Friday, July 26, 2013

Opening the Door / A Giveaway



I have a favorite quote about
giving 
taped to my computer monitor.

The intention, when I tacked
it there, was to remind me
to be a giver, 

every
single
day.




But, as with many things in my
desk area that I see each day,

like the pretty small blessings
mug with the blue bird on it,
a gift from my daughter, 

or the

 Keep Calm and Carry On postcard,
sent to me from an Australian
blogging pal when she was
living in England, 

or the

heart of gold paperweight 
given to me several years ago
from a cherished friend,




I don't really see it, unless,
in a moment of contemplation,
I cast my eyes around my
{generally} untidy desk area
and they happen to land
on one of these items.

Ironically, that is exactly
what happened one moment
last week, on the very same
day that I was contacted by a
favorite on-line company,
asking if I'd like to host a
giveaway for them.




Hmm....a quote about giving,
followed by an email asking
me if I'd like to give.

To one of you.

If you've been a reader of mine for
any time at all, you have probably 
noticed that I haven't got sponsors,
nor do I host many giveaways.

Here's why.




First, I don't want the obligation
to write about anything other than
what is on my mind or in my
heart.  I just roll better when
I stick to topics that speak to me.

Second, my primary job description
is wife-mother-home manager.  As
much as I would love to add paid writer
to that list, I don't want any more
deadlines or promises in my planner.

At least right now.

And there are many.




That said, my love language is
giving and when a company with
a worthy mission and equally lovely
products presents me with the 
opportunity to make someone else's
day a little bit brighter, even 
international readers,

I'm 
so
there.

{Thank you, Novica.com!}

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 share their talents
and access the world marketplace.

Yuni Kristina, Silk batik artist from Java

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.


All by hand.  Imagine the hours it took to embroider this.

 Some of my favorite Novica items include
their dreamy cotton hammocks
perfect for summer into fall reading, as well
as their batik clothing,  especially the
beautiful variety of scarves.  And the
belts.....simply special.


Dreamy and handmade.


Love this modern dot batik.


Novica wanted to give me, as well as 
a P&H reader, a $50 gift card, but
I'm giving both away. {Yay for you!}

To be one of the two winners,
simply leave me

a comment

or drop me an e-mail

describing your love language,* 
and I'll toss your name in
my summer hat.




{Affirmative words?  Quality time?  
Gifts?  Acts of service?  Physical touch?}

I'd love to know!




The giveaway will run through
midnight on Sunday, August 11th.

And the quote that I have
taped to my computer monitor?

I've typed it at the end of this
post, just in case it speaks to
you, too : )


No one has ever become
poor by giving.

~ Anne Frank



xo
Suzanne



*Based on The Five Love Languages,
by Gary Chapman

All images except those from
Novica.com are my own.



Giving opens up the door to receiving.
You have so many opportunities to give, every day.
Give kind words.  Give a smile.  Give appreciation and love.
Give compliments.  You can give courtesy to other motorists
while you are driving.  You can give a smile to the car parking
attendant.  You can give a warm greeting to the newspaper stand
person or the person who makes your coffee.  You can give by
allowing a stranger to go ahead of you into an elevator, and you
can give by asking which floor they are going to and pressing the
button for them.  If someone drops something you can give a helping
hand and pick it up for them.  You can give warm embraces to those
you love.  And you can give appreciation and encouragement to everyone.
There are so many opportunities for you to give and thereby open
the door to receiving.

~Rhonda Byrne, The Secret Daily Teachings





Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Listen



A good friend recently
arranged for a small group
of moms and our college-
bound daughters to take a
self-defense class together.

One daughter will be living in 
New York City.

One is daughter is bound for
Southern California.

All will be away from home.





Our girls are friends from the
years they attended a relatively 
sheltered Catholic school.

We want them to feel confident,
moving about their new campuses.

We want them to feel empowered,
should they find themselves in
a bad situation.





Run by a former Navy Seal
and his equally credentialed
wife, the four hour class was
packed with information and
we were all physically and 
mentally exhausted by the end.

Both moms and daughters
gained new safety strategies
and we spent much of the time
 practicing these skills in realistic, 
simulated scenarios ~

What to look for,
what to say,
ways to move and
how to outfox

someone 
who wants to do
you harm.





One of the main lessons
we took away from the course,
however, was the simplest:

Listen.

Whether you are on a dark
street, in an empty parking lot
or about to pass a stranger,
we learned that our brains
are actually amassing
thousands of data points
about the situation around us.





Even when our five senses
are not picking up anything
strange or out of the ordinary,

our sixth one ~
that gut instinct ~

might be.

And we need to listen and
heed its warning when 

something

just doesn't feel right.





That really resonated with
me, because I've discovered, 
over many years, that when
I do override that inner voice,
or reason my way around it,
things don't turn out too well.

And I'm not just talking safety.

Ignoring that little alarm bell
in my gut led to a few unhappy
choices and some I'm-darn-lucky-
I-didn't-fare-worse experiences
in my youth.  





I think we've all 
had some of those.

But at some point, 
experience,
the best of teachers,
gave me the wisdom to
trust that inner voice.

It's made navigating life 
a whole lot easier.





As the ten of us practiced
our defensive flashlights, 
our rehearsed words, 
our escape maneuvers,

I said a little prayer for each of
the girls as they prepare to set 
off on their new journeys.

Please, watch over them.

Please, guide them to respect that
internal compass, that voice, that
sixth sense that will help them to
stay safe and make good choices.





But first?

Teach them to


 listen.



Trust your instinct to the 
end, though you can render
no reason.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



xo
Suzanne


All pictures P&H.






Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Layers of Home

With our firstborn heading off
to college next month, the phrase
home is where the heart is seems
to loop through my head, like 
a popular tune, these days.




As I walked little Gracie dog on
the familiar distance between my
house and one of my favorite
neighbors last week, my mind
wandered to the distance that
will soon extend from me to my girl.

1500 miles, to be exact.

She will be 1500 miles from home.

Or will she?



Her sweet college town.

If home is truly 
where the heart is,
then aren't we always home,
right where we are?

I've been pondering this, my friends.

Yes, I'm a ponder-er : )





Is home a shelter from the world--
walls and a roof?

I have lived in a lot of those.

It would be hard to label just
one as my true home.





Or is home where you lived
as a child....or where you were
born.....or where you are

right
this
minute?





Maybe home is a collection
of faces; those who are nearest
and dearest to you, even if you
do not live in the same building,
city, state or even country.

Perhaps those dear ones are
no longer living, at all.

Home.






Lately I find that I am listening
to a lot of music from my own
school days--

We are talking 70's and 80's.

When I hear those songs, my
mind's eye sees my mom in
the kitchen, my little brother
mowing the lawn, our shaggy
dogs at the back door and my
dad in his workshop.





Home, even though it was a
long time ago and those particular
dwellings have housed several
families since mine.

Scents can transport me home,
in the same way.  Sunscreen,
lilacs, lemon cake, Frasier Fir,
freshly-mown grass, just to 
name a few.

Home.





It's possible that home has no
physical presence, but is
simply a state of mind; one
where you are loved, accepted
and valued, just exactly 

the way
you
are.

Home.




As I've considered what it means
to be home, I've concluded that

home

is made up of layers--

buildings and places, people
and eras, emotions and
memories, that we keep
nestled in our hearts.

Layers we can peel back
to visit whenever we want.




And while that won't wrap
up our daughter the same way
a hug from her momma or
daddy does, I hope the reality
that home is where the heart is
will bring her a measure of
comfort in those first, homesick
weeks on her own.

I know it did for me, when I
first left the nest.

What does home mean, 
for you?



xo
Suzanne