Monday, August 18, 2014

A Proper Modern Mountain Woman: MJ Dehart

Better Know a Proper Mountain Woman: MJ Dehart
MJ Dehart lives in Alpine, Utah. Her and her husband bought a home there several years ago, which they completely gutted and have been working to finish ever since. On top of refinishing their home... they own two dogs and raise chickens AND bees in their backyard. I have always known MJ as a girl who works hard and plays hard, with tons of fun hobbies and interests. I was impressed to find out her latest adventure... her and her husband are in the process of adopting two boys from the island St. Maarten! Which I think is really amazing and cool. She's a busy beautiful lady with lots going on her life so I was honored when MJ had the time to be spotlighted on Girls Pearls and Powder. Enjoy what she has to say!

1. Where is your favorite outdoor refuge where you live right now?

Surprisingly enough, my favorite place to get away is my backyard. We are lucky to live in a beautiful area with sweeping views of the mountains all around us and my yard is fairly isolated. I love being out gardening, taking care of my bees and chickens and playing with my dogs. Often times, by the time the end of the day comes, there’s not a lot of time to go far, but I can always count on my backyard to relax and enjoy myself.

2. What do you do to feel creative? What is your creative outlet?

I do all kinds of things to feel creative. I don't do it as much as I would like but painting and ceramics are one of my favorite outlets. I wish I had an art studio to make it a little easier. Creative arts in general are so relaxing, I can lose myself in good music and a paintbrush pretty easily.
I've also noticed my creativity shifts and changes during the different seasons. In the spring I feel the most creative; planning out my garden, getting the seed starts going, and prepping for all things lively. In the fall I feel creative quilting, canning my garden goods, and crocheting hats and scarves. It just depends!

3. What is your favorite mountain? 

I would have to say the entire area and ranges that separate American Fork Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. I realize the area is vast, but there are so many amazing mountain biking and hiking trails, climbing, and prime camping. I grew up in these mountains and there are always adventures to be had here, they never get old.

4. What would you say is a mountain that you have conquered in life?

Learning to let go. I’ve always felt the need to be in control of my life. I get that unexpected things can happen and I need to be flexible and adjust, but for the most part I’m very 'cause and effect' minded. If I make choice a, b or c, then x, y, z will likely follow and I’m responsible for those choices and the consequences that follow. This was all well and good until my husband and I decided we wanted to adopt children. The entire process has been a huge test of faith, and I’ve had to learn that God has a plan for me and in this situation I’m on his timeline, not my own. I’ve had to learn to let go of my expectations entirely and put all of my trust in the Lord. It’s been the most difficult experience I’ve ever had; especially since I’ve seen and held two fantastic little boys that I believe were meant to be a part of our family. I may not be entirely over the mountain yet, but I am at peace with the fact that what is meant to happen will happen, hard as that may be. 

5. Is etiquette important to you? 

I apologize, I will not win any awards for brevity on this question. I was always taught growing up to be respectful, but as I’ve gotten older and more mature I’ve realized how important etiquette really is. I think a lot of times when we think of etiquette we think of proper place settings, crossing our legs and hands just right, avoiding slouching, and gentlemen opening doors for the ladies. I’m not opposed to any of those things, except maybe place settings, life is short after all so be a little crazy! Put that knife next to your fork and play a little hide-and-seek with the spoons at your next dinner party if you want!

However, there’s obviously a lot more to etiquette than that. I think one piece of the etiquette puzzle that often gets lost is how to appropriately communicate with one another. Sincerity often comes only with satire; engagement is divided between multiple things, anger and frustration are at times thinly veiled in text messages or on social networks.

Personally, I believe it’s more important than ever for us to take a step back and start being more engaging and honest with one another. When someone is talking to you, look at them, listen to what they have to say, ask engaging questions, be genuinely interested. If you’re upset or angry with someone, communicate your frustrations calmly and directly, and be willing to be forgiving, heaven knows none of us are perfect.

Let me be clear, I am not the Saint of Communications here. I lose my cool, I try and multi task too much at the expense of others, I can be very salty and sarcastic, and it’s all I can do some days to be polite. Nevertheless, I am making a conscious effort to be better at these things. I try to make it a point to leave my phone in my purse when I’m out with friends so I’m not distracted. I try to engage in conversations more and show earnest interest in others that are speaking with me. If I’m upset or angry I try and calmly speak with that individual directly to address the issue, and give people the benefit of the doubt. On the reverse side I try to take ownership of my mistakes and be sincere in my apologies to others. I’m trying to make sure people know what to expect with me. Using good etiquette is a form of respect, and I think we can all agree we enjoy when others are respectful of us.

6. What do you do to feel motivated when you are feeling lazy, or you feel like you are in a rut?

Get up and move! Often times I find I’m in a rut because I’m being lazy, I’m getting a little too comfortable, maybe I’ve given up on a few things I shouldn't have, or I’m not prioritizing important things. This is the perfect time for me to make a goal, even if that goal is to simply make dinner every night this week, or get out an exercise daily. 

7. What daily routine do you have to help you feel more feminine or more like a proper lady?

I drink a cup of tea every single morning. It’s my favorite ritual hands down. Whenever I travel I find teashops and buy fun new teas to try. I have fresh raw honey on hand from my bees, and there is nothing like an amazing lavender or spearmint tea with fresh honey to get you started. I’m currently really excited about an African Rooibos tea I got in Belgium. It has the greatest sweet earthy notes.

Tea has always seemed feminine to me (no disrespect to the men out there who love tea) and maybe it’s not a mark of femininity, but it definitely helps with my mountain chi. It reminds me of something fresh and natural and I love it. 

8. What is your favorite fingernail polish brand and color?

OPI – My Private Jet. It’s a gorgeous gunpowder gray color with tiny flecks of white in it. When light hits the polish it shines a brilliant red-orange. It feels like I’m wearing the month of October.

9. What is your favorite song that you've been listening to?

Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys. It’s been a bit of a mantra for me as of late. To me, it embodies why it’s so awesome to be female in this day and age. Women are so unique in what they can do. We have such incredible power to influence others, and with determination and grace we are unstoppable and will continue to accomplish great things. Again, no disrespect to the wonderful men of the world, but in the past several years I have met so many strong and unbelievably talented women. The ladies are taking this place by storm and I’m so proud to be among such high caliber company. 

10. What new hobbies or skills are you currently pursuing? Do you ever feel nervous about trying something new?

Hunting! I just took my hunters safety and I tried to go all out by putting in for a bear tag this year. I didn't get it but that just means I’ll try again next year. I've really never been into hunting but, for one reason or another, I've been excited to try. I’ve shot, and I do own guns, but it’s not like I grew up doing it a lot. When I went to take my hunters safety I was super nervous, I honestly worried that I would fail the shooting test miserably and the 12 year old next to me would laugh and shame me. Luckily, I went with my awesome niece who made it entirely more fun and we both passed with flying colors.

It’s always a bit nerve wracking to try new things, but that’s why I think we get so much more satisfaction out of it. 


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