Pearlescent Beauty

I’ve had the opportunity lately to meet some amazing women. As I reached out and shared my story about wanting to help others in need, people have appeared in my life ready to help. This week, I met Nancy who wants to introduce me to Barbara because she is an artist. Typically Barbara would be there among our group, but she is facing some challenges. She is undergoing personal medical challenges as well as taking care of her husband. If I am to meet her, I will need to go to her. And it sounds like I need to meet her. As I was standing in the corridor visiting with Nancy, Jane walked up and joined the conversation. They went on and on about Barbara and what a lovely person she is and what a gentle spirit she has – there is none like her and I must make a point to reach out and meet her. Jane and Nancy were quite gracious in their compliments about their friend and urged me to connect even though she is in a trying time at the moment.

 

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It’s typical for my mind to start racing in the early morning hours. I rarely have a need for the alarm clock because my mental chatter becomes so loud it wakes me to start the day. Yet this morning, my mind turned to thinking of the people I want to help and to Barbara, as well as others I’ve meet along the way. I’ve encountered women that have undergone insurmountable struggles, yet if you were to meet them at a cocktail party, you would never guess. These women exude love and peace and happiness. They light up rooms with their personality. They are inquisitive and want to know more about you and what it is you do. And they draw you in with their charm and wit and laughter. There is a beauty about them like none other.

 

Yet I know the backstory to their lives. For example, take Becca’s story. She is the one who almost lost her husband due to his need for a kidney transplant. I watched how she handled the weight of uncertainty not knowing if he would survive to see their 4 young children grow up and go to college and be there to hold her hand through it all. Her resiliency was a witness to so many as she has walked by his side during the ups and downs of his medical treatment. Meeting them today, you might never guess they endured this hardship. Their warmth and hospitality is so rich. Part of me wonders if it is due to the hardship they endured. Was it the fuel to living life to the fullest?  Is the beauty there because of what they went through?

 

Which lead me to think about how pearls are made. It was one of the driving thoughts that made me stir and get out of bed this morning. An irritant enters the oyster shell and can’t expel it. So it does what it can do and starts to coat it in a secretion that hardens into a pearl. Layer upon layer, through a slow process, beauty begins to form within.

 

Recently while visiting with a group about times of struggle, we all agreed that our priorities change and almost like cream rising to the top, the most important aspects of our lives get attention and all else sinks to the bottom of our to do list. Periods of struggle seem to give us clarity to what really matters in life. I wouldn’t wish a hardship on anyone, but at the same time, I get to witness a transformation – a blossoming – a becoming that might not have happened had the incident not occurred. I feel so honored to have met these radiate people and witness the beauty shining deep within and grateful that they lovingly share so generously with those around them. To see one go through life with strength and resilience and endure the unwelcomed so it can transform lives into something beautiful.

 

 

 

#CreatetoGive

Below is an excerpt from a talk I gave today. I felt lead to share my story with a group I’m involved in and also this explains my passion about #createtogive

"In the past year, I’ve had 3 girlfriends diagnosed with breast cancer. 2 additional friends were already undergoing treatment. So in 2017 - I had 5 friends dealing with a medical crisis. These are women my age. Most of them have children – some even young children. My friends have been suffering. So even though I have found this Bible Study to be challenging – it has been a timely topic. As Jan has said during our studies – we are either suffering or know someone suffering. I have to say it does cause one to reflect and reevaluate one’s own life and make changes.

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In the past several months – I’ve taken an idea – created something new – felt scared and intimated – built a business called Kittridge Laine & Company – and started sharing it with others. I also started sharing it because of others. Going back to my friends undergoing medical treatment - I am happy to report that 4 of them have received the “green” light and their cancer is in remission, the 5th is in the midst of moving from chemotherapy treatment to a series of radiation treatments – but I felt lead to do more – to help out in any way I can – so a percentage of my profits go to paying medical bills for those in need. I’ve decided to create so I can give." 

 

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
— Winston Churchill

I paddle out across the bay in Florida. When the day’s highs hit over the 100 mark, I head to the water in a kayak. Typically the surface is flat and smooth which makes paddling less difficult. Yet today was different. The winds were out of the east and my rule of thumb for kayaking is to head towards the winds first. It makes coming back to port less strenuous in the end. 

As I head across the bay, I reach the point of being equal distance between the two shores. Neither shore is a comfortable swimming distance. The wind is picking up along with the waves. I dig in deeper with my oars. I push against the wind harder. The front tip of the boat is dipping underneath the waves wetting my legs as I row. Each push forward is met with more water coming into the boat. If I turn and go back to the marina, the boat would fill from the backside. I have a moment of realization that the boat might fill with water faster than I can reach a shore. My mind starts to panic at the thought of being stranded in the bay without any help. I urge my thoughts to calm by breathing slowly and deeply. Trying to clear my mind of the fear, I push toward the distant shore while praying to make it. I know if I can get there, I will reach shallow waters and be able to empty the boat. I push forward with all my effort while fully focusing on making it to dry land.

So, yes, I made it. You, dear reader, realize that because otherwise this story wouldn't be told. To my great relief, I made it to the other side. I emptied the boat, rested a bit, then followed the curvatures of the bay to get back to the marina. 

My simple excursion took much longer than I anticipated. It wasn’t an experience I had planned for that day. I wasn’t anticipating the wind and waves to increase. But isn’t that an example of our lives?

Seems things happen that we weren’t necessarily expecting. Out of nowhere can come an increasing number of waves that rock our boat. We are caught off guard. We are uncertain of how to move forward. Fear floods our mind.

Let me urge you to breathe deeply. Calm the tumultuous thoughts. Try to clear the mind. Pray. And paddle like never before. Push forward in sheer determination that this won’t sink you. Push forward towards your destination. Keep your eyes forward instead of looking down at the current circumstances. You’ll make it. 

Then, oh then, the joyous relief you’ll feel when you circle around and come back to port. Where the harbor is safe. Where your feet are on solid ground. There, your heart will overflow with thanksgiving. You made it through the unexpected. You endured and are now safe and secure in the harbor again.

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Waves

Return to the Harbor

Inspiration

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one... I learned this, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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Passion with a Purpose

So I had some gal pals over for dinner last night. I had prepped them ahead of time to bring a bottle of their favorite wine and a 3-minute pitch of what it is they do for work. This idea actually originated thanks to my yoga teacher, Andi. One day in class as I’m unrolling my mat, she announces we will all be giving a brief description of our work. She said we were going to treat this studio as our golf course and network together. I loved the idea! Also it was quite helpful because the woman next to me owned a sprinkler installation company and I had a leak in my system. I was at a loss of who to call and there on the mat next to me was the person who could solve my problem. A beautiful coincidence!

So after the pasta had been dished and the glasses clinked, we gathered around and shared our stories. I hope I can even come close to describing the scenario. Story after story followed a similar pattern. For many of us, we were in a stage of transition. Our parents are becoming older and needing more help and then our children are becoming older and desiring less help. So we are transitioning between doing what we have always done to changing and doing something new. In the midst of this time of uncertainty of taking on new tasks, so many of the remarks were “I just want to help”.

For example, one woman has developed a passion for politics and is reaching out to volunteer in the political realm. One woman has a passion for international corporate work and wants to work in the field that helps others abroad. Another wants to take on more cases and listen deeper during her law dispositions to bring clarity and justice to each party involved. Their stories resonated so deeply with me.

One of the reasons I was so moved is because I started this company as a means to give back to others. I’ve had 5 friends this year undergo breast cancer treatment. And as I’ve listened to them and their discussions of their treatment plans, many of them were stressed about how to pay for all the medical care they so desperately needed. I was so touched by their needs that raising money for medical care has become my personal mission in order to make the lives of others better. It all goes back to the original theme in our conversation – “I just want to help.”

So that is how Kittridge Laine and Company came about. It all started with a desire to make things better for those in need. And the way I found to do it was by sharing the gifts and talents I have inside me. Which I feel certain is something we can all do. We can all be generous with our passions and skills for the benefits of others.

 

Featured @ The Studio Gallery

Kittridge Laine & Company coastal designs are now featured at The Studio Gallery located in the heart of Grayton Beach in the Emerald Coast area affectionally known as 30A.  The Studio specializes in contemporary and traditional original art, gifts, and one of a kind jewelry. Located in The Shops of Grayton shopping center alongside The Shard Shop and Andy Sacynski’s gallery.  Located on Hwy 283 1/4 mile north of Hwy 30A

Address: 26D Logan Lane Grayton Beach, FL 32459  -

Open Daily! 

Sea Glass

I have a confession. I’m obsessed with sea glass. I can’t get enough of it. I can’t stop looking for it. So many times I’ve tried to simply take a stroll along the beach and not spend my time staring down at the sand. Yet over and over I find myself drawn to the efforts of finding sea glass. It brings me such joy to find it hidden among the empty crab shells and seashells littered among the beach. I just can’t help myself. So I spend my time half bent at the waist scanning the sand a few feet in front of my toes for the allusive treasure.

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I don’t feel guilty for picking up sea glass and taking it home. It isn’t meant to be there on the beach (with the exclusion of an occasional lightening strike.) The pieces we find were not part of the original particles nature intended. But oh, how nature incorporates it, swallows it up and spits it out as a metaphor for our lives.

I can’t help but think about the journey of sea glass. From one shore to another from one complete vessel transformed into a multitude of shards. Churned and spun in the waves and moved along with the wind. Not knowing where it is going or where it will end up. The uncertainty of being where it once started out and forced to move forward in a new direction. How the ocean churns its strong waves and takes something so harsh and hardened and wears it down into something so smooth and of utter beauty that it draws you in.

Isn’t that life too? A symbol of how we are transformed by our hardships. How we are no longer the person we started out to be due to the experiences we’ve endured. How we’ve been changed and molded into something new from the chaos we’ve endured. Transformed into someone who is softer and gentler. Spun into someone more compassionate and with a higher threshold of empathy. The sharp contrast of how self absorbed we use to be to a new person willing to open oneself up to another to comfort them as they wished they had once been comforted. How easily we use to jump to conclusions yet now hesitate and listen for the full story with a sympathetic ear for those we care about. We’ve been through the strong winds and storms and came out of them different. A little softer. With a more translucent vision of what others are going through too.

There among the strong waves and wind is a honing tool to transform the harshness inside us into compassion for those around us. Maybe our struggles are intended to bring about the beauty found in the depth of our experiences.

Friends Call Me Kitt

So the idea of a business name came to me by accident. I was having a conversation with a friend about a recent trip. Over the course of a week-long excursion, my last name was changed daily on my luggage. It went from one additional vowel to many additional vowels and then finally an entirely new first letter! What?!?! I’m still scratching my head on how that happened!

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So not only does my name often get misspelled, but it is often mispronounced. In doctor’s offices, in interviews, in introductions and even some friends fumble when introducing me. There is a joke running among our family about our last name and the variations of mispronunciations. Anytime a new one occurs, a call goes to the family to share the latest one together. We share and laugh about our sagas.

Then the second issue with my name is my first name is spelled differently. I’m Karla with a “K.” It originates with my parents needing to come up with a 4th “K” name since I’m the youngest of their children. I was almost Karly, but my mom didn’t care for it as much, so I became Karla. Growing up I couldn’t find anything with my name pre-monogrammed on it. No bicycle license plate, no pencils from the state park, no pen bag from the gift shop. As you can see, I’m still a little bitter about it!

Now, the current dilemma with my first name arises when ordering a latte or waiting for a table. I’ll give the barista my name and then follow it up with “Yes, that’s Karla with a “K” as she spells it out along the cup's edge. Due to my addiction to caffeine and frequent trips to the coffee shop, I grew tired of having the name discussion, so instead I came up with a restaurant name. At first it was Paprika. I was aiming for name originality. It worked, yet the double takes I received made me more uncomfortable and again there was a problem with correct spelling, so I had to devise a second option. Which was Kitt. Everyone can spell K-I-T-T. Or even K-I-T. Either is fine with me. It’s a joy to use since everyone from the Anthropologie sales clerk to the hostess or barista can pronounce it correctly. It is a remedy to my name issue and I no longer get weird stares in return.

Then one moment in time. One brief passing of a book display is when Kitt became Kittridge. It was only a few minutes. One book display at the local bookstore. Several words. And there among them all was the name Kittridge staring back at me. I knew in an instant this was the name of my dreams. Please tell me I’m not the only one growing up who would play pretend as a child and dream of a new name. Back then mine was often Julie or Jewels. Oh, how I wanted to be a Jewels. Hey, a girl can dream. So I guess that dream never left and I was still in search for an ideal name.

Then speaking of search, that is how Laine came about. I googled it. Yes, that’s right. I searched names until I found Laine and fell in love with its meaning. “You are wise and practical with an appreciation of beauty.” Who wouldn’t like to be wise!!! Sign me up! I already knew I was quite practical and I had a deep appreciation of all things beautiful – so let’s just add a wee bit of wise to the mix, please.

So there you have it. The birth of a name. The birth of a business called Kittridge Laine. Little coincidences that happened through my daily life. Just tidbits here and there until it came together to form something new. Which exemplifies what I do. I mix a little of this and a little of that to make something new so I can share my love of nature and invoke a sense of tranquility and peace within us all. But more of that for another blog post. In the meantime, you can call me Kitt.