The Joy Diet: Treats

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In this week’s chapter of The Joy Diet, the book I’m reading with Jamie‘s The Next Chapter group, Martha Beck insists on treats after the risking we’ve been doing.  Here’s my list of some of  favorite treats (of late):

  • Petit Ecolier extra-dark chocolate biscuits
  • a coffee at the local Heine Brothers at the end of my street
  • a walk through the neighborhood in between calls with my clients
  • a novel with a happy ending
  • snuggles with Harper
  • blog surfing to sites like Soule Mama, Nienie and  Kelly Rae
  • Top Chef Las Vegas
  • a chat with girlfriends, even if its quick
  • bedtime by 10pm
  • a Dance of Shiva sequence or two
  • collage making
  •  family visits
  • a great massage or hot yoga session
  • Yogi Tea
  • homemade soup, like Ina‘s pomodoro with basil-pancetta-crouton toppings
  • retreats
  • grocery shopping at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s

I could go on and on! 

Treats somehow give the message that the effort, the intention, the risk is acknowledged.  How are you treating yourself this week?


the circle

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“…she listened to her heart above all other voices.

…she discovered that she was the one she’d been waiting for.

…she decided to enjoy more and endure less.

…she was an artist and her life was her canvas.

…she not only saw a light at the end of the tunnel, she became that light for others.

…she remained true to herself.

…she made the world a better place.

Celebrate her.”

(from She by Kobi Yamada)

The Joy Diet: Creativity and Risk

image from Jamie Ridler, Jamie Ridler Studios

This afternoon, I leave to co-lead a weekend retreat. 

I’ll be sitting in circle with trusted colleagues in a beautiful space in rural Kentucky with 15 incredible women.  Women who have survived incredible abuse and lived to see the other side.  Women who have been incarcerated themselves and are now recreating lives outside once again.  Fifteen amazing women with powerful stories.

And its my job to create a loving space for them to connect, to listen, to dream, and to release.  And I so desire for this to be a beautiful experience for them.

In Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet [that’s the book we’re discussing in The Next Chapter bookclub], Martha asks us to create ideas to step into our desires…and then to practice taking one frightening step each day towards it.

If this is the diet, I’ve been nibbling on these two ingredients for the last two weeks.  From speaking at conferences to creating birthday bashs, I’ve been creating ideas as well as stepping further into them than ever before.  I’ve been living into my vision, if you will, both personally and professionally.

And yet, this weekend offers an even more juicy nugget for creating and risking.  For me, the risk will be about letting go of my agenda and my exercises and my most-perfect-you-have-to-hear-this quotes.  It will be about taking the risk of showing up fully myself, without props, and trusting that that is enough.  That I am enough and that I know enough already to create a beautiful container for these women.  Because that’s my desire.  To offer circles of women the space and place to connect and dream together.

In the Creativity chapter, Martha says, “you are always responsible for creating your life, whether you like it or not.”  I’m responsible for taking my work–and this desire for my work–to the next level.  I can feel it all–the discomfort, the desire, the stretching, the messiness.  It’s all part of the process.  Leading me to deeper joy.


saying yes


image from Jamie Ridler

Today is another Wishcasting Wednesday hosted by Jamie over at Jamie Ridler Studios.  Her question today is “What do you wish to say yes to?”

Today, I wish to say yes to so many things:

  • brainstorming a few juicy offerings for my work (might need to consult my Right Brain Business Plan)
  • connecting via phone for one final planning conversation about the retreat I’ll co-lead this weekend for KDVA
  • choosing to breathe in all the abundance in my life today
  • celebrating my hubby’s 35th birthday with loads of energy and fun
  • decorating for said birthday with my preschooler to surprise daddy tonight
  • walking to the park this afternoon with my kiddo en route to pick up our CSA basket of veggies
  • being open to surprises, slowing down, and choosing joy moment by moment
  • some snuggling on the couch tonight while watching Top Chef Las Vegas

What will you say yes to today?


Oh how we’ve celebrated our love this weekend!

Joe surprised me on Friday night with a bag of snacks and a favorite meal.  He cooked up pan-seared tuna with ginger-shitake cream sauce from the Bon Appetit Cookbook.  He even made a homemade chocolate tart for dessert!  We reminisced about our favorite meals in each of the eight homes we’ve lived in together.

On Saturday afternoon, we headed to French Lick, Indiana, to stay at the West Baden Springs hotel.  Look how gorgeous this place is!

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And here we are Sunday morning before we left for home.  I’m humoring Joe with my Colts jersey on for football-watching that afternoon. 

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There is something magical about celebrating and honoring our loves.  Pausing for a weekend to truly acknowledge all that has transpired for both us, between us, and through us…it’s not something we do every day.  I think I was reminded this weekend that this kind of celebrating is an integral part of renewing ourselves.  I often ask my clients after a big accomplishment how they will celebrate.  It’s essential isn’t it?  I think it locks into our hearts and souls that we matter, this journey we are on matters.

What are you ready to celebrate in your own life this week?

my love

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“Love is not just something that happens to you…it is a certain special way of being alive.  Love is, in fact, an intensification of life, a completeness, a fullness, a wholeness of life…,” Thomas Merton

Ten years ago today I married my beloved.  The picture above is us walking together to the chapel.

I fell in love with him for a hundred reasons.  For the way he could so easily converse with every check-out clerk in a grocery store, really seeing and appreciating each one.  For his hearty laugh.  For how he’d leave flowers outside my dorm room stuck in Snapple bottles.  And most of all, for accepting and loving the parts of me that often go unseen.  The messy parts.

I still love those things today.

And, eight homes, two golden retrievers, and one babe later, our love continues to deepen and change.  I think I have to say it’s ripening.  We have weathered a cross-country love affair, friends divorcing, and the launch of my business.  We have decided that we aren’t the two people we thought we were marrying ten years ago; he’s more Mr. MBA and I’m more hippy feminist than he ever dreamed.

We have indeed changed.  Life is about growing and evolving, isn’t it?

And the love between us has changed as well. 

It has invited us to partake in so many lessons.  Lessons in being flexible.  Being vulnerable.  In co-creating, whether a home or a meal or a budget.  Lessons in listening even when we might not understand or agree. In learning together how to parent our sensitive, strong-willed boy.  Lessons in expressing ourselves with truth and kindness.  In risking being wrong and in forgiving. 

Every day we are still learning how to support one another to become who we are meant to be.  To love despite and because of it all.  And to keep going back to that ceremony and saying yes all over again. 

Our love has deepened in so many ways.  It’s more weathered now.  And oh so rich.

If I were to write a list of what I love about this man today, my list includes these thing:  I love that he still snuggles with me.  That he cooks dinner nearly every night.  That he hugs me as if we were still teenagers.  That—I swear!—he can do just about anything, from learning how to lay hardwood floors (he read a book, I tell you!) to winning his Fantasy Football league.  Most of all, I love that he holds space for me to become even more fully the woman I want to be.

I wish for us so many more moments in the years to come…more loving, another babe, exploring together, loads more laughter, vacations, abundance.  And even more ripening and—dare I say it?—change.  I wish for us comfort and joy and stretching and becoming even more of ourselves…and finding deep comfort in living the journey together.

Here’s to another ten, my love.  

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at the farm

We spent the day at Huber’s Farm and Orchard in southern Indiana.  A ride in the wagon, carmel apples, pumpkin picking.  I’m fairly certain that this is what renewal looks like around here in the fall, at least for me.  It was such a treat to meet our family for the day…out of town, outside, out of the routine.  Harper found the perfect pumpkin and he tells me tonight’s the night for carving and seed roasting.  Sounds good to me! 

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