Tag Archives: happiness


21 Oct

We had a couple of 4:00 AM mornings on our Hawaiian adventure.  It wasn’t as bad as it sounded, allowing us unhurried viewing of the first morning light.  It also meant time for reading guidebooks, more specifically an article on Hawaii’s history and the birth of an island.

Islands, like Maui, are shoved into being by a force below the ocean’s floor.  These volcanic islands start as barren geological features and over the course of thousands of years become the beautiful places they are today.  This mostly happens by circumstance — a seed drifts ashore, a bird is blown off course by a storm, people discover and settle.

And there was this thought of our trip and friendships and the parallels it all held to the life span of an island.  People are drawn together by these forces we cannot see, maybe its chance; maybe it’s the result of a much greater force at work.

But whatever you believe, the result is just as miraculous.  Small, seemingly insignificant things accumulate over time — a walk, a meal, an adventure — all of these things build to create a unique landscape between the people that shared them.

An island has a lifespan.  Maui, the guidebook explained, was in its twilight years, the last active volcano hasn’t erupted since 1790.  Its growth has slowed.  Our trip has ended, too, but the bits and pieces we collected will become the good memories that add life to our friendships, until we meet again.

A hui hou kakou.



Trail Blazer

9 Mar

It was sunny, Abigail was in the stroller, Hank beside me. We walked around so Hank could sniff out the ultimate spot to do his business.

A truck drove slowly past and stopped about halfway down the jetty. A man got out and waded through the brush and grass that edges the road. After a few minutes he returned to his idling truck.

That’s a little strange. I thought.

We started to jog, approaching the truck that was still sitting in the middle of the road.

“M’am?” the man called from his window. Hank alert beside me. I could see his whole family in the truck.


“Just saw a coyote walking over there. I managed to chase him back into the bushes, but thought you should be aware.”

“Oh. Thanks…”

I didn’t know what to do. Part of me selfishly wanted to log these miles, part of me was really freaking out.

“We’ll follow you out to make sure you are safe.”

I should have been thinking how this is the stuff Lifetime movies are made of, but instead I was worried about my bouncing behind.

We reached the main road and the truck and I parted ways. I got about a half mile in when I stopped and dialed Ryan.

“Ryan, will you come rescue me?” I said in what might have been a slightly high pitched, whiny voice.

“Yes. What’s wrong.” Laughter.

“This family just saw a coyote on the jetty and I just kept running, but I think I should have turned around.  And now I’m stuck and I have our baby and what if the coyote attacks us while we are running back and I have the baby and I’m just kind of scared. I don’t want to see a coyote…can we move?”



“You have a 140 pound dog with you. Coyotes are like 40 pounds. I’m pretty sure that will put a damper on any coyote attack plans. Hank will just do what he does when he sees any other dog. And no, we aren’t moving.”

“You mean act crazy and dart across to say hello while the stroller almost tips over? Please just come and pick me up. I’ll just keep running around here. Then, you can park beside the van and leave your car. Then, get in the van and come pick all of us up and I’ll drop you back off at your car.”

“Wait, what?”

I explained my masterminded plan again while Ryan laughed and said, “I love you.” He was on his way.

Perfect. We started jogging again but I was irritated. Just last summer a cougar had been spotted near the bike path that I used to run. So, I pretty much stopped doing that for a very long time, renaming it cougar trail in my training log and putting a smiley face to mark my bravery when I actually did it. Now coyotes, too? It made me think about how great it would be to run free in suburbia without the fear of bright yellow park notice signs popping up on trail heads to let you know about the latest wild animal sighting.

I groaned a little at myself. Why did I worry so much? Why was I letting the chance of something ruin a favorite running place? But it wasn’t Oregon or the cougar or the coyote. I was getting in the way of my own happiness. I knew that if I didn’t face my fear right then, I would stew about it until it turned into something bigger than it was, like cougar trail.

I circled back and ran towards the jetty. Six tenths of a mile stood between me and conquering this fear. I saw two other runners, debated against screaming “There’s a coyote!” and played it cool. It was the longest six tenths of a mile I have ever run, but I did it.

I was still catching my breath and stretching when Ryan pulled up. He was in shock.

“Yeah, baby!” he said with a grin. “I’m proud of you.”

I didn’t need him to be, I was proud enough of myself, but it was nice.

Some people have this natural ease about things that really hold me back. I worry. A lot. It stands in my way. When other people say, “I won’t see a coyote or a cougar. I’m tough. I’m brave. The chances are slim.” I say, “That coyote is going to jump out any minute, rip my arm off, and take my baby.” Totally ridiculous, right?

No one wants to be the wet blanket. But for me this isn’t about anyone else. It’s about taking control, being positive, and being brave. And I think I’ve been hella brave if I really examine the last year and a half. I’ve come a long way.

My sister and cousin arrive tomorrow. When Emily was here last year I was a weepy mess. This year will be different because I’m a little different. I’m knocking out those beasts and marking my small victories with a trail of smileys. Cougar trail. Coyote trail. Life trail. Blazing my own trail. Of happiness.

Sunsets Are Free

1 Dec

I should have known by the way the sun flare spread perfect rays across the back of floofer newf.

I might have been tipped off by the blue sky. Or perhaps the real clue was in the fact that there was no wind or rain out on the beach.

But that’s just the thing, you don’t know. You never know when you will be handed the perfect day. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to recognize and appreciate it when you are.

So when our walk came to a close at 4:13 with the sun dipping lower into the horizen, we checked the time of sunset. 4:37. “We should stay.” “I’m in.” I love when Susie says that.

So we did. We secured a prime location on a drift log, watched Abigail attempt to make sand angels, and mulled over the fact that we are oh so lucky to live where we do.  “Sunsets are free,” she said. And they are glorious around here.

As the last sliver of the sun sank below the glimmering waves we packed it up and headed  home — where I served up steaming cups of hot cocoa stirred with extra happiness.

You Capture: Happiness

11 Aug

There’s something pretty special about a brand new box of crayons, a rainbow of possibilities within reach. Abigail got her first box of 96 crayons yesterday. That’s a whole lot of crayons for a 16 month old, but I figured who wants to color in brown when you can have sepia?! Besides, the box of 96 is only a dollar more than the box of 48. I know. That’s just crazy.

Buying these crayons for Abigail takes me back to some happy memories. My sisters and I sprawled on our stomachs with the green “Jane” plastic tub that held our coloring books and the metal tackle box full of crayons. I loved that tackle box with its years upon years of old school crayons dumped in to create Crayola Mountain. I loved that tackle box even though I would occasionally stub my toe on it. The only thing better than the tackle box was the beginning of school which always meant brand new crayons — crayons that would eventually be peeled and broken and colored into dullness. Crayons that in June would get thrown in the tackle box.

This morning when we opened Abigail’s new box of crayons it was like happiness unleashed. What wonder!

*Please note that although I think my child is a genius (ha!), of course that coloring page was done by yours truly.  Now the dumping of all 96 crayons onto the floor…that one’s all Abigail.

I’m linking up with Beth for this week’s You Capture Challenge: Happiness.
What’s putting a smile in your heart today?