A Tribute to Loving Myself


My friend, Michele Bergh, posted a blogging challenge for us to write about self-love. In typical UN-self-loving fashion, I ignored it. (giggle)

Loving myself? That’s kinda cheesy, isn’t it? Where’s my unicorn stuffed animal? (My inner critic rages at this idea of “self-love”, so I know we’ve really got something here!) Kinda like the conversation I had with my sister the other day… We were talking about the SoulSpace group (what else?) and about how she put that dang post on there about my being the group’s fearless leader and how everyone should write a note to me about how much they love me. Something like that… And I wrote a comment on there that asked for people to please stop writing these little sweet comments because every time they did, it brought a gigantic photo of me up to the top of the feed. Not that it was a BAD photo, it was just a little embarrassing. We were also talking about my upcoming interview with Xorin Balbes, so she points out how silly it would sound if Xorin asked us to please not write all those nice things about him. She had a point. Dang her…

I DO love myself. I am a freakin’ LEO, for Christ’s sake. But life’s too dang busy with real stuff to take time to LOVE MYSELF. {Eyes rolling}

OK, OK. This is an article about self-love. Hmmm. And this week’s topic on the SoulSpace board is ELEVATE, which means to spoil yourself with sweet little things like bubble baths and spending the day in bed re-reading 50 Shades of Gray. Or do like Naomi did and make it a new commitment to take life easy. If I listen to Xorin’s advice, (which who wouldn’t after listening to his interview?), I would have to make sure to build in space to take a BREATH now and again.

So, uh, what am I going to write about self-love? Get to the point, sister!

OK. Here’s this. So, later in that conversation with Kim, we talked about this interview with Xorin and how both Kristin and Kim said (on separate occasions) that this (the book club, the interview) was my life’s work. I wondered what they meant by that. How is this stuff related to my life’s work? So Kim went on to say something to the effect that my role has always been to pump up the people around me and make them shine. Something in me IS rather good at finding that gem in people and bringing it to light. This is definitely true. She went on to say that this SoulSpace group could never have even happened if it weren’t for me and that this interview most certainly would never have happened and that Xorin is probably not the sort of guy to start a dang book club to study his book but that this group has changed the lives of so many people that we don’t even know the repercussions of that. That is pretty dang cool. She went on to say that she wanted to recognize ME the way that I have always recognized others in similar fashion. I got it. And I even felt a little embarrassed for asking people to not comment on my loveliness.

I think what generally stops me in all that is that it feels embarrassing to highlight myself. Yeah, I know I do good stuff, but I do NOT need to be all in people’s faces about what I did. That is kinda gross to me. As a Leo, I do want the spotlight, true. So there’s always been this duality there. I can’t stand people that gloat about themselves. It’s an ugly move and it usually comes across as weak in my mind. Who wants to sit and listen to a gloater?

The thing is, we ALL have amazing talents. One thing that I’ve learned from studying a bit about Xorin’s life (and several other big players I’ve had the amazing good fortune to meet) is that I want to live a bigger life. Mine’s a bit too small for my tastes, but I haven’t yet learned (like Xorin) how to make it bigger without driving myself into an early grave). But I also learned that celebrating life’s accomplishments is very important, as my dear friend Michele Bergh often reminds me.

As I look back on my own life and my accomplishments, I DO feel proud of myself. I am proud of having the balls to ask Xorin for that interview. I am proud that I’ve had the balls to ask lots of great and amazing people for interviews – especially Deng Ming-Dao and Robert Kull, two of my all-time favorite interviews. I am proud that Jonathan Star gave me the nod on my blog when he is one of my Tao Te Ching heroes. I’m proud that Hua Ching Ni (Master NI) is someone that I have considered a very dear personal friend. I’m proud that Pace Smith is someone I could call up and hang with next time that I am in Portland. I have lots of things that I am proud of.

I’m glad that I have the heart to WANT to live a big life and that I have the confidence to think I can actually pull it off somehow. I am glad that I am humble enough to be real and yet bold enough to swing for the fences. I love that about myself. I am proud of the fact that I have the most sublime choice of companionship of anyone in the world and that it includes my incredible family, my sweet daughter, my fabulous spouse and my dear sweet friends who I would mention by name but would feel that naming each one would cause too much anxiety at the dread of leaving out one single one. They are all incredibly special to me. You know who you are because I spend time with you. I am rather reclusive otherwise.

So that is me. I am just like you, but your list just looks a bit different than mine. What are you proud of? Tell us about it in the comments! Be BOLD and WRITE something!


SoulSpace: An Interview with Author, Xorin Balbes


Oh my.

I just had the most FABULOUS interview with Xorin Balbes today, the author of SoulSpace that we have been studying for the last six weeks over at our SoulSpace group on Facebook. He was such a delight to talk with! I won’t say much here because we said it all in the interview! Click below to have a listen!


NOTE: It’s a big file so it takes a minute or so to download it before it plays so please be patient. (I will fix that.)


Here are some links to things we discussed in the interview:

Lumeria Maui: One of his most current projects and a huge project that he recently sold. When he discussed his reasons for selling it, he said that he realized that (running the place) was not really his thing as much as creating it.

Sowden House (his favorite project). On his website, he has photos of this place and of many of his other fantastic projects! He said it was his favorite project because it was like “living inside of creativity itself”. In speaking of why he loved it so much, he said that working on a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was like “restoring a master’s work”, of which he felt humbled and grateful for at the same time.

SoulSpace: This link is for his website for the book. After talking with him, I can see how this process is infused in everything that he does!

Templehome.net: This is Xorin’s online home/blog/website. On this site, he has photos of many of his AMAZING PROJECTS to inspire you!


SoulSpace: Phase 6 – Create



This is the sixth post in a series about a book we are studying on Facebook called SoulSpace. The book is about creating your home in such a way that it supports who you are and where you want to be in life. You can still join us, if you would like…

Phase 6: Create

As I reviewed the chapter on CREATE, I could not help but feel disappointed that I am not further along in my changes in my home. So I decided to make a list of what I have done already to make myself feel better about what positive changes I have done.  It is also to show you that even little changes can mean a lot and it is important to honor what you’ve accomplished. This is not an easy journey! Our group has been working very hard this last six weeks on their spaces.

Here are a few of the changes that I have made in my home since starting this book club six weeks ago:

  • 11004134_10204227927551992_480508965_n
    Replaced our dining room chair cushions.
    This is a biggie! Our old cushions were rather battered and not very comfortable. I looked at a LOT of chair cushions and none of them really had the right color or the right style that appealed to me. I am really trying to make my purchases carefully so that I don’t end up tossing yet another bad idea and throwing money down the drain. I finally settled on these mustard yellow cushions from Pier 1. Bonus that Eric actually thought they were OK too! Eric is not the most enthusiastic of decorating partners, but this is helpful to me when it allows me to just pretty much do whatever I want.One of the things that came up in our assessment phase is that I do not have enough comfortable seating for guests when they come – thus the search for good dining room seating. We debated somewhat on replacing our table and chairs and I spent some time searching for new dining room chairs. In the end, I decided that I didn’t want to replace the ones we have. We have lots of other more important things to spend that amount of money on! So we settled on getting new updated cushions and then spending the bulk of our money on updating our very sad torn sofa with a better quality one with more seating. That way, the seating of our dining room chairs is not as important if we are able to move ourselves into the living room and comfortably sit there instead. BONUS: Having more friends and family come to our tiny 680 square foot house!
  • yarn_basket
    New yarn bin. I found this yarn bin at Goodwill. I like that it is tall and I love the natural fiber baskets around my home. My yarn corner is still a mess and this bin sits empty in my dining room, but I will eventually replace my old one with it. I would like to line it, perhaps with a fabric bag, so that the yarn does not catch on the weave. Knitting is very important to me and I am almost always working on something from my knitting bin. So it has to stay close to me when I sit on the sofa. On the new sofa, I will not have my corner next to me. Where to put my yarn has been a big unanswered question. I am hoping that this yarn bin with the smaller footprint can fit at the end of my chaise.
  • Reusing a storage unit. Eric was a little upset when I told him that we needed to get rid of either the drawer unit where his stuff is kept or this new storage unit that we bought last year for the office corner. There just isn’t room in our tiny living room for both of those pieces AND a new L-shaped sectional! But, all was not lost. I asked Tatia if she wanted it in her room and she does. Her room is a whole other story, as far as furnishings go, but this piece will eventually be moving into there. I also bought some bins for her to use in the storage unit. So we are going to sell her old dresser and replace it with this.
  • Bathroom storage. I love our new bathroom storage basket. I got this for only $7 on clearance at Michaels and it is perfect for us. Now, rather than having a dusty step stool with a dirty scarf on top of it piled with crap, we have a simple lidded basket with our roll of toilet paper on top and all our important bathroom essentials at a moment’s grab away. I also super cleaned our bathroom floor so that it no longer has that “gross factor”. I want to keep it that way.
  • New kitchen towels & hot pads. Funny how you find things in unusual places. We were grocery shopping and I came across these dish towels at the grocery store. I wouldn’t normally think to buy dish towels at the grocery store, but these were really cute and (because I had just TOSSED nearly all of my old ones), I knew that I needed some new ones. As for the hot pads, who doesn’t need a bit of Yeti in their lives? Especially in the Great White North?

Projects still in motion:

  • Sofa shopping. I have spent many hours in search of the perfect sofa. The SOFA has become the grand demonstration of the cumulation of this work for me. It was my concession in giving up about 80% of my books and giving my desk and office corner over to my husband – he gets the office and I get my L-shaped sectional! I believe that I am very close to finding one. We have narrowed down the shape, which is a biggie in our tiny space. (Our living room is only 90″ wide, so this is a very careful consideration!) We have decided on a general color group, somewhere in the sandy color area. I am still researching textures, although leaning towards a tweedy or a velvet, depending on ability to keep it clean. I am also researching brands. The last time we bought a sofa, we just went into a furniture store and picked out the most comfortable one. Three years later, it has a hole in it and one of the recliners doesn’t go back in easily so I hardly ever use the recliner. In short, it was a bad decision. Given that this project is getting us in touch with surrounding ourselves with things we love, the sofa choice is MAJOR. It must be of really good quality so it will last us a long time.
  • Family Photo Wall. I’ve made some headway, but this project is still in the making. I’ve been going through lots of photos and choosing ones that I want to include. I just need to get out the printer and start printing some of them!
  • Tatia’s Loft Bed. When we were at IKEA the other day, we found a loft bed that fits a desk underneath it for Tatia’s room. She really liked it and she doesn’t get excited about much so I am thinking of getting it for her. It will make her very tiny room much more efficient!
  • Kitchen. Sad to say, I have made zero progress on my kitchen renovation during this book club, but that is OK. I had not intended to finish it during this book study. It’s been a bit of an albatross for me. (Not the bird.)
  • Our bedroom. Not much of a start there, either, but I feel that I have made some progress in the PLANNING stage of this space at least!

So that is where I am at with all my stuff. How about your home projects? Anything exciting going on?


Happy Chinese New Year: Three Goats Bring Harmony

Vector illustration of goat and sheep, symbol of 2015.

Each year, Chinese New Year is celebrated on the second new moon after Winter Solstice. This year, that day is February 19th so today is Chinese New Year!

Happy New Year!

Chinese New Year is a time for families to spend time together. The time leading up to new year is a time of great cleaning, as we have been experiencing in our SoulSpace Facebook group! But in the first days around Chinese New Year, it is considered bad luck to clean so put down those cleaning rags, people!

This year is the year of the Wooden Goat. The word goat in Chinese is similar in sound to the word yang.  There is a popular saying in the I Ching which says “three yangs bring fortune”. So, for Year of the Goat, they say “3 goats bring harmony” because goats are harmonious beings.

I am a goat person. I was born in 1967, so I am a Fire Goat. If you are a goat person like me, you may wonder when you visit a Chinese restaurant why they sometimes replace the word sheep for goat? In some cultures, they call it the Year of the Sheep. Well, being a goat person myself, I did some poking around on this because I wanted to know which one I am! For me, this is my Ben Ming Nian, which basically means that it is my birth animal year. Every 12 years, we each have one.  It appears that goats and sheep have been pretty generically named over the centuries. According to an article I read,  goat is the appropriate term because the Chinese Zodiac was created during the Han Dynasty and the Han people did not have sheep. They had goats. The goat was even one of their 12 bronze statues at the Old Palace. Even with its head removed, they know it was a goat. But, according to another article I read on this,  other cultures have a different idea of this. The Japanese, Vietnamese, Mongolians and Koreans all have a different word for sheep than they do for goat (unlike the Chinese), so they had to choose one or the other to represent the Chinese Zodiac. The Japanese and the Mongolians call it the Year of the Sheep and the Vietnamese call it the Year of the Goat. Not sure about the Koreans, as the article did not say. (If anyone knows, please add this to the comments!)

Each of the 12 zodiac symbols has both an animal and an element for any given year. As you go through your life, each time you come across your animal it will have a different element. After age 60, they repeat since there are only five elements and they change every 12 years. This year, it is a Wood Goat. For those goats like me, here is a summary of the different types of goats. If you want to know any other animals, click on the goat link and click on your animal in the left column.

As with all things Chinese, theirs is a deep and rich culture and I find myself being constantly surprised by new information. One thing that I had not realized is that each of the years had its own hexagram from the I Ching to correspond with that year. According to this article, this year’s hexagram is #20 , so I linked it up so you can read my hexagram post for that one. Another cool thing that I did not know was that the U.S. makes lucky money each year (since 2000) for the Chinese to share with their families, since giving crisp new money in red envelopes is a traditional thing to do. That is pretty cool.

I know that some of you that read these posts have a better understanding than I do of Chinese New Year. Please share if you have any other information that will help us to understand this important holiday!


Scattered Life Collective: February 13th


This post was inspired by a blogging adventure  called Scattered Life Collective by Cynthia Lee. It’s a great series and I hope that you will check out the rest of the participants and perhaps even join us! Since I am participating in Michele Bergh’s Inspired Blogging Challenge this month, I needed to step it up a bit with my blog writing and I always love writing these kinds of posts. They have usually nothing much to do with the Tao Te Ching, but then all of life is really a chapter out of the Tao Te Ching, so I am taking my creative license here. 

current time: 1:03 PM.

on the menu:  Salad… lots of salads this week! Yeah, me! Salads are a funny thing. I love them but I get SO lazy in the morning when it comes to making a lunch for myself. So this week, I think I figured out a new trick! I prepped a bag of romaine lettuce (I do not like iceberg lettuce and I normally would do spinach, but getting fresh spinach is sometimes tough in the winter time in MN). So I prep this big bag of lettuce and then I prepped a big bowl of the veggies to put with it. This combination lasted me three days. Then all I have to do each morning is fill my little dressing container! Nice! 

SoulSpace: Phase 5 – Discover



This is the fifth post in a series about a book we are studying on Facebook called SoulSpace. The book is about creating your home in such a way that it supports who you are and where you want to be in life. You can still join us, if you would like…

Phase 5: Discovery

This was “break down week” in the group. But, if you’ve studied the Tao Te Ching and in the I Ching, you know that energy works just like that. We had a really HIGH couple of weeks there and I knew that we were in for a crash. This week was the crash. The group was fairly quiet except that many mentioned how tired they were. It was like a unanimous groan felt throughout the group. But that is OKAY. Energy that high is not very sustainable, but if we all just take a breather and do our dreaming (internal/quiet/yin/resting) work, then we will recharge and be fine.

This week, we had several people sharing their DREAMING ideas and it was a lot of fun to see some people’s dream boards and look on our SoulSpace Pinterest Board and see what people put out there to show what they were dreaming about! Last week’s phase was all about dreaming of your ideal space. I must admit that the idea of actually doing a dream board has grown on me, especially since two of my sisters did them for the group and they found it to be very helpful. So I am going to try and fit that in someday soon.

This week is about discovery. 

Now that we’ve done some dreaming with our dream boards, Pinterest, shopping, etc. This week, it is time to find the pieces, colors and styles that match those dreams. What hobbies or interests do you have inside you just itching for the spotlight? What special pieces can you find that help to bring out the best in you? That is what this week is all about.

In my own discovery ventures, I started looking for the COUCH that I would like to get to replace our current one that is: a) too bulky a style for our small living room, b)  has a hole in it and c) only seats three people. This new couch that I am dreaming of represents a lot of things for me: most importantly, this new couch has space for visitors! Eric and I are somewhat reclusive and I would like to be a bit less so. When people visit, we don’t really have a good place for them to sit so it seems this couch is taking up the bulk of my DISCOVERY energy. I also have been looking for some comfy dining chairs for people to sit in – or at least some comfy cushions to sit on in our current chairs.


I want one pretty much like this one, except that it would not have a chaise at the end. Instead, we will have an ottoman, which can be moved.

As part of the process to make this large of a sofa possible in an already crowded living room, I had the epiphany last weekend to give up my office corner of the living room to my husband, Eric. Not only my office corner with the desk, but my storage unit as well, in an effort to make room for my dream couch on the other end. This huge undertaking was started with a promise and ended up taking up nearly my entire weekend! I had moments of sheer panic at the breadth of it throughout the weekend but managed to muddle through and ended up feeling rather free and light. I cleared an entire 8 square unit piece and sold two boxes of books to Amazon. (Jury is still out on whether this was a good idea, but it’s done now and I am hopeful and crossing my fingers that it is profitable.) With our small house, there was no way that all this stuff was just going to go away. That which was actually useful had to find a new home and so I also went through my linen closet, my small desk and my buffet drawers in the dining room in order to find new homes for what was staying. All this and I have barely scratched the surface of the paperwork in the filing cabinets – three drawers yet to go through! Before you start wondering why I would give up my desk, I must tell you that I never really used that space except to clean it – which, as we all know by now, is not a good sign. My husband, on the other hand, does all of his work on the couch and he works from home. So now, when we get our new couch, he will start working at the desk.

Also during this weekend, I went through all of my daughter’s books with her. She had a small bookcase overflowing with books she never read. So I pulled them all out onto the floor and sat with her as she went through them one by one and chose her favorites to keep. She ended up keeping about ten of them! If this system on Amazon ends up making us some good money, we will sell her books to them as well and I will let her keep that money to refresh her stock of books. She certainly changes her taste in books rather quickly at this age! She loves books. We also went through all of her clothes the same way.


Besides a new couch, I am also looking for a color scheme for my home. This is a toughie, because you really can’t start buying anything until you have a plan. I am thinking of using one of those online room design planning sites to map out my rooms with colors and all that. So yesterday, I went to the hardware store and picked up some paint samples. This is just a smattering of some colors I love. I showed them to Tatia and we put a T on the colors she liked and I put an A on the colors that I like and I will ask Eric and we will put an E on the colors he likes. That will help me narrow it down a bit. Right now, it’s just in the planning stages but I am SO itching to PAINT something!


Here are my color samples, before we put our marks on them to indicate which colors we wanted.


A few weeks ago, I may have mentioned that another thing that I was trying to do was to come up with a name for our home. Naming it will give it an identity and this is something that is encouraged both in the SoulSpace book we are studying, but personifying your home is also recommended in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – another favorite book in the group. So we discussed it as a family and have decided to name our home Dreamwood Cottage. It has an air of dignity to it, which this house can certainly appreciate, without being too pretentious. The word Dreamwood came to me, literally appeared on the page and then promptly disappeared, as I was reviewing the abstract title for this house. It was strange. I think it was in one of the early pages, from the 1930s or so when the house was built. It may have been the original name of the street (instead of Woodland Rd) or it may have been the name of the community that was purchased. Regardless,  Tatia and I both like it and Eric is rather indifferent about the entire matter – thinking that Bob is a more appealing name, but Tatia and I overruled that. I like the name because all three of us tend to have the capacity for dreaming a lot about our futures, so it is a fitting title. Naming it seems to also have the effect of getting us closer to the entity which is our home.

So what about you? What do you dream of your home representing about you? Please share with us in the comments below!



I Ching: Hexagram #20 – Contemplation

Porte chinoise du zoo de berlin, Allemagne.


This post is #20 of 64 hexagrams in a series of posts about the I Ching, an ancient Taoist text that has many ties to the Tao Te Ching. For those of you new to this series, you may want to start by reading my post called “What is a Hexagram?” that helps to explain more about the general idea of the I Ching.

So far, this is my favorite hexagram in the series. The hexagram itself gives you a visual of its meaning, which makes it fun in that respect. If you look at the hexagram, above, and look at the image above it, they are similar. The image is of a Chinese paifang, or gateway. These gateways were typically built many centuries ago around downtown precincts in China. The hexagram represents wind over earth, with the top three lines representing wind and the bottom three lines representing earth.

A Bit of Silence

Pine tree covered with frost, blue toned

The other day, I met up with a blogger friend of mine. Her name is Nancy Jambor and we had read each other’s blogs before but I had never met her in person. We had a great chat. One of the things that stood out for me was how she has committed her life to making it fit what gives her joy. She told me that she is wanting to create 12 workshops in 2015 and is daring that brave new world of trying to make her workshops more virtual this year too.

She also told me about one workshop in particular that sounded very appealing to me. Unfortunately, my husband and I will be out of town that weekend but I wanted to tell you about it in case it might interest you. It is a retreat about SILENCE and also about CREATIVITY, which a lot of my readers are familiar with. Nancy also teaches Artist’s Way workshops so she incorporates a bit of creative play into many of her retreats. This is NOT a silent retreat, but there will definitely be time for people to unplug from technology and capture some of that silence within. I wish I was going!

Here are the details if you are interested. This is not an affiliate link. I just like what she is trying to do and wanted to let you know about it in case you were interested. It takes place in St. Paul, MN on February 21st (one day) and is only $97. It sounds like a great way to bring in the Chinese New Year!

SoulSpace: Phase 4 – Dream


This is the fourth post in a series about a book we are studying on Facebook called SoulSpace. The book is about creating your home in such a way that it supports who you are and where you want to be in life. You can still join us, if you would like…

Phase 4: Dream

As I think about this next phase of the book, I am reminded of my vision when I started this group. I started this group because I have a vision in my mind of what I want my house to be like but my house is nowhere near it. I was stuck and frustrated. So, for this week, I spent some time with that vision.

I love HGTV. It is my favorite channel on television. Extreme Homes is my favorite show on there. When I used to watch it, I would dream of what kinds of crazy art stuff I would like my home to have. There was one episode I remember where the artists had created mosaics all around their home. Another episode, they lived in the side of a mountain with stone walls. I wanted my home to reflect my personality like that. Maybe not that exactly, but the show always inspired me to think outside the box with home decor. The unifying factor of all those homes (and you can click on the link to see snapshot videos of some of their shows), is that the homes are unique like the individuals are unique. These are homes where the owner has gone boldly forward to put their own unique stamp on their place of residence. That is what I would like my home to be.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 8.20.11 AM

These are all the places I’ve lived in the U.S.

When I was a kid, we moved a lot. I feel tired even saying that because it is one of those sentences that I hear myself saying a lot. It defines me and it excuses me from all kinds of things. During this dream phase, it ALMOST convinced me that I wanted to decorate my house in ocean decor in the dream of someday living by the ocean. But something about that did not sit right for me. Not that I don’t want to live near the ocean (because I do), but because that is so FUTURE oriented and it does not feel respectful of where I am RIGHT NOW. Right now, I live on a small peninsula on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota.

When we were growing up, my parents would buy a fixer-upper in each town, then we would live in a half-finished home until it was time to sell it and move to the next town. Then, we would fix it up really fast and move out. I never understood the logic of that. Why don’t we fix it up in the beginning, LIVE in it and then sell it later? Funny enough, my kitchen has remained half-finished for several years now. I am living out my childhood patterns. Yikes. I at least have brand new appliances, which is nice, but it is unfinished like I grew up in. Now my daughter is growing up in it. Embarrassing parent reality check #2345.

Another way this “moving” pattern has affected me is that it has made me not want to get too wild in my color choices or in my decor. “We are moving soon.” is always hanging over my head. ENOUGH. I want to live HERE while I am HERE. I am OK with moving, but I am not OK with my half-finished house or with plain white walls. I will paint them again when we move if I have to.  EVERY wall in my house is white except for my daughter’s room and my dining room. EVERY wall is the same white it was when I moved in seven years ago.

What Does Your Home Want?

There has been a lot of talk in our Facebook group of our family members and their reactions during this process of all of us going through our homes and getting rid of things and processing all the STUFF we live with. But one thing that I realized this week is that we need to consider more than just what we want and what our family wants. We need to consider what our HOME wants.

I know that sounds like personification, but if you’ve been reading The Magic of Tidying Up as some of us in the SoulSpace group have been doing, you would completely get how personifying your home is a very good thing to do, energetically. My home was never going to join us in moving to the ocean, so it did not WANT this sort of decor. That is why dressing up a 1920’s bungalow with 1970’s decor has an awkwardness to it! Somewhat like putting a super short miniskirt on an older woman. Something about it just feels wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I had realized that my home’s needs also had to be a part of the equation.

My Shopping Adventure

Somewhere, in the middle of ocean and lake home, in the middle of nature girl and her family that live here, there is a happy medium. We need to find that happy medium, that’s all. So in a quest to figure it all out, I went shopping…



First thing I had to do was FUEL UP. So I ordered a salad bowl at Chipotle with lots of guac. YUM!


The bag had this cute quote on it. So true…


I met up with my friend, Kara. Here, she is showing off some pillows that we found that match my “Nature” theme. I didn’t buy them, but they were cute.  (We were being kinda silly!)



It wouldn’t have been fair if I didn’t do a silly shot too, right? I liked this bird pillow. It’s a bit inspiring, but I hesitated to buy pillows because we just got rid of a few of them that had been tossed around our house for too long.


I liked this print. It was a pretty good price, but I more liked the IDEA of it. Trees would be a very good piece of artwork to put up in our nature themed home.


We spotted these lamps. Both Kara and I liked the lamps with the birds on them.



Here’s a closeup of the bird. I always think, “Oh, I could make that…” But would I, really? Let’s be real.


We love color. Although I wouldn’t necessarily choose these exact colors, they reminded me that color is a big part of what I want to create in my home.


I love all the great textures that are out there these days. This pillow was a good example. Such amazing feeling fabrics!


This is a skating park near where I shopped. One thing about Minnesota that is so important is to try and appreciate what winter provides us. One thing is skating…



There were a few skaters out there enjoying the sunny day.


I love how this restaurant (Pinstripes) keeps a huge fire going, even if no one was out there enjoying it. I have a fire pit and it is one of the things I love about our home. (Not the fire pit itself, but that we have one. The fire pit area needs some work!) I also love Adirondack chairs, especially (and only) when they are made of real wood.


Then I went over to West Elm, a really cool shop. At this point, Kara had to leave and get her son home for his nap. This photo was taken at West Elm. I love how the vases look like sea glass. I also love how they could be either LAKE HOME or OCEAN HOME decor. The glass reminds me of water and I love the colors.


I also saw this end table, which made me realize that it would be very helpful to have end tables in our bedroom with actual drawers. Mine has just a shelf at the bottom which is wasted space. Hmmm…


When I was cleaning out the kitchen cupboard, Eric and I had some discussion about our sugar and flour containers. I don’t like them. I have some clear glass ones, but I don’t like those either because the mouthes are too narrow. These were super cute, but they were small. I am going to see if I can find some like these for our sugar and flour.




I Ching: Hexagram #19 – Arrival




This post is #19 of 64 hexagrams in a series of posts about the I Ching, an ancient Taoist text that has many ties to the Tao Te Ching. For those of you new to this series, you may want to start by reading my post called “What is a Hexagram?” that helps to explain more about the general idea of the I Ching.

Hexagram #19 – Arrival

By the time something arrives, it is already too late to prepare for it. In this hexagram, the focus is not so much on what has arrived already but in how you are dealing with the time before the arrival. How prepared are you for what is to come?

I saw a documentary one time of some ruins in New Mexico called Chaco Canyon. This was years ago, but what made this documentary so memorable to me was how the people who built those dwellings were able to line up their building perimeters so precisely with the paths that the moon and sun made on the earth over centuries of solstice movements. How did they do it? What sort of preparations would be necessary to do such an amazing feat and how were they able to communicate these preparations over several generations of people? For them, passing on the torch of preparation for this incredible building layout must have been of utmost importance and dealt with at a level of respect for the task rarely seen in today’s cultures. Did someone just think of this one day and decide to do it? No way. It had to be that their culture tracked these patterns every single year until, finally, these patterns were so well-documented and well-known that they were finally able to build their structures based on these patterns. Looking at it today, we think it to be supernatural. Some even suspect that it might have been alien-influenced. I think not. I believe that these types of understandings are possible with preparation.

As another example, a friend of mine told me once, a long time ago, that she could tell when she was getting her period. She told me that she could feel herself ovulate and she knew that her period was coming. Now, this friend is older than me by quite a bit, so at the time I did not believe this was possible. Now that I am in my late forties, I understand it. I can feel this too. Some people say that they have psychic abilities. I believe that we all have them. To me, psychic abilities are natural abilities but just a bit more finely tuned.

This attunement is what this hexagram is talking about. We all have the ability to be aware of the patterns in our world if we pay attention. When we pay attention and others around us don’t, they think that we are psychic. Are birds psychic because they fly away when a storm approaches? No. They are just very finely tuned to their natural environment and so they move out of the way when a storm comes. In our busy frantic modern culture, we miss things because we are putting energy OUT instead of taking energy IN. A receptive person listens and takes things in. That is what the birds are doing when they decide to fly away during the storm. In order to be receptive, we must get quiet. We must listen. We must be still. We must pay attention to the patterns around us.

What are the patterns around you telling YOU today?

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