Thursday, April 28, 2011

rain lullaby

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
Langston Hughes

image found on web

it's a lovely spring day in oregon. the kind of day where the sun and rain take turns like two kiddos on a teeter- totter. back and forth. you can tell it's spring because the rain comes down like a watering can over a newly planted garden. there are occasional temper tantrums, where winter refuses to let go and spring is here to stay. i like these kind of days because i feel like i can relate to mother nature. i'm exhausted and still cling to old ways, but my heart is blooming and my being is ready to let all the goodness grow. transitions can be tiring...i am ready for the rain to sing me a lullaby. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the start of a good habit

image found on web

"If you make it a habit not to blame others, you will feel the growth of the ability to love in your soul, and you will see the growth of goodness in your life."

—Leo Tolstoy

sometimes my blog posts aren't fun like other peoples'. i tend to talk about stuff i am going through. post quotes that remind me of how i want to live. some also remind me that some habits can be very beneficial to our health. this one is like that. maybe it was just that i read it on a "hard" day, but it managed to shout "hey, emilee, just in case no one has told you's ok to not blame others for things that have happened to you....including YOURSELF" i paused and then re-read. "yeah, you heard me" it softly insisted. "but...what about 'my story' there are entire chapters on blame and how if someone hadn't done x then i wouldn't be where i am today" 

this quote is patient, let me tell you...because every part of my ego wanted to say...but what about....and it remained unchanged.
my strong sense of justice felt insecurities screamed, but isn't that going to make the "baddies" think it's OK to do those things?"

the quote replied, "i ask of you but to try...begin right now, starting with yourself" i chewed my fingernails and thought about all the things i didn't think i could do but tried anyway...and all of the good that came of that.
immediately i stopped blaming the quote for frustrating me. for making me uncomfortable. for making me feel like a weak co-dependent who has relied on blaming myself-- to push me to be better. what kind of "self improvement" mechanism is that? oh yeah, it's not one. it's a sabotage tactic. 
so, i'm going to give it a shot...and i look forward to the growth of even more goodness in my life and a hell of a lot less blame.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

page 3: siblings...and the things they teach us

image by nikki mcclure

the holidays often bring families together. for some this is the most joyous part... for others it can be the downfall. it's been quite a few years since i spent holidays with my immediate family. we live in different zip codes. we have different lives. in the past, i admittedly became anxious about family get togethers. that saying "i love you but right now i don't like you" you hear in movies...yeah, i'm pretty sure that is a common sentiment felt by most siblings about their siblings...and let's be honest, parents.

when i attended debbie's service(back in december) i learned that she was to meet up with estranged siblings over christmas, including a sister she had not seen in years. it broke my heart though i was glad to hear they had made contact. it made me think of my own siblings. it can be both advantageous and detrimental when someone has known you through the "thick" parts of life. evolution is tricky like that...because whether you accept it or not, many people change. grow out of their pain or frustration, into a peaceful being, but if you only choose to see the thorns instead of the rose, your interactions will be prickly at best. 
the 4 of us are all different of course but definitely related. my little brother and i get told we look alike i get older i recognize more and more how lucky i am to have these souls in my life. though we don't always (if ever) see eye to eye or vote for the same candidate, they are part of me.
my little brother and i would fight for hours but were secretly best buds. we had each others backs. we still do... most of the time. granted the road has been rough but like anything that's worth more than silver and gold, you work through it. i realize that only children dont know any different but i am glad not to be one. it's so fun having people to reminisce with. be annoyed by. learn from. feel sheltered,challenged, and encouraged was also fun to have people to build forts with...

Monday, April 18, 2011

bridge to brews-portland 4/17/11

it's not easy to run on stilts...luckily she was just there to answer questions. thus the giant ? she is holding

everyone waiting around for the event to start. gorgeous portland morning

the main reason i do events. to see all the awesome spandex designs that people  ACTUALLY wear. who doesn't love polka dots?

i woke up at 6 to make some eggs and veggies. my knees were pretty creaky but i figured a run would actually help...i left the house around 7:30 as they stressed that there was no parking near the event. granted, there wasn't much but i found a spot with ease. i stayed in my warm car and cranked up the music, letting the sun soak into my pores. i grabbed a handful of swedish fish, enjoying each one with my eyes closed.   after the last one was chewed up and safely in my belly i walked down to the event. what a gorgeous portland morning. crisp but sunny...and DRY! there were a lot of people. since i go to most events alone, which can be a bummer, i tend to keep to myself. it's not that i make an effort to do this...but most people have their running buddies or groupies and don't have room for a new friend. while i do wish that i had someone that loved me and supported me at my events, it will happen when it is supposed to. ultimately, being solo allows me to observe and absorb the experience on a different level. i take pictures and simply watch people.
the event was put together well. i had wanted to do the 10k but it was sold out so i settled for the 8k. next year i will be sure to sign up early! i think another mile would have been fine...
the run legs were stiff. i decided to use my phone as my music source. this was not a good idea. i had also decided to wear my zip up hoodie since i was sore and cold when the run started. bad idea #2. i run warm and know this...duh emilee! one funny thing that came from wearing my zip up hoodie was that i had forgotten there was change in one of my pockets...i only realized this once i saw people looking back at sounded a little like jingle bells and a lot like ANNOYING. i ended up donating the change to the road. i realize it is littering in a cents...ha ha...get it? but decided someone would enjoy finding a few bits of change as they walked the streets of portland. that is justification at its best. at one point i forgot it was a recovery run and tried to push myself. more so because i wanted it to be over but also because i need to learn new thresholds. especially in regards to running. it just seems like i stay at one pace the whole time. if it were a quicker pace, i would be ok....but it's not. i eventually finished and was sad that i didn't get a medal. the beer that i had been telling myself i was running for was no longer appealing. something about it being 10 am and the long line to get to the beer was off putting. i didn't even drink a mimosa after the half marathon the day before...and now no beer?
what is wrong with me?
i instead settled for another round of eggs and some more swedish fish. sometimes i feel like i get stuck on eat and repeat mode.  keep it simple, right?  ha ha!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

risk taking...

picture taken with my phone at a market in portland

picture taken with my phone at a local grocery store in portland

"And then the day came
when the risk to remain
tight in a bud was
more painful than the
risk to bloom."

---Anais Nin

Saturday, April 16, 2011

in loving memory of mr. moto

i can hardly type this...                             still trying to comprehend it all..... my oldest furry nephew, moto, passed away unexpectedly on friday night (4/15/11). i truly can't say it-type it-think the sentence without crying. i saw that my little brother had called me a few times on friday night but i was busy coaching classes so we didn't get to talk until after i left. he was on speaker phone since i was heading up to portland when he told me that moto was VERY sick. what do you mean, i asked? there is a tumor or infection and he is at the hospital right now. i kept thinking- he will get through this. he is a fighter. but austin reminded me that there was a good chance i would never see him alive again. this reality sent me into a downward spiral.
i told austin i would be praying from the greatest depths of my heart for mr. moto. he told me that he would keep me posted on his condition. 
i immediately called my dear friend chris and told him that i wasn't sure what to do. this was all soo sudden. he was really great about listening. as we talked, i walked him through the last time i saw moto. it was the weekend before; there was a brief rub, pat, and hi moto, at his other aunt emily's house. the next day the brent family stopped by my place to say goodbye before heading north. i peeked in the back of their subaru and said "hi boys" and smiled...they were their usual chipper selves...happy to see me, hoping i would talk their parents into letting them out. 
that was the last time i saw him. i immediately felt guilty. why didn't i give him more attention? how did i mistakenly assume i would see him again? the only way i can answer is: because in my head, that's how it should work. we should always get to see those we love...again, right? 
chris and i had been talking for less than 15 minutes when i received a text message from my sister-in-law that informed me moto's heart had stopped beating. 
suddenly i was claustrophobic in the car. i blurted out to chris that moto was gone.
a minute later, austin followed up with a text saying "wish him the best in heaven" 
at that point, everything became a blur. tears came pouring out by the gallon. i considered driving to seattle just to be there if they needed anything, but knew that my broken heart wouldn't be much help. the next morning, i could barely open my eyes. literally. i've never seen them soo swollen. most of me just wanted to keep laying there. completely uninspired and A LOT irritated at the Universe...but i drove to the run. on the way there i decided i would run in memory of moto...the way animals love has always amazed me but moto and i definitely had a special connection. he was not just a "dog" i specifically remember a weekend where i watched moto and his brother, otis. 
it was a weekend when i was of course having some boy problems or something equally as lame and moto was by my side the whole time, like he knew my heart and brain were both hurting and confused...he was sensitive and selfless like that. 

this is my mantra for today...

image found on web
for anyone reading this, please say a prayer that i will finish my 3rd half marathon of 2011. described by the race organizers as both challenging and hilly, the Goat Mountain Gallop race follows a point-to-point 13.1-mile route that starts in the nearby town of Colton, which lies just a short drive east from Molalla. from there, runners then head westward along the paved country roads between the two towns, which lie in the foothills of Goat Mountain, for which of course the race is named. should be interesting. as long as i finish and don't feel like i did after the half in february, things will be muy bueno. although, i am really hoping the t-shirt and medals are cool, given the name of the event and all... trying not to get my hopes up...too much. ha!
will be sure to give you a full re-cap. 

on sunday i am running an 8k called bridge to brews in portland. it is intended to be a fun recovery run although nothing makes me run faster than knowing i get to drink yummy beer afterward! yee haw!

Friday, April 15, 2011


another shot from seattle. 

happy friday everyone. hard to believe it is already april free shoes are all the rage right now so it was too cute to see my niece wearing the smallest pair of frees i've seen. and pinkest, too.  here are her mary jane nike free shoes...
they remind me of a modern take on dorothy's slippers...a little less sparkle but equal shine, a little more practical but still fashionable. doesn't it make you want a pair?

Monday, April 11, 2011

the queen of iowa

picture i took w/ my phone in seattle

i miss my aunt diann.
she passed away in february, 2006 after a very long and courageous battle with lung cancer. she was that rare non smoker diagnosed with a very aggressive form of the awful disease. but if you knew my aunt, it wouldn't surprise you that she far surpassed the diagnosis in every way. she fought it for 28 months. that is 22 more months than they told her she would live. take that cancer! she was very good at letting you be "who you are" i felt at ease around her. she had a wonderful laugh and beautiful handwriting. i still look at letters she wrote me to admire each curve. when i saw pictures of her final days, i couldn't imagine asking her to stay here for all of us. that is no way to live. i ran my first (and only) marathon in honor of her. it's a beautiful story...that maybe i will share later, but i remember feeling her presence there. it hit me at mile 25 when a woman wearing a sandwich board that said "thank you, love a cancer survivor" cheered me on as i stumbled by. what hit me was...that no matter how much pain i was nothing like my aunt had faced. and no matter the amount of unbearable pain, she still managed to let me know she was glad to see me. how lucky am i to have known a woman like her?

at her service, a wonderful musician played songs that truly matched her vivacious spirit. the following song by andrew peterson was one of them.

I met the queen of Iowa
She was dying on a couch in the suburbs
And with all of the things she was dying of
She was more alive than the others

She was pretty as a flower in a crystal vase
It lights up the room as it withers away
And she opened her eyes
When she heard the music play

We sang a hymn to the rhythm of the river that flows
Down from the mountain of the Holy Ghost
And into the souls
Of those who know His name
Like the Queen of Iowa
She was the Queen of Iowa

Her majesty was all ablaze
She was burning hot but not consumed
Our shoes removed in that holy place
In the hallowed ground of the living room

I bowed down low and I kissed her hand
And we raised a toast to the Promised Land
And I saw the tears of joy
Run down her face

We sang a hymn to the rhythm of the river that flows
Down from the mountain of the Holy Ghost
And into the souls
Of those who know His name
Like the Queen of Iowa
Find More lyrics at 
(Peace like a river in a valley of bones
It fills the valley up and it carries them home)
She was the Queen of Iowa
I could see my illusions scatter
Every time she drew a breath
I could see the heart of the matter:
The heart is a matter of life and death
I’ll never be the same

We sang about oceans of love again
As she stared past the ceiling and the sky above
Two court musicians, it was me and Ben
We were singing for the Queen of Iowa

We sang a hymn to the rhythm of the river that flows
Down from the mountain of the Holy Ghost
And into the souls
Of those who know His name
There was peace like a river in a valley of bones
It fills the valley up and it carries them home
To come alive again
In the river of Grace
Like the Queen of Iowa

Sunday, April 10, 2011

a challenge...

"Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?"

a painting by sit- an artist i like /image found on web

Saturday, April 9, 2011

maya lin-a strong clear vision

picture i took at snoqualmie falls

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
-Martin Luther King Jr. 

I am pretty obsessed with documentaries and recently watched one called Maya Lin-A strong Clear Vision 

it is about Maya Lin, the architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial while still an undergrad at Yale University. I don't know a lot about architecture, although I love observing it and often design structures in my head. it was really intriguing to hear Maya Lin's thought process behind her design, that to many was "far too simple" to commemorate the lives of those lost in battle. i have been to the memorial twice and each time it took the words from my mouth and the air from my lungs. the story of the wall had been shared briefly but i distinctly remember when the guide explained that Maya Lin had envisioned a cut deep into the earth... and it seemed to resonate...that when the earth bleeds we all do. and while war is man made,unlike mother nature, it's destruction still changes landscapes both externally and internally. the memorial created a space and visual that allowed someone like me, who hasn't lost a loved one in battle, or fought in one personally, to recognize that i am not immune to the aftermath. we all carry the weight of a loss...the nation and the world.... soo many names covering a wall is still hard to believe. no weight was placed on whether one was a lieutenant or sergeant-it further explained the deeper meaning of life. 
it is that attention to detail that really impressed me. maya lin grew up in ohio. her parents were professors at a university. many discriminated against her and were insulted that the memorial was being designed by an asian... the psychology of how people handle situations is so intriguing to me. many gave her blessings, which gave me hope again. her interpretation far surpassed the egoic side of our pain and anger. 
to extend this point further, she also designed a gorgeous civil rights monument, a time period she admits not knowing much about. but she studied and researched and as she was reading martin luther king jr's "i have a dream" speech was instantly inspired by the quote above. she knew water would be involved. and during the film, when you see people circling the memorial, their hands touching the surface, you realize how important water is to the effectiveness of the experience. the water is alive and of us; she truly captured the ebb and flow of history. 

i don't know maya lin personally but truly appreciate her willingness to recognize the brilliance and power of understated beauty. i understand wanting to memorialize in a grand fashion. a giant statue or towering building....but to see something that holds its place in time that allows you to come at your own will...with no known expectations is fascinating to me. i stood near the wall and saw myself in its reflection. as did those standing near me. and i could not pretend we aren't connected-- in one way or another-- and i was grateful to be able to say a prayer for the names in front of me and all of those they were connected to. 

**all photos found on web
Vietnam War Memorial Wall

Civil Rights War Memorial ~Montgomery, Alabama 

Civil Rights War Memorial ~Montgomery, Alabama 
we are all connected

look at how gorgeous maya lin's initial sketches were!

Friday, April 8, 2011

john mellencamp-rumbleseat

i really don't know much about john mellencamp or listen to his music even, but my awesome co-worker who has been a ray of sunshine during some tough days at work sent me this the other day. she said she was driving home and heard this song and immediately thought of me. and i must admit, when i read the lyrics, i started crying. a good cathartic cry i think... secretly i do believe in myself...the part i struggle with most is reversing the learned pattern of putting myself down. i'm tired of it. and although i'm not exactly sure what a rumbleseat is...i like the idea of making my dreams come true...and i especially like the idea of becoming my own best friend instead of my own worst critic. i'm gonna turn my life around...

"Tomorrow is a new day
Gonna make these dreams come true
I'm gonna believe in myself
I'll tell you what I'm gonna do
I'm gonna stop puttin' myself down
I'm gonna turn my life around
I'll be ridin' high
With my feet kicked up in the rumbleseat"

picture i took of a an old bar stool-my take on a rumbleseat :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

curvature of the heart

another picture i took while in seattle (street drain)

What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.

Tennessee Williams

Friday, April 1, 2011

it's true...

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Rainer Maria Rilke

i love this picture of my niece, Verbena--total happiness!
i used the "london" effect with my camera phone. made her nose look super cute and pink 

this was the favorite shot of the day. look at that face!!!