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!

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #9 The Letter People

Until I was 7 years old, a show called The Letter People aired on our local public television station.

My sisters and I were crazy about The Letter People, and we would anxiously await its arrival in the daily line-up. 

Sesame Street.

Mr. Rogers.

3-2-1 Contact.

These were all ways to pass the time while we waited.

Then, finally!, 2 o’clock would come and we would drop everything and race to the t.v.

We raced because we didn’t want to miss the theme song which was one of our most favorite parts of the whole show.

The Letter People.

It was such an important part of my 5-year-old life.

What I find outrageous, however, is that NO ONE besides my sisters and I have ever watched this show.

Not my husband.

Not my friends.

No one.

Even friends from the SAME town with the SAME PBS schedule never knew of its existence.

Get with the [independently produced] program, people!

Since I’m almost 30 and have yet to find someone to swap Letter People stories with, I’ve decided to share with you the phenomenon that is The Letter People……

First of all, The Letter People are not real people.

They are puppets.

My most favorite was Mr. “S”:

Mr. S was a super man.



There was one episode in particular that was so special to us that even Momma made sure we didn’t miss it.

“Girls, The Silly Bull is on today!” she’d call from the kitchen.

I don’t remember much about The Silly Bull other than that he was a red bull that laughed.

But boy, was that laughing bull a big deal!


A few minutes ago, I got curious and looked up the episode on YouTube.

And I found it!

(And I got really excited.)

(Maybe too excited.)

And then I watched it here!


It’s always a strange feeling to return to something so nostalgic.

In other words:  This was my favorite t.v. show?  This used to be the highlight of my day?

Okay…maybe having never watched The Letter People isn’t such a bad thing after all.

(Nevertheless, this was still an amusing, though creepy, walk down memory lane.)

Thirty Thoughts on Turning 30: #8 Overdoing It

Thirty thoughts on anything is a lot of thoughts!

Why did I have to pick “30” thoughts?

Why didn’t couldn’t I have just picked 5 or 10?

Because I am Leilani.

And Leilani is ambitious.

To her detriment.

When I was in 5th grade, our elementary school held a student art show.  Since I was into Egypt at the time, I decided I would construct a pyramid.

But not just any pyramid.

I was going to create a paper-mache-clay-mud-paint pyramid and here was how I planned to do it:

Step #1: Build a tetrahedral wooden frame.

Step #2: Construct walls out of paper-mache around the wooden frame.

Step #3: Reinforce the walls using clay.

Step #4: Form tiny bricks out of mud, dry the bricks in the sun, attach them to the pyramid using fresh mud.

Step #5: Paint the whole structure with 3 different colors of tempera paint to create depth and texture.

Step #6: Totally “wow” the art judges.

Step #7: Totally win 1st place.

Here’s how my pyramid ACTUALLY turned out:

Step #1: Informed mother of my idea and provided her with lengthy supplies list.

Step #2: Supplies list was vetoed.

Step #3: Decided to half-assedly construct pyramid out of a mixture of mud, glue and newspaper instead.

Step #4: Final product looked like shit.

Step #5: Did not enter pyramid in contest.

While flinging fistfuls of mud together, I wondered if it might have been more fun to build my pyramid out of sugar cubes.

But then again, other kids has done that before, and I wanted to do something different and extraordinary!  I wanted my pyramid to blow all those other lame pyramids out of the water!

So I burnt myself out instead.


This weekend, my husband and I will be finishing up our floor-painting project.

And wall-painting project(s).

And fireplace-painting project.

AND wood burning stove-painting project.

AND trim-painting project.

It’s an ambitious list, I know.

But that’s Leilani for you.