Thursday, December 18, 2014

Most special time of year...

I can't believe we are only 7 days away from Christmas.  Time is going by so quickly, and I'm trying my best to embrace every wonderful day in December…it's always my favorite time of year (kicking off with my birthday and then followed by countless festivities with friends and family and so many special and memorable moments….highlighted by the twinkle lights on our tree).

I wish December would go on for months…it brings me such joy to celebrate tradition, create fun crafts with Ellie, decorate, listen to endless holiday music (yep, that's me!), gather with friends over candle lit dinners, and cozy up with my hubby on the couch after long days.  It's truly the best.  A time to be grateful and present…a time to celebrate how fortunate we are…a time to give more than you receive.  A time to let go of whatever is weighing me down and finally enjoy…and relax.

It just feels so good.  For me, tradition is at the core of it all.  Creating special memories for Ellie, starting now and carrying them through year after year, is most important to me.  A big part of that is reminding her that, while she is so blessed to be given such wonderful gifts and opportunities, also remembering how many children are less fortunate and doing our part to help make their holidays special, too.  This week, she helped me with a toy drop-off for our local holiday toy drive, and she really seemed to understand the basic concept of it all….starting small :)

And then there's the baking…and her love for it.  A new fave, our chocolate crispy treats, along with our usuals like our banana raisin muffins.  Something that we love to do together, year round, but that just seems extra special during the holidays.  And of course, Elf on the Shelf….and our annual holiday brunch with some of our closest friends at our house…celebrations and dinners in downtown MB...watching movies like Elf, Just Friends and The Family Stone…writing Gratitude lists…and perhaps our newest tradition (thanks Auntie Jeannie), doing Secret Angel with each member in our immediate family, and hosting Christmas brunch at our home with our extended families.  I'd also love to incorporate going to our local food bank on Christmas Eve to help provide meals and smiles to those less fortunate (I think we're still a couple years out for this one!).

Lastly, just doing what you can to donate.  Giving to responsible and reputable charities - St. Jude's, Children Today (Long Beach), Los Angeles Mission, Save the Children, World Vision…all organizations doing so much good for those in need.

All of these experiences are so incredibly fulfilling to me…and I'm holding on tightly as we come to the close of another year.  While it's been the most challenging year of my life, this month has been full of bright and happy moments that have taken the focus off me and allowed me to put that energy toward others.  That is when my soul and spirit is full.  I am confident that next year will bring much more peace and understanding for all that I have gone through…and what is next to come.  Perhaps the launch of an entire new chapter of life…I certainly hope so :)

Merry Everything!!!!  Taking a deep breath and soaking it all in….


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Looking forward...

Anyone who is very close to me knows that this past year has been quite a journey.  While I have yet to write about it (because I spend so much time dealing with it every day, I am not yet ready to put its uncomfortable energy into my passion and hobby)…but I look forward to someday sharing my story of overcoming all of this, and living a long, healthful, purposeful life full of beautiful and special moments until I grow old and gray (and traveling & eating fabulous meals once again!).  

That said, I read a few quotes today that I wanted to share…written by someone who has gone through a very similar journey to me, and who has become an inspiration in my life.

"I guess you fight through the bad days to earn the best days of your life."

"Best friends are people who make your problems their problems just so you don't have to go through them alone."

"Sometimes God uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling…"

I trust that this last one will be very true for me…and that I will someday look back and see purpose in this long, winding journey that has often brought me to my knees, feeling helpless and confused…only to be lifted up by my dearest friends, my incredible husband and my beautiful baby girl.  They give me the strength and encouragement to get through everyday.

To my husband, my rock.  My clear, stable mind when I can't think for myself.  My everything.

To my baby girl, whose smile, laugh and beautiful personality lights up my life…you are my greatest treasure.

To my girls, you know who you are….I can never thank you enough for all you do for me. It is because of you that I can keep my head above water and see clearly through the fog of self-pity and discouragement that can often weigh me down when I'm not feeling well.  You always throw me the life raft when I need it most.

To Oma, there is no one who I would trust more with our sweet girl, and I know the joy and happiness she experiences with you is unbelievably special and priceless, and will help shape her to be the compassionate, kind, sensitive and sincere person that I already see her becoming.

To my mom, who patiently listens to me after every doctor's appointment and every challenge I face, supporting me and helping me navigate through it all; thank you.  

To my team of doctors, my naturopath and acupuncturist…I finally take comfort that I am with the right team who is doing everything they can to best support me.

While this has turned my world upside-down, the incredible support system I have around me fills me with such gratitude.  

I trust that it's experiences like this that ultimately makes life worth living…creating sincere appreciation for good health, the simple things that already meant so much to me before, and the importance of surrounding myself with people who lift me up and bring beautiful energy into my life.  For this, I am forever grateful.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

This little mouse called me her "best friend" last night.  My heart melted.  
Such a wonderful and special Halloween weekend...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Can't get enough…love her so much.

This little girl continues to inspire me everyday.  She is truly amazing.  Pure, complete, overwhelming love.  My heart is so full.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Birthday to my sweet baby girl...

My sweet girl is 2 today…going on 13…full of thoughts, opinions, ideas and imagination.  Yesterday, we spent a lovely afternoon baking our special zucchini muffins for today (her favorite).  Elle was such a wonderful helper…she's watched me make them so many times, she jumped right in and put the ingredients together with just a little help from mama.  She was soooo excited about her birthday, we woke up extra early today and started off with a Taylor Swift/Meghan Trainor dance party, followed by opening gifts, enjoying her special birthday muffins and then off on a trip to the local pumpkin patch.  The beginning of a wonderful birthday weekend celebration…

I'm so proud of my little baker!!!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!  

Thank you for choosing me to be your "mammia!"

I love you endlessly.



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lovely day...

A very special day celebrating a very special friend…
I had so much fun co-hosting an intimate bridal shower for one of my nearest & dearest.
Cheers to Jeannie & PJ; may you live happily ever after!

the bride...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Live each moment completely and the future will take care of itself."

- Paramahansa Yogananda

Reminding myself of this…to be present and trust that everything will be ok, even during our toughest times.

Daily practice...

For 21 days, I participated in an online guided meditation with Deepak Chopra, and it was such a wonderful, centering way to start each day.  In effort to remember some of what I've learned, I thought I'd share here…perhaps you, too, will find some of these mantras helpful if you choose to use them.

Deepak says that contentment is the source of true happiness.  He shared that life requires no struggle, fear or resistance; you only need to be.  And to become enlightened, you stop running all the time and you begin to walk…and once you're walking you slow down and stop.  Once you stop, you see who you really are.  

The journey of meditation is a process of relaxing and letting go (and, for most, it takes a lot of practice, but it is well worth the time).  Below are several Sanskrit Mantras that may help take you there.  Choose one, get comfy (sitting on the floor, your couch, upright in your bed), turn on relaxing music if you'd like, close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply…and silently repeat the mantra, over and over to yourself and let your mind take you away…even as little as 5 minutes a day can provide significant life-changing benefits.  And remember - it's ok if your mind wanders (it will…), but when you realize it, just bring yourself back to your breath and the mantra.  Be patient with yourself.  I usually have to do this almost a dozen times through my 20-min meditations!

Sanskrit Mantra (in bold):
Rabhasa Hum - I am pure delight (my happiness shines everywhere)
Ravaye Hum - I am the light of radiance (my happiness energizes and inspires me)
Karuna Hum - I am compassion (I radiate sympathy and acceptance)
Seva Hum - I am service (my soul expands when I help others)
Prasada Hum - I am devine grace
Shanti Vira - I radiate devine blessings (I am a calming presence)
Purnamindam - I feel fulfilled (I walk in the light of my fulfillment)

In addition, I've also included (below) two 30 minute guided meditations that I have found very helpful during the last few months, as I've continued to explore the power that it has to help heal us, and open us… (thank you Aunt Mary!)

Asking for Nothing and Receiving Everything

Heal Thyself

I hope you enjoy...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happiness is good friends, long beach days, naked sandy babies and casual pizza parties… perfect summer day.