happiness

Halloween 2016 // Dinosaur & Lamb

November 14, 2016

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween is kind of a big deal around here. Errrr… that’s an understatement. Halloween is actually THE. BIGGEST. DEAL. around here. Roman and I start getting amped up about the end of July. This year the kids’ costumes were purchased in August. In October, once the Halloween decorations start going up all over town, we make a special effort to pass the best-decorated houses at least once a day. We start watching “The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and Curious George’s “Boofest” at the very first signs of autumn.

For me, Halloween isn’t just a holiday, it’s a way of life, a celebration of everything that is fun and magical about childhood. So many of my own best childhood memories were built around Halloween. The smell of pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven, the excitement of carving a jack-o-lantern, the thrill of bobbing for apples, spooky Halloween songs & stories, the joy of trick-or-treating from door-to-door on cool October days. I am so grateful to spend the rest of my life celebrating the magic with my sweet babies.

This Halloween was as beautiful an autumn day, as one could hope for. The sun was shining and the air was crisp. Orange, red, yellow and brown leaves were painted on the trees and swirling through the air. Pumpkins were glowing on front porches and the whole community gathered at their front doors to greet babies, children, and teens with treats & smiling faces.

As has often been the case this year, I didn’t get to take nearly as many pictures as I would have liked. Still, I am so grateful that I decided to drag along my big camera and at least capture these precious moments that I’m sharing here today.

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

Halloween 2016 // livelovesimple.com

I hope that you had a most special Halloween celebration this year, friends. I’ve just now, two weeks later, begun to reluctantly take our Halloween decor down around the house. Onto Thanksgiving and Christmas! But don’t worry Halloween, we’ll see you again next year for even bigger and better celebrations. ♥

In the Woods // thoughts on childhood

September 7, 2016

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

“Fill your children with good thoughts before they go to bed. Ask them about their favorite part of the day, praise them for a good deed, pray with them, and tell them they’re the best gift God ever gave you. They’ll fall asleep feeling ten feet tall.” –David Young, from “A Little Guide to a Big Life”

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

“Be gentle with your children. They’re doing the best that they can.”

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

“If we want our children to stay hungry for knowledge, remain interested in questioning, enjoy the wonder of discovery, then we must leave them some clutter-free hours for friendship, the great out-of-doors, the rich world of imagination and the satisfaction of the skilled use of art supplies, music, dance, wood and clay.” –Elaine Cooper

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” –Peggy O’Mara

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

magic in the woods // livelovesimple.com

Roman’s sweet hat is c/o Blue Corduroy.

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Let Go

July 29, 2016

let it go
let it leave
let it happen
nothing
in this world
was promised or
belonged to you
anyway

all you own is yourself — rupi kaur

Let Go // livelovesimple.com

We all struggle with something. Certainly there isn’t a soul among us who has it all figured out.

For me, the thing that I’ve struggled with the most in recent years, and over the course of my life, is the illusion of control. I say the illusion of control, rather than simply saying control, because there really is no such a thing as control.

As my wise therapist once pointed out– You were never really controlling things, Dena. You were simply manipulating situations frantically and convincing yourself that you had power. You never really did. No one does.

There are only choices and consequences. A brutal truth, but a powerful one nonetheless. Choices and consequences. Recently, I’ve been making more of a valiant effort to let go and let God. Instead of trying to “control” situations and people, I am instead focusing on my choices — which is the only real thing that I can control. I am trying to make healthy, loving choices. If I can accomplish that, it’s all that matters. From there, whatever happens next is in God’s hands.

Perhaps this is a simple and obvious conclusion, but for me it’s been deeply helpful. What a weight off of my shoulders to stop squeezing the life out of everything with a white-knuckle grip and to simply let go.

Wishing you love and peace, friends. If you enjoyed this post, you might also like this one: We don’t have to suffer. We can choose happiness.

Rectifying the Pieces of Myself

July 5, 2016

sunset // livelovesimple.com

“You are not your wounds.”
–Charlotte Brontë

I once heard it said that we can not know ourselves until we reach our thirties; that all of the years before then, we are simply becoming and getting to know. Then, in our thirties we come into who we are completely, for the first time we see ourselves in an unadulterated light. For the first time, the opinions of others and all of the shadows that the world casts against our true selves are put out of our vision and we can see ourselves clearly. These aren’t the exact words that I heard, I’m putting my own spin on it — interpreting some piece of wisdom that was shared with me long ago and spitting it out through my own lens.

I imagine that this process is different for each person. When it comes to experience and growth, there are few things in life that apply across the board. But for me, I believe this to be true. And it wasn’t in my thirtieth year, or my thirty-first year, that I began to see myself clearly — it has only been just recently. Now in my thirty-second year I am finally coming into focus. It is a scary and painful and beautiful and liberating process. One day, you just become aware. You can see into the deepest parts of yourself and you have a choice, you keep looking and you learn who you are, or you look away.

I have chosen to keep looking. Although, sometimes what I see is so difficult, so raw, so painful, that I want to look away. But I will not. We are all made up of thousands of tiny pieces and for every good, beautiful piece, there is a dark, ugly piece. But this is the way of life, this is the way of the world. It is true for all of the things that exist. Something as simple as a stone, once picked up by human hands, can be used in so many ways. Think about all of the uses for a single stone. Think about how it can be used for good, for bad, or for nothing at all. So it is with each human spirit, each one infinitely complex and containing infinite possibility.

sunset // livelovesimple.com

The more that I look inside, the more that I realize how complex I am, how deep. I am learning that the world will push us to be shallow instead of deep. In this society, everyone is busy (or at least they think they are busy) and also most people are extremely self-consumed and obsessed with things that are not truly important. (Such as physical appearance, unnecessary personal possessions, career status, social status, and so on.) Due to these obsessions, there is very little time to speak about truly important things like personal growth, the depth of the human spirit, real love, caring for the earth, and so on. All of these things are actually important, as opposed to the false realities that most people worship and spend their days obsessing about. Of all of the things that I’ve mentioned, today I am talking specifically about the depth of the human spirit. To come back around to my point, because most people are not focused on that, they will never help you to cultivate and explore the depth of your own spirit. Therefore, you will have to do it yourself or seek out the rare individuals who will walk with you on that path.

I have just started out on this path for myself. As I embark, I see just how many pieces of myself there are: mother, daughter, friend, magician, adventurer, goddess, warrior, believer, creator, lover, and the list goes on. Now that I see all of these pieces, I find it so important that I nurture all of the pieces of myself and not just the few pieces that perhaps society would have me focus on: mother, daughter, friend, believer.

When we look inside and discover these many pieces, the next step is to embrace them and to do that we must rectify each piece among the others. It is a complicated but critical process. I find that it is especially difficult for mothers and daughters, because we are so consumed with our children, and later in life, our parents. However, if we truly wish to be our best selves and to experience all of the spiritual growth and greatness that we are capable of, we must set out to rectify and honor all of our pieces — not just the ones that society tells us to value.

* * *

These are deep and heavy thoughts. I hope that you will welcome them here, friends. This space has always been my creative outlet to share pieces of my heart and life. It will continue to serve as just that.

If you are interested in this topic I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you rectify the various pieces of yourself with one another? Do you find it is difficult to rectify being a mother/daughter with being an adventurer? Are there some pieces of yourself that you feel you have not honored because you’ve caved into society’s expectations? I would love to know. Tell me that I’m not alone. ♥

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