Love Letters

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson and Sweet BugAaah, Mother’s Day, one of my favorite days of the year. Not because it’s the day I’m fed peeled grapes and fanned with a palm frond as I lay on my fainting couch having my toenails painted (especially since I don’t even own a fainting couch).

It’s because this day reminds me of how profoundly my life has changed since becoming a mom; how that little universe I was comfortably operating in shifted on its axis so dramatically that my head still spins ten years later. How my already happy, full, crazy life instantly became more textured and meaningful, and infinitely more challenging (in all the best ways).

Becoming a mom also suddenly compelled me to start doing things I never imagined I’d be doing. For example, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that when Sweet Bug was just a Tiny Bug in preschool that my love for her would inspire me to dig deep into my creative bucket and pull out a quirky idea that would soon transform into a special ritual for both of us.

It started out simply as a little note and sketch in Tiny Bug’s lunch box, but quickly evolved into a more elaborate daily dose of love and learning. Each day I’d chose a new word for her to learn then make a crayon drawing on her napkin and place the corresponding letter cookies in her lunch so she could match the cookies to the letters on the napkin before she enjoyed her tasty treats.

Every single day of preschool I made Tiny Bug a napkin. And yes, she ate and shared a lot of letter cookies, especially when they were long words (bad mommy).

These napkins were simply meant to be momentary messages of love, to connect the two of us while she was away at school, and to surprise her with a new word each day as an extra way to get her excited about learning.

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with Library page

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with farm page

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with house page

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with star page

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with the write page

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with fish page

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with pink and purple pages

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with tree and spring pages

These napkins, which I made long after Tiny Bug went to bed each night, were never meant to be kept and saved. In fact, when Tiny Bug brought them home from school every day and insisted we keep them, I didn’t know what to do with them—especially the ones with glops of food spilled on them. For a long time I piled them in the corner of our kitchen counter. Eventually, they went into a drawer, then finally a box.

Photo of Becky Green Aaronson's book Love Letters with planet and colors pages

It was when we moved to a new house the real decision had to be made. Are we seriously going to move a pile of old napkins? I moaned. I’m sentimental, but not that sentimental. But Sweet Bug was adamant: “Mommy, these are special to me. You can’t throw them away.” So, as you may have guessed, Continue reading

Off and Running! Something New to Share

Sorry for the “radio silence” here on my blog, as my writing and blogging friend, Melissa, has so aptly referred to it.

Run Be Run Happy FeetWhen my blog is quiet, there’s always a reason…or ten. This time is no exception. I won’t list all the things that have consumed my writing time, but rather share the most exciting thing: a new blog/website I just launched called Run Be Run.

I know I’ve shared a few of my stories with you in the past about what running means to me, but in the last couple years this sport has taken a front seat in my life as I’ve started racing again and coaching several kids running teams. I wanted to create a site that not only shared my passion for the sport, but also celebrated the everyday joys and challenges of being a runner. And of course, there will be a large dollop of “life” thrown in along the way, because, well…that’s just who I am, never one to stick strictly to a script.

Run Be Run is still a work in progress, but I hope you’ll swing by and check it out. If you like what you see and would like to receive automatic updates each time I post a new tidbit, you can sign up via email in the right side of the blog. If not, I promise I won’t look at you sideways.

Here’s a peek at Run Be Run. You can click HERE or on the image below to go to the site.

Photo of Run Be Run website

I’ve missed connecting with you here, dear readers! I still plan to continue this blog and also my ongoing book project, The Art of an Improbable Life, so if you stick with me a bit longer, I’m hoping to be back up and blogging consistently once again. Thanks for all your support! My cup runneth over!

I can’t wait to catch up with you all! Tell me, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve done so far this year?

Doodles Announces the Winner of the Creative Peeps Calendar

Congratulations, Tina Fariss Barbour! You are the winner of a 2014 Creative Peeps Inspirational Desk Calendar!

WINNA, WINNA, WINNA, I say! Woof!

Doodles 2014 Creative Peeps Desk Calendar Winner Tina Fariss Barbour

Send me an email to improbablelife (at) gmail with your mailing address and your calendar will be on its merry way.

Thanks for taking part in the fun and helping me get out of the doghouse. You’ll be happy to know my mom isn’t mad at me anymore for sneaking on to her computer. In fact, she said she has a whole new appreciation for me after reading all your comments. She’s even forgiven me for making her spill an entire glass of red wine all over her keyboard when I bumped her elbow a while back (even though it still glows purple).

I’m not super big on having my picture taken, but as you can see above, I tried to be a good sport. I’m smiling on the inside. Really, I am.

Hugs and kisses,
Doodles

Doodles Dispatch: Secret Guest Post and Giveaway

Labradoodle Blog Post Portrait

Hi there. Doodles, here.

My mom is super busy right now shipping out all the inspirational calendars she created, so while she’s wrapped up in that project, I thought I’d log on to her computer and share my Doodlicious two cents with you. Sneaky, huh?

Before I give you the dish though, I gotta tell you this great joke.

Ready? Okay, here it goes:

Q. What do you get when you cross a Beatle and an Australian dog?
A. Dingo Starr!

Baa haa haa. I crack myself up! Oh man…“This Dog is on Firrre!”

Oh-oh, I better pipe down before it get caught. I just heard my mom—the one they call Becky—walk down the hall. If she finds out I’m on her computer, she’s going to kill me—especially since I plan to share a few family secrets. Shhhhhhh.

First of all, you probably already sense this, but Continue reading

Positively Counteracting the Ninnies in Washington

This morning I was so filled with disgust about the toddlers running our government that I was ready to write a rant like no other. But then I stopped before I even got started, deciding that my writing tantrum would be akin to their childish behavior. And there’s nothing more absurd than grown, thinking people carrying on like two-year olds when they don’t get their way.

I also decided that I didn’t want to waste another ounce of my precious energy on all this negativity. So off went CNN. Away went every browser blasting headlines about the shutdown. And up went my blog.

Hello awesome peeps!

I decided the best way to counteract these ninnies in Washington is to surround myself with positive, creative, motivated people like YOU.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m mad as hell like everybody else, and feel our elected officials are an embarrassment to our nation right now, but I can see beyond these self-absorbed nitwits to our extraordinary country, which is brimming with smart, caring, talented and creative people.

So what do you think? Instead of giving our so-called “leaders” any more of our attention as they puff and spout and lay on the floor kicking their arms and legs, what do you say we tune them out and DWELL IN POSITIVITY? As in… Continue reading

Inspiration in a Time Capsule

The other day my friend Sarah sent me a fun link about a lost time capsule recently found in Aspen by the crew of National Geographic Channel’s Diggers. The capsule was from the 1983 Aspen International Design Conference and it contained a bit of tech history–Steve Jobs’ mouse from his first LISA computer, along with an eight-track recording of The Moody Blues, a Sears Roebuck catalog, the June 1983 issue of Vogue, a Rubik’s Cube and a six-pack of beer.

Photo of time capsule from the 1983 Aspen International Design Conference

Credit National Geographic Channel

When I read the story, I chuckled out loud and thought, Only in Aspen, as a wave of nostalgia washed over me about the town my husband, Jeffrey Aaronson, and I called home for so many years.

It also reminded me just how much I love time capsules.

In fact, every New Year’s Eve I put my family through the same exercise—creating a written time capsule in which we list all our favorite things and most interesting moments from the year, along with epic world and national events. We often include photos and a few mementos that capture the spirit of our year. Then, so we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we unceremoniously bury it in the junk drawer.

I have to admit, I’ve already unearthed a couple time capsules from five or six years ago, and even in that short time, they already feel historic and full of whimsy. The best part is that I know I never would have remembered some of the things we documented, had we not written them down at the time.

Drawing of the Pearl Chase HouseTime capsules come in all forms—some of the most interesting ones are unintended, arriving out of necessity or happenstance. Being lovers of old houses, Jeffrey and I have bought and sold and renovated several historic Victorians, a Craftsman and even a barn. During those renovations we’ve almost always found interesting items stuffed in the walls—things like newspapers from the 1880s, used as insulation, or historic tools or tidbits buried beneath the foundation. Each time those discoveries  have made us stop and linger, thinking about previous owners and bygone eras.

In some ways being a writer is like creating small time capsules for others to discover, and hopefully enjoy and reflect upon.  Continue reading

I Cannot Tell a Lie and Other Modern Day BS

My mom often said, “If you always tell the truth you’ll never have to worry about your memory.” Or was that Mark Twain? I can’t remember.

That’s because I am fast becoming a big fat liar with a mud-clogged memory.

Photo of the flu vaccineHere’s a perfect example…yesterday my husband and I went to Rite Aid to get flu shots. In order to receive our vaccinations we each had to fill out a two-page form. It was standard stuff like name, address, birthdate, email, allergies, yadda, yadda.

My defenses suddenly went up at the sight of this questionnaire though. Why does Rite Aid need to know my birthday and phone number and where I live? So without thinking too hard, I wrote in mostly fake information—a long ago disconnected fax number for my phone number, a PO Box with the wrong zip code, a fake birthday. My husband did the same, as he always does with stuff like this. The difference is that he’s memorized all his fake info. I wing it every time.

This time I got caught. Continue reading

Happy 95th Birthday Nelson Mandela!

Photo of Nelson MandelaThere are no candles bright enough to match the light you have added to our world.

Thank you for dedicating your life to others and transforming muddy caverns of darkness into bright fountains of hope and understanding.

Thank you for demonstrating that anything is possible when one has enough courage and perseverance.

Thank you for proving that humanity will always do the right thing—eventually—if reminded that there is room for everyone in this world.

Thank you for exemplifying compassion, courage, integrity and fortitude, and demonstrating that one person can make a difference.

Most of all, thank you for showing us that there is always hope.

Photo of Nelson Mandela for President South Africa 1994

On Mandela Day, the day we celebrate you, it is a privilege to give back to my community in your honor.

I encourage others to take part in this celebration too, by doing 67 minutes of community service for the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent fighting for the rights of humanity.

If you need a few ideas on ways to make a difference, click here to see 67 ideas.

Nelson Mandela Day Poster

 Happy Birthday, Madiba! We salute you.

A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken

It’s my birthday week, and the simple act of adding another candle to my cake always stirs a reflective and celebratory cocktail of emotions for me.  While many people loathe adding another candle to the top of their cake, I say, “Bring it on!” After all, celebrating another year aways beats the alternative, as far as I’m concerned.

Last year I shared my favorite music with you on my birthday and reflected on the impact it has on one’s life (click here if you missed it and care to take a peek).

This year I thought I’d share one of my favorite gifts, which I think you might appreciate as much as I do. It’s one I received a couple years ago from my dear friend, Kimberly Reeder-Riechel.

Photo of a Bundle of Sticks Can't Be Broken

This seemingly delicate, yet nearly indestructible bird’s nest, sits in my office in a place of honor near my computer, and it knocks my socks off every time I look at it–especially when accompanied by Kimberly’s hand-written note: “A bundle of sticks can’t be broken.”

This gift reminds me not only of how much I appreciate Kimberly’s friendship and all the strong qualities that make up my fabulous friend, but it also reminds me that no matter how challenging life gets, I will always feel loved and supported by the many caring, talented and diverse “sticks” in my bundle of life.

This proverb, while simple, is a great reminder that as humans we are infinitely more powerful when we band together to support one another than when we try to navigate through life as individual “twigs.” After all, it’s a snap to break a single twig in half, but nearly impossible to break a sturdy bundle. Just try it and see what I mean.

Somehow this notion seems especially poignant this year as I delve into a particularly fiery social issue (click here to read more) and also push once again to finish my book in the midst of all life’s daily pulls. Knowing that my “sticks” are there to support me gives me a sense of calm and strength, and even patience.

This proverb also makes me think of others around me like my friends who are still trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy and those who are dealing with debilitating illnesses. It also makes me think of those who have lost parents recently or who are struggling to handle parenting issues of their own, all the while trying keep their humor and sanity. And of course, it makes me think of my writing and artist friends who continually try to keep the creative fires burning, who put themselves out there, who yearn to start or complete projects which have simultaneously inspired and tortured their creative souls.

I share my bundle of sticks with all of you to remind you that you are not alone, that we are all in this great big crazy world together; and to remind you that anything is possible with hard work and the support of those who care.

I also share my bundle of sticks to encourage you to be kind to yourself if you feel the need to ask for support. Asking for advice or help once in a while does not make you weak, but rather wise and strong. It shows that you are passionate about what you are doing and have the guts to reach out to make it happen.

The beauty of each of our bundles is that it continually grows and changes, getting stronger with each year and each new person who enters into our lives. I didn’t know my friend Kimberly when I was in third grade nor even college. In fact, I only met Kimberly a handful of years ago, when our daughters went to preschool together. I never could have imagined that such an important friendship could have develop in such a short time.

The same holds true with many of my writing and blogging friends. I may have only gotten to know some of you over the past year or so, but your words and personalities have added nothing but dazzling, colorful sticks to my ever-growing bundle.

On this day that I celebrate another candle, more importantly, I celebrate you, dear peeps, all the beautiful “sticks” in my life (you know who you are). Thank you for making my bundle impossibly strong and abundantly memorable and meaningful.