beloved + valentine's giveaway!

"And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself

beloved on the earth. "

- Raymond Carver

I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this year, but I think if I were going to have a resolution, it would be akin to Raymond Carver's uplifting poem on the importance of loving yourself.

Somewhere between the delivery room and his first birthday, I'd forgotten the things that I love about myself. It was frighteningly easy, the forgetting, because as so many of you know -- being a wife and a mother is a constant exercise in forgetting about yourself.

On the one hand, so much of the sacrifice is easy. I would happily endure a million more bouts on the changing table if it means hearing that silly laugh and seeing his sweet smile.

But there are darker moments: the sometimes debilitating inadequacy I feel as an inexperienced mother, the bedraggled emotions after a day of wrangling an unhappy baby, the I'm-still-wearing-pajamas-at-three-o'clock-in-the-afternoon-and-when-was-the-last-time-I-took-a-shower? days.

The darker moments always seem more visible. Which is why "to call myself beloved," to remind myself that I am still whole even though I have given away so many pieces, seems timely this Valentine's Day.


I'm proud of this little blog, and I am always blown away by your thoughtful and encouraging comments. They lift my heart and make me a better writer. So as a thank you, I went to Anthropologie today and picked up a few small but lovely things to send to one of you:

- Petite cabbage rose + citrus shea butter handcreme by Lollia (The scent is so light, you'll think you're wearing a flower.)
- Sweet ginger peach teabag by Revolution Tea (Revolution makes some of my favorite teas. This combo is so refreshing.)
- "a day for me" Kraft notepad by O-Check Design (Be still, my heart. I was so happy to find this - I've been eyeing it online for ages. Which means I couldn't resist getting one for myself, too!)

To be entered to win, tell me: What is one thing you love about yourself?

Comments close on Sunday, February 14th at 9:00 p.m. PST. I'll randomly choose and announce the winner on Monday. Be sure to leave a link to your blog or an email address so that I can contact you if you win. (P.S. I have a small readership, so your odds of winning are pretty good!)


  1. Oh, oh! i am the first to comment! First can I say that I am so flattered you stopped by my blog. It is always so lovely to find a kindred soul--and based on your list over there, you are!
    Now, the question. I love my optimistic spirit. I got if from my dad and it is truly a blessing. I am thankful for it. It makes even the hard days seem bright.
    And what a nice, nice post this was! I am inspired by it.

  2. what delightful treats!! your blog is such a peaceful and beautiful space-- it is such a pleasure to visit here.

    as for a thing i like about myself: perhaps its my utter distaste for pettiness. and for judgement. i do my best to see every person, and every thing, at its very truest. and to let the little things stay little things. i don't always succeed at this, but i am so thankful i was taught to be a person who tries.

  3. a lovely reminder from a lovely lady!

    something i love about myself is my ability to think through things thoroughly and i let my mind wander often...although this is often a thorn in my flesh, i appreciate the fact that i think deeply about life.

  4. I love my sense of humour. It's not only helped me related to other people, especially when getting to know them, but it has also carried me through so of the tougher times in my life.

    Thank you for a lovely giveaway. Your blog is a rare gem, like its author.

  5. What a great giveaway!!

    Let's see. I love the strength I have developed. Going through tough times used to be much more of an unmanageable, dramatic rollercoaster for me. Now, when really bad things happen, it's still a rollercoaster, but somehow it's easier to keep my head on straight than it was when I was younger. It makes me feel strong.

  6. Such pretty little things.

    I love that I can see the creative potential in others, even when they don't see it. It's a goal for my life to be a source of inspiration through even my simple life.

  7. I love my ability to listen. :)

  8. lovely post and giveaway! marisa, please don't enter me, as i know there are others who could use this pampering more than me, but i wanted to contribute. =)

    i love that i follow my heart and stay true to my Self each day of my journey. i've brought so many beautiful beings into my life (like yourself) so i must be on the right path.


  9. I love your writing and the thoughtfulness that goes into it. I added you to my google reader, but the photos don't show up so I have to click over to see what's going on. I'm glad I have to do that. I'd rather look at your beautiful page here than the google reader anyway. What do I love about myself? I love that I am an encourager, it always seems to bring more joy back to me and that when I am determined about one of my goals, that I keep plugging away even if it is slow going and staying strong in my faith even when it is hard sometimes.

  10. I love my ability to accept reality and find happiness regardless of circumstances thanks to some experiences much earlier in life. It is truly one of my greatest strengths and I thank God for parents who helped to instill that attitude in me.

  11. This is a hard one for me to answer because there is not much I can take credit for.

    "I love because HE first loved me"

    The best thing about me is that I daily choose to know and believe in HIM. My source of peace and strength and goodness.

  12. what a beautiful giveaway. the peach tea sounds amazing.
    something i love about myself is my eyes. no matter if i gain a few pounds... i still have my eyes!!!

  13. lovely! One of the things I love about myself (most of the time, at least, since every good coin has another side too) is the ability to turn almost anything into art. It makes life a lot more beautiful and fun even if it complicates things sometimes. : )

  14. Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I am so grateful that you used the word "grace". I needed a kind & simple word...and you had the perfect one.

    What do I love about myself? That's a hard one right now. I suppose I love that I know, without a doubt no matter how hard things are, that it will work out. It is just embedded in my soul that there is something wonderful yet to come...for everyone...even me.

    Don't let those darker days get you down - someday, when you least expect it, you will look at your baby and know that you are the perfect person for this "job" because someone so amazing was entrusted to you.

  15. I love that I can get over being mad very quickly, and that loving those that I should love is easy... no matter what. You're a beautiful writer. I know how it feels to not love yourself, but I think it's important to give yourself a break! You seem like such a lovely person. You deserve it.

  16. I love that I am finally REALLY TRULY learning to go deep inside myself before I extend outward into the world. My whole world is changing as a result of this radical paradigm shift that started in my head and now seems to have moved to the home of my heart.

  17. Thank you for your sweet comment on my cotton wedding! ;-) I love how honest you are... loving oneself is so important. I don't think we can truly love others until we've first learned what it means to love ourselves.

    As for what I love about myself... I love my ability to "forgive and forget." For some reason, and unlike most of my family members, I've never been the type of person to hold a grudge. I'm grateful for that, because I see bitterness eat away at other people and I love the freedom that I have to just move on from a bad situation and never think of it again! ;-)

  18. "...a constant exercise in forgetting about yourself..."

    Brilliant writer.

    And what do I love most about myself? About the outside, my skin, how pale it is, how I've hated it almost all my life, but recently embraced it. About the inside, homebody Elizabeth, who likes to read a good book, cuddle on the couch, have a homemade meal.

  19. Hello. I found my way via the comment you left over on my blog and I'm so happy I did. What a lovely treasure this blog is... and of course I could not resist entering your fabulous giveaway.

    The thing I love most about myself is my persistance. I often don't get things right the first time, but I'm unstoppable at trying again and again. It has proven to send me into places I couldn't even have dreamed of.

  20. what a wonderful giveaway. that notepad!... if i don't win i might need to go buy one for myself.

    what i love about myself: my creativity. though there are times i don't feel creative (it's hard having to 'turn it on' for work every single day), deep down i know that i'm blessed with an innate ability to make things and situations interesting and beautiful in my own way.

  21. i love that notepad! I love that i feel things deep deep deep. it makes life so much more tactile and beautiful. thanks lady!

  22. I love my choice in a husband. (Is that a cop-out answer?) I also love my hair color.

  23. First off, thank you for the nice comment on my blog the other day. My Valentine's were lame compared to your amazing Christmas cards. Your blog is inspiring. I like it so much.

    To answer your question -- what do I love about myslef? I love my long skinny toes. They are good for picking little things up off the ground. It's even better now since I'm pregnant and have trouble bending over!

  24. your responses are all so wonderful! i love how thoughtful and articulate everyone is. :)