A Gratitude Challenge

Maui Anniversary trip, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!  Today, as we collectively think about all we are grateful for, I urge you to join me on a mission.

A mission to take this Thanksgiving-inspired ritual of thinking about and sharing what we are grateful for one step further.  Let’s make it a regular habit, a daily habit.

I know, it seems a little bit much, and may even remind you (like it did me), of Oprah and her gratitude journals from years ago.  But here’s the thing: the more we are in touch with what we are grateful for in our lives, the more satisfied, happy and present we feel.  I’m up for some of that, are you?

I was inspired to write this post after watching Marie Forleo’s latest video: The Downside of Gratitude.  I dare you to watch it (it’s under 5 minutes) and join in by listing the 10 things you are grateful for today.  And then, if you’re inspired to join me, keep making your list every day for the rest of the year.  Stop and notice how you feel afterward.  I’ll bet it’s pretty good!

Here are my 10:

  1. My sweet, funny, smart nearly 3-year old daughter
  2. Sweetie & I recently celebrating 10 years together with an anniversary trip to Hawaii
  3. Knitting, for it’s ability to connect me with my deepest creativity and for calming me down on my Crazy Days.
  4. Handmade ceramic mugs, so perfect for tea and hot cocoa this time of year
  5. Our new home!  I’m super excited to get out the holiday decorations next week.
  6. The mild Oregon climate; just cool enough for handknits, not cold enough for regular snow.
  7. Friends who bring freshly baked banana bread to me at the shop.
  8. Clean sheets.
  9. People who share the gift of being 100% themselves.
  10. Orbitz for making it possible for us to fly last minute to be with my family on Thanksgiving.

Please join me in making your own list in the commets.  

And have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Hurricane Cowl

Lunch at Slice

with Marie Forleo, my biz-lady mentor

Last weekend I went to New York City for a conference for women entrepreneurs striving to create not just a business we love, but a life we love as well.  My goal was to get inspired and map out the trajectory for a few new ideas I have brewing for Stash.  I also wanted to meet some fellow biz ladies and play in the city.  I got to do all of those things and so much more; I ate my way through the West Village, discussed ideas with incredible women (and a couple of men), danced my buns off, and even did some yarn shopping.  I also had some major personal revelations and got inspired to hit the ground running as soon as I got home.

Hudson River at West Side Highway and West 12th

And then on Sunday afternoon, reality hit as news of Hurricane Sandy’s imminent arrival infiltrated the bubble that was my experience so far.  Flights were cancelled, airports were closed, and hotels were evacuated.  Many of us were stranded, challenged to create an opportunity out of an uncertain situation.

When I woke up on Monday morning,  I saw the above view out my hotel window and decided the water was just a bit too close for comfort.  The storm hadn’t even started yet and the Hudson was already level with the West Side Highway!  Through Facebook and Twitter, some fellow conference goers and I were able to stay in touch and I ended up with a fantastic new friend to wait out the storm with.  We promptly moved to a hotel in Midtown and were fortunate to have power throughout the storm.

A bit of blue sky the morning after.

Huddling inside a hotel room with a near-stranger  waiting for a hurricane to strike is an interesting experience, indeed.  We were both anxious, scared, uncertain, and grateful to not be alone.  My heart was aching to be so far away from my wife and daughter; I was literally trapped on an island, and couldn’t get home.  This moment threw my priorities into stark relief, and I couldn’t wait to get home to hug them.

Through it all, I knit on this cowl.  Huge size 35 needles and some extreme thick and thin yarn from Loopy Mango made for good hurricane knitting.  Each stitch was a meditation as I absorbed all I had learned over the weekend, changes I wanted to make in my personal life, and new ideas for my business.  And when the knitting was finished, the hurricane was over and I was wrapped in the warmth of wool and new friendships.

Thank you to my hurricane sisters Catherine, Sarah, Sara, Amy, Ellie, Mari, Ceclia, and Claudia.  I’m so thankful we met!

Please consider taking a moment to donate to the Red Cross; anything you can contribute will help someone in need.

Yarn Along:: On Fire!

Yarn Along ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? 

In my knitting basket

I’ve been knitting like wildfire on my new Tidal cardigan.  This cardigan is one I know I’ll get tons of wear out of, but isn’t the most exciting to knit.  That’s also why it was perfect for autopilot vacation knitting last week!  I took just one project with me, and knit 8 out of 11 inches for the body.  Not bad for a week’s work!  There might be something to this monogamous knitting thing… I am loving the yarn: Knitted Wit’s zesty DK Polwarth/Silk blend.  It’s soft and shiny, and has subtle hue variations from her dying process that really make the stitches sing.

On my nightstand

As a solo business woman, I often look for outside inspiration to stay motivated and innovative.  We can only do so much by ourselves, right?  To that end, I’ve recently been enjoying The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. Full of juicy insights and encouragement, this book is literally setting me free from some of my old thoughts and patterns.  Some gems:

Procrastination can be divine…what seems like avoidance may be a deeper inkling of wrong timing.  Hesitation can be a form of wisdom. Motivations become clearer; new motivation shows up.

~ Danielle LaPorte

And:

If you try to keep your most sacred ambitions off of your weekly calendar and your most genuine traits off of your resume, then you’re missing out on the power of real integrity.

~ Danielle LaPorte

Another business and life tool I’m utilizing right now is Marie Forleo’s amazing Rich Happy and Hot B-School e-course.  I have been following her website and enjoying her free business videos for months; when the opportunity came up to take this class, it was a no brainer.  It’s the first week, and I’ve already had a few great new ideas for my business, how to manage my family and work calendar with less overwhelm, and am generally feeling more motivated and inspired.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

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Today’s post is full of enlivened women who inspire me by doing business in a way that they’re passionate about and excellent at.

Who inspires you?  Are you doing something that makes you excited to get out of bed each day?  If not, what tiny step could you take today to move toward living your dream?