Posted in Spiritual Sundays

Spiritual Sunday: Back from Wintering

I think I did an odd sort of time travel in the days since I wrote my last post.  Last weekend, I held an event called Winter Melt, aptly named because it’s a celebration of mine and my husband’s marriage, which so happened to fall on the last day of winter.  The Winter Melt, then, falls on the days when the calendar on the northern hemisphere says the seasons switch from winter to spring.  But more on that wonderful event later.

After the Melt, hubby and I traveled to Banff, Alberta (which, if you’re Bachelor/ette addicts like I am, is famous for being featured in both Sean’s season and Jillian’s season), specifically for the fact that their winter usually lasts well into the end of March.  In fact, there is a sign in Banff that advertises that it’s winter until April.  Some of you may hate me for saying this (I’m looking at you, Chicago-area readers!), but I felt like I was robbed of a proper winter this year.  Snow was scarce in my area, and I’m such a winter girl that I was desperately craving below-freezing temperatures and the beauty in the stillness of a perfect winter wonderland.

So off we went to Banff, and perfect winter wonderland would be a gross understatement that would fail to capture the utter beauty of the town.  More on that later, too.  With pictures, no less!  🙂  Then when I returned home, the temperature had reached the 70s, which is balmy t-shirt weather to us locals.  The sun shined rather annoyingly in my eyes, signalling that spring had come at last.  I feel like we did spring last weekend, rewinded to winter, than fast forwarded to the thick of spring.  Weird.

And now I’m back to blogging, and I’m happy to be back here.  I’d like to wish a happy Easter to those who celebrate it.  Today brings about a benchmark for me, because it was on the Easter of 2012 that listlovelaugh launched into the blogosphere.  It was my first post, and I remember getting such a rush of adrenaline from doing it.

This year is very considerably different.  I didn’t do anything to celebrate Easter (in stark contrast to concentrating on developing my religious beliefs for Lent last year).  I didn’t give up anything for Lent.  Easter came and went quietly, carrying on my daily routine by grocery shopping and doing chores around the house.  (I was going to make deviled eggs, but since the party I was going to bring it to got cancelled, not even teensy part of Easter was carried out.  There’s always tomorrow, though.)  This blog post is so much less thought out than my first ever blog post last Easter.

I do, however, love the sense of rebirth that Easter brings, and I think that’ll carry through both in my blog (since I essentially took a two-week break) and my life.  Winter gave me just the jolt I needed to appreciate the gifts of nature to both soothe and awaken my spirit.  And this is where the somewhat-religious, but more spiritual, part comes in.  I may have brought it up before, but I keep remembering a conversation between me and a coworker after a particularly beautiful snowfall.  She’d come in from her lunch break, which she spent outside watching the flakes accumulate on the ground.  With a big smile, she wondered, “How could anyone look outside right now and honestly say they don’t believe in God?”  I remember thinking that over and over again in Banff as I experienced one breathtaking scene after another.  So I’ll leave you with that, dear readers.  I look forward to blogging more often in the upcoming days!  🙂

To Your Own Beautiful Rebirth!

Posted in Written Word Wednesdays

Written Word Wednesday: An Inspirational Retrospective

Hi everyone, and happy 2013!  I hope this new year proves to be productive, peaceful, and prosperous for you (oh, alliteration, how I love you!).  The holiday season was quite busy for me and so posts came few and far between, but one of my goals for this year was to maintain my blog on a more consistent basis, so here I am.

Another one of my goals (I’m hesitant to say “resolutions” yet) is to write at least 10 minutes a day.  I’ve really missed it, being a writer at heart.  So I hope this is one goal I actually meet, mostly for the sake of my mental health.  I always feel like something’s missing in my life when I don’t write for a long time.

In my 20 minutes of writing in my journal today (playing catch up because I didn’t do any writing yesterday), I came across a random poem I wrote last year.  It was very spur-of-the-moment and unedited, inspired by looking out the window and seeing the snow melt off the trees after what we called “Snowpocalypse 2012”.  I didn’t catch an after picture, but here are several befores:

DSCN4723 DSCN4791 DSCN4784 DSCN4777 DSCN4765 DSCN4762

Anyhow, seeing as it’s Written Word Wednesday, I’d like to share the poem that I hurriedly dashed off and didn’t even finish.  🙂  It inspired me to perhaps edit and finish it soon, and to write more in the upcoming year.  Mostly because I feel like I’m coming out of a hibernation of sorts myself:  a non-writing hibernation.  Enjoy!

(c) Copyright VC/GS

After the Freeze

The trees slowly yawn
back to life,
slinking slowly out
of their snowy hibernation,
reaching limbs out tentatively,
not yet quite ready to greet the sun.

The last of the icy cover slips off their toes,
and they spring out of bed,
the light too jarring.

(c) Copyright VC/GS

To Coming Out of Your Own Personal Hibernation in 2013,


Posted in Thoughts on...Thursdays

Thoughts on…Thursday: Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Crabby

A quick little segue (also related to the title) before jumping into what I really want to talk about:
The drive to my college campus from my hometown was five hours long.  I didn’t yet have my own car, so we packed my dad’s car and went on our way.  My father is a huge fan of John Denver, as evidenced by the lone CD (these were the good ol’ days before MP3 players and iPods…which I think are related, but I’m admittedly technologically illiterate) that he brought along.  Coincidentally, it was also the only thing he deemed worthy enough to play the entire way there.  So I listened to the whole greatest hits album on loop about 5 times.  I went on the journey from country roads to a jet plane to rocky mountains, and of course, the effect of sunshine on his emotional state of being.  Needless to say, I had more than enough of my fill of John Denver.  Now just the mere thought of that album makes me cringe.

The same can definitely be said about me and the stereotypical northern hemisphere summer (see how I linked the two there?  clever, huh?).  While what seems like the entire rest of the United States welcome longer days, warmer weather (barring extreme heat waves), brightness, and an excuse to spend more time outside; I am much more content huddled inside, shades drawn, fan pointed directly on me, counting the days until fall.  I hated the fact that the longer days didn’t let me sleep as long as I wanted to, waking me up much too early and glaring through my blinds, seeming to bore through my dark-colored blanket at night when I’m trying to fall asleep.  During my stint in retail, I had customers give the usual “Bet you hate that you have to be in here when it’s so nice outside, huh?” comment to me, and I’d reply enthusiastically, “Oh, no!  Not at all!  I actually hate the sun and I’m much happier in here.  But you go ahead and enjoy that sun for me, okay?”  They walked away shaking their heads, probably thinking I was lying through my teeth.

I purposefully was NOT a summer bride, picking the last day of winter as my wedding date.  When asked about honeymoon plans, people gave me weird looks when I told them that tropical venues like Hawaii, Florida, Mexico, or the Caribbean sounded dreadful.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated the sun.  Warm summers in Germany and Pennsylvania as well as visits to family in Hawaii and the Philippines all made me cranky.  As I got older, I realized that I was always markedly less agreeable and fun to live with during just that one particular season.  Around the time I was ten, I remember a good friend of mine telling me that her dad was always in a bad mood in the winter time.  I asked her how anyone could ever be in a bad mood in the winter, and she said it was some form of mental illness.  I shrugged my shoulders, thought nothing of it, and didn’t connect any dots until many years later.

At first, I jokingly thought I was a vampire.

(Okay, fine, here I’m actually Emily the Strange.  It was my costume for this last Halloween.  But I’ve got the [makeup-assisted] pale skin, so close enough, right?)

Then during my college years I started hearing about something called SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I started to understand why some people got so cranky during the colder months and happier during the warmer months.  Some of it was a Vitamin D deficiency, some of it was simply because there was more light in the day, other parts of it are unexplained.  Treatments involved more light exposure.

I started to feel a bit self-conscious that I was the complete opposite.  During the last couple years of college and well into my adulthood, I joked that I have reverse SAD.  I never actually looked it up; I just chalked it up to me being an odd one out.  When summer finally came, I tried to smile and be happy for my friends who enjoyed the sun so much, all the while becoming more anxious and moody myself.  Then when the clouds rolled in and the temperatures dropped, I rejoiced while everyone else cursed the end of summer.

After years of talking about my oddity, I finally decided to look it up.  Imagine my surprise when my “made up” affliction was actually a real thing!  True, it’s less-common and less-researched than the “classic” winter SAD, but enough other people must suffer from it if an article was written about it, right?  I felt better that I was not as much of a freak as I thought I was.

I have to admit that I haven’t been formally diagnosed with summer depression yet, but I’m pretty sure I suffer from it.

So why did I bother bringing this up?  1) I wanted to reach out to others out there who might also be suffering this summer, and let them know they’re not alone.  2)  If I come across crankier than normal in upcoming blogs, now you’ll know why.  Either that, or I’ve found out that a John Denver cover band is playing at my town’s Concerts in the Park series.  Same difference.  😉

To Making Light of Your Own Afflictions (after all, isn’t that the only way to make it through the hard times in life?),