M A Y / 1 2

As we prepared for the Mother’s Day celebration at Bartlett Arboretum we were tidying up, pulling tulips for mums, planting more budding flowers & [my newly found interest] pruning. [the heck?]

“Trim the dead right up to the live tree so it promotes growth. The likelihood of it growing back healthy is increased.” • {tree}

Amidst my therapeutic tree pruning, it unfolded within me that this tree and its lifeless, energy drain limbs is no different from our lives and the baggage we carry or hold on to. Just as the limbs of a tree are cropped, we too can trim the dead, the negativity, the nonsense & the unfulfilling branches in our life; the branches that leave us parched, hurting, seeking fulfillment or approval, running in circles & exhausting beautiful days.

Just as the tree exerts energy in trying to contain the damage & the sickly branches continue to prevent new growth, we too find ourselves stuck & empty due to people, things, circumstances & choices.

Insert: pruning.

I have experienced the difficulty in “trimming the fat” within my own life; I have also experienced the joy that comes from it that I never knew existed.

The initial difficulties in saying no, walking away from a hurtful person, loving someone from a distance rather than closely & full of expectation, making discerning decisions based on acknowledging my worth all lead to growth within me & have since offered me joy, restful nights & alive days.

The tree takes years to grow, flower, stretch, canopy, shake the dead, flourish, spread, rise up — with no end to speak of; what makes us think we are not so peculiar?

I am thankful for my foundation, my heart, my trunk.

I am thankful for my branches that stretch out in many directions seeking light, passion, service & my Maker.

I am also thankful for the deadwood that has been shaken off — among the nonessential has been learning experiences teaching me truth, authenticity, what truly matters in our lives & once shimmied down to my core, it is where I truly uncover myself.

Thank you {Mother Nature} | for being my teacher.

Thank you {Tree} | for helping me to become an enlightened wildflower among the wilderness 🌸

| Hemingway | 

“He had destroyed his talent by not using it, by betrayals of himself and what he believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge of his perceptions, by laziness, by sloth, and by snobbery, by pride and by prejudice, by hook and by crook.

It was a talent all right but instead of using it, he had traded it.

He had traded it for security, for comfort too, there was no denying that…”

[ Excerpt from The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Ernest Hemingway ]

Tapping into the well of these writers from another time & place has been the biggest breath of fresh air. Although a different time, a very prevailing perspective is uncovered.

What talents & gifts have we put on hold, hiatus or have yet to dream up. How many times have we chosen the comfortable route that {f e a r  &  d o u b t} have placed us on in exchange for the {j o y} our gifts are anticipating to flourish within us.

In this story, Harry is reflecting on his life due to becoming infected with gangrene & assuming his death is near. His passion never attained: writing.

“But he would never do it, because each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did not work at all.”

An encouragement & challenge to myself is not becoming discouraged or overwhelmed by the work that’s necessary to watch gifts, passions & big dreams take shape. By reminding myself that I am a work in progress, that my journey will provide laughs & growth [alike] & to remain steadfast in gratitude…I am provided the heart to take on my wandering, one day, one moment at a time.

Thank you Mr. Hemingway — for being my teacher today.

{Fortune Teller}

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

A question I sometimes ponder & even roughly inquire with others (in the most genuine, inquiring minds, I’m interested in your life, your kids are adorable, “you have a cat too?!” sort of way), though it doesn’t seem very reasonable to me, when given further thought.

There was a time when people would often ask me where I saw myself down the line. I would pull something from thin air or rattle off a customary return: career, settle down, happy. Typical stuff. I guess the lapse of time between previously being asked that & this weekend have me providing a very different answer…

Where do I see myself in five years? I’m not sure but I don’t intend on forming an indestructible plan or idea of what my future is; my plans don’t [necessarily] likely pan out. What I am sure of at this point, however, is that I want to do what makes me joyful & exercise my gifts; write, be a steward to my beautiful skin care clients & continue traveling with the possibility of joining a non profit one day. I intend on living for passion rather than a paycheck; with purpose rather than passivity. To live in prayer for the hurting hearts of others while seeking the continual work in my own. And all the while, living in pursuit of simplicity.

I suppose rather than “where do I see myself in five years” I see it as “what do I desire of my next five years”.

“Where do you see yourself” brings such conclusion; a destination that’s been [hypothetically] predetermined.

“What do you desire” promotes the journey and what we plan on contributing to it.

Big dreams, goals & even “fell into my lap” moments are all a reflection of our daily contributions; our investment of time & energy. I acknowledge that previously on my journey I found frustration due to certain opportunities or circumstances not going my way with only the end result in sight. But what were my daily contributions? How was I becoming better? How was I contributing to those around me rather than myself alone? And with only the end in sight [where I saw myself in five years] how many every day wonders was I missing out on?

Therefore, what I desire of my next five years is to live in joy, pursuit & passion — of Jesus, others & my gifts.

Where I am in five years will come & go; hopefully my contributions will make a longer, lasting impression.



#BartlettArb | Circa Spring 2014


| Circa 1876 |

Recently I took up some Mark Twain; subject matter that nauseously bored me in my younger years, until now, left an impression on me.

An excerpt from “Old Times on the Mississippi” — a story of a boy with a desire to be a steamboatman & when given the opportunity to fulfill his dream he comes to the realization the work, hardship of the lifestyle & the knowledge required to accomplish Pilot status. He is mentored by Mr. B who, although seems gruff, takes him by the hand to show him the wonders of the water & the importance of knowledge behind every curve of the river, deciphering waves & reefs & ultimately “compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat”.

Despite his frustrations, self pity & yearning to give up he succeeds in learning the river, his perspective is changed through growth & over time he uncovers his passion.

Isn’t this so like our lives, no matter the trade we choose or stumble upon? We love it, we hate it, become discouraged by it, choose to work through it, learn from it, grow with it, maybe leave it or every so often uncover a passion within it.

“I stood like one bewitched. I drank it in, in a speechless rapture. The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this at home. But as I have said, a day came when I began to cease noting the glories and the charms which the moon and the sun and the twilight wrought upon the river’s face; another day came when I ceased altogether to note them…

No, the romance and the beauty were all gone from the river. All the value any feature of it had for me now was the amount of usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat. Since those days, I have pitied doctors from my heart. What does the lovely flush in a beauty’s cheek mean to a doctor but a “break” that ripples above some deadly disease? Are not all her visible charms sown thick with what are to him the signs and symbols of hidden decay?

Does he ever see her beauty at all, or doesn’t he simply view her professionally, and comment upon her unwholesome condition all to himself?

And doesn’t he sometimes wonder whether he has gained most or lost most by learning his trade?”

{Reflection} … What does our life mean? Where we invest our time, our energy — are we gaining or are we losing?


“Give everyday the chance to become the most beautiful of your life.” – Mark Twain

Intangible Friends

Unchartered territory: stumbling upon someone you know via social media but up until now, never meeting them face to face.

What a funny & new concept to ultimately know a lot about someone but to have never met them. And then, on occasion, you do cross each other’s paths and you think…

“Hey, I know you!
Buut, I don’t?
Soo, how’s your dog?”

So what’s the protocol here? Is it the typical introduction & inquisitive nature to find out more about them or is it acceptable to start shooting from the hip on topics/things we clearly already know they take part in?

Is there a fine line between seeming nosey and just being friendly?

That being said, tis the beauty of social media: to connect with individuals, near & far, with the toss-up of linking up beyond the profile & filter & alternately in the flesh. [planned or unplanned is TBD]

The world is a great big place. I’m thankful I live in a time where I am able to share my life & passions with others & find inspirations in others social media contributions as well.

Cheers to sorting through the [maybe] awkwardness of meeting our social media frans in the flesh & even [maybe] becoming tangible friends.


jump • leap • fly

Being the oldest sibling provides an interesting route. One minute you are awestruck in the presence of this little human & showering them with squinches, the next you are pulling each other’s hair out in the aisle of a grocery store as a tantrum ensues.

[repeat. x’s 3]

Most people have siblings so the exploitation of our shenanigans isn’t necessary, however, this most recent chapter, quite possibly, reveals the most beautiful gift a sibling has to offer: growth.

Most recently I have been encouraged by the youngest in our crew, my brother.

Short & sweet: my brother is a collegiate baseball player that found himself in an environment, among individuals that, over time, proved to be hindering & adverse to his growth on & off the field.

After stewing over the unrest for a year [+], he made the faith-guided decision to transfer colleges.

It has me reflecting — how often do we stick around for people, companies, relationships & geographical whereabouts being unhappy & disheartened, because we feel this tug of loyalty; this loyalty to someone or something that continues to chip away at us rather than galvanize the best in us.

Rather than scratch the surface of the unknown, we cling to the familiar & safe in hopes that if we stick it out people, circumstances & outcomes will change.

I wish at a younger age I would have released the inner lioness in me & rejected the fear that was commonly chosen over spontaneous happening, approaching opportunity & even a moment to share/use my gifts with others; all hindered & set aside in the presence of doubt.

But my brother did what I &, likely, most of us wish we would have had the strength to do as a young adult: walk a w a y from what is not good & blindly walk t o w a r d the unsung.

I’m thankful for my brothers little reminder in chasing passions, rejecting fear in the midst of life-defining decision making, acknowledging our worth & what it looks like to jump, leap — fly.

“Shine like the whole universe is yours.” – Rumi