Tuesday, December 6, 2016

hello there, friend,

it seems that even though in my head and heart i want to slow down and savor the season, there are a myriad of obligations that makes this harder than it would seem. around here the end of the first half of the school year means the tangling up of christmas concerts, drama performances, swim meets, and mid-term exams. the weekend i thought might be restful turns out to be quite full and i realize again i have to change my expectations.

what i know to be true about myself is that i thrive when i feel connected to those around me. so, if it's a conversation with one of my kids in the car on the way somewhere, i know that will fill me up. when church obligations have me wondering how i got myself so involved - i make a connection with someone who needed to be heard and then someone does the same for me. when i'm hoping for a sunday afternoon nap, but the house is full of boisterous male energy - i boil water for tea, light candles, and grab a book i had been hoping to finish and find myself grateful for my son and his friends - the ones we've known forever.

sometimes i think we are called to do some deep diving in our hearts and minds, to change our thinking, to make the best of situations that aren't our first choice. when i stay open, i'm often rewarded - in ways i wasn't necessarily expecting.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Hello there, friend,

Last night, I sat on the couch with my kids watching Finding Dory, which we had picked up last minute from Redbox. I'm astonished at how need this was, just sitting together watching a movie and resting. The weekend was long. It was full of correcting bad attitudes (including mine), running errands, and mis-managing time.

We were all exhausted and in need of grace. When my daughter suggested, on the way home from our monthly family dinner (which my husband had to miss because of work), that we see if Finding Dory was on Netflix, I immediately rerouted us to the grocery store and there it was -- our saving grace. At home, we popped popcorn and climbed into our pajamas, then started the movie while twinkle lights glowed over the bay window.

It reminded me that, even though life is hard and we sometime feel like we're in the valley, we can always press pause and just hold each other. There's always space for this. We can decide to let go of whatever pressure we're under, whatever we're going through, and find what matters. Today that was letting go of everything else and saying yes to a movie and a cuddle. I'm so grateful for that.


Friday, December 2, 2016

hello there, friend,

november was full of the kind of juxtapositions that make up life... joy and pain, gratitude and sorrow, frustration and relief, beauty and brokenness. there were times when i was glad we had taken a break from letter writing and there were times when i wished we were writing.

the practice of gratitude was my anchor for the month... a touchstone that allowed me to notice the small gifts around me and to notice, too, what was going on inside me. like you, there were plenty of times to notice what was going on in my heart and in my head and this made all the difference. i've learned to pay attention to myself, to guard myself when necessary, to nourish myself when i needed to, to stretch myself at times, to let my emotions be what they are... to sit with all of it, uncomfortable or not.

i know there will be more opportunities in the coming month to practice these things. right now i'm most grateful for the way gratitude has led me to pay more attention to myself - to be grateful for who i am, right now where i am.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hello there, friend,

When I was younger, I had a huge chip on my shoulder. My childhood was deeply entrenched in conflict and pain, both of which I took out into the world and gladly unloaded on anyone I could. It followed me into my adulthood and sometimes still rears its ugly head.

When I married my husband, I was determined to change my life. I didn't want our family, the one we were creating, to be like what I had experienced. I was going to be different. And when my daughter was born after four years of marriage, I sunk my teeth in deep to those changes. But here's the thing about changing your life: it doesn't happen overnight. It's one small change, then another and another until they snowball into something that, years later, you might say was worth all of the effort.

That's how I felt this last month. It was long and hard and heavy. I prayed more than I have in a long time. I cried a lot and felt confused. I hurt. I know I'm not alone in any of this. A lot of people were confused and hurt this last month, and for a lot of different reasons. But instead of taking my pain out into the world and passing it around, I tried to be quiet and listen. There's so much I don't understand, but I'm willing to listen.

And that's how I know that I've changed. This last month has showed me that. And now I'm ready to move forward into a new month, one filled with the saving graces of the holidays. There's so much to look forward to and to be grateful for -- the hard times, and the good.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Gratitude Challenge | Day 30

from sunrises to sunsets, changed perspectives, frosty leaves, words of encouragement and kindness, reflections literal and otherwise, popcorn, bunting, fall colors, the smell of fresh baked bread, open windows, quiet corners and space to breathe, open windows, and cool air, adventure, the smell of rain, a dog's soft ears, maple syrup and roasted vegetables, the blessings of a life well lived, celebrations and sorrows, hope, grace, learning to listen to ourselves and to those around us, community and magic, music and warm tea... we are grateful. 

thank you for celebrating this month with us... for taking the time to notice what's around you, for looking, for sharing. 

we are so grateful.

 “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” 
~Melody Beattie

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November Gratitude Challenge | Day 29

“If you want to be reminded of the love of the Lord, just watch the sunrise.”
― Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses
Moment by moment the sky changed from dark to grays to pastels. And then finally, right on time, the brilliant bright light peeked over the horizon. I suppose that most don't cheer the sunrise, that act which happens every day, whether we are there to watch it or not. But to watch it, really, isn't it a marvelous show?

I'm thankful for:
the wonder of every day,
hot coffee,
those who labor for my comfort,
stories that captivate,
the rhythm of the tide,
good company,
laughing out loud,
a savory salad and a sweet crepe,
my dinner date,
the fan overhead,

~image and text by kristy cho @kristycho7


We are celebrating the month of November by being grateful. Each weekday, we are posting an image and text from the hello there, friend community. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

November Gratitude Project | November 28

if you would have asked me a year ago, when that
wise old woman was going to start showing up,
i would have told you she was lost. . .
today she is starting to shine a bit, speaking her wisdom
with tenacity and grace. i only have to remind myself to slow down,
take a few deep breaths and give her time to speak her mind.
if i do this, nine times out of ten she has the ability to calm me down
and see things more clearly.
i am grateful for her; grateful that she did not
give up on me and was so patient.
i hope by next year at this time,
we are bosom buddies.
~words + image by Cathy Sly


We are celebrating the month of November by being grateful. Each weekday, we are posting an image and text from the hello there, friend community. If you'd like to join us, there's still plenty of time! You can sign up on the blog or by using the link in our Instagram profile. We'd love to have you!