Friday, April 11, 2014

Flashback Friday ... Life in France 4

Indeed this was a week that I will not complain went too quickly. I am happy it is Friday--happier that it is the weekend--and absolutely most happy about what is ahead just right around the corner.  As I said on IG I was simultaneously reaching for the parental instruction book, the marital bliss guide and the banish self-doubt brochure----all in one evening.

Over the last 24 hours I realized that I am over due to pick up my camera and spend some happy-shooting time getting perspective on this beautiful life.  It seems especially good to do this when times are tough.  The lens can open your eyes to the details and the loveliness--that might be there all of the time but harder to see without the focus of a camera.

So that is as much about the week that I will share--and move on to a relevant 'flashback' for this Friday post.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I am in giddy anticipation for a very special visit from a 'chere amie' next Thursday when she arrives at Rabbit Hill and then coming up after that --- a MUCH NEEDED getaway---to PARIS--with that gal and also two other sweet ladies who I cannot wait to spend time with as well.  Right after that is my 19th wedding anniversary (at the end of the month)... 

April is just turning out to be fabulous.

Bon weekend mes amis!  I always appreciate your coming by!


September 2010
In France, there is beauty all around.  It's a photographers utopia--whether you are only shooting with a cell phone or with a fully loaded 35mm with interchangeable lenses and gadgets. I recently commandeered my husband's Cannon DSLR and collection of lenses on our last visit to France.  After playing with it--there was no going back to my little 'Sure-Shot'.  I am still just a beginner, but in time I hope to master at least the ability to shoot some artistic representations of the way the images flash in my mind. 

But back to the confessions.  So my feeling is that it is easy to portray in images, the outrageously beautiful scenery and much coveted 'life-style' found here in France--(you can literally shoot anything here and make it look charming)...the life here as seen through the camera, or to the visitor for the first, second or even third vacation can appear to be superior to any other place in the world.

Living in France, is not exactly as seen in those pictures.....and it is not always how it reads in books---and trust me, I have read them all.  Cultural travel memoirs, books about culture and cuisine especially, and books about European lifestyles are my genre; fiction, non-fiction...I have devoured every book I could get my hands on.  Maybe it began with Peter Mayle's, "A Year In Provence", (followed by "Toujours Provence" and "French Lessons"). Years later "Under the Tuscan Sun", "1000 Days in Venice", "Le Divorce" and "Le Marriage", "On the Rue Tatin", "A Vineyard in Tuscany", no to name countless design and decor books and most recently, "Eat, Love, Pray", "Recipes for the Perfect Marriage", and last but not least, Elizabeth Bard's "Lunch in Paris" name a FEW. In the stack on my nightstand: "French Spirits", "Paris to the Moon", "Suite Francaise".....and for fun, "Talk to the Snail" by Stephen Clarke.

I read dozens of blogs and many of them written about the joie de vivre of the French lifestyle, the beauty, the cultural landscape, the relaxed-pace of living in France...some have stunning images of country homes, Parisian scenes, and like mine, the markets, the food....the 'life' that appears so idyllic.

And I recently have been speaking with the natives and quite a few Frenchies that have also spent time living in the US--and they all shared the common opinion that the French lifestyle as perceived by 'outsiders' is often a bit skewed by the cliche lunettes de couleurs roses. Living here, working here, fully entrenched in the daily grind of being French---is a much different reality.

So there it is my friends....another side of the proverbial coin.  This weekend, after 2 long grueling weeks of being 'fully entrenched'  I plan on returning to the mission of seeking what it is that is seen in those gorgeous and beautifully written books and blogs- I am heading out with my camera, spending hours in my tiny kitchen, and taking a stroll with my darling French husband, so that at least for a short time I can enjoy ma vie en France!  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Flashback Friday ... Life in France 3

Again -- I am posting on Saturday instead of Friday -- but this time the delay is a result of an internet provider transition and today I am just happy to be on-line again and the time between was less than expected.  Although we are still waiting for our land line but then again who uses them these days anyway right?!

A very quick wrap-up of the week and then I will post the flashback...

You may have read already about projects that were finished this week on the farm... the chicken armoire being the favorite.. although I am also quite thrilled about the fencing around the lavender plants that seems to be keeping the destructive rabbits of Rabbit Hill.

Behind those scenes... family life has had it's ups and downs this week.. a bit of stress during a homework battle mega-marathon complete with yelling, pounding fists and tears with 'Middle Garcon'  which ironically or not hit on the very same day as 'World Autism Awareness -- April 2nd'... so I went to bed that night feeling a bit beaten and chose not to do a commemorative 'awareness' post... I chose just to go to bed--watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy.. and not over-think it.  You can see previous 2013 WAAD post {here}.... My thoughts have not changed too much... the statistics have--and I am choosing at this time not to go into the dire situation in France (and other areas of the world) where the future for child diagnosed with ASD is not as bright as it would be if they could access the services available in the United States.

There now.  I have written more than planned.

Flashback to our move to France in 2010...  You might find these posts full of angst and struggle.  The move was a hard one and going back now and re-looking at how I handled it back then is for me--a really great excercise to see how far we have come... and to truly be in-love with our home and life and where we are now.

Bon weekend mes amis!

September 2010

I have spent the better part of my life in search of a place.  My mom said after I had finished college and traveled a bit, that I was "never happy" where I was and no matter where I was I would always want to be somewhere else... and maybe that was true both geographically and metaphorically.

I was born on the East Coast of the US, but never dug my heels in there because of moving during those critical formative years (high school!) to Ohio where I finished high school and continued to five years of college before considering going anywhere else.  After graduation I finally was able to explore my family roots on my mom's side and spend a year (on and off) in the United Kingdom.  I had always felt a deep-connection to the UK, my grandfather was born in Wales and grew up in and around London. The things I cherished about my grandfather were all conceived in England--his accent and his clear and careful articulation, his beautiful penmanship, and his talent for story-telling and writing which eventually led him to the project of writing his memoir late in life.

Time I spent in GB was extremely meaningful--I was still in lost-soul mode having graduated from college with a degree in art and design that I had no idea what to do with, aside from an interest in someday working in the museum industry. I was appropriately traveling with my soul-mate and closest friend--appropriate because it was a time of breathing and soul-searching as relationships back home ended and the future felt so volatile.  So we hiked, we wrote, we spent long hours in silence, we laughed and cried--my friend and I cemented every piece of our friendship permanently together so that no future distance would ever be able to weaken our bond.......and we hitch-hiked (much to my mom's horror) from London, England all the way up to Inverness, Scotland, exploring on foot some of the most unique landscapes in the world. I could write volumes about that time, but suffice it to say-it was amazing and once in a lifetime.

After returning from the UK I lived for a short time in upstate NY then left to try out a completely different life on the West Coast, specifically Los Angeles.  I lived in California for almost 10 years (Southern Cal and then the Bay Area) before landing up in the Seattle area of Washington State......

.....and there I found the place.....THE PLACE....that I wanted to stay and make HOME.

The cliche, 'You don't know what you have until it's gone' does not apply here.  I knew exactly what I had. On Bainbridge Island, WA a short 30 minute transit across the sound from Seattle--I found my place.

A French person recently asked me, "Which lifestyle do you prefer; the one in France, or the one you had in America?" I had to think for a minute--because I was trying to come up with the elements for the comparison and on the French side--it was difficult.  We do not yet have a lifestyle here.  For the past 3 months it has been constant change and constant adjustment, and truthfully you can't have a lifestyle without having a foundation of routine.  On the American side we had worked very hard to establish a lifestyle which consisted of  a balance of working, home-time, and play.  Being business owners weekends were Sundays and Mondays.  School was Monday-Friday for the boys; there were play-dates and day trips, dinners with friends....Thursday night was "pasta-night" and Sunday night was homemade pizza night. (Yes, our lifestyle quite often revolved around food...) as it should, il est vrai?

Just writing about it in brief makes me ache. Although some people never find a place, others do.  I don't think the ones that do then choose to leave it....I don't know I could be wrong.  I often think moving to France would have been easier if I had moved from a place, Cleveland.  But you see, the Pacific Northwest is hefty competition even for a place like France.  There is beauty, culture, food, even really decent wine! So add on top of that friends, routine and a familiar language....well like I said, tough competition.

The only question left at this point might be--can we fall in-love with a place more than once? The only answer can be--Only time can tell.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Chicken Armoire at Rabbit Hill

Now you are not allowed to say that we are losing it a bit over the chickens.  I can say it ... but you can't.  I promise not to go into great detail about how funny and smart they are or how they have an amazing communication with each other ... and personalities?  You better believe it!

Yes, I am (we are?) smitten.  And on top of all that -- they give us eggs!  From the six hens we are given about 5 eggs per day on average--the chickens are young so we may eventually get more.

Everyone in the family is fascinated with the chickens.

 And some family-members more than others ...

One thing we discovered was that the original set up in the 'coop' was not working as well as it could.  They were kind of nesting in odd places and perching where they should have been nesting.   If you have chickens you know that perching over nest areas is, well ... messy.

So we had to come up with a better set up in the stall of the barn where the chickens reside and French Guy (bless his big chicken lovin' heart) came up with what I think is not only brilliant -- but quite charming.

The chickens now happily reside in a 19th century Henry IV oak armoire.  Now don't panic -- it was already in the barn, discarded many, many years ago, really dirty, not loved, a bit rotted.  Becoming a chicken 'house' was a promotion for it! 

A little retro-fitting with partitions and a long perch and it was good to go.... with a little styling from me!  Actually the vintage items on the top and top shelves are there to keep the chickens off those areas.  It sorta works, but I will have to regularly check for eggs and other things up there despite the 'barriers'.

So all is happy in Rabbit Hill chicken world.  They are loved, live in luxury and ...

... Get plenty of exercise.  Maybe too much. 

They are not complaining.

Happy Thursday mes amis!  I am off to print shipping labels!  Merci for shopping at the last opening of the shop!  I am so grateful for your support!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Happy April mes amis!  

Or almost April!  Shortly, I will hit the 'live' button to open the shop for the April 1st opening ... I am excited.  I am relieved.  I am shocked that another month has passed.

April 1st in many places is 'April Fool's Day'... in France it is something similar but not exact and there is something about getting slapped with a fish.... I promise to get back to you on that one.  Still trying to sort out that 'unique' cultural practice.

I hope you will pop over to the shop to see the SPRING inspired French vintage additions.  I know so many of you have SNOW today ... and in the past few weeks.  In Normandie we have gotten perhaps an unfair allotment of spring-like weather already ....

So here it is.  Click on "SHOP" and "On-Line" shop at the stroke of midnight -- April 1st -- France time--which is 3pm PST and 6pm EST and many, many other times in between...

Confession:  I normally have a glass of bubbly to celebrate each opening in the eve of the opening.  Why celebrate in advance?!  Even before the first sale is made?! Here is why...

Because weeks before I even purchase the first item... or take the first picture... or promote the thing I love and will share in the shop.... it is already done.  It is in HIS hands....  sappy?  No!  Truth?  OUI!  In between that-- you might be surprised that there are hours and hours of work... and LOADS of self-doubt... 

... every step of the way.  Always.  

At least for a good chunk every month--- I HOPE I am doing the right thing!

When you do something you love and are passionate about--yet you rely on others for success-- how could you NOT operate with the idea that it is already taken care of --- it is in GOD's hands.  I celebrate this -- each and every time I have an opening.  Faith... believing it will all work out... and it does.  (Referencing Matt. 6:25-34).

So thanks to YOU for stopping over....  hope you find something you love too!  

(I will get back to you about the slap with the fish thing.  It is important.)

See you again soon!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Flashback Friday... Life in France II

Friday already! .... but well... actually it is Saturday and I am slightly late posting the second 'Flashback-Friday' series.  This week we had a glimpse of the 'winter' that we thought we had skipped, ironically now that it is spring.  Even a dusting of something snow-like... and then mostly winds--and very cold.

Of course I had chosen to shoot the remaining items for the April 1st shop pop-up --- outside!  It was C-O-L-D... and my eyes were tearing, my nose was running and my props were being blown over.  Worth it?  I say 'oui!'... because I was most inspired by the places around the farm where I chose to shoot-- and I was in good company--the chilled chickens the funny new cow-tenants and sweet Stella--who wasn't thrilled about the temperature drops either.

For this weeks 'flashback' I pulled another journal entry--this one about my struggle with the language when we arrived in France.  I still struggle actually, but I have gotten over (a bit) the mortifying embarrassment of trying to say simple things and have accomplished at least a 'survival level' French....  for now.

Bon weekend mes amis!  More 'news' and peeks of the shop opening coming soon!


September 2010

There is the little matter of the language. If you are considering moving to another country it is best to know the native language or at least have a basic foundation of understanding.  It certainly makes things much easier from the get-go....take it from someone who knows, or who doesn't know as it were.

I met my husband sixteen years ago. At that time I had five solid years of studying Spanish under my belt and living in Southern California at the time it was actually coming in handy.  Some of the places that I worked (as a Nanny) also had Spanish-only-speaking employees, so it was helpful, not to say I was fluent enough to have long conversations, but enough to get by.  Although he now forgives me for saying so, when I met my husband and fell immediately into a very  l-o-n-g  conversation lasting several hours....I thought he was German!  So much for me having a good ear for accents!  Also worth mentioning, to be fair about my current predicament, French Guy did not speak English well at all! (Sorry honey, but you know it's true!) In fact it is a wonder we got through the pre-dating dialogues at all--as I remember we talked for hours when we first met, but mostly because we had to talk very slowly to get what the other person was saying.

After we were married, I enrolled in French 101 at Santa Monica College.  I took one semester but was also working full-time managing a West Hollywood art gallery--so it was tough doing the 40 plus hours, including weekends and going to school at night.  We had a few French friends while we lived in West LA, but at home, we spoke English as I was still helping French Guy with his fluency! Previously a world traveler, he spoke several languages; Portuguese, German, Arabic and of course French--with a survival level of English on top.

Years later, before our first trip together to France, I took an intensive 'French for Travelers' conversation course with a local tutor.  It was one-on-one instruction and I have to say the most effective of all the French studies I took.  Four years ago I signed up for a "French for Beginners" course offered by our local Chamber of Commerce and mostly attended by the over 60 crowd as an interesting diversion from retired-life or in preparation for a pending trip.

The French that really stuck with me all has to do with culinary terms thanks to my foodie-tendency.  That means I do really well at the open markets or ordering at a bistro, but may not know how to ask what time it is or where is the toilet.  I think it's funny that many people when hearing about our pending move to France and lack of fluency (and in the case of the boys, ZERO-fluency) they immediately suggested that we would all be speaking and understanding French within a few months of landing here. C'est ne pas vrai, mon ami!  As if one morning we would wake up and suddenly comprehend and speak Francais!  "Total immersion" is the best way to learn a language quickly! Mais oui!  But two things--most people that say that--have never learned a language that way themselves, and second have no idea that when you try to adopt a new language your brain overloads and your current native-tongue suffers to the point that you can barely form a ANY language!

So it's a wonder that I can even keep it together enough to write this blog me it's been painful! But oh well....c'est la vie mes amis!

Friday, March 21, 2014

{Flashback} Fridays - Life in France

It is Friday -- could it be? .. and it is SPRING! 

This week -- and the official start of 'le printemps' brought so many great things! First (and most importantly!) the COWS ARRIVED!  I knew they would be back soon and what is better than this day to come!  Twelve new ladies (and no bull so far...).  Next we sorted out an egg 'problem' -- noticing that one of the hens has been hiding hers--under the feed bin.  I discovered EIGHT eggs, so that explains why each day I was only finding one or two with six laying girls. Also on the schedule since last week was the issue of the rabbits attacking the lavender patch.  (Yes, the start of Rabbit Hill Lavender is off too a rough and chewed up start.. but we do call it RABBIT Hill for a reason....). So today we are putting up a fence after complete failure of garlic granules and blood meal.... and the only other event this week--The teen was in the South for a school trip.  Honestly -- we NEVER had school trips as cool as that!  South of France for 3 days-- j-e-a-l-o-u-s.

So that is the brief wrap up of the week.  Funny looking at it now.  Flashback to a few years ago where my life was about power-suits, high heels, business trips and cocktails with clients---school board meetings and commutes... 

Flash forward to today -- I find my days filled with chickens, posting pictures of cows ... tallying eggs... and dealing with hungry destructive rabbits.  Life has never been better... farm-y and unglamorous as it might be. I love every minute... almost... and am prayerfully thankful for ALL of it.

Starting today--and for a while forward--every Friday I am taking you back to how it all started.  Believe it or not--we didn't just land in France, find Rabbit Hill and become French country folks.  It started much differently--and I am sharing a few excerpts from my first journal about life in France-- starting in 2010.

I hope you enjoy these small 'flashbacks' each week!

September 2010.

Although we have been in France now for almost 3 months, (and trust me it feels like much longer!) I can no longer postpone the inevitable required step--'tourner la page'. The story of 'us' continues in a new place, a new culture and with a new little life kicking around inside.

It was easier at first, not to write.  In fact starting a journal at the beginning of this enormous transition was not possible.  There was no space between the flood of emotions, the physical stress and the efforts to pry loose the grasp on all things comfortable and familiar.  Instead my hands became glued to my camera with hopes that I would see something through that lens that would enable me to experience all the newness, stumble upon beauty and cause my lungs to breathe that initial gasp as you push up to the surface after the wave knocks you on your butt.

To say that it has been difficult, this transition to a new life, would be an understatement. The decision to leave a beloved home on Bainbridge Island, WA and all the normal things that made a comfortable mosaic of our life was driven almost entirely by my French husbands desire to be closer to his family and start a different life.  Different it is.

Before I was ready to write again, I surfed around looking at blogs written by American 'ex-pats' living in France.  I was especially interested in the American woman's perspective (wife, mom, etc.) What I found was that most active blogs were written by women living in Paris who appeared to be life-long 'Francophiles' who blogged about the city of lights and waxed poetic about all it had to offer. ("Oooo La La! The food! The wine!   The markets!.....the CHEESE!") We are not in Paris--but rather Basse Normandy--the northwest coast.

Then one thing occured to me--I am not and never was, a Francophile.  Now don't get me wrong--I like France....French things....but truly, never sought out the French husband simply to get the 'green-card' to live in France.  And never did I actually believe that France would become our permanent home.

So here I am--3 months into the new life in France.  Things are starting to come together; moved into a house, got a job, children started school...but it all still feels so 'foreign' and truthfully, it is still not very much fun.  That will come in time.  Until then the lens of my camera will introduce me to a new view and I will trek on for the moment on this new 'fil de la vie'.......en France.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The value of losing time...

As much as I have wanted to post lately, I haven't.  Sometimes it is a conflict of pressure and time or on the flip-side there is time, but the words don't come out.  Or sometimes I am just plain tired.  My blogging of late is restricted to the late hours of the evening -- and as some of you who are parents know -- you just want to shut-off, curl into something comfortable ... and go to bed.

Not that my heart has not been here.  I keep thinking of things I would love to share.  Our crazy busy and hugely blessed life.  That in the crazy busyness-est part of it we take on more -- driven by the love of our home at Rabbit Hill.  There are endless possibilities... projects... things to create and do.  And now ...

There are chickens.

7 chickens to be exact.  6 hens and a very, very handsome rooster... named Wellington.  (A silly name that came from a discussion with the teen about why my rubber boots bought in the UK were called 'wellies'... or wellingtons...) just seemed right.

So as slightly crazy, all-ready too busy, passionate (did I already say crazy?) folks like us do-- we added to the 'life' part of the farm.  The 'live' part--- the pecking around, funny, interesting, intelligent, pooping part. (oops--wasn't going to mention that last bit.  But seriously!?  Nobody warned me about that!)

This afternoon I grabbed my camera to shoot this elusive bunch...they move a lot and only Wellington actually poses ...  planning on about 10 minutes of chicken paparazzi-- and those 10 minutes became an hour -- or slightly more.

I was also hanging with 'Middle Garcon' who doesn't have school on Wednesdays and was out helping me protect the flock from the most unexpected threat -- Stella, our Siamese--who appears to have chicken-stalker genes and didn't get the memo about not pouncing on family members with the full intention of inflicting harm ... or maybe she just wants to play.

Our time of herding/protecting chickens and mentally creating our list of Google topics starting with "Why do chickens do .... this?  and this?" soon turned into a much larger chunk of time and somewhere in the middle of it I realized that the laundry in the house was not going to be done today, the items of was supposed to shoot for the next shop opening would sit un-styled ... and the blog post I wanted to do before 11pm was not going to happen.

But what did happen was that I lost time.... lost track of it.  Completely.  And what is even better is that I spent time with a boy that has more often than not lately, been hard to spend time with, and we laughed and we asked questions and we sat and said nothing at all.

When you lose track of time you gain moments.  No matter what happens after -- those moments are never taken away.  Nothing can erase them or remove their value. Even if when I was to go back inside, that same boy I spent those moments with returned to spontaneous angst, pushed our buttons, rebelled... Even if we got back suddenly to our more current mode of daily life --which is a tough kid, or a kid going through tough growth... and a mom who is too busy, with too much on her plate and a whole lot of laundry and never enough time.

Today I chose moments over time.  Sometimes the best decisions are the easiest to make.

Being present in a moment is sometimes the biggest challenge with or without the circumstances I described.  All I can say is maybe you might need to seek things that slow you down,  Things that cause you to stop, be present, lose time.  Seek things that make you slow down and live in those moments.

Like chickens.  Or a ten year old.

I would lean towards chickens.

Have a good evening mes amis.  See you again soon.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Itchy Sweater

I may have used this metaphor before.  January is like an itchy sweater.  Seems cozy at first, (the holidays done and behind me--those first weeks of family birthdays have wound down... then the slightly uncomfortable sensation of just wanting the month to be over creeps in)... and I just want that sweater off!  It was lovely at first--new and fresh--(with big aspirations)... even a bit stylish.  And now it is starting to get itchy--a bit worn even--ready to get it off.

Actually ready to be in a t-shirt--instead of the sweater... but that is more for the impatience of a long winter-less winter.  In Normandie--we haven't had snow-and I realize many of you are just sick of it--tired of being buried, frozen, trapped at home in countless snow days, power outages...  We haven't had any of that.  Well wait.  We have had power outages--in fact a bit too many this past weekend alone.  About 20--every weekend evening--for 2-3 minutes---every ten minutes... or so.  Not weather related -- not anything related.  Ask me if that is annoying.

January has been challenging!  How has it been for you?  My laptop 'fell-ill' and is now at the repair shop and I am in serious withdrawal for my data and images while I borrow a computer from mon fils.  Our family stress has been up there--that is another post I think--but Middle Garcon has been pushing us to our parenting limits.  So that all means that the work week is slow--and the weekends are..... so lovely--in an amped-up stressed out sort of way.

Itchy sweater--grumpy.  That's me.  It's grey.  Le gris is not any prettier in France by the way.  (Despite the popular Annie Sloan chalk paint name--French Grey)--truly--it is not nice.  The sky is grey--not always for rain--just grey.  It starts getting dark at 3pm.  Who knew I moved to the French Pacific Northwest?

Come on spring--come on light!  Come back!  No?  Okay--I will just take February then!

And of course--kicking it off with a shop 'pop-up'....  February 1 & 2... and I am really excited.  

Lots of linens for February!  Monogrammed vintage sheets, French milled linen pillow covers--and every variety of red-striped 'torchon' kitchen towels... and I bought the most interesting and fabulous batch of grain sacks!  I have already made one into a runner for my kitchen table--and have lots more to sell--and at really great prices!  

Hope to see you then.  

I promise to be more cheery--and to have on a much more comfortable sweater!



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The WORD(s) for 2014

I have to be honest.  I have been struggling a bit.  I am not sure why, but I feel really stalled in the launch of this new year.  Could it be that I loved 2013 so much that 2014 has left me sitting on the side of the pool just swinging my legs and not jumping in?

I have heard the excuses in my head ... the January birthdays, not feeling 100% healthy and good, waiting for the school routine to settle back in, feeling in limbo of the seasons .... hearing myself saying "I will start that, I will do that, I will try that"....  but when?!

When I thought of resolutions--all that came to mind were things that I am not happy about--about MYSELF.  Even though I know that in order to really be resolutions--you have to put a positive spin on it--you have to have that burst of motivation---that hardy slap on the back to get moving-- (or that kick in the pants!)  .... and all I could come up with is what I don't like about myself right now.... ( "I have gained weight, I am tired, I need to let go of some things I thought I wanted ... I will never be.....").  

Oh those negative audio reels that repeat in our heads.... not the fodder to create a good set of resolutions.

So then came choosing the WORD for 2014.  Last year it came easy--my word was COURAGE ...  and I sat with my lap-top and sobbed out that post just more than a year ago--let out the worry--and the pain--dusted off my rear and got up and went looking for courage.... and found it.  


That word served me well.  It made 2013 the best year of my life.  
BEST year of my life.

So for 2014?  Hard act to follow.  I have been praying about it--because I think it is important. I feel challenged on having focus for this new year.  I have been thanking God over and over for last year--and asking him to give me some work for this one.  Work--- a job.  Not a job-job--but work for Him.... and I know he will--as long as I keep asking... and I plan to.

So back to the word thing.  It was easier to come up with the anti-words..... Here are the words that are NOT for 2014 ....

 See the big one?  Out with that very, very, very bad word COMPARE.  It sucks the life out of ... life.  Compare is the joy-killer.  I promise you -- if you banish that one-- you are well on your way to having the best life ever -- because it's YOURS and not someone else's. That word is my biggest challenge--sometimes followed closely by the other one--ENVY.  Ick.  Bad.  Walk away.

Okay--on to the GOOD ones ....

And now you can see the one that I have chosen for this year --- 

EMBRACE.  Embrace what?! 

 ....  e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.   

Those days when it all goes wrong--when I am hit with a huge challenge, rejection, discouragement, things don't happen the way they should--or simply that the dog pees on the floor, the three year old runs over my hurt toe with her scooter, or I sound like a crazy idiot attempting to speak French at the market -- or I simply cannot get that mile long to-do list done ....

Embrace.  Bear-hug it.  Accept less than perfect--not so great--not fair--undeserved...

That's my word for 2014.  Goes well with letting it roll, accepting, releasing, forgiving ....... the close runner's up in this 'contest'.

What is your word or phrase for this fabulous year?  Was it hard to chose? 

 I would love to hear about it!

Hope your week is going well.  Be back soon!