Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful For in 2015

I'm in the photo. #fail
2015 was the year of the unexpected. It held so much heart ache, and so many achieved goals. I'd say I grew up more this year than I ever have before. I've been doing a lot of thinking to what was going on in my head this time last year, and it seems both just yesterday and a million years ago. For a lot of reasons, I'd say I'm not even the same girl.

On Thanksgiving Day, 2015, I have so many things to be grateful for.

My job, which for the most parts gives me the hours I need.
Opportunities to work as a Learn to Skate coach.
My amazing work friends that make life so much better.

Getting to work regularly with two great skating coaches.
Cheap ice time a half hour from from my house.
A house that isn't too far from major rinks.
My team.

My car.
My houseplants.
Jeans that are perfect in every way.
Sweater weather.

The best library in the world.
Cats that make me laugh.
Sticky notes.

New friends that have accepted me like old friends.
Cousins that are more like siblings/besties.
A wide open future.
My grandparents moving closer home (!!!).
My mom, without whom this year would not have been possible.

My favorite season fast approaching.
Opportunities at my fingertips.
Pep talks.
God and how He shows Himself.

I love Thanksgiving.  Especially now that I'm older. I can be very selfish. I can fall into a 'woe is me' attitude, and I get bitter very fast. But in the huge, grand scheme of things--life is so beautiful. And we have so much to be thankful for.

I am so grateful to be alive.

Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Just Family

Our family Christmas photos used to look like this:

Lily, AJ, me.
That was back when Grandma lived in her old house. And leggings hadn't overtaken the little kid's clothes market. And there were just three of us.

Eventually, we became four.

Lily, Ena, AJ, me.
And then a taller group of four.

AJ, me, Ena, Lily
And an even taller group of four!

AJ, Ena, me, Lily.
But not before we added #5, #6, and #7.

Lily, AJ, me, Ena, James, Abby, Caleb.
Other people talk about how they haven't seen their cousins in ten years. Or how they don't even remember all their names. That seems so alien to me. The seven of us have always been close--and I can't imagine it any other way.

But us four oldest, especially, I can't live without. We're more like siblings than cousins. We've done so much growing up together and know more about each other than probably anyone else in the world.

When we were little we put on skits, then graduated to making movies. Our favorite make-believe game was called Secretary, where we all had stores in a mall and bought stuff from each other (I have no idea why we called it Secretary, actually. It doesn't make sense).

When we were super bored, we did things like make each other guess what food they were eating while blindfolded and play kick the can where the point was to hide as obviously as possible. We've seen 101 Dalmations too many times to count and flipped one too many Monopoly boards.

But even though we've gotten older, and we spend less time together, our connection hasn't faded. At the end of the week, I love it when Lily comes over after we both finish closing at work. With everyone else asleep, we sit in the kitchen until 1 or 2 in the morning, drinking tea and eating cookies and talking and laughing and catching up on everything.

Those early morning moments, just family busy being proud of each other, are so important to me. I don't think I could name another time where I feel so much love towards another person, and so much coming back at me.

Not that it's all roses. Of course it's not all roses. We have tons of fights, backstabs, and not-internet-appropriate dramas, just like every other red-blooded American family. But even with that, I think we realize that that is family. Nothing in common. Not heading in the same direction. But coming from the same roots. Just blood. Just love. Just family.

Getting real excited for a cousin-filled Thanksgiving over here.

Happy Wednesday! xoxo

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

For When You Realize You Grew Up and Became Toad

The Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel are some of the sweetest, most heart warming books you could ever read. They were a huge part of my childhood, and like all great children's books, are even better as you get older.

Toad is my favorite. Toad has bad days. He gets tired, gets frustrated, and has doubts. But sometimes, things go really well. And he's always ready to appreciate those moments.

Frog and Toad is about little things. It's about contentment, joy, hope, friendship, and putting others first. So for all the times when you realize you are Toad.....

For when willpower isn't one of your strengths...

And when diets are for the birds (literally).

For when you procrastinate...

Only to feel overwhelmed and guilty.

For when a little thing....

...turns into a big deal.

And we overreact.

And then realize how ridiculous we were, and feel bad.

And the only way to make it up is just to act from the heart.

For when inspiration runs dry....

...and all you really want to do is sleep.

For when you don't quite know why you're sad...

And all you really want is a friend.

For when you worry you're not wanted...

And then we don't know the right way to help.

And we make the wrong assumptions.

For when making your to-do list is the most productive thing you do all day...

For when we want, with all our heart, just to be good...

And we get impatient while working for what we want...

For when the haters start to get to us...

And we begin to believe that we cannot do it.

"Toad ran back to frog.
"This kite is a joke," he said, "It will never get off the ground.""

But if you keep trying, it will.

You've just got to keep shaking it up to find what works. And when you've made it, you'll be so much higher than all the people that told you you couldn't do it.

For when the world starts to get to you.

And your head hurts. And your muscles are sore. And your heart is sore.

And you feel like you aren't seen, or heard, or wanted.

And the only thing you're sure of, is that true friendship is the most important thing in the world.

Happy Wednesday! xoxo

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mental Noise & Our True Selves

We live in a heads down society. We fail to notice simple things. We jump from one thing to the next and back again, and not because we choose to, but because we've convinced ourselves we should. We look away from things we don't agree with, often without the courage to even think about why we feel that way.

But our failings (not being present, not standing up, not being unique), are not simply problems with society. They're problems with us as individuals. They come from our failure to truly live with ourselves.

Ages ago, I was listening to Glenn Beck's radio show and he said something about how we don't have enough silence in our lives. About how we fill every waking minute with music and podcasts and tv, and can go a whole day without one moment just to be in our own minds. He made the conclusion that, often, we're afraid of what we'll start to hear if we just listen to ourselves.

Since then, I've always been conscious about being quiet. When I'm busy or stressed out, my skull starts to feel like walls. I feel like I can't even see all the way around me. And the mental noise is trapped and blocking all real thought. I've always tried to do things to stop it. I drive without the radio on. I journal before bed. I go for a walk, or sit and quietly drink coffee.

And I used to feel such relief from that. I'd figure out a next step, or decide what I actually thought about a situation. But lately, the silence almost makes it worse.

I'm a chronic over-thinker. It's a 'green' and INFJ thing. I can get so caught up in little details that I completely disable myself from doing anything. I think I've taken the silence-thing too far. Rather than calming the noise, I've turned it into a way to over-analyze.

The original point of craving silence wast to learn to live with myself. Because silly as it sounds, most people do not truly live with themselves. They live with shells and squashed emotions and failure to even understand what they want and believe. And I hope I never resemble that.

To live with ourselves, we have to get beyond the noise of the world. We have to hear our hearts and chase what they beat for. We have to harness our minds to create and innovate. We have to listen to our guts, our intuition, and know what we find right. And good. And just.

To live with ourselves we must be able to see the world as it is, not how it's been presented to us. And we must confidently share what we actually see. We must realize that we are Big, and Capable, but also so, so small. And surrounded by energy and faith and a higher power that we could never start to fathom.

And to live with ourselves, we must beat our own noise. We must locate that chatter of doubt and worry and self-loathing and unjust guilt and squish it and wipe it away. Because while overthinking is a part of me, I've learned that it also inhibits who I really am.

We must get beyond the noise. And connect with every essence of ourselves.

Happy Saturday! xoxo

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Currently October 2015

Currently October from Young Yankee Lady.

WATCHING: The Office. I'm in season 6 right now and I'm committed to get through all 9 seasons before committing to another show. In it's weird, twisted way The Office restores my faith in humanity.

LISTENING TO: podcasts! I love Elise Gets Crafty, and I just started listening to Megasequin, which is turning out to be the hilarious real-life figure skating podcast my heart didn't know it needed.

READING: I've been trying to get back into the habit of reading, even if it's just a few pages a day.I I'm honestly really bad about making time for it though, so my method has been starting five books at a time and taking a year to take through all of them. I just finished Do Hard Things last week and I'm in the middle of Blogger Must Read of the Year, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I'm thinking of changing pace and reading Emma this month.

MAKING: Up skating routines. I'm choreographing my own program for the club Christmas show. It's my first time trying it and I'm really excited! But it's also really hard.

WEARING: My leather jacket. And loving every minute of it.

LEARNING: To not get too caught up in the past or the future, but to make the best of each moment as it comes.

STARTING: To drive to Boston by myself!

GRATEFUL FOR: Haunted walks with friends, coffee, this lovely fall weather.

THINKING: That this year is almost over and I have no idea how that happened and I really want these last two months to count.

QUOTING: Greg McKeown, "The way of the essentialist is the relentless pursuit of less but better. It means living by design, not by default. It's not I have to, but I choose to. It doesn't react to what's most pressing, but pauses to discern what really matters. It means pushing against social expectations. To do it well takes courage and compassion."

Happy Tuesday! xoxo