Today I Will Go Easy on My Neighbor

Maybe it is because I had 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, or maybe it’s because Mark (my favorite barista) made me the yummiest 16 oz almond milk latte ever, or perhaps it was sharing the road with a big man on a small bike singing at the top of his lungs; whatever the reason I made a decision this morning to take it easy on all those I come in contact with today.

I won’t scowl at the man who doesn’t stop at the cross walk. I won’t holler “Slow down this is a school zone!” at the young lady speeding well over the posted 20 mph. And I won’t think unkind thoughts about neighbors who refuse to pick up their dog poop in front of our house. No, I won’t do any of these things today. I can’t guarantee how I will hand these inconveniences tomorrow, but today I will be grateful when children get safely home from school, when someone eventually stops for us to cross the street and will, with a smile on my face, pick up the poop in front of our house because I have an extra poop bag. I will be grateful for the squirrel chasing his friend across the power line, I will smile at the neighbors who do pick up their dogs waste and I will happily stroll down the street just because I can. I have way too many blessings in my life to let the everyday struggles generate frustration in me. For when I focus on what is wrong, I fail to notice the beauty in everything else. And today I make the choice to let beauty win.

Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Here’s to letting beauty win!

Your Delightfully Urban Blogger


Love, What a Beautiful Thing

Love….”to stand emotionally open before the world and give of our hearts without fear of hurt or reciprocity-this is the ultimate act of human courage.” B. Burchard

In honor of unveiling a “fresh new” look for my blog, I decided a blog post I had written several months ago seemed fitting for this exciting time. Love. What better way to honor this new chapter….enjoy!

I sat at a mini sized lunch table. My adult sized body squeezed into a space meant for 36-42 inch bodies. Handing out snack to my mini sized companions for the day I look into the eyes of each as they say “Mas por favor!”, translation “More please!” I pause momentarily as one round cheeked, full lipped friend says “I wub you!” It was in the softest of voices, taking my brain several milliseconds to accurately process “I love you.” As the owner of the preschool, retired from the day to day operations, it is a rare morning that I get to spend with my cherub friends. Although I had only spent one morning with this particular friend, I was still not surprised by his declaration of love. Children have yet to inherit the adult fear that their love won’t be reciprocated.  They do not have the same “love hangups” that we adults do. This is one of the many reasons I LOVE children.

Love has a been a topic long on my mind.  I feel immensely blessed to be surrounded by many for whom I share love, through both actions and mutual personal attachment. For a long time, as a single mom married and divorced twice, I felt perhaps my life was just too full of love to expect romantic love as well. Perhaps one isn’t supposed to have so much love and expect more. Maybe, just maybe, romantic love would not be in my future. I would remain grateful for the declarations of love from my toddler friends and from my community of family and friends. Then I stopped and remembered how I have created everything in my life.  I believe things so strongly I make them happen, a process some refer to as “manifestation”.  Perhaps the same was true here. Perhaps my believing that my life was already so full I quit looking, I quit being open to romantic love. Well wait! Of course I can have it all. It isn’t selfish for me to want a full and complete life, romantic and otherwise. I began to think about this topic differently. And once I did my life changed, and not in ways you probably would immediately guess.

Recently I have taken to walking instead of driving, especially on warmer dry days. On these walks, in my fair city of Portland Oregon, I encounter many types of people. Folks walking to work and from work, exercise enthusiasts, tourists taking in the sights, as well as the homeless and people suffering from mental illness. Love is what motivates eye contact and a smile with EVERY person I encounter. I have found this one action, this one kind of love, changes how you experience the world. More importantly it changes how I view people and I would venture to say how people view their own world. It is the foundation, I have found, for all love.

My journey with love has taken some fun and interesting turns. I found that as soon as I opened up to more love in my life, the more coincidences and examples of synchronicity I experience. On one particular walk up through Washington Park, a man in his late 70’s approached me with a question. Although I had my head phones on I expressed openness with eye contact and a smile. I pardoned myself and removed my head phones. He began to ask me the name of the trail we were mutually hiking. He began to talk about his experience as a novice airbnb host. I smiled and stated I just finished my third year as a host and absolutely loved it. We exchanged a few stories and I shared a few tips, which he welcomed. I walked away feeling more connected to my city, my job and the things I love most, in this case hosting. My step had a renewed bounce and I shared it with all those I encountered that day.

Romantic love is one of my favorite types of love. I like the feeling of falling in love, the excitement and passion associated with romantic love, and of course sexual desire (lust). Though one has to be careful to not confuse the two.  I found myself single in 2009 and have remained single since then. For the first four years I avoided dating at all costs. It has only been in the last couple years that I truly embraced the idea that I could and would experience romantic, reciprocated love. Almost 6 years to the day, I found myself walking (noticing a trend here?) across town to the Bernie Sanders rally. What is interesting is I almost didn’t go. Because I love life so much I find myself battling insomnia on a fairly regular basis because my thoughts have a hard time being contained. I get excited about so many things I just can’t sleep. As it happens my daughter and I were scheduled to volunteer for the rally. As volunteers we would have been handing out information, seating guests or taking tickets. All this would have meant we would NOT have been in general seating. But as it happens, I compromised with myself and decided to forgo volunteering yet still attend the rally, which would allow me to rest up beforehand. When we arrived, there was a frenzy all around us. We were corralled and led in various different directions. Finally, as my daughter began to panic that we would not get a seat, I told her “We will find the right seat at the right time and not a minute before”. We walked calmly upstairs and kept walking until we came upon an entrance that no one else seemed to be entering. As we walked in we noticed a man sitting on the end of an aisle with about 6 empty seats. I gently tapped him on the shoulder and asked if the seats next to him were taken. He smiled the most radiant smile, boy do I love a great smile, and he welcomed us into his aisle. And as we moved past him my inner voice said, “Sit in the seats closest to this man.” So we did.

My daughter in-between us, we enjoyed casual conversation and pleasantries. Did I mention he had a great smile? The rally wasn’t scheduled to start for some time, so I decided to get my daughter and I some beverages. I asked our neighbor, later learning his name is Paul, if he would watch our seats and my bag. With a warm smile he agreed. My inner voice spoke to me again once I was in line for our drinks. The voice said: “Offer the nice man a drink.” Reluctantly my daughter did as I asked and told Paul that her mom would like to buy him a drink for being so kind…he accepted. Two hours later the rally ended and Paul, my daughter and I walked across the bridge, he to his car and us in the direction of home. In the end we exchanged email addresses so I could send him a video clip of the rally. Later in the week Paul asked me out for a glass of wine.

Paul and I dated for several months, though as we got to know each other we decided that building a friendship was the best course for us. I don’t know what will happen with our friendship in the future, though I am so gratefully that I met this amazing man. In friendship I have learned so much about relationships, who I am in the world of dating, who I want to be, and am reminded that friendship is the foundation of all healthy relationships. And as I continue dating I remember how I met Paul and all the coincidences that lead us together. I keep coming back to the notion that romantic love, friendship, and all levels of love and attachment are possible for everyone who remains open to it. I remind myself to be completely open to loving Paul in our friendship and embrace whatever that means for us, without fear or expectation of reciprocity, as my toddler friends would do. I remember that life has much in store for us, we just have to remember to remain open and receptive to all those around us. One never knows when a political rally, a walk in the park, or eye contact with a stranger will reveal beautiful human connection, connection filled with great love on whatever level you are ready for.

Wishing you all great love!

Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Your Delightfully Urban Blogger


Merchandise

Our 2017 calendar is ready for pre-orders. 

80% of the profits will go directly to Clackamas Services, a non-profit that provides mobile showering services to the homeless.  We are proud to be a partner with this amazing program.

Stay tuned for more information.

Click here to order now

2017 Wall Calendar
2017 Wall Calendar

Delicious Moment #5

delicious moment 5

We all have so many blessings, some are easier to forget than others. As someone who walks a lot, knowing I have a warm dry place to go is at the top of my list of blessings.


When We Can’t Have What We Want: Letting Go

There are many things we can not have in this life. For far too long I placed more value on these than was necessary or healthy. Though truthfully, I rarely let these interfere with my ability to be grateful for the many blessings in my life. Yet there, in part of my brain and in my heart lie one big “I can’t have”….we all have at least one, right? The healthy part of me knew it was time to acknowledge my loss and say good bye to the pain.

The one big “I can’t have”? A loving, nurturing dad. You know the one I speak of, you’ve seen him. The dotting father who gets a twinkle in his eye when he looks at his little girl. The one who would do anything to protect her from the pain of the world. No, I didn’t have that, I never have. He didn’t walk me down the aisle when I got married, either time ;). He never threatened the men who wanted to date me with a giant baseball bat. He never got teary eyed at the thought of me growing up and leaving home. Nope I didn’t have that either. Though not having it never stopped me from longed for it. And let’s be honest, there will be a part of me that always will. Yet, if I am to move fully forward in this life, I have to let go. I have to walk away from the pain of what will never be if I am to fully experience all that life has to offer.

When I wrote my New Years blog, I wrote about letting go. Admittedly, this is going to be the biggest letting go of my life. I have let go of many things, painful things, in my life, though this will be, by far, the hardest. Yet, of all the things I know about myself I do know that once I set my mind to something there is nothing but death itself that can stop me. This will be the greatest gift I can give myself this year. I start the process of letting go right in this moment. I remind myself that 42 years is a long time to hold on to something, it may take me a minute to get there. Though in the end, the light that will radiate through me will be blinding. Get ready to pull out those sunglasses folks! Here is to letting go!

Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Your DelightfullyUrban Blogger~



Love: The Things I Learned In My Grandma’s Kitchen

Wrinkle and muck free, I find myself anxious (eager not worried) to wipe my dough filled hands for the first time on my pretty new apron. A rights of passage, if you will. With my new uniform on I feel legitimate in my kitchen, a true and “real” cook and baker. Don’t misunderstand me or my skill, for I am not a chef nor a professional baker. Nor are my creations particularly creative or something that would inspire a culinary review. Yet, my kitchen is the one place I turn to (besides a dance floor) when I am feeling introspective or sad.

IMG_5908IMG_5689Sometimes I wonder how things come to be. How did it come to be that the kitchen would prove such a comfort and place of solace? When I close my eyes and image my favorite moments in a kitchen there is one image that comes to mind over and over again. A small girl, maybe 4 years of age, perched upon a metal stool, feet swinging in pure joy in the dead space between her feet and the floor, a smile adorning her face, eyes wide as she watches her grandma, mesmerized by the magic performed by her hands. In awe she watches as her grandma takes flour, water and shortening to create piles and piles of homemade tortillas. Her grandmas face wearing a slight smile, her hands flying in effortless motion turning over the dough, over and over, the sound of the dough pounding the cutting board with each turn, using her weight to push out and spread the dough evenly into perfect round shapes, her skill unmatched by anything this little girl has ever witnessed.

I haven’t the time to describe to you all the amazing meals this little girl had the honor of watching come together in that kitchen. For everyday this dedicated and loving woman created by hand breakfast, lunch and dinner for all those she loved. With 12 children and a growing number of grandchildren, she spent much of her day in the kitchen doing what she loved, feeding all those she loved. Every single grandchild can tell you about that moment, the sweet moment when those two hands would reach over and take one of those freshly made tortillas, still hot, steam rising from its surface as she spread butter round and round as it melted with ease, sprinkling cinnamon and sugar and passing it to you. IMG_5690There are no words for the pure joy that moment would elicit, the way the tortilla sat in your hand, warm and soft, the way it seemed to melt in your mouth,  your eyes would close as you sought to savor the moment. Everyone of us can tell you about that moment, that moment when you felt the love from that warm tortilla, the tortilla she made with intention of sharing all that she had. As a woman who grew up in extreme poverty, making simple foods with great love is what she had to offer. It is one of the greatest gifts she passed on to me and all those she loved. And oh how she loved us!

As a little IMG_5724girl, I sat witness day after day, every morning I could get myself up early enough any way, to learn what she knew about food and love. I learned so much in that kitchen, lessons that I carry with me every day and every time I step into my kitchen and put on my apron. I will do my best to honor all she taught me:

  1. An open door is an open heart: welcoming all into your home with a smile on your face is the ultimate act of love, simple yet profound.
  2. Sometimes the only thing you have to offer is a warm cooked meal, yet with love in your heart, even this simple gesture has the ability to warm the coldest of hearts.
  3. The sounds and smells from the kitchen have the ability to elicit healing. Warm homemade chicken noodle soup really has no healing properties, it is the love and concern that went into the creation that has the real healing power.
  4. Make enough to share. Grandma always cooked as if she was feeding an army, though the number of people who would stop by and be fed sometimes equaled the size of a small army. It is the warmest of feelings to be able to feed those who stop by.
  5. You can make a delicious meal with the simplest of ingredients. I learned to use my intuition when creating a meal, I learned to use what I have on hand, and that I don’t need a recipe. I learned to cook from the heart.

The kitchen is the one place I know I can turn to to reconnect to all that she taught me. I know she looks down on me now, with that smile, that smile that says she approves.

In honor of Valentines Day I challenge us all to think of love beyond romantic love, encouraging us all to spread a little extra love to those in need, even if it is just a smile. It is in sharing love with others that we find the secret to happiness, as I learned from my grandmother. For real love, in it’s purest form, is giving what you have. Sometimes the best kind of love is in the smallest and simplest of gestures.

Here’s to love dear friends.

Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Your DelightfullyUrban Blogger~


Confronting What Terrifies Us: Fear Is Only As Real As You Make It

Once I had children a real set of phobias kicked in, aeroacrophobia (heights), claustrophobia (small spaces) and thalassophobia (fear of large bodies of water). Maybe it’s the awesome responsibility of being a parent, perhaps the new understanding of just how fragile life is, I don’t quite know. Yet, the fears became so debilitating that I knew I needed to do something before my fears consumed my life. In my usual fashion I decided the only way to confront my fears would be head on. And that is exactly what I did.

On a recent trip to Honolulu Hawaii, I arranged a two hour surf lesson with the wonderful staff at The Ty Gurney Surf School. Despite a restless night sleep I woke up early and found myself making the short walk to the surf school, Danielle’s directions were impeccable. As  I walked in the front door, the quaint door chimed alerting my arrival. I was greeted by three friendly faces all quite reassuring for this very nervous mama. We made our way down to the beach where Kenui (K-New-E), my surf instructor for the morning, did all the work initially. He carried the boards and eventually paddled us out a quarter mile out where we would catch many a GNARLY wave.

S0729691
Easy….easy….steady….

 

You got this Angie!
You got this Angie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenui and I chillin', waiting eagerly for that next wave.
Kenui and I chillin’, waiting eagerly for that next wave.

The moment I caught that first wave my fear dissipated and I couldn’t remember ever being afraid to begin with. What this experience reminded me about fear is that fear is something we create in our brains, usually from some real experience in our life, an experience that our brains build upon. We allow that fear to grow and multiply until it is much larger than the original experience. So what to do? Confront it, look it straight in the eye and give it a big ol’ wink. Wink at it, smile your grandest smile and tell it that it can not reside in you any longer. That is what I did on that wonderful morning. I looked my fear square on and winked at it….and it vanished!

Here is to all of us taking small steps to confront the fears that keep us from those experiences we might never have otherwise. I will never forget the moment I stood up on that board, the force of the wave propelling me forward in one glorious exhilarating motion. One experience that I plan on living and reliving as often as possible. When you find yourself on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu Hawaii, take a surf lesson at an amazing surf school with some of the best in the business: http://www.tygurneysurfschool.com

Here is to all of us living the most fulling lives possible.

Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Your DelightfullyUrban Blogger~