Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leavenworth Pictures Christmas 2009

Here are some Leavenworth Pictures taken by LoveHubbie Mark. Since there were quite a few, I uploaded them to Facebook. Even if you don't have Facebook, you can see them here. I hope that you like them and can get a sense of what I wrote about the trip.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back from Leavenworth

We are back from Leavenworth and from our adventure to recreate Christmas. Like most adventures, it was filled with unexpected surprises of all types. It was a wonderful trip.

LoveHubbie has yet to upload his pictures, as he is hard back at his job with a huge backlog of work to do, so until then I'm sharing with you some gorgeous pictures taken by Abendblume Pension, the bed-and-breakfast where we stayed.

The town of Leavenworth, WA is set up to look like a German town high in the mountains. Everything from the McDonald's to the Starbucks is special, with alpine-looking facades and everything set to convince you that you are really in Germany. The whole town is surrounded by mountains, as you can see in this first picture. It was bitter cold, and we were fortunate that although the snow was piled up everywhere, there was none on the roads so traveling was safe.

The Abendblume Pension is subtly Christian throughout and the owners are lovingly and caringly and hospitably Christian. There was a peaceful spirit that permeated the entire place that is unlike most Christian places I know. I just loved being there, and I would think that anyone, no matter what their beliefs, would feel the same.

This is a picture of the dramatic circular staircase in the entryway. I just loved looking at it.

LoveHubbie and I were disconnected from the rest of the world while we were there. It made for a very intense time. LoveHubbie and I both have many issues around Christmas and this was a perfect place to be together and to learn how to experience Christmas in a different way.

It was the most positive experience I've had of this time of year in a long, long time. I actually began to love the decorations and to feel fondly towards the holiday season. I really enjoyed the other people who were there. They seemed to be quiet, peaceful, and like us in seeking a time to be together yet away from home and to relax.

The beds were made up in a European style, which we really enjoyed. Instead of sheets, there were two duvets on each bed with duvet covers. I slept like a baby every night, all night through, wrapped up in my duvet.

I didn't bring my laptop, so I felt cut off from all of you. I didn't like that too much, but it allowed me to focus in on just LoveHubbie, so that was probably a good thing. Even though I did have my iPhone (and thus FaceBook and Twitter) it wasn't the same, and in the mountains our iPhones weren't very reliable. Still, being isolated ended up being a good thing. I liked that LoveHubbie and I focused on each other and on our feelings about this time of year.

This is the breakfast area; here you can see the beautiful style of all of the decorations. This is hard to explain, but in the totally strange environment, completely absent of anyone familiar except LoveHubbie, I allowed myself to let in good feelings about Christmas. It was a very safe place, safe from bad family memories, safe to create good positive ones. It is hard to put into words.

We were alone when we needed to be but with others when we needed that as well. It was a very romantic environment and it seemed that the couples who were also there had been together for many years. The group we were with was mostly older folks, so their company was particularly enjoyable--people who have been married for many years and who were successful at building and maintaining loving relationships.

The food at breakfast was amazing. I had the best omelet I ever had in my life, as well as lots of other great food. Both LoveHubbie and I sampled everything that was there, including the treats that were presented each night. I pretty much abandoned my normally restrictive diet and just enjoyed myself.

We ventured into town most days either to eat or to look at the little shops. Downtown Leavenworth is a little Bavarian village. It was quite crowded at this time of year, and even though everyone seemed very friendly, we don't enjoy crowds much, so we hurried back to the pension to relax by the fire. To read. To talk.

We had some very intense times. I witnessed a lot of LoveHubbie's pain, and he mine. I cried a lot. I forgave a lot. I feel like I am only just starting to heal, but this was a beautiful way to start, in a safe and lovely environment, and even, in community.

More pictures, our own pictures, and more reflections to come. I haven't processed everything yet, because I wasn't alone or writing much, so I'll do that here. And share it with you :)

~All pictures are from the Abendblume Facebook site and Website

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recreating Christmas

So as many of you know, LoveHubbie and I are going to Leavenworth, WA to have a romantic getaway in an attempt to recreate Christmas from a holiday of tiresome depressive-type memories to something good. We are both pretty excited about it. I will be satisfied if we simply rest, relax, and focus on all of our many blessings, including each other. It 'tis the season for Gratitude!

I won't be taking my computer, but I'll take some pictures to post when we get back. I wish you all a wonderful time filled with gratitude for all we each have, because no matter how we spend this holiday we are surely blessed with abundance. Some of us will be having family challenges (like Mary Catherine) and opportunities to extend forgiveness, others will be enjoying the blessings of solitude and peace and absence of drama. Some of us are in different places from their loved ones, like Rick and Julia. Others of us have family members serving our country overseas. Some of us will be dealing with health challenges, like little Carly, who is again in the hospital; please pray for her. Others, like Kelly are starting whole new chapters in their lives. Still others are traveling...

One thing I know for sure is that we all have our greatest blessing in the people who love us. I am blessed with all of you, and I will carry you in my heart this Christmas season.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Feeling Loved

Thank all of you who left comments on my last post. They were funny, affirming, sweet, and loving beyond measure. You all are wonderful, my friends!

I had an experience early on in the week that has stuck with me and that I've thought about daily. Our house is heated by a wood stove and it has been cold here lately. We have some little space heaters in the wall that can be used to generate some heat in an emergency but they are tiny, the house is large, and they're electric and expensive. I've been running those but it was down in the single digits and I was still freezing and trying to write every day.

Tuesday it dipped down to 8 degrees. I woke up and decided that no matter what, I was going to get the wood stove going that day. It involved setting up our portable humidifier and getting wood in from the woodshed. I needed a man. Or a woman with a stronger back than I had.

So I recklessly called people on Craig's List. I didn't care if they were licensed, bonded, or could spell. I wanted someone then so that my fingers would thaw out and my nose would stop running. I ended up connecting with several nice people, but Ed answered first so he got the job. Ed came over and cleaned and assembled my humidifier, he filled my wood round, he started a fire. He refused work gloves and our firewood carrier, saying he liked to do things "the old-fashioned way" and carried the wood in his arms. While he was there, he also cleared the debris from the storm last week off of my driveway, out of the front and back yards, and blew the roof off and cleaned out the gutters too. He worked fast. He was really concerned that everything was the way I wanted it and that he do a good job.

I don't really know anything about Ed. I don't know why I trusted him from the moment I talked to him on the phone.

But what I've thought of again and again was something that happened when Ed started the fire. I picked up our broom and started to sweep up the dirt and stones and wood fragments that always litter our hardwood floor from the back door to the fireplace whenever wood is brought in. Ed said, "No, no...leave it; I'll get that." It startled me, but I left the broom, and sure enough, he swept up after himself.

Even writing about it makes me cry for some reason. I felt a feeling I haven't had in a long time. I felt cared for. I know it was a little thing, a small thing, but it gave me a feeling that is rare in my life.

Growing up I didn't feel cared for. I knew that my parents would begrudgingly provide, but that I was to "earn my keep" and that I was there to serve them, to make their lives better and to justify my existence. I lived for the day I would turn eighteen and get to leave home. Since then, I've tried to give back in relationships and jobs and life in general and to make sure that others know how much I care for them. And I've sort of recreated my home situation again and again I fear.

So when Ed went beyond and seemed to care---Ed the Stranger---Ed the cleanup guy from Craig's List---it broke my heart open this week. It was especially tender that he was a man. Sometimes I think that angels come to me in male form because God knows that I expect so little from men and She wants to surprise me.

I called Ed and thanked him for his good work but I couldn't really expressed how he'd touched me so deeply; I didn't know how to explain it in a way that would make sense. That happens often to me. Sometimes I try to convey to people how I appreciate them and how they've touched me by signing off (say on a comment on a blog post) with what I want for them and to thank them in my signature when I wish them peace and love or joy and blessings or hope and rest and peace. It's still hard to convey, though.

As hard as it is, that is what I wish for Ed and for each of you. Thank you for touching my life and for helping me to feel loved.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Season, Estrangements, and Unconventional Christmases

I was moved by Rick's post on the JJL blog the other day about his unconventional holiday plans. I wrote a comment after the post that I want to expand here.

It's about what we call "the season".

We never have conventional Christmases. For the last ten, my husband has been mourning the loss of his children via estrangement after a difficult divorce. Each Christmas is a painful reminder of what he has lost. He makes calls and waits for them to be returned, which they rarely are. He knows they will never visit nor will they welcome his visits any more than his calls. He is accepting that he will probably never know his grandchildren. Since LoveHubbie's father died a few years ago, his extended family has also drawn apart. His stepmother is still grieving, mourning her husband, forgotten by the rest of his family. We call her and cry and miss Dad. His brothers may or may not talk but they are no longer close. For LoveHubbie, Christmas is all about family and about how he doesn't have it anymore.

I have not always enjoyed the holiday myself as my mother attempted suicide on Christmas Eve and then died ten days later; this was a capstone to many dreaded Christmases before that. As an adult, I’ve never been successful working myself up to be consistently enthusiastic about all of the festivity although I do make efforts occasionally.

For example. When LoveHubbie lived with his children, no one ever gave him presents, as his wife encouraged gift giving solely between herself and the children. LoveHubbie too would give to them, but no one would give dad gifts. This was their tradition. So for one of our first Christmases together, I gave LoveHubbie 100 gifts. Most were very small, and collected for several months beforehand and each wrapped individually. It took the whole day just to open them. I wanted him to know that he was loved and to make up for all of those years that everyone decided not to bother. My efforts grew less enthusiastic and eventually have extinguished over the past several years, deflated by LoveHubbie's despair and inability to enjoy good things at this time of year as well as the loss of my Dad (my father-in-law).

I have found a peace about the season, though, because I have been given a precious gift. I know how weird this is may sound, but the one thing that gives me warm feelings is that I am estranged by choice from my own biological family of origin. I was the "black sheep" of the family for years, and each and every year I celebrate inside that there are no more arguments, no more recovering from cruel remarks, no more dreading hearing the phone ring. I am safe from what they offer me. I wish my family love, blessing, and the togetherness that they share. I harbor no ill will for any of them; I wish myself only continued absence from their group. I do love them, very much, but from a distance, the only way I can survive. Every year at this time I marvel that another year has gone by and I haven't heard from them. Marvel in a good way, that after years of not respecting me in any shape, manner, or form, they have indeed respected this fervent and expressed wish of mine and left me out. Holiday gifts come in unusual packages sometimes.

This year LoveHubbie and I are having our first hopefully-romantic getaway in our married life at Christmas in Leavenworth, WA, a town that has recreated itself to be reminiscent of Germany. My husband and I fell in love years ago at Christmas time on our way to Germany, back when we’d first met each other so we both have high hopes for this. However, I’m moderating my expectations by hoping that it is at least easier than Christmases past with my husband. I will be satisfied with whatever this quiet adventure holds, open for magic, but glad to be alive and to have each other whatever happens.

For some people, Christmas is a time that highlights the absence of family, the losses of the years (because most of us started out with family of some sort), and the general sense of not fitting in with the pacing of the culture, especially if we don’t share religious beliefs either. If we don’t bake, or shop, or decorate, or rush—and don’t want to—it can be a time of alienation and of feeling alone. I wish for everyone--especially those of us who are different--especially us--an astonishing holiday season filled with joy and peace in finding a way to celebrate being alive, to celebrate being loved by God/Universe, and to celebrate being cherished by so many others, even if it's not by those who are blood-related to us. As my friend Chani says, to create new rituals. Rituals that connect us to Spirit and to each other.

As for me, I am grateful for all of you, my extended blog family whom I cherish, and who make happyluau a lovely warm blog home for me. This season, I celebrate each and every one of you. Know that you have made a huge difference in my life. You cannot know how blessed I have been to have you as my cyber family.

To some of you who have close families, a virtual family may seem pitiful or a false family or a poor substitute for the real thing. As LoveHubbie sometimes says, "For God's sake, Olivia, you've never even met them, they aren't even REAL!"

Let me tell you---as I tell him---it is life---you are life---life---for many of us, for me. It allows us to have a taste of what it feels like to be loved, to be known, to be listened to. It allows us to experience a corner of life's experiences we'd never otherwise get. I would be out in the cold, this I know. I would not be happy. I would not believe in myself. I would not be writing a book. I might not even be alive, for all I know.

So thank you, those of you I know who come and comment repeatedly and encourage me. Thank you to those of you who stop by now and again. Those of you who never comment. Those who found me in a search for something and came back. Those of you who became offline friends. You are all a part of my world, of my journey, a part of what enables me to live the best life possible, even to believe that I am loved by a benevolent Universe. There is nothing more real than that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: More Time Explorations

As I've been learning how to experience time as my friend I've discovered a few things. First of all, I'm absolutely on the right road and am just glad to be here. I am totally committed to this lifestyle, and benefiting from it on a day-by-day basis.

I've been hard at work on my book and have been able to create the time to enjoy immersing myself in it. It's required me to give up a lot, but I haven't sacrificed anything. I consider what I've gained worth every bit of what I've given up.

I've tweaked my schedule and cut out more "allowed television programs". I initially allowed myself certain favorite shows that I thought would help my writing or help me greatly in relaxing. Now, some seem to not be so important, and 14-18 hours of television per week seems like way too much. Yes, believe it or not, that's what I'd cut it down to. I won't tell you what I was watching before. I do watch television when I eat, because I only eat about two meals per week with LoveHubbie, and I don't like to eat alone. So this of course includes eating time. That makes it sound a bit better, doesn't it? Well, now I'm down to 7-13 hours per week. That feels much better and it's pretty much only when I eat. At night, instead, I read.

Write down for yourself the shows you allow yourself to watch; you may be as surprised as I was!

I've turned down social obligations that were true obligations instead of joy. This is helping me to have a good holiday season, because I never liked the different parties we attended in the past. There is one in particular I've disliked, a Christmas Tree Festival. People get dressed up in formalwear and go out and eat and drink and bid in an auction on forty or so Christmas trees decorated by different organizations. It is a fund-raiser, so everything goes for exorbitant prices. Then all of the proceeds go to charity. It's a way for people to give that I suppose is fun for many people. The auction goes on for about 5 hours. There is a lead up to the auction and then a wind down. Although you can meet lots of interesting people, and the Christmas trees are creative and pretty, you can't really talk for most of it as the auction is pretty loud and overwhelming for my INFJ-ness once it starts. It is a long night and recovery the next day. This year we'll just give the money outright where we want to.

I've found that it helps for me to work on Saturdays to make up for time I inadvertently miss during the week. LoveHubbie works on Saturdays, so it works out for us. I take off every Sunday for a sabbath rest. I also take off about a half day during the week and work on decluttering and other household chores.

It helps enormously in writing a book about Hawaii to immerse myself in the Hawaiian history for an entire day on an ongoing basis. The writing flows, and I can make connections easier between historical events. Before I'd write for a couple of hours on a given day, then not write anything more on the project for a week or two. Then again I'd write for a few hours, and weeks would go by. I never allowed myself to get into the space of writing on this topic long enough for it to do any real good. I'd forget the difference between Kaumuali`i and Keopuolani and Kauikeouli and Keali`iahonui and Kahekili and Keku`iapoiwa and Kekuiapoiwa. (These are all Hawaiian names and I am not fluent in Hawaiian! All the "K" names would blur.)  Now the hands of the clock roll around in warp speed as I write, oblivious to anything but my adventures in the world of Hawaii long ago.

I wouldn't trade it for anything.

~Photo of me on Dragon's Teeth Labyrinth in Kapalua, Maui. By LoveHubbie Mark. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lumahuli Gardens

For me, vacations in Hawaii are not about the activities we participate in there at all. LoveHubbie felt that in Kauai there was "nothing to do". Exactly. Nothing but relax in the pool, watch the constant rainy squalls, read, sit on the lanai and watch the wild chickens, take long walks, visit sleepy laid-back hippie towns, talk with laid-back interesting people, eat glorious fresh food of all types, sleep, and take pictures of the awesome scenery everywhere.

While in Kauai, I visited a garden called Lumahuli which is populated with native plants and set up on an old ahupua`a ( a pie-shaped section of land running from the mountains to the sea that for the early Hawaiians gave them total self-sufficiency and sustainability by trading and working together within that land unit). Lumahuli is attempting to recreate the ahupua`a and it's gorgeous. Here are some pictures:

It was one of my favorite things that we did on Kauai and I can't wait to go back. Anything related to Hawaiian history fascinates me.

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am wishing each and every one of you a Day of Gratitude, wherever you are and whatever you're doing. I am blessed to know you and blessed that you read my blog so that I can share my life with you. Much love, O

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Rant---the H1N1 Vaccination---Decide!

This is so controversial, but important for me to post.

Whether or not you get the H1N1 vaccination is up to you. It is such a personal decision. No one should be forced to get it. However, everyone should make a conscious decision for themselves.

Here are the facts:
(1) The H1N1 vaccination has not been tested the way it should have been. It may not be safe. It may or may not even be effective. We don't truly know. It's impossible to tell who to believe or to trust those who think they "know".
(2) The H1N1 vaccination can have terrible, even deadly side effects.
(3) The H1N1 vaccination will have limited usefulness unless a critical mass of people in a given area receive the vaccination.
(4) The H1N1 vaccination may actually compromise your own immunity to the H1N1 virus or to viruses in the future.

And more facts:
(1) The H1N1 virus itself may or may not erupt and become terrible. It may, or it may die out.
(2) The H1N1 virus itself may be mild and surviving it may result in increased immunity.

However, I got an H1N1 vaccination. So did LoveHubbie (the physician, the first responder). Why?

Because here in our little town in Washington, and other places as well, maybe your town, people are dying from H1N1. At our hospital, where LoveHubbie works. People who did not fit the profile and without known underlying health problems. Three people so far have died there in the last month. And it's not being reported in the papers as far as we can tell.

Each person must compare the potential risks and rewards in an educated way and decide for themselves. Compare how you feel about the risk of the vaccination and the risk of acquiring and surviving the virus and make an intelligent and personal decision. Weigh what you can know for sure.

A family member is not getting the vaccination because he "heard about that cheerleader". Don't be like him. Research the facts. Really think about this. Pray about it, if you pray. Do due diligence.

No matter what you decide, no one knows what the right decision is for you, no matter what they say. No one. Too many variables are uncertain and unknown. There is no one known right decision that is right for everyone. So we have to do the best we can, each of us, and then live with whatever the outcome is.

LoveHubbie and I decided that we would take on the risks of the H1N1 vaccine because the risks of doing so for us were way less worse for us than the risks of acquiring the H1N1 virus. And LoveHubbie goes to the hospital where it is spreading every day of his life. That's our decision. But it may not be yours. We know we still might yet have a reaction to it, that it is poison to our bodies, after all. You need to decide what is right for you. Just don't NOT decide, don't remain ignorant.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Enjoying The Day

Today I am having a beautiful, meandering Sabbath. I started with a lovely quiet time, did some relaxing art in my pajamas, snagged a walk in between raindrops, and read. And watched a geekie video about Google Wave that was incredible. I read some more. I thought a lot. Listened to Christine Kane's new "Wide Awake" album again and again and again. Cried some. Now I'm watching the sun begin to go down. It's 4 p.m.

Tonight I will spend some time with LoveHubbie and perhaps call a friend.

Nothing sensational.

But an absolutely perfect Sabbath.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Visit Jane

I won an apron from Jane last month, and I wanted to tell everyone that it is gorgeous, wonderful and IT FITS! For those of you who visit Jane's blog and Jane's etsy shop, you may have noticed that she is an attractive petite woman who looks gorgeous in little aprons. I am not that. But I do love her aprons as well as everything else she creates.

One thing about Jane is that she is currently unemployed. She's considering many different options. I am hoping that she ends up deciding to follow her strong creative streak and contribute to express herself via her many creations, not just for sale, but in her home. She has enormous energy and could do whatever she wants to do. So please do visit her, and if you're so inspired, leave her a comment, or buy something from her etsy shop! YAY Jane! And thank you again. xo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Creating Time Abundance

Is it possible to create time abundance? To cultivate an attitude of experiencing time as slow, as a friend, as there being more than enough to accomplish everything that the day should hold?

I think that it is, and this is what I'm doing.

It started a few weeks ago with a strong desire to find a way to prune my schedule so that I would have time for writing. I am working on a book that I've promised myself I'll deliver the next time I visit Maui. My co-author, guide, and Hawaiian cultural treasure is Akoni Akana. He is currently in a hospice in Honolulu, and I would like to finish this while he is still alive. Since he is so ill I will need to do this without him.

The second challenge with this book is that I did all of the research for it a last year. I put all of my materials in a very safe place for perpetuity and they will remain there because I haven't been able to locate them. So I'm writing the book without my prior work, essentially starting over, plus without Akoni.

With all of these obstacles I've procrastinated, but I promised Akoni and many dearly loved friends from Maui that I would do it, plus it is the dearest thing to my I needed to create a way to have it happen. Instead of just wanting and wishing and hoping that it would happen. Without direct action from me, it would not happen as I do not have "extra time" for writing.

So, I began taking some action, like refusing or canceling all social obligations I didn't need to attend. I also began to clean up my diet and lifestyle so that I'd have more energy. Then I found Christine Hohlbaum's wonderful book "The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World". It's a new book that just came out, and unlike many of the books I've read on the subject, it goes beyond the philosophy of time abundance and the whole Slow Movement and into practical and concrete ways of implementing mindfulness and the philosophy of slow. If you want to find out more about the book you can visit Christine's blog, The Power of Slow, and follow her on Twitter.

I began to read The Power of Slow with my journal next to me, keeping a list of everything that struck me that I'd need to do differently or think differently. Then I took that journal, along with my lists, and combined them. My lists were: my To Do list, my list of values (I read this list every day to set my intention for the day in my quiet time), my list of my spiritual beliefs and my list of writing goals.

I know that's a lot of lists--too many. I made one big fat compilation out of all of these lists and my journal notes, using the old-fashioned cut-and-paste method.

Then I entered it into my computer so that I could constantly tweak it, as what I'm learning is on-going, so the document would have to be dynamic. And through these weeks I'll continued to implement the changes I've learned. I read the ONE list every day to remind myself of the changes until they become natural.

The new list includes things like limiting the number of television shows I keep up with. I have a list of programs I'm willing to give up my time for, and that's it. I hold myself to it. And I have a defined schedule, so that when people ask me for a time commitment, I check it and can say, "I can't do that, I'm working, but I'll be available after 4 p.m." For the last few weeks I've been saying, "No" constantly (but kindly). I've improved communication between LoveHubbie and myself and found ways to limit my exposure to his drama (which he likes and which supports his lifestyle but not mine) during my writing day. Theses are pretty straightforward, but they're big for me. I'll be writing about some of these thing and other changes and what I'm learning in future posts.

I am learning to view time as my friend and as an opportunity. It is not an overstatement to say that this has changed my life and is changing my life. More later!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book Review: "The Power of Slow" by Christine Holhlbaum

As many of you know, I am a big fan of the book The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World" This is my book review from Amazon published yesterday on "The Power of Slow" by Christine Holhbaum:

5.0 out of 5 stars
A Fresh, Modern Look at Slowing Down and Befriending TimeNovember 16, 2009

Is it possible to create time abundance? To cultivate an attitude of experiencing time as slow, time as a there being more than enough time to accomplish everything that the day should hold? I think that it is possible, and this is what I'm doing, thanks to this wonderful book that takes a fresh and practical look at befriending time and slowing down your life.  

Unlike many of the books I've read on this subject, this book goes beyond the philosophy of time abundance and the whole Slow Movement and into practical and concrete ways of implementing mindfulness and the philosophy of slow with a special emphasis on different ways of dealing with technology and information overload. The book covers useful, modern issues such as cell phone multi-tasking, creative ways of handling call-waiting, dealing with time suckers and addictive behaviors, delegating, managing expectations, and so much more. This book is not so much about time management as it is about life management so that each of us can best use the limited and uncertain amount of time that we each have. Since I have viewed time as something to race against, and have felt like time's victim, this appealed enormously to me.

I began to read The Power of Slow with my journal next to me, keeping a list of everything that struck me that I'd want to do differently or think about differently. I came up with a time abundance plan that I've been implementing and tweaking, one that is truly changing my life. If you have been looking for a practical tool that addresses your real-life concerns, look no further. You'll get far more than just a list of 101 things, however. The author shares important ideas about how to think about time differently, perhaps the most important part of the book; without thinking about time in a new way--as a friend--the changes you make won't have the impact they could.  

To give you some examples of my personal time makeover: I now limit the number of television shows I keep up with. I have a list of programs I'm willing to give up my time for, and that's it. I hold myself to it. And although I work at home, I have a defined schedule, so that when people ask me for a time commitment, I check my schedule and can say, "I can't do that, I'm working, but I'll be available after 4 p.m." For the last few weeks I've been saying, "No" constantly (but kindly). I keep only ONE browser window open when I'm focusing on something intently. I've delegated work to people who work for me and stopped micro-managing thanks to the idea that if I delegate, the work will never be done the way I would do it, but that's okay, considering what I've exchanged it for--the opportunity for me to complete other work myself that is far more important to me. I've found that, as the author says, small changes can open up enormous energy.  

I am learning to view time as my friend and as an opportunity. It is not an overstatement to say that this has changed my life and will continue to change my life. The author writes that our relationship with time determines all other relationships in our life. I now agree with this, and encourage you to find out why this is so by starting your own adventure into "The Power of Slow".  

Highly recommended. 


Monday, November 16, 2009

Update From Yesterday

In my haste in writing yesterday, I forgot to give you some links to Jane and her wonderful aprons in case you don't know who she is. Stay tuned for a later post and a picture. Jane is incredibly talented in many areas, including but not limited to mothering, making ordinary furniture beautiful, photography, collage, and aprons. You'll love her so visit her blog and her etsy shop for a treat!

LoveHubbie had to get a new phone for his work. The police say his old phone will probably never be recovered. LoveHubbie is determined though, so we'll see. The thief is well-known and hangs out at our local farmer's market using the name "Too Cool", wears a black suit and a black tie and talks non-stop (apparently an interesting fellow). If you see him let us know.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sacred Sunday: Peace in the Midst of Chaos

Well, we've had an exciting day today, not the usual Sunday. LoveHubbie lost his iPhone about 4 hours ago, and we found out that it had been found and stolen by a particular thief who is now using it. Normally this would be bad enough considering the identity theft aspect, as LoveHubbie has all of his important personal information on the iPhone, as well as access to all of our banking information and other such things. However, LoveHubbie also has patient information on his iPhone (he is a physician) and thus it is an emergency, the police are involved, etc. There is much urgency and chaos here.

This made today less like a Sabbath, which as you know, I like to practice. I had my own agenda of relaxing things I wanted to do. LoveHubbie is always losing things, so this is frustrating. Earlier in the day he had even lost his keys! However, thanks to many of the new time abundance ideas I've read about in The Power of Slow and the new lifestyle I've created, I do feel fine, other than the slight frustration. Something like this would normally freak me out completely.

So, I had wanted to blog about this exciting new "time abundance" lifestyle, and tell you about my writing, since I'm now actually working on my book on a daily basis, M-F. Really! I am writing! So many changes have led to this and I SO want to share them with you!

I had also wanted to blog about H1N1. And I have yet another post planned on a spectacular apron I won from Jane last week, complete with pictures. Instead I am calming myself and supporting LoveHubbie as he freaks out---completely. We have spent this afternoon at the AT&T Store, retracing everywhere we'd been this morning, and talking to the police, our ISP, our credit card company, etc.

Yet somehow I am calm.


So now the story continues. As I am writing this, the police identified the location of the thief and moved in. Only...they went to the house of our very good friends, to whom we had given a previous iPhone, and they attempted to recover that iPhone from them, which was a gift. What a comedy of errors! Fortunately the friends are good friends and understood.

Still calm.


The blog posts mentioned above will be coming soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quiz Update

Wow, the commenters on my last post gave me a lot to think about.

First of all, I didn't realize that I was beating myself up, but I agree that I am. I'm just being too darn hard on myself, instead of gentle, kind and positive. I don't need to make myself wrong about my lifestyle with such vehemence in order to embrace my new way of life.

Secondly, YES, that quiz had a lot of values that I don't share either, not just those of you who read my blog. But you all made me see it; when I took it myself I questioned myself rather than the quiz (a habit I have). In addition to that, the quiz design didn't allow for a "not at all like me" choice, which is a serious flaw and was pretty annoying.

Lastly, I am accepting Christine Hohlbaum's invitation to put up a "Power of Slow" badge of honor from her blog, The Power of Slow! Please see her comment my last post!

Thank you SO much, each person who commented. You always give me so much to think about, and reflect enlightened opinions that inspire me. I've been blessed to attract such amazing readers!

Monday, November 9, 2009

How Efficient Is Your Life?...The Quiz

I took Oprah's quiz about negative and positive energy, which teased me away from work last night, asking, "What Kind of Energy Do You Give Off? Take the Quiz!" So I did. Ouch! The truth hurts. My results, which were more about efficiency, more related to how "clean" your energy is, were as follows:

You scored 30.

26–35 points:
Your life is inefficient and is getting more so. You have a sense that you are treading water rather than getting ahead. Too much is out of your control, and your ability to cope with everyday challenges is only adequate. To begin to feel comfortable, you will have to address negative areas you've been overlooking and change your habits and beliefs in those areas. Look realistically at your inefficient ways, because one or the other—sloppiness, disorganization, procrastination, denial, impulsiveness—is draining your energy. Your available energy for positive growth is limited.

Right. On the money.

With a diagnosis like this, and a prognosis so depressing, I am so glad that I'm addressing this.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Guilt-Free Play

As many of you know, I am currently reading the book The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World" by Christine Hohlbaum. I am also completely revamping my life in order to create time abundance. I should have a strategy and plan in place early in the week; however, I am already implementing changes, since many things take time to accomplish. I will be writing more about this soon.

Tonight I read about how both workaholics and procrastinators have trouble engaging in guilt-free play. This was a huge revelation to me. LoveHubbie is a super workaholic and I could easily see his pattern. Seeing my own was another matter. Underneath the busy, busy gal trying to do things I love and things that are important to me is is The Procrastinator always getting derailed by little, usually diddly, trivial tasks. I clearly see that my "falling" into unwanted yet urgent tasks is a way for me to procrastinate about my passions. I am the same as LoveHubbie in that it is incredibly difficult for me to participate in guilt-free play (although I do admit to engaging in guilty play!)

Insights like these will help me to continue to develop my plan. As I'm reading this book, I'm writing down changes in a notebook. Then I'll synthesize them and implement them. I am so excited about the changes that I've already started.

If you struggle with guilt-free play, maybe you are a workaholic or a procrastinator. Anyone else struggle with this?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Treats Not Tricks

Tonight I thought I'd write a bit about some treats I decided to give myself in the last few weeks. Each one is meaningful in its own way and has made a difference in my life.

The first treat I gave myself was a special pen nib. I enjoy writing with fountain pens (I also collect them) but have never bought a special nib, one that I custom-picked and detailed every aspect that I wanted it to have. I've kept journals for years and enjoy handwriting as an art--not calligraphy, exactly---but drawing my words in an intentional way. So this month I got one from a pen specialist and I have enjoyed writing so much more. As part of The Joy Diet by Martha Beck (Next Chapter Book Group) we are encouraged to give ourselves three treats each day, and one of mine every day is sitting and writing in my journal, drawing my letters and enjoying it so much!

The second treat I gave myself was bigger. LoveHubbie and I have been married for almost ten years and as you know we take big vacations to Hawaii on a regular basis. However, we don't do a whole lot else for fun as he especially is a workaholic. The vacations to Hawaii are what we use to recover after five months of his working very intensely at a very demanding job every single day in between. I don't work with him anymore but am still involved in his career, and his pace does affect me. We have never gone away for a romantic weekend even once during this whole ten years, but this year we booked a trip to Leavenworth, WA and it was his idea.

This means so much to me as this getaway will be over Christmas when the holidays are especially hard for us. LoveHubbie is usually depressed and not wanting to celebrate because he misses his children so much--it's more like a mourning time. For those of you who do not know, I have three step-children, but the circumstances of LoveHubbie's divorce were very adversarial and he has had limited success in being able to reestablish relationships with his children, including visits. They are now adults, but the difficulties continue. Lots of drama and it is always sad for him. I don't mind too much, as holidays have never been important at all to me; however, I do feel bad for him, as I know how much he loves his children, and I hate that he grieves while so many other people find Christmas a happy time. "Oh, no, Christmas is coming!" is my normal anticipation for the holiday.

So this year we'll be bound for Leavenworth, which is as close as you can get to Germany in this country. LoveHubbie and I spent time in Germany 34 years ago, and it has a special significance for us. This will be really romantic! I love this treat!

And the biggest treat is something that you might find silly or frivolous. For the Leavenworth trip, I bought myself special blue jeans--premium blue jeans--designer blue jeans. I have never owned a pair of expensive blue jeans. Mostly due to my frugality, but in middle age, mostly because I am a woman of size. I always seem to be wanting to lose weight, so it just doesn't make sense to "invest" in a pair of blue jeans that I will hope to discard as soon as possible with my anticipated plummeting weight loss. It almost says to me that I'm planning to stay big, which would seem like a big defeat.

Well, so then I saw that Oprah show about the Cookie Johnson Jeans. Oprah raved about how they felt like pajamas and how comfortable they were for women with big butts, and how she wore them for a five hour plane ride and I thought---"At last!"---but they only make them up to size 18. Not 18W, but plain old 18. I am not an 18-anything, but bigger. I'm not sure how much bigger as I mostly wear men's pajama pants and XXL stretch pants and don't weigh myself intentionally. And I have size 18 jeans that I don't fit into, not even close. And they cost so much money. So...I bought the Cookie Johnson jeans as an expression of belief in myself that I could fit into them, but even more, that as a woman of size, I deserve to look beautiful. Oooooh, that was hard even to write, but it is a truth that I am learning to embrace.

I know that this might sound like another foolish woman buying clothes too small for her, but it's really not. I already love these jeans--well, not the jeans exactly, but rather, what I had to teach myself in order to buy them.  I am absolutely going to fit into them, and I hope by Christmas, but if not, as soon as my body allows me to. And no matter what, I am enjoying appreciating my larger body as something of beauty instead of what our culture teaches us.

I think that a sacred life involves giving ourselves pleasure and treating ourselves at times. I am just really only now in my fifties learning how to do this. I am learning to be kind and appreciative to myself. I often fall back into judging myself as being self-indulgent, frivolous, selfish, and superficial in that my treats all involve material things in some way, but I'm living with this discomfort in order to try to move beyond it. I'm learning to do new things and to create new patterns, and this can naturally involve discomfort and judgements, so I'm just letting them be. And being grateful for the lessons in my sacred life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Time Abundance

Writing what I did yesterday, I know that time abundance is the answer to what I struggle with. I masqueraded as a life coach in a former life, after all! I know that our perspective on time is all between our ears. However, it still is a major challenge for me.

I appreciated the blog series that Patti recommended in the comments. It's a four part series on The Elasticity of Time at Marelisa Online here. This led me to do a search on "time abundance" on Google, where I found this book, called "The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World" by Christine Hohlbaum. It's a new book that just came out yesterday, and unlike many of the books I've read, it goes beyond the philosophy of time abundance and the whole Slow Movement and into practical and concrete ways of implementing mindfulness and the philosophy of slow. If you want to find out more about the book, look inside it on Amazon. Also, you can visit Christine's blog, The Power of Slow, and follow her on Twitter.

I'd love to hear from you in the comments on any thoughts or ideas or reflections you have on time abundance.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm So Greedy

I've had an interesting couple of days here. It is mushroom season in Washington where I live, which means that here in the forest, mushrooms sprout up like you wouldn't believe and people go "shrooming". These people study so that they can correctly identify edible mushrooms, as a mistake can be disasterous. Yesterday someone I trust picked me some chanterelle mushrooms from the side of my driveway and I had them for dinner cooked in butter with a little salt. I cooked them really well. Now normally I wouldn't even try this (LoveHubbie wouldn't even think of it) but this shrooming friend teaches wild food foraging, so I thought I'd take a risk and enjoy the lovely chanterelles. I ate them all in one sitting as the mainstay of my dinner, with just a little chicken on the side. They were SO good. And then (you already know this is coming) I spent today nursing a migraine all day until tonight. The good news is that I'm fine now and didn't get deathly sick or die. But the bad news is that it was one of those "lost" days. Handling the migraine was all I could manage.

Lost days are tough for me because I'm time-greedy. Really really greedy. Like some people are for money. I'm really that bad. I love when other people cancel appointments with me and are grateful that I is so easy for me to understand, because they've given me a gift. It's like found money, just out of nowhere and I can do whatever I want with it.

I'm not a thief, but I would steal time if I could. I don't know how that would happen, but if I could figure out how I probably would.

I guard my time. I am a generous person in many ways, but not with time. I find it almost impossible to volunteer for things, which I'm ashamed of, but there it is. I admire people who give their time away, because they are truly generous, as time is so precious it can never be replaced, whereas money can be.

I marvel at people who get bored. I cannot relate to this at all. There are so many wonderful things to do, and so little time--in my experience.

I would like to feel "time abundant". It's quite doable for me to feel abundant when it comes to finances, or to health, or with respect to relationships. But time abundance still eludes me.

What do you think about time-greediness? Can you relate?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back to Blogging II

For those of you who missed it, I had a post yesterday, too, a movie that didn't work at first, but now does. Just scroll down or see it here. Love to all, O

Sacred Life Sunday: Ch-Ch-Changes!

It is really good to be back to blogging and to be hearing from friends again. For a long time I've felt like I've had nothing substantial to say, so I've been quiet here. Mostly, I've been dealing with things that are either dark and/or hard to blog about because they involve other people. My vacation was wonderful and healing, as always, but it didn't leave me able to open up much until and yesterday...for some reason I felt like I was ready to dive in again and share, instead of just reading about all of your lives.

In the three weeks since I've been back from Maui I've made quite a few changes. One has been that I've gone from being a blonde back to my original hair color (dark brown) leaving just some blonde highlights. For some reason I just feel like a brunette now.

Another change is that I have given up drinking. I love-love-love to drink wine, but I have lots of health problems that make giving it up a good thing to do for now. In addition, I've recently returned to a pretty restrictive diet, one that will help my blood sugar levels, which have also become problematic. I've always eaten healthfully and cleanly, so I've chosen to start a "paleo" diet; that along with the temperance have been helpful, although quite a major lifestyle change. I hope I can keep both up.

This latest time I took anti-depressants (it was the second time) I gained about the same amount of weight as before---I'm guessing perhaps 25-40 pounds or so. I don't weight myself (on purpose) so I'm not sure. Thus, I'm grateful to have withdrawn from them totally in Hawaii, and hope to be able to stay healthy without them. I'm excited to be able to finally stop gaining weight and even to have a chance to work to lose the extra pounds.

There are some other changes that I'll write about in subsequent days :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Back to Blogging

I've long since come back from vacation (three weeks ago) and have finally returned to blogging. I hope you enjoy this 4:07 movie!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quick Health Note: Take Probiotics With Antibiotics

Now there are good reasons to take probiotics with antibiotics, discussed in this article in The Health Insider. I take probiotics every day, but never with antibiotics, thinking that the antibiotics would kill off all the probiotics. No, they still help, apparently.

Just thought I'd share this little tidbit with you. It's a bit off the beaten path for happyluau, but not for me personally. I have a huge interest in alternative health, am a foodie, have been a raw foodist, and do my best now to follow clean and healthy and enjoyable eating!

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Facebook Privacy

Here is a very useful article for those of you who are on Facebook, but who know little about Facebook privacy. If you aren't on Facebook yet, but are considering being there, check it out as well. I love Facebook---a lot! but it is important to be aware of the risks and precautions to take. If you don't have time to read a whole book or even a book chapter, spend a few minutes reading this.

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark in Kauai

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: An Unusual Birthday Gift

Today is my birthday, and I celebrate today by acknowledging YOU, who have each and all helped make my past year the wonderful year it was! I reread the comments on my last post and felt so affirmed and blessed that each of you is a part of my community.

Today something important happened that I am now celebrating, something that is not traditional birthday fare.

One is that I stood up for myself with someone who does not value who I am. It was very, very hard, but it was one of those situations where I didn't make a decision---something primal just rose up in me that refused to accept being consistently treated in a poor way. It reminded me of a situation years ago with my mother.

My mother was my primary abuser as a child. One day, after 16 years of physical and verbal abuse almost on a daily basis, instead of hiding the bruises, I put on a dress (in those days you wore dresses to school, not pants!) with a lower neckline that showed the bruises where she had tried to strangle me the night before. I even pulled my long brown hair back into a ponytail so that the bruises could not be missed. I didn't decide to do this consciously; it just happened. For years I had hid the marks---for my whole life. I knew that was what you were supposed to do.

My teachers all asked me what had happened and I told them. I told them how she hit me all the time. How she screamed at me. Some days she beat me, as she'd say, "until I draw blood". My mother lost her job as the school truant officer. There were no other consequences, as it was a different time, but she never hit me again.

Back then, no one talked about child abuse. I don't think I had a conception of it as being "abuse". Something in me just finally knew that trying to strangle your daughter was wrong.

It was a very good feeling to stand up for myself. And when my mother died 6 years later, I didn't cry. I still have not cried, nor do I miss her.

So, standing up for myself was the absolute most important thing that I could have done for myself this year on my birthday. The feeling I have is one of sweet safety, holy self-care, the great kindness of the Universe, the incredible feeling of being loved by God and of knowing that His love is immense.

If any of you watched Saving Grace (my favorite television show) last night, the expression on Earl's face as he told Grace how much God loves her---this face, and what Earl said to her---it made such a deep impression that it carried me to a safe place, just as God carried Grace and Neely to safety in the show. It stayed with me through a difficult night. I don't think I will ever forget it.

So despite the unusual circumstances, it is truly a happy birthday for me. I feel those feelings---the feeling of "NO!" and the feeling of safety and love---and I would not exchange them for any other birthday gift at all.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Wish I Were Patti Digh

Come on now, don't you? Patti is the hands-down heroine of my lovely online community, a well-deserved position. And it's her birthday today, too, so I thought I'd admit my secret longing.

I know it's not cool to compare yourself to other people, but I'm not cool, and I do it, even though I know how silly it is. I'd love to write like Lori-Lyn, or have the energy of Jessie or Jane. I'd love to be as smart and brave and well-loved as Kelly or as wise and profound as Chani. I long for the groundedness of Patti. I want the multiple successes of Heather. The ability to be the best friend in the world like Rick. The productivity and perseverance of Kate. The positivity of Carmen. The realness of Suzi. The raw talent and beautiful blog posting ability of Kim. I could go on but I won't.

Instead, I'm me. I am definitely not cool, am rarely funny, only occasionally witty, and just from time to time have profound things to say. Today it's enough, though, and I'm really happy just being Olivia. I admire my wonderful friends, all of you, and feel so blessed to have you in my life.

During this dark time, I wrote 37 ways I feel like a failure and then reframed them all. This was a very helpful exercise as these things were there, you know, even though I wouldn't admit to believing them--they were there. After having completed this exercise and purging those "forbidden" thoughts, I do feel much better. I also think that everyone feels this way from time to time.

I have had nothing whatsoever to say to anyone here on this blog, on Twitter, or in my real life. Nothing. Not even in my journal. Then this morning I got an email from a friend that was very real and admitted some struggles...something about it's realness and vulnerability helped me to crack open my thinking and writing block.

You know, in our community we write when we can uplift and encourage, or say something of "value", but less often or not at all when we are down. I think we feel some pressure, or at least I feel some pressure, okay, to deliver something of value or inspiration to those who read our blogs. I know that at times (like when I was a life coach) I felt a great obligation to deliver positivity and to role model for my clients.

I think I have gotten over this, in that now (after weeks of depletion, depression, and isolation) I would rather be real even in this despairing time. Some bloggers I know have done this well, like Suzi and Angela and Jane. I would rather have the courage and authenticity to cover the dark side of my life as well, as they do. I think they are brave.

I think that sometimes we are not authentic because we are afraid we will look weak or not be loved. At least this is why I withdraw from this, one of the best places of my life with the safest people I know.

Also, it is easy for me to write about things that are commonly held values, but harder for me to write about things that are not. For example, I would feel comfortable writing about fantastic drumming at church, but not about amazing worship at church. It's very silly, considering the safety of this community, and it has astounded me how I am still such a slave to social conformity and social approval.

It reminds me of the time years ago when LoveHubbie and I were fundamentalist Christians. I was afraid to let my friends know that I loved labyrinths and drank wine, and that LoveHubbie secretly listened to NPR in his car. We'd never let anyone know that we did such things. We have blamed this on "the fundies" as we later called scornfully called them, but in reality it was our own desperate need for social approval fueling our desire to conform.

It is easier here to write about nature, our art, mindfulness and acceptance, celebrations and family, and harder to write about things like hunting, failure, neediness and wanting to be stroked, admiring Sarah Palin, bankruptcy, black moods, Jesus, mental illness, suicidal feelings, and cancer. I'll be mysterious here and admit to some but not all of these things.

The older I get, the more I want to be authentic. I hope that I am finding a good, sturdy and enduring way out of my dark cloud. Today is a good day. I got out of bed and am having a Sacred Sunday and a true day too. I am at last able to connect in some way with all of you. I am totally fine--totally fantastic, actually--being me, and even fine wanting to be Patti Digh. I am able to see and taste of some of the sweetness of life.

And thank you, my good friend, for opening up a little more to me, and for provoking me to open up more myself.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm Still Here

I am still here on the planet, just struggling a bit lately with depression. I extended my staycation, and am still staycating.

I saw this on Ken Robert's blog, Mildly Creative, and had to share it with you:

Friday, July 10, 2009

On Staycation

I have been on a staycation for the last week. I canceled all of my appointments, told people who understood that I was having a retreat/staycation, and everyone else that I was "on vacation". It's been exactly what I needed, just wish it was a little longer, like another week.

I felt like things were spiraling out of control in my life and that my priorities were becoming confused. I was very disconnected from any self-care, including not getting enough rest, and most importantly, had started to feel "that hermit thing" I get again. "That hermit thing" is an intense and desperate desire to be alone, totally alone. It's almost a phobia but maybe not quite. Or maybe it is a phobia. It's definitely a strong, screaming sound from my body and mind that I've been pushing too hard too long.

This overwhelmed time coincided with my company's national convention at the end of June, which I was able to force myself to go to, but not to attend any of the conference itself. I describe it here. I knew I needed to take this time for a staycation, with the hope that I would be back to normal by next week. I don't think that's going to happen, but I'm certainly much better. I'm going to keep a skeleton schedule until I can get to a place of comfort and healthy functionality.

So for the last five days, I thought I'd do nothing at all. Instead, I ended up immersing myself spiritually so that I can feel like I live from Spirit again. I think that this is my most important need and will carry me through life in a very different way. I had really drifted to a place of surviving, striving, struggling. So having an intense spiritual focus was SO good. I read a lot, walked outside, drove around and though, spent some time in my garden, listened to spiritual things online, and more.

I have also been thinking about my life, about what direction I have been moving in.

I temporarily (at least) gave my business to LoveHubbie. It's just one more thing he doesn't have time for, but since he thrives on frenetic activity he is going about it with gusto and success. If it wasn't my business, he'd have added something else. He adds, adds, adds, and likes it that way. I am very grateful that all of my hard work didn't go down the drain.

I want to return to writing. I want to commit to some aspect of it but am not ready yet. I'm excited about the possibilities here.

I think that this hermit thing is a part of my personality that I need to embrace instead of constantly fight. I thought that with the supplements and hormones I was taking it was gone for good, but it wasn't. I really enjoyed the social interaction I had until it hit again. Now, I surrender. I just want to find a way to work with it. I've been looking back at myself as a child, in college, and later in jobs, and realized that it has always been there and I've always fought it in super-unhealthy ways.

Now I think I'm older, wiser, and stronger, perhaps I can accept myself and turn this into a gift and a blessing. This is my hope and my desire.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Hidden Writing in Wreck This Journal

I just noticed that there have been 600 posts at the happyluau. That seems like quite a few, but my first post was 2 1/2 years ago...

Everything I post here is written with you, my readers, in mind. Everything I write in my journal is written for myself, but always with the thought in the back of my mind that someone someday could find it. Since starting Wreck This Journal, I've discovered something fascinating---that there is so much more I want to write, and I can write it on WTJ pages that are hidden from everyone. Like this:

I have been very quiet in the WTJ group lately, not posting in a few weeks, mainly because these pages with hidden writing are not very exciting on the surface, especially when compared to the many creative things all of you are doing. My very favorite post so far was Suzie's baking her journal in a cake! Compared to amazing things like this, a compulsion to write all over the printed pages in WTJ with hidden writing didn't seem that special or blogworthy. Then I listened to Jamie's video about comparisons and being comfortable with where we were in our process. I realized that this writing is significant to me, so that it's exactly what I should be doing right now.

Thus I'm continuing to write, write, write many things on those pages. No one can go back and read them, even me. It's very freeing, and what is coming out is surprising. I censor myself far too much in my journal; I do think that this process is helping me to be freer in what I write. And to admit things to myself that I have been resisting and holding back about.

I'm writing this on Sacred Sunday because I think that everyone can benefit from writing in this way. If you don't have a WTJ, just write on some newpaper or discarded artwork or in a book or anything really...something that noone will be able to read. And I think that like me, you may be surprised at what comes out.

Sacred Sunday is for me a day of rest and contemplation, and a perfect time to do this sort of writing. I hope that you may find it so as well.