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WWP: WHAT IS A HEALTHY HABIT I DEVELOPED (AND ONE I RELEASED)?

With each passing year, the changes in the seasons – especially as summer cools and turns to fall – become more noticeable to me! Perhaps because I feel how fast they blow through now that my kids are older. Perhaps because I’m aware of how fast life is passing overall.  

A fellow blogger Jessica Gustafson inspired me this week by explaining how one masters living seasonally! I also relate to where she stands with making revisions to her blog, newsletter and such (while I’m just starting to design revisions and a newsletter).  Her example will pull me through to the finish line with revamping my blog!

But first, I’m responding to her prompts – I smashed 3 into 1. I look forward to checking back in with her blog at the end of this season too.  

Ready? Pens up!

  • What is a healthy habit you developed for yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. What is one you can release in each area?  

Recently, I recognized that my daily routine followed the same path every weekday. Work, drive to the grocery store, sit in the parking lot for at least 10 minutes listening to the radio while playing some distracting game on my phone, wandering the aisles of the grocery store looking for dinner inspiration, then driving home to cook, clean up and crash until bedtime.  Sprinkle in daily debates with teenagers and I felt tapped out by the end of the day. Fortunately, while I recovered from surgery recently, I picked up a habit that improved my physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Walking. 

While still in recovery, walking helped my body function properly and increased my endurance. The endorphins helped me feel better and lifted my mood.  Secondary benefits included the freedom it provided me (when restricted from driving) and my daily outings helped keep my curiosity healthy and my moods sunny. As my strength increased, I challenged myself with distance or speed records. I knew that I needed to reassess my workday routine to ensure I could keep my new practice up. While I used to tell myself to get up from my desk every hour and walk or walk 30 minutes at lunch, my consistency stunk. 

To force my plan, I gave up my parking spot on campus. I now walk about 15 minutes each way to my office and back.  On a physical level, it contributes a lot to my 12,000 daily step goal. It raises my heart-rate and gets me to breathe deeper (especially on the stairs up to my third floor office). On a mental level, sometimes it allows me extra time to finish a podcast I’m totally into, or it accommodates my physical meditation while I count steps or my breaths against the squares in the pavement. Spiritually, it gives me space to be present, be more mindful. Sure, I’ll admit this also keeps me safe from tripping on a crack in the sidewalk while looking at my phone. I clear a space within my cerebral clutter to talk to myself, evaluate what works and what does not. My chats with myself are kinder, more supportive, not just nagging myself or cursing – ok, maybe I still sometimes sound like a sailor in my head. I take the time to consider what I might work on or what I need to let go and let the universe take over. 

One new mantra that made sense to me the moment I heard it is “Why not me?” These three little words are helping me shed the habits I need to release: a) Crashing on the couch then wondering why I’m not hitting my marks b) Giving too much power to the “What ifs?” and c) Feeling like I can’t enjoy the Successes for fear that a Loss will be right behind it – to bring me back to level ground.

I still find it hard to believe that a little action as simple as putting one foot in front of the other releases all of this magic!  I also sometimes find it hard to keep up the routine on the weekends, but that’s my next goal!

What about you?
How do you check in with yourself at the seasons’ transitions?
What habits did you pick up during this last season?
Have you let any go?
Do you have a mantra? Or many mantras?
What do you do when you need to work through an idea?
What does the voice in your head sound like?
Do you journal? Do you want to know how to live seasonally?
Did you check out her other journal prompts?
Have you done other #WednesdayWritingPrompts ?
If you do – share the links in the comments below!

#JournalPrompt #WWP #selfreflection #Seasons #ChangingSeasons #Blogtober #Blogtober2019 #LiveSeasonally #Inspired #WritingPrompt #MakesMeWander

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WHY NOW? WHAT SPARKED MY SEARCH INTO MY PAST?

I keep asking myself: Why now? What made me decide to finally go to my birth country of Korea for the first time at the age of 48 (last year)? 

We wore our hanboks to Gyeongbokgung on the last day of our visit! Felt amazing (and gets you in free!)!

It felt like the perfect storm of Impulse (My 2017 Year of Yes and vowing to experience everything), Vulnerability (My 2018 Year of giving in to feel everything), and absolutely my Mindful Midlife (My 2019 Year of trying not to regret anything). While it looked like a sudden whim, my decision built slowly. Along the way, roadblocks sent me down deadends, speedbumps slowed me down, but I’m stubborn and love a good mystery – I needed to see this journey to the end. Surprises rewarded me along the way.

 

OK, this is a Korean pothole not a rabbit hole, but I loved the pattern!

  • DNA SENT ME DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE: When I finally did my DNA to see where my other non-Korean half originated from, I became fascinated by all of my cousin connections!  I read their faces, over-reacting when I noticed any similarities. I’m not really interested in meeting most of the hundreds of cousins, but it amazes me to now see the generations of people that I’m linked to. I’m curious to learn how my ancestors travelled around the globe to wind up where I magically came about in Korea.
    Roadblock: There aren’t that many Asians (from the US and especially not Korea) in all 3 of the big DNA companies: FamilytreeDNA, Ancestry, and 23 and me. The companies are just now trickling into Korea and Korean Asians have their large national ancestry ledger and don’t feel that they need DNA to tell them about their relatives.
    Speedbump: It’s hard to navigate your genealogy as an adoptee because the minute you surprise someone with your existence, they clam up.
    Suggestion: If you’re trying to find relatives, test with all 3 companies and download your raw data into other larger databases.  Many people test 1 time because they are only curious about ethnicity so you could miss large chunks of your genealogy that could be listed in a different database. Leave DNA in the area you’re from. In Korea, the database connects the police departments if there are any matches. Also, enlist professionals – or, as I call them, DNA Angels.
    Surprise: When the Angels got involved, they shot a laser that parted the seas of cousins to find people so fast it made my head spin.

We were able to meet Molly Holt – daughter of Harry Holt who started my adoption agency.

  • INFORMATION OVERLOAD: My neutral attitude towards putting much effort into finding ancestors centered around the number of decades that have passed since I left Korea – not to mention the required language I’d need to communicate what little story I knew. I felt no reason to NOT believe the story in my file and assumed that the record keeping would be poor if files even still existed.
    Roadblock: As an infant found abandoned in the street by a police officer, this enabled me to be logged in the Korean Ancestry Registry – though with a family name given to me by the police. However, no note indicated whether my birth year was accurate, or where I came from.
    Speedbump: Different information existed at the US vs. the Korean Holt International offices.  In some areas, they filled in the blanks from the other file. I learned I’d lived with a foster family and started out as the youngest in the family (before I became the oldest in the family I grew up in). In other areas, the files contradicted each other.
    Suggestion: Ask for all of your files and get translators involved if necessary. Request immigration files through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I saw pictures I’d never seen and read snippets about my preferences and my day as an infant that shed light on my current behavior and preferences. My inner child wept with gratitude after learning that I’d been so carefully cared for by a foster mother. It also wept at the hint that my history could be woven with that of another adoptee listed in my file.
    Surprise: Turns out one of my files mentioned which orphanage I came through which suddenly changed my birth city to Busan. My file also hid the name of the person who turned me into the agency. A woman. 

We learned to make kimchee from a master! I now love fresh and fermented kimchee!

  • MINDFUL MIDLIFE: At the age of 48, I felt an urgency inside sternly warning me that my life would feel wasted if I never visited my home country. Considering all I have and everything I’ve done, perhaps that sounds harsh and even a little selfish. I started to feel as though I lived to meet this society’s markers, but that my life didn’t feel like my own if I didn’t chase after my roots and learn about Korea.
    Roadblock: Korea’s complex culture – they’re just starting to put down the large stigma associated with adoption. The dark veils of secrecy in our adoption files – to help us move quickly into new lives – still hides much of our histories. Conversations are still awkward, and explanations still hazy. It’s unsettling to me when people apologize.
    Speedbump: The relationships that yielded mixed Korean adoptees is vast and still ongoing. It felt shocking to learn the whole history when only searching for my first 8 months. Overall, I’m at peace with the past because I can’t change it. We all harbor  messes somewhere in our families.
    Suggestion: Go when the time feels right. I wasn’t confident beyond every doubt, but failed to convince myself that I should not go. I recognize it’d have been a much different, more superficial and touristy trip had I visited when I was younger or a different crowd, even full-Koreans (who travelled a different historic path towards adoption). I feel like I would most likely have deflected, not absorbed, the impact of my trip back.
    Surprise: Though almost a half-century old, I found my inner child somewhere along the journey in Korea.  I’m now conscious of her existence and learning to care for her.

 

Beautiful Bomunsa temple at the top of a steep hill in Incheon.

In my opinion, adoptees looking for their history hope to answer questions, feel their roots, find their center and perhaps shed light on their purpose.  Of course, family members may be a part of this discovery, but for me, that would be secondary to learning my story. I would love to make connections, to see behaviors and facial expressions, but not in a sense to replace the family I have. This is just my experience, every adoptee’s journey and story is unique and their own to share.

So why now? It’s been a year and I’m finally unravelling and untying the threads of information that connect me to my home country. More than anything, I want to get it out and make sense of it. Though I’ve fully touched my Korean history and feel myself rooted in that country, I still haven’t married my Korean and white sides here in America. When I do Korean things, it still feels like a field trip for me: Spend a day in the life of a Korean woman!

The famous 💩 Emoji cookies and the cafe where you drink out of mini toilets! We stuck with the delicious cookies!

Since October is #Blogtober, and I love me a strong deadline, I’m using this as a means to try to push the rest of the story out! I look forward to sharing more of the surprises and stories with you! It may be slightly messier than usual just to get it out. I appreciate you staying with me through this exercise!

What about you?
Have you researched your genealogy?
Did your family come here from another country?
Have you visited your birth country?
Are you adopted?
Have any additional questions? Ask in the comments!

#Blogtober #Day1 #Adoption #Adoptee #KoreanAdoptee #KAD #MixedKorean #MyHistoryIsAMystery #ancestry #heritage #DNA #family #relatives #writeyourtruth #SeoulSearch #memoir #personaljourney #OMagInsiders #makesmewander

ARE YOU AN INFLUENCER? POSITIVE?!

I don’t know about you, but when something good happens to me, I share the information and experience to spread the joy! If I find a product, shortcut or upgrade, I regale about it to my circle of friends! We all support each other through “being grown-up” so why not give each other an advantage?  
As a fellow blogger, writer, mother I’m not going to insist you do anything to take you to your next level. Everyone’s traveling a unique and different path. Still, since I’ve found some ways to earn fun perks, or a great excuse to push back from our keyboards for a party, I’m going to give you the down low. What you do next is up to you.   

 Influenster leans towards trying products – whether you love them or would love to try them – then sharing on multiple social media platforms. Influenster scores you based in your social media followers to determine how to best work with your areas of influence. They have virtual campaigns where you get a coupon to try something, perhaps attend a Twitter party to learn more, then a list of tasks for you to complete to “earn” campaign points. VoxBox – a box of goodies based on your interests – arrives at your door. 

 

#SuperMomVoxBox

 
My #SuperMomVoxBox had a collection of known brands’ products. I loved trying new things from brands I already trust. Some brands ask for specific tasks to complete, some offer choices so you customize your campaign. Winning campaigns may earn more product. Visit: http://www.influenster.com/r/1777191 

 This company orchestrates House Parties: Host a party for your friends. They provide the product and materials to host a fun themed party! Chatterboxes blow up social media in a creative ways around a brand. They guide you through specific tasks or mediums to cover. For either, you must apply for that brand’s campaign then do a few exercises to increase your chances of being picked. We’ve had a delicious time so far. Visit: https://www.houseparty.com 

Both offer convenient websites and phone apps. For me it’s a way to practice writing reviews (working towards reviewing events/destinations) and experimenting with social media. 

What sites do you work with? Any tips to share?

BRAINSTORMING TO BECOME A BIG-TIME BLOGGER (OVER BREAKFAST)

While trying a new recipe, hoping for our first Pinterest Proven Project, an idea hit me about changes to make to become a Big-Time Blogger!  When I say “idea,” I mean tupperware, jammed into my highest shelf leaped at my forehead and splashed into the crockpot – soaking before cleaning.

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My creative closet of “ideas”!

My first thought wasn’t home organization, remodeling or brighter home lighting.  I realized the rarity that I’d been afforded uninterrupted brainstorming on a weekend morning with my kids at home. More time means more assembly and prep time for recipes, and blog posts! What granted me this luxury to make Breakfast Crack Casserole?

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Bottom of skillet – Roll of biscuits

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One trick: Butter in skillet while heating oven means nothing stuck!  

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BEFORE: Dump it all in skillet – EASY!

1) MORE SLEEPOVERS

One naturally assumes that 2 kids + any friends = CHAOS.  Ironically, it works the opposite! When friends occupy my kids, my mind doesn’t constantly flip through the Masterful Mom rolodex of ideas to entertain, mitigate, or heal them. Without whining and bickering streaming from their mouths, creativity floods my brain’s bandwidth. Plus, with more tasting buds around, the “proven” rank increases in value.

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2)  FULL TRANSPARENCY

For the steady flow of friends, waivers, disclaimers and photo releases must reiterate to parents that when I’m suddenly free to blog, their child could appear in a post!  Parents must clarify – real/nick/no names, full/no face shots? One must disclose potential food allergies and sign extra forms for high-action posts.

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3) PROHIBIT PRIVACY PIRACY

When creating or writing, part of the joy comes from finding your boundaries and bounding through them. However, my kids show me I’m pushing it, hence the wacky or straight face photos.  Though they’re down for repeat adventures, they get fed up when I can’t get the photo right the first time. Obviously certain rooms provide rewarding respite.

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OK, really SNL Kristen Wiig, a great influencer of fun faces.

4) GRATEFUL GOALS

Some of my goals include: More social media followers than followees; Pushing positivity; Invitation to getaway; Writing my future. Yet, I’m grateful anytime I get a new idea, don’t burn a new meal, or share a great experience with my kids. Don’t forget to celebrate each little accomplishment and when I say “celebrate,” I mean dance in the endzone!

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AFTER – Where’s my sriracha?!

With Breakfast Crack casserole fueling the kids, they’re off and running! I try to keep up big time!

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WTF: Warm, though furry! Safe to come out now?!

DID YOU GET HIGHLIGHTS?

I have a friend who, whenever our group of gals get together, asks all of us what our highlights are. Most of us groan (somewhat jokingly), some leave the room, change the subject or act like we didn’t hear. Whether startled by the sudden change in perspective or perhaps uncomfortable with the idea of giving ourselves praise (after cheerleading every other cause and person we live with) we try our best to squeak one out. We can’t just use our get togethers with her and the gals as a highlight (although I do count every year of our 25+ year old friendships as highlights).

This year she pointed out that highlights may be lowlights since often the challenges we face are the greatest gifts. Also, she kept emphasizing that people must find their own voice, we can’t go along with something someone pointed out for us as a highlight.

With 2012 wrapping up, I thought this would be a great time to discuss my blogging highlights that occurred within this my first year!

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Highlights:
I wrote a lot! as opposed to previous years where I said “I will write,” I did write. While my plan wavered as I wandered, I still improved my quantity of writing by leaps and bounds from the last few years. It refreshed my spirit and worked my creative muscles a lot! The practice of purging then limiting my words fine tuned my writing.

People wandered by! 10,000+ people wandered along with me (WTF: Wow, Thanks Friends)! I’ve mentioned before how much I love round numbers, well hitting the 10,000 for me this past week was a great achievement! Some other great milestones were a high of 125 readers in one day and that I had no days with zero readers since the time where my posting became less frequent while applying for, financing and finishing my first semester of grad school. I thought making the decision to return to school would kill my blog but was so grateful for those who kept wandering across my path leading me to complete this, my 200th post!

I just renewed my URL for another year! I have things left to do and questions left to answer! I want to take my new outlook on life and explore many more wide open spaces.

I am grateful for everyone you wandering along with me and love to hear from you as well! Your words have often lead me to dig deeper or straight up inspired me!

So what does 2013 hold for you? I plan to do a 365 day project. Wanna do one with me? Do you have one or are you afraid of the commitment?

Mine has to be an abbreviated effort with school starting in the end of January, so consider doing a haiku a day with me!! Just a 3-line poem with 5-7-5 total syllables in the 3 lines. Either write in my comments when I post mine or write on your own blog and let me know when you do so we can support each other’s efforts!

Now the bad news… I won’t be posting my first one ’til the second week of January as I am on holiday and won’t be near reliable/affordable Internet til then.

Until then, I hope that your holiday festivities continue and that you have an unforgettable New Years!

With that, my parting haiku…
2012 ends,
Wandering with friends, I turn
To ask your highlights

Drop by next year!

Blogging is…

I’ve wandered for 144 days now, and am still amused – regularly coming across refreshing new blogs.  I wanted to share my observations as to everything that I’ve discovered blogging is to me. Please, wander with me for a bit, I’d love to learn about the gems you’ve found along the way too!

Blogging is…

History – Blogs offer the news I’d rather read of personal or national news peppered with emotions or truthful observations, not stories tweaked solely for increased shock value.

Photo Albums – My first blog ever easily shared my kids’ photos with their extended family. I don’t know if my children will ever have photo albums – despite me owning supplies to make 5 each – but they’ll know that I enjoyed each adventure with them because I shared my memories.

Two in tree!

Education and Awareness – Many topics exist that I may not have read a whole book or long article on, but because someone cared enough to blog their experience or expertise about it, I read it.

Inspiration – Sharing stories of overcoming struggle or steps one’s taken to achieve a dream that someone else may share could inspire people to act upon their dreams.

Never say never – if you can dream it, you can be it…

Community – Whether joining summer reading book clubs, shared recipes with blogosphere neighbors, or wearing fellow bloggers’ fashions while copying their awesome party ideas, knowing real people are behind many ideas, not just pros, makes ideas more attainable and increase their tried-and-true value.

Therapy – Sometimes all you need is a healthy rant, getting it all out and down in the blog, to be able to sort through events, see more than one angle, and find the lesson in what you just experienced. Did I mention that while therapy is expensive, blogging is free?! Many times, readers share their experiences and offer advice.

Rant, scream, get it all out!

Comic Relief – Having grown really tired of the same old emailed funnies, I enjoy the creativity of captioned animal photos, or smart sarcasm of real life observations.

Tour Guide – Many adventures that have been reviewed, whether it’s the Gilroy Garlic Festival or a bike trek in Italy, are now on my “Things to see before I die” list while other adventures help me relive trips of a lifetime

Visiting the beautiful horses and horsemen
in the Hungarian Plains!

To you blogging is…

YOU should start a blog too…

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