A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…But I’d Like To Add A Few Extra Ones Just To Be Sure :)

It’s been a while. A long while. So instead of me explaining every little detail I’ll just tell the story of July mostly in picture format. Hope you enjoy!

Spent two weeks taking care of my brother’s babies as they were in desperate need of daycare. I learned that three kids 3 yrs. and younger is no easy task!
Happy Alice who turned 7 months old when I was there .
We went through quite the heat wave in Nebraska!
South Dakotan sunset on the long drive back home.
Got home and decided I needed a new hair cut and color!
How is Paige one year old already!? Beautiful weather beautiful day.
Guess who’s home already!? That month went by quick for me. It gave me a chance to spend a lot of quality time with quality people. 🙂
M had work to do in Crookston and I tagged along because our AC is broken at home. This picture is why I can’t wait to live in the country again one day.
Sunset in Smoky Hills State Forest. We decided to take a mini vacay this weekend.
I never get tired of sunsets.
In the state forests you can disperse camp which means you can find any place in the forest and set up camp there are no actual campsites. Since we were only staying one night we just decided to sleep in the back of the van. After driving around for about an hour we finally found this spot next to a huge sand hill. It was open but totally secluded. We were the only car we saw in the entire forest. Only problem was mosquitoes were horrendous!! You couldn’t step outside without instantly having hundreds cover you from head to toe.
So we may have underestimated how uncomfortable the van was going to be. I was finally fed up with tossing and turning and the back aches at 3:56 a.m. and just decided to call it a night. It gave me time to plan out the rest of our day today. I was able to doze off for about half an hour around 5 o’clock. But the great thing about it was getting to watch the complete sunrise.
We headed to our next location at 6:30 and after a stop for coffee and a pb&j sandwich from the cooler we found this random rainbow on our drive through lakes country (as Minnesotans call it).
Made it to Glendalough State Park just as it opened up to the public for the day. This place is beautiful!
Jackson is definitely enjoying lake life!
Because apparently doing over 100 dives in the past month just wasn’t enough for this guy!
And lastly a picture I thought I’d never post in a million years. Truth: one of the top three things I’m scared of in life behind tornadoes and snakes is making people (including myself) aware of my size (as if it was a secret I am hiding from them). I have never worn a bikini. Not once not ever at any point in my life not even as a little five year old playing in the backyard sprinkler. Recently I have been inspired by so many plus size women willing to wear a bikini. Impressed but definitely never daring enough to try it myself. I loved what it had stood for that there is no such thing as a “beach body” that every body no matter its size shape or color should feel comfortable enjoy the outdoors and water activities. Today was just an opportunity that presented itself and I decided to push myself way outside of my comfort zone (like space travel far) and do it. So the bottoms are a part of one of my two piece full coverage swimsuits and the top I randomly bought on a Target super clearance rack for $3.98 last year figuring that even if I never wore it the price was too good to not at least buy. Flash forward to today when I find that the regular top I had packed I had accidentally dropped in mud. And as fate would have it when we packed in such a last minute flurry last night what I thought was a bra was actually this bikini top. I told M there was no way I was wearing it but he encouraged me to just try it on. (Have I mentioned that he’s a keeper?) So I did and immediately pulled my swim cover down to try and hide even though at that point we were the only people on the beach. I asked M to take my picture so I could see how horrible I looked. And to my surprise I wasn’t quite as mortified as I thought I would be. Now for full disclosure you should know that I did use a brightener filter but I decided not to use the air brush or thinnify or sun tan Photoshop tools because then its not really me that you’d see anymore (but I really wanted to!). You should also know that I never actually swam or took the cover up off. There was about 20 kids and adults that came and went throughout the morning but I wasn’t brave enough to do it just yet. I wasn’t sure I could handle people staring at me (whether it was real or imagined) just yet. Maybe after I get used to having a bare tummy out with just myself and my husband then I could try again. After all that part of my body is never not covered unless I’m showering or changing. That’s 28 years it’s been in the dark so for today I am happy with this baby step and pushing my comfort zones.


Where Was God?

I’m typically the type of person who doesn’t go around broadcasting their faith. I feel like too many times religion is “stuffed down people’s throat” and usually it’s the throat of those not wanting to hear about it. It can come off sounding preachy or self-righteous. It can create an uncomfortable situation. Terrible things have been done and continue to be done in the name of some religion or another. It’s such an uncomfortable topic that I tend to stay away from it as much as possible. The times I’ve wanted to talk about it I just never knew how it was going to be received. And the last thing I’d want if I were to bring it up is to start an argument about religious semantics and who’s right and who’s wrong. For one thing my beliefs are fluid. I believe in “life” after death and I believe in good and in some kind of energy that moves us all. I use the term God but do I necessarily believe that God is a man like thing with a big beard and a halo? No. I use God as a general term for something I can’t quite describe or pin down but still very much feel. For another I don’t want to be judged or ridiculed. So you won’t see me posting much Godly things on Facebook or hear about it in general conversation with me. But hell this is my blog after all and besides perfect strangers who may come to wander across this blog it’s mostly comprised of a few close friends and family that I personally invited to share this with and even then I’m not sure how many people actually read it. So today I will decide to share a bit about my faith because it honestly makes up a large portion of who I am.

I was technically raised Catholic even though my family had stopped going to church (even holiday church) by the time I was in 5th grade. 10th grade is when you were to start preparing for your confirmation and I knew that Catholicism wasn’t right for me at least at that point in my life anyway. I felt that there was too much exclusion and judgment for me to pledge to confirm my faith to that religion. After that I went about my life not really thinking about religion or faith. The summer of 2011 after my parents’ divorce and M and I broke up I needed something to get me through that time. I had so many questions of why. I think it is through hardships and loss that some people finally connect with their faith and God and that’s how it was for me over the following 5 years.

Sometimes it’s easy to feel weighed down by life’s challenges. What has made me get out of those ruts is usually someone talking about their love and faith and how it helped them. Today, I was reminded how much I trust in the good when I watched a documentary on Netflix called, Where Was God?. It was about the tornado that ripped the town of Moore, OK apart in 2013 and the loss that families had suffered. And how despite their terrible losses they had overcome them through faith and God and love. And after watching it I just felt the deep need to finally say something. To say yes I believe (not always sure in what exactly that means or is) but I believe. I just wanted you to know that, it’s a big part of me and therefore deserved a mention on this blog I thought.