Ruling Paradise

I have proudly earned the title, “Duchess of Don’t” in my house. I am often the rule setter, the consequence decider, and the Enemy of Fun (my other moniker). Although I carry these titles with grace, there is a weight to them. Really, who wants to be the enemy of FUN?!?
As I explain to my inqusitive daughter, I will do anything to keep you safe…even if it means upsetting you. This weekend was no exception. Many times I needed to issue a firm boundary, only to be questioned with the all knowing eye roll. Ahhh, the tween eyeroll is a gesture like no other!
Yet, I have gratitude for these moments (usually only in reflection), for it means that my daughter is growing, learning, forming her own Paradise. Her choices will be different from mine. Her life will take surprising new paths. Her Paradise will be uniquely her own. But her “Duchess of Don’t” will ALWAYS be around to guide her Paradise!

Remembering Paradise

imageThis weekend, I biked the landscape of my youth noting that not much has changed. The trees a little taller, the paths a little worn in, but the bluffs and the endless ocean prove timeless. The big difference, the girlish giggles and comments of delight were not mine this time but those of my daughter and her dear friend.
I saw myself so clearly in her, the accomplished smile when finishing the ride, the scenerio created when pretending to be sisters on a biking adventure rather than best friends, the future plans for another exciting day in the waves after the bike ride ended. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to relive those cherished moments from my younger days and watch my daughter create her own.
I realize it is always a simple kind of Paradise I seek, laughter with those I love set against the scenic wonders that surround us. Today I will rejoice in the happier moments of yesteryear and capture some fantastic new ones to savor in the years to come.

Perfecting Paradise

Years ago, my sister, my husband, and I scraped all we could together to purchase our first home. It was in need of updating, a true fixer-upper, but at the right price. We figured we would have our home top notch in no time! And then we experienced the reality of homeownership.

Three years straight of EVERY weekend at Home Depot and every spare dollar and minute went into our home. With our dedication and sweat equity, we sold the home and moved forward into another place, ready to try it all again. We were searching for a Perfect Paradise.

We painted, landscaped, redesigned, wrestled and shaped all kinds of projects in an effort to perfect our Paradise. Yet, we realized this cycle of building and creating never truly ends. While Perfection is a myth we discovered Paradise is real.

Yes, there will always be a wall to paint and a space to reorganize. There will always be a project to start and something that must be fixed. That is all part of Paradise. Strive to bring about a better place for you to enjoy with those you love. Congratulate yourself when you complete one project but embrace the opportunity to start the next. Stretch yourself to bring your Paradise that much closer to Perfection.

Paradise kind of Mom

I know a Lady who always makes me laugh, every time I see her. She has a zest for life that she generously shares with others. She is open and honest, which makes her brand of humor that much more appreciated.

I know a Lady that gives selflessly to those around her. She cares for her family and friends with love and warmth. She’ll hold your hand through heartache until you are on the road to happiness.

I know a Lady who is just as quick to compliment as she is to critique. She is impressed with achievements and accolades, but considers a person’s character to mean so much more. She helps me see that even when I feel stretched so thin by responsibilities I’m almost transparent, there is a strength and vibrancy to my fabric that’s enduring.

I know this Lady very well. I love her more than words can explain. She taught me to search for Paradise. I call her Mom.

Life in Paradise

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new family member. This baby girl is already loved so much by her Mommy and Daddy and all of us in her extended family. We know she will enter this world tiny and fragile and grow in strength and love. This addition will make Paradise that much sweeter.

I remember, as all Mothers do, my own daughter’s arrival. How remarkable it is to have this little person grab hold of you and captivate every thought and decision. And then they grow and the love, worry, delight, and celebration of who they are expands immeasurably.

I am lucky to have a wonderful Mother, Aunts, and many bonus moms in my life. The care and attention they have shared has been the best example of what it means to be a Mother. There is no greeting card or gift that could ever acknowledge the appreciation I have for them or the place they hold within my heart. Be sure, as Mother’s Day approaches, you take the time to remember your Paradise exists because of the love and strength they gave or continue to give. Here’s to Mother’s Week, for one day surely isn’t enough to recognize just how necessary they are to Paradise!

Transitioning Paradise

I have been reminded numerous times this week of the necessity in redefining Paradise. I’ve watched or heard of others’ struggle to claim health, move into a new place, or understand what it means to have a Paradise. And that is Life, isn’t it? Transitions, turns, and tumbles lead us on to new paths of our Paradise.
For those I know and love who have been searching for something new, clinging to something broken, or just trying to find their way, I offer this: Life is yours! Make of it what you will! Create, define, reinvent your Paradise. Seek comfort from those who love and support you but find courage and strength from within. It is there.
May you all brave the travels of claiming your Paradise whether it means to polish your current one or forge something new. Surely, it is worth all the efforts!

Paradise and a Partner

imageSometimes it is a surprise bouquet of pink gerber daisies, or maybe a text that only I would find the humor and sentiment in, and it could even be just a hand reaching for mine, but certainly the infinite amount of gestures that go on throughout my years equates to a partnership in this crazy life and a love that feels worthy of a paradise.¬†As I prepare to celebrate my husband’s birthday, it occurs to me that I don’t tell him enough how much I appreciate these gestures.

I don’t share my relief in the house he takes care of or the cars he maintains. I don’t bring home the listening, sympathetic ear. I don’t provide nearly enough focus in the kitchen! I just don’t celebrate who he is or what he brings to this Paradise nearly enough. But I know it just wouldn’t be a Paradise without him…and it certainly wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

As I fill out the birthday card and wrap the gifts, I hope he knows just how much I need him in this Paradise. Don’t forget to take the time this week to hold your loved ones just a moment longer and tell them that they are just what you need to make your life a Paradise!

Gratitude in Paradise



My daughter asked me if I would like to live in a mansion. I immediately responded yes and began picturing what the kitchen, master bath, and closet would look like in this new place. When I asked her if she would like to live in one, her reply was a quick no. I inquired if that was because she would have more to clean, quite certain that was the reason. She laughed and said no then explained that she wouldn’t want a mansion because she just loves her home. Yes, it is that simple. She loves the Paradise she has created.
As she gets older, she reveals a humor and wisdom I both appreciate and adore. Her comments often make us laugh and her insight sees far beyond her years. I am a lucky mommy!
We recently read the story of Malala together. And the picture with this post says it all. I am so thankful for my daughter; she brings warmth and love to my Paradise!

Love in Paradise

Celebrating an engagement brings fun and joy to any day! When love is in the air, problems seem to dissolve and the notion of acknowledging something beautiful and genuine feels way more important than anything else in the world. LOVE! Simply put, it makes life liveable.

Whether you’re newly in love, celebrating 54 years (a nod to my parents here!), or wondering how in the world you have been married 19 years (seems like yesterday!), your commitment to each other and the shared path is what makes your Paradise.

From afar, I have watched the struggle of couples growing older, navigating the unimaginable when it comes to caring for their sweetheart…walking into the room and not being recognized, having to care for your lover as if they were a child. Love knows no bounds. Love cannot be contained to starry nights and champagne soaked mornings. It is the understanding that you will be there when the music dims and the parties grow blurry.

Much love and admiration to those who keep a Paradise for their loved ones in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, and ’til death do you part. Paradise is about creating a life worth living, always. If we cannot do that for those we love the most, then what is our Paradise?

Break in Paradise

imageSpring Break arrived! With it comes an abundance of excitement and moments of relaxation…I hope. There are sleepovers, movie trips, dinner outings, and breakfast parties planned. Swimming, laughing, and playing have been included on the list of things to do.

I watch, with much appreciation, as my daughter plays with her friends. Giggles and chalk paintings have ruled the weekend. What to order on the In-n-Out burger is the only real decision for them this weekend. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am so grateful there are days like these to balance out the rush and hurry of our typical schedule, days when after a Sunday morning walk with friends you can linger over a second cup of coffee. Hope your week allows you at least a few hours to enjoy Spring and all that it brings us. And go ahead and pour that second cup of coffee and live, laugh, lounge with friends!