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It’s kind of hard to believe we’ve been married over a year now! I was actually going to post this on our year + one month anniversary, but I got sidetracked and didn’t. Oh well, here I am now! We’re officially keeping the “newlywed” moniker for at least another year because we weren’t able to celebrate our anniversary together on our actual anniversary. We’d always known we probably wouldn’t be spending the day together, so it’s okay – we made our peace with it a year ago and moved on with our lives. Besides, if we’d been physically together I might not have made him a super silly card:

carbon's anniversary card

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Wordless Wednesday – Supertrees

supertrees in Singapore

natashal

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Wow. It has been a really long time since I posted a recipe! I actually have several photographed and I’m eager to share them, but they’re all a little more complex than these orange creamsicle  gelatin squares. I’m not fully ‘back into the swing of things’ yet and needed to start with something a little easier to share. I did the math and realized I took an average of 1 flight every 3.5 days for eight weeks straight! No wonder I’m exhausted – I haven’t been in any one time zone long enough to ‘catch up’ since early June.

This recipe is easy, but it’s tasty and makes a fantastic pre/post/mid workout snack. Or, really, just an anytime snack! You can think of it like a healthier, homemade version of orange Jello. No artificial colorants or preservatives here! I had the idea after I saw a coach at the gym eating some very solid-looking Jello. He told me he makes the big box of traditional Jello, then adds a couple envelopes of plain gelatin and eats it for a mid-workout carb boost with the added benefit of a little protein. I started thinking about it and I realized I could make my own orange gelatin squares with less sugar and more protein, so I started experimenting.

Easy Orange Creamsicle Protein Gelatin Squares [click to continue…]

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How “Big” I got Weightlifting and CrossFitting

I’ve spent a lot of time in airports recently, which means I’ve wandered through way too many airport magazine stands looking at junk to pass the time. Well, actually, at a certain point I just started wandering around the airport and skipping the magazine shops because I couldn’t deal with what I kept seeing! Things like “Get bikini-ready abs in 10 minutes a day!” and “How to get toned without getting bulky” and, I’m not making this one up, exercises to “create long, lean lines without the bulk.”  Not only did that particular article imply that anything other than isometric body weight movements would make you ‘bulky,’ but it also seems to suggest I’ll look taller (with my newfound long, lean lines) if I follow their program. Sorry, but I’m 5’2″. Shin implants would give me longer lines, not holding a plié.

How "big" I've gotten weightlifting and CrossFitting (spoiler alert: it's actually my clothing that's too big now!) [click to continue…]

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Wordless Wednesday – Ready for Anything

old red tractor

natashal

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Wordless Wednesday – Totems

totems at Cloud Forest, Singapore

natashal

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Treasury Tuesday – Whimsy

As y’all know, it’s been a tough summer for me. Well, it’s really a roller coaster ride – a combination of highs and lows, some of the best experiences of my life right next to the worst. This coming weekend will be no exception. I’ll get to see family in a beautiful place that’s meaningful to me, but we’ll be there to bury my dad. People keep telling me how helpful the experience will be and that I’ll feel a sense of “closure,” but right now all I can anticipate is a finality. I realize that’s a bit silly because it already is final, but somehow it feels like there’s a difference between “gone” and “in this exact spot forever.” But even in this there is a beautiful juxtaposition; my dad will be forever near a place he loved and next to family.

In a time of contrasts, it seemed somehow right to make this month’s Etsy treasury be about “whimsy” and things that make me smile.

Etsy Treasury WhimsyI also had some pretty good reasons to smile recently because of my Papi Chulo and his amazing smile.

in Singapore

Incredibly, I’ve been able to see him twice this deployment and have visited two new countries on my travels. I’m really looking forward to sharing photos and writing about my trips soon. I’d love to be back to my normal blogging schedule next week, but realistically I think it will be the week after that before I’m able and ready.

Thank you so much to everyone who has stopped by my blog and left encouraging comments – y’all have been a reason for me to smile, too.

natashal

 

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Wordless Wednesday – Night Lights Love

light painting heart

natashal

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I Am not an Orchid

Almost exactly a year ago, our fridge stopped working. It was days before our self-catered wedding and the fridge was already stocked with all the food for our reception, including the layers of our wedding cake in the freezer. Not exactly a good time for a fridge failure! After a small amount of panic, I realized I’d never cleaned the air intakes. I wrestled the fridge out of its nook by myself, got everything cleaned up, and shoved the fridge back where it belonged. The fridge started cooling down again and everything turned out fine. I was pretty proud of myself and emailed my parents to thank them for raising me as a thinking individual capable of dealing with sticky situations.

orchid ww

As I wrote in my last post, I learned of my father’s passing on the last day of my recent trip to Australia. I was completely alone in Sydney, my only available links to home a travel phone that immediately ran out of international minutes and a public wifi network with limited connectivity. After using my iPad to talk to my mom, the boat CO’s wife, the Red Cross, and my mom again, I called my grandmother. One of the first things she asked me was “Are you okay?” I told her “I have to be okay, don’t I?” Even though it felt like my world was ending, I couldn’t sit on the Sydney sidewalk and cry until someone else took care of everything. I had to get myself back to Hawaii and then to the rest of my family because no one else would or could do it for me.

I like to think the way I handled that day was the ultimate tribute to my dad and how I was raised. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I am proud that I got the phone situation sorted out, spoke to the Red Cross (so they could get word to my husband on deployment), dealt with airlines to book my flights from Hawaii to the East Coast, and got myself to the airport on time using public transit. There was lots of crying, and it was frequently noisy, but I did everything I needed to and, eventually, got myself back “home” to South Carolina.

I am still crying randomly, and everything is far too fresh and raw for me to have spent meaningful time in meditation about my dad’s death or anything like that, but I immediately realized that my life will be different forever without him. I also saw how easily I could let myself be consumed by circumstance, and I consciously refused to be an orchid. Orchids are beautiful, but fragile. I am not a fleeting hothouse orchid, but a grape vine. Vignerons prune their vines vigorously, and even withhold water or plant vines in inhospitable ground because the resulting plants are stronger and more resilient, the grapes more flavorful.

I don’t think I think I must be “too strong” to grieve, but I refuse to be consumed by a sense of loss. Okay, so some minutes do slip past me, but I will not loose days or weeks to sorrow. I’m sure some part of me will never “get over” it, and that’s fine. My dad taught me many things during his life, but I hope his unexpected death will help me live my own life more fully and with purpose. It sounds cliche, but we truly never know how much time any of us has. There is not enough time to delay your dreams or ignore your passion. If you’ve stuck it out this far and are still reading my uncharacteristically personal post, I hope this is the message you take with you; Don’t be afraid to live out loud and don’t let yourself be an orchid when difficulties come your way.

natashal

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“Wordless” Wednesday

I guess this post isn’t really wordless, but that is exactly how I feel – wordless.

I currently don’t have words to describe how I feel after the sudden and unexpected loss of my father. Even that word, father, doesn’t seem like the correct choice. It sounds too cold and formal to me, and those are two words that no one would ever use in describing him. These short sentences have taken me over 20 minutes to write, because that is how at a loss for words I am. I’ll just leave you with this one picture of the Sydney Opera House at night. I was so looking forward to sharing my Australia trip photos with my dad because he was always eager to see and learn something new. I’m sure he would have asked me questions about Sydney and Australia that revealed he somehow knew factoids I didn’t about a place I’d recently visited.

Sydney Opera House

It will be a couple weeks before I’m able to start blogging regularly again. I want to return to writing regularly as soon as I can to help my life feel more normal, but it will be a little while before I’m ready. Thank you so much to my Blogging Business Artisans teammates who have already shown me so much love and support.

natashal

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