Monday, July 14, 2014

Little Happies ~12~

It's Monday! That's not always a bad thing. This day is kind of weird, though. It seemed kind of long and kind of short all at the same time.  Anyway, since it's Monday, it's time to join up with Stephanie for Little Happies!

1) I guess this doesn't really qualify as a "little" happy, because it's a really big deal, but I'm happy to have so many amazing friends all over the place who are so quick with prayers and support.  Thank you all so much!

2) Another happy is that I love that there is this online community.  I posted something today on FB about the weather, and I got comments on the weather from locals, and from people from East to West coast.  How sweet is it that about anywhere I want to travel, there's a good chance I could find someone to meet up with? So fun!

3) Wild. Flowers. Columbines and Indian Paintbrush are some of my favorites, and I'm so excited that they're out now! Yay!

4) You know one has to be about food. I made a big batch of gazpacho this weekend, and I have been LOVING it. I've been eating it with avocados and either bacon or shrimp with Cajun seasoning. SO good!

5) I got the best compliment recently.  I have changed in a lot of ways in the last 5 years, and especially since moving out here. This person has known me for a couple of those years, and here was the observation the other day, "You used to be this round-faced, corn-fed Midwesterner, but now you're kind of a beast!"  I loved it. Before the last few years of my life, I used to be quite sedentary, and I certainly never saw myself as active or athletic. I will gladly take that and own it now, because yes, I am! :)

6) Have I mentioned that I love hiking?

7) I'm excited to meet up with a friend tomorrow for another early morning workout. I'm dreading it, but it'll be fun.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rich Soil

This post is just going to be a bit of a dump to unload a few things that have been going on.

First, my aunt still needs prayers. I keep finding out more about her situation, both health wise and some personal things that I can't go into, but yeah.  Then I found out that a 23 year old that I knew (not well, but still) was killed in a car accident last weekend. Plus a couple of other serious things along those lines, none of which were happening to me, but they left me wishing that I could help the people that they were happening to. Then there were some MUCH less serious things that were going on for me, and though they were minor, I didn't have the bandwidth to deal with them this week. It got so bad there for a couple of days that I wasn't that hungry (I know! Me!) and my sister was being nice to me. (My sister is a very nice person, but our typical mode of communication is smart-a**, so when we drop that, you know it's bad.)

I went hiking yesterday, so I have regained some perspective in life and am doing much better myself, (also, I ate breakfast, second breakfast, lunch and a few snacks so far today, so normal is returning) but obviously, the people truly affected by these situations need any prayers you can spare!

I can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but my online worlds are colliding more and more. In other words, there are a lot more of you that I am now Fa.cebook friends with, and I love that (and if you want to be fb friends, let me know!), but as reminder, as far as fb is concerned, this blog does not exist! Not that anyone has said anything on the book of the face, but while I love getting to know everyone better, I do not want some of the fb people coming here. The people that need to know about this blog already know. :)

Finally, the priest had some really good insights today about the gospel with the seeds falling on the different type of soil.  For some reason, my brain interpreted myself as the plant in these stories, but that's not true at all. We're the soil. Shallow, rich, or full of other things.  If we want the grace of God (the seed) to bear fruit in our lives, we have to prepare the soil. Clean out the other things that could choke it off. Make sure that it is tilled and aerated and fertilized and ready to receive God's grace.  I'm sure you all were already aware of all of that, but it was a slight shift of focus for me and it worked.

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend and the quickly passing summer!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Little Happies ~11~

I'm actually not having the best of days today.  I have a bit of a headache that won't stop, a friend and an aunt got some unfavorable test results (my aunt, in particular, who may have more than one kind of cancer and they're just now finding it; no idea yet how treatable it may be), and the job is kicking my rear end.  I mean, it's good, because I'm busy and I'm happy that I'm busy. However, it also kicking my rear end.  Still, the fact that it isn't a perfect day means that it is the perfect time for Little Happies! That's kind of the point, isn't it? Not to ignore things that are tough and not going perfectly, but not to let the tough things drown out the fact that there are many good things. Joining with Stephanie and the others to celebrate the little things that make life good.

1) Despite the mosquitos and the rain, I had a great time camping with friends this weekend. I will admit that camping as an activity is still very low on my list of fun things to do, but being with friends is a good thing, and it that part was a lot of fun. And I am getting better at camping. I just prefer that it is something that you do so that you can be at the trailhead first thing in the morning. Not hanging out in camp all day with the mosquitos.

2) We got to climb this weekend. I'm not sure if I was more excited about climbing or taking pictures of climbers (trying to get better photos that just butt shots), but both were a lot of fun.

3) A friend and I got lost on our way to the rock.  This is the same friend that is traveling to Europe with me where we will meet our other friend. We were a little frustrated, but we were also driving in the mountains, so we were quickly and easily distracted by great views, stopped for some photos, and still had a good time. This is the kind of people to travel with, Europe is going to be a blast!

4) Here's what it looks like to get lost out here:

5) I'm going to market Little Happies as a new cure. Because my last happy is that my headache has actually decreased by remembering what I'm happy about! (It's a tension headache, so it does make sense that decreasing some tension will decrease the headache.) Thankful for all of you that join in, either by writing your own or reading along and thanks also for your prayers for my aunt, because I know you and I know that you'll be praying. -->

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Little Happies ~10~

Linking up with Stephanie for Little Happies. (Stephanie, I'm more convinced than ever that I would love for LH's to be more than once a month, but I really will accept whatever you think is best! Also, very well aware that I speak as someone who hasn't had the time and/or wherewithal to be that on top of joining in the last few weeks.  But I WANT to join every week, so does that count??)

This is a fun week.  I thought about saving some of these for the next week, but then I thought, nope next week's happies can take care of themselves.  I'm just going to dump a bunch now, including some from previous weeks since I was not on top of it enough to get them in before.

Man, where to start? How about a photo dump? Because hiking always makes me happy! (If this was a showing in a gallery, we could call it "Doors, Flowers, and Mountains.")

1) "Ghost town":

An old rusty bridge, but there's a mountain in the background, so it works.

Post office doors

Fake flowers in the window at the ghost town
Still in the ghost town...
 2) Random flowers:
I absolutely LOVE cactus flowers!
 3) Hiking last weekend:
Sunset (we had to camp the night before)

Cannot get enough of teeny tiny alpine flowers!

See what I mean? (These are maybe half the size of your fingernail in real life)

Reflections are a definitely a happy!

4) Hiking this weekend:
I love being above tree line!

I love mountain lakes! And that sky!!
5)The wind on the mountain this weekend kept making me laugh. It was crazy intense and cold, but fun. We were doing a fairly mild hike up a wide, flat ridge, so I wasn't too worried about the wind blowing us over the edge, or we would not have continued on. (Our summit for the week was just above the snow you see on the top of the last photo. So we really did not want to get too close to the edge.) Anyway, it made me laugh, because when we got to the top of the saddle (lower place between two peaks), the wind was funneling through there. I leaned forward and let the wind hold me up, which it kind of did, so that was fun.  Then we were walking with it to the side of us, and when I would pick up my foot to take a step, the wind would blow it across my other foot! It only last for a short time until my brain figured out how to adjust for it, but it was funny while it lasted. Yes, I know there's something wrong with me for enjoying the elements that much when they are that intense, but there's just something about being out there in the midst of it that I can't describe, but absolutely love.

6) This week I pushed myself in the gym to the point that I almost wanted to puke.  When I felt like that, I smiled. You see, this week our instructor was on vacation, and I see myself as someone that doesn't work out hard at a gym. Which is silly, because I've been working out hard at a gym for months now, but always with someone telling me what to do. This week, I decided to prove to myself that I could work out hard with or without an instructor.  It was very exciting to me to reach that point. (The point of working hard, I wasn't trying to get to that point, specifically.)  I'm still really glad our instructor is back next week. It's much more fun that way and I can't imagine self motivating week in and week out at that level, but I'm really glad I had the chance for that day.

7) Some amazing greek yogurt that I've had recently.  I mostly avoid dairy, but I was trying to add back in just a little bit. My stomach wasn't totally thrilled with it, but it wasn't too bad as long as I don't eat too much of it. I found this brand that tasted absolutely amazing! Totally worth it!

8) Kind of a big happy: My car sustained some cosmetic damage a few weeks ago! I am SO excited! Not because of the damage, but because I took it in to get an estimate and they cut me a check. I'm definitely not getting it fixed; the car is getting oldish and has a lot of miles on it. Some people have said to me, "Oh, so it's not that noticeable, huh?" Who really cares? It's noticeable all right, but I'm just going to say it adds character. So what if that character has a distinctly ghetto vibe? At the end of my life, I'm going to love that I drove a dented car and treasure the fact that it financed a trip to visit a good friend of mine. Who lives in Europe.

Yep. I'm working on the details, and it'll be a little ways off, but it's going to happen and I can't wait! :)


Sunday, June 22, 2014

What I Wore Sunday and Other Clothing Madness

What I Wore Sunday linkup

I don't normally join WIWS, but this weekend, I actually had my act together. I paired my black and white skirt with black shoes and shirt instead of navy like last week. I thought I'd share since I actually matched in Mass today:

Excuse the odd positioning. I was trying to get a picture that showed the details of the shoe, because they have kind of a lacy/crocheted thing going on.  The picture still failed to pick it up.

In other clothing problems of the week (totally first world problems!), what is it with the skinny pants craze and when can it go away enough that there are other options?! I was shopping this week and attempting to find some pants that actually fit, particularly pants to wear to work.  EVERYthing is this skinny pants nonsense.  Now, some are not as bad as others, but most of these pants do NOT work for me. I have a butt and hips, people! As it should be, I might add. I should have gotten a shot of the one pair I tried on. Skin tight the whole way, definitely gave me an ice cream cone vibe.  Even worse than the ice cream cone pants of old (you know the ones I mean?), because these were (as I mentioned) skin tight

Also, my Stitch Fix came, and my Stitch Fix went.  I didn't even bother posting. Nothing worked that well.  One shirt was nice, but not worth the price as far as I was concerned. My main issue was that I had given some specific feedback after the last one that seemed to be totally ignored. Meh.

I also did some online shopping because I am in big need of shirts. I doubt I'll do much online shopping. I really need to try things on.  I really like some of the things I got, and I may have to return some others.  Still, I did a way better job than Stitch Fix did this time around. Are you tired of helping me figure out clothes, or should I post something about the shirts that still have me up in the air?

Anyway, it's nice to have some clothes that fit again, and I really appreciate being able to do some shopping as needed.  

Oh, yeah! I almost forgot to give you the details from the stuff above.  In an anomaly for me, there is no NY&C anywhere in this outfit.

Shirt: White House Black Market (I can only afford the sales, but some of the sales can be fantastic!)
Skirt: The Loft
Shoes: (which are cuter IRL) DSW

Monday, June 16, 2014

Little Happies ~9~

How about we start out that I'm happy that I have things together enough to join Stephanie and participate in Little Happies this week?  I've been enjoying reading everyone else's, and each week I kept thinking that I wanted to join in, but just couldn't get things together.

1) Maybe my biggest Little Happy is that the wildflowers are blooming! I love, love, love the wildflowers and we've had a lot of rain this year so they're going nuts.  What's that? You'd like some examples? Ask and ye shall receive.

2) I went shopping the other day. This is still a constant source of surprise and fun to me. As active as I've been since I've moved out here, my sizes didn't start to drop until I dropped gluten and dairy last year.  Then they dropped a little more when I started spin last fall.  I still feel like I'm getting the wrong sizes to try on (you ever feel like someone's going to roll their eyes at you for getting a "wishful thinking" size to try on, or is that just me?) and then I'm shocked when they fit! I actually had one pair of shorts where I had to grab a smaller size yet! This was especially shocking since I've actually been up a couple of pounds in the last month or so compared to most of the winter.  It's weird how the brain can take a while to catch up with knowing where the body actually is, and we can't see what others see sometimes.

3) The upshot of all of this is: New outfit. :) Is it wrong that I was looking forward to Mass since Thursday just so I could wear the new outfit? Shockingly shallow, I know, but it definitely made me happy! Even though I'm dealing with a rounded neckline and I prefer V-neck.  Minor details! Even though I really liked the outfit, I did notice right at the beginning of church that what I thought was a white and navy pattern in the skirt was actually black and white.  So I didn't match nearly as well as I thought I did. Oops.  I guess it just means that I have to get a skirt with some navy in it as well. I have some black shirts that will go great with the skirt.  I was going to post a photo, but I'll wait until I match.  Not that you would have been able to tell from a photo anyway. And, yes, I was distracted for the rest of Mass by my mismatched state, even though I wasn't in the least concerned that anyone would notice. I noticed, and that's what I cared about. Again, shallow as shallow can be.

4) Tired of clothes yet? Me, neither! I'm also happy that I have another Stitch Fix coming up.  Since I just got some new shirts and I wasn't on top of it enough to ask for some pants and/or capris (which is what I really need now), I will be surprised if I find that much to keep, but I still look forward to seeing what ideas I get.  You know I'll be looking for feedback from you all!

5) Got to go on a great hike with a friend this weekend, and spent at least a couple hours above tree line. That's always a happy thing, and especially with it being one of the first few times of the year, and the first time that some of the snow was gone and the flowers were out. Love it up there!

6) Beautiful, amazing sunrise!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

On Days When the Plan Seems Really, Really Messed Up

After I wrote my last post, I realized that it's still missing something.  There are days that are not so bad, and days that are fantastically wonderful even in the midst of whatever struggle someone is going through. But there are also days (and too often those days can stretch into months and years) where there is just darkness in the struggle. Then what? Because I want to realize that He is faithful in the darkest times where nothing makes any sense at all and it all hurts, not just in the times where things are good despite not getting what I want.

Thankfully, I haven't spent much time in that place lately. This post will be written more from a point of looking back rather than current experience.  And that may be the only way to write a post like this, because in the middle of the worst of it, how can there be the kind of perspective that allows for seeing a plan? The problem with seeing God's plan in the darkness is that everything is all one big mixed up mess.

When everything hurt, and hurt terribly, I wondered why God was either causing this pain or didn't care enough to fix it. I couldn't figure out what could possibly be the purpose of leaving me alone. Was it because I just wouldn't make a good wife or mother? Was it because there was a greater plan? Why did He think I cared about a greater plan, when all I wanted was for the pain to stop? Why was He causing so much pain and sending so little relief?

Looking back, I realize that I attributed everything to God and His plan at that time. It was horrible.  God seemed to have a seriously messed up plan. I didn't see that His plan had nothing to do with the pain and suffering.  He was not the cause of my being alone. It wasn't His plan for things to hurt so bad. The suffering, death, sin, natural disasters and all the rest are not actively a part of His plan.  He allows them, but He doesn't pull the strings for them to happen. Cancer is not part of his plan. Children dying is not part of His plan. People killing each other through either negligence or malice is not part of His plan. Parents abandoning children is not part of His plan. On and on the list goes.

So much suffering is senseless, and leaves us grasping at all kinds of painful reasons as to why we have to go through such things.  We want to know why.  There has to be a reason, doesn't there? If something is going to be that awful, there has to be something that we did to deserve it, or some reason that God doesn't love us, or some reason that it will all be okay in the end.

What I am finally realizing and have been talking about some here is that the author of death, confusion, chaos is all about the senselessness of it all. The Author of Life, however, does have a plan in the midst of it.  He has a plan to redeem every tear.  To take every moment of the senselessness and make it deeply meaningful.

I don't think it's His plan to break us beyond recognition.  I think that the breaking is going to happen to all of us as some point in our lives.  The question is, do we seek Him and His plan to not only heal us, but to restore us to His original plan for our lives, or do we turn from Him and remain broken?

In the middle of the pain, I could not figure out why God was causing me so much pain and I remember lashing out at Him a lot.  From my perspective now, I wonder how I could have blamed Him for it all.  Just as I am writing this, it occurs to me to wonder about something.  You know how anytime that we are angry, hurting, etc, we lash out at the ones closest to us?  Maybe the reason that it all seemed like God's fault at the time is because He was the One that was closest in the middle of it all.