Saturday, December 30, 2006

Finally!

Now we can call our state NORTH DAKOTA again. We have finally received a measurable snowfall that seems like it might keep going for a while. There were a few of us that were wishing for a white Christmas. Wish fulfilled!

I love how the snow looks on the fence posts. I feel like I can officially say my home is my castle. :)

I also like how the snow shaped itself on this railing.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy blogiversary to me!


I just realized a little while ago that I have been a blogger for 1 year as of today. Wow! Time really does fly.

I laugh as I go back and read through some of the posts. I can see how much I have grown and changed over the year. And it reminds me what a true geek/nerd/dork I really am. But that's OK, because this is how God made me. He must have a good reason for all of it. And a great sense of humor, I really do believe. :)

So, if you are going to be a part of my life, and read my blog, you just have to accept me for who I am, geekiness and all. As long as I am trying to be a good person and do the right things, anyway. Otherwise kick my butt and set me straight - full permission granted!


Things were busy and I didn't get a chance to say Merry Christmas to all of you yet so I am taking the chance to say it now. We Catholics are still celebrating Christmas so I'm not even late. Being Catholic is great, everyone should try it!

Happy New Year, too. I hope the new year brings you great happiness and many blessings!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The lights of the night


So, last night I was being a responsible adult and a good Catholic yet managed to get myself in trouble with the LAW. Leave it to Dawn to pull off something like that! :)

Here's the story. Once upon a time...no, just kidding.

It was about time for me to start heading over to Mandan for my adoration time at the church. I figured since I was going to be out driving around I would drop off a couple of bills that I had written checks for earlier in the evening.

I accomplished my mission and continued down the street to head over to Mandan. I came to a red light, stopped, looked for traffic and proceeded on my merry little way. As I started driving I looked in the rear-view mirror and noticed that there was a police car following me. I didn't think much of it and continued on to the next red light. As soon as the light turned green and I started going the lights on the cop car started blazing. Oh boy! But, what did I DO?

I pulled over and opened my window as the YOUNG (looked fresh out of the academy) officer approached my car. He very politely greeted me as his flashlight, pointed into my eyes, blinded me. I think he could see the look of wonder on my face because he quickly got to the point of telling me the reason he had pulled me over. The first red light I mentioned in this story was a NO TURN ON RED light. OOPS!

I seem to have a problem with that, it's not the first time someone (J—it was different light this time :) has pointed out that mistake to me. I obviously need to pay more attention to the signs in front of me because I truly didn't notice either one of them.

The nice young officer asked me to wait in my car while he took my drivers license back to his car. In a couple of minutes he was back with a smile on his face saying that he was going to just give me a warning this time but that I should pay more attention from now on. I thanked him and promised that I would be much more careful about reading the signs.

There's nothing like police lights and being pulled over as a wake-up call. I am now on a mission to pay more attention at red lights. It had been years since I had been "talked to" by the police and I hope it is many years before it happens again! :)

That's not the end to my night of lights, though. After I had finished my adoration time and was heading back to Bismarck on interstate some lights flickering off to my left caught my attention. I looked over to see some brilliant northern lights dancing across the sky. Wow! Even surrounded by the lights of the city they were bright and very noticeable.

As I pulled into Bismarck I decided another detour in my evening travels was now needed. I headed north of town a little ways and pulled over to watch the "light show." It amazes me how nature can do such spectacular things! Go to bismarckmandanblog.com to see some GREAT photos of what I was watching. (BTW - I was going to name this blog entry "Thursday Night Lights" until I went to Clint's site and saw that he had already used that name. Darn! The early bird...) Anyway, I enjoyed the beauty for a little while and then figured I better get home before I got myself into any more trouble.

The end.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Frosty Views






Who needs a fake flocked christmas tree when you can step out your door and see the real natural beauty everywhere you look!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Our Loving Mother Mary


Yesterday we celebrated the Immaculate Conception of Mary. We celebrate that Mary, so loved by God, was conceived and born immaculate—free from all sin, including original sin. She was so full of grace and unconditional love of God that she willingly became the Mother of Jesus without hesitation and maintained her sinless manner throughout her entire life. I was very happy to be a part of this celebration because discovering my bond with our ever loving Mother in heaven has been one of the best things about my conversion and homecoming to the Catholic faith.

We have a beautiful statue (pictured above) of Mary and Jesus in our Adoration Chapel at The Church of Christ the King. Every time I go for adoration I feel a deeper love and respect for Mary as I pray before this statue. I can feel her love, compassion and intercession as she sweetly smiles and gazes upon her son, Jesus, and all of her children that pray before her and the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel. I always receive an overwhelming sense of peace during my time in the chapel, even on those days when you think there is no peace to be found. What a wonderful gift to be given. Thank you mom and Jesus!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Decorating Day at Dawn's



It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Late this afternoon it was finally time to start getting serious about doing some Christmas decorating. Inside the house at least. Outside was pretty cool so I wimped out. Maybe that will still get done one day this next week.

My boxes of christmas "cheer" have been sitting in my living room for a week now so I am happy I finally felt like diving into them. I love the sparkle and twinkle of christmas decorations around a home, but I do have to admit I don't like the work of putting it all up and taking it back down. Oh well, it's worth it once a year. And now I have several weeks of enjoyment to look forward to before having to think about putting it all away.

There is a casualty of todays tree decorating for which I ask you to observe a moment of silence. A ceramic candy cane ornament met an untimely demise after jumping off of the tree and breaking itself into three parts. It was tragic. I can't seem to think of any particular sentimental attachment to this specific ornament so I am sad for the loss but not devastated. Whew! : )



On a different note, I have been thinking about just deleting the ol' blog since I really don't have much of anything that I want to blog about these days. But when I went into the screen with the button that says "Delete This Blog" I just couldn't do it. I figured it meant I was supposed to leave it for now. Natural Design blog, your life has been spared at this time.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The benefits of being sick...

1. You get to be lazy and not feel guilty about it.

2. You get to sleep a lot and not feel guilty about it.

3. You have a good excuse for all of those things that just didn't get done.

4. It's a good appetite suppressant, especially after a week filled with lots of irresistible food.

5. Depending on how I feel tomorrow, it might lead to more time off of work.


Just thought I would continue my process of giving thanks for the things I am given! : )


I hope everyone has a good week getting "back to reality" after our long holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving spending time with their families, eating a little (or way) too much food, and then feeling really sleepy and lazy afterward. But be sure to spend at least a couple of minutes saying, or at least thinking about, the things that you are grateful for in your life. Just think of everything that has occured over the last year. It's amazing. I know that there are many things for which I will be saying a heartfelt thank you!

Monday, November 13, 2006

MISSING: Natural Design blogger...

Where can she be?

I'm here!

Sorry. I realize that I have been slack in my blog entries lately. I seem to be "internal" with all of my thoughts again. I haven't even been thinking of blogging about anything. Usually things pop into my brain over the course of a day that I think "I should blog about that." Not recently, though. I still have nothing much to say tonight but thought I would at least say hello, and let you know I'm alive and well.

Oh, I know something I can share with you. I came across a quote in one of the books I've been reading, Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade. It is called the "sacrament of the present moment" by Caussade but the quote actually came from St. Thérèse of Lisieux, my patron saint. "If I did not simply live from one moment to the next, it would be impossible for me to keep my patience. I can see only the present, I forget the past and I take good care not to think about the future. We get discouraged and feel despair because we brood about the past and the future. It is such folly to pass one’s time fretting, instead of resting quietly on the heart of Jesus."

Amen! Thank you St. Thérèse.

I am working on living my life in this way. It is so much less stressful to just be the best person I can be, and live the best life I can live, in the present moment. One moment at a time. Constantly worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future is fruitless. And I am a natural worrier so this has been a real revelation for me.

OK, that's the end of my thought process for this blog. Hopefully I will be back again soon. Bye for now.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

HAPPY HALLOWEEN...

from the Pillsbury Doughboy (girl).

Tonight Rena and her FIANCÉ Jeff had their annual halloween party. I wasn't feeling overly festive but at least put on my Pillsbury Doughboy outfit for a little while at the party. The rest of the partygoers have now headed to the bar so I came home to relax and figured I would post a picture so you could laugh at me.

OK, that's enough, stop laughing now.

Have a safe and happy halloween. And enjoy at least a little bit of candy.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ummmmm, what month is it?

Did we suddenly skip to January? Did I fall asleep and miss a couple of months?

Our weather is acting like it's January. We had quite the snow storm today - all day - which dropped over 3" of wet, heavy snow. I just heard on the news that our 3" of snow today is the same amount as we got in the entire month of January earlier this year. Usually January is our largest snowfall month of the year. What does all of this mean for our winter ahead? Hmmmmm, I'm kind of afraid to find out.

No, whatever happens, we will adjust and get on with our lives. That's just what we do. I actually had fun sweeping the foot of snow off of my car after work. I laughed that I had to dig my car scraper out of my trunk, from under my lawn chair and roller blades. That's not exactly what they recommend to have in your trunk as your "winter survival kit." ;)

It is the perfect snowman/snowball snow so I am sure all the kids (old and young) were having a blast.

I guess all of our prayers for moisture have started kicking in. Thanks for listening God! :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another one bites the dust...

another one bites the dust, and another one down, and another one down, another one bites the dust, hey, hey, hey! :)

Two more "singles" are officially off the market.

I found out today that my friends, Rena and Jeff, are now engaged. Woohoo! CONGRATULATIONS you two!!

Wednesday at lunch I get to hear the whole story and see the new BLING!! ;) I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The sky is falling...

Actually, snow is falling from the sky. I don't think I will be lounging in that lawn chair this evening.

It was cold and windy all day but the snow only lasted for about 20 minutes this evening (so far). The first snowfall of fall/winter '06-'07. And now it's captured on my blog for posterity.

Yep, it happened ALREADY J. Snow, wind, ick! The crime in St. Louis you blogged about is scary. (Please do be careful! I second Melanie's comment.) It's weather like this that, I hope, will keep the "bad seeds" and crime away from our mostly peaceful North Dakota. You never know what you're going to get one day to the next.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Riding bike IN the house?

Yep, tonight I was riding bike in the house! And that's quite a feat in my LITTLE home.

Oh, OK, I was riding it as a stationary bike in my basement. I had the opportunity to get a free CycleOps trainer stand, through work, so I took full advantage.

Seeing as how, tonight into tomorrow, we are supposed to get snow and wind (which = blizzard) I figured it was a good night to get the bike set up in the basement.

Jason, you should be proud of me. I had to take the front wheel off of the bike to get it downstairs. It was a little rough, being my first attempt, but I think I succeeded. It didn't fall off the bike and roll away when I got on to give it a test ride anyway. :)

So, now I am set to get some exercise even when I don't feel like heading to the gym. And I am happy to get some use out of my new bike during the cold months. I figured it would sit in the garage, useless, all winter.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fall foliage fun...

I have been having fun taking some fall photos around town the last few days. Enjoy your fall Bismarck tour. :)






Monday, October 02, 2006

No 'corn'fusion here...

It's that time of year again. Fall has begun - Papa's Pumpkin Patch and the Corn Maze have opened.

On Saturday evening Rena, Jeff, Robin, Scott and I went to the "Corn Maze" south of Mandan. We had a fun time, on a gorgeous night, winding our way through the maze to find all 15 of the questions hidden within. It only took us about an hour to complete our mission. That's less than half the time it took us last year. I had my camera along so I could share the experience on the blog.

This is hard to see because it's a picture of a picture but I wanted to show you what the shape of the maze is this year. I am always impressed how they can cut these rather intricate shapes into a field of corn. As you can see in the lower left hand corner the drought this summer did effect some of the field. It wasn't nearly as tall and thick as it has been in the past.


Here are a couple of pictures of what it looks like as you are in the maze.

This is my favorite picture. We got started just as the sun was beginning to set and the colors of the sky and the corn made for a beautiful combination.

Good night sun.

Things get a little more "eerie" in the corn after dark. But that adds to the challenge and fun. Just don't get seperated from your friends! (insert evil laugh here)

I look forward to going and having fun again next year and seeing what design they come up with for the maze.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fall Beauty

This was my view as I was enjoying a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon reading on my deck.

Have you thanked God today for the beauty that he surrounds us with every day? I have!

Packed 'n ready...

Where are we going?

This is actually my gym bag. I usually put it on the floor by the back door so I remember to grab it as I head out to work in the morning.

Oreo seems to have decided that it's a great spot for a little nap.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Here we go again...

Don't you just LOVE the "political season?" All of the advertisements, signs, direct mail pieces, etc., etc., etc. Yes, yes, we know it's time to vote again.

Yuck, I'm just so NOT a political person.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Early to bed, early to rise.

Why would I have a picture of my computer desktop with 4:32 AM on it?

That would be because I was already up, showered and at work by that time.

Why would I be at work at 4:30 in the morning when I don't have to be to work until 8:00 am?

Well, my body decided it was time to be up at 2:30 AM.

Why would my body decide to be up at 2:30 AM?

I guess it is because I was forced into bed at about 9:00 PM last night.

Why was I forced into bed at 9:00 PM last night?

I can blame that on the migraine headache that hit me with a sneak attack last night.

I was in the middle of a meeting at church and all of the sudden someone set a house on my head, or at least it felt like it anyway. I tried to deal with the situation as best I could for a while but ended up having to abruptly and rudely excuse myself from the meeting (I'm so sorry ladies).

You see, when I get a migraine it never fails that I throw-up from it. I knew that the inevitable was soon to occur so I tried to race home in time. Well, I made it to my driveway and...we'll just say that my garage floor will never be the same again. : } At lease it wasn't in my car - the Black Pearl of Death would have been doubly cursed then!!

I haven't had a migraine in a very long time so I was really surprised by this whole ordeal last night. I would usually have some forewarning of the impending doom in the past when I would get these headaches. I am thinking that it was brought on by a pinched nerve last night, because it was so sudden, and my neck and back have been bugging me for the last week.

I am thankful that I feel great this morning, so far. My lack of sleep will catch up with me later, but I will be done with work by about noon or 1 since I was in so early. That's a happy thought! Then I can go home and mow my lawn in the nice afternoon sunshine. If I don't take a little power nap this afternoon (my body doesn't nap unless I am sick) then I will probably be in bed about 9:00 again tonight. And, hopefully, sleep on through until my alarm tomorrow morning.

Good morning and (God willing) good night!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Peace

Oh, if we could all be so cute, peaceful and have such a spoiled life!!

This is my cat Oreo. I think she was just thankful to be back in the house and comfortable this morning. She was loudly purring as I took this picture.

You see, she got locked out in the yard last night because she didn't come in when I called her and still wasn't back by the time I was ready for bed. So, she spent the night in the rather chilly temps outside (in the 30's I think) instead of in the nice, warm, comfy house as she is used to.

I would like to say that last night ought to teach her to come in when called, but I know that it WON'T! Yet, I still love the fluff ball!! : )

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Let me introduce you...

to the "BLACK PEARL OF DEATH!" (Any "Pirates of the Caribbean" fans out there?)

"Aaaaargh, ellooo mateys."

This would be my fairly new, (a few years old) very low mileage car, that has now refused to start for me on three different occasions over the last couple of months.

Why does one pay (exorbitantly high prices) for a nice new car? Reliability you say? That's what I THOUGHT. I have been proven wrong however!

No, I am just kidding (kind of). It has been a good reliable car for me, up until the last couple of months anyway. So I am hopeful that the problems are now taken care of, for at least a fairly long while.

After the first or second time that the car wouldn't start, I had started calling it the "Black Pearl of Death." Jodi (my sister) thought that was a great name since we are huge "Pirates of the Caribbean" fans. Well, earlier this week Jodi had asked if I could give her a ride to Dickinson this weekend, 100 miles away. She bought a van out there that she needed to pick up and drive back home. She said that she would really appreciate a ride so she didn't have to take the bus. Of course, my response to that was "are you sure you trust the 'Black Pearl of Death' as your means of transport. I question it every time I go out to start it now." Her reply was "that was exactly what I was going to say. You stole my joke!" Ha, at least we are getting some good laughs out of the troubles that occured. Life is so much more pleasant that way! :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Isn't this cute?

I came across these 2 pieces of heavy duty "manly" machinery that look like they are holding hands (claws?). I thought it was so cute that I had to run home and get my camera to take a picture.

I really have to start carrying a camera with me at all times. I missed 2 or three other shots that I came across in my wanderings this evening. Darn it!

(Sorry for the poor picture quality. The batteries in the camera were dying and I was struggling just to keep it turned on long enough to get a photo taken. I'm such a professional photographer. :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The look of things to come...

Fall is beginning to make its appearance wherever you look these days. This picture is of my baby poplar tree (which I have affectionately named "Poppy") that I planted in my yard last summer. The tree was about the same height as me when I planted it. Tonight I was standing under it and shooting way above my head. It's incredible how the last year has changed so many things, in such great ways!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Misunderstood

It was brought to my attention today that my "It's a challenging life..." blog came across sounding as if I were saying "woe is me." That wasn't really my intention. I was TRYING to say that I am doing much better now as I am finding my way in my newfound faith, step by step, day by day. I missed getting that point made I guess, oops!

What's the matter with you people, can't you just read my mind and understand the gibberish I am spewing here, come on!! : )

Just kidding of course, I will try to do better but I make NO GUARANTEES! No money back offer here. You're lucky it's free!

Aaaaaaahhhhhh


I received this photo as part of a "forward" email many months ago and just came across it again yesterday. It's SO CUTE I had to put it on the blog.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Inspiring thought...

Here's a great statement that I came across in the book I am reading about St. Therese of Lisieux.

"How merciful is the way God has guided me. Never has He given me the desire for anything which He has not given me."

Wow!

Now have a GREAT day!! :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Midnight reflections...

OK it was actually more like 11 than midnight last night when I took this picture but midnight reflections sounded better than 11 0'clock reflections.

I have always liked how the trees/moon/clouds/sun reflect off of the glass top on my table outside. Last night I tried to capture it on camera. It's not great but gives you the idea.

It's a challenging life...

Things have been somewhat of a struggle in my life for the last couple of months. My possessions have been breaking down, causing me problems and anxiety. And my Jason moved 1000 miles away to St. Louis, MO to start seminary, discerning if he is being called by God to become one of His faithful priests. Following Jason's lead, I am trying very hard to not contact him much in order to give him the space he needs to listen to what God is saying now (instead of my insignificant rambles about life). It's kind of like having one of my limbs ripped off though.

All of this (sinful self-pity and selfishness - confession anyone?) has caused me to be pretty quiet and not feel like blogging about my life. And I was feeling like no one is really reading this drivel of mine anyway so why put in the time and effort. Well, this morning the Holy Spirit seems to have descended upon me and put lots of words in my head. I had the overwhelming feeling that it would be therapeutic for me to just get them out in my little journal of life (which happens to be on the internet for the world to see, hmmmm, oh well, openness and honesty is the way).

As I see it, God created me as this big, walking, mushy heart for a reason. So now I have to lovingly accept the challenges that this heart is being put through, knowing that He will also give me the strength to fight through these painful, challenging times. I keep repeating to myself everyday that "I put my full faith in God and He shall provide!"

I don't want to come off sounding like some religious "NUT" but my new relationship with God is what is getting me through right now. I am still amazed at how having knowledge of and love for God has changed my life.

After Mass yesterday I was talking to Fr. Phillips and Ken Johnson, an aspiring deacon candidate for our parish. At one point Ken described himself as a 4 year old - meaning that he has been a member of the Catholic Church for 4 years now. That made me start thinking about how I am really just a newborn, not even 2 months old yet. I have SO much to learn and SO much growing to do. Some days I struggle to stay strong in my faith and I feel sad and lonely. I have recently realized that those are the days when I have gotten away from prayer. During the weekdays it is all to easy to let the daily tasks of life fill your time and not give yourself that oh-so-important one-on-one time with God.

This next year will be my time to "grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord." ~ 2 Peter 3:18

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bird in flight?



Can you see the bird in flight in this cloud formation? (Click on the picture to view it larger if that helps.)

As I was walking the other night I happened to look up and saw this image of a huge bird. I thought it was pretty cool so I snapped a photo.

Maybe I am the only one that can see this mirage of mine (my brain tends to work in ways that no one else can understand - including me!) so I highlighted what I was seeing, as seen below.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lazy day...

On Sunday afternoon as I was out enjoying the beautiful weather and reading on my deck I noticed this squirrel sitting in the tree above me. It caught my attention because it was sitting still, as in not moving. This is very abnormal from any squirrels I have witnessed before. They are usually more like Hammy, the crazy hyper squirrel in the movie "Over the Hedge." (Very cute movie by the way - I like the cookie!) Anyway, this squirrel above me appeared to be taking a nap right there on the tree limb. He stayed in that exact spot and position for at least 2 hours that I know of, then I left for a little while and he was gone by the time I got back. Maybe you had to be there but it was just a funny sight for me to see. I know my backyard has always been calming and relaxing for me, well apparently the animals are feeling the same way now too! :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sunset heaven...



The harvest time sunsets the last few nights here in North Dakota have been truly beautiful. I just can't capture on camera the full glory of what my eyes see but I at least tried. On Thursday night the sun was completely red and so gorgeous as it was setting but I didn't have my camera with me, I was quite mad at myself!

Friday, July 28, 2006

What in the world?

Life seemed to be really “off” for me this week - emotionally, physically and mentally. The world just didn’t seem to be rotating on its proper axis. Was it just my little corner of the world or did it spread farther than that?

All that I really wanted to do most of the week was sleep and eat. And then sleep some more. That was the one time of the day when I could find a little peace. Yet, even that peace was disturbed with some thought or another that would wake me up every couple of hours. I even woke up with a song running incessantly through my brain last night. At least it was a “good message” song, that made me feel better. But it was still weird!

Thankfully, I seem to have exorcised most of the demons from my brain as of Thursday afternoon. My lunchtime workout that day was a good way to clear out the bad and bring forth the good which brought me some much needed peace. Thank you!

I hope that my world will now be put back in order so I can have a good weekend. And follow it with better days next week.

I wish you peace and happiness in YOUR world. : )

Monday, July 24, 2006

"Auntie" to be...


I got some GREAT news this last weekend from one of my best friends...she is 10 weeks pregnant and so far doing fine. I am SO excited and happy for Angie and Tom. They have been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half and were about to give up. And now they are expecting in February. YIPPEE!! The whole idea of creating a brand new life is simply amazing! God has blessed them and He made a great choice because those two are going to be the best parents. That will be one happy and loved child!

Congratulations Angie and Tom, I can't wait to be an "auntie" again!