In the Works!

My stomach was roiling with satisfaction and uncertainty. Anticipation and finality.

After compiling the final immigration package for my US Naturalization, I got Seth to look over everything, then took a deep breath and signed where needed.

The package got sealed.

I handed it to Seth, and he put it in his bag to mail off on his way to work.

The final step to process. The beginning of the end.

We could have moved anywhere in the US during this whole immigration stuff, but we like it here in Portland, and we wanted to show stability in our paperwork, so have stayed safe and comfortable. Now after almost 6 years, immigration is almost over. We will not be able to use it as an excuse to stay in our comfortable ruts. There will be nothing holding us down, and so there is the very feasible and needed choice to do the drastic, do the scary, leave our comforts, step into the unknown.

But not quite yet! Whew!!!

I just got the appointment notice for biometrics, which will be in two weeks, and then will still have to have an interview and civics test.

It is all very exciting. It is a hovering reminder that time moves quickly and there is only so much of it. Use it wisely. How am I preparing my family? We will move soon. Will we be ready?

Still so many questions.


Radical Change

Around the first week of January, we declared that 2018 would be a great year, filled with growth, adventure and change. So far we nailed it on the head and we’re only four months in!

Growth, Adventure and Change are not always pleasant things to experience though. Sometimes it hurts…. a LOT. But without change, there can be no development, improvement, or move forward.

There are several things that have happened, or are going to happen this year.

1. We bought a van that, with no service records, we found out only after purchasing it and taking it to get full diagnostics, that it has several under-rated items for its size, along with a few other problems. This is our next adventure. Leave the front seats in, convert the back to camp in this summer, and potentially live in next year.

2. Right after Christmas I started working out, using the protocol from the back of Mark Lauren’s book “You Are Your Own Gym”. Completed the beginner course, and am part way through the second course. Goal: Work through all 4 programs and do 3 straight hand-stand push-up by Dec 31, 2018.   (Funny tid-bit, during the first week of hard exercise I stunk to high heaven. One day Seth was in the kitchen and could smell me from down the short hall. Kept working out though, and flushed out that build-up of toxins. Three months later I feel, and even smell better than I did before starting!)

3. I went to an energy healing workshop (not my normal thing) incorporating the use of essential oils. By the end of the next day, I had forgiven a loved one for something I had struggled 6 years to forgive and embrace.  Since that day, I have continued to use my oils for emotional/spiritual healing, and have had some sharp painful issues come to the surface, which demanded addressing and healing. There are more to heal, and I look forward with mixed emotions to meeting them, but mostly excitement, as I know we all become stronger people when we face our challenges head on.

4. Immigration (big sigh). As of today, I have the final paperwork ready to send off for naturalization. That means we have worked our way through the years long protocol of getting my dual citizenship. We are ALMOST an All American Family. Just need to have Seth go through the package and make sure I crossed all my “t”s and filled everything in correctly, then take it to the post office, wait (while studying for the civics test)……. get a confirmation they accepted the application……wait…… wait even more (while still studying)…… get biometrics done…….. wait……… go to interview…….. swear in there, or wait again for a swearing-in ceremony……. receive naturalization papers, and DONE! After all that is finished, I’m going to throw a party!!!

5. Get a job for myself.

6. Set up an Amazon store.

7. Create product for my own online store.

8. End of the year move. Different house in Portland? Different state? Will we have enough online income to live in our van and explore the continent?

Big decisions. Big projects. Radical change.

Without change we have no growth. Without growth we become stagnant. With stagnation we become lethargic, depressed and never make the world a more beautiful place. Change can sometimes hurt, but we want the world to know we were here! We want to leave a positive impact on the people around us, and raise the energy of our community! It won’t always be easy or comfortable, but this is what we want.


What is your radical change?


Elita’s Big Birthday Surprise!

Today is NOT Elita’s birthday. Neither was yesterday, but it was her little sister Trista’s very first birthday. Nothing special happened as far as presents or parties. In fact, it was about as low key as you could get! No party to speak of.  Sorry Trista!

Then all of a sudden, every attention that should have been put on Trista (it being her birthday and all) got switched over hard core to Elita.

The girls were playing outside on the monkey bar dome, having fun, doing their thing. Elita was perched on the first level, about three feet up, when she slipped and fell backward, landing upside down, with her right arm underneath and behind her. She cried a bit, but did not display any sign of unusual pain. She even went down for a nap shortly after!

Come dinner time though, she refused to use her hand to eat, keeping it close to her body. That’s when we figured it needed a closer look. It was really hard to see anything, as she is a healthy robust toddler with a nice amount of padding. But upon prodding the bones, we could feel a small discrepancy between the two arms.

Seth’s brother was a wonderful assistant, coming over right away to scoop up the other girls and take them out for dinner with his own kids, while leaving his extra vehicle for us to get to the hospital.

The registration personnel didn’t look too concerned as Elita smiled at them, and stuck her tongue out to demonstrate how she could curl it (it’s her favorite way to flirt right now). The nurse doing the initial check even got her to play patty-cake with both hands! It was a great relief to see that, and to everything must be fine. But protocol went on, and her arm was x-rayed:

Elita X-Ray

Both bones in the forearm compressed and green fractured just about the wrist.

She got a splint put on, and the fellow doing it said she was one of the three most relaxed, resilient children with broken bones that he had ever seen! She smiled and giggled throughout the whole hospital episode (when she wasn’t crying from having her arm touched and prodded).

To say I am a very proud parent is an understatement! She is one tough little cookie!

Elita Cast
She doesn’t like having her picture taken!

Nothing like having the focus of your very first birthday put onto your big sister! Next year I will have to make sure Trista gets a proper birthday celebration.

Our New Home Art Studio

With young kids in the house, and no safely designated area to do art, we’ve defaulted to trying to cram out results during nap time or other opportunistic moments.

Not any more!!!!

We just took a room in our house, put a gate across the doorway, and instantly gained a safe place to leave projects half-done.

It has proved itself very useful already, as a place I can leave paintings to dry, clay sculptures to sit untouched until another free moment, and sewing projects can be left out without the worry of kids pulling on the sewing machine chords. Stay at home seamstress’ out there, you know what I’m talking about!

It has taken us almost two years to take the plunge and commit to turning this room into a studio. Why? We thought we needed the money that renting it out gave us. But…. when we figured out a way to not need that, a whole new freedom opened up! I can pursue my creative side every day, even if only a half hour at a time. It has also made filling my Etsy orders much easier and less stressful.

Why didn’t we do this sooner?!!!!

I encourage you to make your own studio at home. Take the plunge! Be it a corner of the living room, one end of the kitchen counter, or that old tool shed in the back yard. Make a space dedicated to you and your passion!

Go on, do it!




How Life Changes So Fast, Or Not At All

Sometimes moving locations is needed for personal growth, but most of the time it’s not.


In January, two of our girls went with me to check out a potential coffee farm caretaker position in Hawaii’s Kona belt. It would have been a rough move for us all (farm owners included), so I decided against it and enjoyed the rest of the trip as a vacation. Yay!!!

When we got home and settled back down, I realized that I had been looking forward to a potential move, simply as a way to break out of my personal comfort zone. But it doesn’t matter where we live. Breaking out of “the zone” can only be done by yourself when you make the conscious effort. I’ve moved around North America enough times to know that you can never run away from yourself. You can only grasp yourself by the horns and make the change you wish to see. Here. Right now.

“Be the hero of your own life story.”  (quote from Jack – Nim’s Island, 2008)


Clown Time

On the weekend we were invited to join Portland’s clowns Olive and Dingo in the Division Street Parade. We arrived on time, were all set, then one of the bands started up right beside us in the staging area, setting Trista into a scared crying fit. There was nothing to do but back out and comfort her while the parade took off. Trista eventually did calm down and fell asleep, so we were able to rejoin the fun further down the street.

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A few days later, we hung out at a coffee shop just down the street from our house for Story Time where the clowns do their act every week. Don’t worry, they have a NEW act each time. This particular day they had a camera crew filming them. If the footage gets posted online, I will add the link!

At the end of Story Time, they always make balloons for the kids. Marin usually asks for a bow and arrow, while Elita is happy with anything, sometimes a flower, or snail, or dog… yup, content girl! Today they got something completely different. Observe….

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