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Love

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More love.

It feels strange to be moving forward when so much of the world around us seems to be moving backwards. I'll be sharing a new podcast episode on Thursday, but I cannot simply let the events of last week go undiscussed.

Last week was a terrible week here in the U.S. and the unrest continues. It's heartbreaking to live in such a broken world.

I've been taught to keep my political leanings to myself and, even though the mainstream media would like you to think otherwise, I truly believe that this isn't about politics — this is about humanity.

Last Friday, before I took a break from the internet, I sent out an email to my Creative Digest readers. It feels important to share it here as well:


Friends:

I had a Creative Digest drafted and ready to go for you this week. It was full of fun links, a podcast interview discussing the importance of making art accessible and some thoughts on maintaining independence in your career.

As much as I would love for all of that to be important right now, it simply isn't. Not with the amount of unrest and violence we've seen here in the U.S. over the last several days (and years) and throughout the world over the last several months (and years).

You know what is important?

Love. Compassion. Understanding. Empathy. An open heart. Open arms. Ears that are ready to listen. Eyes that are ready to see life through someone else's lens. The realization that the majority of the people on this planet likely want the same things: peace, happiness and the right to find a place in this life.

But right now, we're broken.

I have friends who find themselves explaining to their sons and daughters that (sadly, unbelievably, shockingly) they need to be on alert because of the color of their skin. I have friends and family members in law enforcement who are sickened by recent events and cannot imagine situations unfolding the way they have over the last few days. I have friends who have to continually explain that their religion is not a hotbed for terrorism. I have friends who have to continually explain that their religion is not a hotbed for bigotry. I have friends who work in government because they want to make the world a better place, but don't know where to start. I have friends in the military who are constantly questioning (and reminding themselves) what they're fighting for. I have friends who have told me they'll never travel alone because of their gender. I have friends who are scared for their lives because their gender doesn't define them. I have friends who can't believe they're still publicly shamed and targeted because of who they love.

This is an open letter to those friends and to anyone else who is heartbroken as we all face what's in front of us. This world is a precarious place and I'm standing with you, even though I may not know you personally and even if I'm far away.

We'll all handle things differently as the news of terrible events floods our screens. Some of us will speak out in public forums, some of us will show solidarity by showing up, some of us will have deep, face-to-face conversations that end with agreeing to disagree, and some of us will have similar conversations that end with hugs and tears and realizations. 

However you choose to handle things, I hope you approach it all with love.

Please, I beg of you: more love.


You can view the full email here, if you'd like. 

I sent the newsletter as a way to reach those who need to know that I'm here. I'm with you. We need to find a way through this and the only way I know how is to show love. It may not seem like enough — I get that — but love is what I've got to give. 


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Love is...

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. - Robert A. Heinlein

Ahhh... Valentine's Day. Here we are on the day of love notes, red roses and boxes of really terrible chocolate. While the day itself has been commercialized beyond recognition, it's still nice to give a little extra thought to the concept of love. Don't you think?

You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. - Dr. Seuss

To me, love is...

  • Knowing when hugs are needed.
  • Telling people how you feel.
  • Being there.
  • Enjoying the good times and getting through the bad.
  • Having a shoulder to cry on.
  • Doing what you say you'll do.
  • Putting others before yourself.

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Tell me, friends: What does love mean to you?

pssst... Last Valentine's Day had me taking a trip down memory lane.


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What Bravery Means to Me

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On my birthday last year, I decided to make a better effort to be brave. At the time, I had lofty, adventurous goals in mind like, "tackling my fear of the ocean!" or "finally writing that book!", but I'm realizing that brave choices can also be small choices. Seemingly insignificant in the moment, brave acts happen every day. I've not only experienced tiny moments of unexpected bravery for myself, but I've also witnessed it in others and that, dear readers, has been incredible.

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To me, bravery is...

...finally pressing 'send' on scary emails and making tough phone calls.

...sharing your story on the off chance someone may connect with what you have to say.

...graciously tolerating the opinions of others, even when you don't agree.

...speaking up when that opinion is infringing on your boundaries.

...standing by those you love even though they may not always stand by you. 

...making small steps in the direction of your dreams.

...actually showing up.

...learning new things.

...calling upon muscle memory to delve back into things you once knew.

...asking for what you believe you deserve.

...doing what you say you'll do.

...admitting when your wrong.

...being wrong a lot and learning from your mistakes.

...saying yes to things that terrify you.

...saying no to things that don't interest you.

And last, but not least: 

Bravery is... continually learning how to accept yourself at your best and your worst while offering others the same courtesy.

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That last one is something I struggle with every single day. I know I can't be the only one who feels that way, right? So many of the small and quiet acts of bravery are actually the toughest to work through and I feel as though my list only scratches the surface. 

So tell me, friends: How are you brave in day to day life? What does bravery mean to you?


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Road Tripping is For Lovers

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Is it, though? I mean really

Admittedly, my husband and I prefer the open road to the confines of a cramped flight, but we have been known to let our true colors shine right on through from time to time. 

We've argued over where to go, when to go, when to stop, where to stop, whether or not our GPS is correct (I swear I'm smarter than that woman. Spoiler alert: I'm not.), what music to listen to and the temperature at which air conditioning is necessary. 

That said, we love a good adventure. We'll be packing up to drive to Glacier National Park in Montana soon and I can't help but think back to our past trips together. While there's always a chance for disagreements on the road, we've truly enjoyed more hours talking, laughing, singing (me, mostly) and marveling at the sights than we've spent bickering. 

We've learned that we're both fairly opinionated (okay, we've actually known that for over 10 years) and that compromise is key. We pack snacks so I don't get hangry (shut up... it's a real thing) and we compile playlists from both of our music collections. I give fair warning well before I have to stop to use the restroom and he gets control of the GPS.

I've found that learning about one another is the best side effect of traveling as a couple. Road tripping, in particular, allows for a slower pace and more time to both listen and speak. We've chatted about things that would have never come up if we weren't traveling. It's as though the open road leads to a more open mind.

So, I say yes: road tripping is for lovers. It's for friends and family. It's for those who don't mind alternate routes and cheesy road-side attractions. It's for people who can navigate around the occasional disagreement. Best of all: it's an incredible opportunity for long chats, the sharing of ideas and a whole lot of laughter.

You can see more of our Montana road tripping adventures here and here.

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Anyone out there have a favorite road trip story to share? What about the open road makes your true colors come right on out and shine?


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A Look Back: 10 Years Ago

So much can happen in a decade. People grow. Interests fade. And yet, we march on. We connect with communities, nurture relationships and seek inspiration. In the spirit of the upcoming "holiday" associated with love, I'd like to remember a few events from 10 years ago that will forever inspire me to appreciate the people, places and things I love most.


In February of 2003, I went to England.

In fact, 10 years ago today I was waking up in another country for the first time.

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I had decided to take a semester off between junior college and university and, if I'm being honest, the opportunity to visit England with my aunt and nana was a big reason for that break. We were only going to be there 12 days, but I didn't want to lessen the excitement of travel by lugging along giant text books and prepping for make-up exams.

We visited every tourist spot we could find: Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Shakespeare's Globe, Harrod's, you name it. We also had a chance to visit family. My napa, papa, dad, aunt and uncle came to America by ship in the 1950's, but we still have family across the pond. Meeting some of them for the first time was definitely a highlight.

I'm sad to say that I haven't traveled outside of the United States since then -- not even to Canada or Mexico! We've had such a great time visiting places here in the U.S. and haven't really felt the pull from far away places -- yet. That said, we're in the process renewing our passports. We're always watching the travel deals and you never know when an overseas travel opportunity might present itself, right? Right.


I opened my first email from my husband 10 years ago.

This guy. I'm not sure that I've really written about it here, but my husband and I met online 10 years ago. Mmmmhmmm... that's back when we had dial-up, ya'll.

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I specifically remember heading to the lobby of our London hotel to check my email because I only checked it once the entire trip. I paid the nominal fee to use the computer, logged on and there it was: a match.com email from the man I would marry. A few short weeks after my return, we went on our first date and the rest, as they say, is history! We got married in 2008 (photo above) and have been attempting to live life to the fullest ever since. It's hard to believe that we met nearly 10 years ago, but I'm so glad we did.

Can we take a moment and raise a glass to the internet? People thought we were nuts to be searching online for love. Yes, we were young and everyone else was meeting in bars (I'm not even going to begin discussing the success rate of those encounters), but we gave it a shot... and it worked.


10 years ago, I had no clue how studying literary greats would shape my future.

If you told me 10 years ago that I would be reading and understanding Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales in Old English or delving into the authorial intent behind the works in Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem, I would have called you crazy.

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While I was taking a semester off from school 10 years ago, I was also preparing to finish up my English degree at California State University, Sacramento.

You must know this: I have terrible handwriting, I can't speak in public to save my life and I produce fairly crappy first drafts. However, I have read great works.

I learned more about Native American history through literature than I would have ever learned from a textbook. I had time to absorb both the classics and contemporary works. I studied authors who dedicated their lives to the appreciation of nature (they've had a profound influence, if you hadn't noticed).

I was also a writer 10 years ago. I wasn't paid for my work and the results of my efforts were often questionable, but I wrote everyday -- in notebooks, on the old Compaq, in the margins -- and I loved it.


It's amazing how much can change in 10 years, but what really strikes me is just how much remains the same. While there have been bumpy roads and uninspiring moments, I'm still exploring a love of travel, building a true partnership with the man I love and aiming to read and write as much as possible.

Here's to discovering what makes us happy and sticking with it!

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Your turn: How have you all changed in the last 10 years? How have you remained the same? What "loves" have you found that stand the proverbial test of time?


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