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{This week: Minimalism, creativity, writing books, and more.}

Here’s a list of my favorite links, listens, and good reads from the past week:

1. 15% completed.

2. Farai Harreld on minimalism, mindfulness, and conscious parenting.

3. You know what to do.

4. 10 things I learned while writing my last book.

5. And speaking of books, my sister-in-law, Tina Gower, released a new book—Half Cup Magic!

6. Should a Freelance Writer Have a Blog? (via Joy)

7. A great piece by Zan Romanoff on the joy of personal writing, and why many writers choose to share some work for free.

8. One of my favorite newsletters is three cents by Manjula Martin. It’s about creative work, money, and love.

9. Spirit Wanderess Photography.

10. Who Gets Left Out of the Advice to ‘Make Your Own Happiness’—an excellent piece about the problems with positive psychology.

If you enjoyed my happy links, please share this post with a friend or become a patron.

Have a lovely weekend, and thanks for reading!

With gratitude,

Yesterday, I walked to the post office to mail a note to my friend Shanna, and while I was there, I decided to check my P.O. Box. When I opened my box, there was a small silver package tucked inside, and I chuckled when I saw that the package was from Shanna. Talk about serendipity! We’re definitely on the same wavelength.

When I opened the package, I didn’t see anything inside, so I sent Shanna a photo of the parcel via text message and said:

Hi friend! Just went to the post office to mail you a card & found a package from you. There was nothing in it? Xoxo. 

My intuition was screaming—do not throw this little package away. Dig deeper.

Shanna wrote me back immediately and a text message exchange ensued.

The mailer was double folded, and the gift was tucked inside tightly. I’m glad that I didn’t throw the package away because I would have been sad.

The parcel contained a lovely note and gorgeous necklace with a tiny Eiffel Tower encased in glass. Shanna told me to think of the necklace as a “. . . talisman, a good luck charm, a portent of things to come.”

As I read Shanna’s note I started to happy-cry in the post office, and the tears continued to flow in the local drug store (I had to swing by for 3×5 cards). My tears garnered funny looks from fellow patrons, and that’s okay. They didn’t know about my thoughtful friend.

Physical gifts are lovely, but they aren’t a required part of friendship. Strong listening skills, compassion, and empathy are must haves—and Shanna has all of those things and more. She sees me, and still wants to be my friend.

In The Kindness Diaries Leon Logothetis said, “We just have to be willing to see each other. I see you, and you see me. Then the masks of who we think we should be fall away. And we greet one another in ways that need no language, that require no masks. We set out on the journey of life, getting to partake in this brief but beautiful adventure together.”

With gratitude,

PS: I can’t wait to wear the necklace in Paris!

If you’re looking for additional inspiration, sign up for Shanna’s newsletter—The Ampersand. Her cookbook—The Intentionalist Cooks!—is amazing, too!

And last but not least, I won’t post an essay on Thursday because I’m sending my monthly Creative Tool Box to patrons. This month’s topic is on the financial side of running RowdyKittens.com. Become a patron here.

Last week on Wednesday evening, I went to bed at 9 p.m. and didn’t get up until 4.45 a.m. It was my first full night of sleep in three weeks! When I got up at 4.45 a.m., I fed the cats, made coffee, and tried to get ready for the day. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I went back to bed and slept fitfully from 6-8 a.m. The extra shut-eye was much needed!

When I got out of bed at 8 a.m. and wandered into the living room, Logan was drinking coffee with Elaina on his lap, and snow covered our front yard. It was a beautiful scene. I’m happy that it snowed lightly last week, and that I’m sleeping for longer stretches at night.

I talked about the strategies we instituted to keep the cats from meowing all night here, and I included a list of updates below:

— Logan bought Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs for me, and they work fairly well. Although, when Elaina meows loudly I can still hear her. I’m trying hard to follow Jackson Galaxy’s advice and ignore Elaina’s 3 a.m. outbursts, but it’s hard.

— The cats are adjusting to their new feeding schedule, and they are meowing less at night.

— We ordered a special kitty water fountain to help Elaina drink without our assistance during the day and early morning hours. Friends, she finally used the foundation yesterday! It took a week of coaxing, and I’m so happy she’s drinking from the fountain because I’ll worry less when I leave the house.

— I ordered a copy of Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat by Jackson Galaxy. My cat loving friends recommended this book, and I’m looking forward to reading it. At this point, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get more sleep and to make sure my girls are happy.

I might be turning into a sleep evangelist like Arianna Huffington. In all seriousness, if you’re not sleeping—whether it’s due to insomnia, a crying newborn, or meowing cats—please take care of yourself. Ask for help, and nap often because sleep is glorious.

With gratitude,

PS: Here’s a list of related articles and resources:

When I got home from CrossFit on Saturday, I found a package on my front stoop. When I opened the large envelope, I was surprised to find a copy of Flow Magazine’s new special Dutch edition Het grote boek van minder—The Big Book of Lessinside. Seeing my tiny house on the cover made me squeal with delight!

I love sharing my photographs online, and it’s an absolute joy to see them in print! I wish I had a better grasp of Dutch because The Big Book of Less is filled with interesting articles on relaxation, tiny homes, bullet journaling, and my friend Courtney’s Project 333 was included too.

I spent Sunday morning drinking coffee and looking through The Big Book of Less, even though I only understood tiny pieces of the text. Also, the illustrations and photos in this edition are beautiful.

I’ll leave you with a few snapshots I took of The Big Book of Less on Sunday. Make it a great week friends!

With gratitude,

PS: Flow’s new special is available (only in Dutch) to buy. Learn more here.

{This week: Scheduling life, Facebook, iPhone photography, diet culture, and more.}

Hi all,

Below are fun links that inspired me this week. I hope you enjoy them, too!

1. LOVED this essay: Schedule “life” first.

2. A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel.

3. Tips for Better iPhone Photography—really helpful tips!

4. Melissa Toler on diet culture, body justice, and freeing yourself through writing.

5. Super cool: My home studio DIY renovation!

6. Sebastian Junger Never Owned a Smartphone (and Why This Matters)—this essay made me want to get a flip phone again.

7. Good stuff: Notebook Turducken & Why I Keep a Diary.

8. The book hiding in your blog.

9. Lena Waithe says have a dream… and a sponsor.

10. If you enjoy my happy links, share this post with a friend or become a patron.

Thanks for reading!

With gratitude,

Today, I have a photo round-up to share with you! If you’re reading this via email or in a feed reader, click here to view my photo gallery.

In other news:

1. I’m thinking about creating an iPhone photography course. Is this something you’d be interested in taking? If yes, what topics would you like me to cover? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

2. If you enjoy my essays, photos, and curated happy links, consider supporting my work on Patreon.

Thanks for reading!

With gratitude,


My brain is mush, and I’m exhausted.

My cats, Christie and Elaina, continue to meow throughout the night. The of lack of sleep isn’t helping my disposition or my ability to get work done. I feel like I’m walking through quicksand, and my brain is tingling. Yesterday morning, I was so tired that I started crying. I have a good life, and I shouldn’t be crying on a Tuesday morning.

As a result, I reread parts of Thomas McNamee’s bookThe Inner Life of Cats. The book led me to Jackson Galaxy—who seems to be a modern day cat whisper.

After exploring Galaxy’s website, I watched his video Train Your Cat To Let You Sleep. It was helpful and some of the tips he mentioned—like putting my cats on a feeding schedule—were recommended by my vet.

At the end of the video, Galaxy offered viewers the following homework assignments:

1. Change your cat from a free-feeder to a meal feeder.

2. Feed in conjunction with play.

3. Merge your cat’s energy with your energy.

I’ll be working on these homework assignments for the next few weeks.

Also, we ordered Elaina a cat water fountain because she has trouble drinking from a bowl. I’m also going to buy custom-made earplugs. I have issues with earplugs, but that’s a whole other story!

I’m hopeful the new feeding regime and kitty playtime will result and in happy cats and happy humans. I want my energy back, and I want to avoid crying in the morning.

With gratitude,

PS: Here’s a list of related articles and resources:

Yesterday, I had a coffee/work date with my husband, Logan, at Zephyr Books & Coffee (my favorite writing haunt in Yreka, CA). While I drank coffee and ate a slice of coffee cake, Logan zipped through a personal creative project, and I was on the struggle bus because I couldn’t decide what to blog about.

Before we left I asked Debbie—baker extraordinaire at Zephyr—what she’d like to read about on the blog. She suggested writing about my favorite books, decluttering, and minimalism. I appreciated the feedback because my daily blogging project is fun and challenging!

The decluttering topic interested me because readers often assume that Logan and I are decluttering experts. In reality, we still struggle with the inflow and outflow of stuff in our lives. For example, we’re prepping to sell our tiny house in the spring, and last weekend we did chores at our wee abode. While I deep cleaned our home, I found a bunch of random belongings we left behind when we moved out including:

  • Books
  • Garden supplies
  • Extra blankets
  • Folding chairs for outdoor adventures
  • Logan’s ranch boots
  • Pictures
  • Four plates
  • Two bowls
  • Knives
  • The original boxes for our computers
  • Odds and ends in our junk drawer like small tools, screws, etc.
  • A small wheat mill

We haven’t used these items in six months (or longer), and I’d like to give the stuff to Goodwill. Before that happens, Logan has to sort through the box of goods in our living room. He’ll decide what to keep, what to giveaway, and then we’ll find a home for the stuff in our apartment.

Over the years, I’ve learned not to nag Logan about his stuff. He can decide what to keep and giveaway; it’s not up to me. As long as Logan’s stuff isn’t in my area—and vice versa—we’re a happy couple. I don’t love Logan’s extra stuff, but I love Logan, and the life we’ve created together.

Thanks for your lovely comments and emails about my recent post—The Best Cafés in Ashland, OR. Based on feedback from Ashland readers, I need to schedule a field trip and patronize a few more cafés in Ashland.

I love Ashland, but I spend most of my time in Yreka, CA because it’s my hometown. Currently, I have two favorite writing and coffee haunts in Yreka:

1. Zephyr Books & Coffee is located in old town Yreka off Miner Street. I adore this little café and the owners. They serve locally roasted Northbound Coffee, delicious baked goods, and have a wonderful selection of used books. I live relatively close to Zephyr, and it’s become my second office.

2. The Starbucks in Yreka is another favorite writing spot because the coffee is good, the baristas are friendly, and it’s always buzzing with energy. Also, whenever I write at Starbucks, I bump into fellow CrossFitters or my mother-in-law. Small town life is fun!

In the past, I’ve patronized Nature’s Kitchen and Misty’s Wet Yer Whistle Espresso Bar. Both are fantastic places to drink coffee and eat delicious treats. As a bonus, Nature’s Kitchen serves yummy meals; one of my favorite dishes is the stuffed avocado salad. I need to visit these establishments more often.

If you’re traveling through Northern California, I hope you’ll stop for coffee in Yreka or consider extending your stay. There is so much to see and do in Siskiyou County!

With gratitude,

{This week: Paris With Me, A Writer’s Paris, Instagram accounts, and more.}

Hi all,

Below are fun links that inspired me this week. I hope you enjoy them, too!

1. Paris With Me is a beautiful blog!

2. Books I’m reading again: A Writer’s Paris by Eric Maisel and A Paris All Your Own edited by Eleanor Brown.

3. Inspiring Instagram accounts: Paris.With.Me | SeeMyParis | MyLittleParis | Madame_Love | gl0be_trotter| Hello_France

4. This is your brain on nature.

5. So good: I want my attention back.

6. How I got my attention back.

7. “A beautiful Instagram experience for your desktop.”

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

With gratitude,