I am not superstitious.  I don't believe in "signs".  But sometimes......

What I do believe in is my instinct that is coming from a Holy place within my soul.  It notices things.  I pulls at me.  It nudges me.  I trust this sacred gut feeling. I have learned to listen to this beautiful, mysterious, trustworthy gift.   As the new year started I didn't have to bend an ear to hear the message I was getting loud and clear......

I sell, create and ship hundreds of signs every year.  I have 122 signs for sale in my Etsy shop today.  On any given day the load of signs that I take to the UPS store for packaging and shipping are of a good variety.  Not today.

Today's shipment is the first 2 signs to head out the doors of the studio.  And they are the same sign?!?  

2 different buyers.
2 different choices of colors.
2 different font styles.
1 strong message. 



So as I got these signs today I was hit square on with the not-so-gentle message. This year I should focus on these 3 things!  

Be kind.
Be grateful.
Be brave.


But as I have thought about they feel very familiar and, to be honest, I feel like I already try pretty hard to do all of these things.  Then.....that sucker-punch-in-the-gut hit me again!  No silly....look at them in a different way.  Find a fresh point of view.  Duh. 

We each look at things in a different way.  One buyer's heart leaned toward the Seaside Blue color with a playful font.  The other buyer's heart was drawn to the bold Navy blue with the simple font. Both are good, both are beautiful....  But the meaning might be not be similar.  Kindness, gratitude and bravery might have a different definition for one person than the other person.  But sometimes it is good to focus on a totally different view than our heart's pull us toward.  This "Be Kind, Be Grateful, Be Brave" sign can have fresh meaning.....


So, for 2014 my plan is to zoom in on new facets of each of these and re-align my intentions........ Here goes!



I really do try to be kind.  Kindness matters folks!   I consider the "story" of the grocery store bagger and let it affect how patient I am.   I consider the commitment and intention of a teacher and let it guide me in communication with them about one of my kid's issues.  I notice the efforts and sacrifice of time of volunteers and let it direct my actions when showing appreciation.   

But guess what?  I fall WAY short to do the same for people in my own home.  I could think more about the kind of day my husband has had before I ask him to cut pine planks in the garage (when it is below freezing!!!).  Really?  I could empathize more with what I am pretty-sure-but-he-won't-open-up-and-tell-me stuff my middle school son is experiencing daily and just hug him when he gets home. (Even if it is awkward for an almost 13 year old...I am going in for the hug!!)  

I could be kinder....to those I love the most. 

Couldn't we all?



Now, you all know how I feel about gratitude!  It was, and IS, a life saving intentional practice for me that I will never give up.  So to think of a fresh approach to this is a challenge.....   I find it easy now to be grateful for the things I love about my life.  I have been able to shift my focus to the little things in life.  But I have never been able to be grateful for things I mess up on....or things that I don't like about myself.....or my body.....or......who I am....who I have been created to be.  If I showed myself the same gratitude that I do for others it might change everything.  I have always been such a firm believer in being humble that I think I have made myself into a woman who doesn't feel comfortable being appreciative of herself.  I need to be grateful for me.  I should be grateful for my double chin.  I could allow myself to be grateful for my fold of skin on my belly.  I should be compelled to be grateful for my head full of gray hair.  I ought to be grateful for my scatter-brained tendencies.  I could experience being grateful for the worst part of my heart....and then slowly change it. 

I could be more grateful for the most unfavorable things about who I am.

Couldn't we all?



I am not the bravest person.  I am actually quite a chicken.  I don't like roller coasters.  I hate heights.  I have a fear of falling off of a huge cliff.  I am a wuss.  So trying to "be brave" in the traditional sense is not something I think is really ever going to happen.  Nope.  Not ever.  Never.


But....I also am scared of being up in front of people, speaking in public and being vulnerable.  I would much rather hear about someone else's story... someone else's pain.... someone else's issues.  But by doing this I am holding out on the possibility of connection.  I am keeping people at a distance that is safe.  I am missing out on potentially helping someone else to learn something I have had to learn. 

This past month I already took a step toward being braver.  I attended a retreat with oodles of some of my favorite people....high school students.  (off on a quick tangent.... Seriously folks, some of these young people from this next generation are brilliant, smart, and will change things in this world BIG time!)  While at this retreat I was going to have to get up in front of ALL of them.... to speak... and tell my story.  I imagined ALL those beautiful eyes all staring at me....OH FOR THE LOVE...the pressure!  I was scared to death leading into the weekend.  But once at this peaceful retreat center, and given lots of times of quiet I was able to silence my messed up bundle of nerves and listen to that Holy place within my soul.  I felt peaceful.  I felt assured.  I felt loved.  I did it.  For about 40 minutes I spoke, taught, loved...and felt love.  This is the kind of bravery I need more of.  I need to allow myself to push aside the other voice that is filled with fear and listen carefully to the one that is pointing me toward places that others can learn from the mistakes I have made.  I need to be vulnerable. 

I could be more brave....not the roller coaster kind of brave....but the fulfill-a-purpose kind of brave.

Couldn't we all?


May you find new ways to be kinder to those who you normally reserve the worst side of yourself.
May you be grateful for the things you hate most about yourself.
May you be brave to then go out and share those things with others....
so we all don't feel alone in our mess. 
January 09, 2014 — Sarah Stevens


Darlene Kohn

Darlene Kohn said:

Sarah, You have such a way with words…it’s like we’re chatting over coffee. There is a reason you create beautiful signs..it is to help us all realize the meanings in the words of life, though they may change given the reader. Thank you for this uplifting blog today. I’ll be paying attention to these, hopefully more on the “gratitude” part.

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