I’m in Hawaii with Kyle and staying at Alan’s mom’s house. It’s a familiar setting which is stable for Kyle and comfortable for me. After our Disney cruise to the Mexican Riviera (an adventure more than a vacation) and 2 weeks in the Bay Area, I was really looking forward to finally having a real vacation - no schedule, beach time, undistracted time to read, and most importantly, an opportunity to truly relax and pursue what brings me joy - all the above plus scrapbooking, writing in my diary (now blogging), quality time with Kyle, and hopefully, going to the movies as well. One other important aspect about a real vacation is I finally get a chance to slow down and think about my life, my dreams, my goals, and plans for the future. I’m a big believer of “happy parent makes a happy child and marriage”, and isn’t that what we ultimately want in life? I have more energy and focus to live my life successfully, to love and give to the people and community around me, when I first take care of myself. It’s my personal vision statement. I think it’s a bit Ophrahish.
I’m aware of how extremely fortunate I am to be living the life I have. For the most part this blog will focus on the positives. But, I also want to admit that life isn’t all glossy for me. There are stresses and challenges as well, which are too personal for blogging. I say this so that whoever reads my blog is aware that I’m not living a charmed life every day, that my life is not perfect, but generally speaking, I am happy with the cards dealt to me.
Blogging is interesting as I am fully aware of everything I write is accessible to friends, family, and perhaps even strangers who happen to visit iTien.com. Therefore, I don’t necessarily write as freely as I’m careful about what I’m writing. One trick to blogging I’ve learned is to just cut and paste portions of emails to friends or even Alan where I was writing from my heart and uncensored. Admittedly, it’s a great way to document my thoughts without having to save all theose emails. Some entries below may also just be a summary of what’s going on in my activity-filled life.
So here goes:
August Schedule and Ladies Fundraising Luncheons (from an email to a SH friend)
My August is crazy! The first week I’m back I have 2 sets of visitors and an overnight to Suzhou on the weekend. The 2nd week I’ll be joining Alan in Lijiang (Yunan). He has a meeting at the Banyan Tree so I couldn’t miss that opportunity to join him! Then the 3rd week, Alan has another meeting in Spore so Kyle and I will join and catch up with friends in Spore before heading to HK the 4th week to visit family and friends. We’ll be celebrating my godmother’s Aunt Rose’s 60th birthday. And, at this point September and October look full as well with more travel. Alan will be getting a 4-week sabbatical from PayPal during those months.
by Gary Chapman:
The Five Languages of Love
Love as a Way of Life (his newest one I’m reading now)
by Echart Tolle
by John Gray
Forever Together (makes it more relevant for married couples who have lived together; gave me hope that Alan can support me emotionally)
I’m sorry it’s a tough battle for you… Hang in there. I’m a true believer in there was something which brought you together, and if you can re-discover that and figure out how to open communications, things can get better.
And, it helps when your children are so beautiful and loving!! Sometimes I just tell Alan that Kyle knows how to love his mom - why can’t you? ha ha!!
12 Simple Secrets of Real Moms
(has made me realize I have a lot of work/improvements to make as a mom and maybe one of the best and maybe last parenting books I have/need to read; one great idea is Alan and I will start a family retreat tradition to talk about our individual and family values and goals)
by Stephanie Meyers
Twilight Series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn)
from Wikipedia: Twilight is a young adult vampire novel written by author Stephenie Meyer, originally published in hardcover in 2005. It is the first book of the Twilight series, and introduces seventeen-year-old Isabella “Bella” Swan who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington and finds her life in danger when she falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen.
from an email to Alan recently: The cover of Entertainment Weekly has the actors for the movie “Twilight” which is the vampire book I read on the cruise. Turns out this random book I picked up is the next Harry Potter phenomenon! It’s amusing to me that I just found this book (not sure if you remember it took me forever to choose 1 book that day we played Scrabble). As you recall, I was really engrossed with the book, and no wonder. Literally, the book has sold millions. The 4th and final book comes out August 2nd (darn I’m going to miss getting it, but I still have 2 books in between to read). They say the fan club base is huge. Publishers didn’t think there would ever be another Harry Potter type of gem, and one year later it happened!
One other appeal is the author is a mother with 3 young kids and has a fan club of just moms. I may have to join…
also by Stephanie Meyers
The Host - for grown-ups!
by Joshua Ferris
Then we Came to the End - still deciding if I like this book which makes me reminisce about my Apple and dot-com days at GreatEntertaining.
by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief - an ‘06 best seller now in paperback
also from Wikipidia: The Book Thief is set in Germany, during and post-World War II. The story is told from the point of view of Death, a reluctant collector of souls, who doesn’t enjoy the job appointed to him. One of the few pleasures he has is in the story of the book thief, Liesel Meminger, whom he encounters three times. Liesel’s story begins when she and her brother are sent away by their mother to the Hubermanns, a foster family…
I guess I’m a junkie for self-help type of books and bestsellers, and now I’m finding young adult books (which are intended for all ages) fun to read as well. Earlier this year, I zipped through The Golden Compass series by Philip Pullman. My theory is just before and even during the Disney cruise, Alan and I got hooked on the idea of dreaming.We saw “Shark Boy and Lava Girl” by chance in our hotel room with Kyle, and this whole idea of capturing and living out your childhood dreams really inspired us. Following our chlidhood dreams may be the key to finding our true passions. Perhaps another reason I’m so drawn to the young adult books (other than the fact that it’s easy reading) is because I find them to be more imaginative on a young heart and mind level, and it just feels good to go back to that time in my life when I can dream again. I find adult books make me ponder and think and contemplate about life. Young adult books opens up my eyes to a time of innocence and perspective on life which isn’t cluttered with grown-up issues. And, they’re just plain fun!
A few weeks ago when I first went home to the Bay Area, I dug up all my old diaries to try to remember what my childhood dreams were. I found more than just my dreams. I think two passions I found were how important friends are to me (and my current realization that my relationships with girlfriends around the world could also use some maintenance on my part) and my love for giving gifts.