save a turkey


From my corner of the board to yours… Save a turkey!

It’s days like today I’m thankful for my blog. And no, I don’t actually mean my blog. I mean you: my readers, my friends. Despite my apparent inability to post consistently, you are always there, cheering me on, encouraging me to keep going. Writing is worth it.

I hope to post again soon. As for today, it’s on the road to a Thanksgiving meal at my mom’s. I hope that, wherever you are, and whether you celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November or not, you have a great day and always remember that, no matter how bleak things may sometimes seem, there is always something to be grateful for.

And also, save a turkey: EAT CHICKEN!!

more than you think

connectedAll of life’s instances, stories, punctuations, journeys, and inevitable fates are donned by intertwining relationships of love, faith, hope, and freedom. And somehow, we are bound by one simple certainty — that we all meet somewhere in between. Yes, we are all connected. More than you think.

I found the above postcard in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I was there for only a few days, over a Chinese New Year, for the purpose of seeing Angkor Wat. It was with delight that I stumbled upon it, as I did upon the Hemingway and Poipet stickers (below). The postcard made my heart stop, then race, then stop again. How true!

And so, because it’s Friday, and my brain is truly fried, I’ll keep today’s post short: With the world falling down around us (even in the good times, let’s face it, things are bad), I often wish  could shout “STOP!” and that, for a single moment, the entire world would freeze. And listen. And breathe. And I wish I could share with them the above message: We are connected; we are connected; we are connected. People are people; people are people; people are people. You’re a person, and I’m a person, and you’re a person, too. Love and respect — that’s all we need. Why is that so hard?

And when I think these thoughts, I wonder, Would it make a difference? If it were possible, I think it would. In fact, I know it would. Cultures divide us, but there are similarities across cultures. Emotions are the same. Desires are the same. And especially in this technological age, what happens “over there” can create tidal waves “over here.” Yes, we are all connected. More than you think.


Stickers from Cambodia


Me and a few friends at the Thailand-Cambodia border


What are you looking at?


Statue at Angkor Wat

Case in point: Why else would you be reading the words of a girl from California?

wherever you are

What do you do? What do you want to do?

If you’d have asked me that question in college, I’d have given you a blank stare. I loved to write and read; Dr. Haluska’s were my favorite classes. I was decent at editing, I knew, and okay at writing. There is always room to improve, though, and how many people actually make it as authors?

In short: I had no idea.

I got lucky, though, and landed a copy-writing internship straight out of college. It was at a publishing company, and it was here that my first job was born. I was good at what I did, and my editors loved me. But that didn’t mean I wanted to be a copy writer forever . . .

After a year and a half, I returned home to California where I worked as an ophthalmology tech, a job I hated but desperately needed. Shortly thereafter, I received the opportunity to teach in Asia — first in Taiwan and then in Hong Kong. Those experiences changed my world, and most days I long to go back. It’s been freelance writing and teaching and tech writing since then, however, and I must say: I’m grateful for each one. My “career” thus far has given me insight into far more walks of life than many can claim — and that’s a good thing.

ladder5Why? you might ask, to which I’d reply, Why not? How could it possibly be bad to be able to relate to more people around you?

Not only that, good can be done everywhere. I still think of little *Lacy, in whose classroom I was an assistant last year. She’s a big second grader now, and I wonder, Does she remember me? I miss her little-girl giggle and grin. Working with people who’ve only been around just a very few years is one of the best things I ever did. These days, at the Water Agency, I help facilitate public projects aimed at helping the greater good. Pictured in this post are before and after photos of a dam the water agency built last summer to protect fish in the Russian River. People aren’t the only ones being affected by California’s historic drought.

And it all leads me to believe that whoever you are, and wherever you are, you can make a difference. You don’t have to be in a service job to help others. You don’t have to give all of your time and money to charity (although doing so never a bad thing). You don’t have to be a pastor or a teacher or have ten titles behind your name to make a difference. Life starts now, not at some distant day in the future when you’ve got everything “all figured out.” And every day counts. Sometimes all it takes is a smile or an encouraging word to turn someone’s day around — including your own.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be a rainbow is somebody else’s cloud. — Maya Angelou

*Name changed


A fishladder!

our gift

 Do you ever wonder what you’re fighting for?

Why the rat race? Why the stress? Why the anger? Why the pain? We’re all going to die in the end, anyway.

A little over a month ago, my favorite professor breathed his last. He was 73, recently retired; a pillar of wisdom, lover of truth. I still can’t believe I’ll never see his name in my inbox again: Dr. H.

A little over a week ago, a shining star expired in a car accident. She was young, and young at heart, and was married to a wonderful man. He had two college-age kids; his first wife was taken by cancer. His new bride was bubbly, vibrant, fun-loving, sweet. She was full of life, and full of love. She was a blessing to everyone she met.

As I’ve been, again, reading news articles (a silly thing to do, I know), and reflecting on the above stories, I’ve been again saddened by the world in which we live. I know I shouldn’t focus on the negative, and I don’t, but it’s hard to ignore all the headlines, especially when they fall close to you. And it makes you wonder, “Why?” and “What’s the point?” and “How much longer do I have?”

In March 2013 I wrote a post I called “Superyou.” In it, I envisioned a world where everyone worked in a field they loved — where your passion was your paycheck, where what you were good at was your mode de vie. Today, I’d like to tack onto that. Can you imagine a world where everyone was doing something they loved, and which somehow benefited someone else?

Dr. H dedicated his entire life to teaching. He was known as a strict teacher, but fair. I knew him as kind and concerned about his students. He was there to help, and that didn’t always mean being his students’ friend. Amy was loving, bubbly, and kind. God and her family were her focus. She was adventurous and loved to travel. She was always worried she wasn’t doing enough when, as the outpouring after her death has shown, she was always doing so much.

We never know when our time will come. The only thing we know is what we do with today. And we also know that it is better to give than to receive. What are you giving? How will you be remembered?

How will I?


It’s the end of the week, folks, and I must say, it’s been a tough one. I’ve been trying to write something meaningful but, instead, keep running into walls — sleep deprivation and sad news have left me brain dead. I hope to turn this trend around this weekend; in the meantime, though, isn’t he perfect?

Happy Friday (and early Halloween), everyone!!


signs of the times?

So I’m running the other night after work. I’m not killing myself because I’m still sore from a previous jaunt. As I run up a slope, I see a woman parked beside a fallen stop sign in the middle of the road. The sign has been rammed and its wooden post is jagged and broken. She’s moving the broken sign out of the road. I look at the front of her car. A dent in her bumper shouts: GUILTY!

I don’t stop. Don’t want to be rude. I wonder if she’s going to just leave it, though. There are very few cars nearby; no one to see. And then I wonder, What would I do, if she were me? Would I tell someone, if there were no one to see?

What would you do?

When I passed back by, the above picture is what I saw.

staying sane

FullSizeRender2I’m running after work. I run or ride every day at 5. (It’s the only way I stay sane in desk job.) The sun is shining, warm, though falling fast. Shadows creep and fields glow, golden. But as my feet hit the pavement, my mind is miles away — Dr. Haluska is gone, and gone far too soon. How many years do I have left? What will I do with them? . . .

Suddenly, I glance left. I gasp at the glorious scene. It’s a mad world we live in, but there is always beauty to be seen.