Presents and Presence

The 12th month of the year.  December.   Every year it is about that time where I begin thinking about another year that has passed and contemplating how in the world it has indeed moved so

The 12th month of the year.  December.   Every year it is about that time where I begin thinking about another year that has passed and contemplating how in the world it has indeed moved so quickly from January to December.  Not this time.  For so many of us – and for reasons that require no explanation – this must be the slowest year ever.  I personally cannot wait to usher 2020 out the door and am looking forward to what I fully hope and anticipate as a much better 2021.


I wrote last month about being intentional these last few months of the year.  And I have done just that.   While things may look different, I have been intentional about reconnecting safely with friends and loved ones in unexpected ways and even made more time for the great outdoors with a new pair of hiking boots. By being intentional, I have also been able to be more fully present when I do those things that are important to me – feeling less rushed and able to ENJOY, not worrying about what’s next and what else I have left to do.  Really being in the moment and PRESENT. Physically, mentally, emotionally PRESENT.


One of the things that brings me great joy is decorating. I was intentional in planning time for it this fall season doing even more than I usually do, to salvage what has been a lousy year.  I was determined that mega-decorating would happen, and it did.  An unexpected perk of being so intentional with my time is that I found myself enjoying whatever activity I had planned instead of just rushing through it.  I decorated my home from top to bottom for Halloween and Thanksgiving even though only a handful of people outside of my household would ever see it.  I have never had as much décor out as I did this year. I took my time, listened to music, made some festive snacks, and took advantage of some COVID-safe massage therapy after a day of lifting, hauling, stretching, and arranging. I fully enjoyed every moment of “Cindy’s 2020 Fall Decorating Master Plan.”   There is so much to be said about being present, and in my quest to be more intentional with my time, I also realized that I am more present and really enjoy myself so much more.


So, there is that word – “present” – but that often takes on a different meaning than what I just described above.  We think a lot about presents this time of the year. As in gifts.  As in packages. As in surprises from Santa. At least my house does. I would imagine many other households with children, grandchildren, and even us big kids do as well. I also imagine this year has put a lot into perspective for many of us as well.  It is not that we did not know it before, but 2020 has put a spotlight on so much.   If nothing else, we are reminded about the importance of the health and well-being of our loved ones and in valuing relationships. Sure, 2020 has brought plenty of other lessons as well, but if I had to pick one of the most important it would be the value of family, friends, and loved ones and maintaining those special connections and relationships. Being there for one another.  Presence. Just like what I shared above. The same lesson I learned while decorating my house or hiking in the woods can apply to time spent with loved ones. Being present with those we love and truly being in the moment. Fully enjoying it.  We can do it in creative ways, sometimes not even being physically present, but present with our minds and hearts.  Really being in the moment with those people, things, and experiences that bring us joy. Presence.  Enjoying the moment and those you are with – or even with yourself. It sure does make life more meaningful.


Our present to our Unconditionally Her readers is our presence through each article published this month.  Look for plenty of features that are sure to please and inspire. From holiday cocktail recipes, fabulous food, inspiring UNTOLD stories, and surprises sprinkled in between, so many “presents” will be shared with our readers this month by virtue of our presence.  May what we share this month bring each reader as much joy as it does for us in giving.


Be Encouraged, Be Empowered, Be Inspired – Be Unconditionally YOU!



“Presence is more than just being there.” Malcolm Forbes, American Entrepreneur

Cindy Chafin
Cindy Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES® serves as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her. Through her many years as a masters-level certified health educator and 18-year employment in a higher education setting – as well as several years as a graduate and doctoral student – she has written countless articles, essays, publications, grant applications, proposals, reports, and other technical and creative writing documents. In addition to her training and professional work experience, she spent four years as volunteer editor of New Focus Daily, a publication of the Women Survivors Alliance, a national women cancer survivors-focused organization based in Nashville, Tennessee.

While serving as editor of Unconditionally Her, a women-focused magazine which provides content on anything from recipes, travel, books, and everything in between, she has a special interest in fitness, health, and well-being. She is certified by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) and was part of the first cohort to receive master's level designation. NCHEC certifies health education specialists, promotes professional development, and strengthens professional preparation and practice. She is proud to be a CHES® and has been a public health professional for many years after receiving her graduate degree in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for many years and looks forward to re-engaging with women one-on-one as a health coach pending completion of her certification and doctoral degree to supplement her public health and academic work.

She currently is the Associate Director for Community Programs for the Center for Health and Human Services at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, located just outside of Nashville, where she has been a project director of multiple grants since 2002 and served as interim director from 2015-2018. Cindy offers her consulting services and volunteer hours under the umbrella of Community Health Collaboratives, LLC which she founded in 2002 for organizations such as Unconditionally Her and other non-profit and charity organizations. She is pleased to promote empowerment and confidence of women readers across the globe, and to provide inspiration, motivation, and voice for social change through her role as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her.