Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Inspirational Readings (UU Interfaith Contemplative Service)

I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in my hometown. I just celebrated my one year anniversary of joining. It is an open minded non-judgmental church that I really enjoy being a part of. (I may go further into what Unitarian Universalism is in a later post.) Starting at the beginning of the year, I have been occasionally leading our Wednesday night Interfaith Contemplative services...usually about once a month or so. Essentially, these services are comprised of spiritual/inspirational/etc. readings/poems/prayers/etc. and meditation. It is peaceful, quiet, and a nice way to calm the mind. Following are the readings for my service this evening. So even if you can't participate with my church, you can read and contemplate on your own. Please enjoy.

May the light of truth illuminate our minds,
May the spark of love set our hearts on fire,
May the flame of freedom burn brightly within us.

"Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
 The greatest worth is self-mastery.
 The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
 The greatest precept is continual awareness.
 The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
 The greatest action is not conforming with the world’s ways.
 The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
 The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
 The greatest goodness is peace of mind.
 The greatest practice is humility.
 The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
 The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
 The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.


“To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment.”

“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

“Life is available only in the present moment.”

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

And a man said, Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.

And he answered, saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that
which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs
rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths
would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge
with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth"
but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul."
Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Blessed is the path on which you travel.
Blessed is the body that carries you upon it.
Blessed is your heart that has heard the call.
Blessed is your mind that discerns the way.
Blessed is the gift that you will receive by going. 
Truly blessed is the gift that you will become on the journey.
May you go forth in peace.

I apologize that I have not included authors of each of the selections. In my rush to prepare, I forgot to copy and paste the original writer!  Some of the readings can be found on the following websites:
World Prayers
Meditations and Prayers from the Unitarian Universalist Assoc.
"30 Life Changing Lessons from Thích Nhất Hạnh" from Purpose Fairy
Wisdom Commons Virtues

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Life Goals List (aka The Bucket List)

There are so many things that I want to experience in my life, places I want to go, food I want to eat, and people to see. The following list is a collection of a few of those things, at least what I can think of at the current time. This list is not comprehensive by any means. Things will inevitably be added in the future. Especially the travel lists. I'm the sort that's happy to go anywhere, as long as it is new. You can find adventure anywhere I say, even in small towns a few minutes away. And for your listening pleasure "Cups (When I'm Gone)" by Anna Kendrick from Pitch Perfect. It seems like a nice song for the theme of today's blog post.

Kristin's Official Life Goals List (doo dee dee doo!)
  • Finish writing my book
  • Get the book published
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Go on an overnight ghost hunt with a professional ghost hunting team
  • See a ghost or experience a supernatural event (or something that cannot be explained)
  • Visit all 50 states in the United States (Not counting flight layovers)
    • Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina
      North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
      South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
  • United States Travel (not a comprehensive list)
    There would be one stop in all 48 contiguous U.S. states,
    as well as Washington D.C.and two stops in California for an even 50 stops.
    • Route 66 Road Trip
    • Smithsonian Museum (!)
    • Niagara Falls
    • Grand Canyon
    • Go to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH again (this time with the family)
    • Salem, Massachusetts
    • Cape Code + Eat a ton of seafood
  • International Travel (these are just a small number of the places I want to go)
    • Ireland
    • Scotland (castles)
    • England (Stonehenge, museums!)
    • Rome, Italy
    • Japan
    • South Korea
    • Hong Kong
    • Great Wall of China
    • Machu Pichu in Peru
    • Iceland
    • New Zealand (Especially the shooting locations from The Lord of the Rings)
  • Learn to play keyboard or piano
  • Learn a different language
  • Take a class with a master photographer
  • Ride in a helicopter over an active volcano
  • Run a 5k race
  • Go hiking in the mountains
  • Eat at a restaurant operated by Gordon Ramsay, Morimoto, Wolfgang Puck, etc.
  • Meet a famous author like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, etc.
  • High five any of the actors from Supernatural (They seem like awesome guys.)
  • Be on television
  • Ride a hang glider

Monday, March 9, 2015

Lights! Camera! Switzerland! Contest Submission

This is my video submission for the Lights! Camera! Switzerland! travel hosting contest at

EDIT: I didn't make the cut for the finalists. They were way out of my league.  Oh well. Life goes on. 

"My name is Kristin. I'm a 28 year old stay at home mom with two kids. But I'd like to think that I'm not your average stay at home mom. I'm an artist, amateur photographer, and writer in the middle of writing my first book. Ever since I was young, it has been my lifetime goal to travel the world and to write a book about it.

Unfortunately, being from a single income family doesn't really give me the option to travel like I'd like to. So I find adventure in my own backyard. I volunteer for local events, like dressing in 1700s style costume for the OK Mozart music festival or being a tour guide for the downtown Ghost Walk in October. I've also been an actress in local productions at a community theater. I absolutely love being out in nature, especially hiking and finding new unknown trails. You can also find me, along with some like minded friends, spending time with my camera in graveyards at night as an amateur ghost hunter.

I love trying out and learning new things... like trying bizarre new foods or joining a local drum circle to learn to play the djembe drum. I'm not perfect at it, and probably never will be... but it sure is fun. And that is why I would love to go to an amazing place like Switzerland with its history, landscapes, and exciting new experiences. Because life always needs a fun, new adventure."

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Almost, Maine" at Theater Bartlesville

I've been a bit busy lately. I auditioned for and got a part in a local community theater production of "Almost, Maine." It is a really funny romantic comedy with a tiny bit of fantasy thrown in. Instead of one big story, it is a collection of vignettes that are all a bit connected. The last time I was in a play was eight years ago right before I had my first kid. It's really hard to believe that it had been this long. Wow. Time sure flies.

I was cast as Marvalyn (Really, who came up with these names?!) who is a lonely girl doing laundry at a boarding house where she and her boyfriend, Eric, are waiting for their house to be repaired. She accidentally whacks Steve in the face with an ironing board and learns about his disability of not being able to feel pain. Hilarity ensues. It was quite a fun part to play. I have also decided to incorporate "Jeezum Crow!" into my everyday language.

Here are some photos from the production. (Courtesy Theater Bartlesville.) Enjoy.

The entire cast and crew of "Almost, Maine"
The entire cast and crew of "Almost, Maine" (The Moose Paddy version.)
Jeezum Crow! I love these people.

Marvalyn decides that ironing is a waste of time...

Time to go. Have an accidental whack in the skull Steve.

This move made rehearsals very nerve wrecking. Tim, the guy who played Steve, kept repeatedly telling me that it really was okay for me to hit him. It took me quite a while to get comfortable with smacking him with a heavy metal ironing board twice in the same scene.

"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Is there any blood?"
"Is there any discoloration?"
"Then I'm okay!"

My turn to get hit in the head with the ironing board!

"Are you sure you're okay? You're just going on and on about crazy stuff."

Curtain Call!