Directions

                 

I’m not the type of person to follow directions. Follow rules, yes? Directions?? Not so much. I tend to feel I can grasp most concepts pretty quickly so I don’t have much use for directions. 

That all changed recently. 

I’ve been trying to make a successful dinner for pretty much our entire marriage (14 months in case you aren’t counting like me ; ). I’ll come up with decent dishes but very few that we both are ready to put into a tried and true recipe arsenal. 

This week I’ve been cooking and baking a lot and took a new approach. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS! I watched a 7 minutes youtube video atleast 3 times to make braised short ribs. I made my first apple pie ever and perfect gingersnaps! They all came out better than most of my dishes this past year combined.

I NEVER actually followed the recipes before. How silly of me to be surprised when they didn’t come out as planned.

Even now I’m looking up directions for how to put on makeup. There is an art to it. And if you know me, I don’t have a talent in it…AT. ALL.

It got me thinking how much more we are capable of when we simply LEARN the directions to anything. I would love to be able to dance ballet and play tennis. 

I think we forget that a lot of things we’d dream of doing can be learned. 

We sell ourself short by thinking we don’t know something and therefore will never be able to do it. Newsflash: Many of these things we’re afraid to attempt are only a google search away. 

NEVER NEVER stop learning. We are way to powerful and can accomplish so much when we keep our minds open continuous learning.

Discipline

           

I have so little of that when it comes to saying no to rootbeer or sweets or choosing to work out. I’m weak. That’s all going to be put to the test over the next 16 days. Tyler has been reading a ton about nutrition ever sense we got back from Philly. It’s been inspiring to watch his transformation has his own habits changed, as well as his physique.

I wanted to get inspired too and kind of journey with him through it, so i picked up the book Clean by Alejandro Junger. It’s goal is to detox the body of toxins that cause us to have little energy, headaches, more sickness and overall bad health. It says a lot of interesting things but I’m not taking everything for fact just yet. That’s the whole purpose for taking the next two weeks to see if making some changes in our food habits can have lifelong affects on our health.

The detoxification process is intense but fairly common sense: eating foods as close to it’s natural/original state without extras (all those long words we can’t pronounce) and even in broken down format (juicing or purees). This first week we are supposed to follow a strict diet of mostly vegetables and fruits, chicken and fish. Then next week, we spend 10 days on 2 liquid meals (like fresh juices, soups and smoothies) and one solid meal (based on our first weeks guidelines) a day.

We’ve prepped a bit for it. And I’m ready. But discipline in this area is something I’ve never been great at. I’m hoping using a little self discipline will inspire me in ever other area in my life. We are capable of so much more than we even know. Reminding myself of that this week!

Fall

      

Fall is here! And really, it has been for a while but it’s finally feeling like it this week! I couldn’t be more excited. It’s definitely my favorite season. Here are just a few of my favorite things about fall! 

1. Scarves & Boots

2. Hot Tea

3. Windows down

4. Walking through leaves

5. Football

6. Gumbo

7. Fires

8. Chunky Sweaters

9. Pumpkins & Gourds (not to eat but to look decorate with)

10 No HUMIDITY!! : ) 

Mondays

          

It’s Monday morning! I’m that girl that sees every Monday morning as a fresh start. Whether it’s a new chance at starting a workout plan or work routine, I just love the new chance to start over. The problem comes on Tuesday when it’s not a fresh start and I’ve already “botched it for the week. Looks like I’ll have to start next week.” 

Not today! I’m making a plan that goes beyond one day. One for Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. I think we work harder when we remember what we’re working for. And also when we realize that a string of todays is what we have to work with.

TODAY IS THE DAY! Wake up everyday remembering that, and we can accomplish amazing things!! 

Photo found here

Occupy

I’m really trying to wrap my head around the Occupy Wall Street protesting. I want to understand but I just don’t. The perspective seems so small.

We all think we’re entitled to something, whether it’s free education, a good job, free healthcare or unemployment checks. But we weren’t guaranteed that. The name Occupy even implies it: occupying space is enough to be owed something. We simply don’t have a RIGHT to all these things. It’s not a give-in. The same way clean water isn’t a give-in for people in Africa. 

We do however have the right to work hard and keep working hard. We have the right to be generous and share unselfishly with the 92% of the people poorer than you. (If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, a place to sleep and money in your wallet or the bank you are among the 8% wealthiest people in the world). 

God’s hope for the world is that we stretch out our hand to the poor. He doesn’t say this is through mandates the government makes. These are decisions we need to make. The fact that God allows us to be a part of that is for US! If He wanted to eradicate hunger, He could do it. He doesn’t need our help. BUT He lets us be apart because there is so much blessing that comes from giving as well as learning opportunities.

I wouldn’t know anything about the lady in Brundi who received a sewing machine to start her own business or the little girl in Haiti who’s going to school now if it was taken out of my paycheck by the government. I wouldn’t know I could MAKE A DIFFERENCE and be inspired to KEEP MAKING A DIFFERENCE. This is where my passion lies, giving women and kids hope and resources to create a promising future. Others may care about animals. 

For those 1%ers some are incredibly generous. Don’t assume they all are not and don’t assume they didn’t earn it. That’s pigeon holed thinking and it’s why we have so many wrong stereotypes. And for many of those 1%ers, they became rich by WORKING HARD. Few actually inherited their wealth. 

Do I think the “one percent” is perfect? Not at all. But I also know if we blame them for problems we created (i.e. going into debt for buying an expensive car you couldn’t afford, or even eating out a restaurants all the time and charging it to a card), we aren’t taking responsibility or even giving ourselves hope to change our circumstances. 

Why am I so passionate about this?? Because three years ago, I had a job I hated. I looked for jobs else where, mostly in wedding planning and couldn’t find it so I worked my butt off and made my own. I didn’t make much at all and still put so much back into my business BUT I’ve managed to accumulate 0% debt in the process and even save for the future. I know it’s possible and even moreso, it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and I know having such thing handed to me as a right would not have filled me with the hope and ambition I have today. I wouldn’t trade in the hard work or long hours for the confidence I learned about myself.

Update: Found this interesting graphic

Marriage

Since I’ve been married a year now I’ve grown to see an obvious difference in how our marriage works and how it’s portrayed. Our marriage is still very young, I understand. When I say things are going great and even better than I could have ever imagined, people are quick to respond “Well y’all are still newlyweds. It will change.” Or “Just you wait till you hit the ____ year mark. It won’t be so easy!”

Why?? Why is that the response? Why do people want to assume we’ll fail at marriage or if not totally fail, at the very least be incredibly miserable in it? Why do people want to make sure you know, it’s so hard, you’ll hate it, etc. Is it to make them feel better about their own marriage? Is it to play that old “I’ve got it tougher than you” game?

Trust me, I understand there are hard days and compromise and no one should marry without knowing that BUT we aren’t giving marriage any hope and chance with the way we talk and portray them. 

The entertainment world has boggled my mind lately as I’ve noticed a sad trend. Here’s my own little breakdown of how marriage is viewed in the world. 

Movies, books and tv shows portrayed the cookie cutter perfect little family in the 50s. When divorces and cheating happened, heaven forbid we portray that. It was an area that was basically brushed under the rug. So someone decided, “let’s be real and portray REAL families.” So they did. And decades later I’m asking the question, “we’re portraying infidelity and divorce but where are the marriages that last forever?”

And heaven forbid we show the blessings and joy that it brings instead of seeing the classic scene of “husband rolling eyes at nagging wife.”

Every book I’ve read and every movie we watch on Netflix lately has cheating and divorce. These are part of our culture that I understand shouldn’t be covered up but, it shouldn’t make up the whole landscape.

I wanted to love MadMen. I really did. The setting was fascinating. But I can’t watch MadMen because EVERY episode involves someone cheating. It honestly makes me sad and angry every time I see it. 

When I was little, I remember discussing what we fill our minds with in youth group. They talked about avoiding them. That meant some of my favorite shows at the time. I really didn’t see how that affected me. Now that I’m married, I can see how it’s toxic. It can shape your mind to think that’s just how it goes, people. 

How are we to expect the next generation will have any chance at living out the true picture of what God intended marriage to look like when there are few, if any pictures of it?

If your married, I challenge you to let others SEE the truth. Don’t just complain with friends about marriage. Celebrate with them also. This isn’t a competition on who’s life is harder? Or who’s life is best. Be real. 

If you have kids, let them witness that love. It may be the only true picture of marriage they will consistently see as they grow up to create families of their own.

Disclaimer: I’m not picking on divorce. It’s real and it happens and sometimes people can fight to keep it together but it falls apart despite it. I’m picking on how we portray how easy marriage can be terminated. It’s not a fight anymore. But it’s so worth fighting for.

Adventure

What an amazing adventure this past month has been! I’ve already told Tyler I’d never forget this August.

This month I’ve learned so much about how to simply roll with life. Everyday we faced situations that were unexpected. Nothing ever seemed to go how we expected! … Ever. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t amazing! The opposite really. ; ) 

Earthquake anyone? Us Southerners aren’t really used to that type of thing. I felt a rumble and told Tyler I thought the ground was moving. Maybe just a subway I guess. Minutes later we realized it had been an earthquake. The streets filled with people evacuating their high rise offices. It felt like we were walking through a movie. We of course made our plan like any good action movie hero. (PS Tyler is gonna be a real good papa one day! ; ) It definitely turned our midday lunch break into an adventure.

I’d like to think I’m a little more laid back than I was a month ago. I don’t need to bring my huge purse full of all my “supposed” necessities every time I leave the house. It’s OK to get wet. Soaking wet even, when it rains. I don’t have to wear makeup everyday. I don’t need a cab to go a couple miles, I can walk. 

I learned to sit still and enjoy every moment of the fantastic musical we went to see. I had the urge to be thinking of all the things I was looking forward to the next hour or day or week instead of soaking one of my favorite things about New York. How silly of us to do that? 

Somewhere between New York and Philadelphia, we decided late Friday night, that because of a certain someone named, Irene, we’d be better off leaving Philly four days early than “enjoying” our last few days in flood streets and without electricity. It was a fast decision. It meant not getting to enjoy those “lasts” that I’m famous for. It meant packing our entire apartment that’s been our home for a month up after a VERY long day in New York. And then it meant a 13 hour drive to start early the next morning. 

Sometimes plans are overrated. Tyler reminded me, when I was bummed about not being about to spend my birthday at The Shore and Atlantic City, of the advice I give all my brides. The more specific plans you have, the more disappointed you can be when they don’t actually happen on the wedding day. It was true for my birthday too. I needed to make up my mind before the day even started that it’d be amazing. No excuses! 

We ended up having a great day by the lake doing one of my favorite things: reflecting and making goals for the next year. AND spending it with one of my best friends who lives 10 hours away from me! 

I think life is so much EASIER when we are open to the possibilities and can just roll with things a little more. We experience less joy because we are worried about things that we CHOOSE to worry about. Adventure is everywhere. We just have to let it happen. 

History

This past week we did a lot of touring around the north east. We visited Boston, Newport and Providence. Living in South Louisiana where the oldest things are a hundred, MAYBE two hundred years old, seeing places where Paul Revere lived or the site of the Boston Massacre had me in awe. Those stories in history books actually happened. Sometimes I forget that! ;)

We had planned to go sailboating in Newport. We thought we’d stroll right up and get a ticket. It was sold out for the whole day! All ships were. We were bummed and decided we should head back to Philly early then. But not before lunch at this little shack beach restaurant. The line was long but we were starving so we waited. We starting chatting with the ladies behind us, Jean and Anne Marie. They were true Rhode Islanders. They told us what to get on the menu and just what they actually were. (Stuffed quahog anyone?) And then sat with us for lunch. We had a great time. They called us family after they reprimanded us, like good mothers, from going off the path at the Cliff Walk. We were happy to have it! 

They also told us we had to go to Providence for the Waterfires. It’s happens once a month or so in the summers when they light a 100 fires on the river that runs through town. It was a fun adventure. We probably never would have gone had Jean and Anne Marie not told us and we’ve decided we must go back to Providence one day! 

Yesterday we visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was so inspired there. There were works from Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Renoir and a million other people I’ve never heard of. ; ) One of my favorites was about an indian chief who goes to Washington to meet with the officials there. When he comes back, he’s a completely different person. His tribe didn’t accept him back very easily. I thought it was such a great story of influence and staying true to ourselves. It’s tough to see but behind the true Native American is DC and behind the one of the right were teepees. Loved it! 

Comfort Zone

We’ve only been gone a week and I already feel like this trip has changed me. I’m learning so much about this world and about myself, too. 

Anybody watch Extreme Makeover Weight Edition? The trainer on there says the purpose of bootcamp is to take the person out of their normal everyday life and work to create new habits. 

I strongly feel that’s what this trip is doing for me. We think some things aren’t possible because we can’t see ourselves doing them in our normal life.

* Our first full day here was tough. Nothing seemed to go right. Even grocery shopping was different here. By mid afternoon we decided to head to our apartment and “regroup,” that is, take a nap. After a few hours in our comfy 4th floor cocoon we ventured back out to Broad St., saw some sites, enjoyed the fresh air and finished the night off with some Rita’s Water Ice. From then on, our minds were made up: We could do this! 

* I met with Beka from Styled Creative. I’m thrilled to be working working with them on a few things while I’m here. It was a bit of a step outside my comfort zone. I’ve been my own boss for three years. Why give that up even for one wedding? I found my answer. Because I’d learn ALOT. And I did. : )

* We walked SEVEN miles around the city one afternoon. This might not sound like a big deal but I’m the girl who goes a mile on the treadmill and stops because hey, I just went a whole mile. When Tyler mentioned the lunch spot was three miles away I immediately assumed we’d take the car. I told him I’d give it a try. We could always catch a bus back. We got to Pat’s King of Steaks in one piece. And then we kept going. We just kept seeing fun sites we wanted to check out. My legs didn’t tell me to stop and they didn’t remember the 3 previous miles I had just walked.

* If you know me, I’m not a spontaneous person. I caught myself saying to Tyler “Can we be spontaneous tomorrow?” When Tyler said he bought tickets to a NeedtoBreathe show two hours away…and that we needed to leave in the next 30 minutes, I was ecstatic. Not my usual response. And I’m not sure why it isn’t. We had such a fun time. We almost ran out of gas, sat in traffic for way to long, had the hardest time actually FINDING the show but it was such an adventure! I want to start saying yes more to opportunities. Tyler and I have talked daily about how blessed we are to get to do this.

Nothing we’ve done so far has come easy. But it has been completely worth it! Tear yourself away from everyday life. You might have to trust someone with you business or house. Take care of lots of logistics beforehand, especially if you have kids and sacrifice a little dough! MAKE IT HAPPEN!  

I can’t believe we still have 3+ weeks here! So many more adventures to have. I’m excited to see who I’ll be at the end of it. 

Roadtrip!

Bags are packed. Apartment is cleaned. Emails are sent.

Tyler and I get on the road tomorrow morning for Philly. I’m so excited to get there but I also love a good road trip.

I love reading in the car, taking naps and stopping at gas stations for sweet sugary, fruity kid candy (enough description?). 

I love seeing different states and different views. I love long conversations that mysteriously wander from one subject to something completely different. 

I hope I can sleep tonight. Tyler already said tonight’s like Christmas Eve. So much anticipation! 

I’ve made this journey before. Back then, I was a single college student with dreams of working for a big magazine headed to my big city internship. Now I’m married with a business I never dreamed I could have. I wonder how different the city will be? 

"1300 miles for me us to go…”