Friday, July 10, 2009

Creative Outlet

Last night I sat on the 2ND floor terrace of the MDE Public Library. The hard metal chairs cradled me as I typed away on my laptop. The warm air slowly mingled with the sounds of a softball game, and the sun gracefully set while casting off glowing hues of passionate begonias and fuscias. It was too late when I realized that I missed these moments of peace in their entirety as I only noticed them during my brief glances away from the screen.

So a day later, I would like to spend a moment reflecting on this moment that passed me by.

Every so often, I think the majority of people spend their days just going and attempting to complete the mundane tasks of life. I was a part of that group of people last night. The rest of our world's population are either doing something of significance. More importantly, there exist those who are not doing but rather being. Somehow their tasks or priorities still get accomplished as they focus on being themselves. I'd like to be this last type of person.

If I could have lived last night over again, this is probably what I would have done:

I think if I had come out to the terrace in the same state of mind, I would have put my bags down. Maybe I would have walked to the edge and leaned against the railing, or I might have decided to sit down somewhere that afforded a good view of the area. After this initial step, I think I might have decided to take it all in, little by little, one section at a time.

The first section would have been to the east. Over in that direction, I would have heard the goings on of a softball or baseball game. I think I would have spent some time intentionally smiling, as I probably would have done some internal reflection and memory re-living of my own childhood times spent at a ballpark.

After the shouts and cries of joy or despair filled me up with a new sense of wonder, I think I would have turned north.

The open spaces would greet me with their waving grasses, wild prairie dogs and serenely flying birds. I would think of the few date nights that my husband and I have spent walking hand in hand through them, whispering our souls secrets to one another. Occasionally we'd laugh with or at one another, and sometimes we would embrace. We would point out the different flora and fauna like the old married couple that we pretend to be. Maybe I would think about that time that we found wheat growing in one of the fields by the Brunner house. We decided to try out the kernels which tasted very sweet and tangy, excited that a city chose to grow something edible and sustainable within our very community. Or I would reflect on the time we roller bladed around the open spaces. Chad spent most of his time behind me, making sure I didn't bite it as my unsteady legs constantly threatened to give out on me at any moment. Lastly, I might ponder the moments that I've spent on my own running through them. Those solitary moments have given me some of my most brilliant insights, allowed me to resolve tough issues, and drawn me closer to my Creator in ways that few other activities do.

The last direction I would turn is west. By this point, the sun would be setting, and the crisp pigmentation of the sky mingling with the water colored cotton-ball clouds would capture me. I would think of the God who created all of this: the things both seen and unseen, the things of the soul, body, mind, spirit, earth, wind, water, fire. That this God who breathed all of this into creation, also created me with intention, purpose and joy. Joy. I was created with joy. Maybe I would reflect on His sacrifice, or maybe I would think of His love for me, others and the world. I don't know. Or maybe, at this point, I would just stop doing. I would stop trying to accomplish something, as I might realize that this whole time I was still performing to an agenda of being a proactive "be-er." At this revelation, I might sigh. I might sit down if I was standing, or I'd stand if I had been sitting. I would lean towards the west, towards the majestic now purple mountains and drink in everything.

I would be.

And during this "be-ing,"'s possible....but maybe more of me would come out of that whole experience than before I started.

Friday, July 3, 2009

the little princess

one of my favorite movies growing up. enjoy!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What are you supposed to do?

Each day, I am encountered with my daily task list. I either have it written out (when I'm "on top of things" and my OCD tendencies get the better of me) or I have it in my head (which inevitably dissolves into a few items that usually only half-get done). Sometimes the realities of how much I have to do slightly freaks me out, which has at times rendered me helpless...or at least a little less able to start right away (and has at times been the main factor in the attack of the list beginning at 8pm after an entire day of finding other things to do).

So, amidst all of this, I constantly ask myself, "Is this really worth it?" I mean, really. Is it worth finding the perfect 100% whole wheat no-knead bread recipe? Is it worth blending my own hummus only to wash out the food processor parts...again. Is it worth having cast iron cookware, that I meticulously re-season after each use? Is grad school worth all of the sacrifices that seem potentially small at the time (take sleep for example), but may at some point have long-term irreversible consequences (take the inability to sleep at all as another example)? Is it worth vacuuming my apartment when in a few hours somebody will walk in, on a rainy day no less, and walk around before I catch them and say, "Please take off your shoes"? (Seriously people, didn't your mother teach you to remove your shoes when you come in the house? Isn't it slightly disgusting that you are tracking the entire grossness of the outside world through your home? Through my home?!) Is it worth growing my own sprouts, that I find myself constantly rinsing, and harvesting? Over and over and over again? Is it worth going to the gym to work out, when really, you're just setting yourself to take yet another shower? Is showering really worth it? They didn't shower back in the 1800' why do we have to now? Why do I even bother with all of this?

Because I do. Because it does matter, and yes, every bit is worth it. Finding the perfect easy bread recipe means paying $1.25/loaf of whole wheat goodness, instead of $6 for the same type of bread (with less nutritional value might I add). Blending my own hummus means I don't have to complain about the weird taste, since I get to make my own flavors (I'm going to try out sundried tomato and basil next!) Cast iron cookware, although it seems like it takes a lot of work, is more non-stick than regular non-stick cookware (which was developed to imitate cast iron cookware), it's cheaper, lasts longer, and cooks better. Not to mention, I'm not getting any of those chemicals in my body that take years to get rid of. As far as grad school, I hope it's worth it. After all this work, if I'm still working some lame job, I'll cry. A lot. Maybe I'll get my PhD then, so at least I can be called "Dr. Bentfield" at my lame job. I hope I re-learn how to sleep though, it's seriously messing me up. And shoot, vacuuming is underrated. I can lie down on my floor and know that I'm not essentially lying down on a city sidewalk...that's pretty sweet. Besides, the place just looks better after the grooming a carpet gets after a good vacuum. Nothing like it. I think I might have to put a sign on the door though to ask people to remove their shoes though...or maybe I'll buy a bunch of house-slippers so that when they come in, it's normal to slip them on for everybody and we can be all cozy and clean together. Yes, it's worth growing sprouts, although they can seem like a hassle at times. They really are easy to grow and are so healthy, it's hard to not do it. Besides, growing your own sprouts is like 95% cheaper than buying them at the store....And I suppose going to the gym has it's benefits. I won't always be winded walking up my stairs. And showering is good too- at least for the people around me. I'm a girl, so I just don't end up smelling that bad (I didn't shower for a week on a camping trip, and I wasn't gross per say).


Sure. It's worth it I suppose. But why do I do it all? I think in the end, it's just because I care. I care about my body, I care about my family, I care about my environment, I care about the world. I care about sustainable living, and I care about being healthy. When I come to that to do list, I should be thinking, "What in this list supports what I care about the most?" Maybe that will help me divide and conquer the tasks, so I'll know what I'm supposed to do.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My friend Aaron Strumpel

Is an amazing musician. If you like music at all...or if you've ever heard his music (think Enter the Worship Circle), you'll love his new album. Here is a recent review for

The Elephant


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Apartment Dwelling

When I was in high school, I would often fantasize about having my own apartment. The realities of hearing your neighbor attempting to finagle with the hot water in their shower while the hot water temporarily graces your shower has made those fantasies quickly dissolve into wishful thinking for my future house.

It really is the funniest thing you know.

Just about every time that I take a shower, my hot water sings at a high pitch before it runs away leaving me shivering under a frigid stream. Inevitably, when my fingertips begin to turn blue, I reach down and attempt to just ever so slightly tweak the "Cold" knob so that it will be just a little bit less, only to find that the shower gods have become angry with me while they send back my hot water with full force.

My already short showers have become even shorter. There have been mornings when my bathing time has been truncated due to the hot water being "out of the office." On these days, hopefully if I've managed to frigidly wash before I step out, I end up washing my husband's hair with water heated on the tea kettle. We then say good-bye to one another in the hopes that our smelly selves will have the opportunity to become clean by the end of the day, when the hot water decides to come back home.

Alas, I believe we will be stuck with increasing such memorable moments as we continue to live in our lovely apartment. One day...*sigh* day, we'll be able to leave the land of hearing-your-downstairs-neighbor's-child-crying-at-2am, and we can enter into the blissful world of fixing our own water heater.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our first wedding anniversary!

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary this past Sunday. It's amazing how time flies! We didn't buy each other anything since we're planning on going to the Candlelight Dinner Theater this coming Saturday to watch, "Swing!" a dance/musical production. Luckily, I found out that the first wedding anniversary gift is traditionally paper. So. I think our tickets will be our gift to one another as we share this memory!

For those of you who aren't sure what kinds of gifts are appropriate for each anniversary, check out this website.

It's pretty sweet!

Happy Wednesday :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Getting it down in writing always helps

Even if it isn't listed on my "goals" sheet or personal objectives, just knowing it's out there for all the "world" to see makes it a little bit more real. Granted, the "world" in this case might be the three people who actually read this from time to time...but I know you'll ask me about this and it will be a little bit more motivation to follow through.

I'd like to run a marathon by the time I'm 30 years old. Sure, there are many circumstances that could prevent me from achieving this goal such as pregnancy, unexpected amputation, and so forth. Regardless, to the best of my abilities, I would like to have run a marathon. Maybe climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is next, maybe rafting in Patagonia...but a marathon seems difficult enough to reach for but still doable.

Okay, I've gotten that out of the way. I'd also like to run a 1/2 marathon this year. It looks like the Denver Marathon and 1/2 Marathon will be happening this October on the 18th. I'm thinking this is a good goal to reach for, thanks to Melissa Mendoza (Laura's sister) who told me about it. On the off chance that somebody is reading this, would any of you be interested in training in your respective locations to run this with me? I think it would be fun.

Alrighty, I've "put it out there." Now I've gotta do it. I'll start with getting my homework done for today! :) Until next time....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Coffee Shop and more

Growing up, I had the perspective that coffee shops are the place to be: You can go there for open-mic sessions, there is almost always a "house blend" of the much beloved java, coffee shop jams are playing whilst you work on something for personal, business or academic reasons, and the list goes on. They are places where you meet up with friends to "meet up for coffee" and they are places that provide the lush comfy couches and chairs that one needs while they journal about some stressful or blissful event in their life.

As of late, many coffee shops have been bridging that gap from just a place that sells coffee to a place that sells tea, herbal infusions, smoothies and food of all kinds, making that transition into a bistro rather than a coffee place.

My old favorite coffee shop, Saxby's Coffee, has undergone many of these similar changes. Not only does it continue to have a drive-through (something I feel more non-Starbuck's places must have if they wish to compete with the big green S-monster), but they have introduced beverages and food that both titillate and satisfy the body's needs. The drawbacks with this change seem to outweigh the benefits of it's new name, 52 Eighty Crepes & Bistro (which seems to lack the zing and distinctness of Saxby's). It has lost the intimate feel that no-name coffee shops tend to possess. With a new owner (who I still haven't met), the employees seem to be left in the dark about what goes on outside the boundaries of their little 10 foot kingdom from which they work. Everything has taken on an edge that seems to imitate the casual side of pottery barn while attempting to be both modern and relaxed. There are virtually no "lighter" options for meals and beverages, limiting the health-conscious consumer to herbal tea and water. And, to make matters worse, they have a TV that plays in the back of the shop, with captions. I always thought that an escape to my beloved coffee-shop of choice meant escaping my home and everything that goes with it. If I wanted to watch TV and eat junky food while smattering my beverages with every unhealthy additive imaginable, I would stay at home and eat processed lunchables!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snowy Mondays

Snow snow, go away, come again another day....

We woke up this morning to a lot of snow. Normally I would be thrilled with the prospect of going out to snowshoe or have a snowball fight. This morning I did not experience one of those thrilling moments of anticipation. Instead, I found my mood darkening and a general cloud settling above me.

There are many reasons for this but I suppose the main one is that I did not sleep well last night. I spent the night tossing and turning as I was hot then cold (repeat that cycle about 15 times), while my husband's snores resembled a ticking time-bomb. I half-expected a beeping alarm to commence at any moment as it announced our ill-fated doom! After we completed our morning activities and I sent Chad off to work like a good wife does, I crawled back into bed hoping to awake in a better mood- to no avail.

Normally I am not a "I hate Mondays" person, but today I will join the ranks and tip my half-full glass of (insert the name of your favorite stimulant-ridden beverage here) to those who share my sentiments and wish one and all a fantastic week filled with....better mornings than I experienced today.

Well, I can't complain that much though. I did wake up to my husband turning off my alarm light as he tiptoed out to let me sleep in a bit longer. He did give me many tender hugs and snuffly kisses on my cheek as I slowly woke up after he ate breakfast. I was able to get more sleep and shake off the general fogginess that clouded my mind for a time. And, the morning just finished and Monday is officially half-over. The sun has come out and shines brightly through the gray clouds, creating a blinding ethereal atmosphere that radiates silver in the sky. The snow is no longer falling but rather blowing around from rooftop to ground in clumps and translucent clouds. There is much to be grateful for.