Friday, March 25, 2016


Someone asked me a few days ago if I still swim. I had mentioned to her that I am a former competitive swimmer. I told her that I get in the pool occasionally, but that it's more of a commitment than just walking out my door and getting on the bike or going for a jog.

One of the things I miss about swimming regularly is the sense of power. When I work hard in the pool, I feel really strong. Learning to swim is learning to swim with the water instead of fighting against it. When you're trained to swim well, you move with the water and experience less resistance.

I actually think those who don't swim as well, who face more resistance from the water, probably get more of a workout because they have to fight harder to move through it. Because I'm a more experienced swimmer, I have to swim longer because I've learned how to move through the water more smoothly.

The person I was talking with smiled and said, "I think there's some life lessons in there."

"I suppose there are" I replied.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"It's my birthday, I am loved"

Yesterday, on my birthday, a photographer was taking pictures for a project called Dear World at my library. The rules are pretty simple:
  1. Reflect on a personal story of who you are or who you want to be.
  2. Write a message that symbolizes your story.
  3. Share your portrait with friends, family, and colleagues.
There are many lessons I've learned, especially since moving to Texas:
  • Creativity requires courage
  • Keep practicing
  • Take action in spite of fear 
  • Create space to be
  • Just be
However, I decided to capture the spirit of the day I was having, and it's a story most people can relate to:
Photo by Jonah Evans of
Jonah (the photographer) was so nice, and texted me this photo before it was actually "published." He also told me that they shared it at their show last night and that it got a great response.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Saying yes

I helped a student last night with a research project, and got to know a little bit about her story. She's Hispanic and a first generation college student. When she was in high school, a group from a non-profit organization pursued her as a prospective college student. She told me that when the people from this group first approached her, she was completely uninterested in having anything to do with them. But they kept asking her to participate. She also told me that all her teachers encouraged her to take advantage of the program that this non-profit offered. She finally said "yes" to their help, and eventually won a full-ride scholarship to the college of her choice. The scholarship included tuition, room and board, and possibly a stipend for books, and now she's a senior, and planning on attending graduate school. She's the only Hispanic student from her class that went to a four-year university. She also told me that the students, because they would often be first generation college students, do not know all the steps of the process for applying to college, and it is complicated.

We talked about how amazing it was that she said "yes" to that one opportunity, because it completely changed the trajectory of her life.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A reflection on starting over

A friend of mine is moving to another state. Not super far away, just to Oklahoma (I live in TX) but still. Far enough that it's going to be a major transition. I've moved twice to places, after college and as an adult, where I didn't really know anyone. My friend confessed that he's excited and terrified about this new opportunity. Excited, because he got a fantastic job. Terrified, because it's a new start.

I was reflecting on this and remembering my own move to a completely foreign place, Texas. I got a fantastic job and moved away from everything I had known for 30 years of my life in California. I was really excited about the opportunity, got all moved into my apartment and was okay for a few days after I moved to Texas, and then had a massive breakdown. I can remember chatting with a friend of mine on the phone during that breakdown, and he didn't even really know how to respond because I was so overwhelmed and afraid that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.

However, I was committed to staying in Texas for awhile, and I've been here about six years now. I do believe it is harder to make friends and connections the older I get. I've started over twice in my life, by moving to places where I didn't really know anyone, and both times were sooooo hard. Even now, I still sometimes feel lonely and far away from my best friends and family. But I have managed to make a few good friends here too.

What I've learned is that it's important to reach out, to try and make those connections. Set social goals. Go out of my way to do things with people, and if they don't invite me to do stuff, then I need to invite them to do stuff with me.

I am thankful for the people who are willing to spend time with me. Those relationships make all the difference to my well-being every week. It seems like the older I get, the more precious those relationships become, because they take longer to build the older I get.

So, to my friend who's moving -- put yourself out there. If you can't find people to do stuff with, go out anyway. Set social goals. Give yourself grace. And when you're lonely, know that there are so many people who care about you. Call your friends and family often. Don't be a stranger. You are going to do great things in your new job, and I pray that it will be a rewarding and enriching experience for you. You deserve it, cause you're awesome!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


One of my sisters gave me a set of Love Haikubes as a housewarming gift. She knows I love playing with words and being creative. I've had more free time on weekends lately, so I decided to give them a roll.

My composition:
First of all, the last word, "friend," should be plural. So the composition should read:
dinner together
I drink with those wise,
dear, happy, kind, friends
I got to have dinner with my friends Nancy and Liz two nights in a row. I'm thankful they put up with my need to be social. It was a good memory. Nothing spectacular, but I really appreciate having meaningful conversations, good wine, and food with a small group of friends.

I also used the rest of this roll to write another composition:
yearning for beauty
under glistening starlight
being so lonely
However, I couldn't use the cubes to write this... the word "lonely" is not in the cube vocabulary. It's amazing how you can change the entire feeling of a composition by changing one or two words. Using the cubes, this is that same composition, with two different words:

I am often challenged by the idea of choosing my context--how I'm going to be about something. And in this space, I could sense the difference in how I'm being just by changing these words around.

I realize it's not the greatest poetry ever, but this exercise reminded me that I always have the choice to change my attitude. It also reminds me that there are actions I can take to combat the loneliness, like call family or friends, and to respond with self-compassion.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Thinking about Lent

I just got asked to write a devotional for Lent! Super excited. Don't know what I'm going to write about yet. Thinking about it though.

UPDATE: Here's my devotional.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Living with intent

I can't believe how time flies. How did June completely escape me? I've been to two conferences, and have been keeping busy with a few writing and planning projects. I've been spending my writing time writing more in an actual journal, and less on this blog. I have also been writing more poetry and songs, with the goal to record a solo album this year.

Logo from the American Library Association annual conference in Las Vegas (
I went to the American Library Association (ALA) conference this year for the first time as a professional librarian. I do not know very many librarians personally at this conference, so I was determined to make some friends. The first night, I was so tired, and feeling introverted. I kinda wanted to just hide in my room and rest. But I had also put a social event on my calendar. I really debated attending. When I really thought about what I wanted to accomplish at the conference, which was to make some friends, I knew I needed to go to this event. So I made my way through the labyrinth of hotels that is the Las Vegas strip, and finally found the social! I definitely made some friends there, some of whom I think will be my friends for a long time. Meeting these people was the best part of my conference, and I would have missed it if I had decided to stay in my hotel room.

I'm reminded that when I put myself out into the world, with the intention to meet people, I meet people. When we state our intentions, and are committed to them, we can accomplish amazing things.