Let's leave it in the prairie.

I was reading a chapter in Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist during my lunch break on Thursday, when I read her thoughts on forgiveness and forgetting. I'm not going to quote it here, because really you should go buy her book (like really, get in your car and drive to Barnes and Noble, okay?). But the jist of what I read was that her husband and her continued to bring up the past, even though in those moments they had forgiven, they just couldn't let it go and forget. The past and the hurt, from an array of different moments in their relationship, lingered. (And I know we've all been there). So one day, when they were on a day trip, they decided to leave all that they held onto and all they couldn't forget in that town they were visiting. They let it go, never to be hashed again. They dropped the past, in that town, and did it as a way to move on and not let i continue to linger.

The thing that happened while reading what Shauna wrote about forgiving yet having the hardest time forgetting, was my heart's continual beating "me too, me too." There is this deep sadness that comes up every now again in my soul, and I can't help but relate it to this difficulty I have forgetting hurt. Not the little things, but the monumental things that have taken me years to process. I have a really hard time talking about it, let alone writing about it, and I always wonder why that is. Am I afraid that no one will understand? Am I worried that my lingering hurt and inability to "let go" will make it seem as though I haven't been able to forgive? Am I afraid that this sadness that comes up every now and again, if I show it as true as it is to the people who are closest to me, that it will make me out as too sensitive and push those people away? Yes. On all fronts.

But I think its time I stop letting fear and worry get in the way. I think it's time I write about it.

When I was about 12 years old my dad remarried. I had a stepmom, a stepbrother, and a stepsister all the way from those preteen years and through college. I loved them so much, and although my adolescent nature probably made it seem otherwise, I truly did. The last time I saw my stepmom, stepbrother, and stepsister was when I was 23 years old. Matt and I were telling them about our wedding. We were sitting in the living room and talking about all the beginning plans of being newly engaged. I wanted all of them to be a part of our day. I had no idea I would never see them again. I don't really know how much time passed. It was summer or spring, a few weeks after we sat on that couch with them, and I received an email from my dad saying that they were divorcing. I didn't really know why, and its all a blur truly, but I never saw them again. I can't imagine the hurt that they all went through. My stepsister, ten years younger than me, also never seeing me again? A family of 12 years just vanishing? I wanted to just reach out and hug her and say how much I love her, you know? But I couldn't, and I still haven't, and those are the moments that bring true sadness up from my soul to the water wells of my eyes. Or to tell my stepmom (which has got to be the hardest role in all of it - being the stepmother of a teenage girl), how beautifully and respectfully she took on her relationship with me But I never got to say those things, and I never really knew the reasons because I never had any in person conversation with anyone about what had happened. I never said goodbye or see you later to the family that I knew to be mine. It was like I was supposed to pretend those 12 years of my life didn't exist. Soon after Matt and I got married my dad started to also get distant and now here I am at age 28 and it's been three years since I've heard my dad's voice. And all for reasons I cannot even say. This is where the deep sadness comes in again. I start to think of these four individuals, and my heart feels a void. It feels hurt and confusion. Heavy. I ask, why did this happen? I miss them, and get caught in moments where I'm cleaning out old boxes and seeing photographs from our trip up the coast to Pismo, burying each other in the sand, or the entire childhood memories with my dad and the daily reminders that we have so much in common- our love for art, and thrifting, and hats. Or I'll want to just call him and tell him about that thing, or ask him about that memory - but I can't. And I never truly know the answer, except for the truth that we live in a broken world with hurt and sadness, and that things like this happen, and that this is why we have a Savior. 

Something life has taught me is that holding on hurts one person more than anyone else. Yourself. So like Shauna wrote in that chapter in Bittersweet, I want to leave behind these things that still make me deeply sad that I have had the hardest time forgetting. I want to leave behind the question "why?" and the ache from not having answers. I want to hold on to the good out of those years and on to the hope that God is in control and that he has a plan so much bigger than mine. That all of this, in all of this muck, there is light. I know that I've forgiven - myself, my dad. Yet the sensitive human that I am holds on to pieces of the past. It's like if I let them go I will forget entirely those people that used to be in my life - the people that I still love. But I won't. God won't let that happen. 

If you're sitting there with your heart beating "me too, me too," I hope that we can both take the leap to let it go. Whatever it is for you, and this for me: Let's find a place to leave it, and not let it linger anymore. Maybe in a prairie, maybe up high on a hill, or maybe just right there at your computer or in a journal. Let's leave it. Because I don't want life to have too many moments of deep sadness from the past, when there is so much joy in the present to be had, you know?


Currently Swooning: The Midi Skirt

After Anne's party last week and trying on this skirt, paired with new fall shipment at work and an array of longer skirts in warm hues making their way into the store, I can't help but have a crush on the midi skirt. It is still warm out as summer holds on to its last month, so pants and tights aren't so much jumping out of my closet - but longer, past the knee skirts that transition every so gracefully into a fall and winter wardrobe? Yes, please. They can fill my closet. I have my eye on a handful of midi skirts that I would just be delighted to add to my wardrobe. I'm determined to add one staple past the knee skirt to my closet, and I would be perfectly content if I happened upon it while thrifting or vintage store rummaging. What's so great about this style is that it's a classic. You might even find one hiding in your grandmother's closet or on a rack at Goodwill that you can bust out and pair with ankle booties. The midi skirt has made its rounds in fashion, and it is back, and really should never leave. So in the spirit of the weekend, and with a nod to the midi skirt, here is a round up of those that are catching my fancy. Who knows, maybe they'll be on sale this weekend? :

*With the expectation of full disclosure and honest & true blogging, the links in this post are affiliate links; meaning, should you purchase one of these items I get a kick back of the cost. This is not a sponsored post, however purely items that I love and believe that my readers would too, reflecting my true style and the aesthetic of this blog. Thank you for supporting the brands I choose to share about and that keep this blog going. 


Yard Reno | Part I

When summer arrived, we knew it was time for major exterior work. Matt's mom, Jayne, came to town a few months ago and helped us knock out some serious front and back yard demolition. It was three days of brick hauling, wood chopping, dumpster filling work. Now, our front yard is getting so much closer to livable. Overgrown shrubs, cracked brick planters, and rotten wooden flower beds are gone. This Friday we are having a concrete porch poured and some other concrete work down in the front and back of house. So much has changed already,yet nothing has been documented here - so I figured it was about time to show the yard progress we've been making.
About a month ago, a hail storm walloped our house. These photos were all before that storm, but even with the hail damage, our house is really coming along. Matt is such a hard worker - I seriously owe everything that looks better on the exterior to him (and Jayne). It's not pictured, but now the shrubs, brick, planters, and flower beds are all gone. I'm counting down the days until we can sit in chairs on the front porch and enjoy a few more summer nights outside, or have people over and utilize our front porch and yard for entertaining. (Yay!)


This was supposed to be a simple post.

The first place I ever stopped at in Kansas was here, at the Norton Livestock Auction. Matt and I had only been dating about two years, I had never been to the midwest, let alone sat in on a real-life cattle auction. (How much of a city girl I really was, yet didn't even know it) You know how certain things just stick with you, as something you'll always remember? I'll never forget standing on the wooden fence, leaning in to see the tops of the cattle waiting out back to be brought in for the sale. I'll never forget the green paint and the men sitting there with their trucker hats, blue jeans, and boots hardly saying a word yet purchasing thousands of pounds of steer. The sale barn was my first impression of this place Dorothy called home. And so, on our way back to Colorado, after our latest Kansas trip a few weekends ago, I asked Matt to drive over to the Sale Barn. The green is still just the same, and that fence is always ready to be climbed up on and leaned upon, with cattle out back waiting for the next sale or to be picked up and driven to their next landing pad. I love that I married Matt and can know his grandparents. I love that his grandpa Clarence, approaching 80, or already 80, still owns this place and runs it with all of his heart and soul. I love that God gives us moments of quiet, where a barn cat's meow is the only sound competing with the warm summer wind. I love that there is this place, way out in Kansas, that I have gotten to see and have memories of. Its moments like this that make me want to get in my car and go see more of this land, this space, and spend time in the small towns I'd otherwise miss. 

My grandmother passed away this week, and it's really just made me so thankful for family. So grateful that I've had time with all of my grandparents, and Matt's Kansas grandma and grandpa too, because places like the Norton Sale Barn, or stories of my grandpa's farm in North Dakota, my grandma Pat's sorority days at UCLA, and my Poppie's time working in his garage wood-shop - these are all the foundation of what our family is today. These roots, these memories they've told countless times, the stories they took the time to tell, and now what lingers with me: these are precious gifts. I'm reminded after visiting Kansas this past month, and with my grandma's passing, that one day there won't be the Norton Livestock Auction. One day there won't be a grandfather's voice to tell you things like, "kiss and pinch appropriately". One day there won't be grandma's house to gather at with her dress up box and expansive front lawn. One day, the season shifts, life goes, and then its time for mothers to become grandmothers, daughters to be mothers, and new stories to tell to little ones.

I guess its just really hitting me that I'm in that season. More than ever before I'm feeling the necessity to go and see and experience and listen to stories of the past while the people who are still here can tell them. I want to wrap them up, treasure them, and hold onto them for my own children someday. I'm feeling more than ever this shift, this need to have my own family and show them all the places while I still remember the details. I want them to sit with my mom, and my uncles, and know the things of the past. I want them to have that gift, just I had it.

So where was this post going? I just intended this to be a snippet from our Kansas visit, and now here I am getting all reflective and writing about being a mother. How easily that happened.


WEAR // oh, sweet joy! headbands

I am a little smitten with the latest addition to my wardrobe. Anne stopped by this morning and gifted me a few goodies from the oh, sweet joy! shop. I couldn't make if out to the Firefly event in Boulder to see Kim's handmade goods last week, so I was really excited that Anne thought to bring me back a few things. One of them just so happened to be this really sweet headband with a bold poppy print on it. Kind of a perfect fit for me, no? Today I had the day off from work, and completely to myself, as Matt drove out to Kansas yesterday to see the grandparents, so my day was a roll out of bed, launder my clothes, watch Hart of Dixie, and go on a run type of a day. Meaning, zero plans for makeup or a thought out outfit. But thanks to Anne, and oh, sweet joy! the people of King Soopers and the greater Arvada area saw me a little more put together than planned with this really cute headband. (She also got me a wire wrap which I cannot wait to style and wear to work next week!)


Summer and Adjusting

Every day for the past month I have this moment where I think of this space and my lack of writing. I look at my list of house projects in the line up to share and see my files of edited photographs just sitting on my desktop, just waiting to be added to my drafts and a click away from sharing and pinning. But then I shut the laptop lid, walk out of my office, and then repeat the next day. This cycle almost continued today, but then I finally felt it. After reading a post by my friend Anne and then another by Natalie, both brave and raw and truly vulnerable--it caught up with me That little pull on my heart to sit, write, and be real.

Why I love the outdoors so much in our neighborhood.

I was telling Anne the other day that I just have no motivation to write and come to this place. I have no ounce in me to stay inside with a laptop as my view. I want mountains, and sunshine, and the pool! I want snuggles on the couch, camping, and crafting with friends! I want long summer nights, BBQs after work, and freshly painted walls! I just want to be anywhere doing anything except for blogging. It's just where I'm at, even though I really would love to say otherwise.

Now I treasure this place, I really really do, but lately I'm in a whole new world entirely. Ever since our trip to New York, everything has been at full speed. We bought a house. We moved to a new town. We left our community and our church. I quit my job. I stared a new job. I began working some weekends, with a new schedule, and a new commute. Matt's role at work changed. We've had out of town guests. I began swimming with a masters team, with practice, and discipline. We experienced hail damage and house repairs. We've built new friendships and worked hard to keep old ones. And on top of it all, marriage has been a place of learning, growing, and grace.

Hail damage and settling into our new home.

With change comes adjusting, and I think its safe to write that I'm still in that phase. We're figuring it all out, or at least the parts we can, and learning how to give up the parts we cannot. If anything, buying a house has been the best thing for our marriage. It's brought out core anxieties, our strengths and weaknesses, and a true necessity to rely on the Lord (especially so with weather like hail). This has probably been some of the hardest yet most gratifying six months of my adult life. Matt and I have made big decisions, life changing ones, and it is a bit overwhelming when I really reflect on everything that has been in our lives since the new year. Changing jobs has been another true blessing. I never realized how much happiness I was missing in that part of my life. I'm learning more about myself and who I am than I have in a long time. The same is true for swimming. I'm finding out how easy it is to slack and not be disciplined, and that it takes hard work to focus time and energy on a goal.

 Where I find myself the most fulfilled: in the pool and with friends

So with all of this said (and this being the very short version of six months that have gone by), I'm at this crossroads in my life where I'm navigating how to spend my time. How delicate the balance really is. Time is truly precious, you know? I am learning how to hold on to all of these new things in my life, give myself to them fully, but yet still find a place for writing and blogging. I will get there, I have full confidence. I hope you too might close the laptop, walk out of your office, and seek the long days that are left of summer.

Thank you for hanging tight and trusting that I didn't just disappear amidst blog silence. And thank you, Anne and Natalie, for being so brave and open to write and be real today. Your vulnerability truly encouraged me.


Mini Meyers Lemon Tree

I wandered into a nursery down the street from our home on my day off this week. It was during a lull time in my painting the wall grey where I needed to just wait and let it dry. So, I wandered on over to this little plant haven and ended up coming home with a mini Meyers lemon tree.
It's the small things in life that bring me such happiness. Like sitting next to the bay window and enjoying the bright sunshine on this little tree. The lady at the nursery said to keep the tree in full sun, and that it would thrive on my patio or in a bright space indoors. And in the winter, its a must to keep it in. I kind of just love how it adds some life to our dining room. Growing up in California with lemon and orange trees in my backyard, its also a reminder of where I come from. I cannot wait to see what size of fruit it produces! Happy weekend, friends!