M A Y / 1 2

As we prepared for the Mother’s Day celebration at Bartlett Arboretum we were tidying up, pulling tulips for mums, planting more budding flowers & [my newly found interest] pruning. [the heck?]

“Trim the dead right up to the live tree so it promotes growth. The likelihood of it growing back healthy is increased.” • {tree}

Amidst my therapeutic tree pruning, it unfolded within me that this tree and its lifeless, energy drain limbs is no different from our lives and the baggage we carry or hold on to. Just as the limbs of a tree are cropped, we too can trim the dead, the negativity, the nonsense & the unfulfilling branches in our life; the branches that leave us parched, hurting, seeking fulfillment or approval, running in circles & exhausting beautiful days.

Just as the tree exerts energy in trying to contain the damage & the sickly branches continue to prevent new growth, we too find ourselves stuck & empty due to people, things, circumstances & choices.

Insert: pruning.

I have experienced the difficulty in “trimming the fat” within my own life; I have also experienced the joy that comes from it that I never knew existed.

The initial difficulties in saying no, walking away from a hurtful person, loving someone from a distance rather than closely & full of expectation, making discerning decisions based on acknowledging my worth all lead to growth within me & have since offered me joy, restful nights & alive days.

The tree takes years to grow, flower, stretch, canopy, shake the dead, flourish, spread, rise up — with no end to speak of; what makes us think we are not so peculiar?

I am thankful for my foundation, my heart, my trunk.

I am thankful for my branches that stretch out in many directions seeking light, passion, service & my Maker.

I am also thankful for the deadwood that has been shaken off — among the nonessential has been learning experiences teaching me truth, authenticity, what truly matters in our lives & once shimmied down to my core, it is where I truly uncover myself.

Thank you {Mother Nature} | for being my teacher.

Thank you {Tree} | for helping me to become an enlightened wildflower among the wilderness 🌸

| Hemingway | 

“He had destroyed his talent by not using it, by betrayals of himself and what he believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge of his perceptions, by laziness, by sloth, and by snobbery, by pride and by prejudice, by hook and by crook.

It was a talent all right but instead of using it, he had traded it.

He had traded it for security, for comfort too, there was no denying that…”

[ Excerpt from The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Ernest Hemingway ]

Tapping into the well of these writers from another time & place has been the biggest breath of fresh air. Although a different time, a very prevailing perspective is uncovered.

What talents & gifts have we put on hold, hiatus or have yet to dream up. How many times have we chosen the comfortable route that {f e a r  &  d o u b t} have placed us on in exchange for the {j o y} our gifts are anticipating to flourish within us.

In this story, Harry is reflecting on his life due to becoming infected with gangrene & assuming his death is near. His passion never attained: writing.

“But he would never do it, because each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did not work at all.”

An encouragement & challenge to myself is not becoming discouraged or overwhelmed by the work that’s necessary to watch gifts, passions & big dreams take shape. By reminding myself that I am a work in progress, that my journey will provide laughs & growth [alike] & to remain steadfast in gratitude…I am provided the heart to take on my wandering, one day, one moment at a time.

Thank you Mr. Hemingway — for being my teacher today.

{ p i s c e s }

As the month of March comes to an end, I reflect on how much I love this month, this season.

Mine & my mothers birthdays are on the 1st but that is not the only reason for my adoration. I knew this birthday would be slightly different than those of years 27, 26…& so on. My heart is filled with such gratitude this year that I found this March 1 to hold more emotion compared to others past.

2014 brought me growth, pain, struggle & lessons stemming from poor choice making; all prompting me for strength, courage & emancipation from old parts of myself and delight in my newness.

As March “comes in like a lion & goes out like a lamb”, I am reminded that we all stumble upon our lion-like state of affairs filled with disorder, confusion & uncertainty. But I have learned that it is in those times that our inner lioness is awakened & born; that with a little patience, trust, & courage we can find our footing, direction & purpose once more.

Like the tulips that use the month of March to sprout, grow & bloom…{I} will too. {You} will too. {We} will too.

To a beautiful month, my most favorite month, I am grateful to be a part of you.

 

Butterflies

I have this obsession with checking the National Day Calendar & when I saw yesterday was National Learn About Butterflies Day, only one thing came to mind: our Dana. Mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.

To us, she was aunt. And our aunt Dana was the greatest, silliest, orneriest, funniest, big haired, red lipped human; best laugh included.

At a family get together she revealed to us her tattoo; a butterfly. So “outside the lines” of her then. And we loved it.

Little did she know that she would transform us, individually & as a family, while she was on earth & thereafter as she flew away to the Skies.

It is noted that the butterfly is a symbol of powerful transformation; the word of the soul & the mark of elevation from earthly matters. Our Dana. 

Since Dana’s passing several members of our family have had the colorful symbol inked on limbs of their own in her remembrance & in her reminder that this life is one of transformation. Where we are today gives no preface for tomorrow’s vantage point & that the moment of “now” is most precious. 

Thank you Dana for transforming in my heart that the time spent with my loved ones is most treasured; that the unknown concept of time should furthermore instill in us to love, give & value our close ones. 

 

{ i n s p o }

Last week I was moved to watery eyes & sniffles while reading a fellow friend & blogger’s most recent entry.
[elysesexpressions.wordpress.com check her out!]

I don’t want to spoil anything & I would encourage all to take in her beautiful words for themselves as she begins a new journey “writing herself alive”. She describes a lack of feeling & inspiration as her motive for taking an online class that includes this 30 day assignment.

Assignment 1: a letter to my decade younger self.

While this entry moved me it also inspired me to reflect on what I would say to my younger self. Although I’m thankful for my experiences & growing moments, there are a few “two cents’ worth” that may have aided me or just caused me to smile in encouragement.

[ 17 year old Junebug:

You are a beautiful being with so much heart & soul. You’re officially in California, on your own & unsure of what’s next but from this moment forward I want you to know & remember….

You are f e a r l e s s: don’t be afraid to jump, leap or of the growing pains that come with it.
You are c o n f i d e n t: don’t doubt the gifts, spirit & quirks God bestowed with intention when he created YOU.

You don’t need to rush. Don’t be afraid to live in the grey at times & trust the season you are in. Everything that is meant for you will come to you if only you will trust the plan God has in motion, be thankful for the journey & have discernment when navigating your route.

As you navigate your way keep in mind that it is essential to learn when to walk a w a y from what is not good & how to walk t o w a r d what galvanizes the best in you.

When & if people inquire about your vagabond & wildflower ways don’t become apprehensive of your path. Everyone takes a different route & yours specifically is piecing together a testimony — you’ll see.

At last, as you make your voyage & find yourself among favorable & hindering circumstances alike don’t lose your fire, keep dancing & hold tight to your silliness.

To my decade younger self: thank you for being you. Enjoy the journey. ]

A letter to myself then; a reminder to myself now.

{ Elyse, thank you for providing inspiration. My heart is happy to see your God given art unfold & come alive. }

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A & J • 1|1|2015

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These two? They’re as awesome as they come. With their own little bubble of cuteness & a whole lotta sunshine … they just tied the knot.

It always makes me happy to witness those who find that “when ya know, ya know” kind of love. The kind where one person may be red & the other may be blue but they make their own kind of purple. The kind of purple they choose to love now, tomorrow & always — Knowing their persons greatness and weakness & among them both, willing to give the same love, compassion & heart. Ready to support them everyday & mostest on the crappy days because who likes crappy days? No one. [obvs]

The kind of purple we voluntarily make compromises, meet in the middle or pick our battles for that in the end don’t feel like trade-offs at all because we love our person more than the concession.

The person you endearingly thank God for sending because they give you perspective, a back bone, a shoulder, inspiration; someone to share coffee with, travel & have adventures with, play Cards Against Humanity with, pray with, cook with…do life with. And then some.

Up & down.
Side to side.
The good & the not so good.
The sure flow.

The kind of purple that knows it may never be perfect but it will be a life spent with the greatest sidekick they have ever known. And what’s better than that?

While A & J inspire me, I hope to spark in them to have a wonderful life, enjoy the moments & always look out for one another — Loving someone & being loved in return is quite special & you two humans are just that.

Savor the journey.
Relish the adventure.
To (A)ngelina & (J). [oh wait, that’s your name!]

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#MrAndMrsOtto.
#SicParvisMagna.

“Greatness from small beginnings.”

Celebrate Me Home…

This is my favorite time of the year & my first holiday season back in Kansas from my stint in Texas; chalking up another journey of “self discovery”.

Five years ago I would have laughed in the face of anyone who told me I would ever reside in Kansas once more; and this time, it’s by choice.

My journey in Texas collected miles & I missed my family & loved ones more & more. I was absent from graduations, birthdays, reunions; the absence from simpler day-to-day excursions was just as annoying.

Seeing as this wasn’t the first time I packed my car & went vagabond, I knew these yearnings for home were coming from a different place.

Maybe a “grown” place.
A “seen enough” place.
To some, a “quitter” place.
But in fact, a place of “growth”was ensuing.

A place where I had realized that my geographical whereabouts do not define me; nor does my status, things of monetary value or the job that I possess. That my spirit is not hindered or altered by my surroundings but by my own mindset, insecurities & inhibitions.

That because He is within me I am able to be the vessel He has created me to be; present & purposeful, no matter where I am.

The change I was once praying for, in fact, would be a change of my own heart.

It took nearly a year of patience & courage but I was able to wave goodbye to Texas knowing that my growing pains lead to growth that lead me home.

#GratefulHeart.
#KansasChristmas.
#CelebrateMeHome.

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Sun•Day (Yay)

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Sundays are the best days (my fav in fact)…especially when you have the pleasure of spending the evening with an awesome group of warm, wise folks, yummy food and [near] endless vino. An event hosted by the wonderful Robin, owner of the Bartlett Arboretum along with husband Kenny, who delivered her true to form specialty: delight.

In her speech to friends she expressed gratitude for their support, reminisced stories & uncovered lessons learned from longstanding friends she now calls family.

The woman has a way with words & I admire it so much because I am a lover of vocabulary.

During her speech she shared a few key words & phrases that stuck with me as I began to reflect on experiences & loved ones of my own:

•Patience
•Tenacity
•”Do it anyway”
•”With the end in mind”
•”Have fun & enjoy the view”

In the last year I have been a student to patience while being reminded it is a virtue for a reason.

My patience was tested while trying to decide whether I was being called to stay in Texas or come back to Kansas where my heart was. To make a long story short, patience eventually lead me home.

It was also tested when I met my Tree. I had no idea when we met that I was stumbling upon a wonderful human with the greatest heart & soul; that he would later teach me so much about letting go, letting God & the flow of life take it’s course, to believe in myself & my gifts. We began as friends but patience proved to bring us together in it’s own time. #thankful.

My yoga practice continues to test my patience as well — rather than envisioning where I want to be in my practice, yoga helps bring me back to the present moment to notice just how far I have come. I know one day I will be as developed as I envision but for now I am learning to be thankful for the voyage, setting my intention on trust & continued diligence.

Chutzpah, spunk, guts, backbone, willfulness…tenacity. Does anything worthwhile come to fruition without it? Or without the acknowledgment that sometimes despite our mindset, mood or plans we have to just grin, bear it & “do it anyway”?

I was a fan of listening to Robin reflect on times of “doing it anyway” especially on days where #TheStruggleWasReal.

There have been times when I’ve needed reminding that the situations I’m in are temporary & that without my personal tests I would never have my own testimony. “Doing it anyway” has offered me growth and has provided me with “entertaining” stories of my journey [typically after the storm, of course]; suggesting along the way to not necessarily be focused on the “end result” but rather keep “the end in mind”. We always hear people referring to the journey rather than the destination; go figure, they’re right. But sometimes the journey isn’t dang roses & Earth, Wind & Fire but rather a pain, rocks & glass [thank you Kid President]. I suppose life calls for us to get our hands a little dirty on occasion.

And lastly, she spoke of “having fun & enjoying the view”. A self explanatory reminder but how easily we forget.

Sunday adventure.
Monday jots.
Daily reminders.

Thankful heart, always.

#HappyMonday.