Reclaiming Bounceback-ability

Dear Family and Friends,

To be honest, I wrote so many crappy version of this month’s letter. Believe it or not, I actually don’t like my own writing. Sometimes I look back at an old letter I wrote and think to myself, You should be embarrassed for: 1) actually writing this, 2) not proofreading as closely as I should have, 3) actually thinking that it was good, and so good that I, 4) actually sent it to other human beings.

This is not a pity-seeking tactic to covertly solicit you into telling me how much you like reading my writings. I’ve read enough books in the course of my lifetime that I’ve come across amazing writing, beautiful bold voices, and intriguing plots and characters. When I read other professional authors and storytellers I appreciate the time they dedicate to mastering their craft, their art. Unlike me, they spend more than a couple of hours perfecting their gift to the world. The reader gambles their times in hopes that the book isn’t a complete bust. There are some of us who will read at least three chapters before determining that the rest of the book isn’t going to get better.

If you made it this far into the letter you may be one of them.

I feel like I write about the same thing each month. Once again, another letter about the ups and downs of going through life. Blah, blah, blah…

I don’t want to be redundant.  

However, these letters really feel like therapy. I’ve never been to therapy- and I  know I should go- but I think this is what a good therapy session should be like. You talk about something over, and over, and over again until you finally are able to face it and call it by its real name.

If you have a good therapist, or have a friend that listens and engages well, or have a dog that believes you are the greatest human on earth, or you write really long letters each month then maybe one day you’ll be able to figure out what is at the core of what you have been avoiding.

My issues with these letters, and by extension myself, is that I don’t have problems. I’ve never gone through some major adversity. I have things that challenge me, but they are not really problems. To me, problems are things that have the potential destruct the tenants of survival: near homelessness, fear of deportation, some major adversity of some magnitude. I just  have challenges. Can I pass a class? Can I meet a deadline? Can I navigate this contentious relationship successfully?

I get disappointed and let down. Sometimes I am the disappointment and I’ve let others down. There have been times when I felt unsafe and/ or unsteady. There are things I working to achieve; and, I’m trying to live up to my values, morals, and expectations of the person I want to be along with healthy, thriving relationships. I have a lot of internal and external pressure. I get really down sometimes.
Obviously, the title of this month’s emails is reclaiming bounceback-ability. I started to free write, but it didn’t feel authentic. I don’t really ever have negative thoughts when I’m writing, but this time I did.  What is it that I really ever had to really bounce back from? What is it I’ve been trying to sell my friends through all of these letter. What version of me I’ve been trying to sell my friends through all of these letter.

Also, on the flip side, reclaiming bounceback ability feels extremely authentic and something uniquely my own.

I don’t remember what early adulthood, first world, angsty, ‘my life is over’ spell I was going through at the time that made me think that the course of my life was headed towards turbulence and destruction. To be fair to my (not so much) younger self, my problems of yesterday felt as deadly as my current problems; and my current self feels that my problems of today are malignant to my future; and my future self will agree because my problems of tomorrow will be lethal to all my hopes, dreams and aspirations just as my past and current problems were.

(There was no succinct way of writing that sentence- I tried- and  I have no intention of taking it out.)

Anyways, life seemed as if it was over and I was telling my friend, Amon, about how my life was inevitably about to shatter to pieces. Honestly, I’m sure something I was hoping for or trusting God for didn’t work out at that time- there was something real there. My friend Amon told me not to worry because I have bounceback-ability.

I’ve been claiming it ever since! Well, ever since up until yesterday.

I was listening to a finance podcast about the emotional aspects of paying off debt and building wealth. The host and the guest shared how they felt guilty for the positive things in life. The host was able to hustle and scramble and save an enormous amount of money in a short period of time, but she started off debt free because her mother paid for college. The show’s guest had a successful clothing boutique, but she just didn’t feel like she struggled enough.

Just like both women, and maybe because we are women of color, I question my offerings, especially these letters.

So, I used to claim bounceback ability. But, I just gave it up. So, for this letter I’m going to reclaim bounceback ability.


Here’s my list of why I gave it up

  • What in life, beyond age/ developmentally appropriate obstacles, have I ever bounced back from?
  • I feel like an imposter. I’m thinking about some of the people who are reading this right now (maybe rolling your eyes) and the things that you are have triumph over and/or still battling.


Reasons I’m reclaiming

  • As far as I’m concerned, ‘bounceback ability’ is mine and no one else on the history of this Earth has never lived to the full extent of bounceback ability like I have .
  • I may not have been struck by lightning and lived to tell about it, but I have done things that inspired others. I’ll spare you the long ancedote.
  • Because life hasn’t beaten the living daylights out of me, and I have surmounted many formidable challenges, I have just enough emotional capacity to give to others and enough experience to be of some actual help.


Sometimes I think about qualities I used to flow in more effortlessly on a consistent basis. I used to pray more fervently. I showed up to Friday night prayers at the church. I have my old prayer journals.


I’m reclaiming that as part of bounceback ability.


These are just my thoughts for the month. This letter is getting really long. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.


Whats Left Undone

Dear Family and Friends,


As many of you know, I have a theme ‘to make love is to make life’ that I try to take a moment and ponder once a month. I’ve been struggling to figure out what it really means. I still don’t know. I haven’t had time to think about it because there has been so much on my mind lately. One of the main causes of distraction is kids. Specifically, the clumsy, little kids that don’t tie their shoes. They don’t have the foresight to see that if they just tie their shoes they can prevent themselves from tripping over their own feet in the future.


It looks sloppy. Why must they leave their shoes untied? They can take 30 seconds to tie their shoes and go on about their life. You never see adults walking around with their shoes untied.


Well, actually…


Sometimes adults do leave some things left untied, undone and unresolved. It may not be shoe laces, but what adults leave undone often looks like unresolved apologies, situations, relationships and goals.


The Apology. Sometimes we are waiting for an apology for some wrong done to us. Life would be made whole again if only the offender admitted to their hurtful behavior and acknowledged the damage and distress left in its absence. And so we wait. And we wait. And we wait. And we are still waiting. One of my favorite quotes (yes, I have about 100 favorite quotes) for healing and restoration is, “Sometimes you have to accept the apology you will never receive.”


This goes two ways. Sometimes you are responsible for asking for forgiveness. There is someone in the world that is waiting and waiting and waiting for you to confess to what you have done. You begin to lie to yourself and believe that everything surrounding the situation will eventually pass. You are hoping the other person will get over it and all parties involved will just move on. But they don’t. They are waiting on you. You can’t move on because you know they are waiting on you. Both of you are awkwardly moving like awkward turtles at an awkward 6th-grade dance.


The Relationship. Before Iyanla Vanzant let the celebrity life get to her head, she used to give salient advice full of wisdom. (Now she just profits off of people’s pain. Anyways…) She wrote a book called ‘Acts of Faith’ that has daily personal reflections. Three of her reflections describe three types of relationships that we encounter with every person in our life. The people in our life for a reason will journey with us for a short time, and the relationship will end in such a way that it causes a deep visceral reaction engendering a need to reflect deeply on that experience. There are people who come for a season. They slowly drift away when that season is over. Lastly, there are lifetime people. Iyanla goes on explain that problems arise when we place lifetime expectations on people who were only meant to be in our lives for a reason or a season.


Relationships that end with the people who were only in our lives for a reason often cause disruption that leads to unresolved feelings. The relationship may start off fulfilling and usually ends up like a mini WWIII. We hold onto the reasons they wronged us. Conversely, we are ashamed of how we treated them, and we have this longing to go back and make amends. But we can’t. So it feels unresolved.


Either way, vestiges of that past relationship appear in other aspects of our lives. It shows up in the way we treat and talk to people that remind us of the relationship. We go places or avoid places because of that relationship. It becomes impossible to get pass invisible barriers that were erected during that relationship and are difficult to destruct without resolving the situation with the other person.


The goal. The other day my friend was telling me about the 30-year sprint. By 30 years old you feel the need to: buy a nice home, buy a nicer car, get married, have 2 kids, have a great job, get promoted every year, have a side business, go on vacation out of the country every year, have a 401K and conversations about planning for retirement, and find a unicorn after you spot a yeti during one of your exotic vacations. If you are not approaching 30, this is where you insert the next 10-year mark from your current age and all of the things that would be a nice addition to your life.


We all have heard the “that’s not everyone’s story,” or “not everyone takes that path in life,” or “it will come in due time,” blah blah blah blah blah. BLLLLAAAAAHHHHHHH.


Don’t be quick to dismiss people’s feelings over an unsatisfied life. They are reaching for a tangible goal that is often the physical manifestation of an emotion need. Home ownership represents security to many people. A good job is an affirmation of hard work and dedication.


The trials and hardships. Some of the things that have been left unresolved in our lives are the things that we are actively running away from. It’s the situation that we know is going to cause grief. Instead of facing it head on, we avoid it. It festers in our soul. It runs round and round and round in our mind. It hinders us from being present in the moment because we are physically in place but emotionally running from something.


You can’t resolve something you are afraid to face.


As always, I don’t know what to tell you what to do about the things left unresolved. The past few weeks I felt like things were off kilter. In the back of my mind, I felt like I had to resolve some things. I was losing sleep. Other things not related to the unresolved issues were not working out for me. Other people’s behavior felt personal (which may or may not have been the case).


I guess you just have to figure out what you have left undone. My good advice for this month is to remember tying your shoes means leaving every space, relationship, and encounter better than how you found it. In doing so, you must tie up loose ends and restore what was broken.  Lastly, don’t expect that tying up loose ends is quick, easy and just like they do it in the movies. It’s hard, messy and sometimes you just might not recognize it until you look back and have grown through the situation.

In the words of the late and great Langston Hughes:


What happens to a dream deferred?


Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—

like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?

Broken Pieces

’m in the beginning stages of starting a butterfly collection.

(I’ll admit that I have a hoarding issue and everything seems like the beginning of a collection.)

Like I said, I’m in the beginning stages of starting a butterfly collection. I have a set of three matching green, yellow, and orange ceramic butterflies from Panama. I have another set of glass and mosaic orange butterflies from Puerta Vallarta. I just bought two wooden butterflies from Cuba.

They are all my favorite for different reasons. The mosaic butterflies are the most visually appealing butterflies. I love looking at them. I love owning them. I love them.

As I was hanging the wooden butterflies on the wall, one of the mosaic butterflies fell from the wall and shattered on the ground.

My favorite butterfly is now in multiple pieces, but it is not irreparable. I still have 4 big, intact chunks and many shattered pieces. I can see where I need to add the super glue for me to put my butterfly back together again.  Sometimes life is like that. We fall. We hit the the ground hard. We shatter. It’s ugly.
We are not irreparable. It may take a little glue. It may take some time. You may have to throw some pieces away. You will be able to put yourself back together. Or, as Dr. Maya Angelou would say, “And, still, I rise.”

I don’t love my damaged butterfly any less. Yes, it is deformed and imperfect now. Honestly, it was imperfect when I bought it. I still value it the same.

When you really value something (or someone) it doesn’t matter what it goes through.

You try to revive it and save it before you have to part with it. Even if as a hoarder, I keep old and broken things just to keep things around. However, I will put special effort into the things (or people) I value.

Now flip it around. You may feel as if people devalue you because you don’t meet the high expectations you created in your head. Or, maybe you did let people down or made serious mistakes. You are still valued. Flaws and all.

The consistency of the item matters. Now that I see my beautiful butterfly in its glorious broken state I’m beginning to believe that my butterfly wasn’t made by children in an illegal sweatshop. I don’t think that it would have broken in clean lines if it was as cheap as the other butterflies on my wall.

I don’t have much to say here, but the integrity of things (and people) matter. It especially matters when life gets tough and things shatter.

When something breaks, you learn to do better. The first thing I did when got over the shock that I have a broken butterfly on the ground was remove the other butterflies from the wall. I kind of knew that I didn’t initially pick the most secure method of hanging the butterflies.

Appreciate the wake-up calls. They give you a chance to make better choices.

Life is always about perspective. I could get upset that I have a broken butterfly. But I’m not. I’m relieved that I can restore it. I’m happy that we unexpectedly had to keep the dog at the vet’s office earlier today. If not, there was a good chance the butterfly would have fallen on my dog. She is literally laying in the exact spot the butterfly fell on.

Life happens. Unexpected bad things happen. Things don’t go our way. All things being equal, we can either dwell on setbacks or choose to move on.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes: God takes the broken pieces of life and turns it into a beautiful mosaic.


Don’t forget, When we make love, we make life.

You Will Never Find Happiness

Hello Friends and Family,

‘Tis the season to be told all of the secrets of life. Every blog, magazine and momma will tell you the:

10 Ways to Bring Joy in Your Life

9 Ways to be a Great Team Member

8 Reasons to be Grateful for the Season

7 Steps to Being Victorious in 2017

6 Tips to a Better You

5 Communication Techniques to get People to Like You

Success in 4 Easy Steps

3 Tenants of Prosperity

The Only 2 Things You Will Ever Need in Life

How to Survive Thanksgiving if Your Family Voted for tRump (yes, this is a real title)


You could easily believe that all of your hang-ups and disappointments are because you only did 6/7 required steps of being victorious. Or, you only have 3 of the necessary tools to communicate effectively. It insinuates that life is a perfect formula. Do the required steps and you will get the anticipated results. Put a dollar in the vending machine, punch a few keys and get a pack of skittles. Boom! Happiness delivered on demand. It is just that simple. If life sucks, it’s your fault for not following the formula.

What is happy? Happy Birthday. Happy New Year. Happy is a weird word and the title of a painfully annoying song by Pharell.

Being happy is a temporary state of good cheer and having your basic needs taken care of. ‘Happiness’ is more like the semi-permanent state of wellbeing and your more complex needs are met. Happiness is achievable… sort of.

After much thought and reflection, I will share the secret to finding happiness. I have traveled the world and have spoken to ancient spirits. I have dreamed prolific dreams and I have read every book. I have done it all and I will share my countdown on, “How to Find an Abundance of Everlasting Happiness in 6 Very Easy Simple Steps.” It’s free for you, but I’m going to charge the low, low price of 7 easy payments of $49.99 for the 1st 100 callers.


1: You will find happiness after you shoot the messenger. Who told you what happiness is and how did you conclude you are unhappy? Did it come from people bragging about their life (facebook or instagram)? Did it come from the thousands of images we see on T.V. that tell us what success, happiness and fun look like? Go ahead, shoot the messenger. Challenge any and every idea of what happiness is and where those ideas came from.


2: You will find happiness once you ditch the road map. There is no road map that will help you find happiness. Accept the fact that life is one big question mark or highs and lows, mountains and valleys, triumphs and failure. You will go forward, you will go backwards, you will go left when you think you should go right and right when you think you should go left. Sometimes you will stop and question yourself. Sometimes it looks like you are in the wrong place. Sometimes you will think you have arrived. And then, out of nowhere, you will realize that you haven’t arrived and you are lost. You will question the journey. You will question the process. You will question yourself, your beliefs, and your purpose.

If all of that is going on in a cyclic pattern, it is a sign that you are on the right path towards happiness. If there are more lows points than highlights in life, or you lows are really low, find someone to help you guide you back on the right path. Never doubt the power of the black hole. It will suck you in and make you think the only way to get out is to isolate yourself even more. People may not understand everything that you are going through, but we can all empathize with that experience. No one can tell you how to not be depressed, but there are people to hold your hand and help you heal.


3: You will never find happiness if you can’t recognize happiness. In order to find happiness you must recognize what happiness looks like. Happiness is the things you hope for within experiences that re-affirm your spirit.

Happiness goes unrecognized because we often place unrealistic ideas and expectations on people, places, things and experiences. I noticed that people (yes, that includes you) often are disappointed because people don’t meet your expectations. Or, we do things but the emotion that we thought we would have isn’t quite there. We buy things to make us happy, but they lose its appeal as soon as the newness wears away. It’s like having $900,000 in your bank account and being unable to enjoy it because 1) you are focused on the fact that you are not a millionaire, and 2) you focus on the bills (for all the things you enjoy on a daily basis), mortgage and rent (that allows you to sleep comfortably at night), and student loans that will drain your bank account.


4: You will never find happiness because happiness is not lost; therefore, it isn’t something that can be found. The Wizard of Oz teaches us more than ‘there is no place like home’. The people Dorothy loved the most in Kansas were really similar (hint hint wink wink) to the friends she found in Oz. Also, Dorothy had the ability to go back to Kansas at anytime. She didn’t have to get apples thrown at her, get her dog stolen or kill a witch just to get back to Kansas. Glenda, the so-called ‘good’ witch could have saved her the journey, drama and the trauma.

Happiness, just like home, is not lost. It is not something you have to search for. It is not something you win or accomplish.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the journey is necessary. There is something cathartic about being in motion. Get up, try and figure it out, do what you can, stop and reflect, and repeat tomorrow.


5: You will never find happiness because it doesn’t exist.   I have come to the realization that I am deficient. I am limited to a language that doesn’t have the correct words to describe my emotions. Rarely do I ever feel one emotion purely. Except for right now. I am tired. This is probably the longest letter of the year. Besides that, I’m rarely just angry, happy, sad, or excited. I usually feel a mix of things at varying levels with subtle undertones of extra emotions that are driven by the context of the rest of my life.

Happiness doesn’t exist. It is a generic place holder for deeper and complex emotions that don’t have names.


6: If you are still looking for happiness you will always miss the mark because…

  •         There are other perfectly good (harder to feel) emotions that you may really be hoping to experience, such as: joy, wonder, excitement, hope, togetherness, being understood, and fulfillment.
  •         Anything negative is not the antithesis of happiness. We know this because we have the ability to cry tears of happiness. We often appreciate the good when we go through the bad. The problem is that we don’t have a word that captures the fullness in the range, fluidity and continuity of our feelings.
  •         You really are looking for something else, or you are running from something else. You are using the pursuit of ‘happiness’ as a distraction from the real issue.
  •         Happiness may look like something anti-stereotypical. It may look like being more discipline, creating traditions, turning off electronics.
  •         You are going through the motions and not enough of the things that you do on a daily basis reflect the things you value.
  •         Something inside of you has died, become stagnant or has been left unresolved for far too long.


I don’t pretend that I am the repository of all wisdom. I have no answers for anything. I have thoughts and time to write. I would love to hear from you. Maybe you have found happiness and I need help.


As most of you know, each year I pick a theme to capture (what I hope to be) the essence for the upcoming year. Each month I write a letter to help me pause, reflect, and re-center my well being. This year’s theme was “Be like water: Fluid, reflective and always tending towards stillness.” I’m not sure if I figured it out, or have some deeper understanding. I’m almost as aimless about the theme as I was a year ago. But that is o.k. It sits well with me.

The Things You Carry

I picked a random story out of a Chicken Soup for the Soul book a few years ago. It was a compilation of things people told nurses as they spent their final days on their death beds. While some things were funny, other things disheartening, one thing stood out to me. “If I could do it over again, I wish I would have traveled lighter.”


My suitcase traveled over 11,000 miles this summer. From San Francisco, to Los Angeles, to Washington DC, to Los Angeles, to Honolulu, to Los Angeles, to Toledo, to Houston, to San  Francisco. I traveled with 2 huge suitcases, a carry-on, and a plethora of things that I bought and/ or had to ship back home along the way. I wish I would have traveled lighter.


I have so much stuff *cough* junk. When I was little my dad would make me and my brothers purge all of our toys, clothes, and stuff that we didn’t use. Of course, I thought I needed it all. I usually had 2-3x more stuff than both my brothers. As an adult, I moved from my parent’s house to Pentland Hills, to my parent’s house, to Glen Mor, back to my parent’s house, back to Glen Mor, back to my parent’s house, to the in-law suite in San Francisco, to an apartment in San Francisco. I always had more stuff than what the space was intended to hold. It never made sense how much stuff I had and how much of an effort it took to move all of that stuff. I wish I would have traveled lighter.


I used to hold grudges and be hostile towards people for the longest time. I wish I would have traveled lighter.


This is the part where I tell you all of the emotional and personal things that go through my head. I’m going to pass. I wish I could travel lighter.


I keep a book where I write random sayings that may end up being the topic of one of these emails. I came across something I wrote: How To Shed The Weight You Can’t Lose.


We are all familiar with the Biggest Loser. The show takes 15 contestants and cuts them off from all family and friends; they get yelled at and demeaned by Jillian Michaels, and they are given access to the best nutritionist and health care providers. They generally lose a lot of weight, and they go home and are supposed to live happily ever after. I came across a study done on all of the contestants years after they had left the show. Most people gained all of their weight back (if not more), a few former contestants kept most of the weight off, and only one person lost weight after the show stopped airing.


It is not easy shedding the things that you carry. The physical and emotional, the good stuff and the bad stuff, the things that make you stronger and the things that are slowly killing you, the past that holds you back and the future that gives you anxiety all represent or are the manifestation of some part of your being.


One of my favorite books, The Things They Carry by Tim O’Brien, is an excellent piece of art that touches upon the psyche of why we carry the things that we carry. It delves deeper as to what those items represent, whether or not the beholder understands the item’s impact. The 3rd person narrative navigates between each of the character’s past, present, and future to reveal the gravity (good and bad) of each person’s ornaments and elements. It shows that not everything we carry is physical. Not everything we carry can be seen by other people. But everything we carry is a part of who we are. There is no preachy message about getting rid of some things and holding on to other things. Life just is. We all carry some things.


My faith has taught me that sometimes you lay your burdens down, and sometimes you carry your cross. Only time will give you the wisdom to discern what are burdens and what your crosses. I think it is a tragedy that the Serenity Prayer has become a cliche. I think my life would be profoundly different if I not only believed, but lived with, God grant[ing] me the serenity to accept[ing] the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


Traveling through life lighter is the nexus of the things we carry and the things we let go of. Some burdens and bad habits are easy to get rid of. Those burdens may have been the product of the stupidity or immaturity of your youth. It may have been the result of an intention to get something better in life something had to be released from your life.


It has taken me 20 years to finally start getting rid of the excess in many different ways. I don’t know how many of my letters have components dedicated to talking about me and my junk. This will probably be my lifelong problem for me.  I’m just trying to move through this world a little bit lighter.


This is why I write these letters every month. It reminds me to stay humble, to stay grateful, and it helps me move through this world a little bit lighter. Plus it is cheaper than therapy.


I love to hear from you! I wrote this long letter about me and all my stuff you can find here.


Until next month,


Something Beautiful

Hello Family and Friends,


As some of you may know, each month I send out an email to all of you about something that has been on my mind. This monthly expression of gratitude was inspired by my niece’s and nephew’s “Best of 2K14” list. Before the close 2014, they wrote out a list of all that was good in their life; I, on the other hand, was thinking of all the things I wanted to fix and make better in 2015. Their moment of gratitude and reflection profoundly touched me and inspired me to clutter your inbox once a month.

Cool Flower.JPG

( You can find the exact same letter here ( with recent pictures I took from SF Botanical Gardens)


I try to keep each letter linked to this year’s theme: Be like water: Fluid, reflective and always tending towards stillness. I didn’t have much to write about this month, so I decided to share the lyrics of “Something Beautiful” by NeedToBreathe.  


In your ocean, I’m ankle deep/ I feel the waves crashin’ on my feet/ It’s like I know where I need to be/ But I can’t figure out, yeah I can’t figure out

Just as there is no clear defining point where the land ends and the ocean begins, there is no clear defining point as we transition from one state of self to another. For instance, I’m not sure of the exact moment when I became an adult (and I’m pretty sure that I’m an adult now) because I know it didn’t immediately happen the day I turned 18. Maybe I have been fooled to believe that there is a rigid dichotomy between “State of Being A” and “State of Being B”. Perhaps, being grounded and rooted in a firm foundation is not  mutually exclusive from being swept away with dreams, hopes, and aspirations.


Just how much air I will need to breathe/ When your tide rushes over me/ There’s only one way to figure out/ Will ya let me drown, will ya let me drown

I like plans. I like lists. I like schedules. I like a maximum of 48 hours of vacation away from plans, lists and schedules before being without plans, list and schedules scare me. Of course, sometimes all of that is necessary. Other times it’s an anchor holding me back. For you, it may not be plans, lists and schedules, but it may be something else. Can you recognize your safety blanket.  How do you let go of  trying to control life and letting all of its uncertainties overwhelm you with new possibilities? (In “Christian-ese” what areas of your life are the manifestations of having  “let go and let God”?) I love the line “Just how much air will I need to breath?” I understand it as as important  as air is, you only need just enough. “Air” is the stuff we can control. The “tide” is the good, the bad, the unexpected. The stuff that makes you cry, doubt, and laugh until it hurts. Tides come and go with variable strengths- pushing and pulling your life- determine by the natural rhythms of Earth.

Possibly My favorite.JPG

And the water is risin’ quick/ And for years I was scared of it/ We can’t be sure when it will subside/ So I won’t leave your side, no I can’t leave your side

The tattoo on my foot says, “Where Faith is fear isn’t”. I’m not saying I never doubt anything in life. I’m just saying that I always have faith that when the troubles and hardships come I will get through them, relatively intact, eventually.


In a daydream, I couldn’t live like this/ I wouldn’t stop until I found something beautiful/ When I wake up, I know I will have/ No, I still won’t have what I need

What is it that you truly desire? Not a $15 million dollar home. Not a porsche. What is it that your soul truly yearns for? That gentle whisper that motivates so many of your decisions. I don’t think the writers of this song intended “something beautiful” as something tangible. I was just thinking to myself how lucky I am to be surrounded by people I love. There is no malice or ill-will. Yes, there are disagreements, hurt feelings, and disappointments every so often. But, there is not a single toxic person in my life. I rejoice when you rejoice. Many of you celebrate when I celebrate. I may not always be the kindest person to you, but I do feel awful when I think (or know) I’ve hurt your feelings. How lucky I am to have full agency and hope for the future and gratitude for the moment. Now, isn’t that something beautiful.

Pretty White Flowers.JPG

Hey now, this is my desire/ Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful/ To touch me, I know that I’m in reach/ ‘Cause I am down on my knees, I’m waiting for something beautiful/ Oh, something beautiful

I’m curious. What does this last stanza mean to you?


So this letter is getting on the long side, so I’m just going to end it here. As always, this is my way of staying in touch with you. It really and truly does mean something to me when I see an email from you. It also really and truly means something to me to know you read it even if you don’t respond all of the time. Also, you can find previous letters here:

User Manual

Dear Family and Friends,

Every month I write a letter about something that has been on my mind. It’s mostly for my own therapeutic reasons. The only reason I send it to you is so that I would stay accountable to writing every month. And, I hope if we haven’t seen each other in a while I hope you will feel so compelled to reply back and let me know how you are doing.

(For a version that is easier to read and has some pictures from my most recent hiking trip, click here:

A few days ago I wrote a thank you letter to one of my community college professors, Dr. Toebe, for a very kind thing she did. She had written a very sincere and touching letter of recommendation on my behalf so I could get into the nurse practitioner program. She inspired my thoughts this month about how life does come with a user manual; however, it’s blank, and you have the pen. My proverbial user manual is filled with 5 things I choose to ALWAYS do when I am faced with either indecision or conflict.

Whenever I have to make some decision about which path to choose, I always pick the option that meets certain criteria. This is my list of criteria that ALWAYS have to be met when I make potentially life altering choices. FYI, “life altering” can be as simple as “Should I dedicate a significant amount of time to this situation?” or, “This person is irking the heck out of me. How should I deal with them?” 

When someone offers you something that is not being offered to anyone else- ALWAYS take it. A few years ago, me and about 10 other students were trying to get into a microbiology class. I went to the professor, Dr. Toebe, and told her the reason I really really needed to get into her class that quarter. I’m sure it was the same reason (this class was a prerequisite for many other classes and programs) that the 10 other students had. But, I thought I was super special, and she would see how I was so different from everyone else and she would just let me into the class. She said she wasn’t going to let me into the class, but she would allow me to enroll in the Monday/ Wednesday class that was already full. The timing was an inconvenience, but something told me I should adjust my schedule to make it to that class. To make a long story short, I’m still reaping the benefits from taking that offer. 

The point is, all things being equal, go for opportunities that  were made just for you. I’m not talking about the deal that will be gone in the next 60 seconds or the same pitch that gets used on everyone. I’m talking about the offers that may not look very appeasing but have been created specially for your needs.

Favorite Quote: Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.


ALWAYS choose vision over sight. Choosing vision over sight means that when you are not where you want to be in life it just means that you just haven’t gotten to where you want to be yet. Huh? For instance, I’m trying to be a multi-millionaire. That’s the vision. My sight shows a very low bank account balance, a very high loan repayment to Sally Mae (i.e. student loans), and the inability to work full time because I’m choosing to stay in school.

Having vision over sight means just figuring out what you want in life and just going for it.  There are millions of things in the now that will discourage you from whatever it is that you are going for. Either you will get to the goal, or something that fulfills the same emotional need will replace the goal.I look back and can name 2 handful worth of things that worked themselves out in my favor despite the fact that it shouldn’t have. I also had major things in my life that didn’t workout, yet I still ultimately got to the goal or something better that I could not foresee.

Favorite Quote: Your goals change and adjust, but you purpose will always supersede.

ALWAYS let what you need outweigh what you want. I tend to rely on this touchstone when I’m dealing with matters of relationships. I know when you are reading this that you think I’m always reflective and nice and thoughtful (well, some of you probably know better). Truth is, some people really irk me and I will let them know it. Last year I had a roommate situation that was not positive. I learned a lot from that situation… maybe I’ll write a letter about it one day… and I’m still learning from that situation. The short story was that I wanted her to leave my apartment, but I needed her to pay rent. Why couldn’t I have had both? During the 5.5 months of tumultuous living together, I learned a lot about how I handle conflict (and it is not too pretty). Now that I have seen the errors of my ways, I’ve learned that what you want may be immediate, but what you need often is coupled with maturity/ patience/ discipline/ integrity/ justice/ being accountable/ being transparent/ and wisdom. None of that is easy. I think that is why we often forgo what we need in order to get what want (which tends to be easier and doesn’t challenge you to grow). For instance, in that roommate situation, I wanted to be right and have my way (just as she did) but I really needed peace in my home (which I’m sure she wanted as well).

ALWAYS move towards stillness. Stillness to me means what feels right to my soul. It has absolutely nothing to do with choosing the safe option or the boring option or the option where I’m physically still. I’m learning to discern between the feeling of I’m nervous because I’ve never done something before and what truly doesn’t feel right to me.

Also, you have to move. I try to be very intentional about life. In some areas it’s working out well, and some areas of my life needs a lot more work. C’est la vie.

ALWAYS assume there will be abundance. I know I have shared the story about my friend, Linda. One week we are lamenting that we are broke and the next we are trying to figure out if it we should go to Cuba or not. She went. I didn’t. I had other obligations, but I would have gone if being broke was the only reason holding me back. I would have found a way. Whenever I’m torn, I ask myself what am I afraid; my biggest fear is the lack of provision after living with the consequence of that choice. If my fears are rooted in some type of possibility of a deficit then I will acknowledge that those fears are real and I will go for it anyways. Its kind of like the question, “What would you do if money wasn’t an option?” My question is, “If fear wasn’t holding you back, would you still do this?”
I also assume there is an abundance of everything that I need in this world. Sometimes when I get down in life, I have to remind myself that the providence of God is abundant and will always be available when I need it the most. I also have an abundance of internal and external stuff to sufficiently get me through life and more than enough to give away to others.

The more I write, the more I seem like a weirdo who has to talk to herself and I give myself pep talks. I write these long letters. So, I’m just going to end the madness right now. I hope to hear from you soon.