Northwest Pearls: Refreshing Yourself

Refreshing Yourself

Northwest Pearls: Refreshing Yourself

It has been a long year. I’d been overwhelmed for a long time now. Honestly the only thing that kept me from completely breaking was my faith. But there are other things that I’d like to share that help me feel a little better in the midst of the storm. Maybe they’ll help you figure out what you need to recharge.

  • Alone time. This doesn’t always work, sometimes I need people, but more than I’ve ever needed in my life, I’ve needed alone time to think and to process and to pray.
  • Time outdoors. This one doesn’t always work either sadly. There are hikes where I just want to sit down and quit. But more and more I’m enjoying hiking like I used to.
  • Time with friends. For me this can’t just be with any friend. It has to either be with a friend with no idea what’s gone on in my life, or with one close enough that if I’m not talkative, they don’t mind.
  • Time reading the Bible. There is so much that’s comforting in the Bible. You can read about God’s love and faithfulness or about others’ pain and suffering and see that you’re not alone and that God was with them. I’m so grateful for it. You have no idea how many verses I’ve highlighted and how much I’ve read my Bible in the last few months. I’ve read through Job, been encouraged by Paul’s conversion, and been comforted through the Psalms.
  • Time praying. This doesn’t always help, frequently it’s me crying out to God for relief or patience, but it’s nice to know that God is listening. Even if I feel like the world has caved in around me, he’s there and he cares.

Things are better; life doesn’t always go according to plan but you adjust and you move on. All of this has made my faith that much stronger and has made me a stronger person.

What do you like to do to keep yourself refreshed?

Northwest Pearls: Living without a Microwave

No Microwave, No Problem

When I moved to my most recent rental, it came furnished. But didn’t have a microwave. The house was old, over 100 years old, and while the owner assured me that it could handle a microwave, I wasn’t so sure based on none of the outlets working with my fast charger. Between that doubt and me being too busy to read reviews for microwaves online, I never got around to getting one.

The previous two and a half weeks I’d been petsitting for a friend who didn’t have one and I’d gotten used to it. I just had to heat thing up on the stove, in the oven, or not at all.

So living without one actually wasn’t a huge adjustment.

The biggest adjustment was waking up early enough to heat up the oven to heat up my breakfast burritos. I’d been doing that while petsitting, but his oven worked. The one at my house? It stayed on once every fifteen times you turned it on. I wish that was an exaggeration but it’s not. There were days it just wouldn’t stay on, no matter how many times I started it. So I just ate something else for breakfast.

But I heated up soup on the stove, milk for hot chocolate on the stove, leftover thai on the stove… And it all worked pretty well! There were a few things I chose to eat cold, but they weren’t bad cold, they were just meant to be hot.

Overall it wasn’t a huge adjustment to live without a microwave. I didn’t think I could do it, but it was pretty easy. I understand that not everyone has the time or the budget to do it, the fact that I had the time to wait for the oven to heat up and for it to heat my food says a lot. And honestly, environmentally-wise, and utility-wise it may not have been better to use the oven than the microwave. Someone else might be able to figure that out; it’d be interesting to see what difference is.

And finally, adjusting to living without a microwave makes me think I could adjust easier than I think to other lifestyle changes. Like a smaller house or less stuff. 

Has there been anything you’ve adjusted to living without?

Ebey’s Landing Hike on Whidbey Island

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

I’d been looking for a hike I could do safely by myself. Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island is well-populated, only 5.6 miles long, and not very technical. It’s also not in the middle of the mountains. So I picked it.

It happened that my mother came along, which made it a lot funner. But it did mean that I wasn’t by myself. Not a bad fact.

You may need a ferry reservation to access this hike. We got lucky and made it on as a stand-by, but barely.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

We parked at the trailhead across from the cemetery for the hike. The Washington Trails Association had recommended that trailhead for more of a hike and the other one for more of a beach walk.

We’d chosen a day to go when it was supposed to be raining sideways. Thankfully, the rain and wind weren’t as bad as predicted. It rained a bit, but I stayed dry in my Arc’teryx. My mom’s Columbia wetted out.

The prairieland here was amazing. Nothing like other parts of Western Washington I’ve seen.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

At one point two bald eagles flew at eye level maybe 15 feet off the trail. It was amazing. I had my phone in my hands but was too busy looking at them to take a picture. So I took one when they were flying away.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

I could have done without the walk on the beach. It wasn’t as enjoyable as the walk on the bluff. If I did it again, I’d probably stay on the bluff, walk down the hill to the beach, and then back up to the bluff and just do a there and back.

It was a pretty good day-hike. Afterwards we took the ferry back to Port Townsend (again, get reservations!), got pizza for lunch, stopped at a loose-leaf tea place where I found my new favorite decaf tea, and drove home.

Do you have any fairly easy hikes you’d recommend in the area?

Creative Birthday Card

Northwest Pearls: Birthday Card Map

I’ve seen greeting cards sold at REI before, but when I went to one┬áREI location to buy one for a friend’s birthday, they didn’t have them. I’d been pretty set on these cards so I was disappointed when they weren’t there. But a sales associate came up with the idea to use a map as a birthday card. It was the perfect idea and she came up with it on the spot.

The only problem was that I wasn’t sure what maps he already had.

That problem almost made me give up but then I came across some thin flat paper maps and one covered a place we had gone snowshoeing. It’s not the most useful map as I doubt he’ll go back for a long time, and it covers such a small area, but it has sentimental meaning.

So I got it, folded it, and wrote “Happy Birthday!” along the front. That’s all I fit on there, I didn’t want to write more because of the map details, but I printed out a picture of him and his dog to write an actual birthday note on.

I loved how the map-card turned out, and in the future, I might even write a whole message on the map itself.

Do you have any creative card ideas?