Hope | Love

In the aftermath of Las Vegas, I know many of us are left with feelings of uncertainty, helplessness, anger and sadness.   Evil is all around us.  It’s part of our world.

But, we also live in a world of light, faith, love.


In the days since the recent tragedy, our news feeds are full, the conspiracy theories are alive, political sides are being taken and anger is being fueled with fire.   While I have my thoughts, I will not fall into conversations or feed into the conspiracies or the political sides.   What good does that do anyone?

I am an American.

I am Human.

I will not tie myself to anything outside of that.


In this devastating time, there are also stories of hope.   Stories of survivors, stories of the first responders and the average American like you and I who chose to help those in need in what surely was one of their darkest hours.

With that, I want to leave you with a few web page links that focus on hope.  That shed light on love.  Stories that provide us with a renewed sense of hope that good can come of tragedy.  Stories that give us hope for our American neighbors.

Love What Matters

Love What Matters Web

Ellen’s Message of Hope

Survivors Provide Messages of Hope

I hope you find yourself focusing on the good, finding the good, being the good.  



Stand Up Desk

I finally made it happen.

5 years of sitting and I’ve had enough.   Welcome to my new stand-up desk.




As a band teacher, I stood and walked around all day.  That percussion section always needed extra proximity love.

Contrary to popular belief, drumsticks are in fact not light sabers, swords or any other weapon of choice.

So, for seven years I was a mover and a shaker and sat only during prep time or for a quick lunch break.   In 2011, I moved into a career where I am sitting 90% of the time.  That time-frame is also when the major back issues set in.   I am thankful that after last years troubles, the injection I received last year into my sciatic nerve solved a lot of the issues, however, there is still residual muscle tightness.  I am confident that sitting all day is a major contributor.



I’ve been contemplating a stand up desk for quite some time.  I’ve read a lot about the pros and cons of standing all day and for the most part the only con I can find that is worthy of repeating is that prolonged standing can have just as much of a negative effect on the back as sitting.   Good thing I have plenty of meetings on that calendar of mine, so having a standing desk is actually going to balance out quite nicely.

If you have done any type of research into the cost of a stand-up desk you are aware of the cost.  They aren’t cheap.  But, thanks much to Jenny of Prairie Californian, I found a cost effective alternative.  She made her own by using materials purchased at Ikea and so graciously shared the details with me, of which I will now share with you!


Click on the titles to be linked directly to IKEA.




Today is my first day using my new desk and as of right now (lunch break, four hours into it) I am pretty darn happy.   The only addition I am going to make will be a padded mat under my feet and an extra pair of tennis shoes that will stay in the office.   What you can’t see is that I already have a mini stockpile of work shoes under my desk as it is.  A girl can never be too prepared in the shoe department.   🙂

What about if I need/want to sit?

No problem!  I also have a work laptop that I can easily prop open for those days when I don’t have any meetings and need a position change.

I’ll keep you posted on the transition.  I am sure there will be an adjustment period getting my legs and back used to this new norm, but I am happy to take it on!



Blanket Scarf Magic

Do you have a blanket scarf that you’d love to wear but don’t due to it’s suffocating tendencies?

Or do you have one that you’ve converted to a front porch rocking chair blanket?

Maybe it’s shoved in the back of your closet?

Or worse yet, you wear it while it slowly kills you.




Listen.  Stop right now.  Go get the scarf.   And some scissors.

I am about to change your life.


Step 1: Don’t wear that dumb thing in it’s full glory ever again.

Step 2: Lay it out nice and flat on the floor.

Step 3: Cut it at a diaganol.



Step 4: Put it on and commence a slow clap.



Bonus Step 5: Give the other half to a friend!

Blanket Scarf WIN…

but an iPhone Camera + energy saving light bulb fail!

Those washed out photos, tho.  





Shaming | A Woman’s Perspective



We’ve all seen it.   We’ve all done it.  We’ve all been the shamer.  We’ve all been the shamed.

Some of the worst culprits?   Women

Why do we have to be so… I don’t know.  Vindictive?  Is that too harsh?   Am I looking too much into this?   Perhaps.  But, what we all know is that shaming hurts.

Let’s recognize it, acknowledge that we all fall into the trap, understand that it isn’t ok

… and work together to end it.


Body Shaming

#1.  Hands-down.   We all look different.   We all have different body shapes.   We all have different ideas of what our bodies should look like.   How about we roll the word acceptance around for a minute?

Everyone is beautiful in their own way.   Why do we have to constantly feel like we aren’t skinny enough, healthy enough, fit enough, muscular enough, fat enough?  When can we just accept that some women are born with killer genes?   When can we accept that Girl A over there is ok with being a few pounds overweight?   Just because someone is a little overweight doesn’t mean we have a right to judge them based on that alone.   When can Girl B, who is working really hard at some nutrition and fitness goals, be accepted and recognized for her hard work?   And when can Girl B also accept that not every other woman is interested in following her footsteps?  And, shout-out to Girl C, who, mind you, is right there smack in the middle of “average America” looking confident and beautiful as ever, for not condemning Girl A for her extra weight and also for choosing to not be jealous of Girl B.

My fellow pretty ladies – let’s understand and accept that we all have different bodies, different goals, different lifestyles and different opinions on what “society” might perceive as the perfect body.   We aren’t all meant to look alike!   That’s what makes us BEAUTIFUL and STRONG and UNIQUE.


Food Shaming

“Oh, you are going to eat THAT for lunch”?  “Do you know how many chemicals are in that soda”?   “Girl, put that cookie DOWN, NOW.  It’s gonna go straight to your butt”.

Mmmhmmmm…  Is that you?   I get it, you are trying to be the supportive, helpful, encouraging friend.  But, there is nothing encouraging about telling someone what they should or shouldn’t eat.   There are ways to suggest a different nutritional path, but that’s a shaky bridge to cross with a fellow woman.  Especially if the advice is not asked for.  Maybe they are having a real bad day, and darnit, that chocolate chip cookie is just gonna do the trick.  SO, let it!  What’s it to you?  You aren’t eating it.  Oh wait!  Is that it?  You want it, but you aren’t allowing yourself to eat it because of the millionth diet you are on and so therefore, NO ONE ELSE should eat it either.    Girlfriend, I love you. And I thank you for slapping that cookie out of my mouth the first time, but if I pick it up off the floor and go for round two, back up.  I am eating it.  Feel free to have a bite too.   It might do your sugar, fat, carbohydrate, GMO, calorie free crazy diet brain some good!

Oh, wait.  Hold the phone.

Can we all stop shaming the healthy eaters out there too?   Yes, eating healthy tastes good.  No, it isn’t boring.   No, she doesn’t need a giant quarter pounder to go with that salad.  Eating healthy is a choice.

Let the girls eat what they want to eat.  If they ask for help nutritionally, then by gosh, give the help.   If they don’t, keep it shut.   It’s not affecting the rest of us.

Unless of course that food over there looks legit.  Get that recipe, stat!



Clothing Shaming

Does this even exist after High School?


We see it on Social Media all the time, don’t we?  A quick Snap of a lady with something stained on her back end.  A Facebook pic of a girl wearing too small of shorts.  Another Snap making fun of the girl at the gym who has an ill fitting sports bra on.   A quick jab that someone is wearing tall socks with their short shoes.   Oh, and do we even need to start on the leggings shaming?  For realz… Who are we to judge what others wear?  What they wear does NOT define them.  Nor does it define us.   That snap taken of the woman with something stained on her back end?   She’s got kids!  They spilled, mom didn’t see, she sat in it.   Be a gem and tell her before she walks around that grocery store any longer!   Oh, and that chick you took a photo of and slapped it on Facebook because her shorts are a little tight?  She just recently lost 40 pounds and is feeling confident.   Praise that confidence… don’t slam her down!  And leggings… good gravy.  Perhaps they are on their way to the gym or coming back from the gym.  So, they are a little see through?   Well, shoot.  Someone better tell me mine are while I am up in front of class rocking out squats.   Oh wait, they are wearing them as casual wear with too short of a shirt?  Can you see through them?  No?  Then hush, child.  Hush.   Let ’em rock that outfit like no-one’s business.



Feelings Shaming

Feelings.   We have a lot of feelings.  Happy, sad, mad, scared, angry, annoyed, elated, etc.   It’s natural for us to have those feelings at any given moment under many different circumstances.   So, why do we sometimes tell our friends to not be sad, or to suck it up and move on, or to be happy that it’s over, etc…   We have to allow our feelings and emotions to play out. It is who we are.  Women tend to wear feelings on our sleeves… and that is ok!   Why stop it?  We can’t help the way we feel, so we should never feel stupid for allowing our emotions to run freely.   Especially when with our fellow friends and family.   Having a great week?  Let’s celebrate at Happy Hour!   Having a crappy week? Let’s celebrate it being over at Happy Hour! 😉 Need to cry it out?  Here’s my shoulder and a listening ear.   Angry?  Let’s go hit the trails for a run.

Support your fellow sista and hear her out!  Those feelings are no good all bottled up.   No shame in letting it all out.



Childbearing Shaming

This is touchy, so I will keep it short.   A woman’s choice to have 10 kids, 3 kids or no kids is none other than their choice.   It is never ok to tell a fellow female how having children or not having children is going to make or break them.   It is never ok to tell others how to parent or not to parent.   What IS ok is showing support for the women who have children, who don’t have children, who won’t have children, who are stay at home moms, who are career moms, who are home-schooled moms, single moms, dog moms, divorced moms, widowed moms, teen moms.   How great a world it would be if  we all respected each others childbearing and child raising choices and helped support those decisions without any side commentary along the way?


B!tch Shaming

Ok, that is a little harsh.   I’ll admit.  (Sorry, mom).  Hear me out while I summarize, k?

Let’s take a few characteristics of some strong female figures I know.

  • Powerful
  • Confident
  • Smart
  • Gorgeous
  • Home owner
  • Well liked
  • Loving spouse
  • Beautiful
  • Dedicated
  • Determined
  • Successful

Pretty great characteristics to have, don’t you think?  So what happens when you add in a dash of jealousy?   You get threat.   And, for what?  Why?  Are they really a threat?  Did this woman do anything directly to the other? Or is it an issue with the person feeling threatened?

And, just like that, the strong female with several of the above characteristics just got categorized in the Bitch department.

Let’s make it our mission to get to know our fellow sisters before throwing a label on.   Truly know her.  Don’t know only what others tell you.  Their perspective is much different and often slanted.    Find out what makes this woman so driven, successful, powerful, confident, dedicated, etc.   We can all learn something from her.




Opinion Shaming

So, how are you all feeling with this list?  Uneasy? Spot on? Not sure?

That’s ok.

My opinion is different than yours.   That doesn’t make me a bad person and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad person.  This entire post is merely pointing out one person’s perception of shaming in the female world.  Whether it happens, or not, is something you have to decide for yourself.   Am I guilty?  You bet.  I had a conversation just tonight about someone’s choices and photos they post to FB that I don’t agree with.  I am sure there are those that think the same about me and my posts.   We all have opinions and that is ok.

BUT – I stand strongly on the belief that women need to STAND UP for each other.  Be a unit.

We don’t have to like each other, but we certainly don’t have to hate on each other.  

So, sisters, girls, ladies, friends, frenemies, whoever is reading this.   Can we all agree to work on this?  You aren’t alone.  I need to work on it equally as much.    Let’s all work on not body shaming others or ourselves.  Work on accepting others for who they are, whether we agree or disagree.

Let’s make this womanhood a strong one.

Just think of what more we can accomplish together.




Weekend Reflection | Just Let it Go

This last weekend was so low-key I almost didn’t think it was Summer 2015.  I have had so many amazing weekends this summer including:

Market to Market Iowa | Fitness Competitions | Memorial Day | Rockfest | Holstein’s Memorial Run | Tree Climbing and a Stumbled Upon Poker Run | Easton Poker Run | Testicle Festival and Jeep Shenanigans | Epic 3 Day Weekend that had to be broken up into not only this first recap but this second one too! | Algona Motorcycle Rally

I almost wasn’t sure what to expect this weekend with not having a straight up crazy agenda.

I mean, I had things… but I didn’t have things.

I even took the opportunity to not use my camera phone so gosh darn much.  It’s nice to take a break from it and just rely on the memories sometimes.


  • I hit up the gym by 7am for a quick leg session
  • On the road to Clarinda by 9am
  • 10:30 hair appointment by the Great and Wonderful Kayla
  • Quick visit with my mom and Dave
  • 1pm lunch and a few cocktails with Nicole and Kayla
  • A two hour mid-afternoon visit with my dad
    • Keith… BurrHead… The man that frustrates me almost as much as I love him

I sure do love him.

Sometimes, I elude to “things” on my blog, but don’t actually elaborate.  There are times I want to write my heart out on certain subjects, but I don’t.   It’s been an embarrassing amount of time since I have stopped to see my father.  A few years embarrassing.    Life happens.  Life has happened.  There were “things” in this relationship that I have held on to that anger me.  Made me bitter and sad.

And that is just straight up stupid.

I really try not to hold grudges or live in the past.   I really don’t.   I make an effort to live in the now, the present and cherish all past, present and future experiences, no matter good, bad or indifferent.    It was HIGH time I let this whole “thing” go.

So, I stopped by.

And, boy am I ever so glad I did.

We talked.  About nothing really.   Just sat around to shoot the shit.  Walked around outside.  Played fetch with the dog.   Had a beer or two.

And you know what?

I left dad’s house feeling light.


                  Worry free.

Like I was 10 years old and just spent an epic day at an amusement park and was hyped up on cotton candy and soda, kinda happy.


Life is too short to hold grudges.   Let that shit go.   Forgive, forget and move the hell on.  You’ll thank yourself.

I am still thanking myself today.



I stopped over to see my Aunt and Uncle after dad’s, since the whole side of the G family lives on the same road.   Good ol farm family living right there. 😉

 I always enjoy stopping to see them.   They are home to me.   I am always happy there.  Feel safe there.  Know that I am 110% loved there.

And they always try to feed me full of beer and food, so there’s that too.


Saturday ended up being straight up fabulous.

I took the Freedom Panels out of the Jeep before leaving C-town, cranked the music, breathed in all the good for my 90 mile drive home…

… And let the rest go.