beauty friendship



I bought these flowers exactly two weeks ago and they’re still going strong. They make me happy every time I look at them.

A friend came to visit and I bought the yellow daisies to place in our guest room for her. I picked yellow because it’s my favorite color and I always seem drawn to it. I picked daisies because as Kathleen Kelly says in “You’ve Got Mail,” they’re friendly flowers.

I’m posting this photo today because I hope daisies make you happy, too. I know how Januarys can be sometimes … cold and long and dreary. For me, this January has actually flown by. And while I’m excited for February, I really wish time would take a break every once in a while and slow down.

Wherever you are, I hope you have things, people, hopes and dreams to keep you warm both inside and out.

Happy Thursday!



the power of habit


Sometime when I was in junior high, my brother and I had a long talk about the things we wanted to change about ourselves. I wanted to be less shy. I wanted to be myself around new people, make friends easily, and those things were sometimes hard for me. My brother had been reading all kinds of self-help books and had received advice from a few people on why we do the things we do, and you know what he told me? Everything we do is a habit. He said the reason why I was often quiet around new people and had a hard time breaking down barriers between myself and others was simply because I’d made those habits a part of my life.

The good news? Habits can always be broken, he said. You just have to form new habits to replace them.

Depending on who you talk to, I’m still either the quietest person in the world, or I’m not. While some situations make it more comfortable for me to be friendly and outgoing, I’m often naturally quiet until you get to know me. Perhaps this will be a lifelong habit I’ll work on changing, but I’ve learned as long as I’m working on it, it’s never impossible.

There are generally about 15 things going on in my mind at once. I’m always wanting to change habits, from how I spend money, to how much I exercise, to how I treat others, to how ambitious I am at work and in learning new things. And the good news always is that change is always possible, a little bit at a time.

I’m going to start listening to the book “Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg for the third time. I’ve mentioned before how I love good books and this is a good one. Each time I listen, I feel inspired and want to make my life and decisions better.

The book goes through how habits are formed and how to change them. It also talks about how businesses use our habits to target us with ads. That part of the book is half genius, half scary. It’s crazy how much companies can learn about us simply by the things we purchase.

The author also writes about how some small changes in our lives, such as exercising and even making our bed every day, can lead to big changes in several other areas of our lives. These are called keystone habits. They have a ripple effect.

I’ve got big dreams, you guys, and I’m sure you do, too. Getting there takes so much effort and change is often difficult. But I think the more we listen to the wisdom of others, and in this case, some research on habits, we’re maybe just a tiny bit closer to those big dreams.

For your inspiration, here are some quotes from the book. And remember, if you don’t have time to read, you can always get an audio book and listen in the car. We’re in the car much more than we think and that’s time we can be productive instead of passive.

“Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”

“Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”

“This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be.”

“Once you know a habit exists, you have the responsibility to change it … others have done so. … Almost all of the other patterns that exist in most people’s lives — how we eat and sleep and talk to our kids, how we unthinkingly spend our time, attention and money — those are habits that we know exist. And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp and the only option left is to get to work.”

laughter life love

to a person on their first day

Welcome, this is the world. It’s a pretty cool place.

Laughing’s the best.

Sometimes gross things will happen. Some days awesome things will happen. Some days you’ll get ice cream. Some days you won’t.

There’s plenty of reasons to dance, you’ve just got to look for them.

You should give people high fives just for getting out of bed.

Just treat everybody like it’s their birthday, even if they don’t deserve it.

The biggest mess up? Not forgiving each others’ mess ups.

Take brain pictures!

Love is louder.



If you love this as much as I do, pass it along! We could all benefit from hearing how awesome life is.


the things i want


In college, I took four semesters of voice lessons, but if you listened to me now, you might not believe it.

I’ve always loved to sing. When I was young, I would sit in the back of the car and sing all kinds of songs to myself, some real, some made up. My favorite when I was about 4 years old, was the theme song from “An American Tale.” I would sing it quietly, thinking no one could hear me, but they always could of course, and to this day, that’s how my mom’s best friend pictures me … the little girl who used to sing in the backseat of the car.

I don’t know why I never learned how to sing well since I loved it so much. I did try a few times to take lessons. In second grade, I was in a singing group called Choral Collection, and while I think I liked it a lot, there must have been some reason I stopped. Then, in third or fourth grade, my mom gave in and let me take private lessons, but that only lasted a month. I was young and all the techniques I was supposed to practice – like scales, buzzing my lips and making strange sounds with my mouth – were uncomfortable for me. I was too embarrassed to practice. I really would have been better off joining a choir or something more appropriate for my age. The woman I took lessons from was so good, but I didn’t understand what it took for me to be good. So, I quit.

Then, years went by and when I was about 21 or 22, I started taking lessons in college for elective credits. I did practice (although I was still embarrassed and often did the exercises and sang in the car on long drives), I did get better, and I did have fun. But while I think I can generally match a tune, I’m still not a great singer.

I remember going to one of my lessons and explaining to the teacher why I hadn’t practiced as much that week. There were a million reasons, one of them being a marathon I ran. I don’t remember the others things that got in the way, but I do remember my teacher saying, “I think you’re one of those people who does everything.”

That’s stuck with me. Because yes, I do like to try a lot of things. But I always have to wonder, is that for the best if I never get really good at any of them?

Take running for example. I’ve completed five half marathons and two full marathons, but I’m not fast. In fact, my speed has pretty much stayed the same for the last eight years or so I’ve been running.

And for the last six years I’ve been interested in graphic design, and while I can do some things well, I often think I should be better at it by now.

I have so many interests and I’m always trying to incorporate them in my life. One year, I wrote five songs – lyrics, music, everything – and recorded them with my brother. For a while, I was going to yoga once a week. And there was the year I picked up sewing, making 10 blankets and a few purses in a year. One summer, I tried to attend as many plays as possible. And the last couple years, I’ve gotten into hiking. There were also the few months when I tried to take a picture every day. One summer month the year after I finished college, I made the goal to swim every day.

I wasn’t necessarily trying to get good at all of these things. A lot of the time, I just wanted to have fun. But sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be really good at some of these things – music, art, exercise.

You know what I’d really like to be good at now? You know what I’d really like to accomplish?

  1. Writing. I want this always to be a part of me. I want to communicate ideas that matter and express creativity. I really want to write and publish a book someday.
  2. Running. For some of you exercise zealots, this will sound like nothing, but I really want to finish a half marathon in less than two hours.
  3. Graphic Design. I want to have my own place on the Internet where I sell quality design work.

I also want to do a bunch of other things, but maybe if I choose three main things to work on, I’ll be able to do it. Or is three too many? What do you think?

Right now, I have a note on my desk that says, “How much do you want the things you want?!” I wrote to remind myself that the things I want the most will take a lot of work. If I want to get good a graphic design, I have to put in the time. Same with running, writing and even being a good person. Sure, everything takes passion, desire and drive, but that’s just the beginning. Putting in the time is probably the most important aspect of becoming talented at something.

How much do you want the things you want?!

This is my newest mantra. And I know that if I really want to improve things, I have to get past the fear, the insecurities and the laziness that so often creeps in. I have to forget about failing.

And it’s not like I can’t stick to things. I took piano and clarinet lessons for six years each. And whenever I’ve wanted to travel, I’ve made that happen by being dedicated to saving money. I finished college in eight semesters. There are also a lot of other short-term goals I’ve accomplished.

I’m happy to have tried so many things, and I don’t that part of my personality is going to change any time soon. Bring on the adventures! But for now on, I hope to also bring on the effort for the things I want most. I want to dream big and really make those dreams come true.

If any of you have suggestions on how you reach you’re dreams, let me know. I’m always open to inspiration.

laughter life

ellen wisdom

I’m starting with this wonderful video that made me laugh out loud all by myself in front of my computer the first time I watched it. It’s just. That. Good.

Like pretty much everyone else in America, I want to be friends with Ellen. Like, in real life. Like, for real.

And it’s a funny thing, because I’ve honestly hardly ever watched her show since it’s on while I work and I don’t pay much attention to TV anyway.

But I did read her most recent book, “Seriously … I’m Kidding,” a couple years ago, and by the end, my Kindle had been highlighted to death with all her funny little insights on life and her clever wisdom. She seems like a normal person, one that’s afraid of the dark, one that hits writer’s block sometimes, and one that occasionally goes off on long tangents about who knows what. All of those things related to me.

But my favorite quotes, my two very favorite quotes, were about happiness and contributing to the world. Remind me someday when I have to get rid of all my jeans with holes in them that I should still be happy.

“The thing everyone should realize is that the key to happiness is being happy by yourself and for yourself. If everything you have got stripped away – your home, your job, your family, your things, your favorite T-shirt with all the holes in it that you won’t throw away even though it reveals a large part of your stomach region – if you lost all of those things and you had to live in a cave all alone with absolutely nothing, you should still be happy. Happiness comes from within. You have the power to change your own mind-set so that all the negative, horrible thoughts that try to invade your psyche are replaced with happy, positive, wonderful things.”

“Contribute to the world. Help people. Help one person. Help someone cross the street today. Help someone with directions unless you have a terrible sense of direction. Help someone who’s trying to help you. Just help. Make an impact. Show someone you care. Say yes instead of no. Say something nice. Smile. Make eye contact. Hug. Kiss. Get naked.”

Now, let’s end with another video gem from Ellen which aired last week. If I ever really get to be friends with Ellen, I’m gonna hug her a million times like this kid. Or maybe that would be weird. I’ll try to judge the situation accurately when it happens.



how precious life is


On Tuesday morning in Roswell, N.M., a 12-year-old boy walked into a school gym and fired shots at classmates, sending two of them to the hospital. One of them is in critical condition with injuries to his face and neck. The other is in stable condition with injuries to her shoulder. Both students needed surgery. And the rest of kids from the school? Well, they’re shocked, scared and saddened of course, and so is the rest of the community, many, many people from the state and many others from around the country.

Work was long and exhausting that day, and unfortunately when you work in news, sometimes you forget to feel as you’re so busy trying to do everything else. I work on our website, so Tuesday was all about making sure it was constantly updated as new information came in. There were scripts to re-write for the web, videos to clip, a photo gallery to update, live streaming to set up for a vigil and news conference, alerts to send out over social media and text messages to schedule. And what’s unfortunate about news in general – even if you don’t work in it – is stories like this happen so often that we’re probably all a little numb.

I know this shooting could have been a lot worse, but it’s still a shooting. It involves violence toward children, by children, and it’s something that’s very hard to understand.

By the end of the night, my mind was spinning with all the “why” questions, and there will probably not be any solid answers. People will say we need to tackle mental illness issues and offer more help for those who need it. Others will say we should have stricter gun laws. Others still will say teachers should be equipped with guns. And some will try to figure out what’s promoting so much violence in society. Is it video games? Is it bad parenting? Is it depression? Is it violent movies? It’s it the news glorifying these events?

I’m not going to blame anyone, because I don’t know anything about what went inside this kid’s head before he packed up a gun and decided to create chaos. But what I do know is that for whatever reason, the lives of others were not precious to this student, at least not at that moment – and that in itself is really, really sad.

It’s interesting because the night before all this happened, I was reading a blog written by two parents a few years ago whose baby died after 99 days. Their words were so beautiful as they described this precious life they got to hold in their arms for little more than three months. Before their baby was born, they knew he would die. They knew he may never even grace the earth with his presence. But then he did! And he survived longer than all the doctors predicted.

Because this couple knew their time with their baby would be short, they decided to have a birthday celebration for every day of his life. They made him different hats, ate cake and planned parties with their friends. Every day that their baby was still breathing and could open his eyes was a day to be grateful for. And even the hard stuff, like dealing with breathing tubes and long, difficult feedings, were blessings.

I wish there was a way to remember that life – every single life, no matter how short or long – is precious beyond imagination. How wonderful would it be if we could all remember that?

For whatever reason (there are probably a million reasons, actually), sometimes we forget that the person sitting next to us could be gone tomorrow. Sometimes we forget that our lives and our loved ones’ lives can change in a moment. And sometimes we get so caught up in our own worlds that we forget there are billions of people out there who need love, kindness, patience and care.

Sometimes, unfortunately, people hurt us and we decide we don’t care about them anymore. We allow others to get under our skin so much, we forget to care for their wellbeing. We’re probably all guilty of this at some point. And sometimes, it takes some sort of tragedy for us to wake up again.

Luckily, the teens who were shot in Roswell on Tuesday did not die. But we all know of many other shootings that didn’t end the same way. Most recently, a student was shot at a Colorado high school and died in December. And how will any of us forget the Connecticut shooting just over a year ago when the world lost 26 innocent people in an instant, 20 of them children.

I’m focusing on school shootings here because they seem to catch us off guard more than others. Perhaps it’s because they always seems so random and the victims so young. But the truth is, I read about shootings almost every week. And like many of you, I read or hear about war, sickness and tragic accidents that occur all over the place every day. And every one of those people who dies means something wonderful to someone.

I don’t know what to do about mental illness and guns and violence in our culture, but I do know if we all truly believed everyone had value, so many thoughtless tragedies would never happen.

So, what can we do? Where do we go from here?

I think that’s a personal decision, but I think there are ways we can learn to appreciate, love and care for the people in our lives, and even the people we don’t know. Maybe in tragedy, all we can do is pray, but maybe that’s enough. We can remember that couple who celebrated every day of a baby’s life … a baby who never even spoke a word. If 99 days of one baby’s life was that precious, imagine how many other days of everyone’s lives could be celebrated.

When we hear about tragedy, maybe we can try to be more gentle in a world that seems harsh. And maybe that gentleness will grow and grow.

Just to make your day after this heavy conversation, here is the tribute video for the baby who lived 99 short days. And don’t be surprised if I bring him and his parents up again down the road. Their story just inspires me so.


tell me a story


I commuted an hour each way for a part-time freelance job for about eight months after moving to Albuquerque. During those long drives through the desert – the fluffy clouds filling the sky and tumbleweeds bouncing along the freeway on windy days – I discovered after a while, it gets really old listening to the same music over and over. I hate the radio, so I tend to listen to CDs and my favorite tunes on my iPod, and after two hours a day, it wasn’t unusual for me to listen to the same things – mixes made by friends, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan. And when I had the lyrics memorized and the songs got old, I longed to be a bit more productive. So, I tracked down a library, got a card, and started listening to novels.

I fell more in love with Jodi Picoult during those months as I listened to her stories of troubled teenagers and families going through big life changes. Her character development and detail is amazing, and it seems she puts an incredible amount of research into her books to make them believable.

Then there was Malcom Gladwell and Charles Duhigg. Both experienced journalists, they’ve written incredible books. I’ve listed to “The Power of Habit” by Duhigg twice, actually, and will probably listen to it again this year.”Outliers” was the book I listened to by Gladwell and it made me realize if I really want my dreams to come true, some of it’s luck, but a lot of it is also really hard work and opportunity.

I listened to my first Nora Roberts book, “Chasing Fire,” which was a great adventure/romance story involving a group of firefighters.

Then, for a while, audio books were put on hold. I carpooled to work with a friend and listening to books wasn’t really in the cards until I got a job in Albuquerque and decided to start listening again on my commutes by myself.

What I’ve realized is I’m in the car more than I think. My commute to work is about 25 minutes each way now, so if I have a good book in my car, I can listen to 50 minutes a day. And if I happen to run errands or do anything extra before my eight-hour shift begins, I can hear even more of the books.

Last fall, I listened to three “Harry Potter” books, a few childrens classics by Roald Dahl and Frances Hodgson Burnett, and somewhere in there, I listened to, “A Long Way Gone,” an amazing memoir about a boy soldier in Africa by Ishmael Beah.

Books are so wonderful, aren’t they? I only wish I could read and listen to more. And the library is such a wonderful gift that I feel is too often overlooked. Every few weeks now, I love going there and perusing the selection of audio books. And then I get to take one or two home for free and learn from great writers. I get to have a peek inside their imaginations and research and the stories that make them tick. I get to hear the adventures of a little princess living in the attic at a boarding school, and picture the magic of a boy discovering he’s a wizard. Duhigg makes me want to live a better life and change the things that hold me back. And Beah helped remind me that my life is incredibly problem-free compared to those who live in fear and hatred day in and day out for years after losing their families to war.

It may sound cheesy, but I’m so grateful to have easy access to books. Not everyone in the world has that. I’m also grateful for talented writers, their imaginations, and their willingness to share stories, even if they are true and painful. It’s through books we can learn some of life’s biggest lessons, and some of life’s biggest problems without having to experience them ourselves. We can gain compassion through reading or listening to books. We can hone our creativity, and we can keep our minds active and our hearts open.

It’s a different experience listening to a book over reading one, as I’m sure you know. Some of the actors who read the stories are so talented. I love the guy who reads the Harry Potter books because he does a million voices and it’s pretty impressive.

One of my favorite quotes from these books (and there are many) comes from Beah’s book. Since you know I love the stars, the moon and the night, it seems fitting. How nice the moon is – playful, happy, content.

” ‘We must strive to be like the moon.’

“An old man in Kabati repeated this sentence often. The adage served to remind people to always be on their best behavior and to be good to others. [My grandmother] said that people complain when there is too much sun and it gets unbearably hot, and also when it rains too much or when it is cold. But, no one grumbles when the moon shines. Everyone becomes happy and appreciates the moon in their own special way. Children watch their shadows and play in its light, people gather at the square to tell stories and dance through the night. A lot of happy things happen when the moon shines. These are some of the reasons why we should want to be like the moon.”

– Image from Pinterest


sundays are my mondays


For the last several months, my work week  has been Sunday through Thursday. It’s actually been a nice schedule having Fridays and Saturdays off. I also work a swing shift, so I’m home during the day. While there are drawbacks to this, there are also positive things. I can get things done and go outside when a lot of people can’t. I can go to the post office while it’s open. I can grocery shop with hardly anyone in the store. I can attend yoga classes, run, hike and swim (weather permitting), all before going to the office.

But one of the million things I’m learning at my job is that nothing is permanent. My schedule is changing next week to Monday through Friday and there’s a good chance it will change again in a couple months. Change is not always something I love – and that’s normal – but it’s definitely a good reminder to look for the good things in everything while they last because everything changes, even if we fight it.

I saw the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote recently and want to follow it. What would my life be like if I believed every day was the best day of the year? Or even better, what would it be like if I treated each day as if it were the last day of my life?

I know life is hard and sometimes cruel, but even on those days, there’s always something to be thankful for. This week, my little lovely stars were breakfast in bed one morning, a two-hour nap on a Saturday, a couple long walks where I attempted to get all my stressful thoughts out, a movie with a good friend, watching the first episode of this season’s “Bachelor,” meeting a few new, nice people for lunch and taking a new graphic design course online.

There is always something good in every day. What were your little lovely stars this week?



mountain view

The mountains do it for me. What does it for you?







If there’s one thing I always wish I’d do more of, it’s documenting the good times. Well, and exercising, but that’s a whole different topic.

I have a ton of pictures and a bunch of memories with family and friends stored in my brain, but I wish I’d written more growing up and in college. The times I wrote the most were when I was sad which is unfortunate because I was happy most of the time. I don’t have too many inside jokes written in my journal, or many of the nights my friends and I stayed up doing random things. Yes, I still remember a lot of it, but I know there’s probably a lot I’ve forgotten, too, especially the funny little things people said and did.

I have a good memory, but I always seem to want to remember even more of the good times I’ll never get back. Sometimes the best thing about seeing a picture or reading a journal you haven’t in a really long time is having a lost memory come back in full force, like a movie playing in your mind.

The last few years, I’ve done relatively well at documenting my life and the people in it thanks to blogging and a Google document I created so I can write anywhere if I want to. But this year, I’m going to add one more thing: a jar of memories.

A couple summers ago, I challenged myself to take a photo a day for a year. This helped me look for something to remember each day, or find something beautiful to take photos of. Sometimes, in order to make the goal, I’d go for walks around my neighborhood looking for new flowers or views I hadn’t noticed before. I’d take pictures of familiar places I didn’t want to forget like the Island Market, the big tree right in front of my apartment door, and the road I used to run on. One day, I biked home in the rain and got a photo of myself soaked from top to bottom. I have a photo of my friend cutting the cake at her wedding, and another photo of a rainbow made of flowers in someone’s yard.

I was never perfect at this goal, and some weeks only had four or five photos. Eventually, it became a little exhausting to maintain, so my year of taking pictures didn’t last longer than about six to eight weeks. But since I moved from Logan, Utah, that year, I’m so glad I have those photos of some of my last months there.

On Facebook last week, I saw the idea for a jar to slip memories in for a year. They can be notes with blessings, laugh-out-loud moments, accomplishments, surprise gifts, moments of beauty, or pretty much anything positive that stands out in the day. Then on Dec. 31, you can open the jar and go through them.

I thought this was a great idea and figured I would pass it along. I don’t think it matters that we’re a week in the year already. I don’t even think it matters if you write something every single day, although if you do, that is an awesome goal. I think the point it just to help us see the good, little things around us more frequently. I know if I do this, at the end of the year, I won’t regret not documenting more of those things.