Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: The Year of Dreaming Dangerously

With the transition from one year to the next, comes reflection and resolution. This often can lead to me looking at the resolutions I made at this time last year, and if I didn't meet all of my goals, becoming disappointed in my apparent failure. Yet as the first day of 2014 comes to a close, I  recognize that this isn't the lens through which to view my past, or evaluate my future. Often I have accomplished even more than I initially resolved to do, and if I were to focus on those success, my evaluation of the previous year would look quite different.
For example, although I didn't complete my young adult novel (my #1 resolution), I did travel to Venezuela and hiked to the top of Mount Roraima with my husband and live the adventure that the main character in my story takes. Taking this trip not only fulfilled a dream adventure, but also enhanced my ability to make my story truly come to life. 
Kukenan and Roraima...two tepuis (table top mountains) in southern Venezuela. 
Nearly at the summit of Roraima! 
We reached the top! 

Another example... Although I didn't finish the year in top physically shape, I still worked hard throughout the year to stay in shape, and at one point I was even able to pass as a super hero:
So although I may not have reached all of my goals, I certainly I have a lot to be thankful for, which brings me to another moment that happened today. Matt and I decided to go see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty tonight, and to me I felt like the movie captured all of the sentiments and thoughts that we're running through my mind on the first day of the new year. Here's why I felt the movie was so wonderful: 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a film directed by and starring Ben Stiller, who does a wonderful job portraying the story of a man leading a mundane existence working at Life magazine in the photo department developing images for the magazine. Walter Mitty often finds himself caught in crazy daydreams because he is the epitome of a person who is alive, but is just going through the motions rather than truly living. But then an incident of a lost negative takes him on a journey wilder than anything he could ever have imagined. The movie is both beautiful in its telling of this story, as well as in the footage that is shot in amazing locations throughout the world accompanied by a killer soundtrack, and as we walked out of the theatre I felt invigorated and alive and rejuvenated to reclaim a positive and joyous outlook on my own life. 

In the movie, the motto for Life magazine is a recurring theme, and it's something that I may just adopt for my own motto this year: "To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed and to feel that is the purpose of life". Or to be even more succinct, as one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman once signed to me in my journal: "Dream Dangerously"

So in 2014 I hope to dream dangerously and to draw closer and be amazed and to feel. I vow to be proud of my successes and mistakes, and I hope to make great mistakes because in doing so, that means that I'm pushing myself and truly living out my wildest dreams.

I wish you all a great year ahead and may you too, dream dangerously. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Zoom Newspaper ~ July 2013

In this month's issue I covered stories about a car club that gathers to raise money for local charities; a Whole Foods Market that offered summer classes to help promote healthy living; and a local church's summer camp that helped raise money to bring food and water to kids in the Congo. Enjoy!

Dreams and Drivers Promotes Local Charities

Folsom Whole Foods Market Wraps Up Another Successful Summer Kids Camp

Bayside West Community Church Turns It Up For Breakaway 2013

Epic Summer Skateboard and Scooter Camp!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Otra Aventura!

It's here. It's official. We leave in a couple hours for a trip that has been in the making for over 2 years, and I'll admit...I can't believe it! For those interested, here's a (more or less) quick debrief on our belated honeymoon and why we're heading to this part of the world.

It all started when I came up with an idea for a young adult novel in 2008. Over the course of the next year the idea began to percolate and form around my main character, Lily. This is a fictional story about  a young girl named Lily, whose father is the man in the moon and her mother is a regular woman of the world. She grows up not knowing who her true parents are, and so the story goes that she leaves on a journey to find her parents. Her story is one of self discovery, but it's also an extended creating myth about how the Stargazer Lily flower comes into being (spoiler alert...Lily becomes the flower at the end!)

So how does all of that connect with Venezuela? Well that entered the picture in December 2009, when I came across an image of Mount Roraima on the Bing daily images page. As I began to click on the links, it turns out that this particular mountain is believed to be the trunk of what was once the World Tree; connecting the earth with the heavens above. This particular symbol factors prominently into my story, and the more I researched Mount Roraima, the more I knew I had to see it for myself. Since I didn't know how or when I would get there, I decided to buy a couple tour books on Venezuela, and read as much as I could in order to make my story as authentic as possible. But the more I read, the more I knew...I really did have to go there.

And so now I am. And in addition to all of that, 2 of my greatest friends, Christo and Sandi, are tying the knot in Aruba, so we'll be heading there first, before taking our epic honeymoon. On our way home, we're also swinging through Curacao for a couple days. Expect many, many great pictures to come on future posts, but to start, here are some of where we're headed:

 Angel Falls! (the world's tallest waterfall flowing from the top of another nearby tepuis)
 Angel Falls
 Mount Roraima (above and below) 

If you're interested in reading Matt's perspective on taking this great adventure together, check out this link!

Another couple fun facts about Mount Roraima: Paradise Falls in Pixar's movie UP was inspired by this area. Also one of my favorite authors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, wrote his book The Lost World after traveling to the top of this mountain.

To me, to travel to and summit this particular mountain is not only checking an item off my bucket list, it's also achieving one more step closer to my dream of becoming a novelist, and writing stories that others will enjoy for years and years to come.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Zoom Newspaper ~ May 2013

In this issue I had the pleasure of covering stories about a husband who started a golf fundraiser in his wife's name to honor her memory and help raise money to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis;  a towel drive that helped give 300 foster youths much needed items as they left the foster system; and a gathering at a coffee house that is focused on combatting human trafficking. Enjoy!

Notably Good: Kumar Kalagara
Notably Good: Gary Baron

Monday, April 1, 2013

Zoom Newspaper ~ April 2013

This month's issue features one of the best flea markets in America here in Roseville; a fair to feature young authors and artists; and a walk to raise awareness about diabetic alert service dogs. Enjoy!