September 2nd

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

While I love summer, fall has always been my favorite.

I love the warmth, green, and outdoor fun that summer brings, but I also feel that summer in Minnesota tends to breed busy. Like every single thing that everyone has been waiting to do all winter is crammed into three short months. That every single moment must be taken advantage of, because winter is right around the corner (don’t ya know) – so you better make it count!

So plans are made, calendars are filled; everyone’s summer weekends book up before it’s even Memorial Day.

And then before you know it, it’s Labor Day weekend. Kids go back to school (although I know some of you are more than ready for that), flannels come out, PSL’s become the thing, leaves change, life slows back down, routines fall back into place.

Am I relating with anybody out there?

I am not the person you tell to
“Make it count!”
“It’ll be gone before you know it.” or even
“I’m already looking forward to next summer.”

If we’re being honest, that overwhelms me. I gladly welcome every change of season; each has it’s own unmistakable beauty. While I love jumping into the lake on a hot day, I also enjoy turning on my fireplace and cuddling in under my favorite blanket while snow falls outside. I love the crisp, cool air of fall as I pick pumpkins in our patch just as much as I love the first warm rays of spring sunshine on my face.

So I live each season, happy to be in it (except maybe in March and April when I’m just ready for some dang color in my life). I don’t think too hard about what tomorrow brings, because I’m content with today. Honestly, maybe not in all facets of my life, but because I can’t control the weather, I’m going to let God walk me through each day of His creation.

Paul’s been working like a crazy man, and his recent obligations with friends has filled his free time, so this was our first down day in a while. He just flew in from a bachelor party in Denver last night, and has to work again tonight, so today, Paul and I took the entire day and dated each other, and caught up on life.

After spending some time with KB this morning, we hopped over to Lake Rebecca Park and did some hiking. It had just finished raining, so the air was crisp and cool; it felt wonderful. Talk about being in creation – it was lovely to walk through the woods, breathe fresh air, hear all about Paul’s multiple encounters with bears over the weekend, and simply share in Paul’s company.

It was lunchtime by the time Paul and I got back to the truck, so Paul picked a spot for lunch to surprise me.

The Peppermint Twist Drive In!

I couldn’t have picked a better place! It was out first time going, and it was such a treat!

On our way home, we passed Baker Park, so we stopped to hike around again. I had never been to either park before, and it’s incredible the resources these parks have.

We walked through an area of the trail that had an entire field of Golden Rod in bloom – the Monarchs and Honey Bees were everywhere. Golden Rod is one of the last flowers (or weed, really) to bloom before fall, so it’s an excellent resource for pollinators to build their nectar stores before the cold season hits (I mean, look at those pollen sacs!).

Paul and I stood for a while and watched the Monarchs float around, and it was so lovely.

Simple pleasures.

August 15th

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

For those of you who follow the Enneagram, I am a 6w5.

Quick tangent – I should also say that if you do not know what the Enneagram is, or what number you are, it changed the way I view myself and others. A great tool of understanding, it breaks down personalities into nine different types. In conjunction with the Myers-Briggs personality assessments, I myself found it to be very powerful at understanding my underlying motivations and how that shapes my view on the world. This goes deeper than your fun personality quiz – this made me realize habits and thought processes that I thought were individual to myself, is actually characterized by my number. This changed the way I approach my search for satisfaction and relationship with others. If you’re interested in learning more, I would highly suggest reading The Road Back to You.

Anyway, I’m a six with a five wing. In it’s simplest form, I am motivated by fear (the six) and the quest for knowledge (five wing). My largest desire in life is to have support and security.

I only bring this up today because I had it pointed out to me that my five wing is very evident in my blog; I’ve been told that when I photograph something, but don’t know much about it that I look it up to supply answers for both myself and my readers. What I thought was basic curiosity is really more of a deep need to have the answers.

Today will be one of those days, ladies and gentleman.

I knew it from the moment I picked up my camera to photograph this butterfly. At the time, I didn’t even know if this critter was considered a butterfly or moth, and I thought to myself “I’ll have to look that up.” Now, I can tell you that this is indeed a butterfly – a male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail to be exact. From what I’ve read, this guy is a male because he has four black stripes across the top of his wings, and he has no blue along the bottom edge of his tail (this was more evident in other photos I have of him). This type of butterfly also is most drawn to sturdy red, purple, or pink flowers, hence this one’s interest in the red clover.

The more I think about my five wing, and look back on myself as a child, the more it becomes more apparent to me. I was excited to go into fifth grade, because the older kids had said we started “researching” things. We actually had to bring our first project with us to the first day of class. We received a letter in August that explained that our first project would be to collect 25 different types of bugs, butterflies, and other insects, and to bring them tacked to this special board on the first day of class. We also had to pick one of those insects and write a one page paper about it.

I was super excited about this.

Probably way more so than my classmates.

I can even remember what insect it was that I wrote my paper on – the Cabbage White Butterfly.

We also did a project on Native Americans that year. I can’t remember what tribe I was assigned, but we needed to make a diorama depicting how that tribe lived. My tribe lived in wigwams and used birch bark canoes; I remember that dad and I walked through the woods and found some birch trees so I could use the bark to actually make a small canoe for my project. Learning that transcended the traditional classroom approach and got me working with my hands was my absolute favorite.

Quite honestly, now that I’m thinking about it, that’s still how I learn best: by doing and creating.

If you decide to read about the Enneagram and you find out what number you are, I’d love it if you’d reach out and share it with me!

August 2nd

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

While this photo may give a lot of you the heebee jeebies, I can honestly say “not me!”.

I love bees. If you’ve followed my blog since last summer, you know my advocate stance on our pollinators.

After standing elbow deep over a hive, my face inches from thousands of bees, I have no fear.

I should also note that I don’t have an allergy to bees, so for those of you out there who do, I understand the hesitation and the aversion.

But for those of you who were simply taught to fear bees, consider changing your perspective.

You go to the grocery store all the time right? You pick up what your family needs, even if that means making multiple stops at different locations. You haul bags of items and food in and out of your car, up and down stairs, putting it all away into your pantry or refrigerator for future use. A relatively simple, average, everyday act, right? Only if your life was threatened would that interrupt your errands, make you act out in self defense.

Bees are no different from us.

Check out this guy. This sunflower is his grocery store. He’ll bop from this flower, to the clover in your yard, to the annuals on your front porch – all in an effort to gather food (or at least materials to make food). He’ll fill the special pollen sacs on his legs at each stop, then fly back home to unload it, giving it to other members of the hive to create and store food. He then heads back out to do it all again, because that is his role in his family.

So let’s say he’s gathering pollen from the clover in your yard. At the same moment, your kids run through the yard barefoot, step on said bee, and bee stings. An innocent move on your kids part, absolutely, but you can’t blame the bee for defending himself either.

Let’s say you’re sitting out in your yard, and a bee buzzes around your head. Yes, while very intimidating, take it as a compliment! You smell good to him, and he’s attempting to figure out if you’re a flower he can gather from. Let him buzz, and he’ll move on. He’s not there to come and sting you, he’s just out living life.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “[…] pollinators such as bees, birds and bats affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide, as well as many plant-derived medicines. […] Pollination is critical for food production and human livelihoods, and directly links wild ecosystems with agricultural production systems.”

While pollinator decline is attributed to naturally occurring parasites as well as the lack of habitat, you can help! Plant flowers in your garden and landscaping that aide in pollinator habitat and don’t spray your dandelions. I don’t enjoy seeing those yellow flowers in my yard either, but that is a factor in pollinator decline, specifically with bees. (Here is a short and sweet little article from the UMN on bees and insecticides, if you’re interested.)

They really are fascinating, hardworking animals, and I hope that the next time you see a bee, you think of this awesome little guy full of pollen, high on life, and that it makes you smile instead of cringe. And hopefully, with time, this lends a new perspective on bees for you.