08 February 2015

Any Winter

It is February 8 at 4:45pm and 75° out.  As much as I wish for a real winter and to feel the cold snowy air bite my skin, I fully appreciate the mild breeze sweeping through the open windows grazing my hair.  

It is the most peaceful place, sitting in front of an open window on a mild day.  I try to remember the fresh smell and the smooth feeling it leaves on my skin for the times when it is too blazing hot to open windows.  Most of our “winter” last year was too blazing hot and I fear the same for this year’s remaining winter and approaching spring.  We live in the mildest climate in the world I think, so ultimately, I'm grateful for any kind of winter I'm given.  :)

. peace .

30 December 2014

Up, Away, and OK

Happy {almost} New Year!  

It's New Year's Eve eve and we are tucked away visiting family in the cold, clean air of the beautiful Eastern Arizona mountains.  Being here always helps me to wipe the slate clean.  It allows me to take a deep breath and press the reset button.  Being here to ring in the new year is perfect.  Welcoming 2015 with a clear head, heart, and lungs is ideal for me.

Brisk air.  Scenery.  Evergreens.  Snow.  Bare Aspens.  Family.  Sledding.  Snowboarding.  Skiing.  Cooking.  Exploring.  Adventuring.  Wandering.  

Being up here away from home and my reality seem to make ideas clearer.  I often wonder if we moved up here would it still seem so magical?  Sometimes I crave a small town and being tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Southern California and other times I love the amazing proximity to the ocean and mountains that we have at home.  Maybe it's the grass-is-always-greener scenario...  Who knows!

* * *

Today was fantastic!!  We sledded down the best run ever!  The powder was packed enough so we flew down but it wasn't so packed that it hurt on impact!

* * *

I have been working on short term {weekly + monthly} goals these past two months and it seems to really be working for me so I'm sticking with it.  I also love adding to my life-long bucket list all the time.  No 2015-specific resolutions for me.  It's way too much pressure.  

I hope you ring in 2015 with a bang!!  Have a wonderful and safe celebration and I'll catch ya on the flip side!  

. peace .

26 December 2014


Hi, Friends!  
What up, yo?  It's been awhile, right?  I'm not here to make apologies or excuses why there's been radio silence on this channel, because...LIFE.  But I am here to say I hope you had the loveliest Christmas or Hannukah.  

Our Christmas was beautiful.  We are in between church homes at the moment so I did feel a void without a Christmas Eve church service singing all my favorite classic hymns.  But, we put the girls to bed by reading the story of Jesus' birth from Luke 2 and then Piper read us The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.  Christmas Day was exciting for Joe and me through the eyes of our children and speaking to family on the phone and via FaceTime.  We may have started a new tradition this year with fondue for Christmas Dinner!  Usually reserved for birthday meals in our family, sharing this fun and social meal experience with friends made Christmas Day so much more fun.  Fondue is definitely an indulgence but we don't feel guilty when we only have it 1-2 times a year.  ;)

My wish for each of you is PEACE in the new year.  May 2015 be the year you love yourself a little more, judge others a little less, and forgive unsparingly so that nothing holds you back from finding true peace.

Much love + Happy New Year, 

. peace .

19 September 2014

How to Get Out of a Creative Funk

Inspiration is everywhere if only we open our minds.

Spoiler: I'm not referring to Pinterest.

Every so often I get in a funk.  Stuck.  Frustrated because I can't access anything creative within myself.  My reserve feels empty and dry.  I get mad because don't see things in the way I would if life was "perfect" (all my ducks in a row, so to speak).  I get anxious and quietly take out my irritation on the world around me.  In these times I just want to go into hibernation.  It can be downright painful to have something to express but no means to express it. 

Because I'm sure I'm not the only one who goes through these creative lows, I decided to give you my list.  My How to Get Out of a Creative Funk list.  Before you even read the list I'll tell you that the common denominator in all of this is that you have to allow yourself to accept inspiration.  Your mind has to have room to receive it.  You have to be open to inspiration or it could bite you on the nose and you would never know it.

Download all the crap.  My friend, Stacy, and I kept sharing with each other that at times we felt overwhelmed by [insert your stuff here] almost to the point of paralysis.  We would become stagnant for a time because of that feeling of being completely overwhelmed.  It seemed ridiculous that we were both experiencing this yet neither could move past it.  A couple of years ago I did this challenge and recently I thought it would be a good idea to go through the steps again.  But something amazing happened: the minute I was done with the "downloading" section the ideas were flowing faster than I could write them down.  Downloading is sort of like a reverse brainstorming.  Instead of thinking of ideas you are getting rid of everything weighing on you so the ideas will come to you.  The basic start up is to get a piece of paper, notebook, whatever and start writing down anything and everything that comes to mind.  It could be stuff on your to do list, things that are worrying you, impending obligations, stresses, happy things, exciting or anxiety-laced things, etc.  ANYTHING on your mind goes on that paper in front of you.  Don't stop writing until it is all on the paper.  Dig deep for that stuff you don't want to access or think about (yeah, even that crap).  Boom.  You're welcome.

shot with film in Florida

Do Something.  Anything.  You have to put one foot in front of the other.  Force. yourself. to. do. one. thing.  It could be the smallest thing like opening a blank page to start a blog post, putting on your running shoes and go walk to start out, picking up your camera and pointing it at something, cleaning only one spot instead of thinking you have to tackle the entire house.  Doing nothing only leaves you where you are.  Paralyzed and overwhelmed.  If you change nothing, nothing will change.

Music (or whatever floats your boat).  Oh, sweet music.  Music is escapism for me.  Use it to help you get out of your own head.  Stop being so serious.  Dance.  Sing.  Chill the heck out and relax = Chillax.  

Meditate.  If only for 5 minutes, just close your eyes and visualize what you want to work on or create or do.  Imagine the best possible scenario.  If the bad stuff creeps in you have to morph it into something good.  You may not know it but your mind has the power to do that.  Your mind is pretty amazing.  You're mind is the boss.  Keep practicing.

Speaking of your mind being the boss,
Perspective + Gratitude.   This is a game changer my friends.  Worried about what you don't have?  Count the things you do.  //  Let someone under your skin and they ruffled your feathers?  Think about someone on the opposite end of your spectrum who has no one.  //  Money problems or ruled by your "stuff"?  Simplifying your life might be what the doctor ordered and may liberate you.  I'm going to tell you straight up, 99% of our problems are FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS (my kids will tell you that is one of my favorite things to say).  We have food, clothes, houses, hospitals, cars, family.  Our neighbors and family aren't dying in beds next to us of a disease for which there is no treatment.  We are allowed to go to school, church, and concerts.  We aren't persecuted for showing our faces or legs.  Perspective + Gratitude all day long.  Stepping down from my soapbox now.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  This book literally changed my way of thinking, ergo, my life.  I initially checked this book out from the library but I loved it so much I asked for it for my birthday.  It is super short and to the point.  Only 165 pages.  I reread it every so often, especially when I feel stuck.  It is all about calling procrastination, hesitation, and excuses what they really are: the damn devil (AKA resistance) and how to break through and move past it.  Most of the time we are our own problem; our own worst enemy; in our own way.  Steven Pressfield tells you with blunt honesty how to fix that.  Like a boss.

Change of Scenery.  My favorite.  If you are inside get outside.  If possible, get to the beach or mountains.  Get into nature, be quiet, and listen.  If you live in a small town then escape to the big city.  Watch a sunrise.  Take a bath.  Be alone somewhere you love.  I know it is not possible for everyone, but if you can ever take a solo trip (even overnight), DO IT!  Last year I had to drive about 6 hours north (to a farming town called Lodi, CA) to attend a family funeral.  My kids were in school so my family stayed behind.  I met my parents at the funeral but they were in their trailer touring the US and there was no room for me.  I stayed in a cute little KOA Kabin.  It felt like a luxury vacation even though it was only one night and my head became so clear.  I've never done so much writing in my life!  When I returned from that time away I told Joe that I need to do that once a year (twice would be ideal).  I don't have family that lives near me so the solo trips could be hard to come by but I think it is a necessity.

shot with film in Satellite Beach, Florida

Get Off the Internet.  I know we live online.  I understand we are addicted to our devices (they should be called "'vices" for short) but for the love of all things chocolate, GET OFFLINE.  Stop comparing, snooping, stalking, and pinning.  Nothing makes you feel like a bigger loser than being in a bad place and seeing everyone else doing something awesome or seeing your self-proclaimed nemesis succeeding.  I'll give you another hint: stop following people who you feel competitive with.  It is so stupid that we watch those people.  I'll admit that 100% of the time I concoct the competition in my own little head but whenever someone is too negative or I feel the pang of jealousy or annoyance at someone's IG or blog post, I unfollow them.  "It's not you, it's me"...but for real!  It's okay not to follow everyone you've ever met.  Plus, I don't need my IG or Bloglovin feed to be 600 deep.  You feel me?  Ain't no one got time for that.

Hopefully something above clicks for you.  If you have something that works and you don't mind sharing in the comments below, I would appreciate it.  I'm always looking for new tools to cope with creative blocks.

Now, go have a rad weekend!!

. peace .

11 May 2014

Whom They Deserve

I was the very best mother I have ever been when I was pregnant.  I took amazing care of my body for my babies.  I was a good protector, nourisher, nurturer.  Knowing that I alone was responsible for those little lives gave me immense honor and pride to be a mother.

It wasn't until the moment each of my daughters was born that my confidence took a hit.  I was so afraid.  Would I be able to protect them FOR REAL ever again, or was that an illusion?  Could I be the woman I wanted them to become and be proud to be?  How could I even begin to comfort and care for their fragile hearts and minds in the image God would want?

Have you ever had your little girl confide in you that she likes a boy but that boy likes her good friend instead and wonder how you are supposed to even try to comfort her little heart with mere words? Sometimes amazing hugs and I-love-you-more-than-anything-in-the-worlds are all that will do in those times of undeniable crisis.  That, and let her know that boy is obviously insane.

I always figured that as a woman motherhood would be second nature when I became a mom.  I still struggle daily with my tone of voice when I praise or criticize them, how do I teach them important life lessons, am I being too lax or harsh on them, am I being the compassionate mother that they deserve.  What I didn't expect was that motherhood would reveal some surprising and often ugly truths about myself.

1) I am very selfish.  
As my daughters slowly gained more independence with each month and year, I expected them to do more for themselves.  This wasn't solely because I wanted them to learn but because I realized it would free up more time for me (and sleep).  I would actually get irritated if they asked for assistance with simple tasks.  These days I try to access my compassion on a much more regular basis than before and take comfort in their requests for help because I know there will be a day when they won't ask me.

2) I am judgmental.
Boy did I snap judgements at those moms that didn't try to breastfeeding their babies beyond the first month.  Then God served me a big slice of humble pie/shut the hell up when my second daughter decided to wean herself from breastfeeding a few months before my desired end date.  There were many tears and days of feeling like an idiot then.

3) I am ugly with no sleep.
And I don't just mean how I look.  I have no idea how I still have a husband and friends or family that speak to me after those months with little to no sleep.  Gah!  What a jerk I was.  Someone should have body checked me every time I started to act bitchy.  This alone tells me how blessed I am to have such amazing people in my life.  My husband is the best support system when it comes to giving me a mommy break when I obviously need one.

4) I love the blame game.
I like to blame the fact that I've not finished my degree or gone after the job I want on being a mother.  I'm working hard on finding the balance that will give me happiness in work and home life and ensure that I'm doing things that fill me up in both areas.  Lets face it: unhappy mom, unhappy kids.  They feel and feed off that crappy stress that I project.  No bueno.

5) I'm never too old to learn a lesson or change for the better.  I'm still learning and trying to become whom they deserve almost 9 years after becoming a mother.

I put this image as the background display on my phone as a gentle reminder to myself:

What I never expected in a million years is the unconditional love that my girls show me.  No matter how many times I screw up they say, “It's ok, Mama.  You're the best mom in the world and I love you.”  Even when the I-hate-yous rise up or the occasional You're-the meanest-mom-in-the-world rears its ugly head, I reach into the reserves of all the love they've given me when I didn't deserve it and it is all ok.

This was really one of my favorite Mother's Days ever.  I was conscientious about the tone I set for the day with my actions and words.  My kids responded like champs.  Very little bickering, petty arguing, and whining.  A lot of smiles,  happiness, and positive energy.  It was so awesome not having to scold or raise our voices at all.  It was a relaxing family day...the perfect kind of day where we enjoyed each other.

Admittedly, I don't love motherhood every waking moment.  Some days it just sucks.  But I am working very hard on embracing the sucky days and knowing those days make the good days even sweeter.

So, here's to learning as we go, trying hard to be better, admitting we sometimes suck, and forgiving ourselves one mess up at a time.

 Happy Mother's Day if you are one.

. peace .

p.s. thank you to my husband, Joe, who actually makes me a better mom.