Category Archives: Inspire

What’s On Your Mind?

What is the last thing on your mind before you fall asleep?  Or when you have a lot of road time, what do you spend most of your time thinking about?

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The reason I ask is because what people spend time and energy thinking about is usually what they are most passionate about.  Yes, we can get consumed about “life” issues that take up a lot of our thoughts (worrying about kids, replaying embarrassing moments in our head).  But with those things aside, what is usually on your mind?  Are you aNxiOusLy brainstorming a new meal to cook that night?  Envisioning the next vacation you want to take?  Predicting how the sports season is going to turn out?

The cool thing about this question is that your answer may vary from year to year or even month to month.  Want to know the most current thing “on my mind” these days?  Interior design.  I LOVE colors and furniture.  I love changing the way a room looks and turning something junkie into something pretty.  I can spend hours faNtiCiziNg about ways I could transform a space and can get lost in textures and fabrics.

Discover your hidden obsession by taking note of where your mind spends its time.  Next, do something about it.  I’m not saying you need to switch careers, but if you are only thinking of this great thing, why not take the first step and actually put it into practice.  For me, it would be easy to find an excuse such as not having the funds or time to transform my house in the ways I’ve envisioned.  BUT, in the meantime I can still get excited over small projects that don’t cost much and allow me to enjoy transforming a space or furniture piece.

If you can slowly act on these thoughts, you may find that they will become more and more of a reality.  Five to six years ago I would daydream a lot about being my own boss.  To my surprise, it soon became true and I’ve been living that dream for over 4 years.  It didn’t happen overnight, but by actually applying some things on my mind, I ended up discovering new ways to make it happen.

Your passions may just be hobbies.  They may turn into a career.  They may be something that will make you money when you retire.  You will never really know how they end up, but I can tell you one thing…they will always just be a dream if you don’t do anything more than that.  And what fun is that when you could be LiViNg iT?!

Happy Dreaming ;)

Lara

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Pile of Problems

Is life getting you down?  Do you feel like you have bigger problems than those around you?  Consider this…

If everyone were to pile all of their problems into the middle of the room, and you could swap yours out,

you’ll probably be in a hurry to grab yours back.

The grass is ALWAYS greener.  When we look at everyone around us, we never see the whole picture.  Same goes for other people.  They probably look at you and wish they could swap their problems with yours.  (I know you are laughing, but it is true!)  Your life may be tough right now, but don’t be so quick to envy someone else.  Your issues may not be so bad after all!

~Lara

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Live-It List Lesson

Last year at this time The Suede Sofa began talking about the “Live-It List” – which is sort of like a bucket list, but with the emphasis on living rather than on dying.  Well, 2012 is coming to a close and I’ve been working on my “Live-It List” all year long.  In January, I started out with a lengthy list of things that I thought were important.  Although it felt great to get those items checked off my list, the one thing that my “Live-It List” revealed to me was what is important and worth pursuing and what things are really, well, just a distraction.   My list contained “good” things be sure, but good things can steal your focus from the best things.  So in 2013 I am going to do things different from what I have ever done before and just pick one.  The best one.

Are you focused and going after only the best, or are you like I was in 2012 – all over the place and although accomplishing a lot of things, not really accomplishing anything really significant?   This may come as a relief to know that you can streamline your life and eliminate activities that don’t serve your best interests.

What is your purpose?  What deserves your focus and attention?  Could 2013 be your year to “Pick One”?

:) Robynn

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Random Acts Around Us

Last night I decided on a whim to take my kids out to dinner to a restaurant that gives out balloons to every kid when they enter the restaurant.  My kids LoVe this and discuss what color balloon they are going to choose the entire car ride there.  As parents it is not such a great perk because we spend most of our meal reminding the kids not to let the balloons touch the ceiling because they can pop, not to let the balloons get caught in the ceiling fans, begging the kids to let us tie the balloons to their chairs, and the list goes on and on and on!  As many of you know my son Nicholas just loves to push the envelope every chance he gets and last night this little game of taunting Mommy with the green balloon was really pushing my last button.  I always tell my kids that they only get ONE balloon at the restaurant whether they lose theirs or if they pop theirs…ONE and that’s it, the rest are for the other kids who come to eat with their families.  When we walked outside to get into our car I decided that I wanted to take a picture of Nicholas and Abby with their balloons.  The sun was in the perfect spot to cast a shadow of their little bodies holding their balloons and I wanted to save that moment.

Not two seconds after I snapped the picture…Nicholas let go of his balloon.  He has never lost a balloon before, but knowing Nicholas I knew his reaction was not going to be good.  He starting crying and begging for me to go inside the restaurant to get him a new one.  I knew I could quickly stop the scene by running in and getting him a new balloon, but then I would be going back on my one balloon rule so that was out of the question.  As my mind raced to somehow make this situation better out of nowhere appeared a little girl no older than 10 years old.  She saw how upset Nicholas was as he was pointing and yelling at his green balloon in the sky and she handed him a blue balloon that she had received from the restaurant.  As she walked away I stopped her and told her what a wonderful thing she had just done and how happy she had just made my son.

It is NeVeR too early to start teaching kids that kindness counts.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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What’s Left for 2012?

Well, we’ve got four more months left of 2012. I will have to say, this year has probably been the most LiFe-cHaNgiNg and iNteResTing one yet! Doug and I took our first vacation without the kids (to Hawaii) in February, I’ve read a couple awesome books, we decided to MOVE our house in April, made Osage County our new home in June, reached my goal weight after 10 years, and we sent our little girl off to kindergarten in August!

It is easy this time of year to throw in the towel and push off our LiVe-It Lists (aka New Year’s Resolutions) until next year. But that wouldn’t be “Living It” now would it? It would be a shame to waste away the next few months because we haven’t accomplished what we wanted in the last eight. I’m here to give you a little boost (because I need it too) and get you excited about what the rest of the year has to offer! You have the ChoiCe on whether or not your 2012 will be a memorable one and it is not too late!

Today I want you to make a new list. Narrow it down to the things that are really iMpoRtaNt. Don’t get overwhelmed with all the little things you have to do. Instead, PiCk One (or two) things that would be realistic to accomplish in the rest of 2012 and start chipping away at it. Maybe your house needs de-cluttered….the fall is a good time to have a garage sale! Maybe you want are feeling burnt out at work…now would be the time to uTiLizE your vacation days if you have a few to spare. Be creative, but most importantly, do something that is going to impact your 2012 in a positive way!

Happy List-Making!

Lara

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They Are Paying Attention!

Today I got an email forward from my mom that really made me think.  It was a beautiful poem about what goes on in the mind of a child when we ThInK they aren’t looking.  There are so many times I clean up the toys only to have them scattered around the house an hour later and think to myself….Why do I even bother?  This poem really touched me because it made me realize that as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends we may not instantly see the influence we are having on the children in our lives, but they are always WaTcHiNg us and taking in the little things we do day in and day out.

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

Author: Unknown
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I looked….
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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{Not There Yet, But Closer}

Last Thursday, July 19th was my BiRtHdAy and I knew exactly how it was going to look.  I had the whole day drawn out in my head and it went something like this:

  • Wake up before the crack of dawn to a typical, beautiful SuMmEr morning – still, quiet (with the exception of birds chirping), and even a little cool.  (Relatively speaking)
  • Spend my early morning enjoying the quietness of the day.
  • Leave for Kansas City at 8a.m. with my family for a fun day of lunch, shopping, and hanging out.
  • Eat lunch at a new Bistro in KC that gets excellent reviews.
  • Stroll on The Plaza (I love all their pink, hot PiNk and white hanging flowers!) something I love to do once a year when it it hot outside!
  • Do some school shopping for my girls.
  • Hang out with my husband and {perfectly behaved} daughters.  (Remember I said this is how I had drawn out the day in my head.  They do not always act this way, but on this day I was sure they would!)

Instead my day went something like this:

  • Wake up at 1:30 a.m with a pounding headache.  When the alarm went off at 4 a.m. and I still had the headache I decided to go back to bed!!
  • Wake up at 6 to thunder, lightening, and rain.
  • Leave for Kansas City at 9:15a.m.
  • Instead of eating at the new bistro, I instead opted (why did I do that?!) for another restaurant.  The food did not taste good to me at all and I wished I had chosen the Bistro instead!!
  • Stroll on the Plaza for only a short time as my girls were any thing but perfectly behaved.  Leave early because this isn’t working!
  • Stop at a children’s clothing store in the mall where my girls did not want to shop for school clothes.
  • Rush home early to get back for gym class at 5:30.

As you can see, the plan in my head did not go anything like the scene that played out.  But as corny as this may sound, I can truly say I had an AwEsOmE day.  I think it is because I have learned, with the help of God, friends, the Suede Sofa and all you readers who chime in from time to time to roll with the punches, embrace what life hands you and “LiVe-It”.

And so that is what I did.  I “Lived-It” cranky kids and all and enjoyed every minute of it.  And trust me, that is a huge improvement for this perfectionist, planner who has been at times called, “Rigid”.

Towards the end of our time in KC as we were leaving Scott told me he hoped I had a good birthday (he was feeling bad for me as I still had a headache and he knew things hadn’t gone quite as expected). In that moment, I couldn’t help but to think, how BleSsEd I am.

I would never be in this place in life again.  This is the only birthday where I will have a 4-yr old and a 6-yr old.  It’s also not every year that Scott is able to take a day off of work, and be surprised by two eager little ones who had asked their dad to wake them up at 6 a.m. so they could serve me breakfast in bed – a chocolate chip pancake along with a fresh cut FloWer.  (Just one benefit of sleeping in when I had planned to do otherwise.)

As we closed out the day with gym class and swimming lessons I realized I had done something not always easy for me to do, but something I am striving to do.  I had embraced life.  And it felt good to know, although I’m not perfect, I’m making one SmAll step at a time.

:)

Robynn~

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{Speak No Evil}

Canvas by Lara

WorKiNg On tHiS oNe.

:)

Robynn~

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{100 Zillion}

So, a couple of days ago I told my girls to go upstairs and clean their room and play-area while I cleaned the downstairs.  Although we frequently talk about working with DiLiGeNt hands, this day left much to be desired.

As we were cleaning, my 6-year old came down to the landing and as she talked to me {NiNe} steps below where she stood, she had the audacity to tell me that she does way more work than I do and I don’t work at all!!

Yes, I should have told her I would address that comment in a few minutes after I had let off about 80,000 psi of steam!!  But I didn’t.  I marched up those {nine} steps and dealt with that sassy, disrespectful, little attitude right there on the spot.  I’m sure my eyes were bugging out and my head bobbing side to side as I informed her that I did “100 ZiLLiOn” more things than she ever did.  (Yes, I really did say that before I could even think about what was coming out of my mouth.)

After I finished my ranting and she apologized we both went back to work.  As I vacuumed I was still fuming when God spoke, “So……, you do 100 zillion more things than she does?  Probably not.  However, this is a CoNvErSaTiOn we could have because I really do 100 zillion more things than you do.”

Oh, GrEaT Now I have two people to apologize to.

The point of this post?  Well, it could be not to deal with people or make rash decisions when you are angry – a total and complete recipe for disaster.

Or, it could be that God does way more than I could ever even imagine.  In those moments when I think He is doing nothing or at least not what I think He should be doing I forget that He is the One who painted the sky with white puffy clouds, causes the BuTtErFly to flutter in the warm air, lights up lightning bugs in the summer night, and gives my heart another beat, along with countless other deeds.

Psalm 139:17-18 says:

“How PrEciOuS are your thoughts towards me, O God.  How vast is the sum of them.  Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand.”

After this experience I think I now have a little bit clearer picture of that number.  Somewhere cLoSeR to 100 zillion.

:)

Robynn~

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PAUSE

My husband and I have had a lot of changes in our life recently.  Without thinking about it I have felt the need to want to RuSh through the unpleasant times and fAst foRwaRd to the days that I dream about everything being perfect (clean house, perfectly behaved kids, more free time, etc).  How many posts have I written about life not being perfect???  You would think I’d have it down by now :)

Is there something going on in your life that is making you want to hurry through? 

If you step back and evaluate, what are the good parts of the unpleasant moments that you are missing out on simply because you are in a rush to fast forward through this time?

These questions iMpaCt me every time I read them because I am a person that tends to rush through everything.  I want to get to a place where my kids don’t destroy everything in my house.  I want to speed through dropping those “last few pounds” so I can finally fit into that dress I bought.  I want to erase an awkward moment with a friend and skip ahead to a time that I didn’t feel so uncomfortable.

But you know what I have to give up to finally reach that perfect TiMe?  Hearing my kids say adorable words and run to me for constant hugs and kisses….enjoying eating a surprise meal that my husband made for me and saying “YES” to unplanned trips to Dairy Queen with the kids…and special moments with a dear friend that I would never experience because I skipped ahead.

If you are stressed, miserable, sad, whatever it is….PAUSE for a minute.  What good things are you missing out on because you are rushing through this difficult time?  It is only natural to start feeling guilty at this point but STOP, don’t do that!  START now and focus on the special moments TODAY that you will never get back.  Even though there are some things you don’t enjoy right now, force yourself to focus on the good.  Not only will it help alleviate discomfort but you will cherish special moments that you would have otherwise missed.

~Lara

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