Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bronnie Masefau and Mum

Over Thanksgiving holiday in 2010 my son and I made an amazing Christmas trip to New York.  One of our very first stops was Serendipity to enjoy one of those famous frozen hot chocolates.

While waiting on our dinner that night we struck up conversation with two very wonderful people - Bronnie Masefau and her Mum.  I posted about this chance meeting back in 2010.  From the moment we met I knew I'd met two very inspiring and incredible women, but more important, I'd met two people that are very important to me.

This week I was at the airport in Atlanta headed to NY for work and I can't tell you how overwhelmingly joyful I was when I saw a Facebook post where Bronnie shared that she and Mum were also headed to New York!!!

And so we met up again four years later, this time at Grand Central Station.
It was fabulous to see these two women again.  Do you know Bronnie?  If not you should!  She's an Australian designer with a focus on family-centered design.  She is powerfully inspiring with her message of authenticity, faith, family, passion and beauty.   I was so excited to learn that Bronnie is soon to release another new book!

From the moment I met these two women I knew there was a reason they were put in my path.  Our meeting was more than serendipitous.  I'm convinced there is a greater purpose for our meeting. Do you believe in miracles?  I do, and being able to meet up with these two was nothing short of a small miracle.  I feel so honored, amazed, honored, inspired and JOYFUL!  It's a powerful message - believe, be faithful and continue to follow your heart. Thank you Bronnie and Mum!  I can't wait to see you again and the next time we WILL meet up in Australia.  Meanwhile, I 'll follow your blog, read your newsletter and look for your next book!  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Thinking About Cornwall

I'm not a person who gets too excited about the fall but I do have to say when I wake up in October and there's not a single cloud in the sky, and it's that perfect azure blue color, I'm reminded of Cornwall and one particularly beautiful and memorable fall weekend.

The year I turned 40 my husband took me to London to visit family and upon arrival my brother-in-law picked us up and drove us to Cornwall.  I've had the good fortune of being able to travel a lot but I have to say that every year around my birthday I'm reminded of this memorable trip. The Cornish coast remains one of my favorite places in the world not just because it was beautiful but because it seemed a bit magical too.  

We visited in October at a time when the area wasn't too crowded and we were there at the time of a full moon.  One of my favorite memories was seeing St. Michael's Mount against a midnight blue sky under the full moon.  If only I could paint that memory.  We stayed with a friend who at the time owned a little place called White Horse Cottage (Don't you just love houses with names?) in Marazion.  It was adorable!  In the morning when we first woke up I went to the kitchen, opened the dutch door, walked out into tiny rose garden, took a tiny set of stairs upward to reach a lookout and low and behold.  There was St. Michael's Mount against a perfect azure blue sky.  The tide was out and people were walking out to St. Michael's Mount!  
Postcard photo found online
Did you ever read any of Victoria Holt's books?  In high school I read every one I could get my hands on and with each read my mind's eye would imagine Cornwall.  It was incredible to be able to see this place that I'd  only imagined in my younger years and I think the reason my trip to Cornwall stands out as one of my favorite trips is because of all of the Gothic romances I read.

While visiting the area we were able to visit Mousehole (pronounced "mausul"), Penzance, Land's End and see such sights as The Merry Maidens, the Minack Theatre and walk the coast.  Sadly there were no performances at the theater but it was beautiful just to imagine.  While walking and enjoying the Merry Maidens there were lots of people walking the area with divining rods and I found that so interesting too. When I asked someone what they were doing I was told they were getting energy. I had no rod but I've often thought I must have gotten extra energy too.  And I can't share the highlights of the area without mentioning the incredible Cornish pasty.  Fast food never tasted so good. 

While I do have a few photos from that visit, mainly I have memories and they are amazing.  Happy fall y'all.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Planning Memos, Birthdays and Balance

I've really missed blogging. 

I've thought about my blog a lot over the past several months but I was always short on time, couldn't come up with something good to post and never seemed to have a good photo to share.  In part because over the past many months I've given my all to my work or to work-related projects which is great I guess but it has taken so much of my energy and it has cut into my family time, friend time and my time to daydream.    

One of the most consuming things I worked on was a big event and many times during the months of preparation I thought about how blogging had inspired me and given me so many creative ideas to prepare centerpieces, videos, promotional material and entertainment.  Just checkout this great video for a flavor of the event.  

So now that the event is over, things have gotten back to normal "busy" thank goodness.  Now at work it's time to plan next year's budget and write our annual planning memo.  And I've also just had a birthday.  Thinking about being a year older and at the same time thinking about making plans for the coming year has had my head spinning.  What goals should I set?  What should I be aiming for?  What do I hope to achieve? 

Today I had a birthday lunch with my dear friend Susan and many thoughts crossed my mind after we met. I want to share a few things that I need to remind myself.  

Always be open to friendship.  I've always believed that friends are rarely found in the workplace but I've been lucky to discover a friend in an unlikely place. Find a balance, even if you love your work.  The work I do is powerful and makes a big impact in lives and in the community but it also involves me making personal investments of time and energy outside the work day.  When one gives so much to others, it's important to remember to refill one's own cup.  Planning a head and anticipating big things can be great but by doing so one can miss some terrific moments. Living in a constant state of preparation or anticipation isn't really living.  Find time to see friends, enjoy family, get in touch with nature, experience the seasons and walk in the sunshine.

Somewhere I got it in my head that as you got older life would slow down a bit.  I've learned that it doesn't, it hasn't and I don't think it will any time soon.  There's always more to do, more to worry about, more to tend too and never enough time.  So as I write my planning memo for the coming year, I'm going to remember my birthday wish. I'm not going to share my wish here for fear it won't come true but I can tell you that I'm counting on enjoying the year. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

What Would You Wish For?

Nowadays I'm not so sure that summer is still a time for "those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer," but it is a time when there is a little slow down.  And when things slow down, I daydream. I've always been a daydreamer and some of my most inspired thoughts come to me when there's enough slow time for some blue sky thinking. Sometimes those daydreams are so far-fetched or deep-seeded that they've been buried or tucked away deep in my mind.  But if can take time to remember those wishes, most of the time the ideas are still good and every now and then it's nice to remember some of those dreams and think about possibilities.

Last month I was visiting Lemon Lane's blog and I spotted something that caught my eye.  Do you see the festive colorful rags made into a garland pictured in this photo?
This photo is property of Lemon Lane
In India quite often in the temples you will see rag garlands but they aren't for decoration.  They are for wishes.  When you visit the temple you make your wish and tie a piece of fabric on the garland.  When your wish comes true you are to return to the temple and say thanks, then remove your piece of cloth to make a space for someone else's wish. 

These rag garlands were tied and hung in Jaswant Thada in Jodhpur (yes, home to the real jodhpurs - these fancy pants came from India)!  Jaswant Thada is a beautiful mausoleum made of white marble and the grounds feature a lovely garden with gazebos and a great view of the Jodhpur area.

Isn't this window breathtaking?
And such a beautiful door
I'm sorry to say that while I had a small piece of cloth with me and wanted so badly to make my wish, I was concerned that I wouldn't make it back to say thanks and somehow it seemed wrong to take space for someone else's wish.  So for now my wishes are swirling around in my mind.  Guess I'll have to wait for Thanksgiving and go for the wishbone. Do you still make wishes?  Shhhh...remember, make your wish, but don't tell anyone. We want our wishes to come true!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just Being Silly

How often do you laugh?  I don't mean chuckle, I mean really laugh.  You know, a real belly laugh,  The kind of laugh that takes your breath away.  Probably not often enough and today I was reminded to live a life that includes humor, laughter, fun and yes, even silliness.

I went to a wonderful memorial service today. This particular memorial service celebrated the life of a wonderful woman who enjoyed being silly. She shared her good humor, wisdom and kindness with everyone she met.  I didn't know the woman being remembered. I'm good friend with her daughter. My friend, like her mom, always seems to find humor and laughter in nearly every circumstance. In fact, she sent THE funniest email after her mom died as she and her sisters tried to write the obituary in honor of their mom. It seems each of the daughters inherited the same delightful sense of humor.

During the memorial service we heard many delightful stories, like the one about Safety Man.  When Safety Man was mentioned there were a few giggles in the crowd and we later learned that my friend's mom took a driving trip to Mexico alone and decided to travel with a "companion."  She bought a blow-up "friend," dressed him in some great outfit and drove to her vacation destination with Safety Man to keep her company. After the road trip he became a significant character in her life's history.

She planned a European vacation for herself and two daughters using a guidebook titled, "Europe on $15 a Day." The travel experience made for some crazy and funny travel adventures. (I think the $15 a day was intended for a single traveler....)

Each of my friend's sisters shared some of the most delightful stories about a woman who lived a life focusing on joy, humor, happiness AND silliness.  And she shared these gifts. I was reminded...we need more silly and we need to share it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Potting Benches and Mailboxes

Some of the fun aspects of the Hydrangea Festival are some of the various activities and competitions.  The theme of this year's competition was OZ and there were some of the cutest garden additions but the prizewinning mailbox was so creative! Yes, behind that bicycle is a mailbox.

Wouldn't you like some glittered clogs?

And I love the potting bench competition.

I love this one!   An old secretary and window frame.  So cute!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

And We've Got to Get Ourselves Back to the Garden

My daughter painted these powerful, and for me, truthful lyrics on to a piece of her photography as a gift and  I keep it close to me in the office.  When work gets really busy, as it has been for the past couple of weeks, garden time is limited, and I really miss it.  It's summertime.  You know, the best time of year, when everything is lush and green and in bloom, especially the hydrangeas.

Back in the early 90's, together with a few like-minded gardeners I started a garden club.  It was an amazing club (and is still going strong) and at one point we had ten incredible (and some very well-known) master gardeners. Some of the master gardeners were also very well-connected and because of these gardeners I had the chance to meet and work with a number of well-known Georgia gardeners and that was how I met Penny McHenry a/k/a the hydrangea lady.

Every year when the McHydrangea Festival rolls around, somehow my plans become altered because of a family need but today was the day that I knew I needed to get to the garden. It was the perfect day. So join me now as I share highlights from today's tour. Hope you like it.  Later in the week I'll also show you the mailbox winner and a couple of the potting tables from the potting bench competition.