Thursday, May 31, 2012

carry summer with you

Nothing says summer quite like the quintessential straw bag. Equally apropos on the cobblestone streets of Charleston, South Carolina, or  Florence, Italy, it's tres chic at the beach, user-friendly at a Farmer's Market and just an all-around feel-good accessory for this sunny season. On any given day, you never know where summer might take you, from a peach orchard to a minor league baseball game to a barbecue joint a few towns over. So toss in sunglasses and spf, paperback of The Paris Wife, bottled water, a pack of Wrigley's. Pair with espadrilles, swirly cotton skirt, t-shirt. And you're good to go. Just follow the sunshine. 
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

from the portfolio

Behold the fun booth backdrop we've just created at StewartMarr for our client Suzie Lowe as she prepares to dazzle wholesale buyers at the national Fancy Food trade show with her Augusta's Pimento Cheese. It's what we call a dollop of delicious.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

rainbow & snippet

Somehow this beauty escaped me last month but it's too wonderful not to share right now, before looking up the poet Philip Levine and reading everything he's ever written! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

rising, shining

I'm the morning person in our domicile, the person who pads downstairs before anyone else and makes the coffee. Just the way we like it: rich and bold with a pinch of sugar, a splash of half & half. Then I deliver this elixir of goodness upstairs, along with the newspaper, to he who appreciates some extra winks. I try not to do anything while I'm having my coffee . . . except have my coffee. And think. About what's in my heart and on my plate that day. And how I can try to merge the two. I say a prayer and ask for a blessing. A fresh start is a pretty wonderful thing. Happily, it happens every day.  
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

born again and again

Some seasons mothering is all buttoning buttons and reading stories, making sure everyone gets fed and hugged, cleaned, clothed, comforted. Mostly it is about showing up with love and as much physical energy as is possible to muster. Those days made exquisite sense to me and I think I would've preferred to reside there indefinitely, but life calls us forward. Babies become toddlers become school age children and beyond. They have to learn how to navigate their inner and outer world independently, form relationships and dreams outside the family, become their one and only self.

It's a very mysterious and miraculous, learn-as-you-go process in which both sides have to let go. That is the part I've bumbled through and have had to make peace with. Then one day, say a Mother's Day twenty years into it all, a revelation. While shepherding those children through myriad development stages, they've fostered your development, too. The eternal, maternal mystery. One that has made you what you are and given you aspirations for all you hope to be.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

a hire calling

It's a full-time job trying to move through the day radiating positive energy, but the non-monetary compensation is abundant and the benefits are unlimited. It's the attitude equivalent of an open door, open heart policy. The greatest thing is that there are a gazillion job openings in this line of work so you can start today, right now. Hope to see you at the water cooler (sparkling, of course).  
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

listen up!


What kind of listener are you? Turns out, I'm pretty much of a crummy one. I know this because I ask people to repeat things all the time when I've been mentally multi-tasking and not retained a word they've said. I honestly don't know how they put up with me (Mike, the kids, friends, Arkon and on and on). But I sure do know a few gold standard listeners and how good it feels to be heard by them. I never realized that they possess a highly refined gift, I just thought they were full of love. Maybe that's what good listening really is at heart: an act of love. Did you know there are different levels to this critical life skill? That's what I learned in a fascinating article by Hope Martin and David Rome. And now that I know better, you better believe I'm going to listen better: 
Active Listening  is the practice of repeating back or paraphrasing what you think you are hearing and gently seeking clarity when the meaning is not clear.
Good Listening is giving open-minded, genuinely interested attention to others and allowing yourself the time and space to fully absorb what they say.  Seeks not surface but where the speaker is coming from. 
Deep Listening is more contemplative than active listening and involves listening from a deep, receptive and caring place in oneself to a deeper and often subtler level of meaning and intention in another person.  It is listening that is generous, empathetic, supportive, accurate and trusting - trust that whatever the other says comes from something true in their experience. Involves opening one's awareness to the unknown and unexpected. Deep Listening is a way of being that is sensitive to all facets of our experience: external, internal, contextual.

(image: Etsy.com)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

yes you May

May is a cashmere shawl of palest violet, tossed softly across your shoulders. It's a walk through ivy covered stone walls to a secret garden, orange shadows in a koi pond, wren song. It's Limoges teacups so delicate you can almost see through them and pastel colored macarons piled on a cake stand. A thick, creamy envelope is delivered, addressed in calligraphy and mailed with an elegant postage stamp. It's an invitation to breathe deeper, linger longer, have strawberries for breakfast. It's quintessential spring, a spring in the step, steps across a stage toward a new stage of life. It's all around us, the wonderful world Louis Armstrong sang about. May.
(image: Pinterest)