3 Things

What three things were you grateful for today? Let’s practice gratitude together. If you come up with more than 3 things, just keep going… no limits to happiness.

I’ll start.

  1. My husband bringing me coffee when I woke up.
  2. Watching Charlie practice learning how to ride a skateboard and hearing all his ideas and theories and showing him that I know how to ride too.
  3. Driving with my kids in the car and enjoying their conversations and learning about their dreams.
  4. Having the time and being able to pick up Jeff after work tonight because a train hit a car and delayed his journey. (Luckily no one was injured.)
  5. Freely letting Juliana go enjoy her friend when she called for a “play date” in the middle of our “grocery shopping date.”
  6. Making the boys happy and ordering pizza from Domino’s App and having the pizza delivered right after we got home.
  7. Flow. At Work.
  8. Working on my gift of happiness program tonight.

Now I’m happier and ready for bed. It works and was easy… this gratitude practice is fun and good for the soul. Good night.


Gifts Not Gaps

Pain and loss are part of our lives, sometimes personally and other times experienced by our loved ones and thus affecting us.

What are we to do with pain?  How do we healthfully process it and accept it and continue living happily ever?

Pain creates a glaring gap that’s hard to ignore. It creates a hole in our lives and stops us and sometimes even changes the trajectory of our journey. It creates a gap between our dreams and our reality that is not in our control.

Sometimes we get stuck and can only see and feel the pain and fall into the gap. How do we get out?

I think the secret to moving on and processing the pain and moving forward is spending more time focusing on our gifts instead of what is lacking. It’s a practice of gratitude for all that is still good, despite the despair.  The pain doesn’t just dissipate because we’re thinking happy thoughts, but we get to choose where to focus our energy and to adapt to our circumstances.

If we choose to focus on the gap, then that is where we will stay and that is what we will experience the most. If we choose to focus on what is good and working in our lives, potentially, eventually, we will close the gap and be able to move forward despite what’s missing and causing grief. Perhaps the gap will slowly diminish to the point that it doesn’t draw us in and define us.

I think we want to define ourselves by the goodness in our lives and the potential that lies in front of us everyday, despite our sufferings. We understand that pain and suffering exist for whatever reasons, however we don’t want to live in this space for very long. We have to keep choosing to see the good, despite the gap, and moving forward.

I think this is where the mind is very powerful and can help to transform us and help us to live happily ever after, even after experiencing pain and loss, if we are able to choose to allow ourselves this gift of life and all that is good, that is available to us despite the pain, right now.

See the good in you and others and really focus on what is good in our life, and acknowledge the gaps, but don’t dwell there. Perhaps the gap will eventually diminish and become part of our past as it shapes our future, so that we can live fully in the present.

Wishing you peace and love, BeLoveRs, focused on gifts, not gaps.



Our Christmas Tree Gifts

We had so much fun making and decorating our Thanksgiving Tree this year with leaves of thankfulness. We decided that we would make a Christmas tree next and decorate it with ornaments that described the gifts we all bring to this family.  We each took time to think about each other and what we like about one another and our family as a whole.  We joked about the negative stuff too and decided we’d leave those off, but that one could be really funny!

This was a really cool project, especially reading all the ornaments and stringing them on our family tree.


If you’d like to make your own family christmas tree, here is how we made ours:

– We first looked on Pinterest for Christmas Wall Trees but couldn’t find something we liked. Juliana had seen something on Buzzfeed that used tape and we liked this idea.

– We went to Michael’s craft store and purchased green printed masking tape with a pattern that won’t hurt the paint.

– We also bought precut snowflakes that actually had holes we could use to string them together on purchased twine. We bought craft paper and patterns to copy and cut, but when we found the precut ones, we decided to save time and go with the easy ones.

– I made a free-form Christmas tree with the masking tape. You could make it with just a triangle for the tree, and a small rectangle for the trunk, if you feel this might be easier. Then I cut twine to drape across the branches and taped them onto the tape from side to side, as we created the snowflake ornaments. Once the ornaments were done, I strung them onto the strings and taped them up again.

– The star on top was made by Charlie with pipe cleaners.

– I made a card and put this on the trunk that says, “2014 Hartley Family Gifts” and added more tape lines to tape up the card and to decorate the trunk.

Pretty simple and fun!  If you make one, I wonder if you can share your pictures in the comments??  That would be cool.

Merry Christmas!!  xo Adriana

Thank You


It’s Thanksgiving week and I just want to say thank you for being here.

Thank you for your comments and opinions, both expressed online and privately.

I appreciate all of you who, and especially those of you who take the time to like my posts and write and share your thoughts with me.

I love that you’re reading and liking what you see and connecting. You inspire me and I thank you for that.

I love hearing that you’re sharing my stories with your daughters.  I love that you’re carrying the conversation and making it yours. We’re connecting and I absolutely LOVE this.

We have so much to be thankful for, despite our chaotic, imperfect, and painful lives.

So thank you for being you. Thank you for reading and writing, sharing and connecting. I appreciate each of you.

I hope you enjoy your families, good food and good health. Lots of love, and Happy Thanksgiving from California.

xo Adriana

Giving Thanks

I just got the Thanksgiving box down on Monday. In the box, I found some of our Thanksgiving thankfulness projects. We haven’t done something every year, but I do have a few mementos. In 2003, we made foam trees. I must have been inspired by a preschool project.


In 2004, we were thankful that Charlie survived and didn’t take the time to create another project.

In 2005, we made placemats with each of our homemade trees of thanks. They are sitting around our table now and we are all getting a kick out of what we were thankful for back then.

In 2006, we made bookmarks. I have these hanging on a mirror in another hallway.


We must have been really busy living and were not that creative in the past 8 years!!  This year we are settling again and are ready for another thankfulness project.

We looked on Pinterest, and both Juliana and I gravitated independently toward the same 3D tree idea. This morning the aha light went on, and after yoga I went to the craft store to get supplies and came home and began building our Thankful Tree to surprise the kids before they came home.

Later while I was out running errands, Charlie decided to adopt the tree and made it his own. He decided our tree needed birds, and proceeded to find the ones he liked, printed them, cut them out and attached them to our tree before asking what anyone thought of his idea. I loved his creativity and independence, even though this idea was NOT on pinterest and was NOT mine! Juliana was clearly bothered by his creative freedom and wanted them removed. Even though I preferred our simple tree idea, I loved his personal touch and ownership of our family project and I didn’t want to take away from his creativity. The birds stayed.  

We are creating our leaves of thanks and adding them as we think of ideas. I can’t wait to see how our tree grows.

We have so much to be thankful for. I hope the tree is overflowing in abundance and I wish you happiness, good health and peace.

What are you thankful for this year?

xo Happy Thanksgiving next week!  xo

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful it’s the end of the week. How about you?

I just wanted to thank you for reading and sharing this life journey with me. Thank you for your comments both posted and shared privately. I love knowing that your thinking about your life and living it up, making time for yourself and others and loving it out. Thank you for inspiring me to keep on writing and sharing and connecting, celebrating the good despite the imperfections in our perfectly imperfect world.

I am thankful for Julie celebrating her birthday and sharing her lunch time with me and ML. I loved seeing her being so happy and loved in her new work environment, living it up! It was great to catch up again and celebrate together.

I am thankful it’s raining, even though that meant no tennis practice today. We need the rain and it’s refreshing to have it for a short while. I am thankful that we lived in Holland where it rains more frequently and I now enjoy rainfall and the memories it brings back to me.

I am thankful for my fun husband who took me on a date tonight. We went downtown in the rain and sat in the window seat at our favorite Thai restaurant. We had time alone to chat and catch up after a hectic week and he made me laugh. I still love being with him, like that feeling when I just met him and yet it’s been 20 years! I love that feeling.


I am thankful!! What are you thankful for today?

Day 222: Sunshine, Coffee & Yoga

Three things made me happy right at the beginning of the day.

First thing this morning, I woke up to find the guest room filled with bright light and the sun was beginning to rise.

20130304-212050.jpg Seeing and feeling the sun shine fills me up.

The second thing that made me smile, was a morning ritual. Jeff makes me a cappuccino every morning, so while I’m waking up the kids and starting a load of laundry, I can smell the coffee from upstairs and its ready for me when I come down. I think this is one of the greatest things ever and I am always so thankful that he does this for me. It’s the little things that create huge amounts of joy for me and make me feel loved.

The third thing that started my day off positively after dropping the kids off at school, was my yoga class. I absolutely love yoga and don’t know why I don’t do it everyday. Its especially a great way to start a Monday. When I arrived, I was the only one not speaking (and understanding) Dutch and I felt a little sad to not understand what everyone was saying and sharing with one another. It was only chit chat before class started, but I so desperately wanted to be part of a conversation, yet I couldn’t share anything. I let that feeling go and just focused on relaxing and stretching before class started and had a great practice. Afterwards, during tea with the classmates, a few new friends spoke with me in English and I no longer felt alone. And as I was getting ready to leave, my teacher gave me a hug when saying goodbye, and told me she was glad I came again and that she enjoys having me in her class. She made my day too…another simple and free joy.

I hope your day was filled with peace, love and joy…sunshine, coffee and yoga!