Thursday, April 13, 2017

K is for Knowledge #atozchallenge #kisforknowledge

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

K is for Knowledge. 

When I think of knowledge it often doesn't really make me think of risks.  It took me awhile to come up with this blog post.  Mostly because I kept getting stuck on words that I chose.  I would choose a word and then change it, then go back to the original word.  I am not even sure now why knowledge has stuck, but it did. 

I guess I feel like with knowledge comes risk.  The more you know about this world, the people in it, and the way to communicate the great risks you want to take in order to love them more.  At least that is what I feel for myself.  Before I stepped foot in India I really had no idea what it meant to risk.  I had never had to risk anything for a hot meal, or a warm bed.  I had never had to risk anything for what I believed in.  There was little risk involved in my life. 

Then I went to another country, where I met people that risked their lives EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I was floored by the amount of risk it took for them just to live every day.  Mothers that would risk their lives, and the lives of their kids for a decent meal. Families that risked never seeing members of their household in order to put a roof over their kid's heads.  Those were the stories of risk. 

That knowledge made me a better person.  Those experiences of seeing poverty, and self-sacrifice allowed me to view my risks as minor compared to what I could be risking.  I learned from that journey that I wanted my own to be bigger, harder, and more meaningful.  The only way that I could do that was to apply the knowledge that I had come across and let my life be impacted from the inside out. 

Have you gained knowledge about a subject or situation that has opened your eyes to risk a little bit more? 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J is for Jump In #atozchallenge #jisforjumpin

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

Jump, that four letter word that means to lift your feet off the air and go.  Where have you jumped in your life?  What risks did it take to lift those feet?

Some of my jumps have been huge, more like leaps into the unknown.  Others have been small little hops.

It occurs to me that there are some tasks I jump into without any sort of hesitation!

You know like.... sitting down to watch a full season of my favorite tv show.  Or going and taking a hike instead of cleaning.  Those kinds of jumps are easy.  It doesn't take much thought or preparation, and most of the time I end up learning something, if nothing else how to spend time just being.

Then there are the jumps that involve others.  Like the jumps into new community, or the jumps into asking that person that you just met to go have coffee in hopes of building a friendship that spans continents and decades.  Those kind of jumps take a lot more risk and time.  Those kind of jumps require a little hand movement for balance.  When you jump in to a new community you risk losing a part of yourself.  This happened to me a couple of years ago.

I have a hard time with trust (as do most people). I had been wanting a true community for awhile.  Been praying for it, contemplating what it might look like, and I walked into something that I thought finally fit that idea.  When I got to that community I jumped in. I was open and honest.  I let my guard down.  I had deep conversations with people that I wouldn't normally have had before.  I asked people to lunches, dinners, and movies.  I spent time with people even though I didn't necessarily always leave feeling the greatest about myself.  That jump was hard, it was a risk.  It helped me in a lot of ways, and it hurt me in others.  I lost a little of myself in that jump, but I gained other parts of myself back that I had thought were forever gone.  I wouldn't take the jump back, it was worth it.

That jump is preparing me for my next jump.  I am not sure what kind of jump it is going to be, or what awaits me on the other side, but I know that it is worth it.  I know that people are worth it.  No matter if it is only for a year or two, those moments, those memories they will always be a part of my journey.  I will always know that I tried my very best to risk all that I had to make that jump into a community that I thought worthy of jumping for.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I is for Inadequacy #atozchallenge #iisforinadequcy

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

I is for Inadequacy.  This is probably a confusing one to fit with my theme.  I somewhat just needed an I word, and then also thought about the result of risks.  Inadequacy came up.  Sometimes I don't risk because I don't feel like I can do it.  Whatever the dream, goal, or situation is I feel like I am not good enough to accomplish it.  I feel pretty inadequate. 

I used to think that I was the only one who felt this way.  Why I was so naive to think that is beyond me, but I sure did.  I thought that I was the only one who doubted myself and my choices. 

We often have to risk feeling inadequate to live a more adventure-filled life.  Letting down those walls, being willing to risk not knowing everything.  We live in a society that is driven by success.  Driven by social media accounts that claim perfect lives.  When in reality for one moment if we all just allowed our inadequacies to be seen, the world would connect in so many more real and deep ways.

To risk inadequacy means to understand ourselves and those around us a little bit more.  We will never be perfect, but our imperfections are what makes us needed and loved.

Monday, April 10, 2017

H is for Hiking #atozchallenge #hisforhiking

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

H is for hiking!  I absolutely LOVE hiking!  It is the BEST for thinking and contemplating risks!  There is also a certain risk that happens when setting out on that trail.  What will you encounter?  Will the trail really take as along as the guide says?  Are there steps along the way that will bring an unknown adventure?

I have hiked many trails that were unknown by me.  Sometimes with others and a lot of times on my own.  The worst risk I took was when I decided to go hiking in 100 degree weather at noon with only 1 bottle of water, on a trail that wasn't marked very clearly.

I risked my life that day.  I had to jump into the creek in order to cool off, and ended up getting minor heat stroke, which still affects me on very hot days.  It was not the smartest decision I have ever made, and looking back I think that I was once again just trying to prove something to myself.  Do you ever think that you take risks because you are trying to prove something?  Maybe that is in fact what risks are mostly about.  Trying to prove that you can do it.  That no matter what you can succeed.  Not every risk is worth it.  That trail was beautiful, but not worth my life.

There is another trail that I hike, it is by far my favorite trail.  I know it by heart.  I know that when I get to certain points along the way I am getting closer to the end.  I know the turns in the trail, the way that it winds through the woods.  I know the random cars that have been left abandoned on the hills of the trail.  I know that the risk isn't that high.  So, often I take that trail.  The familiar is necessary sometimes, for in the familiar I can do my best thinking.  I am not worried about what is going to be around the next corner, I can just focus on the long term goals ahead.

These are the thoughts that I have when hiking.  My brain has time to process, learn, grow, and look forward to the future!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

G is for Goals #atozchallenge #gisforgoals

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

Sometimes I make goals for my life that I know are a huge risk.  Do you have goals that you have yet to accomplish.  Last year before I turned 35, I made 40 goals of things to do before I turned 40.  So, I thought.... hey why not include those in this post?

 #1  Attend a Renaissance Festival

#2  Celebrate New Year's in New York City and watch the ball drop!

#3  Pay School Loans down

#4  Go Skydiving

#5  Get a tattoo   ( I did this last August... yay!) 

#6  Drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way down California

#7  See a show on Broadway

#8  Get to know 5 good wine and cheese pairings, and host a wine tasting

#9  Hike some of the PCT

#10  Get in the best shape of my life

#11  Go skinnydipping

#12  Go to an Art Museum once a year

#13  Visit Napa Valley

#14  Go on a cruise

#15  Learn how to cook Risotto

#16  Go geocaching

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

#18  Be open to new dating opportunities

#19  Take the ultimate U.S. Road Trip (solo)

#20  Read every book by C.S. Lewis

#21  Learn to Knit  ( I kind of did this)  Loom Knitting, counts! 

#22  Take Spanish and be able to hold a conversation

#23  Read 100 books

#24  Get a hair cut at a fancy salon

#25  Cook/Bake all my gma's recipes

#26  See a show at The Fox

#27  Read the Bible Cover to Cover each year

#28   Drink tea instead of coffee in the afternoon

#29  Run the Bolder Boulder

#30  Watch every film on AFI top 100

#31  Go to the doctor/dentist/eye doctor as recommended

#32  Complete a 1/2 marathon

#33  Write a short story

#34  Take a 24 hour solitude/no phone retreat 4 times a year

#35  Pray everyday

#36  Donate 2% of income each year to charity

#37  Try yoga

#38  Send 10 letters a year to friends far away

#39  Make something crafty and sell it

#40  Build my business

So... some of these require pretty big risk!  Some don't... but regardless making goals and accomplishing them is a big part of who I am.

I actually love it.  Do you have any goals that you have set?  Are they risky goals?

Friday, April 7, 2017

F is for Failure #atozchallenge #fisforfailure

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

F is for failure!  There is no doubt that we all have failed, and if you are anything like me I fail pretty much what seems like 5 billion times every single day!  I used to view my failures in a very negative way.  From early on I never seemed to live up to anyone's idea of who I should be.  I think that is one of the worse things about being the oldest child is the need to be the best at everything, and prove yourself worthy of all the hopes and dreams your parents had for their firstborn.  When I would fail, whether it was missing points on a test, not remembering to pick up my room in a timely manner, or talking just a little too sassy to others... I would analyze it for the next few weeks.  I mean seriously analyze it.  I would go through every second of that failure and basically told my self what a horrible person I was.

Enough years of this failure self talk and I began to think that I wasn't worth anything.  The risks I had taken resulted in an utter loss of who I was made to be.  I got caught up in thinking about my view as a failure instead of all the good things that I was doing or had accomplished!

So... failing as an adult looks a little different.  I know that I will fail.  There will be things that I don't do perfectly.  But theses failures comes with a new knowledge.  Knowledge that everyone fails.  Knowledge that my failures along the way have made me stronger, and better.  Knowledge that failure doesn't mean less risk, it means risk more. With every risk that turns into a failure I learn a little bit more about who I am, and a little bit more about my contributions and part in this crazy, beautiful world.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

E is for Educational Risks #atozchallenge #eisforeducationalrisk

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life!

E is for Educational risks.  I think that as we grow up our first role besides being someone's daughter/son is as a student.  We spend much of our time in a classroom setting of some kind learning.  It is there that we first learn the risks that are taken during the learning processes.

This week my students are taking the SAT test.  As I walk around the room it occurs to me that there are a lot of risks being taken during these testing moments.  Choosing one answer over the other, skipping a question in hopes that going back to it later will enable them to make the right choice.  The risk of being the last one finished with the test.  All of these risks are ones that will determine the educational risks that are to come.

When I think about my own education I am forced to acknowledge risks that I took.  I risked going to one college over another.  I risked getting my Masters degree right after my B.S. degree because I needed it to teach (or so I thought).

Do you ever wonder what would have happened if you had gone to a different college?  Maybe for some of you that did happen.  Maybe you started at one college and then left it for another.  If you did that, do you think that changed the way you view risk?

I stayed at my same college all 4 1/2 years.  I know that it was exactly where I was supposed to be.  The risk for me wasn't in leaving it was in staying.  It was probably the one time in my life post high school graduation that I have been in the same place for 4 years, and even then my summers were spent away.  That says a lot about that place, and the people that were there.  It was enough for me.  It was a good fit for me, even if it wasn't perfect.  I grew, I learned, and expanded who I was during that time of staying risk. 

Do you ever regret risks?

I think my Masters degree is a risk I regret.  It cost a lot of money, and even though I want to say that I needed it to do the things I have done, and go the places I have gone....well I am not really sure that I did in fact need it.   I think that it was a pressure that I put on myself.  Something that I felt would make me more successful, and the quicker I could complete it the better it would be!  No matter what the cost.  I also think 10 years ago when I was beginning my Masters there was a definite push for people to do that right away.  And now....

Well I kind of feel like people are pushing to take the risk to enjoy life.  Education is important, but so is seeing the world, isn't it? 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D is for Decisions #atozchallenge #decisions #risk

This month I am posting about risk, and words that contribute to the risks I take in my life! 

D is for Decisions....

Every single day we make thousands of decisions.  What to eat for breakfast, how many cups of coffee to have before 7:00 am, whether to get up and work out or hit snooze for the 1 millionth time!  Then there are the decisions that are a little more complex, do we write back to that person that just trolled us on social media or keep quiet?  What friends do we invest our time in?  How do we get across to that student that just doesn't seem to be present for any of the daily learning?  So many decisions every single day. 

I feel like every decision I make involves some sort of risk.  Will me dancing around like a crazy person make people judge me?  Will me choosing this job over that job lead to success and happiness?  The people I put my time and energy into, that is a decision that takes risk.  My heart faces risk daily.  Some decisions have broken my heart, while other decisions have helped to heal my heart. 

How do I decide what is worth the risk?  That is a decision in itself, right? 

I think that whatever is going to help me to live the best life I can.....that is worth the risk.

Investing time and energy into those that are going to build me up and teach me, that is worth the risk. 

What decisions are worth the risk for you? 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C is for Change #atozchallenge #change

This blogging challenge is all about Risk!  My word for the year! 

C is for Change.  There is so much change in this world.  Everyday I am bombarded with change as I scroll through social media, or talk to friends.  We are all constantly going through changes. 

Most change involves risk.  The risk of friends, and family.  The risk of money, the risk of reputation.  The risk of rejection, acceptance.  All of these things are involved in change. 

I love change.  I love experiencing new places, meeting new people, and utilizing new skills at jobs I take on.  I have risked a lot in my life due to the changes I have taken part of. 

Moving overseas, going to school to get my B.S. and M.A.  Opening up to people, getting involved in community.  All of these have been changes in my life. 

Can you think of the biggest change you have ever gone through?  I think for me it was recently.  I had a couple of friends that I had been hanging out with quite a bit all of a sudden just leave my life.  When you lose people you get used to hanging out with, it feels like you risked part of yourself for no reason.  It is also a big change.  You try to fill the void with other things, but there is still that void. 

To change something is to risk.  I think that we have to change.  If we don't then our life turns into something that is boring and not worth it.  To change means to risk. 

What changes have you made, and what were the risks?

Monday, April 3, 2017

B is for Being Brave #atozchallenge #2017 #bisforbrave

This year's challenge my theme is risk.   There is so much in this world to risk, and so much that we have to understand about it. 

The letter B blog post is for Being Brave!  Have you ever had a time when you knew that you were going to have to be brave in order to take a risk?  Are we born with bravery or is it something that we learn?  Do you think that we are braver as children, or adults? 

When I think back over my life I think the greatest risks I have taken are those when I was my bravest.  Moving to a new country where I literally knew no one and had to figure out how to get  groceries, make it to my job on time, and live in a place that was very different from my own. 

I have had to be brave over this past year as I said good-bye to a few friends that weren't adding to my life.  That kind of bravery is a risk.  I had to ask myself if it was worth it to say good-bye or to keep going in a pattern of self destruction. 

For some bravery is getting out of bed in the mornings.  For others it is taking a step into an unknown land.  Bravery is the mother who gets up at 5:00 am in the morning to feed her 3 month old that slept most of the night.  Bravery is sitting down and having a conversation with a person you run into on the train.  Bravery is the single parent who is working 2 jobs to feed the kids a decent meal every night.  Bravery is the single person that doesn't give up on love, kids, and a family to call their own.  Bravery is the single person that doesn't give in to the standards that the world has set, and is willing to do it alone.  Bravery is getting older, and still impacting the world around you.  Bravery comes in so many shapes and forms.  The most important part of bravery is to live it out, every single day. 

Risk through bravery.  It is the only way to live, don't you think? 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A is for Authenticity #atozchallenge #2017 #authenticrisk

When I think about the journey of authenticity it amazes me at just how thankful I am to be on this journey.  There is so much that I could say has transpired over the last few years, but the best one is that I am more of who I feel like I was created to be.  My A post is for authenticity in risk.   All of us have risked things in life, some more than others. 

What makes a risk authentic?

I think that when you can genuinely look at the risk from every angle possible, and you go for it anyways.  When you know what you have to lose, and gain...and you jump off that cliff without looking back.

Maybe that means paying $500 for a plane ticket to go to a job interview that you are not sure you are going to get, but you want so badly.

Maybe that means telling that person what they mean to you.

Maybe that means speaking up for yourself when you believe something differently than everyone sitting on the same side of the table.

Maybe that kind of risk means giving every last ounce of energy, time, and compassion you have in order to make another person's life 5% of what yours is.

Maybe authentic risk just means that you don't weigh the pros and cons, but instead you just do it.  You make it happen, and you live in the moment.  Maybe that is authentic risk?

What does it mean to take an authentic risk?