life is what you make it.

 I woke up yesterday in a funk. Okay, it was more than a funk. Not only was I feeling less than inspired, but just downright bummed. Borderlining on sad, dangerously teetering over the edge of depressed. I was feeling down. Like woah. Thinking about many things and needing to make some decisions was not helped by finding out some bad news. It was one of those days when you feel like your dreams aren't going to come true, like you are working hard to no end. When you feel like a hamster on a wheel just going nowhere (am I the only one who feels that way sometimes?) And no amount of the usual "get me inspired" things helped at all. Not watching this... or singing  this. A cup of strawberry tea didn't help. Nor did lighting vanilla candles or spraying on a spritz of my expensive perfume. Mod podging something didn't help. Putting on my big white hooped earrings didn't help. Mid-way through the afternoon, plodding through work and feeling ever more discouraged, one of my go-to cry it out songs came on iTunes (do you have those too? the songs that just turn on the waterworks like that?) and as the tears threatened to flow, I got up from my chair. I threw on a knitted cap and my boots. I grabbed my camera. And I went outside.

A cold front came in with the beginning of this week (a rare occurance in Southern California) and snow was falling all day. Well, rather - drizzly, wet hail was falling all day. A slushy, rainy fall...not real snow, just slush (not helping the mood at all, really.) But, unbenowenst to me, in the last hour - real snowflakes - the big, white frozen kind - began to fall. And the ground was covered in pure, frozen, beautiful whiteness.

So I took a walk in it.

It wasn't a long walk. Because my skinny jeans and Forever 21 coat were feeling pretty thin and soaked-through after about 10 minutes. But I've gotta tell ya - just a jaunt in the crunchy, icy wonderland - and I was smiling.

And I realized - how thankful I was for the whimsical flakes falling from the sky. I realized...the things I need to decide that seemed so ginormous while I sat staring at my computer screen minutes before, were really small in the grand scheme of things. And I realized...I loved stopping and enjoying the perfect flurries covering the ground in a blanket of white. And I realized, I loved the crisp, unbelievable fresh air I was breathing in because it is something us California girls rarely experience.

And I realized a grown-up realization, that as hard and disappointing as life can be, it is still a gift. I am blessed. And it could be oh so much worse. Life may not always be as comfortable or as ideal as we would wish. But if we look at it the right way, through a fresh perspective - it is ever so beautiful.

My mom always says, "Just taking a walk can change your whole persective."
As I saw yesterday, a walk sure can change your point of view. As can looking at the little, ordinary things in life... and seeing the simple things as beautiful.

Things like these simple things that made me smile this last week:

...sweet coffee and fresh strawberries with a little dallop of whipped cream - oh yeah. My breakfast of champions.

...juicy, delicious oranges - and the best part? they're PINK.

...finding my Great-Grandpa's old love letters and notes to my Great-Grandma...from the 1930's.

...going back to the Farmer's Market. And this time, took my b-fri.

... i love how ice cream stands make me smile.

...i love colors. & flavors.

...and dinner with sistah friend. (seriously, can you get any more fabulous than her?!)
yeah, yeah that's the sticker on the sunglasses...just tryin' em on! although i've totally walked around with a sticker left on cheap sunglasses before!

...i love browsing homemade candy stands

  Yesterday, I realized afresh that a perfect, easy life does nothing to grow, change, stretch and shape us into the strongest and best version of ourselves we can be. Staying safely inside our comfort zones does not challenge us. Facing no pain or hardship does not push us to run to God and throw our cares at His feet. Without trials and tough cirucmstances, do we really need to trust the Lord? Without suffering, how would we know His comfort? Without weakness, how would we feel His presence and peace holding us close when we are broken? Knowing exactly what will happen and having all the answers does nothing to grow our faith. Does nothing to make us the strongest, best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be.

So, when life gets hard and crazy. When you can't take it and you wanna cry. Go...take a walk in the snow, or the sunshine. Breathe in crisp air.  And smile.

You might just get a new perspective and be reminded... just how oh so beautiful life can be.

"...the Lord answered her,
'You are worried and upset about many things.
But only One thing is needed...'"
-Luke 10:41-42


oh, & we can't forget this (very belated) piece of business...

Friday iPhone Photo Drop

{from instagram, to follow search: erin_sweetnessitself}