Find Your Word Word and Unravel Your Year for 2017 Is Here!

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Today is a great day! I’m so excited because Susannah Conway released her Unravel Your Year 2017 workbook and her Find Your Word 2017 5-day email course registration today! I’ve written about Susannah before…she’s an inspiration and a role model to me. For the past two years, her workbooks and word course proved to be very instrumental in guiding me towards the future.

Both the workbook and the email class are free. If you’d like to join in the fun, head on over to her website here for all the details.

I’ll be sharing my word and some of my workbook answers throughout the month. Until then, I’m remaining OPEN to the rest of 2016 and to what it brings me.

Thank you, Susannah, for these wonderful gifts.

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 5/7/2016

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It’s been dreary all week here in New Jersey, and today doesn’t look to be any different. That’s okay, though. Sometimes I like dreary days. It will become brighter this afternoon for me because we will be celebrating my nephew’s 5th birthday. I was summoned to “come over and play” this week by the 2-year-old, and it was the best two hours of the week. The 3 of us played with connecting gears, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Paw Patrol cars, and I had a lot of fun making them laugh by making my duck sound and by hitting balloons into the air. I hope you find time this week to spend time with the cherished people in your life. There’s nothing better than making memories and being with those you love.

Here are some interesting links for the week. Hope you enjoy!

May is Lupus Awareness Month – I will be penning a blog entry on Tuesday 5/10 about Lupus to commemorate World Lupus Day, which will be the only day each year I focus on my illness here at SoulSEAker. If you’d like to learn more about Lupus, please see the .pdf fact sheet linked here.

A Call for Kindness – by Susannah Conway. All women, regardless of your age, should read this.

Dan Pallotta: The Dream We Haven’t Dared to Dream – excellent Ted Talk recommended by fellow author and my friend Mandi Bean

2 Minutes Watching the Northern Lights Over Norway Proves the World is Still Beautiful – by Joe Carberry over at The Inertia

Say It Loud! I’m a Writer and I’m Proud – by Gayle Fleming

Why Do Some People Go Out of Their Way to Help Others – great video posted by No Limits

And Finally…

Even the Obamas celebrated Star Wars Day!

Have a splendid day and week!

Until next time, 

Jill

PS: If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, here’s a link to the May issue.  Take a look, then sign up! You know you want to! 🙂

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 4/23/2016

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Hello, friends! Unfortunately, I’m sitting here and my mind is completely blank. That’s how it’s been all week when there’s so much I want to write about…I have words and sentences scribbled on post-it notes all over the place, but when I sit and try to write, I turn into Patrick Star go blank. Completely blank. And it’s frustrating. I don’t know why I have a mind meld going on over here, but it’s there. And the more I try to force the words to come out, the more frustrated I become.

Anyway……..here are some interesting links I found this week that you might want to check out when you have a few minutes to troll. Hoping your week makes you smile and gives you many moments of happiness!

Dear Younger Me – from Susannah Conway. A great perspective about looking back while looking forward.

Be The Lighthouse – written by Alexandra Franzen and recommended by Dani DiPirro

How to Say No (in 25 Bad A** ways) – contains adult language. The inner snarky “me” loves this!

What You Need To Know Before You Go To Skellig Michael, Ireland – from Flirting with the Globe. A very symbolic place to me and someday I will set my 2 feet on Skellig Michael.

William Shakespeare’s Obituary – by the NY Times and posted today, 4/23/2016, on the anniversary of his death.

Need a smile?  Watch this Lemur who demands back scratches! Or these otters who hold hand while sleeping!

This awesome image posted by Leonie Dawson

This awesome post by Elizabeth Gilbert (it’s almost as if she can read my mind with her timely posts)

35 Minute Total Body Yoga Flow – as seen on The Inertia

and finally,

Remembering Sgt. Ronald A. Kubik – a former student who gave his life to save many others on this day in 2010. Thank you, Ron.

Until next time,

Jill

 

 

365 Days Later…

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…is now over.

Effective today, I am now 45.

365 days ago I turned 44, and I started blogging at what I called Living 44, which was a way for me to write about what I accomplished during the year (including 10 specific goals).  SoulSEAker morphed out of Living 44 and will be my blogging focus from today forward.

My 44th year was different in many ways.  Sure, I endured happiness and sadness, laughter and tears, but we all do.  It’s part of life.  However, turning 44 was the first time in over a decade that I actually looked forward not only to my birthday, but to the year as a whole.  I embraced each day and tried my best to be positive, albeit difficult at times.  I began a Gratitude journal, which has given me an appreciation for things I formerly took for granted.  I began writing again, both professionally and for myself, and I found my voice, the voice that has been missing for far too long.

I found inspiration through Susannah Conway, Elizabeth Gilbert, Mallika Chopra, and others; as a result, I aim to inspire others the way these wonderful people inspire me.

Most of all, I shared many memories with treasured family and friends.  Instead of sitting at home by myself and living vicariously through others, I chose to see new places and to make memories.  At times, I had to scale back and take it easy due to Lupus and Fibromyalgia.  Sometimes it was tough to manage my symptoms and plug along, but I did the best I could.  I still do the best I can every day, and some days are better than others.  Regardless, each day is a gift, one which I value and welcome with open arms, no matter what.

I accomplished most of my 10 Things I Wanted to do While 44 (list at the bottom), and then some.

Here’s my 44th Year in Facts and Statistics:

Number of new places I saw: 42

Number of mystery trips with my niece and nephews:  6. I began a tradition of spending the day with each of my 3 nephews and niece, just the 2 of us, destination a secret.  My niece’s surprise days were to Ron Jon’s in LBI and to the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island.  My nephew’s secret trip was to Six Flags Great Adventure.  The 3 of us went to Six Flags two more times, and we all have season passes, so next year will be filled with fun trips.  Perhaps I will conquer my fear of Nitro and other big rollercoasters…we will see.  On the other side of the family, I took my 4-year-old nephew to the aquarium, rides, and to dinner 3 times this year.  We enjoyed our special dates very much.  I have a few places in mind for each’s mystery trip this year…places they will never be able to guess!

Number of Yankees Home Games I attended:  2

Number of times I saw the Core 4 in person:  1

Number of places I went with my treasured friend C: 22

Number of presentations I gave at conferences:  2

Number of GSSPA meetings I attended: 7 plus two conferences

Number of photos I took: More than 20,000

Number of weddings I attended as a guest:  2

Number of weddings I photographed:  0

Favorite Summer Song: I Can’t Feel My Face

Favorite Toy I Bought: My stuffed dinosaur named Monk

Number of times I made work friends laugh:  too many to count

Number of times I saw “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens”: 4. The best was on opening night (actually, the night before opening night) with my brother.

Number of times I went to Six Flags Great Adventure:  4

Number of Monarch Butterflies I raised from caterpillars and released:  17

Favorite Book I read:  Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Number of surgeries:  1

Number of things removed during surgery: 3

Most played artists on my playlists:  311 and The Cure

Number of postcards I mailed:  226

Number of postcards I received:  237

Number of Seinfeld references I made on a daily basis:  At least 3

Favorite Winter Song:  Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay

Favorite Sound: the laughter of my niece and nephews

Favorite Christmas Gifts:  My Jedi Alex and Ani bracelet and my 13” Boba Fett talking figure from my husband

Town/Local Events I Attended:  Earth Day Celebration, Memorial Day ceremony, Seafood Festival, Car Cruise, Xmas Tree Lighting, Chowderfest, Wings of Freedom Tour, NJ Run for the Fallen, Manasquan Offshore Grand Prix, Postcard Show

Places I Ate:  Frankie’s, Shrimp Box, St. Stephen’s Green, Mastoris, Shore Point BBQ, Olive Garden, Revolution Café, Cool Beans, Applebees, Turning Point, Lubrano’s, Surf Taco, Bubbakoo’s, Five Guys, Lava Java, Wharfside, Luigi’s, Emilio’s, 709, Asbury Festahus & Biergarten, River Belle, Holiday Inn Manahawkin, Holiday Inn Clark, Toms River Hotel, IHOP, Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar, Tom’s Restaurant, The Dublin House, Chipotle, Winward Tavern, OB Diner, Brick Diner, Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood and Vine, Biergarten (Epcot), The Wave, Cape May Café, TRex Restaurant

People Who Passed Who Left Footprints In My Heart and In My Journey:  Roscoe, Tom S., Neighbor Lorraine, Neighbor Mike, Melvin, Denasia, Kesse, Scott

Some of my favorite memories:  Disney, Deepak with Hannah, the Manasquan Offshore Grand Prix, grave hunting and NYC with C, starting the Hawks Hall of Honor, Yankees games, eating at Tom’s Diner, picking a quart of blueberries a day for about two weeks this summer from our bushes, getting the waves around my ankle, writing Boro Kids, starting SoulSEAker, getting tickets to see The Cure this June with some pretty awesome people, spending time with family and friends, Teacher of the Year celebrations, walks with Laura, laughing with Jen, And Then LIFE Happened, laughter in the Batcave, and any time spent with the 4 most special people in my life, my niece and nephews.

Here’s a short slideshow of memories made during my 44th year. Thank you to everyone who played a part, no matter how big or small, in my 44th year.  I will continue enjoying each day even more during my 45th year.  My 45 list is forthcoming…until then, I am going to enjoy celebrating the 20th anniversary of my 25th birthday.  This year will be like no other.  45 Alive…here I come!

 

Living 44: My Goal List, as published on February 13, 2015 – one day into my 44th year: There were a lot of great ideas about things to do during my 44th year, as suggested by friends, family, students, and colleagues.  This is my final Living 44 Goal List and notes about each goal.  I think I did pretty good.

1.  Go to Central Park and see Strawberry Fields. COMPLETED on 12/7/15.

2. Go to the State of Liberty and look out of the crown. COMPLETED on 8/12/15.

3.  Do 3 things I never did before.  COMPLETED! 1:  Meditation (March).  2: Yoga (June).  3:  Hear an author lecture (February-Deepak Chopra).

4.  Sit at the Inlet for a day and photograph all of the boats that come in and out.  COMPLETED on July 10, 2015!

5.  Get my passport stamped at least once, or have travel plans that will have it stamped in 2016.  KIND OF.  This one, so far, did not happen and I’m okay with it, since my husband and I went to Disney together in November, which was a surprise and time just for us.  Our trip meant more to me than seeing someplace needing a passport.  But wait…we DID have a passport for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.  SO I DID ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL!  🙂

6.  Go to a Yankees game:  COMPLETED on May 9, 2015!

7.  Go to Grounds for Sculpture.  This one did not happen, and I’m okay with it.  I have seen so many other new places this year in place of Grounds for Sculpture that I’m happy.  Perhaps I’ll make it there during my 45th year.

8.  Watch the fireworks on July 4th.    It’s been a long time since I have done this. COMPLETED on July 4, 2015!

9.  Watch a sunrise during each of the 4 seasons: COMPLETED!  Spring:  Completed on April 6, 2015.  Summer: Completed on August 2, 2015.  Autumn:  Completed on November 27, 2015.  Winter: Completed on January 26, 2016.

10.  See 3 new places a month.  95% COMPLETED!  New places for March: Ron Jon’s in LBI, Surf City 5 and 10, St. Stephen’s Publik House in Spring Lake.  New places for April:  Flatiron District in NYC, Strand Bookstore in NYC, Heritage Park in Allentown, NJ.  New Places for May:  The Record store in Howell, NJ, Yankee Stadium, D-Train Subway in NYC.  New Places for June:  Due to medical appointments, surgery, and recovery, I was unable to attain this goal for June; however, I did go to Six Flags Great Adventure on a school trip, and Jenkinson’s Aquarium and the rides with my nephew (awesome places, just not new places).  New Places for July: Turning Point, Shore Points BBQ, Lava Java, Cattus Island County Park, Atlantic City Aquarium, Absecon Lighthouse, Lucy the Elephant, Panda Express. New Places for August: Monmouth Battlefield, NJ Vietnam Memorial & Museum, Smithville, Topanemus Burying Ground, Middletown Church.  New Places for September:  Surf Taco (Manasquan), Winward Tavern, Crown & Anchor Tattoo.  New Places for October: Seaside Park Beach at 4 Street, Frightfest, Chowderfest.  New Places for November: Stroudsburg PA, Hot Dog Johnny’s, Chef Mickey’s.  New Places for December: Asbury Festhaus and Biergarten, Tom’s Restaurant, Central Park, Book Culture.  New Places for January: Marquee Cinemas, Monmouth University Polling Institute, RWJ Hospital, Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury (last 2 are due to husband’s surgery..lame, yes, but nonetheless are new places). February: Count Basie Theater, the Dublin House.

44 Thanks

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 1/30/2016

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Hello and welcome!  It’s been a long week here, digging out from last week’s blizzard and dealing with other factors of life that are a bit messy right now.  Today I am thankful to be able to finish writing several articles because I am under deadline, but I had a moment to share this week’s roundup of interesting links for you.  Once my articles are complete, I look forward to writing here more, and to putting my list of goals for my next birthday year together.  Have any ideas?  Please share!  Hope your day is a good one!

My List of 10 Things I Will Do While I’m 44 – 13 days left, then I am transitioning my “Living 44” site into SoulSEAker.  Any suggestions as to what should be on my big 45 list?  Please leave your ideas in the comments section.  Please remember that finances are very limited and that I have Lupus/Fibromyalgia (which are pretty active right now).

7 Positive Ways to Deal with Regret – perfect as my birthday is approaching.

“Mean” Joe Green and Coke Kid Reunite Almost 40 Years Later – I remember the original commercial very well.

Exactly The Right Words, Exactly The Right Way: Reagan’s Amazing Challenger Disaster Speech – We were home on a snow day and I remember seeing the explosion live on a grainy console television.

Mayim Meets a Human Rights Hero – I teach a George Orwell essay set in Burma (now Myanmar) and this is an excellent site from Mayim Bialik featuring a young person who is making a difference there.

How I Learned to Write Every Day – some good advice for fellow writers like me who have difficulty finding time to write

8 Things to Look For in “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” – contains spoilers, but hopefully you’ve seen it by now.

When Dreams Change: It’s Okay To Let Go And Move One – been there…

Feeling Sad?  Try These Quick Pick-Me-Ups – from Dani at Positively Present

and finally…

Susannah Conway’s new book “Londontown” is available for preorder!  And if you haven’t read her book “This I Know,” here’s a link for that book…it honestly changed my life and I am grateful to have stumbled across her work.  Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic is another book that had a very big influence on me.

Have a swell week my friend!

Until next time,

Jill

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 1/16/2016

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I think something interesting might happen today, simply based upon the date:  1/16/16.  Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m keeping an eye out for something different, something good.  It’s been another whirlwind of a week…gone by in the blink of an eye.  Hopefully, you’ll find some quiet time to check out this week’s batch of interesting links.  Sit back with a cup of coffee or tea, listen to your favorite music, and enjoy.

A new course and giveaway from one of my favorites, Susannah Conway

A Tribute to David Bowie – by Elizabeth Gilbert

What You Should Really Do in January – by Lesley Pyne

Are You Living Your Own Dream or Someone Else’s? – by Michael Hyatt

Forget New Year, New You! – by Mallika Chopra

How to Make 2016 Your Most Productive Year – by Samantha Sharf, about the Spark Planner.  I use 3 planners and Spark is my favorite so far.

ADAMJK Says it’s Going to Be OK (with FREE folding fortune teller .pdf file download, like we used when we were kids) – by Terri Stone

Danielle Laporte’s Fire Starter Sessions Free Audio Course

and finally…

The Many Faces of Alan Rickman – How to be a Villain – RIP Sir.  My all time favorite Alan Rickman character quote is, “Well, at least I didn’t use a spoon.” – from Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves

I hope your day is fantastic!

Until next time,

Jill

PS – Don’t forget…check out Susannah Conway’s new course and giveaway by clicking the image below:

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Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 1/2/2016

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Happy new year!  Today our tiny tree will be taken down and the holiday decorations will be stored for another year.  I like to write a little note to myself and put it in with the decorations, then next year I’ll unexpectedly find it.

Since it’s Saturday, here’s my list of interesting sites from the week, the first list for 2016.  It’s a little light, as many of my saved pages were holiday-themed so I will save them for next December. Here’s hoping you are already making progress on your goals for 2016…surprisingly, I am almost done with one of my goals already!

“On Legacy” from Artifact Uprising – Meet Joe

Writing the Words You Need To Hear – many will relate to this article by Margarita Tartakovsky

21 Things To Do By Yourself to Relax and Recharge

The Power of Kindness – one of my favorite posts by Susannah Conway from 2015

The 52 Week Money Challenge – I’m trying this again in 2016, and this time, I’m starting from the bottom.

A Happiness Jar for 2016 – from Elizabeth Gilbert

100 Things that made My Year – from Austin Kleon

47 Things I’ve Learned in my 40s – on target and true for any age

See you soon!

Jill

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 12/26/2015

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And just like that, it’s Christmas past.  I have been doing a lot of reflecting and preparing for the new year, anticipating great things and creating a vision for myself.  This week’s roundup of links include several sites to prepare for 2016, including my favorite from Susannah Conway.

In the coming week, I will be sharing my own reflections about 2015, as well as my word and vision for 2016.

I hope you have the chance to spend the last days of 2015 making memories with people you care about, and that your heart is filled with serenity, peace, and excitement for a new year.

Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead – 2016

Danielle Dowling’s “Make It Happen Yearly 2016”

Reflection Worksheet from Holstee

Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges – one a day for the new year

Journaling Exercise: End of Year Reflections

A Year With Rumi (not free but worth checking out)

Deepak Chopra’s Personal Goals for the New Year

If you ever doubt that you can make a difference, see what Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed, Rob Bell and Glennon Doyle Melton accomplished in less than 48 hours with The Compassion Collective…and why not make a small donation like I did?

You can never see too many Surfing Santas

The White Envelope – put this idea in your 2016 December “To Do” file!

2015 Highlights from Nomadic Pursuits

Xavi’s Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs recipe from my friend Keith over at The Kitchen Palatable

What makes a good life?  Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness – a Ted Talk from Robert Waldinger (thanks Cortland for sharing!)

2015 Best of Star Wars Light Show – worth the 5 minute watch! Awesome!

and finally,

Danielle LaPorte’s #Truthbomb App is free through 12/27/15 (tomorrow).  Get it now!

Looking forward to sharing my reflections and vision with you this week!

Until next time,

Jill

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 12/11/2015

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Hello friends!  This week was filled with laughter and memories, setting and reaching goals, and a little bit of stress along the way.  With only  3 weeks left in 2015, it is a great time to prepare for 2016.  Whether it is preparing a planner, finding your word, unraveling the year, or getting some new mittens, this week’s roundup of interesting links has something for everyone (hopefully!).  Enjoy!

Unraveling the Year 2016:  Susannah Conway’s free workbook is back and updated for 2016.  It’s a great way to reflect upon 2015 and prepare for the new year.  Also included on this page is the link to her Find Your Word for 2016 5-day email program.  I will be writing about my year for 2015 before year’s end, and having a word was more meaningful for me than having a new year’s resolution.

13 Ways to Slow Down this Christmas – from Hello Neverland’s Kenzie

12 Simple Ways to Spread Holiday Cheer – from Becoming Minimalist’s Joshua Becker

Seafoam & Salt – from Linda over at Spiritual Dragonfly

My Favorite 2016 Planners:

Passion Planner

SELF Journal

Spark Planner

Some fun items…

These Hand Warmers – And TheseAnd this dinosaur melts my heart

Some interesting news…

Century Old Shipwreck Unearthed Under NJ Jetty

Star Wars to put Skelligs on the map (and it’s only 5 days until the premiere! I’m going on Thursday 12/17 with my brother!)

Pandora to Launch Festivus Station (let the airing of grievances begin!)

and finally,

This is what 28,000 teddy bears on a hockey rink looks like (pretty awesome video)

Hoping today brings you some smiles!

Until next time,

Jill