One Box At A Time

I once sat next to a man on a plane, who told me his management style was based on the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  I never really understood that saying. But when the moving truck(s) pulled up last Thursday,  I got it.

What you can’t tell from the picture is that there are two trucks – and the truck nose is leading a semi. The little truck was from the condo and the semi was the truck of all things from storage. Really? I could have sworn we gave more stuff away.

(On the subject of getting rid of stuff, a quick digression: A few weeks ago we were having dinner at a pizza parlor in another part of town and the waiter looked so familiar. After a few trips to our table, we all commented on how we might know each other and it turned out he was one of the “College Hunks Who Haul Junk” who came to the old house 3x to haul away stuff! That’s how much stuff I could have sworn we got rid of.)

But alas, it took 13 hours to move everything into our new house. And as I watched the guys carry in box after box, I wondered how I would ever make this house a home. I started to get that pain in my chest and the voice in my head screamed, “Why did you move?” But then, another voice, a voice that had moved numerous times in my life, chimed in and whispered, “One box at a time…”. And so, I set about focusing on one box a time and a funny thing happened; by Saturday night – there were no more boxes in the main rooms of the house – kitchen, family room, living room and bedrooms.

The smartest thing I did was hire Danny, the handyman, to come by every morning for a few days and take away the empty boxes as I unpacked them. Something about removing the clutter gave me the space to relax.

And now, on July 4th, while there are still pics to be hung, rugs to buy and window treatments to coordinate, there is still much to celebrate. Friends are starting to drop by and with their laughter, are helping turn our house into a home.

I am going to apply the “one box at a time” theory to other parts of my life. There are plenty of places where it feels like it all has to be done at once. But as the list grows or the voice chirps in, I am picturing Danny carrying out the boxes. Everything in its’ time, my friends. Everything in its’ time.


How can you apply MindFULLY apply the “One Box At A Time” theory in your life? Let us know!

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Sunday morning, I woke up to my 12 year old daughter asking me to sit with her for a bit. She told me she is OK with the move and living in a condo, but also misses the spaciousness of our old home and the outdoor space to run around. I can understand her longing. She also gets that we are moving on to a new home, eventually, where we will have even more usable space and a nice yard again. For now, this is where we have landed. And it is different. Which was part of the adventure.

We moved last Friday and really, we are practically settled thanks to the mission and love of our friends. When I said, “No I don’t need help” they said “Pisha! Everyone needs help, silly girl.” And with that, boxes were quickly unpacked and removed, meals and mandel bread delivered and flowers left gracing the front step. We even got a Starbucks card so that we could enjoy a “transition treat” every morning for a week.

Lucky for me, some of my friends are also decorators. Colette has Core Interiors ( She thinks a lot about how the core of your home can align with the core of your Being. She came and cleared the energy of the condo before we moved in. Honestly, I can feel the difference and if nothing else, had a good laugh in the bedroom as we marched around with a bell. Laughter and good intentions definitely make a dwelling a home.

Another friend, Marsha Blum (, specializes in “Greenish Thoughts – designing from the heart while thinking of the planet” (check out her website for more on what “green design” is all about).  She suggested using what I have to make this house a home.

Lately whenever you read about interiors, everything is supposed to have the “Wow” factor. I’ve been adding a different dimension to the way I think about interiors by using more of an “Ahhhh” factor. The “Ahhh” factor comes from sitting back and enjoying the things you have that make you cozy and comfortable. Perhaps you have an antique piece that doesn’t feel special. Maybe you could use it and treasure the piece because of its sentimental value. Try to dress it up and find a way to bring it into your current life that fits your interior style. Until you are ready to buy some new pieces, use what you have with a different spin and enjoy them. “Ahhh”.

And creative friend,  Kristi Dinner (, did the re-model of a kitchen and bath for our dear friends. Her work is amazing and inspired me to ponder and dream about what could be next in our new home. She created a chandelier for their kitchen table that incorporates small meaningful pieces our friends had collected, like an earring, a heart-shaped rock found on a distant beach and a coin. How fun is that!

Before moving, we got rid of 3 trucks of junk and donated over half our clothes books and “things” to Goodwill. Half of everything left  went into storage and the rest came to the condo. We are living lean and easy. Surrounded only by things we love.

We spent the day  planting flowers in the patio boxes and hanging baskets by the windows. We are here til we find “next.” And with a little help from our friends, hope to bloom where we are planted.

What little ways do you find to mindfully bloom where you are planted?

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!