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Welcome to My Venture!

Although my approach may be a bit unconventional, it is my greatest desire for this online journal to be a unique place where we can share life lessons learned from the many wonderful people–past and present– who profoundly touch our lives!

I sincerely hope you will feel inclined to comment and pay tribute to these great mentors by sharing your thoughts with me and this community.  It’s my goal for all who visit here to benefit as we participate and read one another’s insights.

I’ve learned that everyone has something to teach and something to learn!

The Great Adventure Of Living A More Balanced Life!

The Great Adventure Of Living A More Balanced Life!

If you are at all like me, your morning alarm clock also cues the little megaphone in your head that welcomes you to a new day of the circus called life!  

Balancing Life!  

“Step with care and great tact…and be sure to remember that life’s a great balancing act!  Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.  And never mix up your right foot with your left.”  Dr. Suess 

My husband and I returned home recently from an idyllic trip to Italy, but settling back into a normal routine again is always tough.  It got me thinking–how can we make our daily lives be more like the less stressful ones we often enjoy when we’re on vacation?  While this may not always be possible…at the very least, there are a few things we can consider that will help us better juggle our everyday obligations with more ease!

5 Ways To Create Better Balance In Everyday Living!

 1.  Find Your Morning Zen!

Finding balance in life.

Set yourself up for a good start to your day by getting up just a little earlier than everyone else does to go over your schedule, read or exercise, etc.  It’s always so impressive to me how a calm spirit and an “I got this!” attitude can have such a positive effect on those around us, making mornings go smoother for everyone!

2. Balancing Life Is Not A Competition!

Finding balance in life!

There are a myriad of things that require our time and attention each day: family commitments, work obligations, home upkeep, community responsibilities…and hopefully we can fit in some leisure activity on occasion too!  I feel like one of the main reasons establishing balance in our lives seems a bit elusive is the stigmas society can label us with if we don’t “fit the mold” so to speak, of what is expected of us in the various roles we are required to execute on a daily basis.  Too often— these so-called “social norms” find us getting caught up in the anxiety of trying to meet the expectations of those around us as we strive to keep pace with everyone else.  While a competitive spirit is great to the degree that it inspires us to work hard and accomplish goals, I believe that each of our diverse circumstances in life requires an individualized and thoughtful approach to how we go about obtaining a good balance.  Being true to ourselves and those we directly influence while we juggle our schedules, rather than falling victim to undue peer pressure on how we should divide our efforts can’t help but have a positive impact on our overall well-being.

3.  Balance Takes Teamwork!

Finding balance in Life!

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that it’s often easier to find better balance in life when we have the support of other people.  In an article by clinical therapist F. Diane Barth in Psychology Today, she states that what is really most important for creating a good balance in our lives is not how much responsibility one person carries at any given time–but rather, how well we interact with each other, drawing from and giving energy to one another!  I realize that the ebb and flow of my life is certainly more balanced with the influence of caring people!

 4.  Creating Balance means “No!” is a compete sentence!Finding balance in life.

A key component to having better balance in life is understanding our priorities and what’s most important.    But as we all know, on any given day, in any given moment our priorities can change–so we may have to re-examine our priorities regularly.  No one necessarily wants to say no, but as success coach, Brain Tracy, states in an insightful article on, “How to Find Life Balance and Be Happy” you are going to have to do it once in awhile…and understand that no explanation is needed.  Mr. Tracy elaborates by saying that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, and we can’t possibly do everything that we want to do as well as everything everyone else wants us to do.  So a big part of leading a more balance life is to cut down on unnecessary tasks and protect your priorities.  I find simply being more aware of some of the little things I do that waste precious time is a huge factor in better balancing my life.  My mom used such finesse when telling others that she couldn’t possibly fit one other thing into her day by saying, “I can’t do that now, but thanks so much for thinking of me!”  Wise lady!

5.  Finding Balance Is A Lifetime Project! 

Finding more balance in life.

As you’ve probably already come to realize, living a more balanced life is not a finite goal, but rather an ongoing process that should help us learn to be more flexible as we better navigate the demands on our time.  Hopefully, we are then able to tackle all the things that a day may encompass with more contentment, optimism and happiness; after all—when it’s all said and done, isn’t that what we really want the most of in our lives!  My father was fond of saying that life should be a steady uphill progression!

I love this thought on having balance in our lives:

“Balance is the process of holding something steady during change!”

What are some tricks you find helpful that help you achieve a better balance in your life? 

Live better quote.

I hope the beginning of your summer gets off to a fabulous start!

–Mary

Dear Mom…Writing A Special Mother’s Day Letter!

Dear Mom!  Writing A Special Mother’s Day Letter!

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and if you’re anything like I was when my mother was alive–it was always the mad search to find just the right gift that expressed perfectly the love and respect I had for her and the wonderful influence she was in my life!  I don’t think it ever really dawned on me that the best gift might have been to write a letter and tell her what was in my heart…you see, having been a mother for many years now myself, I’ve come to realize that time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters!

Dear Mom...

I like the quote by the late satirical journalist, Erma Bombeck, that says, “Mothers have an astute way of making your life feel important!”  Why then, do we often find it so hard to express our deep gratitude for them?

One of the things that romanticized my mom and dad’s generation for me, were the letters that my parents wrote to each other during their courtship and subsequent marriage, as well as other love stories I’ve read about that were highlighted in the correspondence that was shared between loved ones who were often separated for extended periods of time during the war times of that era.

The Art of Letter Writing!

In this day and age of ever advancing technology and electronic communication, we just might find ourselves in need of a little refresher course in the art of letter writing.  When I looked up the word “letter” in the dictionary–yes, I resisted the urge to access Google–the definition proved profound!

Letter: (noun) A written message from one party to another containing information.  Letters guarantee the preservation of communication between both parties.  They bring friends or relatives closer together, enrich professional relationships and provide a satisfying means of self-expression.

Interestingly, it also states that the main advantages of letters are there is no need for special devices—just a postal address and stamp where applicable.  Letters also provide a permanent physical record of communication that is more personal than an email.

A Mother’s Day Letter!

Mother's Day quote.

If you need a little inspiration to help get your letter started, here’s a few ideas…

Celebrate Memories!

There’s nothing that gets the ball rolling, so to speak, than sharing a few favorite fond memories that you can laugh about now!  If I was writing a letter to my mom now, perhaps I would share again the story we laughed about over the years…

One afternoon when I had first learned to ride a bike, but was still a little shaky, my mom thought I should wear some gym shoes instead of the sandals I had on as I set out on a bike ride adventure with friends.  She knew that I still used my feet on occasion for some extra breaking power when I got going too fast.  Well, it was summer, I was with friends, and somehow putting on shoes didn’t seem too cool at the time.  But as fate would have it, it wasn’t long before my very vulnerable feet had to be used to help gain control of my bike as it descended a steep hill.  Oh, how I remember hobbling home with the toe pieces of my thongs all askew and gravel embedded into most of my toenails.  My mother and I would have chuckled again about how some kids just have to learn things the hard way!

♥ Tell Her You Love Her…And Why!

Writing a Mother's Day Letter!

Many conversations in our family often end with, “Love ya!”   And while there’s nothing wrong with that, writing down a few specific reasons why you love your mom is sure to make this Mother’s Day especially memorable for her!

I love that my mother taught me that it was okay to express my feelings and share my concerns with her; she truly was my safe haven when the world seemed a bit daunting.  Her ability to truly listen was one of her greatest virtues!  I loved my mother’s deep commitment to our family.  She taught me to have a willing heart and in so doing she helped me realize just how beautiful the world can be when you serve and give to others.  I loved how she showed such finesse in living well.

Thank goodness our mother’s are patient and are able to withstand the many phases of a child’s love as they grow and mature!

Mother's Day quote.

♥  Thank Her For Her Sacrifices!

It goes without saying that our mother’s seem to come with an innate ability to love us unconditionally and are willing to do most anything within their power to help their children become the best versions of themselves.  Perhaps the best way for us to thank them for their selflessness (beside telling them) would be to always work hard at reaching our full potential!  In his book, “All Mom’s Go To Heaven” –Dean Hughes discusses this topic perfectly!

We say, “My mother is always self-sacrificing; she takes the smallest piece of pie and never looks out for herself because she does everything for us.  She cleans and scrubs and picks up after us and works her fingers to the bone and I really do appreciate it.”  We ought to follow that line of thought with the right conclusion; “But I’m going to do my best to change all that because it just isn’t right.  From now on, I’m going to take the smaller piece of pie, and I’m going to help her scrub the tub and the toilets and I’m going to pick up after myself.”

Quotes about mothers.

♥ Share What You’ve Learned From Her!

I think it’s fair to say that young mothers in the trenches of raising small children too often feel like most of what they have to say usually falls on deaf ears!

One valuable lesson I learned from my mother’s nurturing example was just how important it was to truly enjoy the journey of motherhood and the privilege that was mine of being able to steer my children in the right direction with positive energy and disciplined guidance; trying my best to help them develop integrity and strength in character that would lead them to being productive, caring individuals!

Thoughts On Motherhood! www.mytributejournal.com

“As a mother, you will often be somebody’s superhero…and you won’t even have to wear a cape!”  Jen Singer, author of “14 Hours Before Bedtime!”

(My mother has been gone for a little over ten years now, but I’m always mindful of her and the wonderful legacy she left for our family!)    

Share Your Heart!

Being a mother is not without its joys and triumphs, but the truth of the matter is that most days it’s really hard work!   Maybe the hardest thing about mothering is keeping a clear vision of the big picture amid the confusion of everyday life!  Who better to help you gain a keener perspective than your own mother; after all, she can attest to the fact that embracing the role of being a mother makes you a better person!  Whenever I did share my heart with my sweet mother, and the feelings of inadequacy I felt on occasion as I compared my skills to those of other women, she in turn shared her heart…..always reassuring me that ALL mothers are human and they mess up and make mistakes–their best isn’t perfect by a long shot…..but still the role of “Mother” is one to be cherished and cultivated in our own unique way!

Mother Teresa quote.

“Of all the people who reach out and try to understand one another, mothers surely ought to lead the way!”  Dean Hughes

I’d love to know what little gem of advice your mom taught you that you treasure the most!

Happiest Mother’s Day wishes to all…and happy writing!

(Feel free to down load some fun stationary here to use for writing your letter.)

–Mary

Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Floral Décor!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home!  Floral Decor!

Depending on where you live, your spring weather might still be a little bit too fickle for planting flowers outside…but that doesn’t mean you can’t consider a little floral decor inspiration for inside your home!

Creating Your Home Sweet Home! Floral Decor!

When we were first married, any talk of floral décor seemed to conjure up scary visions of flower velour sofas and baskets filled with dusty, plastic flower arrangements in my husband’s mind!  But then again…in those days his idea of good interior design often resembled a log hunting cabin in the mountains without a single flower in sight!

70's style floral decor.

There’s a saying that goes… “Be faithful to your decorating taste, because nothing you love ever really goes out of style!”  I am so thankful that our decor tastes evolve!

(Fun fact–my mom used to have some gold tables in her living room, much like the ones pictured above.  I remember some great conversations and good times gathered around them with family and friends…so although our tastes may change over the years, I’m sure glad the memories last!) 

Floral Décor That Isn’t Scary!

As an experienced designer, my daughter, Malia, will usually recommend creating a good balance when it comes to certain design elements.  With this in mind, here are a few things to consider when adding floral decor to your home.

• A Little Goes A Long Way!

Like any other design statement, the use of too many flower features can be a bit overwheming…like most things in life, moderation when decorating is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Floral decor.

 (via Home Decor)

Using a neutral wall and furniture palette makes it easier to add extra floral detail to your room, like the pictures, pillows and other accessories shown in this room.

Anthropologie floral furniture.

(via Anthropologie)

Floral wallpaper.

(via A Beautiful Mess)

Should you decide to go bold with a particular floral design element, like the sofa or wallpaper above, it’s usually a good idea to keep other decor features more simple and understated.

Explore The Many Forms Of Floral Decor!

If you’re just not ready to commit to more permanent, pricier items like wallpaper and large furniture pieces, there seems to be plenty of other options to consider when it comes to adding some unique floral decor to your house.

Floral decor.

Updated floral print fabrics for curtains, quilts and pillows, as well as botanical prints and area rugs, can certainly add a neat floral flair to any home’s interior design!

(I’ve found that JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby carries a good variety of floral fabrics, Target stocks a great pillow selection and rugsUSA has a nice assortment of rugs in various styles and sizes.)

 • Silk Flowers Are A Good Option

Silk flowers used in home decor today get the “most improved” award–a far cry from the ones used in our mother’s and grandmother’s generations!  In fact, I think the silk flower arrangements now look so good that it’s hard to tell the difference between them and real ones often times.

Floral decor.

(via Fixer Upper)

Beautiful silk flower arrangements are a wonderful way to give a room some personalized character and make it feel extra warm and inviting…and you just can’t beat their low maintenance quality!

Floral decor.

Even something as simple as the single silk peony put in an old perfume jar on my granddaughter’s antique dresser gives it such a fun finishing touch.

(I have gotten some of my most favorite silk flowers online at Magnolia Market.)

• There’s Floral Decor For All Design Styles

While some design styles seem to lend themselves more to floral decor than others, it can certainly be fit into any decorating scheme.  My daughter often likes to add a few eclectic accessories from different styles to the overall theme of a home.

Floral decor.

From a vintage painting to modern metal art, or country flower pillows in a rustic setting, floral decor just seems to make any space more welcoming!

Floral decor.

My grandma always used to say that every room in our houses deserved some flowers…even if it was just a few daisies in a jelly glass jar!

I hope everyone has a happy spring!

 Does floral decor give you a panic attack? What are some fun ways you incorporate it in your home?

–Mary