Saturday, August 31, 2019

40 Before 40... Two Years to Go!

40 before 40 update....
I know you all have been dying to see this list again!  Ha!  But I have some things to add to it!  :)  I know, I know..... you can't wait!  My latest updates are in Blue!

I have two years to complete this list.  Hopefully I get to going on some of them!  Changed up the list, a little this year... but still pretty excited about these things!  Just wish they didn't cost so much money!  

 #1  Attend a Renaissance Festival  Completed last Fall!  :)  Hope to get to another one soon! 

#2  Celebrate New Year's in New York City and watch the ball drop!  Could 2019 be the year?  Hmmm......   Anyone want to go????  

#3  Pay School Loans down  This will be the year!  

#4  Go Skydiving  2019..... or 2020

#5  Get a tattoo  I have TWO tattoos now!  Yippeee!!!!  Love my elephant and owl!   I really want another one!!!!!!  I already have the next ones picked out!  Ha!  :)   I really want another tattoo!  

#6  Drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way down California  Maybe next summer (2020)

#7  See a show at the Fox. This needs to happen!  

#8  Get to know 5 good wine and cheese pairings, and host a wine tasting  Planning for Fall 2019

#9  Hike some of the PCT  This is going to be the trip for my 40th birthday!  Get ready! 

#10  Get in the best shape of my life  Blah... I'm sucking that this! 

#11  Learn a new skill.....  Currently learning Quilting

#12  Go to an Art Museum once a year (Yikes, I need to get on this one for this year!)  Ummm.... I really need to start doing this...

#13  Visit Napa Valley

#14  Go on a cruise  Summer 2021

#15  Learn how to cook Risotto    I need to get on this! 

#16  Go to a race track that has cars, not horses! Went to the Derby twice!  That counts!  

#17  Meet a hero (Mandy Hale, Glennon Doyle, Cheryl Strayed)

#18  Be open to new dating opportunities  (I did well with this!!!)  I am going to change this one.... Be open to new dating opportunities, but don't just take any of them, because some of them are CRAZY! I completed this... checking it off the list! I HATE dating!!!!!!  

#19  Take the ultimate U.S. Road Trip 

#20  Read 52 books in 52 weeks!   On book 27!  

#21  Learn to Knit  (Still working on this, but I am a great loom knitter)  Work in progress

#22  Take Spanish and be able to hold a conversation  (Ugh, not so great with this)  Hmmm.....

#23  Read 100 books  (Need to make my list) I have read a lot oFallf books, but I need to be writing them somewhere.  

#24  Get a hair cut at a fancy salon

#25  Cook/Bake all my gma's recipes  Fall 2019!  

#26  Do one kind deed everyday of my life.

#27  Be more intentional  

#28   Drink tea instead of coffee in the afternoon  Changing this  #28 Drink MORE tea!!!!!   Kombucha for the win!  

#29  Run a new race each year.  

#30  Watch every film on AFI top 100  

#31  Go to the doctor/dentist/eye doctor as recommended  (Getting better with this)   Rats, I suck at this!  

#32  Complete a 1/2 marathon  2019 for sure!  

#33  Write a short story  I have an outline of one!   

#34  Take a 24 hour solitude/no phone retreat 4 times a year  (I didn't do this at all)  I'm stinking at this!  

#35  Pray everyday  (More work needed with this)

#36  Donate 2% of income each year to charity

#37  Try yoga   Completed a class this summer!  Hope to again, but need a new teacher.  

#38  Send 10 letters a year to friends far away  (I will do this)

#39  Make something crafty and sell it  (Yay!  I did this!  )  

#40  Step out of my comfort zone at least once a day.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Fundraising for My Birthday....

This will probably be one of the most real and hardest posts that I have ever written.  If suicide is a trigger for you in anyway, please don't keep reading this blog.

I had a breakdown this past week.  Like a complete breakdown, that has been weeks, maybe even years in the making.  It stems from years of self-doubt and insecurities.  From words that have been said to me, about me directly and indirectly.  Words that I continue to play in my mind because I am a pleaser, a feeler and an empath.  Up until recently I don't even think that I would admit to having anxiety, but I honestly think that I have finally put a name to what I feel when I physically feel sick from thinking about certain situations and people.

 I have spent most of my life  behind someone else.  I was never the leader, I was always the follower.  I also never felt pretty enough, skinny enough, or good enough for anyone.  Now I am not going to get into whose fault that is, or place blame on a situation or person.  I just think that for whatever reason my life circumstances created in me a negative outlook.  I saw myself as not enough.  Not a good enough daughter, not a good enough sister,  not a good enough friend, not good enough to date, just not enough.

This has been the driving force in most of the decisions that I have made, and people that I have invested in.  Even in my family I have often felt like I wasn't who they had hoped I would be, more so my extended family than immediate just to be clear.  Sometimes I think we are born with certain frames of mind.  For whatever reason I have to force myself to not go down into the hole where I literally feel like I could disappear from the face of the earth and no one would care.  I have to force myself when I get in those types of frames of mind to go back through my experiences, the people that I have met and see the love.

Every time someone stops texting me back, or I always have the be the one to go to them, somewhere in the back of my mind this little tape recorder plays this... "you are not enough."  Even if it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with where they are in life.  I take that on... I analyze everything that has been said to me, and I internalize the rejection as something that is wrong with me.  I used to think that I was the only person who did that, but I know I'm not.  I know that we are all filled with those types of rejection, that try to steal our worth.

The difference is that for a lot of people at least at some point in their lives that have had someone who was always there for them even in the midst of those moments of self doubt and insecurity.  It is quite often that I feel alone in a crowded room.  It is quite often that I say something sarcastic because I honestly just don't know how to truly let people in past the wall that is so close to my heart I am not sure if anyone has ever truly broken it down.  Because to be honest the last friendship that got close ended up wounding me past repair.  I'm still dealing with the aftermath of that rejection.

What am I getting at here?  For my birthday I am raising money for a Suicide Prevention Organization.  Now...I don't have a story of how they helped change my life.  Because they didn't.  I do have lots of stories of when I have almost been to the point of needing them to help me.  I have lots of times when I felt like because I don't have a family of my own (husband and kids) that I am not important enough to our society to matter.  I'm not alone, I know that many people have had my same thoughts.

What keeps me going?  It's moments like this past weekend, when I had people see me in one of the worst places mentally that I have been in for awhile and still love me.  It's the times when someone takes off work to take me out for a birthday dinner, or randomly sends me a message to tell me how important I am to them.  It's those moments, when someone shows me that I am enough by just being me.  Sometimes it feels like those moments are few and far between.

I have lost a lot of friends in the past few years.  Some because they chose other friends over me.  Some think I am too much.  Others I am not even really sure what happened to be honest.  Finally others it's just time and distance that have separated us.

Here is what I am getting at.... I finally had to come to terms this weekend with the fact that we really never know what someone has gone through or is going through, and we just have to be ourselves, and the right people will love us through whatever kind of mess we are.  Also, I'm alive for a reason, even if it is not societies version of why I should be alive.  I'm making a difference in lives around me, even if I don't fit the vision that I grew up believing was the most important.  It is a day-by-day process though, and it's okay I just have to remember on the days I feel less than, that there are people who need my love and friendship that wouldn't have it if I wasn't here.

Real friendship, real love sees the weaknesses, and chaotic messes, and loves anyways.  Real love and friendship makes time for those connections, and sometimes that means taking a break for awhile.  Other times it means driving 8 hours to spend 2 and then driving back.

Sometimes we have an experience that transforms how we view ourselves.  I won't go into the details, but I can say that I am super thankful for a new view of life and how I see myself in it.  We don't always get the happy ending we expected, but when we have people in our lives that are willing to be there for us, no matter what role they have... that's enough.  Because it turns out that there is a better happy ending waiting just around the bend.

This world is a lonely place, and it is full of stress, rejection and loss.  If you feel so inclined, find my birthday fundraiser and give money to an organization that is trying to help those that aren't able to get out of that pit on their own.  I know that if I ever get to that point, I want someone to be there for me.

We say all the time... why didn't they just reach out.  Here's the thing... I have spent many moments smiling, making jokes and laughing when I wanted to cry and scream.  Many moments surrounded by people when I felt like I could just walk out of the room and no one would notice.  It is an awful feeling.  We can do better, for our friends, for our family and for ourselves.

Breaking down and being vulnerable is something that I am not good at.  But when it does happen I know that I have held too much in for too long.  If that's you too... take the time to think through those moments when you have felt loved.  Write them down, go back to them, and know that you are here for a reason.  Every single day someone needs your smile, your touch, your encouragement.

So today starts a new day, and a new perspective.  When you find people that truly love you, do what you can to hold on to those friendships.   Do what you can to make the people of this world know what they mean.  We aren't guaranteed a tomorrow, so let's help each other through the stress and misunderstandings of today.  We owe it to those that we have lost from suicide, and those that try to take their lives everyday.  It is an awful way to live, thinking that you don't matter to the world, that you aren't loved, or needed.  If you are reading this... know that I am so thankful for you...whatever role you have in my life and this world needs you.  Needs your smile, needs your light, needs your laugh, needs your presence.  Thank you for what you do to make this world better.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Book #22 and why I need to write more....

I finished up book #22 today.  I read Rachel Hollis' book Girl, wash your face."  I had seen some of the reviews of the book, and have heard some things about it.  So I know that some people don't really think that there's anything profound in it, and that some of the stuff in her book is some of the same stuff you would read in other books.  But for me I think that her book was all about being authentic.  It was a huge reminder for me, to be myself.  Although a lot of it had to do with motherhood, I really appreciated the way she did include single women in what she said as well.  It is hard these days to find books that aren't meant for married with children women.  So, I take the tiny bits that I can that are including me.

The past few months have brought me to a place of crisis in my identity.  I have found myself not really feeling included in the circles that I have been included in for so long.  Some of that is because of decisions I have made to step back, and some of that is because of other people's decisions to push me away, or not see my friendship as important as it maybe once was.  I am okay with that, because I have realized again and again and to most people I am a seasonal friend.  You see I don't fit the mold that I used to, and so that has made me unnecessary to a lot of friends that I had from high school and college.  I don't believe in the same things they do anymore, and my life doesn't fit the mold inside the Southern Baptist box that it once did.  So, I think that has caused a division.  It is sad, but I knew that at some point it would.  The thing is I have always been a person that doesn't want to argue or hurt other people's feelings.  Here lately I have been standing up for myself, and when someone says something that I don't agree with, I let them know... most of the time anyways.

But strong voices, especially strong voices from women aren't met with cheers and acceptance in the spiritual circles I once called home.  Women aren't seen as leaders and any woman who does speak out, is put into this category.  I have family members and close friends that I once talked to everyday or at least once  a week, that are no longer in my life.  I wish that I could say I am sad, but I honestly especially here recently have lost the desire to be sad.

This book and a few others have given me a new drive for going after my hopes and dreams.  The past few months have also really allowed me grieve my dream of being a mom, and perhaps even a wife.  But it isn't a bad thing.  It is just letting go of the expectation that had been driven into me since I was a little toddler and realizing that even though I don't meet that role, I am still a necessary part of this world.

So for today I embrace who I am, knowing that I don't always get it right.  I am thankful that I am on this journey of living everyday to the fullest and making the most out of where I am and what I have been given.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"Whatever standard you've set for yourself is where you'll end up... unless you fight through your instinct and change your pattern."  -page 15  

"I learned to celebrate accomplishments, not with big flashy parties, but with taco nights oor a great bottle of wine."  -page 29

"What I want to say is that we all judge each other, but even though we all do it, that's not an excuse.  Judging is still one of the most hurtful, spiteful impulses we own, and our judgments keep us from building a stronger tribe... or from having a tribe in the first place. Our judgment prohibits us from beautiful, life-affirming friendships.  Our judgement keeps us from connecting in deeper, richer ways because we're too stuck on the surface-level assumptions we've made."  - page 37

"I'd challenge you to consider that maybe your people come in a different package than you thought they might."  -page 41

As I search for my tribe, it might take me 5 more years before I really find people that I trust and click with, but here's hoping that they are just right around the corner, just maybe not in the package that I once thought they would be!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

#17..... Live from Cairo by Ian Bassingthwaighte

Live from Cairo 

I didn't know for sure when I chose this book, just how many memories it would bring back.  It did just that though.  The streets and memories of Cairo came flooding back to me.  Thinking about the moments I spent in taxis, the many adventures that I was able to have.  The emotions that living in Egypt brought out in me.

But this book also gave me a deep connection to those that are seeking to go to other places, due to war.

The story in this book tells so much of the time of the revolution.  What was going on in Egypt during that time, but it also tells the story of how hard it is to get to America.  I am always amazed by Americans that continue to put people down that try to come here.  I am always amazed by Americans that don't even pretend to understand just how difficult it is to be from a country that is constantly at war.  A country where women are raped, and it is okay.  A country where police have the right to just beat whoever they want, and that is the way business is done.

We have a long way to go in this world.  But I think the first step is to always be able to listen to someone else's story and really hear it.  Not to compare it to our own, but to understand where that person comes from, and how much they have gone through.

A few excerpts from the book:

"That's where the interview ended, with the feeling- belonging to no one specifically, but floating in the air above the table- that the only way to change Dalia's fate was to change her location."  -page 24

"Charlie recalled why he'd left Montana, not because he had somewhere to go, but because he couldn't bear living amid selfish white similitude."  page 55

"I was an immigrant in a land that didn't want me."  page 64

"Maybe he just wanted to assure Omran that it was possible to survive unfathomable tragedy.  That there might be some joy to be had in the end."  page 119

We have to let stories impact us, I'm thankful for this one!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Book #16.... Unsaid by Neil Abramson

I didn't really know what to expect with this book.  I was trying to pick something that I wouldn't usually pick.  I was also trying to pick a book that would be easy to read, because I needed easy with the crazy schedule that I've had.

This book was emotional, and it took me to a place I really didn't know I had in me.  A place that examined grief, but also lives of animals.  The level of emotion I held throughout this book was very high.  To understand this you would need to read it.  There was a lot that I took away from it.  A lot that I learned from it.

The first is that everyone grieves in their own way.  I think that I knew this, but this book was a portrait of that.  It so clearly allowed me to see just how we need each other in our grief even when we don't know that we do.  We need to be able to lean on each other, and open up to sharing the moments with others.  So they are able to be there when we need to lean on someone.

The second is that animals are an integral part of our world, and we need to treat them better.  I think that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of the pharmaceutical company that I am just not aware of.  Understanding that maybe I need to be open to more research and understanding more of how testing is done is something that this book brought out in me.

The third is that love is something we all need.  Every breathing creature needs love.  We can't block ourselves completely out of it, or we will not survive.  We have to learn that love is what it takes to get through all the ups and downs.  Why don't we love more?  Why aren't we willing to go out on a limb for each other more?

I'm going to try to do that for sure.  So here's to love, and learning about how to be in that love.  

Friday, April 26, 2019

Book #15 Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Yes, this book was great!  I really needed a not too serious book.  This one was definitely a mysterious, thinking book in a weird way.  She always does such a great job of revealing pieces of the story, and then at the end showing the big picture.

It is amazing how you can also learn so much from something that is fiction.  Putting yourself in the characters position, trying to understand their stories.

What I especially appreciated was that each character was dealing with a different part of life, yet they all came together.  They connected, they heard each other's stories!

We need to listen more.  We need to be more aware of each other.  We need to stop being so self-focused.

Recommend this book!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Book #14.... "the life changing magic of tidying up" by marie kondo

One of the best books so far!  I can't wait to start going through stuff and getting rid of it!  I can't wait to get everything organized!  What a glorious things to read and ponder.  She has such a great take on life.  Love her!

I wrote down so many good quotes, but here are just a few of my favorite....

"To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose."  page 61

"The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it."  page 95

"No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past.  The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important."  page 114

It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure."  page 118

"The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past."  page 118

There are so many things that she taught me in these pages.  So thankful for her as a person and what she is doing to rid the world of "stuff."