Back Again.

February 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

So I haven’t posted since May. Which, in terms of time, doesn’t seem like that much. But, as I know well, things can change, life can change in a very short amount of time. Mine has.

In May, I was in Gardiner, MT. I was working for a whitewater rafting company and I was having the summer that I’d dreamed of since hearing my family tell stories of their summers in Yellowstone. And it was even better than the images and expectations in my head. I met new people, did new things, learned about myself, relaxed, and fully lived. I hiked, and rafted, and rode horses. I cooked, and photographed, and cleaned. Mostly, I loved. I loved the place, the river, the mountains, the sky, the flowers. I loved the people I worked and lived with. And I fell in love again.

A month after my last post, I began dating someone. And in the next two months, we both fell more in love than we thought we could. We left Montana together, to take him to med school in Indiana, and then I would continue back to Texas to finish law school. As we drove through the vast expanse that is most of South Dakota, we decided we wanted to be married. About four months, 3 trips to visit each other, and innumerable hours on Skype, he dropped down on one knee and proposed.

I finished Practice Court. The Baylor Law program that earned Baylor the nickname as “the bootcamp of American law schools.” I read, and read, and read, and put on trials, and got yelled at and humiliated for the sake of my education. I ate little and slept less. But I made it. And after a 3 and a half year long law school career, my life has changed in more ways than I could count. If law school was supposed to be teaching and shaping me over those years, it worked in its way. But, what I’ve learned and who I’ve really become is almost entirely attributable to Life over those few years.

This time last year, I would’ve told you that I’d be looking for a job in Texas when I finished law school. I would have said that I worked hard to make connections who could help me. I would have said that even in the declining legal market, I knew I could go home and find a job. But, at that time, home was with my parents in Texas. Home is now with my fiancé in Indiana. So, this Texan girl is becoming a mid-westerner. I have no intention of leaving behind cowboy boots, real Mexican food, and “y’all,” but I’ll be a Hoosier nonetheless.

So yes. When we look at life as just the months, weeks, and days that have passed by, then my last post was not that long ago. But I look at life as more than that. I measure the tears shed, the laughter shared, and the hugs exchanged. Measuring that way, it has been an eternity since my last post.

I’ve missed sharing experiences here. There were a lot to share. Expect some catching up.

Paul and me.

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(Road) Trippin’

May 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Well, I made it to Montana for the summer. The Jetta and I made our first solo 25 hour road trip. We’re pretty close these days.

Texas to Montana. My own personal Lonesome Dove.

I took off from Texas early in the morning Monday. I tried using the GPS on my iPhone, but I kept thinking it was wrong and veering off the charted course for a more scenic route. I’m so glad I did. I was so excited about the beautiful drive I discovered through central Texas that I didn’t even stop for coffee until I’d been on the road for at least 2 and a half hours.

I read somewhere that listening to music you know well will actually make you sleepy while you drive, so I had bought The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the 2 books that follow it in the series for the drive. They had me on the edge of my (driver’s) seat. Loved them. I’m probably going to have to sit in my dorm and listen for no apparent reason just because I’m too enthralled to stop.

In Fort Collins, I stayed with a girl I met last summer. She’s a college youth minister and I love her. It was such a blessing to end a 15 hour day on the road with a conversation with her. She is one of the most loving joyful people I know. I always leave her inspired to grow in my faith, love, and joy.

We had coffee the next morning, and I took off again. I made sure I got to drive through the Tetons and Yellowstone just to check them out. I’ve never been here this time of year and it was unbelievable how much snow was on the ground. My head was on a swivel checking all out…with my head phones in my ears so I could listen to my books on my computer (my ipod got stolen last week. I had to make do). I was quite the sight.

The park has had about 170% of its normal snowfall. When it melts, the river will be at a 70 year high and we’ll have to close to commercial rafting for awhile. But it’ll really be something to see and experience.

The decision to drive through the park was a smart one. On the whole 25 hours on the road, I saw white tail, pronghorn antelope, buffalo, elk, bighorn sheep and a grizzly bear. My mom taught me well how to spot wildlife (its her favorite thing) and I didn’t want to let her down. She surely appreciated my constant messages about what I’d seen.

Last night, I got all set up in my dorm. I share my room with a couple of other girls who aren’t here yet. But four of the guys and a girl were there and helped me settle in. About our dorms: we don’t have septic, only a tank that needs pumping weekly. So, showers must be short or rare. The sink doesn’t have a drain, it just empties to a bucket that must be tossed when full. We have a fridge, stove and cabinets, but they have to be shared by the whole group so can’t be overstocked. It’s gonna be quite the summer for this obsessive cook!

No phone service or internet where I’m living and I could be more excited about it. It’ll be a media detox.

I learned some lessons on the road: Books on tape, great idea. Fill up when you hit a quarter tank and save yourself the fear of running out. Don’t be scared to take the scenic route (this applies to life too). Friends are saviors; I appreciated every message I got checking on where I was, how I was doing, and even better, how I was feeling (excitement, nervousness, tired, anxious). Salads aren’t easy to eat in the car. Stick to the sandwich.

The roadtrip back with my friends will have even more lessons.

Sorry I was traveling through my travel Tuesday post. I’ll be a little sporadic this summer. But expect to see some adventure tales! I’m off to pick up the company camera from its annual cleaning and tomorrow I’ll be on the river taking pics. Can’t wait!

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Changes Coming!

April 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hey…you there. Yeah, you.

Ok, well internet void. What’s up?

I just want to let you know that some changes are coming to this blog. I’ve been wanting to have some sort of schedule/semblance or organization on here for awhile so I’m working on some basic guidlines. Here are some thoughts.

1. Travel Section. This means I’ll have to go back in time, and update you on some trips I never told you about, but the goal is that Tuesdays will be travel days. Until I catch up. Then I’ll just have to travel more. Pity, huh?

2. Music Mondays. (Yeah…I just went from Travel Tuesdays to Music Mondays. Yes, I’m fully aware that Mondays come before Tuesdays. Get over it.) Just a song that I’m loving, or that is speaking to me at that time. My obsession with poetry makes me a lyric junky so I’ll probably highlight my favorite lyrics for you as well.

3. Foodie Fridays. Ok, I copied this one. Twitter forums are Foodie Fridays. So, my goal is to review at least one recipe a week and share it with you. With better pictures.

What do you think? Other thoughts or Ideas? I still plan on posting random life thoughts as they occur to me throughout the week, but I wanted to find some sort of cohesion to my blog. And if I feel like posting an extra recipe or something on a Wednesday, I’m sure you won’t complain too much.

And I want to do more book reviews. So stay tuned for that too. Yes, occasionally I read non-law books. **Gasp**

Also, my fitness has kinda fallen off a little here lately, so I really want to pic that back up. My quarter of all elective classes and finally making friends I really want to spend time with in Law School has resulted in me singing karaoke after softball on Wednesdays, the out on Thursdays…because its Thursday and I don’t have class on Fridays, just my externship with the Federal Judge, then Fridays because its friday (duh), then Saturday, then Sunday family dinners. Soooo, lets just say I’ve been sleepy. A lot. And not motivated to exercise except on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays before softball. Fail. I had really begun to love running when I did my half marathon, so I’m ready to get back there. So, I might give you a fitness update on weekends. Kind of a week in review. Maybe review a workout video, gym class or update you on something.

Warning: I have a final on Thursday. Yup…this Thursday. Civil Liberties. So I want to post. I will post. But I might be brief this week. Bear with me.

Warning #2: Once I’m in Montana for the summer, I fully intend to keep you all apprised on how my adventurous summer is going. And I might end up baking more so that I can sell to a local coffee shop for some extra dough (pun intended). So, recipes for the summer might be lots of baking. Or just a review of what kind of food I’m able to scrounge up in small town Montana.

What do you think? Other ideas? Let me know. Oh…and expect more photos. I like photos.

Nesting

March 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve been on a cooking/baking kick lately. Even more than is normal for me. I’ve started weekly “family dinner” for 3 of my great guy friends, which is nice just to give us a chance to hang out, force me to clean, give me a chance to try new recipes, and have a few glasses of wine with excellent company. Seriously, I’m so happy with my new friends here that I hardly leave. Don’t worry, I haven’t partaken in any kool-aid parties or joined a religious cult…yet. 😉

Also, i’ve been baking cupcakes and taking them to school so ravenous law students can quiet their hunger pangs. Maybe I’m buying friends…but I like to cook and they aren’t complaining. Maybe I’ll have enough winning recipes to sell some creations to a coffee shop for some extra dough this summer. Get it…dough?? Yeah, I’m cheesy.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few creations with you. I’ve been following a lot of cooking blogs lately and all of my ideas have come from there. I really recommend checking out cooking blogs; they’re like free cookbooks with lots of pictures. And you can find like a recipe for anything.

First; peanut butter cupcakes with peanut butter icing and chocolate ganache. (where i learned my first cardinal rule of cupcaking: let the cupcakes cool before icing)



Second: red velvet with buttercream


Next: Graham with key lime cream cheese (note, my iPhone photgraphing of my cooking has gotten better. The good pics will get their own post)


Vanilla almond with maple cream cheese icing


Finally: apple cupcakes with caramel


Yum!! Stay posted for more pics and recipes!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Stark Comparisons

March 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

My recent travels have sent me to two of the most extremely different places one could imagine: New York City and then Nosara, Costa Rica just a week later. Comparing the two helps lead me to what I need, where I am happiest.

New York:

View from Central Park


Hustle and bustle. People rushing. People everywhere. Destinations in mind. Everything you’d imagine it to be.
Just choosing lunch resulted in a debate between a couple of delis next door to each other, more across the street. Its just a deli! But we couldn’t decide what we wanted. Dinner was the same way. We picked a district, then walked around thinking as though serendipity would help stumble across the best restaurant. It was far too easy to be overwhelmed with choices such that making a decision was difficult. I would never be able to live there; I’d never be able to “know” the city. I’d never be able to tell you my favorite restaurant because I’d feel the need to eat at a different one every night. Part of me loved the sense of adventure for the few days that I was there, but my heart didn’t feel at home, it wasn’t at peace. There’s a feeling of home that comes from being in a place you love or just around people you love; you know that peaceful feeling that washes over you from inside your soul, relaxing you, eventually oozing out of you in the form of a gentle smile. Sometimes you get it from a smell that takes you back to another place. I often get it from “mountain” weather. But, despite the fun, excitement, adventure and enthusiasm I have for visiting again (clearly there is a lot more to see), “home” will never be a word a use to describe NYC.

Costa Rica:

Playa Garza

Embodies peace for me. Well, Nosara does anyway. The land is beautiful. Unencumbered by too much construction. Everything is simple. Mostly open air restaurants and bars. Even the yoga studio was open air overlooking the rainforest. The idea is simplicity. Choices are limited. You could eat out every day for a week and you’d cover every restaurant in town (and even then, you’d have pizza at least twice, and traditional Costa Rican, or typico tico, food a couple of times). Personally, I could live on the fruit alone…and maybe some agua pipa (coconut water). You can get to most places on a bike, by foot, or even four-wheeler. There is no “rat race.” I suppose you could opt to be the figurative Jones’ if you wanted to; set the standard for the town to aspire to. But, why? Converse to our typical American outlook, where you’d have to fight to be “out of” the rat race, there, you’d have to fight to be “in” the rat race. Life is more about what actually matters. Everyone goes to the beach for sunset, beer in hand, and watches (or surfs if you’re good enough), while the kids play. Who needs a cell phone when you know you’ll see everyone at the beach for sunset? This atmosphere could be “home” for me. My soul is peaceful. My mind has room to think about imporant things, mediate on life, rather than becoming clustered with the useless decisions of where to shop, where to eat, etc. Without the pestering unnecessary decisions, I can decide if I want to surf or fish, hike or kayak with my spare time (tough life, huh?). I realize that if I lived there, I’d work hard so I’d lose the vacation mentality, but my soul is peaceful. The sense of contentment radiates out of my pores and all I can do to express it is close my eyes, and gently smile.

Maybe that’s what we need. Maybe we need to experience drastically different lifestyles and places before we pick where we’re happiest. Rather than just riding the coattails of the decisions our parents made, setting out our “home” for us, we should question, fearlessly explore, finding where our souls are at peace; finding a place that we can be home.

2010 in reviewd

January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Just in case anyone is interested in the blog stats for the year, here they are. I know its been awhile since I’ve written, but I’ll get on it soon!

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterâ„¢ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 32 new posts, not bad for the first year! There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 3mb.

The busiest day of the year was October 7th with 171 views. The most popular post that day was “And I know I needed changes; But not this, This is not painless”.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, touch.facebook.com, eatdrinkbemarymargaret.blogspot.com, android-vs-ipad.co.cc, and who-will-win-fifa-worldcup-2010.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for heartofjoy.wordpress.com, my sister my soulmate, my sister, my sister is my soulmate, and sister is my soulmate.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

“And I know I needed changes; But not this, This is not painless” September 2010
4 comments

2

My Sister, My Soulmate August 2010
2 comments

3

Poems February 2010

4

Happy Anniversary March 2010
2 comments

5

Hello world! February 2010
1 comment

Hello world!

February 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

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