Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Do you ever have those times in yoga where you chant om and you feel like everyone is in perfect harmony?  That happened tonight, everyone in the room blended their voices together and created an amazing energy, and then gave that energy back to the space and to each other.  It was really cool.

Have you heard this?  Last night's chanting reminded me of it, it's the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra sung by Hein Braat (many think it is the only recording of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but it isn't).  I heard it for the first time in a strange yoga class I used to take by my house, when I first started doing yoga almost 5 years ago.  We sat with a candle in front of us, in a very small, dark room and stared at it, letting the light shine into us and meditating on the flame.  It was a surreal experience and I would suggest trying this kind of meditation.


Our teacher last night said something else during class, he said that every living thing emits a tone.  Instead of just reading that line, THINK about it.  Every living thing emits a tone.  All the trees, all the bugs, all of the animals, all of us - we put out a sound - TOGETHER.  (It made me think about that dream I had last night of cockroaches in my bed, and how I wanted to squish them all!  I felt bad about it, I would silence their tone!)  It's interesting to think like this, this concept that we are all connected, all working as one to make this harmony on the Earth.

The sound of Om (aum) was actually the first sound in the world, accoring to the Hindu religion:

As creation began, the divine, all-encompassing consciousness took the form of the first and original vibration manifesting as sound AUM.  Before creation began it was shunyākāsha (meaning "no sky"), the emptiness or the void.  The vibration of aum symbolizes the manifestation of God.  Aum is the reflection of the absolute reality, it is said to be adi anadi (meaning without beginning or the end and embracing all that exists).  The mantra aum is the name of God, the vibration of the Supreme. When taken letter by letter, a-u-m represents the divine energy (Shakti) united in its three elementary aspects: Bhrahma Shakti (creation), Vishnu Shakti (preservation) and Shiva Shakti (liberation, and/or destruction).
So, I bet if we take a moment and listen, we will hear it.  We will hear the trees, the bugs, the wind, and all of the people around us, working together to make a common sound.  (Don't listen for the sound they make, instead listen to the sound being made in the silence, there is a sound there.)  I feel like as we get older we rush through life - rush through working, rush through the weekend, never taking a moment to just listen.  We forget to slow down, to live in the present and remember that we are all connected, making sweet music together.  It reminds me of that Walt Whitman poem, "I Hear America Singing" (it's the English teacher in me!), where everyone is working together to make this country, continent, world run smoothly.  We forget about this as we rush on by, always waiting for something, or looking forward to something, never focusing on the now (see what is).

I read tonight that the earth actually emits a tone itself called the Schumann Resonance.  (This is for real!)  Every living thing on Earth has grown up listening to this "heartbeat."  This could be the tone that the Hindus were talking about - religion, after all, usually does have some basis in history.
So, as I go through my day tomorrow I will try to slow down and hear the music.  I will remember this the next time I want to crush an ant, swat a fly, treat someone negatively or try to save a dying plant - that all of these things have a tone and that tone is contributing to the silent harmony being created all around us.  I will remember that mantra being sung, and what the word aum actually means and I will emit my own tone to join up with everyone and everything else around me.

Put out your energy into the world, put out your tone.  Feed off each other's energy and become one together, harmonize.  Don't hurry, slow down and take the time to hear the music. I bet we are all making such a beautiful song together . . .

Sunday, August 28, 2011

We are so small.

Saw this video this week and it made me think - we are so small in this big, big world.  And our world is so amazing but it just constantly passes us by.  We should stop and watch once in awhile because it is truly magnificent.  (Turn on your sound and expand it to watch.  Check out their site for more beautiful time lapse videos.)

Tempest Milky Way from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

Hurricane Irene also just tore through the east coast, I've been looking at pictures of the damage all morning and read people's tweets all last night.  So frightening, I felt bad for all the people involved who had to prepare and try to sleep through the storm.  Higher global temperatures cause bigger storms - we have to start caring for our planet.

We are just a small piece of Earth's history, it's sad the huge dent we are making.  Just thinking about how small we are and how BIG our world is, sad we are impacting it so much with our carelessness.  Makes you think about your place and your purpose here.

We tried meditating last week using Chopra's 21 day meditation challenge.  Ian lasted a day but I liked it, just didn't have the time this week to continue (Open House and lots of meetings).  I think learning to meditate would be awesome, taking some time for you to focus on your place in this world.  I read in Eat, Pray, Love that if you learn to meditate you can actually visit Heaven and all the people you have lost who are there.  That is motivation for me because I'd like to see Leslee (my step-mom), my grandpa and our dog Lucy.  It is time to step outside of yourself and travel, in your mind, to new places and a new awareness.  It is definitely one of my goals and I just need to MAKE the time to do it.

I also got this book and started reading it, at yoga they read passages from it all the time.  Goes along these same lines . . . considering our place.  It touches me in a way I can't describe, you should definitely check it out.

Just thinking this week and reflecting.  I suggest you stop and do it too once in a while . . .

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oh My God!

Is it normal to drive to school listening to your iPod and crying your eyes out?  Because that is what I did this morning.

I was listening to this song, a song I've listened to tons of times before, but this morning it really got to me.  I felt that feeling again, that feeling of happiness that I haven't felt in half a year, that feeling that I am in the right place at the right time and that everything will work out and be ok.  I talked about this feeling before when I was pregnant and since January I haven't felt it - until this morning.

I lost it, I listened to the song over and over again and felt just like she was feeling.  By the time it gets to the last "oh my god" and she screams it - that was me!  OH MY GOD!  Did this really all happen?  Has our life really been like this?  Was there a time where I didn't want to get out of bed, or didn't care if I even woke up in the morning?  OH MY GOD!  Have we really gone through this together?  Are we done?  Is it over?  OH MY GOD!  Have we been living in the dark all this time, under a cloud?  It seems almost funny.  OH MY GOD!  DID WE REALLY COME BACK FROM THIS?! 

So many emotions, so many feelings.  It was overwhelming and at that moment I realized - it WAS over and THIS, THIS is the other side.  THIS is what I've been pretending to feel this whole time to everyone around me, THIS is the feeling I thought I'd never get back.  Well, it's here again and I'm so excited.  We made it and it's unbelievable what we've been through - OH MY GOD!!!

"Oh My God" Ida Maria

Find a cure
find a cure for my life
Oh my God
oh you think I’m in control
Oh my God
oh you think it’s all for fun
Pin a smile
Pin a smile on my face
Put a price
put a price on my soul
Oh my God
oh you think I’m in control
Oh my God
oh you think it’s all for fun
Oh my God
Build a wall
Build a fortress around my heart

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Blueberry Birth Day

Last Saturday would have been our dear blueberry's date of birth.  I didn't remember it was coming up until Ian's cousin Whitney wrote me a really sweet message on Facebook about this month being hard for us but to keep our heads up.  I would have remembered, but it just wasn't something I was focusing on, like I thought I would.

One of the reasons I didn't think that day would be sad was because I thought I'd be pregnant again (it has been 6 months since we lost him/her).  It still would have been a day of remembrance, but not as sad if I was baking another blueberry in the baby oven.  But, for some reason, we were meant to experience this day without another baby - to remember, to heal and to love.

The week started off with a thoughtful present from our good friend Jacqui for our future blueberry (or olive or whatever).  She made these herself in about 2 weeks, so cute!  And, another beautiful present from my best friend Christine.  (Check out her etsy shop!)

 (I have always wanted a knit fruit/veggie bag!)

 (Isn't she gorgeous?!)

Surprisingly, it was a joyful day full of good friends, lots to do and precious time spent with just the two of us.  We didn't really have time to be sad, we were so busy and I was happy for that.  In the morning I woke up to flowers and blueberries (and a very sad husband), so I decided to make gluten free blueberry muffins from this mix and they were delicious!   (I even fed them to Christie and Christine and they both agreed they didn't taste gluten free.)  We cuddled a bit and I told Ian not to be sad but to be hopeful and happy because our family will happen one day.  I actually wasn't sad at all on this day, it wasn't like I thought it would be.  I just focused on the good things in our lives, our friends, our family and my wonderful husband - and then there was nothing left to really be sad about.  :)

Then, Christie, Christine and Espen all came over to play in the pool.  Espen's 5th birthday is coming up next weekend and he is my favorite.  So funny, smart and entertaining - he could make anyone happy even on a sad day.

We even downloaded an app that lets you take video that looks like 8mm film, so cool!  Check it out:

After swimming Espen and I played with Star Wars toys while Christine curled up on the couch and watched Harry Potter.  They left and we started getting ready for Marisol's Birthday/Housewarming party in Tempe.  Her house was gorgeous and Jenny and I had a talk about babies before Ian and I rushed off to Picazzo's for a yummy dinner out.  

We didn't quite know how to commemorate our blueberry so we decided on attaching messages to balloons and setting them free.  It turned out to be really nice and peaceful, watching them float away into the clouds. 

A day I thought would be hard but it turned out to be easy - don't you love it when that happens?  A day of remembrance and love instead of sadness.  I am finally hopeful and full of joy for all that I have, I am a lucky girl.  Blueberry, I hope you got our letters and that you know just how much we love and miss you.  We will meet again one day, thank you for being a part of our life.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to School

Last week was our first official week back to school with the kids.  It is always exhausting, and I am always nervous, but it is so much fun too.  It's strange looking at foreign names, names that are so new but will eventually become so familiar.  I always tell the kids to give teachers a chance the first couple of weeks, we are still remember 175 old names and now we are trying to cram in 175 new ones, it takes time.  I can't wait to get to know my new students, and see what this year has in store for all of us.

We celebrated our first week back with gluten free s'mores one night and carmel frapaccinos at the end of the week.  Starting the year again in August is like our New Year's Day as teachers - Happy New Year!  :)

 (Isn't this how you roast marshmallows?  Topless?)

Home Is Where the Heart Is

There is only one thing my husband and I fight about, and it's home improvements.  I am sure we aren't the only ones, we tend to take on a lot all at once and it just always turns into an argument.  My husband always says, "if you own a home you better learn to work on it."  A statement probably learned from his Dad, who feels the exact same way.

I am from a different school of thought.  We have the money, we saved the money, so let's hire someone to do all the work while we sit around and enjoy our summer.  Nope, Ian always wants to do it himself.  And, it has totally paid off, he has learned so much, bonded with his dad and our house definitely has all of our blood, sweat and tears built into it.  As much as we argue, after it's all done, it was totally worth it.

Usually Ian does all the work, with the help of his Dad, and I end up getting upset about something falling through the ceiling, the noise, the mess, etc.  I guess I am a girl that way, I just hate when things are disorganized and want everything to be perfect.  Two summers ago we took on remodeling our kitchen ourselves, this year Ian and his dad replaced all the attic insulation and we painted our house and redid our planters.  I am so stupid and think things like, "How hard can it be?"  And projects are always more work, take longer and have a lot more involved than I thought.  It has been a crazy couple of years, and we have worked super hard, but our house is SO much cuter for it and after all of it - it WAS worth it.  (Ian - are you reading this?  I love you!)

I bought our house in 2004 with the help of my best friends Jenny and Christie at Twins & Co Realty.  I was only 25 and it was my first HUGE purchase and I knew nothing about buying a house.  These ladies walked me through it and helped me out so much, and I ended up with a 1959 block home in south Scottsdale, AZ.  It had the layout I always wanted, was over 1700 square feet (big compared to my 1100 square foot rental) and I knew that over the years I could update it.  Boy, I had no idea what those words meant until I met Ian.  

Here are some before and after pictures from when I bought it in 2004 and then when I decorated it and moved my furniture in (keep in mind, I was younger so my decorating style wasn't the greatest):

(Living room)



(Master bedroom)

More pics from that era:

(Den shelving)

(Kitchen window)

(Living room door)

Obviously it needed a more modern update as I got older.  Here is our living room now (I know, what was I thinking with that red and leopard?!):

(Yes, all those dots are hand painted.  There were no stick on decals back then.  My sister-in-law Kelly, Ian and I finished them at 2am before our engagement party in November 2007).

And pictures of the den and our bedroom updated:

And, now the kitchen.  Here is a video Ian made of us remodeling it and some pics:

(Original kitchen when I bought the house.)

(View from living room after we painted it in 2004.)

(The teeny tiny window that became MUCH bigger when we started taking the cabinets down!)

(The wall we knocked down.  There was old water pipes, a gas line and lots of electrical in it.)

(We did ALL the work ourselves with the help of our family.  The only thing we hired anyone for was the electrical.)

(My birthday almost 3 years ago.  This was where the wall was from the original pic above.)

(Bigger window!)

(New door, paint, molding, everything!)

(Brighter view right after we finished remodeling.)

(Brighter view before we put the hood in.)

Now the paint and flower beds.  Here is our house before:

And during - this summer:

(We had to scrape our paint because it was chipping and on the 3rd test we found out the original layer was lead paint.  Our house had only been painted twice since 1959.)

(It was all over everywhere and was a mess before we realized it was lead.  We had to spend a lot of extra moola and time cleaning it up.)

(Before we painted we tried to fix our automatic pool fill and then ended up replacing our entire pool pump with a new one.  That set us back from painting too while Henry and Ian installed it.)

(Since I'm not allowed to hire anyone, I have to help!)

(My father-in-law Henry - he has helped us SO much with every project!) 

And now:

(Never mind our plant coverings, it's summer in AZ but we wanted to plant!)

(Succulent/cactus garden)

So, there you have it, this is how we spent the first half of our summer this year and our whole summer two years ago.  It is indeed a labor of love and has taught us a lot about each other and ourselves.  A couple that can remodel together, can do anything - I truly believe this.  My husband and our families have worked so hard to make this house so nice for us, and I can't wait to one day raise our own little family in it.  

This is another small blessing I suppose.  If I had been pregnant this year we wouldn't have replaced 20 year old crumbling insulation and harmful lead paint - both things that were probably making us sick.  A blessing in disguise and one more step to making our house a safer place for our next little muffin.  

We are ready for you little baby, just patiently waiting for you to make your appearance again . . .