Dogs

Except When

On Saturday, when I told the ladies in my book group that I was giving up coffee, six loud voices retorted, “WHY?”

Why give up the nectar of the gods?

“Just switch to an Americano,” one said while another quickly spoke over her and said “Yeah, I had to break up with my white mochas too.”

Because at the end of December, when I was still in the holiday festivities and drinking eggnog lattes, my pants got tighter and I’m trying to cut back. That’s why. Sure I could run, but that’s more torturous than no coffee.

Because tea, as you now know, is supposed to be my new thing.

Except when, ugh, it’s not.

I’m ten days in and English Breakfast Tea with honey and milk is NOT AS GOOD AS A VANILLA LATTE. I’m a little tense. The caffeine headaches are real. I’ve got 21 days to go until I might just say… will probably say… screw this and invite my favorite beans back into my life.

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Photo by Mark Daynes on Unsplash

Trying to hold yourself to new standards is a beautiful thing. Except when those standards drive you crazy and instead turn into punishment.

This week we got a rather large dental bill. Dylan calls me Smaug, like from the Lord of the Rings books, because I prefer to watch my savings account slowly increase rather than spend on myself or use those resources to meet my needs. So when I saw the amount due, my stomach dropped and I began to get tense.

No coffee + large expense = tense

“Have gratitude that you have the resources to pay the bill,” my mother said as I griped to her about the cost of adulthood. Ah, she is so wise.

So I started chanting in my head – I’m grateful we have the resources to take care of ourselves and our bodies – and slowly the stomach ache fear that comes with big bills began to dissipate.

I believe that saving money is a beautiful thing.  Except when it’s not. When my obsession turns into stomach aches I have to remind myself to let resources flow. Turn over the money and say there will be more opportunities for funds and abundance to come our way.

And tonight, when we went out with Dylan’s new friends I tried really hard not to watch the clock as the minutes passed and the time spent away from the dog ticked by. Knowing Olive’s past track record with us being gone for long periods of time has led to destruction and mess. I sat over beers and had visions of our only good couch left torn to shreds, or Olive laying in a pile of the remains of our kitchen rug as she looks up me saying, “Well where the hell have you been?” I drove home quickly, even saying aloud, “Just a few more minutes Olive.” I opened the door expecting disaster and took a deep breath.

Nothing. No mess. All our furniture intact and a dog, very ready to go outside, smiling at me as if to say sure I make messes “Except when I don’t.”

So this week there is beauty in setting goals and freedom in saying maybe not. Beauty in having principles and penny pinching and grace for understanding that discipline led to provision.  Beauty found in being present rather than dwelling on the next pending disaster coming our way.

Beauty in remembering I get to live on the swing of life’s situations presented to me, swaying between yes, no, and except when with smiles on my face.

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January Favorite Things

Hooray! I can put up my new calendar today! Never mind that I ordered it in November when Shutterfly was offering a deal for free ones. I love turning the page on a calendar and I like New Year’s Day. While I struggle with changes outside of my control, a new year feels fresh, hopeful, and promising. I get to start over on my attempt to read 20,000 pages in a year and I can dabble in my resolutions like writing a draft of that book inside my head and learning to play the ukulele that I was gifted for Christmas. If you know anyone who teaches this beautiful instrument let me know – so far I’ve got one chord under my belt.

Here are some of my other favorite things this month. Happy New Year! May 2018 bring beautiful things your way.

1. The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel by Nina George

I read this book over the holidays. Compassionate to grief and a clever application of how books soothe the soul. I highly recommend it to anyone who delights in the power of story.

2. PG tips Premium Black Tea

I’m turning over a new leaf and trying to cut my vanilla latte habit. This is going to be hard – maybe you can help hold me accountable. I’m switching to tea instead. I’ve been told this is the best there is. Hoping this turns into a new favorite thing.

3. Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday is coming up! I like having a birthday that closely follows Christmas. It gives me something to look forward to after the post-holiday let down. Not sure how I’ll celebrate, but I rest in gratitude for another year around the sun.

Oh, thank you for asking! What’s on my birthday list? Here’s a few ideas.

Rabbit Original Lever Corkscrew , Ukulele for Beginners: How to Play Ukulele in Easy-to-Follow Steps or most things from J.Crew

I also want someone to send me a box of wine from Wine Awesomeness. Because really, wine in the mail? How awesome.

4. T-Shirts with Dogs on Them

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I didn’t realize that I’ve sorta got a collection of t-shirts with dogs starting in my closet. My momma gave me this one for Christmas. I also like this one and hope to grow my odd collection.

5. Write it Out

New year – a new place to capture your beautiful thinking. If you want to start a journaling practice in the new year, I recommend these great tools.

Moleskine Classic Notebook and these pens with this coffee.

Shoot, I forgot I now drink tea. I recommend this tea.

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.

Giving Light – Tegan P.

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Hey, I’m Tegan! Caffeine addict, dark chocolate lover, and outdoor adventurer. I’m a Colorado native who left and immediately regretted it, but still took six years to explore other wonderful places before I came back home. You can find me on Instagram @teganmarisa for photos of my Senegalese mutt, Helen, and as many mountains as I can reach in my spare time. And, without further ado, a few things that bring a smile to my face these days:

 

1. My people 
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I’m lucky to have friends on almost every continent, and two families (one adopted) in two different countries. The relationships that I have with these people keep me slogging through the day-to-day, and I’m so grateful to have so many people to play, work, cry, and laugh with.
2. My cooking 
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A messy kitchen begs to be cleaned, and a clean kitchen begs to be cooked in – it’s a vicious cycle. But when everything else is overwhelming, chopping veggies, kneading dough, or mixing brownie batter is one of my favorite ways to give myself space to think and breathe. It’s a quick respite from the rest of the world.
3. My dog 
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Who wouldn’t love that face? And she snuggles like a champ. ‘Nuff said.
4. My morning commute 
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I know – what?? But seriously. This time of year, I’m driving west right as the sun rises above the horizon and lights up the mountains. And it’s amazing – first light on Long’s Peak is a reason to wake up in the morning. Which leads me to…
5. My job 
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All jobs have their frustrations, but I get to spend 40 hours every week helping people connect with their National Parks. What could be more rewarding than engaging the next generation of public land stewards and helping people find a sense of place and connection to our natural, cultural, and historic landmarks? With everything else going on in the world, it’s more important than ever that people have safe places to confront the uncomfortable, have the difficult discussions, explore things they’ve never experienced, and find healing. And I get to be part of that. #unironicallyblessed

If you are interested in giving your own light, click here to learn more about how you can enter the Give Light Giveaway.

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 Things to Be Thankful For This Year (in no particular order)

1. My Husband

2. My Mom, My Brother, My In-laws

3. The Legacy My Dad Created

4. Kleenex Tissues

5. Travel

6.  Soft Slippers

7.  Friends who wipe your snot, pick up the phone, rub your back

8.  Writing

9. Lawn Furniture

10. Access to Resources

11. Mentors

12. God’s Grace

13. Photographs

14. My Puppy

15. The Mountains

16. Traditions

17. My Tribe

18.  Learning How to Make Pie Crust

19. Fancy Shampoo

20. Flannel Sheets

21. Wineries

22. Sunday Night Dinner

23. Sunday Football

24. Floral Arrangements

25. Tapas

26. Starbucks

27. Time to Grieve

28. Time to Laugh

29. The SNL Election Skits

30. Snail Mail

31. Oatmeal for Breakfast

32. Text Messages

33. Second Chances

34. Riding Bikes

35. Bitmoji

36. Self-Care Days

37. Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show

38. Treats – Cheese Danishes, Chocolate Covered Almonds, Peanut Butter Cups

39. Natural Hot Springs

40. Massages

41. Coupons

42. God’s Provision

43. Fires in the Backyard

44. Tea Before Bed

45. Essie Nail Polish

46. My Cousins

47.  Worship Songs – Particularly This One

48.  Clean Water

49. Our Caretakers

50. All the People who Brought Lasagna – Every Single One of You.

51. Being Brave Enough to Start Over

52. Patience

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours. What are you thankful for this year?