Lessons From My Daughter

I noticed the yellow leaf pointing the way on our hike in Japan. But my daughter would have just as easily picked up one of the dried, brown leaves or even a wood chip with as much fascination as I had for this shiny, yellow one ūüėČ

Greetings dear readers,

I know I’ve been absent for much of this year. ¬†My life has certainly changed since my daughter was born. But it’s a wonderful new adventure. I wanted to share some of my experience with you. My daughter has opened my eyes to see the world in new and exciting ways. I’ve learned to let go of a lot of things I can’t control. Spit-up on my new outfit? No problem! Dried noodles stuck to the wall? No big deal. Waking up in the middle of the night to soothe a crying baby? Well, not so great, but you get used to it ūüėČ And extra snuggle time with my daughter is a bonus!

Now that she’s 15-months-old, it is really fun to engage with her as we play. She mimics a lot of what I do, like putting her stuffed animals to bed and feeding them from her cup. But what I enjoy the most are the lessons she teaches ME.

  • She appreciates the small things: stones, wood chips, leaves; and she notices little details like a tiny string on the floor or ¬†exactly where she left a single block a few hours or even days ago! When we’re at the zoo, it’s not just the animals she pays attention to, but the wooden fence and posts fascinate her just as much. As I hurry through life, thinking about what I need to get done or where I need to go next, I often miss the little moments, which are really opportunities to experience wonder and joy at this truly phenomenal world we live in.
  • As I mentioned above, my daughter LOVES leaves. As soon as we go outside, she starts looking for them, often picking up one for each hand. Fall is by far her favorite season, which I guess makes sense, since she’s a fall baby. Her middle name even means, “fall child.” Because of her love for leaves, I notice them more when I’m out walking or running, so much that I end up trying to find her the most unique and beautiful kinds–brilliant red, pointed with serrated edges, giant and spade-shaped. But what’s interesting is that when left to her own searching, she usually grabs the oldest, most crumpled, brown leaf she can find. And she holds it tightly, loving it as much as the others, maybe even more. This has taught me how I judge beauty and the aging process.
  • Another thing my daughter loves is grapes. She’s truly a grape monster, especially when it comes to the “moon-drop” variety. She’ll literally try to leap onto the table to get to them. And when she’s eating grapes, she gobble them up faster than she can chew. But what’s really amazing to me is that as much as she loves them, she’s still willing to share her favorite treat with others. When my husband and I are sitting next to her, she’ll offer us one, bringing it right up to our mouths to feed it to us. And not just one, but several. When I’m eating my favorite snack, I tend to hoard it, delighting in the deliciousness, without thinking of sharing. Now, I strive to be more like her–sharing what I like best with those I love.

As we head into the peak of the holiday season, I hope you’ll stop and notice the little things–a beautifully lit Christmas tree or a snowflake on the tip of your finger. When you drink a warm mug of cocoa or a special coffee, maybe you’ll think of sharing it with a friend. And when you search for that perfect holiday outfit, maybe you’ll remember your favorite sweater in the back of the closet, worn out but still oh so snuggly!

Happy holidays ūüôā

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My Word for the Year 2018

Greetings friends,

It’s a whole new year. ¬†A clean slate. ¬†I’ve been away for a while. ¬†Many reasons. ¬†Giving birth to my beautiful daughter. Buying a house. Wow! ¬†Lots of life changes. ¬†I hope to continue blogging about all these new adventures.

But even while I’m in transition, I wanted to make sure to share with you my new word for the year. ¬†This is a word I’ve considered in the past, but this was the first time I was brave enough to choose it. ¬†I thought words like “change” and “confidence” were difficult, but it turns out sometimes even words that sound positive by connotation can be the hardest to attach to ourselves. ¬†Why? ¬†Maybe on some level we don’t think we deserve it. ¬†Maybe we feel selfish for even considering wanting something good for ourselves. ¬†But I’m here to tell you that’s silly. ¬†It’s a mind game. ¬†The inner critic inside of us, otherwise known as fear, that is always trying to protect us, even if that means keeping us from something good. ¬†Something we all deserve. ¬†Something everyone can have.

So my word for the year is ABUNDANCE. ¬†And let me shout it from the rooftops! ¬†Because I deserve abundance, and you deserve abundance. ¬†We can all have abundance, too. ¬†That’s the secret. ¬†It’s available to everyone. ¬†And contrary to popular belief, there’s always enough to go around.

As usual, I’m seeing the effects of choosing my word for the year already. ¬†The photo above is a tarot card I picked out for the day without knowing which one I was choosing. ¬†My husband and I also recently purchased a charm for our daughter with a bunch of hearts on it. ¬†The message behind it? ¬†Abundance of love. ¬†I can’t wait to see where else abundance shows up in my life. ¬†Obviously, my life changes suggest abundance as well. ¬†Don’t forget. ¬†With abundance comes gratitude. ¬†And also the opportunity to share it with others. ¬†In case you’re still in doubt about how abundance works, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite mantras. ¬†It’s fitting for this season.

Life is in a perfect balance of giving and receiving.

If you can keep this in mind, you’ll never be afraid to receive too much. ¬†And it might make it easier to give to others too. ¬†So say it with me. ¬†ABUNDANCE! ¬†Now go live an abundant life.

 

Check out my word for last year. ¬†And here’s a list of my other previous words.

My Word for the Year: 2017

Bamboo Forest Illumination in Kyoto, Japan

It’s a new year, My Lovelies, and you know what that means. ¬†Time to pick a new word to represent 2017. ¬†This time, I had a little trouble choosing. ¬†A lot of words hold special meaning for me these days, some of them challenging, others encouraging. ¬†But ultimately, I realized I needed something dynamic and fun. ¬†Something that would get me excited to jump out of bed every morning and start the day. ¬†Something that would give me hope in a very complex world.

So without further ado, my word for the year is…

MAGIC

 

And here are some quotes to express exactly what magic means to me.

“You can’t tame the spirit of someone who has magic in their veins.” –unknown

‚ÄúAnd above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.‚ÄĚ –Roald Dahl

“Magic is believing in yourself. ¬†If you can do that, you can make anything happen.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Words and magic were in the beginning one and the same thing and even today words retain much of their magical power.” –Sigmund Freud

“Love is the closest thing we have to magic.” — from Aquamarine¬†(movie)

“It’s important to remember that we all have magic inside us.” — J. K. Rowling

“Magic is something you make.” –unknown

“Look for magic in daily routine.” ¬†–Lou Barlow

“By choosing to be our most authentic and loving self, we leave a trail of magic everywhere we go.” ¬†–Emmanuel Dagher

I hope you will find ways in the coming year to invite magic into your life. ¬†And don’t forget to come up with your own word for the year!

Check out the list of my past words here.

My Word for the Year: 2016

Happy new year! ¬†It’s that time again. ¬†No, not resolutions. ¬†We have enough of those to keep us occupied and sometimes frazzled and guilt-ridden. ¬†What I’m talking about is something that sets the tone for your year. ¬†One word to inspire, motivate, and sometimes even surprise you.

Here’s a list of my past words:

2013: possibilities

2014: confidence

2015: change

It’s amazing how a single word can create an entire mindset for the year. I started out with something really open and positive and then moved towards words that would challenge me and help me grow, sometimes in ways that were not always comfortable.

My husband has also enjoyed choosing a word for himself each year. ¬†Since he just graduated with two master’s degrees while working full-time, he decided his word for this year should be: reignite. ¬†As in, he wants to reignite his hobbies, exercise routine, and friendships. ¬†Sounds perfect!

As for me, I’m taking a different track this year. ¬†My word is…

Miracles

To get me started, I’m going to focus on some mantras related to this word. ¬†Two of them come from one of my favorite meditation CDs, Meditation Moment.

“I open myself up to miracles both large and small.”

“Miracles happen every day.”

The third mantra is from SARK and can be used when you find you need a little help from the universe. ¬†Fill in the blank below with whatever you need. ¬†I especially like to use this one when I’m trying to find a good parking spot ūüėČ

“________ miracle find me now.”

(i.e. Parking miracle find me now.)

You’ll be amazed at the results of inviting miracles into your life.

But don’t stop there! ¬†Come up with your own unique word for the year. ¬†Something to excite you and get you all fired up. ¬†A word that not only defines your entire year, but also each moment of each new day.

Go for it!

 

 

Daily Quote: Goals

Spring has sprung dear readers!

I recently finished reading author Kwame Alexander’s Newbery-winning novel in verse¬†The Crossover. ¬†I thought I would share with you one of my favorite quotes from the poem entitled¬†“Basketball Rule #3.”

“Never let anyone lower your goals.¬† Others’ expectations of you are determined by their limitations of life.¬† The sky is your limit, sons.¬† Always shoot for the sun and you will shine.”

Happy Friday ūüôā

 

 

Inspiration Underground

I had the opportunity to go to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky over the holidays.¬† What an experience!¬† I’d never been in a real cave before, let alone one¬†underground.¬†¬†Did you know caves stay the same temperature all year round?¬† All I knew was that I was looking forward to seeing stalactites and stalagmites ūüėȬ† And boy did I!¬† It was quite magical being so close to the¬†mysteries of the earth like that.¬† Some animals literally lose their sight because of how dark it is.¬† We weren’t allowed to use any flash¬†photography.¬† We were also told not to touch anything¬†to help preserve the environment.¬† We even had to clean our shoes after to keep from spreading a virus to bats in the area.¬† But again, it was worth it.¬†¬†I¬†always feel inspired seeing natural wonders, but this one was¬†unique in that¬†we were¬†actually invited inside the wonder itself.¬† It gives new meaning to the¬†story¬†of journeying to the center of the earth.¬† I had a whole new appreciation for the¬†dark and the light.¬† Sometimes, you have to go out of your natural surroundings¬†so that you can¬†come back and see your¬†own situation with¬† fresh eyes.¬† I¬†think¬†this is¬†especially important for artists and writers.

Now lets skip ahead to the week of the blizzard and cold temperatures.¬†¬†It’s no fun being snowed in like that, but it does make you realize how much clutter you have around the house.¬† My husband and I decided to tackle the basement.¬† And¬†I’m so glad we did.¬† I found some additional wonders down there!¬†¬†Specifically, I found¬†several old¬†notebooks I’d¬†kept as a child and¬†young adult.¬† What a treasure to discover what I had been thinking in second grade and then again at age 17!¬† Most importantly, I realized I’d been writing stories all my life.¬†¬†Many of them were unfinished, but¬†the intention was there.¬† I realize now that just by finishing a novel I’ve completed an amazing feat.¬† If only I could¬†assure my younger self that ūüėČ

If you can’t get underground, I encourage each of you to find a¬†way into the dark.¬† Sit in the closet or¬†simply turn out the lights.¬† Be still and notice where your mind wanders.¬†¬†The point is to really go inside¬†YOURSELF.¬†¬†I think you’ll be surprised at what you find.¬† I know I found courage to continue¬†on my creative journey.¬† What¬†inspiration will you find when you have the courage to look inside yourself?

Note: This is the 100th post on this blog!¬† Another amazing feat ūüėČ

MicroMOVEments

Does this scene look familiar?¬† It should ūüėȬ† This landscape art is based on the famous painting by Georges Seurat entitled A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.¬† James T. Mason is the sculptor and creator of this garden.¬† I recently visited The Topiary Park in Columbus, OH.¬† Talk about walking into a painting!

While here, I could have just enjoyed the scenery and posed for photos.¬† But I also decided to begin my practice of¬†microMOVEments.¬† What exactly are those?¬† Think of them as baby steps towards your ultimate goal.¬† A way of building your dream brick by brick.¬† The concept was coined by SARK, author of Make Your Creative Dreams Real, which¬†I mentioned in a previous post.¬† She describes such movements as small bursts of energy or tiny actions that can be completed in as little as 5 minutes.¬† If you’re one of the millions of busy people¬†in the world or if you¬†have problems with procrastination, you should try this out.

Here I am completing a microMOVEment by sketching at the park while on vacation.

And here is the result of my efforts ūüôā

pen and ink

pen and ink

pen and ink

Just remember, Seurat’s painting wasn’t created in a day.¬† But step by step, your dream will manifest.¬† Starting now!¬† What microMOVEment will you complete today?