Two weeks ago John and I spent a few days in New York City with our friends Robb and Brenda. We love spending time with these two (who made our year by treating us to a few days in the city fo’ free!). We scored dirt-cheap broadway tickets to Jersey Boys (which we highly recommend!) and had no complaints with the unseasonably warm weather. Despite lots of anticipation, pre-planning, and our fabulous company – my body had other plans and I spent the majority of our trip hotel bed bound feelings less than fabulous. Sometimes it feels like I’m being punked. I’m thankful for the days that I did get and my loyal hubby who refused to leave my side to take in the city on his own. Even in my sick state, there’s something so magical about this city with all its people, smells, sights, and commotion. For my pizza loving husband, NYC is his paradise with all the options he has to choose from at every corner. We can’t wait to head back in March for the Billy Joel concert and maybe this time around I’ll try to anticipate it a little less - the excitement, quite literally, took it out of me! Happy New Years everyone – we feel lucky to welcome another year with all of you!
Merry belated Christmas everyone! I was hoping to post a picture of our Christmas card before this marvelous holiday actually came and went, but let’s chalk it up as my mini-rebellion to how fast 2013 has gone by.
So many firsts this year.
Our card came to life on the 9-hour car ride back from Kentucky over Thanksgiving break and though my husband likes to poke fun at my planners and how crazy jam-packed the calendar on my phone looks most days – it came in handy when trying to remember all the amazing memories we made this year. I took inspiration from a few pins I had saved away on my Pinterest board and with the help of a local Graphic Designer I get to collaborate with often – our card and memories really took on a life of its own.
These are the little things that make my creative heart happy. I’m remembering to pause these days and invest more time and energy into the projects that I know will be the mementos i’ll cherish most twenty years from now. We wish you all the happiest of holidays!
I’d been delaying investing in my own professional video equipment for months now, but more overtly so for the past few weeks. Though dollar signs and invoice totals seemed like the surface hesitation, the real fear was rooted in being ready to commit to making this part of my business work for me (and those who make up my team). I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of Target on a Wednesday when I finally put the order through and two days later 5 boxes were waiting for me when I got home. That night is a night I’d like to store away in a memory jar somewhere. I pulled out thing after thing from the boxes in complete surprise and glee, which is odd seeing as I was the one who placed the order and knew exactly what to expect. I felt excited, especially each time John made some sort of encouraging comment along the way. I felt nostalgia remembering the times I saw my dad doing the exact same thing I was doing and thinking to myself, “how someone gets so excited about equipment, I’ll never understand”, and there was also a moment of sheer sadness and tears knowing this would all feel much sweeter if he was here. Ultimately though, I felt gratitude and relief. And so the world continues.
My mom started dating about two months ago. I think it was as much a surprise to her as it was to us. We’d all toyed with the idea of that being a possibility one day – you just never think “that day” will come. When I was first confronted with this new development in my mom’s life (while watching a soccer game at a local bar in our town), you could describe my feelings as “horrific discomfort” which was then followed by faux comfort thanks to a steady stream of Jack & gingers. It wasn’t the most effective way of handling my feelings but I can’t say I regret doing so either. I felt like I was betraying my father by even remotely accepting a new man into my mother’s life. My brain and heart were being challenged to accept something I never could have imagined, the storybooks and fairytales pointed at this NOT being how it was supposed to be, and then, eventually – there was acceptance. Seeing how my siblings coped was a kaleidoscope of differences unto itself. But between loneliness and happiness for my mother, I choose happiness for her. I realized that I was attempting, though unsuccessfully, to hold her hostage to a time that had passed. Trying to keep her boxed into my memories. We’re human, my mom is human, and we all need companionship.
It’s no mistake I landed a gig at a Yoga studio a few months back. I’d been hungry for ways to dig deeper into my own growth but hadn’t quite found the way to make it happen. I believe in God. I also believe God (and life) places challenges and challenging people in your life to test your grit. I read books, I left buckets of sweat on my mat, I had thought-provoking conversations, and was regularly prodded at when close-minded and negative statements unconsciously left my mouth. I believe this experience taught me a whole hell of a lot about awareness. Not just about myself, but how I landed on others. I learned a valuable and life-long lesson of the impact of my words, thoughts, and actions. At my core my beliefs have not changed, but there’s clarity around who and what deserves my attention. I see old patterns being broken and a level of comfort in speaking-straight with people. Being firm doesn’t make me “bad”. I’m making a habit of holding others accountable to a higher standard as well. Most of all I’m grateful for the confidence that flourished within me. It was there all along. That feels good.
Happiness is such an abstract and elusive word. It’s not so much a choice as it is an attitude. An aversion to thinking too deeply into actions, words, and feelings that in reality, I was presuming others felt anyway. Learning to take a breath and be in the moment have done wonders for me. Controlling that amazingly creative mind of mine from going into dark places that are in no way based in reality has been another. The opposite of happiness was ignoring the things that made me passionate about life – because as they say, it’s a slow suicide when you do. My feelings have led me to naysay the ones who claimed I couldn’t have it all and have propelled me to stand taller for the things that made every day a living testament to that which makes me tick…even if just in small ways. My happiness has meant caring less about others opinions, doing more of whatever it is I deem to be important, and above of all – being of service to others and God. And might I add, Thank God for the beautiful people I get to share my life with day in and day out. I’m a lucky gal. It’s been an revolutionary 2013.
All life happens in the present moment.
All we really have is the moment that is right here, right now, in front of us.
Any moment that happened in the past is a memory, and any moment that will happen in the future is a fantasy.
Memories and fantasies can be very nice, but they lead us nowhere except into the past, which no longer exists, or the future, which doesn’t exist yet.
The past and the future are not places.
They are, essentially, nowhere.
So you see, you are either now here or nowhere.
- Baron Baptiste, Journey into Power
There’s something about the way a groom looks at his bride that tells the only story that really matters. Aside from my own – I’ve only attended a handful of weddings, and I find that it’s the little details and personal touches that tug at my heart and without fail, make me cry. The older I get and the more I come to understand love – I see that the romantic part isn’t so much the back story or the chance encounter that matters…no, that’s just the beginning really. The real romance is in whole-heartedly and fully-knowingly choosing one person to stick it out with every morning and every night…through the unknown sunshine and storms love and life can hold. That’s where the romance lies.
Lucas is John’s cousin and his bride, Laurel – is a Portland native. Their venue, a cozy spot underneath the St. John’s Bridge adorned with a backdrop of mountains and sunlight, was enough to set the tone for their special day. Lucas made his way down the staircase to a song that seemed to suit him perfectly (though the name escapes me) and was followed by a trail of brightly colored and vintage-dressed bridesmaids. The moments before the bride appeared at the top of the staircase felt like an eternal pause, even for me…I think we were all sucked into their moment. It was everything I imagined an outdoor Portland wedding to be.
Weddings have cultivated a real fondness in me for capturing the day from the groom’s point of view. From his jittery hand motions, to the back and forth shifting of his light-hearted eyes and impatient feet…I found myself snapping away in hopes of giving Laurel photos that in our case were my favorite.
There were so many moments to be had on that day. In fact, it was clear from the very beginning that these two had a touch of fandom among their circle of friends who affectionately referred to them as “Laurcus” (Laurel + Lucas). They even had pins made for guests to wear. Some of my favorite memories of the day included dozens of “homemade” vases that Lucas blew as well as a glass maraschino cherry to top their pineapple upside cake. I was smitten with the specialty-brewed strawberry ale (pink caps and all!) whose labels read: Married in Portland. The 50 Licks ice cream truck that hung out at the reception line never seemed to get shorter…and that birdcage veil and blue suede shoes…I can’t even.
In the short four months that we’ve been married, John and I have learned so much about each other – and I can’t help but smile thinking back to John unexpectedly suggesting that we take a walk by the river, just the two of us, for no other reason than it being something he knew would make me happy. We talked about how special it was to be able to spend quality time with family that we get to see so little, and how if we ever decided to get married again – a low-key wedding like this wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
We’re especially happy for these two. They compliment each other in a way that just make the rest of us smile. Congrats again you lovebirds – hopefully Portland or DC will be in the cards for one of the two of us sooner than later.
Fewer things have been as beautiful as the drive up the Pacific Coast of Oregon. As I get older, the moments I get to take in these views – I can’t help but be moved personally, emotionally, and spiritually. After a pit stop in Tillamook, Oregon to sample their factory of cheddar cheeses (and ice cream!) the views from there on out until we reached Cannon Beach literally froze us in our tracks. We stopped on the side of the road to capture photos of the little town of Bay View. How much I wished in that moment that John and I could live somewhere between the cherry stand and the town dive to experience what life is like in a town so small. At one particular scenic overlook we all stood around silently taking in the view and framing up the next best photo. I was in awe of the endless views but the thoughts circling in my mind went much further than that.
I felt more free breathing in that cold Pacific air. More alive. I felt thankful for the people, the moments, the chapters in my life – because two, three, five years ago – I could have never imagined this moment. I could hear John giggling at me as I lost and regained my breath over and over again and squealed at the sight of something new. He’s traveled and seen so much throughout his life that it’s hard for him to grasp how these moments feed the soul of a first-timer. It’s a tender sort of laugh – the type you’d have witnessing a child’s innocent disbelief and surprise.
I’m so thankful for how rich and full life has been these days. I realize more and more how resilient we are as a species. That’s the beauty of it all – we can recreate, go through a rebirth of sorts. I loved every second of this spec of time of our trip. Nature’s beauty is the therapy of life that no yoga class can provide. On the day these photos were taken, I closed my eyes and silently nodded in appreciation that everything I needed was already inside of me. Sometimes it just takes mountains and oceans, blue skies and infinite views to remember how beautiful and simple life can be.