Jimmy Fallon

52 Thankfuls – 2017

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 7.34.00 PM.png

52 Things to be thankful for this year. In a sorta particular order….

  1. The Significant Other

2. The Mother

3. My brother

4. My in-laws

5. Mentors

6. Prosciutto

7. Living by the mountains

8. Family Meals

9. I was taught how to cook

10. Creative people

11. Craft Beer

12. Craft Coffee

13. Crafts

14. The Ocean

15. This Is Us

16. My House

17. Warm Bed

18. Promise of Health Insurance

19. Jobs – Connection – Purpose

20. Writers

21. Books

22. Trader Joes

23. American Family Insurance

24. Memories & Photographs

25. Collecting Dad’s things – clothes, mugs, toys

26. My good friends

27. Blog readers

adam-jang-260876

28. Instagram

29. Washing Machines – new and busted ones

30. Leadville, CO

31. People who believe they can

32. Mill City Church

33. The Silver Grill  – my seat at the counter

34. Road trips

35. The ability to opt out

36. Tattoo artists

37. Tater Tots

38. Anniversaries

39. Finally Home 

40. The Power of Moments by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

41. My French Press

42. My dog Olive

43. Homemade Pasta

44. Yoga teachers

45. Library Cards

46. Family Photos & Jamie Fischer Photography

47. The big deck at Grand Lake Lodge

48. Democrats

49. Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show

50. Birthdays

51. Fresh flowers in the house

52. Fine Point Pens

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

 

 

Advertisements

Lessons from the Big Apple

I’ve been posting less frequently, and for that I do apologize. However, the energy typically reserved for writing about the process of seeking beauty has been filled with self-care, reminders to practice gentle acceptance, and travel. A little bit of travel.

I’m no expert in grief; yet I’ve heard it said when you experience a loss, people often travel. They want to get away from the place where life was shared with a loved one, where memories and unanticipated triggers lurk around neighborhood corners, seep out from radio speakers in love songs, and smack you overhead as you eat dinner at an old favorite restaurant. I can understand this sentiment and we, too, sought respite from the reminders. Our family has planned some travel this year, and last weekend we ventured to New York City – a place full of wonderful diversity, adventure, and distraction.

Death_to_Stock_Photography_NYC_Skyline_6.jpg

Being from Northern Colorado, it is not a surprise that diversity, true diversity, is lacking in my home community. One subway ride in New York City, and I was exposed to more types of people than I ever am back at home. I found myself thinking as we rode the train from Uptown to Midtown, how much of a beautiful phenomenon it is that I can come together and share a train ride with people so very different than myself. Yet, for fifteen to twenty minutes, we had something in common – our desire to move from here to there – even if the “there” destination was different. I liked knowing, feeling, this human connection that we all have purpose, if only in the need to get from here to there.

Those subway trains are magic – kinda like a time-traveling tube of metal – it is an amazing system that moves thousands of people every day. Each time we climbed the steps up from underground, into the bright sunlight, I had to take a moment to orient myself to our new location. I found myself getting bumped and prodded as our group would move to the side of the street – trying to navigate where to go next. When you are an individual in a constant flood of people, it is easy to shy away, step back, move to the side.

About half way through our trip, though, I had another realization:

“You know what?” I thought to myself, “I have just as much right to take up space as any other human here.”

And this realization changed my whole approach to the rest of our time in the city. Sure, I can be kind, and polite, and patient – but I, too, deserve a spot on that train. New Yorkers have a bad reputation for being pushy, assertive, and bold to a fault. Yet they fill their space with confidence. I can be brave and bold and share my story without hesitation. If you spend your time waiting for others to let you in, you are going to get left out. Jump in, forge ahead, push to the front of the line.

I realized just how out of character the idea of being first is for me. Both my brother and my husband made fun of me as I anxiously pushed to the front of the line at NBC Studios.

IMG_4010

We entered the lottery to see Jimmy Fallon and for months I looked forward to the event. So when I dragged my family to the sign-in location twenty minutes early, and pushed to the front of the doors of the studio with herds of other people, my brother yelled, “Katie, you are going to have to sit without us!” I kept charging ahead, looking back and responding “Come on! We are going to make this happen!” Yes, we all did get to sit together, and no, I wasn’t in the front row. But I carved out my space for myself in a famous location, with laughter in my heart and confidence in my step.

There is beauty in changing up the scenery of your life. Beauty in traveling, in pondering in different spaces, and in coming to the realization that yes, in a city of over eight million people, you matter too.

Buffaloes, Buffaloes, Go CU!

You know what song has been blasting through our home this week?

This one:

No. I wouldn’t exactly say that this is a beautiful thing. It’s actually rather obnoxious, but we have been playing it so much that it makes me laugh, and laughter is beautiful. I showed this clip to my mom and watching her learn these dance moves, that was beautiful.

Jimmy Fallon’s rendition is even more hilarious, and this has been keeping me laughing all weekend.

I would love if Ellen could come play the Lip Sync game with me. That woman is amazing. There are so many parts of life where you just have to find things to laugh about, and if this gets you giggling, I hope it brings some joy this week.

There was a rather large football rivalry this weekend. I just want to send a shout out to my beautiful Colorado Buffaloes! Woot Woot. I was raised in CSU territory, and attended CU, and so most days my loyalty is subpar for my alumni status. I do get really excited about the Buffaloes one weekend a year – the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

I, myself, am a lone Buffalo in a family of Rams, and so I send smack talk texts to my cousins, my mom, my uncle, anyone who will listen on one day a year. I get a little cocky and make bets that never come to fruition. Unfortunately, both teams aren’t exactly top ten in the nation.

I was so excited that the Buffs won this year. Our tv isn’t quite set up  since we moved last week, and so my parents and my in-laws gathered around our radio and listened to the game. Just like in the 1940’s. Quaint. They probably ate buffalo chicken dip in the 1940’s right? Frank’s Hot Sauce was totally a thing. Enough calories for the week. Opportunities to talk smack about the Rams and mostly make fun of my family as we cheered on our favorite four legged mascots. I loved screaming the CU Fight Song from my newly organized kitchen with Dylan. My father-in-law was shocked I remembered the words. I’ll tell you a little secret – when you are a freshman at CU they give you a t-shirt with the fight song printed on the back. That way, every game you go to, you find a freshman, stand behind them, and memorize the song. When you graduate, you take that shirt, and still wear it on game days.

download

You sing the song. You cheer loudly. You have something to be proud of. Even when your football team has “room to grow.” Room to grow is a beautiful thing. Watching Ralphie run the field, that’s powerful. Much more than Cam the Ram.

In our culture that is seeped in competition, in proving ourselves or protecting ourselves, I was able to see through some of the rivalry, the false promises, the ridiculous shows that we put on, and laugh. That is beautiful. And oh my goodness, buffalo chicken dip is beautiful. So. Delicious.

No biscotti or nail polish this week. Stay tuned I guess.

Thank You Notes

Inspired by my on-line friend Chelsea, I am following in her footsteps, or rather her blog steps, and writing a thank you note to the things currently sustaining me. You can check out the post that I’m copy catting right here.  Do you watch Jimmy Fallon? Imagine I’m writing these thank you blurbs, Tonight Show style. Can The Roots come play the “Thank you Note” tune?

Thank you Dylan, for embarking on this journey called life with me, for always making me laugh, for dancing, for being the person who I can binge watch “Friends” with, without judgement.

Thank you Mom and Dad, for being a continuous stream of support for my venting, my processesing, my laughter, my sustenance.

Thank you Mike and Cathy, for embracing me as your own, for lots of wonderful dinners, and access to cable football. Go Seahawks.

Thank you coffee, for being my constant comfort in a cup. Whether served up Starbucks style, or out of my fancy miracle coffee maker mentioned here, you always know what to do to make me feel so much better. Add a little vanilla please.

Thank you friends, Tegan, Maile, Ashley, Katie – for walking through these 20 something days with honesty, accountability and trust. I’m lucky to continue to have sustained relationships with those who know my heart.

Thank you slippers, for keeping my feet warm during these frigid winter months. Even when it is not frigid I love me some slippers.

Thank you sunrise, for reminding me that the world spins madly on.

Thank you January, my birthday month, for reason to celebrate and love myself.

Jimmy Fallon is a bit more funny in his delivery, but these are the things that are keeping me grounded this week.

There is beauty in the practice of gratitude. The exercise of focusing on the good and what we have, rather than the bad and what we want to change. What are you thankful for?

Blown Away

I’m almost afraid to say it. Things seem to be going smoothly, people getting along, and I’m basking in the support of others. Support that I thought maybe had ended due to doors closing, differences in lifestyle choices, friends moving away. Funny how when you ask the universe for something sometimes you have to wait, and sometimes answers come flooding in faster than you can say thank you. I feel like it’s flooding, and I’m floating, today, on the good.

As you can imagine, planning a wedding is well, expensive. Even when you try to get family involved and do things yourselves. And, as a self admitted control freak about funds, this has been well, uncomfortable. Dylan, my mom, my loved ones continue to tell me to relax, to trust in God’s provision, and to allow myself to use my resources wisely. I’m trying. But in my freak out moments I scream (metaphorically of course) I can figure it out! And so I put out a call to some of my friends offering up babysitting services. And I got a response and this week had the most beautiful experience with two little girls – ages three and one.

It was Friday afternoon and I was pooped and regretting the metaphorical scream and call to action and wishing I had just said no so I could go home and drink a beer and relax because I knew the weekend would be full. I put on my big girl panties and drove across town to a family I hadn’t previously met, and settled in to babysit for the night. We went through the routine – some games, some books, some mac and cheese and I was having fun. But as I cleaned up dinner and took those little girls outside to play I was blown away by the simple pleasure of bubbles (no pun intended). Do you know how fascinating those little soap suds are to little kids? When is the last time you let yourself watch those magical orbs grow and expand and float like they have no cares in the world. We took the wands filled with soap and spun in circles, playing on the grass, pursing our lips and getting covered in spit. Up unto that point, that bubble blowing experience was the highlight of my week. I hope they invite me back. I think I want to add bubble festival to my bucket list – that’s got to be happening somewhere in this country right? If not, maybe I’ll start one.

Saturday was my bridal shower. I woke up early – I was nervous – about what I can’t exactly pin down, but you know, I don’t love being the center of attention. I was overwhelmed, however, by how many people showed up to share their love and support and advice during this time of preparation for marriage. Does anyone else ever have anxiety that if you invite people they might not show up? Like if you plan a birthday party with all of your favorite things and worry, just maybe, no one else will want to partake in what you love? I was a little nervous about that. Again, however, I was blown away by how many women from different stages of my life showed up to say, “we love you, we are thankful we get to walk with you through this time, and we love that you are so in love” WHEWWEEE – isn’t that what we all want? To be loved and accepted and showered with good wishes. It was a great day – to those who participated – thank you, thank you.

What came of this too, was freedom to extend myself to old connections and say even though we are in different places, with different schedules and priorities I still care about you. I said it to my friends, they said it to me, and even if we were together for just a few hours, I felt immensely loved. And surrounded by pink, and by cupcakes, and by accessories that will help build my new life.

And someone bought us the gnome! (Don’t know what I’m talk about? Click Here) We started a hashtag #hueygnome so you can follow his adventures.

What blows you away in good ways? What are you asking for from the universe? What do you wish you hadn’t asked for?

And for those looking for a laugh I strongly recommend this little clip – the song has been stuck in my head ALL WEEK:

 

Heart Balm

Have you read the book “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd? You should. They recently made it into a movie, maybe a few years ago, but as always, the book is better.

The_Secret_Life_of_BeesIn the book there is a character that is so compassionate she is haunted by the suffering of others. Her sisters have found a solution, and built her her own version of the biblical “wailing wall” in which this character writes down things she is distraught over. She spends a large amount of time processing and tucks the slips of papers into the little cracks to give them up to God, to the universe, to release herself from the incomprehensible amounts of pain that are in this world. Read the book to learn more about how her character copes with those questions we all brush over on a daily basis.

Sometimes, I can relate to that character. I’ve always had an emotional heart – a compassionate one that tugs and pulls and is pierced by things that don’t seem to bother others. I get frustrated at inequality, mad at injustice, and throw up huge, fist wailing questions to God and grapple with why such suffering is permissible. This questioning suffering, expansive compassion, and intuitiveness brings me closer to my creator – especially at times that don’t make sense. It’s led me to where I am in work, in relationship, and in life.

My heart, my friends, is an immense blessing, and an at times a curse as well. I am growing to nurture it, this hurting heart, to learn to apply metaphorical healing ointment, and expand my awareness to send light and love to those who are in pain at the moment. But today, I feel just like that character in the book. I found out someone I know – an acquaintance of someone I work with – lost their daughter this weekend, as she took her own life. Too, our neighbor lost his wife in one week, when a returning cervical cancer ravaged her body and took her home to heaven in seven days. It was a sad morning, and my heart hurts, and I don’t even know these people.

We think we are invincible, and at times we may be protected by shells of our own happiness, or carry a shield of “thank goodness that’s not my life.” But what happens when it does become you – when the phone rings, and you are the one scared, and you hurt, a little bit more than you imagine? I hope you turn to God, and start applying that heart salve.

Here are some things that I apply when my heart is hurting. Beauty among the mist, protection and soothing in confusion.

  • Coffee and biscotti – it fixes a lot of things – who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee. This, I think, goes back to my days of living in Tacoma, WA when the rain and the distance from home led me into a bit of a depression. But I lived for Biscotti day at the college cafe. It got me through. photo
  • Laughter – sometimes it feels unimaginable to turn that frown upside down, like it just isn’t possible. But turn on Jimmy Fallon, or watch Marcel the Shell, or find things that tickle your heart into a smile. Marcel always works for me.

  • Baby animals – humans included. The world seems pretty frustrating a lot of times,  but there is something about a fresh start that just is refreshing. All of that unblemished potential. Don’t let pain make you hard, let it soften your heart to the potential in others, the potential in healing. My brother got a puppy this week. Seriously some heart salve in puppies. Just don’t let them bite your fingers.

photo-2

 

They say there are lessons to be taught in suffering, and I believe in that truth. I’m working on releasing others to let them live their journey, live the lessons that God intended for them, and to come to a place that makes sense for them. I don’t like it, and it isn’t fair, and I’m going to spend my life doing what I can to alleviate that pain in tiny ways for my friends, my family, humanity, in itty bitty ways that I can. That’s what today is for me, and heck, that’s what this blog is about.

How do you soothe your heart?

 

Spring Blossoms

Spring Blossoms

Aren’t these blossoms beautiful? Pleasing to the senses? The internet is blowing up with pictures of blossoms, and people asking us to stop and appreciate these delicate, short lived pops of beauty. I am loving all of the flowering trees that are coming up around town, even if they are making me sneeze and the Zyrtec come out in full force. What I love about this picture too, is that if you look into the background you can see parents waiting and watching as kids play soccer. What you can’t see are the sounds those parents are making. The house I grew up in backs right up to a small neighborhood park, and the cheering voices of soccer games drifted into my family’s life to become the sound track of Saturday mornings in both the spring and fall. It is comforting to know those games are still happening, and even more comforting to know that I sometimes get to hear that soundtrack again. Can you tell I’m balancing between growing up and finding comfort in my roots? Maybe that’s an underlying theme here that I didn’t anticipate noticing about myself.

Anyways, I love these blossoms. The day after I took this picture we got a spring snow. Welcome to Colorado, right? Where you never know when you can put away those boots and settle into the next season. The snow flakes were thick, and cold, and slushy, and they covered up all of the brave, budding little plants that are trying their hardest to push their way into this earth. I noticed that these blossoms turned inward, protecting themselves from the cold and they drooped a little, shivering as the wind whispered between them, threatening their existence. Sometimes, that’s kinda how I feel on this journey of looking for beauty. Sometimes in life things are feeling really good, positive, like change is being made and things are being accomplished. And then a cold wind blows – an uncomfortable experience, or a harsh word said by a co-worker, and I want to turn inwards, away from the wind, and away from those experiences that make me question my own place in this world. Because goodness, sometimes doesn’t it seem like the world works pretty hard at making us feel small, and unworthy of showing our true beauty.

Maybe this journey of exploring beautiful things isn’t always going to feel %100 beautiful – is that paradoxical? I’m not sure I’m communicating exactly what’s swirling around in my head this week. But I know that I am trying my hardest to blossom, to break out of that little protective shell, and stand against the elements and say, “here I am, please appreciate me.” But a part of me knows too, that this beauty comes in seasons; we shrink, petals fall, and then we get the courage and the time and the opportunity to grow and try again and resurface and say, “here I am, beautiful like last time, just a little different.” Oh the lessons nature can teach me. I’m kinda into it. I started some tomato plants this week, and basil, and flowers in a pot. We will see how I do – I’ve never really gardened before.

Easter Eggs with MommaI also got the chance to have fun and be creative with Easter eggs. This is a tradition I’ll never be too old for. This year we just felt a little bit more sophisticated in our design. Thank goodness for Pinterest, and my mom who will still blow out the yokes of the eggs into a bowl so I can decorate the hollow, fragile shell. Again, beauty in the delicate nature of life. And beauty that I didn’t have to get egg goop in my mouth (still a child here… what can I say?) My mom said I should practice for motherhood and start doing these messy things – let’s put the breaks on that one please. Tonight, there is supposed to be a lunar eclipse. I’m not sure I will be able to stay up until midnight to watch it. I’m getting kinda old. Maybe Jimmy Fallon can help. We’ve been watching on Hulu, and that man is funny! I think when I look back on this time of uncertainty, or this stage of life, I will be able to say that this search for beauty and Jimmy Fallon helped to keep me grounded. You never know what is going to come your way. What areas are you growing in? What is threatening your beauty or your place on this earth? What is helping you stay grounded?

Also, for a throw back laugh, I thought I’d share this really bizarre picture. These are my Barney slippers from when I was little.I can’t believe my parents kept photo 1-4them, but they certainly make me laugh. Apparently, I’d never take them off and I had a nightgown to match. Commercialism at it’s finest. Aren’t those little lizards creepy?