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life, changed

30 Nov

A month’s reflections:

This month, our lives have changed in more ways than I can really even fathom at this moment.

One person’s life, in particular is never going to be the same.

My brother Cody.

October 30th, 3 am. Things changed in a way that I could never have imagined for this person. Being driven home from a party from a good friend, a drunk driver ran a red light straight into the small pickup truck that my brother was a passenger in, t-boneing the car and braking my brothers neck.

Within four hours he was in surgery.

Within five hours we were being told that it is likely that he  may not breath on his own ever again. He will never walk again. He will be quadriplegic.

Within seconds, everything that he once knew was taken away. Without a say, without him being at fault.

At first I didn’t hear the negative. I heard the part about “the small chance he may get movement back.” But slowly the negative thoughts sink into your brain as you see him laying there, completely motionless, not able to even move the build-up of saliva out of his throat.

Perspective.

The smallest of improvements, things that we take for granted every day, become the most joy-filled experiences we have had all month. Something as simple as being able to cough mucus out of his throat. A day without unbearable pain. Or being able to breathe without any assistance, on his own. Something so simple that none of us probably even think about once throughout the day. When everything is taken away, that is when you notice how much you need it.

Priorities change. It was torture to go to work and hear complaints of people around me. I wanted so bad to scream, “Your problem is so minimal! Move on! My brother can’t even breathe on his own, let alone move a finger! Be thankful for how SMALL your issue is!!” We didn’t care what that lady was saying about Herman Cain or what Lady Gaga was wearing. I just wanted someone to care; to reach out, and recognize the tragedy of this. The complete un-fairness of itall.

Some people I thought for sure who would be by our side and rush to our aide, failed. Yet people who we literally have never and may never meet provided us with a donation that normally compared to a mortgage payment was minimal or something as small as a prayer sent from across the world, but in this case has meant the world and more to us. Friends and family that we have not seen or heard from for years stepped us and heard our hearts.

Thank you.

I look at people in wheelchairs completely differently now. Sadly, mostly because my own fear that myself or one of my loved ones may end up in one, I felt uncomfortable around people with disabilities. After this month, I feel a connection on another level with these people and their care takers. Unfortunately such a life-changing occurrence had to happen for me to get over my insecurities, but you just can’t go through this and not be changed.

But out of this tragedy, this pain, something else has happened. A boy has become a man. A hero. An inspiration. A person who I thought I knew has shown me his real colors; a strength that I just don’t think I would have if the roles were reversed. A person who has given me hope when there might be none. Who has made me laugh when he had every right to shut down and not say a word. A family once divided now is brought together by something so much bigger with such large ramifications. Strength and hope. This man has changed and has changed me forever.

This road is a long one. With only a month into this new life, things have happened that were practically promised to us that never would. Many tears have dropped. We have been broken down, built back up, only to be broken down again. But he has changed. We have changed. And I thank the Lord that he is still here. Here to enrich our lives because he is so special. So unbelievably special.

Kaleigh

creativity: squashed

2 Jun

You know what is one of the things that I love most about being able to work with and hang out with kids? It’s their creativity, their imagination. They come up with the most ridiculous things and I absolutely envy them. For instance, I was talking with an awesome 6th grade boy the other day and he was telling me about all the “secret” items that you can order at Wendy’s and how only VIP customers know about this. He went on to tell me that there are only certain Wendy’s that you can go to that will provide you with these mysterious but mind-blowing items. Restaurants that are “in the know” are the ones that have “back alleys” for their drive-throughs and you must know secret codes to order such as 43762 0072…(dangit, I think I forgot his code) or else they will not have the slightest idea what you are talking about (wink, wink). This newest code is for a mystery flavored frosty, of course.

I mean, who knows? He could be totally telling me the truth on this one, but I have my doubts. I think this is pure imagination rather than fact, but regardless, it’s awesome.

The thing is, I truly believe I used to have as a creative mind as this boy. I know that my mind sucked up so much stuff and I loved to relinquish silly and sometimes outlandish thoughts to whomever. In middle school I distinctly remember talking about llamas  and crazy monkeys a lot and in high school one of my first days at a new school and with a new crowd, a boy said to me, “Man, you use a lot of big words!” I definitely took pride in that, I must say. Clearly I had an extensive vocabulary when I was a mere freshmen, but today I find myself stumbling over my words quite frequently. I can hardly read a book while keeping my attention on it and actually understanding and processing the words rather than just reading them.

So what happened?

I truly like to blame school. It sounds cruel and possibly ridiculous, but when you are in a classroom taught to follow patterns and formulas and always write a paper with a beginning, middle, and end just like this… yada yada yada… your creative side gets squashed. In my experience, barring a few extremely awesome English teachers, very few instances or assignments allowed for students to flourish in their creativity. After a while, when you do actually get the chance to be creative, following all the rules and formulas for so long have been so engrained in your subconscious that you have a hard time just coming up with an original thought.

I think that also the pressures of life, time constraints and being successful in our culture have done their own job of squelching creativity and imagination. We have so much stuff to do in such small amounts of time, that it is so hard to slow down to absorb and pursue fantastic ideas, let alone read a book about those types of things. I think back to college and I was so focused on studying for several different classes and “getting the grades” that I hardly remember half the stuff I was “learning”. I would love to go back and sneak into the back of my old anatomy and physiology class just to listen and really absorb that information rather than furiously writing notes, hoping not to miss anything. Despite that being slightly creepy to the “real” students, I would absolutely love that!

I have a journal from the end of high school and the beginning of college. I look through it and I drew and sketched. Wrote about my passions and fears. Wrote down poems or amusing bumper stickers. I let my mind wander and flourish. These days I don’t do any of this. I feel bad if after a workout while I’m stretching if I let my mind go blank or wander for too long because there is so much more that I need to get done.

Well, I’m taking a stand. I need this. I need some time. It will be hard to let myself do it but I need time for my brain to wander. To dream. To think up a doodle. To relax. To feel free. To be excited and not feel bogged down.

I’m going to try my hardest to do this daily, but really if it ends up being only once a week, it will be a huge improvement.

Do you need more time? What do you want to do more than anything but feel like you have no time, energy, motivation, etc.?

Join me in a revolution.

Make the time.

Set it aside for you.

Because if you’re like me, you NEED it.

I drew this in high school. I was very much desiring to gain power over my life and what I wanted to make of it. This drawing represents this feeling, as well as when I choose God and what He wants for my life, it will definitely be fulfilling, colorful, and empowering.

Kaleigh

foggy

16 May

On this balmy evening, with birds a tweet, tweet, tweeting outside our window, I can’t help but feel relaxed.

I felt very stressed and agitated at work today, and when I arrived home, I an overwhelming sense of calm came over me. A couple days ago, I briefly touched on the thought that I really relish the ability to be able to hang around our little home and literally do nothing. As a tried and true introvert (but oddly enough sometimes an extrovert), I need my time to withdraw from the daily stressors and completely unwind. I gain energy from withdrawal. It feeds my heart, soul, body and mind. When I have a chance to set aside time, I often overflow with love and thankfulness.

Once I arrive at this point, I believe this is where I tend to falter. What do I do now? I’m revitalized and bewildered, now what? Do I make cookies? Do I go for a run? Should I make a craft? Finally work on our wedding/honeymoon scrapbook? Develop a new recipe? Go build a house for Habitat for Humanity? Or do the dishes? Read a book? Clean up our house and replace the shower curtain that ripped two months ago?

On one hand, there are so many things that I would like to do. On the other hand, it is now 7:21 pm and I feel as my day is nearly over. Do I really have the time to conquer a task? Indecision takes over and then all of a sudden I feel as though my eyelids weight 50 lbs. each and I can’t see straight anymore.

The past few days this indecision has led me to eat pretty much the same meal for the past three nights (not including Sunday), which is pan-fried potatoes over greens, with avocado chunks and pesto drizzled on top. I must say the combination is rocking my world, but at some point I’m not going to want it. I feel as I may be teetering on that line tonight. Is it that I am being lazy? I don’t know. I feel as though my energy has dropped significantly in the past few days and I am in a serious “packaged food” hump. As we speak I am dreaming about golden Oreos and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they happened to end up in a Blizzard.

So where do I go from here?

Coincidentally, my body seems to crave less-than-ideal foods when I am eating less than ideal foods. Its a vicious circle. I’ve also found that the more carbs I eat (i.e. oatmeal, rice chips) the more my body just wants to hoard all that glucose-y goodness that it can possibly take and deposit in less than ideal spots on my body. Since I have been done with my detox, I have had oatmeal nearly every breakfast. I’m not ridiculing oatmeal, as it is one of my all time favorite foods, but in lieu of fruit-o-rific smoothies for breakfast, carb-o-rific oatmeal has taken over. I think this has led to a snowball effect. I want more and more simple sugars throughout the day. It hasn’t been horrible, but it hasn’t been great. Less fruits and less salads has led to a dull girl.

On the plus side, I have started developing a nasty little habit of waking up at 4:45 am to go work out. It’s a little scary (only because I am paranoid) but once I am done I just loooove it! I’ve found that it’s a hopeless cause to try to get myself to workout after work. Therefore mornings, when the sun is just about the get woken up by the dogs howling at fire engines, oh no, thats us…. …when the sun is just about to peak its warmy goodness over the horizon, seems to be the only time that I can get a jaunt in. I need to continue this as it is going to be my second golden ticket to harnessing more energy and hopefully a little less foggy brained. For some reason that phrase immediately reminded me of Foghorn Leghorn. What a strange character.

And then there’s meat… As of recently meat has made me develop a rare and never before seen aversion. Fish is even kind of pushing it. As we speak I am marinating some chicken breasts in what should be a delightful combination, but the thought of actually eating it makes me want blow my Foghorn in a Leghorn, and not in a good way. I’ve thought about going vegetarian. Several times actually. Even vegan, but that was quickly reproached as I am a true lover of eggs and if I’m going to cheat on my diet, I tell you what, its going to be on this ice cream. Even with having my nutritionist background, I am still trying to determine what is the best diet for me. I certainly I have deducted that the majority should be minimally processed foods and limiting refined carbohydrates is ideal. But I still haven’t quite figured out the balance of fats and proteins for me. Its a work in progress. Just like everything in general. Our marriage. My faith. Who I am. What I can be. What I should eat. That’s life.

So I will continue tinkering and resting and then waking up quite early and hopefully I will get out of this foggy little slump.

Kaleigh

absent-minded

14 May

For some odd reason I have withdrew from writing a post in quite some time. It must be that I have been busy at work with my new position or that once I get home, I get so lost in reading other people’s blogs and entranced by old House episodes, that I completely forget that we have a blog as well.

Well here are few things that I have been thinking about while I’ve been absent (minded):

1. SprinklesI’m not sure what is going on lately, but I have been dreaming about many foods that typically necessitate sprinkles i.e. donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, oatmeal (I mean, why not?). I’m not sure what is going on with this whole obsession but I do know that it has led me to make several of Katie’s single lady cupcakes in the past week.

2. The beach– I really really would love a vacation… preferably one that includes perfect weather and the sound of crashing waves. Kyle and I went to California for our honeymoon nearly two years ago. Since then, we haven’t had a vacation for nearly two years and I definitely hear the sandy beach beckoning us.

3. Jelly
Another unusual obsession, but again I’ve found that I need a dose of it everyday…especially in my oatmeal. Ideally I’d like to have a warm buttery english muffin to slather it on, but our grocery store was out of the ones that I really prefer.

4. The desire to eat really delicious food but a waning desire to actually get creative in the kitchen and make it. It would be ideal to just eat out every night here… but sadly the funds just ain’t there. It’s shocking how much of a difference (monetarily speaking) it makes to eat out several nights rather than go to the grocery store and buy food that lasts you a couple weeks. I personally feel that even with the prices of food going up, we get a whole heck of a lot more out of our grocery bill than going to Chipotle and Old Chicago’s a couple nights a week.

5. I’ve realized how much I generally love to sit around and do nothing. I feel like I am often running around like crazy, especially at work, so when I get a day off to relax I truly love to laze about and piddle around in our apartment. My personality definitely requires me to rest and withdraw and it brings me pleasure to do so.

6. The rain– it has been so rainy here the past few days and it has led me to the conclusion that I really love the rain. I love hearing it at night as we are falling asleep. I love how it makes you slow down. I don’t think I could handle it nearly every day as some states do, but living in a state that averages 300 days a year of sunny weather, its nice to have a change.

7. And speaking of changes– I sense change is coming. Especially with my new position at work and spring popping its head up in full bloom. I’m super excited about it too. I have a subtle sense of adrenaline pumping and my heart seems to be aflutter.

Happy Rainy Saturday 🙂

Kaleigh

isn’t it crazy…

11 Mar

It is crazy how good it feels to make a batch of cookie dough for the soul purpose of eating the dough raw. I truly have no plans to bake any of it FYI. Instead, I scooped out cookie size portions, placed them on a baking sheet covered with parchment and froze them and…Wulah! 

Portioned-out cookie dough available at either of the 2 people’s whim!!

 

It’s crazy how quickly our floor becomes completely coated with dog hair. Literally it takes mere hours after a vacuum session until patches of hair start mysteriously multiplying.

It looks like we have multi-colored carpet, but originally it was tan. If and when we get a house, hard-wood floor is going to be the way to go.

 

Isn’t it crazy that we are well in our way into March and daylight savings is coming up this weekend? It’s also very crazy how daylight savings always messes up my internal clock. Every time.

 

It’s crazy that in college I got to poke and dig around in cadavers and it didn’t bother me in the slightest, but when I go to get a blood draw and see my blood in that little vial, it really freaks me out.

 

It’s crazy (and extremely terrifying) how quick and easy it is to get information off the internet. For instance, just yesterday I was looking to see if my cousin was on facebook. She wasn’t, but on the bottom of the screen a link to people123 or something listed her full name and middle initial and what city she lives in. I’m sure if I had clicked the link there would have been even more information. I didn’t click it because it really freaked me out. I’m sure it would have blown my mind if I had searched for myself.

 

It’s crazy how quick a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies disappears in this apartment.

 

 

It’s so crazy how in Colorado, just this week, it was 40 degrees and snowing one day and then the next it was sunny, beautiful and almost 60 degrees.

 

It’s so crazy how so much about our lives is completely out of our control. We try and try to keep it all together, but it just doesn’t work that way. Look at all the poor people around the world that just this morning (my time) they were going about their days and in minutes everything they had was completely wiped away. And all they could do was watch. The awesome power of the waves swept away everything in its path. It is so humbling and terrifying to watch.

My prayers go out to them all.

 

It’s so crazy how much I love to be at home with my husband, doing nothing special at all except eating delicious food (including cookie dough), watching movies and joking around. I think I’ll go do that now.

What do you think is crazy? Please, share! 🙂

Kaleigh

but, what about the bananas?!

7 Feb

Oh bananas.

You are so wonderful. Your crazy peel sometimes makes you impossible to open, but it’s always worth the wait. Some people may not like you when you are mushy, but I’m not biased. I’ll take you as you are.

Your creamy insides make wonderful smoothies, overnight oatmeal, and “ice cream”. Your taste brightens and warms the best gluten free bread I’ve ever had and your sweet sugar power an athlete through exercise. And don’t forget your nutritional information. I mean, let’s face it, your the poster-child for a potassium super star.

Truly, you are amazing.

I’ve been thinking about bananas a lot lately and if you’ve checked out our What Are We Reading? page lately, you would have seen that I have been reading Banana by Dan Koeppel.

This is probably the reason for my current obsession with them lately. And as I mentioned before, I’ve had the best banana bread EVER this past month, so the thought of that is also still dancing around in my head and tickling my taste buds.

Despite those wonderful banana-y thoughts, I will warn you this post is slightly political in nature and if you think that I’m on a soap box, well I’m not. I’m merely on a “concerned” orange 60’s-style dinette chair, so deal with it.

I must admit that Banana was hard to get through. The cover said “fast-paced” but there we so many names and places and different scientists that it was hard to keep track and it bounced around a lot. In turn, it took me a little over a month to get through240 pages. Either way, the information in this book really rocked me.

Here’s the thing: most people are not aware that the bananas we eat today have created hardship, death, suffering, extreme heath problems for the people involved with producing them, and civil rights faux pax at its worst. The indigenous people of the countries OUR bananas are grown in (Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, etc) have been exploited in the worst ways possible.

Why is this? Well it turns out that bananas are fickle beasts. They are shipped to America in specially made ships from all parts of the world, mainly South America, and then put in elaborate ripening rooms, then are delivered to our grocery stores so that they are in there no more than 7 days. They are there to un-green and  fully ripen and then be bought or thrown out because they are “too” brown, or in my opinion just a little speckled. It’s a short amount of time in our stores for a lot of work. Bananas of the world are also being attacked by all sorts of diseases and bacterium. There are two that are particularly catastrophic and that affects both the bananas we put in our smoothies and the people who live off them to survive throughout the world. These diseases could virtually wipe out the worlds’ supply of bananas at an alarming rate.

To combat one of these diseases, the banana companies spray the bananas with a very toxic chemical. The workers who do the spraying have extremely high risks of getting cancer among other horrible fate’s and most certainly completely sterile. Not to mention they are already poor and many times have been forced to either work the plantations or be shot to death.

You really should read this book to find out more about the back story on all that these people have endured just so we could have bananas here. It is disgusting and it really further shows how selfish and money-hungry we can be as a nation.

There is so much more to this story but it is looking like there are two options. Either America quits eating bananas so the workers in the plantations do not have to meet such a high quota to fill our needs and they can just grow them to support their own, or we have to start developing a genetically modified banana that will be resistant to these diseases.

Immediately the thought of genetically modified (GMO) bananas sickens me. After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ve learned how farmers are indebted and locked in to governmental mandates because of these GMO’s. But the author provides the notion that because of the banana’s intricacies, there is little-to-no issues with this idea as there are with the GMO’s we think of here in America. It still remains to be seen how GMO’s affect the people who eat them, but one of the main scientists behind the GMO banana believes that with his work, there is no risk.

So, either we give up bananas or we try “test-tube” bananas.

It’s a quandary and kind of upsetting to me.

I really do love bananas and as a selfish American who has been raised to believe we absolutely NEED bananas (especially with oatmeal), which was in all reality the workings of Chiquita and Dole marketing, I don’t want to give up bananas!

Apparently conditions of workers have improved over the years, but countries have been destroyed by the banana companies. Families were decimated, lives were ruined. All for fruit? Is a creamier smoothie really worth it?

Or should we try a GMO banana? The author tasted a few. He said they were good. Different, but good. We’ve already adapted to a change in banana type once in our country’s history, why couldn’t we do it again? We already have PLENTY of GMO’s in this country. The author cited that in 2000, 90% of the corn American’s ate was bioengineered. Wow. And that was 11 years ago. Why not go ahead and try a bioengineered banana that supposedly has minimal risks? There are countries, especially in Africa, where countries almost completely rely on bananas for their food. If their food supply is wiped out by these diseases, doesn’t it make sense to start growing these resistant bananas to help them from starving?

On the flip side, do you know that Europe has outlawed any GMO’s from being produced in their country? If any product that contains GMO’s makes it into their markets , they simply don’t buy them. In fact they run from them. And isn’t it true that Europeans are generally more healthier than we are as Americans? A study released last Friday from the medical journal Lancelet, showed that American’s are averaging the highest BMI worldwide whereas the BMI’s in countries like France, Italy, Finland and Switzerland have not changed at all. If they won’t touch them, should we?

This is all very upsetting to me. The other night, after I was done reading this book, I mooked around our apartment with a very grumpy demeanor.

Also at the beginning of the book, I kept thinking, if the banana is in such a dire situation, how come we have not seen the affects of this at the market? Low supply of bananas, higher prices, etc. Well towards the end of the book, I was going to pick up some bananas at the store and the price had gone up $.06/lb. and a lengthy sign was posted about how the store was apologizing for the poor quality of bananas as of recent and that the weather in the providing countries was making it hard to provide the bananas we all expect. Hmmmm….

Is it really weather? I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t. I haven’t heard much about worldwide weather lately, all I know is that it has been cold cold cold here. It is the diseases? Has the banana begun it’s disappearance from our produce section?

What do you guys think? Should we give up bananas as a country or should we try a GMO banana?

Have you noticed banana price changes/declining quality where you live recently? I’m really curious! Please share!

And read this book! (if you’re interested)

All I know is the bananas have gone up another 4 cents and I’m considering buying the whole table at the store to freeze and hoard.

Just in case 😉

Kaleigh

a few current obsessions…

16 Jan

obsess: to dominate or preoccupy the thoughts, feelings or desires of; beset, trouble or haunt persistently or abnormally.

My mind is going a mile a minute on all things things that I want to accomplish. I do have 17 goals for the New Year. I’ve got to get to work! Unfortunately I still feel that I have a lack of time and a wish list a mile long of things to do and things to learn.

But there have been a few specific things that are currently

dominating my desires,

preoccupying my thoughts,

besetting me persistently,

and haunting me abnormally.

 

Dominating my desires?

Flax meal and greens. Right now my body is CRAVING these two things. All day at work I dream of eating one or both of these. I just want to dip a spoon in our flax jar and eat it like nobody’s business. And just give me a pile of kale, and I’ll be perfectly satisfied.

Pasta with kale and garbanzos...:)

 

 

Preoccupying my thoughts?

Making our house smell wonderful. During the holidays I didn’t get to bake as much as I wanted to. With baking comes wonderful scents. I keep seeing “holiday” candles and oils that I would like to buy to create a warm atmosphere in our house. I’ve bought a few things but it turns out that home aromatherapy from the dollar store are not that great. So I took things in my own hands and decided to go completely natural and super easy!

Delicious and Powerful Home Aroma

Place one large sliced orange into a sauce pan. You could also use clementine or mandarin orange peels. Add 1.5 T of whole cloves.

Cover with about two inches of water.

Place on your stove and bring to a simmer over medium low heat.

Keep it on a low boil as long as you want to your house to smell amazing! Add water as needed.

 

Besetting me persistently?

The Unseen Bean coffee. Master roaster Gerry Leary gets his beans from all over the world and personally roasts the beans to order. I feel like this is the best coffee I have EVER had, and this makes complete sense. Gerry has been blind from birth so instead of relying on sight, he relies on smell and sound to determine the beans’ readiness. My favorite is their Ethiopian. I keep telling myself that I need to take a day off from coffee, just to give my body a caffeine break. I definitely notice it makes me parched through out the whole day unless I consciously gulp tons of water. This is because caffeine is a natural diuretic. This isn’t ideal with the way I have been working out, but with all that being said, I can’t resist.

The nectar of the gods!

Kyle keeps waking up earlier than me and every time he has been brewing. The warmth and soul-soothing feeling coffee has in the morning just can’t be beat. And it would be a crying shame to waste this magnificent coffee!

 

Haunting me abnormally?

The purge.

I have made a serious dent. I have revamped our refrigerator, dvd organization, under our bathroom sink, a couple of  cabinets in the kitchen, partially in my crafting area and half of our pantry. BUT I have a few areas yet still to tackle. I want it done! It’s so close and I can already feel a huge weight lifted off my back.  It will be amazing to have it completed. Until that time, I have been completely consumed with planning my next move, deciding what I need for optimal organization and what else I can rid ourselves of.

I’ve added a few before and after pictures here for two reasons.

1. To show off my organizations skills, of course.

2. To re-motivate myself on how far I’ve come. I’m losing a little bit of steam so I think if I share my progress, my fire will be lit again.

Fridge Before

After

I've used up 3/4 of the hoarded jars!

Ok.

Ready…

Set….

GO!!

Kaleigh

the duality of a new year

8 Jan

A New Year.

I don’t know if I am alone in this but I always have such mixed emotions when a new year arrives.

On one hand, I am so excited for a new start with new goals and exciting ideas to pursue. Every year it seems that I add another 3-4 more goals/resolutions to my list than I had last year. I love to pick out a new and hopefully inspirational datebook. A clean slate for a slew of whole new experiences and adventures. In my mind, I am ready for spring to come (which is crazy because here in Colorado, winter is just getting started). But I feel the need to do the “spring cleaning” and shed unnecessary things out of my life. This is quite evident in my on-going purging, which is going quite well by the way.  I’m ready for a re-birth, so to speak.

The other part of me keeps looking back. I don’t want to take down our Christmas tree or any of our seasonal decorations for that matter. I don’t want to say good-bye to my grandparents. I have a strong fighting urge in me that refuses to go back to the normal work routine. Deep within me, I’m shocked and a little sad that a whole other year of my life has flown by. Even though I buy a new date book, I keep the old one (shocking, I know). I love the feeling of the season and I hate to let it go. I used to have a book when I was young. The story was about a little girl that made a wish that Christmas would never end. She got her wish and it was fantastic at first. Every morning she woke up with great new toys and treats overflowing from under her tree and in her stocking. But soon, her tummy got upset from all the treats and eventually she couldn’t even see her family because there was so much stuff packed in her house. She was wrought with sadness and un-wished her wish.

So, change is inevitable. Otherwise you end up lonely and with a tummy ache (and chubby). This is just plain true. And if little children can accept this, then so can I.

So this weekend we are taking down the decorations. We are building a new bookshelf. I will be continuing the great purge. The last draft of my list of goals for 2011 has a total of 19 goals and my new datebook has a place set aside for both growth and remembrance. Growth being the key.

I am preparing for the new and I am ready for new things, I promise.

There are several goals I have already started working on.

The true test: can I throw away my 2010 datebook?

Kaleigh

Into the Wind

6 Jan

I love riding my bike.  I’m not entirely sure what it is about this simple act that gets my blood pumping but it does.  Maybe it is the fact that riding your bike is a solitary activity.  It is a great time to think about anything, and my thoughts have ranged from deep spiritual conversations with God to musings on why I love ketchup but hate tomatoes.  I have had a ton of great thoughts on the bike, but for some reason thinking while riding my bike is like a dream.  After I am done riding I can’t for the life of me remember any of the prophetic thoughts that I conjured up in my brain, just like trying to remember details of a dream you just woke up from.  It just can’t be done.  Sure I remember some things but the majority of thoughts get left out on the road.  Maybe that’s where they belong.  Maybe riding my bike is like an artistic outlet that lets my creativity flow.  Instead of painting pictures or making pots I ride my bike and think, creating ideas that are just for me.

I love riding my bike because of  the fact that you can’t talk your way into being a good cyclist.  It is the ultimate put up or shut up experience. When you are in a bike race you can talk the entire time about how good you feel and how much better prepared you are than everyone else.  You can have the Wilier Cento1 SL with $3000 Enve wheels (Both of which I wouldn’t mind owning), but ultimately its your legs not your bike or your mouth that are going to win you the race.  And the only way to get your legs into the shape they need to be in to succeed in any race is to work.  Pure and simple, you have to suffer on the bike to reap the benefits later.  You have no excuses either because it’s up to you.  The ball is in your court.  If you want to be a good cyclist you have to work for it.

I love riding my bike because there is always someone better than you.  This is true if you are a beginner cyclist swinging your leg over the top tube for the first time, all the way to the pro peloton.  Even the greatest cyclist ever Eddy Merckx, who won 333 races (Including 5 Tour’s, 5 Giro’s, 1 Vuelta, 3 World Championships, and 19 Monuments) in his career, lost.  There is always going to be someone better than you and that is humbling.

I love riding my bike because it is hard.  There are flat tires, headwinds, angry drivers, 17% grades, bonks, cramps, scary descents, crashes, rain, bees and traffic furniture to just name a few.  But the fact that it is hard is what makes it what it is.  One of my favorite parts of a ride is afterwards when I sit on my couch and think about what I just got through, what I just did and how it made me stronger, both mentally and physically.

I love riding my bike because it is slower than driving your car and faster than walking.  You can see so many amazing things when you are riding your bike.  It can take the form of an amazing sunrise, how clean and crisp everything looks after its rained, or a startled herd of deer on the next switch back.  Riding my bike allows me to enjoy this amazing world we live in.

I love riding my bike because it is beautiful.  Just look up anything that has to do with Rouler magazine or Elcyclista.  Look up photos done by VeloImages or The Blue and the Red.  True these are amazing photographers with a ton of skill taking pictures, but they are just capturing what makes riding your bike so great.  The beauty.

I leave you with an example of the beauty that riding your bike holds.  Below are a few pictures that I took after today’s ride.  It was windy, cold and wet but it was also amazing.  Even my meager photography skills can’t hold back the beauty of a training ride in Colorado.

 

What ‘Whole’ Nuts Have Taught Me

4 Jan

As I was pondering some new year goals, I also was thinking upon some lessons I have learned from food. Nuts, to be specific.

Lesson #1: Don’t judge a nut by its cover.

After I brought our most recent bag of mixed nuts home, I started examining them a little closer. The outside of the almonds looked a little shriveled. I immediately regretted my inattentiveness in purchasing them, figuring that they were old and rancid. In the recent business of the holidays, I forgot about the appearance of said almonds when I quickly packed them for a snack at work. In a moment of desperate hunger, all I had were the nuts I had brought. I took an extremely hesitant nibble, with every expectation of my gag reflex kicking in at any point. But much to my surprise, it tasted like, well a regular almond. On the contrary, I have also taken a huge bite out of a perfect looking Brazil nut only to spit it out as quick as a habitual tobacco chewer. Point of the “lesson” is that you should not judge anyone or anything based on their external appearances. Life will always surprise you.

Lesson #2: Be brave to try new things.

On a fellow Coloradan’s blog, I have been noticing that she puts whole nuts in her oatmeal and other breakfasts. Her pictures always look beautiful and in my opinion, the whole nuts are the most visually appealing part of the breakfast bowls. I thought to myself, “I can’t imagine eating a whole nut all in one bite,” especially if I am not really all that awake. I always put sliced, slivered or broken apart nuts in my foods. But guess what, after more hesitation on my part, I tried it, and I loved it. It was actually quite amazing. I suddenly remembered the creator of Naked granola comment on how all the “other” granola makers did not put whole nuts in their mix, but they wanted to be different and put the whole shebang in theirs. She said, “I work hard enough, give me a whole nut for goodness sakes.” Now I truly understand what she means.

There does seem to be a little bit of a secondary theme starting to take shape here; stop being hesitant to live.

Lesson #3: Be better in-tune with what I am putting into my temple (aka my body).

Without getting too scientific on ya, every human cell is composed of three main parts; the plasma membrane (the outer surface), the nucleus (where all the DNA lives), and the cytoplasm (everything in between the plasma membrane and the nucleus).

a cell.

 

The plasma membrane is what allows (or doesn’t) things that are floating around in our bodies to enter into our cells; VERY important. The membrane is made up of many things, but the main components are phospholipids with fatty acids ends. Our bodies use the fats and oils that we eat to build these plasma membranes. Therefore, we ARE what we eat. If I am putting in sub-par fats and oils into my body, then every cell in my body is going to be sub-par as well and that will only lead to worse issues. I don’t want to be fried chicken and hydrogenated oils. Gross. I want to be almonds, fish and flax; natural and healthy.

Lesson #4: On a less philosophical note, chew thoroughly. Several times at work, I have been working with a customer and could barely breathe because a small piece from my snack was lodged in my throat.

But actually, this does still have a philosophical twist: slow down and enjoy it. Savor my food. And life in general.

Appreciate every moment.

 

Kaleigh