Monday, October 17, 2011

hospitality [hos-pi-tal-i-tee]

the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers; the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guestsand strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way
Synonyms include: amiability, heartiness, warmth

It's impossible not to feel welcome when you enter a house and see this sitting atop the coffee table:
...yet that is what greeted me tonight when I invaded the Lontok household for dinner. To say this evening was the highlight of my day would be an understatement. After a not-so-awesome 8 hours prior, I spent the next 2 1/2 eating a home cooked meal and enjoying the company of two people who I feel so fortunate to know. And after a few brief encounters through mutual friends, and one dinner date at BJ's, I feel even more blessed to call them friends.
Tam and Greg (and this is going to sound so cornball but there's no other way to say it) have this aura about them, and it radiates so warmly that I can't imagine anyone not being charmed by their sheer genuineness. There are no two people who best define the term "salt of the earth" than these two.
"Bless Anna," Greg said during grace, and in that moment, whatever upset me earlier today was shoved out their front door, forbidden to cause me anymore least until tomorrow.
Our appetizer plates were yummy (darn it - forgot to get pictures of the crackers!) and the main course was even yummier! I love salmon and asparagus!
All I could contribute today was some ice cream from Baskin Robbins. It wasn't much, and I wish I could've brought something more worthy of the two courses that came before it, but we enjoyed the sweet treat nonetheless.
Thank you so much, Tam and Greg (and Hachi), for having me over for a delicious meal, for the great tour of your home, for listening to me yammer on, for laughing your infectious laughs and for being such lovely friends to be around! Next time, it's my treat! =)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

innovate [in-uh-veyt]

to introduce something new; make changes in anything established; to introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time
Synonyms include: found, invent, pioneer

It absolutely never fails. Death, or possibly a closer than imminent encounter with it, will always force you to re-evaluate your life. Have I made the right choices? Have I chosen the right career? The right friends? Have I been a good daughter? A good sister? A good Catholic? If I die tomorrow, or if I don't make it through the night, will I be able to look back from the afterlife and be proud of what I did in my earthly life?

A great number of us trudge through the day after we awaken with dread because this life, simply, isn't what we planned. We are not as successful as we dreamed, as beautiful as we wished, or as happy as we always figured we would be...eventually. Everything we need seems scarce and everything we try to avoid seems to multiply, clinging to us so tightly at times that it becomes difficult to believe that we'll every find a way out of it.

At 33 years old, I think often to myself. I thought I would've done more with my life, yet I sit in my cubicle staring at a computer screen for 8 hours (sometimes more) each day, filing, sending emails, etc. all the while trying to remember if maybe THIS LIFE is what I actually dreamt of having and maybe I just, well, didn't know it. I attempt some sensible convincing, of course, because what, exactly, is wrong with this part of my life? The job is stable, the people are great, I'm capable of doing the work, it pays well, etc. Nothing wrong with anything, really.

And then it hits me every time - Is what I do each day making a difference in this world? And, essentially, is it making a difference in me?

One of the most intelligent, most innovative and surely one of the most creative thinkers of the modern world died today. At 56 years old, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away, and in his passing, we not only remember the gadgets he created or the changes he made to how we do everything, from listening to music to communicating across a great distance; we will remember the philosophy he so often preached regarding the reasons for his success and hope that for our own good, we will become or continue to be active participants in our own pursuit.

* * *

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”