Older, wiser & stronger.

I think it’s about time that I pick this blogging thing back up over here. It’s been 3 years since my last post in this space, and yes…some stuff happened. I could recap, but it’s a long story, and there are bigger and better things on the horizon.

I turned 35 this week. That number seems more than a little daunting. I am proud of where I am in most areas of my life. Also, I really really LIKE who I am as a person. I take a lot of pride in being the best version of myself as I possibly can. I know my weaknesses and where I can improve. The first half of my 30s has been so full of ups and downs. As hard as some of those experiences have been, it has allowed me to develop perspective in life to be able to roll with the punches. Going through challenges develops a strength of character as well as confidence in your decisions and your ability to persevere. You learn when to let go of things not meant for you, as well as when to dig in and hold on tight when something amazing comes along.

Something amazing has come along. SomeONE as a matter of fact.

Someone so amazing that my heart refuses to believe he is real. That THIS is real. Falling in love for me has often been something that I either resist at all costs, or I jump in head-first not seeing all the “shallow water” warning signs. I started to feel the butterflies on our second date. The stupid smile I could not wipe off of my face after our first kiss was a good sign. Falling for this man has felt like no other relationship I have ever been in. It feels more like flying. Like the wind has swept me off of my feet and onto this incredible and joyful ride that is exhilarating yet peaceful at the same time, and I never want it to end. I have never had to guess or wonder how he feels about me, or when I am going to see him again. He has every quality (and more) that I’ve been praying to find in a partner.  I know that God knows our hearts and exactly what we need, but I still cannot fathom the reality of being blessed with this man in my life. I have been so abundantly blessed already, that this just feels like more than I deserve.

I have been going along on this ride for months now, still refusing to allow the hopes to rise in my heart that this is the person God has intended for me. In so many ways, I am older, wiser and stronger than I used to be. The naiveté of a young, hopeless romantic has been replaced by a more practical, realistic and humble version of myself. I want to let the reality sink in that this IS real life… but I don’t know when it will really seem real. Maybe the process of losing my nephew is part of it. I just refused to accept that my sister was going to have a new, healthy baby until Olivia was actually here. It seemed audacious to think that it was a given. Now, every time I see that gorgeous girl and her little sister, I still can’t believe they’re real.

Maybe it’s a good thing to feel this way? I couldn’t change it anyway, so I might as well accept it. I already feel like the luckiest woman ever, even to have shared a tiny snippet of time with him. If this is really real then I never want to take for granted the grace of this incredible gift.

 

Ain’t no mountain high enough

I’ve tried to write several times… but I guess I’m just so busy that I haven’t really had time to stop and really process and think about stuff going on in my life. I’ve also waited so long, and there is so much to talk about that is deserving of a well thought out and profound blog post… but I definitely have not had enough coffee for that. So I’m just going to free-write and see where it takes me.

Well gosh darnit, life is pretty swell. I feel like I was just bumbling along a lovely path and things were fineeee! But as I wandered along aimlessly… there was this little light peeking through the trees over to the side of the path, and I thought I’d check it out. The leaves opened up to a beautiful valley with waterfalls and birds chirping and sunlight streaming down on a million wildflowers. I mean, its freaking Lothlorien over here for crying out loud.  There was just no turning back to that old path. I never could have imagined an opportunity so grand, and I still cannot fathom the fact that I get to live this incredible life. I am so grateful and appreciative of this place I am in.

I’m thinking about what exactly it is in my life that is contributing to the way I feel, and I think  it is mostly this opportunity at work. It is so fulfilling to be able to do something you love, and are good at for a company you are proud to be a part of. A sense of renewed energy and hope has flooded into my life as well as a sense of confidence that I’ve never had before. There are no barriers or challenges in front of me that I don’t feel I can overcome. I have the experience and perseverance to find a way through these things and it is a very empowering feeling.

I no longer feel like I’m at a standstill in the middle of the freeway while the world around me pushes forward. I needed to find my sense of place and purpose and all it took was following that little flicker of light between the trees. IMG_20140817_185017

exhale

So that thing I was talking about… That thing I really really wanted. It happened! The biggest opportunity in my life so far. There really aren’t words for how incredibly honored and grateful I am. During my interview process for my dream job, I went back and forth between being incredibly humble, and having the confidence to know I was the best person for the job. You never know how your skills and personality match up with what an employer is looking for and how you compare to your competition. I have always gotten really good jobs. Jobs that are hard to get, that hundreds of people have applied for. So I have a reasonable level of confidence in myself, and I know I’m good at what I do. But just getting an interview at this company is an honor, so I am still in shock that I’ve been selected to join this incredible team.

Every interviewer I met with answered my question: “What do you like best about working here” with: “Hands down… the People”. It’s why it took 8 weeks, six interviews and a two day design test project to narrow it down. They only hire the best of the best and I am so proud to be a part of a forward-thinking and innovative group of people who will continue to inspire me to raise the bar in everything I do. I hate to sound so cliche, but everything does happen for a reason, and some doors need to close before others can open. I know that what is waiting for me on the other side of this door will lead me to the greatest adventures of my life.

I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Holding my breath

I’ve had numerous things in life that I’ve wanted very very badly. Things that I knew would change my life. Waiting in the space of the unknown is tough. I know that even when things don’t go the way you plan, they end up working out the way they were supposed to anyway. I have enough perspective and positive outlook to know that for sure. Each time something wonderful and amazing happens, I am reminded again of the power of God’s Grace. THIS is how he works and moves in our lives. Opportunities present themselves to us, and we are guided in the right direction by the whisper of His strength and encouragement. By the desire and ambition He puts in our hearts. 

So here I am on the brink of a life-changing opportunity. Holding my breath. Praying gratefulness for the opportunity this far and for the strength to accept it if it is not meant to be. One thing I know though… the bar has been raised. 

Boop

My favorite thing about this video of my precious niece…  is not her dimples. her smile. her little hands. or even her little giggles and squeals.

My favorite thing is my sister’s laugh…

We both watched the (really awful) Lifetime movie, Return to Zero the other night. It was about a family who had a stillborn son, and their journey following it. It was sad, and yes, it brought up a lot of emotions, but I wanted to watch it to support my sister. She needed to have someone to talk about it with if she needed to. She said that she didn’t cry, and that she is afraid that she’s emotionally numb. That she’s incapable of feeling…  I told her that there is nothing wrong with blocking out painful memories and the emotions that go with it. But she IS capable of feeling joy. happiness. and love. Her laughter in this video proves it.

It’s a marathon run or a mountain you scale without thinking of size

I saw Lorde in concert a couple weeks ago. Her song Bravado is one of my favorites right now. The lyrics are really meaningful to me, and it definitely echos the way I’ve been feeling lately. My birthday is tomorrow, and I think the beauty of where I’m at in my life is finally becoming apparent to me. Man, the pressure that you feel in your late 20s just goes away once 30 comes and goes. True, the pressure from society is THERE. But I’ve become confident and satisfied enough to choose not to feel it. I’m finally living in the moment, and not trying to make sure that every little detail fits along with a pre-detemined plan. Even if where I am is not where I thought I’d be… I’m enjoying every day and I couldn’t be more thankful for the life I’m living. 

This next year is going to be a good one. 

One more week

The Whole30 challenge that I have bestowed upon myself has been going really well. I only have one week left and I’m still going strong. It has been such a great experience! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to start making better choices for optimum health. If you tell yourself: “I’m just going to try and make better choices” It becomes easy to slip up, make excuses, and fall back into old routines. It is SO true, that we need goals and discipline to keep us in line. It has been a lot of fun to talk to others about this food plan, and feels good to inspire other people. When I hear people say that they give me props or admire me… I kind of laugh it off. What I’m doing is NOT THAT HARD. Sure it takes a lot of planning and some modifying of habits… but once you get into a routine, it gets a lot easier. My friend Hannah asked me what the hardest part was. I would say, it is definitely the social aspect of it. There are so many parts of our culture that revolve around eating and drinking. Beers after Frisbee, dinner dates, happy hours, culinary festivals, brunches… it goes on and on. I miss having a beer, or glass of wine with dinner. But it hasn’t been that difficult to give up. I still partake in the socialization and it gets easier to just say, no thank you, when offered a drink. Most of my friends have been extremely supportive.

As for the next steps after the 30 days are up… I think the first thing I’m going to add back in is alcohol. Haha (I love beer!) Then I’ll probably do dairy for a few days and see how I feel. From other online reading, it looks like dairy might be the cause of many allergy symptoms, so I would like to see how I react after eating dairy. I plan to continue to consume sugar, but very sparingly… I really don’t need to be snacking on sugary things, maybe just once a week gelato, or another dessert of some kind. I really enjoy not having a sweet tooth that results in consuming hundreds of calories that only satisfy an emotional need, but that does nothing for me nutritionally. Gluten and other grains I also plan to re-introduce, but only once in awhile. I no longer want to revolve meals around a large portion of simple carbs. Whole grains will be fine once in awhile, but I really can get by without nutritionally low foods like bread, pasta, chips, crackers, etc.

I am really loving the way I feel when I eat predominantly paleo. I have super high energy all day long. I fall asleep immediately most nights, and wake up before my alarm. And the quality of my sleep has never been better. I put on my size 4 skinny jeans the other day and they fit great. Today, I’m wearing size 8, so it’s not THAT big of a deal. But it is fun to be able to wear more of my clothes and feel really good in them. It’s fun that other people are starting to notice that I look more fit. To see and feel changes so quickly has been very rewarding and motivating! I wish everyone could make a commitment to go through this experience and see how the things that we eat have a direct impact on how we feel. Everyone knows this, but actually going through the program will teach you so much more than reading about it. There is just no excuse for complaining about being un-healthy as a result of poor choices. Maybe it’s true, that people are victims of our society and the American diet, but I wish that people would not just sit back and be the victim, but learn to empower themselves to take their health into their own hands. I know that I can say with confidence that this experience has taught me lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life.