POTD: Flannel Friday

The seasons are changing and soon the days will be far too long and hot to cozy up in your favorite flannel so be sure to enjoy it while the chill wind still breathes whispers of winter. To everyone nearing the end of a tedious work week, have a fantastic Friday! Don’t be afraid to crack open a bottle of your favorite beer to celebrate.

POTD: One Step at a Time

Once again I find myself trapped in the cyclical self improvement kick that never seems to stick long enough for me to feel like I’ve really got my life together. After months of social distancing, working from home and generally trying to avoid going insane in the quiet of my apartment, I am at last on the upswing of an emotional and mental slump (again). But we all have to start somewhere. Sometimes that just means starting over for what seems like the thousandth time. 

Today I greeted all of my work conference calls with confidence, I tidied my kitchen, I went for a run in the cool April sunshine (and discovered the pull of midwestern bird watching) and I cooked up a pasta dinner for the week. Looking around, it doesn’t feel like much. There are more conference calls and follow ups waiting for me tomorrow. The dishes neatly stacked by the sink still need washing. I still wish my belt sat just a hair more loosely around my hips and spaghetti was hardly a health conscious dinner choice. 

However, the only way to move forward is by putting one foot in front of the other. Today I took the first step. Did you? 

POTD: Buona Notte

A lot of people say that Friday gets too much attention but I say that there’s nothing wrong with loving your weekends. The world needs more reasons to make merry. Don’t ever feel ashamed to celebrate your Friday’s. However, it is far past my bedtime, and any reasonable person’s bedtime, as I write this post. Last time I had sleeping habits this bad I was a poor, terrified college kid who’s worst fear was losing her scholarships to engineering school. Fear is a powerful motivator in the right setting. Unfortunately, the ability to force myself to maintain consciousness at ridiculous hours in the morning has all but left me in the last two years. Sometimes you just have to go to bed so I bid you all a very good night. 

POTD: Nature’s Cobblestones

I couldn’t resist snapping this photo while out for a morning hike around Indiana National Dunes with my family this weekend. As a family of hearty Colorado hikers, we happily embarked on a new adventure, choosing the longest trail we could find which is a loop that skirts the very edge of the state park. The return trip is mostly walked on the stony beach. I found many improbably shaped, weather smoothed stones. Of course, I had to show them to my dad, the Geologist of the family. I can’t wait to explore more in the coming months. 

POTD: Easter Blessings

Good morning and welcome to a fresh start. This weekend was full of blessings, everything from my family spending three days hiking, eating, drinking and relaxing with me in Indiana to finally completing my sacraments of initiation in order to fully enter into the Catholic church. Congratulations to everyone who participated in a similar celebration on Saturday evening. You are reborn! I hope everyone had a happy Easter as I did, surrounded by family for a long sunny weekend.

Full Circle

Last year I made a promise to myself. I would write and post something every day even if it was simply to caption a photo from my most recent adventure. Thus began my Photo of the Day blog posts. Often, that was all I could manage. While my writing and photography skills have both sored to new heights in the last 12 months, I’m afraid my time management has all but left me. 

Therefore, today marks the start of a couple of new writing goals. By virtue of recently befriending a fellow reader, writer, shooter, athlete and foodie, I have decided to take a step back from blogging in order to participate in April NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I plan to continue to post regularly, three times a week rather than my previous five, while using the off days to dig into a novel idea that I’ve been in the process of finishing for the past seven years. It’s high time I did something about that. 

Many blessings to everyone this Easter. I hope you’ve enjoyed my random sparks of inspiration, potluck recipes, fantasy quotes and the occasional freewrite. I look forward to sharing much more but am excited to be embarking on a new literary adventure.

Timeout

Have you been feeling drained lately for no reason at all? You haven’t gone anywhere or done anything particularly trying. Yet, somehow it still feels like you’re running on empty. There are so many things that need doing and you can’t seem to work up enough energy to lift a finger for a single one of them. 

It’s days like these when I most loudly proclaim my detestation for the rise and continuation of COVID fear and isolation. I feel like a child who’s been sent to her room for the last year. Having your own place is fantastic but even before social distancing, there was always a danger of overdosing on ‘me time.’ Now, it’s practically guaranteed. This has been the longest timeout of all time and occasionally, it’s impossible not to feel like my motivation to do anything worthwhile has been completely zapped. 

Thank goodness for people like my parents. Despite going totally insane at being ordered to stay in my room (a lovely, comfortable one bedroom apartment but still) until further notice, my mom is constantly making suggestions to keep me moving forward. Everything from scheduling a massage to starting to shop for my first house is fair game in her eyes. Here are a few of my favorite momisms that have come in handy recently and which she is constantly reminding me. 

“Go big or go home.” – Whether you’re picking out an outfit for Saturday brunch or deciding to become a homeowner, go all in and make some noise. If you only ever do something halfway, you might as well have not done it at all. 

“Don’t let the grass grow under your feet.” – Most opportunities will not fall into your lap. If you sit around waiting for things to happen for you, yours will be a very empty life. You have to chase what you want. In life there are two choices; stand still or move forward. 

“You can do hard things.” – I have to actively remind myself of this every single day. I can do hard things. I’ve already proven that to myself time and time again. It’s why anything less than my best simply doesn’t cut it. 

“Life is short. Buy the shoes.” – My mom has never said this as encouragement to become a shopaholic or to fill the voids in my life with meaningless keepsakes. It’s about pulling the trigger on the choices that will make you happy. Stop wasting time with indecision. Pursue your passions, however strange, far fetched and fantastical they may seem to others. Obviously be smart about it. You don’t want to break your bank but if you can afford it, buy all means, buy the shoes!

Above All Shadows

Today, as I thought of how to begin, much like Bilbo when tasked with completing the story of his travels, one quote rang in my ears. Even lost and alone at the tower of Cirith Ungol, Samwise Gamgee still found his courage at the very darkest of times. I think we could all take a lesson from Samwise the Brave.

In western lands beneath the Sun 
        the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run, 
        the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe ‘tis cloudless night 
	and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white
	amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey’s end I lie
	in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
	beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
	and stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
	nor bid the stars farewell.

A Change in the Winds

Welcome to a new day, full of fresh sights, fresh ideas, and a fresh outlook on the same old situations. Today, as chilly spring winds howl past my third floor apartment window, I can’t help feeling a spark of renewed energy. I still don’t sleep enough or tidy as I go or keep to a concrete routine. My life is no different than it was yesterday. The same stresses loom a bit more imminently and I still wonder at all the questions I had before. 

But today, for some reason, I feel revitalized. I can do hard things. I can be brave and loud and confident. I can be organized and motivated and I’m capable of making solid adult decisions, even if they do still terrify me. Today I refuse to be stuck.