America’s Most Desperate Landscape 2018

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Hello, DIY/AMDL! 

We are Marvyn and Celeste Peralta. In March 2009, we met swing dancing at LindyGroove, the coolest swing dance venue in Pasadena, California. In September 2010, we got married. We both love outdoor concerts, artisanal food, and swing & salsa dancing.

Celeste is a communications assistant at UCLA. Marvyn is a pediatric echocardiographer. In other words, he takes pictures of baby hearts. During our marriage, we’ve experienced job losses, health issues, financial setbacks and ailing parents. We also rejoiced in a small greeting card business, travel adventures and musical endeavors.

For the past 7 years, we’ve been trying to have a baby. No luck. After much soul-searching, we recently decided to begin the process of adoption — a journey in itself! In addition to high costs, there are several applications and forms, formal interviews, workshops, setting up resumes & profiles, learning CPR — all before you’re even formally selected as adoptive parents. 

Another requirement for the adoption process is to have a home that is child-friendly. Our backyard is definitely not. As you’ll see in our video, there are so many things wrong: no shade, overgrown weeds, rocks, ditches and more. The yard is hazardous and not a space for a young child to play. 

We admit it — our backyard is our “dirty little secret.” See for yourself: https://youtu.be/iuOz1iQDqTY

Right now, the yard is not an oasis after my daily 120-mile work commute or a place to entertain friends and family. If you select us for the backyard makeover, it will be. We’d meet the requirement for a child-friendly backyard and home. Plus, we can finally have loved ones over and absolutely celebrate Marvyn’s 50th birthday next year — in swingin’ style!

Please help us make our 2018 dreams come true. 

Thank you for your consideration.

A confirmation upon receipt of this email is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Celeste & Marvyn Peralta

 

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Wise Words of the Day

Been worried a lot lately. (Ugh.) Seeking higher source, like the Dalai Lama, to help me through these challenging-tossing-at-night-stomach-churning times:

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry.  If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.  There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

In other words, worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its possibilities.

Reposted from Mark and Angel Hack Life’s “7 Things to Stop Worrying About”

Repost: Mom has son sign 18-point agreement for iPhone

From ABC News

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A friend (a cool, hip mom) had shared this article on her FB page. The story is about a mom who gives her 13-year-old son exactly what he wanted for Christmas — an iPhone.

The article reminded me of my cell-phone journal entry last week. My takeaway thoughts after reading the proactive mom’s contract:

1) Why is this generation growing up with this inflated sense of entitlement and instant gratification? Because in this age of iParenting, good manners, hard work, responsibility and accountability are not being taught.

But this Massachusetts blogger mom does it right. Hands down.

2)  This is the reason why I’m cutting the cell-phone tether loose, baby. Adios, FOMO (fear of missing out) addiction. Not instantly inclined to text long conversations, read or post on FB daily, or share my pictures online anymore.

I want to “coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.”

Duh.

Repost: No more planning! Time for ACTION!

By Mastin Kipp

The best time to start — is now.

One of the coolest things I heard last year is that it’s best to get clarity through taking action.

I learned this from Marie Forleo.

The basic idea is that we don’t need to wait to “know” or “discover” or “find” the perfect plan. We just need to start.

And learn along the way.

Perfectionism is a dream killer, because it’s just fear disguised as trying to do your best. It just is.

The Daily Love is a giant experiment in starting before I was ready and getting clarity through action. When I first started, I had no real idea what TDL was going to become. I just knew I had to write every day.

And now that it’s growing even more, I still don’t know what it’ll be in 1,2 or 5 years, and I don’t know if I have the skill to actually pull it off, but that doesn’t stop me.

There is a magic that comes from simply starting. From just doing it. From deciding to take constant action. You don’t have to make some crazy quantum leap; all you have to do it just take a small step. One at a time.

And from there, it all starts to form in front of your eyes. The unseen becomes seen; a way is made from what seemed to be no way.

Too many people need some kind of certain outcome before they can start. This is what starts to slowly kill dreams, one fearful moment of stasis at a time.

The goal should be to get started and know that you will learn along the way and that you aren’t supposed to get it perfect the first time through.

Even if you think you’ve found the perfect plan, once you start to make it happen you will see that things don’t ever go the way that you plan them to.

The future is uncertain, but what will bring you one step closer to your dreams is action. Planning is important. But action is key.

Can you commit today to learning through action instead of needing the perfect plan to start?

What would that look like?

Old-school connectivity: Hello, are you listening?

I talked to my dad on Monday, Christmas Eve. He mentioned something that made me sit up straight and take notice. He said, “Looking at your phone affects your connectivity.” Think about it.

No, seriously. Think about it.

We are in a day and age when NOT looking at your phone is a skill. And a problem. I lost my cell last Wednesday. For 5 days, I didn’t have one.

And honestly? It felt pretty good.

Don’t get me wrong. In the beginning, I freaked out! Retraced my steps countless times. Called my husband, asking if he found it at home. For a couple days, we frantically searched the car, the parking lot, the 2-minute path from where my vanpool drops me off  and up the elevator and to my cubicle, the house, our driveway — everywhere!

Nada.

So for 120 hours, what did I do?

Told people to use Facebook, my work line, or email to reach me until I received a replacement. Kept my cell service on, so I could check voicemail messages (just in case).

Put all my energy into our first annual ugly sweater contest at the office. (A smashing success!)

Only surfed the Net at work or at home. NOT while in transit or during face-to-face conversations.

Enjoyed the longest conversations with my vanpool buddies. (During the 2.5-to-3-hour-long roundtrip commute, I usually scanned the top news stories of the day online. Or napped.)

Used an eraser board for my to-do list.

Wrote more in an old-half-filled-almost-forgotten-handmade journal a friend gave me several Christmases a go.

Posted on Facebook and talked with family and friends to research opinions on what new phone to buy.

Used my old point-and-shoot camera to capture holiday photos. Didn’t post them on FB.

Instead of texting confabs with friends who lived nearby, we met up.

Listen to favorite CDs while wrapping gifts and writing cards with zeal.

Mindfully pushed “Play” button daily so my toy musical snowmen sang their silly tune. (I squealed with laughter each time.)

Baked cornbread. Twice.

Caught up on “Color Splash”, “Person of Interest” and “The Voice”  episodes.

Perused a few magazines I had stacked high.

Snuggled more with my husband on the couch.

Looked at people more in the eye.

Somehow this “OMG-am-horribly-lost-don’t-know-what-I’d-do-because-I’d-die-if-I-lost-my-cell-phone!” mindset snuck up on me. For many months, I felt off. Perhaps I was affected by a number of things — work stress, long commute, financial/health concerns, etc. But I sensed an ever-present tension that I just couldn’t put a finger on, yet felt in my gut. It haunted me.

But this experience helped.

Being disconnected reconnected me. I became more present during conversations, my writing more genuine, my actions more sincere. It felt familiar: This is how I used to connect to others; and this is how I used to write as a teenager when it was just me, lined notebook paper, and a pen. I’m harkening back to the ’80s — a simpler time with far less distractions.

Am on the grid again with a new smartphone  (the same old model, btw). Am surfing and texting again — but less often. (Remember: That takes skill.) I can go back to my jump-at-every-alert-pre-cell-loss ways.

But why?

My brief interlude of no-cell-codependency shifted my focus from an expensive, handheld device tethered to my hip back to the way I used to do things. Nothing compares to scribbling in a journal, crossing out items on the eraser board, and taking my time to read a paper magazine in between my hands. I missed the tactile and visual sensations of doing different things with different tools. Until now.

Yes, it’s old school. But it’s me.