Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Six

1. I woke up with a pounding headache this morning. I have myself to blame. I let my husband talk me into watching The Family Stone last night. It's one of our favorite Christmas movies but it always ends with me doing the ugly cry. That explains the headache. It also explains why my eyes are swollen to about five times their normal size, making me look as haggard as I feel. Awe. some.

2. Coffee is helping though. Coffee always helps.

3. I was in Arkansas most of last week. My mom's husband lost his battle with lung cancer and I went for the funeral and to spend a couple days with my mom. My sister and brother were there too and I think/hope we helped her get some things in order.

4. I stayed at my brother's house while there. There's nothing like being awakened first thing in the morning by a 3-year old singing "Let It Go" from Frozen. Trust me, it's angelic.

5. I am trying not to think of all that didn't get done last week in my absence. My to-do list is frightening. I see some late nights in my future. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

6. It's snowing here right now. Big, fluffy flakes. We haven't had a lot of snow this season so I'm happy to see it falling today. I really want to stay in bed and read and watch movies and nap, but that frightening list is taunting me. Happy Sunday, folks!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

December Currents

Current Read: Well, guess what? I'm so happy to tell you that I've read not one, not two, but THREE books since my last post! Orphan Train was excellent. So was Freefall to Fly. And The Dinner? Eh. It was dark, but it kept my interest and that is huge. Earlier this week I started reading Touching Wonder, an Advent book that my husband wrote a few years ago. It's my favorite!

Current Playlist: Christmas music! Sometimes I start listening before Thanksgiving, but this year I waited. I have a good mix of old, new, traditional, and non-traditional stuff. I love it all!

Current Color(s): Gray, black, and brown. I actually like them all mixed together but I like them separate too!

Current Food: I can't get enough roasted spaghetti squash. Have you ever roasted one? It's SO easy. My favorite way to enjoy it is to heat about a cup of roasted spaghetti squash with a Tbsp or so of pesto and then add some rotisserie chicken and a sprinkle of feta on top. So delicious. It's been my go-to lunch almost every day this week.

Current Favorite Favorite: Not Your Daughter's Jeans. I've heard about these jeans for years but have never tried them on until two weeks ago. We were at the mall and I was determined to leave with a pair of great-fitting jeans and boy did I find them. These jeans are the BEST. So comfy, so well-made, and so flattering--especially for women of a certain age. Their tagline is: Look and feel a size smaller. I gotta tell you it's true. I got a lot of compliments this week when I wore them. They're pricey but I was grateful to find them on sale. I'd be willing to save up and pay full price though--I love them that much.

Current Addiction: Sweet & Spicy tea from Good Earth.

Current Wish List: I want some hiking poles, snowshoes, and a FlipBelt. Santa has been informed. I even went so far as to load up his cart on REI.com. I'm helpful like that.

Current Need: I NEED to clean my house. I haven't been home this much and it's insane how quickly a house can get cluttered and dirty when you're on the go! Desperately need to find some time this weekend to get it shaped up. It's going to be a family affair. We all pitch in around here!

Current Triumph: I hiked the Incline yesterday. It's an insane workout (2000 foot vertical gain in just under 1 mile) and you better believe I'm counting that as a triumph! The Incline has been closed for repairs for a few months and yesterday was the official re-opening. It was crowded but fun! There were news crews and photographers everywhere and I found this pic on one of the photographer's sites. I have no idea what I'm doing with my mouth but it cracks me up!

Current Annoyance: Rude people! I think this time of year either brings out the best in people or the worst. Sad to say that this week I saw more of the latter. Ugh. Another annoyance? Paying for 2-3 priority shipping only to have your items still not arrive 5 days later. Not cool USPS, not cool.

Current Blessing(s): Time with friends this week, receiving Christmas cards in the mail, and just simplifying some things this season that have brought calm and peace.

Current Outfit: Skinny jeans (never thought I'd love them but I do), boots, long sweaters and scarves have been my go-to's this week. 

Current Excitement: We have some of our favorite holiday parties coming up! This time of year is so fun!!! I'm also excited about seeing the movie "Wild" with my friend who got me to read the book. It released yesterday just not in Colorado Springs! We're waiting patiently for local movie times to be posted.

Current Project(s): Ironing out details for a church event in February and working on getting 100+ gifts packaged and mailed for work. Both are big (but fun) projects on my plate right now!

Current plans for the day: Find time to clean this house, do some meal planning, take a nap (I have goals, people!), finish up some online shopping, and hopefully squeeze a date night in since all three of our kiddos have plans this evening! 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

SMP 12.3.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Good morning, dear neglected blog.

I've got exactly seven minutes before I need to jump in the shower and get ready for this day. I sometimes tell John, "Hey, I'm jumping the shower" and he always always always replies, "Hey, why don't you just step in the shower; jumping is hazardous". He's a funny one.

My day today is full of errands and meetings and some Christmas shopping thrown in. I like Christmas shopping! I'm getting close to finishing all that up--hooray!

We still don't have our Christmas tree up. We carved out a block of time last weekend and it was the most frustrating experience. Exactly one dozen lights on our pre-lit tree were working. We decided to re-string the tree with lights (too much work to cut the old ones off) and I sent John out three times ro buy lights...lights...and more lights. After stringing 1500 lights, I plugged in the last strand to finish the top and they ALL went out. I was MAD. And I was FINISHED. We took the whole tree down and returned the lights and went the other night to buy a new pre-lit tree. Which is still sitting in the box in my entryway.

That's how we roll.

I cancelled some stuff we had going on tonight so we could put that ding-dang tree up as a family! In between kid activities and Christmas parties we just haven't had a night we were all home and that's an activity that we do as a family!

So...that's not all I intended to write about this morning but my seven minutes are up and I must shower and get my day going. Happy Hump Day, y'all!




Saturday, November 22, 2014

Six on Sat

{I really need help with catchy blog post titles.}

1. This was one of the most productive weeks I've had in ages. I crossed so many things off of my to-do list at work and I even found myself with a few rare hours at home one day which I used to clean and scrub. I love the feeling of having a clean home and an empty to-do list going into a holiday week!

2. We all have next week off for Thanksgiving! Nine whole days of togetherness = heaven for this mama. I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner and we plan to do a lot of sleeping in, a little shopping, and some movie-going. We have some time with friends mixed in and we also plan to do some Christmas decorating, but that will wait until after Thanksgiving. One holiday at a time, people. I will say that Advent snuck up on me this year. It begins next Sunday which is still November! I like it when we have that extra week in between Thanksgiving and Advent.

3. John was out of town for part of last week. I've never loved him traveling for work and am grateful that it's pretty infrequent. I've seen a huge, huge answer to prayer in regard to my fear when he's gone. I used to get so worked up at night when he was away. I'd put chairs in front of every door, "sleep" with lights on, and "sleep" on the couch so I could hear and identify noises better from the front of the house. I don't think I ever really slept when he was away and the minute he'd arrive home, I'd head to bed for a looooong nap. After years of asking God to take my fear away, that spirit of fear is completely and totally gone! And I mean GONE. I am beyond grateful. I still don't like it when John is away, but at least I'm able to get a good night's rest!

4. Will is the mountains this weekend at Snow Camp (Young Life) and Abbey is going to the same camp with her Wyldlife group in a couple of weeks. It will be her first camp experience but she's excited so that makes me happy. Sarah has chosen our church youth group over YL and that's a-ok with us. She's very connected there and I just think that as long as they're each plugged in somewhere and growing that's what matters.

5. Have you started Christmas shopping? I've done a tiny bit. I have so many ideas and am ready to get started and I hope to knock some shopping out this week, mostly online. I am NOT a start-on-Thanksgiving-night-fight-the-crowds-for-the-best-deals shopper any longer. Been there, done that. Not my thing. I will however be doing some Black Friday shopping from the comfort of my cozy couch, with slippers on my feet and coffee in hand. Click and done!

6. I have procrastinated all week on making my menu plan and grocery list. I knew that since John was out of town part of the week I could get by with some easy meals using stuff I had on hand, but now my pantry pickings are slim and I'm out of staples so I must tackle that list and also plan my Thanksgiving Day menu. I do have a turkey but that's about it. So I'm signing off to do some planning and then trek to the grocery store. On a Saturday. Blech. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SMP 11.12.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Good morning from c-c-cold Colorado. An arctic front blew in on Monday and is giving us a taste of winter! School is delayed this morning due to extreme cold because wind chills are about -15. I wouldn't be sad if they'd just cancel school for the day but I don't think that will happen.
 John and I ran to Costco on Saturday for a few things and I picked up this heated throw blanket. Oh my gosh. Heaven. It is wonderful. My friend calls it the "Nap-maker" or something like that, and it's true. I took a short nap under it both Saturday and Sunday and I almost did last night. 

I'd love to stay snuggled under it today and read this book.

I went last week to find a book that was suggested to me and my local bookstore didn't have it so I walked out with this one instead. I love it so far! I have a couple of your suggestions on hold at the library so I need to finish this quickly.


Friday, November 07, 2014

Straight Talk: Relationships

I had a comment on a post I wrote last month and in it, a long-time reader asked me if I would share more about moving in the direction of relational health. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and decided to answer her questions here on the the blog. This is not a "how-to" post; it’s simply a peek into some parts of my journey.

How do you go about making progress in this area?

For me, I really began to take a long, prayerful look at the relationships in my life that felt hard. What was hard? What was good? What did I wish was different? Where was I at fault? What was I willing to invest? What did I really want? I’ve written about this before but sometimes knowing what you don’t want leads you into knowing what you DO want. Through my evaluation process, I realized that some of the relationships I was holding on to were not ones I wanted to keep investing in. I realize that sounds harsh, but in order to be kind to myself I had to cut some ties.

I also invested in some counseling. My husband loves me dearly but he isn’t objective when it comes to me and things that hurt me, so it didn’t feel fair to make him listen/process this stuff with me. Counseling was a logical next step, and as is always the case, was a journey into deeper self-revelation. I was able to clearly identify relational patterns and triggers in my life, and because my counseling was faith-based, I was able to invite Jesus into my process of healing—a process that is still ongoing. I don’t feel led to share the nitty gritty here; I’m sure you understand.


How do you prune relationships that are not healthy? It just seems so awkward, but I know I need to. As a people pleaser, I just don’t know how.

Let me first say that YOU get to define what unhealthy relationships mean in regard to you and your life. Not every hard relationship is unhealthy. Some are definitely worth fighting for. 

I chose to completely cut ties. Maybe you can limit your involvement with those who pull you down, or retreat a bit, but for me, it was a complete break. Cutting ties isn’t clean or easy; I’m still wading through some emotional residue, awkwardness, and lingering hurt. As much as I hate it, I don’t know any way around this. I do know that the peace I feel from stepping away is confirmation that I did the right thing.

It’s easy to play a blame-game when you’re evaluating difficult relationships but it’s important (and difficult) to stay away from that emotional pull. Rarely are things completely one-sided. Owning my fault and and my role in the demise of certain relationships was hard, but necessary.

One big thing I realized during this process is that I have a pretty significant flight response. The minute things get hard or weird, I flee and convince myself I’m better off without that person in my life. There are times that is true but flight shouldn’t be the first/only response and it is completely unfair to emotionally abandon a person.

In regard to being a people pleaser and it being awkward to navigate unhealthy relationships: YES. It is completely awkward. I’m a people pleaser too. I want everyone to like me. The hard truth is that everyone doesn’t. Haters is a strong word, but I have a few in my life, and I’m trying to take Taylor Swift’s advice and Shake It Off. It’s hard to do; harder still if that pleaser mentality is deeply ingrained in every fiber of your being.

I’m also slowly learning to get up every morning and let ONE VOICE define me. God’s voice. He is the one who truly knows my heart and my motives and my needs and my fears and His opinion of me is the one that matters most. It’s the key to freedom in this area.


Can you suggest any books that helped you in this area?

Friendships Don’t Just Happen by Shasta Nelson was a book I loved because it gave me a system to evaluate and categorize my relationships. She explains her system in this video. I think this book also validated my decision to “cut ties” yet didn’t let me off the hook for my flight response and the ways I emotionally check out of relationships. It challenged me to change the way I threw around words like “toxic” and it challenged me to push through difficult relationship challenges. While the book is not overtly Christian, the writer is and I thought she approached things in a balanced way.

I haven’t read Boundaries in a number of years but I still practice some of the things I learned from this book and would suggest it as a resource in navigating relational wellness.

Couple of things to add:
1. All of my "hard" relationships were female friendships. This is an area where I've personally struggled for the past several years. 
2. I'm happy to answer questions in the comments section. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

November Currents

Current Read: Help! Please, please help me find a good work of fiction to read. I do not like non-fiction and I don't want to let another month pass without reading something. Suggestions?

Current Playlist: Taylor Swift, New Life Worship, David Crowder, Coldplay.

Current Color(s): Navy and camel (I like them separate and together) and I'm also digging eggplant. The color, not the veggie. I'll eat just about anything but eggplant and beets. Yucko.

Current Food: I am kind of addicted to kale and sweet potatoes and this paleo bread right now. I'm not Paleo because I like carbs too much, but this recipe is gluten-free and it's fast and I usually have the ingredients on hand so I'm LOVING it.

Current Favorite Favorite: I hinted at an awesome beauty product last month and never gave you the info. It's this eyebrow serum. Over the past few years my eyebrows have basically quit growing--I blame age and over-plucking in my 20s. My aunt told me about this serum (and gave me a tube) when I was in St Louis at the end of August. I've been using it faithfully and I HAVE EYEBROWS again. It's crazy awesome!

Current Addiction: According to my hair stylist I have an addiction to highlights. She went really dark with my hair last time and I did not like it at all. I didn't hate it enough to go back, but I didn't like how dark it was. I went yesterday for a cut/highlights and told her I needed it lighter and brighter and she laughed and told me I'm addicted to highlights. I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to.

Current Wish List: I really really really want a warm hat with an opening for my ponytail! And I also want a set of silicone baking cups.

Current Need: Abbey and I had a good discussion the other day about wants/needs and right now I feel grateful that all of my needs are met.

Current Triumph: I made it to Wednesday afternoon...does that count? It's been a really full week already so I'm totally counting it.

Current Annoyance: I can't figure out how to keep my computer connected to my Wi-Fi at home. UGH. It's something in my settings, I guess, because it's only affecting my computer (no one else's computer and no phones) and it is super duper annoying. I'm techy but I can't seem to figure this out!

Current Blessing(s): I'm feeling grateful for my kids' friends. They each have an exceptional peer group and those friends keep them accountable and out of trouble. It's a big blessing in their lives.

Current Outfit: Jeans, boots, purple sweater (eggplant!) and earrings I've had since like 1990. They're so old they've come back into style.

Current Excitement: I have a couple of fun things on my calendar in the next week that I'm looking forward to including a dinner with friends and a date with my husband.

Current Project(s): I need to finish painting my kitchen table and chairs. I'm also helping out a bit with the Young Life Fundraising Banquet next week so I need to get my ducks in a row with that, and I'm working on some content for my Healthy Holiday accountability group. There's still space in my group--message me if you're interested in more info.

Current plans for the day: The day is winding down but I'm going to pick up my youngest in a bit and wait for John to get home. It's a rare night that we're all at home and he asked if I'd like to get something for dinner. I don't have to think about that. Yes! Let's go. So we're going out to dinner and then I hope to come home, put on my pjs, and watch some mindless television! 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Quick Ketchup

Yes, I know it's catch up and not ketchup, but ketchup is more fun to type.

1. Our Halloween was quite different this year. We had NO kids at home that night. One was working, one was at a football game, and one had a sleepover at a friend's house and trick-or-treated there. We'd decided last month that we weren't going to give out candy this year and instead donate what we'd normally spend to good cause, but John caved at the last minute and bought some enormous bags of candy from Costco. He's a big softie and loves giving out candy to our trick-or-treaters. I suppose I kind of like it too. My friend sent me this picture of Abbey and company before they headed out...she was a cat and she made her cat ears and tulle tutu (which you can barely see) all by herself.
2. Last week my sweet friend came over and we started painting my kitchen table and chairs. Well, I painted and she tackled the upholstery on my chairs. We didn't get finished and I haven't had time to work on it since then but it's looking good so far! I'll post pictures once it's all finished up.
3. It's cold here this morning. The older I get the less I like winter. I've been spoiled by our very, very mild October. Not ready for frigid temps, but I am very much liking our daytime highs this week!
4. Are you voting today? I'm going to my polling place on my way to get my hair cut later. I filled out my ballot a few weeks ago and had it all ready to mail and then I threw it away. On purpose. I was apathetic about the whole thing. Not because I didn't know who/what I wanted to vote for but because I sometimes wonder if it matters, ya know? Conviction won out though and I will vote later today with confidence in the people/things I believe in. It matters, people, and it's a very important privilege that we have in this country! GO VOTE!

5. I'm hosting a Healthy Holiday online accountability group beginning next Monday, 11/10. If that sounds like something you'd like to be a part of or if you'd like more information about it, message me at: meredith@lifeat7000feet.com and I'll give you the 411.
Alrighty...signing off to wrap up some work this morning and head out for a hair appointment! SO excited to get rid of my gray. It's popping up faster and faster these days. UGH.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Six

1. This {goofy} guy was my lunch date yesterday. He got out of school early and I asked him if he wanted to run some errands with me. He agreed to go if lunch was part of the deal. How could I say no? He'll graduate in May so these moments must be seized.
2. Lately, I've cut way way back on my sugar consumption, as in basically none. at all. nada. zip. {i adore sugar so you have no idea how hard this is for me} Know what? I feel SO much better. I realized mid-week that I wasn't having my mid-afternoon slumps. I actually had energy and wasn't crashing at 8pm either despite getting up before 5am almost every day. Sugar is not my friend. I did make some banana muffins yesterday--oh my gosh, so good--which were sweetened with honey {still sugar!} but I didn't eat the whole batch {ha ha} and I didn't crave them the rest of the day. I like the feeling of having energy more than the sugar rush, I think.

3. I've also cut way way way back on social media. I just prefer to live life offline. Ironic that my #4 is about Instagram--ha!

4. One afternoon this week I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I came across this post from Ellen DeGeneres.
GET OUT! Y'all, I went in every room of my house that has a switch on the wall connected to an outlet and they were all UPSIDE DOWN. Who knew? I certainly didn't.

5. I'm on a quest this weekend to find some fabric to recover some chairs and to pick a paint color for a project I'm working on...it's harder than I thought it would be. I didn't get the "decorator" gene for sure.

6. I can't even believe the crazy warm weather we're having in Colorado this month. I'm grateful I had a day to hike this week and I really really want to squeeze another one in this weekend. Hope you guys are having a beautiful weekend wherever you are!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Happy List

Happy Thursday, friends. I'm happy today. My husband is back in town after several days away and life is just better when he's here. I do not enjoy solo-parenting and have ginormous respect for my friends who are single moms or whose hubands travel frequently.

Just thought I'd share a list of happy things that I have either been enjoying or have recently discovered!

1. If you're a fan of NBC's Parenthood and you love Christina Braverman (I've only met one person who didn't like that character!) then you need to check out MrsPotter.com Such a fun find on the world wide web!

2. A couple of weeks ago, I made this healthy protein cookie dough. It's actually very good. I only had one kid try it and I didn't tell her what was in it until AFTER she'd eaten it..and had seconds! She liked it! I liked it too! I'll make it again!

3This commercial makes me laugh every single time I see it. I think it is so funny.

4. Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. When my oldest daughter started wearing makeup I tried to find her something very natural looking and we landed upon this tinted moisturizer. She bought a tube and loved it, but no longer wears any kind of foundation. I was in her room the other day looking for some nail polish (that she "borrowed" and didn't put back...grrrrrr) and saw her tube and thought I'd give it a try. It's amazing. It's perfect for those days I don't really want to put make-up on but need a little something to just even out my skin and brighten things up. The downside is that it's expensive--more than my normal make-up--but Sarah told me I could have her tube! #winning

5. I got back in my PiYo groove this week and I'd forgotten how much I love that workout!

6. Costa Vida. This restaurant opened last week really close to my house and I've already been twice. It's SO good. I've tried mahi mahi tacos and a taco salad and both were delicious. There's still a couple of things I want to try from the menu so I guess I'll have to keep going back until I'm satisfied. Smile.

That's all the time I've got for today. Peace out, peeps and happy Thursday!






Saturday, October 18, 2014

Six on Saturday

1. Good morning! It's Saturday--possibly my favorite day of the week--and I'm still in my pjs in my big, comfy bed drinking my coffee and surfing the world wide web. I don't have many mornings that are slow and leisurely which makes that one of the things I love most about Saturdays.

2. I just realized I didn't post Sarah's Homecoming pictures from last weekend. She went with a big group of friends and had a fun time!
3. John and I went to a poetry gathering last night. I will confess that those kind of things are completely intimidating to me. I'm not the artsy or intellectual type and I find that most people who like poetry are. It was fun though--very Dead Poets Society-ish. Everyone took turns reading poetry in the dark with a flashlight. My husband was pretty much in his element and I was just there for the cultural opportunity and of course for the hors d'ouevres and dessert, which were delicious by the way. And please be impressed that I can spell hors d'ouevres.

4. I found a navy/white gingham shirt, y'all--at GAP and on clearance! It goes with everything and is my new favorite article of clothing. Abbey took this selfie of us the other day and I had it on with a green cardigan--so fun! (I'm a lame selfie taker--don't ever know where the lens is or where to look!)
5. Our kids had yesterday off from school for conferences and Abbey actually had Thursday off as well. She and I took advantage of a rare day together and ran to the Springs and bought materials for her Halloween costume and then grabbed some lunch and ran to the grocery store. She talked my head off and asked some excellent twelve-year-old-girl questions and we had a really sweet day together. I really do love these tween/teen years with my kids. I had no idea I would love this season as much as I do.

6. I probably need to wrap this up. I need to go pick Abbey up from a sleepover and run a few errands and then I have big plans to come home and do laundry and clean out my closet while watching football and making something delicious for dinner then catching up on my DVRd television shows. I haven't had a Saturday like this in such a long while and I am beyond excited about my blissfully boring day ahead. Peace out, peeps!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What diffuses your strength?

A week or so ago we learned that one of two power lines to our house wasn't functioning correctly and was only delivering 30% of its maximum energy to our home. The power box in our yard showed 100% power at the source but the line was faulty and the power was diffusing into the ground.

Interesting, isn't it?

I was sitting in church the day following this discovery and my mind started wandering (sorry, Pastor Tyg) about all the ways that my power, or strength, is diffused. I start every day with full potential but how is that potential diffused? Because if I'm honest, I don't always feel like I function at 100%. Do you?

I started making a list of all the things that diffuse my strength but basically it boils down to one category: DISTRACTION. I'm working so hard right now on a priority statement for my life--a statement of the things that I'm 100% committed to. Anything beyond those few things (and it's really only a few) is non-priority and likely a distraction that is diffusing my strength.

Here are some examples:

iPhone/computer. I could expand on this ad nauseum but I'm not sure I need to because you guys know what a time-suck and distraction our phones and computers are. I do NOT want to be attached to my phone OR my computer and have actually been trying really hard to take one day a week and just stay offline. It's hard--nearly impossible to stay completely offline--but geez Louise, I need a break from the constant state of connectedness.

Drama. How many little situations do we blow totally out of proportion and let consume our time, energy, and thoughts? RUN away from drama and the people who create it. It's a time-suck that diffuses your strength! I'm so not perfect in this area, and have realized that sometimes I'm the one who creates it but I'm trying to be better about realizing it and amending my behavior because any time or attention I give to that stuff takes times and attention away from my priorities!

Runaway thoughts and worry. As with drama, overthinking and worrying about things beyond our control zaps our time and our strength. I love the quote below. Again, I'm not perfect. I worry. I obsess. I overthink and create wild scenarios in my head that aren't even true. My goal is to get to a place that when I find myself consumed by runaway thoughts and worry I will quickly "take my thoughts captive." (2 Corinthians 10:5) I do this, but it's not always quickly; I seem to take the longer, more scenic route before I'm able to reign those thoughts in.
People. It almost feels wrong to say that people are a distraction but sometimes they can be. I'm slowly coming to a place of realizing that I can't be friends with everyone. I WANT to be, but I just can't. For me, I need to invest myself in a few close friends. I know what it feels like to be "over-relationshipped" (is that even a word?) and it's not a place of strength. It's a place where my strength feels diffused because I'm only able to offer a tiny piece of myself and my priorities feel out of whack because I'm making time for other people instead of the people who matter most.

Busy-ness. We all define "busy" differently. For me, busy-ness means extracurricular activities and getting everyone in my family where they need to be while working part-time and keeping a home running smoothly (laundry, meals, housekeeping). ALL those things are good and necessary, and they keep me BUSY but you what? They're all related to my family which is my #1 priority. I think the distraction of busy-ness is more about the extra things I say YES to that take time and attention from my priorities. I used to be the volunteer queen but now I do a lot less of that and choose the things that feel realistic and enjoyable. I dropped out of my Bunco group because I decided I wanted to spend Friday nights with my family. I limit the things I say yes to that require me to be gone in the evenings and we guard our weekends fiercely.

These are just a few examples and I'm certain there are many more. I'm NOT perfect and I don't have all this figured out and my strength still feels diffused in lots of areas but I want to choose well and I want to live a less distracted life so that I can offer my full strength and potential to the things that really matter!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

SMP 10.11.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

I can't even tell you how happy I am it's Saturday. I'm not a fan of over-activity and busy-ness and John and I fight pretty hard against that for our family but the past couple of weeks have been completely nuts. I think we've had something to do or somewhere to be every single night for the past ten days. This is SO not our lifestyle and I've been more than a bit grumpy about it. We've got a few more big things to push through before we see light at the end of the tunnel but I am ready for a nice, quiet night at home!

It's just John and "his girls" at home this weekend. Will is in Winter Park at Crooked Creek Young Life Camp doing a weekend work crew assignment. Sarah has so much going on with Homecoming that it's really feeling more like a Mer, John, and Abbey weekend. I kind of think Abbey likes it. I kind of do too.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

SMP 10.8.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Good morning! Guess what? Our whole house has electricity again! No more headlamps--hooray! I'm not quite as excited about having a working washer and dryer as I am about having a working television but it's amazing how much laundry piles up in three days with a family of five, so I suppose I need to muster up some enthusiasm and tackle that pile today.

I set my alarm for 4:30AM to wake up and watch the lunar eclipse. My alarm normally goes off at 5AM so it wasn't too much of a stretch and it was totally worth it. It was pretty amazing!

I'm keeping one of my kiddos (the senior) home from school today. He's been fighting a bad cold and I think he just needs a day to rest. Here's a picture from his Homecoming dance last weekend. He had a great time.
Sarah's Homecoming "Event" is this weekend. I'm calling it an event because it spans multiple days and it's completely different with girls--ha! This week is Spirit Week at her high school and yesterday was a Wizard of Oz theme. She put her costume together herself and I though she looked pretty cute. 

Happy Hump Day folks!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Currently ::: October

Current Read: I am sad to say that I'm not reading anything right now. I haven't been making time to read and that's just wrong. I miss it.

Current Playlist: Bethel Music, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, David Crowder Band. Ecclectic, as usual.

Current Color(s): Gray, orange, red. Not together.

Current Food: I kind of threw some ingredients together for lunch the other day and it was so good that it's now become my favorite go-to lunch.
It's artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers (from a jar), kalamata olives, cucumbers, and feta over a bowl of quinoa. I don't even add any seasoning because it's flavorful enough without it.

Current Favorite Favorite: Fall candles, our DVR, NFL Sunday Ticket (got it free for the season when we switched to DirectTV last spring), and a super amazing beauty product that deserves a post of it's very own. Stay tuned for that last one...

Current Addiction: SPellegrino sparkling water. And season one of The Black List on Netflix.
Current Wish List: I really want a black/white or navy/white gingham shirt. Anyone know where I should look? I saw some online for $88 and that's a whole lot more than I will spend.

Current Need: I really need to buy a new planner. Mine ends in December and I already have 2015 dates I need to get on the calendar.

Current Triumph: I feel like I'm finally finding a good rhythm in regard to my priorities and my time management and that feels like a triumph!

Current Annoyance: We woke up on Saturday to electricity in only half of our house. Turns out that one of two wires from the power box to our house has deteriorated to the point that it's only functioning at about 30%. An electrician came out Saturday and moved some of our circuits onto the one fully-functioning line until the other could be replaced. My oven, washer, dryer, bedroom/bathroom lights were unable to be re-circuited due to their voltage size so we've been doing what I call "suburban camping". Cooking in a crock-pot. Doing laundry at the laundromat. Wearing a headlamp to the bathroom. Yeah, seriously. And showering in the dark. Fun times. They came and mapped out all the power lines yesterday so they could dig up/replace the old line today. Hopefully this suburban camping life ends soon, which is good because I'm running out of crock-pot ideas and clean underwear.

Current Blessing(s): The (minor) inconveniences we've been living with the past few days make me realize these are first world problems and we are incredibly blessed to have things like heat and unspoiled food and a working coffee-maker and internet. And funds to pay for the repairs. And so so so much more.

Current Outfit: Well, currently I'm still wearing my workout clothes from this morning but I'm going to shower soon and get dressed for the day. I'm thinking jeans and a lightweight cardigan. I think our temps are 60s/70s today--perfect! 

Current Excitement: I am very excited about Trader Joe's opening on Friday in Colorado Springs! It's been a long wait for TJs to arrive in my neck of the woods. I have a list going...AND I have a balance on a TJs gift card. Pretty sure I've never been this excited about grocery shopping before.

Current Project(s): My plate is pretty free of projects right now and I am more than okay with that!

Current plans for the day: Shower. Errands. Lunch with my "church girls" to catch up and do some brainstorming. Carpool. Dinner. And hopefully some Black List before bed. That is if my bedroom has electricity by tonight. Fingers crossed! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Simply Stunning

John and I got up early yesterday and drove up to the "high country" to try to see some fall foliage at it's peak. Oh my goodness. Colorado is simply stunning in the fall. 
We drove up to Wilkerson Pass then made a quick loop through Divide on our way home.
At one point I told John: There is no "ugly" view on this drive. It's the truth. We live in such a beautiful place.

I took a selfie because John wasn't quite getting the shot I wanted. What can I say? I have control needs.





Aspens are my very favorite tree. The yellow leaves and the white bark are gorgeous--especially when groves of them are sprinkled amidst the evergreens. It literally makes the mountains look like they are aglow. GORGEOUS.
This grove below is one of our very favorite spots that we visit year after year after year in Divide.
I took this a photo of this marker because it explains why they are called "quaking aspen". It refers to the way the leaves move when the wind blows. I took a video too of one quaking but am having difficulty uploading it. I'll keep trying. So pretty!

video

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Six on Saturday

1. Caramel popcorn and coffee. That's what I'm having for breakfast this morning. Normally I avoid sugary breakfasts but today my thought process went something like this: Screw it. Life is short. Caramel popcorn is delicious. It's Saturday. I want it for breakfast. So I'm having it.
You wouldn't be wrong in wondering if there are some hormonal issues at play here. Duh.

2. I'll be honest--I didn't think the weekend would ever get here. This has been the strangest week I've had in ages. And by strange, I really mean sad, disappointing, frustrating, long, hard, and messy. Ugh. Mid-week I googled "where is the reset button on life". That was overly dramatic (insert hormonal issues) but it's honest.

3. Yesterday, in an attempt to get out of my funk I put my earbuds in and cleaned for two hours. I love starting the weekend with a clean house! Cleaning is therapeutic for me on so many levels. So is music. So are lunch dates with my husband. After I cleaned house, I cleaned myself up and went to lunch with John.

4. After all of the yuck of the week, I was trying to focus on the small, bright spots and the ways God seems to whisper "I see you, my dear". Yesterday evening I was getting ready to head out on a date with John when my phone rang. It was one of my dearest friends who moved away last year. She was calling me from my driveway. SERIOUSLY! How awesome is that? She and her husband were in Colorado for an anniversary trip and stopped by just to say hi for a few minutes. It was short and sweet but I'm one-thousand percent sure that God knew my heart needed that so much.

5. Our date last night was to the book launch for The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts. Kara is a beautiful, beautiful woman and her book is about God's unfailing love and mercy and grace in the midst of her journey through stage 4 cancer. She spoke so courageously last night and I pretty much bawled my way through it. It kind of put my hard week in perspective. She shared this song at the close of the evening and I immediately came home and downloaded it and have listened to it over and over since. It is SO SO SO good.
6. I haven't read Kara's book yet--it officially releases on Tuesday--but I'd love for you to buy it and read it and read her blog and pray for her and her family. She is walking an unimaginably hard path right now and I believe every. single. prayer lifted on her behalf is heard.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Progress

For as long as I can remember, I've been a list-maker and a goal-setter. I'm the one who makes New Year's resolutions and more often than not, keeps them. Sure, I flounder around and I flake on things and drop the ball, but generally I'm the girl who sticks it out and gets it done. It's simply part of my DNA and I don't know how to function any other way.

That being said, I took a peek at the goals I set for myself in 2014 and was pleasantly surprised at my progress. Here's a link to the goals I shared back in January and I'll recap here.

1. Do something that scares me.
I wasn't specific in my original post but that "something" I had in mind was to start a business. I'll be honest, my hesitation boiled down to some really stupid reasons but I have some people in my life who called me out on my fears, reminded me of the truth, and encouraged me to move forward and believe in myself. I tip-toed into the Beachbody coaching business back in April but jumped fully in in August and so far, it's been fun. It's a good fit for me--I love nutrition and fitness--and I really love helping people.

2. Climb at least two 14ers. 
Done and done. My heart is truly alive in the mountains. I am grateful every single day that I get to live in Colorado--so very, very blessed.
3. Strive for healthier relationships. 
Slowly but surely I'm getting there. I've done a lot of hard work in this area and learned a lot about myself in the process. I can honestly say I am in a good place surrounded by good people that love me and are for me. I've stepped away from some unhealthy relationships and even though there is some lingering sadness and hurt, the peace in my life speaks volumes.

4. Use my giftedness to bless people.
I started out with one plan in mind but God has broadened it a bit to intersect with some other things. Vague much? Sorry. Trust me, there's progress here, just not something I am ready to blog about.

5. Log 1000 walking/hiking miles.
I'm not currently on track to hit 1000 but I'll be close. The 800-900 range is a bit more realistic at this point but I'm 1000% okay with that. 
Did you make 2014 goals? Are you making progress? There's still TIME! You can do it! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SMP 9.23.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Hello, blog.

It's officially fall today! When I was in the mountains the weekend before last the leaves were already changing colors and were so beautiful and now they're starting to change down here at lower elevations. We are hoping to head west soon to catch the aspens at their peak color. I love fall!

Random: One of my kids just brought my checkbook and a pen and asked me to write them a check for lunch money. The pen was red and I refuse to write a check with a red pen (or a pink or green or purple one). For some reason that really really bothers me. Thankfully we have lots of pens around here with traditional blue and black ink.

I've got some "hard" things on my calendar this week. I'm a big believer in not operating/saying yes out of guilt but I've worked myself into a position where that is the case and not surprisingly, the resentment has crept in. I'm forty-four years old and still learning lessons the hard way. Sigh. I'm too committed to back out now so I'll honor my word and push through the "hard" all while praying God would redirect my attitude. Tell me you can relate.

Thankfully today doesn't have anything "hard" on the calendar--hooray! Happy Tuesday and Happy Fall, Y'all!

PS: I got a new computer last week and for some reason when I try to italicize or bold the text in my posts, it doesn't show up. The html is correct and it appears to be bolded/italicized in the compose box but when I hit publish all the text is the same. Anyone know how to fix this?





Sunday, September 21, 2014

Always Moving

I started reading Genesis last week with thousands of other women across the globe as part of IF: Equip. 

Genesis is a book I've read many, many times and have studied in detail. I took a class on Genesis in college and loved it then but fell more in love when doing The Patriarchs study by Beth Moore. I love the narrative, the history, God's covenant with Israel, the thread of redemption, and all the ways that Jesus is foreshadowed this book. I was beyond thrilled when IF: Equip announced we'd be reading through this book.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting fresh insight in the second verse but these words jumped off the page to me!

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the *Spirit of God was moving* over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2 NASB)

The Spirit of God was moving.

Of course, the Spirit was moving; the Spirit is always moving.
Moving when things are formless and void in our lives.
Moving when things are dark and murky.
Moving, always moving.
We may not see what God is doing but His Spirit is always at work in our lives.
We may not understand.
We may not have any clarity whatsoever and we may even be tempted to think that God isn't anywhere to be found in the midst of our struggles and circumstances, but He is!
His Spirit is always moving. 

It's not to late to join us in reading through Genesis. Five days a week, we read a short passage of scripture and there is an optional 2-3 minute video that correlates with the passage. The video is my favorite part because I love hearing how God uses the same passage to speak to each of us differently.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hiking Mount Sherman: 9.14.14

I'm so happy to have another 14er ascent under my belt!

I was at a meeting at church a few weeks ago catching up with my friend, Tracy, and we started talking about 14ers. Earlier in the year, we'd thrown the idea of hiking one this summer with a group of friends that we get together regularly with but summer found us all going a million different directions and we never made it happen. We both pulled out our calendars that night and picked a date that we could go.

The great thing about Mount Sherman is that it is really close to Tracy's cabin in Fairplay and she offered to let us come up and spend the night. That meant that we could sleep in a bit the next morning instead of gettting up at 4am. Win-win!

The photo below is of the road to the trailhead, looking down from the beginning of the hike.
Mount Sherman is considered one of the "easier" 14ers, but there is no such thing as an easy 14er. Sherman is a good one for beginners because the hike begins above treeline and is relatively short in distance from trailhead to summit. 
It was a gorgeous day to hike--it was sunny and breezy which made jackets and hats necessary.
Our group included Tracy and her daughter, Morgan, plus my friend, Toni, and her daughter, Maddi. We also had a canine companion--Shiver. I asked my girls if they wanted to go with us and the answer was a resolute "no". Maybe one of these days....
In the picture below, the summit is actually the peak behind us on the right.
It was breezy until we got to the ridge to the summit and then the wind became terrifying. It was SO intense and was moving me around. It was exactly the same as it was on Mount Evans a few weeks ago, but this time I wasn't as scared because I knew we just needed to keep going and it would die down at a certain point. We passed some hikers coming down who didn't summit because of the wind, but we met an equal number who did and told us that the wind at the summit was much more calm.

And it was...

WE MADE IT!
It was still cold up there though. We found a little wind break and had a snack.
If you've ever wondered what the top of a 14er looks like, it looks like this. LOTS of rocks. This was a really flat summit though. Flattest I've ever seen!
And the views are incredible--you can see for miles and miles. There was a guy at the top pointing out all the surrounding 14ers and mountain ranges to us. Two of my good friends and their husbands were summiting Quandary Peak that same day and it was fun to think we were all on top of a peak at the same time.





The climb down was not very fun because of that wind, but we made it! I usually get to the top and feel so exhilarated then panic because I have to go back down. Down is the part that hurts--it's especially tough on my right knee for some reason.

I'm hanging up my 14er shoes for the season but I have big plans for next summer so stay tuned.

Things I want to remember about this hike:
Mount Sherman was my 6th 14er.
It took us less than two hours to summit and about an hour and a half to hike back down.
The road to this trailhead is very rutted--I was thankful that Tracy drove.
The trail is very clear and well marked--very little scrambling. I liked that a lot.
Having a friend with a cabin near the trailhead is awesome. Thank you, Tracy!