Simply Succulent

There are people in this world who can talk to a plant or just walk by it and it brings forth the most beautiful foliage and blooms you ever did see. In fact, I know one such person – my mother-in-law. She’s amazing! I’ve seen her take an orchid, reduced to just the leaves and a couple sticks with one shriveled up flower left, that someone discarded into the trash can … only to re-pot it, love it, and watch it bloom into the most gigantic, thriving orchid ever!

Then, there are people like … me.

I could walk by a plant and I swear it will shrink back and shrivel up within minutes. Like my mere presence is toxic to plant life. Needless to say – I’ve never possessed the proverbial “green thumb”.

But then one magical day – all that changed. It was the day that I discovered … SUCCULENTS!

It is nearly impossible to kill succulents. That’s not the only reason I love them (though it’s seriously the front-runner of reasons). They are just beautiful. And there are so many different varieties. So many, that I’m beginning to run out room on my porch. This calls for a new, creative approach on where to grow / plant them.

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Yeah – I’m feeling like a champ over here with me and my succulents. Though, I am going to challenge myself to once again try my hand at regular flowers as well as some of my favorite veggies (a bitter disappointment of the pas that I wish not to speak of).

So, while everyone else was spending the 4th of July holiday BBQ-ing or poolside – I was planting, re-potting, watering, and relaxing with these beauties …

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not a succulent … but my attempt at growing other stuff too

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this little bitty is growing thru the wood cover leading to beneath the house!

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**swoon**

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Summa-time Feels

From summer blooms to BBQ’s, beach blankets to camping trip prepping underway … I’ve got them summer times feels.

I live near the coast, though. So even though the calendar says the official start of summer kicked off over a week or so ago – the sun peaks through the marine layer only when it feels like it.

However, while I may never put away my winter clothes around here – I stay flip flop ready!

Bring on the the cherries n melon … beach bonfires … blue skies … playing in the garden … roller coaster rides on the Boardwalk … sundresses … toes in the sand … camping … river hikes … picnics n BBQs … strappy sandals … SPF 1,000 (ha!) – and let’s get our summer on!

Be What You Say

Our company’s monthly newsletter always includes an inspirational quote. Sometimes from famous people and other times from people I’ve never heard of before. (Often times I’m shocked at who these little nuggets of wisdom come from lol)

July’s inspirational word is a quote from American writer, William Faulkner. He said,

“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”

It just kind of struck me when I read it. I immediately thought of how that could be applied in all areas of life. Particularly, in my life.

Basically he’s saying – be what you say. Do what you say. Practice what you preach. Live what you speak. Demonstrate what you proclaim.

I’m not healthy in my body because I say that I am. I’m healthy because I live a healthy lifestyle. I’m not a kind, loving person because I claim to be that. I’m a kind, loving person because I put into practice kindness and love. I’m not a follower of Christ because I speak of Him and can quote Scripture … rather because I put that Word into practice in my daily life.

Words are just words until you team them up with actions … a noun is just a noun until you turn it into a verb. BE about it.

Kauai – Our Great Escape, Part I

Wow – so the Christmas busy stuff made finding even a few minutes to write nearly impossible. But here is my Kauai trip – part of it anyway, as promised …

When I say “our great escape” – I so mean escape. We were more than ready to get away from the stresses of work, family, and everyday life. Just didn’t know how much until we actually touched down.

Let me just point out that we’d had a few misconceptions about Hawaii. One being the expectation upon arrival.

MISCONCEPTION #1: you will be greeted with people dressed in traditional island garb with big smiles, placing flower leis (provoking the not-so-original joke about “getting lei-ed” right off the plane) around your neck wishing you a lovely vacation as Hawaiian music festively sends you off to your hotel.

REALITY CHECK: no locals dressed as locals, no ukulele being played in the background, no flowers with which to get lei-ed. No, none of it. Just a blast of suffocating hot, sticky air, mass confusion on how to get to the rental car place, and chickens … everywhere.

Once we got our vehicle and figured out the cell phone GPS – we were on our way to our new home for the week: The Kiahuna Plantation Resort.

Our first day was spent grocery shopping, checking in, making our temporary home our own, getting acclimated to our immediate surroundings in Poipu. We semi-planned our activities for the week.

Our first full day (Sunday), consisted of homemade breakfast on the balcony, a drive to Spouting Horn not more than 10 minutes up the road, a little shopping from a local outdoor market and relaxing on Poipu Beach.

The next day was going to be our big hike day (that we’d been planning for months) so we turned in early. This week promised to be an amazing time. The thoughts of home drifted far, far away.

Stay tuned friends. Aloha!

5 Senses Monday – Back to Reality

Late Saturday night my husband and I returned from our honeymoon – a week in Kauai. It was awesome in every way a honeymoon / vacation should be.

I will cover our stay in paradise, in segments, this week. But for now, I leave you with a 5 Senses Monday piece … a weekend review via the 5 senses.

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SEEING:  the island of Kauai from land below and the sky above … my Kindle for 5 straight hours to make a long flight pass quickly … pictures and GoPro footage of our trip … red – it took FOREEEEVER for the shuttle to pick us up from the airport and then for the valet to bring us our car (spoiled-American problems) – it was midnight and I just wanted my own bed

HEARING:  the plane engines and the occasional pinging of the seatbelt sign … the screaming, crying 2 year old throughout the flight … the last of the chill Hawaiian reggae music before we left for home 

TASTING:  left over Kalua pork nachos reheated with scrambled eggs – a sort of Hawaiian-style chilaquiles (YUM-MEEE) … pretzels and green apple Rips – my in-flight snack of choice … chicken pad Thai from my favorite Thai restaurant 

SMELLING:  musty 😂 – after going from humid stickiness to a plane full of equally as musty human beings LOL … coffee from the bag I brought home as a gift for a friend … tropical flowers that I won’t be able to enjoy until we visit the island again

FEELING:  EXHAUSTED – ’nuff said … sad – I so enjoyed the time away. It was so overdue. The thought of going back to the worries of bills, stress of work, and the tiresome every day routine – just bummed me out. Yet … thankful and appreciative for the time away with my husband. It really was amazing.

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drinkin’ our vacation-is-over blues away as we wait to board our plane

Stay tuned. More to come from Kauai. Aloha friends!

My C+ Life

Average. I think I may just be average. The question is – am I okay with that?

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So,  I’m talking with a co-worker-come-friend with whom I have so much in common that it’s borderline scary (yet cool). And it was during this particular morning chat over coffee (her) and tea (me) that I became extremely self-aware. A revelation … a deeper understanding of something I’d already known about myself but had never put into words, let alone made an excuse for it.

I’ve never been accused of being overly ambitious. I’m FULL of good ideas. I’m a total starter with big dreams and great intentions. But rarely do I turn those ambitions into a completed anything. I don’t really excel at any one thing that could potentially get me far in life or that I could make a career out of. Rather, I have the potential to excel at a number of different things but have ZERO motivation to take any of those talents or skills to that next level.

It’s not for lack of confidence, though that has been an issue from time to time. The ol’ “but am I really good enough to do something with this?” type of second-guessing of my capabilities. But … no. It just really boils down to lack of motivation, laziness and lack of commitment.

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I walked away from morning chat / therapy session with the realization that:  there isn’t ONE thing that I’m so passionate about that I would do whatever it took to make the dream a reality. Let me give you some examples:

I have always wanted to play the piano. I sing. I’ve written songs. I absolutely LOVE music. I’ve often felt dwarfed in this area because I cannot play my own music. I’ve attempted piano lessons twice – once even staying committed up to a year with once-a-week, half hour lessons. It was the practicing on my own time that I had a difficulty committing to. While I REEAAALLLYYYY want to play … I don’t want to play badly enough to discipline myself and sit there at least 30 minutes every day to practice. Even bought a nice piano … that is currently collecting dust and making me feel guilty every time I walk past it.

Photography. Oh my – how I absolutely enjoy photography. I have a good eye and an artistic flair. I would be more than good at it. But do I want to invest time in taking a class and studying up on technique? Learn the ins and outs of this skill set? Sounds good. But alas – No. I can guarantee I wouldn’t even read the user manual on how to use the camera … until I get so frustrated that I’m ready to toss it across the room. Dream over before it ever even began.

I’ve tried knitting. Figured I could make my own scarves and beanies and blankets. Save a ton of money. Use them as gifts even. Couldn’t get the hang of it within a week so I lost interest. Besides, who needs the head ache when you have a 30% coupon from Kohls? Problem solved.

Started crafting – making handmade cards and calendars. Bought all kinds of crafting “necessities” from Stampin Up. Michael’s employees knew me like my Starbucks barista knows my order. This hobby actually lasted a good 2-3 years. But, as do all things with me, it seemed to have run its course and I lost interest. My crafting table and toys sit on the opposite wall from my piano. They tag-team me with the guilt trips. But to get rid of them all would be to admit defeat. Besides … you know – what if I want to dabble in them again one day?

And the list goes on. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. Just HAD to take gymnastics like my older cousin. Two months in, at the age of 6 – I’d had enough. Bored. No longer interested. Refused to go.

As I was talking with my co-worker AKA “Bestie”, it was becoming clear – I’m just average. Nothing peaks my interest enough that I would do anything and everything to succeed at it (well, with the exception of my marriage). Nothing inspires me enough to stay committed to it so that I could break into that ABOVE average category.

Bestie reassured me that this is “normal” … that there are many out there just like us. And I started to think that maybe I should embrace this mantra. That this is who I am and it’s okay to be this way. So what if I’m talented in many areas but don’t excel in any one of them. So what if I have a ton of potential yet no motivation. So what if I don’t really have a particular niche. I should just accept that this is who I am and it’s normal and it’s okay.

 

Problem is … I’m not okay with it. I’m not comfortable with the idea of wasting natural talents and skills that God has given me. I feel like a lazy ass who decides against doing certain things because it’s going to require extra time and effort. Try as I may, I just can’t be at peace with accepting mediocrity. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have to be well-renowned and recognized for my accomplishments. But to just see something through to the end … start to finish with all the work required in between.

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The other problem is … I don’t know how to propel myself out of this average, mediocre hole I’ve been stuck in all my life. How to stay inspired enough to see projects past the idea stage all the way to completion.

I am absolutely sure of this one thing:

I can’t rest knowing that I have the capabilities of graduating life with high honors … but am willing to accept skating by with a C average because it’s all I need to pass.

 

 

5 Senses Monday – No Place Like Home

I went home for the weekend … spent time with family and friends. Of course, there’s just never enough time to see everyone you miss so much. Here’s my weekend wrap up via the 5 senses …


SEEING:  my mama, gam-gam, and my aunts over lunch … one of my nieces who I never get enough of … tree-lined streets adorned in red and brown and gold … lawns covered in fallen leaves (has anyone heard of a rake? 😂) … one of my best friends of 30 years 


SMELLING:  freshly baked apple pie (straight from the freezer section lol) … pumpkin spice breakfast muffin … Aquanet hairspray (yeah my mom still uses Aquanet)

TASTING:  the most DE-licious ribs … broccoli cheddar soup (one of my favs) … yummy avocado ranch dressing 


HEARING:  the same lame music over and over on every station (what happened to GOOD music anyway?) … Christmas songs playing in a department store that has already decked its halls … new worship songs and the Word while visiting a new church with my dad 

FEELING:  the warm fuzzies from another 30-year friend who gives the best most lovingest hugs ever … nostalgic, reminiscing our younger years … old – finding that my childhood friends have kids moving into their teenage years (WTF?!) … grateful to have the time, however limited, with my grandma and aunts, with my niece and my parents … silly with my mom while out shopping … homesick and sad to leave but excited to go home to my hubby

Im so thankful for the family and friends God has blessed me with. And there’s nothing like being able to go back home to the warmth of their love.