Thursday, October 31, 2013

365 Inspirations—304: Halloween

Halloween brings back too many memories to count. I was born on Oct. 28th, but I was taken home from the hospital on Halloween. I was a Halloween baby. My father tells the story of how my parents brought be home on that day and how the kids in the neighborhood were being noisy and were told to be quiet because there was a new baby in the house.

I grew up with birthdays and costume parties rolled into one. Devils, skeletons, witches, goblins, fairies, princesses, ghosts, and angels all showed up at my doorstep for a party.

I loved trick or treating and have fond memories of freely roaming the neighborhood for candy with my friends and getting an entire pillowcase full of it by the end of the evening. Back in the day, kids had a lot more freedom than they do now.

I remember learning this 1969 tune in elementary school. I have a great memory for songs and often remember words to songs even after hearing something for the first time. This song's words have stuck with me since childhood.



Up until my 40th birthday, I held big Halloween parties in my house with a live band and the works. These days, I don't do it anymore and I wonder if I'm losing my zest for Halloween. This is my absolute favorite time of year. Today I hung up some decorations, bought some candy for the THREE kids we will probably have tonight and I still need to carve our pumpkin!

I had breakfast with my best friend this morning. She took me out for a belated birthday meal. She is tied into my many Halloween memories. She has to go to her kids' kindergarden today for a Halloween party and I helped her get stickers and other things for this evening. It was fun. She bought me an artist's portfolio for all the collages I've been making these days.

Tonight maybe my husband and I will watch a movie and eat popcorn. We want to be around for the kids tonight.

Do you have fond memories of Halloween? What are they?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

365 Inspirations—303: Ginormous Plants in my Living Room

“We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.”—
Desmond Tutu

My husband was given the gift of plants on more than one occasion for his yoga studio. That studio is gone, but the plants live on. And let me just tell you about these plants....

They started off as little itty bitty things and, after all the inhaling and exhaling his yoga students did over the years, those plants are now GINORMOUS. Believe me when I tell you that often after a vigorous yoga class at the studio, the windows were so steamed up from all of our huffing and puffing that the atmosphere was akin to the Amazon rainforest—perfect for plants!

These are the kind of plants that might just eat you in your sleep—The Little Shop of Horrors variety.

And I love them.

All the good energy that was in my husband's studio is now shifting to our house.

I love all the green. It's like we have several new family members. He had these plants outside, but he doesn't want them to die, so they are inside now. They are temporarily in our living room, but we may move some to the bedroom. We are still sorting it out.

I will say that I love the feeling of these plants and all the green. It makes it so homey and they make me happy.

We had tiny succulent plants throughout the house, but have never had bigger plants.

Do you have many inside plants? What types of plants do you have?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

365 Inspirations—302: Starting Again

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come."—Joseph Campbell

One chapter is over. My husband cleared out his yoga studio and moved everything to our house. I was at work while he did this with several friends.

I came home to a living room emptied of furniture. He will be teaching yoga in our living room so he had to move out the sofa's and soon the dining room table will most likely be moved to a bedroom. I loved our cozy living room, but I'm willing to surrender these things for the time being so that my husband can start a new chapter.

He has quite a number of students signed up to take yoga classes in our living room. The classes won't start until after November 18th because we are both going to The Hawaii Yoga Festival on The Big Island of Hawaii where we will be featured teachers.

After that, yoga will begin....

My husband is starting again with a much bigger following than before. I believe it was not the place that attracted so many people, it was him. Wherever he goes, I know many of the students will follow.

The rent for his studio was outrageous and the fact that he kept it going for almost four years is a miracle. Now he won't have so much overhead and he will gain a little freedom.

This new setup will take some time to get used to, but I'm always up for new and different things.

Now I really won't have an excuse to miss yoga. It will be in my house!

Have you ever had to start again? What was the situation?

Monday, October 28, 2013

365 Inspirations—301: Treat Yourself

Sunrise and cacti on way to Phoenix airport
Today is my birthday. I spent the entire day flying. We got up before the crack of dawn in Sedona and everyone piled in the car half asleep and we made the two-plus hour drive to Phoenix. The sun came up on our drive to Phoenix, so my very first sunrise for this new birthday year was of hills and cacti.

We got on a flight to Salt Lake City and from there we headed to Seattle.

What a beautiful day to be flying high above Seattle! I saw the mountains, evergreens, lakes, and even fall leaves from high up in the plane.

My husband is teaching his very last class at the yoga studio. His last class happens to be on my birthday. I was a bit exhausted after our trip, so I missed it. I don't really think of it as his last class because he's just moving his space. I'll meet him later tonight.

A trip to Sedona was my birthday treat, but now I feel like going to my favorite grocery store to get some goodies.

Do you ever treat yourself to anything on your birthday (or any other time for that matter)?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

365 Inspirations—300: Devil's Bridge, Sedona, AZ

"Pick the day. Enjoy it to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present—and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future."—Audrey Hepburn

First of all, I can't believe I've made it to post 300 on my birthday's eve! I seriously did not think I could make it this far, but I'm so happy I stuck with writing these inspirations because they've made a big difference in how I see the world and it's been nice to share them here with others too. I hope you have enjoyed reading them.

Today I saw the world from a very different perspective. I saw the world on top of Devil's Bridge in Sedona, AZ. This bridge was formed by red rocks and it takes your breath away to stand on it or see other stand on it. The drop off is severe and it makes your heart pound a little faster when you look at it.

Not only did we walk on it, we did yoga on it. It was a highlight to my day. Just the walk alone to Devil's Bridge was awe inspiring. We parked the car and walked about two miles through agave, cacti, junipers and other pine. The hot desert sun beat down on us, yet I did not feel hot, I felt energized!

I spend most of my days in Seattle, Washington and I'm finding that I really need the hot desert sun sometimes in the fall. I need to see the red rocks, the red dirt—even on my sandaled toes. I want to feel this earth.



While on the bridge, I moved my body into boat pose, dancer pose, and a few others.


I could feel my whole body vibrate. Sedona is a highly charged place. It's the land of vortices (energy centers). Sometimes I feel I need this climate to dry out, recharge and gain a new perspective.

Today was our last day in Sedona. We've done so much. We ended the day by driving up to a Buddhist   stupa way up in the hills and we all made three rounds around the stupa just as the sun was setting with the Tibetan prayer flags flapping in the breeze. We slowly wound our way down to the parking lot and our last stop was The Red Planet Diner, which seemed like a perfect ending to an out-of-this-world time.

Have you ever visited a place that took your breath away? Where was it?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

365 Inspirations—299: The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is my inspiration today! We woke up, ate breakfast, packed our lunches for the day and headed with our yoga retreat participants to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It's about a two and a half hour drive from Sedona.

When we arrived, we walked along the rim and even out on rocks that jetted out over the canyon. It was a bit scary being out there. We also did yoga out on these rocks.





We found a shady place for lunch and plopped ourselves down and ate our lunch. 

We later drove towards a place called Desert View where there is a tower you can walk up and even get a better view of all the reds, oranges and yellow of this magnificent work of nature's art. 

The sun was just starting to set as we left the park and we made it back to Sedona well after dark. More red rock adventures tomorrow.

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?


Friday, October 25, 2013

365 Inspirations—298: Yoga on the Rocks

Yoga on the Rocks is my inspiration today!

This morning we hiked around Bell Rock, did some yoga and took pictures there.

In the afternoon, we scrambled up Cathedral Rock. These places are well known vortex spots and then energy is really strong, especially at Cathedral Rock. You can feel it throughout your body and it makes you want to draw that energy inward.

It's hard to sleep here on yoga retreat because the place we are staying in is up on a hill and surrounded by all these amazing rock formations.



We are on a yoga/hiking retreat here.

This post will be short because I'm off to the hot tub under the stars and then to the campfire.

Tomorrow we head to the Grand Canyon!

More soon from the land of red rocks.

Have you ever been on a yoga retreat? Have you ever been to Arizona?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

365 Inspirations—297: Sedona Skies

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky."—Rabindranath Tagore

What a long day of traveling! We took a flight to Salt Lake City this morning, another fight to Phoenix and a two-hour drive to Sedona.

The best part: We arrived just as the sun was setting on the red rocks. Nothing like Sedona skies and sunsets. It takes your breath away.

My husband is leading a small yoga retreat here. On the way in, we stopped off at Tara Thai Restaurant for dinner, our favorite place from last year. We are staying in a condo at the Hyatt at Pinon Pointe for two nights and then on to another place possibly. We loaded up on breakfast/lunch food at the local organic grocery store called New Frontiers just as it was closing AND we made it back in time for a night dip in the salt water jacuzzi and a swim in the pool.



Tomorrow we will do yoga, hike one of the vortexes, swim and enjoy the great energy here.

Have you ever been to Sedona or the Southwest? What was your favorite place?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

365 Inspirations—296: A Little Juice Left

"We think too much and feel too little."—Charlie Chaplin

It's 11:07pm. It's been a looooooooonnnnnnnnngggggggg day. I got home from work at 10:40pm and we are heading to Sedona, AZ for a yoga retreat in the early AM.

I hope to post about our retreat while I'm there. Now I'm trying to decide what to do with the little juice I have left. Here are my options:

A. Write a meeting report for work (I'm the level leader this quarter) and have not yet turned in the minutes from a meeting on Tuesday.

B. Post information for my students on Canvas (a computer program I use for my hybrid ESL business class I'm teaching).

C. Finish my last bit of packing, get in the tub with a book and a cup of hot tea.

What would you choose?

I'm really leaning towards "C," but that would mean I'd have to take A & B on the road with me to AZ.

With the little juice I have left, I feel the need to just STOP. The other things can wait. The world will not end. Life WILL go on.....

Do you ever feel like you are running on fumes or have very little juice left? Do you keep going until you are on empty or do you preserve what you have left?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

365 Inspirations—295: A Room Of One's Own

My Writing Room
"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again."—Joseph Campbell

My husband is closing up shop. The overhead at his current, beautiful yoga studio is too high. He's kept it for almost four years, but it's still expensive. He's led dozens of yoga retreats, outings, events and it will be sad to see it go. He will be officially leaving his space next Tuesday.

He has decided to continue teaching a limited number of yoga classes in our house. I look around at our small house and suddenly see it shrinking.

We have a beautiful open living and dining area that will accommodate yoga classes. Now that we've updated and remodeled our house, I know it will be perfect for a small group of students. We've had seven to eight students in our house at one time before my husband opened his own studio.

I find that now, more than ever, I need space to write. I'm very happy to announce that I'm working on my next book, a travel memoir. It's not the book I thought I'd be writing, but I think it's going to be good.

The room across from our bedroom will be my writing room. This will be my space to write, blog, and create and I think I'm going to really personalize it into the space I dream about. Right now it's a bit minimalistic, which I like, but I want to spend some time changing things around a bit.

Now that there will be classes in our house, a room of one's own and staking out space is of utmost importance. I'm glad there is still space for me to have a room of my own, besides our bedroom.

My husband has transformed a room in our basement into his man cave. He hangs out down there and watches videos from the library, reads, and relaxes. I'm glad he has a space too.

Our little house has seen its share of people and events. We've had three live concerts, a talk about happiness from a Tibetan Rinpoche that drew a rather large crowd, yoga classes, barbecues, badminton matches, picnics, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas family events, a baby shower and we've had NUMEROUS people stay over. My writing group, whom I've been meeting with for over 4 years, has come here on many occasions.

A few summers ago, our house got a facelift—new floors, walls, kitchen update, bathroom update, new roof, etc. It's quite cozy now.

To tell you truthfully, as much as I fret about the space becoming smaller, I do like the community or the sense of community we have around us.

But I am also very grateful to have a space to call my own.

Do you find it important to have a room of your own?


Monday, October 21, 2013

365 Inspirations—294: FOG

“Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form itself on the edge of consciousness.”—Raymond Chadler 

The weather after my late night classes at the college was fitting to my mood. It's a Freddy Krueger kind of night out there in Seattle and I kind of understand now why this area is the perfect backdrop for vampire movies. I told my volunteer, after my class was over, that I had to go the bathroom, so he said good-bye and left. Usually we walk together to the parking lot.

I was the LAST one leaving the dark campus and just moments before my last class a teacher warned me that there have been instances of a few students getting jumped by someone at night.

I didn't pay the teacher much mind as I scurried to get ready for my class, but his words came back to me after class as I exited the building all alone into the thick fog. I had to walk about five minutes to my car. Everyone was gone from the parking lot except a figure, a person, standing there by himself. I could just barely make out his form in the fog.

My mind started racing as I thought of what I would do in case this person was 'the jumper.'

The figure was now walking fast in my direction and there was noone else in sight.

My heart pounded in my throat. I grabbed the glass bottle of water from my backpack and held it in my hand like a miniature baseball bat and practiced a few swings.

I looked behind me to see if anyone else was around.

Noone.

The figure was now between me and my car.

How on earth would I get to my car? I thought.

Just then I heard my name.

"Kathy, it's me! I just came over to make sure you made it to your car safely."

I let out a huge sigh of relief. It was my volunteer. He waited to make sure I wasn't the last one out of the parking lot. It was such a nice gesture!

Note to self: Do not walk to parking lot alone at night. Always walk with a friend or volunteer.

I know I probably just spooked myself and since Halloween is just around the corner, this is my scary story.

On the way home, I was actually inspired by the mystery of fog. We have a choice of what we imagine lurks beyond the fog. Driving home it felt like there was no past or future, because all I could see was an inch in front of my car. I was okay with being in the present finally.

Do you have much fog where you live? How do you feel about it?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

365 Inspirations—293: How I Learned to Stop Planning and Love the Mystery (Guest Post by Patti Shelton)

On board our faithful ship heading out into the deep waters of Lake Titicaca
“All human plans [are] subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Universe.” —Arthur C. Clark

This guest post was written by Patti Shelton who came with us on our yoga trip to Peru. She shares a story here about a trip we took to Lake Titicaca, Peru last September and how she learned to let go of her need to plan and just go with the flow. We enjoyed having her on our journey and I love her story. Please be so kind and leave comments for Patti here. Here it is:

For most of my life, I've had a tendency to be a planner.  Sure, I'm open to spontaneity when traveling.  As long as I know where I'm going to sleep.  And most of what I'm going to do.  And how I'll get there.

So to find myself in a car with my husband, two good friends, and a guide, speeding from Cuzco towards Lake Titicaca with no idea where we'd sleep for the next three nights, was a bit unexpected.
These particular friends, Yoon and Kathy, are the most spontaneous people I know.  Yoon especially has an uncanny ability to feel out a situation and operate by intuition.  I've never met anyone who plans less or experiences more.  I've been needing some intuitive energy in my life, and so I'd decided on this trip to become a spontaneity apprentice.  Here I was, traveling to Lake Titicaca with no idea of where I'd sleep.  And I was loving it.

We got to Lake Titicaca in the late afternoon.  It didn't take long to find a hotel for the night, situated right by the lake and just outside the city of Puno.  (Let's just say that "outside" was really the best place to be in the city of Puno.)  I couldn't stop staring at the lake.  I don't know if it was the altitude, the clean air, the vacation high, or the energy coming from the lake; maybe it was all of these, but we all felt extremely positive and energized.  We could not stop smiling.

We wanted to go out on the lake the next day.  A lady from a travel agency offered us an overpriced, touristy trip; lots of money to be on a crowded boat for a few hours.  We said no thanks, we'd travel on a local boat.  Should we check the ferry schedules and decide which one to take?  "No," said Yoon, "Let's show up and see what happens."  I took a breath of that delicious air and decided to go with it.
So we showed up on the boat dock a little after 9:00 the next morning.  All the public ferries had left already.  Oops.

But there were a few private boat operators still hanging around the docks to catch the stragglers.  We mentioned that we wanted to go out to the islands, and they immediately began fighting over us.  We finally chose a kind, quiet man named Genaro, who went to get his boat.  It took a few minutes for him to maneuver his boat into position for us to board, which caused the other drivers to try one last time to lure us onto their boats.

This delay turned out to be quite fortunate.  As we waited, another couple walked onto the dock and stood waiting.  I asked them if they'd like to join us - after all, we were only five people and it was a pretty big boat.  They were happy to come along.  They'd also planned on taking the public ferry, but missed it that morning.  They'd thought they wouldn't be able to make it out to the islands; but, like magic, here was a waiting boat and some new friends.  Spontaneity won the day for them too.
So we boarded the boat, choosing to sit up on top to feel the fresh air and sunshine.  It was sunny and warm-ish (we needed sweaters, but we weren't freezing).  We made a quick stop at the Uros Islands (aka floating islands), then headed to the little island of Amantani.  The boat traveled slowly, so the trip took three hours.  I enjoyed every second, watching the scenery and the birds while getting to know our new friends better.  We had no idea what was coming; a homestay could mean we'd be sleeping on the floor, and what would we do for clean water?  I could've worried about whether we'd be safe and healthy that night, but I let that go and just enjoyed the ride.  What would come would come.
The boat pulled up to a little dock.  A woman and a young girl of about seven met the boat and helped it dock.  They introduced themselves as our hosts for the night.  As the girl and woman led us through various fields to get to their house, the boat driver came with us.  It soon became clear that it was his house too; the two were his wife and daughter.  The kind man we'd met on the boat dock had taken us to his own house.

When we got there, the woman (whose name was Flora) immediately began preparing us lunch.  Not just any lunch; a three-course Peruvian meal, with quinoa soup, little fish pulled from the lake, and many types of potatoes, along with an herbal tea she told us was extremely healthy.
As we digested our lunch, Flora led us to our rooms.  Not only were we not sleeping on the floor; each couple had their own delightful little room, with handwoven blankets on the beds and windows overlooking the island's coast.

Then Flora asked if we'd like to go to the top of the island (it's a low mountain) to watch the sunset.  "Of course we would," we replied.  She gave us each a handwoven hat to wear, insisting that we each take one (we could return it when we got back), and told us, maternally, to bring coats; it gets cold after sunset, she said.  Madeleini, the seven-year-old, would be our guide.  Flora said she couldn't come with us; she needed to stay home to prepare our dinner.  Skipping through fields at a pace that left us foreigners, unaccustomed to altitude, breathless, Madeleini led us to Pachamama (the highest point on the island), where we enjoyed a 360-degree view of the lake as the sun set.  We couldn't take our eyes off of it.

Soon after sunset, Madeleini started leading us back down.  Most of us soon realized that we hadn't brought flashlights.  This turned out to be no problem; the full moon provided plenty of illumination.  She led us, without hesitation, back down to her home, taking a different route to get there.  This seven-year-old had clearly spent plenty of time wandering the island, safe among her community.
After a delicious, home-cooked dinner, which the family shared with us, we went to our rooms for one of the most peaceful nights of sleep any of us had ever had.  We awoke with the sunrise, ate a huge and delicious breakfast, and prepared to board the boat again to ride home.  When we asked how much we owed, Flora surprised us by saying, "Whatever you want.  Pay nothing if you didn't have a good experience, or pay whatever you think you should pay."  Of course, we all ended up paying generously.

Flora and Madeleini surprised us by boarding the boat with us.  Flora had brought a bag full of cooked potatoes of many kinds for us all to snack on during the ride back.  We stopped by the neighboring island of Taquile, then headed back to Puno.  All too soon (well, it was three or four hours, but I could've stayed out on that water for days), we docked.  Hugs, photos, and effusive thanks followed, and then we had to say good-bye to our amazing hosts.

We could have planned a trip out to the islands with the travel agency.  I'm sure I would have enjoyed it; that water, those birds, all that beautiful clear energy would have been there anyway.  But we wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the experience that we had.  By letting go completely of my expectations, I got something that far exceeded whatever I might have expected.
   
Yoon and Kathy keep teaching me this: Just show up, and be open to possibility.  Their lives so far have been filled with adventure by following this simple formula.  I'm ready to see what more it will bring my way.

Do you feel the need to plan or are you comfortable following the mysteries of life?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

365 Inspirations—292: Unexpected Meetings with Friends

Our yoga/writing workshop at The Yoga Lodge
"You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen."—Paulo Coehlho

I had two unexpected meetings with friends today. The first one was this afternoon. Yoon went to see a lecture at East West Bookstore and I was home cleaning the house and doing odds and ends. About halfway through mopping the kitchen I thought, I need to get outside and walk, mopping can wait.

I left the mop in the middle of the floor, got in my car and drove to Greenlake.

It was gray outside, but the leaves were still brilliant on the trees despite the cloudy day. I walked and focused on my feet in my shoes, the feeling of cold fall air on my face, the smell of dry leaves and the sight of the colors of fall all around me. While walking, I ran into a friend. We both stopped in our tracks and said, "Hello!"

She was taking a study break and I was taking a mopping break and we both decided to go to Greenlake at exactly the same time. She changed her direction and walked with me a bit. We had a lovely talk and it made my walk much more worthwhile.

Later in the evening, after I had made dinner, Yoon and I were talking about walking over to Red Box to rent a movie. Right at that moment, two friends knocked on our front door with a cake in their hands.  They thought they'd stop by and just see what we were up to.

That's so rare these days, isn't it? People don't just stop by anymore, but I was happy to see them. We invited them inside and I heated up some leftover chili. Afterward, we had cake and tea and told many, many stories....

It was a lovely day of unexpected meetings with friends.

Have you ever run into someone unexpectedly and enjoyed the time spent together?

Friday, October 18, 2013

365 Inspirations—291: Continuity is the SECRET

"Continuity of practice is the secret of success."—SN Goenka

Don't ask me how I got here. How on earth have I gotten to post 291? I've been writing blog posts for two-hundred and ninety-one days STRAIGHT!

Only 74 posts left!

The secret?

Just do it. Don't think too much about how you'll do it. Pick a goal, commit to it AND JUST DO IT.

Put one foot in front of the other. Place your hands on the keyboard and type one letter at a time.

There will be times when you feel like quitting. There will be times when that voice inside your head says, "What's the point? Is anyone reading these posts anyway."

Keep going. Continuity is the secret of success with anything you set out to do.

You will hit walls, fall down, wonder 'what's it all about Alfie,' get sick, feel emotionally unstable, lose power (in more ways than one), lack confidence, and almost throw in the towel.

Another secret? Never, ever stop on those days that you feel like that.

If you want to stop something you've committed yourself to, stop when you feel REALLY GOOD. Stop only when you feel like you've gotten what you need from something...when it's enough...when you feel satisfied.

I'm a person who tends to stick to my commitments, so I'll continue to write those 74 posts because it's my ritual and I enjoy it. I am definitely in the habit of blogging every day! Of course I'm happy when people read and comment, but I write these posts because I enjoy writing them and if there is readership, that's a bonus!

Have you ever stuck a commitment out to the very end even though you sometimes felt like giving up? What was it?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

365 Inspirations—290: Time for a Change

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."—Barack Obama

Change, as you all know, is in the air these days. The leaves are changing color, my husband's business location is changing, we are heading out on several yoga retreats soon, I have a couple books on some burners AND I'm feeling the need to tune in.

Maybe the season does that to me. I feel the need to meditate, but also exercise, practice yoga, feel my heart pumping and my muscles flexing, feel the cool air on a brisk walk, eat well and live consciously.

It's all about paying attention really. It's about waking up.

I'm ready to head off on a writing retreat and I sort of feel like joining a gym. I practice yoga regularly, but I feel I'd like a bit more cardiovascular activity, so I'm thinking of going back to the gym near my house where I once was a member.

It's time for a change.

Time to be fully the person I want to be while I'm still here.

Do you feel it's time for a change? What would you like to change about your life?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

365 Inspirations—289: A Moment in the Parking Lot

Fall Leaves at EdCC
“What day is it?"
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.—A.A.Milne 



At 4pm, right before a 4 hour-straight teaching stint at the college where I work, I had a moment in the parking lot. I had just come from the office where I was preparing my lesson plans for the evening. I was running around here and there and wondering how I'd get everything done before my class and then....

I just stopped.

I stood right there in the parking lot for several moments staring at trees.

The late afternoon sun cast a warm light on the already glowing maple trees with leaves of gold, orange and red. It was just stunning. I couldn't move.

For those moments, I didn't think about my classes, my life, how I would figure things out, what I needed to do.

I let the cool air penetrate me. I forgot to wear a jacket. The bright orange cardigan I was wearing was not quite warm enough, but I was okay with that. I wanted to feel the season.

How did it get here so fast? How did the leaves change so fast? Was I fully present for it all, or was I keeping up with my schedule, nose to the grindstone, head in my books, hands on my keyboard, no time to look up?

Now I was looking up—looking up at the beauty all around me. I walked through campus to my class. I felt uplifted and light-hearted. I felt centered and calm. 

What a difference a few moments in the parking lot can make!

When you are in a hurry, do you ever just stop to witness where you are?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

365 Inspirations—288: My How Things Can Change in 24 Hours.....

"What I've come to realize is that change is much like a muscle being stretched. However far something contracts, that much it will expand."—Katherine Jenkins

Yesterday, my husband was wandering the streets trying to wrap his head around the fact that he might have to close up shop on Monday and today we have a business advisor, a lawyer and a real estate agent—all people we know who want to help—standing by our sides with LOTS of advice, information and ideas! It's amazing what people can do when we all collaborate!

He's still going to close up his yoga business at his current location, but it might not be as soon as we thought. I no longer see this as a 'bad' thing or a crisis because I'm suddenly looking beyond the wall that blocked me from seeing anything yesterday but doom.

What I've come to realize is that change is much like a muscle being stretched. However far something contracts, that much it will expand.

The contracting part is not fun. It feels like you are in a pressure cooker and the heat is ON!

But how boring life would be if we all knew what would happen every single day and if life was just a cookie-cutter version of the day before.

I say, "Bring on the challenges!"

Last November, when the rain was getting to me in Seattle, I spontaneously applied to be an artist-in-residence at Kalani, the largest yoga retreat center in all of the Hawaiian Islands. I had a phone interview and I got the residency! Not only that, but they asked me to come for 10-days during the Hawaii Yoga Festival, with 30 other participating teachers.

I let them know all about my husband. I told them he was a former monk and now he is a yoga teacher in the Seattle area and they are going to feature him too. He'll teach yoga and be part of an evening lecture series.

So last November, I was in the rain applying for a writing residency and this November we'll be in Hawaii at the Hawaii Yoga Festival as featured presenters. I will be teaching a two-part class called First Thoughts: Intuitive Writing for Greater Clarity and Purpose.

This is where I see the expansion happening. I see a lot of sharing and collaborating. I see that we will meet lots of people, like we already have. I now realize that where we are headed is no longer limited to ONE location.

I will be unveiling lots of new things in the coming year and as much as the process of growth can be painful, messy, and chaotic, there's a purpose for it.

This is my realization for this evening at midnight.

Stay tuned for what's next and thanks for being here friends. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Have you ever noticed that when things feel unbearable, life shows you another side you've never seen before?

Monday, October 14, 2013

365 Inspirations—287: A Bad Day

"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity."—Albert Einstein

I never thought I'd put the word 'bad' in my 'inspirations' for this year. I was trying to see the silver lining in all things, but right now I'm having trouble seeing it. Perhaps there can be inspiration found in having a bad day.

Something was in the air as I drove to work. A dream I couldn't shake off all day. I just had images, but no full picture to work with. The sun was out, the sky was blue, the leaves were vivid shades of red, orange and yellow, but why did I feel so strange? I was not really here nor there. I felt like I was just going through the motions of what I normally do.

I enjoyed a nice lunch and a walk with my husband earlier in the afternoon. He commented on how the tree colors were much more vivid with his sunglasses on. I asked him if I could try his sunglasses out to see since I couldn't locate mine.

"Yes, the colors of the trees have much more depth with these on," I replied.

We enjoyed a pleasant walk along the Sound. We are housesitting in a lovely house here.

It seems rather ridiculous that there could be anything 'bad' about today. And perhaps bad isn't even the right word because I know there could be worse...much, much worse.

So my first class at the college went just fine, but my second class only had about 15 out of 30 students in it and two of my volunteers were gone. The students were tired and some complained of pain (I have a number of students on disability in my ESL class). The overall mood was kind of low, but I made the best of it and it turned out okay. With the smaller class size, I had a chance to actually talk to the students, not just TEACH them.

On the way home, a creeping feeling came back. It was the same strangeness I felt on my way to work. I walked in the door and said to my husband, who was sitting on the sofa in the other room, "Today was a strange day. Several of my students felt a lot of pain."

He said, "I feel pain too." We were not in the same room. I was putting things away in the kitchen and just sort of stopped what I was doing.

I went to the living room and sat in silence and he gave me the story. He has to move out of his yoga studio by Monday. The business he put all of his heart and soul into will no longer be, at least not where it is now. For almost four years, so many students have come to practice there. It's a beautiful studio with so much love, art from the students, peace. So many have contributed to this amazing space and it's not easy to let it go. I know many will be saddened by Yoon no longer being there. More than 1,000 students have walked through the doors of his beloved studio. It embodies his peaceful nature. He put everything into it.

But it was not enough. The rent and fees for running the space near Seattle were just too high. So he's going to move everything out on Saturday and move the business to our house.

I should feel compassion and love and offer sympathy and say, "Everything will be fine," but that's not what I offered this evening. I worried about having space. Space to write, space to be, my own space. I guess I worried what would happen to our lives by moving the business back home. There would be people coming in and out for classes in our tiny home. We have to clear out the furniture, keep the bathroom clean and the space spotless. What about our own private time together? Would it become non-existent?

But what are the alternatives?

I shared my feelings with my husband, but the timing was not right. He's still trying to wrap his head around the fact that he has to move out by Monday. It was too much for him to think about and now he's out somewhere roaming the streets.

I know there's a silver lining to every bad day. I know it.

I feel a lot of change is in the air. I feel up in the air. I don't know what direction I need to take on anything. I want to breakthrough this sort of inertia I've been feeling lately. I wrote this post because I have to be honest.

I don't think I know what to do anymore. Life is confusing and sometimes it feels like the same thing over and over again with different spices or scenarios to make it look different, but it's all really the same.

People have bad days, some have good. People have newborns and some people die. Some people get sick and some run marathons, some people break up and some come together. It's the ebb and flow of life. I'm hanging on though and fearing any change for some reason. But perhaps change is inevitable.

I know I will welcome it. It's the only way to grow.......

What do you do when you don't know what to do or are having a bad day?


Sunday, October 13, 2013

365 Inspirations—286: Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”  Julia Child

Tonight we had a reunion with friends who went on our Peru trip with us. My husband grilled Korean Kalbi ribs and we had a Korean feast.

Our friends are trying to live gluten-free and I am trying to too, so I cooked my famous gluten-free and sugar-free Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. It's actually entirely grain-free and it is so delicious. The best part is that it tastes so good, but it's also good for you.

I want to share the recipe here. It's perfect for guests coming over who can't eat gluten or for an alternative birthday cake for those with dietary restrictions. Here's the recipe and enjoy:

3 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons organic coconut oil
3 eggs
3 cups of almond flour (almond meal)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips

Mash the bananas and mix in vanilla, eggs, honey and coconut oil. Mix the dry ingredients: almond flour and baking soda. Mix dry and wet ingredients thouroghly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread in glass bread pan greased with coconut oil. Cook for 45 minutes-1hour. Cook 30 to 40 minutes on middle rack and move to top rack for remaining time. Keep your eye on the bread for the last 10-15 minutes. When it is brown on the top, remove it and let it cool before serving.

This bread is so moist and delicious, you'll want to serve it again and again!

Do you have a favorite gluten-free recipe you'd like to share?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

365 Inspirations—285: Date Night

“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”—Mark Twain
 
For the record, we don't have an official date night. In fact, everyday and night are date days/nights for my husband and me because we enjoy each others company and spend a lot of time together at our favorite spots—walking around Greenlake, going to movies, going out to eat, hanging out in the house drinking tea and talking.

Tonight we went out to dinner at Steelhead Diner in Pike Place Market and went to see the Seattle Symphony play Mozart and a few others (we got free tickets from Yoon's yoga student who is in the symphony).

It was a wonderful fall evening downtown and all the leaves had changed colors. After our dinner, we got a pumpkin spice latte in Starbucks and watched the sun set below the Pike Place Market sign. I absolutely loved the conductor tonight. He was from England and told stories about each piece of music we were about to hear. I've never heard a conductor do that, but it was perfect and gave the music so much more context.

Now we are housesitting down on Puget Sound. The moon is out, the smell of salt water from the Sound is in the air, the cats are curled up in an armchair, jazz is playing on my husband's iPad mini and I'm eating a chocolate macaroon.

Sunset down at Pike Place Market


Can't get much better then this!

Do you have a specific night for date night, or do you celebrate every day/night?

Friday, October 11, 2013

365 Inspirations—284: Friday

"Relax. It's Friday!"

 It's Friday and I don't have much to report tonight. I went to yoga this morning, walked around Greenlake with my husband, cleaned my office and now we are housesitting on Puget Sound.

I bought Udi's gluten-free pepperoni pizza and added grilled onions, mushrooms, orange peppers, fresh basil and rosemary, kalamata olives, salami and a little extra mozarella. The result was amazing. Almost like a homemade pizza.

I will definitely make it again.

My husband is watching Men Who Stare at Goats in the basement  on the big screen and I really want to join him. We love housesitting here and taking care of the cats. It's such a retreat for us and it's right down the street from where we live. It's like going on vacation in our own neighborhood.

Friday night signals the start of relaxation time and that's exactly what I'm going to do tonight!

Hope you all have a happy Friday.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

365 Inspirations—283: Korean Spa Day!

This is a repost. I think the Korean spa deserves TWO spots on my inspiration list for this year! Have you been yet? This was Inspiration 66 of 365 Inspirations. I went to the Korean spa back in March and I was long over due for another spa day. After a short, but intense week of teaching, my best friend came over this morning at 10AM and we drove together to the spa. What a great way to start the weekend and what good company too....here's the post about the Korean spa I did back in March:
"Take care of your body.  It's the only place you have to live."—Jim Rohn

 This quarter, I promised myself that I would visit the Korean spa between my classes. I have a split shift on Tuesdays and Thursdays and there is a Korean Spa called Bella Luna Spa just down the street from the college. I'm lucky to have all the things I loved about living in Korea right here near the Seattle area.

 For some reason, I kept postponing it. Finally, while I was getting ready for my morning class, I instinctively started gathering my shampoo, soap, scrubby and other material for the spa. Today was the day! I hadn't really planned for today to be the day, but given that there is only really one week left of school, I thought it was perfect timing.

Have you ever been to a Korean spa? They are wonderful and fairly inexpensive. $20 gets you in for an entire afternoon of pampering. If you want to pay a little more, you can get the body scrub or massage. I like to just go to the spa.

Korean spas, called mogyoktang, are an important part of Korean culture. Long ago, many Korean homes didn't have bathing facilities, so people often went to their neighborhood spa or bath house to bathe. Now they are really more like spas which still have some of the original features.

For example, the spa I go to has several hot pools and a cold pool in the women's area. There is also a dry and hot sauna. Upstairs, there is a jimjilbang. A jimjilbang has different sauna rooms that vary in temperature and have different healing elements in each one. For example, there's a charcoal room, a salt room, a clay room, and a crystal room. They are typically more like caves. Some of the rooms have medicinal herbs inside. Each room is known to heal a certain part of the body depending on what the room contains.

I love the charcoal room. Charcoal is what is in our water purifiers. Charcoal is known to extract toxins from air and water, leaving only a clean, pure air and water. I always feel like my lungs completely open up in that room. I feel so refreshed upon leaving it.

Another thing I love to do at the Korean spa is walk on the pebble circular walk. You walk in a circle on stones and it is extremely good for the body—a kind of reflexology.

There's even a restaurant inside the spa and I often get a cold drink. Today I had an iced coffee and read a magazine while sitting on the sofa between sauna rooms. While sitting and enjoying the serenity of the spa, I rolled my feet back and forth on a little foot massager.

If you've never experienced a Korean spa and there is one in your area, I highly recommend visiting. It can do wonders for your body and peace of mind.

Have you ever visited a Korean spa or another kind of spa? Have you ever given your body and mind a special treat?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

365 Inspirations—282: We Are Alive and Experiencing Life

"We are alive and experiencing life. It is a blessing."—Seong Yoon Lee (my husband)

This is my husband's status update on Facebook today. I would be lying if I told you that I am feeling full of energy at 10:49pm. Today was a very loooonnnggg day. But I'm alive and I'm experiencing this moment. And yes, that is a blessing.

I am still writing this blog. I'm still here. I'm alive....

Perhaps we take our lives for granted at times. We expect everything to be as it has always been.

Today, for lunch, despite our busy schedules, we went downtown to Pike Place Market to meet some friends who almost didn't make it.

Both of them were in a plane crash and miraculously survived. One of them was severely injured. Seeing them today at lunch reminded me of how precious life is and how easy it is to take life for granted.

It's so easy to get swept up in busyness and forget that our heart is beating,  that we are breathing and that life is pulsing through our veins. We forget that our bodies are naturally doing their things.

Life is always with us, so close to us, so we've become accustom to it.

Today I was reminded of how fragile life is. Seeing our friends today, I was reminded of how important it is to spend time with people and to connect with one another and really BE where we are, in every moment.

Today I let go of all the things I had to do and really looked around at where I was:

A French restaurant with friends in Pike Place Market on a beautiful fall day in Seattle eating creme brulee. Red, yellow, orange on the trees. Sun on my face, boats on the water. Lovely students in my class and now I'm sitting here typing this post. I'm feeling my fingers on the keyboard. I feel an ache in my shoulders and a pain in my feet from being on my feet teaching for four hours, but I'm glad to be feeling something. I'm so lucky to be alive and experiencing this life....

How is your life in this moment?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

365 Inspirations—281: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Gluten-free dark chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting
"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going to fast—you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."—Eddie Cantor

I don't believe the weather person in Seattle. The forecast calls for rain, rain, rain,...but we have sun!

And who coined the expression 'You can't have your cake and eat it too'?

Of course you can have your cake and eat it too, and you shouldn't feel guilty about it. Like my husband always says, "If you can't enjoy life, then what's the point?"

It's not that I believe life should be just one BIG pleasure trip where you can do and eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Of course work or even hard work is part of that equation, but who says you can't enjoy work? Or even hard work?

If it's work you enjoy, you get to have your cake and eat it too!

So are you doing what you love? Are you enjoying your moments?

We don't know how many moments we get, so we might as well make the most of them.

Today, despite fretting about the classwork and grading that I have for my classes today, I felt the need to get outside in the fall air and see how much the leaves had changed color since last time I was out.

My husband and I headed out to Greenlake and did a 3-mile walk, our favorite. The leaves had in fact changed color quite a bit and they were stunning.



We started out with rain and ended with bright sun!

It was around 12pm when we started our walk and suddenly we were hungry. We stopped off at Mio Sushi right across from Greenlake and had a delicious bento box lunch. I had the miso salmon and California roll combo. It was delicious.



Next to Mio Suchi is a place called Cake Envy. They do wedding and other event cakes, but they also make cupcakes daily. I'd never tried it and I was curious, so we decided to split one cupcake and a mocha for our dessert. We had the gluten free dark chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting. I was surprised at how rich and moist the cupcake was for being gluten free!

So now it's about 3pm, and it's time to go to work. I teach ESL from 5:30-9:40pm. I like my job and love my students this quarter. I feel lucky that I get to enjoy my day and enjoy my students and classes!



Do you believe you can have your cake and eat it too? Do you take time to enjoy your life?


Monday, October 7, 2013

365 Inspirations—280: Volunteers

"Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need."—Gillian Anderson

I now have two volunteers in my Monday class of close to 30 students from over 15 countries. I'm an ESL teacher at a local community college. Volunteers make such a difference in my large classes. It's hard to get to every single student and answer their individual questions and they often need individual help.

Today I am inspired by and grateful for all the people who have volunteered in my classes and helped my students. I'm actually grateful for anyone who volunteers for anything.

With busy schedules, work, life, family and other things that take up our time, it is not easy to volunteer for anything, but when you do, it makes such a difference.


Have you ever volunteered for anything? What was it?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

365 Inspirations—279: Beautiful Fall Day in Seattle

Pictures speak louder than words today. It was hard to get anything done with weather like this! Here are some pictures from the weekend in Seattle:

Fall leaves on our drive to the park where we walked

Kayakers at Discovery Park, Seattle





Feeling the sun and Fall on our walk

Okay, it wasn't all fun and games, but I will say that I spent the majority of time outside and did very little to get ready for the teaching week. This means I'll have ALOT to do tomorrow. I did do a few things besides enjoy the weather. I washed my car! It was a perfect day for car washing. Sunny and in the 70s in October! Now it's raining outside at almost midnight. The weather changes quick in these parts.



Did you enjoy your weekend? How was the weather where you live?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

365 Inspirations—278: Yoga Retreat in Sedona in October

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion."—Albert Camus

We are headed to the red rocks of Sedona again for a second annual yoga retreat.

My husband offered the retreat and there are some takers, so we are headed back! We still have a few spots left and are offering a discount, so if you'd really like to hike among some of the world's best known vortexes or practice yoga in a serene environment with wonderful people, contact info@yoonsyogabliss.com right away, and he'll hook you up with a wonderful fall retreat. We are going from Oct. 24-28.

The weather was perfect there last year and the hiking was superb. We usually take one day to visit the Grand Canyon and sights near there.

Our days will consist of:
  • Wonderful, organic meals
  • Hiking to well-known vortex points (Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, etc.)
  • Daily yoga classes
  • A picnic lunch trip to the Grand Canyon 
  • A possible ceremony with a shaman atop the red rocks
  • Time to contemplate, meditate and soak in the surroundings
  • Time to wander around the sleepy town and shop

My birthday is on October 28th and I'm looking forward to waking up in Sedona, AZ once again. Please let your yogi friends know of our retreat or come along yourself. It will be a memorable one!

Have you been to any amazing places on retreat?


Friday, October 4, 2013

365 Inspirations—277: Gravity, The Movie

"Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled with the glory of a universe of lights, I saw majesty—but no welcome." —Loren Acton 

The Seattle Times gave Gravity 4 stars and even put it on the front page of the paper today. The review said to see it on the biggest screen possible and preferably in 3-D. They called it a 'beautiful, deeply moving' movie.

My husband and I love to go to the movies, so that was our plan after his yoga class. We headed to our favorite movie theater that happens to have our favorite sushi restaurant in the same complex. After cooking at home for a week straight, I was ready for a meal out and a movie.

The sushi restaurant, Tengu Sushi at Thorton Place near Northgate Mall, gives discounted movie tickets if you eat in their restaurant. Eating there saved us almost $5 on our 3-D tickets. My husband also has a Regal Cinema card and often gets free tickets and popcorn for points he's acquired.

Not many people at the theater on a beautiful sunny day in Seattle at 12:40pm on a Friday and that was just fine by us. We planned to go for a three-mile walk around Greenlake after the movie anyway. We also knew that the theater would be packed on a Friday or Saturday evening and we wanted to avoid the crowds.

So now for my review:

The entire movie takes place in space where three astronaunts are working on a space shuttle. It's business as usual up in space and they even joke around with Mission Control in Houston. They listen to country music, do space walks, crack jokes, until they are informed that they are about to be hit with debris that is coming straight for them.

Unprepared, one of men dies on the spot. Ed Harris, played by George Clooney, tries to tether himself to Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, but is unsuccessful the first time.

Ryan spins and twirls in desperation as she realizes she is untethered and floating in space with a limited supply of oxygen. In 3-D and with the interesting use of speakers and sound, we feel we are Dr. Ryan and we are also floating in space and feeling her every emotion and mood.

We later learn that there's a deeper reason why she is out there in space. A very sad event in her life is revealed and she struggles with it as she is faced with losing her life.

This is not a loud action film. This is a very silent, quiet, beautiful film and it is really about the main character, Dr. Ryan who is struggling with staying alive and with loneliness out in space. We can feel it and we sense what it must be like to be stripped of everything life-giving—where we are to face only ourselves and our impending mortality.

I didn't find this movie depressing or somber, I found it awe-inspiring. Ryan teeters at the edge of life and death and that edge out in space is so beautiful. It is the space between heaven and earth or this world and another.

I won't tell you how the movie ends...but I enjoyed this movie and the fact that I very much felt like I was there living every moment the characters on the screen were living. This is definitely a new way of seeing things on screen and the director and screenplay writer, Alfonso Cuaron, did a wonderful job.

I give this movie four stars and recommend it!

Have you seen any good movies lately?




Thursday, October 3, 2013

365 Inspirations—276: Seeing the Signs

I live a few streets from a very busy thoroughfare. This major avenue has everything you could possibly need or not need. There are cars new and used, restaurants, hardware stores, banks, tiny little pop-up medical marijuana shops (it's legal now in Washington State), casinos, pharmacies, lumber yards, discount stores—there's even a huge graveyard near the hospital, just in case.

There are signs EVERYWHERE. Big and small, fat and tall, neon and non-neon, standard and over the top. Close to my house is a neon sign—probably from the 50s—that is in the shape of a giant toilet plunger.

I used to find this street overbearing and would take side streets, but I've started seeing other signs. Signs that have meaning and are thought provoking. Signs that make you stop and say, "Hmmmmm."

On the way to Greenlake, I saw a sign that read,

"Weird is a side effect of awesome." 

It was at a paint shop. A car dealer had a sign that read,

"Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude." 

Well, that was certainly food for thought as I made my way home from work along this busy street. Instead of tuning out my surroundings, I'm seeing the signs and they actually bring a whole different experience to my drive to and from work.

Do you pay attention to signs along your commute or are you only concerned with getting to and from a place?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

365 Inspirations—275: Nothing is Happening

"Eternal nothingness is fine if you happen to be dressed for it."—Woody Allen

 I just said to my husband, at 10:47pm tonight, after teaching four hours of classes straight, "What's the inspiration today?" And I waited for something and he said,

"Nothing is happening."

"Oh, great, so I'm to do a blog post on the fact that nothing is happening. Is that an inspiration?"

"It implies that there are lots of possibilities," he said and then wandered off to the sofa.

Perhaps all of our lives exist in that nothingness. But we want something, right?

We want a burst of inspiration, a quiet hour of meditation, a vacation, a creation or maybe a new occupation.

Tonight, I just want to sink into the bathtub with a book. Nothing is happening and I'm so incredibly grateful for that. I am grateful for this shelter, for my husband on the sofa, for the Hawaiian music he plays every night before he falls asleep, for our conversations, for finishing my job tonight and for not having to do anything else because 'nothing is happening,' which means there are so many possibilities....

A bath, a book and sleep are the possibilities I'm looking at right now...good night all!

How do you feel when 'nothing is happening?'


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

365 Inspirations—274: Writers and Readers

Photo of my cousin reading my book!
"One must be an inventor to read well. There is then creative reading as well as creative writing."—Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you've written anything in your life, you are a writer. If you've read anything in your life, you are a reader.

You may not like to call yourself a writer or a reader and that's just fine.

I think it all depends on how you want to be identified. You can call yourself whatever you want to call yourself. Just because you work in an office doesn't mean you have to call yourself an office worker. If you don't have a job, you don't have to call yourself unemployed.

You decide.

I'm teaching a small business ownership class to ESL students this quarter. When I volunteered to teach the class, I questioned how much I actually knew about the subject. Turns out I know a lot more about business ownership than I thought I did. My husband owns a small business and I guess I sort of own my own business too—I write on this blog and I'm the author of a book.

I identify myself as an author/blogger and I appreciate and am inspired by all writers big and small. The same goes for readers.

I try and tell my students at the college that they can be whatever they want to be and open up any kind of business they want to open up, BUT it should be something they are interested in.

This blog here is a creation of mine I started in 2009 when I had absolutely no idea about how to start a blog, just like so many of my students aren't exactly sure how to start their own businesses. That's not so important at this point. The important thing is that they are taking steps in the direction of one day becoming business owners.

The steps I took in creating and nurturing this blog were such important steps for me and they changed the course of my life.

I appreciate you taking time to read this blog and to write thoughtful comments. You are both a reader and a writer just by doing that :).

I'm on blog post 274 today and it's a new month! It's October...happy October to you all.

I've been writing every single day here for 9 months! I can't promise every post will be life changing or earth-shattering. I'm writing about the small things that inspire me. I've written about everything from doorknobs and socks to the sun and the moon. You name it, it's probably here. In fact, I could use a few inspiring post ideas from you all and I'm open to guest posts on inspiration.

Today all the writers and readers out there are my inspirations. Without one, there wouldn't be the other, so my hat is off to you.

Do you consider yourself a reader or a writer? Neither or both?