my heart can move mountains

choose joy, worthiness By December 6, 2016 No Comments

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My heart is the truest part of me.

My heart resides in the center of my being

and extends into every part of who I am.

Through my eyes my heart can see the beauty surrounding me.

Through my ears my heart can hear whispers of truth.

Through my mouth my heart can speak words of love.

Through my shoulders my heart can carry unwavering hope.

Through my arms my heart can embrace indescribable peace.

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Through my hands my heart can hold limitless amounts of joy.

Through my feet my heart can journey into the beautiful unknown.

My body is an extension of my heart.

With this body my heart can move mountains.

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hello christmas time

christmas, hello monday By December 5, 2016 7 Comments

These pups are eager to please. I can’t believe how still they sit for photos! We have our house decorated {mostly} for Christmas. I love twinkly lights. So fun! It’s Monday–how about some hellos for a new week?

hello-christmas-time-lisa-leonard-01 Hello Louis and Beasley. We love you!

hello-christmas-time-lisa-leonard-02 Hello getting the house ready for the holidays but finding it impossible to keep clean! Oh well.

hello-christmas-time-lisa-leonard-03Hello head tilt. Such a heart melter.

Hello moving through our Christmas movie list. Two of our favorites are Polar Express and Elf. How about you?

Hello making a gingerbread house this week. It’s a tradition.

Hello busy busy in the shop. We have a sale going AND you can still get it in time for Christmas!

Hello reading this book. It’s by the ladies who started Juicy Couture.

Hello loving this sweater. Isn’t it adorable? I love love the zippered back.

Hello teenage boys. I can’t believe how much my boys are eating. It’s insane! They’re both having a growth spurt.

Hello thinking about starting the show This Is Us. Do you watch it?

Hello meetings this week. Lots of planning to do!

Hello wrapping up my Christmas shopping. I think I’m almost done!

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

 

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love makes the world go round

finding love By December 3, 2016 4 Comments

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Mother Love is as cozy as a blanket and as fierce as a grizzly.
It sounds like the sweetest lullaby at bedtime.
It feels tender, a heart no longer beating for itself.
It looks fragile, easily torn apart.
But resilient, healing itself to become stronger than before.

Friendship love is sincere and open.
It sounds like long talks and shared secrets.
It feels like cool water on a hot summer’s day.
It looks like a soul stretched and grown over time.
It rests in being accepted just as it is.

Romantic Love is wild and free.
It feels like the wind rushing through the trees.
It sounds like shouts of joy.
It looks like learning to navigate a windy, rocky path.
If it sustains its rough edges are worn away leaving smoothness and strength.

Self Love is a deep breath and a deep knowing.
It sounds like a quiet night sky with sparkling stars.
It feels like a good night’s sleep and a warm cup of coffee.
It looks peaceful, calm and undemanding.
It smiles to itself, confident it was created to be unique and rare.

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Family Love is beautiful and messy.
It feels like the shade of a sturdy tree.
It sounds like laughter and bickering.
It looks like honesty; revealing both sides of the heart–light and dark.
In the place of being known it finds firm ground and safety.

All of this love flows from the same source.
It bends and stretches through every heart connecting each of us.
This connection creates a force so strong it moves the earth.
Love, in its many forms, makes the world go round.

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one open heart

choose joy, finding love By November 29, 2016 25 Comments

I am learning one open heart can change the world.

On a sunny Sunday morning last year, we arrived at church a few minutes early. David slowly climbed the steps, one at a time, while holding my hand. Once inside he pulled away from me, wanting to explore the sanctuary before the service began. I set down my bag and followed closely behind him. I had no idea what was about to happen.

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David lives life inside a body that doesn’t cooperate. Because of his disability, he is very small, has only two fingers on his left hand and is non-verbal. David can’t speak with words but he has much to say. He communicates through gestures, physical touch and heart connection. As he moved around the room he ran his hand over the smooth wood of the church pew, weaving in and out of the narrow space. Then he crossed the aisle and made his way over to a woman sitting by herself. She was in her late thirties, had a kind face and a gentle presence.

We’d never met but that didn’t stop David from approaching her. As he got closer, the woman looked up and smiled at him. Once beside her, David turned around and backed up to her—it’s his way of asking to be held.

“He wants to sit on your lap.” I explained. “He can sit next to you if you prefer.”

“No,” she said, “I’d love to hold him.” She carefully lifted him onto her lap.

He tenderly wrapped his arms around her neck and laid his head against her shoulder.

“Is this okay?” I asked, anxious to be considerate of her space “Would you like me to move him?”

She looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

“My mom was diagnosed with cancer a couple days ago.” she said in a quiet voice. “I just needed a hug so badly. He knew exactly what I needed.”

I bent down beside them and touched her knee softly as she and David embraced. It was a holy moment of connection that soothed a hurting heart.

In that moment he gave her love, changing her world.

So often I rush around, trying to take care of people, trying to serve, trying to be good enough, trying to prove myself.

David doesn’t worry about these things. He is present in the moment. He is fully himself, unconcerned with what others think.

David’s simple act of love brought hope and beauty to this woman’s day.

He saw her and without pause met her exactly where she was.

It wasn’t accidental.

It wasn’t complicated.

It was David’s open heart that created a beautiful connection.

Maybe it’s not only grand, heroic actions that change the world.

Maybe it’s the quiet moments, when, in humility and brokenness we meet each other right where we are.

We offer hope and love.

We are present to witness another person’s pain and offer soothing grace.

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When we stop rushing, stop trying, stop proving, we can be fully present in the moment.

We can be fully ourselves and open our hearts to each other.

David is showing me one open heart can change the world.

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hello heart, hello monday

hello monday By November 28, 2016 3 Comments

I’ve been trying to listen to my heart lately. One thing my heart has been wanting is to watercolor. I don’t really know how but I’m doing it anyway. It’s fun and creative and it feels good. For the watercolor below, I used brush to wet the paper, then watercolored on wet paper. I was mesmerized watching the paint bleed and blur.

It’s Monday, how about some hellos?love-watercolor-lisa-leonard-01

Hello trying something new and not having to have it all figured out.

Hello big sale today–it’s cyber monday! More details in the shop.

Hello rainy weather–it was perfect for a lazy holiday weekend.

Hello catching a nap and not feeling guilty.

Hello feeling so EXCITED to watch Gilmore Girls and so sad when it ended. Love that show–and the new episodes were so good.

Hello dinner with friends. It’s good for the soul.

Hello laundry mountain that I don’t have energy to climb.

Hello Christmas party this week. Hooray for celebrating.

Hello new book I bought but haven’t started yet. I’ve heard good things.

Hello to you! What are you saying hello to this week?

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listen to your heart

choose joy, worthiness By November 22, 2016 6 Comments

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I’ve been making changes in my life over the last few months. Before these changes I wasn’t taking care of me—although I didn’t know that was the problem. I simply knew I felt exhausted and desperate. Once I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself I began rethinking my schedule, my needs, my wants and my life in general. I’d so busy taking care of everybody else, my needs were at the bottom of the list. Sure, I’d get a pedicure every now and then or have lunch with a friend—and I considered these activities to be good self care. And they are good self care, but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t taking time to listen to my heart.

My schedule was overwhelming with almost no time to slow down or be still. My family and friends’ needs came before my own. To be honest, I wasn’t aware I had needs. Or wants. I thought making everyone else happy was a selfless and beautiful thing. If they’re happy, I’m happy, right? I found out, no, it doesn’t work like that at all. I am a person with needs and wants—just like my husband and my kids and my friends. Those needs and wants matter. After years of not caring for myself I was exhausted. Something had to change. But how? I couldn’t begin to imagine what self-care looked like, let alone how I would fit it into my busy days.

My counselor encouraged me to have quiet time. There was no agenda, just time set aside to be quiet and still. This idea was so completely foreign to me, when she mentioned it, I laughed out loud. Sit and be still? But I pride myself on productivity! If I sit around doing nothing, I’m worthless. Plus, I can give you a list of reasons I don’t have time for quiet–beginning with having a child with a severe disability, owning my own business and on and on. But, I have to admit, there was part of me that was curious. What would happen if I took time to do nothing?

Everywhere I turned the idea was popping up–a friend mentioned taking time for quiet, I read about it in a book, I came across an article on Facebook. So the following day I set my phone to airplane mode, set the timer for 10 minutes and awkwardly sat on the couch doing nothing. I didn’t try to think about anything or not think about anything. I had no agenda—except to sit and simply be. And nothing extraordinary happened. The timer went off, I got up and continued with my day.

The next day I did it again. It felt slightly less awkward the second day. Again I set my phone to airplane mode and set the timer for 10 minutes. Again, I had no agenda. I sat on the couch and let thoughts come or go. I didn’t try to do anything. I just sat still. And nothing extraordinary happened.

On day three I could feel myself craving the quiet time. My heart wanted it. My heart needed it. I set the timer and sat still. When the timer went off, I got up and began to move through my day. Nothing special happened during my ten minutes of quiet, but something unexpected was happening outside of the quiet. I could feel my feelings with greater clarity. My heart was speaking to me and I was making time to listen. I could make sense of my thoughts. I was noticeably less overwhelmed. I was more present. I could make decisions easier. I could say ‘no’ to things I didn’t want to do and ‘yes’ to things I wanted to do. It was like somehow the quiet was helping me work things out. The quiet was helping me to know myself and what I needed. The quiet was making me, more me.

I’ve started working more quiet into my days. I still love listening to podcasts, audiobooks and music, but sometimes when I’m driving or walking I turn everything off and let myself think. I set aside time four or five days a week to sit and be quiet. In a crazy twist, the quiet time away from productivity is actually helping me to be more productive—although that wasn’t and still isn’t my goal.

Productivity is important, but it doesn’t define my value. I am precious and worthy even if I accomplish nothing. I’m valuable simply because I am me.

Instead of keeping busy to avoid the quiet, avoid my thoughts and feelings, I am meeting myself in those moments of quiet. The story of my life is told in small moments that make up a beautiful journey. Some of those moments include quiet reflection.

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I’m listening to my heart.
My heart knows what it wants and needs.
My heart will lead me in the right direction.
My heart will always lead me toward joy.

My heart needs quiet.
The quiet allows me to know myself.
Knowing myself allows me to care for myself.
Caring for myself allows me to be my truest self.
My truest self is who I am created to be.

Do you take time for quiet? Would you be willing to try it?

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hello family store

hello monday By November 21, 2016 5 Comments

My sisters and I stumbled across an adorable boutique called Family Store in Long Beach, California. They have kids stuff and housewares–vintage and new–and they have an online shop too!

It’s Monday, how about some hellos?

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Hello vintage animals masks. Adorable.

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Hello handmade pots. Love love!

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Hello wishing I knew how to throw pottery. Someday I’ll master it.

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Hello plants and window light–a winning combination.

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Hello handmade, it’s good for the heart!

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Hello inspiration. I love a charming boutique, don’t you?
Hello week off school. Yay for slow mornings!
Hello family visiting.
Hello Thanksgiving. I’m in charge of the turkey this year.
Hello rainy day and feeling grateful.
Hello reading this book and loving it.
Hello loving these jeans–so comfortable and cute with ankle booties.
Hello wanting to see Fantastic Beasts. Have you seen it?
Hello craving sweet potatoes {with lots of cinnamon, butter and brown sugar!}
Hello Christmas shopping. I love this time of year.
Hello brand new beautiful week. What are you saying hello to this week?

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I am enough

finding love By November 17, 2016 13 Comments

I’ve beat myself up over and over with harsh words.

I told myself I wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t thin enough, wasn’t creative enough, wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t patient enough, wasn’t good enough.
Beating myself up with these harsh words was like setting my feet in cement and yelling at myself for not growing and changing and moving forward.

I’ve sat in business meetings and felt like a fraud.
I’ve tried on a pair of jeans and left the store feeling awful about myself.
I’ve dropped out of a pottery class frustrated I couldn’t master the techniques.
I’ve worn a big bulky sweater to hide from the world because I felt ugly.
I’ve screamed at my kids at the top of my lungs and then felt like a horrible mother.
I’ve told myself over and over I’m a failure. I’m not enough.

You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging. Brene Brown

I wasn’t good enough for what? Well, when I dug down deep and I was really, really honest with myself, I believed, I wasn’t good enough to loved. I believed I should be better to make myself more lovable.

I’ve been mixed up. I’m finding out…
There is no smart that’s smart enough to be loved.
There is no thin that’s thin enough to be loved.
There is no creative that’s creative enough to be loved.
There is no pretty that’s pretty enough to be loved.
There is no patient that’s patient enough to be loved.
There is no good that’s good enough to be loved.

These things don’t bring love. They may bring admiration–and admiration is a nice thing. It feels good. But I what I truly want, what my soul craves, is real and lasting love.

I’ve believed I won’t be lovable unless I live a certain way, look a certain way, perform a certain way. I haven’t completely overcome this deeply rooted lie, but I’m working to change my thinking. I’m working to believe what’s true, instead of believing a lie. It’s a simple truth but also complicated–because it means looking at myself from a completely different perspective.

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The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.
Henri Nouwen

The truth is, I am not only lovable, I am loved. Right now, I am loved, just as I am. I don’t have to change one thing.
I am smart enough to be loved.
I am thin enough to be loved.
I am pretty enough to be loved.
I am patient enough to be loved.
I am good enough to be loved.

Starting from a place of enough is like a pair of the best running shoes and a long, straight dirt road with wildflowers popping up on either side. It makes my daily to-do list shorter and frees up brain space. It’s like I’ve been holding my breath and I can finally exhale.

I’ve spent so much time trying to prove I’m lovable, because underneath, I believed I wasn’t.
I’ve worried about what my husband thought of me, what people at church thought of me, what other moms at school drop off thought of me, what strangers at the grocery store thought of me. Believing I wasn’t lovable got me nowhere. It was exhausting–so much energy, so much work, so much wasted time. How can I ever truly know what someone else thinks of me? In a business meeting, one person might think I’m smart and insightful, another person in the same meeting might think I’m completely missing the point and wasting time. Worrying about what other people think of me never, ever worked for me.

What other people think of me is none of my business. Wayne Dyer

It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks of me.
It only matters what’s true.
And the truth is I am loved, right now.
How do I know it’s true?
The God of the Universe says, “I love you.”

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. Philippians 4:8

From the starting place, ‘I am enough right now’ I begin to make change, I begin to grow.
I don’t make change to be loved, I make change to live out of my truest self.
I don’t grow to be loved, I grow to love others better.
I’m starting from a place that’s filled with hope and light.

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I am enough.
You are enough.

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pain is not a gift

choose joy, hope By November 14, 2016 6 Comments
Pain is not a gift from God.
It’s what God does through the pain,
the way He molds us,
the way He enlarges our hearts to love more deeply
and opens our eyes to see more clearly,
this is the gift.
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Pain is clarifying.
When we’re grieving, everything else melts away.
Things that usually worry us seem trivial.
Pain shows us the truth; we are fragile creatures.
We come before God empty-handed.
In that humble, needy place, He meets us with love and grace.
We are changed in a way that can’t be undone.
We are torn apart and lovingly sewn back together.
Each stitch piercing our tender hearts.
It’s a deep, indescribable ache.
We will carry this ache with us always.
Slowly, the ache becomes part of who we are.
We would never wish for pain, but once on the other side, wouldn’t change it.
We’ve walked through fire and we are not the same as we were before.
We’ve been through the darkest night and we’ve glimpsed hope.
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As we heal we see with new eyes.
As we heal our hearts beat with new strength.
As we heal we hold more joy.
Most amazingly, in His unknowable way, God uses the brokenness of pain to make us whole.
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hello new york in the fall!

adventures, hello monday By November 14, 2016 1 Comment

Steve and I had a meeting in New York–and a few hours free time to explore. We had so much fun. The weather was cool and crisp. A nice change from our indian summer in California. It’s a brand new week, how about some hellos?

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Hello home and happy to be here! To be honest, it’s always hard for me to jump back into the normal routine–the day to day stuff plus David’s care can be exhausting. But I love my home and my boys.

Hello americano, my favorite coffee drink lately. Kaffe 1668 in New York. So good.

Hello feeling a complete lack of desire to cook. I need inspiration!

Hello wishing school started at 9am every day. Or maybe 10am.

Hello Thanksgiving–it’s next week. What?! That means Christmas is around the corner.

Hello working through this journal and loving it.

Hello reading happy about this new book. She cracks me up!

Hello maybe just maybe getting rain this week?

Hello typing one-handed because David wants to cuddle.

Hello getting ready for a list from grandma, aunties and cousins–yay!

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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