Calendar Pages

2014 is upon us and our path of days that seem to move by way too quickly have entrenched themselves into our year…yet again! Where are you with all those New Year’s Resolutions that you made? I know that I am doing better with some than with others. It is a fact that we call January 1st the start of  the NEW Year. 

 It is a new year but it is so much more than that. It is so very symbolic. We engage in all sorts of activities that entrench that symbolism into our consciousness. First, we welcome in the new year with parties and celebrations.We write off the past year and think, “Awesome! I have another whole year to do things differently, to do things better, to make improvements where they are needed…this is the year for great change,” …and then we do it all again next year and make all the same “resolutions.”
For those of you who are tried and true paper calendar lovers, we buy a new one or restock new pages into our day planners. As I partook in that occurrence this year, the thought struck me of how this physical act of taking out the OLD pages and putting in the NEW kind of cements this thought process. With each new page that I clipped in, the thought that I can re do each day again jumped off those pages. As I wrote dates into the calendar thoughts flew through my head like:
This year I will:
~Keep better track of buying and sending cards and gifts…on time
~Get to the gym on a more regular basis
~Make more dates to spend time with family and friends
~Be more prepared in the months before a sale/show so I am not spending all nighters way too frequently (I am getting too old for that)
~I will blog more frequently and chronicle the projects that I am working on better
~Those family nights that we talk about all the time will be scheduled more often
~Decorate for Christmas earlier and take the Christmas card photo NOW so as to have a hope to get the cards out on time
~Go to church as a family more often
The list and thoughts fly through my mind more quickly than I can process them.
What resonated more deeply this year though, was the thought that I am grateful to HAVE these days to DO again!! Sounds corny, but I am here, I am alive. The fact that I CAN do all of this again is a blessing indeed and one that I want to grab onto more firmly this year than any other.
As we age, our parents age, people we know and love face health challenges, some win them…some lose them. 
This simple act of loading calendar pages struck a chord this year…a deep one.
A connection to that chord is what spearheaded Chris and I last year to launch Exclaim Your Life! 
This year, the chord will dig deeper into that topic.

We held our first retreat in November and we were thrilled by its reception! 75 women joined us that cold November day.  Chris and I learned so much from the experience, the women who attended (thank you!) and from those tid bits of knowledge and comments we received about the day. We are excited to be moving forward with more events, workshops and retreats in 2014 to help women experience and live life with an exclamation point!!! 
For those of you who missed it, here are some shots of what we did that day and what it looked like.
The event was held in both the upper and the lower barn. We had a beautiful sunny day although a bit cold!
The upper barn made a great spot for our guests to listen to the presenters. 
Agendas, notepads and pens were placed on each chair, just in case one wanted to “take note.”
NBC News reporter and author, Lu Ann Cahn opened up the morning with a fabulous presentation chronicling her book, I Dare Me, which was due to be released two days after our event. In her book, she talks about a year long challenge that she instituted herself, for herself,  to step outside of her comfort zone each and every day to participate in one new thing. By taking chances and getting outside of what made her comfortable the year long experiment reinvigorated her life.
She graciously had copies with her that you could purchase and she could autograph. All the proceeds were donated to Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Lu Ann is a two time cancer survivor and that organization is near and dear to her heart. Since it was near and dear to her heart, it became so for us  and we donated a portion of the ticket price to her charity as well.
The purpose of the day was to reach out to women and get them thinking about how they can live their lives with an exclamation point; go after those ideas that are swirling around in your head, look for a purpose and fulfill a long neglected passion. Wow! Lots to talk about in an afternoon! Given that, we gave an introduction to those ideas and then launched into talks about nutrition, fitness and beauty given by three different experts in these areas. The mind and the body are inexorably linked; what one does to one part, affects the other, and vise versa.
Of course, Life’s Patina would never do something that did not involve creativity or doing something with your hands!
We set up craft tables and challenged the women to “try something new” sticking with the theme that Lu Ann presented.
Many of the women had never heard of or used Modge Podge before but they were a quick study and they created personal clip boards with a strip of chalk paint on the bottom where they could write their name, quote or inspirational word. They could then clip their notepad to it and write notes to themselves of how they were going to live life with an exclamation point!
Aren’t they beautiful?
Of course another element that Life’s Patina would never neglect to have at such an event would be great food! We worked with Loraine Houston, a dear friend who owns Loraine Houston Catering to come up with a menu that would fit both our nutritional target and be delicious. She succeeded!  
 The menu fell right in line with the Fall season as well as the decor. I have to admit, that my absolute favorite part of the whole event was creating the special places that the women would be spending their day in. I wanted them to feel pampered, to feel special. We used beautiful old chairs to raise elements of the buffet, burlap and art inspired paper table runners. 

We used a color scheme of black, tan, pale green and cream using items that we carry at the barn sales.

We gathered chairs that we also carry at the sales and brought in many from my own house. Love the look of mismatched chairs!
We tied printed quotes around each napkin and stuck them in the flower arrangements that we made from hydrangeas and cream roses. The quotes were taken from famous women who spoke to the strength of women and their inspiration. (The quotes were also hung on the tree branches on the buffet table)
Flavored waters and ice tea rounded out the delicious luncheon and of course…
desserts were the encore.
All in all, it was a day that spoke of beauty… both externally and internally!
We are so excited to invite you to put our next Exclaim Your Life Event on your calendar page. This workshop will be a more intimate setting utilizing only the lower level of the barn due to the wintry cold that has filled the upper level. It will highlight small groups with the same attention to detail that makes every Life’s Patina Event unique.
Would love to see you give yourself some lovin for Valentine’s Day 2014!
Yours truly and in homage to paper calendars~
Meg

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