You can do anything for 20 seconds, including painting the ceiling

27 April 2016

In the 15 minutes I spent painting the ceiling, I felt overcome with frustration at this insanely off balance and dizzying task.  Then entirely overwhelmed and discouraged at the amount of ceiling space in my house left to do.  And then, completely guilt stricken as I exclaimed to Ryan: "I can't do this.  I cannot.  We have to get a painter." 

And I left my painting task at that, taking the guilt, the paint roller, and the tray with me to the bathroom.  I scrubbed and scrubbed on the paint, and I did my best to reconcile my defeat. I don't feel good when I just throw my hands up towards something.

An hour and a half later, Ryan walked in the house, taking off his shoes at the door to abandon all the freshly cut grass on his feet from mowing the lawn.  After walking in the house, he noted all the dishes had been done, the floors had been vacuumed, the washing machine was in full swing, and then he heard the paint roller in the bedroom.  He comes back to find me hard at work on the bedroom ceiling again, and the task is nearly complete. 

I had decided to give it another shot.

After that room was complete, I walked across the hall to the bathroom and painted that ceiling as well.  I finished with paint on my face, in my hair, and all over the drop cloths.

I did it!

(Coming back from Cabo, I felt motivated to clean and work so hard on our house!)

Upward and onward,

image source

Grace & I

25 April 2016

Yesterday we went to morning church in Cabo.  Everything was in Spanish, but Ryan whispered how neat this experience would be because the Spirit would really be our teachers, since the spoken word was lost on us.

I really liked the ward chorister.  An American woman living in Cabo with her family.  She was beautiful, with red hair, and she smiled the entire time she led the music.  She sang loud and beautifully.  She even choked up on the Sacrament hymn.  I watched her the whole time and wanted to be her friend.

I listened to the talks and caught bits and pieces.  My favorite phrase - "el luz de Cristo."  The light of Christ.  I love imagining that light.

I thought about grace, because that was the concept I woke up thinking about.  To me, grace says, your gaps are filled through Me, Jesus Christ.  You are a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.  Together, everything about you is whole and complete.  That feels SO good to me.  I feel more relaxed in my self-progression when I think about grace.  And I woke up today thinking it was a day of grace too, and I felt myself get off my own back.

I am definitely a being of self-progression and discipline.  God did not lose those principles on me.  And because of these qualities within myself- while such great assets - I also maintain an extremely strong awareness towards my weakness.  I focus on them and chisel away at them and seek so so diligently to overcome them, praying over my glacial progress sometimes.

But then I thought about how I have started a practice of journaling 3 things that really touched me during that day.  And I have done it diligently as a way to break my tax season slump.  And I have been getting so excited each day as something occurs, and I know that that is a moment I will be writing down.  I get SO joyful about small moments and getting to put them in my grateful archive.

And because of this practice, a lot of my weaknesses that surfaced from the rush and strain of tax season, and first trimester pregnancy, have begun to disseminate and disappear.  And what a simple practice!  That makes me think of this book I read a couple Christmas's ago that Chelsea gifted to me.  About putting less effort into trying to wipe out our weaknesses, and putting more effort into augmenting who we already are.  And all I needed to do was build a little practice for myself that would pull my best self to the surface.  Not put my effort into stuffing my worst selt to the bottom.  It's so much easier and so much more effective.  So I will continue this practice.

Perhaps this is grace in practice. 

I wonder if that ward chorister in Cabo has had a similar journey with grace.

Upward and onward,

image source

Birthday day day

20 April 2016

Today is my BIRTHDAY!!

I LOVE my birthday!  The way people love me, and the way I feel so much love for myself.  I like that feeling of creating completely guiltless, obligation-free, happy & indulgent space for myself.  It's so good for my body, mind, and soul.  I wish I could have been born 8 times in a year. 

(Which reminds me of a comment made from one of our Sunday School students on Sunday.  Ryan and I were asking the class about different criticisms/questions that we, as Mormons, receive from the world.  Like, "how come you never drink, have sex, etc."  And this one boy offered his example of a question we receive - "How many moms do you have?"  Given plural marriage and everything.  And a young woman on the other side of the room quickly added, "yes, that makes sense because I was re-birthed 15 times." haha!!)

Well, I wouldn't have minded that.  Think of all those birthdays! 

I didn't plan a single thing for myself this year.  Because tax season ended two days ago and I am still in full recovery, and also, Ryan and I are flying to Cabo tomorrow with some friends.  So that will be MORE than adequate of a birthday celebration. 

This morning I woke up to texts from my friend's already, and it continued throughout the day.  I love this love!  I love having memory of all my friends and why our friendship is so special.

Then I cuddled with Ryan for a long time, and he just loves me so much and kept telling me!  I LOVE mornings when we are up early enough that we can just lounge together and not have a care in the world.  And also, even if there were cares to be had in the world, I don't care about them on my birthday.

Then I worked out, which is my favorite way to start every day!!  And then I went for a run/walk in the sunshine.  Another favorite.  And I listened to all my favorite Pandora stations.  Right now, I'm eating up the Matt Kearney station.  I love work-out clothes.  I love the sunshine.  The trees.  The mountains.  The clear sky.  I love it all!  It's my birthday!  And then I went to the library to pick up some books on hold for my Cabo trip.  I LOVE LIBRARY's.

So that inspired this post.  I just want to post about what I love!  All about me, myself, and I and what makes my heart go ding, ding, ding!

I love the book Big Magic.  I'm listening to it again right now!  This is my 4th or 5th time listening to it (in just the last 4 months).  I LOVE Elizabeth Gilbert.  She is to me as Brene Brown is to the rest of the world.

I love going to plays.

I love eating grapefruits in the morning sun.

I love really good-hearted people.

I love Pippi Longstocking!  She is so rad, and I like to think about her. 

I love the Honey Nut Cheerios commercial on Hulu with the moms dancing hip-hop with their kids.

I love the Gospel and the way it makes me think from a lot bigger of a context.  I love the way it makes me feel like my best self.

I love opening all the blinds every morning.  Because that's what my mom did.  And also, I tell Ryan it's because I'm a "sun baby."

I love writing and journaling.
I love cinnamon rolls.

I love reading in bed before I go to sleep.

I love feeling inspired and coming across little things each day that make me feel that way.

I love daydreaming about our future kids and meditating with them and playing outside with them and laughing together a lot.

I love good quotes, and I collect them endlessly.

I'm happy to be me and to born in the spring!    HAPPY DAY!

Upward and onward,

Lifestyle Design

17 April 2016

Ryan and I went for a Sunday drive today, exploring the mountains by where we live.  We talked a lot about Lifestyle Design.  What WE want out of life, versus just letting life take of us.  Lately I've definitely been steered and completely overtaken by life demanding of me, and the more drained I get, the more difficult it's been to feel alive about anything.  So, Ryan and I decided - let's say it!  Let's decide what we want, and all the demands will have to accommodate.  Some happily so, and others, well, we'll be disappointing for the greater good of our selves.

We want to stay enrolled in the things that keep us balanced throughout the week.  Soccer and fishing for Ryan.  Working out, running, and meditation for me.
And we want to keep trying new things.  I want to try Krav Maga.  I want to try teaching children's meditation.
We want to build a garden!
We want to have a really strong family.  Our home and children coming first.
We want to read and study the Gospel.  We want to have a spirit-filled home.
We want to travel!  See and be free!

We talked and talked of all we wanted, coming up with triple these ideas!  Soon, we will hang our Vision Boards on the wall. 

Upward and Onward,

Dusk at the fishing pond

10 April 2016

Ryan brings his fishing pole.

I bring my book.

He brings our double camp chair - the same one that we sat in the night we got engaged.

I bring some cheese and crackers.

And we sit by the lake with all the other families.  Poles in the water.  Legs stretched in the sun.

And we snuggle, read, eat some snacks, talk and giggle, and watch the sun go down.

I love you so much, Ryan.

Thank you for this beautiful life. 

Yard Night

Ryan and I came home from work a couple weeks ago with an excited plan to do some long-awaited yard work.  We moved into our home on a dark night in December, so really, we hadn't even seen our yard until all the snow melted a couple months ago.  It was.... going to be a piece of work.  We'll just leave it at that.

So, we pulled out some rakes and got to work hacking away at the morgue of rotting leaves.  We found pudding packs and candy wrappers and pumpkins and popped balloons and so much more.  It was like a party!  Except everything was already eaten and the pumpkin was as mushy as mashed potatoes.  So if it were really a party, then it would have been the worst one ever.

But we kept raking, and talking, and expressing how much we were enjoying this!  The evening air felt refreshing, and it is so rewarding to work hard, especially on a property that we own.  As we cleaned up more of the forsaken autumn debris, we began to smell the fresh soil and the earthiness of the hidden, growing plants.  There was a particular patch of plant that smelled so divine that I got down on my knees and put my face in it.

We cleaned for a long time.  I raked while Ryan trimmed all our bushes and trees.  We moved around the entire yard, really enjoying ourselves.  A few hours went by, the sun was setting, the neighbors were returning from their evening walks, and then...

the wind started to blow and it started to rain.  All our perfect piles of leaves and sticks and candy wrappers and balloons and nasty, rotting pumpkins began to blow around.  Well, no, the pumpkin stayed pretty well put.  So we quickly dropped the rakes and began bagging all the leaves as fast as we could.  I mean, yes doing all that yard work was very pleasant and fun, but having to do a full re-do would have been very grumpy and unpleasant on my end.

In no time, our yard was clean, and clear, and under control.  And we stood in the streets, in the light tinkling rain, staring at our home.  Totally satisfied, like we had just conquered something noteworthy in our little kingdom.  Because really, we had.

Husband.  House.  Hard Work.  It is a very fine life.

Upward and onward,




A few mornings later.  My family was in town for the weekend and my mom took this picture because my uncle wanted to see us and the house :)

A beacon of grace just for me

Today in church, I had a very personal question answered. One that I've been has been pressing heavily upon me lately.

After many, many prayers and feeling real dim towards my questions, last night as I prayed, I told Heavenly Father I just needed to feel something.  A thought of light, a sparkish feeling, a small moment that dings me really deep.  Some poignancy.  Ryan taught that word to our Sunday School class today.  I haven't mentioned yet that our new calling is to team teach the 16 year olds.  It is awesome!!  I love hearing all the facts and doctrine Ryan knows, and he gets to hear some of the things I've picked up along the way as well.  And I love the malleable and eager minds of these teenagers!

I am really withering.  Big time.  This tax season is so intense!  My body and brain are completely stripped, yet they are demanded endlessly.  My energy sources are are so far below the empty line that it feels impossible to ever be restored.  My body is needed for certain reasons and my brain is needed at work for others, and I am giving above and beyond my highest capacity.  I am straining myself.  My work has an expectation that I could probably normally meet.  But God is bringing me a future of motherhood, and I absolutely cannot do both of these together.  So I've been praying for help.  I am so weak right now.  But a line needs to be drawn; transitions need to be made; I need to put other priorities at the top and hold firm.

My prayers were answered when my new friend Angie was speaking in Sacrament Meeting, and her experiences hit so close to home for me. She talked about having a strong career and getting married later.  After becoming very successful at work, and then also giving birth to her son, she began thinking about how people in her marketing board meetings won't remember her incredible presentation in three years.  But her son will be impacted by her for a lifetime from even her smallest acts of love and faith.

And I know that unless you draw a hard line in the sand that says - these are my top priorities - than the world just uses you and sucks you dry for all you have.  Mainly I'm saying this because tax season.  People need and need and need, and every day, I have to work as fast as humanly possible to get everything done.  All day.  Every day.  And I needed God to surge me with a bold conviction.  First, world, I am a Self, a wife, and a someday mother.  And I will take root in those priorites first.  Then, you can have my energy, but if I don't have enough for you, and you are disappointed, well then that is just what you are.  No guilt on my part.  The line is drawn for me.  I really really believe a women's role is so divinely purposed to be in the mighty work of bringing the souls in her home closer to Christ daily.  Not serving the world's needs and then giving the remnants of energy to my family.  YES!  I drew the line of which side I am willing to disappoint, and I feel so so strongly that I would rather fulfill God's expectation of me then every one else's.  Plus, I really desire to be a mom and wife who gives her full energy to the home and family.  That totally thrills me!  I am so glad this is God's plan for me. 

Later, as Ryan and I went for a Sunday drive, I told him how that talk was such a Godsend for me.  And for me in particular from the rest of the congregation.  If there were a number above everyone's head about how relevant that talk was for them, mine would be flashing the brightest and largest.  NOT THAT WINNING AT CHURCH TALK RELEVANCY MATTERS.

Some powerful words of Russell M. Nelson back up the role of women so well (A Plea to our Sisters, October 2015):

I am so happy to be a wife and so excited and eager to be a mother, ensuring the spirit is strong in my home, and I am helping to shepherd the souls in my family to Christ.  I'm a huge believer in a women's influence.

Upward and onward,

And here is Cami looking like the cutest sheep in the world!!

When dogs bite and bees sting, and you're feeling sad..

09 April 2016

This morning I went for a run in the sun.  Running in the springtime is one of my most favorite things!  I'm so glad I gave myself this time.

I've been in a funk lately.  Working on extreme high for all of tax season has completely wiped me out.  Good thing there is one week left, and then I am going to petition for an 8 year recovery period.  I need at least one massage for every tax return I've processed, so it's going to be a long time before I am remotely sturdy as a human being again.

I know Heavenly Father is watching out for me, though.  Because I will have a really melancholy night, and then the next morning, a couple close friends will reach out to me and check in with me.  I am so so grateful for friends who are close to the spirit and who freely offer love, in spite of whatever busyness is happening in their own life.

And also, I forgot what else happens inside of a human's brain besides taxes.  What else exists in the world?  Perhaps someone should mail me a book for a two-year old that goes through easy things and has lots of colors.  "Yellow peony.  Fat whale."  And then I will slowly begin to recall other things.  And perhaps, I will stop having nightmares about the Internal Revenue Service.  (Do you believe me now regarding what a dire state I'm in?)

So anyway, here are some things that bring me joy:


This blog - Color Me Katie.  It is inactive, but I randomly click through it sometimes.  So free-willed, colorful, and spontaneous.  I love people that are so awake to life!

This quote from another blog I read - Design for Mankind.  What a simple piece of wisdom to break free of a personal dumpy place:

I read a story a few years ago, about a teenage girl in a dark season of anger, of acting out, of rebellion. Her father didn’t know what to do, and he sought counsel from a wise and loving friend who said this:

Offer her a bigger story than the one she’s writing herself.
So the dad planned a trip, and they went traveling around the world together.  She was no longer angry and sad.

My niece, Cami:


The sunrises out our back window each morning:

Working out in front of the sunrise each morning.  I am SO grateful for a body that can work out.  Because fitness is the most happy and wonderful thing to me. 

Morning love notes from Ryan:

 Ryan, again.  :)

 And, this picture of a bunny:

 Upward and onward,