I am a teacher and aspiring writer, and keep a blog to keep up with writing and document the daily moments that make up my life. Working with my students & travel writing are my biggest passions. People, art, food, wine/spirits, and culture are other writing interests. Thanks for coming by!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Small Blessings

We had planned to ride our bikes to the gym this morning. It sounded like a great idea last night. Then I woke up feeling really groggy and it was cold and gray outside. Then I decided to make some black tea to wake up and we were out of milk. I was bummed, and feeling like a grouch.
But then I saw the whipped cream, (the kind that comes out of the cannister, and you can top off ice-cream or pie or whatever.) So I got to have my black tea with tipped cream instead, which felt like a real treat.
Still, I was feeling too lazy to go to the gym. I was thinking of all of my excuses (work, comfort, errands, etc.) and then I thought, "If you always do what you've always done, then you're always going to get what you've always gotten." I think I heard this here: http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/
So I decided to grin and bear it, and I got my act together, and got on my damn bike. I'm so glad I did. It was cold and crispy out, but right away it snapped me out of my morning grogginess. I loved riding through our neighborhood, still shrouded in fog, and seeing the day come to life. The mailman was just arriving at one corner, the bakery was baking yummy god-knows what, and people were taking their dogs for their morning walks. I loved it.
We got to the gym and worked out, and yes it was work, and no, it wasn't fun. But as I was on the elliptical I had an epiphany: when I'm moving (and I mean physically moving) I think of the moves I need to make in my life. And when I'm not moving, I don't. This may not sound profound to many, but it's profound to me. When I am sitting at home being lazy and working/playing on my laptop, I often have the thought: "I know there was something/many things I needed to do, people I needed to call, errands I needed to run, etc., but I can't remember any of them?"
Then all of a sudden I'm on the elliptical, and all of these things kept popping into my head!
Not only did it get the wheels turning, it helped to boost my energy to actually DO some of these things.
So I guess the moral of the story is this: Go out and DO things, go out and LIVE. Staying in guarantess the same old, same old. But every time you go out that front door, life promises to surprise you with blessings, however big or small they may be. And to get your life moving, get MOVING yourself!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taking a Page from Her Book - On How to Be More Productive

I'm kind of an anomaly among Virgos. Most Virgos are extremely organized, and many are clean/neat freaks. They love charts, lists, and calendars, and datebooks. I am disorganized, and definitely not a neat/clean freak, but working on turning that around. And I love lists, I only wish I knew where that important list was when I needed it.
One of my favorite bloggers, Yes and Yes, just posted this list that one of her friends and fellow bloggers posted on "How to Be More Productive." She has some excellent advice, like even organizing to-do lists into categories, so that even the to-do list itself is as efficient as possible.

Check it out!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Good News Served Daily

Because on any given day, the good news outweighs the bad news exponentially, only we aren't hearing about it. But we need to. This site is a great source of good news, cool websites, and uplifting tidbits. Be sure to check out the 25 Amazing Websites!

Here's to more good news.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Some Pearls of Wisdom from Gandhi

I saw this posted on not one, but two of my favorite blogs today. I had to pass it along. It was too good not to share. I think that I personally can GREATLY improve on every single one of the points he mentioned here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Message in a Bottle Project

Somehow, my memories of stories of messages in bottles being washed ashore from distant times and places always sparked my imagination. So much came into play: chance, time, the sea, the elements, and most of all: the message. Why did these people send these messages, and who, if anyone, were their messages intended for?
Amazingly, often these messages were intended for someone specific. Love letters sent via a message in a bottle over the last few centuries abound, and I'm sure that although those letters rarely made it to their intended recipients, what I love the most about it was that somebody even tried. Talk about the most romantic way to get a love letter ever. Although the stories of these love letters completely blow me away, what I think I find even more fascinating is sending a message in a bottle to someone somewhere, but having no idea who that someone might be. 99% of the fun is wondering where it will end up, and with who.
Since there is no way of knowing where it might end up, we are faced with the question. What would we want to share with someone about ourselves, our lives, and our world? What might we want to know about them? What kind of message would we want to send to them?
What would you want your message to say?
I am still formulating my message, but once I've figured out what I want to say, I'm going to find a bottle, and set my message in a bottle out to sea. My goal is to do it by this June. I will probably set the bottle to sea in San Francisco. If anyone else in on board, I'd love for you to join me.
Xo, Jeneka

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life, You're Full of Surprises

WOW life, you are full of surprises. A few days ago, I was bracing myself for surgery a couple of weeks from now. Then two days ago, the doctor called to say that a second, more in-depth lab report showed that the precancerous tissue hadn't spread as they before thought, and I don't have to go back for more surgery! Talk about the best news ever! I'd been so stressed about it.
Another example of how quickly life can change: 2 weeks ago we were a day or two away from booking plane tickets to Ireland for a summer vacation. Then Rob got a phone call from his boss telling him that he'd been laid off. If his boss had called a day later, we would have had tickets, and we would have had to cancel them.
A friend was over recently and she said, "Life is good, but nothing like I expected. I've gotten most of what I've wanted in life so far, but it has never happened in the way I pictured it would, and it's never looked the way I thought it would."
So true. I feel genuinely happy with my life the way it's turned out so far. I love my husband, our dog, our home, and our friends. I no longer have serious health worries, which is such a blessing. Rob is looking for a job, but he will find one. Life is good, and we can count way more blessings than worries. In the big scheme of things, we have it pretty good. But things are different than I once imagined they'd be by the time I was this age. I dreamed of living in a beach town, surfing, and writing for a living. I love my job in education, it's just completely different than what I imagined I'd be doing. And I never expected to end up in Sac, although we will not necessarily stay here forever.
And those dreams of being travel writers, island hopping in the Caribbean, and writing and taking photographs of all the wonderful people we meet, the food and local culture, we're not there yet. But we'll get there, and in the meantime, life is happening here and now too.
And it's full of surprises.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Some FUN New Year's Resolutions!

Ok, so enough about the serious stuff. In order to truly enjoy life, we all have to have FUN on a regular basis. So here's what I plan to do in the New Year to have lots and lots of it in 2011.
1. Entering every contest I can find. It's so much fun just thinking about the possibility of winning!
2. Trying something new or going somewhere new at least once a month. Everyone needs more novelty in their lives, right?
3. Sending out at least one special letter/care package to a friend or family member once a month. In the age of the internet, letters have almost gone the way of the Dodo bird.
4. Make more lists! Sure, it's kind of nerdy I guess, but I love making lists. And making lists can go so far beyond the grocery list. Today, for example, I plan to make these lists: work to-do list, writing to-do list, books I want to read list, a "What I'm Looking Forward to this Year" list, and other miscellaneous life to-do lists.
5. Becoming more organized. Sure, this may sound like a boring resolution, but in the big picture, being organized does make life more fun. Clutter is not only visually unattractive, but it hinders one's success in life when everything is not organized in its place. I am starting with photos and paper clutter, and going from there.
6. Reaching out and helping more. I'm not sure if it will be a soup kitchen, a children's home, or planting new trees along a green belt, but this year I am planning to get more involved in helping out in the community when and where I can. Dwelling on one's own problems doesn't help anybody, especially when all of this energy could be spent helping others instead.
7. Remembering birthdates and special events in my loved one's lives. I am such a forgetful person that this is a tough one, but I am making an effort to get all of the important dates on my outlook calendar.
8. Learning to cook a new kind of food. What I mean by this is that I want to take cooking classes to learn to cook, say, some new Thai or Vietnamese dishes. Bring it on! Variety is the spice of life, right?

What New Year's Resolutions would you like to make for more FUN in your life???

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's a new year, and a chance to revisit hopes, dreams, and goals. It's a time to take a moment to take pride in strides made over the past year, but also to take account of places in our lives where we still have a lot of room for improvement.
Instead of making a list of resolutions, like I usually do, I am going to focus on one thing each month specifically. For January, health is my focus. Some of the ways I am going to focus on health include: training for the 5K coming up on Jan. 23 by jogging 3 miles at the park 3-4 times a week.
Seeing a nutritionist this Monday. Starting weight watchers this week. Finally trying Zumba this month. Making a point to include more fruits and vegetable in our diet. Getting outside more, and becoming more active in general, even if I'm not doing things that are strictly classified as "working out." Making better choices with food, and making healthy cooking a big priority.
I'm also tackling improving mental health, which is huge, because mental and physical health are so closely intertwined. I am meditating most nights before going to sleep, and saying my prayers. When I start having anxious or scary thoughts about my health, I just stop myself, and say, "Everything is going to be ok." Because it is. I imagine that some people go through way less in life, and some people go through way more. It just is what it is, and it's ok. No more drama, just get on with it. I am up to meet the challenges life sends my way, and I am strong enough to conquer them.