Being in the Moment

I didn’t take any pictures today and instead just enjoyed the moments without feeling like I had to capture what was.

Instead, I just enjoyed the conversation, the scenery and just being.

I went for a hike with my BFF and although it was only 6+ miles, we probably could have gone 50 miles and not even noticed or felt tired. We were so happy to just be together out doing what we love and chatting and sharing and catching up that we hardly even noticed where we were.

I love these moments when time just passes by and you don’t even realize it because you are so content doing what you’re doing.

I was going to cook dinner tonight and then another friend dropped by, took off her shoes and decided to stay for awhile. I love when friends do this. I broke out the goat cheese from Harley Farms, some fresh red grapes and sliced the bread i picked up at the produce market today, and opened a bottle of my favorite Hess chardonnay to share with her. We sat together for over an hour and just caught up and enjoyed each other’s company, while our kids played outside.

I love this life. I love the simplicity of it all and just flowing with whatever comes my way.

Life is a miracle and I am loving it.

How was your Saturday?

On Being Married

“Let all that you do be done in Love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14

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I’ve been married for 17+ years.  I fell in love with my husband literally at first sight and felt like I had seen a rock star. I could hardly acknowledge him when he first said hello to me as he took my breath away.  I’ve always had a crush on him, yet being married has not always been easy.

The hardest years of our marriage came when I quit work to be a stay at home mom and we moved to the suburbs. I felt lost and alone with a toddler and a baby on the way and trying to transition to our new lifestyle, while he was busy working at a start up and trying to provide for our family on his own.  We were both going through our own life changes and we struggled for a long time, even though we always loved each other.

I am thankful that we chose to stay faithful to our vows and to work through our differences and grievances. Love wins when both partners do the work and both stay committed to the contract you both signed, remembering and recalling in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.  Having a marriage license made our relationship sticky when we felt we were slipping. Luckily we were able to keep flowing and growing, as I know this is a challenge.

I think the secret to a healthy marriage is to stay focused on the mission and each other and to take care of one another, even when you don’t want to and you don’t know which way is up.  It also helps when you admire each other. We shared a belief in each other and our family and this was more important than our individual needs.  We also choose to never go to bed angry and to agree to disagree, because we are more important than any one thing.  My favorite mindful meditation I always say to myself when I get frustrated with him or anyone I love is “I love you more than anything you can say or do.” These words are powerful and have helped me through the years to stay focused on the greater good.

I didn’t mean to start writing about all this, as I was just going to share a picture of our date today on our hike. I felt like I had to explain that we’ve been working hard all these years and now that the kids are getting older and less needy, we are finding more time to spend together again. I was so happy that he chose to go hiking with me today and that I got to be out in nature with my best friend, sharing something that I love to do every week, and now with him.  I love that he loves me and wants to hang out and share my joy.

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What are some things that make your marriage or relationship happy?

Life is good and I am thankful.

Wishing you a loving and happy, healthy relationship. Namaste.

Ecstasy

“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” – Emily Dickinson

I wouldn’t describe our vacation as ecstasy or pure bliss.

Tomorrow is the last day and actually, it’s been slightly mundane and just right.

We have practiced traveling around the world a bit and we traveled to San Diego and back this winter break. This past week we chose to stay home and I’ve learned a lot.

We actually really enjoyed being home and just living, doing whatever we felt like doing without a big plan and with time to just be without an agenda. We visited with friends. We shared meals. We played. We exercised. We stayed up late and slept in. We enjoyed sleepovers and sleeping in our own comfy beds. We watched movies and played on our electronic devices and we were content.

It didn’t matter what we choose to do, as long as there was time for us to be together and time for us to be ourselves and do our own things.

Today I chose to go on a hike with my friend early in the morning, while the kids were still in bed. At the end of our 5 mile hike, we loved standing and watching a red-tailed hawk enjoy her breakfast, protected and shielded by fallen tree branches, keeping a careful watch over her safety. There was something magical about this.

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I did some shopping and came home to a quiet house. I was so thankful that everyone was gone and I could sit at my computer for a short while and just be with my own thoughts. I have several tasks to do and I keep putting them off while we are on “vacation.” I embraced the stillness and enjoyed the moments, with a tinge of guilt. I need to learn to leave that component out of the happiness equation.

This afternoon we went to a friend’s house to watch football and share a meal. I loved watching the kids play board games together and drawing with their new Christmas supplies. It was simple and perfect, despite my terrible headache. Actually, having a headache made me more observant and quiet and I actually enjoyed watching and listening to the conversation in a more relaxed state. Sometimes good things come from bad things. Perfectly, imperfect.

Today, the sense of living was enough. I am, dare I say, ecstatic? That might be a stretch. But I am happy that I’ve finally learned to be ok “staying” home and not having to be looking for the next big adrenaline rush of discovering something new. The mundane and common are really ok and quite enjoyable.

How was your day?

Togetherness

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I went on a beautiful, crisp hike together with my friends this morning. This made me incredibly happy. Thank you S for inviting me to join you and your honey! I love spontenaity, hanging out with you and hiking. You made my day!

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We didn’t have a vacation plan today and decided we would all just hang out and enjoy being home with “nothing” to do. I never do nothing, and always find something yet I prefer to have a plan so I don’t get busy just cleaning and cooking. I’m sure moms can relate. My not having a plan created space for togetherness to happen organically. This is a beautiful thing, although I struggled getting to accept this non-plan plan! Maybe this is the silver lining from flowing and letting go? Hmmm…

I checked in with two friends to see if they wanted to meet for coffee sometime this afternoon. One was available and it was so pretty outside that I decided to take the bakfiets out for a spin again. Juliana decided she would go with me and ride in the basket part, even though this would be embarrassing. I was just happy she wanted to go with me. We laughed and chatted the entire way and enjoyed the cool breeze and sunshine on our face, together.

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We visited for about an hour, enjoying conversation, a latte, and catching up together with our friends, before riding back home again before the sun set.

This is what happiness looks like to me: sharing time with loved ones doing what we love. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

I am grateful.

The only “real” plan we had today was to celebrate my friend’s 40th birthday party. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Jeff and I left our house a bit early to have a little time alone together before the event. We had the best guacamole and homemade salsas and enjoyed our time, just sharing stories without interruptions.

From the restaurant, we walked to the next place for the celebration. I loved seeing my friend so happy and visiting with our mutual friends. My sweet childhood friend was there and I’m always happy to see her and catch up. Another friend brought her brand new baby and let me hold her and get my baby fix. I just love babies and was so happy she shared her little angel with me.

I am content. I think this togetherness word for the new year is good for me so far. Have you picked a word for yourself?

Together, let’s go.

Namaste.

Mind Space

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I’m so thankful that school is back in session. I finally can think again without constant interruptions.

I am thankful for open mind space that is mine to fill. Now if I could only prioritize how to fill the gaps.

When you have more free time, what do you choose to do?

I always choose to exercise. I spend way too much time on Facebook. I tend to clean and organize my house when I have extra time, and I plan and cook dinners. I always think I’ll sit and read or work on my photo projects, but I typically never do that. Hmmm. I wonder why. Usually I’ll pick up my phone and check email, texts, Instagram, etc.

Today I was thankful for the 11,000 plus steps shared hiking with ML and chatting the entire way. It felt good to get out in the sunshine and exercise and be with my BFF!!

Did you get some free time to think for yourself today? I hope so!

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Wanting to Be Several Places At The Same Time

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Ever have days like this? 

I wanted to be four places at the exact same time. I see this becoming a trend – at least this week and I’m struggling with making decisions.  One of my birthday goals this year was to be more decisive, more quickly. I tend to think of all the possibilities and what will make everyone happy or cause the least discomfort and sometimes (no most times) I have the hardest time making a single choice. I’m practicing. Isn’t that what this life thing is all about anyway? It’s the practice… no one really has it all figured out. We’re just practicing. Don’t you feel better just knowing that?

So today I had to drop off Charlie and then I wanted to watch the USA – Germany game, hike at Rancho San Antonio with Julie and play grass volleyball with the volleyball girlfriends, who I adore. I decided to do all three, but that didn’t work.

So I decided to actually hike while the weather was still comfortable and checked the game score on twitter wherever I got reception. I had to postpone playing volleyball another week and just hope the ladies will play again next week and I won’t have to miss out on the bumping, setting, and spiking!  It was a crystal clear day and a beautiful day to be up on the mountain.

It made me miss my BFF Michele who has recently moved and won’t be hiking with me weekly. That’s ok though, because we’ll just find new ways to explore nature and solve the worlds’ problems in the couple hours we’re disconnected from the “real” world.

Julie and I actually stopped at the top to sit on the little bench and just soak up the sun and magnificent views. Now that she’s a working woman, we don’t get much time to work out together like we used to. Working out together used to be our social time too. Luckily she has this summer off for us to play more and get stronger together!

We saw a few deer, lizards, a snake,

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birds, goats, and chipmunks while we were out.

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I especially loved the big oak trees too, that remind me of Thousand Oaks.

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Life is good and I’m glad I picked the hike today, especially since the USA lost. 

Hope you had a love filled day. xo

Friend Therapy

Do you have friends that you just absolutely love hanging out with? I have one or two or three or four and I know I am lucky. I am so thankful for all the amazing women in my life.

Every friend brings and shares different gifts and I love all of them. Quirks and all, not that they have any, but if they did… I’d love them just the same and I’m so thankful they put up with mine!

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My girlfriends bring me such joy by just being them and having time to share together doing whatever and talking and laughing and supporting one another.

Today Michele and Suzanne and I hiked 7 miles in the almost 90 degree sunshine through the hills. We told so many stories and shared what projects we’re working on, stories about our kids and families and stories about our dreams and plans for vacations. It’s like friend therapy. Listening and sharing and laughing and lifting each other up. It’s awesome to have such supportive girlfriends that just get you.

Here are some of the interesting things we discovered on our hike today.

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We stopped to admire the playful baby goats who are less than 2 weeks old. I love babies!

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One fell down trying to jump up on this log and had trouble getting up again with her new legs.

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The blue bellied lizards were warming themselves here and were darting in front of us many times across the trail.

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The view was a bit hazy from the top. Can you see the vulture sweeping through the air?

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More beautiful wild poppies were wide open and brightly coloring the landscape.

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At the end of our hike in the speckled shade, Suzanne started to grab my arm and move me. I thought she was just excited about the video conversion project she was telling me about, as she squeezed my arm and moved me into Michelle. She couldn’t quite get the words out, but then there it was and I was so thankful she just moved us aside! No words were necessary. I would have screamed so loudly if I would have been the first one to come across this big snake!

I was so scared and then started laughing and was thankful no one got hurt or peed in their pants!!

Life is good and so much sweeter with friends. xo

GGG – Day 3 – Nature

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Gratitude Gift Giving (GGG) – Day 3 – How do you enjoy and appreciate nature? Where is your favorite place to be?

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

Do you feel a calling to be outdoors? Do you feel peace when you’re near the water, the forest, the hills, open spaces?

Where is your happy place? Where do you go to feel like you’re just a little part of this big, wide, open universe?

My favorite place to go in nature is the ocean. I love the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. I love seeing the sealife and smelling the salt water in the air. I love looking out and not being able to see anything else but water and not knowing where it ends. I love watching the sun setting on the horizon and imagining the daylight being transferred to another location on the earth. I love being on the water, especially on a paddle board, but I’m just as happy on any type of boat.

But today we explored the majesty of the redwood trees in the forest of Big Basin, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
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Knowing that some of these trees are older than the Mayan Civilization made me feel so insignificant. Our lives are such a small part of the bigger world, but we feel like we are so important right now! Standing next to these trees that have been around for over 1500 years is amazing. Some of the trees are over 250 feet tall. I loved looking up at them, standing inside a circle of them, and hiking through the forest and admiring all their different varieties.

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I liked the shadows, the darkness and the light flowing through them. I liked the old and the new, and even the fallen.

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Hiking with our family at this place less than 35 miles from home filled me with joy, even though the process of getting us all out the door today together was quite the challenge! It was worth the work and effort and I think I can say we all enjoyed our family outing.

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Today I am thankful for the beautiful parks of California, and for family time exploring some place new. What or where are you thankful for?

Exercise

What’s your favorite form of exercise?

How often do you work out? And for how long? Do you make exercise a priority?

Some people I know exercise every day. Others, not at all. And some just sometimes. Are all sets happy? Yes, I think so. It makes me curious why some people feel like they HAVE to exercise, some don’t want to at all and others are happy either way.

I love exercise just because I love it. I am happy whether I do or don’t and don’t feel like I have to exercise to be happy. The opposite is true for others and I find this fascinating.

I choose to exercise because I enjoy the social and fitness aspects of it. I do a mix of group and individual sports and am happier when I’m working out with friends and sharing that social component. I learn so much from my friends and feel like when we’re exercising and chatting, we’re sharing an experience and time together, and are figuring life out and it makes it all a little sweeter.

Why do you workout? What do you do? Do you switch things up or stick to one or two things?

Today I ran 3 miles alone and then later walked with a friend. Yesterday I did a power yoga group class and tomorrow I will play tennis with friends. All of these forms make me happy. I feel like I exercise because it’s the right thing to do and I want to stay fit, strong and healthy, and to be a good role model to my kids. I don’t think I lose any weight from working out, but maybe that’s more because my eating habits are out of whack! I’m working on those too, but that story is for another post.

Good night. xx