Happy Veteran’s Day 2015

Today is Veteran’s Day and we all took the day off to remember what this day means to Americans. This year we visited Santa Clara University, where they conducted a brief program, wreath laying, and had a special celebration to mark the 240th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps.

My take away from listening to one of the service men, was that the people who choose to serve in the military, choose to serve others. They choose to sacrifice and give up their comforts and freedom to protect our American values and to represent us and to keep us safe. They go off to Afghanistan and Iraq and other places to fight evil and to protect our freedoms. They give of themselves to give to us. Isn’t this an amazing concept?  What are we doing to serve others? We need to continue thinking about what we can do to create a better world vs. thinking about what’s in it for me?  We get to shape and live our American values through our choices.

Tonight at our children’s gathering at church, the kids and kid leaders worked together to fill over 140 lunch bags with healthy food items and love notes and rain ponchos to give out to others who might be less fortunate.

We are living our values. We are loving each other. We are making a difference, one tiny step at a time. Each child took home 1 to 3 bags so that they could give them out to people they meet in the community who may need loving and comfort. They are learning American values to take care of the less fortunate and to be giving. I am so proud.

So many people fight over religion or race or the color of Starbucks cups, but let’s remember that we get to choose because we are free. We can make the world a better place with one bag, one hug, one smile, one tour, one love. You have power. Use it wisely. Love yourself and love others – love is the great equalizer.

nAMaste and thank you, veterans for your service and for churches who bring people together to serve others.


I think this is the only word to describe the feelings inside my body again.

There was another shooting at Northern Arizona University (NAU) this morning and my cousin’s best friend was killed and 3 more kids are injured. This is not okay, not fair and not right.  She shouldn’t have to be experiencing another tragedy like this.

On the same day, there was another shooting in Houston, Texas on a college campus, leaving one person dead.

Our children go to to college to learn how to learn and to become independent and responsible adults. I didn’t think that they had to learn these type of survival skills and how to deal with this type of pain and loss.  I can’t believe that Jeff and I were talking about what advice to give our kids should they ever be in a situation like one of these.

I am scared and feel vulnerable again. One person’s actions ripple and affect us all.  Families are destroyed because of one moment of random selfishness. Why is it okay for some people to use violence to solve their problems? What is causing people to be so distraught that they no longer value life?

We are definitely connected and our country needs healing.

I know people are looking for reasons and want to understand why. They want gun control measures, and I think yes, maybe so, but this doesn’t get to the why and focuses on a band-aid and doesn’t really fix the underlying problems.

Why are young men shooting other people?  I’m sure there are several reasons. I think that our youth are missing a sense of purpose and structure. Families fall apart. Religious institutions have lost popularity. We have violent video games that are readily available.  Our mental health system is a joke. Community service is not a priority, and instead there is a strong focus on self which might not be the best thing. Sure, it’s great to be self-aware, but probably not so self-absorbed. We need each other. We need to help and to serve one another.  We need to accept ourselves and one another. We need to belong to each other because we are all connected. One Love.

If you wish to support the families involved in the NAU shooting today, there is a Go Fund Me account set up here:  NAUstrong  “All funds raised through this campaign will be donated to the victims of the shooting to help them with their various expenses following this tragedy. Stay strong everyone. Call up your loved ones and tell them you love them.”

nAMaste and rest in peace, Colin Brough.

Friends and Family

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.

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!!

Life is good!

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

Wishing you peace and love! xo

GGG – Day 17 – Hope

It’s Gratitude Gift Giving, day 17 and I wanted to share a story of hope and joy.


Photo credit: Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

“It’s wonderful, wonderful. It’s great for the youngster and it’s great for the city of San Francisco and the whole region. Saving lives for the day, I love it. It’s so good. A good deed in a weary world.” — San Francisco 49ers’ Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

The world sucked a little less this week.

A 5-year-old little boy who has been battling leukemia was granted his wish by the Make-a-Wish Foundation with the help of over 13,000 volunteers and the goodwill of San Francisco. He wanted to become Batman and save Gotham City. And so San Francisco was transformed into Gotham and little Miles had his wish come true as a fantasy world was brought to life, just for the day.

Batkid started in California, but with social media, his legacy made over 442 million potential impressions around the world. There were over 13,000 volunteers and over 339,000 tweets related to his story.

Why is his story so significant and why did it touch so many?

I think it’s pretty simple. I think Miles overcoming leukemia represents hope when things are bad. I think people wanted to help make his dream come true, because everyone loves a super hero and the fantasy world where good always overcomes evil. It’s what we long for in everyday life. We want to be part of something good. We want to help others. We want to celebrate life with each other, and Miles allowed us all to show up to his party.

We have such a strong desire for community and connection and being a part of Miles’ dream allowed thousands of people to do something, even if that was just to share his story, or to be a bystander, or to be part of the story set.

Miles’ story represents our need for goodness and to give and to help others and to focus on a happy ending.

Humanity doesn’t suck. We are good. And we have good things to share, despite the bad that also exists. There will always be other causes and different ways to make a difference and we should not judge how we choose to contribute to the greater good of society.

I am hopeful.


Photo credit: Michael Macor, The Chronicle


Photos from: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Batkid-Thousands-cheer-on-pint-size-superhero-4985651.php

Stats from: http://topsy.com/analytics?q1=%23SFbatkid&via=Topsy



What’s Your Mism?


Tonight we somehow got on the topic of religion at the dinner table. We were talking about all the different beliefs and what they mean and who believes what and why. Two nights ago we debated and explained politics and whats happening with our government. Did I tell you I have very smart kids? Or should I say thinking kids? They have opinions that are different than mine, they ask lots of questions, and they think for themselves which I love and which also presents interesting conversations.

We talked about how religions are shared based on what family you’re born into and how they believe. Sometimes children choose to follow the same beliefs as their family and sometimes they branch out and choose to believe differently. We also talked about knowledge and philosophies like Buddhism and Taoism and also the belief that there is no higher power. The cool thing is they are not afraid and add greatly to the conversation.

They asked why we believe what we do and questioned whether they had to believe the same way we do. I told them for now we will share our journey together and one day they may choose a different path that works for them. Part of our journey is also exploring and experiencing other faiths and beliefs that are shared with us and those that arouse curiosity in us. We believe in the celebrations of life and enjoy the rituals we are invited to witness even when they are different from ours. We feel like honored guests and respect our loved ones for being who they are and are filled with gratitude when they invite us to join with them as witnesses to their faith journey

I shared that we have chosen one path and one mentor that provides a foundation for our family. I also shared that we believe in one love, one people, and that we are all connected despite any perceived or real differences.

And that’s when Charlie said, “ok, can we be done with all these misms now?” I laughed and we changed the topic of conversation. Enough deep thought for one night. How do you celebrate your mism? :-).