Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Comfortable in the Uncomfortable

Today marks our one year anniversary of being back in Texas. While I so love being much closer to our families, a big part of me still misses Alaska.  I think it’s the wilderness and adventure part of it.  I crave the scenery and the fresh air – and after my morning run left me sweating – I even miss the cold temperatures.

It’s such an odd feeling to still miss it after all this time, especially when I hated it for the first few months we were there.  Through of all these experiences, I’ve tried my best to be content with where I am. That mentality is what made me fall in love with Alaska in the first place.

I had to stop thinking about all the things and people I missed, and start appreciating all the little things. Several times through the course of this year, that’s been easier said than done.  We had only been back in Texas for a few months, when it felt like everything was crashing down around me.  My dad was diagnosed with cancer, I was having a hard time finding a job and we got news that Nathanial was losing his job.  My dad finished his treatment and received a great report.  I’m in a job that was tailor made for me.  And while Nathanial is still looking for work, we have such a peace that everything will work out.  God has been with us through it all and what I’ve learned is to be comfortable in the uncomfortable.  To find appreciate the little things and to be content in the waiting. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Colorful Rain Showers

Two couples in our Sunday School class recently had babies so we decided to throw them a joint shower/sprinkle. 

One baby was a boy and the other a girl. That combined with my not volunteering to plan it until Wednesday (when the shower was Sunday) made for some interesting and busy days of crafting. A huge thank you to my wonderful husband who worked tirelessly alongside me to pull it all together. 

I decided to go with a rain cloud theme with various shades of blue and pink. 

I designed a quick invite and sent it out via email. 


I knew I wanted the rain drops to play a prominent role in the decor. I found a shape I liked and printed out tons of copies on different colors of card stock. It took me a few Netflix episodes but I got them all cut out. I used them for a backdrop and on the centerpieces. 

Our class is normally set up in long rows of chairs but that wouldn't be conducive to a shower. Nathanial headed up to church on Friday afternoon and set up some round tables. 



I found some blue tablecloths and then went about creating the centerpieces. I had a clear vision in my head and thought it would be simple to make some tissue paper clouds and attach the rain drops. The clouds were a disaster. There was tissue paper everywhere and no shapes resembling a cloud. So I ended up buying poster board and cutting out cloud shapes. I attached the rain drops with fishing line and tape. I used floral foam in buckets and a dowel rod to attach the rain clouds. Once I set them up on the table, I added some kisses to cover up the foam and fill the buckets. 


I also put some notecards out on the table with watercolor backgrounds and each couple's names. The idea with those was that we would "shower them with encouragement." 

By far, my favorite part of the decor was the rain cloud backdrop. I was overwhelmed with all the other details, so my amazing husband assembled it on his own. I loved it! 


I wanted something on the doors but thought there were probably enough clouds. I opted to make diaper wreaths. It was my first time but not my last. There were easy to put together once I got the hang of it. I cut out foam core initials for each wreath and then mod podged cute scrapbook paper on top. I loved how these turned out too. 



I was thrilled with how everything turned out and had such a good time celebrating these sweet babies. In fact,
I loved the theme so much that I was a little sad to trash the decorations at the end. Unfortunately rain clouds don't go with the decor in the rest of our house. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Escaping

I'm usually not a Monday hater but this one was particularly hard after such a great weekend. My birthday is coming up this week so my family joined us Sunday afternoon for an early celebration. 

We started the festivities at a local escape room - The Lock. I've been wanting to check out an escape room for a long time and it did not disappoint. For those unfamiliar with the concept, escape rooms are an adventure game where players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room as clues to get out. We played a multi-room scenario where we had to escape jail cells and then the overall jail. It was such a blast! We got out with 25 seconds (of our hour time limit) to spare. We probably would have had more time if we didn't spend 10 minutes trying to communicate with the staff that our walkie talkie was dead, which as it turns out was just turned off. There were so many funny moments but I can't say much more without giving away hints. I loved how the entire family worked together. It was an experience we won't forget. 


Afterwards we headed back to my house for cake and presents. 

My mom set the cutest table. 

And then Nathanial surprised us all with confetti cannons. Ever since I ran the Route 66 Half Marathon (with confetti) I've been obsessed with confetti. We'll be finding confetti pieces for a while but it was well worth it! 



He even got a giant cannon for me to shoot off. Confetti rained over me and it was fabulous. 

 
As usual, my family spoiled me with all kinds of awesome gifts. They also have a knack for finding truly unique things. This year, they found an awesome LED lighted hat perfect for early morning running and soap with a hidden jewelry piece inside. 

If the celebration was any indication, this is going to be the best year yet. I'm a lucky girl. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Problem with Working Out

A year ago today, we were at a baseball game that didn't start until 10 p.m. Tonight, I'll be lucky to stay up much past 10. Oh the difference a year and a few thousand miles make. 


I've been really diligent about working out again lately. Mostly because I accidentally signed up for the Houston Marathon. Yes, accidentally. When we moved, the Houston Marathon utilized a lottery system. I convinced myself to tackle my bucket list goal of running a full marathon with the justification that I probably wouldn't even get in. Imagine my surprise when I immediately got a "congratulations; you're registered" email. Apparently the lottery system has gone away and I need to be better about reading before making a purchase. 

I've been taking an intense spin class over the last few weeks in the hope of getting rid of the leg pain that has plagued me for the last few running seasons. I ran for the first time in a bit on Saturday and was so excited to have no leg pain and to shave 3 minutes off my mile time. Hard work really does pay off! I am loving the results I'm seeing from working out but there are some things I don't love. 

1) Laundry. Not only do I have to shower and change clothes several times a day, but I also have to keep washing my workout clothes.

2) Clothes. Actually doing workouts in my workout clothes means my choices for lounge wear are limited. I guess I need more yoga pants. I take classes with the same people, so I also have to make sure not to repeat outfits too often. 

3) Pain. Part of me loves being sore because I feel like I've accomplished something, but then I have to sit down and I no longer love being sore. 

4)Addiction. Not only is it addicting to get my endorphins going, to earn points for working out with my employer (that can be spent on things like purses, gift cards, etc.) but now I keep finding things to sign up for. Marathon: check. Training group for the marathon: check. 10 million shorter races between now and January: probably check. 

5)Heat. Probably my least favorite thing about working out right now is our geographic location. The Texas heat has me whining and missing Alaska daily.


Before and after: workout edition 




Monday, May 23, 2016

Celebrating: 2 Minutes of Fame

Howdy stranger. Good to see you again. To be honest, I'm impressed I even remembered the password to this blog. Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement since my last post. My family is still in the midst of some pretty hard stuff but we're trusting God's plan and know that He works all things for good. 

Now that the deep stuff is out of the way, let's talk about my minutes of fame. Nathanial celebrated his 26th birthday a few weeks ago. I was determined to make the day as festive as possible from sun up to sun down. We had his favorite breakfast, we had the from scratch cake he requested and then we had so much fun with friends. 


I surprised Nathanial with tickets to opening day for a local baseball team and really surprised him when some of his best friends showed up. 

This is the mascot, not his friends. ;)

But the biggest surprise of the night was when the birthday boy and I were picked to play a game during the 7th inning.


We lucked out and got to play a drawing game and not some of the other crazier activities happening between innings. I wouldn't have been so excited if we had to wear chicken suits or play musical port-a-potties. 

We climbed up on the dugout and each of us had to draw the team's logo on a giant easel while a timer was going. Once time was up, the crowd voted with applause for the best drawing. I was too competitive to let Nathanial win but I did write Happy Birthday on my picture. 


The Skeeters won the game and we ended the night with an awesome fireworks show.

 
I wasn't able to cross Kiss Cam off my bucket list but this was nearly as good. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

When Things Are Hard

I haven't posted much since the move. Life in Texas is a lot less unique than our time in Alaska and frankly it's been pretty tough too. It's been hard for me to find the words to write. 

Nathanial lost his job a little over a month ago. It wasn't completely unexpected given the current climate in oil and gas but that didn't make it any easier. I have been looking for a position since we moved and nothing seemed to be working out. We suddenly found ourselves both out of work. In the midst of that, some serious health stuff came up with my dad. 

At the end of last week, I accepted a job offer, so things feel like they are looking up.  While I wouldn't volunteer for more hard stuff, I am thankful for the growth that I have experienced through all of this. 

Here's what I learned about when things are hard:

* Have Faith
Even on the hardest days, I had knew I could trust in my relationship with God. Certain scriptures really spoke to me and gave me comfort. 

"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Lamentations 3:22

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3

Above all, I was able to trust that God's ways are better than my ways and that His plan was beyond anything I could imagine.  Drawing closer to Him gave me peace and hope. 

* Look for the Blessing
This situation has shown me that no matter the circumstance, you can find the good in it. Not working meant lots of free time. I was able to spend more time with family and friends and lots of time practicing hobbies. N and I have perfected the art of cooking ribs and my calligraphy has really improved. 

* Surround Yourself with Good People
It hasn't been easy for me to talk about what has been happening. Regardless of how anti-social I was, some incredible people poured into me during this time. Countless calls, texts and prayers occurred. It was such an encouragement to know we weren't facing anything alone. 

* Attitude Matters
Bad things will happen. How you respond is what shows your character. 




Thursday, February 18, 2016

Flourishing (Learning to write pretty)

At Christmas, Nathanial and my mother-in-law teamed up to surprise me with a calligraphy class I've been wanting to take. I've been following a professional calligrapher on Instagram for a few years now but couldn't take a class because we were in Alaska and her classes were mostly in Texas.  She books up pretty fast so Nathanial scheduled me for a February class and last week it finally happened. It was such an incredible experience!

The class was during the evening in Fort Worth so we took the opportunity to explore a bit during the day. We stopped at the Perot Museum in Dallas on the way.  It was easily the most fun museum I've been to. It was chock full of interactive exhibits - my personal favorite was in the sports hall where you got to race an animal or athlete. Both Nathanial and I are faster than a t-rex :)


After fun exploring and a great dinner, it was time to head to class. I was a little apprehensive about what to expect. Would I be good at it? Would I be the only person attending alone?  I had no reason to be nervous; the teacher was incredible and the ladies at my table were so sweet!  The class lasted over three hours and a new hobby was born. I've been practicing several hours a day since.



It's been about a week and I've already gone through:
6 nibs, 1 pot of ink and lots of paper.



I've written the alphabet, names, song lyrics, random words and lots of Bible verses.  






For a few days, I kept writing "pickle" over and over again because my p and k needed some work. 

Want to help me practice? Leave something in the comments I can write for you. Favorite verse, movie quote - name it and I'll write it!