Thursday, September 4, 2014

Where Light Meets the Darkness

This summer has been a lot going on, and a lot to process. I suppose that's part of why there are fewer posts on here than normal. I know that there have been a lot more people that are much more closely affected by all of the tragedies going on around me; my heart hurts for them more than me in many ways. I think in a lot of ways, that has been the hardest part of the summer. So many people hurting so deeply, and not much that I can do for them. Then there's the reminder that there are no guarantees in life. That's kind of a scary prospect, and I admit that I've had some increased anxiety at times over the summer because of it. I'm working on letting go again, but there you have it.

Here's the thing that is amazing to me, though. Any time that I have been struggling with anything, there tend to be amazing graces in the midst of it. This summer is no different. Friends that are there and willing to step in with prayers, reminders that no matter what, even in death, there is grace. On this end, death and separation is awful and wrong. It wasn't supposed to be this way. But because of the cross, it is also a sign of hope for us, and a reminder that things will be better and it will not always be like this.

I guess what I'm saying is, in the midst of the storms and darkness, the light of grace is there as well. And where the light meets the darkness, there is a promise of hope, healing, and wholeness.

The promise where darkness and light collide.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What's Up?

Hey! I miss y'all! I guess I've just been processing this summer over here, and haven't really figured out what to write or how to write or if to write. Anyway.

First things first, thank you all so much for your prayers for my aunt and our family. I've been so distant from it all and hating that distance, but there have been some real moments of grace in the midst of it all. My aunt died on the 23rd of August, and her funeral was this last weekend. I hate that I didn't get a chance to get back to see her, or for the funeral, because I didn't get to see her one last time and I didn't get to say goodbye. However, in the midst of all of it, there have been some incredible graces as well, and I attribute that to you and all who were praying. Death is awful and wrong, but it is not the end.

Labor Day weekend was a much needed break from work and everything else. Got to go on a beautiful hike with friends on Saturday, relax on Sunday, and then just an awesome unplanned day on Monday. The plan was to meet a friend for a local event in the early morning, and then come back to my house and be all kinds of productive. Instead, we ended up at the gym for a short time to look at her form on the bike since she'd been having pain with riding. Then we decided to go for a short hike. Then we decided to sit by the creek and enjoy the day and chatted for a while. Then we decided to go to lunch. While we were there, we got a text from some friends about climbing later in the afternoon, so we did a little shopping and then on to climb. My to do list is too long, but I regret nothing. It was absolutely wonderful to spend time with friends and let the day unfold as it wanted without paying attention to the clock. I got just enough done on the to do list (I got up a couple hours early) that I could truly enjoy it.

Okay, that's about all I have right now. I know this is a short post and not really put together, but I just wanted to check in. What's up with you all? I've been reading blogs for the most part, and mostly commenting, but still feel free to fill me in on how things are going for you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Special Birthday

If you have a moment, would you say a prayer for my sweet aunt today? It's her birthday today and last Friday she was told that she likely only has a few days to live. I am praying that she and her daughters will find peace and joy in the midst of the pain. That they will be reminded that this world is not our home, that this is not the end. I know those reminders don't take the pain away, but hope in the middle of it all makes a big difference. I am hoping that my aunt will have a good day today and that she and her daughters will be able to have some good visits that will leave her daughters with some good memories in the days to come.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Little Happies ~15~

It's Monday, so the real question is, what are we happy about this week?

1) I am so, so happy that Sundays exist. I have been pushing it maybe a little too hard the last couple of weeks with physical activity and fewer rest days than I normally have. There's just been too much fun stuff going on and I don't want to say no! Anyway, I was extra tired on my hike on Saturday, which meant that I was more than ready for a day on Sunday to sit around and hold the couch down. And do things like write this post. I promise, even though there's stuff I want to do every day this week in terms of physical activity, I'll take at least one more rest day! Not that you need that promise, but my Achilles says, "Back it off a touch, or else!"

2) I'm trying to figure out if my math is wrong, but on my hike yesterday, I was actually pretty fast, despite feeling "off".  It felt so slow, but the math says I was hiking at a rate of 1.8 mph. Now, in walking down the street, that's pretty slow, but for hiking up a mountain, it's not too shabby!

3) Fudge pie. Have I used this one before? I feel like I have, but it's so good, it can be used again. (Kind of like bacon; free pass to be used in LH's every time if need be.) I froze some the last time I made it, so today I was able to warm slices in the oven and then put vanilla ice cream on it. Yes, slices. Dessert after lunch, and dinner. And maybe a snack as well.

4) Thunderstorms. Not crazy ones that are going to take you out with flash floods or lightning, but the kind that come rumbling through all afternoon, giving you some nice rain fall to listen to as you nap.

5) TV on DVD. Just saying.

6) Wild ripe raspberries!

7) How can it be Little Happies without some mountain joy?

I've been to this lake before, and I'm sure I'll go again.
Head over to Stephanie's to check out more Little Happies!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How Edel 14 Surprised Me

Update: For those of you unfamiliar with the Edel Gathering, it was a get together as a break for mothers. It's not meant to be a women's conference and I think it is filling a great niche that needs to be met. I'm not trying to say that it should be anything other than what it is, but I am saying that I'm glad that there may be a start of a discussion of how we can all be a greater community and support to each other, even when our paths in life are not quite the same.

I didn't go (obviously). I think it's a wonderful thing and a wonderful idea, but it's not for me. From the very beginning, it was meant to be this place where mothers can go and get support from each other and laugh and enjoy themselves with a brief respite from the cares of child raising. Let me say it again. I think this is a good thing, a necessary thing, a beautiful thing. But it is yet another place where I am left behind.

I am blessed to have many Catholic friends, and when I am in a circle of friends, I don't notice too much of a problem. We share each others lives, whatever that looks like for us at the time. Still, there are those moments. Like the one time where the conversation turned to how to get poop stains out of onesies. I got nothing, y'all. In those moments, it's so hard to be there. It's even worse when you're with friends, but also there's acquaintances and people meeting for the first time. Now the talk REALLY turns to those bonding experiences like pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding, sleep training, discipline and whatnot. That's where it gets really hard. How can I get to know people when the "getting to know you" gig is all about stuff that I don't know? And the stuff that I do know is not something that moms of young children have any time to concern themselves with. This isn't anyone's fault, this is just the dynamic that happens.

When I first heard about the Edel conference, I just laughed a little to myself (maybe a little darkly, but at least it was a laugh). A whole weekend of those types of interactions, talks about being Catholic moms, and conversations revolving around Catholic mom stuff? No, thank you. It's a good thing I'm not really invited! All too often when I do read some of the bloggers that were going there, I have little to nothing to even say to topics they are posting about, even if I enjoyed reading about it or it made me think.  For a while, I couldn't even read Catholic mom blogs. It just hurt too much. In the last few years, I have started to read several, many of whom did go to Edel. I now really enjoy reading these blogs and the latest escapades various children. I love that they have made me appreciate in a new way how much of a struggle it really is to be wife and mother, even though it is also beautiful. I wish I could find a better way to interact, but I'm not going to lie, it's hard to find a way to connect, and I mostly continue as a reader and (mostly) lurker. And even though I think the idea of Edel is great, I admit that I was also a little sad, because here's this other great way for all these bloggers to connect and because I'm not a mother, I'm left even more to the outside that I already am.

Once Edel happened, I knew there would be a slew of blog posts about it, and I figured I could just skip those. But then I saw this one, and I thought, "Holy sh- moly! Someone actually saw it? Wow!" Then Cari followed it up with this article, and another blogger talked about it briefly here.

Here's the thing. All of the lovely women who (thank God!) do not have to be aware of what it is to be single or in/subfertile sitting in a pew week after week and going home to a too quiet house are not ignoring those of us who do know all too much about it. It's just that even though we all want more community and to be there for each other in all aspects of life, to learn from each other and help each other, even if we don't fully understand what the other is going through, we just don't always know how. As I watch this conversation begin, it seems like a fantastic place to start.

Can I also just throw a HUGE shout out to those of you that read here frequently as the mothers of several to many children and have been a big support to me in my struggles.  As well as to those of you who are also in that either single or sub/infertile life that are such a huge support and let me know that you get it and that I'm not as badly insane as I feel some days. ;) Also, to those of you who were struggling with this and went to Edel anyway. That is not an easy thing to do (as I said, I couldn't even consider it), and I admire your courage and willingness to open yourself up to that pain... Leading to the fact that there is this conversation.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Little Happies ~14~

Hmm, I'm not sure what kind of list I can come up with, but I have to try. There's a new banner to use! The lack of list skilz today is not because there is nothing to be happy about, but because I'm not thinking of things off the top of my head.  Usually during the week, I notice things here and there that I want to use for the list, whereas I didn't seem to pay attention very well this week. I guess that's why. Oh, yeah. And because I didn't hike this weekend. That's where I have time to think about things like what I want to write and so forth.

How about I start writing and we see what happens?

1) Took a great class this weekend starting to get into some more advanced rock climbing skills. That's always a mental challenge for me, because I do NOT like heights, but climbing is fun and learning is fun and challenging the comfort zone is fun.  We actually didn't climb much this weekend. We were learning how to make safe anchors and such instead while standing on the ground.  However, it's going to open some doors to some things in climbing that I've never done before.

2) I love having friends that give me the space I need and the encouragement that I need, even if they don't fully get why I have my little moments about "easy" stuff that we're doing. There was one anchor that I set that was on the top of a bit of a drop off, and then I was supposed to rappel down it. I did NOT trust my anchor at first, but I got through it anyway, with two people being encouraging, and actually the 3rd is the one that helped me the most, even though it could have made things a lot worse.

Me: "I know this is an easy rappel, I'm just having a hard time trusting my anchor."
Friend 1: "That gear is bomber." (Solid.)
Friend 2: "It's not moving at all."
Friend 3: "Except the top one."

That last thing was what actually made me okay with it, because I realized that I didn't believe Friend 3 in the slightest, so then I knew I was fine. With friends like these....

3) I went for a bit of a hike on Tuesday, and it didn't go the way I wanted. I got turned around due to a bridge being out, and that was a huge disappointment, because I'd been looking forward to this hike for months. The happy part was that it was still nice, and that because I couldn't do the hike, I had a chance to go moose hunting. I "shot" one, but only with my camera. I hunt for photo ops.

4) (through 9) See, I kind of forgot about my Tuesday hike, since that was an odd time to hike and since I didn't hike on Saturday. We'll do the rest of the Happies in photo format.

Got to love hiking by the creek.

Not enough exposure on this shot, but I love the fireweed.

This guy really gave me the what for!

I played with the shutter speed on this one. I need a tripod, but this shot turned out well even without it.

My moose!
Head over to Stephanie's for more Little Happies!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Little Happies ~13~

It's Monday, which I always dread a little bit, but I love that something like this can shift the focus a little bit from the idea of an upcoming week of work. So, joining with Stephanie again this week.

1) With all my working out this week, I expected to start dropping off a bit in performance, but I kind ratcheted up instead! I got my personal best time on one workout, and that felt awesome! It's true that I love the physical changes in my body in the last few years (and, yes, I did dress up for a quick trip to the grocery store simply because I had a new size of pants to wear today), but what I really love is how much stronger I feel physically and mentally. I know I talk about this a lot, and I'm sorry if I bore y'all, but I really can't believe the difference between now and five years ago. (I do actually have a link to some photographic evidence of this, but you'll have to email me if you want to see that. I'm not going to link it here.)

2) I saw a meme on the Book of the Face this week that I loved. It said:

Athletes don't diet and exercise;
they eat and train.

All kinds of goodness there, and so true! When you are eating for proper fuel, you look at a lot more than just calories in and calories out. And training is much more goal oriented than just exercising for the sake of exercise. Once I had specific things to train for and specific activities that I was fueling, my daily activity routines changed dramatically.

3) This sign made me happy:

4) Another happy thing about that sign is that the new lens made it so that I could get a much crisper photo because I could actually zoom in. I love it!

5) This hike made me happy:

Because how could it not?