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2014 Reflections: On Writing, Money & Gratitude


“Change your story, change your life. Divorce your story of limitation and marry the truth. You can make anything happen.”
— Tony Robbins

In mid-December, I took advantage of a rainy day and completed Susannah Conway’s Unraveling the Year Ahead 2015 workbook. As I responded to the questions in my journal, rain bounced off the skylight in my kitchen, Christie purred on my lap, and I drank copious amounts of creamy coffee.

As the rain fell, I filled one-quarter of my Midori notebook. I’m glad I ordered extra Midori paper because I’ve been journaling a lot this month. December is the perfect month to reflect on the past year and to dream and scheme about the year ahead.

I won’t bore you with a verbatim article from my journal notes; instead, I’ll share some of my favorite books, accomplishments, and essays that made 2014 awesome. Then, I’ll talk about some of my intentions for the upcoming year.

Favorite books of the yearThe Big Tiny by Dee Williams, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, and Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins.

Favorite professional accomplishment of 2014: Publishing My Morning View: An iPhone Photography Project about Gratitude, Grief & Good Coffee

Favorite personal decision of 2014: Moving into town

Favorite photo essays of 2014: Mt. Shasta Lavender FarmsSucculent Magic / A Day at Castle Crags / Fall Colors in Yreka, CAKangaroo LakeThe Utah Edition / Adventures in McCloud, CA / A Tiny House Camp Out

Favorite guest posts: I was honored to guest blog for Flow Magazine during December! Read my articles here.

Favorite RK articles of the yearLife in 700 square-feet / Why I’m Moving Into Town for the Winter / On the Depth of Loss / On My Teaching Adventures / On Running a Web-based Business / What I’ve Learned from Indie Publishing /

Gratitude in the New Year!

“If you’ve got a billion dollars and you’re ungrateful, you’re a poor man. If you have very little but you’re grateful for what you have, you’re truly rich.”
— Sir John Templeton

Desire Map Cat

In 2014, I wanted to feel joyful, creative, and at ease in my personal and professional life. I decided to concentrate on this concept after reading The Desire Map. Focusing on how I want to feel has enabled me to make better choices and cope with challenges, too.

In 2015, I’m emphasizing one word and one feeling—gratitude. When I’m grateful, everything changes. I’m less fearful, more loving, and I treat myself with kindness. As I move into 2015, I’ll write about my intentional gratitude in more depth.

Below are a few activities that I’ll be focusing on in 2015:

I finished reading Tony Robbins’s new book, Money: Master the Game, and it’s inspired me to create a long-term financial plan and reexamine my relationship with money. During our 20s, we focused on paying off our debt, saving for a tiny house on wheels, and creating a resiliency fund. That fund includes roughly 6 months of living expenses, so if my business falls apart or if Logan loses his job, we can still pay our bills. However, we’ve neglected long-term financial goals. When I’m in my 60s or 70s, I want to be financially comfortable and able to choose whether or not I want to work. And, if I can’t work because of my health, I want to have a steady income stream to pay my bills. In the new year, I will work with a financial advisor to map our long-term financial intentions.

I will continue to share my words and photos on the blog and teach ecourses. However, I’m retiring “Writing in the Digital Age.” Instead, I’m creating content for A Simple Year: 12 Months of Guided Simplicity and crafting a few new e-courses, including one about journaling and another that’s focused on blogging. I can’t wait to share them with you!

In 2014, I set an intention to take care of my physical and emotional health. I’ve done an okay job with this goal and will continue to work on this intention during 2015. The past 12 days have tested my commitment to self-care, though. I picked up a cold, which turned into bronchitis. I’m starting to feel better, but I’m still fatigued. The doctor told me to rest and to drink lots of fluids—however, I’m not good at resting. I’d rather be working or outside walking! With that being said, I’m doing my best to follow the doctor’s orders.

Thank you! 
I’ve been blogging for over seven years and each year it gets better, thanks to you! Thank you for visiting my corner of the web. I’m grateful.

Be well,

P. S. During 2015, I am partnering with 7 of my favorite writers and simple living advocates! We are offering a year long e-course called A Simple Year: 12 Months of Guided Simplicity.

a simple year

Topics covered include clutter, work, money, relationships, cooking, fitness, and more. The course is $199, so roughly $16 per month. I hope you will join us! Happy New Year!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Katie January 4, 2015, 12:10 pm

    I really enjoyed your 2014 reflections round up Tammy. Here’s to 2015, good health, gratitude and success in all its forms! Can’t wait for your new courses. Katie. X

  • Sandra Pawula January 4, 2015, 1:03 pm

    What a wonderful way to do your 2014 review, Tammy. I loved reading it and seeing your favorites for the year. I think you’re very wise to begin to get your financial ducks in a row now. I’ve never really given long-term finances enough serious thought and its time for me to do that. Fortunately, I’ve had luck on my side so far.

    Thank you for all the goodness you share with this world. I so appreciate your writing and YOU!

  • Anne-Marie January 4, 2015, 2:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing your feelings and thoughts about 2014 and 2015.
    I ended up going to Yreka the day when it snowed so didn’t want to stay too long there. And I had a feeling you were not feeling well as well. Still would like to see you sometime in Yreka.

    • Tammy Strobel January 4, 2015, 5:16 pm

      Sorry we missed each other. I’m doing much better, but still not 100%. We will definitely have to meet up this year. I hope your holiday was lovely! 🙂

  • Christa January 4, 2015, 4:15 pm

    I love when you write about journaling. I’m very excited for your journaling course. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  • Jeannie January 4, 2015, 7:37 pm

    Happy New Year! I love your blog, and I’m very grateful to have your voice in the online community 🙂 I’ve got Dee Williams book on hold from my local library, and I’m really excited to read it!

  • Judy January 4, 2015, 7:47 pm

    Hi Tammy,

    If you’ll forgive unsolicited advice from a stranger (who’s been reading your blog for several years), I’d like to say 1) if you’re going to walk outside while you’re recovering, your lungs will be happier if you wear a scarf over your nose & mouth to warm the air you’re breathing, and 2) please be very careful when working with a financial advisor – I’d recommend you check out this blog, which can teach you simple, smart financial planning: http://jlcollinsnh.com/2011/06/08/how-i-failed-my-daughter-and-a-simple-path-to-wealth/. I’ve used advisors in the past, but now I’m glad I know how to do it myself. Best of luck!

    • Tammy Strobel January 5, 2015, 1:20 pm

      Thanks for the advice Judy! I appreciate it. Also, I’ll visit the blog you recommended. I will be cautious and thoughtful. Also, I highly recommend reading Tony’s book. Check out my response to Christa’s comment, too. Wishing you all the best!

      • Judy January 6, 2015, 8:48 pm


        Sounds like several of us had the same concerns. Please don’t interpret that as a negative – we don’t doubt your thoughtfulness, we just care about your welfare! 🙂

        • Tammy Strobel January 8, 2015, 10:54 am

          I didn’t take it as a negative, Judy. I was touched that so many of you were concerned. I wanted folks to know that I’m aware of the problems in the industry, though. Big hugs and thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Gene January 5, 2015, 7:18 am

    Be careful when you deal with financial planners. Most of them will rip you off with unnecessary fees or high load mutual funds. Everything an average person needs to know for investing can be learned from bogleheads.org or a book like Personal Finance for Dummies (Eric Tyson), but if you do go with a financial planner, find one who works for a flat fee and does not sell any financial products, especially worthless whole life insurance (if anyone even mentions Whole Life, it’s a big red flag).

    • Tammy Strobel January 5, 2015, 1:18 pm

      Thanks for your concern Gene! As I told Christa, I’m aware of the problems in this industry and cautious of who I work with. I appreciate the tips. Happy New Year!

  • Christa from Australia January 5, 2015, 8:45 am

    HI Tammy,

    It is good to think of your long-term financial plan and about your financial future when you are getting older.
    One piece of advice though, please be careful with financial advisors. They also work for money and they don’t know everything and above all, they cannot predict the future. Some financial advisors also market products and then they receive a share of the profits.
    My suggestion to you is to attend a share trading course or something similar at a community college. The teachers there will give you a lot of useful information and you could become your own financial advisor.

    Thank you for publishing your blog. I enjoy reading it regularly and I find it inspiring, informative and uplifting. Thank you for sharing your inner world.

    Good luck and all the best to you for 2015,

    • Tammy Strobel January 5, 2015, 1:13 pm


      Thanks for your concern and advice. I’m aware of how some financial advisors and companies operate. I used to work in the investment management industry and left because of ethical/moral reasons. With that being said, not all financial advisors are bad (especially if you work with a fiduciary). I highly recommend reading Tony Robbins’s latest book. It’s amazing and he addresses many of the problems in this industry (high fees, what to watch for when working with advisors, etc). 🙂


      • Christa from Australia January 6, 2015, 10:02 am

        thanks for your feedback. I will try and get hold of Tony Robbin’s book.

  • irene January 5, 2015, 9:23 am

    Thank you so much for your posts. They have inspired, amused and illuminated me throughout the past years.
    Wishing you the best in the new year and in improved health. Your writing, thoughtfulness and effort is so appreciated.

    I personally have had success w/ bronchial issues by steaming (holding head covered w/ towel for about 5 minutes) over a pot of steaming water infused w/ a few drops of essential oils -rosemary, sage, eucalyptus, Young Living Thieves, or doTerra OnGuard.. done several times a day. Blessings!

  • Marla January 5, 2015, 10:40 am

    How can you be so young, and yet so wise.. I am continuously astounded… Thanks so much for your reflections. You are inspiring in so many ways. I feel like my perceptions widens as I glimpse various pieces of your writing, blog submissions, comments, photos…. Thanks, much, for your continued, gracious sharing.

  • Daena January 5, 2015, 11:31 am

    Thank you for sharing part of your life with us via this blog. I’ve been reading it for years. The Friday links are an interesting resource – thank you for those also. I’ll be looking forward to reading about what the journaling course will encompass. Thank you again.
    Bright blessings,

  • Kaylin Lydia January 7, 2015, 7:54 pm

    When I first heard of a gratitude practice I was researching ways to finally work through a deep depression I was experiencing – I kind of thought it was ridiculous but I was desperate so I tried it, and it actually worked. It more than worked, it helped me work through the awful phase and live a far better life. I am grateful for your blog, thank you for writing!