28 July 2014

Hello Monday: Make Them Brave

Hello Monday and absorbing all the inspiration and wisdom in new music. This particular line above has been swimming in my head nonstop. The more I live, the more I witness firsthand what power thoughts hold. I truly believe music is healing. I think of myself as very lucky I grew up around such abundant amounts of it. My dad owned a music store for over twenty years and I know it contributed to my passion for surrounding myself with it. These days I'm listening to the two new Counting Crows songs, and the new Jason Mraz album, YES!

Hello these last few days of July; late dinners, fireworks, making our own popsicles, watermelon swimsuits and sweet corn on the cob!

Hello little grasshopper friend!

Hello quotes that hit you square in the middle of right where you need it most.

Hello to this silly, brave, strong girl. Who said to me this morning, "What kind of tea would you like? There's strawberry, lipstick, blueberry, blueberry lemon, and dragon's heart."

Hello reading reading reading this summer. I'm back in tune with my inner crazy bookworm and the happy side effects of reading a ton are reaching into every facet of my life. I finished The Afterlife of Billy Fingers the other day and loved it! I'm now in the thick of Embracing Quincy. What are you reading these days?

21 July 2014

Hello Monday: My Leopard Spots To Polka Dots

Joining up with Lisa Leonard again this week for the Hello Monday blog prompt! I love this series and the bold inspiration behind beginning each week with crisp motivation and hope.

Hello little flowers on freshly cut grass and bow sandals.

Hello feeling invigorated by nature's majestic beauty.

Hello to finding pieces of plot twists to be grateful for (both in fiction I'm reading and in my own real life storyline.)

Hello making our house our home, with our eclectic touches somehow all meshing together to showcase our personalities. The writing space of mine provides a welcome solace when I feel overwhelmed with the world.

Hello new Counting Crows lyrics to fall in love with, all in their new song, Palisades Park. That whole part about changing from leopard spots to polka dots? Yeah, I feel you on that one Adam.

Hello brand new round key gLocket now available! Don't forget to use code HAPPYGIRL for 20% off at http://glockets.com

Hello to loving my new Jabra Rox Wireless Earbuds. Have you entered to win yet?!

Hello embracing the rest of this gorgeous summer.

Hello Jimmy Fallon plush to make us laugh around here. I bought it for Roar for Father's Day and thought he might have fun keeping it at the office to provide a giggle or two when work stress is weighing on him.

What are you saying hello to this week?

20 July 2014

The Shocking Beauty Of The Right Now No. 2

Last summer I wrote a post about all the details that were filled to the brim with shocking beauty. I decided to do it again tonight to remind me everything building little and big memories in the middle of all of this, right now.

Monday adventures to start off last week, just the three of us; complete with electric blue dragonflies soaring through fiery red wildflowers, while tiny green grasshoppers jumped about. My two loves fishing side by side. Sookie's pterodactyl impersonation echoing throughout the mountainside, breaking the tranquility of quiet nature and surely scaring the fish.

Making brunch for my momma and my girl, after a special sleepover. Killer french toast, coconut oil and honey are two of my favorite things to put in it.

After a frustrating day yesterday, redirecting our energy to letting loose in the backyard. Chasing Sookie chasing Jack, who happened to be chasing a giant green ball. Four year old sing song laughter floating through the air. Thinking to myself over and over, I love this.

Watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang together as a family for the first time in the extra bedroom while our bedroom was in pieces in preparation for new carpet.

What details are filled with shocking beauty in your world right now?

18 July 2014

Creating A Life Without Limits

Lately I'm realizing that everything I thought I knew? Well, I've been wrong about a lot. Everything I thought I knew, I didn't know at all. For a long time I never thought I would be a mother, because so many messages from society told me not to dare even daydream about it. I never saw myself graduating college. I can tell you honestly when I was in 5th grade and in end stage renal failure, I was more than slightly terrified of reaching to build the life I have now. Amazing how that all works, right? Sometimes daring to even think about beautiful happenings is our biggest, most terrifying step.

No matter what kind of rules you feel pressured to follow, no matter what boxes others attempt to fit you into, there is always your own path. Forge ahead, don't look back, ask for help when you need it, but don't forget your biggest cheerleader should always be yourself. Build the life you want from scratch.

When we put fences around our dreams we are sending vibes out into the world that we don't want our wildest desires because deep down we don't think we deserve them. We wonder if we are strong enough to handle pushing beyond boundaries. I see wires in many different forms; physical, mental, emotional. Sometimes we imagine the wires ourselves and other times they can be tangible, either way we don't have to be bound or held back by them.

A life without limits, a life without wires, creating a life on your own terms while being able to design a life you love. Isn't that what we all crave?

Jabra sent me a pair of Jabra Rox wireless headphones and instantly it occurred to me that they provide freedom and music; two of my favorite things in this world. There have been several times over the course of my life when I have experienced the healing power of music firsthand; during hospitalizations throughout my life, endless hours in waiting rooms while I was going through the kidney transplant process, and when I was on bed rest during my high risk pregnancy with our daughter. And freedom? Well, right now I'm about one month shy of turning 31 and I've already lived 20 years past my predicted life expectancy. If that isn't freedom, I don't know what is. Beautiful things happen when you challenge predictions for your own story and set yourself free from limits.

Let me gush about the Jabra Rox Wireless Earbuds for a quick second. First of all, Jabra provides three different sizes of ear gels for the ultimate comfort. Plus, a protective bag for keeping the earbuds safe. The charging time is short and sweet; a simple two and a half hours and bam, you are good to go! It is refreshing to be able to have a devise I can use for walks around the neighborhood with Sookie and no wires to worry about! Connecting them to my iPhone with bluetooth is easy as pie. They are also wonderful as a simple solution for tunes while writing to keep the imagination flowing as I work on blog posts or my memoir. I often write on my Macbook late at night in bed. Many times our little princess is sleeping next to me and I want to be able to listen to something without waking her, and without the added clutter and mess of more wires.

I want to hear your stories! I've teamed up with Jabra for a fantastic opportunity not only to share your thoughts, but to win your very own pair of Jabra Rox Wireless Earbuds! Leave a comment on this post detailing your detours and how you have jumped hurdles of living a life without wires. How have you created a life without limits? What advice do you have for others looking to simplify their lives?

Giveaway is open until Friday, July 25th. Winner will be picked at random. Good luck! I can't wait to read your stories!

17 July 2014

I Feel It All

Yesterday was one of those days when every little feeling that came floating across my heart was entirely too much. Which is why I ultimately ignored those pesky emotions for a bit and jumped head first into making these crazy confetti compost cookies. Because, really? How can I be expected to ignore a recipe for cookies that includes heath bars, rainbow sprinkles, pretzels and salt and vinegar chips? And you know, I made salt & vinegar kale chips on Sunday. We ate them all that very afternoon. And a lesson which keeps swirling around me lately is that life is all about the fine (albeit difficult) art of balance.

Plus, it was Wednesday. I was listening to Holly Williams and Brandi Carlile. Jack (our dachshund) was wearing tiger striped shorts in a well played effort to distract Sookie from some grumpy feelings of her own. As I dumped peanut butter cups into the giant pink heart shaped bowl of brown sugar and eggs and stirred in all together into a mess of yummy, I gave myself a pep talk.

The cookies? So incredible beyond belief you simply have to experience them for yourself. The feelings? Oh those I made peace with; because you should never feel wrong for embracing being present, alive, and aware.

14 July 2014

Hello Monday: Wish Out Loud

Custom today is a miracle cuff from farmgirl paints

Joining up with Lisa Leonard again this week for the Hello Monday blog prompt! I love this series and the bold inspiration behind beginning each week with crisp motivation and hope.

Hello Monday!

Hello new week, new inspiration, new hope, new adventures, new pieces of the puzzle pushing me forward.

Hello finding fresh pockets of courage hidden within myself.

Hello falling into yet another gorgeous fairytale for grown ups from Alice Hoffman. Her creation The Museum of Extraordinary Things has me entranced. 

Hello homemade salt & vinegar kale chips. The recipe I used can be found HERE.

Hello throwing insecurities out the window and wearing shorts a lot this summer. Embracing my legs in all of their imperfect glory has been a tough journey, but one that I've turned a corner on and determined to see through.

Hello the beautiful work of art that is Paul McDonald & Nikki Reed's album, i'm not falling. Their heartbreak is a living being and it is showcased in a haunting yet stunning way. Their voices mesh together better than fries and ketchup.

Hello to reality sometimes being too heavy and venturing into a world where eyelash fills and pink hair make everything okay. :)

Hello catching raindrops on our tongues outside of the bookstore.

Hello to being brave enough to wish out loud.

What are YOU saying hello to this week? 

07 July 2014

Hello Monday: Root Beer, Glampers, & Kittens. Oh My!

This post was inspired by Lisa Leonard's series, Hello Monday. I love the idea behind it all, saying hello to a fresh week with optimism, bravery, and gusto. Thanks Lisa, I appreciate the motivation more than you know!

Hello planting (even more!) flowers in our front yard and attempting to balance the empty flower pots on our heads afterward.

Hello taking a deep breath after a crazy, fun filled 4th of July weekend! We jam packed it full of parades, waffles, smiles, barbecues, family, fireworks, and fun.

Hello marvelous mail day with goodies from two of my favorite shops, Olive Lane and Oh Sweet Joy. Pom pom shorts? I'm obsessed. They are perfect for throwing over a swimsuit for pool or splash pad days. Also, can I praise the genius that is the splash pad? Love them!

Hello getting better each day at helping my body handle this heat! Father's day weekend it was actually chilly here, and now we are back up into the high 90's, low 100's temperature wise. It can be an obstacle to make it to everything in the summer when my body has such a difficult time tolerating the heat. 

Hello glamper progress! Rory is a rockstar at this and meticulous with every last detail. I can't wait until it is all done! We thought we were close to completing this fun project, and then we started working on the back corner closet and all the wood was rotted. Such a bummer to extend finishing this up, but the joy is in the journey, right? 

Hello to family adventures. Just the three of us. In our own little world, where we are untouchable and the memories are bold and forever.

Hello to rediscovering the deliciousness of tea. 

Hello to my summer uniform; maxi skirt, gold glitter sandals from Target, tank, and a gLocket of some shape. Use code HAPPYGIRL for 20% off! 

Hello to my newest addiction; root beer from Starbucks. Run, don't walk. So unbelievably good!

Hello to summer afternoons at Poppa and Grrrmomma's house. Sidewalk chalk on the patio, cherries, and her pink tricycle that was mine when I was a little girl. Lots of the time is spent playing with the kittens, two of which came to live with us last week. It is fun new antics all around and an adjustment period, especially for Jack, our dachshund. Haha.

What are you saying hello to this week? I would love to hear it!

03 July 2014

Love What You've Got

Grief is a tricky beast. Which is one of the reasons why I rarely write about it here. Although perhaps it is time to change that because I'm realizing I still have so much work to do with it all; a never ending battle of faith and endurance. It can feel like the loneliest experience ever. At least, my journey with it has been many times over the last eight years since my sister passed on. I know there are many factors that have complicated that whole part of my life, such as the fact it was unexpected, and that she was not simply my only sister, but my only sibling. I don't have any brothers or sisters to talk to about their own path of healing and finding pockets of peace. My parents always had each other as guides for how to navigate that particular agony of losing a child; but it was me, myself and I when it came to the anguish of maneuvering sibling tragedy.

A few days ago, covered in tears, I finished up Claire Bidwell Smith's memoir, The Rules of Inheritance. Countless times throughout the book I would catch myself appreciating her way of capturing facets of loss that I've spent a long time examining myself. Her story of trudging through losing both of her parents during her twenties is one I would definitely recommend to anyone who has experienced tremendous loss.

Snippets of my favorite memories of my sister include riding in my green Jetta, singing Hanson songs as loud as our voices would carry, while the wind danced through our hair. Losing her is a huge factor as to why I'm such a photo capturing freak these days. After someone leaves, photos account for so much. I don't know if you can ever truly get this until you've been through it.

This quote from The Rules of Inheritance struck me. I love it. It sums it all up. I love what I've got right now. I love what I've had. 15 years with my sister was absolutely stunning, but oh I ache for more. Life  can be brutal how one minute someone can be right in front of you, venting about math homework, and then the next day, they are gone forever.

I'm drawn to grief memoirs because I like to absorb how other people do it. How you pick up the aftermath of your life when a giant grenade goes off right in the middle, taking most of your heart with it. I'm learning there are about a million different recipes to survive it. The resiliency of human kind is one of my favorite things about this crazy ride.

Some days I feel her presence so strongly, I talk to her often and write her letters. I see pieces of her in Sookie's fierce attitude and passionate stubbornness. I thank her for sending Rory my way. I keep her wild child spirit alive by sprinkling in a few purple eyelash extensions amongst my black ones, planning my next tattoo, and craving baby pink streaks in my mane. That is all here and it is powerful. But I can still daydream about what she would be doing now with her story, and what I would give to be able to hold her close one more time.