Coffee

Favorite Things – September

I only care one day a year.

You know! Caring about which team to root for.

Growing up in Northern Colorado I really ought to be a CSU fan. Then I went to the University of Colorado and my ‘house of origin’ became a house divided.  You’ve seen the stickers. You know what I’m talking about.

Then I married a Buffalo and my new ‘house’ was united under waves of black and gold. We even brought Dad over to the dark side. He would proudly wear his CU Hat – sweat stains and all. I wish he was here to come over and watch the big Rocky Mountain Showdown  rivalry from the comfort of our living room.

My  favorite things this month?

  1. CU Gear – May I suggest these fine options?

University of Colorado CU Buffaloes Alumni Nation Stripes Flag

NCAA University of Colorado Buffaloes Custom Athletic Crew Socks

Sing the fight song loudly! I’ll be cheering on my Colorado Buffaloes. Who wants to place a bet on the game?

2. Stumptown Coffee

Yes. Again. Coffee. We went on a lovely trip to Portland and I dragged my family around to local coffee shops. I wanted to include these guys on my best vanilla latte in the world contest I’ve got running in my head. Stumptown was delicious, approachable and trendy. They didn’t cringe when I asked for syrup. Very important. I am thrilled to have added this roaster to my list. While they can’t ship me a vanilla latte, I can get some beans. The internet is a magical thing.

3. This Osprey Daypack

My father-in-law took us on an eight mile hike to an old mining town that didn’t really exist. Well I’m sure it did at some point, but when we got there, the only remnants were a post with a sign, and a nice river bed. Try to find the photo on my Instagram.  I was thankful to have this great daypack for hiking. Well, grateful my husband was carrying this great daypack for hiking. Dylan carried the water – I sipped out of the long straw much like a baby cow follows its mother for milk.

4. Lauren Graham’s Book

If you were (still are…?) obsessed with Gilmore Girls in the early 2000’s I highly recommend this book. Think half memoir, half story of the show, this book made me laugh, cry, and feel nostalgic. Amazing to think how much t.v. shows weave their narratives into our lives. Gosh I love Lorelei. Lauren’s perspective is pretty great too.

5. This video.

 

I think this is the kind of thing Olive thinks about all day. Perhaps she even confesses to Cerdito. This video and that puppy may be my new obsession. Much like my Marcel the Shell phase. Who am I kidding? I still love Marcel.

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Ink

I made the mistake of scrolling through Twitter while having my morning coffee. Anxiety-inducing caffeine mixed with anxiety-inducing messages about how health care changes are going to influence us all swirl like the cinnamon in my cup. Today’s choice makes my stomach hurt – health care, not my coffee.

I’ve got to stop starting my day on social media.

Coffee time needs to be for Jesus, for devotionals, for lists of gratitude and prayers and hopes.

So I write, to calm my anxiety, and to ground myself in the good again. Putting words on ‘paper’ often times is the only thing that makes sense.

The phrase ‘pen to paper’ really seems to lose its romance when you think about how people write their thoughts these days. ‘Put your fingers to the keyboard’ has none of the glamour. No images of writers struggling are conjured with the act of typing. Click click click on a keyboard – the nostalgia is gone. You can’t smell typing like you can a ball point pen. The beautiful smell of ink coming out of a ball point pen.

Ink.

Pre-death, I always said I would only get a tattoo if I had something big to remember. If I went through something tragic, or lost someone.

Damn. I have lived through both.

I wrote a letter to my dad on the year anniversary of his death. In my ramblings, and through my tears, I wrote about how proud he would have been of my brother who has lots of tattoos:

You should see Sam, Dad. His long hair and big muscles and tattoos to remember you by. How we ink our skin in hopes of putting you and your legacy back into our bodies, to absorb you yet again into our blood. I want one, a tattoo to remember you by. I’m kind of scared though. Needles and me don’t get along. That’s something we had in common too. What would you get? Your handwriting on my arm? That chicken scratch scrawl that used to drive me nuts.

I went back and forth, for that fear of needles is real for me. Could I be brave enough to make such a permanent choice?

A few weeks later I was reading the handwritten speech Dad gave at my wedding. At the bottom of the paper he had scrawled his favorite phrase of adoration, ‘love you much.’

“Do it”, he whispered through those words on paper, “mix my words with your blood and carry me with you permanently.” 

And so I did. I met a beautiful tattoo artist who accepted my whole family into his studio with compassion. My mom embarrassed me exclaiming to Jordan, “but you are just so normal!” He laughed her words right off his shoulders.

Jordan took Dad’s handwriting and made it beautiful.  Figured out how to transfer the letters onto my skin. Held my arm, made sure the words were straight, transferred Dad’s legacy onto my skin and deeper into my blood. Words and love made permanent through ink.

Here it is:

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Needle to skin has shimmers of beauty too. Writing stories on our skin. Ink.

 

For more information on the studio Heart & Skin visit their website.

Giving Light – Katie M.

Giving Light – Katie M.

Follow Along on Instagram: kjmye8                             Personal Blog: www.livestepbystep.com

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Small bio: Hi! I’m Katie. I’m a late twenty-something trying to take daily steps towards something beautiful, both in myself and in life. I’ll never say no to sushi, chocolate, hugs, or a trip to a coffee shop. Make me laugh or laugh at my jokes, and we’ll be fast friends.

I love this idea, giving light. My world has been a bit dark for a little while, and there have been things that have been beautiful and anchoring.

1. Coffee

I love everything about this daily ritual. Journeying to the coffee shops, enjoying conversations with the baristas, sitting and journaling or reading or studying, drinking the delicious mix of almond milk, vanilla and espresso (my go-to). I have lived in coffee shops this past year, and although it can get pricey, it’s worth it to me.

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Latte art gets me every time.

2. Conversation

Whether it’s a small conversation with someone on the elevator, or a deep conversation with a dear friend, it’s these pieces of conversation that keep me tethered to what matters to me. I’ve always loved people, their stories, the small moments that can change a day and remind you that we’re all human and living this beautiful, challenging and changing life. We have a choice to fill each other up in these conversations, and that’s what I try to focus on.

3. Laughter

Who doesn’t like to laugh? But stand-up comedy on Netflix is something I thrive on and was the only thing I would watch at points this year. I also cherish laughs with friends and family. When you’re both laughing so hard you can’t breathe and tears come to your eyes, that is the absolute best.

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My brother and I: the beatboxing-ukulele duo.

4. Dogs

Is there something that always makes you happy? For me, that’s looking at a dog (usually big and/or fluffy ones). And maybe even more so, people’s reactions to dogs. It’s like they melt, and their eyes light up with glee and they start speaking in a “dog voice.” “PUP!” … “I want him!!”… “He’s SO CUTE!” All of these spoken by yours truly when a big dog or puppy crosses my path. Someday I will get one of my own.

5. Spontaneity

My favorite plans are the spontaneous ones with other people. I think because they are created out of a desire that feels most like myself in that moment, and the stars somehow align perfectly to create a space where anything can happen and everyone’s in. “Hey, this band is in town and playing tonight! Wanna go?” or “let’s take a roadtrip” or “I want tacos right now. Let’s go!” I have met some life-changing people through spontaneous choices. I am grateful for spontaneity and the friends that join me in it!

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(Source: http://weheartit.com/entry/180250043)

Thank you for reading, friends!

If you are interested in giving your own light, click here to learn more.

52 Thankfuls

 

52 Beautiful Things to Be Thankful For (in no particular order)

  1. My husband
  2. It’s snowing!
  3. My mom, my dad, my brother
  4. My in-laws
  5. The big front window in our living room that lets in light while we watch the world go by
  6. I was taught to cook
  7. I have a job
  8. Coloring books and Prismacolor Pencils
  9. Coffee – always, always coffee
  10. Slippers
  11. Growing Opportunities – even when they are so uncomfortable you think you might burst
  12. Our new house
  13. Old friends – the ones you’ve known since braces and pimples and your future was predicted in a game of MASH
  14. New friends – the people ushering you in to the next stage of who you are meant to be in the world.
  15. White wine
  16. I live in Colorado
  17. I have a college degree – Go Buffs!
  18. Essie Nail Polish
  19. Rest Days
  20. Yoga
  21. Sunshine
  22. Do-Overs
  23. Biscotti
  24. The Mountains
  25. Fireplaces
  26. Heat
  27. People who write books
  28. Books
  29. People who read my blog
  30. I was born in America
  31. Fancy breakfast – Eggs Benedict Please
  32. I can still hang out in the house I grew up in
  33. Bicycles
  34. Hard Work – it means our efforts matter
  35. Mentors
  36. Craft Beer
  37. The Internet
  38. Family Traditions
  39. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  40. Clean, running water
  41. Fresh Flowers
  42. Prayer
  43. Creatives
  44. Roots & Wings
  45. Crock Pots
  46. Modern Medicine
  47. Writing
  48. Pens – fine point, black ink
  49. Dylan’s handyman skills
  50. Happy Hour
  51. Lifelong Learning
  52. New Beginnings

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours. I hope you find something to be thankful for today!

Papa

Take a moment to think of the ways in which you are influenced by others. What some of your mentors, friends, coaches have taught you along the way. This week, in honor of Father’s Day, I was reflecting on the ways in which my dad has influenced me. Maybe you get nostalgic in stages, maybe it’s just me, but this year was one of the better Father’s Day experiences our family has had. I know, not everyone has happy memories with their parents. If Father’s Day is painful for you, my heart expands as I send compassion and light your way. I hope you can find connection to the positive interactions with people who have supported you as you became who you are today.

My dad and I have not always been the closest. As I’ve gotten older and tried to separate from my family like normal adults do, my appreciation for my parents has grown ten fold. This week, I’m grateful for the beautiful parts of my dad that I see in myself.

Here are a few:

My love of coffee, road trips, potato chips. A chocolate chip cookie does constitute as breakfast. So does cold pizza.

While preparing dinner we sneak little pieces of cheese, or chicken, or nibbles or bread crusts with butter. Sometimes these snacks fill us up before the meal reaches the table.

We are both “thrifty”, or ok fine, cheap. We reuse, we recycle, we have holes in our sneakers until my mom tells us it’s time to get new things.

My dad can be the quiet, pensive type. He taught me to observe before speaking, and to choose my words wisely. He can also talk to anyone  in the grocery store and connect over bacon, or a bag of onions. I watch this skill, and observe wisely, trying to pick up his ability to talk anyone who cares to make eye contact. Private processor, publicly friendly. I want to be better at this.

My dad never doubted my dreams because I was a girl. Thank you for teaching me to play ball, hold a hockey stick,  how to fill the car with gas, answer my insurance questions, wipe my tears, and encourage me to catch creatures in boxes if they aren’t supposed to be living in your house. Remember the mice incident? Thank you for letting me be afraid of birds.

My dad has taught me to find things to laugh about. We text back and forth jokes that are witty and stupid and charming. It’s a way to stay in touch and remain wired through laughter. Isn’t that a beautiful image? What if the whole world was wired through laughter. Positive energy wandering the waves over our heads and into our hearts. He is the goofy in my blood, the wiggle in my dance, and the quiet reminder to be proud of myself.

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I don’t say this often, and we don’t always connect, but I am immensely grateful for his presence in my life. Thank you for wanting to choreograph our father daughter dance at my wedding, for walking me down the aisle, for teaching me how to walk.

Happy Father’s Day Dad. You are beautiful.

Little Nuggets of Promise

I’m not good at mornings. I like staying up late and sleeping in if I can. My plan for today was to get up at 6, cozy in to my kitchen with a cup of coffee and write as the sun came up. Doesn’t that sound nice and romantic and what a writer should do? Soaking in those perfect moments of solitude to reflect on life as the worlds rubs its sleepy eyes.

I think I pressed the snooze button 12 times and here I am at 7:50 am just getting started. I’m making this a priority this morning, but it likely means “hat day”, if you know what I mean. I do have coffee made by our new coffee maker which I am so excited about. First world beauty, is that a thing? I guess it is, and the convenience of this programable coffee maker is fabulous! I put the grinds in at night, and presto it makes me my beautiful addictive nectar that gets me going each day. I joke because we now have every method to make a cup of joe. I’ll probably still go to Starbucks, and the coffee shop across from work, but I shouldn’t. I just adore the convenience of this little machine, the routine it provides, the status of adulthood that radiates proudly in my kitchen.

Rave and rave about this machine, I could. I know, beauty in an appliance? How trite. Don’t discount that wonder that comes from the kitchen counter. I am thankful for technology that brings comfort to my daily routine. Sometimes, I stop to ponder how fabulous the world actually is.  Every thing in my kitchen, from the coffee maker to the little bright light bulb in my refrigerator, was created and designed by human intelligence. That’s so neat! The clothes I put on my back, the hairbrush I use to groom, the toothpaste I use to scrub my chompers – all of that was made up by a person and engineered and manufactured and made usable. That’s pretty incredible.  It is easy to focus on all the wrong doings humans create; the accidents, the horror unto one another and unfortunate consequences of quick action. Those exist, sure as heck, but so do little wonders. Remember the book, “The Way Things Work”, by David Macaulay and Neil Ardley, that you used to read when you were a kid? I loved that book and its illustrations and explanations. I ask myself what happened to my wonder at the world? Have I let it be squashed by disappointment and disheartening news? I hope not. There is so much beauty, only when we let it become a part of our day.

This week we carved pumpkins in preparation for Halloween. I’ve never been a huge fan of Halloween, but pumpkin carving, that is what I live for. I’m not particularly skilled and my exercise typically involves a cut out pattern of some sort, but the process is fun and full of delightfully slimy gook. I had friends over to partake in the festivities, made a huge batch of chili and got down to work. Here are our results:

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The weather has been unseasonably warm this week, breaking records and causing our creations to shrivel like little old ladies with no teeth. They sit on my porch silently screaming, “How many days ’til we get to rest? This smiling is exhausting us!” Their dropping faces remind me of going to the dentist, or getting braces put on when you have your mouth open for hours and your jaw starts shaking. Hang in there little guys, just a few more days until Halloween. Joy from pumpkins is short lived.

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More amazement, too, comes from the little nuggets of promise mixed in with the slime. I roasted the seeds this year, for the first time on my own. Usually, that’s a job my mom masters, but I gave it a whirl this season. The results were quite excellent – maybe the trick is boiling the seeds in salt water first. Here is the simple recipe that I used. So while my pumpkins may be shrinking to their end, I’ve got their legacy on my kitchen counter and my snack size zip block bag full of their gifts in my work bag. Find ways to carry beauty with you, create reminders that things are good, and wondrous, and worth exploring.

Did you carve a pumpkin? I want to see.