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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

gratitude…

 

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We just got back from a whirlwind visit home

and I’m beginning the week feeling wonderfully replenished.

October was jam-packed with activity and I ended the month feeling tired and looking around the house with a sense of overwhelm, aware of a growing momentum to hurry up and get things done before the holidays approach. I don’t like this rushed feeling. Or the idea that I’m already behind schedule if I haven’t done any Thanksgiving posts yet-- or god knows-- Christmas topics which are already popping up everywhere in blogland.

Sigh. This is the part of blogging that I have to be wary of; it’s the need to stay ahead of the seasons for one’s readers and it’s the modus operandi of a successful blogger. And I totally get it; the idea that readers are looking for their holiday decorating ideas weeks-- and even months-- ahead of time is something I can relate to.

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In fact, I’m one of those readers. I lovveeeee searching Blogland and Pinterest for creative ideas but as a blogger on the other side, it’s always a dilemma for me because I’m aware that when I’m creating Christmas tablescapes in October,

I’m not able to fully relish the present season.

Do you know what I mean?

Recently I was listening to a talk by Tara Brach and she mentioned that in today’s techie world we spend an average of eight hours a day in front of a screen. The point she was making was how hard it is to be awakened to the present moment and to feel what’s here in front of us

when so much of our time is spent in a virtual reality.

Think about that. How many hours are you in front of a screen?

It’s a powerful realization. And so I love this reminder.

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Or better still, how about we give ourselves this gift?

 

So…you might think driving in the car over 850 miles for only a three day trip might seem hectic but it was exactly what I needed. I hadn’t been back home since we moved and it was time.

  Thursday evening was my dear friend Mary’s annual birthday party and as usual, the house was filled with women that I’ve known since my kids were in kindergarten and that’s such a special feeling.

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I only wish I’d taken pictures of Tracey’s beautiful home to show you, but I was too engrossed in conversations about relationships and engagements and breakups… topics that seem to reflect the changing ages of our kids.

And like all good trips, there were moments that stand out in my mind.

Kirsten and I clinking our wine glasses with Mary and sharing the latest news before we headed to the party.. A conversation at the kitchen island with Tracey about our sons… Sitting on the brick hearth at my parent’s house and eating Chinese food with the family… Making a mad dash back to Pottery World to find my Mom’s lost eyeglasses only to learn  they were in her purse the whole time… And my funny Dad shaking his head behind my Mom’s back.

and sadly, there was a tragic one too…

On the way home when we pulled off the freeway for a sandwich and while I was waiting in our car, I heard a loud, sickening thud and the sound of twisting metal. When I got out of our car I could see men running toward what was a three car collusion at the off ramp. It was a scene that deeply affected me especially when I discovered the next morning that a man had died in that crash.

Afterwards I told Jim –who was inside at the time—that I can’t stop thinking how when I heard that crash, a man’s soul was leaving the earth. To me, it was a stunning reminder of how tenuous life really is.

In the meantime I’m home again, and even though nothing much has changed around here I’m feeling incredibly grateful.

For our safe trip home.

For my family.

For my Friends.

For the health of my parents.

For the fact that my kids are well and safe as I write these words.

That I have a house.

And a warm bed.

And food whenever I need it.

And our sweet Stella Bella.

For the computer that allows me to write these words

For any blog post I manage to publish here

for all my dear blogger friends

And for YOU, for taking precious time to get to the end of this post.

 

Oh, I could go on forever but you get my point.

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It’s an interesting question, don’t you think?

 

 

xoxo

Leslie

 

 

 

 

18 comments:

Art and Sand said...

Well, if that last question was true, at least I know that tomorrow I would awaken with the kids, Steve, Lulu and the beach. I think I might have also thanked God for retirement after a person chatted with us on our way down the lane and expressed his envy that he was working and we were headed to the beach.

As usual, your posts are thought provoking. I am not and will never be one of the "big girl" bloggers because I don't want to be posting about Christmas yet and I won't post about Valentine's Day until February.

On Saturday night, I dropped my phone in a toilet - what a dummy for putting my phone in my back pocket, but I had just texted KC about something andI I hoped for an answer. The phone was still working despite its drowning so I texted my son and he told me to turn off the phone immediately and put the phone in a bag of rice when we got home. I had to go 24 hours without checking my Instagram, without texting and without using my cell phone. It seemed so strange, but it was also good for me.

I am so glad you got a chance to visit with your Sacramento crew - how fun.

And, I love seeing your decor, table setting, projects, etc. But, I read Gwen Moss because of your words.

Karen said...

Dear Leslie,
Your words always feel like the words of friend I've known for a very long time, a friend whose ideas I share! As Christmas in the retail world hit us in September this year, as much as I love the season, I decided I was not going to allow retailers to convince me that if I didn't jump on the wagon that Christmas would somehow not be as wonderful. You hit the nail on the head for me...the people in our lives are such a gift, they don't care if you have everything in order, they love you for who you are. :-)
Thank you my friend for this little reminder of what matters.
Karen

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

I know just how you feel, Leslie. We watched our grandchildren for a week while our daughter and son-in-law were on vacation. I was sick with a cold and sleep deprived the entire week, but in the end we had a wonderful time. After we brought them home, I turned on my laptop and found Christmas had arrived in Blogland! I was feeling disconnected from what I was seeing, so I turned off my computer, made a pot of tea, and called a friend I haven't talked to in a while. It was just what I needed!
Over the past few weeks, 3 of our girl's friend's parents (our age) passed away. It's a reminder of how fragile life is and to cherish every moment.
I can't even begin to think about Christmas decorating with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, but I too like to find inspiration from all the creative women posting ideas already.
It sounds like you had a lovely visit with your friends and family. The accident you witnessed is a painful reminder of how life can change in a split second.
Thanks for another inspiring post, Leslie. Maybe stepladders and paint brushes will be part of your holiday decor this year....sort of like Santa's workshop. ho ho ho :o)
~Vickie

Tamera Beardsley said...

Another wonderful and soulful post my dear! I came here thinking about how I have missed you … and now I feel like I have had a beautiful little catch up with you my friend!

I understand the dilemma as a blogger with wanting to stay ahead of the curve … although … I never do. I always give myself grace and remember that my blog to me … is a creative expression in the form of an online journal … where I can share where I am in real time. And that is precisely why I so enjoyed your post today. It was real time … and it was from your heart. I come here to hear from You!

Holiday inspirations are easy to come by on the internet … but there is only one of you my wonderful friend … and that what i come here for!

Thank you for sharing your heart! I send you much love,

Tamera

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Beautiful written my friend...I love reading these posts!!

Marilyn said...

"And, I love seeing your decor, table setting, projects, etc. But, I read Gwen Moss because of your words." I completely agree with Art and Sand!!

I love the holidays and IMHO they should be individually recognized and celebrated.

Thanksgiving has somehow degenerated into merely a precursor to Christmas. It's such a beautiful holiday and deserves its own recognition and celebration.

Your post topic of gratitude reminded me of something my late father used to say, "Any day that you don't wake up in a hospital bed, is a beautiful day!" :-)

So true!

Marilyn (in Dallas)

alittlecape said...

Those memory engaging moments with friends, the safe arrival to a destination or home, gratitude, so small at times but meaningful. Patty/NS

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

Well, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that it has only been in the last few years that I have really stopped myself still and fully appreciated what I have. It seems so simple at this stage in my life to understand that if I was stripped of every "thing" that I have so much more left in my life. My family, my friends and all the opportunities that have come my way.
So glad for you to go back and touch base with your friends and family.

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

Yet again, Leslie, I'm right there with you! Life is so very fragile... and gratitude is the best way we can focus on what matters. (Have you read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts?)

Mary Ann Pickett said...

This is such a moving post. We all need reminding to be grateful. Thank you.

Carla from The River said...

As always...you speak from the heart to the heart.
Thank you!
Real life relationships are so important, 3D time I tell my boys as the tech world as reached their world with games like Minecraft and so many more.
We do not allow them to play video games all day long when friends come over ~ they need REAL time too.

Gypsy Heart said...

A beautiful post, as usual! I did miss you but so happy you were able to visit with dear friends and have some time away from all the "to do's".

As evidenced by my life and the sad accident you witnessed, there's just so much MORE for us than seeing who can decorate for the next holiday first or paint their cabinets white before Zella does. (Made up name!) I want to live in the moment ~ that's all we really have ~ and not worry about being "first" or the "best". I don't come here to see what the newest decor or trend might be...I love visiting you ~ beautiful, real, wise Leslie. Your home is gorgeous but "you" are the treasure!

In the early 90's when Sarah ban Breathnach published "Simple Abundance" and was often on Oprah, I started keeping a gratitude journal. I promise if people do this, their lives will change! It was so difficult to do after losing Abby but I forced myself and it truly did help. I was aware that God really was with us, that there were amazing people that stepped up to help, that I had a beautiful place to live, my precious fur baby, my family, fresh water & food, A/C or heat and a myriad of other blessings. Gratitude is powerful!

xo
Pat

Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns said...

Leslie,

That is indeed a thought provoking question, in fact I was so moved by it when I saw it on Pinterest some time ago I printed it out and now have it on my mirror.

Two years ago I was the "first responder" at an accident on Easter morning on my way to church. Sadly the lady, 80, died and the scene and I cannot tell you how often I think of her and her face. She actually looked at peace. I am grateful that I was there as she passed on to meet God.

Gratitude has been on my mind a lot lately, I feel as if we take too much for granted and sometimes are not thankful enough for all of the little things in life.

Thank you for the reminder to not only be thankful but to be "present."

Have a great day!

Heather Lindstrom said...

What a beautifully written, thought-provoking post, Leslie. I feel for you ...that moment of hearing the crash and realizing, eventually, that a life ended. Being a first responder, or a witness, has a way of staying with us. It is such a reminder to cherish every moment. I am so happy for you, visiting home and spending sweet moments with family and friends, it sounds like this trip was overdue and just what you needed to energize yourself for the holidays. As for screen time....too much. With two websites and a job that utilizes loads of screen time it feels like my entire life on some days. Happy fall weekend! xx

Lori said...

I love your writing Leslie ~ that is what keeps bringing me back time after time albeit late at times! So glad you got back home for a visit ~ sometimes you just need to do what is good for your soul.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I'm glad you were able to refresh and enjoy yourself visiting with family and friends, Leslie...it sounds like a lovely time. I'm very sorry to hear about the accident you witnessed, though, which must have been really upsetting. It really does make you see life is unpredictable, and encourages you experience life and live in the moment.

I have been enjoying hanging greens in our home...it is feeling very much like winter here with single digit temperatures and snow covered ground. It adds to our Thanksgiving celebration to have a festive home. However, the turkeys will be out in force on Thanksgiving Day! I never decorate for blogging, though...I blog about what I'm doing in my life...

Beautiful, thought-provoking post!

Cindy Hattersley said...

You always inspire us Leslie with your thought provoking posts. Never feel the need to be "ahead of the curve". You are way ahead of the curve.

michele said...

yes. yes. yes. the three yeses mean i am right there with you knodding, soaking in your wise thoughts, understanding the stuff in the white space between the words. thanks for lovely reminders and for your kindred spirit in which i can always detect a humility that i truly honor. peace to you right where you are.

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