I’m jetting off to the airport to catch a flight to Tampa for the first leg of the Making Things Happen Tour! Wahooo!!  I’ll be blogging every weekday of the tour (that’s the goal) so stick around! You can also catch daily inspiration from the girls and I (Lara, Gina, Emily) over on the Making Things Happen Tumblr. (And if Tumblr makes ZERO sense to you–it didn’t used to make sense to me at ALL–just think of it as a microblogging platform, falling somewhere between a full fledged blog and Twitter. It’s pretty amazing.)

Taking off on this trip is so exciting for me. It is nearly impossible for me to believe that just over 2 months ago, I knew nothing of the Making Things Happen Intensive, nothing of Lara Casey, nothing of Gina Zeidler or Emily Ley, and I’d never eaten Southern grits to boot. It is completely amazing that in such a short time, this intensive has become such a significant part of my life and that Lara, Gina and Emily have become 3 of my very dearest friends the world over. It’s beautiful what wonderful things can come into our lives when we’re out looking for them.

Deciding to register for Making Things Happen Maui was a total fluke. It was a fluke that the intensive ended up on my computer screen to begin with. It was a fluke that I thought, “Sure, I’m going to drop $1,200 to go spend a day on Maui with a women I’ve never even heard of.” It was a fluke that only days later I was on a plane with Richie in tow.

. . . Except that it really wasn’t a fluke at all.

If there is ONE SINGULAR THING in my life that I’m good at, it’s this: I follow my gut. And in this case, my guts led me to Maui, and my decision to follow their lead, changed the course of my life forever. Yes, I really believe that. 100%.

Listen, there are a VERY FEW seats left for this tour (the only tour planned for 2011). Payment plans ARE available. If you’re ready for change, ready for growth, ready for accountability, ready to overcome fear and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFE (in any field of expertise, family, or life in general), it’s not too late to contact Marissa (Marissa{at}laracaseyreps{dot}com) and get.yourself.in.on.this.  You deserve it.

When you’re on the hunt for absolute magic, it’s hard not to get sidetracked along the way. It’s hard not to settle for FANTASTIC. Because, fantastic, is well. . . FANTASTIC! But I had to keep reminding myself, I wasn’t looking for fantastic, no matter how bright and shiny the lights or how clear and clean the bells and whistles. I was looking for just.right.for.me. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there is power in patience (though granted this was over and done in under a week) but MOST importantly, there is power in specificity (as evidenced by the fact that this WAS in fact over and done with in under a week).

I had laid it all out there. . . defined exactly what “just right for me” looked like, felt like, smelled like for crying out loud!  And I found her. Erin Jane is just right. For me. For my family. For my business . . . And the beauty of it (which I also specifically laid out in my ad) is that I am just right for her. For her dreams, her ambitions, her remarkable potential! I’m beyond excited to see what we can make happen together, and I’m doubly excited to introduce her to you, now!

Here’s Erin’s application in response to my (again, very lofty and very extraordinarily specific) want ad. Tell me you wouldn’t have hired her on the spot.

Perfect cover page.

Perfect cover letter.

Perfect resumé.

Folks, what do you want for yourself? Your family? Your business? What do you DESERVE for yourself? Your family? Your business? Do you even know?

One of my very favorite concepts of all time was taught to me by Stephen R. Covey (and if you’ve EVER heard me speak, it’s quite likely you’ve heard this before). Summarized: don’t waste your time climbing up the “ladder of success” until you’re sure it’s leaning against the right wall!

You deserve to know what you want and where you’re headed. You.deserve.it.

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never feel satisfied by, or comfortable with, your forward momentum. You’ll find yourself constantly revving the engine with one foot while simultaneously slamming on the breaks with the other, and that’s no way to drive. That’s no way to live.


And to Erin I say, welcome to the family girlfriend! Let’s get a move on!



During the beginning part of 2010, I felt a lot like I look here. Only about 72 billion times worse. Times 2.

Plus there were a full 48lbs more of me to love. Which didn’t lighten my spirits any, trust you me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about 2010. Like most of us, I tend to become introspective at the close of a year.

For example:

I clearly remember at the end of 2006, looking back with Richie at the ups and downs of that year and saying, “Babe, 2007 is going to be OUR YEAR! What else could POSSIBLY happen?!” Then my brother died June 17th 2007 (Father’s Day), and that pretty much threw 2007 (and a good portion of 2008) straight to The Underworld (in a busted up hand basket).

But I survived. Despite (lots more) death, betrayal and huge financial set backs, and despite far more doubt than I’d ever admit publicly, and despite fear, Hell and high water, 2007-2008 were the years I survived. Many times during that period I had wanted to be dead and done, so surviving was all a girl could hope for. I patted myself on the back (wholeheartedly), stood up, and brushed off my back side to face 2009 like any big girl should.

I’m genuinely proud of myself for 2007 and 2008. Sometimes, I wish I could scoop “that girl” (the 2007-2008 Natalie) up into my arms and give her a big hug. To rock her back and forth, and quietly tell her, “it’s going to be all right.” So I’ll say it to you, yes YOU, It’s going to be all right. It really, truly is. Promise.

In 2009 things were looking up. There were still struggles (a’plenty) to be negotiated, but thankfully I’d learned a thing or two or four hundred in 2007 and 2008 and was ready to face difficulty head on. Plus I had a beautiful little bun in my oven!  Who could doubt that things were looking up?! Yahoo!

Well. . . at the end of 2009, there I sat, in a hospital room, with a dying child and bottle of Martinellis (that I had no way of opening). 2009 left without a shred of crowning glory, and 2010 was deemed nothing more than the year my son would get better. I couldn’t see beyond that. Didn’t want to. Didn’t need to. All I needed was for that boy to be well.

So, 2010.

This post is meant to be dedicated to you, so what do you have to say for yourself?

After Gavin died, I had ZERO expectations, so you didn’t have much to live up to. If all you’d done was float me like your baby brothers 2007 and 2008 did, that would have been enough. No one had the right to expect a single thing out of me. If I’d of holed up in my bedroom, with a pillow over my face the entire year, I’d have been pittied, sure, but blamed for it? Not a chance.

Well, here it is. Humbly, and from my heart.

2010 was the year I found my ROAR.

I learned how to laugh, how to cry, how to hurt, how to love, how to believe, how to trust, how to simplify, how to let go . . . how to change.

I learned:

Every.single.morning, the sun will rise.
Circumstance has no power except the power we give it.
Many of life’s largest “problems” are born of thoughts and feelings and have zero basis in reality.
There is always SOMEONE to reach out to.
God can’t sail a ship that hasn’t left the harbor.
I am responsible for my life. No matter what.
I may not be able to choose my circumstances, but I can always choose my reaction to them.
The Savior is not only my Redeember, but my dearest friend.
There is a reason we are commanded to cleave unto one another as husband and wife.
A happy marriage takes real effort. And it’s worth it. 1000%. I love you Richie!
My children deserve all of me, and not what happens to be left over after everything else.
The world will go on spinning without me!!!! Fancy that!
It’s OK to have lofty dreams and ambitions!!!
ANYTHING is possible!
My brother is always closer than I think. I can often feel him in stillness.
Stillness is an essential part of my search for happiness.
Physical and spiritual health are my lifelines to success. If I want to be balanced and successful in ANY other areas of my life, these have GOT to come first.
I have to stay hydrated/I have got to avoid sugar/I need to be well rested/I have to make time for serious exercise at least 5 times a week.
I can’t do everything at the same time: at least not by myself.
It’s OK to ask for help.
Letting go is a wonderful gift.

All in all . . . I learned to BREATHE.

I could write 82 blog posts outlining everything I learned this year, and I could type until my fingers turned blue only to BEGIN to tell you everything I’m grateful for!

Because guess what? And I can say this with ZERO hesitation:

2010 was the best year of my life!

How on Earth can that be?! EVERYTHING was stacked up against me. It’s important remember that not all my living is done within the confines of this here blog. This was a BIG year, Gavin being the biggest part of it, yes, but oh boy was it a big FAT year in just about EVERY other way as well.

and yet. . .

and yet.

and yet.

Gets you thinking doesn’t it?!

Despite it all, oh what a healthy dose of faith and some determination can do!

“With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Heavenly Father has given US, my family and I, a complete and total miracle in 2010. For that I say, “Thank you. . . THANK YOU. . . THANK YOU!” For lessons learned, tears shed, faith exercised and roar found.

Watch out 2011, here WE come!

all image credit this post: Uncle Jonathan Canlas

“There is beauty all around.”

I tweeted that the day of Baby Gavin’s funeral.

It was as true then as it is today.

There is beauty everywhere and always.

Sometimes, when you’re “knee deep in the thick of life,” as I like to say, it’s so easy to get focused on your feet. To feel the weight of the world as it threatens to CRUSH your very soul. We’ve all been there. Don’t you dare dream, for even an instant, that I think grief and pain are exclusive to me or my individual set of circumstances. We’ve all got our “stuff,” and as a runner, I’ll tell you what, it only takes a very small pebble to bring you to your knees.

Life gets heavy . . . and oftentimes so.

Even the small stuff can feel completely and totally insurmountable.

Sometimes it’s not fair. Sometimes we feel all alone. Sometimes we can’t see any way up and out. Sometimes we literally feel like we’re being SUFFOCATED.

I’ll tell you this: “Look up!” Get your eyes off your feet and up to the Heavens, because there’s ALWAYS something to be grateful for.

In gratitude, there is healing.

In gratitude, there is relief.

In gratitude, there is hope.

In gratitude, there is companionship.

In gratitude, there is comfort.

In gratitude. . .there is God.

And there really is beauty all around.

See, I told you so.



Making Things Happen 2011 from lara casey on Vimeo.

The January tour is your ONLY chance to attend the Making Things Happen one day intensive in 2011 AND the early bird registration ends this coming Saturday, January 1st!

And yes, I’m honored to have been asked to guest speak for all stops in the January tour! Come see me in Tampa, Atlanta, Charlotte, NYC or Las Vegas!

Here’s the thing. This workshop isn’t for EVERYONE, but it is for ANYONE who is ready and willing to dig deep and commit to success! Yes, you read that right, not just photographers. ANY and ALL entrepreneurs (budding or established) and big dreamers ready to make things happen in 2011 would benefit TREMENDOUSLY from this intensive!

I’ll see you there!