Thursday, December 5, 2013

For What Once Was

The videos that capture the laughter, my kids singing "Deck the Halls" (or screaming rather for the hundredth time), photos of me riding in the back of a pickup truck through the country, smiling at the faces of my second graders that I once got to stare into each day of the week, reminiscing my Birthday that I spent on the river in Guatemala last November, or admiring the Volcanoes that stood amidst the sunset in Antigua Thanksgiving in 2012. 

My heart longs for that place in the jungle by the lake,  the place I once called home, the place that gave me more than I ever asked for in return. A place that seemed to know love and joy like I had never had before. So while I bundle up (-9 F tonight in Denver) and drive to work tomorrow as I will do the next.... I cannot help but wonder......

This time last year my class of second graders were opening advent bags filled with surprises. We laughed more, played more, colored more and sang often as we prepared for our Christmas concert. Although I may be settled in Colorado today and enjoying the backdrop of mountains on my morning commute.... not a second passes that does not ache to be back in that place. A place that demonstrates the essence of what I believe God had intended all along. To live with deliberate passion, to love others well and to be fully engaged into those around us.....

Last January I found comfort reading the words of a Amy knowing she was now healed and dancing with Jesus. In April I grieved the loss of a another friend, and cried tears writing these words, "Thoughts and prayers to you wherever you are... and whatever you are grieving because lets be honest I am certain I am not the only one." 

It has been a year of great joy, loss and deep pains of grief......

So while I am warm, with a roof over my head and I have a job I love to attend in the morning......

I grieve for what once was and do my best to trust for what lies ahead...

I can choose to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thes.5:18) because I am confident He can see beyond what I can see. Furthermore, if I could see with His eyes I would make the same choice, because God is beyond good...

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Only Real Way to Live

Drinking Costa Rican coffee out a mug from Hong Kong...... This can only mean a few things.... my heart longs to be traveling again and I live with Erin Zimmerman.  (She went to High School in Hong Kong so our house adorns lovely things from there)

I was speaking with Matt Hohler two days ago and he reminded me that we were just a few days away from our year anniversary of arriving in Honduras. What a sweet reminder that is.....

You may ask what I have been up too since it has been a long time (20 days since I last posted) well lets just say a lot. Here is a mini recap.....

 For the past three weekends I was up in the Mountains (a common phrase we use in Colorado to reference getting out of the city). I spent a weekend in Silverthorne near Lake Dillon on a staff retreat (I am on staff in the Athletic Department at Colorado Christian University) Gearing up for our new school year and preparing our athletic coaches for what is to come. Following that weekend I drove back up to spend the weekend in Vail with my friends. Leaving on Friday we rented a condo for the weekend, laid by the pool, grilled out, stayed up late playing games, rode the gondola at sunset, spotted moose and went out on the town for one of our last summer hurrahs. A short four days after that,  I left with the entire Athletic Staff and Athletes to spend the weekend in Buena Vista for our Annual Athletes Retreat. The weekend marks the beginning of a new school year and gives athletes the opportunity to get to know each other and bond before their seasons start. It was a beautiful weekend.....

So alas this weekend... and at this very moment I am sitting on my porch. Taking this Friday off and drinking my coffee, just as the sky turns blue at 6:31 am this morning. As I mentioned before my 20 things list is slowly getting checked off and one of them is reading the book, 1000 Gifts, with my mom. In light of reading this book I thought I would list a few things I am grateful for these days...... (mom and I are going to finish and discuss when I am back in Kentucky next week eekkk)

Grateful for.......
  • This front porch, with a creaky rod iron railing and two plastic chairs that are sat on more than any other piece of furniture in our house.
  • For four hour old babies, that look at the world with eyes of wonder
  • For a dear friend who was strong and brave and brought that sweet little girl, Story Rose,  into the world
  • For friends who decide to run half marathons with you and encourage you on long training runs.
  • For plane flights that are able to bring my best friend from 1st grade to Colorado in October for one whole week ....... oh and did I mention she is running the half marathon too (yay Christie Lee)
  • For babies in offices that crawl all over the floor and wont sit still on your lap while you try and get work done
  • For neighbors who move in next door, who you share life with, a glass of wine and a beer on a Thursday night
  • For chalky hands after an intense crossfit workout, that always amazes me I complete
  • For yoga communities that I will be joining 
  • For photos of new houses from my sister and parents
  • For short timelines (1 week till I am back in Kentucky)
  • For the promise that living where you are the best you can is the only way to really live at all
  • For celebrations of life commitments, Kylie my roommate from Honduras engaged to ShepGoggles (His instagram name I think is funny), Stephanie Riley best friend since middle school engaged to be wed in Guatemala...... So much to look forward to next year.
  • For crispy cool mornings 
  • Sunrises on runs over Washington park
  • Newly mopped hardwood floors 
  • Sharing stories about Honduras with others
  • Keeping stories to myself inside and reliving them
  • For water bottle holders that make it possible to bike with a bottle of wine in tow
  • Tears that fall at inappropriate times that take me straight back to that place down South called Honduras
  • For talented friends that create art with oil and paints to capture one of my favorite places in the world.

Buena Vista, Colorado Driving past Collegiate Peaks to get coffee in town
Painting of Lago De Yojoa done by the very talented Vinnie Harriety 
Biking to Washington Park with Wine for Jess's Birthday
Vail Racquet Club, Colorado with friends
Late Night training runs with Headlamps in the dark. 
Myself, Stephanie and her now Fiance (Last October when they came to visit in Honduras) 
Born August 15, 2013 at 10:31 Story Rose O'Rourke
Newly Engaged to be wed, Kylie (Rooms from Honduras) and her fiance Shep
My view yesterday morning running from my house....

Friday, August 2, 2013

"You sound, so American"

"You sound so American!" Faye said.... I quickly replied, "You sound so English." Yesterday morning I had the joy of skyping with my dear former roommate Faye. We played a quick game of catch up, decided we waited entirely way too long to speak and that we should speak more frequently. She is back home in England currently deciding between Mexico and the Dominican Republic for her next teaching job. While she is deciding her next adventure, I sipped my tea and in a few moments time got in my car to commute to my new job. All the while my heart longed too for such a grand adventure as she, living simply and loving on kids abroad again.......

But alas I started my new job. While most jobs during the first week would include long hours of training and boring introductory sessions, I can say mine was nothing of that. It was almost as though I walked right back into where things left off. I am on staff in the Athletic Department at Colorado Christian University, where I was formerly on student staff three years ago. It feels so good to be back in this office, back in the group of people I know quite well and in Colorado. My boss kindly told one of the baseball players who was giving me grief Tuesday, "Be nice to her, I waited four years to get her back." I smiled. I am so grateful for my job and for people that welcome me back with open arms.

As I have mentioned countless times before on my blog, I am in the process of completing my 20 things. I previously shared about my pie making but I can now partially check off #1 on my list. My mom and I have started reading the book, One Thousand Gifts. The book is an honest reflection on a "Dare to live Fully Right Where You Are." While I am driving to work my mom and I discuss the book. It has already proven to be a tremendous blessing. I am so glad I included this on my list of to dos.

One of my very favorite quotes from the book, I read just before I taught my first yoga class in Costa Rica....

"“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”  ― Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

So while I am in no hurry for much of anything these days, I am soaking up every second of the day. Taking it as it comes and finding joy in even the most minute of things. I am grateful for a heart that remembers....... That smiles thinking about late nights dancing on the docks over the Caribbean ocean on the island of Utila during Semana Santa. (pictures below).

So Happy Friday to you today...... Here's to remembering and living through every moment..

As well my roommate made a video of our time in Honduras.... Click HERE TO WATCH.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Apple Pie Amazzzingness

I just got the sweetest message from our neighbor across the street...... "The apple pie was amazing. We haven't had apple pie that good in decades!"

So grateful for her kind words. If she only knew it was my first one too. I thought what better way to meet the neighbors, then offer them homemade apple pie. I am so glad that they enjoyed it. And even more flattered that they so kindly complimented it.

As for the Cherry Pie.....Unfortunately the oven after 20 minutes or so was acting funky so I had to take  the pie out.  Long story short, once the oven was good to go and I put the cherry pie back in the oven, the crust got soggy and gross so I had to dump it. (1/1 I will take it).

So that leaves now 3 pies left to do.... but it is less intimidating now, that my pie crust worked well. (Coconut Creme, Pumpkin, Pecan are left). So much fun, and even better to share.....

As for the rest of my weekend... This morning I woke up with no alarm clock..... made some tea and sat on the front porch eating my breakfast. I got a virtual tour of my sisters new house via computer and was able to see what an incredible job they have done. Thank you technology.

Shortly after throwing in a load of laundry, my roommate and I decided to go on a run..... Our half marathon training has begun, (much to my disgust), so we thought we would go for an easy 2 mile ish run. Running has proved to be a much harder adjustment for me living back at the mile high city. (lungs yikes). We got our music play lists all ready and took off, waving goodbye to our roommate as she and her boyfriend prepped for their bike ride. (I laughed at how active our house is before 10 am).

Erin and I ran to Wash Perk, a neighborhood coffee shop/community gathering place that has stacks of magazines, newspapers, pastries, gluten free goodies, homemade ice cream, watering station for dogs anything you could desire..... its one of my many happy places in Colorado. Erin and I read the paper sipped our drinks and walked back home with our drinks in hand.

I later spent my afternoon riding my bike to complete some errands (a self imposed no driving afternoon). The sun was out it was really nice.

While standing in the front yard tonight meeting my neighbors, a moment passed and it took me right back to Honduras. Their son, who I figured was about 8 or 9 years old road by me on his scooter. I took one look at his face and saw my class. While their kids rode around on their bikes I couldn't help but wish so deeply for just one day in my class again. Just a few minutes even.

So while I am enjoying being back in the States, transitioning as best I know how and soaking up each second reuniting with friends, my heart still longs for that crappy apartment/house that leaked, my roommates and drinking rum with powder mixers, and of course my rotten little class.

Here's to hopefully more successful pies in my future.... and soaking up the last bit of summer left. And never forgetting that place down South....

Preparing the Apple Pie... Recipe Here. Homemade Crust Here

Cheery above without the top crust layer. Below was it with the full crust laid across.

Erin and I before our morning run.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Colorado days...

What do you do when you don't have to work? and all your friends are working? The following:

I have watched Sense and Sensibility (fantastic quote the movie "my heart is and always will be yours") while drinking tea, painting my nails and laying on the couch while it rained. Watched another ESPN 30 for 30.....Gone to Yoga in the mornings for a class and in the evenings Crossfit. Mopped our floors, did laundry, cleaned out boxes, read my book and drank endless cups of green tea.  Slept in, got up early. Cleaned my car.  I have walked at Washington Park, rode my bike to REI, met for coffee with dear friends and grilled out on the back porch.I also have been lucky to spend some time with my cousin David and his wife Samantha who just moved to Denver. They as well brought my second cousin, puppy Frank :) (Fingers crossed I will get to be pet sitting him when they head out of town.) The sunsets in Colorado have been incredible and it feels so nice to be back here...... (although I dearly miss my class).

But my last day of "Summer Break" as some have said to me ends today. I am excited to announce that on Monday I will be joining the Athletic Staff at Colorado Christian University. I will be working alongside the Athletic Director as an assistant. I am so grateful for the opportunity and to be back in sports.

But before reality begins I think today I may spend the day baking.... I am working on completing more of my 20 things.... I will be attempting two homemade pies.... Cherry and Apple. (Wish me luck, pray for me and I will let you know if I am successful).

Me on our front porch....

Below is the list if this is your first time visiting :) (Back story of my twenty things here)

20 THINGS In year 25 

1. Read One Thousand Gifts. (with my mom, more fun to read when you have someone to share things with).
3. Complete the Whole30 Challenge (Again)
4. Run a half Marathon October 20, 2013
5. Surf in Costa Rica (Disclaimer I surfed in Nicaragua). Close :)
6. Make cookies for my neighbors and deliver them. 
7. Visit an Orphanage at least once a month (whether I am in Honduras or anywhere)
December 1, 2012 San Pedro Sula,   December 8, 2012 Pena Blanca,  January 28, 2013 Pena Blanca,   February 10, 2013 Pena Blanca,   March  22, 2013 Pena Blanca,  April 1, 2013 Pena Blanca ,  June 4, 2013 Pena Blanca, .................(note I am struggling to find an orphanage in Denver that allows visitors and guests)
8. Go camping. Real camping not car camping. 
9. Make homemade sushi
10. Have a dance party
11. Pray everyday before I go to sleep
12. Go on a weekend trip with my sister away. A city, or even in our hometown. Just she and I
13. Ride my road bike for a 100 mile ride
14. Read four Jane Austen Novels (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park) (Finished two... half way there)
15. Complete 30 days straight of yoga. Completed in January/February of this year
16. Officially kick my diet coke habit (lasted about 60 days in Honduras, got to let this one go.... I have now not had diet coke in now three weeks, which may seem like a small feat but if you lived with me you would know that this is a big deal.
17.  Learn to make pie crust, and make five homemade pies (Apple, Pumpkin, Coconut Creme, Cherry, Pecan) TODAY????
18. Drive a convertible (no stipulation on what kind of convertible)
19. Minimize my things, shrink my storage unit in Colorado, get rid of things. This is happening on Saturday June 13, 2013
20. Go Fly Fishing with my Dad.
Perhaps another year........

2. Get scuba certified in Utila (Honduran Bay Islands)(Not so sure this will happen, I decided to not get certified over spring break, but opted to relax and read my book) perhaps in the future.)

Happy Friday to you. Love Kristina

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Back home in Colorado....

My silence is long overdue. I will try not to bore you with too many details but a lot happened in the last week after landing back in the States. While sitting at the airport in Houston during my layover, I sat next to an older gentlemen who told me that he was a lawyer from New Orleans. He asked me what I did. I explained that I was just arriving back in the States after teaching in Central America for the past year. He being incredibly complimentary and kind, offered to buy me a drink as a way of saying thank you, for the time I spent the last year with my kids. As grateful as I was for the gesture, I told him that my last year, filled with adventure is just a small story compared to millions of people who daily invest in the lives of others just where they are......... I was just grateful that I got the opportunity.

Saturday morning I drove into the mountains with my college friend Rachel to restart my car in Winter Park (it was in storage.... by the way it started on first try). Driving into the mountains was one of the best feelings. You forget how beautiful they are.... Home sweet Colorado.

Saturday afternoon I  went to the airport to pick up my mom. (Yes you read this correctly) She flew in to help me get moved in and spend sometime together. We spent the afternoon at IKEA looking for a bed frame and ate dinner for the first of three times during the week, at Hacienda Colorado (best margaritas and Colorado Mexican food).

Sunday morning we started bright and early with a moving truck, three of my dear friends and my storage unit. I threw away bags of clothes, lamps and picture frames..... Another one of my 20 Things I can check off. It felt so nice to get rid of things and throw things out.

The rest of my week was spent between doctors appointments and a few trips to Target.

In addition to just soaking up, down time while not working, I have managed to eat at many of my favorite spots,  go on walks at Washington Park (not nearly enough times). Take my bike on a handful of rides and begin shopping around for Yoga Studios. It feels so nice to be back in an actual yoga studio with new teachers and new challenges. As well I joined a Cross fit gym. A former coworker of mine, after some encouraging told me it is something I would enjoy and that I should try it out. Well..... I did and now I am hooked. It should be interesting trying train for the half marathon in between trying to recover from crossfit. (if you are unsure of what cross fit is..... it is intense weight training/interval/pyscho workouts :))

I am back into my old college house (different room, same house). Back in the neighborhood near the Park, near some of my favorite restaurants and bike ride able to the farmers market.

While drinking coffee on the front porch Thursday morning a little girl came by selling wands. Magical wands she proceeded to tell me. For just one dollar, I can now turn anything into rainbows.... (awesome).

Life back in the States is bittersweet. Only small things have changed......there are new restaurants open, the highway is now eight lanes wide, more people are married, and others are now expecting their first babies. But for the most part it is just as I left it.......Life here is busy. Everyone seems to be in a hurry.

Sitting in church this morning I felt my heart begin to pull. It feels so strange. So stuffy. Commercialized. I was overwhelmed by the fancy coffee I was greeted with and healthy young people filling the pews. I overheard one couple sharing about last night at the Rockies game in their victory over the Cubs, and a little boy with crocs on and a Patagonia shirt climbing on his mom's lap. I found myself asking  myself..... what it meant to believe in the God of the whole world. I realized this morning of how quickly we place God in the West. In America. We put him in our music, our songs, around our necks, thank him for our new car, new house and our things....... but I couldn't stop asking myself, but what does it look like to believe in a God that reveals himself not in stuff or in America, but a God that loves the whole world. (I have no idea)

In all honesty I am feeling a bit like I do not belong. Like I have seen things and experienced things that just cannot be explained. I cannot articulate it, otherwise I would. All I can say is that my heart is a bit torn. Spread a bit further...... when looking in the eyes of a small boy I swelled up with tears. In his eyes I saw my entire class of twenty two and missed them dearly.....

So while I have enjoyed drinking Bloody Marys at the Cherry Cricket (one of my very favorite spots), working on my sun burnt Colorado shoulders, wearing heals again (I did not fall), getting lost in the liquor store overwhelmed by the microbrew options, laughing with my old roommate as we made laps around the farmers market sampling everything local and organic, rubbing on my best friends belly as we try and get her baby girl to kick my hand or curling up in my big comfy bed in my old house ..........

I still miss it. Honduras. Central America.

But, I think I better get used to missing it...... because for now I am home. Back home in Colorado.

Below are some pictures that I have taken this week. Hope all is well wherever you are.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Closing the book but never forgetting how the story went...

A blank blog post would be the most appropriate way to describe how I am feeling. Speechless. Speechless knowing that tomorrow I board a plane to head home to Denver.... without a return flight booked.

My emotions are at an all time high..... waves of joy, followed by thankfulness, tears of loss, bouts of laughter...... all pass as I begin to process what the past eleven months have been. I am so humbled.........

I have made a vow to myself that although this is coming to an end, this is a chapter that I can refer back too as often as I wish......

I catch myself trying to share stories about my kids and my travels. As though sharing them allows me to experience them again.....

Teaching my kids, singing songs standing on our chairs..... laughing just one more time at something they said. Or perhaps I am sharing about one of our family dinners, playing charades amongst bugs, mice and drinking wine out of plastic cups. I take myself to the ocean, floating on inner tubes during Semana Santa, next to Faye, Matt, Kylie and Shep drinking cold beer as the sun burned our shoulders...... or I take myself to the Orphanage where Arturo is running around like a little monkey. I laugh thinking about the power outages that led to long conversations and romantic song jukebox playing. I laugh about the many times our house flooded because of our washing machine. The sound of the barking dogs, the rain on the tin roof of our house, late night singing in our bedroom, surfing in Nicaragua, zip lining in Costa Rica, doing two hour ashtanga yoga practice every morning for the last month and the many places I have seen and the incredible transformation that has taken place in my heart.....

I am eternally grateful. Humbled and so thankful for the countless people that I met along this journey. My dear roommates Faye, Molly, Alison, Kate, Kylie and Rose. The greatest three boys who became like brothers Matt, Philip and Thomas. To the D and D Brewery family Lotte, Ramon, Jason and Bobby. My yoga family Amy, Burgundy, Mary, Lisa, Carolina, and countless others....

And to all of you......For reading. For writing. For your prayers. For celebrating with me. For laughing with me and For allowing me to share........ Thank You

I graduated this morning. I completed my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training (Emphasis in Ashtanga/Hatha/Hot yoga). If at Christmas you would  have told me I would have done this I would not have believed you..... such wonderful surprises life brings us. 

For whatever the future holds it has so much to live up too..... but I am certain it will be good.

So here's to it Central America, Salud and Adios.

For giving me more than I ever gave you. For captivating my heart and making more into the person I want to be........

And to you Colorado.... I will see you tomorrow. Me and the Rockies have a very long overdue date.

As well Gloria (my mom) is coming to Colorado Saturday. Cannot wait to see her.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Letters to things July

Things are a bit nutty around here. Tomorrow I teach my yoga practicum, 25 minute class for the first time and Wednesday we sit for our final exam (three hour exam). Thursday we have graduation (assuming I pass) and Friday morning I fly to Colorado. (Excited). Saturday I  am going to pick up my car from Winter Park and Sunday I move into my old/ new house. So ......... I may be a bit quiet on here......

For now I am soaking up my last few days in Costa Rica and Central America while trying to digest the last eleven months..... But for now here are some letters to some special things... as I get ready to go home.


To Zip Lining,

I knew climbing in the trees, zipping over huge waterfalls and giant cliffs would be exhilarating but you were more than that. You were awesome. I have not in a long time felt so limitless. It was beautiful, breathtaking, stunning and just a lot of fun. Proof is in the photos... (Ps all nine of us girls did it together, it was a blast, even when it started raining).

Best view of the line below over the waterfall.....


Dear July 4th Holiday,

Yes I know, last year Munich now this year Costa Rica.....I promise that although I have not celebrated you in the States for now two years in a row.....You have not been forgotten. This fourth I had the joy of driving across Costa Rica towards the Volcano Arenal with nine of my fellow yogis. We laughed, danced, ate junk food, dodged pot holes, climbed hills and drove in the dark and toasted to your honor when we arrived at our hostel that night.

Thanks for reminding me of where I am from and being a wonderful place to return home too
Cheers from this Traveling American

Dear Yoga Teacher Training,

You are Emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting.... but so good... I know that the end is near, but the exam and practicum that I still must do are the giant elephants in the room. I have to study ( a lot) before I can officially say I graduated and completed Teacher Training. I am looking forward to hopefully teaching in Colorado and getting deeper into my own practice. I can flip backwards now, go straight into headstand and am so close to forearm stand. More than anything though I have learned the value of taking time for yourself, taking deep breaths and living in the moment..... greatest lessons of all.

So glad I did this
From A New Yoga teacher


Dear Passport,

I did not realize how valuable you were until you were gone. I am so glad that the hotel remembered that they took you from me. I thought I was loosing it. So if all goes as planned I will be reunited with you in two hours time. Remember that you are my only way to go home, so you are VERY IMPORTANT. Your copy I have, US government says is not good enough. 

So here's to having you in my hands soon
Your owner Kristina

Dear Last 11 months,

Deep Breaths. It is over on Friday and I am in awe. Awe of what I have learned, what I have seen, the stamps in my passports, the laughter, the friendships, my global family, the tears and the deep rooted life changes that have occurred. You have far surpassed my even wildest expectations...... gave me more, stretched me more and for that I am deeply deeply grateful. Thanks for not disappointing, for challenging me and for making me feel more alive than I ever have been before.

love me


Dear Family,

Thanks for everything. For your words, for your unwavering love no matter what. I cannot wait to see you all soon.

Love Kristina

See previous Letter posts here:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

If I cannot stay then simply take me home

Today during one of our lectures, Amy told me that I had ADD. (I could not sit still). I laughed then smiled and then pouted. I am restless. My mind is racing. I find myself waking up at night making lists of to dos in my brain. At the same time on the other side of my brain I am repeating yoga poses, inhale and exhale.

What has my life come to?

One year ago Friday, July 4, 2012, I was boarding a plane to meet my friends in Munich, Germany to travel for ten days. Just the day before, July 3, 2012 I resigned from my job knowing that I would be moving to Honduras. And now in  10 days I will be moving back to the States. Leaving this beloved region of the world that has captivated my heart and soul.

Today I sit in the crispy cool mountain air of the mountains of Costa Rica feeling tired, sore and finished. Ready for that next thing to come. Time as I am aware should never be wished away........ but if I cannot stay then simply take me home.

My parents are sending pictures of their newly built home. My sister at this moment is probably rearranging the shelves in her and her husbands very first home. A dear friend in Colorado is nearly eight months pregnant with a precious baby girl.

So yes today I am ready to be there.

I am closing the chapter on one of the greatest adventures I have ever embarked on. Stories to tell for the rest of my life. Travels, that now feel as though they did not even happen. A new pair of eyes that look at the world with wonder and amazement. And ears that are quicker to listen and a mouth that is slower to speak. A heart that trusts God more today than it ever has before. A mind that is restless. And a me that is a bit nervous, anxious and still a bit heartbroken......

"The best stories share common elements, weaving a tale with rich metaphor, mounting tension, character growth, plot momentum and slowing, sweet resolve. Any story you’ve ever loved is good simply because the storyteller paid attention to these elements and put immense work into drawing them out." (source)

I can only hope that I pay attention to the story that God is writing for me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

20 things in year 25

Last November I chose 20 things that wanted to complete in my 25th year of life... below is my update on my remaining things..... I have now signed up to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Denver on October 20, 2013. Now I just need to lace up my shoes on this now yoga practicing body, that has not hit the pavement in (cough cough.... months).

Nothing really to update today except that I am  just feeling really grateful today. Even in the midst of so much unknown I am really overwhelmed by the many things that are happening and the so many things I have to look forward too. (Did I mention I land in Denver Colorado next Friday!) Not to mention I got to skype tonight with two of my very favorite people Matt Hohler and Jason Walker, while they are together in Ohio. Day maker right there. Beardy and all I miss them both very much. It was so fun to see two people I love very much together hanging out.....

Happy Monday to you.... Below is the 20 things list update (blue indicates it is complete). Cheers from my yoga shala to yours.....
(PS a post coming your way on strange poses we have been doing)

20 THINGS In year 25 

1. Read One Thousand Gifts. (with my mom, more fun to read when you have someone to share things with).
3. Complete the Whole30 Challenge (Again)
4. Run a half Marathon October 20, 2013
5. Surf in Costa Rica (Disclaimer I surfed in Nicaragua). Close :)
6. Make cookies for my neighbors and deliver them. 
7. Visit an Orphanage at least once a month (whether I am in Honduras or anywhere)
December 1, 2012 San Pedro Sula,   December 8, 2012 Pena Blanca,  January 28, 2013 Pena Blanca,   February 10, 2013 Pena Blanca,   March  22, 2013 Pena Blanca,  April 1, 2013 Pena Blanca ,  June 4, 2013 Pena Blanca
8. Go camping. Real camping not car camping. 
9. Make homemade sushi
10. Have a dance party
11. Pray everyday before I go to sleep
12. Go on a weekend trip with my sister away. A city, or even in our hometown. Just she and I
13. Ride my road bike for a 100 mile ride
14. Read four Jane Austen Novels (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park) (Finished two... half way there)
15. Complete 30 days straight of yoga. Completed in January/February of this year
16. Officially kick my diet coke habit (lasted about 60 days in Honduras, got to let this one go.... I have now not had diet coke in now three weeks, which may seem like a small feat but if you lived with me you would know that this is a big deal.
17.  Learn to make pie crust, and make five homemade pies (Apple, Pumpkin, Coconut Creme, Cherry, Pecan)
18. Drive a convertible (no stipulation on what kind of convertible)
19. Minimize my things, shrink my storage unit in Colorado, get rid of things. This is happening on Saturday June 13, 2013
20. Go Fly Fishing with my Dad.
Perhaps another year........

2. Get scuba certified in Utila (Honduran Bay Islands)(Not so sure this will happen, I decided to not get certified over spring break, but opted to relax and read my book) perhaps in the future.)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Central American Sunday.....

When sharing about my last year to a lady at dinner last evening she kindly asked......"Why are you going back to the States? Why did you leave?" She asked me. "I can tell in the way you speak that you are so passionate and you are so grateful for your time there."

 I smiled. Took a big deep breath. "Well........"

I explained, came up with a handful of reasons but proudly said I am excited to be back close to family, friends and back in the mountains. (this is the truth).

I am humbled at her kind words and grateful that sharing my story articulates my very feelings. Becuase  my time in Honduras changed me for the best. I have absolutely no regrets about going and or leaving my job to do so. Funny how I thought I would miss out on all of these things while I was in Honduras and now I feel as though had I not gone I would have missed out on that much more.....

Truth is now I am going home..... Less than two weeks now. How far away this time seemed and now it is here. So this morning while every muscle in my body was screaming at me and my body ached, I took mind to Colorado....... Walking at Washington Park, Broncos football season, A margarita at Lolas, a cold summer night at a Rockies baseball game, Sunday church at DCC, watching the sunset over the top of the mountains, seeing friends, celebrating Megs baby, Heading to Kentucky over Labor Day.......... (time sometimes cannot move quick enough).

How lucky I am to have something to look forward too..... and "something that makes saying goodbye so hard."(Dr. Seuss)

I have not spoken much about the women that I am doing my teacher training with here but I really should. First let me say that they are some of the most generous, kind, honest, broken, beautiful women I have ever met.  We range in age from 20 to 62 years of age. Students, parents, step parents, single, married, widowed, divorced, dating, business executives, artists, yogis but mostly just women. There are many times that it can be a bit overwhelming to be with 22 women for so many days straight but at the same time is a tremendous encouragement. We sweat. We cry. We laugh. We share stories. We complain. We work hard. We study all amidst the rain forest of Costa Rica.  They all have incredible stories, many different reasons why they are attending a yoga teacher training but we all share a love of getting sweaty doing yoga......

It is now Sunday. Hope you have a great day. I am feeling a bit fatigued but the show goes on...... my pants fit tighter than ever (muscle I surely hope). My tan is fading (being inside all day doing yoga).  But I am learning about myself and soaking up my last two weeks of Central American sun.... Cheers to you.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Holding Hands

Wednesday evening while in meditation we were asked to look at our hands. To examine the lines along our hands, to ask what story your hand tells? Ponder where it has been? What has it done?

I will admit that I find mediation very difficult to do. I find it hard to keep my thoughts and emotions from being detached from the very things that cross my mind throughout the time ( the idea is to let thoughts pass and keep from having an emotional connection to them).

However, I find that meditation can be a very powerful healthy thing. It is proven that if we slow down our breath we minimize the oxygen to our brain which then causes our brain to slow down. As a result our thoughts slow down. Thus we naturally relax and calm down. Hence why people often say when you are in a stressful situation or anxious you are told to take deep breaths.... Needless to say I am taking a lot of deep breaths these days... (wonderful thing).

Two weeks from today I will land in Denver, Colorado. After almost one year ago this time I quit my job and decided to move to Central America. Now one year later I am flying home..... my home in the Rockies.

My family is in Kentucky. My sister and her husband bought their first house this week. My parents are in the process of building their new house (Wish I could be in two places at once)........ Someday I presume I will call Kentucky home too but for now I cannot wait to see the snow capped mountains, and the sunny blue skies of Colorado.

As I stared at my hands during meditation my immediate thought was of all the places my hand has traveled in the last year. All the places it has touched in the last year. The many hands it has held. The sweet faces of my kids that my hand brushed alongside. The many coffee mugs my hand has held. The cold mug of a beer in Munich last summer with my very best friend traveling in Europe. The glasses of champagne my hand held near to my lips as we sipped on our train ride through Italy. Brushing my hand along the fabrics at the market in Guatemala over Thanksgiving. My hand curled up inside my coat while it snowed in Kentucky over Christmas. Clapping my hands together as I cheered loud while watching my very favorite basketball team beat the basketball team from down in Lexington. Holding on to the railing of the boat while whale watching in Cabo San Lucas with my family. Wrapping my fingers around the small hands of the children in the orphanage. My hand digging in the sand of the Caribbean during Semana Santa and many beach weekends. The countless red pens my hand has held grading the school work of my second graders. And now the many times my hand has held my body up while practicing yoga these past two weeks...... what an incredible and wonderful year I have been given. And how grateful I am that I have hands to touch and feel it all.....

I love this quote below..... The simple act of holding a hand is something not to be taken for granted. For it is with our hands we are able to do and experience so much. Such a wonderfully special thing.

"We were walking through Hyde Park going nowhere in particular, holding hands for a bit, then letting go as if holding hands wasn't one of life's big deals."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More truth about yoga school

I am almost two weeks into my yoga teacher training. I am getting in the routine more and have given more thought about the fact that I will be moving back to Denver in two and half weeks. (excited!) (As well the Rockies season is in full swing and the Broncos are just behind that).

My thoughts on my time here are a bit mixed. I love it one second, I hate it the next. It is hard...... but overall it has been really fun. I must admit this has taught me more in the last two weeks then I think I learned in many of my months at University....... Below are a few of more truths about yoga school. Enjoy:
  • Your sweaty.... like all the time. I now shower twice a day. (I am going to try to minimize it to just once but it is nearly impossible.) Sweat dripping from your forehead onto your mat, the floor around you, on the person next to you. Its really wonderful experience. (kidding kind of gross).
  • You change clothes all the time... I go from yoga clothes to more yoga clothes to then maybe a sweatshirt over my yoga clothes till I have nothing left to wear.
  • Sleep is incredible.... I can assure you that if you are in class nearly from 6 to 9 every day with breaks for meals.....all while practicing four hours of yoga ..... you sleep like a baby. So might I recommend, that if you have trouble sleeping... give yoga a try, I promise you will sleep real good.
  • It is a bit like summer camp.... Put 22 women at a resort for 28 days straight. We eat, do yoga sleep and study together.  It is every bit of late night sneaking in junk food, to sharing clothes, to sleepovers..... no matter what the age some things will never change.
  • Chocolate is hard to come by........ The only complaint about our resort food.... Where is all the chocolate?????..... It was non-existent until we find out that Milka (German chocolate) is sold just down the street at the local grocery store and we all stocked up. All of us seemed to crave chocolate after doing two hours of yoga. Some of the girls as well bought bags of chips and cookies... to satisfy cravings after eating all natural, fresh food and a practically all vegetarian diet for now almost two weeks straight.
  • I am not flexible.... before I came here I considered myself a flexible person. Someone who was capable of putting my head between my legs easily. I could place my hands around my feet in a forward fold. While those things are still true.... I have learned that I have such a limited range of motion in my hips. I am working on opening up my hips more.... and working every day but there are some ladies (no matter what the age) and my goodness they are bendy. I was asked today if I was a biker, and I said yes. She then explained that because my legs are used to going in the forward motion and not turning out this is why I do not have the fleibility in my hips....So hip openers are on my new agenda.
  • An ego is not welcome here..... getting competitive in this only makes your practice worse. The very best yogis flow in and out of posture and recognize their own limitations and flexibility. The goal is not to compromise the integrity of the pose by folding in on your muscles or dipping in your back. But rather extending long and stretching  So while I would love to do many things... Rome was not built in a day so I have a ways to go. 
  • Anatomy...... anatomy anatomy anatomy.. While I am very much enjoying learning about what all of the funky bones and muscles are in my body and being able to identify exactly what hurts, this stuff is really complex and very difficult. I have a new appreciation for the doctor now. For example when I want then to just tell me what is wrong, I now understand why..... There is a lot going on in there.
  • 6 Pack is far away....... So yes this was news to me. Did you know that your six pack sits under two layers of abdominal muscles...??? Me either. So now I am using that as my excuse for why you cannot see mine and why they are so hard to get to show... They are far under there. I rest my case.
Well I must get going.. my breakfast break is finished. But I had a breakthrough this morning... I can now go from headstand into the half fold. (Victory). More yoga move breakthroughs later... Happy Hump day (Wednesday).

Monday, June 24, 2013

You Are Someone Because You are Simply You

As I have previously written, I am currently in a 28 day intensive yoga teacher training tin Costa Rica. Which leads to a lot of time spent in meditation, reflection, laying hot and sweaty on a mat thinking..... mind wandering (which I seem to be very good at).

I have come to realize over the last year that so much of our identity and value is defined by the titles we have been given in our culture..... for example: I am a daughter, I am mother, I am homeowner, I am parent, I am teacher, I am a business executive, I am a yoga teacher, I am a stay at home parent, I am a professional athlete, I am married, I am single, I am a diabetic, I am divorced, I am sick, I am paraplegic, I am writer, I am a student, I am a teenager, I am a grandparent........ or recently realized how much people proclaim, I am an American, I am a Southerner, I am a Texan, I am a conservative, I am a liberal

What I found most profound is that this identification and unofficial caste system we have applied to one another is something man has done to one another. No place in the bible do we see that the scripture reads that we are worthy of value because of what we do, our marital status or  our job title.......

I have realized for the very first time that I am loved and admired simply because I am.

You and I are called worthy of respect for simply being.

You and I matter regardless of what we do today or tomorrow.

You and I are valued no matter of the choices we make today and the choices we make tomorrow.

You are worthy because you are a child of the most high King. A God that loves everyone equal.

Nothing you do or nothing you don't do, can change the truth that you have been gifted that.

He is good so therefore we as his children are good and worthy of all the respect and love.

Perhaps this is resonating with me right now because I am learning to love myself right where I am at. In the midst of the transition, the time of being title less ...... you could say I am jobless, I am single,  I am a traveler yet I have to ask myself what does any of that mean?

I want to put those to the side and just say that I am. And That, I am is good. Just where I am.

So on this Monday morning I hope that you know you are worthy of value for being present in the now, not because of something you accomplished yesterday or the plans you hope for in the future.

What a beautifully freeing thing. You are loved simply becuase you are you.

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.

I have called you by name; you are mine.”

Isaiah 43:1

Friday, June 21, 2013

Feeling Like Myself

Today I woke up while my roommate packed her bags to visit the Parque de Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Today is our day off from Yoga classes. We start again tomorrow morning with our 6 am practice. So it is our one of three days off that we get for the whole month......

I opted out of joining the big group to head to the park for a number of reasons.... for starters I am exhausted, the journey was long and the park is nearly 4 hours away. (they rented a big van). I as well just felt like I wanted to take some time to read my book, relax by the pool and take the bus into town by myself. A different group of ladies hired a taxi to take them into town nearby and offered if I wanted to join. I kindly declined. I wanted to take the bus.

I have a soft spot for public transportation (can I say that... that is weird right?) Something about riding amongst people heading to work or heading to school makes you feel like you are not merely a visitor someplace but apart of the community. I boarded the bus sat down and recognized Bachata music coming from the bus (Prince Royce) and it made me smile really big. This felt so normal to me. The Central America I came to fall in love with.

I rode the bus into the town of Alajuela and had a few shopping items to attend too: coffee (to take home), flash cards (to study yoga words) and nail polish remover. I knew a simple supermarket would take care of most of these things and a small school supply shop would work for the others. So walking I went. Alajuela the second largest city in Costa Rica is nothing special but merely a town filled with lots of people, lots of ropa stores (clothing shops) and a central market that is nothing to rave about. I did find a small coffee shop, had a latte just around 8:00 am and watched as the city woke up. I checked off all of shopping items before finding the bus to take me back up towards our hotel. I had to ask someone which bus would take me towards our hotel so I could make the short walk from the main road to the entrance of our hotel....  The bus by the way was about 60 cents one way. (Victory)

I am sitting by the pool now and will eat lunch in a few moments..... My morning was just what I needed. Desperately needing to step out of our resort, step into the town, speak some Spanish, wander around a bit and get some fresh air...... side note it is strange to not do yoga today.... 

Happy Friday to you.....

By the way last night we took a Yoga Nidra class.... Also know as yoga sleep. I thought this was some sort of joke but it is not. (it is a real thing). We were asked to lay down comfortably and listen to the meditation. We were led through visualizations and completed an entire body scan. I thought I was doing really good, being aware, not moving, but not falling asleep (that is the goal is to remain conscious). But at the end when we were asked to rise up slowly and everyone talked about how it felt etc...... I did not know half of the visualizations people were talking about.... I had no idea and no memory. Which means I must have fallen asleep. I was shocked to learn that we had been lying down for 40 minutes.. I thought it was about 10 minutes... CRAZY. It was a lot of fun, super strange and really relaxing. Apparently there is an app called, Yoga Nidra and you may listen to them. I recommend if you have trouble relaxing sometimes.... it is fantastic. (no moving though).

 Found the wheat tortillas in bulk supply at the grocery store in Alajuela...... This picture is for my roommates in Honduras.

Central Park in Alajuela.

Self bus picture going back to the hotel.

The below pictures are  of yoga nidra class. Complete with lots of blankets, bulks for ankles, feet, knees and our heads. Fantastic.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Truth about Yoga School

Week 1 is complete... well nearly complete. I continue to ride waves of emotions, absence from Honduras, the in-between before what is next... but am taking it in strides. To all of you who wrote me kind messages, I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you.....

I have been meaning to write about the truth about Yoga School. Simple observations and things that are happening here.... Enjoy:

  • It is Exhausting  Our schedule as I already mentioned is intense and for good reason. There is so much to learn. Needless to say we are all very tired all the time.
  • The dress code is awesome: One good thing about this type of school is that it is more than appropriate (encouraged) to wear yoga pants all day every day. I have already taken laundry to be done (after 6 days) because I have exhausted all of my pants. I brought with me about six pairs of yoga pants and seven Lululemon tops. I think I could live in clothes like this always. It is awesome.
  • My body hurts and so does everyone else:  Our morning practice we go through the entire Astanga series which means we do the below picture with all 72 postures. It takes two hours and we are covered in sweat after. We start at 6 am in the morning and finish at 8 in the morning.
  • Chiropractic School meets Psychology meets Philosophy: This is as much a science class as anything. We are constantly talking about the body, human anatomy, the spine and structure of the bones, our ability to move and how to instruct someone with previous injuries to be in correct posture. So much cool, new information that I am learning which I love. But my business brain is finding this very difficult. We spend two hours each day in what we call asana clinic. We get into positions in the middle of the room and walk around each other, comparing positioning, angles and how we place ourselves into positions. What we can correct. What we need to change. Where we are compromising our spine etc....
  • It is like learning Another Language: As many of you probably know Yoga has its origin roots found in India. The language of yoga is written in Sanskrit  We are required to learn the postures in both common English phrase and the Sanskrit names. For example: Virabhadrasana 1 is also known as Warrior 1. Hello long Indian names that are hard to pronounce that I am as well supposed to memorize in a specific order.
  • Teaching is HARD: We have already begun teaching and instructing each other into positions. Although we are all very familiar with the postures, we are told to move into position based on how we are told to do so by our partner. It is so very challenging to guide someone into a posture using completely verbal cues without demonstrating it to them. I am realizing how every little detail, knee placement, hand placement, gaze etc. is mandatory instruction. 
  • I walk only about 100 feet each day: We walk from my tentalow (tent room) to the yoga hall, to the dining hall. That is about it. (But its ok, because we do hours on hours of yoga)
  • We all hurt: There are 22 women here getting certified in yoga and many of them have stories of heart break, loss and pain. I am humbled and grateful I am not the only one... and more reminded how precious this thing called life...

Below are some pictures I have taken of our yoga space and some of our time in our classes 

As well a A dear friend wrote this... and I think it is worth repeating... "It's so confusing when we find ourselves in that juxtaposition- so much loss to mourn and yet so much to celebrate! It seems so cruel to be so happy-sad: it's hard to know how to feel or what's real or If we're being genuine when we talk about how excited we are and how cool it is, but then we cry thinking about "yesterday's". Be gentle with yourself, understanding that there is indeed a time off loss for what was- allow yourself the sadness that comes with that. It is perfectly okay. Being present doesn't always mean being positive- but being present is where we find our truth."

Cheers to you wherever you are....