No regrets

  My sister lost her horse today.  Eli, her beautiful thoroughbred, was an enormous part of her life for the past eighteen years. He was the child she was never able to have, and like most only children he was the center of her universe. As the mother of a couple of children myself and a pet lover with two dogs, I was sometimes astounded, occasionally dismayed, and often amused by the love and attention my sister showered on Eli. I love my kids and dogs wholeheartedly, but they never got the energy and unconditional adoration Eli evoked from Nancy. She threw herself into her relationship with him with a wide open heart and let him bask in her considerable maternal love and instincts. He always came first. She anticipated his needs, was ever vigilant about his health, and always attuned to his moods.  Like any proud parent she had a repertoire of adorable stories and beautiful photos to share with anyone and everyone. She wrote a book about him. A love story. So funny, sad, honest, and brave that the reader can’t help but fall for both of them. I haven’t been able to speak to her yet. She’s too heartbroken to talk so I wait and wonder when she’ll be able to tell me what happened. In the meantime, I’ve spent the day thinking about Nancy and Eli. About a relationship so strong and loving that when it ends it leaves behind hundreds of joyful memories. And not a single regret. That’s an impressive legacy.   If you want to read about Eli, click here...

The joy of water

                  So we’re in the middle of a heat wave in Southern California. It’s 100 degrees in my yard at the moment, and this has been going on for days. But instead of railing against the sun, I’m going to try a different approach today. I’m going to celebrate water. Even though we’re experiencing a severe draught – along with our heat wave – I still have water.  Enough to prepare delicious pitchers of ice water with cucumber slices and rounds of lemon floating in them. I have enough water to take a cool shower and do a couple of loads of wash. I have a pool and in the late afternoon when the sun has slipped behind the trees, I’ll go for a swim. And I’ll think about how lucky I am to have fresh clean water available. And that’s more than enough  – even for a sweltering Monday. Take a look at how the average household uses water and be grateful for this most essential resource!...

Want some joy? Let it go.

  I have a lot of stuff to do today, and I’m sure you do as well.  But I did set an intention when I woke up to find some joy in my Monday, and I thought I’d share my plan. It might work for you as well….. I hate clutter. It makes me feel chaotic and uncomfortable. I’m not a minimalist or a clean freak by any means but something about being surrounded by too much stuff is distracting. Today as I was folding laundry it occurred to me that many of the items I was folding have lived out their purpose. Faded t-shirts, tops that don’t fit so well anymore, shorts that I would never wear outside of my house…. you know the stuff I’m talking about.  But most of the items still have some life left in them.  So I spent an hour roaming through the house collecting a bag of clothing, books, towels, baskets – things I no longer need or use or love. And on my way to the bank, I’ll drop the bag off at a donation center. (Fall is a perfect time to donate outgrown children’s clothing as lots of families are in need of school clothes.) Less clutter for me – clean clothes, books, magazines, etc for someone else.  Win-win! It’s so easy to spread a bit of joy -even on a busy...

My joys of summer

              Long lazy days that begin late and end very late Home grown tomatoes! Late afternoon swims when the sun is low in the sky Sleeping in Chunks of watermelon right from the fridge Blackberry basil lemonade Months of flip-flops Fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl Playing at the beach Stopping for ice cream on the last dog walk of the day Air conditioned matinees Sitting outside with friends until long after dark Ripe peaches and plums every day   What did I forget??? Please add your favorite summer delights to the comments.    ...

Joy in your to-do list

 Is this your to-do list? Do you feel dread every morning when you look at all you need to get done? Are you exhausted before you even begin? If you’re like me, you jot down errands/tasks/obligations as they occur to you and end up with a daily list of 20-30 items that need  to get done. Without prioritizing, organizing, or planning, this can be somewhat of a nightmare. For example, my list the other day included writing tasks, errands, a networking event, phone calls to make, long term projects, research, and a few things to follow up on. Just looking at the list was overwhelming. I didn’t know where to begin, how to schedule my day, or what I really needed to get done. But I dug in, crossed off a few of the easier tasks, then lost steam. By mid afternoon I felt disappointed in myself as my progress stalled but my list kept growing. On a good day I can get the majority of the list crossed off, but on a not-so-productive day, I have so many remaining items that I feel like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill. So out of frustration I decided to take a long, hard look at my list-making skills. And I’ve come up with a few strategies to help me have more productive feeling days rather than overwhelmed feeling days. (Notice the importance of the word ‘feeling’. So much of this is our own inner voice judging our accomplishments or lack of accomplishments.) To begin with, I am organizing my list. Priorities at the top. Maybe there are only three or four things I absolutely must get done on...
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