Morgan & Rapinoe in SB

10.15.19 arlington day.jpg

Last night in Santa Barbara. UCSB Arts & Lectures event with World Cup Champions 🇺🇸⚽️ Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. 

At the close of the hour+ talk, a Q&A session began, and I was shocked when my twelve-year-old daughter stood up to ask a question. There wasn’t much time left, so unfortunately the majority of the young female soccer players, who lined up for the opportunity to use the microphone at the front of the stage to address these soccer stars, didn’t get to ask theirs. 

Luckily, my daughter was sitting in the seventh row, so she quickly got up there before the long line formed. When she stepped up to the 🎤, she projected her voice and asked: “How did you decide when to transfer to a club team rather than the recreational teams?” 

Her question sparked long replies from both Alex and Megan, about the benefit of staying on rec teams in multiple sports while you’re young, experiencing different coaches, environments and mental/physical challenges, and only deciding to choose one sport when/if you are ready to make that bigger commitment. 

Alex didn’t join a club team until she was 13, because her rec/city team was great and she played volleyball and other sports and didn’t want to give them up until she was ready to devote all her athletic time and energy to soccer. 

Megan agreed, saying the trend for girls as young as seven to join club teams is ruining the sport for some kids because they tend to burn out faster and don’t enjoy playing through high school, quitting early because they were overloaded with it too young. 

Honestly, my daughter’s question, out of the fifteen or so that were asked, sparked the longest answers from these intelligent and articulate women, and it seemed to provide the most useful and insightful information to the parents and young athletes in the audience during the Q&A. 

I am so proud of my daughter... she seized the opportunity to address two women whom she emulates, asked an intelligent question, and didn’t let any nerves (or knots in her stomach, as she said she had!) stop her. 

A great and memorable night. 💙

10.15.19 sb joce&molly.jpg
10.15.19 sb arlington night.jpg

#ucsbartsandlectures #morganrapinoeSB

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Pregnancy Glow

pregnancyglow.jpg

#tbt 🤰I was nearly full term pregnant with my son when I attended my 20 year high school reunion in 2010.

I contemplated not going in my condition; but since it was taking place so close to where I lived (maybe a 45 minute drive away, as well as just down the street from the hospital in which I planned to deliver), I decided to go and bask in my pregnancy glow. You definitely couldn’t miss me coming in that shiny satin blouse with my balloon stomach.

I remember I tripped and fell in the parking lot upon arrival, and a few very concerned classmates witnessed it outside the hotel. 🤦‍♀️ I was wearing chunky heels that weren’t very high, but I obviously was not used to walking in them that far along in my pregnancy.

I delivered the baby, five days late mind you, less than a month later. And now in two days time, that kid in my belly turns nine-years-old.👩‍👦

#twentyyearreunion #ninemonthspregnant

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Paradise Found

paradisefound.jpg

This was tonight’s sunset.

Upon putting my eight-year-old son to bed a few hours later, we said a prayer aloud to one another, as we do each night before we cuddle. His prayers are often tender and thoughtful; but tonight’s was especially so... “I pray that we have safe drives and safe lives for as long as we want to live. I pray that Belle has a happy life and a happy home.”

I can venture to guess that the “safe drives” sentiment is rooted in the knowledge that his grandmother (my mom) died in a car accident before he and his sister were born. I was struck by the dichotomy in that one sentence, as he said for as long as we *want* to live, like it is fully up to us, despite the tragic randomness of my mom’s accident. As for Belle... she is our new gray and white gorgeous cat whom we rescued two weeks ago, and who has completely captured his heart. His profundity in moments such as these astonishes me in equal measure to the beauty of these sunsets we are fortunate to witness so many evenings.

I read today in an Instagram post by Glennon Doyle about Johnny Cash’s description of paradise being having coffee in the morning with his wife. She then described her own version of paradise in this messy world of ours. Reading her words made me reflect about what my description of paradise would be. Today, I’d describe it as being fully present in my own mind, body and soul, sharing this quiet moment with my son, appreciating the beauty in front of me, and feeling grateful for and accepting of where I am and who I am, just as I am.

This place is perceived as paradise by many, for many reasons, one being views such as this. In this respect, I concur; but I too believe that we can be in paradise no matter our surroundings, if we are able to recognize and appreciate the gifts in our lives, and live them with love and gratitude in our hearts. Thank you Glennon Doyle for the inspiration today, and thanks to my almost nine-year-old beautiful boy for his depth, sensitivity, and love... and just simply for existing.

#paradisefound

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Waves of Flags

I take photos of the flags flapping in the wind every year we visit. They are the same yet different. The sea of American flags are always dotted with flags of other nations, but spaced out differently and seemingly in new spots each year.

My son runs up and down the grassy hills, a little more exuberantly than I would wish, as I stroll slowly and silently behind. I recognize the futility of trying to wrangle in life amidst this reminder of death. He is energetic and celebrates his aliveness unapologetically, while I take in the scene with reverence and quiet reflection... snapping shots here and there, trying to capture the beauty of these views that can never be fully felt or translated into a two dimensional image.

In person, the flags possess their own kinetic energy, as if the souls they represent are gloriously flying free in the sea breezes and enjoying the beautiful ocean views. 🙏🏼🇺🇸

#neverforget #pepperdine911memorial #wavesofflags

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Been bringing him here since he was about to turn one. He’ll be nine in ten days. I think the only year we missed was when he was due to be born on Sept. 16th of 2010 and I was too pregnant to walk these hills. He was born 5 days late.

Been bringing him here since he was about to turn one. He’ll be nine in ten days. I think the only year we missed was when he was due to be born on Sept. 16th of 2010 and I was too pregnant to walk these hills. He was born 5 days late.

My daughter taking a moment to herself at the Pepperdine 9/11 Memorial today. She is almost thirteen now, and as she matures, the gravity of this event has become more potent each year. 🇺🇸

My daughter taking a moment to herself at the Pepperdine 9/11 Memorial today. She is almost thirteen now, and as she matures, the gravity of this event has become more potent each year. 🇺🇸

As the Sun Sets on an Era

asthesunsetsonanera.jpg

As a creative nonfiction writer, it is in my innate nature to share the human condition as I see and experience it; and I rarely have any reservations about laying bare what I am feeling, or the thoughts that fill my head at any given time.

I am in Vegas right now, for reasons different than most of you would assume. Yet I am not sharing the why of it all here because it is a deeply personal experience; and I am not ready or willing to make those reading this privy to the details just now.

This is new for me, and has been the way I’ve been feeling for the last several months. It won’t last forever. I still write and will get back to sharing what I write soon. But for now, the sun is shining outside and the lights illuminated inside are just as bright.

As the sun sets on an era, it rises to a brand new one. Life is beautiful and hard and tragic and inspiring. It always has been. It’s just up to each of us to interpret our lives in the way that empowers us to move forward and get on with the living of it... while still finding gratitude for all that it gives, and maybe more importantly, all that it takes away.

#lasvegas

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

The Love is It

theloveisit.jpg

UCLA Junior Elite Softball Camp. Her 2nd consecutive year attending this 3 day/2 night sleepover camp at the UCLA campus. The UCLA Bruins softball team just won the 2019 NCAA Championship a couple months ago. She will be coached by alumni players and the championship head coach. Girls from all over travel from out of state to attend this camp... we drove an hour. I feel fortunate for opportunities like this one that we are able to give her, and I am grateful to have a child who is open to seizing them.

Yet it is far from perfect. She was nervous, had butterflies in her stomach, and gave us a healthy serving of tween attitude on the way to drop her off this morning. Her little brother had a major meltdown on the car ride over, with fists swinging. Disastrous. Raised voices. Heightened tempers. Flowing tears. I swear, the challenges of parenting never seem to end. As they have gotten older, the toddler/little kid issues have died off just to be replaced by bigger kid/tween challenges. It is hard, and it is scary, and it is SO much work. It can render you feeling exhausted and defeated, and it can make you seriously question your life choices. You can feel like the worst parent in the world and wonder if it will ever get better or easier.

But whenever I feel frustration, fear, scarcity and pessimism take hold... when I start to feel overwhelmed by all the decisions I have to make, or unsure about all the ones I have already made... when I can’t see the hope ⚓️ amidst the hardships... I just look at their faces and tune into the love in my heart. I give a kiss and a hug and a smile and focus on the joy that exists and the gratitude I have for my life. For the love. THE LOVE IS IT. All of it. The experience of loving, of feeling connected to these humans, of living in the present moment, and finding in their eyes the part of me that lives in them. This life we lead is blessed with infinite opportunities for grace, generosity, growth, and gratitude. Honing in and connecting with these benevolent qualities is a daily goal, while also starving the malevolent ones of energy and their power over my life. But it all takes practice... just like softball. 🥎

#uclasoftballcamp

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook


One on One Time

1on1time.jpg

Blanket, umbrella, snacks, puzzle game book, me and my little one. He bolted away to fetch his water bottle and my hat from the car; and as he ran back toward me at full speed, joyful and free, I felt grateful for him... gratitude that often eludes me when both of my kids are together. Sibling rivalry is no joke, so spending one-on-one time with each reignites the joy of motherhood in me.

#oneononetime

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Crunchy Mart

crunchymart1.jpg

June in the ‘Bu... cold and overcast.

Still we had a fun day today staying local, checking out summer reading books 📚 at the Malibu Library, stopping for açaí bowls at Sunlife Organics, and playing at Malibu Country Mart.

Haven’t played here for ages; although we used to come all the time when the kids were babies and toddlers.

See photos below of my oldest in 2008 at one year old on the same play structure, and my youngest in 2014 at three years old ready for movie night at the “crunchy mart” as he used to call it.

crunchymart2.jpg
crunchymart3.jpg

Fun to see them today play on the same structure at ages 12 and 8.5!

#summertime #malibucountrymart #malibulocals

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

This is 47

47bday.jpg

In bed reading last night in the last few hours of being age 46.

In the year while 46, I had to help save a family business from financial ruin, preserve my father’s professional legacy, and prepare him to retire after 60 years of performing on stage... evacuate from the worst fire on record in my Malibu community, live in a black and burned disaster area for months with mudslides and power outages, all the while nursing a child back to health with multiple fractures in her jaw and rehabilitating my own body from the worst physical injury I have ever suffered... say goodbye to my favorite aunt who passed away at age 62, write and deliver her eulogy, and bury her alongside my mom... and through all of it, find my strength, not give up hope, persevere, and just feel it all (and cry a lot).

In the same year, I also smiled thousands of times, laughed with my sisters and husband and children and loved ones, enjoyed wonderfully meaningful talks with siblings and friends, took my kids to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time, read profound, life changing books and learned more about the world and myself, wrote and wrote and wrote about what was in my heart and soul, was educated and gained newfound wisdom on a wide facet of topics regarding humanity, mental health, spirituality, mortality and overcoming adversity, saw Hamilton on stage two times, kissed and hugged and cuddled and said “I love you” to the ones I love as much as I could manage, and was inspired by the innate goodness of people and our shared intrinsic desire to bring joy and hope and love to other humans.

Today is my 47th birthday. This year in which I will gracefully age into 47 will also be one filled with challenges, most that will look and feel different than those of last year. Yet I am determined to also make it a year in which I let go of any fears that could paralyze me, embrace the unknown, learn and grow more, lean into vulnerability (more than I already do), love myself and others more deeply and authentically than ever before, and trust in what I know on the deepest level possible.

#thisis47 #youknow #trustyourintuition

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Love Is the Answer to Every Question

loveisanswertoeveryquestion.jpg


I shared this image and message over three years ago, but I think it bears repeating...

Love is everything. It is all there is and all that truly matters. At times humans are hard to love, but mostly they are so easy.

I love some for their heart and others for their humor. I love some for their convictions and still others for their beauty, inside and out. I love the mind, body and soul of one 💗, and the pure nature and generosity of spirit of another. 💞

The most amazing thing about love is that it is boundless. It knows no limits. It is not restricted to the people you're supposed to love, expected to love, or allowed to love, by other people’s standards and rules. You are free to love anyone, at any time, to any degree, and for any reason. Love has the power to heal, uplift, inspire and transform. Love is the answer to every question. 💖


#love #loveistheanswer #malibufarm

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Don't Be Afraid to Go There

5:8:19 post.jpg
5:8:19 post (2).jpg

Life will take you places and show you things you never planned or expected. It will put you in the paths of others you didn’t choose or imagine. It will amaze, astonish, hurt and disappoint you. It does this, not to make you dread or tire of living it, but to implore you to rise above the challenges, find the joy that is to be had, and make the good parts count.

No one is guaranteed an easy, problem-free life, nor sustained happiness, even if it looks that way for some from your individual perspective. It’s just not realistic, and most circumstances are not what they seem from the outside anyway. A life that invites us to evolve, learn, grow, improve, and enhance our relationships with ourselves and others is possible for all of us, yet only a reality for those who accept the invitation.

Meditating and practicing yoga can only do so much. A positive attitude can only get you so far. Educating yourself on philosophies to live by is just knowledge if you don’t integrate what you’ve learned into your core being and live it every day.

For many, there are issues that require a different level of attention and care. Don’t be afraid to go there. To ask for help. To see yourself and show yourself. To explore your hurts and feel your wounds so you can begin to heal them. To admit you may not know how to move forward in the most healthy and beneficial way. To accept you can’t handle everything yourself. To acknowledge that you will only heal, grow, and cultivate resilience if you first approach what needs to be addressed.

It takes bravery to be vulnerable, not to be closed off or in denial of pain. Denial is useless, and does nothing but perpetuate a problem and impede healing and growth. See a theme here? 💪❤️🙏

#stopthestigma #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawarenessmonth

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Yes Pause Button

4-22-19 pch.jpg

Sitting on the side of the road in my car. PCH. Appreciating Mother Earth and so many of her gifts on this Earth Day 2019. The air, the sea, the land, the sunset. The quiet stillness. The majestic beauty. 🌎💙

Needed to take a break from life and its realities. Pushed that imaginary pause button... you know, the one I said in my post last week didn’t exist while I was on vacation, after I got the news my aunt died. Well, I manifested it into reality tonight. Yep. That’s the great thing about free will... we can do what we want, when we want, as we see fit. For our sanity. For our self care. For no other reason than we need a f-ing break. If we can’t see a better way to process a difficult moment.

I needed to pause. All of it... Mothering, wife-ing, woman-ing, adulting. I took time for myself; frankly, to sob. To let it flow out of me, TWICE today. Earlier this afternoon and right before taking this photo. Afterward, I was able to breathe and reflect. To be still. Stillness is salvation. Then, I could begin writing this.

When things suck, they can suck BAD and sometimes there is nothing we can do about it. Nothing but breathe. Nothing but accept the sh*tty turn of events or reality with which we are faced. Nothing but recognize that it will pass, eventually, and there is always a way through. Somehow. Some way.

Yes, pausing works... in the short term. You can cry. You can meditate and clear your mind. It is peaceful, therapeutic even. A release. A welcome escape. But then you have to process. To face and it, IN your life.

I most often write to find my way through. To process the hard. To understand the pain, to nurture the heartbreak, to empower the inner strength hiding below the vulnerability and fear, to give voice to the feelings deep in my heart that otherwise would stay silent.

I write, and it all comes alive. I write, and it all feels surmountable, somehow. I write, and my heart is able to feel and say what I cannot communicate otherwise. For me, writing my words gives breath to them... to my hurt, love, fear, sadness, joy, passion, anger and disappointment. I feel and work through it. I don’t numb, avoid or deny. I write. And THAT is everything.

#yespausebutton

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

No Pause Button

4-17-19+chicagoskyline.jpg

We grow. Birthdays are celebrated, or missed.

We love. Anniversaries tally up (today’s my 14th wedding anni.), or cease.

We live. Spring break trips bring joy and make memories (as they have for us over these last ten days).

Yet amidst all the simple pleasures, life milestones, and fun adventures, heartbreak can still live inside us, and tragedies can still happen.

My aunt was admitted into the ICU on March 7th... my mom’s only sister, a stand-in grandmother to my kids, and the woman who made my annual birthday getaways to Newport Beach more memorable.

The month of March was hard. She was very sick, and none of it should have been happening. Family banded together. Friends offered support. People cried, others prayed. Life’s tough challenges reminded me (again) of who and what was important to me.

In the midst of hardship, life continues on and we continue along with it as best we can. Despite a desire to stop time and integrate my feelings on what was happening, before moving forward and facing it, life was moving on relentlessly, with no pause button. So we do our best to make the best of it. We keep the plans we’ve made and make more plans for the future.

While I’ve been out of state on vacation for my kids’ spring break this past week and a half, my dear aunt passed peacefully away back home in California last Saturday, April 13th. She was only 62.

It’s devastating and sad. We loved her. She was the last link to my mom. She loved us. My kids will miss her, as will I.

I have so much to say to her and about her. I have so much to feel about what happened.

But for now, this has to be it. I’m still out of town and my kids are waiting for me to rejoin our vacation adventures right now. When I return home, this all will still be waiting for me. The grieving. The service preparations. The time and space to reflect. The writing about her. The laying her to rest. The peace. Life continuing. Life moving on.

#nopausebutton #wegrowwelovewelive #movingforward #lifemovesprettyfastifyoudontstopandlookaroundonceinawhileyoucouldmissit #ferrisbueller #artinstituteofchicago #chicagomuseums

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Soul of an Artist

2-13-19 malibucityhall.jpg

My eight-year-old is an artist. His drawing is currently on display at the City of Malibu Student Art Exhibit; so we attended the Artist Reception last Friday night.

Yes, he loves to draw and he’s good at it, but the simple drawing he quickly made at school and submitted to the show is not why I call him an artist.

He is an artist because he has the soul of an artist.

I resist saying, “he takes after me,” as it is not for me to take credit for his passion and talent. It is his and his alone. I am merely a fellow artist, a kindred spirit. Yet he is wild and untamed in his artistic expression, and I am less so. The “wild and untamed” in me remains dormant for the most part, set free only when I feel really passionate about something, or someone, and only when I feel safe.

But that doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t think you’re supposed to wait to feel safe first to share yourself or your unbridled passion. You need to just do it, show your wild side, be yourself, and own it, right? Well my son does just that. He doesn’t wait for anything... not permission, nor an appropriate time or place. He lets loose whenever and wherever; and as such, his behavior is often a bit disruptive, I’m afraid.

Before I took this photo of his dad holding him to look at the art, he was (as usual) his most expressive self, acting to get a laugh from anyone watching. Crawling around and behaving goofy, with his loud voice echoing through the high ceilings of Malibu City Hall, amidst people quietly browsing the art gallery, he was a performance artist without a captive audience. Wrong time and place, and as a parent, not cool with me. We had to wrangle him in b/c teaching him to reign himself in is still a work in progress. It is a DAILY challenge.😓

I am confident (read: hoping) more self control will set in as he gets older, and that he finds the perfect outlet to share his unique gifts. For now, he is unabashedly HIM, 24/7... over the top, flamboyant, lively and animated. Such unbridled energy, such freedom w/o reservation. Qualities many artists yearn to cultivate to aid in effectively expressing themselves.

Maybe I need take a cue from his playbook more often when sharing myself, and my art. 🎭

#soulofanartist #studentartexhibit

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Surreal Moments

2-5-19 monetsky.jpg

Some of the best parts of the human experience are the ones that defy explanation. Ones that seem a bit surreal as you are experiencing them. When you don’t have a logical explanation for the bliss or the beauty, and you don’t question or doubt anything in that moment and instead just FEEL it... 😌 those are the best moments in life.

Moments so pure, so grounded in raw sensory touch, powerfully ignited by soul connecting passion for life, or for another human... they make memories you can never shake (nor do you want to).✨

On a smaller scale, a glimpse of this surreal type feeling can be found when watching a spectacular sunset, especially when parts of the sky look like this. It didn’t even look real. It looked more like a Monet painting I have seen hanging in the Getty Museum.

Yes, I know Monet painted what he saw in actual, real skies; but he was an impressionist and his artistry lent a surreal tone to his work. Often we see these breathtaking images in museums more than in real life; so when we experience them in person, it’s pretty special.

All I had to do was take the highway, houses, and trees out of the line of sight within my camera’s viewfinder, and this real life painting appeared.

#monetsunset #paintedsky

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Love Oneself

2-4-19 loveoneself.jpg

It is harder to love oneself than it is to love others.

We can feel so much love for and have such a passion to give to those whom we love most; and still not give that same love to ourselves.

Perfectionist tendencies can make us feel ashamed of our flaws, and even lead us to shame others who don’t meet our lofty expectations. This is my hardest and most challenging work.

From a young age, the expectations I put on myself and others were always extremely high. So high that they often created an unrealistic vision for what I thought life “should” look like, and how people “should” behave.

Idealistic expectations are impossible for anyone to consistently reach, as nobody is actually perfect. We all have our own internal weaknesses and suffer from external circumstances beyond our control. Yet, being faced with anything short of what I had originally envisioned often left me in a state of presumed defeat, and with the feeling that others had failed me somehow. Or worse, that I myself just didn’t measure up.

Subconsciously, I felt that if I wasn’t being treated fairly, or if my accomplishments weren’t perceived as good enough, then that must mean I wasn’t deserving of love. This misconception is common among individuals, like me, who grew up feeling they needed to prove their worth in order to receive love. Owning this wounding, discovering my tendency toward shame, and consciously waking up to this destructive thought pattern, was integral in my awareness toward change.

Still, reprogramming negative behaviors and breaking habitual thinking has not happened overnight. It has been a long journey, one I am still on. To find peace in the “what is” of life - cultivating equanimity in the face of imperfection - is hard.

Acceptance of who I am, where I am at, and what I have done, has graced me in stages, and is something I can cultivate most days; but it is still not my resting state of existence. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist, but like a recovering anything, I’ve not eradicated it for good.

I strive to embrace the dark corners of myself as much as the bright and shiny parts, for this is the only way to truly love.

#loveoneself

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Move Forward

2-1-19 zuma.jpg

Everything is coming together. All in due time. Be patient. Be Aware. CREATE. Move forward. Love others. Love yourself. GIVE. Accept what is. Improve what you can. Believe in what’s possible. GROW. Take action. Find strength. Trust in you.

⚓️ HOPE.
➕ Stay Positive.
💪 Persevere.

Be integral in making your hopes a reality. IMAGINE. See it. Be Open. It’s all just around the corner. SEIZE IT.


#moveforward #fridayinspiration #newmonth #Feb1

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Don't Do It to Look Hot

11-5-18 zumarun.jpg

Don’t do it to look hot. Don’t do it to get other people’s admiration, envy, or approval. Don’t do it so those you think are hot will find you hot too. 🔥

Do it to take care of yourself, be strong, move free, feel good, and live long. If “looking hot” is a residual effect, and admirers let you know it, don’t let that define you or your self worth.

Physical “hotness” is fleeting; but the intangible force that attracts others to us and us to them on deeper levels will outlast any surface attraction. Depth of character, kindness, respect, and vulnerability are at the core of the connections we make with those who are meant to be in our lives with longevity.

Deep connections will survive casual flirtations and fleeting infatuations every time; so be sure to put equal energy into the fitness of your mind, heart, and soul as you do your body. Redefine your hotness from the inside out.

#dayfive #dontdoittolookhot

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook

Focus Through It

11-4-18 leocarrillo.jpg

When you are challenged to the breaking point and are weary of the climb, remember it’s not going to get easier when you decide to try again... in an hour, a day, week, month, or year.

The only way through any kind of discomfort is *through* it... not around it or away from it.

When you know what you need to do to get where you want, but aren’t sure you have what it takes to get there, focus on how you want to feel when you reach the top. Focus on what you are working to overcome, what from which you want to heal, and what existence you want to live as you move forward toward your goal.

Focus on how the strength you will gain on the journey will fuel your desire to persevere, and how every step you take brings you closer to where you want to be.

#dayfour #focusthroughit

*Originally posted on Instagram and Facebook