Friday, November 29, 2013

not perfect, but pretty darn good

Today you get to bask in the glow of a job well done! So with the leftover mess from yesterday’s Thanksgiving celebration, the dirty dishes still to be washed, the uneaten food that needs to be turned into leftover creations, the spilled wine, the tipped over plant, the thank you messages to be sent and maybe even the miles to travel, you were part of a great event! There were probably family squabbles and maybe even some notable drama. There was probably some dish that was over-cooked and maybe someone’s favorite dish was missing from the table, but you know what? Perfection is way over-rated. Life isn’t perfect, none of us are perfect. Martha Stewart’s perfect Thanksgiving is a myth. Your Thanksgiving, now that was real. So at some point today, take a moment, take a breath, close your eyes, sit quietly and be happy. Be grateful for the family craziness, be grateful for the gifts of food that were offered, be grateful for the gathering and the day. It wasn’t perfect, but I bet when you’re sitting peacefully today you’ll come to realize that it was pretty darn good.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

corner view: pets

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. 
The theme this week is "pets", and comes from Kristin (Germany).

They're the best companions when we're lonely, sad or sick....
they bring down our blood pressure, raise our spirits, help us to relax....
they bring life and love into every household....they turn a house into a home....
we put up with the stray hairs on our clothes, occasional painful scratches, early morning wake-up calls, the puddles of drool and the litter box duty.... because we love them...
they're members of our family.... 
and even after they're gone.... they remain in our hearts forever.

Friday, November 22, 2013

a holiday challenge

The holidays are here. Any moment now, the gate will rise and we’re off and running. Planning, cleaning,  shopping, cooking, wrapping, inviting, attending, primping, decorating, trimming the tree, creating the tablescape, traveling, readying the guest room, taking in the holiday releases at the theatre, catching the annual holiday TV specials, attending the special holiday events, office parties and neighborhood parties, making your list(s) and checking it twice, more shopping, more cooking and even more.

Too many of us run this holiday marathon and by the time we reach the new year we’re exhausted, we’ve spent more money than we should have or maybe even more than we actually had, we’ve depleted our personal resources and worst of all, too many times, we’re kind of disappointed. How did this happen? Well, too many people get so busy that they miss the moments that lead up to the holiday. We were so busy working to get to the finish line that we missed out – we forgot to enjoy all the other days that got us to the big event.  Yes, memories are made on the “day of”, but your life is made up of all the moments of each and every day.  So pay attention to EACH day. Pay attention to the small moments. Make sure to carve out some time, at least 1 hour each day, to rest, to concentrate on some activity (not holiday prep!) that allows you to recharge, and to reconnect with your loved ones. Focus a little less on doing and really concentrate on being.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

corner view: favorite clothes

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. The theme this week is "favorite clothes" and comes from Elsa (France).

During autumn and winter when the days grow shorter, there's a bite in the air and the chill seems to creep into my bones. That's the signal to pull out my warm sweaters and wooly socks. Thick, rough and ever so warm, there's nothing quite so comforting in my wardrobe.

Monday, November 18, 2013


"Fall has always been my favorite season.
The time when everything bursts with its last beauty,
as if nature has been saving up all year for the grand finale." 
~ Lauren DeStefano, Wither

Friday, November 15, 2013

your inner guide

Deep down inside, we know what we know. We know our own values, we know what is important. We have a vision of what we want our life to look like and how we want to live it.  We seek connections that will bring into our lives the people that will support, encourage and hopefully even love us in our journey and maybe even inspire us to keep on.  This is our center. This is our inner compass.

Do you listen to your self-talk? What you say to yourself plays a big part in determining how you feel about your life, how you deal with situations and even how you feel about yourself. Your self-talk can give us courage to keep working at our dream, the life we want and it has the strength to defeat us, to make us want to give up.  If you’re having a tough time, that’s the most important time to check in with yourself. Are the voices of the naysayers, the bullies, the people that have done you harm…are their voices drowning out your own internal voice? You may not have even realized that they are there! Pay attention to that. Listen hard and work to kick those negative voices out of your head. Listen to your strong inner voice because living the life that you want depends a lot on what you are saying to yourself. Change what you are saying if you need to and you’ll find that you’ll change how you view your situation and you’ll ultimately change your life. You have a strong inner compass and a strong inner voice. Listen to yourself and trust yourself.

Today I celebrate one more “year around the sun” as my dear father-in-law likes to say. Today I’m spending time with people that I love the most and doing what I love the most.  I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten wiser. I’ve lost a lot and I’ve gained a lot…and today I celebrate.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

corner view: self-portrait

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. The theme this week is "self-portrait", and comes from Cole (US).

"I've played on the music strings all of my life,
 their silver thread melodies take me away.
My lifeline to cling to in stillness and strife,
weaving their passage through starlight and day."       
~ Mary McCaslin

Monday, November 11, 2013

old salem in autumn

One of my very favorite things to do in autumn is to visit Old Salem. When the leaves are turning and just starting to fall, when the morning air has a crisp bite to it, I want to grab a wooly sweater and go walk the cobblestones and pavers smoothed with age, crunching my feet in the leaves.

Salem was founded in 1766 by the Moravians who set up an earlier community in Bethlehem, PA and then moved to North Carolina to establish the community of Wachovia in 1753. The small community is now a mix of original buildings that are open to the public and private residences in the beautifully maintained old homes. A very active Moravian church and the beautiful campus of Salem College are also a part of the village.

The air is filled with the scent of fresh bread and warm cinnamon so a visit to the Winkler Bakery is a must. The deep dome oven is still heated with wood just as it was 200+ years ago, and the master baker is more than happy to talk to you about his craft as he pushes his heavy wooden paddle into the deep oven to move the baking breads, cakes and cookies around to ensure a perfect product. It's a real treat to get a loaf of bread, warm sugar cake or those famous paper-thin molasses cookies and sit outside to enjoy the fresh treat.

Though the Christmas season is also a special time there, with bees wax candles in every window, fresh greens on most every door and old Moravian and German ornaments on display every way you turn, I still enjoy autumn in Old Salem the best.

Friday, November 8, 2013

you have work to do

Are you spending your time well? Are you living your life well? Your life has a purpose and you have work to do. You have the opportunity to bring your gifts to each day and you have limitless gifts to offer. Gifts of art, of service, friendship, talent, companionship and stewardship. Listen to your inner voice and let it guide you. In every situation, look, listen, participate and offer something of yourself. You are capable of a lot  and you have a lot to offer. Each day, work to develop your gift, your art. Work at really seeing and really hearing. Look beyond people’s words and look beyond the image. Work to understand what’s really going on in people’s lives and in every situation. Why do things happen as they do? You have so much to offer. Give the gift of you, of your art, of your service. Allow yourself the freedom to be who you are and offer what you have to give to those people, that group, that cause, They benefit because you are a presence in their life. Don’t be afraid and don’t hold back. The world needs you!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

corner view: wine

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. The theme this week is "wine", and comes from Ibabe (Spain).

Standing in front of the wine section these days, you can’t help but enjoy the incredible works of art in front of you. Let’s face it, the bottles are basically the same for this product, so vintners must come up with exciting, eye-catching labels that will grab your attention among the sea of choices you have when deciding on your purchase. Traditional wine labels are elegant looking, wanting to represent the product as refined, important and serious. You might see labels displaying works by famous artists but you’re just as likely to see humorous pieces that will give you a good laugh. Pop art, colorful graphics, simplistic lines, exaggerated and maybe even slightly disturbing images, it all comes down to some really creative marketing.

It’s not surprising that a whole new realm of label collectors has been born. These labels are a work of art, they make us laugh, they’re beautiful and we want to hang on to them. Just take a quick glance at Pinterest and you’ll find that framing, scrapbooking and displaying these images is hugely popular.

A short walk down the wine aisle this weekend offered me lots of photo ops and gave me some good giggles as well: