life lessons: in spring

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Maybe the most difficult time for a flower is just before its bloom.

Still tight and taut, but ready and waiting. Endlessly waiting. Eternally waiting. Impatient. Tense. And probably cranky.

But bloom it does, finally and slowly. Unfurling and stretching, open face forward into the warming sun.


The release renders the wait all that more poignant and perfect.

Necessary, after all.

So many life lessons learned just out the back door.

Spring hope.

The Verbs of Kindness

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A verb:  an action or a state of being.

No grand gestures here.

To do. To act. To be.


In no particular order:

  1. help
  2. respect
  3. include
  4. encourage
  5. care
  6. welcome
  7. listen
  8. smile
  9. praise
  10. notice
  11. offer
  12. share
  13. greet
  14. thank
  15. give
  16. invite
  17. compliment
  18. accept
  19. honor
  20. love

If you need a verb in your day … take one.

If you have a verb to add … leave one!



Only, and Just Barely

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It’s cold and dreary today. The temperature’s just north of freezing, and there’s drizzle.

In an unusual twist, however, I slept nine hours last night.

In a row.

(Look out world.)

I never know quite what to expect on the backside of a rough week. Saturday morning could arrive all kinds of grumpy and disheveled. Or maybe humbled and weary, but grateful.

This morning, I feel a little like the Cat in the Hat; I pick up all the things that are down … the cake, the rake, and the gown. A week’s worth of dishevelment awaits all around me. But I wander here and there throughout our home, setting things to rights, not in the least bit resentful – surprisingly – of the dishes once again left in the sink or the two-week high mounds of laundry in varying states of dirty, clean-but-not-folded, or folded-but-not-put-away.

Because in this Saturday’s clarity, I understand:  It’s all temporary.

The tough week. The busy. The shifting priorities. The dishes. Even the cold and drizzle.

Because like our ever-changing New England weather, what’s here today will likely be gone tomorrow. And who knows? Tomorrow may arrive sunny with scattered resentment. Or windy with a chance of anxiety.

But that’s for tomorrow to resolve. And it, too, will pass.

Today, I understand that eventually my laundered and folded shirts will nest again in my dresser. If not today, then tomorrow or the day after. Soon.

Today, I pleasure in the smoothing of sheets and the sorting of mail.

Today, my hope remains undaunted by tomorrow’s forecast.

Because this Saturday morning’s arrived hopeful and expectant.

There’s a whole new day out there just waiting to be lived, and it’s only, and just barely 8 a.m.


Making Peace

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It seems like I shouldn’t have to try so hard to feel peaceful.

Shouldn’t Zen just sorta flow or something?

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Honestly, sometimes  I turn the most mundane circumstance into Much Ado About Nothing.

So I’ve been working pretty hard to simplify. And again, that feels sort of oxymoronish – should simplicity feel so complicated?

I organize. Purge. Usher all the ducks to their respective rows. And wipe clean my surfaces. (Almost) every morning begins with a clear desk. So to speak.

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But sometimes finding peace … means making peace. With yourself.

I chucked the very-long-list the other day and went for a walk in the cold, bright blue with my camera.

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Peace made.

After a Fall

dsc_0414-2I don’t how it’s possible, but I can go from feeling life-satisfied and competent one minute … to a total failure the next.

It happens. It’s not reasonable or rational. But it happens.

It happened Monday morning.

All out of nowhere and despite my very best efforts to keep it all together. 

“It all” can mean one thing on a Monday and something entirely different on a Thursday … but mostly, “it all” is life and whatever living needs doing that day.

And as much as I can try to get and keep my own ducks in a row, my life intersects with other – important to me – lives … and one phone call can scatter all the ducks to the far corners of the lake.

And that’s exactly what happened Monday morning as I readied myself for the day.

A text. Followed by a Face-time phone call. And my day went left, not right.

Afterwards, all preoccupied with a thousand, thousand thoughts, I packed all my bags … the book bag, the lunch bag, the gym bag … and headed out the door, across the porch, and down the steps.

The icy steps.

After that very first step … I slipped … and my whole body, bags and all, seemed to fly up in the air … and back down again. Hard. On the granite steps.

And I sat there for a minute. Whimpering. Bruised. And feeling  a little bit defeated,  I think.

I looked around.

Whimpered a bit more.

And stood up.

Sometimes it takes a bit of encouragement to get back up after a fall. Here’s a link to a daily affirmation … Thought for Today … which can be sent right to your inbox. I’ve been receiving their daily emails for years now, and more often than not … the inspiration, motivation, or encouragement offered that day is exactly what I needed to hear.




Dressing for Success

dsc_0355-2I woke to a dreary day.

Rain, some of it freezing, darkened the sky, and it was hard to find a bright spot.


Making a decision to dress for success, I dug deep in my drawer for my golden yellow corduroys. Winter white sweater and scarf. Sunflower earrings.

I’ll make my own sunshine, I thought, and slipped on the final touch: Mel’s bracelet.

A gift from a thoughtful and loving friend, this bracelet brightens my every day – rain or shine. Of course, it’s a tangible sign of friendship … but there’s more than that, because wearing this bracelet is symbolic of hope.

No one among us is untouched by cancer. And Mel’s bracelet reminds us to gather in a circle – one bright, beautiful, colorful bead at a time – to fight it.

If you visit the Friends of Mel Foundation website, you’ll learn about the spirit of Mel Simmons, a woman with a light shining bright as the sun. So vibrant. So loved by many. So determined to beat breast cancer.

Her story is inspiring. And so is the Foundation’s mission to support, empower, and educate people touched by cancer. A Friends of Mel bracelet honors Mel Simmons and her big, bright, and beautiful light.

So … today, I dressed for success because I made my own sunshine and chased away the clouds.

Someday soon I hope it means I helped chase away cancer too.

You can order Mel’s Bracelet in support of the Friends of Mel Foundation here.  

What an amazing Valentine’s Day gift this would be!

In the Company of Strangers


I live my life day to day to day – some days more consciously than others – but mostly by habit. Some habits work. Others, not as much. Sometimes I need an adjustment. A refresh. A new perspective. A priority shift.

Can you name ten people who nudge you awake?

I can. And they’re all absolute strangers.

These ten women tilt my head just so. They elevate my thinking, invite me to question, and energize my motivation. I’ve visited with all of them this year in the pages of their books and blogs.

How I love and linger over the artistry and passion in their words. Their photographs.

I’ve read their prayers and admissions, seen into their imaginations, felt their doubts, and witnessed their celebrations. I’ve sat many a morning or deep into the night nodding my head in appreciation of their compassion and humor, the ways they love, and how they parent. Of each, I admire their bravery, talent, and how very boldly they question what is now and what has gone before. And gently, kindly ask us all: What is next?

I’ve been inspired as a writer, photographer, mother, dreamer, doer … and human.

When I was in graduate school, I read The Education of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter. This quote stays within me:

“… when you come on something that is good, first thing to do is share it with whoever you can find; that way, the good spreads out to where no telling it will go.”

So here’s some good … spread it out wide as you can … no telling where it (or you) will go.

  1. Erin Boyle, author of Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More – Erin also blogs at Reading My Tea Leaves.
  2. Erin Loechner, blogs at Design for Mankind. Erin’s new book, Chasing Slow, launches in January.
  3. Shannan Martin, author of Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted. Shannan blogs at Shannan Martin Writes, formerly Flower Patch Farmgirl.
  4. Kelle Hampton, blogs at Enjoying the Small Things, author of Bloom.
  5. Elle Luna, author of The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion
  6. Beth at Local Milk.
  7. Linda at Linda Stoll.
  8. Kendra at The Lazy Genius Collective.
  9. Joanna Goddard at Cup of Jo.
  10. Grace Bonney at Design Sponge, author of In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs