Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just the Way YOU are.....

Dear most beautiful wonderful you!
It is incredibly easy to let the opinions of others lead you to doubt who you authentically are. We can get so caught up in what other people want us to be that sometimes we forget to be ourselves. We are all on such a beautiful and unique path of personal evolution towards becoming the very best and most amazing version of ourselves....but we will never get to bask in the beauty of our own individuality if we are constantly inviting other people to tell us what we need to change!

Each and every one of us has our own version of what we think somebody else should look like, how we believe they should act, how they should make a living, what color they should paint the walls.....and the list goes on and on! But what if we just took a step back and let people be who they are? What if the next time I wanted to blurt out "oh you should do this...." I just kept it to myself until I was asked for my opinion? (I'm trying....I promise I am)

Unless you're living under a rock with your ears taped shut, then chances are, somebody is going to offer up their version of what they will believe will work best for you. Their hearts are always in the right place and they truly want the best for you, but at the end of the day, don't we all bring our ideals from a place of our own experiences? So, at any given moment twenty five people could offer 25 different opinions of what they honestly believe will work best for you....and in their minds, they would be right! However, what works for yu and me and our lives might not work for "them"......what feels comfortable and right for me might make "them" want to run away shaking their head.....and that's okay!!!

The most wonderful thing about co-existing with billions of other people is that we are all ever-changing glorious works of art. No two canvases the same, no two journeys ever completely mirrored and that's the awesomel thing about it. It would be a boring world if every time you turned around you bumped into a clone of yourself. Yet, it's so easy to get caught up in what other people believe to be true about you. Today, I hope that whatever opinions are offered to you, whatever somebody tells you that you need to change, and however somebody might tell you to make things better, you do not allow them to make you doubt who you are.

You and I are perfectly flawed and oh-so-beautiful human beings who make this world a much colorful and extra-ordianary place because of all the unique qualities that we bring to the party!
I think Billy Joel knew what he was talking about when he said "don't go changing to try and please me, I love you just the way you are...." and that's the ticket friend....we need to love each other and ourselves just the way we are!!!
I wish you a day filled with your own version of fabulous and the confidence to know that you are nothing short of amazing....just the way you are!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There is so much to SEE!

Sometimes I get caught up....wrapped up, tied up.....and just plain distracted. I buzz around hoping to get to a scrap of paper or napkin in time to write down a new idea, a fabulous quote or a random observation I have made. I bounce from facebook to blogs, to my own website and then let the dogs out. I swirl and twirl and make endless lists of things to do, places to go, emails to return......I just plain get caught up! Then I am caught off guard by a random smile from a passerby and as I am consciously smiling back I wonder if I spend enough time paying attention to the people around me. Not the guy I call hubby....not family or friends, but those random souls I pass in the grocery store....the woman standing next to me as I am pumping gas.

Am I paying enough attention? I spend so much of my time with my head down trying to cross things off of lists that I am starting to wonder if I am missing out on fleeting moments that come and go in the blink of an eye. I wonder if the Universe has given me some great gift or generous little wink that went sadly unnoticed because heaven forbid I forget the Ranch dressing in aisle Four.

Regardless of how we are allowing the world to see us, we are, each one of us, such fragile souls....each of us just hoping to be noticed once in a while. A kind word can change the entire course of a day, a smile from a passer-by can lift a somber little random act of kindness has the potential to cause a ripple effect that can ultimately be felt in the tiniest, but most amazing ways by countless recipients.....all because we paid attention.

We notice the girl with the sad eyes who just wanted you to glance her way, but do we really see her? We look at the woman with the magnifying glass who is desperately trying to read the label on a jar of peas but is struggling because her vision just isn't what it used to be, but do we see her? We notice the homeless woman that we have been passing on the street for months now, but do we see her? I can think of so many things I tend to notice on a daily basis, but unless I can stop and actually see what is going on around me, then I wonder what I have let just slip right past me. The true impact of observation is diminished when we don't take the time to feel it, or when something needs to be done and we tell ourselves that somebody else will do it, or when we're just so busy that we don't notice anything special at all.

Every single day I know that I am surrounded by flashes of little miracles, opportunities to reach out to the person standing next to me....snippets of true beauty....and windows of inspiration. But it is only when I slow it all down long enough to see it that I am actually permitting myself to give and receive all of these gifts...

Life is chaos, it is hectic, and dizzying and often feels like a whirling top just spinning out of control. But then, if you're as lucky as I was yesterday you stop just long enough to look outside the kitchen window and see a dozen-ish yellow finches who dropped by to say hello and check out your tomato plants. Teeny tiny little gifts that I would have surely missed if I hadn't stopped to take a breathe from all the madness.

Today is another busy day, you have a to-do list a mile long and 45 things that demand your immediate attention. But I hope that in the middle of it all you will grant yourself time to stop and really SEE. See the people around you who so desperately want your attention, see the changing of the leaves before they completely dry out and return back to dust, see the smallest of miracles...whatever your version of a miracle might be. We are so lucky and so incredibly blessed. We have this big beautiful world in front of us just waiting to be noticed. Today is the perfect day to truly and purposely take a good look around and just allow yourself to SEE.

I wish you a wonderful day of clear and intentional vision!!!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Vintage Girl Living in a Modern World.....

Seriously.....could this day get any more gorgeous? If you're here in the Chi-town area like I am then I don't have to tell you that days like this don't come often! Perfect temp, a beautiful breeze, sun.....and NO humidity! Why can't it be like this all year? Because then we would complain that the weather never changes and we mid-westerners love our variety.

Anyway....I digress (as usual)..... a perfect world where everything was free and I didn't have to worry about earning a living to help keep the lights on, or terrifying my husband by dressing like Lucille Ball, I would be living smack dab in the middle of my own antique shop. I would serve lemonade (with a splash or two of vodka on the weekends...or after five pm), little pastries made by a local girl, and be dressed in vintage clothing from the 40s from head to toe. But alas, instead I became a bit of collector of all things rusty, old, and full of character! Hubby and I love heading out to out-of-the-way antique shops or flea markets in search of the perfect something that we both know we really don't need!

We've been slowly but surely finding amazing pieces that for us, were just the perfect additions to our home! For us, these have become the perfect conversation pieces even if we just wind up only talking to each other! There is something so inspiring and magical about old, weathered items that "brand new" just can't compete with. From the smell to the rust, I just fall in love over and over again! I often find myself wishing I could talk to the people that originally had these items in their homes and find out what life was like for them. I just know that every piece has a story to tell and love the idea of celebrating its history! So, I hope you enjoy the few pieces that I have posted. For us, they are little treasures that make me smile every time I look at them!

We stumbled across this piece at an antique store near the house and first thought nothing of it other than it was beautiful....but then the magic happened! The owner of the store came right over to show us that when you open the lid there is this amazing self contained bar sitting right inside! It even had the original martini top and olive picks.....and the light works! So, I'm not sure how well you can see this, but oh my fabulous and the perfect home for our vintage beverage canisters that we picked up at an estate sale! Hubby loves when people come over and he gets to open the bar and show them this amazing piece of furniture!

Not sure how great the photo is, but from the original mirror to the retro light, we think it's just beautiful!!! All I need now is long cigarette holder, a good martini and some long white gloves....which I'm sure I have in my collection already!

This is another of our treasures! I know you're wondering what is so exciting about an old greasy wheel, but take a look at the photo below of the amazing OLD baggage cart that its attached to! When hubby first stumbled upon this in the back of an old warehouse and called to tell me about me I had no idea I could literally fall in love with a piece of furniture the way I have! He saw it and immediately thought it would make the perfect coffee table, and boy was he right! Our home was built in the 40s and to furnish it with modern pieces just didnt seem like US, so from the moment he dragged it home, it was true love for both us!

It's the perfect piece!!! Flanked by our oh-so-glam long red couch and that corner loveseat we found. I know, I know, nothing matches, but that's the best part!!! We thought about cleaning that cart up and refinishing it, but decided that part of the personality is all of the imperfections that came along with it...kind of like me.....perfectly full of imperfections!!!

Enjoy the rest of this magnificent day and thanks for indulging me and letting me share a few of my other inspirations!!!

Big hugs!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Meet Mad Max!

Good morning everybody! My name is Max....or as my parents affectionately refer to me; Mad Max! Actually, I'm starting to think that maybe my real name is "NO MAX," because I seem to hear that a lot, so I will have to get back to you later on that one! I'm a little Lhasa Apso with a huge personality, I just got adopted by my new parents Gary and Heather about three weeks ago and I just love it here! I now have a furry dog sister named Betsy, and three cat cousins named Jake, Newman and Bella! I love to chase them around the house and torment them as often as possible just so they know that I might be really little, but my goal is to be KING!

I'm only about 5 months old so my favorite things to do are go potty every five minutes on whatever pretty wood and tile floors I can find. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy going outside and running around, but I just don't see that as a good place to use the bathroom when there are so many nice places right here inside! My parents have repeatedly told me that going potty outside is the right thing to do, but honestly, it's just not my scene! I am much happier to get out into the yard and drag enormous sticks around, eat whatever leaves I can shove into my mouth and then enjoy the cool breeze for a second or two before trying to bother Betsy!
So far I'm really loving this place.....there were some really cool toys here when I arrived that I am guessing belonged to Betsy, but even when Heather and Gary say "NO MAX," I can't help but try to hoard them all for myself! They are SO much fun to chew on!! I don't think Betsy likes me too much yet, but I know that eventually she will come to love my wit and humor.....I hope! As for the cats.....Newman is the most fun! I chase him around the house and force him to jump up as high as he can on the furniture and then I try to jump up and knock him down. It hasn't worked yet but I am no quitter so one of these days I will win!
Beyond that I think you can already tell that I use my adorable underbite and huge tail as a way to win people over and if that doesn't work then I really enjoy trying to bite their ankles and scare them! It's really funny to watch them jump and yell my name, "NO MAX," over and over again! Overall I think that once I get used to the rules and these strange parents I have (why are these people always trying to hug a macho guy like me?) this is going to be a pretty cool place to live, so far I give it two paws up..... Now if I just get out into that yard long enough to get those darned squirrels out of here everything would be fine!!!
Have a nice day!
Mad Max!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are you a Can-Do Girl??

I'm trying so hard to discipline myself and only post once a day....BUT....sometimes a valuable little life lesson comes along that you just HAVE to share! I had this wonderful breakfast meeting today with a woman who specializes in the "art" of positive thinking....she is thinking of joining the network I created as a business owner and was coming to me for some business advice, and before I knew what was happening, she was the one doing all the talking.....and I was like a little girl just drinking up everything she had to say!
I tend to think of myself as a pretty positive sort of girl (we can still be girls in our 40s, right???) but as Pat and I were sitting and conversing, she graciously interrupted me and pointed out that I used the words "can't" and "don't" about 9 times in the course of fifteen minutes. I paused for a split second and then blurted out, "okay, well, there are some things I just CAN'T do Pat.....and other things I DON't want to do....why is that wrong?" So, she got this big beautiful smile on her face and shared with me the fact that every time I use those words I am limiting myself. Limiting my control, limiting my expectations....and essentially closing off my mind to what my abilities and desires truly are by focusing on the negative. She very gently reminded me that it would be far more beneficial to share my CANs and DOs, celebrate the GOOD things versus focusing on how I am working to eliminate the BAD....For a moment or two I was a little lost...and then I realized that she just might be right...and I very quickly responded "I CAN DO THAT."

I think Pat was right on about self-imposed limitations....because her wisdom immediately made me start thinking about all of things that I CAN do, all of the things I say YES to.....and how I really need to make that more my focus versus spending anymore time on what I DON'T want and CAN'T have! I suppose it was easy to get into the habit of paying vast amounts of attention to what I don't want in my life rather than celebrating and inviting what I do want! If whaqt I believe in my heart is true, and the Universe and my Creator are in fact listening and all I've been telling them is what I want to go away then how will they ever know what I am hoping to see more of???
Perhaps not a completely knock-me-down-life-changing morning, but certainly something I want to really pay more attention to....and very interesting in how it relates to what keeps showing up in my world!
So, the moral of the story for me is.....we need to remember to be CAN and DO girls.....or.....CAN-DO girls...we need to pay more attention to what we are focusing our energy on and learn to place an intentional order for what we DO want instead of always telling people and ourselves what we would like to eliminate!
So, I very gently challenge you to spend the day keeping track (quietly) of how many times you say CAN'T and DON't and see if maybe you're sitting in the same boat as me! If you pay very close attention, I think you just might surprise yourself!! The good news is, bad habits are made to be broken to make room for the good habits just waiting to be unveiled! I am looking forward to living in a much more CAN-DO version of my world and hope you'll join me there!
Sending loads of clarity to all my CAN-DO girls!

Be Nice Anyway....

Good morning lovelies!!

I am up at the crack of dawn today because our new puppy Max has decided that it's time to go outside and play. At five in the morning there is a certain sort of still-life peace in the air before all the cars start whizzing by on their way to work. I can hear hubby quietly snoring upstairs, the cats are still curled up in bed with him and for a few more minutes, our other dog, Betsy is content to just lay perfectly still, free from being harassed by Mad Max. All is well in the world just before the sun creeps up along the horizon and real life begins to unfold.

I never used to be a morning person, but for some insane reason the last few years I find that my head is crystal clear at this hour of the day and I have found that all of my best ideas seem to bubble up to surface as I am enjoying my first piping hot cup of delicious coffee. Today, due in part to an on-going challenge I have with an acquaintance in my world, I spend a great deal of time thinking about integrity. I like to think that I am the sort of person who always makes a conscious effort to do the right thing. I smile at strangers. I extend a little extra "nicety" when I can sense that somebody is having a less than perfect day! I make a habit of honestly and authentically treating people exactly the way I hope they will want to treat me....but every once in a while I come across somebody that I like to call my "monkey wrench." These are the people that challenge me the most because I can't really understand why they do the things they do. I know, I's not my job to understand everybody I come in contact with, but honestly, sometimes people really wear me down, and today looks like its going to be one of those days...if I let it!

When I decided to create a blog I spent a great deal of time trying to decide what I wanted it to feel like. I knew I wanted to inspire people by sharing good news....good thoughts and a constant source of positive thinking. I'm not a whiney girl by nature and tend to face every situation in my life with solid footing, the perfect shade of lipgloss and always wearing my big girl happy pants. But sometimes no mtter how hard we try to stay positive, we run into somebody that makes you stop and wonder if maybe they were in the wrong line when INTEGRITY was being handed out....and perhaps this contant "doing the right thing" is over-rated when it would be so easy to cross over to the dark side for a moment just for a tiny bite of instant gratification. In these situations, when it would be so darned gratifying to call somebody out on their bad behavior or dishonest practices I find that I have to work really hard to remind myself that I am a better person than that...

Oh sure, the fantasy aspect of walking up to some people and shaking them....asking them why they can't just be nice and do the right thing might feel good for about 30 seconds, but ultimately I know it's not going to change anything. I know that I will walk away feeling lousy and disappointed with myself for letting somebody get the best of me and the person on the receiving end will just go about their day as they normally would; completely unphased by my insane behavior.

I think the big challenge really is rising above the junk! It gets frustrating and feelings are hurt, but at the end of the day, if we don't have our own unconditional integrity, then what are we left with? Real life is not always about birds chirping, clouds in my coffee and little cartoon rabbits and deer following me around..... but for me, what matters most is not that high school mentality of getting even, or getting my fair share, instead, it always comes down to a matter of personal responsbibilty for my actions, and yes, integrity. I find that a lot of times, doing the right thing is not the easiest thing, but when all is said and done, I get the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I don't have to be embarrassed or disappointed with myself for how I handled something. I get to lay my head down knowing that even when it feels like a constant up-hill climb, once I reach the top of that mountain, and I will reach it.....I will get to look back down the side of that journey and know that I climbed all the way up by doing the right thing and not hurting anybody else along the way. THAT is the sort of victory that matters because it's the good sort of pure satisfaction that only shows up when integrity has been a guide post!

Real life is tricky and not always easy to navigate when there are people around us who don't really have our best interest in mind, but how we choose to handle those sort of situations ultimately lies at our own feet! I hope that if you run into somebody who seems a little short on "nice" you will remember to be true to you and hold on to the knowledge that you would never want to achieve something by hurting somebody else or compromising your own heart and integrity along the way. Isn't there an old saying something along the lines of "give til it hurts?" Well some days it feels like that, but the reward at the end is most certainly worth it!!! You and I might not always get the best seats because we don't push our way to the front of the line, we might not have the biggest client list because for us it's not all about the money, its about the quality, and maybe we will never be featured on Oprah's new network for being Ms. Wonderful, but we will know in our hearts that when it came right down to it, we did the right thing every time.....and you just can't put a price on integrity my friend!

I wish you a day of good decisions made from your heart and the satisfaction that comes from living a really good and heart-filled life!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'll Bring the "Whine!"

Today is one of those days where no matter what I do, nothing seems to be working!! AARRGGhH!! My printer and I are clearly not on speaking terms, my art work that I was so excited to get listed on my website is trapped in some strange realm that won't allow it to size correctly and I am one frustrated bird! So, naturally, frustration for me leads me to wondering how I got here in the first place. Why am I sitting inside on a gorgeous afternoon trying to reconcile with my printer when all I really want to do is go sit outside and pout? Do you have days like this? Days where all of the suddden the things you have not yet accomlished suddenly seem to vastly out-weigh what you HAVE done? If you are familiar with these days, then pull up a chair and join me for my little pity party....I'll bring the "whine."

So, this cranky me is also wondering, in spite of all that I have not done, do we ever really give ourselves the opportunity to appreciate just how far we HAVE come? I know that we judge ourselves for what we don't have enough of, what we haven't accomplished, or the fact that we STILL haven't dropped those last five pounds. We find all sorts of things to silently scold ourselves for, and yet, somewhere in the middle of all that self-imposed negativity there simply MUST be something we can proud of ourselves for......right? So, how about if we allow ourselves to come up with a few things we can shine a big beautiful light on and celebrate today versus our usual focus on the shortcomings??? Maybe you could grab a sheet of paper and some big fat colored markers and write a little note to yourself applauding where you are right in this moment! Something a little like this.......

Dear Self.....I think you should be proud of the fact that although this blog, and this art thing are slow going, you are moving forward. Okay, so it is not happening in the blink of an eye, and you might feel as though you are spending a lot of time talking to yourself, but at least you are doing it!!! You committed to developing this whimsical and colorful inspirational place where you can share your thoughts, offer a little humor and insight .....and you are making it happen. One little post a day, one new drawing, one word a day, and slowly, very slowly, something is starting to take shape. For you Heather, that's no small feat since normally by now you would have thrown your hands in the air and moved on to a new project, right? So two months later you're still typing away, and that's a BIG deal! There is also the fact that though each drawing you finish has scared the be-jebusus out of you, you have completed almost 30 of them!!! Okay, so the printer is not cooperating and you can't get them out there like you would like to, but the good news is, they are done and soon they will be out there for all the world to see....provided you let people find them! So, yes Heather, it's a process and sometimes it's not all wine and roses, but as long as you keep going forward then you are a million steps further then where you were a few months ago, right? That is something to be proud of! Oh....and didn't you lose 4 pounds last month?? Not too shabby if I may say so myself!!!

We are on a constant process of evolution and self-awareness, but if we only ever allow ourselves to focus on the junky junk that is NOT happening, then when will ever find the time to embrace all the things we should recognize as GOOD....FABULOUS....REMARKABLE......and DONE? We owe ourselves a little pat on the back at least every once in a while don't we? I think so! I believe we should be smiling back at ourselves daily and knowing that yes, the road is long, yes, there are some "incompletes" hanging out there in the wind, but there are also all of those things we told ourselves we would do and heck yes, we have done them!!

So, today, or maybe the next time you're having one of those, "I'm-just-not-where-I-thought-I would-be days," you will remember to stop and recognize all the amazing things you HAVE done and you will permit yourself to be wildly proud of exactly where you are!!!

I wish you an afternoon filled with long lists of all the wonderful things you promised yourself you would do and the ability to recognize that you did them! Go forth and be proud of you!!!!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Number One Accessory....

Today I have assigned myself the daunting task of setting aside the one accessory I have had chained to my neck for as long as I can has been a seasonless staple for me, a timeless classic, and one that hasn't rusted or tarnished a bit with age... It is fear.
My fear has kept me in a well-protected bubble. It has been a sort of shelter that keeps me safe from the judgment of others and shields me from all of the things that COULD happen. But the thing about fear is that in order to really know what might be waiting on the other side of it, I would have to be a psychic. Up until now I haven't been very successful when it comes to predicting the winning lottery numbers, so I'm guessing my intuitive powers might just be a figment of my imagination...which leads me back to the pending and essential release of fear.....
I have always felt a sort of calling.....a little voice that over the years has gotten louder and tells me to tells me to tells me to use my voice in order to lighten up the world just a little bit. For brief windows of time I heed the call.....I write down pithy little thoughts that I think will help somebody to gain some clarity, I start books, Idraw pictures and I try to always do the right thing. But then.....right before I get to the finish line I always stop short because a bigger voice takes over and I am essentially paralyzed. It is the voice of fear. She is scratchy, irrational, nails-on-a-chalkboard annoying, and yet, I let her win every single time.....until today.

I want to be a writer and an artist, and actually make a living doing it. I want to color the world with big fat candy-colored polka dots, and inspire people to embrace and celebrate their lives. I want to take every drawing, every page, and every idea I have jotted down in my journals and put them out into the world! But mostly I just want to stop making excuses and not worry so much about what YOU are going to think of my work when I finally decide to share it with you. I want to be free of this accessory that really has plagued me for most of my adult life. I want to be so excited about getting out of bed and drawing and then not be so afraid of judgement that I hide everything I have done.
What is it about fear that keeps us so bound up in such heavy chains? We have no way of knowing what the end result will be and yet we allow ourselves to assume the very worst. Fear is personal.....and my fears don't look anything like yours but they are just as toxic, they are just as much a part of who I am as the air I breathe and quite frankly I am really quite tired of always letting them win!
Today, I share a piece of advice with you that is essentially the advice I am giving to myself.....make the decision that enough is enough when it comes to this fear thing. Decide once and for all that no matter what happens, the most important thing will be that you and I put our fear aside and took a massive leap forward.
I created a little Etsy shop for the little crafty things that I love to do. But my real goal was to have a place to sell my little Inpsiration Pie people and my books....drawings and sayings that have come from some chaotic part of my imagination that I just felt compelled to put on paper. I think I might have kept them hidden because they are profoundly personal for me.....they are my imagination manifested onto paper and in bright, bold color. So naturally I have stopped myself from sharing them on a larger scale because if nobody likes them then I will have to crawl back into bed and stay there forever, right? Up until now it has been easy to bury them in a blog, or as a little flag on Facebook, but today I have decided that if I ever really want to be happy, if I ever want to truly take a step forward then I am just going to have to put them out there and be proud of myself for just doing it!
Today is the day I load up that Etsy shop with those drawings. I go into this phase of my life absolutely terrified and yet, I know with every fiber of my being that it is time.
Perhaps you might be just like have been marinating an idea that you would like to implement, a change you would like to make, or something you would like to try and yet, you sit still because you are afraid. Today I extend a chipped nail polish, marker stained hand to you in an effort to help lift you out of your comfort zone and join me in the jump forward. One tiny action, one little movememt forward will be a monumental gesture towards setting our fear aside. It will be scary, it will be un-nerving, and yet somehow I know that in the end it will be intoxicatingly liberating.
We deserve to be free of the chain around our necks called fear. We deserve to put our big IT out there and have a little faith in ourselves! Today is the day we will CHOOSE to quiet the voice of fear just long enough to be drowned out by the voice of stand-tall-in-your-favorite-shoes confidence!
Today is a magnificent day because no matter what happens we will have tried!!!
So, today I wish you more faith in yourself than you ever thought possible and the wisdom to know that you are worthy of it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Today is a fabulous day to be YOU!

Gorgeous in Grey....

A couple of weeks ago Gary and I were invited to attend a friend's annual roof-top party in Chicago for the annual Air and Water Show. I can't say that I'm a huge fan of airplanes, but hubby just loves them and the show itself is always fun to watch from a distance. Normally we get the luxury of good friends, great food, a fabulous view and blue skies. But this year, what started out as a gorgeous Saturday morning quickly turned into a a bad storm with Mother Nature happy to put on a show of her own.
About 30 minutes into the start of the show, there was an ominous display of lightening over the lake and heavy downpour for about an hour or so. But once the storm had finally passed as we took cover under the roof-top overhang, we were left with this beautiful grey blanket of clouds hovering over the skyline. It wasn't long before the sun finally showed her pretty face and the planes could resume their own show of pomp and circumstance, but in the meantime there was a sort of quiet humm that covered our beautiful skyline and as I snapped this photo I was reminded that even the most usually dismal shades of grey have a way of being beautiful.

Then there were three....

It was a cold Autumn day late last year when Miss Matilda the farm cat(on the right) randomly showed up on our deck one night.....For days we watched her timidly slinking around looking for any left-over crumbs that might have been overlooked by the racoons who tend to hang out in our yard...she was SO skinny, we just knew that she didn't have a permanent home. Being that hubby and I are crazy animal lovers with three kitties of our own, we naturally began to put food out for her, and slowly but surely she started to look a little healthier and would hang out a bit longer often talking to us through the kitchen window to let us know she had arrived.

Well, imagine our surprise when about ten days ago, after Matilda had taken a brief absence from coming to visit, she suddenly showed up with two little kitties in tow. We were absolutely floored to see these adorable little fur-babies being led by momma to where the best food could be found. Since then, it seems as though Matilda, Coco and Blue (of course we had to name them) have become our little outdoor family members. Each morning they show up to say hello, eat a little breakfast and hang out on the furniture. They spend lazy days playing around, chasing butterflies amidst the hosta garden and checking things our through our windows.... It's a rough life of romping around, lounging on fluffy cushions and stopping for the occassional snack, but we now consider ourselves to be pretty good hosts if this very descriminating momma has opted to leave her babies with us for the day! They're not so trusting to spend time with us while the big humans are sitting outside, so we can often see them hiding out in bushes waiting for us to get off their furniture....

Between the squirrels that yell at us from the trees, the racoons who like to hang out here in the evenings, the lovely songs from the birds and now our new extended outdoor kitty family.....well, consider these just a handful of reasons I can add to my ever-growing list of what is so fabulous about living just a few minutes away from town in a more rural area! I consider myself SO fortunate to be able to walk out of my house and see land and a farm as our next door neighbors and then hop in the car and within five minutes I arrive in the bustling heart of Naperville's downtown! Amazing what a difference just a mile or so can make!

Letting Go.....

Good morning loveliest girl!
Do you ever get tired of holding on so tight? I think that sometimes we work so hard to keep such a tight grasp on CONTROL that we miss all the good stuff..... The spontaneous, fleeting magical moments often go un-noticed while we are busy doing our best to hold it all together. But what if you loosed up your grip a bit.....just let the wind pick you up and carry you. What sort of wonderful things would you suddenly notice? What is the worst thing that could happen if you let go.....just a teeny tiny bit? It gets a little cumbersome when we are weighted down by so many burdens and's not always easy being the responsible one is it?
Today would be such a wonderful day to let somebody else help out a bit......invite one more person to your Miss Indepence, I-can-do-everything pary and see if you can't perhaps lighten the load a bit.
The next time somebody offers a hand, or wants to be there to make things a little easier, instead of saying NO and thinking that in order for IT to be done right, you have to do it, SAY YES. Yes, I need some help, YES it would be great if you could do IT, YES......I could do it all, but today I just don't want to! You deserve to let go of all that control just a little bit and give the people around you the opportunity to feel needed! Today would be such a good day to allow yourself to be picked up and carried by the wind while somebdy else is temporarily carrying all that extra weight around.
You don't need me to tell you that it's okay to ask for help! It's perfectly fabulous and one so very okay if just this once you to want somebody to step in and lighten the load you've been carrying all this time! Today is a really good day to set down some of that extra weight and just let yourself enjoy the breeze! You are such a busy girl, and you've done such an amazing job keeping all of those pieces together, but it's okay if you allow just one of them to fall into somebody else's lap! Today is your day to exhale and ask for help. I promise nobody will think any less of you, and nobody will find you weak or incapable.....instead, I bet the people that care about you the most would be thrilled if you would just let them be there for you.....just this once!
Today I wish you the confidence to know that you are entitled to sit down for five minutes while somebody else picks up the slack! Let go lovely friend.....loosen up that firm grip of yours and try to enjoy a little more of the ride! We all know how good you are at making it all work, but today, if you'll let us, we'd like to help when you're ready, we will be here to say YES as soon as you decide to ask!

Wishing you the gift of a control-free sort of day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good afternoon lovelies!
Today we stay in the present tense, today we remember that what matters most is right here, right now, and so our word of the day is none other than opportunity filled, decadently covered in sprinkles... TODAY.

I don’t mind telling you that I spend a lot of my time contemplating things I didn’t get done yesterday or the full plate of responsibilities I have waiting for me tomorrow. Truth be told, I think I spend so much time looking backwards and forward that I often forget how valuable TODAY is. This brief window of a mere twenty four hours often goes unnoticed as I am anticipating and contemplating what is going to happen next.
I think a lot of us are routine “planners” by nature and we don’t even notice that we’re not fully engaged in the present tense until it suddenly becomes “yesterday.” So I intentionally ask myself today, what have I been missing by overlooking what is going on right in front of me, right in this moment? What amazing little miracle occurred TODAY that I never would have witnessed due to my lack of attention? Well, if I'm being my typical self, then chances are, I've missed a lot.

Today is such a beautiful day and yet I am already on the internet looking to see what the weather is going to be like for the weekend so that I can make my plans. I just finished eating a delicious sandwich and I am perusing the Food Network trying to come up with a creative idea for dinner tomorrow night (on a side note, I had no idea how many variations of mac and cheese there are). Do you see a pattern here?
I get the whole planning thing, I understand that we have only a limited amount of hours in each day so of course we have to be pre-planning and scheduling in order to pack everything in. But what if today we just took a tiny step back and a good look around? What we would see that we might have missed if we were already focusing on tomorrow or regretting something from yesterday?

I sometimes find that I almost have to force myself to stop and take a good look around at what is happening right now. But today is about following my own advice, so here is what I observe when I slow things down for a there are leaves slowly starting to change colors on the big beautiful trees in our yard as they begin to prepare for a good Winter sleep. There are new kittens playing on our patio furniture that suddenly showed up on our deck one morning after their oh-so-responsible mommy lead them to food and safety. There is the quiet that happens in the middle of the day while hubby is working and it’s just me and the fur-babies enjoying some play time together. There are exactly 19 tomatoes growing on the plant I have been tending to this Summer....I know this for sure because yes, I counted. The fresh oregano and basil I started from mere seeds in March is huge! It is fragrant, fabulous, and will probably be a part of tonight's dinner now that I remember I planted it! All of this happening around me and it's all within steps on my desk?? Amazing!

I have so much to see, so much to enjoy and while it might be an effort to just try to SEE it, TODAY I am committed to staying right here and focusing on THIS beautiful Thursday afternoon. Surely tomorrow will come soon enough and there isn’t much I can do that would UN-do anything that might or might not have happened yesterday. So today, within the magical window of twenty four fleeting hours that will never be duplicated or come again, I put all my attention on the right here, the right now and maybe if I am very lucky, and very conscious, I won’t miss a thing!
Today is such a perfectly wonderful day, I wish you the attention it requires to savor it, the wisdom to appreciate it and a complete enjoyment of the rest of it! Happiest of Thursdays to you dear friend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This about sums it up......

Your delicious bite of Inspiration Pie for today is candy-coated, self-indulgent BLISS.

There are many things in this world which we can purchase or borrow from someone else in order to make ourselves happy, but BLISS is not one of those things. I could give you page after page full of suggestions as to where to look for bliss, how to go about creating it and what you should do once you have learned to recognize it. But to be honest with you, that would mean that you would be sampling MY version of bliss and not going in search of your own. Bliss can and should be extremely personal. We can not look to other people in the hope that they will offer us the key to unlocking our own bliss, instead, we must take advantage of the complete enjoyment that comes from opening the door to bliss on our own.
Perhaps for you, bliss can simply be found in a long steamy bubble bath, or maybe your bliss is more like a cozy chair, the perfect cup of tea and a good movie. Whatever YOUR bliss looks and feels like, be sure that the end result is of your own creating.

When we start to look at other people in order to mirror somebody else’s version of bliss we are denying ourselves the opportunity to experience it first hand. It is much like a hand-me-down sweater that might be really cute and fit you like a glove, but it’s still somebody else’s sweater. Bliss needs to be custom fit just for you. It is your experience, your definition and ultimately a gift only you can give to yourself!

You are worthy of bliss on a daily basis….every single day even if only for a few quiet moments. It is yours for the taking; you just need to find out what YOUR bliss feels like. Maybe on different days, your bliss takes the form of different experiences, that’s perfectly fine!! But I promise you that you will not find authentic bliss in a shopping mall, or job promotion, it’s not hiding in a new home, fancier car, or better zip code. Instead, it is always within your reach, it doesn’t cost a thing and it is right there just waiting for you the moment you decide to SEE it.

Today, your job is to give yourself the opportunity to sit still for a few minutes and ask yourself just one big question; what does YOUR bliss look like? Whatever the answer to your bliss might be, you DESERVE to treat yourself to a bit of time needed in order to enjoy and savor it. You are a busy girl with endless responsibilities, but in the middle of it all, somewhere in the momentary winks of silence, your bliss is patiently waiting for you to find it. Today is a fabulous day to invite bliss into your world and once it shows up, I hope that you will take a ridiculously large bite every single day and savor every delicious second of it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good morning lovely girl!

Have you taken advantage of that beautiful set of wings you were born with or have you left them in a closet somewhere to gather dust? So many of us get so caught up with everything we must attend to on the ground that we forget about our ability to FLY! We misplace our imagination, set our dreams aside and get so caught up in what keeps our feet firmly on the ground that we forget to allow our imaginations to dance among the clouds.

You have a vision of what you want your life to look like, you have a clear picture tucked into your mind of what you had always hoped to accomplish and yet, you leave it as a daydream instead of doing the work to make it a reality. It's scary when we know we are called to do something that might involve taking a risk because you and I are responsible sort of girls who would never think of doing anything that just might jeopardize our secure place on the ground. But......what if by simply giving your imagination flight you could become the happy and fulfilled woman you have always wanted to be? What if you could take the ideas our of your journal and daydreams and make them into something tangibel? Would you take a chance? Would you dust off the those wings of yours and jump? Perhaps, you need not take a big bold leap, just a teeny tiny step towards the ledge.....a little closer every day until one day you just let yourself FLY!

You can do it. You deserve to try! Today would be such a good day to gently flap those wings of yours and get all the kinks out. It would be so wonderful if you could give yourself permission to embrace that little change you've been wanting to make and give some thought to one little gesture you could make towards enabling it to happen.

Imagine being handed the key that will unlock and free up everything has been keeping your feet planted on the ground. What would you do if you had all the freedom you ever could ever want and none of the fear that has been bogging you down for so long? Before heading off to that busy day of yours give yourself a little time to marinate in your own dreams a bit. Jot down a few things that have been weighing you down and see if you can't find a way to release just one of them today.

You, lovely girl, deserve a full and fabulous life, a life filled with unlimited potential to fly, you just need to dust off those wings of yours and give the wind the chance to carry you!

I wish you a day full of magic carpets, ruby slippers and the never-ending possibility!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Good morning lovelies… we’re taking a bit bite out of time and chasing it with a gulp of awareness!
The one thing I know for certain about myself is that I often take time for granted. I break it down into little boxes listed in a date book rather than looking at the big picture. I ignore the fact that the one sure thing in this world is that I will never be able to get back is time. I can’t barter with the universe to give me a little more of it, I can‘t stop the clock in order to make it last longer and I certainly can not press some sort of cosmic pause button in order to put it on hold for a moment. So, the big question then, is why do we use up so much of our time by wasting it?
You and I are busy people, we run around like crazy ladies scheduling just about everything we can think of. We stop just long enough to close our eyes for a few blissful hours and then the alarm clock goes off and the marathon begins again. Then one day we wake up in our mid-forties and wonder how the heck we got here and where the time has gone.
I don’t think I was completely aware of just precious time is until my father passed away a few years ago. He lived well into his seventies but so much of his time here was spent chasing bigger homes, fatter bank accounts and a grander lifestyle. In the end, as we were packing up his belongings to donate them to charity, it hit me right between the eyes that none of those items he had worked so hard for really meant a darned thing, instead, what mattered was the time he gave his family. As I was realizing how much time my dad had squandered on the irrelevant things, I was wildly grateful to be able to look back and know that somehow he did find the time to be there when it mattered most. He never missed a play, a baseball game, family event, and thankfully, most of our dinners were spent with all four of us gathered around the kitchen table. We had wonderful family vacations and movie nights, he was right there to help my mom with Halloween costumes and things around the house. I don’t know how he did it or that he ever really knew how much each of us valued our time as a family, but in the end, I am lucky to be able to say that he was there when it mattered most.

How many of us are guilty of taking time for granted? I certainly am.
It is common for me to work my butt off all day doing all the things that will give me financial security and I literally blink and entire months have gone by and my husband and I have not had a date night. I find myself constantly asking where the time has gone and what do I have to show for it?

Somewhere in between the endless responsibilities and daily grind, we have got to slow it down long enough to appreciate and respect time. Whether it be time with our families, quiet time, ME time, down time, or just five precious minutes of reflection on the day, we need to remind ourselves constantly that time is fleeting, and as dramatic as it sounds, every single second is a gift. All of those THINGS we are working so hard to accumulate are fabulous when it comes to instant gratification and keeping up with the Joneses, but in the end, what will ultimately matter most is how wisely we used our time. Have we spent enough time telling the people around us how much they matter? Have we taken a day off from the on-going to-do list in order to spend some quality time with the people we cherish the most? Are we staying the in moment when we have the time or are we planning the heck out of the next few hours, days and weeks?
We need to cherish time. We need to stay in the moment and celebrate the next five minutes just because we can! We can not stop time or slow it down but we can consciously be aware of what a true blessing it is and never squander one second of it by doing the things that in the end won’t make a shred of difference. What will matter is the time you spent talking with your child, or telling your significant other how much you love them. What will matter is the five minutes you gave yourself to appreciate a beautiful sky or a a quiet cup of tea!

Regardless of how much “stuff” you have, or don’t have, well beyond social status and fancy clothing, or that big job title you have spent so much time working for, in the end what we will each be remembered for is not what we have accumulated, but what we have shared. As you embark on another jam packed day, I hope that you will make a concerted effort to see the tremendous gift of time. I hope that you will try to stop working extra hours, quit taking on more than you can carry, delegate a task or two, and truly savor every blissful moment of your day. Time is priceless, it is something you can take for granted, or something you can choose to consciously embrace. Today would be a fabulous day to begin paying attention to how you are spending your time and what you could be doing differently in order to share your time with the people you love the most.

I wish you a day filled with your version of quality time and the clarity to not take one moment of it for granted!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good afternoon lovely girl, today we take a big bite of OOPS and serve it up with a side of FORGIVENESS!!
If you're human, and I really hope that you are, then mistakes are going to happen! Sometimes it's about saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, not doing enough, doing too much.....the list goes on and on....and it's all just part of life. Every time we experience a little hiccup we get to decide if we will spend the rest of our days punishing ourselves or doing our best to apologize for our error and move on. Chances are you don't sit around trying to figure out how to hurt people's feelings and disappoint them, and nobody who knows you would ever think that you intentionally messed up.
Give yourself a break sweet friend because if you're taking an active role in your own life then the law of averages tells us that sometimes things are going to go wrong. But I promise that it's not the end of the world!
You are a good and wonderful take such pride and care when it comes to protecting the hearts and feelings of the people around you; but it's time you take care of yourself too! Whatever your mistake might have been, it is time to stop beating yourself up.
Sometimes our very best intentions wind up back-firing and what we thought was a terrific idea winds up heading south very quickly. This was not your plan, this is not something you ever expected to happen and though you might feel horrible, you're going to have to let it go.
Your unconditional kindness sometimes makes it difficult to forgive yourself if you feel as though you have done somebody wrong, but I promise you that your sincere apology has not fallen on deaf ears. You took ownership, you did your best to make amends and now all you can do is know that you tried!
We waste so much time on hindsight....we reflect and regret and wish we could turn back the clock, but dear lady, there are no do-overs, there is only right now and the knowledge that tomorrow is going to be a much better day! So, today is the perfect day to own your OOPS, apologize and then forgive yourself! You made a mistake, and as long as you allow yourself to learn a little something, then I can assure you that in the end, everything is going to be alright! It might not finish out the way you had hoped, but sometimes you need to put a little faith in the fact that the Universe might have a better understanding then you do, and maybe what you thought was an OOPS will one day show up as a really good thing!
Rest easy my friend, it is not the end of the world and you are defined by far more than one or two little bumbs along the road!

TIME TO TAKE ACTION: If you have been carrying around the heavy feeling of regret or remorse for something you have done then it is time to set down the extra baggage, forgive yourself and get back into celebrating this beautiful thing we call life! You deserve it!
Today I wish you the clarity to see past the clouds and bask in the warmth of those golden drenched sun beams reaching right out to warm you!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Good morning lovely girl!
Today let’s take a bite out of the tiniest little word that has the potential to do the most damage; EGO! Oh if I had a nickel for every time I let the voice of my ego drown out what my heart was telling me I can promise you that would have a closet full of Manolo Blahniks as far as the eye can see. It is astonishing to me that a mere three letter word packs the power of an emotional tsunami wreaking havoc each time it rears it’s nasty face. Every time we allow our egos to get in the way of something we are passionate about, something we are excited about or proud of, we are essentially sabotaging any chance we have for unconditional happiness.
Allow me to provide you with a few examples…

Inspiration Pie is something I have been carrying around with me for years….and years….and years. It is something I am incredibly passionate about, something that I knew I had to do and yet, I was constantly SO worried about what my friends, family and total strangers would think, that I never allowed myself to actually do anything with it. I was so unhappy and angry with myself each time I read about somebody who was off living their dream while I was allowing my own ego to keep me in a prison I had basically chosen to live in. All this time, all I ever wanted to do was inspire people to feel better about themselves and I didn’t have the confidence it took to follow my own advice; even today as I have commit to finishing this project I started so long ago, I can hear that nasty little ego of mine telling me that it is a waste of time, that nobody cares what I think . The difference is that now I can recognize the warning signs when ego is beginning to creep up on me and I imagine myself wearing shiny black combat boots and stepping on him. So, maybe nobody will listen to a word I have to say, but in what matters now is that I have given myself the freedom to say it anyway.

Here is another fabulous example for you….
Back when my day was consumed with developing my line of mineral makeup, I thought I had come up with a brilliant idea. It was called Hope Quest cosmetics and it was to be a division of my company that included my usual range of mineral eye colors but instead of leaving it at that, each color would come with a little postcard that included an inspirational little message I had written (sort of like if a Hallmark card came with makeup). It took me months and months of talking myself into finally take the plunge and launching the new division. I finally pulled the whole thing together, sent an email out to over 3800 clients in order to let them know that I had this fabulous new idea to share with them and then the very worst thing happened; nothing. The orders never came flooding in like they usually did when I launched a new collection, nobody was posting on my message board about how much they loved my new idea, there was only the sound of crickets and to say that I was devastated would be a mild understatement. For months after that I was just miserable. I felt so stupid for thinking that I had such a good idea when my clients clearly did not agree. Instead of focusing on the fact that my customers were not really coming to me for greeting cards, I could only see failure. Never mind that I should have just been proud of myself for going forward with this idea of mine…nope, instead I put all of my energy into what I thought was a failure on my end. The few orders that did come, and the wonderful notes that I got from people who had received the cards and shared them was immediately wiped out by the bigger picture….in my mind I had failed.

These are just two of a laundry list of examples I could give you of what happens when your ego takes over. Instead of being proud of our smallest accomplishments, we choose to highlight our perceived short-comings. Rather than celebrating our own individuality, we focus on the skinnier, taller, curvier, prettier, younger girl sitting across the room and eventually convince ourselves that we simply do not stack up. (take from my four foot eleven self, I know of what I speak)
Ego is the voice that tells you that you are not capable of living your dreams. It is the devil on your shoulder convincing you that you might as well settle for the less than fabulous mate because you will never be pretty enough or good enough for Mr. Perfect. It is the whisper in the back of your mind that tells you not to even bother going after the promotion you know you deserve, or launch the new company you have been developing in your head, because you are not smart enough, you are not clever enough…you are simply not enough.
If you think of every time you wanted something better for yourself and stopped just short of achieving it, I can promise you that EGO was lurking in the shadows. The good news is that the minute you decide to work your butt off to silence your ego, great things begin to happen! As soon as you imagine yourself slapping a big piece of masking tape over the mouth of your ego, you suddenly begin to see yourself for the miracle that you are….and you my dear, are a true miracle.

Your life can and will be as big and as fabulous as you can possibly dream for yourself….but not until you learn to let your heart speak louder than your ego….not until you decide that you are worth all the good things that have been lurking right outside your front door! You have so many amazing gifts to offer, and yet, somebody in your life might have made you feel less than fabulous, and so instead of remembering the good things, you chose to hang on to the junk. People will go to great lengths in order for you to believe the lies they will tell you about yourself, but you need to know and believe that they do not do so with malice, they do not do it to intentionally hurt you, I promise you they don’t. Sadly, I believe that people say and do bad things to one another because their own egos are bruised and rather than trying to see their own relevance, they find it easier to try and diminish yours.
Entire books have been written about learning to silence our egos, and yet, how many of us have read them, (myself included) and still wish we were somebody other than who we are. Until we unconditionally believe that we are perfect just as we are, our own happiness will always be just outside of our reach. Each and every morning when you wake up there is a choice to be made; will you choose to celebrate yourself regardless of how big your bank account or house is, OR will you search for all of the things you need to fix about yourself? The choice is yours. Be grateful for who you are or wallow in what you think might be wrong. I would venture to say that a life lived from a place of lack is a life quickly slipping through your fingers.
There are so many things you want to do with your life, so many opportunities that if taken, could truly make you happy…but the choice is yours. Stay on the path you are on and let EGO control the show, or make a conscious and constant effort to embrace the good and beautiful things about yourself then watch the whole world stop to smile at you.

You are a rare and wonderful gift. You are unique, and colorful, warm and beautiful and oh so fabulous. You are more than enough exactly the way you are right this moment.
Today would be such a perfect day to allow yourself to believe all the good things you have ever heard about yourself. It is the perfect opportunity to KNOW that you are entitled to all the good things that your imagination can dream up for you! It is time to tell that ego of yours to go and take a hike! Kick its butt to the curb and never look back! You deserve it…yes my beautiful friend, you!

Now, before you have a chance to start talking yourself out of all those good things you want for yourself, take a few moments to start an endless list of things that you are proud of, things that you love about yourself and things you could celebrate about who you are right in this moment! Leave no room for the negative, pay no attention when ego tries to talk you out of something (that was its job, so tell it its FIRED), just keep writing….allow yourself to own all the good things you have kept silent for so long! Write until you can’t feel fingers anymore and then give yourself a pat on the back for giving yourself the gift of such a remarkable list!

There is a big wide world waiting to celebrate who you are right along with you....but you have to give it a chance, you have to let yourself enjoy it!
Today I wish you the ability and WISDOM to recognize just how amazing you really are! I wish you the strength to silence that ego of yours and replace all that nasty junk with the very best and most beautiful beliefs about yourself! I wish you the courage to stick that ego of yours in a soundproof box and throw away the key!
Sending buckets of bliss your way!

Friday, August 12, 2011

One day soon, on some particularly sunny morning you will wake up and suddenly realize that you have finally run out of excuses for not doing all the things that you have intended to do. You will abruptly find yourself at a crossroad where you either have to move forward with the dreams constantly dancing around that beautiful mind of yours or silence them forever and just join the circus. You will know with complete and total clarity that on that day, and in that moment, it is time.
Today is my moment. Today, August 12th I have decided that to remain in neutral would be to ultimately deny myself the bliss that has eluded me for so long. I have no visions of grandeur, I have no desire for fame and fortune, I just want to complete the darned book I started 10 years ago. For years and years, words and pictures have been dancing around my color-stained imagination just dying to find a home out in the read world, but the HOW and the WHAT IFs always managed to take over and so I was left basically drawing hearts and swirls on a piece of paper....lots and lots of pieces of paper. I just couldn't get to the place where I knew it was time to do something...anything that would pull me out of this perpetual place of stalled determination.
For the last several months I have felt myself moving ever closer to either being locked in a loony bin or finally making Inspiration Pie a reality. Being that I am not too fond of the idea of moving into a sterile white padded room, I recognize that I can't put this off any longer.

The simple truth, the truth that each and every one of us shares is that we all have dreams.
For some of us, those dreams got put on hold because of fear, or what we believe is bad timing...or maybe we're waiting until the kids grow up, we get the promotion, drop 20 pounds, move to a bigger home, get a fancier car, find our soul mate.....blah blah blah.....whatever your excuses have been up to this moment, you have allowed them to take up residence in that brain of yours and so they have become your reality.
My reality, the one that haunts me, is that I have a BIG dream, a dream that I have been dragging around me forever, and until I put it out THERE I know that I am just going to continue to be spinning in circles. But I am getting dizzy.....and so I know that it is time to put on my favorite chunky black platform shoes and jump.


Inspiration Pie, the blog, the book, the thought process is about....well, in a word, INSPIRATION. It is about reminding ourselves that we unconditionally deserve to see the world through over-sized rose colored glasses, it is about remembering that every day can and should be a good is about taking our lives into our very own hands and being one hundred percent conscious and accountable for every waking moment. It is about living a life that is full of magic and miracles, love, acceptance, and unconditional bliss.

My dream, my super-sized, over-the-top hope for this book and this blog is that it will change your mind. It will remind you to love your life, to change what needs changing, to fix what is broken and to finally see your time on this beautiful planet as the awesome and overwhelmingly fabulous experience that is was meant to be. we begin a journey together, today we word each day for 100 days (yes you guessed it, today's word is BEGIN), one bite of Inspiration Pie that I hope will turn into 365 days and then a whole series of books all designed to inspire, empower, initiate, motivate, celebrate, rejuvenate and in the end encourage you to fall head over heels with this big beautiful, unbelievably abundant life of yours!

Today is a fantabulous day. It is a full 24 hours of chocolate covered potential just waiting to be unwrapped. You have a dream just like I do and if you're ready, and if you're willing, then there will never be a better day to BEGIN to take one tiny step towards bringing that dream to life!!

Before heading off to the rest of your busy life, I hope that you will pause for a moment, be completely present in this moment and ask yourself what some of your own dreams might be! Then grab a piece of paper, a big fat marker and write them down! Get them out of your head and into the light where the seeds of your imagination can take root and grow! Give yourself permission to step out of that comfortable place you've been living in and imagine what could happen if you actually found a way to live your dream!!! Life is meant to be a big fluffy slice of Inspiration Pie and today is the PERFECT day to pick up a fork and take an embarrsassingly big bite!! Today is a great day to just put an end to the excuses and BEGIN!

I wish you unlimited clarity, patience and buckets of bliss!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Heart Art.....

I used to wish that I could shake the part of myself that has anything to do with art and creativity....I honestly wanted to be the sort of normal person who could be happy working in an office somewhere. A steady paycheck, no crazy impulses to run out and buy strange vintage items, and the responsible sort of person who would NEVER choose to buy art supplies over paying a utility bill.


there are all those markers,

all those know the ones, the big box with the built in sharpener that smells like heaven....

so many different kinds of paper....

WATERCOLORS (my newest love)






glue guns,

oh the list goes on....and on.....!

How could I have ever wanted to NOT be the sort of person who would sleep on a cardboard bed made of colored paper and be truly happy!
How could I have even thought that it would ever be okay to see the world from a purely black and white existence?

I would probably drown.

Knock Knock....

He who Guards our Home

The Neighbors....

When I was around 26 years old, I landed a fabulous job producing fashion shows out of New York. I used to fly around the country working with all sorts of amazing magazines and clients.... I thought I was in heaven! I envisioned my life as a magazine editor sitting in a big fancy schmancy office overlooking Michigan Avenue and being surrounded by the very best clothing and accessories that money could buy! Now at 41 I can't wait to walk out my back door each morning and look over to see what Jeremy the farmer is up to! Acres and acres of fresh produce, a hard-working family nurturing the land and oh the baby bunnies that are constantly out there playing. It's honestly a little piece of heaven, and yet, iIf you had told me that I could ever be this blissfully happy living next to a farm I would have never believed you.....Amazing how time changes us....or maybe it was there all along and I was just too young to know better! If the me of today met the me from 20 years ago, I honestly don't think they would recognize each other....and frankly, I kind of like the me I am I think I'll keep her!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Choosing Happiness

It's a beautiful Monday morning....the sort of morning that always makes me happy and gets me excited about the week ahead. But this particular Monday morning has me thinking about conscious happiness. Do we to get to a happy place by choice? Are there some people that are just innately happy? IS there some great secret to it all? I read a fabulous quote last night that had something to do with making ourselves accessible to happiness. Am I accessible? I like to think so! I like to believe that if given the choice between being happy or being miserable, I would choose happiness. But I know that sometimes it's so much easier to get lazy and fall into the unhappy trap.
Admittedly, there are days when it's all not working and would just be EASIER to stay in bed. It would be EASIER to just hide under the covers for a while and wait for the storm to pass. It would be EASIER to blame PMS for my somber mood while scarfing down tubs of ice cream. But then there is the sunshine, and the fresh air.....there is the warm glow of possibility and the idea that if I do stay in bed I could be missing out on something fabulous! So...being the sort of girl that likes to assign myself little projects, I have decided that starting August 1st I am going to make every effort I can to CHOOSE to be happy. If the orders don't come as fast as I would like to them to, I will choose happiness. If my hair is not cooperating, the electric bill is unusually high, and the prices of gas go up, I will CHOOSE happiness. If I wake up to yet another group of friendly grey hairs that have decided to take up residence on my head, I will CHOOSE happienss. If hubby and I get into a tif about who needs to empty the dishwasher, I will CHOOSE happiness. It probably sounds a little odd to actually have made a decision to be happy...but honestly, sometimes I know I get caught up in my own head and tend to be a bit of a for me, this assignment is BIG BIG BIG!!
I could choose un-happiness because most of the time that's the natural thing to do. I could get caught up in what is not working, what is not where I would like it to be and what is not happening in the time-frame I anticipated. OR.....I could see it all with fresh eyes....know that God knows what he is doing and be strong in my belief that things are just as they need to be. So, for August I choose happiness! I can almost certainly guarantee that this is not going to be as easy for me as it sounds, so you can bet that I will be posting updates. But in the meantime, I've given myself a few days to prepare for this new adventure to Happy Town. I'm packing nothing more than a shiny new journal, some watercolors and a whole lot of optimism! I hope I see you there!
Wishing you a cool-crisp-linen-sheet, a lazy breeze and breakfast in bed sort of day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When Mother Nature Sings.....

This is the very first Summer here at our Magical little home....and we are so blessed! The previous owners spent years and years creating wonderful and oh-so-abundant flower beds in the front and back of the house. It's taken hubby and I a lot of blood, sweat and tears to bring those gardens back to life and we have a long way to go. But the reward, the beautiful reward is the plethora of butterflies and Hummingbirds that have suddenly shown up to enjoy the flowers almost as much as we are. This little guy and a friend of his have been dropping by every day to pay us a visit and I finally managed to quietly sneak up behind him and catch this photo. I was afraid I would never be able to capture the beauty of this flying friend, but my goodness....I got it! I wonder if he will ever know that he is like a painting....a work of art with wings and I was fortunate enough to capture his awe-inspiring dance! For me, it doesn't get much better than this!

Patience and Hope

I woke up last week filled with anticipation. I had an interview scheduled with a potential client that I was genuinely looking forward to, an optimistic to-do list, and it was Monday....another opportunity for a week of endless possibility. But sometimes, no matter how optimistic we are, the Universe just seems to have other plans. My appointment never showed up, and the phone calls and emails I was expecting never happened, add to that a misunderstanding with a potential client and by the end of the day I was ready to push the pause button on the week and get back into bed for a month. Yes, it was one of those days. The sort of day where you feel like no matter what you do you are just running in place while wearing painful stilettoes.

Those are the days where if you are paying attention, and when you least expect it, the Universe will serve you up a life lesson on a glistening silver platter. My lesson came from a tiny little packet of seeds. About a week ago I decided that this year I was going to grow my own flowers and vegetables from scratch. I purchased a handful of various types of seeds, planted them all in those little eco-friendly cups and waited. Like a little girl on Christmas morning I have been bouncing down the stairs every day in anticipation of seeing some sort of indication that my little seeds were coming to life. Day after day, I was greeted by the same thing; dirt in a cup. I'm admittedly not the most patient girl in the world so after about four days of watering dirt and waiting for something to happen, all hope for my beautiful garden was essentially gone and my patience had officially run out. After all, I had done my part with the very best of intentions....I planted the seeds, talked to those little cups of dirt, given them plenty of water and light and in return they did nothing.

But then suddenly and without warning, on the fifth day, those little cups magically came to life. Where there was once only dirt and frustration just one day prior, was now an array of tiny little stems barely popping their little heads out above the soil. Hope was restored!! Hour after hour, those amazing little stems seemed to almost double in size and within about three days there were actually little tiny leaves. I am happy to tell you that today, almost every seed seems to have burst wide open and my little cup garden is now happily in its new home in our yard. We are mere days away from the beginnings of what will surely be a bounty of beans, tomatoes, peppers and herbs!

Being the sort of woman who believes that the Universe is always sending me little signs and messages, I looked at those seeds like a great life lesson. Here I was making all of these plans, doing the work, planting the "seeds" and no matter what I did, it felt like nothing was happening. Things were not progressing as quickly as I had hoped and my patience was wearing thin. But if I give up and just throw in the towel, how will I ever know what "could" have happened? How would I ever find out what those seeds might have become if I just stopped watering them?

There are days when it feels as though nothing is happening. The orders are not coming as fast you had hoped they would, people are not calling back, nobody is lining up to show their support for what you have worked so hard to create and life feels as though it is at a stand-still. Those are the days when you have to push yourself the hardest because in the blink of an eye it can all change. The fact of the matter is that although we create timelines and deadlines for ourselves sometimes the Universe is just running on a different schedule. That doesn't mean we give up and it certainly doesn't mean that something fabulous isn't on the way. It might just be that all those little seeds you have been planting are slowly working their way towards the surface, and just because you can't see them growing today, well tomorrow you just never know what can happen!

So, the moral of the story is simple.....plant your seeds with the best of intentions, water them daily, nurture them with care, and most importantly, stay patient and hopeful because one day when you least expect it, those little seeds are going to burst wide open and where there was once only dirt will magically be a bright and beautiful flower! Wishing you a day filled with patience and hope!

Breaking Patterns

It is a rainy Sunday morning here in Chi-town...which is probably a good thing because I have much I would like to do and if the sun were shining then this blog probably wouldn't have happened. But....the Universe is paying attention and the constant winks and nudges it has been sending me can no longer be ignored. So, today, I begin....again.
Begin what you ask? Well, another leg of life's tour....a new turn on the more do-over with the hope that this time I finally get it right.
I inherited a very special gene from my father....I like to call it the "self-sabotage" gene. It is the constant nagging voice in my head that stays quietly tucked away the first few weeks of a new endeavor and then like a jack-in-the-box that has finally been wound too tight, the voice pops up out of nowhere and stops me dead in my tracks. Every new art project, every shift in career choices, every hope that I will finally find my niche; halted.
I have been living like this for as long as I can remember. Trapped in my own head with what feels like permanent shackles chained to my ankles and preventing me from moving forward. This 'gift' my father gave me has been a great source of anguish and frustration in my house. I have this amazing husband who sees all these wonderful things in me. Each new idea I bring to him, each piece of art I create, or sentences I write, he applauds and I know he secretly hopes that THIS time I will finally follow through....that this time I will have the confidence to share finish it.
In his heart though, he knows that it is only a matter of time before I come up with an excuse for why IT won't work. Whatever my "IT" of the month is, he can almost bet on the fact that I will find a way to sabotage it. Don't get me wrong, I really don't want to be this person. I don't want to be the sort of woman who takes two steps forward and three steps back my whole life. But frankly, that is exactly who I am.
I don't sit and wallow....if you didn't know me as well as hubby does, you would actually think I am quite functional. because on the outside, I am a good wife, a good step-mom, a good person...I am funny when I need to be, supportive unconditionally, and certainly not a sad soul to be around. But on the inside, where it matters the most, I have just been stuck for a very long time and I don't want to be stuck anymore.
I think I have spent a lot of my life trying to find my place. I search and search for people like me who are creative, yet terrified to share their creativity. Ithink to myself that if I ever found them, then we could form some sort of a club and hide out under the moonlight together...But all I can find is myriad of talented people who just put their "IT" out there and hope for the best. I want to be like them. I want to not be afraid of what people will think. I want to wake up every morning excited about what is to come instead of secretly finding ways to hide. But for as long as I can remember, hiding is what I do best. Hiding my art, hiding my words, hiding who I really am.
I don't feel like hiding anymore.
Inspiration Pie is the manifestation of the world I have been creating for myself in my own head. It is the whole menagerie of ideas, snap shots, projects, lightening bolts and anything else that comes to mind. It is me, finally stepping out from behind the curtain and letting a little sunlight hit my face. Maybe today Inspiration Pie will be about a painting....and tomorrow it will be the rings I created.....perhaps by Wednesday it will be a whole new project. I never know what is lurking in this constantly spinning mind of mine. I only know that all this time I have been pushing away any chance I have for authentic happiness because I find ways to rip it away from myself. I have always had so much that I want to share with the world, and yet, I silence myself constantly. I don't want to sit in silence anymore. I want to climb to the top of a mountain and give myself permission to be heard. So, I created Inspiration Pie...again...and my hope is this time I will find the courage to silence the voices of self-sabotage and make "IT" all work.
There is so much to enjoy. So much to celebrate, and be inspired by....and I notice all of it, I drink it in like a cold glass of lemonade on the hottest day...and then I neatly fold it up, tuck it into a box and hide it...I find reasons not to share it, not to embrace it. But today, at least in this moment, I can't stand the thought of keeping all of this creativity and thought bound up in my own brain for another second. I feel the sand plinking through life's hourglass one little fleck at a time and I just can't imagine choosing, actually choosing to waste another minute.
Here's hoping beyond hope that this time I will allow myself to slice off my own piece of life's inspiration pie and finally take a really big bite out of it!