Thursday, 19 July 2018

sois doux...

it is not a newsflash that language holds power for me nor is it a surprise, I think, that I love to study and learn.
a few years ago when I found myself feeling particularly antsy about the absence of international influence on my day-to-day, I enrolled in a french class.  my heart soared with joy and trembled a bit with nervousness as I worried about my progress and performance each week.  since those days in class, I have kept this language close even if for my own smile inducing knowledge base when I overhear someone speaking it.
sometimes I translate a phrase I have found significance and support within from english to this lovely other language which holds such a captivating tone.
recently, my days have been a bit more mindful, which has enlivened my spirit and brought a bit more peace.

sois doux.
be gentle.

a statement heard so often from a parent to a child as this little one learns how to utilize his or her fine motor skills.  we even use a gentle tone to direct them to model care, as we remember that they are little and need to learn how to lovingly attend to other people and things.
these words make sense to me in regard to relationship with others.
with myself?
pas toujours.
not always.
I find myself saying often that I believe we are all little ones on the inside.  I believe this statement to be a truth, an encouragement, a connector, a frustration...
mostly as a refreshment.
I wonder what today would be like if we all chose to be a bit more gentle with ourselves,
like we do with little ones without even having to think.
and when we forget to do so, what if we were gentle in our redirection, too?

I read not long ago a quote from my friend, bob, which made an impression.
"whether we want to or not, we memorize what we do repeatedly."  

sois doux avec toi-même.  
be gentle with yourself.

just a few thoughts I had today as I work to finish up my summer semester of grad school.  
two papers left to write and then a month off!  huzzah!  
a few days at the beach to follow for a bit of a holiday. 
the week after, preparations begin to start new work at a job where I get to practice a bit of that french language I love and work to help kids navigate life.  I will certainly need to remember to sois doux avec toi-même as I bumble my way through my attempts to use my elementary skills.  


Friday, 13 July 2018


today, I had breakfast for lunch at the adorably endearing caffe and wine bar around the corner from my apartment.  it feels like you are sitting at a sidewalk café in europe.
my heart is happy there.
they serve coffee so hot, you have to wait to drink it.  if they bring you milk to put in it, as I always ask for, the milk is heated up.  if you order sparkling water or soda, they ask if you would like them to pour it for you.  they care not how long you sit and eat your food at your leisure.
my heart is happy there.
so, this afternoon, as I sat feeling light, looking at the tree-lined streets of my neighbourhood with eyes that felt clear and sharp like I had just put in a fresh pair of contact lenses, I read a book about emotional agility.  I am taking an elective this summer semester in grad school on mindfulness, essentially the choice to live in the present moment with acceptance and kindness, so I do find myself being more aware of my surroundings than I have in recent months.  I am thankful to be reminded to do something I feel I have an instinctual (both by nature and by excellent mentoring over the years) tendency toward.
perhaps some of this practice is, indeed, seeping into my daily life.

ok, that is a long preface to get to the point of this story.
shocking, I know.  :)

as I finished the last bites of my divine bagel sandwich, a couple walked out of the caffe.
I did a double take and tried not to gawk.
this couple was familiar to me.
I do not know their names, but I certainly knew their faces and had seen them before.

earlier in the week, I tried a new coffee shop a few miles down the road.  I adore coffee shops, and finding the spots where I can take my computer to work on homework, people watch, read a book, or all of the above, is always on the top of my list of favourite things to do, especially when I move to a new neighbourhood as I have done recently.
this coffee shop is in an odd spot attached to an office building, not exactly an easy find.  I drove past it even using my GPS the first time.

as I sat trying to force myself to focus on getting work done, a couple came in and sat next to me.
I remember being a touch annoyed, wondering why they needed to sit so near when there were a  number of empty tables elsewhere that did not seem to invade my space.
quickly my disdain turned to delight as I listened to the two giggle at one another as they spoke.  she brought him a gift of cookies which she gave him nervously.
he giggled and thanked her acknowledging a previous conversation that led her to buy them for him.
I tried not to draw attention to myself or to eavesdrop impolitely.  their interaction was lovely.
they inspired me to write...

a couple sits to my left in a new coffee shop find.
they giggle at each other which exhibits a contagious spirit of all things kind.
at a glance they appear an odd match, if on a date they happen to be,
then again, who am I to decide who should be a "we".
she gave a gift to start.
he shared SNL parodies which certainly are filled with art.
the joy makes my eyes smile,
as I have not observed others in a while.

this SAME COUPLE walked out of my favourite caffe this morning!
I had to suppress my grin and try not to stare.  she held a gift bag which I can only assume was a reciprocation of the gift she had given him earlier in the week.  they were smiling fondly at one another as they chatted on the sidewalk before hugging goodbye.
I couldn't believe it.
I still cannot believe it.
I feel like I have gotten the privilege to witness a bit of their friendship, and it makes my spirit smile.

you never know what you might notice if you

happy friday, friends,

Thursday, 1 February 2018

winter? in texas...

seasons are key.
in texas, seasons are sparse. it is 70 degrees in february, and you can walk to lunch from your office.
the walking, I fancy.
the up and down climate...?
well, I believe in
and prefer seasons.

life is filled with uncertainty and chaos, and without some predictable elements, I confess I often feel out of sorts.
this year began with more activity on my calendar, and I am thankful, as these planned events all are filled with people work of various kinds... all moving me toward finding my heartbeat which has felt a bit distant in recent years.
have you ever spent time away from your joy center?
away from the work that exhausts in envigorating ways?
sometimes a break is needed to recharge, refresh, and renew.
sometimes those muscles which were worked so rigorously for so many years feel a bit weak and need to be attended to more mindfully than before when novelty and innocence abounded.

muscle memory.
it is a real thing.
I find myself realising that I have to be patient with myself as I ease back into using instincts and learned skills which are foundational in my spirit. many of these abilities have laid dormant in recent years as I have explored and tried to sort out the next path.
I am working to remember what I do well.
where I thrive.
where I come alive.
where my joy is contagious.

sometimes life and obligations cloud and distract from bigger perspective.
at times people pull me off track and trip me up.
life is a battle.

may this year continue to find me fighting for the joy of making a positive impression on people with whom I have the privilege to do life alongside.


Tuesday, 27 June 2017


a good teacher encourages students to believe in oneself.
clearly, we are not all adept at doing "anything we put our minds to", despite that early cheer from many of our parents when we were little ones.
if we could do anything, well...
if I could do ANYTHING, well, I would probably not engage in much.  in fact, on days and during seasons of life where I have infinite time with little structure, I do just that...very little.
direction is necessary for me to feel able to focus.
self-awareness enables me to move forward...toward.

a couple of weeks ago, I spent five days in colorado diligently working on counseling skills.  not techniques really.  more lessons in listening.
each day brought challenge and stretching.
I had fun.
it turns out I have chosen a field that does, indeed, suit me.
I learned.
this master's degree I am pursuing is making me a deeper, better version of me.  not a new me.  a deeper version of me.  I like it.

at times, I feel like a broken record, playing the same song again and again, speaking of transition, change, and rebuilding my nest.  at the same moment, I think, aren't we all going through these stages?  starting over daily to work toward becoming and nesting?
I told someone recently that I feel my sweet spot may be where familiarity and mystery connect.
my rootedness and desire to be known needs some run-ins with brand new relationships and change of dynamic.
I need risk.
it makes me uncomfortable.  it humbles me.  sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe.
I need risk.
I also need roots.
they make me feel safe.  I smile more.  I get to be silly.  I feel supported.
I need roots.

feel the bottom of the pool.
know your muscles remember what to do.
push off the wall, float, breathe.
find a rhythm, and relax.

a steady job.
a new nest to be found.
studies abound.
relationships to deepen.

happy summer, friends!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

eyes that smile...

do you know what things in life make your eyes smile?
in my experience, it is of the utmost importance to remember said things and keep as near to them as possible.
I have at times made a list.
it helps.
my list is quite lengthy, as I am easily entertained and often a small child, but recently as I strive toward gaining a bit more focus, I see three items that rise to the top:


my friend, tomàš is czech.  he was one of my manager's at a job in colorado, and he is delightful.
truly delightful.
one day, on a particularly stressful, frustrating afternoon working alongside this sweet man, I made a statement to the effect of "tomàš, this is ridiculous!".  in one of those providential moments, I thought to ask him how to translate the word 'ridiculous' into czech.  he thought for a bit and declared,
"hloupy' (hi-lōpē)!".  I replied, "yes!  that word even sounds ridiculous!"
and, so it began...  tomàš would teach me more and more words and phrases in his native language, and we both were both entertained and soothed by this distraction from the deep frustrations we faced at work.  oh, wait.  our language lessons actually started after I recognized a word he used in speaking with another czech who worked at the resort.  he said, "dobre", which means, 'good'.  I recognized it from a trip I took years ago to bulgaria.  saying "dobre" and showing a thumbs up was literally the extent of our ability to communicate for many of us.  tomàš beamed with joy when I acknowledged knowing this word!  that is where our discussion in language commenced.
I love language and culture.  an accent indicates both, and learning happens here.
every time.
london taught me to appreciate culture and international community.  joy lives here for me.

over the years, I have been blessed to make friends of many little camp, babysitting, kids of friends, teaching, etc.  no matter the setting, kids and I get along well.  they are honest, engaging, simple, deep, authentic, hilarious, accepting, and smart.

my master's studies are going well.  these classes are the thread that is keeping me focused on the larger goal I have to do counseling full time.  I think I have an idea of setting, as well.  I am working on it.  helping people process life is such an honour and a blessing to me.

so, for now, I will only mention these three that are on my overarching career track goal.  I know joy lives with these elements in my life, and in a time of life where there seems to be a fair bit of loss and more "real life" than I prefer, I go back to that list of things that make my eyes smile.
a real life example:
today, a girl at work mentioned by happenstance that she and her husband leave for boston tomorrow for week.  I nearly fell down with joy!  she asked me to tell her everything I know.
a couple of times my words got jumbled with that joy.  she giggled at me.  I loved it.  that conversation brought me out of my fog that had settled in this morning.
and, you know what?  when I go back to that list, I also realize that it has more on it than I sometimes remember.
I hope you make a list and lean in to those spots.
life is short and we are meant to live it fully.

happy wednesday!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

I choose HOPE.

oubliant ce qui est en arrière
et tendant vers ce qui est en avant... (phil. 3.13)

this saying to the left has become prominent as of late in regard to elizabeth warren's resistance toward being silenced.  I do not currently find myself in a place where people are unwilling to hear what I have to say, but I do very much like the sentiment and tenacity that this sentence speaks to my spirit.
whether up against a foe or a challenge or feeling a bit underneath stigma or lacking confidence, this charge carries connotation of effort, determination, and moxie.

I speak often of transition and change.  so much so that it almost seems rote or shoulder-shrugging typical, and though it has become a normal state of being for me in perhaps more obvious, tangible ways than some other people, the truth which also lies in this constant shifting is that it is full of emotion, loss, gain, and mindfulness.
my address is being altered beginning in march to a residence that is not a foreign one but one I call familiar.
it could seem like a "going-back".
but it is not.

it is a mindful decision to move forward.
I had a couple of questions that I needed to have answered here in this mountain town, and that task having now been accomplished, the next chapter needs to begin.

the choices others make, at times, make me sad.  
the choices I make, at times, make others sad, I know, as well.  (I wish that were not so.) 
but you know what? 
life is not a quest to avoid sadness.
it is about living life to the full.    
and feeling it ALL.
loving to the grandest, bravest extent.  
so, I am doing my best to live fully and sometimes that means more transition, whether my spirit would choose that decision firstly or not.  

I try to build relationships that last a lifetime.  so, ending any connection in a way that feels unfinished, hurt-filled, or lost leaves a wound.  
mourning never ceases on some level because life lived alongside friends, layers in shared moments, inside jokes, memories of connection points which constantly pop up in day to day life no matter what my address happens to read.  so, I want to send that text, picture, or reference when I see it to make that friend laugh or smile knowingly on the other end of the phone.  needing to stop short of pushing that arrow that indicates it will reconnect us...
I respect the boundary.  I intellectually acknowledge the distance to be in place.  
I will never like it.
this change holds opportunity and hope.  
I am thankful for a lifeboat that has been extended.  it is a wise decision to accept it.
right now, I am sat feeling tired.  

"sometimes the best way to go is to just go on."      
                                                                -kimmy schmidt.                                               


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

each step is to be celebrated.

though my studies did not often take me to the brick and mortar library this semester, I do feel this image from the BPL appropriate.  

the first semester of my quest toward a master's degree is COMPLETE!

colorado is quiet.
this is not news to my spirit.  
it is for this solace and peace that I chose this locale for work on my advanced degree.  I now know what sort of day-to-day life needs to look like to make certain school gets done well alongside regular life tasks.  
I can complete this degree.
it was unknown and untouchable before this past handful of months.  
it now is a reality and somewhat known in its needs and rhythm.  


writing a personal narrative for one of my final assignments for one my classes, I sat and contemplated a number... 
the number of moves I have made since my world expanded quite literally.  difficult to believe for me and for you, I would imagine, as well.  

searching for "home".  
searching for safe spaces to "become".

to be honest, I have no indication that this search will cease anytime soon.  I do not necessarily plan to keep moving locations as much as I have this past 10 years or so, 
but I will continue to seek out spots where I feel engaged, alive, challenged, and safe in spirit.

I certainly hope that my search for identity never ceases to be a quest of mine.

this next physical move, whenever it happens, I can tell you, will be with laser clear focus on a newly found vision for a path for which I have seen in the distance for some time and now is just within arms reach.

happy Christmas!