from the bottom of my heart

peace to bethThe heart is where the beauty of the human spirit comes alive.  Without the heart, the human would be sinister.  To be able to feel is the great gift.  When you feel for someone, you become united with that person in an intimate way; your concern and compassion come alive, drawing some of the other person’s world and spirit into yours. Feeling is the secret bridge that penetrates solitude and isolation.  WIthout the ability to feel, FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE COULD NEVER BE BORN.  All feeling is born in the heart.  – JOHN O’DONOHUE

Today I got home to a package on my porch.  I thought “I have not ordered anything?”  “I wonder what it might be?”  I opened up this beautifully wrapped package and inside was this framed photograph of a far a way friend of mine.  A friend whom I have never met yet the connection is so real.  She had posted this image and I asked if I might buy this print from her.  I fell instantly in love with it.  It was her and it was peace.  She said she would send me a copy.  I expected it might be a print that would arrive in the mail and in a flat envelope that I would then frame.  She went above and beyond sending me a print.  She had it framed.  I’m overwhelmed with how someone I have never met would do something so nice for me.  Yesterday I was down about my own little skin issues and I wrote a frustrated poem about it.  Today I came home and I can’t stop smiling and it doesn’t mater that I still have sores on my legs, it doesn’t matter at all.  Today I have gratitude in my heart from a far away friend.  Thank you Beth for your kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity.  I will hang your art in my dining room with the rest of my favorite images.  It will look just right there.

I promise to count my BLESSINGS

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This week although I will honestly say I have felt a bit in the dark I can’t deny the blessing that still have revealed themselves to me and to be honest that can have me feeling almost worse because I have so many things to be thankful for.  I’m loved for and cared for and there is health, there is nourishment, there is warmth and above and beyond that there will be a note that hits my in-box that will be filled with love and encouragement, sister to sister lifting one another up, or a random text of hello, and here are some uplifting words I found just for you.   

Then there is the very, very unexpected blessing of getting jobs.  Yes, you heard that right, getting jobs.

I have an opportunity to work at my mom and dad’s business and because of that I get to work only half of the day.  This way I can get my children off to school and be home to pick them up at different shifts.  As I do sort of feel constantly on the go with picking and taking up children not just my own I’m so happy to be the one to do it.  That I can be there when they go to school and when they come home.

Back to more jobs! My dad needed a notary for the business we do so many years ago I studied to be a notary.  Back then that’s what you did, you studied on your own, you went to the police department and got old-fashioned finger prints and you took a test given by the state.  I passed, then next term things changed and they began to offer classes that I could take and then take the test so I would have an even better chance on passing it but with the class came an extra cost, but I was lucky because our company paid for it (thank you Dad)  I have taken the exam 5 time now and I will be beginning my new term soon.  My current commission expires early December, I will go get sworn in this week for my new term.  I have never done much with my notary except help friends for free and do all the stuff that needs to be done that pertains to work.

Recently I was talking with a friend of mine who is an attorney and I mentioned I was a notary because I had just received a text from a family member asking a notary question.  I read it out loud in front of her because they were asking for legal advice which notaries are not allowed to give.  We basically are just there to verify you understand what you are signing and that you are who you say you are.  That’s it.  She was thrilled to hear I was a notary.  She had no idea!  Well, I don’t so much go around talking about it but so the word was out.  She asked if she could use me from time to time.  Although it felt nerve-racking because although it sounds easy, there is a lot to know and since I don’t do a whole lot of notarizing I was nervous but I thought I need to take this opportunity.  Two weeks ago I did my first job for her and made some cash, then yesterday I had another job only this time it included travel fees plus the cost per signature and today she has given me two more jobs.

So my littlest and only girl has a mouth full of cavities:(  They are costly to fill.  Guess what, these four jobs she has given me will almost cover 2 whole fillings which will happen tomorrow.  All I can say is, God is so good.  Yes, I would rather spend the money on fun things, like a new camera lens, or new shoes even but God knows where it’s really needed and He has provided greatly and I’m very thankful.  That’s my story today.

slowly, every so slowly

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these sorts of things make me smile, that little curl there (last week)

When I’m struggling with my emotions and I get especially itchy and peeling and picky, I need to stop myself and just think.  Think about all the blessings that just so happen to be all around me.

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and this week, she has decided to add another loop!

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and if you take its picture and turn it upside down, it looks like a heart! no?  YES!

I’m not sure what May did to me but I fell hard and still struggling to stand back up. It doesn’t mean it’s over.  I can’t just toss in the towel but I’m taking it very slow getting back up on that wagon.

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when I water my plants, I see new growth, this is always HOPE!

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2 sweet girls give us a real, live fashion show!  This is what good things are made of.

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I see two LOVE doves in my garden.  Of course I smiled.  Big.

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The rose I picked to wear in my hair for a friend.  perfectly pretty, perfectly perfumed

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The beautiful lines I get to gaze at when the sun goes down.  It’s our view, not to be taken for granted, much like the oceans crashing, swishing cars that speed by.

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And what about the impromptu beach trip on a Sunday evening.  That we live so close and we can drive out late just to get its medicine to still be back before dark.  Blessing for sure and never to be taken for granted

Today for instance, I woke up nice and grouchy, while motorcycle man (early bird) was singing and dancing and making jokes, trying his best to get me to giggle while I was just foggy and groggy and nice and grumpy.  Remember I’m the night owl? It doesn’t pay when one has to actually get up and go to work the next day.   Okay so all that to say, I had just got my home delivery and inside that box, a nice bundle of kale, I had two perfectly yummy cucumbers from my neighbor to the North and I knew I had an apple and orange.  Why not juice?  I hadn’t done it in a while and I have been slow to get back on the healthy train so why not?  Oh my goodness, it tasted so good!  I can say at the very least I did one good thing for my body today, while I also had a small slice of chocolate cake.  It’s about balance right?  Tomorrow I’m putting back on my fit bit, it’s been off a few days while on others days I have not walked with any kind of intention and the only steps accumulating on that thing were my daily whatever steps which seem to average less than 5,000 which tells me if I don’t actually walk with intention, then I’m similar to a bump on a log.

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Oh yes and that green juice.  We can’t forget that.

It’s a small world

I have this book called 99 things to do when you have time.  Number  5 was to look up lyrics to a song you half remembered.  I know it’s sort of crazy out of all the really, really great music out there that I would pick “It’s a small world”  I just remember a few years back when the kids were small and we could afford season passes to Disneyland back then the prices were kind of reasonable.  Any way, I have such great memories of Disneyland with the kids.  Abbie claims to barely remember the times we spent at Disneyland, she is the youngest  so technically she didn’t get as much time in as the boys. The point of my story is, I never got tired of the ride “It’s a small world”  I love how happy it is, the feeling of the boat crashing up against the sides and the splashy water sound and the COLOR, all the awesome color, and the big melting pot of all different ethnic groups from around the globe, smiling, holding hands and being united.  I looked up the simple lyrics today and as simple as they are.  I believe them with my whole heart.  It’s just wholesome stuff.

small worldThis was my last trip in “It’s a Small World” Feb. 2010

This simple song brought back a flood of memories from the time Tim our cousin treated all of us to a day at Disneyland, but not just Disneyland but the exclusive Club 33.  I had never been to Club 33 before or since in all my days living in California.  I decided to share a few images from that day.  I think this is one of our last trips to Disneyland that I can remember.  Our kids nearly grew up there, or at least the boys.  When we had passes we would go on Friday’s after work or even some days during the week.  Abbie again being the littlest and only girl didn’t get as many years there before the prices went way up.  I remember on this day it was raining, which didn’t bother me for one second, I had a rain jacket, rain boots and rain hat and I LOVE the RAIN. This also meant the crowds were less the lines were shorter and that made for a very awesome day.  I still have such gratitude for Tim and Patrick treating our families to such a wonderful and memorable experience.  It seems like just yesterday.

tim and kidsTim is so good with the kids.   Here he is with the two littles.

tim and abbieAbbie got rides from not only Tim but….

matt abbieother cousin Matt too

rainy daySee what I mean about rain.  I promise this is few people compared to summer time rush

all of usOur family with the generous givers

club 33A peek at club 33, Abbie even had me take pictures in the bathroom, I’ll spare you that

fairylandthe girls in fairyland oh, and one boy too!

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It’s a world of laughter and a world of tears

It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears

There’s so much that we share

It’s a small world after all

There is just one moon

And one golden sun

And a smile means friendship to everyone

Though the mountains divide

And the oceans are wide

It’s a small world after all

A small, small world

day five

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I’m thankful for my favorite skirt.  Maybe about half the time and sometimes more than once a week, I wear this skirt.  I picked it up at Target, this past summer. It cost 19.99 and I believe that 20 bucks was well spent!  As you can see by the few pictures I share below.  I love this skirt, maybe even too much.  Nope, not possible!  I love it just perfect! Yep….PERFECT!  And now I have a new colorful, amazing sweater don’t be surprised if you see images of this sweater in my day-to-day life.  I’m like that.  I get something I really love and I wear it and I wear it and I wear it, almost like it’s the only thing that exists. I don’t really care what anyone thinks of my excessive wearing of favorite things because it makes me smile and that’s all that really matters to me. Plus it’s really very comfortable and very versatile as you can see below.  I can wear a variety of shoes and with it, tops too.  I suppose versatile in my world because matching isn’t exactly top priority for me.  If I like it I wear it and it doesn’t even matter if it matches…. just ask my mom about my matching abilities, it goes way back.  Is anyone else like that?

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Super mom or super tired?

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I’m a mom.  I think it’s the biggest most important job I have.  I love my motorcycle man because he helps to remind me of really important things.  You see last night as he cut the raw chicken into strips for fajitas, I chopped the onions and peppers.  I mentioned to him that I skipped tanning.  That sounds strange I’m sure tanning, the red haired freckled Pippi Longstocking look alike tans??  Let me just explain a little about the tanning.  My tanning salon has something called red light treatment; it helps people with a number of conditions, eczema being one of them. So I try my darndest to fit in a session every single day if possible.  It’s not as easy as it sounds.

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So he asks me “why?”  (me) “well my sister she left her ipad here and so I had to come straight home and make sure the house was unlocked so she could get in, then while I was here I decided to do the dishes, and clear off the table, and strip our sheets, water the garden and did a quick blog entry.  Before I knew it, it was time to get Dylan  (Let me tell you. I can get stuff done FAST when I put my mind to it, I think it’s a MOM SUPER POWER)  So…then I picked up Dylan, then I picked up Abbie, then I went to the grocery store to get the stuff for our fajita’s and when I got back, I vacuumed and I snuck in an episode of Mad Men and then…well before I knew it, it was time to make dinner……so I didn’t tan today.”   Rich replies, “The tanning place is right next to Fresh and Easy, why didn’t you just take Abbie and go while you were there in the same parking lot?”  (me) “well Abbie hates sitting in the waiting room waiting for me, so I didn’t want to torture her again”  He so quickly could tell me what was going on here.  “You put your sister and your daughter’s needs before your own, like you always do.  Everyone else is always so much more important than you.  It wouldn’t have killed Abbie to sit there for 20 minutes; you could have just opened the slider for your sister and been back on your way.”  He makes it all so black and white and it all makes such perfect sense when he explains it.  I really took a pause for a moment.  This goes hand in hand with the class I’m taking.  I’m (learning) how to change this about me.  It’s not easy, it feels so natural to me to put everyone’s needs in front of my own, isn’t that what we are supposed to do?  This is not easy, this is really hard but I have to change my way of thinking. I’m not aiming to become a SELFISH crazy woman but you know….balance.

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This year my word was LOVE.  It’s a powerful packed word that can change the world.  The biggest, strongest word I know but next year I think my word should be CHANGE.  It will take action and courage but that’s what we are here for….. growth.  If we don’t change how can we grow? Reminds me of a really great song by JJ Heller.  And strangest thing….change is our word this week in Now You Workshop.

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How many of you have been in this similar dilemma? oh and remember to vote.  I’m keeping voting open for one week.  Just look for the post that is titled VOTE!

Woman Aware and Choosing

Our assignment was to write our facilitator a letter to introduce ourselves as an adult-daughter, a mother and a wife but at the same time I thought those were titles of what I do (sort of) so this is what I wrote;

As you, Sandi read through some of your notes and shared some of your own story, I thought….this is going to be very, very difficult.  I may even cry sometimes and this will stretch me and this will help me to grow.  After all, I can only be the best version of me.  Someone actually said that too this first night.  Yep, best version of me.  Shy, reserved yet having a big heart and finding the gift of encouragement very easy.  I’m a great friend who encourages my friends to follow their dreams, to love and accept themselves, to not be afraid.  Yet I myself do not follow my dreams because I’m too afraid and I don’t really accept myself fully. The strongest things I heard on the first night are the K in our THINK acrostic  as in “Know this, God LOVES YOU, just as you are” It also made a whole lot of sense the part about how “we teach people how to treat us.” I get that.

honor love respectI don’t have the gift of talk but I do have the gift of words.  I’m a good adult daughter and I do all the right things, even when I don’t want to.  I’m a good wife and I do all the right things even when I don’t want to and in both these relationships I withhold information or as you like to use the stronger word lie.

I’m a great mom, I’m fun, I’m adventurous, I’m honest, I’m loving, I encourage them to follow their dreams, I dance with them, I sing with them, I draw with them and I feel like I can be myself 100% completely with these children who love me no matter what.  I often think if I could be like this in ALL my relationships I would be so much better off. 6940422035_18d70b66f8_bI wouldn’t harbor anger and resentment I wouldn’t feel hurt, I wouldn’t pick my skin because it’s the only relief I find now a days.  I keep it all bottled up inside and I just do what’s right and I’m always pleasing and always accommodating and I like to play the entire court. I’m always a good listener too and if I trust you, I tell you my story.  I need to be here.  I just do.

Love your new friend and student

Tracie West

the real truth

I posted this image here at one point but also in a private workshop class and one woman said, notice in the reflection, your legs are smooth. I like the idea of that because I do know this is temporary and there will be an end to it.

And this is just a guess but I’m guessing some of us women feel a whole like I do.  Always doing the right thing even when our hearts are not in it. Never really complaining, never expressing our true feelings on a matter for either A) not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings or B) feeling rejected.  So we just say what we think they want to hear and do what they want us to do and go about our days.  I’m not saying all women, I’m saying some.

Trust Issues and Control Issues Equal Anxiety

I can remember very clearly when I was a teenager, having a blue beach cruiser with no gears of course and living on hills on either side of me. (No wonder I could eat whatever I wanted)  So back in the day we liked to ride our friends on our handlebars.  I always had to be the one who rode the bike because I didn’t trust anyone to ride me around.  I needed that control or else I would be full of anxiety.  Even now today I’m a bundle of nerves in a car…unless I’m driving.  Sounds so strange that I, miss easy-going, roll with the punches type girl would have these issues, however I do.   I have them so much so that it can consume me.  I’m not any different from many women out there who wake at 2:00 a.m. with their minds twirling and spinning and clicking forward and backward in time. I believe it’s a common trait in many busy women who like to be in control of their world.

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My beach cruiser now a days is orange and black and my passenger is Pablo

When I sat in church on Sunday the sermon wasn’t on control so much but rather living out our faith as opposed to just reciting our faith or believing our faith.  To live our faith as the greatest man of all time did.  Christ lived what he taught and what he believed.  He is our best example of how to fully trust, how to release that control to something bigger.  How about the creator of all the universe.  Who could be bigger than that?  If my one and only God knew me before I was ever born, if he created all the stars in the sky, all the sand of the earth’s beaches and oceans, place rainbows of promise in the sky and be the greatest artist of all time.  If I can’t trust Him, who can I trust?  He made me human.  He gave me a mind to question, he gave me a mind to be defiant because He also loves me that much to give me the free will to choose or not to choose.  I find myself often frustrated because in my world I want to be the one in control, I want to ride the bike with my friend on the handlebars.  Until I realize I’m not in control I will experience issues of trust and feel this dark heavy fog of anxiety.  I always say something like this “It’s that simple and it’s that difficult” because for me that’s how it is.  I know logically what I’m supposed to do but I often just don’t do it.  I’m working on trust, I’m working on releasing my control.  I think it will be a long journey but awareness is the first step and my God, he is a patient God.  I wish to live my beliefs but first I need to release my lack of trust and my control.  I’m just going to start today by putting one step in front of the other, knowing I will take a few steps back now and then but I’ll get there eventually, I will.

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Scripture reference.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Luke 12:25 

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his  span of life?

Strange, life is amazingly strange

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I’m guessing if one is a blogger and one has children that one might just blog about their child on their birthday.  I have three children.  I have two spring babies and just one fall baby and technically I know he is really a summer baby but in my mind the moment it turns September, it’s fall.  Right here in Southern California September is up there as one of our hotter months of the year, but let me think what I will think, to me the entire month is fall.  He is my fall baby.  I have three, I have two A’s and one D.  He is the one D.    I have three, two righties and one lefty.  He is my lefty.  I have three, two free spirits and one of great discipline.  He, this D, this lefty, this fall baby….he is my one of great discipline.  I joke lots saying “I want to be like Dylan when I grow up.”  It’s hard not to say because he has all the qualities I do not.  I have never had to make him do his homework.  He just does.  He does what he knows he needs to do, he does what he knows is required.  When he was little he shared a room with his big brother.  He was the one who desperately wanted his own space.  Why?  To keep it clean.  A few weeks ago he asked if I might get him some cleaning stuff for his face.  I did.  He tells me yesterday, “I have not missed a day mom, I wash my face twice a day since you got me the stuff” Me, I often forget to take off my make up at night.  Are you getting the picture?  But this doesn’t mean he is not fun.  He is full of fun.  He pranks me nearly every day.  He video tapes me without me knowing and performs silly off the wall crazy stunts while he is secretly videotaping me to see what reaction I will give.  He LOVES a reaction. I would say our most common ground is that we are both dreadfully shy yet completely insane with our behind closed-door behaviors.  And the other really, really big thing we share in common.  We share the same faith.  This common ground creates a bond that cannot be broken.  These two very big things help us to get each other even though we are nearly nothing alike.

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 He began high school yesterday.  The class he is the most excited about?  Finance.  He can’t wait to get into the meat of that class.  In fact he already let me know as soon as he gets a job he will save 10% of his earning in a savings each week.  He said if he really manages his money just right he can be a millionaire.  And if anyone can, it will be him.  I believe it’s no mistake he was named after his uncle another well-disciplined, fun-loving, lefty, man of faith who also just happens to know a lot about finances.

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 He shows me how to do hard things.  I learn from this kid.  I learn from him.  He is a gift to me.  It has been an honor to be his mother.  A complete honor.  Happy Birthday D-man.

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Oh yeah and he is athletic. and these days you might find him doing hand stands simply because he can.

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 or yoga type poses without even realizing it

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The birthday part of today is good.  He had his birthday breakfast.  We are going to his favorite Chinese restaurant tonight and he got that robe he has been wanting (shhhhh, he hasn’t opened his gifts yet)  But on a far stranger and sad note.  Austin was in his first car accident today.  This is how the phone call was received.  “Mom?”  “Yes Austin”  “It happened”  “You were in a car accident?”  “Yep”  And that was that.  He is okay, his two friends who were in the car with him are okay and this is good considering he was sitting at a stand still and was hit by a woman going at least 45 miles per hour.  He was ready to make a left hand turn, had a panic situation when he realize he started to turn left on a green rather than wait for all the cars to clear, the bug stalled and he basically just braced himself for the hit.  He has been a wreck himself the rest of  today and is the type of kid who is very hard on himself.  I mean Rich and I knew this would happen, it just happens right?  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  I totalled out my first car when I was about his age.  I knew when I took pictures of the pretty new/old bug there would someday be a different story.  His world has been rocked, the car shouldn’t be driven at this point.  Rich got the bug home but at 30 miles per hour and with lots of crazy noises.  The kid is wondering how he will get to work now, how he will see his girlfriend, he is devastated that he has “cost” us even more money you know all those normal thoughts.  I hate when things like this happen to people I love. I told him it’s okay, everyone is alive, a lesson will be learned and it will give you problem solving skills, what to do next?  Stay tuned.  Life, it’s still very, very good.  Just one of those things.  unfortunately since it happened on Dylan’s birthday we will not be able to forget the date of his first accident.  And you see we are a family of celebrations.  So we do not celebrate the fact that he crashed his first car, but we celebrate in the fact that he had the wits about him to jump out immediately to see if the person who hit him was alright, that he knew exactly where his insurance card was and that he in his own hand writing got her name, address, phone number, license plate, make model, and drivers license number which happened to be expired and out-of-state but still it was his fault for being the one in turning left.  He even sounded calm on our phone call.  He kept it together when it mattered the most.  The woman even complimented us on our son, She told Rich “you have a good boy here”  So this is what we celebrate.  The lesson learned.

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In the glory days

photo (2)Her she sits today.  even the passenger door got buckled from the impact but I have to say these awesome German-made cars are like mini tanks, could have been far worse and his buddy Kris the one who was sitting up front there, could have had it much worse.