An Inspired Holiday.

 

As any of my friends and family might tell you, I’m not a chef, nor do I have the desire to be one. With that said, I wholeheartedly love Thanksgiving. I love the warmth that comes with the holiday, and the spirit behind spending the day together. I love pulling out my favorite china and indulging in a lengthy meal. I love creating a space for my family to come together and enjoy the blessings we have. While I might only bring a cheese ball to the table, I bring a lot to the atmosphere.

 

With so much noise and chaos this year, I wanted to keep the atmosphere crisp and simple. Black, white and gold with fresh touches of green and orange define the space with a Hollywood Regency flair. I also wanted the space to be interactive and playful, so I set out a chalkboard runner and place cards for taking note of our thanks.

 

As much as I love design for the aesthetic appeal, I truly believe that design plays a role in our lives and can speak a message that you might not have the words for. After mulling over this year’s holiday inspiration, I’ve come to realize my heart is seeking to simplify my life and let the people around me add color. We so often take moments with our loved ones for granted, especially the small moments.  My son is going off to college next year and while I’ve joked about wanting to push him out of the nest, the truth is, these moments together are fleeting. The week night conversations about school, the group of 30 kids staggered across my lawn taking homecoming pictures, the lacrosse games- they all seem to be moving at lightning speed. I wish I could bottle these moments like lightening bugs and keep them on my shelf to pull down whenever I want- but I can’t. Time will continue to pass and my son’s graduation will approach without so much as a warning. So, this year I’m thankful for moments of mindfulness. Humble moments and monumental moments- I’m thankful for them all.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite poems, from John O’Donohue:

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own
presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your
senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers
beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the
courage to follow it’s path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignty of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiete miracles
that seek not attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift
woven
around the heart of wonder.

Happy Thanksgiving!

XO, Elaine

Houston, we have a win.

Houston, we have a win.

Game 5: It’s 12:37 a.m. I’m crouched behind our sofa as my daughter sleeps peacefully upstairs. The TV is on mute. I can’t bare to hear other people talking. All the most important men in my life are about 7 miles away in downtown Houston at Minute Maid Park watching, what some would say is, the greatest World Series game ever played. My hands are covering my face, I can’t look. I am in pure in agony. I think to myself… Can a baseball game really be this important? Why am I in so much turmoil? The game has been a battle of epic proportions. Both teams have been grinding it out for the good part of 5 ½ hours to bring us to extra innings. It’s the bottom of the 10th and I’m exhausted. I get the nerve to peak and see Alex Bregman walk up to plate. I can’t breathe. My nerves are shot, I need this to be over. We have two outs and one man on. I start to pray. I begin to bargain with God. “God, if you let us win this game, I am ok if we lose the next game.”  Bregman’s face is poised, intense,  and ready.  As the first pitch is thrown my heart stops. I see the ball make contact with the bat and watch it drop in mid field. Bregman starts to run as he watches Fischer round third. I gasp. This is happening. It’s really happening. Fischer scores! Game 5 is OURS, and we are still in this thing!

I collapse. I lay on the floor and tears start to run down my face. Is it exhaustion? Have I lost my mind? Do I really love the Houston Astros this much? Or, is it that I really love the idea of what’s happening this much?

 

The unthinkable.

The underdogs.

The city that never quite gets there… is getting there.

 

My phone lights up with messages:

 

WE WON!

IT’S OVER!

IT’S A MIRACLE!

 

And then my son Harrison’s text comes through…

 

“MOM, WE DID IT! WE ACTUALLY DID IT!”

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I begin to cry again for a completely different reason. I cry with pure joy for him that he saw this. I cry with joy that my son has just experienced a once in a lifetime memory with his father and grandfather by his side. They stood shoulder to shoulder and witnessed their hometown Astros beat The Los Angeles Dodgers in an epic Game 5 of the World Series.

We all know how the rest of the story unfolds, we lose the next game on Halloween night, and dominate Game 7 to win the World Series. Now that the dust has settled and our hearts have gone back to a regular rhythmic pattern, I am reflecting on the week that has not only brought our city of 5 million together, but brought my family even closer together.

We’ve always been a sports family; huddled up on our couches on Saturdays in September watching football, ordering pizza to hold us over during a 7th inning stretch, screaming at the shot clock hoping to hear nothing but net. You name the sport, we watch it. And, we typically watch it as a family; the World Series was no different, but somehow the way I’m seeing it; it was completely different.

With so much tragedy only nine short weeks ago, after the single largest natural disaster in our nation’s history tore through our city, we needed this win. We needed a reason to believe that hope exists even if the thing you are hoping for seems so far off. I, also needed this win. I needed to be reminded of the magical moments that sometimes get lost in the shuffle of such a momentous event.

Scrolling through pictures on my phone and seeing my son, his grandfather, and my husband witnessing history together gave me the kind of goosebumps that stop you in your tracks. My heart swelled with pride for my city and my family. Even though my seventeen year old son might have a dip in his grades after so many late nights; he may not even get into his first choice of college because he prioritized this historic event- but it will most definitely be worth it in the end (or at least that’s what he says). He will get to tell his kids what it felt like to watch Altuve’s homer in the 7th to tie the game or Alex Bregman hit a walk off single in the 10th to win the damn thing. Not only that, but he got to experience all of this with some of the most important people in his life.

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Mindfulness has been a mantra of mine for years but it is one of the hardest things to actually live. We all get caught up in life and forget to stop and realize the magnitude of the moments we are creating. Memories that will last forever, memories that help define your life. We will all remember this World Series and what it did for our bent, but not broken city, but I want to challenge you to think about the seven game series in a different way. Think about where you watched the game, the people in the room, the sounds of high fives, the silence when it looked like this might slip through our fingertips. Feel the goosebumps you felt when you saw the crowds of people who experienced such devastation a few months ago laugh, cheer and cry. Remember who you hugged when we closed out the series with a WIN.

As we charge headfirst into the holidays in our post World Series glow, challenge yourself to be mindful. To live in each moment. To find as much joy in simple memories as you do the big ones. Be mindful of the souls you connect with each day and know that no matter how dark this world is, or becomes, you have the power to light up a stadium with your spirit, you have the power to come back even when it seems as if the odds are stacked against you. You just have to be PRESENT.

Maybe we should all whisper “go ‘stros” to ourselves when we feel mindfulness slipping away. It can remind us the power of a moment and how a little hope goes a long way.

Go ‘stros.