My “Thanks” Giving

orinickI was more excited than I have been in the past about Thanksgiving. Not because I really care about the heritage because lets be honest, the white people probably would have froze to death if the Native Americans wouldn’t have saved them. It’s been far too long since I’ve actually heard the accurate version of the “first” Thanksgiving but that isn’t what this post is about. Moving on.

nicklogBut I was excited because I’d get to see my family. Moving an extra hour away recently and all three of us kids are officially adults living our own lives, it’s hard to stay as connected as we used to be. So, getting together on Thanksgiving was really special for me this year even if it was only a few hours.

These pictures aren’t necessarily the most attractive you’ll ever find but they definitely summarize the three of us and our sibling-hood to a “T.” I also noticed looking through my pictures that I need to take more of my parents. I was busy taking pictures of my brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma that I didn’t get a chance to snap one of my parents together. Christmas is in a few short weeks so I’ll have to make a point of doing that then. I hope you and yours had a very Happy Thanksgiving and I want to send out a special “Thanks” to my mom for making a delicious Thanksgiving dinner!

sibs

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Christmas In July.

10488215_10152518733063363_7056823897675192397_nI wanted to post some of my favorite pictures from the holiday weekend. Or, week I should say. The last Sunday in June through July 3rd, we stayed at a quaint little Catholic bible resort through the Diocese of Crookston. I’m assuming the Diocese has camps for kids that run throughout the summer based off of all the hand-written and carved names in the lodge. But for this 4-day getaway, it was reserved for our extended family only. No one else.

10442440_10152518723093363_715589565184503715_nUnfortunately the first two days were filled with chilly off and on rainy weather. It definitely got everyone’s spirits down because for most of us, it’s the only time that we’ll get a vacation in the calendar year. I’d like to say that we made the most of it, which we did, but we definitely got restless watching the white caps form on the little lake knowing that it was too rough for canoes and too cold to swim.
10446556_10152518802578363_3928342290805872018_nWednesday came as soon as it could. The weather let up and the real fun began! Fishing, swimming, driving a boat for the first time, finding out that I possess zero sense of balance in a canoe, laughing, scavenger hunts, s’mores…the list goes on.

Thursday we packed up and headed down the twisty road to Lake Itasca. We mosied our way through the biggest state park that I’ve ever been to. Checked out the beach, visited a pioneer cemetery and crossed the Mississippi Headwaters. It was really beautiful and peaceful.

10400844_10152518740063363_8975642485060600810_nFriday we traveled a bit further to Bemidji to see C’s sisters and nephew. The town had a carnival going on for the 4th of July. I can definitely tell that I’ve grown up and slightly outgrown the fair scene. I still like it. I love hearing the kids laughing and the rides spinning. I still laugh when the carny’s attempt to sweet talk you into playing a game. But man oh man, I don’t miss the crowd. I don’t miss the push and shove and the nasty looks if you’re in the way. When we were younger we must have been too excited to notice the amount of people crowded into such a small dirty area.

10418425_10152518751188363_6484200687791014883_nSeeing C’s nephew was an absolute delight. He’s 3 1/2 now and hilarious as can be. We watched the fireworks right on shore of Lake Bemidji. They were beautiful and he loved the heck out of them!

I won’t bore you with much more. I kind of just wanted to mention the highlights of our trip because memories so quickly become forgotten. I hope you had a happy 4th with friends and family.

Follow me on Vine to see a few 6-second videos from our trip @orianoelle!

I Love You More.

Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and emotions. It’s just how you choose to deal with them..

Through a hectic that shouldn’t have been hectic weekend, I’m finally home with my Tim Hortons hot chocolate. In the beginning of and actually most of the day I had such a negative point of view. I was being a Debbie Downer and let other people get to me when I should have really been enjoying time spent with the people I was with.

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Setting all that aside though, I was happily humbled by the once again realization that I am immensely blessed. I have the best family anyone could ever ask for. There are no words to describe how momentous of an impact my parents have made on my life. In a world of drug addicts, adultery, divorce, and hate; they managed to still bring up three awesome (if I do say so myself) kids. They filled our hearts up with love, our brains up with knowledge and our minds up to be open.

I was reminded today that although I’m not going to like everyone. I’m not going to accept everyones lifestyles and I’m not going to except everyones inconsiderate foolishness; that no matter what, I’ll always have a family. I’ll always be loved no matter what. And even though it just sounds silly, I’m not talking about the usual love. My parents don’t just love us kids because we are their offspring. We aren’t just three toads that they raised and threw off into the world. No matter where we are in our lives or how old we ever get – they will still care about us.

The sad thing is, I don’t think this is as common as I previously thought it was. I think there are a lot of people out there that hurry up and get the kids old enough to raise themselves and then they are set free without the support of what is right and what is wrong. Do they give up on parenthood? I don’t know, to each their own. What matters is that my parents never gave up.

We are now 24, 21, and 18. We all live completely different lives in different towns. We are all at different stages of our early adulthood. We pay our own bills (except the 18 year old who is still in school). We make our own decisions and we have our own viewpoints on every situation but the one thing we have in common is that our family, all 5 of us, matter to each other more than anything else in this entire..everything. More than the world can even handle.

So thank you mom and dad. Thank you for creating a good wholesome family structure. Thank you for showing us what love is. Thank you for staying home on Friday and Saturday nights. Thank you for picking me up drunk and grounding me for an entire summer. Thank you for teaching us lessons and for giving us the sex talk. Thank you for letting us make our own decisions. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for being the best parents in the entire history of parents being parents because believe it or not, people would kill to have what we have. I love you all.

I can’t figure out how to embed a video into a post so here’s the link for the Flipagram I made with my favorite people in it: Family!

The Easter Season.

In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock or you haven’t noticed that fish fry season has officially started, today marks the beginning of Lent. I’m not much on religious politics so I ignorantly have no idea if any other religions besides the Catholic Church participate in the observance. I would assume that most Christian foundations follow it in one way or another but that’s another topic that I’m not really interested in diving into right now.

Lent quote from Pope Francis 2014

When I was young, we were always asked what we were going to “give up” for Lent. Our answers would always be nearly the same. No pop or candy. If our parents were lucky, we’d say no TV but God himself only knows that wasn’t going to last. Not until I was in Junior High did someone ask me what I was going to “do” for Lent as in “do more of.” Until that 7th grade year of religious education, I, as a brand name obsessed tween, didn’t know that I had the choice! In my adolescent brain I’m sure I was thrilled knowing that as long as I could promise to be kinder to my brothers or take the garbage out without my mom asking that I’d be doing good for the Lenten season.

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve come to a split realization. To some, it’s almost like a do-over for the New Years resolutions that we flopped on by January 5th. We decide to do or give up something ridiculous and it lasts until the 2nd or 3rd fish fry. And on the other hand, I see that people actually do make a point of doing their best. In the world we live in, although it’d be ideal, it’s harder than ever to actually unplug or quit cold turkey on caffeine. It’s much “easier” for lack of a better term to do more. To be better. To contribute.

Ash-Wednesday-cross

The Easter season as I refer to it, is my favorite time of the year. Although I haven’t really been involved in the Catholic community since the day I was confirmed, it still is the foundation for many of the morals and memories that I hold dear to my heart. My favorite days out of the entire Catholic year were always Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.

I don’t know if it was ambiance of Ash Wednesday or what but I always felt a sense of calmness. Walking into church at 5:00 PM on that Wednesday every year made me feel free and sinless. It made me forget about the mean kids in school or the fights with my brothers. It made me forget missing my dad because of his job or watching my mom try to breathe through the pains in the asses that we were as kids. Ash Wednesday was peaceful. From the moment we walked in and sat in the pews to the sign of the cross on our foreheads, I was reminded that there is a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit. I miss that.

palm sunday crafts

And Palm Sunday, it’s the best isn’t it? I have only ever celebrated Palm Sunday in the basement of Sacred Heart in Roseau, MN except for the three years during my confirmation. The entire congregation would gather in the basement. Every single person there would receive their palms. I always wanted to be in the front so I could be hit with whatever it was in that water shaker. I always felt that whoever got wet were the ones that were the most blessed. After the moments of prayer and worship my mom would always show us how to braid our palms. We’d usually braid them into crosses or hearts. They’d be kept with us or sometimes on the calendar or near the mirror at home. To this day whenever I see a palm, I’m reminded of the happiness that the Easter season brings.

I don’t often think of the Lenten season to be one where Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and nights. I think it’s because although he sacrificed so many things for us; that we’ve always been reminded to be grateful and happy with our life. To not dwell on the hardships of the past and instead to celebrate a new future.

Reflecting back on what I’ve written and remembering some pretty special moments in my past; I know that when I have babies of my own that I will raise them with an education in religion. I’m not sure what or where it will come from. I’m not sure if we will be regular church go-ers or dive into all realms of the religions around the world but I do know one thing; I will share the kindness and importance that Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday hold in my heart.

Happy 40 Days, everyone.

A Mini Auto-Bio.

lgoI finally updated my “About Me” section. Included is the below text. I wanted to share a brief synopsis of my life. I don’t have a sob story and my life hasn’t been full of whimsical travels or anything; but I do have one, a life that is. I have a story. And through this blog; I plan on bringing my story to life. Bring my perspective and my thoughts to the surface. I plan to find me and this is the preface:

I’ve decided to start this new blog for the year twenty fourteen. I haven’t really made up my mind on the exact purpose but I just knew that I needed a fresh start and a fresh outlook. I needed to reassess my life and the way I was perceived based on the lack of life that I put out into the world. I’m on the track to find myself through writing and through living.

I was born and raised in a dinky area near the Canadian border known to most as Roseau, Minnesota. Anyone from that area knows that you’re really not from Roseau; everything around there is pretty much known as the ‘surrounding area.’ For awhile we lived in Salol but finally settled in the country near Wannaska, enjoyed our winter sledding in nearby Malung.  Spent summers in Hockeytown, USA (Warroad) and went to school in Roseau. We were rivals with the Warriors and the Gators but knew everyone from here, there, and in between. 

Looking back, I really miss the shit out of that place. I miss the people, the friends, the freedom. I miss the happiness and the school. The teachers and the sporting events. I miss my grandparents and the restaurants. I miss the memories. I miss it all.

When I was in 9th grade, we migrated to an even smaller town (more like village) called Viking, Minnesota. The same surrounding area thing occurred here. We were a mile from “town,” school was 15 miles (or 8 minutes if you know how to drive on country roads) over in Newfolden. Most everyone who needed or wanted a job would circle over to Thief River or Karlstad which funny enough are in opposite directions. We’d go to the fair in Warren and party by Old Mill.

Reminiscing about my high school days aren’t as enjoyable as my Roseau life. I had a fine time. I made friends, got into trouble, and acquired my fair share of memories but I didn’t love it. I was and always will be the outsider, the new kid. My summers weren’t filled with friendships and no one called me or wanted to hang out with me first. I was usually a last resort. Switching schools mid-high school isn’t really something to brag about unless you plan to be an all-star athlete. Life long friendships had already formed and your lucky to squeeze yourself into a long lasting circle of confidants.

It’s the past though and it’s a period of life that I firmly believe helped form me into the person I’ve become. 

Since high school and actually during, I attended college in Thief River. Due to the uneducated staff and quality of academic standards in Marshall County Central; I really had no clue what I wanted to be when I “grew up” so I just opted for my A.A.

I sometimes bitterly wonder where I’d be in life if we had stayed in Roseau. The school was better, I excelled in all my classes, I was in a great group of friends, all of that. I don’t like to think about it often because than I instantly feel guilt. We moved because my mom had been making a long commute to and from work daily for years and it had taken a toll.

I don’t resent my parents for moving, how could I? I love them. They did what was best for our family structure. It just really blows that I have constantly had the “what-if” jingling in my ears for years.

Setting that aside, I met the love of my life the summer after high school. We’ve gone through rough patches where the pain and distress in our relationship was worse than an amusement park ride derailing. Thankfully, we’ve been one of the few couples that have fought and fought hard. There were many and I mean many times where we had no one to believe in us. Our families, in their own right, “knew” it wouldn’t last and quite frankly probably wanted it to end. Through the years we’ve lost friends and I myself pushed a lot of people away because of love.

In short, we made it. We pushed through the hurricanes, the tornados, and the tsunamis. I really am not sure where my family currently is on forgiveness and acceptance but it’s a process. There were moments that I am not proud of and there are moments that Channing wishes he could take back but the past is the past. It stays there for a reason. 

What really matters is what is deep in our hearts. We make each other laugh, we see each other through the toughest and the best of times. We care for each others lives and the people in them. We are stronger because of our past and we look forward to another 5 years 9 times over.

I want to one day be a mom of two sweet, healthy, little babies, live in the country in a beautiful home with hundreds of acres of land. I want to have two dogs and a cat. I want my children to go to a good school and be raised with love, morals, and respect. I want to dream. I want to write. And I want to travel.

That being said; those are really the key points involving the people in my life. I live for my [family] parents, brothers, and Channing. They are my world. I have many dreams and goals both personally and professionally. You’ll get a peek if you just bare with me.