Archive for the ‘Inspires and Smiles’ Category

Beauty in things

There are so many awesome things to be found on the internet.  Here’s what been inspiring me and making me smile lately.

  1. After so many years of feeling like I always failed the “good Christian quiet time test”, I love Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project. I’ve finally found a meditation practice that feels like it fits who I am.
  2. I know I’ve mentioned Michael Nobbs’ Sustainably Creative website before.  I love his One Thing Today podcasts.  They’re my favourite listening on my way to work in the morning.  You can listen to his 400th podcast here. I also can’t wait for my pre-ordered copy of his new book Drawing Your Life to arrive.  Love the video he made to celebrate its pending publication.
  3. I had the pleasure of meeting Kristin Noelle last summer.  I love her artwork and Trust Tending is a fabulous place to find inspiration. Each week she has an giveaway of one of her drawings.  I won this one and one of my tasks this weekend was hanging it up in my bedroom, right where I will see it every morning as I wake up and every evening before I go to sleep.
  4. Don’t remember who pointed me in the direction of this list, but I think I actually cheered out loud when I read 25 Things You Don’t Have to Justify to Anyone.
  5. If you’ve seen pictures of my niece’s hedgehog Oliver, you know why I have to try making these adorable hedgehog cookies the next time she’s here for a visit.
  6. I love the community of women who are part of Flock. Rachelle Mee Chapman has created a beautiful and safe space that has played a huge part in me finding the spiritual practices that make sense to me. I’m loving our practices for February and her new Relig-ish series of videos.

What are you loving?

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Furry Toe Washing

Ever had your toes licked by a furry friend?

A year ago I spent time with a dear friend back in Ontario and her dog Colin took a shine to licking my toes anytime they weren’t in shoes or socks.  I nearly squirmed out of my skin the first time his cute little tongue took a swipe.

The more he licked, the more I got used to it.  To my surprise, I discovered that there was something kind of soothing about his attention.  As squirmy as it made me, when we came home from a walk or shopping at Ikea, letting his little warm tongue quietly slurp away felt … good.

When I was looking for a picture to go with this post, I realized that even saying the word vulnerability makes me feel the same was as that first damp contact of Colin’s tongue.

But the practice of vulnerability … that’s a different thing all together.

I admire people who choose to be vulnerable, but I completely admit that the idea of choosing to be vulnerable scares the crap out of me.

The thing is, the more I discover about myself, the more I seek to live authentically, whole-heartedly, the more I realize that being vulnerable really is the key piece to living my life to the fullest.

Contrary to how I tend to feel about it, being vulnerable doesn’t have to mean being a doormat for others to walk on.  It doesn’t have to mean allowing people to take advantage of me. It doesn’t have to mean opening myself up to be hurt again and again by the same person.

But it does mean allowing my heart to be seen. Opening up to share the things that are closest and dearest to my heart. Risking not being good enough. Trying even when I might fail. Knowing that the choice to be vulnerable may lead to hurt and disappointment and choosing to live that way anyhow.

I picked boldness as my word for 2012.  Little did I know that choosing to be bold would also mean choosing to be vulnerable.  As squirmy as the idea of vulnerability makes me, learning to choose vulnerability in the little moments of day-to-day life feels … better than good.

There are so many people who have been inspiring me with the power and grace of their vulnerability.  I thought I’d share a few.

  1. The View from the Vortex of Suck – When your website is called Blessing Manifesting, people might be inclined to think that you only write what one friend used to call “bunnies & light”. But sometimes life just isn’t like that and Dominee can be counted on to be real.
  2. The Permission Slip – Sometimes I need someone else to remind me that I have permission.
  3. Feeling Empty on the Inside and Ugly on the Outside – Showing Up Anyway – The title of this blog says it all “Simply Woz”.  The courage of this post brought me to tears.
  4. I’m not liking myself and I’m not doing anything about it – I value this kind of honesty and self-knowledge that sometimes you just need to be where you are without trying to change things.
  5. Have I told you how much I adore Ellie Di?  From here (Scattered Thoughts from a broken and healing marriage) to here (Becoming myself: new site, new direction, new story).  I love her never-ending quest to be more fully herself and her willingness to share that journey.
  6. Art in Motion: Sunshine Piece – I love Kelly Rae Roberts’ artwork.  It was her calendar that hung on the wall of my work cubicle throughout 2011.  Quietly and subtly, her art snuck behind the walls I’d built and reminded me that there was a different way to live.  Sharing her creative process behind such a personal piece made me want to dig the paints out.
  7. There are so many posts from Marianne Elliott that I could include here, but Chickens really hit home for me.  When I think of some of the free writing things I’ve done as part of writing workshops, I find it hard to imagine posting them … without a lot of editing!
  8. I am beauty by Kyeli – So simple and powerful.  In case you haven’t been following Kyeli’s 30 day no-necklace trial during September, watch here, here and here to fully know why this poem of all that Kyeli writes and blogs had to be included in this list.
  9. Can’t forget the book that challenging me more with each chapter … Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  I’m thoroughly enjoying the read-along she’s hosting on her blog.  It really isn’t just me who struggles with that “vulnerability” word.
  10. Trust Changes Everything – When I need a gentle reminder, Kristin’s illustrations and words are a great antidote to fear.
  11. This list wouldn’t be complete without posts from my Monday night writing buddies. In so many ways, we’re so different, but in so many ways, we’re just the right fit together. They challenge me to keep stretching my comfort zone with gratitude and wonder. So here’s A Time for Celebration by Tara, and …
  12. A story about a ring from Joanna.

May their offerings inspire you as much as they have inspired me.

Hugs, Karen

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Cup of Joy

The tag on my tea bag added to my smile this morning.

Since I can’t share my tea with you, I thought I’d share five online things that have been bringing me joy over the last few days.

  1. Love this post by a Creative Joy Retreat friend.  She used to offer lessons from the Queen of Denial, but now she’s the Girl Who Notices.  Her journey inspires me.
  2. I can’t choose just one post from Follow Your Nose. Kat is always finding moments that inspire me and cause me to reflect.
  3. This poem and photos makes me breathe in deeply and hold out my hands, open, ready.
  4. I’m sure I’ve linked to KtMac’s blog before, but her courage and honesty, especially over the last week, have made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.  I’d start reading here, then here, and here too.
  5. I know I just linked to my cross-continent writing buddies, but today’s post on Spinning in the Stars resulted in a goofy grin on my face for the bus ride to work.  Her new hero is rather fabulous!

Here’s to finding moments that keep our cups of joy overflowing.

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Nothing caught my eye today.  My focus was tucked away in my own head and heart, thinking and pondering answers.  It’s okay. It was exactly what I needed to be doing.

I knew I had some photos from yesterday that I wanted to share of the hydrangeas in the courtyard at work.

I love how their beauty transforms throughout the season.

August Courtyard Hydrangeas 1August Courtyard Hydrangeas 2August Courtyard Hydrangeas 3August Courtyard Hydrangeas 4August Courtyard Hydrangeas 5

No answers to share yet, but I’m realizing that, maybe for the first time, I’m actually enjoying the questions, and that feels remarkably good.


If you’re feeling stuck in the questions, breathe in deeply and then sit for a moment with this quote from Rilke and with this cartoon.

They’ve felt like my touchstones for the week.

Oh! and know that you are not alone, no matter how overwhelming the questions seem to be.

Hugs, Karen

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Wow!  How did it get to be two weeks since I posted?

In the past, after writing a post like An Apology and An Invitation … assuming that I ever managed to hit publish and tell people it existed … I would have gone into hiding mode, filled with regret and anxiety about how people would react.  Writing would have been the last thing I wanted to do.  I’d have been too scared of what else might appear on the page before me.  I’d have been doing my emotional imitation of a turtle or at least an ostrich.

While you haven’t seen anything in my space here, I haven’t been doing that.  I hit publish and I felt so free.  Vulnerable?  Yup, definitely.  But more importantly, I felt empowered.

The last two weeks have just been really busy in an awesome way. It still is, but I promised myself that this week I was going to make time for writing and resting in the midst of the crazy busy-ness. There have been so many things and people that help make my world wonderful. I thought it was a great time for another dozen.

In no particular order … and definitely not a comprehensive list! …

One Dozen: Things I Adore

  1. Sustainable passion. Those aren’t words you often hear  together.  They might actually count as an oxymoron, but when I read Rachelle’s post on Magpie Girl, my heart felt at home.   I want to “dance in that glory for a lifetime.” How about you?
  2. My new cat, Toes.  She found us and decided to call us home early in December.  She cracks me up with her antics.  Her full name is Mobius Hoover Toes.  I’ve never seen a cat sleep in sillier twisted positions. She can inhale treats faster than any vacuum. She has the cutest little white toes.  She can’t replace SkitSkat, but she warms my heart.Mobius Hoover Toes
  3. Listening to Michael Nobbs’ One Thing Today podcasts as I walk to the bus each morning.  In the midst of my cubicleland day job, that reminder helps me find time during the day to be creative, whether it’s writing on my breaks or stopping to take a photograph of something that catches my eye.
  4. Cherry blossom time.  Need I say more?  Maybe just a picture of the tree in our front yard.  It’s a little sad that the petals have started to fall, but “pink snow” on the lawn is still awesome.  I do admit I don’t exactly adore the petals on the hood of my nice red car, Suzy.  Time for a car wash.Cherry Blossom Time
  5. Liona Boyd’s Seven Journeys: Music for the Soul and the Imagination. My dad has had her albums for years, but I fell in love with her music during her concert in Chemainus last fall.  This album has become my favourite music when I sit down to write and I adore how she has created a new story out of adversity.
  6. I adored this picture enough that I’ve managed to keep a browser window open on my phone for about 3 weeks. Every time I see it, it makes me take a big deep breath and sigh with contentment and peace.
  7. creativejoy150-2Creative Joy. Doesn’t that phrase immediately bring a smile to your face? I can’t wait for my vacation time. I’m heading to New York state for the Creative Joy retreat. Let me know if you’re going too. Last thing I checked there was still space. If your well of creative joy is feeling dry, the retreat leaders have also assembled a fabulous and free workbook that is juicy with inspiration.  You can download it here.
  8. I know I’ve seen this poem before, but when I came across it the other day, it made my heart sing. Imagine if we all lived our lives believing that “God Says Yes” to each one of us.Wildflowers Everywhere
  9. They say April shower bring May flowers.  I’m loving the flowers that are everywhere.  From the wildflowers along my path to the bus or the planters downtown, there are blossoms everywhere. I adore the riot of colour.Riot of Colours
  10. The 3rd annual World Changing Writing Workshop. The 2nd annual workshop rocked my world.  This blog wouldn’t exist without it and the writing apprenticeship that I did with Kyeli just after was seriously life-changing. Registration for the 3rd year opens tomorrow and I can’t wait.  I already know I’m going to adore it.
  11. Ice Cream Sprinkles … or cupcakes sprinkles for that matter.  They’re just so happy and fun, even the thought of them brightened my lunch break.  Drat!  It’s kind of late for ice cream at 11:15 pm.  Tomorrow =)
  12. I did save the best thing for last.  On Saturday, I had the amazing privilege of helping officiate at the wedding of two very dear friends.  They had a marriage commissioner there to do the legal stuff and make it official but they asked me to lead the rest of the ceremony.  There are few things in life more special than that.  The day was beautiful and the ceremony was everything we wanted and planned it to be.  I also had a lot of fun making a crazy number of cupcakes. Congratulations Chris & Hunter! Thank you.  I adore you both.Chris & Hunter Panda Cake Toppers

What makes your world more wonderful? What do you adore?


In case you wondered, no affiliate links here.  I adore them so much I had to share the good stuff.

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