BEA MAKES THREE: A HEART-BREAKING POST

During my morning browsing session, I came across this heart-breaking story and just knew that I had to share. I write this as my cat, Simon, sits at my shoulder, and Miss Mattie-Lu (my beloved Morkie) curled up by my side. These two creatures have my heart, and the thought of anything happening to them, particularly something so incredibly horrific, is simply devastating.

My heart is aching for Maggie and I can only hope and pray that United Airlines takes full responsibility for their indecency and negligence. The fact that Maggie was able to put her anger aside to write such a beautiful and honest post is incredible…

http://beamakesthreedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/628x471.jpg

Please read her post here:

United Airlines Killed Our Golden Retriever, Bea

Thank you Maggie, for sharing, and our hearts are with you and yours.

HAPPY HUMP DAY! LOVE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF.

I was wracking my brain with what to write about this morning when I came across the blog of Kelley Moore. Her post struck me quite like a bolt of lightning because this is something I struggle with on a daily basis: being myself vs. what I think others want me to be. And oftentimes, I lose. More than I’d like to admit, I’ve lived my life based off of the judgments of others and this induces such a fear inside of me that I simply continue to bury myself within myself.

A vicious cycle.

Pinned Image

(via Pinterest)

I once surrounded myself with fake niceties and cosmopolitans, short dresses and high heels and somehow, lots and lots of money, just to get one leg further up the totem pole. I wasn’t successful by any means, but I wanted to seem successful, because that’s what really matters, right…? I mean, I rubbed shoulders with Jennifer Lopez, I laughed with Patch Adams, I shook the hand of Jane Goodall, and I have Ben Stein’s number in my phone. Isn’t that what counts…?

(Yup, that’s me)

When I moved from the city, away from the movers and shakers, and into a domesticated, country lifestyle, I felt….lost. Who do I perform for now? But I also felt a sense of ease that I hadn’t felt for a long, long time. Finally, I could breathe. Finally I could be myself.

But who was I?

This is a question that I continue to juggle. A part of me still longs for the excitement and glamour of the rock star life, but the bigger part of me wants simplicity. I suppose I am simply trying to find myself between the mediocre and melodramatic, who I want to be and who I think I should be.

As Kelley so aptly stated (original source unknown)…

image

I will be 31 in less that a month, and at this point I’m not where I thought I’d be. And frankly, this scares the shit out of me. I thought I’d be more successful, I thought I’d be better traveled, I thought I’d be throwing interesting dinner parties for interesting people, and I thought I’d be a mother that could do it all. In my head, it’s all worked out: I should be flourishing, I should be an affluent business owner, and people should notice my success. In reality, my shoulda, woulda, couldas are only bringing me down, down, down.

What I am very, very slowly coming to realize is that life is so much more enjoyable when living it for yourself. Not for who you were, or for what others think you should be, or even for who you think you should be, but for who you are at this very moment. Learn from the past and look forward to the future, but live in the present, be true to yourself, and love yourself for it. Yes, love your authentic self, even if that authentic self is currently a floundering and lost soul!

I think Anne Lamott said it best in her 2003 Berkley graduation commencement address:

…here I am sort of bragging about being a dropout, and unemployable, and secretly making a pitch for you to follow your creative dreams, when what they [your parents] want is for you to do well in your field, make them look good, and maybe also make a tiny fortune.

But that is not your problem. Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.

So go out and seek my dear readers!

LIFE GETS MESSY…

For those of you that do not know me, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it is not unknown for me to stress over the smallest of details. I consistently live up to this little quirk of mine every time we have visitors, particularly when it is someone seeing the home for the first time. Since I’m a decorator at heart, I expect far more out of myself and my home than I should, and when my home isn’t fully up to par (which it currently isn’t per my previous post!) I feel a terrible sense of guilt.

This weekend, for example, we had a couple of guests over, one who had not yet seen the house. While giving her the brief house tour, I kept apologizing for the “mess” and would give a detailed description of my grandiose plans for the space. Finally, she looked at me and said, “the house looks great! It’s comfortable. You’ve obviously done a ton of work in the year you’ve been here.” This quieted me down a little and made me realize that perhaps I’m not as far behind as I think. In a little over a year, we bought a house, we moved to a new city, we got married, we traveled, and we transformed this house into a comfortable home. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. And frankly, it shouldn’t be.

This reminds me of a book that I purchased a few years ago called A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life.

A Perfectly Kept House...

Do I want my home to be perfect and picturesque? Absolutely. I want to open the door to my house and feel as though I am actually walking into a scene from Elle Decor or House Beautiful. I want it to ooze with style, comfort, sweet smells (unfortunately, I live with a dog, a cat, and a husband that have not yet grasped this concept), and perhaps already made cucumber sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies . And I want my guests to have the very same feelings of delight. I want WOW them with my decorating skills and hostessing abilities. However, I do have passions other than cleaning and cooking, and only so much time in the day…

So what is a girl to do? This is my new epiphany: a girl is is to do nothing! Sometimes, life gets messy, and this is the time when I should revel in it. I am too busy to constantly clean, I have a life to live! My home should not be perfection, it should be comfortable and look comfortably lived in. The pictures in magazines are not real life, it is a make believe world that takes a photographer, creative director, stylists, and staff to create. Were I to have an entourage of all of the above, I would be happy in my own make believe world, but alas, I do not so I must make due with what I have – it will definitely not be perfection, but more importantly, it will not be a misspent life.

A LITTLE SIDETRACKED: into the mind of Kristen this Friday morning…

Dear lovely readers, I am sorry for the delayed post this morning! I’m having a wee bit of an internet issue (for the umpteenth time) and am actually on the phone with my service provider as we speak. But thanks to Windows Live Writer – I’m at least able to get this post prepared for your enjoyment!

With that said, and since I can’t quite get onto the internet for my usual browsing and research session, I’m going to write about, well…writing. More specifically, writing in this wonderful world of Blogdom. Now, it’s only been two weeks – this is my 16th post, to be exact – but over these two weeks I have learned so much, have found so many amazing blogs to follow, and have even gained a few followers of my own (thankyouthankyouthankyou!). It’s so addicting, in fact, that I get sucked into the interwebs for hours upon hours and often lose a good chunk of my day!

But there is also an underlying tension, a competitive edge, and feelings of envy that arise during these marathon browsing sessions. How can I possibly compete with all the incredibly crafty, comical, and personable blogs out there? Blogs that have been around for years, blogs that have thousands of followers, and blogs that are so well written and so well designed that I just want to scream with a mixture of sheer delight and jealousy. How do they do it?! And where do I fit in…?

This is where I begin to doubt myself. Why in the world (wide web) would anyone want to read my blog? What do I bring to the table that hasn’t already been brought (“It’s already been broughten!”)? I’m sure other bloggers have this very same fear: I often feel like I’m losing my voice amidst the millions of other voices out there. Not only am I getting buried, but I actually begin to lose my point of view, and “my voice” begins to sound like someone else’s. I begin writing differently, to fit the mold of what I think other people want to hear or see, just to gain more followers. And so the competition begins…

Frankly, sometimes I feel like I’m beginning to lose my self – the whole point of starting this blog was to be true to myself and hopefully inspire others along the way!

So, I have to remind myself over and over that this blog is nothing more than a teeny tiny baby in this big, scary world wide web. It has to be coddled, it has to be nurtured, and in time, perhaps…..it will grow. And if it doesn’t – who really cares? This blog is wholly mine; it is a place to collect my thoughts, it is my creative outlet, it is my source of inspiration, and it is an excuse for me to explore the inspiration of others – I get to browse through beautiful images, read amazing content, and consistently learn something new. I’m fortunate enough to simply have this outlet, and to have the time to nurture it. I can only be so lucky to have others that I can share this with, whether it be 5, 500, or 5000.

So, with all that said, I must thank my readers – the few and the many – for inspiring me to be true to myself. Yes, I need to consistently remind myself that I do write for myself, but I can’t help but realize that my inspiration comes from sharing this with you.

xoxo.

BACK–OR BEGINNING–IN BUSINESS…

Well, after very unintentionally floating in blogdom limbo for the last week…I am back!

Now, I am not the most tech savvy gal by any means, but in my recent attempt to establish a site on WordPress.org, I simply felt….stupid. First, I had no idea that WordPress.com and WordPress.org were so vastly different from each other (a good tip here: do your research!). Generally, WordPress.com is a free blog site, similar to Blogger, Typepad, etc. with basic templates, a few customization options, and other additional options you can purchase for a fee. In order to look slightly more professional (even though I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time), I chose to purchase my domain name for a small yearly fee so that my site reads “themodagecottage.com” rather than “themodagecottage.wordpress.com.” Yes, I realize that my business name is already long enough without adding that additional hodge podge!

Anyhow, with this amateur attempt to up the ante, I found a host to support the WordPress.org application, made all the appropriate purchases, tried to transfer my meager content along with my domain name…and failed miserably. So I have spent the last week trying to make sense of the whopping mess that I created – installing themes, adding widgets, blah, blah, blah, so that I could proudly publish to the world at least a semi-professional site that I put together all by my lil’ self.

But heck, there comes a time when one must face reality. My reality, just this afternoon, in fact, was telling me that I wasn’t yet prepared to wrap my head around WordPress.org and all the CSS BS that goes with it, and to go back to what I actually enjoy doing, which is writing for my blog instead of customizing it.

So here I am, a week later, back on WordPress.com and loving every minute of it! I say all of this to you because I imagine that one day, when I actually have readers and followers, some of you may be in the midst of starting a business, or thinking about it, and I am here to say that no matter how much potential you may have and no matter how bad you may want it, everything will not happen to you all at once (something like “patience is a virtue…”). You will hit road blocks, and many of them, but a road block is not the end of the road and you WILL find a way around it – even if that means reigning in your ego a little and starting back at the beginning.

SO, now that I’ve gotten this business talk / inspirational message out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff! Here are a few things that I’ve been thinking about over the week that I have been M.I.A….

LOVE the pink boyfriend jacket!

Easy, breezy, and bright summertime style. Love, love, LOVE that boyfriend jacket! Time to go shopping…

Cool, calm, collected.

Cool, calm, and collected summertime style. Seriously, could she look any cooler?

White stems in milk jug behind the couch...

Time to brighten up that living room, change out the slip covers, throw in some flowers, and add that dramatic touch (I recently found a HUGE, vintage milk jug, and just ordered these branches in white, not to mention….repainted my entire living room)!

Perfect for sewing table I'm working on - could look good as bedroom night stand?

Inspiration for a little something I’m working on….

Cute idea for large chalkboard in dining room!

Indeed!

AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE TO MYSELF…

A long rant may not be the best way to begin a blog, but if you stick with me, I promise that there will be many fun-filled (and much shorter…) posts in the very near future! But to be as authentic and real as possible, I felt it necessary to be honest and open – not only with my readers, but with myself – about my very real fears and frustrations; about life, about business, and about living – or better yet, NOT living – life to its fullest.

I love my life – I really do – but at times, many times, I simply….forget. Instead, I begin honing in on all the negatives, all the terrible wrongs in my life: the bad skin days, the bad hair days, the bad hair months, the gray and rainy start to the week (despite the clear, blue sky and warmth of the sun beating down on me at this very moment), the laundry piling up, the clean laundry piling up, the chaos that is my husband’s desk, the chaos that is my entire office, the food-caked dishes piled on the kitchen counter (don’t even get me started on the rest of the kitchen…), the lack of storage space in this house, the limbo that is my “business” (quotations = stretch to call it a business), the judgments of friends and family about my business, and the list goes on and on.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I so often have “the glass is half empty” kind of mentality? It’s overwhelming, fear-inducing, and frankly, just plain stupid! These thoughts hold no real value. Instead, they keep me terrified of taking a single step forward – that one, single step that will put me into motion (as the saying goes, “a body in motion stays in motion,” right?).

So, instead of putting one foot in front of the other, I tend to plop my butt in front of the computer, troll the web for ideas and inspiration (which in itself is not a bad thing!), and dream of the day when I will actually have the guts to move.

*On a side note, most of my inspiration comes from pictures – beautiful landscapes, picture-perfect homes, picture-perfect people in their picture-perfect homes…probably not the best thing for my sensitive and perfection-craving ego. In fact, it either puts this ego into a bit of a tivy – into super overdrive – or it simply makes me want to drive off of a cliff. I’m confident in saying that neither is healthy.

This morning, however, I found a few inspiring words (courtesy of Elements of Style) that made me question my negative perspective, and actually put a little bit of force behind my butt and into my feet:

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”Zig Ziglar.

This was followed by a blurb by Andrew Gates (husband of blog author, Erin Gates):

“…just start and things will happen. Far too often we over think something so much that it never even gets off the ground. Better known as paralysis by analysis.”

Paralysis by analysis. Holy shitballs, that is good. And that is exactly where I stand. I analyze any potential risk to the point of exhaustion. Ever hear “making a mountain out of a mole hill?” Well, I make the Grand f’ing Canyon out of a crack in the sidewalk. And then I turn my eyes onto all my faults and weaknesses, analyze those to the point of exhaustion, until I feel so much like one huge stinking pile of poo that I actually want to jump into the canyon that I just created. But since I do love life (literally!), I just stand there instead, too afraid to jump over to the other side.

I realize that I do expect to be great to start. I want to step over that canyon (or crack in the sidewalk) and materialize into Kelly Wearstler, or at least a beautiful, intelligent, and all around amazing entrepreneur that has all of her t’s crossed, i’s dotted, ducks in a row, or whatever. I want perfection. But I hate to break it to you Sista (yeah, that would be me, speaking in 3rd person…), that’s just not how life works. Life is messy, life is hard, but it can also be fun and fulfilling when you actually choose to live it. You just gotta get moving, put one foot in front of the other, one little baby step at a time, and things will start to happen, life will start to happen, instead of it just passing you by.

I BELIEVE IN YOU.