Weekend Update: Friends, Family, & Freedom

Wild winds that wrap around the oaks like long fingers, shaking the remaining acorns to the ground, low hanging clouds nipping at the mountain ridges, making those jagged tips disappear into the mists, and rain. Glorious rain. (In California, we do the happy dance when rain arrives.)

Friday sees a stormy start with the tink-tink-tink of rain outside. Even though it’s cool, I take my mug of coffee out to the terrace to inhale those fabulous earthy scents and say good morning to the hordes of turkeys that coo and gobble-squak, greeting one another after what I imagine was a scary night sleeping in the trees (lightening!). I wonder–do they have an opinion about the rain? Do they do their own version of a happy dance? Trade war stories of close calls with lightening?

It really feels like autumn now, at least for this small slice of time.

Besides being a full work day (almost done with the current manuscript’s third draft. woo!), I squeeze in an early afternoon tea with my dad and a late lunch with mom. Gotta fit the family in–I’m so grateful to have them in my life. As an only child, my parents are also my best buddies so the occasional tea and lunch with them does the heart good.

Saturday I wake to sunshine and get the day started right–with coffee, a jog through the puddles with my pup, then off to face an open, eager laptop. Work day for me. Soon dad texts me pictures of a hot air balloon festival happening nearby. Apparently he stepped out on his wife’s ranch and voila–balloons soaring in the sky.


After my writing day is done, I help out a friend and fabulous human being who has just returned from India where she works with Voices4Freedom to free slaves. Then, once the children (yes, children) are freed from slavery, they begin their education at one of the schools she and her team started with Schools4Freedom. Incredible work. I happily help her out with the V4F website while I eat homemade banana nut bread, drink hot tea, and give GRATITUDE for my freedom and for the food on my table.

Saturday evening I’m excited and tremendously proud to watch a new Hallmark movie directed by one of my pals, Christie, called A Wish For Christmas. Love these holiday romances–warm and happy. I’ve come to look forward to Christie’s new film each year. She and I studied at Playhouse West together and I enjoy her sensibilities as a storyteller/filmmaker. As an added bonus, one of her daughters is in the movie and is a darling addition.

Over the weekend I also have a great time looking over yearbook photos from 8th grade that a friend and classmate shared on Facebook. Very fun! What a great group to to have been part of. I have such fond memories from that time–lots of smiles in the photos which serve to punctuate those memories. (Funny, I forgot that my buddy Bart and I were voted “Best Smile.”)

Sunday is another full workday and I leap over the finish line of that third draft, earning an adult beverage. Wine here I come, then time to dive into a friend and fellow novelist’s debut book (a techno-thriller) and snuggle in for a cool night.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

xo Isla


My Mother

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Mom & Me

Some people provide us with life (my mom), some people provide us with a laughter so lovely (my mom) and a shoulder so ready to receive a good cry (my mom). Some people provide a haven for a person to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually (my mom.)

My mom is a beautiful being who declared while in college that she was going to work in education. She became a teacher, a special ed teacher for severely handicapped children, then a principal, then the only female school superintendent in California (at that time), then, after retiring, was elected to the local school board.

My mom has had a strong intention to work in education–to give her intelligence, her compassion, her love, to educate children. This has always been what she has navigated toward, and she has done so without bold stripes or loud declarations. My mom simply lives the life she wants to live, goes in the direction that aligns with what matters most to her, and all else gets very little attention (like negativity or naysayers). Again, she does not do this starkly or with blatant abandon, but rather with subtle confidence and striking self-reliance which is visible if you’re lucky enough to witness it, and astute enough to pay attention to it.

My mom taught me to honor my inner compass, to live compassionately and confidently. She is my best friend. She is beautiful inside and out and I am so grateful to be her daughter.

Happy Mother’s Day. Cheers to all of you who live life according to your intention, your inner compass, even on days when it’s difficult and/or you face opposition–whether from others or within your mind.

xo Isla

Happy Holidays!

As usual, our family got together and laughed, chatted books, music, love, laughter, life purpose, and food. As always, it was wonderful. (Plus, we got the gift of a white Christmas this year!) (Of course that also means my car isn’t going anywhere for awhile…)

Never too old to sit on your mother’s lap. 🙂

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season.

xo Isla