Keep in Touch 


Keeping in touch and present in the lives of family and friends can be a challenge. Thank goodness for the ease of apps that show us where a friend may be traveling, where he/she is dining, who just got married, an outfit of the day, and on and on… right? But, how present is that really, and what about those few, such as myself, who choose to not be on social media (except LinkedIn)? Have I lost all my friends? 

I have been off social media for a little over three years and to my own surprise don’t miss it very much. There are certainly times of less convenience in not opening an app to see who’s globetrotting where, but its also been incredibly meaningful to be one of the first to be called from a friend sharing the news of her engagement. I am not making a point that being on or off social media is better one way or another, I am simply sharing my positive experience being off such apps and how I maintain my friendships through direct and intentional presence. 

People tend to be surprised at how I stay involved within my friendships. Ironically, I attribute being disconnected from social media as a primary reason to being successful at keeping in touch – mainly because I don’t know what is going on without directly inquiring or checking in. When I’m thinking of a friend, I simply compose an email or start a text conversation, or call! I previously mentioned being a huge fan of snail mail, so sending cards/letters of thanks, congratulations, birthdays, well wishes or simply just because is also a way I stay in touch. When I directly communicate, I feel more involved in knowing details and true feelings heard from the other. It takes effort and time, but for me its worth it to be present. 

Orange County provides great active ways to stay in touch, whether it be catch ups on hikes (Crystal Cove, Peter’s Canyon, Top of the World, and Laurel Canyon are a few of my favorites!), walks, biking, stand-up paddle boarding – just to name a few. Throughout the year there are charitable 5Ks/marathons which are also fun to partake in with friends. Volunteering with a nonprofit whether it be one-time (soup kitchen or special events) or regularly can be double fun with company, so finding opportunities and sharing them with friends is another way of doing good in the community while spending time together!

I enjoy keeping in touch the ways that I do and it works for me, as long as the time I spend with friends is quality and I am present in their lives. 

Special People

Father's Day

This past Sunday was Father’s Day – a day to celebrate and thank those who play the important role of dad. Last month I gushed about the special feeling I felt when I was wished a happy Mother’s Day for the first time, and this time it was my husband’s first Father’s Day! We are only a few weeks from seeing and holding our little girl, and already we feel the immense love and role of parenthood…without the sleepless nights and diaper changing!

Parents, guardians, family members, teachers, mentors and/or friends contribute as positive influences in our lives and I appreciate the holidays that allow time and recognition to be given. Though we should be giving thanks daily, inevitably the ongoing happenings of life tends to distract us so reminders help us to pause and reflect and let those who are a special and meaningful part of our lives know that they are.

I believe many individuals contribute to one’s growth and development, and consequently build a positive community through the guidance they provide. A lot of philanthropy happens through the values of family and friends that spread and get passed on.

We should be mindful and remind ourselves that the special people in our lives are a blessing and how fortunate we are for their presence. Today and each day, I am thankful for my husband, family, friends, mentors, colleagues and community leaders for being kind, doing good and inspiring me.

A Walk on the Bright Side

Back Bay

Two of the many daily blessings I feel living in Orange County are the weather, combined with the variety of outdoor opportunities to get out and be active. Behold Newport Back Bay – pictured above. I walk a small portion (the Back Bay Loop totals 10.5 miles) of this scenic trail at least twice a week and not only has it been my daily form of exercise during pregnancy, but it is my go-to for catching up with a friend through a power walk session, AND getting my daily dog fix in through seeing all the adorable pooches that grace this trail.

I snapped the featured photo during a weekend morning walk with myself. It was an opportune time to reflect on my past week and check in with upcoming commitments and to-do’s while getting a healthy dose of vitamin D! It also allowed a moment to stop and be present and to let the gratitude of life’s daily blessings and positivity flow through my mind and body. I feel that many of us are constantly in fast-forward, non-stop, go go go mode and it takes conscious effort and perhaps a serene environment to truly pause to be present within ourselves. It’s understandable that the importance of self checking-in gets put aside, as there seem to be other more important priorities – people to see, things to do, work to be done – but I believe positive energy can be refueled through pausing from time to time.

Being active and outdoors can be a great way to unplug, which I previously mentioned I am a huge fan of (post on this topic to come). I believe that we should let go of non-urgent distractions and truly look around at our natural surroundings to enjoy where we are, who we are with and the natural blessings in our life. My weekly walks inspire the motivation and energy to refresh myself, and also serves as a bright reminder of the beauty within Orange County.

 

Card for Thought

Cards

This was the first year I was wished a Happy Mother’s Day by friends and family. What a new, special feeling! The picture for this post includes cards I received from my baby shower (Saturday before Mother’s Day) and the adorable golden retriever card (friends know any dog card will fill my heart with joy) is a Mother’s Day card.

We rarely pick up a pen and paper to communicate and express ourselves. There is a powerful message in writing a card and snail mailing or hand delivering it to a friend, family member, business contact, etc. Is Papyrus still around? What about Hallmark? I know the answer to both is yes, because I am a huge fan of personalized hand written cards- whether it be for birthdays, engagements, congratulations, thank you, or any other occasion. I’m also a huge fan of unplugging, which is required when writing.

For me, since I mentioned finding comfort in writing out my feelings, cards are a way I express my love and thoughts to the recipient. A card can be meaningful for any or absolutely no occasion at all! I love writing cards to my husband when he goes on a business trip or just because! Hiding it in his suitcase or somewhere I know he will look makes me happy and is my way of letting him know how much I care and that I am thinking of him.

Handwritten letters and cards are a simple way to stay connected and create lasting memories. I believe there is a positive, timeless and personal connection in making every word count through writing, and therefore preserving feelings and moments. The inspiration I relate to writing cards and letters is in telling others you appreciate them and I hope this increasingly rare form of communication and vanishing habit will remain impactful and special. Be inspired to pick up a pen instead of a phone to share your feelings with someone – hopefully out of the 365 days in a year, we can find at least one day to write, whether it be for an occasion or simply just because.

Make a wish!

walk for Wishesss

World Wish Day was on Saturday, April 29th, as was Make-A-Wish of Orange County & the Inland Empire’s annual Walk for Wishes. I began my involvement with Make-A-Wish of Orange County & the Inland Empire as a general volunteer in 2013 and in January 2014 went through training to become a Wish Granter. I have so far granted 11 wishes and 3 currently pending. Through being a Wish Granter and interviewing parents of kids going through life-threatening illnesses and the superhero kids themselves, I have witnessed true strength, joy, resilience, hope and love.

Have you ever thought about what your most desired wish is? What are your dreams in life? It’s a tough question, if you ask me! There are intangible dreams (goals) or simply a single wish, and whatever it is we create as our purpose in life- there is always inspiration in knowing that no matter how much the world may be changing, neither a wish nor dream will.

I believe it can be healthy to wish for or dream about things in life – and as whimsical as it sounds, there is truth and hope in doing so. Anything that can bring hope and purpose, and most importantly faith in oneself is meaningful. When you are living the best way you can and want to, there is energy and passion that spreads and inspires.

There is inspiration in challenging yourself to pursue your wish(es) in life. A dream or wish opens up an inspiring picture of the future.

Spirit of Volunteerism

Version 2

This week is National Volunteer Week (April 23-29, 2017)! In celebration of this special week, I, along with around 1,100 Orange County community members, attended OneOC’s annual Spirit of Volunteerism luncheon at the Disneyland Hotel. This event honored volunteers, nonprofits and companies for their contributions within Orange County.

I believe volunteers contribute greatly to the success of our nation. It is through kind, generous and giving hearts, hands, ears and eyes that people feel loved, needed, wanted, and cared for. Our community grows and inspiration spreads through the spirit of compassion and I hope this generosity only continues to grow.

As I have previously mentioned, I want to share some ways to get started with searching for organizations and volunteer opportunities, and the many different categories that Orange County nonprofits serve.

A great database to narrow down and find nonprofits that align with your category of interest is OC Nonprofit Central, which is supported by the Orange County Community Foundation. Another great organization that conveniently lists available volunteer opportunities is OneOC.

This blog isn’t meant for me to give advice, so I’ll just give you my shiny two cents: Just go for it! If you know your interest (for example, I am passionate about homeless and children’s causes) begin searching and learning more about the organizations out there! Reach out and contact someone from the organization and find out more! Volunteering and getting involved begins somewhere. There are many degrees of volunteering and various ways to contribute. Figure out what makes you feel fulfilled and what you want to do, and don’t be afraid to dabble. Finding a nonprofit that you feel connected to and deeply for doesn’t necessarily come easily, so be patient, explore and have fun and learn while you’re doing so! You may even feel inspired in the process 🙂

 

A Celebration of Children

Saturday April 22nd was my seventh year attending CASA’s annual Celebration of Children’s Black & White Ball.

CASA is an organization I have been involved with since college, initially because it was my sorority’s national charity (Kappa Alpha Theta). Volunteering and getting involved within my community have always been fulfilling for me and the mission of CASA had captured my heart, so upon graduating, I decided to get further involved as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). I went through training and within a couple months was officially sworn into the court system by an Orange County judge to be an advocate. That was in late 2010 and since then, I have had two cases.

I can go on and on about my experience and love for CASA, but the inspiration behind this post is to share that each year I am consistently in awe of the generosity and compassion our local philanthropists have. I’ve come to see that when someone feels  and understands a cause, he or she will give – whether it be their time, talent or treasure.  The CASA Gala is always a fun reminder of this – people spontaneously raising their bid paddles to donate $100,000…. $50,000… it just wows me away!

There are several ways to get involved with a cause or organization you feel near and dear to. In a later post, I will share resources that can help get you started. I believe that so many of us want to get involved – it’s a matter of knowing where and how to begin and also having a little thing called time (unless it’s your treasure you want to share).

Inspiration Point

InspPnt

For the past few years there have been various moments and experiences when I have felt inspired and the desire to blog… and, technically I have been! Unfortunately, blogging in my own head does not totally count. Through the encouragement of my husband, I am officially attempting to transfer my many thoughts onto my keyboard to share with you.

This blog is the outlet of my inspiration.

I am sparked to finally do this because I feel and see so much within Orange County that I want to share. We are familiar with the beautiful beaches and the stunning homes – but I would like to focus on the beauty within. That is, within a person, an action, a few words – all the simplicities that are present daily in Orange County but not always recognized. One of my passions is the realm of philanthropy, which is quite prevalent in our community. I would like to share moments of philanthropy that inspire me.

I love and am grateful to live in Orange County with my husband as we begin our little family (excuse me if I go a bit MIA from July on…a baby girl might be to blame :-)). The Inspiration Point picture above was taken in Corona del Mar on a traditional Saturday morning – getting coffee at Zinc Cafe and walking along this pathway and sitting on a bench to admire the view and most of all dog watch (we are huge Golden Retriever and German Shepherd fans).

Spending quality time with family and/or friends and being in the present gets overlooked as a priority – I believe in living in the present and not waiting for the perfect moment, but taking the moment and making it perfect.