On Cozy Coffeeshops & Other People’s Love Stories …

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Last Saturday I had a book signing about forty-five minutes away in Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the coziest little coffee shop ever, Agora Downtown Coffee. The shop is co-owned by sisters, one of whom bakes amazing things and the other who is the biggest champion for local artists ever (as well as a talented artist and craftsperson, herself). In the short time I was there, the sisters’ father and brother stopped by and introduced themselves, a local business owner bought me a cup of coffee because he “knew how hard I worked”, a designer complemented my book covers, and countless folks smiled and wished me well. Continue reading

Cauliflower, Broccoli & First Dates

heartwoodThirteen years ago I went on a first date. He invited me to a winery. I had never done a wine tasting. I had no idea what to wear to winery. I went out and bought a new skirt that I felt was appropriately casual and sophisticated that morning. He doesn’t remember my skirt– just the giant oversized sunglasses I was wearing. I remember I drank the samples way too fast and had no idea what to say about them. Continue reading

The Grateful List: 2013

Grateful 2013

Last year I wrote about all the little things I was thankful for.  This year I’m going for just one big one: family. My definition of which is pretty broad; could be the one you’re born into or the one you marry into.  It’s also the beautiful family of friends you make for yourself.  Sometimes it’s simply that group of people you stumble into at exactly the right moment.

I would love to hear about your family, however you define it,  in the comments below.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Above, I’ve pictured just a few members of my family (clockwise from right to left): 1) Family of VA & NJ friends in NYC  2) Going on 37 years of friendship 3) Best friend and family (Mr. Escobar) 4) Cousins!  5) More cousins! (and parents & grandparents, too) 6) Family by marriage (and horses!) 7) Pretty sure we have a similar picture from about age 5  8) Write Club (minus one, she’s there in spirit)

Small Gratitude

I try to start most days reflecting on the things that I am thankful for. Things like a spouse that loves, supports, inspires and challenges me. Parents who invested the time and patience to love consistently and genuinely. Who supported me in becoming authentically me. That I married into family full of love, without tension. The years I have had with my grandparents. Large gatherings with extended family. Quiet conversations and loud laughter with friends as close as family. My health. Work I enjoy. Food. Shelter. Time to write.

These are certainly the things that ground me. The ones that can help turn around those inevitable days that I feel too something. Too busy. Too tired. Too uncomfortable in my own skin. Too restless. Too uninspired. Too scared.

But there are also other things. Small things that sometimes get lost in all that too something-ness. So on this quiet Thanksgiving morning I’m taking a minute to be grateful for a few of them.

  • the delicious english muffin I just ate
  • orange marmalade
  • butter
  • locally roasted coffee
  • the North Park University mug (from a friend as close as family) that I’ve used for years
  • fuzzy socks
  • pajama pants
  • holidays and lazy mornings
  • Rhapsody
  • e-mail/social media
  • blogs
  • having one car (being able to walk to work/food/fun)
  • craft beer
  • home brew
  • local restaurants
  • movies
  • plays
  • pretty dresses
  • consignment shops
  • complicated recipes
  • beautiful words

Happy Thanksgiving!