** This entry is part of my seasonal self-care series, ‘fALLing in love with me’, where I am trying to be more accepting of my self-perceived flaws and look at them as endearing quirks that make me who I am. I want to learn to love me…..ALL of me because I am wonderful, wise, and worthy. **

I love yoga – I mean, puffy heart it something fierce! I started my personal practice again several months back and I go 3-4 times a week. Every.week. I will even be attending a fabulous yoga retreat at the end of October and I am elated. But, I have recently entertained two doubts that cropped up and cast shadows on my practice. I almost vlogged this post but am still tender about it, so the written word is going to get me through this. And I won’t delete it, I pinky swear.

I am the big girl in class. (Andy will hate this part. He won’t allow me to talk negatively about myself, so let me clarify: this is fact, not negativity.) I wondered if this would be the case before I attended my first class and it was. Everyone is really lovely and we are all just trying to stay on our mats but, as I tuck myself into certain poses and catch a glimpse in the mirror, I sometimes feel like a lump on the mat. I try to quickly give myself credit that I am even in class and remind myself that I am more than the exterior reflected back and I love yoga,  my classmates, my instructor. But I have to admit, there is still shame in my heart when I look into that mirror.

I am weak in body; I should stop before I fall off the mat. I stay in a constant state of inflammation (thank you, MCTD!) and my muscles are always tense but I attempt every pose and try to maintain them. I know my yoga practice will only benefit me and helps me deal with MCTD but when I am on the mat and my muscles are screaming at me or not cooperating, my first response is to think: “This is it – the last time……I can not do this.” Then, we swing into Sitting Pigeon and I know we are on the end of class and the finish line is near. After we complete our class my body feels like I have had an internal massage and I know I have to be at the next class.

As my yoga teacher advises: I am trying to find the strength, not the weakness.

I realize my arms support me while in plank. My shoulders, tense as they may be, aid in Bridge. My legs, even if shaky at best, hold me up as I come up to Warrior I and II. I am a fierce Warrioress trying to have gentle eyes and an open heart. xo



Music – everyone has their favorite, their opinion but all can agree that music is crucial and can help you when you are feeling low or accentuate when you are on top of the word.

In case being surrounded with phenomenal artists was not enough, I am proud to be the wife of one! Andy Burke is the kindest soul (the razor blades are mostly for show…..mostly) and I know that the only thing other than our marriage that he might be more passionate about would be music. It runs through his veins. Music is his reprieve. Music carries him through. Music speaks when there are no words. Music calms my savage beast.

Since Renee’ is doing the sumMEr of ME I thought I’d participate as well – even if it is in my own special way. I’ve chosen to celebrate/honor myself by retracing the steps of my past to try & reconnect with the young man I used to be. In doing so I’ve chosen to engulf myself in the music of my ALL TIME FAVORITE BAND – W.A.S.P.  Sure, it sounds crazy and to the rest of the world it might be, but not to me. This band has everything to do with who I am, how I think and how I approach every day life. They were my best friends, my confidantes and when nobody else understood or took a second to stop and ask me how I was doing, W.A.S.P. always did and they never failed to deliver a message be it or good or bad.

It started in 1984 when Mom hooked me up with the now legendary 12 records for a penny deal from Columbia House. I chose to order all “Heavy Metal” records because they looked cool and from I’d been hearing and seeing it was sure to be phenomenal! Well in that special pile, we ordered the self-titled album from a band called W.A.S.P. No, I’d never heard a song by the band but the name sounded so cool and it had songs like “Hellion”, “Sleeping In The Fire” and “I Wanna Be Somebody”. How could it not be good? When the records came in, I went directly for the W.A.S.P. record and opened it as fast I could and dropped the needle in the groove. To my satisfaction “I Wanna Be Somebody” started and it was everything I had hoped for – loud, aggressive, cool and rude. By the time the record was over I was in love and I just couldn’t get enough of this new band. The singer’s name was Blackie Lawless and he looked like a leather bound psychopath. The same can be said of the rest of the band specifically, guitarist Chris Holmes; he looked to be 7 foot tall, he was tattooed up and looked like the meanest man I’d ever seen. Oh, yes! From there I had to have everything the band released, I saved any and all money I could get my hands on – I never ate lunch at school – I had to have records – specifically W.A.S.P. records! Don’t fret, I’m still the same way – if Renee’ wouldn’t kill me I’d eat crackers all day and drink water just to buy records/music equipment.

The music of W.A.S.P. made me feel fearless, invincible and free. No matter what came or went, I felt as long as I had their tunes to back me I could do or be anything. In some ways, the band was a negative influence but then again so were all the Horror movies I watched. I’ve always been a loner and that has nothing to do with anything specifically, it’s just who I am. I live in my own world and I most often don’t care what’s going on in yours because it’s yours, not mine. W.A.S.P., with every release over the years they’ve only helped to solidify those feelings, but it’s not all negative or short sighted – the music is fun! I learned about all sorts of wonderful emotions, situations and other things – “Harder Faster”, “The Manimal” or “Animal F**k Like A Beast”. Most importantly I learned the art of being passionate about Rock N Roll and that I wasn’t alone.

Now that I’m all “growed” up and, in certain circles I’m old as dirt, I still love W.A.S.P. The music still brings a smile to my face non-stop and I’ll still jump at a chance to purchase any kind of merchandise from the band and go to a show if they come anywhere near us – which NEVER happens. The last time I got to see them was on the Unholy Terror Tour in 1999. A dear friend bought me two tickets for my birthday and I dragged Renee’ along. The show was great to me but Renee’ giggled the entire time because they were abit old, tired and a little worse for wear, but hell, a lifetime of Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll will do that to you! I was enthralled; you suffer for your art no matter the cause and there were at least 150 people at the venue who came to kick some ass and hear the mighty Winged Assassins lay it down one more time! Great times, great band and the company of Renee’ was great to me. Although she doesn’t share my passion for W.A.S.P. AT ALL she doesn’t take away from it and she supports it at every turn because she understands what they meant to me back then and what they mean to me now. I’m all smiles with every spin, my horns go up and my heart palpitates just as it did the first time I heard any of their songs. And if you called me tomorrow and said “W.A.S.P. will be in Atlanta tonight” I’d be busting ass, selling stuff and breaking plans all over the place to get to that show. The band represents my youth, my pride, my love and who I am as a musician and as a fan. And if ‘nothing don’t happen’, one day I’ll be able to say I was able to make someone feel the same way W.A.S.P. makes me feel with music of  my very own music!

To round out my sumMEr of  ME declaration, I leave you with one of my favorite songs from W.A.S.P. “Mean Man”. “A tattooed man, I’m hell on wheels, born a wicked child left alone in the fields. My father was the wind, my mother was fire, raised by the wolves and I grew up wild”!

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My friend, Linda Barutha has joined us today to talk about her sumMEr plans. Linda is crazy talented and teaches her art and craft techniques and hosts artist’s retreats through her company  Live, Laugh, Love Retreats, LLC. She is kind and nurturing and she always goes out of her way to be helpful. She spreads her joy of life everywhere she goes. Click here for her latest blog post that is for us, but do peek around her site and get to know her a bit~you’ll be so glad you did!! xo


I recently became familiar with Noelle Rollins. Her spirit, artwork and honesty just pull you in and will amaze you.  She has graciously agreed to share in our sumMEr celebrations.
Noell Rollins is an artist, momma and writer.  Her mission is to encourage authentic, soulful living through art, story and community.
A few weeks ago I had a life changing experience.  I was going through a process called re-birthing.  I will attempt to briefly explain it: my coach Shannon sat with me for an hour and we talked about life, issues I was dealing with and then some guided activities.  It was coming up that I have made great improvement in setting healthy boundaries with people but I still had a ways to go.  After a few years of giving everything I had to help everyone around me I had to make some serious changes when my little guy came into the picture a couple years ago. No longer could I just give my time away endlessly.  It forced me to re-analyze my artwork pricing. Surely I can’t be the only one who used to judge my success on how busy I was instead of realizing that when I raised my prices I at first felt a bit panicky because I wasn’t running in circles as fast I had been before but my moves now were more calculated and profitable. I was also noticing myself setting better boundaries with some people in my life; instead of being the person who just smiles and pretends everything is fine.  I decided that I don’t need to invest my time, emotions or energy into a few of these fringe people that have added so much stress into my life recently.
One of the things Shannon had me answer was, “How do I define my value in life”.
Tough question.
 I realized how much of my own view of my value was wrapped up in my service to others.  Service to others is a wonderful thing but there has to be a balance in it and I HAVE TO know that I am good enough even without their approval.  Huge.
During this re-birthing the second half is spent doing deep breathing, during this time things will come up that need closure.  What came up for me were a couple of tough events that happened in the 5th grade.  One was an event where an older boy publicly humiliated me in front of everyone.  This was also the time my body started changing and I became insecure with it for the first time.  Through talking with Shannon about this I realized that it’s no coincidence that my daughter was in 5th grade and it was bringing up all of these underlying emotions that I didn’t have the skills to deal with when I was her age.  …but… I do now.  It made so much sense, what I couldn’t do then I now knew that I HAD to do. Speak my mind more, be loving but firm with my time, not give time anymore to those that wouldn’t give it back.  It’s been life changing.  HUGE breakthrough for me.
One of the other nuggets of wisdom that Shannon shared with me was that I will know that I’m getting stronger in this area when I am able to say no to things that I will later be resentful about or that don’t align with my beliefs.  I may replay this in my mind and even feel guilty about it for a bit.  This is okay.  As I continue to grow this muscle I will eventually not need to replay it in my mind or feel guilty. Eventually it will just be like, “that doesn’t work for me” and I won’t think twice about it.
Lastly I will just add that I am all for volunteering, helping people out and a spirit of community. So all of this I’m saying is in the spirit of love and since I can’t even count 5 people I know that have the problem where they can’t say yes to others or that they feel they don’t take on enough I will assume you fall into the other category like I do.  You can read more of my observations on this topic here:
You can follow Noelle on her journey to creating an inspired life here:  or on her blog here:


Another kindred, Stacey Curry, lights up your heart. Her sweet spirit and radiant smile touch your soul. She, like so many, have realized that we have to take action this sumMEr and she shares her plan with us below.


The Summer of ME!  What a concept…definitely something that will need my attention.  Thank you Renee for the reminder, for getting me to think about what my summer of ME might look like!  So here’s the thing…so often I don’t make quality time for myself…all too often I wait for someone else to prompt me or give me permission!!!  So I end up feeling jilted and then I make it all about quantity….stealing many hours from my hubby, my kids, and myself by sitting in front of the computer or the TV or checking out.  Sometimes that is really truly what is needed but most of the time it’s just an energy sucker, a creativity killer and a bad mood maker!!!  So silly!  My One Little Word this year is Real…being real…seeing what is real…admitting truths…and the above statement is just that…admitting that I am responsible for ME.  I am the one that can make time for me, who sees my needs and my desires….I am the one who needs to set this plan in motion!

So what am I doing for ME this summer…oh I have a plan!  Yes I do!

First and foremost I am going to take care of myself.  I will feed my needs and not wait for approval or a prompt from anyone else.  I need to take care of me so I am at the top of my game and so that I can take healthy good care of my loved ones.  What will that entail…a regular practice of yoga, running, and walking…my mind is so clear during these practices…I really focus on the good and count my blessings.  It also helps me decompress and let go of so much stress.  I am able to really focus on what needs to get done and what I need to let go of.  The more regular the practice, the better I feel.

I will also be focusing on Star Hitched Wagon…this is all about ME…this is my dream…it’s time to stop holding back for fear of failure…it is time to prove to myself and the world that I can do this!  With each baby step I can feel that bravery and strength within me growing.

I have also signed up for a wonderful e-course to learn new techniques for my jewelry designs, and I will be taking another one starting in July…how great it is to learn new techniques that will strengthen an already established practice in my life.  New ways to grow without adding too many distractions.


Anything else?  Oh yes camping…those mountains, the creeks, the wildflowers, the giant trees it does something to the soul…recharges, inspires, calms.

Oh and a road trip with me at the wheel…with my sweet kiddoes to keep me company….a loose schedule…great music…new sites to be seen.  What a treat it will be.

Anything else on the agenda for my Summer of Me…why yes…yes there is…fresh fruit and veggies, grilled foods, Margaritas and microbrews.  Lots of time with family….cause they make the world go round.  And I pray there will also be a little dancing and a lot of laughing…cause life is way too short to leave out laughing and dancing!!


Cindy Lantier is with us today sharing her thoughts on sumMEr. Another friend I have never met but have a strong kinship and connection. I am sure you will feel the same as you read her words, nodding in agreement. After watching her video you will feel as if you know her, too.

I recently received some disturbing health-related news. While helping me process my thoughts and feelings, a friend commented that I have excellent self-care skills; I already know how I need to take care of myself to get through this rough spot.


To be honest, I was kind of surprised to hear that, because I’d never evaluated my self-care skills before. But while I was contemplating this, I realized — Don’t we all know, on some level, how we can best care for ourselves? Don’t we know, even if only deep down, what we need in order to move forward with our best lives?


For me the hard part isn’t knowing how to meet my needs; it’s finding the courage to do so. I know that changes in my eating and activity habits would probably help with my pain and energy levels, regardless of what my diagnosis turns out to be. And yet, I’m hesitant to invest the energy (both physical and mental) to make those changes. Why is that? I have lots of little reasons, but they all boil down to “It’ll be hard.” (Can’t you just hear me whining as I type that?)


Self-care is not just about self-pampering or self-indulgence (In fact, some would argue that it’s about neither of those things.) Sometimes self-care is about making difficult decisions and applying discipline and commitment.


And that’s not nearly as much fun as a mani-pedi is!


I’d like to invite you to join me as I spend this summer working on one specific aspect of my self-care. I’ll admit: This video is all about me; I didn’t want to project my issue onto you — especially if it’s not one of your problems! Even so, I think you might relate.




Drop me a line and let me know if you have any suggestions for finding the courage to honor your self-care commitments — I need all the help I can get!



Email: cindy(at)lantier(dot)org



Cindy Jones Lantier

Mixed Grill Favorites

Mixed Grill Favorites Blog

Life is a great adventure or nothing.

– Helen Keller



Bonds are formed and lives are changed. Kindreds complete your world and I have met one such loving spirit in Jamie Burch. The more I learn about her, the more precious she becomes. Take a moment and see what she will be up to this sumMEr.

The sun is shining, birds are singing, and the world around me is bursting with color. So, why do I feel so blah? It’s a beautiful, magical time of year and I’m in a funk?
Well, that has to change.
I’m finally learning. This happens to me whenever I’m not practicing self-care or my life is consumed by to-do lists. And lately I’ve been trying to balance too much. This is the time of year to be outside, care-free, and on top of the world.
Instead I feel like the world is crushing me. Yikes!
First thing I need to do is throw that list in the recycling bin and stop focusing on trying to do everything. Certain things can wait, but life won’t.
Next, write a new list—a summer fun list. It’s time to let go, stop being so focused on working 24/7, and go out and play. Y-E-S! It’s time for ME to have some fun!
Fun is good, but I also need to do things that nurture my mind, body, and spirit. This is where I’ll want to pull out my daily rituals and healthy habits, like meditating, walking, being mindful of the moment I’m in, and taking time for the little things. And of course there will be reading and creativity dates with myself. I’d also like to take a couple e-courses that are in tune with the path I’m on right now. Finally making time to play with my new camera would be nice, too.
My soul needs a bit of reviving after the long winter and the short spring we had. It was snowy, rainy, and gray for too long. And my mind is tired from bouncing between revising my novel and starting up my jewelry business.
I need a break. I’m so ready for an adventure. (Can you tell I’m ready for a vacation?)
Well, the sunshine and warm weather are here now to help me beat the blahs and escape the mundane for a while. I just need to let the sunshine do its work and get back to living again.
So, now begins The SumMEr of ME. Time to go write that list!


There are not enough words in the Universe to explain how much Leah has impacted my life. She is loving, kind and gently reminds me that I am enough; I have all that I need to be all that I am. She truly has been called to be a Life Coach but she is so much more~she is my Soul Sister. I invite you to visit her sites to get to know her and watch the wonderful videos she created for us this sumMEr.


 I am over the moon excited to share my friend, Rachél Payne, with you. She is loving, nurturing and wildly talented. She inspires you to believe that you can be the person you want to be. I was ecstatic when she agreed to participate in sumMEr. She has packed this blog post with so many goodies:

If I had to boil my big passion in life down to a few words Creative Self-Care would most likely fit the bill!  That’s why when I was invited to jump on the Summer of Me bandwagon with Renee Burke -of Happily Ever After, I danced a joyful little jig and hollered, “You bet!”

My name is Rachél Payne, and I am thrilled to be part the Summer of Me celebration.  I have several self-care tools in my back pocket and am excited to  share my very favorite one with you.

I live just under a mile from the water and find myself called to be close to it nearly daily. Recently, I decided to take you with me.  I took my video camera along and visited with you about the Self-Care Mandala, a tool I designed to help you set yourself up with a successful practice of self-care. This activity has served me for over 20 years and is something I have shared with friends, family, and clients. Now I am sharing it with you!


Check out the video I made just for you: My Super Secret Self-Care Destination


 What is a mandala?  It is a work of art in the form of a circle.

I developed the Self-Care Mandala while working with clients at a domestic violence shelter. It came out of an exercise I did in college. I chose to design it as a mandala because it reminded me of the sun, and I felt like self-care was a direct and powerful way to bring a bit of sunshine into our lives. It fits perfectly with the Summer of Me celebration.

To print out the Self-Care Mandala, simply right click on its image and save to your computer. You can also click on the link to go to the pdf version….then….Just print it up! Use the rays of the sun to list your ideas for bringing self-care into your life. Work on it a little at a time or all at once. Choose options that range from little and inexpensive to beautifully indulgent. There are no rules. This is YOUR list.

Self Care Mandala

When you have it mostly filled out, hang it somewhere where you can refer to it easily. Let it be a plan that you have put in place to make self-care a priority, to make yourself a priority.

Staying in Touch

I will be keeping you up to date with my own personal Summer of Me via my blog and the Creativity Tribe Facebook page.  I will be sharing tips and opportunities to get you inspired. I would also love to have you lend your voice to the Creativity Tribe’s growing network of support by sharing YOUR Summer of Me experience. One way to do this is by simply heading over to the Facebook page and posting your Self-Care Mandala for the rest of the Creativity Tribe to see. I will be looking forward to seeing your plan for self-care!


Speaking of Self-Care 

I am also excited to announce Touch the Moon, an e-course and art-ivity gathering about connecting with your creative, intuitive spirit. Touch the Moon explores lunar rhythms, folklore, and mythology while encouraging you to slow down and go within. Delve into your own personal waxing and waning cycles through art, meditation, and personal symbolism.  Experience dynamic creative art-ivities including journaling, art dolls, touch drawing, and collage. It’s the perfect way to bring a bit of meaning and magic into your life.

Touch the Moon will kick off Wednesday, August 27 (a few days before the Blue Moon) and go through Wednesday, October 31st (Halloween, a few days after October’s full moon).  The entire course is only $33.  More details will follow on my blog and Facebook page, including giveaways for spots in the circle.  Subscribe to keep in touch.

Let’s connect!