Friday, January 23, 2015

7 Quick Takes or Things for which I am Grateful

Oh Friday!
I am so so so so glad you are here,
but let's focus on the good,
shall we?
This Week I am grateful for:
1. The beauty of winter and safety during the bitter cold.
Just getting to the end of the driveway was a feat at times.
I slid off the driveway,
two days in a row,
in the same exact place.
There are only one pair or tire tracks to prove it.
Of course I did not feel the need document such a non-brag-worthy moment.
2. The support of a good friend in my health goals.
It is nice to have a personal cheerleader.
It is even nicer when it is someone that has known you for over a decade.
3. Late night talks around the kitchen table with my mom, sisters, and aunts.
4. Our amazing wedding vendors.
They have been so attentive, helpful, and generous to us.
5. Finding a stunning dress for my mom.
It is so hard to find something that is modest and not a chiffon or satin blob.
6. A patient fiancé...
that allows me to exercise every woman's right to change her mind
half a dozen times...
in the same hour.
7. The anticipation of a relaxing weekend.
Meeting a friend's baby for the first time,
visiting with a dear friend over fancy coffee,
going to Church with the family,
and nothing, nothing, nothing else planned
equals gloriousness.
Have a wonderful weekend friends!
Linking up!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Minute of Purpose

One thing I value about my half hour commute is the time it gives me to just be,
 contemplate the world, prepare myself for the day or decompress after work,
and enjoy the often pointless conversations on the radio.
The other day, the morning show host asked his cohorts to share
what they wanted to be remembered for in thirty seconds.
The time limit made many feel rushed,
but the hardest part was making themselves vulnerable to share something so personal.
Naturally, I began thinking about what I would say if given the same question.
After much pondering and rewording to find the most eloquent words
I realized the time constraint was key to the authenticity of the answers.
So I decided I needed to sit myself down, set a timer, and record my thoughts.
I'm a paper and pen kind of girl and since it takes a bit longer to write
(and my cell phone timer doesn't time seconds, who knew?)
I adjusted the time to a minute.
Despite the practicing in the car, my mind imitated the blank piece of paper before me
as I struggled to articulate something that has no words.
After jotting a few things down before the dreaded timer's chirp,
I realized that I, just like the gang on the radio,
felt vulnerable, like I was revealing a part of me that was meant to be unseen.
The interesting thing
is even though I did not know any of them in person,
I could accurately guess their answers.
Through their work on the radio they had authentically portrayed themselves
and lived out their values- their purpose.
Their actions had already revealed this part of them to the world,
but the act of doing so intentionally made the most outgoing person shy.
At the beginning of this new year and as I continue to live out my resolutions,
I found this little exercise very helpful.
I want my resolutions to help me move towards my ultimate purpose. 
I want to live my life in such a way my values are known
 without me having to articulate a thing.
The clock is ticking,
what do you want to be remembered for?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sheenazing Bloggers

One of the things I love most about blogging is the community.
The fact that you have the opportunity to get to know all these amazing people from near and far is one of the blessings that comes with the internet.
Oddly enough, blogging has also brought me closer to people I already know and love.
I think the world of my friends.
Who doesn't?
Sharing in their joys and triumphs, as well as their sorrows, is such a gift.
Today I get to share their joys.
I am so excited to spread the news that three ladies,
that I can personally attest are top notch,
Let's meet the nominees, shall we?
 photo ProfilePic2_zpscb2535a6.png
Category: Miss Congeniality
This girl is the sweetest.
She is perfect for this category for the sweetest blogger and community builder you know. Emily and I started blogging together and I have loved watching her and her blog grow.
At Raising Barnes she chronicles her life as wife and mom
while fostering ongoing conversations on a variety of topics.
Read her guest posts on Waltzing in Beauty here and here.
Lindsay Wilcox
Category: Best Under-appreciated Blog*
Lindsay and I met as bridesmaids in a friend's wedding and hit it off right away.
She's a great under-dog challenging you to dig deeper into issues and your faith.
She is also a great cheerleader.
Read Lindsay's guest post here.
Category: Best Under-appreciated Blog*
Tess and I lived in the same dorm in undergrad. Although I was a senior and she a freshman, I was struck by her friendliness, understated elegance and grace, and faith.
This shows up in her writing.
She has a way with words
and turns her daily life as a work at home mom into a fun-filled story.
Read her guest post here.
Now that you know the lovely ladies a little better,
head on over to give them some well deserved love!
Voting closes this Friday.
Happy Wednesday!

*Much to my dismay Lindsay and Tess were nominated in the same category. :(

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy 2015!

Two weeks into the new year is as good as any to begin working on my resolutions, right?
Last year I chose joy as my word for 2014.
I had no idea how many opportunities I would have
which would make choosing joy so very easy.
Joy-filled is the perfect way to describe the year.
My word for 2015 came quickly flowing from the year prior.
I entered 2015 overwhelmed with gratitude for all I have been given in my life that has brought me to today. This grateful heart was one that I wanted to remain,
it is so easy to loose it in the busy day to day lives we lead,
and I proclaimed 2015 my year of gratitude.

How to practically live and foster a grateful heart, however, is not as easy to formulate.
Short of writing a thank you note to every person I have ever encounter in my life and plastering my world with "gratitude" mementoes, I was quickly at a loss of how to live out my chosen theme. So I did what any self respecting nerd would do. I looked up the definition of gratitude in the dictionary.
"Gratitude: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful."
That proved helpful.
Then my eyes fell on some words in a note about the origin:
"Good will: a friendly disposition; benevolence; kindness."
To live out gratitude is to live a life of good will.
To live each moment as a gift.
To be cheerful and kind.
To honor and respect the blessings we receive and share them with others.
My block was gone
and I knew right away some ways of gratitude for me to implement in 2015.
Bedtime and Morning Routines

Time is a gift and time management honors this gift.
I know myself well enough to acknowledge that if I do not plan it out, it will not happen.
Thus mornings (and any household members) are often greeted by a rushed, tired, and hungry bear.
Getting enough sleep and waking up earlier will help me live each day more cheerfully and to see the morning as a gift rather than the wicked witch.
Healthy Living

I am grateful for my body.
Making an active and healthy lifestyle a priority helps me honor this gift.
Exercise and a balanced diet also help fight the grumps.
I am focusing on scheduling time for at least four active things each week.
More veggies and better portion sizes will help on the meal front.
Documenting Gratitude

Part of being grateful is noticing the gifts one possesses.
I want to make an effort to make not of all my blessings.
Documenting it in word and pictures was the best place for me to start.
Blessed Is She's #projectblessed daily photo challenge has been a fun way to do this so far.
Just thinking over the prompts lifts my heart.
This little ol' blog will play a role as well.
The ability to be creative is a gift.
Using this gift is the best way to honor it.
Acts of Kindness

Here's where all the thank you notes come in!
Haha, but seriously...
acknowledging and honoring the sources for the gifts in our lives is so important.
It is too often overlooked. I know I am guilty of this.
This year I know I will be blessed with the opportunity to write many thank you notes,
but I plan to write many more notes of gratitude and friendship throughout the year.
And last but not least,
Prayers of Thanksgiving

We are in the circle of trust, right?
I am really good at praying when things are rough
 or when I need or want something from God.
But when everything is going my way and I am at my happiest,
I often forget to pause and thank Him for everything.
He created the world and everything in it, including me and all I love,
and yet I continue to fall and fail to cling to Him in all moments.
So I am adding on to my memorized nightly prayers
some praise and thanksgiving
and scheduling some extra time to just be with Him.
Cheers to a wonderful 2015 for you and yours!
What are you resolving for this next year?
I'd love to hear or read your posts about them.
Share your wisdom in the comments!

Linkin' up with Jenna for 5 Favorites
and Jess and Katie for Tuesday Talk ...on a Wednesday.
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