How to be Happy


This week’s writing challenge is to share something you’ve learned with your readers. I’ve noticed that if I’m present enough in each moment, I’m always learning. Unfortunately, my self-awareness isn’t a regular ritual of mine. More so, it comes and goes in binges. I strongly believe, and know, that my life would be better if I could be more present in every breath I take. I’ve found the best way to return to that essential place of knowing is to slow my breathing and to listen to my heart. I know, it’s so cliché, but there’s a reason why that line is used as advice in virtually every circumstance. At risk of sounding even more cliché, I’m going to say that my heart has proven time and time again to be my greatest teacher. So, I want to share the lesson it taught me a few days back.

***A note to readers: In case you aren’t one of my earlier followers, you might not know I have bipolar disorder. Not that it should matter, but I’ve decided to discuss this aspect of myself in this post. I sincerely believe this piece is relevant to everyone, even those without bipolar disorder. However, if you’re not interested in reading about the bipolar aspects, feel free to skip the italicized segments.

I’m assuming I’m not the only person who lives in cycles. I mean, with the changing seasons and tides, it’s only natural, right?

Well, being bipolar has a whole other world of cycles, which can be much less predictable than when the leaves are going to fall. Typically, I’m depressed and dormant from roughly November to March. But once spring comes, something hits me, and I’m inspired, ecstatic, and confident- in a healthy, non-manic way.

When you’re bipolar, there’s a blurry line between being genuinely happy and falling into the rip-roaring tides of mania. Ever since I’ve had some very destructive episodes, I’m always on red-alert for signs of mania. Thus, I’m apprehensive whenever I feel happy. In fact, I’m almost terrified to be happy because it’s nearly impossible to distinguish it from the earliest symptoms of mania. By the way, mania is awesome. You feel invincible and everything in life is absolutely perfect, including yourself! Not to mention, your productivity skyrockets. It’s so awesome that you don’t realize how poorly skewed your perception of reality is. No matter what your friends and family tell you, you’re fine. The problem is with everyone else, those pessimistic party poopers you call your loved ones. In fact, you don’t need them. You’d be better without them, and you’ll find someone who will treat you better. After all, you’re such a stellar person, everyone loves you, so basically, the ball is in your court. Oh, and if you finally come to the realization that you’re manic, it’s not just something you can pull out of, and it’s usually too late.

Anyway, it seems that nearly every spring, I come to some *non-bipolar* epiphany that empowers me to believe in myself and gives me the fuel to work toward my goals. Kind of like a pep-talk from my soul that lasts for a few months.

So, the snow finally disappeared a couple of weeks ago, and every day I’d look at the sunrise and think, Ok, epiphany…I’m ready for you….anytime now!

Heck, I even subscribed to O Magazine this year to really boost my aha-moment potential!

However, I got nothing. No inspiration, no sudden recognition of my soul’s infinite power… Nope.

So last Sunday, I sat down to meditate, and I asked my soul something like, “When the hell are you going to enlighten me?!” I sat in silence for a while, when it finally came to me: I’ve been waiting and expecting happiness to just come to me… but that’s not how it works.

Things happen.

Life happens.

Sometimes it’s easy to be happy. Sometimes it’s impossible not to be happy. But sometimes, you have to choose to be happy.

So instead of moping around and waiting for an epiphany to turn my attitude into flowers, hearts, and unicorns, I have to make my own happiness. After all, our souls have the infinite power to do anything, and that includes choosing happiness.

Happiness isn’t something to find. It’s something to be.

Oh, and by the way, my soul reminded me that happiness ≠ mania. I need to be happy, and I can allow myself to be happy while being aware of any triggers or onsets of mania. It’s possible to be happy without tailspinning into reckless behavior.

So today, I’m going to be happy. I do hope you’ll join me. If you need some extra inspiration besides that which your heart may provide, take a look at some more quotes about happiness!

With happiness and gratitude,




A Crescendo of Cries

Lindsey Stirling

My toes dig into the lush grass as I flee to the top of the hill, where I’m only inches from touching the clouds. Where I could climb through their cottony veil and escape into a world not infected with abuse.

If Only… I dream, as I open my tattered violin case and liberate myself in the only way I know. While my violin is meticulously maintained, my heart is desperate for tuning. These mountains are where I repair my strings as they tighten, tarnish, and threaten to break.

As my bow slides and caresses the strings, I twirl around, turning the trees and mountaintops around me into a mesmerizing blur. Drowning in the dizzying smudge of colors, I surrender to the melody that reverberates within my violin and my body. Though I trip and stumble, I recover with the fluidity of a crumbling ballerina. The sun shatters through the clouds, mending my skin and igniting my tempo. The tears and notes pour from me as they would the clouds above. Woven in the rhythm is the wonder of why I was even born if I’m such a burden.

Here, I don’t fear who’s listening. I crescendo without apologies and give the song inside me the rendition it deserves. No rules or restraints by key or meter. Below this mountain, my movements are precise…cautious. But within this span of solitude, where my only audience and critics are the trees, I dance with abandon as we cry together.

I feel the remaining measures of this sonata falling away from my fingertips. Even the composer can’t slay the demon of time as it strangles my music to death.

For I know if I don’t return home in a few minutes, there will be hands wrapped around my neck as well.


This was my contribution to this Week’s Writing Challenge. The prompt was to write flash fiction under 300 words. After recently adjusting my style to Friday Fictioneers standards (100 word limit), I was relieved to have some wiggle room.

This story was inspired by the absolutely-talented-beyond-words violinist Lindsey Stirling. I’ve been a longtime fan of hers, and I recently watched her music video “Shatter Me,” featuring Lzzy Hale, and it just captivated me. The emotions behind this piece she wrote stemmed from her struggle with her eating disorder, but for my story, I switched the pain to that stemming from physical abuse. If you haven’t heard any of Lindsey’s music, please take a listen. I highly doubt you’ll regret it. I’m always amazed by her talent, both in her music and dancing, and the energy and authenticity she brings to every piece. If you have a moment, please watch the video below to hear an emotionally raw piece. Warning, the song will probably be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but that’s not such a bad thing! Thank you so much for reading!

Eternally Grateful,



How I Met Your Father

The topic of this week’s Writing Challenge is “Great Expectations.” My intent is to discuss an experience where the end result was nothing I had expected. Initially, my thoughts switched to something all too common in the world of Pinterest:

But like I said, it’s a very common occurrence. Just Google “Pinterest fails,” and you’ll instantly feel better about your less-than-stellar culinary skills. Thus, I dug deeper to find a story in which the reality was quite different than the expectation. This just happens to be the very instance in which I met my high school sweetheart and hubby of almost three years. First, let me clarify something concerning the title. We do not have babies yet, unless we’re referring to our Beagle, Siberian Husky, and Mini Rex bunny. The title was inspired by How I Met Your Mother, because I find/found that series quite amusing. Who knows, maybe one day when the question is asked by our little ones, I’ll just whip out this blog. Until then, I hope it can bring you some sort of entertainment.

If you would’ve asked me nine years ago where I might meet my future husband, my guesses would have been college, Barnes and Noble, or possibly in a park while walking my dog. Now, if you insisted I would meet my dream man in Wal-Mart, I would have laughed and then wondered why I deserved such an insult.

On November 1st, 2006, those expectations were shattered.

I was sixteen and my mother dragged me to Wal-Mart on a Wednesday night. My mother honed in on the shoe section, the smiley Rollback sign drew her in like a moth to a fluorescent light. While she swooned over boots priced only $9.98, I glanced around the store, hoping no one saw me tethered to her. Looking back on this, I wonder why the heck I rode with her…?

Ah, I know! I was taking guitar lessons at the time, several cities over. Because of the distance, she insisted on driving me there every Wednesday. Oh, the days when I played the electric guitar, a red Fender Strat to be exact…..Glad we got that cleared up! Now, back to the story!

I noticed a man walk by. A tall, dark, and handsome man sporting a blue Wal-Mart smock. Let me tell you, never have I seen anyone so dreamy in a Wal-Mart smock. I’m glad he’s kept it all these years.It makes for some kinky role-playing every now and then. 😉 Must edit myself lest future kids read this.

Anyway, my eyes met his (underneath his long skater hair), and I could say the rest is history. But you want more, right? Alright… If you insist….

The thing is, I wasn’t the kind of girl who just goes to stores and hits on unsuspecting employees. No, few teenagers were as shy and socially awkward as I. But when I saw this man, something told me that I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. Somehow I knew that if I never at least said “hi” to him,, I would regret it for a very long time.

So that’s what I did…after leaving my mother’s side to roam around the store for an hour. Seriously, it took me that long to find the courage to walk up to the guy. Being the chronic over-thinker I am, I rehearsed several scenarios in which I might strike up conversation.

What was the winning approach, you ask? Well, the plan was to grab one of those nifty little air fresheners for the car, bring it to him, and ask if he liked how it smelled.

I truly wish I was joking, but that was the best I came up with.

I meandered over to the shoe section, and like a lioness hunting a gazelle, I hid at the end of an aisle and waited for my prey to walk by. With clammy hands and shaky knees, I glanced around and through the aisles. Unexpectedly, he turned the corner from behind me. As he walked past, dutifully balancing a few boxes of shoes in his hands, I bolted into a hybrid of sprinting and stumbling to catch up to him.

Excuse me!” I called out. He smoothly turned around, unaware that I’d been stalking him all along. And, not at all according to plan, the next thing that came out of my mouth was,“How are you doing today?”

So, the whole air freshener plot was bust at that point, and we proceeded to have a conversation that didn’t seem nearly as awkward as it probably was. Before we parted ways, I ended up with his number.


His shift ended at 10 that night, and even though I was camped out by the phone since 9:30, I didn’t call him until 10:03. You know, I didn’t want to seem desperate! It only took a few minutes of our three-hour-long conversation to confirm that he was, in fact, the one for me. Two days later, he was at my school’s football game to watch my marching band perform, and then he accompanied all of us band geeks back to Pizza Hut afterward.

The moral of the story here is to always be open to unexpected miracles. They say love can find us in the strangest places, and I’m now a firm believer in that. I certainly never expected that the shoe associate at Wal-Mart would be the one person in my life who never, ever gave up on me and who brought more joy to my life than I could ever imagine.

*Fun fact (or maybe not, you decide)! We met on 11/01/06.~~~We married on 06/01/11.

See the pattern? Well we didn’t! In fact, we didn’t even realize this until nearly a year after we were married!

Thanks for reading!

With Love,




Maybe in June


This week’s writing challenge is hosted by Vincent Mars, who challenges us to write a story of only 50 words in length. Weeks ago I might have thought this impossible, but Friday Fictioneers has helped me tremendously in cutting out excess words. I’ve never posted poetry here before, so I thought I’d take this opportunity. I’m sure what I’ve written violates all the rules of poetry, but I’m not aiming to become a professional in any sense. I’ve mostly posted fiction so far, but today I decided to express some feelings that have been bouncing around in my heart for some time.

I imagined years from now, we’d still be living the magic of life.

Waking with smiles, kissing in the rain, and dancing in candlelight.

Already jaded, the music’s gone, though I still listen for a tune.

You don’t seem to notice, or even care, but maybe you will in June.

Thanks for reading,


Creating Ticonae

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The prompt for this week’s writing challenge is time travel. My mind was flooded with so many memories I’d love to relive, but I felt apprehension. Currently, I feel that I may have bored you all with too much “me talk,” so I decided to write a fiction piece. Honestly, this didn’t come easy, and there were several times when I wanted to scrap the whole thing. However, I knew I’d feel like a lousy quitter if I didn’t finish and post it…So, here we go:

Like any other day, I click a leash onto Reggie, and we burst out the door. My feet keep cadence with his ambitious panting as we near the soggy trail. Though nearly everything is thawed, a few piles of snow drifts remain.

Around the bend, I notice something glinting through a pile of nearly melted snow. I look to Reggie, whose ears shoot up before he crouches down and cautiously approaches.

Careful, Reg-”

He pounces on the pile and digs furiously. The sun beaming through barren trees brings a spectacular shine to the silver hatch Reggie uncovers. At thirty-three years old, I’d say my adventurous years are behind me. Unable to ignore his wagging tail and hopeful eyes, I surrender to my curiosity.

Grasping the handle with my red mitten, I pull with the strongest force I can summon. No luck.

Well, it was worth a shot,” I mumble before looking up to Reggie. With perked ears and timid panting, he’s not ready to settle.

This time, I use both hands, bracing my feet against the softened earth. Grunting and yanking, I pull the handle until my feet slide out from under me. As I fall to the ground, I hear a creaking pop. Lying in a mix of mud and snow, I raise my eyes to the open hatch. Reggie licks my face and then runs to the hole.

No, Reggie! Reggie, stay here!”

He glances up at me before disappearing, and I scramble to my feet. I look down into the hole, dimly lit with a subtle blue glow. Knowing I don’t have another choice, I lower myself in.

My feet land onto steel flooring, and I look around to find various buttons, screens, and what appears to be a futuristic dashboard with a large black pilot seat. Something pushes into my lower leg, and I stumble, knocking into the wall full of buttons. I hear a big clunk, followed three metallic clinks. Reggie runs into my lap, and our heads snap up to the hatch, now securely shut.

The screens glow on around me, buttons flickering like Christmas lights. A series of beeps emanate from the front screen.

Enter destination,” a robotic voice demands. At this point, my only intention is to get the hell out of here. I scramble, searching for a big red “abort” button.

Default, 100 years,” the system reports, followed by a chiming noise. “Countdown initiated: Ten, nine, eight…

Shit, shit, shit!”

Five, four…”

Ahhhh!” I scream, sliding my hands across rows of buttons.


I grab Reggie.


I close my eyes and brace myself.

Arrival at year twenty-one, fourteen.”

A hissing sound erupts from above my head before a mechanical buckling. Finally, the hatch pops open, along with my eyes. Reggie claws at my legs, begging to be the first to explore.

Ok, but stay close,” I caution before lifting him overhead. Once he’s out, I clutch the frame of the hatch and pull myself up…into sand.

I look around, not to find a lake or ocean but what appears to be a city. We approach a tall, angular building. Just before I touch the doorknob, the glass door dissolves in front of us. Once inside, we walk through a lush forest, more lifelike than any I’ve ever seen. That is, until I see a freestanding elevator.

Reggie and I enter, and before I can find a button in the seamless glass capsule, the doors close. As we rush up several stories, a dreamlike world unfolds beneath us. We gently slow to a halt before the doors open. Across a pristine glass floor, I see a massive wooden desk with red-haired woman wearing a teal pantsuit behind it.

Her eyes meet mine, and she automatically rises from the desk and walks to reach me.

Welcome,” she says, offering her hand to mine. “I’m Jaejain.”

Where am I?”

You’re in Ticonae.” She smiles and, placing her hand behind my elbow, leads me forward. We walk down a wide hallway, and when we reach the last wooden door, a small tray folds out. Jaejain take my hand and rests it on the tray. I watch as a green laser traces around each finger and then illuminates my entire hand from beneath. Three chimes ring before the tray retracts.

Welcome, Meredith,” the door chirps.

How the-?”

You’ll see,” she replies, as we enter a spacious room, larger than my house. Bypassing the luxurious furniture and artistic features, I walk straight to the glass wall, on which Reggie presses his nose.

I look out to see the surrounding buildings, similar in style to this one but not nearly as tall. Beyond the city is an infinite ocean, with sparkling iridescence.

What continent are we on?” I ask, my eyes spanning the horizon.

None. Ticonae is a world, separate from earth,” she answers while meeting me at the window.


Earth became uninhabitable.”

What are you talking about? How?” My pulse quickens.

It became too dangerous.”

Global warming? Pollution?”

No,” she says, turning to me. “People.”

What do you mean?”

There was no distinction between war and non-war anymore. Not only were humans suffering, but other creatures as well.”

Then, how did we get here?”

Let’s sit down. We’ll have some tea.” She leads me to a nearby table on which are two steaming fresh cups of tea. I suddenly realize how thirsty I am and eagerly bring the cup to my mouth.

A group of people joined to find a solution. Some were physicists, others were engineers…The earth was too far down the path of self-destruction to allow for peace.” She leisurely drinks her tea. “So they devised a new world where all creatures live harmoniously…Ticonae.”

I’ve never heard of that planet.”

Ticonae isn’t a planet.” She takes another sip.“It’s an alternate reality.”

But it all seems so real…”

I don’t have all the answers you seek. However, here’s something that does.” She pulls a book out from under the table and places it in my hands.

Creating Ticonae is written in silver across the front of the black, heavy book.

I flip open to the first page to find a photograph. The woman, white haired with glasses, seems oddly familiar to me. I study her outfit, futuristic like Jaejain’s, but something’s out of place. Her necklace. Simultaneously, I trail my hand down to the one I’m wearing, an identical jade elephant pendant on a silver chain.


You are the leader…the mastermind behind Ticonae.”

That’s impossible! I’m not a physicist or engineer…or anything like that.”

No, but you’re a visionary. You devote your entire life to giving others an opportunity for peace.”


I’ll leave you alone to read while I prepare the celebration.”

Celebration? I don’t need a celebration…”

The people of Ticonae have been looking forward to this day for quite some time. Essentially, it’s the birth of Ticonae.”

Before I can argue, she vanishes. I spot a chair off to the side, overlooking Ticonae. As I settle into its luxurious cushion, Reggie lies beside me. I open the book again, this time to the second page, filled with familiar handwriting.


I know this is a lot to process. Though, you must trust Jaejain. After all, I hired her to prepare you for this mission. The two most important tools you’ll need are your compassionate intuition and this book. Do enjoy the celebration tonight, as it holds comparable significance to your independence day. Afterward, be sure to take this book with you and implement the plan once you’ve returned to 2014. I must warn you. There will be moments when you come dangerously close to giving up. At those times, remember all you’ve seen today. Never forget the beauty of a peaceful world and the loving people who got another chance to live because of your dedication and perseverance.

***I extend my deepest gratitude for giving this a read. Like I said, I was seriously considering not submitting anything this week, as I’ve found myself in this weird state in which I can barely collect my thoughts, much less put them on a page. I do hope it brought you some enjoyment. If not, I offer my sincerest apologies and hope that you’ll give me another chance next week!

My Lifeline

This week’s writing challenge focuses on “Writerly Reflections.” Being that my last post was rather gargantuan, I’m attempting to keep this one brief.

A significant moment in my journey as a writer occurred in my senior year A.P. English class. I was assigned to write a descriptive story, three pages of length that involved all of the senses (smell, sight, touch, sound, and taste). This was the first assigned paper where I felt completely free to express myself, unrestrained by specific guidelines. This story was “Trixie Creek,” a narrative about a girl’s dog being shot in the woods and her fight to save its life. Long story short, the poor dog died but in a very dignified and beautiful way.

When I read it aloud in class, several of my classmates actually cried. In a completely non-sadistic way, I felt empowered that my writing could have such an impact. Throughout the day, other peers who weren’t in that class came up to me, wanting to read my story. I was in utter disbelief that people would actually ask to read my writing. The icing on the cake that day was when my English teacher, a very intelligent and intimidating woman, pulled me aside in the hallway.

This is book-worthy. You should really consider writing a book.”

With that, she left.

Since then, her words have echoed in my mind. The thing is, I know she didn’t say it to make me feel warm and fuzzy. She definitely had her favorites, and undoubtedly, I wasn’t one of them.

Several years later, I had a severe manic episode that nearly destroyed every part of my life. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I just sat down one day and started writing. What started as a method of coping quickly turned in to a story that wasn’t about me whatsoever. Whenever I wasn’t sleeping or working, I was writing. I had no idea where it was going, but I knew I couldn’t stop. As my health improved, the story unfolded more beautifully.

I’m still fascinated by the twists and somersaults my story has taken while transforming into something completely different than I had once imagined. Throughout this process, I’ve discovered that inspiration often comes at the least expected moments. I’ve learned that I can’t push or force myself to develop the story, and to never judge or reject the concepts that come from my soul. It is when I write that I am most alive and connected with my spirit.

Nearly one year ago, I wrote the last sentence of my first book. (I won’t say I “completed” it because I’m certainly nowhere close to being finished with it). Since then, I’ve been reluctant to take further steps in developing my book. One reason being that I’ve felt completely lost and intimidated by the process of editing, revising, marketing, publishing, etc. Though it has taken some intensive soul-searching, I’ve realized the main force holding myself back is the fear of rejection. I’ve read failure stories left and right, and I don’t have the egotism to delude myself into thinking I’m an exception to the norm.

While perusing several writing resources, I read that one of the best platforms for aspiring authors is blogging. I resisted this on the basis that there was no possibility anyone would care to read my about my thoughts, goals, and passions. However, it is my dream to change the world with my writing, and knowing that my book was far from seeing the world, I reconsidered the prospect of blogging, as it could potentially be a more immediate way to make a difference.

Then I thought, “How can I create a blog that will actually bring value to my readers?”

I sincerely believe that we all have something to teach one another. Being that I’ve read numerous self-help books on achievement, motivation, and inspiration, I reasoned that I would have at least some content that might benefit my readers. Another aspect of my intention was to promote a connection with readers, in which we were able to empower each other.

After blogging for just over one month, I’ve already met such remarkable people and found several resources to further develop my skills as a writer. I’ve gained so much support and encouragement from people whom I deeply admire, and I strive to return all they have blessed me with. To be accepted and supported unconditionally restores my faith in humanity. Where I live, my outlook on life is considered unrealistic and a waste of time. Though, I’ve met such amazing people here that prove to me that anything is possible. I love you all.

With gratitude and respect,


A Rose by Any Other Name…

The topic of this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge is the power of names. I can’t think of a better opportunity to formerly introduce myself.

I’m Adelie.

Well…not quite. See, my true name is extremely rare. For instance, back when I worked at a grocery store, donning a name badge every day, I was frequently asked in what country I was born. It freaked me out at first, but then I embraced it, asking customers for their best guesses. They almost always suspected me to be Scandinavian…can’t imagine why 🙂

There were also a couple of instances in my childhood when, at the beginning of a school year, new classmates actually asked me if I was a foreign exchange student. Suffice it to say, if I went by my first or last name, I would be easily identifiable. I know what you’re thinking, but no. My parents never gave me a middle name, so that’s not an option either.

Funny story about that. In the beginning of third grade, my teacher actually pulled me out in the hallway and gave me a stern talking to. See, I didn’t put my middle name on my vocabulary test. This woman was convinced I was lying about not having one, that I was just being some unruly child. Though, I was an extremely shy, obedient child, so I didn’t argue with her. This resulted in several tears before she told me to get my act together. It was a traumatizing moment back then, but now I find it rather amusing. Especially being that I’ve met a few people since then who do not have middle names either.

Before I go further, I want to explain that I use a pseudonym as a way to protect my family’s privacy, as well as my own. Being that I’m not in my dream occupation and acknowledge the possibility of switching fields, I don’t want potential employers finding my blog while digging into my history and references. It’s not that I’m ashamed of anything I write here. The fact of the matter is that I can’t authentically write as myself  if the account is in my actual name. Kind of ironic, huh? Another truth is that I’m an introvert, and I’m much more forthcoming with all of you here than I ever would be in person. In the future, I will decide to disclose a few personal details about me that I wouldn’t share with just anyone. Now, don’t you feel special? 🙂

I struggled with picking an alternate name because I felt like a liar. Honesty is my highest value, both with myself and others, so fibbing about my name didn’t sit well for a while…until I became more acquainted with the blogging world. Truth is, I’m definitely not the first anonymous writer, nor will I be the last. It’s not that I don’t trust you all, it’s simply that in order to truly write as myself, I have to change this simple identifier.

So, why Adelie?

Well, I’m extremely thorough in choosing names, based on their meanings, associations, origins, and popularity. I’m sure most authors are as well. It took me a few weeks to discover Adelie, but the second I found the name, I knew it was the perfect fit. I love using symbolism with flowers, elements, deities, and  especially animals. And well, one day I came across this:

Adélie Penguin

Yes. I did, in fact, name myself after a penguin. Along from the Adélie penguin being perfectly adorable, they’re quite interesting creatures. In the British Antarctic Expedition 1910, those who had frequent interactions with the penguins described them as extremely curious and bold, to the point where they are actually hazardous to their own safety.

Granted, I did not chose the Adélie because we have a striking resemblance. While I am similarly curious by nature, the word “bold” does not describe me in the slightest. On that same note, I’m extremely concerned with safety, not only of myself but the safety of those around me as well.  In all seriousness, my concern with safety borders on the lines of OCD and neuroticism. Back to the point, Adelie!

My belief is that there’s always something to learn from other creatures. So, maybe if I strike a middleground between myself and the Adélie, I might be able to pursue my curiosity more thoroughly, with fewer self-imposed barriers. Though, I’m definitely not as skilled a swimmer as the Adélie, so I’ll probably wear a lifejacket and carry a whistle.

With curiosity and subtlety,





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Wisdom of a Toddler

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I’m not an advocate for growing bitter with age. With each year, I gain more wisdom, meet more amazing people, and embrace more miraculous moments in life. Unfortunately, each year also reminds me of the impermanence of people and creatures I love, the consequences of pushing myself too hard, and that being an adult isn’t always as awesome as I imagined it to be back when I was seven.

Another thing I’ve learned so far is that not every year is created equal. The earlier years tend to have less stress and fewer responsibilities. However, it wasn’t until I graduated high school, and even more so after college, that I actually felt that I was doing something with my life. Being that all years are not created equal, I’ve concluded that age is not an accurate account of how long someone’s been alive.

That said, I just celebrated my third birthday in January.

Of course I didn’t tell anyone this. After all, I didn’t want to celebrate my special day in a psych ward.

Celebrating my third year is not lying. I’m merely adjusting my age based on how much time I’ve actually spent “alive.” To me, being alive isn’t simply breathing. In my opinion, it involves being aware of your soul and finding new ways to embrace and express it.

Now before continuing, I must clarify that I am NOT promoting lying about one’s age. Our time on earth is nothing of which to be ashamed or embarrassed. If I could go back in time and find the person who first planted the concept that as we age, our value and aptitude declines, I would give them a swift slap across the face.

Though, being a pacifist, it’s more likely I’d give them a very ugly look and tell them to stop this nonsense before they create a society of Botox aficionados and mid-life crisis casualties.

I understand the necessity and indisputable benefits of tracking time. After all, the construct of dividing moments into seconds, minutes, and hours is essential to maintain order in this wonderful, but unpredictable world. While this order coordinates with the Earth’s orbit and other natural phenomena, it has no purpose in defining who we are and what we are capable of. Age isn’t indicative of how healthy you are, how advanced your thought processes are, how many breaths you have left, or to what extent you’ve actually contributed to the world and your purpose.

This past Saturday, my husband decided to celebrate his 26th birthday. Wouldn’t you know it, he was grumpy the whole time?! This guy was acting like his next step is a retirement home. Healthy, sharp, and even more handsome than when we first met, this guy has everything going for him.
(Not to mention, he has a pretty amazing wife :P)
Regardless, he has it stuck in his head that since he’s more than halfway to fifty years old, there’s little hope for him left. Hey, I told him he could celebrate any age he wanted. Maybe someday he’ll come around.

This brings me to the artful adventure for today:
-Take some time alone today to reflect on you life. Are the first things that pop into your mind fond memories, exciting goals, or deep regrets? How long have you really been alive? Are you still a toddler, or are you in your golden years? Remember that with every breath you’ve had, there have been infinite opportunities to embrace yourself and your talents. Remember that not everyone has been fortunate enough to have as many breaths as you. What can you do today to make the most of each breath?

Warm wishes from my three-year-old self,


Gone with the Waves

Something about the shoreline just pisses me off. Granted, I get why people romanticize it. The chattering of the comical seagulls, the warm grains of sand that slide through your toes and smooth your skin as you walk, and then there’s the sound of the waves. When you close your eyes Gulfshores coastline verticaland listen, it’s like you can hear the earth breathing…



 The waves ambitiously approach, and then they softly sweep away all the imperfections left in the sand. A  spiky shell,  mangled strands of seaweed, or maybe a bag of chips that’s been blown across the beach. All of these can disappear in a second, all traces forgiven and erased in one sweep.

And that is exactly why I find this place so pitiful, misleading, and wretched. And yet, I can’t escape it.

Not just yet.

It seems that as soon as my husband and I saw the listing, we fell in love with the cozy two-bedroom cottage on the pale sands of Lake Michigan and were moved in only days later. Three years have passed since then, and I can’t seem to unload the damn thing.

We fixed it up, both inside and out. He added a two-car garage, and I’d like to think that I helped increase it’s value by outfitting each room with bits and pieces to create an eclectic, coastal vibe. Even through my bitterness, I can’t deny that we created a beautiful home, a definite steal at the price I’m asking too. I’ve met with prospective buyers, eager buyers, but somehow, no one has taken the bait. In the seven months I’ve had it listed, no fewer than thirty people have stopped by. Eventually, it got to the point that I sought the expertise of a realtor, something I was convinced I’d never have to do.

Barbara is her name. She’s older, bolder, and wiser than me. Only two times did I show the house with her by my side before she tactfully told me that I’m, essentially, scaring away new tenants. So, per her request, I take a lengthy stroll on the beach while she sells people on a lifestyle I want no part of anymore.Gulfshores seagulls flying

Every walk is the same. If the sun was burning me during one walk and I was being pelted with hail on the next, I would know no different.

Kicking the stones and broken shells ahead of me before they pierce my foot, I look out past the rolling waves until the misty breeze spits in my face. Returning my gaze back to the ground, I walk right on boundary of wet and dry sand. Sometimes I think I do it in hopes that the waves might take me away, much like they did the traces of my marriage.

We moved here newlyweds. A day never went by that we weren’t running through the water, rolling around in the sand, or watching the silhouettes of freighters against the sunset. Often, we would just stand, him holding me from behind with our ankles deep in the water. With each wave, the sand beneath us would slide away, grain-by-grain, and we would sink deeper into the lake. In those moments, the pulsing tide was the only indication that time wasn’t frozen.

Gulfshores keep offAs I walk down the lonely shoreline, I’m always subconsciously looking for the same thing. A footprint that hasn’t washed away, his necklace lying in the sand, or remnants of the grainy sculptures he used to make to impress me. The breeze whips through the dune grass, and along with the clapping waves and the squeaking seagulls, there’s so much noise that I can hear almost anything.

the sound of him laughing

our footsteps thumping across the spongy sand

Then there are times I hear him whisper. Between the notes of the coast’s serenade, he always says the same thing.

“I’m still here.”

I used to believe it, so much that I would look around, running up and down the dunes to find him. Eventually, I came to accept that the lake was lying to me. Guilty from its broken promise.

It still lies, and I curse it every time.

It won’t admit the truth. That it took what was left of my husband and never gave it back.  After his heart attack, after the funeral, the least that lake could do was to leave his last footprint.

But its greedy little waves stole that from me as quickly as they did his last breath.

***This is my contribution to the Weekly Writing Challenge. I want to thank Sue Nash for the beautiful images that inspired this week’s post.***

Child’s Play

Sailor Moon

           Though this is only my second week , I’ve already discovered I’m a weekly writing challenge enthusiast.  This week, the writing challenge comes from Andrea Badgley, who happens to be a very inspiring woman and author of theButterfly Mind blog. Along with developing my writing skills further, these challenges introduce me to wonderful writers and new sources of inspiration, which I find invaluable. If you haven’t participated in a weekly writing challenge yet, I highly recommend just giving it a shot. This week, Andrea suggests we focus on a single object and expand upon it. Surprisingly, my object came very quickly. Here it goes!

            Everyone has their childhood superhero. Ever since kindergarten, mine just happened to be Sailor Moon. For those of you unfamiliar with the teenage galaxy warrior, I’ll give you a brief introduction. Though, to give the full effect, I’ll allow my fiver-year-old self to give you the run-down:


            Sailor Moon, also known as Serena, is the head of the Sailor Scouts who fight crime to protect our galaxy against the forces of Evil. The other members of the Sailor Scouts are Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus. While Sailor Moon is my favorite, given her agility in fighting evil with her tiara magic, I secretly admire Sailor Mars because she can do some serious damage with her fire. Anyway, Luna is the guardian cat who advises Serena. Let’s not forget Tuxedo Mask, the handsomely dreamy man who helps Serena and drops roses around.


            And that was a glimpse into the mind of five-year-old Adelie. I know what you’re thinking. Yes.  As a matter of fact, I did have pretty impressive diction for a kindergartener.


            *If you want a more detailed and objective description, there are several fan sites and resources out there. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but I believe Sailor Moon is now a part of the Anime world. A complete outsider to all things Manga, Anime, Comic-con, Cosplay, and the like, that’s about as much insight I can provide on the matter.*  Alright, back to the point…

            Let me explain, I was more than just an avid watcher of Sailor Moon. Every recess consisted of my best friend and me fighting the intergalactic villains lurking around the playground. She was usually Sailor Jupiter, and I was always throwing my magical tiara around. Reflecting on it now, I can still envision the unsuspecting and confused faces of my classmates as I accused them of plotting against our planet. Though at the time, I never noticed how baffled they looked when I’d run around them and launch invisible tiaras, which they probably assumed were fancy Frisbees.

The thing is, I wasn’t pretending to be Sailor Moon. Without a doubt, I was Sailor Moon. It wasn’t until middle school that a classmate reminded me that I wore a skirt literally (and I mean literally) every day until second grade. The rain, snow sleet, and wind never fazed me because, after all, I was a warrior. Though not identical to her sailor costume, my variety of plaid skirts gave me the same powers and made fighting crime very comfortable. I wonder how many kids saw my underwear when I did my awesome jumps, kicks, and cartwheels. Maybe I owe them an apology?

            It goes without saying that Sailor Moon had quite an impact on me growing up. While some descriptions of the show mention her crying a lot, I can remember shaking my head at that part of each episode. Being a crybaby was not an option for me. My mother’s signature phrase was always, “Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about!”

            I love my mom. She was an awesome parent, but she scared the hell out of me sometimes.

            Back to the point I’m trying to make, Sailor Moon showed me that women can take charge and that kicking ass isn’t just for Batman and Robin. Perhaps this helped shape me into the into the self-sufficient lass I am today. 🙂   Here’s something I just noticed that’s quite amusing.

Observe this picture of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask:                                

Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask


  And now a photo from my wedding:wedding


There’s a resemblance, right? Tell me I’m not the only one who sees this!

            By now, you’re probably wondering how the saga of my childhood alter ago fits into the weekly writing prompt. Well I had to lay the groundwork so you could truly appreciate the story I’m about to tell you.

            I was six, and my family went to a restaurant in Chesaning called Heritage House. It was this beautiful and historical restaurant that we only visited once a year, on my mother’s birthday.

Heritage House

            On that particular year, we had our delicious dinner and made a quick stop to Meijer on our way home. Somehow, I ended up in the doll aisle and behold….

            I’m sure I was squealing and jumping around. After all, I had never seen a doll of me, Sailor Moon, before! I showed my parents, who calmed me down somewhat. Then, they explained I had to earn the doll. After one year of chores on the farm, we would go back on my mom’s birthday, and they would buy me the doll. Back then, I certainly didn’t appreciate them instilling the values of hard work and dedication. Looking back on it now, I know their hearts were in the right place. Now, I think you can guess what happened next….

            One year later, I could barely contain myself as we walked into the Meijer. I was always a meek, well-behaved child, so it took everything I had to not sprint to the dolls. My parents perused the grocery aisles first, no doubt to torture me further. Then, we finally arrived at the magical aisle lined with dolls in pink and purple boxes. I walked down both sides of the aisle. Confused, I scanned the shelves a few more times, assuming that I must have just overlooked her iconic golden pigtails. Sensing my panic, my parents walked up and down the aisle with me a few more times.

            “There must be some in the back,” my dad assured me, as he went to find an associate. Finally, a woman in a red vest, carrying a Telxon (hand-held inventory computer) approached. After clicking a few buttons on the device, she routinely stated that they no longer carry Sailor Moon dolls. Remember how I told you I cried only on the rarest occasions? Well, I wiped a few tears from my cheeks before my parents could catch me, and didn’t say anything for the rest of the night.  Just thinking about it now breaks my heart.

            Now I’m unsure exactly what happened, but the dolls were discontinued for a few years and then brought back several years later for a period of time. Nowadays, with Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, and the infinite resources on the internet, you can track down a special edition tube of lipstick from three years ago. Back then, when something was discontinued, that was typically the end of the line.

            Fast forward twenty years to last November. One dreary day at work, I was staring at a blank screen with a lack of motivation and inspiration. Then, I decided just to write. I started typing away without any topic, theme, or plot in mind. (I’ve found this technique to be rather therapeutic). And on this particular day, this Sailor Moon doll memory just popped up, after being hidden in the depths of my mind for two decades. As soon as I finished my writing, I called my husband. I felt really silly, being a grown woman, telling my husband that I absolutely needed to find a Sailor Moon doll. He was very understanding though, probably because it wasn’t the most peculiar subject I have brought to him. Anyway, I told him that someday, some way, I was going to find myself a Sailor Moon doll. I glanced online to find that the few dolls that were still in mint condition were definitely out of our price range. Some day though, I was going to have that doll.


That day just happened to be Christmas.


            Opening it, I squealed just like I would’ve twenty years ago. I asked my husband if I could take it out of the box, thus, ruining its mint-condition state. Surprisingly, he smiled and said “Of course. I know you’re not going to try and sell it someday.” I took her out of the box, brushed her hair, and placed her on the bookshelf in front of my vision board. Sure, when family has come over to tour our house since then and noticed a doll on a shelf in our bedroom, the thought of hiding her has crossed my mind. Though, she’s never been moved or put back in her box. While some might find it juvenile to have an action figure prominently displayed in my bedroom, I keep it as a reminder that if I truly want something, I’ll find a way of getting it…even if it takes twenty years!


So here’s the artful adventure for today:

-Make your inner child happy!

            Is there something you enjoyed doing as a child that hasn’t carried into your daily adult life? Maybe you liked to draw, dance, or look at star constellations? Is there something you wish you could have done as a kid? Whatever it is, make time today to return to those moments where your only responsibilities were to have fun, do your homework, and brush your teeth. You could adapt these activities into your adult life by taking ballroom dance lessons or finding a ceramics class at a nearby college, or….

            You could go back to the basics! Yup, I’m talking about buying a coloring book and crayons, making some snow angels, watching your favorite childhood movies, or blowing the dust off some long forgotten board games! Whatever it is, give yourself a time-out from taking yourself too seriously. You may feel silly at first, but that’s what it’s all about!

Better yet, collect evidence from this event! Tape your new masterpiece to the fridge, collect a unique looking stone from your hike, or have someone take a picture of you and your friends living it up at the karaoke bar! Place this evidence somewhere you’ll see it daily to remind you how alive you felt once you just let go and had fun. And then, make a commitment to express your inner child every day, week, or month.

Whenever I’m asked about my dream vacation, the first thing that comes to mind is going back to when I was five. Sure, I had my chores, but the days seemed so much longer back then. I never ran out of steam, never cared about looking fat in a particular outfit I was wearing, and I spent nearly every waking hour outdoors. No taxes, bills, counting calories, insurance claims, periods, or car maintenance to worry about. Just curiosity and boundless energy. While I can’t pack up and go to Tahiti today, I can take a few minutes to dance in front of the mirror, paint a portrait using only my fingers, or simply watch the shapes of the clouds overhead. I’m hoping you’ll go on your own vacation today!

From my vacation home to yours,