Hello August

Joining up with Lisa Leonard again this week for the Hello Monday blog prompt! I love this series and the bold inspiration behind beginning each week with crisp motivation and hope.

Hello Monday, hello August, hello rainy morning with Nina Simone crooning into my bones.

Hello pasta salad with fresh veggies. One of my favorite things to throw together in the summer! I've been making it a lot lately.

Hello date night at home last week when we finally watched Wild. I was a bit disappointed in the movie because I simply fell in love with the book so much. I felt like we were pausing it every ten minutes or so in order for me to explain to Rory what was happening. He didn't read the book and it seemed like they made the movie for those who had already read the book. Who knows! I still love Reese though!

Hello Disneyland daydreams. This photo is from our trip in February when we went for a little belated 5th birthday adventure for Sookie. My cousin is there right now and I've been texting her a few times a day with different food recommendations, drooling in jealousy. Ha! I could eat a Disneyland churro every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of them!

Hello sweetest kitten in the land. If you follow me on instagram you've seen Lucy around lots lately. She is so curious and quiet, yet reaching that playful stage that is so fun. She is definitely bringing some much needed sunshine and giggles around here. She has been such a fun surprise!

Hello to loving the new Alicia Keys single, 28 Thousand Days. There is nothing like fresh motivation from music! I'm still a little thrown off that new music release day is Friday.

Hello mountain adventures with family last week. Delicious onion rings, a gorgeous hike around the lake, and giggles erupting from Miss S as she chased my cousins dog around. Nature has this heavy way of letting you know everything is going to be okay, no matter what happens from here on out.

Hello super productive morning! In the few hours Sookie was preschool today, I went grocery shopping, wrote this blog post, indulged in a good workout, made pasta salad, did a load of laundry, and managed to get 4 doses of eyedrops in.

Boom. Monday, I'm coming for you!

The Fairy Forest Of Utah

Some of my favorite days ever are simple ones spent in the mountains of Utah with my little family by my side. Our family adventure days are precious because I look forward to losing myself in nature while my worries seemingly float away for the day, or for the afternoon at least. ;)

Last year was when I first heard about the fairy forest up in the Uintahs. There is nothing like it and something you need to experience to truly appreciate it! It will forever be included as a must do on our summer bucket list!

Do get there, use the directions found HERE.

1. Head to Kamas, and get on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway.

2. Look for mile marker 17. There is a little parking lot on the side of the road.

3. Look toward the forest, there will be a path on your right. Walk down that path.

4. You will come to the campground. Cut through the campground and continue on the path.

5. When you come to the dry creek bed, cross it. Be careful because some of the rocks may be loose and there may be a little bit of water as well.

6. After crossing the creek bed, walk up the hill. When you step over a log, take about 5-10 more steps, then head down to your right. You will see the Fairy Forest there.

On a random note: Sookie has decided rain boots are perfect for our mountain, fishing, exploring days. Bonus? They were perfect for walking across the river to the fairies. :)

I have to admit, I cry every time we go. The wonder in Sookie's eyes is priceless. The memorials make my heart catch in midair and inspire me to craft something for my sister. I think it is simply a special place to enjoy with people who are dear to you.

I love that there is no sign on the side of the road to alert you that you are there. That there is no official entrance. Once you cross the river, you simply find yourself in a place that evokes laughter and whimsy. What is better than that, really?

Be safe and have fun when you go! If you've been this year, what were your favorite parts?

Summer Reading

Ah, summer. All I want to do is play with our girl, write, sip Dirty Diet Cokes, and read!

I've said this before, but words are my drug. Books and music are my preferred methods of indulgence.  I don't know if there is anything better than losing yourself in a book. I am grateful for other people crafting their stories to further fuel me in my own. Inspiration is everywhere and I never know what type of book will motivate me next, or give me a fresh perspective on an old obstacle.

Here is a stack I'm working my way through on these long and hot days.

Kayla Aimee - Anchored
I've followed Kayla and Scarlette's story since the very beginning. I don't know her personally, but I am unbelievably proud that she was able to take such a tumultuous time in their lives and turn it into such an uplifting tale of finding hope even in the most hopeless of days.

Jessica Turner - The Fringe Hours
I've been wanting to read this since it was first released. As a woman, and a mother, I often feel tremendous stress in aiming for balance in all aspects of my life. I've heard such excellent things about this book and I can't wait to implement Jessica's tips!

John Green - Paper Towns
What can I say? Last summer I sat in a theater and cried with my best friend while watching Fault In Our Stars. I saw the Paper Towns preview and was instantly intrigued again. And again, made the mental note to read the book before I see the movie.

Alice Hoffman - The Red Garden
Alice is one of my favorite authors. While I'm waiting not so patiently for her next book, The Marriage Of Opposites, to come out, I'm re-reading her other creations. When I'm attempting to describe her style to people, most of the time I end up saying "She writes fairytales for adults."

Jodi Picoult - The Storyteller
Piccolo and Hoffman both rule my world. I'm always in awe of how Jodi can present a plot where you think you know what you want to happen, but it ends up a completely different way that what you ever envisioned. I admire the research she puts into her storylines and her characters come alive, they are so real.

What are you reading this summer? What is on your list?

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Bloom where you are planted. This is a new tote in the shop! The saying makes me think of many things. This summer before me looks very different than what I envisioned in my heart. I'm making peace with that. My whole life I have worked to maintain that bloom where you are mentality, making the most of the hand I've been dealt. As I watch others who are brave with their lives, grasping the good and hanging on tight, I am so inspired and refreshed.

I hope this summer is being gentle with your heart! 

Another Miracle Day

Three Saturdays ago marked 20 1/2 years since my kidney transplant. Twenty and a half years since my momma gave me life for a second time. I was still getting used to saying twenty years ago. A whole new chunk of time has passed! It is refreshing for me to pause for a few minutes and reflect how hard I've fought to get to now. Even if I don't dwell on all of the battles. Amid the whirlwind of motherhood and businesses and tee shirts and fundraising and living and being and dishes and laundry and cleaning and playing, to remember I cannot take another miracle day lightly. I don't want to brush off a day as ordinary and that is something I'm realizing I need to work on. Up against everything that has occurred in my life, I can sometimes get discouraged by the normal stuff. Which is beyond silly! My story has ups and downs like all of ours, and the ups definitely need to be embraced.

We are in a good, chaotic season of our lives right now. These are the days. Truly. I get giddy going to pick Sookie up from school because I miss her so much while she is there. She has the most incredible teacher. I adore the animals and art and plants and projects that have been a part of her world since August.

This week I'm taking a breath of recovery after chaos from last week, getting ready for more craziness when June hits. Our family laughs at how hustle and bustle our Junes have become. I love it though. So many chances to do good and make memories. How can I be stressed about that?