Friday, December 23, 2016

The Reflection of Shadows: Lessons on Life

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Lessons on Life

We grow,
We learn,
The seasons turn.
We change,
With grace,
We find our place.
We laugh,
We cry,
The time- it flies.
We love,
We give,
We learn to live.


This is the last post for the year, folks. Enjoy your holidays with your loved ones!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Mantra: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Don't stop

I'm in the middle of my annual Lord of the Rings marathon movie watching, I can't figure out why I have four gazillion different fonts showing up on my doggone blog randomly, and I have a grocery list two pages long, front and back.

I'm busy. You're busy. We're all busy in the best possible ways right now.

We're preparing homemade meals. We're bringing people into our homes who may not have anywhere to go for the holiday season. We're loving and laughing and spending quality time with each other. These are the things that truly make this the most wonderful time of the year.

They don't have to end when the holidays are over.

Don't stop giving: your time, your love, your compassion.

Don't stop caring: about loved ones, strangers, people near and dear or far off.

Don't stop believing: in hope, in love, in other people. In a good and kind and honest world.

Don't stop.

That's all.

Enjoy every ounce of the awesomeness that is this time of the year, but remember, it doesn't have to end. It's up to you to keep the spirit of love and kindness alive all year.


If you want to help someone in a significant way right now (for instance, the people of Aleppo who are facing unimaginable horrors) you may want to consider donating to Doctors Without Borders. The smallest donation will still make a significant impact.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Reflection of Shadows: Before and After

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Written a decade apart.


I love you more than the sun loves to rise,
And I love you more than the birds love to fly,
I love you more than the stars love the sky, 
- I cannot live without you in my life.

I love you more than anyone else,
I love you more than love itself,
I love you more than the moon loves the night,
- I cannot face the day that you die.

I love you more than I've words to speak,
I love you more than I love anything,
I love you more than my poor heart can handle,
- What will I do without my dear Gramma?


I've loved you in every tear that has fallen,
I've loved you in every memory come calling,
My love doesn't sway on the darkest of nights,
- I'm learning to live without you in my life.

I've loved you with every whisper of "Why?"
And I've loved you with every repeated "Goodbye."
I've loved you with every day that has passed,
 - My heart went with you the day that you left.

I've loved you with each and every breath,
I've loved you in ways words will never express,
I've loved you - I'll  love you - unending, I swear,
- I will never stop missing you, wishing you here.

Happy Birthday, Gramma. I love you always.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Mantra: The Earth Manifesto

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: The earth cares not what you think; it cares only what you do

Right now, my brain is wrapped around the idea of loss. Of incomprehensible loss in multiple ways.
  • Civilizations who rely on the earth as a provider; damaged and hurting and in need of water, of grass, of change.
  • Coastal communities who have seen significant declines in fish populations, significant increases in sunny day floods, and devastation brought on by unbelievable storms.
  • These facts: Half of the world's coral reefs died this year. Refugee situations are being caused by lack of food, water, and acceptable living conditions. Thousands of people dying because of extreme heat never before seen.
Right now I'm focused on a little something called climate change (or global warming). The discussion about climate change is so much more than just about the climate. It's about our culture, our outlook on life. What we consume, what we replenish, what we overlook because we have so much going on in our lives.

I've been doing my homework.

It's terrifying.

We are the most dangerous species on earth. We demand and consume more than our planet can sustain. When the day comes when the planet can no longer handle our demands, it will no longer be able to handle us. It will no longer be able to support or provide for us. Apparently, we're almost there.

I'm trying to understand why people don't believe. Why they think it's a hoax, a lie, a conspiracy. Why it's not enough proof to know that 99% of scientists agree we are in major trouble and that these 99% of scientists are losing sleep every night because yes, that is how bad it really is right now. 

Years ago, when I was deep in the world of health and wellness, I would tell my friends and family about all the things I was learning. I cannot tell you how much skepticism I was met with. To me, it was all logical, plain and simple. Here are the facts. Look at the data. Everything was painfully obvious. But to them, it wasn't. Almost ten years later and many of those friends and family members now believe and reiterate what I once told them. The funny part is they don't even remember our old conversations. They bring up the data as if it's brand new, which it is- to their acceptance of it.

My point is that most people have to come to terms with things in their own time. Often, they come to terms with health and wellness because of illness. We humans tend to only look for a different side when it's either too late or when we are personally affected. We don't have the luxury of waiting until it's too late with the planet. We have now, and if we don't act now we won't have a later.

I realize that part of the problem is that it's not necessarily overwhelmingly obvious in modern civilizations. It is explicitly obvious in developing countries. What we do here - in New York, in Los Angeles, in Phoenix - affects people living in the Philippines, in Africa, in India. Our lives have not been significantly impacted, so for some of us it's hard to believe. But countless other lives in these, plus many other countries, have been. I, as a citizen of humanity, struggle immensely knowing that things are far worse than far too many people are willing to acknowledge.

The thing is, though, there are signs here in the United States. There are signs all around us if we're willing to open our eyes. In my backyard, and on walks with my dogs, I find the bodies of dead bees everywhere. The dust storms have increased in recent years and the monsoons have decreased. It is hot hot HOT in Phoenix. Our desert plants that normally thrive in the heat are dying.

Miami suffers from what they call Sunny Day Flooding. On the warmest, sunniest, completely rain-free days they have immense amounts of sea water flooding their streets. If we, collectively, as the citizens of planet Earth don't do something, Miami will one day (not that many years from now) no longer exist. None of our current coastal communities will. They'll be underwater.

If things don't change, we will see increased refugee surges all over the world. I want you to pause for a second and imagine that. Picture the place you're living right now. Add two million people. Add four million people. What will that do to jobs and housing and supply and demand? Think about it.
  • There are places - today, right now - where people can no longer live because of the lack of water. Because nothing and no one, not even plants, can survive. Right now. Right now.
  • In some of these same places, crime has increased. There is a direct and proven correlation between impacted climates and increased crime for the simple reason of trying to survive. 
  • Animal species are dying at rapid rates. If things don't change, it's predicted that elephants will be extinct in another fifteen years.
Non-believers will be shaking their heads right about now, scoffing. Thinking they know more than the experts. Patting themselves on the back because they saw an ad on TV (paid for by the oil companies) telling them that climate change is a hoax, a way to raise taxes. 

Here's the thing, though:

The earth doesn't care what you think.

Your opinion won't change the facts.

The thing that disturbs me the most is the people who are so unwilling to listen, to learn, to actually open their minds to any and all new thoughts. They are so set in their ways they won't even try.

That is pure laziness.

The real harm lies with them. Because at the end of the day this all boils down to two things: either you believe in climate change and you support whatever needs to be done to stop it, or you don't. For those of us that believe, nothing new that comes is going to surprise us. We expect things to keep getting worse. But for those who don't believe, if major changes don't start happening right now, those people will one day have no choice but to believe. And at that point, they will have wasted precious time doing nothing. And it will be too late.

The question we should all be asking ourselves right now is: Which side do I want to be on?

Once upon a time I heard a saying: "The earth doesn't need us, but we need it."

I hope everyone realizes how true that is. Us climate-change-believers aren't just trying to save the earth. We're trying to save the human species. We cannot continue to purge the earth of it's resources and continue blindly thinking everything available to us is endless, limitless, never ending and without consequences. We can't continue living the way we have thinking it's sustainable. There are limits in absolutely everything in life. That includes what we take from and put into this earth.

In the business world, you have your ups and downs. You have quarters where you are excelling in every possible way and quarters where you fail. If you're lucky, you have years of great work with only blips of decline here and there. Consider the planet in these same terms. It's unreasonable to think that the earth can continue performing at its peak day-in and day-out without ever faltering. That is an impossible task. Taking that into consideration, it's inevitable that terrible things will happen. Terrible things have already happened. Vert simply put, the earth is not exempt from failure, just as nothing in life is. We must come to terms with this, we must understand this, we must take it upon ourselves to be responsible for taking better care of it so that we don't fail to our own detriment.

Let's face some facts here: Livelihoods will be affected by fossil fuel companies going away. It's true. Anyone who works for an oil company will likely lose their job. I'm not saying this lightly or with disrespect. That is a scary concept for anyone. However, you have to remember that new jobs will be created. Plenty of new jobs will exist in support of sustainable resources.

Let's face some more facts, shall we?

Other people's livelihoods have already been affected by climate change. In far worse ways than losing a job. People who have no other means of survival, people who live off of the land. No one, not one single human on this earth, should be willing to hurt another person so they can lead a life in excess. It is a selfish person who refuses to make the necessary and needed changes so that someone else, somewhere possibly miles and miles away, may have what they need to survive.

I too am facing this thought of selfishness. What does all of this mean for me? There are questions I have to ask myself constantly.

We should all be asking these questions of ourselves because we all need this planet.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Reflection of Shadows: Crushed

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments


                                                    I want to love you-
                                                                                                Love you.
                                                                 I want to kiss you-
                                                                                                Kiss you.
                                                                 I want to miss you-
                                                                                                Miss you.

                                                                 But we’ve never met,
                                                                 And we’ve never talked,
                                                                 So the things I want must be forgot.

                                                                 I want to know you-
                                                                                          Need you
                                                                                          Want you
                                                                 I want to hold you-
                                                                                          Need you
                                                                                          Want you
                                                                 I want to feel you-
                                                                                           Need you
                                                                                           Want you

                                                                 But we’ve never met,
                                                                 And we’ve never talked, 
                                                                 So the things I want must be forgot.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wedding World

Apologies on the lack of a Monday post, y'all. We're nearing closer and closer to the wedding, so wedding + holiday season = a real need for that clone request I mentioned a couple weeks ago.

Anyway, I figured I'd give you guys a little wedding update since that is the world I live in right now: Wedding World. It's an expensive, busy, yet awesome and beautiful place.

As mentioned prior, The Fiance and I are awkward in front of the camera, so we've been working with our amazing photographer, Monique Hessler, to become, well, less awkward. She works magic, you guys. Magic!

All joking aside, she is a wonderful person and an absolutely awesome photographer. She's kind, funny, and always open to my (many) ideas. She's just as excited about our wedding as we are, which in turn makes me even more exited. Her photography skills are off the charts. I mean seriously, I can't find words right now to explain. She is phenomenal! And did I mention how kind she is? I love her, I really do.

Here are some of our beautiful (and'll see) pictures from our engagement photos with Monique.

Samson: My mom's getting married!
Rocco: I eats the cake!

See what I mean by silly? But c'mon. If there's a red phone booth and the biggest Superman fan in the world in the same place, you should take advantage of it.

You're probably wondering, "Is that a wedding dress she's wearing in some of those pictures?" Why yes, yes it is. It's a long story, friends. A long, hilarious, dumb story.

Finding The Dress has proven to be much more of a challenge than I had anticipated all those months ago. If you'll recall, something absolutely, positively not white was my priority. If I'm being honest here, I was looking for black.

Like this.
The Vault
Or this.
Ruffled Blog

Or hey, this.
Zuhair Murad
In the real world (aka not Pinterest and with a budget, and hey, maybe I'd like to try it on first and see how it fits) things like this weren't possible.

So you know what happened? I found a white-as-snow wedding dress. Obviously, I had to request some customization. Which basically means it's going to be a surprise for everyone, including myself, as to what it will end up looking like. Not even kidding a little bit. I know the lace embroidery is ivory, but I have no clue what the slip color underneath really looks like in the color I ordered, nor do I know if some of the other ideas I had are going to pan out. Exciiiiiiiting!

Wish me (and my dress) luck.

Back to the planning!

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Reflection of Shadows: The Path of Love

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

The Path of Love

Wander down the trail,
Stepping on my stones.
Admire all my flowers.
Watch the lilies grow.

Gaze up at the sunlight
Splitting through the trees,
Feel the warmth upon your face,
Grasp for falling leaves.

Gaze across the meadow,
Feel the wind whip by.
Feel the flutter of your heart
Beating out new life.

Linger by the river,
Wonder what might be,
Had you not returned here
Would you feel this free?

Walk into my garden,
Seek the fruits I bear.
Listen to your longing heart-
It has led you here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Mantra: What Is, What Was, and What Shall Be

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: I have the ability to change things for the better
As I sit here trying to write this my fingers stumble over the keys. My head races with questions. My heart aches.

I am upset.

As a youngster, I didn't care much for history. I care a great deal now. I want to know know KNOW everything. I want to understand: How we got here, to this place. What we've done differently. What we're repeating. What we could've would've should've done and what we still should be doing, but aren't.

I need to know.

Every night, when The Fiance and I take the boys for a walk, we put on a new podcast. An informative, Teach Me About Something New lesson in life based on facts, data, and research.

I've learned a great deal. For example:

How the Native Americans play a role in the game of Football. How a man who once hunted them came to regret his actions and decided to Americanize them instead to help save them from people like him.

How one vote from a grand jury on a small matter could have changed what we now know to be the electoral college.

How we possess the technology to literally obliterate major crime situations - everything from drug cartels to robberies to child abductions - yet aren't able to use it because of citizen outcry and the fear of being spied on.

How savage our history is in general because we learn best from our mistakes. How we tend to make a lot of mistakes before we begin paying attention.

I've said this a lot and I'll continue saying it because of the truth it bares: Life as we know it is only life as we know it. 

There is so much more to everything.

There is so much more to learn.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Reflection of Shadows: Angels We Have Heard on High

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Angels We Have Heard On High

Angels we have heard on high, 
Do you watch me in the night?
Do you know my silent dreams?
Do you see me suffering?

Angels, angels- are you near?
Can I whisper in your ear, 
All my secrets, all my dreams,
Every thought that's haunting me?

Every moment in the making,
Every time my heart is breaking,
When my tears are falling swiftly, 
Are you with me? Are you with me?

Angels, angels shining bright
Do you hear my pleas at night?
Are you with me when I cry?
Do you judge me when I lie?

Are you reaching when I'm falling?
Do you hear me when I'm calling?
When I'm reckless, when I'm daring, 
Are you right beside me, caring?

Angels we have heard on high, 
Do you hear my whispered cries?
Do you see my haunted dreams?
Do you know the thoughts I keep?