Monday, November 16, 2020

A special care package for You: 8 goodies


Here's my question.
How do I make a personal care package for each and every one of you who are reading these words?
Because it's really been gnawing at me. Especially after I posted my last IG picture and felt such a flood of kindness coming my way. It's been so hard to find words that capture my gratitude, but more than you know, your empathy and comments over these months have felt like a strong hand reaching out to me and pulling me back on my feet. 

And I keep wanting to give you something in return, the way I could if we were neighbors, you know, like a care package filled with little goodies that might make you smile. 
If we lived closer...


I would probably make something for you. Maybe using a candle and a pumpkin and a few sprigs of baby's breath

Or maybe I would take you a copy of this book, Ordinary Grace, the latest fiction I've read. I don't read much fiction and so when I do I like to choose my authors carefully. 


This book transported me into another world which is all we can ask from a good author. It's not a beach read, so be warned. No, this story touched that place inside me where I keep my tears and my giddiness for a deep, layered story. And if you read it, you'll have to let me know who you think the 'hero' of this story is, because I'm telling you, there's a powerful scene inside a church that brought me to my knees, in sheer admiration for this character's steely faith.

Lately I've been busy collecting what I call--- small moments of awe. Those mental snapshots during my day that have lifted me up, even for a few breaths. It's a habit you can cultivate--this stopping and noticing beautiful moments in real time-- and although it started for me as a survival tool, it's now become an intentional act that's helping me move through my grief. Especially on hard days.

And I'd like to include a few of these goodies too.


One interview I recently found utterly delightful was with a young poet by the name of Jacqueline Suskin; Everyday is a Poem on Sounds True podcast. You have to listen to it. Jacqueline has been a poet since childhood and eventually got her degree in poetry but it wasn't until she found an old typewriter at the Rose Bowl Flea market that her entire life changed. Her creativity is almost mystical. She literally writes a poem on-the-street for anyone who asks her, and she does this by entering into a creative trance with this typewriter. It's really a fascinating process of "being in the flow." 

But there was one kernel of wisdom that Jacqueline mentioned that really stayed with me, and as I was listening to her, I instantly wanted to share this with my readers. It was on the topic of gratitude and she rightfully mentioned how saturated and yes, over-used the word gratitude is in our culture these days. 

Do you feel that too?

Because I totally get it. Especially if you're struggling emotionally and in a dark place, gratitude can be a word that can make you wince. But Jacqueline has this wonderful habit of making "I Like" lists, and it's a different path but it still gets you there... to that expansive inhale of gratefulness.

She's made these lists for years and I immediately loved this idea because you can practice it in your head. At any time. You just have to become fully present in the moment, look around and notice what you like! It's that easy. It can be the way the light is coming through the window. Or the smell of your hot chai tea that you just poured. Or the black and white Aztec pattern painted on the back of the wooden chair at the coffee shop you're sitting in (one of mine).

Walking around generating these "I like..." statements in your day are the essence of real-life gratefulness only using different language, and I've been noticing the impact when I'm doing this. But honestly, this entire Sounds True podcast is worth listening to for these kind of positive insights. 


Ok. Now here's a little DIY replenishment.


This is my latest project, in my office.
But I honestly debated on showing you this because it's so different. I mean. I like it, but I don't know if it's something other people would like.....because I haven't really seen one of these.
It's a bulletin board-memory board. Nothing unique that way. But I made it using some leftover fence pieces I was originally going to use on the ceiling of my master bathroom. Jim wanted all the boards out of the garage so I had to think of some way to use them quick, because he was literally loading stuff up for a dump run.

(The area behind the planks got painted black)

Honestly friends. I had NO idea how it was going to look. But you know me. What-the-heck-it's-just-a-wall, right? So I measured and decided the bigger the better so I could pile on my photos and memorabilia. This is where I meditate so I really want to be surrounded by all the things I love. 

After staring at this big black blob on my wall, I decided I needed a frame around it--and because of the size--I knew I would need to make one so I went to Home Depot and found some molding. The ornate pieces were made of a plastic composite, but I also used-one inch wood trim pieces, to make it look chunkier. 

Next, I decided that all that rustic wood should have an 'old world frame' around it so I purchased some gold and dark brown spray paint and at this point, I took a picture because I had no idea what I was doing. The gold coming out-of-the can had this harsh yellow look and I ended up buying four little bottles of craft paint in different shades to get the darker, rich gold I wanted. 

I know this sounds like a nightmare not having the right paint color, but this is when I'm in my version of a creative trance and I loved it. I wish I could make you some of this gilt color, because I just fell in love with this shade. 

step one out of maybe six steps hahaha

Another gulp moment when the first plank went into the still-unfinished frame. See the corners? 
Honestly, I still wasn't feeling it. 


But now I love it. 
And I promise to share some photos of the whole office when I finish reorganizing and purging some picture frames I no longer need.


A few weeks back I got an email from Ruthie Lindsey about a free weekly webinar she's calling the Soul Currency Camp starting on Nov. 9th and I signed up. I liked some of the guests she mentioned.  

and she describes the conversations this way: 

"We will have conversations around what non-dualistic thinking is and how we can integrate it into our daily lives. We will also have practices to come back home to our bodies through breath work, meditation, non-linear dance, journaling exercises, etc. and we will have beautiful, expansive conversations on what it looks like practically to heal ourselves so that we can bring healing to the collective.

In case you're interested:


Here's a non-fiction writing course I'm taking this month

you can click HERE to learn more


This is my latest Etsy purchase that made me happy.
It's from Wall Buddy

Kinda different. 
But I decided on a large-scale typography for our renovated master bath. I just liked the vibes.


And here's a little goody that's closer to my heart.

If you've been with me for awhile you know that last Thanksgiving we had a Live Like Patrick team that participated in Sacramento's annual Run to Feed the Hungry held on Thanksgiving Day. 

(Our Christmas card last year)

The event is a pretty big deal in Sacramento and we actually got on TV because our team was one of the bigger ones. 

That's me looking like a red, dwarf-sized polar bear on TV. 
Apparently I have no ego when it comes to cold weather. 

I'm sure Patrick would've been embarrassed as heck but we were so touched by the response. 

Well. This year with Covid, the food bank needs help more than ever. But because the race is now a 'virtual' event the organization has been worried about participation and emailed me to ask if we could still get a team together.  And for some reason, it's been emotionally hard for me to get this going. 

Understandably, a lot of the enthusiasm for a 'virtual' event has dropped. I know Patrick's friends are planning to get-together in person. And that warms my heart too.

But if you'd like to join us in honoring Patrick in this way, you can join the Live Like Patrick team and get a nice team shirt to wear on your walks. Since there's no actual event, it's really a $35 donation to a good cause. Although there's an additional $7 fee for mailing the shirt. You can find out more info at the: 

You would register for a team by following these directions

Before I go I wanted to share this photo of Heather from Curated Travel blog 

Last year Heather was one of many dear friends from the blogworld who asked for the Random Act of Kindness Card in Patrick's honor, and shared their kindness with the world. 

This heartwarming story was posted on her @stylemindchic instagram account.

Pretty amazing, right?

Well dear friends, today I hope there's something in this post that inspired you or lifted your spirits. These have been such exhausting and stressful days with the election in the background, and this pandemic still in the forefront of our lives. Pace yourself my dears. Watch carefully where you place your attention because that's where your energy goes.

 When you're feeling worried or stressed, stop and ask yourself: 

What narrative was running through my mind at that moment? And be alert to those thoughts that move you toward stress or sadness.

This is how we get through those hard days. When we choose to be fully present, we can make kinder choices for ourselves.

(Thank you Heidi and @dagirldt for my beautiful flowers)

And yes everyone, I'm still blogging here for now and I'll keep you posted when changes are coming. Let me know if you have problems with these links, this blogger site is still wacky with issues.

Sending you love,

sharing this post with friends:


Carla from The River said...

Hi Leslie,
Thank you for sharing. I am going to check the book out at our library. Our library is doing curbside pick up. It has been nice during this crazy year.
I hope the virtual turn out is AMAZING!! Lots of LOVE!!!
Take good care ~ Love, Carla

Calypso In The Country said...

Hi Leslie,
What a treat to wake up to a post from you! You have such a generous heart for sharing all these wonderful thoughts and ideas. I needed this today. Although I have no reason to complain about anything, I have been struggling with all the unknown of this pandemic. Sometimes I feel like it's really wearing me down. I love the idea of just looking around and appreciating things we like. I can do that! And thank you for sharing last year's Live Like Patrick run story. I laughed when you said you looked like a dwarf-sized polar bear! Although you think he might be embarrassed by all the TV attention, I'm sure he's smiling down on you! Oh - and your office wall looks amazing! Take care my friend!

Gypsy Heart said...

Hi Leslie,
I admire you for so many reasons and the fact that you are sharing such great ideas to help all of us is truly amazing! I appreciate it so much and I feel sure others feel the same. Grief is such a bumpy road and the holidays bring it to the surface for me. Abby....and I’m sure Patrick, had such a zest for life and I think our feeling sad is far from what they would want. I must continue to remind myself of this over the holiday season!

The wall looks beautiful and it’s such a great idea! A girl I follow on IG did something similar in the cabin they just built for get aways. They also bought a Polaroid camera and take photos of their family, friends and visitors, date them and post on the board. Another great way to record memories!

I’m all in for performing RAOK’s and I think the best are the anonymous ones! During this very trying year and the upcoming holidays is a perfect time to bring joy to others!

May you be blessed this week and forever ~ ❤️

Patty said...

I added the Ordinary Grace book to my "to read" list; I think your wall project looks fantastic; and thank you for the reminders to do good and be kind to others.

Annonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this...what a wonderful way to begin the day.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Hello my beautiful friend, this is such a wonderful post. I would love to have just 5 minutes with you to soak up all of your kindness, energy, wisdom and love. You might not feel like it but YOU ARE AMAZING, and the fact that you keep showing up and keep creating, and giving and helping and radiating life and love to all that you know is a testament to your strength and gifts in this world my friend. PLEASE never stop blogging or writing or sharing your words and gifts with the world. xoxo

Blondie's Journal said...


In a word, You deserve many care packages. Not only for the way you have been sharing your heartfelt loss, but in telling us how to deal with loss and learn from loss. I totally agree with Elizabeth, you keep showing up. If you think it helps you, imagine how so many others feel that challenge. So many ways to deal with your son and make good, like the friends of Patrick who continue to share in his honor...

Love ya girlfriend...I've sent you an email which I hope you find time to read soon.❤️

Melanie said...

What a pleasure it is to read your posts. They are a gift; your writing is a balm to my heart.

So much goodness to comment on...

That little pumpkin with the candle in it with the baby's breath around can something so simple be so beautiful? And I love seeing photos of your house. It's so beautifully styled. I would love to peruse your bookcases.

When I saw the book, Ordinary Grace, I knew it right away. I said to Brian, "I know I have this book on one of my bookshelves somewhere!" He even helped me look. (I have hundreds of books.) We couldn't find it. I said, "Why does this book seem so familiar then? Maybe I've already read it?" So I searched on my Goodreads list and nope, wasn't there. Then I remembered. I had picked the book up last year at a library book sale for Brian. HE was the one who read it. I must've donated the book after that. Why I didn't read it after him, who knows. I just checked online at my local library and they have it, so I will pick it up curbside later. Like you, I don't read as much fiction as non-fiction. I'm pretty particular about fiction. From what you've said and what I saw on Amazon, I think I'll love this story. And a fiction recommendation for you: the only 5-star novel I've read this year is The Beekeeper of Aleppo. If you're able to get it, I highly recommend it.

I had heard of Jacqueline Suskin "somewhere". I didn't know she had a podcast. I will put that on my Listen List. I'm also now following her on IG.

I like lists...a new prompt for my journaling! Doesn't sound as forceful as gratitude. If that makes any sense. Of course I am grateful for many, many things. But sometimes I struggle with coming up with one more thing I'm grateful for. Maybe because the word is overused, like you mentioned.

That office wall memory board!! You are so amazingly talented. Just wow. I can't wait to see the whole thing, plus a little tour of your office when you are done.

I signed up for the Soul Currency Camp. :-) The non-fiction course looks healing...writing about trauma. I haven't considered something like that, nor have I ever seen a course about it until now. I didn't sign up for it this time. I hope she offers it in the future. Her blog looks interesting, too.

Love the oversized art in your bathroom. Sometimes a wall calls for a bold art statement.

I certainly do remember the run for Patrick last year. I'm glad to hear there's a team doing it virtually this year. And thank you for sharing one of the RAK stories in Patrick's name. So heartwarming.


Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

Leslie- You have such a big heart, your love and kindness always shines through in your writing!
Your wall in the office turned out amazing, you are so talented in so many ways.
Sending lots of love

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