Thursday, July 28, 2016

Give 52 Week 51 - You Are Enough

Give 52 Week 51
Cheryl Houston 2016
In 2014 - the Year of Purpose - I took Brene Brown's journaling class based on her book The Gifts of Imperfection and I love the journal I created from that class.

One of the first exercises she had us do was take a selfie with the phrase "I'm imperfect & I'm enough" written on our palms. The journey through that class made me realize that I have a lot to be proud of and that I was taking my accomplishments for granted and not valuing them. And I didn't achieve those things through perfection. I achieved them through vulnerability.

Brene's message about vulnerability is important because it helps you realize that through our vulnerability we find courage. And when we find and live with courage, we are able to live wholeheartedly.

Listen, I don't expect to change the whole, big world. I only hope that I have a positive influence on the people I meet throughout my lifetime in my small corner of the world.

That's what this quest has been all about. Living wholeheartedly, expressing gratitude for the people that touch my life. Brene's work has changed the way I look at and approach things. I'm able to recognize the things that send me spinning out of control and the search out the things that I know bring me peace. Her work is amazing and has been a true gift to me.

This is my gift. I give it to you.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Give 52 Week 50 - This Beautiful Life

Give 52 Week 50
Cheryl Houston 2016
I don't remember the first time someone tagged me in a photo of Alisa Burke's big, beautiful flower wall but I fell in love with her work immediately. There's so much to love.

She is my art hero in many ways. Her story inspires and encourages me. 

Her and her husband were living in California and when they decided to have a baby, they also decided to chose a simpler life. They moved back to Oregon where Alisa grew up. They quit their jobs and they developed Alisa's art business. 

Dreams. Goals.

The other really cool thing I learned about Alisa is her parents are potters. Potters. They make pottery! I'm sorry mom and dad, but why couldn't you be potters? That sounds totally amazing! If my parents were potters, I would totally be a potter too! 

I love that Alisa paints on everything. She paints big flowers on her walls, a refrigerator and she recently painted their wood deck. It's amazingly cool. She takes the simple things in life and makes them into art creating a beautiful life. I could go on and on about all that she creates but I feel the need to stop and say this:

Friends, as many of the people on our televisions and in our Facebook feeds tell us that the world is falling apart and they can't believe the hell we're living in, I encourage you to look at your own life. Really look at it. Be grateful for the things and the family and friends you do have and realize that your life is beautiful. 

This is my gift. I give it to you.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

GIve 52 Week 49 - Brave Hearts

Give 52 Week 49
Cheryl Houston 2016
If you are not reading Emily and Tim Loerke's website, stop what you are doing and go take a look-see.

I started following them when a friend sent me a link to their site in 2011 - the Year of Love - and I fell in love with the pictures and the stories of their lives.

What I love most about following along with their story is they are living such a genuine life. Truly authentic and true to them. That's what is most encouraging to me and I'm so grateful they share it online.

I love to see them fishing (momma's backpacking with their babes! So brave!) and gardening and they have chickens and bees and this beautiful home that they repair themselves and it's not that I want any of those things but I love how they live to the beat of their own beautiful drum and I hope that I can be brave enough to live to the beat of my own beautiful drum. That my children will do that too.

Emily introduces me to new music too and I'm in completely enamored with John Lucas' song Love is Kind. Whenever I feel troubled I listen to it, my heart fills with peace and it makes me feel loved. I also think of Emily. I can picture her and Tim hanging out in their gorgeous backyard with their daughter, Brave, and the beautiful tribe of family and friends that they surround themselves with and it makes me smile.

Sharing our lives - in person or online - is a beautiful gift.

This is my gift. I give it to you.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Give 52 Week 48 - We Grow Love

Give 52 Week 48
Cheryl Houston 2016
Starting at that very young ages of 15 months and 29 months year old, my boys spent most first, third and fifth weekends away from me with their dad. They have memories and experiences that I know absolutely nothing about. Through the years they will have mentioned something and I have to question them about it. When did you do that? With Dad.

Melinda came into my boys lives in 2011 when she started dating Andy, and to me, she has been a blessing.

She cares about my boys and I know because they tell me about her and the experiences they've had together. Having another person love your children is something for a mom to be grateful for everyday.

My most recent favorite story is my picky eater, Drew, announces that he wants me to make lasagna. I gave him my questioning look that said ":I've tried to get you to eat lasagna before and you wouldn't. What's changed?" Melinda made it and I liked it! When I told my sweet husband the news he was happy because he likes lasagna and the joke has become, do I need to call Melinda to get her recipe? According to Drew- Yes! Yes you do!

These moments are small seeds of love planted in the hearts of my boys and where we plant love, we grow love and I appreciate Melinda's presence in my boys lives for today and always.

This is my gift. I give it to you.