I will send you monthly updates on my creative journey, inspirations, personal anecdotes, and reflections on life or current issues--with a smattering of memes, humor, and pet photos.
No spam, I promise. :) Below, you will find past newsletter issues.
If you ever wish to respond with comments or questions, please reach out. I'd love to hear from you!
2021 has been hard. Like, really hard.
I was hoping it would be better than 2020, but it hasn’t been for so many reasons.
As a teacher, I was burnt out from the most exhausting year of my career. As a mother, I struggled to support my kids through a year of remote learning (!!) and then hybrid learning, in addition to meeting their growing mental health needs. As a daughter, I’ve been processing the messy, complicated grief from the sudden, horrible death of my estranged father. And as a human being, I’ve wrestled with some hardcore isolation.
Many days have felt like lumbering through the fog, with me wandering aimlessly in my own head until something (or someone) snaps me out of it. Some days, I am lucky enough to have some clarity and motivation, and I try to harness that before it slips through my fingers and the fog settles around me again.
But no matter what, each day I’ve pushed myself to get out of bed and do something. Walk with my family. Run alone. Read (if I can focus). Cook. Pull weeds. Cuddle with my sweet cats:
It is no substitute for therapy (which I 100% support), but these small actions do help. My kids--as much as they can be exhausting--have also given me a reason to get up, access hope, and find joy in the small moments. I am thankful for them, my supportive husband, and those who have patiently taken the time to listen to (and read about) my experiences.
“Healing” is a verb, an ongoing act, and it will be a long process. However, I am embracing all I can do to emerge as a stronger version of myself on the other side of this current fog. I remember once, when I was at hula practice over 15 years ago, one of the Aunties noticed I was sad. She gave me a hug and reminded me of the Hawaiian phrase, “Imua,” which means “straight ahead.”
To this day, I remember Aunty Tina’s words of encouragement. I can stop to feel the sadness. I can pause to take a much needed breather. But I must keep my toes pointed forward and keep moving straight ahead, standing as tall as my 5’2” self can in order to take on whatever craziness 2021 still has in store.
Current Read: Kerry and the Knight of the Forest by Andi Watson
I recently discovered Andi’s work, and I was immediately drawn in by the textures in his illustrations. His fantasy story is about a boy on a quest to get medicine to his sick parents back at home, but he must first make it through a dangerous forest, full of spirits and mysterious and magical creatures. I appreciated the quiet moments, the expressive nature of his characters, and the important lessons on trust. Also, my sons enjoyed his book, so that's a big plus!
Writing Update: I am still plugging away on Three Bee Honey (Graphic Novel Project) and working on other project ideas as well. I will keep you posted on this!
Garden Update: Our red flame seedless table grapes are starting to ripen, and they are so crisp and sweet! My kids grab a handful to snack on as they walk by when playing outside.
Inspirational Quote: “Embrace and endure.” I read this quote once many years ago, and it stuck with me. It is simple, but it has become a mantra during the hardest days. It reminds me that these tough feelings are inevitable. I can’t run away from them; rather, I’ve got to embrace them as part of my story.
As you can probably tell, I am a fan of inspirational quotes and great books. Do you have any great books or quotes you'd like to share?
Opening up like this was pretty nerve-wracking, I must admit. But I am glad to be able to share my experiences. I will be in touch again next month. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you! Please reach out if you have any comments on this issue (I am open to suggestions on making it better) or if you have any questions. :)
Alarmed by the rapid decline of bees, we decided to establish our own backyard hive. Beekeepers have the option of purchasing and importing bees from outside the region; however, we wanted to promote the local bee population because they were known to be more hardy and resistant to disease.
This was a bit of learning curve. But after doing some reading, watching YouTube videos, and consulting with fellow local beekeepers, we felt ready to try it.
First, we used a nuc box (pronounced like "nuke," as in nucleus), which we placed on top of a roof to attract the bees. We put lemongrass drops on a q-tip, rubbed the q-tip around the entrance of the nuc box, and then placed the q-tip in the middle of the box. Essentially, the oil mimics a pheromone that encourages bees to swarm into a location as their new home. This process took about three weeks.
Once the bees took residence in the nuc box for a few weeks, drawing comb and filling it with honey, we transferred the frames from the nuc box into their "official" hive (pictured below).
This is where Claire's journey began. We let Claire and her sisters build up the hive for over a year--adding another "box" in the process--before attempting our first honey harvest. That first year, we harvested 12 pounds of honey in exchange for only one bee sting. But most importantly, we learned that these animals are the bees knees.
We learned a LOT during that first year, and as Claire's hive continued to grow and need more boxes, we found ways to make sure they were healthy and protected from pests.
That's all for now, but stay tuned for more updates on Claire's hive!