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So…thanks

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My tree is up and slowly being decorated. I haven’t seen this weird little ornament that I made during childhood in years. Thankful, step 1.

Many of my friends are talking about how hard it is to be thankful this year with so much going on that is not good.

Part of me is sympathetic – pain does make thankfulness more challenging. Another part of me is whistling to the tune of “Welcome to my world…” This is how life feels all the time when one keeps up with the news – when one chooses not to shut out the brokenness of the world to protect oneself.

After a while, you get used to holding all of it. You get used to the both/and of opposing realities. It helps to have someone to talk to (a professional, that is). It helps to actually do the things that someone suggests. It helps if you are not as stubborn as I am.

At first, you might have to take thankfulness in steps. They don’t take a lot of time, so you don’t have to ignore the ongoing developments in the DAPL protests or Trump’s bad administration choices. You don’t have to sacrifice the time it takes make calls and meet needs.

You need ten minutes. Ten minutes to list what makes the world worth saving.

Your list will look different from everyone else’s list, and no one gets to tell you what should be on your list. In fact, just throw that word “should” out the window. You won’t be needing it here.

Your list does not have to be for public consumption. Only the highlights of mine are usually public. The apartment. The space. The relative peace and quiet of a neighborhood with an older-than-college-student demographic. Friends. Family. The specifics are personal.

My readers are on my list. I’m thankful for you. So…thanks.

Feel free to share any highlights from your list in the comments.

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Snapshots 8.8.16

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“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. ” This is the Nat King Cole song that runs through my mind (and now my speakers) as I think of what to say about last week. And although, unlike NKC, I do not wish that summer would always be here, because OMG hot, I am relishing the fact that I finally get to have a summer. I don’t even mind that it’s just a few weeks long.

I think I read more last week than during June and July combined. I had ice cream and Whataburger, and I painted my nails. I finished off the sun tea.

What does summer mean to you?

 

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[Public Service Announcement: This might get rambly, but it’s spring. So really?  I’m happy if it makes any sense at all.]

I am participating in Susannah Conway’s April Love challenge on Instagram (and also probably a little here, too).  Because I need it.

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I need April love.

It’s hard for me to see beauty in the spring. Not because it’s not there. It’s everywhere. It is literally blooming all around me. Joy and the promise of peaches (which – let’s face it – are pretty much the same thing as joy) are abundant.

But spring is my dark season. I’ve experienced a lot of loss in springs gone by. It’s a season of mourning for me. But it’s also Easter, which is celebration. And it’s the busiest time of the year at work, so there’s no time for wallowing. There’s this constant battle of melancholy that I have to repress just to function.

[And I know that I’m lucky to still have the ability to push through and function.  Some people don’t have that luxury. Some people require medication and loads of professional help and still have it a lot worse than I do. So I’m grateful, too. It’s a confusing, mixed bag.]

Also? I’m pretty sure that every year, Spring tries to kill me.

The following picture perfectly captures my relationship with the natural world during spring:

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Notice that it’s a little blurry.This is what the process of taking this picture was like:

Me: Oh, almond blossoms! How pretty you are! Let me get a…

Gust of wind and dust: Nope. *blows suddenly up my nose*

Me: *sneeze* *cough* Just.  One.  Picture…Please!

Wind: *BLOW* Behold my mightiness. Oh, hey there, pollen! Long time no see!

Pollen: Hello, my old friend. I hear you have a job for me!

Wind: All in her face. Up her nose and in her eyes, if possible. Really get in there.

Pollen: I’m on it! *flies in my face*

Me: Come on, wind.  Could you stop blowing dust and pollen on me for one minute. I just want to take one… *leans closer to almond tree*

Wind, Pollen, Dust, possibly the Apocalypse: She’s getting too close!! She might start enjoying it!! Make it hit her in the face, team! *swarm* *attack*

Me: DAMMIT! WHY ARE THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS TRYING TO KILL ME?! WHY?!?!!

I know – complaining about the weather is not super productive. It’s the adult version of a temper tantrum. It’s not like the wind, pollen, and dirt are going to hear me and say, “Oh, that’s an excellent point you make. Our bad. We’ll go away now.” Complaining changes nothing, other than possibly making me a less pleasant person to be around.

[And for those of you spring lovers who are feeling high and mighty right now, feel free to replace “wind, pollen, and dirt” with “snow” or “ice” or “cold” or “cloudy skies” or “rain” or “heat” or “swarms of bugs” or whatever one could possibly find to hate about fall. You may have good reasons for feeling how you do (as do I), but you are not innocent in this. Don’t even try to pretend that you are.]

In recent years, I’ve become a proponent of temper tantrums. If I could whisper that, I would. It seems scandalous to say. I was never allowed to throw them as a child. My mother would not approve.

And I get that. Temper tantrums are embarrassing. They are socially awkward. They’re demanding. They halt everything within earshot. They pretty much put conversations and lives on hold until they’re over. They’re selfish – an attribute so maligned that we go to great lengths to deny the reality that we just…are. And temper tantrums tend to reveal – not conceal – that reality.

They’re also honest, and that’s healthy. I mean, if tantrum is your constant state of expression, maybe see a professional who can help you talk it out or assess whether your chemicals have gone awry, because that level of frequency might be indicative of super high stress levels which, over time, are not healthy. But to be alive and awake and active in this world is to be periodically pissed off by something or someone in it. Whether you are two or seventy-two, I wish you the grace to say so. I wish you the grace to rage.

But.

You know what else I’m a proponent of? Getting up off the damn floor when you can. And right now, I can. So I’m going to look for ways to love April, even though it’s hard, and I’m going to see how others are loving April, too.

Join us?

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In Like a Lion

It’s that time of year again when people are ready for spring and it’s not coming fast enough for them so they’re beckoning it, and I’m sitting here like, “Shhh….it will hear you.”

Because the spring will come. Oh, it will come. But it won’t stay long. It will stay for its obligatory twenty minutes at the party, and then it will take its leave, and what will replace it?

Ten thousand days of summer.

This sweet lady at church yesterday said, “It was supposed to be warm today, but it’s so chilly.”

I replied, “I think it’s supposed to get up to 54.”

She looked at me like she was thinking, “Um…yeah. That’s what I just said.”

Oh. A temperature of 54 degrees is cold to you, while to me, it’s very much what I imagine Heaven will be like.

I waver between two reactions:

1. Wanting to collect the names of everyone whom I see lamenting the cold weather on social media so that I can set them up on an email list that will bombard them daily with complaints about the OMG-HEAT when our nine months of summer begin. Because payback. You ruin my perfect weather; I ruin yours. And fight every urge within you to tell me to “cheer up” when I am overheated and nauseated and feeling hopeless because I cannot get cool and cannot keep anything down because OMG HOT.

and

2. Embracing the inevitable and welcoming spring, urging it to hang on as long as possible, because the longer I can avoid turning on my A/C, the happier my world will be.

So far, I’m doing pretty well embracing. I embraced this little gem last night:

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It really does taste like the first peach of the season. The first peach soaked in beer, of course. But the first peach nonetheless.

So go ahead and come, spring. And feel free to stay awhile. And if you could also stay 65-70-ish, that would be great, too.

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I have a hard time getting enthusiastic about summer.  This summer is not so bad, for two reasons:

  • It’s hot.  No – you don’t understand.  I live in Texas.  It’s HOT.  We’re having what we call a “mild” summer. I am grateful for this.  Unfortunately, “mild” in Texas means it’s only supposed to get to 97 on Monday.  Yippee.
  • Summer usually means less money in the bank because I usually don’t teach.  This unfortunately also coincides with having all the free time in the world to daydream about traveling and other expensive luxuries…because I usually don’t teach.  But I managed to pick up a class this summer.  My student loan corporation will be happy.

But even during the worst summers, I have to admit – it’s certainly pretty:

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So I am thankful.

I am keeping track of beautiful moments and words this year on my Beauty board on Pinterest.

I am also linking up with Amy Young’s Trusting Tuesdays – check it out!

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Beauty Update – May

It’s summer here.  Translation: I’m a walking sweat factory.

Or, as I prefer to think of it, “My thighs are so sexy, they can’t stop touching each other.”

My tendency in summer seems a little counter-intuitive to me.  I feel gross and sweaty and hot (temperature-wise, not rawr-wise) and uncomfortable most of the summer (which in Texas is basically May through September). But summer is when I most want to dress up or engage in traditional beauty regimens. I wear jewelry more often.  I give myself regular pedicures and paint my toenails.  I am more likely to style my hair.  I wear lipstick.

photo (3)I steal hair clips.  Oops.

I also – inexplicably – find myself more likely to exercise.  One might imagine that I would want to sit in front of a fan and do nothing, but no.  I do more Pilates.  I dance around the house more.  I am more likely to go to the gym.

I am also more likely to take on summer projects, like my Getting It Together series.  Apparently, it’s not enough that I discover my own beauty.  I need to surround myself with it.  This will be fun.

One thing that does make sense to me is that I tend to eat better.  I tend to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables – particularly if they can be eaten cold – and I eat less heavy food. I often lose weight in summer, not because I’m particularly trying to do so, but because I’m taking in healthier things and drinking more water.

I think the slower work schedule of summer slows me down enough that I remember to take care of myself.  Maybe that’s what all these seasonal habits tend to be.  I’m not running in three or four different directions at once.  I can take a break.

And taking a break is beautiful.

Join us at Amy Young’s Trusting Tuesdays to read how others are doing with their OneWord365 and add a post of your own!

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Summer Begins

My summer began today.

The weather has been telling me it’s summer for about a week now.  But today is move-in day for Summer Housing, so this is the first day my mind can wrap itself around summer.

I am moving to my other building this summer.  This makes me happy for several reasons.

Reason #1:  Every time I walk into Santa Fe, I hear Christian Bale singing in my head:

Reason #2: Summer Housing means I get to continue working with college students instead of working with the often younger patrons of Summer Conferences. I might make a cameo appearance at some of the bigger conferences, but most of my summer will be spent working my regular job. I get to fit this summer instead of feeling like a fish out of water. Happy.

Reason #3: We have a new friend in the Santa Fe lobby.

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We haven’t decided on a name yet.  Josephine, maybe.  Or Smokey (because of the fireplace.  Obviously.).

Reason #4: It’s so cool over here, temperature-wise.  It’s pretty cool in my other building, too.  But summer tundra, here I come!

Reason #5: Debbie and I have the summer to spruce up the Santa Fe desk and to see what it needs so that it can be more functional in the fall than it has been.

I don’t say this very often, but YAY FOR SUMMER!!!

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