Tag: Family connection

Let the Book Tour begin!

Check out  this beautiful review from Suz Lipman author of Fed Up With Frenzy and creator of Slow Family Online

You will get a lot of ideas from Slow Family Living, both big-picture and everyday, that will make you pause and reflect, and will help you lead a more connected and joyful family life…read more

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Encouraging Thanks

It’s the time of year for thank-you notes! A habit I love to model and encourage in my children. And one that I know isn’t always that easy to do – especially when there are so many to say thanks to and so much to be thankful for! Sometimes those lists just feel overwhelming. To me and to the kids.

This year we have a new way of doing them. A way that not only says thanks but encourages family connection as well. Read about it on Future Craft Collective and then gather the family for a little collaborative gratitude session!

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Walk in beauty

My dear sister Alma passed away last week. Unexpectedly. Too young. And too suddenly too. I have known and loved her from the day I was born. 45 years she has been there serving as my compass, my muse, my inspiration for finding beauty, building bridges, creating a home, connecting with family and living in joy. As I go through photos now I am given a visual reminder of our hearts’ connection. She was 12 years older than me. My godmother. My mentor. My teenage mother. As time passed our roles evened out and I became less the little sister and more a peer and a friend. Even though we lived far away we connected via notes, packages, emails, phone calls and even the occasional telepathy.

I’ve received lots of notes and cards since she passed. Some from dear friends and family of both of ours. Some from people in her world who want to let me know how lovely she was in their life. Some from friends of mine who didn’t know her but knew how connected we were. Each card brings some nugget. Some memory. And the realization of just how lucky we were to have each other all the years we did.

In her passing there are no regrets. We had let each other know how much we loved and appreciated each other. Sometimes it was in a big way through a lengthened visit. Other times it was a one line text to say, “busy but thinking of you…” And in between those there were various sentiments of appreciation, true connection and deep, deep love and respect for each other.

I’m telling you this because she was amazing. Because I want to shout from the mountain tops that she was here and now is gone. Because I miss her so, so much. And, because I am glad that when she died, she died in joy and in the knowledge that she was loved and appreciated. By me of course and by so many.

I’m telling you this also because I want to share the joy I feel in knowing that she knew how I felt when she died. If you have someone in your life who is important to you, tell them how you feel. Send them a note. Give them a call. Text them a line. Message them on your favorite social network. Just tell them. And if you live in the same house – be they your partner or your children or your parents or a roommate, share with them your appreciation of their existence. Leave a note on their pillow. Look them in the eye and let them know the joy they bring to your life. Tell them today and then tell them again and again and again.

And if you meet someone today, someone new, someone who does or says or is just something beautiful, let them know their joyful impact. Fill them with your love and appreciation and your joy and you will be filled with love and appreciation and joy too. And you will both walk in beauty.

And you will hold that memory as part of you your whole life long. They will be a part of you. And you will be a part of them. Truly all one.

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Collecting and connecting

september 09 download 001

This is a very shrunken version of the bulletin board in my mom’s dining room. It started small in the form of a 3 x 5 foot board my dad installed at my mom’s request. It held the usual calendar, photos, drawings sent to grandma, etc. Over the years stuff spilled over the sides leaving pin holes in the drywall somewhat to my dad’s dismay. He liked a little bit of order in the chaos. He was an engineer. She likes people. She was a sociologist.

After my dad died, my sibs and I went to the local office supply store and scored this giant 4′ x 8′  board which we installed right smack dab in the middle of the dining room wall. This was an addendum, not a replacement of the smaller board.

This boards is, as my nearly 12 year old daughter calls it, “a life in pictures”. There are photos of kith and kin – weddings, births, awards, graduations and obituaries too. My thirty+ cousins have all added photos of their children over the years and before she knew it, those same children were then sending photos of their children too. And whenever anyone comes to the house, kids especially but adults too, they go to the board and search for their representation, their place of honor on G-ma’s big bulletin board.

My mom, she who raised nine children and cared for countless others here and there, taught the art of collecting, this is true. There are coins and hummels and Stengl pitchers. But more than that she taught the beauty and art of connecting. At age 84 she has hundreds of people of all ages and ilks who reach out to her with love and connection.

My mom is sort of my patron saint of Slow Family Living. What I have learned from her is that it is more than just a nice concept to pause and connect. It is more than just an idea to reach for. It is a real life possible way to live. And a way that can really and truly be maintained for a lifetime. It is possible, if we put the pieces in place now: the rituals, the practices, the conversations, the pauses, the all important SEEING of each other – it is possible to build a sustainable and comforting connection. Quite possible indeed.

Here are a few of the very tangible things she did and continues to do in the name of connection:

  1. Write letters, send postcards every chance you get. Keep stamps in your wallet so that whenever you think of someone, you can jot them a quick note.
  2. Talk it through.
  3. Say sorry. Even times when you’re not really sure what you’re sorry for. Be sorry that there was strife. In the name of peace and love.
  4. Forgive. And forget. And move on.
  5. Give people a second chance. More if they’re family. And if they’re your children, give them endless chances. (Thanks Mom!)
  6. Ask people questions about themselves. Your family and friends and also people you meet on the street. Whether you’re at the grocery counter or the bank or the gas station, talk to people about their life.
  7. Listen to the answers.
  8. Make the connection when you think of making the connection. When you think of calling someone, call them at that moment.
  9. Have extra beds on hand for guests. Or cots. Or sleeping bags. And lots and lots of blankets.
  10. If you have to choose between order and quiet or mess and noise, go for the mess and noise. It might make you a little crazy but there’s plenty of time for order and quiet when you get old.
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