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A new opportunity at The Creative Mama

I’ll tell you what… I do believe that the 31 day blogging marathon did me in! I have now been away for more than 31 days and am very much looking forward to more actively blogging on this, my personal blog!

the creative mama

I have been blessed with an incredible opportunity. I am the new owner and editor of The Creative Mama blog.  I have read The Creative Mama blog since just after its inception in 2009 by Angie Warren. I LOVE The Creative Mama. It has been a source of inspiration to me, and I must say that the former owners, Bree Hester and Stacey Woods have been like mentors to me; Bree with her blogging and business sense and Stacey with her photography and accompanying heartfelt words.  I will never be able to adequately thank these kind and generous ladies for trusting me with something that has meant so much to them.

So, since mid-November I have been busy, busy learning the ropes of blog management. I’ve been studying and trial-and-erroring all sorts of related tasks. My mindset shifted from… “what can I do to build up my personal blog?” to “oh my gosh, I have the blog of my dreams, now what am I going to do with it!?”  I have so many ideas, and I have the best team of writers who have ideas of their own.  I’m nothing but excited to see where this road leads and to see how many women The Creative Mama will encourage and inspire. Of course, that encouragement and inspiration goes both ways… so an incredible blessing, to say the least.

So with much time and energy being given to TCM now, I look at a new question… “What do I do with my personal blog?”  The glorious answer is… get back to blogging about my family which is why “Once Upon a Chocolate Chip Pancake” began in the first place.  I’ll be sharing lots of personal insights and some creative ideas along the way too, but I really look forward to doing a better job at documenting my family life.

I welcome you to  join me here or there.  I’m happy to have you anywhere… in a box, or with a fox…;)

I feel very happy right now about both the opportunity to write at “the big blog” and to get back to the basics here on my “little blog.”

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me along the way!

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Positive Thinking Rocks! Day 31

Day 31, the final day of the Positive Thinking series, has arrived. Nevermind that it took me 36 days to get here (and a tiny bit of stretching things along the way.) Afterall, that’s life, right? You do the best you can, you stumble here and there, but you get back up and keep moving toward the finish line. Just think of all the stories you’ve heard about that one determined racer who crossed the line after all the other contestants had gone home. You bet their supports clapped just as loudly for their victory as for those who won medals. We are not in competition with each other. This life is about doing our personal best.

And I have LOVED writing this series on positive thinking as it has certainly helped me improve myself in an area in which I claim no strengths. Over the past few weeks as I got my gratitude journal underway, learned from resilient people who have endured suffering, reminded myself of my worth, and sought the advice of someone I admire for her positivity… my heart has been enlarged and lightened at the same time.

After a couple of weeks of working on this new habit of positive thinking, I noticed a change in the way I felt. I found myself looking forward to the opportunities that came with each new day and felt very aware of and content with my blessings. I did have a bit of a relapse after week three… I spent a few days being tired and overwhelmed and thought— “hey, this is my old habit what is it doing back?” I realized, in normal to regress from time to time, but when we see ourselves slipping, we have the opportunity to recommit to happier, healthier ways. So I looked at what I was doing (or not doing so well) and picked it up again. No problem. Just as God extends much mercy to us, we can do the same for ourselves.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey. I know it has helped me identify some practices that will help me look on the bright side of things and be grateful for all that I have. I’m sure this is a subject I will revisit again and again. Thanks so much for being here with me. I wish you a grateful heart and a positive mind!

For the introduction and list of daily topics for my project, 31 Days of Positive Thinking, go here.

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November 5, 2013 - 1:52 pm

inspiring interview with courtney crozier! day 30 » CG Dickson Photography - [...] Continue to Day 31, Positive Thinking Rocks! [...]

inspiring interview with courtney crozier! day 30

courtney crozier, cg dickosn the blog
Eeeek! This is such an exciting honor… getting to ask Courtney Crozier, (one of the most positive people on the planet,)a few questions about the extraodinary quality she has to focus on the bright side of life. Tens of thousands of people fell in love with Courtney when she was a contestant on the popular weight loss themed reality show The Biggest Loser. (Go Aqua!) These fans continue to follow her journey today, and I am proud to be one of them!

For the few who might be meeting Courtney for the first time, The Biggest Loser Season 11 viewers were instantly intrigued with her amazing story of losing more than 100 pounds before going on the show. Having gone through a portion of her weight loss journey already, I believe Courtney brought with her something that the other contestants were still looking for (as most of them were just beginning.) That something was a sparkle in her eye that told the world that she believed in herself, she liked who she was, and she was willing to work hard for a healthier lifestyle no matter despite any obstacles.

I am so grateful that Courtney had the opportunity to reach a large audience through television, and that she remains committed to paying it forward every day. The end of her season on BL was only the beginning of her influence on sooooo many people. Courtney continually encourages others through social media, guest speaking and interviews, and health promoting events all over the country. You can keep up with this powerhouse via facebook, twitter and instagram. She’s awesome!

Let’s jump into the interview:

Clair- Courtney, You are known for your radiant personality and positive outlook on life. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
Courtney- Well thank you for saying that!:)I have SO many favorite quotes and mantras it is hard to choose just one! But something that I really do live by is that happiness is a choice! I truly believe this. I also believe that if you BELIEVE you can do something, then you can. The only time I’ve ever been held back for something in life is if I told myself I couldn’t do it. Every time I’ve believed in myself 100%, I have done it. I also always tell myself that no matter what comes my way, as long as I pick myself back up and keep fighting that is what matters most. Fall down 7 times, get up 8…always!

Clair- When you were at your most unhealthy weight, how did you gather the courage to begin making changes? Who or what had a positive influence on you?
Courtney- I have to tell you, for a long time I just did NOT get it. I just did not WANT it bad enough. As I said before, I had to believe it and I didn’t for a long time. It was my 21st birthday that I decided I had to make a change. I wasn’t happy when I was out celebrating with all of my friends and family. I mean, who isn’t happy and having fun on their 21st? I wasn’t allowing myself to because I was so unhappy with my weight but mostly my health. It was that night I told my mom I had to start making small changes and do it. I have not looked back a day since!! I think sometimes you have to get to that low point to truly see how much you are self sabotaging. When I realized it was all on me, I started changing. My family and friends truly helped me embrace my change by going to the gym with me or going on walks and also eating healthy with me so I didn’t feel alone in it. I have been truly blessed to have great people in my life. Even when I was around people who weren’t necessarily living a healthy lifestyle, I was confident in myself that I could be strong and I planned for any out of the ordinary situations like parties. I would pack my own food with no excuses. I still do the same today. This truly is a lifestyle. You just have to make it that way!

Clair- Did you go through a period where you had to forgive yourself for the poor choices of the past? How did you let go of the old and welcome the new?
Courtney- I struggle every single day. I did go through a small point where I had to forgive myself of the past, but I took one split second to change my mind and move forward and not look back. I also make poor choices today (it is part of life) and I have learned that holding a grudge against myself only makes it worse. Instead, I learn from those mistakes, realize that everyone struggles, and pick myself back up and make the next choice a better one. It’s all about balance. When you have a strong foundation, even if you go off track a little, you can be balanced again. It’s just about finding that!

Clair- Is there any additional advice you would like to leave with us?
Courtney- For anyone on a weight loss journey…just remember that it is just that. A journey. It is NOT going to be easy and there will ALWAYS be ups and down!!! If you have a slip up or two, don’t hold a grudge. Keep moving forward and never look back. As I always say…it is going to take a while to change your body, but it takes one split second to change your mind!!! Even if you have to change your mind about a choice you are about to make 30 times a day, just do it. Also, remember that attitude is EVERYTHING and if you stay positive, you’ll ultimately bring positivity back to you in your life. There will be haters along the way that come from pure jealousy of what good things you are doing in your life that they aren’t allowing themselves to do, so they try to bring you down. Don’t let them. Only you create the life you live…no one else!!!

What did I tell you?! Inspiring! A huge heartfelt thank you to Courtney Crozier for letting us feel of her optimism and learn positivitiy from such a determined and caring person!

courtney crozier quote, cg dickson the blog

Invitation: Follow Courtney on your favorite social media (facebook, twitter or instagram) and continue to be inspired by her!

Continue to Day 31, Positive Thinking Rocks!

For the introduction and list of daily topics for my project, 31 Days of Positive Thinking, go here.

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November 5, 2013 - 11:54 am

31 days of positive thinking, day 1 » CG Dickson Photography - [...] 31 Days of Positive Thinking, Day 1, Introduction (you are here) Day 2, Gratitude Journal Day 3, My Favorite Quote Day 4, My Motivation Day 5, Balance Day 6, Thanks for the Ordinary Day 7, Turning a Negative into a Positive Day 8, Gratitude in Trials Day 9, Attitude Day 10, Gratitude: 5 Family Projects Day 11, Positive Thinking with an Anxiety Disorder Days 12-18, 7 Ways to Boost Your Mood Day 19, Be Kind to Yourself Day 20, Self-Affirmations Day 21, I am… Day 22, You Are Enough Day 23, Forgive Yourself Day 24, Don’t Compare Yourself to Others Day 25, Thankful… get your kids talking Days 26 and 27, Feel Good Music Playlists Day 27, FHE Lesson on Positive Thinking and Our Thankful Tree Day 29, Saying Thank You [Thank You Card Printables] Day 30, Inspiring Interview with Courtney Crozier! [...]

saying thank you [thank you card printables,] day 29

Hello! It’s day 29 of 31 Days of Positive Thinking! 

With our minds and hearts full of positive thoughts and gratitude, it is only fitting that we talk about expressing our thanks!

While the book A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik isn’t one I would recommend for captivating reading, it is one I would recommend for great concept and life application. At a time when difficult circumstances could easily render John depressed and hopeless, he makes a decision to send 365 thank you notes over the course of a year. Conscientiously looking for the good blesses him with contentment at a time that he could have focused on lack.

I often compliment people in my head, but those thoughts infrequently make it out of my mouth and even more rarely make it onto paper. I like the challenge of being more vocal about the good things we notice in others. Taking that extra step to send a handwritten “thank you for being you” message can lend needed encouragement to the recipient. And of course when someone gives of their time and talent to make another’s life brighter, a thank you card is a great way to show appreciation.

Invitation: Write and send at least three thank you notes this week.

To help you get started, here are 5 links to adorable thank you cards (all free printables!)

5 thank you card printables, CG Dickson the blog1- cute nature, June Lily
2- autumn thanksgiving, Oh My! Handmade Goodness
3- sweet bunting, 74 Lime Lane
4- simple ombre, Confetti Sunshine
5- bold polka dots, Mr. Handsomeface

Continue to Day 30, Inspiring Interview with Courtney Crozier!

For the introduction and list of daily topics for my project, 31 Days of Positive Thinking, go here.

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November 3, 2013 - 8:51 pm

FHE lesson on Positive Thinking and our thankful tree, day 28 » CG Dickson Photography - [...] Continiue to Day 29, saying thank you [thank you card printables]. [...]

candy joy, simple things sunday

almond joy, simple things, CG Dickson the blog

Almond Joy… come to Mama.

I remember last year how disappointed I was when a quick search through the kids’ Trick or Treating loot produced ZERO Almond Joy bars. (Lucky for me, none of them care for coconut.) I made sure that didn’t happen again this year by including Almond Joys in our own stash to share (or not) on Halloween.

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November 3, 2013 - 10:46 am

Courtney - Oh no no, you can have all of my almond joys for sure. My candy of choice for Halloween are a toss up between cookies and creme bars and baby ruth. My little girl got 2 baby ruth though so I counted it as a win!

November 3, 2013 - 3:21 pm

brooke - yummy!

November 4, 2013 - 6:17 am

Ali Folendore - Isn’t that a grand thing when they don’t like the coconut?! I’m the same way with coconut and dark chocolate. Thanks for sharing and thank you for commenting on my blog too.