Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Re-finding Balance

My life felt so out of balance last week. I knew a lot of it had to do with the frustrations leading up to an event I was responsible for.

One month ago, I was trying tons of new recipes, was in the best shape I've been in all my life, was constantly coming up with new jewelry designs, was busy meeting up with friends, and was seeing a pretty awesome guy. Then, enter the month of April. It was a crazy one and little by little, my thoughts and energy toward each of those things above started trickling away as my thoughts and energy toward this business started growing.

My life took the back burner as I put everything I had into this event and what needed to happen for the company. I love what I do but quickly felt the negative effects of losing the balance in my life. And I knew I needed to get that balance back or else everything was going to fall apart.

The event ended Saturday evening and since then, I have been able to do things that I was missing out on over the past month (which is my own fault.) I'm not sick anymore, I have groceries in my fridge, I sleep like a champ, I'm running again, and I enjoy the smell of the flowers in front of me as I write this from Balboa Park. I come here to think. To breathe. To center myself. I came here maybe once in the past month and in the past two days, I've been here twice.

Life WILL get out of balance when we let it. Our health, our fitness, our joy... We will even lose sight of what we truly want. And then one day, we wake up and say, "Today, I'm getting back into the swing of things. I'm getting back into my routine." And as soon as we do that, we feel that balance again. We feel refreshed. We feel like we can conquer anything.

Monday, April 29, 2013

My First West Coast Event

Whew, what a weekend! This past week leading up to my event on Saturday was a whirlwind. I was a stress mess Friday evening and found myself getting frustrated by even the smallest little details, as I tend to do while coordinating events.

Saturday arrived before I could blink and the weather ended up being gorgeous! Time was ticking away before the start of the event for the surf shop I work for. Now, I don't normally blog about work-related things but I love what I do and it has quickly become a huge part of who I am. This event was the shop's "re-grand" opening and we had very high hopes for it so I was quite nervous in the hours leading up to the start.

The sun was shining and people were up and down the streets near the shop. We teamed up with a local animal rescue organization and the pups they brought were absolutely adorable. They certainly got a lot of attention :)

We had nearly 100 cupcakes that we personally baked and iced, as well as lots of cocktails, awesome live music, a fashion show, and some fun raffles! I was so happy to see people enjoying themselves in the California sunshine, while browsing our new merchandise and going for seconds on the signature cocktails :)

I was even more excited when sweet Ashley [House of Glass] and her husband showed up and we ran to each other and hugged like they do in the movies. I can't even tell you how wonderful it feels to have "met" a blogger while living on the other side of the country, then meet in real life, then have them come support you for your first big event on the West Coast. We have plans for another meet-up again soon which I am already ecstatic about. Go say "hi" to Ash if you haven't already. Her blog exudes the most positive, fun, genuine vibes and I must say, she [and her sweet husband] are just as real and AWESOME in real life. Seriously. They are THE best!

I was so happy at the end of the event. Deep down, I know that the stressful moments do pass. And while we're going through them, we're being refined. But being able to look back at the stress and the sleepless nights and early mornings once your event is over, it makes it all kind of bittersweet. And it is all worth it in the end. The event was a success, more so than I could have asked, AND I got to be there with wonderful people in a beautiful place during it.

Now for the inspiration behind this weekend:

"Either work hard or you might as well quit."
- MC Hammer ["U Can't Touch This"]

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Answering Tough Questions

I think it's important to ask ourselves  tough questions every so often. It helps us stay in tune with ourselves and our ever-evolving lives. As life continues on, things sometimes change inside of us. We live, we learn and it's so vital to stay in touch with what's inside of us. I saw these questions that Erin posted and said to myself, "Hey, you need to do this. Right now. Right when life has gotten crazy and exciting and scary all at the same time. Do it and reflect back on it one day." So, I'm doing it:

1. If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would it be?
     I would have spent even more time with my mom. I would have taken her out to lunch more often. I would have asked her more questions; about herself growing up, about raising me, about her dreams, about the lessons she learned, about her favorite memories of us together. There's so much I don't know. So much I'll never know. And if I could go back, I would just want to be with her.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
     Here in San Diego. That's all I know. Life is unpredictable and I have no idea what challenges are in store for me next, but I do know to expect some. Other than that, I don't want to set my life along a timeline anymore. What happens, happens and I welcome the future with open, hopeful arms.

3. Do you honestly want kids?
     Yes, but the "when" has changed. You'd think the older I get, the sooner I'd want kids. I look forward to the day when I can be a mother, experience the blessings [and challenges] of motherhood, and pass along the things my own mom taught me. However, I believe my detours in life have brought me exactly where I'm meant to be right now - focused on growing as a woman, learning, and loving.

4. What has been the best moment of your life so far?
     I believe I've had a few "best moments" depending on where I was in my life. Meeting my favorite boy band was pretty cool when I was 12 ;) But the first full day living in San Diego was a real landmark moment for me. It signified the beginning of what I truly believe will be the most rewarding and meaningful years of my life.

5. What is your life theme song?
     Drops of Jupiter was and as I've gotten older, Gardenia by Mandy Moore. Gardenia is so, so raw and powerful and honest. It chokes me up every time, without fail. It's a song beautifully written about learning about life and learning who you are.

6. What is one thing you have yet to accomplish that you want to do before you die?
     I want to treat my dad to a long vacation to some place he's always wanted to visit. He has always been there for us, encouraged us, and done everything in his power to help us achieve our dreams and it's his turn to be the special one.

7. If you could choose one thing to be known for, what would it be?
     Inspiring people to fully embrace life and to know that when the tough moments hit hard, find the beauty in life and never let go of your deepest dreams.

8. If you could do anything you wanted right in this very moment (no consequences, no fear, etc.) what would it be?
     Surf Pipeline and then take my family to Ted's Bakery after :)

9. What has been the most challenging moment in your life?
     Watching my mom die. Hands down.

10. Summarize yourself in one word.

Like "Gardenia" says:
"It's been good... getting to know me more."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happies on a Bad Day

There are a lot of words I could use to describe my yesterday but I might as well just refer you back to my "I just glazed" and "Done" quotes yesterday from the RHOC. Those two phrases pretty much describe it perfectly. So, I decided since my entire brain capacity is consumed with my big work event this weekend, I am not going to think right now.

Here are some images that bring me butterflies and smiley faces and... unicorns:

1. Take me back to P.E. class
2. Good thing the place where I spend all my time is the closest
3. She's always buzzing just like... neon, neon.
5. You go, girl

6. Billabong killing it with neon advertising/graphics
7. This goes perfectly with my 80s/90s baking/dance parties
8. The sea is my peace
9. Does it even get better than coconut ice cream?
10. He leaves me speechless...

What images turn your frown upside down? Link to them below in the comments :)

As for now, off I go to the wonderful world of event planning the week of my event. Hopefully today I won't realize my sunglasses are still on after I've been inside for five minutes. Because that happened...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"I Just Glazed" + An Awesome Giveaway

If you understand the title of this post then, shoot, we might just both have the same guilty pleasure... The Real Housewives of Orange County. It has always been my favorite of the Housewives series and I have quickly grown fond of Heather Dubrow. She cracks me up with her wit and dry sense of humor.

Which is why last night's episode really had me on the floor laughing. We finally got to see Heather dumbing it down and playing the "immature banter" game that some cast members [ahem, Alexis] like to play. It didn't take long for everyone to start chiming in for what was one of the most uncomfortable dinners I've witnessed.

Dun, dun dun...

During what was supposed to be a nice dinner with the ladies at Tamra's new fitness studio, Alexis [invited only by Vicki] decides to start bringing up the "bully" word as soon as Tamra asks her a simple question, "Why do you want to be here?" The ladies have had enough with being accused of bullying and when Alexis looks at Heather, Heather loses it.

"Whoa... why are you looking at me?!"

At that point, Heather decides to play down on Alexis' level of immaturity and large hand motions [ie: "Talk to the hand" Oh, yes. That happened.] But the best part, toward the end of the Alexis vs. Heather banter when Heather was just done, was this line:

"I just glazed"
[with a hand-swiping motion over her face]

Hilarious. I am officially adopting that phrase to use when I just couldn't care less about something anymore. I'll have to go back and watch the rest of the episode because I rewound that part about four times and couldn't stop laughing until the end. However, I do know that there was a particularly insane argument that went back and forth between Tamra and Alexis which ended with Alexis literally being kicked out and the below...

What an episode. It sounds like Heather and Tamra are both dunzo with the Alexis drama. So, next time you feel yourself getting pulled into drama, knowing there's no great way to get out, just say the short but sweet Heatherism, "I just glazed" and be "done." ;)


In completely un-related news, I'm taking part in an awesomely huge giveaway to celebrate Olive & Ivy's blogiversary! :) Enter below or head on over to Chelsea's blog! To win shop credit to After Sunset, be sure to enter Package 4 at the very, very bottom :)

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Monday, April 22, 2013

The Earth I Get To Walk On Each Day

What better day to say a couple words of thanks for this beautiful planet that we live on? Happy Earth Day! I've been a bit more aware of this upcoming "holiday" this year because I've been so consumed with the sea and beach. Living in San Diego and constantly reading about other surf brands' campaigns will do that to ya.

I remember Earth Day back in elementary school. It always made me think of trees. You know - saving the trees. This year, it's different for me because of my love for the sea and being able to live in a beach city.

I have spent a lot of time near the ocean lately. A lot. And not once have I forgotten to take it all in and be grateful for the natural beauty that surrounds me. I see the gorgeous palm trees as they sway in the bay breeze every week on the way to my work meeting. I get sand all over me and smile every time I see it made its way into my car. I touch the salty ocean and I'm immediately taken back to my first love. The place where life makes sense.

Driving through San Diego, I am constantly reminded of how beautiful and special Mother Nature can be. I am in constant awe of this city of mine. No city is perfect but San Diego sure is close. I fall deeper in love everyday. And I mean it.

To be able to lay on warm, soft sand in April [and back in March too!], feel the breeze brush through my hair, and stare out at the pretty Pacific waves, I am reminded of Earth. Of all the places throughout this planet that speak to people simply because of their natural beauty.

Also, I'm not sure if you've seen it yet, but Roxy featured Devon [a fellow SD girl!] on their post about Earth Day! Devon shares some awesome beach sprint exercises incorporating a beach clean-up AND some of Roxy's awesome workout gear. Check it out and then go say "hi" to Devon over at The Mermaid Chronicles :) She is awesome!

So, Earth, I think you're pretty amazing. Aside from all the crime and poverty and hurt that goes on, the gifts of nature that we have been given are "out of this world." Good thing we get to keep them, huh? As long as we are good to Mother Nature in return.

For me it's the ocean and the sand and the palm trees. What about Earth do you love the most?

As an added bonus today, head on over to Join the Gossip for a pretty sweet After Sunset giveaway! :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It Happens Every Day

Then there are the days when you feel ten times happier. And it's just because of life. Just how life's tragedies can bring you down, life's beauty can make you realize just how wonderful this world really is.

It is no surprise here that I love sunsets and that they inspire me more than any other thing [well, other than the ocean.] On Tuesday evening, while spending time in La Jolla at a beautiful beach known as Windansea, I realized, yet again, one of those beauties of life. It's simple yet so humbling.

That time of day when everyone stops for the sunset.

I feel so blessed to live in an area of the world where we get killer sunsets. Where we can so easily access countless beaches to watch the sun melt into the ocean. Every. Single. Day. And it's as if, for those last ten minutes as the sun sinks into the horizon, everything around us stops.

People pause on the boardwalk.
People pull their cars over.
Shoot, people just stop in the middle of the street.
People sit.
People stop surfing.
People just watch.
People soak it in.

Nothing else matters for those few minutes.
It's just you and the sunset.
And knowing that every single person around you is there for the same reason?
Well, that's a powerful feeling.

[No filter. Just sayin' ;)]

Because it's nature.
It's perfect.
It's untouched.
And all we have to do is stop to watch it.

Life is a Sunset

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

To Feel My Hand In Hers Again

I have written before about the days that are harder than others. There are probably several posts about that. Losing your mother changes your life as I'm sure those of you who are sadly in my shoes know. Life is just never the same. There are the mornings, days, nights, seconds, weeks, and months that are just harder to get through than others and most times, there's no real explanation for them.

Certain things remind you of her. You just need a "mom hug." You miss spending time with her. You just need her.

Monday was another one of those days for me. I think part of it had to do with the tragedy during the Boston Marathon. The idea of suddenly losing a love one hits me deeply and thinking about the realities that were taking place for families affected by the bombings hit me deeply. Death in general just hits me deeply because I know how awfully tragic and aching that pain feels. It never leaves your soul.

I called my dad in tears after watching footage of Boston on Monday. He had a hard time focusing at work and decided he just needed to leave and go home. And then he texted me this:

I so badly miss visiting my mom at the cemetery at least once a week. It was my time to reflect, to spend with her, to just sit there and be.

It is so hard for me to explain to people why I enjoyed going to the cemetery to visit her grave. It was the only time I had here on Earth to still spend with her, even if it was just a symbol. It helped... but it never took away the pain. And now not being on the same coast as her grave means I don't have a solid place I can go to visit her. I have her memories. I have her pictures. And I had one recent video of the two of us together. The last video taken of us. At my wedding.

Monday night, I don't know what came over me, but I needed to see the two of us interacting. I watched the first minute of my wedding highlights over and over again. Just me and my mom as I got ready. Seeing the way she looked at me. The love in her eyes. And then there was one moment that hit me so hard.

I reached out for my mom's hand and she placed my hand in hers and smiled. That one moment means the world to me yet breaks my heart at the same time because I know, deep down, that my mom will never be able to look at me like that again. I'll never be able to reach out and feel her hands in mine. And I don't care what positive spin anyone tries to give me... not being able to hold her hand while I'm alive again is the most painful feeling I've ever felt.

Still, to this day, it doesn't feel real that she is really gone. It becomes so ingrained in you to have your loved ones around or at least just one phone call away. But once they're really gone - forever - it is the most unreal, gut-wrenching feeling to know nothing at all will ever bring them back. Not even for a second.

That split second pictured above means more to me than I can express. To have a couple minutes of footage of us interacting. To see the love in her eyes as if it were happening today. I would do anything to bring her back. To feel my hand in hers again...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Good, Hope, and I Love You

It's difficult to describe the way I feel when something devastating happens. I watched TV yesterday as everything unfolded in Boston. I was immediately taken back to just a few months ago as I sat in my living room, in the same spot, watching the coverage of the Newtown shootings. Remembering that feeling I get when something devastating happens.

Then there is today, April 16th. The anniversary of the Virginia Tech Massacre - a shooting that literally hits close to home. Again, I will never forget the way I felt that day as I stood on my own college campus in VA and listened to the bell as it tolled, once for each life that was taken as students all around me sobbed. And 9/11? Being that close to something so horrific and seeing it with my own eyes - that will be impossible to forget.

Yesterday, when I saw the footage of the first explosion in Boston when the 78-year-old runner fell to the ground, I lost it. I was overcome with sadness for these poor people. Seeing their fear. Seeing the humanity. The pain. The terror. Feeling entirely helpless as I watched from thousands of miles away on a television of a city that I experienced not too long ago.

But I also noticed the people who ran toward the explosion. I watched the people scattered all around, running as they pushed wheelchairs with injured people. And I knew, deep down, that among all the evil in this world - among all the sadness and terror and fear and destruction - there was still good.

I guess it's that small glimmer of good that keeps us going during the devastating times. Nothing seemed right yesterday. I couldn't smile. I couldn't think about anything other than the people whose lives have forever been changed because of those two explosions. But I am so grateful for the good. For the people who do save lives and assist the injured in horrible, scary situations like what happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon and for the hope in each day. Sometimes we have to search a little harder for it but I know it's there.

Find the good. Search for the hope. And tell your loved ones, "I love you."

Thoughts and prayers for Boston.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Same View, Different Perspective

So, this is what it feels like to blog Monday thru Friday again. I didn't even skip a day! I guess I've just been that inspired lately ;) On Wednesday, I took some time out of my day to go to the beach. I know. Tough life. But seriously, this base tan is not going to work on itself. I headed over to a spot in Mission Beach that I first visited over eight years ago in the Winter during my first-ever San Diego visit.

I remember it being pretty much the coolest thing since going to my very first Backstreet Boys concert in sixth grade. It was the beach of San Diego. CALIFORNIA! And now here I am, eight years later, a San Diego resident just enjoying part of my day at that very same beach.

However, I grew up as a Virginia Beach Bunny. I'd be down on the beach not long after the beach combers drove by in the morning and left the beach when the hotels started casting their shadows on the sand. I was used to the way the sun moved in the sky. The way I'd position and re-position my towel. And then I moved to San Diego and got all thrown-off.

I was so accustomed to positioning my towel so that my feet were facing the ocean. But here on the West Coast, it's reversed. This time, I placed my towel so that my feet were facing the boardwalk. My feet were facing the exact same spot where I had a picture taken of me eight years ago. 

[Good thing Hamel's was renovated, huh?]

Little 19-year-old Chelsea. My very first day in San Diego. With my sweet mom and my brother who was living in SD at the time. I had absolutely no idea [although I sure dreamt it] that I'd be laying out on this beach as a resident less than a decade later. And I had no idea just how much these two pictures would mean to me until now.

In one picture, I'm a girl six months out of high school with years of ups and downs and heartbreaks and jobs and losses and dreams ahead. A girl who had absolutely no idea at the time that one person in that picture would be 3,000 miles away again and the other would be in Heaven.

And in the other picture, I'm a girl who's seen a lot of life and still made it out here, alone, to find the truest happiness I ever could have wished for. A girl who's laying out on a beach she once only dreamt about after touching its sand years ago, studying the new movement of the sun in the sky.

But really... it's not the movement of the sun that has changed. It's just my position in this world. I get to see everything through this new perspective. It's as if I get to re-learn all the many things I already knew about - but this time, they all mean so much more.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Everything Happens for a Reason?

It is a very rare and special occasion that I get home and immediately just sink into the floor of my living room and stay there for quite some time with the biggest grin on my face. Unable to move; paralyzed by a sudden and deep and real feeling of happiness.

My senses were awakened by the promising possibility of something so simple and hoped for yet deep and beautifully surprising.

I drove through Downtown San Diego last night and the city was truly alive. The traffic lights as they flashed from red to green were vibrant and lined the streets in a way I never noticed before. I could feel every groove and dip in the pavement as my car cruised from 1st Avenue to 2nd and 3rd and so on. Even the usual urgency of the railroad crossing lights and bells brought me a sense of peace as I waited. And the freeway? Well, the freeway just felt like it was mine that night.

The touch of the breeze through my window was what really did it. It always does it for me. Kind of like the sunset. We'll have to save the sunset for a later post. But the breeze was the perfect ending to the night before I got home and sunk into my living room floor with a feeling I haven't felt in... who knows how long? Or perhaps I never have felt this way. Who am I to measure?

Life has changed and so have I. The things that happen to me now, the people placed into my life and the way they make me feel whether good or bad means something different to me in this phase of my life.

And to think that the sunset [life] only got better after this first picture...

I have no idea what is about to happen next. All I know is that I felt the way I described above because of one person. One person who was unexpectedly yet so perfectly placed into my life at this very point.

I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason. You know what I mean - the big things. The important things. Somehow, someway... the good things [and even the bad things] are aligned in our life for us. And I know without a doubt that every one of those good and bad things brought me right here and now where I am. To San Diego. To experience the many wonderful things that are currently aligning. Including the happiness, the inspiration, the passion, and constant reminders of life's beauty that this person has brought to my life. [Whoa, that's deep. I know. Who am I? Me? Deep?] But I don't care. I want to be transparent. I want to always, always speak from my heart when it guides me.

Sometimes it's scary to look everything in the eye and accept that maybe... just maybe, something incredible is really happening. Maybe even if we don't know it at the time, we do have the key to unlock it all. And if we follow our heart completely, remain true, and continue on passionately, the key will continue to unlock many wonderful and beautiful things. Things that were aligned perfectly for us. Because everything does happen for a reason ;)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Lighthearted Things Lately

I like to believe that life is what you make of it. I try so hard everyday to think that way. But I have to be honest - life has been a huge friggin' roller coaster. Life is so, so good and I have so much to be grateful for but there are still those hard moments to get through each day. I'm sure my hard moments are different from your hard moments but we all have them.

Sometimes, like in the idle moments I wrote about, life's rough points hit us a little bit harder. They dig a little bit deeper into our skin and leave a sharp sting. And sometimes that sting is more like a deep burn that feels like it will never stop. It's unbearable.

And it's because of those horrible, unbearable moments that I am so very grateful for the lighthearted things in life. You know - the things that just put a smile on your face.

+A text someone sends you out of the blue that lets you know they appreciate you.

+A quote that just speaks to your heart


+Talenti Gelato [insert your favorite flavor here]

+A picture that makes you laugh hysterically no matter how many times you see it.

Caption: Photo Bomb

You guys, the funny cat pictures get me every time. I promise I'm only a half cat-lady.

+Your favorite view. Mine just happens to be the ocean. Here it was yesterday :)

+When your cat or dog greets you at the door when you get home and gives you lovin'

+And then there are the 90s songs. You're welcome.

If those songs don't pump you up, then I don't know what to tell you. I randomly found Addams Family Groove the other day while doing my typical scan through 90s songs and I think I lost my mind. I mean, I had not heard that song since it aired on the radio in '92. They need to bring it back.

And "Beautiful Life" - well, let's just say there was a dance party in my kitchen last night. The best part starts at 2:52. Enjoy :)

It's the lighthearted things in life that get us through many of the heavier-hearted times. Sometimes all it takes is that snuggle from our furry friend or a dance party in the kitchen to make you sigh and say, "Ah... it's a beautiful life." ;)

What are the lighthearted things in your life?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On My Changes

I made a few changes on my blog. Mainly just a new header. It was pretty long overdue. It got me thinking about changes. Some changes are gradual. Some happen overnight. Some are created by us. Some are created by circumstances outside our control. Either way change is change. You can either be scared of it or learn from it or with it.

In the past year or so, here are the changes that have occurred in my life
Whether on purpose or by nature:

+I went from having a mother to being motherless
     The biggest change I've ever faced in this life [you can read all of my Mom posts here.] It was unexpected and turned my world upside down in a matter of seconds. As I watched my mom slip into the next life, I knew my life was never going to be the same. This change in my life started the domino effect of changes to come.

+I started After Sunset
     My mom encouraged my creative nature when I was younger but I quickly noticed how SATs, college papers, and cover letters throughout the years always seemed to win on the list of priorities. I knew life was too short so I launched my little shop on Etsy and dove straight in to creating new designs. It's been a gradual process but I've loved the road thus far.

+I bought a new car
     I did the one thing I always told myself I'd never do [okay except for sky-diving and all that jazz] I bought a brand-spanking-new car. It was my first real investment and I felt ready for it. [Although, I wasn't ready for the scratches that were inevitably about to come with it. If only people were more careful...!]

+I moved from Virginia to California
    The second biggest change because with this change has come many others:
          +I work with a company that I am passionate about and wake up everyday [even on the weekends because I'm a total nerd] excited to be a part of their team!
          +I'm away from family and my best friends. This just pushes me harder to find new people that inspire me and encourage me!
          +What I eat, how I exercise, how I speak, what I wear - Some of my favorite foods and fashions are so easily accessible here not to mention, I can exercise outside any day I so choose and people don't make fun of me for saying "dude" ;)

+And then I chopped off my hair
     I mean, tell me changing up your appearance like that doesn't make you feel like a changed woman ;) Go do it for yourself if you don't believe me. I'm loving my short hair! And knowing that some woman will have a wig makes this change even better!

These are just some of the "on paper" changes. I have to admit, I feel entirely different. I feel changed. For the better. I look back at previous relationships, friendships, and problems that were a part of my life and I see them all so differently now. The way I make decisions has changed. The way I handle my feelings has changed. The way I prioritize things has changed. The way I see life has changed... tremendously.

Sometimes a big change or lots of little changes combined together are exactly what we need to take our life in the right direction. The direction that was meant for us. I have no doubt that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be right this very second, and if it weren't for those changes above - who knows - I probably wouldn't have learned all I've learned about life this year.

Change can be a good thing. It can be a great thing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

When the Idle Moments Get Us

First and foremost, thank you all for your sweet words and wishes for Stella on Friday. I took her to the vet and she will need to be taken to the cardiologist for an echo cardiogram soon. She has had a heart murmur since I adopted her two years ago and we need to find out more about it. We will know more soon, but for now, I'm just praying that little Stella girl will be a-okay and that the heart murmur won't lead to anything else.

I ended up feeling under the weather myself this weekend. I hate feeling less than 100% because it physically limits me to what I can do. I wanted to get out for a run this weekend and that didn't happen. I also had a lot of "idle" time. Lying in bed, my mind would wander. To places I don't like for it to go. Thinking about the people who've hurt me. And for a good hour or so yesterday, I felt really low.

Not a good feeling, right? You start questioning why? How? What if things happened differently? [This is where I should refer back to my bullet point last week on how "life's too short to worry about the what ifs"] But still... it hurts to look back at the people who've bruised you - even if the bruise was only temporary.

Then I realized there are just those circumstances that happen to us in life. And all we can do is react. We can't change what happened or what is happening. We just have to focus on the now because tomorrow is not guaranteed. I learned this in huge life events like the loss of my mom. However, it's in those less life-altering moments that I tend to get stuck. You know - when I'm thinking about friends who weren't there when I needed them, people who were dishonest, the guys who left me with a broken heart, even the situations going on day-to-day that I can't see the end result of.

In those idle moments, re-focus your thoughts. Think about what you can be doing, what strides you can be taking, how life really is still so good.

I took those lyrics from my current favorite song, "The Lime Tree" by Trevor Hall. Whatever those negative thoughts are that creep into your mind during the idle moments, wash them down. Be renewed everyday. And toast to the people and the things that do matter right now in this moment. And remember, the stars... well...

They still shine.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What Can We Do While They're Sick?

Is there any worse feeling than being next to someone you love who is sick and not being able to make them feel better? And when I say someone I mean human or animal.

Two years ago, I adopted my tortoiseshell cat, Stella, from the Humane Society. Three months later she had a breast cancer scare and went through an emergency mastectomy. I was heartbroken. To have to take my cat to the vet, leave her there for several nights! [is that not the hardest thing to do?], and then pick her up with her eyes sunken in, her tummy shaved, and then watch her bump into everything with her cone on. I felt absolutely horrible for her.

We made it through that and then a cross-country move three months later, but didn't realize how hard things were about to become. Stella and my parents' cat, Missy, [but really she was my cat too] were there for me every night when I came home from the hospital the week that my mom died. Another time that I had to sit and watch helplessly.

Eight months later, I sat beside Missy as she tried desperately to hang on to life but her lungs and old age just couldn't do it anymore and we lost her too.

But through those losses, as horrible as they were to go through and still are today -- I've had my Stella girl by my side. Late last night, Stella started not feeling well. At all. She was up on her perch above the refrigerator and I climbed up to get her down and she collapsed into my lap and snuggled up.

I decided it was time to close up shop and for the two of us to go to bed. I carried her in my room, got under the covers, and motioned for her to come over. She is really a dog, I'm sure of it. Instead of coming over to snuggle against the other pillow, Stella wedged herself between the edge of the bed and my shoulder. Where she would be closest to me. She laid her little head on my hand.

It sounds like it's back to the vet we go. A place I hate just as much as the hospital. Keep my sweet girl in your prayers this weekend and send some happy thoughts our way.

Sometimes all you can do is be there to comfort a loved one. No matter how hard it is to admit, you can't take the sickness away. Just be there. By their side. Whether they're human or animal, it makes a difference to them.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Life is Too Short To:

+ Not do what you love

+ Constantly make bad decisions

+ Think too much before making a good decision

+ Settle

+ Read only one book at a time

+ Forget to say, "I love you"

+ Not enjoy chocolate whenever you please

+ Play games

+ Waste a sunny day

+ Give up on what you believe in

+ Watch the commercials when you can fast forward ;)

+ Worry about the "what ifs"

+ Not do the "Oops! I Did It Again" dance when the song plays

+ Not say the "Well, baby... I went down and got it for ya. Aww, ya shouldn't have" part when that song plays. Admit it.

+ Miss important family events

+ Surround yourself with people who don't follow through

+ Take it for granted

+ Not learn from the trials

+ Go one second without being grateful for what you DO have

Now, add your additions in the comments :)