Vivid Living

Are you living your life in vivid color or do some days feel like different shades of brown?

Lucky for us, my friend Nancy, who is a gifted and talented writer, offers insights and musings about living a vivid life on her blog, Vivid Living (http://nancysharp.net/vividliving/). After I read it, I often realize something that adds color to my world.

Her attitude and her writings are beautiful and stirring because her philosophy is  “what happens to us in life matters, but in my view, how we choose to live matters more.”

Six years ago, Nancy’s husband, Brett, died in her arms at Calvary Hospice in Bronx, New York –  he had a brain tumor that finally felled him nearly seven years after he was diagnosed in 1998. At the time, I think her twins were around two years old.

A few months later, with courage and twins in tow, she moved to Denver.  When I met her, it was as if I had known her before. One falls into easy conversation with Nancy. I’m not sure if it is her warm smile and the way she looks you in the eyes when you’re talking or the life experience she brings to bear on a casual chat by the pool. One thing is certain; she has come to teach us how to live mindFULLY.

Now she has created a new life in Colorado and  is re- married to a darling man she met by reaching out her hand and holding up her heart. How they met is a great story, in and of itself, and you can find it on her blog:  http://nancysharp.net/vividliving/. Her story is like a rose. It has bloomed, thorns and all. And the color is so vivid.

I know you are busy. However, I encourage you to carve out a ½ hour and treat your heart to reading a few of Nancy’s entries. Money-back guarantee – you’ll be the better for it.

What are some ways that help you live MindFULLY and vividly? Let us know!

Opportunity Knocks

Three weeks ago, on a Tuesday, I brought in the mail and noticed a letter from a Realtor tucked into the Ballard Designs catalog. Usually I throw mass mailings away, but this one beckoned me to open it.

Interesting. The Realtor had sent a letter to everyone in our sub-division, asking if anyone was interested in selling their home. He was representing a family with kids who go to the school at the end of  our block. My husband and I had talked about moving on and off over the past few years and decided we had nothing to lose by floating a trial balloon. As it turned out, eight families, including us, said,  “yes, we’re interested.” (Four houses in the division are on the market already and have been for some time).

That Sunday, they looked at all the homes and on Monday, the Realtor said they liked ours, made us an offer and gave us 48 hours to decide. After I pulled my head out of the toilet (be careful what you wish for)  we  decided to counter offer. Thursday night they accepted. Someone in the RE division of  my husband’s office was able to quickly review our end of the deal and by sundown on Friday,  we signed a contract.  The inspection was last week and the work is minimal.  Knock wood, if all goes well, we’ll close sometime in May.

It seems like it is meant to be. We didn’t put our house on the market, engage a Realtor or have to keep the house clean for more than one showing. It came to us. Remembering this has helped as I clench up with fear and wonder, “what have we done?” Things were in order. Did I really need to turn it all upside down?

But the answer is yes. I have never really been comfortable in this house. True, it is beautiful and I appreciate the space that has held the sounds of friends and family over the years.  However, I long for a smaller yard and fewer toilets to clean (OK, I know. I don’t really clean the toilets.)  There are only 3 of us and in a strange sort of way, we have outgrown this house. Like many homes, we have rooms that sit empty. I love Sarah Susanka and the Not So Big House series. Sarah talks of how we make formal living rooms and use them when we have guests. If we really like the people, we invite them  into the kitchen/family room. If we don’t, they stay in the formal room. So in essence, we spend money and space on a room for people we don’t even like! For years I have wanted to have  smaller, creative,  user-friendly space to LIVE in and host folks I love.

So, here we are,  taking a leap of faith and trusting that it might take a while, but we will find a more fitting home. In the meantime, as we ponder how to proceed to “next”, we have turned this into an “adventure” and have decided to live in a new way for a while. Instead of  settling  into a  bland rental house, we are going to sign the lease on a beautiful,  smaller condo in a neighborhood where we can walk to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and ride our bikes to the parks on warm summer eves.  There’s a lot of possibility out there. We simply have to trust we will find it. And some days that is easier said than done.

What a ride! That fateful  Sunday morning I went to the grocery store and here I am, three  weeks later, wondering how we will possibly eat all the food in the freezer before we have to move. At least I don’t have to choose paint colors for the big window wall again!

Has opportunity ever knocked and filled your mind with possibility? Let us know how!

It’s All At the Airport

Every few months I travel for work and one of my favorite parts is actually time spent in an airport. Really. It’s kinda  inevitable, so why fight it? Looking at travel time  as “found time”, I use it to become more MindFULLY Creative.

I always carry a small notebook in my bag to capture ideas that come to me. Then I use the pages as “check lists to create” and gain the added bonus of checking off creative to-dos. Whether it is from a magazine I splurged on, a display in the store window, or an “aha” when I am forced to sit quietly on the plane for two hours, I always find something that I would have never found.

I also carry my handy-dandy travel journal craft kit. It’s a little pouch with my travel journal, a glue stick, a great pen and water color pencils. I plug in my iPod and for two hours, I am in a creative zone. I write about my trip or anything else that comes to mind. Ripping out pics and gluing them in, using the water from my cup to smear the colored pencils across the page and then adding some text, gives me the satisfaction of having done something when there is nothing to do. When we are delayed, it helps me focus on something other than my annoyance.  And when I get home, I am a happier Robin.

I also love to see what other women around the country are wearing and have gotten some great ideas. In Philadelphia, I saw an elegant woman wearing all black and silver. Now my favorite travel wear is to dress in all black and then wrap a colorful pashmina, like turquoise, around my neck. Throw some silver jewelry on and you have a classy and comfortable travel ensemble.  My friend Tracey is repping a line of affordable jewelry that can spiff up travel basics and add a skip to your step! Check out www.sydneyandrews.com/traceyp

Another way I use the time is by catching up on collected magazines and the Sunday NYTs. I don’t always have time during the week to read the whole paper, so I stash the parts I am interested in and pull them out at the gate. If my flight is delayed, I’m still gathering ideas. I also like to buy the paper of the town I’m in. I’m bound to learn something or find some idea that gives me pause.

I hate the phrase, “we have some time to kill”. Why would anyone ever want to kill something so precious?

What have you discovered sitting in the airport that has filled your mind with new ideas and energy? Let us know!

Follow Your Thread

So excited! On Saturday my new stationary arrived.        

I love stationary. There is something about the crisp clean card, the feel of the pen gliding across the paper and the sense of grace as I seal the envelope.

When I was a kid, whenever I received a gift, my parents made me write a thank you note immediately. I hated it. Now, I love it. Moreover, I appreciate it when someone writes to me. So few people use paper these days. It’s an era gone by.

I also learned that in addition to writing personal thank you notes, handwritten professional thank you notes are also treasured. When I was young, I worked at the Illinois Lottery and Desiree Rogers was my boss. Desiree used to write us thank you notes for jobs well done on her personal stationary. I saved mine and learned to do the same as I moved through my own career. I think it is elegant. Maybe that’s why Obama tagged her to be the Social Secretary!

Now I collect stationary and one of my favorite places to buy it is at The Little Monogram Shop www.littlemonogramshop.com

LMS is owned by our friend, Dori Loomis. She is as cute as her store. Creative and light-hearted, Dori’s spirit is only surpassed by her taste in gifts and goodies. Lucky for us, when her girls were in Kindergarten and 2nd grade, she was itching to do something that utilized her creativity. One evening after a glass or two of wine with friends, Dori casually mentioned how perfect some vacant space in town would be for a little monogram shop.

She’d been sewing since she was 7, loved computer graphics and design (which made learning the specialized embroidery software fairly easy), had managed the volunteer non-profit stationery business for The Junior League of Chicago in her 20’s and understood buying and managing inventory. Lastly, she’d handled all the finances for her family’s Funeral Home business.

They loved the idea. So did her husband. So, she set about gathering information about start-up costs and created a business plan.

Dori is a perfect example of when you are thinking about work you’d like to do, “build on what you know.”

Looking back, she found a way for her crazy unrelated jobs to make sense! She’s been around for 8 years, has 5 part-time employees and lots of new ideas still hatching every day. No matter what you may need, LMS is brimming with stationary and gifts that will inspire a thank you.

Check out www.littlemonogramshop.com

Reflect on your own mind full of experiences. What thread weaves through the years?

Birds Of A Feather, Shop Together

This afternoon my 12 year old wanted to go to the mall with a friend. Suffice to say, there were other ways I wanted to spend my day.

I often seem to struggle around what I want to do vs what she wants to do. Today I had a list of “should dos” as long as our driveway.  However,  as she approaches independence, I try to be sensitive to how tethered she still is to us and how much I liked the things she likes when I was her age.

Thus,  I used this afternoon as an opportunity to turn my attitude into gratitude. We had a budget to spend (how lucky to have extra spending money), she still wanted me around and really, my ” should do” list could wait. As such, I grabbed my camera and decided that while they were in Abercrombie and Fitch, I’d sit on the comfy chairs, with all the guys waiting for their ladies, and see what creative pics came to me.

It didn’t take long before I noticed a trend. Teen girls shopping in packs. Everywhere I looked, I saw them. Walking together, talking together, texting together. It was as if once I noticed them, they were everywhere!

I started snapping pictures. From 10 years of age to who knows how old, they crawled the mall. I didn’t notice any boys poking in and out of the stores. Only girls. Any guys I saw were with girls or waiting for them. For 3 hours I sat there, and there was only one lone boy.

What is up with this? Why do so many young girls shop in groups?   Let us know your theory. My mind is full of reasons. What are yours?

p.s. My clothes still smell like store perfume…

Hearing Ourselves In A Whole New Way

For some kooky reason, yesterday’s post did not get out to those of you who subscribe. It posted as an RSS feed, but no direct email. Ironic, given the post was about mistakes and learning as I go!

Seems to me, this is a learning moment.

While today is Tuesday, and not MindFULL Monday,  I am sharing this bonus post as a way to test whether or not you receive this posting. It’s also a fun way to share a new learning – Blog Radio, Flip camera video postings, Skype. All ways we can hear and see each other over a static machine.

And in that Spirit, the learning continues! My friend, and creative inspiration, Tamara Kleinberg, Chief Imaginator of Imaginibbles (www.imaginibbles.com) interviewed me on Blog Radio, this morning. If you have a few minutes, give a listen.

http://tinyurl.com/ye86zgu

I was super nervous, but Tamara guided me through the interview with her usual humor and ease. It was also fun to see Blog Radio as a site and to imagine all of the uses for this amazing medium.

Who did you see, hear or read about today that filled your mind with a new idea? Let us know!

A Mind Full of Thoughts

Welcome to my blog, The MindFULL Creative! The idea for this blog came from wanting to share years of accumulated information I have gathered (tips, insights, personal musings and awesome folks doing wonderful work, etc.) and to have a place for you to share with me. We have to share. The news is unsettling. However, finding new ways of living can become a creative challenge.

For example, last Winter I heard Jean Chatsky speak and she helped me re-frame my spending habits. Jean said, “It’s not about feeling deprived, it’s about re-framing how you are saving — save ‘towards‘ what you want.” Now, I pass on buying another pair of black shoes and think of how I am saving towards a beach house. It was so helpful and led me to realize how my mind is so FULL of inspirational stories and creative ideas I have heard through the years, as well as how I try and use what I’ve learned to be more mind-fully creative. It’s a way of navigating a new world and a new way of thinking.

I’m hoping The MindFULL Creative will become a space where we can share what we discover along the way. Perhaps you have a recipe that everyone asks you to bring when you’re on deck for dessert.  Maybe you read a book, found a website or heard a song that shifted the way you saw things – or simply loved. Maybe some of you have ideas on how we can shop our own closets and recycle what we have into new and creative uses (stay tuned for a future entry on my jewelry swapping party!). My  hope is that, together, we’ll find new ways of understanding who we are and have fun finding out what’s going on — and that we will be the better for having been here.

Please send me what you’ve learned. Share your tips and insights. Pass on stories and websites of folks doing something that makes you smile. Together we can circumvent the bad news, and focus on filling our minds with information, tips and ideas that make us the better for being and at the same time, becoming mind-FULLy creative.

Many thanks to my MindFULLY Creative friend, Tamara, who inspired me to create this site. YOU ROCK!