Something Shiny

Last Friday, I needed to pick up a book-ish gift for a friend, so I headed to Barnes & Noble.  
(Which is always a bit of an issue for me.)  (Because I am FAR worse in a book store than I am in a yarn store.)

I got to wandering.  
(As I do.)

And something shiny caught my eye.  
(Something shiny that I absolutely did not need and had no intentional of buying.  Especially when I saw the price tag.)


Yes.  That's a Kate Spade "rotating stamp" with pad.  (Because every handbag designer needs to wade out into the world of office supplies, non?)

And what, you may ask, caught my eye about this particular item?

Well. . . first off, I've always loved rotating stamp pads.  You know . . . the old-school ones in offices that sport "RECEIVED" or "ENTERED" or - my personal favorite - "EXPEDITE."  This one, though, had inspirational rotating phrases (the product box refers to them as "Calls to Action") that are even better than "EXPEDITE."


I was charmed.

I put it back, though. 

Because $24.95.  (Yeah.  For a rotating stamp.)  (Plus bonus mini stamp pad.)  (But still.)

After more browsing, though, I went back and picked it up.  
(You knew I would.)

Not because Kate Spade.


Not even because shiny.  (Although it is.)


Totally because Calls to Action.


All week long, I've been using my stamp everywhere!  
I especially like including the calls to action in my planner.  Little To-Do items. . .


Because doesn't everbody need to "live colorfully" on Thursday?  Or "be an elegant thinker" on Friday?  Maybe "call the shots" on Saturday? 

So.  Yeah.  It was ridiculously overpriced.

But sometimes . . . you just need to grab that shiny object and have a little fun with it!

Happy weekend.




A Sort of Balance



Generally speaking, I am not a Procrastinator.

What I am . . . is a Just-in-Timer.

I tend to get all the things I need to get done . . . done.   Always on time.   (Although sometimes right at the buzzer.)

So I may tell you all that I'm "needing to get started on my taxes."  
(Which is true.)  
But.  When are taxes due?  
(Yeah.  April 15.)  
Do I need to do them right now?  
I can guarantee you, though, I'll have my taxes finished and submitted in early April.

Because if I need to do something . . . and if it has a specific time frame or a deadline . . . I WILL get it done.

The problem, you see, is the things I just kinda sorta WANT to do.  You know . . . those things that have no meaningful deadline attached to them.
Like . . . removing the wallpaper and then painting my dining room.
I WANT to do that.  I really do.
But . . . because I have no specific time frame or deadline . . . I haven't quite started yet.

My solution to the kinda sorta thing?
I set "pretend" deadlines for myself.
Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.  But when I set a "pretend" deadline, the chances are much better that I'll actually get moving on a project.

That's why my house is looking its best . . . whenever I host my book group or have a party.
That's why my garden is weeded and freshly deadheaded . . . whenever we're having folks over for a drink on the patio.
That's why I take art classes . . . to get myself busy painting or drawing so I have something to contribute and show.

It's a sort of balance for me.
Make my task meaningful - and, better yet, give it a deadline (even a fake deadline) - and I will do it.
Left to flail about on my own, though?  It will slip right through the cracks!

(As for my dining room?  It's going to take a while.  So I'm going to say . . . I want my dining room re-finished and painted by next Thanksgiving!)


Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  To read other posts on today's topic, click here. To sign up to receive the weekly prompts from Carole and Kat, click here.




Living with Intent

Every year, in January, I come up with a list of intentions to guide me through the year ahead.

I don't consider them resolutions or even goals.  Just . . . intentions.  Ways I want to live.  Ways I want to BE.

And I try to distill them down to just two or three words.  So they're simple and concise -- and open to interpretation (re-interpretation?) as the year unfolds.  Here's my list for 2017:


Now that I've been living with these intentions for a few weeks, I wanted to take a close look at them again -- as a review, and to see if I wanted to make any adjustments to my list.

I think they're good, though.  I can already feel them taking root; guiding my thoughts and actions.

I'm off to good start . . . at living with intent!

Hearts and Words


“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.”
                                                                            — Helen Keller


“Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
                                                            — Leo Buscaglia


“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
                                                            — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fill the world with love.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Around the World

Last year, at the end of the Month of Letters, I did something I'd been thinking of doing for a couple of years . . .

I signed up for Postcrossing.

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 8.59.45 PM

In the past year, I've sent 37 postcards (40 - after 3 more go out today!) out to random Postcrossers around the world -- and I've received 39 postcards from other random Postcrossers in return.

It's really fun . . . to open your mailbox and discover exotic stamps and friendly messages and lovely cards from strangers  all around the world.


It makes the world seem a whole lot smaller, y'now?

And it gives me a chance to be an ambassador of the United States -- to show strangers around the world that the people of the U.S. are friendly, conversant, and care about reaching out beyond our own borders.   With every postcard I write, I have a tiny little space to send a message of personal kindness and goodwill.


And . . . the stamps are just awesome!




From Your Biggest Fan


Dear Elizabeth Warren,

You are my hero.

Really.  It's that simple.

You are brave!  You are smart!  You are savvy!

You are not afraid to speak out, ask tough questions, demand answers, and insist on being heard.

You are awesome!

You keep right on persisting, Senator Warren.

With love,

Your Biggest Fan


And . . . you might be interested in reading this excellent article with handy tips and wisdom about getting out of the cycle of outrage in a Trump world.  It's really worth the read -- and provides great insight for all of us right now.


Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  To read more love letters today, click here.  And to sign up to receive the weekly prompts, click here.


More or Less

Each year, at the beginning of Ali Edwards' One Little Word project, we explore our "word" . . . kind of inside-out.  I always appreciate this exercise.  It helps me connect with my word in multiples ways -- and it helps me think through my intentions for the year.

IMG_4076 copy

One of my favorite thought-exercises is coming up with a list of what we want to do . . . More or Less . . . during the coming year.  Here's my list:

More -- Reflection/Less -- Reaction

More -- Kindness/Less -- Indifference

More -- Saying NO/Less -- Obligation

More -- Risk-taking/Less -- Perfection

More -- Connection/Less -- Complaining

More -- Engagement/Less -- Apologizing

More -- Self-care/Less -- Sacrifice

More -- Simple/Less -- Fussy

More -- Going For It/Less -- Excuses

More -- Strength/Less -- Taking the Easy Way Out

More -- Mindfulness/Less -- Worry

More -- Action/Less -- Sitting on the Sidelines

More -- Doing/Less -- Scrambling

More -- Learning/Less -- Assuming

More -- Water/Less -- Sugar

Give it a try!  This kind of list is fun to put together . . . AND . . . it really sets the stage for how you want to live the rest of the year.


(By the way, that drawing is one of my own.  Colored pencil.  Rocks on my meditation table.)


Action Tuesday: Surviving the Crush

Oh, my.  It is so hard these days - mentally and emotionally - to keep up with all the Really Bad News out there.  (Just scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed is enough to do me in most days.)  (And it has.  Many days.)

So.  As we buckle up for the long haul, it's important to figure out ways to . . . BALANCE . . . (there's my word again) our need-to-know with our need-for-rest.  So we can keep up our strength.  So we can move forward.  

So we don't burn out.  


We need to figure out how to survive the crush of Really Bad News . . . while maintaining the strength and passion we need to continue taking action.

Here's what I'm doing:

  • I'm recognizing that Being Informed is not the same as Being Immersed.  I'm trying to limit my news-reading to just a few good articles each day (I begin my day with the New York Times daily briefing that shows up in my email inbox), and listen to the latest stories on NPR.  If I start reading all the other . . . stuff . . . well, I might as well just dig a hole for myself in the backyard and crawl in.  I am also limiting my time on social media (especially Facebook).
  • I'm trying to stick to my usual routines.  While it is easy to feel overwhelmed right now, it is best to just keep plugging along with familiar activities that keep us healthy and well-balanced.  So I keep heading to the gym and getting to bed at a reasonable time.
  • I'm looking for opportunties to take action.  I find that if I can do . . . something . . . I feel much better.  I'm glad that there are so many options out there to help me figure out what to DO -- but even that can be overwhelming.  The things I like best: Daily Action (because very focused and concrete), Wall of Us (because good, do-able options each week), my local League of Women Voters chapter (because local).
  • I'm sticking with my daily meditation practice -- because it helps me feel all the feelings.  I think it's really important to allow myself to feel the range of emotions that are surfacing these days, rather than ignoring them or dwelling on them.  Meditation helps me do this; for others it might be prayer or contemplation.  Feelings come and feelings go -- and this is good.  I am not my feelings.
  • I'm working hard to maintain my sense of optimism.  Positive emotions leave the door open -- while negative emotions slam the door shut.  I'm trying to keep things on the positive side by looking for the good and filling my life with people and things that bring me hope and joy.
  • I'm taking care of myself.  Yeah, I know that self-care-is-the-new-black ... but I think it's important to engage in some personal pampering right now, whether it's an afternoon nap, scented hand-cream, or an art class.  It's all about finding some bright spots!
  • I'm finding my people.  It helps me to connect with others who share my concern about what's happening in our country and our world.  Good venting sessions are balm for the soul right now.  Talking with like-minded friends helps process our feelings -- and, we can also talk each other down from the ledge when our feelings overwhelm.
  • I'm working hard at being kind -- to everyone all the time.  We really are in this together, y'know?  So I have decided to be intentionally kind and patient with everyone I encounter -- friends and strangers alike.  It makes me feel better, and I'm hoping it makes the people I interact with feel better, too.

Bottom line?  Take action --- but take care of yourself, too.

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”      --- Noam Chomsky 

Slipped My Mind

Tom was away over the weekend - to curl in a bonspiel up in Canada.  Before he left, he reminded me, "Don't forget about the wine sale on Saturday."  (Because Tom manages our beverage inventory - and would usually hit the sale himself.)


I had every intention of stocking up at the wine sale.  But I got busy with other things.  And, well.  I missed the wine sale.  It just slipped my mind.

It wasn't until yesterday that I realized . . .
the wine sale wasn't the only thing that had slipped my mind!

Saturday - February 4 - was also the 8th anniversary of my final chemo treatment.  A Big Day.  A Red Letter Day.  A Day I usually set aside for some serious reflection and celebration.

But it slipped my mind, too.  Completely.  I never even gave it a thought.

I think that's really significant.