can we connect in the next two weeks? (lots to look forward to!)

By having something to look forward to, you bring happiness into your life before the event actually takes place. - Gretchen Rubin #inspiration

You know how awesome it feels when you’ve survived a punishing round of the flu and suddenly, miraculously, you feel like a human being again? That’s how it feels to ease back into regular life, after weeks of visting Nana in hospice, juggling real life and end-of-life, and another week of crazed prep to celebrate her life with beloved family and friends. I’m relishing the normalcy of bedtime stories and play dates, carpools and clean counters. And a return to the work I love, with a rush of goodness to keep me on my toes these next couple of weeks.

I’m hoping you can be part of it in some way! Here’s what’s happening… 

Rachel Awes, Lori Portka, Liv Lane, Carissa Paige - art sale on September 20, 2014ART SALE! In what’s truly a stroke of perfect timing, I’m about to dive into a long weekend with dear artist friends Lori Portka from New York, Rachel Awes from across the river in St. Paul, and Carissa Paige from Florida. I soooo need this! And on Saturday afternoon, we’re hosting an art sale at Rachel’s awesome-blossomg house! Can you come?? All the details are here on Rachel’s web site.

Art of Choosing Beauty ecourse with Liv LaneCHOOSING BEAUTY! I had to postpone my only-time-this-year teaching of The Art of Choosing Beauty: 4 Weeks to Happiness - so the online class is now kicking off this coming Monday, September 22nd. So you still have time to sign up and join us for this powerful class and community next week! And – BIG NEWS – since I’ve had no time to promote this class and just want as many bright lights as possible to benefit from it, I’m extending the early bird pricing (a 40% savings!!) to EVERYONE. Bam! Beautiful! (Details here!)

Community Resilience InstituteTHRIVING CONFERENCE! Next Thursday and Friday (Sept 25-26), I’ll be at Cornell College in Iowa to speak and lead a half-day workshop at the Thriving Communities, Thriving Lives national conference, inspiring educators and community leaders to experience the power of igniting their innate sparks (the passions, talents and gifts that light them up from the inside out) – and helping youth do the same. Register here.

Presence Summit at Minnesota Arboretum - Oct 5, 2014PRESENCE : SUMMIT! On October 5th, I’m excited to speak at a new event in Minneapolis called Presence : Summit, designed to “open your eyes to a new level of Living!” There are only TWO DAYS left to buy tickets, and guess what?? I have a special code to get you in for $50 off. Woot! Get full details here and when you purchase your ticket (by Sept 19!), enter the code liv914 (it is case sensitive) and please come say hi!

And then, friends, comes the biggest event of all. I turn the big 4-0. I told you my calendar’s packed with gobs of goodness! Hope you can be part of it in some way. xo

holy wow. what i found in my grandma’s gratitude journal

#gratitude quote - part of my post on losing my grandma, and what I found in her gratitude journal

Oh, friends. I have so much to tell you, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Maybe here: my Nana is gone.

After 40 days in residential hospice, she passed away on Saturday morning. And though I know I’ll hear from her soon enough (she promised, after all, to be in touch), I will miss so much about having her physically here. Her hugs. Her sense of wonder. Her sing-song voice. Her sense of style, even at 90. Her relationship with my kids.

I will never regret spending Nana’s last 40 days by her side (often quite literally, curled up in bed with her!). I did my best to be fully present when she was awake – taking walks, holding hands, listening to songs she loved – and Brad did wonders for the worrywart in me, frequently reminding me these were once-in-a-lifetime moments with Nana and that our little family would be fine while I devoted chunks of each day to being with her and my mom. He was right, of course.

Nana at Hotel Loretto in Santa Fe, September 2013

Nana at Hotel Loretto in Santa Fe, September 2013

As those of you who followed our journey on Instagram know, Nana’s health would take steep declines in hospice and then, to our surprise, she’d perk back up for a bit. Even at the end, after the nurses predicted she had mere hours, she stuck around several more days! Amazing resilience. In those times , I would stay overnight – not only to be there for Nana, but to give my mom support. I would tell Nana it was just like having another slumber party or girlfriend getaway. (Our last trip as a threesome had been to Santa Fe, exactly one year prior.)

The days since Nana’s passing have been crazy-busy, planning a celebration of her life and prepping for lots of family coming in. I’ve barely had a chance to let it sink in that she’s gone. But last night, as I was putting some things away at her place, I discovered buried treasure and found myself all choked up. I opened a drawer in her hutch and saw a familiar book – The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude. My mom had given all of us copies one Christmas, many years ago. It was an odd place to find a journal, given that Nana’s hutch holds placemats, silverware and greeting cards.

Notes from Nana about Santa Fe, Inn at the LorettoI pulled out the book and when I opened it, several sheets of paper fell out. They were all from the Hotel Loretto, our favorite place to stay in Santa Fe, and contained Nana’s handwritten notes from our first girlfriend trip there 15 years ago, for her 75th birthday. Holy wow! Among her notes:

My plane took off a little late, and I was fearful that I was going to miss Tunie and Liv (and a connecting flight), but there they were, smiling ear to ear in matching cowboy hats. What a thrill to see them there – I am so blessed! Thrilled being with my girls. 

Finding that little celebration of our bond, in her beautiful handwriting, was such a gift. Neither my mom or I recall the cowboy hats (!!!), but we will always hold dear the thrills we had as a threesome. Even the very last one, as we watched Nana head into the sunset, into the Great Beyond. We showered her with kisses on behalf of everyone who loves her here and reminders that she’d soon be seeing all the loved ones waiting for her over there.

I need time to process the loss of a great light in my life and to soak up the warm hugs and belly laughs with family flying in to celebrate her. It’s what she would want, and it’s all I have energy for right now.

the art of choosing beauty ecourseSo, work will have to wait a little longer. I am so grateful to everyone who’s accepted with such grace and understanding my need to push back Firecracker Calls, classes, newsletters and meetings. I have postponed my Art of Choosing Beauty ecourse, which was scheduled to kick off this week; it will now launch September 22nd. That class is all about finding and making magic every single day – even (or especially) when life feels hard.

It feels like divine timing, really – to choose beauty with a bunch of brave hearts this month, and to be able to incorporate private stories and powerful insights from my journey with Nana into this next round of the class (the only time I’m teaching it this year). I believe that, like finding Nana’s notes, these gifts that feel like magic – the ones that catch us off guard and connect us to what matters – appear for a reason in our lives. Nana LOVED to give thoughful gifts, and I have a feeling she has no plans to stop. As Nana always said, God works in mysterious ways – and I bet she’s got a few tricks up her sleeve, too.