Infectiously Happy

Day 17, 18 & 19: Eleven years ago 

Venice Beach 2005.
12/4 made 11 years since my first date with Christian. We were living on opposite coasts both trying to eek out a living in the airlines. We spent this crazy fun weekend together eating sushi and running around LA together. Most of the weekend is a distant memory BUT at the time I kept a hand written journal. I wrote nearly every day during that time and I like to look back at it during this time of year. 

December 7th, 2005 in my own words, I wasn’t ready to leave LA after spending the weekend with Christian (aka Frenchie).

I flew back and forth weekly to see him in California for nearly two months and that time in our lives was very different from the life we have now together. There have been many versions of our togetherness that led to right now. So many things have changed but there are some things that are constant. This journal is a reminder

December 22, 2005.

December 22, 2005:

When I am with Christian, I feel beautiful and brilliant. He treats me delicately… takes care of me. I feel protected. Cherished. … I could love him.

 I thought I could love him. I do, so very much. He and I have had to grow and mature and we still work so hard to build this love we share. He has been my protector and rock for 11 years. He still makes me feel beautiful and brilliant on a daily basis, like last week when he told me how proud he was of Ujamaa Maker’s Market. 

Our first photo as a family of four.

When Palmer was born and had to go to the NICU there was this nurse who was just mean. Most of the time I can handle myself but at that time I was broken and exhausted and My hubby, who was also struggling got her together on my behalf in such a way that I will always be grateful. 

Last year and since losing Pat, there are times when I need to be handled delicately through my grief. He recognizes it and honors it. These eleven years have been magical and full of lessons. We have had beautiful and ugly times. Yesterday someone asked me what is the biggest lesson marriage has taught me and I think in my own life it is gratitude. 

I am grateful for this French stranger. I am so grateful he continues to show up and work hard towards our mutual happiness. I am grateful for each day we have been able to wake up to each other either by phone, email (there was no texting  11 years ago) or in person.  
I love you Carboni! 

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Day 16: I take care of myself…

Mantra soap from SisterCare Alliance. I read it aloud everytime I shower… “I take care of myself in every way and in every environment. ”

… In every way and in all environments. In business and leisure. In family, marriage, motherhood and friendships. And for some reading this, you will assume selfishly. I take care of myself first because if not I am useless to everyone else. I can’t be all there to love, support or build with my husband and sons, sisterfriends, family or community if I don’t first pour love and care into myself. I taught a class last night and the mantra was: I deserve my own care. 

You do. We all do. I see so many stupid memes about putting others before yourself. I have been accused of being a bad friend if I create boundaries or walk away from interactions in the name of my own needs. I’ve read articles about the selflessness a good mother should have. MALARKEY.
Let me tell you that it’s a lie. To be great and loving… present with gratitude and compassion, You will have to take care of you. You will have to make yourself a priority. You may have to leave or stop. You will have to say no and let that be a complete sentence. You will have to make space for yourself. You will have to be authentic and spend time learning who you are and what you need/want. You will have to eat well. You will have to be tender with yourself. You will have to step into your  power.  You will have to decide you want a life that really feels good, instead of just  looking good. 

Taking care of you is going to be hard work. 

You are worth it.

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Day 13, 14 & maybe 15…

I keep being asleep by 930pm, which I am not going to even  feel bad about. I feel rested as hell so I am going to  keep it up. My last couple of days have been a manifestation of hard work. Yesterday was Ujamaa, a holiday market to support other women owned businesses in my community. It is the second year that Revolution EGO has hosted this event and yesterday was AMAZING!!!  I am laying awake at 4am looking at photos, so blown away and energized from a day of true collective economics. 

I always have moments when I am working on projects that are important to Tinesha and I where I am so nervous about how it will be received or supported and yesterday was no different but I was exceptionally nervous because we had 20+ other businesses trusting us with their brands, arts, creations and crafts. I am so grateful for each of them and for the people who came out to support them and us. The day was beyond anything I could have imagined. We decided to do this because we wanted to support others and create a way to introduce people to the beautiful talents right here in our city. Last year and this year, I had folks doubting and second guessing our efforts. Tinesha and I were committed to this and yesterday was confirmation for me that the effort was entirely worth it.

This post is to remind you that the universe is continually working in your favor. The ability to create is there. The possibility for success is a sure thing when you are connected to your purpose. Yesterday was a clear message to me about the power of community and the power of spreading love. Let’s continue to move forward. Make the effort to do more than survive. We have to keep lifting one another and working together. 

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Day 11 & 12: Say Something real

 

I have this client, Christal. She has become more of my friend (like many of my clients) and her visits to the salon are a mix of joking, catching up and me “whispering to her fro”. Lol.  Christal made that up. What I love best about my time with her is the very real conversations we get to have. Last night we stood in the rain talking about death, gratitiude and life’s purpose. I went home floating and drifted off to sleep meaning to post something simple for day 11, which was yesterday… So let this serve as 11 & 12.

Say something real today. Have an authentic conversation about something, with anyone. Genuinely express something, even if you have to whisper it to yourself. We deserve to dig deeper and connect with others on that level. The time has come to be open. Like my dear friend John Love says, open all of your doors, all of your windows.  It’s okay to cry or to lose composure. I did last night and will any time, really. We have the right to fully express and honor who we are and what we are struggling with, what makes us happy, what we really want in this life. It is okay to be unabashedly joyful, in love, in bliss. Don’t continue to put a shade on what you are feeling both good and bad. They all serve the same purpose… To grow, inspire and transform you. You are stifling yourselef every time you decide to be surface. You should treat yourself better.  You are furthering the divide between yourself and love. It can only flourish in real spaces.

I said it yesterday to Christal and will say it now, If we were meant to be alone in our experiences we wouldn’t be so surrounded by others. We keep inventing ways to be more connected and it has only served to create a disconnect. We forget that real people are more than likes and FB comments. We need to be tending connections in real life. Reach out today. I am here, if no one else seems to be.

 

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Day 10: Dinner Ideas

Over the last two days I have lost my voice. I am writing this at 6am and I am not sure if my voice is back yet BUT I realized yesterday that maybe it is a message to my body to BE QUIET! Any way, I did get a few messages yesterday about Gluten free and dairy free nourishment so I decided to share a quick meal idea that takes basically no time or talents to produce! 

Lemon rice with crunchy Chickpeas 

So this recipe came to be because my friend Candace is growing a lemon tree and she gave me one two weeks ago. It was a Meyer lemon so it has a touch of sweetness to it but I am pretty sure that a regular old lemon would work just fine.

What you need:

Cooking oil (I prefer coconut oil )

water  (for boiling rice)

1 can of Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed 

1 cup of rice (I like basmati)

1/2 of medium Sweet yellow onion

1 cup of celery 

1 lemon, juiced 

1tsp salt (for cooking rice)

1 tbs of Mt. Elberts All Purpose seasoning (from the Savory Spice Store) 
What you will do: 

1. Put your rice on to boil, adding salt to the water. (If you aren’t sure how to do this there are instructions on your rice container and a vast Internet but I am side eyeing you)

2. Chop onions and celery finely. Put on to saute in oil in a large skillet or pan. Add seasoning. 

3. While they sautée juice your lemon. Pour over the onions and celery. 

4. Open Chickpeas. Drain and rinse. Add to skilled. Sautée and let the Chickpeas get a little crunchy. 

5. Mix in your cooked rice. 

Curried Kale and Zucchini 

I love kale and zucchini but until last week  I had never cooked them together on purpose. This is a quick side to go  with your lemon rice…

What you need: 

Cooking Oil

2 cups of Kale, chopped (I prefer lacinato over curly because of its tender leaves) 

1 medium zucchin, chopped 

1/2 cup of Vandalia onion, chopped

a dash of salt 

1 tsp of curry 

What you do:

1. Chop all your vegetables 

2. Put onions on in oil in medium pan on medium heat. Allow to cook until translucent. 

3. Add in kale and zucchini. Add salt and curry. Add 1 tbs of water and cover. 

4. Cook for about 8 minutes.
Enjoy! 

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Day 9: Nourishment 

Let me be honest, blogging everyday is more difficult some days then others. It has been helpful for me though, because I have a bunch of ideas floating in my pretty head and even though I am only sharing a few here each day I am forced to organize, focus and dig a little deeper. 

A few months ago I started reading about mindful eating and decided to incorporate some of the practices into my own life. It is a move to get away from the mindset of restriction or lack in the form of dieting. It has meant some simple changes but I have felt the power of that shift.   

Most recently I eliminated gluten, dairy and processed sugar from my consumption. Baby Duke showed signs on sensitivity that manifested as sensitive, dry and itchy skin. He mainly consumes breastmilk so I made the shift in my diet. I think without the mindful eating practices it would have been much harder to navigate.  I even made four dishes for Thanksgiving to replace the dairy and gluten I would have usually consumed. I am happy to already see some improvements in my little guy.

 
 At this point on my wellness journey I am asking myself daily, “What do I want to create ?”. The question has been helpful in deciding how I move, what I eat and how I engage with the world around me. Nourishment is about more that food. For me, it is connected to everything that I take  in.  And in some ways, is what led to me reconsidering how I would use social media or connect to family and friends. 

Have a powerful day.❤

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Day 7-8: Action cures Fear


It’s on my planner, kinda serving as a reminder to stop getting stuck in that holding pattern that fear creates. I mentioned earlier this week a list of intentions I set for myself for 2016 and this morning I revisited THE LIST, just  for my own check in to see what I have left undone this year. Alot of it has unfolded in a way that leaves me feeling great and ready to set nee intentions for 2017. Some of it I am not sure I want anymore but a few of them are still there for me. They are still daunting for me BUT I am slowly moving through them, towards them. Baby steps. And every time I feel fear getting closer I say to myself: ACTION CURES FEAR.

Being away from social media, even for this short time has been a big help because I have had time to work on some big personal and professional goals but also because I have had time to color and jam to new music and sit in silence, think and write. I am actually kinda sad about the amount of time I have apparently wasted scrolling and such. I let go of that guilt though, in one of those sitting in silence moments. Even when I put those apps back on my phone, I am going to be very intentional about staying connected to the importance of disconnecting. Self study is the most important form of study. 

So here is my point… Let’s just do what we need to do. Let us get to work on our hearts callings. Let’s  take the baby steps, do the hard work. Action cures fear. We each deserve a life that is good, not just looks good. We each have the power to create that in our own lives, in different ways. Ciao for now… I’ve got work to do. 

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Day 6 of 36: sick day

We woke up like this… Truly.

I woke up feeling yucky. Palmer did too. One of us cried all morning, or at least until he had some tea. I guess we are sick. Not baby Duke… Thank God for breastmilk. In the spirit of honoring all of it, we took it so easy that I don’t even know how we got to the evening. My babies must of known I needed some recuperation time because they were happy to watch movies, sip tea and soup and take long cuddly naps. I call that a Sick Mama’s Thanksgiving. Truly. 

I did, however, do a bit of purging and moving around of furniture and energy in our little house. I am grateful for this home but find myself frustrated with it lately, sick of the kitchen and small bathroom, ready to move. But just like my body told me to take some time to attend to myself, I took some time to focus my energy on rejuvenating our arrangements. I will be grateful for this warm, safe space that has been our home until it isn’t. 

Sculpture discussion group.

In between my Dr  Quinn Medicine Woman duties (mainly keeping the echineaca tea and elderberry syrup flowing) and crazy cleaning lady purge, I discussed sculpture and volcanoes Palmer,  colored and treated us to Pho. 

Pho makes life worth living.

Today was a good(sick) day❤

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Day 5 of 36: Life is Sweet.

Sweet mid day snuggles from Baby Duke.

I know that life can be messy and painful. I cried this morning in the shower, first because I miss Pat. I long to hand Duke to her and watch them nuzzle and laugh together. Then I cried because I thought of the people I know that are waking up to a first, or second, or twentieth holiday without someone they love. I know they say time heals but ho1lidays can be hard. I have moments of wanting to be done with sadness but it is important for each of us to honor and make space for the full range of emotions and experiences…  I stepped out of the bathroom to a grinning baby and I cried a little while I dressed with him at my feet because he is an amazing reminder of the endless cycle of love. If Pat hadn’t poured so much love into me, I might not even be at this point  to have and love this beautiful baby. His sweetness is salve to my heart many days. 

Today I got to spend all morning with my mama and my babies. I got to hug my oldest friend. I got to eat dinner with my family and some friends, my hubby even got off early. We came home with full bellies and laughed with our boys until bedtime. Bed time was chaos and I am currently laying in bed feeling grateful that they are all asleep but also for the life I have and the people in it. I am grateful for the opportunity to gather and enjoy our choice of foods. I am thankful for safe and loving relationships. I am grateful to be able to earn money doing things that I love with people that I love. I hope you had a chance to find some sweetness in this day. 

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Day 4 of 36: For love to flourish… 

for-love-to-flourish-the-ego-muct-dieFor love to flourish, your ego is going to have to die. You know, your need to be right and avoid embarrassment. The feeling of entitlement. The practice of wearing masks. The game of get back, subtweets and revenge. All of that will have to be put aside. Because as powerful as love is, it will be stifled, smothered and strangled by the overgrowth of a greedy ego. Ego makes you think the whole world revolves around you, owes you, is there for your pleasure…. In reality “the world” is here to teach, evolve and inspire you. Most of that will be far from pleasurable. Maybe downright unpleasant. Love too, can be a hard teacher.

A few weeks ago during a group discussion of Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements ,  we were discussing how we learn to love. A member of the group, felt as though she had never learned how to practice true romantic love. I said then and want to say now, that one of the biggest mistakes we make is to put romantic love on a pedestal above all other loves. We require it to be perfect, mind-blowing, feet sweeping and intense not knowing that it has to be treated like the love you share with a family member or good friend. We are so focused on finding romantic love but neglect being loving in the relationships we are in along side of romance. The person who cannot sustain friendships won’t be able to magically sustain a romantic relationship. The person who cannot foster harmony in family groups won’t know how to harmoniously build a family with someone else because of romance.

The relationships outside of romance fail to thrive often because of ego. The inability to connect authentically because you are pretending will seep into every connection. The practice of making others repeatedly prove their love will wear out the most devoted. The inability to have gratitude for the people always ready to help will deplete your tribe every time.

If you really love someone there is no expecting, proving and testing. There is only loving. There is honesty. There is a true desire, backed by action, to see them thrive… with or without you.

For love to flourish you will have to give love freely, even when the ego seeks validation and reciprocation. But to do that you will have to fill yourself with so much love that the giving makes no difference for you. There is no lack because you are overflowing with love.

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