mid-week meditation #15

Hi there, friends! I’m sharing a beer and pizza with my grandma right now. Coming at you from a commercial break of the World Series {gooooo Giants!} with this week’s mid-week meditation.

My brother and I were exchanging emails yesterday and the topic of generosity and gratitude came up, and how sometimes the act of accepting a gift of generosity is even harder than it is to give generously. It is so easy for pride to get in the way, or feelings of insecurity or inadequacy. But actually, accepting an offered gift with love and sincere appreciation is in itself a generous gift.

This morning, I saw that Greg had tweeted something I wrote in our email conversation as a #quote, which gave me the idea that maybe it would be a meaningful thought to share on here.

So this week, I’m presenting the first mid-week meditation that isn’t a quote from someone else — these are my very own words!

generosity meditation

I hope these words fill you with peace and grace. Here’s to giving generously, and receiving generously, too!

Before I get back to the World Series game, I also wanted to share this amazing Sat Kriya meditation from the effervescent Heather Waxman. I’ve only done it once, but it felt so good that I’m already planning to make it a regular part of my routine. She has such a soothing energy and compassionate spirit.

Questions of the evening:

  • What is harder for you, giving or receiving?
  • What does it mean to you to receive with a generous spirit?
  • Are you watching the World Series? 🙂 Who are you rooting for?

fabulous friday #37

Happy Friday! I’m off to my favorite morning yoga class, then hoping to get a good writing session in at Starbucks before lunch, and then this afternoon I’m tutoring some really sweet kiddos. The rest of the evening will be spent hanging out with my grandparents and resting up for my crazy day tomorrow!

My Saturday = a full day of teaching + an evening reading in San Francisco for Arroyo Literary Review as part of the awesome Litquake events going on throughout the city + meeting up with Allyn and his MBA classmates for a “dare-e-oke night” fundraiser for their humanitarian trip to Kenya. {Any good karaoke song suggestions??}

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. This wise message on my green tea bag this morning, which reminds me of the namaste principle in yoga class:

tea message

2. The new NBC romantic comedy sitcom A to Z. You guys, it’s only been three episodes but this show is already something I look forward to in my week! If I were to write a TV show, I have a feeling it would be something like this. The show centers around Andrew and Zelda {get it? A to Z!} and chronicles their relationship from when they first meet. The episodes are organized by letter, for example the first one was “A for Acquaintances.” It’s a really clever and funny show, and I love the characters! I even got Allyn to watch an episode with me the other night, and he laughed out loud a couple times. My brother texted me after watching the first episode: Oh sweet Jesus this is a Dallas show! Haha. What can I say? I love love!

3. The pumpkin-pie fail that happened in my kitchen this week. I’m not exactly grateful for this disaster of a pie — something happened and it never really set, but the top layer sort of burned and peeled off the pie! Has that ever happened to anyone else? I followed my favorite recipe the same as I always do, but obviously something went wrong. The only thing I can think of is that I made it in a different oven than I usually do {I made it for Allyn at his place}… but other than that, I’m clueless! I need to make another one soon to make up for this pie.

gross pumpkin pie

However, the thing I LOVED about this pie was my sweetheart’s reaction. It was my first time ever making him a pie, and it smelled so good baking in the oven, filling the kitchen with spice and autumn. Anticipation was high! But then I took it out of the oven, and there was a huge air bubble on the top — the pie was like a dome, and as it cooled the dome deflated. It reminded me of that scene in Christmas Vacation when they cut into the delicious-looking turkey and it immediately shrivels up. Anyway, I knew right away that something was not right with this pie. I peeled off the top burnt layer and the insides were this mushy texture. So disappointing!

I’ll be honest: I was upset. And embarrassed. And confused. I was about ready to pitch this pie out the window! But Allyn just hugged me and said, “It’ll be fine! It’s still gonna taste delicious!” And when the pie cooled, over my protests, he cut himself a big slice and finished every bite.

We spent the rest of the night laughing about this pie. Now it’s actually a funny memory, and yet another reminder of why I feel so grateful and happy to be with this man.

4. This quote and beautiful photo from Courtney Carver at Be More With Less:

5. For my birthday, my friends Allyson & Henry got me a subscription to a superb and innovative literary magazine, McSweeney’s. Yesterday my first issue arrived! This issue is designed as a bunch of small pamphlets so it’s easy to just grab a story and slip it into my purse when I’m on the go. I’m so excited to dig into it this weekend!

mcsweeneys

mcsweeneys

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

mid-week meditation #14

Good morning, everyone! Hope your week is humming along nicely. I woke up this morning feeling a little sore, but still on a high, from last night’s yoga class! We had a substitute instructor who was alllll about the chair pose. I was definitely feeling the burn! But it also felt like an accomplishment to be able to hold the pose for so long. It made me realize that I really have come far in my yoga practice since I began practicing in earnest at the beginning of the year.

It’s been a cloudy, gray couple days here in the Bay Area, which I’ve actually been savoring because it finally feels like autumn! I love cozy autumn weather. It makes me so happy to curl up with a book under a blanket, or open up my laptop in the morning to write with a hot mug of tea while the wind shrieks outside.

That’s pretty much my schedule for today: write in the morning, teach in the afternoon, and have a bajillion cups of tea in between. 🙂 This evening, I’m planning to head to church for a class our ministers are co-teaching on Science & Spirituality. I’ve heard great things about it and am excited to check it out!

This week’s meditation is a quote that my brother sent me:

john gardner quote

 Question of the morning:

  • What do you have to give that you have never given before?

fabulous friday #34

Happy Friday, friends! My morning started off with a relaxing, restorative yoga class… and it’s been a little stressful from then on. My cell phone is having battery issues and I’ve been on the phone with tech support all day trying to get the issues worked out. It’s amazing how much our lives are tied to our phones — I use mine not just to get in touch with people, but also as my GPS navigation system and to check my email when I’m out and about, etc. Really hope I get this solved soon!

But at the same time, I’m reminding myself to breathe and be grateful for this “first world problem”… so many people have much bigger issues and problems to worry about. I’m lucky to even have a cell phone in the first place!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. This “Green Goodness” juice that is on sale at Safeway this week … two bottles for $5, score! I grabbed some for a post-yoga snack this morning. The first time I got this drink, I misread the label as “Green GODDESS” and that’s always how I think of it in my head. So much good-for-you green stuff in this bottle, you’ll feel like a goddess after drinking it! 🙂

green goodness

2. Like a complete knucklehead, I forgot my retainer at home in Ventura when I came back up north last weekend. Well, my sweet parents didn’t even tease me or make me feel bad for being so forgetful — they just wrapped it securely in bubble wrap, slid it into an envelope, and 2-day-mailed it to me. This probably sounds silly, but I was ridiculously happy to be reunited with my retainer — I could feel my teeth shifting without it and it was stressing me out! I didn’t go through three years of braces — plus headgear — for nothing! Any other retainer-wearers out there?

3. This quote from Mother Teresa {which came to me thanks to the always-enlightening Heather Waxman}:

4. My grandma got this ginormous container of peanut-butter filled pretzels at Costco. This is dangerous, my friends. Dangerous.

pretzels

5. I got to see Dana for dinner last night at one of our fave spots, Chow. I got a cup of their fall vegetable minestrone soup and a spinach/apple/walnut salad. Yum! Great food and great company! I feel very grateful to have such thoughtful, wonderful friends in my life who build me up and make me feel so loved. In fact, Dana just now texted me: “I wanted to tell you that I loved your shirt and your bag yesterday, but I forgot to tell you! Super cute.” Sweet texts like that completely brighten my day! Thanks, Dana! ❤

me and dana sideboard

Now, I’m off to tutor a couple of adorable kiddos, and then we’re having a family dinner tonight because my Uncle Frankie is visiting! Happy Friday, everyone!

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

mid-week meditation #11

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Oh man, I went to yoga last night for the first time in for.ev.er and I am sore today! It’s the good kind of sore, though. I’m already looking forward to class tomorrow! It’s nice to be getting back into my regular routine after such a busy, travel-filled summer.

When I got home from yoga last night, there was this gorgeous cake sitting on the kitchen counter. Apparently one of our neighbors saw my grandma walking with her walker and learned about her hip operation. So she baked this homemade lemon cake as a get-well gift. Such a thoughtful gesture! It warmed my heart {and my belly — delicious!} Next time I see her, I’m going to ask for the recipe so I can share it with all of you.

lemon bundt cake

Last night, my fave contestant Tavis Smiley was voted off Dancing With The Stars. 😦 But I’m happy to be heading into San Francisco today to hear Tavis give a talk about his new book about MLK, Death of a King, at The Commonwealth Club.

Death of a King

Then I’m off to teach my first class of the semester for Communication Academy — I’m excited to meet my students and get started! Tonight I’m heading over to my aunt Annie’s house to watch the season premiere of Nashville with her and Arianna… the other show I watch on a regular basis in addition to The Good Wife. Any other Nashville fans?

Before I go, here’s a September-inspired meditation to add some calm to your week:

September quote

Have a beautiful day!

a year of Wooden: week 30

Hi, everyone! Hope you had a lovely Labor Day weekend! Dana is visiting and we spent a gorgeous day soaking up the sunshine in Santa Barbara. I love having this beautiful inside-and-out person for a friend!

me and dana sb

Now it’s time for this week’s year of Wooden challenge… and we’re into a new month, which means a new topic!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.
  • August: Balance.
  • September: Drink deeply from good poetry.

Back in January, we began this year-long challenge with the first item from Coach Wooden’s 7-Point Creed: Drink deeply from good books. Now, back-to-school time seems the perfect season to return to this idea of learning, curiosity, and growth through reading. I want to include a special focus on poetry because Coach Wooden had a deep love for poetry. He could recite many poems by heart and even wrote poetry himself. So, for the month of September, we are going to delve into poetry.

But before moving forward, let’s wrap up August’s focus on balance. Last week’s challenge was to try to do one activity from each of your categories every day. My main categories are:

  • Family & friends
  • Work
  • Writing
  • Mental health
  • Physical health

Here are some activities I did this past week: spent quality time with my grandparents {my grandma is healing very well from her hip operation!} and extended family, as well as my parents, sweetheart, and Dana; put in a solid 12-15 hours of editing work; revised 80+ pages of my work-in-progress; submitted pieces to three journals; watched a fun movie and read some of my favorite blogs; wrote in my gratitude journal and meditated; and did lots and lots of walking in the sunshine!

I still want to get back into my yoga routine, which has been difficult with all the traveling I’ve been doing lately. Does anyone have good beginner yoga YouTube videos to recommend, since I haven’t been able to make it to my favorite classes in-person?

It can be overwhelming {not to mention impossible} trying to “have it all” and “do it all”… so last week’s challenge was important for me. I shifted my mind-set away from trying to cram 1,001 things into each day and instead focused on making time for two or three of my key categories every day. Just as I had hoped, over the course of the week I did feel much more balanced and peaceful — and happy! I’m definitely planning to continue this routine.

To kick of the month of September, for this week’s challenge, I am going to read Selected Poems of Robert Frost.

Selected Poems Robert Frost

You can also read many of Robert Frost’s poems online here. Next week, I’ll share my favorite poem from the collection, and I’d love to hear yours as well!

Questions for the day:

  • How did your month of balance go? Did you learn anything about yourself?
  • Who are some of your favorite poets?

P.S. A special birthday shout-out to Holly, who turned 27 yesterday!

me and hol brunch

I love you so much, my dear friend!

mid-week meditation #4

Hi from Ventura, friends! I’m home for an all-too-quick visit to see my parents and my brother before he heads off to Washington D.C. on Saturday for a summer internship. {Suuuuper proud of you, Greg!}

Just wanted to pop by and share a mid-week meditation, inspired by my favorite yoga teacher Rosalyn.

yoga meditation

 

Are you holding onto something that isn’t serving you? Are you feeling guilt or shame over some past action or mistake? I love this self-forgiveness meditation by Heather Waxman. Try it out, let go of the pain you are holding against yourself, and move towards inner peace and healing.

Questions of the morning:

  • Do you practice yoga?
  • Is there something you need to forgive yourself for?

goals + recipes for the week of 6/1

It’s been a whirlwind past few days filled with wonderful birthday celebrations with friends and family, completing my 27 acts of kindness {thanks to all of you for your support!} and teaching a full day of Communications Academy classes yesterday, including final presentations by two classes — always sad to say goodbye to groups of students, but I’m hoping many of them will come back for courses in the fall.

me and al my birthday

Speaking of sad goodbyes, my sweetheart left yesterday for a summer internship in New Orleans … I’m so proud of him, but dang I miss him already! I’m looking forward to seeing him in a month when I fly out for a visit. Have any of you been to New Orleans before? Any recommendations for places to go and things to do when I’m there?

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
– write ten pages {didn’t quite make it to ten; sidetracked by a bad cold and my birthday celebrations}
– send out two query letters/submissions
complete final students evals + certificates
finish reading Wolf Hall
– go to the gym twice {sidetracked by my cold}
– complete my 27 random acts of kindness for my 27th birthday!

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write ten pages
– send out two query letters/submissions
– complete final student evals + certificates for Dublin classes
– read up to page 200 of new book
– go to the gym twice + yoga once
– connect with three friends
– write all birthday thank-yous

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
36 summer salads & sides via Two Peas & Their Pod
– kale quinoa salad via The Pajama Chef
– cauliflower curry chickpea stew via the real-life rd
{recipe redux} pork lo mein via The Lean Green Bean
– my own healthy chicken salad w/celery, cranberries & almonds

Questions of the day:

  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?

MPM-Spring
This post is featured on Menu Plan Monday!

my health heroes

Earlier this month I received an email from the American Recall Center, “a brand new website devoted to providing health and wellness news in simple, straightforward terms.” They say their ultimate goal is to help their readers take complete charge of their health by being fully informed!

They asked me if I would be interested in participating in their “Who Keeps you Healthy?” campaign by answering the question, “Who is your Health Hero?”

I immediately wrote back, “Of course!” I’ve spent the past couple weeks thinking about the question, and I’ve decided it’s too hard for me to pick just one person. I’m extremely fortunate to have multiple Health Heroes: my family!

Running-Santa-Clarita-Marathon-720x1024My dad inspires me every day with his determination and perseverance. In addition to running many marathons including Boston, he is a “running streaker” and has run at least three miles every single day since July 7, 2003 — that’s nearly 4,000 days! He keeps track of his streak and writes about running on his website.

My mom inspires me with her commitment to cooking nutritious meals, eating a healthful whole-foods diet, and making time for exercise even when she is busy. She has run many marathons and goes running in the morning before work, and walks twice a day with Mr. Mur-dog. She is truly a strong woman inside and out, and is my favorite gym buddy — she always encourages me to do one more rep on the weight machines! And, longtime blog readers may remember, my mom and I climbed Mt. Whitney together back in 2003.

me and mom at top

Trojan_Invite_2011My brother inspires me with his dedication to exercise and being healthy, even in the midst of a super-busy academic and work schedule; he is a student in USC’s MBA program, works part-time in the USC Athletic Office, and serves as a leader of multiple student and volunteer groups. Yet he still makes time to run multiple times a week and is even taking part in a meditation course this semester. He inspires me to be healthy and happy in mind and spirit in addition to my physical body.

The more I thought about Health Heroes, the more my list grew:

  • My grandparents, all in their eighties, go on walks nearly every day. My Gramps rides the stationary bike every morning while watching the news. My Grandpap still plays golf occasionally and my Grandma plays bridge every week to keep her mind sharp.
  • My Aunt Annie does Pilates multiple times a week and my Aunt Mary goes to super-early-morning cycling class at the gym before work.
  • My friends {both in real life and the blogosphere} have inspired many healthy adoptions that are now a part of my daily routine: my yoga practice, my morning breakfast smoothies, my lunchtime salads, my nighttime meditation ritual, even trying new things like zumba!
  • My cousins inspire me to remember to have FUN exercising and moving my body, because isn’t that what it’s all about?

family

I feel so fortunate to have so many Health Heroes in my life who motivate me to stay true to my own goals for a healthy, happy, fulfilled life!

Question of the day:

  • Who are your Health Heroes?

goals + recipes for the week of 4/6

Hi everyone! How is your weekend going? Mine has been lovely so far! Bianca came over and we baked some delicious pumpkin spice muffins. I got caught up on one of my fave TV shows, Nashville {thanks, Hulu!} Yesterday I went to morning yoga class and a women’s self-defense class. And I got to see my dear friend Michelle after she’s been out of town for three weeks! It was SO great to reunite with her.

As soon as I hit “publish” on this post, I’m heading off to morning church service, and then I’m going to the Oakland A’s game with Allyn and his family. It will be my first baseball game in forever and I’m really excited!

Before I head off for the day, it’s goals time…

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
– write 12 pages
send out newsletter {subscribe for *free* here if you want}
– go to two yoga classes
– prepare for my Steinbeck Fellowship reading {such an amazing night!}
– connect with three friends
– have a wonderful time with my mama in town! 🙂

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:
– write 12 pages
– read 100 pages of The Kitchen God’s Wife
– go to two yoga classes
– prepare for my new teaching gig
– connect with three friends

And here are some recipes I’m drooling over this week:
cheesy mexican chicken skillet via Lindsay @The Lean Green Bean {guest-posting @Nut Butter Runner}
– oatmeal fudge bars via Sarah @The Pajama Chef
– homemade pizza using this crust recipe via Danica @It’s Progression
– edamame & black bean salad via Julie @PB Fingers
– dark chocolate + pistachio + sea-salt cookies via Two Peas & Their Pod

Questions of the morning:

  • How has your weekend been so far?
  • What are your goals for this upcoming week?
  • What recipes are you drooling over lately?