(Here) I Am

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This is my new bracelet. I bought it for Jeff to wrap up and give to me for Christmas because I knew it would make us both happy and it did.  He was happy to not have to think about what to buy me and I was happy because it was exactly what I wanted.  Isn’t that a great strategy?

These are called Mantrabands and I am in love with them. I gave a few away for Christmas presents this year and was so excited to have something meaningful to share.  My sister sent me a picture of herself wearing hers yesterday on her birthday and this made me smile.

  
If you were to wear or choose a Mantraband, what would your mantra be? 

If you’d like one, you can order them online here: Mantraband – Love from California  I even like their motto: “Mantrabands are simple, elegant bracelets with a touch of delicate polish and an uplifting message; promoting a lifestyle of optimism, positivity, mindfulness. Wear your Mantraband every day as your daily reminder, affirmation, and inspiration. Made with love.” Oh, and I am not paid to say this nor did they send me any free products! I just love them.

nAMaste

 

Say Anything

  
We bought new board games this break and played together. This made me very happy! I loved watching the cousins play together at my parent’s house and I loved playing at my house too.  

I absolutely love playing games and am so quietly competitive and have been my entire life. I silently laugh when I win and beat my kids and husband. That seems like such a bad trait, yet at least I’m good at something!

My favorite question tonight that my family had to answer for me, wondering what my opinion would be was, “if I could be the best in the world at something, what would I choose?”

 
What would you choose? What would you want to be the best at?

I thought about my answer while they wrote down their thoughts. I was happy with their ideas on what I might think I’d like to be the best at. They chose:  teaching happiness, soccer, and wife/family woman.

They made me smile. I had to pick from their ideas and I chose wife/family woman as my top pick.

I am a wife and family woman and those roles make up my primary identity. 

My choice was to be the best me I can be. Here I am.

Of course I picked the philosophical question – next time I’ll pick “what would be the weirdest job” and stump them! ­čÖé

Happy New Year. Don’t forget to play!

nAMaste

The Best Kind of Day

  
My sister and my niece came to visit us this weekend and this was my (welcome) sign. It was a play on words that included them with me to create the we and the plural of Here I Am. I loved this very thought from before they even arrived. I sat on my porch last night, waiting and anticipating their arrival with excitement.  

I love being in their presence and when we are together, it doesn’t matter what we do. I feel comfortable and content and truly myself and I have no agenda except to soak in all their love and share it back with them, doing everything and nothing. Seriously. 

These are the best kind of days. We just flowed in and out, together and with the kids, and alone and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  We were up early and shared coffee and breakfast. We took the kids where they needed to go. We rested and read and fed the kids and shopped. We watched Charlie’s soccer game and made friends. We cooked dinner together and cleaned up together. We laughed and teased each other and shared stories of our lives, the ones we don’t find the time to share over brief, interrupted phone calls and texts. 

There’s no substitute for face to face time. I got to hug her and really see her and share in the joys of our kids playing together and loving one another and growing up together.
I am thankful that she chose to come visit (me) us and took the time  to make love grow. 

Here We Are. 

Life As A Tourist

Tonight, Juliana and I sat on the couch of our Times Square hotel, reminiscing about our day and what to blog about…she mentioned our favorite Facebook blog, Humans of New York.

Throughout our time in New York, Juliana has mentioned being interviewed by Brandon Stanton, the blogger behind HONY. She’s constantly thinking of how amazing it would be to be featured on his Facebook page, fantasizing about what the humans of the world would say in the comments section. 

So, back to our night on the couch when we were talking about blog themes, Juliana says, “You know mom, I know what I would say to Brandon if he saw me on the streets of New York, he would probably ask me what I was doing. I would let him know that I am a tourist, then I would say that in life, you are like a tourist. Sometimes you find yourself in foreign places, knowing where to go, yet not knowing how to get there.”

I love the way that girl thinks. We didn’t see Brandon today, but maybe there is still time to cross paths before we continue our journey. Fingers crossed, baby girl.  

  Life is good!

The Magic of Tidying Up

I just finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo. ┬áIf you haven’t read it yet, I definitely recommend it and following the advice, not that I’ve done all of what she says but it definitely has changed my life.

She provides strategies for creating space and decluttering so that we can get the most out of life. Her advice is simple and her words keep resonating in my head. Her basic premise is to consider all that you have and ask yourself whether each item brings you joy. If it doesn’t, she tells you to get rid of it so that you can create space for what does. ┬áI absolutely love this and keep thinking about everything I see now and wonder if it brings me joy. If it doesn’t, I’m letting it go and clearing it out. It feels so good to get rid of stuff, I can’t even tell you.

My mom was here last week and I was telling her about the book and how I want to get rid of everything but that it takes time to clear things out. I pointed to a cabinet in my kitchen and she started asking questions and the next thing you know, we’re clearing out the cupboards and now they are empty. The space is ready to be repurposed and I can’t wait. Right now I love just knowing that the shelves are empty and that there is order. ┬áI can’t wait to do more.

I called my sister to tell her of my a-ha moment and she told me she was reading the same book and was already clearing out her closets! She sent me pictures of the pounds and bags of stuff she was ready to recycle and sent me pictures of her newly organized closet. She was so happy. I couldn’t believe we were both reading the same book at the same time and sharing similar experiences.

My favorite part of the book is the end. The book is about learning how to declutter and find a space for everything and putting things back every day so that you have more time to do what you love and to spend less time wasting life on tidying and looking for things you can’t find. ┬áShe helps you to learn how to make decisions and to chose what is meaningful and these processes relate to all other parts of our lives.

She says, “pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life. I am convinced that putting your house in order will hep you find the mission that speaks to your heart. Life truly begins after you have put your house in order.”

I think by deciding what you want and don’t want and by being actively present and aware as you make these decisions, these small daily decisions will┬áactually help you to decide what else you really want in your life and to take action right now.

I already noticed in a change in my thinking. This morning I woke up and decided I wanted to go to the Farmer’s Market. Usually I’ll sit around and read the paper and make excuses why I shouldn’t move or go out. Today was different and I made a decision to go and invited Jeff to join me. He said yes, and we went on a spontaneous date together that made my day. I loved walking around, seeing friends, gathering food for dinner tonight, and eating breakfast together outside.

  

When we came home, I decided I wanted to cook Thai food and learn how to poach chicken. I spent several hours in the kitchen cooking and preparing dishes, just for fun. I didn’t procrastinate, as I usually do, and I enjoyed cleaning out the kitchen and just being home, playing and cooking. I loved seeing the kids come in to pick at my food and to enjoy my work and that an impromptu dinner was ready when they were hungry. I loved bringing out my beautiful dishes that I love, and actually using them just for me. ┬áI think this is what Marie Kondo was talking about.

I created space. I made decisions. I enjoyed what I love and today was good.

I wish the same for you. Clear out the clutter. Create space. Do what you love.  nAMaste. xo

Embodying Here I Am

Here I Am is about being present and enjoying this life journey. It is about living life to the fullest and practicing being kind and loving and patient and giving and sharing and learning and helping others and making mistakes and getting right back up and celebrating all that is good again and again.

It is about being flexible and accepting and flowing with what is, yet adapting and learning and choosing to make the best of every day.  It’s about being perfectly imperfect and okay and working hard and never giving up.

Tonight was an academic awards celebration at Juliana’s school.  There are so many smart and talented kids in our community. I was so impressed by the number of students that were recognized for having a 4.0 grade point average the entire year.  Juliana was one of the recipients and we were very happy for her and all her hard work and dedication to giving her personal best.

I was really impressed with everyone and so happy that 12 of the 15 math award recipients were girls.  For the science awards, 8 of the 12 recipients were also girls!  This speaks volumes for our emphasis on the STEM program and GAINS program at our school.  

My proudest moment that brought me to tears was when Juliana was chosen to receive the Lynn Rose Memorial Award. 

   

This award touched my heart because it represents all I want for my daughter.  Lynn Rose was a remarkable woman who touched so many peoples’ lives before she died of cancer, leaving behind 4 children. She was the epitome of representing love and giving freely and helping others and building a community. Everyone loved her and her contributions to our community. Juliana’s contributions to our community, including her school, family, friends, strangers and church were recognized in front of everyone. She was singled out and given beautiful roses and her name will be engraved on a plaque that will stay in the office. 

Juliana represents the qualities that I value and wish for all women. She is – Here I Am!  Congratulations on your recognition tonight. I am so proud of you.

Congratulations to all the award recipients tonight.  You represent the best and the brightest in our community. Thank you for being awesome. 

nAMaste