Saturday, February 28, 2009

Twittering, It's All About Being Connected

I am an introvert who is falling in love with Twitter. More so than Facebook, it allows me to be connected with other people in a unique way. The more I use it the more I like it. For those of you who still wonder about Twitter, see this talk on TED called "How Twitter’s Spectacular Growth Is Being Driven By Unexpected Uses" found via Mashable and @ShermanHu. The talk itself is just under 8 minutes long.

I only twitter from my desktop here at home, and I have it set up in a cool way with an Firefox extension called Twitterfox. It allows the tweets to come in and notifies me in a small bubble off to the side that I can ignore or notice, like gmail's notifier. But the best thing about it is the sound effect I've chosen to notify me. It's the sound of ocean waves. This lets me pay attention or allows it to stay in the background, and all day long I periodically hear the ocean. Reminds me of Hawaii, of living on the beach, of peace and calmness. Makes my office even calmer than it already is. Nice.

If you'd like to connect with me on Twitter, follow me @obrown...note that I've integrated Twitter with my blog happyluau in the column on the right. Status updates go straight from Twitter into Facebook, that way I just enter them once. See, it doesn't have to be hard...

~Photo of Black Rock on Maui by LoveHubbie Mark

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Night

In this short video, I show you Leah's print that I bought, had framed, and then hung in my bedroom. It's just under 2 minutes long:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Grace, Hawaiian Style

"Grace is the inalienable right of all beings to receive the light of God, the inalienable source of all healing.

From the power of God comes this completely unconditional love, which heals and propels support.

Grace is absolutely free. You don't have to do anything to get it.

Grace is not something that can be taken away from you, in the Hawaiian point of view.

You do have to acknowledge you are human and humans have grace inalienable. It's really a re-remembering you have grace and thus going back to your authenticity of who you are.

When grace appears in the consciousness the natural response is gratitude.

Gratitude is the action linking the grace to us.

Grace connects and deepens the channel of gratitude. Hawaiians acknowledge the grace received--it is natural and so evokes gratitude."---from "Wise Secrets of Aloha" by Kahuna Harry Uhane Jim and Garnette Arledge

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nordic Walking---For Balance and Mobility

Many of you know that I Nordic walk. Well, Nordic walking poles are not just for sport. There is another very important use for Nordic walking poles, as featured on the web site "Poles for Mobility", a site that promotes the message:

Poles help people of ALL ages & abilities to maintain and even regain mobility. People with Parkinson’s, MS, PN and joint or pain issues have seen how poles can change their lives.

If you or someone you love has balance and/or mobility issues, check out this fantastic video or buy the full DVD, also available on Amazon: If you're not sure if this DVD would be for you, check here and watch the promo video below:

I was thrilled to find a way that I could modify my fitness routine to still walk while I have physical issues. See my review on Amazon for more information about the DVD as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More on Giving

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."---Winston Churchill

And what if we combine the two...what if we make a living and a life by what we give, primarily, and then get? I'm not sure where this is leading, but it is making me think. I hope it does the same for you.

~Picture by LoveHubbie Mark

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Giving

I have found my life profoundly impacted by asking, "What can I give?" sometimes instead of "What do I want?" lately. For example, I have been thinking that if I had normal energy like normal folks then I could have a normal life. Do a lot more than I did before. But what would I do? Would it be what I'm doing now? Or something else, something more? I still don't know the answer to this, but thinking about it, fantasizing about it, is fun.

See, there is a good chance that when I get over this energy slump, I may find a "new normal" of far enhanced energy. I do think that I've been in a menopausal slide that has gone on for many years but just recently got to the point where it kept me from being functional. So if I solve the problem at it's root, my life could be different, though exactly in what ways I'm not sure because I'm not there yet.

If I think "What do I want?" I kind of get lost, because I already have many of the things and experiences I want...I like my life the way it is in so many ways, and I don't really have a lot of wants--besides better health, of course. In my group "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women", we had a chapter called "Following Your Fascinations" and I struggled to identify my fascinations that would be reflected in my daily work--specifically in what I'd earn money from doing.

But if I ask, "What can I give?" I can generate far more ideas, not just related to work, but to my daily life. Contemplating this question gets my creative juices flowing.

I applied this to another area of my life today. I am participating in Kristine's "The Husband Project" over at Notes From the Laundromat. It is based on the book with the same name. I wasn't going to do it but then just changed my mind a couple of days ago. But I've been coming up empty with the exercises. LoveHubbie is a workaholic and makes very little time available for anything else. Lots of times with him I think "What do I want?" and can think of lots and lots of things...but then tonight, when once again I was unable to complete the exercise due to his unwillingness to participate, I thought, "Ok, so what can I give?" and finally tonight I had a small success. I have been learning to do Lomi Lomi massage and I practiced on LoveHubbie in our new "massage area" of the bedroom. See the picture below:

think it looks very inviting!

The picture on the wall is hard to see, but it is an ahupua'a, a pie-shaped area of a Hawaiian island ruled by a chief and entirely self-sufficient at each level of elevation. The people at the shoreline fish, as you go up the mountain people grow taro, and higher up hunt, etc. Everyone shares and trades. Everyone has enough.

So anyway, I don't want to do this professionally or officially or anything, just to grasp the idea of the spiritual side of Lomi Lomi and to practice some techniques casually with LoveHubbie as a way of creating more positive energy and more aloha in my life. It makes me feel closer to Hawaii. And of course, LoveHubbie will benefit in lots of r&r--nightly I hope!

And I am going to keep on churning the idea of "giving" and especially of "legacy" around. At my age, legacy becomes even more important, and this powerful question, "What can I give?" fuels big ideas. It also resonates with my theme for the year of "JUMP!".

We shall see where this leads!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Love Rocks Number Three (Revisited) and Six: Be Brave and Enough

See the Love Rock story here.

I wanted to leave these two Love Rocks in a very special place---Dragon's Teeth Labyrinth on Maui. I have many lovely photos of this labyrinth, so if you're interested in them, see here and here and here for the best. These are all pictures of Dragon's Teeth during the day, but by the time we got there this time it was the time we left it was totally dark.

I started out by "charging them up" on my ceramic labyrinth:

At first I'd thought I'd just keep the "Be Brave" rock. By the end of this restorative vacation, though, I felt like it had reminded me of what I'd needed to know and I wanted to pass it on to someone else. So I walked into the center of the labyrinth, where people often leave offerings---that's not really the right word---better is "special material things that remind them of their intention in walking".

I left "Be Brave" and "Enough" with some other, more conventional rocks there. The "Enough" rock fit perfectly because during that trip, it reminded me yet again that what and who I am is enough. And also because, during the trip I'd said "Enough!" to some ways of doing and being that were self-defeating and that I'd become friendly with since I'd lost my way recently. It was a poignant labyrinth walk for me.

I walked out in the dark:

I hope that someone finds these rocks and that they have special meaning for them, as they did for me.

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Too Much Gratitude

There's no such thing as "too much gratitude". It doesn't exist. And today, Wellness Wednesday, I continue to be ultra-grateful, especially for my health, but for all of my many blessings, too numerous to count.

Today, great news: It's been 5 days without a migraine. I do believe I'm on my way to feeling like me again. Thank all of you for your well-wishes, prayers, and positive energy!

And something I've waited for for 6 long years is happening: Trader Joe's is coming to Olympia. Yes, yes, to Olympia, Washington, to my town! It's official; it was in the paper today. No more 80 minute treks to University Place in Tacoma or Federal Way in Seattle. It will be easier than ever to be healthy and to save money at the same time.

I've been a Trader Joe's customer since they came to the Metro Center in Phoenix, Arizona at least 15 years ago. Pulled up my U-Haul to that store when I left Arizona for Dallas and took as many nonperishables that I could afford with me. Dallas was the outback as far as Trader Joe's was concerned---and still is. Here is a fun tribute to Trader Joe's, but advance warning---only TJ Fans will really like it---so if you're not one, this is one video you can pass on and not miss out :)

Trader Joe's plays Hawaiian music in their stores and tells each employee to exemplify the "spirit of aloha". Two more reasons to be loved by us at the happyluau!

Video by Carls Fine Films

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Encouragement for Creatives

This video was recommended by Kelly and is fantastic. It features Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote "Eat, Pray, Love" and is 20 minutes long, but soooo good, called "A Different Way To Think About Creative Genius". When you have the time and are interested in creativity, watch it, as it's sooo worth it!

~Photo via Cute Overload from Wing and a Prayer and Creativity+ Timothy K. Hamilton

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Primroses in the Snow

One rare and lovely time this week when I was feeling particularly good I stepped outside to take a few pictures.

I saw the primroses planted by an angel (actually our gardener, Angela, but pretty close) right after the snow. They were a surprise.

They brightened my day. On this sacred Sabbath, it is good to rest and remember that there is so much grace in little things. Kelly has been writing about this on her blog as part of the Grace in Small Things project. I thought it would be the perfect theme for this post.

I haven't blogged for 10 days, which is unusual for me. I've been working on getting my health together, and have been plagued with very low energy and a flurry of "migraines from hell" that finally abated this morning. I'm actually doing okay though, because of the hope that I have in a full recovery, which I think will come soon, in the next few weeks when I get my hormones balanced. I feel so grateful for everything in my life. Especially for the ability to afford health care, to pay for the hormones, to be able to stay home and rest and take care of myself, and more. I feel extremely blessed. Thank all of you for your wonderful support during this time!

For Valentine's Day I made LoveHubbie an unusual Valentine. It's sort of a shrine or maybe better, a diorama with little messages for him hidden throughout. The centerpiece of the assemblage is an old refrigerator part that I could have discarded but was inspired to use for this. I used an additional refrigerator part in the center-upper right as well. That's what happens when your refrigerator needs repaired! I anchored them with superglue (they were heavy!) and then in wax covering the whole back of the box about 1/4 inches thick. I painted them and then put all kinds of little hearts and glittery embellishments all over. I made some gift tags and used some acetate hearts as well. It was so much fun. I think that this is the sort of thing I enjoy most of all---completely unpredictable one-of-a-kind playful art---that actually ends up making sense to me in the end.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wellness Wednesday : Hormones, Dare, and a Birthday!

This Wellness Wednesday I am recovering from a long day yesterday at a doctor's office and a blood lab to have my hormones evaluated. Everything went very well, it's just going to take a while. My lab results won't be back for three weeks. This doctor works primarily with bio-identical hormones, as opposed to my regular doctor who doesn't believe in them and thus wasn't supportive of my efforts to have her test and monitor my use of them.

I could tell that I needed some type of adjustment because in the past few weeks I have only slept in spurts punctuated by hot flashes, have had very low energy (even for me), and have cut back on my activities to only those functions that I must do, cutting down to almost nothing outside the home. Dressing and grooming are exhausting to me and require recovery time...this is no way to live unless it is necessary.

So for the next few weeks while waiting for the blood tests, I'll be doing some monitoring with the new doctor, taking a basic dietary supplement that she likes, and starting on a low dose of Armour thyroid. The latter is very controversial, (see here and here if you are interested in why). Years ago I studied the issue in depth and was on Armour thyroid for several years but ten years ago conventional doctors took me off of it. So we shall see. I'm going to be "hanging in there" for a little while yet.

Mildly disappointed to go a few more weeks like this, but happy to find a path that could lead to wellness and a full life. More hours awake. Less time spent exhausted. (I almost wrote "Less time spent spent.")

If you haven't watched the 90 second video I call "Dare, Unforgettable", please do. I'm reposting it here, again, to encourage you to see it and be inspired:

And last, but certainly not least, today is the birthday of Rick, ever fabulous, my good friend and Official Voluntary happyluau Editor Extraordinaire. Rick is also 14X Winner of the "Man, Did You Help Me Out Award". He describes himself as a Sufi mystic masquerading as a former (ouch) corporate IT manager. He is also the OFG, a proud PV, father of four marvelously creative and powerful daughters, and second banana to his wife, author Julia Rogers Hamrick.

A fantastic Happy Birthday to you, Rick, with wishes for a Shining Year!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Joy

"He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise."---William Black, "Eternity"

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark, edited by me

Dare, Unforgettable

I found this over at Lunar Musings via Gypsy Sky. This video embodies the feeling (not necessarily the substance) of my word JUMP! for 2009. It is just under 90 seconds long and is another of the wonderful BE BRAVE style videos (like Heather's) that encourages us. You will love it!

This is actually a commercial for Clothing Brand Saga - "Dare" (Take it Easy Films). It is, however, unlike most ads, unforgettable.

UPDATE: I get chills each time I watch this...I've watched it 6X so far, I think.