What I know for sure is that things change. Just when I think I can’t take one more sweltering hot day of summer, the chill of fall appears in all of her glory. In the nick of time we can finally sit outside for dinner and ride our bikes through the neighborhood and even start thinking about pulling on a sweater with a cute pair of boots. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread & pumpkin latte. I love when a season shifts. Especially this one. I like a good change. In weather and in life. I’ve learned how to enjoy the present situation but not get too attached. I even get a little restless with status quo. Begins to feel stagnant and boring. Everything runs it’s course. There are many necessary endings. It’s meant to be that way and it makes me glad and it helps me grow.
Don’t get me wrong though, it isn’t easy. When our kids moved away it surprised me how hard it was. It took me a while to adjust to a quiet house and quiet days. I learned slowly but surely how not to parent them but to just love them. I had to reinvent myself and we recognized the need to re-create our marriage. It took a lot of intention and creativity and communication. We had an empty nest for the first time in 20 years. It was brave to let go of the old ways of living and embrace the possibility of something sweet & new. We found a new rhythm, new perspective and lots of FUN.
I know not everyone feels the way I do. It’s tempting to dig your heels in and tighten your grasp. Hold on to what’s familiar and comfortable. Fight against the new thing. The unknown feels vulnerable and scary. Our human need for certitude and certainty is stubborn. You feel secure. Safe. In control. You like things the way they are. But life doesn’t play by that rule. It’s going to happen whether we like it or not. Friends move away. Jobs end. Children grow up. It’s always sad. It’s a loss. We grieve. We learn. We grow. We change. And every ending creates space for a beginning. Every goodbye opens up the opportunity for hello.
So what are you clinging to that has run it’s course? The thing that’s keeping you stuck. Be brave. Let it go. Set yourself free to move forward into this new beautiful season. Let the natural process of change have it’s way. Leaves are falling. There’s coolness in the air. Get on your bike, put on a sweater and get out here. What are you waiting for.
Happy people are grateful. Grateful people are happy. It’s really that simple. We live in a beautiful world crammed with heaven created by a generous God who is madly in love with us. There is goodness everywhere. People are whimsical and kind and compassionate and talented and funny. We’re connected by our common humanity and our longing to live lives of meaning. The sun rises and sets on us all. We belong to one another. Everyone is in. All creation was meant to flourish.
I operate from this deep knowing. This is my faith, my mantra, my proclamation. I refuse to live a small life. I live a life of abundance and freedom and profound gratitude. I was born happy. I live happy. I choose to be happy even in the midst of hard things. I’ve had my fare share. Everyone is my teacher and every circumstance my trainer. I want to be better and do better. I don’t gossip and I’m not jealous. I seek truth and honesty; strength and vulnerability. I see possibility everywhere and light in everyone. I’m drawn to good energy and know that what I give away returns a hundred fold. I’m curious about life and I let curiosity push and lead and inspire me to ask better questions. I’m quick to forgive and quicker to ask for forgiveness. My heart is open, my mind is open and my hands are open to give and to receive it all. I surround myself with people who are smarter, wiser, braver and truer. They root for me and challenge me and love me well.
Life is happening now and it’s magnificent. What if this is it. What if today is all you have. Don’t miss it. Say the words. Write the letter. Make the list. Notice the gifts. Read the book. Play the piano. Sing the song. Try out for the play. Open the business. Plant the flowers. Trim the tree. Get on the plane. Make the phone call. Paint the picture. Ride the bike. Take the class. Make the peace. Throw the party. Hike the mountain. Run the race. Count the blessings. Bake the pie. Clean the closet. Tell the truth. Offer forgiveness. Be present. Ask the question. Have the conversation. Hug and laugh and dance and eat and cry and offer thanks for the opportunity. Everything you’ve ever wanted is already here in abundance. It’s yours to take and to enjoy and to share. The best way to be grateful is to be happy. Happy people are grateful. See how it works:)
‘It is for freedom that Christ set us free.’ Galatians 5:1
I hope July is slow and long. Give me all the red watermelon, white houses & blue skies. Fireworks and flags and patriotic songs. Let’s have barbecues & parades & swim parties. An afternoon nap, yummy summer book & icy cocktail by the pool. Not one thing on the calendar. No obligations. Take time to re-fresh, re-think & even re-imagine life.
It’s the perfect chance to change some things. Get brave. Figure out what makes you feel most alive and do more of that. Sometimes your schedule gets away from you. You get caught up in other people’s plans, agendas and commitments. You leak energy to all the wrong places. Now’s the time to set it straight. Set your soul free. Be the subject not the object of your own life. It’s up to you. It will forever be up to you. Decide what you want. Detach from toxic relationships. Lean in to good energy and inspiring people. Listen to your heart and pay attention to your intuition. Practice self love and self care. Speak kind words to yourself. Speak kind words to others. Drink more water, eat more fruit & do some yoga. Stay open and honest & present. Be awake to the magic everywhere. Leave lots of space to laugh& dance and cry &watch movies & play games & ride bikes & plant flowers. Be curious and ask better questions. Look people in the eye and listen well. Be vulnerable. Have deep meaningful honest conversations. Learn from everyone. Be transformed by it all. Become the truest version of yourself. Live the life you’ve been dreaming of. Feed your own soul.
Life is quick. Let’s S L O W it down. Unrushed. Unhurried. Enjoy every sweet juicy bit of July. Our hot delicious month we get to celebrate FREEDOM. The truth is we have been set free. So let’s practice being free. Living free. Mind body heart soul. It’s the best kind of life. Live it right. Live it well. Let it ring.
August is filled up with books. Books I’ve read and books I’m waiting to read. Stacked up, lined up, loaned out. I LOVE BOOKS. Kindle is fine & good and serves a purpose (especially when traveling) but I need to turn real pages, smell the paper & see the the magical book cover sitting on my table. It makes my heart happy. A home filled with books is automatically interesting and beautiful. They create instant conversation and connection. A window into the soul of the family living there.
Books keep busting my life wide open. Shaping who I am. Expanding my imagination. Helping me to live braver, happier, freer. I love a good story. I adore memoir or historical fiction. I’m drawn towards spiritual & philosophical books filled with new ways of seeing things. Brilliant shimmering words strung together that keep influencing me. I hold space in my life for books. There’s always room for one more.
A few of my favorite authors: Cheryl Strayed. Richard Rohr. Anne Lamott. Jojo Moyes. Rob Bell. Elizabeth Gilbert. Brene Brown. Glennon Doyle. Krista Tippett. They have changed my life with their writings. Literally. I’m daily in the middle of one of their books or podcasts. They’ve helped me to get painfully honest with myself and change antiquated ways of thinking that have kept me stuck. They speak a fresh language when telling the mysteries of faith, relationships, world view. They ask better questions and aren’t afraid of answers. So good at being vulnerable and curious. Seekers of God and truth. Smart & articulate & kind. They do the work. They’re in the arena. They show up and are seen. They keep evolving and changing and writing. They’ve helped me to feel less alone. I’m in love with their thoughts, ideas, experience and words. I learn something new from an author every single day and then can’t wait to talk about it. They become a part of our own stories. Collaborators, friends, makers and creators on this journey. Authors are heroes and books are miracles. They serve us all so well.
So. How about you. What are you reading this summer? What’s on your nightstand. What’s an all time favorite. Who’s your best author. Do you lean towards fiction or non-fiction. My plan in the next few months is to create a whimsical library in my pass-through-brick-floor room and fill it floor to ceiling with all of my favorite titles. Friends and family will be welcome to browse, check out and upon return to discuss. Built-in, on-going mini book clubs right in my own home. How great of an idea is that?! Can’t wait! Win/Win. Books=Life.
The season of parties is upon us and I doubt that anyone on the planet loves a party more than me. I gather people around my table often. Swing my front doors wide open and enjoy anyone who walks through them. Whoever shows up is who I celebrate. Send out a quick text and a “I’m making tacos, come over” and suddenly I’ve got myself a party. It’s rarely elaborate and hardly ever planned. Sometimes there’s two of us and other times twenty. Mostly spur-of-the-moment, out-of-the-blue, on-a-random-Tuesday gatherings. These are my favorites and usually the most magical. Gathering, entertaining, hostessing, hospitality, get-together, shindig, wingding. Whatever you call it, I’m in. I like to host and I like to attend. I promise if you invite me, I’ll come.
Sometimes Jeff & I throw a fancy shindig. I like the entire experience from deciding the date and time to ordering and mailing out the whimsical invitations. I like planning the yummy food and deciding what cute thing to wear. I like the anticipation that begins to stir when I’m with friends & we’re brainstorming ideas. I like hiring a caterer & imagining the potential of an evening filled with people and laughter and music and twinkle lights. I like polishing up my house, lighting the candles and pouring the wine. I like the quiet buzz and humm I feel in the moments right before the first guests arrive. The rooms & yards filled with all the possibilities of a magical night. I even like the cleanup and the happy-tired-after-the-party feeling in the early morning hours. hmmmm…..its all so glorious from beginning to end. I just adore a fancy party.
And believe it or not, just as much as a big fancy orchestrated party I love a small simple paperplate come-as-you-are party on a week night. These are the delight of my existence and super easy because I’ve learned what’s important and what’s not. I don’t compare how I do it to how anyone else does it. I’m pretty basic in the kitchen and yet everyone seems to like whatever it is I serve. I have 5 tried & true go-tos that I’ve made a thousand times. Spaghetti. Chicken Enchiladas. Tacos. Taco Salad. Taco Soup. I also have Rusty’s Pizza on speed dial. I’ll never impress anyone with my culinary skills and that’s just fine with me. What I know for sure is it’s never about impressing anyone and it’s rarely about the food. It’s ALWAYS about connecting with my people. It’s about showing up. It’s about belonging and being included. It’s about laughing and storytelling and hugging and singing and dancing. It’s taking silly selfies and making happy memories and sipping icy yummy drinks with extra lime. It’s creating a space where everyone feels welcomed, loved and seen. It’s the energy in the air and the conversation around the table. It’s being nourished and cared for in all the best ways. It’s simply being together. The togetherness is everything.
So let’s all do it. Let’s gather gather gather. Invite our peeps over, sit around the table and make a memory. Tell all the stories. Play all the games. Eat the pizza or the fancy food or whatever it is we’re good at. It’s the Fall. The weather is thinking about cooling down and I’ll be making Taco Soup. My doors are open and my table’s set. It’s Tuesday. Come over.
Mornings offer a clean slate. We get to start over. Begin again. Our well of love and gratitude is full. We’re invited into the fresh landscape of a glimmering day. Our minds are free to think a brave thought and embrace a new possibility. Breaking free from old habits and toxic repetitive mindsets that suffocate our spirit & keep us stuck. Change an agreement. Practice honesty. Offer an apology. Speak gentle words to our own heart. Nothing is holding us back from crafting this moment into something that will move us forward into a brighter way of being. A broader imagination of seeing. A generosity of spirit that heals and transforms not only ourselves but all we encounter. We have a light within us that quietly illuminates our way and draws our souls to connect with one another. To generously and sincerely bless and encourage. There is an abundance of kindness to give away. An endless storehouse of grace to offer. A practice of forgiveness & letting go that is transformative. We carry an energy with us that is palpable. Let it be good. Good energy brings the God of the universe glory. For He is the Source. Good energy changes the dialogue & awakens the spirit & literally transforms the entire room. It’s generative and contagious and eternally valuable.
It starts with me. It always starts with me. Right here. In this moment. I get to choose who I am and who I am becoming. I decide what I agree to. I’m the boss. I get to be my own super-hero. I get to be kind and generous with myself. To fill myself with good energy. To tell myself truth. To not take things personally or make assumptions or make excuses about anything. And every time I screw it all up, to forgive myself. These are the agreements that are moving me forward and changing the way I think & behave. Changing my relationships. Changing my energy. These practices are what matter most in my daily mind and what offer me something tangible to work on.
They came to me at just the right time. My feelings used to get hurt over silly things. I made myself a victim often. All the prayer in the world wasn’t doing the work that I needed to take hold of. It had nothing to do with anybody else or circumstance. It was all up to me. I was open and willing and went searching for some methodology. I read wise books and listened to amazing teachers who know about such things. I took notes and took it to heart. I got curious about the stories I told myself and the agreements that ran my life. The repetitive thoughts that were truly creating my own suffering. I got to the truth of my patterned responses. I took responsibility and changed my habits. Slowly and surely I’m healing myself. Restoring my own soul. Becoming my own hero. Creating a new way of being. Discovering endless possibilities. It’s a total bad-ass way to live. A complete blast. Amazingly exciting. Dangerous and scary & exhilarating. It creates an endless well of good energy in my soul.
This morning. This day. This year. Be your own hero. Take hold of one thing that you can change. One thing that has been in the way. One thing that will move you across the threshold to a bright space filled with good energy. Show up for yourself. Do the work. Get curious. Make your life magical. Start now. Me & your future self are cheering you on:)
‘It is for freedom that Christ set us free.’ Galatians 5:1
Our kids surprised us and came to the bungalow last weekend. We had a slumber party. Just us four plus Harley the wonder-dog. Honestly. Nothing makes me happier than our togetherness. I breathe them in. Soak in every ounce of their magic. Ask too many questions. I adore who they are. Who they’re becoming. I feel so lucky to get to be the mom. When you’re the mom they’re kinda stuck with you for life. But that’s the thing. I don’t want stuck. I certainly don’t want obligation. I want relationship. Something true. Healthy. Fun. FREE. I’m working on being a friend. Someone they trust. Not someone they feel controlled or manipulated by. I think I’m making progress. I hope I am.
When they were home & being raised, I was the boss. Rules. Guidelines. Expectations. Consequences. Serious business. Passionate about my job. Massively in love with them but tremendously fearful they were gonna screw up their lives. It was such a process when they moved away. The letting go. Letting go. Letting go. They refused to let me boss. We had a few painful moments. Painful. Necessary. I’m freeing myself up. I get to just love them. Love with no strings attached. Enjoy who they are. Spend time listening. Understanding. Trusting the growing-up journey. Supporting their decisions. Letting go of my preconceived notions of how I think their life should go. And surprise of surprises, it’s turning out way better. So much better. What a blast.
Most of my important life lessons have come from my kids. They are my wisest teachers. Our family is free to evolve & change & grow. Together & on our own. Freely. Loved. Always.
Jesus came in His full humanity to lead us in ours. He came to set us free. To flourish. To discover our unique purpose. To fully live out our story. He doesn’t boss us. He doesn’t manipulate. He loves without end & without rules & conditions. It’s dangerous. It’s attractive. It’s exciting. And I’m intent on being more like that. More like Him. Free.
“Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of the briers the myrtle will grow.” Isaiah 55:13
I’m at the bungalow for a couple of days by myself. It’s quiet. It’s honest. It’s clear. I’m intently looking at a wounded spot in my heart that needs some healing. I’m working hard to get to the bottom of it. It’s the only way forward. It’s a small part of my story. Here goes.
I’ve been a classic co-dependent in most of my relationships my entire life. There’s a definite pattern. I care so much about everyone and lean in way hard. Sometimes it goes well and we work through bumps in the road. This brings healing and a way forward. Carry on.
However, sometimes sadly, it crashes and burns to the ground. Destroyed. This completely devastates me. I’m undone. I feel wounded. Taken advantage of. Betrayed. It all becomes a messy mess that no one is brave enough to talk about. It’s a cycle. Ugh. That’s my general relationship experience in a nut shell. My entire life. All or nothing. I know. How embarrassing.
So here’s the thing. I’m absolutely determined to end this little gig. I’ve made so much progress. But I’ve got a ways to go. Bear with me. I’m doing lots of practicing and searching & unraveling. Telling the truth to myself. It’s kinda painful. Yet, I’ve made up my mind. I’m committed. No more co-dependency for me. I’m doing my best. Eyes wide open. Brave to speak the needed words. I have a plan. I think it’s solid.
It’s 100% on me. My voice. My actions. My word. My responsibility. My thoughts. My intentions. A healthy life-giving relationship with any human is completely&absolutely up to me. With Jeff. With kids. With family. With friends. If I’m healthy, my relationships will be healthy. It’s not you. It’s me. Done.
This is why I do soul work. This is why I write. I need transformation. It’s me that needs the change. I’ll keep you posted.
‘Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me.’ Psalm 139:1
I like social media. I post pictures on Facebook and Instagram. I adore Pinterest. I write my thoughts on this blog. I don’t do it to brag or make myself appear to be something I’m not. I do it because I want to be seen. I long to be known. I do it because I belong to a little community of inspirational souls who have the same desire. Sometimes we get it wrong and post bullshit. It’s ok. We each have a little of that in us. However, for the most part….I follow stunning, creative, honest & funny people who I want to know better. I look forward to your posts. I’m curious about you. What you’re doing. Who you’re doing it with. How you live. ESPeCIAlLY if you’re mostly honest. It helps me feel less alone. More connected. You inspire me to live a better life. One that is a bit more vulnerable & authentic. You’re good for me. You’ve helped me to grow.
It’s all a part of my real life. My truest story. I’m not afraid to be seen. I’m living with my soul open. I’m available. I actually long for you to know who I am. Show up at my door and I’ll swing it wide open. Ask me anything and I’ll tell. I haven’t always been this way. I’ve been doing the brave soul work of looking at my crap & nonsense. My shame & fear. All the things that get in the way of a wondrously free & happy life. I’m slowly but surely changing the tapes in my head. Moving forward with a fresh set of rules. A new language that matches what my heart is saying. Understood by some and mis-understood by others. It’s risky. It’s good. It matters. It all belongs. Because I believe that truth & love & connection is what life is all about. It’s why we’re here. It gives purpose and meaning to our crazy days. We belong to each other. We’re here to walk one another home. It’s a lovely, painful, sacred journey. I’m happy to be one of the marchers linked arm&arm.
Get to know who you are. Let others know who you are. Let go of who you think you ought to be. Be you. Let me assure you it’s terrifying, and yet absolutely endearing and attractive. To be honest… we can smell phony and scared and fake a mile away. It just doesn’t work. It’s a waste of precious time. I’m honored when you tell hard stories. Say the scary words. The greatest act of courage is to be and own all that you are. Without apology. Without excuses & without any masks to cover the truth of who you truly are. We’ll be besties for life. I promise. Plus. It’s super FUN.
Because your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3
I’m paying attention to the lovingkindness of God. This day today filled with freedom. Blank space on my calendar. Holding room to notice&protect the quiet hours. The ones reminding me that He is here. He is with me. The grace of one day. When my mind is quiet and still. I feel my own breath. Inhaling peace. Exhaling gratitude. His spirit keeping me company. He invites me into this secret place. It’s sacred&holy. Effortless. Whisperings of I’m with you& I’m for you. A private happiness. It’s what lovingkindness feels like to me.
Also. Patio parties. The hours spent with people and food & music. Candles&tulips. Champagne & dancing and cigars. I notice him here too. In the sweet magic of these days&nights. The way we’re connected by laughter because every little thing is funny. Connected by beauty because every single soul is stunning. The air alive with belonging & energy &whimsy. Locking arms& holding hands. Twirling&singing under stars & twinkle lights. Choreographed by a God who thought it all up. Every good& sparkly moment. A crowded happiness. This too feels like lovingkindness to me.
And then. When a neighbor drops by unannounced and sits on my sofa and tells me her secrets. When I’ve hurt a precious friend and I meet her in a parking lot to apologize for my screw-up & she shows me more grace than I deserve. When my husband walks through the door at lunch with a bottle of fancy champagne because he feels badly about not recording the Oscars. When my kids call. When I text my people to come for tacos and they all show up to gather at the table. Anytime I receive an invitation. Or someone is brave enough to start a conversation that matters. Or sends a word of encouragement. Reads this blog. Smiles at me when I’m on a run. When I feel small but still valued. It’s all lovingkindness. It’s better than life& I’m paying attention.