friends

an un-examined life is not worth living...4 days into our 31 day journey

When we examine our lives, one of the best places to start is at the lessons we learned through the people who have helped us and the people we may have helped as well.  When we help others, we show a part of our character that reflects the blessings we have been given. With that being said here are the questions we will explore today.

who did i really help this year?

this might be one of the more difficult questions to ask yourself because sometimes it is hard to know who we may have helped. If it helps, try to think about who you hope that you helped this year. Who did you want to help? How did you want to help?

For me, I don't know that I helped any one specific questions but my hope is that by sharing my experiences this year of stepping outside my comfort zone and taking a chance that others were able to get something out of it that encouraged them to do the same. 

Being able to share my story and hear the stories of other is a blessing and I can only hope that others learn from it how to go towards their passion and fight for their worth in the world. ON A SIDE NOTE: I can also only hope that I learn how to know when a camera is pointed at me and avoid such strange and funny faces. WOW

Being able to share my story and hear the stories of other is a blessing and I can only hope that others learn from it how to go towards their passion and fight for their worth in the world. ON A SIDE NOTE: I can also only hope that I learn how to know when a camera is pointed at me and avoid such strange and funny faces. WOW

who helped you this year?

This one should be easier because we don't live in a bubble and it takes a village no matter how strong a person you are. Why don't we tell our peeps how awesome they are more often? That is what this is all about.

  • So who helped you this year?

  • How did they help you?

  • Do they know they helped you?

write it all down but don't forget to share it with them. It will make their day and it will undoubtedly make you feel pretty amazing too. 

The people I learned from this year are too many to list and I will be making sure they all know who they are and why but here is a short "online shout out" list to get me started

these two have been taking care of me all year and OH man, who knew a grown ass woman would need her Mommy so much?

these two have been taking care of me all year and OH man, who knew a grown ass woman would need her Mommy so much?

My parents

the power of family and support. It is our circle that gets us through our most challenging situations and man do I have a good circle that starts with them. From filling my ice machines to taking me in and making sure I fill my candy cravings, these two made the last few months bearable.

if this isn't a reflection of love, I don't know what is

if this isn't a reflection of love, I don't know what is

My brother and his wife

taught me the power of love and how it can change a person's life and all of the amazing-ness that is waiting when you open yourself up to that

My doctor's

(all of them) who taught me patience. I'm not sure I like it all the time but I am seeing the value

My friends

who are way too many to list here but I learned a few things this year from them that got me through like:

  • humility and the power of "I'm Sorry"

  • what support looks like

  • the importance of a good slumber party with food, wine and movies.

  • bravery

who are those friends, btw? Well in an effort to not forget any of them, I have chosen to thank them on my own. But they WILL Know who they are.


What lessons did you learn from those that helped you and even from the people you helped?

Through some personal experiences I learned the hard lesson that "intention" is not always enough, not always seen and not always the part that speaks loudest. It is important that our actions align with our intentions because words are only words without the action behind them. 

Through some personal experiences I learned the hard lesson that "intention" is not always enough, not always seen and not always the part that speaks loudest. It is important that our actions align with our intentions because words are only words without the action behind them. 

We are brought experiences, people and things in our lives for a reason. If we don't pay attention to the lessons that are in those moments, we are missing the whole point and can't plan for the future. So take some time on this one. Not to sound like a broken record, but don't forget to share the lessons you learned with those around you.

Just get on, hang on and enjoy the ride

Just get on, hang on and enjoy the ride

Share the love. we learn the most from those around us. Till next week.

new knee...new me

Talk about putting it all out there. Here I am moments after waking up and apparently still feeling the effects of the anesthesia and  nerve blocker

Talk about putting it all out there. Here I am moments after waking up and apparently still feeling the effects of the anesthesia and  nerve blocker

It has been a few weeks since I have posted and for that I would like to extend my sincerest apologies. In an attempt to wow an audience of on-lookers with some sick  90's hip-hop dance moves, I tore my ACL. (I blame Bell Biv Devoe and Kid 'n Play). True to form, I was stubborn and delayed surgery but delay is all it was so for the last few weeks I have been recovering from said surgery. I am now on the mend and back to work. 

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I don't know what kind of sick and infirmed person you are, but I am not a good one. The first couple of days I am as lazy as they come It is all soap operas, saltine crackers and soda water for me. But somewhere around day 2 1/2 or 3 I start to get the itch. You know the itch, that feeling like if you do not get up and do something, anything you might lose your mind. When you are suffering from a cold, this isn't necessarily a problem. You can take that trip to the grocery store to re-stock and while it isn't much, it is just enough to wear you out so that you can get back in bed for another day or so to rest without losing it. 

Just arrived home the day of surgery, no shorts to be found so opted for a mumu instead - don't judge me. 

Just arrived home the day of surgery, no shorts to be found so opted for a mumu instead - don't judge me. 

After surgery, however, I found was very different. I have had surgeries before, so I think I got cocky. I honestly thought that I would be up and about in 2-3 days. 

boy was i wrong...

I was so frustrated and then in came my friends and family. They swarmed all around me to make sure I was taken care of. In most cases, someone might write how lucky they are for something like this, but luck has nothing to do with it. I am blessed, and for that I am grateful.

consider this

My sister sent me the bell and I'm pretty sure my Mom and Step-Dad were thrilled that I had a way to let them know when I needed their help. 

My sister sent me the bell and I'm pretty sure my Mom and Step-Dad were thrilled that I had a way to let them know when I needed their help. 

My Mother took time off work to take care of me, cook for me, load my ice machine, help me with my bandages and in general just watch over me and my step-dad who got me flexie straws, candy bars and burgers when I told him what I was craving.

My brother, who brought over my little nephew on day one. He was teething and needed some help, I was fresh out of the surgery and on pain pills and together we slept our way to feeling better. I am convinced he is my own personal feel good medicine. Best nap buddy ever. Don't believe me? Look how knocked out and at peace we look. Maybe the medical community should look into babies and their healing properties for others. I am pretty sure I am on to something here.

He is by far my favorite napping buddy every. Love me some Otis...

He is by far my favorite napping buddy every. Love me some Otis...

My friends and other family members who called, texted, emailed, stopped by, drove down from another state to spend some time on the couch with me and a few Broadway musicals,  etc. to let me know they were thinking of me.

Gifts from my sisters and chocolates from my friend, great ways to keep me occupied while home healing

Gifts from my sisters and chocolates from my friend, great ways to keep me occupied while home healing

My sisters, who apparently had the same idea and sent/delivered me goodies to keep me occupied once the pain meds wore off and I couldn't sleep. 

All of this was amazing and overwhelming in the most fantastic way. 

They say you can judge a person by the people they surround themselves with and well...if that is the case I am pretty awesome because the people surrounding me are beyond compare.

Thanks to all of my friends and family for their help during my healing process and to your my readers for your patience while I was getting better. I am on the mend and slowly getting back to my fighting spirit. As my friend, Miko put it...

new knee...new me!

Because regular band-aids are boring #snoopy

Because regular band-aids are boring #snoopy

I promise to leave the Kid n' Play kick-step to the professionals and return to regularly scheduled programming moving forward so we can all live our lives in an exclamation point with both knees in full working order. 

 

Till Wednesday, back in action. Have a great week in the mean time.


WAIT, don't leave, I have one more thank you.....

How could I forget to thank CRYO-CUFF (ie. AirCast) and Dr. Jasion Kurian and his staff at the Orthopedic & Fracture Clinic? They were awesome and basically gonna make this "new knee, new me" a reality

How could I forget to thank CRYO-CUFF (ie. AirCast) and Dr. Jasion Kurian and his staff at the Orthopedic & Fracture Clinic? They were awesome and basically gonna make this "new knee, new me" a reality

when forced to choose, always choose mexican pizza & other sisterly advice

I am a big sister to 5 younger siblings. There is 15 years that separate me, as the oldest from the youngest. We are a very tight knit group and of course as any birth order research will tell you, I am the caretaker of the group. This means I am often sought out for some advice.

I recently came a cross a letter I had written for my sister as she moved across the country to start a new adventure. As I read the letter, it dawned on me that some of the advice I provided would be good to share with some others, so I borrowed some of it and am sharing it with you.  

it may not look like much here, but when you have only ever had the option to split regular tacos with your siblings and then one day the baby of the family orders a mexican pizza as if that is okay, trust me you want a mexican pizza.

it may not look like much here, but when you have only ever had the option to split regular tacos with your siblings and then one day the baby of the family orders a mexican pizza as if that is okay, trust me you want a mexican pizza.

When forced to make a choice; always choose Mexican pizza.

The taco vs. Mexican pizza dilemma has plagued many for years (at least in my family household it has.) When you choose Mexican pizza, you are saying “hey world, I do not accept your pre-set standards and rules, I make my own” and I deserve something different, something better, something more expensive than $.79.

sometimes the load is too heavy for one person,  ask for help then pay them back with a beer or some kool-aid

sometimes the load is too heavy for one person,  ask for help then pay them back with a beer or some kool-aid

Never be afraid to ask for help

We get it, you are an independent woman/man and you want to prove yourself by doing everything on your own but the biggest lesson to learn is that it is impossible to have it all and do it all without asking for a little help along the way.  It is ok to be lonely, to be weak, to need a comforting word, a cup of sugar or help carrying your groceries.  Everything is cyclical so just imagine all the goodwill that you are putting out in the world simply by giving someone else the chance to be of service to you.

Close your legs not your heart

I am not trying to call you a person of questionable morals.  Sometimes as we grow up and sh*t gets real, because you are embarking on an adult life friends can change, responsibilities grow and all of that can leave you feeling lonesome. Many people better than us have tried to cure loneliness with a closed heart and open legs. I am simply implying that by opening your heart to new people and experiences you may cure the lonesome blues faster (plus it makes opening your legs a lot more fun, sorry Dad).  

ok, so maybe this picture is cheating a bit but I said take the pictures, I didn't say you had to post them on the internet

ok, so maybe this picture is cheating a bit but I said take the pictures, I didn't say you had to post them on the internet

Take lots of pictures in your bathing suit

 Seriously, do you know how amazing your body looks in your twenties and thirties?  Trust me, even when you feel fat and gross, you look amazing so pose for the pics as much as you can, you will thank me later.

 

 

Not everyone is going to tell you when you have toilet paper on your shoe. Luckily, some people will.

Not everyone is going to tell you when you have toilet paper on your shoe. Luckily, some people will.

Not everyone is your friend

You are the best friend a person could ever ask for but sometimes you are everyone’s best friend and nobody is doing the same for you in return.  One of the best lessons you can prepare yourself for in life, is knowing that some people are just associates.  Friends, as it happens are actually quite rare.  Knowing that some people are in your life to lead you to something, somewhere or someone else and knowing how to identify them along the way will lead you to better friendships that are real and lifelong.

This means knowing what friendship means for you.  Not what you think you should do, but what do you really want from someone you call friend.  Learn it now and seek it out.

This doesn’t mean all of those other people can’t be in your life, it just means the expectations are different and you should know the difference. And, maybe look down at your shoes for toilet paper when leaving a public restroom.

I decided to make this a series this week. So check back on Wednesday for 5 more pieces of vital life advice from my siblings big sister to you. (that's me by the way) so I guess I'll see you Wednesday.

 

law & order svu, pinot noir, trees and asking favors from good peeps

What I have learned.

Red Rose Winery - Amity Oregon August 2015

Red Rose Winery - Amity Oregon August 2015

I have been back in my hometown for a little over 5 months now. It seems impossible that so much time has passed. This time has been so different from the typical adult life I was used to. Working from home, not having to go to an office every day and actually spending some time here as if I were a tourist. It's been pretty cool and I have learned a lot. Instead of the usual rigmarole of my posts I thought I would share with all of you what I have learned in the last 5 months of pseudo unemployment/building my own business.


vacation in your hometown.

Lincoln City, Oregon May 2015

Lincoln City, Oregon May 2015

Treating your home like you are on vacation is pretty cool. Sometimes we get so caught up in the everyday that we wait till we have out of town visitors to explore all the cool things around us. I live in Portland and that means that there are a ton of cool things to do. I have probably experienced more Oregon Pinot in the last 5 months than in the entire time I have lived here and most of them are literally minutes away from my doorstep. How did I waste all these years. I have a new found appreciation for the Oregon Coast with its rugged coast line and cool breezes. (Big Ups to the Coho Lodge) . There is definitely something to finding out what all the buzz is about in your own back yard.


Trees are beautiful.

Forest Park, Portland Oregon April 2015

Forest Park, Portland Oregon April 2015

Not just any kind of beautiful. I'm talking about a mind altering kind of beautiful. Why more people don't stop and look up at trees is beyond me. Lucky me, I live in the land of trees. Look up. I mean really look up, trust me it's pretty cool.


Law and Order SVU is the tv equivalent to crack.

This is both awesome and horrible at the same time, especially when working from home. How they can make all of those episodes so fascinating is crazy. What I learned though is this...If you have anything to do DO NOT turn on TNT in the afternoon. Trust me, I am helping you manage your time here.


Get up and move. 

I am horrible at following this and hence have maybe or maybe not picked up a bit of weight since coming home. I promise, I'm working on it. I am setting reminders to get up from the computer and "take a lap" if you will. Work from a coffee shop, a book store or even a local winery. (what? I'm exploring options, don't judge). As I type this and look at my stepper I realize I better practice what I preach.


People are amazing.

This might sound weird for me to say that I have learned this recently but people are really amazing. They show up when you least expect them and they show up in such wonderful ways. Strangers and friends alike show you their colors all of the time and I think we sometimes ignore that. What I have really learned is that it is okay to ask them to be amazing. I have spent much of my adult life unwilling to ask people for what I need because I never wanted to put anyone out. Now, I see it differently. So many people far and wide have reached out to me as I tackle this adventure. I'm not embarrassed to admit than many of these small acts of kindness have reduced me to a puddle of tears. Good tears, mind you but tears all the same. You never know how many people out there really do think and care for you because all we see day in and day out is news and stories of awful things done by people. It really is a shame. 

To everyone who has reached out to me, or said a kind word, liked a post, pulled up this website in any way, followed me on social media, called, sent letters, emailed me etc. The only thing I can say is thank you. You have made it possible for me to vacation at home looking up at amazing trees and closer to amazing people. 


Learning is great! Thanks for helping me do it.  What have you learned so far this year? Tell me below...

 

 

P.S. One other thing I have learned. I am needy. I love to hear from people who read the blog or check out the site. Seriously, I'm not afraid to say it out loud. That means I wait all day to see how many people check it out and if anyone left a comment, or liked me on social media. I never knew what a pull this type of feeling had one me until I started this site. So....since I am not longer afraid to ask for things from my peeps I have an ask.  Like, Comment, share with your friends, co-workers, even the people in line with you at the grocery store, follow me on social media, hire me. Heck, do it all, I have no shame!

champions, advocates and hype-men (women)

One of my first concerts in life was a 90's dream. It was a mix of hip-hop and r&b that featured then rising stars like The Luniz, Mary J. Blige, Jodeci and Notorious BIG, if I remember correctly. Hip Hop wasn't new on the scene but it still had not reached the mainstream of pop culture the way it is today. While I listened regularly from its inception, having a visual representation to go with it besides MTV Raps and BET was new to me.

I remember when the Luniz came on the stage there was so many people with them. A few jumped off the stage and into the audience They had microphones but they were not any of the rappers from the Luniz. They weren't rapping either. It seemed like they were just yelling out random words and flinging their shirts in the air. I was so confused. Who were these extra guys? It was in that single moment I learned what the Hype Man was. 

So why am I telling you about the concerts of my youth? Because I believe we should all have our very own "hype man (woman)". Someone that lifts us up, gets us excited to "be on" and someone who keeps our momentum and energy up when it might otherwise slide. 

I am so lucky, I have a lot of good people in my corner but since it is "Woman Crush Wednesday" I thought I would tell you about one of my biggest "hype ladies". The one who keeps the music going for me. By no means is she the ONLY "hype lady I got, but I know you have other things to do besides learning all about my fabulous peeps. 

When you have more than one friend, most of the time you each play a role in each other's lives. Maybe one of you is the comedienne, one is the voice of reason, one forces you to step outside of your box and get a little crazy. This is kind of the process that adult friendships take. So, while all of my friends are awesome, my girl Krystle is most certainly my "hype woman". 

From the first time I was able to get her to "call in sick to work" (shh, don't tell anyone), I knew we were meant to be. For most of our friendship we have lived in different states but it never got in the way of our bond. She has seen me through bouts of unemployment, depression, boys and other life changing events. I have never had to worry about what I say or what I do with Krystle.

No matter what I do, she sends me emoji filled text messages telling me how amazing I am. She sends me personalized gifts to lift me up and keep me going. 

Aside from my sister's she is the only person who is down for anything and when I say anything, I mean it. Anyone who knows me or follows me on social media will know that I am all about trying new things, acting silly, costumes, wigs and photo shoots, just to name a  few of the shenanigans I have pulled her into. 

Not only does she float along with my whims but she uses those whims to lift me up. I don't know how she does it really, but she has actually made me realize that corn dogs are a part of my shtick in the world and others jumped on board. This girl is really good.

I have no idea what I have ever done to deserve this "hype lady" but in my time of transition I am so glad to have her. 

Do you have someone who you can rely on to "bless your quest", who are encourages your dream, cheers on your purpose and who champions your quest to find that primal source of joy that we all deserve.

 

P.S. I want to clarify that I am NOT endorsing this Where Dreams Meet Reality group that sponsored these videos. I am not familiar with them in anyway and tried to research them but found no site available. So ignore the parts that speak to that and really listen to the message Kevin is providing. That is what I am speaking to.

happiness project

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It's hard work to be happy. It is something we each have to seek for ourselves and ultimately happiness means something different for each of us. This is probably why it seems so hard to define. I think that it can also be said that people are confused by what it means to be happy. Does it have to involve laughing and smiling? Can it simply be a feeling of contentment? Do we always know happiness when it is happening?

In the book "Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, there is an exploration of happiness, that while personal for the author gave me some insight into facets of happiness I had never considered. Energy, for example and how it relates to happiness. The author starts here first. She researched energy and its relationship to happiness through the ages and puts a number of theories to the test. Does getting more sleep make you happier? Can you get happy simply by acting happy? This first chapter had me hooked. 

I came across this book a couple years back while "window shopping" with a friend. We had just finished brunch complete with champagne that centered on our search for happiness when we stumbled upon this book in a store. As with most situations with this friend, it seemed the ultimate definition of kismet.

One of my favorite passages from the book is this:

One conclusion was blatantly clear from my happiness research; everyone from contemporary scientists to ancient philosophers agrees that having strong social bonds is probably the MOST meaningful contributor to happiness. The positive-psychology superstars Ed Diener and Martin Seligman cite studies demonstrating that ‘of 24 character strengths, those that best predict life satisfaction are the interpersonal ones.’ Epicurus agreed albeit in slightly more poetic phraseology: ‘Of all the things that wisdom provides for living one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.’
— Gretchen Rubin - The Happiness Project

In fact, studies agree with this.  Some have shown that having 5 or more friends you can go to when discussing matters of significance were far more likely to describe themselves as "very happy" people. These studies even imply that everything we do is enhanced by having people join us for the process, even the ones we dread doing. (apparently misery loves company because it makes the misery...well...less miserable.) By the way this passage and section is discussed in Chapter 6 of the book; "Make Time For Friends."

So, why am I telling you all of this. it is simple really, number one, happiness comes in and from unexpected places, it is good to keep your mind open to the possibilties of where you might find it and to pay attention when it comes along. I like to tell people to make sure they are listening to the whispers of happiness and contentment for they are typically much more enjoyable than screams of happiness. They live in every day life and friendships but are easily missed and often have the greatest impact on our life and memories. 

The second is that FRIENDSHIPS MATTER! CONNECTIONS MATTER! Cultivating these friendships and connections is what matters most. How are you doing this? How are you taking the time to focus on these friendships and connections? If making time for others you help build your own happiness then I guess Phoebe Buffay was right, there is no selfless good deed. You know what thought? I am okay with that. I meant why can't we all win right?

Full disclosure, I do not own this image and found it on Google from this website   charitywinehouse.co.uk

Full disclosure, I do not own this image and found it on Google from this website charitywinehouse.co.uk

I had to put the rest of the conversation here, it is just too funny...

Rachel: Maybe Joey’s right. Maybe all good deeds are selfish.

Phoebe: I will find a selfless good deed. ‘Cause I just gave birth to three children and I will not let them be raised in a world where Joey is right.

Phoebe: [on phone] I have found a selfless good deed. I went to the park and let a bee sting me.

Joey Tribbiani: How is that a selfless good deed?

Phoebe: It makes the bee look tough in front of his bee friends. The bee’s happy and I am definitely not.

Joey Tribbiani: Uh, Pheebs, you know the bee probably died after it stung you?

Phoebe: [stares blankly] ...Dammit.

This book really is a great.I mean having a project is always fun, but one focused on happiness, what could be better? So I started my own happiness project I even created my own "Happiness Commandments" and "Secrets of Adulthood at the author's suggestion. Since you are my loyal readers, I decided to share them with you.  These are mine....what would yours be?

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That's enough from me...you ready for your own happiness project? Get the book, don't get the book, your choice, but whatever you do, do it for you.

Click on the image of book to pick it up on Amazon and start your project today. Don't forget to tell me all about it.

http://www.amazon.com/Happiness-Project-Morning-Aristotle-Generally/dp/006158326X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428968281&sr=1-1&keywords=happiness+project