Posted in Friendship

Gifts along the way

Before I applied to bring Listen to Your Mother to Sacramento, my thoughts were consumed by the end of the journey… the night when everything would come together on stage and the audience would be swept away in the stories I knew were just waiting to be told.

Having been a part of the LTYM San Francisco cast, I remember the audience’s response… I remember the tears and the laughter. I remember the joy on their faces after the show.

As time passed, my focus shifted to the submissions that filled our inboxes…the funny, the heartbreaking and the uplifting.

This past weekend, those stories came to life in our audition room at ThinkHouse Collective, each one a gift laid before us.

I knew that the weekend would be overwhelming. I knew that gratitude would buoy me and I knew that the stories would climb inside me and become a part of who I am.

What I didn’t realize would be so powerful and what I held onto last night as I struggled with the weight of choosing our cast, was the tremendous gratitude I would feel for Margaret, my beautiful co-producer and co-director.

We spent eighteen hours there in that room, side by side at the long table. She made me laugh, passed me the tissues before I had to reach for them and hugged me when she knew that I needed one so desperately.

Though our friendship formed long before our Listen to Your Mother, Sacramento journey began, this shared experience is one of my life’s greatest joys.

As the sunlight faded and we began to make what still feel like nearly impossible choices, I was so incredibly grateful to have her there with me.

I can’t imagine a moment of this without you, Margaret. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Connection, acceptance and gratitude

brene brown quote, Creative Alliance '12, connection, inspiring quotesSince arriving home on Sunday, I’ve been struggling to find a way to share my Creative Alliance ’12 experience with you.

I’ve searched for words with enough weight to convey how one weekend changed me from the inside.

But each time I think I’m getting close to finding a way to convey how impactful the experience was, my words evaporate before I can write them down.

I’ve decided that sometimes trying to put something so powerful into words somehow diminishes it.

Nothing I can say here can do the experience justice.

But what I will say is that I feel new. Tired, but new.

I headed into the experience feeling blocked, overwhelmed and discouraged.

When it was my turn to share my reasons for attending, I said through tears, “I used to be a writer, but I’m not anymore. And I want to be.”

And over the weekend, I felt a shift.

With each conversation, it felt as though a piece of me woke up.

Since coming home, I have:

  • danced in the living room with my children in the middle of the afternoon.
  • begun reading again; I started with Robin O’Bryant’s Ketchup is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves and have also ordered Molly Campbell’s Characters in Search of a Novel.
  • been inspired to make a meal that required shopping for ingredients and following a new recipe.
  • laid on my bed, thinking only of how lovely the steady breeze from the ceiling fan felt on my face.
  • put my iPhone down more than I ever have.
  • laced up my running shoes and, for the first time in a long time, went for a run.
  • picked up a pen and wrote my thoughts down on paper…just for myself.
  • let go of another chunk of my grief.
  • breathed.

There in Ojai, I felt a connection that I simply can’t describe, but this quote conveys it perfectly:

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. –Brene Brown

Yes…that. Exactly that.

Thank you to each of the women who attended Creative Alliance ’12. You are each magical, brave, creative and brilliant.

And I am so grateful to call you my friends.

Friendship and understanding

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one. –C. S. Lewis

Most friendships begin with all of those lovely things that we have in common with another person and grow over time.

But, some friendships are rooted in shared sorrows and an intimate understanding of loss.

My friendship with Tonya began as the latter. The loss of a parent–in Tonya’s case, both parents–brought us together.

And over time, our relationship has evolved into so much more than that.

We laugh, encourage one another, and celebrate life together.

But there’s an underlying knowledge that she understands me.

When I experience great joy, she knows that there’s a part of me mourns my father.

When I’m struggling, she knows just what to say that both acknowledges what I’m saying but also what I’m not.

I am guest posting for Tonya today over on Letters for Lucas, where I’ve shared a letter to my mother, a woman who I don’t thank nearly often enough.

It would mean the world to me if you came by to say hello.

Thank you for your friendship, Tonya. I count you amongst my greatest blessings.

 

Friendship, gratitude and the moments that matter

There are some people on whom you know you can always lean.

They are there when you’re feeling a bit lost, when you need a smile, when you’re stuck, or when you simply want to share a bit of happy news.

My friend Ashley is one of those amazing friends.

I am so lucky to have her in my life.

And I’m honored to be kicking off her new guest series, Porch Swing Stories.

Here’s how Ashley describes her new series…

What will these posts entail? Love. Laughter. Sadness. Memories. Those moments of pure reflection, the moments when something was realized. The moments that only come to you in a time of clarity and reflection… such as those on my front porch swing.

What a wonderful series to be a part of!

Please come visit me over on My Front Porch Swing, where I’m sharing a moment of realization…a moment that I hope to keep in mind for years to come.

Sushi, Friends, and a Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Serve from American Express. Sign up for Serve and receive $10 credit towards your first use. Comment below within the next 7 days for your chance to win an extra $100 credit to your account!

If someone offered you $250 to take some friends to dinner, who would you invite?

Well, Serve, a new service from American Express that works as an electronic payment system, offered me exactly that. So, I invited my lovely friends Rachel, Jessica, Eileen, and Yuliya.

Saturday night, we went for sushi at Mikuni, the most amazing sushi restaurant in town.

And when I say we had sushi, let me be super clear…we had LOTS of sushi.

After completely devouring BBQ tuna, tempura shrimp, illegal asparagus, and ceviche, we enjoyed creatively named bits of deliciousness including Japanese Mafia Roll, Pimp My Roll, and Fair Oaks Roll.

Yeah, that’s a lot of food and each bite was more amazing than the last.

We had such a great time that we didn’t even notice that we were the last customers to leave.

We split the bill at the restaurant and then today I logged onto the Amex/Serve site and with a few keystrokes, I reimbursed each of my guests $50. Within moments, I had texts and emails letting me know that they’d received the transfer. How’s that for fast and easy?

How would you like to take some of your friends to dinner? Or brunch? Or maybe drinks?

You can win a chance to do exactly that. Amex/Serve will choose one of my readers who leaves a comment and will provide them with $100 on their Serve card.

To enter to win, simply:

  • Go to www.serve.com/blog from your computer and sign up for an account (you’ll get a $10 credit just for signing up!).
  • Refer your friends to Serve and earn up to $50.
  • Come back here between now and midnight on December 28th and leave me a comment to let me know that you’ve opened an account.

Good luck!

Remember to sign up for Serve and receive $10 credit towards your first use. Comment below within the next 7 days for your chance to win an extra $100 credit to your account! Official sweepstakes rules and regulations may be found by clicking here. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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