Skydive into Year 3!

It all started with a Bucket List, but it grew into something more. My husband and I have felt God metaphorically pushing us out of planes constantly, challenging us. We decided for our 2nd anniversary we would take a giant leap of faith and do the physical equivalent of what we felt God was doing in our hearts. 

The drive there was filled with excitement, nervousness, and, from my husband, nausea. There was no backing out now, we were feeling ready… for the most part. 

Once we arrived, we were led into a room with an old TV playing a “safety video” that dated back to the “90’s” at the very least. The owner told us he didn’t care if we watched the video, but that we had to fill out the paper work. Good start. 

After signing our lives away, we waited impatiently for about an hour before our turn. During that time we met our tandem buddies for the day, Mo and Luigi. They put our harnesses on and walked us through what was going to happen on the plane and more importantly in the air. 

Finally, we were up. Mo and Luigi walked over to us to once more tighten our harnesses. Next thing we knew we were being led into the plane. We were both in the back with another couple in front of us. Right before takeoff the instructors shut what looked like flimsy manual garage doors on either side of the plane. I just remember thinking holy crap this is happening. We kept getting higher and higher and my heart started to beat a little quicker than when we were on the ground. I was officially scared. In my heart I knew I wanted to do this, but the reality of it didn’t quite match that enthusiasm. My shoulders are literally getting tense right now as I’m writing this. My videographer turned to me and asked how I was doing, while letting me know we were only half way up. I kept getting high fives and words of encouragement from the instructors. I guess my face matched my nervous feelings. In my head could hear Tim McGraw singing “I went skydiving, rocky mountain climbing…” on repeat the entire time we were ascending. All at once all of us were hoisted onto our tandem instructor’s laps. They tightened down the harness so tight there was no way I could move – thank goodness. It made me feel safe. 

It was time. I don’t even remember seeing the first couple jump. I just remember crawling towards the now open garage doors of the plane and seeing my husband get sucked out. I let out a quick exhale paired with a tiny exhilarated scream. Then I was the only one left. We made our way to the edge of the plane and Mo rocked me backwards three times and then once forward. WE WERE FALLING! 

I let out a scream as my stomach dropped and I looked down. The sensation is totally different than, a roller coaster for example. There was no track. Nothing holding me but Mo and the harness attached to him. He tapped my shoulders letting me know I could put my hands out. It felt like we were moving so fast, the air rushing past was so loud and my lips stuck to my teeth. It was exhilarating, an adrenaline rush to say the least. 

Then, the parachute shot out and pulled me vertical. Mo loosened my harness, which was a little nerve wracking, but I felt like I could breathe a little easier. I literally felt like a bird up there. Holding the parachute, directing it where to go with Mo’s help of course. It was a cloudy day, but the horizon was so beautiful. One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen to this day. There was a beautiful blue haze where the sky kissed the earth and I couldn’t get enough of it. I felt so free as we drifted through the air. My legs were just dangling, well technically my whole body was, and I loved it. I thought once the parachute opened that the fun would be over, but I enjoyed that more than the jump itself. It was so peaceful and gorgeous. 

 

I could see my husband’s orange parachute drifting below me. When I landed it was so good to hug him and relish in the adventurous endeavor we’d just experienced together. Afterwards, I asked him about the Horizon, how I felt so free and knew it was a moment I’d remember for the rest of my life. His response, was “what horizon?! I was staring at the ground the entire time!”

The rest of the day we walked around Indy and kept saying “Dude, we just jumped out of a plane.” We kept passing people and thinking out loud “They have no idea we jumped out of a plane today.” It was the best feeling and I loved getting to create that bond with him. He’s my best bud and I love that we’re bros for life. Whether we’re in our home town, jumping out of a plane, or following God across the world.

 

 

Side note: The song Step Out Jose Gonzalez perfectly describes the parachute feeling

 

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Feeding Time

Instincts, every being possesses them. Although we exist as humans, are we truly just animals at our core?

We crave for what we think our body, more so our soul, needs. We strive for something more – something bigger. The human feeding time.

Looking at the artwork of John James Audubon’s, depicting beautifully graceful birds preying on squirrels, rabbits, and the like, stirs something up inside of me, forcing me to see them as evil. But they’re really just following their instincts, they’re growling stomachs.

The mundane drives us to feeding time. The longing for adrenaline, for a rush of capturing our dreams in our talons and digging into them, draining them for all they’re worth.

Is that so bad? To change the path you’re on? To change your life? To push for something bigger?

Selfish ambition, something much different than feeding time. That’s being the falcon who decides to kill, and kill, and kill until it’s sick. It’s the hawk who kills mice over and over again and leaves their corpses for the buzzards.

It all begins with just a taste of something more. An idea, the possibility. Then obsession sinks in. It takes you away from your everyday life, out of the now. You’re no longer living your current life, but focusing on the possibility of the future, your so-called saving grace.

Day and night you dream about it. You feel as though you have to go outside the realm of feeding time to achieve your bloodthirsty wants.

The more you crave it, the more it becomes reality. The more you put steps into action. Each step you take, each time you fan your wings, pecking away at your prey, you’re submerging deeper and deeper into the world of animalistic rabidity.

The time has come. You can taste the sweet, sweet blood of the prey you’ve never gone after. The one bigger than you thought you could conquer. Beads of sweat start to pop up along your brow. You use them as ammunition to fuel your adrenaline. Finally, your boredom is subsiding, you feel fully alive. You’re soaring just above the beating heart of your deepest desire. You’re now a full-fledged fiend. As your own heart beats quicker and quicker, your shakiness grows. It’s now or never. You swiftly swoop closer and closer. You can almost smell it. But you miss.

You soar back up into the blue sky for just a second before you swoop back down into the pit of darkness and this time one of your talons grazes its skin. It tears your prey just enough to let a little red line of blood seep through. The animal is now aware of your presence. You realize what you’ve done. It’s no longer about instinct. You’ve caused pain. Not just to the harmless animal but to your soul. You’ve frightened it, caused irreversible physical damage.

You black out. When you wake, nothing exists but darkness. You thought it was a dream until you looked down and saw your blood stained claw. You can’t cope or accept who you are. Your whole body comes into awareness. How did you get this far? You lost yourself in what you thought was just instinct. The path you laid out to excite you past the mundane hurt not only you, but friends, family,  the physicality of the prey, and other moving parts you cannot even fathom. But, it doesn’t have to end this way.

We are not purely animals. We are not fully built on instinct. We have the ability to chase our dreams, to conquer the mundane through love. The love that others refuse to spread; the love that puts others above instinct, above feeding time.

Inspired by American Animals.

Dried Flowers bring Tears of Joy Showers

If you’ve read my blog, you know I’m all about saving money through DIY. Here’s a great gift for almost anyone in the family. It’s a dried flower wall hanging.

You can use any flowers, grasses, wheat that you have access to; you can even use flowers that a loved one adored before they past, making it even more sentimental.

What you’ll need:

-Two picture frames with glass (make sure they are the exact same – I found mine at Goodwill)

-Flowers

-Hefty books that you won’t be reading for a long time

First, go out and pick flowers! This part is the best! Take a walk, get some fresh air, and pick what catches your eye. Bring them back to your house and open up those large books. Stagger your flowers on different pages and shut them carefully. Stack books on top of the ones that you put flowers in to make sure they become fully flat. I let my books sit for about three weeks. When I pulled the flowers out they were super flat and dry, which is what you want.

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Take the cardboard and backing off of one of the frames. Make sure the glass is super clean and begin placing your flowers in an arrangement. Then take the glass out of the second frame and place it over the flowers. Seal the frame (hopefully it has small metal tabs that allow for this. If you buy a frame that has a stand on it, you won’t be able to have just a clear setting. You may like to have a background color of some sort, but for mine I just stuck with the transparency of the glass.

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And, you’re done! This isn’t a last minute project you can do, but it’s a cost-efficient gift that means more because of its simplistic beauty and effort.

DogWood Keepsake

This one goes out to all the animal parents out there. As any normal dog mom, I’m obsessed with my little howler and want to hold onto every adorable thing about him. Finding a way to capture his essence other than through pictures on my phone was a little challenging but worth it.

Get ready to DIY your pants off with this adorable paw print memorabilia for your pet. The tools you’ll need for this project include a slat/plank of wood (you can find barn wood at Hobby Lobby or use part of a pallet), acrylic paint (I used pastel colors), small paint brushes, and of course an animal ready to hand over one of their paws!

I would do this outside in the grass, or in a controlled space that is super easy to clean. Pick a color for your precious pet’s paw print – this will be the petals of a flower.  Once you’ve painted a paw, place it carefully on the wood plank in a mismatched line. Have a few wipes ready for your fur baby. Let the flower petals dry so you don’t mess them up in the next step of the process.

Then, you’re going to need a shade of green. Paint imperfect lines down the board up towards the paw prints. These will be the stems of the flowers. Grab a yellow, orange, or other color you want to use as the middle of the flower where the pollen lives.

And, Boom! You have yourself the cutest little block of wood that honors your pet!

DIY of the (Holi)Day #4

The next project I’m going to share with you, doesn’t necessarily have to be a gift, or even something that you just do for Christmas. Depending on how you design it, this could be seasonal or every day décor that you leave up all year long (which I plan to do).

Today, we’re making fabric trees!

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First step, go to a fabric store (I went to JOANN Fabrics and Crafts) and pick out  fabrics that complement each other. I went for a rustic, wintery theme with fake fur, fuzzy greens, charcoal greys, and basic patterns, nothing too crazy.

Step two, draw the size of trees you’re wanting on a piece of paper and cut them out. Remember, they will be smaller once they’re sewn. Then trace the cut out trees onto the fabric and cut them out. I did a total of 12 trees. If the fabric is different on the inside than the outside, make sure and put the side you want to show inside when sewing.

Once you’ve lined up your two trees you can begin sewing them together. Sew everything but the trunk. Once you’ve gotten this far, turn the tree inside out through the trunk. You may  need to use a stitch puller to help you, but be careful not to hurt your sewing job. Stuff the inside with stuffing (I used the stuffing from my dog’s torn up stuffed animals), then sew the trunk shut.

Now, you have a tree! Do this with each of them until your tiny forestry is complete. You can gift them to people, nail them into the wall, or make an advent calendar out of them. I pinned mine to the wall on our map. They look super cute and adventurous.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Snowmen are the cutest, but it’s so sad when they melt away. Fear not, I’ve found a solution to the problem by making an indoor one out of wood!

First, you’ll need three circles of wood. One large, one medium, and one small. Then you’ll need a cylinder of wood smaller in diameter than your small circle, but pretty tall.

Once you have all three , use wood glue to fuse  the large and medium together with the large on the bottom. I made my large one with a flat edge so that it can stand on its own. Then, glue the small one perpendicular to the medium round. This is the base of the hat. Once that dries, glue the cylinder on top of the small round to make the top of the hat.

Now, it’s time for fun! You can decorate your snow man any way you like. I used black buttons for eyes with chalk paint on them to add a mischievous sparkle. I found leather rounds in some of my craft stuff and used those as buttons. His nose is wooden, which actually fell off one of the circles. The mouth I just drew on with sharpie. I found some velvet fabric and tied a scarf around him, made a pocket out of denim, and put a fake flower in the pocket. His hat has a small patch of plaid fabric with a button and a bow made out of hemp string. I also added a piece of straw on the side of the hat for character.

He’s the cutest. You’ll love a little guy like this smiling at you all winter long!

DIY of the (Holi)Day #3

Babies can be expensive to buy for, especially when it’s one you’re related to. My nephew is the cutest little bub, but as a young married couple, my husband and I can’t afford to buy him a bunch of clothes or expensive toys. So, for Christmas we put our heads together and hand crafted an indoor swing.

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You, too can be the super Aunts and Uncles with some elbow grease and just a little money. First, you’ll need 2 wood dowels about 2 inches in diameter, thick fabric like canvas or burlap, two small throw pillows, thin rope, a metal ring, metal mountain climber, and several large beads.

Cut the two dowels into two so that you have four. Then drill holes at the two ends of each dowel so that the rope can go through. Make a square with the dowels so that the drilled holes line up and put the rope through the holes. Tie a knot in the rope at each end.

Then tie each of the four ropes to the metal ring so that it makes a tent like shape. Put the ring onto the mountain climber. Then, cut two more long pieces of rope and tie them to the mountain climber with a knot at the top to hang from a hook on the ceiling.

Next, it’s time to cut the fabric. Cut two 36” by 12” pieces (seat), two 12” by 11” pieces (back), and two 6.5” by 11” pieces (front) from the fabric you chose. Sew the ends to go around the dowel rods, and then sew the pieces together to make your swing.

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Place the two pillows in the swing, one for the seat and one for the baby’s back to rest against. I added a string with beads and tied it to the rope on the front right side for the baby to play with.

We gave this to our nephew on Christmas day, and although he had no idea what it was, his parents were super impressed and excited to try it out. Overall this gift probably cost us $30, which really isn’t that bad and it possesses higher levels of sentiment then what you can buy at the store.

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Somewhere between psychotic and iconic. Pop Culture. MTV.