sparklin’ fireworks

“You flip a nickel, and heads means you stay with him and tails means you try the next one.” – Kally, 9
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Should I tell you about my weekend, or write about the gorgeous sunset descending upon Minneapolis right now?  Would you mind if I avoided both subjects and wrote about what’s on my heart?
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Thing is, I spent the weekend adventuring with my husband, and I’m sitting here wishing the weekend could go on and and on and on (and on).  Would they call that a perma-weekend?
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My weekend plans for vineyard tours and pizza farm dinners came crashing down when the forecast revealed 48-hours of thunder, lightning and rain.  Maybe not a big deal in the South, but we cherish our sunny days up here in the Midwest.
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Jon, a sweetheart and hard-worker extraordinaire,  dislikes the rain even more than I do (truth), and we half-heartedly planned a weekend of indoor picnics and House of Cards.
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Then my creative mind ran the numbers:  Minneapolis enjoys warm weather May-October, and that means we only have  24 weekends to enjoy activities out-of-doors (and free of snow).  Rain or shine, I decided we were going to have fun adventuring in the countryside.
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Rain poured, pit-pat-pit-pat, as we drove 2-hours to a vineyard Midsummer’s Eve party.  Touring a vineyard in a rainstorm? Sounds crazy, right?  Well, maybe, but we stopped five different times (interesting barns and tractors begged for a visit), and we had adventures (taste-testing taffy and flavored-pop) all the way up to St. Croix Falls.  And when we got there?  You guessed it- the rain stopped.
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Summer is too warm and wonderful (are those words synonyms?) to let slip away, and so we made plans for July and August on the drive home.  Lucky you, I created a graphic of our conversation:
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And that quote at the beginning?  It has little to do with anything in this post, but I’m famous for mixing and mashing thoughts.  That said, I came across some endearing thoughts about love:

“Eighty-four! Because at that age, you don’t have to work anymore, and you can spend all your time loving each other in your bedroom.”      -Carolyn, 8

“Many daters just eat pork chops and french fries and talk about love.” -Craig, 9

“You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own VCR, ’cause she’ll want to have videos of the wedding.” -Allan, 10

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too.” -Greg, age 8

sparks on screen

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A wander into the woods would be lovely.  If the light would sparkle through the trees and the breeze would blow through my hair, that would be a bonus.  Once I found a clearing I would take out my journal and, under a crown of trees, write my thoughts and doodle my ideas.  When my hand ached from writing, I’d simply lay and enjoy the sun on my skin.  

The sun on my skin is the most revealing part of that little reverie.  In reality, I’m home from my tropical vacation and staring out the window as the snow descends as quick as rain: none of that softly fluttering stuff over here.  It was so cold when we returned to Minneapolis that our tires were frozen to the street.  Can you imagine?  I should have stuck that Jamaican sun in my pocket.  
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All this rambling is getting me thinking: do we have a natural habitat that we instinctively crave?  Do you prefer the mountains to the sea or the woods to the city?  A mix of all things, perhaps?
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I mentioned yesterday that the beginning of our vacation was, well, comical.  The second day, however, brought what Jon calls my ‘Peter Pan smile.’  Background: there is a childhood photo of me grinning like Elf because I’m going to see Peter Pan on *ice.*  My family always tells me to do the Peter Pan smile, but when I swam with the dolphins, it came out all on its own:
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We wanted to get the classic ‘kiss pic,’ but I was squealing too much and couldn’t keep my eyes open – it was that good.  The rest of our day was spent exploring on foot, but we found all sorts of gems:
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shades on, top back

in my suitcase

We’ll skydive from the plane and land below a waterfall and then swim away with the dolphins.  If I was 12, that little adventure would have knocked one, two, three things off my bucket list with  just one (very adventurous) day’s journey.

Thing about my bucket list, however, is that it seems to be a life-force of its own: constantly changing, growing and expanding.  Life experience prompts me to add new things to the list and, in a similar fashion, decide that other things are of less importance.

A bit of a thrill-seeker, I planned to skydive over the Alps when I studied abroad my junior year.  Well well well, the trip came and the adventure arrived, and I decided I’d rather go for a hike and make a picnic and read a book than sail through the sky (or I have a fear of heights – you decide).  To each his own, right?  And you know what, I was 100% okay with changing my mind — it took planning the trip to make me realize that I was okay with not experiencing every.single.little.thing.

The thing is, I try to get the most goodness out of the things that I do decide to pursue.  This world is large and the possibility for experience is endless, but if we make the most of the choices we make, the slice of life we are given, then it will be enough.  Do little things with great love.

Where is all this going?  Well, I recently finished The Light Between Oceans, and, as soon as I was done, I gave the novel 5 stars on Goodreads.  I also started thinking about the relationship of the lighthouse to character development (I’m a nerd), and, before long, I found myself longing to visit a lighthouse.  Lighthouse adventuring was added to the the bucket list just as easily sky-diving was removed.

And, good news: Jon and I made plans to visit a lighthouse when we’re in Jamaica next week.  I’ll be crossing 2 things off my bucket list while we’re there – the lighthouse is one, can you guess the second?
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finding happiness in the little things

jon is one of those people who doesn’t just like working, but truly loves his job. he rises bright and early (6am), drinks his coffee, kisses my cheek, and then has fun (believe it or not) crunching numbers until 5pm.  with traffic and whatnot, i can usually expect him home for dinner around 6pm.
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running a 5k has been on my bucket list for a while, and so when a friend invited me to run esprit de she, i was all about it.  registration began at 4:30, so i drank 3 chocolate coconut waters (i’m absolutely addicted), made a t-shirt for the event, and put on my lucky sneakers (i’ve had them since sophomore year of high school).

i was feeling pretty good about trying something new, but i was feeling even better when jon came home from work at 4pm (just as i was about to leave).  he had decided to take the afternoon off to support me during my first race.

since the race is called esprit de she (french for ‘the spirit of her’), he was 1 man in a crowd of 1,500 women.  if that’s not love, then i don’t know what is.
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jon managed to take this photo of me crossing the finish line:
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things got interesting while we were enjoying burgers on the patio after the race. someone in the apartment noticed my running gear, and they asked me about my time results.  before i could speak, jon excitedly responded “she did amazing — 5 miles in 30 minutes!”  the sweet guy was beaming and so proud.

it was with great regret that i explained a 5K is 3.1 miles- not 5… 🙂

oh, and in case you were wondering about the t-shirt i made for the race:
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#runningonhappiness