a learning curve

I've been having a hard time lately. There's no other way to put it.

In an email a friend of mine recently said, "It is OK to feel bad right now." The truth is that I do feel bad. Not all the time, but often. I don't want to, but I do.

And that's one of the things that makes it so hard. I am an optimistic person. I search for joy and beauty and life's little glimmers of grace. Some days it's easy to see them. Some days it's not. Those days are hard and I struggle against them.

flowers, amaryllis, milk glass, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm not saying this to complain or to seek sympathy, because that's not my intention at all. (Also please forgive me if I sound cryptic or secretive about this situation; I'm just not sure how to write about it yet. My blog is a place for joy, for uplifting -- even in the difficult times I have that intention for it. There's also the fact that the story's not entirely mine to share. I'll figure it all out, but it might take a while).

So, what IS my intention?

I guess it's simply this: to share hope.

orchids, orchid flowers, houseplants, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And to share the lessons that I'm learning.

Lessons of compassion.

Of patience.

Of slowing down.

Of savoring.

Of gratitude.

Of single-tasking.

Of letting go -- of worry, of fear, of guilt, of the desire for control...

And to share the permission to feel bad sometimes. I think I needed permission. Permission granted by my friend, but more than that, permission granted by myself. (Maybe you need it, too?).

Hoo boy has there been a learning curve.

I laugh at myself for thinking it would be easy. For thinking that saying "let it go" would be the end of the struggle. Some days I feel so very naive. Some days I feel filled with hope and gratitude. Some days I notice the beauty of the colors of the sunrise. Some days I see only grey.

hyacinths, spring flowers, forced bulbs, spring, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And all of it is OK.

I don't know what struggles you are facing right now. I am sure there are some. Maybe they're minor or maybe they're so big that they're temporarily eclipsing everything else. Either way, be easy on yourself. Search for beauty and joy and notice life's glimmers of grace, but if it's a grey day for you, be compassionate with yourself.

Also, thank you. Thank you to each of you who has commented on my posts with thoughts of kindness and love and support. Thank you to each of you who has emailed me or sent me cards. Your friendship and compassion mean so much to me.

I'll make it through this. I'll share what and when I can. I want to share what I'm learning because I know that these are important lessons. It might take a while for me to fully embrace and understand them, but I'll be working on it.


  1. I thought there may be something amiss as you hadn't blogged so regularly Anne. I am so sorry that you are going through a hard time. Whatever it is - I hope you come through the other side with strength and resolve. I care about you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful photos at a particularly difficult time. Sending you lots of positive and healing thoughts.

    1. Thank you, Simone! I so appreciate your positive and healing thoughts.

  2. Your blog has been beautiful and uplifting through this most difficult time, Anne. You have so many people who love and admire you. I hope you feel the love in a big collective swoosh which embraces you, and I add my concern and love. Take care … big hugs!!!!

    1. Thank you, Judy. I love the thought of a big collective swoosh of embracing love! :)

  3. Hi Anne,
    I am sending you a HUG!
    Your work is inspiration. I hope you remember how special you are to so many of us.

    1. Thank you, Carla! Glad to have you rooting for me (and thanks for the HUG!!). I really appreciate your kindness and friendship!

  4. I am sending you happy thoughts and including you in my prayers. I too have my gray days and I remind myself that this is how things are meant to be, right now. I do my best to be kind to myself and to be patient. The color always returns!

    1. Thank you, Tracey! You're so right. The color always returns. And with spring on its way, too, I'm looking forward to brighter, warmer, more colorful days!

      Being patient and being kind to ourselves can be hard sometimes, but it does help to slow down and be present in the moment.

  5. May you be comforted by our words and know its OK to feel that life sucks sometimes. We can't always make lemonade from lemons, at least not right away. There is a quote by Tess Marshall, creator of the Bold Life, that might help you here: "Do you see yourself as the bold and courageous person that you are? Do you give yourself credit for the times in the past when you've been afraid and you've taken action anyway?" Take care of yourself and know I'm rooting for you.

    1. Thanks so much, Sharon. Mary Engelbreit has a line called Mary Engeldark and in one of those illustrations she says "If life doesn't also hand you sugar and water your lemonade is going to suck". Makes me laugh. And it's true, sometimes in the moment it's not possible to make lemonade, but I know eventually it will be.

      Glad to have you rooting for me and thanks for sharing that quote.

  6. We all go through the learning curve, or I should say we are all still in the learning curve! When you do the best you can at the time, that is all you should ask of yourself. Spring will be coming soon! <3 Big hug.

    1. You're right. I guess all of life is a learning curve and a chance to learn. Some days it's harder than others.

      I have to say that I'm totally thrilled for the arrival of spring. Warm air, flowers, dirt under my fingernails. I can't think of anything more nourishing!

      Thanks so much, Jaime. And big hugs back to you!


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