Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wednesday Gratitude #28: Time at Heart and Home

Hi All!
TIME for Wednesday Gratitude
Link up if you've got something to be grateful for!

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?"
-William A. Ward

I have a funny relationship with time, and
I've been watching the clock a lot lately.

I'm very grateful for the abundance of time I have to take care of things.
But, with hours stretching out in front of me every day,
 it seems I take more and more time getting started on the things that are "important".

It makes me feel guilty,
and then, it feels like I'm playing catch-up with the clock.

I imagine time takes on a completely different meaning
when you've been faced with life-altering challenges,
like illness or loss, or some sort of natural disaster.

I imagine you would never take time for granted
having beaten cancer,
or survived a flood or hurricane that took everything away from you.

That time would have stood still while you were in the midst of the storm,
and flown by much too quickly while you were battling a disease.
Counting the days knowing you could never get them back.

I'm grateful I've never really had to experience anything like that,
and that I don't know what time feels like in those circumstances.
I'm truly grateful.

Although I've lent my support for most beloved ones who've been there, done that.
And those times were precious to me, though slow, and hard, and long.

I wouldn't trade those days for any others.
Because they showed me what I was made of,
and showed me what it takes to really fight the big fight,
and that time keeps rolling along, day after day. 

Spending days like that helped me realize how precious time is,
and how much I regret wasting it.

AND, being late, and making others wait, is a form of wasting time,
in my opinion.

I often find myself scrambling around at the last minute,
taking care of that "one last thing" to do before I head out the door

Do you do that too?
Why do I think that right before I need to leave
is the perfect time to add the last load of laundry to the wash?

Why do I always see the little out-of-place-items that need putting back in their places,
right when I'm running out the door?

Or notice some inane task that could have been done any time,
and feel the need to complete it just before I head out?

I do that more often than I'd like to admit.
And then, I'm usually just a bit late getting to where I was heading.
Sorry about that.

Is it just me, or is this some sort of "last-minute mania" that only affects people who have a guilty conscience about how they spend their time?

I don't know.

Here's the guilt:
There are so many things I should be doing with my time.
I have a list a mile long.
I just haven't been all that inspired to get started on those things.
I've been thinking, maybe I need a new list!

My new list could contain only things that I really love to do.

What would be on your list,
if you had all the time in the world?
What are the things you would want to do, if there were no restrictions?
I would really like to know!

I think that's the trick to making peace with how we spend our time.
Less guilt, more accomplishments.
Spend it in the pursuit of happiness.
Spend it being happy.

I've heard time flies when you're having fun.

Until next time,

I'm linking to:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Strawberries and Tea-Time at Heart and Home

Strawberries and Tea-Time

I have a lot more spare time available to me now that everyone is back in school.
It's a perfect opportunity to sit back with a friend and enjoy a cup of tea.

I've never been one of those people with gobs and gobs of girlfriends.
I've made only a few very special friends over the years.
I call it my "Circle of A-Listers".

Maybe I'm picky, or hard to please.
I know I'm reluctant to fill my life with idle chit-chat and less than meaningful conversations.
I'm not very good at small talk.
Actually, I really dislike it.
Being well versed in it is something that could probably come in useful to me every now and then.
I suppose there's an art to conducting small-talk really well.
And I'm learning to do it better, for when the need arises.

But, I like to spend my time with people who really matter to me, who know me, and allow me to get to know them.
I like us to talk about things that matter to both of us.
Doled out equally with things that make us laugh.

Over the years I've been lucky to form friendships with a small group of truly wonderful women with whom I share similar thoughts, taste and ideas.
Then there are the others, the women who are nothing at all like me.
I think I love them even more because of it!

All of these are women with big hearts, wisdom beyond their years, immense kindness, and the ability to offer support when it's needed, or a shoulder to cry on.
They are good for fun too, and enjoy an adventure every now and then.

These are true-blue friends, and it's not everyday that you find someone who will stick with you through thick and thin.

I cherish the people in my life with whom I can be honest, and share my heart-felt thoughts.
Even when those thoughts might not make a lot of sense, or are less than cheery.

I know my friends always try their best to understand me, and support me, and perhaps even point out the obvious to me, when I might have missed it.

I feel blessed to be able to express my greatest happiness and my deepest sadness with them.
I can just be myself with them, and I don't have to take out my "company manners" for our visits.
Even though I like to do just that, to make them feel special.

I''d love to be able to sit down for a visit with all the friends I've made over the years.
Wouldn't that be an interesting group?
I would want to include my youngest childhood buddies, and friends from high school with whom I've lost touch.
People who've come and gone in my life, and were special to me way back when.
New friends, who've just recently come into my life.
And all the dear friends I've been lucky to have known for a very long time.

Strawberries warm from the garden, and a fresh pot of tea await us.
We could sit together and linger in the afternoon hours that, for now, are mostly empty of demands.

For awhile, we could relax and share stories of how we spent our summers, and share the hopes and dreams of our lives for the coming fall.

Who would you invite to sit with you, if you could invite anyone from your past?

There is just the right amount of time for a heart-to-heart talk, without feeling rushed by the clock.

The school day has just begun and the afternoon is stretching out before us, open with possibilities...

Today is a gift, to be shared with a good friend, or two or three.

Good friends, good talk,  strawberries, and a pot of tea.

Until next time

and these fun Tea Parties at:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wednesday Gratitude # 27: A Miracle Party and Sunny Mornings at Heart and Home

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul." - Henry Ward Beecher

Welcome to my Pink Saturday addition to the Miracle Party taking place today!
Read on to find out more about Colette, and how you can help
others, by simply leaving a comment.

Unlike the foggy mornings I usually wake up to
 during the summer months around here,
 the sun was streaming
through the windows today, bright and early.

It looked so pretty with the sunlight shimmering on the crystal and glass,
and bouncing off the flower petals.
I felt really grateful for a bright beginning to the day.

I'm trying to be more aware, and to notice and appreciate the little moments in life that bring me joy.
That is one of the reasons I started
Wednesday Gratitude.

Some days, I'm just not feeling it.
I know I have so much to be grateful for,
but it's easy for me to fall into the "woe is me behavior"
when things aren't going exactly my way.

That's not something I'm proud of, and I'm working on it, everyday.
I guess it's human nature to see the bad, as well as the good, in life.
I'd just like to notice the good more often.
(Like the brilliance of the color of these alstroemeria lilies:)

I know we all have moments when we're not feeling the joy.
I'm thankful that, for me, most of the time
my down moments are no big deal.

But some of us face days and months and years
 of HUGE, life-threatening, life-changing challenges.

How we choose to face them speaks volumes about our character.
And sometimes, we just need a little help from a friend.

My friend Kelee, at the Katillac Shack,
has decided to use her creativity in interior design to help others.
 Kelee is an amazing women!
She's sweet, and funny, and talented, and most of all,
 loving and supportive.

Recently, she was able to pull off an incredible feat for a friend in need.
Colette was battling cancer,
living in a run-down, depressing rental space that was anything but healing.
Kelee was there, with open arms and ideas, paint and fabric and love.

She got together with some other amazing people
 with Guidepost magazine as a sponsor, and Design Gives Back.
Kelee helped transform Colette's sad sick-room into a space filled with light and beauty.
(You can see the transformed room at Kelee's place
 starting on August 27.)

Now, she wants to be able to do it again, for someone else.
Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend like Kelee.

The MIRACLE PARTY is August 27 - 31
Each comment you leave at those sites will earn $1 for Design Gives Back

For more of the story, go to the Katillac Shack.
Help provide another healing space transformation. 
Just by leaving a comment,
and, you will also be entered in a drawing for fabulous prizes
(art! magazines! and a sewing machine!).

I'd be so grateful if you'd drop by the Katillac Shack
to support Kelee and her work.
And send a comment and a hug to Colette,
who, although she was given only a 5 -15% chance,
 beat the cancer and can wake up smiling at the sun, every day.

Until next time

 Don't be a lurker! I love to hear from you.
(And, if you like what you see, subscribe or follow along with Heart and Home.
 The buttons are on the sidebar)


linking to Works for Me Wed., Wobble Over Wednesdays,  Welcome Weds., Follow Me Wednesday, Pink Saturday, and Show and Tell Friday, (and I'm going to let Wednesday Gratitude run a little longer this time, until August 31. Share your stories of gratitude and inspiration! All others will be deleted...thank you!!XOXO)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Day With the SITS Girls, at Heart and Home

Saturday I spent the day in San Francisco,
at the Westin St.Francis Hotel. 
 I was with 100 other blogging women.

We were all in town for the SITS Girls Bloggy Boot Camp.
I didn't get many pictures of the 100 other women,
or the speakers, or the food.
There were too many things to do, and too many people to talk to.
I got a little nervous, and I forgot.

I know you'll forgive me.

From the conference room when the fog cleared,
 there was a view down to Union Square.
Typical of San Francisco summer weather, the fog cleared around 4:00.
Just in time to see the festival wind down and the crowds disburse. 

The building with the arched windows on the right is the Marriott Hotel.
That domed tower in the center is very pretty.
Too bad I don't know what it's called.
I'll have to get back to you on that. 

The meeting took place way up high, on the Imperial floor, in fancy Victor's.
Not on the ceiling, but isn't it interesting?

Inside, the view was clear, but the temperature was chilly.
Frigid actually.
You would think they could afford to heat the place,
 considering what they charge to stay here!
We were all shivering by the time the meeting was over.
A frosty and very wide awake bunch.

Here are a few of us, hoping to warm up,
 and getting ready to eat lunch in in the beautiful Alexandra room.
It was freezing in here too, but lovely,
and there are fabulous 360 degree views of the entire city
when there is no fog.
And when the frost clears off the inside of the windows I imagine.

Is it just me, or do you think it's weird to put the food on the tables
 before everyone is seated?
I'm just curious.
 But I've got to admit our lunch was tasty!
Dessert was very delicious, too!
That got eaten before I remembered to document it,
you just have to trust me.

Getting ready to go again,
we're taking our places for the second half of the meeting.
We listened to some interesting talks about all sorts of topics,
from blog security, to ideas about monetizing our sites.

who is very pretty, BTW,
and Ted Rubin of Open Sky, gave us some info.

I particularly enjoyed Kristy Campbell's writing tips.
She was a sweetie to talk with, too.
And has such beautiful red hair.

I've always wondered how I'd look as a redhead.
Hmmm. That's something to think about.
I wonder if I could pull it off.
I think I have the temperament for it, for sure.
That could become one of my changes, for the future.

After the event, I went into the lobby and rested my tired self on the sofa.

Actually, I leaned w a a a y back and got my feet up a bit!
It felt so good!
That's when I noticed how ornate the ceiling is in there.
All these years I've been running inside the hotel
to use the very nice ladies' lounge
or ride the glass elevator to check out the the view,
and I don't think I've ever really looked up.

Anyway, I got very comfy, had a nice chat with some out of town visitors,
and enjoyed some good people-watching.
There was a big party happening in the bar.
Some people really should not wear strapless dresses.
Or 5" heels.
That's all I'm saying about that.

It was a day well spent.
The things I learned helped me clarify my thoughts and feelings
 about Heart and Home.
I feel more confident about some of my decisions now.
I met some nice women, and shared blogging tips and stories with them.
Even spent a little time in the lounge with a couple of Michelles.
Bright, young, beautiful women
who are just starting out in the world of blogging.

And I learned a few things about attending a blogging conference.
Like, bring business cards. (Who knew?)
And wear a winter coat.

At least I felt stylish in my comfortable new "Penelope"* shoes. 

Until next time,

*If you haven't already, check out the movie. Then you'll know what I'm talking about.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Heart and Home: Bye-Bye Baby

Who is this little girl with the big blue eyes and the golden curls?

Can it have been longer than just yesterday when
 she was climbing into my lap and begging me to teach her how to read?
 It doesn't feel that way to me.

How can the days and months and years have passed so quickly that 
all of a sudden, just like that,  it was time to hold her tight and whisper good-by,
acting strong and calm and in control while fighting back tears so as not to worry her?

Instead, I cried buckets of them on the drive home.

What will it be like around here without her smile and her sweet attitude, and her helpful, kind, gentle spirit?

Who will update me on all the latest movies and books,  and keep us all entertained with her stories and observances and insights?

How will her sister manage without her best friend near every day to offer her love and advice and guidance?

Who will notice when I'm down and need a hug, or have a crick in my neck and need a good back rub?

The rest of the gang around here is really going to have to pick up the slack  in order to fill this girl's shoes while she's away.

Saying good bye to my very best friend -  my first born beautiful daughter - as she left for her great adventure was one of my most difficult moments.

The day had been weighing heavily on my heart for months, and now it's already here and gone.

We were off early in the morning taking her and a car loaded full of things she couldn't live without to her new temporary home in the dorm, at the school where her life will change and she'll live and learn and see the world in a way that would never be possible here at home.

I'd like to have packed myself into one of the boxes and snuck along for the adventure.

Because I know when she comes home next summer everything will be different, that she will have changed in ways I can't even comprehend, and that she won't ever be my little girl again.

But I am so very proud of the young woman she is,  and excited to meet the women she will become.

Until next time,

PS. I'm off to SITS Bloggy Boot Camp in San Francisco on Saturday! I'll be taking lots of notes, and pictures, and trying hard to remember everything to share with you when I get back. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone, and spending a fun and informative day!  I have fabulous new shoes just for the occasion. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Carmel, and Wednesday Gratitude #26 at Heart and Home

Hi everyone.

"No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night." -Elie Wiesel
I'm back with my new attitude, and just in time for Wednesday Gratitude! Thanks all you lovely lovelies, for the kind words and the support.

I am amazed your willingness to offer insight and guidance, and by your wisdom and humor.
I am grateful for the great fortune of your friendship.
I am taking all your advice to heart.
Thank you!

Yesterday I took my girls for a short drive down the highway, for lunch,  window shopping and a meander down the rustic roads of Carmel.

 I picked out two of my favorite homes, just a block from the beach.

I could have shown you at least 100 more that I'd move into in a heartbeat.
There are so many cozy cottages, and gorgeous haciendas, California ranch style, and modern seaside homes that it's hard to pick a favorite.

We're guessing these two are in the $2.5 - 3 million price range.
At least.

I will take them both.

This park in the middle of town is quiet and green, surrounded by manicured trees and bouganvilla.
It's a sort of escape and a dose of reality compared to the extravagances of the shops in town.

Strolling through the pretty boutiques can take the better part of a day.
And let me tell you, these places are pricey!
Who is spending that kind of money nowadays?
Not me.

It is fun to look, and get ideas, and daydream.
This shop rekindled my dream to get back to my painting one of these days.

One year ago I pulled out my watercolors.
They are still sitting right where I put them.

Because I started Heart and Home that very same week.
And since then I've been spending a lot of time with you ladies!

But I think I should take some time for other pursuits, too.
I used to have dreams about my paintings, when I was painting every day.
I really enjoyed messing around with the colors and compositions, and looking at things in a different way.

Anyway, I also love spending time on the beach on a foggy, hazy day.

We ended our visit to Carmel doing just that.
The beach is right at the end of main street.

This is the Pacific Ocean, and the waves crash on world-famous Pebble Beach.
In the distance you can see more of those multi-million dollar homes that crowd the cliffs along the shore.
Those green patches are the Pebble Beach golf course.

And what do you think of this powdery white sand?
It's totally different from the sand on our beaches on the bay.

Let me tell you, although it doesn't look like much in this picture, it's a good work-out climbing that hill!
Especially after eating Thai noodles and curry for lunch.
Which we did, with gusto.

I'm contemplating my future!
Which looks bright by the way.
I'm getting cheerier every day.

I'm squinty, and almost happy.
I guess a day shopping and walking on the beach was just what I needed.
I'm grateful for the time I spent with my daughters, enjoying a little escape from the everyday routine.
I love taking the time to drive somewhere special with them.
I'm grateful we get along so well, and have fun together, sharing conversations, eating, laughing, and window shopping.

I'm grateful they still want to spend the day with their mom!
And that they think I'm cool, and they will share their shoes and lattes and advice and humor and good natures with me.
I'm very grateful I'm such a lucky girl.

Until next time,

Linking to Outdoor Wednesday, at A Southern Daydreamer. Thanks  Susan!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes at Heart and Home

It's been one week.

With no inspiration, and even less motivation
I've been doing a lot of nothing these past seven days.
Nothing and everything, because I think I've gotten closer to finding some truths for myself.

Most of you told me that the most important thing to do with life getting me down was to just be in the moment, and to allow myself to really feel the feelings that came up.

So, that's what I've been doing these past seven days:
being in the moment,
and feeling.

Well, trying to feel, anyway.

 I've been confused about what exactly my feelings were. Or are.
And being in the moment has never been one of my strong points.

But, I think I've gotten closer to some answers.

That's a good thing, right?
I read "Eat, Pray Love".
I saw the movie.
It took Julia Roberts ( Elizabeth Gilbert, actually)
 an entire year to figure it out.
I think I'm doing pretty well,
having spent only one week working on the same thing.
Without leaving the country, or abandoning my family and friends.
Without taking a 15-years-younger lover, or joining an ashram,
or having a nervous breakdown.

I've kept things running pretty smoothly around here, considering,
and still found some time to think.
I've decided that things will get better, but,
 despite all the uncontrollable changes in my life,
there are even more things that need to change.
  I need to change, that I will seek and embrace change.
Even though I (mostly) fear it. 

We all know that nothing stays the same.
Well, everything seems to be changing around here.
With our eldest leaving home, and the youngest starting high school,
I'm pretty much working myself out of a job,
and staring at an empty nest in just a few years.

It's freaking me out.

Plus there's the whole aging process to deal with.
Don't get me started on that one.

And of course, some other things, big ones that are difficult and emotion packed.

But, now I'm writing a list.
On it are the things in my life that need to change,
 and things about me that I need to change. 
Things that I can control.
 Changes that I will seek and embrace.
Blah, blah, blah.

This is not easy for me.

I'm going to start by losing those extra 15 pounds
 that have literally been weighing me down for the past years.
I think I need to feel and be lighter,
to feel more like my old self, in order to find my new self. 
To get back into fighting shape, so to speak.

So I can tackle the next item on my list, and on down.
Change, change, change.

I so appreciate your support,  and all your kind words.
Thank you so much for sharing your own moments
 of doubt and difficulty, and enlightenment with me.
 Thank you for your encouragement.
Thank you for being you!
I'm pretty sure, after I get through the next week,
inspiration and motivation will be right around the corner.
Stay tuned!

Until next time,