Monday, April 21, 2014

Wish Bracelets

For a while now I've been trying to find talismans for the boys and I.
A talisman is an object believed to contain magical or sacred properties which would provide the possessor good luck, or protection from harm or evil.  
For my purposes I really just wanted something simple to serve as a little good luck charm, but as I searched the internet one night I stumbled upon something different, yet equally cool. 
Wish bracelets. 

Fair warning, if it's like most things I stumble upon, everyone else heard about it ten years ago.
 However, I had never heard of them and loved the concept.

Basically, a wish bracelet is a thin bracelet which you wear with a wish in mind and when the bracelet naturally wears off, your wish will come to pass. (You can't pull or cut it, you freaking killjoy.) 

I got ours on Etsy here, though making your own would be a fun little project too!

I made it into a "wishing ceremony" and we each wrote our wish on a slip of paper and burned them outside, letting the wind carry the ashes out into the universe. We didn't divulge our wishes to each other, because I just assume all wishes work like birthday wishes (?). I used to do random fun stuff like this when they were younger (putting glow-in-the-dark stars around the yard and then letting them search for "falling  stars") but we abandoned most imagination-based games when they started becoming the little skeptics they are.  However I think that sometimes kids just need permission to act like kids, or be silly or believe that a wish could come true. 

Long story short: It didn't cost much and the boys thought it was awesome! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Best

Easter Sunday has come and gone here in Okinawa. It was a beautiful day spent with my two best guys and we snapped a few pictures before heading to a friend's house for dinner. The past year has been incredibly difficult for me, so I'm extra grateful for good days, like these. 

I am super emotional today so let's just leave it at that!




F r e c k l e s





Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Wishes and Candy Dreams

"Does the Easter Bunny represent Jesus?"
"Are these eggs for Jesus or can I eat one?"
"Why do we have egg hunts for Easter?"

These are the kinds of questions thrown at me lately. and I usually stumble through a confusing and inaccurate explanation as my son gazes up at me with skeptical blue eyes. "Jesus was crucified, then three days later he rose from the dead and the tomb...was...like an empty egg, so we fill that tomb egg with candy and hide it in the grass."

"Jesus...is that you??"


Honestly, this is what I hate about Christian holidays.  "Let's celebrate the birth of Jesus with...toys!! His resurrection? Candy!!"  The secular aspects have merged almost completely with the religious, so that it's hard to distinguish one from the other and frankly, a lot of religious practices don't always make a lot of sense to me. But I was raised with a set of beliefs and I never really thought to question any of them or reconcile that which seemed illogical.   When my kids were little I didn't have to explain anything, which made my own ignorance easy to mask. However now that they're getting older and more cognizant of the world around them, I'm faced with a choice. To continue feeding them the same vague, half-hearted explanations or to reject the status quo and go another way. Considering my options, I'll choose the latter.

 There is no reason to believe that my children cannot be both religious and pragmatic, or that forgoing the fairy tale will make the world any less magical.  In fact if anything I think it will make their spiritual experiences that much more profound and personal. 

In the end, where Easter in concerned, I want them to know that he lives, but not in a plastic egg.








Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Anjolee

I was recently asked to review Anjolee's Customizable Diamond Jewelry website and although I don't worship at the alter of that sparkling rock, it's hard to deny that they have some gorgeous pieces. Like, A LOT of gorgeous pieces. From classic solitaire earrings to the most glamorous diamond tennis necklace, they have a seemingly endless inventory. And the best part is that it's all customizable. 

So let's say you want to invest in your first pair of diamond princess cut earrings. You click on these beauties, then pick your metal type, carrot weight and quality and basically build the perfect pair (in your price range).


The website is easy to navigate, includes customer feedback ratings and a detailed certification and standards page as well as a 30-day return policy (even on customized orders).  Anjolee has seemingly taken the hassle out of buying high quality jewelry on a budget, without gimmicks or pressure. Now if only car dealerships would follow suit...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Camp Khaki and The Matriarch

How is it that I can be standing in March one minute, then blink and suddenly it's the middle of April? Time is like the eternal watched pot that never boils.

Last week was Spring Break and while Cole went off to scout camp, Aidin and I were left to carry on alone. We ate pizza, explored around our favorite island haunts, watched movies,  swam in the sea and read a bunch of books. Miracle of miracles he never once complained of being bored, probably because every time he started a sentence with, "I'm b-" I screamed, "LET'S GO GET ICE CREAM!!!!!!"


 At the end of the week we went to scout camp to visit Cole, who showed us around, introduced us to his new friends and camp counselors and told us more stories than we could keep straight.  Every kid there was emanating the same electric joy and I'll admit, I felt a little guilty remembering that I was initially reluctant to let Cole join scouts. I've always thought of it as a utopia for nerds, instead of simply a utopia.  Maybe not my ideal, but someone's.  As my kids have gotten older I've started to realize that where their personal tastes are concerned, asserting my opinion belittles theirs. They're mature enough to know what they like and what they don't, or at least what interests them and what doesn't. I'm no parenting expert but I know that when I support and encourage, my kids thrive; When I manipulate or compel, they struggle. 


So I sat contently, huddled by the bonfire in a field of khaki as he recounted the harrowing tale of how he almost lost his eye. 




Friday, March 28, 2014

Botanical Gardens

 I spent the day at the Botanical Gardens with a few ladybros and I'm kicking myself for not going sooner.  It's one of those places you drive by and see the signs for but inexplicably drag your feet to venture in. 
Then, when you finally go, it's like...whoa.







You can check out my Instagram for more pics!




Thursday, March 27, 2014

Signs From The Universe

(This is a photograph taken by amateur astronomer Georgiy Suturin using just a camera and a home-made telescope. Insane.)

Every once in a while when I'm wrapped up in my own thoughts, something catches my attention in a way that suggests more than mere coincidence. It is often something as small as an overheard conversation or found object, yet for some reason it seems as though it was intentionally placed in my path.
Now, before you write me off as some sort of mystical hippie please let me assure you that I rarely remember my reusable grocery bags and I talk more about Jared Leto's hair than my own spirituality. However, I think that sometimes in this life we are so afraid to act on intuition that we need these little signs, or clues, to point us in the right direction or give encouragement when we need it.

Maybe it's all in my head, but then Dumbledore told us that just because it's in our heads doesn't make it any less real, so that's my gospel.

The Empress
Years ago I bought a deck of tarot cards from Goodwill, thinking it might come in handy for Halloween or something.  The other day I walked into my office to find this lone Empress card upside down on my desk. I had completely forgotten about them and couldn't even remember where the rest of the deck was or how this one card got there. Out of curiosity I Googled the meaning of The Empress and again, it was as if I was meant to find it.
"The Empress reversed indicates that you are feeling discontented because something is missing or lacking in your life, or because you want to find something creative, meaningful or fulfilling to do but you do not know what. This card can indicate a creative block. You may find your mood is depressed or negative."  -Biddy Tarot


The Reincarnated Orchid.
I put this dead thing outside more than a year ago with plans to reuse the pot. And when I say dead I mean DEAD. Tan Mom's skin dead. But last week I went outside to clean out my garden and this beautiful orchid had literally bloomed overnight.


What do you think? Do you believe in signs from the universe? A higher power guiding you? I know on my computer screen these happenings suddenly seem very small and inconsequential, but I don't think signs have to be loud to be heard.

Sometimes a flower is just a flower, but other times it's hope.