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.

Single v. Married…

I have been watching an interesting debate discussion lately about the benefits of being Single or being Married.. Or getting married young.. Or staying single longer.. whatever.

It has felt recently as though there are two teams and they are at odds with each other. I think it is a little odd that we seem to be “fighting” or trying to convince others that our current state is the best or correct one.

Here are a few of the articles in the discussion so you can follow along with why I am writing this post:
23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23
The Results of a Closed-Minded 23 Year Old
I Got Married at 23. What Are the Rest of You Waiting For?
Marriage Isn’t For You
Why I Did I Get Married so Young

(There are more, and you possibly have read different ones)

The “conversation” as a whole really just interests me quite a bit. Obviously some of the blog posts are in direct response to one another, whereas others seem to be oblivious to the conversation at large, and are merely adding their thoughts to the world.

I also think it’s interesting that 23 is the number that keeps getting brought up.

Let me start out by saying, I am not loving on or hating on one side of this conversation or the other, merely responding to the conversation as a whole. I think it would be helpful to highlight some things.

Some background on myself so you can be more aware of where I am coming from:
I am a turning 29 years old, still single, never married or engaged woman.
I am not at all against marriage, and not only did I think early on in my life that I would be married by this point in life, I still would like to get married to the right man someday… But, I am content single, actually love aspects of it, and I am willing to wait for the right man because I have seen the destruction of divorce in too many people (of all ages).
I also have done quite a bit of reading of research on Millennials (those born between 1980-2000) because I find people and culture fascinating (especially my own).

Now that my vantage point is known, here is my personal perspective and thoughts on the Single v. Married conversation:

Not everyone who is single loves it.
Not everyone who is married loves it.

Not everyone who is single thinks they have made a better choice than getting married.
Not everyone who is married thinks they have made a better choice than to stay single.

Being single has some major pros and cons.
Being married has some major pros and cons.

Singleness can be hard.
Marriage can be hard.

Selfishness is pervasive among single people.
Selfishness is pervasive among married people.

Some people “do” single better than being married.
Some people “do” married better than being single.

In some cases staying single was the wise choice.
In some cases getting married was the wise choice.

Grace, compassion, and selflessness is common among an astounding number of single people I know.
Grace, compassion, and selflessness is common among an astounding number of married people I know.

Life is an adventure when you are single.
Life is an adventure when you are married.

Staying single is better/healthier than getting divorced.
Getting married is better/healthier than sleeping with someone you’re not married to.

Remaining single “late” into your adult life does not automatically mean you are wiser than a young married couple.
Getting married young does not automatically mean you are unwise or pathetic.

Being single “late” into your adult life does not mean you are against those married young (or older).
Being married young (or older) does not mean you are against those still single “late” into adult life.

Being single does not mean you have purposefully chosen to be so to “get your life together”.
Being married does not mean you have purposefully chosen to be so because you’ve “gotten you life together”.

Etc..etc.. See?

For me, there are days that singleness is just straight up hard, and other times I love the advantages of flying solo. But, from my plethora of friends (married at all ages), there are days that they remind me that being married is just hard too or they love every little bit of the married life…

From where I sit, both have the same qualities, it just depends on the person or couple.

My perspective is that regardless of if you are married or single, you should have goals.. Good goals ones, fun ones, hard ones, solid ones, frivolous ones, and seemingly impossible ones, I think that is how you help yourself grow, and a way to help measure success as a single or married person/couple.

So, please, let’s stop justifying why one is better than the other as if our choice was the right one for everyone… or the perfect decision forever.

If you are single and loving it or wish to be married, that is awesome and good things can and will happen during this season.
If you are married and loving it or wish you had waited, good things can and will happen during this stage of life.

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: AsiaAfricaNorth 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 TangoSalsaCumbiaMerengueCha chaBachata, 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 “Facts of Life”
  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: PistolShotgunRifle, 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!

The State of the 28th Birthday…

Today I turn 28.

My office on my birthday!

My office on my birthday!

For those who know me, birthdays are awesome, lovely, wonderful, and should be so much fun!.. In fact, I love birthdays so much that whenever possible I make mine and anyone around me’s birthday a week-long event!.. I mean why not?

Birthdays are the one day (or week) a year where showering love, gifts, words of encouragement, and just in general attention are acceptable because after all the chance to return the favor later is part of the fun!

Birthdays allow the chance to just in general love on the person.

Growing up, I thought 28 was SO. OLD. haha

However, today, I love that this is my age. — It feels right, and I feel as though I know exactly who I am at this stage in my life.

This morning I woke up to thunder and lightning (whoa loud) in slush covered Michigan… I choose to believe that it is God’s way of saying “Happy birthday”… And, this is the first time

in my entire life that I have no worries about snow ruining my birthday plans (thank you 58 degree forecast!)

As I look back on my 27th year, so much has changed.

28 things for my 28th birthday:
(in no particular order of importance)

  1. I live in a different state than last birthday.
  2. I have a job I love, and don’t mind allowing to consume ridiculous amounts of my time.
  3. I have a very large, sweet, loving (but loads of work) puppy.
  4. I am weeks away from being done with school!… For a least a little while.
  5. I have lots of plans to travel!
  6. I have an idea of next steps in my life, and what I want to begin working towards on a personal level.
  7. I have never been more sure of my friendships, near and far.
  8. For the first time in my life, I am content with how I look, flaws, acne, weight, and all.
  9. I am excited that I have worked myself down to living off of 75% of my income. — Tithing 10%, gifting 8%, and saving 7%… I have “tricked” myself into this pattern and am totally fine with that!
  10. This year I am excited about reading the Bible from start to finish.
  11. I am excited about reading 40 books this year (two down so far), and intentionally cultivating new gifts and skills.
  12. I love that I spend my job, personal life, and as much time as I want to focusing and loving others!.. How did I end up with this life?!
  13. I am excited to see where God takes me because I have no clue what to expect out of this year.
  14. The only debt I have is student loans (thank you $94k), but I have a plan to pay that off in the next eight years!
  15. I am thankful that I am more compassionate, patient, and have more grace than I did on this day a year ago.
  16. I love that I get to spend more of my 28th year with my family than I have any year in the last five years.
  17. I am so beyond thankful that turning 28 includes contentment.
  18. I am thankful for birthday fairies.. haha
  19. I know people might think it’s silly, but I cherish all the social media birthday wishes, videos, jokes, humor, and love…
  20. I am finally beginning to feel connection here in MI.
  21. I appreciate that I have several projects underway.. even if it is a slow progression.
  22. This year my baby brother gets married to the most amazing woman, my little sister turn sweet 16, and I get another niece!.. Not to mention several best friends are having sweet little ones too!!!
  23. I am happy that at 28 I have finally settled into enjoying this stage of life consistently.. Instead of only finding contentment for short periods.
  24. I can confidently say that my singleness feels like a good fit.
  25. I am a big girl now and own a for real bed (what?!), a washer and dryer, a (paid off) car, a dining room set, a living room set, and I live by myself with a spare room for God to fill however he sees fit, and that I am completely able to pay all bills…
  26. I am excited that at this point in my life I can honestly say I would be more than happy to give anything I own away for free.
  27. Despite the government declaring there are no mermaids, and saying no to building a death star, I have a feeling this is going to be a great year!
  28. For my 28th birthday, I am asking for those around me to pray for three things this year:
    I. More Love and Grace for those around me.
    II. Health (no, really).
    III. For God to use this year to blow me away unlike any other before it.

So, there are the 28 things on my mind for my 28th birthday!

My decorated phone at work.

My decorated phone at work.

The Pursuit of Perfection…

My friend and I both really like the tag line for the Lexus “The pursuit of perfection” … we like that it is a journey and never ending push to be perfect.

Last night I was reminded once again I am still in this pursuit.. I am not there… *big sigh* I wish I was a lot further along in my journey than I am.. but, I cannot change where I am except to push forward. I hate when things get pointed out to me that I am less than perfect on.. and it really does not matter what the thing is… or if I have a legitimate reason I am not an expert at it, I still hate that I am not perfect.. a natural.. whatever… But, even more than that I hate when they are right.

Last night I was shown in a gentle, nice, straight to the point way yet another way I do not relinquish control. I do not willingly let someone else lead. In fact, I will assume the lead before I have realized that is what I have done… It comes naturally at this point because of how long it has been necessity in my life… Back to my tango lessons huh?… Learning to follow a lead with my eyes closed trusting I will be safe and not run into anything.. gah!

I realized a few days ago just how frustrated I get at myself.. for anything. I was really frustrated because I could not figure out how to solve the problems of a couple friends and those around me… It is not even my job, and yet here I am… frustrated because I somehow feel I should be able to help more then I do.

And then, epiphany… Maybe that is what God is going through AGAIN with me… Be patient, wait, stop, trying to control will only leave me failing and frustrated… *another big sigh*

I have found myself in several conversations lately where I have been squarely faced with this issue… and I am finding I have more options in my repertoire of responses then I ever thought I had before… I have no idea where these sudden new responses are coming from but I am finding them fascinating (Thank you Jesus). My usual responses in the past have been full of puffed up arrogance or I have been so full of pride that I would never want to admit that the person might be right, so I would justify and try and explain in an attempt to make sure I was not viewed less than perfect still… Now I am finding that mostly I just sit or stand there and listen to what is being said, what I am being accused of, what perceptions are being explained.. and sadly a lot of times they are true.. I hate that I am not perfect. That I cannot flawlessly lead when I need to and gracefully step aside when I am supposed to… It is that gracefully step aside thing that I become a klutz about.

I think I need to seriously reevaluate some of the way I do things currently though… I have no idea what that looks like, but I think it is about to rock my world. I feel numb currently.. not in a bad way, but in the God is about to move inside of me, so he numbs the area that will be focused on beforehand… Or in some cases things get numbed so you cannot control them.. that is what I feel like God is doing. He is numbing me so that He can work effortlessly without me screaming in pain…

“Take my fret, take my fear. All I have, I’m leaving here. Be all my hopes, be all my dreams. Be all my delights, be my everything. And It’s just you and me here now. Only you and me here now.” – Only You, David Crowder Band

It’s Ok To Not Be Ok..

On my morning commute to work I was listening to Matt Chandler and he was talking about Blessings and Woes (blessings and curses basically). He went through and detailed out why it would say in Luke “blessed are the poor” and later “woe is the rich”… he pointed out that it has nothing to do with the fact that you are a starving college student, or arrived to church in a multi million dollar car.. He went to Matthew where it explains it’s “blessed are the poor in spirit”…

Anyway, he went on to explain how important it is for us to realize that either we are totally incapable of doing life on our own, or in some cases we realize we DON’T feel like we need God.. and in the process it hits us that we SHOULD realize how much we need Jesus…

He points out that one of his favorite sayings about his church is “it’s ok to not be ok… but it’s not ok to stay there.” He continues by explaining that he grew up in churches where everyone was perfect, no problems etc..etc.. and in a previous podcast he talked about how when people pretend to be ok, but aren’t.. when they fake the smile for long enough suddenly something explodes and they’re having an affair, getting divorced, killing someone.. and it all seems out of the blue.

At church, in community, it’s ok to not be ok… to not have it all together. But, it’s not ok to stay there, it’s important to grow.. even if you are struggling and don’t see the growth, it’s important to be putting forth the effort to allow God to move you and your heart. He also pointed out that so often we focus on someone’s conversion “THEY ARE SAVED!!… the end” when really their story begins with “And they got SAVED… and then…” We forget that saved doesn’t mean absolved of every temptation and issue, that sometimes it takes 1, 2, 10, 20 years to get past an issue… That the progress can be so painstakingly slow that we don’t even realize we’ve accomplished a huge task or over come something, until after we’ve passed it then it’s like it suddenly clicks and we realize God moved us!..

So, it’s ok to not be ok… but it’s not ok to stay there. Or, it’s ok to be broken and hurting, it’s not ok to wallow in it.

To Be Enough…

Part of my heart is seriously troubled because of things that I see as failures in the recent days and weeks. When I comment on things I fail at, and how much it bothers me… I get the “bless your heart” look (aka you stupid retard) as I explain how I wish I was more like this or that, I wish I was better at that, I wish I wasn’t so much like this… and to be honest they laugh at me. Not because I’m dumb or because my wishes are stupid… I don’t ever feel that is their intent, but more because they see in me what I do not see in myself… Or in some instances because they don’t see in me what I see in myself.

Let me explain, I know a lot of things about myself (clearly), for the most part I’d like to think I’m fairly self aware. But, I also know that my striving to be perfect never ends, and that others don’t see my drive at all the way I do. I always want to be the best at things, not to prove someone else worse or less than me.. but simply to be the best possible me I can be. My striving has nothing to do with other people, and in fact my being “the best” is not in comparison with someone else, it’s being the best that I am capable of being. I enjoy being well rounded so I push myself to learn things, and understand things, and gain skills, be a better friend, a more compassionate follower of Jesus, and simply to be better than I was on this day last year. To have gotten closer to the goal God gave me… to be the person I was meant to be without wasting anything away out of laziness or boredom.

So, please understand that first, my drive has absolutely nothing to do with you, I don’t care if I’m better than you. More or less talented… I just want to know I am the best that I can be with my abilities based on myself.

On the flip side recently I’ve discovered a few things I was unaware of… For instance, I have a tendency to assume that I am not extraordinary, but that I am more of the fairly common “everyone must be like this” type. This sounds kinda funny.. but I’m serious. My view tends to be that everyone feels the way I do, they push themselves them same way that I do… Apparently that’s not really the case.

In the last little while I’ve had several people make comments or ask “is there anything you can’t do” and while it’s such a nice compliment from some people.. and sorta snide remark from others. My first reaction is to create an insta-list in my head of all the things I don’t do well, or messed up, or have absolutely no skill doing…

The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I’ve realized they aren’t actually asking if I’m perfect, skilled, not skilled, or whatever.. What they’re asking is for a moment of vulnerability from me (something I have to work on all the time for sure). ‘Cause see, the thing is, I tend towards being the “strong friend” I encourage people to vent to me or lean on me for support… (and, that to me is an ever present example of how God has totally shaped my heart) Or, at the very least I tend towards leading because it’s natural for me…

In these things what I’ve started to realize is people make statements or ask things because they really just want to have a moment of vulnerability with me. More me expressing to them to help them feel connected and equal with me. In realizing this I’ve also realized that it’s not always a good idea, but more often than not it is. This goes back to the idea that I am not expected to “make it” alone, God gives us community on purpose.. which is only effective if I actually utilize this idea and to some degree at least allow myself to be vulnerable to certain people…

Pulling this all back together… I am in constant battle with myself to be enough, be the best, be better than this day last year… When I fail it is seriously hard for me, especially when others are insistent on pointing out my failure. For whatever reason I am always striving to be enough, not in a sadistic/masochistic way but in my black and white I want to be the best I can be.

I’m still learning how to view myself as enough, see myself through the eyes of my Savior and yet continue to push myself hard every day to be the best..

” Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6:34