Monday, April 21, 2014

On Busyness and Peace

"Busy is the enemy of peace."

   Those are some nice words from Lara Casey. On some level I agree with them, completely, but on another I have to say the opposite is true as well ---

Peace is the enemy of busy.

   Though as I write that out I think it's not quite right. Maybe more like ---

Stagnation is the enemy of productivity.
And stagnation is often confused as peace.
And busy is often confused as productive.

   I'm one of those that always thought that if I wasn't busy I was doing something wrong. And you know what? Not only was I been perpetually frazzled, but I was so overwhelmed with the items on my plate that I got into this horrible habit of binge-and-purge when it came to work and rest. I would procrastinate and I would flutter back and forth between different commitments. I never knew what I was doing, or what I should be doing, so I would just stop. I would do absolutely nothing, except worry in the back of my mind about everything I wasn't doing. Then at the 13th hour, I would explode into a frenzy of accomplishment (or attempted accomplishment).

   It's awful.
   And it's undisciplined.

   Discipline is an area to be balanced with freedom. I'm reading this book by Elisabeth Elliot right now, and I think she makes a lot of good points. I'll probably make a post about it when I've finished reading. One thing I'm learning is that a little bit of discipline can be a really, really good thing and that there's an inherent discipline in the nature of being balanced.

   In order to be an efficient and productive worker, I need ample time to rest. In order to find my resting time restful, I need to have had a productive work day. In order to enjoy the time I spend relaxing on my comfortable couch, I need to spend non-relaxing time in a more work oriented chair. In order to get the most out of my time on social media, I need to limit the amount of time I spend there. In order to chill my brain with a good tv show, I need to watch the right amount of tv and at the right times. In order to have a big slice of chocolate cake for a special occasion dessert, I have to not eat a piece of chocolate cake after every meal.

   There can be both too much and too little of a good thing, and while that sounds like a cliche, it still warrants saying. When something good is abused, it is no longer good. It becomes a crutch or a trap or a vacuum.

   From what I've been learning so far, discipline comes through firm decisions, accountability, grace, and what I like to call "the velcro effect". The velcro effect is the term I've come up with to describe that feeling you get when you force yourself to do something that you absolutely do not feel like doing, because I think the image of ripping apart two pieces of velcro conveys that feeling better than I could ever explain. I've heard before that "Discipline is not about forcing yourself to improve. It's about wanting to get better," but I'm finding that I don't quite agree with that. Rather, I think that discipline is about wanting to get better and forcing yourself to try.

   Right now, I'm trying to find the balance between being an overachiever and being someone who achieves nothing. I want a work ethic that is healthy, inspired, fruitful, challenging, and balanced. I have no idea how to do that, but I'm trying.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

101 in 1001: Utah Ski Trip

   Two days after we ran our 5K, Austin and I flew to Utah for a week-long ski trip in Park City. I've never been to Utah before so this trip was multipurpose: ski (obvs.), visit a new state, and spend some good quality time with Austin's family.


   We left dark and early for the airport on a Sunday morning in early February. We took a pretty quick and painless flight into Salt Lake City and then had the joy of solving the rental car puzzle: how to fit 6 people, 11 suitcases, and several backpacks into 1 Tahoe.

   Once we had everything (and everyone) tetris'd into place we took a quick driving tour of Salt Lake City before checking into our condos.


   We stayed at Silver King Hotel (which actually has little condos and not hotel rooms -quite misleading name). Each couple had their own, separate little condo from a nice deal on Groupon. The place was nice (in-room jacuzzis and fireplaces!) and we were able to walk to the slopes each day. There was also the classic steamy hot tub that you run to as fast as you can in your swimsuit to warm up. Can't have a ski trip without that.

   On our first evening, we took a trip to the grocery store and stocked up on lots of meals and snacks. We had breakfast in our rooms each morning - eggs, fruit, and bagels. We had soup and grilled cheese back at the condo for lunch some days, others we ate on the mountain. And we each took turns cooking dinner for the whole family. It saved a lot of money, allowed us to watch the Olympics in the evenings, and provided some good, old-fashioned family time. One evening, I taught Austin's family how to make snow ice cream :) Can't go skiing without making some of that! Milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and a bowl full of fresh snow. Delightful atop a brownie.

   We had a really, really awesome dinner out one night with the Snowed Inn Sleigh Company. We met by the ski lifts for an old-fashioned horse drawn sleigh ride to the company's little restaurant up the mountain. They served the most delicious western food and played live music. My courses were the vegetarian options and they were seriously some of the best vegetarian foods I've ever had in my life. It was so fun and delicious - you have to do it if you're ever in Park City. For real.


   One of the coolest things about the trip was the ski rental place - no lie. When we all walked into Ski 'N See on our first day to get us some skis, we recognized the song playing in the store. A few more seconds in the shop and it dawned on us . . . they were playing The Wedding! (Our brother-in-law was their drummer until recently - he's the one on the far right in the photo down there.) That was cool, so we all smiled and went with it. Then they played another Wedding song, and another, and we realized this wasn't just a song on the radio - they were playing the entire CD!

   We found out that one of the shop workers had recently discovered The Wedding and loved them. He enjoyed meeting Matt and we all sort of bonded with the guy. We had lunch with him on the slopes one day and we're all Facebook friends with him now! If you're wondering, yes, we did receive exceptional service. If you're ever renting skis in Park City, go to Ski 'N See and ask for Eric. He's awesome and he likes good music.


   We tried to start off easy, since several of us hadn't skied in years, but unfortunately we had a little ski lift mix up and that didn't quite happen . . . But all was well in the end. After a difficult morning, we had a laidback, mostly green afternoon on our first ski day.

   After that we had our skiing legs under us a little better so we decided to venture down the "Adventure Alleys." There were 5 of these that wove in and out of trees, over jumps, and around huge build-ups of powder. These were my favorite runs from the trip. Added perk - if you try them all and tell the information desk your favorite, they give you a prize. I won't spoil the surprise, but it's definitely worth doing.

   Other favorite runs were Payday, Georgeanna, Treasure Hollow, Homerun, and Claimjumper.

   We had lunch once at the Mid-Mountain Lodge and once at the Summit Restaurant (with our new friend from the ski shop). I had a pretty good veggie burger at Mid-Mountain and a really good loaded salad at the Summit.


   We spent one day mid-week exploring the town. Everyone was ready for a break after 2 days of fun but exhausting skiing. We started out with a webcam geocache just off the slopes and a walk through downtown Park City before lunch at Vinto. I never knew a 5-onion pizza could be so delicious.

   After lunch we found another geocache at Shoe Tree Park - seriously, these are trees with tons of shoes thrown over the branches!

   We got cold from all of that geocache searching, so we decided to stop in to Atticus for some coffee/tea/hot chocolate. I had the Goblet of Fire and it was one of the most delicious lattes of my life. There were tons of books to browse and live music to set the mood for a relaxing evening.


   I really got out of my comfort-zone this trip. I'm used to leisurely skiing around, enjoying scenery, resting often and this trip was a big change for me. I spent more time on difficult terrain, went over some jumps, literally ran into a tree (thankfully it was a cushion-y evergreen), pushed my speed and control, and conquered unrelated injury and illness. It was a really fun trip filled with exercise, personal betterment, and family time - and I'm so grateful that Austin's parents arranged the whole thing for us!

   Things I learned about Utah: It's expensive (at least, Park City is). The snow is good. Sean White has his own mountain there. Deep Relief works wonders on knee pain (okay that one isn't so much Utah). It's possible to fall and literally be stuck in the snow. The slopes are harder - any greens that weren't specifically beginner greens really felt more like blues. It's beautiful.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Goals

   Well, if I'm completely honest, this was not my favorite March. For several reasons. But regardless, I accomplished most of my goals. I did not get a set of curtains made, though I did look around and try to decide which ones I wanted to make. That goal is being carried over into April. I'm also still 1 behind in my monthly baking goal (see #29), so I'll be working on that again in April too. I completed everything else except learning first aid skills for cats, which I forgot to ask my mom to teach me when she was in town for a visit (she's an RVT). Whoops . . . another time then.

   Here is what I intend to accomplish in April:

1. Make a set of curtains for my desk.
2. Bake 2 things from Pinterest and memorize 1 verse.
3. Send my April letter.
4. Read a chapter of my investing book each week (I'll finish it one of these days!)
5. Finish our home management binder.
6. Scrapbook.
7. Start running again. Slowly. 
I want to do a combination walk/jog 3days/week and do the physical therapy exercises for my hip flexor every day.
8. Purge my vanity of everything I don't love or need.
9. Purchase a frame for my Mandy Cave Watercolor print.
10. Reach level 25 on League of Legends.


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