Being Invited

This kids cracks me up. I was looking for him today and found him perched on his dresser in his closet. He borrowed his brother’s headphones and was creating his March article for the school newspaper, using Google Docs. I think it’s really cool that he chose to be on the school newspaper editorial team and I think it’s funny that he likes to hide and work in his closet. He makes me laugh.

I like to think that maybe my blogging every night influenced his interest in writing too. I love that he shares my passion.

Tonight I was tired and told him it was time to go to bed. He wanted to read with me while I was working and I told him to go to his room. When I came to check on him, he invited me to join him instead.

With his big, beautiful doe eyes he looked at me and said how much he loved me. I told him these were the best words ever and was the greatest gift he could ever give me. He asked me if I wanted to come sit with him on his couch and write my blog while he read. How could I refuse?

I know my priorities and I know these little moments are what make life matter.

Here I am.


I hope you had a great day and enjoyed the little moments too. xo

Here I Am

Here I Am.

This blog is about Being.  It is about being mindful and present and searching for the lessons, and gleaning the knowledge that is presented and sharing it in a way that is meaningful and hopefully repeatable.

It’s about experiencing life as it happens and capturing it’s essence, every day, never knowing what I will write about until the end, when the credits roll and I can sit back and reflect on what gifts were received.

It’s a great gift, actually. One for myself and one that I choose to share with you, hoping that you’ll take a moment too, to reflect on your own day, your own choices, your own results and find and label the good despite the chaos and struggles that we are presented. I hope that my life story might provide inspiration and ideas because I think we learn from each other and copy what we like in others. I hope you find something you like when you spend your time reading with me.  Thank you for sharing this journey together.

I know that writing has changed my life. I just wonder if it’s the mindfulness and gratitude and taking time to reflect every day that actually has changed my life for the better, because I am focused on the positive aspects of life. Every day I take time to reflect on what went well and to try to see what I might do differently next time if things didn’t go as planned.  This has taught me to accept what is and to try to adapt quickly and to be ok with what comes my way every day. It’s a practice, and I am not always successful, but this plan seems to be working for me.  I wish this for everyone.

I am thankful for this life we have been given.

Live it up. Love it out. Laugh out loud.



What do you consistently do with consistency? 

I have been thinking about that lately and wondered how consistent we are and how consistency helps to establish habits, rituals, structure and managed expectations.

In some areas of my life I am consistent and in others I am not.

For example, I have been consistently writing this blog for 695 days.  Blogging every night has become a welcome habit and ritual that I enjoy. Sometimes it is challenging as I don’t know what to share, and sometimes I feel like I have too much to say. Some nights I am so tired and fall asleep while I’m writing and am afraid of what I publish!  But at least I’m consistently writing – sometimes good, sometimes so-so, but I’m consistent!  😉

I drink coffee with consistency and love this ritual too. I especially love it when my husband wakes up before me and has the coffee ready before I get out of bed. I love the smell, the sound of the beep telling us the pot is ready, and taking that first sip.

I consistently work out and love that exercise is part of my daily routine. I have a weekly plan that provides structure for my days and gives me things to look forward to doing each week.

I am consistently trying to lose weight, but my practice is inconsistent.   I love to eat and want to lose 10 pounds and these goals are inconsistent. Therefore, I struggle. 

Sometimes when we’re inconsistent, we struggle until we figure out what we really want and value and then do the work to support those goals.  Story of life, right?

I was talking to my 70 year old dental hygienist who lost her husband 6 years ago suddenly when he died at the age of 67 while out for a jog. She said that after you go through something like that, your perspective on life changes and you live more for the moment. That is, until you forget and get busy again.   I loved her analogy and that she had the wisdom to know to live in the moment as much as possible and to take days off from work to play and travel and be with her kids and grandkids. I loved that she knew the importance of life, yet she got stuck too; that life sometimes just happens and you forget until you remember again and start living.  Great sage advice. We’re all perfectly imperfect.  And we should try to be consistent with what we love, but gentle on ourselves when we’re not.

I like that.  


Counting the Days

I guess it’s time to stop counting the days. But somehow counting the days gave my life meaning and a sense of purpose or awareness. When I first started this blog, I wasn’t counting…just feeling out the writing thing on a daily basis. I wasn’t a writer and was never very good at writing, so I wasn’t sure of this blog thing, and if I would like it or not.

I started a 100 day countdown, until we moved to the Netherlands. Because I was counting and being aware of the days passing, I felt like I should make each day meaningful – sort of because I wanted to have something to share and to have something interesting to write about. Counting the days until the big move helped me to realize how limited time really is and how quickly it is gone. Each individual day I wasn’t really aware of time passing, but as I started to write the days down and could see the decrease in numbers, I became very aware.

I learned something BIG from doing this. I made the most of my days. Not just because I was counting them, but mainly because I was aware of the time change and that I would be leaving soon. Before I left California, I wanted to do everything I ever wanted to do and experience before I couldn’t anymore – not that I couldn’t ever again, but I didn’t know when I might be able to do the things here or see the people I love again, so I wanted to be sure to really enjoy all that I could before leaving. And so I did. And I lived it up. I lived in the moment – kind of felt like I had a death sentence – but I didn’t. I received a life sentence. We all have one… but somehow along the way, we forget.

We get busy. We work. We have kids. We have mortgages. We get stuck.

Counting down the days, I became unstuck. I became alive and stopped making excuses. “So what?” became my mantra and I was able to do so much more. I discovered happiness. I discovered really living in the moment and I became hooked on the endorphines of this awareness. And I took this with me to the Netherlands.

Once we arrived, I changed the count. I started counting the days living abroad as an expat. I was curious how long we’d be away and everyone I’d meet would always ask the same questions… How long have you been here? How long will you be here? Where are you from?…

The only real answer I had, besides where we were from, was the exact number of days we’d been in Holland because I was documenting the count and people would laugh when I knew to the day how long we’d been there. When I’d answer their next question – How long will you be here?… that made some people uncomfortable. We had agreed to one to three years, but were at first only wanting to be away for one. When we told our new friends we were only planning on a year, everyone told us that was much too short of a time. The best practice of time spent as an expat seems to be 3 years. The first year you’re getting settled, the second year you’ve settled into your routine and have developed friendships and structure, and by the third year you’ve seen it all, and are really ready to go back to where you came from, or move to the next expat location. One year didn’t seem like an option or a best practice, according to the “experts.” But one year seemed good for us…I’ll have to wait and see and feel how I feel about this after I’ve experienced this transition to know for sure… but I think it’s ok.

I felt like we were “speed dating” in Holland. We quickly moved in and settled and created a great little life for ourselves – filled with friends and family and community and travel opportunities. I’d say within 3 months, we felt like we belonged in Holland – if not sooner. So from my perspective, we didn’t need the full year to feel settled and were able to absorb and enjoy our new land and home right away. And since we weren’t exactly sure how long we’d be there, we chose to make the most of our days. And the counting continued… and process of enjoying life in the moment became my reality.

Here I Am (the title of my blog) became more than just about living abroad. It became truly living with the ups and downs and in betweens. I originally chose to share our journey, thinking I’d connect with family and friends so that they could be part of our experience back home. I also thought it would serve as a memoir for our family to look back on, so I could remember what we did and felt during our year abroad, as I don’t have the best memory. I also hoped that it might help other expats who were thinking about moving overseas, to give them a glimpse of the “real world” from my perspective, one perspective. I wanted to share the best of Holland and the highlights from our travels too.

Through the process of writing and sharing, I feel like I have been given an unexpected gift. I was given the gift of presence… to be fully alive and to be fully aware of how lucky I am to Just Be… perfectly imperfect. I don’t have life all figured out, but I know I want to live it up each day and make the most of the days I’m given while I am able. I wish the same for you.

I hope that you will also be aware of this one beautiful life you’ve been given, and that you’ll stop and pause and think about where you want to go and what you want to do, despite all the burdens, responsibilities and any obstacles you may face. What will you say “So what?” to, and do what you want anyway? You can, you know… give yourself permission and go after your dreams. What are you going to BE today? What are you going to DO today? Just do it…

I’ll stop counting now, as I think I’ve learned this lesson. I’ll just be sure to remember our days are limited and we really never know the exact answer as to how long we’ll be here and when are we going home.

Namaste. Live it up. Love it Up.

p.s. My first day home was great. We went to Target, had lunch at Panda Express, and had friends stop by and call and chat. I got my cell phone connected and CJ made dinner for us with my mama – our yummy family favorite, Chicken Pho Soup. I took a little nap before dinner, and afterwards, we went for a walk around the neighborhood before stopping in at April’s house for a quick visit. My anxiety is gone and it’s really nice to be home… thanks, for asking! xo

Home Sweet Home!

Happy One Year Blogging Anniversary!

Here I Am, 365 days later… still writing!

Today it has been one year since I began writing every day. I never knew I would enjoy it as much as I do and never, ever thought of myself as a writer.

My passion is connecting people, finding things we have in common, supporting one another, finding joy every day, loving my family and friends, and creating communities.

Thank you for reading and for sharing your comments, private messages, stories and connections along the way and creating bonds of friendship and community.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

I am blessed.


Day 174: My New Canvas

Jeff came home today after being back in the States for 9 days, and I felt so excited to see him again, like a happy puppy! I had Dutch class today and so he had to take a taxi home from the airport. When I came home from class, he was already home and I felt that giddy feeling when I saw him again. Silly, I know, but its true and I’m still excited to see him after almost 20 years together!

Enough about that!! I wanted to share another excitement. I think today I am writing my 300th blog post. I’ve been writing every day since I started this HereIAm blog. It has become my creative outlet and a hobby I really enjoy. I didn’t know I would discover such pleasure from writing and sharing and connecting and capturing the best moments from my daily life, yet I do. My blog has become like an art canvas, and my words and pictures the colors that fill the page. I typically capture moments with my iPhone which is always with me. At night, I send the pictures to my email account and then create my blog usually from my phone or laptop late at night. Jeff surprised me today and brought me home a new canvas for me to do my work on:

It’s an iPad mini! I can take great pictures with it, and I added the blogging app and my blog to the home screen. All in one, I can take it with me in my purse, and to school and to my comfy bed and create and connect from anyplace. How cool is that? Thank you Jeff, for surprising me and for supporting the arts! I’m thrilled!!

I took my new canvas to the kids’ basketball games and enjoyed setting it up while they weren’t playing and capturing pictures when they were on the court. We were there for several hours!




After dinner tonight, we enjoyed dessert from the States – Chocolate Poptarts!! Yum!! Thank you April for shopping for us!! We were so excited by all the loot! And thanks Jeff, for carrying an extra suitcase with you to fulfill my retail desires!! Life is good!