Journey Towards Health

So, I turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, and since my birthday falls so closely to the beginning of the year, I tend to take on both the year and my goals combined as though they are one.

So, this year, I have a plethora of goals and things I would like to accomplish, but, more than previous years, I am creating this year as a course correction of sorts for the future.

I have begun to budget meticulously, so that I can pay off large chunks of debt this year… Plus I am excited to take a class through work that will help me be successful even more.

Through a friend and co-worker I’ve discovered MindMeister.com and am mind mapping goals for this year… All of them, big and small.

I have finally stepped out and contacted a cousin for guidance on my diet and exercise… I also bought new shoes (cause my others were broken a long time ago).. and I will be joining a gym this week.

I have also started reading my Bible and actually studying it.. not just reading it for informational purposes.. Or worse, to get my time “in” with God in order to move on, but, instead genuinely to focus and spend time with Him to grow and be cultivated.

 

I feel like it is time to pull myself together on multiple fronts at the same time. Up until now, I have slowly been learning to budget, and slowly monitoring and focusing on my health. However, I have also sort of just done it in a bit of a loosey goosey kinda way.

Already, six(ish) weeks into 2015 and a few weeks into 30, I am beginning to feel better. More stabilized and balanced with significantly less worry in my heart on multiple levels. Some days still being full of worry and stress, others not at all, and then the rough back and forth between stress and peace.

I think when I stop and look at the things that are causing me the most stress, it almost always boils back to finances. I find myself every so often begin to spiral into worry with questions like:
Should I spend the $20 a month on a gym membership or apply that to debt?
Should I budget for going out or put that into savings?
Should I put money into cheaper foods to save, or spend more on the healthier foods I love?

Then, a few weeks ago it dawned on me… I didn’t get myself into debt¬†quickly, so I must give myself the space to live well (meaning healthy, not in abundance) in order to create joy and refreshing that can counteract the stress and worry for the long haul of paying off debt. Especially since, the primary debt I have is educational.. And the rest is mostly a carry over from being unemployed for so long.

I have been intensely purposeful lately about letting go of my anxieties and relaxing the stress that I have been holding onto every day.

You see, my theme for this year is health… I haven’t been able to come up with a good rhyming hashtag since “thirtyflirtyandthriving” just doesn’t quite hit the mark for this year. But, thirty really does seems like a great year to gain my health back on every front in order to move forward in a new decade!

Sweet, sweet health. I am so looking forward to walking in your direction consistently this year, and creating healthy habits moving forward. Physical, emotional, and spiritual health, those are the things I am aiming towards this year.

Looking Ahead: 2015

So, I do a year in review every year, and it is my favorite blog post to do annually because it forces me to pause and reflect on where I have been, what I have done, and the people and things that have changed me. I also have found that taking time to remember tends to cause and overwhelming feeling of gratitude to God for all the things He has done and ways that He has once again proven his faithfulness. You can read about the 2014 review here, 2013 here, and 2012 here.. Beyond that, if you’re still interested you can look in my December archives for each year ūüôā

My second favorite post of the year is the one where I look ahead, make goals, resolutions, plans, and share the things I can see (or not see) coming, as well as any thoughts or insights into what it feels like God is up to in my life.

This year I turn 30!

I am stoked.

It may seem odd that I am so excited, but for some reason I am.
I am looking forward to starting a new decade of my life.
I am looking forward to feeling like there is less pressure at 30 to prove yourself.
I am looking forward to enjoying life in a new way.

  1. The year I was 29 was incredibly difficult, but it has only caused me to resolve to create healthy habits across every aspect of my life.
  2. This year I am excited about starting a new job and continuing my consulting work, learning, growing, experiencing, helping others, and leading well.
  3. I want to read like crazy this year. I want to learn from other people’s experiences and then figure out how to apply them to what I am doing.
  4. I need to get new running shoes (my other one’s are broken), but, as soon as I do I want to get back to running and weight lifting.
  5. I want to eat healthy and properly hydrate myself. I feel like I made significant progress over the last six months, but I still need make better choices moving forward, so I plan on it.
  6. I am looking forward to walking. I am within walking distance of work, have a dog who needs exercise, and live in a highly active city.. I want to experience and take full advantage.
  7. I want to dance often. I miss Salsa dancing (or latin dancing in general) immensely whenever I do not get to do it regularly… So, now that I have returned to a city that has a great dancing scene, I plan on jumping back in regularly!
  8. I want to be better at mailing letters and cards. I plan on making it a weekly habit to mail at least one letter or card, whether long or short… (That being said.. send me your address if you would like to get added to my list!)
  9. I need to get back in the habit of praying regularly and for extended periods of time for friends, family, and situations of others… So, my mirror 3×5 cards are going back up!
  10. I took a significant break from blogging many times throughout last year. I just felt like I had nothing of value to share, so I said nothing at all. But, I missed it, a lot. So, regularly weekly blogs are getting put back into the rotation of schedule.
  11. I want so badly to travel internationally this year!
  12. I have 5 years to pay off a stupid ridiculous amount of debt, but I am determined to keep my focus there. Even if I do not attain my goal (which, at this stage, I’m not sure how I would) focusing on it will ensure that I am being diligent and making wise choices.
  13. I want to put money in savings!
  14. I want to add to and cross things off my before I die bucket list year!
  15. I need to carve out space in my schedule to read and actually study scripture.
  16. I am going to keep a jar full of daily things that were blessings, positives, good moments, things I was thankful for that day. — I did this for about 5 months of last year, this year I aim for the whole year.

I think this year is going to be jam-packed and I am so excited about it. I cannot wait to look back at the year and marvel at how many things I crammed into each week.
I feel as though this year I am going to be trying to drink out of a firehose all year. I am looking forward to the laughter and ridiculousness of things that are surely going to happen in the process of trying to absorb it all.
I have a feeling that I will get really good this year at owning up to mistakes and apologizing for the things I dropped the ball on.

As I start 2015, I am at a place of marvel and wonder. I am totally amazed at where I find myself after having moments of wondering if the difficult and painful things would ever end.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the marvel and wonder won’t go away for a while, and I’m totally ok with that.

 

Borrowed Hope…

2012 Wrap-Up...I was walking my pups, thanks to the (attempting to improve) weather, and thinking and praying through this season of life that I am trying to escape from vehemently, and it dawned on me, I am so thankful despite the suck.

So much of this season has been trying to cling to hope while feeling mostly pain.

In less than two weeks it will be nine months since I have had a full-time permanent job. It has been 264 days since I have felt financially secure.

You can read more about my journey so far here, here, and here if you are interested. That is where you will get at least a small understanding without me having to rehash the struggle and emotions here today.

I have been stressing about money for 263 days, and my bank account has even got down to a balance of -.19. Yet, despite it all, I have not had one missed payment. I have had to fix my car three times, and been able to continue to support the missionaries I have supported for years. The very small amount of income I have has allowed me to continue to tithe, feed my dog, pay my car insurance, cell phone bill, and gas money. And, amazingly, my student loan payments have been able to be paid or deferred.

While I was surveying where I am, and where I have been, the thing that sticks out the most is the provision at exactly the right time. Regardless of my feelings, I cannot deny that more often than not, God has used friends and family to show me tangibly that He still loves, cares about me, and knows exactly what and when my needs are. Despite the mounting obstacles, I have been blown away recently by how much things have come together at exactly the right time.

Normally, and naturally, I am not a person who cares much about being told nice or encouraging things… I am really not a words person at all. I am not a gifts person, and I do not particularly notice if you do or don’t do something nice for me.. Yet, during the last nine months, those things have been life lines to my heart. The small gifts, the words of encouragement, the nicest and most humbling ways that people have shown me love have all been tangible things that God has used to infuse hope into my heart little piece by little piece.

I began thinking through the sheer number of people and times¬†where someone has given me money or supported me in some way; it is absolutely ridiculous.¬†Every single day¬†(no joke) people check in to see how I am doing, let me know they are praying for me, offer me financial support, send a job posting, send me an “I love you” gift, or just listen to me while I verbally process the most recent stress in my life and then show an endless amount of patience with me.

Even people I have never met, but connected to through a mutual friend have shared encouragement, prayers, and potential job leads.

Over and over I have struggled through feeling stuck and trying desperately to hold onto hope. Without fail, ever single time, someone has sent me a letter, message, text, or called and infused my heart with borrowed hope and encouragement.

The sheer fact that I have not been told to shut up and suck it up, or entirely left alone proves how much I am loved; I am amazed and totally undeserving. Goodness knows I have not been the easiest or happiest person to be around. I am amazed by the grace extended to me by so many of my friends and family while I try to work through the stress and emotions each day.

As I think about the last nine months (has it really been that long?!), I am in awe of not just the journey, but also the hundreds of people who have come along side me in one way or another to help me get through it all.

Thank you for allowing me to borrow your hope and for sharing so much tangible love with me throughout all of this. I simply could not have made it this far or at all without the help. I am so grateful.

Revised Bucket List…

When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be the type of old person who had so many ridiculous and crazy stories of things I have done, places I have been, and people I have met that the only question that would make sense is: “How did you have time to do everything?” When I settled on that as a huge goal in life, I began crafting a bucket list of sorts… Only, it is more of my “life” goals, but the meaning is essentially the same I suppose.

So, regularly I revise my bucket list because I think it should be ever-growing and molding; plus, I must replace the items I have accomplished with new ones!

A couple of years ago, I re-organized my list and created categories which has made it easier to manage, follow, update and honestly just be really excited about. So…

It is time to update my Life Goals list again!

Experiences:

  1. Watch the sunrise AND sunset from each side of every ocean or sea (a = Sunrise, b = Sunset): 1. Pacific (b), 2. Atlantic, 3. Indian, 4. Arctic, 5. Southern, 6. Mediterranean Sea (a), 7. Caribbean, 8. South China Sea, 9. Bering Sea, 10. Gulf of Mexico (b), 11. Okhotsk Sea, 12. East China Sea, 13. Hudson Bay, 14. Japan Sea, 15. Andaman Sea, 16. North Sea, 17. Red Sea, 18. Baltic Sea
  2. Have a croissant at a French cafe 
  3. Ride a gondola in Venice
  4. Stay in a hostel
  5. Attend Loy Krathong, the sky lantern festival in Thailand
  6. Attend La Tomatina in Spain
  7. Be in Spain for running of the Bulls (but not participate)
  8. Move somewhere new alone
  9. Participate in a giant food fight
  10. Drink whiskey at a pub in Ireland
  11. Ride a helicopter
  12. Ride an elephant
  13. Ride a camel in the desert
  14. Ride through the Panama Canal
  15. Horseback ride through a coffee plantation
  16. Jump off a waterfall
  17. See the Pyramids at sunset
  18. See a glacier in Antarctica
  19. Visit the church made entirely of bones
  20. Visit ancient ruins
  21. Stay in the ice hotel
  22. Stand on the Great Wall of China
  23. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  24. Stand inside the Taj Mahal
  25. Tube down a river
  26. Learn to roll in a kayak
  27. Learn to snowboard, and ski
  28. Learn to wakeboard and water ski
  29. Drive a sports car over 100mph
  30. Go parasailing
  31. Go paragliding
  32. Go dog sledding
  33. Go on a Safari in Africa 
  34. Go rock climbing
  35. Go to the Kentucky Derby
  36. Go white water rafting
  37. Go Sky diving
  38. Go on a multi-day biking trip
  39. Go on a cruise
  40. Go wine tasting
  41. Wine taste at a vineyard in Italy
  42. Climb a volcano 
  43. Climb a glacier 
  44. Climb a mountain
  45. See and/or climb Mt. Kilomanjaro and Mt. Everest
  46. Hike the Inca Trail 
  47. Watch the sunrise or sunset over the Grand Canyon
  48. Watch the Northern Lights 
  49. See a shooting star 
  50. See Bioluminescent Plankton 
  51. Ring a church bell
  52. Choose fifty favorite places to relax and connect with God
  53. Attend the entire summer Olympics
  54. Zip line through a canopy
  55. Drink lemonade on the front porch swing on warm summer night
  56. Live in a house with a window seat and wrap around porch
  57. Christen a boat
  58. Learn to surf
  59. Learn to paddleboard  
  60. Dive with Manta Rays in Hawaii
  61. Swim in the Dead Sea
  62. Swim with a whale
  63. Snorkel the great barrier reef in Australia
  64. Swim with bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico
  65. Scuba dive 
  66. Tango in a milonga 
  67. Spend a night in a treehouse
  68. Have a big wedding celebration with everyone I love

Travel:

  1. Set foot on all seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
  2. Set foot in all fifty states:Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  3. Cross the Canadian border 
  4. Go to Cuba
  5. Go to Spain
  6. Straddle the equator on two continents
  7. Take a road trip across the U.S.
  8. Have an adventure in Greece
  9. Take a month-long vacation without computers
  10. Live in another country for a year
  11. Go to Fiji
  12. Spend a summer touring Europe
  13. Go to Hawaii
  14. Go to South America with my sister

Personal:

  1. Attend a Ball
  2. Learn Latin dances: Argentine Tango, Salsa, Cumbia, Merengue, Cha cha, Bachata, Rumba, Mambo,
  3. Learn to West Coast Swing
  4. Be a published artist
  5. Get art in a gallery
  6. Write a book or novel
  7. Finish and publish ‚ÄúFacts of Life‚ÄĚ
  8. Throw a block party
  9. Blog consistently for 10 years
  10. Go a day without speaking
  11. Organize a retreat
  12. Start and run my own business
  13. Get my second degree black belt
  14. Get a tattoo (I have two)
  15. Do two pull ups 
  16. Own a very large dog 
  17. Be conversational in two languages: 1. English 2. Spanish
  18. Learn a least enough in three additional languages to semi-understand
  19. Make my own list of the hundred best things to eat
  20. Plant a tiny orchard
  21. Grow vegetables in my own garden
  22. Go berry picking
  23. Make completely homemade pies 
  24. Make butterscotch from scratch (I have a recipe, now I just need to get all the ingredients and do it!)
  25. Run a 10k
  26. Run a half marathon
  27. Shoot every major gun: Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle, Muzzleloader, Revolver
  28. Start a fire without a match
  29. Build a house from start to finish
  30. Own a Beach house with friends

Giving:

  1. Help someone get through college
  2. Do something for someone they can never repay
  3. Tithe my whole life
  4. Start a non-profit or help run one
  5. Buy stock on my own
  6. Do one grand loving gesture a year
  7. Be debt free by 35
  8. Use my work to improve lives
  9. Remove money as a concern from my life
  10. Gift 1 million dollars to missions (not tithing)
  11. Help my family become debt free
  12. Give people in ministry free vacations at the beach house

Total, there are 124 things on my bucket list so far, which realistically is more than that due to the sub points. And, since this is an ever evolving Life Goals, things will likely be crossed off and added to this year.

In 2013, I crossed off 12 things from my list!.. In 2014, I aim to cross off more than double that!

I am currently working on a list of 29 things I want to do in 2014 because I am turning 29 on the 29th of January! One of the things I have discovered as I compile this “29 Things” list is, most “30 things to do before you’re 30” lists are lame, and almost all of the “29 things to do when you are 29” lists I have found are stupid. So, I will attempt to create an actual solid list of things to do in a year, and leave out things such as, “Forgive” “Fall in love” or “get married” as key points on my list… My list will be much more active and intentional.

I cannot wait to share my 29 things I want to do in 2014!

Unchosen Change…

Late night writing has pretty much always been my thing. There is just something about the silence and stillness that comes late into the evening that just causes my mind to think differently. Tonight, as I sit in my soon to no longer be mine living room, with my incredibly large puppy sound asleep at my feet, I am struck once again by one thought: Unchosen change is the hardest.

I have said for a very long time that change is hard, even for someone like me who tends to really enjoy change (yes, 7 different hair colors in the last year). Change brings a lot of things, many of which take the form of uncertainties that simply cannot be answered. But, I will always stand by my personal view that it is actually the unchosen change that is the most difficult.

The complex situation can sometimes be caused by someone else choosing and making decisions on your behalf, other times it is because of illness, and every so often it is because of a series of tragic events. Regardless, the things you did not decide, but have no choice except to walk through is where the grieving of the change comes in.

My mantra for the last year has been pretty simple: “It’s just different, it’s not good or bad, just different.” And, that could not be more true for my life right now.

This week, I have had such a whirlwind of emotions play through me.

I am 7 weeks out,
100 job applications in,
23 rejection letters received,
15 packed boxes later,
2 cans of primer required,
and a solid 50/50 mixture of sorrow and joy.

Sorrow because I am painting my place back to white (which is never my favorite), and not preparing for a new exciting place yet.
Sorrow because I do not see the plan nor do I have a plan for what is coming next.
Sorrow because I am not excited about my next steps.
Sorrow because I did not just lose a job, I lost my community, and my home.
Sorrow because I learned a lot of bad habits due to some difficult people.
Sorrow because I miss and am going to miss a lot of people immensely.
Sorrow because it all just sucked.

And then, mercifully, I also find joy has just as much room in my heart and emotions.

Joy because I really do love adventure.
Joy because I get to take a furry companion with me this time.
Joy because a safety net fell into place exactly when I needed it to.
Joy because a terrible situation provided the means to get me through this season.
Joy because I know without any doubts that in a few days/weeks/months/ this time next year, I will be focused on other things.
Joy because I am loved by so very many people.
Joy because I trust that this all happened for a reason.
Joy because tomorrow brings new things.
Joy because I by my choosing or not, I am taken care of and Loved, and I know that when I look back, I would gladly choose every time for this all to work out exactly as it is playing out currently.

Unchosen change honestly sucks and it is hard. But, if we only ever got to choose the change, we would only ever do what we knew we could… And, where’s the fun adventure in that?

Transitions…

Apparently life in transition is becoming something of a way of life for me. As I look for jobs like it is my job (no really, in two and a half weeks I have applied for 34 and looked at hundreds more), I have realized how many times I have done this transition thing.

Each time I love it, and hate it.

I love the excitement.
I love the change.
I love the possibilities.
I love the hope.
I love knowing that I will one day look back on my life and know that it was full because I was willing to follow God anywhere at any time.
I love the adventure of transitions and change.
I love the new things I will get to experience.
I love the joy and faithfulness of God that I will get to experience because of the new transition.
I love that I undoubtably will get the opportunity to meet new and absolutely amazing people, and that they will forever be etched into my life.
I love that I will get to test one more time how well I can face and handle life’s challenges with grace.
I love stepping out of my comfort zone.

I do not however like packing my apartment.
I do not like painting my walls back to white (insane asylum white what?!)
I do not like leaving people who I love and cherish (thank you Jesus for technology and the ease of keeping in contact!).
I do not like spending hours every day looking for jobs… and perusing lame-o job postings.
I do not like the stress that comes with figuring out how to make it all work (apartment hunting.. AFTER I get the job.. and then getting myself to the new place).
I do not like stepping out of my comfort zone.

I think some people get the impression that because I basically have a degree in “fly by the seat of my pants” and actually enjoy the thrill and challenge of change that I do not also struggle with the challenges or fear that come with it as well.

I have a love/hate relationship with transitions and change.

However, I look back at my life, and I realize that my life has been constant transitions. Yet, every single change or transition I have had has only enhanced my life, it has never made it worse or even kept it the same. I love change because it means adventure, and I feel like it gives me the chance to learn and exercise things that I learn in the Bible more each time. I dislike change because it is hard, and sometimes incredibly painful and lonely… But, even still, I have never walked away regretting or wishing it did not happen.

No matter what is to come in this next transition, as always, I am not going to just pretend everything is ok, but, I will also hold confident that my God is a God of miracles, and a beautiful God of the trials… And, He will be with me every blessed moment and step.

Prayer Summer 2013…

My church is doing a summer prayer series, and one of the recommended readings is The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. While I have already read this book, I am actually really excited to read it again and gain fresh perspective on it.

Yesterday was the start of a summer small group I am leading. I am excited about the group, and I am really looking forward to seeing where God leads each of us. One of the things we are doing is, today we are kicking off a 21 day prayer challenge. I am looking forward to it, but, I am even more excited to see how He chooses to reveal Himself, and all the ways He is going to answer prayers this summer. I am fully anticipating looking back on this summer and realizing how many amazing and crazy things started this summer. I am fully expecting to be blown away, even though I have no idea in what way or what area of my life. I just know I am excited.

My biggest goal this summer is to gain a larger understanding of who God is, and for who He is to be immensely expanded in my life.

I am not looking to do things ahead of God, instead I am praying and expecting Him to show up immeasurably more than I can even possibly anticipate.¬†I figure, my imagination is pretty large and pretty extravagant… And yet, God is bigger than that, which means I think He is going to show up in some pretty intense ways in the next 21 days, 40 days, and over the course of the entire 2013 summer…. (And likely beyond.)

While I certainly have a list of specific things I am praying for and through, mostly I am just focusing on starting new habits. I am purposefully spending more time with God, but also being sure to intentionally pay attention to and create space for Him to speak to my open and listening heart.

If you would like to join the 21 day prayer challenge or the 40 day prayer challenge with me, give me your address and I will be sure to add you!

In case you have not figured it out, July’s blog theme is prayer. Should be interesting!

Share your stories with me!

What are you praying for this summer?