One step at a time

Creating an enjoyable journey for myself and my family.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


In the city where I live there have been quite a few kiddy magic shows this summer.  I've taken the girls to some and invited their cousins too. I love magic. Sure, it's mostly hocky tricks, but it is fun. More importantly, it makes you wonder what you can really do, and question limitations.

I love to see children's authentic emotions. Joy is just that simple.

The first magician we saw was Louie Fox. He was young, funny and a little cheesey. Mia loved him so much she wanted to take a picture with him and put her signed handbill on her bedroom wall. What a fangirl. :)

The other magician performed a magical storytime for the Auburn Library. He was older, grayer, and reminded me of the scary bookstore owner in The Never Ending Story.

After attending these events, Teryn said to me one day, "Mom, I want to be a magical unicorn when I grow up." Mission Accomplished. 

Monday, July 23, 2012


For many years now I have enjoyed a wonderful show on Fox called So You Think You Can Dance. Every year I pick my favorite contestant; the one who I think embodies greatness through skill, technique, versatility and a genuine love of dance that inspires me.  I have a few favorites this year but I find myself smiling the most when a guy named Cyrus Spencer is dancing.

This kid has such limited dancing expereince. He had no idea what a jette was when he started the show. He's trying. He loves to dance. He is humble and unassuming and he is very unlikely to win the top honors on the show...but for me he is a true inspiration. This Saturday is National Dance Day and I plan to take the girls to the big city to experience some of the dance events planned for Seattle.

Tonight for Family Home Evening we read our daughters a book called Dumpy La Rue by Elizabeth Winthrop.

In the book, Dumpy, a pig on a farm decides he wants to dance. Everyone he tells discourages him. But he persists and over time the nay-sayers can't help but get on board that Dumpy had a good idea. They even join in. There is a line in the story when the other animals are thinking about trying dancing too and they ask Dumpy what music he's dancing to and he says, "You can't hear it, of course. It's all in my head. You have it to. If you want to dance, if you want to glide, just close your eyes and listen inside." In some ways we are each like the pig who wanted to dance. I am giving myself permission to listen to the music inside and do what is right for me, no matter what.

I've been listening to a wonderful audio book I borrowed through the King County Library system. It's called The Ultimate Anti-Career Guide. In a nutshell, it talks about figuring out and doing what you were born to do. It blends an East meets West philosophy to help frenzied Americans learn to listen to the music inside. If you get a chance I highly recommend listening to this inspiring collection. It's available on Amazon for $40! Get it now!

I am 32 years old and as I look back over my career that spans about 12 years now I can see so many mis-steps. I identify mis-steps as times when I didn't listen to my own heart. I spent a lot of time listening to what someone else wanted for me. I don't regret my past, the jobs I've had, or the mis-steps I've made. But I will learn from them. From now on, I will "listen inside" and keep dancing.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Snoqualmie Falls

During one of our many attempts to be more active this summer, we took the girls up for a hike at Snoqualmie Falls. Unfortunately, the main hike is under serious construction. So much for our best laid plans. Even though we didn't burn as many calories as we had hoped, we still spent quality time with the girls in nature. This waterfall is magnificent!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Happy Independence Day. This yearly reminder of our blessings as a nation almost always makes me consider the price of freedom. It has often been said that "freedom isn't free." I personally have not had to fight or make any grand sacrifices to maintain my freedom, and I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful to millions of men and woman who sacrifice or sacrificed for me. My father's uncle Clyde recently visited Seattle and while he was here he joined me, my parents and my daughters in visiting the Veteran's Memorial Park in Auburn. Clyde served in World War 2 when he was 18 years old. He served in the Navy. His brother Max served in the Army at Pearl Harbor. He had many friends and acquaintances who died during the war. At nearly 90 years-old Clyde is feeling his mortality as the majority of his siblings and friends have passed away, including his sister, my grandma Bernice Ostler Jex.

I was overcome as I watched Clyde walk around the Memorial. There is a plaque there that reads: In lasting memorial of these dear departed souls who gave their lives for peace throughout the entire world. These gleaming white arches are their highway to heaven after they fell. We know they went to heaven because they spent their time in hell. All gave some, some gave all.

I am so grateful for my family members who have served in the military. Their example of selflessness and honor is inspiring. I am especially proud of my Dad. My father served in the Navy on the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War. My Dad abhors war, and he enjoys rigid authority even less. He served in less than ideal circumstances. He made many sacrifices. He served his family and his country. Today he is not the 18 year-old that shipped out of San Deigo on an aircraft carrier. He is the 63 year-old patriarch of a family of five children and eleven grandchildren. He is a man who understands duty and honor. He understands sacrifice. He understands what it means to serve ones country and family. In the photo below I caught a moment I will never forget. It's my Dad holding Clyde by the arm as he walks with his cane towards the "highway to heaven" memorial shown above. Someday my Dad will be the one with the cane.

Freedom is something you have to fight for in one way or another. There will always be people subtly trying to diminish it. They must not prevail. It is our responsibility to see that they don't.