We are in some serious need of love -- a revolution of insisting on it's existence in our spirits, and the choices we make.
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I thought I'd have a fun little giveaway to help spread some good ol' fashioned heart.
Behold, pictured above, the Love is Love mug from Pottery Barn, William Sonoma, West Elm, and The Human Rights Campaign!
50% of the purchase price is donated to The Human Rights Campaign, America's largest civil rights organization working to end discrimination against LGBTQ people – and realize a world that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Naturally, I had to buy 3. One for me, one for a Valentine, and one for...... maybe you?!
And luckily, I did it on the day they were announced because they are already sold out at Pottery Barn and online at HRC! As of this post you can still get a set online at William Sonoma (though they are not sold individually there), but I'd imagine they are going fast, too!
So, with this little giveaway, one lucky guy or gal will win....
Here's how to enter via this blog post:
1. "Like" the post via the social link below.
2. Add a comment about who/what/why you love.
Via my private FB page (though the post is public):
1. "Like" the post
2. Tag a person or people you simply love, love, love.
Via Instagram (my public page @thegratefullifesf ):
1. Heart the post, and follow my account.
2. Tag a person or people you absolutely just love, love, love!
Both you and the person/people you tag will be entered to win! All 3 ways to win have equal value (ie you only have to do one of them), so no worries if you can only access some. Please feel free to tag as many folks as you'd like, although only a single entry for yourself will be counted.
UPDATE: Contest has ended, with lucky winner @cprosp242 via Instagram!! Thank you all for participating!
Contest ends with winner announced on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2017. My trusty partner, B, will help me pull a random name from the group -- probably via video, since he's just so cute to look at :)
Entries from ANYWHERE around the globe are valid....because....humanity, ya know?
Please no spam. (Yuck. Nobody needs that).
Please let me know if you have any questions! Sending you all much love.
Do Good, Be Well,
The original masterpiece.
A gift from God.
Worthy of our reverence, protection, and awe.
Please, let us keep these beautiful blessings safe.
Please, let us take care of these treasures we have been given.
Please, let us not be naive to how our lifestyles take, and take, and take from her.
She is strong, yes, but she is not invincible.
She is capable of great pain, suffering, and even death.
She will put up a good fight.
She will continue to rise and fall, release and recycle.
She will stay true.
But we have become so strong in our insatiable needs;
In what we think are our needs.
So cunning, so arrogant.
When did we forget to be guided by our bare feet and full lungs?
By touching her precious, healing, nourishing skin?
When did we stop seeing her wild as our hope?
She mothers us all.
Please, let us be worthy of this love.
Tahoe Sunset, 2017
Arms out stretched wide, deep, deep breaths of sea air mixed with green, brown, earthy, dirt elements. Heart thumping from the steep hike up, a warm flush in the cheeks and sweaty...well...everywhere else... but relishing the sunlight on my face after weeks of rain, rain, rain in the city (though this, too, has been deeply appreciated and valued).
These moments feel like invitations. Reminders, and invitations, to continue turning my time into something worth experiencing. I want my time to be truthful, and for my truth to be more than just a practiced party trick -- whether here on this space, my beloved TGL blog, or out in the non-digital world.
That's why I didn't mind how "silly" I looked, standing on top of the mountain in Catalina. I didn't mind that there were other people within earshot as I spoke out loud my gratitude for life.
Turning budding energies, those which linger beneath the surface (like gratitude, kindness, or any hope for our futures) into kinetic energy -- The kind that invite more in, moves us forward, and affirms our honest ways of being is the key to living, vs. merely existing.
And this transformation of energy has to start somewhere.
I first learned the art of this from one of my spiritual gurus 10 years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since: once a day, stand with your arms open wide, and say out loud with whatever heart you can muster, "Thank you, life!" It sounds silly, I know. It certainly feels a bit weird the first, oh, hundred times or so. I still occasionally laugh at myself if it comes out too loud or too phony or I accidentally swat someone I didn't see standing near me when I fling my arms. But I have found it to be a meaningful gesture of acceptance to this truth, in both good times and hard: "...if you love life, life will love you back". - Arthur Rubinstein
So, I love you life. Thanks for loving me back.
Dear Grateful Lifers,
So things are kinda scary for our country, and our world right now. I am not scared to admit that yikes, I am scared.
I am scared for many of my friends, and scared for what I feel I might need to do in order to support and protect them in the coming months, and years. I'm anxious to see how it all unfolds.
It was quite a 2016. Yowza.
Not exactly a clean space to begin a fresh year, with meaningful intentions, ya know?
To unpack the fearful clutter, I lit some candles, took a deep breath, and settled into a comfortable seat. As an avid traveler, with eyes closed, I chose an image of our favorite hiking bag; first removing any lingering scraps of 2016's adventures, then imagining what this empty sack could hold moving forward.
I simply asked:
What is calling to my heart?
Where can I show up differently...better, even?
What is true, and what is real, and what will get me closer to both?
Finally, what do I want to bring with me into 2017, that won't weigh me down, but provide sustenance, support, guidance, and abundant joy?
Thankfully, despite all of the troubles that seem to lie ahead...despite the stances my communities are likely about to armor up for...there are two beautiful, secret weapons in our arsenal that will never, ever run out: Hope, and Love.
With my secret weapons loaded in the forefront of my mind, here is what my meditation provided for an Intention- Filled 2017:
January: Irrational Kindness
February: Love InDeed (a concept created by my friend and coach, which essentially promotes the power within small, genuine acts of love + kindness).
March: Extreme Self Care
April: Service + Sacrifice
June: Wonder, Amazement, Magic
July: At Ease
August: Miracles Mindfulness + Manifesting
September: Divine Feminism
November: Meaningful Ordinary
December: Audacious Hope
Cheers to you and yours! Sending much, much love to each and every heart.
Do Good, Be Well,
PS!!! Ok, ok. Let's be serious. Not *all* of 2016 was doom and gloom. A few tiny, precious humans came into the world and my heart expanded with oodles of joy and gratitude. There is still so much good out there, and it is paramount we continue to acknowledge these treasures; to hold them close, and let them make us feel like the luckiest little beings on earth.
It will make all the difference moving forward....
My life in California would not be what it is...would not have been what it was from the very begining...if it weren't for my red headed treasure named Jenny.
Her friendship is at the heart of my final few days of November gratitude (posted, of course, a day late), not just because she deserves more than a single day of thanks from me, but because as of this week she and her own family are making big moves cross country. So, we won't be seeing each other for a while. And, my heart feels pretty tender about that.
When I think about the strength and truth behind listening to that tiny voice that guides us, I always think about Jenny.
I remember strolling down Chestnut Street just a few weeks after having moved from 3,00 miles away. I remember how I had no plan, little money, and a marriage that was, sadly, over long before it really began. I remember feeling permanently guilty, anxious, and unsure. I remember wanting to run far, far away, but settling for California since it was already pretty damn far from everything I had known for so long. And I remember just barely glancing at a "Help Wanted" sign in the window of a tiny boutique one afternoon, managed by a stylish red head...with the rest, of course, being history.
I think about this time in my life a lot, while trying to send extra ounces of gratitude to my past self -- to the person who had so much confusion swirling in her mind that eventually she had no choice but to listen to that small, calm voice amid all the chaos. Even when it was random, and made no sense. Especially when it was random, and appeared senseless. Without her, I would have never found an incredible, irreplaceable friend in Jen. And, an incredible, deeply loved godson in her precious baby.
Honestly? It was really sad to say goodbye. We may have cried, and hugged. Then cried some more.
But damn. How lucky I am to have someone so worthy of those tears.
If any of my lovely readers dwell in or near the Charlotte, NC area -- I would love to introduce you to a truly remarkable woman.
(Just don't get any funny ideas about replacing me...)
This week of thanks (ha! do you like how I just changed to "week of thanks" instead of daily, to accommodate my horrible dedication to this month's practice? yea. I did that.)....
This song (and the band in general). Makes me bop around the house like a little wild one. It was on repeat during our road trip.
This book of soul aching, heart melting, truth speaking poems. She is incredibly profound in such few words, and her work moves me deeply.
These afternoon pick-me-ups. Fizz Sticks have taken coffee's place come afternoon slump hour, and though I never have liked soda very much, I now never have to touch it again. It really is just so incredibly bad for you. (And yes, I can hook you up, so let me know if you want to sample them! I'd be happy to mail one your way, so be sure to message me here!)
This revival. Duh. Like every other 20/30-something woman I know, my Friday consisted of a turkey hangover, sweatpants, and all 4 episodes of GG. Fingers crossed they come back one more time, because sheesh did they really leave us hanging!!
This recipe. I brag about it every single year at this time, and every year many people give me a wrinkled nose + side eyed response..."Shrimp? In stuffing?"...and then every year at least some of those people actually try it and they are hooked for life. As my mom says, it sounds weird but it is so so yummy.
I have a problem, and I need to confess.
I have an....obsession, if you will, and I want to come clean.
Last year, around this time, I accidentally stumbled upon a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie staring our beloved DJ Tanner...I mean, Candace Cameron Bure...and it launched me into a frenzy of Hallmark (or Lifetime) holiday original film bingeing each evening that has only increased this season.
This season, I came prepared.
This season, I pre-researched all of the new options.
This season, my DVR might actually be smoking from the overtime work it's doing to ensure I don't miss a single one.
This season, I know my favorite stars by heart and purposefully seek them out by talking their names into my fancy Xfinity remote, so that I can double, triple, check I'm not missing any other gems of theirs.
The flicks are...how do I put this gently....not great. They are basically the same storyline, told over and over, with the characters and locations ever-so slightly tweaked. They are most often cringe-worthy levels of cheesy, and have ultimately been vetoed by even my traditionally Rom-Com and Holiday movie loving man. (When B recently saw our DVR line up he looked at me with a mix of concern and pity and said "You need help, girl", if that gives you any indication of the severity.)
But honestly, I love everything about them.
I love how they make me want to walk outside down a festively lit street, bundled up in the cold, with a mug of fancy hot chocolate.
I love how they each reinforce the potential magic of the season.
I love how the decorations in every single scene are pure Christmas perfection, like I spent just enough hours inside of the Pottery Barn on my street to manifest my very own living room decor of absolute Martha Stewart-level dreams.
I love how they make me want to eat sugar cookies until I exude sprinkles from my pores.
And, I love that under the multiple layers of cheap, feel-good ploys, there is a simple message of love, or hope, or belief in goodness.
It's all so silly and glittery and warm, and I am grateful for it.
Well this 30 days of thanks project sure did get away from me. Oopsies? Haha? ....My bad?
It's been a mix of both really incredible days and a few very tough ones (ahem...election...ahem...). I'm still wrapping my head (or, more accurately, my heart, around all of that).
But, through it all, much to be grateful for.
Sunsets, the sea, and sand.
Giraffes, floats, and boats.
Laughing, laughing, laughing.
Clams, oysters, crab, scallops, seaweed salad, calamari and basically anything that comes from the ocean and can be put in my belly.
Group texts, supportive tribes, and friendships both restored and deepened.
And, the spreading of hope amidst a rush of hate. Please, friends, keep the hope.
Spent an incredible two nights with our dear friends, A + E, along the Mendocino coast. Lots of beach hikes, beers, Skip-Bo, bbq oysters, and absolute hysterical laughing ensued. With cool Fall weather and classic California coastline views, I was one happy (and grateful!) little lady.
Gosh, I love an adventure.
This is a terrible photo, of terrible quality, on a terrible angle, and terrible filtering.
But my gosh, this was so much fun. Starting RHONY from the very beginning with Skinny Girl margs, fresh guac, and Mexican flavored Buddha bowls (rice, spices, veggies, love).
I am so so grateful for friends who can perfectly balance the combo of delicious heart-to-hearting and absolute, ridiculous smut -- folks who can keep it real, and also appreciate pure la-la land.
Caricature of life, yea?
Love it all,
Day 2 Thanks: My right to vote.
I woke up oddly early today at 6:30, after having a kick ass dream where I was singing and playing guitar for a totally captivated, but intimate crowd. I sounded freaking awesome, and boy were they feelin me. I'm not even trying to be humble here -- I had a croony, indie rock vibe that was majorly on point, fleek, whatever the hell kids are saying now. God, I was a hit. I reached for my phone to text B how sad I was to wake up in the midst of my musical fame, to which he replied "Lol. Go back to sleep". If it were only that easy, amirite?
But I digress.
Look, less than 100 years ago my fellow chickadees and I were "granted" (there is something oddly offensive about the use of this word within the context of what should be no-brainer equality) the right to vote. Suffragettes were seen by many as absolute heretics during the multiple decades they fought for this perspective shift, while now I'd bargain the trending opinion (with a few, sad, exceptions, of course) on this piece of history falls primarily under the categories of "courageous heroes" and "Duh, what took us so long? Why was this even a thing?" It makes me wonder how our children's children will view those labeled "extreme feminists" of our time. I mean, what parameters even determine that, ya know?
So, I woke up at 6:30am today and the very first thing my OG girls and I did (well, 2nd, after making coffee) was rock the vote.
I don't take this lightly. Especially not this year. I am practically giddy to mail this puppy in. I think my heroes would be proud.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, to those who came before me,
"Granny says people who think slowly always accuse quick thinkers of concentration problems. “Idiots can’t understand that non-idiots are done with a thought and already moving on to the next before they themselves have. That’s why idiots are always so scared and aggressive. Because nothing scares idiots more than a smart girl.”