How to Create a Vision Board to Inspire

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The practice of creating a vision board, aka dream board, helps a person to narrow down their dreams and specify how to achieve them in a visual format.

You wish for a better life? On your vision board you will elaborate on how you will achieve that better life. You create these masterpieces, display them on your wall, and they effectively serve as a daily reminder as you gaze upon it consistently, helping you to focus on the HOW you will reach your goals.

I have successfully created, and hung up, my vision board for 2018.  Well, to be truthful, I have so much vision that I created two boards. One for relationship, financial, and spiritual goals, and the other focusing on travel and adventure.  My sister, niece and I worked together on these, with each other’s input, over a few glasses of wine. Okay… bottles of wine.  Whatever gets the creative juices flowing, huh? It was quite the bonding experience as we each discussed what motivates us and what we wish to have present in our lives. I have read that it is best to do this in a nice quiet place when you start brainstorming so that you can be alone with your thoughts; however, I find that doing some of this with friends who can remind you of things you may have forgotten can help with the process as well. Do both if you can!!

Some steps I took to help me create my awesome vision board:

  1. Make a list of things you accomplished in the last year. (For me it was visit Italy, leave my old job, improve on relationships, and more)
  2. List ways you can improve your life in various sections such as personal development, environment, financial, social, family, faith, and more. Be specific. Instead of saying, “make more money” say, “work hard for the promotion you have been waiting for. Or, instead of, “make new friends.”, Say “Join a social sports league and make new friends.”vb cut it out
  3. Create your bucket list. What things do you want to do before you die? Mine consists of camping trips around the U.S. in our R.V., traveling to Santorini, Bora Bora, and a road trip up the 101 from San Diego to Northern California. Starting a job that I love and feel serves others. And, of course, WRITING. Look at this list and determine your HOW.vb lay it out
  4. Look online for photos you can print or get a bunch of magazines and cut out words and photos that inspire you to be a better you. Pinterest rocks for motivation and ideas on what you can use on your board. Cut them out and place them on the board to see where the best placement is before you start gluing or pinning. You will be glad that you did.
  5. vb glue itFind your medium for your board. Do you want this on a cork board, poster boards? (I used 2 poster boards and glued everything on them.) Cork board and push pins can make it easy to modify your board at any time. On poster boards, you can put gold star stickers on things you have accomplished to remind you that goals are attainable. IT IS POSSIBLE!
  6. Post the board up somewhere where you will see it every day. This is very important. Make it eye-catching with twinkle lights, glitter, etc. (see mine below-twinkle lights to follow!)

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Some people don’t try anything if they aren’t sure they will succeed, but successful people perform the activities unsuccessful people are too afraid to try. GO FOR IT! Put those positive affirmations you have saved up on a pinterest board somewhere in visible site to offer inspiration even when you are off our electronic devices.

What goals do you have? What places do you want to see? What adventures await you? If you can SEE these things daily, rather than remember every now and again that, “oh yeah! I want to see Bora Bora one day.”, you are more likely to succeed at accomplishing your dreams.

I wish to give credit to one site that has great instructions for creating your vision board, not to mention a fantastic blog both in information and beauty/layout.  Morning Coffee with Dee . This dream maker provides a step by step guide on how to create a great vision board. I highly recommend her site to anyone who wishes to remind themselves what they are trying to obtain from life. She has printables and ideas that streamline the process. Her site was pivotal in producing my board.

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Working On Myself

(Post originally written in January 2018.)

I will continuously be working on retreating from my melancholy moods. It is a constant struggle. I wish I could be like a cat and just “be” everyday only to sleep and “be” again the next day. I have my struggles, but I persevere.

There are a couple of interests that I’m utilizing to really help me to focus on improving my outlook on life. Motivational books, which I used to think were plain silly, have been instrumental to my cause. Another encouragement, and provider of hope, has been my studies for my next vocation. I find that studying and passing the chapter quizzes uplifting. Finally, my passion for fitness and health has been revitalized and I find myself excited to get to the gym and sweat out the stress.

I have had some books recommended to me by friends and family that have opened my eyes to different points of view on life. They have brought me more confidence and pushed me to take risks and not always play it safe. I recommend them both to anyone who needs a little push to get out of their safe little box and face their fears in the world.

MY YEAR OF YES by Shonda Rhimes. The author is the writer for Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and other amazing hit shows. She is inspirational and a fun read. Her book put me on a quest to say YES to invitations that I would otherwise refuse. I worked on saying yes instead of no to requests to many people, including my 9-year-old daughter. “Mom, will you go on a walk with me and the dog?” or “Mom, do you want to play a board game?” “You bet kiddo”, I now respond.  If I was invited to a gathering, I would take a deep breath and agree to go. When my niece and her best friend invited me to Italy, I said Yes with wide eyes and a beating heart. Italy was a life changer, and I almost wasn’t able to go due to fear pushing me around. Events that used to fill me with dread, I was now saying yes to attending, and it was opening doors for me I would otherwise never have discovered. What a revelation!

YOU ARE A BADASS: HOW TO STOP DOUBTING YOUR GREATNESS AND START LIVING AN AWESOME LIFE by Jen Sincero. I’m still reading this one and taking a lot of notes. I don’t care much for the sale pitch at the end, but her message is strong. We CAN do anything. We are AWESOME and BAD ASS. If we want something, we may have to work hard to get it, but it is attainable. It is one of the books that convinced me that it was okay to leave my job and pursue a new venture. The weight off my shoulders came off almost immediately. What you put out in the world, is what you will get in return.

PHYSICAL TRAINING AT THE GYM. As for this whole fitness infatuation, my sister had been complaining about aches and pains bringing her to a stand still too often. I was complaining about my pants being too tight and not loving myself as I should, so we decided to meet at the gym. Our long-time memberships needed some use!! We used the same familiar machines during our first few visits and yearned to know how all those intimidating weight machines worked, what order to use them in, and what should we be eating. We splurged and got a personal trainer and it has been a game changer. We have had about 7 sessions with this wonder woman, who works with my sister and I together, and I have this newfound confidence in the gym. TRX? I know how to use that! Cable triceps pulls? Let me show you how that works. Those big thick ropes we step over on the way to the treadmill? Oh yeah, I can show you how to work those puppies. That rowing machine in the corner? Yeah, I own that machine. Look out Jane Fonda and your Buns of Steel! You have some competition.

My sister has already lost over 10 lbs. and a pant size. I’ve lost 4 lbs., am down inches all over and am seeing a real difference. Today, I, a former high school track and field record holder now weighing in over, well let’s say my body is bootylicious, went for a run. I went 1.73 miles at a 15-minute mile pace. I can’t tell you how proud of myself I was when I finished. It was an almost euphoric feeling. I DID IT!!  And I’m totally doing it again. I see a 5k in my future!

And so, with all these new pastimes in my life, I am looking far into the future, and not just to tomorrow. I have some long-term goals set. I am a BAD ASS and YES, I am going to accomplish them. I like this new version of me. I invite her to stay as long as she wants.

Are there any motivational books that have helped you? Did you face similar intimidation when you first started going to the gym?



I’m Still Here…don’t leave just yet

I’ve been away a long time and am very sorry the delay. I’m still here!

We traveled to Seattle early December and had a magical time when it began snowing in Leavenworth during their Christmas celebrations! Then at the end of the month we went camping here in San Diego County. In between these events, I was helping my hubby and daughter get over the flu and then I manged to catch it as well. This flu has been an especially tough one. It lingers and lingers. I’m also completing my classes for my next exciting venture. 

I don’t want everyone to think I’ve given up on writing. I’m relearning to focus since I’ve got so much to say (It’s my story and I’m sticking to it). I will upload something soon. I have a notebook full of sentences that need to rerouted into coherent paragraphs. Please stand by…

Until then, I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

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We stayed here early December. Our Airbnb in Sea Tac, WA. A Lake House!!
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Camping in my hometown of Santee, Ca for NYE.  

Melancholy; Depression is a Bully

by Caroline Nelson

Not everyone is lucky enough to remember, or to find, their true passion in life and know what they love to do. I’ve loved to read and write from an early age. At the age of 7 I started my first diary, and kept one continuously since. When I was 9 years old, I blossomed into a bibliophile, reading all the Nancy Drew novels my elementary school library had and read all of them by the end of the following year. I would go on to progress to different authors or series, read them all, then move on to the next. Many of my childhood nights were spent staying up late reading the Babysitters Club series, Sweet Valley High series, Judy Blume (Tiger Eyes!) and Paula Danziger (I have an autographed copy of one of her books!) Eventually I moved on to the horror genre reading the likes of V.C. Andrews, Steven King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, and Anne Rice.  I could go on and on about the books that I adored… Barbara Kingsolver, Louie L’Amour, Anne McCaffrey, Aldus Huxley, John Steinbeck, Louisa May Alcott… Let’s move on.

When I was about 11, I started a family newsletter called “What’s New(s)” and enlisted the help of my nieces and sister for story contributions.  My awesome and encouraging Father bought me some publishing software with clip-art that would layout the words in columns and we would write about family matters (floppy disks). We attempted to sell subscriptions and sold the paper for 50 cents each as we were trying to earn money to fix up a dilapidated bunkhouse we had at our mountain property.  When my Dad bought a VHS Camcorder shortly after, the news stories became fiction and my father would sit in his lazy boy recliner, popping open beer cans, and would film us reading our scripts. One time I interviewed Dolly Parton, my sister with two balloons in her sweatshirt, about what it was like knowing Kenny Rogers. My love of journalism eventually got me on the school newspaper for the full 4 years, with one trip to journalism camp at Pepperdine University. I had goals, plans, and a future that was attainable. Until I became subservient to the impending darkness that began to envelope me.

I started to develop “episodes” around the age of 16 and had no idea what was happening to me or how to control it. I felt like I didn’t belong or fit in anywhere or with anyone even though I was in journalism, choir, sports, and held school office. In other words, my feelings of isolation were self-imposed and self-inflicted.  My mind told me that I was awkward, shy, and not interesting to anyone around me although I had many friends.  Sometimes, I felt like I was two different people. One person who wants to laugh and go out and enjoy the world, and another who curls up in bed, draws the curtains, and doesn’t answer her phone.  When I was in an episode, I could feel the two personalities fighting each other inside my head. I became self-conscious to talk to people and afraid of what they would think of me. In the many journals I’ve filled throughout my lifetime you will find poetry, descriptions of my day, deep thoughts about life, and a list of all the boys I ever kissed in chronological order (I add this because it is so adorable to me!) It is fascinating for me to read these musings and follow my progression in this world to a life of darkness and despair. Into a girl who went from happy-go-lucky to my up and down world of mania and gloom with no hope. My interest in sports, academics, and more was fading. My sweet mother was worried about me and knew that this wasn’t your normal teen angst she was working with when I attempted to jump out of a moving car, so she took me to get the help I needed.

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My journals from 1984 on. Some hoarding pays off.

I remember telling this wonderful sweet lady psychologist about how I could hear whispers in my ear sometimes, but it was just that I was in tune to the other side. I claimed that there wasn’t anything wrong with my mind, it was just that I was so highly intelligent that I had caught on before most people my age about what a sham our world was and how there was no purpose in growing older and having babies because why would I put children in a world like this??? She gave it a title, “Bi Polar II” and medications were ordered, which only made me feel more isolated than before. I got reckless in my behavior making irresponsible decisions soon after that.  I started to hang out with a new crowd who smoked weed and drank. I found that, hanging out with them, after a few beers, I felt more interesting, brave, and outgoing. Liquid Courage! After one evening hanging out with, what I called my friend, Captain Morgan, shit hit the fan. I knew that I had to have a change of scenery or I was afraid I might do the most drastic thing that depression makes us want to do of all (I don’t want to say it, but you know what I mean).prozac pez

My decision to move to Seattle came to me in 1998 at the age of 20 and was influenced by PEARL JAM (my still-to-this-day favorite band), and the GRUNGE MOVEMENT (flannels, Doc Martin boots, Singles, Nirvana, Soundgarden – are you feeling me?).  I thought this would be a place I could fit in while I worked to overcome my depression. Seattle was, after all, pretty much the Prozac capital of the world. How hard could it be to find link minded souls among the evergreen trees and the constant rain?  I was able to find a job quickly and started working at a well-known tow and car service company overlooking the Seattle Slough and was making $3 more an hour here than San Diego’s measly minimum wage. At night, I would spend hours drinking coffee at the Totem Lake Denny’s restaurant over in Kirkland, smoking cigarettes, and writing stories I would never finish. I also wrote to my mother via email every few days, chronicling my life’s events living on my own for the first time. She printed every one of those emails and gave them to me when I moved back to San Diego a year later (I had fallen in love with a boy in San Diego and came back home).  She asked me, on multiple occasions, to take those words and transcribe my experience into a book.  She saw the potential in me then and thought maybe my story could inspire or help others. She had written a romance novel with my older sister and tried to sell it to a publisher, but they had gotten rejected. I think she thought I could succeed where she had not. (Incidentally, I did make several good friends in Washington, with a few actually moving down here to San Diego.)

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Sketch by Caroline Nelson

But here is the Kicker…. My Point… My Biggest Character Flaw… I started stories, but didn’t complete them. I started my path to be a journalist in school and didn’t finish. Why? Because depression makes us do things that we don’t normally want to do. It takes the afflicted away from our goals and convinces us that we are not good enough to accomplish our dreams. Then we decide to “settle” for a life that is comfortable, that pays the bills, but doesn’t necessarily make us happy. I know there are a lot of us out there with the same experience. We take medication to feel more level, medication works great, we think we don’t need medicine anymore, so we quit, and then we start back where we began. It is a cycle that most manic depressed people are very familiar with.

In this age of social media, where people generalize and group people up for one trait or another, it is hard to not want to be a perfectionist and pleasing to everyone. You cannot put your opinion out to the public anymore without being blasted by someone for one reason or another. But we cannot be afraid of who we are meant to be.  I do not want my daughter to be wary of expressing herself. I want to raise her to be confident and say how she feels. Just last week, a girl at school told her that being Belle for Halloween was for babies. I want her to look that girl in the eyes and say, “Belle is awesome. I am awesome. So, the costume is perfect for me. Step off!” I hope she lives her life with less self-doubt as I did later in life. I am going to pursue my dreams, succeed and lead by example!! I hope neither one of us “fit in” and just get to be our own selves because, darn it, we are freaking awesome.  With the right self-care (send me a message if you wonder what medications and holistic care I use) I am back on track.  For the first time in several years, I have hope, faith, and a perspective that I can accomplish whatever the hell I want to do. Why not Caroline???  I have a plan and enlisted supporters to help.

Hence, the whynotcaroline blog and my new notebook that is quickly getting filled up with ideas of new tales and reflections.  I am incredibly blessed to have come to the realization that this is my life to live how I want. I don’t need to necessarily worry about what others think of my actions anymore. If I want to quit my job to focus on me for a bit, to improve my life and my mind, then why the hell shouldn’t I?  If I want to write, then damn it, I am going to write! I feel empowered to be courageous!

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Written by Caroline Nelson

Acknowledgements:  I owe much of this to my dear friend, Cheryl Emery, and her Mom (my mom#2), Sondra Hess, who urged me to put my Italy stories on paper and start the blog. When I expressed my lack of confidence, my wonderful friend told me to forget all that and reminded me of all the years we worked together on the high school newspaper and of my skills. She is also a Professor at a University of California school teaching Critical Thinking and Writing and said she would edit my stories and give me feedback upon my request.  The doors are open for me, I’m stepping through and doing this. I’m also reading this AMAZING self-help book by Jen Sincero called, “You are a Badass. How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.” (Link to the Badass Book, Author’s page) I simply call it the Badass book. It is an easy read. Not a snooze fest at all. Check it out if you are interested in giving your confidence a boost.  

To my husband, Josh Nelson, who I definitely did NOT settle for. He is my rock, my hero, and my soul mate. 

And since I owe everything to God, I will close with this:  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Afterword: I have had this written and ready to post for several days but have been reluctant because this is the first time I’ve really exposed myself like this and talked about my depression with the public. Those who are very close to me are aware of the demons I fight. I worried that putting this out there could put me at risk for rejection at my next job interview, but I can’t think like this anymore.  I have to get rid of the “what ifs” and go for it! My past and present speaks for itself. My resume is stellar as am I.  So this is me, naked, truthful, and unveiled.  

Do any of you have stories like mine? How did you overcome your fight? Are you kicking ass like me? Please provide your inspiration, stories, and more. Share with me. 🙂