Monday, July 30, 2012




This weekend I went on a whirlwind road trip that had all the potential to be one stressed-filled nightmare. And it was, at certain moments. But then small, shiny things happened that filled the proverbial empty glass back up. Which seems to be the way life unfolds. It’s all right there for you to decide, half-empty or half-full?

This morning I didn’t plan on writing a post about grabbing random moments and savoring them. But I had one of those conversations with Mr. Moss that felt like a splash of cold water to my senses. His words reminded me of what I already know, but have a hard time practicing in real life which is,

it’s easy to miss living in the Now, and to overlook the one, irreplaceable thing we have at our fingertips. The Life that is-happening-right-at-this moment.

For instance, I can instantly be transported into the future

with all my type A planning and fretting and trying to prevent unseen problems from arising.

Or, I can be carried away into the distant future with a sentimental comment about the summer coming to an end, which then leads me to the actual date Patrick is returning to school. And the thought of this goodbye brings a rush of reactions about Michael’s final year in high school. And oh-my-goodness, I can’t imagine him leaving to college….and it keeps spiraling, all my imagined emotions about the future. Only the other day, as I was doing these mental gymnastics, Mr. Moss stopped me in his own, calm way.


And he brought up the subject of mindfulness. And we talked about the idea that everything in Life is impermanent. And when you cling and hang on and try to ignore this truth, (as I can easily do) it only causes suffering. And suddenly this conversation reminded me of a lecture I once heard by a practicing Buddhist that began with these two questions,

“Will I meet this moment fully?”

“Will I meet this moment as a friend?”

It’s a beautiful choice we all have; it’s a way of approaching our life with a curious interest, a tolerance for whatever may happen because we already accept that life is challenging; so the hope is to have a certain friendliness about our approach to things, one that says, “Ah-ha, here’s this little experience…I wonder what I might learn…”

So with this attitude in mind, here’s a verbal snapshot of our 24-hour-trip this past weekend, when we moved Patrick out of his apartment and into the home he’ll be sharing with four other college guys:

…in as few words as possible:

What?! the hotels are full-so we book one forty five minutes away-there’s glass in the garbage and Jim splits his finger open before we drive away-my parents are waiting-where are you?-we depart at 2 pm for a-six hour drive-with-two stops-and a contentious apartment manager on cell phone-a non-negotiable deadline for our hired housekeeper-the apartment’s a total mess-we clear out the kitchen late at night—then a 6:15 a.m wake-up-to meet housekeeper--someone-left-the gas on-OMG-open the windows--the house key for the new home is somewhere in Pismo Beach- Jim’s finger needs stitches-he has trouble lifting-Papa is waiting at the new house-We are locked out-he waits-we drive to someone’s condo with the key under the mat-did you know-the-gas-is on empty?-The housekeeper needs to be paid-the key’s not under mat--now we need a new bed-we can’t find a new bed-Mimi forgets to leave her phone with Papa-he’s still waiting-everyone is Moving-Lifting-Cleaning-and then-a-total-of eleven hours of driving.

Whew. And this is what I relished about those harried moments:

Papa driving with Patrick in the front seat, laughing at one of his stories. The sun streaming into the cabin of the truck.

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Patrick and his grandfather bend over the new bed frame while they worked on clamping it together. Driving up to the new house and seeing the door open and my Dad happily lifting boxes. Stories from Papa about meeting Ben, the college kid who let him in the house, and offered him breakfast.

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My seventy-one year old parents washing pots and organizing the kitchen. My Mom hugging the tired housekeeper at the apartment. The room-mates shaking hands with Patrick’s Papa.

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The view from the tiny kitchen window. All of us sitting in the warm sun at a patio table eating lunch at Patrick’s favorite middle eastern café called the Pita Pit. My Dad’s funny reaction when he found out what kind of meat he was eating. Our collective soreness- tiredness-and-smiles of relief.

A glass that was half full with crazy Life.


How about you?

I hope you’re enjoying your own brand of crazy Life…






Thursday, July 26, 2012

can I ask you a question?

Have you ever known someone who has struggled with an addiction?

Have you ever stumbled and fallen down in your own life? Found yourself spiraling out of control because of food, or drinking or even drugs?

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photo: Brandi Carlile

When I first heard Brandi Carlile sing “That Wasn’t Me,” I  got choked up, and to tell you the truth, even now I fight back tears when I listen to the soulful beauty of these lyrics. Her song transported me back to another time in my life, when I used to sit inside a session room with people who were hurting. Women who were confused by their eating disorder, and didn’t understand their actions, or how to stop them.

And somehow, Brandi Carlile’s song unlocked a flood of these old therapist memories.

Suddenly, I recalled the panicky phone calls and those first meetings as if they were yesterday. Even the song title, “That wasn’t me,” reminded me of the words I used to hear, over and over from women of all ages. They were snippets of explanations, people just trying to make sense of the craziness that was going on in their lives, and so I heard versions of how their eating disorder was really not them.

Typically, they would tell me things like:

“I don’t understand why I do this (binge, vomit, abuse laxatives, starve themselves), it doesn’t make sense, since everything in my life is really good.”

“This eating problem is so unlike me…”

“I hate this side of myself…it’s not who I really am…”

“When I’m in the middle of a binge, it’s just not me...”

“I feel like there are these two parts of me…”

“I know this isn’t about just food. I know I’m stuffing my feelings, but there’s something more. Because I just can’t stop…”

Can you see the aching, repetitive theme in all these statements? 

It’s the idea that there’s some dark, mysterious part of one’s Self; a reckless stranger inside us that is on the loose and acting separate from the will of the whole person. Only that wasn’t true…

What was true, was that beneath the cheery face and the “I’m fine-everything’s great” façade there was real pain; and an entire frontier in need of exploration. Wounded feelings and experiences that had been never dealt with, and a despair that comes from not knowing who you are…deep down.



It’s an ironic fact that the road back to knowing ourselves can be through our addiction. Have you noticed this? That it’s those messier times in our lives that lead us to the right questions? Recovering from an addiction is like this, it takes us to the shadowy places inside us where there are hidden gems; honest emotions that shine with intensity. Tender parts of our selves that have been ignored, for too long. For many different reasons.

But we have to desire the truth.

Maybe we never knew how to show our feelings. The ones that were risky. Those feelings that might make someone worry, or get mad. Feelings that might be grossly different than what other people expected. And so eventually, we stop knowing what’s really there, we don’t value these feelings, and we never share them honestly.

Only there’s a pain that comes with denying who we are.

 So eventually we need to be distracted, even if the distraction takes on a life of its own. We self- medicate. We look for ways to numb out, we get busy chasing something that makes us feel better, only we need to be the best, the thinnest, the smartest. We need to overcompensate for something that feels missing. And for awhile it doesn’t matter if it takes a toll. Because we get something back. There are always benefits.

The tragedy of addiction is this.

The more we make our addiction the Sun that we organize our life around, and the more obsessively we pursue our “high,”------ the farther away we travel from our core. Our true self. That bubbling wellspring inside of us that is the source of our natural reactions, our fears, our joy, our resentment, our sadness, our own opinions, our gut reactions; all of these emanate from one place. That shiny light inside of us, that is known as Me.

Which brings me back to Brandi Carlile’s song about addiction and the road back.


That Wasn’t Me

Listen to her song. She captures how it feels to come back from an addiction, the sensation of being gone for awhile. And the fact that it’s hard to return back to health because there are real people to face. Besides your Self.

There are regrets and shame to trudge through but hopefully, if you’re reading this and you can relate… well, I hope you’re surrounded by people who offer you love and forgiveness.

And not guilt.

Whatever your story is, I hope you’re got people around you who are Real. People who know we all struggle. With something. At some point in our lives.

In the meantime, if you’re still reading this long post, I thank you kindly, and I’ll leave you with this one line from the song:

“Do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet?”

I can’t explain it, but I’m in love with this little line. 


Did you like the song?

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post…Leslie


linking at :


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It’s Christmas in July…

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Please don’t think I’ve gone bonkers.  But today I’m posting a few photos from last Christmas because apparently there’s a big Christmas party going on right now.

Well, at least in the bloggersphere.

My friend Debbie over at Confessions of a Plate Addict has organized it with several other creative bloggers, so if you’re in the mood for some early Christmas inspiration, it’s the place to go.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see more of my white wonderland tablescape above and you’re curious how

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I used this cheap bag of snow

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to transform my dining room into this, you can click on My White Winter Wonderland tutorial.


Or you can learn how I transformed my Christmas chandelier


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for a New Year’s party


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Or… if you’re in the mood for more traditional Christmas colors, you can check out my

Red and White and Black Christmas table here.


If you’ve visited here before, you already know that I love this kind of decorating. I absolutely love those tingling feelings I get whenever my creative juices get going, but the best part is when I can share my ideas. Really.

My decorating philosophy is, “If I can do it, anyone can…” so feel free to ask questions.

Or just say “Hi”…

in the meantime, I’m linking up here


Bye for now,




Monday, July 23, 2012

what not to worry about



The news here in the U.S. is filled with such darkness and grief…

The tragedy in Colorado seems unfathomable as I sit here in the safety of my little office. Only the heartbreaking details keep coming… from everywhere, and this news has shaken me out of my comfortable cocoon.

Part of me wants to know, because I care. But the sheer truth overwhelms me. These were young people and parents like you and me

sitting at the movies

and now they are gone.

Yes, today is a day for deep reflection. No worries for me today.

Today I’m alive. By the grace of God. And if you’re reading this, so are you.

Today is a day to be grateful.


Today I will not worry about

the future

my kid’s future

if the house gets cleaned

that my work’s not finished

if I exercise or not

the flies

paint colors

how many calories something is

what other people I know are doing

the bills

what’s in the refrigerator

what I’m cooking tonight

if Stella got walked

about my blog stats

what might go wrong

if I’m being productive

if my kids are being productive


1 brent darby


Today I will worry about

how many times I say “I love you”

how many times I say, “thank you”











Saturday, July 21, 2012

my foyer…

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This is my foyer.

Over at Kelly’s Corner the topic is foyers, so I’d thought be a social butterfly and join the discussion.

To tell you the truth, my home’s foyer has always been a sore-spot for me. It’s my one big complaint about the-open-floor-plan concept.

I have no traditional space at the entrance.


Personally, I’d love to have a separate foyer that I could possibly wallpaper..


or add a comfy chair and a round table for fresh flowers...

But back to reality.

I’ve got one long wall to work with, so I’ve tried to make it interesting by adding Beadboard and painting my French doors from white to black. As I write this, I’m in search of a rug, but here’s a few photos of what I’ve got now…



A little carved chest that holds a lamp, tiny vase and a tray.


Here’s a shot of the black French doors without the glare. (Boy, it hard to get clear photos of these doors)


A lovely quote by Abraham Lincoln…


…a collection of old hats hanging on a vintage bamboo rack which I found on ebay. I absolutely love my old bamboo pieces because they add so much personality and age, especially to a newer home…


This is our foyer chandelier.


And this is the central station for our car keys. At our house,  someone is always asking, “Hey, has anyone seen my keys?” So this is it. The place we toss them when we walk in the door.


Yep-there’s definitely a need for a new rug.


And this is my view into our foyer from my computer. I can see all the comings and goings while I blog away. I left the soccer ball there on purpose because this ball is always being kicked around the house…can you see it?


I’ll be sure and share my rug whenever I find it. But that’s it. My humble little entrance.

If you’re interested, you can check out my post about feng shui tips for your entryway right here.

In the meantime, I’m off to watch a movie with the family.

I hope you’re having a relaxing weekend…



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Friday, July 20, 2012

the adorable Tina Fey on body image….

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Today I’m sharing the following pin about women’s ever-changing body image, explained from the hilarious perspective of Tiny Fey. It’s Friday and I hope it leaves you smiling and contemplating a bit of the craziness she’s acknowledging.

Isn’t she adorable?

Boy, I wish I was funny. By the way, I pinned this quote from a lovely blog called All the Single Girlfriends- Life after 40… There are several women writers and it looks like a great place to visit.


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Have a great weekend.





Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You’re invited to my birthday dinner party…

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I love July.

In my mind, the month of July is always associated with warm, sentimental feelings and good times with family and friends. That’s because our anniversary and my birthday happen in the first few weeks, and we have these little traditions that make these occasions so special. Last week we had dinner and drinks with our dear friends, Kirsten and John, because we both share the same anniversary. And this past Sunday, my parents hosted my birthday dinner.

Only this year the dinner was at our house because we have the ping pong table. And of course, if you’re going to have a highly competitive ping pong tournament that involves a five dollar buy-in, you have to have a table. Ah hem. Did I mention that I grew up in a family of baseball playing guys who happen to love a good contest?

But—back to my dinner, because I took a few photos to share with you.


For my tablescape, I kept it simple. I bought a navy blue and white striped fabric remnant for four dollars, and I cut it, and laid it down the center of the table. I pulled out my mason jars that were wrapped in lace and tied with twine. Then I placed some white rocks and seashells down the center.


I love the color combination of the flowers, white daisies, orange roses and pink dahlias. These colors look so fresh and cheery with the dark blue, don’t you think? 


Originally we planned on eating outside, hence the paper napkins. But the 95 degree day made it too uncomfortable so we brought everything inside at the last minute.

I snapped this shot before the stemware was added, but you get the idea. I used wicker placemats from Pier One, white dishes from the Home Goods, and everyone got a special place card; it’s a decorated peat moss container filled with a monogramed sugar cookie.


I made these cookies the night before. Then I slipped each one into a cellophane wrapper and added a small nametag.



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Do you want to learn how to make this peat moss container? I’ll be posting the tutorial shortly. I originally made these for my French Country themed luncheon HERE.




This was the Sangria that Mr. Moss prepared. It was made with red wine (Merlot), spiced Rum, and a bit of fruit juice. I think. He used Rachel Ray’s recipe and modified it. It was so delicious!


There are some of the tissues pom-poms that my Mom and I made the night before. It’s so easy to do, and here’s a great tutorial if you’re interesting in learning how to make them. Right now, I’m liking them more than balloons…

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This is the ping pong tournament schedule that Mr. Moss printed out. It was funny, everyone was ranked. But what was really funny and so cute, was watching Michael and his Dad decorate my board with the little burlap pennants. This board was where we kept the scores.


This is what they made. It’s sweet, isn’t it? But can you see the list with everyone’s assigned handicaps? See? –I-told-you the men in my life get competitive.


After dinner I snapped this shot as we were clearing dishes. Dinner was wonderful and as usual… my parents helped with the cooking.


My Dad made the fresh Snapper. I made braised chicken breasts with a sun-dried tomato sauce, pasta with fresh vegetables, and a Caesar salad. And my sweet Dad made his signature dish, a shrimp appetizer that’s my favorite.

In the end, I felt so full; overwhelmed with the blessings of a great meal and the noisy teasing and laughter of my family.

And of course, my birthday wouldn’t have been complete without my brother Mike’s annual birthday card.

Are you ready?




Can you hear me laughing through your computer screen?

That’s my brother.

Well dear friends, that’s it for now. Thanks for joining me today, I hope you enjoyed it…

I’ll be linking up over at





Monday, July 16, 2012

a little blogger love…

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Don’t you love when this happens?

You click into your mailbox on an ordinary day and you suddenly discover an unexpected gift, a lovely message that sends rainbow-colored butterflies fluttering out of your computer screen and leaves you with a goofy, lop-sided grin plastered on your face.

Well that’s what happened to me when I was recently nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Sugar Plums & Lollipops, a truly eclectic blog filled with tips on everything from Fragrance and Make-up to Music and Décor.  Please check it out when you get a moment. Thanks Sugar Plum.


Ok. Here are the Rules for this Award:

  1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
  2. Include a link to their site.
  3. Include the award image in your post.
  4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 15 other Bloggers for the award.
  6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
  7. Let other Bloggers know they have been nominated.

All right. Here it goes, my seven random facts in no particular order.



1. I was on a synchronized swim team while growing up. Loved it.


2. I have strange and giddy fixation with Halloween. I find it absolutely magical and I’ve hosted a Halloween party every year for the last sixteen years.



3. One of my favorite romantic movie moments is in Pride and Prejudice; it’s the moment Elizabeth Bennett sees Mr. Darcy coming across the hazy fields at dawn. No explanation is needed.


4. If I didn’t get into the therapy field, I would have owned a little bookstore like Meg Ryan’s shop in You’ve Got Mail.  Or been a history professor. Or Hillary Clinton’s press secretary.

5. I am always cold (yes, that would be me, lugging a sweater into the movie theater)


6. I absolutely love old Bette Davis movies from the 1940s. My idea of a perfect moment is cooking a gourmet meal in a clean house, with a glass of merlot and one of her movies playing in the background.

7. my favorite text message begins : “hey Momma”


 Well, that’s it for ME.

And now, these are the blogs that I’m passing this award to.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few of them personally. And there others whom I’ve simply admired from afar because of their unique writing voice, the depth of their topics or their amazing creativity.

Each of these bloggers offers something of substance that will have the potential to touch you. They are all ages, from different parts of the world and express different phases of a women’s life.

Please visit these sites when you get a moment. You won’t regret it.



wishing you butterfly moments,





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