Improvements here and there

I’m STILL working on the house painting. We have a tiny, but difficult section left to go on the main body (plus touch-ups) and I’ve started on trim, but we have a road trip coming up soon so the finishing up of the house will be delayed, but it’s inevitable and I’m okay with it. It will get done, just later than sooner. In between painting, we’re also working on cleaning and organizing the garage. We have a new roommate, so it’s the perfect time to declutter and make some room for his stuff. Unfortunately I don’t think I have any before pics of the shelving unit that was here before. It was some 2×4’s haphazardly thrown up with some screws and two plywood shelves, but not anchored to the wall, so it wiggled dangerously every time you took anything off the thing. It was inefficient and downright nerve-wracking, so we tore it down and will be keeping the plywood and 2×4’s to make a workbench later (you can kind of see the plywood shelves in the picture). For now, we started with one of these handy shelves to see how much stuff we could fit on it. We’ll be going back for one more, but it’s coming along well. We got almost everything that was on that entire wall unit (it went from the left wall to the fridge), into one small shelf. Plus, adding the clear containers helps to preserve all of our gear but still makes it easy to find.

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I wanted to get trim done in the front of the house, since that’s what’s seen the most, and will slowly but surly complete the rest of the trim. I was a little worried about the yellow tint in the trim paint, but I think it’s going to look nice against the limestone wall and the golden door.

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Our potential door color below. Please ignore my painted fingers. I’m no clean painter.

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The challenge of stillness

I don’t know about you but doing nothing does not come naturally to me. And when I mean doing nothing, I don’t mean scanning the ipad or phone, or watching TV. I mean really doing nothing. How long do you think you can just sit before you start to feel antsy. Our culture has raised us to be productive people at all times. And although I say that our culture has produced us to be constantly moving and doing, this isn’t a new concept. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I think you can miss out on a lot when you are constantly trying to stay in tuned with everything.

I’ve been thinking about this since Sunday when it was a subject in church. Our pastor talked about his prayer closet, which is literally a closet he has set a spot up in to sit and pray. It’s quiet and dark and is without stimulation, barring some shirts and dirty laundry. It’s a great way to dedicate a space and a time to get away from everything and have a one-on-one conversation with God. I know that when I try to concentrate and pray, I get distracted so easily. My mind is constantly trying to think of things I need to get done. Or if I’m driving and I try to pray, I see something that reminds me to do something later, or I think about that driver, and why he/she didn’t use their blinkers (a very common practice here in Austin).

So this week I’m going to concentrate on dedicated, intentional time with God. Not just throwing up a quick prayer when I’m in between work, but stopping, closing my door and shutting everything off so all of my attention can be on what I’m saying and what I’m hearing.

“Be still & know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Be truly still, and see what happens.

Vacation = stress + recharge

There’s always a certain amount of stress that goes along with a vacation. Especially one that involves 21 hours of driving and a wedding reception.
We are headed up to my brother-in-law’s wedding reception in Minnesota next week (wait…what?!). It came upon us so quickly. It was one of those things that we had planned a few months out but life got a little crazy along the way(both cars broke down within a month, bought a new one and got rid of the other, almost lost my job but it came back), that time swirled and dipped and pulled the rug from under us so that we are just a day and a week out from our drive.
I know that there will be some stressors along the way, like what to pack, what to bring for the dogs, how in the world are we going to pack the crate…I’m excited for the trip. Dylan and I have both been back home since we moved away a couple of years ago, but we’ve always been back separately. It just never works that we can both come back at the same time, so this will be the first time coming back together. And for a good cause. I’m excited for a vacation of any sort. We need a recharge. A way to get away from everything we have going on. We’ve only had weekends off, and even those don’t count because Dylan usually works on weekends. We haven’t had any more than a couple days to hang out for more than…oh I don’t even know…a couple of years? At least? I’ve lost track.
And even though this trip will be short, I’m still so excited. I’m excited to road trip, excited to be in the car with Dylan, listening to music, getting philosophical with the dogs, seeing friends and family, exploring our old college town, or heading to a park for some climbing. Whatever the adventures turn out to be, I’m welcoming them with open arms.

I’m no longer a cleanse virgin!

So I decided to try a cleanse diet – something not too difficult, for the first time. I decided to try the Sambazon 3-day cleanse. You can buy the three pack from Costco and it comes with it’s own nifty guide with it. I thought it couldn’t be too hard considering it was only three days right?? Kind of wrong. Turns out I’m a wuss when it comes to staying off foods/drink that I love.

To start off, you kind of start the cleanse a few days in advance. You’re supposed to get off caffeine, meat and processed foods a couple of days before you start. Okay. I did pretty decent with this. Started to get the caffeine withdrawal headache around Day -1 so that wasn’t a good sign but I went forth.

Day 1 wasn’t terrible. Your entire diet consisted of three different drinks throughout the day (included) and meal plans (included in pamphlet). I just had to get used to it. Day 1 was quinoa which I’d had before. No biggie. I think my lunch was supposed to be some potato dish. I was too lazy to make it but had had some leftover vegetarian Indian dish so I ate that. Dinner was an open faced veggie burger and spinach salad.

Day 2 followed similar but I was supposed to eat a beet and blood orange salad. I’ve tried beets…I can’t stand them. I don’t like fruit in my salads. This wasn’t going to happen. So I kind of cheated and had udon noodles (still vegan but carb filled instead of greeny). I made the dinner meal which was a spinach cauliflower tomato curry dish. It was surprisingly good.

Day 3 I pretty much stuck to so that was good. I had to make overnight oats for breakfast, which I remembered to make the day before so that was good. I think lunch was some risotto and dinner was a butternut squash apple soup which was again, surprisingly good.

I stuck to staying vegan, eating clean, and drank all my juices so overall it was semi-successful. I don’t really feel any different but I’ve tried to stick to eating smaller meals and am still off the caffeine, although I definitely don’t think caffeine is a completely bad thing. I love my coffee, especially on the weekends and it contains anti-oxidants. I just kind of want to see where this no-caffeine thing gets me after a week. Kind of a personal experiment.

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Overall, I’d say to give it a try. It makes you think about what you put in your body everyday, and feeling some of the effects of drinking these juices does remind you that what you put in your body truly does make a difference.