Look what I found on my walk!

Where do we find inspiration?  Joy? Gratitude?  Sometimes I get stressed out and negative and then something will remind me of the beauty and LOVE that makes life worthwhile. The other day, I had been working too long and was feeling particularly burned out and anxious, so I headed out for a walk around my neighborhood.  I was walking really briskly, and then this caught my eye... It was a little heart sticker turned upside down with some dirt on it.  There was something about it that made me smile, so I took this photo with my phone.  I continued walking and soon came across this... It was a heart shaped hole in the sidewalk!  How cool!  I snapped a photo and continued walking. A block later I saw this... So pretty right?  I love the red brick it was sitting on.  By this time I was feeling like a little kid on a scavenger hunt - excitedly looking at the ground as I walked.   Just a bit down that block I saw this one too... I noticed that my anxiety had melted away in marveling at these simple little gifts of nature.  My mind started taking stock of all the beauty that is right in front of us - beauty we can't see because we're so busy thinking negatively.  And then this... How stunning is this one?  I guess it's old chewing gum in the shape of a heart!  By this point I was really feeling the LOVE!  Kept walking and sure enough... It had rained earlier that morning and this little wet spot looked like a heart!  If you back away from the picture you see it even more and that's how I saw it from a little distance. I love how subtle this one is.  As I walked along pondering that one I realized that sometimes love is more of a whisper than a siren.  A whisper that guides the best things we do in life. As I rounded the corner to my apartment, I saw this one.  The leaves were just sitting there like this and the whole thing was getting pretty amazing at this point... After my 30 minute adventure, my mindset was totally changed.  I went from feeling on the verge of an anxiety attack to coming home energized and positive.  Taking a walk always turns around my mood, but the little hearts along the way made me extra joyful.  I walked up my apartment stairs and on the wall of the building I noticed this... It was a TINY bit of paint from the trim of the building that was shaped like a heart.  It was only a 1/4" in size so I never noticed before. Today, take time to notice the beauty around you, and though all life's challenges, you'll be reminded that LOVE really is all around us.  And see if you can find some hearts around you too!  I bet you'll see them... *If you have photos of hearts you've discovered, post them on Facebook and then post the link in a comment below so we can see! ** Feel free to share this post with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook.  I'm going to start writing more blog posts and would love to build my mailing list.  If you're not signed up just put your e-mail in the box to your right and be sure to check your e-mail to confirm  your subscription. Love, Sarah Jane owner/designer www.lifeisrosey.com Handstamped Jewelry That Speaks

Bloom – What my rose garden is trying to teach me…

622   I've never been a plant person but I have a spectacular rose garden in my front yard. I can't take credit for it (our landlord is the one who cares for them) but I've grown to adore them so much. As the spring has sprung, I have marveled every single day at the beauty of the new roses I discover. Surprises in every corner of the yard keep opening up to me. I'm in awe of the yellow, lavender, red, coral - all different sizes and scents. These days are so precious and fleeting. Happy moments with my little Mateo age 5 and Rosey age 7 - delicious snuggles, enlightening talks, and so many priceless moments. I want to bottle up the minutes and make them last forever, but that's not how it works. Taking pictures is the only way I know how to stop time. And so that's what I do with the roses too. They bud and bloom and I take photos.  Photos that show them in all their glory, in their peak of splendor, and then they bloom full and begin their process of passing away. It's interesting that they smell the very sweetest as they begin to wither.  I put my nose all the way inside and sniff each time I pass. I can't get enough, and then they're gone. New roses pop up.  New colors I've never seen before, brightness and sweetness... I guess this garden is here to show us in the most glorious way that life is in motion, nothing lasts, everything changes and moves forward. My life has had thorns. Sometimes the challenges and heartbreaks overwhelm me, but overall, in the big picture, there is so much to be grateful for. Let us all treasure the moments when life is gloriously in BLOOM. Below you'd find pics of my front yard roses. None of the photos are retouched! Just natural beauty, frozen in time, forever in bloom... Leave a comment below if you wish. I'd love to know that someone is out there listening.  Also feel free to share with a rose-lover (or a life-lover) who might enjoy this post. Love, Sarah Jane

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Life is Rosey MEMORIAL DAY Benefit for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

For many Americans, Memorial Day represents the beginning of summer with backyard BBQs and maybe even an extra day off work.  On the long weekend we often gather with friends and family to "chill."  We see more flags around than usual, but often don't spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about veterans. Last year I wanted my kids to connect to the meaning of Memorial Day, so my husband and I took our daughter Rosey and son Mateo to put flags on graves of veterans.  As 5 year old Rosey went from grave to grave placing flags and "straightening" up the vases and flowers that had blown over in the wind, I noticed families driving up. I watched them get out of their cars carrying flowers, flags, and balloons. One grave was freshly buried and a large group of men, women, children of all ages gathered. I tried to imagine what Memorial Day would be like if my son, daughter, mother, or father had given their LIFE serving our country.  I shed some tears at the thought... Last month, I attended a West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce breakfast with special guest speaker Paul Rieckhoff who is the founder and executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).  His story and his message really impacted me.  We all know that many veterans gave their lives, but there are also so many who come home in great need of support and healing. Reickhoff created an organization that serves those needs. I was shocked when he said, "Unemployment for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is nearly 17% - eight percentage points higher than the national average as reported by the Department of Labor. Nearly 2.4 million veterans have been leading the way overseas. It’s time for us to welcome them back with jobs so they can continue leading here at home.”  He encouraged employers to seek out veterans for hiring and demystified some of the misconceptions that keep veterans unemployed.  He noted that they are hardworking, disciplined, able think on their feet, technologically savvy, and will very likely have a good haircut, shined shoes.  That last part got a laugh, but is also a very good point. IAVA works hard in Washington to push for policies like protecting the GI Bill and getting better healthcare for veterans.  Did you know that a veteran could wait up to 300 days to get a mental health appointment with the VA?  I was blown away by this fact. Rieckhoff said, "These are veterans who have experienced first-hand the psychological toll of war. Since the Iraq war began, suicide rates and other signs of psychological injury, like marital strain and substance abuse, have been increasing every year." Mental Health services need to be READILY AVAILABLE to veterans. After hearing that speech I went home to my jewelry design business and wondered what I could do...  The result was this:                                     My Hand Stamped EAGLE Charm Necklace has a 1/4" sterling silver disc hand stamped with one letter, number, or symbol.  It comes with solid sterling silver Eagle charm as well as a Swarovski crystal or pearl of your choice handwrapped with sterling silver wire. 50% of all profits from sale of this item from Saturday May 26th - Saturday June 2nd will be donated to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Place your order and get more info at www.lifeisrosey.com I also encourage you to visit www.iava.org to learn more about the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. And as you enjoy your Memorial Day BBQ I hope you'll take time to pause for a moment of silence for the men, women, and families who have made many great sacrifices to serve our country. With Love and Gratitude, Sarah Jane www.sarahjanenelson.com

I’m an Extra-Small? REALLY Old Navy????

Old Navy has some very cute little scoop neck t-shirts. T-shirts are an important part of my mom uniform (fitted t-shirts, tank tops, yoga pants, jeans, cute sneakers, heels if I'm feeling date night-ish and if I'm feeling really saucy, a fab piece of jewelry or scarf worn Stephen Tyler style as I like to call it) So currently all my t-shrits are stained, stretched, and stale, and I decided to stock up on a few new ones for summer.

I got to Old Navy, grabbed huge stack of all the colors and designs in Medium and headed on the 1/2 mile walk back to the dressing room where I found that the MEDIUMS were too big! Ok. So I go back for a huge stack of SMALL and lo and behold, they were too big too! What's up? One more trip back into the store and sure enough, the EXTRA SMALL fit perfectly. Now, I'm not bragging that I suddenly got EXTRA small. I didn't. I'm just wondering, "If I am extra-small, what do you call the thousands of people out there way smaller than me?" and "What is happening with the sizes of clothes?" It's wacky.

To investigate this matter, I just measured myself. My waist is 29" at the smallest part - 28" if I suck in. Let's not talk about the "mommy pooch" that sits just below my 29" waist. A measurement I will not take. I have pretty big boobs (34D) and a big hips. Basically I'm a notch smaller than "fat Marilyn Monroe". Back then, when she gained weight, the media made such a big deal about her new plus size body (I personally think she looked smokin' hot with her curves). Now in 2010, I'm fitting into an EXTRA SMALL t-shirt? What are the sizes below extra-small? Teeny Weeny, Tiny, Itty Bitty, Extra Itty Bitty?

I'm confused. Flattered. Considering wearing my tag inside out on purpose, but confused.
Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon?

Little Me, Tiny, Petite, Delicate...
Sarah Jane

Julia Sweeney Blog Farewell

As I'm getting this blog ready to go and researching other blogs, I found an intersting post on the blog of comedianne Julia Sweeney. Here, at the begining of my journey, I came across this post about someone who has made an entire career out of telling stories and making jokes from her real life. She has also inspired and moved us along the way with books like "And God Said Ha" in which she talks candidly about her family experiences with cancer. Now she is finding herself TIRED of talking about her life. She is going to take a break from performing and blogging and writing. We'll miss her voice but I'm sure it will be a wonderful time in which she'll make new observations and just live normally and privately. Boy, I'm on the totally opposite end. I can't wait to use this platform to share my experiences in a way that will hopefully inspire, encourage, and entertain a broad audience. If you want to read Julia's farewell post click here http://www.juliasweeney.blogspot.com/ After you read her post, I'd love to here your comments on how much is too much sharing in a blog! Love, SJ