Monday, February 28, 2011


I've had quite a few people in the last few months tell me that haven't been able to leave comments - which makes me sad as I would love to hear all of your thoughts (positive or negative) on my ramblings.  So, here is the short of it:

1) If you have a gmail account, make sure that you are signed via the top right menu's "Sign In" link.

2) Click on the "Comments" link in the appropriate post.

3) From the drop down menu, either select your account (google [gmail], wordpress, etc.) OR select either Name/URL or Anonymous.

If you chose an account (i.e. google), and you're logged in, you'll automatically see your info in the drop down.

If you chose Name/URL, you can input just your name without having to input a URL.

If you chose Anonymous, then I would love it if you would include in your comment your name.

I hope I see some new comments popping up soon - and if you have any other questions, please feel free to email me at

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Take the reins

So, I've found myself back again on the topic of being happy.  (One of my favorite, and most popular posts thus far, also centered around being happy so check it out too here.)  I found this picture below in one of my go-to magazines, SELF, and had to share:

I know it isn't a great photo capture, and you can't actually read what it says, so I've got it here for you.

"Take the reins.  Think about what makes you happiest - the one thing guaranteed to get your heart racing and a big grin spreading across your face.  Got it? Good.  Now do that thing.  Yes, today.  Taking control of your life is about knowing what you want and going after it without hesitation.  You don't need permission.  You just need to know you deserve to be happy."

Now, setting aside the fact that I dream of horseback riding, I loved this moment (the title of this section in the mag is "A Moment for Yourself").  Heck, I needed this moment.  Because I do deserve to be happy, and so do you.

This life, this rat race of life, takes and takes from us every day.  If we're honest with ourselves, we know that most days we give to it more than it takes from us.  We prioritize everything under the sun higher than ourselves.  And for what?  To look in the mirror and ask ourselves daily why we've already abandoned our goals from yesterday?

I started this blog, this mission, to have a constant reminder of why I'm here - in this life.  It isn't for "the man."  It isn't even for my man.  It's for me.  This life is mine, and yet daily I give it away to the stresses of work I can't change, family I don't see, friends I wish I saw more and a husband I love so much but still need a break from every now and then.

February was a case in point - I started off so well but ended up falling off my yoga wagon because I was having nightmares about work/life and hit snooze every morning, my stress broke my "eat healthy" mentality and I ended up feeling mentally drained and physically bleh.  But it's just so hard to separate it all out.  To tell yourself that work doesn't have to come home with you and home doesn't need to go everywhere else with you.  Is that even possible?

As I learn more about yoga, they keep telling me that yoga - like life - is a process.  There should be no goals, because there would always be another goal to attain and you would never really feel satisfied.  If you approach life/yoga as a process though, you can never let yourself down because you know up front that you will always be growing and moving through the steps.

But I like goals. And I really like checking the boxes beside those goals.

So, that makes this philosophy so hard for me to wrap my head around. But, in the name of the process, happiness, and my mission, I try again every day.  For all those moments that bring a little taste of peace to an otherwise hectic existence - I will try again.  And again.  And again.

How do you keep yourself on track?  When things just go all whack crazy on you, how do you bring it back to center?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I've been holding out

When I first started this blog, I didn't exactly make the decision to withhold some information about me and my journey, but I just didn't bother to address it.  As I get further into this though, I don't think it's fair to not be totally up front.

You see, I didn't come from an overly religious home and just this past year I finally came in to my faith.  I feel like this is a super awkward topic, but as I grow in  my faith, I find more and more people living in this weird limbo of having it but not talking about it.  People I never knew went to church every week, taught classes, and felt God changing their every day, have been popping up everywhere I turn. 

I must clarify though - I am by no means a bible beater.  I'm absolutely new at this whole thing and slowly finding my way around.  You will not see scripture popping up in this arena, but you will likely start seeing references to the way that my faith is changing things - because it is. 

I've talked about the fact that I was going to the Holy Spirit Retreat and that I tried out a class at my church as well.  Both things have had a huge impact on me in very different ways.  I have issues with failing and it took a lot for me to be able to acknowledge that the prayer class just wasn't for me.  It didn't feel right, it didn't make me feel good, and I just didn't want to be there.  But, that didn't mean that I wasn't "doing" my faith right.  It just meant that a certain class wasn't what I needed in this season of my life. (If you know me well, you know that this is a HUGE realization for me)

The Holy Spirit Retreat, on the other hand, made a big difference but in a subtle way.  Does that even make sense? Certain truths were revealed and spending a day and a half discussing the scripture and how the Holy Spirit is tied into every part of our faith and our life experience was amazing.  A lot of freedom came from that experience and along with it, I realized some more about myself and this journey.  I still have a lot to let go of, and even more importantly, I have lot more to give. 

There are just certain areas of my life that I'm still being selfish.  Places that I thought I wasn't, but really was acting like someone "owed" me something just because of certain circumstance or emotion I was having.  That's part of why I went back to the book I referenced in my last post, because I think it's important to give people the love and compassion that you also want for yourself.

I hope this honesty doesn't turn you off from continuing to read.  I feel like there is something big coming for me and I hope you stay around to see what happens!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Underneath it all

Every now and again, I pull myself from my world of paranormal romance and delve into a book with a little more oomph.  Something that makes me really think.  At the suggestion of a good friend, I found myself in a book that took a deep dive into being a woman, but also covered the basics of men.  For a few weeks now, my brain has kept coming back to this book and fundamentals it spoke of.

First, the woman.  According to the authors, there are three things that are at the core of every woman:

The need to be romanced
I assumed this meant flowers and candles, but it was more about feeling wanted and fought for - feeling desired and pursued.  Most women act like their own heroine - fighting their own battles and being the "strong, independent woman of the twenty-first century." But, if we're actually honest with ourselves, what we'd really like is for the men in our life to take away some of our control.  We want to be precious to them, to be treated in the way of medieval princesses of old. We might say we don't, but we all need those gestures that make us feel treasured. ('s no wonder romance novels exist!)

The need to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure.
We don't want to be "sweet" and "nice" women.  We want to be considered powerful and passionate.  We need to feel like the part we play in life is a vital one.  That we bring something important and necessary to the table.  We are not just here to make dinner.

The need to feel beautiful.
At the core of every woman is a little girl, twirling in her dress, asking someone if she looks pretty.  At first I had a hard time buying this one, but really, how often have you changed clothes 15 times before a night out with your girlfriends? How many of you married ladies described your wedding day as "feeling like a princess"?  We want to feel like we're shining from the inside out - not just made up, in our favorite heels and outfit pretty, but the girl the whole bar looks at as she walks through, but who only cares what one guy sees, pretty.  The one who looks radiant and happy, not just gorgeous.

Now, the men...they also have three core desires:

To have a battle to fight.
It starts with cowboys and indians as little boys and keeps going with UFC fight nights as grown men. Let's be honest though ladies, as much as we might not want to watch our men fight, every woman feels safer with a man she knows can - and will - defend her.  This also pertains to daily life.  How many times have you seen them hoot and holler in glory when they've conquered the installation of some gadget, or fixing the car you told them they should have just taken to the mechanic? It might have taken them four hours longer, but they won the battle.  A lot of times, our want for things to be efficient squashes their ability to "win the battle" and prove their worth.

To have adventure.
Not just in a "boys and their toys" way, but in a way that tests them.  Every day life does not ask the most of a man, he wants to be challenged.  It's why he wants a four-wheeler, a boat or a big truck.  He wants to go do something we consider stupid, so that he can tell his buddies about the adventure and how he won the battle.

To have a beauty to rescue.
A man wants, and needs, to offer his strength on the behalf of his woman.  He needs someone to fight his battle for and to share his adventure with.  Think of high school, maybe college, and a boyfriend you had back then.  Think of some of the utterly stupid things he might have done to impress you.  Even now, if you're married, when you've hit your breaking point, how fast does your husband jump to the rescue? All of the sudden your house is being cleaned, he's being a complete sweetheart and orders you to go do something for yourself.  You've finally given him a chance to rescue you.

I found it to be amazing how the core wants of both men and women lined up so very perfectly but once society norms are added into the picture, how many of these core needs are totally disregarded.  Women are taught to be independent, to not "need" men to do anything for them.  They are disenchanted by men who try to open doors or act at all chivalrous.  They take it as an insult or even worse, they don't even notice the man tried.  And then they wonder why they are considered cold and aloof.   So many women are ashamed of their emotions, of the fact that they do really want to be taken care of.  They are ashamed of many of the things really make us women.  It seems we are our own worst enemies.

My next challenge is going to be trying to recognize the areas of my life that I stray the furthest from myself.  I couldn't disagree with any of points made above - I do believe those three needs are real for most women and men.  And it seems like it's only fair for me to try and give hubs as much as I'm going to be asking for.  We'll see how this goes!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And we're back!

This has been a really challenging week for me personally, and for hubs and I as a family.  But, through the madness, and the really hard decisions we've had to make, I kept the faith that there is a plan for us and that everything we're going through is for a reason.  We learn more about each other, and what we can accomplish together, with every super sucky challenge we come across. 

Today brought us a bit of good news that I couldn't not share with you all.  After telling us just a few weeks ago that hubs would no longer qualify for any further unemployment, we were sent a letter granting him another extension.  Bless President Obama and all of his unemployment extensions because no one is hiring! So, just as I thought we were heading for the land of mac'n'cheese dinners, we're saved!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I am me.

A friend recently told me that reading this blog is like I am allowing her into my journal.  Oddly enough, I am ok with that, because too often I think that we all try to handle life all on our own.  We think that everyone else's life is so perfect and ours is the only one that self-destructs.  I hope my honesty is cathartic and you feel a little less alone as I share my story.

I used to write poetry.  I filled books and books with it.  Today, it struck me that though I haven't written in years, I wanted to.  Below is what flowed out as fast as I could log the words.

Because today I really miss the ocean

I am me.

Sometimes, I am me.
I am bold, I am fierce - You cannot stop me.
And sometimes, I am me.
I am afraid, I am a coward – I run.

Two halves of a whole
That isn’t quite defined
That perilously balances
The whole world on her shoulders
All the while, tossing it around
Like a beach ball in the surf

We are friends
We are enemies
I put all my trust in an unknown power
So that I don’t lose me to myself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly

Happy Valentine's Day kids! Or, better yet, "Happy Overpriced Stuffed Animals Holding Candy Day!" (quoted from my favorite fuming redhead blogger.)

Since we've almost hit mid-February, it's time for the check-in of how things are going:

- The 21-day yoga challenge is going great.  I won't say I've practiced every day, but I do believe in 14 I've only missed 2.  And a few days I actually did my online video for the day, as well as went to class, so I'm calling it even!  I'm really loving the mental benefits, as well as the toning I'm seeing in my arms!  Yoga doesn't seem to change your outer body very quickly, but I feel less stressed and much more loose.  On the good news front - the hubs was cool with me signing up for a second 8-week session at the Family Tree so I'm officially a part of the Yoga 1.5 Saturday class.  YEAH!

- We had our ARL volunteer orientation this Saturday and I was quite let down by the fact that I need to take another class before I can love up on some kitties.  I did enjoy finding out that there are some myths about the ARL that just aren't true - namely being that there is no time-limit pets stay at the ARL waiting for adoption and though they are not a "no-kill" shelter, they only "take" pets with severe behavior issues (read - going to hurt you) or severe medical issues.  Since they won't say no to taking any pet dropped off to them, that seemed fair. 

- This weekend is a biggie.  Kind of huge actually.  Not only am I spending my Friday night and all day Saturday at the Holy Spirit retreat at Hope, I'm also going to my first ballet Saturday night! Que the fun girly outfit and excuse to drink martinis!!!

- I must also report the bad news.  We are currently a three-car household (The hubs has his beloved F150 and his beater '92 Civic) and the poor Civic has officially died.  The jerks nice men at the auto shop actually made hubs sign a safety waiver when we decided $2500 in repairs was too much for a car we paid $1200 for three years ago. And by safety waiver, what I mean is, "Sir, if you hit a pothole hard enough right now, the right front tire of your car will likely fold up underneath you." Super.

So, the big, ugly debate at our house right now is if we have to say goodbye to the 11mpg truck (Reuben) that hubs has always wanted and currently loves almost as much as the cats.  No one likes goodbyes you know.

I pretty much feel like a schmuck for even bringing it up, but life is dealing us a busted hand lately.  Have you ever had to give up something for the good of the cause?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I burnt the map

That's right, I burnt it.  Lit it with a candle, threw it in the fireplace and watched it burn.

Well, not quite.  I guess what I really did was put it in a drawer and forgot it even existed.  I didn't wake up yesterday and realize that there no longer was a plan for my life.  I woke up yesterday and realized that I hadn't had a plan for a while now.

You see, I've been that girl - the girl with a plan - forever.  Anyone who's ever known me knew that I was that girl.  Not in a bad way (well...maybe), but in a way that made it clear that my life had a defined path and I was in charge of it.  And over the course of the last six months, before I even started this blog, I started to recognize that my plan was completely irrelevant.  I mean, come on, who do you actually know that has a plan that actually worked??

Life doesn't allow plans to actually work.  My plan wasn't to fall in love at 18.  My plan wasn't to realize 80% of the way through college that I had zero desire to write for anyone but myself.  And my plan sure wasn't to spend two years working off of one income while the rest of my friends went on trips and had babies.  Sure wasn't it.

So, somewhere along the way, I just stopped making plans.  My planner is pretty much empty after the last weekend in February outside of yoga class.  I have laundry sitting in the basement that I put there a week and a half ago.  I don't even wonder what I "should" be doing next week.  Planning just isn't worth it the stress of it not working out.  So, tonight I made a recipe I found at 11AM this morning.  I drank a few glasses of wine, painted my fingernails sparkly silver and watched dvr'd shows with the hubs.

And it was awesome.

P.S. I've gotten a few questions around if I think this "no plan" situation is a good one.  My answer is a resounding YES.  Letting go of all of that control is the most freeing thing you can do for yourself.  Just live for a few minutes and don't stress on what could or should be happening.  It's pretty amazing.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Get out your decoder ring

Lately, I have been having the WEIRDEST dreams.  They have been mash-ups between my childhood, my high school friends/boyfriends and things I've been wanting to do in the future.  I always dream in full color, which I guess is kind of rare, and I often have what I call "deja vu" dreams where I'm just positive I've had the dream before but I have no idea why.

Now, I was totally that nerd who owned the "Your Dreams Decoded" book in high school (you can reference my other odd high school obsessions here) and I kind of wish I still had it.  I really do believe that your dreams are just your subconscious screaming at you in a time that you're forced to listen. Sometimes it's screaming nonsense, and sometimes you should just shut up and listen. 

What was my subconscious screaming last night? Between the appearance of my high school boyfriend at a random party in Des Moines, a school bus ride during which I was my current age and on board with me were all the members of both NKOTB and Backstreet Boys, being dropped off from said school bus ride at my first home in Mt. Pleasant and finding my clients in my current living room - I might just be nuts. 

My best guess is that I have lately been wondering what happened to the boyfriend (though let's keep him away from my hood), I would looooove to go the NKOTB/BSB concert this summer and I really need to keep working on keeping my work at work and away from home.

Do you ever have those dreams that haunt you through the day and you just wonder where the heck your mind came up with them?

And just for fun...let's take a look at our favorite boy toys from way back when in the here and now, shall we? 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Two for the Renege

I'm sure most of you have already read last night's blathering post, but after rereading and rereading it today I just decided it was not in the spirit of why I write this blog - so I deleted it.  Long after I posted last night, I thought about the issues I'm having feeling fully optimistic.  I think it has more to do with the stress I'm under right now than anything else.

Lesson not post while feeling too introspective.

Back in college, whenever we were playing cards and someone would try to take a card back, we always called it "two for the renege" - so I owe you guys two drinks.

I'm a clipper

Being the frugal nerd that I am, I spent the first hour of my morning drinking hot tea and clipping coupons.  I went through the last two Sunday's newspapers clipping only things we already buy, then compared prices in the ads between Target, Walmart and Walgreens.  I made my list, organized the coupons by store section (actually a first for me), and drug a hung-over hubs to Target.  

Now, the key to coupon-clipping is to:
a) only clip for things you would already buy, otherwise you're just spending more than normal
b) pay special attention to if you have to buy two of something to get the discount (that often makes it not worth the hassle)
c) wait until you've gotten your Sunday paper so that you can get the best deals. Generally, the items you find coupons for will be on sale in the stores that week.
d) if you find that Target is having the best deals, also check for special in-store coupons.  They allow you to use their coupon and the manufacturer coupon at the same time.  Today I got two boxes of Nabisco crackers for $2 because they were on sale in the store, I had a Target coupon and a Nabisco coupon.

Just a side note, I have actually found Target to be much cheaper in general than Hy-Vee.  And their Archer Farms brands are much better "generics" than the Hy-Vee brands.

So, the final savings ended up to be awesome -

Hope you all have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm no beginner!

I had to share...I got the most fantastic compliment tonight!

I signed up for my beginner's yoga class at the beginning of January and though it hasn't been the most challenging, it has been fantastic for getting my breathing right and double-checking my pose postures.  Now, if I'm going to be honest, I did feel a little over-qualified for the class I was in.  And then, tonight, our instructor (who is THE most amazing woman) pulled me aside after class and told me that not only was I past the beginner class, but that I should switch straight to the Yoga II class!

Yoga on a beach....yes, please!

I always knew that I enjoyed yoga, but having a true class to go to has really changed my outlook on it.  It is so much more than a workout.

I'm going to take my post-flow high and enjoy the rest of my night, later!