Summer memories

Ah, summer.  I have a love/hate relationship with summer and always have, but right now I'm focusing on the good things summer has to offer and have been reflecting/remember past summers.  At 30, I can say that my summer memories can be divided into almost five groupings - childhood, pre-teen years, high school years, college years and adulthood.  In each phase, summer was about different things and spent in different ways, which makes sense given they're five different stages of my life thus far.  It's fun to remember though.  Let's take a brief walk down memory lane.  I'm in a good, but nostalgic mood today!

Summers of my childhood were clearly about being out of school.  Running through the sprinkler with my friend J from next door.  Playing at the park by my house with my cousins.  Visiting the wading pool by my dad's work.  Rolling down the hill at my grandma's old apartment with my cousins.  Riding my bike around the block.  Playing Red Light, Green Light in my driveway after dinner with just about every kid from age 5-10 on my block (this happened like one time I'm certain, it wasn't a frequent occurrence but I remember it vividly the one time it did.)  Spending hours at Jes's house playing with Barbies, dolls, or swinging on her swingset.  Taking a family vacation with my parents almost every year or a staycation doing things around town at least one week out of the summer.  Visiting my aunt's cabin near Nisswa.  Playing with friends in my backyard playhouse.  Feeling like the days went on and on and would never end

Pre-teen years
As I started "coming of age" so to speak - we'll say from around 11 to 14, summers changed a bit.  There were still plenty of days I hung out with friends.  Jes and I traded Barbies for hunky men on the TV soap General Hospital that we'd often watch together on lazy afternoons.  I started babysitting a lot and spent two to three days a week over at my cousin's house watching their three kids.  I spent hours on the phone with friends who didn't live in the neighborhood so I didn't see them as often.  I had sleepovers with some of them.  My parents started running the Fun Fest at church so I was drug along to help with a lot of set up for that each year.  I'd stay awake late and read teenage fluff and angst  style books.  I started being allowed to wander the mall with friends.  I still did a fair amount of bike riding.  We still took a family vacation.  A couple of years I played on a summer soccer team.  The days still felt long but started passing in more of a blur.

High school years
Summer changed in a big way by high school.  Sure it was still about being out of school.  But now I was old enough to work.  Old enough to date.  Old enough to drive.  Time with friends was abandoned for time with Nate, save for the first summer we were dating and he was away at scout camp.  That was one of the longest summers of my life.  My bike was passed over for my first car.  Free time was becoming more precious as I worked various jobs.  We still took family vacations, but now I was starting to travel with Nate's family as well.  My family still had a large role with Fun Fest.  I began volunteering at Vacation Bible School.  I attended Music Ministry Alive. The State Fair became an annual tradition with Nate. Summer started flying by faster and faster each passing year.

College years
Summer suddenly wasn't much of anything anymore.  I was a diligent girl who took classes in the summer and worked a pretty steady job.  I got my generals more or less done through summer session.  The only vacation I took the entire time I was in college wasn't with my family or really even with Nate's - it was a trip that just he and I took to St. Louis.  I didn't even move home one summer as I took on the role of Orientation Coordinator and was busy every single day, especially the closer it got to September.  These are the summers I actually remember the least, just because of how much they weren't really like a true summer. It's not to say they were bad summers, but they weren't memorable.

Adult years
Summer now is better than it was in college, but definitely not the carefree summer of my youth.  It still flies by.  But I have had some really awesome times during the summer in my adulthood too.  Even though I didn't love the job, working at Immaculate and taking the kids places like the wave pool or Valleyfair and getting paid for it, spending hours in Gina's office "working" and going on Caribou runs. Planning my wedding, being a newlywed and buying our house. Starting a new job at Fairview.  Pool parties with friends.  Barley Johns and other outdoor patio nights.  Trips to Itasca with Nate.  Brewing beer.  Outdoor concerts.  Golfing.  Obviously no more Fun Fest or VBS, but many fun times with Praise Project.  Family reunions.  Another trip to St. Louis. Becoming a runner. Re-discovering my bike.  Realizing the time does go by so, so fast, and trying to appreciate every single moment as it comes.

If I look at mostly the good, I do find many reasons to love summer.  We just won't factor in the weather, right?  Ha.  Thanks for indulging me on a trip down memory lane.


New plan

I finished the Soul Detox plan yesterday.  And I feel good.  Refreshed.  Spiritually fed.  Still far from perfect however.  None of us will ever be perfect though, I think that is next to impossible.

I'm staying with the She Reads Truth girls and going on to the new plan they've chosen and again from day one, feel like this is no accident and it's meant for me.  They've chosen one called "Living the Surrendered Life."  It is such a great follow up to the Soul Detox.

The first line in the daily devotion is about worry.  It goes on to talking about learning to trust and not borrowing trouble from tomorrow.  Now, this isn't to say I carry the weight of the world in worries - but I do have a nervous personality, I do think too far ahead sometimes and sometimes, I let it consume me.  So this plan's gonna be good.  I got my feet wet with the last plan, now I'm ready to dive in all the way.  Let's do this.


Shake it out

Some jumbles of thoughts for today.

We had an up and down weekend.  In the end we sold our Rock the Garden tickets.  I'm glad to have gotten my money for it but bummed we didn't go especially when the weather cleared up.  In all honestly I should have sold our tickets right away, Nate was never excited about going.  And I'm not trying to make him out to be the bad guy, the lineup just wasn't his cup of tea this year.  Had we gone, I am sure he would not have had all that much fun which would have led to me not having that much fun.  So, we made the decision and stuck with it and what's done is done.  Maybe we'll try again next year, maybe not.

We did have a good Father's Day, celebrating with both of our dads and it was quite lovely.  It was nice to do something nice for them since they do so much for us!

My fashion blog turned one year old on Saturday.  I can't believe I've been at it for a year.  I know I do tend to favor that one over this one, but I'm trying hard to be balance both again.

Speaking of blogs, Nate has stepped into the world of blogging!  I'm quite proud of him, he has started a homebrewing blog, right now he's attempting to update it weekly.  You can find him at www.pantsmonkeybrewing.com - he really tries to explain the brewing process in layman's terms and it's quite interesting.  Show him some love, it's really pretty good.  (I made the awesome banner that is at the top of his blog).

Still been making my way through the Soul Detox, almost finished with it.  I got a little off path from it late last week and into the weekend, letting little things get to me and kind of let myself wallow for a little bit, but I pulled myself out and I'm back on track and feeling better.  I've been thinking a lot about the Florence and the Machine song "Shake It Out" and the line "It's hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake it off."  So I'm choosing to shake it all off - the weekend, the little things, the storm clouds, I'm shaking it off because I'd rather be dancing.  The summer is young yet and there is still time for other fun things to happen. And I'm human and I'm going to have bad days sometimes, but I'm going to try hard not to let that devil climb back up there.

And that's what I got today.  On we go.


Anti Rain Dance

So Rock the Garden is Saturday.  We have tickets for the fourth year in a row.  And much like last year there is a high threat of rain.

So anti rain dance is commencing right now.  Because I do not want to sit through a wet, muddy, cold outdoor concert again.  And I don't want to be out the money I paid to get into the show either.



Cloudy day

I'm struggling today.

I was all set to write about how the Soul Detox has been going and that I've actually been feeling really good and really peaceful and like I'm a good place, because for the most part, I really have been. It's been really good. 

But life isn't always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes there are clouds in the sky, much like the weather today.  And it's normal and it's ok and in fact I even said, just because I was doing the Soul Detox didn't mean my life was perfect or I had it all figured out.

So I'm going to kind of settle in this cloudiness just for a little bit.  But it'll get better.  It always does and it's easier to see the sun coming than it used to be.  In fact I'm sure it'll be back tomorrow even if it's not in a physical sense.  

Sometimes we just have a cloudy day.  And that is ok.



And now for something completely different just because I feel like it, I present random letters to various things/people/inanimate objects.

Dear Caribou Coffee - please, please, please do NOT get rid of your Classic Black Ice Tea.  I do not drink it, but it is my husband's favorite drink and yours is the only coffee shop he even likes the ice tea from.  He deserves a caffeine fix too and he deserves to not have it tainted with fruit flavors if he so chooses.

Dear Sunshine- thank you for being around so much!  I hope you keep sticking around, specifically on Saturday, June 16th.  We really do not want a repeat of last year.

Dear MPR - Yes I support you and I have chosen to be a sustaining member of your fine organization, but I really do not wish to up my level of which I pay.  I like you and you're good for our community, but I can't do anymore.  So please leave me alone.

Dear Inconsiderate Neighbor - if you are talking on the phone outside after 10:00 pm and my windows are closed and my air conditioning is on and I can STILL hear you, then you are probably too loud.  Just thought you should know.

Dear Dairy Queen, C.C. Oreo Cookies - thank you for existing.  That is all.

Dear Neck of mine - thank you for starting to feel better after I strained you golfing.  My apologies for not stretching you properly.  It won't happen again.

Dear Portlandia, or maybe this should go to Fred Armisen - thank you for being hilarious.  I wish it was already time for season 3.

Dear Reader - thanks for reading!  Have a great day!


Taking care of my soul

So lately I've been thinking a lot.  They say with age comes wisdom and I guess I've been rather contemplative since turning 30 and I think I've learned and figured out some things.

I think it's human nature to find fault in others when we're less than satisfied with ourselves.  I'm guilty of it.  During Lent I tried to be less that way, but fell back into the old pattern.  Now I'm really trying hard to give it up again.  Everyone is fighting their own battle in life.  Who am I to judge their choices or how they live their life?  I certainly don't want anyone judging me.  So, I have made a fresh resolve to not make myself feel better by bringing others down.

As I've considered this, I've thought of relationships I've had and some hurt feelings or even bitter feelings I've had with some individuals that maybe weren't fair.  And I'm letting them go.  Water under the bridge.  Starting fresh and forgiving.  And it feels good.  And there has even been some re-connecting with some in my life that I thought I had lost and that has felt good too.

I think it's no coincidence or accident that shortly after I decided to really try harder at being a kinder, less cynical type person that I stumbled onto an online community of women who are doing a bible study together.  And I will admit, I have never been great at reading the bible.  Like, I probably haven't even so much as looked at it since I was a youth minister and even then, I only read what I needed for Confirmation lessons.  So I found this group, this community - first it was just a handful of bloggers posting on Twitter and now it's become www.shereadstruth.com - and the first thing they did was suggest a plan for reading a daily scripture - the Soul Detox plan from the Youversion bible app for iPhone (yes they make these!).  So I started silently following along.  And I feel like this plan was designed just for me - because the very devotions this plan has have all been about to trying to rid ourselves of the negative things in our life.  The "toxic feelings" and "toxic thoughts" we have.

I'm just over a week in and I love it.  I feel refreshed. But I'm far from perfect.  And I certainly don't have a "I"m holier than thou because I'm doing this" attitude.  I just feel this is something I need in my life right now.

I love that there is a community of other women doing this as well who I can share with.  I have friends in real life of all walks of life - others who are religious like myself and many others who are not at all.  And I love and respect all of them - but it's nice to have a place online where I can be a little more open.

I may blog about this from time to time here, because it doesn't feel like it belongs on my fashion blog.  If you feel so inclined, check out Shereadstruth.com and join in as well.  When the Soul Detox plan is over another one will begin.  And if you are one of my non-religious friends, I just ask you respect me in the same way I respect you.  You can skip over these posts and it won't offend me.  And not all of my posts will be about this, just when I feel like I need to write about something.

I'm just feeling such a sense of peace.  And no matter where you're coming from in life, I wish you peace as well.