Right Here and Now

be brave, poems By June 14, 2018 47 Comments

Do you ever feel like everyone else seems to have it figured out? Sometimes I look at Instagram and have this overwhelming feeling that I’m screwing it all up. I wonder, “How do all these moms have so much energy?” Half the time I want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. Comparing my life to others makes me feel small and less than. The other night I woke up at 2am and this poem came to mind. So I got up and grabbed a pen and paper and wrote it down. {Then the next morning I refined it because, you know, I was half asleep when I wrote it!}. I hope it encourages you like it encourages me. Sending you a giant hug and reminding you it’s all good. All of it.

You Are Right Where You’re Meant To Be

Every step forward
Every step back
Each giant leap
The occasional trip and fall
Have landed you here
Nothing is wasted
Everything is useful
Each victory makes you stronger
Mistakes are your teacher
This is your path
You didn’t miss it
Or mess it up
You’re not behind
You’re not ahead
You’re right on time
The what ifs
The possibilities
The regrets
The forks in the road
Are all part of your path
They shape your unique journey
The right turns
The wrong turns
The u turns
Have all brought you here
To this beautiful place
This exact spot
You’re not lost
You’re not off track
It’s okay
All is well
Look around
Breathe deeply
Soak up this moment
And the incredible truth
You’re in the right place
You did it
You made it
You arrived
You’re ready
To take the next step
Believing it will lead you
To the next right place
Don’t worry
Even if it’s the wrong place
It will be the right place
You don’t have to be perfect
Or have it all figured out
Lean into the adventure
One step at a time
With boldness
And trembling knees
With faith
Giving love to yourself and others
Knowing this is your journey
You’re right where you’re meant to be
Share:

hello san buenaventura state beach

an everyday moment, hello monday By June 11, 2018 2 Comments

Hello friends

David is officially on summer break this morning, and Matthias is finishing up his last few days of 8th grade. It’s really hitting me that after this week I have two HIGH SCHOOLERS. So crazy and exciting. My heart can hardly process the information. Watching my boys grow up is surreal. I love it and I hate it. But mostly I’m awestruck and grateful.

Last week I met up with my twin sis Chrissie in Ventura. We usually have a long lunch and go to different thrift store–but on this day we didn’t want to shop, we just wanted to talk and catch up and be together. We had a long lunch and then walked on the beach. It was just what my soul needed.

How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello magical gloom that seems to soften everything.

Hello smooth stone worn and weathered by water and time.

Hello finding a heart worn into this rock and feeling like it was meant just for me. Is that possible? Does that God of the Universe give us messages of love? Does he do things just for me? I think he does and that is a truly amazing thought.

Hello sister of my heart. To be known and loved by someone so incredible is humbling and empowering.

Hello making time to make time for the most important things.

Hello natural sculptures left behind for us to find.

Hello phone calls to make and appointments to schedule.

Hello planning summer adventures–some small some big.

Hello Father’s Day this week! We have a couple fun things planned.

Hello debating whether or not to wash my hair {again, how often does it need to be washed?}

Hello waiting our office and being mesmerized by the miracle of a coat of paint!

Hello trying to be less grumpy and more grateful. It’s a work in process.

Hello writing and sketching and creating. So many ideas to capture!

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

Share:

for my sweetheart on Father’s Day

family, father's day, steve By June 4, 2018 3 Comments

Father’s Day is right around the corner and I’ve been thinking about what an amazing father Steve is to our boys. I think about it a lot, actually. It’s not perfection that makes him amazing, he’s not perfect and he would quickly admit that. What makes him amazing is his desire to stretch and grow and become who he is made to be. He models for our boys every day what it looks like to bravely step into the things that scare you, instead of running away or living in denial.

To bravely step into what scares him means he has to acknowledge hard things. He looks at a problem from all angles and considers different solutions. He values honesty. He is honest with himself even when it hurts. He’s honest with me even when he’s nervous to tell me something I don’t want to hear. He’s honest with our boys about life, faith, money, friendship and so much more.

I see David’s face light up when Steve comes into the room and throw his arms around his dad for a big hug. Watching Matthias grow into a teenager {practically a man!} I watch Steve engage in deep, honest conversations and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. Steve loves our boys in a way I cannot. David and Matthias are loved by their dad and it’s a gift they most likely can’t comprehend.

I know few people who crave learning like Steve does. He took up guitar a few years ago and he’s really good! I love hearing him play and sing. While our boys were little he earned a doctoral degree. When our business started to grow he jumped in as CEO and hungrily read every business book he could get his hands on. He asks others for advice and insights and listens to what they say. He wants to grow, it’s who he is.

He makes me stronger. Being married to someone who is constantly learning and growing means I am constantly learning and growing. Steve pushes me to try new things, loosen up, be brave and live life to the fullest. I am willing to take risks because I know he’ll be by my side no matter what. He loves to travel, try new foods, meet new people and gather new information.

He reads to David, has nerf wars with Matthias, whips up high protein pancakes for our family each morning and snuggles on the couch to watch a movie in the evenings. He’s intense and sensitive, a visionary and a do-er. He’s high energy but loves to snuggle. He works hard for our family and drops everything the moment one of us needs him. He doesn’t think he’s got life figured out and he apologizes when he makes a mistake. And he’s got the cutest smile, too.

It has been fun to stand beside him as he launches his own brand Stephen David Leonard. Every design reflects who he is and what is important to him. His shop is full of products he uses every day. If you haven’t seen his new line, you can check it out here.

Men's Jewelry, Accessories & Leather Goods by Stephen David Leonard
Our life together is beautiful, messy, loud, adventurous and far from perfect but we are better together, bound by laughter and tears, I-love-yous and forgiveness. Steve shows us how to live bravely, being willing to make mistakes, take responsibility and move forward.
Happy Father’s Day, sweetheart. We are better because of you.

Share:

hello head above water

hello monday By June 4, 2018 3 Comments

Hi friends!  I feel like I’m back–not just to the blog but back to life in general. I’ve been so busy and emotionally focused on David sinus surgery. To catch you up if you haven’t heard, David had a large polyp growing in his sinuses. In order to have the surgery we had to get cardiology clearance, a sedated CT scan and coordinate insurance. Steve and I spent a lot of hours {I’m guessing around 100 hours over 3-4 weeks} driving to various doctor appointments and making phone calls. Meanwhile was uncomfortable and couldn’t breathe through his nose. The surgical team gasped as they removed the polyp–it was over 4″ long! BUT! We are on the other side and he is doing wonderfully!

One of our doctor visits took us to Santa Monica which meant a short walk at sunset. We were wiped out but we soaked up a few minutes of sunset then went back to our hotel room and ordered pizza. These pics are from that evening. ❤

How about some hellos for a brand new week? ☀

Hello LAST WEEK of school! I finally got my head above water and GUESS WHAT?! Summer is here. Totally crazy. And exciting.

Hello making salmon. My twin sis shared her easy recipe with me and it’s a win. I just put a large pat of butter, salt and pepper on each salmon filet and broil for 12 minutes on high. I also slice up zucchini on the same cookie sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and they all cook at the same time. Easy and delicious. {My oven tends to cook hot and a little faster than most}.

Hello David feeling better! Hooray! The swelling in his face has gone down. He has more energy and more smiles. I am so grateful.

Hello heat wave. It’s been about 80* and I just want to be outside soaking up the beautiful, warm sun.

Speaking of outside, hello hiking, I’ve been walking and hiking and it feels great. I’m not sure how I got out of my rhythm {David’s surgery maybe?} but I’m so glad to be back. It’s good for body and soul.

Hello 8th grade graduate. Matthias is almost done with middle school and then we’ll officially have TWO high schoolers. WHAT?!

Hello reading this book and loving it. SO GOOD, so inspiring.

Hello listening to this podcast and loving it. Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorite ones? I’d love to know!

Hello wearing these jeans and loving them. Super high waisted and soft. They’re not crop on me–I wear them with a low heel.

Hello BIG announcement to share soon. Are you signed up for our newsletter? We’ll be sharing there first.

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

Share:

hello gold and green

hello monday By April 23, 2018 5 Comments

This weekend felt like golden sunshine and green trees and plants. It felt vibrant–it felt like what my soul needed.

We’re down in LA today so David can see a spine specialist. He has had scoliosis since he was born but it seems to have progressed as he’s gotten older {and with his recent growth spurt}. Steve and I are a little nervous about the appointment. David’s body is quirky and we never know what to expect. Later this week David has an appointment with a pediatric Ear Nose Throat specialist to look at a polyp {growth} in his nose. To fight the stress I feel, I’m trying to move slowly and stay in the moment. This moment is okay. This moment is enough.

How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello macrame in the window. Reminds me Tied and True.

Hello wood table and glass bottles. Love the texture.

Hello to my three favorite boys. ❤

Hello succulent garden.

Hello asking Matthias to take a pic of us in front of an aqua wall–my favorite color.

Hello chips and salsa from Lola’s in Long Beach, So good! I recommend the Tijuana Tacos and fried plantains. Yum.

Hello iconic Santa Monica palm trees. Someone once told me palm trees were ugly. I disagree–but then I’m a California girl.

Hello needing sleep after a busy, very fun weekend.

Hello reading this book to David. It’s his favorite right now. We love London!

Hello lots of driving this week. I need to download some good podcasts.

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

Share:

Showing Them Love

motherhood By April 15, 2018 40 Comments

I like to joke that I was a really nice person before I had kids. I yelled a lot less before I had kids. I worried less. I didn’t get pushed to my limit nearly as much when it was just me and Steve–no kiddos.

When the boys were born I truly believed I could be the perfect mom. I would be patient but firm. I would be fun and easy-going. With every breath I would encourage them to be the best they could be. I never wanted to yell or lose my temper. I quickly began to see that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t be perfect. We’d have a fun day playing at the park or a successful trip to the grocery store. We’d watercolor in the afternoon and the boys would take good naps. I’d feel like the best mom in the world! Then before dinner I’d lose my temper over something small and feel like a complete failure. The whole day was ruined. I was an awful mom.

Someone once told me not to look at parenting in one single moment, or one day. We raise our children over seasons and years. One moment doesn’t define us. And thankfully, there is so much grace.

Mother’s Day feels so different this year. I’ve been aware for a few years that I have ‘big kids’ now and not ‘little kids’. They are growing up! But wow, this year they have grown SO MUCH. They went from big kids to teenagers. They’re physically big, a lot more opinionated and so much fun. As they grow I understand now more than ever that what they need is unconditional love. Yes, the need to be fed and have clean clothes. They need to be encouraged to work hard in school and reminded to do their chores. They need structure and routines.

But most of all, they need someone who will listen to them without freaking out. They need someone to accept and love them no matter what. I tell Matthias {David is non-verbal}, “You can tell me anything and we’ll figure it out together.” He comes to me periodically and shares his heart and I do my very best to listen without judgement. I try not to give advice unless he wants it. I want to be a mom who loves unconditionally. Isn’t that what we all want most–someone to love us without judgement?

Hugs to you mama! Motherhood is crazy hard and it isn’t defined by one difficult moment. We shape and nurture our children over seasons and years and there is so much GRACE. There is love, so much love.

I wrote a little poem about Motherhood and love we pour our for our children.

Mom’s Love

The love of a mom
Comes deep from inside
It’s a powerful force
It’s the wind on your side

Her love is a gift
She gives every day
Through wisdom and insight,
Through laughter and play
On difficult days
When the going gets tough
Her words remind you
You are enough
When all else fails
When it all falls apart
Her love is like glue
Healing cracks in your heart
Through all kinds of weather
No matter the storm
Her love is a shelter
A place to stay warm
True and steadfast
A love like no other
It’s a love built to last
Thank you, moms
For the love that you show
It’s the water and sunshine
That helps us to grow
Share:

hello honest self serve

hello monday By April 11, 2018 3 Comments

Hello friends! We had a rainy, mellow weekend to end our Spring Break. Now it’s back to our regular routine.

Spring is fickle, right? We have a mix of sunny days and gloomy days. I find myself craving sunshine, wanting to feel its warmth on my shoulders. Bringing fresh flowers inside feels like a bit of sunshine. In Los Osos {a small coastal town about 12 miles from San Luis Obispo} there is a fresh flower stand out in front of a home. They use the honor system–grab a boutique of flowers and leave $10. The flowers are so pretty and fresh and I love how ‘small town’ it feels. If you’re coming from SLO up Los Osos Valley Road, Make a right on South Bay Blvd and a right on Nipomo {you’ll see a little sign on South Bay and Nipomo}.

How about some hellos for a brand new week?

Hello grabbing a bouquet of fresh flowers on my way home.

Hello funny reminders that your bad deeds will come back to haunt you. I swear I have such a strong conscience–I’m my own bad karma.

Hello pinks and greens and yellows–screaming spring!

Hello loving the slow pace of Spring Break and also craving structure again.

Hello cleaning out the garage with my friend Brenda who is an EXPERT organizer {feels incredible!}. I have more clean out projects planned.

Hello making a few doctor appointments for David. It looks like he’ll have a small surgery coming up. It’s nothing major but I still hate it.

Hello wondering what to fix for dinners this week. Sometimes it feels like all we eat is chicken.

Hello feeling of emptiness because we just finished watching a show on Netflix. Now we’re looking for something new.

Hello loving this dress that just arrived in the mail. I didn’t know Amazon had some of its own brands, did you? Now I need some warmer weather so I can wear it!

Hello writing little poems here are there.

Hello sore throat and fighting a cold. I’m the last one in our family to get it and I’m not going down without a fight!

Hello wanting to have our carpets cleaned.

Hello making time for date nights. So important!

Hello looking for beauty and simplicity and peace this week. Hello embracing what IS and practicing gratefulness.

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

Share:

hello loft space

hello monday By March 20, 2018 5 Comments

Do you have spots in your house that tend to accumulate stuff? We have a loft space upstairs that ends up being a catch all for things like suitcases, laundry baskets, extra blankets, video game stuff and other random items. It’s the place where I put things when I think I’ll-deal-with-this-later. Well ‘later’ came this weekend. I spent an hour or so cleaning and tidying and it feels so good!

It’s a brand new week! How about some hellos?

Hello cozy cream couch and cleaned up area where I can work.

Hello quiet spot to read or take a little nap.

Hello chalkboard where we can put important reminders like; you are amazing!

Hello staying up too late last night and reeeeally wanting a nap today.

Hello reading this book–so inspiring!!

Hello plants around the house that are thriving! I love it.

Hello cold and rainy weather that we really need but I miss the warm sunshine.

Hello wanting to make something other than chicken dishes for dinner this week. I’m stuck in a rut.

Hello craving a relaxing weekend getaway with Steve. Hmmm, I think we need to put that on the calendar.

Hello reading kids books to David allll daaaay loooong. He’s obsessed.

Hello busy week ahead. Let’s do this!

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

Share:

Love Given Is Love Gained

be brave, david, the meaning behind the jewelry By March 14, 2018 21 Comments


A few months ago, as we traveled down to Southern California to see family for Christmas, we stopped at El Pollo Loco for lunch. Steve placed our order while I got David settled in the booth and pulled out his pre-prepared foods and a spoon. Because of his disability, David eats a special diet and all his meals are blended to a smooth texture. As I began spoon feeding him a woman come over to us. She looked at David’s small hand with only two fingers and compassion filled her eyes. I could feel her love towards him.

As she approached us I wondered what she would say. Would she ask for a hug from him? Every thing about her seemed like she wanted to wrap her arms around him and snuggle him.

“Hello,” she said with a tremble in her voice. “He is so precious. Can I give him a gift?” She pulled out a crisp $100 dollar bill and handed it to me.

“Thank you, you are so kind, but that is not necessary.” I said with a smile.

“Please,” she said, her eyes pleading with me to take the money.

“He is fine, don’t worry. Someone else must need this money more than he does.” I tried to explain.

“I want to give it to him. Please, please take it.” She pleaded.

“Okay. Thank you. Wow. God Bless you.” I stumbled over my words as I stood up and hugged her. We embraced and as we said goodbye she wiped a tear from her eye.

This isn’t the first time someone has given David a generous gift. I’m unsure what to do in these situations–we don’t really need the money–David has everything he needs and more. But, how can we reject a gift given with so much love? So much bravery?

We finished our food, gathered our things and headed back to the car. As we continued our journey Steve and I talked about what we should do with the money. Let’s keep our eyes open for the right person. We’ll find someone who needs this $100 and pass it on to them.

God please bless her, I prayed as we drove. I pray her gift comes back to her tenfold. 

Later that day we picked up our family from the airport. We shared the crazy story with them and talked about the kindness of strangers. We also talked about David’s beautiful heart and how he draws people to him. It’s something I can’t explain but I’ve seen it happen again and again.

A couple days later we woke up in a hotel room, threw on sweats and headed down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. We had been exploring Los Angeles with our extended family as we were all wiped out. It was Christmas Eve and the hotel was mostly quiet.  We were seated at a big table and our server came over quickly to fill our mugs with hot coffee. He smiled at the kids and made small talk–asking us what had brought us to town on Christmas Eve. We went around the table and each of us placed our order for an omelet or waffles. When he got to David I told the server David was fine–I had brought special food for him. Our server smiled at David and then headed to the computer to put our breakfast order in.

This server was extra attentive with a kind smile and a gentle heart. He kept checking on us, but specifically asking after David, making sure he had everything he needed. When I finished feeding David his pre-prepared blended food, the server asked if he could take the containers to the kitchen and wash them for us. We have never had a server ask to do that! It was so thoughtful. Steve and I were both touched by his kindness. We looked at each other and smiled. This was the person who needed the $100. This gentle soul, who noticed David and went out of his way to show kindness, should be the one who received this generous gift. When the bill arrived, Steve paid with a credit card and left the crisp $100 bill as a tip.

As we got ready to leave, the server made his way to Steve.

“I think you made a mistake.” He said, showing Steve the credit card receipt next to the crisp bill.

“No, no mistake. That is a gift for you.” Steve replied.

The look on the server’s face was a mix of genuine surprise, sheer joy and overwhelming gratitude. When I saw his face I thought I might burst into tears right then and there. I’m tearing up right now thinking about it. I am confident, this was the person who needed the $100 bill. I have no doubt God put this person in our path.

I wish we’d had time to tell the server the whole backstory–that it really wasn’t a gift from us, but a gift from a stranger we had met a few days earlier. I wished we could have found a way to explain that David, our son who only has two fingers on his left hand, our kiddo who is non-verbal, has a spark that brings out kindness in people. This kindness, this love, is bigger than David–big enough to connect strangers in different cities. Every good deed comes back bigger and better. Love stretches and grows and binds us together.

Love Given is Love Gained

Generosity brings freedom
Bravery makes us stronger
Smiles are contagious
Kindness rubs off on others
Gentleness calms the soul
Creativity inspires creativity
Laughter is infectious
Honesty breaks down walls
Forgiveness fortifies the heart
Love given is love gained
Good never goes to waste

It comes back bigger and better
Love grows and stretches and
binds us together 


This is the meaning behind the Let Love Grow Cuff.

Have you experienced the kindness of a stranger?

Share:

hello selfies

hello monday, what I'm wearing By March 5, 2018 3 Comments

Lately I’ve been taking selfies in the mirror. I started doing it to document the outfit or maybe share it Instagram, but something unexpected began to happen. I noticed I was getting a different perspective of myself. I want to embrace who I am–inside and out. These selfie pics were a way to see myself and speak kindly to myself. Selfies get a bad rap sometimes–maybe they’re used as a way to be better than others or get attention. But sometimes selfies are just a way to document a moment, have fun, and see yourself. Seeing myself and embracing myself is a good thing. It’s imperfect–up and down but I’m getting better at letting myself be me–no more, no less, just me.

How about some hellos for a brand new week?

Jeans, Pilco by Althropologie {similar}
T-shirt, Target
Leather Jacket, Madewell
Gray Felt Hat, Target {similar}
Booties, Jeffrey Campbell


Hello being kind to myself. 

Hello fighting an awful cold. The family has it and it seems to hang on, go away and then come back.

Hello using my new air fryer and loving it! I made these chicken tenders and they turned our perfectly. A couple quick notes: I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil and panko crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs. I served them with a chipotle ranch dressing.

Hello watching this series from BBC and cracking up. Who doesn’t love Matt LeBlanc?

Hello pups who needs baths.

Hello short week at school. David has Monday off and Matthias has Wed/Thurs/Friday off.

Hello thinking Easter was next weekend and realizing I still have another month. For once I am ahead of the calendar!

Hello craving cold cereal. I love it and lately I’ve been giving in. It’s my comfort food.

Hello haircut this week for ME! Yay!

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

Share: