Day 9: Summer

Caravan 2016 – Mexico


Our high schoolers left first thing this morning with their caravan, heading to Mexico for the next week, on a mission trip to serve others and to work side by side with their peers and advisors. I am scared, excited, happy, proud, anxious, grateful, in awe, and mostly thankful. 


I am thankful that our church believes in our youth and provides opportunities for them to practice our values in a loving environment. I am thankful for the plethora of advisors and volunteers who are dedicated to loving and supporting our youth and who give up their time graciously to be an active part of their lives. This trip takes a lot of work and preparation and dedication on so many levels. It truly is amazing to feel the synergy and I am proud of my kids for choosing to participate and am thankful to be part of this community.

Please send your good thoughts and prayers to keep them safe.

Our future is bright, BeLoveRs.

Happy Father’s Day. 

xoxo

Practicing One Love

I am so sad about the shootings in South Carolina. I don’t understand hate and I acknowledge it exists. I just don’t understand why we have to hate those that are different from us. 

I love everyone and want to know everyone’s story and culture and history. I want to celebrate our differences and learn from each other.  I want to celebrate each others’ rituals and live it up together and lift each other up.

I want us all to learn how to get along and to see our connected humanity.  We are one love, BeLoveRs. It’s really not all that complicated.
Today was our family’s last day of volunteering all week at Vacation Bible School. I know we don’t all believe in the same faiths, but what I do know is that we love our communities and what brings us together.   We shared a common experience this week and practiced one love and I hope that our practice makes a small difference in our one little world. 

  
nAMaste BeLoveRs

Celebrate Good Times

I love June. It’s my favorite month of the year. 

Today my heart was full. 

Charlie had his promotion ceremony, ending an era at our elementary school. We were quite proud of him and all of his accomplishments and involvement in our school community.

 
My parents were here to share the celebration and I am so thankful they took the time to come and be with us. Charlie was thrilled too!

ML and I have been working for months on the promotion dance for our middle schoolers.  Tonight was the event and we spent all day and night preparing and setting up and cleaning up with an awesome team of volunteers, including my mama. We were pleased with the results and were happy to see our kids so happy! I loved working side by side with my BFF, my mama, and friends.

 Congratulations graduates from preschool through college! xo
Life is good and I am excited for summer vacation to begin this weekend! Be well. xo

Happy Hours

Have you heard that helping others can increase your happiness?

The magic number seems to be 100 hours per year, which amounts to about 2 hours per week. Who knew that helping others could enrich our own lives?

Are you volunteering or helping someone other than your immediate family?  If so, how much time do you spend being of service?

This has been a question I’ve been noodling on for awhile and am using as a guide as I’m always trying to maximize the Happy Hours in my days.

When I felt like everything was ok in my life and still felt like I was missing something, it was Susanne who asked me how I was being of service and how much time I was dedicating to this part of life. She loves to help youth and seniors and spends a fair part of each week helping others and she told me how helping others really made her happy. Her face would light up when she’d share stories with me. She inspired me to think about how I was spending my time.

I belong to a Christian’s women’s group that runs a thrift shop. All proceeds from sales goes into an endowment fund, from which scholarships are given to women pursuing higher education goals. I love being part of this volunteer organization and believe in the mission. I started volunteering one day per week for an hour or two, helping out with donations. I love going to the shop and seeing the ladies who work there regularly, and feeling appreciated for my little Happy Hour of service.

Recently I joined the board of directors, who make decisions about running the store. I have been working on a strategic change project that has been taking a lot more than 2 hours per week. I love being involved and using my business background and interest in change management to help lead the change and “working” with a team. As I share my time, I feel helpful and happy to be making a difference. I think this is an example of how helping others can actually make you happy. I feel thankful for the relationships I am building and for the difference I am making.  Happy Hours well spent.

xo

Life is good.

Procrastination

How often and how much time do you spend procrastinating?

I’ve been sitting at my desk for the past 75 minutes, “thinking” about what I wanted to write tonight.  I wasn’t really thinking at all. I was procrastinating because I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to do the work, for no reason, except I didn’t have one, clear or creative idea. So I looked at Facebook, watched the Kings lose to the Blackhawks, texted with my sister, and avoided my work.  

I do this all the time.  I’m a master procrastinator, getting the work done at the last minute. I work better under pressure. Or at least I tell myself that.  Do you do the same? Just curious.  

And it’s so dumb, because if I just focused my brain for maybe 5 minutes, or set a timer for 15 minutes, I’d probably get the work done right away because I’d want to beat the timer. All these stupid mind games we play with ourselves.  Silly.

TGIF

I hope you had a good week and are ready to enjoy another weekend.  I enjoyed volunteering at Charlie’s school today, helping out with gold rush days. We all dressed up in cowboy boots, plaid shirts, cowboy hats, and prairie outfits.  The kids panned for gold, made griddle cakes, and shopped in the general store. They were very industrious, excited and cute to watch.

 

 

 

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Life is good.

Teams

Do you ever think about teams?

What teams do you belong to?

Why do you like to be part of a team?

I played tennis this morning with my team, and we were just practicing. I loved being out on the courts, playing with a new partner and practicing certain skills like keeping my eye on the ball and trying not to make mistakes. Any day on the courts is a good day to me. I love the challenge and the practice and being outside in the sunshine with friends. I love that we have a captain, who schedules our games and plans practices and organizes us so that I don’t have to think about it, and just show up. I love that my friends want to schedule additional times to play and practice together and that we’re always mixing it up. I love the friendly competition and working towards a goal. This fills me up.

Today Juliana’s tennis team won their championship playoff game. I am so happy that she was chosen to be on the team and got to practice nearly every day. She had a great team of coaches and supportive players who cheered each other on. I am so proud of her.

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Tonight I worked with a team of volunteers to put on a graduation dinner. I was thankful that there were several of us working together to create something meaningful. I loved the input and ideas and collaboration and help. Truly, working alone is no fun and one person cannot possibly think of all possible ideas and best practices. Plus, having a team makes things flow smoothly and it is so nice to have backup help and to not have to do everything by yourself. I loved the time together working with friends, and that the people we were serving were thankful for the work we created as a team.

Tonight I was also thankful for my team of supporters in this life journey. April went to pick up Juliana after her tennis match, as I couldn’t be in two places at the same time. Jeff came to pick up Charlie from my event, and once he arrived, he let Charlie stay on and play with his friends as they were all having a good time too. Thank you for your help April and Jeff! You make life easier and I’m thankful you’re here with me.

I hope you enjoy your teams too – as they come in many different forms. Go Team!

Volunteering and Creating Community

How do you help others, besides those in your family?

This was the topic of discussion tonight.  We were all sharing how we volunteer and what we like to do.  It was interesting to hear everyone’s different stories, because how they chose to volunteer told us a lot about the person and their interests. Listening to the stories made me curious and helped me to know more about my friends. It also helped us to find connections between interests, that we may not have know about each other.

One friend likes to quilt and she volunteers for Quilt For Kids, making quilts for sick kids in hospitals. She used to love making quilts for her family, but after awhile, you don’t need any more quilts. She found a way to continue her hobby and to share her generosity and talents with strangers. She brought a sample of her quilts and told us that they donated 800 quilts last year. I shared a connection with her as Charlie was a recipient of a handmade quilt when he was sick in the hospital when he was born. The beautiful, colorful quilt was in his bed when we came to see him. I thought it was a mistake, that it belonged to someone else, until the nurses told me the story of the volunteers who make them for sick kids, so that their hospital stay might be a little bit brighter and more cheerful. We still have this quilt, and I used to think of the women who made it as a gift of love. It made his hospital stay feel less sterile and I was so thankful.  Cool connection, huh?

Another friend shared how she volunteered with the Humane Society to help families become foster kitten parents. She loved cats and wanted to help them. 

One woman shared how her mom forced her to volunteer when she was in the 8th grade, and that she didn’t want to do it at all. But by volunteering, she found her vocation and passion. She chose this field as her profession, even getting a scholarship to her chosen college, aided through her volunteer connections. 

What I learned from listening to all the stories, is that by volunteering we are helping others, but we are also able to help ourselves.  We create communities of interests with other like minded friends while giving of our time. We share conversation and create friendships by working side by side towards a common goal. We find connections through service and we create communities, whether it be around our passion for animals, kids, movies, antiques, singing, helping in schools, coaching, helping with sporting events, health services, mentoring youth, or whatever brings you joy.

Do what you love. Love what you do.  It’s good for all of us!

Life is good.

 

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Teacher Appreciation Week

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This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at school.  I love that students and families are taking time to slow down and be thankful for our teachers and staff.

There is a schedule of appreciation at our school, should you choose to participate.

Monday – Shower with flowers or Healthy Snacks

Tuesday – Teacher/ Staff Luncheon – Donated food items

Wednesday – Parent Notes of Appreciation

Thursday – Classroom Supplies Donations

Friday – Student Notes or Gift of Appreciation

It’s fun to see everyone walking in with different treats. Charlie brought some type of chocolate covered Goji berries yesterday.

Today we prepared a green salad and served at the teacher luncheon. My favorite part was chatting with the other volunteers and sharing stories.

Our school has a great community of students, teachers, parents and staff. It’s a wonderful place to raise kids and to be part of such a loving community. I am thankful for all that everyone contributes to make our school and society a wonderful place to learn and grow up.

Love this life.

Namaste.

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Moms Helping Moms

For now, I am content still staying at home and being the primary care giver for our children and supporting our community.

Yesterday I took Juliana out of school mid morning for a doctor’s and orthodontist appointment. Today I took Christian out of school to get braces. Tomorrow I’ll be there to pick up Charlie right after lunch, after his early dismissal. Even though they don’t need me as much as they did when they were little, there are so many times that they still need assistance and support or food, and I enjoy being there for them when they need it.

This afternoon I was home, vacuuming out my car when I saw April and Kristin down the street with their hazard lights on. I walked over to see what the matter was, and April had rescued a dog that was wandering alone in the middle of the road. She asked me to take the dog, as she was helping another mom by caring for her kids this afternoon and had to rush off. I took the dog and Kristin drove home to find a leash. I then gave Kristin the dog and wrote to our neighborhood group about our find in hopes of finding the owner. Later in the day, someone knocked on my door looking for their dog. I called Kristin and she told me that another mom/neighbor was at her house watching her son and could let me in to get the lost dog to return to the owner. All of this happened within 90 minutes. Women helping women. I LOVE THIS!

Today I drove Charlie to his baseball game that began at 4:30 pm, and then rushed back across town to pick up Juliana from her tennis practice and made dinner before heading back to the ball field to enjoy watching Charlie play. I’m the team mom so also had to bring cold beverages for the boys. Jeff joined us after getting stuck in traffic on his late evening commute. I was thankful that he made it in time to at least see part of the game.

Most days I have a few hours to workout, manage the household and volunteer before picking up the kids from school. Today I was happy to help a friend by watching her baby while she worked from home for a few hours. This was one of the highlights of my day.
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I love babies and I love helping other women. If I were to pick my ideal job, it would be to work part time to support working moms and moms with new babies. I’d love to be able to take the edge off by being the fill in nanny when the nanny is sick, or to help do the grocery shopping or run errands to support the double parent working families and the moms who don’t feel like they get a break. I was there before and always wished that someone could come save me at least for just a couple hours each day so I could think or take a shower, uninterrupted. For now, I’ll just enjoy the volunteer opportunities and being home when my kids are home.

Life is good!

The Sad News

I read the news and sometimes wonder why I bother. Just today… A shooter with mental health problems. A HUGE earthquake in Chlie and tsunami warnings around the world. Major car recalls. Missing airplane (still). Politics. Money. War.

Maybe that’s why I like writing about happiness everyday.  The news is depressing and sensationalized. I’d rather sensationalize everyday life and the pursuit of happiness despite our vulnerabilities and imperfections.  I prefer sharing the good stories, even if they’re “boring.” Boring is good. It doesn’t have to be ALL dramatic. That’s exhausting.

Today was exhausting, but in a good sort of way.

I got to chaperone Juliana’s class field trip to the San Jose Tech Museum.  I enjoyed being with her, but being responsible for 8 other girls was quite a task. Little kids are such better listeners than older kids, because I think they have more fear. I had one group of 3 wander off, after being told to stay in one area. They thought they’d head upstairs to an entire different part of the museum and for some reason this seemed like a good idea to them. Another girl was ready to cross a street with other friends after wandering away from our group, before I found her and tapped her on the shoulder and lead her back to the flock. And just so I wouldn’t be bored, one other girl decided she would make the rest of the group wait while she was the only one who wanted refreshments before the movie. It was an interesting psychological experiment for me, and a small insight into the minds of selfish pre-teens.  I’m thankful for the one I get to raise and really appreciate her soul.

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It was early dismissal today from school and Charlie and I gathered up his roller blades, tennis rackets and a chair, and headed out to watch Juliana’s first tennis match.

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We got there way earlier than we needed to because the other school didn’t have early out today. We made the most of it by running over to Starbucks for a drink and then playing outside and enjoying the sunshine. It’s a shame that the city closed the baseball fields because the fields were supposedly too wet.  Charlie’s game was cancelled which I actually appreciated a tiny bit so that I could just be in one place instead of two. Isn’t it strange to think a field would be closed when the sky looked like this?  

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What a shame.

Nevertheless, I got to enjoy being in one moment watching and supporting Juliana and playing with Charlie while we waited for her turn to be up.

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She won her first match and I was so proud of her. It must have been nerve- wracking to be out on the court for her first official game and she owned it.

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Life is good. How was your day? What made you happy?  I am content having spent the entire day with my kids, even though I am exhausted and heading to bed early.  😉  I’m listening to all the sage advice reminding me to enjoy them as they’re only little for a little while and they’re almost big!!

Goodnight