2020 Plan With Me & Happy 7th Birthaversary MLW!

Hey there friends! I’m baaaack! 😉

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It has been a minute!

But it’s a new year. A new decade. A decade of roaring twenties,

magical 2020 vision and a sparkling new opportunity for growth.

Happy New Year!

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Today also happens to also be MLW’s 7th Birth-a-versary! That’s a combination of Happy Birthday/Happy Anniversary if you were wondering. That’s right 7 years of creating content from the heart here on michelle leigh writes! It’s kind of a big deal for me, since it took me years just to warm up to the idea of someone reading my writing.
And yes there have been lost posts and months of inactivity. But like I always say, I always come back. In my heart I know I have so many stories to tell, poems to craft and party planning ideas to share. And I’m grateful for this space where I can be truly me and speak freely. It will always be my “Safe place for the written word.”

In honor of my 7th blog year, LUCKY #7!

I baked some white chocolate, sprinkle, cake cookies!

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So today, I thought I’d kick off this new post with a little 2020 planning for you. It’s in my bones to plan. I feel like every year I do the same thing. I plan and plan and then all plans get shot to hell when life flies into chaos. So I almost stopped myself from getting to much of the planning bug this year. But then I decided, maybe I can take a different approach this year. After all it is a new decade.

I rang the New Year in at my best friend’s house. Her and her husband hosted and it was a great time. We had champagne, wine and great food. We played this really fun game Telestrations After Dark. Warning: Not a kid friendly game. LOL. Then I spent New Year’s Day just being lazy in PJ’s, but being super productive in planning, straightening up my bedroom (which had become a mess because of the holidays,) and prepping for the work week. Thankfully, it was a short one to ease back into the swing of things! Because, we all know how hard it can be to get rid of that vacation brain. Your girl is still struggling! 😉

2020 PLANNING IDEAS!

Buy a new Planner, Calendar, and Notebook. A must for me. Every year. Shout out to my Aunt Linda who gets tons of free calendars every year, so she always gives me one! This year I got a really pretty floral inspirational quotes one.

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I got some cool new pens for Christmas!

Make a list of 2019 highlights. Every year I think “what did I really do this year? Not much.” It’s easy to get down on yourself and feel bad if you didn’t go on some lavish vacation, or fall in love and get engaged, or buy that house, or get that dream job. But I guarantee if you look back on your social media (if you’re a social media posting person) then you will see that you created so many countless, beautiful memories. My list was so long, I couldn’t even share it here if I wanted to! LOL.

Make a list of things you learned in 2019. Every year is full of ups and downs. But in those moments, there is always something to learn. Personal growth is an amazing thing.

Make a list of 2020 goals (re-evaluate your 2019 goals and how much you accomplished.) Sometimes this can be a daunting task. If you’re like me, sometimes you feel like every year you have the same goals. So evaluating the past year’s goals can make you feel unaccomplished. But that’s why I also like to make a list of highlights so you can see how much you actually did accomplish! It’s all about perspective people! Although it can fly by, a year is a significant amount of time, and you can really do so much. You do so much. You just don’t realize it. And sometimes, the little things are the big things.

Check in on Work In Progress projects. So this is referring to my long list of projects I started this year and old projects that I haven’t finished over the past decade! So I just sort of took stock of their status and prioritized the few that I want to tackle this month.

Create an inspirational playlist of songs to set the mood for your 2020. I did this last year too, and it was super fun. I’ve been listening to mine and it’s full of fun vibes. I have some New Year’s songs on there, some slow jams, some old jams, some new jams, some 1920’s music. I’m actually still adding, every time I hear or think of a new song that resonates with my vibe this year.

Create a YouTube playlist of inspirational videos you want to watch. So I’m a big YouTube fan, and everyone is posting New Year content, which is really inspirational. So much so that it was getting overwhelming seeing the videos roll in. So I decided the best way to help myself was to create a playlist of all the videos I wanted to watch, and that way I can watch them at my leisure. Some of my favorite YouTubers include, Rachel Talbott, Kalyn Nicholson, Carrie Rad, Marisa Mohi, Kristen Martin, and Niki DeMar.

Start getting back to routine. Work, exercise, eating right, meditation, prayer. I find that when I have this kind of routine, I feel more centered, more focused, less anxious and more like myself.

Make a “Stress Away” basket full of things that you can pick from, to calm those stressful nerves. In mine I included, an adult coloring book, a stress ball, two small note pads and some pens, a gratitude journal, a FRIENDS quiz book, puzzles, t-shirt designing stuff (because yes I sometimes like to make my own t-shirts), a painting kit, and a word search book. I also plan to add a few more things as I go. You can really customize this to whichever you wish.

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Order some fun products online to add to your New Year vibe. I have been into trying to clear up my skin, and also find fun ways to exercise. So I recently ordered a humidifier, a facial cleansing brush, a lap desk for my lap top, writing gloves, a dry brush, a white head tool for acne, an exercise hula hoop, an energy lamp, and YouTuber Kalyn Nicolson’s poetry book Dancing with elephants.

Practice Gratitude. So I have a gratitude journal that I sometimes write in, where you write down 3 things you are grateful for that day. But lately I’ve just been saying Thank You to God at moments, in my prayers, out loud, to myself. Just a simple thank you. It’s peaceful and it feels good. Because even if your day sucks, there is something, even the smallest thing, that could make you feel grateful. Every day may not be good, but there is something good, in every day.

Do a tarot card reading for 2020, AND/OR Read your horoscope. I get that this isn’t for everyone. And I don’t buy into it as strong as some people do. But I do think it can be really fun. I have an Animal Spirit Deck and A Fairy Deck. Yes ya girl loves fairies. Have since I was a kid and saw a movie about fairies and then saw one flying around in my room in the middle of the night. #MAGIC. Inspired by Kalyn Nicholson’s 2020 reading, I decided to do my own, and man oh man was it eye opening. It gave my 2020 some seriously good vibes and a cool direction. I also looked up my Aries info for 2020.

This was my reading.

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Reach out to family and friends and start to book plans in for the month or the next. If you’re like me, you have a ton of people you love and value in life. But when life gets so crazy, it can be sometimes really hard to make time for everything. So I decided to just start early and check in with all my various friend groups and start to make plans to hangout. Life is just more joyful when you have great friends to chill and talk with. Sometimes you just need a night with your girls! My calendar is already slowly filling up! I can’t wait to see everyone!

Go food shopping. I don’t know about you guys but after the hustle and bustle and traveling of the holidays, I had been eating like total crap, and my body was definitely feeling it. And so my mom and I took a trip to the supermarket and stocked up on healthier food options. My body is very happy now! 🙂

Balance your check book. (Maybe do this one before ordering a bunch of stuff on amazon!) 🙂

Give back and make the world just a little bit better. I recently donated to Givit for the wildfires happening in Australia. I’ve been seeing these devastating images all over social media. And I just wanted to do something. Even though it was small. It was something and every little bit counts. I also donated to the National Autism Association and I always donate to the Alzheimer’s Association during the walk which I did in 2019. Like I said it may not be much, but I give what I can afford and I hope and pray it helps.

Create a mood board or an inspiration board. This is where that 2019 Highlights list comes into play. You can look at that and see how much you’ve actually done over the last year and then pull a few things from it, and print out some pictures to symbolize those things. I personally just scroll through my instagram and see what I posted throughout the year or years. I chose a lot of inspirational quotes too, and pictures of family and friends, and then I also used pictures of myself in memories that instilled feelings in me that I want to recreate or feel again this year. Things I’ve done to step out of my comfort zone. Things I’m proud of. Things I want to work on. Things that were just fun. ALL THE INSPRING THINGS! I’m so used to putting pictures of OTHER people- mostly celebrities- on these boards, that when I look at them they don’t FEEL like me. So this year I thought, why not inspire MYSELF, by highlighting things I actually did in the past that I can try to implement again this year. Because we get in ruts, and we fear change and every New Year is a chance to fight that and try harder to accept change. After all there is peace in acceptance, if you look closely enough!

Write a list of important dates. For me this included writing a few subscription dates. I know I have some ending in the next few months so I want to be aware of that and be sure I renew them or cancel them. This can also be for any doctor appointments or adult things you need to do. Write them down!

Reflect on the past decade. This one might take some serious thinking!

Look up a list of New Year’s Eve movies. I just googled and found a list HERE. I guess I tend to live in theme. LOL. I have been craving a NYE film, I basically watched Sex and the City all New Year’s Eve. But I actually didn’t get my “New Year’s Eve” fill. I kind of love that movie!

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You may notice there’s a lot of writing involved. What can I say, I’m a writer. 😉 And a lover of a good list. Now you see what that notebook purchase was for! Make use of it! Keep in mind you obviously do not have to do all these steps in the first month. You do have a whole year. You don’t even have to do all these steps at all. This is just what I did. And it’s just helping me take stock and see what I wish to work on this year. I just feel extra motivated and I’m going to go with this soul flow. Good Vibes.

So there you have it. My tips and tricks to rock 2020. I know this is not a full proof method. And there will be hard times that deter me. But I feel inspired and I just thought I’d share this with you on this special day.

Thanks for reading! XO

Feels good to be back.

Happy 7th Birthaversary Michelle Leigh Writes!

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To celebrate I think I’m going to grab a glass of Champagne Rose,

a few White Chocolate Chip cake cookies, and pop on one of those New Year’s movies! 😉

Update: I watched Freeform’s new version of Party of Five and Chicago PD instead. 🙂

 

*All images are my own.*

 

-<3-

 

 

Finally….A Summer Update

The longer I’ve waited to post, the harder I’ve felt this has been. I went through having zero ideas, to so many ideas-good and bad. And here I am, just wanting to say SOMETHING. I’m a writer, who hasn’t really written in months. Is that normal? I suppose not.

Hi all. I hope someone is still listening. This has been a long time coming, and quite frankly I was hoping to come back with some fun, fancy, well-crafted story or work of art. But it’s just not coming, so instead, I’m going to just speak my truth. Hopefully you can relate.

It’s been quite a long few months since I last posted, and yes when I look back at old posts, I have definitely written many posts similar to this. Being a creative soul is thrilling and fun, until it isn’t. Creativity isn’t always guaranteed. I haven’t posted at all this summer. There are a lot of reasons why, but the number one reason is because well…I just haven’t felt inspired or motivated to do so. 

You know when your favorite YouTuber goes MIA for a while, because they just haven’t been happy with any of their content. That’s how I feel.

I hit these walls where I feel like my life is at a standstill and instead of doing something to change it, I internalize and my mind becomes a ball of anxious thoughts unable to move myself forward. A vessel just going through the motions. I have a really hard time being present in the moment. I’m constantly over thinking everything. It is the most daunting feeling. My mind gets clouded and unfortunately creativity gets pushed to the side. Which is bizarre because I know this is the time when I need it most, to pull me out of my slump. 

Creativity can be an incredible outlet for stress, but sometimes I just choose to ignore the issue and let days pass me by. Filling my time within mindless tasks.  

I wish I had some big revelation for myself. I wish I had some inspirational advice to share about how I’ve just been too busy living life to post, but unfortunately that is just not the case.

I have a case of the summer funk. And I honestly can’t wait for it to be fall. 

The air is crisp.

The fashion is cooler.

The colors are gorgeous. 

And let’s face it, there is a plethora of pumpkin.

Here’s to breaking the silence and powering through. 

I’m going to end this with a quote from one of my Writer’s Corners from back in 2015. It’s amazing how the words still hold truth for me:

“Giving up on that dream [of being a writer] is not in my line of vision. It can’t be. I don’t think my brain or sanity could take it. Too many stories to tell. So when the walls start caving in and you feel like you’re going to emotionally explode, get out of your head. And get out of your own way. And just do what you do best. Write. Because writers feel things deeper than most, and when we tell those stories, someone out there in the universe is going to get it, and feel gotten. Keep fighting, keep striving, and know that there is always a safe place for the written word here on Michelle Leigh Writes. Soldier on my friends.”- Michelle Leigh Writes * Writer’s Corner * “Get out of your own way”

 

**While you wait for new stories…feel free to browse my Short Story Collection HERE

 

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-<3-

 

The February Slump 2018

Hi friends!

It’s been a bit, I know. 

Today I would like to talk about the February Slump. I know you know what I’m referring to.

You know that point in the new year where you start to slack off on all the goals you set out to accomplish this year. 

I knew this time would come. January was a month of making changes, and making lists, and plans for a better future. Putting things into motion and action. 

Then once February came, I started noticing myself slacking. Going to bed late, not reading/writing everyday. My daily goals getting distracted by life and the day to day. 

Overall, January was pretty great for me. I felt like I was forming a routine, and working out consistently, taking my vitamins, drinking a lot of water, carving out a day within the week to work on each of my big goals for the year. [SEE HERE by reading my- January 2018 Update]

But came February and a few late nights, family functions, and busy times and I started slacking. My goal was not to get angry with myself when this happened but to pick myself back up and hop back onto the routine I’ve started to create, improving it and crafting it as I go along. And that’s what I’m hoping to do this week. Thankfully I am on winter break and I can strive to plan things a little better. However, why is it that it’s only Monday and I already feel like the week is over. There’s so much I want to do, clean, research, make time to see friends and family. You know what they say, there’s never enough time in a day. 

I just need to get myself back on track and learn to balance my time to include my dreams, my goals, and my inspirations with my family and my friends, work, (tv shows, because #TVJunkie) and a social life. 

Balance is key. And that is what I need to build on in order for all of this to work. Life is a balancing act. Summers become Winters. Christmas becomes Easter in the blink of an eye. And before you know it, the goals you set out to accomplish in that year, are rolled over into the next.

This year I want that to change. I want inspiration, change, and determination to run through my veins. Change? Michelle, you want change? What? You hate change. No you don’t, your just scared of it.

Change is a scary word. But not all change is bad. And I think I’m starting to realize that in order for my dreams to come true I’m going to have to let change in. I want to take action. Take control over my life. There are things I always put on hold, things I just don’t force myself to do, habits that come and go. I let life lead me, rather than the other way around. And then I mentally scold myself for not accomplishing my goals.  

So…this year I’ve started to implement the necessary changes I need to do in order to reach my goals. Granted, it’s a slow climb. I’m definitely a work in progress, and I’ve definitely had my days/weeks where I’ve slacked off. The important thing is to acknowledge the slump and work towards moving past it. I know I shouldn’t beat myself up over it, because that’s not going to help me. And I can’t go back in time and change it. Getting down over it and scolding myself will only make me feel bad which in turn will hinder my motivation starting a vicious cycle and I don’t want that. So time to focus, time to revamp, time to balance.

Keep going girl, you got this! 

-<3-

*I do not take credit for any images used.*

 

 

 

Scatter Brain

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I recently have been feeling like I have a lot of things going on and I’m getting overwhelmed.

I know what else is new? Right? 

But I’m stuck.

It’s that time of year where it’s getting hotter. I work closely with the school system, so it’s nearing summer break and all the kids are starting to lag and slow down and I feel by some extension that I am too.

There is this improvement list I keep thinking about.

Things I want to do and be better at, for myself-my career, my health, for my students, for my family, for my friends…

I teach 5 different creative activities and although it was my choice, I feel like I’m not doing as well as I hoped. I always have this vision and then it gets crazy and scattered and I end up scrambling in the last weeks.

And yet I am still also needed in a lot of other areas in my life- I’m in three more weddings- two of which I am maid of honor for, I’m going to be a Titi (An Aunt) in the fall I’m going to have a niece! And I’m planning for family occasions that keep popping up…the list always has something new added.

So I feel like I’m trying to be everything to everyone and still tryin to have some sort of social life and make time for myself. 

My relationships in my life with family and friends are everything to me.

And I want to show up for everyone… for everything.

And lately, I just feel kind of all over the place, and pulled in many directions.

I feel like I’m dropping the ball, and I don’t know what to do.

To the point where I just want to throw myself on my bed and sleep to forget it all.

I’ve been going and going since what feels like forever, and I’m still going.

I don’t know how to get over this bump in the road.

There is so much I want to do for myself, and I feel like my career has been put on hold for so long, and I know that it is my fault.

But I’ve made strides to better my situation in the past and I feel like now I’m just stuck and safe.

I get worried that my dream of being a writer will never happen for me.

I know I have to push myself, and when I lack motivation, I need to learn to push past it.

But it’s difficult. For sure.

I don’t know where to start.

How to change.

I’m always buying, and doing for something else, that it’s easy for me to forget or slack on going after what I really want for myself.

I need to learn how to prioritize.

I need to learn how to use my time wisely.

I need to plan accordingly and not let myself get stuck in my comfort zone.

I need to realize that the change is within me, and no one else.

I can’t keep saying I’m stressed and overwhelmed and then just shut down.

Because what good is that then?

I can’t just keep going through the everyday routine without any progress or change.

But I don’t know how to do that.

And this is not a “feel bad for me” post, this is literally my way of trying to sort this mess out.

I know I will, I’ve done so in the past.

One day things just clicked and did what I had to do even though it was scary…even though it was hard.

So I’m hoping I get my click into place day soon.

Thanks for letting me vent, friends.

And if you can relate, tell me in the comments how you push past that feeling stuck feeling!

XO

Michelle

 

*I do not take credit for the image used.*

-<3-

 

 

 

 

Is there a right way to grieve?

They say writers often write the things they cannot say.

Or that they write in times of grief and tragedy.

In times of great joy or confusion.

I suppose I’ve done this many times.

Do you ever think to yourself – what does grief look like?

I am sure you have painted a picture of it in your head.

Your picture, the colors you’ve chosen to blend together, the emotions you choose to feel, or the feelings you just happen to come by.

But can we as human beings who are flawed by nature,  truly give an accurate description of what grief actually is and what is should feel like?

The truth is it’s different for everyone.

We struggle in different ways.

I always struggle with doing what I feel is the right thing to do.

Should I do this?

Should I be there?

Should I say this?

Or do that?

I usually strive to always go with the answer yes and follow through.

But in times when I don’t the guilt arises.

Grief and dealing with those emotions of loss and feeling confused and hopeless are never easy. For anyone.

They are never just so.

Never perfectly one sided or crystal clear.

They are murky and layered with struggle and obstacles.

I guess what I am trying to say is we need to step away from our little self inflicted pictures of what should be done and see that everyone handles things differently.

You do what you have to do.

You do what you feel is right.

And god is the only one who can judge that.

I have strong beliefs in always doing the right thing, and I fall short many times, but the right thing for me may not be the right thing for someone else.

If someone is struggling with something, or coming to grips with something difficult it is not my place nor anyone else’s place to judge them.

I wouldn’t want someone to judge me.

And it is so easy to point fingers and blame in times of hurt and pain.

But we all have walls.

Whether we believe it or not.

We all have things we don’t always feel we can handle.

We often dive into the realm and needs of self preservation.

When someone leaves us, will we be able to handle it?  Or handle seeing that person go through such and ordeal of deterioration?

Humans have mastered many things, but dealing with grief and loss isn’t one of them.

I suppose generations will not change that.

There are things we will never understand.

Reasons why people get stricken with long term illnesses.

Why them?

Why now?

Why this family?

And we will never know.

And in these times we  struggle and despair.

We are confused, we are angry, we place blame on God, on others, on ourselves.

But is that any use?

Unity, love, family, that is what we need to focus on.

Even if you’re not there, if your heart is there- god knows it, they know it, you know it.

And prayers for a safe return home to you are sung throughout those unified hearts.

-<3-

 

 

 

Writer’s Corner

I’ve decided to start a new little ongoing topic. You can find all future entries in it’s own category on the panel to the right; under “Writer’s Corner.” The purpose for this category is for me to share some things I’ve learned as I continue to write and develop my own voice and style. I do want to make a disclaimer and say that by NO means am I a professional writer nor am I claiming I am qualified in giving advice on writing, but this is just my personal writing experience thus far and things I’ve learned. I’ve fought myself to understand that if you write, if you like to write, you ARE a writer. And you should embrace it. I do hope you can relate. Enjoy! 😀

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“The truth about writers”

You wanna know the truth. Writers have no freakin’ clue what they’re doing. Sometimes a blue room is just a blue room. And sometimes it’s a metaphor for a calming skyline. And sometimes the things we’re writing are not what we think we’re writing about, but something entirely different. We are just as confused as the rest of the world. We are just trying to find out who we are, and what we want to do with our lives. As cliché as that sounds, that’s the hidden (well not so hidden) truth. We just put pen to paper to try and figure shit out. Pardon my French.

-<3-