26 Jan 2011 Life’s Tapestry
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It’s amazing that an entire year has passed since I started this project.  And even more amazing how much my life has changed in that same short period of time.  I thought at the one year point of this project perhaps I should look back and evaluate how this project impacted me.

BATHING-BY-CANDLE-LIGHT_php-219x300I very much enjoyed this project.  It was an absolute delight!  It brought so much anticipation, fun, joy, and interest into daily life.  It really reminded me how simple it really is to create your own life experiences.  Life’s pleasure is simply all out there for the taking.  I also think that because of my focus on this I enjoyed opportunities that arose more than I perhaps would have otherwise.  I set my intention to be in the present, enjoying all life had to offer & experienced each opportunity with exquisite sensitivity.  I may just continue and keep an evolving Intentional Living list in my purse & even if I don’t continue with making such an intentional focus on life’s pleasures I think I will continue to experience all of life’s pleasures more deeply and richly because of this project.  Perhaps you’d like to create your own list and give it a try?  If you do, I would love to hear about your experience.  In retrospect, I think in the future my goal will be one activity every 2 – 3 weeks or perhaps once a month.  Weekly was a little aggressive to try to plan and work into all the rest life has to offer.  That timetable was probably a piece of why I ended up needing to take a break from it towards the end when life got really busy on it’s own.

I think the most interesting thing I learned and experienced was in the time I wasn’t doing the project.  Pretty interesting.   I started this Intention Living Project as a means to actively create fun, adventure, memories, experiences in my daily life.  To not wait for life to spice itself up, but to enrich my life myself.  Life can get pretty routine, and as I said in my intro to this project, “It occurred to me that I wanted to make choices in my everyday life that bring me more happiness, peace and beauty. Each activity, each experience is one of the threads that tell my life’s story.  It is up to me to choose the experiences that enrich my life. It is up to me to design the tapestry of my life.”

road-trip-300x179So I embarked on this project and each week I did something from my “list”, but was also open to modifying the list when life offered greater opportunities.  That happened many times.  I weekly built experiences into my life for the first 8 months of this project.  In the meantime, as you know, my son moved out of state very unexpectedly.  I was able to incorporate all that this brought to my life into this project.  Then in August I took on a full time job at Cleveland Clinic in addition to running my business.  Life got pretty hectic at that point.  I also spent a few months just ‘reorganizing’ my life.  I had to change nearly every routine I had so it took some time and focus to get a new groove going. 

Shortly after I started the job we also began what I lovingly refer to a “house refreshing” project.  When Matt moved we gave him a lot of household items as well as all the furniture in his bedroom.  We decided to repurpose his room.  We painted the room and pulled in furniture & other items from all over the house.  This created new room in other places in the house and created a domino effect of painting and reorganizing every room of the house.  During this process I also purged all the closets, cupboards, dressers, etc in each room.  It feels GREAT!  It feels like we moved into a new home, without all that expense and hassle.

At the same time we also needed to do some repair work of the outside front step.  We replaced it with a paver step and walkway and also resided the house.  We will finalize our landscaping in the spring and we will be entirely refreshed inside and out.  Yes!  Tho with the notable exception of the basement which I need to still tackle.

patrickWith all this going on this fall there wasn’t time, energy, or need to work the Intentional Living project.  But not keeping my commitment to the project was weighing on me as each week passed that I didn’t do the project.  Once I make a commitment, I keep it.  And even tho this commitment was only to myself, it was a commitment none the less.  At first I was pushing myself to keep up with it since I made the commitment, but then realized I just needed to be gentle.  So much change this year between Matt’s move, the new job, & the house “refreshing”.  This project was about bringing interest to daily life to keep the spark & life was bringing plenty of sparkle and newness.  I just needed to let things settle.  I decided to be gentle with myself and knew that if/when it was time to restart/finish up, I would know.  

So one of my big lessons with this project was a very active lesson in remembering to be gentle with myself and to stay in the flow of life.  When we go against the flow, life hurts.  There was no need for life to hurt.  This was all meant to be fun!

The year in review

Top 3 Soul Enriching Activities:
1.       Sharing Matt’s first night at his first house
2.       Visiting a roadside memorial & watching the Taking Chance movie
3.       Starting anew at 25 years, including the new dishes/pots & pans the house ‘refreshing”

Top 3 Plain Old Fun:IMAG0211[1]
1.       Trying blonde hair
2.       Trying on hats
3.       Secretly paying for the prom couples dinner

Top 3 Simple to Do:
1.       Learning some sign language
2.       The entire bubble bath sensory experience
3.       Playing in the rain

Top 3 Free Things to Do:
1.       Watching the Summer Rain
2.       Outdoor Movie Night
3.       Stargazing

Top 3 I’d Do Again:
1.       Ashiatsu oriental massage
2.       Change my hair color..in fact, I just keep changing it. It’s got copper highlights for the winter.
3.      Give unexpected gifts.  I didn’t blog about this but this year several times I surprised different people by sending them unexpected gifts.  It is such a soul-filling thing.  I probably get more out of it than the recipients.  A friend from high school read my blog about coloring and posted that coloring is one of her favorite activities.  She is experiencing some health problems so I thought a surprise might bring her some cheer.  I sent her some coloring books and crayons.  A week later or so she mailed me back a thank you card that included a colored page from the book.  I have that page framed in my office.    

Top 3 that Changed Me:
1.       Visiting a roadside memorial & watching the Taking Chance movie
2.       Not doing the Project/Blog when it wasn’t the right time, despite my commitment to it
3.       Purging and reorganizing the entire house, creating an entire new energy and home experience.

All time #1 experience:  Spending 3 weeks with Matt helping him find housing, moving in, cleaning, organizing, and especially that very first night with him at his new home.  I’ll remember it all forever. 

One day I was emailing with a good friend and we were talking about the project and blog.  He said, “You take a break if you need too, your blog is packed already with “a breath of fresh air” sort of stuff to last for a long while.  It takes a fun look at randomly seizing the moment with the sole purpose of appreciating life and the people we know and love and those we come into contact with day to day.”

Wow.  He summed it all up better than I ever had.  What a generous comment and one I took to heart.  If this project has helped others appreciate life in some small way, I am grateful that my project has been able to touch others lives while it reshaped my own.

Life is beginning to settle down now and so I may get to picking away at that list again.  Salsa lessons here I come:)

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16 Sep 2010 Movie Night…with a twist.
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1

I took the LCD projector I use for speaking engagements & projected it on the back of the house for our own personal outdoor movie night.  The little hassle getting it all set up was really worth it…Gave movie night a special twist.  

Would love to hear about things to do to give ordinary events a special twist…always looking for something new and fun to do.

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11 Sep 2010 Breakfast in Bed
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breakfast-in-bedDecadent…Pampering… Cuddly….Perfection!

This is the 2nd time this year I made myself breakfast in bed.  The first was for my 50th birthday in January.  A friend of mine commented at that time that that is pretty much counter to the entire idea of breakfast in bed…someone else should have made the breakfast for me.  I told him, “I meet my own needs..I am a 21st century woman:)”.  I wanted breakfast in bed and I made it.  It’s that simple.

I do have to say, this was a lesson that was hard learned during this journey called life.  I used to look to others to give me what I wanted/needed.  That is totally disempowering, yet it’s what society encourages us to do…look to others to complete us, blame others for not doing/saying/being.  I gave that up and it was the greatest gift I have ever given myself.  I took my power back and look to only me to meet my needs.  And life got infinitely easier & oh so peace-filled. 

If you’ve never made your own breakfast in bed, give it a whirl!

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29 Aug 2010 Summer Rain
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rainfallSitting, just sitting, outside….experiencing the calm, cleansing purity of a summer  storm.  I am so glad I took the time to do this, doing it with intentionality, daring my senses to absorb all the sounds, scents, feelings, & visions of the enchanted summer storm.  I found it brought clarity to the mind & soul, while at the same time, cleansing & nourishing the earth.  Such profound power.

Hope you get to enjoy a summer storm before the end of the season.

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22 Aug 2010 Star Light..Star Bright…
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shooting startA gorgeous summer night, cool breeze, starry sky.  Time to star gaze.  And because I never take the time to sit in awe of a starry night, it took till I was 50 years old to see my first shooting star!  I am so glad I took on this Intentional Living Project.  It is helping me take time for the little things.

Hoping your days, weeks, and months, are overflowing with joyful little things!

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11 Aug 2010 The Sweet Sound of Summer Music
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BrickmanSummerMusicFes_colorThis weekend I had the opportunity to do another of my favorite summer activities…an open air concert.  There is something so wonderful about combining fresh air, grass, and music.  I love it! 

This reminded me how much I love going to Blossom.  Will have to try to work that into my schedule!

Have you gone to an open air concert this summer?  What is your favorite?

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05 Aug 2010 Starting Anew at 25 Years
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My husband and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary in a few weeks and our son’s sudden move to Arkansas provided us with an opportunity to start our 2nd 25 years with a fresh start.

I’m talking dishes and pots/pans!  Yes!

We decided instead of buying him dishes and pots/pans we would buy ourselves some new ones and move ours along.  I loved it! 

dishesYou see, the dish set we have been using for 25 years was…do any of you recall this….???….from the grocery store.  You buy something like $20 worth of groceries and you get a plate.  We had our entire family doing it for us and had a nice set of dishes.  As you can imagine, 25 years later, it isn’t much of a set at this point with mishaps along the way.  So we finally bought ourselves our first set of dishes!!!

 

pans ppt jpgAnd then the crème de la crème!  We never had a set of pots and pans at all.  We just had this odd assortment of pots/pans that we assembled from who knows where.  But they worked and there never seemed to be any real reason to spend money on getting new.  But now we had a reason.  So we bought a nice set of stainless steel pots/pans that we are going to hang in the kitchen.

Oh such fun!  I know…it doesn’t take much to make me happy!!

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15 Jul 2010 Ahh…fresh flowers
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tulips on stove

Matt's new kitchen

Fresh flowers…like sunshine bottled up in brilliant colors.  Heavenly.

This weeks intentional living activity was to buy myself fresh flowers.  Oh how I love, love, love fresh flowers.  Years ago, when I was in a particularly rough patch in life, I went to a  florist and arranged to have fresh flowers sent to myself monthly over the winter.  When I said I wanted flowers sent each month, she pulled out a card and asked, “to whom”?  Me.  “And what would you like the card to say??”  hmm…”to me, with love”:)

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08 Jul 2010 Sharing a First…..
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matts bed as pptWhat a special treat!  How many parents get the opportunity to share their kids first night in their first  “home”?  I mean, really, they move out to get away from us!!!

But special circumstances create special situations:)  I am still in Arkansas to help Matt find housing and get settled in.  Matt would prefer to rent a home vs. an apartment but a few weeks of hunting showed us we could not find something meeting his needs, be in a good neighborhood, and be within his budget..those things seem to be mutually exclusive.  We determined we needed to find a month to month apartment while we continued to try to find a house.  When I got to town I previewed many apartments and planned to show him the top choices after work. 

Then divine intervention interceded.  Near closing time that day, a customer overheard Matt saying he was looking for a home to rent.  The customer said, “I have a home, just around the corner, and the tenant just moved out unexpectedly…come see it.”  36 hours later, he moved in:).  The previous tenant had a LOT of things they left behind.  A small price to pay for being able to get in the house immediately. We got to the house around 9:30pm. We cleared some things aside, inflated our air mattresses, and headed off to take a shower.  I was glad I had thought ahead and packed the mattresses, sheets, shower curtain & hooks, a towel for each of us, some pots/pans, plastic silverware, a few plastic dishes/dish soap, a cooler, a tv/dvd player & some dvd’s and a few other things to tide him/us over till my husband could bring the truck down with all Matt’s things.  We thought it made the most sense for Matt to find a place to live before we brought everything down.

We were blessed to have electricity (read “AC” as the temps are in the 90’s in July here), and water.  We would have to wait till Tuesday, because of the holiday weekend, to call to have the gas turned on.  As we were turning the shower on it all clicked….no gas = no hot water.  Brr.  We sure are spoiled creatures:)

Pretty cool, tho…sort of like camping in a house. 

It was the neatest night.  Matt was wired…his first night in his first house.  And then I realized, I was blessed to be here to enjoy that first night with him.  I will treasure this week forever.  It has been so special being here with him, cleaning, setting things up..just he and I.  Nothing better for a mother’s heart.  Especially since I likely won’t see him again for quite a while.  My heart is soaking up every moment.

Definitely an Intentional Living week.  I will have to take something less deserving off my list and replace it with this unexpected golden opportunity.

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03 Jul 2010 ROADTRIP!!
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road trip]Spontaneous roadtrip…..YES!!

My son had a job offer from a business in Jonesboro, Arkansas & relocated from Cleveland very suddenly.  He has been living in a hotel, with primarily just a laundry basket of clothes and a phone.  I decided to go down and help him locate housing and get settled in.  This mission has “mom” stamped all over it.  I’m in!  I am great at researching, scouting, organizing, coordinating.

While road trips are always fun, I think spontaneous roadtrips are even more tantalizing.  Throw some stuff together and head out on the open road.  It was a beautiful drive down.  I couldn’t have asked for better weather.  Sunshine, trees, changing landscape.  And though I have traveled nearly the entire united states, I had never been to Arkansas so it was to be an even greater adventure.

I enjoyed the scenery, listened to country music, but mostly, just enjoyed this beautiful country of ours.

What was your favorite road trip?

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