bingcherries-for-mom_latartinegourmande

This week was a personal turning point for me. I won’t go into too much detail because the lesson is more important than the circumstances. I launched this blog, a new business, had a lot of great meetings, a flooded inbox with consulting requests, and a great week with my team. So much to be joyful about. But, I quietly struggled underneath, just trying to “keep it together.” I had one meeting in particular this week that I did not handle gracefully as a result. I let my emotions get the best of me. It reminded me that I am human, fallible, and that no matter how strong I think I am, my heart strings can be pulled too far. I really wish I could have told that person, “I’m not handling this well right now because I have absolutely no emotional reserve. Come back next week.” 98% of my days I feel on top of the world. But I’m learning that every so often, something unexpected happens that throws me off course simply as a test of my faith and resilience. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember these updates from the last couple weeks (all part of this journey I am writing about):

Thinking of my grandpa tonight, reading his favorites.. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 3:13 AM Jul 12th

I have grown to like when life throws me an unexpected twist. If I navigate skillfully & gracefully, there’s always a blessing in the storm. 2:46 PM Jul 14th

Living the phrase “God laughs when we make plans”. Grateful & overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers. Having an interesting (good) day. 1:10 PM Jul 21st

Making the choice to let go of something is so hard, but on the other side is an unmistakable freedom. Listening to Nichole Nordeman / Brave 1:48 PM Jul 26th

As a self-made entrepreneur, it’s in my nature to just handle the tough stuff myself, even on days I want to check out. Sound familiar? I know I’m not the only one here. I’m the boss, so I have a responsibility to always be on top of my game. I’m the boss, so I have to be prepared. I’m the boss, so I can’t take a day off. I’m learning that the best example I can set is to be strong AND true to myself. So, I made myself take two full days “off” (which just meant I worked alone with no one else in the office and slept a tiny bit later). It was really good for me. I had my best friend listening to me and praying for me (thank you), Abby Kitty Pants (yes, that’s her name. I named her Abby but you can blame Ari for her middle and last name) here to remind me to love like she does- unconditionally, and a good long talk with mom.

My mom loves this season when rainier cherries start to appear. (lovely images above are from one of my favorite blogs, La Tartine Gourmande. You must read her latest post.) I remember seeing them for the first time at The Market in Shadyside when I was at Carnegie Mellon. My mom, a trained French chef, would always bring home unusual things for us to try. Her culinary adventures make me smile to this day when I go to Whole Foods and see goose berries, fresh mint, or anything I grew up picking from her abundant organic garden. She still grows her own lettuce, basil, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes, calamondins, meyer lemons and has a tree by the side of our house that is loaded with figs.

And so I think of my mom as the seasons blossom and new adventures and challenges appear. Like life, these sweet fruits are a reminder that no matter what we endure, all things are made new with time and care. Seeds are planted, roots grow, flowers bloom, fruit appears and the cycle returns… plump cherries fall to the earth and return as seeds to start the seasons again. There is a season for everything and abundance even when we feel lost and alone.

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal …
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance …
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This week one truth kept revealing itself to me: you never know what someone is experiencing. No matter how together a person may appear, they could be in a season of hurt or loss. Be kind and “slow to speak, quick to listen.” Some of you didn’t even know you were helping me this week, but your innate kindness was such a gift. I woke up yesterday just grateful to be alive and given another day to love and give. Sometimes our blessings are as simple –and profound– as that.

I love this image from Anna and Michael Costa… a quiet walk through the cherry blossoms. (from the film feature in our premiere issue)

cherrytrees_annamichaelcosta

Wishing you a joyful weekend full of sweet adventures,

lc

Show Comments (17)
  1. angie+matt

    Gorgeous post. I feel like some of the things you said were pulled right out of my heart. Thank you for your words they are so true, pure, and inspiring. I love what you said about you never know what other people are experiencing. I truly believe that many people go through life suffering and put on a smile. How wonderful life would be if we would just listen and always be kind to others. What a sweet and comforting post. THANK YOU!

  2. Ashley

    Your post really spoke to me. This is the second time this week someone has reminded me to “hang in there” because there is a season for everything.

    Thank you Lara for continuing to inspire so many of us with your faith, business skills, strength, and ability to find joy in any circumstance.

  3. Emily Ley

    Lara, your post was so heartfelt and true. Thanks for sharing what must have been a healing and difficult post to write. We’re all behind you and appreciate your sharing your peaks and valleys along the way. Truly an inspiration.

    All the best,
    Emily

  4. Michelle

    Lara- Thank you for your honesty. When my faith and resilience are tested, I am grateful for grace. I am always amazed at how God shapes us into better people when we go through adversity. Your words spoke to my spirit- thank you again. :)

  5. Larissa

    Thank you Lara. Being a biz owner as well, I feel like I have to ‘keep it all together’ for the sake of those around. Nice to know I’m not the only one who needs a mental health day (or two). I have always admired you and so appreciate you opening your heart and soul to us, your readers. We’re all human and yes, we are all going thru ‘stuff’ and you never know what ‘stuff’ that other soul is handling. Thanks for the reminder to be gentle with one another and, most importantly, with ourselves as it all begins from within.
    Hope your weekend is relaxing, rejuvenating and full of wonder.

  6. Heather Essian

    Lara your openness is refreshing. Thank you for sharing. Oh how badly we hate to disappoint ourselves. When I’m brought to this place you speak of, I find rest knowing that I don’t have to be the strong one. And sometimes that’s all I need to be reminded of. Your drive and determination inspires :) .

  7. Lisa Jeffries

    Take the words right out of my mouth some days – and yet still, totally inspiring. Hope you have a fabulous weekend and thanks for reminding all of shebosses that we’re all still human, too!

  8. Sukai

    You are an inspiration. You inspire many through your successes and challenges.

    I love this quote. “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” – Mother Teresa

    Thank you for your honesty. It is inspiring:)

  9. Latrice @ Bridal Opulence

    Thank you for our transparency! You are so correct in saying that you never know what someone may be experiencing.

    However I do know without a shadow of a doubt that God can trust you when going through a series of challenges, because you always make him look good in the process. By “looking good” I mean that you faith is the most unwaivering faith which in turns encourages others that may be experiencing similar opportunities to keep their head up!

    You inspire me personally and professionally & I pray for you daily because of your impact & influence that you have within the industry. You are genuine and the best is yet to come!!!

  10. LARA

    So much to say… I’m so humbled by all of your thoughts. I have to admit I was a little fearful writing my first personal post, but I’m so glad I did. I can’t tell you how much all of your encouragement means to me! :)

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  12. sandra pan

    thanks for sharing something so personal. i always have a hard time opening up, you’ve just inspired me that maybe it’s not so bad opening up ourselves to the world on our blogs…love the new site btw!

  13. Polka Dot Bride

    I think I will be just echoing everybody else with this comment, but I have carried this post around in my head for a number of days now and need to tell you that it was a really beautiful post.

    Your words resonate so strongly with me, thank you for sharing them. By doing so and sharing how you managed it. You allowed me to somehow breathe a little easier today.

  14. Shauna

    Lara, you are a complete inspiration to me. I read all of your blogs/twitters/magazine… Thank you for doing the hard thing and choosing to be the responsible one in a world where people tend to shoot for mediocre at best. I hope that you are finding true fulfillment and joy in everything that you do. Always remember, its alright to pause and breath, we were designed to enjoy His workmanship ;)

    • Lara

      Wow thank you so much Shauna. So kind of you. I appreciate your words so much!

  15. Gina Meola

    Oh, Lara. What a blessing to read your words of a year passed, as I tread such familiar water in my own “cherry season”. Thankful for you. xo

  16. Krista Photography

    That’s an awesome reminder. Thank Lara!