New Beginnings and Changing Seasons

Spring is coming.  With it it brought the promise of new beginnings.  The thrum of the frozen ground as beats into new life.  A chance to start fresh.  To slough off old disappointments and breathe in the hope of something better.

I know you never thought you would make it here, but you did.  Here you are.  You survived the harsh winter, the broken hearts, and the nights you cried yourself to sleep.  You had to take time to heal and that is okay because you did heal.  You picked yourself up with a resilience that you should be proud of. It takes more than a broken heart to break your spirit.

Its been a year now.  You try to forgot the way the snowflakes stuck to his eyelashes or the way he smiled at you as you ran away from the rest of the world.  You try to forget, but you also try to remember.  The memories don’t sting as much.  In fact they have a beautiful element to them, because even though it came to a bitter end, in those moments you felt hopeful and in love.  You need to hold on to that feeling.

Spring is coming.

A breathe of fresh air after a long desolate winter. Spring is coming and bringing the promise of something new, something good and full of hope.  And you can’t help but hope that maybe things will be different this time around.

Spring is here, and so are you.  You with your gentle heart and your old soul.  So strange how life keeps moving and seasons keep changing without barely a notice.  How interesting that you should notice now.

Summer is coming.

The promise of freedom and adventure, as new beginnings turn into late night stories.  The world is alive under your toes and at the tips of your fingers, and you can’t help but to feel alive as well.  You can’t help but feel like nothing can hold you back.

Summer is here and you are sitting on a fence watching the sun set over the rolling country hills.  Your skin had that feeling it gets when it has been immersed in sun and water all day.   You are sitting there in silence, watching the sun go down and the stars come out.  The misquotes had come out hungry and angry, sticking to the tears that were gliding down your face.

Sticky summer tears that came with no explanation.

But You knew.  You didn’t want to admit it, but you knew.  Healing is a funny thing.  It never happens as quickly or completely as you think it should.  You think you are fine, but then pain sticks its thorny hands back into your heart and rips open the scabs.  So you cry about strangers who become friends only to become strangers once more.  And just sit on a fence alone with the misquotes and your thoughts.

It can be easy to play the victim.  To stay here and cry.  To get angry and wonder why life can be so cruel.  It can be easy to sit here and feel sorry for yourself, all while missing everything that is right in front of you.  But you won’t let yourself give up that easily.  So you fight back, and you refuse to play the victim.

It’s okay to stop running.  In fact it is time.

Hold your breathe and jump in feet first.  Sink or swim – the nervous anticipation as you wait to see which one it will be.  Before long you know that cold desolate winter will be here once again.

Feet florida

Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

Fading Summer and Falling Leaves

I have been suffering from temporary writers block these last couple of weeks.  I have tried multiple times to write new pieces but have sputtered and died after about 150 words.  I have had a lot of ideas of topics I want to write about, but then I sit fingers ready at the keyboard and nothing.

All of my creative juices have been thrown into trying to write my personal statement for my law school application.  I foolishly thought this would be the easiest part of my application.   I mean I have a blog, writing prose about my life experiences is kind of what I do.  I had mentally checked this off my to do list before I even started.  Foolish and naive I was.  I am learning there are no easy parts to apply to law school.  I made a meme to reiterate my point . . .

meme law schoolIf I am going to do this, I am going to do it right.  Which means months of studying for the lsats (I know disgusting).  It means hours spent writing and rewriting my personal statement.  It means researching law schools so I know what my options are. It means asking for help when I have no idea what I am doing.

I keep thinking that I have plenty of time, it is only August September October (tomorrow?!?). I am still in shock about August being over that I can barely comprehend how September started and ended without my notice.  I was told that life moves faster as you get older, I just never thought it would be this fast.

Which is why now I must begin the painful process of saying goodbye to another summer.

Summer was fantastic, but it was a blur.  I traveled, I laughed, I cried, and I watched my brother get married.  Some days I was so busy going places that I forgot what it was like to be home.  Summer flew by way too fast, and suddenly before I knew it, fall was creeping in.  The crispness in the air, the crispness of leaves that have just fallen to the ground.

I absolutely adore fall.  I use to never like fall, because it stood for the end of summer freedom.  It reminds me that dreadful winter is just around the corner.  Fall was just that season that brought the end of summer and the beginning of winter (and school). Fall meant letting going of the promise for adventure that summer holds, and buckling down for the long, never-ending, barren cold of winters in South Dakota.  Fall is a last chance to enjoy being outside before the snow and cold traps us in for months.

However now that fall is no longer coupled with the dread of going back to school, I can actually enjoy it.  Oh I am still sad to see summer go, and I still am dreading winter, but fall is absolutely the most gorgeous time of the year.

I love wrapping the chilly air out with scarfs and boots.

I love the taste of an apple that has spent all summer soaking up the sun.

I absolutely love pumpkin everything.

I love Halloween and Thanksgiving.

But most importantly I love the colors that get paint-brushed across the trees.

Fall 4 PC Terri Gostola

Photo Credit: Terri Gostola

I love listening to this song in the fall. It gives me nostalgia for another summer that I must let go of.  It is also a beautiful song if you want to listen to it.

Photo Credit: Terri Gostola

 Summer Again by The Afters:

I’m watching the green give into gold
As summer becomes October’s cold
Gravity begs
For one final kiss
She drops it to him, as she gives in

Traces of light, linger around
As laces of white fall to the ground
The softest of sounds for the heaviest things
And the pain that it brings

As she falls I try to catch her
For one last touch of warmth from summer
As one thing leaves to becomes another again
I remember when

Don’t remember the day, she started to fade
The ground felt a chill as she gave it away
A whisper – a sigh, for the time that she passed
But this winter won’t last

As she falls I try to catch her
For one last touch of warmth from summer
As one thing leaves to becomes another again
I remember when
Oh to be with summer again

The days were warm and we wore them like skin
Now I feel the effects of October again

As she falls I try to catch her
For one last touch of warmth from summer
As one thing leaves to becomes another again
I remember when
Oh to be with summer again

I’m watching the green give in to gold
As summer becomes Octobers cold

So to help myself accept that summer is over and to make sure I take time to enjoy fall, I decided to make a fall bucket list.

My Fall Bucket List 2015:

  1. Go to a corn maze
  2. Go to a haunted house
  3. Go to a pumpkin patch
  4. Carve a pumpkin
  5. Go to an apple orchard
  6. Make fall goodies
  7. Host a friends thanksgiving
  8. Run on my favorite trails at least once a week
  9. Watch a scary movie
  10. Decorate for Halloween
  11. Make a Halloween Costume
  12. Give out candy to trick-or-treaters
  13. Make homemade apple cider
  14. Tailgate a football game
  15. Spend time outside doing nothing but enjoying fall

Fall PC Chris Asche

Photo Credit: Chris Asche

**** I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments in the section below.  What items do you have on your fall bucket list?  Are you just as sad as I am to see summer go? Also any advice on banishing writers block would be appreciated. 

Sweet Summer Memories

As the weather gets nicer, dreams of summer begin.  I start having dreams of lakes, boats, shorts, and the sun making my skin darker and my hair blonder.  There is some magical quality contained in the hope of those six letters.  SUMMER.  It sounds restful and awaiting adventure at the same time.

B & L

Ah yes, sweet blissful summer how we pin for your freedom and warmth.

There was a time when summer meant packing my bags and heading to my second home.  No it wasn’t a glamorous summer vacation home, it was a small cabin at a summer camp.  I spent the most defining and memorable moments of my life there.  So naturally whenever the hope of summer draws near I find myself thinking back to the summers I spent there.

Those summers were marked by a sense of freedom and carefree whimsy as I ran barefoot through the grass and snuck to the lake late at night.  It was  place where my soul felt at rest; the place where my soul felt at home. I could not imagine spending my summers anywhere else.

It is hard to explain in words how a place can mean so much to me. Camp is a special place but it is just that, a place. It is just land with poorly grown grass, a wasp infested storage facility, wooden cabins that are falling apart, trails overrun by bugs, and a lake so dirty you can’t see your hand when its six inches under water.

What makes the place so special to me is the memories that are so deeply ingrained in that place that they become inseparable.

The poorly grown grass is where I spent many hours playing rec games, getting tackled in the cone game and tackling others. The wasp infested storage facility is where I spent most of my second summer on staff painting a mural with all the campers. The wooden cabins that are falling apart is where I spent many summers counseling, and where I first learned to be comfortable in my own skin. The bug infested trails is where I drove the gator as fast as it would go as the wind whipped my hair around.  The gross lake is where I spent every afternoon being the queen of dunking children, and trying to not get dunked by the hordes of angry children determined to get their revenge.  The gross lake is also where I lost my favorite necklace and almost lost a sinking jet ski.

The horrible things become the beautiful things when we take them into our life and make them our own.

The director of the camp, Jerry, remains to this day one of my favorite people. I hope everyone has the chance to have a person like Jerry in your life.  He is an intelligent, wise, and hard working man, with a quick wit and a childlike whimsy that made him the perfect person to be director a camp. He taught me a lot about what it meant to live a life with love and without fear.  I have a lot of favorite Jerry quotes, but one of his most used one is, “Safety is overrated, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful.”  Jerry was also a big believer in the impact that telling stories about our life would have for the people who listened to them.

I have many stories I could share from my summers at camp.  Stories about midnight skunk hunts and sinking jet skis.  Stories about catfish in toilets and giant rats in our staff lounge.  Stories about learning to love and learning to be loved.  As I said, my summers there were some of the most memorable and defining moments of my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  But for right now I want to share with you the story of the time I learned to sail.

One evening towards the beginning of my first year on staff, Jerry offered to teach us how to sailboat. I, in typical Lori fashion, quickly sprung on the opportunity and was undeterred by the fact that I was the only girl staffer who wanted to learn.

Sailboat 2

This was not the day that I learned how to sail.  I wish it were, but then I wouldn’t have a story to tell.

The day I learned how to sail was terrifying.  This is was about our reaction . . .  Crazy singing

Just kidding that is actually from an improv skit we did, but I am sure that is about how we all felt.

Not long after we had the sailboat masked, a storm began to roll through. Jerry being Jerry was not going to let this stop him.  It had a relentless pursuit of life that I always admired.  Needless to say, Jerry ended up teaching us how to sail in 40 plus mph winds.  40 mph winds really doesn’t seem out of the ordinary for South Dakota, but it was the equivalent of driving  75 mph on the interstate the first time your hands were behind the wheel of a car.  Like I said, terrifying.  But also ridiculously fun.

For those of you who have never sailed before, the steering is introverted it.  You have to turn the opposite way that feel natural.  If you turned the wrong way into the wind, you could expect to be dumped into the water, and surface to find an upside down sailboat. This of course was not a frightening notion for someone who was just learning how to sail. Not at all.  Although sometimes the best times in life are the ones when we are absolutely terrified and clueless.

Once I got the hang of things, I dared to go a little faster.  Then I accidentally turned just a tiny bit too far into the wind and was abruptly yanked off of the sailboat by the power of the sails.  One minute I was sailing along, and the next I was flying into the water.  It was a good thing that Jerry was right there beside me (even if he was laughing), otherwise the sailboat would have surely tipped and I would have been a sitting duck.  I could have quit right then.  I could have decided that the sailing life was not for me and asked Jerry take me back to the safety of shore. But I didn’t.  I have never been one for quitting. Jerry pulled me back into the sailboat and I handed me the ropes.  I took the ropes and tried again.  I didn’t let the fear of failing again stop me.  I just grabbed the ropes and learned to sail.

We are often taught the mindset that failures define us.  I don’t agree with that.  What defines us is not the times we tried and failure, but rather what we did when we failed.  Failure shows us what we are made of, it shows our grit.  Do not define yourself by the moments that you splash in the water arms flailing, but rather by the moments when you pull yourself out of the water, grab the ropes, and try again.

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