Happy Luau

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I wanted to write about an important distinction between introversion and extroversion. Some people think that being introverted means that you're anti-social or that you prefer your own company to that of others. And that extroverted people like to have friends and socialize. That's a sterotype that is not really true. To be introverted or extroverted refers to where you gain your energy.

If you gain your energy from being alone so that you can enjoy being around other people, you're introverted. If you get your energy from being with others, and then can enjoy relaxing alone, you're extroverted.

I need loads of time alone to process my experiences and thoughts---this is where I gain energy. Then I can go and have fun with others. I would hate to be by myself all the time. But I definitely renew and refresh alone. It is the time alone that enables me to be with others.

What are you---introverted or extroverted?

~Picture via CuteOverload
~Picture originally as featured at the Hedgehog club, by Bryan Smith, pointed out by John M.

Big Snowflakes

We are currently having a snowstorm in Washington with humongous snowflakes. Ginormous snowflakes. Then the sun comes out. Then it snows some more. Then it snows while the sun is out.

Here are some pictures I took with my cell phone of my front and back yard. The heavy flakes fall s-o s-l-o-w-l-y from the sky.

That's the most interesting thing happening here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fun at the happyluau

If you're feeling down, and just want to feel better, look at this post. It can't help but make you smile. To watch some people being really creative, watch this video. To see someone doing something with passion, watch this video. To be amused, watch this video.

And if all of that doesn't work, here are some Free Hugs from me to you:

Watch this video to the end---you will be moved!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Amazon's Movers & Shakers

I wanted to share with everyone how to reach Amazon "Movers & Shakers". These are the items that have increased the greatest in sales rank at Amazon over the past 24 hours. The list is updated hourly. Why should you care? Two main reasons:

1 - People are buying more of these items because they are being promoted on television, radio, or have been just released. They are popular and often timely.

2 - People are buying more of these items because they are on sale at Amazon and are a fantastic value.

Movers & Shakers
are available not only for books, but for all other Amazon categories. These other categories are apparel, automotive, baby, beauty, camera & photo, cell phones & service, computers & PC hardware, DVD, electronics, gourmet food (yes, really!), grocery (I do much of my grocery shopping via Amazon Prime and thus pay no shipping), health & personal care, home & garden, industrial & scientific, jewelry & watches, kitchen & housewares (lots of sales here), magazines, music, musical instruments, office products, outdoor living, software, sports & outdoors, tools & hardware, toys, video, and video games. Find out what's hot and where the sales are.

To get to Movers & Shakers, you cannot navigate via Amazon's navigation system. You must use a special link:


This will take you to the Books page, but the other Movers & Shakers can be accessed via the links on the left. I had to write to Amazon three times to get this link, as I could locate nothing on their web site, and have had it bookmarked for years. I'd thought there would be an easier way, but apparently there isn't.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Monkey Bar

Visit one of my new favorite blogs, 37 Days, to read this post on "Let Go of the Monkey Bar". It is perfect for our transformative journey in Finding Water. I found this via yet another of my favorite blogs, Zena Musings.

So...do you want to let go of the monkey bar? Scary as hell, but I know I do.

~Picture by Hubbie Mark

Friday, February 23, 2007

Artist Date Number One In My Body

Originally I had planned an exciting Artist Date at a museum, but when today came I didn't have the energy for such a large undertaking. Instead, I had a quiet-but-wonderful Artist Date. It started with Morning Pages and Goodly Walk Number Four of the Week. This was the foreplay for my Artist Date.

The goal of this Artist Date was two-fold: (1) To really experience being in my body, by breaking through long-standing resistance to restarting my yoga practice, and to do it in a leisurely and fun way, and (2) To experience Time Abundance.

Time Abundance is the opposite of "not enough time". It means that you have all the time you need to do what you need to do in a given day, so you can just relax and let the day unfold without a sense of underlying anxiety, pushing, rushing, or hurriedness. You do not feel "busy". You simply move gently through the day, gliding from one experience to the next, looking to Spirit for guidance as to what do do next.

Ha, ha, ha! Who lives like this? Please comment if you do. Tell me your secrets. Please. I am a recovering workaholic and this is truly challenging for me. I quit working as of this month and I still rush around like a maniac most of the time. Thus, my goal is actually that of moving more in the direction of time abundance.

Well, I can't say that I experienced Time Abundance all day long, but I had moments. And I had the whole day at home with no appointments, errands, or interruptions. When I get rare long periods of time like this I can accomplish tons, especially creatively. Today I felt as though time was not a scarce commodity, that I could relax and enjoy what I was doing without worrying about how to move faster, be more productive, accomplish more. R-e-l-i-e-f...

As far as the yoga practice is concerned, I've been putting off starting back for about nine months. I've missed it, my body's missed it, I've designed each step of a sequence, but just hadn't actually done anything. Except procrastinate. Today I put on some Hawaiian chant music, lighted my favorite candle, warmed up our vestibule (where there is a large mirror and my mat perpetually awaits me even as visitors step over it when they enter), and---drum roll---I did my yoga practice. It felt like coming home. It only took a half hour! I felt so good afterwards.

I've realized how much committment this program takes. It is a lot of work. I'm sure I'd not keep up with it if not for the group support. So thank you Jessie and Leah and each of you Finding Water bloggers :) It's worth it.

~All pictures by Hubbie Mark

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

How to Install "Finding Water" Icon in Blogger

This is in response to question in a comment on my blog from another member of the Finding Water Community. It's pretty easy just to paste a picture of an icon into the sidebar; the hard part is to link it, too, in Blogger. I have two ideas here, an easy way and a harder way (for those who know HTML).

If you don't know HTML, you can do things the easy way. Please test this to see if it works. I think it will, but since I don't have another Blogger account to test it with, I don't know for sure. In theory, it should work. It involves going to "Layout" on your dashboard, then picking "Add a Page Element" on the left. Next, pick "HTML/JavaScript" and click on "Add to Blog". Don't worry about using a title. Just get out of the "Compose" mode, go into the "Edit HTML" mode, and copy and paste the code below:

<a href=
<img id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5033442916917247250" alt=""
border="0" /></a>

Save the changes and view your blog to see if it took. Hopefully it did. If not, when you paste it into the HTML/Javascript screen, make sure that the long URL that is broken onto two lines above is all one line (i.e., keep RdphqiQ0_RI/ on the same line as AAAAAAAAAEw). I can't type it for you as it should appear because Blogger just truncates it and you can't read the code. As it is, printing out code is incredibly hard to do in Blogger because the code is interpreted instead of displayed, so I had to use special characters, which took me over an hour to fiddle around with and then figure out what to do! Thus, I REALLY hope this is helpful and not too confusing :)

The above method involves using my code and referencing my Blogger server space, which is a bit easier than uploading the image to your own Blogger server space.

To keep the image on your own Blogger server space, you need to do a trick that is a bit harder---kind of a work-around. I did this and I know it works, but it's harder. First, upload the Finding Water image as an individual post---just the image that's all. You will delete this post later. Now it's on your Blogger server space and you have a URL for it. Capture that URL and store it somewhere. Then follow the above steps to add HTML/Javascript using the above same code between the slash-stars, except replacing your URL for the image in between the double quotes where it says "src=". Lastly, go back and delete your post that is just the image. It's somewhat hard to put this into words, and you pretty much have to be comfortable with HTML. This will work, though---it's how I did it.

Hey if anyone knows a better way to do this, let me know. Here is where I went to figure out how to display HTML in Blogger. What a relief to finally figure it out!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Creative Collage

I wanted to share a collage that I did several years ago when I was in a graduate program in counseling psychology. Our assignment was to make a collage of who were were and to "be creative" in how we did it. We had a long time to prepare---several weeks. So I started working on mine right away, as I had never made a collage before.

I watched a Rosie O'Donnell show in which she demonstrated making a collage with Modge Podge by cutting pictures out of magazines, so that was what I did, adding words, since I love words. As I progressed, the collage took on a life of its own. Instead of reflecting who I was by sharing it as I composed my collage, I discovered who I really was in the process of doing the collage. There really was no composition process, as I just glued down pictures and words as I went, and they stayed where I put them.

I'm sharing this not because the collage is so beautiful or exemplifies anything well per se, but as an example of how amazing it was that the creative process took me over, and how wonderful what came out of it was, as a part of my creative journey.

I decided to start by using concentric suitcases that I bought at Costco. There were three of them. The outer suitcase would represent the "me" that everyone in my graduate class saw. The middle suitcase would represent the "me" that people who knew me intimately saw. The inner suitcase would represent the "me" that only I ever saw or knew about.

I collaged all the suitcase, inside and out, top and bottom. Here is how they looked with each one inside the other:

This is how they looked if you took them out:

This is how the outer one looked, the "me" that my colleagues and friends at school were familiar with:

This is how the middle one looked, the one that my husband and close friends were familiar with:

The inner one was the "me" that I truly discovered was inside as a part of this process. The inner one was my "Hawaiian soul". I put intensely personal images inside. I also added two dolls with my Hawaiian name on them, each meaning something special to me. I really hadn't known the inner one existed until I did the collage. I know that sounds weird, but it's hard to find the words to describe it. It still gives me shivers to remember it.

I way overdid the assignment. It took me hours and hours, each one pure delight. It was my first collage. I only recently began doing collage again. This collage was kind of like a "first love"---the experience can never be duplicated again---but that's okay---there is something about the process that I love so much, that I lose myself in, and that I enjoy irregardless of the finished product.

So I wanted to share this with you, my creative sisters in Finding Water, and my other blog readers. Aloha, and mahalo!

PS. I did my morning pages again today. Third day in a row. Whoo hoo! It's been great. Next goal: goodly walk or Artist Date.

~All pictures by Hubbie Mark

Saturday, February 17, 2007

"Visiting the Dying in Hospitals" from nakedpastor

Here's another valuable post from nakedpastor. It's called "How to Visit the Dying in Hospitals". Stunning---as always---hopefully helpful to many besides me.

Morning Pages

Today is day one of my twelve week Finding Water online group. I wrote my morning pages this morning. It took an hour and was freeing and wonderful. Permission to write for no reason. I feel set free.

"Life itself is the proper binge."---Julia Child

When I stopped working at my job this month, it never occurred to me that life could be this good. First my collage class, now Finding Water. I'm anticipating the "goodly walks" and Artist Dates. I don't think I've ever had so much fun before. I've ventured out slowly and tentatively, afraid that it might be too good to be true. But this in truth is life, and life can be good and happy and fun, and this is what I'm finding out.

I walked yesterday for the first time in a while with DS. I wore my new miracle Dansko's that are providing a healing cradle for my left foot to recover from tendonitis. Hubbie makes fun of these, but they are SO comfie. They do look silly. I love them.

My favorite time this month so far has been talking at DS's house with her husband and another friend. About thoughts and ideas. Drinking tea. It reminded me of all the talks I had in college in groups of like-minded people. We whiled away the afternoon, something I'd have never done before without watching the clock. Pure indulgence.

~All pictures by Hubbie Mark

Friday, February 16, 2007

Beautiful Rolls

Here's an absolutely gorgeous picture of a woman in Dove's Pro-Age campaign. She has the most beautiful rolls of curvaceous flesh I've ever seen. I've blogged about the Pro-age campaign previously.

Dove's ad campaign targets pre-menopausal and post-menopausal Baby Boomer women. I must say that it is effective, at least for this Baby Boomer. I'm looking forward to new ways of aging as I prepare to turn 50. It's the most exciting exploration of my life. I know that I'm going to age differently from previous generations, but I'm now sure just how. There are plenty of role models around in the media and in my life, and I'm observing, processing, and defining for myself what aging will mean to me.

Check out this article: Campaign for Real Beauty Uncovers the Beauty of Women over 50. Dove wants to demonstrate that "women are genuinely stunning -- at any age"...

"Dove seeks to create an attitudinal change in the anti-aging category
-- from negative and fear-driven to affirmative and hope-driven," says
Kathy O'Brien, Dove Marketing Director. "Pro-age is about looking great for
your age."

Affirmation and hope versus negation and fear. Sounds good to me. I also agree with Dove's "Beauty Comes of Age" survey, that:
  • I am too young to be "old"!
  • Past generations of women over 50 were not doing the things women over 50 are doing today.
  • The media and advertising need to do a better job of representing realistic images of women over 50.
  • Society is less accepting of appearance considerations for women over 50 than their younger counterparts, with showcasing one's body the least acceptable.
Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty site is here.

Sustaining Excellence

"Mediocrity always attacks excellence"
---Michael A. Beckwith on Oprah 2.16.07

Oh, yes.

~Picture by Hubbie Mark

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Favorite Commercial

Well, this is a really old commercial, but oh man, does the tune ever stick with you! At 3:36 it is so much fun. It features Isuzu Gemini's peforming "synchronized driving"...sort of like synchronized swimming, but with cars. These are actual stunts done in the days before special effects. The song is performed by Karaja and is called "She Moves (La La La)". Enjoy:

My Favorite Video---Chris Bliss

It's been circulating over the Internet for some time, but if you haven't seen it yet, it's worth the 4:27 you'll spend watching it...I guarantee it. If you've seen it, you know how great it is, so enjoy the repeat performance. It's a juggling performance that will definitely move you, and maybe even make you cry. Really.

Friday, February 9, 2007


Don't you just love the Dove "Pro-Age" campaign? The idea that Dove (the company who makes Dove soap) has is to celebrate being whatever age you are and looking beautiful at that age. They use the motto "beauty has no age limits". A few months ago they came out with "Dove Evolution", a commercial showing how an average woman's appearance is manipulated to fit what we have come to expect in our media:

Now they are stepping out even further, showing in their ads and commercials real women of various shapes and ages. Currently, in O Magazine, there is a beautiful, tasteful nude picture of a 64-year-old grandmother. Visit Dove's "Campagin for Real Beauty" to learn more. Or take a peek at their Pro-Age web site. It is SO about time. This campaign is truly countercultural and I love it. Why should we not feel beautiful at our age---we are beautiful! It's about time that our media begins to turn around the unhealthy messages they promote about girls and women who do not meet the "size 0" stereotype. I commend Dove for their campaign, for taking the lead in this area. For getting in line with reality. And true beauty, which is not created with cosmetics and a scalpel, but comes from the inside and radiates on the outside. Thank you, Dove.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

nakedpastor's "10 Things A Friend's Death Taught Me"

Everyone should read this list by nakedpastor, a reflection on things he was impressed by and reminded of after a friend's death. We need this perspective (I know I do) to make the most of our lives and to help those we love.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Bunny Lips

Check out Cute Overload today with a picture of the cutest lips ever: Bunny lips. Really.

What Hands Can Do

VW commercial, 1:26

~via Brother Rick

Monday, February 5, 2007

Ottimista Pessimista

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the perssimist fears this is true."---James Branch Cabell

~Picture via CuteOverload

Sail Away Sail Away

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship."---Louisa May Alcott

~Picture by Husband Mark
[Previously published in my old blog Tapping Luau]


"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the decision that something else is more important."---Ambrose Redmoon

~Picture by Husband Mark
[Previously published in my old blog Tapping Luau]

Handmade Journals---An Affordable Luxury

Over the past couple of years, I've had several journals made by hand by Leslie Herger of Comfortable Shoes Studio in Massachusetts. I've never met or spoken to Leslie, but it is very easy to work with her over the Internet, doing everything from selecting the weight and color of the paper to the softness and color of leather for the journal. Doing this is a fun and affordable luxury, one that keeps giving me pleasure on a daily basis as I record my thoughts, hopes, and dreams. I love her journals.

I have a main journal that I worked extensively with Leslie in creating, plus an art journal that I bought from ebay that she'd already made up. (She also sells journals that she's already created, if you'd rather work that way.) Leslie's main site is here, and her bookbinding blog is here, but you can find her here on ebay, plus here on etsy. My gorgeous journal is described here. Look at one of here latest creations here.

~Picture by Leslie Herger

27 Ways to Survive Your Young Husband’s First (Unexpected) Heart Attack

I am speaking from experience with this, as my husband (age 49) had his first heart attack six weeks ago. We didn't expect it, but we should have. Here is some straight talk, some explicit advice:

1. Be in great shape physically.

You will need to be able to do the physical things he isn’t strong enough to do. Including, perhaps, being able to push his wheelchair, chop wood, carry water, help him in and out of the car and up and down the driveway, etc. Prepare for this. If he’s had his first heart attack and is obviously working on his second (more about this later), continue to work out for upcoming physical stressors. Lift weights. Walk. This will help with the emotional stress also.

2. Don’t nag.

This is good advice for any spouse, but it’s hard not to “remind” your husband of healthy choices when the stakes are so high. Still, he will do what he will do. The best way to influence him is to tell him, and to encourage those who love him to tell him, that his choices affect their lives. If he still chooses unhealthy behaviors, it is devastatingly unfortunate, but there is absolutely nothing you can do if he is not confined to the house and has access to food and money. Believe me, I know. One idea I’ve tried is to invite him to help me to pick out my next husband to succeed him after I’m a widow…I’ll let you know if this has any measurable impact!

3. Plan on having no sex life.

Have low expectations; then, whatever you do have is gravy. Sex will be different forever. And he cannot take Viagra. With a sensitive partner, of course sex can continue on forever in some form. Still, develop alternatives. Work with whatever you have and remember, you still have the love of your life. ‘Nuf said!

4. Learn everything there is to know about low-fat low-salt dieting, but…support him in eating the way he wants to.

Only he can decide if he would rather live a longer, healthier life (even if it’s a no-brainer for you) or a shorter, happier life. His diet is an intensely personal decision not worth sacrificing your marriage over. Your husband, after all, will eat what he wants one way or another. And, survive or not, as he intends. You’ll wish desperately that you could keep him alive, but you can’t. This I know. Only he can.

5. Find some cool restaurants that are willing to cook low-fat low-salt.

If your husband is interested in surviving and thus motivated to eat healthfully, they will be a godsend and make for a great time together. They are surprisingly plentiful in my area of the world, the Pacific Northwest. A side benefit is that you really learn to love…no kidding---LOVE---foods that are low-fat and low-salt. Who knew?

6. Buy one of those LARGE pillboxes that have the days of the week on them.

He will need them to keep track of his innumerable medications. My husband is currently on ten different meds per day. Yours may need more or less.

7. Educate yourself.

Whether or not your husband chooses to educate himself, the heart attack happened to you both. You’ll see. Learn what you can independently of him. Expect that both of you will have a totally different lifestyle.

8. Be prepared for mood swings, even if he didn’t have them before.

That’s normal. If he had mood swings before his heart attack, though, get ready for a circus. He’s facing his mortality, perhaps for the first time. He may be in denial about his athletic prowess, his sexual prowess, the overall condition of his body, the number of medications he needs to take, the chances of him having a future heart attack, etc. It’s not easy. No excuses…it’s just not easy. Be patient and loving with him.

9. Don’t bring singing balloons to the hospital or give him the game “Operation” as a gift.

In fact, try really, really hard not to startle him at all those first few weeks. Both of these things happened to us courtesy of our wonderful friends, who had no idea that the balloon would start to sing spontaneously, even in the middle of the night, playing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” loudly and suddenly when it was bumped by his nurses and techs. You would think it would have been obvious to wait to play “Operation”, but we decided to have fun right away…BBBBIIIIIZZZZTTT!...big mistake!

10. Go through your own grieving process alone, not in front of him.

He has his own issues to deal with having had a heart attack, and how his life will be forever different. You will have to mourn many losses. It is an unlikely husband who will be strong enough emotionally to be there to support you. If he is, count your blessings. Otherwise, that’s what God, friends, and supportive family and professionals are for.

11. Get ready for varying reactions from close family.

The children will have their own reactions, either being very caring, or else causing him more stress at a vulnerable time. Same thing with other family members. Unfortunately, if your husband is affluent, money comes into play here, which is horrible to imagine, but a reality. Pray for supportive close family members.

12. Get ready to find out who your real friends are.

Real friends are there in a crisis. This crisis will be a sorting through period for both of you. It’s a good way of finding out before your funeral who really loves you. Many people don’t have this opportunity. You’ll be closer to your real friends afterwards, more distant from your (surprise!) fake friends.

13. Make sure that you have important people’s phone numbers plugged into your cell phone.

Even better, have a can-do go-to person (e.g., best friend, family member, etc.) that you can call to handle notifications for you during the crisis.

14. Back out of all unnecessary professional, familial, and social obligations.

Finally, you’ve got a great excuse to get out of anything that doesn’t really matter to you---hence, the “obligation” part. He has the same excuse and can pare his life down to essentials, to what is really important to him. Of course, he could have done this at any time previously, but he didn’t, which is part of the reason he had the heart attack in the first place.

15. If your husband still works, get used to being alone a lot in the evenings and on weekends while he sleeps.

Men sleep a lot for many weeks (or months) after a heart attack. If he doesn’t work, he’ll still sleep a lot. You’ll be alone and will need interests and friends so that he can get the rest he needs.

16. Make sure you have a really good hospital with excellent cardiac care.

Don’t settle in this arena. If you were unlucky with his first heart attack, plan for the second one (more about this later). Very important.

17. Avail yourself of excellent health care practitioners.

If you’re fortunate, you’ll have a great doctor who understands the role of preventative medicine through diet and exercise, not just surgery and medicine. If she/he doesn’t, find a new doctor. Use alternative health practitioners.

18. Get ready for the bills.

We got so many bills; it was unbelievable. We also got the largest bill I’d ever seen in my life, for over $80,000…and he only had stents placed, not open heart! Get ready…

19. Get health insurance now.

If you wait until after his heart attack, he won’t qualify for it.

20. Get life insurance now.

If you wait until after his heart attack, he won’t qualify for it.

21. Trust your instincts. If you think he’s having a heart attack, he probably is. Again---trust your intuition!

If you’re wrong, you’ve lost very little, maybe looking a little foolish. If you’re right and you don’t go, you will struggle to cope with this decision. If you’re right, and you do go, you save his life. Most men having heart attacks go to the emergency room because their wives insist. It’s a fact.

22. It’s a dry run for his Second Heart Attack.

If your husband doesn’t modify his behavior, and relies solely on modern medicine to save him, there is a realistic chance that he will have a second heart attack. This is a reality. So if he doesn’t move around much (as in exercise), doesn’t change his diet and still eats a lot, continues to gain weight, refuses to cut down on his stress, has no spiritual life to speak of, works like a dog, thinks “relaxation” is for ninnies, smokes, has a family history of heart disease, etc., you’ll revisit all of this, and probably soon. He’s bargaining with fate that he’ll be able to get intervening medical help in time, though. Get ready.

23. Along this line, two words: Estate Planning.

Make sure your estate plan is up to date ahead of time and that you are familiar with it. Do not rely on your husband for this. He will feel invulnerable. He’s not. Get a great attorney and/or good books from the library or Amazon. That alone may motivate him to think about the potential effects of his behavior (probably not).

24. If your husband is motivated to eat healthfully, get some good low-fat low-salt books.

Make sure he’s motivated, though, before you get too crazy with this. Most men are extremely motivated while they are in the hospital. Then, everything changes once they see they’ve survived. You may waste literally hundreds of dollars buying healthy organic no-salt ingredients and learn to cook like a professional with fresh spices and other amazing ingredients only to find your husband back at his favorite fast-food haunts. Take your time.

25. Along this line…you may need to plan ahead emotionally, too, for the Second Heart Attack.

Some men need two heart attacks to get smart and heart healthy. Others never learn. Maintain the connection between you and your husband and love him no matter what…he may not be around long. Spend time with your husband and enjoy every precious moment of his life.

26. Always, always, practice outstanding self-care.

One of you needs to be healthy and on top of things, and that's you. Eat right yourself, sleep well, exercise, take time for relaxation, pray or meditate, journal (or find some other way to deal with your feelings), and lean on your support system, including supportive professionals.

27. Let go of the man you knew and loved, and learn to love the man you have now.

Stop wishing him to be something that he’s not, and can never be again. Love bears all things.

Our time on earth is short. My preference is that my husband would take care of himself. I want to grow old with him. But that’s all that it is---a preference---and it’s MINE. My husband may choose differently. Above all, I want our connection, and our love to last. Enjoy every minute of your life together, be present, and treasure your husband…and all those you love.

~Picture by my husband's nurse with my cell phone
[Previously published in my old blog Tapping Luau under title "How To Survive Your Young Husband’s First (Unexpected) Heart Attack"]

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Labyrinth Reading List

Many people are interested in the Labyrinth as a spiritual and meditative tool. I recently became interested in the Labyrinth as a spiritual discipline, and have visited and walked several in my local area. The most beautiful and unique Labyrinths I have seen on the mainland are the ones at Harmony Hill, a retreat especially for those living with cancer. The picture above is of me walking my favorite Labyrinth of all, Dragon's Teeth Labyrinth on Maui.

For those of you interested in finding out more about Labyrinths, I can recommend the following Labyrinth books. If you'd like to go right to Amazon to read more reviews of the book, click on the title and you'll be taken directly there:

"The Magic of Labyrinths: Following Your Path, Finding Your Center"
---By Liz Simpson
My favorite all-around book about Labyrinths, if you’re not sure where to start. This book will appeal to everyone, is very visually appealing, and covers many general areas.

"Exploring the Labyrinth: A Guide for Healing and Spiritual Growth" ---By Melissa Gayle West
I enjoyed this book the most, and it got me the most excited about Labyrinths. It emphasized practical and useful applications of Labyrinths for healing and spiritual growth. It had the most applied, concrete, and in-depth psychological explorations, as well as beautiful examples. It is divided into three parts---a general introduction to Labyrinths, information on creating & using Labyrinths, and “playing” & healing with Labyrinths.

"The Way of the Labyrinth : A Powerful Meditation for Everyday Life"
---By Helen Curry
This book was beautiful describing ways of incorporating Labyrinth meditation into your life. It also included an interesting exploration of Labyrinth history…It is a very practical, creative, and applied book. It includes a wealth of rituals, ceremonies, and variations on the use of the Labyrinth.

"Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool"
---By Dr. Lauren Artress
Best classic Labyrinth book. Reader will benefit most if there is some familiarity with the Labyrinth.

"Way of the Winding Path: A Map for the Labyrinth of Life" ---by Eve Eschner Hogan
The Labyrinth as a metaphor for life. Excellent, moving. I met the author at her home and retreat the last time I was on Maui, and had an opportunity to walk her wonderful and unique Labyrinth there. It was an unforgettable experience.

"The Healing Labyrinth: Finding Your Path to Inner Peace" ---By Helen Raphael Sands
Excellent introductory book, with many beautiful pictures, author’s recounting of her personal journey.

~Picture by Husband Mark
[Some portions of this post were previously published in my old blog Tapping Luau]

Face of a Chameleon

We saw this chameleon at the Kula Botanical Gardens in Kula, Maui in October 2005. I love the expression on his face.

~Picture by Husband Mark
[Previously published in my old blog Tapping Luau]


"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are."---Marianne Williamson

This is a picture I took of my husband relaxing in Kula, Maui, that beautifully exemplifies this wonderful quote from Marianne Williamson. A picture worth a thousand words...

~Picture by Me

[Previously published in my old blog Tapping Luau]

Kind Blog

Today I found out about kind blogs from Chookooloonks...oh yea, this is so in line with my values and what I want for my blog...for my life in general.

A Kind Blog is a blog that subscribes to the following:

By posting this badge, I'm declaring that in addition to humour, intelligence, wit, sadness, snarkiness, passion, exuberance, peace, stillness, excitability, anger or any other emotion you may witness on my site:

1) I will never intentionally hurt other people, whether I know them or not, whether they blog or not, whether they're celebrities or not, either through my words or my images. It's just not my style; and

2) I hope that by the time you've clicked away from my site, I've helped in some way to make your day just a little bit better.



Thank you, Chookooloonks! Visit Chookooloonks on a regular basis for some beautiful photography as well as for the great kind blog idea.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day Today! I long for spring...the only thing I really enjoy about winter weather is the woodstove, which I try to stay near.

I'm going for a walk with my friend D, and then we're going to buy some free weights. I hope that we both are able to start a brief "starter-type" weight training program within a week, that's my goal. I used to be a personal trainer a l-o-n-g time ago, so I know the importance of weight training. It's been years since I've done any, and it shows. I'm excited. And tired. So many lifestyle changes, so fast, but all good. I like this new lifestyle much better than the old.

~picture via Cute Overload

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

I've learned a lot lately about the practice of firewood management. Our home in the woods is heated by firewood. You'd think this would be pretty straightforward, but it isn't if you've never lived in the country before. Monday I started a small fire in the house trying to dry out our wet wood. Previously, due to improperly burning wet wood and "green" wood (which is not actually green, just not "seasoned" or aged outside for at least six months), we stained our white ceilings with black sooty patterns that follow the beams of the construction work on our house. Plus we were cold a lot of the time, since wet wood and green wood just don't burn well.

We bought a wood hoop to dry our wood indoors and I developed a rotation and drying system for doing so. First I bring the wood in...er, well, hubbie does. And he stacks in in the round log rack. Then I stack the split pieces in front and alongside the woodstove. The fire on Monday allowed me to discover and correct for a bug in that wood drying system. Now I stick them far enough away from the woodstove so that when they fall over, they won't hit the woodstove and catch fire. Throughout the day I turn the pieces so that they dry, which takes about 1-2 days. In the meantime we burn purchased (manufactured) wood from Safeway. I rotate the pieces so that the ones that come "up" are the dryest ones. I think I've gotten it down now. It is a small success, but one that gives me an amount of satisfaction disproportionate to its size. Now, to train hubbie in that system!

~Picture by Husband Mark