Happyfull, that peaceful place between wanting more and having too much.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Weekend Fun

We spent the weekend living the Minnesota summertime dream...and loving every sun-kissed moment.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not a Girl Scout

I recently read a blog by a woman that is in recovery.  She mentioned that one of the things that keeps her on track and healthy is getting out into nature.  As I read about her nature fueled endorphin rushes I immediately negated it as an option for me.  I wasn't a Girl Scout + I don't like to camp = nature must not help me.  But for some reason the blog and that particular wellness tip stuck with me.  

This past weekend while in Northern Wisconsin I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon Kayaking down a river.  It was peaceful and exciting all at the same time.  Looking around, I saw so many beautiful things.  And for those two hours I never once worried about my kitchen floor, my daughter's extra needs, or my family's finances.   I felt strong and healthy and comfortable enough to take my shirt off and kayak in my bikini top.  I think I even stopped sucking my stomach in. I told myself that I looked like one of those women in the Athleta catalog...and I believed it.

Since Kayaking, I've been trying to pay attention to other times when I feel like that; when the everyday brain weights feel lighter, or almost not there.  When I think less about what I wish I had and more about all that I have.  And I'm surprised to be noticing that nature seems to be part of this.  It was right there, I just didn't see it.

I'm grateful for that blog (if only I could remember where I found it or what it's name was) because it has helped me see something new in myself.  Kind of like someone cleaned off the mirror that I've been looking at myself in.  I've realized that I don't have to like to camp to feel calmed by nature, and that I can really appreciate the simple beauty of organic things without ever earning a merit badge. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Daily Prayer

Corey and I don't regularly pray with our children.  Occasionally I say little silent prayers to myself, and I think Corey does too but we don't pray together or with our children at mealtime or before bed.  I think prayers said out loud and with others have kind of intimidated me.  I've often questioned who exactly I was praying to and that would lead me to get hung up on words like, "Dear Lord" and "in Jesus' name". 

Last weekend, at the retreat I attended, I thought a lot about gratitude and the act of being thankful.  I thought about the power of saying out loud the things that make me happy.  At first when you think about it, you start with all the big things...health, family, shelter, etc.  But when you think about today, and about what made you happy or grateful today, your mind gets a little more specific.  

So last night, I initiated a new family habit...or maybe I should call it a ritual.  Before dinner I'm going to start a group prayer by saying..."Dear God I am thankful for...(and I'll share one thing)", then each person around the table is going to take a turn saying the same thing and inserting what they are thankful for that day.  After everyone has spoken we will then say "amen" in unison.  It doesn't have to be planned out and you don't have use big words...just share one thing that filled your heart with happiness.  Last night I shared that I was thankful for my garden, Shore said that he was thankful that Corey's birthday is coming up, Soleil didn't want to participate, and Corey told us that he was thankful for how comfortable our family makes him feel.  I'm hopeful that Soleil will pray with us tonight and that this will become a special nightly habit of ours. And while my garden does make me very happy, nothing filled me with as much joy as having my whole family thank something larger than ourselves for all that we have been blessed with.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heading out

I'm two hours away from heading out of town.  I'm trying something new, a Women's Retreat with my church.

Last night I was talking with my mom on the phone about the retreat.  I jokingly said that I was already planning my get-away for the the sharing sessions.  There has to be a bar within walking/running distance of the retreat center, right?  My mom replied, "Just remember that you're a new member, Ruth".  Oh sure mom, because if I had been attending this church since birth they'd just say, "There goes Ruth again, slipping out the back.  Don't worry, she does this every year.  Later tonight we'll get a call when she needs a ride back to the lodge".

In honor of my trip I give you one of my favorite photos of Toni.  In it she was anxiously awaiting our departure from my parents house after a visit.  I like to call this shot the "Would be Before Photo" if Toni were going to get a doggy tummy tuck.

Have a great weekend...let it all hang out!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jars and jars of yumminess

While dating my husband, all those years ago, I quickly learned that he was a guy that didn't (and still doesn't) eat.  I hadn't even realized that there were such men until I met Corey.  His entire diet consisted of cheap frozen pizzas (think Totinos) and chips and salsa.  I'm not joking.  That's all he ate. 

So, for our first Christmas together, I sneakily attended a class about canning salsa and canned twelve jars of salsa!  I think that was all I gave him.  Maybe I made him a scarf, too.  Anyway, I think the salsa sealed the deal, I was to be his lifelong love.

Those twelve jars of salsa (which lasted about a month) have morphed into a passion for canning.  And yearlong salsa for him.
This week I tried for the very first time...Pickled Sweet Onions!  And oh my goodness are they delicious.  I have found a way to add them to everything from sandwiches to brats and I'm anxious to branch out from there.  My breath is going to be stinky this year but my belly is going to be happy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting Cool

It was HOT here in Minnesota yesterday, really hot...like 100 degree heat index hot.  So at 5:30pm the kids and I headed to our neighborhood water park to cool off and have some fun.  We were stunned when three hours had passed and the pool was closing...we just weren't done yet :)
Isn't this really what summer is all about?...forgetting about body self consciousness, putting on a swim suit and diving into a pool?  A trip or two around the Lazy River and you start to feel like you're in paradise...and your kids think your so cool for actually swimming with them rather than sitting in a lounge chair reading a magazine (although that does look tempting at times).

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Mr. Wonderful

I suffer from insomnia.  This brain of mine just won't shut off.  It seems like just when the house gets quiet and everyone else is asleep, that's when my mind starts racing.  Sometimes I lay in bed mentally composing lists, usually grocery lists and to-do lists, and sometimes I  imagine redecorating my house or I dream up a remodeling project.  Last night, as I lay awake in my quiet bed, all I could think about was my husband, Corey, and how very fortunate I am to be married to him.  I don't know the exact date, time, or circumstance, but sometime this last year it really hit me that I had chosen right when I chose him.  He loves me.  The real, scrubbed down, just ate a whole bag of popcorn me.  He loves the reality show watching me.  The good and the bad, the sometimes a mess me.  And I love all of him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A precious moment

Today, while driving to Shore's baseball game, I found myself thinking that I have a pretty fantastic life. 

The simple things that fill these summer days are really pretty beautiful...I have so much to be thankful for.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Favorite summer photo so far

My kids, anxiously awaiting the start of the fireworks on the 4th of July.
Location = Eagan, MN

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Entertaining with less stress

Ever hear of The Reluctant Entertainer? I think I first did on http://simplemom.net/ and then a friend of mine shared the actual Reluctant Entertainer book by Sandy Coughlin with me. After that I checked out the website http://reluctantentertainer.com/ and now I'm a follower. Her message, in a nutshell, is that entertaining should be fun, casual, and fulfilling. And it doesn't have to be perfect. Your house doesn't have to be spotless, the food doesn't have to be gourmet, and you don't have to lay awake the night before stressing over the details.

To be honest, at first glance I felt like her message was pretty much common sense. And in some ways it should be...but I guess we aren't always listening to that little voice inside our heads that tells us to relax and let go.

Tonight I entertained for the first time using her tips and keeping to her principles. I planned a simple meal of things that I've made before and allowed myself to enjoy the days leading up to the get-together. I was even napping just three hours before the guests arrived! Instead of barking orders and clenching my jaw I tried to enjoy the process and remember that the people that were coming over were our friends...they already like us (imagine).

...and guess what? Everyone had fun, even me, and it didn't suck every last bit of energy out of me...it was actually strangly revitalizing. Who knew entertaining could be so fun?!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The older and the newer

Have you ever tried to photograph black dogs?!?! How about with a basic/point and shoot camera?

These two adorable (but sorta hard to see) dogs are Toni (the large labish dog) and Bella (the tiny poodlish one). This was taken on the very first day we adopted sweet Bella. She had been living in a overcrowded sad environment. She was a mess...stinky, dirty, and matted. But underneath all of that was a sweet little girl that desperately wanted to please...and be loved.

We're a week out now and Bella and Toni are moving towards friendship. It's a precious thing to watch. Little Bella is smelling better, up to date on all her shots, and heading to the groomers this week for a haircut and power wash.

Ok, so here I go...

So this is the beginning...my little blogging beginning. Hello out there!!

To the left is a semi-recent family photo...I really have no idea why we were all wearing red/orange. It looks very planned, doesn't it? We were standing outside of my favorite mexican restaurant, Boca Chica, and I had just thoroughly enjoyed two delicious margaritas (notice the cockeyed sunglasses). Anyway, that's my little family. Me (Ruth), my husband (Corey), and our two children (Soleil is eight and Shore is six). We also have two wonderful canine family members...Toni and Bella. I'll post a photo of them soon (they won't be wearing red or crooked sunglasses).