Grief and Art Therapy

Thanksgiving 2014-Randy, me, Katie, Nick,& Dan

Thanksgiving 2014-Randy, me, Katie, Nick,& Dan

I’m finally sitting down to write as this Thanksgiving week comes to a close. We have been nonstop with our family and friends all week. Our son Nick and his wife Katie just left hours ago, back to their new home in Dallas. So now reality is setting in again. Many of you know what we have been through, but some of you don’t. I’ve wanted to reach out to my Happy First friends but I just haven’t been able to write about it. But I feel it is time now. I’ve been thinking about it for months, wanting to share my journey but not ready to go into all the details. It’s too much, still too raw and painful. But I have always seen myself as an encourager, wanting to be a light to others.

So here goes-we lost our younger son Dan at age 20 to suicide on July 25, 2015. It is still strange and unbelievable to say those words. We still can’t believe it happened. No one can. We thought everything was going well for him-he was in summer school at college, had many friends, was so bright. We didn’t see the clues along the way. We constantly are still asking ourselves WHY, trying to retrace everything we did as parents. We do feel good in knowing that he knew we loved him and would do anything for him.

There is so much that has happened in these past 16 months-I can’t write about it all now or this would be very long. We have been surrounded by incredible family and friends. We have a great support network. We have met new friends that have also had great loss. We now have strong bonds with these incredible people, I just wish we had met under different circumstances. But here we are. Sometimes it is hard knowing we will live the rest of our lives with this huge hole in our hearts. But I know God isn’t finished with us yet. I know I have been given a talent and purpose and that gets me going every day.

The first year was mostly a blur. I’m usually an energetic person but was flattened. I never really understood grief before. We had lost all of our 4 parents in recent years, but losing a child is like nothing else. It bothers me when I hear the word grief used almost flippantly. Some words I would use to describe grief-anxiety like I had never had before, physical pain-chest tension (one suicide survivor friend who lost her husband said her heart really did feel broken), lower back pain for over a year. Feeling vulnerable, different. Not being able to focus on anything. Not knowing how to respond when someone new asks how many kids you have. Sad. Mad. Hopeless. Broken.

I have done a lot of seeking to help ease the pain.One thing Randy, Nick, Katie, Lyn (Randy’s sister) and I did was join a Survivor of Suicide Group at the Tristesse Grief Center in Tulsa. Our new friends there understand exactly what we are going through. Another has been talking with a counselor. Yoga Therapy to help with my pain. Yoga classes. Golfing obsessively with great friends to escape and be outside. Bible Study Fellowship classes-don’t know what I would do without these women. And DRAWING. When I create, I am in a zone. Time flies. It’s energetic. I forget everything else. I just draw.

Many of you have been my biggest encouragers and cheerleaders. I would draw and doodle randomly and post on my artist facebook page or instagram. So many of you were so there for me-your encouraging comments just spurred me on. In the last few years I had already started making the switch from selling tee shirts to illustrating, and now it is really coming together. I am loving designing stationery, working on different commissioned works and just recently publishing my first adult coloring book- Happy Flowers Coloring Book. It’s now for sale on Amazon and in some local boutiques and florists. It gives me something to be excited about. Drawing has been my grief therapy-maybe coloring my books will be grief therapy for someone too. Or maybe it will be helpful for someone stressed, or just a great way for someone to express their creativity.

I’ve been waiting to write to you all after I got it all together. Well things will never be perfect. I might as well invite you along for the journey now. I want to make changes to the look of my website and blog and everything, but it’s just going to take time. If I wait until things are perfect, it won’t happen! I’m not even going to stress about how often I write or what my schedule will be. I just want to get myself back out there and reach people. I’m still ME, a really changed me, but I still have my positive essence that I can’t contain. Someone recently told me I need to live a good life, that is what our son would want, so I am trying. Thanks for listening, I hope I can help someone else.


Artists Becky Mannschreck, me, & Lynda Savage at You’re Invited stationery & gifts.


Be Happy First!

debbie vinyard designsHappy March 1st! As many of you know, I celebrate the first day of the month to remind those that every month, every day is a new beginning! If you are on my email list, you have been receiving an email on the first of every month as a happy reminder. Happy First started out in 2007 as a movement, a philosophy,  to inspire others to “find your passion and pursue it”. The egg logo represents the limitless potential for growth living inside each one of us. I believe everyone has creativity inside just waiting to burst out of it’s shell.

Happy First’s product line started with women’s tees, then baby and kids clothing, then yoga wear for people “to wear happiness on their sleeve”. I started a blog to reach out to others and share my optimistic philosophy. I envision it as a community of ideas and people encouraging each other. I wanted to share my cancer story-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma-to give hope to others and connect with each other. I didn’t want cancer to define me or Happy First, that’s just what I went through to get to my new beginning. Everyone goes through something and the Happy First philosophy is about starting over and realizing your potential.

Back to the clothing- I got busy selling on my site and to stores and doing shows.  Somehow over the years my creativity has been suppressed and put on the back burner. I started getting busy with the business of selling clothing and promoting. My business was pulled in different directions, due to me listening to others instead of myself. I didn’t know what my passion was! I was getting burned out. I wasn’t “Happy First”!

So for the last 2 years I have been “incubating” on a creative journey. I have many mentors that have guided me to find my creative self. I will tell you what they told me in upcoming blog posts. I am learning to let go of some things and and streamline and declutter to make time and make way for what I truly want to do. I have found that I love to draw, draw, draw. I get in the creative zone and get lost. The hardest part has and still is making time to get creative. I have immersed myself in books and videos. I am taking classes both online and in person on Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, drawing, art journaling, printmaking, even knitting! I love learning-always loved school and I have loved to do all things creative ever since I was little. It makes me so happy!

I have created time and space to just be and let go and the weird thing is that that’s when things started happening! I started designing notecards and notepads this past fall and friends and stores just started to order without me really trying to get orders. I am now also designing logos for people and loving it. Another exciting thing coming up is my illustration will be the cover of my author friend Kayce Hughlett’s new book “Blue”coming out this fall. Kayce has been instrumental in me finding my artist self.

On the right is my first logo I designed for my friend Kayce.

I have learned to BE ME. Embrace the way I draw and create, and not worry about what people think!

I have been wanting to tell you all for some time but haven’t taken the time to sit down and write. I still don’t have it all figured out. Happy First will be changing but the philosophy is stronger than ever. I am actually living my dream of being an artist and illustrator and being “Happy First”. I am truly finding my passion and pursuing it.  I want you all to come along with me! Everyone is good at something and has potential; it is just taking the time to reflect and figure it out. Then taking action, even if small at first!

I am still decluttering and streamlining. I need to clear space both physically and mentally to create NEW. I am having a huge sale on my site, check it out! Great time to stock up on tees and baby gifts and to get some fun things for spring break.

I have so much more to share with you but don’t want this to be a super long blog post, so just keep watching (join my blog feed and  join my email list) for the next post.

Celebrate a new month and find your next adventure and find yourself!

ShaRhonda’s Word for the Year-Believe


Can’t believe January is almost over! I will be continuing to share other people’s Word for the Year. I think it is something you can start anytime, not just in January. By now, some people’s resolutions may have worn off, but a Word for the Year is easier to focus on and more lasting, at least for me. Actually, it hasn’t been all that easy. I chose the word Simplify before the beginning of the year and since then my life has been anything but simple. I think sometimes that just means you are onto something big, when you face a lot of adversity.

Well, I am excited to share ShaRhonda’s word for the Year, Believe. She is such a light to everyone around her; I admire her boldness in her faith. Oh, and I hope you enjoyed Leigh’s word too, Genuine. I have such a great mix of friends and am excited to share them with you with their different outlooks and perspectives and inspiration! More to come! Oh and remember you can also get ideas from our Word for the Year pinterest board. So here’s ShaRhonda….

The Monday after Thanksgiving Break 2014, I found myself having “the talk” with my seven year old daughter. It seemed the kids on the bus had decided to spoil some of her Christmas magic. My response to her, just like it was to her 14 year old brother several years ago was simply this: “if you believe you receive”.

Those five words I said that day can and do apply to so many things in our everyday human life. As a Christian like myself, if you believe Christ is God’s son you will receive everlasting life. In the classroom, at work, in the dance studio, and even the basketball court if you believe in yourself along with hard work, you can receive great success. But greater than that is the satisfaction and the belief of knowing you did your best.

Believing with all your heart, soul and mind will be my family’s 2015 focus. Believe is the one word that I have found myself repeatedly saying to both of my children and my husband in the past few months. Whether it’s telling them to believe that they will do well on a test, in a game, in a performance, or that things will get better at the workplace. This house of mine will be a house that believes. A house that believes in all things seen and unseen.

Believe will be my 2015 word. It will be the word that I look to when I personally need encouragement with my own day to day struggles as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. It will be the word I continue to look at and use to encourage others. It will be the word and action that I use when I doubt just how far I can go.

Believing IS receiving, especially when it’s BElieving in YOU.

Just believe.
ShaRhonda Crow
Happy First Assistant

Leigh’s Word for the Year-Genuine


Hi everyone! I am so excited to feature Leigh Gathright and her Word for the Year, Genuine. (My Word I posted yesterday is Simplify). Leigh and I go way back, over 30 years! We were in the Pi Beta Phi house together at the University of Oklahoma. Over the years our friendship has grown closer and closer and she is a true friend and listener. She is becoming quite the writer and poet and I am so happy to share her word and thoughts with you all. From Leigh-

Our Authentic Selves 

Happy New Year!! As a former jewelry appraiser and gemologist, my past formal training taught me to do necessary “tests” to determine if certain gemstones were indeed genuine. Genuine is not an imitation or a synthetic replica. Genuine is something not false or copied; real.  Genuine is truly authentic.

The beginning of a new year is genuine in its promise to us. Turning over a new calendar, commencing a brand new year, gives us time to look ahead, set goals, and look forward to new beginnings. January gives everyone, all across the planet, a clean slate. A new year is indeed a fresh beginning, for all, at the exact same time. Some of us are thoughtful in using this time to make specific resolutions. Some of us do not.

Yes, in the past, I have made resolutions only to break them by March. I promised to have “no sugar” in my diet one year. In my own strength, the yummy birthday cake was just too tempting to pass up several weeks after I had made the requisite resolution. I had failed. I was now a person who could not keep resolutions; did not make them anymore.

I offer up not resolutions, however, something to ponder as one goes forth in 2015. My hope for the coming year is to be my authentic self.   To always be honest with my genuine self and well as finding more balance to spend time with those who I love and need me. I desire in striving to show more empathy and compassion to those who are going through a difficult time. I hope to ask more questions and have a sense of wonder for nature instead of taking sunrises and sunsets for granted. I hope to learn more about myself by embarking on writing my own memoir in discovering my life’s theme as well as a possible journey into self-discovery; to have my own authentic voice. Simply put, to explore my creative side a bit more. To pick one or two new interests to change things up and do something different. It may be preparing a certain ethnic food, learning a new sport, being more civic-minded, taking on advocacy for something important, or simply spending more time in prayer and meditation. Just to embrace at least one thing different for 2015.

I truly believe everyone has passions, desires, and dreams. Everyone has something that typically motivates them. My hope is to be motivated to be an authentic light force; an encouragement to others in 2015.  It is true, words of encouragement and affirming words can change someone’s day for the better. Yes, simple words such as, “Happiness was standing next to me in this grocery store line” or “Happiness was sitting next to me on this plane flight” is a powerful affirmation. Try it sometime! I can guarantee, the person receiving such affirming words will never forget it.

So, in keeping with my recent trip to beautiful Paris, I end with “Que la force.”  May the authentic bright force in each one of you shine forth to energize and fill others throughout 2015.leigh2


Leigh Gathright

Realtor, Gemologist, Fitness Fanatic, Dreamer, Keen Listener and Friend



2015 Word for the Year-Simplify


Wow! Where did 2014 go? 2014 was nonstop-our oldest son got married to his incredible high school sweetheart and our youngest son graduated in May and went off to college, making us empty nesters. We took that opportunity to do some fun traveling. We also had some lows and challenges as I guess everyone does.

I had not been really blogging much last year as I was doing some major “incubating” and taking a step back to assess.  I have finally started to break out of my shell. (love all these egg references?) I have so much to share about my journey and tell you how I have finally found my passion: I don’t want to go into too much detail on this post as I want to talk about my 2015 word for the year. And I have some fun friends with upcoming posts that want to share their words with you in the next upcoming days. I think you will enjoy their words; I have such a great eclectic mix of friends with varying experiences and perspectives on life.

As many of you know, I have been choosing of a Word for the Year since 2010, at the urging of one of my favorite yoga teachers, Mary NurrieSteans, while we were in class. For me 2010 was Create, 2011 was Pursue, 2012 was Delve, 2013 was Focus, and 2014 was Zen. Mary said to pick a word, write it and frame it so you can see it everyday. (Mine is shown on my bathroom counter). Choosing one word is usually more effective (and thought provoking and fun!) than making many goals and  resolutions as they oftentimes get broken. I used to overwhelm myself with too many goals instead of focusing on one thing at a time. To read other Word for the Year posts by my friends in the past years, just type in Word for the Year in the search box on this blog.

This year I have chosen the word Simplify. It means to make less complex or complicated, make plainer or easier, to reduce to basic essentials. It also means to streamline or clarify. I almost chose the word Simplicity which means freedom from complexity or intricacy, but I like Simplify better because it a verb, versus Simplicity which is a noun. I guess the verb appeals to the “doer” in me and creates more action for me.

I want to streamline my life and my business, Happy First. My whole life I have been an overachiever and volunteered for everything and tried to be Super Mom, Super Volunteer and Super Business Owner and was such a people pleaser. This has stressed me out. It has caused me to take my business in too many directions and I wasn’t being me; I was listening to everyone else’s ideas. I had lost my time for creativity and was being too busy volunteering, doing shows and doing paperwork. I wasn’t happy first!

I have been doing a lot of soul searching the last couple years and have finally embraced my gift of creativity. I used to think my drawings were too plain and simple, despite my husband and friends encouraging ME TO BE ME. Going through my mom’s house (she had lived 4 hours away and passed away in 2013) gave me clarification of what I love to do. My mom saved everything, and I mean everything. In a way this was good, because she saved all of my drawings and that made me realize that is what I really want to do. In cleaning out my mom’s house (this took my sister, myself and our spouses over a year to do ) I have rediscovered my old self.  In an older blog post “find your passion and pursue it” I had asked the question-“what did you like to do as a kid?” So I am now on my way to becoming an artist and illustrator. I am loving it. (Did you know I started college as a fashion illustration major and switched to accounting?)

Simplifying this year to me will involve decluttering my home, computer, extra activities and my mind to allow space for my creativity. I am saying NO finally to things that are not on my path to creativity. I will be making major changes and streamlining my Happy First site and I feel so free about that. Also as empty nesters we have also had some fun redecorating some rooms at home with a more simple, clean look. It seems like all the stores are selling “mid century modern” now and I like the new (old) clean look!

We have had some traumatic events this year that have just made me realize I need to focus on the basics, mostly my family and my passion, which in turn will help others. I love to encourage others and I want to share my journey. I will tell you more later about some of the great books I have read this past year and also what I have learned from some great mentors.

My way of dealing with loss and stress has always been to be busy instead of slowing down and just being present. I am so ready for change now. I guess I had to go through the fire to see it.

That’s what I have always wanted Happy First to represent-new beginnings. That’s what is so exciting, is that every day is a new day to make a change and take on a new adventure. That’s why if you are on my email list you get an ecard celebrating the first day of the new month. I especially love January because it makes us reflect on the past year and create zeal and new ideas for the fresh upcoming year.

So come along with me, pick a word for yourself, and please share in the comments below! I love the sense of community when we all share great ideas with each other and encourage each other. We also have a new pinterest board-Word for the Year where people can share and get ideas too. If you would like to write a guest blog post for us just contact us at

Here’s to a great 2015!

Please follow my blog and join my email list to keep it coming to you!

With love, Deb

I took this pic a month ago at my super organized friend Lori’s home.



Lisa Bova’s Word for the Year-Freedom


I met Lisa Bova over 10 years ago back when she was a realtor and was very impressed with her. We have kept in touch over the years-I always enjoyed touching base with her. I am so excited where life is leading her now. I thought she would be an inspiration to you all so I asked Lisa to share her Word for the Year with you. I love what she wrote, I can totally relate. I think you will too. Enjoy!

From Lisa-

When Debbie asked me to write a blog on my word for the year, I knew exactly what the word would be-Freedom.  I had been using this word for few months as my intention in my Amrit Series Yoga class.  I was using it intentionally to mean freedom in my body, as I went through the series.  One definition of freedom is “Ease and grace, as of movement; lack of effort”. Little did I know how this intention was going to take my life to whole new level and allow me to stretch into places I have never been.  The qualities of ease and grace in my body translated to finding ease and grace in my life and how to create that in my life.  It has made me realize what a powerful manifestor I am.  The saying “watch out what you wish for” comes to mind.

I have been in the process for the past three and a half years recreating myself. After 27 years as a real estate broker and company owner I took some time off and then went back to school to be a health and wellness coach, learning about nutrition, diets and primary foods, those things that nourish us that aren’t food.  I learned to think along the lines of relationships, career, spirituality and physical activity.  Basically my goal is to help people incorporate mind, body and spirit into their lives, by looking at what is blocking them using my clairvoyant training to read their energy fields.  With that said, by focusing on the intention of freedom for a while now, I have reached several things that are blocking me in my life from having freedom I now desire beyond just freedom in my body.  I have been up close and personal with the fears and beliefs that have been holding me back.  I also realize now that I can do any of this or make these changes without really embracing and getting more deeply in touch with my spiritual side.  I know I need to create time in my life to meditate, keep myself grounded and clear of unwanted energies and connect to my source. I also need to  focus on what is positive in my life instead of letting the negative self talk drive the bus.

Some of this things I have learned from my time with exploring freedom is:

1. Stop spending money on things I already know.

There was a class on how to be a light worker from an entrepreneurial stand point.  It was very expensive and required travel which added to the expense.  I told a friend about it and she said “you could probably teach that class”  She’s right, I don’t need to look outside of myself to find answers or to use it as a excuse for not doing it perfectly and actually do it the way the way I should be doing it, that works for me!  I have to stop looking outside myself for answers, because I know I have everything I need in me.

2. Accept discomfort as a reality for now.

When we expand or make changes in our life and allow freedom from our old beliefs and patterns to shift, it’s going be uncomfortable.  Sometimes it’s even going to suck!  It will pull you out of your comfort zone and will stretch you in ways you never through you could.

3. Be ok in the chaos.

My life is a little chaotic right now, which doesn’t sit well in my always have a plan, problem solving personality.  Right now I have to be ok in the chaos of changing my life to create more freedom in it.

4. It’s ok to be me!

I have to let go of the pictures and ideas I have on what or how my life should look.  Giving myself the flexibility to stumble, to redirect and learn how to stretch myself.  I look at where I was last summer when I started a weekly commitment to my yoga series.  I didn’t miss one session for 20 weeks.  Each class was a lesson in freedom, breath and noticing where my mind wanted to take me, with the intention of always bringing it back into the pose.

I have moved from just wanting freedom in my body to a long list of where I want
to be free.

Freedom to feel.
Freedom to be fully in my body and accept where it is day to day.
Freedom to be vulnerable.
Freedom to risk.
Freedom to give and receive.
Freedom to love.
Freedom to hope.
Freedom to choose.
Freedom to believe.
Freedom to be happy.
Freedom to be at peace.
Freedom to completely realize my dreams and goals.
Freedom to fully engage in life.
Freedom to be an active and conscious participant.
Freedom to know my values and live them
Freedom to be me.

I hope I have inspired you to look at freedom and how you can express it in
your life and maybe some idea’s of how to deal with it with ease and grace, when it
comes knocking on your door.  I would love to hear some of your thoughts on
freedom, what it means in your life, how you allow it in your life or maybe you
don’t and want to explore it more.

Lisa Bova

Lisa Bova is owner of Transformation Living and Wellness.  She is an
intuitive,  energy healer, certified holistic health and wellness coach who strives to
help people discover what is blocking them from achieving everything they
want from life.  To see what Lisa is up to, check out her blog and website at, “like” her on Facebook or
follow her in twitter

Word from Gluten Free Anonymous-Discover


Happy Monday! I am so excited to share sisters Brooke and Bri with you. I love following their blog, Gluten Free Anonymous. They have great recipes and ideas and they are so much fun!

I did a detox cleanse diet a few months ago just to be healthy and lose a little off my stomach (lost about 15 pounds!) and it included going gluten free. It felt so good. It is not that hard anymore with so many gluten free products out there now and lots of recipes available.  I am not gluten intolerant, but now I seek out gluten free foods. In fact, I asked Brooke about a gluten free pizza crust and the next day she blogged about it!

Thanks so much, Brooke and Bri, for sharing your Word for the Year……

Discover Gluten Free Tips

As a fairly new blogger and advocate of gluten free living (not completely by choice), I’ve decided the word of the year I will focus on is DISCOVER.

Discovery is a key component of understanding who we are and what makes us happy. Many a story has been written about self discovery. The word itself is often associated with Zen (which is Debbie’s word of the year by the way).

My biggest discovery was of a different nature, yet affected my ‘self’ very much. In 2011 I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. It was a rough time for me. I was forced to discover new things everyday. New foods, sicknesses, products, and feelings.

My sister Bri had it even more rough. She went 17 years as an undiagnosed Celiac. We finally discovered the source of all her years of sickness.

We have been discovering together ever since and expect to discover much more throughout the year.

I’d like to share a few of the discoveries we’ve made over the course of the last couple years.

How to determine if you are having issues with gluten.

First and foremost, follow the symptoms. This is probably the hardest part of determining if you have a problem. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness states that, “Accurately diagnosing celiac disease can be quite difficult largely because the symptoms often mimic those of other diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, intestinal infections, lactose intolerance and depression.”

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, we suggest you get tested. It may cost a little, but it’ll save you much more in the long run. Celiac disease/gluten intolerance is an epidemic. It saves to be sure. To learn more about testing options visit the NFCA website (Please note that you should be currently on a gluten including diet for more accurate results).

You don’t have to change yourself just because you can’t eat gluten.

For the newly diagnosed, it can be a major blow to who you think you are. I found myself constantly having to fight thoughts of negativity about my situation and future. What could I do? Where could I turn? I felt like I couldn’t EAT anything! It became a time of great introspection. I had to discover that I had the strength to pull through. I learned over time that I didn’t have to change who I was…just what I ate!

A forced, seemingly negative, change in your lifestyle can be surprisingly positive.

The effects of gluten on my system were bad. My hair started to thin out and I was constantly sick. Bri gained weight and had a hard time regulating it. When we were diagnosed we had to make changes that we didn’t want to make. We had to make a goal to not cheat and be religious about what we put into our systems. Debbie reminds us in her Healthy Weight Goals post that “we are the happiest when we feel and look our best.” She goes on to say, “I know when I am working out regularly and eating healthy foods I have more energy and feel so much better. When I am at my target weight I feel more confident too! Now, I am not saying you have to be skinny to be happy, just at a healthy weight that is just right for you.” Meeting our goals and getting our systems back on track righted many of the wrongs our bodies were facing.

What seemed the end of the world to us made us DISCOVER. Sometimes the tough changes we are required to make in life turn out to be for our good.

We discovered us again. This year you can too.




Brooke is living in Orem, UT. She’s married to the man of her dreams and has the cutest little 9 month old you ever did see! She loves being a stay at home mom, raising her son Kaden. She loves to read, sing and find new things gluten free related. She is gluten intolerant, meaning she has a sensitivity to gluten and cannot digest it. She has been gluten free for over 2 years.

Bri is a student, living in Provo, UT. She goes to Utah Valley University and currently is undecided on a major. She works at Happy Sumo, a Sushi joint. Bri has a love for horses. She loves escaping the daily grind for a full day of nature and horseback riding. She loves to sing and play guitar when she’s not being hunted down by boys! She went un-diagnosed for 17 years. By the time she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, she had developed many other allergies including soy, dairy, eggs, and casein.

They have a love of learning about their inability to eat gluten and a love for helping others through their own journey. They started their blog, Gluten Free Anonymous at the end of October 2013, to help spread the knowledge they have and to provide support to those going through this alone.



Anna Pereira’s 2014 Word-Blessed


I think I am the one who is Blessed here, having Anna Pereira, creator and owner of Circles of Inspiration, being one of my guest bloggers this month! She so inspires me with her  beautiful jewelry designs and her positive, encouraging attitude. (Check out her Circles of Inspiration Facebook page too, she inspires so many!). Anyway, I thought she would be a perfect fit for January, being that January is International Creativity Month! As you know, we have been coming up with our 2014 Word for the Year and here is Anna’s Word below, thanks for sharing yourself with us Anna!

A Blessed 2014

The New Year has arrived! I am so excited about the endless possibilities that 2014 brings us, and this year I’ve chosen a specific energy to really focus on as the months unfold. Blessed is my word for the year, and I’d like to share the reasons why with you today.
When I first started my inspirational jewelry line Circles Of Inspiration, my goal was to create wearable art that would inspire people and surround them with the positive energy I had grown to love. One of the first charms I created was the Blessed design, and ever since the launch of my line this particular piece has always stood out to me.
To me, being blessed is a state of mind. I have experienced that all of us, all the time, and in all ways are completely surrounded by endless blessings –but in order to see them and receive them we have to be able to notice them. It can be so easy to walk thought life only seeing the negative, troublesome things that stand out – but when we do the work and find the diamonds in the rough and focus on them, miracles can happen.
Being blessed means that we honor who we are as unique individuals, the path we walk, and the world we live in. We recognize once and for all that we are here for a reason, and that we are valuable. The moment we start recognizing and living our authentic value is the moment that the universe can finally start giving us everything we deserve.

To be blessed is also to be a blessing. Like all things love-based, the more we give the more we are able to receive. When we walk through life actively trying to be a blessing for others, it changes things in and around us. It makes us humble and compassionate – and it opens our hearts so that we can heal ourselves deeply and help others do the same.

Anna Pereira This year, I am going to wear my own Blessed charm and use it as a reminder to be a blessing, receive the blessings, and express gratitude for the blessings no matter what form they may come in or even how small and insignificant they may be. 2014 for me will be all about saying Thank You and staying excited about the many good things ahead!
Wishing you a blessed New Year!
Anna Pereira
Circles Of Inspiration

ShaRhonda’s 2014 Word for the Year-Restore


ShaRhonda Crow, Happy First Assistant, and author of the blog The 4-Crow’s is our guest blogger today! I love her 2014 Word for the Year. Here’s what she has to share with us!

The word RESTORE stands out to me for 2014.

I want to restore my relationship with God. I want to delve deeper in what HE wants of me.

I want to restore my home. We have a few projects that need to be done in our 10 year old home. It’s time to pull my frugal creative side together for my home, get the have to’s done along with a few redo’s.

I want to restore and focus again on my family, I know that I can always be a better mother and wife, especially after God gets a hold of me. I’m finding being the mother of a teen boy and an almost 7 year old girl is entirely two different parenting strategies. It’s time to restore some balance and discipline in my life as well as theirs.

I also want to restore my writing on my blog The 4-Crow’s. 2013, brought 151 blog posts, that included reviews, giveaways and lots of family stories of living, laughing, learning and loving. But, I want to get deeper. I have a story or two to tell, maybe this is my year to get off the blog and onto a manuscript.

There are also a few relationships I would like to restore, and help restore.

Health, now there’s a restoration project for a woman who turns the big 40 this year. I don’t think I have to go into much detail about what I have in mind with the meaning of this one.


vb (tr)

1. to return (something, esp a work of art or building) to an original or former condition

2. to bring back to health, good spirits, etc

3. to return (something lost, stolen, etc) to its owner

4. to reintroduce or re-enforce: to restore discipline.

5. to reconstruct (an extinct animal, former landscape, etc)

What is your Word For the Year? I find that ONE word to focus on rather than resolutions works best for me. In fact, frame that word. Put it on your desk, frame it, pin quotes that contain your word. Keep it front and center. God only knows what I will find to restore in 2014. He knows I don’t sit still for long and that I always have to be doing something. I can’t wait to see what all 2014 has in store for me to restore!

2014 Word for the Year-Zen


zen frameHappy January 1st, 2014! Here we are again, a new year and a new word to choose for the year. This is the 5th year that I have chosen a word to frame and look at everyday. It all started in 2010 at the suggestion of one of my favorite yoga teachers, Mary NurrrieStearns, and I chose the word Create. 2011 I chose Pursue, 2012 was Delve and 2013 was Focus.

2013 Recap

2013 turned out to be a rough year in many ways, and I was really tested with the word Focus. It was very hard to do with last year’s life circumstances. But I did try even though it was  frustrating! I waver about how much to share personally and how much to be private, but I think I am supposed to help others and be real and I don’t want you all to think Happy First is just about being happy all the time and that my life is perfect. I think the philosophy behind Happy First is about having a positive attitude and outlook in good times and adversity and just having faith that things happen for a reason sometimes that we don’t understand and that adversity can make us stronger and the experiences we have can help others.

So a brief recap of 2013 and then let’s start fresh with a new year. My mom had been really ill for couple of years and I was constantly running back and forth to Dallas from Tulsa (4 hours away) and had the guilt of leaving my family here and not being down there enough to help my sister  who lives in Dallas. My mom passed away in April. It was really sad but she had suffered so much so it was good that she was no longer suffering. She had a full life and helped so many people. Now we are working on cleaning out her house and that is a huge job. So I am still going back and forth.

In the summer we lost 2 of our 4 dogs. In August we had to put Baron, our Great Pyrenees to sleep. He was 10. He was such a sweetie and a protector of our other dogs and property. Then we lost Scooter, our blue heeler mix, 6 weeks later. He was around 12 years old and we knew he didn’t have long. But he died doing what he loved-he went running with me and the 2 remaining dogs on our property and then disappeared after the first lap. I found him dead in the woods the next day. He must have had a heart attack.

Then my Uncle-my mom’s only sibling, passed away suddenly of a heart attack in November and we flew up to New York City for the week for the funeral and to be with family. It was sad and unexpected but it was so good to see family we hadn’t seen in a while and met some new people that were so close to my Uncle.

We also have lost both of my husband’s parents in the last 2 years.

Great things too in 2013. Fun trips with family and friends. Our oldest son got engaged to his high school sweetheart and we just love her and her family. And then he just graduated college this December, yay!

Also I have finally delved more into my own hand drawn simple designs and am learning to delegate to some great helpers so I can spend more time being creative and do the things I love instead of being bogged down with the busyness. (Thank you so much my friend and mentor for your help-CC Lawhon, author of Guru You– in finding ME and being ME and helping me on all of this)

We had a busy fall with Happy First sales, even though the weather sometimes got in the way!

I went to an awesome meditation retreat at the beginning of November-Transformative Meditation and Yoga Retreat– facilitated and created by Mary, my yoga teacher. I will have to do a separate blog post on that, it was so great.

And we just got a new puppy a few weeks ago-he is half Great Pyrenees and half Anatolian Shepherd. He is a handful but so much fun! The 2 older dogs are slowly getting used to him. His name is Otto.

So I hope I didn’t bum you all out. Just wanted to let you know that we all go through stuff and every day is a new beginning. I think 2013 was an incubation period for me. And that is fitting with the egg logo and what Happy First represents. So now I am ready to once again burst out of my shell.

Now to 2014

My word for 2014 is ZEN. I had just come up with some new “Zen Chick” tees and a scarf this fall for our Yoga Collection but didn’t realize it would be my word for this year.

Zen has a Buddhist origin meaning achieving sudden enlightenment but that is not really what I am talking about here, or what Zen means to me.

I did look up some other meanings of Zen – the Urban Dictionary (isn’t that an interesting source?) says Zen is-“a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.” It also says Zen is “complete and absolute peace” (wow wouldn’t that be something?)

One of my very favorite blogs is Zen Habits. This is what they say- “Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.”

I’m also reading a book that CC recommended called “Zen and the art of making a living” by Laurence G. Boldt. It is really good; I am not too far into it just yet. Several things I like that it says so far is that Zen is spirit in the everyday. The integration of spiritual and material. An awareness of the sacred in the ordinary. Also awareness and spirit applied to everyday life and work.

So what I am wanting to do with this word ZEN is focus on simplicity and BE PRESENT. The way I draw is pure and simple and happy. I want to be in that “creative zone” that I sometimes get into when I am really focusing and having fun creating and losing concept of time. (oh oops my husband says I never have concept of time, ha!).

I also want to smell the roses. This Zen book above talks about being aware of nature. Here I am surrounded by woods and beauty and birds and animals and sometimes I get so caught up in my busyness that I don’t even see it. And I have had a hard time just slowing down and relaxing. So going to work on that! And also balance (if there is such thing?) and mindfulness-oh- see Kelli’s post last year on mindfulness.

I love doing this Word for the Year and I love hearing what everyone else comes up with. We have some great guest posts lined up and we also have a Pinterest board where you can share there too or just get ideas! And I so welcome your comments here on the blog and pinterest and if you want to guest blog, please let me know!

I am thinking that along with the Word for the Year, I also want to break it down with related Word for the Months (maybe because I am ADD and get bored!). I think sometimes people get excited at the New Year but then fade as the months go by so if we make Words of the Month, it will help us focus on our overall Word for the Year.

I don’t have all my words planned out for each month yet. I will keep you posted. I want to get organized and declutter in January so I feel more free to create (January is National Creativity Month) and I also like to talk about health and fitness so let’s say the January Word will be Zen which includes all of these and we will go from there.

So I am excited for a new year, a new word, and to the word you choose and why!