Nourish… to Flourish!


Hi Friends!

For the past year, I have quietly been working each day on a very special gift ~ to me… from me. In celebration of my birthday last week, it feels like the perfect time to untie the ribbons and share this gift of love!

I have been learning to live fully by nourishing my heart, soul, and body in so many exciting ways. My ‘word’ for this year is nourish and this little word has guided me in many new directions.


I have been slowly working my way through It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron. Writing Morning Pages, going on Artist Dates, taking Solo Walks, and Writing Memoir have all helped to nourish my creative heart and soul.

Gathering together with other creative souls in a lovely, international, online book club has helped me to stay accountable and moving forward. Using Julia Cameron’s tools has nurtured me each step of the way.  Making creative time a priority has helped me to flourish and grow in countless ways. In fact, I’m looking forward to rereading and continuing to work through the tasks in this wonderful book again in 2018. I’m enjoying writing my memoir immensely! It has been such a gift to make time to explore my passion for creativity. It’s only the beginning…

Big changes happened in my perennial and herb gardens throughout the past year. Now that Winter has arrived in the Midwest, it’s such fun to look back through my Garden Joys journal and reflect on all of the hard work and changes…

This has been the first time in thirty years of nurturing my garden that I have ever kept a garden journal throughout the entire season. Experimenting with bullet-style journaling and using a few art supplies definitely nourished my creative soul! I have made so many changes as I ‘right-sized’ my garden beds… and I love the new look. “Less is more” has become my new mantra this year. Less weeding means more time for other creative passions! It’s only the beginning…


All year long, I have also been nourishing my body and building a healthy relationship with food. Slowly, ever-so-slowly, I have ‘right-sized’ myself to a healthy weight (set by my doctor). It has been my most important birthday gift ever!  Although I have tried many times on my own over the years, it was always a struggle.

However this time, it feels very different… and I am singing the praises of Weight Watchers! With the help of Weight Watchers, I found the guidance and support that I needed. It was a little bit hard… but not too hard! (This post is not sponsored by Weight Watchers in any way. I just wanted to share…) 

Using the Weight Watchers app, I learned to be mindful of everything that I am eating. Although I had been making healthy food choices, portion control was a problem in the past. Now I use the Weight Watchers app to track each food and the amount I am eating. No food is off limits. Instead Weight Watchers has determined a Smart Points value for each food based upon its calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein. I know my daily Smart Points budget and am able to make smart choices throughout each day. Additional Weekly Smart Points make it possible to enjoy those special celebrations that life brings.

In addition to tracking all of my meals and snacks, the other thing that truly made a difference for me is attending my weekly Weight Watchers meeting. I always think of it as a special gift that I am giving myself ~ a gift of time for my health. I faithfully go every Thursday morning. On the rare Thursdays that I am out of town, I make sure to find a Tuesday meeting or a Wednesday meeting instead. Gathering together as a community each week is a great time to share tips, recipes, encouragement, and inspiration with one another. I have made so many new friends along the way. At every meeting, Karen shares her knowledge and experience, while Fay shares kindness and encouragement as I step on the scale (privately and discreetly).

Throughout the year, I have continued my usual, active lifestyle. Taking walks in nature, working in the garden, and mowing the lawn helped me stay active during the warm weather. During cold weather, walking indoors at the mall has been a great way to ‘walk and talk’ with my husband or dear friends. It is my intention to make the Weight Watchers plan work with my usual lifestyle, so that I can continue doing what works for me long term.

Slowly, ever-so-slowly, I began to see and feel the results. My average loss was about one pound each week, although sometimes there was a plateau or even a small weight gain. Fay was especially encouraging at those times.

Little-by-little, I began to ‘right size’ my wardrobe, too. It has been fun to shop in different stores and discover my true style. Although everything in my closet is new, there aren’t too many things now. I have intentionally left plenty of ‘white space’ in my tiny closet. It makes my heart smile each time I open the door! It has felt so good to donate all of my clothing and share my very favorite clothes with friends. Hopefully, they will feel like warm hugs to everyone who wears them!

Along with all of the health benefits, there were also tiny, tangible bits of ‘bling’ from Weight Watchers along my journey. These meaningful charms celebrate: My first four weeks of meetings, 5% of my body weight, Making time for myself, 10% of my body weight, Creating a Vision (with themes: nurture, explore, create, imagine, commit, transform, embrace,…), Weight loss, Reaching my goal weight, Becoming a Lifetime member, and W.W. Freestyle.

At our weekly meeting, we celebrate each time someone receives a new charm. It is a lovely time of encouragement, honoring the huge commitment that it takes!

It felt so wonderful to celebrate with this tiny, golden key just before my birthday. It represents having reached my healthy weight goal, then learning for six weeks how to stop losing weight and maintain my healthy weight. This key is a Lifetime membership to Weight Watchers. (Yay! I no longer have to pay for the eTools and Meetings! 🙂 ) Lifetime Members must stay within two pounds of our goal weight or begin paying again. This is great motivation to maintain my weight. I’d much rather save my money for other things! 🙂 

I realize that the most difficult part of my journey lies ahead ~ the forever part. (Statistics show that with any weight loss plan, 85% of people regain the weight within two years. Knowing this, makes me even more determined to nourish myself in healthy ways!)

Over the past year, I have built a solid foundation of tools that work for me. I intend to continue tracking all of the foods that I eat and attending weekly meetings. With plenty of guidance from Weight Watchers, now I am learning how to eat a few more Smart Points each day without gaining weight. It feels like an exciting, new beginning…

Just last week, Weight Watchers introduced a new plan that gives us more freedom and flexibility with our Smart Points. For anyone struggling with weight issues, this is an exciting time to consider getting healthy and living more fully.

Now I’m creating a special Self Care (bullet-style) journal to plan and document this new chapter in my journey. It will help me to reach my new goals for activity during the winter months, including walking indoors, Zumba, Barre workouts, and a return to my beloved Yoga practice. I’m really looking forward to the challenge!

For me, this journey has been so much more than weight loss.

It is also about what I have gained during the past year…

♥  a sense of empowerment (“I can do this!”)

  dedicated time for self care, self kindness, and creativity

  patience with myself  (important things can take longer than expected)

  strategies that I know will work  (tracking my foods + attending meetings + an active lifestyle)

  lots of new friends along the way  (Each one is a unique part of my W.W. journey.)

I have been continuously blessed with the love and support of my dear husband, my wonderful family, and encouraging friends. I know they will continue to support me as I flourish in new ways!  Huge hugs, you guys!!

Thanks so much for stopping to visit today

as I untied the ribbons on this very special gift…

from me… to me!

My birthday cake (chocolate peppermint, a small piece)

tasted extra sweet this year!


Nurture yourself each day!

♡ Dawn










30 thoughts on “Nourish… to Flourish!

  1. I’m so happy for you, dear Dawn. Your commitment and tenacity paid you great dividends! I know you will continue with your maintenance of your healthy weight! Thank you for sharing a very important gift you have given yourself. The best kind –the gift of good health. ♥

    • Huge hugs, Martha Ellen! Heartfelt thanks for encouraging me to share here. It’s another way of keeping myself accountable… and I truly hope my story might encourage others to nurture themselves, as well. 😊 It’s so very true that the gift of good health is the best gift of all. Thinking of you with a grateful heart, dear one! 💗

  2. Wow, congratulations! Your heart is as big as ever as you’ve found your “right size.” Thanks for sharing, as you always do, with such depth and honestly. I am honored to know you.

    • ‘Happy tears,’ dear Anne! You always say the sweetest things. We have a mutual admiration society! You have been one of my models for living fully for many years now. Our cards and letters keep us close, but it would be such fun to live closer together! How do you feel about ice and snow???? 😊
      Warmest hugs! 💗

    • Heartfelt thanks, Jayne! I worked on this special gift every day for for thirteen months! Now I intend to keep using the strategies I’ve learned for many years to come. Thanks for visiting today, Jayne! Hope your holidays are wrapped in love! 💗

    • Heartfelt thanks, Cathy! I’m just so grateful for the Weight Watchers program! I learned the strategies and tools that I needed. It wasn’t really that hard, just a little slower than I expected. Slow and steady can be a good thing! 😊 It would make me so happy if someone else is inspired to make healthy lifestyle changes after reading my story!

    • Cathy, I want to thank you for always being here and being a very special part of the kindred spirits who gather here! I love the ways that we all help one another and encourage one another to move in the direction of our dreams! I will keep using Julia Cameron’s tools in the new year. So grateful that you guided me to the book club!
      May your Christmas be trimmed with the love & warmth of family and friends!💗

  3. Congratulations on such a wonderful achievement. I lost weight several years back, and it was wonderful. Only problem was the plan was high protein and low carb but not a lot of guidance on how to ‘live’ that way so I gained it back. You’ve had a heck of a 2017 on several fronts, and we can take encouragement from your successes. You go girl! 🙂

    • Many, many thanks, Judy! It feels so good to ‘right-size’ things. As women, we often take time for everyone and everything but ourselves. It only takes minutes to track my foods using the app. (It has a great bar code scanner built in. So, I am able to check the Smart Points at the store before buying things!) I always make time for the meetings because I really enjoy them. It feels like special ‘Me time’ each week! Building activity into my days is a bit trickier in the winter, but I can plan for it. This afternoon, I walked a few miles in the lobby of our local hospital. They always welcome fitness walkers. So, I enjoyed live piano Christmas music as I walked! 🙂 This is the first time I have ever had the continued guidance and support that Weight Watchers offers. I think it will the key to success!
      Happy quilting! ♥ Warmest Christmas wishes, Judy! ♡

  4. Congratulations! What a huge accomplishment and how great that you were able to give yourself ‘permission’ to take the time and the space to re-energize and recharge and ‘right size’ your world on so many levels. Thank you for sharing!

    • Many thanks, Kari! Welcome to our little gathering place here.👋🏻 It has been a busy year of learning and growing on so many levels. Now I will continue using these successful tools and strategies in the years to come. It’s so worth it! Thanks so much for visiting today, Kari, and taking the time to join in the conversation. May your Christmas be wrapped in love!❤️

  5. I love this post and Julia Cameron. I started a post on my artist date but obviously haven’t finished it yet. ;( I have the book you have featured and am working my way through it… slowly. Congratulations on the weight loss. I’m beginning the journey…again. Tomorrow is a rainy day so it’s the mall to walk until after the first of the year when my upgraded insurance will include Silver Sneakers. That is a free admittance to my neighborhood gym for those days I can’t walk outside. I can use the weights there too. After the new year, I’m going to get deeper into that book. Thanks for sharing. You do draw and write beautifully.

    • Many thanks, Marlene, for your kind words! I look forward to hearing about your Artist Date. I am truly enjoying Julia Cameron’s book. S-l-o-w-l-y is definitely the best way to explore the ideas and tasks in each chapter. I love reflecting on my life and using her prompts as I work on my memoir. After a little holiday break, I am really looking forward to beginning my days by writing Morning Pages again! I use them to explore creative ideas and find that I am more productive during my creative time in my little studio space.

      Last weekend was mild, so it was a real treat to walk outside enjoying the Christmas lights! A few times last week, I walked inside. You are so fortunate to have Silver Sneakers. I’m really happy that you can use the gym at no charge! I inquired, but am not eligible for Silver Sneakers at this time.

      It’s wonderful to know that we will both be following The Artist’s Way in the new year, Marlene. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a creative new year! ♡

  6. I wanted to wait till I had a decent chunk of time to savour your latest post. It was well worth waiting for.

    I love your garden journal – it is so beautiful. I would even buy something like this to read. I love lists and accounting and achievements and a journey documented. I can only imagine what your self care journal will look like – what a cool idea. I’m a big believer in shining a light on anything we wish to be more intentional about.

    And a whole year of right sizing. What an amazing achievement. What a proud moment. Sounds like you’ve had a very intentional year all round and your journals are a powerful tool, along with sharing your journey with us.

    Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and much joy in the coming year. I’m so grateful to have met you this year and to be part of your community.
    PS. Do you take photos of your garden? Maybe you have already in other posts. I’d love to see photos of the different gardens you mention in your journal. xox

    • You are so kind, Vicky! Thank you very much for being a special part of our friends who gather here. Wishing you Happy Summer in New Zealand! I’ve been enjoying looking back through my Garden Joys journal, with a cup of tea, on cold days. Gardeners are always dreaming garden dreams. So, of course, I’m thinking about a few more changes I would like to make in the garden next year and planting seeds of inspiration! I’m thrilled that there will be enough blank pages to continue documenting in the same journal. 🙂 There are lots of my garden photos on our blog. If you peek into the archives, choose the category Petals. Enjoy the blossoms!

      I’m looking forward to documenting healthy habits in my new Self Care journal. I think tracking my workouts, daily steps, and sleep habits will encourage me to stay on target in the coming year. It will help keep me accountable. There is power in writing it down (in ink)! 🙂 Intentional habits for brain health are also my priority. So, taking time for self care will continue to be a daily gift from me… to me!

      I’m so curious to see where your creative journey will lead you in the coming year, Vicky! Perhaps you will begin a new blog! Will you continue to write Morning Pages and take Artist Dates? I will most definitely treat myself to time for all of Julia Cameron’s wonderful, creative tools and inspiration. I’m excited to continue writing my Memoir during the Winter months while my garden is sleeping.

      Vicky, I thought of you when I saw a sweet stamp set with a cute, little camper. The sentiment said, “Home is where you park it!” So true! Wishing you all the simple delights that Christmas brings! May your heart be warm and your memories happy as we jump into a new year! ♡

    • Warm hugs, dear Penny! It feels so good to have reached my healthy goal. Now I must continue to be mindful of healthy habits each and every day. It’s hard… but not too hard! Wishing you quiet moments of joy in each day, my friend. ♡

  7. Dawn, thank you for directing me back to this post. You won’t believe this, but I rejoined Weight Watchers in December, one week before they changed to the new freestyle plan. It’s a great program, one that is always evolving to keep up with the science of weight loss and nutrition. I’m a fairly active person, but as I’ve aged, the pounds crept on. My friend lost 32 pounds and is now going on the maintenance plan. She offered to go with me on Saturdays. It’s been great. Congratulations on taking such good care of yourself this past year.

    Your journals are gorgeous. I love looking at them in detail, and find myself pouring over your photos. You print beautifully, you paint and draw beautifully and you inspire us all.

    Finally, happy belated birthday! May this be your best year yet.

    • Such wonderful news, Alys! This was my very first experience with Weight Watchers. I am enjoying every single minute and truly see it as a gift that I am giving to myself. For the past three months, my weight loss maintenance has been going very smoothly. 🙂 I am just a few pounds below my healthy goal weight now… and feeling great! I continue to track everything I am eating (even the zero Point foods, so that I stay mindful of portion size). Attending my Thursday meetings is such a treat! I have met so many new friends who share the same interests. So, we have been sharing creative ideas, too.

      With the New Year, I have begun a new Self Care journal to help me become more mindful by tracking my sleep and my daily activity. Although it is easy to track using the WW app and the Fitbit app, there is something very powerful about writing that data (in ink) in my Self Care journal each day. It keeps me accountable throughout the day because I know that I will be entering it in my journal. 🙂 I am also including gratitude and creative inspiration in my Self Care journal, for I know that both fill my heart and recharge my soul. They are all vital parts of my healthy lifestyle!

      We are kindred spirits in so many ways, Alys! I’m really enjoying the changes that came with the new Weight Watchers Freestyle program, too. I just love the flexibility (and the roll-over Points). Know that I’m always just an email or phone call away, whenever you feel like chatting. Cheering you during on this most important journey, dear Alys! I love this special connection that keeps us close across the miles. Sending warm (but snowy) hugs! ♡

      • Dawn, thank you for your good cheer. I attend my meetings on Saturday morning, and usually go with my friend MA. She lost 32 pounds and like you is now on maintenance. I like Freestyle too. I challenge myself to eat a zero point lunch when I’m home. It’s not hard when you put your mind to it.

        I want to lose 30 pounds. As of today I’ve lost just over 10. I’m focusing on my progress, not the end result for now. Otherwise 20 pounds seems overwhelming. It was so cool seeing your different pant sizes. That must be fun. Thanks for your support and kindness. I can’t wait for the day we connect in person.

      • You are rockin’ Freestyle, Alys! Doesn’t it feel empowering to have a flexible plan to follow that really works? We always hear, “If you work the plan, the plan works for you!” It’s so true! We are building healthy habits that we can follow the rest of our lives. I can’t think of a better (or more important) gift to ourselves and those we love! We will have lots to celebrate when we connect one day! Sending warm hugs on a cold winter’s day, Alys! ♡

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