Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Leap Of Faith

The Hall Family

Farewell Office Party

In June, I decided to move from an Educational Director to Educational Consultant with the network of organizations I have worked with for over 13 years.  The signs were growing stronger . . . .it was time to concentrate on my writing and activism within the LGBT community.

At my farewell party, every detail of my bon voyage spoke of love and appreciation. . . . from the three beautiful desserts created by Jodi Hall, to the gorgeous lei my husband placed around my neck and the stunning sunflowers that graced the table.  To my surprise, each guest, including my son Stefen, presented me with a sunflower and talked about the difference I made to them with the work I did.   Although Aiden and Mary could not attend, I knew their spirits were present.  Music softly played in the background.  Jamie Hall, my Executive Director for the last five years began to speak.  Her voice quivered with emotion as she expressed her appreciation for all I had done.   Many of my well wishers cried . . . I cried more.

No words can ever express the gratitude I have for John and Joan Hall, founders of the charter school where I served as a Board Member and later a Director.   I loved working for them and learning from them these past years.  I thank Jamie Hall for bringing out the courage, compassion and boldness in me.  John Jr. and Jennifer,  thank you for showing me the unwavering power of being true to your heart’s desire.

I will miss working so closely with the Hall Family and many others I have grown to love and respect, such as Bill, Mike, Pam, Jim, Chris and Kelley.  But I know no matter where our paths take us, our hearts will always be connected.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Honoring Our Parents . . . Tak and Jean Ogino

Mom and Dad

My Mom and Dad have been gone for 10 years and 12 years respectively.  They never wanted us to be burdened or filled with guilt about visiting them at the cemetery.  For this reason, Dad initially wanted to be buried at sea, but Mom with her vulnerable, sweet perspective said, “I don’t want to be buried at sea.  I can’t swim.”  A part of me would chuckle inside, thinking after she is gone, would it really matter if she could swim or not.  Another part of me knew the ocean represented a vastness that her spirit wouldn’t be comfortable in and so we buried Mom and Dad together at Rose Hills.
Once a year my brothers and I visit Rose Hills in July.  Mom died in June and Dad died in August, so July was right in between.  Other family members join us if they can.  With flowers, music, a candle and cleaning supplies in hand, we as a family pay our respects to the two people who taught us the meaning of love and acceptance.  We continue the day with lunch at a seafood restaurant.  Mom and Dad loved seafood.  Over lunch, we tell stories and fondly reminisce over times gone by.
There are days, when a random moment triggers thoughts of my parents.  And when that happens, my heart yearns to reach out and hug them one last time.   But they are not here.  So I can only pause and silently send my thoughts of gratitude to wherever they are.  Mom and Dad . . . I hope you know how much I love and miss you. . . .

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Manifesting Dreams

Old Vision Board Created 6 Months Ago

 As I sat down and reviewed the first half of 2011, I realized the Vision Board I put together 6 months ago manifested to the point where I wanted to see past this vision and further into the future.  In May I signed a contract with Magnus Books for Two Spirits, One Heart.  It is scheduled for release in Spring 2012.  The tiger, the focus, the “I couldn’t put it down!” transformed me from a writer to an author.  

And in June, I transitioned from a director to a consultant for Pathways in Education, providing me with more flexibility to write and creating a more peaceful, nature filled and inspired life, so I have room each day to dream.   I spend more time in stillness and love sitting on my back porch with my dog, Mochi, writing, reading, consulting and watching the hummingbirds hover among my flowers.

And so I would like to share my new Vision Board with you.  Thank you Chris A. and Mike C. for believing in Aiden, Oprah and me.  Oprah is on there!!  Vision Boards are an amazing tool to see your dreams more concretely and keep them in the forefront of your thoughts.  

What would YOU like to manifest in 2011?  I’d love to hear your thoughts or see your Vision Boards. . . . message me!!!

NEW Vision Board

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Awakening Courage in Us All

Last month, my niece, Stephanie Ogino representing her father’s insurance agency (thank you Paul!!) stood on stage with me to award a scholarship to a graduating senior from Yucca Valley High School.  Krista and her girlfriend, Hailey drove two hours to accept this scholarship at the Los  Angeles LGBTA Scholarship Awards .  As much as I was impressed by this inspiring young leader from her scholarship application, I was even more struck by this sweet young student with fiery red hair that matched the passion and boldness of her spirit.

In a conservative small town in California, this young lady has changed the hearts and minds of her community.  She started the first Gay Straight Alliance at her high school after she was told year after year that she could not do so.  Can you imagine the courage that this took?  She told me with a twinkle in her eye, she was finally successful after she brought in a little help . . . . legal help.  Krista also shared that their first GSA meetings were attended by only students who identified as straight allies.  And with modest pride, she shared that many of these same allies later found the courage, to announce their true selves.  Her courage brought out the courage in them.

I recently bought a plaque that I believe will define who I will be the next few years.  It says, “Once you choose HOPE, anything is possible.”  I want to do work that allows LGBT youth to choose hope.  Thank you Krista for the hope you have given those in your community and the hope you have strengthened in this mother’s heart.  You are my inspiration . . . .