Sunday, July 24, 2011

Princess, Adventurer, and Wings

Last week was full of hard, hard work and hurdles all of which were worth the effort.  It is just remarkable to see how much we can physically and emotionally endure, with patience, strength and perseverance.  The middle of the week was punctuated by a break from commitment to spontaneity and surprise.   I was able to meet friends from years ago, Nancy and her daughter Ali, who now has daughters of her own.  Ali and her girls were visiting from South Carolina and had chosen a beautiful day to visit our beach.  As we reminisced and caught up, it was so pleasant and comfortable to see that the connection as friends was immediate and familiar, despite the time that had passed.  It was a refreshing reminder of precious time and precious relationships, and it was ok to put the work and pressures aside for awhile.  

Ali shared this photo of one of her daughters holding an aged and broken butterfly, almost looking more like a moth.  I am grateful to share it here.  I am struck by the young fingers that have wisdom to hold it gently,  the sparkle of the nail polish, half worn off by playing- the shared pleasures of being a princess one moment and an adventurer the next.  The butterfly is missing much of its wings, and what is left is almost translucent.  However, its legs and body look as though it still has the desire to go on about its life, to carry on the best it can.  It is interesting to think about how small and fragile this creature is and yet how great a distance those wings must have carried it, until finally there are no more wings to fly with, how hard it must have worked and how much beauty it must have brought to the world.  I think there is a bit of princess and adventurer in most women, and also a bit of a weary winged butterfly as we try to live life fully and look for our gentle places to land.
 Thank you for sharing this photo and thank you for helping me for the afternoon! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Catching Up!

Thank you Terilee for this great shot... my well worn hands.

We have been making some changes in our blog, and it is probably apparent that many posts from our older blog are being added here.  There happen to be some that we decided have some fun information, or flavor, or friends that we did not want to leave out from our new blog site.  Thank you for sorting through and hopefully finding something you might enjoy!  

Kick Off Ends in Home Run!

We are just starting to get up to speed.   Learning all of this is such a challenge to me, as I mentioned in an earlier blog. We truly are so excited about the book release party at La Perla del Mar.  Looks like about 250 - 300 people stopped by to share the joy, and it was fun from beginning to end.  Our book, Real , features about stories of about 65 people that are basically anonymous, first name only, with photos of their hands.  It was really exciting to have most of them at this first party so that they could reveal their identities, only if they wanted to, and also sign their pages in the book. They were like celebrities for the whole night!  Everyone was going about and introducing themselves and sharing stories and getting signatures and just enjoying meeting someone new.   By the end of the night Terilee and I were glad we had set aside books for the next day, because we had another book signing in the morning at a local church!   We really love the support our local community has given us.  Thank you to everyone who made it a really successful kick off !!
A week later we signed at the LA Festival of Books at USC in Los Angeles. More coming up...

"I've Got Something to Say"

Another reflection on our book release party.  It was such a joy to share this time with so many people who were a part of the book as well as so many people from our communities of the Central Coast of California.  The noise of chatter filled La Perla chapel for at least three hours. There were lots of new faces and lots of hugs all around.  Two memorable moments were: the screening of the book video trailer on our big screen and when Lloyd stood up and asked for everyone's attention.  He had something he wanted to say and asked Lynn to give a loud whistle to grab everyone's attention. Lloyd then stepped to the top of the stage and addressed the crowd with a big thank you to everyone, but then proceeded to share his feelings and concern about the recent tsunami disaster in Japan.  He talked about his love for Japan and its people, and his experience there with the Special Olympics.  We were moved to smile and cheer and even get teary, about the cause, and even more about the passion with which Lloyd spoke, encouraging everyone to care, to be proud of our country, to appreciate each other and how much we need each other.  Thank you Lloyd for being you. 

From Internment to Enrichment: Kaz

Another of REAL's featured subjects is Kazuo.  His story of endurance, friendship and heritage are so powerful. His Japanese family's contributions to our community are immeasurable and lasting.  This pre- New Year's, December 2010, my daughter, Meredith and I were invited to a "mochi pounding" celebration at "the ranch".  As a Japanese tradition, just before New Years Day, the families come together to prepare the rice in steaming vats, pound volumes of it to make a dough, then pull and roll it into dumplings.  They  are then either stuffed with a sweet black bean filling or left beautifully and deliciously plain.
It has been the practice, as a right of passage, that the young men do the pounding of the rice.  However, as this generous Asian family of several generations, dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins welcomed friends and neighbors, even I and my daughter were encouraged to take part each step of the ritual.  The first session of pounding is done with carved wood dowels that are about the size of closet rods.  The pounders form a circle around a massive granite bowl on a wooden stand. The rice is shoveled into the bowl and we marched in  circles pounding the rice for several minutes.  The next step was the mallet pounding which is more dangerous and done by only two to four men.  Large, squared "croquet" like mallets pound the transformed dough alternately as they each go faster and faster trying to not hit eachother or the single man below who is slipping his hand into fold and scrape the sides of the dough between pounds.  It is really quite thrilling to watch! When the still steaming dough is just right, the giant blob, about the size of a baby, is carried into the long table where dozens of women and girls have their duties as pullers or dumpling makers. Flour is everywhere and the chatter is energizing and filled with laughter.  They work quickly as the consistency changes with the cooling of the dough on the table.
At the end of the morning, dozens of bowls and tables full later, hundreds of dumplings had been made to share with friends, families and the community and even local hospitals.  Some specially prepared "snowmen" were formed by three dumplings stacked with apricot slices on top for good luck in the New Year.
Thank you to Kaz and his family for passing on the experience of their tradition, the treasure of sharing, for enriching your community and those who know you by your unconditional acceptance and love.
See the video trailer here:    

You can purchase REAL at  or or amazon and barnes and

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Little Library that is making it BIG!

In our first few months of having REAL available, our hope of giving back to community and charity is being realized.  Recently, it has been an honor to work with the Friends of Shell Beach Library, to promote memberships and give part of our proceeds from FSL events to the library.  It is such a special, small, but mighty, place in our community. The people who make it come alive are devoted and such a pleasure!  In the last few years the library has expanded from the days of the two tiny rooms our kids visited when they were young.  However, it still has the small town friendliness, accessibility, and cozy ambiance that it was founded on.  It is interesting as we hear about libraries closing across the country in many cities, that this library is actually growing.  Thought its hours are limited, it is frequented by neighbors who love the convenience of walking over on a sunny afternoon to check out their books or videos, or just to use the internet. Thank you Friends of Shell Beach Library for all you do for our community!  We are honored to become of a part of that!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Miracles in Healing: Body and Soul

Recently we have received more reader photos of hands.   I am moved by the love, the tenderness, the hardship and the overcoming that is universal!  Here is a photo which reflects a reality of mother and child relationship.  Alex and her toddler son,  share a personal moment comparing their scars, how similar in position and size, and possibly the memory of pain.  I am reminded of how, as mothers, we try to raise our children in a safe and happy world, try instinctively protect them from injury or pain.  The reality is that it is beyond our complete control and injury is a part of life.  The blessing is in having someone there to pick you up, kiss the wound, wipe your tears and encourage, with a hug, that "it will be just fine".   It is a miracle of healing for our bodies and our souls, that we can overcome the hurt, it can get better and even be a part of what makes each person like no one else.  Thank you Alex and Christian.