How to Miss a Flight, be a Selfish Prick, and Find God at the Airport.

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“Life is diving in heart first.”

Those are the words I read on my pumpkin chai latte, as I screeched into the rickety chair at a little Mexican joint inside the Denver International Airport.

Out of breath and exhausted from two thousand stairs and three hundred  escalators, I plopped my two little bags down and breathed.

Deep, heavy breaths.

Breaths that I had been holding in for days, and had not allowed to escape my body, all the way to the airport.

I had had just enough time. And then my beautiful 5 year-old daughter decided to cut her hair right before I left. Not a big deal, except that she had butchered it. Chopped it all off. Six inches of perfectly gorgeous blonde hair.

She came, sad face, and holding the chunks in her hands.

I stood there for a minute and looked at her distress, and then in a fake calm voice, I told her “its OK, hunny, we can fix it. And you still look beautiful.”

I had to go. My flight was leaving in two n a half hours, and I had just enough time.

I gave her one more quick hug, and then passed her off to my husband who was just waking up, still drowsy from eye surgery the day before. Baby boy was back in bed, after trailing me around since 5:30. And I was still relatively calm, when I pulled out of the driveway and headed South to DIA.

Traffic was beautiful, and I got to the airport 80 minutes before my flight to Nashville was scheduled to leave. “Perfect,” I thought, as I whizzed into Terminal East to find a parking spot.

I drove up and down and back and forth the rows, but there was no space. I looked everywhere and even considered parking up on the grassy hillside. NONE. 15 hours, I mean minutes went by and still I had no place to park. It seemed odd. I had been to this terminal a hundred times before and I could ALWAYS find a spot.

Not this time!

Finally I decided to try another lot. I looked at the parking garage to my left and rapidly drove my car in its direction. There was a gate that seemed like it should go there. So I pulled up to grab a ticket, but there was no ticket. Only buttons and numbers. Who knew I needed a code??!!  I tried to back out, but there was someone behind me.

At long last, I got outta there and circled around to try and find the RIGHT entrance for the garage. Instead I ended up by departures, and saw the sign for Terminal West. I thought perhaps I could park there. It would just be a REALLY LONG walk, but hey.

Time was running out.

I weasled my way West, weaving through traffic, dodging in and out of construction like a competent woman, and made it to Terminal West, right before reading the sign that said it was CLOSED.

So I circled again.

And again.

And again.

Until finally, I found a place to park in the back of the back forty, so I threw the keys in my purse, and ran like mad, toward the terminal.

Suitcase wobbling. Heart pounding.

Perhaps I could still make it.

I burst through the doors like I’m the only passenger needing to be somewhere, but nope. There is a line, exactly one mile long, filled with other anxious passengers, and so I begin to heave and flail, hoping that SOMEONE will notice that I really do need to be  somewhere.

Because I do.

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And don’t they know I need to be there by the next morning to help at a Single Moms Event? Um, ALSO, for the three whole days of singing and songwriting I was going to do with my Sis, when I’m there???

No. They don’t care.

Eventually I give in and take my place at the end of the mile-long line, and glance at the clock on my phone.

It’s now 9:35.

I have exactly 25 minutes left, when I get to the ticketing counter. The lady checks me in, scribbles a few numbers on my ticket, and I run, this time like Forest Gump, toward security.

Up the ramp, down the stairs, through the caution tape and the broke down escalator, cutting off Moms with babies and elderly people as I go, til at last I come, puffing and sighing, to the guy staring at me from behind thick brown glasses and a pile of boarding passes. He shouts orders, and demands mine.

I reach into my purse and that’s when I realize I don’t have it.

I don’t have my boarding pass!

I mutter under my breath and stomp off, back to check-in. But I’m out of time!

It only took a few minutes to get through security, but I didn’t make it. I got to my gate just as the plane was pulling out onto the runway. And needless to say, I was mad! Mad that after ALL THAT, I had missed my flight. Mad that there was NO parking. And mad that NO ONE had cared about it.

I took my two little bags and found a quiet corner where I promptly called and cussed and cried to my husband.

He reminded me that there is a reason for everything.

I wasn’t hearing it.

I didn’t wanna hear what my heart already knew, because my head was messing with me!

“This matters and you just missed it.” 

 “There goes your opportunity!”

(As if I’d never get another flight, or another chance to do what I was going to do!)

It continued…

“You suck, you can’t even make your flight, even when you get there in plenty of time.”

Its amazing how quickly you can go there, when you’re listening to your brain, and NOT your heart.

It wasn’t until several hours later, after I had woofed down my veggie tacos at the Mexican joint, and I was standing at another gate waiting for the next flight, which subsequently was fully booked, that I finally had an epiphany.

I had barely breathed the words, “Lord, please let someone miss their fligh-” when it dawned on me.

That could have been someone else’s words, earlier, when I missed mine!

Me missing my flight could have been the answer to someone else’s prayer! Someone may have had something just as important or even more than my being at a Single Moms event, or having three WHOLE days with my Sister.

I finally realized that it wasn’t about me. (I know. GRAND, right?!)

That whatever the reasons were that I had circled the perimeter of the airport that morning, it probably wasn’t about me or where I was going. (light bulb moment, helllooo)

You see, there’s room for all of us, on this ride. There is time for ALL OF US, in this life. There’s room for you to get where you need to go and there’s room for me.

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I made it to Nashville, four hours later, with nothing lost, except perhaps a little pride, a little ego. But I had gained perspective. I had gone a little deeper into my heart, and my human connection with the world.

I had found God in a way that I would not have, had it not happened or had I stayed mad about it.

And for that, I’m glad it happened.

Will I leave a little earlier next time? Um, yes! And will I try just as hard to make it? Heck, yeah. Chances are I will run and drive in circles at the airport, again. I might even forget to grab my boarding pass, again.

But I will look back on this day and remember its lessons. I hope I breathe, and listen to my heart a little sooner. Because everything does happen for a reason.

Sometimes the reason just isn’t about me.

Florida Sunshine, Saltwater, and Smoothees. + A Recipe for Sunscreen.

Once upon a time we went to Florida.

We had a ton of fun, in the sun, til our work was done.

Do you see what a poet I am??

I mean, really.

I should probably be in the guinness book of world poets. Or whatever that book is that holds the world’s prolific poems…

Yeah, THAT one.

Anyway, we had fun.

Oh, did I say that already?

Ok…

Let me say it this way: Florida, family, feet in the sand. Fresh juice and farmer’s markets. Eighty-degrees. WARMTH. Vacation.

Or this:

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THE BEACH!!

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Need I say any more??

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This time around, I found out that my daughter loves the ocean as much as I do. She’s seen it before, but apparently she was too little to really get in and enjoy it. This time though, she was ecstatic about it. We had the time of our lives, jumping in and out of the waves!

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And these two! I couldn’t get enougha them. They were quite the father and son. The older Baby Boy gets, the more the relationship takes on dimension, and I love to see their bond develop.

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The other thing I couldn’t get enough of was the fresh juice we got every morning from Nirvana Juice Bar. It’s located in Siesta Key, about a block from the beach, and while it might be a hole in the wall, (a tiny one, at that!) it served up some pretty freakin’ rad juices and smoothies.

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Rosie, the owner, and one of the kindest souls around, always greeted us with a smile and treated us like royalty. We would drag our sun-drenched bodies onto her secluded balcony and she would make us every kind of custom drink imaginable.

As much as I don’t want to say it, sometimes we can be not the easiest crowd to please. (We’ve got a picky one!) But Rosie always went the extra mile to make us exactly what we wanted. Check out her facebook page here, and if ever in the Sarasota/Siesta Key area, go to Nirvana. You won’t regret it!

One of the things I love about Florida, or anywhere semi-tropical, is the color that abounds. From the lush green of the foliage to the bright pink of the orchids, there’s just no end to the color.

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Check out the color we found at the local Farmer’s Market in Siesta. UH-MAZING. I wanted to buy all that citrus and bring it home with me. I knew it wasn’t feasible, but I seriously considered how I could stuff some oranges into my suitcase, and they survive the flight back.

Cuz, Lord knows, there is still NOTHING like fresh Florida oranges.

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Ah, there’s my boyz again!

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I cannot even handle the cuteness of this one. Do you see the dimples in his little baby hands? And that buttery fair skin? Sometimes I have to bite my lips to keep from munching him altogether.

Speaking of skin…I was a little concerned about it being exposed to THAT MUCH SUN all at once, so I did some research and decided to make my own sunscreen. We don’t generally use sunscreen around here, (here’s why!) but knowing we would be a lot closer to the equator, (hallelujah!) and that wonderful HOT sun, I knew we would need something, to keep from scorching our tender Winter skin.

I also knew that I didn’t want to put the chemicals of regular sunscreen on my babies. So, I turned to my trusty essential oils.

Turns out that helichrysum is quite effective at blocking the sun’s UVB rays. Who knew?? And of course, coconut oil is also good for protecting the skin. So, why not mix the two, right?

After reading several articles and checking with my “Modern Essentials” book about safety and dilution, I came up with the following formula:

15 drops helichrysum essential oil (doTerra!), mixed with

3 TBL fractionated coconut oil.

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And I’m thrilled to say that it worked! Like a charm.

I just mixed it all up in a glass spray bottle and took it along with us to the equator! Ok, not quite.

But I couldn’t get over how effective this was! I put it to the test that first day, when I sprayed it on the Beanstalk right before she got in the water and into that hot afternoon sun. She was the one I had been most concerned about, since she has such fair skin, and I knew we could not keep her covered like we could, the baby.

But, even after two hours of saltwater and blazing sun, she did not burn! Not the whole time we were there. And not once, after that!

Oh, what a happy little discovery!

I will def be taking this along whenever we need sunscreen.

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All in all, it was a fabulous family vacay.

We may have gone for a wedding but we ended up with lots of fun and lasting memories. Plus, we came home with a little color on our skin, to boot.

Now, if we could just bottle up that warmth…

Uuugh.

We’re back in Colorado and it’s currently COLD.

 

Jake and Venecia: Magical Beginnings and A Southern Wedding.

I don’t usually blog about weddings.

I’m usually too busy eating wedding food, or chatting with friends, to take pictures. And somehow even if I do take pictures, I never feel like I can do justice to that sort of thing, to that larger-than-life event, in a blog post.

But this one was just too beautiful, not to try. This one was too magical, not to attempt to bring you at least a little of its glory.

Plus, we flew our family of four across the country to be there. Plus, I actually brought my REAL camera. Kind of a big deal.

PLUS, it was my cousin’s wedding.

Well, technically she’s not my “cousin.” She’s like my cousin n a half. But whatever. That’s way too complicated. For the sake of not confusing anyone and for all intended purposes of this blog, she’s my cousin! End of topic.

The day was bright and beautiful, a perfect seventy-three degrees.

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We got there early on a Friday evening, and walked the winding candlelit path to a sunny opening under the oaks, where Jake and Venecia said their vows and committed their lives to each other.

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We were greeted by dainty yellow flowers bursting from wire bicycles, and a rustic tulle-covered wagon overflowing with gifts.

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We signed our names on smooth river rocks, and then took our places around the pond to witness the grand occasion.

For some reason, I didn’t get a good picture of the ceremony. Probably because I had a seven month old baby bouncing back and forth from my lap to his daddy’s, the entire time. Just guessing.

But have no doubt, it was every bit as charming and beautiful as the reception and the pictures that follow.

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The sun shone heavily through the trees as we walked over the small wooden bridge from the ceremony to the reception, casting the most romantic streams of light across the grassy meadow, dotted with large round paper lanterns and flowy white tables.

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It glistened on the tops of perfectly swirled cupcakes.

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And illuminated the multi-colored balls of candy, sitting ever so pretty in decorative glass vases.

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It was so bright and pretty, in fact, that our child had no problem finding it. AT ALL.

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She sat at our table and clutched her bag of candy like it was a ticket to disneyland.

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It could well have been. She was so enamored with the bride and the beauty and the magic of it all.

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Meanwhile, I mingled with old friends…

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took lots of pictures,

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and kept the baby happy way past his bedtime. (No small feat there!)

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Eventually the sun set on the smiles of these two…

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and they danced their way into the night and into their future together.

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By the end, we had caught up with many of my long-lost family members, ate too much candy, drank our fair share of “sweet” tea and then sent the happy couple away…

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amidst the smiles and laughter…

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and wishes for a happily ever after.

Blessings to you, Jake and Venecia! Wishing you a rich and meaningful journey, and a life as beautiful as your wedding day!

 

 

On Resting and Riding Horses.

I am writing to let you know that I will not be posting in my weekly health series this week. And that I will be riding horses and continuing to recover from my brother-in-law’s wild wedding, instead. I will also henceforth, be resting my tailbone from the nineteen hours of travel it took to get to the wedding and the nineteen hours I will endure to get back home.

“Resting” as in riding horses. Yeah! Don’t know how much actual rest my tailbone will get from this activity, but at least I won’t be riding in a car through the boring lands of Kansas while I’m crunched into a semi-permanent L-shape.

Basically I’m writing to say that today I’ll be riding a horse, instead of writing a blog.

Forgive me! I ask that you wait patiently for another week to learn about a healthy diet while I re-learn how to do two of my favorite things: Rest and ride. They are both kind of important at the moment.

I’ve had this urgent desire to get back on a horse for awhile now, but especially since I’m pregnant. Go figure! And now that I am over six months along, now the opportunity presents itself. Who cares that my growing belly throws me a little off balance already? And who cares that my muscles are already sore from the very small pony I wrangled last night?? I am not going to miss it!

It’s been way too long. So long, in fact, that when I ride a tiny pony for only two minutes, I can’t walk the next day. Which is what happened yesterday. Which is why I can’t walk today.

But you know what they say…”When you get bucked off, you gotta get right back on!”

Wait, Ruthie. You didn’t get bucked off!

Getting bucked off of a horse and just feeling like you did, are two different things.

Either way, I’m getting back on today. Because I need to ride a real horse. Because it’s important. And I’m not gonna let a growing belly or an already sore pelvis take this one from me!

In the meantime, here’s some pictures of our trip. Till next week!

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I was so busy “helping” a certain two people get married, that I failed to get any pictures of the actual event. I did, however, manage to capture these pretty little daisies in colorful vases…

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And the “miniature bride,” catching rain drops on her tongue.

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The princess holding a baby bunny…

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And riding the horse I’m going to ride.

Can you feel the happiness here? Do you sense the love? I think it’s kind of mutual.:)

Vegas: The Other America. The Other Girl.

It’s been eleven years since I last left my mark on Las Vegas.

And actually, I’m pretty sure I left more of a mark on a snow-covered embankment beside East I-70, on my way home, than I ever did in Sin City.  But that’s for another time!

I had followed the rodeo, all the way to the Nationals Finals which landed me at the Tropicana, with a couple of displaced bull-riders and random friends from my hometown in Colorado. It was everything that Vegas is, plus cowboys. Flashing lights. Blinking money. Live shows. Limo rides. Cheap rooms. Free Buffets. Free Passes. Bulls. Dust. and Blood. And LOTS of cowboys! Probaby don’t need to tell you that my twenty three-year-old single self was in heaven.

Yesterday, I took an evening flight from the same hometown in Colorado, and landed in that same glitzy town I came to visit, eleven years ago.

Only this time, I came for a blogging convention. (I know, it sounds so grown up! What the heck?) Today I went to a full day of sessions, that have to do with growing my business. The business of blogging. For the most part, I felt like a displaced cowgirl looking for the rodeo. I kept pinching this thirty-four year old, wanna-be-professional-blogger self, and wondering what happened to that other girl.

How some things change!

I am definitely not the same girl I was when I last came here.

But I like the person that I am. And I still like this town! Even in all of its weirdness.

It is after all, the closest place to me, that grows palm trees! I can experience a bit of the tropics, while smack dab in the middle of the desert. And it boasts one of the most culturally diverse places, packed into a ten-mile radius, that there is: THE STRIP.

Within forty-five minutes of arriving at my hotel, and plunking down some change at the penny-slots, I had already seen way more skin than a beach in Florida at this time of the year, won thirty-two dollars, shared an elevator with one-too-many drunk teenagers, heard at least four different languages, and had a meaningful conversation with a complete stranger, at the $1 margarita bar.

This time there are no cowboys. Or friends. Or bulls. It’s just me. And a bunch of business executives. Responsible adults, if you will.

Rooms are every bit as trashy, but not as cheap. There are no free buffets. Just free drinks, when you gamble. I haven’t seen any free passes or live shows or limos. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of loud and bustling, smoke-infested casinos. Just like I remembered.

How some things never change!

I am happy to tell you that: The lights are still flashing. Money is still blinking.

And America is still alive and well in Las Vegas.

(Apparently I’m still frugal, too. Cuz I’m currently squashed between the Bellagio, and the Venetian, looking out the window of one of those cheap rooms, that faces Ceasar’s Palace. But don’t worry, I just walk over to the Venetian if I need to feel better about myself).

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Wild-oming.

After four days of driving its dirt roads and stomping across its fields, I can say more than ever that:  I love Wyoming.

All you die-hard Coloradoans, go ahead and gasp, if you want. I can’t help myself.

I adore the big skies and rocky canyons.

I love how wild and wonderful I feel when I am in it. It does something to the domesticated woman in me.

Most days, you can find me tending to my household duties, cooking soup or pulling weeds or tying my child’s shoes. But you put me slap dab in the middle of some wide open space, surrounded by rocks and mountains and wildflowers, and I’m a whole different animal.

I suddenly turn into this:

And this.

See? See what this place does to me??!!

It makes me gaze at old gas pumps and lie down on fences. It causes me to jump out of fast moving cars, and into a field of wildflowers.

Like this one:

Wyoming to me, means freedom. From pressures and rules and boxes. From debilitating voices and constricting schedules.

It means sagebrush and barbed wire sunsets.

Leather and lace.

Handsome cowboys.:)

And oh. Did I mention sunsets? Ridiculous sunsets.

Out here, I can be anything. And everything. I can be all that I am.

And that’s why I love it.

On Gardens and Gods and Leaving the Work Behind.

This is one of those rare moments where we joined John on a business trip, and it actually panned out. It actually “was” a good opportunity for us to have some quality adventure as a family. Not the kind where we’re hunting down a size three diaper in an airport. Thank God!

Nope. Just good, clean fun. In a gorgeous place.

So good and clean and gorgeous, I figured I should probably preserve its memory, and blog about it.

I was highly tempted to stay home this time. In fact, I was planning to, until about an hour before we left. I had too much to do. (I really do have alot of things on my list, but it’s not like I had any intention of actually getting them done, while I am solo-parenting it). There’s the ten thousand seeds I should probably get started before summer, and Lord knows, I sincerely need to clean out the guest bedroom. It is currently a storage room, piled with boxes. And there is company coming. Soon.

Somehow, though, I usually change my mind and leave the work behind, at the last minute. Such a fun-loving person, I am! Either that, or I am a pro at procastination. Whatever the situation, “getting-out-of-the-house” almost always wins in the end. I think I’m a lesson on living in denial. I mean, if you don’t have to look at it every hour of the day,  that means it’s not there, right?

So here I am in Colorado Springs, on “busines-I mean, pleasure” with my huzbun and the toddler. We’ve been here two full days with no regrets, except that I wish I could just breathe in the beauty a little more. It is one of my favorite places on earth, after all. We spent a good four hours at Garden of the Gods yesterday, the three of us, and I was reminded again of just how ridiculously amazing this place is.

Seriously, just look at this.

These pictures were taken with John’s phone, and NOT with my camera. Don’t ask!

Oh my. You can’t even imagine how much more beautiful this is, in person.

We had so much fun climbing the “rocks,” if you can call ’em that. They’re more like massive, jagged mountains, jutting  straight out of the earth.

Now I want to go take a bath in a deserted hot springs. Can you see why I chose this, instead of cleaning out my guest room?