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life in MT.

29 Jan

[Life in MT.]

snow.

20 Dec
It snowed here.  The wind is howling, schools were closed, and Mystique face-planted in the front yard.  And the best part – I have given myself the privilege to work from home.  In flannel polka dot pajama pants and wrapped in a blanket.  [Ten points for the person to guess the movie that playing in the background.]
In anticipation of the storm, I canceled any obligations I had today in exchange for the peace of staying off the roads.  I ran around like crazy yesterday to get things down so I could stay in.  I have plenty to keep me busy in the warmth of home.  It’s Christmas for a pastor.  I have sermons to write.  Three, to be exact.  I have things to do for sure.
I did go to the office this morning.  The commute wasn’t terrible but it ended with very wet pant legs.  I had to walk across the parking lot to grab some needed bulletins, books, and papers.  The lot hasn’t yet been plowed and it went from very little snow to very high drifts.  I could barely get the church door open against the drifts next to it.  
If I’m honest, I’m not bothered by the snow at all.  In fact, I really like it.  I think I like snow.  I dream of someday owning snowshoes and would love opportunities to go cross-country skiing more often.  It’s a good thing I don’t mind the white stuff or the cold – Paige and I bought train tickets to Montana yesterday.  Montana in January.  So excited.
It is best the snow has come now.  We hope for clear roads come holiday travel, especially this girl, whose only hope of being with family on Christmas is a clear drive home following Christmas morning church.  Here’s to writing three sermons, leading four services, and packing/wrapping all before then.  And all I feel like doing right now is napping.  

vacation.

23 Sep
And so Kate and I escaped to the woods.  I purchased a deal through Living Social for the Heartwood Conference Center.  Two nights in one of their hotel rooms just outside of Trego, WI.  We hiked, played bocce ball, and wooed the snack shack guy into giving us free hot chocolate.  [Okay.  We didn’t woo.  He just told us not to pay for it.  I think he liked our charm.]  It was a bit too chilly and windy to get out on the water [boo] but we had fun exploring by other means.  It was the perfect escape and as vacations normally go, one or two more nights would have been wonderful.

the drive.

a walk thru the woods.

this is what nighttime looked like.

a short hike along the st.croix on the way home.

wildness of the wilderness.

20 Sep
I ran away to the wilderness.  My friend, Kate, and I have been enjoying the resort, our vacation and the wilderness that is a part of it.  We hiked morning and afternoon today, a total of over eight miles.    Henry David Thoreau reminds us why it’s so important –

We need the tonic of wildness:To wade sometimes in the meadows
where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk,
and hear the booming of the snipe;
To smell the whispering sedge where only
some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest,
and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.
At the same time we are earnest to explore and learn,
we require that all things be mysterious unexplorable,
that land and sea be infinitely wild,
unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable.
We can never have enough of nature,
We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor,
vast and titanic features:
The sea-coast with its wrecks,
the wilderness with its living and decaying trees,
the thunder cloud, the rain that lasts three weeks
and produces freshets.
We need to witness our own limits transgressed,
and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.

Closing my laptop now.  More about this retreat and my time away later. 

hammock love.

9 Sep
I bought a new hammock.
My Mexico Mission hammock has gotten me far – five years or so – and it is a lovely hammock.  It made me fall in love with swinging and napping and reading without touching the ground.  But it’s hard to take places.  And difficult to hang properly.  And sometimes you get all stuck in the wovenness of it all. 
When a deal for a Green Armadillo hammock came up on LivingSocial, I sprung for it.  It’s actually marketed as a hammock for backpackers; pack this hammock instead of a tent.  I’m not sure I’ll go that far but it is perfect for an afternoon in the backyard, taking on vacation, or anywhere else.  It weighs less than two pounds, folds up into itself, and comes with all the rope needed to hang it.  Pretty swift.

I hung it up for the first time tonight.  At first, I was quite skeptical.  I didn’t think it was quite as comfortable as my other one but then I discovered one can comfortably lay in the hammock on one’s side the short way [in addition to the standard long way].  Super wonderful!  No longer skeptical.  I’m sold.
And it’s huge.  It’s a double.  A hammock for two.  Come on over!

garden remix.

26 Jun
one of the two big blue pots on either side of the front garden.
It’s a bit delayed in sharing but my mum was around last weekend and we had one goal: to make the parsonage gardens bee-u-tiful.  It was a lofty goal for two days – the gardens were a wretched mess because I couldn’t even differentiate what was a plant and what was a weed.  I called in the right person for the job and after five stores, a truckload of mulch, and long days, it came together.  We added some new plants, moved some others around, and Pastor Lindsay bought a bird bath.  The final product is quite lovely, wouldn’t you say?

Front garden:

before.

after. [with two blue pots on either side, just on the outside of the photo.]

 Corner garden:

a corner garden with two new pots.

 Back garden:

before.

after.
Not pictured is the small bed we [read: Leanne] dug around the mailbox for a couple hostas and stone. There is still work to do – a little mulching around the garage and maybe edging out a bush.  All in good time as Lindsay gets the nerve and time to dig in.  This parsonage’s landscaping is well on its way to being top notch. 

[summer list.]

23 Jun
I know this summer will speed on by; it always does.

Heck, June is almost over as it is! In the hustle and bustle, I’m attempting to make the most of it.

That means it’s list time, people.  And it’s all about rest, rediscovery, and joy.

. I have a state park pass in my window.  I shall use it.  Mabel and I can go hiking.  [We were going to explore Myre Big Island State Park this morning but then it was overcast with rain.  Another time soon.]
. Screw makeup.  I’m hiding away all my eyeshadows and eyeliners and bronzers and everything else.  Why do I spend time doing all that?  [I will still put on a protective layer of foundation.  It has sunscreen in it, people.  And maybe a little mascara.]  On a similar note, find the easiest, low maintenance hair style ever.  I think my haircut on Friday may have helped in this department.  [Short in the back!]
. Perfect the overnight refrigerator oatmeal breakfast.  Six individual servings in canning jars in the fridge now.  With strawberries!  [Old fashioned oats.  Almond milk.  Strawberries.  That’s it.]
. Drink water, drink water, drink water.  And iced coffee.
. Always be crafty and re-inventive.  Some things need new life.  [I spray painted a file cabinet today – avocado green with hopeful gray chevron drawers to be yet achieved and fabric yet to be found.]
. Sermons written by Thursday.  [I know.  I say that all the time but this time, there is motivation.  Paige made a bet with the devil and I hope to help her lose.  Two week success so far and it’s such a joy to not be writing on Saturday night.]

. Find and embrace Sabbath time.  We all need that.  Often more than we even know until we take it.

. Get out of town!  Opportunities for this and places tbd.  [With the exception of Stillwater next weekend already on the calendar.  Gieseke B&B bound!]

. Find myself in a canoe or kayak on the water as often as time will allow.  [Finding a man with a Subaru Outback and two kayaks strapped to the top would be a great alternative to this, but I’m not holding my breath.]

. Learn to let things be.  I’m pulling back on pushing certain church work things through … maybe they just need to be instead of pushed.  There are other things on which I can spend my time.

. Read.  I already feel this being a huge stress relief at work, as I made time each day this past week.

There’s more.  There’s always more.  But this is a good place to begin.

I’ll keep you posted [as always].

vacation: it’s over.

9 Jun
Cry for me, Argentina.  The vacation is over.  Over and back at it with a funeral this morning and a Sunday sermon to write this afternoon.  [The children of the deceased are British and totally have that beautiful European look.  I wanted to be their friend.  I wanted to listen to them talk all day long.  #anglophile.]
But before I can face that second sermon, let me show you the rest of my vacation.  
After breakfast conversation with Alex from Zurich, I hit the road.  I walked the breakwater on the harbor in Grand Marais before driving reluctantly south on Hwy 61. I made two state park stops on the way home – Cascade River State Park and Gooseberry Falls.  I think Cascade was my favorite because it was a bit off the beaten path and I didn’t have to wade through people like I did at Gooseberry Falls.  I was bummed I couldn’t spend longer hiking the trails but also learned that, hey, I really like hiking.  Mabel and I will have to get some solid use out of the park pass that now sticks to my windshield.  
rock art on the breakaway.

the harbor.
Cascade River State Park

Gooseberry Falls
And then I drove home.  Boo.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t start to sob the minute I hit the southern edge of the cities.  It was like a switch flipped.  I didn’t want to go home.  I didn’t want to have to work again.  I realized that I’m really kinda sorta unhappy here.  Or maybe the end of vacation cued a flair of dramatics.  Because while I would much rather be hiking or kayaking or exploring a new town, the last two days haven’t been terrible.  No tears since that initial night of return.  As Pastor Heidi told me, it’s all about finding the recreation and joy in everyday and not just vacation.  But oh how nice another couple nights of vacation would have been.
le sigh.  To Sunday sermon prep we go … and then it’s Strawberry Festival week, people.  [The annual festival of Red Oak Grove is Tuesday.  Approx. 800 people are fed meals of barbecues and any kind of strawberry dessert you may desire.  It will be my first experience of it all.  I anticipate chaos and long prep days ahead.]

vacation: post four.

6 Jun
Really, my whole reason for traveling to Grand Marais for vacation was to go kayaking.  One might call it a bucket list item for me; I’ve wanted to go kayaking for a long time and have never found the friends or the opportunity to do it.  Today, I went sea kayaking on Lake Superior and I survived.  I didn’t even tip over or make a gigantic fool of myself.
The more I thought about it prior, the dumber I realized this plan was.  My first time kayaking to be on frigid, choppy Lake Superior?  Really, Lindsay?  Did you think this through at all?  Maybe not the greatest plan of attack.  But Stone Harbor advertised that this half-day trip was suited for beginners.  deep breath.  Okay, that’s me.  Let’s do this.
I was fearful going into it.  Nervous.  I was worried I would tip over.  I was worried I would be completely uncoordinated or not able to get in and out of the kayak with grace.  I was worried the guide would be cute and I would get flustered and dumb because of it.
The first two worries didn’t happen.  The third did.
This is quite literally what happened – 
I arrived at the outfitter and checked in at the desk.  I began filling out the waiver/medical info and the dude behind the desk said Phil would be my guide and he was off getting things ready.  He hasn’t lost anyone yet, dude said jokingly.  I’m writing on the clipboard and a guy appears next to me, talking to the dude behind the desk.  Dude behind the desk directs my attention and says, Lindsay, this is Phil.  He’ll be your guide.
I look up, shake Phil’s hand, and my inner monologue seriously mutters, Shit.  A redhead.  
I’m a sucker for redheads.  And this one was absolutely adorable.*  
There were two other ladies on this trip.  We met up with them, walked out to the back of the building, and put on the equipment we needed – wetsuits [gross.], windbreakers, PFDs, and a spray skirt.  There is no question that I looked like a complete moron in pants too tight.  We went to the beach and learned how to sit in a kayak, how to get in and out, how to paddle, and how to attach the spray skirt [which is probably the hardest part of it all].  Phil adjusts the foot peddles inside my kayak awkwardly while I’m still sitting in it [when you sit in a kayak, you don’t sit with your legs flat on the bottom of the boat.  there are peddles to rest your feet on and pads to put your knees against while bent.] and then pushes me out to sea.
I was completely freaked out.  There were waves.  It made me sway.  I really, really didn’t want to tip [just like everyone else ever].  Was the rhythm of it all going to make me seasick?  Could I really do this?  But then … it was okay.  Gradually, I got the hang of it and it was lovely.
Artist’s Point
We paddled around Artist’s Point and continued on the water for a couple hours.  We stopped along a rocky beach for a brief break; a break needed more to stretch the legs than for the arms.  [I felt like my arms didn’t get nearly as tired as they do when canoeing.]  It was at this point I really had to go to the bathroom but I was wearing a frickin’ wetsuit and there were no bathrooms in sight.  We ate energy bars, I drank no additional water, and headed back out, in and out of the harbor, and back to where we started.
I survived sea kayaking.  I faced a fear and lived to tell the story.  I label this day a success.  
* You know how they say everyone likes the sound of their own name and to make a good impression with someone new, you should use their name frequently in conversation?  Phil knows this technique.  He was so personable and good at the name game.  He also applauded my graduation from seminary  [and I applaud him for knowing the word seminary and that that’s where pastors go for school] and seemed … impressed? … that I was a pastor.  Maybe not all hope is lost.

vacation: post three.

5 Jun
I write while watching television and laying on the bed in this room –

I feel relaxed already.
I arrived in Grand Marais and to the destination bed and breakfast in early evening.  Since arriving, I had a colloquial chat with the couple that owns the b&b and walked to a very nice restaurant for a very delicious dinner.  I wondered how eating alone at a toursit-y restaurant would be so I went prepared with a book.  Cliche to read a book about introverts while sitting alone and talking to no one?
The drive to the north shore was quite nice.  I stopped little but for a quick lunch break at a rest stop and an hour exploring Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.  There were many places I wanted to stop [a crazy roadside flea market which – from what I could tell – had tables upon tables of only fiestaware pitchers] but was on a schedule to arrive at my final destination.  Hopefully on the way home, I’ll have more room to stop and browse rivers and waterfalls, wayside rests, and random flea markets.  For now, I relax and be gradually more and more nervous about kayaking tomorrow afternoon.  
lunch.
this cold water makes me fearful for my kayaking adventure.
split rock lighthouse.
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