6 down. 6 to go.

how is it possible that today is the last day of june?! where has this year gone? we are halfway through 2012 already. it’s crazy.

well, because it’s the last day of the first half of the year i thought i’d do a little looking back (you know how i am about reflecting & reminiscing. i love it.). there  have been some really great things (a visit from a friend in the states, my job becoming a permanent position, plenty of cozy moments with my love), but it has also been quite a difficult 6 months as well. the past 2 months have given me a chance to reflect a lot, and i have realized that i have been in survival mode in some ways… enjoying & clinging to the amazing moments, of which there have been plenty. but, also fighting and surviving through some really difficult things. things that require much more fighting.

but, in some ways, i think that my survival mode has been what’s kept me sane. that, and my understanding that even though things are tough, there is something beautiful to be found in every day. still, i think that my instincts to be strong & fight get me into some kind of groove where i don’t realize how bad things may be. i am an eternal optimist. and a true believer in the idea that all things teach us something, all moments, all struggles can transform us if we allow it. and it’s good that i’m like that. but, if i’m honest, and now that i can look back, i have gained much more perspective. i can see all the amazing moments and all of the moments that i felt scared & defeated. it’s a little like 2012 has been oil & vinager. good & bad. amazing & heart-breaking.

i know i haven’t written much about the heartbreak & fear on my blog, but it is very personal. perhaps one day i will tell that story. for now, though, i am still in the middle of living it. still fighting, still adjusting to changes in my life, still clinging on to hope , still fighting, and still learning. it’s still too soon to write about it publicly.

but, as i embark on the beginning of the second half of the year tomorrow, i am poised and ready to keep fighting and to keep soaking up the moments of life. i enter the second half of the year certain of how strong i am, more in love with my wife than ever, humbled by the life that i live, and inspired to grab life by the horns and follow our dreams more than ever.

i thought i’d end with my favorite picture from the instagram photo a day challenge this month. i took it when i had some wonderful moments with my love. just being together. soaking up the sun (which has not been around that much this june) and simply enjoying a little stolen moment of peace & love… even in the midst of chaos.

so, today i say goodbye to the first half of 2012. i lay it to rest and close this chapter of the year. i am ready to embark on the second half of the year, with hope, strength, and more love than i could ever imagine for the woman i share my life with. and of course, i am ready to begin my instagram photo a day challenge for july. however, i’m only gonna post my pictures once a week this month. time to switch it up again.

i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again. this photo challenge has inspired me so much. boosted my photography stills. encouraged my creative side. and most definitely given me a chance to slow down each day and see beauty even in the most ordinary and dreary moments. yes, i’m beginning my 5th month of this challenge. perhaps i’m actually going to stick with it through the whole rest of the year?!

join me if you’d like! it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it. just snap a pic & post it somewhere to share with others on Facebook, instagram, your blog, twitter, pinterest. you’ll be amazed how you will begin to see things differently. here’s the list for july thanks to chantelle at fatmumslim!

happy second half of 2012, my dear readers!!

wishing you 6 months filled with love, beauty, happiness, strength, & peace.

this is only the beginning…

a few days ago i received a comment from someone who works at InterNations, a website dedicated to connecting & providing information for ex-pats (people who live in countries other than their country of origin) living in over 300 cities worldwide. of course i read the comment with skepticism, and checked out the website only to find out it was actually legit. but, the really cool thing was that they were interested in featuring my blog on their website. or at least that’s what the comment said. what?! ummm… yes, thank you!

so, i replied to the comment in an email, to get more information, and see if this was truly real or some kind of scam. turns out they really did want to feature my blog on their website so  i needed to do a little interview, do a little writing, send some links to my blog, and then wait to see what might happen… that was yesterday.

this morning i received another email informing me that my blog is now one of the featured blogs at InterNations! you can find it here. (or click on the picture).

i am so excited! as i’ve been writing this post i have received 3 new followers on twitter and a retweet by the website. i seriously love making new connections all around the world. i’m so inspired when i read others’ stories; and in turn, it motivates me to write more & more. i’ve got a little secret to confess… i am truly beginning to dream about writing full-time. what a life that would be… i know it’s tough and i have no idea how to even begin, but my soul is saying for me to follow that dream. and hopefully, i am at the beginning of making that dream a reality.

now. what comes next? any tips & suggestions are more than welcome.

one little tidbit of inspiration for all of you out there… follow your dreams, listen to your soul, connect with yourself. when you do, you’ll be amazed at how things open up for you. the universe is just waiting to give you all you desire. be brave & be true to yourself. no matter the consequences.

happy friday! peace.

girl power.

i’m not sure why, but i’m in a girl power kinda mood tonight. if i was into burning bras, i would do it right now. if there was a women’s rights protest happening nearby, i’d go there. some days i feel more like a feminist than others. i have no reason to be feeling that way today, nothing happened. nothing at all. i just feel it. sometimes i feel it when i see my wife, when i think of her, when i am proud to be married to her because we are women, because she is who she is. sometimes i feel how all women are strongly connected and part of each other. sometimes it’s just a day to embrace my feminism, what it means to be a woman, and the importance of all girls to have the chance to feel this surge of girl power rising from within them. some days i just feel empowered. strong. proud.

there are many, many amazing women out there. i have met a great deal and have had the joy of all kinds of amazing women passing through my life. and then there are many who i have not met, but have inspired me just as much. so, here are some quotes… just some women & some words that inspire me that i thought i’d share with you. i may have gone over the top, but there’s just so much good stuff that can’t be missed.

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”
― Gloria Steinem

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world” ― Virginia Woolf

“Experiment! Meet new people. That’s better than any college education . . . By adventuring; about, you become accustomed to the unexpected. The unexpected then becomes what it really is . . . the inevitable.” ― Amelia Earhart

“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.” – Anne Frank.

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” ― Jane Austen

“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”
― Coco Chanel

“Finally, by the sea, where God is everywhere, I gradually calmed.” ― Patti Smith

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” ― Joan of Arc

“I crossed the street to walk in the sunshine.” ― Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love

“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” ― Michelle Obama

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” ― St. Catherine of Siena

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? – Marianne Williamson.

in the words of a great woman who left this world this week… “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ― Nora Ephron

peace, love, rainbows, & girl power.

thursday’s top ten.

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i snatched this from facebook. one of my former seminary professors posted it on his wall. he’s one of the ones who taught me so much during my master’s degree studies to be a minister/pastor. guess what classes i had with him? theology & ethics. yep. i remember sitting in his class, as it was truly with ALL of my classes… i realized for the first time that i was not the only liberal theologian/minister out there. i felt like i always took liberal theology too far. then i went to seminary. and it felt great to be backed up & understood & challenged even further by brilliant professors.

you see, all of us church people aren’t so bad, stupid, closed-minded, and conservative. we’re not bible beaters trying to save souls, but estabish relationships and work together. there are plenty of us who believe in inclusion, healing, equality, and diversity. and all we really wanna do is just co-exist and respect each and every person. just as they are. and by the way, i believed what i believe now before i had any clue i’d end up marrying a woman. just so you know.

peace out peeps.