Day 3: If you ever have the chance, always choose the scenic route.

Back at it again in the Coconio National Forest. We ventured south and slightly west from Flagstaff to Sedona today and then on to Mesa. Remember a couple days ago when I said I need to enhance my personal dictionary? Yeah, I’m having those same feels again today. I’m a rural Minnesota girl. I grew up surrounded by trees and summers fishing off the dock in my grandma’s back yard. I know pretty when I see it. Granted, it’s not difficult to impress me in that capacity but consider me overwhelmed in all the best ways today.

There are two main ways to get yourself from Flagstaff, which is basically a retirement community, to Sedona. You can be a Meh Mary by taking I-17 and then some crossroad highway like some kind of non-adventurer OR you can take the scenic route along 89A which is approximately 50 miles or for us, nearly 3 hours. #notevenbeingdramatic #wowafterwow #icannotbelievethis #notgoinghome

You guys. Not to take a single descriptive sentence away from the Grand Canyon’s glory that I witnessed yesterday but I can’t even begin to explain the trek to Sedona this morning. After yesterday, the rest of our trip was very loosely planned. We wanted to see the GC and we wanted to relax a bit poolside, back in Mesa. We expected to take our time today and see what Sedona had to offer but had very little info about what was up from here to there and all that lies in between.

We began our descent on SR 89A through Oak Creek Canyon right after checking out of our hotel. I’ve never ever been on a descent like this. The road was thin, I suspect semi-trucks aren’t allowed to travel this route. The pine tree forests were the skyscrapers of our day and jagged rocks hugged the not-actually-there shoulder of the road on both sides. Thankfully, there were pull-offs all along the road so I could get out, gaze up and then down, until my neck ached. As the driver, I was both white-knuckling my steering wheel and looking as far up as I possibly could to take in what we were seeing and what was to come below us. Thank you Jesus for our angels today guiding us along that road. There were more hairpin turns than I could count twisting us in circles and the tree lines were so dramatic, I wish you could have seen them.

While briefly scanning the wold wide web this morning, I came across a blog post that said you have to go up and then down SR 89-A so that each person can get a chance to see the drive and remain in awe the entire time. Now that I’m writing this, I can’t seem to track that post down but if I come back across it, I’ll be sure to share. From the natural springs to the wildlife and rock formations; there isn’t a single second you could possibly lose interest along this route. It’s simply incredible from top to bottom.

There were a handful of trails along today’s route that we could have, should have, stopped at. A walk to explore would have been nice. We didn’t realize it until after we passed, but within Coconio National Forest, along this road, lies Slide Rock State Park. By the time we realized the sign and entrance, we were just passed it and were in the lead of what seemed like a million cars. I wish there had been a secondary entrance or a sign 1/4 mile back for us to know what was coming up.

Along one of the places we pulled off on, was Midgley Bridge. I stopped there just to take in the sites. The closer we got to Sedona, the more and more red rocks we saw. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this region of the United States is severely underrated. I’ve always thought of Arizona as a place that people head to when they are retired. That snow bird life and all. All of our grandparents have been hiding this sacred gem of a state from us. How dare they! Also, maybe AZ tourism needs to up their game. Holla at your girl and I’ll help you out!


We didn’t explore the city of Sedona much. We actually had planned to get pedicures but that fell through. I had wanted to visit the Holy Cross Church. This ended up just being a drive by for us. Everyone and their brother had the same idea I did. It would have been neat to find our way into the church built into the side of a rock but we’ll survive.

If the trip to Sedona wasn’t already a highlight to the day, our stop at the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park definitely was. Before the last couple of days, I’d never heard of a stupa. By definition, a stupa is: a monumental pile of earth or other material, in memory of Buddha or a Buddhist saint, and commemorating some event or marking a sacred spot. We parked in a small lot at the base of this area, there were only a couple of vehicles besides ours there. This peace park brought us up a twisty dirt path towards the stupa and a few other spiritual artifacts. Along the way were benches and prayer flags in trees lining the path.

This area has been marked holy by those native to Sedona and is thought to bring healing and transformation to those that visit. The stupa itself has a square sidewalk around the parameter. You’re encouraged to walk around it three times, silently and slowly, in meditation; focusing on your prayers or wishes for peace in the world and in your life. The stupa is filled with millions and millions of prayers and blessings.

I lost count the number of times I walked around this stupa. It was so peaceful. Rarely do I allow myself the gift of meditating and taking the opportunity to disconnect completely from technology and the bustling world. As we spent time here, more people came but everyone was respectful and quiet; taking in the presence of peace and prayer as they walked around. This park and the area around is known for being a spiritual vortex; full of transformative and healing energy. If you find yourself in Sedona, which I hope you do, I urge you to stop at this remote and beautiful spot. There are nearly 14 acres to this park and we only explored a fraction of it. I hope to come back and spend more time here someday.

And with that, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite (it was hard to narrow down) Buddhist quotes:

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. -Buddha


There is so much more I’d like to elaborate on in regards to Buddhism. I’ll try to make time for that in a later post. I named my cat Bodhi (age 2) which is a Buddhist term for the knowledge of wisdom or awakened intellect. I have many Buddha’s in my home and find myself drawn towards the wisdom and calm that they bring to me. Stay tuned.

3rd Day Of Christmas: Pinterest Miracle

‘Tis the 3rd day of Christmas! I thought I’d bring forth a little creative fun today. I was Pinteresting this morning and came across a super cute and adorable way to bring forth Christmas decor aside from the traditional garland and lights. Don’t get me wrong, I love garland and lights. Floor to ceiling in that jazz, I say.

I saw a few very easy yet creative Christmas posters that could be printed off and put into a festive frame. I love to steal other peoples genius ideas but I didn’t like the colors they had used and I kind of thought that they could look a lot more fun than the bland black and white single font ones I had come across. So of COURSE I created my own. And I love them!

………………Wish-page-001   Hug-page-001

I created these both to fit into an 8 x 10 frame that you can pick up anywhere you little heart desires. I picked up two just over the weekend. One at Target for $8.00 and another at Wal-Mart for $4. Can’t go wrong with that!

Unfortunately (for me), the frames I picked up were for a couple other gifts I am busy preparing so I don’t have the final result for you today. If you’d like to download the posters I made for yourself to add a cheerful and darling touch to your already beautifully decorated home, feel free. You can also see them on my personal Pinterest page by clicking here!

189,302,400 Seconds.

Today marks year number 6 with this gem. It’s crazy to think about the last 6 years and to see how much we’ve both evolved. The experiences we’ve shared, the moments we’ve cherished. The trials, heartache, and joy we’ve been through. Together. And most of all to see the love that is the glue that holds us together, it’s in one word, unexplainable. (If that even is a word)

10271592_10152528994618363_7666286607602049999_n

I love you s’much, C.

Did you know…
That we’ve been together for 6 years?
That’s 73 months.
Or 313 weeks.
It equals out to be 2,191 days.
Or 52,584 hours.
Did you know that’s 3,155,040 minutes?!
Or better yet, 189,302,400 seconds.

Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

I have found myself saying this version of the Serenity Prayer over and over throuhout the last few months. I’m not going to dive into another self-induced “poor me” post so don’t worry. I just want to pass this along to any of you (the few of you) that keep up to date with my blog.

I try to remind myself that each of us individually are fighting our own internal battles and the more I remind myself of that, the more I have to recite this prayer. The obstacles that are constantly put in my way but must be happening for a reason are never going to stop and until I find that reason all I can really do I suppose is to…ohm.

Serentiy:
se·ren·i·ty (səˈrenitē)
noun
    1. The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

God’s Not Dead.

loganI’ve been busy being busy. The good kind of busy though. Where time doesn’t drag and you enjoy the people you’re around. I had a great weekend. My teeny tiny taller than me baby brother went to prom. Which is kind of a big deal because he’s so…Logan. You’d have to know him to get it. But he definitely looked dashing. His girlfriend and him complimented each other very nicely.

My mom’s birthday falls tomorrow so, because we’re kind of a ways away, my brother Nick and I celebrated it with her yesterday. We went to Fargo to spend the day at the 8th annual Holistic Expo and grabbed some grub.

I’ve been to the expo before and really enjoyed it. There is everything from healing stones to palm readers to balancing the mind and finding peace. Two years ago I went to PaLiChi and felt such peace and harmony after my reading. I was going through a really tough time and her words and reassurance had stayed with me since I last saw her.

falithi

PaLiChi – 763-742-8690 www.falithihealing.com

She was at the expo again this year and I was more than thrilled. I won’t go into detail with my experience but I want to recommend her to anyone that ever needs help or healing in almost any sense. She is a Master Shaman, Psychic Medium, Spiritual and Energy Healer.

I’ve always known that spirit guides worked through people on the physical Earth. I’ve never doubted it. And to be able to have gone to her multiples times now and see what she can do even if just for a few moments really moves mountains.

I believe the Holistic Expo is in Fargo only once a year each spring but she is located in Brooklyn Center, MN. I have posted her website and contact information below her photo for anyone that is interested in experiencing her gift.

Following our trip to Fargo, my mom and I came back to Grand Forks and went to the movie “God’s Not Dead.” I had heard a little about it but hadn’t seen or sought out a preview. We were kind of tight on time and it was the first one closest to the time that we wanted to go, so we did and I’m glad we did. It amazing how so many little things in a day can link up and make you feel like a totally different person.

After my reading with PaLiChi, being with my brother and mom, and then seeing “God’s Not Dead;” I felt different. Whole. I felt open to positivity and accepting everything that is handed to me. I saw through another persons eyes that sometimes the answer God gives you is no and it’s not to be cruel or to cause pain. It’s to save you and help you. I felt at peace knowing that things from my past and moments in time that I wish I could change were meant to be. I have multiple purposes in this world and it brings me joy to know that even though I’m just one person in the 7.046 billion or even more people, I can still make a difference. I might not change the way of humanity, make national news, or even have something I do be noticed, but I can change peoples lives in the smallest ways. I can be kind rather than crude. I can help rather than ignore. I can pray instead of doubt and most of all, I can trust that everything happens for a reason.

I don’t believe in every single practice of Catholicism in which I was raised. I eat meat on Fridays all year round. I believe that anyone of any race, gender, or sexuality should have the freedom to love and marry. I think marijuana will do more good than closed minds think. It should be regulated and alcohol prohibited. I think war is pure stupidity. I firmly believe that people should be hired based on knowledge. Just because you have a degree behind your name does not qualify you to do something. If you’re an idiot, a degree will mean nothing. I have opinions and am more judgmental than I’d like myself to be. I have flaws and sometimes I’m a royal asshole. But I have a heart, I am a person, and I love. I know I have angels and auras all around me. I know there is a higher power.

starsYou don’t have to be Lutheran or Hindu. You don’t have to be an Atheist or Jewish. You just simply have to be. And if you can find peace and happiness in just being as best as you are capable of being than that is enough. Nothing needs to be proclaimed or preached. Help others, do good, and be present. That’s what matters.

Dark Side Of The Moon.

I can definitely tell a full moon is in the air. I think I read earlier that it’s tomorrow or over the course of this evening. Whichever, it’s effecting people more than usual. Yesterday, it was so difficult to shine forth a positive attitude when everywhere you turn, you run into a wall of emotional distress by a being of the Y-chromosome.

Today is no easier. Don’t choke on your chips or anything but  I actually got my ass out of bed and hit the gym today. I wanted to start off on a good note. Something clicked and I just did it. I felt groggy and gross and tired and stiff but I did it. Hold your applause because it’s only day one.

Other than that positivity, the rest of the day has been bizarre. I’m not as focused as I usually am. I’ve totally spaced on normal every day things and just about everything and everyone that I come in contact with today is either extra frustrating or I’m lacking a severe amount of patience.

Tidbit: If you know who this is and what relevance it plays into this post than we might just be best friends.

Tidbit: If you know who this is and what relevance it plays into this post than we might just be best friends.

I went home on my lunch break fully intending on making some Shakeology and just relaxing for two minutes but as soon as I got there, I turned around and went back to work because I was so frustrated (for no reason at all). Instead of starting an argument out of thin air, I avoided it by turning around and leaving. And of course, now I feel bad about that.

I wish this damn moon would just pass so everyone’s swing dancing emotions can go back to normal including mine.

Update: I just read my horoscope of the day and it ironically reads as follows: You might want to defer any interaction with certain people. You often suppress your anger and it easily could be triggered. Unexpected demands at work or from others could send you into a tizzy. Treat yourself as a fragile object today. Tonight: Not to be found.

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.