• November 23, 2016

    Hawaiian Vacation: Aloha, Mindfulness, and Meditation

    flower

    Welcome to my third and final post about my Hawaiian vacation!  I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting the beautiful island of Maui with me this month!  You know, I’ve always heard people say that Hawaii is a special place.  I always assumed that they meant it was beautiful and fun and a good place for a vacation.  While these things are all true, there is really something special about that place.

    waterfall

    ocean

    While visiting, I spent as much time as I could learning about the history and culture of Hawaii.  I talked to a few locals, including some fabulously interesting Uber drivers, and I feel like I really gained so much from their insight.  You see, Hawaiian culture is incredibly inclusive, respectful, and spiritual – something I think the mainland needs a big lesson in right now.

    lei

    friend

    It seemed like everything done and everything said had special meaning and history.  People would go out of their way to help or to share a smile with you.  This was at the resort, restaurants, shops, tours, car rides… literally everywhere I went.  People were so happy to share their culture and stories with me, it was really wonderful!

    church

    You’re probably familiar with “aloha” meaning both hello and goodbye?  That is true, but it also conveys respect and love and spiritual connection.  One tour guide explained that native Hawaiian language has limited words and many words are combinations of words, so “alo” is like the uplifted face – the connection you have with another person or god or nature, and “ha” is like your life breath – your spirit and being.  So, “aloha” is that respectful, spiritual connection to people, to god, to nature, to… everything.  And remember in Lilo and Stitch when Lilo says that “ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind”?  That is true, but ohana also extends to all Hawaiian people.  And notice that “ha” also shows up in ohana?  They put caring for the whole community very high on their list of priorities.

    celebrate

    Every encounter I had while in Maui was extremely positive and I could feel the energy of the people around me.  Once away from other tourists, I could sit and think and absorb the good vibes that I’ve only ever felt in Hawaii.  I took as much time as I could to meditate on the things people told me, to really feel their words.  One gentleman I met spent a good bit of our conversation encouraging me to bring Aloha to the mainland – to spread their love and peace to a nation that is in turmoil and feeling so much hate right now.  I hope I’ve done this… I hope people meet me and feel loved and respected.  I hope I don’t lose the lessons I learned  in Hawaii in the coming months and years.  And, while I don’t necessarily expect that you really get what I am trying to convey by reading these words alone, I do hope that you will also go out and be a light to your community.  Connect with your life breath and treat every relationship as sacred.

    jellyfish

    sunset

    Peace.

    beach

  • June 29, 2016

    Hello Again

    Final-Feature-Image

    Hello, it’s me.  Hello, can you hear me?  Hello from the other side; from the outside.

    How are you?

    It’s been a while.  What I thought would be a short break from everything turned into a much longer break.  I’m not apologizing for that, just acknowledging the facts.  Pressures from work and travel combined with feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, and despair made it impossible for me to write over this past month.  Sometimes life is too much.  Sometimes I need to hide and cry and grieve and try to accept my pathetic little life.  And that takes time.

    Now, I’m trying to come back.  I’m trying to write and take pictures and be happy again.  Because I can’t stay in that lonely place forever.  I can’t allow myself to think that nobody cares about me forever.  At some point I have to acknowledge that there are some who do.  There really are some good and beautiful things in the world.

    I’m still not in a place of feeling good or happy or fulfilled.  I probably never will be in that place.  Not for long, anyway.  The world isn’t often a good or happy place and it’s impossible not to focus on that sometimes; especially with so much hate and loss over the past few weeks.  I’m trying, though, to find meaning in what I have in my little corner of this world.

    I’m trying to do what I love because I love it.  This little blog is for me, not readers – nobody reads this anyway – so it has to be for me.  Sometimes I forget that, though, and get down that I’m not successful with my writing, that I’m too afraid to advertise it or tell people about it.  I start feeling pathetic and sure that there’s no point, even if it sometimes makes me happy.

    So, if you’re reading this, thank you.  I hope this little moment of honesty doesn’t put you off.  Or make you sad too.  I hope you can look and what I’ve done before and hope with me that I’ll get back to it again.  That it’s not all pointless.  I hope you have love and peace in your life and are able to do something to share that love and peace with someone else today.  I hope you take the time to lift someone up today because you never, never know what people are going through in their heart of hearts.  You never know where people are in their journey, so I hope you respond to all you meet with patience and grace.

  • April 27, 2016

    Remember How We Talked About This?

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    So… remember a couple weeks ago when we talked about self care?  Well… I’m taking this week off to practice what I preach.  I just can’t seem to get ahead of things and I need a chance to breathe right now.  Don’t worry, I have plans for next week’s post, so I just need to put it all together now!  :)

    Now, go do something fun, ok?

    Tea

    P.S. This tea?  In the pictures?  It’s ah-maz-ing!  Seriously, chocolate tea?!  Best. thing. ever.

  • March 30, 2016

    Dad’s Surgery

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    Despite the beauty of spring and freshness of everything in March, this month has been extremely hard for me.  My Dad had back surgery in mid-March and was confined to his bed for 3 days and the hospital for about a week.  Fortunately, everything went pretty well and he’s made great progress in his healing.  But, for that time before and just after the surgery, we were all exhausted.  Daily trips to the hospital were taxing not just because of the change in routine and so on, but because of the emotional toll.

    My Dad is the strongest, most manly man I know.  He’s a big, tough cowboy who fixes everything and never shows weakness (until you get him talking about his girls or his pets).  He hunts and fishes and camps.  He wrangles and brands cows.  He fixes cars and spent his life working a tough blue collar job despite his college education.  A former Boy Scout, he always knows how to tie the right knots and prepare for whatever may come.  As a child, he awed me with his physical strength and I was pretty sure he could never falter of fail.  He was my hero – still is, in a lot of ways.

    So, now, to see him in such pain and so reliant on others for their strength… it’s hard.  He suddenly seemed small to me – shrunken from his former strength.  I suddenly had to face his mortality and what that means for me.  And for my mom.  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do and I had no idea it would hit me so suddenly.

    Through all of it, though, he has kept his humor.  In the hospital, he joked and flirted with the nurses.  He had late night talks with one of the male nurses about hunting and camping in the area – getting ideas and making plans for this fall.  He was already planning his next adventure from his hospital bed!  I think this speaks enormously of his character.  My Dad doesn’t do the whole sitting around doing nothing thing.  He always has a project or plan going.  He may have slowed in his old(er) age, but he’ll never stop.  If he ever does, that’s when I will know he’s in trouble.  If he ever can’t joke around or find something to work on…

    But that is not today!  That is not now.  Someday, maybe… but not any time soon.  I admire his strength and his trying to stay positive.  He wasn’t really raised that way, this attitude is all his doing.  And it’s amazing how much he has to give even when he’s feeling his worst.

    I hope I can be so strong and so positive when I ever have trials to persevere.  I hope I can make people who are there to care for me laugh and get excited about their passions.  I hope I have half his strength.

  • April 1, 2015

    Spring Fever

    Egads, I’ve been busy!  How busy have I been, you ask?  So busy I missed a post for the first time in 6 months last week.

    *sigh*

    This hurts my OCD and delusions of perfection.

    A lot.

    But rather than focusing on a small gap in an otherwise very good (consistent!) thing, I am choosing to look forward!  After all, so much of life and one’s perspective has to do with choosing how you’ll allow things to affect you.  Right?

    *steps off soapbox*

     

    Anyway, I have what I consider to be some pretty big plans for the next 6 months or so that I think you’ll find exciting.  At least I hope you will.  In the meantime, bear with me and forgive me if I’m a little spotty with posts.  I’ll be as diligent as possible, I promise!

  • December 3, 2014

    Giving

    blackfridaycrowd

    Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, the saintly answer to the greed and ridiculousness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  I don’t know how long Giving Tuesday has been around, but this was the first time I had heard of it… and I like it.

    I have never been able to understand how people can spend a whole day with family and eat and enjoy the company and share the things they are thankful for and then go to WalMart or Best Buy to buy a bunch of stuff.  The practice makes me sad.  Like, my heart actually hurts when I think about it.  It’s not even about the shopping and the stuff so much as it is how people treat each other when they are out on Black Friday.

    I don’t get it.

    To now have a day that is about doing good and making a positive change in the world we live in, well, it makes my heart hurt a little bit less.

    If you missed the Giving Tuesday memo like I did, don’t fret!  Just like you can continue to shop and get good (probably better) deals after Black Friday, you can also continue to make donations and make the world a little nicer.

    This Christmas season, I am feeling tugs on my heartstrings to give locally.  I look around my community and I see hidden hurts, hidden needs, and real struggles.  I know people who don’t have enough food or money to pay rent.  I know people who can’t afford to heat their homes.  I know people who are sick and hospitalized or hurt and scared for their lives.  So, today, I want to encourage you to give to your community.  Give what you can, even if it isn’t much, because what seems like a little to you might actually save someone else.

     

     Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts.  Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.  Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.  For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41-44

     

    Picture from: The Huffington Post 

  • July 18, 2014

    What am I Afraid of?

    Much like Hermione, my biggest fear is failure.  Fear of failure often translates to fears of looking stupid in front of other people and fears of even the smallest imperfection in my work or self.  It also translates to a lot of OCD tendencies.  I have a hard time accepting when I’ve done something wrong and often try to rationalize the wrongdoing.  This, in turn, makes things hard for the people around me.

    I’m not really sure where this fear came from.  My parents were always supportive and loving.  Most of my teachers were also supportive and helpful; their only complaint about me was that I never talked or asked questions in class.  I would always wait until after class to ask a question or I’d spend extra time on my own to figure it out just so I wouldn’t have to admit to my peers that I didn’t understand something.

    Yup.

    Maybe the fear comes from the peers I had as a kid (and even now)?  The judgment of other people, especially people you want to like you, can wreak havoc on little only-child-introvert-OCD children.  It makes sense, right?

    In the past, my fear of failure has held me back a lot.  I have been afraid to try new things, to learn new things, and to open myself up to new people.  Now, though, I am finally starting to understand myself, my fears, and my potential.  I am working really hard to be more open and to accept that I don’t know everything and won’t be good at things until I give myself the chance to try.  That’s largely what this blog is about.  It is me, giving myself a chance to try.  A chance to learn.  A chance to fail and survive.

  • July 9, 2014

    Old Picture of Me

    Ahhhh… Oh my gosh, you guys.  I’ve been dreading this one.  I went through so many pictures this week trying to find one that didn’t totally betray my weirdo inner self.  And that also didn’t make it look like I grew up on the set of little house on the prairie.  And that wasn’t a baby in the bathtub picture.

    *sigh*

    So, here you go:Just-Say-No

    This is me at about 6 years old.  I think I pull off the 80’s colors and style pretty well, don’t you?  I totally rocked that almost-mullet.  And those white, fringy cowboy boots are awesome.

    Yup.

    To counteract the total goofball picture, here’s one where I appear to be normal:

    Fishing

    Fishing is normal, right?  And I was good at it too!  Always out-fished my dad… every single time.

    *grin*

  • July 5, 2014

    Guilty Pleasures

    I don’t usually subscribe to the notion of guilty pleasures.  I’m usually a little more black and white about these things… Something gives you pleasure, or it doesn’t.  Why should you feel guilty about something that makes you happy?

    I guess that’s the nerd in me who is so used to standing up for loving what I love.

    But, for the sake of writing something interesting today, I have come up with two things I would consider guilty pleasures:

    PLL

    Watching Pretty Little Liars.

    Have you seen this show?!?  Oh my gosh, it’s ridiculous.  There are these 4 girls whose “best friend” was murdered.  After her death, all these secrets start coming out about the other girls and it turns into scary blackmail and the girls aren’t always convinced their “friend” is really dead.  So, they do what any normal teenagers would do.  They lie to their parents and the cops and try to figure it out themselves – because nobody else can be trusted.  Even when they are physically attacked and afraid for their lives (this happens all the time), they never talk to anyone.

    See what I mean about it being a ridiculous show?

    I mean, come on.

    But, I love it.  Why?  Because…. I don’t know.  I guess because it’s pretty easy to watch – scary sometimes and fluffy most times.  I don’t have to think too hard about it.  But, it doesn’t follow the typical formula for tv shows when you want to figure out who did something… pretty much everyone is against them and the whole town will eventually become an enemy and then a friend, and then an enemy again.  Then there are the random events the secret, scary blackmailer makes happen.  Suddenly, someone is dead!  Suddenly, one of the girl’s parents is in trouble or finds out something they shouldn’t know!  There isn’t always a real flow or reason… which actually keeps me interested.  There’s no figuring this stuff out!

    *grin*

    Pamelas-Gluten-Free-Chunky-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

    Eating a lot of cookies in one setting after paying too much for them in the first place.

    So… I’m pretty sure we are all guilty of this one from time to time.  Right?  You had a bad day?  Your period started?  You just need some chocolate?

    And suddenly, your box of cookies is gone and you’ve gained 20 pounds.

    Yup.

    And it’s even worse when you are eating gluten free and organic!  Not only did I just plow through a whole box of cookies, but it cost me eight bucks to do it!

  • July 4, 2014

    Earliest Childhood Memory

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    Did you know that a person’s explicit memory, or the memory of facts and events, doesn’t develop until they are two years old?  Did you also know that children don’t understand the concept of time (past, present, future) until they are 5 years old (or older!).

    So, really, to ask what a person’s earliest memory is, is completely illogical.  Memories develop before the concept of time, so literally nobody knows what their earliest memory is.

    Rather than telling you what would probably be a lie, I will instead tell you a story from my childhood that may or may not be my first memory.   It probably isn’t.

    Deal with it.

     

    IMG_4423

    When I was a small child, my parents took me to see my Grandmother.  Often when we would take trips to see her, there would be a honey-do list waiting for my parents, so they would ship me off to spend time with my Aunt.  Or set me up with some awesome new toys so I wouldn’t realize they were working the whole time.

    Yup.

    The trip I am remembering involved the 4th of July and an early birthday party for me.  There was cake and a little party and gifts and all of that wonderful stuff.  Then, there were the fireworks.  And, “Oh my gosh,” I thought, “what an awesome way to celebrate my birthday!”

    “Thank you,” I said, “for the fireworks.”

    You see, the whole day had been all about me, so why in the world wouldn’t the fireworks be just for me as well?

    As time went on, the story stuck around.  My family would tease me every Fourth of July.  It always made me a little crazy, but what can you do?

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