Daffodil Days

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Inspired by the age old tradition of mothers passing on advice to their daughters, we’ve invited our own mother’s, Barbara Justiz and Beverly Duckworth, to share their wisdom and wit with you on our blog every month. Today we share a post from Beverly… 

 Image via  Gardenista

Image via Gardenista

I love the month of May. The color yellow always springs to mind when I think of this month. Probably because the Welsh hillsides are filled with our National Flower, the daffodil, at this time of year. Such a beautiful bloom! May is also the month of my birth. I always feel stronger, sexier and more grateful as my birthday approaches. So much so, that I wish I could bottle this feeling and carry it with me through the other 11 months of the year!

Gratitude of course can and should be a daily practice. When I’m grateful,  I’m looking out at the horizon, at the wonderful possibilities ahead and I am hopeful. When I’m lacking gratitude, I tend to look down and inwards and as a result, my world gets smaller and becomes all about me.

Even on our low days, we can choose not to stay looking inwards. Who says we can’t stop our day at anytime, take a minute, change our attitude and start all over again? There’s so much magic to be seen, if we simply allow it to enter our day to day. 

I plan to practice shining brightly this month and sharing my light with all I come into contact with. Practice makes perfect… so bring it on June!

Bev

xx

P.S. This poem always brings a bit of magic to my day…

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

By William Wordsworth

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:                                 
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,                              
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
                            

Mother Wisdom

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Barbara Justiz

When I was in 4th grade we learned about the suffragettes and the women’s right-to-vote movement, and I was PISSED. Not at the suffragettes, of course, but at the fact that this inequality existed and that it existed in the not-so-distant past. Nothing in my 9 long years of life experience had suggested that such a thing was even possible. I did not take it well, nor quietly, and my vocalizations earned me a swift trip to the principals office. But this utter shock of mine was testament to the way my mother raised me. I was taught that women are strong, powerful, and, I guess if I am honest, were in fact the superior gender. It was something I was brought up knowing, and to find that there was a time when this was not common knowledge deeply affected me. And this is the narrative I ascribed to that experience for nearly 20 years. But over the past few years, when I really reflected, a deeper and more intimate and personal lesson has begun to occur to me: a lesson about the woman who raised me, and her bravery and courage in the face of impediments, and  the world-view that she passed on to me, her only daughter.

In her mostly male-dominated, stressful, high-powered career, my mother worked hard to ensure a level of abundance and security for her family, an indefatigable drive that began when she was 15 years old, and her father died suddenly, leaving her own mother alone with four children to care for. My mother, in seeing the difficulty and struggle my grandmother went through to provide and to ensure stability for her children, determined to become self-sufficient. She worked her way through school, didn’t shy away from taking on responsibility in her career, and earned the admiration and respect of her peers. Truth be told, as a result of this ambition, for much of my life she was incredibly stressed. She put enormous pressure on herself to never let any aspect of life slip, and to be everything to everyone: a perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister, and employee. She rarely stopped to ask herself what she really wanted, if she was happy, if maybe she needed a nap.

But lately, I am witnessing her go through a renaissance, seeing her release fears, and gravitate to what really inspires her. The pain that she felt from that sudden shock so many years ago, that tremendous impact that influenced so many of her subsequent choices, is loosening its grip. Now talks of greenhouses, opening a restaurant, and cross-country moves are regular. There are new recipes to try every time I go home, daily journaling, and gardening. Watching her transition into a grandmother is monumental; I see a new life emerging for her, a beauty and a happiness that is radiant. As an adult, now with a family of my own, as I try to navigate the uncertainties and stresses of life, I find myself learning from her more now then ever before. She is giving me strength to be brave and to take risks, and is showing by example that there are many acts in life.


Beverly Duckworth

‘You are responsible for your own happiness.’

When I came to my mother with a problem, she would offer me a sweet cup of tea, look me in the eyes with love and support and then clearly state that it was my responsibility to change anything that was making me unhappy. I could not look at people with sadness and expect them to change. I could not complain about a problem and expect it to disappear. I could not admire my joyful friends and expect to catch their happiness like it was contagious. It was my job to find my joy — and it would likely be lifelong effort. I’ve come to realize that not everyone was raised with same level of encouragement for the pursuit of happiness and I am eternally grateful to my mother for impressing on me that not only did I deserve happiness, but it was my duty to create it.

When I was younger, I saw being responsible for my own happiness as a way out of any problem. It gave me control and agency in situations where I felt powerless and sorrowful. It was the boost I needed to gather my courage and leave that job/relationship/class/apartment that was causing me angst and stress.

After graduating college and entering the ‘real world’, I realized that being responsible for my own happiness was about more than freeing myself from the negative influences in my life. It was about my commitment to self care. Slowly but surely, I learned to invest in the big and little things that were good for me. As I embraced self-care, I took more and more responsibility for my own well being and the ways in which I failed to supply myself with the opportunity for happiness.

I’m still discovering the many layers that this lesson has to offer. Most recently, I’ve been inspired by what it teaches me about choice. Sometimes, life throws things at you that you simply cannot escape or change. Hardships that no amount of therapy or exercise or self care will cure. When those things happen, how can I be expected to take charge of my own happiness? When I’m faced with a deep, dark, unchangeable sadness, how can I be held responsible for something as far out of my reach as joy? During these times, I look to my mother and I see just how much I have to learn. I admire how she has taken this mantra to its highest height. How she has taught herself to find joy and value in every moment. How she has instilled in herself the ability to come to each day and choose happiness time and time again.

A Beautiful Weekend

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 Image via  The Hidden Adventure

Image via The Hidden Adventure

25 Famous Women on Their Mothers — inspiring, complex and beautiful quotes from the likes of Maya Angelou, Jane Fonda Gloria Steinem, Taylor Swift, Stevie Knicks and more. 

#HowToSpotAFeminist — The ManRepeller on reclaiming a hashtag. 

Is a woman’s place on the internet? The New Yorker considers the success of the Mommy Blogger.

A beautiful book.

A beautiful blog.

A beautiful woman.

P.S. Looking for a last-minute mother’s day gift? Make your mama some jam! Discover Anarchy In A Jar‘s recipe for Strawberry Basil Jame here

Lesson I’m Always Learning: Joanna L. Williams

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“Think big picture.  If something doesn’t work out, there’s usually a reason why.  The reason may not be so obvious at the moment, but it’s important to think about the big picture.  Stay focused, put one foot in front of the other, and continue to move forward.”

Through Joanna L. Williams’s travels both professional and personal, she became enraptured by culture and beauty in all its forms, collecting every item that spoke to her — clothing and accessories, objects and ephemera. In 2010, her discoveries led her to start Kneeland Co, a visual resource to provide design inspiration for product development in the interiors, fashion, and beauty industries, Kneeland Co. is a Los Angeles-based design and consulting studio that revolves around creativity, travel, style and historyThe concept — like Joanna herself — embodies creativity, spirit, and endless design possibilities.

Our Damn Fine Luck

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“You know, we (women) are really privileged in the first world to be able to make choices. Most of the women in the world can’t make choices. And as someone who can, I think you really have an obligation not to waste one minute of your life doing things you don’t like to do. Work hard, love your work and if you don’t love your work, find something that you do love …. I think it’s really important to recognize that for most of human history women were not allowed to do interesting work. We’re standing on the shoulders of a couple generations before us who created the opportunities for us to be working women … you deserve to have meaningful work”

— Ruth Reichl

The other day, as we were catching up on Radio Cherry Bombe, we came across an interview with  Julia Turshen and the infamous (and oh so cool) food critic/writer, Ruth Reichl. (You can listen to the full interview here!) The quote above was one of the many incredible things she had to say about women, work and the pursuit of a fulfilled life. Though the whole interview was magical, this section in particular spoke to us. As women living in the 21st Century in the Western world, we are in an incomprehensibly fortunate position. And the fact of the matter is, it’s our responsibility to embrace our damn fine luck and turn that luck into a life we profoundly love. A day spent wiling away at a job we hate or with a partner who doesn’t respect us is a day wasted. Does your work inspire you? Does your life bring you joy? If the answer is no, then it is your duty to make a change. If not simply because you are blessed with the ability to do so! You have agency and autonomy and you cannot afford to be lazy and apathetic with it. For so many of us, the choices are endless. That mere fact is a great privilege and all we have to do to honor it is choose joy. How beautifully simple is that?

Happy Monday!

C+C

p.s. 

A few of our favorite ways to further the cause: Girl RisingBecause I’m A Girl and Global Fund For Women