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Friday, June 27, 2014

Blogger Burn Out


Don't lose your passion





Every few weeks I hit a day where I feel like I am so. not. creative. Typically these days involve me feeling pretty down and trying to find something, anything to inspire me. The reality is, some days are harder than others and always putting together something fresh, new, and creative can be pretty exhausting. Sometimes when I check out other blogs, I am blown away by their posts. The DIY's, the completely open-hearted stories, tutorials, fashion posts, link-ups, all of it.

Today, I sat at the computer, staring at my screen, hoping for an idea to pop into my mind. 30 minutes passes anddd nothing, until I realized this nothing was actually something. I could share how tough this week has been, and find things that typically inspire me in the hopes that they help other bloggers who sometimes face this problem.

Here's two lists of new blog post ideas, ALL of them are great!

http://fatmumslim.com.au/sweet-ideas-50-things-to-blog-about/ 

http://kaysbestintentions.blogspot.com/2014/04/36-of-best-blog-post-ideas-ever.html
It's not so much a "challenge" as it is something to inspire you to be present. Don't let the word "challenge" scare you and prevent you from participating. There's no reward, no punishment -- just an opportunity to be more present.

Also, a great way to stay inspired is beginning a July Photo Challenge of what you are grateful for, and then sharing the photos and stories.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday! xoxo




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Some Never Awaken





Today is one of those days I felt like I need writing more than writing needs me. It’s been one of those mornings where my thoughts keep rambling… (Warning: this blog post may make no sense and contain way too many incomplete sentences.)

Since I’ve been home from vacation, a little fear keeps knocking at the door of my mind. The fear of settling and not even realizing that that’s what I’ve begun to do.

Anais Nin has a quote, “You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”

Some never awaken. Is that not terrifying?

 I like to think “hibernating” has a face. It’s the people we see that look so far away. A kind of sadness always hidden in their eyes. Sometimes we even see this look in ourselves. I’m really not scared of this look. I’m okay with having days that I feel like nothing is going right and I need to change something. What I am not okay with, is waking up and seeing this look in my reflection, and then shrugging my shoulders and saying, “Oh well.” And continuing on with a lack luster life.

On one of my flights home, my neighbor kept talking to me about my life. She asked where I worked, lived, if I was close with families/friends, etc. I asked her the same and she said, “I don’t really have much family or friends, and I don’t like my job or my city right now.” And she just sat there and made a face like this was normal to be completely unsatisfied with your life, and to settle. There are 195 countries, 7 billion people, endless job occupations, boundless opportunities. To settle would be the most absurd thing to do. You can change anything that isn’t working in your life, and there would be countless ways to do it.

What I am telling myself today, is that if I am even aware of this fear of settling, it could never actually win. Every day I actively challenge this fear, I face it, by being a little adventurous and a little too curious about life. Why do I fear something that I am surely bigger than?

I want to live a life full of love, wonder, and discoveries. I want to fully live out the things I have planned for myself and stumble upon things I didn’t plan for. My realization is this: there are so many beautiful options, directions, places, people in our world to waste our lives being miserable and consumed with a place or person where we may feel “stuck” is not only settling, it’s illogical.

My wish this Wednesday, to really live. My wish is to let my faith for a beautiful life be larger than my fear of a settled one.
Wishing everyone a wonderful day xoxo

Link up with Anne today at Love the Here and Now and share what you are wishing for.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Unconditonally Grateful


When I am able to travel, write, go to dinner with friends and family, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for beaches, shopping, crafting, yoga, but when I list those things, I think, “Those are things most people would be grateful for. But what about the things no one really thinks about?”

 Today I’m grateful for the things I never even think about, but I definitely appreciate. Like the lines that separate parking spots. Imagine if those didn’t exist? And people parked sideways and left too big of spaces, or too little of spaces, or no space at all. I’m thankful for sunblock, and whoever invited air conditioning in cars as it is 106  degrees here in Las Vegas. I’m grateful for trashcans, because how awful would it be if there was nowhere to through anything out? I’m grateful for the people that bag groceries at the store (whenever I use self-checkout I am reminded how much I would suck at this job AND that I always manage to squish the bread I just bought). I am grateful for big fluffy blankets and pillows. I’m thankful for AAA, and how quickly they rescue me each time I lock myself out of my car. I am grateful for chairs, for battery warnings on phones, for the little paper that covers straws, for clocks that let you know its 11:11 aka time to make a wish. I’m grateful for caller id, for movie soundtracks, and for every single one of you who makes this blog what it is.

Happy Monday everyone! xoxox

Friday, June 20, 2014

"American Apparel. Literally."


I have blogged about my sister a lot, because she is my favorite person in the whole world and a role model of strength and perseverance.

On Monday we had a sister day date and it was SO fun. We are the giggliest, happiest sisters when we get an afternoon to do absolutely nothing but hang out. We make friends with store clerks, we try on clothes that don't make sense, and we eat ridiculous amounts of food.


The day started with us driving across town to Tivoli Village to enjoy a coffee at Leone Café. It is the cutest Italian coffee place. Since it was already in the high 90s, Lizzie and I chugged our ice coffees and decided to go shop a bit. We ended up at Paper Source (I want to be best friends with whoever invented this store) and picked out quotes we like, admiring patterns on paper, and colors displayed throughout.

The Market, shopping at Tivoli Village
Leone Cafe




After doing this we went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. This photo really doesn't do the food justice, and I ate mostly everything before I remembered to take a picture. Seriously, I give major props to food photographers. All my photos would have bites taken out of them from my lack of self control.


Luau Salad at Cheesecake Factory
Then we went to American Apparel, where we saw tons of American flag clothing. So I kept saying, "American Apparel. Literally." and Lizzie and I would laugh and try the things on. Like these shorts and top, that I can't make sense of. We also tried on some crazy polyester blend clothing. The type of stuff you can only pull of if you have no body fat and no regard to what you may be exposing to other people.


We drove home listening to The Weepies and Birdy. Both of us singing at the top of our lungs. I said, "I want to find that one song that I love and play it!"
"Oh, All I Wany by Kodaline?" Liz answered.
"How did you know?"
 Liz shrugged.
Because she is my sweet sister, my forever friend.

Happy Friday everyone.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Happy



A little while ago, I wrote about my intention for my Bali trip. My intent was to pursue happiness. To find it, immerse myself in it, and share it with all of you.

I found that happiness is everywhere. I like to believe I always knew that in the depths of my heart, but Bali uncovered it for me. There is happiness hiding in places that we sometimes don't take the time to look in. In Bali, I saw it in dirty, crowded, market places. I saw it running with the children that played in then streets. I saw happiness dance across the faces of the women who do repetitive, menial labor. It's truly breathtaking to see it. It made me believe that there is even some happiness in sadness. Maybe an appreciation for happiness in sadness, just like how warm the sun feels when you've been in the cold for too long. We get to choose to be happy, regardless of our situations.

Happiness is a mission, a state of mind, a dedicated practice. Happiness is tied to gratitude, love, and faith. That is what Bali taught me. There were people I met that represented each part of happiness, but most of them embodied every aspect.

The thing about Bali that I never thought about, was that no one would really speak English. So my original plan of having these deep, intellectual conversation with the locals there was quickly dissolved when I asked someone if they were happy, and they just put there hands on my cheeks and said "need taxi?" This was at first a let down, and then a huge blessing. Because instead of them telling me with sweet, neatly chosen words what happiness is, they all displayed it.

So back to the parts of happiness: gratitude, love, and faith.



This is gratitude. She had the biggest, brightest smile the entire time my tour group saw her. She sat on the floor weaving a scarf. The women will does this for a work day, 9 hours. It's repitive, it's sitting on the floor and outside. (Did I mention it is super hot and humid there?!) But she was just happy. To have us around here, to be admired, to have a job. Her smile is one I will forever remember.


This is love. This mother stared at her new baby girl so dearly. When I took the picture she asked, "May I see it? I have not seen a picture of my baby." When I showed her, happiness beamed from her, "She's so beautiful!" This is love, essential to happiness.


This is faith. These school boys kept their uniforms so clean. They waved the biggest hellos. And I mean this picture... after I snapped it, I got so emotional. You have to have faith. That despite where you live, whether or not you will receive an education, whether or not you will grow up in a village of poverty, every day is a new chance. Every blind step forward is done in faith. Every night that these boys scrubbed their clothes in the hopes of looking neat for school, they were deciding to have faith in the tomorrows, and most importantly, themselves.

On the flight home, I listened to Florence and the Machines. Dog Days came on my shuffle. "Happiness hit her, like a train on a track..." How fitting are those lyrics? It is so true. One you find your own happiness, it's not a slow embrace, it's a wave of emotions, a swelling of your heart.

My Wednesday wish is for safety and blessings to be poured upon those sweet people of Bali. My wish is that they continue to be happy and that even though they never knew what I was saying, they knew what I felt.

xoxo


Monday, June 16, 2014

Ella Grace

I adore my job, watching kids grow and change, watching them stumble upon all of life' s beautiful little treasures; being a nanny is so rewarding. Besides writing, working with children is a huge passion of mine.

Two of my favorite kiddos to work with are Ella and Myles. Ella is the funniest, most inquisitive. most caring little 6 year old girl I know. She constantly makes me laugh and has me questioning the same curiosities she has.


Me, Ella, and Myles
Last night, Ella talked to me about makeup, boys, school, laws, bedtimes, everything. The girl has a question for every topic. Some people would have their patience run thin and want to hide out in the spare bedroom, (guarantee she would still ask questions through the door), but I let her thoughts run wild and I love being able to hear what she has to say. Mainly because, it is SO funny. Here is a recap of what Ella said as I watched her last night.

As Ella and I play school: "Katie, I know what color your bra is, well I kind of do, I can't really see the pattern on it... when can I wear a bra? I'm going to get a big, green one."

Ella while we play office: "So now we are like twin sisters, but I am running so late this morning, I just have my bra on at the office. But don't worry, I put my pants on. And I grabbed a coffee."

Ella while we play office (part 2): "Hey Katie, what would happen if I were pregnant, but I was 87 years old?"
Me: "Oh, Ella, I don't know if that would work, you may be too old to have a baby."
Ella: "I like, just had the baby. Her name is Katie."
*at this point I am laughing to the point of tears*
Ella: So, do I get like, a year off of work? Or should I bring my baby to daycare? Will it be free?
Me: "Yeah, we get free daycare through the office job. And you'll probably have lots of money anyways because you'll get famous for being on a show called '87 and Pregnant.'"
*this doesn't catch Ella's attention*
Ella; "Yeah, cause my husband is in jail..."

Getting ready for bed:
Ella: "I really hope you get tired and fall asleep here so I can wake up and see you in the morning."
*the cutest thing everrr*
Ella: "Can I brush you hair?...and I have some clips....and some spray...my mom never lets me do this to her hair.."
*picture for evidence of why her mom probably doesn't let her does this*

In bed:
Ella: "Can we read a book?"
I begin to read. Ella and her brother, Myles, start to fight.
Ella: "Katie, he's trying to fight me! He wants to fight right now."
*Ella is sneakily using her feet to kick her brother under the covers*
Ella: "Myles, I am being very good and want to hear the story that Miss Katie is reading, if you don't listen you are going to be in big trouble" she scoots up right to Myles's face, "You could go to jail."
Me: "Ella, that's not necessary. So (trying to switch topics) what are you two going to dream about tonight?"

When I started watching these kids a year ago, every time they told me what they would dream about, I would end it with "all good things" For example, for Myles the typical order is, "Cars, dragons, trucks, sharks... and then we would say "and all good things."

Ella; "I think I'm going to have a dream about Myles beating me up and then being 'expended' (expelled) and going to jail... and all good things."

Wishing everyone a wonderful Monday! So grateful for these two kids, and the hilarious things Ella says. Stop by Emily's blog, www.embergrey.com, and share what you are grateful for today!
What are some funny things kids have said to you?




sweet Ella holding her "baby Katie"

Little Myles, that precious face melts me.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

May 29th







Kuta, Bali

On May 29th, I sat at a restaurant alone in Bali, Indonesia. I made friends with the strangers sitting next to me. I walked the beach, pushing my feet firmly in the sand. Wanting to really feel my place on the beautiful island, leaving footprints with each step I took. A physical sign I was moving forward.

Being by myself for part of my vacation allowed me to really think of things that I never confronted. The meaning of May 29th being one of them…


My parents divorced when I was 15. My mom was really young when she married my dad, and among other things, they divorced because she was unhappy and didn’t really know herself. When I was 15, my mom went on this self-discovery journey, and I was incredibly angry/upset/stunned. I didn’t really understand what was happening with her. She wanted to see things, and read books, and decorate her home exactly how she wanted it. She wanted to meet new people, and create her own beliefs, and form her own opinions. But all I saw was the mom I once knew changing into a person she needed to be. I knew my mother as my mom. As a wife. As a classroom aide, a helping hand, a good friend, but I really didn’t know her. I couldn’t tell you what advice she gave me growing up, or what I remember thinking was so uniquely her. I couldn’t tell you what she stood for, and what she consistently did for herself. I could never separate her from us.  My mom was a part of my father, she was a part of her children. You saw it in her. But when it came to separating her from the equation, and seeing the individual she was, the image always came back blurred.

After the divorce, I asked my mom so often if she was ever happy, I asked if she felt better. My mom always explained gently that of course she was happy for some time, but she didn’t know herself, she grew up too quick. One time we were both crying and upset with each other and my mom said to me, “Katie, you don’t really think that I choose this path to hurt you, do you? Do you really think this life is easy for me? But for the first time, I can say it’s mine.”

The statement shocked me. It also scared me to my core. The idea of not knowing who I was, the idea of having someone else decide for me, the idea that I could be unhappy for so long, and then finally gain the courage to start over; these were just my thoughts for me but my mother’s reality. My mom has fought so hard to be someone who she recognizes, someone she is proud of. It is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen. At some point she decided to stop cutting herself on the broken pieces of her marriage and life, and build herself something new. A life that is genuine and honest, and a foundation that is 100% her.

So, 19 was the age my mom was married and already had her first child. 19 has been the year I have lived in fear of. Like a ticking time bomb, I always treaded lightly around the milestone. “What if these life decisions are genetic?” I know that sounds ridiculous, but sometimes when people get hurt so badly by their own choices, you begin to carefully watch your own.


On May 29th, 1989, my mom was in her 19th year, giving birth to her first baby boy. Maybe the role of being a mom felt instantaneous for her. Maybe sharing her heart was as easy as holding her new little bundle of love in her arms. Maybe she was just trying to find her place, like I was in Bali during my 19th year.

I have a picture of my mom holding my big brother. Her smile is bright, and her arms know just how to support her baby boy, but in her eyes she looks fragile. In her eyes, she looks 19. The age of being at the cusp of everything, with a world of possibilities. 19 is the age of having one foot comfortably moving towards the future, and one foot always trailing behind in the past. 19 is the beginning of mistakes, self-discovery, and self-love.

In Bali, I closed my eyes and sealed my memory of my May 29th. And how my life changed in a different way than my mother’s had 25 years earlier.

I felt independent, strong, and deserving of a bright future; decorated with beautiful things I will gather along the way. I felt sure that good things are going to come, if I am patient, if I keep fighting for the good. If I keep staying true to myself. I felt 19.

The difference between my life and hers is not a mindset. It’s not a matter of money, or location. It’s the fact that my mom fearlessly let me watch her fall, just so she could show me the rare beauty of rising on your own. My mom has since been so honest with me, sharing her fears, regrets, and mistakes. She has made her life an open book for those who wish to read it, always sharing with honesty and love.

My 19th year this far has been full of blissful moments and successes. One day I asked my mom, “Do you ever get upset that you help me do all these things but you never got to do them?” (My mom literally gives me the emotional, financial, and spiritual support to accomplish anything I want) She said in her most loving voice, “Oh no, Kate, the way I look at it is, some people are beautiful flowers, but without water, they would never grow.”

Thank you, my sweet mom, for helping me bloom.
prettiest flowers in Bali


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bali Sunrise


The entire time I was in Bali, I was being shown what a magical, wonderful, so overwhelming beautiful gift life is. Each day, there would be someone or something that would make me pause and think about how blessed I am. Being in Bali made me grateful for things like clean water, hot water (seriously cold showers will make you treasure good plumbing), washers and dryers, and toilets and toilet paper. (Anyone who has had to use a ‘squat’ toilet will understand this one.)

It also made me so grateful to be a woman getting her education. A woman who has the opportunity to travel across the world. A woman that knows her rights, and has a fighting chance for the kind of future she wants. The entire time I was in Bali, those thoughts lingered in the back of my mind. “How can this sweet place be a paradise for me, and for the locals be a place of constant sacrifice and struggle?” My eyes would fill with tears when I saw small children wandering the streets, begging for money. And this isn’t one street corner, or one part of town. This is everywhere in the rural parts of Bali. Five year olds taking care of their one and two year old siblings, mothers scrubbing clothes in rivers, woman and men carrying heavy baskets on their heads, and working all day in the blazing sun with humidity that makes you permanently damp. They don’t get to act upon wanderlust, or focus on just themselves for a while. Being born in these parts of Bali, almost predetermines part of your future. Everyone is given a role. Everyone’s role is vital to their family and community. Which means there is little room for self-discovery and adventure. Yet, these people, are happy. They smile, they welcomed me everywhere. They would say things like, “you help me” “you bring me good luck” “you so beautiful.” Their smiles so big, their eyes would squint shut, as if they were soaking in the entire moment. It’s a mastered practice in Bali, these smiles so big that they make just about everyone smile. There is so much love surrounding the island, writing about it makes my heart flutter. I left a piece of my heart in Bali: with the people, the villages, the hundreds of smiles. I hope they all constantly feel my love. I hope they know they changed a bit of me for the better.


A favorite memory for me in Bali (and it is soooo difficult to choose just one), was watching the sunrise on a boat in Lovina. Oh, that statement does little justice to what happened. I was watching the start of the day take place in the dark blue sky, and admiring how the sun takes it time. At first, you just see a peek of it's golden goodness, followed by bright reds and oranges stream through. I was sitting on this teal and white wooden boat, in utter silence admiring the process. And it is a slowwww process. At some point I thought, “Okay Sun, you can just make your appearance now.”

But having nowhere else to be, I decided to be patient. I focused on the water, the other boats, my grateful heart, this wonderful journey. And all of a sudden, the sun burst through the sky. I gasped. I just thought about how recognizing the beauty of life is like that sunrise. It's a slow process, and some don’t have the patience for it. But each day, we get to see bits of life’s beauty like the streams of colors that begin to decorate the sky in the early morning. We must hold on to those moments, and realize that they are just the beginning of something striking about to happen. And then all of a sudden, it’s a burst as the sun brightens a once dark, haunting sky.

I just watched from the boat, and felt so happy I could witness a rise like that. I fell in love with it. Each day I will rise. Prepared for the day and the possibilities for it all. I will be patient, like the sky as it waits each morning for the sun to come. I will be bright and humble like those streams of reds and oranges that whisper, “something even better is coming.” The sun brings light, a new day. For me, an intense love for my life was born that morning. And what was a slow, timid love for life, turned into an infatuation with the possibilities of creating a beautiful present and future. And a heart that lives for the beauty and love of life is like the sun. Because that kind of heart, lights up the whole sky.

 Dear Bali, thank you for showing me that things were never moving too slowly in my life, thank you for showing me if I were patient enough, I would witness the beauty of it all.
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