Tuesday, December 31, 2013

on the brink of a new year… and a different way of seeing



instead of New Year’s resolutions

what if we tried something different?

this is my not-so-radical, infinitely kinder proposal.




It all begins with a true story about an alcoholic, mentally ill son who lived in a small, coastal town where everyone knew him and his eccentric, sweet ways. One day something bad happened to this son, and his widowed mother—who loved him despite everything—was beside herself with worry.

What will the future hold for him? The mother wondered when the options seemed dire.

And then a friend offered these five words that became a soothing ointment on her scared, nagging questions.

“See him in his wholeness,” the wise friend said.

In other words, stop yourself from only seeing his damaged parts. His flaws. The defects in his person that causes you to view him as a lost cause and a constant source of anxiety and instead, strive to see him in his entirety…a tender, complex mix of sweetness and weakness.

You know. Just another one of God’s regular customers, the friend said. Like you and me.

See him in his wholeness. I fell in love with this little story in Anne Lamott’s recent book because it spoke truth to my own worrisome self. I felt comforted by the idea that when we step back and see the larger picture we benefit.  Our old “death grip” around someone we love can ease and allow room for something positive to happen.

Only this kind of letting go requires a different kind of seeing and a wisdom to know that there are gifts beneath the surface of one’s life, no matter how tired and damaged that person might be.

But imagine this.

What if this truthful perspective wasn’t merely aimed at your struggling son, your cantankerous father, your difficult mother-in-law and your rambling, alcoholic aunt?

What if this was the way you viewed Yourself?

What if you chose to see yourself in all your wholeness?

What if you stopped focusing on only the messier parts of your life, your limitations and all those things you want to “fix’ about your Self …and instead poured all your energy into the things that you do really well? What if your eyes kept focusing on your natural gifts and talents?

What kind of 2014 might you have?

What if you viewed yourself like others see you? If you looked into the mirror and heard the compliments that others have paid you and you chose to focus on these strengths. To wear these words: I am damn good.

What if you leaned into 2014 feeling completely in touch with your goods and on the look-out for  some amazing, new possibilities?

Because it’s all there already.

The best that you can be

is within you right now

and ready.

It just requires a different kind of seeing.  




… I hope you know how special you truly are.

Sending you sparkling wishes for 2014!





A note to my friends who leave comments on my blog: I’ve just discovered that my email responses to your recent comments were NEVER sent when I hit the send button.

Mr. H tells me there is a problem with the email server that I must fix. Please know that I read and respond to each one of your comments so if you haven’t gotten a reply this is why. I hope to have it fixed shortly. In the meantime thank you for reading my posts and taking the time to share your thoughts. You have no idea how much it means.


Technorati Tags: new years resolutions,instead of,anne lamott,lean in

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

wishing you joy and peace on Christmas

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Thank you for blessing me with your company.

Merry Christmas dear readers!



Monday, December 16, 2013

the gift of simplicity…


Here we are. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle and list making and crowded stores and long lines and this is where I say to myself each year….

Whew. Come on Leslie, take a deep breath. And don’t do it. Don’t lose touch with what it’s all about.

You know. The reason for the Season.

But it’s really hard, isn’t it? We have to make a conscious effort to not get swept up in all the frenzied buying and great sales and the urgent pace of it all. And whoa, those expectations!

So when I read this interesting detail about happiness I thought I’d share it with you because I know you’re trying to slow down and stay grounded in the meaning of Christmas too.

I know… more research on happiness? Do we really need to be reminded of what we already know deep down?

Well I know I do, so here it is.

According to a study on happiness and wealth, spending our money on life experiences rather than on material possessions is what ultimately makes us happy. In other words, purchases that result in being with others and experiencing a social connection is what we should be focused on.

It’s the gift of simplicity.

And the gift of simplicity is one that focuses on The Experience. The gift of our time. The act of being together and creating a special memory. Which means that instead of buying another expensive, silver knick-knack for that someone who has everything, try buying movie or theater tickets for you to take them along. Buy a gift certificate at a cozy coffee shop that includes a trip to a bookstore with you. Or maybe a golf lesson for Grandpa and your son to experience together.

Are you getting the idea?

Instead of buying a ‘thing,’ try spending your money on doing something fun together with your person in mind….

Because in the end here’s the truth. Material possessions no matter how luxurious and desirable they are, depreciate over time. They lose their value as the days go by and the heady excitement of getting it, is soon replaced by wanting the next ‘special’ thing.

But our experiences are just the opposite. As we go through life our past experiences actually become larger in our minds. They transform into precious memories and unlike material possessions, our memories become more valuable to us as we grow older.

Have you noticed this?

Have you observed how an old memory becomes more meaningful to you over time? And how those once simple experiences are now filled with poignant details that leave you smiling years later?

Do you recognize the soft, tender feelings you experience when you reflect back to a special moment in your life, which usually involves another person?

When a feeling of warm, reminiscent love washes over you?

Well that’s It.

In the end

those are the ultimate gifts that matter.

And they have very little to do with a great sale price.






today I’m wishing you the gift of simplicity,


…of slowing down


…and cherishing the small moments

with the people in your life.





             If you liked this topic, you can read more about the myths of true happiness here.





I’m linking this post up with these friends:



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merry & Bright.. holiday tour 2013….


PicMonkey Collageholidaytour

Hello there! I’m so glad you stopped by for a little Christmas visit.

 And I hope you’ve been enjoying all the fabulous holiday homes tours going on right now. I’m joining Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday Home Tour HERE


And I thought I’d pop over and join The Nester’s 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes too.  

In the meantime if this is your first visit here let me introduce myself.. My name is Leslie- aka Gwen Moss- and now that the boys are away in college I live with Mr. Moss and our spoiled fur baby Stella, who likes to greet visitors by jumping up at the front door and leaving lots of little scratches on our wall.

Although truthfully, that’s a perfect example of how we’ve always lived in this home. Don’t be fooled by these perfect looking pictures, we’re pretty casual here. This is the house we’ve raised our boys, Patrick and Michael, along with three dogs and one beloved bird—and over the years this house has been filled to the brim with growing kids, big holiday parties, weekly family nights, and some very funny stories.  And because I view my home as my personal art canvas, I’ve always got unfinished projects going on too. Which is code for saying our home has its share of  messes and imperfections around.

This past August we officially became empty nesters when Michael went down to Southern California. And soon after, Life presented us with even more changes. One thing led to another and as of last weekend, our family home is officially listed for sale.

Yep, we’re moving to Huntington Beach, California.
But that’s a whole other story.

In the meantime I’m taking lots of photos these days because all of a sudden it seems important to capture the way our home looks for the holidays, all dressed up and so full of happy memories.

I’ve always loved decorating for the holidays and I hope you enjoy seeing my little touches.

The living room……


DSC_0754 (2)use!


My latest chalk art project…alongside a few mice, fresh holly and my red toile stockings. Is there anything prettier than red and white toile?


I’m drawn to old, quirky looking Santas ….




Even though I love the whole white tree look, I never seem to have one. Our tree is always decked out in lots of vibrant red and my favorite ornaments are the ones made by the boys when they were in grade school.



Across from the living room is my office with the white floors that I painted. I love the look although I admit, white floors are not for perfectionists, they show every single dog hair.

PicMonkey Collageoffice

I found four vintage ornaments—delicate, sparkly Santa boots—buried inside faded tissue paper at an antique store. I like to hang them from my favorite mirror.


Do you remember making paper chains as a child? I made this chain using sepia colored music sheets that came out of an old Chopin piano book, courtesy of the thrift store.

PicMonkey Collageoffice2



The dining room is all set for a cozy dinner…you can see more of this red and white tablescape by clicking HERE




In our family room,

the best thing I ever did was paint my bricks with ASCP…

I love how light this room became.




I made a simple banner for this mantel and decided not to put stockings in here because we always have a fire going on chilly days.

My favorite place in the house is sitting on this hearth with the fire warming my back…


this is my view….















Heading upstairs…to the bonus room.




PicMonkey Collageupstairs

Master bedroom..




a peek at the patio..



Well that’s it for now.

Thank you so much for stopping by during such a busy time.

Wishing you a beautiful Christmas season.




I’m linking this post up with these friends:



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