A Month of Gratitude: Unexpected Moments of Gratitutde

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.”  — A.A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh

Around this time of year, we realize we should be extra grateful or extra thankful.  We know that Thanksgiving is just one day, but we should should gratitude 365 days of the year.  We also tend to list what we are thankful for, sometimes without really thinking it through. I am guilty of this and throughout the day I have my mantras that I say to myself to keep my in the right frame of mind: “I am thankful for my health, I am thankful for my family, I am thankful to be a mother, I am thankful for my husband, I am thankful for my job. Be nice, be courageous, be kind.” However, throughout the day I am also presented with unexpected moments of gratitude. Moments where I think “Wow, I need be thankful.” Continue reading

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The Great Shopping Conundrum

For the last few months of the year, I feel like I am always shopping. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, multiple birthdays, etc. It just keeps on going.  I will say that I actually ENJOY buying presents for other people. It’s so much fun, sometimes I take it WAY over the top and end up making a gift basket because I couldn’t decide on just one present.  Then there are other times when I just keep putting it off and putting it off until it’s the last minute…you know like a good procrastinator.  Take for instance today. I asked my husband to take my son to run some errands so I could go shopping for my mother-in-law’s, my niece’s and my son’s birthdays. (One belated-late and two-early)

First of all, I completely forgot that it was a holiday. Not just a holiday but a STATE and FEDERAL holiday meaning no school and no work for about 75% of the island. Guess what? Everyone had the same idea today.  Normally when I’m with my son, I’m only about to hit up maybe 2 stores, 3 MAX. If I’m alone on a weekday while everyone is working, I can get to about 6-8 stores. Today, I made it to 2…I should have just taken my son shopping with me! Traffic was crazy, parking was crazy, and guess what? I didn’t buy anyone presents because I was so stressed out about parking my stinking car! When I finally did get into the store, all I could think about was I NEED to buy something to make this dang trip worth it! I KNOW, I shouldn’t have done it but I did. I will admit that I did get some pretty good deals though! (Nordstrom Rack is having their clear the racks sale with an additional 25% off red tags…just saying…you know, in case you want to go shopping for gifts…for yourself.)

I hope I’m not the only one that does this but I was in the dressing room and I was thinking to myself: “Why is it that when I have money and want to go shopping for myself, I never see anything that I want or like? Why is it that when I’m broke and go “window shopping” I see a plethora of items I’d like to own? ALSO, Why is it that when I need to go shopping for someone else I end up walking away empty handed BUT, I saw a ton of things that I would like?  I went shopping for my family, and here I am leaving with some jeans and boots that I don’t really need! UGH.” Does anyone know the answers to these questions? I KNOW you don’t, It’s the shopping conundrum I tell you!

Online shopping for clothing can be a joke too. If you’re anything like me, you hate going to the mall to go shopping. On the other hand, you would rather go shopping because you can try before you buy. If you buy online, odds are HIGH that the dress that looked cute on that cute, tall, and skinny girl, will make you look like Grumpy from the Seven Dwarves.  How do I know, because it’s happened. It get’s better though because although it’s free returns, you’ve ripped the package to shreds, and have no box to put it in.  OR, you have the package but you let it sit, on your desk, for nearly half a century before you remember you need to send it back. By which time, it’s too late to send it back to you resort to selling it on Poshmark to only get maybe a 1/4 of what you paid! Double UGH! The shopping conundrum!!!!!!!

Well in any case, if you decide to go shopping this week, stop by Ala Moana for their Grand Opening of The Ewa Wing and also stop by Nordstrom Rack and get 25% of all red tag items…The Ward Village location has got a TON of stuff that I would just love to buy, but I’m on shopping restriction since the holidays are coming and we are leaving for Disneyland in about 3 1/2 weeks. I’ll be showing you my cute finds in an upcoming post so stay tuned!

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Threenager? Myth or Reality?

Meltdowns are becoming increasingly common in our household. I’m not entirely sure what the reason is, maybe It’s that time of the month (all month long?), maybe I’m becoming a mom to a threenager. Did you know that was such a thing? A threenager? I had been hearing about it off and on for a few months now and I thought it was such joke. Why would you call your three year old a threenager? Well friends, I’m here to tell you that a threenager IS A THING, and it’s a BEAST.

My son seems to be a month or two ahead of the game, he’s been that way from, well before he was born! He tried to make his grand entrance into the world at 28 weeks, he crawled for a month and went straight to walking at about 10 months, he started speaking in crisp and clear sentences at about 28 months, and the list goes on and brings us to today. He’s negotiating, he’s screaming, he’s giving me rascal looks, he’s telling me to go away and leave him alone, he’s a THREENAGER! Continue reading

A Month of Gratitude: Forgiveness

Forgiving is HARD. When we are young we are almost always forced to apologize before we are ready.  Do you remember arguing with someone and then hearing them say “I’m sorry,” and then yelling back, “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it!” or “I don’t want you to say it because I’m making you.” I do. I remember saying it way too often. (in fact I still do it).  While it’s hard to say “I’m Sorry,” it’s probably harder to say “It’s okay. I forgive you.” Why is that? Probably because we have been so hurt and shaken to our core, that to forgive would be like losing. But are we losing when we forgive? What kind of contest are we competing in?

I’ve had “daddy issues” for most of my life.  My father was not present in my life growing up, whether by choice or circumstance.  For years, I grew up unfazed by the fact that I did not have a dad. When friends would ask about my father, I would answer rather nonchalantly “I don’t know, he’s not around, in fact I don’t even know who he is.”  Deep down, it bothered me that he was not there.  There came a point in my life where I was growing older, and I had questions, with the biggest being “WHO? Who is my father?” As my mother and I were going through pictures, she randomly pointed out a man, I knew to just be my uncle, and said “That’s your dad.” At first I was blindsided, was she for real? How did she know? A rush of emotions and thoughts flooded my brain! I couldn’t think, I didn’t want to think. For so long, I had been lied to by my mother, my father, MY FAMILY! How and why did this happen to me?  I had every reason to be angry at my mother, my family, my father, and even God.  If God loved me, why would he put me in a situation to not be loved by someone who should ultimately love me unconditionally? Was I unloveable?

A month of Gratitude -- forgiveness -- inspirealoha.net

Of course the answer to that question is no, but to be young and vulnerable is a tumultuous time in one’s life. I think there is a story in the Gospel of Mark called Jesus Curses a Fig Tree that sums up what I am trying to tell you.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11: 22-26

All through out the bible there are stories of forgiveness of each other and forgiveness from God for our sins.  By definition, forgiving is an emotional release of someone who has harmed you in someway.  Letting go of all negative feelings, and that is easier said than done. Jesus’ teachings say to “Never pay bay evil with more evil…Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing GOOD.” Romans 12:17-21 Do you see where I’m going with all of this? Love thy neighbor. God loves us so much that he says time after time, throughout the ENTIRE bible, beginning to end, do not worry, live in love, I (he) will take care of the rest. All you have to worry about is living in love.

To be forgiven, we must first forgive, and we must truly, whole heartedly believe that we are ready to forgive and let go of ANY and ALL negativity that has taken a hold on our lives.  We must forgive to a point where we can be able to walk away and say “Thank you”.  We are not saints, we make choices we regret, we make mistakes and that’s okay, we are human!  Throughout my life, I’m positive I have not always been kind or nice.  I have said and done things that I am truly sorry for.  I have also been faced with a plethora of situations where someone has chosen to directly or indirectly be hurtful to me.  In those situations that I have been faced with, I have not always chosen to act with the grace.  I have had multiple reasons to be angry or mad, or to hold a grudge. A month of Gratitude -- forgiveness -- inspirealoha.net

It was only after I made the conscious decision to forgive those who had hurt me, and let go of all the negative emotions and feelings I was harboring that I realized my life, with every tiny flaw, was an abundance of blessings.  I was blessed with people who were only trying to protect me. I was blessed with valuable lessons.  And you know what, In this situation with my “daddy issues”, I was blessed with 4 fathers! My Grandfather, my Uncle, my Dad, and God.  My God loved me SO MUCH that he gave me 4 dads!  I forgave/thanked my family for trying to protect me, I forgave/thanked my father for being able to get the courage to reach out and let him into my life, he is here now and choosing to make an effort and THAT is what should matter to me. Lastly, I FORGAVE and THANKED God for teaching me this valuable lesson. Even if it hasn’t always felt that way, my life has by no means been hard, in fact it was quite the opposite.  While I grew up in a single parent home, I was no less loved. I was just too blinded by my anger to realize that.  For 28 years I have been loved beyond belief, by my mother, my family, and my friends, but most importantly, I have been loved by God.

You see, what are we gaining by holding onto that anger or hate? Nothing. we push away those who love us and want to love us. We push away the love that is right in front of us.  We push away the happiness that INSTEAD could consume us.  All around, when we choose to live in anger and hate, that is when we are losing.  I realize that it is not easy to forgive, you need time to digest the situation, you need time to adjust and think. I know I’ve been there.  It may not be today, tomorrow, months or years from now, but If I had continued to believe and live in that anger, I truly believe that It would have quite literally, eaten me alive and it will do it to you too! Instead of living in anger and hate, I chose to forgive, now the question is will you?

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Paw Patrol Inspired DIY Costumes

Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, next to my birthday. I look forward to halloween every year, and every year I DIY our costumes.  I’ve been DIY my halloween costume since I graduated from high school.  My mom, grandma and aunt all sew, but did they teach me? I taught myself to sew, just by watching tutorials and researching.

Does ANYONE remember a time when a store bought costume was few and far between? I mean, I certainly don’t, but I wish less people bought, and more people made their costumes.  I’m glad to see that more people are DIYing there costumes thanks to things like Pinterest!

I fell in love with homemade costumes because I thoroughly enjoy working with my hands.  When I’ve finished, I have such a great sense of accomplishment. Oh, and when people acknowledge my costume as being “cool” or “awesome” or even better they KNOW who you are PORTRAYING, you can proudly say “yea, I made that, no biggie.” It makes me feel AMAZING.

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Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Chips

Apples and Pumpkins are the epitome of Fall.  I have been searching and searching for an apple recipe to try and I decided to go back to this guy.  Apple Chips have been on my mind for a few months now, but I’ve been so afraid to try to make them!  Why? Because you have to leave them in the oven for so long!  Our house would turn into a sauna and with our erratic schedule, I’d probably have to stop baking or worse…forget about them!  It started to cool off a few weeks ago and I had a bunch of days off from work, so I decided to finally give this recipe a try. Continue reading

Picky Eaters: 10 Ways To Encourage Healthy Eating

My son is a picky eater.  I shouldn’t say picky, he actually eater a wider variety of foods than my 19 year old sister.  When he was just starting to eat solid foods, I was one of those moms who thought she would make all of his baby food jars just gross me out.  And I did it! It was a great experience and I 100% enjoyed it.  I frequented farmer’s markets and tried to buy local when I could. My son got the purest possible foods with the most minimal amount of additives. For those first few months to a year he would eat anything and everything I would put on his plate or plop in front of him.

Flash forward to today and I am in pancake and hotdog hell.  Now that my little guy talks, I give him choices of meals, which he usually shoots down and says “uh, mommy, I tink I want some…..(long pause)…pancakes!”. Sometimes I dig myself in a hole and just ask him what he wants, when I know the answer is “pancakes mommy!”.  90% of the time he will respond with “pancakes mommy!” or “mommy hotdogs!”. I haven’t got the faintest idea why pancakes, but hotdogs I get. Nitrates, human DNA and all, I love me some hotdogs! Everything in moderation right?

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Hello November: An Open Letter to November

Well hello November!

Didn’t you sneak up on me like a little ninja. I can’t even believe you’re here! Can you do me a favor a slow down just A LITTLE bit? I mean, It 61 days it will be 2016, In 55 days it will be Christmas, In 30 days my little man will be 3 years old, In 26 days it will be Thanksgiving, UGH! I can’t even deal right now!

The year has just flown by! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was suffering through the hottest summer on record for Hawaii, WISHING that there would be cooler weather up ahead. Hoping you would come by just a little bit quicker, but now that you’re here stay awhile won’t you?

I’m ready for pumpkin pie, holiday shopping, crafting, turkey and stuffing, holiday cards, and holiday decorations! Let me enjoy my peppermint mocha and gingerbread latte, while I wish for a white Christmas. I want to watch the Hallmark channel year round. Let me just enjoy the decorations for a little bit longer, after all it will be gone before I know it, and I’ll be yearning for the next holiday season by February.

November, please stay awhile, I’m not ready for the year to be over.  Mostly, I’m not ready for a 3 year old!

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Picking Pumpkins — Waimanalo Pumpkin Patch

It’s not fall until you’ve picked a pumpkin for Halloween. Am I right? It’s pretty new thing here in Hawaii. There aren’t very many self pick farms here in Hawaii, unlike our mainland counterparts, pumpkin patches have only been around for maaayybeee the last 10 or so years? I could totally be wrong, but I know that I surely didn’t go pumpkin picking when I was little. The closest I got to carving a pumpkin, was getting those really, REALLY, tiny pumpkins from the market, and drawing a face on them with a sharpie.

Pumpkin Picking -- Waimanalo Farms Pumpkin Patch --Inspirealoha.net

Since the advent of Pinterest, pumpkin patches have been on my mind. When my son was born, I obsessed…I mean, I carefully calculated the opportunity to take one of those super cute pumpkin patch pictures that are splattered ALL OVER Pinterest. Wait, what I mean to say is that I really wanted to have a great time picking a pumpkin from a farm, instead of Sams Club. Who am I kidding, I just wanted a good picture. We took my son when he was about to turn 1, it was a horrible experience. The farm was dusty, little man was fussy, it was hot and humid, crowded, it was just not an enjoyable experience. So, last year we skipped it and went to Disneyland instead. #happymom Continue reading

Aloha Made, Made in Hawaii -- inspirealoha.net

Everyday Outfit

My everyday look consists of a T-shirt and shorts, or Tank top and shorts. The weather here in Hawaii is usually hot, even in winter. Very rarely do I feel like I HAVE to wear pants. It’s a blessing and curse. I yearn for Fall weather here, and when it comes around every once in a while, I despise it, because I freeze when it’s 75 degrees. That’s my freezing point. #Hawaiiproblems

Ask anyone, I’m obsessed with pineapples. I don’t even know why, I just like them. I bought this shirt from a craft fair because it had a pineapple on it (and it said aloha), and it’s safe to say I’m in love. The shirt is made by a local company called Sticks and Stones. You can check them out HERE. Really cute stuff, and they make Hawaii themed wear for the whole family! #supportlocal

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