"I accepted it’s okay to not be totally sure about where you live. It’s okay to be somewhere with most of your heart when a piece of it is somewhere else. It’s okay to love and appreciate where you are while still knowing that one day you’re going to want to try to be somewhere else, and it’s okay to not know when that will be." - Amber Fox
"Let your heart be light..."
Hey Grateful Lifers! It's been a beat since I've stopped by for more than just a quick photo post. I hope this moment finds you healthy and happy, loved and full of light. I'm currently enjoying a few moments snuggled on the couch with my 4 legged (slightly gassy) niece, soaking up some rare quiet time at home (minus said puppy gas) before heading out again. It's been non stop visits and catch ups and how the heck are ya's with loved ones since landing back east a week ago...phew, I'm tired! This "tired", of course, can be filed nicely under #whitegirlproblems, if I'm honest. It's a huge blessing to return to my roots for the holidays and be welcomed each and every time by so much genuine kindness and time flexibility from my family and friends who generously work with me to find a schedule opening to wiggle in a hug. It's made my spirit feel huge, being home.
As much as this time has been filled with parties, delicious meals and gift exchanging, it has also been accompanied by a soundtrack of holiday music (Stevie Wonder album on loop, naturally). And as I was falling asleep last night the lyric "let your heart be light" from the classic "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" gently hummed in my mind. For as long as I've known this song, I've always pictured this literally: a heart that is light, free, unburdened. While I still think this is a valid interpretation of the song (and a pretty good way to live), I realized I also see this phrasing to mean light as in a shining, bright signal of hope and love; one that beams out from our physical beings and touches those who we interact with, much like an actual lamp will spread it's glow across darkness.
I think this beautiful ability to shine our inner heart-light manifests in various ways. I see it come from my parents when they volunteer in their shore community, post Hurricane Sandy. I see it from my sister as she cares for her 4 legged friends at the barn. I see it from B as he patiently accommodates my somewhat rushed schedule, remaining open, flexible and ever so kind and joyful. I see it from my friends who excitedly listen to my latest life news, authentically encouraging me and celebrating my triumphs. If we take a moment to really look, I think we will see this light all around. Including from our own beings.
As the New Year rapidly approaches (shoot, I still need to pick out some killer heels for NYE...) I encourage you all to explore the possibilities of that simple holiday tune's message: let your heart be light...emphasis on the let. I believe we often create the blocks that prevent our highest selves from beaming and brightening our corners of the world; we give "stress" too much credit, judgment too much power, perceived failures too much worth. So forget those things and instead let your hearts be the amazing light they are capable of being--spread it to all, and receive it from others, as well.
Let it shine, babesicles. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine....
The Grateful Life has teamed up with our favorite store, Heritage Row, for a sweet little holiday giveaway! Jenny has been kind enough to donate this perfect, goes with everything, clutch for one lucky reader (optional strap inside)....
And since I received SO MANY compliments on it at my company party last Friday (seriously, even with my best dance moves, this guy outshone me all night), I've decided to add the sparkly and festive statement necklace (also from Heritage Row) to the contest winnings!
All we need from you is an answer to this question:
What are you most grateful for in 2012?
Add your response in the comments section below for a chance to win!
**winner will be chosen at random**
It's been a delightfully festive and fun couple of busy days here, which my lack of posting shall thus be blamed on. Sometimes it really does just feel right to step away from the ol' computer and snuggle down into winter days with loved ones, instead, including lots of hot chocolate, holiday movies, shopping and last minute party planning duties....
The Infamous Weebly Christmas Party went pretty dang well, if I do say so myself (phew, another successful year off my list!). It was great to see so many of my friends and coworkers laughing, dancing and celebrating. And it was especially great to have B as my super handsome and fun date for the evening. I'm incredibly grateful for how much he helped me with all of my day-of and day-after tasks and how he never once complained, but kept a playful and sunny disposition in every moment of my can you carry this? can you pick that up? can you drive all of these here? requests.
Below is probably my favorite (tho slightly blurry) shot of us from the night that I simply couldn't resist posting here....
I look pretty happy, don't ya think? (read: I am so, so happy).
This year, Weebly collected toys from party guests to donate to Glide, a local church based organization that does amazing things for folks struggling in our community, in order to help them with providing gifts to kids who may not otherwise receive any for the holidays. When B and I arrived back at the party venue the morning after the event to pick up the load, we were totally blown away by the generosity of our guests--the whole SUV (middle seats, too!) was filled to the brim....
My weekend also included a bit of fake-Christmas romance with B, which you may feel free to bow out of reading about now, if you are more likely to gag than swoon over these types of things....
So that's me, opening #3 of 4 gifts from B, who creatively sent me on a mini scavenger hunt to find each one--including nooks and crannies of my apartment, my mailbox and eventually (OK here's the super swoony part, get ready) a walk down the street to our very first date spot for the very same breakfast burrito we had 8 months ago. He "hired" a Santa's helper in Dre (thanks so much for your help, Dre!!) to set up the most adorable little table for us: mimosas, photo collage place mats and my last and best gift of tickets for us to see Elf on Broadway over Christmas "break" from work! My shaky handed iPhone photo does not do it justice (I was super flattered and flustered and swoony)....
Alas, I must take a moment to shift gears a bit.
In the midst of feeling so much holiday love and spirit around me this weekend, I of course also felt the sting of the tragic events in Connecticut. I have debated on whether I would...or even could...comment on the deep rooted sadness so many are feeling over Newtown community's unimaginable loss and manage do it any justice when there really are no words that seem to fit. But, I would be remiss not to at least use this tiny blog platform to add my condolences and prayers of healing to each broken heart.
While I am not yet a parent, I do know what it feels like love someone unconditionally (my sister holds, without a doubt, the largest piece of my heart) and I cannot fathom what it would be like to ever bury a child. Frankly, I'm not sure any greater pain exists on earth.
So instead of attempting to add my own thoughts to the growing mix of lovely sentiments (it's amazing how the human spirit perseveres, isn't it?), I will simply highlight my 2 favorite sections of President Obama's speech last night:
"Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around. With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice. And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them. They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments. And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.....
For me, this is yet another reminder to live in the moment and act with love, kindness, faith and gratitude in each day we are given. It is a reminder to share love, send love, be love, always; to stop putting emphasis on shit that just.does.not.matter (no seriously, let it go, it doesn't matter and it's holding you back) and instead focus on making every day an opportunity to connect with others, to laugh, to live, to play, teach, grow.
Love is the only rational act. Let's hold that truth in our hearts as we give thanks for the beauty and good that was found in 2012 and send forward gratitude for what will be in 2013, including the hope for healing and grace for all of God's children.
Much love and light,