Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Relying on God, the Father

Hello. Blog. It's been a long time. My life is changed again. I have been thinking of writing very often, but I didn't know when the right time would reveal itself. But, here it is. The last few months have been challenging in new, wonderful and terrible ways.

We had some lovely holidays, and on New Year's Day, I discovered that I was/am pregnant. And, we're thrilled. Although that creates it's own challenges, I'm looking forward to having our second child. And, I'm 16 weeks along, and happy to be out of the first trimester. I can only say/write thankful things as it was absolutely delightful compared to my pregnancy with Ryan. So, we're heading for a new bundle of joy, and I'm so grateful to be blessed with another gift from God. All healthy so far, and my journey this time is planning on being much changed from my first. No hospital, no doctor (persay), and no interventions. I'm definitely scared, but I believe this will be an amazing experience for my second time around.

Not two weeks later after this, we discovered that my dad had a mass in his pancreas. And, he was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was in shock and sad as well as finding myself in a great deal of prayer to God. God, Jesus, and the holy spirit- And, a visit followed to Tennessee whereas new challenges and difficulties surfaced. Seeing my dad suffering and starving for life is so hard. And, as I've seen cancer in another loved one, I'm worried and scared for my Dad.

So far, that's what I feel I can write. But, all in all, I'm thankful. I'm happy that I have my dad to call and talk to when I need. And, I am in need of writing- to express all these things inside my head. So, here's to a start.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Planning for our Departure and Arrival

I have some plans in the works. I have come to the conclusion that I am a busy body. I have recently noticed that my husband and I work well together because we motivate each other. I've been racking my brain over things I can do to improve my life and my overall situation. I recently was pressed to try something new, and take a chance to do something I love: Cook.
Well, I do love to cook, but I also love to entertain. And, I'm taking on a challenge by hosting a home cooking class at my house (that is still in the middle of a remodel). I'm opening myself up for people to see my life, but I'm also trying to move to do something that I love. I have been cooking for a long time. I don't have cooking credentials, but I do have experience. I have been published twice for my recipes as a child: 1. Zucchini Spaghetti and 2. High-Hat Lobster Bisque.  I have been ravenous through cookbooks and read many magazines with which I experiment. I have read thousands of cooking blogs, and I own many cookbooks. The biggest thing that I have discovered since we've been travelling is that I don't even need cookbooks anymore. I'm sure that my repertoire of recipes was essential to me finally discovering my ability to find textures and flavors that I love.

On November 4, I am hosting a home cooking class at my home. It's a super cheap way to have a meal, but also to encourage those who cook every night to try new, interesting recipes. I had mentioned this idea to my husband months ago, but he seemed to think it wasn't a good idea at the time.  As a result, I decided to wait, and I have found that this  is the right time for such an event.

I have taken several cooking classes. One of which was from the Viking Culinary Institute in Memphis and the others have been in various locations. The most significant experience that I draw from often is my travel. When traveling, I go to local markets, prepare food inside or outside on little equipment, and devour delicious meals. I have noted these meals and chronicled the cooking I have done in Chile, Europe, and across the United States. I hope to encourage others to continue to have family meals and to spend time together around the dinner table. This is something I am very passionate about since I did not grow up having meals around the home dinner table. And I am very opinionated about it because currently in my life it is so important.

Some of you may be reading this and not live in the St. Louis area- I hope to post the recipes that I use on the November 4 cooking class here. If you have questions, email me or facebook me. I'm a huge believer in NOT spending all day in the kitchen, but I do believe in healthy, accessible meals with whole food ingredients... no HFCS, no highly processed foods.

Thanks for reading, y'all! It's going to be a good November.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Things I love about Dubois, Wyoming

 1. Every time I look out my window, I see snow covered Slate Mountain.
2. Best story time: drop your child off for 5 bucks, and they get lunch.
3. It smells like sage everywhere.
4. People are still close to the earth in that, gardens are close... and we use up everything we have. Groceries are darn expensive here. Except bananas- $0.29 a pound.
5. Sundays are sundays- nobody is open.
6. Anywhere you walk, you feel like you are still in the wilderness.
7. The wind river twists like 8 times in the middle of town.
8.There is a cool playground, and they have bikes for anyone to use.
9. The aspens.
10. The opportunity shop is the best thrift shop in the whole world because of the FREE box.
11. Yoga at Wind River Yoga.
12. It's colder- not humid at all. Wood stove kind of weather. Awesome.
13. Cinnamon Italian Sodas from Kathy's Coffee Shop.
14. The library has free books all the time.
15. People are really friendly here. Genuine.
16. Cowgirls and Cowboys thrive here.

It's a beautiful, fun place. And, it's a small town like where I'm from. It's nice to be thankful for these small wonderful things here in Dubois, Wyoming.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lake Louise

It's been a while since I've written. I feel a little guilty about it, but I think I needed a vacation from the writing of our daily do's. I just did it. There are a couple of things that I do want to remember, so I'll document them today. We've been in Dubois, Wyoming since October 3, and the night that we arrived, there was a huge snowstorm. We got about a foot of snow here. We hiked through town and grocery shopped and enjoyed the fireplace here at our cabin. Ryan and I were already missing Adam. We made the week fun hanging out with friends and meeting new ones. We had some really nice weather after this thunder snow.
So, I figured we should do some hiking (!) and we did. I wanted desperately to try again to Lake Louise that we attempted and failed in late May. I grabbed our accouterments+ and we headed down the Fish Hatchery Road to the Wind River Trailhead. And, Ryan and I spent an afternoon on the trail. We hiked for a good while up and down some hills, rock scrambling, and enjoying the scenery. We listened to the wind blow and the waterfall over tons of rocks. The torrey creek lead us up some steep passes and through some tight canyons. Luckily we didn't see any bears or other wildlife. We had been going for about 2 hours, when we reached this beautiful rock walled area, and Ryan and I were both spent. She's heavy in a back pack on a moderately strenuous hike. Alas, we failed in this attempt to get to the Lake. Again. I felt so beaten.  We had a light snack next to the waterfall area, and then we headed down. Along the trail, I took a photograph of this big beautiful mountain protruding out of the ground covered with snow. It was an incredible view, and I couldn't leave without a photo of the view. We continued heading back to the trail head over 2 major hills, and I notice that my favorite hat, and the first gift Adam gave me is missing. I'm not sure where we lost it, but I've got to find it. I walk back a distance to look, and no luck. I put Ryan down and walk as far as I can while I can still keep her in eye distance. Still, to no avail. I decide we're going back until I do. I couldn't part with it- yet. We get back to the point where I shot this said photograph, and there it is. Lying a few feet from that stopping point.
My legs are shaking, and I'm sure that we've been walking for 3 hours. Ryan is doing well, but I'm a little anxious, and I'm tired. I encourage Ryan to encourage me. I have her tell me, "Step by Step, the closer we get to the Volvo." And, she does. It helps tremendously. And, she's so well-behaved. We trudge back after the grueling hike- spent and hungry. I'm sore already, but I feel good we made the attempt albeit failed.

I decided that it was probably good that I didn't see Lake Louise without Adam, but I was unsure if we would attempt it again. Adam and I spoke one evening about going over Google video chat, and he wanted to on the day he came back to Wyoming.

Yesterday, we picked him up in Riverton, and we decided we would still try a small hike- maybe not to Lake Louise, but to the bridge that overlooks the waterfall.We took the drive back down the road to the trail head, and at 4:40pm, we started our hike. Ryan was on Adam's back, and I was hiking in front. We made it to the waterfall overlook on the Glacier Trail, and spent a few minutes there. We talked about our next move. It was a short hike, and we both wanted to go to Lake Louise. So, onward we hiked. And, after what seemed to be a running pace- because we wanted to try to not hike in the dark- WE MADE IT! We climbed the beautiful rock walls that Ryan and I picnicked at on our previous attempt, and not a 1/4 mile later were we at this beautiful vista where the mountains formed a hole where Lake Louise filled with water. The sun had already moved behind the mountains, and we just enjoyed the beautiful hour glass shaped lake. Snow twinkled around it and the sky gleamed purple. The moon rose above the mountain to our left as we stood at the pinnacle of our hike while the lake and mountains were to our right. It was an incredible moment in my life. It's one that I'll never forget- and one that I don't want to forget. We dropped the backpack off at the bottom of this rocky area, and I didn't bring the camera. It's almost fitting how that happens. I just want to remember the view-and I surely will.

Now, Ryan is getting cold. It's dusk, and we're hauling butt back to the car. Shortly after our turnaround, I ask Adam to look at the backpack that I'm holding- We notice that Ryan's coat has fallen off. (This trail wants our items, huh. Not to mention that Ryan's hat fell off at the top, and we had to find it. ) Adam runs for a good 6 minutes to retrieve the coat- and we keep moving. By the time we get back to the waterfall bridge, it's dark. Ryan is miserable by this point, and she has layers of clothes on, but refuses to put on her coat.  I'm wet from the camelback spilling down my back. Adam steps in a huge puddle of water and soaks his foot. We are the crazy family that just desperately needed to see Lake Louise that we are hiking in the dark, in the wilderness, with a single child's headlamp. We do have all of our necessities, but I feel like we might have over did it. It took us 3 hours to go up and down. It got dark at 7. We were at the Volvo at 7:40.

You know what though... It was totally worth it. The day we had was unmatched. And our sunset over Lake Louise...majestic. I'm so glad we finally made it- Third times a charm, right??

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Elephant Back

It was one of those mornings I couldn't pass up. Snow on the ground, the husband off of work, and a babysitter. It was a morning for a hike. No more than a quarter mile from the dorms is Elephant Back Trail that overlooks Yellowstone Lake.
We were the first people on the trail. We were definitely worried about grizzlies since there is one particularly big one that is hanging out around Lake Hotel. We fortunately came prepared with bear spray, hiked in a group, and when we were winded (I'm still adjusting to the altitude) we made plenty of noise. The snow almost felt magical, especially since it's only September. The hike climbed 800 feet, and once we made it up to the top, the snow was deeper. The trees were covered with a blanket of snow, and it is a hike I'll likely never forget.
The best part of the whole hike (3.6 miles total) was the point in which we first saw the view. On a switchback the trees open up and the silvery sky, lake, and trees appear. The white is snow, the sun glistens when it hits the slivery landscape like a shiny nickel. As we climb higher, the trail flattens and trees surround us. The sky is blue through the canopy. It's beautiful... but it's not winter. Or so I thought.
It was a good morning. A wonderful hike in the snow. I only wish we would have some sunshine. I miss the sun. I haven't seen it in a couple of days.

The next day we took a drive to Gardiner, Montana. We drove to the nearest grocery store, and for being really rural it was a nice store. We planned for the next weeks dinners and we turned around through Teddy Roosevelt's Arch and headed back to the lake. We stopped at Norris Geyser Basin and took a short hike through the geysers and springs. It's amazing how beautiful hot water and thermal areas can be. Beautiful blue crystal bubbling water is incredibly smelly though as well. The earth is obviously a living, breathing thing, and when in Yellowstone- it's a clear fact.

Not all about this traveling scenario is ideal. I'm easily entertained, but this weather is not ideal. I need some sunshine... Will you all in the South send me some please??

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is crazy

This life is an amazing adventure. My life is so different than it was just a few months ago. We're on the move. We're a traveling family when I was so stable and went to a job everyday of the work week. What I remember seems so distant, and still yet I have my own schedule and I still get a lot of "work" accomplished.

When we left this last time, it was definitely bittersweet. I do miss my home, but the exchange for this landscape is worth it. We had quite the adventure, and I'll start with our attempt (yes, attempt) to leave St. Louis. Our goal was to just drive a couple of hours, so that we could camp. And, we left, ate dinner, and filled up our sweet old Volvo with gas. Then, the old girl (the Volvo) wouldn't start. We have known there's been a bit of an issue, but we weren't worried.  When she didn't start for 30 minutes, we decided once she did we would go home.  Our efforts foiled, we were a bit discouraged, but the Volvo started the next morning, and we headed west. Yes, despite the fact that we could be in the same predicament again. The whole day, we never turned off our car. And we made it to a campspot called Sheridan in western Kansas.

This lake was in a valley, filled with rocks and trees.  To our east, the ridge was higher than our line of sight, so when the night fell upon us, the harvest moon- brilliant orange and beautiful, rose from behind it. Our night included making dinner and Adam and I having some adult time while the moon glistened on the water. It was one of those things that just doesn't always happen. It felt like a good omen, and we were going to make it west.

We had a lovely morning. I've learned something about myself  when I camp. I'm a morning person. I don't try to stay up late at a campsite... I'm usually tired and I often like to watch the sunrise. Considering this, we were right on the line for the time change, where, it wasn't until 7:20 that the sun finally rose. It rose beautifully just as the moon had done so the night before.
I had time to gather wood, start a fire (which I'm proud to say that I used the coals that were still hot from the night before), make coffee and breakfast. These tasks were done all while my daughter and husband slept in. It's a lovely thing to enjoy these small joys. I haven't always been able to "camp", but it's just like cooking a meal. It's all a process, and it becomes second nature after you do it a couple of times.

We had a quite a few tasks to complete while in Denver. Adam had a job... which took the entire evening, and we had to pick up the part for our Volvo. We also so our sweet sister who just started college in Lakewood, CO. It was a long day in the car, and we also didn't turn the car off unless absolutely necessary.  That evening we made it to Dubois, Wyoming. It was a full day to say the least.

Monday we grocery shopped and left for Yellowstone. It's been pretty nice. We're in a dorm room, and we already settled in well. We have food and a menu- so that's my job. I'm the cook. Yesterday we had chili (wonderfully comforting since it is chilly out.) And, tonight we're having Saucy chicken thighs with prunes and raisins.

Yesterday (Tuesday) we saw a GRIZZLY bear. Oh. My. Word. Those creatures are fierce. huge. scary. We were on our way to the hike, and right outside the dorms-- the grizzly stood scratching and looking for food. We headed to the ranger-led hike, and we were late... so I'm nervous and hiking mad-fast just to try to catch up to the group. I finally did, but we met up with some Europeans and they weren't all about listening to the ranger. It took us an hour (that's it) to hike 2.5 miles... and I had Ryan on my back the entire time. I didn't even take a break. It felt good. The weather was beautiful, and we could see the Tetons from Storm Point, which I didn't get to see the last time.

What to hear one other thing? We're still (UGH!) trying to potty train Ryan. And, it's almost there. Still... she peed in her pants 2 times yesterday. Any advice?

Hope you all are well! I'm loving the snow-- it's coming down right now!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's one of those days

I got up today and all is well. But, you know what, I thought I was pregnant. Sadly, it was a reminder of my loss.

I think it's always a process, and I know that I would have been pregnant, and I should be trying to get pregnant again. I just felt such a blow. I am doing fine. I just have a bad day every now and again. It makes me remember how precious life is.

It might be silly to contemplate too long on this, so I'm finished. Just saying I'm remembering the life, but I'm not remembering it silently.

Let's Get Honest

I've been seeing a lot of overlap in my personal life... big "ah-ha" moments. Things that I'm reading all around have been paralleling each other. I've noticed some differences happening in my life and I know that God is working in my life.

I'm doing bible study with my sisters, Adam's sisters. And, it's Beth Moore's A Woman's Heart. It's really incredible, and she is an incredible speaker.  The reason I mention this is because I have noticed that we as humans are problematic. We all have problems-- I have problems... it's just the way it is.

I notice that a lot of my facebook feed is filled with articles and posts on the problems we have as women and the things that we analyze and over analyze. I myself am guilty of that. I find myself happy with other people and their lives while I find myself comparing mine to them. And, it isn't healthy. I spent quite a lot of time away from facebook for the first two years of my daugther's life. I was not in the right place to be looking at other's photos etc. I have a problem in that I start comparing myself/my life to others instead of embracing the beautiful life that I have. I admit this here. I confess it here. And, it's probably something other people can identify with.  I gave the good ol' facebook up on purpose, and it was good and refreshing.

This realization came to me after reading an article directed toward women and how our nature makes us do that... or our society makes us compare in this way. We do it constantly. We, as women, watch other people and the way they walk and dress and act. And, facebook is just one other way for us to perpetuate that. I thankfully have found a way to be in control and make good ol' facebook a positive outlet.

I am on facebook regularly. I think I've finally figured out how I can use my facebook visit positively. I keep what I need to do on my mind and I have a purpose in what I post...The reason I use it now is for the right reason. I'm writing (like I am right now). I'm identifying with others and trying to contemplate our problems. I'm attempting to start a cottage industry on etsy with my little shop... that I pray to God succeeds. It isn't easy- it's hard work. 

My life is changing all the time. I simply am writing this to you today to encourage you. I hope that with whatever you are struggling, that you find peace about it. I pray that you have realization and open your eyes to the beautiful wonderful things we are given by God. I realize that I'm not perfect and that I have problems too, but I want to be better!