Being Conscious in the New Year

Today is a typical January 5th. It’s a few days after the New Year and I’m still wonderin’ what the heck am I going to work on for the new year!? But as much I love being a goal setter or no matter how much of a list maker I am, I’ve always hated the pressure I would put on myself to do this resolution or that resolution.

Cause let’s be honest. I’d get fed up too quickly and by February first, I had already burned out. Where is the growth in that? That’s why I don’t make New Year resolutions. I make Life Resolutions. At least for me, it’s too hard to be specific on what needs to happen for this new year to be good.

Last year I tried to keep it simple. Read more. Run more. That’s it! And ya know what? The more I made the conscious decision to pull out a book before bed rather than flip on the TV the more it became a habit. I tried to not let two or three days go by before I ran. And not just run. Run outside. Now that was the truly hard part. But again. It became a habit!

Which is why this year I decided to pick up a new habit. And if you thought I couldn’t get it any simpler than last year then you would be wrong, my friend. This year I plan to make more conscious decisions. Vague? Let me explain.

I get comfortable easily. I don’t like change, really. So much so that it can get me too comfortable. I don’t think too hard into the little decisions I make throughout the day. And I really mean the little ones. What I listen to. What I watch or read. What I eat. Who I talk to. When I pray. How I work.  I don’t want to go through life blindly and not realize until it’s too late how these “little” decisions have affected me.  Now I know it’s not a good habit to become too scrupulous, but I want to be able to think just a little more about what I put into my body (and my soul). Whether it be the music, the food, the entertainment… It’s time to become more thoughtful in all aspects of my life.

So although it’s not a huge change in my life, I know it could be the best habit I adopt into my life. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn to like change a little more! Yeah, not likley but worth a shot, I guess! On that note, glad to be with you this year once again.

Happy [belated] New Year!

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My 2014 In Review

This was quite a year. It was filled with a lot of firsts. We had vacations, guests come and visit, concerts, parties, and more. I’d say 2014 was one for the books. I’m grateful for being able to blog through most of it and sharing it with you. But I must say I’m looking forward to making 2015 even better! Here is a glance at the incredible year David and I have had! FotorCreated13 January: The year started with plenty of snow storms. At the time, we were at our old apartment and I believe there were  several days that we ended up snowed in. Although I’m not complaining because there is something very cozy (and a bit apocolyptic) about being snowed in! Other January adventures? David crashed his car :/ On that snow that I just stated that we “love”… FotorCreated February: Friends came and visited and we started to really feel at home in our new-ish home. It was a great feeling. We also picked up a new hobby of finding open houses on weekends and going to pretend we were in the market for a new home. There is never a dull moment with David. Plus our first Valentines Day together! David surprised me with dinner, chocolate, flowers, balloons, I’m talkin’ the works! Now the pressure is on for next year ;)FotorCreated2 March: In March my whole family went to see Flogging Molly, courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas! We are Irish through and through so you can imagine we got very into this concert. Looking back at these pictures is making me miss my long hair!FotorCreated3 April: This year I had a big reunion with my household from college. #Stella. It was pure bliss seeing all my best friends and girls I haven’t seen since graduation. I wish I could have a reunion every year. We also spent Easter at the hospital this year to be with my aunt who had been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. As of now?!? She’s cancer free! God is good. FotorCreated4 May: My sister, mom and I ran in our first (official) 5k. And let me just say… it felt good. It was an Ovarian Cancer run for my aunt and I have to say it was much more emotional than I thought it’d be. Even injuring my foot was well worth it. I also got to start up on my very first garden this year on our little balcony. It was simple and small but it did the job. We had fresh basil for pesto and tomatos for sauces in no time. I may or may not have killed off some peppers by accident…FotorCreated5 June: What happens in June?!? We celebrate my birthday of course! And I was really gettin’ into this whole getting healthy thing. Weights became my game. Let’s just say it was a love/hate relationship.FotorCreated6 July:  This was definitly one of our busier months of the year! To celebrate David’s birthday and the 4th of July, we went up to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Northern Michigan. Apparently climbing the dunes was a much bigger feat than we had expected. But we did it and were proud of it… Although that may be the only time we climb them… We ALSO made another annual trip up to Mackinac Island with the fam! This year was a weirder year for us and had a hint of the drama but it was still well worth the vacation time.FotorCreated7 August: My mom taught me how to make jam! Good ole’ fashion strawberry jam. AND I went to camp for the first time in my life! Well… I went as a counselor but who can complain when your horseback riding, swimming and crafting for a whole week in beautiful northern Michigan? Not this girl.FotorCreated8 September: Fall is here. And ya know what that means?!? Cider Mills. We went to a fair amount and sampled plenty of doughnuts and cider. Oh… and we made a big decision. To move or not to move when the lease is up. Well you probably already know. We started looking for a new place to call Home Pt. 2!FotorCreated9 October: This is almost always one of my favorite months. But for different reasons then when I was a kid. This year we celebrated our One Year Anniversary! Plus we made the BIG (and hectic) MOVE! We left our first home as a couple and headed into our current town home. I’d rather wait a while before we move again. Not exactly a fun experience. Oh, and I got promoted at work! And of course we did some Halloween-y type things…FotorCreated10 November: Another busy month for us! We visited friends, ran in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, just started to get settled into our new home, AND I got my wisdom teeth out. This month I was thankful for General Anesthetics. FotorCreated11 December: This December was a little crazy, a little hectic, but a lot enjoyable. I even finished my 25th book of the year! Getting closer to my 50 books in a year goal! Also this month David and I went to see Wicked at the Detroit Opera House, we visited an NFL exhibit and got to see a REAL Lombardi trophy (see our reflection below, we just don’t take normal pictures), went to see a Houston Texans game in Indianaplois (the Texans lost though, still a sore subject with David;) and we spent some quality time together.  It has been the perfect way to end 2014.   FotorCreated12   There is a lot I will miss about 2014. But I really don’t like living in the past which is why I’m hoping 2015 will be it’s own kind of wonderful. I made goals this year and I crushed goals this year. I made meories and I captured memories. 2015 has a lot to live up to, although it’s at an unfair advantage because 2014 was a lot of David and my firsts. BUT all the more reason to make 2015 just as good, if not better than the last. Here we go! Happy New Year, friends! See you next year!

A “Silent” Sort of Christmas

Rasie your hand if you are shocked and scandaled that Christmas has come and gone so quickly.

Yes, I for one am. I’ll be perfectly honest. It was more of a stressful Christmas-prep compared to last years “breezing on by”. I planned too late, I shopped too late, I baked too late… Basically I was running late on a lot of things this year. But it seems whenever I’m feeling “rundown and listless” (2 points for you if you can name that TV show), God finds a way to make me feel like He’s got my back through it all.

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I was at the end of my patience come December 20. I had been praying and praying all Advent to feel prepared and joyously awaiting the coming of Christ, but I was anything but joyous. I was moody and irritated. Everything that could possibly irritate me, seemed was coming my way, full speed with no end in sight. The idea of feeling “Christmas-y” was a sad joke. I was a Scrooge and there awas no getting around it. My Christmas decorations seemed to be staring at me…mocking me for not being as excited as everyone else out there.

Then one day. A prayer of mine was answered. It was a little one. But nonetheless it was important to me. After that I started relaxing a bit more. The more I relaxed the more I realized how silly I had been. I was equating Christmas with getting all these things done, and experiencing the feeling of Christmas. Well anyone looking from the outside in could have told me that’s a sure way to fail.

I finally put into motion the idea of “let go and let God”. I started looking more at the Holy Family and their journey, and ya know what I realized?! St. Joseph is a silent man. I mean literally silent in the gospels. In the entirety of the Bible, we never “hear” him speak. He’s reflective of everything going on around him and I couldn’t help but wonder why the heck we can’t be like that?! He has Advent down like no one I’ve ever seen.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was spot on when he said silence “is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God…In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection so as to receive and keep Jesus in our lives.

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So no, I didn’t get all of my Christmas baking done and my house was a mess up until two days after Christmas. But at that point I didn’t really care. I got done what I needed to get done, physically and spiritually.

And while my life is hardly ever quiet when it comes to noise, I was finally able to experience some spiritual silence. And because of that, I was able to enjoy my Christmas much more. And ya know what? The Scrooge in me seemed to disipate more and more. I finally got that Christmas-y feeling, but this year it meant a lot more.

Game Day: Pick a Jersey, Any Jersey

I have not always been the biggest football fan. Growing up I would roll my eyes when my dad or brother had it on TV, just waiting till I could change the channel.

But over the years (I think high school football was the change) I have slowly started associating football with fall, and even started paying attention to the game. Thank goodess I did, too, because when I met David, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

He’s from Texas. Where football is bred in kids from a small age. So when David and I started dating, as with most couples picking up on each others interests, I started becoming more interested in football (mostly so I could understand what he was yelling at the TV). Now I’ve grown to love the sport, not as much as David, but enough to go to all the NFL football stadiums to see the Houston Texans play (and to head to Indiana in December for a game).

With that said, we are a split household. David is a Texans fan. And naturally, I’m a Detroit Lions fan. But because we are in different conferences and barley play each other, this hardly ever seems to be an issue. So I tend to root the Texans on too, as he also does with the Lions.

If you are looking for any NFL jerseys this holiday season I would suggest looking to Fanatics. They are a great company for purchasing your jerseys from, as you can get any from the high end of jerseys to the more moderatly priced ones and all teams in between. But when I was putting together my outfit, I couldn’t just do one, now could I?! I had to support both of my teams.

So here are a few outfit ideas if you are heading to the big game this Sunday. Obviously if you’re heading to a Lions game you’ll want to bundle up a bit more, hence the sweater for underneath. And I figured with the Texans you could get away with some lighter layers. Let me know which outfit you’d wear! And yes, you can base it on which team you root for…

NFL-Game-DayI had to represent my boy JJ Watt for the Texans. He.Is.An.Animal.

But be sure to check out Fanatics for all your jersey needs! This is a perfect Christmas gift for the NFL lover in your life. And I’m sure you’ll find something in your price range, too!

10 Things I Do to Make Me Feel Like I have My Life Under Control

Too long of a blog post title? Nahhhh.

I’ve only been at this new job for a week and a half. But already work is piling up to my earlobes. Not that I’m not used to being busy, because I am. But I have found in my life that I go through spurts of feeling like my life is a spiraling whirlwind that I have no control over. So I’ve taken up a few… practices, if you will, to make me feel like I have my life even just a teensy bit under control.

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  1. Talk it out. Give yourself a place and a someone to vent to. We’re human and we need interaction and we are certainly not meant to bottle things up. Just talk.With someone. Anyone. Husband. Friend. Therapist. Even if all you’re talking about is how you feel like you don’t have your life in control, TALKING about it helps. It allows you to mentally process and even get feedback, if needed. I’m quite the chatter box, but when it comes to putting my frustrations out in words, I have a much harder time. But once I’ve actually taken the time to talk with someone, I instantly feel better.
  2. Schedule Relaxing. Even if it’s only once a month. Schedule it. Now here’s the hard part. Don’t miss it. It’s very hard for me to relax. I’ve told David that even when we’re on vacation I have a hard time relaxing because I can’t stop thinking about everything I’ll have to do when I get back home. Bath it up. Add some salts. Grab a magazine. Join the pedi-mani life. Coffee on the front porch. Take a nap. Or just lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. Whatever you can accomplish in terms of relaxing is a huge win in my book.524885_3436266105050_937293532_n
  3. Say What You Mean. This is always a big help in terms of taking some things off your plate. I’m a yes person. I don’t like to say no to people but I’m starting to learn it’s a way of taking care of yourself. Say No. Make use of that word. By saying it, you’re already in control of something. But as much as you may want to say yes all the time you’re body just may not be able to handle it. Do yourself a favor and don’t commit to everything. You certainly don’t want to burn out.
  4. Write It down. Courtesy of my mother, I am a list maker. So I write everything I need to do down. The big mistake I used to make was having a lot of little lists. Well what do you think is going to happen with a lot of lists? They are going to get lost. So put them in one spot. On an app in your phone (Clear is a great one to download). Post its. A notepad. Pick one. And stick to it.
  5. Keep What You Need. Toss the rest. It’s perfectly okay to keep things and hold on to sentimental items. But if you’re saving every little piece of clothing your child ever wore or every single A+ paper they ever got, you should probably consider downsizing. Being that I just moved I’ve found I am a PRO at throwing things away. Left and right I was tossing things out. And let me just say. It feels so good to do it!
  6. Find a Home for Everything. When you’re done using something, put it away right away And in the same spot every time. It’s basic kid stuff. But so basic that I apparently wasn’t good at it right away. But now I have a plce for everything. Digital things included. If you’re anything like me, you have albums and albums on your computer of photos.  Organize them. I don’t care how. You can decide that but I promise you’ll feel so accomplished once you go through and clean out your computer (and back it up). Also sign up for Dropbox.com. It is your friend.
  7. Get Dressed. Attempt to get dressed (hair and makeup) every day. Or at least the days you have to be ultra productive. When I was in college, I was always told by one of my professors that people who take the time to get ready in the morning tend to be more focused in class. And it was so true. Even if I had been scrubbed out all year for class, come test day I would always try and make myself more presentable. Subconciously you’re more alert and more confident. Two things I am a fan of. So when you have to get stuff done either at work or home, try to skip the sweatpants and head for the jeans.
  8. Put Away Your Watch. Or your iPhone. Just stop watching the time. Get done with what you can and don’t fret about the rest. Easier said than done, right? Everything now a days is timed and held down to the very minute. It makes life a little stressful sometimes. But I’ve found that I work better or am at least less stressed if I stop checking my watch all the time. Yes of course check it every now and then. But try and put it aside more and force yourself not to look at it for a bit. And then see how much you get done!
  9. Read this: Matt. 6:25-2725 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[a] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[b]
  10. Pray. No explanation needed, really. I always feel like I’ve got my life together a little better when I start my day with prayer. Some days less than others, but I know He’s taking care of it, so why worry, right?!?

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Crushing Goals

I am a girl of goals. Not big, huge goals. But I have found over time that I work more productively if I have something in mind that I am working towards. Whether it be training for a race or to get my to-do list done by Saturday evening, I have to have it written out (take my Bucket List for example), otherwise I have a hard time staying focused. Not ADD (although some may say otherwise), I just get excited by a lot of different things all at once.

With that said. Last week I got to cross something wonderful off my Bucket List. I got promoted at work! Now, I don’t talk about work very often here on the blog for many reasons. I don’t even know if I’ve ever told you where I work. But I WILL tell you I WAS an Administrative Assistant. Which I wasn’t always proud of, but am so happy with how that job turned out. It’s easy to feel like you’re not doing anything important as an Assistant. But if you ARE one, I promise, you are doing VERY important things. I know firsthand. But NOW I am transitioning into a Web Content Specialist.

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I am so excited to get all my training done and know everything there is to know about HTML and CSS and Javascript and all those wonderful nerdy things that I’ve always been interested in learning but never thought I’d actually go into. But it’s funny to look back at how I felt when I wrote my bucket list. Being promoted was never really something I was sure of would happen. Mostly because I was an assistant. I didn’t think there was anywhere to go.

But God has bigger plans for me than I can see. All the things I complained about in my first job, He has found a way to fix in this new job. I don’t sit all by myself now. I’m on a team with other people. I have someone to actually talk to. Like, a real human being. Whattt?! I have a window! And my own thermostat! No more feeling deprived of Vitamin D or shivering under a blanket. I’m sure in time I’ll find something to complain about at the new job because let’s be honest. I’m human. As in, very, very human.

So I tell you all this so 1. You can share in my excitement, 2. So you can maybe see where you want change in your life and trust God that He’s got it all in control (as always) and 3. On a more practical note, let you know it’ll be a little harder for me to post here but I am taking a stance here and now to not let it fall by the way side. If any blogger out there has any advice for juggling a big job and their blog, I’d love a teensy bit of advice! And maybe a hug (is there such thing as an e-hug?). Cause I know I’m gonna need it as I continue into my rigorous training…

No more scheduling meetings for this girl! Just attending them! And on that note, heading out for a meeting now… I’ve got some more goals to crush!

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