Pictured (L to R): Racquel Marvez, moi, Manjula Varghese

My episode of The Generations Project won an Emmy last night in the Human Interest category. Pardon the above screen shot of someone else’s cell phone picture, but metaphorically, it’s the perfect example of how last night felt— a blurry moment in the middle of someone else’s dream. It was surreal to say the least.  Wonderful, yes, and totally surreal.

This morning, I woke up to this face. I woke up to real life, and that moment wasn’t blurry and surreal. It was perfectly clear. . . and exquisitely beautiful. . . and filled with real life joy—real life joy that is at least a thousand times more wonderful than all the pretty shoes, fancy dresses and yes, even Emmy awards, the world over.

Over the last 8 weeks, I’ve been really sick. I mean very, very, ill. (No, I’m not pregnant, promise). Because of this, I’ve had to retract from nearly every facet of my life that doesn’t require my absolute presence. Essentially this equates to every ounce of my available energy being focused solely on breathing in and out and loving on my children—there hasn’t been any time left for blogging, shooting, writing, (cleaning, eh hem) . . . or running around like a glorified chicken with her head detached and tucked pridefully under her wing.

And guess what? I finally remember.

I remember that life isn’t about anything except for what’s right in front of you. Oxygen—breathing it in and out, all day long. People—loving them with every last beat of your heart. God—trusting his will and timing, even and especially when it’s confusing and seemingly unfair. Everything else is merely peripheral to what matters most. No, everything else MUST exist solely to SUPPORT the things that matter most.

None of this to say that Emmys (and fancy shoes) aren’t amazing! Last night really was a dream, not to mention an incredible honor! But waking up to that drippy, freckle faced, little boy reminded me, for the trillionth time, that if I want to not only survive but THRIVE in this thing called life, I have to turn down the volume on the things that matter least and emphatically embrace the things that matter most, for therein lies real life joy.

PS. Speaking of fancy shoes, I couldn’t walk in mine. I may be the only person in history ever to walk up on stage to accept an Emmy. . . in bare feet. (Just keepin’ it real.)

On Friday morning, Richie’s little sister, Chelsea, and her wonderful husband, Ben, welcomed their first child—beautiful Hadley Michelle—into the world. We are all SO THRILLED over this new addition to our family. She is perfectly perfect in every way. We can’t wait to love all over her and watch her grow into a generous, playful and kind-hearted woman, just like her mommy with a wise, committed and happy heart, just like her pop. We love you, sweet Hadley girl. Welcome to our family.

I had to take some time off to do just a little bit of this, living that is.

I needed to fall apart just a little.

I needed to have a good, long cry—to face the messy parts of what is.

I needed to shake some of the sorrow up to the surface, and exhale it away. . . or inhale it in. (I’m not sure there’s much of a difference with grief.)

It’s been 2 years now, almost 3, but usually it feels like last Thursday.

I go through this madness, thinking I shouldn’t be falling apart anymore. It’s foolish. What will people think? How will they react when they know the truth? What will they say when they know that sometimes, no often, it still hurts like Hell? That sometimes, no often, I still feel like I’m suffocating underneath it all?

. . . and then the sun comes out.

And then despite the rain, despite the thunder and the lightening, despite the begging and the longing and the bargaining and the pleading . . . through all of that weight. . . there’s light. And you know, somehow, someway everything truly is OK.

Out from under all.that.pain, you’re watching a miracle unfold. Right there in front of you. Layer by layer. Breath by breath.

And the miracle. . . is you.

You breathe in deep, flooded with inexplicable gratitude—oxygenating your very soul. Suddenly, for the first time in months, your feet hit the ground. You see all the pieces of yourself—the pieces of your sanity— and you know you can put it all back together again.

A day ago, or even a moment, you wouldn’t have believed.

Now, here it is. . .

Right in front of you.

The miracle of you.

34 things. From my heart to yours.

There are cooler things than the internet.

Sometimes listening to the sound of the rain on the pavement is the best music there is.

Sticking your nose into a pile of warm laundry, fresh out of the dryer, reduces anxiety.

Cell phones are pretty lame.

God loves you. A lot.

Television is NEVER cooler than being outside.

Good fuel = happy living. (Trash in, trash out. Mind, body, spirit.)

True friendship is better than therapy. (Or at least the VERY best alternative.)

A good night’s sleep is totally underrated.

This too shall pass.

Be where you are. (Aka try to do something in the past, try to do something in the future: YOU CAN’T.)

Meditation is more powerful than you could ever imagine.

Kindred friendships exist in places and packages you’d never imagine. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover (or it’s Twitter avatar).

Deep breathing should be celebrated as a consistent part of one’s daily routine.

Life is short. LIVE it well.

Anxiety and worry are useless, unproductive and downright dangerous. LET GOOOOOOOOO.

Worry is nothing more than praying for what you don’t want.

You can heal.

Eye contact with actual humans is waaaaaaay cooler (and more emotionally satisfying) than text messaging.

Plus, text messaging when you’re around living, breathing human beings just makes you lame.

Being in the ocean is the best practice in mindfulness there is.

It will all work out.

We could all live with about 3/4ths less junk.

Purging clutter does wonders for the creative soul.

There’s nothing quite as reassuring as getting up early to watch the sunrise.

A good nickname goes a long way.

Be nice.

There is enough to go around (more than enough, really).

Water a plant. It does something inexplicable for the soul.

Letting people in isn’t as dangerous as you think. It’s actually pretty miraculous.

Life is too short not to get rid of your baggage.

Complete faith and total surrender are mighty powerful things.

It’s never to late to change your ways, to heal what you’ve broken, to try again.

No one’s life is as clean, pretty, or perfect as it appears on their blog.

The Road Less Traveled.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. . .the long way, the road less traveled, the river deep, the valley wide.

So many things in our life have taken us, well, the looooooong way. The mountains have been higher and the valley’s lower and wider than I could have ever anticipated (in my wildest of dreams). But in retrospect, this really has made all the difference in the world. I’ve seen more, I’ve done more, I’ve learned more than I ever could have otherwise. The lessons have been as deep as the mountains have been high.

You want shallow lessons? You take the easy way. You want surface level understanding and fulfillment? Short cuts will serve you well.

I don’t want these things. I don’t.

The trick (and yes, there really is one) is letting go, leaning in, and not wasting your life in worry, doubt or fear. As long as you’re tuned in, and committed to what’s truly best for you (not what you WANT, or think you NEED, but what’s best), everything really does have a way of working itself out. (Yes, even THAT. You know, that thing you’re worrying about right this very second? Yes, even THAT will work itself out, in the perfect way and at the perfect time for you.)

Someone I really love once said, “You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you.” And I believe him. With all my heart.

PS. Love this pretty little stretch of highway between Wahiawa and Waialua.  Kaukonahua Rd takes just a little longer than the “standard” route through the pineapple plantations (Kam Highway), but it’s soooo totally worth it.

PPS. This post took a thousand years to write. 3 kids, one frazzled momma, a studio apartment, and all kinds of sleep deprivation. . . snerk. SOS! I’m d-d-d-drowning. Can’t wait for Richie to get here next week!