Sun and Moon

Late this afternoon I went on one of my favorite hikes. I haven’t done this hike in a while so I was excited. Koko Head is a series of 1,048 steps that leads to a breathtaking view of east Oahu. Recent rains made today’s hike full of obstacles. What makes this hike so special to me is that ever since Mark passed away this hike has brought me so many moments of peace, prayer, relaxation, and realizations.

I haven’t been one to go to a physical church since Mark passed. I was so angry with God and questioned why he took him from this world. On these hikes I learned to talk to God again. I stopped with the whys and stopped being angry. In the past few months I’ve gone through more moments and situations that created more whys and of feelings of hurt, sadness, and betrayal. The whys for God came back. Last week I realized there are never any clear cut answers and in God’s time truths and purpose are revealed. This afternoon’s hike was a moment of God’s perfect timing as well.

Looking at the stairs ahead of me I knew it wouldn’t be easy. It’s been a while since I’ve done them. I said, “Well God, here we go again.” In the beginning the steps were easy and I looked up and saw the many more steps ahead of me, and then it became daunting. So I took a deep breath and started my conversation with God. It was almost like a recap of this past year. At one point I even felt THAT breeze, the one I feel carries Mark’s love and presence with it, surround me. Before I knew it, I was at the top of the stairs in time to witness a sky with every shade of blue and orange and a spectacular ray of sunlight peaking just above the horizon. It was at that moment I knew life was about to change again.

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Now I am never quite sure how or what is going to happen when I get those feelings but I’ve learned to go with it. I’ve learned to trust in God’s plan. That sunset represented the end of another chapter. A chapter closed by forgiveness and healing. Then I looked up at the sky again. There was the sun and moon together in the same sky at the same moment, creating another beautiful vision. I just took a deep breath to take in the moment. I could see the sun that to me represents new starts, purpose, life, and energy and I could see the moon that represents the mystery in each of us and our deeper emotional self.

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Of course another quote came to mind just then, “Live by the sun, love by the moon.” In that snapshot of time both the sun and moon were coexisting in harmony. Maybe this means my life is starting to shift into that harmonious phase. I’ve learned the power and healing that forgiveness can bring. Moving forward in life is about taking all experiences and allowing them to shape us into better versions of ourselves, even if some of those moments were less than stellar. To live by the sun I think logically, set a course with goals to achieve, make sure my children are living their best life and potential. To love by the moon I let go of my fears and let my heart guide my actions. The harmony of both existing in that moment was as if God was telling me that my mind will keep me focused but to not let the past harden my heart. Both mind and heart need to work in harmony, even if sometimes conflicted, in order to find our true purpose and happiness.

So as the evening sun set, I let go of everything! I hiked down the hill to start living a life filled with focusing on the good, focusing on the potential of what will be and knowing that happiness lies within me. Being at peace with God and life allows goodness, success, and love to follow. It’s time…

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Rainbows and Grace

I had a moment of amazing grace yesterday. It was a moment that brought me to tears as I was driving home. A moment that gave me the most peace that I’ve had in over a year. Those tears washed alway so many other moments of hurt, pain, anger, and sadness. While I still can’t put into words exactly what happened I know God is working on me right now.

Today I almost wasn’t going to be on campus to pick up my daughter from practice, but as divine intervention would have it, here I am. I sat in my car thinking of situations that have come up and how I have found that even through hurt I could find forgiveness. A forgiveness that can only come from God’s grace in action.

Then one of the other dads walked by to say hi and said, “Wow, look at that rainbow!” So I got out of my car to look at it. I noticed that behind the beginning of this rainbow was a cloud shaped like a broken heart and the rainbow was crossing the hole in the middle of it.

I started praying. I thanked God for every moment I have endured, both good and bad. I know all of these moments are shaping me for whatever he has in store on this journey. I closed my eyes and said, “God, do you thing! Whatever it is, I’m ready!” As I opened my eyes and looked up to the sky I saw that rainbow become more vibrant in color and grow across the sky. That cloud that looked like a broken heart had disseminated too. Seriously! As if that wasn’t enough, a serene breeze blows across my body as I sit here and write this. Mark is here. Somehow, some way, I have a feeling the next chapter in my journey is about to begin. I’m ready.

Icons, Inspiration, Purpose, and Rules

Throughout my life there have been certain people that have always fascinated me. As I’ve gotten older I still admire them for the grace and strength they showed throughout their life, a grace and strength I hope to show my children. When people ask how I manage to stay so positive and resilient, I remind them that I am not always. I am human. Part of my secret is finding inspiration through quotes and affirmations. Two of my childhood icons have some amazing ones that have helped me through those rough moments… Princess Diana and Audrey Hepburn.

When I was younger I admired them for their fashion sense and desire to give back. As I got older I grew a greater appreciation for them as mothers and finding ways to somehow balance their children with the demands of their work life and still being able to help others. They were beautiful not only for their outward beauty but also for their heart. They both kept their dignity and heads high even when there was turmoil around them.

For my birthday this year I received an Audrey Hepburn journal. What an amazing gift to help organize my thoughts while being inspired to keep moving forward. Two of the quotes that totally stand out to me are:

1. “People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”

2. “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”

Yes! Both so very true. In this journey of finding how to cope with the grief and loss of losing my partner in life and love, I’ve been through the process of being restored, renewed, revived, and redeemed. I’ve seen how dark I could feel and how I never thought I’d get through it but then remembered her second quote of nothing is impossible. That’s where I find the positivity to keep going. Yes, I may fail at times but get up and keep going and learn through the failures of how to get better.

Even with so much sadness, life has been blessed by so many beautiful people who have shown so much support this year. I now continue to move forward with my children and show them how amazing it is and feels to give back to others, yes, pay it forward. That a kindness shown to you, when shared with others, grows exponentially. In those times I find healing and spiritual growth as well. Nothing heals a broken heart more than that.

Princess Diana and Audrey Hepburn had a beauty and femininity that was undeniable. They also had a fierceness and strength that helped them conquer challenges. While my closet and wardrobe is greatly inspired by the style and class of these amazing women, my will to make a difference during my life is too. That is the purpose I’m finding on the journey now. That is my reason and my why along with my children. Even though some may still have opinions of how I should be or act now, I think of these three quotes from Princess Diana:

1. “I want to do, not just to be.”

2. “When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.”

And mainly… “I don’t go by the rule book… I lead from the heart, not the head.” That is the only rule I follow.

You’re Really Not Coming Back

Today both me and Mackenzy weren’t feeling the greatest. She went upstairs after her game to rest while I rested on the couch. As I napped I must’ve dreamt of you because I woke up to look towards the door. Harsh reality hit home again, you’re really not coming back.

Even after a year these times still happen. I mean, I know the reality. I know you’re gone but sometimes I think my heart forgets. It never forgets you, but it says screw reality. Ah love, we miss you.

After that depressing moment there was still some good. The amazing part of today was realizing how much a part of me you are! I’ve been saying that I haven’t felt your presence as strongly ever since your one year Heavenversary. Now I know why. While you may have crossed that ethereal bridge, a piece of you has become such a part of me that I can’t always tell it’s you. We have almost become one and the same. Our children, totally! They are half you no matter what. But for you and me, that bond we had for all those years lives on in me as an integrated part of me. What a beautiful blessing! While reality does tell me that you’re never physically coming back, I do carry your love with me wherever I go and when I close my eyes I can still see you smiling back at me. That can never be taken away.

Rising Phoenix, Not So Hidden Dragon

Life happens. There is no truer statement than that. We can’t change others anymore than we can change the wind. We can can harness the wind, though, and use it as energy to fuel us just as we can with life. When life throws negativity at us what are you going to let it do? Break you? Possibly. Strengthen you? Definitely!

You see, with each negative moment turn it around. Like I’ve said before, light is a much more powerful force than darkness. Darkness literally just sucks things away into nothingness and eventually consumes itself. A little light and the glow gets brighter and brighter until you can’t ignore it and then reality also comes to light. The reality that you survived that dark time, it didn’t consume you, it became a trial that made you stronger. Like the phoenix you rise from the ashes and find a not so hidden dragon fierceness that you never knew was in you.

I have encountered situations that tried to break me, but I refused. I cried at times and those tears rinsed my eyes of the self doubt I had. I’ve learned that being vulnerable is actually stronger than hiding behind a facade. That the softness I show is to never be counted as weakness, but it is actually a strength and shows the true power of a woman. For we can feel with our hearts, think with our heads, and move mountains with that not so hidden dragon fierceness while juggling families, careers and whatever else life throws at us. Once we walk through the fire and wind of life, we come out stronger than ever before. I have vowed to be an example to my daughters of what resilience and strength I want them to have. So yes, life happens… and so do we.

Not today

Sweet baby Jesus! Missing you so much today. Not feeling well and powering through to kid pick ups, homework checks, conference calls, and making sure the three are all fed, clean and ready for school. Then there is the beginning of the month finances and making sure everything is in order and got paid.

I sat on the couch and got it all done. Things we used to divide and conquer are now all up to me. I opened up a file on my phone and your beautiful, big smile was the one staring back at me. Then the waterworks began. I looked at your face on the screen and could only hope you’re looking down on us and feeling so proud of how far we’ve come. Can I just say, when you have a cold, crying does not help. I can hear you saying, “Babe, you’re only going to make it worse. Take a breath.”

I’ve been doing so well but not today. Today is a day of missing you. I looked through more of our pictures and THAT smile just stands out. Such a genuine, loving, and sincere person and amazing father. Mark, you truly are one of a kind. We weren’t perfect and we drove each other crazy at times but we lived our own fairytale. You must be trusting me to “adult” more because I don’t feel you around as much. Even today, through the tears, you weren’t here. I look at our babies and am so incredibly thankful that half of them is you. I pray that wherever you are, you feel our love and know how blessed we are that any part of our lives had you in it.

Surviving The Past to Welcome 40

Sunrises and sunsets are so symbolic. What we do with the hours that lie in between them is what life is all about. 4 decades have gone by since my first sunrise now. Welcome 40!

I smile now with such contentment in my heart and in my life. This journey has not been easy. I sat here tonight watching the fireworks after the last sunset of my 39th year and started crying. I made it! To be honest, there have been times I didn’t think I would.

My past is filled with demons that have haunted me for years. Mark was the person who helped me forget about them. Then God had other plans for him and those demons came back. A history of abuse, eating disorders and moments where I didn’t want to live came flooding back. What do I do with them now that Mark wasn’t here to help me? Answer. I learned to face them.

While I’ve been navigating this year as a now widowed mom of three children, I have also been facing down and working through those negative parts of my past that haunted me. I learned if I truly wanted to be able to survive and move forward, those demons had to be annihilated. The only hope of building a future for me and my children was getting rid of them and not just ignoring them.

Learning to cling to any glimmer of light was so necessary. This is why I believe that when we focus on the good and what’s going right, we tend to grow from there. Light is a much more powerful force than darkness. I had to let my guard down in order to become stronger. What?!? No, really, I did.

Becoming vulnerable was the key to allowing myself to realize how to deal with my past. To let myself get angry, be sad, feel helpless was what helped me replace those feelings with ones of happiness, love, and hope. Now here I am, 40.

I have not felt stronger and more confident in my entire life. I am so excited to live out each day and see what unfolds. To take chances. To believe in love again and the hopes of finding that person who will take all my scars and love me for them. To be there for my children and show them through action what surviving tragedy and difficulties is all about.

As fate would have it, a song by Kolohe Kai was released the day before my birthday. It’s called “Round and Around.” It’s my anthem going into this new year of life. Like it says, “Giving up’s not an option… sometimes life’s a masterpiece, you painted in the dark and that’s when you know how beautiful you are, when you smile, through your scars.” Here’s to smiling through those scars created by getting rid of those demons from the past. Welcome 40 and new beginnings!