Friday, January 30, 2009

Just a note to let you know...

What a tough news week. The economy, the mess with the EX-governor, tens of thousands of jobs lost in a mere 5 day span. It's mind boggling, overwhelming, just plain depressing. And to add insult to injury, we're freezing our butts off. A ray of sunshine, a spot of warmth and comfort. We all need it terribly right now, and I know just where to find it. No plane ticket required, you don't have to pack your swim suit.

I'm blessed with a job, a life as a matter of fact, that is chock full of people that amaze me. In a good way, honestly. And so many times I've thought to myself that I should express to this person or that just how much they mean to me. How happy I am that I know them, how they give me inspiration. I think a simple note, words expressed directly from the heart, could make an undeniable difference to the person on the receiving end of such an action. And then could you imagine the effect if in turn that precious soul paid it forward? Shared her feelings of gratitude for another everyday angel in her life?

Our planet is on a cosmic tilt towards the negative right now. The karma is not good. But we can change that. By saying what we need to say, words of appreciation, love, of gratitude expressed to the exceptional people in our lives. And we're all exceptional, we just need to be reminded on occasion.

I am so happy to have met you.
I really like you.
When you speak, I really listen.
You have touched my life. I wanted you to know that.
Just hearing your voice makes me smile.
What you said really made me think.
I admire you. Really.
That color looks so pretty on you.
I love your positive attitude.
I think you're wonderful.
Your friendship is a blessing.
In knowing you, I've learned so much.
When you speak, I really listen.

Spread the love. Warm a heart. Don't wait a moment longer to say what needs to be said. Let the people who make a difference in your life know it. This doesn't mean only your close friends and family. I'm referring to the people on the perimeter of your life as well. Knock someones socks off, bring a ray of sunshine by just dropping note that lets someone know that they matter in your life. Give negativity a kick in the pants by spreading positivity.

Do I sound a little preachy? Are you choking on what appears to be Hallmark card sentiment? I hope not. It's just what's in my heart this week. I'm in utter awe of the people I come in contact with on a regular basis. Blessed? Abundantly. Grateful? Words cannot express. I'll be making a stop to the post office this weekend. I have a few little notes to drop in the mail.

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other."
George Eliot

P.S. The little picture at the top of this post? Its a card that was given to me by someone new and special in my life. A wonderful lady who made my day with her thoughtful words. This little card is dear to me, and so is she!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


She: knows she's not the girl he fell in love with more than 3 decades ago. Blonde highlights glitter silver/gray. Life's lessons finely drawn at the corner of her eyes. Insecurity nags like a rusty hinge as she realizes the softening of her curves.

He: worries about providing, taking care of her the way he always has. Strains to see the younger man who's reflection once stared back at him in the bathroom mirror. Anxiety resides where confidence was once lived. The confidence born in youth that gets us only so far before it quietly exits like day turning into night.

She: is stronger these days. Children gone, no longer occupying her every waking hour. A career that gives her a different kind of sense of purpose. A confidence new to her, a form of security that she has created for herself. And yet...

He: wishes she'd understand that he shares the same insecurities as she does. Feels the same way that she does about the way life is changing them. Wonders if she understands how he only wants to be happy with her, together facing...

She: her life means nothing without him. Considers it her purpose to be a witness to this man's life. They have grown up together. No one knows her better. He probably knows her better than she knows her own self, though she'd never admit it. Can't imagine going through what lies ahead...

He: sad times and happy times. Watches her as she navigates life's cruel angles. Learns from her how it will feel to accept loss, to handle sadness and grief. Cares only to be with her, to laugh with her but also to catch her tears.

She: needs him to hold on to. Is afraid without him. Knows she can face what lies ahead as long as he is there by her side. Will be there for him when he has to look down this road.

He: hates it when he makes her cry. Admits to her that she's the best thing that's ever happened to him. Loves the life they share together, one that others would judge as being simple. But to him their life is...

She: perfect. Complete. That is their life together in her eyes. Angry at herself for not hearing what he's really trying to say. Wants him to know that when she looks at him she sees...

He: the same girl that he lost his heart to over 35 years ago. That's what he sees when he looks at her. Her laugh, the way she feels when he holds her. If he were to look into a crystal ball, he'd see them together, closer and more in love than he ever imagined. In her eyes he'd see...

She: the same wild, beautiful teenage boy he was when he stole her heart. And she knows he still holds it in safe keeping. Trusts that he'll take care of it, of her, as she looks in his eyes and sees...



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wide open spaces...

The sun was just making it's announcement on this cold winter morning. Figaro, my gorgeous, purring alarm clock was doing his best to steer me down to his empty food dish. Today's "to do list" laid in wait on my kitchen counter. But I was far of mountains, gorges, valleys, running rivers filling my mind. The distant sounds of an old west sort of song, I think it was a harmonica drowned out Fig's frenetic meowing to attend to his empty cat belly. I just laid their thinking...plotting, planning, pinching myself to make sure this was really true and that I wasn't merely dreaming.

I did it. I took the plunge, pitching headfirst into a dream. I booked my adventure out into the wide open spaces of Utah. If you've been reading along, you heard me tell of an itch that needed scratching, a thirst for something new. I signed myself up for a canoe trip that will lead me 60 miles through the scenic waterways of two National Parks in Utah - Canyonlands and Arches. I'm not sure how I'll get there, but just hearing the name "California Zephyr" leads me to believe that I'll be boarding a train heading due west come August.

I haven't done anything like this since I was in high school. The summer before my sophomore year, I signed up for a camping and canoeing trip to Quetico National Forest in Ontario. I wasn't a camper. I didn't hang around with, or really know for that matter, any of the people that would be sharing the adventure. I just wanted to go. And I didn't learn until it was too late, that we'd be REALLY roughing it. The night before we set out on our expedition, I called my mom crying, telling her that I wanted to come home. I had never done anything like that before. She was ready to charter a helicopter to come get me. Obviously, at this point in my life young life I hadn't been out much. But I prevailed. Over 60 scary, amazing, ardent miles of paddling, portaging, hiding out storms, and setting up camp, I discovered a completely different side of myself. One that I wouldn't have know if I hadn't taken a chance on adventure. I went two years in a row.

I feel the same sense of excitement, anticipation, the little tingle of fear (a good tingle), that I did when I boarded that bus for Canada a lifetime ago. But now? I feel like I'm 16 again. I've had this on my mind all week, telling myself "just do it, just do it." The decision about this trip came as I was working my cardio at the gym yesterday morning. I was going to the beat of my little iPod, swinging back and forth on the cross-trainer when all of a sudden I had my answer. Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks. The words of that song hit me like a ton of bricks. I pushed replay 3 times.

a young girl's dream no longer hollow
it takes the shape of a place out west
but what it holds for her she hasn't yet guessed
she needs wide open spaces room to make her big mistakes
she needs new faces
she knows the high stakes

The only mistake I'd make is not going. Going I am...out west.
On my own dime. In my own time. There's still a few spots available.
Green River Trip - August 5th through the 9th

to find a dream and a life of their own
a place in the clouds, a foundation of stone


Thursday, January 22, 2009

A word of advice...

I'm a really lucky girl. My life is rich with amazing women; daughters, friends, my sister, my mom, and the many incredible women that have come into my life via the workplace. We're kindred souls connected by a deep fondness...sisters together in love and life. No matter what the situation - grieving for a parent, a man that's done us wrong, life running us over like a freight train - we're there for each other, plain and simple. That goes for the happy stuff too; we share it all. If a friend's in need, or mother, sister, daughter, I search my heart and soul to find the words that might give comfort, strength and encouragement to these sisters-of-my-heart. I do this because I love them. And sometimes I I living in accordance with the advice I so freely give?

I'm in the midst of one of those weeks, the kind that makes me want to take refuge in the "little singles apartment" that I keep tucked away in the far reaches of my mind. My kids know what I'm talking about. When I say "I'm going to that little singles apartment in my mind," they know that this means I'm at my limit. This is a week that has me asking questions, searching my heart and soul for answers. I've been meditating also on all of those words of advice that I've shared in the past. After a lot of soul searching, I think it's high time that I hold myself accountable for living in congruity to my word.

There...I said it. No looking back now, right? Just go forward. Live. Breathe. Be true to yourself. Be good to others. Live a life that makes you proud at the end of each day. Protect your heart. Be responsible for your own happiness, and unhappiness too. Let choice, not chance, determine your destiny.
peace sisters...

Check out this cool list I found in a book called Lists to live by, For everything that matters...
Learn to accept change.
Admit your weaknesses.
Ask for any help that you know you need.
Be open to solutions.
Deal directly with your problems.
Admit your faults.
Take full responsibility for your heart.
Tell the truth, especially to yourself.
p.s... As I was finishing this post, my (away at college) son called in need of an emotional "pulling up by the boot straps" boost from Mom. I guess forgot to mention the good fortune of amazing sons too...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Adventure...the pursuit of Life

I'm getting a little itchy for something new in my life. An adventure, a chance to explore, an opportunity to pursue a dream. I can't put my finger on it, don't know exactly how to scratch this itch. All I know is that when I look back on this 49th year of mine, I want to have had an experience that will make me say "wow, I'm sure glad I did that." I don't think this is cabin fever, can't blame it on the weather. It's inside me, this yearning to see another part of myself that up to this point in my life remains hidden. I know it's there, I can feel it in my heartbeat. This yearning...whispering to my spirit "follow me."

2009 requires that I do a better job of listening to my inner voice, the one that says "say no, say no!" as my mouth spills out an enthusiastic "of course I will. NO PROBLEM. Really!" The demands of non-stop weekends sandwiched between forty hour work weeks just won't do for me any longer. In our lives we go from one event to another, crazy busy... one day after the next. And then we ask ourselves "Where did the time go?" Well, time went. With reckless abandon, like a breeze blowing in the window and out the door. I don't want my "one day I'm going to's" to end up being"I wish I would have's."

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. It's my life, yours, ours. We create our own adventures. I see one for me, the opportunity is close enough to touch. All that's required of me is to grab hold, make the jump. Can I trust myself to take the chance?


Friday, January 16, 2009

Zuccanoes and Girlfriend times two...

My sub-zero Friday was made a tad warmer thanks to a felicitous lunch date with my dear hearts, Nans and Beth. What a bright spot to an otherwise ordinary day. I rarely venture out for lunch during the work week, preferring rather to hunker down in my cubicle dining on my daily salad and a good book. But today was special. Today was lunch with Beth and Nans.

Books are the culprit for this connection of souls. Tragedy, romance, betrayal, deceit... we've been through it all in the course of the books we've read together. And we've been through an awful lot together in our lives as well. Two friends, two souls that I can't imagine being without. And I would never have known them if it weren't for a chance meeting at a book club.

Two friends that couldn't be more different, yet similar just the same. Beth - quirky, bohemian, wild and wonderful. Nans - together, classy, a real "girl's girl." Beth in her fuzzy purple hat and faux leopard print coat...smiling, laughing, just being Beth. Nans with a laugh that's music to my ears, the sister of my heart. And both with hearts that would burst and break for those they love. Both that would drop everything at a moments notice if ever I should call in need. Me too, for them. Anais Nin was quoted as saying that our friends represent "a world in us. A world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." Thanks Nans, thanks Beth...for making my world a little brighter. Today and always.


p.s. About zuccanoes? They were the special today at Frank's Karma Cafe'. And we were lucky enough to enjoy the last three servings they had. Delicious - the company, the food.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The story of We...

A few nights ago I met with my Tuesday night book club. We discussed the book The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. The book was critiqued in the usual manner; some loved it, some not, and of course there were those left with a feeling that fell somewhere in between. While I thoroughly enjoyed the story, that of an aging man, Leo Gursky, who obsesses over his death and spends his days drawing attention to himself all in order to not die on a day and go un-noticed, what captivated me entirely was that this was a story about people's stories.

We're all of us stories. Living, breathing, working, loving, laughing, crying stories. And our stories are important, exceptional. Of course you've heard it said that "life is stranger than fiction." Or maybe more wonderful, sadder, miraculous, more amazing. I've been involved in a study of Eckhardt Tolle's book The New Earth over a course of the past 6 months. One point Tolle made (of so many) that had a profound effect on me was the idea that we are a part of every one else on the planet, and in respect, they - us. Me you, you me. The anger, love, joy and rage...mine is yours, and your's is mine. If I look sincerely, I will see me in you and you in me. It's the beauty of being human, this together/aloneness. I've always been in love with people, but what I've come to learn is that I'm more accutely aware and have a greater respect for people...their stories. And I'm even more in love with them.

So, with respect to the notion of our cosmic (if you will) connection, we are all stories and all of our stories are real. To us. Our lives are the best stories we tell ourselves. We are all authors, all writers. And the story we are creating is the story of us...your story, my story. Some days feel like a horror story, some days perhaps we're the femme fatale in a romance novel. Some days are a mystery, and some days our story could be summed up in a comic book.

I'm filled with awe as I look around me, people in cars passing me by, people I see at work, wherever I go. All these people, all these stories, and the amazing thought that all of our stories are unique, just like me, just like you. We all have "stuff" in our lives, we're all dealing with the every day. But at the same time, we're unparalleled, our story a first novel. How do you want your story to read? Is it a book that will keep you up 'til all hours of the night? Or is it one that sits on the shelf waiting to be picked up, savored? I want mine to be a best-seller. And I never want to lose sight of what an amazing library we all make, all our stories, us.


"Today You are You, that is truer than true.
There is no on alive who is Youer than You."
Dr. Suess

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inside looking out on a chilly winter morning...

These are the toughest days of winter for me.
When the thermometer dips below 10 degrees I get kind of cranky.
The blaring sun makes a joke of the sub-zero temperatures.
Why does it have to be so annoyingly sunny
when it's so ridiculously cold like this?
My hair is loaded with static,
my skin is LONGING for humidity,
I miss my flip flops and cute summer skirts.
My winter clothes have become REALLY boring.
My new (old) fashion accessories are an
assortment of leg warmers (left over from the 80's).
I'm sure glad I hung onto them.
I wore a pair to work yesterday,
right under my corduroy skirt,
just like I did in the 80's -
from knee to ankle.
Desperate temperatures call for desperate measures, right?
And they're WAY cuter than long underwear.
Upside? Cold winter days allow us to spend time
INSIDE our homes, fussing, fixing, organizing, living...
a few months to give some love, room by room.
I don't know about you, but my home's in desperate need of some TLC.
So that's what I'll be doing over the chilly weeks ahead.
Painting, rearranging, making things right...
and watching the calendar in anticipation.
Only 65 days until the first day of Spring.

Stay warm...


p.s. Enjoy the view from my kitchen window!

Monday, January 12, 2009

6 mornings well spent...

Seven days, six trips to the gym,
from last Sunday to this past Saturday.
It was cold, it snowed,
I was tired, I had things to do.
I had almost 300 pages to read
in less than a week (I lead 3 book clubs),
a house to de-Christmas,
laundry piling up, my son home from college,
a 50th birthday party to plan for my husband,
bills to pay, dishes, laundry, pets,
a full time job, meals to prepare. age 48, I also have
stage II hypertension,
early onset coronary artery disease,
high cholesterol (genetic),
a few extra pounds since this time last year
and no room for excuses.
So, after 7 days and 6 EARLY morning trips to the gym,
over 90 minutes of weight training,
more than 4 hours spent on the treadmill,
bike, stair master,
elliptical and incline trainer,
20 miles, 3127 vertical feet,
101 steps climbed later,
...2589 calories left at the gym
(not counting those burned during weight training),
and attention paid to what I fed my body,
I lost 2 pounds this week.
My heart is better for my efforts.
I'm energetic, sleeping well, my brain is clear,
and I'm ridiculously happy...
feeling mighty fine in fact.
One of my favorite quotes on fitness comes
from Olympian Mia Hamm...
"I am building a fire, and every day I train
I add more fuel. At just the right moment
I light the match."
Goal? To be the healthiest me ever.
To care for what's on the inside.
I love life. I don't want to miss a minute of it.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Tell me a story...

Sometime early last fall I began a news-fast. A sabbatical, if you will, from news in general. I wasn't completely in the dark, what with an historic election taking place. I watched the debates, formed my opinion, but let the talking heads just talk to themselves. On election night I watched our new President make his acceptance speech, and then I tuned out. I figured it was high time we all just let the man we put our trust in do his job, and I'd do mine.

During my early morning ritual of making lunches, pouring coffee, and toasting bread, the television in my kitchen remained silent. Instead of listening to the morning news of war, politics and issues over which I had no control, I fell in love with audio books. Charlotte Bronte's Villette, The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James...what a way to begin the day. I found myself dawdling over the preparation of my lunchtime salad greens, taking a little more time to concoct a turkey sandwich. The quote by Emily Dickinson,"There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away" best described my new found bliss. Away I went, where ever it was that my book took me.

I'm currently listening to bestselling author Julia Glass' new book I See You Everywhere. This wonderful tale of two sisters is told in the alternating voices of the author and actress Mary Stewart Masterson. Simply said, I love it - in all of it's unabridged, 12-disc-long glory. And it takes me away. Away from the depressing news on the television, away from the reality that all I'm really doing is packing a lunch bag, loading the dishwasher or sorting out the day's dose of assorted vitamins.

In light of the grim economic situation of our country, where it seems everyone is tightening their belts and making due with a little less, what better time to escape, find some peace, by immersing yourself into a good story. The early writer and feminist Lady Mary Wortley Montague said it best. "No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting." And might I add listening, too?


"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain."

Louisa May Alcott

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lesson learned...

This here is my Tyler Bean, Bubba-Louie, Tex Longhorn (that's his cowboy name. Mine's Sunny Sundown, his sister Ella is Betty Bullwhip). He's the light of my life. And I screwed up BIG TIME. In early December Tyler let on that his preschool class was working on a BIG SURPRISE. A secret's pretty tough to keep when you're 4 years old. When something this BIG is happening in your life it's hard to keep it under your hat.

From the hints my little guy dropped, we were able to discern that his class was putting on a Christmas play - the story of the Nativity. Words cannot express just how much we (Tyler's folks, me) were ALL looking forward to attending the Christmas Surprise. It was to be held on the last day of school before winter break. Tyler let on that he was a shepherd, he would have a cane, his friend Brian would be a King, and that there would be sheep. They wouldn't be REAL sheep, but they would say baaaaa. And all along, I PROMISED Tyler I'd be there. I couldn't wait. It was almost as if my own holiday depended on it, rested on seeing my little Grandson in this precious Christmas display. I scheduled my work week accordingly...I was ready.

As dumb luck would have it, on the day of his Christmas surprise it snowed like the dickens. The schools in our area called a snow day - no school. The Christmas Surprise would be rescheduled for sometime after break. Long story short, on my first day back to work (after being off for 12 glorious days) my daughter phoned mid-morning to let me know that the Surprise would be held at the school that afternoon. Stupid me. With work piled up around me I said I wouldn't be able to make it. How could I possibly take time off now after being off for such a long stretch over the holidays? BIG MISTAKE. While that once-in-a-lifetime event was happening, I was sitting in my cublicle at work.

My daughter had a meeting to attend today so I offered to give Tyler a lift to school at noon. I figured I could use my lunch hour. It was the highlight of my day and I couldn't wait to see him. As usual, when I walked in the door to his house he was thrilled to see me (and me him, of course). "Ra Ra," he said (that's what he calls me), "I couldn't wait to see you! I love you Ra Ra!" I gave him hugs and kisses and shared his sentiments. Got him in the car and we were on our way. During the ride to his school I asked him how his Christmas Surprise went. He replied, "It was a Christmas play RaRa. I didn't see you there." I told him that I was working, that I couldn't make it. What a lame excuse. I asked him if he was looking for me. He replied back, "I looked for you the whole time."

Wow. Bad decision. I should have learned from the past, when I had to miss the rare event here or there with my own kids. But to have missed something this important, for it to be that important to Tyler that I be there, and for me to have put work first.

I can't turn back the clock on this, can't do it over. But you can bet I won't make that mistake again.

The flipside of the story is that, in an effort to recover for my blunder, I asked Tyler (along the way to his school) if I could make it up to him by taking him out for a donut and chocolate milk. He said he'd like that, and was quiet for a minute and suggested that we could do donuts "right now RaRa." I said, "Tyler, you have school and I need to get back to the library." He said, "No RaRa, I mean we could do donuts in the car. Just like Daddy did we went to look for a tree on that snowy night. The boy scouts weren't there when we wanted to buy a tree and Daddy did donuts in the parking lot."

Priceless moment? You bet.


p.s. I've also included, in today's post pics, Tyler's 2009 Christmas card.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Strong Shoulders

My post workout thoughts on the way home from the gym today went from sore shoulders to thoughts about how strong my shoulders have become. Then my brain switched gears to my kids for some reason and I thought about how those strong shoulders oftentimes carry the worries and concerns that they as young adults bear. When my children were small, their little heads required soft shoulders to rest on. Bruised knees, sleepy heads and tears brought on by an unjust world (one which didn't allow a diet consisting solely of chocolate milk in a sippy cup) were made a little more bearable by resting a head on mom's shoulder.

But as my babies grew my shoulders got stronger. Forgotten homework, being passed over for a slumber party, the drama of childhood all too soon turned into the reality of adult life. It's funny, when my mom used to tell me, "you never stop being mom" she was never more right. My shoulders have become as strong as granite. Now they bear the hopes, fears, joy and tears of my adult children. You never stop worrying that they're happy, healthy and loved. You never stop giving them that shoulder to lean on when they need it. You never stop being "mom." Think about that when you work those shoulders. They bear the weight of the world; yours and the weight of your children, as long as you live.

I've heard it said that biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. What makes a mother is giving that shoulder time after time, never ceasing. It's my purpose in life. Makes me want to work those shoulders just a little harder every time - they need to be strong for me, for my kids, as we all grow up together.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

If I could turn back time...

I might have had a few less cookies, bypassed the snack mix and perhaps skipped that slice of turtle cheesecake before turning in for the night. But alas, I didn't, which was the reason for the screeching WREE WREE WREE of horror music as a I dared a quick step on the bathroom scale this morning. Yikes. I should have known better! Actually, this isn't just a "holidays only" binge I've been on. This started last summer with burgers and brats on the grill, margaritas with quacamole and chips, my daughter Lindsey's "peanut butter jelly bars"...I began eating like it was Christmas sometime last June and it's been a deliciously slippery slope since then. The holidays were the breaking point; I feel body is on sugar plum overload.

Resolutions, diet plans, and best made intentions aside, I need to think about what those extra calories do to my girl - my heart that keeps me going. A few years ago I had one of those stress tests where I laid on a table and actually watched my heart working. There she was, working ceaselessly and enabling me to live, love, work and play. Seeing my heart in action had a profound effect on me. I made a promise at that point to commit to caring for her the same way she cares for me. I'd done a pretty good job up until a few months ago. Now's the time to renew my pledge.

At this time of year when millions resolve to lose weight, we neglect to resolve to take care of what's inside. We fall in love with the IMAGE of what we can be once those pesky pounds are shed. But what we fail to realize is that it's what inside that really matters. If we resolve to fall in love with what's inside, our hearts and souls, then the result will be evident in due time on the outside. Picture your heart, imagine her beating away, working while you rest...never taking a break. Honor her, feed her well, exercise her...and she'll reward you in ways that can't be measured.
I've included a picture in today's post that highlights some of my favorite fitness must haves. Earlier this year I discoverd Clean Eating magazine - I love it! Issues include TONS of health and fitness information, recipes and even 14 day meal plans. One of my favorite fitness authors, Tosca Reno, is a contributing editor to the magazine. She also has a few books that I'm sure you'll love as much as I do - The Clean Eating Cookbook, The Clean Eating Diet, and also The Clean Eating Work-Out Book. Take a trip to the library or the local book store - search for something to give you inspiration.
I've visited the perimeter of the grocery store - the kitchen has been stocked with foods to enhance good health. The last few cookies have been served to the birds. It's time to honor that commitment I made to my girl - my strong and steady female heart.
"Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through the eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded." (Goethe)
Take GOOD care of YOURSELF.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Click your heels together three times and repeat after me...

there's no place like home. It's what I crave when my life gets too crazy - my home. Today has been a day of pure contentment for me. With a live broadcast of La Boheme streaming from the Met to my kitchen, I'm catching up on library work while enjoying the warmth and peace of my home. Trust me, my home certainly isn't a showcase. More like an absolute house of horrors for the white gloved neat freak. It has its store of cluttered closets, junk-filled drawers and dust tumbleweeds hiding out in the corners waiting for a breeze. But more importantly, it is full to the rafters with the spirit of my family. Sometimes I swear these walls really breath. In the stillness, the quiet which is plentiful now that my kids are making their own way in life, I can hear the whispers of life that has been happening these 16 plus years since we first moved in.

The infectious laughter of my kids, balls erroneously bouncing off walls, doors slammed in frustration, tears over boyfriends and mean girls, the swish of a prom dress as a daughter descends the stairs, nerf darts swishing through the air, the strum of my son's guitar, the merriment of friends and family from celebrations past...all these memories that live and breath in the foundation of this house. New sounds now...our Grandson calling "read to me PaPa," our little Granddaughter giving "Shake-r Booty" a little competition with her falsetto rendition of Once Upon a Dream. our neck of the woods its brutal outside. But the weather inside is perfect. For dreaming, creating, cooking, rearranging...for just making memories out of the life that is "every day."

Terence Conran was quoted as saying, "Home is the heart of life...Home is where we feel at ease, where we belong, where we can create surroundings that reflect our tastes and pleasures. Making a home is a form of creativity open to everyone." Welcome home. And remember...if you ever go looking for your heart's desire, don't look any further than your own backyard!


p.s. Want to warm your place up with a pot full of comfort? Try this easy but amazingly satisfying crock pot gem. It's a favorite at my house - total comfort food, perfect for a cold winter day!

Chicken-Noodle Hot Dish

1/2 cup butter

1 - 16 oz. frozen mixed vegetables

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

3 - 3oz. packages chicken flavored ramen noodles

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves - cut into 1" dice

Cut butter into small chunks and put into prepared crock pot. Add the veggies and the soups and stir around a bit. Layer chicken over soup/veggie mix. Sprinkle with garlic and onion powders and the seasoning packets from the ramen noodles. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

One hour before serving, break each ramen noodle bunch into quarters, put into crock pot and stir to cover noodles. Cover and cook for one hour on high setting.

Trust me, you're going to love this one!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hello Ordinary, I kind of missed you!

Making a list, getting things done. That's how I'll begin to incorporate peace in my life today. Balance the checkbook, make a grocery list ...aren't the things we typically consider mundane the true blessings in life? Getting up, grabbing my coffee and getting to work...what a gift. As much as I love the holidays, I welcome the order of life - the peace of an ordinary day. No gifts to shop for or wrap. No more cookies to bake (or eat, actually. Most of what's left is a bit stale - perfect for my feathered friends on the other side of my window!). No more guilt over the cards that didn't get sent or the crafty gifts I couldn't seem to finish. I'll have plenty of time to finish those little projects and present them as birthday gifts later in the year.

Later I'll get together with my sis for lunch and thank my lucky stars for the time we share - a particular sparkle to an otherwise ordinary (picture perfect) day. Today I'm going to be "intensely indulgent" in the perfect beauty of today, just as it is. A blessing.

p.s. Be sure to undulge yourself a bit today too! If I hadn't indulged in a bite of chocolate, I might have missed this important message:)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Isn't this the coolest?

Oh wow, I really want this.
I might just have to order it.
Check out the VERY COOL work of
Liz Lamoreux at her Etsy shop.
enter her name at
Gotta love it!

A Sense of Peace...

I never would have imagined what would have come out of a book group that I fashioned in 2008 - my "New Earth" book group. What resulted from those meetings which began on a sunny Saturday morning last June cannot be measured in words. A sister-hood, a soul-group, a gathering of incredible women who have fed my soul more than they'll ever know. It was at our meeting in December that I was inspired to make peace my foundation and quest for the New Year.
As I sat and listened to my new friends describe their quest for peace in 2008, I understood plain-as-day that this was something essential for me too. Peace in all aspects of my life ~ health, work, family, relationships, money,'s time for me to take a hard look at how to add, subtract, incorporate, make way for peace to happen for me (and in return, perhaps bring a little peace into the lives of others).
This isn't going to be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, but I AM committed.
This is going to be my constant meditation, consideration, prayer.
But just imagine, if we all focused on giving, receiving, creating PEACE, what kind of affect would that have on our lives and the lives of those around us?
The card pictured above was given to me by my friend Joannie (a part of my NE book club. yes, we shared Eckhardt Tolle's mantra for awareness, and wow - what a difference it's made in my life). I'm framing it and keeping it a high traffic spot in my life to remind me everyday to make PEACE my priority.
I'm making peace the first stitch on the canvas of my NEW YEAR.
Care to join me?

p.s. seen any cute little peace charms lately? I'm on the lookout:)
oh, and BTW...our little book club is starting Deepak Chopra's 7 Spiritual Laws of Success
in January. We'll discuss chapter 1 in a few weeks - want to share the journey?