FTG Big Announcement!

Hello FTG Friends! Very soon I’ll be making an announcement about the availability of my upcoming book, Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness! Behind the scenes, I’ve been gathering feedback from readers who received an advance copy:

“Angela Howell gently guides you to face what’s true and then brings you full circle to remembering that ‘now’ is all that exists. Brilliant!”
Denise Simone, Empowerment Coach and Intuitive Counselor

Also, I’ve been talking to local book stores and other retailers, and planning a launch party and book signing events. I’m so excited to be able to invite you along on this journey with me. We will continue to “Find the Gift” together!

If you came to The Ball in the Fall, I want to hear from you! Please leave a comment and tell me some of your favorite take-aways from all the amazing speakers we were able to enjoy. If you received an advance copy of my book, please leave a comment and tell me what you’ve enjoyed about it so far, or if any particular daily entry really hit home with you. Lastly, if you’re struggling or celebrating a victory, please tell us about it. This is YOUR website … OUR website to be cheerleaders for each other on this amazing journey towards learning how to love our lives, letting every obstacle and challenge make us stronger and point us away from what we don’t want, closer to what we do want.

If you haven’t joined our FTG community yet and received your  copy of my free eBook, Ten Secrets to Finding the Gift, look for the orange sign-up box at the bottom of this post (or to the right, depending on your device). Please join us and invite other like-minded friends! Cheers to you Finding the Gift today and sharing it with all of us!

Angela

P.S. Sneak peek from today’s reading:

October 27 Created to Create

Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar. ~ Nnamdi Azikiwe ~

We took a road trip to Dallas yesterday. Twelve hours in a car is hard on the body! Even two to three hours without a break is enough to stiffen our joints and make it hard to hop right out of the car and walk normally. The human body is designed to walk and yet just a few hours in one position leads to “dysfunction”—difficulty with an otherwise normal human function.

I believe another of our innate abilities is to create. If we have no creative outlet for two to three months, we may have irritability pop up as a consequence of restricting our natural capabilities. If we go two to three years without engaging in any creativity, we may see even more evidence of “dysfunction,” and we will probably experience a lack of fulfillment (though we may not realize why). If we wait twenty to thirty years without being creative and true to the way we were designed, we may have full-blown dysfunction in the way of depression, unhealthy relationships, bad habits, apathy, loss of physical health—complete bankruptcy of the soul.

In our culture, it’s so easy to fall into a confined lifestyle, where we’re practically robotic without a lot of variety. We do everything the same, over and over. We may not use much of our creativity or imagination, so those innate functions get rusty and stiff from lack of use. It can happen before we realize and then perpetuate over time. Creation is life. Creativity invites life energy to live in you. You don’t have to be a traditional artist, but we all need to create, to give life, to dream, to bear ideas, to play, to follow passions, to experiment and to explore new paths.

What creative activity—creat-ivity—can you do today to put some life back into your life? Can you experiment in the kitchen? Try something new on the menu at your favorite restaurant, or maybe even explore a new restaurant? Can you make a small wardrobe change to create a new combination that you’ve never worn before, using the clothes you already have? Can you invite creativity into your job and relationships? Can you find an alternate route to work, paying attention to the different landmarks you see? Reignite the spark that makes you … YOU!

Posted in Blog Posts

Highlights and Winners from The Ball in the Fall

Angela Howell, Finding the Gift, the Ball in the FallAngela Howell, Finding the Gift, The Ball in the Fall   Angela Howell, The Ball in the Fall, Finding the Gift

The Ball in the Fall 2015 at Trevecca University this past Saturday was an incredible event. Kudos to event founder Amanda Roberts and her devoted husband Dwayne for bringing a first of its kind, twelve-scene production to the stage just for women. Over one month in advance, more than a thousand women had registered to attend this free event to be refreshed, revived, and inspired. I am grateful to have been asked to play “The Doctor” in an intense, labor and delivery scene, and then encourage The Ball attendees to find the courage to birth their own dreams.

Following are a few highlights from my keynote:

“The greatest loss is the death of the soul when the body is still alive. When the body could still choose to follow that dream but doesn’t. I don’t care how old you are, if you’re breathing you can take a shot. You can do something. You can honor that song in your heart. We weren’t created to muddle through each day, barely surviving. We were intended to THRIVE!

I want to share three steps to help you find the courage to birth your dreams. First, you have to know what your dreams are so you must tune into your spirit, your heart, the essence of what makes you tick to find out what you are passionate about, and to find your song(s) to sing. The answers are already inside you, not “out there” somewhere. Nurture your spiritual maintenance just as you would your physical and emotional health. Think of it like a radio. Are you hearing static or is the signal clear?

Second, silence the doubt! Stop the limiting chatter, but don’t throw it out—it’s valuable! Write down your specific negative beliefs, revise them into powerful truths and re-program your brain by reading these daily. You can’t move forward if you are chained to unbelief!

And third, start taking some action. Small steps lead to big change! We won’t get anywhere overnight but we won’t get anywhere at all if we don’t start moving, so choose one thing today, a small step, to get you going in the right direction. Without action, our best goals will remain wishes.

New awareness can sometimes lead to fear, but the cure for fear is always ACTION!
“I’m afraid!” Do it anyway.
“I may fail!” Do it anyway, because either way you will grow.
“What if it doesn’t work?” It definitely won’t work if you don’t try, but what if it does?
“Who will I be if my dream doesn’t work out?” I don’t know, but who are you now, with an unsung song in your heart?”

JUST START. Take the first small step and share your dream with a supportive friend who can hold you accountable and who can be your cheerleader. In fact, I’ve started a cheerleader network on my website at FindingTheGift.com. Join the FTG community to share your victories and struggles, and encourage each other by interacting on “our” website.

The measure of our dream’s success isn’t defined by the outward manifestation that everyone else can see. We will know we are living our dreams when we feel an inward sense of peace and fulfillment, walking in passion and authentic alignment every day, using our unique gifts, whatever those are. Step one: Tune In. Step Two: Silence the Doubt. Step Three: Just Start!

How many of us would like to give our own precious child a gift and have it sit on their dresser every day unopened when we know how amazing the present is inside? How painful would it be to know they never took the time or found the courage to open it? Find your gift. Open your gift! Find the courage to let your dreams LIVE!”

Ladies were encouraged to join the FTG community to support each other as we all continue on our own journeys. “Door prizes” were promised and the winners are in! Three women were randomly chosen to receive an advance copy of my new book, Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness (Stay tuned for official book launch, coming soon!). And two women were randomly chosen to receive a thirty minute coaching session with me. The winners of the books are Debbie, Kathy, and Tammy. The winners of the coaching sessions are Marsha and Ana. Congratulations! Each of you will be contacted in the next few days by email.

Thanks to all of you who have joined “our” community and received your free eBook, Ten Secrets for Finding the Gift. (A free gift just for joining the community! If you haven’t already, sign up in the orange box on the right, or if you’re on a mobile device, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Your free eBook will be delivered immediately.) I can’t wait to see what gifts each of you bring to share. Have a great day Finding the Gift!

 

 

Angela Howell, The Ball in the Fall, Finding the GiftAngela Howell, The Ball in the Fall, Finding the Gift  Angela Howell, The Ball in the Fall, Finding the Gift

Posted in Blog Posts Tagged with: , , , ,

Courage To Be Fully Alive

Sneak Peak from my soon to be released book, Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness

October 6               Courage to Be Fully Alive
Today is a special day for a very special man in my life. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) We are going to make a big deal out of it! Did you ever hear someone tell you, “Stop making such a big deal about that!” Or, “Settle down now, and stop acting like a child.” As a society, we’ve even said that to our children, when acting like a child is the most age-appropriate thing to do. (I’m not discounting the need for discipline, this is just an observation of our language).

All too often our spirits are conformed to fit into society, into school, into church, even into our own families. Our behavior is regulated so much that we may think it’s not okay to jump for joy and act crazy. To cry when we feel sad. Or to laugh out loud when something’s funny. We are encouraged to wear our quiet little masks and politely die a slow, numbing death. We are hardly living, as opposed to celebrating the full spectrum of the human existence. It’s called a spectrum, which indicates that life is meant to be lived in a range of experiences, not as a safe, uniform spot somewhere in the midst of conformity and oppression. We need all of it to feel alive! Highs and lows. Loud and quiet. Fast and Slow. Celebration and grief.

A pastor once gave a sermon on how we’ve all but stripped the masculinity out of our sons and made them … nice. So we have compliant men who are afraid to take risks, make decisions and boldly be who they were created to be. And then we criticize them for it, and wonder what happened to the real men in the world? My husband is a huge fan of Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, who says, “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” Referring to himself, Eldredge says, “I wasn’t mean; I wasn’t evil. I was nice. And let me tell you, a hesitant man is the last thing in the world a woman needs. She needs a lover and a warrior, not a Really Nice Guy.”

Just for today, stop being so nice and politically correct, and demanding the same from everyone else. Let’s be unashamedly ALIVE, whatever that looks like today. For us, that means a big celebration. We are going to sing really loud and probably do a few Happy Dances. We are all alive, aren’t we? That alone is reason to celebrate. Let’s make today something worth remembering.

Posted in Blog Posts Tagged with: , , ,

Photo Shoot for Book Cover Reveal!

Here it is, my new book cover for Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness! I hung out with my good friend, Tim West of Tim West Photography, and we had so much fun with this truck! Thank you, Mary, for sharing your baby with us for the afternoon. Amulet Farms in Gallatin, Tennessee is a beautiful wedding and concert venue. If you’re local, definitely call them for your next rustic event!

Finding the Gift by Angela Howellfinding the gift, angela howellDSC_0429-2

My editor, graphic designer and I are working feverishly to bring my ten-year project to print. I am so excited to share with you all the insights revealed to me in nature and everyday life—366 of them to be exact! Please visit the new COMING SOON page on my website where you can read what advanced readers had to say about it. You can also sign up to be notified as soon as Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness becomes available.
(The sign up box to be notified when my book becomes available is on my COMING SOON page. I’m thinking there may be a drawing or two among those who sign up early, just sayin’!)

Also, if you haven’t grabbed your free gift, sign-up to receive that as well, and I’ll email you my FREE e-book: Top Secrets to Finding the Gift in Your Own Life. Yes! Gifts all around!    
(Sign up box for the free gift is to the right, or on a mobile device, down at the bottom.)

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. We will continue Finding the Gift together!

DSC_0118-2 DSC_0420-2DSC_0120-2  DSC_0431-2 DSC_0434-2-Edit

Posted in Blog Posts

The Heat Is On!

Our bodies are such amazing, complex systems, constantly regenerating and renewing themselves. A while back, I had surgery on my knee and in the acute healing process, this knee was very warm to the touch when compared to my healthy knee. I could literally feel how hard my body was working to heal itself. This brought to mind several sayings regarding transformation through heat and fire.

“The heat is on!”
“He really brought the heat today!”
“She’s in hot water now!”
“Nothing like a trial by fire.”

When the “heat” shows up in our lives, whatever that looks like for each of us, it can be mildly (or extremely) uncomfortable. When we feel the temperature rising in our circumstances or relationships, we can trust that a transformation is taking place, or an opportunity for growth is at hand. Resistance is the opposite of acceptance and only serves to make the struggle last longer, or keep me from benefiting fully from an opportunity for change. I’m always better off asking, “What’s my lesson here?” rather than “Why is this happening to me?”

Imagine metal trying to maintain its current shape when surrounded by fire? It would be pretty impossible for it to not be changed. If it’s happening to you right now, get the lesson! Too often, the fires life throws at us seem scary and something we want to avoid, but if we’re seeking and listening to the guidance inside, it’s safe to trust we’ll be cared for until we come out the other side. I choose to believe every circumstance is for our greater good, even when it doesn’t feel like it. You’re going to be great, too!

Posted in Blog Posts Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Trees, Hats and Masks

looking inward, tree, fall tree,

Into Me, See

The branches of a tree limb grow out in all different directions. They touch, they overlap, they split off into smaller branches. No two limbs are alike, and no two limbs have identical branches, but they are all part of the same tree. That tree is me; it’s each of us.

There are many facets to my life and I always laugh when someone asks me what I do, because I wear a lot of hats! I used to be in corporate sales, so I understand what it means to be an employee, a salesperson, a boss, the client interface, and a co-worker. Today, I’m a creative— photographer, writer, painter—while still being wife, Mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, business owner, coach, sponsor, sponsee, volunteer and member of a church family. I’m also a trauma survivor, which means I grew up learning to live fragmented, instead of integrated, and I have a tendency to divide myself and my life into parts.

Because I had this terrified, insecure side of me (and was secretly coping with my life using destructive behaviors like anorexia and bulimia), I learned to put on masks in order to do everything else. I became immersed in external appearance, perfectionism, achievement and control (the looking-good side) to make sure I was accepted and liked.

Sometimes I can still find myself putting on various roles like a costume, tweaking myself to suit each part, shifting in and out of different identities, and losing the real me in the shuffle. Thankfully, my awareness has grown in this area and I’m better able to recognize when I’ve slipped a mask on and need to come back to what’s authentic and true. I’m learning to trust that person is wonderful and most importantly, she is enough.

Today, I desire to be more fluid, more transparent, one self in all my daily endeavors and relationships, where the hat doesn’t change who I am, just decorates the real me! I encourage you to celebrate and embrace yourself too, all the wonderful, unique parts of you, knowing you also have one true identity, with many different branches and colorful hats. Wear them well, but always be you!

Posted in Blog Posts Tagged with: , , , , ,

Setting Goals or Making Wishes?

goals, target, intention, focus

Setting goals is great. Getting goals is much better! We can spend a lot of time writing out detailed goals and elaborate action plans, but unless we change something we do every day, we can’t hope to see any real movement towards reaching our hopes and dreams. Without action, our best goals will remain wishes. We can plan our lives, but we don’t just decide what our future will look like.

We decide what habits and disciplines we will do daily, and those daily practices are what ultimately decide our future.

As we evaluate where we would like to be in six months, one year, three years, ten years, let us also evaluate what needs to happen daily to bring about the progress we seek. It’s the small change that leads to the big change. Allow 21 days of repetition for a new habit to form. One day won’t make a difference, but consistency over time will change our lives and we will achieve a lot more of the goals that we set! When it comes to reaching goals, the slow, consistent turtle usually beats the rabbit.

Try taking a few small steps today, even if it’s just ten minutes’ worth of action or one phone call, and let me know how it feels to move closer towards changing your wishes and goals into reality.

Posted in Blog Posts Tagged with: , , , ,

Daily Repetition? Just Do It!

path, determination, persistence, repetition

© Angela Howell

We hear about overnight success and our brains know the truth–nothing happens overnight. Too often something in me still falls into delusional thinking and expectation, not wanting to do the repetition of small steps consistently. I found myself wishing for an outcome today, but then feeling frustrated at the realization that I couldn’t just do it. The only way to achieve this outcome is through small, daily repetition. But I want it now! Wow, how many times have I wanted to write a book in one day or take a foreign language lesson, desiring mastery right at the onset? Too often! What’s the saying?? Good things take time!

Living in a microwave, fast-food society, my inherent desire to pull up to the drive-thru window and have it my way is so much more appealing to me.

But I have a choice. I can dismiss the urges, desires, dreams, and goals that are going to take longer than one day, or I can do one small thing today (and the next, and the next) to get me closer to my goal.

If I make it more about the journey rather than the ultimate outcome, I may be more inclined to take that small step. If I look for the joy in actually doing it, or if I think about what I can get out of it today– the reward solely in today’s action– I may be more likely to just do it today. When I slow down long enough to enjoy myself in that activity, I may find the willingness to do it again tomorrow. What is a step you can take toward your goal today and even more importantly, what’s the gift you can find in doing that today? When I adhere to daily disciplines, I find the Miracle Gro for my dreams and goals! Cheers to us all Finding the Gift by taking one small step today!

Posted in Blog Posts Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Body Project Collaborative: Finding the Gift through Body Image Acceptance

self acceptance, self esteem, body image

Recently I attended a facilitator training for the Body Project Collaborative.  Sponsored locally by The Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee (www.edct.net), I had heard this was the most successful, research-based program used to address potentially harmful body image issues and to prevent early onset eating disorders from going any further. Being a 20-year survivor of anorexia and bulimia myself, I wholeheartedly support everything we can do to prevent these severe and often fatal illnesses from taking root and growing amidst a culture inundated with the thin ideal media messages.

We were made a lofty promise at the start of the training- that it would significantly change the way we feel about our body image and how we would treat our bodies going forward. In the process of training to be facilitators, we were also able to experience being participants and for me, these goals were realized halfway through the two-day training! But perhaps the biggest surprise for me was seeing that the Body Project Collaborative would be beneficial for every single one of us constantly being exposed to a culture which reinforces unrealistic beauty ideals and puts way too much emphasis on external appearance. I look forward to taking a small part in advancing this movement of greater body acceptance and cultivating a new message, “I am beautiful and already enough exactly the way I am today.” Another great approach to Finding The Gift!

Please contact me if you are interested in discussing how to personally participate in a community-based session of the Body Project Collaborative, or  how to bring this program to your local group.

Click to read an article Time Magazine published about the Body Project Collaborative.

Posted in Articles and Resources Tagged with: , ,

Welcome to Finding The Gift!™

Welcome and may your gifts be many!
(Hint: they already are.)

self development, Finding the Gift, Finding the Gift Book

Finding the Gift is about discovering what is already wonderful, inside us and around us.

Hello! My name is Angela Howell and I’ve been on a personal journey of Finding the Gift™­ in my own life since I was a teenager … a LONG time! I’m still on the journey and my hope is to connect with you by sharing what I’ve learned so far, and what I continue to learn. This is our virtual community where you can share your own insights with me and each other, by commenting on my posts or by contacting me directly. Look for the orange sign-up box to be notified of updates. Just for joining the FTG community, I will send you my free eBook, Ten Secrets to Finding the Gift!

Many of my insights come through unlikely metaphors in nature and other life lessons, and those will be found in my blog posts and my new book, Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness. Be sure to check out the FTG Book page, where you can learn more about my book and see what readers are saying!

Come on in and make yourself at home. I am excited to see what gifts you discover while you’re here and what gifts you’ve brought to share. Open eyes get more gifts to open. Cheers to us both Finding the Gift™ today!

Ordinary life is fascinating when viewed with extraordinary perspective.

 

Posted in Blog Posts