creating a life you love

An Invitation

You can create a life you love… right here, right now.

You’re going to work with the raw material of your life… exactly as it is.

Start with a willingness to practice creating moments of
Peace, Joy, Empowerment, And love… in each day.

What would that look like?
What is peace? Joy? Empowerment? Love?
How does one live those qualities?

Peace is a deep inner quiet we each have within us, that can be accessed anywhere, any
time, by briefly pausing, breathing deeply and allowing one’s self to be still.

Joy is the exuberant feeling that comes from being aware and awake to the small miracles
and wonder of life in each moment.

Empowerment is recognizing one’s ability to take action, and taking action.

Love is making a choice in this moment to support one’s divine potential or that of
another with kindness and compassion. Love is not an adjective, it is a verb.

You can create a life you love by bringing these qualities to the circumstances of your life
as they are now. All you need is a sincere “yes” to yourself… and a daybook…

A daybook can be on your phone, I-pad, computer. It can be a big beautiful journal or a
little notepad that can be carried easily in a pocket or purse. It can be a graphic journal
where you draw instead of write.

Each day just take a moment to record:

When today did I create a moment of peace?
When today did I create a moment of joy?
When today did I create a moment of empowerment?
When today did I create a moment of love?

As you begin doing this right here, right now… your life will change and you will begin
creating a life you love.


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The Return of the Light

This coming Sunday, Dec 21, is the winter solstice.  Below is an article I wrote last year sharing my solstice story.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

Dear Readers,
This coming Sunday, Dec. 21, is the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.  It will also be the 36th birthday of our oldest daughter, Anne Elizabeth, and the 24th birthday of our youngest daughter, Mary Rose. (We have six daughters and no sons.)

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol and sistere, which means ‘sun stands still’ because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction. Though it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, from each day here on, there will be a few more minutes of light with the lengthening of each day.

IMG_2014Annie’s birth, and the year prior, was a time of light returning to my life.

Working as a newspaper reporter in Salt Lake City, Utah, I covered murderer, Gary Gilmore’s story and his subsequent execution, for which I was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize at age 23.

Though I had professional success, spiritually, I was bankrupt.

Covering the Gilmore story put me in the company of other journalists that were much more sophisticated, calloused, and experienced, than I was.  At 22, I was swimming in waters too deep and dark for my youth and naiveté. Both the story and the people I spent time with exposed me to the shadow and darkness in life.

I carelessly abandoned once deeply held values, made choices I would later regret, and engaged in behavior that took me on a path far away from my true self.

Stressed Young WomanBy the time my work on the story was over (it had lasted over six months) I turned down an opportunity to get a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York, and returned to the mundane stories I had previously been covering.  I was deeply depressed, unfulfilled, and unsure of what to do with my life.

One day I received a phone call from my brother Rodney, 17 years, my elder, who lived with his wife, Jean, and their children in Vancouver, WA.  His invitation was simple: “Come home.” And his counsel was direct, “I want you to take a leave of absence from your job, come up here, and just take some time to sort things out.” He told me he felt inspired to make this generous offer. (My parents had both died during my youth and my oldest brother’s and his wife served as surrogate parents for me.)

Within a week, I was packed and heading north on I-5.

I am part of a religious family whose Christian faith goes back generations. I take care in my writing to respect the individual spiritual paths and beliefs of my readers. I am more private about my specific spiritual leanings. Today, I choose to be a bit more transparent.

Soon after I was home, Rod encouraged me to come back to church, to get involved in its program for young adults.  Reluctant and resistant, but wanting to respect my brother’s advice, I decided to open my heart to possibility.

scan0005The first activity I attended, I met my husband. (Of course, I didn’t know the importance Brian was going to have in my life that night.) And I felt more comfortable at the activity than I had imagined.  There was a diverse group of people who were friendly, funny, and willing to welcome me into their circle.

As I studied, pondered, and prayed, — and had a lot of fun, I found myself returning to the light and experiencing a spiritual reawakening. Meanwhile, Brian Allred became more and more interesting to me. His deep spirituality and commitment moved me. I was captured by his friendly nature. I loved his mind.  The deal was sealed by how well he danced!  In December I received a sweet little surprise, a Christmas card in the mail from him.  Shortly after that he called and invited me to a New Year’s Eve dance.

That last dark night of December, we couldn’t stop dancing or talking. By the time we parted company at 3 a.m., I knew I had found my spiritual partner.  He had the same experience and proposed three days later. We were married three months after that, and had our Annie nine months later.

mother-with-newborn1I was a reluctant prospective mother. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. But then I held my newborn baby, Annie in my arms, on Dec. 21, (the Solstice that year). Tears rolled down my cheeks as I gazed at her and something unexpected happened: I fell in love again.

I learned of the heart’s infinite capacity as each of our other five daughters arrived.  When it was Mary Roses’ time, the last, she arrived early – on Annie’s birthday and the solstice. Rose was born at home, close to the Christmas tree, with her other sisters present (at their request.)  Annie was the first to hold Rose.

The solstice has special significance in my life.

7793090_orig1It is a deeply reflective time for me.  During the winter solstice, the earth is tilted as far away from the sun as it ever gets. It is the longest night of the year.   As a metaphor for my own journey, it is interesting to me that the seasonal movement of the sun’s path comes to a stop on the solstice before it reverses direction, with each day having more light. So long ago, I too reversed direction.

The solstice can be seen as a time of new beginnings.  We all have times of walking through darkness and shadow.  We can find our way to the light again. We discover the path again that leads back to what is true and right for each of us.  We can integrate what is revealed and uncovered by our descent into darkness.

I feel a great celebratory significance of a season that marks a time when I had fully turned away from the dark path I was on, reclaimed my lost self, and returned to The Son.

VashonI celebrate the magnificent wonder and beauty of the earth and the marvels of the heavens. I rejoice at the great gift I was given to return to my truth and find my spiritual partner on this earth. Becoming a mother, not only to Annie and Rose, the bookends of our group, but also to Maria, Amanda, Sarah, and Suzette, is one of the great joys of my life.

To be able to write and to integrate all my past experience into one great whole gives great purpose and meaning to my experience.  This Sunday Dec. 21 will also be the second birthday of my “Creating a Life You Love” website.  Of course I deliberately chose this day.  It felt sacred to launch something so dear to my heart on that day, to begin another solstice journey.

Consider on this solstice, how you, dear reader, might welcome the return of the light into any shadows or darkness in your own life. Offer yourself the gift of your own curiosity and compassion as you explore. Be patient with a process that happens in small increments. Believe it is possible to change direction where needed. Discover your own solstice journey!
Love, Tamera




©2012 Tamera Smith Allred. All rights reserved.
Chapter 0

Illuminating Beauty

“ I have come to believe that by attending to beauty and enlarging our sense of beauty, we are able to live with greater appreciation, engagement, wonder, and reverence.” –J. Ruth Gendler, Notes on the Need for Beauty Thanksgiving day my husband Brian and I traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit our daughter Sarah, her husband Grant, and their three children.  Grant is working on his doctorate in higher education at the University...

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Yielding to Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is not nebulous, unpractical and idealistic. It is thoroughly realistic . . . Ultimately you discover that without forgiveness, there is no future.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu Recently I wondered, what if I chose to yield to forgiveness versus clinging to a resentment I’d been dragging around?  A slew of holiday advertisements I’ had perused were strewn across the couch.  As much as I love to give Christmas presents,...

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Awakening to Gratitude

“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend . . . when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives, but are grateful for the abundance that’s present . . . the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.” –Sarah Ban Breathnach – Simple Abundance Sarah Ban Breathnach, an American author who...

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