Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #16 A Tale of Two Sisters

I have two older sisters named Leslie and Lisa.

Together we make quite the tongue-twister!

More often than not, Momma had to call all three of our names before she finally landed on the one she wanted.

“Lis-Les-UGHHHH-Leilani!  One of you ‘Ls’ get in here!”

Growing up, my sisters and I fought like cats and dogs.

Actually, Leslie and Lisa got along pretty well.  It was when I entered the room that a fight usually broke out.

Because I played with their toys without their permission.

And borrowed their clothes without their permission.

And tattled on them.

And “got away with everything.”

Therefore, Leslie and Lisa referred to the years before I showed up as “The Good Old Days.”

I don’t blame them.

I wouldn’t have wanted me around, either.  🙂

Nevertheless, I loved my sisters dearly and would have given anything to be their best friend.

It’s been 17 years since we all lived under the same roof, and I am amazed to think that, at one point in our lives, we got to see each other every day and eat dinner together every night and sleep in the same bedroom!

Now we are lucky if we all get to see each other once every 5 years.

How fortunate we were back then without even realizing it!

It has taken me all of my 20’s to process  the impact my sisters had on me, both positive and negative.  At first, all I could focus on was the negative, but now after gaining healing and understanding, I am surprised at how much my sisters really meant to me and how much they formed me into the person I am today…

I have always wished to be as brave as my oldest sister, Leslie.  She never cried on the first day of school.  She wasn’t afraid to get a job or learn to drive.  She made friends easily.  Meanwhile, I struggled with ALL of these things.

Leslie also has this amazing ability to thrive in difficult situations.  Many times I  look at Leslie’s life wonder,HOW on EARTH did she survive THAT?” 

I will never be as much of the free spirit that Leslie is, but she does inspire me to relax my hold on the need for control.

Lisa always got mad at me for trying to copy her, but she made it difficult not to because she colored the best, had the prettiest handwriting, wore the cutest clothes and took the nicest care of her stuff.  Next to her, I was a bull in a china shop.

Lisa taught me how to be candid and honest, qualities which have proved crucial to every friendship I’ve had.

Lisa also makes me laugh harder than anyone else.  Overall, she is the precious jewel in our family that no one can quite get enough of.

It has taken me almost 30 years to fully appreciate my family, and I plan on spending my next 30 years knowing and loving them even deeper.(Which means this getting-together-every-5-years nonsense has gotta stop!)

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #15 Forcing Innocent Cats Into Clothing

I have always felt compelled to dress animals.

Especially cats.


Probably for the same reason that Anne Geddes feels compelled to dress babies up as ladybugs or petunias: I just wanna see how much more cute my pets can look.

Dresses, jumpers, hats, headbands–all of these only help to enhance the adorableness of cats.

Oh, and let’s not forget Mr. Potato Head glasses:

It took me several attempts to squeeze these glasses over the ears of my kitty cat (his name was Animal), and Grandfather even gave me a spanking for not leaving the poor cat alone.

But I have NEVER been able to leave cats alone.

So I tried when Grandfather wasn’t looking until finally Animal gave in.

Giving in.

It’s the only way out for my cats.

If they struggle, I embrace them tighter.

If they hide, I find them.

If they shake out of their outfits, I simply put them back on.

I know it sounds cruel, but the results are always well worth my efforts:

I’m all smiles. Brodie? Not so much.

Awe!  Looky mah Brodie Buddy!  So sweet.

(Even though he’ll never admit it, Brodie really did love that straw hat.)

Whether female or male, each cat that enters our home must at some point wear “The Dress.”

“The Dress” is a red and white dress that I used to wear as a baby.

I only looked so-so in it.

But Baby Girl?

I can’t decide if she’s smiling or contemplating murder.

She was simply ADORABLE!!!

Sometimes, I like to cut my cats some slack by adorning them with accessories instead of full-blown outfits.

Even then, they are ungrateful.

It was a struggle keeping Brodie’s Pope hat on his little head, and as a result, I never was able to get a good photo of him wearing it.

Next time, I’m using double-sided tape.

“I’m going to kill her, I’m going to kill her, I’m going…”

I was especially proud of these makeshift bunny-ear headbands.

My cats?

They were especially NOT proud to be wearing them.

Thankfully, nobody struggled too much, and I was able to get the photo I wanted.


I will never outgrow dressing my cats.

Because cats will never stop looking cute in clothes.

One day, I plan on sewing Halloween costumes for both Brodie and Baby Girl.  I can’t decide which to to make first, though: football player and cheerleader or Raggedy Ann and Andy.

Maybe I should do both.


No cats were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Annoyed, maybe.

Bothered, probably.

Inconvenienced, definitely.

But never harmed.

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #14 The Purple Leotard

When I was 4 years old, I was given a purple leotard.

It was most likely a K-Mart purchase.

Man, how I used to love K-Mart!

Now I hate K-Mart.

Who even shops at K-Mart anymore?

How is it that K-Mart is still in business?

I digress.

So I had this purple leotard, and it’s hands-down the best piece of clothing I have ever owned.

(Besides my wedding dress.)

It was the only piece of clothing I ever wanted to wear because it made me feel like a ballerina.

(And it is VERY important for little girls to feel like ballerinas!)

Needless to say, I pitched a huge fit whenever Momma tried to take it off me.

It was an even bigger fight whenever she said that I couldn’t wear it at all!

Momma was a brave woman to come between me and my leotard!

(Everybody should own a purple leotard at least one point in their life.)

Sadly, I outgrew my purple leotard, and, unfortunately, was never able to find a replacement.

Even though I have always been a modestly dressed person, I secretly wish that I could run around in nothing but a leotard all day.

Imagine how much more comfortable I would be!

No buttons or waistlines, no zippers or bunching.

Okay, maybe a little riding up, but that is a small price to pay to feel like a ballerina all day.

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #13 I Get By With A Little Help

Okay, so maybe 30 years is not THAT old.

But it is plenty of time in which to have a bad day or lose one’s mind.

And in not going off the deep end, I give credit to my God, my husband Dave, my Momma and my cats.

And my collection of peace-giving words of wisdom.

In times of trial, I always pull out at least one of these truths and hang on to it for dear life:

“This, too, shall pass.”

“Where God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”

“It is what it is.”

“I am loved.”

“It’s okay!”

“His mercies are new every morning.”

“Do what you can, and forget the rest.”

“Live in the moment.”

“To everything, there is a season.”

“When all of this is over, I am eating the biggest damn cinnamon roll I can find!”

As I get older, I find that I can access peace quicker and hang on to it longer…with a little help from my friends.

What phrases or quotes do you hang onto?

Thirty Thoughts on Turning Thirty: #12 My Proudest Moment

I was 16 when I first watched the Kona Ironman on television.

And I was blown away by the capabilities of the human body:  A 2-mile swim in the ocean…followed by100-mile bike ride…followed by a marathon?

How was this even possible?!!

I was so touched by the event, and from that moment on, I knew my life would be incomplete if I never got the chance to participate in such a race.

12 years later, I got that chance.

Here is where I would like to give a big, heartfelt “THANK YOU!” to my friend Laura.  It was her idea to offer a sprint triathlon class at the local university, and I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.

And by “jumped,” I mean “a friend convinced me to do it.”

That’s right.

After 12 years of waiting for the opportunity to compete in a triathlon, I almost didn’t do it!

This is because I occasionally suffer from this syndrome where I’m afraid to do the very thing that I want to do because what I want to do might cause me some level of discomfort.

And I was uncomfortable!

First of all, class started at 7:30 am.  Though this was not too terribly early, it was chilly.  I remember the day our class had to practice our first swim/bike brick.  (A brick is any combination of two triathlon events such as a swim and a bike ride or a bike ride and a run.)  The morning was cold, wet and gusty, but we still had to swim for what felt like 5 miles before running outside and hopping on our bikes.

Pedaling into the icy wind wearing a dripping wet swimsuit was awful…and yet empowering.  Finishing that ride showed me just how capable I was at enduring (and achieving!) difficult tasks.  In fact, every class revealed yet another layer of my mental and physical strength.  On days when I feel like giving up, all I have to do is remember that cold, wet, miserable bike ride and suddenly life doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.


I was downright giddy the morning of the race.

This is not like me.

I hate competition; it makes me panic.

But the beauty of a triathlon is that it’s only as competitive as you make it.  Therefore, I imagined that I was the only one in the race and my only task was to cross the finish line.

Which I did!

Crossing the finish line and running into the arms of my loved ones was such an incredible moment, but in truth, I enjoyed the WHOLE thing from the preparation, to the swim, to the bike, to the run, to the finish.

Proudly showing off my race numbers. Go 36!

Eventually, I’d like to run another triathlon.

Maybe even a longer one!

Or maybe even an Iron Man!

But who knows?

After all, I am getting older.  😉

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #11 Another Leilani

Anytime I tell someone my name, they either:

A. Cannot pronounce it back to me

B. Add an “a” to the end of it

C. Tell me they know another Leilani

I have met SO many people who know another Leilani, but I have only met one so far:

Turns out, we go to the same gym.

“Leilani, meet Leilani.”

And wouldn’t you know it?  We are both November babies, too!

Nevertheless, it is so strange seeing my name under someone else’s face!

I have always enjoyed the uniqueness of my name with two exceptions:

A. I am tired of spelling it for people

B. I’ve yet to find my name printed on a coffee mug, necklace, fake license plate or anything else that is typically sold at a Flying J.

If and when I ever make it to Hawaii, the first thing I’m gonna do is buy a coffee mug with my name on it!

(I hear that Leilani is to Hawaii what Mary is to the lower 48.)

In the meantime, it was good to meet you, Leilani.

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #10 Good to the Last Drop

Remember that Maxwell House line: “Make Every Day Good to the Last Drop!”?

Isn’t this line such a beautiful challenge?

Wait.  Let me rephrase that:

Isn’t this line such a challenge?

As much as I wanted every day of my life to be good to the last drop, such a thing seemed downright impossible to achieve in a world full of “buts” and “what ifs.”


What if?

But what if?

As a [former] perfectionist, the majority of my first 30 years were built around these 3 words.

Consequently, I rarely had a day that was good to the last drop.

(I was mad all the time and not very fun to be around, in case you were wondering.)

The day I realized the detrimental power of the words “but” and “what if” was the day I decided that it wasn’t worth being a perfectionist anymore.

It wasn’t worth throwing a tantrum over a batch of cookies because the icing didn’t look perfect.

It wasn’t worth hurting people around me because they didn’t live up to my expectations.

It wasn’t worth having my life living me instead me living my life.

Perfectionism is a sick joke because the more one pursues perfection, the less perfection that person has.  And the more control one pursues, the less control that person has.  I pursued perfection and control, and only became more afraid and pissed off.

Who’d have thought that life doesn’t have to be perfect in order for it to be good?

With that said, I am looking forward to making my next 30 years good to the last drop!