so she did.

In reference to my last post, I saw this on the interwebs this morning:

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…and it really did move me. In the midst of getting what I believe to be a stress-cold, it’s encouraging to know that I can do it. Anything. I can do things. I can choose to soar. I can believe that I can. I will.

Here’s my radio show from tonight… If I do say so myself, I think it’s pretty great…

[the above is a design by me laid over a photo from looking to the heavens, sitting in the backyard of my texas home.]

they choose to soar.

Something incredible happened to me today. I must share.

Evan and I had scheduled some garden time with our lovely neighbors who we share a handful of beds with. Of course I forgot about this scheduled time and was late and hadn’t taken a beat in days to just breathe.

We tilled, weeded, talked, laughed and then it was time for our neighbors [who are older and a bit fragile] to go in, eat, sit-down, enjoy their evening. I got some tips from Alice [the lady of the neighboring couple] about planting and told her I’d take care of it so she could go inside.

Before she walked away, she looked at the only really sprouting row of anything we’d planted so far and said…

– You know I do light work. And I did some light work on those seeds before I planted them and look! They’re the only ones coming up!

I usually don’t know what people are talking about when they’re talking gardens, so I just nodded with approval. Evan, more aware, asked…

– What’s light work?

– Oh, it’s positive energy. I’m a psychic interpreter. I spent time sending the seeds positive energy.

Of course I had a thousand questions… how could you not? At the end of the conversation, I had her put me on her waiting list of clients to get a reading. She turned to Evan and asked…

– Evan, do you want to be on the waiting list, too?

– Uhhh… let me think about it for a while.

– Okay. And Rachel, you should try sending positive energy to those seeds.

I looked down to the lettuce seeds in my hand and replied…

– Okay!

She walked inside and Evan and I talked about energy for a bit. Evan was weeding with his back to me and I was still holding lettuce seeds contemplating.

– I’m gonna do light work on these seeds.

– Go for it.

– I don’t know how to.

– You can do it.

– Okay, I’m gonna do it now.

I held my hand out, stared at the seeds, smiled, and then had thoughts that slightly resembled a pep-talk… something along the lines of, “Hey, seeds. This world is so great! There is so much love and happiness here! You’re gonna want to grow into something wonderful here… in all this love and happiness… It’s gonna be great.”

And before I could get any further, I heard a loud, WHOOSH, WHOOSH

A gigantic bird flew right in front of my face and landed on the roof right next to our garden… not eight feet away from me. Evan looked up, the heron looked at us, and flew to the tree a bit beyond the yard…

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After standing in shock for moments, with my eyes wide and my mouth agape, I turned and said…

– EVAN! I WAS SENDING LIGHT TO THE SEEDS AND THAT BIG-ASS BIRD CAME!

– Wow.

We watched it. It looked at us for a moment and then it took off and flew into the distance… like a movie… the giant being flew straight away… into the sunset sky.

It was HUGE. It was incredible. Beautiful. We don’t have birds like that come around our yard… ever.

Evan told me it was a great blue heron and he was as amazed as I was.

I had goosebumps. I teared up. I was overwhelmed.

I could not get over it. [still can’t.] The whole rest of the time gardening, I kept saying, “That is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.”

It just felt so real, so purposeful, so magic.

Evan kept saying, “Stuff like that doesn’t just happen all the time.”

Enamored by the magnificent bird, I wanted to know more about it and I found this…

“According to North American Native tradition, the Blue Heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance. They represent an ability to progress and evolve. The long thin legs of the heron reflect that an individual doesn’t need great massive pillars to remain stable, but must be able to stand on one’s own.

Blue Herons have the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and co-create their own circumstances. Blue Herons reflect a need for those with this totem to follow their on unique wisdom and path of self-determination. These individuals know what is best for themselves and need to follow their hearts rather than the promptings of others. Those with the Medicine of the Great Blue Heron may sit until the rest of us loose patience. And, when they follow the promptings of the heart, they are one of the most magnificent when they choose to soar.

This is the message that Blue Heron brings.”

And that made me cry. It was just so perfect. Peaceful. Needed. Beautiful. Telling. Affirming. Powerful.

[sending light.]

i’m SO glad.

Yesterday was my birthday.  There were so many highlights… here are some…

• Riding on the back of a tandem bike to work… drinking a delivered latte.

Birthday pie.

• A phone call from Italy that included three renditions of adorable little-girl Happy Birthday singing… in Italian, Spanish, and Chinese… ah-mazing.

• Great news at work… that I will tell you about soon.

• Drinking dark and stormys made from home-brewed ginger beer…

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Even though he brewed ginger beer for me in the years before, I really didn’t expect it this time.

• Dinner with Missoula loves at the best pizza place ever.

• Hall and Oates.

• Temporary tattoos.  [“how trampy do you want your stamp?”]

…and so much more.

But what really takes the birthday pie [get it? instead of cake.], was all the mail I received.

For over a week before yesterday, I started getting letters marked, “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL MAY 16.”  I grew insanely curious.

I would get a letter in the mail, see the front and go, “YESSS!” and then I would turn it over and see that I couldn’t open it yet and go, “DAMMIT!”

I honestly had no idea what was going on… nor did I know who was behind it all… all of this…

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So, when I got home from work yesterday, Evan said I could open the letters.  It was an overwhelming experience.  Each one was a puzzle piece.

And the first one I opened, Emma’s, I was kind of blown away… did not expect it… she was telling me about why she was so happy I was alive… in her life…

It was a lot to take in… wow.

And then they just kept going.

25 people wrote [or shared a photo, a poem, a drawing] and told me why that were glad that I was born.  It was incredible. There were many times that I had to stop, breathe, got choked up… started crying… had to stop, settle down.

Evan made a little stop-motion video of me opening them… I was about six or seven letters in when he started…

[that video does not do the experience justice… at all… but it is precious for me to watch it and relive it.]

I didn’t know who did this all, organized it… I had my guesses.  And I opened them in an order where I would find out quickly who did all this… or so I thought.  I got down to four letters: my mom’s, my dad’s, Evan’s, and Lisa’s… and I still had no idea who was responsible.

I opened Lisa’s, sent from Italy, and it said, “OK, so by now you are on to my plot.”

I just cried.  Had to take a second.  I didn’t expect her.  We’ve been friends for 25 years now.  She could say to me, “Hey, I forgot your birthday, sorry.” and I would say, “That’s okay.  I love you.”… but she didn’t.  She contacted TWENTY-FOUR of my friends… most of which she does not know… also, FROM ITALY… and made this happen.  Made me feel like a princess on my birthday.  Amazing.

Multiple drinks into my celebration last night, I kept saying, “Lisa is like Oprah… No, she’s better than Oprah… ‘YOU GET A CARD!  AND YOU GET A CARD!'”

It was the most beautiful birthday gift I have ever received.  Hands down.  When I finished reading it all, I put the pieces together and this is how it read…

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Right?  Tears.  Of joy.  So special.  So sweet.

And I wanted to try to repay you all with a little bit of something special… so I did an OH-MY-GOODNESS THANK YOU radio show.  A song dedication for each of you.

Click on the photo to download.  Or right here.  The radio show is a better story of all of the cards… I try to do them justice, but it’s so hard… they are all so wonderful.

I love you all.

I’m exhausted from your love… which is the best kind of exhaustion.

[thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouiloveitiloveyou.]

move with eyes open.

Yesterday, while working at my desk, I had a little internal dialog with myself…

Okay, tomorrow’s my birthday… how old am I turning again? 27. Oh, 27? I’m just gettin’ started!

I loved this genuine interaction with myself.

It does feel like I’m just getting started… just finally figuring out the beginning of figuring out this part of life.

It’s been a banner year… one for the books… pretty amazing. Besides moving away from a community and landscape that I love and all the hardness that comes with change, being 26 was so wonderful to me.

So, as I sit in my Missoula bed for the first time on my birthday, the window open, the community radio station on the alarm — telling me it’s past time to move with eyes open, I am thankful for this life, this last year, the loves that fill the days, the excitement of 27…

…I’m just getting started.

hand it back to us.

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[photo by Kate Lazuka.]

That photo above is of my darling brother and mother circa 1994.  It’s me, my sister, and him… the children in the fam.

Some oldies, yet goodies, for Momma this year.

To a mother who has given us her all, given us her heart, let us break it over and over only to have her put it back together and hand it back to us…

To a mother who taught us how to laugh, taught us how to dance, taught us how to lead our lives with love…

To a mother who has supported us, been there, through our hopes, dreams, downfalls, darkness…

Thank you.  Thank you for being you and, in turn, helping us be us.

We love you.

Happy Mother’s Day, Momma!

find your path with love lit.

The other night, I needed to see a movie by myself.

It happens.  Needed to be my own date.

I saw Jeff, Who Lives at Home.  It was wonderful.  So real.  I saw it at the pub theater in town. 

After drinking my first beer [my favorite beer], the film cut out… cut off.  I quickly jumped up to tell the guy in the lobby it had cut out… and get a second beer.  Either the movie was amazingly real/wonderful, or I cry at every movie, or the second beer really got to me… or all of the above… but I cried.  Real life is easier to see on film sometimes.

Then last night, after saying goodbye to Josh and Sarah [which I hated… they left Adventure Cycling to go on an amazing bike trip from Alaska to Mexico]…

Image[oh, also, they’re getting married next year!]

Okay, so, after their awesome goodbye party, Evan and I attended This American Life Live here at the Roxy Theater.  My goodness, my goodness, I loved it!

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I want to share it all… but that might be a little much.  So, I’ll share two beautiful things…

The First…

Vivian Maier.

Another artist who became famous after their passing.  She had no surviving family, no boyfriends, no girlfriends, no one to really speak for her work.  Vivian was a street photographer… her work discovered by a man who bid on her storage unit after she stopped making payments.  What did he find in there?

A lot of crap… hundreds of newspapers…

And THOUSANDS of slides.  THOUSANDS.  On most days, she took one to three rolls of film a day.  She saw beauty in so many ordinary moments.  Found it.

Here are some of my faves…

ImageImageImageImageImageThe last one is [obviously] a self-portrait of Vivian Maier.  I felt so connected.  So intrusive.  The people who knew here a little bit, said she would hate hate hate the world seeing her work.  But sorry I’m not sorry… I love it.

The Second…

Monica Bill Barnes & Company.

I wish wish I could find the two dances they did on the interwebs.

They were hilarious, beautiful, amazing, expressive[x10], alive.  Alive. 

That’s just a snippet of their performance.  My favorite dance was done to this song…

ah-mazing.

The dancers reminded me of my dancer friend, Karly, from middle school, high school, and now.  She’s such an incredible dancer and a beautiful soul.  Her dancing is raw and she lives her life with love lighting her way. 

The performance made me feel closer to my old friend, to who I was in middle school, to souls who light their paths with love.  It’s a feeling hard to find… and it found me.

[find your path with love lit.]