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Why Our 2016 Summer Vacation Didn’t Suck

For a long time, I resented you and your family vacation. I didn’t really have a quintessential family growing up, think broken home and raised by wolves, and there were no vacations to be remembered. Your pictures of yearly fun at the seashore and by the lake house were just a reminder of my lack of a life like yours.

But then I created a chance for a Mulligan, a history do-over. One where I had my own family and my own kids. I knew that ever elusive family Summer vacation was one of those must-haves for my children as well as for me to heal and begin again.

Fast forward a few more years and we have just returned from our 2016 Summer beach vacation. It was a pretty big hit for the littles and big both.

Mark and I were in a chillaxing mode on the way out-of-town. We’d both gotten our homework done and were ready to just unplug. That set the tone for all of our unrushed choices for the next three days. The meals, the unlimited cartoon cable network watching, And the swimming swimming swimming all the time time time.

I wasn’t blogging yet I wanted to have an outlet to do something creative for me, so I told and posted our unfolding story on my Instagram feed. If you are not a social media user or an IG follower, I have included those posts from our beach visit in the order I posted them so that you can feel caught up. It’ll make you feel like you are there with us. Almost.

Just so you understand how special our time here at the beach is for me, I didn't get vacations as I kid. I barely got a childhood. And although I've risen like a Phoenix from those ashes, it means more than the beautiful Solstice moon to me that my children have this memory. And that my husband and I can weave it for them with calmness, good humor, no anxiety, and generosity to ourselves and them. Driving here I said to Mark, "Imagine what it would be like to have someone anticipate your every physical and comfort need. That someone cared enough to get your favorite things for you at the store and cheer you on at every endeavour." He said Yeah, Wow, and I said ,"When you grow up, that person is you. You are your own parent. Whether you are a good one or a bad one depends on how you value your inner child.". You know what she loves, when she needs firm comfort, and when she needs a pass. Be a great parent to yourself and you will reward yourself with trust. Love to all of you who wished us well on our vacation. You are dear to me, each and every one of you. #OceanCityMaryland #fionamariepeach #poolside #atthebeach #taleswithfriends #Soul_selfie

A post shared by Shalagh Hogan (@shalaghhogan) on

Here’s to hoping for the same fun vacation next year for these kids and for their parents who deserve a break too. There’s nothing wrong with knowing where you’ll be, what you’ll be eating, or where the best arcade games are. And it’s fun to discover new stuff every year.We found there was a sushi place nearby and a Chinese carry out that had Indian Food ! And although they built a Starbucks across the street from our hotel, we still had our traditional Dunkin’ Donuts’ morning coffees courtesy of my early bird husband. Such predictable goodness!

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

My Spring Soul Selfie Instagram Challenge

I have been a bit quiet on the keyboard for the past couple days. My brain exhausted and mulling over this past week’s Spring Soul Selfie Instagram challenge I hosted. Which is to say I came up with the hashtag #soul_selfie, created 7 days of prompts, and asked that people join in and post a picture and talk about their interpretation of the words in a deeper more meaningful way. And let me say that the results and participation blew my mind.Join Me For One Week Of Soul Selfies

Kylie's bluebells on Shalavee.com

I was sincerely nervous about leading something. I had mulled it over and knew that I love to dig a little deeper into my soul’s answers and hoped maybe other people might. I only slightly trusted that there were a few people who would join me who liked me and maybe pitied me. The turnout and results far exceeded my expectations.I will bloom Helen's photo

After sending out a private “pep-me-up-please” message to some friends, I dared to claim my intentions and I posted a challenge announcement. And suddenly people were saying “Yes” they would join. This was a seven-day commitment to post daily and read others’ posts but when I built it, they came.babzwrld's window on Shalavee.com

Claire Love

They shared amazing insights and powerful memories. They shared sadnesses and gratitudes. They shared wonders and grief. And I was possessed by such a feeling of calm. This was exactly where I had wanted to be, reading and sharing and commenting on the marvelous words and thoughts of all these people.Graciel the souls in bloom's horse Oreo on Shalavee.com

Delicia's picture on Shalavee.com

I am immensely grateful that these near 30 lovely people were there for me when I stuck my neck out to do this. By the last day, my soul was filled to the brim. I read and took in their gratitude and just sat with it all quietly for a couple of days.

The things you fear most are in fact those things you really must get done. And once you allow for the first action, it will all fall into place.

I am extremely humbled that these marvelous men and women thought well enough of me to join in and I thoroughly enjoyed and was grateful for everything they offered. So much love goes to those people who validated so many parts of me. I was rendered speechless. Until next challenge.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

A Weekly Round-up and A Picture Challenge

Saying Goodbye this week to our daycare provider Miss Tara as she is moving on to a better means of employment and way less hassle for her life. Fiona has been there a while and I know she will miss being a part of her family.Miss Tara's Treehouse and company on Shalavee.com

We are also losing our girl Caitlin who needs to spread her wings and see the world. She’ll be moving away before June hits. Sadness and happiness for these beloveds.Caitlin is flying to a new nest on Shalavee.com

Hung out with my best gal Mary Beth whose career as an estotiscian, make-up artist, and permanent tatoo artist is going very well. Her shop looks amazing and we enjoyed catching up and getting our toes done together.MB's Eastern Shore Permanaent Makeup space on Shalavee.com

MB and her Eastern Shore Permanaent Makeup space on Shalavee.com

Me and MB on Shalavee.com

And Mother’s Day was truly lovely this year. Our mothers came and we ate, sat out and enjoyed a fire pit and s’mores.

The grandmothers on Mother's Day on Shalavee.com

Mother's day firepit on shalavee.com

Marshmellow batons on Shalavee.com

And I got my dining-out breakfast, thrift shopping, and the children got a bit of playground time.

playground time for mother's day on shalavee.com

And in trying to do things outside of my comfort zone, on Monday I’ll be hosting a picture challenge on Instagram

inspired by my prompt “Soul Selfie”.

Join Me For One Week Of Soul Selfies on Shalavee.com

I want to host a way to tell and share stories that people may not know about us and connect in that way that feels more real.

Join me on Instagram to hear the stories and share your own.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Pump Up My Platform

You may or may not know, I offered up a proposal to teach a class on Creating an Author’s Platform. And the moment I did this I thought, “Girl you better start pumping up your own platform so you look like you are all-knowing all-seeing platform girl.” A few elements an author’s platform encompasses are social media, your personality, other projects and places you are engaging with and being published, and who you know. I’ve blogged and been online steadily for four years. I have learned a tremendous amount about social media, gathering a tribe, and all things online etiquette-y. But one of the areas I pale in is self-promotion. This is a particularly dreadful area for many of us artistic types, especially women.


Self-promotion is a tricky concept as we don’t want to appear demanding or egotistical. And so we err on the side of not saying anything as opposed to coming off as this. Except, as Jeff Goins, online writer and marketing guru points out, you are even more egotistical if you expect people to come and read or appreciate your artistic efforts if you’ve said nothing. Unrealistic, to say the least, and sort of mean to yourself.

platform on shalavee.com

If you are feeling wobbly about what you have to offer, the trick is to figure out how you can make it look like you think you’re good enough (while you honestly try to feel it) so that others think you are too. Everyone wants to support a winner, my friend’s Mom says. If I’m a publishing house, I will want to represent a writer who has already started their promotional work. So you have to say things like,

Please Read and Share my Writing

That is tougher than it seems. But if it were a friend’s piece who I adored, I’d say excitedly, “You reaally need to put your eyes on this. My girl has wisdom in spades and has helped me countless times to figure my way out of tough spots and find hope and a plan where I didn’t think there was one.” Or something equally lovely. So you see, I’m attempting to move myself out of the 120 subscriber rut (oops look at that, it’s now 119) I’ve apparently stalled in. If you love what I have to say, subscribe to my posts please. Makes all this effort a little more worthwhile. platform on shalavee.com

Meanwhile, I am planning an Instagram picture challenge beginning May 16th, 2016. I am cooking up a bonus offering for people who sign up to receive my blog posts in their inboxes. And am considering offering a single email delivery a week option that encompasses all three weekly posts. Is that something Y’all might be interested in? Might just start it up and see what happens.


Meanwhile, I’m exchanging interviews with lovely artist Mama Megan Gray, I am finishing up my Book Manifesto course now so that I understand in-depth what I really want to offer my readership, and I will be sending out writing submissions again sooner than later because that’s what I need to do to gain Klout! More art, more fun, more time, all would be nice yes. And here comes Summer! Sigh.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Reflection : The Knowing Equals the Going

I needed to write these words to a friend on Instagram today. I needed to hear myself say them. I started with a quote that keeps returning to my brain.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” –Anais Nin–

Reflection on Shalavee.com

This is where I’ve felt I’ve been for a long time. Gaining momentum and brilliance and then putting it into check. Questioning why, refusing to answer myself or focus or aspire. All in response to the perfectly respectable “But” kind of reasons. I’m tired of the paralysis. Because when I decide, I’m gone Daddy gone. But while I’m idling here, all I see is the work others are making happen. The knowing equals the going.”

I’m in a mood to move and to mull. Today on one of two Instagram picture challenges I’m involved in, I was prompted by the word Reflect. I’ve done this my whole life but specifically this past week I’m narrowing in on my Why. Considering and writing out why I need to become more professional at some of what I do. This is what I wrote, “Today I thought a lot about what I’m here to do. I’ve pondered purpose, querying my Why, recognizing that I can no longer stay where I am in this weird stasis of not claiming me. This art challenge, and a webinar on email list strategies I watched yesterday, are showing me some truths I can’t deny. Fortune favors the Bold …with talent and a plan. I finally feel I’ve proven I’m a talented WRITER, I’m reminding myself I’m an ARTIST, and I’d like to be inspiring more people than I am. So soon, I will ask for your support. So I can continue my hard work and with reinvigorated redirected purpose. Love to each one of you !!! “

Reflection on Shalavee.com

The other challenge is the collage a day one and has me proving once and for all that I can stand there and pull art out of my butt. I am a creative who needs to create daily. And although I do that with many other mediums every day, real arting mediums are very satisfying.

Feeling very proactive yesterday, that workshop on increasing my email list I listened to taxed the other side of the brain. After taking copious notes, I realized it really isn’t that hard to increase my subscribers. The difficulty and what’s holding me back has been in figuring out why I would want to ask people to subscribe. That I have to claim my worth to ask for people to like it. To like me. Or to reject me.

And then I am given an answer for my why by this quote offered to me by a random but wise and lovely reader in a comment to my post on Instagram. The quote is by Marianne Williamson. I have read it before but today it means more.Reflection on Shalavee.com

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Marianne Williamson—

That finding our purpose, our dharma, our nature, and meaning for existence will bring us such peace and contentment, is one of those life lessons and goals that they don’t teach us in school.  Yet scrutinizing our reflection in our future is the one thing that can make the difference between wandering around unhappily asking people to tell you who you are and making room for yourself in places that make you mostly happy. I’m all for working hard but getting pointed in the right direction helps. Thank you friends and Universe. I’ll try to be more patient and nice to myself.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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