allegany state park

Charlie goes on his first camping trip with his buddy Jude.

Highlights were:

  • swimming in the lake and yelping like an idiot (even though i’m not supposed to)
  • hiking 10 miles to an inaccessible firetower (still cool, excellent trail)
  • sleeping in a tent with hannah and rachael and jude (who needed his crate to sleep – so the crate was put in the tent with everyone)
  • spending a good chunk of sunday wading around in the lake and retrieving

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3 Ways to Find Peace

What gives, Mortal Existence? What do I do with all this? Well, I have three little tricks for myself. Maybe they will help you too.

After a while, I start to wonder if the things I think and write down are redundant. It’s like Groundhog Day or 50 First Dates, every day I come to the same realization and that gets me to the next day. Then I wake up and have to convince myself it’s okay all over again.

Not much changes. I mean I’ve had a few minor revelations over the past few months. I’ve learned some things about how to be a better friend and how to communicate better. I’ve been able to see the flaws in others but still care for their needs.

But, my car still has the same problems it had three months ago, and my weight loss plateaued again. I still hang out in the same places with the same people without meeting anyone new.

When I say I have to reassure myself everyday that this is just one phase of my life, I’m not exaggerating. I lay down at night and say to myself, “It will not always be this way” when in reality, it – life- is never the same. From first grade, to second, from freshman year volleyball to junior year softball to college sophomore fall semester to spring rugby to final semester of college to driving an hour to work for ten months to working in back in town for a year. Life’s path is not unchanging.

It sure does feel like it, though, when the bills are due, and you have just enough to get through the next two weeks; the progress you’ve made in behavioral training seems to have evaporated out of your dog’s head; the repairs for your car keep getting pushed back even though your inspection’s up, and on top of all that cops are being killed, priests are being killed, children are being sold as sex laves, and the only people the U.S. can come up with to be the face of the free world are Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.

What gives, Mortal Existence? What do I do with all this?

There really aren’t very many good answers here on earth other than practicing love. I balance the negative thoughts with the good and always try to fall asleep feeling at peace.

So here I am again, trying to answer my own questions. I’m trying to write the advice I need to read. The best answer I have for overcoming a lack of peace is yoga and prayer and children.

  • Let your worries go and play with kids. I’ve always been one for embarking on small adventures. Having small children around who get excited to go take a hike or play in the river with you brings youthfulness back into your heart.
  • Surrendering your physical presence in some form of activity: yoga, biking, swimming, whatever distracts you from your mind and focuses on being. An evening bike ride in the dark makes me feel like a million bucks.
  • When your chest feels weighed down and you can’t breathe or think straight, you have to give it all up. I give it up to God, but if you need to give it up to the universe or the earth, you go ahead and do that. Give up your thoughts and emotions in prayer. Today, I prayed out loud for the first time in awhile. I asked for peace and then I cried. I felt pretty darn good after that.

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love multiplies.

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My grandparents celebrate their 50th anniversary in August so my aunts and uncles hosted a gathering last weekend for hundreds of their family and friends. I didn’t get to stay long because I, unfortunately, had to tend bar, but the next day they, renewed their vows and hosted lunch at their house. I got to enjoy all of that fun.

50 years.

The golden anniversary.

Five decades and their marriage has, so far, produced six children, 24 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren (plus one on the way). Not only that, but they encouraged relationships between their nieces and nephews and children, creating an extended family of cousins and second cousins that know each other by name and share in family events and holidays.

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I’ve occasionally been asked if growing up with so many siblings was difficult. Other people wonder if I ever felt unloved or forgotten. The answer is almost never. Love multiplies. You can’t minimize it or subtract from it. Adding more people to love doesn’t take away from anyone else.

50 years.

If I was to get married by the end of the year (ha!), I would be 74 for my 50th anniversary. My cousin Rachael messaged me after the party and decided that we need to get married. We love weddings and kids and family. Why not get hitched? Well, neither of us will settle when it comes to husbands. So we wait.

Still, weddings are wonderful and anniversaries are just as great. Especially when there are so many people to laugh with and so many babies to kiss.

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learn to trust yourself

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While putting your laundry away, you were thinking about choices. Life is full of them. The choice you make every day is to live in this town. You like it here, but you don’t know if somewhere else could be better. You know that you’d miss your family, but you don’t know if things would go right for you just because you changed the scenery.

Maybe it takes participating in a talent show at your high school to realize that something is missing. You’ve been preoccupied with making the right decisions without recognizing how you arrived where you are today. You have been having trouble believing in yourself because you’ve been disappointed by yourself in the past. You have been doubting your decisions. You just don’t trust yourself to make the right ones.

You hadn’t really yet put into words why you get so uncomfortable when you think about high school (and now college). Now you understand that the high school campus reminds you of the potential you had, and college reminds you of the anxiety and doubt that worstened while you were there. You don’t know why you didn’t acknowledge it before this, but your misconceptions have destroyed the pride you once had in your accomplishments. Now you constantly worry whether you should be changing the status quo or staying with this path. You can’t decide what your passion is and whether or not that even matters for a career.

There are a couple people in your life who truly believe that you can do anything you want. They want you to do what you love and be successful emotionally and financially. There are also those who want you to be rational and traditional about your career. A couple of them have given up on themselves a little bit. Show them all that it’s about hard work and a good attitude. Rebuild your self-confidence and learn to trust yourself again. Today is a new day.

Write down your goals.

Put your goals first.

Make this day better than the last.

Most importantly, understand this, in order for you to find happiness where you are, no matter where that is, you have to be happy with yourself. Stop letting your attitude beat down your goals. Even if they don’t appear to be amazing, life-changing plans, they are your jumping off point. Make sure that you keep moving forward, and only look back to glean something helpful. Don’t look back for too long. Remember, tomorrow is when it gets even more interesting.

may tbr

 

march 2016 tbr

Pictured here are my March TBR novels. The only one I finished in March was Ellen Foster. I spent all of April on The English Patient, and I just finished it this morning. I also finished two audiobooks in the past week. So it’s not like I’m completely slacking on my goals. I just had to splurge and buy some I could listen to at work.

So what I really need to finish in May is Season of Migration to the North. I will also throw in Summer People by Brian Groh because I’m sort of itching for a summer book to get me through the rest of this spring. It’s been cloudy and rainy for the past few weeks. I just hope I can get through Season of  Migration because it seems like it might be pretty heavy. I’m not sure though.

I’m eight books behind schedule according to Goodreads. My goal is to read 50 books this year!

 

last weekend’s successes

Be gone 70s wood paneling.

Last weekend, I was so very productive. I can’t even believe it. I did the dishes, cleaned the bathroom, fixed my computer, mowed the lawn, and organized the basement and garage a bit. I also took down all the wall hangings in the hallway/bathroom upstairs and taped off the moulding and windows to paint. I painted two coats of primer with a friend’s help and then one coat of a pretty pale blue. I had it all complete by Sunday morning.

I don’t know if there is any paint job more satisfying than one that covers up wood paneling. It’s one of the best things in the world. Our house had two different shades of paneling upstairs. There’s a light colored one that is on the stairway and most of the walls, but there was the pine colored to the left of the stairs. That’s the section I painted over.

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I think the stairway will be done in a white or almost-white paint. I can’t wait for that day. Luckily, the lighter paneling covers very easily. No stains seep through the primer, that means that even though it is more wall space, it should go more quickly.

I used Kilz white primer (which I found in the basement), painters tape, a screwdriver (to remove the electric coverings and wall fixtures), and Kilz interior paint (another thing I found in the basement). We brushed the paint onto the panel seams to make sure those were filled in first then rolled the rest. I cut into the ceiling and floor by hand. I made a mess on the tile frames, but I’m certain that will scrape off with a blade.

I’m really happy with how bright it is. Sara and I aren’t used to blue because our Mom does not like blue at all. It’s sort of surprising to see such a bright color on the walls. I think it is going to stick though and will be really neat when we finish painting the rest of the hall.

I also really want my room to be either painted or completely gutted and redone. I like the feel of my room, bu the wood paneling is just so… brown. I gave it a little more character by staining it, but it’s just not shiplap. It looks like paneling. I WANT TO PAINT ALL THE PANELING. Muahahaha!

book review: maybe in another life

I’m very glad I downloaded this book on Audible. I have seen it pop up on so many “To Read” articles and lists. Definitely a good one for the millennials out there!

Maybe in Another LifeMaybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay Taylor Jenkins Reid, I hear you. Did you have to drive it in so adamantly? Here I am, a lost and confused millennial with student loans to pay and life decisions to make, and you waltz in and tell me that it’s all going to be alright. How dare you?

This book was crafted perfectly for someone like me. The side by side comparison of two parallel lives both freaked me out and inspired me. I think that every decision I make alters my life forever and that worries me because I get stuck trying to make the right decision. Then I end up 29, like Hannah Martin, hopping from place to place thinking I have made all the wrong decisions.

I don’t have all the answers from reading this novel, but that is kind of the point. No one knows whether their choices are the right choices. The idea is to make a choice and stick to it and surround yourself with people that love you.

It seems so damn easy! Hannah’s story shows us that it isn’t.

The thing about these two universes is that the characters learn similar lessons but in different ways. I found the character development fascinating. Both Hannah and Gabbi discovered things about themselves and their lives through different means and at different paces. It was wild.

I listened to the audible version of this book. I have to say the narrator did quite well but I thought her male characters came across as weak. I had to reimagine their voices to give them more personality.

View all my reviews