a virtual coffee date

Last week, one of my favorite bloggers — Whitney at sometimes.always.never — wrote a post about what she would talk about if you sat down for a cup of coffee together. I loved getting a peek into her thoughts and life at the moment. I’ve been feeling a bit scatterbrained this week, with lots of projects and ideas competing for space inside my head, so this type of post was calling to me. I wish I could sit down and have a real coffee date with all of you! I guess a virtual one will have to do for now.

So, brew a mug of your favorite coffee or tea {I’m currently obsessed with the Harney & Sons hot cinnamon spice black tea that my mom got me for Christmas}, get cozy, and let’s chat.

I would probably suggest a coffee date at my new house so I could show you around. There are still plenty of boxes to unpack and pictures to hung up, but the “bones” of our new home are settled in and the space is feeling more and more cozy and familiar. I’d give you a little tour and then we’d sprawl out together on the couch in the living room, which is perhaps my favorite room of the whole house and the perfect place to curl up with a book. I love the fireplace and the natural light!

I would tell you about how my mom came to visit last weekend and how spending time with her nourishes my soul. One of the joys of growing up is feeling more on a “peer-to-peer” or “friend-to-friend” level with your parents. I love talking with my mom about marriage, running a household, work-life balance… basically I try to pick her brain as to how she manages to be so dang amazing. I feel incredibly lucky to have her as my mom! She booked her trip to coincide with our move and she was a HUGE help in getting things organized and moving in some new-to-us family furniture. {Even though she was sick with a cold — she’s such a champ.} My aunt Annie is moving soon and she generously gave us a bunch of pieces, including some beautiful rugs, a coffee table, and a professional wooden desk that I still can’t quite believe is mine!

Speaking of the desk, I would tell you about how my incredible husband does.not.give.up. The desk is BIG and at first, it seemed like it would just  b a r e l y  not fit through the doorjamb into the room we’ve designated as an office. We tried turning it around various ways and tried fitting it through the doorway at various angles, but nothing was working. The desk kept getting stuck partway through the doorway. Mom and I were ready to throw in the towel. “I’ll be fine with the old desk,” I said, even though my heart felt disappointed.

But no. Allyn was convinced that there was a way it would work. Eventually, he turned the desk vertically and was able to wiggle it through the doorjamb. Success! Mom and I could not believe it. All it took was some clever thinking and rethinking, determination not to give up too soon… and a screwdriver take the door off its hinges! There is definitely a life lesson in that experience.

{Right about now I would take a sip of my tea and confess to you that I was pretty dang nervous about detaching and reattaching the office door. But it worked out great! The door is good as new and my new desk is happily in place under the window.}

I would tell you how wonderful it was to see my mom, but that it highlighted how much I miss my dad and brother, and how I can’t wait to see them both in April to cheer on Greg as he runs the Boston Marathon! He just amazes me and makes me so proud. April is going to be an incredibly busy month, filled with exciting travel plans and lots of friend + family time. I am gearing up!

I would tell you how my new collection of short stories WOMAN, RUNNING LATE, IN A DRESS has officially been released into the world and it is surreal and scary and thrilling and hopeful to think of people reading my words and feeling transported into these characters’ lives. Holding the book in my hands still gives me goosebumps. People have already said some really nice things about it, which also gives me goosebumps. If you’d like a copy, you can snag one here! I would be delighted to sign it for you, too. 🙂

I would tell you how I’m developing a new program for people who want to grow more confident in their writing skills, work on writing projects that are important to them, and generally become better, happier, more productive writers! If we were drinking coffee together in person, I would ask you a bunch of questions. Virtually, if you have 5 minutes to share your insights with me on this survey, I would be SO grateful! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z9LMJ8P

I would tell you how I’m loving the longer daylight hours, even though it has been a bit tougher to get up in the morning this week. I would rave about this recipe and this song and I would let you borrow this book, which I devoured in two days. We would eat some homemade pumpkin muffins and I would tell you about my ongoing quest to quit sugar and how it’s going fairly well. I’ve definitely scaled back, and there’s no more mindless sugar-snacking going on, but sometimes a girl just needs a square or two of dark chocolate. And that’s okay.

I would ask you about your family and your circle of friends, about what you’re loving and what you’re craving, about your dreams big and small, in this precious season of life you are journeying through.

And then we’d pour some more coffee or tea, and keep talking. Because nothing warms the heart like some good conversation.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’m raising my mug of warm cinnamon spice in a toast to you right now. Sending you so much love and a great big hug. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments below!

 

Your turn {if you want}:

Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer and “free-write” about these questions:

  • What is something you are really excited about in your life right now? What are you looking forward to in the future?
  • What books/songs/movies/recipes are you currently obsessed with?
  • What is one thing you have discovered lately — about yourself, about others, about the wider world?
  • Is anything lying heavy on your heart right now? Write it down. Let it out.

dancing with the stars

Do any of you watch this show?

I’ve never really gotten into it before… until I saw a promo for Season 19 and saw this guy in the cast!

Tavis Smiley!

Longtime blog readers might remember when my dad was interviewed as a guest on Tavis’s radio show earlier this year to talk about his book Wooden & Me. My dad said Tavis could not have been warmer, more authentic and engaged; it felt like having a conversation with a longtime friend. I’m a fan of Tavis’s TV show on PBS and his books — including his latest book about Martin Luther King, Jr. — and now I have another show to watch! I thought he did a great job dancing and was cheering when he made it through the first round of voting last night. Woo hoo!

Here are some other odds & ends I wanted to share with you:

  • My ebook “Lost & Found” is available for FREE this week on Amazon! Grab your copy here {and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested in an entertaining free read!}

CSS Home Sweet Home

Now I’m off to grab some oatmeal & green tea for breakfast before digging into work on a few writing/editing projects. Tonight I’m meeting Erica for dinner, which I’m super excited about. Have a great day, friends!

remembering 9/11

No matter how busy you are, let’s all take a moment today to step back from our lives and remember. Let us honor all of our nation’s heroes who sacrificed themselves for the good of others on this horrifying day thirteen years ago.

It’s difficult to find words on days like today. So, instead of words, I want to share with you some photos my brother took this summer when he visited New York City and went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. His caption simply states: “Breathtaking and heartbreaking.” I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

9-11 memorial 1

9-11 memorial 2

9-11 memorial 3

9-11 memorial 5

9-11 memorial 6

9-11 memorial 7

9-11 memorial 4

In honor and memory of those we lost, I am going to do an act of kindness for a stranger today.

“Even the smallest act of service, the smallest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” — President Barack Obama

ch-ch-ch-ch-changes …

Notice anything different?

That’s right, you’re not going crazy: we’ve got a new name!

“Day-by-Day Masterpiece” stems from one of my favorite-ever quotes {I love it so much I have it posted above my writing desk and as my cell phone background} … it comes from the late, great John Wooden, who was a huge inspiration to me and my family. One of the maxims he lived his life by was, “Make each day your masterpiece.”

I find that quote so inspiring because it reminds me that each day is truly a treasure and a blessing. Each day is something to savor. Making your day a “masterpiece” does not mean making each day “perfect.” Far from it — masterpieces are full of mistakes, trial-and-errors, messes and wrong turns and laughter and spontaneity. Indeed, I think that’s part of what makes a day a “masterpiece” — the surprises give our lives variety and richness.

To me, a masterpiece day is a balanced day. Time with my friends, family and loved ones; time spent pursuing my writing goals; physical exercise and delicious, healthful food; quiet time to reflect and relax. Love, laughter, daydreams, peace.

I started this blog to keep track of my steps towards becoming more organized in my day-to-day life and tackling those hidden {and, okay, not-so-hidden} trouble spots that were adding stress and frustration to my life.

Something I’ve discovered is that “organization” doesn’t just pertain to the material possessions you own or how clean your home is. It’s more a way of life; a way of thinking; a way of approaching your day.

So I wanted to give the blog a new title to reflect upon how it has grown and expanded in the past six months since I started chronicling my organizational journey with you.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be sharing my organizational projects and day-by-day progress with you. But as you’ve probably noticed, I’ve really grown to love cooking and baking and sharing healthy recipes here. I also am delving more and more into simplified, frugal living — everything from couponing to saving money on date night to selling things on Craigslist. I am participating in the monthly book club over at Peanut Butter Fingers and am hoping to start up my own monthly book club on here. {I’d love to have you join me!} And I’m really passionate about living “green” and doing our part to protect our precious environment. I’m hoping to expand that part of the blog in the coming months. Finally, it really inspires me to follow along with Crystal’s weekly and monthly goal-setting over at Money-Saving Mom, and I want to do something similar on here — I’ve already posted about goal-setting and to-do lists. I want this blog to be a place where we can be sources of inspiration for each other!

So how do we make our days masterpieces? That’s what I’m hoping to explore in this blog!

Making the most of each day, being grateful and mindful, living with passion and joy and love — to me, that is a masterpiece day. And you know what masterpiece days add up to, right? A masterpiece life. What more can any of us ask for?