Joshua Tree National Park

This past weekend we made a little road trip over to CA to see my mom for her birthday. On the way back from CA we stopped by Joshua Tree State Park for the first time.

We drive by J Tree almost every time we go to California but we have never stopped before. What a mistake! It was a beautiful desert landscape with great hiking and views.

We were there in February which I’m sure is peak visiting season. The weather was just getting a little warm with a good breeze.

While we were there we hiked along the Lost Palms Oasis Trail. We didn’t get to hike too long since we were on the road but it was a great couple miles and a wonderful break in the drive.

Routine

Happy New Year! Today I have been working on making some delicious, vegan snacks and treats for a New Year Eve’s Party that we are throwing for our new Arizona friends. They are not vegan, and will probably bring their own snacks but at least we can eat!

The other day I took Penny on a walk that we have been on several times. It is a beautiful walk and it has not gotten old yet, at least not for me. Penny is all about going on a different walk every single day.

We were just chugging along when I was struck by how much I have been allowing myself to follow a routine and actually enjoy it.

A couple years ago I took the Enneagram and I am pretty sure I am a 7. For the 7 they like variety and are excited to do a lot of different things. Sooo the fact that I am enjoying the routine of my life right now is pretty big!

The thing that I realized that is helping me find value in routine is that I am not stuck. I have chosen this current routine. The yoga classes I go to follow the same flow each time, I take Penny on a 2 mile loop that we enjoy. I wake up everyday at 6:30 like a crazy person!

The thing that I am learning about routine is that there is always something different in each experience. In yoga I notice the way my body feels in a different pose or how much more or less flexible I am in each pose.

When I was on the walk with Penny she stopped to take a good long smell. While she was smelling the red dirt I looked up and had a different view than I had seen for a while.

View of Bell Rock from our hike.

We live in such a beautiful place and there are many different things to see. I realized that there is no problem in routine as long as it does not become a rut.

Arizona Snow

I have lived in places that get snow for a good chunk of my life. I say “places that get snow” because it doesn’t quite feel right to say I live through harsh winters when I live in Arizona. The worst winters I experienced were in Flagstaff, Arizona. But even that wasn’t too bad as the Arizona sun still melts three feet of snow rather quickly.

Fully acknowledging that I have been rather fortunate when it comes to snow storms I still have had a bit of an aversion to winter for the last three years. During that snow three feet of snow we got in Flagstaff I fell on some black ice and hurt my knee badly. I had to get surgery and spend about a year building my leg strength back up.

I think it is safe to say that after that incident I was pretty traumatized of snow and ice. We moved to Reno for a couple of years and I was a mess of a person every time it snowed. Reno snow is also fast melting snow, but the skies did not get blue. It was dark and gloomy for a lot of last winter and I was done. I told Scott that I had maybe one winter left in me.

When we decided to move back to Arizona we considered Flagstaff but the winter wasn’t something I was willing to do at the time. We decided to move an hour south of Flag to Sedona. The elevation is about 4000 feet where we live which means that we will get seasons but they will be much more mild.

I had been somewhat dreading our first snow this year. Would it be icy and horrible like when I fell? Will it be grey and gloomy like Reno? Will I hate our new homeland?

Turns out that I was so silly to worry.

We woke up yesterday morning to a white backyard that simmered in magic. Fresh falling snow is the absolute best. I sat on my couch with my morning tea looking out the dinning room window watched big wet flakes float and coat the ground.

backyard beauty

We got about 3 or 4 inches of snow by noon. Then the clouds parted a bit of sun came out and the snow started to melt. By 3 the driveway was mostly clear and I ran some errands, not afraid of falling on ice.

I think that most Arizona snow is the best snow of all. I had all the magic of a beautifully snow-kissed vista and none of the sadness that old snow brings the soul.

Why Blog Again: Thankful for Today

I have been asking myself this a few times? Why come back to a space that you have such mixed feelings about? You used to blog every single day for three years. Then one day you decided you had enough of the hustle and the blog game and you quit. You took all your content down and moved on like it wasn’t something you invested your time, energy, and even money in. So why blog again?

The things I loved about blogging a few years ago are not things that are monetized or quantified. I loved looking at my past day and looking for things that made it worth of being written about. I could take the most basic event and write a long post about what it meant to me. I let the blog game get in the way of what I loved. I wanted to keep up with the lifestyle girls and their blogs. After a while I got over it and I burned it all to the ground, as it were.

I am here simply because I love to write. I love to think about myself and my day in healthy ways again and I want to have a place that feels semi-permeate to share who I am.

This time it will be different. I plan to write about what ever I want to each day. I hope that this space will be a positive one for me to return to each day.

So let’s get started!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. It was a really good one. Not good in the sense of a lot of people coming over, a huge meal, and all the food. But good in the sense that I did not end the day feeling stuffed or sad or like I had missed out on something. These are feelings that I have had in the past and I have worked to find why the holidays can be hard.

Yesterday, Scott, Penny and I decided to take a hike in the neighborhood. Since we had the whole day to ourselves we decided to try a loop trail we hadn’t been on before. It was a beautiful hike in red rock country. We did not have a time limit or a place we needed to get to. So we just walked for 2 hours. Our hike ended up being about five miles long.

Mid-hike on the Courthouse Butte loop trail.
Just one of the beautiful views of the day.
Beauty in the storm – Cathedral Rock in the distance.

This was the first time that we just make being outside in nature our priority for Thanksgiving which felt amazing.

After the hike we came home and I made some lentil pasta with kalamata olives and capers. One of my favorite things in the world is lentil pasta! Why not load up on some protine while eating one of my favorite dishes.

We then watched some TV and hung out around the house. Nothing fancy, just time together.

For dinner I made a jackfruit buffalo dip that was amazing. We had a good portion of veggies and tortillas with it. For dessert I made some simple peanut butter cookies while we started to decorate our Christmas tree.

Buffalo Jackfruit with veggies and tortillas.

I am so proud of our Christmas Tree! We decided to get a tree that we could plant after Christmas. We went to the nursery knowing we wanted something native to the Verde Valley that would take naturally to our backyard. We ended up getting a ice blue Arizona Cypress tree. It is legit beautiful and not something that I expected.

Our ice blue Arizona cypress tree!

As I said before yesterday was one of the first holidays that I felt satisfied with. I did not overeat. I was not worried with family drama. I made all of our food and it was all vegan. I loved having a Thanksgiving where giving thanks was the centerpiece of the day.

That is all I have for today. I will be back tomorrow!