AND emotionally because of the awesomeness I'm looking to uncover within myself." 

Yes!! Amen to that! And if you are looking to uncover your awesomeness too perhaps choosing a word might be something to help motivate you!

If you do the whole choosing a word thing each year and are looking to uncover your awesomeness too, I hope you have found one to keep you energized.

And if you've never tried it...I highly recommend it. Tip: Choose a verb. It's got more power behind it. More action. And that's what choosing a word is about!


I'm definitely going to have to come back to this post and read it when I need a boost of energy and will power. Writing this has pumped me up all over again!!

I've added exercise into my life 2-3 days a week and have been eating so much better for the month of January. I'm a little behind in some goals I set for myself but writing this post has given me some renewed energy to make it happen. 
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