Today has been one of those days.
They happen rarely.
Most days are normal, disconnected even. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because of something I’ve done, if I’m not perceptive enough or too cold-hearted. But perhaps the infrequency is a blessing in itself, making it sweet sorrow when it does happen.
It started with a feeling when I awoke. For a few blissful moments, in that place between wakefulness and sleep, I felt like I was back home. The blankets were just right, the pillow at my back a perfectly-sized snuggle illusion. The house was cold, much colder than it’s ever been since I left South Dakota, and had that heater-just-came-on homey smell. If I could have stayed in that moment, that everything-is-back moment, I would have. But it was fleeting.
Then came the box. I found it as I was putting away the last of the Christmas decorations. A small clear Sterilite-style storage container, apparently taken out of the big black bins I received from Afghanistan but quickly stashed away again. Among Leathermans and patches and other things, I saw them. The cards, letters, pictures and trinkets excitedly received in the mail and placed upon walls and shelves of a plywood camp in the desert. Individually wrapped in Ziplocs, each painstakingly accounted for and sent back to sad hands. I put them, and the box, back, unopened yet again.
But the third thing. Oh, the third thing. It is still making my heart skip a beat. It brought tears to my eyes instantly, and in public. It was a normal day in Little Man’s taekwondo class, sitting in a cold metal folding chair next to The Hub’s dad just like I do every Tuesday. Only this day, the words out of his mouth did something big to my heart. “I found a video of your wedding.” A video The Hubs nor I never knew existed, a video he doesn’t remember taking. A complete video, still in good condition, from start to finish. Beautiful, precious footage of that magical day that I had resigned myself to never bearing witness to again.
At this point I am speechless.
Until I get to the parking lot.
And see that I am parked next to a car with an EOD sticker on it.
We are 3 hours from the nearest base in a city with no considerable daily military population, certainly not EOD. Yet, here was his badge. On a silver Hyundai Elantra, the exact same color, make, and model of our car, the one we purchased as a newlywed couple and eventually drove our child home from the hospital in.
So here I sit, overwhelmed from this day. A day full of ‘winks’, of I’m here‘s and thaw-your-heart‘s.
And of course, right this very second, as I am typing the last few words of this post, If I Die Young just came on Pandora.
Today has been one of those days.
They happen rarely.
Yesterday I reflected on last year, but today I am ready to look ahead.
While I do enjoy setting goals and challenging myself, I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Those things are just doomed to fail by March, seriously. Instead, each year I choose one word to live by. This word sums up something I want to focus on or a certain way I want to live, and acts as a reminder of that intentionality throughout the year. (Read more about One Word 365 here or check out what my word was in 2013.)
This year, my word is balance.
I am striving to achieve balance in all areas of my life: parenting, fitness and health, emotions, habits and hobbies, finances, everything. Knowing when to give and when to take, when to crack down and when to indulge, when to move and when to be still. Trusting my intuition and marrying it with wisdom.
What is your word for 2014? Let me know in the comments and find your tribe here.
It’s that time again.
I know everyone says it, but I really truly cannot believe another year has passed. It honestly feels like yesterday that I was sitting at this very desk, exactly as I am tonight: a glass of champagne, a little Mumford radio on Pandora, my favorite candle burning as I reflect on the previous year and dream of the possibilities of the upcoming one. Perhaps it feels like no time has passed because in many ways I am in the same place as I was this time last year. Restless yet calm, frustrated with my progress yet cognizant of my growth. But if I really take the time to think about it, although my daily life and surroundings have not changed much since last year my heart has. And so for that I am grateful for 2013.
Time for my annual year-in-review. I big-puffy-heart this tradition (check out my 2011 and 2012 in review, or download the worksheet to write your own) of reflecting on the past twelve months and setting the tone for the next. I highly recommend it.
Thank you for another year here at WSW. I’m raising my glass of Prosecco to you — may 2014 be your best yet. <3
2013 in Review
10 great things that happened in the past year (in chrono order):
- Took my Mom on a surprise Birthday Trip! with my sister and kiddo
- Took a bold step and traveled to San Francisco for networking
- Took a chance dating again and learned where I’m at with all that
- Completed Invisalign treatment
- Took care of some important paperwork/future planning
- Spent two wonderful weeks away exploring different beaches during the summer
- Completed the memorial tattoo
- Saw Mumford and Edward Sharpe at the Gentlemen of the Road tour!
- Took the kiddo to his very first big concert
- Stepped out on faith and began therapy
I am most proud of these three accomplishments from last year:
- Completing my second year of grad school (one more class, woot!)
- Investing in myself by finally starting counseling
- Consciously creating memories with others (special days with kiddo, traveling with family, etc)
Three great lessons I’ve learned from last year are:
- I really am worthy of a love as grand as I am capable of giving, and I will not settle for less.
- I struggle with self-discipline yet also with being in control of everything, making me an oxymoron that I need to learn to balance.
- I will never have everything figured out, and that is OKAY.
Three personal developments I have made in the past year are:
- I realized my limits on giving of myself to others and, by finally putting them into practice, learned that it doesn’t make me a less compassionate person/worse friend/selfish human being to have those limits.
- I began parenting more intentionally, deliberately focusing on enriching each moment, and in turn deepened my relationship with my kiddo and found more joy in my difficult parenting situation.
- I lived more boldly and cared a little bit less about the opinions of others and, as a result, felt less shy speaking up when necessary, taking chances, trying new things, and making mistakes.
If I could do things again last year, I would do these three things differently:
- I would have listened to my intuition and not rushed into projects that didn’t feel 100% in line with my heart and life.
- I wouldn’t have sabotaged and punished myself by giving up on my fitness goals as soon as I began to see real progress.
- I would have taken more time to just sit and breath and be without expectations or ‘shoulds’.
Three things I need to do less of in the next year are:
- Second-guess myself and over-think things
- Over-indulge (food, spending money, laziness, etc)
Three things I need to do more of in the next year are:
- Run! (and lift, eat clean, just generally treat my body as the amazing being it is)
- Be intentional and live mindfully present in each moment
- Connect with others: deepen the meaningful relationships already in my life and develop new ones by branching out
[For review for this next one, my goals from last year’s post were: 1) Find the church where I feel at home with those who are like-minded and encouraging. 2) Travel to at least 3 new destinations and discover something meaningful there. 3) Become even stronger, physically and mentally.]
Three reasons I did/didn’t achieve my goals from this past year are:
- I didn’t find a church home this year because I allowed my personal insecurities and fears from prior church experiences hold me back from exploring all of my options. However, I also learned that while the fellowship of the ‘best-fit’ church can be amazing, I don’t necessarily need it as much as I was pressuring myself to find it. True ‘church’ is inside of me and in how I live. I love Jesus, not religion.
- I did travel to at least 3 new destinations and in each place I discovered something about myself. In San Francisco, I learned I have more confidence than I think I do and that I can thrive anywhere. In Fernandina Beach I realized that I had decisions to make and was bold enough to make them even though I didn’t want to. In Anna Maria Island, I ‘unplugged’ and rediscovered the beautiful simplicity of family, ocean, and the gentle rhythms of life.
- I did and didn’t become stronger this year. I didn’t become stronger physically: I began working my way there in the first half of the year and shed 25 lbs while building muscle. However, as soon as I began tasting success in early summer I got scared and bad habits snuck their way back in, resulting in ending the year at the exact same place I began it. Fail. However, I did become stronger mentally: I uncovered a lot about myself and finally decided to overcome a hurdle by starting counseling, where I am connecting so many things and finally striving for balance. Success!
Three goals I want to achieve this next year are:
- Simplify, minimize, clarify, realign, center. Everywhere in my life.
- Claim my health and get in the best shape possible.
- Balance. For me this means SO much, it deserves it’s own post. I’ll link to it when written.
Three reasons why I want to achieve these goals are:
- Because simplicity = living in alignment with your purpose without the excess that clutters the heart and mind, ultimately leading you off course.
- Because it is time to feel like I am living in my own skin again. Because I want my outside to be as strong, beautiful, and capable as my inside is. Because fitness impacts all areas of life. Because I want to be the best role model possible for my kiddo. Mostly, because it’s necessary.
- Because swinging from one extreme to the other is exhausting and impossible to sustain while remaining sane.
Smartest decision I made last year:
It’s a tie between 1) finally parting with the house in South Dakota and 2) dropping a few projects that were draining me and weighing on my spirits
Biggest risk I took last year:
It sounds silly but is true: getting this big tattoo on my arm! While I love it and it is absolutely beautiful, it has been difficult to adjust to. I’ve lived with a clear pristine arm for 29 years and now suddenly it is covered with color and art. It’s not my first tattoo, I didn’t make this decision rashly, and I do not regret it….and really I would honestly be more concerned about it if I didn’t need some time to adjust. But still, it was a big risk to permanently decide on such drastically appearance-altering highly-visible ink, especially one that means what it does. I’m still coming to terms with it.
One sentence that sums up this past year:
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” — T.S. Eliot
One year from right now, I want to my ideal day to look like this:
…whatever it is. Honestly, I do not want to imagine what an ‘ideal’ day will be. I don’t want to plan for it, I no longer want to idealize my future or aggrandize my past. I just want to live each day with intent and authenticity, accepting it for what it is. And wherever that leads me one year from now, will be the best place I can be. <3
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. -Luke 2:10-14
Wishing you all of the joy and peace in the world.
Merry Christmas, from our hearts to yours.
p.s. In the spirit of cheer, how about some giveaway winners?!
Pattie Jansen giveaway — #101, Kelley Roach
Cynthia Linsenbardt giveaway — #107, Deanna Selin
Sophia Blue giveaway — #128, J Craze Spencer
Congratulations ladies!! Please email me using the contact form so we can get your items to you. Thank you so much to Pattie, Cindy, and Diana for your generosity and lovely prizes! And thank you to everyone who stopped by to enter the giveaways, I hope you will stay and join us here on WSW. <3
Welcome to the third and final day of the Holiday Giveaway series!
For three days leading up to Christmas, I’ll be featuring some amazingly talented and generous artists.
The common theme? Courage, hope, and inspiration for the upcoming year!
Each giveaway will be open for three full days, with all winners announced on Christmas Day.
I hope you enjoy these lovely artists’ creations!
Today we are finishing up the holiday series in style with a wonderful giveaway from Sophia Blue. Diana, the owner, maker, and designer behind Sophia Blue, started with a single necklace. From her talent grew an entire jewelry line featuring one-of-a-kind hand-stamped necklaces and bracelets for both adults and children. Each piece is personalized just for you, creating the perfect piece of jewelry for whatever your sentiment. I love this delicate monogram pendant and this survivor pendant. And wouldn’t this necklace be adorable for a little lady’s first piece of jewelry?
In her own words, Diana says “I started this line because I wanted a piece of jewelry that felt special and unique that I could wear everywhere to remind me of my daughter. I started out with the single initial pendant with a swarovski birthstone and still wear it everyday. I recently needed some daily reminders of my mantras and inspirational words to keep me present and appreciative in the now. That need started my new aluminum bracelet line. I hope I can put a smile on everyone’s face who purchases from my shop when they look down and see their personal message to carry with them everyday.”
My favorite part of Sophia Blue is the aluminum bracelet line. If you know me, you know I am never without a bracelet on my right arm. Okay, more like six in a stack. I love bracelets and on any given day each bracelet I am wearing has a significant meaning. Some are inspirational, some were given to me, some were collected during my travels. Jewelry can be a powerful visual way to remind yourself throughout the day of what matters most to you. Diana says this is was the inspiration behind her bracelet line. Each one features an inspiration message or mantra to motivate you, such as “this too shall pass” and “enjoy the journey.”
As I was browsing through the bracelets, there was one that kept catching my eye with it’s empowering message: “Braver, Stronger, Smarter”
I just love this message, and I know that many of you can identify with it as well. There are so many obstacles, heartbreaks, losses, and difficulties on our journeys that threaten to break us down. But we press on, we endure. Until one day you wake up and realize that you are surviving. And not only are you surviving, but you are thriving. You are braver. You are stronger. And you are smarter.
To win your own empowering hand-stamped bracelet and encourage yourself to thrive, please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Thank you so much Diana from Sophia Blue!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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