Live Love Laugh

 
My birthday is coming up and I received this birthday gift today from one of my BFFs along with a pair of silver dangling earrings and salted caramel chocolates. She knows me well and more than the material gifts, I loved the gift of time with her. She makes me smile and is a good listener and story teller and I just admire her so much.  I wish I had half her ability to remember details!! 

Thank you M for coming to spend the day with me. 

How did you live today?

Who did you love today?

When did you laugh today?

I lived it up by hiking and having friends over and playing with the kittens. I made Vietnamese Banh Mi Chicken sandwiches and spring rolls for dinner as requested by my husband and snuggled in with my family to watch the Warriors win tonight. 

  I loved my friends and my family today and I loved my mama on our phone chat this morning.

I laughed when Charlie snuck up from behind and startled me.

Today was good.  Hope you had a good day too, living it up, loving and laughing out loud!

Namaste

  

Wanderlust – California Coast

I wanted to see the ocean today and step my feet in the sand. I didn’t really have a plan except to be there, wherever there might be.

We all got up early to work on a service project at our church in honor of Martin Luther King day today. We bought and brought supplies to support our local homeless shelters and our town’s local community services center that provides clothing, school supplies, food, toiletries, towels, gloves and socks to provide warmth and comfort. We were going to help sort and bag the donations but by the time we arrived, 30 minutes after the event began, the work was mostly done. We were able to still write letters to soldiers and veterans which was humbling.

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We finished earlier than expected which allowed us to drive over the hill to Santa Cruz. We went on yelp to find a new place to eat. The only suggestion I had from the family was they wanted seafood. We found a Hawaiian poke place that we enjoyed. It was kind of funky and different and probably a place we’ll only visit once, as the food sounded and looked better than it actually tasted.

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I kind of liked not having a definite plan and no one to coordinate logistics with as we were able to just wander and see and discover what ever came our way.

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Before you think this was a day in paradise, let me just tell you it wasn’t perfect. It was perfectly imperfect as I like to say, with lots of bickering and disagreements, trying to get everyone to agree and not touch one another nor say mean things. We are a modern family with lots of opinions if you know what I mean. We finally found our rhythm, but some days it takes awhile. Just keepin’ it real. And once we do, it’s awesome! Thank God for patience and perseverance!

We walked around downtown Santa Cruz and then headed North to admire the coastal views first along Cliff drive and then heading towards Davenport. We pulled off Highway 1 at one point, to walk along the cliffs. This was breathtakingly beautiful.

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We walked down the path to the sandy part and Jeff walked through the arc.

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This connects to my perfectly imperfect vision of life. I was so excited to get down to the water and discover the path through the arc and to the water but if you look behind Jeff, there is a dead whale! The smell was so bad, I almost cried! I had to get out of there before throwing up. So much for putting my feet in the water! I had to run!!

We were happy to get back in the car and to admire the coastline from a nicely enclosed space. We drove towards Pescadero and fondly remembered our first trip to Harley Goat Farm with Michele and her kids. We took the time to go say hi to the goats and to pick up some of the most delicious organic goat cheese. I love this place and the sweet memories of visiting here when our kids were little.

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Our next stop was Half Moon Bay. We found this cute little shop called Oddyssea, which is an interactive retail shop with an outdoor creative garden. We had fun touching the toys and exploring and the kids made dog tags with hammering tin type letters into the metal tags and then rubbing black shoe polish into the debts to make the letters stand out. They had a lot of fun and it was something we didn’t expect to experience.

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The craft project took a little longer than we thought and by the time we were done, the sun was setting and we missed watching it set, which was ok. We decided to drive back over the hill and had dinner at a place that Jeff has been wanting to take us to in Menlo Park, called Refuge. They are known for their pastrami and Belgian beer. It is definitely a guys place and was really loud. I’m glad we finally tried it but it was not my favorite place. I really loved their roasted root vegetable soup though.

We drove back home and all of us were tired and happy, having spent the day together trying and seeing new things. I’m glad that we had time to explore again, just like our days in Holland. I miss our expat days and am thankful to be able to enjoy our California.

Hope you had a good day and enjoyed California with me!!

Today’s Quote

“Remember to live.”  ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~

I found this quote today posted by Theresa on Soul Gatherings. I tried to reblog her post, but I think I experienced technical difficulties.

This quote resonated today with me as Jeff and I remembered to live it up today. We went on an all day date and began by seeing the American Sniper movie matinee, enjoying popcorn and a coke and a really good, heartfelt movie. His birthday got lost in the holiday rush, so we’re celebrating him all this month instead. Isn’t that a good idea? I love birthdays, but those that fall near Christmas get the short end of the stick.

After the movie, we took the time to stroll and shop, hand in hand. We decided to try an Indian buffet lunch, that was very good. We always enjoy trying new restaurants and new food. Today did not disappoint.

I loved that we had time to just be with each other and to live it up, simply and close to home, before the kids came home from school.

I truly felt like we remembered to live in the moment and to be present, and for this I am thankful.

Life is good.

How did you remember to live today?

Hope you have a good weekend.  Live it up, BeLoveRs. 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.

Namaste.

What’s Really Important

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This piece of artwork caught my eye tonight, hanging in a shop in my favorite SLO town.

“Remember
we have this moment
and these people
and this love.”

This represents mindfulness to me and what it means to be present.

We have this moment. That’s it. Let’s enjoy what we’ve got, right now. Whether we want to or not. This is it.

We have these people that we love and love us and we choose to share our moments together.

We get to celebrate. And not just at Christmas or Hanukkah or another holi-day that is meaningful to you. Remember.

Happy day after Christmas, BeLoveRs.

xoxo

No News is Good News

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I have several friends who don’t watch the news anymore. They don’t like to watch it or read it. This made me curious.

They say they don’t like all the negativity and it’s depressing. I agree with them.  But I am curious about what’s going on in the news. I like to be informed and connected and knowing a little bit about a lot.  But I get why they don’t watch it.  Most of what we see and hear is about what’s wrong in the world when there is so much that is right and unreported.  I prefer the positive news stories and I think most others do too, but usually what we hear and see is the s*&%.

Isn’t that dumb? Let’s focus on what’s right and be happy for one another. I like this model better.

I have to say that I do love to watch the reality tv shows, just so I can feel better about my own “boring” life and to feel like I am doing something right, even though it’s not as “glamorous” as portrayed on tv.  At least I’m not experiencing what THEY are experiencing.  But usually I feel sorry for the people with the crazy lives more so than I feel better about myself.  Maybe that’s what compassion looks like. And my life is crazy behind the scenes too. I just choose to share the shinier, feel good moments.

This is one of the reasons why I choose to write every night, even though it might be boring. I want to share stories of what is working and to share successes, positivity and happiness. I want us all to be successful and I want us all to feel joy and love despite our struggles and pain that are always present.  I want us to learn to let go as quickly as possible so that we can shine our light and love.

I had a friend tell me that she thought my blog was sometimes hard to read because it sounded like my life was perfect and she was envious of me.  I appreciated her honesty and realness. I told her that she really knew the truth, and that my life isn’t perfect and that I struggle every day. I just choose to focus on the positive outcomes despite the craziness and chaos that is my life and I keep choosing to make the time for experiences that I think will create happiness for others, my family and myself and that it takes constant work and focus and refocus. I don’t always get it right.  And I don’t do perfect, that’s for sure. When I mess up or don’t do my personal best, I choose to share what I learned vs. the details of the struggle, because I think we all have our own struggles and who needs to read negative news?  Not most of my friends, obviously.

So that’s what this blog is about. The daily journey to happiness and love and compassion and learning and laughing along the way.

I choose to share the good because that is what positive thinking and positive psychology is all about. When we choose to focus on the good and to rise up as individuals and as families and communities, we can be the change we want to see in the world, minute by minute. When we each choose to do our personal best and to be loving and kind and to do what’s right, we make a difference in this world. This is what I can contribute. This is my daily 15 – 30 minutes of practicing hope and love, shared daily for myself, for you, my family, friends, and new friends. We’re all one.  We all have good news to share, despite the struggles that will always be there. Let’s rise together.

Oh, and if you were wondering where this blog post came from tonight, it came from Chipotle. I had picked up food to go since it was a crazy, busy day and the bag had a story and a quote written on it that caught my eye. The story was called, “A Two Minute Case for Optimism” by Steven Pinker and the quote on the other side of the bag said, “We will never have a perfect world, but it’s not romantic or naive to work toward a better one.” by the same author.  I could relate and connected to this story and was thankful that I didn’t have to cook tonight, for the good food, and for the positive, affirming story.

If you’d like to read it or know more about Chipotle’s marketing, here are a couple links (and I’m not paid to support Chipotle, by the way!)

Chipotle’s Packaging Story

A Two Minute Case for Optimism, by Stephen Pinker