When I was younger I wanted a green thumb. I wanted to be able to grow things. I remember spending my allowance on rose bushes and packets of morning glory seeds, just in the hope that something would grow, and it did.

But I really loved the ritual of it. The quietness of sitting in the early morning sunlight, sticking my hands into the earth, planting the seeds.The gentle watering and hoping for sunny days.

I used to lay on my stomach looking at my little plot of earth singing Enya songs because I can't imagine music that a plant would love more.

The waiting, waiting, waiting, for that first little sprout to peek its head out of the earth. You can't rush the process. You just have to wait and there's this beautiful softness about it.

I pulled a card for you today, Lady of the New Buds: Nurture Tenderness.

This card's message: Have you ever looked at someone that has the "perfect" life and felt a little prickle of envy? The thing is, you can see the success now but what you don't see is all of the little things - the growth, the sacrifices, the rainy days that it took to get there.

We see beauty and we tend to accept it at face value. We don't take a moment to think about where that beauty came from. The patience, the waiting, the water and sunshine, the droughts, the wind, the pelting rain. All of those things contribute to the beauty.

I know what it feels like to be stuck in a situation. To feel like there isn't a way out, that there's no better option, so you suck it up with that stiff upper lip of yours and you go on forward, one foot in front of the other. You feel like you don't deserve better than this life that's sucking the life out of you. Or maybe you know deep down inside that you are meant for more, but it's terrifying and your choices are daunting so you don't make any choices at all. Or all your choices are based on making someone else happy, you barely enter into the equation. I want to remind you of something.

You are powerful.

No matter where you are in your life right now I want you to know something -

You have choices.

And in those choices that's where you find your power. Even when your situation feels hopeless and you feel hopeless and backed into a corner you still have options. How you feel, how you deal, how you pick up the pieces afterwards.

How you put yourself back together.

You've gone through life and you've let things just happen to you. You sit back, too afraid to go after what you want because what if you fail. Failing isn't so bad. I've learned from experience. Even when it feels like the end of the world, it isn't and you get to start again tomorrow. If you want to. Because you have the choice.

You aren't defined by anything but the definitions you give yourself. If you want to get healthier - look at all of the options out there waiting for you and choose. If you want to be a better parent then choose to find ways to get more involved with your kids. If you want to be an artist then choose to pick up the paintbrush.

What you do today has the power to completely and utterly change your life. You'll look back a year from now and be singing your praises.

That's if you want to.

There's always going to be someone to tell you that you can't do something or that you don't deserve to have the things in life you want.

But you are worthy. The minute you decide you are worthy everything changes, being powerless isn't an option anymore because you allow yourself to want and that means you can allow yourself to have.

You are not broken. The things that you've gone through have made you stronger, even if you felt shattered in the moment. They deepened your source of bravery and endurance and made you more than you were the day before and the day before that.

It's okay to feel tired, exhausted even, down and out for the count, but you have it in you to get back up, you're just that kind of brave and beautiful.

So take a really deep breath and look in the mirror and know that you are good enough. Don't put up with people - friends, family, spouses, hurting you physically or emotionally. Don't settle for a life that doesn't make you happy. Don't get sucked into the same old patterns that end in the same way every single time. Don't let your life go un-lived.

You can change yourself, you can change the world, you can create ripples and waves because you have movement. Use it.

You are worthy.

You are. You really are.

A Note: Blessing Manifesting is about self care for women and so many women are also mothers and that creates additional challenges in taking care of you and making time for yourself. I am not a mama and I've always felt like there's a piece missing here on the blog because that's a BIG PART of so many of your lives. So I asked for help and I found the perfect mum to share her stories with all of you, so please welcome Becky (and her lovely family!) as our regular contributor!

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a mother.  I was beyond excited when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child.

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect, but then, I don’t think you can truly understand what it’s like to be a mom until you’re right in the middle of it.  Looking back, I can now laugh at how I naively thought our daughter would be a joyful addition to our life; as though my life would stay the same, but I would now have the baby I’d always wanted.

It didn’t take long after our daughter was born for me to realize that my life would never be the same.  Becoming a mother turned my world upside down, in the very best of ways.

As a new mother, I quickly found myself questioning so much of my life.  

I knew I wanted to give my daughter the most incredible life I could imagine, and knowing I wanted to teach by example, this led me to question how I was living and why.

It quickly became apparent that I had been living on autopilot.  At some point, life had become a sort of checklist.  I had graduated from college, met my future husband around the same time I was hired as a teacher, got engaged and then married, bought our dog, bought our house, and had a baby.  I was 24, now what?

I realized that while I had a beautiful life, so much of my life had been planned or chosen in order to please others.  For the first time, I began to question who I was and what I wanted.  Who did I want to become?  How did I want to be remembered?  What did I want my life to stand for?
Eight years and two children later, I still find myself on a quest to make the most of my wild and precious life.

Though unintentional, my children are my greatest teachers.  

I have to be present and pay attention, keeping my eyes, ears, and heart open, but the lessons and reminders are there, patiently waiting for me to awaken.

Natalie, now 8, has been strong-willed for just about all of her life.  Thankfully, the temper tantrums of her toddler years have faded into memory, as she’s blossoming into an independent young lady.  She cares deeply for others, is constantly creating or experimenting with new projects, and appears to be a natural leader, as her siblings and friends seem to magically follow along with her many ideas.  Through her curiosity and passion for life, she gently invites me to come along, explore, and stay open to the infinite possibilities throughout our lives.

Carter, about to turn 6, is my thoughtful one.  Although he thrives when it comes to tasks such as puzzles, Legos, or any academic work, any new situation or change from what he is expecting, tends to make him anxious.  Though sometimes challenging, he helps me grow as I try to see the world through his eyes and find that delicate balance between protecting him and letting go so he can fly.  Both through his intelligence and his sensitive nature, Carter helps me to be more patient, to slow down and be fully present, and to stop worrying so very much about what others might think, so that I can be the mom he needs me to be.

Lily, now 4, is our little firecracker.  Part princess, part tomboy, she loves to joke around, play, and laugh.  Though I haven’t yet noticed some of the innate talents I’ve seen in her sister and brother, I know that Lily has a gift for bringing more joy and love wherever she goes.  Through her affectionate nature and contagious enthusiasm, Lily helps me to remember that we all matter, we need one another, and life is better together.

One of the biggest surprises I’ve experienced as a mom, is realizing how different my children are and how much they have been who they are since birth.  I believe that my children (that all of us and all of our children) are here for a reason.  I believe that they are who they are, with their unique gifts, interests, and challenges, for a reason.  As a mom, I’m deeply committed to helping each of my children grow into, and fully love, all of who they are.

What I’ve realized in this commitment, is that somewhere along the way in my own life journey, I forgot who I was.  I stopped noticing my gifts and what makes me unique.  At some point, I started to hide parts of who I am, in order to blend in.  Though I want my children to love and honor all of who they are, I can admit that I am often my own worst critic and lacking in self-compassion.

This year, in place of resolutions, I decided to dedicate myself to re-discovering who I am, both as a mom and beyond this role.  

This year, I am committing myself to practicing self-compassion on a daily basis, granting myself a bit of grace and understanding, as I learn to value and nurture all of who I am.

From my heart to yours, as one mom to another, I invite you to join me on this journey of compassionate discovery – exploring our gifts, passions, and purpose through self-care, creativity, and sacred practices – as we join together, embracing and thriving in this wild and precious life.

Becky McCleery is an inspired mother, writer, and teacher.  She loves connecting with kindred spirits and helping change makers bring their beautiful dreams to life.  She invites you to learn more and connect with her at www.InspiredIndie.com.

Four years, can you believe it?! I didn't even realize that Blessing Manifesting's birthday was coming up until I got some super sweet congratulations on LinkedIn, holy cow, four whole years, 580 blog posts, over two thousands comments, and tons of shared laughter, wisdom and stories. You are all amazing.

I was looking back on my first blog post, that scary feeling of opening up from a heart-centered place. This was not my first blog, I dabbled in the days of livejournal and myspace but this was the first blog which was not about attention-seeking, drama, woe-is-me, tales of misfortune and misery.

I worried for awhile that starting this blog would make me fall back into those patterns. There's a thin line between sharing your experiences to help people and sharing because you want the attention, because it makes you feel better inside. Before you know it you're actively seeking out drama so you have something to write about, so that people will feel bad for you. Yeah, I was that girl.

I look at my first blog post and I'm cheering for that girl who has nothing in her heart but this lovely desire to help other people.

"We are all perfect, imperfect, people. Sometimes it just takes a bit of dusting off and polishing to fully realize how great you really are."

As most of you know, I had a really big month in March! While I came through the other side okay it was a huge challenge in handling my stress levels and doing the work. It's really easy to talk the talk but what's really important is how you put all of that talk into action when the only thing you want to do is curl up on the couch and be stressed out and miserable because it's easier. I'll be honest, I have indulged in a bit of that. You don't have to find the energy to move, to try, to get up and be in charge, but we know better. We deserve more than that.

Discover the things that allow you to care for yourself.

This is part of a new series on the blog called Self Care Toolbox. It's essential to know what things you can do to make your life better. You need to know the things that relieve stress, reduce anxiety, make you happy, and inspire you and encourage you.

But it's got to be what helps YOU.

Yesterday I told myself that I was disgusting and I was mortified that I did it.

I was not having a very good morning. I was feeling very sensitive and emotional and having trouble dealing with it. It had been a long time since I'd felt those emotions, that feeling of sadness and vulnerability that crashes against you from out of nowhere. It put me in mind of when I used to feel like that a lot, nearly all of the time, and that started dredging up other feelings and experiences.

I started missing my best friend of years ago.

Our friendship did not end well. At that point in my life I didn't know how to have functional friendships with people, I threw temper tantrums, I was a drama queen, I was selfish and even verbally abusive. That friendship was full of immaturity and drama and angst, neither of us were very good for one another. Still, I can call to mind so many instances of genuine love and support between us.

Yesterday, I missed that. I missed it desperately.

It made me so angry, so frustrated to feel that hurt all over again. To recognize that there's still a piece of me that is affected by that, deeply so. I've tried to rekindle that friendship a few times in the last few years but it always fizzles into small talk and eventual nothingness.

So I had a moment that was full of condemnation.

"God, can't you get over it already? It's been five years. The fact that you're crying about it is disgusting and pathetic."

That was what I said to myself. 

And it hurt to say it, to let my frustration with myself lapse into that kind of talk.

Because I know better.

And the instance those words left my mouth, I knew better.

And I stopped.

Because it's not disgusting or pathetic, it's frustrating and I needed a moment to process that wave and understand why I was feeling it instead of accusing and berating myself for it.

That's what communication is. Listening instead of reacting. That's what I've learned how to do.

That moment of frustration manifested itself with meanness and it was a really great lesson on a lot of levels.

Healing isn't always this thing that happens with no residual effects. It leaves scars, joints that ache when it rains, and sensitive tissue underneath the skin that tugs and pulls - sometimes out of the blue, long after you've forgotten there had been a wound there to begin with.

I mean that both in regards to the hurt I felt but also in how I dealt with it initially. Those patterns that I thought I'd eliminated in my life popped back up making me feel like I'd relapsed, that I'd failed myself in some way. I didn't though, the only failure is in not getting back up and trying. When you know better, you do better and I. Know. Better.

Understanding and compassion.

How I love those two words. I turn them toward myself. I tell myself that it is okay to mourn something that once meant a lot to me, something full of history and brokenness but also of sisterhood and connection. I tell myself that yes, time... years... have passed, but I wouldn't be true to me if I was able to forget or not care, not with this big 'ol ginormous heart of mine. I will always care and that's okay. It doesn't make me this lame weirdo that can't let go. It is a level of depth and bittersweetness that I honor within myself. I hold that space with understanding, with deep love, and I accept that it is part of me.

My feelings are not disgusting.

I know better.

How do you deal with emotional wounds re-opening that you thought were long healed?