Saturday, January 31, 2009

12 Secrets Week 4: Surrendering to Your Creative Cycles


I just finished reading the chapter for this week on surrendering to our creative cycles. Wow. Wow. Wow. Is this journey getting deep and intense or what?

It pulls together Jessie's post on letting go and Suzie's post on listening to our body cycles and my post on trusting ourselves.

Yes, yes, and yes. Just trust the Universe. We are where we should be. Everything is going to be okay.

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Trusting Ourselves


I am so psyched about getting my hormones checked that I can't stand it. I got all of my paperwork ready today. I am wearing down, slowly, bit by bit each day, hanging on until Tuesday. The recent Oprah shows on the subject (there have been three so far) made me aware that what I've been thinking has been depression, genetically low energy, and absolutely obscene introversion may actually be hormonal. I made my appointment after the first show and have been counting the days since then, buoyed on by the second and third show. So I'm having them checked (finally) on Tuesday by an MD who does bio-identical hormone replacement.

You would have thought that I'd have done this since I've not had a uterus for 7 years...I've been taking some progesterone, but just a small standard dose from a compounding pharmacy, and never had anything checked before. My regular physician doesn't believe in it, and has put me through trials of synthetic hormones I couldn't tolerate and a panel of various anti-depressants. Those had no effect except to promote my turbo weight gain (40 pounds in 4 months) over a year ago that still remains with me. I've been doing great emotionally on the TrueHope supplements I've written about here before, but energetically have been continuing to slide on down a hill that seems to have no bottom.

That slide has accelerated lately with my knee problems, and I've slowed way down physically, but most of the time have been doing fairly well emotionally because of the hope that this is what is wrong with me. Oprah featured ladies Skype-ing into the show who sounded word for word like me and who looked and felt like I look and feel now---worn out, worn down, and forcing ourselves to do each task of daily living.

I appreciate these Oprah shows because they bring attention to the problem of the under-diagnosis of women's hormone issues. Oprah feels very strongly about this. Even with her access to the finest medical care in the world, she struggled with getting her own unique diagnosis. She believes that women should take responsibility for their own well-being, do the research, and insist on a solution until they feel better. This was hard even for her to do. She went to several physicians, and finally nurses and other viewers who watched the show wrote in and steered her in the right direction.

Somewhere deep inside, I know that this is what is truly wrong with me---hormonal imbalance---and that I can probably pretty simply and easily (with a blood test) find out for certain. So that's what up for this week.

I don't want this to be a "downer" post---it's a big upper for me despite my utter and absolute fatigue---this will just make the diagnosis all the easier I'm thinking. I guess the point of all this is---if you feel like me, or like the women featured on Oprah, I want to encourage you to trust what you believe is wrong with you. To not just accept what someone tells you. Or if, like me, you try something, and you're wrong, not to feel badly about trying again. And then, if you have an inner knowing, to go with it. To trust the inner knowing yet again, to trust your intuition. To trust yet again, as long as it takes.

LoveHubbie looks at me and shrugs his shoulders and says "Yea, right, whatever..." as he is tired of the doctors and the optimism and the false hopes of my ever really being healthy. But he can be wrong.

I think that as women we must be willing to trust ourselves above all. And to believe again and again and again. If we've been wrong, so be it. But we need to be willing to risk again, and to believe in ourselves again, even if others do not.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Accretion


I've been thinking about Heather's video that I posted yesterday. How could it not haunt you...has it? It has haunted me.

As I've watched it each time, I've thought about fearlessness, fear, bravery, and my JUMP! word for 2009. I've constrasted my JUMP! with Kelly's gentle experimenting and been a little envious, causing me to wonder if I've picked the right word. My JUMP! feels too forced and contrived and driven and pushy to describe the process I've been going through and plan to continue for 2009. I take small steps, but regular steps. Nothing earth-shattering, but when I look back for even a few days I feel as though I've moved forward. It doesn't sound like JUMP!-ing, though, does it?

I've always thought that it's best to JUMP! However, sometimes it's good to...the only word I can think of is "accretion". Yes, accretion. It's not intense or sexy. It's gentle, like Kelly's "experiment". But each day, day by day, I've been learning just a little, and building on the day before. And most importantly, persevering. It's a quiet growing, and a slow sure way of building the kind of life I want.

I want to be a JUMP!-er but I think I'm an accretion-ist.

I went on a walk today with Nordic poles for mobility assistance because of my knees and it was a great thing; for once the sun was shining here and I was healthy enough and had the time to get out of doors and move a bit, so move I did. Just a bit. But it was a challenge because of my knee injury. I used my upper body a lot with the poles for support and to take the pressure off of my knees. I was tempted to feel badly because I used to use the poles for fitness and now I'm lucky to just get down and back once on the driveway. But I am. Lucky. Blessed to be able to move. Even once up and down the driveway.

I'm not sure yet about changing my word. We'll see.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Fearless

Do I have a treat for you today! It is from Heather of Fumbling for Words, a video that I guarantee will inspire you, no matter who you are. If you read the happyluau, you will be inspired. Guaranteed. Or your money back. This three minute video from Heather is intensely personal, and is featured here with permission.




I've watched it several times, and each time I am inspired in new ways, sparking me creatively to think about fear, how it stops me, and how I move beyond it in my own life. Thank you, Heather, for your generosity in sharing this with the happyluau!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fear Or a Cry For Love

Yertle, from Smile, Play, Dream, posts a Monday Motivator. Today she featured a quote from Rilke, which I just love:

"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."--Rainer Maria Rilke






~Favorite photo from LoveHubbie Mark, taken in Hawaii of actual mo`o

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Extra Time


Today I was grateful for some extra time.

Both LoveHubbie and I have some weird virus or food poisoning and feel super-lousy...we both have the runs, too. We had an evening dinner function we needed to attend and LoveHubbie decided that it wouldn't make a difference if I opted out, although he still had to go, as it is job-related for him. One of the numerous benefits of not having a high pressure very important job (and believe me, I know there are many, many benefits!) is that no one except him really cares if I go to such things or not.

I saved the time getting dressed up and doing my hair (45 minutes), driving to the location and parking (30 minutes), being at the dinner (one hour), and driving home (30 minutes). That's 2 hours and 45 minutes, pure treasure. I'm going to read and phone a much-missed friend.

Unexpected extra time is a lovely sabbath gift.


~Photo of odd tree roots on Kauai taken by LoveHubbie

Those Silly Little Hamsters

What's that on LoveHubbie's nightstand? Just for fun, watch this little video, less than a minute long :)


Saturday, January 24, 2009

12 Secrets Week 3: Following Your Fascinations


First of all, I just love The Vault. It is exciting and encouraging to me to see that we all have little self-doubt gremlins whispering in our ears, mostly the same things! I like too that it gets dumped every week.

Secondly, it is really exciting for me to read about and see women courageous enough to make so-called "mistakes" and then just keep right on going. Let's face it, lots of people share their successes, which are indeed inspiring. But to share your mistakes and then to work to turn them into something that does fit in a beautiful way---that's even more inspiring to me. Like this beautiful example of Kim's work; if you are an artist, do not miss it. Or Suzie's move across the country. This inspires me.

After reading chapter three, I liked the examples of the women following their fascinations. I thought they were cool. For them, not for me. I don't know that I have fascinations. I'm like Janet (page 54) who wants to "read books, take walks, and watch college basketball". Well, I'd watch college basketball if I had time. It sounds like lots of fun. When Barbara Sher wrote,
"The good life is when you get up in the morning and can't wait to start all over again,"

I thought,

"Really? Does anyone really, truly, feel this way? I want to. I absolutely do feel this way in Hawaii when I'm on vacation. But then...who wouldn't?"





The truth is, a good day for me is when I get done more tasks than were added by the day; in other words, when I'm not more behind than I was when I woke up.

Most of the time, my day rushes in before I've gotten out of bed, and I'm filled with the physical pain of getting up (physical illnesses and aches and pains or God forbid a migraine), the dread of the day (can I get it all done? how far behind am I?), and wondering when or if I'll get a break to do something I enjoy. And I don't hate what I do---it's just work. I've never done work that made me want to do it again the next day or would make me sorry that I had a day off or even sorry that I had a sick day. I've had lots and lots of jobs, done a variety of things I enjoy, but when you turn them into something that needs to be done at a certain time on a certain day, begin to stack them next to each other, and then bring in the money component, anything loses its attraction for me. I would give a lot to feel like Barbara Sher. That sounds amazing. Truly amazing.

So what do you think? I wonder if I just haven't discovered any fascinations...I'm 51 years old, so when will this happen? Or is Barbara Sher experiencing something that is more idealistic than not?

These are waterfalls seen over the street cables on Kauai.


~Photo of gremlin from fearthebeard.org

~Photos from Hawaii by LoveHubbie Mark

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Proximity


I got this award from the lovely Kate, who inspires me with her growth as an artist. She is prolific and proves that when you work at something diligently, you absolutely will grown. I want to be more like her! She also freely shares her work to inspire others.

"What this Friendship Award means: this blog invests and believes in Proximity- nearness in space, time and relationships."

I love that. I feel very close to everyone who reads my blog and visits regularly (and you folks who visit not-so-regularly too!); it's as though time and space vanish and here we all are. Thank you, Kate!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Medical Practitioners

Today is Wellness Wednesday, I'm going to gripe. About my colonoscopy.

I am already at odds with my primary care provider about my decision to use bio-identical hormones. She doesn't believe in them. She may or may not give me a referral related to them (I think I need to have my hormone levels checked) and if she doesn't (meaning I'll have to go on my own and pay cash instead of having the insurance pay), I'll be in the market for a new pcp.

Why oh why can medical professionals not simply respect people with views different from theirs? The field of medicine is so vast and can never be mastered by any one individual; so much is controversial, and physicians should be supportive of patients who they cannot help who then choose to seek treatment elsewhere, imho.

Then there was my colonoscopy, so poorly scheduled on Inauguration Day. I did the colon prep on LoveHubbie's birthday and Martin Luther King Day. Great timing.

I had previously worked out a way with my gastroenterologist's partner to avoid the week long diet requirement of a low fiber all-white diet---white sugar, white flour, nothing fresh or frozen, only highly processed and refined white foods with all fiber removed. For one week. A whole week! I'd be climbing the walls after just a day. Lose my mind by day three. LoveHubbie would have left me on day five. If they could corral me and bring me in on day seven, I'd then have my colonoscopy. I am extremely food-sensitive.

So my gastroenterologist's partner said, no problem, all the recent studies show that the week long all-white diet does not produce significantly different results from just a standard diet. However, I'm thinking that she didn't understand that I don't eat a standard diet. I eat clean, whole, local, organic, mostly unprocessed fresh foods and cooked foods. This ended up being troublesome.

But at the time I went in for the procedure, I didn't know it. For the previous 36 hours I'd been drinking mostly fruit juices and chicken broth and was getting a migraine. I couldn't drink any water or take any medicines. I was weak and hypoglycemic and very anxious.

I was immediately put into a queue of at least a dozen patients in beds. Lots of nurses rushing around. Little tiny "rooms" cordoned off by cotton curtains with only enough room for the bed itself. Only visual privacy. I felt like an animal on a factory farm. I had a nurse, a harried RN named Lisa. She was in a great hurry and a bad mood. She wouldn't let me ask any questions, cutting me off and insisting that I would have to wait and ask the doctor anything medical. She seemed to be having a really bad day. I was having a bad day too, so I felt sorry for her, but still wanted to find out about my migraine. Once the migraine "blossoms"---without any medication at all---it takes Demoral and an ER visit to contain it. It has been about 8 years since that's happened last because I practice good self-care and have good migraine drugs.

It was a terrifying feeling to have no control, to be getting a migraine, and to be alone and silenced. In that queue of patients and involuntary sounds. In a bed, ready to get drugs that would "take the edge off" but make me even more disoriented. I had tried to ask various questions, to no avail. I knew that I would be going in to the OR soon. Lisa told me they would give me something to "take the edge" off and "if I remembered my questions I could ask the doctor then". That scared me too. She wouldn't take any questions and acted as though I was impertinent to even have questions.

Finally...yes, finally...I insisted that my husband be paged and told Lisa. My voice was different and I wasn't nice. Now, thinking back, I wish I would have gotten up and left. Stuck them with the lost surgical billing. It's a free country and I was not a prisoner. However, I really wanted my colonoscopy. I'd worked so hard, done that awful prep, and I wanted to know that my colon was okay! Still, knowing what I know now, I would have left. I would have felt better about myself. Proud of myself.

Lisa heard the change in my voice and decided to ask the doctor my question. Seemingly perturbed, he came out and talked to me. He told me that he didn't want me to take the medication and that the anesthetic would take care of it. I thanked him. Just a simple question, and a simple answer.

So I went in, suffering from the migraine until I lost consciousness, and had the colonoscopy.

However, the results were inconclusive. They couldn't see the inside of the colon, despite the days of clear liquid and the Colyte prep and me spending several hours on the toilet. I had not followed the diet, and there were seeds and evidence that I had had fresh fruit and other things that were not white in the previous week. There was even proof I'd had vegetables! The gastroenterologist---we'll call him Dr. GE---was very unhappy that I had listened to his partner. He said there were plenty of healthy things that I could have eaten---especially white rice. For a week. I told him that I eat brown rice. He seemed really, really annoyed then, and said that he would not negotiate, that I could either eat the white diet and do it right or it would be a waste of time. I told Dr. GE that there must be a healthy way of doing the diet, and he looked at me like I was from Mars. I left with LoveHubbie.

All last night and today I felt weak and bad about myself. That colonoscopy was all I could think about. I eventually realized that I felt so badly because Dr. GE did not seem to respect my dietary needs, or to even feel they were worth considering. To me this would be like saying to a vegetarian or a vegan, "Well, just eat meat for a week, it won't hurt you." I would never, ever do that! I am extremely food-sensitive, and I respect others' ways of eating. I'd just wanted Dr. GE to respect my way of eating and to be willing to work with me to come up with genuinely healthy things that would satisfy his requirements.

Once I realized why I felt so terrible, I got angry, and that made me feel better. I found out the name of a gastroenterologist on the other side of town who competes with Dr. GE (who has my side of town sewn up) and who is well-respected as well. I don't think I will ever take being treated like I've been treated this week by my pcp, by Lisa the RN, or by Dr. GE again. I'll be alert ahead of time and observing how I'm treated instead of focusing on being compliant.

Now, on the other side of these few experiences, I don't blame Lisa and Dr. GE. I did this to myself. It was all me. Plenty of patients want to be told what to do. And to just follow. It's simple and easy. Plenty of physicians don't want their patients to think---just to be compliant. They are a good match and have much to benefit from each other. I am a poor match for this way of practicing medicine. I want to be a responsible patient and to seek out the progressive and informed and well-educated physicians who are looking for patients who think and who are committed to their own health. Patients who will consequently be ultimately more compliant than the others, because they truly care about their own health and know that it is their responsibility, not the physician's.

So I learned a lot from this. I know I'm venting here. I'm worn out from the medical establishment.

On the plus side, tonight I attended a function where I met an integrative physician and a naturopath. The integrative physician (an MD who practices complementary medicine) has a one year waiting list. But still, they are out there. And whether or not I get the referral from my pcp, in February I have an appointment with an MD who will check my hormone levels and adjust my bio-identical hormones. Even if I have to pay cash.

We are fortunate to have alternatives. We just have to stand up and demand them. I wish I had learned these lessons earlier (like when I was in my twenties. or thirties. or forties.) But in truth I do consider myself blessed to learn them at all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Muddling Through Monday

It's been a lee-tle quiet here at the happyluau lately. So today, despite my generally sucky mood, I thought I'd make a video for you. It's just under 7 minutes long:


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happyluau's Big Giveaway Winner

Well, it's here, the day of the Big Giveaway: Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much! If you didn't sign up, it's too late, because I'm choosing a winner right now. However, I plan on having other giveaway's throughout the year...it's part of my plan to JUMP! into 2009.

Okay, so some of you asked about how I choose a winner. I use random.org and since there were a dozen of you who entered, I'm numbering the comments from 1 to 12. Here is what happened:



The winner is Rhonda Martin, a newcomer to the happyluau! Congratulations, Rhonda!

I hope that everyone enjoyed this as much as I did; thank you all for participating!


~Invaluable technical assistance in rendering screen shot provided by R I C K

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Slow Down


"The Chinese written character for the word "busy" is a combination of two other characters: "killing" and "heart" ". ---Alan H. Cohen


I want to give up "busy" and "hurry" and "rushing" for 2009, don't you? Say yes to slowing down today...

And if you haven't yet entered the happyluau's Big Giveaway, do so here. Right now one of ten people will win over $100 of creative goodies and inspirations to help you to live well, laugh often, and love much. If you are not one of the wonderful 10 people who have already entered, very s-l-o-w-l-y, click here and enter by leaving a comment of any length on my post. Don't rush though, you have four more days to enter. Take your time. Relax. All day. Enjoy. Be.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Grateful for Tea

If you haven't yet entered the happyluau's Big Giveaway, do so here! Don't miss out...speaking of missing out, if you haven't had the time to read and listen to my post on Three Great Things, please do so asap. You won't regret it!



How grateful I am for my coffee mug, which I use daily for tea and is my constant companion. I love teas and review them prolifically on Amazon. The image on my cup is that of a taro plant, which is sacred to Hawaiians, and used to be a key staple of their diet.

Patti saw this idea and picked it up, and I am continuing it here. It's fascinating to me how people's coffee cups just go with their personalities. Care to post yours?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happyluau's Big Giveaway: Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Welcome to the happyluau's first giveaway ever! And I wanted to JUMP! in to the new year and make it big! The theme of this giveaway is "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much". I hope it will inspire you to read, create, and to live a fantastic 2009.

To win, all you have to do is comment on this post sometime during the next week. Then, next Saturday, the 18th of January, I will use a random number generator to pick the winner. I will post the winner on my blog, and when you read it and find out that you're the lucky winner, all you need to do is to send me your address and I will mail the whole package to you! I will also mail internationally, so no matter where you are, you can enter and win.

Here are the items in the package:

1. The first item is a lovely book of short stories about winter by excellent writers such as Annie Dillard and Kathleen Norris. These stories helped me to develop a better attitude towards winter. I enjoyed it so much I bought another copy---for you! Read more about it here.




2. The second item is a PageSage craft DVD from MaryJo McGraw called "Stamp Art Inspirations". It is filled with ideas for mixed media card-making and is almost two hours long. Read more about this DVD here.




3. The third item is a distresser that you can use on the edges of paper to give a an altered/aged look to paper. It's a handy little device from the Tim Holtz line and Ranger.




4. Next is a fun jelly bracelet with "Live Laugh Love" on it.




5. Last, but not least, is a beautiful sterling silver bracelet that says, "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much" on it.







So, leave a comment, anything you'd like and you'll be entered into the contest! Good luck! And remember: Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!

PS. If you still haven't taken the time to read and listen to my post on Three Great Things, please do so asap. You won't regret it!

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark

Friday, January 9, 2009

12 Secrets Starts

Today the book club blogging group "Next Chapter" officially started and I began reading the book for the upcoming season, "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" by Gail McMeekin.

I just read the introduction, but it got me so fired up again. I'd read this book several years ago, promising myself I'd read it regularly, but then forgot. Now is the perfect time to reread it, it turns out.

Check out the group website, which is hosted by Jamie Ridler, if you'd like to join! The first interview for the club is posted there as well, that of the wonderful Jennifer Lee of Artizen Coaching and the Life Unfolds blog. Wonderful, wonderful. I'm so happy to be in this group just now.

Don't Miss This!


I just wanted to write another quick post today to tell you to please make the time for the "Three Great Things" I wrote about yesterday. It should take less than 10 minutes to look at and/or read all three, but they are ten minutes I know you won't regret. Go there..now!

Also, I wanted to let you know that I'll be having my first Big Giveaway here at the happyluau soon. So check back in the next few days to find out how you can get some really cool free things. I need to gather everything together and take pictures, but I promise I'll do it soon.

Direction


"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."---Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Three Great Things

I have so much to share with you, and today I want to share three really, really great things. I want to encourage you to make time to read/watch all three of them, because they are worth it and will inspire you to live your life better.

The first is a fantastic blog post called "Weighing In On Oprah" by Brene Brown, the author of the wonderful book "I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame", as well as the blog "Ordinary Courage". In her post, she writes about Oprah's recent revelations in O Magazine, as well as shame for women around body issues in general, and her reflections on her own recovery and 12 Step programs. I think there is something in this post that will touch you.

The second is a wonderful blog post by Lori-Lyn about perspective, something we can all use.

Last is a video by author Kelly Corrigan called "Transcending Words on Women and Strength". The video has had almost 2 1/2 million views and is 5:07 in length (get some tissues) :

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Finding Spiritual Community with LoveHubbie


Lori-Lyn wrote a beautiful story here about an experience on Christmas at church. It resonated with me in my hunt with LoveHubbie to find a community where LoveHubbie can make connections and relate to others. This is very important to him, as he sources his beliefs externally, and finds religion and religious institutions very inspirational, along with the relationships that ensue there. Loving others in community is an admirable thing. I would agree that it is a sign of spiritual health.

However, as an introvert, I find my beliefs alone, and don't really enjoy gathering with other spiritually like-minded people. First of all, I don't enjoy any type of group gatherings much. Secondly, my spiritually like-minded group tends not to congregate---we're more introverts and individualists. Thirdly, as I've written about before, my beliefs are always changing and evolving, which makes it hard to stick with others who share the particulars at any one time.

Lori-Lyn linked to an interesting Belief-O-Matic quiz, put out by Beliefnet.com, which says I am a Hindu! Or, very close behind, I share many beliefs with neo-pagans, Unitarian Universalists, Buddhists, new agers, liberal Quakers, and believers in New Thought. "Roman Catholic", which I've thought was the closest Christian religion that resonates with my beliefs, is #27 on my quiz results, right above "Jehovah's Witness" in last place.

The quiz pretty much reinforced what I knew already: I have a rich spiritual life with wildly uncategorizable beliefs outside of any church, and don't much care where we attend as long as it's a loving place. LoveHubbie is in a wee hurry, though, as he yearns to put down roots.

It will be interesting to see where we end up.



~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark, except for church building, which is from Drew

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kindling with the Amazon Kindle


Well, I'm officially a Kindler. Actually I have been one since November when I left for Hawaii, but am only just now blogging about it. I did buy an Amazon Kindle during Oprah's promotion and have read at least a dozen books on it since then. I've probably also read at least a dozen "real" books as well during this time, though.

I honestly love the Kindle. It's different from reading hardcopy books---not better or worse---just different. It's definitely better than lugging around a load of books when you're traveling. Or waiting in a doctor's waiting room. You save lots of money on books, too. You can read more. It's easy and fun to use. You can carry your Kindle library anywhere you go, including reference books---all in one little package.

But there are some negatives to the Kindle. You have to be really careful where you leave it so that no one steals it. You would never leave it by the side of your beach chair when you pop into the ocean. Also, I haven't used it in my bathtub. How many of us have never dropped a book into the tub when we're bathing? And then tried to dry it out in the oven? Well, maybe not you, but that's me. And you wouldn't want to use your Kindle while you're eating buttered popcorn.

Other than that, I find using the Kindle amazing. The Kindle is intended to be "transparent" to your reading experience. So that means it's supposed to feel like reading a book. And it does. Except that it is easier on your eyes. And the font size can be adjusted---a big plus for aging baby boomers like me.

You can order books quickly from anywhere there is cell phone reception via the Kindle on Amazon's free Whispernet (availability is like a cell phone rather than a wireless computer). Recently Amazon gave us a free edition of USA Today. Some people read all of their newspapers on the Kindle. And everything on the Kindle is searchable. Work lookup is available constantly---no more running for the dictionary! The Kindle is ideal for people who are disappointed that their dictionary is too large to travel well...those of us who are in love with words...

As an early adopter, I love it, especially at this stage---pioneering, beta, helping Amazon build a Kindle library single-handedly, etc. If you are not an early adopter, you might want to wait a little bit. Mine had to be replaced once for defects, and so did the only other person's I know who has a Kindle. Many popular books just being released are on Kindle, but so many not so mainstream books are not.

As of the date of this posting, the Amazon Kindle is backordered 7-9 weeks. There was an unprecedented demand for them over the holidays, and after the Oprah promotion and discount.

To watch a video of the Kindle in action, visit the Amazon Kindle page---be sure especially to watch the large video in the middle of the page.

The Amazon Kindle is pricey (without Oprah's discount, now up to $359, and selling on ebay and craigslist for more), but eventually pays for itself if you're a prolific reader and/or traveler who buys their own books. Otherwise it's a fun toy more important to readers than an iPhone, a Blackberry, or a laptop computer. And for older eyes, it's a lovely blessing.

Any questions, please feel free to ask!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Love Rock Number Five: Shine Your Light

See the Love Rock story here.

I decided to leave this Love Rock near one of my favorite places, a condominium in complex in Lahaina on the island of Maui which overlooks Lahaina Harbor. This is what the view looks like:




and this:




and this is the condo itself:




You are always looking out at the ocean.

So I went out on the lanai, after having a quiet time during which I placed the rock on a ceramic finger labyrinth:




I set in on the banister of the lanai. Looking straight down you can also see the complex's pool, which has two humpback whales painted on the bottom of it. (I wanted you to know that these were not just real whales swimming by---they look so realistic!)





I decided I wanted this rock to reside in the Pacific Ocean, maybe to wash up someday for someone to find.



So I enlisted LoveHubbie's help, and he threw it as far out as he could.



So in this way I felt as though something of me was left in one of my favorite places on earth.

The light is the show there, and when we stay we generally don't do anything else but stay on the lanai and watch the nightly entertainment (sunset) and the morning light and the changes---the sparkling water at different times of day, the honu (turtles) that pop their heads up, the whales further out.

I generally schedule this at the end of our vacation (like this time) so that we can prepare for re-entry. LoveHubbie has usually relaxed enough that he can enjoy more contemplative activities. I always feel as though I shine in Maui. I feel most like myself there. It was the perfect Love Rock for this time!

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark and Me

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Jump! Into the New Year!



I chose the word "Jump!" as my word for 2009. It reminds me of when I was ten years old, standing on the high dive at Richardson Pool in Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. I had so much resistance and inner struggle to just noticing the fear, not letting it stop me, and then jumping off. I remember the other kids in my class and my swim coach yelling, "Jump!", "Jump!" and I wanted to, so much. The desire was intense, but so was the fear. Finally I did what I wanted to and jumped off. Ther terror didn't end until everything was over. It was there during the fall. It was there when I hit the water. It was there until I came up for air, knowing everything was over.

"Jump!" seems very different from "leap" to me. "Leap" sounds like you're at a certain point, and you throw yourself up and forward through the air. "Jump" is, for me, more passive. It involves simply noticing my fear, making that fear irrelevant to my actions, and then stepping off anyway, surrendering to what I can't control. Not only the stepping off', but the surrendering, too, involves deep fear, but they do not stop me.




This year, I want to "Jump!" and do things that I truly want to do---but that involve risk and the unknown and that scare me.

"Jump!" means implementing a "Be Brave" strategy all year long, long enough for "Be Brave" to become a lifestyle, not just a special project.

"Jump!" means allowing myself to succeed despite my enormous resistance to success.

"Jump!" means letting go of old security blankets, including old, outdated ways of thinking and believing.




"Jump!" means not knowing and moving forward in the direction I know to go, trusting that I am in God's hand. Trusting that the Universe is good and safe.

"Jump!" means taking the focus off of LoveHubbie and putting it on myself.

"Jump!" means learning, doing, and being, not merely watching and cheerleading.

"Jump!" means creating the lifestyle I want, freeing up my time, freeing up my space.

"Jump!" means allowing myself to have the things I never thought I could have and be the person I never thought I could be.




~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Week of Creative Ridiculousness


This post about creativity called "Ridiculous" is by Todd Henry. He asks us to join him in having a week of Creative Ridiculousness---what do you think? Does this inspire you? I know it does me. Kate I chose "playful" as her word; young children have no fear of being judged when they play. This week, I hope to engage in some creatively ridiculous play!

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark, altered by me

Does It Ever Feel Like This?



I know that for me, sometimes it does.

This is a cartoon by my friend David Hayward, called, "Don't Be Afraid".