Sunday, June 30, 2013

365 Inspirations—181: Eating Outside

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The past three days in Seattle have been HOT, HOT, HOT!

It's hard to do much when it's hot.

Granted, hot in these parts is not  really considered hot compared to other areas of the country.

Local weather right now at 10:00pm is 80 degrees. Tomorrow is supposed to be up in the 90s!

It's hot in the house because we don't have air conditioning in the Pacific Northwest. It's never usually hot enough to really have it.

I set up the table in the front garden and we've been eating outside for dinner for the past three nights. It's been so lovely.  This evening, I put a white table cloth over the table and got fancy napkins and tableware and set it all up for fine dining.

We have a fence that keeps our front garden area very private.

Tonight we had tacos with all the fixings and watermelon. It was delicious.

Do you like to eat outside in the summer where you live? 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

365 Inspirations—180: Floating

"Seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around us, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them."—Joseph Henry

I think it's very easy to think we have control over things in this life. The truth is, we are really just floating. And if we pay attention to where we are floating, we'll find that everything we need is right here.

And that's exactly what I experienced today. There is sooo much freedom in floating—in letting go of the reigns and letting life lead me.

It's been 85 degrees in Washington State for the past two days. I know for many of you that that is nothing compared to where you live, but that's something for these parts.

It rarely gets up above the 70s in these parts, so mid-eighties is considered a heat wave here.

My husband and I decided it was time to buy some floatable devices and head to a lake 5 minutes from our house where we planned to do nothing but FLOAT.

We floated for several hours without a care in the world. Dozens of other people were floating along with us. It seemed like everyone had the same idea.

Canadian geese floating past us, a mother with her ducklings floated by, even a man and his dog floated by. It was a regular parade of floaters.

I felt so free floating out on this little lake near our house in Seattle. There was nothing to do, nothing to say or nothing to think out there.

When we came back home I took a shower and Yoon, my husband, fell fast asleep on the sofa. I ended up tip-toeing out of the house to buy groceries for dinner. Nothing was planned out today, including dinner.

I whipped together salmon, corn on the cob and a tossed salad and we dined out in the yard and discussed everything under the sun.

We decided to drift on down the road and rent a movie. We rented the movie Open Road, which went very well with our theme of drifting and floating today.

Now, after a long day in the sun, I'm ready to float away on my bed. Can't wait to see where my dreams will take me.

Do you ever have a spontaneous day of floating or drifting? 

Friday, June 28, 2013

365 Inspirations—179: Yoga, Writing and Collaging Retreat

Yoon's Yoga Bliss Retreat at The Yoga Lodge
"Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy."—Sai Baba 

 Today, after breakfast, I took a quick shower and pulled on my yoga clothes. I decided to go to yoga class after a week-long hiatus. The thing is, I sometimes think, "I don't really need to go to yoga today, there's lots of other things I can do."

But when I got there and I found my place on the floor with a dozen other people, I felt so grateful.

I could have been a million other places, but I decided to tune-in and go to yoga today.

Once I started moving my body and feeling myself in my body without thoughts, I knew this wasn't just something on the list of things to do for the day. THIS WAS IT.

The class was moving to the rhythm  of the music and each other. This doesn't happen if I am all alone doing yoga. This happens when a group of people are together exchanging energy.

This made me realize how interconnected we all are and how I choose to spend my time.

I want to spend my time with people who are inspiring and uplifting. I want to exchange energy with people who want to be the highest version of themselves.

Today we were all there moving together and I felt expanded out in all directions. I did not feel my limited mind or body. I felt that anything was possible.

I can't wait for our 3rd annual yoga, writing and collaging retreat at The Yoga Lodge coming up August 9-11. I know it will be an amazing opportunity to open up and connect to like-minded people. This year, we have people flying in from other states to join! I'm excited to meet everyone. We have about three spots left for anyone who is interested. Here's the link:

Have you ever done something that you almost didn't do and now are so grateful that you did? What was it?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

365 Inspirations—178: My Book in Other Languages

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald

 Last night, I was surprised to see a message from a woman in Croatia on my Lessons from the Monk I  Married Facebook Fanpage. She wrote this:

"Today was the release of the Croatian edition of your book. I would just like to say that the book inspired me so much and that I couldn't stop reading it once I started it. Your story is so touching and beautiful. Thank you very much and I wish you all the best in life. Best regards from Zagreb, Croatia."

Well, that message made my day AND she even sent a photo of the copy of the book now on sale in Croatia. It's one thing to publish a book and it's quite another to start seeing it pop up in other countries. The fact that people will be able to read it in other languages makes me happy.

I feel that my book, Lessons from the Monk I Married, is not tied to one place. It is a book about love, life, spirituality and travel. It is about crossing borders and boundaries and realizing that we are all human. It's a universal story actually.

As an ESL teacher, it's exciting to see the first translation of my book. I'm happy that people in other countries are enjoying it. Getting this message from Croatia makes me what to visit this country someday!

Soon, a Chinese language edition of my book will be on sale in Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. It will be fun to see what the cover will look like for this edition.

I've got two more books on the burner. I'm slowly developing these. Can't wait to share them with you, but it may take some time before they are ripe and ready for public view!

What's your favorite book from another country?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

365 Inspirations—177: Cleaning Out the Refrigerator

"Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece."—Nadia Boulanger

After being gone for so many days on my retreat, the refrigerator looked like it might walk off on its own with all the produce sprouting new things that it shouldn't.

It felt so good to clean it out. Cleaning the fridge felt like cleaning my soul today.

I even turned some overripe bananas into banana bread instead of just throwing them away. The result came out pretty good.

I sorted through the mail and recycled everything that was junk. The pile of mail had formed a mountain on our dining room table. I took out the recycling, trash and compost.

I washed dishes, cleared the dining room table, and tidied up the living room.


I don't know what it is, but if the house is in a state of disarray, I simply can't think straight.

There's still so much more to clean and organize, but I'm going to call it a day for now. At least the home is livable now.

I even went to the grocery store down the street and picked up a few things for breakfast. I want to get up early and cook my husband something special.

Do ever feel the need to just clean EVERYTHING? When does this inspiration to clean usually strike for you or do you have regular cleaning days?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

365 Inspirations—176: Seattle's Abundance of Nature

“Earth does not belong to us; we belong to earth.
Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.”—Chief Sealth (Seattle's namesake)

If you are looking for a city with an abundance of nature, Seattle's your place. Trees, ocean, beaches, rivers, lakes, streams, forests, trails, mountains—it's got it ALL.

I don't know what I was thinking when I thought I had to go far away to experience all this beauty. It's right there in my backyard!

Today, on a walk through Carkeek Park in Seattle, a 10-minute drive from our house, I witnessed nature in all her glory.

Being a Washingtonian native, I've learned to identify various plants, flowers and berries...yes, it's berry season in Washington and we have an abundance of wild berries growing right in our city parks.

Today I saw lots of ripe huckleberry and we devoured many.

I also found a field of thimble berries and many of them were ripe and ready to pick. They were delicious.

Salmon berries are just about at their peak, but we found some good ones too.

The wild roses along the path by the water smelled divine.

It was the trees that really seemed to speak on the path.....and we were listening....

Finally, we meandered down to the ocean. It was low, low tide. We took off our shoes and walked along the beach with our feet sinking into the sand.

 The smell of seaweed and salt permeated the air. We saw crabs, clams, kelp, barnacles, mussels and even this guy.....a crane!

I felt so rejuvenated walking in this park and the amazing thing is that Korean food is also just a 10 minute drive away and that's where we stopped in for lunch!

I'm realizing, after my solo trip to the country, that often the best place is right where you are. I feel lucky!

Do you like where you live? Is there an abundance of nature where you are?

Monday, June 24, 2013

365 Inspirations—175: City Life

Seong Yoon looking out at Seattle from Space Needle
"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something."—Sandra Day O'Connor 

I know many people think the country is where it's at, but there's lots of inspiration to be found in the city too. I think community is the most important, wherever you find that.

After six days out in the country on solo retreat, I was happy to be reunited with my lovely husband and see people.

Lounging in the city

A friend was in town too, so we all hit Greenlake Park (Seattle's equivalent to Central Park) and walked the almost three-mile loop together.

People were out with dogs, moms were with their kids, roller bladers cruised passed us—it was quite busy for a Monday afternoon. We stopped our walk to watch a painter doing a Monet-esque painting of water lilies. I've seen this painter before. He's been slowly working his way around the lake catching all the beautiful seasons and flowers in his work.

At Greenlake Park in Seattle
At the end of the quarter, two students gave me Starbucks cards. I remembered this on my walk and we stopped off at Starbucks and I treated everyone to drinks and pastries. I got a chocolate, cheese and regular croissant for the three of us to share.

We went up to the roof top and spread out on comfy lounge chairs.

I felt happy today.

Happy to have choices.

Happy to connect with people.

Happy to be part of the grand tapestry of life that I have found in the city.

It's good to be back.

To top things off, Yoon and I went out for sushi and to the movies....

Yes, it's true. I'm a city girl through and through. However, I love to visit the countryside, go on hiking trips and adventures. Fortunately, Seattle is surrounded by nature, so I feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds.

Are you a country or a city person?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

365 Inspirations—174: Time to Go

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."—Anatole France

 I'm heading home tomorrow. That will be 5 nights and six days that I've been out here at the lake. It's been peaceful and productive. I haven't finished everything, but I've done enough.

Today I hit a few walls and wondered what I'm doing altogether. Should I continue to blog here? Should I turn in my second book proposal or scrap it?

I'm nearing six months of blogging every day.

Can you believe that?

SIX MONTHS........

So I thought, maybe it's time to stop everything.

Kinda like when Forrest Gump just stopped running and all the people who had joined in on his run along the way didn't really know what to make of it.

But then I thought, it will change. Things change every moment.

Some days you feel like stopping and other days you feel like running.

That's just the way it is.

Besides, I have some really great interviews coming up by some inspiring people and pulling the plug on this blog would mean you couldn't read those awesome interviews.

So I'm going to wait and I'm going to keep going for now because that's what feels right.

Hope you are still here ;)

But one thing I know for sure.....time to leave the cabin and go meet some real live people!

Can't wait.

Do you blog? If so, have you ever stopped your blog for any length of time or called it quits completely? Would you ever do that? 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

365 Inspirations—173: Cabin Fever and a Book Winner

Sunset at cabin tonight!
"A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul and that I am sure is why he does it.”—Roald Dahl

Day 4 of my solo retreat. I may have cabin fever.

What are the symptoms exactly? An insatiable desire to go out for sushi and to the movies?

Tofu and broccoli are getting a little boring. I was determined to only eat what I brought, which are mostly fruits and vegetables and those are starting to run low. I do have eggs and my juicer. Doing lots of juicing and feel quite healthy, but I'm salivating thinking of all the food I can't wait to eat when I get back to the big city.

In Korea Town in NYC while on book tour. Delish!
At the same time, there's a deep peace I feel out here.

Today I went swimming. How could I hunker down in the dining room when it was 72 degrees and sunny outside? That's a rarity in these parts.

I opened up the storage and took out an air mattress, got my suit on, slathered on the suntan lotion, got my book, towel and a drink and headed to the end of the dock.

Within minutes I was out on open waters on my air mattress with my drink and suntan lotion in the cup holder. I paddled out to the center of the lake, let my feet hang over the edge and my arms fall loosely at my sides and just closed my eyes.

The cool water on my feet and hands felt so relaxing and the sun on my face and body was soothing. I let the wind decide where I would go. The gentle movement of my mattress on the water practically put me to sleep. I woke up and saw sparrows glide across the surface of the lake. Frogs croaked in the distance. I heard the laughter of children and the talk of grown-ups enjoying the weekend along the shore, yet I was in my own little paradise connected and protected by the natural world out there in the middle—part of the deep blue below and above. I could have stayed there forever.

Back at the house, I threw my air mattress up on the dock and sank down into the cool water. It was buoyant and I could see the bottom clearly. The sun on the water made it sparkle like diamonds. I swam and swam with broad breast strokes. I was nearly in the middle of the lake by the time I decided to turn back. I kept even strokes and an even breath and swam calmly back.

I sat up on the dock and read my book. I did NOT want to go back inside to write. I sat out there until nearly 4pm. Perhaps I needed a break.

My mother suggested I turn on the TV and watch a few episodes of HGTV or a movie on Netflix. I think she could sense my cabin fever. She said, "Why don't you go into town and get yourself some real food." It was tempting. I haven't gone out or watched anything besides the sunset and the moon since I got here.

By the way, the sunset was absolutely amazing tonight. I sat at the end of the dock and watched it until there was nothing left of it.

I'm keeping my plans loose, but I may leave on Wednesday. Three more full days to work on things should be enough. That will be one entire week out here.  Let's see how my cabin fever goes.....

Okay, and on another note, I have a winner for Torre De Roche's book Love with a Chance of Drowning. I know I said I'd announce it on my blog a few Fridays ago, but life caught up with me and I got off track on many things I thought I'd do. Now I'm finally catching up! Phew!

I sat down at the dining room table with all the names of people who had left a comment on this post that they were interested in a book and I pulled Karen Cafarella's name out of the bag!

Karen, you are the winner of Love with a Chance of Drowning. I'll be contacting you soon!

Now a question for you all.....

Have you ever had cabin fever?

Friday, June 21, 2013

365 Inspirations—172: Summer Solstice, Full Moon and Collaging

"You are a volume in the divine book
A mirror to the power that created the universe
Whatever you want, ask it of yourself
Whatever you're looking for can only be found
Inside of you."— Rumi

I'm still here and I seemed to have had a turn around. Yesterday I felt like I wanted to go back to the city and now I'm fully immersing myself in this solo experience.

I walked around the lake, meditated, almost finished my second book proposal, stared at the sunset out on the end of the dock and gazed at the moon. I heard frogs and crickets and people actually swimming in the distance. I guess that's one way to celebrate the first day of summer—go for a night swim! The water was like glass and I loved sticking my hand in the water to create perfect rings that got bigger and bigger as they moved away from me. I wandered up the driveway and sat for several minutes staring out at the full moon. All is so calm here.

I felt moved to collage. It's something I love to do. It's a great way to access the right side of the brain and just play! Many of the images of the collages I've made in the past have become real images in my life.

I haven't spoken to many people out here and suddenly while I was in deep concentration and focused on my art work, my cell phone buzzed. It hasn't buzzed much since I've been here. Hardly anyone calls and I guess that's good. It means I get more work done.

Just as I was pasting the Eiffel Tower onto my collage, my friend from my writing group texted me from France at 11:00pm. I found that very interesting!

Here's her text:

Hi Kathy, I've had limited internet, so haven't posted on FB. Here's a pic of the entry to a 12th Century village in the South of France that I explored yesterday.....

And here's the photo:

I feel like I'm there with her. I will be there in the not-so-distant future. I feel lots of traveling happening soon!

In my collage I also included the Big Island of Hawaii. I got an e-mail today from someone there. I'll let you know what that's all about later. Lots of manifesting happening out here at this lake house. I feel good things on all fronts.

Happy first day of summer everyone, hope you enjoyed the solstice and are enjoying the full moon. I'm headed outside again for some star and moon gazing before bed.....good night!

Did you do anything special for summer solstice or the first day of summer?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

365 Inspirations—171: Being Alone

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."—Henry David Thoreau

Well, I'm on day 2 of my solo retreat and it's quiet out here. I like it, but I'm not use to it. I had big plans for this retreat: wake up at 5, meditate, do yoga, write, more meditation, more yoga, more writing.

I slept in until 9:00AM today.

I had all these strange dreams about my co-workers. We were all sharing a house together. The dream was interesting, so I didn't want to wake up. Plus, it was so warm and cozy in bed.

So I decided, what the hay, I'm going to get up when it feels right and the same goes for the rest.

After I had breakfast and got out of the shower, I heard the sound of heavy machinery in the front of the house. There was a man with a blower blowing the driveway clean. So much for the sounds of nature.

I soon learned, after brief introductions, that Miguel was there to do yard work.

He's the only one I've had a live conversation with since I've been here. His English was a little shaky, so the conversation was rather short.

I bid him farewell and headed off around the lake. I didn't run into a single person on the lake, except Miguel and his wife, who passed me in their truck with a few friendly honks good-bye.

All alone.

My breath, the wind blowing, branches creaking and squeaking like an old door slowly opening that is in need of WD-40.

I felt an eeriness and a peaceful calm all at once. The full, dark clouds looked like they could barely contain the rain. I could smell it in the air. I walked a little faster.

My shadow in the pavement seemed to almost blend in with it. It was hard to make out if I was even there.

I saw a Henry David Thoreau looking cabin. It reminded me of when I went to Walden Pond with my mother. I dreamed of going to the woods to write just like Thoreau. Now I'm doing it.

But I'm not sure I'm a 'live off the land' kind of gal. I thought I'd stay out here for two weeks, but I don't think I'll be out here that long. Do I really need to be out in the woods to write a book? I wrote my first one mostly at my house in Seattle, while teaching and keeping up with a daily blog.

I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I like and miss the city! I love Seattle. I love that nature is interwoven into city life. We have so much nature right in the city. If I drive 10 minutes from my house, I'm at a park that seems hundreds of miles from civilization, yet my favorite restaurants, movie theaters and coffee shops are minutes away.

I love the diversity of Seattle. My husband is Korean and we have Korean restaurants, supermarkets and spas within minutes from our house. Within in 5 minutes from our house there's Ethiopian, Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Indonesian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese food. We've got vegetarian restaurants, juice bars, vegan bakeries, French food, you name it!

For entertainment, there are bookstores, movie theaters, (a $3 Landmark movie theater is 10 minutes from our house), parks, city hikes, art museums, sculpture parks, beaches, and lots of public libraries. A 15-20 minute drive gets us downtown to Pike Place Market, Chinatown, the Seattle Center, Space Needle, The Seattle Opera House, Benaroya Hall (where we recently received free tickets to see the symphony). We are in the middle of it all, yet our house is tucked in and surrounded by trees and nature.

Okay, okay...back to this moment,

this silence,

this slllloooowwww pace.....

 I do like coming out to the woods all alone. If anything, it reminds me of all the great things I have in my life that are easy to take for granted.

By the way, I did get some writing in today as well as a bit of yoga and meditation, so it's not all for nothing. I'm getting things done and I'll stay out here for a bit longer. I'm thinking I'll be lucky if I make it a week....

Oh, and I forgot to mention,  there's this nice guy in Seattle who teaches at a yoga school down the street from our house. Another reason to love the city.

On that note, I highly recommend taking a break from the people we love and our lives. I think we ALL (moms, dads, married people, single people, dog lovers, cat lovers, basket weavers, writers, social media people, bloggers, etc.) could use some time ALONE. Not just an hour or a day, but I think at least a weekend. Don't say it can't be done, anything is possible.

I know some of you may say, "I'd feel guilty leaving my kids, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, gerbil, bird, _________." Trust me, they'll be just fine and all parties will appreciate you more because you took the time needed to be alone. Some of the healthiest family people I know make it a regular habit of doing this at least a few times a year.

Okay, so that's my spiel in favor of "being alone". Now I'm going to unplug.

Tune in tomorrow to find out if I'm still here..........(he, he!)

Have you ever taken a trip all by yourself or spent a lengthy time alone out in nature? How did you feel?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

365 Inspirations—170: Green Juice and an Amber Alert

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

Well, the adventure has begun. I took off in my car with new wheels this morning and headed for the woods. I'm at my family's lake cabin.

While much of the journey has been smooth and quite calm, there were a few glitches.

Let's start with the smooth and calm:

I sat on the ferry boat and planned my solo retreat out  on paper while staring out at seagulls and Puget Sound.

On ferry boat headed off on an adventure
 It felt good to finally be off. I stopped off at a grocery store on the way and bought enough food supplies to last me for about a week. I bought a lot of veggies and fruits because I had planned to do a bit of juicing at the cabin. When I got to the cabin, I unpacked my stuff and set up my room, meditation and yoga area up in the loft. I then took a walk around the lake.

I wore a raincoat because it had rained earlier, but soon found myself peeling it off. It was warm out! There was a gentle, warm breeze and I kept a moderate pace. I was filled with the heady smell of pine all around me. I felt my feet in my shoes and my breath on my face. I felt my body slow down as I worked my way to the top of the small hills. I noticed how naked everything looked from the other side of the lake ever since a private company came in and took a stretch of trees down on one side. The lake area residents tried to fight it, but they don't own the land on that side. Those trees are the reason people moved out here. Fortunately it's only in one small section.

Whenever my mind would start to wander off on various topics, I'd try and bring it back to my body and senses. I heard an owl in a tree hoo-hooing. I saw two huge puffy clouds overhead that looked like people flying. One was in the exact shape of a mermaid. Hmmm....flying mermaids.

Crunch, crunch, crunch, I felt the gravel beneath my shoes. Now an open stretch of highway walking. Suddenly I thought of my friend George who is walking across America and just about to finish after 4 years of walking. It made me smile to think we may both be walking on open roads.

Now for the Glitches:

While winding my way to the lake, my cell phone went off like a siren. I had no idea what was going on.

I picked it up and a text message read:

 Amber Alert. Blue Ford Focus, Montana Plates. License plate number %$#@!*?.

What the heck? This has never happened before. The siren on my cell phone just kept going off. I looked in my rearview mirror and there was a blue Ford! I turned off the main road and headed down a side street and the Ford followed me for about 5 minutes. I pulled into a driveway and the Ford drove away. As the car passed,  I noticed the car was not a Focus and it had Washington plates.

I got my wits about me and headed back out on the main highway. When I arrived at the cabin, I found nothing about this alert online, so I let it go.

I decided to get my juicer out and make vegetable juice. I threw in half a cucumber, a few heads of broccoli,  a third of a cabbage, half a head of garlic, ginger and celery. This juice was glowing green. It seemed to shout, "Drink me. I'm nutritious!'

I drank two sips and immediately felt a burning sensation and nausea in the pit of my stomach and thought I was going to either vomit or pass out. So much for juicing! I ran to the kitchen and took out a rice cake and slathered it with almond butter. The protein and fat seemed to help with all the raw stuff.

I later drank a half cup more of the green stuff and am feeling okay. I had planned to only juice while I'm here, but read online that some people can't tolerate raw juices very well on their own. I realized that I may not be a juice fast kind of person. I do better with lightly steamed or sauteed veggies and a bit of protein/fat. I seem to be okay with raw fruit juices with a few beets or carrots thrown in, however.

Live and learn is my inspiration today. The green juice taught me that I don't need to go to such extremes to be healthy. I just need to do what is good for my particular body.

The Amber Alert on my phone caught me off guard. Later, after some online research, I discovered that the government is using cell phones to alert people of natural disasters and amber alerts. I found the buttons on my phone and they were set to "on". I have kept these buttons on. At least now I know what this is all about in case it happens again. Now you know about it too!

The adventure continues....

Have you learned anything new today?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

365 Inspirations—169: Flat Tire

"Just because something didn't work out according to the way you planned it, doesn't mean it didn't work out for the best."—Unknown

During breakfast this morning, I browsed through the paper reading stories about the first man to be completely cured of AIDS and about another woman who tried to live on sunlight, but only made it 45 days.

For the record, Washington State is not the best place in the world to try to live on sunlight. There are other places that might be more suitable, like Arizona or Death Valley for example.

 At least the news was amusing. I'll take these stories any day over the usual murder and mayhem that is normally in the paper.

I personally like the weather section. I like to read about the moon cycles, high tides, pollen levels, weather in other parts of the world. I also like to read my horoscope on occasion. I'm a scorpio.

Here's what my horoscope said:

Today is not a good day to travel

Well shoot. Today I was supposed to set out on my yoga, meditation, writing, juicing, adventuring, book researching, go-wherever-the-wind-blows (or not) odyssey.

But the cards weren't in my favor.

Not that I instantly believed this blurb written under my sign in the Seattle Times. Who writes these things anyway?

As soon as I pulled up in our driveway, after a 4-day housesitting stint down the street, I noticed my left front tire had a rather FLAT look to it.

"You probably just need some air," Yoon said.

It was going to take more than a little air to pump that thing up.

I sifted through the mail and found a Midas Tune-up Special and Yoon followed me to the auto shop.

We dropped the car off and headed out to a Thai restaurant for lunch. Later, Yoon dropped me off at the shopping area where my car was being fixed because he had some work to do. While in the dressing room trying on summer clothes, I got the call.

"You have a huge nail in your tire. There's no saving it. You are going to need some new tires."

"How much for new tires?" I asked, feeling as deflated as my left front wheel.

The man in the office did some figuring out loud and said, "Let's see....well...looks like about $450 or so."

There goes my adventure. I settled on getting two new tires for half the price and got a tune-up. So here I am, still in Seattle.

I am grateful that I didn't discover the nail and flat tire on some desolate highway all alone. That would have been an adventure I could do without.

Even though I'm still here, I feel like I've already started my travels. I'm tuning in, paying attention to the signs, and going with the flow.

Who knows where I'll be tomorrow....I'll let you know.

Do you believe in blessings in disguise?

Monday, June 17, 2013

365 Inspirations—168: A Calling

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”—Rumi

Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I head out on a very undefined pilgrimage, spiritual journey, writing, meditation, yoga retreat. It will involve a bit of travel, but I'm not sure how much this time around.

I'm feeling called to work on a few projects that seem to be taking shape every moment. I am getting pieces of information on these projects every day.

I know it sounds strange. In my past, I often operated in a very linear way. I measured things that I could see, taste, touch, feel—tangible things.

More recently, I've been letting go of a linear way of thinking and have adopted a more holistic view of things.

I believe some things can be explained, but some simply cannot.

I'm not afraid of the unknown anymore.

In fact, I'm ready to dive deeper into the unknown. I'm ready to loosen the tight strings that have bound me to a rational view of things.

Life is much more than we are able to see. Life, in its entirety, is incomprehensible.

I'm excited to venture out soon. I let you know more about my journey as it unfolds.

Have you ever felt called to do something different than you normally do?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

365 Inspirations—167: Spending Time with my Father

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me."—Jim Valvano

This was post 172 of my 365 Lessons I wrote in 2010. I'm not with my father this Father's Day, but I'm thinking about him. I feel lucky to have so many wonderful memories with my dad. Happy Father's Day dad! Here's my post:

  Last night my dad went to bed and I stayed up a little longer. I pressed my face against the glass window in the dining room and stared out at the Gulf waters. My dad lives right on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida. Palm trees rustled in the wind. The rippling of tiny waves in the distance made me feel calm. I stared straight ahead for what seemed like a long time. Two flashes of lightning appeared by the old smoke stacks in the distance. The stacks my father mentioned would be torn down anytime now. They were using a gas system now and the stacks wouldn't be needed any longer.

The silence throughout the house made me lonely. My mind filled itself with all the memories of my time here. Like the time when a possum got in the house and my friend Sara had to capture it in a laundry basket and let it loose out the front door. I remember giggling with my friends in the upstairs bedroom, telling ghosts stories until all hours, spending endless hours in the pool, putting tin foil on my sunglasses with my friend Lena thinking it would reflect the sun more and make our bodies turn brown, water skiing behind my dad's tiny Boston Whaler. Boats, lotion, water, friends, laughter, outdoor dining under the umbrella, lizards, crickets, cockroaches...memories just came flooding in like a huge tidal wave and then passed and left me standing there with the awareness of the cool tile under my feet and the fact that it was very late.

I wandered upstairs to bed. I kept the window blinds up, turned off the light and let the sound of the palms and water soothe me to sleep.

I woke up and my dad already had the coffee on. We chatted a bit, had a little breakfast. The time goes so slow here. It's good. There's no hurry to get anywhere and my dad and I really didn't have any big plans today. Suddenly I said, "Maybe we can take the kayaks out." My dad looked at me and said, "Sure!" We walked to the side of the house and dad noticed that an old hornets nest was inside one of them. Cockroaches scurried around the bright orange plastic which seemed to magnify them.

We carried the kayaks out and dropped them on the lawn and dad hosed them off. We dropped them down from the cement wall onto the beach and slid them off into the water. I flipped off my flip flops and sank down with my bare feet into the white sand. We were off.

Once out drifting on the water, my dad tried to calculate how long he'd been at this house. He figured he'd been here since he was 39 years old. I'm now 40. It didn't seem possible that my dad had settled into this house at an age younger than my present age, but I guess it was true. As we paddled along, my dad pointed out an Osprey's nest on a boat marker. The Osprey cackled at us, thinking we were prey to it's offspring. We were now out in the open channel.

"Yeah, I've been here a long time. I'm going to miss it, no doubt there," my dad continued, as if the pause gave him time to reflect on what a wonderful place it has been for him.

We continued on in silence in our respective kayaks. Every now and then we'd drift together and make a remark on our surroundings. We watched enormous pelicans near the Mangrove trees devour entire fish, the seagulls would follow close behind picking up any remains. I watched my father silently paddle in front of me.

I wanted to seize the moment. I didn't want things to change. I wanted to freeze time. Just as I was thinking this, my father was swallowed up by Mangroves. He had entered the Mangrove tunnels.

Huge tunnels were formed by the trees and you could kayak through them. Inside, under the shade of these trees, there was a feeling of being far off on some ancient expedition through the Amazon. It was as if we had gone back in time. Once out on open waters again, civilization returned instantly. People zoomed by in speed boats, fisherman near by pulled up their nets, jets flew overhead.

Sweat poured from my brow in the final stretch back to the house. It must have been 90 degrees outside. Good thing I had suntan lotion on. We pulled the kayaks up onto the grass again, pulled off our sweaty clothes down to our bathing suits and jumped in the pool. The water cooled me instantly.

Later we sat under the shade of the porch awning and ate leftovers from the night before. I know things will change. I've always known that, but somehow, this time, I want to hold on to each moment.

Do you have any great memories of spending time with your father?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

365 Inspirations—166: Ring Around the Sun and Other Phenomenons of Nature

“Do you see that out there? The strange, unfamiliar light? It's called the sun. Let's go get us a little.” —Nora Roberts

My husband and I are housesitting on Puget Sound this weekend and it couldn't have been a more perfect day. First, I'm officially on break and second, the weather was up in the 70s!

While walking around Greenlake today in Seattle, we spotted many people in bikinis, shorts and tank tops on blankets in the the grass reading novels or magazines and taking in the sun, which is actually rare this time of year. 

I remember last year in June, right before I went on my east coast book tour, my best friend from high school came over still wearing her down jacket.

But not today! There were even people swimming in Greenlake today.

While we were walking around Greenlake, we noticed a bunch of people looking up at the sky and pointing. Many were taking pictures with their cell phones. Some even shouted out, "We are going to be invaded by aliens!" or "It's earth's black star!"

What was it exactly? It was a halo around the sun that is formed by cirrus clouds containing ice crystals. The ice crystals refract the light of the sun giving the appearance of a rainbow or ring around the sun. It is one of those phenomenons of nature.

Later that afternoon we went to see Superman (another phenomenon of nature) and returned to the house where we are house sitting and cooked up salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, corn on the cob and  marinated tomato and mushroom salad. The sun was setting over Puget Sound and the light of the sun shone through one of the front windows of the house to a wall of windows in the back casting a glow over me in the backyard.

Today the sunlight danced and played all day. It was quite the show and I will not forget it!

Did you ever witness a phenomenon of nature?

Friday, June 14, 2013

365 Inspirations—165: Before Midnight Movie

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages."—Friedrich Nietzsche

To celebrate the end of the quarter, Yoon and I went out to the movies. We went to see Before Midnight, the last of the trilogy. The first two were Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. All three are movies by Richard Linklater.

Before Sunrise is about a couple (Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke) who met in Europe and while traveling and spent about 24 hours together. Most of the movie is focused on conversation.

The movie ends with the couple leaving each other not know whether or not they'll ever see each other again.

About nine years later, the couple meet in Europe while Ethan Hawke's character is on book tour. They spend the day together again. The movie ends with Hawke trying to decide if he should stay in France with this woman or return to his wife and child. He is in a loveless marriage at home and finds it hard to leave this French woman he met years ago and hasn't forgotten ever since.

I know I'm probably spoiling the trilogy, but the last movie shows that Hawke did decide to stay in France, but he had to make very hard choices in doing so. He had to leave his wife, but more heart wrenching is that he had to leave his son behind in the States after he decided to start a new family with the woman he really loves. His biggest difficulty is the guilt he feels for leaving his son, who he only sees on holidays.

All three movies are based on conversations and emotions. The movies are very real and true to life. They are not glossed over with Hollywood glitz and glamour. They seem like a very realistic couple with very real problems. They go through things that we can all relate to.

For me, it's been interesting to follow this fictional couple through their lives in their 20s, 30s and now 40s. I'm the same age as they are in the movies and I've enjoyed watching their lives unfold on screen as mine has unfolded in real life. I wish they would do another one when they are in their 50s, but I think that's the last one.

I saw the first one with my friend and the last two with Yoon in the theater. I now want to rent the first two again to remind me of their journey, as I've forgotten a little.

Anyway, I recommend all of these movies. Yoon and I love to go to the movies together. It's one of our biggest joys. It was also a great way to celebrate the end of the quarter.

Do you like to go to the movies? What movie(s) have you seen recently?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

365 Inspirations—164: Dreams

"Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."—Gloria Steinem 

It's very rare that I remember my dreams. I can recall one flying dream I had not too long ago. It felt so amazing to fly. I felt free, expanded and comfortable. I didn't want to wake up from that dream.

I rarely have nightmares these days.

Most of my dreams tend to be fragmented. They are often a colorful quilt of bits and pieces of my life.

Sometimes I don't really know if the pieces even fit together because it's hard to make sense of my dreams.

I do believe that dreams can tell us much about our waking life.

I also believe that we can remember the details of our dreams if we choose to and even choose the kinds of dreams we want to have.

Dreams are something I'd like to explore more.

Do you dream? Can you remember your dreams?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

365 Inspirations—163: What Inspires YOU? Write a Guest Post!

Church in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona
"Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it."—Bob Dylan

 I've written 162 posts this year of what inspires me and now I'm wondering this: What inspires YOU? What people, places, or things do you get your inspiration from?

Later in June I'll be doing some guest posts and interviews and I want to extend an open invitation to anyone who would like to write a guest post about something that inspires YOU.

Is it your grandma, the neighbor, something you heard on the radio, a sunny day, clouds, a writer, a singer,  an actor, a candlestick maker? I'd really like to know. I'm on the lookout for inspiration and doesn't necessarily have to be what I find inspirational.

Leave a comment here if you'd like to write a post. Or, if it's easier, tell me in the comment section what person, place or thing you find to be inspirational. Who knows? That person, place or thing just might show up here on this blog!

What person, place or thing do you find inspirational?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

365 Inspirations—162: Unexpected Gifts

Hugging trees in Hoh Rain Forest, Washington
"You give but little when you give of your possessions.  It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."—Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

This is my last week of the quarter and then I'm on break for two weeks. I have to say that I really look forward to the time off as it was a heavy quarter of teaching for me. This summer I plan to only teach one class in order to give myself time to work on other projects.

There were many occasions, during the quarter, when I wondered how I'd make it through the day. Teaching classes back to back for 5 hours with very little down time was really challenging. I did my best and gave the students all that I had.

Now it's the end. Today I spent my class time proctoring a state test and then I met students individually to go over their tests and get them registered for next quarter.

It's really hard to gauge, at times, if everything I'm doing is having any impact. I think we are all our own worst critics at times, so I was happily surprised to hear all the positive feedback from my students today about my class.

Some students wrote letters, some gave gifts and some verbally let me know how much they really appreciated my class and me. I really did not expect any of this and that made it all the more special. Here's a letter from one of my students today:

Not perfect, but heartfelt!
What I realized is that if you give your full attention to whatever you are doing, it will not go unnoticed. You may not realize the impact you have on people and your surroundings, but the things you do are important.

This appreciation from my students, which came in many different forms, was an unexpected gift. These gifts are treasures that make me want to keep on giving.

Have you ever received an unexpected gift?