Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Cheer

A few pictures, and a video, for your holiday pleasure.

Little Miss, Carly and Owen at her Caroling party (planned completely by her).

The video is us serenading the firefighters across the street

This is my favorite Christmas picture so far, I wish Justin was in it but he's the one who took the picture!

Friday, December 18, 2009


And...that gorgeously lit house below won the Town of Gypsum's Clark Grizzwald Award!


We also won runner-up for best light display in our subdivision.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chez Kirkland, at Christmastime

These pictures aren't very good, I'm sure some of my photographer friends could do much better...but I'm still damn proud of our Christmas lights this year. Everything is LED except for the fire truck in the front yard. Thanks to my sweet husband Justin for indulging in my obsession, and supporting me both financially and personally. Thanks to Little Miss for creative direction and her patience while I spent many hours putting up the lights. And thanks to God for providing the snow, after I had already gotten most of the lights up and for keeping me from falling off the roof for another year.

And this is the foot and a half of snow we woke up to this morning.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

P90X Finish!

I am officially done with my first round of P90X! It took me about three weeks longer than the actual program to finish. I got off one week during the program, and then as I was starting week 12, I had a very stressful event at work and then I went to Kansas City for a week and ate out at restaurants. At the point before the work event, I was down to 141 pounds, a 28.5 inch waist, 37.5 hips and 23.5 inch thighs. A week in KC put me back up a little bit. I consider this a temporary setback, as I plan to start Revabs and supplement it with some of the weight routines from P90X.

I know that if I had followed the nutrition plan more exactly, I would have gotten better results. However, I am very proud of myself for finishing the program and for the results I do have, and this is just the start. :)

My reward is better health, better fitness, and a size 8 (!) Calvin Klein dress I plan to wear to a Christmas party this season.

Final stats:
Weight Day 1: 149. Day 90: 143
Chest Day 1: 37 inches, Day 90: 35 inches
Waist Day 1: 33 inches, Day 90: 29 inches
Hips Day 1: 42 inches, Day 90: 38 inches
Thighs Day 1: 25 inches, Day 90 24 inches

Thanks to Justin and Little Miss, without whose support I couldn't have done it!

The above two swimsuit pictures are starting pictures, below are the finish pictures!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I am living a truly blessed life, and I say this with a humble and grateful heart. Here are some of the things I am grateful for, in no particular order and certainly not one more than the other.

1. I am grateful for a husband who loves me and has stuck by me in hard times and in good. We are learning how a marriage lasts forever and ever, we are doing it together. I am blessed to have him in my life, and grateful to him.

2. I am grateful for Jalyne, who delights me every day with her unique view on the world. She reminds me to slow down and enjoy life, to find wonder in the little things, and to embrace every day as a new opportunity. She loves me unconditionally (even though I don't always deserve it) and she remains my "bird of light."

3. I am grateful for an extended family that includes my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, Justin's parents, his grandparents, and his various family members. They remind us of our roots, keep us grounded, love our daughter like crazy, and help us with guidance and child care all the time. What would we do without them?

4. I am grateful for my friends. Susie, Cathi, Ryan, David, and a host of other people nurture my soul, celebrate with me the highs and help me through the lows. My life would be much darker and harder without these angels on earth.

5. I am grateful for a job I love. So many people are stuck in jobs they hate. I am blessed to have a job that allows me to give back to my community and love life while doing it. I never work a day in my life because I love what I do so much it's not "work." It's an act of love.

We have a wonderful house, food on the table, and more blessings than any one family really has a right to. I hope to make my life a song of gratitude, every minute of every day.

If you are reading this, then I am grateful to YOU, because you are someone special to me, and I'm grateful you are in my life!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Who are we, then?

dear dar(lin') your mom (my friend) left a message on my machine she was franticsaying you were talking crazy that you wanted to do away with yourself

if we were our bodies
if we were our futures
if we were our defenses i'd be joining you
if we were our culture
if we were our leaders
if we were our denials i'd be joining you

if we were our nametags
if we were our rejections
if we were our outcomes i'd be joining you
if we were our indignities
if we were our successes
if we were our emotions i'd be joining you

you and I we're like 4 year olds
we want to know why and how come about everything
we want to reveal ourselves at will and speak our minds
and never talk small and be intuitiveand question mightily
and find god my tortured beacon
we need to find like-minded companions

if we were their condemnations
if we were their projections
if we were our paranoias i'd be joining you
if we were our incomes
if we were our obsession
if we were our afflictions i'd be joining you
we need reflection
we need a really good memory
--excerpted from Joining You by Alanis Morissette

If we are not all these things, who are we? What are we?

Friday, October 30, 2009


These pictures are from a retreat our Leadership Team at work attended this week at Sylvan Lake. The top picture is a hillside I drove by on the way to the lake. It had snowed the night before and it's hard to describe how pristine everything looked while I was driving up in the early morning. This picture does not do it justice.

The cabin is where we held our retreat, and the lake is the view we had out the cabin windows while we had our retreat.

I am so blessed to live surrounded by God's beauty, and to be able to see the golden eagle I saw driving up to the cabin, and to listen to the owl's call that night as I sat outside by the fire watching the lake settle into the evening and the snow falling.

Black and White

I recently joined a group on Flickr called Minimalist Black and White. This is a photo group that posts pictures only in black and white. I don't post on it (although I probably should) but I love to look at other people's pictures.

I have always loved the stark beauty inherent in black and white photography. The lines are so clean, it's clear where one thing starts and another ends, and even the shades of gray that show up are beautiful.

I sometimes wish life were more like black and white photography. I wish danger zones were more apparent, that things were what they seemed, and that the gray areas held more promise than they sometimes do in life.

I look back over what I just wrote, and I know that life is all about the gray shades. No one is one thing or another, we are all mixtures of black and white and gray and blue and pink and magenta and violet and every other color. We would be boring, colorless.

But my heart is in pain for a friend whose life is lived in shades of gray, of uncertainty. He feels powerless to change what is challenging in his life and thus lives without color. His vision is that of black and white; he's right, everyone who doesn't agree with him is wrong. His black and white vision is his prison. Tonight he's in his own solitary confinement and my heart aches for him.

It's when life gets tough that I wish it were as easy as black and white; it's when I look at where that viewpoint gets a person that I remember black and white is better left in pictures and that life is better lived in color.

Hugs to you, my friend. Hugs to you and I wish I could fix it for you but all I can do is be your friend. I hope it's enough.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Snowflakes Falling

I was driving home from points East today, and watched as the first snowflakes fell, in a storm that promises to be a beast. The first (I think) Winter Storm Warning for the year and I got to drive home as it was beginning. It began (like everything else usually does)...slow. Picked up speed, so that by the time I got to Vail, it was picture-perfect, huge, Christmas-like snowflakes. I went into work for about 45 minutes and when I came out there was about an inch of wet, heavy snow on my car. Thank goodness I had my snowbrush in the car already. And my sweet hubby had snow tires put on my car on Sunday. Justin time. :)

I love winter, and I don't care who around me hates it. There are few pleasures in life better than cozying up on the couch with a blankie, a cup of hot chocolate, relaxing music on the stereo, a good book, and snow falling outside. Now doesn't that sound peaceful? Add in a fire in the fireplace, a dog and a cat sleeping in front of it, and your family cuddled up with you, and that right there is a pretty good depiction of a level of Heaven.

You can talk to me all you want about how shoveling is a pain in the keister, and driving is dangerous, and it's too cold, etc. etc. It's all going in one ear and out the other. Snow makes everything beautiful. It outlines tree branches and makes them works of art. It adds a quality of magic to Christmas lights on houses. It evokes the mystery of Christmas and starts us thinking about how life is much bigger than the little daily pieces of living.

Grouse about the snow if you want to, but don't be surprised when I shout my glee louder than your complaints. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Long days and Short Years

October 14, 2004 October 14, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday, baby girl. I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crystal Clear

Today God coated the world in crystal. Heading down from Estes Park, a freezing fog had left every blade of grass, every pine needle, every barb on the barb wire fence, was outlined in shimmering ice crystals. It was breathtakingly beautiful, ethereal, like being in Heaven itself. I felt so blessed to be there, sharing the sight with my family.

It's hard for me to reconcile such beauty in a world full of so much pain. I am blessed with my health, the health of my friends and family, a job I love that allows me to take care of my family...I feel selfish just listing it all. And yet there are people out there struggling to feed their families, to keep their families together, to keep a roof over their heads. It's so incongruous.

I know God has a plan for all of us, whether we know it or not. I know that everything happens for a reason. I know that we may never know the reasons for things that happen; that the reason may reverberate through generations before coming to fruition, and that it's not for us to know. I trust in God to know what's right. But for the sake of my friend who is struggling through more than one person should really have to...I hope that life eases up for my friend soon. I hope that the reasons for my friend's pain become as crystal clear as the blades of grass this morning, so that the struggle does not appear to be in vain.

On another note, today was the year anniversary of the last day I spoke to my friend, Kim. It was on this day last year that I sat in her hospital room for two hours and we had a heartfelt conversation. I knew at the time it could be our last, and yet I refused to believe it. I'm so incredibly grateful to God that we were given those two precious hours alone, so we could speak freely. When our time was up and I could no longer delay leaving or risk missing my flight, I gave her the longest hug I could, kissed her, and forced myself to walk out of her room, down the hall, down the elevator, and out the hospital door. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

She died exactly one month later.

I'm sure God's reasons for taking her at 33 years old are crystal clear to Him. They are not to me. I am not angry at God. But I miss my friend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Written on the plane home from Kansas City, MO

I am homebound, trailing sunrise behind me. I feel so empowered, as though I could do anything, and the light behind me is the illumination of the insight I've gained in Kansas City. I feel almost as though I've learned more about how to help my personal life than professional, although I certainly gained many practical, useful skills for the communciations center.

What's been refreshing is the reminder that relationships really are the meat of what we do. Relationships with peers, supervisors, those we supervise, and the world in general. We certainly forge a relationship with each caller. I will be more aware of the importance of each, especially the ones that try my patience.

Building a relationship based on trust paves the way for everything else that comes--strategic planning, emergency planning, financial planning--everything. If people trust you, then when you bring proposals to them, or direct them in times of crisis, they know you have their best interests at heart, and will follow you.

What an incredible responsibility. What you owe to someone who trusts you so implicitly is tremendous. You cannot fail, and if you stumble, you had better make amends quickly. Trust is so deep and yet so fragile, and not always easily rebuilt.

I learned more about myself this week than I expected to. Some of it was pleasant, some of it was very difficult to face. I know that the pivot point is the choice I make with what to do with the knowledge.

I feel like I have 32 new friends: 30 people in class (minus me) and 3 great core facilitators. What a gift to receive! What a priceless treasure waiting to be discovered in each one!

I feel renewed and re-energized, and I hope I can retain this feeling and bring it to my coworkers and my family.

Monday, September 21, 2009

P90X Day 30!

I've been doing P90X, a 90-day extreme home fitness program that works your entire body. You work out six days a week and stretch on the 7th. These are the pictures, one from my starting day, and one from day 30. I LOVE THIS PROGRAM! And thanks to my coach, Mandy, without whom I might have given up long ago. She's also the one who inspired me to start in the first place, with HER 30 day pix! Check out her site at!

The one on the left is the starting, the one on the right is the 30 day mark.

Below, left: starting, right: 30 day

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I dunno if this will work

but if it doesn't you have to check this out on YouTube, search Maru and the Giant Box.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wisdom--Such as it is

The older I get the more I realize how much I don't know. What I have learned, and intend to teach my daughter, is that there is very little more important than knowing yourself and not compromising who you are to fit other people. Yes, I understand there is a certain social aspect to life and there are accommodations we all make in order to function as members of society. I'm not talking about restraining yourself for the sake of societal niceties i.e. political correctness, not wanting to hurt someone's feelings on an issue, etc.

I'm talking about loving and respecting yourself enough to recognize that you are a unique individual, and if you don't fit with someone, for heaven's sake, don't bury that which makes you special and unique in order to live your life with that person.

God makes us individuals because He believes that we each bring something different and special to the table, so to speak. Denying yourself the right to your beliefs, your thoughts and opinions, and your ability to act upon those, is denying God the ability to work through you.

I wish I had figured this out in my 20s and not in my 30s. I will work to teach our daughter this concept. I want her to love herself for who she is, and have the ability to tell anyone who's trying to change who she is, fundamentally, to FUCK OFF. No one should have so much control over someone as to change, or try to change, the fundamental basis of who a person is.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I am so grateful for my family and my friends. I have the best set of friends a girl could ask for. Thank you, everyone!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My New Tattoo

Here is a pic of my new tattoo, on my right hip. I will post better pics soon. I LOVE IT!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Now Is the Time

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security,

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,

With the grace of a woman,
Not the grief of a child

And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After awhile you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth,
and you learn and learn...
With every good bye you learn.

Veronica Shoffstall

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Facebook Phenomenon

I just have to say, I love Facebook so much. I love that I'm in contact with so many of my friends in one place. I love keeping in touch that way, I feel like I'm more involved in their lives (and they in mine).

I love being so connected to so many people, even if it's only in a virtual environment.

I love being able to share pictures and bits and pieces of my life with other people.

I know this sounds like a blatant sell-out ad for Facebook, but I don't care. I am so grateful to that website for helping me have a social life, which is important to a full-time-working mom who can't get out to meet people in person nearly as much as she wants.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


A friend asked me to post an update here on recent events, and I would gladly oblige, but the simple fact is: nothing's going on!

Things are the same. Life is good.

Justin did get promoted to Captain/Fire Marshal. He is not so sure he likes the extra workload but I know he's doing the best job he can, just like he does with everything.

Little Miss continues to grow and be much smarter than I could ever hope to be. She is challenging and loving, compassionate and eager to learn.

I did have an unfortunate experience last week, ironically on February 17: I rolled my car on I-70 on the way to Georgetown to meet my parents and drop Little Miss off with them for the week. It was slushy and I slid on slush, couldn't keep from skidding into the median, where we hit a snowbank, did an endo and then barrel rolled in the air before landing on our wheels.

We were very blessed in that we suffered very minor injuries. Little Miss had a scratch on her hand and I have scratches and bruises, mostly from the ice that came into the car during the rollover. The car is totaled, but we are ok.

Other than that, thankfully, life has been pretty much status quo.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my friend whose birthday is February 17! You know who you are...and for those of you whose birthday it isn't, I hope you have a great week!