Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Recap

Short on time here but wanted to get a few quick thoughts down before I hurry off to wrap up what's left of 2013....

For starters, this year was a tough one for me.  It will go down in the books as quite possibly the hardest.  There was so much adjusting....  learning to be a mom and then a working mom.   Learning a slew of new skills as enormous changes occurred at work.   Learning to set boundaries.  Learning to ask for help.  Learning to accept help.  Learning to say no.  Learning to say yes, even though the house is a mess, there's not enough time and I'll be tired tomorrow...   

I made some amazing new friends.  I let go of some relationships that had run their course.   

Like anything, results take hard work.  I was tested to the limit this year.  And I made it to the finish line - proud of the work I was able to produce, proud of the mother that I am, proud of the wife, friend and daughter I am...  Content with who I am.  

I can and will do better.  And am looking forward to packing the tools that 2013 helped sharpen to make 2014 an excellent one.  

"When the stresses of life build up to a certain point, whether it's the loss of someone you love or the loss of a job or a divorce, we all would understand when you say, "That really broke me down," meaning it was a change that ended in making us a little more cynical or scared or unable to cope. But there is this other possibility that after the breaking, we can open up more into who are supposed to be, in the way that a flower breaks out of the confines of a bud into its full blossoming." - Elizabeth Lesser

Friday, December 27, 2013

Brene and Elizabeth Gilbert

A few great excerpts from Brene's interview with author, Elizabeth Gilbert.

as the great Boswell said: “A fly, sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince. But one is an insect, and the other is a horse still.” SO DO YOUR WORK WITH A NOBLE HEART, and then put it forth. Because who are the stately horses in this world? Anyone who dares to show up and do her work, despite her fear. 

Your six-word memoir:  Always had passion; learned patience slowly.

I was raised by tough, stoic people who kept a tight lid on all their emotions, and who never, ever talked it out. I was taught that there are only two possible responses to all interpersonal troubles: 1) you silently get over it on your own, or 2) if you can’t silently get over it on your own, you vanish from that person’s life forever without another word. So I either bury my discomfort, or I run for the hills.
It has been the excruciating work of a lifetime for me to try to learn how to change this pattern — how to stay in the conversation longer, how to sit through the fear and discomfort of interpersonal emotional openness (especially when it comes to expressing my own anger, which is the emotion that I least comprehend and most fear.)
I’ve had some successes of late with being more open to this process, but OH MY GOD IT IS SO SCARY FOR ME, and sometimes I still totally fail — still run for the hills. But at least I pause first.  In other words, I am still far from the person I wish to be with this particular manifestation of vulnerability…but God knows, I am working on it. Harder than anything, harder than ever.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Remember this...

  1. Expressing appreciation is always a good strategy. If one wants a behavior to be repeated, express appreciation for it. Failure to do so is not neutral, it's a deterrent.

Monday, December 16, 2013


I need to remember this today... this holiday season.... and 2014.   I am guilty of taking on too much, demanding too little and ending up in a suboptimal headspace for myself and those closest to me.

In the words of Brene Brown:
• Make a mantra. I need something to hold on to—literally—during those awkward moments when an ask hangs in the air. So I bought a silver ring that I spin while silently repeating, "Choose discomfort over resentment." My mantra reminds me that I'm making a choice that's critical for my well-being—even if it's not easy. 

• Keep a resentment journal. Whenever I'm marching around muttering cuss words under my breath, I grab what I lovingly refer to as my Damn It! Diary and write down what's going on. I've noticed that I'm most resentful when I'm tired and overwhelmed—i.e., not setting boundaries. 

• Rehearse. I'll often say, to no one in particular, "I can't take that on" or "My plate is full." Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice. 


Friday, December 13, 2013

Tabletop Trees

I'm buying a mini-tree next year.  So perfectly charming.    

(ps. not to replace my real tree...)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kindness Elves

I don't have a problem with the Elf on the Shelf.  Sure, it's a lot of work for the parents but the reward -- the awe, excitement and magic, makes the work worthwhile.   However, I think this author is on to something with incorporating a bit of kindness into the tradition.   Not saying we'll do away with Elf on the Shelf, or try to make this kindness elf a nightly tradition, but wouldn't it be nice to blend a little of both into your child's holiday experience...  via ImaginationTree

  • They will be holding little suggestions for acts of kindness, love or helpfulness that we can do together that day for e.g. “Let’s collect some of your toys and give them away to the children’s hospital”, “let’s make some cookies for the neighbours”, “shall we visit an elderly friend/ relative?” etc
  • When they see the children doing kind and lovely things, they will leave a little note for them to find in the morning e.g. “Oh I loved it when I saw you sharing your new book with your little sister” or “you were very kind to help your Mummy load the dishwasher!” etc
  • Some mornings they may wake up to find the elves have lined up their shoes, tidied their coats, got the breakfast things ready or fixed a broken toy etc. Modelling direct ways to be kind and helpful as a prompt for the children in the day.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas wish

The traditions.  The memories.  The happiness....   What I love most about the holiday season is the spirit.  Your Grammy loves the holidays so from mama's earliest memory, I recall Christmas being so exciting, so warm, so joyful.   As Dad & I decorated the tree last night and played my favorite Christmas songs, I realized that we are building the spirit of the season for you, Joseph.   

Although you're too young now, I hope you grow to love this time of year.  I hope we can fill your home with as many happy memories as I was blessed to have.   I hope the *magic* of Christmas -- the thoughtfulness, the overwhelming generosity, and genuine hospitality -- fills your little life, now and always.   

Friday, December 6, 2013


There are people throughout history who seem to be super-human.  Whether or not they are heaven sent, will remain a mystery.  Mr. Nelson Mandela was one of them.  Mandela served 27 years in prison after a conviction of attempting to overthrow the government and later went on to become the first black South African to be elected President, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and an international symbol of democracy, peace and the "father" of South Africa.

In the wake of his passing, I will pause to recognize the great man who forever shaped history and also hope that as he passes forward his strength and courage will remain here on Earth --- sprinkled amidst us all.  Rest in peace, great leader.

 (mandela via pinterest)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

connecting the dots...

Two and a half years ago I started this space.  As I've said several times, I'm grateful for it.  It has become a morning ritual which I enjoy, an online journal and safe place for some of my favorite images, quotes and excerpts and a place to very gently work through the tangled mess of my mind. 

Years ago I read Joslyn's thoughts on simplicity.   I've spoken about it here quite a bit but it's also never been far from my thoughts.   In this world of so much abundance --- how does one quiet the mind?  I think the answer is a combination of gratitude and simplicity.  Thankful hearts for what we have and a simple and clear vision for reaching what we'd like to see more of.    The abysss of the internet with it's thousands, no millions, of articles, youtube clips, pinterest pics etc. can leave even the most focused person wondering if they in fact are struggling with an adult form of attention deficit disorder! 

But one of the ideas I started this blog with was the famous line from Steve Jobs, "You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path."

And that's what I've been doing.  Gathering the dots.  Curating what I like, what makes me excited, what I come back to time and time again.   I can say with certainty, that I'm beginning to create an image out of these dots I've been gathering.   I thank this blog space for helping facilitate that.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Desk Space...

If there was someplace I could be right now it would be here.  No distractions, just a place to buckle in and get it done.    I'll try to imagine I'm there instead of my cluttered, messy desk.   Enjoy your Tuesday, friends. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Simple Holiday Season....

The holidays are my favorite!  I simply love the hustle and bustle, the gift giving, the gathering with friends and family, the music and the general spirit that fills the air this month.  

In honor of the start of the season, a few pics to remind us it needn't be fussy or complicated to be good.