Archive for 'quotes'

Look At Us Now.

I am working on a new book right now with Penguin Random House Publishing called, Look At Us Now (And now. And now. And now.)  It’s an interactive journal for families with questions and prompts that will encourage readers to pause in family life. And in that pause it offers a way of taking stock of right now; like an emotional snapshot of sorts. Each page, each prompt will offer a chance to look at family life right now. And right now. And right now. Because one thing I’ve learned in this parenting thing which I’m now more than 17 years into, is that what we look like right now as a family is always, ALWAYS changing.

My own mom, she-who-raised-nine-children, turned 90 this month. When you say 90 is sounds like a lot. But when you say 9 x 10 years it doesn’t really sound like very much at all. I mean, look at how fast the last 10 years have gone. And the 10 years before that! And how is it that in some ways I still feel like a little family starting out and at the same time there are college catalogs arriving daily for my eldest? In the words of my mom, and someone else who said it first, “Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like bananas.” Which to me means, you can try to make it sense of it all and make sense of our time here on earth but really, it’s hard. So when we can’t make sense, at least we can take notice.

If you don’t believe me that time flies and that things are always changing, I offer the photo here as proof. (I’ve been watching so much The Good Wife that I’m speaking like a lawyer!)

This is my mom on the streets of NYC in 1926. I think it’s Mulberry Street, the street where she was born. See the wicker pram? The cinder streets? The boys playing stickball in knickers? Time does fly. This was only 9 x 10 years ago. And rest assured things look a little different there now. My mom is still here 9 x 10 years later, but just about everything around her has changed.

And so I encourage you to pause at some  point today. And take a look at your own sweet life  – whether you are just a little family starting out, or whether you live alone or whether all your birds have flown the coop and made their own nests elsewhere.

Who are you today? What do you love right now? What fills your heart with joy on this day? Pause and take stock of today because tomorrow will most assuredly be different.


TAG! You’re it.

Tags: , , , , ,

A Pre-9/11 Love Story

About 22 years ago or so, I sent a postcard to my now-husband, then boy-I-had-met-on-a-trip-to-Chicago. He didn’t have a phone in his artist’s studio/warehouse where he was living but wasn’t supposed to be inhabiting. So I sent him a postcard telling him the flight I was taking from Newark, NJ to Austin, TX had a 3+ hour layover and I thought maybe, since he was not only a starving artist but also a cab driver, just maybe he could pop in and say hello. I mailed it without knowing whether he got it or not.

As we taxiied up to the gate I had kind of forgotten, well not really forgotten but kind put out of my mind, that he might actually show up. I got off the plane and there he was, his beautiful face, standing at the end of the chute with a big smile and this sweet leather beret he would wear when he drove the cab. We spent the next 3 hours talking, making out, having a drink, talking and dreaming about a future together.

I always think of that 3 hour layover as the tipping point in our relationship. The day we actually decided that we really liked each other. A lot. And the day we pondered how we coule make it work so that we could be together. A few months later, he came down to Texas and now, 4 children later, here we are.

So why am I telling you all this? Because it’s 9/11 and I think of all the changes that have happened to our existence since then and one of them is how we go to the airport. See, if it had been after 9/11 we wouldn’t have had the opportunity for that chance encounter. He couldn’t have come to the gate. We couldn’t have rendezvoused for a few hours planning out the next 20 years of our life together. And I probably wouldn’t have reached out because meeting up outside the gate would have felt like a lot of work and planning without phones. (oh yeah, no cell phones then either.) And it might have felt like an imposssibility. Plus, that feeling, of seeing him at the end of the gateway? Come on! That was like seeing heaven!

There was a certain fearlessness that accompanied the time before 9/11. I wish we could have that feeling back. And maybe we can. That feeling of trust. A friend posted this today on her Facebook wall…

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” — Mother Teresa

Let’s get that back. That feeling. Of trust in humankind.

Oh, and could we maybe spend the billions of dollars we now spend on warfare on something else?


Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Answer Lies Within

Last night before my teen daughter went to bed, she and I were discussing a dilemna she was having in regards to something she had signed up for. It was taking a lot of mental space and causing her a bit of worry. We talked about the issue, what was good, what was hard and what was the greater good.

As she was ready to turn off the lights and hit the pillow I told her that she didn’t need to do anything at this moment in time except to ponder the issue, “Just sit in the feeling and the answer will come. The answer lies within and will come when you let yourself step away from the spiraling and pause in the feeling.”

I realized this was kind of the crux of it all and definitely the big idea behind Slow Family Living.

When we worry about everything from the small to the big –

– what to do, where to go, how to sign up, how much to sign up for, how to find connection, who to meet, where to live, etc. the answers lie within us. We just need pause long enough to figure out what direction to take, what decision to make.

And that is the idea behind slow. The slow is the pause. And the pause will bring you closer to what you want/need/love.

The answer lies within and will come when we give it the time and space to do so.

Tags: , , , , ,

imagesI can’t prove that this is coming directly from the Dalai Lama. Regardless, it seems like wise words to live by so here you go…

1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and to be loved) and we are all connected to one another.

2. Spend 5 minutes breathing in, cherishing yourself; and, breathing out cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.

3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing the “simplest” person (clerks, attendants, etc.) or people you dislike.

4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful. The practice of cherishing can be taken very deeply if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart.

This quote, and a treasure trove of others, can be found here.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Ohio

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

  1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone…
  4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
  9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
  12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
  16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion, Today is special.
  22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  27. Always choose life.
  28. Forgive everyone and everything.
  29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  30. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  33. Believe in miracles.
  34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
  35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
  37. Your children get only one childhood.
  38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
  41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  42. The best is yet to come.
  43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  44. Yield.
  45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”
  46. Blood isn’t thicker than water.  Some of the BEST families aren’t blood related. Surround yourself with people that LOVE you.
Thanks to our mutual friend Shannon Lowry who sent this lovely list to Bern and me.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Slow Family Projects

Another collaborative endeavor of mine is called Future Craft Collective. It’s about reducing, reusing, recrafting and about teaching kids to scrape, scrounge, dig, build and create.

We’ve been holding classes for over a year now in the South Austin studio known as Ramonster World Headquarters. Each month we host about 20 kids ages 8-12 who come here to make stuff together and learn the great life skill of sewing.

In that time we’ve learned a lot about crafting with kids – when to push, when to hold back, when to talk and when to sit quietly in the background, when to make them sit a little longer and when to let them run rampant in the backyard. Perhaps above all else, and perhaps hardest learned, we’ve learned how to truly enjoy the time we spend making stuff together.

With these lessons learned we have created a new format for family crafting called 3-day Projects. They are family-friendly, bite-sized crafty sessions broken down into small digestable chunks. They are laid out with the realities of family life in mind – all the errands and games and parties that accompany such a family life. They are laid out with the hopes that families can find true connection in these projects and can truly enjoy that connection through making stuff together.

These are slow and simple family projects and if you’ve got a few hours to spare over the course of a few days, we’d love for you to check them out.

Tags: , , , , ,

Food for thought – On Love

“Relationships live on time. They devour it in the way that bees feed on pollen or aerobic cells on oxygen: with the unbending singularity of purpose and no responsibility of compromise or substitution. Relatedness is a physiological process that, like digestion or bone growth, admits no plausible acceleration. And so the skill of becoming and remaining attuned to another’s emotional rhythms requires a solid investment of years.”

From: A General Theory of Love, by Lewis, Amini and Lannon

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

What is slow?

According to Slow Planet slow is…

“…not about doing everything at a snail’s pace; it’s about working, playing and living better by doing everything at the right speed.”

With this in mind we can see that what is slow can vary from person to person, family to family and even day to day.

Tags: , , ,

Worth repeating

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

« Previous posts Back to top