Like Me on Facebook

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Staring at the Walls on a Saturday Night!

OK, so I said 2017 was the year that I was going to get off my a$$ and do things my future self would thank me for. 

For the first half of 2017, I really aimed for that goal. I explored with my daughter and made some amazing memories, especially when we visited South Dakota - a first for both of us! I also did things like this kitchen project pictured below:
Painting my kitchen and downsizing some of the collectibles made a huge difference. It feels more "open" and light. This is something that I am indeed thanking myself NOW for doing back then! 
The VERY pale blue (almost white) walls were not the biggest challenge of the project. Installing the old-school metal tin-type back splash was a unique experience to say the least! However, I am super-proud of how it came out. I am also pleased to say that minus watching some "how to" videos and borrowing some supplies, I did this all by myself. 
Beyond home repairs, I started off the year by buying walking passes to Shaw Nature Reserve. Thanks to my jaunts at Shaw, various State Parks, and the roads in and around my hometown, I really was starting to feel a whole lot better on many levels. 

Sadly, in September it slowed down due to more work obligations. From there it only got worse. Most of October and November I was home coughing and sneezing thanks to a prolonged Fall allergy season in Missouri this year. Walking, doing home improvement projects, or even updating this blog just seemed to fade into the allergy-induced haze.
It wasn't all horrible. I did get out on some drives to enjoy the Fall colors here in Missouri, but now I am sitting here realizing that for about four months, I've really slowed down and am missing the better physical and emotional health I feel when being active. 

So, here I sit on a Saturday night pondering it all. Clearly, I am kicking myself a little hard thinking about all the walks I did not take the past few months. I hope that before 2017 is over I'll make it on a few trails. 

And, I am looking at the walls in my front room. They are the last few in the house that need to be painted since I purchased the home a few years back. I have had the paint color selected since August. I hope to start on that project sooner than later, too. Lighten, brighten, and downsize some of the "clutter." (Honestly, do I really need this many things to dust?)

Perhaps now that I have put both items out here publicly for any and all to see - it will make me more accountable. Ultimately, the fact my Fall allergies aren't raging because it's starting to feel more like WINTER in Missouri could be the REAL reason the before-mentioned happens! But if you guys can hold me to it, that's really appreciated.

2017 isn't quite over and I'd like to get back on track.

Until next time, 
M of MK Designs

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Balance? What's THAT!?

2017 was supposed to be the year I got off my a$$ to walk and explore more. Up to the end of August, I was really doing well.
Then, it happened.

Heat and long work hours conspired against my best efforts.

I am hopeful to turn that around sooner than later. I feel more sluggish and less balanced without my time outdoors. 

In other news, I caved and my daughter finally won her hard-fought battle to dye her hair. I have to be honest. I love it. 

I think it's fun to watch her develop her own style. She recently asked me to order her a few shirts (see the picture) from an artist she likes on YouTube. WalkingMelonsAAA is an artist that my daughter really looks up to.

I have found some time to read, though. I find the act to be quite relaxing because I am not reading off a glowing screen. I find PAPER books to be my fave!

I just finished an interesting book titled An Unfinished Marriage. While it's not my typical read, I enjoyed this passage:

"We must be careful not to lose sight of our dreams in favor of the stability of day-to-day life. What's more, we need to hold back a portion of our days for each other, not just meal times."

Granted, I am not married, but this passage really hit home with me because lately I am feeling very unbalanced in my life. Work is dominating my world. I need to not forget my dreams and I must make more time for those I love (daughter, parents, etc.) beyond a quick bite to eat. 
While I know this juggling act is not easily mastered, lately I feel consumed by work. Something has to "give" soon. 

Hopefully the next time I post, I'll have some great "getting off my a$$" photos from a day (or weekend) of exploration!

Until next time, 
M of MK Designs

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summer 2017: Lessons in Savoring the Moment

Today I took my daughter to register for the 7th grade. 

She's officially a Middle School student. 

We have jumped from this:

To this:

And, shortly after, we jumped to this: 
Because it is time to start a savings account for a sweet ride!

REWIND back to yesterday. I took my daughter, mom, and aunt on an adventure! 
We explored Meramec Caverns and Onodaga Cave. We squeezed another drop out of summer. 
What can really beat enjoying a hard-earned ice cream treat on a warm August day with the people who matter most to you? Not much actually. 
Summers fly by faster and faster each year I am alive. I remember them passing by slowly in my youth. 

I have memories of calling the school pretending to be my mom in order to find out who my teacher would be. (Sorry, mom!) Then, calling my friends to see if they would do the same. Would we all be in the same class? THAT was the big mystery to solve as we were twiddling our thumbs and counting down the days until we could see each other again.

I was always looking ahead, not enjoying the here and the now. Perhaps that is how it goes. Maybe that is what propels us towards adulthood? 

I just know that NOW I do my best to live in the moment and not wish it away. 

Because, before you know it, a beautiful moment is gone. Such as this one from camping and hiking with my daughter in 2013:
Now that I am on the flip side of it, days speed by. I can't have enough time off to enjoy moments with my daughter and other loved ones. 

This summer we had adventures in Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Illinois, Wisconsin and (right here) in Missouri. Not one second seemed to creep along slowly. They passed like a scene from the "Fast and Furious" movie franchise. 

However, there were some moments that did seem so beautiful that they slowed down just enough for me to savor them. Strangely enough, it reminds me of this scene from a Star Trek film I enjoy:
Time is indeed something we cannot control, but we can control our reactions to it. As for myself, all I can do is savor the moments where time briefly pauses for me to delight in what is in front of me. 

Watching my daughter walk in golden light near our KOA Campground in Spearfish, South Dakota

Marveling at the fact my daughter had no problem rushing ahead of me towards this view in the Badlands:
Sitting at a picnic table at our KOA in Onawa, Iowa...watching the wind and light upon my daughter's face, and thinking about just how beautiful she is:
Afterall, as the song goes, we "can't fence time." However, I do believe we can be more aware and recognize a moment that must be savored. 

Until next time,

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I Have This Hope...For Healing!

Life's been intense. 

From one extreme to another seems to be the theme, but I've kept up so far on my 2017 goal of getting off my keister to hike, walk, and now camp more. For that, I am quite content. Haven't lost a pound, but I've gained more confidence and some amazing experiences. 
So much beauty out the couch and out the front door!

On a totally different note, I've been contemplating the struggles I've watched people I care for endure... 

I wish the answer was a simple as "get off your arse and go walk in nature." 

Granted, a good walk in the woods can lead to healing on many levels, but some wounds run so deep that it's hard to heal that quickly or simply. 
See the heart? I found this at Hickory Canyons Natural Area (MO).
In the end, all I can do is pray, listen, offer time, and hope like crazy the physical ailments, the emotional drains, and broken hearts can be healed. Simply put, it hurts me to see people hurt. 

Yet, I do not want my empathy to be taken as pity. I know the people I see subjected to the trials of life are strong and would hate to be the subject of "poor him/her" thoughts. (As would I, too!) 

While the "right" words escape me, my parting uplifting thoughts include;

* Keep Swimming (Dory).
* Be Still and Know...

* "No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself."

* Kindness Matters.

* Fresh Air Clears the Mind.
* "One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."

* When in doubt, listen to "Three Little Birds."

* Give it to God. 
* Just breathe... and know you have a friend out there who is thinking of you!
May your worries and troubles be healed, 
June 1, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Long Time, No Blog...and That's OK!

Well, my mantra for 2017 is this:
I have been doing so many things that my future self will thank me for that I haven't been as focused on this blog. Tonight, I shall update those of you who take the time to read these posts. The past few months have been exciting!

#1. I have been honing my skills as a writer. Sure, this may seem like a contradiction because of my lack of blog posts lately, but I promise you I have been writing. 

Articles I have penned have been published in the River Hills Traveler,, and most recently by MSTA in School and Community magazine. 

I love writing about a variety of topics ranging from a state park I enjoy to the need for media literacy. It's been such a blessing to be published and read by so many people lately. I am still not sure why people think what I have to say is of value, but they do and I am humbled by it! 
#2. Another moment where I just "did something" that I know my future self will thank me for revolves around Spring Break 2017! 

For the first time since I started teaching, the school I teach in scheduled a full Spring Break. I took advantage of it by suggesting to my mom that we take Karlene on her first flight. 
After looking at our flyer miles, we decided to fly to Arizona and spend a week seeing as much as possible. 
When my friend Terri asked me how it went, one word came to mind: harmonious. We all got along well. There were very few issues we encountered while traveling in Arizona. Things were smooth, peaceful, and fun. 

#3. Last, but not least, I have been physically getting off my a$$ a lot more already in 2017 than I did last year. 

There have been many walks and hikes at places like Shaw Nature Reserve, Robertsville State Park, and LaBarque Creek! They have all been beautiful and some have been challenging. Overall, I am happy to be out walking more in the outdoors.

On that note, Happy 100th Birthday to the Missouri State Parks system! Oh, how I love you so! I spent the day trying out the new Lost Hill Trail at Robertsville State Park in honor of the occassion. 

So, as I wrap this up, I do hope in some ways you are inspired to take a little bit of my 2017 mantra and apply it in your own life. Perhaps you can find those things that you can do NOW that will make your future self very happy!

Until next time,
M of MK Designs

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Out and About and Livin' the Insta-Dream

As you can see, I jumped on the Instagram train with my photography. It's been interesting. I've gotten fun feedback (and some spammers) and inspiration. 
FUN FACT: KOA (the amazing Kamping experience) liked one of my photos on Instagram so much they used it (with my permission) on their feed! 
Instagram has "opened my eyes" to what is trending in photography...and in life! Apparently living with less, flannel and coffee-filled mornings, hiking, van life, and car camping are all in style. Who knew? 
I think some of what I see is a very glossy view of it, but I have found a few free-spirited true souls to follow and I enjoy how they are living life. It's certainly expanded my view. 

As far as the whole "getting off my a$$ in 2017" and getting outside more, it's a work in progress. Things like weather, work, and a nasty stomach bug that had me down for ages REALLY cut into the exploring on two feet goal. 
Today was a gem at least... weather, work, and health were on my side. It was a fun Saturday of hauling off aluminum, running other errands, doing school work, and picking up a TON of sticks and limbs! When it's so nice outside in February you can have a fire pit with marshmallows to celebrate a job well done, that's a special day indeed.
Once the chores were done, it was a great opportunity to use that "walking pass" I purchased for Shaw Nature Reserve. We got in a little over an hour and luckily made it back to the car right before they closed the gates for the evening. 

Here's where today's walk took us:
We tried to explore areas we hadn't walked on our two previous hikes. Since we were pressed for time, I feel like we didn't stop to look around enough. Despite being rushed, I did click a few pictures (of course). 

I hope you had a great day, too. And, as always, thank you for stopping by. Your support of what I do is greatly appreciated!

~ M of MK Designs Photography