Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Marimekko, With Love


 "There is only one responsibility - beauty.
There is only one reality - a dream.
There is only one strength - love."

-marimekko founder, Armi Ratia 

If you are a child of the 70s like me, you probably remember Marimekko! If not by name, you'll likely remember the large, colorful, graphical, flower prints that adorned dresses, bedspreads and living room walls.

I was so excited when I heard the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle was hosting the Marimekko, With Love exhibit.

This exhibit really got my juices flowing because it's colorful and I love Scandinavian design and sensibility. Plus it made me nostalgic for my childhood where large yellow Marimekko blooms adorned our home.

 "I don't really sell clothes. I sell a way of living.
These are designs, not fashions.... I sell an idea rather than a dress."

-marimekko founder, Armi Ratia 

Marimekko, With Love offers a retrospective look at the company's mid-century origins and the role Marimekko played in shaping a new aesthetic and approach to living through fashion and design.

The exhibition draws together landmark Marimekko fabrics and fashions created by pioneering designers under Armi Ratia's leadership from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Furthermore, Marimekko played a vital role in the modernization of Finland and the transformation of 20th century design, embodying social change and a business model within which the ideological and aesthetic choices were primary. 

If you have a chance to see Marimekko, With Love I highly recommend it.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Life is...

Dear readers,

Two things I have to share with you today...

First thing this morning, I walked over to the UW campus (my alma mater) to see the cherry blossoms in bloom in the Quad. I was a bit overcome with nostalgia remembering my college days on this amazing campus. So I had to share the above photo.

Then I came across this passage from the wise one - Mother Teresa. It is too good not to share.


Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is a beauty, admire it.

Life is bliss, taste it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is costly, care for it.

Life is wealth, keep it.

Life is love, enjoy it.

Life is mystery, know it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.


Thank you Mother Teresa for these beautiful words.

Life is truly what you make it.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring!

For everything there is a season....

Spring is my favorite season! It's a time of re-newal, re-birth and re-vitalization.

It reminds us of the natural rhythms of life and to:




It shows us that BEAUTY is everywhere.

It reminds us to notice what sparks joy and to stop and smell the hyacinth.

Happy spring friends!



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tears of Joy


Man, this parenting gig is a roller coaster.

I finally see what parents who have come before me mean when they say "it flies by."

Sofia is 9. Half way to 18.

The gradual process to adulthood has begun.

She's recently started walking to and from school by herself, and she's more self-sufficient these days (mostly).

It's a beautiful thing, really, and so natural.

But also bittersweet.

She's beaming with pride and exuding a new-found confidence. When she gets home from school, her body language and huge grin say "Mom, I did it!"

I'm so proud of her and I'm starting to see the young woman she will one day be.

But I can't lie. It's a transition for me. Since choosing to work part-time from home, part of my "job" has been to walk Sofia to and from school. Yes I'm gaining more time on both ends of the day, but I'm missing our routine of walking to school hand in hand (when she will let me) and giving her a hug and a kiss to send her off on her day. I also miss seeing my school community of other parents.

This morning when Sofia left for school I felt like my heart was walking out the door as I choked back tears.

I know this is only the beginning. I'm holding onto the special moments and enjoying the ride.

Any sage advice from those who've come before me?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Words Matter

I truly believe in the power of words to inspire, to activate, to change the world.

But actions matter more.

In other words (pun intended), it's not just what you say or think it's what you DO.

It's living your values.

I have several mantras—combinations of words—that guide my life.

Take my 3 G's mantra above. It embodies a whole new meaning when I add the verbs—the action words: notice, show, trust.  

It's noticing when someone shows grace and lets me in in rush hour traffic.

It's sending a thank you note for a kind gesture.

It's trusting God that everything will be ok.

Let's hope the vitriolic words that have been flying around the last several months will not be put into action, and will be replaced by caring and compassionate actions.

What words inspire you to take action?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Path Ahead

Yesterday, my father-in-law shared the below letter he wrote with our family. He's allowed me to share his wise and comforting words with you all, my extended family. It's beautifully and thoughtfully written. We read it together last night with Sofia and look forward to the healthy dialogue it's started.

Peace be with you dear ones. Let's hold each other close during this time of uncertainty.


My dear family: 

By a razor thin margin, our voters have handed over to Republicans the keys to our entire country.   The world will not come to an end.  It is time for the healing to begin and for us to figure out how to come together to help solve the very difficult problems that have been too long neglected by both political parties.  Each of us has a part to play in helping to make things better.  We need to get past the grief of loss and immediately start down the pathway toward reconciliation. 

For much too long, our political system has been failing, especially at the federal level.  Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of grid-locking our political process.  Both parties have stymied efforts to address the real problems that we face:  income inequality, racial tensions, joblessness, barriers to affordable health care, declining infrastructure, immigration burdens, climate change issues, foreign conflicts, and many other foreign policy challenges.  These are very difficult problems that need to be addressed by a functioning federal government.  Everyone needs to pull together to help make it function better.  

Let us look to Amy (blog) for how to begin.  She has reminded us to focus on two powerful words: kindness and love.  Let me add two more words:  respect and civility.  Together, these words form the core of a strategy to help move things forward.  Let us start by addressing the anger that we feel toward supporters of the other side.  Let us try to put ourselves in their shoes and shed light on how they feel.  Let us recognize where there is legitimate pain and suffering.  Let us extend our hands to those who are hurting and have looked to Donald Trump for relief.  Let us resist the urge to lash out at them and blame them for defeating Hilary.  Let us speak respectfully about them and with them.  Let us work to find common ground with them. Let us acknowledge their pain and help to relieve it.  Let us help to define and support ways to help them.  Let us have faith that, fundamentally, our political system is sound and can work if we give it a chance and work collaboratively with those who have the power to fix things.

Let us resist anger and divisiveness.  These are non-productive impulses and they sap our energy.  Our country is much too polarized already.  What can we do to help diminish anger and repair relations with the other side?   Let us start by being more open minded about what we read and hear.  Let us believe that most people are of good will and want to do the right thing. Let us confront our prejudices.  Let us resist filtering out things that conflict with our values and beliefs.  Let us work with the other side to find common ground that will enable problem solving.  Let us acknowledge the complexity of our most difficult problems and resist thinking they can be easily solved by “magic bullets."

Let us get past the shock of the election outcome and the sense of grief over lost opportunities. It may take some time to move on and we should respect the need for a period of grieving.  But, we must move on.  The Republicans have been given a mandate to govern and should be expected to move forward with alacrity.  We should expect they will be able to get some good things done unless there is significant resistance from Democrats.  If new laws are passed or old laws are undone, we should expect Republicans will get most of the praise for successes and most of the blame for failures.  If Democrats focus on supporting good public policy and good things happen, the outcome could be win-win for both sides.  This is not to say that Democrats should lay down and be steam-rolled.  If Democrats mainly focus on obstructing Republican proposals, we should expect a further backlash against Democrats in the mid-term elections two years from how.  I say, give the Republicans a chance, be responsible in where to pick fights over their initiatives, and be as constructive as possible in helping to make good outcomes for our country.

Finally, let us be confident that there are better times ahead for everyone.  We already have come a long way toward improving everyone’s lives.  For most of us, it already is the best of all times.  Medical care has never been better.  The same can be said about communications.  The whole world is at our fingertips.  We are prosperous in many dimensions.  We are a rich country with bounteous resources.  But too many people are hurting and are unable to share in the good fortune.  Our challenge is to make our system of government work better for them.  This can only happen if we support collaborative efforts to achieve the common good.

Be of good faith.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Loving Kindness

I woke up this morning deeply saddened by the outcome of the election. I asked myself and others a lot of questions. How could this happen? Do we really live in that big of a bubble? What do we tell Sofia?  Is he really that bad?  What do we do next? 

I turned to a few coping mechanisms that have helped me through tough times in the past and I wanted to share them with you in hopes that they will provide some comfort and healing as we tread through this uncharted territory.

First, I decided to hold my favorite mantra/verse close today: "Do not fear, only believe." - Mark 5:36

Then I pulled out my watercolors to do the above painting. Brushing color across the blank page was calming. 

I dressed in my brightest clothes to take Sofia to school - to cheer myself and others up. Color heals. 

I watched Hillary's concession speech - which was beautiful, strong and emotional. 

In between all of this, I cried, I talked and texted with like-minded friends, I cried some more. 

Then I did this guided Loving Kindness meditation - which helped a lot. I even held up Donald Trump in my meditation and decided if love trumps hate then I cannot hate Donald Trump. I felt an amazing sense of calm and relief after meditating. I highly recommend it!

And then I decided to go on a media/social media diet. At this point I feel like both sides are propagating fear and I need to find answers and peace in other ways. 

I hope one or more of these ideas resonates with you. 

How are you creating peace with the outcome of the election?