Saturday, April 9, 2016

what spring brings

the desert sun through a desert tree, sweet glimpse of valley life in Mesa, AZ.

My heart swells as I reflect upon my recent trip to Phoenix, AZ. There is nothing I needed more than to be back in my old hometown of Mesa surrounded by familiar faces. It was the perfect way to end the month of March and the long winter season. I could unfold my deepest emotions on how it feels to be among family and friends again. The laughter, the personality quirks and clashes, the familiar conversations, and on and on. Some days, I just cannot even process the way my heart has been split into pieces across Arizona and Colorado. It hurts too much. I never envisioned a life without the nearness of those closest to me. So, I let my heart hurt and remind myself to maintain receptive hands to where I am now. 

The highlights of my March visit to Arizona: 

flying on a plane // I haven't done this since 2010 and it was inspiring to experience that excitement of take-off and landing, not to mention the gorgeous views. I am glad I don't fly often because I wouldn't want that experience to get old or boring. 

Waffles at Waffle Love // I have an obsession with waffles. I just can't deny it. So, for over a year now, it has been on my bucket list to visit this neat little shop in Gilbert, AZ where they make gluten-free waffles with an incredible array of toppings. It did not disappoint. Hands down, the BEST waffle I have ever eaten in my life! It was so perfect that I ended up at Waffle Love twice in one week (thanks to a friend who decided a spontaneous drive there sounded like the best way to spend the evening, haha!).

The Musical Instrument Museum // This place has also been on my bucket list even before I moved away from Phoenix. It was more grand than I expected! Endless exhibits of authentic instruments from every region and continent around the world. The museum was so vast that my family and I didn't even view the entire thing after 3 hours. We were too tired and hungry - haha! But it was still worth every moment to see as much as we did! As a musician, I have a deep appreciation for the craft of instrument making. I am fascinated by the varied mediums used and the detailed skills that go into assembling objects of sound. I took hundreds of photos while I was there (so many gorgeous instruments that I was oogling over!), but I'll just summarize my visit there with these photos.

Friends I haven't seen since 2013 // No words to describe seeing a handful of faces that I haven't seen in person since November 2013. My heart was overjoyed and so deeply grateful for the few that came to visit me during my stay in Mesa. I cannot say how much just seeing them meant to me. I have had many people drift out of my life since I moved away. Long distance is so, so hard. It's also revealing. It tests and tries. I am honest with myself and others that this has brought on a chronic struggle with bitterness (from feeling forgotten and unimportant) for me. I am learning the strenuous work of loving truly but also holding people loosely with no expectations. It's difficult and it hurts and I think I hear some pieces of my heart shatter every time I am confronted with the reality that some people are just drifting out of my life for good. This journey is not one I would have chosen and, yet, I want to live as if I had chosen this for myself. I want that freedom in all my relationships. To say hello and farewell with tenderness and surety. Then, I'll more graciously love and invest in the few friendships that have remained. 

My darling friend picking Chamomile in her garden.

family and friends, all ladies of light in my life.

 And this one goes without saying - special one-on-one time with family and friends // Breakfast, lunch, and dinner with mom, dad, sister, brother, cousin, friends. Each moment was treasured and filed into my 2016 memory bank of happy moments that this year has brought to me. We all have difficult realities in our lives, as well as some sweet blessings. To laugh together and to spend a moment where we forget the burdens we still face every day makes for some valuable memories. I simply cannot wait for the next time we get to enter into such moments together.

And just to highlight some of my favorite things right now:

Gungor's latest album, One Wild Life: Spirit // The second of 3 full length albums was released last month and I snatched it up right away! I'm lovin' it! It's so much fun to hear Gungor growing musically and trying out new sounds. They've got some 1980s grooves going on there! Fun stuff! Because I wasn't as impressed by their 2013 album, I Am Mountain, I have been savoring their latest releases. I Am Mountain just didn't resonate with me as much, but the One Wild Life series is so deeply personal and exploratory. It is meeting me right where I am at in terms of identity, the love of God, and the essence of our humanity and the glory of His Spirit-Life. Anthem, Love Is All, Hurricane are my top three fav tracks to put on repeat at the moment.

Outlander Season 2 // Episode 1, Through a Glass, Darkly, has premiered this week and it is everything crazed, obsessed fans (like me!) have been waiting for. The contrast and struggles of Claire's two lives in the 1940s and 1740s was so authentically portrayed. This season has already captured the essence of Dragonfly in Amber. The heartbreak, the turmoil, the excitement, the risk! Although I know what's coming, watching the book come to life on screen makes for such an amazing and fresh experience!

 Rocky Mountain Oils // So, many know that I've been a loyal fan of Young Living oils since December 2011. I have refused to purchase any "lesser" oils (haha I'm such a snobby perfectionist, I know!) because Young Living really is a world leader in essential oils. However, let's be honest. They are pricey. For the amount of oils I use each year, I've known for awhile now that my budget is simply never going to work with YL's prices. Recently, I was extremely grateful to learn about a company that is transparent about their oils and works hard to give their customers nothing but high quality oils. They have lots of information regarding their process of testing oils on their website. After much research, reading, and consideration, I decided to make my first purchase and I have been pleased with my first week using RM's oils. I really appreciate that they carry a line of oil singles and blends that meets my needs. I don't need anything super fancy with rare oils from the jungles of wherever. haha! I know what I like and what I need and use on a day to day basis. Also, their free U.S. shipping makes me extremely happy. ^_^ I think I found a reputable essential oil company that doesn't need to boast or compete with fuss or show. Pure quality, simple and straight-forward, great customer service, and affordable prices. Yay!

 Artifact Uprising // As I predicted I would be, I am obsessed with the prints over at Artifact Uprising. Love the quality, the texture, the clean and minimalist style! I ordered some prints of our wedding photos and snapshots I've taken from some of our travels. I displayed them above our living room couch for us to savor every day, which makes our space feel more home-y. I think I'll be ordering many more prints from them in the future.




  Spring is slowly beginning to touch Durango. It feels nice to not have to bundle up like an oompa-loompa every time I step outside my door. I am happily anticipating the warmth and beauty of summer here and spending more time in nature. I am trying to choose uplifting thoughts about the upcoming summer season even with my ongoing health battles. As of now, I have committed to a month of dry needling and muscle care at a reputable physical therapy place here in town. Dry needling is a lesser-known form of therapy for severe muscle tension and chronic pain. After much research and informed second opinions, I sense that I might be finally on the right specific path that I've been needing to be on for a long while now. Chronic pain has been a crippling force in my every day life. After months of confusion and fear, I have finally felt brave enough to commit my time, finances, and energy towards something that will help restore my body. In between work, class, domestic chores, and adulting, I rarely have time to truly do something restorative for my whole self. I am praying this is a step in the right direction. Along with this, I hope to try out different ways to be creative each week (through my photography and musical endeavors). I am learning how to incorporate these things into my scheduled adult life because I know I need a balance between work and creativity and rest. This will probably take years to master, but I might as well get started on it. Here's to a rewarding spring and summer!