self improvement

The Shift


Seeing the world as open and full of possibility is the fundamental shift of mind that opens the door to connecting to the Source. Each of us has a capacity for awe, wonder and reverence. The human species has an inbuilt passion to serve life, to learn, to know, and to experience the thrill of discovery. At the heart of the path Polanyi describes there is the ‘passionate pursuit of hidden meaning’- the act of creating something of significance that has never existed before. Each of us can choose to let go of the obstacles that impede our development and to release the possibilities that lie latent within each of us.

—Joseph Jaworski from his book “Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation.”

As I was reading the book “Source” the other day I found the quote above and just loved it. I have experienced this shift of the mind recently and I sincerely wish for everyone to experience it. It is the feeling in your heart that you can create beauty in the world in many different ways and that there is no reason to hold back your creativity. It is the powerful feeling that you get when you feel the impulse to create something; maybe it is an article, blog post, book, painting, science experiment, speech- it can be anything that you feel a deep desire to bring into the world. All of us have the power to create something amazing.

I have recently felt drawn to create meringue sculptures and I am especially thrilled with the above picture of one that I just created that is sugar free. I collaborated with an amazing friend of mine who was able to confirm that the sweetener I used was a great natural substitute for sugar and not only does it look beautiful, it tastes amazing and everyone can enjoy it. This gives me such joy in my heart and I am so grateful for my friend’s help as well.

Lately I have felt so many impulses to create certain food art pieces and they just pop into my head at different times of the day. At that time I work on holding on to the image in my mind and I build upon it until I am able to work on it in the kitchen.

Have you ever felt a deep desire to create something? It is so amazingly thrilling! You are bringing your creation out of your mind and into the physical world and it really is such a beautiful experience. I have learned that you may not have immediate results from creating things, but with each creation you are lead down the path towards more and more creations that will cause conversations, meetings with people, other thoughts about more creations and so much more. Do not doubt images that come into your mind that you know you need to work on. Give yourself the chance to create them. Even just the pure joy in beholding your creation is a reward in itself!

What have you been creating lately? What ideas have popped into your head at random times? I would love to hear from you!

Feel free to comment below, or send me an email at:

With lots of love,


Daily Self Care


Daily self care is something that I am constantly refining. Because the beginning of the year for me and for many others can be quite a challenging, I believe that self care is something that we all need more than ever this time of year. Here are some of the habits that I have either started to do or have done for quite some time. I hope that some of these help you. I am a work in progress and some of these habits are sticking and others I need to re-integrate into my schedule. 

Daily Exercise: 

This year I started to go to a gym again. This is something I hadn't done in around 20 years. It has been such a wonderful self care habit for me to start. I have found that I am motivated to exercise by going to the gym and also be being a part of a group class. These two factors keep me on schedule and going because I am accountable to the instructor and the group. I also am part of a daily Facebook accountability group for exercise which keeps me motivated as well. On top of this I put a red star on each day on the calendar that I exercise. I love seeing all of those stars! I find that I have more energy when I exercise and I love that there are classes that I can attend first thing in the morning. That is when I am at my best. I encourage you to find a way to exercise that you enjoy and that keeps you accountable. That is different for everyone, but I do believe there is a way for each person to find that will motivate them. 

Daily Reading: 

This is a great habit that I started 2-3 years ago. I now make a yearly goal to read 52 books. This means that I always have two or three books that I am reading. I usually read first thing in the morning and during work breaks. I also sometimes read in the evenings. I am going to need to change my schedule slightly because since my exercise classes are during a time when I would normally be reading or journaling. I think I might get up 15 minutes earlier so that I can set intentions, journal and read before I go to my workout class. I learn a lot from each book that I read and I feel like I gain new habits, skills or outlooks from each one. I sometimes buy my books or many times get them from the library. Reading is a self-care habit to me because I believe that learning is a way to care deeply for yourself. 

Setting Intentions/Journaling: 

Every day I try to set aside time before I go to the gym in the morning to write down my intentions for the day in my journal. Then, I write about my goals, gratitude and daily action steps in my Freedom Journal. This really sets the stage for the day and focuses me on what I need to get done that day to meet my goals. I know that this is a very important piece of my self care because it sets my mindset and it sets my actions for the day. 

Saving Email and Social Media for the Afternoon: 

This is a habit that I am not always perfect at. However, I know that on the days that I don't look at email, social media and messages first thing in the morning are days that I feel better, am more productive and less preoccupied with what is going on. This is such an important piece of self care because it focuses my day on what I need to accomplish to serve others and myself instead of what is going on in messages and social media. I believe that those things have their place and are wonderful tools but they can be so very distracting, especially first thing in the morning. This is something I am still working at and I'm not perfect! I'm better at not answering or posting anything in my FB check-in groups until around lunchtime, but often I still need to work hard to stay away from email earlier than that. 

Creative Time in the Evening: 

I was a graphic design major in college and I was fortunate to take a lot of art classes including drawing, painting, calligraphy and sculpture. I really enjoyed those creative outlets. However, with time I let all of those pursuits go. Lately I have been finding myself needing some creative time at the end of each day. For Christmas I got a great dot-to-dot book. I have started doing those, then coloring them in with colors and patterns and sometimes adding in painted scenes in the background. I also have a detailed coloring book and I have done some collages. Sometime this month I might try my hand at some sculptures as well. Find time to do something fun or creative each day and really restore your creative soul! 

Monthly Pedicures: 

This is a monthly habit that I started more than a year ago. I found a fantastic local salon  that does a wonderful pedicure that I really look forward to. As a chef I am on my feet a lot each day and find that this self care piece is really non-negotiable. I make sure to schedule in a pedicure every month and make sure that my feet are healthy and well taken care of. I also love the pretty nail colors! 

Resting in the Evening: 

For a workaholic like me, this is so new! I actually write "rest" on my to-do list otherwise in the evenings I find myself trying to do more and more chores. Now, at 7pm, my workday is done and that includes household chores. It can wait until tomorrow. This is a brand new mindset for me because I think that I was just obsessed with working so much. At 7pm I change into pajamas, read a book or join the family for an activity. I have also found that I love to watch historical documentaries on Netflix if my husband and son are busy doing Legos or playing a game. This is also a time to do my creative projects if I am so inclined. 

I hope that some of these self care ideas helps you! Please let me know what you do for daily, weekly or monthly self care for yourself. 

With lots of care,



Persistence & Patience in Your Life's Work

The Mastery Journal

In this rare post that is not a recipe post I am going to share with you some of my journey towards realizing my life's work. This journey is not a smooth one, with the path laid out in gold, or clearly marked yellow bricks. This one is a windy, twisty journey with a road that sometimes is paved with rainbows and other days with roadblocks, mud puddles and stones that you trip over. However, it is the only road I want to travel because I know that it leads me every day one more step in the right direction of my life's work. If you are looking to take this windy path that will lead to self discovery, goals met and so many positive things along the way, then this article is for YOU! 

Every day on this journey I work on myself, I work on my destiny, I work on my contribution to the community and society. Over the past 2-3 years as I transitioned from being a part-time English as a Second Language teacher mainly teaching classes at night to running my pie business to starting my business The Cheery Chef I have undergone many personal and business changes. I have sought to learn from others through books, videos, audios, coaching and more. I have learned to start reaching out for help and look for more resources and ways to stretch myself. I want you to start growing, reaching out and thriving along the path on your journey as well! 

Last year in 2016 I came upon a wonderful way to really go for my goals and to stretch myself- The Freedom Journal. This journal was created by John Lee Dumas from the amazing daily business podcast EO Fire!  I was able to complete two major goals last year with the daily accountability that The Freedom Journal provides as well as the accountability within The Freedom Journal Facebook Group.  I am also part of group that formed within that group OTED or One Thing Every Day- a small group where we post a photo of what we are working on that day.  In 2016 I managed to accomplish my two goals: I published my very first cookbook: Recipes for a Cheery Life: Gluten Free Brunch and I was able to record and publish to Facebook and You Tube 100 videos about positivity and inspiration- by asking questions of others. Because I did a great job in accomplishing my goals I was also featured on episode #1564 of EO Fire!

This has spurred me on to work even harder in 2017 on my goals. 

Never underestimate the power of daily accountability. You are more likely to take steps every day towards your goals if you are accountable to a journal and to a group. If you just set the goal on your own and hope to accomplish it, it is very unlikely that you will take the daily steps you need to in order to accomplish that goal. Daily check-ins with your Freedom Journal and with the Facebook group are a wonderful key to success. 

Even though I have accomplished a lot in the past year, there have been many obstacles to overcome. This is where Persistence and Patience come in for you. These two things, practiced daily will lead you to success. Sometimes it may seem like you are stuck, going nowhere, even though it seems like you have gone miles and miles down the path, trying lots of strategies, doing lots of work, putting yourself out there, stretching yourself. I have felt this a lot during the first part of 2017. In the summer of 2016 I decided to go for it and become a cook. This means that I am able to cook and serve meals that local folks order online from me and then pick up twice a week. I started off slow in 2016 and then started to gain momentum. By mid-December I had really gained some traction and had a good customer base. However, as often the case at the beginning of the year in January things really slowed down for me. We also had a major snow/ice storm in our area that really slowed business for so many people locally. Finally, when the weather cleared I had a great week of many more clients picking up meals towards the end of January. Then, there was another pretty slow week. It can be frustrating at times to have momentum working in your favor, and then to hit another roadblock. This is not the time for you to give up though! Please keep stepping over those stones on your path, they will lead to sparkling jewels for you in the future. 

You can keep going on your journey and find success if you work towards it daily. For this reason, during these slow times instead of feeling sad and defeated I have decided to reach out to others for ideas, create more recipes, create more menu ideas, do events out in the community, talk to more people. I know that these activities are like sowing seeds along the path on your journey. Right now the seeds are germinating in the soil along the path. Each day I sow more seeds there. The beautiful rain is coming down to water the seeds and the sun shines to give them light. The more seeds you sow along your path, the more daily actions you take with intention and positivity, the more flowers you will see start to pop up all around you in the form of small wins and successes! Those flowers for me are a new client, an email from the library to join in an author's event in the fall, a friend introducing me to their friend who has expertise in an area I need help in. Those are all flowers you can enjoy, be thankful for and enjoy the benefits from. 

Today, February 6th, 2017 is the first day on my journey that I am using The Mastery Journal to remain focused on my tasks throughout the day! See the Kickstarter campaign here to claim yours today:

You can use this journal daily to lay out your morning routine, set out 4 focused work sessions and then rate yourself for the day! I am so amazed at how productive I have been so far! I finished my first task early so I was able to spend a few minutes getting ready to write this post. Then, my second session is set up to write this blog post for all of you. Now, I have 2 more sessions left to accomplish even more! By following these sessions with Patience and Persistence I know I will win each day and that is a great thing to know. I want you to win each day too! That feeling will carry you through the times that are not as you would hoped. Don't let those times deter you, use Patience and Persistence and some great tools to help you along the way. 

I want to see you succeed and thrive in 2017, so I urge you to pick up copies of The Freedom Journal and The Mastery Journal. I know that by using them daily I am going to go farther on my path this year than in any other year in my life. I want the same for you. I want you to know that we are all waiting for your life's work. You have so much to give and we all need to see you go for it! Please feel free to reach out to me if you need help on your journey. We all do better if we help each other! 


My 100 Day Journey- One Step at a Time

my 100 day journey- one step at a time

Today I want to share with you a 100 day journey that I took with a very special journal. This journal is called The Freedom Journal. It was created by John Lee Dumas of the daily podcast EO Fire to help all of us reach our biggest goals in 100 days.  Even though this journey lasted 100 days, I am taking one step a day, every day towards many other 100 day journeys. Here I will share with you how this journal works, how it changed my life and continues to help me on my next goals day after day. 

Every year we start out in January with very big goals or a long list of resolutions. We really do intend to do those things with all of our hearts. We start out strong with lots of resolve, but sometimes we try to reach the goal not one step at a time, but one leap at a time. Taking too many leaps at a time can cause overwhelm and burnout. I have been there many times. We simply don't break down the goal into small enough steps to be completed each day toward our big goal. We don't set deadlines. We don't have accountability. The Freedom journal helped me with all of those obstacles. 

Action is the Key: 

Before I go into the details of my goal, my journey and how you can accomplish a big goal too, I want you to know that action is required. If you don't take action to begin and take continual action to improve and go for your goals, even with the best tools- you will be stalled. Be sure to commit to as much action as you can, day by day. I have taken an occasional break, but I have planned for it and then dove in when my break was over to take the next step. It takes creating rules for yourself and it takes discipline to make this happen. That being said, this journal and the accountability it provides, as long as you use it on a consistent basis will work wonders for you! I am so excited to share with you what worked for me along my journey. 

my 100 day journey- one step at a time

My Goal: 

With this 100 day journey my goal was to write, publish and market my first cookbook- my gluten free brunch cookbook. This was a huge goal for me because although I had written an e-book, producing a physical cookbook for sale online was such a big project. Breaking it down one day at a time really helped me. 

What the journal helped me with was: 

  • Writing down each morning what I was grateful for. I really enjoy this feature of the journal. It really puts into perspective what is important in our lives and that obstacles are just small compared to the blessings we have in life. Even though I write 5 days a week in a separate gratitude journal, I believe this section is so important. There can never be "too much" gratitude. It is always important to be grateful for what we have and the support we get from others. 

  • Writing down my big goal each and every day. It may seem crazy to write down the same goal every day for 100 days, but it really drives home what you are working towards. It really helps you focus on your goal. 


  • Actually coming up with an action plan for each day. This helped me come up with how I was going to structure my day to get my to-do list done for my big goal each day. 


  • Writing down 3 things I was going to accomplish that day towards my goal. Sometimes I only wrote 1-2 tasks in for the day because I knew it was a day that I had other commitments but I knew that even if I only did one task toward my goal it would help move me forward. 


  • Checking in with myself each evening. I love this feature of the journal. You check in with yourself in the morning to get set up, then you check back in during the evening to see how things went, how you can improve and what went right. 


  • Dealing with struggles. In the evening journal section, there is space to write about struggles you had and how to solve them. I think this is so important to reflect on. Some days I had some struggles such as I had a hard time getting started because of feeling overwhelmed. However, I found that once I got started I had so much momentum build up that I did manage to accomplish my tasks. Many nights I wrote that although I had trouble getting going I "did the task anyway." That is a huge win! Often the mindset of overwhelm or resistance to starting can be powerful, but what is more powerful is when we push through the other side and say "I did it anyway!" This is a winning attitude and the way to push through any obstacle. 


  • Having a deadline. It is so important to have a deadline, a launch day, a checkpoint. This is really what drives us forward and keeps us accountable. It is a date you can firmly put on the calendar, you can tell your friends, family and customers about this deadline/launch date. You can create excitement! Having an end day as well as an end goal makes all of the difference. I can tell you that it was so much fun to see that date on the calendar and know I was working hard to get there. It did take us 4 extra days to actually have the book up online, however, we were officially done except for a few details on day 100. I am proud of that. There will always be obstacles, setbacks, challenges, but if we keep going, keep stepping forward that is what will help us get to our goal. 

Personal Lessons I learned: 

  • I learned that each day is a gift. Time is all we have. We must take action each day toward our goals, our dreams. Me must use the gifts and talents we are given to help others. To inspire others towards their best selves as well. 
  • I learned perseverance through challenges. Sometimes there were challenges in the process and I learned to be patient, to always choose kindness in every situation and to always move forward. It is important to take time out to think of solutions, work together to solve problems and move on. There will always be challenges. That is what life is about and we should embrace them and know they are there to teach us to rise up to be kind leaders, thoughtful human beings and people who want to share the best of themselves. 
  • I learned leadership skills and speaking up for what I needed and when. I made sure that everyone was heard and had a voice in the process and learned that everyone has a different style but everyone deserves a chance to speak and to be part of the project. 
  • I learned that sometimes things will take much, much longer than expected. You need to have patience and know that some things are out of your control. You must be creative and come up with solutions and work-arounds to problems. 

What I am working on now: 

As of today I just completed my second edition of my cookbook. We created a trade paperback edition that will sell for a lower price point. I am so proud of this accomplishment. The book is available through Blurb currently and then will be on other online retailers in about 2 weeks.

Here is a link to my book:

I am also working on a 30 day goal in the Freedom Journal to market the new edition of the book, create more content including weekly videos for my You Tube Channel focusing on life tips, more blog posts and my new Facebook group "Cheery Life Recipes" where I share daily stories of inspiration, photos, recipes and more. I am happily working one step at a time on this current goal as well as writing 2 posts a week on this blog and doing my weekly newsletter. 

I encourage you to pick up a Freedom Journal to start your journey today. Feel free to reach out to me at if you need any support on your journey. 

Here are the resources for this blog post: 

The Freedom Journal:

EO Fire:

Trista Ainsworth You Tube Channel:


Start Your Journey! 

I wish you all the best as you start your journey to your goal. I know that the more that I use the journal, the more focused I am. I am so very proud of what I have accomplished and I know I will continue to move forward so that I can serve more people and help more people along the way.