Hello Sunshines…

A little note of apology for being MIA, and saying I probably will continue to be gone until summer slows down. G and I are working like crazy on the exterior of our house so my nights have been busy and weekends are packed with other social obligations. Copper continues to be the most precious pup in the world, work is moving along swimmingly, our diet, fitness, and overall health have been great, and Life in general has never been better. Unfortunately this means the blog post ideas are currently at a standstill. Thankfully in a month’s time we will be taking our big road trip to the Northeast (I CANNOT WAIT!) and I am sure I’ll have a multitude of things to share following. Please stick with me and I will talk to you all following Labor Day — or sooner if time allows and discussions arise.

With you and for you all, friends,

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Thoughts On The Bachelorette, Luke P., and Empowering Women

Previously, on The Bachelorette

Actually, that’s pretty much it so far, eh, fellow rose lovers? Ugh, please, Chris Harrison, no *clap* more *clap* recaps. This season’s The Bachelorette has enough substance that it has been extended by a week to allow an entire recap episode. Like many other watchers, I felt last week’s episode was unwanted and unnecessary. Please just give me more Tyler C., and Hannah being authentically herself. I am LIVING for the two of them!

I apologize if you are not a Bachelor/ette fan and will graciously excuse you from reading further into the coming rant. In all honesty, I have not watched the show since Jojo’s season, but when we opted for Hulu this past Spring I figured I might as well watch  Hannah and her beaus on Tuesday mornings while I get ready for the day. I went into this season with no expectations and no knowledge of Hannah “Beast” but WOW… it has been a trip, hasn’t it?

I have never considered giving my guilty pleasure recognition on this blog, but I feel like there’s some real topics needing to be discussed. Specifically, I feel the need to talk about Luke P., Hannah, and the beasts we each may face in relationships.

** Fair warning, there may be spoilers ahead! Please do not continue if you do not want to read any spoilers. 

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Dear God, Thank You

More times than I would like to admit, I catch myself only praying when I want something. I pray when I’m struggling. I pray when I need hope or insight or direction. I pray when I am feeling sad and defeated. And God is always there… even when I am not giving Him the recognition He deserves during the good times too.

So, for all those times I forget to be grateful, here are my reminders:

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My Favorite Podcasts

What did I do before podcast came into my life? I either sat in silence at work or listened to the same current Top 20 country songs on repeat during my commutes. These days, I listen to podcasts as I get ready in the morning, while I’m driving, when I meal prep for the week, and when I’m at my office desk. I hook up to the living room’s Bluetooth speaker and turn on a podcast as I clean the house or do laundry. I laugh. I nod my head. I’ve cried once or twice. And the time flies as I learn new things with every episode that passes.

In case you may be new to podcasts or if you just want some fresh ideas, I compiled a little list of my weekly listens. I use Spotify as my main podcast listening space as I have an Android, but there are apps out there specifically for podcasting listening (such as Stitcher.) When you find a podcast you enjoy, you are able to subscribe and receive the newest episodes when they’re released. So here are some of my personal favorite podcasts:

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Finding Your Voice As A Woman, A Discussion

I’ve talked about Women Among Women in previous posts, and here I am at it again.

This group. Ugh.

This group is A-mazing.

Our March meeting was on the topic of Woman’s Voice.  It may have been my favorite discussion to date, and our conversations continued past the night of the event and into the group’s Facebook page. There were various subtopics we discussed under “Voice” that had me pondering for days following. Specifically, the fact that finding your voice does not always involve a transformation or life-altering experience. (So unlike books such as Eat, Play, Love want us to believe.) Instead, some of the epiphanies my peers experienced came over a coffee break with a friend or on a random Thursday afternoon surrounded by their male coworkers or while listening to music while on their daily run. You can’t predict when you’ll have that A-HA! moment, but you can embrace it when it happens.

In the hope of not losing these thoughts moving forward, I would like to share some of the broader topics I gleamed from the discussion about how a woman can find her voice and how she can use it. The following are pieces of that dialogue, in no particular order, as well as some of my own opinions on the topics. I would love to hear from you also — once you consider the journey to discovering your voice and/or the difficulties you’ve faced when using your voice, please leave a comment to further this discussion.

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April Goal Setting

… and just like that, we are a quarter complete with 2019. It seems crazy to me that April is already here, but what a year it has already been! G and I are actively working on the outside of our house now that the weather has broken, Copper is continuing to grow in size and in our hearts (best puppy award), and I finally have answers to my medical issues. It  took various rounds of doctors’ appointments and blood work to figure things out, but I have a diagnosis. And thus, a game plan. By making small changes over the past few weeks, I am already beginning to feel like myself again. My brain fog has lifted, my joints no longer ache, I am losing weight, and my energy is returning. All in all, my spirits are rising.

Which means I have need to set some goals for the upcoming month in order to keep feeling better and better. I have set two SMART goals for April (and the remainder of 2019) to spur on my health progress and I would love to share them with you in order to hold myself accountable. So without further ado, my April goals:

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Gray Spaces & A Message Worth Hearing

“I don’t want to be alive, but I don’t want to end my life.”

A dear friend of mine published a post on her blog last night that I feel needs to be read by many people. She bravely opened up about her personal struggles and took the leap to share her innermost feelings with the world because she knows there is a poor stigma surrounding the topic of suicidal ideation. Her words are raw and courageous and so, so needed in today’s climate. There really isn’t much more I need to say… I could add no more substance to her beautiful words.

Also, please be aware this is a very sensitive topic and this is your trigger warning; please proceed when you’re ready.

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Revisit: Losing Moments

With Life continuing to push forward with a rapid fierceness, I wanted to be sure you all knew I am still here. It seems like only yesterday I was busily preparing for Pink Tie Ball and then I looked at the calendar and that was a month and a half ago! Ohmigoodness…

I met for an ice cream date with my “adopted little sister” last week. During our discussion, she mentioned she has been turning to my more-relationship-focused, archived blog posts for inspiration during a trying time of her life. This girl is strong, intelligent, compassionate, and an amazing writer who has begun her own blog. Coming from someone I see as a future Pulitzer Prize winner herself, I was humbled.

And a bit curious.

It has been awhile since I looked over my past posts. I have been blogging since February 2014 and there have been a lot of rants, cries of grief, and ponderings to pass throughout those five years. Though there were a few instances that made me cringe or shake my head in frustration, the walk down memory lane has been refreshing. I have experienced many things over time, and I like to think I’ve learned a bit from those experiences.

In October 2014 I was still floundering to figure out my career path and attempting to move past what I thought was my “rock bottom” — my first breakup. Little did I know there was further to fall. Over the years I have gone on many other dates and felt more heartache. But rock bottom did not come until the loss of other important people in my life — specifically the death of my mentor and the end of my closest friendship. Yet there were also the mountainous highs since 2014: meeting G, grooming my tribe, establishing my reputation in my community, among many others.

As I continue to move through 2019 with Intention, I’d like to share this post from October 2014 on the perception of losing time and how one’s way of approaching Life molds your experience through the years:

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Living In Fearless Gratitude

Someone I once knew used the phrase “fearless gratitude” as her mantra. She was a vibrant girl whom I treasured and I honestly can say she did live fearlessly grateful. She loved life and she was thankful for her place in life. And I held this girl to such prestige for those very reasons.

I knew this girl during some of my more gloomy days when I struggled to be both fearless and grateful. I marveled at her perseverance towards positivity even when times were tough. I watched from a distance and wanted to be more like her. I grew closer to her, hoping some of her resolve would rub off on me. She was a role model to me as I sat in my shade, and I yearned to live with fearless gratitude one day as well.

Over the years, I catch myself thinking back on how I idolized this girl. When a difficult situation arises and I find myself drawing back into the shadows I think of her. I think of her continuous smile, constant air of happiness, and ease of brushing things off her shoulders. And so I choose to say, “No. Not today. Today I’m going to live in fearless gratitude.” And I do — I change my thoughts and find strength in the silver linings of situations.

Yet sometimes I need more assistance than just my own convictions. And today was one of those days.

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