And I just wanted to let you know. Thank you for being part of my #blessedbeyond journey.
Love, peace and happiness
#blessedbeyond has been a theme for me over the last couple of years - for many reasons, but as I prepare for the day today, I am reminded once again, how truly #blessedbeyond I am. For that and so much more - I am grateful.
And I just wanted to let you know. Thank you for being part of my #blessedbeyond journey.
Love, peace and happiness
I wear these two necklaces every day. One reminds me of where I've been and the other keeps me focused on what's important to me - what I'm passionate about. It seems kind of silly as I'm writing this and yet, I know the meaning behind them and appreciate and value that meaning.
The cross is the reminder of where I've been. I wouldn't consider myself a religious person, but a spiritual one. I do believe there's something out in the world bigger than me. It's sort of a guiding force. Something that helps me maintain my sanity when I feel it's almost gone. Something that gives me strength when I feel that I am not going to make it or can't go on. Something that reminds me I'm on a path and although there is not crystal ball to tell me exactly how things will go or work out - they will work out.
I bought that cross necklace when a friend of mine had been sober for six months. I felt it was a milestone and purchased one for him and got one for myself (no, they don't match - that's a little too cheesy for my taste). We had both grown, changed, learned a lot about ourselves, separately and together. I didn't know at the time how important this little piece would become as I've had many days when all I need is to just touch that and almost instantly, I'm reminded - "you've made it through much and you'll make it through this too."
The other one is called a "freedom" necklace and I purchased it through Trades of Hope which is a company built by women with a dream of creating job opportunities around the world to end poverty. Their dream was to help people to change their own circumstances in a dignified and lasting way. They want every mother and father to be able to break the cycle of poverty - for themselves and for their children. This particular necklace is made by women in the US who are working their way out of sex trafficking.
The Freedom necklace reminds me of my passion for helping others, empowering them to be all they can be and remember that we all have a place in this world, a journey to take. It helps me to keep things in perspective, remember that I, too, have a purpose and although there may be days that I'm not sure what direction to take, I just need to take a breath and remember my "why" in this world. That which is important to me and keeps me going and growing to be the individual I want to be.
Don't lose sight of what's important to you......
I've been posting pics of coffee mugs since the beginning of the year. Partly to say, "Good Morning World" and well, I don't really know why else I would do it, but as I was having coffee today and looked at this mug, I realized that often these mugs are much more than just vessels which hold my coffee or tea or other things. They hold memories of people, places, times, things. I wonder if I'm the only one who sometimes spontaneously and other times very carefully chooses the mug in which I drink from daily. Let's talk (coffee) mugs!
The mug in this picture to the left holds a very special place in my heart. It's an ordinary mug to most people boasting a brand, but to me, it's a reminder of my time in Guangzhou, China when I became an auntie for the second time. Blenz was the coffee shop I frequented - let's face it - daily. It was a place I went to journal, correspond, reflect, people watch, read, unwind and just be. Every time I drink from this mug I think of what an amazing experience I had watching couples become families and little angels be delivered to love. It's just a mug, sure, but it holds so much more than coffee.
This one was a Christmas gift from a girl who took a chance, walked in and talked to me about renting space for her newly started business. She not only built her business inside that space, but a friendship was developed and while there were many times she was frustrated with me and I wanted to tell her to move out, we managed and both grew from the experience. Like the mug, there are imperfections in our relationship, but all in all, it remains in tact and watching her grow and develop was among one of the amazing blessings in my life.
The one on the right I bought for myself. I gave an identical one to a friend when her daughter got married probably because I wanted her to remember the moments of that joyful time and that we shared a part of it together. I'm not perfect and yes, do sometimes have ulterior motives when giving gifts, but truly, it was simply a gift given to say, "I love you and am thankful that you're my friend and included me in this important time in your life."
I have a cupboard full of mugs. I do have a few matching ones - you know the kind that go with your dishes, but not many as I prefer my eclectic collection and the memories that they hold.
If your mugs could talk, what would they say???
As I was driving to Kansas yesterday the phrase defining moments kept popping in my head. I thought about this for the majority of my drive and it continues to linger in my mind today. I'm not sure why, how or what, but decided I need to explore the thought a bit.
What is a defining moment? Do we have more than one in a lifetime? What actually constitues a defining moment?
I believe that defining moments happen throughout the course of our life so yes, we have more than one. Some are definitely more profound than others. Some make us laugh, while others make us cry, but we are shaped by these moments. They have an impact on us. They play a big role in this story of life. Sometimes, it's easy to overlook the small ones because we are searching for the one "BIG" one, but those small ones are none less important.
Some of the "big" defining moments in my life are things like my paternal grandmother dying when I was 11. One of the things I remember most about that day are being pulled out of class (I was in 5th grade) and watching a single tear fall down my dads left cheek as we were driving to his parents home. Yes, that's right, just a single tear from his left eye. I don't recall seeing him cry again and in some ways, I suppose seeing that made me feel I needed to not cry also - to be stoic. That thought could lead me into a whole other realm of realizations, but I will do my best to stay on point.
Another "big" defining moment in life was coming home after my second year in college, dropping my bags and announcing (yes, that's right - announcing) that I would not be returning to school in the fall. It was a waste of time and money and if I could just have a chance, well - that piece of paper didn't make me better at anything. Again, stoic, my dad sat there and looked at me, put down the paper he was reading and told me that was fine. I could have a job for the summer and a place to live, but when everyone else went back to school, I would no longer have that job or the room in their home so I had three months roughly to figure out what I was going to do with my life. And....yes - I knew he was serious.
This process of him having cancer, going through treatment and the aftermath I will also probably consider a defining moment. Partly because another chapter is coming to a close. You see, my dad has been an attorney for 47 years and he is in the process of closing that part of his life - of our lives. 101 W Washington in St. Francis, KS was a home away from home in many respects. We all spent many hours there at different times of our lives and it provided a way of life for us. It provided stability and a comfort as well as a thorn or two. It will be bittersweet when one day we are no longer able to come and go through the doors as we please, but it's a part of the process of life.
I don't want to be sad about that or those other "big" defining moments in my life. And so I won't be and I'll share some of the other definers - I became an aunt for the first time on December 8, 2004 and for the second time on January 10, 2006 and yet again on August 14, 2008. Those were amazing days! I started massage school on my 40th birthday in January of 2009 and found something I had no idea I would find. All of those defining moments have also led me to where I am today and in all reality to a place I never thought I would be with feelings I didn't even think were possible. You see, through those moments, I've learned a lot about myself as well as others. I've learned that I can love more than I ever thought I was capable of and understand more than I ever wanted to. I've learned how to be close and yet, stand back. How to be encouraging without overpowering. To give room for others to grow and develop. To come to the realization that although I may want to make everything happy and peaceful and loving, there are opportunities in the struggle and that each one of us has our very own defining moments because each one of us has our very own story. And that, my friends is a part of the beauty of life.
Go out and relish the defining moments in life. Live and tell your story!
Yesterday I kept seeing statements about how today (January 1) is the first blank page of a 365 page book and to make sure to write a good one. That made me think back to my childhood and how every January 1st we would sit around the table and my mom would want to know what our resolutions were for the year. I always thought this was silly and continued that thought process into adulthood, but as I was taking a shower this morning resolutions came to mind so I decided to give it more thought.
The word resolution as defined by Webster means: 1 - the act or process of resolving.
I think a part of my adversion to resolutions has always been that I break them as do many people I know so what's the point of making them if we're not going to follow through? Then I thought about the dream boards and vision boards and all sorts of other tools I've made throughtout the years and still not accomplished some things. Let that not be discouraging as there are many things I have accomplished and there are those which have somehow just managed to get done without any fanfare or fru-fru. My point? Without dreams, visions, resolutions we would not set goals or have plans or see those things come to fruition. We would not form habits that are lasting. Kind of like cooking or cleaning or many of those everyday tasks we no longer think about. If we didn't access the fact that there are dirty clothes which need to have something done with them, would we just continue buying new ones or would we put the dirty ones back on? Most of us are going to see that the laundry needs to be done, put the clothes in the washer (along with detergent and possibly softener), turn it on, run the cycle and then either hang to dry or place in the dryer. After that, we will remove and fold or hang and (sometimes) put where they belong. Goal accomplished! Clean clothes.
Resolutions are much the same. They are dreams, visions or goals which need a process in order to accomplish. Perhaps we need to really give these some thought before claiming them. Are we really going to follow through? Is that particular thing or idea important enough for us to do what needs to be done to actually accomplish it? Is it hard enough to really be considered and yet possible (even if it means stretching or reaching beyond our comfort zone) to complete?
I know, for me, sometimes when it gets hard or inconvenient, I let it go thinking I'll come back to it and then somehow with each passing hour, day, week, month, it's easier and easier to never make it a priority again. So, this year - 2017 - I resolve to make my list big, but not insurmountable and focus on holding myself accountable.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and very prosperous New Year!
So...this happened last night. I went from long locks to clean shaven. As I stood in the shower after having my brother scalp me, I ran my hands over my head and it felt different. I felt different. And I wondered if I had any idea - clue - close proximity of what it's like to lose one's hair through treatment or natural progression of life. I don't know that I will ever know, but do feel I had a small glimpse of the loss that some people feel when their hair is gone.
You see - my hair had become - ok, probably always has been - a huge part of my identity. The streak as it's been called began when I was about 15 and has increased through time. Gradually, I've grown to love that silver streak in my hair and the fact that it's mine and makes me different from others. As I gulped (hard) when I saw the clippers in my brothers hand I had thoughts of being different because I no longer had it. Would it grow back? Would it be the same? Will my hair even really grow back? What if it doesn't? What if I don't like being bald or people don't like me?
WHOA...........Who really cares? Now that it's done, it doesn't really matter. I am who I am because of my heart, my mind, my beliefs - NOT because of my hair.
As we go through this journey of life, there are so many lessons to be learned, so many opportunities in front of us and it's important to grasp them, do what we can. Enjoy them. Relish in the experience. Connect with others. Learn and grown. Feel. It's really important to feel and for so long, I tried hard not to do that because I didn't have time. Because it was scarey. Because it didn't always feel good. The thing I've learned through all of that not feeling is that it is a good thing and it makes me a better person. I believe it will make everyone a better person, but that's up to each individual.
My choice to shave my head was just that, a choice. I don't know that I will keep it this way or that I will ever again do it voluntarily, but I took a leap of faith, overcame a fear and did it and it's all good. I feel good. And I'm grateful - so very, very grateful.
Enjoy this holiday weekend!
Do you ever wonder if it's really necessary or a good thing to get a massage?
While some would say I'm an advocate because it's my job, what many may not know is that I was getting regular massages every 4-6 weeks approximately 10 years prior to becoming a therapist. Not only does it make me feel better, both physically and mentally, but it also helps me relax and take time to enjoy the beauty of life. So, my answer would be yes - it is necessary and a good thing.
I have recently been going through some "stuff" that I have and found this little Q&A from a Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2006.
Q: I'm a relative newcomer to massage and I've been trying to describe the experience to my friends. Why do I feel so good after a massage?
A: As a massage therapist, author, and consumer of bodywork, Mary Kathleen Rose of Longmont, Colo., took this question to heart.
"I walk into the session thinking, 'I'm really too busy to take this time. I've got to make those phone calls, schedule the next meeting, write that article, do the laundry, clean my house, and run a few errands. Oh, but my shoulders do hurt, my back aches, and I didn't get enough sleep last night!' An hour later, walking in slow motion, I come out of the massage therapist's office. I notice the smell of fresh air and the warmth of sunshine on my face. 'Maybe I'll just go for a little walk. I'll get back to work soon enough,' I say.
"Massage provides me an opportunity to take a break from the stresses of life and relax in the caring hands of a competent therapist. With just the right amount of pressure and skillful manipulation, patterns of tension are released in overworked muscles, fascia is loosened in areas of strain, and lymph is encouraged in its circulation. These effects on the tissues give rise to the sensations of pleasure, creating a new experience in my body. I can only begin to imagine the complex of effects on the neurochemical system of the body, as touch receptors carry messages to the brain for interpretation, influencing brain wave patterns and a myriad of hormonal responses."
"While the physiology may be complex, the value of the human interaction is simple. Someone just treated me with respect and care, listened to me without judging me, and touched me with the authority born of her training and experience. It's no wonder we feel so good after a massage."
It is my hope that you have a positive experience and enjoy a moment of self-care and appreciation.
To joy and good health~
The turkey is in and I'm taking a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee and write to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
It's a curious thing - that turkey. I love to cook and yet, I almost feel a bit anxious about this. Perhaps it's because I've only cooked one other turkey in my life (and that was probably 20 years ago) or maybe it's the fact that it's not just my immediate family who will be here and I want to make sure that not only is it done, but edible. I suppose it could be the fact that my brother in laws grandmother (who you know has cooked many a turkey in her day) will be here and I want to be impressive. The funny part is - there is plenty of food (we have a ham coming too) and noone will really care, plus they'll all be polite about it so why worry. I can't do much about it now. It will either be done when I want it to be or when it wants to be.
There is a lesson in this turkey cooking - prep for family+ day today.
Without getting on a soapbox this morning, let me just say simply say that I believe we were all created to live the life we've been given. The chance to find our gifts and the choice to use them to the best of our abilities. Sometimes this part of the journey takes up the whole thing. There are people who find and follow their passion early and there are others who take some time to find not only what they are passionate about, but that there is much to be grateful for.
Some would say I've been passionate my whole life and I suppose they would be right, but not sure that I was always passionate about the best things for me (or perhaps those around me either). The beauty is that as I've gotten older, my passion for life has not waned. I have been greatly blessed and remind myself of that daily - most of the times unintentionally and other times I have to stop, take a moment and look around. The point being, I am grateful.
Grateful that I have a loving family, wonderful friends and a circle of people around me with whom I hope to leave a positive mark.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude ames sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Meoldy Beattie
So, go out, find something to be grateful for - enjoy the day with family and friends (new or old) - find your passion and see where it leads you, because...
In the end, it's not about who we impressed or how many turkeys we cooked (and were edible)
To joy and good health~
I am reminded today of a variety of things. I was able to get up this morning, move on my own, make breakfast for my niece, take the dog for a walk and feel the wind blow (extremely hard at times), but feel it none the less. I had coffee with my parents, have talked to several friends and as I was checking out at a store I was told that someone is thinking of me and my family throughout this holiday season. That gave me a good feeling. I tried to return that favor when I saw someone in the store feel a bit of frustration over the fact that they were out of turkey roasting bags so I told her I had an extra at home that I would be happy to share. It's a simple thing - this kindness deal.
I am reminded today that this little town in a (what some would say is) very remote corner of Northwest Kansas is alive and a great place to have grown up in and return to - whether it be for a visit or to live.
In this world filled with chaos and confusion about what is right and wrong, who's fault it is, who we should believe and who we should not, there is comfort and peace and even a sense of serenity. And.... might I add - it can be found anywhere, if we just choose to look. To open our eyes to the possibilities.
For you see, when I was growing up, I couldn't wait to leave. I needed to breathe. I needed life. I needed to be in the city or at least somewhere where not every single person knew who I was and what was happening in my life. I'm not saying I will be moving here on a permanent basis, but I certainly have a new perspective and promise to do what I can to help this little community stay alive.
Have you seen or heard the one of the things Mother Teresa used to say? "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile." - Mother Teresa.
It matters not to me whether you believe in God or not. Whether you would consider yourself spiritual or not. You may believe in aliens and UFO's and that's your right, your choice. It does matter to me that I try to live each day with kindness on my face, in my eyes and in my smile. It matters because hopefully, that simple gesture can somehow brighten your day or that of someone else and give them the feeling that there is still good in this world that it's not all chaos and confusion, fighting and war. That there are things worth living for, with and so much more to come. We are given this life to live and live by example is what I hope to do.
Where are your simple reminders today and how can you shed a bit of kindness in this world?
To joy and good health...
In my last post I wrote about change and choice. Changes happen, it's life and part of it. Choices happen also, they're life and part of it. However, we often have options with those two things. While it's true (I believe) change is sometimes inevitable, we can make a choice to change. A choice to be happy or sad, glad or mad, different than we were yesterday and than we'll be tomorrow. All we have is today and we need to make it count.
The holidays are upon us and they will be different this year as they are in some ways from year to year. For one thing, I'm hosting this Thanksgiving dinner at my house in Kansas. Now, I do love to cook, but don't do it often for the masses. I'm much more of a quick meal (ie: dinner might be a pound of asparagus or chips and salsa or eggs with spinach) so it will be interesting. Also, because I'm not doing what we've done for at least 46 years. I'm not having a sit down, all at the same table, dress up, china sort of meal. Yes, there will be turkey and mashed potatoes, but the tables will be scattered, parades and football will be playing, puzzles will be out, paper plates will be used and there may even be some balloons. Why all the change? Because this year is the first year we will celebrate without my sister being present, but I'm sure she will be with us in spirit and somehow make her presence known as she has today (while I've been sitting at the coffee shop pondering what to write).
Having a "different" sort of Thanksgiving celebration was an obvious choice to me. A choice I made because there will be a void and I know that. I'm aware that this happens to all of us at some point in time and that with time comes healing, life does go on and while the "firsts" of the first year don't mean that there won't be more firsts because there will be. Many before me have experienced this and many after me will continue to have the experience. Death is a part of life, but that doesn't mean that the rest of us die as well. We choose to stay stagnant or move forward to celebrate life, both theirs and ours and so it goes.........I choose to celebrate, to continue living, to lead by example to move forward, to allow myself sad days, but moreover, happy ones for there is much to live for and much still to do. I am #blessedbeyond.
In the coming days, weeks and months, there will be changes to this website and to Hand in Hand as I begin moving in a different direction. A direction in which I hope will be of help to me and so many others for you see, when I was a younger version of who I am today, it was my hope to help just one person. My belief was that helping just one person would enable that person to help one person and that person to help one person and so it would go - everyone paying it forward and banding together. Many would say I'm an idealist in my views, perhaps that's true, but it's my choice and one I choose to live by.
And so it goes...
What will be the change and choice for you today and what opportunities will they bring?
When I set up my website and blog under the author section it reads "Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview." Whew - cuz that's all I've got for the moment. I'm a pretty simple person who lives life lovingly. I care deeply and am passionate about many things. I have always had a spirit of (I'm going to call it) entrepreneurship so have been self-employed about as much as I've been employed by others. This is a place where I share thoughts, ideas and happenings. I'm finding that sharing my story (life) helps me as much or more than it helps others and I find that empowering. Keep doin' what you love and lovin' what you do! XO-KM