Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Ohana (Family) 3

My_ohana

An old picture of my ‘ohana, edited to protect them.

‘Ohana is family, but not just those with blood ties. It includes calabash cousins, the people close to our hearts, the ones frequently invited to share the food at our table. Today ‘ohana also loosely describes any place where you belong like your child’s school community or your work community. Therefore, all of my ‘ohana are not pictured.

‘Ohana embraces all aspects of affection and being connected. The origin of the word comes from ‘oha, or corm of the taro plant. Cecilia Kapua Lindo explained this in great detail in “The Spirit of ‘Ohana and the Polynesian Voyagers” for those who want to learn more about Hawaiian culture.

Obviously, family is very important is every culture. Reading Ms. Lindo’s article made me keenly aware of cultural parallels especially when she mentioned that the first written record of taro came from China.

Chinese New Year is a time to honor family too. The celebrations begin days before the New Year which officially begins on January 31, 2014. I’ll be celebrating with some of our extended ‘ohana. Of course I will be sharing gau with my family to help us stick together. This year my new addition to celebrate is this blue double fish water feature representing tenacity and happy union for marriage, family and business. The Conch Shell at the top represents safe travel, wisdom and good judgement. I wish all of you Gong Xi Fa Cai or Kung Hei Fat Choi during the Year of the Wooden Horse. May it be a year of peace, joy, harmony and prosperity for all of you.

Josh R’s post at The Daily Post inspired this post. Be sure to read it for your own inspiration.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window (to My Soul) 2


In 2013, I changed both my front and backyard to add a more joyful look and to add flowers to attract beneficial insects for my herb and vegetable garden. This had the added benefit of changing my view. I have continued to focus on gratitude including being grateful that my son attends a school that I love.

My magnet

My magnet

There is an old saying, “Let go or be dragged.” It now is on my freezer door to remind me that there are times when we really do have to let go. It is what my daughter wisely advised me to do when the new head of her former school adamantly refused to give her a requested apology for their failures.

There are some institutions and some people who have to learn to change in their own time, and we cannot force that change. That does not mean we should stop trying to educate. I am not sorry that I wrote my novel or that I tried to educate others, but there are times when we need to change focus for our own sanity. Walking away has helped my family and me return to our joyful place, and in my heart I know creating more joy for those around us is what life is all about.

This post is inspired by this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Window.

(Wake Me Up Now) Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning 4

There is a popular song, “Wake Me Up.”

A New Day Begins.

A New Day Begins.

This is your new day, the beginning. Don’t wait until it’s all over to wake up whether you are beginning a new chapter in your life, in the life of your child, in the life of your pet, or in your career. While there are a few things I would correct if I could go back in time, the reality is every single mistake I made taught me something. I would never be as wise without those lessons. So, don’t wait until you are wiser and older to wake up.

Parents of crying babies might wish for this phase to end. Stop and breathe instead and be grateful for those sleepless nights. Every moment you spend with your child is precious. The day will come quickly when your child is too old to carry and comfort when they cry, but I promise every sleepless night will help them learn to trust you and continue to come to you for advice.

At the beginning of life.

At the beginning of life.

Puppies may chew your favorite shoes or wet your favorite rug, but they are still so cute and so much fun to play with. The day will come when your dog no longer has the energy to play and yes, they might once again wet you favorite rug, but if you took the time for them when they were puppies, they will trust you with their lives and they will remain fateful to you until the end.

You might be nervous about that first day on the job, but I urge you to hang on to the joy. The joy will help you to adjust to changes that are sure to come in any career you choose.

Beginnings don’t end when we are older and wiser either. Life is all about change and every stage of life teaches us something new. Embrace the lessons and you will find joy.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy (Wishing You a Joyful New Year!) 4


The holidays are truly a joyful time for us. We are grateful for all of our wonderful friends and family and the moments they share with us. We are especially grateful that our newest family member, Pepper, is a good sport and allowed the Santa hat to stay on for photos. We also are grateful that our Golden makes friends easily and readily accepted his new brother.

This week the Word Press Photo Challenge is joy. Michelle W. notes:

Whether or not you celebrate a winter holiday, the years’ end is a perfect time to look back at the year-that-was and happily forward to the year-that-will-be. A time of renewal, celebration, and joy.

This week, let’s set ourselves up for a happy new year: share a photo that shows us JOY.

I hope all of you are having a joyful holiday season and have a very Happy New Year. I can’t wait to see what brings you joy. Click on the link above to find other joyful photos.