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!

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


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...

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!

Monday, September 15, 2014

SMP 9.15.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

Happy Monday! September days are clicking by so quickly! How can it already be the fifteenth of the month? Good grief.

I had such a great weekend. John and I froze our tails off at a football game on Friday night. Will's high school team played Sarah's high school team. We chose to sit on "Sarah's side" which was also the winning side but I cheered for both teams the whole night. Fun. But so very very cold.

Will came home after the game to grab a few things before heading to a friend's house for the night. Right as he was leaving, he told me he had a date for Homecoming. He literally told me then RAN out the door. It was a strategic move on his part--he knew I'd have a million questions.

I got the scoop the next day but patience is not really my strong suit. I'm thrilled with his date choice. She is one of his best friends and one of my favorite high school girls!

Saturday, two friends and I drove up to another friend's cabin in Fairplay, CO. We spent the night so we could get an early start up Mount Sherman. It's official--I have another 14er to add to my list! It was such a fun day with friends. I'll post more about our hike this week.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Currently ::: September

Current Read: I finally finished this book. I generally don't like non-fiction but I really can't say enough good things about this book--I think I highlighted something on almost every single page. I'm still thinking of blogging about some of my takeaways. I started The Fault In Our Stars a few weeks ago but find myself reading only in short snatches in the carpool line and it's taking me forEVER to make progress with that book.

Current Playlist: Taylor Swift. One Direction. Chris Tomlin radio.

Current Color(s): Orange. Because it's September and is starting to feel like fall in Colorado. 

Current Food: I'm on a cucumber kick right now. I know summer is over because all the fresh fruit I've been buying all summer is really losing it's flavor. Mushy peaches (yuck) and sour blueberries (boo) mean it's time for apple season. I'm sad to say good-bye to summer fruits and veggies.

Current Favorite Favorite: Fall. Football. My mini NFL helmet collection.
Current Addiction: The Fantasy Sports station on XM radio.

Current Wish List: I really want a sound dock for my phone. We've never invested in a good one and I told John the other day that I'd love to have one (hint hint) sometime. 

Current Need: Hair color--it's been awhile and my grays are taking over. I have an appointment next week so thankfully there is hope in sight!

Current Triumph: Yesterday I finished all my work for the week, cleaned my entire house, finished all my laundry, made dinner and felt wonderfully domestic and productive. That is my favorite feeling. I hardly ever get all of those individual tasks accomplished in a single day.

This happened yesterday--Jack was napping while I was vacuuming. He was completely oblivious to the running vacuum that was inches away from his body. I "nudged" him a bit to get him to move and he laid right back down. Only after nudging him four times did he (begrudgingly) move to the opposite corner of the rug. The two of us repeated that same song and dance until all four corners had been vacuumed and he returned to his original spot.
Current Annoyance: Oh y'all. My list is way too long. But sharing it doesn't bring "life" to me or to you.

Current Blessing(s): My family.
Earlier this week, four boys from our community were involved in a single-car accident. Two were killed,  another was injured and the fourth boy, the driver, is facing some serious charges. Will and Sarah knew them. The boys that died were seniors at Sarah's high school. It's tragically sad and has been heavy on my heart all week. It has prompted lots of good discussion with our kids about drinking and driving, but more than anything has just made me aware of how very precious life is and what a blessing it is to tuck your kids in every night.

Current Outfit: Currently? A paper thin nightgown and a thick, fleecy powder-blue robe with white snowflakes. Nice. 

Current Excitement: The weekend. A new season of television.

Current Project(s): My Healthy4Life Facebook page. If you haven't already liked it, I'd love for you to. It's a place I share recipes and health/fitness inspiration, clean-eating groups (with meal plans and recipes) and fitness challenge groups (a new one coming soon). So that's my current and on-going project!

Current plans for the day: I've been planning a morning date with myself all week. I have nothing I "have" to do so I'm going to shop for some fall candles and do some browsing around before I meet a friend for lunch. Then carpool, dinner, some fun evening plans, and if I'm lucky I can sneak a nap in there too!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

One Direction: St. Louis

Last week, my girls and I went to St. Louis to see One Direction. I can't even begin to explain to you how crazed they are over this band of five boys. Truth be told I kinda love them too. Sarah and I saw them in concert last summer in Denver and Abbey was heartbroken that she didn't get to go. I knew I'd like to try to take her this year but when they announced their 2014 tour dates for the US, Colorado wasn't on the list.

It felt CRAZY to travel to see them in concert in another state, but we have family in St. Louis and I can usually get cheap plane fare and it just sort of all fell into place. We surprised the girls on Christmas morning with the concert tickets and there were many happy tears and shrieks of joy!

Here's some photos from our trip.

 They *had* to miss school so they did homework on the plane. I was absolutely NO help with Pre-Calculus. My kids are all better at math than their mama.
 And yeah, we melted in the heat and humidity. Oh. My. Gosh.
 Had to drive past Busch stadium on the way to the concert. I've been to lots of Cardinals games in my life but all in the old stadium. This new one is so pretty.
 This is as close to the Arch as we got. My last experience there was a little too fresh. 
We had to wait out a thunderstorm on the way to the concert. Since we were already downtown, we snacked on ice cream and then had pizza at Pi. It was my second time to eat at Pi and seriously, it is THE BEST PIZZA I've ever had. Better than any pizza in Chicago, hands down. I am hoping they will expand to Denver one of these days. 

 Our seats were WAY higher up than they looked on the seating chart. Nosebleed section for sure.
 This smile is PRICELESS!

One Direction put on a GREAT show for us and 55,000 of our closest friends (that's a LOT of people). I was looking at my iPod on the plane the next day and they sang a TON of songs from each album and all of my favorites!

The girls and I got to see both of my aunts and one of my cousins while we were there. Oh, and my aunt's new dog, Gracie, was our constant companion. We always try to grab a bite at "Bread Co", which is what people in St. Louis call Panera, because it originated there before it expanded. St. Louis is a fun city. We did some shopping one day and I even found Blase Avenue, though I wasn't fast enough to snap a pic. Plus I was driving so it wasn't really safe for me to do that. :)

Was it crazy to travel for a concert like that? Maybe. But you know what? My girls will remember that for a long time...and that makes me happy.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Dance Party

I worked myself into a nice BIG funk the other day over something I thought I'd dealt with a long, long time ago. It just kind of crept up on me and the more I thought about it the madder I got. I stewed a while while repeating my mantra of "forgive, forgive, forgive, and let it go"...lather, rinse, repeat. Truthfully that helps but on this particular day I just couldn't stay above it. Can you relate?

And then Taylor Swift's new song popped into my head. I downloaded it immediately and had a big 'ol SHAKE IT OFF dance party! You know what? Players and haters and heartbreakers and fakers will always be a part of life. Forgiveness is crucial but we also have to learn to just SHAKE IT OFF. I highly recommend keeping this song on repeat!

*Warning: LOTS of booty-shakin' in this video!

Monday, September 01, 2014

SMP 9.1.14

SMP = Seven Minute Post

It's SEPTEMBER! I love September and Colorado Septembers are the best. We've already had lots of fall-like mornings and milder temperatures and that just makes it feel like fall. The start of football season helps too. I'm going to pull out some canned pumpkin and bake something this week.

I was thinking of baking today but I have a stupid head cold and can't taste anything right now so I want to wait until I can enjoy it. Between traveling last week and a hideous case of insomnia I let myself get really run down and succumbed to a cold--complete with two days of fever. YUCK. I feel better today but am still going to take it easy and rest because I can!

If ever there was a weekend I wanted to be in Arkansas it was this past one. Both my family and John's had some big stuff going on that we were sad we couldn't be there for. I love Colorado but sometimes it's just too far away from our family.

Here's one last picture from Mount Evans that didn't get included in my last post. Mountains make me happy!

Happy Labor Day, y'all.