Monday, June 16, 2014

My DSFY Journey

I'm learning that I do have to take care of myself. Who I was 6 years ago, is NOT the woman I am today. Back then, I would have never thought that I was strong, or capable. I was sure I was going to live on as a single mother just me and my girl Z. 

Now life has brought on changes, and challenges. But I haven't taken time out for me Well, a couple weeks ago I finally did something for me!!! I had a "Boudoir" Photo Shoot done!!! And I know there are probably plenty of you out there who are thinking "wow, thats brave. I couldn't even begin to think that I could do that looking the way I do now..", well, I'm here to tell you that you CAN!!! I'm going to let you in a a little secret, I'm not a size 8!!!!! As a matter of fact, you have to add a 1 to the front of that to get my size!! Yep, thats right, I'm a size 18. This is the biggest I've ever been, and hopefully this is the biggest I'll ever be! I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into?! Was this going to make me want to run and hide in a carton of ice cream? Well, you be the judge…
While this isn't one of the racier photos, it was one of my favorites! It captured my personality and I think I look pretty darn good! And here is one that I was able to crop and post…
This one… this is one of the best ones… I have my top 3, and this is one of them!! A very good friend of mine is an amazing photographer!! She is able to transform women who might be a little scared, or feel a little unsure about the way they see themselves into gorgeous pieces of art!! I ended up giving the finished photos to mu husband for Father's Day, and he about fell over with surprise! He had no idea that I did this, and was probably just as surprised as I was with the results. Don't get me wrong, my husband thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world (I don't always agree) but he hasn't seen me all dolled up in a very long time!! 

And dolled-up is what I got!! I am a professional make-up artist by trade, but just like with life as we know it now, it becomes very difficult to find time to even shower some days, let alone do hair or make-up. When you are spending days taking care of a wounded soldier, two kids, animals, a house… it takes its toll on a person. 

You can find time for YOU!! Even if its a matter of taking yourself out for a short drive, go down to your favorite spot and just breath in the fresh air for 20 minutes. No reading, no pampering, no phone calls… just you and your self for 20 minutes. At least twice a month.  You can find time for you. 

This journey is just getting started for me. You can begin your own journey, just make the first step. Plan a date for yourself. If it makes it easier, make a date with a friend. Just get out and away from "life" for 20 minutes. 

I have plans for me coming up and I will continue to post my "DSFY" so you can be inspired too!!

Listening to: Dr Phil is on in the back ground

Luke 18:27 Jesus replied, "What is impossible with man is possible with God"

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Adventures in DSFY Wonderland...

As far as remembering to do something for myself goes, this week I pretty much rocked it. I had the opportunity to check off some major bucket list items, and get some much needed me-time, along with having a chance to spend some  quality time with the hubs, kiddos, and the bestie!

This week was fairly stressful at work, so in order to retain my sanity and keep my promise -to myself and all of you- of remembering to take time to do things that are important to me, I planned a few fun filled weekend (which actually started mid-week) to decompress, unwind, and relax. This weekend has been fantastic, and it all started with a book, and one amazing author!

On Thursday night I went to a book signing of one of my favorite authors, Emily Giffin. Emily Giffin is an author best known for her books Something Borrowed, and Something Blue. Something Borrowed was actually adapted into a film starring Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson. You may have seen it already since it opened in theaters a few years ago, but just in case you haven’t, I’ll add a cover photo of the movie poster.

The signing was to promote her new book The One & Only and was held at Barnes and Noble in Los Angeles- it was incredible! I got there a little late due to traffic, but I was just in time to hear the last 30 minutes or so of Emily’s discussion and Q &A, and of course get my collection of books signed! Emily was great- she was funny, down to earth, such a sweetheart, and overall a joy to be around. Since I was nearly dead last to have my books signed, I had the rare opportunity to have a great one-on-one session with Emily, which pretty much made my week, and cemented my resolve in believing that Emily and I are now total BFF’s.

 The only unfortunate event of the night was that I completely spaced and forgot my memory card to my camera, so I pretty much missed out on taking any pictures while at the signing (that, and I just saw the exact same book- 6 dollars cheaper- at target already signed! But I digress). I did however take a snapshot after I got home to share with all of you here.

The next day after work, I headed over to my best Jane’s house- Jane C- for an evening out that, that turned into an evening of Sangrias and Tapas at one of my favorite restaurants, Seville. We talked, laughed, and had bottomless Sangrias to the backdrop of Spanish guitars serenading us to our hearts content. We sat outside since it was so warm out- honestly the entire night was so much fun, and definitely needed.

The next day, the hubs and I, sis-in-law, and kiddos headed out to the California Science Museum to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor, and the Pompeii exhibition. As a side note, I’m not a total space geek, but something about The Endeavor has always fascinated and excited me. In truth, the thought of launching into the dark unknown of space scares the crap out of me, but the idea of witnessing first-hand the majesties of the stars, and moon peak my interest and definitely take my breath away.

We spent about 45 minutes to an hour at the Endeavor, walking through the exhibits the science center had in place to educate all of us on how the Endeavor mission came to be, and just what went into making it all come together. The tour was pretty fun, but after 45 minutes, we were all eager to head over to the hanger that held the actually space shuttle. It wasn’t until 5 minutes before the center closed that we were able to finally enter the hanger, and experience for ourselves the wonders of the Endeavor. I was moved- truly moved, and the wait was absolutely worth it. I’m sure you’ll understand once you see…

Before taking the Endeavor tour, I took the kiddos around to a few of the other exhibits the Science Center had to offer. They had a BLAST! The Frogman was SO stoked at having the chance to tinker with all the displays they had available for the kids. He at one point turned to me and said "Mom, this is the best place EVER!!".

After all the Endeavor and science geeky fun, I FINALLY had the chance to have a family photo taken of my entire crew in the middle of The Rose Garden.

Everyone was in such good spirits, and it truly showed as the sis-in-law and I took turns capturing snapshots of the kiddos, and the hubs, the outside of the Science Center, and the amazing flowers of The Rose Garden.

All-in-all, the day was absolutely fantastic and the week of DSFY was a total success!

What did you guys do for yourselves this weekend? Leave a comment and tell Em and I all about it!

Health and Wellness Everyone!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Start of the Best...

Listening to: Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole Radio on Pandora
                    Henehene Kou 'Aka

It was January 2009. My friend T invited me to come to a "getting out of the Army" party with her. A girl she knew had just finished her med board process and was celebrating getting out of the Army and going home. My friend worked out at the WTB (Warrior Transition Battalion) as a civilian driver. I hadn't been out in a while, so I thought it might be good for me to get out of the house and just have an adult night. No pressure and NO guys for me!! I had decided some time before this that I wouldn't date another military guy… EVER AGAIN… They were too much drama… About 2 months prior to this party I had had a conversation with God about being single. At this time I had been a single mom for almost 4 years. I had dated a few guys, but nothing got serious. I had it up to HERE with guys, so I had a strong conversation with God and said "I'm done. If you want me to be a single mom for the rest of my life, then so be it. But I am done looking, I'm done being disaapointed. I give it to You". I'm guessing He was pleased with me finally giving up my sense of having to be in control. I was at peace with me. And I was going out with my friend to have a relaxing night.

We get out to the house and we're cooking on the BBQ, drinking and listening to music. More people show up. We're all just hanging out and having a good time. Some time later a few more people show up… and he walks in. Our eyes met as soon as he walked in the door. And I'm really not trying to be all sappy, but it literally felt like I knew him when I saw him. I turned to the friend that I had come with and asked her if I knew him, if he had ever come and hung out with us before, anything… she said "no". I asked what was wrong with him. He walked with a cane, but having been around a lot of the guys (and girls) out at the WTB, I knew that some of them were a little worse off than others. She said that he was injured, but that's all she really knew about him. Every so often we would catch each other looking, but it wasn't until he had been there for more than an hour that we finally talked to each other. The guys were being very typical Army guys, and giving each other crap. I was walking through the room and all of a sudden I'm grabbed and put in front of someone as a human shield. The guys had been acting "gay" with each other and he didn't like it, so he grabbed me, threw me in front of himself and yelled "tell them I'm straight… TELL THEM I'M STRAIGHT!!" I could not stop laughing. We ended up going off together to talk. We talked… and talked.. for about an hour. We talked about what had happened to him, where he had been and the fact that he was getting a divorce. We rejoined the rest of the party and at some point he had been cornered in the kitchen by another girl. I wanted to give him my number before I left, but when I saw him with the other girl, I figured that he wasn't interested, so I just left. No bye, no number.

About a week later, we met again, this time at the WTB. Z was with me that day. He came over and asked if he could buy her something from the vending machine and I said, "sure, if she'll talk to you". Please let me be clear~It was NOT ever my intention for S to meet Z that soon. Prior to meeting S, Z had only met 1 of the guys I had dated, and that was after 2 months of seeing each other. Well, Z let him give her the coins to put in the machine, and he helped her open the bag of goodies that she picked.

On Valentine's Day he gave me a ring, it was a promise ring. He knew, I knew, right away that we were falling fast. He told me that when the time was right (ie his divorce was over) that He would propose for real… that day finally came… over a year later. Lots of things happened between Feb 09 and April 2010. We moved in together, and moved again. Met some friends and lost some friends. Z had turned 5 by then. In April, we got a phone call from our lawyer, he had some papers on his desk that we had been waiting for… his ex finally signed the divorce papers!! This was it! We were finally going to be able to move on. And that was the day that life got moving very quickly. The papers were filed with the county on Thursday, we applied for our marriage license on Friday and that Monday, we were married. Him in his duty uniform and me in a gorgeous dress. In the office of the chaplain of the WTB. It was a very small quaint ceremony. The chaplain, us, Z, my parents, our best man and maid of honor and my nephew. That was one of the best days of our lives. He wanted to make sure that we (Z and I) were going to be taken care of.

This has been quite the journey. We've had ups and downs. We've been down some tough roads and on some amazing adventures!! This man God created for me is an astounding man. He has fought a life long battle against him. From family issues as a kid, joining the Army at an early age (17) to being in and out of the military (he had 16 years in, over a 25 year time frame), being married to someone who was abusive and then being injured in Afghanistan. I will get more into him on another post.

God has blessed me abundantly. And while not many could live the life I do, I wouldn't change it for anything!

"The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen" ~ Ralph Marston
Listening to:
Artist: Katy Perry
Album: Prism
Song: Dark Horse

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The DSFY Project

Before I get started, I wanted to let all of you know that I will now be sharing this site with a very dear friend of mine. Her mane is Emily, and she is amazing! I love her to death, and I can’t imagine my life without her. We will be co-bloggers, and sharing and posting individually, and I am sure all of you out there will love her just as much as I do. Join me in welcoming her to this blog! If you want to get to know a little more about her, just click here.

Now, lets get to it shall we!

I have a question... how often- in our frequently hectic and non-stop lives- can you say you actually have taken time out for yourself? And I’m not talking about taking 15 minutes to sit in-between cooking dinner. When I refer to taking time for yourself, I mean it in the sense of truly stepping away from it all for a few hours, shutting off your phone, and truly breathing in life. Tell me...really, how often can you say you do this?

Think hard- I’ll wait...

Yeah, that’s what I thought! The answer to that question in so many cases is, has been, and will always be: I don’t remember or the ever so famous I’ll rest when I’m dead.

Always...unless you do something to change that is.

Here’s the fact:  if the aforementioned was your answer ladies and gents, trust and believe when I say dead, will come around much faster than you EVER anticipated. In an older blog post I talked about the physical and mental reparations of stress; How stress can manifest itself into serious disorders, physical limitations, and in some cases complex diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, infertility, and even death. With more and more of our troops coming home as this war nears it’s close, and more spouses assuming the role of a caregivers to help them with their post-war injuries, the number of reported cases of depression in the caregiver, have grown to almost staggering numbers. Of all the significant elements of caregiving, the most important and most impactful element is the caregiver’s ability to recognize that taking time to take care for you is absolutely imperative to the overall success of the combat veterans health and wellness.

Think about it: if you do not feel well emotionally, what care could you possibly provide to anyone? I don’t know about you, but when I’m deep in the throes of my Eeyore feels, caring for someone is the LAST thing I’m capable of. In fact, I can honestly say that on those days my brain quickly shuts down from Super Mom/Wife/Caregiver to everyman (woman) for himself (herself).  True story.

Which brings me back to my point...if you are not taking time to care for yourself, how can you honestly care for- to the degree in which your war fighter/combat veteran requires care? The answer to that is simple. You can’t. So what do you do about this now? Well, that’s simple too; you just take the time to do YOU!


Ok, I’ve said a lot in this post thus far, and I know for me whenever someone would mention taking time out for myself, my immediate response would be: Well how the hell do you exactly expect me to take time for myself with all that I have going on? Here is the reality behind that response. It’s bullshit! I’m sorry, but it is. And here is what I had to finally break down and realize about the heaping BS of that statement; there are 24 hours in each day, 189 hours in each week, and 52 weeks in each year. You can find the time to do something for yourself within that time trust me. I’m not talking about taking a three week long vacation to Brazil of Fiji (however wouldn’t that be something right!), but when I actually decided to add up all the hours I spent on the phone venting to a friend about how bad life sucked, and added in the hours I spent sulking in a stew of my own misery about things that I absolutely could not change, I ended up with nearly 3 months of time I could have allotted to finding fun events to attend, of vacations I could have taken. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be extravagant,  I’m simply suggesting taking a few hours out of a day each week to do something that excites you, enriches you, energizes you, or helps to remind you that there is still a YOU there underneath the laundry list of “need to do’s” that we all seem to accumulate. Think back long and hard people to the “you” that existed pre-caregiving. What did you like to do? What are a few things you always told yourself you wanted to do if you ever had the chance? Write them down, create a list, and slowly start checking those things off. Go live your life while you have one to live. Believe me, I’m a mom, and I understand the demands of life as a mom and caregiver, but I also understand that this is the only shot at life I’m EVER going to be afforded. Once I’m gone, I don’t get to come back for a do-over. So right now while you have air in your lungs, make your health and wellness a priority.

Because I recognize that when I embarked on my DSFY journey, I was clueless as to where to even start taking with taking time for myself, and how hard it was for me to come up with ideas as to what to do or what resources were available financially to help me, I’ve decided to start posting thing that I found helpful, and resources that are available out there to guide you in your journey. Em, and I will be posting our DSFY adventures on this blog regularly to keep you updated on all the things we do to DSFY, in hopes to give you all ideas, and inspiration to go out into the world and chase your own happiness.

We will be posting things that we have done to share our lives with you and share ideas of what you can do for yourself, as well as sharing resources offered by organizations that offer spouse and veteran retreats, events, family getaways, and more. Stay tuned for more folks, but most of all understand how important your overall wellness is succeeding in happiness in life. We are all strong, we are all capable, we go through trials that would take out most people, and we come out still standing, but sometimes standing isn’t enough to keep ready for the next battle. Do yourself a favor, listen to that little voice inside you that lets you know that you need a break- take that break, and continue thriving.

Health and wellness everyone,


Friday, May 30, 2014

This is me… I'm a chameleon…

This is me… I'm a chameleon…

My name is Emily. I'm a thirty-something mixed Islander with 2 gorgeous daughters and an amazing husband. I've lived my whole life in Washington (state not dc) and I can't imagine living anywhere else. This is one of the best places in the world to raise kids, and I get to watch my girls grow up in the same place I did! (Almost literally right now since we live in the neighborhood I grew up in)

So… about me. I'm proud of my Hawaiian Filipino Irish German heritages. I use to be an avid writer, but then I got this writers block about 10 years ago. This is me coming out of that hopefully. I'm a short girl with a big attitude, but the reality is that if my brain had it's way, I would be an introvert. I'm extremely self conscious of my body image and have been for pretty much my whole life. I am the friend of friends, but get hurt very easily by those I keep close to me. I have a sharp tongue when I've been attacked. I am extremely honest with my advice, to a fault at times. I am the kind of person who you really can call at 3 am for a ride and I will do anything I can to help, even if its not convenient for me. And at the same time I am horrible at keeping in touch because I get WAY too much into my own head sometimes. Music helps me deal with a lot of my emotions. It speaks to me in ways that words can't. As I type this I'm listening to AlexClare. This album brings out a depth in my mind that i don't tap into a whole lot anymore. I am the kind of person who inspirational quotes can be game changers for my day to day. I lean heavily into God, but not as much as I should. My heart is His and His alone. He chooses to share it with my family and friends. He speaks through me when needed. I am DEEPLY Patriotic! I cry at commercials of home comings. (that part of me warms my husbands heart) I have battled depression since I was very young. I've seen my fair share of counselors, therapists and psychologists. (they're all nuts!) I can be very random most of the time. 

I am the youngest of two kids. Still Daddy's girl (well, most of the time) My brother and I have a very interesting relationship. My mom is my best friend. I am very dependent on her (not that I like to admit that, but I know its true) My parents are still married and have only been married to each other.. I'm a rare one.. They still live in the same house that I grew up in. That is still where I consider "home". Both of my parents worked full time jobs while I was growing up. My dad a police officer from the time before I can remember. My mom was a professional singer. I wasn't close to my mom until I grew up and out and had a daughter of my own. And now I get it! I spread my wings early and tried to be the cool girl. I started smoking when I was 10… because I wanted a boy to like me and he smoked. A nasty habit that I gave up a few times and finally gave it up for good when my oldest daughter was about 4. I had bad friends and good friends. I liked the bad ones better. 

I am a kid at heart, and a 1940's war bride at soul. I've been through schooling for quite a few different things. I still can't decide what I want to be when I grow up. Although, I would say that my life now is just as I want it. Not exactly the way I thought I would get here, and definitely not the easiest road to go down, but this is what I was made for. I had always wanted to be a stay at home wife and mother. Make the kids' lunches, have breakfast ready to go, send them all off and tidy up the house… have snacks for the kids for after school and dinner on the table by 5:30. This whole "Donna Reed" thing going on.. Well… be careful what you ask for, right?

I had my first daughter when I was 22. Her father and I had known each other for a very long time. He was around until she was about 8 months old. Then he had to make a choice between us or drugs… Best decision he ever made was to walk away (although it took me a LONG time to realize that). Z is the spitting image of me. and I CAN wait for her to grow up. Seems like nowadays kids are growing up way too quickly. But isn't that how it's always been? 

I met my husband a little over 5 years ago.  When we met I knew he was injured in combat. I wasn't sure about anything other than I felt like I had known him my whole life. His injuries didn't throw me off, much. Our love affair started off in a whirlwind. But I believe God knew exactly what He was doing, for both of us. We were married a little more than a year after we met. And about 9 months later he adopted Z. We tried for 3 very long hard years to have a baby of our own. and in September last year, she arrived bright and smiling!! That was quite the journey… getting sick, a cancer scare, medications and multiple doctor visits. But as with all things, it was all in God's timing. 

I've learned that there are some very specifically strong women out there. Some who are able to hold the whole world up on their shoulders and still manage to take care of everyone else around them. They have a voice very seldom heard out loud, but when you do, its the voices that move mountains. They are strong, powerful and almost always selfless. They take the cards that are dealt to them and start handing them out to help others. They are able to juggle running a household, raising children (of all ages), being a taxi, a nurse, a cook, a dog catcher, a banker, a wife and all while taking care of our countries bravest men. We are the wives of Wounded Warriors. But that doesn't even begin to explain who we are. I've learned that I am one of those women. I have fought hard and have earned the right to be a part of this amazing community of women.

I hope you continue to follow my journey. I will take you down paths of deep shit and glorious days. I will be real, even if I don't want to be. I will be honest, even with myself. I will share the high highs, and the low lows. I will share some of my favorite inspirational quotes and always let you know what I'm listening to. I hope what I write will inspire and ignite a fire within those who read it.

Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Philippians 4:6 (CEV)
listening to Pandora- Hawaiian Radio

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hello there! How the hell are you?!

Hello Blogger Friends!

It's been a YEAR since my last blog – maybe a little more by a few days, weeks, or months, but that’s all semantics- and now I’m back!

I guess we can chalk the year or epic absenteeism up to a need to do some soul searching, major life challenges, just life in general, blah, blah - but I'm happy to say that life is now GOOD. I very much I hope that you've been thriving as well, and that life is treating you gently. Because I can’t make an epic blogger return, without providing some explanation of what they hell kept me away, I’ll let you all in on a few things that have gone down:

I became a mom overnight to a healthy (now... thank God) and happy little boy! A real mom! A fulltime, boo-boo kissing, bedtime story reading, non-stop, all-the-way mom! Not to say that being the Stepmom of my beautiful 10 year old Ladybug, didn’t qualify me as a real mom, but I’m sure you all know what I mean. And yes, I am VERY serious by saying it was an overnight kind of, sink or swim, welcome to the motherhood, sudden and extremely surprising dive into parenthood. A dive that at first, I almost didn’t make. It is a very complicated, and convoluted story that I fully intend of divulging in an upcoming post, but suffice it to say for the purpose of this post, that all is well, we are all happy and thriving, and I am so very lucky and blessed to have him.

The passing of my father. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced pain that ran that deep, in all my 30 years of life. My father passed away on April 29th, 2013, and I can honestly say that his passing changed me in ways – both positive and negative- that I never could express in great enough detail here. Because of that I will just say, it broke my heart, and kept me away from this blog, and pretty much suspended my life until January of this year. As stated above, I’m in a much happier and much more mentally healthy place now, and I am looking forward to all the incredible blessings life has to offer.

I was promoted at my job! It was a HUGE promotion and an incredible opportunity, but I quickly learned that the new role would consume much more of my time than I anticipated. Can’t complain though- I’m thrilled to pieces to have this opportunity!

I could go on and on about the How’s and Why’s of my year without blogging; Work, kids, hubs, blah, but instead I’ll just say that I’ve missed blogging dearly and will make much more of an effort to blog more frequently from now on.

And to remind myself of this new promise:

I look forward to seeing your comments, and look forward to posting all the amazing information I have collected as of late!

A Special Day for Remembrance

Although today may be a difficult day for many, it’s still a special day to remember the lives- and sacrifices- of our Military and Veterans. Past and present- we thank you.

Happy Memorial Day!