Exhaling…

IMG_1511Lately, I have been processing through how thankful I am for exactly where I am, both in life in general and physically. Sometimes, especially over the last couple years, I find that I get so focused on surviving, getting through, and just trying not to botch things up too badly that I forget to look around. Then, there are other times, like recently that I am constantly overwhelmed with thankfulness for exactly what is happening.

Recently, I was thinking through the process by which I got to where I am, and I am kind of amazed at how things have worked themselves out so far.

If you missed it, I decided to pursue my consulting business full-time; and, while there is a certain level (ok a whole heck of a lot) of uncertainty, I have totally been in awe of how God has stepped in both in huge ways, but also in the smallest of ways. Once I (finally) decided to make the switch, my extreme level of fear of failing dissipated like the morning fog. I just knew that this decision was exactly right (as oh so many had been telling me for a while).

Virtually instantly, God provided a couple of new clients, a tremendous amount of encouragement from so many people, a possible part-time job in the same field, and more peace has settled in my heart than I have felt in almost longer than I can remember.

Internally, I felt as though I had just accomplished the biggest feat, and I suddenly exhaled the breath I didn’t know I was holding.

Last week I was driving and realized that for the first time in more than a year, my thoughts and feelings both agreed that, “this consulting thing is going to work, and.. it will be really good.” I was almost shocked and started laughing at myself, alone in the car about the fact that I can move so slowly, and often be the last to realize some things.

However, if I only credited making a decision in terms of which direction to go as the reason why things feel so much more at peace, I would be skipping half of the equation entirely…

I have the most amazing friends. I say that often, to basically anyone who will listen, and I mean it every single time. Throughout everything, my friends have been supportive, encouraging, offering ideas or prayers, and have patiently spent an exorbitant amount of time just letting me verbally process. I am so beyond thankful for each one, for the ways in which they have shown me practical love, and carried me when I just could not do it or handle it anymore. My friends have supplied me with hope, excitement, and laughter in times when I just could not find my own.

Finally, I feel safe. Emotionally, spiritually, AND physically I feel safe because for so long I have not felt as though I had all three.

I feel as though I have finally stopped clenching of my white knuckled fist and have taken a deep breath.

It all feels like healing, precious healing.

29 Things While Being 29…

Venice Lunch.2I do a year-end review each December, which is probably my favorite post annually, but, my second is a looking ahead to the coming year.

This year’s post however, is a different version of my typical looking ahead/New Years post.

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about this upcoming year, and I have realized a few things:
First, I have no idea what this year holds. Sometimes, I have a sense, an idea of what to expect, a feeling that God is going to head in a particular direction… this year, nothing. No idea.

Second thing, this year, I will have my “golden birthday” I will be turning 29 on the 29th of January. I do not really think a “golden” birthday holds any particular luck or added blessings, but, since I love birthdays, this gives me a reason to focus on fun things instead of just talking about the year to come.

So, I wanted to share my 29 things to do while being 29 bucket list (in place of a New Years Resolution). And, I would like to highlight real quickly that, most “30 before 30” lists or “29 while I’m 29” lists are fairly lame.

(Trust, I did a lot of google searches for ideas) The lists I looked at for ideas were mostly along the lines of:
fall in love (because we can decide these things),
get married (rude),
learn to cook a meal (who doesn’t know how to at 30?!),
have a kid (are you crazy?),
forgive (ok, a good idea, but why does it need to be on a list of things to do before you’re 30?)…
Mine are much more active and intentional…

Please join me by either making your own 2014 list, participating with me on any of my items, or checking up on and praying for me throughout this year to accomplish these goals!

(I would love for them all to be numbered 29.. but that’s just not realistic so only a few of them are aptly numbered)

So, 29 things that I would like to do or accomplish while being 29 (in no particular order):

  1. Travel out of the country at least once in 2014.
  2. Visit 5 places in-country this year that are not where I live (will live or have lived also do not count).
  3. Take a road trip. – A legit “get in the car and go” trip with a few friends.
  4. Pay an additional $2,900 this year above my regular student loans payment.
  5. Build a solid savings.
  6. Go to the beach (any beach) 29 times. – What can I say, I’m a water and sun baby!
  7. See the sun rise or set at each beach I go to (weather permitting).
  8. Re-adjust 20lbs of my body from fat (yes it is there) to muscle – Although probably cliché, I’m not saying I want to lose 20lbs, just re-adjust/build it.
  9. Run a half marathon.
  10. Finish the first draft of the book with my dad.
  11. Revise and add to my Life Goals bucket list.
  12. Check 29 things off my Life Goals bucket list.
  13. Read 12 new books this year (at least).
  14. Do at least one thing (spontaneously) that I’m a little (or a lot) afraid of. – This will remain open-ended cause I feel like pre-planning it would defeat the purpose.
  15. Be open to dating. – This one sounds odd I suppose, but I want to be intentional about being open to dating… instead of killing it in my head before it even starts.
  16. Learn West Coast Swing. – This one was added for me by a friend haha
  17. Go Salsa dancing regularly. – Unlike learning a new type of dance, this one is more just going and dancing frequently since I love it.
  18. Create a list of 29 things to pray for, and then pray for them regularly all year-long. – Feel free to send me things you would like me to add (this is on top of my 3×5 cards).
  19. Memorize 29 new scriptures. – I just feel like this is something I tend to neglect, and I do not think that is an ok thing to let continue.
  20. Finish reading the entire Bible. – I started last year and have only gotten half way through.
  21. Take 29 days this year and fast. – Likely a fruits and veggie fast since my body does well with those.
  22. Snail-Mail 29 hand written letters/cards this year. – Who doesn’t love getting notes in the mail?!
  23. Send 6 care packages. – I just really feel like I need to focus on being intentional about loving others better in ways such as this one.
  24. Draw or Paint a large piece of art to hang in my place. – I have neglected painting and drawing for years and miss it terribly.
  25. Go camping or backpack for a weekend with friends. – I don’t think my friends realize how many things they’re gonna have to do this year with me!
  26. Throw a themed house party. – I have always loved the Murder Mystery parties… So, maybe something similar to that.. or just a fun themed party!
  27. Pay for a stranger’s order 29 times throughout the year. – This will probably get difficult to keep track of, but I like the idea of having to consciously think of this type of stuff repeatedly.
  28. Make my t-shirt quilt. – I have been intending to do this for more than 5 years!
  29. Collect a daily note of something I’m thankful for/memorable moment and collect them in a jar all year. – I got this idea from my sister-in-law and loved the idea.

I am excited to do all 29 of these things on this list in 2014! Please join me in any (or all) of these items. At the very least, I hope that you get inspired to make your own list of things to do in 2013.

Let the fun commence for the year I’m 29!