Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Video Podcast : Episode 7 : Three Actions to Help You Move Forward




I was so inspired by a YouTube video featuring Lisa Nichols where she talked about her rise to living her dream.

In my evolution, I am hungry to change the circumstances of my life. I am increasingly aware that if I want a different result then I need to do something different in every moment. My vision board is a bunch of post-its on my wall. The post-its have due dates, specific scenarios, meeting and speaking with certain people, and bank balances that I will manifest. In all my 43 years, I have attempted the typical collage-style vision board with pictures and that just didn't work for me. I love my post-its and I love my handwriting. I have excellent penmanship and there's just a connection between my mind and the actual writing of the vision of my life. Every day I want to add more.

As I make this transition, I realize that I have a lot of hang-ups and emotional things that have held me back for so long. Leaving Hawai'i and my old job was one of the ways I let go of things that are not authentically me anymore. So often we let life move us along. I was so used to reacting to things instead of being actively engaged in choosing the life I want to live. That's not me anymore.

A little over a year ago, I was melting down. I was riding in the car with my older brother telling him how trapped I felt. It was like my divorce had begun to peel away layers of my life that no longer served me. At that time, I had just watched that Steve Harvey clip where he talks about taking risks and doing the thing you love doing. My brother is driving and I am crying my eyes out talking about how my life is not what I had envisioned for myself. The future seemed bleak if I continued on the path that I was on - trapped by a job that forced me to comply with their strict code of conduct and my heart so weathered and broken. I was doing the ugly cry and my brother said, "Then jump! It's time to jump!" He set my mind at ease by addressing all of my concerns that were holding me back. In that moment, I decided to JUMP. 

Deciding to JUMP was the easy part. Undoing all the years of negative self-talk has proved to be the real challenge. I am a positive person to everyone else but myself. I can talk someone up and shiny them up for the world but I have a difficult time in talking myself up. Every day I make a conscious effort to say, 
"I can do this." 
"I got this." 
"I am brave and courageous." 
"I am talented." 
"I am loved."
Whether it's social or cultural conditioning that has made me only focus on the things that I'm not so good at, I want to end that practice now. I am going to celebrate all of the good things about me and walk in my most perfect truth. You should too. When we are sure of who we are, nothing anyone says matters. You take that power back from whoever or whatever you gave it to. Own your life decisions and actively engage in creating the life you want.

I don't care anymore about the criticisms of small-minded people. And some of my closest friends clown my attempt to change the circumstances of my life. I really don't need that type of negativity in my life so I keep my distance. I want to be surrounded by people who have achieved the things that I want to achieve. I want to be surrounded by people who are cheering me on and assisting me on my rise.


The morning I let go of the guilt surrounding my shortcomings as a daughter. If you watched the video, this will make sense to you.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

What is the Best Piece of Advice You Have Ever Received?



I had a conversation with an old friend this past weekend. It was different than any other conversation he and I have ever had. Without disclosing too much about him, I have fond memories of us that go way back. We may have lost touch over the years but we have never lost the closeness that we've shared. When we've seen each other in person, we are still the way we were way back when. The last time I seen him, I was picking food off his plate that he hadn't touched yet. He didn't seem to mind. I will always consider him a "bestie" and he feels the same way too. Up until this point our friendship has always been platonic. NO funny business at all. I suppose it still is platonic because he is married and a very devoted father to his children.

At one point, nearly two decades back, we were hanging out a lot. I was separated from my first husband and he was single. We would take these long rides around the island and just talk and laugh. We have always been able to relate to each other and there were never any awkward silences, ever! In our conversation over Facebook Messenger, he changed the condition of our friendship, somewhat by relating his emotions and feelings. I lifted his exact words from our conversation, "All those times we went cruising, we shoulda made love to this song." The song, you ask? I Wanna Be Loved by Eric Benet. I don't know how long he has thought of me in that way. If these are old feelings from way back when, why did he wait to tell me? If these are new feelings, why now?

Nothing can really blossom from his revealed feelings unless we rendezvous like hormone-crazed teenagers. That would make him an adulterer and me the skanky ho that wanted it. You know how you've been friends with someone so long, you take on a certain persona when you're with them. I was in his "friend zone" and never, in my mind, to be more than that. We have never crossed that line between friends and lovers. I was always very careful not to provoke it because I knew too much about him but mostly because I never thought he was attracted to me. He never tried either.

When we would hang out, we would traverse every topic on the planet from funny and entertaining to heavy and deep. On one of our long drives, I revealed to him my biggest dream - to write. We talked about way more than that and he was actually "with it" too. That was nearly 20 years ago and I'm just starting on the dream. For whatever reason we found ourselves in a conversation about why he and I never hooked up, I am grateful for the way he sees me. Lifted from our conversation, "Sorry about your marriage but I don't think men understand the responsibility and privilege of being with you." That right there! Am I wrong to think that he is seeing value in me in a way that my ex(es) didn't? And if so, why now? I can't lie, it brought tears to my eyes. I carry around this broken heart, trying to move forward but still feeling every bit of inadequate to allow someone to love me again. Who can love a girl that has been abandoned, twice? There must be something wrong with me, right?

He dropped nuggets of advice on me that seem to come from deep inside his heart. What he said to me makes me think that he wants me to have the fairy tale that I always talk about. I feel like his sentiments came from such an unselfish and genuine place and it kind of knocked me off my feet; so much so that I am thinking about it a day later.

HIM: For realz tho if us men were mature enough to appreciate a beautiful, intelligent woman like you is better than a million hoochies, you'd get the man you deserve.

ME: Maybe one day

So what is the bit of advice that he gave me?

HIM: Don't give up hope and for God's sake don't settle.

Simple! And though I've had tons of advice over my lifetime from dearest friends and family, for some reason, those words hit me like a ton of bricks. DON'T SETTLE! 

HIM: Rudy Giuliani said, "Never compromise your principles because the worst thing you can do is compromise and lose." You deserve a finished product at this stage of your life.

Okay who walks around with Giuliani quotes in his head? LOL

ME: On the real, I'm not looking for anything. I am going to do me. Make all my dreams come true.

HIM: If someone can add to those dreams then let em in. Easy to say but hard to do... but you got this. Remember Five Heartbeats? Your greatest writing will come once you have known pain.

His 'drop the mic' closing sentiment: Still wish we made love but will have to settle for loving you from afar.


=====


Follow me on FACEBOOK Follow me on INSTAGRAM Follow me on TWITTER




Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Video Podcast 6 : My BFF Speaks



I am here to share the collective story of humanity. Every single person we meet and greet has a story that defines them.

I spent my birthday weekend with my BFF in Maryland and thought it was a perfect opportunity to get her in front of my camera to tell her story. People are so interesting. Life experiences shape us and mold us into who we are in every moment. I know her very well - her hurts, her trials, her childhood, her broken hearts, her joys, her triumphs. I know how far she's come and the hurdles she's overcome to get to where she is. It is no small feat. We have all traveled tough roads. The way we overcome the trials and elevate ourselves is to be celebrated. 

I will always see the best in people, at least I will always strive for that. When I hear someone's story, even if it's painful, I see how it has changed them and made them better. Even my own story of my life is fraught with broken hearts and yet, everyday I want to love and be loved. A broken heart will never stop me from giving love. And the energy that comes when you meet someone special cannot be manufactured. It's either there or it's not. 

I am, without apology, a hopeless romantic. 
I believe that everything is beautiful and everything has purpose. 
I believe that people are good.
I believe that everyone is capable of doing everything their heart desires.
I believe that the hurt we experience pushes us to be better and more compassionate.
I believe that love is every human soul's deepest desire.
I believe that love will find me again. Whole and complete.

And though I miss the loves that have left my life, I anticipate the beauty of the love that waits for me, that is searching for me too. The most beautiful sentiment I received on my birthday was posted on my FaceBook page.
"Happiest Birthday to this Tender Roni! 
You have taught all of us who know your heart 
how to be fearless in love."
Tender Roni was my "thing" in high school. I was a Bobby Brown fan and I used to say, "My name is Roni, Bobby's heart belongs to me." I would write it all over my school books and all my doodling from high school. But her perception of me... that I am teaching people to be fearless in LOVE. That's me! All day! 

I cannot say if my current love interest will break my heart tomorrow or in 13 years (like my ex did) but I am fearless. I am not afraid of the broken heart that may come in the future because I am going to cherish every single moment for as long as he will be mine. And I will not stop my heart from feeling the way that it does because he might break it in the future. No. I choose happiness now, without fear, without apology. And if this happiness extends into forever then so be it. Whatever troubles may come our way, I am fearless and I will stand by him through every storm and every joy. Love is!

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Drive By Post : Birthday Weekend

Wow. Whirlwind of a weekend. Knocked me off my normal pattern for blogging, writing, and social media.

I had a really good time this past weekend. I hung out with old friends and family, met new friends, and partied like a rock star. This year has been a little different in how I celebrate Leo Season because I am devoting every spare moment to the writing of my novel. I started out writing a contemporary American romance. It is not that anymore. It has evolved into something more meaningful than romance and there are so many facets to it that I had not originally conceptualized. It is STILL a love story. I am in love with my body of work. And there are a million other stories tinkering in my brain and in my imagination; characters that are peeking from behind the dust in my mind. They are fighting to come out. This makes me sound schizophrenic. I'm not! LOL... but I do live in fairy tale land. Most story-tellers do!

I drove out to Maryland for my birthday weekend. My cousin met me there and we hung out with my sister-bestie at her home and in her hood. Before driving out to Maryland, I had written in my journal that I wanted to go dancing and oh-my-goodness I DANCED. My legs felt like jello, they still feel like jello, and I realize that I do need to go back to the gym. I love to dance. I may not be good at it but I really do enjoy it. I especially love it when I've been dancing with someone all night, having a good time, and that last slow jam comes on to close out the night. That is the best! I want to be with someone that loves to dance too... especially if he's good at it.

You never know what can happen in a single moment. It can change the course of your life. One simple act. One single moment can change your perspective on EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 5: Random Topics




Asking the question, "What should my topic be on my next video?" resulted in random topics that were fun to sit and read. I think I might do this more often. It's fun to see what people want to hear about.

One of the topics I cover is bullying. I can only apologize to the people I may have terrorized as a child. I wish I could take back all that ugliness. I own up to it and I wish to say sorry to anyone who has felt intimidated or bullied by me. I have moved forward in life by vowing to never be that mean girl again. I consciously make an effort to be kind to everyone I meet. That is no small feat because I do admit that I have some prejudices. This is not something I am proud of but I do admit that I have these weaknesses.

Finding my way to being my most authentic has taken my whole life. I feel MORE me now than I have ever felt in a very long time. So often people struggle with who they feel they are inside and the person that their family wants them to be. I love my childhood and how my parents raised me and I have never wanted to disappoint them however, I find that being my most genuine means breaking away from the structure of my childhood.

I present this quote by Immanuel Kant from his writings in Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals:
To secure one's own happiness is a duty. 
If you happen to find yourself reading the entire text that comes after that quote, it really is an analysis on how people choose happiness and the things they trade/sacrifice for said happiness. The text gives an example of a "gouty patient" who sacrifices his health for the temporary happiness of indulging his appetite. The general desire for happiness influenced his will. Some make certain choices out of a sense of duty. Example - my choice to attempt to live the life of a devout LDS woman was more out of a sense of loyalty to my mother and the way she raised me. At the end of my life, had I continued down that path, could I have said that I had no regrets?


=====



Follow me on FACEBOOK
Follow me on INSTAGRAM
Follow me on TWITTER

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Candlelight (ZHAVIA Cover) by Sheyla & Naina



I cannot say enough about my two nieces. I absolutely love the young women that they are becoming. They are smart and beautiful and talented but most important, they are kind. I always harass them about going on The Voice or American Idol. They just laugh at me. I think the world of them. I want the world for them. I have always told them to work the dream instead of focusing on Plan B. Why go after that "degree" if what you really want to do is make music/act/broadway?

Work/Live the dream my sweet nieces.
There will always be time for Plan B.
Don't live in the gray area.

Sheyla - playing the guitar. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel.
Naina - on the left. Subscribe to her YouTubeChannel.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

What Would You Like To Be Remembered For



The question, what do you want to be remembered for is a common question in motivational workshops. I have seen mastery classes that actually do an obituary for you, complete with your picture and your name. This is to prompt you to contemplate the condition of your life and if it is where you want to be. And if not, what are you going to do about it?

I am going to be 43 on August 4th. The older I get the more real mortality becomes. The magic of my youth and the idea that I will never get old is fading and I realize that I have not done the things I was put on this earth to do. It has been a struggle to make these transitions, to extend myself beyond the known boundaries of my life. I have no paid mentor telling me how to navigate the self-publishing world but I am not afraid. I am not afraid to fail. I am not afraid of falling flat on my face because I will push until I do the things that I have set out to do.

Beyond my personal goals though, I wish to impact the world in a positive way. So often, we are inhibited by our cultural and religious upbringing that says we must seek to elevate "the village" over personal growth. It does serve its purpose and some people's legacy will be that of sacrificing their own personal desires to serve the greater good. It has taken me nearly 43 years to put that type of thinking on the side and move out of the neutrality of my life and into believing and knowing that my life is powerful. I am not a bystander, watching life happen around me. I am empowered to do whatever it is I am called to do.

We read and see quotes like, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Every time I would see that quote I used to think that it was for the people who had power and influence, not for me. That quote was not for lil ole me in the middle of the Pacific, working the 9 to 5 everyday. And even if I never have the power and influence like Oprah, I can still effect change in my small part of this great big universe. I share Marianne Williamson's famous quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. 
Your playing small does not serve the world. 
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that 
other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We are all meant to shine, as children do. 
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. 
And as we let our own light shine, 
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we are liberated from our own fear, 
our presence automatically liberates others.

I have struggled with identity. Who am I? I have been blessed, beyond measure, with a healthy imagination, a bright mind, a kind heart, and a optimistic vigor for life. Why am I settling to be just like everyone around me when I know in my heart that I am so much more. I am not saying that I am better than people around me. What I am saying is that I have spent most of my life being the same as everyone instead of following my imagination. I have worked so long at 'fitting in' rather than allowing myself to stand out and honor the gifts that I have been given. What good is a sharp knife in the kitchen drawer if you never use it? What good are kind words if it is never spoken? What good is a song if it is never sung? We are here on this planet, in this space and time, and it's time to use our gifts to truly create the change we wish to see in the world.

With that being said, I hope that at the end of my life, it will be said of me that "She lived a magnificent life."

Friday, July 27, 2018

Writing is Art


Navigating the self-publishing world has been an adventure. I am pushing myself beyond my known boundaries. The feeling is exhilarating and scary. I have not thought, not once, of failure and I am grateful that I am gifted with such a fierce optimism. That optimism has gotten me through some very rough patches and I know that it will carry me through the rest of my life.

People have asked me why I don't submit my manuscript to a publishing house. Here are my reasons:

1. TIME - I am not sure that they will move on it quick enough for me. They are looking for "trending" stories that are highly marketable. I think I am a great story-teller but I don't want to sit and wait for them to decide. I set a deadline for myself and I want to keep that deadline.

2. EDITING - Though I would appreciate feedback, I don't want my voice to be drowned out by an editor that wants my story to be "more marketable." The idea behind my writing is not just to sell books but to have my words and the stories make an impact on the reader.

3. CREATIVE FREEDOM - I have a clear vision of how I want the cover to be and how I want the text to be formatted.

I have not eliminated the possibility of pitching this manuscript to a publishing house. A dear friend of mine whose resume is quite impressive as a cultural expert (she was a consultant on Disney's Moana) has already put me in touch with Little Island Press located in Auckland, NZ. I don't want to wait though. I want to push this first novel into the print world. There are so many more that are coming after it.

People think that writing is cheap. And it is. It doesn't cost a thing for me to put my ideas on paper or here on the world wide web. But to bring it all to life costs money. Think of an artist that has sketched or has sculpted or has took beautiful photos. How do they bring it forward? They need the materials and then they need all the fluff to present their final product. Fluff = frames, columns and stands, printing costs, marketing -- it all costs money to present the end product to the world. And though sales and future commissions on their creative works might be a byproduct, that will not be realized for weeks or even months, sometimes years. Vincent Van Gogh probably had no clue the "value" of his work while he was alive.

I think of my writing just as an artist thinks of his or her pieces. I place my heart and soul into the things that I write and when I present it to the world, I make no apologies for the story that I tell. The best stories will change you, will push you to think of things differently.

So as I continue to weigh my options for bringing my first novel to life, self-publishing is still my chosen avenue. It is expensive -- from copyrighting the material to the actual publishing and the  marketing. I thank the people who have contributed to this first endeavor - donors who gave without hesitation. And though it is not enough yet, I am extremely grateful and humbled by their generosity.

= = = = = = = = = =

FOLLOW ME on Facebook
FOLLOW ME on Instagram
FOLLOW ME on Twitter

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 4: Who Influenced You?



In my pursuit of living my biggest dream of writing full time, I want to pay homage to the teachers and books that have influenced me and fostered my love of reading and writing. Children that attended Hau'ula Elementary in the 80's will certainly recognize the two teachers that I mention.

Mr. Ho, who retired a couple of years ago, was my third grade teacher. My parents kept all my report cards from grade school and I laugh when I read them. Mr. Ho would say things like, "She's smart but has a bad attitude." "She wants to be the teacher." I can't help it. I have this natural curiosity, even back then, and was and still am verrrrry impatient. I am not proud of my behavior but there would be times when my impatience made me look like a know-it-all. Mr. Ho would ask a student to read out loud. It drove me crazy that he would NEVER pick me to read out loud. So when the chosen student would read out loud, and he or she would stumble over words, I would blurt out the sentence that they were having a difficult time reading. I can see now why Mr. Ho NEVER chose me. I was not the one that needed help. I was so eager to read through the sentences that were so simple for me not realizing that I was probably intimidating the student that was actually reading. Sorry.

Mr. Ho also had story time where the entire class would sit down on the floor. He would be seated on a chair, front and center. He would tell us ghost stories. The Man With the Golden Arm was a favorite. I knew how the story would end but the way he told it was always so surprising. It is a cherished memory from Mr. Ho's classroom.

In the 4th Grade, I had Ms. Elly Tepper. There are only a few teachers throughout my years that had the ability to make EVERY student feel special. She is one of them. Not only did she inspire my love for reading and writing but she really pushed me to love my culture. I don't believe she is a Pacific Islander but the way she embraced our music, dancing, and cultural practices made me love it more.  4th Grade at Hau'ula Elementary back in the 80's was the designated grade for learning Hawaiian History. The whole year was spent learning cultural practices of my Hawaiian ancestors and it culminated in a week-long, end-of-year trip to Hawai'i Island (where the volcano is). While there we visited ancient heiau (temples) and visit important historical places that we learned about throughout the year. We visited Pele (the fire goddess) at Kilauea. Ancient fish ponds. Summer palaces of the royalty before the kingdom was overthrown by greedy Americans. We danced hula in hotel lobbies and at schools. It was really a beautiful experience and I wish I had my journals from that time but those were lost in a flood.

When Ms. Tepper needed to calm the class down and get us to focus, or we were getting for a test, or we were about to meet an important guest in the classroom, or we were getting ready for a performance, or we were about to get off the bus on a field trip, she gave the most inspiring speeches. The emotion that she was able to pull from each and every student with her speeches will always stay with me. Even if your home life was horrible, when you entered Ms. Tepper's room you knew that she only saw us as little kings and queens. I cannot remember the words that she said but I certainly remember the feelings that she was able to evoke from me. She would walk around the room, between our desks, the heat of the day invading the classroom, and would remind us of our nobility. She was a big fan of the Hawaiian word, ha'aheo. It means proud, like how the mountains stand tall and proud. And she would use that word to remind us how to be. She would tell us to be dignified, proud, and remember always who we represent with our actions. I am a crybaby and there were times that my eyes were filled with tears from her pep talk. I don't ever remember being scolded. She was always firm and direct, not condescending at all. She is a bright light in the world of education in Hawai'i.

I hope that you sit back and contemplate the major influencers in what you are doing today. Maybe reach out to them and let them know the impact they made on your life. I looked up both Mr. Ho and Ms. Tepper and they are not on Social Media. But I am determined to find a way to reach out to them to let them know their impact on me. If you know them, send them a link to this blog post.


Follow me on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/LoveNeenaLove Follow me on INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/loveneenalove/ Follow me on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/loveneenalove

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 3 : Celebrate Yourself : : Leo Season



I enjoy celebrating my birthday. I am not one to wait for other people to plan stuff for me. When I turned 16, I spent the entire day by myself at the mall. My parents gave me birthday money and the keys to my mom's orange Ford Aerostar van. EVERYBODY in high school knew my mom's van because I was always driving it and all of my friends were piled in it, even on our weekend cruising adventures.

The celebration of my birthday, like many people, is usually a day spent partying and having a good time. I used to celebrate 'the day' then it turned into celebrating birthday week and now has extended to the entire Leo Season. This means that I celebrate from July 23rd to August 22nd even though my birthday is August 4th. I make it a point to be a little selfish and do whatever I feel like doing. Celebrating for an entire month takes some planning but for the most part, I wing most of it. I don't worry about the money I spend on myself because I deserve it. I deserve to spoil myself. I worry about the money part later. You can always make more money but you can never go back and make more memories.

When people would ask me what I want for my birthday, I say the same thing. I like homemade stuff like chocolate chip cookies or banana bread. I also like earrings and ANYTHING with hearts on it or LOVE on it. I like smell good stuff like Scentsy stuff or Bath & Body Works home fragrances and candles. But my favorite thing? My favorite thing to get are handwritten cards and if they're accompanied with flowers -- even better! But if you are just itching to gift me something from Amazon, here is my current WISH LIST.

Best Video Card I ever received. The ONLY video card I ever received.

In a previous post, I touched on how I was raised to not value my physical beauty, that it was somehow bad to honor the reflection in the mirror. Also, kids are mean and can really mess with how a person views him or herself. I had to consciously overcome those feelings of insecurity in relation to my looks.

In similar fashion, I have to overcome the "training" I received from my mother to SERVE everybody before myself. I watched her put everyone's needs above her own, which ultimately stole her health from her. I have had to find the balance between the wonderful values I was raised with and the ME that says that I need "ME" time. So celebrating myself during the month of my birth, Leo Season, is about me making time to do ME. It's my most favorite time of the year.


Follow me on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/loveneenalove

Monday, July 16, 2018

Original Poem: I Want

I want you to know me
The real me
The me that no one else sees
And when I reveal the dark
and the light
I want to be sure that it will not frighten you
to know me so intimately

I want you to see me naked
Without the facade that I wear for the world
To see my scars
To see my brokenness
and still want to love me in spite of them

I want you to hear my voice
The silent whisper that no one knows
To hear my song
To hear the melody of my pain
and crave the sound of my joy

I want you to feel the intensity of my emotions
And the fire that burns inside me
Can you feel my longing to love and be loved
To taste my tears
My fears
and still want to hold me closer and erase my pain

I want you to know me like you've known me forever
To dance with my joy
To stay in step with my rhythm
To move endlessly through time
and space
together

I want you to fall in love with my soul
To see beauty inside me
And want forever
to be by my side
That's what I want



Thursday, July 12, 2018

Love Is ______



I don't know how many of my reading and viewing audience has tuned into OWN's Love Is ____ TV Show but if you haven't, I suggest you do. It is, by far, the most refreshing love story I have seen in a very long time. The writing and the acting is so delicious. The cast is so well-chosen. The music and the styling of the set and the "costumes" is so 1990's that I feel like I'm back there again.

Some of the elements that really add to the feel of Love Is ____ is the music. For instance, the piano interludes that play every time Nuri and Yasir exchange a real moment just transports me to another time and space. The simple piano melody arouses those feel-good-vibes and takes me into my forever feelings. I recognize those heart strings pulling on me when I come across someone in my real life who ignites those feelings. The way the story is written, the way the director pulls the emotion from the audience, the way the emotion is conveyed by the cast is enchanting and magical.

The love story is so simple but complicated. There aren't any overly dramatic plot twists where you feel like you're on a roller coaster. Instead, you float along recognizing yourself in each character and gaining insight into the other side of the argument. There aren't any clearly defined protagonists or antagonists. The story IS love and it's plain and honest and naked.

The tension of the story is between trusting your heart or following logic. You can see the difference between the magic of love (Nuri + Yasir) and trying to follow logic (Nuri + Keith).

A moment of instant attraction. That is really all it takes. We vibe with someone's energy and then everything that comes after it is because of that initial in-person energy. Yasir's approach is strong. His confidence and his honesty is breath taking. On the other hand, there's Keith who seems to be the guy who has it all. Good looks, fantastic job, consistent. On paper, his resume looks good. Unfortunately, NO ONE can have a relationship with a resume. And when times get tough, looking back at his resume is not going to pull you through. Whereas, Nuri + Yasir have already fostered very strong chemistry from the beginning way back when Nuri was light-skin-long-curly-hair girl.

I have NEVER been one to size up a guy based on his resume. What gets me all the time is that initial first impression. If there are fireworks going off inside me upon first contact, I'm done. #RealTalk! The magic does not happen with every person I meet so when it does happen, I listen and I act on it. I feel like I have never been wrong to follow my instinct even with all the naysayers on the sideline telling me I'm a fool. I love what I love and if it means that people see me as a fool then so be it. A perfect example is my ex-husband and I. The short version -- we knew each other only seven months before we found ourselves in front of a judge in Illinois, getting married. We lasted 13 years and everyone thought we wouldn't even last 13 days. I love to be in love. I enjoy being a good partner/wife/girlfriend. I don't need the attention of every man. I just want one -- one that's just for me!

So in my world give me that unpredictable Nuri + Yasir action. Save the Nuri + Keith business for the arranged marriage people.




Follow me on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/loveneenalove

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 2 : Sad Songs Say So Much: Grief and Acceptance



My "Sad Songs Say So Much" playlist on YouTube.

You can dig through my blog and find all types of posts about love and heartache. It's amazing how free I am with information about my life. I write to let go of the emotions and to sort through the issues. I share it here because someone might be able to hear something in my thoughts that might help them through it. One thing is certain, I am no relationship expert but I could possibly be a champion of overcoming heartache.

In the days following the announcement that my ex wanted a divorce, I had never felt such agony before or since. I will never forget specific moments where I thought I would just die. Everything was so uncertain. Was he serious about this or was this a temporary situation? What happens next? Do we continue to live together? Is he cheating? There were just endless questions. I felt so lost and alone even being surrounded by family and friends. There are times, even now, where I still feel all alone.

In the ugly of my break up, it was very difficult to start my day. I couldn't even see thirty minutes ahead of me. I didn't eat. I drank a lot to soothe me, to numb me, to avoid dealing with the present. I teetered between sadness and extreme rage. I wanted to break things. I wanted to punch and kick the rage out of me so I went to the gym a lot. That helped me get my appetite back as well as work through my rage issues. My friends wanted to hunt him down and destroy his truck. Some days I entertained the thought and we would ride with bats in the car and sugar for his gas tank. We never did do it. I could never knowingly destroy something like that. And besides, my name was still on his truck.

As you make your way through heartache or loss, DO NOT hold it in. You don't have to be strong. Take some time to be alone and grieve through it. Feel all of the emotion and move into acceptance. This is not an easy process but who you evolve into is entirely up to you.

I have learned so much through this process, more than I did from my first marriage and divorce. I have discovered so many things about myself. I acknowledge my flaws in the demise of my marriage. I own the things that I could have done better and vow to turn those weaknesses into strengths for the next man that shares my world. I have learned patience and to trust that whatever is ahead of me is for me. I feel my star rising, whatever that means... I feel it deeply. I have practiced forgiveness on several occasions in my life and this is one event that has forced me to put it into practice again. And I gladly do so because I do not want the ghosts of the past to haunt my tomorrows. I don't want to be bitter and angry because that is not who I am.

I still prepare to be enchanted by life and love and all the beautiful things in the universe. I know that love will find me again and when it does, it will be full and complete and blissful. This is what I want for you too, Dear Reader, that your heart will heal when you grieve and accept what IS.



Monday, July 09, 2018

I Hope You Dance


There is a song performed by Leann Womack titled I Hope You Dance. The lyrics are beautiful, poetic, and imparts feel-good vibrations all the way around.... except for one line. It says, "Never settle for the path of least resistance." I think the song is flawed because of that one line. It should have said something like, "Don't give up even though it's hard," "Be persistent."

Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
I made the move out to South Carolina because it is and has been the path of least resistance. There have been so many events that are seemingly unrelated yet in my mind they have sequentially pointed me in one direction. That direction is for me to make this move to South Carolina.

Don't let some hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
No one ever falls in love thinking that it will end. I have always walked in the direction of love with fierce enthusiasm and the best intentions and ever so optimistic that this time it will be forever. It's not a secret that I have tucked away two romances. I cherish both of them and their presence and season in my life for different reasons. And now I stand in my own truth, my middle-aged self, that I must live for me and only me; that I must dream for me and walk in that dream. I cannot live to be a wife or to be a daughter, a sister, or aunt though I cherish all of those titles and the responsibilities that come with them.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
Today, I walk in my truth and in my happiness - happiness that has alluded me for a very long time. My divorce from my ex-husband has opened me up to all the possibilities of my life. There is so much power in discovering who I am and standing confidently in my authenticity. I no longer worry about what people say or think of the big dreams that I have or even of the seemingly small decisions that I make. Traveling this road alone has been tough. I counted so much on my ex to be my cheerleader and to support my crazy ideas. Most of the time, if my desires did not fit his, he would shoot them down and not support it. So now that I don't have him in my world, I realize that he was not my cheerleader and he is no longer stopping me from doing the thing I want to do the most. I am free to move about as I see fit.

May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed
I am beginning to let the "real me" emerge as I abandon old belief systems in favor of my own crafted version of the meaning of life. My search for happiness is now a path of happiness. I choose to be in a state of happiness no matter what the circumstances of my life are. I am not searching. I am not waiting for happiness to happen. Everything happening around me cannot disrupt the happiness I feel right now and in every single moment. Even when I'm shedding tears of sadness, the tears are just a means to let go of sad emotions and to make room for joy.

I hope you dance.
I hope I dance.
I am choosing to never sit out on experiencing life ever again. I will allow my own sense of morality to guide me and not inhibit me from participating in the great dance of life. There should never be guilt or shame around someone choosing to be exactly who they feel they are inside. Judgement over someone that has a different lifestyle than your own is antiquated and fosters a sense of exclusivity rather than inclusion. And right now, I am all about giving love to anyone I come in contact with. That is the best way I can serve the world by spreading love.

I hope you dance!

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Video Podcast Episode 1 : How I Find Myself in South Carolina




Here's the link to the Deer Incident I talk about in the video.

I have this mantra that I always tell myself:
"Everything I want and need will fall into my lap without effort."

The way the pieces of my life have fallen into place in the present appear random but nothing is ever random. And everything I want comes to me without effort (that's what I tell myself). My move to South Carolina has been all about following the path of least resistance and turning a new leaf and moving in a direction that is not "resistant."

There's nothing like a life-changing event like divorce to make one reexamine life. I had it all. The house. The car. The handsome husband. And with my ex announcing that he wanted a divorce I lost everything that I had become so comfortable with. All of a sudden, all of that stuff wasn't so important anymore and I struggled everyday just to get out of bed. That's a story for another time that I will tell here on this blog and on my video podcast.

The shock of divorce rattled my life, shook it up, and pushed me to find out what will make me happy again. I thought to myself, if I could do anything in the world, what would it be? And this is how I find myself here in South Carolina... chasing my biggest dream to write full time, to be a media personality, to express my thoughts on any platform. I have a strong point of view and I am here to express it.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Red Raider Soul Releases Football Schedule

I did the graphic work on this.
Thanks Red Raider Soul!!!

In Red Raider Nation... we're serious about our football team.
Even though I'm so far away, I still feel connected by working on banners and publications for Kahuku.





Wednesday, June 27, 2018

I Wanna Tell Our Story



The story I want to tell here and in my coming video podcasts will probably be the collective story of all of humanity.

Ups.
Down.
Sadness.
Joy.
Discovery.
Struggle.
Triumph.
Grief.
Happiness.
Fear.
Love.
Sweet Love.

We all share similar experiences. Our cultural traditions, our familial relationships, our upbringing, our religious and political affiliations uniquely colors our experiences so that we handle them differently. But at the core of the human condition, we share the same search for happiness and how to connect to the world outside of our experience.

Whenever I meet someone, I like to hear their story. Most people have a spiel already created in their mind. It's their go-to summary of who they are. Mine always starts with who my parents are. In Hawai'i, and probably in all Pacific Island groups, we search for our connection so that we can relate to each other and that starts with, "Who's your family and where are you from?" The theory of six degrees of separation is all too true in Polynesia. No matter where I find myself in the world, I will always know someone who knows someone who knows someone and we connect.

I am a Pacific Islander. My mother is Samoan/Swedish from Vaitoloa, Western Samoa and my father is Hawaiian/Chinese from Kaneohe, O'ahu, Hawai'i.

I reside in South Carolina right now. I moved here in November 2017, just over a year after a very seamless and quick divorce. My ex and I were together for 13 years before we called it quits. That certainly colors my life right now. That event has surely changed me and forces me to look at my life with new awareness. And I am here to tell that story; to talk about the lows and the triumphs of overcoming grief. Sometimes I wake up in tears. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep. Maybe it's loneliness and not knowing why my marriage fell apart and maybe it is the uncertainty of moving forward without my best friend. I truly considered my ex my best friend. The way we bounced ideas off each other and laughed and had good times. The way we worked so well as a team. The way we held each other up. These are things I think of when I miss him. I miss that connection. I miss that feeling of knowing that when I go home at night, someone is waiting for me. No matter how hard family and friends try to fill that void, it is not the same thing.

Here I am at the midpoint of my life forced to reinvent who I am. In the year from when my ex and I split to the moment I left the islands, I did a whole lot of soul searching. I continually analyzed the condition of my life. In my mind, I asked the following questions:
What will make me happy again?
How can I live my best life?
How can I change the circumstances of my life so that everything I do is intentional and not a reaction to outside forces?

So here we are. I am going to tell that story!


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Adding Dimension to NeenaLove, Inc.


It's time for a change.
It's time for me to catch up to this wave of podcasting that has taken over the online community.

I will always be a writer. 
I will continue to communicate and convey my thoughts and feelings BEST in written format on this blog, in my journal, and it my written manuscripts.

However, it is time to include VLOGGING/Podcasting to my repertoire. 

I actually make this transition with excitement as I love cameras (maybe I can upgrade soon). And I love the sound of my voice. I have a deep, rich voice that sometimes gets mistaken for a man's voice. I remember pulling up at McDonalds once and the woman on the receiving end kept calling me "Sir." At first, I was annoyed but now I'm just used to it. Trust and Believe, I am ALL woman. 

I hope you will tune in to my vlog.
I have selected Wednesday as my regular release date every week.

It is very difficult for me to select just one topic because I am interested and curious about so many things. To nail down a topic and pick just one would be a tragedy in the making. So I am going to treat this like a really good conversation with my BFF and when she's in town, she will make an appearance on the vlog.

Most of the pivotal decisions in my life have happened after a great conversation with people in my inner circle. There's my father who has always dispensed the best advice and usually did it with very few words. Even though he can talk on and on about a variety of subjects, when it comes to causing a paradigm shift in my heart, he only need say a few words and I "get it." There's my older brother. He, too, is a man of very few words. And the words he chooses are always very impactful, just as my father. There's my baby brother who, consequently, is also a man of very few words. His age (he is so young) coupled with his millenial outlook on life always flips the script on me and I always sit back and laugh at his wisdom. There's my sister-in-law. She is like the definition of "plan ahead" and I always cherish her view on things because it's so different from my own. I am the 'fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants' girl. Spontaneous to a fault. I think of all of them as I start this journey into vlogging. 

I have dipped and dabbed, a little, with vlogging. Making videos is such a chore as it requires so much planning. Let's not talk about all the "bloopers" that also happen when filming one single video. I laugh at the many "takes" that I have to do to get it just right. I have not scripted any of the videos that I have made so far. I have a general idea of what I want to say then I go with it. When I look at the videos on my YouTube page that I have made so far, I cringe at the lighting. Almost all the videos look like I have bags under my eyes - thanks to the shadows and the contours on my face that cause the shadows. But I am who I am regardless of what I look like. Also - maybe I can get sophisticated lighting the deeper I get into this vlogging world.   

One thing that I absolutely love is hearing the stories of older people. For instance, every morning when I leave for work, there's an older gentleman that walks around the complex. When I run into him, he is sweaty and looks as if he's been walking for quite some time. This morning, I stopped him and told him that I should get into walking too. He looked so thrilled that I said more than, "Good Morning," as I normally do when I see him. While we're standing there having a conversation, his legs are still going as he is walking in place. 

"How old you think I am," he asks me. 

I take a good look at him and I guess 60 years old. He fires back, "Try again. Higher."
65?
He is shaking his head vigorously.
"Higher!"

I step back. No way you're 70?

"I turned 80 two weeks ago." He has a light patois. Jamaican, maybe?

What the hell? The man looks good and maybe it's because he's bald and clean-shaven that there's no graying to behold but his eyebrows are jet black. His skin has some wear on it but no deep wrinkles at all. I am speechless. That is hard to do - to cause me to be speechless. I stand there with my mouth agape as he talks about his habit of walking and his wife's habit of walking. He runs down his daily routine. Exercise. Cool down. Shower. Eat a bowl of cereal. Relax. 

"But," he says, "I just started working again."

Before retiring, he drove a van for special needs children and he has picked it up again.

I smile and tell him that work keeps him  young. Just like my dad who still works at 75 years old. And his job is a physically vigorous job. My father is a landscaper.

Anyway, I wish I had snapped a picture with that gentleman this morning. But trust and believe, I am going to interview him, in the future, for my VLOG. I will let him tell me again what the secrets are for living a long, healthy life.

So here's to VLOGGING/PODCASTING! I will always write but now I'm adding another component to NeenaLove, Inc. Stay tuned!

Elegant Gown Shopping on Amazon




Friday, June 22, 2018

Still Say Yes


My wake up call came a little after 5 a.m. this morning. The voice over the phone said, "Babe, get up. I'm getting on the road. I'll call you when I get to my destination."

I lay in bed for a minute or so and look at his picture (the man I just hung up with). I review the last thing he texted me. It was a link to a song on YouTube. The opening lyrics put me in some kind of mood.
Let me take care of you.
I wanna love and treat you right.
Let me take care of you.
Hold you down for the rest of your life.

I replied to his text with my own song. You're Always On My Mind.

I always wonder when exactly "IT" happens. When does a casual friendship or relationship turn into something more? The idea that a man wants to hold me down for the rest of my life... again... frightens me. I have given my heart away twice before and both relationships ended against my wishes and seemingly from out of nowhere. Perhaps I wasn't seeing that the relationship had deteriorated (both relationships). I think that I purposely overlooked the problems because I wanted to work on it and not give up on the relationship(s), not give up on the man. I have never given my heart away with the intent that one day I will have to take it back. Even now, as I navigate this single life, I don't want to give away my heart if I have to take it back in the future. I don't know how to properly vet a man and gauge if he is in it for the long haul. Look at my last relationship. We were together for 13 years before we split. I gave him a good portion of my life. I supported him through all of his transitions and he threw me away like yesterday's trash.

I'm not bitter. In fact, all of these experiences make me who I am. I have experienced a full spectrum of emotions from being so high in love to being heartbroken and everything in between. I suppose I have lived all my adult life trying to be a part of a duo instead of loving my self, solo. I have placed my needs on the back burner in favor of nurturing the relationship. Having split from my ex(es), I now know that I have to take care of my own heart. I have to push through my loneliness. I have to disassociate my worth from being a part of a marriage and love and enjoy the woman I am, alone.

It has been a fun ride so far. I don't hold any malice in my heart for anything that has transpired. I truly think that at the end of my life, I will look back and realize that the number one lesson I have had to learn is forgiveness. I feel like I've learned it. I hope the universe goes easy on me for the next 40 years of my life. No more hard times that I have to learn forgiveness. No more hard times! I am ready for my rising star and to live a life filled with joy and fulfillment. I choose happiness right now, in every moment without worry of tomorrow or yesterday.

And even with a glorious, blossoming love in my life, I would never take away the pain I have experienced at the hands of my exes. I would STILL SAY YES knowing that it would pan out this way.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Design Turned Into a Product

One of my designs turned into a product. We can definitely put something together for you!

Something like this would incur a design fee based on the amount of time needed to create it. This particular client provided me with artwork. I turned it into a vector and returned it to her. She accepted the first draft. No edits were needed. The design fee is $150.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Tshirt Sample

This is a tshirt design I created for a family reunion.
DESIGN FEE: $100
I will submit one design to the client based on their specifications. Three proofs and edits are permissible under the design fee.

Example: I submit first design to the client. They review and make changes. I submit proof #1. Client will review and make changes, if necessary. I submit proof #2. Client will review and make changes, if necessary. Proof #3 will be the final for client's approval. Additional changes beyond this requires an additional design fee of $100.



Banner Sample

This is a graduation banner.
Dimensions: 3' x 6'
DESIGN FEE: $50

I will submit one design to the client based on their specifications. Three proofs and edits are permissible under the design fee.

Example: I submit first design to the client. They review and make changes. I submit proof #1. Client will review and make changes, if necessary. I submit proof #2. Client will review and make changes, if necessary. Proof #3 will be the final for client's approval. Additional changes beyond this requires an additional design fee of $50.


Program Sample: Military Promotional Ceremony

This is a Military Promotional Ceremony Program
Finished Size: 8.5" x 11"
DESIGN FEE: $50

I will submit one design to the client based on their specifications. Three proofs and edits are permissible under the design fee.

Example: I submit first design to the client. They review and make changes. I submit proof #1. Client will review and make changes, if necessary. I submit proof #2. Client will review and make changes, if necessary. Proof #3 will be the final for client's approval. Additional changes beyond this requires an additional design fee of $50. 




5 Things: Thrift Store Finds (Clothing)



I love my Solo Adventures around South Carolina and the surrounding states. Thrift stores and flea markets are especially fun for me. I love finding a good bargain. If I had more hands to help me move stuff, I would have furnished my home with all kinds of used furniture.

Tips for Thrift Store shopping (Clothing):

1. Examine the garment for defects and stains.
I was in the dress section looking for a nice sash to go with my "gown" for a formal ball that I am attending this next weekend. What I found were lots of "sample" dresses from David's Bridal. The gowns were in perfect condition except for the word "sample" embroidered on the back of the dress. If one were in the market for one of these beautiful dresses, you could easily take out the embroidery OR leave it there and cover it with jewels or sequins. You are only limited by your creativity.

If you find stains or defects, you can always ask for a discount. However, everything at the thrift store is already deeply discounted. Come on. A formal dress for $5.99. It's a no-brainer to buy the garment as-is and not aggravate the associates by trying to negotiate the price down. Nothing is more annoying than seeing someone be cheap-as-hell.

For something that I really like that has a stain, I usually have a plan in mind to cover it with something. You can add sequins or bejewel the heck out of it. You can dye the entire garment. You can rip it in that area to give it that shredded look. I have done that with jeans. As I said before, you are only limited by your creativity.

2. If you love the garment, buy it NOW. It will NOT be there when you come back.

3. Go through the entire rack.
All of my name brand items have come from thrift stores. I have found Michael Kors blouses and jeans. DKNY. Nike. LV. You name it, it can be found in a thrift store. When the season is over, people get rid of their items. Their trash is my treasure. Season? What is that? I will wear clothes until I'm tired of them or until they fall apart.

4. Pants and Jeans were made to be CUT!
I am notorious for hunting through the pants and jeans section looking for the perfect pair... to turn into shorts. When you buy shorts brand new, it's normally a length that is either too short or too long and you don't want to really modify it because you spent so much money on it. It's easy to cut a pair of jeans to the perfect length, fray the ends to make it look like you bought it like that on purpose. You could even bleach some spots or lines into it.

5. Check the thrift stores near affluent neighborhoods.
Need I explain the reasons behind this? You will find the quality of clothing is very good in the thrift stores near the rich-people-neighborhoods. In lower economic areas, you might find some good stuff but nothing like you would if you went to a store near the rich neighborhoods.

Let me know in the comments what some of your tips are to a good thrift store run.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What Were You Born To Do?


My life was aimless until I realized what I was born to do. I was born to write and to put into words the thoughts in my mind, my observations about love and life, and the discoveries that I have made along the way. I will always believe that LOVE conquers all. Why it took me 42 years to discover that I was born to write is a reflection on the environment I thrived in. I cannot blame my parents but I am a product of their upbringing. Let me be clear - I am grateful for how my parents raised me. Parents do the best they can with the tools they have. However, reflecting back on all the twists and turns in my life, I have realized that what they were pushing me towards never quite fit my personality and yet there is no regret in how my life has panned out.

I have lived 42 years (43 in August) doing what I thought my parents wanted me to do...
     -Education (Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy)
     -Stable job (I have worked full-time since I graduated from High School)
This seems to be the hope of every parent - that their children be productive members of society. And this is a worthy goal. If I were a parent, I would add two more components to what parents hope for their children. First, that they find what it is that makes them come alive and second, that they are happy. So often, we live to fulfill the hopes and dreams of our parents and then after achieving whatever it is they wanted, we are left unfulfilled. We get so busy doing the business of living, never sitting back to contemplate what it is that brings us to life. We hardly take the time to ponder our individual purpose for being on this planet at this time. We have all been given special gifts that are unique to us. My gift is writing. Not just writing but writing from the most genuine and authentic part of my soul.

I am middle-aged. *insert shock emoji* Yes. I just admitted it. I accept my timeline. And if I could go back in time; if I could reimagine my life, I would have pursued this 'writing thing' a long time ago. But it's never too late to do the thing that I want most to do.

I spoke to my 17-year old niece other day. I was probing her about her college choices since she will beginning her senior year in high school this Fall. She had two picked out in Hawai'i and one in New York City. If I remember correctly, the New York school is a performing arts college. I told her to chase the dream. Don't work on your Plan B by taking up something practical that you think might be easier to "find a job" after college. No. Chase the Dream! She is concerned with paying for school, which is why she selected the two Hawai'i colleges. This isn't the first time that I have told her to pursue the dream. I try to drill it into my nieces and nephews minds so that they find the thing that makes them the most happiest to do.

Not only would I have pursued writing at a younger age, I would have also taken up something in the arts. On my father's side, he and his siblings are all very creative people. They paint (both acrylic and oil) and are crafty. We all have "artsy eyes." My graphic design and my floral design has a definite source that comes from my father's side of the family. I have several cousins that are also artsy.

So what is the point of this post? What I hope you leave with is a sense of examining your life. Some of us will always be content with the 9 to 5 job and some of us will always be seeking for more control of your time to do the thing we love most. So what is it that you love most? And then if you do know what you love most, what are you going to do about it?




Saturday, June 09, 2018

NeenaLove Does Graphic Design





It is time to get this graphic design moving. Writing is still my first love but I have these creative juices inside of me that is dying to be born into my sketch book and then into digital format. I will be posting my portfolio as soon as I get the proper permissions from the people that I "created" for along with a "menu" and corresponding prices.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Excerpt From A Novel I'm Working On



This is real. I am going to finish this novel. Come back to hear more excerpts.

As Happy As I Choose To Be


There are certain points in time where I wish I could go back and change the outcome. I'm sure everyone has thought about it before. What point in time would you like to go back to and change the course of your life?

I look back on my life, with all of its ups and downs, and cannot imagine my life without any of those experiences. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad - it all makes me who I am today. And I want to always feel the humility that comes with the hard things that I have experienced. I want to always feel the joy of the good times also. The many experiences cut facets into the my life that make it shine like a precious gem stone.

I have a trail of broken hearts to look back on and I'm actually tired of looking at them. I'm tired of feeling the emotion of lost love and all the could-have-beens. I just want to move forward in bliss and feel completely satisfied with my life. So -- that's what I choose to do today and everyday. And it is a conscious decision that I have to make, every morning, to be happy with everything in my life. To be grateful. To have less expectation and appreciate and love everything in the here and now. This is the POINT in my life that I'm choosing happiness... so that a year from now or maybe ten years from now I'm not that same sad girl with the trail of broken hearts.

This trail of broken hearts has given me a lot of inspiration. The way I deal with it is evident in my writing and my creative pursuits. When I write, I purge the sadness. I let all of the emotions of not feeling good enough bubble up to the surface so that I can release them once and for all. Two marriages and two divorces. My life sounds like a bad love story and yet it has not killed my desire to want to love and be loved. I don't know anyone that wants to grow old alone. I certainly know that I don't. But if I do have to travel the rest of my life alone, I choose to be happy. I choose to be okay with the cards that life has dealt me. I choose to make every single day about nurturing the happiness inside of me and remembering all the things that I have been blessed with.

My parents were so insistent on making me a well-rounded woman. The things that I have learned from them amazes me. The talents and skills that I have been blessed with is more than enough to incite a sense of contentment inside of me and yet I want more. I want to do more. I want to share more. I want to always be a positive, motivating force in the world. I have always had this feeling inside of me that wants to change the world in a positive way. I don't know how God or the Universe wants to use me. I only know that I am here on this planet to share whatever gifts I have. I welcome the opportunity.