Do Them Hard Things

I had a happy moment last week.

I passed a test. The last test.

I passed the last test.

I still have some courses left, but I have finished the last test. That’s important because so many reasons. It’s college. (I love passing college tests.) I’m working so hard for a collegiate presidential signature to say I’ve learned lots of literature. I started a few years ago and put on my deadline face and worked to be done by this month.

I’m not. I missed a goal. This month came and I had fifteen credits on a spreadsheet tacked to my closet door, watching me even in my sleep. Now there’s less. There’s six. It’s not zero, but it’s not fifteen either.

(That spreadsheet there on the right? Yeah. It didn’t used to be highlighted, but now, what’s done is blue. It’s mostly blue. I’ve mostly shaken my blues. It’s a happy change.)wpid-wp-1411935570685.jpeg

This spring picked me up and threw my plan a ways off and said “Let’s take a ride” and wouldn’t put me down, so we went on a ride and I couldn’t quite reach the plan, laying down there where the dust was.

We were short-staffed at work, and I took a trip, and I failed a test and things were a bit hard and unhappy for a while. Studying was difficult and it didn’t always work, and I took a test and missed it, and I cried.

Now? Now things have looked up. I made a new plan and a new goal, and I’m meeting it. I picked a new graduation and pressed on and jumped wide and hard over the hurdles without skimming my toes on their paint or knocking my knees on their heads.

There was another hard moment too, a while ago. Back before I had my plan planned onto a spreadsheet, I cried and stressed and questioned about which college? And which degree? And in-state? And why would this be so hard on my soul and my happy and my tear ducts?

That’s gone now too. It’s there upstairs being alive and remembered and I’m not inviting it back. I know I’ll cry days and I’ll question days, but I’m not bringing that old furniture downstairs to ruin my happy, promising rooms.

Now I’m being an overcomer, and I’m going to keep trying things and doing things and being afraid of things, and then looking at that feared thing all wide-eyed and stupid-happy and doing it.

Imma keep being a Cliff-Jumper.

(That there rocky spot off my finger – I stood there and shook a wee and flew, and loved it. Photo creds to Bestie, right here.)

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It’s a Monday, and a hard day sometimes, and maybe it’s a Monday month for you, or year. Maybe you just hope it gets easier. It does. You will be ok. Don’t be afraid to jump, darling. So tell me:

What are you scared-silly and brave about?

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So yeaaaaah it’s September

September! It thrills me from toes to tipppy top – gots the power to stand my pixie up, it does. It’s like the sky opens up just to make space for my wandering soul and things change colors to satisfy the craving I have for differentwpid-wp-1411535687956.jpegIt’s September’s wanderlust makes me want to make eat the apples just layin’ on the sidewalk, take photos of the swimming trees, and make acorn necklaces (ok, perhaps that was really truly Anni’s idea).

wpid-wp-1411606284811.jpegSpeaking of the girl, she came for a wee small visit last week. Really truly she deserves her own post, but (insert some lame excuse) so you see, I couldn’t. Or maybe I just selfishly want to keep my pictures of and with her in a secret, pretty place.

We grew up on playing lava-tag, and climbin’ up fire-poles, stepping across the bridge with pinched feet, and climbing up the slide. Why wouldn’t we do it again?wpid-img_20140917_165421978.jpgI didn’t realize how much this post will be full of people I love. Yay! So meet my brother.

Blog, meet Josh. Josh, blog. Also Josh, meet Cherry Berry. I may be somewhat sold on fro yo. It may be what I treat myself to whenever I pass a test (hint – I passed a test.) Lucky I, it was proctored on the campus where Josh attends. So I made him got him to like fro yo. He be like “I don’t like frozen yogurt. Well, I’ll try it. Oh, chocolate! Oh, Strawberry! Oh, it comes out SOOOO slow. Oh, sprinkles! Oh, M&M’s! Oh, brownie bites! Oh, skittles! Oh, chocolate chips!” I be like “I told you so.” But yeah, celebrating with a yummy something and a loved somebody is just a happy thing. Try it sometime.

wpid-wp-1411605236424.jpegI was in a city the other day, so I did a thing. I walked on a dike, and listened to a band playing Brown Eyed Girl and Sweet Home Alabama, and did some selfying with my shadow, chatted with my sister, … yeah. It was a cool day.

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I am here. Gosh that’s good to know! The things they didn’t tell us, starting out!wpid-wp-1411574287692.jpegI don’t know why I love this so much! Maybe it’s because the “When” is washed off – by rain (presumably.) Maybe it’s because it’s simple. Maybe because it’s so familiar, but it means something different when it’s all by itself. Maybe because it was just in the kind I don’t of park that needed sweet graffiti, and … well I read after a rain.wpid-wp-1411574495550.jpeg

I don’t like football. This lucky child still convinced me to come to her powder puff game. Gosh I love her. I feel old, thinking that the last pp game I came to was when I was a senior, and she wasn’t in high school even, then. She’s amazing anyway, though. wpid-wp-1411535300776.jpeg wpid-wp-1411535545272.jpeg

Dad, do you miss farming?

Sometimes.

Why?

I miss being able to look back at a day, and being able to see what I did.

Yeah, there’s a swath here, and another, and a field changes color once when it grows, and once when it ripens, and again after harvest and after being plowed. A whole piece of land rotates around and moves from one side of “to-do” to the other. All the time the sky watches and your fingers get wide and calloused and strong and your soul shapes to the clouds and something of the land grows and ripens and becomes something of you.

I think this and do not say it. I look at those calloused hands holding a steering wheel out of the corner of my sight and I think of me – we have the same need for sunshine and outside and breeze in the short-cut hair. We have the same need for putting something wild and chaotic into rows. We have the same desire to look back and see a field, and another, razed and bountiful and golden and done.

wpid-wp-1411606879769.jpegAnd how is September to you, so far?

 

To Make a Thing

There’s things give me words, and I don’t always see them coming. Welcome to a writer’s mind, haha. Or maybe, maybe I’m just a baby writer and I don’t know where inspiration comes from, or how to make my own. Still – I watched this video of miraculous hands carving a fluid substance into something frozen and living and useful, and words sort of floated out of me into skins of their own. Perhaps that makes me a mother of sorts – I’ve given skin and breath to these sweet little wordlings, and fed them and disciplined them and now I’m pushing them off into the world to be.

It’s exciting.

Here’s the video for you. Then below, there’s the words I question the origin of.

Fingertips bulge old and strong with art.

Clay grows into life, and life into clay

Channeled by knuckled, stained stems.

A cylindrical lump

A baby soul

He turns it, dizzy-like –

Thrusts his thumb and hand down the painful, eager throat.

She swells and swallows

And suddenly is shapely mature.

A body, round, lovely –

Immaculate beauty and soul.

Have you watched anything inspiring lately? I want to know. P’raps it’ll make words again.

Interrupted

I choose to live interrupted, Tiffany used to say.

I think of how she did it. I remember interrupting her packing and spending a day together. I remember interrupting family dinner and bedtime for Bible study with Mariah. I remember interrupting routine and quiet time for youth group.

It goes on. She interrupted herself for everybody.

Then they moved. We were interrupted. She interrupted for her children. Now more than ever, the sweet young-but-growing Mama‘s will be her most welcome interruptions.

Tiffany, thanks for letting us interrupt you.

But now I’m thinking of me. As a student, I’m training myself in focus and drive and commitment and study.

Then there are siblings and parents and Sunday-school and maybe facebook. Maybe. 😉

But in all that – I’m in college. It’s transient. What if I move? What if my little fourth-graders go up to fifth grade? (Heaven forbid!) So after class, when this sweet little girly walked in, we let her interrupt. And when the lesson was over, maybe I arm wrestled the boys and took some awkward photos and a big groupie.

And then again, this girl got to me before my phone went into my bag again, and she put that little arm around me and we didn’t resist the silly urge.

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Then she links my arm and sits with me in church and suddenly a little note appears on the bulletin:

What are you doing after church?

I don’t know yet. What are you thinking? (And I read that pretty little mind because it has been my own – how NOT to know where this goes?)

I’m watching the Vikings.

EW!

Or maybe draw, or play outside, or go see some friends.

Would you like to come over? (And I know she wants that. I do too, really, through the school and rest I need – I want that.)

YEAH! I’ll ask my parents. That would be FUN!

If suddenly sloppy handwriting and big smiles are any clue…

And so we do it. We take time off of school and we drink cocoa and watch Silly Songs with Larry and we see puppies and smile, and play on the fake horse, and then feed the real horses, and then we have to see the puppies again.

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(Those freckles, though!)

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Some sweet guy figured licking my lense was a swell idea.

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wpid-wp-1410728008752.jpegI love this girl, really I do.

Thanks for coming over, lil sweet pea.

Lovelies by Others


So I’m stalling.

I’ll admit it.

I’ve got projects going which aren’t finished and just need a girl to sit and do them. But let me mention that usually, twenty-somethings have a lot of somethings to sit down and do? They don’t all always happen.

So what’s happening is some stalling, and some hopefully-I-actually-get-to-that-tonight-ing, and some blogging about other stuff. Let me start – no I’ll end with that. Let me start with an adorable person – Kaylah.

This sweet pic is copied from that post – obs I can’t take any photo credit. I had to though. Look at that sweet tattoo on her right leg. The sheer amount of animal prints and designs in her outfit makes me happy.

So it was ridiculously handy how recently I graduated from highschool, cuz my face ain’t changed. So yeah – that’s a senior picture over there on the profile side of things. But uh – the hair’s changed. It’s mostly gone. I think the most I can claim is about three inches when I stretch it out. Summers? Amazing. Feels like I have shed a wool blanket. Winters? Um. Shivery. Fortunately there’s a good solution that’s all the rage right now. Ain’t I lucky?

gorgeous cowl, nice blog Like the color block and texture at the changes. Definitely adaptable to crochet!

Yay for cowls! I just picked up some yarn to make this. But like I said – there’s projects just wanting a girl.

I did actually make something like this last year, not knowing how handy it would be THIS year. (And you said you wanted to see my short hair anyway, right?)

wpid-wp-1410397850450.jpegNow – I’ll be honest. (It appears to be something I do well, if awkwardly sometimes.)

Much as I want my coffee and cocoa, there’s a yummy recipe over at Paper’n’Stitch for popsicles that sounds heavenly. Can we have another few days of summer just for this please?

Getting back to that amazing thing I wanted to use at the beginning. Actually there’s two things.

I love mountains. I love camping. This person understands. (photo credit to Oleg Grigoryev).

This is one of those things I will do, if I have any say in the matter. Right away? Perhaps not. Maybe not even soon.

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And this song – Oceans, by Hillsong United

Both these things just speak to the soul that is down there, waiting for mountains and fearless living.

What makes you happy this weekend?

Gratefulness

Perhaps it’s an awkward title, but I like it. There’s the because. I sat and listened and lost focus and tried to pay attention in a Bible study, one night. We read Isaiah 53. Mark chatted about it as usual, and then introduced the awkward silence by asking us what our reactions were.

“Gratefulness, I guess,” Caleb said meditatively.

Gratefulness – what an awkward word! my brain spat out. (I didn’t actually say it.) Why not say gratitude?

Yeah I slapped myself for that. Caleb’s a friend, and Christ is my savior, and I wanted to hear a different word? Oh Gianna. I repented then and haven’t stopped. So now I say gratefulness, and count grace, and smile because Caleb knew what was important more than I – Jesus and his mercy.

Thanks for that lesson, dude.

And that’s basically this post. Gratefulness. Happy little things. Learning to count God’s gracious gifts and number them – impossible as it is – in photos and words and happy moments.

So anyway. Here’s my grateful list of today.

wpid-wp-1410181118263.jpegI am grateful for blog ideas. Don’t read too much here. Spoilers, wot! But mostly I took a picture of what I’ve already posted.

wpid-img_20140908_082320.jpgI’m to be a legend folks. That’s just exciting, wot. Time to go #liveacrazydream (more on that when it actually happens. 🙂

wpid-wp-1410182255902.jpegSo maybe, when I take a hand off the steering, I get swerve-y and off and it’s weird, and maybe I almost went in the ditch. But maybe not, if you’re of the gracious ones. But the biking was a fun time, anyway.

wpid-wp-1410182069077.jpegAnd sunsets are always a good time. Especially if you’re biking. And picturing. And smiling. And it’s autumn. Win-win-win-win-win (and yeah, I just actually counted all that.)

wpid-wp-1410181844749.jpegYeah so it’s cocoa weather, and pleasepleaseplease don’t try to tell me it’s still 70 during the day, because it’s cocoa’n’coffe’n’hoodie weather, which is my favorite. Have your seventies, sweeties. I’ll drink my cocoa.

wpid-wp-1409284661537.jpegThese people are awesome. Like on the right, there’s KK. She’s my awesome sister, as somebody boldly pointed out the other day. But yeah, I’m already aware. I mean – she’s the one taking herself a selfie, here, with a phone she didn’t have permission to use. (Darn you, girl.)

Then on the left, there’s a bestie (so maybe my bestie and I both blog) and I really didn’t know it was possible for anybody besides God to know me so well. Gosh, girl. How does you does it?

wpid-wp-1410181687881.jpegSpeaking of that girl, she gave me this book, which has been designated the thankfulness journal. Lookit all the writing there. God is good, isn’t he?

wpid-wp-1410181542058.jpegOh um. There’s dirt under my nails. I play ultimate and do crazy outside stuff. So it happens. I’ll be grateful for that too. *awkward grin*

Note coffee on that list.

Yeah. I really like my coffee.

Tell me something you’re grateful for. I’d love to hear.

Just a Little Life

I’ve got this lovely idea to tell a coffee story and include an iced coffee recipe, but I can’t seem to get the right pictures. Rawr. So instead you get to know what I’ve been doing lately.

Lots, for one. I’ll illustrate. wpid-wp-1409763247716.jpeg

 

Ah, mornings. I got me a lap-swimming pass, some goggles and a new suit. Time to make them all pay for themselves. I wake up at 6 and begin to doubt every shred of benefit I’ve heard comes from exercise. Really, GG. You are stupid to be up right now. Then I swim. Then at 7:30, I can pat myself on the back for having eaten, worked out and showered all so early. So yeah. This early morning photo was AFTER I swam. Crazy me.

 

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So I had a half-hour of time. I went for a walk. There was a half-squishy (not turribly squishy, just a little soft) apple lying on the sidewalk. Looked yummy enough on the parts that weren’t squishy, and I felt adventurous. I also found a bottle cap. So the walk, the apple and the bottle cap became a picture. That is all. (By the by, I was right. The apple was sweet and tangy – everything an apple should be.)

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You must remember hearing how much I love food.

It hasn’t changed. This photo grew out of the fact that we had tomatoes, chicken, peppers, spinach and mushrooms in the fridge, but no idea what too eat. KK googled a recipe. We ended up sauteing onions and mushrooms first (while cooking chicken separately), then adding in the above mentioned ingredients. We finished by layering it in a 9×13 pan with uncooked spaghetti (shoulda been lasagna…). It was good, but we definitely should have waited for lasagna noodles. The spaghetti stuck together and didn’t cook thoroughly. But hey for adventures and mostly-yummy meals and creativity!

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Do you blow bubbles? I blow bubbles. It’s amazing. It’s also very difficult to photograph.

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Mmmmcamping. I am sweetly endeared to places where we’ve been camping. I get a bit possessive of these places, especially after we’ve been there several years and I know them well. I’m thinking of Frost.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference.

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All weekend I was trying to put my phone down and spend time with my family (gosh we have a good time together). At the same time, I just wanted to take pictures of so many things! So I compromised by showing them some of the photos and asking for adulation. Satisfactory, right? They’re such a great crowd. Oh, and notice the little brother in blue, posed like he’s gonna catch something. So my family’s weird too. Dad didn’t want to carry everything from the truck (he was standing beside me) to the table. So he tossed it to my siblings.

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Campfires. That is all.

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It’s september, and the word is magic. The first day rolled in bright and chill and the last shred of grudge I held against the early-turning leaves dissipated in the joy of autumn. Autumn. The word rolls over my tongue in a sweet sigh.

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KK! You have to get a picture of that crazy car! Isn’t it just amusing?

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I am completely taken with his asymmetrical ears and that soft, soft fur. Beorn, you amazing puppy, come home with me please? (Also, what better name than Beorn for a full German Shepherd still growing into his sizeable heritage?!) He didn’t come home with me. But we’d have been perfect for each other, I know.

How was your weekend, everybody?

Happy autumn!