Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Things I'm Loving Today


There are enough "t"s (side note: is there a correct way to make a letter plural?!) in this title that I think it works as a new Tuesday series. Yup. I was going to follow a few other bloggers who list three things they're loving each Tuesday, but I don't want to be limited like that. So, off with the limit on to the things I'm loving!

1. My mama comes to visit this weekend!!! There's really not much else to say; I feel like the triple exclamation points say it all. Basically, I'm ecstatic. 

2. Hootie and the Blowfish. When Hootie comes on my Pandora station, I can't help but smile. So, so good!

3. My first week of on-call duty is coming to close today! Phew. Ok, that's an exaggeration, because in reality, it's a ghost town on campus still so duty is easy peasy. But I'm still excited to be able to stay off campus past 7pm again ;) 

4. Riverside Park. If it weren't for the annoying gnats, I would be down there during all of my free time. Even with the gnats, I visit on a regular basis-- either for the Saturday morning farmers market or to lay on a blanket and read. 

5. READING! Seriously, I'm on an impressive roll right now. I mean, finishing a book every 48 hours kind of roll. Thank goodness for the well-stocked library system in La Crosse! I've basically scoured all of the "books to read in your 20s/30s" lists and judged the books by their covers to choose which ones I'll start with. I'm not ashamed. So far, I have read: Gifts From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (a 16th birthday present from my mom, taking on a whole new meaning at 26), The Late Bloomer's Revolution by Amy Cohen, Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close, and Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. My current "to-read" pile is pictured above.

6. Continuing with the library theme, free movies! I have Amazon Prime, but their selection can sometimes feel like it is lacking, so it's nice to have another resource. So far, I've watched Gatsby (the new one), The Butler, and 84 Charring Cross Road. Now if only people would start returning their copies of season 3 of Game of Thrones, so I could get my hands on that! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Making it Official: My Single Pledge



This post is going to be a total deviation from my norm on this blog. But I want to use it as a place to record my experiences and feelings as I embark on a new personal journey. I mean, that's what this blog is for, right? I've had people send me messages after posting certain things, saying that it was exactly what they needed to hear, or that it somehow made a difference to them. It's never my intention to write something with that kind of meaning, but the fact that it happens means so much to me! And I think sharing this new journey of mine may touch people who read this. Then again, maybe it won't. But I know that it will be good for me. 

So, what's this new journey I'm talking about? I am officially taking the rest of 2014 off from dating. Yup. No dating for 6 months (backdated to when I became single again). I'm not saying I've had any offers or that I intend to in the next six months, only that I will not be intentionally seeking any dates. 

Why cut such an excruciatingly painful, time-consuming, frustrating experience out of my life? (Kidding about that description, by the way...mostly.) A few reasons are behind this:

1) I'm in a new job, in my dream field. I want to take the next six months, at least, to really soak up as much knowledge as I can. Universities are such complex organizations, and I want to learn everything I can about this environment. That, and I want to focus on being amazing in my position. 

2) On that note, life is about to get really busy for me. I supervise a student staff of 11, directly oversee buildings that house roughly 350 residents, and am indirectly involved with 9 more student staff and 350 residents. I also have 24-hour on-call  duty two nights per week and every other weekend. Add to that attending any programs my staff put on, events on campus, and still maintaining a life of my own and there just isn't room for dating. Esoecially not if I want the other areas of my life to receive their full share of attention. 

3) I've been hurt and disillusioned. I'm going to be completely honest, my ability to trust another person, let alone my own feelings, took a major beating recently. Jumping into anything too soon is a recipe for disaster. I want to take the time necessary to heal and rebuild my trust in myself.

4) And finally, I'm sick of dating and I just want to take a break. 

And with that, here's to the second half of 2014 being dateless...and totally ok with it! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Growing Through It


I saw this quote the other day and it seemed so fitting. You don't always notice it in the day-to-day, or when you go through something good. But when it's a bad experience? It's probably more obvious. 

I'm in an interesting position that includes both a good experience (new job, new city) and not so great experience (heartbreak). This is going to sound crazy, but I'm actually thankful for the heartbreak because it is forcing me to be conscious of how I am feeling and allowing me to learn and grow through it. 

So, what am I learning?

- A trip down to the river with a good book is guaranteed to boost my mood
- On good days, I'm happy to spend time alone 
- But on a bad day? I prefer to be around people, even if that just means going out to grab a bit to eat
- That little things can make even the worst day better: a call from my mom, a card from a PEO sister, an encouraging text from a friend telling me I'm doing so great 
- Being single allows me give myself fully to my new situation, something I don't think I would have done otherwise 
- I have, in fact, learned from the past
- I have a reserve of strength somewhere in me that I didn't even know was there

Do these make the emotions of a heartbreak easier? Not necessarily. But they give me confidence as a strong, independent, single woman. And that gives me a better, healthier attitude. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Life Lately

The more we focus on the good things in our lives, the happier we will be. Life has been such a roller coaster these last few weeks, but this post will focus on the good things I have experienced.

I bought myself pretty flowers at the farmers market
 

I drove to the top of Granddad Bluff and took in the gorgeous view of La Crosse

I spent an evening watching the sun set on the Mississippi






This one is older, from the 4th of July, but I went legit fishing for the first time! And caught two small-mouth bass. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Curve Balls



Full disclosure: I have no idea where to start with this post, or where it is going to go. But I need to write. 

A few years ago, I wrote about how my life is like a baseball game. How I anticipate a fast ball, and get a curve ball. Well, history repeated itself in the craziest and most unexpected way. In December 2011, I was thrown a ball that should have been a sure thing. But it wasn't right. Last fall, the same ball came my way again, but with better conditions. This time, this time it would be it. This was my grand slam, I could feel it. Well, as can happen in baseball, what should have been a grand slam turned out to be a double. Imagine the disappointment. So close. But so far. 

But the game must continue. The world doesn't stop for a broken heart. Instead, it leads you closer to God. How sad is that reality? We grow closer to God when we are lost and broken and in pain. What about those times when we are giddy-ly happy, high on life--why don't we turn to God as often in those times? 

I'm making a promise to myself right now: when my heart heals and this season passes, I'm going to continue to need God as much as I do right now. I'm going to continue to pray to him daily. Hourly. Like I am right now to ask for strength. 

Coincidentally, God played a major role in this "grand slam turned double" until the last month. Daily thankful/grateful lists mentioned His plan, and our gratitude for it. It's interesting that when those lists stopped, the ball slowed down, missed its target of a grand slam over the fence and turned into a disappointing double. 

I could be mad at God for this. I could shake my fist in the air, tears streaming down my face, asking why. But I'm not. I've been through enough trials that my relationship with God is stronger than that. Thank goodness. No one needs to see that hot mess! Instead, I am leaning in to Him. I am leaning in for strength. For courage. For understanding. And I know that when this is over...as in, when my heart is whole again...my relationship with God will be that much stronger. And because of that, I am grateful for the curve ball. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Beautiful Photo


My first thought when I saw this photo was when will I learn to smile nicely for the camera?! My second thought: whoa. time to lay off the ice cream. ... what?! It shocked me to hear that in my mind. And even more shocking was saying it out loud to Brian. I knew immediately that I needed to confront these feelings. Luckily, this blog post was posted later that same day. Love the body you have today. This isn't a novel concept, and it isn't something that has ever been that difficult for me...until recently.

Growing up, the majority of my body image issues centered around my face. My complexion was never great-- I was always dealing with a weird combination of breakouts and dry, flaky skin. For the most part, I finally have this under control, thanks to a greater knowledge of how my food intake affects my hormones and how my hormones affect my skin. Oh, and coconut oil. Thank God for coconut oil.

Of course, there were things about my body I struggled with as well. The stretch marks on my inner thighs are a big one. They kept me from wearing short shorts, and made me self-conscious in a swim suit. My stomach was, and still is, another "problem area" for me. Looking at photos, I can see the discomfort I feel in my own body-- arms strategically placed to cover any overhang that would show that my stomach is not perfectly flat, that I am not a board. In the photo above, I was too busy enjoying a game of apples to apples to remember to drape my arm across my lap to hide that overhang, and I saw it immediately when Brian showed me the photo.

The first step to loving the body you have today is to stop bashing yourself...and other people. If you put hate in, hate will come out. If you put love in, love will come out. I know this, and have generally been really good about it. I give so much credit to my mom for raising me to know that beauty isn't just what is on the outside, and I'm sure that is part of why my body image issues take only two paragraphs to summarize. And yet, at 26, when I should know better, when I thought I did know better, I bashed myself for not having a flat stomach in a photo.

Wanting to be in a better place financially has taken me away from crossfit for the last six months. Stressful life changes have brought me closer to ice cream in the last six months. Just kidding. My love of ice cream has brought me closer to ice cream in the last six months. Ok. Maybe a combination of both. Has my body changed in the last six months because of these things? Obviously. But who cares? Two more steps to loving the body you have today are to be awesome now, and reinvent beauty. I'm not in as great of shape as I was six months ago, but that shouldn't make me any less awesome or beautiful. I'm just as awesome when I can squat 135lb as I am when doing 3x10 squat ladders up to 50lb turns my legs into jello. Just as my mom taught me, beauty is what is on the inside of a person, and their body doesn't change that. Choose to surround yourself with people who are inspiring to you because of their inner beauty, not because of their body, and you will be inspired no matter where you are in your health and fitness journey.

When I look at this photo now, I am going to make a conscious effort to focus on the memory. Not my silly face. Not the way my stomach looks. I'm going to look at it and be reminded of an amazing weekend up north with Brian's family. Of a cottage filled with laughter and conversation. Of an apples to apples game that lasted nearly two hours. Of the amazing feeling I had when an ice cream flavor became an inside joke between Lauren and me. That's what makes me beautiful in the photo.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shop Love


 
a favorite Curly Girl design

There are few things I enjoy more than really unique, artsy, creative shops. I used to spend payday at Hey, Daisy! in downtown Appleton, always finding *something* that I needed. There were three usual suspects: a cute, flowy dress, funky jewelry, or a Curly Girl Designs piece.

I love, love, love Curly Girl Design. From the whimsical artwork to the joyous quotes, I just cannot get enough. I have given Curly Girl away as presents, but also have a few favorite pieces that have made their way onto a wall in every place I have lived in the last four years. Once I have an office again, I will also be ordering their calendar-- it is by far my favorite wall calendar! I am already planning the pieces I will purchase to decorate my eventual desk in my eventual office...

Another shop I am loving lately is Elle & Co. Now, I don't even OWN one of her Daybook Planners...YET, and I am still totally smitten. There's something about the simple, yet elegant, design that I can't get over. It doesn't hurt that the girl behind the shop, Lauren, is an absolute gem. As soon as I found her blog I knew I was in for a treat! Lately, I have especially enjoyed her series on "purple thumb" gardening. Girl after my own heart, I tell ya!

Are there any cute shops I need to explore and do some window shopping? Lord knows real shopping is out of the question right now, but I still like to look! And make sure you check out these shops-- you never know what you might find!