On Letting Go

Things are back on track. I feel like I’m back. The last couple months have been rather dark and dreary. The recesses of my mind have taken me places I’d rather not visit again. The vicious cycle of negativity and depression caught me by the coat tails and it felt like I just couldn’t escape. The things I could control successfully commingled with those I could not. Before you know it, I felt paralyzed. Paralyzed towards taking any action to improve the state of my own affairs. 

However, last week I officially turned over a new leaf. I was listening to Jen Hatmaker speak at Willow Creek and something she said rang true with me; a call to action of sorts. Right there in that moment I decided to let go of the weight I was carrying on my shoulders and let God. I have come to terms there are certain things I can control and others which I can not. And for those which I can not, I know they are in better hands now than those of my own.

So this week I dusted off the gym shoes and logged several miles on the elliptical. I washed out an old water bottle and healthily quenched my thirst. I formulated a plan for my professional life so as to allow a better work/life balance. I took a walk hand in hand with my husband along the lakeshore. And let me tell you it all felt so good – taking action over the things in my life which I can control. 

So on this beautiful Sunday, let us raise a glass and toast to letting go and letting God! 

On Letting Go

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I Like Them Already 

I came home to this beautiful bouquet of flowers this week. I thought the husband got me really good! He ran upstairs to drop his bag and said he would return for his flowers. As I sorted through the mail, I noticed the note on the beautiful bouquet was addressed to him; that’s strange I thought but he has a tendency to be sneaky! 

He rushed the flowers upstairs and opened the card. Inside a sweet note from his future employer, “Thanks for joining our team! Welcome! Sincerely – your friends” 

I like them already! Very well played. You are getting a winner! 

 

Be the Change You Want to Be 

I ran into an old friend the other day. She looked straight into my tired, raccoon eyes and asked “How are things going?” She knew the answer before she even asked, but felt obliged by formalities to do so. After all it wasn’t that long ago she was walking in similar shoes. “Let me guess” she said. “Still the same ‘ole song and dance’?” “Not quite” I responded. “Things are better but there is still room for plenty of improvement…”

I looked to see if she was buying my response. I could tell by her subtle eye roll she was not having any of it. “Remember what we discussed?” my friend retorted. “That was over three years ago. You said you were going to make a change!” I could sense her frustration with me. She was about to go from 0-60 in no time flat; scolding me like a teenager who missed curfew…again.

“Listen!” she said “you have to get out of there. There are more important things. There is more to life – Trust me on this one. Promise me you will make a change? I have confidence in you!” 

As she rushed to catch the next northbound train, she looked back at me, “and do something about those bags under your eyes! You’ve seen better days!” 

Does this exchange sound familiar? Are there certain aspects in your life which you are trying to change? Have you been trying to do so for some time? Perhaps it’s making time for the gym. Maybe it’s polishing up the old resume and initiating a conversation with a recruiter. Perhaps it’s finding your way back to the front steps of the church. Maybe it’s taking the first steps to reconcile differences with a loved one. 

Whatever the change may be, I’m sure I don’t stand alone in this struggle. It is easy to get caught up in the complacency and contentment of the status quo. Often times it is much more challenging to step outside of our comfort zones and make the change we want in our lives. Attend that group exercise class. Meet with that recruiter. Find the church doors on Sunday morning. Pick up the phone and call a loved one and say the words “I’m sorry.”

Often times this struggle is intensified by lacking the confidence for change. It is comfortable to go about the everyday, keeping everything the same. With repetition, the chosen course of action becomes deeply rooted in our minds as the best or most effective path. We are less likely to fail or receive disapproval from others when we maintain the status quo. The group exercise class will move too quickly for me. The recruiter will think my previous work experience isn’t sufficient. The church goers will question where I have been the last several years. The loved one won’t answer. 

During the Super Bowl, a commercial ran entitled “Like a Girl”. It was a commercial aimed to empower women of all ages to have confidence. The commercial sought to break down the stereotypes of what it means to “be like a girl.” At the end of the commercial, a woman asks a little girl “What does it mean when I say run like a girl?” The little girl stares into the camera and says, “It means to run as fast as I can.” To the little girl, “running like a girl” meant displaying physical toughness not the dismissive insinuations this phrase has a tendency to carry.

While this commercial was aimed at women, it served as a reminder to all 114.4 million viewers the importance of having confidence. Confidence in one self; confidence to be the change you want to be. So today take that group exercise class and display physical toughness even when you feel like giving up. Meet with the recruiter and view it as an opportunity to see what other opportunities are out there. Find the church doors on Sunday and introduce yourself to someone new. Call that loved one and rebuild the relationship. Be the change you want to be and do so confidently! 

Photo Credit: Motivationandchange.com

Be the Change you Want to Be

Mr. Rogers & Chicken Pot Pies – A Recap of Sorts

Scene opens as a jovial Mr. Rogers walks through the front door, opens the coat closet to hang up his brown blazer in exchange for a wool sweater. He looks straight at the camera and says to all his viewers, “Hi, television neighbor, I’m glad we’re together again…”

I am by no means Mr. Rogers, but “Hi, blog audience, I’m glad we are together again.”

The last 6 weeks have been a whirlwind. Late nights in the office coupled with one too many dinners from PotBelly. However, a ray of light is at the end of the tunnel. March Madness is officially in sight which has always signaled the end of “busy season” as we know it.

Tonight after battling the subzero Midwest temperatures, we whipped up some homemade Chicken Pot Pies; the perfect comfort food and my attempt to combat the chill which has been in my bones all day.  (I think my office forgot to tell the building manager that people would be working on President’s Day, but I digress.) The Chicken Pot Pies turned out a little watery, perhaps it was because the recipe called for the chicken to be cooked beforehand? Regardless, this thrown together, last minute homemade meal was far more appetizing than the TKY regulars & Big Wrecks we have consumed as of late sitting at our desks.

With the little down time we have had on nights and weekends, the husband and I binge-watched Breaking Bad. I know we are late to the bandwagon for this show, but we finished the series. The show was insane; often times more unfathomable than I wished to comprehend. So last night, we said good bye to Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and 308 Negra Arroyo Lane. I can honestly say, I don’t think we will be jumping on the Better Call Saul train anytime soon.

In other news, our amazing tenant of almost 4 years has bought a condo. We are so excited for her to embark on this new adventure called home ownership, but of course we are sad to see her go. As landlords, we can only hope our next tenant will be so great!

In the next couple weeks, we will celebrate many a birthday – two sisters-in-law, a dear friend, and my Dad. So when I’m not helping blow out birthday candles, getting the condo ready for rental, or doing research for my March Madness bracket, I hope to find more time for this space. More time to pursue areas which stretch me as an individual. More time for home cooked meals, even if they turn out a bit runny. More time to be together again.

Scene fades on Mr. Rogers.

Reunited with My Long Lost Friend, Gym!

This week I finally made it back to the gym. After weeks away (who are we kidding it has been months), I was reintroduced to my long lost friend. If you are anything like me, it is a constant struggle to fit the gym into a busy schedule no matter how much it is a priority.

Over the last several months, work was my excuse to not make time for a workout. Emails lingering in my inbox waited a response. Various projects required more time than anticipated. Back to back meetings consumed my calendar. When work and I were on overdrive in the fast lane, I was working hard, extremely hard at times. However, these efforts were at the detriment to my own body.

One of my family’s traditions over the holidays is to share any resolutions we are making for the next year. Due to the hustle and bustle of this past holiday season, said resolutions were shared over Google hangout on a Saturday afternoon. After the “hangout” was over, I kept thinking about one of the resolutions someone in my family made: rekindle friendships, old and new.

Which brings me back to the gym, my long lost friend. It feels great to be back. It has been way too long. You and my body are worth the priority.

Reunited with My Long Lost Friend, Gym

“Are Mom & Dad Really Santa?” – A Letter on Pinterest

I stumbled upon a letter on Pinterest over the holidays. It was written by a mother and father to their young son Ryan after he asked if his parents were Santa. After I read the letter, I permanently bookmarked the link to my computer. I loved everything about this letter to little Ryan.

From the way these parents thoughtfully responded to the loose leaf paper they drafted their response on, these parents nailed it. What I particularly loved was how the parents described Santa as someone who “teaches children to believe in something they can not see or touch” and how this capacity to believe will be necessary as little Ryan continues his life’s journey.

Even as an adult, I am constantly in need of a reminder of this capacity to believe; when I find myself challenged to “believe in things I can’t measure or hold in my hands.” Sometimes I struggle to believe in myself and my own abilities and God’s plan for my life. However when I find myself venturing down this path in 2015, I hope to be reminded of little Ryan.

As we are busy trying to keep up with those New Year resolutions we have made, let us all be reminded to keep the Christmas spirit alive day in and day out; a spirit of love and giving to others. A spirit to believe. We are all part of “Santa’s team.”

Letter also located on Pinterest here.
Letter to Little Ryan About Santa

Mantra for 2015!

Ambitious. One of the many reasons I love my husband unconditionally. He started the new year out in the fast lane; determined to make 2015 a year for the memory books. Last night as I was denying another inevitable start to a new year, he was online searching for homemade artisan bread recipes.

All you Betty Crockers out there may laugh at my admiration, but in my opinion this one loaf of homemade artisan bread set the tone for what I want in 2015; venturing into new and uncharted territories accompanied by a strong desire and determination to succeed.

This particular loaf of bread required more preparation. Typically we throw the ingredients in the bread maker, select number one for the white bread program and in just under three hours have a fresh two pound loaf of white bread. Last night was different. The dough needed to prepped and kneaded. It had to sit overnight and rise. And instead of baking the dough in a bread maker the husband used a cast iron Dutch oven.

To my husband – thank for you for setting the pace in 2015. Thank you for being a constant reminder success is not necessarily deemed by following the road frequently traveled but instead can still be found in a road less frequented. You are a constant reminder and motivating force to live ambitiously and I can’t wait to grab my own chef hat and embrace this new year with you!  Will you join us? Ambitious Mantra for 2015