Spring Into Hope

I’m a little sad that the most recent post on my blog is about the new year and it’s already Spring. But Spring is a great time for new vision and maybe that will mean that I’ll write here a bit more often.

Spring flowers

Winter is my least favorite season, so I am thankful when the signs of Spring begin to appear – leaves and blooms and greens and birds. The appearance of Spring feels like God is starting to paint the world with watercolors. The new life and colors of Spring bring the hope of fresh starts and new possibilities.

I feel inspired to write at the times of year we associate with renewal of some sort or new beginnings, and Spring is one of those. For me, there are a few: The New Year, Start of Spring, Start of Summer, Start of School Year, and sometimes Thanksgiving. Frankly, I’m glad there are a few or I might feel like there’s no chance to start fresh during the year! But why do I feel that need for so many times of renewal?

Throughout each year, there is the nagging feeling of failure – falling short in different areas of life. Household disorganization, workplace deficiency, family disconnectedness, friendship neglect, and personal imperfection can lead to discouragement , discontent, and depression. But hope is always there and the reminders of it are just around the corner – the beginning of Spring, the start of a new week or month or day, a celebration, an inspirational story, a birth, the colors of nature, and so much more. These times of renewal help us to take a deep cleansing breath, shrug off the feelings of failure, and dream. We can dream and plan and find our way back to encouragement, contentedness and joy.

It’s Spring. I feel hopeful and I’m ready for yet another fresh start. Want to be hopeful with me? What ways do you want to experience renewal this Spring? What are you daring to dream about?

With love,
Lisa Marie

P.S. I had to edit to add this quote I just saw – goes with this post so nicely!

“Spring drew on… and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

New Year Pep Talk

New Year

Happy New Year! I can’t believe 2014 is over and 2015 is already begun. It goes by so fast – sometimes I feel like it’s a carousel that keeps going around and I’m always running right beside trying to hop on.

I’m not writing you a post on how to come up with great resolutions or your new one word for the year or what your focus should be. Hello – I just finished the holidays, people. I’m just now awake enough to start considering what I want to work on in 2015! I will be giving it all some serious thought and I’m sure I’ll share with you soon – and I would love to hear your new year goals and dreams, too.

But oh, I do love the start of a new year. Somehow all my shortcomings from the previous year fade because I know I get a fresh start. Shortcomings like only posting on this blog 11 times last year, but hey, I had a good excuse (new job). Yes, you truly can get a fresh start anytime you want, but there’s just something about the beginning of the calendar year, isn’t there? The dawn of January 1st feels like it’s almost bursting with new ideas, new possibilities, and new ways to be awesome.

This is the time to look back over the past year and see what worked and what didn’t. It’s the time to pat yourself on the back for the challenges you faced and the tough times you survived, but it’s also the time to stand up straighter, pump yourself up, listen to a new year pep talk, and renew the commitment to be bold and face new challenges and tough times. Please allow me to give your shoulders a small shake, look you in the eyes, and tell you that I believe in you! You can take this new year on! Don’t be afraid – what are some new things you feel brave enough to try this year? What are some ways that you handled things last year that you resolve to handle better this year?

You might be tired, drained, and overwhelmed. But it’s a new year. This year probably won’t be easy, but some of it will be good – small blessings and small victories all add up. I think you were more awesome than you realized in 2014 so I know you can be awesome again in 2015 – maybe in new and unexpected ways. Lift your head up, square those shoulders, take a deep breath, put on that smile (even if it’s fake), and bring on the awesome!

Another new year? Bring it.

With Love,
from Lisa Marie

 

Ruins of Dinas Bran {Poem}

So I mentioned that I had written a couple of poems while I was on our trip to Europe.  Of course there were fantastic views everywhere to inspire poetry, but I was also given an itch to write after visiting Dove Cottage, home to William Wordsworth. This is my attempt at a poem about the castle ruins we hiked up to – looking over the pretty town of Llangollen in Wales.

Be warned: This is not great poetry, but I share it anyway because it’s a fun way to express thoughts {I encourage you to give it a try!} and this poem doesn’t rhyme- on purpose – LOL.

Here are some of the photos of Dinas Bran Castle ruins and surrounding views:

View going to Dinas Bran ruinsDinas Bran Castle ruins view

View of Llangollen from castle ruins above Wall of Dinas Bran castle ruins Dinas Bran castle ruins above Llangollen in Wales

Ruins of Dinas Bran
by Lisa Marie Watson

Stone upon stone, forming misshapen walls
On a ruin-crowned hilltop,
Silently guarding quaint village below.
Ruins royally dressed with all nature’s finest:
Tapestries woven with sky blue and cloud
Meet carpets of green with white woolen spots.
Heavy the hush that falls over the rocks,
Listening for memories sung by the wind,
Broken only by echoes of bleating hill sheep.
Far down the path leads,
From stones to village,
From stillness to bustle,
Castle history forgotten.
But an upward glance at rock guards near the sky
Brings whispers of past back to mind.

Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of our time in Wales! And the next poem I’ll post does actually rhyme – you’re welcome.

With Love,
from Lisa Marie

 

 

Well Hi There

OK, so much for blogging while starting a full-time job. Obviously I kinda failed at that. I’ve been at my new job for about 5 months! Which may mean that I’ve consumed more Starbucks than usual.

Scotland Starbucks
A latte on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland.

My brain is trying to get used to keeping track of so many different things all day! Not that I didn’t before, but it was nothing like this. However, I am happy to say that the ol’ brain seems to be working like a charm. The job is going well and I have learned SO much and am having fun. Plus how many people get to be spoiled by having an office 5 minutes from home plus the flexibility to work from home when needed?

I’m still trying to get the rhythm of home & work. Dinners have suffered and I’m having to accept the fact that I just need to go back to making really easy meals for a while. I’ll gradually work my way back into some of the more complicated ones. It’s been an adjustment but my family is good with it all. And my son has been doing all the dishes this Summer. Yessss.

Summer has been so busy! Not just with working, but our family joined my son’s school trip to Europe for almost 3 weeks!! It was fabulous and exhausting all at the same time. I don’t even know how I could begin to post pics here because there are so many, and trying to tell you all about the trip would be like writing a book, but I was inspired to write a couple of poems on the trip and will share those along with a couple of pics – in another post soon. Up next is a camping trip with our church and then Boom…school starts!

How about you? What’s going on? What’s new? What fun things have you done this Summer? When do the kids go back to school? Do share! That is, if any of you are still around – LOL! :)

Hugs and kisses to you or handshakes if that’s more your thing!

With love,
from Lisa Marie

From SAHM to WOHM

I might have made up the second term, but I’ve recently switched from being a Stay-At-Home-Mom to being a Work-Outside-(the)Home-Mom. And not to imply that the SAHM doesn’t work! HA! It doesn’t matter what kind of mom you are – you all work hard and you all rock! I just wanted to share my new adventure with you all and ask for your help!

go to work

I wasn’t really looking for a job, especially not one outside the home or full-time right now. My son is in high school now and quite self-sufficient, other than requiring me to drive him all over the place. Our plans as a family were for me to go back to work either when our son was a Junior or Senior and driving or after he was done with school. But then this job popped up and a friend suggested I look into it. I told her all my reasons why it wouldn’t work right now and she told me all the reasons why it would. Long story short, after some back and forth over a few months and great meetings with the CEO, I have a job! It is full-time {basically 9-5}, but flexible enough for me to pick up my son and drive him around when I need to and for me to work from home part of the time in the Summer when he’s out of school.

I should mention that my husband and son have been very supportive and encouraged me to take this job. If either of them had had serious concerns, I would not have done it. But my husband’s words were, “Go for it!!” And he’s willing to overlook *ahem* piles of laundry/dishes/dust until I get a routine figured out.

Going from not working a typical job to working one full-time is a BIG adjustment! It’s definitely messed with my routine {or complete lack of one} and I need to be even more organized than I was already trying to be. It’s not bad – it could be much worse. But I could use any helpful tips that you might have. C’mon – ANY tips at all are welcome!

I do plan to keep on blogging, but my posts will be sporadic for a while {um, and how is that any different than it is now?}. Thank you for stopping by and following along with my journey! You just never know what’s around the corner, right?

With Love,
from Lisa Marie

 

My Boy Is A Young Man

First off, yes the design changed here! And will change a few more times until I’m happy! And now the link to leave a comment is at the top instead of the bottom. Thanks for hanging with me through the changes!

No, it’s not my son’s birthday or the start of a new school year or any special occasion. I’m just seeing changes every few months that make me happy and sad at the same time. It’s not the first time I’ve posted about how my son is growing up and it’s certainly not the last! Now that he’s in high school, the growing up has accelerated.

son playing tennis 2
I thought I would be ready when it happened. But each change throws me off and leaves me wondering where my little boy went. His voice changed quite a while back and I’m still not used to it. Sometimes when he talks, I think, “Why is he using that fake voice?” And now he shaves. Not that there’s much there, but enough. He has his own thoughts and opinions. He enjoys hanging out with his friends {he is blessed with awesome friends} more than he enjoys hanging out with his parents – though he still loves and respects us. He has started caring about whether his hair has a style and which skinny jeans are more comfortable. He has started playing new sports – basketball and volleyball. He strives for good grades, loves his teachers, pays attention to sermons in church, and wants to figure out what career he’s most interested in {definitely something computer-related}.

I like this young man. I like it when he tells me about his school day and funny things his friends said or did. I like it when he updates me on how Nintendo’s stock is doing and what good or bad decisions they’ve made recently. I like it when he smiles and that he has the same sense of humor as me. I like it when he remembers to pray for people. I like it when he thanks me for making cookies for him and his friends. I like it when he shares his concerns about people or events. I like it when he says “bye-loveyou” on the phone, even in front of friends. I even like how tall he is now {about 6 feet} <—but don’t tell him that.

And at the same time, I feel like somebody made a switch in the middle of the night. Somebody took my little boy. The one with feet that didn’t hang over the edge of the bed. The one who liked to snuggle with mommy and daddy. The one who loved to hear stories, play with trains, and be tickled. The one who hid in a different spot every day so his dad would have to search for him when he got home from work. The one who fit on my lap.

Couldn’t I have both at the same time? No, I must accept and embrace the changes. And I do – really! But when they say that the days of your little ones being little goes by way too fast – they are not kidding! If you have little ones, give them some extra snuggles and play with them on the floor. Because it will seem like tomorrow – when your boy becomes a young man.

Any thoughts from you mamas?

With Love,
from Lisa Marie

I Need Flucture

Well if you write, you should be able to make up your own words, right?

What is flucture? In my world, it’s just what I need. I desperately need some structure in my life right now. I’m drowning without it {is that really possible?}! But if I try to give myself too much structure, I rebel. So I need a little flexibility included. Thus, flucture. Or maybe strexibility.FluctureWithout any structure, I exist in limbo-land wondering what I should be doing next. When I have so many things to do that I don’t know where to begin, I end up doing a whole lot of nothing or completely avoiding necessary tasks. Too much structure and I am sure to stomp my foot down, fold my arms, and start pouting. Why should I have to do any particular task at any particular time? You’re not the boss of me! Or well, I’m not the boss of me! But somebody should be the boss of me!

The interesting thing is that this isn’t really an issue if I’m in the working world – I stay fairly organized because I want to get my things done in a timely manner and do an impressive job. But I can’t seem to find that same motivation at home. And that’s why I haven’t been writing. I can’t write if I have undone tasks at home. But I can’t do those tasks if I have other tasks undone. But I can’t do those if I need to write. But…HELP! I need a system – some flucture!

How about you? Do you do better with more or less structure? Do you have the same struggles as me? Or do you have a system that’s working for you {please share}?

With love,
from Lisa Marie

Where You Can Find Me

I thought maybe you’d like to know where I “hang out” in the online world. Especially since I haven’t actually managed to put many links to those places in my sidebar!

You can still find me once in a while on my old blog: Stop and Smell the Chocolates. A couple days ago, I posted a new recipe there {Frozen Nutella Mousse} and if you haven’t stopped by there in a while, you should really check out the recipe for Double Almond Cake too.

I can be found on my Facebook page {Stop and Smell the Chocolates} every once in a while. I will always share my new posts there and sometimes other worthwhile things or I might ask a question. I’ve been there less and less as Facebook only shows my posts to 50 people, if I’m lucky. But feel free to stop by there and say hi!

I am on Twitter as @fromLisaMarie {formerly stop4chocolate}, but again, not posting there as much. I’d like to increase that a bit, but there just isn’t the interaction like there used to be when I started on there. Again – all my posts are shared there and I often retweet worthwhile tweets and links to good articles.

Of course I’m on Pinterest {Lisa Watson}! Who wouldn’t be? :) I pin when I can – mostly food – but plan to add more boards and pin good articles too.

I am also on Google+ {Lisa Marie Watson}and that is where I hope to place most of my focus as time goes on. There’s much more opportunity for interaction and exposure to completely new people outside of your normal circles. Once you get the hang of it, it’s fun! It takes a bit to build up your circles {and end up in others’ circles}, but there are so many ways to help you with that process. It’s worth it. Come find me there!

And you can find me here on this blog! Not as often as I would like. I need to change that. The more I want to write, the harder it seems to be to do it. I have no idea why.

Now, where can I find YOU?!

With Love,
from Lisa Marie

Let’s Call It Writer’s Lull

You’ve all heard of writer’s block. I don’t really have a block because that means a lack of ideas, but oh my, I have no lack of ideas! I think writer’s lull is more accurate – a temporary quietness.

Why the lull? I think it might be because I have this misconception that in order to write, I must feel inspired at that moment. If I’m not feelin’ it, I just don’t write – even though I have a long list of things I’d like to write about it. The issue with that is that the writing itself is sometimes the very thing that motivates me to keep going.

I need to remember my One Word for this year ~ Do. It doesn’t mean: Hey, you know, if the stars line up just right and you get every possible chore completed and you’ve had enough coffee for the day ~ Do sit down and write. It means: Do. Write. Write whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad, but write.

Have you been struggling with writing? Maybe you don’t think you’re a writer. Do you blog? Then you’re a writer. Do you journal? Then you’re a writer. Do you read a lot and sometimes think of writing? Then you’re a writer. Aren’t we all writers, really? We write the story of our lives each day through our thoughts, words and actions.

Perhaps ~ A writer is inspired by words hidden in the soul. A writer is fulfilled by words released into the world. A writer is inspired

Do. Write. I challenge myself – to write. I challenge you – to write. You can even use my word: Do. {newsflash – I don’t even own that word so you won’t get in trouble for making it your word, too:)

With Love,
from Lisa Marie

 

 

One Word 2014 {Do}

Last year was the first time that the whole One Word thing really clicked for me. My word was Diligence. So I thought I’d try a word again this year.

One Word 2014 ~ Do

There was nothing earth-shattering about the way this word came to me – it just did and it wouldn’t leave me so I knew it was the one. It’s short and simple: Do. And though the word can be found thousands of times in the Bible, this is one verse I like that uses my One Word:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 {emphasis added by me}

You may be thinking…why Do? Aren’t we doing things every day? Yes, of course! But I am a daydreamer and a procrastinator. I’m a gal who likes to really think ideas through before acting on them. I’m a planner and a list-maker. But if I spend too much time thinking and planning, then I never get around to actually DOing. I am able to overthink and talk myself right out of something.

This blog is my first example of Do this year. I could have taken much more time thinking about what I wanted, my vision and purpose, how it should look, who I should ask for advice, etc. But then this blog wouldn’t be here right now. In fact, it may never have existed at all. But I decided…Do. And I did. And I’m glad. :)

Now I’m not saying Do as in jump right in and do something crazy with no thought whatsoever! It’s just a reminder to myself when I catch myself spending more time thinking than acting.

I’ll update you a few times through the year on how my One Word is going. How about you? Do you have a One Word focus this year?

With Love,
from Lisa Marie