Free to BE You and Me

 It’s Memorial Day and I am married to a veteran.  We take the time to reflect and remember that our freedom to BE is a gift from those families who chose to sacrifice and give of themselves and we are grateful. 

Today we celebrated with veterans in Santa Clara and smiled at Denny and his wife Marilynne who shared stories with us as we admired their courage and history in serving our country.  I loved this moment and loved their hugs and kisses. There was an instant connection through our gratitude and recognition of their service and I was touched by our spontaneous interaction.  I wanted to hear more of their story. Denny teased me and handed me his biography. He was decorated with several honorable medals, including a Purple Heart and a Navy Cross. He was a true gentleman and I admired his pride and character.

   
     

We are thankful for our veterans and their families, especially PopPop and MamMam, Algin Hughes and Elaine Hughes.

Life is good and we thank you, veterans. xoxo

Day 7 – Juliana Home from Japan

I am thankful that our baby girl returned home safely from Japan today.

We were up until 2am our time, texting back and forth until her plane departed from Tokyo.  I finally felt like I could rest but I was too anxious and kept waking up every couple of hours, wondering if she was okay and if her plane was still safe. 

I was thankful when her texts returned this morning letting me know she was almost on the ground and when she finally landed.  We were all at the airport waiting and anticipating her arrival, along with her friends and classmates. The feeling of homecoming was overwhelming and exciting. At the same time, I felt connected to my sister cousin and felt her pain knowing that her son was not coming home. It’s hard to feel complete joy now when I am aware of such pain. Yin and yang. We are all connected. As I was sharing her pain, she was sharing my joy. This is surreal to me. It’s our shared journey and reality. It’s real and makes me especially appreciate life and all that is good, despite all that is bad, every day. 

I am thankful for this one life and plan to continue living it up each day, celebrating and feeling and connecting and sharing and loving, good times and bad. 

nAMaste BeLoveRs and welcome home Juliana. 

  

The Love that Binds

So many things can and do go wrong.

Things happen every day that we don’t expect, that we don’t desire and that we wish just didn’t.

We don’t get to choose or control all of the events that happen to us and for us.

When we are still and can accept what happens, we are usually surrounded by love and light that comfort us, when we are open to receive it. This is the amazing side of life that feels like a miracle and is awe-inspiring.

Such is the case for us right now as we sit and wait for Juliana’s eye to heal.  I know this isn’t the end of the world, but it has stopped us from carrying on as usual. She is suffering and I am waiting by her side, supporting her and providing around the clock care, as we wait for healing and to know the results from her injury.

We did not wish for nor plan for this to happen. Accidents happen.  Life happens and it’s up to us how we adapt and respond.

There is good in everything. We just have to see through and past the pain to see and feel the good.

So many people love us and support us through kind words, gifts, visits, phone calls, food and prayer. Thank you friends and family.

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We are so thankful for the loving concern shared with our family.

It’s love that binds and connects us to each other and helps us endure pain and suffering.

I know our story is not the only story like this, and that ours is so small, yet it is still our pain. I am not complaining. It just is.

Love permeates the world and I see how love shines in times of trouble.

I’m watching the love from Australians supporting Muslims through the simple connection of offering to ride the tram together. #illridewithyou as the deadly siege occurred yesterday.

I’m watching the support and love flow for the tragedy in Pakistan. #prayforPeshawar #peshawarattack

“Smallest coffins are the heaviest!! May the innocent souls RIP.” #PrayForPeshawar

We remember the tragedy in Sandy Hook two years ago this week #SandyHook.

And I’ve watched the love and support flow in after my cousin’s tragic death.

Love is an amazing force.

Humanity has no borders.

Spread love, BeLoveRs. Keep shining your light. You make a difference.

xo

Friends and Family

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This sign was hanging in the women’s restroom in San Luis Obispo.

In the men’s room, Jeff says the sign said, “Some call it chaos. we call it family.”

I think we have it all.

We spent a lot of time with extended family this weekend and I feel sad leaving them, even though I am happy to be going home again.

I love being together and embracing the chaos and love that swirl around us, tying us together through shared experiences and laughter.

There were several highlights from our time together, however my favorite was when friends and family gathered outside and held hands, all 26 of us, and shared a Thanksgiving prayer before dinner acknowledging our gifts and our heartbreaking loss of Chase this year. We were able to smile and cry together and it was a beautiful moment of being safe and authentic, vulnerable and real. We were happy to be together and sad to be missing a loved one. Yin and yang.

I love the unique gifts that each person brings to our family, quirks and all.

IMG_2041.JPGHomemade bacon.

I kept reminding myself that we all bring love to share in our own way.

IMG_1952.JPGBaking together.

I am especially thankful to my parents for opening their home to everyone and making us welcome and embracing everyone with unconditional love.

We left their home this afternoon and headed home ourselves. My favorite place to be, besides home, is at the beach. My BFF ML also loves the beach and was at Pismo today. We were so lucky to be able to find each other on the beach and watched the sunset together with our families.

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This was such a great way to wrap up the day and I was so happy to see her and to be together on the beach!! Simple joys, I’m telling you!!

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Life is good!

I hope you enjoyed your own family and friends this giving thanks weekend, and always.

Wishing you peace and love! xo

Happy Halloween!

This Halloween was different for me. My kids are growing up and our traditions have changed. I am aware.

We still had orange pumpkin pancakes for breakfast though.

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Our schedules are busier than ever now and we didn’t make time to carve pumpkins together as a family, so just Charlie and I carved alone this afternoon.

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We didn’t do our annual dinner party and the kids split up, doing different things. My role handing out candy even changed.

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I did enjoy our last Halloween parade at our local elementary school, even with the rain. This was bittersweet!

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This Halloween made me aware of time passing and the kids getting older and how everything changes.

I am also remembering Taylor who was killed by a drunk driver on Halloween years ago and remembering Chase.

Hope you enjoyed giving away treats and/or receiving them tonight.

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Chase Varney

Tomorrow we will celebrate the life of Chase Varney, who is one of our family
members.

Click here to read about Chase: Chase’s Legacy

Today we skipped school and sports and drove 6 hours to be with family, so that we could be together and be ready for tomorrow morning.

We have felt lots of stress and anxiety and fear this week, as well as love and uncertainty. We’ve laughed and cried, sat silently and yelled, missed assignments and appointments and forgot the ice cream in the car. We are a mess.

Losing Chase has affected so many, from friends to loved ones, and to those who didn’t even know him. We are filled with sorrow. With his passing, we are keenly aware that life is uncertain, unpredictable, and unfair, even when you do what’s right. This is not comforting and yet it’s raw and real and we are vulnerable. There are no guarantees, which is why we try to live life to the fullest with love and laughter every day.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Chase and hold on to each other for comfort, as we navigate the next steps that are to come.

Godspeed, Chase. We love and miss you so much and we wish your family the strength to carry on.

Namaste.

Let There Be Light

Light represents all that is good.

Let your light shine.

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The funeral is on Saturday. Everyone is asked to wear colorful clothing and to avoid the darkness.  We will celebrate life and all that is good, despite our heartache.

Life will never be the same, but we will share our love and light and hopefully our souls will slowly heal as we share our love and humanity.

Namaste, BeLoveRs.

Thank you to Elizabeth for sharing this Diya ceramic candle, which is typically used in Diwali celebrations. You are loved! xo