Why I Need a Word for the Year

My word for the year is more of a phrase…probably even more of a mission statement.  Back in January I chose, ‘Stay-the-Course’.  It serves as a compass that orients me and keeps me pointed in the right direction.  Now that it is September, January is a distant memory and I wonder on the impact of this word. 

 

Stay-the-Course in what?!?
Where have I Stayed-the-Course over the year? 

What does it mean to Stay-the-Course in my marriage?
With my kids?  In my work relationships?  With my family?
With my friends? 


I am learning what it means to truly invest in meaningful relationships.  What needs to be said.  What needs to be forgiven.  What needs to be learned.  What needs to be offered grace.  What simply just needs to be enjoyed.  In choosing my word/phrase for the year, I didn’t know where I would need it or how it would play out.  But ‘Staying-the-Course’ significantly influenced who I am and who I am choosing to become in these areas:

  • Loving extravagantly
  • Trusting steadily
  • Hoping unswervingly

 staythecourse

I wish I could say I have always done it well, but alas… (just ask those who have the pleasure of living with me).  However, this focus has served me well for 2016 and supported me in living my journey with more clarity.  It has forced me to evaluate my authentic presence.  Will those I proclaim to care about truly experience me loving well, trusting steadily, and hoping unswervingly?  I hope so.  Being completely honest, am I offering the full presence of who I am or am I holding back?  (Yep, I have a tendency to hold back just to avoid the effort and the work required to step into a relationship…can anyone relate?)

Saying goodbye to my father this past year has offered new perspective.  Life is fast…life is fragile…and life is short.  We need clarity on what grounds us and holds us accountable in living our fast, fragile, short lives.  It is grounding to hold a value in front of us and remember that we too will pass one day.  How will we leave the relationships we have loved?  Experiencing the death of a loved one and entering into the second half of my life is forcing me to take stock of what really matters.  For me, it has all come down to relationships.  Yes, this focus has certainly revealed limitations and growth areas (sometimes painfully so)…but it has also grown my clarity on core values and made it all worth it.

My challenge:  Stay-the-Course on who you are choosing to become and what you value.  In the end, I believe it all comes down to a faithful consistent presence in how we relate to people….the new relationships and the old. 


Let’s step into Fall with Clarity….Confidence…and Courage, my friends.  If you haven’t chosen your word or phrase it’s not too late.  Grab onto what anchors you and keeps you moving steadily in the right direction.

 My heart is with you and for you,

wish I could say I have always done it well, but alas… (just ask those who have the pleasure of living with me).  However, this focus has served me well for 2016 and supported me in living my journey with more clarity.  It has forced me to evaluate my authentic presence.  Will those I proclaim to care about truly experience me loving well, trusting steadily, and hoping unswervingly?  I hope so.  Being completely honest, am I offering the full presence of who I am or am I holding back?  (Yep, I have a tendency to hold back just to avoid the effort and the work required to step into a relationship…can anyone relate?)

Saying goodbye to my father this past year has offered new perspective.  Life is fast…life is fragile…and life is short.  We need clarity on what grounds us and holds us accountable in living our fast, fragile, short lives.  It is grounding to hold a value in front of us and remember that we too will pass one day.  How will we leave the relationships we have loved?  Experiencing the death of a loved one and entering into the second half of my life is forcing me to take stock of what really matters.  For me, it has all come down to relationships.  Yes, this focus has certainly revealed limitations and growth areas (sometimes painfully so)…but it has also grown my clarity on core values and made it all worth it.

My challenge:  Stay-the-Course on who you are choosing to become and what you value.  In the end, I believe it all comes down to a faithful consistent presence in how we relate to people….the new relationships and the old. 


Let’s step into Fall with Clarity….Confidence…and Courage, my friends.  If you haven’t chosen your word or phrase it’s not too late.  Grab onto what anchors you and keeps you moving steadily in the right direction.

 My heart is with you and for you,

I wish I could say I have always done it well, but alas… (just ask those who have the pleasure of living with me).  However, this focus has served me well for 2016 and supported me in living my journey with more clarity.  It has forced me to evaluate my authentic presence.  Will those I proclaim to care about truly experience me loving well, trusting steadily, and hoping unswervingly?  I hope so.  Being completely honest, am I offering the full presence of who I am or am I holding back?  (Yep, I have a tendency to hold back just to avoid the effort and the work required to step into a relationship…can anyone relate?)

Saying goodbye to my father this past year has offered new perspective.  Life is fast…life is fragile…and life is short.  We need clarity on what grounds us and holds us accountable in living our fast, fragile, short lives.  It is grounding to hold a value in front of us and remember that we too will pass one day.  How will we leave the relationships we have loved?  Experiencing the death of a loved one and entering into the second half of my life is forcing me to take stock of what really matters.  For me, it has all come down to relationships.  Yes, this focus has certainly revealed limitations and growth areas (sometimes painfully so)…but it has also grown my clarity on core values and made it all worth it.

My challenge:  Stay-the-Course on who you are choosing to become and what you value.  In the end, I believe it all comes down to a faithful consistent presence in how we relate to people….the new relationships and the old. 


Let’s step into Fall with Clarity….Confidence…and Courage, my friends.  If you haven’t chosen your word or phrase it’s not too late.  Grab onto what anchors you and keeps you moving steadily in the right direction.

 My heart is with you and for you,

Heather

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Hitting the Summer Refresh Button: 3 ReaSons to PLaY HaRd!

How do we show up well in our relationships?  The most essential intention we can activate is learning the art of checking in with our heart.  Many of us must resist the urge to live ‘yanking our hearts around by the bootstraps’ and pushing through life on an adrenaline rush.  (….She says with 3 fingers pointing back….).

Summertime has become my time to slow down and hit the refresh button….

and playtime is essential to my heart.

IMG_5897 Play1 Play2 Play3 IMG_5898 IMG_5899

That’s what the Summer is about in the Penny household.  From vacations that include camping, exotic trips, and new adventures….to firework shows, BBQs, pool parties with friends, and Friday Family Fun Nite….we are being intentional about playing.

So, here’s what I experience as I take the time to play and give myself permission to deviate from the daily grind….

  1. Creativity flows
  2. Relationships flourish
  3. New perspective is gained

Isn’t it worth it?!?  For someone who likes to be productive and see high results, it has been inspiring to see the impact of Summer Playtime.

Taking the time to slow down and check in with one another in fun ways creates new space for higher levels of connection and intimacy.   This is why Summer has become my “refresh button”.

I get to check in with the state of my heart, which in turn allows me to honor my relationships better.   I want to offer my best as a mother, educator, wife, coach, sister, daughter, and friend.

So what’s your story?   How are you playing hard this Summer?  And what are you experiencing as you hit your own Summer refresh button?

My heart is with you and FOR you….Play on!!!

~Heather

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ringing in the new year!

when you make a choice to launch a business with 3 of your favorite friends and all 4 of you are women, you know that you are saying yes to many things. yes to challenge, growth, emotions (highs and lows and all of the mess in between). a big fat yes to a message you believe in and people you admire! yes to beautiful energy, vulnerability, honoring people for who they are and where they are at, loving unconditionally…

yes to holding the tensions as heather would say.

and that is not always an easy undertaking. BUT, it has been worth.every.moment. which brings me to my biggest take away from 2014. something that i would not have learned about life or myself without those beautiful dreamers by my side.

when i am working on anything and i start to get flustered with the process or start asking myself, “am i crazy?” i have learned that i feel that way because what i’m doing is not staying aligned with my core values. for example, if one of my core values is adventure, but i’m saying yes to too many opportunities that keep me behind my computer screen, i start to feel burnt out and resentful. however, if i’m intentional about making space for adventure, i am saying yes to feeling energized and inspired instead.

when i keep this lesson in mind, it helps me use my strengths to support the people around me. so, just before heading into the new year, i asked the arise&be girls to let me know what their top three core values are for 2015. they took things a step further and let me know what their top three business focuses are as well. i loved this exercise because i feel like it gives me specific points to check in with each of them on. my hope is that it helps me support them in the way they each need it most. plus, when things start to feel hectic, we are able to take a step back and evaluate if the “busy” really aligns with what matters most to each of us. i also love that it was a simple exercise that you can do with any of the important people in your life.

here is a quick look at my goals for the year ahead:

corevalue

we’d love for you to join us and keep things simple for your 2015 plans. you can download the form we used here:

share with people you love or put this up for a visual check in for yourself throughout the year. the quote included at the top are words from a wise and dear friend, natalie norton. make a plan. keep it simple. work your plan. i’ll be choosing to say yes to that a lot more in the next 12 months.

cheers to you and 2015!

Meredith

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Am I Enjoying Life?

What a ride 2014 has been! With the launch of Arise&Be and the incredible growth we witnessed, I think of my word for the year — ENJOY — and I realized how during this incredible journey of stepping outside my comfort zone, I experienced joy like I never had before. I think of it like the roller coaster that terrifies you and thrills you all at the same time and even though you want it to be over…you find yourself back in line for another ride.

enjoy

I came to learn how joy has many faces…and being uncomfortable for the sake of creating a larger life to engage in an adventure of a lifetime…does bring joy.  Even when you’re risking like you’ve never done before.

More specifically, I witnessed how joy is manifested and how it can be so elusive…so unexpected…so unplanned…so surprisingly authentic.  Honestly, I’m still trying to understand my journey with ‘Enjoy’.    But what I observed most about joy was how it is often stolen…and how I allow it.

For instance, when I kept my focus on ‘What I am Doing versus Who I am Becoming’, I lost my compass and I’d find myself anxious, frustrated and restless.  It was easy to compare my achievements with others (which we all know zaps the very joy out of anything and conjures the green-eyed monster of jealousy) and I strived more with less results.

I found that as I switched my gaze toward ‘Who I am Becoming’ such as being a person who offers peace and love, it empowered me to return to my life path as it simultaneously engaged my compass for next steps.  I stepped into conversations better, declined invitations that didn’t align with my values, and initiated steps toward inspiring goals.  And I felt myself exhale with a ‘there you are, Heather’ sense of well-being.  Peace with myself and the life I was choosing was restored.

enjoy

As I end 2014, I realize I have only scratched the surface of enjoying life.  I want more.  So, for 2015, I’m engaging this word again with the phrase, PRECIOUS PRESENT, to remind me how staying fully present with my life keeps me enjoying what’s right in front of me.

My heart is for you as you engage more joy in your life for 2015.

With warm thoughts,
h

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“Finding your Bliss” Retreat September 2014

The day dawned bright and clear…  and our team was ‘over the moon’ excited about what the day would hold and the women we would get to meet.  Months of planning, dreaming and being inspired lead up to this moment and our team was truly feeling the beauty this day would hold.

The location: The gorgeous Wilson Vineyards, located in Clarksburg, a rustic barn.

The weather: Blue skies, gentle breezes and 100 degree heat.  (Thank goodness for fans!!)

The woman: Authentic woman that showed up ready to step into their best life.

The message: Find your Bliss.

The day began with our own personal barista Lexi, who prepared gourmet coffee and tea for each of us.  Followed by gentle music played by the wonderful Julie and Kathy. Heather led us in an art experience that engaged the rights side of our brain.  All we needed was  Paper… Sharpies… Oil pastels… and our smudgy fingers. 🙂  Fun Fun…

Then we explored the meaning of the word ‘Bliss’…  Not the light and fluffy feelings around it  BUT how it actually goes so much deeper.  Bliss is about intentional living.  About asking kind questions that move us into a life we want.  Bliss is about listening to what is being whispered to us… Relating to what supports our unique journey… Nurturing who we are and who we are becoming…  Bliss is living confidently… Honoring the truth we will hear in the journey… Bliss is about inviting love in to guide and transform you.

The day was filled with story-telling, creating bliss books, laughter, tears, growth, space within time, beautiful sharing, quiet moments and moving classical music and new friendships.

We asked each member of our team what their favorite part of the day was:

“I loved how the beauty of our environment complimented the beauty of our guests and the conversations we had. I enjoyed seeing their inner beauty so clearly reflected in the bliss books, their art, and their responses to our discussions.” – Heather

“My favorite part of the day was getting to engage with each of the amazing woman that attended.  I am always drawn to the fact that we are all so diverse and unique… and yet, when we share some of the deepest part of our hearts, we come to realize we have the same longings and needs. The same desires to be heard and valued.   I felt absolutely honored to be on this journey with each of them.  Making new friends in such an authentic way was AWESOME!”  – Sharon

“There was a moment toward the end of the retreat where I could see fresh air hit each woman’s heart as they breathed in the energy of the day. I get so excited for each of them as I think about what is ahead… I know their lives will transform so beautifully because they have been intentional about taking a day for themselves. It’s just the beginning, but it’s such an important step. It’s an awesome thing to be able to reflect back to each woman what a worthy investment she is!“ – Meredith

“I can’t stop thinking about the energy that was felt in the room throughout the day.  I am in awe with what is created when you have a room full of women that are all there with the same purpose, the same intention, the same openness and desire to invite goodness into their lives. To try and describe it in words is difficult because it was a feeling that filled our souls, and lifted our spirits.  I guess if I had to narrow it down to three words it would be peace, comfort and joy.  I feel so honored to have connected with each and every woman that came and enjoyed the day with us!  So excited for the next one!  Hugs!“ – Michaela

Thanks to each of the  amazing woman that joined us.  Crystal, Luna, Jennifer, Michelle, Shelley, Kathy, Julie, Lexi, Margo, Erin, Melinda, Mary and Catriona, you each inspired us.  Thank you for sharing this day with us, and for being willing to step into brave and engage better in the life you want.

The Arise & Be Team

team

and here are some thoughts from retreat attendants:

“The reminder that I need to take the time to be intentional in nurturing my heart was so important to me.”

“It was beautiful. My soul is more at peace now and has the space to breathe.” – Michelle

“Hearing words put to my deepest emotions via other women’s voices was most significant about this experience.” – Shelley

“You can’t drive a car with an empty tank and today filled my tank to overflowing. It made me realize the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual need to make the time to do this on a regular basis.” – Melinda

“The power of being in a room with so many beautiful women had such an impact on me.” – Michelle

group

Such a stunning group of beautiful, open spirits! xoxo!

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anticipating greatness

as a team, words hold such power for us. many of our conversations center around a single word. it’s helps us define where we are at in our journey and lead us to a space of clarity. it challenges our heart, mind and spirit.

we have adventured across the country to attend a team-building conference and as we come together the night before we are embracing the word ANTICIPATION. for us it is the hope of all things to come… an open stance… the ability of our hearts to take on our journey regardless of struggle, celebration, failure or success.

with that in mind, here’s a look at what is on our mind and in our hearts as we approach tomorrow:

heather…
i am anticipating confirmation for arise&be and myself. i’m so excited about what we get to offer. i’m ready to be confirmed in what i offer and how we offer it as a team. i am opening myself to new vision. after intentionally moving out in new ways through the last five years, i’m so ready for what’s next.

sharon…

i am anticipating truth. i know that each participant was intentional about being here. i’m so looking forward to being in a room with truth-tellers and enjoying the moments of genuine connection. i’m also anticipating clarity as i keep moving forward on my journey.

michaela…
i’m walking into this experience with an open heart. i don’t know what to expect, but i have the faith that i will walk away having experienced awesomeness. i’m looking forward to meeting people with the same energy and spirit.

meredith…
i’m anticipating love and the gift of time. this is such a worthy investment. i know that we are all deserving of this experience and i am excited to see who i cross paths with. i know that i will walk into this and meet exactly the people i need to meet. i truly cherish the opportunity to honor others and their stories.

amber…
i am anticipating clarity. i’m in a place where i have done the hard work to build the foundation for my business and i’m looking forward to what’s next. i’m excited to meet other business people and learn about the process they’ve been through. i’ve also planned many events in the past, so i cannot wait to simply enjoy the next two days and release the responsibility of the details.

a big thank you to all of our loved ones holding down the fort at home. your faith in each of us is beautiful. wish us luck!!!

xoxo.
-mer

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