The Wonders of This Week 17/52

Hello Friends,

This week I am:

Writing

More chapters for my novel. I struggle with some of it because it is somewhat memoiresque, but then other sections just flow. I can feel like such a writing klutz sometimes. Anyone else?

Reading

This amazing book.

nesting-place

I read it through and now I am reading it a section at a time. Such a great tool for inspiration. I am beginning the task of making our family room a place I enjoy being. I am so excited about how it will look when I am done.

Listening

Smile with me. This one feels good…

Thinking

About painting this woodwork and fireplace. The Nester and others graciously gave me some wonderful advice and I am ready to tackle this thing! A creamy French Linen White. It will be beautiful! The whole room will be redone and I will post pics when it is complete.

my current family room

my current family room

Wanting

Things to stay as they are, but they won’t. Things change and I need to trust that they will still be good. Believe in the good.

Watching

This lovely young girl grow up. It is such a privilege to be her mother. I love her to the moon and back. By the way, this picture is her Mother’s Day present to me. Really. She smiled and didn’t hide her face this time. I told her that this is all I wanted. Thank you Fiona…

Me and my girl...

Me and my girl…

 Looking forward to

The hubs and I are going to Palm Springs next week for a little trip. Four nights away. Just the two of us. I cannot wait. He is attending a conference so I will sit by the pool and write. A getaway. Yay!

Wearing

These new beauties. These are really comfortable. That little heel helps a ton.  They are kind of stylish too.  At least I think so…

Unisa Lola Sandal

Unisa Lola Sandal

Eating

Okay, let me just start by saying that these were so good! If I had any left over I would eat it now and people it is 6am! The perfect combination of crunch, moist, spicy, and delicious yumminess. Rebecca at Foodie with Family is the most brilliant cook, ever. Her recipes are my go to all the time. The recipes are not crazy complicated. Instead they are matter of fact, in your face, family pleasing, budget conscious delights.

via Foodie with Family

via Foodie with Family

Drinking

This bubbly is delicious. I was introduced to it at a Sunday lunch at my step-aunt’s house. (Is there such a thing as a step-aunt?) It was a proper Italian afternoon lunch with a bit of Prosecco to start with the appetizers. Then we moved on to a lovely Barbera with lunch. Lunch was salad, torta, gnocchi with two sauces and of course, focaccia. Completely divine. But the real takeaway was this delicious sparkler. If you come across it, buy it!

via Apricot Hill

via Apricot Hill

I attribute this format to  Blue Bird Baby Simple. Lovely. Soulful. Inspiring.  Go check it out.

I hope your week is good. I wish for you a week of sunshine and love.

Love,
S

Q is For Quietude

Hello Friends,

Are you in need of some quietude? A pause in the day? A moment of silence? A place to rest the eyes, metaphorically?

Here are some ideas for gaining a bit of quietude in your busy life.

1. Create a clean surface in your home where the eyes can rest.

2. Make a small pot of tea and drink it. The time it takes to steep can be centering and it can begin the calming process we all need.

3. Look out a window for at least two minutes. Clear your mind and let your eyes wander.

4. Walk around the block. Even a short walk can bring things back in place.

5. Read a poem. Start with this one by William Stafford.

6. Rub lotion on your hands or feet. Try this one.

7. Hand wash your dishes. I know, it sounds crazy, but the warm water and the act of washing can create a relaxing moment.

8. Set the table for supper and allow that tableau to bring you peace.

2014-04-08 18.56.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Write a short letter or note to someone you love. The paper. The pen. The words as they come will calm you and bring out the love you have for the recipient.

10. Breathe. I mean it. Breathe and make each breath deep.

Love,
S

The Wonders of this Week 14/52

Hello Friends,

I am borrowing a format from an artist to use here.  Blue Bird Baby is a fantastic blog. Simple. Lovely. Soulful. Inspiring. She uses a weekly format to document. I like this method of tracking the days and the process. I have modified her approach a bit.  Every week you document and you note by the week.  She documents her darling daughter’s life in a really lovely way.  Go check it out.

This week I am:

Writing

Thank you notes. Have you ever received a thank you note that made you frown? I doubt it. Yeah, thank you notes are cool, mannerly, and, most important of all, full of love and gratitude. Send one today to someone you love.

Watching

This.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/91678581″>Stop Telling Women To Smile</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/petersoncinema”>Dean Peterson</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Reading

It is our Sunday ritual. Marc walks down the driveway and picks up the large plastic bag that holds our reading for the day. The Sunday New York Times. He makes a pot of strong, dark coffee and brings us two steaming cups heavy with fresh cream. I meanwhile fluff the pillows and open the curtains. We both get back into bed, readers perched at the end of our noses and we work our way through the paper. We share stories and fight over the editorials. He always reads the Sports section first and me? I go right for the Book Review and then the Travel section. We are all creatures of habit and this habit is one of the golden parts of our life together.

Listening

The Civil Wars. You know how you forget about music sometimes? You get in  your rut and then somewhere it comes up. I think it was Farmgirl Paints who mentioned The Civil Wars on her Instagram account and I just about died. I had forgotten how much I love them. So here I sit at the computer listening to all my favorite songs by them.

Thinking

About joy and loss and compassion and patience.

Wanting

To find a bit of land that I can call my own in this area. I grew up here and I want to go home again. As in, I want to buy a bit of land, plant some trees, clear for a garden, and build a little cottage. A place to rest and write.

NSJ Sign

Needing

I need to go back to work. I need to find a teaching position again. I miss it too much to stay away. I have not taught in two years and it is time to go back.

Coveting

This.

via tiny houses

via tiny houses

Wearing

I have been making my own body products for a bit now and I am in love with them! I have always had really dry skin and the concoctions I am making now are really helping. Who knew I could create my own body products?!? I especially love my sugar body scrub. Totally glorious stuff…

Eating

Lots of homemade salad dressings with all our fresh from the garden salad greens. Yum!

via Mother Earth Living

via Mother Earth Living

Drinking

This loveliness. A dear friend brought over a bottle for us to share on a sunny afternoon and it was lovely. Our favorite wine guy at Trader Joes suggested it. It. Is. Good.

via ABC Wines

via ABC Wines

I hope your week is good. I wish for you a week of gratitude, compassion, and love.

Love,
S

L is for Loss

Hello Friends,

Choosing loss as my topic for this post was easy. Sitting down to write about loss is a wholly uncomfortable prospect. I sit here, looking out my window watching the gold finches and American blue birds flit through our oak trees, landing in the bird bath to splash water all over the baby tears growing beneath and I cry my own tears.

Loss.

Who amongst us has not experienced loss? Who has not felt that punch to the gut, to the heart, to the soul that loss delivers to us no holds barred?

Loss.

I don’t even need to think about it to know what losses are there. Loss is a catalog of pain and heartbreak. We all have a list written in invisible ink on a scrap of paper we carry around in our chest pockets. The slightest little whiff of memory can send tears down on that scrap exposing our list of losses. Exposing for all to see that we are brought low in pain with our loss.

Loss leaves us heavy on the floor. Deeply connected to the earth. I can feel my connection in the world, to the world, to the earth and all its inhabitants through my loss. No one is immune. No one gets out of jail free around here.

Loss.

I had a brother. He was fifteen when he hung himself in my mother’s garage on a snowy morning just three days away from Valentine’s Day.

Loss.

I was twenty-one at the time with a newborn baby. At the funeral my family was trying to keep it together. We were stoic. Waspy as ever. Standing tall in our going-to-church clothes. I held my newborn baby girl in my arms. I could bury my face in her blanket as I hid my tears. It was embarrassing to cry in public and it certainly was not the thing to do.
The church was filled with family and friends. Many of whom were friends with my brother. It felt like everyone’s eyes were on us and it was hard to stay controlled.

As the service began, my sweet baby girl, Chloe, started crying. Her fussiness led to wails. I tried to calm her, but she would not calm. I tried to soothe her, but she would not be soothed. My discomfort, my sorrow, my inability to soothe my baby or myself was becoming overwhelming when my step-father leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Let her cry Sara. Let her cry.”

She wailed. She cried. She sobbed.

Her little lungs filled with the sad air all around us and she spoke for all of us with each wail. What we could not share publicly, she did for us. Chloe was our talisman. Our mouthpiece. As she sobbed and wailed, we all silently sobbed and wailed with her.

Loss.

Love,

S

K is for Kisses

Hello Friends,

Don’t you love a good kiss? I certainly do. I was talking with a dear friend the other day about our marriages and about passion and the passing of time. We talked about how repetitive things can get in a marriage or long-term relationship. You know. Oh look, his socks are under the coffee table again. Stop making that awful noise while you chew. Must we always stop at Starbucks before leaving on a road trip?!?
We all have these experiences with our partner that can erode the passion a bit. Over time, those moments of renewed passion, adoration, and a quickening heartbeat can be further and further apart.

My husband and I went to a marriage workshop about two months ago. We have been married for about seven years now and while we love each other dearly we also have those challenging moments of utter annoyance and disappointment like any couple does. We also felt like we really needed to focus on our foundation. So much had gone on in our marriage and collective life over the last few years that it was time for a shot in the arm. A renewal.

So, we went to this workshop. If you have not heard of John Gottman or his wife, Julie Gottman, and you are in a significant relationship, I suggest you look immediately. They have this relationship stuff nailed. We are so glad we went to this workshop. For the record, we are not people who go to workshops or “touchy feely” stuff. We are pretty pragmatic. We have way too much of the WASP in us to enter drumming circles or share our feelings in groups. This had none of that.

Their theory, which is better explained in this book,

seven-principles-for-making-marriage-work

is that people need a strong base of trust, fondness, and admiration in order to create a positive lasting partnership. They have a seven step process explaining each part.

People, it makes complete sense to me. We were astounded and changed by our experience at the workshop. Here is a visual which shows what the seven components are. Without the bottom three you can not accomplish any of the others.

SRH Blog Pic

Sound Relationship House Overview

The one little takeaway that I want to share is this:

The six second kiss.

Anytime one of you is leaving the other or rejoining the other, you kiss. Now we all know how that can devolve into a crappy little quick peck on the cheek. This is exactly what my dear friend and I were talking about.

The passionless and perfunctory peck.

That is not what the Gottmans want you to do. They want you to kiss for at least six seconds. It is longer than you think. It easily tips the kiss from the affectionate to the, well, passionate. There is connection in that kiss.

Trust me on this one. A six second kiss on any departure or reunion. It makes a huge difference. It has for us. For it is in the little things, the everyday things, that momentum is built. It is in the cup of coffee my husband brings me every morning before he leaves for work. It is in the reading of the Sunday NYT together every week that we find our way as partners.

Go kiss the one you love.

Love,

S

Week 13/52

Hello Friends,

I am borrowing a format from an artist to use here.  Blue Bird Baby is a fantastic blog. Simple. Lovely. Soulful. Inspiring. She uses a weekly format to document. I like this method of tracking the days and the process. I have modified her approach a bit.  Every week you document and you note by the week.  She documents her darling daughter’s life in a really lovely way.  Go check it out.

This week I am:

Writing

Many entries for the A to Z Challenge. It is great fun and I have met some terrific people so far.

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c
Reading

I am reading a great deal about blogging. I want to improve my site and so research is called for, but I am still reading many other things too. This week I am getting near the end of this delight:

Notes From A Blue Bike

Blue Bike

Watching

This lovely youngest daughter of mine grow up. Trying to pay attention to every moment.

September 2013 043

Listening

Vance Joy, Riptide

Thinking

About my research road trip this summer. Looking forward to days and nights in many places.

nsjmasn

Wanting

A little bit of this loveliness in my own garden. Isn’t this beautiful?

via Jeffrey Gardens

via Jeffrey Gardens

Needing

Way more sleep. My husband has been sick and not sleeping well so he gets up in the middle of the night. I struggle to get back to sleep. Too much on my mind. I need more sleep…

via Special-ism.com

via Special-ism.com

Coveting

A little cabin. A place where I can write and just be.

cabin

Wearing

More eye cream than I usually do. Where are these wrinkles coming from… Frown.

eye cream

Eating

These bits of amazingness! You can count on Sprouted Kitchen to always get it right with savory foods. I was not expecting these to be that amazing, but they are. . . God save me from the remaining dozen or so lurking in my cookie jar.

via Sprouted Kitchen

via Sprouted Kitchen

Drinking

This lovely and amazing stuff. Just on its own with a bit of ice. So refreshing. . .

 086-2eat2drink-fever-tree-p

I hope your week is good. I wish for you a week of love.

Love,
S