Clean Your House

I wasn’t going to post today because I just hit the snooze button 9 times… and I knew I had to clean up my house today a bit before work. So I just really couldn’t justify spending time blogging when more pressing things needed to be done in my house.

Have you ever lost a pair of pants? I lost these boyfriend jeans last week sometime. I looked EVERYWHERE for them, or so it seemed. I called the Hampton Inn asking if they were in the lost & found. I called my mom to have her check her jeans.

Nothing.

My home has been cluttered a bit lately. When I travel, I tend to throw a bunch of stuff down, pick up my next adventure gear, and then go about my way. The last two weeks has seen me traveling for skiing, work commitments after hours, church projects, etc. I had “organized piles” everywhere. And laundry built up. Not my finest moment.

To be honest, I didn’t really want to pick any of it up. I felt overwhelmed by the daunting task. So much work. So tired. No win situation.

Anyway, I was picking up my piles and placing them in their correct places (or putting uncategorized things under my bed… I’m a work in progress, folks), and LO! BEHOLD!

I found my jeans.

They were under a scarf that was folded neatly and hanging off the back of my chair.

Sometimes you have to clean your house in order to find what you’ve been looking for. I think that’s a good metaphor for my mind, too. Or my soul. Go ahead and clean both. I almost guarantee you’ll find your favorite jeans.

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Ten Instagram Accounts I Think You Should Follow Right Now

Do you love Instagram? I do! I know a couple of people you should begin following ASAP and I’ll tell you why.

  1. Thuy (tnt_yoga)
    I went to optometry school with her and was always amazed at her positivity. She was so sweet! And then she started doing yoga with a passion. Follow her account for some fun moments in her life.  (Um, it appears as if her account is private… just trust me.)

2. Summer

We went to West Virginia University way back in 2002. Dadisman Hall. No air conditioning! Now she’s living it up in LA, but my favorite posts are the ones from Disneyland.

A late #mcm for ya – Aidan Turner in Poldark

A post shared by sumshel (@sumshel) on

3. Ashton

This chick was my resident at WVU, and I’m so glad we have kept in touch. She smiles bright, and her subjects smile, too! I love this travel mug and must get it.

4. Caroline

Stumbling upon her Instagram account via her blog was one of the best happenstance moments I’ve had in a while. Check out her Better Lettering course, too. Totally worth the $20. 😀

⚡️Pre-order this Thursday, 2/11⚡️ #AbstractAffirmationsDaily 39/366 • “Again” *** Do you just ever have one of those days? Those days where you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it throws your whole day off? It doesn’t happen that often but boy did it hit me today. I mean, I tried *everything* I could to snap myself out of it, but from the moment I opened my eyes, something just felt unsettled. I threw every perspective-shifting, optimism-wielding, jedi-mind-tricking, mood boosting strategy at myself… and yet I just couldn’t shake this OFF feeling. It was still running through me as I painted this tonight and it’s still running through me even as I type this. I know I post a lot of positive messaging around here, especially through this daily project, and it’s because I believe in it. I truly want to show up as my brightest self in as many ways as I can, and I think we have far more choices in how we handle situations than we give ourselves credit for. BUT… I’m also a realist. And the REAL truth is, not every day is as bright as this painting. (And that’s okay.) BUT that’s what tomorrow is for. 🙂 Tomorrow we get to wake up and try again. And that’s something. I closed the door to my studio tonight and tomorrow I plan to return with fresh eyes, a fresh heart, and — hopefully —a fresh attitude. If you too found yourself feeling unsettled today, close your eyes tonight knowing tomorrow is a new day. *** #AbstractAffirmationsDaily prints will be available for pre-order starting this Thursday, 2/11! To get updates FIRST and exclusive deals, get on the email list here: ➡️madevibrant.com/daily. (Plus get a free downloadable print by entering your email!) #creativity #dailyproject #lettering #abstractart #acrylicart #BetterLetteringCourse #🎨

A post shared by Caroline | Made Vibrant (@ckelso) on

5. Tim
Tim lifts in our front room are at CrossFit Thunder. He’s a beast. And then he smiles around his eyes (you can’t see his mouth because of his beard)… total nice guy. I hear, though, that he’s shaved his epic beard in the last week. The Internet almost died.

6. Huntington Insta

They take a bunch of photos from area IGers and repost them for your perusal. Huntington can be BEAUTIFUL!

7. Tonya (Reflections Spa & Salon)

You’ve seen her on my blog before. Her hair skills are INSANELY good. And her IG pics are amazing, too. Hair, running, and fun dog moments. Give her a whirl.

Thanks @shelleymariejames for my new color😘😘😘

A post shared by Tonya Cool (@reflectionssalonandspa) on

8. Lauren Love Photography

I love me some photography accounts, and Lauren’s photos have become stellar over the last year. You can totally watch as her depth of knowledge and push for creativity continues. Great work!

All the best things are wild & free •

A post shared by 🔺Fine Art Wedding Photographer (@laurenlovephotography) on

9. A Southern Co.

I just bought this top from this Huntington-area boutique. Had to have it. The people are super nice, too! For the record, I’m writing this post without coffee. EEEK!

10. The TRex Runner

You MUST check out my friend, Danielle. I met her in Williamson at the Hatfield McCoy Marathon and I was giddy with excitement for being able to meet one of my blog heroes. Love her spirit, her resilience, and her words. Her photos are pretty cool, too. Check out this one… she’s wearing the Hatfield McCoy race shirt!

So that’s it. That’s all I’ve got this Tuesday, but I think you’ll find quite a bit of things to scroll through on your lunch break. Hope you enjoyed 10 IG accounts that are some of my favorites! Until Thursday!

The Art Of Friendships

My thoughts on the art of friendship:

As I get older, it’s a really surprising finding to me that friendships can grow organically. You don’t have to force it. It can just happen. I’ve had these moments earlier in life, but a lot of times I find myself gravitating to a couple of people to fill my circle of friends. Having been out of school for 6 years now, I find that friendships can totally surprise me! I’m taken aback at the people I meet and how we have become friends. Sometimes it hasn’t worked out. Other times it shocks me we get together on a semi-regular basis. That’s the art of friendship: letting friendships grow at their own pace.

Sometimes friendships develop like a science… you meet, you have a couple of things in common, and then BOOM– you’re friends. Those friendships are fun because the connection is immediate and strong. Then you meet other people who speak to your soul, but you aren’t sure if you can build something together. It’s timid; intimidating. Those friendships can be anxiety-inducing. You don’t want to screw it up. You don’t want to scare them off. Friendships, relationships, it’s all basically the same pathogenesis to me. Whenever you invite someone in to your life, you sometimes have to play the game.

 

An example of fast friends. Love you Jen!
 Sometimes it can happen immediately like you really want it to. The guy calls and you go on a date. Friendships are the same way. I call those dates “frates” (that’s friend dates, if you can’t follow that logic).  But what if your potential friend doesn’t call or text? Those instances it just takes a little bit of time… or they don’t like you and you’ll never be friends. Wow! Frustrations! LIKE ME! BE MY FRIEND!

I guess I see it like this: I shouldn’t fret. It can sometimes take a little bit of time to earn someone else’s trust or to let them have that opportunity to really realize I actually care about them. I care about their happiness. I want to offer a piece of my soul. I want to be that reassuring smile. The high five. The encourager. I want to laugh until they cry. I want to roll my eyes with them over an inside joke.

It’s okay to want these things, right? I’d even guess that introverts want one person they can relate to as I’ve just described. I’m not alone in my quest for friendships like that, right?

In the last couple of years it’s taken me some time to just let friendships develop. I want it all immediately. I want you to come over to my house and look at all my pictures then we can go and hang with your family and I can teach your kid to play Mario… or something like that scenario. But Meghan, dude, just chill… that’s what I have to tell myself.

Chill. Out.

 

We didn’t immediately hit it off. We can’t remember when our friendship started. But our friendship is real.
 Just let friendships happen. Let friendships develop. Allow each other the opportunity to choose the friendship. Sure, it’s awesome when sparks happen (I’m not talking about romantic sparks, people). But, when you just know you can have a good relationship with another person, sometimes you just need to chill. Slowly get to know one another. Allow it to develop naturally. No forcing. No demanding. Just accepting each other as you both are. Letting each person fill a little gap in one another’s lives.
The art of friendship is a beautiful game. I’d love to be a starter. I’m okay with coming off the bench. Those supporting roles are important, too. I just want to be on your team.

If you would like to check out one of my new friend’s blogs, hop on over to The Mountain Gypsy. We share a lot of the same philosophies, but I love her not because of that. I love her because she is a genuine soul.

Old School CrossFit

Gritty gym, hodge podge of plates, hard work.
Gritty gym, hodge podge of plates, hard work.
I want you to read this post from Lisbeth Darsh: What Is Pre-Bok? And What Does It Mean?

She is Old School CrossFit. I’m definitely Pre-Bok CrossFit, but she’s OG. I’ve admired her writing for a very long time. Her post got me to thinking about the lack of that old school attitude I’ve been experiencing recently. She states this attitude “was a tough but inclusive ‘suck it up, buttercup’ mentality—a more rough-and-tumble community mindset that hugged you at the same time it slapped you on the ass.”

Certainly, I’ve experienced that a few times recently, but not every day. And we certainly can be rough-and-tumble. But are we tough? Are we inclusive?

What happened to working towards our goals?
What happened to working towards our goals?
I need to be striving to be the type of athlete Lisbeth mentions. Tough, inclusive, driven, but kind. I think I’ve lost a lot of that type of persona, and I want it back. I think a lot of times we can all be complacent in our skill sets or in our drive to become a better version of ourselves. We also lose sight of our goals.

Old School CrossFit is your coach talking in a stern, caring voice- “pick up that bar; don’t put that bar down; SPRINT!!!” Old School CrossFit is about grit and intensity. I’ve been working hard, sure, but have I embodied grit? Have I given my heart on the mat?

I heard about CrossFit in January 2010. My friend Mark said, I should try CrossFit. I’d really like CrossFit. So on August 23, 2010, I watched my first CrossFit video that propelled me over the edge. I knew, after watching the video, that I would have to join the local CrossFit box. At that time, no one really went to CrossFit. It was too expensive, too intimidating, too intense. I needed all of that. I was just a resident, so I didn’t have a lot of money… so the expense was difficult at times, but oh-so-worth-it.

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_WOD100824_CFSC.mov

There’s a certain amount of intensity and enthusiasm that has been missing in my box life. I’m ready to get back there. I want to fall in love with CrossFit every time I set foot in the box. I want to tell my friends to suck it up, buttercup. I want them to push me to try just a little harder.

Tuesday night at CrossFit Thunder I found myself back in that original, Old School CrossFit atmosphere. A 30-person workout certainly creates that organized chaos, but I remember times when even a 3-person class had that intensity. So the Old School CrossFit atmosphere, attitude, intensity, enthusiasm… wow, I’ve missed that.

I think that we as a community should strive with every part of our being to keep that spirit up continuously. I need that. WE need that. 

What say you? If you are newer to the CrossFit world, what are your thoughts regarding this supposed attitude of the earlier Old School CrossFit days?

My Sister Is Amazing

Warning: I am going to tell you why my sister is amazing. She is my kin; therefore, I am biased. Deal with it. But, seriously, my sister is amazing.

Okay, here’s the honest to goodness truth: my sister’s blog ROCKS. For real. I have talked to other lifestyle bloggers (i.e. the bloggers that have a few interests and a hodgepodge of content) and they all agree that my sister’s blog is AH-mazing.

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TayloredToPerfection.com
Her traffic, of which I am privy to, is triple mine. Fashion bloggers have it easy, amiright? Ladies across the world flock to new fashion blogs… especially one that is as amazing as Taylor’s. I’ve been blogging off and on for years now, and I’ve seen how a fashion blog can grow a following almost overnight.

Alas, I am not a fashion blogger. I like a little of this, a little of that. I CrossFit. Run. Backpack. Travel. Read. Cook. But I don’t do fashion. Am I jealous that there isn’t a niche for my following? A little! I refuse to lie.

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Photo Credit: Wes Wilson Photography
But her blog is amazing, people. My sister is amazing. Let’s deconstruct why:

She has a well-defined persona. Taylor is sweethard-headed, and insecure. I have no idea how she got that combination of traits, but it works for her. Let’s work backwards so you can understand what I mean. And please know, none of these traits is negative.

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Photo Credit: Wes Wilson Photography Idea Credit: Meghan Elkins
  1. Insecure: I would LOVE for her to see just how amazing she is just as she is; for her to leave some of that insecurity at the doorstep to the world. But, it’s her life, and she has to get there when she is ready. And I see so many times when she is ready, when she is secure in her skin. I am left breathless. I am in awe.
    Sometimes those moment come when she has on her polka dot tights or when she is rocking her Kate Spade dress. But other times is when she is being a sous chef for our mom in the kitchen during the holidays. Or when she’s in the zone playing Mario Kart or corn hole. Her smile changes. Her eyes soften. I am left breathless.
    When her insecurities prevent that soul from shining, I feel frustrated that she can’t just be comfortable. And when her insecurities lift? I beam even more for the person I know she know she can be.
    But, Meghan, why is being insecure something that makes your sister amazing? That’s a good question, friend. Being insecure is amazing because Taylor’s insecurities are really just an expression of humbleness. James 4:10 says, “humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” She is meek, kind, and so humble. Yes, she might feel pretty in a cute dress (don’t we all?), but I’ve never observed Taylor to be anywhere close to being stuck-up or self-righteous.

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    I think her soul is more beautiful than her skirt.
  2. Hard-headed: Insecure but hard-headed? I feel as if this combination is deadly when it comes to challenging moments. That insecurity is balanced by her stubborn nature. She will. not. quit. She lived with me for two years and we didn’t hang out nearly enough because she wanted everything to be up to her standards. Insecure that she wouldn’t reach the pinnacle of her own expectations for herself; too hard-headed to be able to tell herself that done is better than good (or perfect, rather).
    My sister is amazing. Let me tell you again! All of her insecurities are in relation to her own expectations. She has such an incredible drive that I can’t even fathom the work she puts in. And being told no? It’s on like Donkey Kong, folks. She refuses to quit. She refuses to back down.
    And you bet that sometimes our fortitudes clash. Being 9 years apart, our parents were blessed with basically 2 first-born personalities. Yay them. I still have more traits of a first-born, but we were both gifted some (oftentimes difficult?) hard-headed strength. We will not back down from challenges. We will not quit. We will not go down without a fight for what we believe to be right or fair.

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    Her stubborn streak brought her to this place. Photo Credit: Meghan Elkins
  3. Sweet: And, wow, my sister is amazing. She is so sweet. There isn’t a fake bone in her tall body. She is genuinely sweet. It’s ridiculous, to be honest. I am amazed. Seriously, as I type this love letter to my sister, I really can’t get over just how sweet she is. I am thoughtful, yes, but I am not sweet.
    Haha, then I remember how hard-headed she can be and I rethink my classification of her sweetness. 😀 😉 Even still, I love her smile and laugh. She is honest. And her sweet, gentle nature shows in her interactions.

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    Moments like this are when she’s at her sweetest. I love these moments.

I watched her grow up and become a beautiful soul. She’s not a touchy-feely type. I relish every chance I get to hug on her, or sit awkwardly close to her on the couch, or try to hold her hand in public. Hahaha. Sorry, Taylor, I just can’t help myself.

My congratulations to you are innumerable. You have no idea just how excited I am for you in your new endeavor.

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We have our sweet moments. Other times we have these moments.
With all that said, Taylor, I want to give you some advice as you begin this new journey into blogging. You might have already heard me say some of this stuff to you already, but it’s all worth repeating.

You are more than your likes.

  • Just because an outfit doesn’t get a ton of likes doesn’t mean you don’t wear it well. Your worth is defined by you.
  • Checking your blog traffic doesn’t make more people read your blog. If you’ve reached one person with a new idea then you’ve done your job. Check your stats once a week.
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Who wouldn’t like this photograph, though??

Post enough. Quality over quantity.

  • Hooray you posted 5 times in one week. Are you satisfied with what you published? Does it reflect your spirit? (Note: you are hard-headed and insecure at times… so I figure you don’t need this piece of advice as when you go to hit publish you are probably quite satisfied with your work. Hehe)
  • Make sure you are writing enough to keep me engaged. I love your writing. It is very conversational and you should do it more. Photos are great, but I like text, too! 🙂
It's not the number of gifts, it's the QUALITY of gifts.
It’s not the number of gifts, it’s the QUALITY of gifts.

Don’t be afraid to tap into your insecurities; you are at your most vulnerable and relatable when you acknowledge (and sometimes spotlight) your fears.

  • I think this nugget of knowledge is something I should write down and pin to my bulletin board at work. Maybe I should hand letter it? I wrote this piece for you, but I swear I got a bunch out of it for ME!
  • Maybe I’m the one who has a lot of insecurities? Maybe we should all be able to recognize those qualities in ourselves?

Don't ever have fear. You've got my back, I've got yours.
Don’t ever have fear. You’ve got my back, I’ve got yours.
Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord and He heard me. He delivered me from all of my fears.” Be strong in your faith. You are on the right track. Your sweet, gentle nature; your stubborn, independent, hard-headed self; and even your unsure, insecure, humble side all have reasons for working in your life.

My love letter to you, Taylor, has been much longer than anticipated. I stayed up too late. I probably wrote too much. But, you have no clue how proud I am of you. You have no clue just how amazing I think you are. And you have no clue just how freaking fantastic your blog is.

You knocked it out of the park, kid.

Taylor & her adorable tulle. Me rocking' black & white.
I know I use this photo often, but I love it.
And readers- did I tell you? My sister is amazing.

-Meg

Do you have a sister? Is she amazing, too? Have you ever sat down to write her a love letter in honor of her achievements or just because? I would love to hear about it in the comments section below. Please keep in touch and let me know you read my rambling. You’ll get a high five and a shout out for my next post. 😀

Freezer Meals!

I can cook. I can cook pretty good. But I had NO clue how to make freezer meals until Ashley came to hang out recently.  Freezer meals are awesome, and you should try it for yourself sometime.

Ashley and I played in my kitchen to make some freezer meals…

She put together the grocery list based on the recipes she decided I should try. I went to the store, forgot some stuff (like fresh garlic, eek), and bought it all. $77 dollars later, I came home and unloaded the groceries. Check it out– here’s the receipt. Please subtract the Legos and bacon because those weren’t on my grocery list.

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Forgot the garlic. Didn’t forget the Legos. I have high priorities in life. Sorry, Ashley. But building blocks were more important at the time.

The end result:

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img_0014img_0015img_1873Ashley was awesome enough to do all the prep work with the onions.  Rock on, Ashley. Also, it has occurred to me that I have two friends named Ashley whom I speak of often on this blog: Ashley 1 (All These Places Blog) and Ashley 2 (My Macro Tools). The subject of this post is Ashley #2… no particular order in these Ashleys, keep that in mind. Please click on Ashley 2’s link to read the actual meat & potatoes of Freezer Meal night. See what I did there? 😀
Our menu:

  1. Chili
  2. Taco Soup
  3. Freezer-to-Microwave Burritos
  4. Chicken Teriyaki
  5. World’s Greatest Chicken
  6. Taco Night JumpStart

I’ve also had some taco soup and chili. Plus I’ve had several servings of Taco Meat! The picture below is of the awesome taco soup starter. Yum yum!

Click this link here or the actual picture below to be taken straight to Ashley’s blog where she gives you the run down on how to accomplish the cooking and dividing!

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You Can’t Rush Your Healing

You can’t rush your healing. Did you know that’s a song? Don’t worry, I’ll link it below. My self-pity has been in overdrive recently because of my injured ankle. All I want is healing. Stick around to sympathize if you want.

Remember this injury in December?

Healing is top priority for me. The song says you can’t rush your healing, but I really want it to get better more quickly. My ankle hurts and all I want to do is get out into the world running the trails, doing the movements I want without pain. It’s so frustrating on many levels. Two weeks ago was spent in quite a bit of pain, and I was convinced that healing wasn’t going to be coming any time soon. I was freaking out, sort of. 

Admittedly, my ankle is much better than depicted in this photo.
 

Recent thoughts regarding my sprained ankle healing delay:

  1. Not FOMO, but I literally am missing out on time with friends. It sucks!! Feeling lonesome, feeling like I’ll never be back out there on the trails, it’s a rough thought.
  2. Disney Princess Challenge is February 20th & 21st. That’s 19.3 miles across 2 days. Will my ankle be able to support me throughout this journey? I am terrified I won’t be able to make it, that my healing will not have finished by then. This fear is coming from the girl who decided the Flying Pig 4-way challenge could be done on essentially zero training in the months prior. The pain of over 35 miles in one weekend was a little physical, but mostly mental. But what if it really is all physical with the Disney race?
  3. Some movements are painful, others aren’t, but I have no idea which movements will cause extreme pain until it happens. That sucks, too!! Example: running = not awful. Child’s pose = terrible pain. Hopping over stuff = not bad. Jumping on a box = excruciating.
  4. Am I going to be able to ski when I finally make it to Snowshoe? Am I going to be able to fit my ankle into the boot? Will I even be able to take it OUT of the boot?

Update: child’s pose last week wasn’t terrible! It was bearable! Maybe I am healing??? Update #2: I put a boot on! It fits and I skied in Huntington last weekend (see this post here) without any issues except for awful calf and arch cramps. Update #3: I did light wall balls and double unders today. It’s progress, people!!

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It’s still swollen. uh oh
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It fits! my foot fits in the boot!

It’s a rough go, being stuck in physical recovery. You can’t rush your healing, right? But the surprises as healing happens can show you that it can be astounding how our body responds! I’m editing this post after my new-found child’s pose revolution, so let’s just say I was so excited during my yoga class that my mind was buzzing during savasana. And on the second round of edits, I’m nervous that even though I’m healing and can ski, I won’t be able to ski that long before I need a break.

Or how about at CrossFit during the team workout on last Sunday? I wasn’t expecting much success. I’ve been a gimp for a while now. The Team WOD is always enjoyable because of the others surrounding you, but I hate letting my team down. I cannot row with ankle–turns out that ankle flexion + explosive force does not make for a pleasant experience.

But guess what? Turns out I CAN row. It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world, and it wasn’t completely pain-free, but holy cow, I can row. Healing, my friends.  

Okay, enough of the pity party. Let’s stop pitying me. Let me stop pitying myself. Celebrate my wins:

  • I saw friends at the gym.
  • I cleaned 95# during the workout.
  • Rowing didn’t hurt so bad.
  • Child’s pose was more enjoyable without searing pain.
  • I can take a ski boot off without crying.

Now let’s get back to healing!

Snow! Let It Snow!

Subarus say: let it snow!
Two lonely Subarus. Come play with us!

I adore, cherish, and am obsessed with snow. I am obsessed with skiing, playing in the snow, driving in the snow, and being in a winter paradise. Exhibits A, B, C, and D (D might be my favorite post). Let It Snow!!

 

So this weekend, Winter Storm Jonas has propelled these three days into my top 10 best 72 hours of my life. My top 10 are huge moments in my life: SCO graduation, dancing in Mexico, naming my Sister (Taylored To Perfection— I named her blog, too). I went in with zero expectations and wow! I’ve been blessed with amazing memories.

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Friday: Let It Snow! For real… like, let it snow 12 inches.

I had to go to work before the storm hit. Who else had to report? The director released us at noon, but I was able to head home just after 11 in basically a white-out. Ashley wanted to play in the treacherous weather… why not?!?

The 0.9 mile walk to her house was quite difficult to traverse, but let’s hear it for adventure! So 0.9 miles of fresh snow and photo ops galore. My acquaintance Bobbie Spry took photos of folks in Charleston, West Virginia; I felt like doing the same. Thanks to these fine folks for posing. Sorry I didn’t get a photo waiver, but I did ask their permission:

And lo! Behold! My yoga/running/blogging friend Kayla (The Mountain Gypsy) was out, too! What are the odds!?!?

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Click photo to check out Kayla’s blog.

Made it to Ashley’s. Stripped 2 layers. We made it to the top of Ritter Park. And then we proceeded to fail at Adult Sledding. A baking pan and a Lululemon bag do not a success make.

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It’s no secret that my Christian faith is central to my existence and understanding of this world. I truly believe God provides for us in all of our essential needs. But, I also feel He provides for our completely nonessential-but-life-enhancing-needs. Our little rag-tag group needed a sled.

God gave us a sled. An abandoned sled just for us. Let It Snow!!

My heart beat with sheer joy. That’s all I had to offer anyone at Ritter Park that day: joy.

 

Saturday & Sunday

Both days were spent with a mixture of TV watching, hand lettering, guitar playing, and coffee drinking. And both days also involved a little Subaru + snow play! Let It Snow!!!

Up some hills, down some hills. No problems at all with either my Subaru, my skis, or my sled. My skis, you say? Yes, you read that right. I skied on Sunday. In Huntington, West Virginia. Is that legal?

Oh, and I also got a little Stephens family fun time. Here’s P when I first got there.

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And here the view from my Subaru. See that rut in the snow on the left? I parked there.

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Here’s the deal: snow happens. I choose to love snow and let the happiness exude from every ounce of my being. I say, “let it snow!” Let it snow. Keep snowing. I’ll keep smiling, driving, and skiing.

Friday Five: The Bachelor Season 20 GIFs

In celebration of my rediscovered love/hate relationship with The Bachelor, I bring you my five favorite GIFs I found on the Internet (sourced appropriately when I can find the actual source) from the 20th SEASON of ABC’s The Bachelor.

GIFs add to my happiness in life. And fantasy leagues also add to my happiness. I’ll be writing a post in the near future about the Fantasy League (link takes you to the points system) I’ve joined. No, not fantasy football. The Bachelor. Yes, I’ve been pulled back into the ABC train wreck… but the only thing to really bring me out of retirement is this Fantasy League. I’m hooked again.

But… about those GIFs. My Friday Five: The Bachelor Season 20 GIFs. In no particular order:

  1. This is Olivia. All of the time. All the stinking time. Girl, a fly is going to swoop in there and cause you to aspirate. *dying*

    Source: ThoughtCatalog.com
    Source: ThoughtCatalog.com
  2. This is Lace. She drinks a lot, pour girl. *seewhatididthere????

    Source: giphy.com
    Source: giphy.com
  3. You’ve got the bachelor himself, Ben. Here he is being exasperated because of Lace and her craziness.

    Source: PerezHilton.com
    Source: PerezHilton.com
  4. And here is Jubilee with her gun. I love guns, right? Well this girl loves them, too. But she loves her drama more. Work it, girl. Work those tears… after you holster your weapon.

    Source: I don't know. Sorry, source.
    Source: I don’t know. Sorry, source.

Finally, here are my home girls, the twins Haley and Emily. I drafted Haley to my team, but in retrospect I think Emily might have been a better choice. We’ll see how it pans out next week, ladies. Drink up, until then.

Source: Decider.com
Source: Decider.com

Thank you to all of the sources that probably stole their GIFs from someone else. Much obliged.

Have you been watching The Bachelor: Season 20? What’s your favorite moment so far?

My Thoughts On Big Magic

IMG_1863Today’s post is a review of a great book, Big Magic. I hope you read through it, and maybe you can leave me some feedback if you have read it, too, or if you want to read it. Enjoy!

Recently, my friend Ashley lent me her copy of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
by Elizabeth Gilbert. She’s that woman who wrote Eat, Pray, LoveTo be honest, I haven’t read her most famous best seller despite being a supporter of all three of those aspects of life, but anyway… I really enjoyed her work on Big Magic and I’d like to tell you about it.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links for Amazon.

Big Magic Overview

First, for those who don’t really want to read my entire commentary, I’ll give you my general opinion.

I felt like it was a little superficial at times, just scratching the surface of creative genius in talking about creative genius… yet it just kept falling short at getting to the meat of the creativity process. It’s all good in the end, though. Ms. Gilbert knocked it out of the park in the last several chapters. Big Magic is highly recommended in my book. 😀

Poetry

I’ve never read poetry, but I think I would like to read some of Jack Gilbert’s stuff. He’s not related to her. No worries.

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A little paint, a little chalk, a lot of love. My first example of Big Magic creativity for this post.

The Road Trip

The gist is– creativity and fear go on a road trip with me. Fear: you’re important, I see your purpose in life, but creativity and me are the ones driving this bus. Don’t even touch the radio. That’s summarized, but it is a great analogy.

On Inspiration

When inspiration asks you to join, and you say yes, let it to grow within you how it wants, but be sure to cultivate it, nurture it, keep it alive.

Your Day Job (page 152)

Power tools, paint, and a little inspiration.
Power tools, paint, and a little inspiration. Click picture for instructions on how to make this craft.
Just because you want to lead a creative life doesn’t mean that you should (or have) to rely on it for income or your sole purpose in life. Creativity exists as a part of my life to increase my fulfillment as a person.

The Old Woman’s Wise Words (page 174)

We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth–nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.

My take: create for you. Create for your pleasure. Graciously accept feedback if it is offered, but create for your happiness!!

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Power tools, spray pain, and a little inspiration.

Done Is Better Than Good

Immediately after the above section, Gilbert says some things about Done Is Better Than Good. With Big Magic, I think we should put the emphasis on our creations and releasing them into the world to do what they want to do. Here’s how I see it: we can all be afraid to create something… we can all be scared that it won’t be enough. BUT, what if we consider not ever creating anything due to our fears. Done is better than good. Creating is better than idling.

Crooked Houses

I do not believe in crooked house. Sorry, Ms. Gilbert. Measure twice, cut once. No crooked houses.

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What will you write on your ornament? Joy.

Trust and Stubborn Gladness (page 218)

Trust your creative process. Ms. Gilbert writes that she believes that with Big Magic, “my work loves me as much as I love it,” and I believe in that mantra, too. Blank pages love to be colored. Lego houses love to be built, guitars adore being played. My blog loves to be published. Am I getting traffic? No? It’s okay. I’m adopting stubborn gladness and keeping with my creativity. Maybe my blog will grow? Yay! But if not, I’ll still keep creating. Because it is fun!

Passion vs. Curiosity

Do you have a passion? I don’t. I get irritated when people insist others find a passion, just like Elizabeth Gilbert believes. I just like being curious!!! I will not color every day of my life, but I might spend a weekend coloring on the couch. I might spend a week painting wooden crafts. Or I might spend some time learning a new instrument. Just be interested in living… be interested in cultivating the inspiration & ideas that light on your shoulders.

Big Magic Summary

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I want you to note the difference between my car and my “off road vehicle”. One is a success. The other is just… well… done. The yellow one was a product of instructions. The blue was just a product of happenstance. These lego vehicles won’t change the world, and I’m okay with that. I was just creating to create. Creating out of love for nostalgia. Creating because I wanted to.

In the future, I will sometimes have trouble creating words for this blog. And that’s fine. I’ll just try to keep creating. If you made it this far in this post, congrats. You win no prize, sorry, except for this nugget of advise:

Don’t quit because it’s hard, or because you’re not ablaze with passion. Just create something, anything at all. Create and reveal in all its success, or just that it exists at all. Just CREATE!! Go build an ugly Lego vehicle. Paint some crafts. Use power tools. Be open to the Big Magic that exists around you. And don’t forget to enjoy the process. Big Magic will feed your soul as much as you are open to its nourishment.