Archive | Gratitude

Love Letter

Love Letter |

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”

Years ago when my husband and I first started dating, we liked to watch YouTube videos together. Most of our favorites were funny or inspiring and my husband always found the best ones to share with me.

I will never forget the first time we watched Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot video. We were in his first apartment out of college. A tidy, well-decorated bachelor pad with a cushy tan sofa and glass coffee table. He had a desk in the corner of his bedroom where he played hours of online poker after work.

We sat at the desk with me perched on his lap and listened to Sagan’s perspective-bending words. The world and all its existence feels so very big, but relative to the universe it is all very small. Watching the video together made me realize that we saw the world better looking at it side by side, hand in hand.

The other day I set out to write a love letter to anyone, anything, an idea, a concept, a moment, an item, a noun, a verb, a phrase. There are a million things to love and I’m too tired to pick just one.

I sat on the couch in black leggings and a top knot with my husband snoozing next to me and our baby napping upstairs. Out of the three of us, I am the most sleep deprived. Yet, I found myself awake, watching my two favorites sleep, and thinking about a love letter.

Should I write to coffee? It has always been special to me, but we’ve become even closer since I became a mother. Or should I write to chubby baby thighs? They are squishy and delightful in every way. Should I write a letter to my grandmother? To sunshine? To quiet stillness?

I ought to write a letter to my pillow. Or wine. Or a good book. Or a hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils. Or to the color gray. Or stripes. Or, even better, gray stripes.

Perhaps I should write to those evening dad’s-home-from-work kisses. Or delicious home cooked dinners and Saturday nights in. Or to gratitude, forgiveness, luck, and hard work. Or to being in the right place at the right time.

Or maybe I should write to the terrible things that we survive and learn from… like cancer treatments, surgery, hard decisions, and fateful coincidences.

There are too many things in this life to love and I am too tired to pick just one. Fresh air. Clean water. The Eiffel Tower, Amsterdam canals, or the bustling streets of Hong Kong. Neighborhood restaurants and friendly grocery store cashiers.

I could write a love letter to love letters. Exchanged between two young souls, or an aunt and her niece, or friends who met through their blogs. Or the post-it notes scribbled between a busy husband and wife, always signing off with an ‘xoxo’.

I should write a love letter to the universe, this tiny pale blue dot and everything within it. To having a life that’s full and busy and happy and tiring and to the people that make it all worthwhile.


Bonus Hour


The future is something which everyone reaches
at the rate of sixty minutes an hour,
whatever he does, whoever he is.
(C. S. Lewis)

I greeted the day by muttering, “Spring forward, fall back.” Time to switch the clocks and prepare for colder, darker days ahead.

Today we get a bonus hour.

Sunshine is pouring in through the window, brightly colored trees paint the forest behind our home. There’s a candle burning, new music playing in the background and a mug of delicious tea nearby. My Mister’s working intently on his homework while I type away on future blog posts. Our laundry machine hums upstairs. Cozy socks keep our feet warm.

Next week is just around the corner, but today we enjoy a little extra time.

What about you?

Image Credit: Bench via mrhayata


The Word of the Day

Summer Roots

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough & more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity….
It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect
timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
(Melodie Beattie)

When I woke up this morning, something incredibly important dawned on me. It was a sweet moment of clarity, which surprised me because I hadn’t even had my cup of coffe. As I showered, got dressed and prepared for my day, I let this thought bounce around my mind. The thought finally settled into my heart.

When times get tough, gratitude puts life into perspective.

So, the word of the day is {gratitude}.

It should probably be the word of the year, but it feels more reasonable to start with today. Even though I’ve found myself in frustrating, challenging and even heartbreaking circumstances, my life is full.

I have a lot to be grateful for, even on my darkest days. Rather than spend energy on concerns outside of my control, I’m choosing to  focus on gratitude.

PS. I’m honored & excited to be a Summer Tribe contributor over at Jenn Gibson’s inspiring website, Roots of She. Please stop by today to check out my first post!

Image Credit: Under the Sun by Miyukiutada


Happy Father’s Day

Love You Dad

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:
one is roots, the other is wings.
(Hodding Carter)

My dad is one of the most important people in my life. He’s been there for me through thick and thin—and as I’ve grown up, our relationship has evolved.

When I was younger, we didn’t always get along. My dad showed his love by enforcing rules and holding very high expectations. My swimming career provided plenty of opportunity for disagreements and bonding. A former collegiate (and nearly professional) football player, my dad knew the dedication required of great athletes. He taught me that incredible things would come if I believed in myself and worked really, really hard.

My dad’s quirky sense of humor, strong opinions, amazing business sense and loving nature are just a few things that I love about him. The picture above is from my first visit to NYC. Dad was there on business and I flew up from Raleigh to explore the city for a day.

Even though we’re currently living 2,000 miles apart, we are closer now than we’ve ever been. I know I can call him when I need advice or a shoulder to cry on. He sends me text messages of love and support that always make me smile. I feel incredibly lucky to call this man my dad.

Happy Father’s Day!!

Happy Father's Day


Friendships, Love & Community

Pretty Mailbox

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil;
but it needs a little mulch of letters &
phone calls and small, silly presents
every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.
(Pam Brown)

Sometimes my friends who don’t blog ask me how I meet people online. I find that it’s kind of hard to understand unless you live in (or have at least visited) this neighborhood.

It doesn’t cost much to move in —

An internet connection plus some time, heart & creativity will lay a decent foundation.

A willingness to share your story builds the frame.

A desire to participate in community provides a rooftop.

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and StumbleUpon are the vehicles that help us get around town.

We bring cookies to new neighbors in the form of trackbacks and comments.

We build businesses. We attend workshops. We network. We host block parties.

There is nothing virtual about the friendships that have grown out of my time online. I’ve met mentors, soul sisters, heros and best friends.

I’ve shared gifts, letters and so much love, often with people I have never met face-to-face. When it comes to friendships and community, it doesn’t matter if you are on- or offline.

If your heart is filled with joy, you are in the right place!

Image Credit: via we♥it


Ten Good Things

beautiful morning

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself,
“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be.
Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.
I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
(Groucho Marx)

Inspired by my dear friend Analiese, here are ten good things I’m enjoying…

  1. Collaborating with soul sisters* on secret projects.
  2. Mailing handwritten gratitude.
  3. Shopping for cozy sweaters and cold weather wear.
  4. Brewing coffee at home in the mornings (instead making daily trips to Starbucks).
  5. Working on my new computer and discovering new music on Pandora.
  6. Counting down the days until my trip to Las Vegas & Napa!
  7. Searching for inspiring Thanksgiving recipes.
  8. Painting my nails and sipping on wine after a long day.
  9. Laughing at damn you autocorrect‘s hilarious posts.
  10. Reflecting on 2010 and preparing to manifest what’s next.

How about you, what good things are making you smile?

*Click this link to travel back in time. My love and gratitude for this community remains the same, one year later. It’s amazing to see how this space has helped to shape where I am as a woman today.

Image Credit: via weheartit


Happy Blogiversary!!

blogiversary ballons

Celebrate what you want to see more of.
(Tom Peters)

Hey there sweet friends! I hope you’re enjoying a delightful day. Mine has been quite nice—I’m celebrating my 1-Year Blogiversary and a promotion at work. Tonight my mister and I are going out for a fun dinner at a local hibachi joint to revel in the exciting happenings.

Thanks to all of you who have followed me on this past year’s journey. I’m very pleased with where I am today, and I believe that being a part of our amazingly supportive blogging community has played a huge role in my growth.

I hope to celebrate many more years together as friend and soul sisters. Here’s to us!!

image credit: weheartit


7 Things I Miss From College

book bag and bookshelf

Tell me, what is you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
(Mary Oliver)

Living down the street from a major university makes it hard to miss when school’s back in session. The roads are a bit more packed during the morning hustle, the weekend bar scene is brimming with fresh faces, and the grocery store is full of kiddos buying Ramen and Gatorade.

It’s hard to believe that 7 years ago, my parents dropped me off at UNLV’s freshman dorms for what would become the most formative years of my life. Looking back, I’m sure they were both proud and petrified that I earned a swimming scholarship in Sin City.

The years I spent as a Running Rebel have influenced the life I live today in so many ways—I know that I’ll carry the friendships and memories (and credit card debt!) from those days with me for years to come.

The following list highlights some things I miss as I watch a new batch of freshman unknowingly begin the greatest time of their lives…

The freedom to build a class schedule that works for me.

Getting wrapped up in deep conversations on life, faith, and big ideas.

Working through the rhythm of each new semester with weeks off in between.

Connecting with interesting professors who’s life work is to educate others.

Dwelling in small living quarters and owning minimal belongings.

Participating in community, joining clubs and crashing events with free food.

Believing in unlimited possibilities & thinking that growing up is far off in the future.

Reminiscing about the glory of my college years makes me grateful for the journey I’ve traveled. What do you miss from your ‘way back when’ days?

image credit: weheartit


32 Days of Sparkle

sparkle in the rain

Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving,
make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!
(Amanda Bradley)

Hello friends! I hope you all had lovely, restful weekends. Mine was extra sweet and full of fun. My mister and I went to see Inception on Friday, which I found it to be entertaining and engaging. Leonardo DiCapri is a gifted actor, Ellen Page is amazing and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as entertainingly cute as usual.

On Saturday I lounged, relaxed and tried not to think of all the productive things I could have been doing with my time. That evening, we went to a nice dinner and met up with friends for a celebratory ale downtown.

I took myself on a bit of an artist date on Sunday. I enjoyed the morning with my MacBook on my lap, Pandora in my ears and a latte by my side. I love quietly reading blogs, sifting through emails and thinking about life. It’s during time like that when I feel connected, creative and energized by the work I do here online. Speaking of this work…

My 1 Year Blogiversary is in 32 days!

On September 10th I wrote my first post and said, “This is the beginning of my pursuit to make each day a bit more extraordinary than the last.” Since then, many remarkable things have happened. I am filled with gratitude for all the magic that’s entered my life as a result of launching this tiny website.

My intention is to share that sparkle and gratitude with you for the next 32 days. It will be a joy-filled time of daily blog posts, weekly giveaways and more! I’m looking forward to celebrating the last year of love, laughter and soul-sisterhood-ness with you.

image credit: filtran

PS. If you’re interested in sharing your goods as part of my giveaways, please email me, hello [at] kaileenelise [dot] com!


Daily Digests – A Month of Social Web Safari

zebra love

Monitor, engage, and be transparent;
these have always been the keys to success in the digital space.
(Dallas Lawrence)

July was a hot, summery month full of humidity, interesting opportunities and weekends away. A major highlight was when my mentor @gwenbell approached me with a simple request—while she unplugged for a month-long digital sabbatical, I was invited to send her updates (or daily digests) on the net’s happenings.

I jumped at the chance to be her eyes on the inside, and welcomed a reason to reconnect with this place I love. Since starting my new job in February, I’ve spent significantly less time online—evidence that when some of my burners are running hot, the others cool down. As a result, I have been unsatisfied with my lack of connection.

Today is Gwen’s reentry to our web society. In celebration of her homecoming, I’m sharing snippets of July’s Daily Digests:

7/2/10: Slate had a contest to see who could represent the essence of the Declaration of Independence in a single tweet.

7/3/10: Fast Company featured an interesting article about the 20% of Twitterers who are categorized as “informers”. This small group of people tweet useful information, while the rest are narcissists.

7/6/10: A smart “Happiness Flow Chart” floated around today, it’s simple and smart.

7/7/10: 8 Ways to Become More Confident + this quote:
With realization of one’s own potential & self confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world. (Dalai Lama)

7/8/10: A friendly office request, misinterpreted.

7/9/10: Fun can change behavior for the better, happy messages in chalk, and innovations in marketing.

7/12/10: Paper Tweets are the next best thing for social media gurus on sabbatical.

7/14/10: Old Spice took the social web by storm in a start-up-weekend-esque stunt.

7/15/10: What are your 7 links?

7/21/10: Daily thank-you notes… a lovely exercise in gratitude.

7/22/10: ‘500 Days of Summer’ inspiration turned into romantic reality.

7/23/10: 10 Rules for Brilliant Women.

7/24/10: 10 Reasons to Stop Apologizing for Your Online Life.

7/26/10: The State of the Internet, 5 months ago.

7/29/10: Most of the time, it’s not enough to be better. You need to be different.

These bits and bytes are a sort of time capsule of my social web safari from July. I’m thankful for the experience and am happy to have participated in a slice of Gwen’s sabbatical. After spending July logged offline and checked into real life, she’s got some serious wisdom to share.

image credit: via weheartit

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