Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Bravest Thing, Running Through the Fields

The first thing I read this morning, as I lay in my bed, just waking up was this, shared by my friend Kathy on Facebook.

the bravest thing by the beautiful due

maybe the bravest thing
is opening your eyes in the
morning and placing your
two feet on the cold floor and
rising up against the gravity
of the night. maybe that’s the
brave thing from which all other
bravery flows, the brave to
seek ye first. maybe that’s the
single thing God requires of you,
the spiritual discipline that takes
all your will to muster. Swallow
down the fear, my child, and face
the dawning day for what the
surface of the world needs most
of all is bravery skipping and
you, yes you are the stone.

The words stayed with me as I showered. I'm a shower thinker. It's where things just fall in to place in my brain, where things make sense.

And I thought, yes, for right now, it's brave of me to get out of bed. To shower, to pick out mostly clean clothes (I totally wore the same jeans as yesterday) and go in to work. To push beyond a cold that I can't shake. There's a silent courage as I steer my car through traffic for up to two hours to get to my office. It is not my favorite job, but frankly, it pays a mortgage and feeds a family. And I'm not giving up.

The irony of my day job and my love of leading retreats was not missed this morning, either. I stand in front of groups and tell them to be brave of heart, that often times courage is just the act of showing up. That we must give ourselves credit for showing up.

And yet I'm so hard on myself; demanding more than I know may be reasonable. There is a list a mile long in my head and on Cozi just waiting for me. I'm not giving myself credit for the million things I do. I can only see what's undone, what I wish I could do, what I wish I had time for.

This morning, though, it sunk in that I'd done "the brave thing from which all other bravery flows," I've risen from bed, rising for the day, rising to meet challenges. I'm trying with all of my might to be "bravery skipping," running through the field, and all the while plotting and acting to make my dreams a reality.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Hereby Giving Myself Permission To ...

- be lazy

- act a little crazy

- be mad that the last year has not been what I chose or even what I tried to make it 

- see that there is good in the bad

- “lean in” to boundaries which is the opposite of the stupid Sheryl Sandberg "leaning in" not really care about the climb or the ladder or the executive world

- like Laura Ingalls Wilder and Battlestar Galactica and Firefly because they are all about discovering new things and living life on the edge of what’s known, and not being afraid to say its not easy

- spend time doing things I like and tell that one lady leading that getting ready for baby class to go jump off a cliff because we don’t have to stop doing what we love just because we become parents. 
We should do even more of what we love when we become parents

- follow my own path, even if I’m not altogether sure where that’s going to lead, or if it will please my parents or whoever the heck “they” or "them" are

- love the Franciscans and what they stand for, while still loving other religious ideas

- be fascinated by the impact of generations, and which generation we each are a part of

- want to help people figure out what they want to do 

- give more of a try at photography

- be upset about my current job

- own and live and breathe that I AM a retreat leader. I’ve already done it. Already living the dream. Now I just need to figure out how to do it every day

- say things are not ok

- raise my kiddo how I want to, and not worry about other people and how they raise their kids

- explore new things because that’s probably what those never-ending dreams of going back to school are telling me - that I need to find a new thing to do, to follow my heart and just go see what happens. I never really lived out “religious studies” but I spent so long studying it. I need to figure out what it means and why I have spent so much time with it

- get over other people worrying about what I do. or what it means about me. or what it means about them, or anything. I want to do what I love.

- talking about what makes me happy and just going for it

- speak my mind if something just doesn’t make sense and I’d suggest doing it another way, especially in any capacity in which I’m being paid for such an opinion.

- join a religious group or attend a church if that’s what I want to do.

- forget to send thank you notes, knowing full well that I really meant to and now it’s somehow way past the ok amount of time to say thanks, when I really love those people

- say no to the stuff I just don’t want to do

- be a mom

- listen to Fall Out Boy, The Shins, Jimmy Eat World and musics, and cry my eyes out every single time I hear "Goodbye Love" from Rent 

- believe that I have the experience to make it happen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Repainting the Trim on the Front Door (aka Front Door Take 3)

The front door has gone through a couple of changes. Here's where we started and then I painted the hardware and mailbox all the same oil rubbed bronze color:


But something still bugged me. The paint around the door had a lot of dings in it. Like so:


And so I matched the color and repainted the trim around the door, and bought a new, bigger door mat. Oh, and replaced and fixed the doorbell.

Here's the close up:

Much better! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Be Content to Simply Be Yourself


We went to Pacific Grove a few weekends ago. It is along the coast, near the towns of Carmel and Monterrey. It is peaceful there, with beautiful, majestic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Zoom loves the beach. He likes to run up to the water's edge, play tag with the waves. It's always a delight to see him running back and forth with the waves, laughing, yelling at the tides. I wish I better understood what goes on in the head of a two year old.

It's a joy to get to share in his contentment of just being him. Everything is new. He has a favorite pair of shoes, but mostly he doesn't mind what he wears. He takes in everything with an earnestness, an eagerness, that has long been forgotten in most adults. He can not help but get excited about sand dabs, little crabs, seagulls, and flowers on the shore.

The gift of getting lost in the sheer delight of the moment, of really living each emotion, it seems to tie young children closer to the divine. It's as if they understand what is important, what it means to be alive. I love that Zoom is easily lost in the moment, in living, in being. 

I am grateful for him, grateful to see things through his eyes, even just for a few minutes every day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Recap: Happy Hollow and Ardenwood Historic Farm

It was a great three day weekend! I hope you all enjoyed your extra day off.

We spent a lot of time with family, and Zoom adored seeing his twin cousins twice over the weekend. Here they are at Happy Hollow in San Jose on Saturday ... now that they are two, they do a lot of running and we do a lot of chasing. I really like that it's a small enough space to explore easily, and they  have a great mix of toddler-friendly rides and small animals. And, we get a discount since we are members at the Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Happy Hollow

Zoom and his cousins really love to hang out together. The ride on the ladybug (Granny Bugs) was especially hilarious; those two got in line together a couple of times and kept asking to ride in the same bug. Really adorable.

On Monday we all met up at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.  The kids had a lot of fun checking out the animals, seeing a peacock, and learning about how corn grows. Ardenwood is another great place for the toddler age group. Monday was a free day, so it was pretty crowded, and it started raining while we were there. But even when they charge to get in, it's inexpensive, and there's lots to do and see.

Ardenwood Historic Farm

Yes, my child was definitely delighted by seeing a goat! And, we learned that fireman's hats double very nicely as a rain cap.

In addition to all of the kiddo fun, I made some new drapes for the master bedroom, but need a good sunny day to take photos of it. I'm IN LOVE with them - they have a blackout liner! Here's a sneak preview: 


Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song

Songs filled my home as a little girl. Lots of folk songs, lots of Peter, Paul, and Mary. The Beatles, Billy Joel, The Mammas and the Pappas, The Carpenters, John Denver. My Dad would play records for hours some nights, DJing to us, his willing audience. The chopsticks would come out and we would bang on the dining room table, drumming loudly, singing at the tops of our lungs, and truly loving the music.

I think that because of my Dad's love of lyrics, of his exploration of new kinds of music that I have become someone who links lines of songs with places in time.

A friend could say a few simple words to me and I am transported to a single memory, lapping it in, breathing that moment.

There goes the baker with his tray like always, and I am in my brown VW with my best friend Tammy at age 20, driving down Highway 101 on our way back to our beloved UCSB.

Swing low, sweet chariot, my nose fills with the scent of the campfire, and I am surrounded by a camp full of children singing, staring at Uncle Max while crickets chirp.

Fill my cup again, as I am sitting on the heater vent, looking out the window over the deck and the woods beyond in my Holly Hobby night gown.

I remember when rock was young, and my Dad is dancing, singing, laughing with us in our living room, as Sara and I dance with my Mom.

You may be right, I may be crazy and my family is again singing at the top of their lungs as we drive towards Lake Tahoe for a family vacation. The same cassette has played for hours, but we never tire of it.

I will sing you a morning golden and new, while I hold my own baby in my arms and dance him around his nursery at 10 days old, at three o'clock in the morning as he cries.

Love is certain, love is kind, love is yours and love is mine, and Sean and I are holding each other close, swaying, dancing in the kitchen, like we like to do, weeping happy tears as we think of the life ahead of us with our sweet baby and our little house.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: A Question of Faith

Late last week, a reader sent me an email, asking about how someone could really KNOW and experience a relationship with God.

She wanted to know how someone who believes, who knows that there is a God, how can that person experience God, when after several years, they "feel" nothing?

She was asking because someone she loves dearly is a believer, he goes through the daily routines of prayer and wants a relationship with God. But, he says that he hasn't felt the connection in over four years. The reader wants to know how she can help this man.

Her question is both timely and timeless.

I know that all of us go through the droughts of the spiritual wilderness. I know what all of us feel alone, feel nothing from time to time. It is not from a lack of wanting, nor a lack of trying. And I don't know why it happens.


All that I know to do during the times like that are to keep going. To lean into my faith, to love more, to give more, to pour myself into the things I love, and know that God is there, right beside me as I go.

In thinking on these moments of wilderness, of no visible anchor, of a vast emptiness, I find my heart resting with the Isrealites. Just 75 days out into the literal wilderness (of 40 years total), they began to question, to bicker, but in response, what does God do with this complaint? He does what God does and showers his people with love and provisions, and honors His promise to them. He gives the Israelites manna (bread) in the morning and quail at night. And when the Israelites were gathering the manna in the morning, “they said ‘what is it?’ for they did not know what it was.”

I love this because manna means “what is it?” in Hebrew.

And the next part blows my mind. As the people gathered the manna “some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.”

God provided for each of the Israelites “just as much as they needed.” Even with the complaining, the dramatics, all of it, God just gave the people what they needed.

This is what I will try to take from the wilderness. It is a foreign landscape. We may not know long we are to wander, nor where our journey will lead us. But we can take heart that while we are out here, while we are wandering, that God will continue to stay true to His promise to each of us. Even when don't think we can see, or hear, or feel God's presence, God is listening, He is there, standing by us. God will be there with us, giving us exactly what we need to get through, and making sure that we have enough to sustain us for the journey.

And so as I consider wilderness, and I consider this reader's question, I hope that she can take heart in an answer as old as any story. In every wilderness, there is manna. Just like the desert, God has placed what we need within our grasp because God hears our cries and answers prayers whether they are eloquently phrased or not. Like the Israelites, we may not recognize what “manna” is right away, even though it’s sitting right before us each morning, or surrounds us every night. I may even ask “what is it?” as each piece of manna presents itself. For our part, we must have faith, and the courage to open my eyes and look for God’s blessings in the wilderness. The blessings may not be completely apparent right now, it may take weeks or months or years for us to be able to look back and see the gifts for what they were. But in time, the picture will become clear, and each of us will be able to see the "manna" and blessings that were given to us. I hope that this reflection can bring solace to this reader. I hope that she can see that even while the connection to God may seem distant, God is there, God is providing, God is faithful. And when we can't feel it, we must keep the faith and know that God is out there, keeping His promises.

Are you ready for the linky party portion of this post?

The simple rules:

1. If you post something, please stop by and leave a comment on the 2 people that posted before you.

2. Please stop by "On Wings and Waves" and say hi to Kristen :)
3. Please share links from your blog that you haven't shared here before.
4. Please grab the Wednesday Wanderings button and share it in your post so other people can join in the fun.

Let's get linking!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A New Family Hobby - Geo-Caching!

We went out of town a couple of weekends ago. I had a dream about geocaching one night and woke up and announced to Sean that we needed to try it the next morning. And so we did!

If you aren't familiar with geo-caching, it's basically a treasure hunt, where people create caches and hide them all over the world. Caches can be teeny (micro), small, medium or large. The bigger sizes often hold small prizes like tiny toys, stickers, and other goodies. All caches have a little log in them where you can write your name and the date you visited the location. There's also a website where you can see all of the caches, and search for ones near you.

Our very first geo-cache led us to this beach in Pacific Grove, California. Not a bad place to start! We played on the beach after I tried to act sneaky and make sure no one saw me digging the first find out from under some rocks. I picked a little set of plastic flowers and left behind a blinky ring.


The next stop for us was on the way back to the hotel, and it took awhile for us to find the cache. We saw a dear on the road at that stop.

Geo cache #2

We headed home after we checked out (I swear I'll post pics of the weekend, too :) ) and hit another cache on the way home. It was off highway 101 in Morgan Hill, and it took us through a cool field just as the sun was going down. The Californian in me swoons over this kind of a scene:


We found the cache and grabbed a little Mickey Mouse top, and left behind a bottle of water. This was the largest cache we've seen.

Zoom really likes hunting for treasure, and was a trooper even though we had a bit of a walk to get to it.


When we got home that night, I put in an order with Oriental Trading so we'd have some proper gifts to leave behind in the next caches we visit. I ordered pens, some small airplanes, and stickers, and they arrived today!

Geo caching

Zoom can't wait to go out on our next treasure hunt! Check out that smile!

Geo caching

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: Be the Change You Seek

For a long time my little retreat team has struggled. With the age group, with finding topics that resonate with others, and with finding the right time ... to meet, to have a retreat, the list goes on.

I have to admit that one of the things that irks me most, and has for awhile, is the title of "Young Adults." To me, this harkens back to the young adult section of the library, which targets people in the tween years. It is not, decidedly not, ages 20-40. When I first read that a retreat was for Young Adults, I thought it couldn't be for me, because I'm just a regular adult. And that was oh, ten years ago. I must be an Ancient Adult by now.

So instead of trying to find these elusive "young" people, my aim is to invite Gen Y and Gen X to the retreats we lead. We want to welcome people back to a church, to give them space to explore spirituality, to let them find themselves.

And I've decided the team is just going to change what they are doing, and just open up the audience to a little wider range. My reasoning - that we're looking to reach a set of like minded people who are not served elsewhere by the church, and that this group is less about a age range, and more about a state of mind.

I'm inspired by the way that Francis went about changing the church, about his message of living God's love, of living the Golden Rule. Francis understood that it is by our way of living that we embody the Gospel for each other and to each other.

Are you ready for the linky party portion of this post?


The simple rules:

1. If you post something, please stop by and leave a comment on the 2 people that posted before you.

2. Please stop by "On Wings and Waves" and say hi to Kristen :)

3. Please share links from your blog that you haven't shared here before.

4. Please grab the Wednesday Wanderings button and share it in your post so other people can join in the fun.

Let's get linking!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: Following The Dream

I'm not going to lie, the last couple of weeks have been rough. We launched a campaign today at work (I work in digital advertising), and that always takes its toll. But I think there's something beyond that. Something I need to dig in to and wrestle with a bit, and that is an exhaustion that comes from a job that is not a good fit.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you've had the sense before that the job you're in isn't REALLY what you're supposed to be doing? When things feel like a bit of a battle? And even driving in each morning seems to hang with dread?

I'm going to get out of the funk. I'm determined to. This life is too short to feel stuck or be unhappy.

This morning I spoke with the "When I Grow Up Coach," Michelle Ward. Oh, she's amazing. Just talking about my dreams made me happy.

You guys already know what I love to do, I think. I love leading retreats. I love speaking in public. Guys, I'm going to figure out how to DO THAT. I'm going to follow my dream.

So, here's where stuff gets real and where my bloggy work starts to just become my work. I sure hope you'll tag along for the ride.

The simple rules:

1. If you post something, please stop by and leave a comment on the 2 people that posted before you.

2. Please stop by "On Wings and Waves" and say hi to Kristen :)

3. Please share links from your blog that you haven't shared here before.

4. Please grab the Wednesday Wanderings button and share it in your post so other people can join in the fun.

Let's get linking!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Painting a $25 Thrift Store Mirror for our Dining Room

Our dining room has been a work in progress since we moved in ten months ago. Here was an early view of the room:

Mirror: 1

This setup wasn't working for me because everything in the room was so angular. There were no soft corners, just hard lines, rectangles, and right angles.

That's when I happened upon not one, but TWO giant oval mirrors in a thrift store. They matched! And they were $25 each. I snagged one of them, and continue to wonder why I didn't buy both.

The mirror originally had a black frame (upper left image), which I felt was too heavy, and drew too much attention to itself. The mirror did have a pretty inner ring of silver, which I wanted to keep.

I used painter's tape to cover up the silver part of the frame so I could paint the black section. I chose a cream colored spray paint, and used three slow and even coats to get nice, even coverage.

thrift store mirror

Here's the mirror now, on our stenciled dining room wall. I like the way that the mirror pulls light in from the window on the other side of the room, and I like that the angles now seem balanced with more round and curvy lines.

Thrift Store Mirror After 2

Thrift Store Mirror After 2

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: Joy

Today I thought I'd share a little Pinspiration around the word Joy. Ready? Here we go!

"Joy is prayer. Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls." - Mother Teresa from Pinterest

"We cannot cure the world of sorrows but we can choose to live in joy." - Joseph Campbell via Pinterest

"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are." - Marianne Williamson via Pinterest

Let us remember to slow down in these days, take a breath, and take in the sheer joy and love that surrounds us, surrounds Ian and Sarah. Let remember to soak in the tiny moments for they are fleeting.

The simple rules:

1. If you post something, please stop by and leave a comment on the 2 people that posted before you.

2. Please stop by "On Wings and Waves" and say hi to Kristen :)

3. Please share links from your blog that you haven't shared here before.

4. Please grab the Wednesday Wanderings button and share it in your post so other people can join in the fun.

Let's get linking!

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Love and Prayers to Boston

My love of Boston started when I first visited in 1996. I was on a trip to see two divinity schools, Harvard and Yale.
At age 24, I traveled alone to see the two schools; an adventure that would shape my life. I took a huge suitcase, carrying more clothes than I could wear in a short week. In my time in Boston, I walked the Freedom Trail, I ate cannolis at Mike's pastries, and I felt a sense of history, that I'd not ever experienced in either Minnesota or California.
Boston is a city that reminds me of my San Francisco. A city on water, a city with gorgeous brick, a history shaped out of a drive for freedom, and a city with amazingly authentic people.

This last week, like so many across the country, my heart ached for Boston. I can't imagine the fear that the marathon bombing created. And then as the events in Watertown unfolded on Thursday evening, I was glued to Twitter. To a news feed from Boston, and I prayed that the innocent people, the law enforcement, that they would remain safe. 

This weekend I found myself wanting to relive the good memories, to remember the happy and amazing place that Boston is and was. Sean and I went back to Boston three years ago, and here are a few of those pictures.

We arrived at South Station from New Haven:
Boston: South Station

We went to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park:

Boston: Fenway Park
Because I really, really wanted to see the "Green Monster" (aka the 37 foot tall left field wall at Fenway Park). This is one breath-taking ballpark:
Boston: Fenway Park

We hoofed it all over town and followed Boston's Freedom Trail:
Boston: Freedom Trail

I love this area in downtown Boston on the Freedom Trail. We hid in the Einstein's Bagels to avoid a rain storm. Boston: Freedom Trail I stopped by the site of the old Filene's Basement, and recalled shopping there with my mom several years prior. Boston: Filene's Basement Demo

It was amazing to see the demolition of the Filene's building:
Boston: Filene's Basement Demo
We spent some time at the East Coast Holocaust Memorial in Boston, which was near our hotel. It was especially moving and haunting at night, when it was lit from below, with steam bellowing from underneath. In the daylight we saw it was covered in stones and flowers.

Boston: East Coast Holocaust Memorial
Today I send my prayers for Boston, that they may witness great healing, that the people retain their loving and strong spirit, that the know and can feel that an entire nation is standing in solidarity with them. And that a great peace come over those who were effected by last week's bombings and acts of terror.

Friday, April 19, 2013

$4 Bathtub Border for a Toddler

Zoom doesn't really like to bathe. I get it, he's 2 years old. He doesn't like it when we wash his hair. Maybe our bathroom is a little ... sterile? uninviting? for a two year old. Even with all of these toys, he hasn't ever really taken to the bathtub.

I was shopping at the dollar store last weekend and saw these, which were 3 for $4. Just the thing to add a little pop of fun to an un-embellished bathtub. stickers It took about 20 minutes to put the stickers up in a border around the tub.

Bathtub Border

Bathtub with sticker border
And I added these along the back.

When Zoom woke up from his nap, he saw the stickers and said "Oooh, Shark." And grabbed one of the extra turtles and slapped it up on the wall.

Bathtub with sticker border
Mission accomplished!

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