Sunday, November 22, 2015

Church Lady: Navy Blue Fail

Do you like this outfit? You can't see the FAIL in these pix but I'll share it with you anyway. Here you have one of my go-to reversable, wrap skirts. I wore it reversed so you only see one layer of fabric, not how I usually wear them; that reveals a shorter layer on top.

I proceeded to get ready for church as usual. Found this navy blue shirt that appeared to match nicely and was comfortable. I like the split shoulder sleeve.

Here's wear it started to go bad. I usually *always* dress in layers, as in %99 of the time I wear a tank top under my shirt. Today, I didn't.

I have my jewelry, vintage purse..can't tell if it's going to be cool or warm but whatever.

I arrive at church and step out of the car. My daughter exhibits a sudden look of concern.
"Mom! Your shirt is totally see-through!"
What the-what!?! 
Yah. SO apparently, though this shirt was a dark navy blue color, the fabric was light weight enough to be completely sheer in the sun! The ONE time I don't wear a tank under, OF COURSE!

I walk in and whisper to my friend, asking if my shirt is see through. She says no. So it was ok indoors but I can't get over my insecure feeling now and keep my arms in front of me the whole time. I finally break down and ask my daughter to change shirts with me since she is wearing a hoodie.

Perfect, except since she was wearing a hoodie and it had gotten warmer, her shirt was sweaty! Oh well. I exchanged one insecurity for another. Haha.

As we used to say in highschool, "But...I looked good!"

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Big Horn Mine, Wrightwood

Adventure Kids at the entrance of Big Horn Mine.
This is a fantastic hike! But let me start with the basics: Adventure Parking pass required! There are vault toilets & whoa-they were the nastiest ever! I mean N.A.S.T.Y! Like hold your breath and pray not to pass out cause you don't want to come in contact with anything in that bathroom. 

Watching the Adventure Kids explore the mine interior.

The drive was a little farther than usual...almost 1.5 hours but it turned out worth it.
We knew we were hiking a trail to a mine. I did a brief google search last night to get an idea.

What we didn't expect and were very excited to discover was...SNOW!  It was perfect for us Southern Californians. There were spots on the ground, in shady spots, with snow. It was slippery at times. The kids were so excited, of course, and this was before we even started the hike.

Obligatory pic. Amazing view.
It's definitely cooler than our neighborhood, but it wasn't that cold. As always--dress in layers. I had a light hoodie, short sleeve shirt with a tank under + yoga pants.

The trail itself is a mix of shade and sun. Some incline but not very steep.

Adventure the snow.

The trail gets rocky at times. There are a few spots of flat clay and dirt then rocky again. Slippery type of rocky. Definitely NOT stroller friendly. A baby in a back pack could mess with your equilibrium in spots, I think. 

Big Horn Mine

The trail is not long at all, nor is it rigorous. You will come across a first mine. It is barred across the entrance, though the center steal bar is cut off or something, so one could actually fit through if they wanted. However, that mine was full of water today. We were not interested in soaking our shoes. That mine is NOT Big Horn Mine, so keep going.

Hiking Buddies.
You will know the mine when you get to it. It completely ups the adventure factor. Most of the original wood beams are in shambles. Collapsed and discombobulated. Use extreme caution if you decide to climb up to the actual mine entrance. 

The first mine.
The min entrance features a mangled steal door or gate that is not secure and swings right open. Behind that, are the same type of steel cross bars. Also the same--the middle one is not there and one can easily climb through and enter the mine. 

Discovering artifacts is a real possibility. DO not disturb if you do. 

The view from the mine is breath taking. It's a great spot to sit and have lunch. Or explore the interior of the mine. From teh entrance you can see the old rail car tracks. Not knowing much about it at all, we let 3/9 of our kids that wanted, enter in. There was a string attached to the barrier beams. We let them go as far as the string reached and then turn around.
Adventure Kids explore the mine.

The mind seem secure and our spidey senses did not discern any negative joojoo. There is absolutely no light inside. Bird used her Ipod as a flashlight.
We passed a few hikers on our way up and their way down. I happened to do an Instagram search of Big Horn Mine and found their pix of exploring the mine. Feeling jealous, we definitely want to return.

I'm a mom, often with other people's kids with us--I have to be extra cautious. There is also a historical cabin along this route, left of the fork. We tried to find it and found a broken down shack. We weren't sure if that was the historical cabin and someone had recently torn it down or not. Again, with the IG search, I found pix of another hiker's recent visit--providing us with even more excuse to return. 

SO...there was SNOW!
Kids and teens will enjoy this hike. It's beautiful, short, not too strenuous and the mine is like the icing on the cake! I love it for it's historical value. The trail head has signs for a few other hikes of various lengths and is part of the Pacific Crest Trail. 

All the pix are out of order for this post, sorry...blogger tweaks like that sometimes and doesn't always cooperate to let me fix the formatting. Next week is Thanksgiving...My post may be late but we'll still be hiking. Not sure where yet...Enjoy your week. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Church Lady: Brown Dress

I've always loved this dress, just not on me. Haha. It's one of my favorites. I love the small white circle print on the brown fabric. It's well made and I've had it at least seven years. I purchased it in 2008...before my youngest was born.

To me, it will always be my missionary dress. I got it before I went on a short term mission to Ethiopia in 2008. Perfectly modest enough, isn't it?

It does have a bit of an old fashioned look about it. The shoes are even older. A pair of brown Steve Maddens I acquired years ago from the Nordstom Rack--the Nordstrom clearance store.

In the past I accessorized with white jewelry. This time I used turquoise. I have a necklace beaded with turquoise and brown beads (a hand-me-down). A different friend gave me a pair of earrings that match perfectly to the beads on the necklace! I also wore my beaded wrap bracelet, gifted from a friend a couple years ago for my birthday.

Of course, there's another vintage hand bag. The embroidered flower, covered in clear vinyl, one. I wore a layered a fabric flower clip on the side of my hair.

You know...I don't even wake up knowing what I am going to wear usually. I'm not one to plan ahead. I was thinking...what if I did. What if I planned a clothing schedule, along with a meal plan? I bet that could work. Not that I ever realistically would. Well, maybe someday. Planning ahead hasn't been in my nature much. Change could be good though, right?

Hahaha. Who cares!?! It's only clothes.
Have a good week. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Heart Rock, Crestline

Pretty much the only *sign* marking the trail. haha.

It's Friday the 13th y'all! Not  that I'm superstitious but...if I was, today would be the day to convince me. haha. My GPS was a little me directions that included 5 freeways! Not only that, but it kept telling me to get off the freeway onto another freeway, just to get back on to the original freeway. I realized, after it was too late, it was trying to help me avoid traffic congestion. Ayiyiyi!

Once we were up the mountain, it also gave weird directions so I am pretty sure I was going in circles through an unfamiliar area. Didn't help that the trail head didn't really have markers or signs.

Thank goodness for the tree!

It's a fairly rustic trail...NO restrooms. NO water except for the creek. Signage is also at a minimum.
The trail has some rocks and tree roots, once again, making it NOT stroller friendly. For the most part though, it IS kid friendly.

Autumn might end up being my most favorite hiking season. Everything is so beautiful. Seriously. 
I was afraid I might not actually find heart rock. I didn't do my research the night before except for driving directions.

We hiked to what appeared to be the end of the trail and it was steep to get down there (last pic). I went back up exploring a bit. All I could remember was that the heart rock probably required looking upward, from what I could vaguely remember from an online picture I had seen on a hiking site.

Graffiti SUX! 

I found the water fall before I finally found the heart rock view. We had actually passed by it. It is a bit precarious to view so PLEASE use caution with your children. Hold their hands! You basically view it from a rocky cliff above the water fall.

Oh just a fern growing on the side of a boulder. 
Besides the risk of falling, the slippery slope, rocks and tree roots, the trail is fairly easy. It's not that long at all. It felt like it took us longer to drive than the actual hike. Its 'mostly shade, which at this season was very cool. We dressed in layers and were ok. 

This was the water fall. I wonder how much it flows in spring? We ate lunch here, in the shade of the mountain and it was cool. Plenty of flat rocks and a large fallen tree to sit on. The rocks are cold though.

Adventure Kids!
The end of the trail, as far as we could tell. Nice spot to sit but Heart Rock is before this.
We didn't see many signs of life, as far as animals are concerned. A few birds. We did passed a fenced in, empty pool near the start of the trail. Talk about random! lol We arrived between 9:30-10am and were the only people on the trail for awhile. Parking appeared to be free and wasn't very clear.

There isn't obvious signage so you have to turn into what appears to be a campground! The campground parking lot had a closed gate and signage strictly prohibiting trailhead parking. Follow the asphalt road a ways and you'll see the tree in the first pic. It looks like a parking lot there and I suppose you could park there if you wanted and make the walk longer. 

You don't have to park there though. Continue to follow the very narrow road farther up until you reach another closed gate. There is room to park there. The trail is off to the right.

Since the hike isn't long at all...I would make a day of it. Not much farther around the mountain and you can head to Lake Gregory, Lake Arrowhead etc. My phone went dead very fast due to the gps madness or else I would have stayed longer. I get nervous not having directions to get home. Which btw, were much easier (and what I had initially thought) on the way back only requiring a simple 3 freeways--the way we normally travel! Haha!

See ya next week! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

No, you can't fix it momma...

It's a harsh moment of grief when your children tell you they would like you to 'move on' and 'get involved' (meaning fall in love and get married) with someone new, not for your own happiness but for theirs. So they could feel loved instead of rejected, feel financially supported instead of lack.

My heart breaks.

It's one thing to carry your own burden of hurt but when you see your children hurting, it's an unstoppable ache.

I know that desire. The feeling of being unwanted regardless of how much love and acceptance surrounded me. Nothing could satisfy the longing that plagued my heart from the biological connection that never was.

The emptiness that formed and shaped my self prescribed identity.

Now, as a mother, I know that nothing on earth can fill that emptiness, not a man, a lover, a father or husband.

It's a God gap we all carry.

It manifests in different forms and we create a word or a blame for it. Maybe it was daddy or mommy, husband or wife, maybe it was grandma or a different type of unspeakable trauma...that left us battle worn and gun shy. Feeling lost and alone at times, still a trembling little kid in a cynical adult body.

We don't realize when we're young usually. At least I didn't. It was that ignorance that got me here, I think.

I was sure my marriage and family would be my happily ever after
Not, instead, a series of before and afters.

I can't fill the holes in their hearts myself. I could try and burden myself with guilt, shame, regret, distraught over my never ending efforts. Only to come the same conclusion...There's nothing I can do. I am not the great healer. How I wish I was. I wish I could fix it all. I wish I could love the emptiness out of them. Love the pain away.

My fractured love would only be a temporary band-aid at best.
My tears flow for all of us.
Not because I feel the situation is hopeless, but because I feel it deeply too. I feel the pain for all of us. The grief is real. Loss is real. Trauma is real.
We're all carrying it, looking for the answers, often in the wrong places, creating what feels like, a bigger mess than before.
We're looking for black and white, and creating a mash-up in shades of grey.
It won't work.

I can say that I believe God.
I trust Him.
He is the only perfect Father.
The perfect One.
The perfect everything.

I have seen Him work in my children's hearts and lives.
He produces good fruit.
He is the only one who could heal our hurts.
Heal our hearts.

How I wish it was as easy as finding a new man, a new father, a new lover.

I had a father. A good one too.
He wasn't the one.
He loved and accepted me, while in my mother's womb, and yet...
My heart still yearned for the one that wasn't there.

As Christ knelt in that garden crying, "Abba, Father..." (Mark 14:36)
Our hearts still cry out, "Take this from me!"
Though often, in silence.
He knew our longing to feel close.
It starts there, with the Father.

God is the good Father.
There is none other like Him.
He hears you momma.
He hears your children.
He is not far from you.

I don't have to fix it and neither do you.
Our attempts would be mediocre at best.
I leave it in His hands.

I will show my children that someone else, is not the answer, and never will be. It's a grief that needs to be felt, even deep. Through it, glory is revealed. I don't know how or when. I only know God is the answer. Another man, lover or husband is not going to make all my, or their, pain go away. If it could, my family wouldn't be where it is today.

Nothing can satisfy.

Pursue God, momma, with all that is in you, or even just a fraction of what is in you, if that is all you have. Pursue Him and keep pressing forward. You will win this race and you will finish well.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Church Lady: Pretty in Pink

I receive a lot of compliments when I wear I guess I can say its a flattering color on me. 

Again, trying to usher in Autumn by wearing a sweater. It was still warm, though a beautiful day none-the-less.

Have I shared this skirt before? It's another one of my wrap skirts that is supposed to have the ability to be worn multiple ways. It's one of the oldest I own!  Possibly even the first one I ever purchased.

Wrap skirt with a purple base and pink floral motif accents, pink sweater, black tank under and my fav simple sandals/wedges/chanklas?

Beaded, pink heart necklace, multi-colored beaded bracelet and pink drop earrings that you can never see anyway. All jewelry gifted or hand me downs.

Pretty sure the footwear was thrifted. Sweater and tank are hand-me-downs, had the skirt for years...possibly 7?

Seriously, wear what you have!
A bit of blur.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Elderberry Trail, Turnball Canyon, Whittier

Today as warm in our neck of the woods. I had an afternoon phone appointment I had to be sure not to miss so I chose a local trail. Turnball Canyon is very popular and surrounded by many urban legends and ghost stories.

We took the less travelled Elderberry Trail farther up Turnball Canyon Dr. It has steep hills but the views, as most of the trails in this area have, are beautiful. You can see down into the sparkling city and the dry canyon.

Because it's so dry, it's dusty and warm. I do not like trails like this. There is no where to sit and eat lunch unless you want to sit in direct sun, smack-dab in the middle of a trail.
Low on the adventure scale but could definitely be a fat burning work out.

Free parking on the side of the road at the trail head but no water or restrooms. Take lots of water and use sun protection because there is no shade. We've had cooler temps lately but you wouldn't have known it for today's hike. 
Of course it's dramatically cooler than it would have been during summer. I hiked in my favorite hiking skirt and if I hadn't had known how dusty it would be, I may have chosen to wear my flip flops as well. haha.

The trails in this area can go on for hours. Some, who shall remain nameless, in our hiking crew today were way too full of complaints for my taste, so I chose to turn around and end the hike early. No one complained about that though. Haha again.

We drove to a lovely park nearby, to sit in the shade and have lunch.
It was a good enough hike.

See ya next week! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Church Lady: Rust Shirt & Jeans

In case you hadn't noticed, I don't usually wear pants to church. I woke up with a completely different outfit in mind...then I found this shirt. Too short to be a dress, longer than I'd prefer for a shirt. That color though!

I wasn't sure if I totally liked it or not but something made it seem like a good shade (it looks more red than it actually is in this picture--it's rust not red). I think it would work really well accented with navy, except I don't own any navy-especially not jewelry.

I opted for shades of brown; earrings from my earring fairy, gifted bracelet from the Philippines and an old, gifted pendant necklace (that I forgot I even had!). A brown belt to accent my waist.
My navy flats really worked. Wish I had newer, bluer jeans. Someday I'll use that dye I bought just for that reason, right?

Again this was a fairly simple outfit. Belt can be worn high or low, depending on the look your going for.

Oh! I got the flower clip in my hair from The Dollar Tree-purchased the flower, attached to hair clip & round of felt. Voila! Surprisingly, I've received a lot of compliments on it.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

We started the day off with a trip to Knott's Berry Farm. I knew they had trick-R-treating for the little ones in ghost town. I love dressing up with my kiddos, so why not?

As we entered, the young woman at admissions said: Now, this is good parenting! She was impressed that I would dress up with my kid, matching even. Plus she knew who we were, sot hat was fun. Actually, all the employees at each trick-R-treating stop, knew we were Team Rocket from Pokemon. They each took a moment to talk to Kurtis as if he was James. It was so sweet.

Liberty did not want to wear her costume {Umbreon, a pokemon} to Knott's. Sam, as Ash Ketchum {Pokemon trainer} didn't mind--easy since his DIY costume easily passed as civilian wear. Haha.

Ready to serve!
Later, we set up outside to pass out candy and chili. I returned to serving chili again this year, after all the requests last year. I purchased 150 cups but I didn't make nearly enough. Well, who's counting but I would have liked to hand out more. So we passed out about 50 cups of chili and of course, candy!

It was a highlight when a group of chaperoned developmentally disabled adults, ALL in costumes, came by. We offered the chili and a couple took it, very gratefully. One did not realized and as they were walking away, he realized his friends had chili and he didn't. He looked disappointed. The chaperones explained he could go back and grab a cup too. He was so happy to come back and be given a cup of chili. They were all very polite and well mannered too.
Pikachu, Ethan, Hilbert, Jesse, James, Umbreon, Misty
Ash Ketchum
Team Pokemon!
Of course some people were hesitant, mothers urging their baby-daddy's to try it first. lol Once he gave approval, then they would take some for themselves. Hilarious.

It's not a major deal or very evangelistic outreach opp. It's something though. It's my personal way to GIVE, freely to my neighborhood and community, from my God-loving heart.

A couple of the middles friends, my nephews and brother and sister-in-love all came by to help and hang out. We were ALL coordinated, dressed in the Pokemon cartoon theme.

Like last year, the neighborhood gave off mixed signals. Only a few houses were giving out candy. Literally only one or two per block. As per our annual tradition, we stopped by the neighbor who hosts a drive way dance party every Halloween. He holds a very informal dance contest, with bigger and bigger candy prizes every year. Sam took home the prize! 

Drive-way dance contest winner. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Icehouse Saddle, Mt Baldy

Mistletoe blown down onto the ground by the wind.

We returned to Icehouse Canyon to hike the Icehouse Saddle trail. It's about 4.3 miles one way, uphill and rocky. It was very windy this Friday. We could hear the wind approaching like thunder. The hike up warmed us up but that wind was still very chilly. The hike is not easy due to the incline.

It sure was gorgeous though with all the fall colors on brilliant display. Due to all the wind, there were lots of fresh greenery on the ground too. The creek water was also flowing much more than the week before.

The teens all got tired so the oldest (us moms) and two youngest kids pursued our destination and achieved total bragging rights. It was a nice hike thanks to the lovely environment but the wind stirred up allergies in a few of our kids and that was definitely not fun for anyway.

Try taking a selfie with this type of wind blowing!?!
One of the neatest things about our hike this week was discovering this natural spring. A fellow hiker tipped us off and told us it used to be called sweet water spring but now it's Columbine Spring.
It was an amazing sight. You're hiking an then on the right is this puddle, that the hiker told us about. You follow off trail down to the puddle. look back toward the trail and out of the mountain is this fountain of fresh, cold water. It tasted so delicious. 

We filled our water bottles and then continued on our hike. This was so beautiful though. If you aren't paying attentions, you'll walk right over it.

There are other streams that cross the trail randomly. I wonder if those are also natural springs at the source?

Everything was beautiful. Dress in layers, you may get hot/cold, hot/col, hot/cold in our mild weather. Always wear sunscreen and be aware of surroundings.

Enjoy the view!