what nature said

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I’m waiting in line at the drive-thru at Starbucks the other day. It’s a beautiful evening and, after rolling down my window and turning off the radio to order, I don’t bother to roll the window back up or turn on the radio. My mind is a million miles away, but, suddenly, I hear sounds. Zweet-zweet-zweet! I look up. Birds are flitting to and from nests built into the STARBUCKS sign. Zweet-zweet! And then . . . Buzzzzzz. A bumblebee meanders near my window as a soft breeze creeps into my car and tousles my hair.

Suddenly, I know: Everything’s going to be all right . . .

Except, Honk!! Oh sh-t! What happened to the line?!
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“The earth has music for those who listen.”

George Santayana

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Image: Mine. All rights reserved.

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let us grow

hole in wall

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Nelson Mandela

There was a time . . .

When life was simple, choices slim.

When decisions were easy, schedules flexed.

When writing was endless, thoughts abounding.

And then times changed.

At the end of last year, I wrote this post about growth. I talked about the good and bad things that shape the “times of our lives.” I talked about how we have a choice: When good times come, will we take them for granted, or will we appreciate them? When bad times come, will we moan and groan and complain about them, or will we stand up to them and learn from them?

We have a choice. Continue reading

thankful for the good and the bad

redtreeWell, folks, here we areThanksgiving Eve. For some of you, Thanksgiving is already here, has already come, is already gone. Then again, some of you may not even celebrate Thanksgiving. I sure didn’t when I lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Tonight, I am thankful for many things, but I wonder, what are they for? Is it only the good things I appreciate? The luxuries? The kindnesses? The love? What about the bad experiences? The ugly ones? The horrid-nesses? The hate?

To be honest, I am thankful for all of the experiences in my life, including the bad ones. I’m thankful for my rock-climbing accident, for my bad grades, for the times I got caught doing wrong, for relationships that hurt me. I’m thankful for the scratches on my car, the times I was late, the jerk who stole my purse, the plans that have gone wrong. Why? Continue reading

not about me

Image by Nathan Dinkerson

Image by Nathan Gray*

The truth is: I don’t like writing posts like my last one — at all. Say what? you might ask. Why?

Why? Because this blog isn’t about me.

This blog isn’t about me just like life isn’t about me — just like it’s not about you or him or her or them or those. This life isn’t about any of us; rather, it’s about all of us. There is nothing I detest more than a braggart. People who are either too full of themselves or too insecure to acknowledge the strength and beauty in others make me sick. After all, it is the intrinsic value of all of us that makes this world a beautiful place. Without that . . .

And so if my last post came across at all boastful, my friends, please forgive me. Truth be told, I am anything but. I recognize my strengths but am acutely aware of my weaknesses — in every way. I think this life is about the collective — about each and every one of us pushing ourselves to be the best we can be, and about encouraging and helping others along the way — and not about placing people on pedestals. We are all of us human. Let’s keep it that way.

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“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”— Picasso

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*My friend Nathan shares his gift through photography. You can find more of his amazing work here.

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the truth behind travel

While on my trip a dear friend from high school posted this photo on my facebook page:

fernweh3“I think you’ve been satisfying this need for a couple of weeks now,” he said.

And I wondered: Was it true?

I’ve been a seeker all my life. From the time I was ten, I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license. Six more years! How would I make it? In high school, my Catholic boyfriend challenged me to examine my Protestant beliefs, and when it came time for college, I chose a school 3,000 miles from home — Southern Adventist University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At Southern, I uncovered a whole new world, one in which umbrellas were a necessity year-round (a strange phenomenon for a California girl) and the correct way to address a group of friends was not “Hey, guys,” but “Ya’ll”! It was the start of what has made me me and a part of what eased my transition to life in Asia  — I already knew about this cicada and humidity thing!

But, I guess my question is: What is travel? And why is it — is it? — important? Continue reading

glue

try too hard3You say you want the real me,
I say I want it, too.
But how can I destroy me,
reveal myself to you?

We all of us have demons,
dark things we’d rather hide.
Though, honest, we’re not heathens,
still it can’t be denied . . .

That none of us is perfect,
no beauty is unflawed.
And what appears a defect
should sometimes be hurrahed.

But maybe that’s my downfall —
it’s too late, I’ve bought in.
Won’t listen to your windfall,
perfection is my sin.

You say you want the real me,
I say I want it, too.
But how can I destroy me,
when I am my own glue?

Click below for an audio recording of this poem.

“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” – Robert Frost

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Image: Google

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the kindness . . . quota?

“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

“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
John Lennon

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.”
Mark Twain

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motherteresahelpingI’m listening to the radio on my drive home tonight and a prerecorded host message comes on between songs. “Here at Radio 94.7, we think Sacramento is pretty awesome. But what if every person in Sacramento did just one random act of kindness per month? How awesome Sacramento would be then? If everyone did that, Sacramento would be, like, the most awesome city in the whole country!” (Or something to that effect.)

And I was like . . .

Well, okay. First things first: Random acts of kindness equal good, so — yes, intentions are good — and effort does count, so — “Yay, 94.7.”

But then I was like . . .

“Per month?!” Whoa, people. Let’s not aim too high here . . . Continue reading