Change is so hard

adventures, an everyday moment, be brave By August 3, 2018 9 Comments

You know that icky, scared feeling when you try something new? What seemed like a great idea a couple days ago now feels like a completely awful idea. I’ve been having that feeling fairly regularly over the last few years Steve and I walked through a marriage crisis a couple years ago and it was one of the darkest, scariest times of my life. I was desperately unhappy and I knew I needed to make big changes–for me, for my life. We both needed to change and grow. And thankfully, we’ve both been working hard to do just that.

One of the biggest changes I have been making is, instead of trying to please other people and make them happy, I am simply trying to be ME. Simple, but not easy. Being me means saying what I really think, asking for what I need without apology and feeling my feelings {instead of trying to take care of everyone else’s feelings and ignoring my own}.

Steve and I at the Castle Ruins

The other day we were in the beautiful town of Helmsley, England, shopping and eating and relaxing. We walked up the hill to see the Castle ruins–which were breathtaking. We got a glimpse of the ruins outside the wall and it seemed like we were all winding down–ready to get in the cars and drive back to our Airbnb–but I really wanted to go inside and get a closer look at the ruins. I didn’t want to make a fuss or inconvenience our whole group and I almost didn’t say anything. But I reminded myself I’m trying to show up, say what I think and want without apology. It may seem like a small thing, but for someone who has lived a lot of life trying to please other people, it’s scary and stretching. I spoke up and it was no big deal. Everyone was on board for getting a closer look at the ruins. Steve someone how got tickets for just a few pounds and we ventured inside. It was beautiful, MAGICAL, so fun. I’m so glad I said what I wanted.

Helmsley Castle Ruins

Speaking up and asking for what I want is a change that has been HARD but so necessary. I gave a small example but there have been much bigger, scarier moments where I have said really hard, honest things and you know what, it’s been better. Better for me, better for Steve, better for my marriage, better for my soul. It’s so important. Best of all, it’s working. I am changing. I am more ME. I am happier and more relaxed. I wrote a poem about change and I wonder if you’ll relate to it?

All four of us at Helmsley Castle Ruins

Change


Change

A stiff shoe

To be broken in

New

Different

Uncomfortable

Aware of each step

Left, Right, Left

Awkward

Blisters

Maybe this was a bad idea

The old way

Before the change

Wasn’t so bad

My old shoes were fine

They were comfortable

But worn out

Too small

The soles were worn smooth

And slippery

No tread or traction

To keep me stable

To move me forward

Change

I can see ahead

These new shoes will take me there

I wear them a bit each day

I practice a new way

With each awkward step

I am changing

Slowly the shoes soften

My blisters heal

My feet adjust

The shoes become part of me

What was new

Begins to feel normal

To feel right

Right, Left, Right

Little by little

The old shoes are behind me

The old way is behind me

My new shoes fit well

My new way is working

Moving forward

Braver with each step

Stretched and Grown

Changed

Stepping away from what is safe and known is scary but necessary. Making change is brave. Be ME without apology is how I love myself and others–it’s how I encourage my family to be who they are without apology. Being honest, being real is loving and brave. It’s brave love. There is so more of my journey of brave love in my new book {so crazy, exciting}. More details on the book here.

Are you making any changes that scare you right now?

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hello England!

adventures, hello monday, Leonards take England By July 30, 2018 1 Comment

Hello friends! We are in England and having SO MUCH FUN! This is our fifth or sixth trip to England and I think we’ve figured out a few things to make the trips easier. It’s still crazy and exhausting but we’ve hit a stride and I feel myself relaxing and leaning into vacation mode. Maybe I’ll do a big blog post about how I organize things for our trips and how we meet David’s needs while we travel. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it. We get to see new places and new things! So much beauty. How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello English cousins! We are thrilled to get to adventure around York with our dear cousins. The kids are having a blast and the adults might be having even more fun!

Hello food. Oh my gosh we have had so much delicious food–like this burger from House of Trembling Madness in York. It is one of the best burgers I’ve ever had!

Hello St. Mary’s Abbey ruins. So beautiful. I love ruins–something about the beauty left behind, creating a backdrop for everyday life. It moves me.

Hello silliness and taking our time. Our mornings have been slow with lots of coffee and relaxing. Then we venture out to see the sites and get food. Evenings are for relaxing as well. It feels like we’ve struck a good balance. Lindsey is along helping with David and she makes everything more fun. I’m thankful for her.

Hello flower baskets BURSTING with color. That’s the York Minster in the background.

Hello gelato and river views.

Yay! Hello cousins. It makes my heart so happy that these kids are growing up together even though they live on opposite sides of the world.

Hello Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate. Just an awesome, random street name!

Hello comfortable walking shoes. So important!

Hello sleeping like a rock at night!

Hello blue skies and rain and sunshine and wind and experiencing all kind of weather in a single day.

Hello taking pictures and having so much fun being creative.

Hello Instagram. I’ve been posting lots of pics and stories on my feed. Make sure to follow our adventures every day on Instagram.

Hello reading this book. She led a fascinating life! Definitely a tell-all book and a bit edgy but so fun.

Hello continuing to work on the finishing touches of THE BOOK. {It’s all written but we’re beginning to talk about layout and marketing}. So exciting and crazy and I am overflowing with gratitude for this opportunity! Have you pre-ordered a copy yet?

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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Tea at Bettys in York, England

adventures, family, Leonards take England By July 20, 2018 5 Comments

I did a lot of ‘research’ on Pinterest before our trip to York, England. One thing that kept coming up again and again was tea and scones at Betty’s in the center of the city. There is often a line that goes outside the door and wraps around the building. To avoid the line, I made a reservation for an afternoon tea. The kids weren’t super into it but I had so much fun! I think it’s great for them to experience all kinds of things–not just kid stuff.  David was very mellow and cuddly which worked out fine. The staff was so kind and really tried to find some things he could eat. In the end they brought him some soft cakes and apple juice. So fun! Champagne for the adults. ❤

Matthias brought his drawing supplies and stayed busy during the tea. He tried many of the sandwiches and cakes. I think he would have preferred a burger or chicken nuggets but hopefully someday he’ll thank us for the experience.

Have I told you how much I LOVE scones with clotted cream and jam?!

Lindsey is with us to help out with David and it’s been wonderful having her along.

Very serious faces for a very serious afternoon tea.

More Earl Gray please! With a little milk and one sugar. Have you ever done a proper tea? {To clarify, the tea was proper but we definitely didn’t have all our etiquette down. Oh well, we had fun!}

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Whoa! BIG announcement!

adventures, news to share By May 5, 2017 4 Comments

Friends!! I’ve been sitting on a secret project and I FINALLY get to tell you about it! Today is a GOOD day!

For years Steve and I have been cooking up a plan to move beyond jewelry and offer new, beautiful products that are full of meaning.

Today we are THRILLED to announce our new shop, Leonard Lane. It’s a brand new space and it’s fully stocked with leather bags. I’ve designed these purses and wallets with beauty and function in mind. They are made with gorgeous leather and attention to detail. Inside the bags you’ll find a lining with handwritten messages of love and beauty. This project has been a labor of love—and it’s finally here and ready to share with the world {and most importantly, YOU!}.

These are the bags we toss over our shoulders to keep our hands free. Our hands have more important things to do—like hold our little ones and keep them close.

These are the bags where we tuck away important things, like a driver’s license and lip gloss, but also snacks and sippy cups to keep our little ones entertained.

These bags are all kinds of amazing. From the cross body to the leather fringe, I am kind of in love with all of them!

We have big ideas for Leonard Lane. Good things are ahead.

Welcome to Leonard Lane. A place where we can come together. A place with high quality goods and lots of heart.

With love,
Steve and Lisa, and the Leonard Lane team

 

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Hello Harry Potter World

adventures, hello monday, matthias By January 23, 2017 1 Comment

Matthias turned thirteen, THIRTEEN last week. Hello thirteen! To celebrate we went to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, Hollywood. We had so much fun! I was impressed with the whole experience. The buildings are straight out of the movies and the interactive wands are so cool!

It’s Monday and time to jump into a brand new week. Ready or not, here we go! How about some hellos?

Hello Harry Potter and Hogsmead. We’re huge fans. Are you?

Hello wands–so many to choose from.

Hello climbing and laughing and celebrating.

Hello super amazing train conductor who taught Matthias the Ravenclaw handshake. The staff at the park was incredible.

Hello wand ceremony. Matthias got picked by a very special wand. The wand said Matthias was creative, smart, brave and friendly to all. The wand is so right!

Hello feeling like I need at least one more day to be ready for Monday.

Hello grocery shopping.

Hello watercoloring and writing. I’m in full on creative mode over here.

Hello rain and rain and lots more rain. I haven’t seen this much rain since I was in college. My car got stuck at a flash flood in an intersection. It was nuts!

Hello being a mom to two TEENAGE boys. How can it be?

Hello bulletproof coffee. It’s strange but we love it! Have you tried it?

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

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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?

hello-new-york-lisa-leonard-3hello-new-york-lisa-leonard-4hello-new-york-lisa-leonard-6
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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adventure is calling!

adventures, the meaning behind By September 8, 2016 13 Comments
Despite my good intentions, our flight to Paris a couple months ago had some stress–one incident in particular. Somehow, as I grabbed David’s baby food to throw it away, the sweet potatoes slipped out of my hand and went flying through the air. The box of orange mush landed in the aisle and the contents sprayed everyone nearby. I looked at the man across the aisle from me and he had sweet potatoes on his face, neck and shirt. I quickly grabbed some wet wipes while profusely apologizing. The woman in the seat behind him stood up and screamed, “WHAT WAS THAT?!” Oh my gosh, the shame fell over me like a heavy blanket. Five or six people hopped up out of their seats–each with orange flecks of sweet potatoes sprinkled across their clothes and seats.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, “It was sweet potatoes. I accidentally dropped my son’s food.” I continued apologizing as I handed out wet wipes to everyone around us.

Packing our bags a couple days earlier, I told myself, “Don’t think of it as a vacation. This is an adventure.” I was nervous but excited. I had visions of us beside the Eiffel Tower and eating macaroons, but I also had fears about the long plane ride and potentially sleepless nights. Traveling is challenging, but traveling with a kid who has special needs is even more so. When we travel our routine goes out the window–and it’s our routine that enables us to give David’s his meds throughout the day, keep him on a good schedule and plan for downtime. But France was calling! How could we say no? As I saw the sweet potatoes fly through the air in slow motion, I was pretty sure we should have stayed home.

I took a deep breath and reminded myself (in my most soothing inner voice) “This is an adventure. It’s okay if it’s imperfect. Adventure means things will get messy. It’s practically a requirement, right?” We arrived in Paris jet lagged and grumpy and I wondered if all this struggle was worth it.

But standing beside the Eiffel Tower I knew we had made the right decision. This adventure held magic.
When we ordered chocolate croissants at breakfast I let contentment wash over me. I soaked up a quiet minute during our crazy adventure.
We snapped a picture walking above the Seine River as misty raindrops landed on our happy faces. Adventure called and we listened.
Standing in front of Van Gogh’s self portrait I felt my heart soar with gratitude. Adventure had led us here.
Watching David and Matthias explore the cobblestone streets of France reminded me how adventure changes how we see ourselves and the world.

lets-be-adventurers-lisa-leonard

Of course we need routine; it’s how things get done. We need a schedule and a clock. We need school and work because it’s how we expand our minds. It’s how we accomplish tasks.

But we also need to break from routine. We need to throw the schedule out the window. We need to build a fort in the living room and not clean it up. We need to order pizza on a school night and leave dirty dishes in the sink. We plan a spur of the moment getaway. When we break from the routine we set off on an adventure.

Routine keeps us stable, adventure makes us flexible.
Routine makes us strong, adventure makes us brave.
Routine gives us discipline, adventure gives us boldness.
Routine depends on logic, adventure depends on imagination.
Routine makes the most of everyday. Adventure makes the most of life.

grow-roots-sprout-wingsToday I’m slipping on my cuff as a reminder that routine helps us grows roots and adventure helps us sprouts wings. We need both.

Routine helps us get up when the alarm goes off and lace up our running shoes. Routine enables us to keep the fridge full of groceries and the car full of gas. Routine provides a perfect environment for homework and home cooked meals.

Adventure on the other hand lets us make a new friend or try a new hobby. Adventure encourages us to climb a little higher and sing a little louder. Adventure gives us the freedom to fall in love, have another baby, start a new business and travel abroad. Nothing big and important happens without adventure.

And at the end of the day adventure reassures us, saying, “Don’t worry if you fail. It was just an adventure after all.”

It took us a few weeks to recover after our adventure in France. I was ready to get back into our regular routine and catch up on missed sleep. Routine is a good thing, but I know it won’t be long before adventure calls again. And I know we’ll take the risk, with the assurance we can always fall back into the comfort of routine.

Have you stepped outside of your routine lately?

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ocean walk in cambria

adventures, family By August 25, 2016 3 Comments

For my birthday I got to choose our weekend activity. So I asked for lunch and a walk in Cambria. We ate at Moonstone Bar and Grill {excellent burgers!} and then took our time walking. It was simple and beautiful and I loved it!

ocean walk in cambria-01 ocean walk in cambria-02 I’m biased but I think my boys are the cutest.

ocean walk in cambria-03 ocean walk in cambria-04 ocean walk in cambria-05 Leaning in for a kiss.

ocean walk in cambria-06 ocean walk in cambria-07 Sweet pup.

ocean walk in cambria-08 Purple wildflowers and blue ocean.

ocean walk in cambria-09 Matthias took a turn pushing David in the jogger. He ran a bit and took some sharp turns. David loved it!

ocean walk in cambria-10Steve got me these adorable yellow shoes for my birthday.

It was a really good day. I felt loved and celebrated and thankful. I look forward to seeing what my 42nd year holds!

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Hello Eiffel, Hello France

adventures, hello monday By July 18, 2016 4 Comments

France is on our minds a lot lately for three reasons; we just returned from France, we are BIG Tour de France fans and because of the recent tragedy in Nice. It’s a beautiful country with lovely people. The people of France are close to my heart.

One of our favorite days in Paris was visiting the Eiffel Tower. It’s such an icon! Seeing it in real life was magical. Traveling with David is challenging–but I’ll save that story for another post. Standing by the Eiffel Tower as a family feels like a huge accomplishment. I remember feeling that same thing when we visited Stonehenge–pics here. We want our boys to see the world–believing that we are connected to everyone. In every country, every culture we find we’re really not so different. In our heart of hearts we are connected by feelings of love, fear and hope. The more we see of the world, the smaller it seems.

It’s a brand new week. I’m starting out with thoughts and prayers for France. How about some hellos?
Hello Eiffel lisa leonard3Hello beautiful Eiffel. You take my breath away!

Hello Eiffel lisa leonard2Hello looking from every angle to get a sense of the bigness and beauty of the Eiffel Tower.

Hello Eiffel lisa leonard 4 Hello kissing and holding hands and being together.

Hello Eiffel lisa leonard 5Hello finally saying yes to one of the vendors and buying a tiny Eiffel Tower to take home.

Hello busy week ahead. Every day this week is full. Somehow I always imagine summer as so laid back–but we end up with a full calendar!

Hello art class for Matthias.

Hello dinner with friends.

Hello coffee. I’m trying to limit myself to one cup a day. I’m savoring every sip.

Hello last week of the Tour de France. We’ll be watching every stage.

Hello all day meetings and lots of planning.

Hello walking and soaking up the sunshine.

Hello France. I’m thinking of you today.

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

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creativity takes courage {a lot of it!}

adventures, finding beauty, the meaning behind By May 10, 2016 37 Comments

Do you know that feeling—when you can feel the shame creeping up your neck and into your cheeks? When you wish the ground would swallow you up? I know that feeling well.

Years ago, when I was beginning to make jewelry, I sent a couple samples to one of my favorite local boutiques. The shop was located near the beach and carried high end clothing, vintage décor and handmade jewelry. I followed up with a phone call and we scheduled a time to meet. The thought of having my handmade creations in her store was exhilarating. It was exciting and humbling. It was also terrifying.

I carefully chose some of my favorite creations–lots of necklaces and a few earrings. Each was piece was placed in an individual box and all of the boxes were gathered into a structured bag. On the day of our meeting, I loaded up my creations, found a parking space near the boutique and walked with trembling steps through the boutique door.

early designs lisa leonard

{early designs from 2008/2009}

Deep breath.

The owner smiled and welcomed me to her shop. We chatted about the beautiful weather outside and a new label she was carrying in her store. As we talked, I began to lay out each necklace side by side. As I laid out the handmade pieces, I felt like I was laying out my soul, baring some of my most vulnerable hopes and dreams.

She turned her attention from the conversation to the handmade jewelry in front of her. With the precision of a surgeon and the strong opinions of an experienced buyer, she began to separate the necklaces into two categories. She went through each piece and decided whether or not it suited her taste. I could feel her words cut through me.

Yes.
No.
No
Yes.
No.
Yes.

With each ‘no’ my heart sunk a little lower and I wished the ground would swallow me up. With each ‘yes’ my hopes boosted slightly. I felt like a ping pong ball–she liked it, she hated it, she liked it, she hated it.

After a few very short minutes that felt like an eternity she counted the ‘yes’ necklaces, pulled out her checkbook and paid me for the pieces. I thanked her, packed up the reject necklaces, walked outside and got in my car. I drove down the street and pulled into a quiet parking spot. Then, like every strong and capable entrepreneur, I burst into tears. I felt humiliated. I felt rejected. I felt stupid. Who did I think I was making handmade jewelry? I was a failure.

But I could hear a little voice reminding me that this shop, a shop I loved, was carrying some of my handmade designs. Sure, she didn’t like every piece, but she liked some of them. She was carrying my designs. It was a success, not a failure. And even if she hadn’t bought one single necklace, that didn’t mean I was a failure either. It only meant the jewelry wasn’t her taste.

I was beginning to understand creativity requires courage. Sharing my creations with the world was a way of baring my soul. The jewelry was part of me. In a very real way, it was an expression of my heart.

Creativity is like hopping across a rocky stream, jumping from one stone to the next. Watching someone else do it is easy.  But as I took my first leap, my foot landed on a slightly unstable stone. Should I jump to the next stone or turn back? I could see the next stone, so I jumped. In order to get across the stream, I had to jump one stone at a time—sometimes changing course. I had to be brave.

Each step takes me further on my journey. Each step provides new opportunities, new insights, and new challenges. With each leap I am learning new ways of thinking that had never crossed my mind before. With each leap I am getting braver.

But how how do we find courage to leave the shore? How do we find the bravery to jump from one stone to the next?  I’ve found a few simple but profound strategies that work for me.

  1. I believe I am worthy and loved no matter what. My value isn’t determined by a successful jewelry business. I am enough. If I fail, I will still be loved. I will still be precious. I am surrounded by family and friends who treasure me just because I am ME. Even when I land on a shaky stone, I have a solid foundation. This gives me courage—so much courage!
  2. I separate my art from my soul–at least a bit. The work of my hands is a reflection of me, but it’s not ME. When someone doesn’t like my jewelry, that doesn’t mean they are rejecting me. It simply means they don’t like my jewelry. And that’s okay. But in the rare circumstance where they are rejecting me? Well, I go back to number one—I am worthy and loved no matter what.
  3. Failure is one of the best ways to learn. It’s impossible to succeed all of the time. If I’m able to look at a failure head on, knowing it doesn’t define me, I can learn from it, change a few things and forge ahead. Failure can be my friend.

Looking back, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I never expected my little hobby jewelry business to blossom into something bigger. I never expected to have a team of talented, brilliant people work alongside me to make it flourish. I never expected to connect with women like you–amazing women who have a beautiful heart and a deep love for others. I can look back with gratitude and look forward with hope. Where will the next stone take me?

current designs lisa leonard

{some of my best sellers from the shop}

Have you jumped from the shore onto a stone? How how you found the courage to share your creativity with the world? I would love to hear your story!

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