Saturday, April 4, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

30th Birthday

I'm really behind on my blogs. I find that writing articles throughout the week have been taking me away from my usual instinct to be up to date on my blogs. Oh well, I just may be a wee bit late time to time.

For my Birthday my mom and I went to Dancing with the Stars. We went to night two, the night Belinda Carlisle got eliminated. It was a really fun time. We got dressed up fancy and headed off to CBS studios. Our seats were amazing. We were right next to the stage and directly behind the VIP seats. This particular night Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Jewel performed.

At 6:17, the show was going strong and my mom leaned over and showed me her watch. 30 years ago that minute I was being born and it was special to be doing something with my mom on this great day. Thanks for sharing the day Mom.

After Dancing with the stars I came home and immediately took off that dress and shoes. I can't tolerate them any longer than I must. I see women walk around in high heels all the time and I don't know how they do it. Really, I don't.

After changing into Jeans I left for Disneyland with Jude. They let you in free on your Birthday but since we are already pass holders, instead they will give you a gift card for 70 dollars to spend in the park. I went to the ticket counter and the the guy wished me a happy Birthday. He told me that they'd been expecting me and everyone was already waiting inside the park to celebrate my big day. I'm pretty sure this statement was supposed to be used for a 7 year old to feel special, but it works for me at 30. I took my Birthday pin, placed it on my shirt and headed off through the gates to fireworks that were just starting. Oh Disney and your never ceasing magic you!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My articles with

So far this has been a lot of fun!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Great New Find...

Tonight Jude and I went to a Birthday party for a friend downtown. We met at the Hotel Figueroa which is across from the Nokia theatre and Staples center. This place was so cool and the perfect place to lounge around and have drinks with your friends. The atmosphere is really laid back and it has this really cool Moroccan vibe going on. It's a hotel (hence the name) but you can also stop at the bars just to hang out. We hung out by the pool, listened to music and chatted over drinks. No one comes over and pressures you to buy. They just let you do you thing. I definitely want to go back again!

Happy Birthday Patrick!

Here are some pics I took from the website so you can see the style...





Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Big Sur Day 4: What a Wonderful World

This morning I woke early and began packing my things. I stopped and read the plaque in the room that shares Saint Romuald’s brief rule. It says, “Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. Realize that you are in God’s presence, and stand there with the attitude of one who stands before the emperor.” I love this and will take these thoughts back with me long after the retreat.


I left the monastery and decided to make some stops on my way home. (This is partly for the beauty and party because of my motion sickness) Stop 1 happens to be Elephant Seal beach. I read the sign on the beach that explains in January Elephant Seal moms come to the beach and give birth to their babies. They raise their babies until the middle or end of February where they will mate one last time and then leave the kids behind. I watched a beach full of Seals laying the sun and throwing sand on their backs to avoid exposure to the Sun. It amazes me they have these instincts.



Stop 2 is just a look out off the 1, but a beautiful one it is indeed. I look over the water and it finally happened. I saw the whales! I’ve been wanting to see them because I’ve never seen whales in the wild. One time as a child on a family vacation we went whale watching to see…well me throw up I guess….no whales at all (and did I mention this motion sickness☺

Anyhow, back to the Whales. I was expecting maybe just to see some water shoot up, but I let out this giddy scream when I saw a group of whales coming out of the water. Awesome!

I got back in my car and turned on my XM. Louie Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world came on.” It was cool to drive down the highway listening to that. I drove by Sand Dollar beach and I saw Isaac in the same parking lot. I smiled as I saw him eating lunch and talking to someone new.

“I see skies of blue…. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights.
And I think to myself…what a wonderful world

The colors of a rainbow…so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
And I think to myself…what a wonderful world”


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Big Sur Day 3: I'll be Okay!

This morning I woke up and opened up windows. My first thought was “Man, this place smells exactly how I wish my car did.” Maybe I don’t need to purchase those cheap hanging trees for the car anymore. Perhaps I can bottle some big sur air and take it back with me.

I went outside and called out to bunny. A minute past and there she was hopping out. I know there are explanations for this. People have fed bunny, she gets to know someone new every week and lives just outside of the trailer. But no, my mind chooses a different explanation. It’s simple. Bunny loves me and wants to move to Hollywood with me. I’m gonna make Bunny a big star!


When Bunny (Yes I know clever name) jumps out I notice how small she is. She is probably just a little bit larger than my hand. “Do you have a mom?” I ask. Thoughts of Tom Hanks talking to a ball on an island come to mind. I swear I’m not losing it.

Today I’ve decided to stay up the hill here. I went for a nice hike and stopped at many of their benches along the way to enjoy the scenery. They also have scriptures on some of the trees to read along the way.



Last night the waitress at the Lodge told me that the monastery benches were the best place to whale watch. I tried but sadly didn’t see any. The views were amazing though so I enjoyed myself anyhow.

On the way back from my hike I stopped by the bookstore to do some shopping. I bought some bracelets for my parents and I. The beads of the bracelets are olive wood from the Holy land. The monks have it imported and carve it into jewelry. I also bought a really cool incense burner with a crucifix on it. This too is olive wood. Some of the other things I picked up were some cards that one of the monks painted, a monk coffee mug for Jude, some fear stones, and some fruit cakes that they made here.

When I purchased my items he asked if I wanted my jewelry and fear stones prayed over. After he bagged up the rest of the my items he placed everything aside, laid hands on these items and said a prayer over them. Following the prayer he blessed them with holy water. “They don’t do that at Kohls do they mom?”


Tonight I watched my final sunset and it was beautiful! As the final colors were fading from the sky I noticed I was crying. I’m not a big crier so this was big for me. I’m not sure if it’s because it was last sunset, the beauty of God’s creations, or just because I’m so thankful for this retreat. But there is a peace inside of me that I hope stays firm in my heart. I’m left thinking of the Josh Radin song that says, “For the first time in such a long time I know I’ll be okay.”


Monday, February 23, 2009

Big Sur Day 2: Contentedness at Sand Dollar Beach


This morning I decided that today I would spend some time down the hill. Yesterday “book store monk” suggested I head south a few miles to Sand Dollar Beach. Before heading off I stopped into the Chapel for some meditation. The chapel is open 24 hours a day and is really cool. As you enter there is holy water at the door. You turn around the corner to an open area for you either to sit, kneel or sit on mats. It’s cold and dark but there is a feeling of holiness inside these walls.


After prayer time I got into my car and headed down the hill. Sand dollar beach was amazing. I was alone and had it all to myself, which would never happen in LA. I thought it was going to be cold on my trip so I packed a lot of warm clothes. I had to strip off my sweater and stick with my tank top today. Who would have thought I’d be coming home with a sunburn?


Sand Dollar beach has hundreds of rocks that the ocean has smoothed over. Up against the hillside there are caves that you can walk into that are filled with these pebbles. As you walk around inside they glitter like you’ve found a diamond mine. I think of how pressure has turned these rocks into something beautiful and I’m somehow comforted about life and the worries I brought with me here.


On my way back up to my car I stop at a look out point. It overlooks the ocean and the snowcapped mountains in the distance. I stop and read a sign about whale watching when I hear a voice say, “Did you see the snow on the mountains?” I look up to see Isaac. I don’t know him but I was about to.


Isaac is one of these people who even though you don’t know him, you feel like you do. You don’t feel any pressure about what to say or any uncomfortable silences. He tells me he is originally from Montana and that he moved to Santa Cruz for school where he majored in Marine Biology. He is out here with a group of people doing a study on sea otters. He didn’t get here in time and his team was out so he was just roaming about now. We talked for a good while and then we headed to our cars that were parked in a picnic area. A nearby family is having a picnic and I notice a car that looks similar to the Scooby-doo van. “Is that your car?” I ask him. “Yeah, but it’s also my house.” He offers to make some tea and tells me how “this baby is fully loaded.” I decline the offer but we continue our conversation. He said that he lives in there and travels place to place. He comes and go’s as he likes and meets people. I tell him he sounds like Jack Kerouac. The biggest thing I notice about him is that he seems happy and very content. I think about how blessed we are with so many things and how often we are never happy nor content.

With the economical crisis that we’re all currently facing, it’s a scary time for all of us. I’m reminded today of Philippians 4:11-13:

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Isaac and I exchange info and he tells me that sometimes it takes awhile for him to get to a computer but when he does, we'll be in contact.

After leaving the beach, I headed north and stopped at Lucia Lodge for dinner and back up to my patio to watch another amazing sunset.

There is a peace here that I can't explain. I feel like the most simple of things have something to teach me. Even a breeze can hit me a certain way and it's as if you feel God's power. I feel overwhelmed by the hugeness of God and his love for little ol me.