Wednesday, January 28, 2015

40+ From-the-Heart {not from Target} Gift Ideas for Valentine's Day

I was inspired by two great loves to write this Valentine's Day post.  The first was my dad, who has always had a passion for small business, small towns, hard working people, the entrepreneurial spirit and generosity. I've always known him to be a faithful supporter of the "Main Street" businesses and, by his faithful example, he has taught his children to do the same. 

The second inspiration was the book, A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken. Just after getting married, I picked up a copy and quickly fell in love with every page of this beautiful story. It's deep, rich simplicity taught me to delight, in a new way, the precious reality that to love someone is not just to celebrate the things you have in common, but to selflessly embrace everything that you don't have in common, too.  To take a sincere interest in, and to learn about the things your spouse appreciates or enjoys in life is a beautiful act of love. What a joy to discover and come to know everything about the one you love, and to embrace that one soul with your entire being! 

What if this Valentine's Day, instead of the typical commercialized gift of chocolates or roses, we all decided to give something that not only said I love you, but also, I know you? To receive a well thought out gift from someone who truly knows your heart, your interests, your hobbies, your dreams, your goals (or at least your favorite college football teamis a glorious surprise, isn't it??

And, what if this Valentine's Day we all drove on past the Target parking lot and instead hit the Main Streets of America in support of those wonderful little businesses that are just waiting to share something with us, something unique, something special? 

Just think, no circling the big box store parking lots only to be cut off by a teenager driving a faster car than your mini-van. No long lines, no marathon sprinting from one end of the warehouse to the other in search of the perfectly mass-produced gift.  Instead, how about a friendly hello, may I help you, thank you for stopping in, and a hearty come back soon??! Mmmm....that sounds nice! 

Perhaps the loveliness sounds ideal but nearly impossible for so many of you busy moms out there. Well, if your life is anything like like mine, and the mere thought of keeping six squirmy kids away from the breakables makes you sweat, then you're in luck! I just happen to have a perfect little list of fantastic businesses you can support at home, on the couch, in your jammies, from your laptop. 

It's a virtual Main Street just for you!! 

A hearty thanks to everyone who took the time to link up their favorite Etsy stores on my Facebook page. You all truly know where to shop! Here's a visual perk of a few of my faves:
/1./ His and Her Puzzle Necklace from Your Charmed Life (Making a wish list for this site!)
/2./ Gold Heart Shoes by Bad Bebe
/3./ Screen Printed Tea Towel from Oh, Little Rabbit
/4./ Live Like Paul T-Shirt - please support Team Ann and Paul Coakley
(If you don't buy anything else this Valentine's Day, BUY THIS SHIRT!)
/5./ Beard and Mustache grooming set from One DTQ
/6./ J.R.R. Tolkien Cuff Links from Bridgie & Green  (Seriously?? How awesome are these??!!)
/7./ Neckties from Petite Peanut (I dare you to find anything cuter than a boy in a bow tie. Double dare.)

For the Littles
BKY Kid - father/son matching shirts (must. have. these.)
Penny Jules - beaded hair combs (lovely for the locks) 
Whole Parenting Goods (Um, everything here, please.)
Little Crane Headbands - simple yet adorable hair accessories
Wild Explorers - beautiful baby mocs for squishy feet
Mary's Knits - beanies for babies (You must see the photos on this page!)
Petite Peanut  - neckties for your dapper dude
Baby Jives Co. - sweet heart mobile

Clothing & Accessories
Jill Makes - unique jewelry pieces
Call Her Happy - tiny, sweet, embroidery hoop necklaces
Brag, Bling & Bows - the perfect bling for athlete mamas
Todd Borka - hand drawn custom portrait pendants
Ashcraft Creative - hand tooled leather goods
Your Charmed Life - personalized jewelry, key chains and guitar picks
WiReD - jewelry
That Chic Mom T's - Fun, quirky t's for moms
Gameday Couture - Super cute gameday wear

Paper Goods
With Joy Calligraphy - cards, decorative quotes and stationary
Dovetail Ink - beautiful artwork
Fancy Flamingo - burlap and paper banners
Klamoty Studio - custom cartoon style portraits
Best Design Land - instant download cards/wall graphics

For the Guys
Jude Landry Designs - graphic prints on paper and clothing
Bridgie & Green - J.R.R.Tolkien cuff links
Mintage Designs - rustic beer tote
One DTQ - beard and mustache grooming set
Your Charmed Life - personalized guitar Picks
Gameday Couture - Okay, so this is really for the ladies, but the guys will love it, too!

For Your Dwelling Place
Magic Crochet by Helena - cozy hug mug
Audrey Eclectic - beautiful American folk art
Do Small Things With Love - cross stitch
Lizzy Joe Designs - wine cork coasters
Ridge and Valley Metalworks - garden signs and home state love
Mixed Bag Sign Co. - creative quotes and designs for your walls
ME Designs - personalized name with bible verse
The Fair Line - fair trade goods

Faith Filled Gifts
Organic Mamas Shop - So many beauties!
(50% of your purchase goes toward helping the Coakleys!)
Blessed is She - devotions, prints, bible studies
Signs of Love - My morning coffee has just found a new mug!
The Crossmakers - handheld wooden crosses
Trendy Traditions - rosaries
St. Luke's Brush - mini saint figurines
Divine Designs - jewelry

A Twist on Traditional Gifts
The Little Succulent Shoppe - In lieu of roses, a heart shaped succulent wreath.
Artisan Chocolates - Because, there must be chocolate on Valentine's Day!
Treesnail - aaromatherapy + lip balm set

Do you have a favorite Etsy store or 
online business you'd like for us to visit? 
Please share it with us in the comments!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Sad End to Andrew's Wrestling Season But a Few Happy Snapshots of Football From Last Fall

Now that college the college football season has ended, and the Green Bay Packers are finished, the football season in our house if officially over. * Sniff * I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I do feel a little bit sad.  Football is just so American and family and food and beer and tail gating and beautiful weather and yelling and throwing things and celebrating that I really do miss it when it's over.  

I'm one of those moms who tries to sit in the stands, somewhat calm and composed while cheering on our sons, but really you should know that most of the time I'm a nervous wreck inside, and my deodorant always fails every. dang. time. due to the pig like sweat that my uncontrollable pounding heart produces. (More sweaty details here.)

It's not that I'm nervous because I'm afraid of my kids failing, it's more like I suffer from a mix of one part excitement for my kiddos wanting them to have fun and do well and one part fear that they might get injured by some kid fifty times bigger than they are. And, speaking of injuries, an injury is the reason we are sitting out the wrestling season this year. Normally, we jump right from football into wrestling and I sprint from one anxiety laden sport to another, but we've had a change of schedule this year.  
{Sweet pea therapy}
Just a few days before Andrew's first wrestling meet, he partially tore his MCL.  That's the ligament that runs along the inside of the knee.  His child-like optimism kept hopes high that he would be able to wrestle again mid-season, but both parents and docs concur that it's best to sit this one out.  

At first, I know the thought of not being able to wrestle was quite a disappointment to Andrew, but as time has passed, Steve and I have both been so impressed by his cheerful disposition and ability to stay positive despite the pain to both the body and the heart that the injury has brought to him.  True to form, he said after we let him know that his season was over, "Well, I guess God has a different plan for me this year.  I can't wait to see what He's going to do with me now that I have all this free time."

Um, yeah.
I have a 12 year old spiritual director living in my house.  Convenient, huh?

Our Saturdays feel somewhat sane, now that we don't have to juggle Benedict and George's basketball games (pics to come!) and wrestling all in one day.   It feels somewhat strange that we won't be a wrestling family this year. For the first time in five years, we won't be spending our Saturdays packed into stinky, sweaty gyms waiting hours upon hours to watch our son wrestle for just a few minutes. { I know, you feel my pain.} Next year, people, next year!

Anyway, as I was trying to clean up my photos a few days ago, I realized that I never did write a post about Andrew's football season from last fall.  So, here's the overdue addition to our online scrapbook...
The real joy in watching Andrew play football is knowing that he is having the time of his life.  He dreams of playing college football then becoming a chaplain for a college or pro football team.  I love that our children express their dreams with so much fervor and hope.  To them, all things are possible!
He loves discussing plays with this teammates on the sidelines and is always huddled up with a few other players giving them encouragement.  Last season one of the referees pulled Andrew aside and thanked him for his positive sportsmanlike conduct.  Good stuff.

We try to remind our sons, that what you do in the presence of ONE is more important than what you do in the presence of many. God is always watching. Andrew is truly the same, steady, consistent boy in all circumstances, and his strong character and sincere goodness inspires us greatly. 
Being the only homeschooler on a team of boys who all know each other so very well from school, made me a little bit nervous for Andrew when he first started playing football in our community. But, the boys have been amazing, and Andrew really values their friendship and the brotherhood that comes from being a part of the team.
Because Andrew was able to play both offense and defense as fullback and outside linebacker, the games were really exciting for us to watch, as he had countless tackles and several key touchdowns. He says that defense is his favorite, because he loves blitzing the quarter back or stopping a good run in it's tracks! I'm not gonna lie, we love it too!! 
George nominated himself Cougar Football water boy and apparently everyone voted him in! So, on game day, his singular focus was chowing down a snack and hopping on his bike to ride to the stadium, because he "had" to be at the game at least an hour before kick-off just to be sure every water bottle was sufficiently topped off.

What's really great about this story is that, because of his heart condition, George cannot play full contact sports, including football.  And, football is the one sport he longs with all his heart to play. But, I guess if you can't play on the team, the next best thing is to serve the team, and he's got that one down good.
Mr. Chucklepants' favorite part of football season is hot dogs and chips and pop on hot days and hot chocolate on cold days and screaming at Andrew to "GET HIM!!" which of course means tackle!
When we weren't watching Andrew, most of us were passing Joey around, taking turns being the baby whisperer so that I could take pics of Andrew and just enjoy the game.  He was always in such good hands!
This is my most favorite picture of Andrew from football last year.  I snapped it right after his last home game. He is always lifting someone up, taking care of, or encouraging another, and he does it with such joy. God has given him awfully big shoulders...I know, because he has carried me up there a time or two.

Thankfully, Andrew's knee is on the mend.  Next up for our big guy? Baseball, then football camp. He's already counting down.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Over-the-Top Intensity of Youth Sports and Parents Who Make Me Want to Throw My Snow Cone

The other day I received an e-mail from one of our sons' basketball coaches that included an attached letter addressed to all of the parents who have children participating in youth basketball in our community this year.

The letter didn't concern details of practice times, game schedules or appropriate length measurements for uniform shorts (although that would be a super fun topic), in fact, it had nothing to do with our child athletes and everything to do with us parents.

There was no beating around the bush in this letter, no "three positives for every one negative." We were in trouble.  The detailed admonitions written into every line were a shameful slap on the hand. A slap that, I admit, was well deserved.

Say what you want, but if an athletic association has to threaten the dismissal of any parent(s) from a game due to their unsportsmanlike, their un-parent like conduct, then Houston, we have a problem. The letter actually confirmed my heightened anxiety toward the undeniable fact that with every year that our kids play sports, parents are taking the competitive intensity up a notch (in the wrong direction) and their poor behavior is on display for all the world to see.

Then again, maybe I'm the only one who actually read the letter, or felt a little frustrated that it was even delivered to my inbox in the first place.

At any rate, the whole thing has been bothering me, and it's got me feeling like maybe it's time we take a step back and ask ourselves why such a serious lack of self control, a lack of properly ordered emotion is becoming the new normal in many of, if not all, youth sporting arenas.

Let's not kid ourselves or make excuses here, people.
I see the over-the-top mentality all of the time, don't you?

When our boys first began playing sports, I was a bit shocked at the intensity that parents brought to the playing field. This was especially true when our boys started wrestling. No one told me the atmosphere in the gymnasium was going to be that intense - and by intense, I mean one dad literally threatened to beat my husband up after our son defeated his son in a match by points.  After screaming red-faced at the scoring table volunteers, he had to be physically removed from the mat.

After six years of our kids playing a variety of sports in SIX different communities, I've witnessed enough displays of rage and counterproductive upbraiding of child athletes, coaches and referees on the court, the mat and the field, that nothing surprises me much any more. Sad, isn't it?  I certainly don't want that to read as an admission of acceptance of the out-of-control-parents dictating the climate of the environment in which we place our children in for hours upon hours each season.  We strive to set a strong example for other families with young athletes by the way that we support our boys and their coaches, but unfortunately, that example is not going to be embraced by everyone.

Last summer our son, Andrew, participated in a pretty intense three day football camp.  On the final day of camp, parents were encouraged to come and watch their boys scrimmage. At thirty-nine weeks pregnant, I made the two hour trek to the camp to watch Andrew, hoping that climbing up and down the bleachers would stir up some contractions.

The hot summer sun and stair workout didn't induce labor but the scalding tempers of a good share of the parents screaming at their little athletes who failed to catch a pass or nail a tackle nearly did. Maybe you're thinking that I'm being overly sensitive, that yelling is just part of the game and I should accept that.  Well, honey, I can yell with the best of high school or college games when scholarships and championships are on the line, but NOT at little kids' events.

My blood pressure had to have been through the roof that afternoon, because it took Mr. Miyagi like focus to keep me from completely losing it. Every ounce of my preggo self wanted to chuck my snow cone at the haters and scream that real good pregnant scream (oh, you know what I'm talking about) "It's a freakin' camp, people! Chill OUT!!"

Don't get me wrong, I'm just as competitive as the next parent, my husband and I have played a lot sports and love that our sons are now doing the same. But, competition without a standard of respect for others is not the kind of competition that fosters growth in our children beyond the physical and athletic component of competition.
Our family recently watched the fantastic movie When the Game Stands Tall, an incredible story inspired by the legendary coach, Bob Ladouceur who took an average California high school football team and led them to a 151 game winning streak.

Now, I know that competition and parental involvement at the high school level is much different than at the youth sporting level, but certain elements of athletics should be the same at all ages, and one of those aspects is the understanding that sports aren't just about the game or the match or about personal stats and notoriety. Sports should be about the formation of the people who play them.

After achieving outstanding levels of success, countless accolades and press attention from around the nation, Coach Ladouceur still believed his purpose in coaching football was to help his athletes to understand and love much more than just the game. He wanted them to understand what it means to be a team, to have faith in your brothers, to believe in yourself and to offer your perfect effort in honor of the team, a team who is like family.  One of my favorite quotes from the movie is:

“Growing up is painful. It’s not easy. 
But that’s what our program is about, in case you haven’t figured it out. It ’aint about the football. 
It ’aint about scoring touchdowns. It ’aint about the win streak. It’s about moving you in a direction that will assist you and help you grow up, so when you can take your place out in the world and out in our society and out in our community, you can be depended on.” 

The contrast in the movie to Coach Ladouceur's strong character commitment is a father who's singular focus is the success and recognition of his son, a star senior player on the team.  The dad's constant verbal tirades toward his son, the coaches and officials, on and off the field, might leave one questioning why parents like him are becoming not the exception, but the norm in sports today.

Have we forgotten that sports weren't created for adults, they were created for the youth?

Local wrestling clubs and football teams, along with about a dozen other athletic opportunities, weren't established so that parents could relish supreme bragging rights on Facebook or so that kids could become community celbrities.  They were created to provide a platform from which coaches and parents together might teach kids about the bigger lessons in life in a fun and healthy way.

I know, seems a little crazy, doesn't it?  You know, letting your child shoot hoops so that he can make friends, strengthen his or her body and learn a little perseverance at the same time.  What value is there in all that if it doesn't include a little fame, right?

{Um, for those of you who reject sarcasm, the literal answer to my question would be "WRONG."}

I've seen kids cry over everything from being defeated to not getting the playing time they feel - yes, feel they deserve. They curse the refs for a "bad" call and speak disrespectfully toward teammates and coaches, and they do so NOT because they are "passionate" about their sport, but because they truly believe the essence of what we parents have drilled into their minds, and that is that sports and winning means recognition and recognition is EVERYTHING.

We have an insatiable need to be recognized for EVERYthing in this country. Social media is filled with proof: Look at this, it's a picture of my supper, my cat rolling over, my Christmas tree (same as last year), my pedicure, and myself, myself, my little selfie self.  If we as adults want to be seen, heard, appreciated, acknowledged, liked, admired and emulated, then naturally our children follow suit. With so much focus on self, there's just not much "we" in the experience of daily life and activities anymore unless it involves the share of blame or problems.

We, us, team that's what sports are supposed to be about.  Cooperation, dedication, encouragement, virtue....the sharpening of the interior, not just the exterior. This is also true of sports that look like individual sports, such as swimming, wrestling, gymnastics or track.

Our kids' coaches, as well as those who officiate their sports, are mostly volunteers who don't get paid.  But, they believe in the greatness of sports and are committed to helping make our kids' opportunities to play their favorite game on Saturdays possible.  I believe they deserve our support and encouragement, regardless of whether or not their able to call a perfect game or match.

If the coaching and officiating in your community is less than admirable, then you might consider volunteering yourself to coach.  If you're not qualified to coach or referee, find someone who is and recommend them to your community athletic association.

Here's the thing - poor coaching and bad officiating may seem supremely unfair, but hello, LIFE is unfair. So, how are you teaching your kids to deal with the challenges of life when things don't go their way? Screaming? Cursing? Pouting? Crying? Belittling others? Because, I see a lot of kids doing the very things they see their parents doing when it comes to facing personal loss or team defeat.

Our kids are watching us...they learn from us how to handle upsets, victories, setbacks, and unfair shakes. What are we teaching them from the stands, from the sidelines??

Little kids who are just trying to learn the skills required to play a sport, who are also just wanting to have FUN, cannot hide the disappointment they feel when they look up into the bleachers and see their parents freaking out over a missed foul. Suddenly something that wasn't even upsetting in the least to them becomes a huge deal because their parents showed them with their words and actions that this or that "unfair" call was some sort of crisis.

People ask me all the time how I feel about youth sports and whether or not I think they are good for kids and family.  I usually give a nice reasonable answer centered around the temperament of the child, the importance of parental involvement, keeping the focus on having fun, and connecting that all to the development of the person...not just the athlete.

But, now I think I'm gonna tackle the questions with a different set of answers:

If there's any chance you think that your child playing sports has any thing to do with YOU, then no, I wouldn't advise that they play.

If YOU expect your child to become a super-star at any cost then, negative on that one too.

If YOU are not capable of zipping it when your child loses or when the rulings are unfair, then I'm gonna have to go with NO.

If YOU do not see yourself as an encourager and teacher to your child in their sporting adventures, then, let's see....NO.

If YOU do not value the importance of showing respect to your child as an athlete, to their coaches and officials then how about another big fat NO.

If YOU, as a parent, DO NOT understand that it is YOU who set the primary example for your child when it comes to displaying positive behavior rooted in strong character, sportsmanship and self-control, then please, for the sake of the rest of us who are trying to make sports a positive, encouraging and reasonable enviornment for our kids, consider an alternative activity for your child.

C'mon parents.  Let's get it together for our kids, before we cheat them out of experiencing the best things that sports really have to offer.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Why I Let Our Boys Write My Resolutions for the New Year

Well, here I am, on the evening of the first day of being back to real life (work, school, laundry, non-fleece attire) finally ready to give you my little list of goals for the new year.  Because, as you can see, I like to be on top of things around here, hello January 6th.

It's not that I've been procrastinating when it comes to making some New Year's resolutions (that's my eternal NYR - stop procrastinating), it's just that this year I've decided to take a look at life and the direction I'm heading from a little bit different perspective. And, by perspective I mean that I've been hunkered down in this little hut for two weeks focusing on 6 ornery boys, who were bound and determined to overwhelm me with their mannish ways.

The past couple of weeks that I've been MIA from the web have been spent pretty unplugged, but I confess, I kind of enjoyed hibernating for a bit in my domestic dwelling, spending some hard core time living life with our boys....watching them play, listening to them chat about sports and more sports, and learning from their testosterone filled mannerisms...
Every big brother is a toy mentor.  
This looks a lot like a donut. I think I'd rather have a donut.
You're kidding! A box? I've heard about these things! 
Uh oh, there might be some coveting going on right there. The toddler is ready to snatch!
I love how every opening is a group meeting. Gather 'round, ya'll!

What I discovered in 14 days of dodging Nerf bullets, gluing on the hand of an "accidentally" broken wise man, and keeping my post in the kitchen (boy-oh-boy can my crew eeeeeat) is that I think that children can teach us a lot about being happy, healthy and holy in this life.  That's what all these resolutions are for anyway, right, to make us better in one way or another??

I'm not sure if my beloved children have short term memory loss or if they honestly don't give two bits about the former days irritations, but I've noticed that to them every day really is a new day, a fresh start. I love that about them - leaving the past in the past and living fully all that is here today. That forgetting the past bit, I'll admit, is not one of my finer skills. So, this year, instead of focusing on a big list of New Year's resolutions, I am narrowing my focus to a one-day-at-a-time scope.

365 New DAYS ~ Resolutions for 2015:

Spin the Fork
Is it just my kids or do your little ones have a serious disinterest in food 95% of the time, too? Charlie would rather practice spinning his fork on the edge of his plate than use it to put my lovingly prepared fare in his mouth.  Maybe I need to be a little bit less interested in food, too, which won't be easy, because I really love to cook and eat. My goal for this year isn't just to shed the holiday cookie, party booze, post baby weight combo, but it's to eat with intention.  Instead of inhaling the chow while driving, paying bills, blogging, teaching school or changing out the laundry (two days ago I found a bowl of uneaten cereal on top of the dryer - crazy, no?), I will take the time to sit down, chew, taste and enjoy my food.  Fork spinning is optional.

Hold the Glitter
I'm a woman, thus I prefer to complicate things as much as possible.  It's just my hormonal feminine genius at work.  But, honestly, it doesn't really fly in a house filled with men.  I kind of mope around sometimes playing the "woe is me" and "no one here understands me" victim of all that testosterone, but truth be told, there's a few things to be learned from their, shall we say, simplicity?

Boys are great at keeping life on a direct path. Cut to the chase, go for the goal, one foot in front of the other.  No squiggles, no unnecessary turns and fewer words is always better.

They don't need their pb & j's cut into stars and hearts, they prefer to wear the same shirt for 13 days straight, they can rewrite the rules of Monopoly to make it more interesting in 7 minutes and 46 words plus or minus a few gestures.  Bendy straws make perfect pistols and a chop sticks collection from my purse (thank you Pei Wei) provide hours of jousting, fencing and strategic catapulting of random objects across the room. And, if plowing through a states and capitals worksheet means more time to play outside then pass on the nifty glitter project from Pinterest that puts the exact same facts in their precious little heads.

I'm going to take some cues from the boys and try a little less is more, quality over quantity and if I don't make life color coordinate on every level then we will all survive!

Let It Go! 
(I'm so sorry if you have that song in your head for the next couple of hours.) Have you ever noticed how boys like to work out their problems with flying limbs, but as soon as the duking is over, they are instantly best buds again? This happens in our house all of the time.  One moment the rug is on fire from wrestling friction and the next those same boys are laughing hysterically over whoever just tooted.

Forgive and forget, that's what they do. Move on. Let it go. I'm gonna give that a try (minus the wrestling and punching, I think...). If my plan to shed the Christmas cookies doesn't make me feel lighter, at least leaving behind the ball and chain of grudge might.

Make Time For the Maker
Many of you who actually posted about your resolutions before the ball dropped on Times Square, mentioned a sincere desire to devote more time to prayer in this upcoming year.  Yes and Amen and Hallelujah! I am right there with you!

One of our sons requested a prayer book for Christmas, which truly touched my heart (his piety is such a gift....NOT from his mother, who preferred to play MASH and meditate on the dreamy blues of Kirk Cameron in whatever teen magazine she was reading when she was 12).

Anyhoo, I took the advice of a few trusted friends and purchased a copy of Fr. John Hardon's book of prayers and meditations for our oldest two boys, and I must say it is quite a jewel. Steve and I have dozens of prayer books and stacks of spiritual reading, but there's something very special about this collection of prayers that I think I might be sneaking it off of the boys' nightstand!

Surprise Me!
When I asked the boys to write a Christmas wish list for me, they couldn't wait to explain their hearts' desires, and I was thankful to know and appreciate their own individual wonderment. Henry, however, had just one thing on his list - a BB gun.  We gently explained to him that he is a bit young yet to receive such a gift.  We could sense his disappointment, but he never did ask for anything else. So, Santa brought him a gift that was a complete surprise, a new bike.
He had absolutely the very best time opening his gifts on Christmas morning, because each one was truly unexpected. As I was scrolling through the photos form Christmas day, I couldn't help but marvel at Henry's expressions.  Joy.  Pure joy. Delight, wonder, thanksgiving, contentment, all of it flowed straight from the purity of his precious little heart.

I make an awful lot of lists throughout the year...some practical, some wishful, others more along the bucket type.  But, I think I might try a little less planning, a little less wanting, a little less asking for or at least expecting so much.  Perhaps instead I will follow Henry's lead and let myself be surprised with whatever life brings. I do love a good surprise!

Here's to 365 359 new days!!