Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chasing the Blues {and a Giveaway!}


I used to treasure the 
 conversations that I
had with my Gigi.

Like many grandmas,
she was an excellent listener,
cheerleader of my life's
activities and best of
all, she loved to laugh.

I miss that.

Despite some significant
losses in her lifetime, Gigi
was always able to focus
on the positive things 
that made up her days.


I remarked on this one
time and she explained:

Some mornings, when
I wake up alone in
my little bed and I 
think of all the people
that I loved, who are
no longer here, I make
a list of all the good
things that I do have....

My family
My friends
My church
My health
My apartment
My garden
My car 

And then I usually
feel much better.  


But, if I am particularly
blue, I know it is best
that I not be alone.
So I get dressed and
head to the shopping
mall.  The lights, the
pretty merchandise and
being around other people
always helps to get me
out of my funk.

Most times, she 
never bought 
a thing.


But if she did, it was
likely to be one of her
favorite items, next to
clothes:  accessories.
No one could wear
them like Gigi!

And even now, as she
sails away from us with
Dementia at age 94, she
is still accessorizing ~
her true essence shining
through.

How I miss you.
Which brings me to my
giveaway, from an
amazing on-line company,
NOVICA.com.  
{Very few things fill me
with as much joy as
gift-giving, especially
when it benefits others!}

NOVICA is one of the leading
fair trade artisan websites,
working with the National
Geographic Society to give
talented artisans around the
globe a place to express
their talents and access
to the world marketplace.


Sacred Blue Lotus

NOVICA also makes 0% interest,
micro-credit loans to artisans, which
not only helps them to succeed,
but also supports the preservation
of ancient craft techniques for
future generations.


The Jimenez Family, from Central America,
makes jade and sterling jewelry.
In addition to their fair-trade
corporate gifts and home decor
items, NOVICA also sells amazing
 accessories
such as.... 


....just to name a few of their
beautiful, unique and very
reasonably-priced offerings.


Accessories made from
the heart.

I know Gigi would approve : )


Azure Bliss....Even the names are lovely.

To win one of two $50 gift
certificates for NOVICA.com,
simply leave me a comment
about one of your own
favorite accessories, or
what you do to chase
away the blues.


To learn more about
NOVICA, click here.

The giveaway will run 
through midnight on
Thursday, May 3rd


Maybe the best any of us
can do is not quit, play
the hand we've been dealt,
 and accessorize what 
we've got.


~ Sex and the City




xx
Suzanne




Thursday, April 19, 2012

So close and yet....


Hi sweet friends!

Just a quick note to say
thank you for all of
the wonderful comments,
e-mails, texts and phone
calls that I received for
my {big}birthday.

I was truly 
touched 
beyond
measure.





I am noticing as I
attempt to respond to
these wonderful b-day
 comments, that many
of you have not enabled
your e-mail setting 
on Blogger.


Which means there is
no way for me to 
answer you.


I wrote about this very
subject, last year, but
I think it is worth 
an update.

This time, I'm going
to keep these directions at
 the top of my blog page,
under Communicate.



{If you receive my
posts by e-mail and
send me a note, I am
able to write you back.
Feel free to skip over
the next few paragraphs.}



To enable e-mail:
Log into your
Blogger dashboard.
Click on the arrow next to your
Blogger name {right-had corner.}
Select Blogger profile.
Under Edit User Profile, Privacy,
check Show My E-mail Address.
At the bottom of the page, click
the orange Save Profile button.

This way, your comments
 don't land in my in-box
with the address 
noreply-comment@blogger.com,
which means any reply that I 
send you will float around 
forever in the ether and 
never,
ever
reach you.

{If you aren't 100%
certain, please, please
double check.}



Communication is
so important, isn't it?
The ability to connect
with one another ~

listen
share thoughts
validate
laugh
cry

be heard.



And when only half
of the equation works,
it feels like a vital
connection has been lost.

I am so passionate
about this topic that
I will donate $5 to 
fantastic charity that
trains service dogs for
those with disabilities, for
each registered Blogger
member who leaves me
a comment that they have
changed their e-mail
settings.

When I reply back,
you will know that 
it's working!



I've had a crazy busy week,
writing thank you notes and
juggling baseball practices,
College Day and many other
activities in addition to 
my normal responsibilities.

I will be back next week
with more thoughts to
share with you, as well
as a lovely giveaway!

Until then, have a 
beautiful,
blessed 
weekend.




What's the point of 
being alive, she said,
if you're not going to
communicate?
~ Kurt Vonnegut


xo
Suzanne

Thursday, April 12, 2012

THAT Birthday


Although autumn
is my soul sister in
terms of the seasons, 
I have always had a
special spot in my
heart for the month
of April.

My birthday month.

This particular year is
that birthday ~
The one I've rehearsed
saying in my mind ever
since the calendar turned
on the last one, 
which ended 
in
nine.

And here it is.


Thinking back to the
weeks that preceded
my last milestone
birthday, I remember
questions such as,

Are you ready for this?

Can you believe it?

How does it feel?

Yes.  
Yes.
Great!

Was my response.


How could it not be,
when we had a friend 
struggling with brain 
cancer and a colleague 
of my husband's who
had just died from 
ovarian cancer?

To be honest, I've racked
up my share of wrinkles
in the last decade and my
energy level isn't always
where I'd like it to be. 


But instead of injections
in my face or plastic surgery,
I choose to celebrate the 
fact that I, like the beautiful
month of April, 
am
here.

Here to watch a sunset.
Here to hold my husband's hand.
Here to receive hugs.
Here to laugh.
Here to remember the past.
Here to dream about the future.
Here to celebrate.


As my sweet friend Fiona,
whose mother died at age 46,
wisely confided,

I have a different perspective
on aging.  To me, aging is....

living.

So, bring it on.

How do I feel?

Wonderful.


With mirth and laughter,
let old wrinkles come.
~ William Shakespeare

xx
Suzanne







Monday, April 9, 2012

Living Lightly


With the exception
of the last decade, I
have moved nearly
every three years or
less my entire life.

One big benefit that
came with a nomadic
existence was the necessity
to take a thoughtful look
at my {and then, our} 
possessions and decide 
what really needed to 
move with us and what 
really did not.



When my husband and
I made our first move,
from a tiny one-bedroom
rental apartment into a
bit bigger, first mortgage,
one-bedroom condo, all
of our worldly goods fit
inside a U-haul trailer.

That was the last time
that it only took one trip.


Each subsequent move
was preceded by a process
that we dubbed the Big Zing.

Bulb digger attachment
for the electric drill that
we never used?

Zing!

Five year's worth of
Family Handyman and
Victoria magazines?

Zing!

Basic blah dishes
with chippy edges?

Zing!



Methodically, we'd go
through the inventory
of our lives and determine
 what we really wanted
to pay to have moved.

{Or, if it was a company
move, what we actually
desired to unwrap and
put away on the 
other end.}



Because we haven't moved
in 11 years, we haven't
had the Big Zings like we
used to.

So, things have piled up.
Cupboards and drawers
are full of zing-ables.



Oh, I have my mini-zings
from time to time.  But
without the pressure of a
move and preparing to sell 
our home, it's been easy
to avoid staying on top 
of it all.

I recently read this quote
in a magazine and it had
me hungering for a 
Big Zing.



Keep only what you
use, make peace with
imperfection and help
those in need.

I want to live like that:
lightly.

Because really, beyond
pictures and family 
memorabilia, the rest 
is just stuff.



My aunt and uncle moved
to London last summer for
my uncle's job and were
limited as to how much his
company would pay for
personal belongings to be
sent across the ocean.

They had to be certain that
what they chose to move was
genuinely meaningful
and necessary.

That must be freeing.


In 2012 I have participated
in my friend Lisa's monthly
blogging challenge called
Before and After.  I am going
to combine the April and May
challenges and begin a
Big Zing, going through

drawers
cupboards
closets
basement
garage
and more ~

the Before,

in an attempt to
live
more
lightly. 


The timing couldn't be better,
as our church begins collecting
items for its annual rummage
sale on June first.  It is always
a lot easier to part with a Zing
if I know it is going to be used
and appreciated.

Lest you think that I am
oblivious to how very lucky I
am to have such a problem as
too much stuff, believe me, I
am not.  With every item that
I set aside ~ zing ~ into our
charity bin, I realize what a
privilege it is to have a life
abundant enough to share.



How about you?  Are you a
regular zinger or a periodic one?
Do you enjoy living with a lot
of things, or, like me, do you
hear a voice whispering in your
ear, nudging you to live more 
lightly, too?

Stay tuned for my After post
at the end of May.  It will be
here, before we know it.  


Now, I've got a drawer 
to clear out....

Cultivate generosity.  
Delight in giving.
Learn to live lightly.
~ Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

xx
Suzanne