Life sure has a way of giving us its full share of unexpected surprises, does it not? If you haven’t realized yet, we love adventure, and we value and cherish experiences above many many things. Late this summer, a new kind of adventure came our way. Tim was offered a new job opportunity that is full of potential growth for the career path that he has been dreaming of. The thing is, the job is not in St. Louis, but it’s a bit further away…like west coast further. Talk about a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions! We love our city in ways that I cannot even begin to describe, but we’ve also had a heart for wanting to explore other cities at some point too. Not just traveling to them, but living in them. Experiencing cultures and lifestyles so different than what’s comfortable to us. No, going this far from home was never really on our radar (if you know us well, you know that Chicago was definitely up there on that list), but when opportunity comes to you, you sometimes just have to take it. God is continuing to do big things in our lives and is calling us to places that I never even dreamt imaginable, but I know that he’s got big plans in store for us.
Tim officially started his new job a few weeks ago, spent some time in SoCal, and I went out to visit. He’s currently working from home for a few weeks before heading back before the holidays, then in January, we’ll officially make the move to the west coast (California sunshine in January doesn’t sound too shabby). In the meantime, I’m busy searching for the next step for my career in California. Many things are definitely so much different there than they are here, which will take quite a bit of getting used to, but this will be an experience like none other.
As the pieces of this big move slowly but surely fall into place (finding someone to rent our home, someone to replace me at my job, finding a new job, a new place to live, a new church…) it still all just feels so right. Will it be easy? No, not at all. But this is a challenge that we’re willing to take. We’ve experienced every single emotion possible (really) over the course of these last several weeks. We’re scared, we’re excited, we’re anxious, we’re overwhelmed, we’re thrilled, we can’t wait. Yes, we’ve got so much good here – our family, our friends, our church community – but we know that there’s still so much more to be explored, and this will still always be home. If there’s a time in our lives that we’re going to take advantage of an opportunity such as this, now is it. Life certainly doesn’t always go as we plan, but as I grow older and dream more and more of growing our family, I learn that it’s alright to not actually plan every single step and to just take things day-by-day (easier said than done, sure, but I’m learning). We’re going to take this next step (ahem, leap) and see where life leads. I’m certain that there are many new experiences in store. God’s seemingly working on some pretty big plans for us, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store on this next part of our journey. So instead of the Arch, the river and Tower Grove Park, our daily views will soon consist of the Pacific Ocean, palm trees and mountains. Bittersweet? Absolutely. But we can’t wait to see what else this new adventure will consist of.
Side note – I know, I’m pointing to Oregon in this photo (imagine how long it took us to get this photo), but right around where Emma’s nose is is right about where we will be living More to come as this adventure continues to unfold. Stay tuned.
Wanderlust is a very real thing, and I’ve got it bad. We just got home from vacation last weekend and jumped right back into a very full work week this week. My family goes on vacation to Destin, FL every summer. There’s a big group of family and family friends that has been going ever since I was a little girl. I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to do this. For the opportunity to spend a week away, to spend quality time with family, to have this view right in front of our eyes when we wake up every morning and sit out on the balcony eating breakfast while listening to the sound of the waves crashing and the sea gulls soaring by.
Each day is is filled with a very subtle schedule of walking on the beach, sitting on the beach, enjoying a drink or two and going out to dinner. A schedule like this for an entire week is something that I am far from used to. This vacation, more so than most, has made me realize more and more the importance and beauty of what surrounds us, what truly lies right in front of us. It’s so hard to unplug in today’s say and time. I try to, I really do. I’ve done a social media free weekend , and it was amazing. When Tim and I went on our honeymoon to Jamaica four years ago we locked our phones in the safe and didn’t even turn them back on until we got back in the U.S. I didn’t miss my phone one bit. But now, even with an out of office reply, I can’t help but still consistently and obsessively check emails and check all of the social media business pages that I manage (this is really important regardless, in my opinion). I want to make sure that I’m still pleasing everyone, that even though I’m taking a break that everyone so deserves every so often, I’m still there for anyone’s needs, even if it is something that could truly wait a few days until I was back in the office and could give it my full, undivided attention.
Last week’s vacation was honesty the first full week that Tim and I have both had off since our honeymoon. Four years ago. Sure, we take the occasional long weekend, and we’ve been able to explore some amazing new cities and take frequent weekend trips to Chicago, but for the first time in four years we were off work, out of the office, for an entire week. That seems like quite some time. It seems like some people are constantly on vacation, and it seems like others never have the opportunity at all. I truly believe, despite my struggle to unplug and my workaholic mentality that I know I inherited from my father (not that this is a bad thing, but for one’s self worth, it’s certainly a challenge), I think that vacations should be far longer and far more frequent. Although it’s easier said than done, case in point, I think it’s import for us to escape reality, to escape the mundane, and to truly revel in what surrounds us. Last week was an amazing getaway, but being just a few months into my new job, I especially felt like I needed to stay as tuned in as possible even from afar, even when my coworkers told me not to. I am truly so grateful that even for being there just a few short months I was still able to take this week away with my family. Although I didn’t fully unplug, it was still an amazing escape, and today, all I can think of is the amazing views that we had all week long. Only God can make a something look this good. Seeing things like this make you truly think about the most important things in life.
I love to travel more than a lot of things, even if it’s the same place I’ve had the opportunity to visit every single year. Every day, I dream of visiting new places and seeing new things. I want to see the cityscapes, the architecture and the beach and the sea. I want to travel the world, I really do. Maybe one day, this will be true. There is so much in this world to see. In the same way that time away refreshes the soul, exploring places that are different than home helps us to learn and grow too. All of these tags are such important key aspects in life.
In the meantime, I will continue to dream, already anticipating whatever our next adventure will be.
Hi there! Long time, no write. So, over the course of the last few months, life has certainly been happening for us with so many amazing new things. I finally, officially finished grad school in May, and shortly before that, I started a new job on the next step of my career path! I officially have a Master of Arts in Marketing, and I am currently working in partnership development for an amazing non-profit organization in STL. I just did my last big wedding for the time being in June, and it feels really good to finally be starting to really narrow my focus down to a couple of things as opposed to a million so that I can truly devote myself to what I am doing (although I still haven’t quite been able to eliminate the ‘busy’ that I’ve been trying so hard to do, and I’ve still got a lot of things on my plate, but for today, it’s ok). With my new full time position, I am finally really feeling like I’m on mission, and truly doing something that matters, which is what I’ve been seeking, and I get to utilize my passion and skills in doing so (plus, I’m still planning a lot of events!). It’s amazing, it’s challenging, it’s so many things, but I’m excited to see where this next step in my career path leads.
Tim’s now officially got less than a year to go in grad school himself, and we’re taking this time to determine what the best next steps will be for us and our little (four-legged) family. So many exciting things to think about and ideas and opportunities to explore. A big part of me wishes that I wasn’t such a planner and so goal-oriented all the time, but at the same time, it’s what truly drives me and inspires me each day. As usual (while trying to really focus on living in the present), I’m exited to see what lies ahead for us. Our favorite thing to do as of late is sit down in our favorite local coffee shops and dream (real) big dreams. I heard a quote in a service a couple of weeks ago that really stuck with me that went something along the lines of, ‘Find your purpose in life, and find it well.’
In the meantime, while we’re over here dreaming big dreams, we’re also being inspired by two of our favorite couples, one who just made the move to KC, and the other who is NYC bound. For a couple that wants nothing more than to see the world, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but that’s an inspiration to me in and of itself. We finally found this perfect cork board map to hang in our home to start pinning some of our favorite places we’ve been, and the places we want to be.
Happy Fourth of July weekend, America. Hopefully I’ll be able to find more time to write again soon, but at the very least, I’ll be doing some dreaming and a little bit of travelling and taking a lot of notes along the way.
A couple weeks ago I was on ‘grad school spring break,’ meaning, I had the week off from classes and homework. I suddenly felt like a new women and as though I had all of this free time to take advantage of. I didn’t really, but I took advantage of a few homework-free days anyway. Instead of writing papers or reading textbooks, I went back to picking up a few books that my attention has been craving. I finally finished reading Lara Casey‘s, Make It Happen. It was everything I had expected, and more. I’ve been a fan of Lara Casey for a few years now, and the fact that she now has a book on shelves, and I believe another one on the way, left me thrilled and instantly wanting to read. If you’re searching for more purpose in your life, I highly recommend it. I just went through all the highlights and bookmarks in mine, and there’s too much to share without sharing the entire book with you here. This book shares a story of how to make it – a greater purpose than our own – happen. It’s time to start being intentional and living on purpose.
If you’re not following Benton Park Prints on social, you should be. They create fun prints for a wide array of subjects, but they create a lot of fun city prints which I especially love. Some of their featured prints are for two cities which I love most, St. Louis and Chicago. I’ve had my eye on this STL print for awhile, and when we moved, remaining city residents and knowinig that we’d probably be here for awhile, being our first home purchase, I told Tim that I really wanted to buy this print for the new house. Surely enough, this was my Valentine. We finally got it framed and hung in our dining room last weekend, and I am so in love with the way it looks. What’seven more incredible is that Tim had a few of the street names from the original design swapped so that each of these streets in St. Louis has special meaning to us. These streets include the street where the church that our wedding ceremony took place was, the location of our downtown condo that we lived in for two years, our favorite date night place, our current church home and the neighborhood that we now call home. I love things with significance, and looking at this just makes me smile. Have a good weekend friends. Maybe we’ll get a few more things to hang around the house (it’s finally starting to really feel like home around here and the bare wall are starting to diminish!), and maybe you’ll have fun frolicking at some great place on one of St. Louis’s great streets. I know that’s what we plan to do. Have a good one!
Last night was the final night of my second to last grad school course. Can you believe it? Am I really, finally, almost officially done with grad school? For awhile there, it was seemingly beginning to feel like this time may never come. And now that it’s so close? I’m beyond excited, but a part of me is also a teeny bit sad. Is that strange? Probably. I have a love/hate relationship with school, but all in all, I love it, and as I grow older, I’m learning that I love and appreciate it even more than I ever even realized. I’m so nerdy, I legitimately love to learn. I truly enjoy going to class every week. Some nights, outside of class, I’m not so fond of doing so much paper writing and studying, but the more that I get to focus on the aspects that I truly enjoy, the less I mind any of that. I have a feeling I’m not actually going to know what to do with myself once I’m done with school which will be a big adjustment, but one which I think I will happily welcome, for at least a little while anyway. Depending on what the next few months may bring my way, I’m actually considering the possibility of furthering my education even more. Yup. I said it. I really didn’t think I would. I don’t know if that entails another masters degree, of which I’ve got a couple of program options in mind, or maybe something even more than that? Every day I think I know what I want my future to hold, but other days, I have even brighter ideas. But you know what? God’s plan is greater than mine, and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, but I’m going to leave the master plan up to him and trust what he’s got in store for me. Whatever it is, I know it must be good. Right now, the biggest thing that I think I will miss about being so involved in my grad school program is getting to work together with the awesome people I’ve had the opportunity to meet on so many group collaborations over these last couple of years. My mind has worked in ways I’ve never dreamed imaginable, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some pretty incredible people too. What I do know is that I have one week of ‘spring break’ (from school that is which means one week off of studying and paper writing) and then starts my final (for now) nine weeks of school. I’m beginning to feel fairly confident that May will be here before we know it, and I’m excited for what’s to come. New adventure awaits. Bring. It. On.
It’s been just about a month since Emma became a part of our family. I love her more and more each day. Sure, she’s a puppy, and she’s still got a lot to learn, but she is a quick learner and has already learned so much in such a short amount of time. She really is such a good dog too and so loving. She has already grown so much, and she is keeping us busy and active all the time with lots of extra walks and early mornings, but that’s not such a bad thing.
Bentley and Emma have been getting along too, and that didn’t take long, which is such a good thing. I’m glad that they both have each other. Every once in awhile, Bentley makes it clear that he still needs his space, but they love to play together and snuggle with each other. They’ve made so much progress in just a few short weeks, which has been amazing to see, and I can only imagine how much more progress they will continue to make as time goes by. In the meantime, feel free to follow along with either #adventuresofbentleyandemma or #bentleyandemmainthecity on Instagram to see more of my pup pictures. They are one of my favorite things to share via social. If you don’t love dogs, you probably won’t want to follow me on IG 😉 Here’s a little puppy love for you to enjoy…
PS – I am loving our new dog tags from Canine Habits (as shown in the first image in this post). Visit her Facebook and Instagram accounts to see more of her work and to find out when she shares special discount codes!
Meet Emma Rose. Bentley’s (already bigger) little sister, and the newest member of the Lucas Family. Emma has officially been a part of our family for one week today, and we are so in love.
Tim and I have talked for awhile about how we would love to get another dog someday. Bentley is very much our ‘only child,’ though, and sometimes the thought of taking 100% of the attention away from him makes me incredibly sad because Bentley gets a lot of attention from us (and from his grandparents). Now that we’ve got a house and a backyard (talk about an amazing change of no longer having to use a leash every time we go outside!) complete with a privacy fence, another dog seemed more feasible. Although, we weren’t really thinking about making that change quite yet. But then came Emma. My dad was the one that showed her to me. He has some friends who do a lot with animal rescue and fostering, and one of them shared Emma on Facebook. Long story short, someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone, was fostering Emma and shared that she was ready to find her forever home. Emma was found alone on a highway near a trailer park about 30 minutes south of where we live. She was sick with mange and emaciated (she’s still pretty skinny). Her foster mom took good care of her, and in just a couple of weeks she was much healthier and ready to find her home. When my dad showed her to me, she instantly reminded me of both Bentley and Daytona in just her looks (Bentley’s size and stature and some of Daytona’s GSP coloring). I knew we had to meet her. Tim and I drove an hour west to meet Emma, and we instantly knew that she needed to be a part of our family. I talked to Bent for a week about it telling him that he would be meeting Emma and he might be getting a new sister (I know, I really am a crazy dog person). Emma came to our home to meet Bentley last Friday night and she stayed for good.
Bentley and Daytona get along incredibly well, and Bentley surprisingly does much better with bigger dogs than smaller ones. We knew that ultimately this would be a good decision for us and for Bentley because we can’t bring him out to my mom’s to be with Daytona everyday, and we thought that it was time he finally had a forever friend at home with him and with us.
Many people know how much Bentley means to us and how much of a part of our family he is. They’ve been asking how Bentley has been adjusting to the new changes. Bentley is a very high anxiety dog (he truly takes a special human) and is very protective of people and things. When Bentley and Emma first met, he wasn’t unfriendly, per se, but he also wasn’t my big hearted puppy that I know he soon would be. We were a little nervous and it did take Bentley a couple of days to warm up to her, but in only one week, I can already see how amazing this relationship will soon be (and already has become). When I was talking to one of the girls at church last weekend about the new puppy and getting the two of them used to each other, her response was, ‘Well, it’s just about the new norm, right? They’ll figure it out.’ So true. For all of us.
Emma was named ‘Emma Jean’ when she came to us. After first meeting her and talking both what we would name her, I didn’t really want to change her name (plus, I think Bentley + Emma sounds really cute together). We ended up just changing her middle name to ‘Rose’ instead of ‘Jean.’ We aren’t aren’t 100% sure what Emma is, since she is a rescue. Her foster mom told us that they believe she is part Border Collie and part Jack Russell…which would explain a lot. We believe Bentley has some JR in him (again, don’t know for sure since he, too, was adopted), but they have a lot of the same mannerisms, and this girl can jump. Tim’s excited because he thinks she will be really good at frisbee (which is what he really wants, but Bentley just isn’t a big fan). Emma will likely weigh in at about 35-40 pounds once she’s fully grown. Bentley is a whopping 15 pounds, and she’s already bigger than he is. We really wanted a bigger dog for Bent, since that’s what he loves, so I think this should work out perfectly.
The night we got her, we took the two of them right to the pet store. They both rode in the front with us. It was interesting, to say the least, but luckily the pet store is only about five minutes away from our new home. We got Emma a new collar and leash, bones for both of them, new food bowls and everything she needed to be a part of our home.
The next morning, we took them on their first walk together right away. Our first walk as a family of four was a success. For only being on a leash a couple of times, she did really well.
And after just a few hours, they started to warm up to each other (well, Emma was trying to warm up since the moment she came home to us; she was constantly putting her paw on Bentley trying to get him to play, and he wasn’t having it right away, but he did allow her on the couch, and he let her get pretty close too).
And just a couple of days later? They’re laying in bed together and coming up with mischievous plans (Emma discovered the art of unrolling toilet paper, and Bentley may or may not have stood by her side and watched it all happen).
We’re housesitting for my parents this week and watching Daytona too (not the best timing to get a new dog, eh? Well, everything happens for a reason, and I’ve come to the realization that timing isn’t always in our own plans 😉 ). Daytona loves everyone so we weren’t worried about him. We were worried, however, about throwing Emma off of a schedule that she was starting to adjust to and yet another new home. ‘Grandma’s house,’ as we so call it when Bentley goes to see Daytona, is like Bentley’s second home though, and will soon become Emma’s too, so this isn’t such a bad thing. The dogs have been going wild since Wednesday morning and loving every bit of their time together (and expelling lots of energy which is an added bonus). It’s so funny because between Bent and Daytona, Bent is usually the trouble maker. Somehow now having a puppy is making Bentley seem like the most well-behaved dog I’ve ever met 😉
It’s been a long few days adjusting to new family members, new schedules, lots of walks and extra playtime and even earlier mornings, but it’s so worth it, and after seeing how much Bentley and Emma are already bonding, I absolutely cannot wait to watch this relationship continue to grow, and I’m happy that Daytona gets to be a part of her life too. We’re a big family of dog lovers around here (if you haven’t already realized), so she fits in quite perfectly. I can’t wait to get Bent and Emma back to our home tomorrow and start to really get her into a routine with us.
And lastly, this morning, after waking up for another bright and early play session with three crazy pups, I found Bentley and Emma doing this:
My heart literally began to melt. This makes me happier than I can even explain. Is it weird that I’m already envisioning the time in our lives that we bring children (not four-legged) into this world, and these two are protectors of them? Literally warms. my. heart. I could write an entirely different blog post on that though. We’ll save my thoughts on that for another day.
I’ve been sending frequent pictures and updates to Emma’s foster mom to let her know that she’s doing just fine and fits in so perfectly with our little family, and her latest response was, “I’m so happy she found her perfect family…Bless your heart for providing her with the love she deserves.” I think I cried a little when I read that. Dogs mean the world to me, and the fact that we’ve now adopted two of them makes my heart feel full. I cannot wait to see the adventures ahead for the two of them (well, three, Daytona too of course) and watch their love for one another continue to grow. The three of them are all played out from a morning of fun and are currently all passed out all of the kitchen as I’m writing this. I love it Off to sneak in a quick shower before they wake back up and are ready to go at it again (is this what motherhood is like?!)!
I’ve written or talked about TOMS a time or two before. I’ve read Blake Mycoskie’s book, “Start Something That Matters,” and I’ve done research and presentations on TOMS throughout grad school. My bio itself reads, ‘I have a passion for branding and meaningful missions.’ This very sentence is inspired by brands like TOMS.
I was excited to learn of TOMS latest mission, coffee. For every cup of coffee sold at a TOMS Roasting Co. or for every pack of coffee sold, water is provided for those in need. You can learn more about this particular mission here. I knew I just had to visit a TOMS Roasting Co. When we went up to Chicago a couple weeks ago, I did a little research to find that the newest TOMS store and Roasting Co. was located in Wicker Park. Perfect. Naturally, we went.
What I love so much about this brand is that it’s becoming more than just a product or a service, even more than a mission (which is what I love most about the brand), but TOMS is providing an experience, a sense of community, and what I recently read which describes it so perfectly, a lifestyle.
We walked in to find the perfect coffee shop setting in the front of the store. Wooden stools lined window seats, and a group of early twenty-somethings sat at a table drinking coffee and playing games. There were USB outlets everywhere perfect for a quick phone or iPad charge break. A few steps in, and you’re prepared to shop. Men and Women’s shoes line shelves to the left while eyewear (both optical and sunglasses) line the wall to the right. In the middle sits a large wooden table lined with boutique designer accessories for sale (not TOMS products). In the back of the store is the coffee bar serving delicious coffees and coffee drinks of all sorts. You can also purchase coffee mugs, packaged coffee and TOMS apparel.
Tim and I shopped (looked, but didn’t buy) and got ourselves a cup of coffee. While we sat in the store/coffee shop and sipped our coffee, we watched as we took in this experience. I was truly in awe and fascinating by what I was surrounded by. So much community taking place in one small space in different forms was taking shape. Girls with their mothers were sipping coffee and talking to the sales representatives as they shopped for shoes, twenty-somethings in the front of the store laughed and chatted, couples sat and sipped their coffee. How amazing. So many different groups of people, all in one spot, doing different things, for one particular mission. Goods that do good. A lifestyle. I’ve been in love with this brand since my first pair of TOMS Shoes in its early stages, and I continue to be fascinated by how it continues to grow before our eyes. I’ve always thought TOMS would be such an amazing and fulfilling brand to work for. I’m anxious to see what they’ve got up their sleeve next. In the meantime, I hope we can take another trip to Chicago soon (of course), but especially because I want another cup of that coffee 😉
Ah, alas. I am finally taking a moment to look back and reflect on this past year and the goals that I had set for myself and preparing for 2015 (*Fair warning – this is a long one!). If you read my last post, you understand why it’s taking me until nearly one full week into January to even remotely start thinking about these things. The end of the year got crazy, and we’re preparing to move into our new house, but I needed a minute to think. I’m so ready to get settled into this new year and start to focus on what’s ahead.
Each year, I have a tendency to end the year by sharing some sort of a post about how this was ‘the best year yet,’ etc. etc. 2014, for the first time ever, was not my favorite year yet. A lot of good happened, don’t get me wrong, but some of the good was paired with some not-so-good, eye-opening things too. Overall, it just wasn’t necessarily my favorite year ever. But, I will say this: Above all else, I learned a lot in 2014. I learned a lot about life and about the fact that it becomes very real as we grow older. Life isn’t all fantasy anymore. Real life things happen, and even to some of the best of people. Second, I learned a lot about who my true friends are and who really means the most. I’ve learned that I don’t always have to be the only one giving 100%+ effort in a relationship. I have kept and gained friends that will do the same, and that’s truly amazing. I’m really grateful for that. I’ve learned that it really is alright to weed certain people out of your life if they supply you with nothing other than negative energy. I’m really glad I’m finally acting on this. Lastly, I’ve learned how great my faith is in God. I’ve known this, but my faith has really grown, and continues to do so.
As I begin to make my list of goals for 2015, I wanted to look back on some of last year’s goals to see how I’ve done, and to see how I can relate. When I look at the goals I had set for myself last year, I realize that what I really want is to continue most of these into this year too:
Back to blogging (personally) – I’ve had so many different ‘blogs’ in many forms for what seems like years now. I absolutely love to write. When I first really started to enter the blog world (post xanga/myspace days of course), I tried blogging in many different forms. I tried having scheduled posts for specific days of the week (Wedding Wednesdays, Favorite Fridays, and so on…), I tried sharing recipes and I don’t even like to cook and I had my fair share of product reviews. I’ve also done quite a bit of blogging on a professional level for my business and others too. I’ve enjoyed it all, but I’m ready to go back to writing for myself. On my own time, when I want, about what I want to write about. Whatever is on my heart and on my mind. I was so consumed in school, work and my business last year, but over the summer when I had a little bit of ‘free time,’ I finally got back around to blogging for myself again. I still haven’t gotten to do nearly as much as I’d like, but that’s definitely one of my goals for this year. I don’t want the blog to have a theme, I don’t want to review products, I don’t want to blog about certain things only on certain days, I just want to write. So, that I will do. I’m not sure who I’m even writing for most days, if for anyone other than myself, but this is the place where I will continue to do just that. The blog still has some cleaning up and freshening up to be done, but nonetheless, it’s a place to write, and another place I can share my thoughts.
Learn new bible verses – Like I mentioned above, I’ve come to know my faith more than I feel like I ever have before, and I really want to continue to do so. I read devotions and verses daily. I really want to know the Bible because I feel like I don’t know it nearly as much as I could or should. I love learning new verses. I want to continue with this this year as well. My mom got me another new devotion book for Christmas that I’ve also started reading each day.
More time on my yoga mat – With the craziness of my aforementioned schedule, exercise is something that always tends to lie low on the totem pole, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ve always considered myself to be a healthy, active individual though, and exercise is something that has always been important to me, not necessarily to lose weight and to be fit, but for overall health. If you know me, you know that I’ve dealt with annoying stomach problems all my life, and remaining active and eating healthy and clean has changed this for me immensely. Yogahour is a form of exercise I really enjoy, and if nothing else, I made a commitment to myself that I would allow myself one hour a week at the very least to practice. Since May (my first break from grad school last year), I have not missed this once. It may not be much, but to me, it’s certainly something. I want it to be so much more, but for today, it’ll do. I wish to keep with the same until this May (graduation!!!), and after that, I plan to revise my exercise plan to include much, much more (both time on the mat and off).
Quit rushing – With my constant ‘have to be here, there and everywhere’ mentality, my schedule has left little room for breathing, and I’m constantly rushing to get from one place to the next, oftentimes not arriving as punctual as I like to be (and for an anxiety-ridden, time-sensitive individual such as myself, this is stressful!). One of my goals last year was to quit rushing so dang much. I go back and forth on this. I’m getting better at listening to my body and knowing when it’s time to slow down. I need to take care of myself and focus on those that I’m affecting around me too. This is something that I know I must continue to work on this year too.
Be present – This goes along with the above. My mind is constantly wandering, focusing on whatever else I think I need to be focusing on. I’m trying to remind myself the importance of being present and in the moment. Life is too dang short not to be.
Know that it’s alright to say ‘no’ – I am a people-pleaser. I will thank my sales management class last spring for helping me to make this a known reality and allowing me to actually admit this to myself and to others (who would have thought that a graduate level sales and marketing class would become more of a psychological, therapy session each week?!). I will say that this year, I have finally learned to start saying ‘no’ to things, and I’m really proud of myself for taking this step. This is something that I’ve never been able to do without having some sort of a very legitimate excuse, followed by days of anxiety to boot. I’m still not awesome at it yet, but I am finally getting better at this and already feeling so excited for the places that saying ‘no’ is leading me. It almost sounds like an oxymoron of sorts, but it’s true. I’ve also been reading Lysa TerKeurst’s ‘The Best Yes’ which is very helpful and inspiring as well.
Unplug – Social media has literally become an addiction to some, myself included, and I have a love/hate relationship with this fact. I’ve been a big advocate of social media since the beginning, with it being such a big part of my life both personally and professionally and studying the awesome outcome it can have in so many ways in terms of marketing. However, I’ve unfortunately seen some of the not-so-awesome effects that it can have on individuals too. Not just businesses and bad reviews, but individuals. We’re constantly feeling the need to compare ourselves to everyone’s highlight reels and such, and even though I too love to share the amazing things in my life, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the fact that we are all constantly trying to overpower the other and only doing certain things or spending time with certain people just to share it on social media for others to see. I think that takes things to an entirely different level. As much as I love so much of social media and the positive power that it can have, I have worked and will continue to work on unplugging more often and going back to being present, and truly living in the moment. I love to document, I love to write and I love to share. That’s just my nature, and it always has been. I just want to make sure I’m doing so intentionally and that I’m not getting too caught up in the lives of others as opposed to living my own life too.
Listen to my heart – Don’t always worry about what others have to say and about what others are doing; It’s about what’s right for me and us at this point in time. This is huge. I feel like each off these goes hand-in-hand and right along with one another. Our life is about us and about serving God and living the life that he has set out for us. Just because other people are at certain peaks in their careers or because they already have children and we do not doesn’t mean that we have to be there too. We’re going at the pace that fits us and our lifestyle, and we’re honestly just working to go along with whatever plan God truly does have set out for us. I feel pressured, a lot, to already have reached certain milestones in life, but for today, what we have is enough and is physically what we are able to have and to handle.
Those are some of last year’s goals that I intend to continue to expand on this year too. In addition to all of these things, I also want to include:
Be less ‘busy’ – Upon college graduation, it seemed if you weren’t constantly sharing how ‘busy’ you were, ie. out with friends, working, always working, etc. you weren’t doing it right. I’ll be the first to admit, that I am almost always seemingly busy, but I’m working on this one. Busy actually isn’t that cool, but being productive is. Rest is also cool. Taking some time to just sit at a coffee shop and think, read a book (my favorite) or even spend an afternoon on the couch watching Netflix. I rarely do these things and sometimes feel guilty when I do, but the thing is, these things are actually good for you. I’m learning this.
Narrow my focus – I tend to do one thousand and one things and go a mile a minute. I’m learning to tame that a bit too. I’ve finally set aside some extracurriculars and said no to some additional freelance side jobs and a few other things as I’m finding that I am finally very ready to really narrow my focus. I like to give 100% to things, and that’s best when you can focus on just a few things, not one thousand and one of them. Like I mentioned, I graduate from grad school in May (can you tell I’m excited?!), and I feel that this year will bring some opportunities that will make this whole narrow focus thing a reailty. That is my hope, anyway. I’m excited for what this looks like (and don’t quite know what I’ll actually do with myself once I’m finally there…be less busy, I suppose 😉 ).
Remember what and who is most important – Lastly, I need to remember the ones that are always there for me (my husband especially) and the things that are truly important in life. Sometimes those things get pushed aside, and they shouldn’t. I need to acknowledge this more.
I don’t know what exactly this year holds, but I like to think that I may at least have some sort of an idea of the positive changes that lie ahead. Regardless, we’ll be in our new home in less than a week (bittersweet, but still very exciting), and I think this will be a good, fresh new start for the new year and my little family that is just enough for today. Graduation is ahead, and some other exciting weddings and events also await. Aside from all of that, I’m excited to see whatever else 2015 may hold for us.
Cheers to the New Year!