Posts Tagged ‘grace under pressure’


Friday night ritual: lots and lots of water. And candles. And an icy cold Manhattan if I can cajole IZ to make one for me while I’m soaking.

This has become my Friday night ritual. The water is just beginning to fill the tub in this photo, but trust me, I push the water line as far as I can. It’s this little indulgence that keeps me sane.

And NO, there’s not a picture of me in the tub on principle.That and because I’m super scared of dropping my camera in a tub full of sudsy water. In real life, IZ says I’m a total exhibitionist.

Really? What was your first clue? My ten year old personal blog?

Still, no nudie photos for y’all.

Do you have a ritual to help keep you sane?

Progress, Not Perfection

Miss Sophie modeling the new paint color.

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Don’t Give Up

Via Ann Shen at Annplified

Rally Cry:

I’m serving notice to my soul. And to IZ’s. Because right now, we need to remember that giving up is not an option.

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been crazy lady painting and getting out the last orders for Christmas from Mireio and dreading. Maybe it’s self-fullfilling prophecy, but I’ve been waiting for another shoe to drop and it finally did in the form of an email demanding more money. Much more money. Money we never heard about, never agreed to, wasn’t allotted by the insurance, and far beyond our means. Money we asked about over and over and were told, “Oh, no, we’re square.”

Which meant work stopped on our home. I have doors placed, but frames are missing. Wood floors laid, but no trim to hide the poor job done cutting. (I’m told that’s how all wood floors are done.) Lots of unpainted surfaces. Tons of trim just waiting to be cut with no means to do so.

We’ve been patient and forgiving. The marble floors that were marred. The 12″ scar in my brand new tub. The work-arounds, late starts, non starts, bad attitudes, garbage piled on my porch for weeks. (so bad, that a rat found one of the vats of left-over drywall mixture and drowned and then proceeded to rot.)

I’ll admit that I’ve lost my faith in anyone who wears a tool belt. And I’m heartbroken to see the state of my home. Which, should have been done with just enough time to bake a few cookies and decorate a tree. Restore some semblance of normalcy to our lives after 6 months of this state of chaos.

Instead, I’m sitting with that feeling. Beating despair back.

So, I’m serving notice to my soul. And to IZ’s as well. Don’t give up. We don’t know what the future holds. What the remedy will be or if there will even be one.

But giving up is not an option. Until it is. And then we will wait for grace.

The Best Wedding Ever

Our niece and her new husband cutting cake. How adorable is it, that their wedding cake is actually cupcakes!

Best. Wedding. Ever.

I’m pretty sure that was said a thousand times on Saturday. But it really was perfect. The weather was hot at 4 pm (hello 90’s!), but it cooled quickly after the ceremony to “balmy.” The wedding was held outside at the bride’s parent’s home. They had a huge white tent and gorgeous round tables covered in white cloths with purple accents. Melanie carried lavender roses and hydrangeas…so romantic. The party lasted late into the night—since it was mostly family and close friends.

For me, a great wedding isn’t about decor or flowers or food—though those things help, right? It’s about intention. It was clear that the bride and the groom spent months working on their vows and planning details that would make people feel comfortable. I’ve been to so many weddings where groups of people sat at their own “lunch table” never to mingle. Where it’s clear everyone feels more than a tad awkward? I didn’t make it around to every table, but it felt like people were mingling constantly—getting to know distant cousins or catching up with old friends and I don’t think I saw any wall-flowers hanging on the edges the whole night. It really was an amazing wedding!

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Day Fifty-six: Overtime

Day Fifty-six: Diet Coke putting in over-time as both my muse and panacea.

Day Fifty-three: Aromatherapy

Day Fifty-three: Aromatherapy.

Thank goodness for Mireio. It’s been hard to be productive and get product shots (or product made!) in the middle of a distasterpiece. I’m seriously pouring candles and dyeing slips in what was my packaging station in the studio. However, when I have accomplished it, it’s been soothing. Guess it’s a good thing I make things that allow you to “breathe deeply.”

All day, I’ve been working with this new candle—the fragrance is crisp blackberry mingled with oakmoss, juniper, and bayberry. It’s heavenly and just what my frazzled nerves need. I cannot look at the kitchen (and up all the way into the rafters because there is no ceiling/floor at the moment) without feeling like I might cry. The layer of dust on EVERYTHING is starting to create that abandoned tomb esthetic. Oh, and then there’s the claims adjuster (Presently on Santa’s “Coal” list) who didn’t bother to send us the grocery reimbursement this week. OOPS, he forgot.

Really? Professional much?

Breathe, breathe.

I’m trying people, I’m trying.

I’m Calling This Piece: Get a Clue

It was Miss Peacock in the kitchen with a hammer. From my “Artists Under Stress” series.

Day Twenty-One: New Frontiers

Day Twenty-one: The Horror. The upside of my posting this photo, is that you can pretty much bet on my blogging again soon and often (if only to get this post off the front page!)

Here we go. It’s a new thing for me, for us really, renovation. We’ve spent time working in our yard, having a new roof put on, getting the old house a pretty new frock. But actually gutting and completely overhauling a space—never done it. And I will confess, it frightens the bejeezus out of me. (that’s my new faux swear word for the week!)

We’re still waiting on the actual amount we can spend, but everything is slotted to be removed and replaced except the bathtub. That will probably go as well, when they rip up the floors—because I’m guessing they’ll find water damage there as well.  Dare I dream of taking a REAL bath sometime late August? Would that be jinxing it?

I’m not sure why home improvement makes me superstitious and edgy. It’s probably all the HGTV I watch. In fact, I’m putting a moritorium on that channel until we’re finished with this remodel, because my nerves are already frayed with just the THOUGHT of a remodel.

Truth is, though, this is so needed. I’m fed up with scrubbing a dingy floor that is impervious to any amount of elbow grease. You just can’t clean up water stains. So, I’m keeping this image — of me using just a basic mop and simple cleaner, blissfully mopping a newly laid floor (as opposed to me down on my  hands and knees praying to Martha Stewart to PLEASE get this floor clean).  In my fantasy I’m wearing high heels and a flouncy A-line dress sporting a 50’s updo — in front me as we head into this new frontier.

Follow Our Progress:

I’m adding a page—much like the studio redo of last year—so you can see all our progress in one place.

Day Fourteen: Happy 4th of July

Day Fourteen: Happy 4th of July.


I’m afraid I didn’t even bother with my camera—which just means I was having too good of time hanging out with IZ’s lovely family.  This holiday is usually the least photographed in our world; I seem to have a tradition of forgetting to use my camera on holidays, especially the 4th of July.

We bought a Costco pack of fireworks again this year (what possesses us?!) and once again, I forgot to grab a butane wand to light them. OY. It’s a lot of fireworks for just one kid. Each year I say, “Shouldn’t we buy a smaller pack?” and IZ, replies, “You’ll spend the same amount at the stand but you’ll get less.  Plus, there are always neighbor kids who join in!” And he was right! Our new neighbors had children visiting, which meant we had an audience. It always seems to work out that way. My brother-in-law graciously expedited the process and we kept the fireworks coming with minimal delays, IZ kept us all well fueled with Americanos with whipping cream, and the rest of us just sat  back and enjoyed the show.

It’s funny how traditions start. And how we keep them. The smallest things, like fireworks in your yard shared with neighbors, take on special meaning when you re-enact those gestures yearly. Small traditions, like cuddling under a blanket to watch the city’s firework display over the river, remembered even when your co-cuddler is really too big to be held by you any longer. Pie and champagne and laughter and family—stories told late into the night.  All traditions we keep and remember, keep and cherish, keep and pass on.

Even when we forget to pick up our camera.

What are your 4th of July traditions?

Day Seven: A Blessing for Equilibrium

Day Seven: My Spiritual Director shared the following with me today, as a way of closing our time together. I’m sharing it with you, as a way of closing out this first week of Summer.

A Blessing for Equilibrium

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,

May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,

May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,

May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,

So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,

May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,

May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough

To hear in the distance the laughter of God.

~ John O’Donohue ~

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  • Introvert and word lover and Christ seeker
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