Wednesday, February 16, 2011

gratitude day 9: favorites

time is precious right now. just dropping in to share a few of the things we're loving lately.

a healthy, vegan, raw, cheaper, DELICIOUS alternative to my hot chocolate habit. contains a blend of reishi mushrooms, which are wonderful for boosting your immune system, among other things. i would pay almost any price for this, but it ends up being about the same price—per cup— as steven's hot chocolate. (triple the price per ounce, but you use 1/3 the amount in a cup). and it's significantly less than a cup of hot chocolate at starbuck's. i have mine with steamed rice milk. it's so good it makes me want to weep. i recommend going for the 3-pack—at least until i convince my local health food store to carry it.

the earth and all its creations are amazing. this is one of the few dvds that everyone in the family enjoys. again, and again, and again. plus it helps to finally have blueray, hdtv, and surround-sound. come on over and watch it with us.

this book is nothing like i'd thought it would be. it is not a romance; it is not your typical ya paranormal thriller; nor is it anything like any other book i've read in a great while. it's set in fallbrook, california and is a fictional account of the true-life story of the evacuation and devastation that occurred during the wildfires. the gorgeous, almost sparse prose, tells a haunting, devastating story that i just can't forget. the characters are real, flawed, wonderfully portrayed. i love a book that turns the world on its axis for me. no happy endings here, just longing, regret, and a look at the bitter truth told in a most compelling way. i would have liked to get a better feel for amiel, one of the main characters, but he remained a mysterious enigma to the end. well-deserving of being a national book award finalist.

4. the above artwork, composed solely of paper. i can't remember the source. anyone know?

comes in almost any animal you could think of. we got the elephant. it's adorable and the best humidifier i've ever owned: quiet, automatic shut-off, inexpensive, and high output. we love it and our sinuses do too.

what are some of your favorites?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

gratitude day 8: motherhood

women hold up half the sky -chinese proverb

"study after study has taught us, there is no tool more effective than the empowerment of women." -kofi annan, former secretary general for the united nations

"i have said lately that women are like lionesses at the gate of the home. whatever happens in that home and family happens because she cares about it and it matters to her. she guards that gate, and things matter to that family if they matter to her. for example, if the lioness at the gate believes in the law of tithing, tithing will be paid in that family. if that family has a humble little portion of ten pesos coming in, that lioness will safeguard the one peso if tithing is important to her. if that lioness at the gate knows about renewing her baptismal covenants with god, she will be in sacrament meeting on sunday, and she will prepare her children to be there. they will be washed, cleaned, combed, and taught about that meeting and what happens there. it isn’t a casual event, but it is serious to her, and it will be serious to them. the lioness at the gate ensures that temple worship is taken care of in the family. she encourages that participation... service happens if she cares about it. sisters, you are each like the lioness at the gate."
- byu women’s conference thursday, april 29, 2010, julie b. beck

nothing in life has fulfilled me the way that being a mother has. no design created, no piano piece performed, no sentence written can match motherhood. my children are my greatest creative work. not even the dreariness of never-ending laundry piles, or the constantly sticky kitchen floor can diminish the joy i receive from them. i love being a mother. it is an eternal blessing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

gratitude day 7: confessionals

i am grateful for confessionals.

i just finished reading a great book: THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION by brené brown. in one chapter, she explains why it is so important to share things that make us feel shameful, to own our stories, and to not run from vulnerabilities. without having heard/read it before, i have been doing this all along here on my blog with my confessionals. in brené's words:

shame hates it when we reach out and tell our can't survive being shared. shame loves secrecy. when we bury our story, the shame metastasizes.

thank you, dear readers, for showing compassion and empathy when i confess here on my blog, instead of judgment, blame, or trying to "fix" my problems.

so, in the spirit of sharing, here's my latest confessional:

i confess, i am terrible at keeping all my balls up in the air. i tend to hyper-focus and then I have a hard time stopping one thing and moving on to the next. there is no moderation in my life. i spent an entire day cleaning [toothbrush scrubbing, grout-sealing, baseboard-wiping type of cleaning]. the next day i spent an entire day writing. followed by an entire night watching season 1 of grey’s anatomy on netflix. then an entire day graphic designing. only to realize I have not done the laundry all week. or read a book. or blogged about what i’m thankful for. and oops, are those the vitamins i’m supposed to take every day still sitting on the counter?

do you keep a schedule? i would love to know how you divide up your time and tasks. how much time do you spend doing housework? cooking? errand running? working? please share.

also, we are trying to buckle down on unnecessary spending. so of course, i bought the shirt you see above. because it seemed like a need to remind everyone that voltron is the defender of the universe. anyone else have a hard time distinguishing between wants and needs?

i am retiring as a piano teacher after our spring recital in march. and i cried when i typed the flyer up in which i broke the news to my students. teaching piano has been a big blessing and part of my life while my kids were little and nap-takers, but as our family has grown and changed, it’s gotten harder and harder. that afternoon time is precious. i’m trying to focus on writing and designing while the kids are at school and then make the most of the time my kids are home—spending it with them.

i have a secret love for aaron neville. can’t be explained, but i thought i should share. do you have a secret musical shame?

i may or may not have much time to blog again before tax season is over. yes, i’m doing it "one more time." one more time. i’d rather write php code than prepare taxes, but i’m doing it for the money. i will answer to the name “tax whore” until april 15.

until then, i have to finalize a few things with a fun design project i hope to be able to share with you guys soon. and, i need to finish that novel i’m always writing about [when i should just be writing it.] i’m 88,000 words in and i can see, taste, smell, hear, feel the ending. there is crying—and kissing—involved in the final scenes. also, ocean waves breaking dramatically, but no one. word. sentences.

so, if it’s quiet around here for awhile, you’ll know why.