Well, it’s official. We have entered the dog days of summer. Store aisles that have been filled with coolers, beach towels, and gardening tools the last few months are now stocked with pencils, spiral notebooks, and other school supplies, ready for a school year that is quickly approaching. We know the pumpkins are next! With that said, we’re not quite ready to say goodbye to the long days of the season just yet, and here are a few things we’ve learned this summer.
It’s nice to take a vacation from healthy eating and our workout routine, but always a bit painful getting back on the wagon. Summer tends to lend itself to getting out of your eating and workout regime, so give yourself a bit of a break knowing that you will make up for it when the regular schedule of life resumes.
For those of us who are very structured with our schedule (May and June), it’s ok to take a break, re-evaluate, and try something new. Remember, change is healthy and can even open new doors.
If you’re not already in one, join a book club or start your own. You will get an opportunity to read something you wouldn’t ordinarily pick on your own, it’s a great place to cultivate new friendships, and of course there’s always great food and wine.
This is a difficult one, we know, but try to embrace adversity. Generally, when something difficult enters our world, it is a tap on the shoulder that a new road is waiting for us. Try to understand what that challenge is teaching us, and go with it. Change always results in growth, even if it is wearisome.
Similarly, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something that scares you shakes things up. It may be uncomfortable in the moment, but ultimately the feeling of pride overrules fear.
It is nice to have the house to yourself for a few days, and even better when your spouse comes home. Absence sometimes makes you remember how much you miss each other.
Chocolate makes everything better. Indulge (in moderation of course)!
Have a good weekend. –May and June
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi
I can’t believe it’s Monday again! Is it me or does it feel like time keeps moving faster and faster? I often find when there is a lot happening in my life at one time, I start to feel a little off and need to move inward. For me, it’s about staying connected to the ancient practice that always brings me back to a feeling of balance.
The word yoga means “union”. For me, it is a conscious connection to something such as my body, breath, mind, spirit or environment resulting in a feeling of peace and contentment. For years, my yoga was on my mat and involved a physical practice of asana (movement) where I pushed my body into postures worthy of a magazine cover. At that time in my life, my bliss came from being in my body and I always felt a sense of calm and peace when my practice was over. My physical practice, although it has gone through adjustments over time, is still a large part of my life, but I’ve also discovered other ways of achieving that yoga experience, or connection if you will.
My yoga is connecting to my breath. Do you ever take a moment throughout your day to simply stop, close your eyes, and truly be with your breath? If you don’t, you should try it. In fact, let’s do it right now. My guess is if you’re reading this you are in a seated position, so close your eyes, bring your awareness to the touch of breath at your nostrils, inhale to the count of four, then exhale to the count of four. Do this ten times and then open your eyes. Do you feel a little calmer? Deep breathing relaxes the central nervous system, which in turn reduces tension in the body and calms the mind. I recommend doing this when you wake up, mid-day, and before you go to bed. Trust me, it works.
My yoga is spending a little time in what I call sacred space. Is there someplace you like to go for a few moments of solitude? I love the beach during the off season. There are fewer tourists, the kids are back in school and it is so nice to sit and listen to the sound of the ocean. I also love to sit on my favorite bench in a secluded church yard where I can connect with nature. It’s a lovely spot to meditate or read a book. I always tell my students to enjoy a few moments of quiet time each day, even if it is simply taking a short walk. Of course you can always create a sacred space in your yard or home.
My yoga is disconnecting from my mobile devices. This is a big one. In fact, I could probably write an entire post on the negative impact of social media, but for now, I’ll stick with simply taking a break from it. Last week my daughter, Nicole, came for a visit, and we had a chat about how attached we are to our phones. She is a soon to be twenty year old college student who will regularly deactivate many of her social media accounts to take a break from all the noise. We spent a day at the beach and purposely left our phones in the car so we could be completely engaged with one another and our environment. No, there weren’t selfies of us posted on Instagram, frolicking on the beach documenting our day. In fact, at one point, we realized we had no idea what time it was, and didn’t care. We had a lovely day of uninterrupted time together that will forever remain between us. We were completely in the present moment. It made me realize how much I miss that. While Nicole and I were at dinner one evening, she went to the rest room. Now, how many of you would take that opportunity to go on your phone to read the latest “fake news”, check Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or emails? We both kept our phones in our purses and while she was gone, not only did I notice the charming surroundings in the restaurant, I also saw many diners either on their phones, or saw phones sitting on the table. I often see men and women pushing strollers while they are on their phones, or they are on their phones at the park while their children play by themselves. I’ve seen someone step off a curb and fall because he was on his phone, and even though it’s illegal, people still text while driving……all the time. What is happening to us?! Now, I realize there are a lot of great things about social media, but do we need to be informed 24 hours a day? I truly feel we would all benefit from taking regular breaks to allow our brains the opportunity to power down and settle into stillness. In fact, I think it’s vital to our well being. I have cut way back, I don’t miss it, and I am happier for it. If we are always on our phones, how can we have that yoga connection with those we love or ourselves for that matter? I challenge you to curb the amount of time you spend on social media, and see how you feel.
My yoga is living in the present moment. Let’s not dwell on the past, it’s gone. Let’s not worry about the future, it’s not here yet. Let’s fill ourselves with gratitude for today.
Have a great week ~May
“Yoga is the space where flower blossoms.”
We are blessed in Chicago with a plethora of renowned museums, but I rarely visit any of them. I think it is a function of taking them for granted because I live here. Also, as an introvert, I don’t find them particularly relaxing. There is a lot of noise and crowds and I feel like I need to comprehend every piece of information that is presented to me. I leave most museums filled up, but also exhausted. However, I recently discovered (or rediscovered to be more accurate) a museum of peace and beauty at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.
A friend of May Meets June (who is also our wonderful blog designer) works at the garden which put them back on my radar. The Chicago Botanic Gardens are located in the northern suburbs of Chicago and a short car ride from my home.
I have always loved gardens although I am not a gardener myself. I love to look at other people’s gardens. My grandmother always had a beautiful flower garden with lots of cutting flowers, which one of these days I may try and replicate.
My mom and I visited on my birthday. We enjoyed the beautiful plants and flowers, and had a refreshing lunch with a glass of wine under a canopy of green trees overlooking the blooming rose garden.
This museum felt peaceful. There were people and there was information about the plants to read which could have overwhelmed me. Instead, though, being in a beautiful natural setting just exuded calm and was refreshing. Rather than a museum it felt like a giant park.
If you have botanic gardens in your area, I suggest you check them out for a moment of beauty. They may be a gem for you to discover. Your soul and spirit will thank you. -June
If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.
― Frances Hodgson Burnett,
A few weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday. My birthday often makes me reflective. I am neither young enough or old enough to be proud of my age. So let’s just say I celebrated the anniversary of my 29th birthday again. In honor of that, here are 29 truths I have discovered. Not all are easy to remember, but always good to keep in mind.
- All moments in life are temporary. In moments of discomfort or sadness or pain, it is difficult to remember this fact. Some moments in life last longer but eventually time moves forward. The one thing you can count on is change.
- Sometimes the best thing you can do is let go.
- Pizza is always a good choice for dinner.
- Physical activity makes your body stronger and your brain feel better.
- Find laughter. Laughter is good for your soul and also makes your core tighter.
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
- It’s ok if not everyone likes you. Do you like everyone?
- Invite people into your home. No one cares if your home is perfectly decorated or clutter-free. No one cares whether or not you can cook. Extend the gift of hospitality. People are happy to be invited.
- Friday is my favorite day of the week. Monday is my least favorite day of the week.
- Put some effort into your appearance. You don’t have to wear designer or expensive clothes or lots of beauty products. A little effort shows you care about yourself and permits others to respect you.
- Check the weather before you leave the house. There is no reason to be unprepared. The weather forecast is everywhere.
- If you find a style that you love and looks good on you, go with it. You don’t have to follow trends. And it’s ok to wear your favorite pair of pants more than once a week.
- A cup of coffee makes mornings a lot easier.
- Planning ahead makes your life easier to manage.
- Find interests to share with your spouse. Also find interests that are yours alone.
- Food and drinks always taste better when they are enjoyed with family, friends or on a patio.
- Faith is a gift. Like all gifts it takes hard work, but it is amazing for your heart to know there is something bigger than that which can be seen, that you are unique for a reason and miracles happen at every turn.
- Cheese is the most perfect food group.
- Just because you are right doesn’t mean you have to say it.
- Sometimes the only answer is to pray and breathe.
- It’s okay to order a pair of pretty shoes from Zappos to just try them on, and after you admired them on yourself to return them.
- It’s okay if you are still searching for what you want to be when you grow up.
- People cannot read your mind. If something is bothering you, speak up.
- Surround yourself with books, beauty and joy.
- Watching TV is sometimes the perfect escape. You don’t have to be productive or enriching your mind every minute of every day. My guilty pleasure is the Bachelor/Bachelorette shows. Complete drivel and so fantastical.
- Celebrate milestones like birthdays and anniversaries. These days are your own personal holidays. And celebrate even the ordinary days. Buy yourself a little treat whether it be a Starbucks coffee or a bouquet of flowers.
- When you have a lot to do, make a list.
- Always carry a book with you. It makes time spent waiting pass more quickly.
- Accept yourself with all of your gifts and flaws. There is nothing better than being comfortable with who you are.
The years give us experiences and wisdom. So on your birthday celebrate all that you have achieved and the truths that you now know and look with excitement to the future and all that to be still accomplished. –June
God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. Voltaire
These last six months, I have lived somewhat out of my comfort zone. I have been traveling between houses preparing one home to be put on the market, while creating a comfortable space in the new one. I have also spent a lot of time away from my husband and the security of what has been our home life. Although I am feeling more settled and connected to our new digs, I still find comfort in the place I have called home for so many years. I will be traveling back to Chicago over the 4th of July holiday, the last in our home town, and look forward to spending time with family and friends, as well as work on some last minute preparations before the For Sale sign is placed on our front lawn in the next few weeks.
My husband’s company is relocating us, the process has begun, and now suddenly it all feels so real. Am I ready to leave? Yes, no question. We have been ready for a fresh start for a while, however we needed to stay put until the girls graduated from high school. And now here we are. Even though we are leaving, there is a piece of my heart that will remain there. I had a wonderful childhood in Chicago and my children were born and raised in that house. We were the third owners, but lived there the longest and I definitely put my stamp on it. My how that house has changed over the years.
Right now, after several months of activity, I find myself in a bit of a lull before the craziness of moving and getting two daughters to college on opposite coasts begins. Sometimes, I get a little anxious when there is too much quiet. My mind has always had a hard time enjoying the bliss of too much silence, and it never takes long before it starts whispering “what if’s” into my ear. I start living in the space of a future that isn’t a part of my life, yet can still cause me anxiety. I have to remind myself that I am being given this gift of solitude to enjoy and prepare for the busy August ahead. I have to remind myself that everything is as it should be, and seek that soul connection to my breath- the present moment. While I was having one of those stressful moments, I opened an email from my daughter, Nicole. It was a post she had written about Coming Home to Yourself, and it was just what I needed to read. Funny how that happens.
I would like to share that post with you.
It has been a whirlwind of a year. The latter half of 2016 and the first part of 2017 were filled with events that pushed the boundaries of my experience. This time was expansive, exciting, sometimes uncomfortable, as are most things that propel us out of our comfort zones. Overall, it was wonderful, and I am grateful for every experience, whether it was positive or negative or anywhere in between.
And now, my body is calling me to creative stillness. It is calling me inward, homeward. To listen, to breathe, and to be still. And I must honor this calling, or else I will lose balance. When my body calls for rest, I sleep. When I wish to be alone, I seek solitude. When I want to write, I write, and when I don’t want to write, I honor that as well. The body’s rhythms are delicate, and many of us have numbed ourselves to its nuances. We feel burned out and uninspired because we have neglected to take the time to listen and feed the aspects of ourselves that are begging for our attention and awareness.
This process of homing, returning, introverting… it requires us to be honest with ourselves. We must drop our pretenses, let go of any our personal expectations of who we think we should be. We must be willing to do the work, to purge the toxic emotions that keep us in the same cycles of fear, resentment, listlessness, and doubt. We must nurture and soothe the unhealed parts of ourselves and act on the inner callings to take action in ways that align with our souls. Whatever your body and soul are urging you to do, this is your time to do it.
If we don’t honor ourselves and our needs, we will never truly become who we need to be. We will always fall short of our truest potential if we march to the rhythm of the world, or even the rhythm of those around us. We are all different, and thus we all have different requirements for self-care and self-expression that we must uphold. Not everyone will understand your personal needs, but if these boundaries are critical for your well-being, don’t hesitate to make them clear without compromise. You should never have to apologize to others for who you are and what you need as a human being. This is something I am still practicing, as I have often sacrificed my own needs to make others comfortable or happy. However, I am learning that if others fail to respect me, it may just be that their needs differ from my own, or perhaps they have yet to expand the scope of their compassion and understanding to those who are different from themselves. Just remember that you are never at fault for being who you are.
I believe there is a time to sing and dance, and a time to listen and be still. Whatever place you are on your path, honor it. You deserve that sort of unconditional self-love.
take your time.
you are coming
Have a wonderful week. ~ May
At the end of last week I was tired. Not just physically tired but spiritually tired. I felt as if I was suffocating under a pile of worry. That feeling of being overwhelmed and anxious was a bit consuming so we took the weekend to recharge. It is tempting on a long holiday weekend to plan lots of activities, social events and projects. I knew that going into the weekend we should do none of that and instead take the time to recharge.
So this weekend we spent time porch sitting and napping. We watched a very schmaltzy movie on the Hallmark channel and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. We went out to dinner one night, ordered pizza another night and cooked at home.
I was not completely without ambition. The warm weather and open windows make me want to freshen up things in the house. So, I washed every piece of bedding on our bed. I also took summer clothes out of storage which involved more laundry.
I enjoyed a yoga class, got a pedicure and walked barefoot admiring my pretty pink toes.
We took Gatsby for many walks. Gatsby and I supervised while my husband did a little yard work. We watched someone else plant our new tree in our back yard.
I cut a few of my newly bloomed peonies to bring in the house and fill the kitchen with their sweet scent (after knocking the ants off of them).
I enjoyed sunshine and fresh spring breezes. I left my phone charging for a whole day and took a break from the computer and all of its accompaniments.
We may have missed out on some things by pretty much holing up all weekend. Sometimes though the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a break. There is always chatter about listening to your body about what you need, but how many of us really listen? I am so glad that I did listen this past weekend. While I may have not woken up ready to take on the world, I did feel mentally and physically healthier. All in all a weekend of recharging was just what was needed. –June
“All that is important comes in quietness and waiting.” — Patrick Lindsay
Recently we were working on handstand in yoga class. To feel more comfortable, we were working against the wall which meant that when you kick up, with your feet over your head, you cannot fall over. However, as soon as I got in position my brain told me that I was not strong enough and that I was going to fall on my head. Guess what happened? I could not get my feet off of the ground and it was because of limiting beliefs.
I find that limiting beliefs can prevent me from doing so much that I am fully capable of doing. Do you do this to yourself as well?
There are many things I do not do because I don’t think I can do them. I cannot do a handstand or a headstand or really any upside down pose. I cannot draw or sing. I cannot run. I have trouble going to a party where I do not know anyone. Are any of these really true?
My limiting beliefs about myself prevent me from even trying any of these things. The limiting beliefs cause fear. They cause me to fear that I am going to fail or embarrass myself. However, that should not matter.
We should try those things that we are passionate about even if there is the risk of failure. In the long run, who cares if we try and fall flat on our face. And no one is good at something the first time they try.
There have been times that I have let my limiting beliefs get the best of me and it has caused me to miss out on something amazing. When we were in Hawaii years ago I refused to swing on a rope over a deep lagoon because I was not sure I could do it. I still regret that I didn’t try it. But I am so glad that my limiting beliefs have not prevented me from trying zip lining, going whitewater rafting, learning to knit or start blogging.
I am still working on keeping those limiting beliefs in check. My dream is to write a novel. I have dabbled with an idea and a few pages here and there. When I sit down to write I am immediately seized with the limiting belief that I am not a writer or that I am a terrible writer. It prevents me from moving forward and having fun just writing.
That critical voice in our head is loud and sometimes the best thing we can do is acknowledge it. And then tell that voice it is a liar. If you really want to pursue something, do it and do not let those limiting beliefs hold you back.
In the meantime, I am going to tell that voice to shut up when I sit down to write and also when I work on my handstand. I may only write a paragraph or I may get my feet barely off the ground but it will be progress which will show that voice who is boss.
Do you have limiting beliefs about yourself that are holding you back? Is there anything you do to put those limiting beliefs aside? –June
Many people are passionate, but because of their limiting beliefs about who they are and what they can do, they never take actions that could make their dreams a reality. -Tony Robbins
The last few days I have been in Chicago. Our youngest daughter, Alyssa, just attended her senior prom and is graduating from high school tomorrow. I can’t believe our adorable and feisty little redhead is going off to college in a few months. In addition to celebrating her graduation, I’m also back for a doctor and dental appointment- my last before moving, I’m staging the house for selling, and of course a day of play (ahem, work) with June. I also celebrated my last birthday in my home town yesterday. Although this visit has been filled with more work than play, we have all enjoyed our time together, falling back into the natural rhythm of our family.
I’ve been getting the house ready to sell in stages, removing the first layer of “stuff” last fall. I can’t tell you how many times my mom and I filled the car with items collected over the years, emptying its contents at the nearby Goodwill. Of course the same woman was always behind the counter, and I think I saw an eye roll a few times when she saw my car pull up. Living in South Carolina the last few months has really given me perspective on what I truly need, and what I can live without. There are no basements there and with the heat and humidity, you need to be selective when storing items in the garage. I did let go of a lot more this time around. There were more bags for donation as well as garbage and the house feels a little lighter. Bob and I decided to have a moving sale since there will be quite a bit of furniture that won’t be traveling with us and we’ll have a truck pick up what’s left, and take it for donation. It’s nice to have a plan.
I’ve accomplished a lot in the house this trip and definitely feel like we are one step closer to the final leg of our journey. As I remove more layers of “us” from this home, I feel less connected to it. I always imagined leaving would fill me with sadness, and although I may shed a tear or two before the moving van pulls away, I am grateful for all the wonderful memories. Now that our family is grown, I feel it’s time for a new one to enjoy this house and fill it with the sounds of children, birthday sleepovers, and holidays. The grammar school and high school are within walking distance and it’s the perfect place to raise a family. I’m heading back to South Carolina on Wednesday, but will be back again for the 4th of July holiday where we will celebrate our nation’s birthday together, enjoying time by the pool and of course our town’s fireworks as we prepare to take that next step. It’s so true what they say about our lives being all about the journey and making the most of it, no matter where the road takes us. We are on a journey together as a family, but we are all on our own personal voyage as well. It’s a little scary but oh so exciting.
Have a great week! ~May
Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip.
— Robert J. Hastings
This Sunday is May’s birthday. So first everyone wish her a Happy Birthday! Second, in our birthday months we always like to do something a little special. So we thought it would be fun to interview each other. I, June, interviewed May to find out everything you ever wanted to know about her. Well, maybe not really but there are some interesting tidbits here.
The following is not an accurate and completely editorialized interview of my interview with May. June’s comments are in pink italics.
So give me your stats – I am married to Bob. I have two sons and two daughters and a labradoodle named Sawyer. I am in the process of moving permanently to Charleston, South Carolina but right now have a home there and in the northwest suburbs of Chicago (If anyone is looking for a new home, May’s house is gorgeous and you should look at it). I am a yoga teacher currently on sabbatical, an interior designer that is currently working on my new home, a blogger who is hoping to take over the blogosphere, a corporate and regular wife and a mom.
When and why did you become a yoga teacher? I became a yoga teacher in 1998. I was going through a difficult time in my life (divorce) and a friend suggested that I try yoga. After my first class I was hooked and a year later decided that I wanted to teach. I completed a two year program that studied both the philosophy and the teaching of yoga. I know May had to do a residency for her yoga program and it was an all vegetarian diet at the yoga center which meant lots and lots of beans. At the airport waiting for her flight home, May ate the best burger and drank the best beer she ever had in her whole life.
What is your favorite yoga pose? Child’s pose is my favorite because you can do it anywhere and anytime. It releases tension in the body. I also like headstand because it allows me to the look at the world from a different perspective. It really depends on my mood.
Everyone has a favorite holiday but what is your second favorite holiday? Christmas is my second favorite holiday because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
What is your favorite season? My favorite season is summer although I also really really like Fall (unlike June who hates Fall).
What do you look forward to in the summer? I look forward to being in my garden and playing in the dirt and just being outside in general. This summer is a little different because I am selling a house, packing it up and moving to Charleston, South Carolina. (June now has her fingers in her ears singing La La La because she doesn’t want to hear about May moving.)
What is one thing that you are good at that no one else in your family is good at? Organizing. (I’ve been subject to her organizing when she helped me clean my closet. She is good but mean, very mean.)
What is one of your pet peeves? When people don’t clean up after themselves. (Are you guys noticing a theme? Just so everyone knows, May’s nickname is Monica after the Friends character who needs to clean and cleans even after other people have cleaned because it’s not clean enough.)
What is one thing that you are not good at that you wish you could do better? Math. I was terrible at geometry. I had to have tutoring sessions with the teacher and took it pass/fail. The teacher agreed to pass me if I promised never to have a career that involved anything with math. (I hear you Sister.)
What do you do for fun? Biking ( Bob and I biked over 500 miles last summer), trying new restaurants (especially in my new city), reading and cooking.
What are some of your favorite childhood books? Boxcar children, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, and of course Little Women.
What are some favorite books as an adult? The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. A writer goes to Scotland to do research for her book and she begins to experience some of the parts of her research. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and the Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Honestly, there are so many favorites!!
What are some of your favorite TV shows? Outlander, The Crown, any Masterpiece series show, The Walking Dead and Younger (I agree with a lot of those but The Walking Dead. Scary.)
What are some of your favorite movies? Gone With The Wind (she and her mom often say to each other, “We’ll worry about it tomorrow, Scarlett”), Star Wars, Jaws, ET, any movie with Audrey Hepburn. I also like foreign films.
What is one weird or unusual thing about you? I have always enjoyed listening to classical music when I cook or bake. I used to have a little radio in my kitchen and I would turn on the classical station while I was cooking. The classical music relaxes and inspires me in the kitchen.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I would like to know the future. As a structured and organized person if I knew the future I could prepare for it. (Umm, May do you remember that we are all about living in the present moment? ) I also would like to be able to fly.
Thank you May for allowing me to interview you and ask you some crazy questions. I wish you the happiest of birthdays and so many blessings in the upcoming year. I am so going to miss you when you move away from me. I have already missed you this winter. It’s good thing we don’t get charged by the text because we would literally go broke. I love you my dear friend. –June
Today you are you that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you. -Dr. Seuss
We think it is always a good thing to recognize your life for being awesome. The awesomeness does not have to be saved for big moments but can be appreciated in small moments. Here are a few things that we think are awesome lately.
Friday. It’s Friday!!! Friday’s are always awesome. You can do anything on Friday.
Mother’s Day. This weekend is Mother’s Day. If you are a mom take time and enjoy being celebrated for the sometimes thankless but rewarding job of being a mom. And we all have a mom so make sure to celebrate your mom. If you are still looking for gift ideas we have some thoughts.
Spring Weather. Because it is May it means that our favorite season, summer, is quickly approaching. The earth is waking up from its long winter sleep and showing us her beautiful colors. Looking out the window, going out for a walk or sitting on a lawn chair is awesome right now.
New Clothes. The change of seasons also means that it is fun to look and maybe buy a few new clothes.
The ruffle is a big trend this summer. It is a cute feminine detail and can be flattering. You can find it on dresses, blouses and even t-shirts.
Gingham seems to be on trend this summer as well. Gingham is always a sweet print but it is being done in styles that don’t make it too young to pull off.
And warm weather would not be the same without dresses. Now is a good time to look for a few comfortable dress to be cool and look pulled together even in the steamy heat. This is a cute sundress and looks to be a nice length.
Mexican Food. Cinco de Mayo was last week and that combined with outdoor dining, makes us want to eat all of the chips and guacamole, tacos and margaritas. Mexican food is always awesome maybe because it feels like a party. One of our favorite Mexican restaurants is Uncle Julio’s, the skinny margarita is more than awesome, and we were excited to see that they are expanding and opening more restaurants.
Fun Quotes. A fun quote we saw this week:
So check out the awesome in your life. And have an awesome weekend. –May and June
“Whenever I’m sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead.” — Barney Stinson
I went to a ribbon cutting ceremony last Saturday. As old as I am, can you believe that I have never been to a ribbon ceremony? The ceremony was full of all of the pomp and circumstance that such an event should contain. There were speeches and pictures. Then the grand event of cutting a big red ribbon over the front door with giant scissors opened the building to all visitors!
This ribbon cutting was special for me because it was the grand opening of a new library where my brother is the director. The project has taken over a year and was a lot of work for him and many others. The opening deserved this kind of ceremony because it was a momentous occasion of a vision coming to life.
When I mentioned to others that I had never been to a ribbon cutting ceremony, most others (some much older than me) echoed the same sentiment. So it got me thinking that we should have more ribbon cutting ceremonies to celebrate the fruition of our own visions and accomplishments.
Other than your graduation and your wedding, when was the last time you celebrated an achievement? And even if you have had a celebration when was the last time you celebrated in a big, possibly public, splashy way? I know for me it has been a long time. As adults I think we have a tendency to accomplish one thing and then immediately look forward to the next thing that needs to be done. We should all take time to pause and celebrate all of those moments both big and small.
Buy a new house? Put a big ribbon on your front door and cut it before you walk through. Not only did you make it through the home buying process but you are committing to making a home in that structure.
Finish a big project at work? Put a big ribbon on your office door and cut it before you start your day, taking a moment to relish in a completed job.
Clean out the closet? Put a big ribbon on the closet door so it reminds you that the closet is clean every time you walk in the room.
The big ribbon might be a bit ludicrous and in some situation too ostentatious. For example cutting a ribbon on the grocery store cart because you finally have food in your house may get you some funny looks. But do something to celebrate when you accomplish something and feel proud. The reason why those ribbons are almost always red and those scissors are gigantic is a statement is being made that this is something huge and important and special. Those ceremonies not only celebrate what has been completed but what is to come. So find those moments in your life to have a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate you and all that you are and everything that comes next. –June
You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness. Zig Ziglar
This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous here in Charleston. We were blessed with blue skies, moderate temperatures and best of all, low humidity. It was the perfect weekend to walk the beach, eat at a favorite outdoor cafe, or take a stroll through a nearby historical neighborhood and enjoy the beautiful homes and gardens, which is what I did on Saturday morning. Window boxes are overflowing with colorful blooms and I love that every house on the block is unique and filled with history. If only each home could tell us its story! I love to take pictures of homes and gardens that inspire me, especially as I continue to layer a little southern charm to my own abode.
The flowers are at their peak right now and do so much to dress up these historical homes.
These homes caught my eye and were on the same block, but as you can see very different from each other. I love that about old neighborhoods. I would move into all of them!!
I loved the color on this one. I picture some ferns hanging on the porches and pots of colorful flowers on the steps.
I bet this pink lady was magnificent at one time. The homes in Charleston are never torn down, but restored to their former beauty. I can’t wait to see this one after her makeover!
If you’re looking for a little inspiration for your home, simply walk out your front door or take a stroll through your favorite neighborhood and enjoy the spring colors.
Have a great week! ~ May
Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.
Today we are celebrating the last Friday in April before we move into one of our two favorite months… May of course! Let the May flowers bloom!! We are always taking away lessons as we journey through life and love to share the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. Sometimes these are profound and other times, they are just trivial. Here are just a few things we’ve learned lately.
Our pets are our family. Make sure you stay up to date on their health with regular vet appointments, so potential problems can be caught early. Our furry family members give us so much and depend on us for love, care, and overall well being.
Meal prepping on the weekend is a godsend. June started using a subscription service called Prepdish that sends her menus for the month. You can pick between paleo and gluten free which means that all of the food is healthy. The menus include a grocery list and instructions for four dinners, a side salad, a breakfast, a snack and a dessert. She spends a couple of hours on Sunday prepping the menu items. Sometimes this means cooking the day’s food completely and other times it means just prepping all of the ingredients to cook the day the meal will be eaten. There are no more decisions in the evening about what to have for dinner, we are eating healthier (more fish) and throwing away less. With only 2 people eating, we easily halve the recipes or have leftovers for lunch.
The only journey we are responsible for, is our own. It is not our job to make choices for others. When we do, we deprive them of their own experiences and life lessons. We all must walk our own path.
Take a moment to observe the beauty of nature right in your own backyard. Are rabbits nesting in the middle of your yard? June has had a mama bunny build a nest in the yard almost right outside the front door. It has been a bit of a challenge to protect the babies from Gatsby. We have put a little fencing around, but not enclosing the nest to try and dissuade the dog and also protect it from the lawn mower. The mama bunny does not sit on the nest but she is always nearby. Apparently, she only comes occasionally to feed her babies and tries not to draw attention to the nest.
When you’re traveling ,make time for an afternoon pick me up and just enjoy the scenery. (You can do this in your own town too!) It’s amazing how much you can learn by simply observing.
Have a good weekend! –May and June
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. -Henry Ford
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. We had a beautiful day and while Sawyer and I were out for our early morning walk, I enjoyed seeing the little ones in our neighborhood, armed with Easter baskets as they ran around their homes searching for Easter eggs in cozy pj’s, their tired parents (also in pj’s) stifling yawns and armed with coffee mugs, following close behind. The smell of pancakes and bacon throughout the neighborhood was intoxicating. By the time we made it back to our porch, cars were driving down the street, its occupants dressed in their Sunday best as they headed off to Easter service. It was a lovely day.
Since returning from Italy, my internal alarm clock has been waking me up at 5am. I don’t know if my body is just taking its sweet time adjusting back to our time zone, or if it’s simply the subtle shift in the seasons. Over time, I’ve noticed my body has always been very much in tune with the sunrise and sunset. This morning, I again was awake early and left Sawyer dreaming in the quiet sanctuary of the bedroom. I made a cup of coffee and went outside onto the piazza to listen to the first stirrings of morning. I love hearing the birds when I wake up, especially the familiar tune the cardinals sing, along with the occasional owl.
I’ve always loved the peace that comes just before sunrise. For me, it’s a time for reflection, gratitude, and preparation for a new day. It’s a time when I can set my intention for how I want my day to go. Do I want those that I interact with to have the power to affect how I feel? Or, do I simply want to live this day to the fullest for myself? For me, gratitude is part of everyday. Saying thank you for what I have, as well as what I don’t have keeps me present and my life meaningful. How easy is it for us to constantly be worrying about what may or may not happen in the future? When we do that, we miss the beauty and subtle messages that come with today. For me, “thank you” is the most meaningful part of prayer.
Now, as I continue to reflect, the birds songs are growing louder and I’ve noticed a few lights turning on in my neighbors homes. Soon, everyone’s day will begin as cars and school buses make their way down the street. The light outside is beginning to change as the sun prepares to rise and shine on what promises to be another beautiful day, and I feel connected and at peace. Sawyer, now awake, has found me and soon will be ready to start his day too…..after a few quiet moments of reflection.
Have a great day.
A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.
At the beginning of Lent, I told you about my Lenten challenge. I was going to get rid of 40 bags in 40 days. This was not only a housecleaning project, but a spiritual one. The intent was to get rid of things that were no longer serving. By getting rid of the material, I hoped to let go of the non-material. The purge has continued at my house and I do not mean that horror movie that I refuse to watch. These are a few things that have helped me in this process.
First, before taking on this challenge, my husband and I talked about and agreed to do it together. Both of us have an excess of stuff in our house and he needs to make his own decisions about his stuff. It has been extraordinarily helpful for him to be right there alongside me getting rid of things that are no longer serving him. He also helps me carry out the trash and take items to be donated which is practical help.
Second, we did a large painting project to the interior of our house including the master bedroom closet. This meant that all of the contents of the closet were all over the rest of the bedrooms in the upstairs of our house. We had stuff piled on the bed in the guest room, in the hallway and piled on the floor in the office. The visual of all of that stuff was a great motivator to realize that we had way too much stuff in that closet. Instead of simply putting everything back in the closet, we took our time to go through the items, and purge. Our closet is much more organized now.
Third, I read portions of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. A caveat is that I borrowed this book from the library so I did not add another book to my bookshelf. This book was much buzzed about a year or two ago on women’s talk shows and other media. I was told that there were tricks in there for storing your clothes. One of her tips is to fold your t-shirts in a manner that your can line them up vertically rather than in a stack. Then when you open your drawer you can see all of your selections rather than just the ones on top. Some of her philosophy for organizing seems a bit hokey. For items that are not purely utilitarian, she tells you that you should hold each object and determine if it gives you joy. It sounds silly but when I have been on the fence about whether to keep or dispose of something, I have thought about whether it gives me joy. The other thing she advises is if you are disposing an object to thank it for what it gave you, and say goodbye. I have done that and it does make me feel less guilty about getting rid of it. It served its purpose and now it is time for it to move on.
Finally, we have donated a lot of items. While I do not want to have an attitude of snobbery, I have tried to think often of the people my donated items may help. We have not donated items that are worn out or broken. For the items that still have life in them, I hope they will clothe someone and keep them warm, help someone dress for an interview, or even just allow someone to wear a nice item that they otherwise might not have been able to afford. We also try and donate to an organization such as Goodwill that employs people who have limitations that could make it difficult for them to find a job.
The process continues over at our house. As of the weekend, I think we were up to 22 bags, an extension ladder and a broken magazine basket. I am not sure we are going to hit the 40 bag mark by Easter next weekend unless we are absolute maniacs this weekend. However, we have started the process and plan to continue it past Easter. By disposing of material things, not only do I have a clean closet but most importantly I have realized that we are blessed with overabundance. Even after purging, I still have too many pairs of shoes, too many hoodies and too many books. It is making me more conscientious about spending our money on items that we do not need. I would like this evolve into less excess stuff in our life and open our lives to an excess of experience and joy. –June
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. -William Morris
It is officially spring and along with new life poking up from the cold damp earth, we are starting to hear the beautiful sound of chirping birds in the morning, as well as the wonderful feeling of the warm sun as we gently turn our faces up toward the sky, our bodies eager to drink in some much needed vitamin D. Spring is also the time we experience those rainy days that are so needed to wash away the stillness of winter, and encouraging new growth to take its place with beautiful blooms in shades of pink, yellow, and red.
As much as we love blue skies and sunshine, every now and then we enjoy a rainy spring day. A rainy day is the perfect time to stay in our comfiest of clothes, make a bowl of popcorn, and snuggle up on the couch with a great classic movie. How about Gone with the Wind? Yes, it’s a bit long but that’s the great thing about having a pause button, right? If you’re like us, you have probably seen it several times, but if you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out.
A rainy day is the perfect time to put on your boots and raincoat, grab your umbrella and explore your neighborhood. It’s mother nature’s way of cleansing the body and soul and you’re never to old to splash through puddles.
A rainy day is the perfect time to bake chocolate chip cookies. Is it just us, or do cookies smell better on a gloomy day?
A rainy day is the perfect time to take a nap. There is something so peaceful about the sound of rain falling in an otherwise quiet room. There are even apps that mimic that sound for a better night’s sleep.
Of course a rainy day, or any day is the perfect time to curl up on the couch with a great book and a cup of tea.
What do you like to do on rainy days?
Have a great weekend.~May and June
The sound of rain needs no translation.
Last Tuesday night, I went to a concert with my husband. The performer was not my choice. My husband thinks though that he is still young and hip, so we saw Ariana Grande perform (and some other people who I did not even know). The audience was young for the most part. We had crazy close seats on the floor and a great view of the stage. However, that view was obstructed by everyone in front of us holding up their phones to record the show. The guy immediately in front of me recorded the whole concert.
We go to concerts sporadically and we go because we love the experience. There is a magic to seeing and hearing a performer sing live. There is a magic to sharing that experience with the people filling the venue and listening to their screaming and singing along with the performer. We attend live performances for that shared experience. This is the reason we still attend movies at a movie theater or a football game in a stadium. The technology has become so advanced that we can watch almost any movie from the comfort of our own couch. However, it is a different experience to attend those events with the excitement of a crowd.
Watching these mainly young people watch this live concert through the screens of their phone made me think they are missing the experience. I can assure you that just because you do not have a recording or a picture of an event to post to social media, the event did still occur in your life. This blog often talks about enjoying the beauty of the present moment and this is the antithesis of that concept. Do you really want to view your life through a screen? It seems that you are being an audience member of your life rather than a participant.
My iPhone 7 plus has a screen size of 5.5 inches. My world and life would be very small if I viewed my whole life through that screen. I would miss out on things going on around me. I would miss the crack on the sidewalk and trip. I would miss the beautiful sunset. I would miss seeing the “protest” a few weeks ago of six people walking down the middle of a busy city street holding a sign and chanting. I would forget to use my other senses too. My sense of smell to enjoy a fresh rainfall or my sense of sound to hear the first birds of the spring chirping their songs.
Preserving memories is great but don’t forget to enjoy your life in the moment. My husband and I took a few pictures at the concert. He also recorded a snippet here or there. But for the most part we enjoyed the experience. We sang or clapped along. We danced so much that my feet hurt. We enjoyed looking at some of the fans’ outfits complete with bunny or cat ears. We enjoyed watching dads taking their tweenage daughters to a concert. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and those memories are what we will talk about as time moves on. When I looked at those people that were recording every single moment it didn’t seem like they were having much fun. I wonder when they watch that video later on how they will feel about the concert. Will they remember the things my husband and I will talk about or will their experience without emotion or excitement. The memories of a fully experienced moment are so much sweeter than a picture in a book –June
Being connected to everything has disconnected us from ourselves and the preciousness of this present moment.” – L.M. Browning, Vagabonds and Sundries
Happy Friday! No matter what is happening in our busy lives, we are always learning new things. Sometimes these new things are profound. Sometimes they are silly. Sometimes they are little hacks that make life easier, and sometimes they are an interesting fact or two that can make life more interesting . Here are a few things we’ve learned lately.
The difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is that a graveyard is connected to a church. If the church closes then the graveyard becomes a cemetery.
If you are having any work done around your house, clean your closets first. The contents of June’s master bedroom closet were let out of their confines during the course of painting, and have now taken over the whole upstairs. She has a lot of work to do.
Make a list when you go to the store. If you don’t, you will buy items you don’t need, and forget the item you went to the store for in the first place.
Pay attention to your pets. They remind us to stop, breathe, go for walks, and give belly rubs.
Dress for the weather- not for the calendar date. And check the weather before you leave the house. If it is 70 degrees in February you do not need to wear a coat. If it was 70 degrees in February the day before it does not mean it will be 70 degrees today. If it is not going to be 70 degrees, please do not wear flip flops or shorts.
No matter how much plastic surgery the Hollywood stars have, you can always tell their age by their neck. Find a good neck cream. We are looking for one and if you have found a magic neck cream, please share.
Have a good weekend. –May and June
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden
A few weeks ago, my mom and I were on the hunt for a patio table for her yard. We didn’t find the table, but we both noticed the sales clerk’s hair which was a beautiful silvery gray. We actually complimented her on it and she proudly said she gets more positive feedback on her natural gray hair than she did when she colored it. We continued our conversation about gray hair on the drive home, wondering why society finds that men look handsome and distinguished as they gray (George Clooney), and women simply look old? But then we thought, maybe it isn’t society at all, but pressure that we women put on ourselves to try to stop the hands of time. Or, perhaps, it’s a little bit of both.Recently, I have noticed gray hair becoming a growing trend for women who want to embrace a more natural look. I actually started a Pinterest board titled Forever Goddess that shows photos of beautiful women embracing their naturally gray hair. Let’s face it, coloring hair to cover gray is a lot of work and if you have it done professionally, a lot of money, not to mention the regular application of smelly chemicals to your hair and scalp. Even if you use organic products, we are still talking time and dollars. I know women who have to color their hair every three to four weeks to prevent their gray roots from showing, and if you’re a brunette you really need to stay on top of it. Are we truly realizing our authentic selves if we color, or are we wearing a mask? Also, are we fully living in the present moment if we are worrying about our gray roots and staying on top of our coloring appointments? I really don’t know the answer to that. I have a few friends who are tired of the vicious cycle of coloring their gray roots, yet they can’t ever imagine letting it go natural. I did find a great article about ditching the dye, and going for a more natural look in the Chicago Tribune.Last year I wrote a post about clean hair care. Because of an allergy to traditional hair dye that I developed over a period of time, I had to find a salon that used products my scalp could tolerate. I did find a salon in South Carolina that uses the same Organic Color Systems, but because it was the holidays, and I was busy with the house, I didn’t make an appointment right away after I arrived. When I called, I had to wait four weeks for an appointment which brought me to nine weeks between coloring. (Yikes!) Now over the years, after I saw my first grays, I just got into the habit of getting my hair colored every five to six weeks without really thinking about it, because that is what we girls do. My new stylist was so apologetic about not getting me in sooner until she saw how little gray I actually have. I discovered that I not only inherited my maternal grandfather’s curls, I also inherited his slow to grow gray. That’s not to say I am gray free, because I am not. But it is loosely scattered around my head virtually showing no roots in between colorings. Interestingly, this stylist is not a big proponent of over coloring hair and uses low lights and high lights to help unite the new gray growth with the previous color, so you aren’t tied to a strict coloring schedule. I like that. Am I ready to give up color and just go au natural?? Not yet, although I am embracing the idea of it. For now, I am going to relax my hair schedule a bit. Also, because of the humidity here in the south, I am adopting a more carefree style that doesn’t require a precision cut, and I can just let my hair do what it was born to do. I am going to start blending whatever new gray comes in, with just a few low lights and see what happens.Are you ready to embrace your gray?Have a great week. ~ MayI am not aging. I am ripening. I am not getting old. I am becoming wiser. My hair is not going grey. It is shimmering silver like the light of the moon. My beauty brightens and glows with more brilliance with each circle around the sun and my spirit becomes stronger and softer as she flowers like a autumn orchid. I know this because i was told by a Whisper in the Wind.