29 August 2010

just ask.

a few months ago, in june, while shifting gears between one phase of my life and another, i found myself needing to ask for some things i'd been hearing whispers about. the normal whispers, such as: get enough sleep, wake up on time, don't skip your workouts, were now being drowned out by new whispers, which were more specific and truly aligned to internal needs i was noticing.

i wrote about them here, and, for the first time, i really heard my own requests (specific and MONDO BEYONDO) with honor and appreciation.  i felt like i was working so hard that it was okay to just ask for what i needed.

here's the list, if you're interested:

i want:
~to have a carefree, feel good summer. sunshine and cookouts and activity.
~to be oh-so-comfortable in my skin. every curve and every pore. to look good and feel good from the inside out.
~a morning routine that feels right. i want to be energized & clear. no more haze.
~a workout partner. yep. i said it. any takers?
~to keep a blog that i want to read. stop envying other people's stories and start telling more of my own.
~my work/life boundary to be clear. lunchtime walking & healthy snacks & after-work gym time.
~more appreciation, less complaining, more gratitude and reflection, less worry and comparison.
~to start planning a blogger meetup. a lovebomb of sorts among our community of chicas.
~pw to find his way, a comfortable path that is challenging and exciting
~more quality time with family and friends (and maybe a few new local friends, while we're at it)
~a more professional wardrobe
~a clearer vision about what graduate program i'd like to pursue

and now, as summer tumbles to an end, i wonder, how am i measuring up? and where do i need to concentrate my energies and give deeper thought to breathing life into these requests?

so here's my overview. my analysis of the outcomes in red.

i want:
~to have a carefree, feel good summer. sunshine and cookouts and activity. granted it was an enjoyable summer, i wouldn't describe it with the words "carefree and feel good." more like, "lazy and fast." ~to be oh-so-comfortable in my skin. every curve and every pore. to look good and feel good from the inside out. work in progress. always a work in progress.
~a morning routine that feels right. i want to be energized & clear. no more haze. really epic failure here. i'm still bad at waking up and feeling energized. analiese marie might recommend not drinking coffee for a few weeks?
~a workout partner. yep. i said it. any takers? not that we're moving too fast here, but i had my FIRST blogger meetup saturday with a really lovely lady who I am pretty sure will be a fun workout partner and all around dear friend before you know it ;)
~to keep a blog that i want to read. stop envying other people's stories and start telling more of my own. green with envy, but its true, reading others' blogs had been more inspiring than disheartening this summer, and even so, i've been more empowered to tell my own story (even when my story is changing...) and that's the best part!
~my work/life boundary to be clear. lunchtime walking & healthy snacks & after-work gym time. let's be honest: still working on this. i'm up to almost always walking at lunch (even in the sorcher heat of summer) and mostly healthy snack, but after-work gym time? like i said, still working on that!
~more appreciation, less complaining, more gratitude and reflection, less worry and comparison. paul might tell you that i should be working harder on this, always, and he would be right.
~to start planning a blogger meetup. a lovebomb of sorts among our community of chicas. thanks to healthy living blogs i have found a few new louisville bloggers (hi rachel and sarah!) and my ongoing friendships with these lovely ladies have made a lovebomb of sorta a reality for winter/spring (perhaps!? who is in?!)
~pw to find his way, a comfortable path that is challenging and exciting probably fair to say he's still working on this ;)
~more quality time with family and friends (and maybe a few new local friends, while we're at it) had a great conversation with my dad yesterday about what this looks like for our family, as the dynamics change, we, too, are asked to change.  that's something i'm learning in my family and friend relationships right now,  it isn't always easy, but the yield is all that more bountiful.  sorry to say it again, but meeting rachel yesterday really plays into this! it was such a delight to meet someone who shared so many of my interests and also could give a new spin to life. 
~a more professional wardrobe always collecting bits and pieces of good looking items to add to the wardrobe. clearly this is an ongoing process ;) and i'm always open to suggestions (or donations?!)
~a clearer vision about what graduate program i'd like to pursue  well, here's the NEWS about this little request: i started taking a graduate level course this fall!!!  just last week, this little chica had her first day of school in over 4 years.  I am pursuing a Masters of Community Healthy at the University of Louisville's College of Education.  While I am currently provisionally admitted *until I get my GRE scores submitted*, I am taking a course this fall on Theories in Health Education and Health Promotion.  I received some amazing and helpful advice from a mentor in the College of Education, and was able to begin my coursework just last week.

so here's me on the first day of school (after a full's day of work, i might add!):

and here's the moral to the story:

just ask.

put it all out there, all you've got, and ask for what you want.
share the stories of your life with the people willing to listen.
hold nothing back.

because the more honest you evaluate what your life is composed of, the more certain your life will be made up of the people and the pursuits that matter most. keep turning stones over, keep your feet on the trail. keep dreaming your mondo beyondo dreams.  

there is so much goodness offered just for you.
if you would only ask.


24 August 2010

full moon DREAMboards

full moon dreamboards a la jamie ridler studios the unveiling is today, august 24th, but the process was officially shared on saturday august 21 with my dear friend, erin.

we filled up my dining room table with two 10x10 canvases, a stack of magazines, modge podge, paints, and una botela de vino rojo ;) 

as with any creative process, there was the usual resistance, confusion, frustration, and bliss.  we move through it.  we help each other understand why we're in the depths of it.  and on the other side? we find ourselves having loved the process and the end product, too.  the promise that somehow, in the midst of our creative calamity, dreams are nurtured, and being nurtured, born, makes it all worth it.

our craft time in photos:

erin at the creative table

busy being messy
it may not get more beautiful than this

the dreamboards drying

on display for the universe to see :)

erin's dreamboard is colorful, and the story of being lifted.  her board is layered with patterns and the central focus is a lovely hot air balloon, and the mantra: love my greatest self. beautiful, erin, just beautiful!

about erin's dreamboard:

When Stephanie suggested an afternoon art project, I thought it was a great idea - until we sat down to do it. I was frustrated because I didn't know where to start with my dreamboard. Steph suggested just flipping through magazines and cutting out any words, pictures, or patterns that caught my eye. So, that's where I started, and the dreamboard really created itself. It wasn't until I was finished that I realized there was actually somewhat of a theme to it. But, like the dreamboard suggests, my spirits were lifted; I was satisfied with the final product and happy to have spent a crafty afternoon with my always creative friend.

my dreamboard's colors chose themselves. my central focus is on enjoying the harvest of life (a theme, remember my engagement story?).

while wellness, beauty, my relationship with paul, and physical activity often manifest themselves on my dream board, i noticed a real theme this month.  a break all the rules by doing it your way theme.  a savor the best piece first.  a don't-wait-act NOW theme! and this board boasts representation of those themes.

ultimately: the permission to FULLY enjoy and savour the magnificence of life---- I shall wait no more.

so now: i'm off to savour and explore what ripe fruits are waiting on the tree of life...just for me!
wishing you a reflective and inspiring full moon!
Stephanie (& Erin!)

22 August 2010

balsamic stewed tomatoes

summer's bounty: made easy.

binky has a gnarly but oh-so-deLicious tomato plant growing out of her compost pile, and while house sitting earlier this week, i decided it was absolutely necessary to make one of my favorite dishes.  tomatoes were abundant and she had a fresh bottle of balsamic vinegar...who could resist?

seriously, this simple dish is luxuious tasting, light and would pair perfectly with a gourmet grilled cheese, smoked chicken breasts on the bone, red quinoa & fresh fennel, and either: piping hot, room temperature, or chilled.  

For balsamic stewed tomatoes:

1 lb roma tomatoes, halved
1/2 sweet white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, quartered
basil leaves (10-20, fresh)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/3 c Balsamic Vinegar (more to taste)
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper

  • Heat 1 tbsp Olive oil in a pan
  • Sautee onion until translucent
  • Add garlic and cook until aromatic
  • Add tomatoes
  • Pour in vinegar, remaining olive oil and brown sugar
  • Simmer on low for 20-30 mins
  • Salt and pepper to taste, perhaps add a splash of vinegar if needed
  • Right before serving, add freshly chopped basil leaves
bon appetite!

do let me know what you think if you try it! it's a favorite around here.

15 August 2010

well: energy, vitality, joy!

What does being well mean to you? For me it means energy, vitality, inner strength, and joy! How do i adapt my own personal belief system around wellness in this world that prescribes instant fixes and easy shortcuts that only truly lead you around in circle, like a dog chasing its tail? 

I'm on a quest to create my own holistic health practice, where I live and breath what wellness means to me.  Where my inner being and my outer body are products of balance, great self-care, and a solid knowing. 

So,  I've been spending summer evenings reading Miriam E. Nelson's "The Strong Women's Guide to Total Health." While gathering insight and ideas for my own holistic health practice, I've been affirmed while reading this book: it appears I'm not the only self-doubting woman who lacks good resources and a sufficient amount of reflection.  This blanket of unknowns leaves, us women seeking a trusting, firm ground to stand on. I found that ground in Dr. Nelson's words.

Chapters of the book include various body parts, the internal workings included, as well as the senses, mental health, managing stress and sleeping well, shifting your food environment, getting active, and screenings and health management.  Count me in----this is the kind of book I want to have in my library, to reference on rainy days or to immediately provide an accurate answer to the 'Is this normal??" question.

One of the chapters, Managing Stress and Sleeping Well, struck a big chord with me.  Since my job change in April, paired with a move and some major life changes (hello future Mrs. Weldy!), I've been juggling new stressors and a strange sleep pattern.  In this chapter, Dr. Nelson features a list from guest writer and humorist extraordinaire, Loretta LaRoche.  This list had me laughing in bed and even begging paul to let me read it to him.  Then I thought, "it must be shared with you all, too!" Here goes...

10 ways to become a more positive, joyful person:
  1. Give up your seat on the martyr train.  Going to extremes to help others only creates feelings of helplessness  and enables others to be selfish..
  2. Stop trying to control everything and everyone. It makes sense if you're an air traffic controller; otherwise, it's exhausting and makes people around you want to run away from you.
  3. Don't assume someone will rescue you from your life. No one's coming.
  4. Take care of your physical, mental, and spiritual health because you deserve to feel good.  Nothing feels as good as feeling good. 
  5. Spend time with friends who are happy and healthy.  Their energy will energize you.
  6. Don't assume being tired is how you're supposed to feel.  Get a good night's sleep, set priorities, exercise, eat well and your fatigue will fade away.
  7. Spend time dancing to your favorite tunes alone or with your children, significant other, or friends.  It will make your spirits soar.
  8. Don't buy into media messages that focus on negative images or how a women should look and feel.  Tap into your inner wisdom; it will tell you the truth.  Or ask your grandmother.
  9. Live authentically and with passion.  Nothing feels worse than not being yourself.
  10. Laugh often, especially at yourself, and don't wait to have fun.  Become the fun you're seeking.
my emphasis. especially #8. i love my grandmothers (i've got four! 1, 2, 3, 4!)!!

Are you feeling more positive and more joyful already? I sure hope so.  I also hope you come to Heart Piercing Life seeking to dialogue about questions that matter, putting self-worth first and putting away your mask.  You're welcome here just as you are. 

I'm excited if you'll join me for the journey.

Have a great start to the week, friends!

11 August 2010

the pep in your step

just because i buy new asics annually,
doesn't mean i'm always running.

but when i buy new shoes?
you better believe i find a new routine!

as summer carries on, i see how my exercise schedule shifts.
i don't do hot yoga as often, (though i do love it and practice weekly sept-may),
and i don't run as often, either.

i walk outside and log my steps with a pedometer.
i test drive new workout videos from the local public library,
i read my favorite book on women's health,
i practice headstands & do daily pushups, 
i schedule regular circuit training workouts at the gym.

but there is something about the spring in my step when i purchase a new pair of running shoes.
its that extra zest i need to propel me forward, ever forward, towards my goals.

what kind of exercise routine are you into this summer?  
how are you putting your health first?
what's the pep in your step?


07 August 2010

the magic of every day

ordinary days call for extraordinary pens.
paper matters.
this happens to be my one, wonderous life.

every moment i get to choose:
"how will i best express my golden spirit in this moment?"

will i tell my sister and chris how i truly feel?
yes, yes i will:

will i give from my artistic spirit?
yes, yes i will:

will i find a way to give a gift with meaning?
yes, yes i will:

will all of these moments show the people in my life how much i love them?
will small actions create a lifetime of authentic expression?
will my true spirit be invited to participate in the magic of every day?

yes, yes it will.
(always click on images for a closer look.)

04 August 2010

summertime snapshots.

sweet summertime.
the old campground.

Summer's Bounty; shared.
tree climbing.
true joy.

memorable sunsets over lake michigan.

celebratory summer.
celebrating life.
artistic inspired baby announcements.

eleanor beatrice riley.

this is life. all of it. so good.

01 August 2010

an august of opportunity...

...because a new month means new possibilities, new opportunities and new awarenesses. often times, we get crushed under the pressure of a new month, fearing new responsibilities, new challenges and new moments of "i think i can, i think i can, i think i can--CRASH!---i knew i couldn't all along!" i am here to welcome august with open, trusting arms.

august is the last hoorah of summer. the month before my birthday month. the time when i gear up with as much energy & positivity & grace as i can. the leap before my Fall.

and by fall, i mean Fall, not fail. not skinned knees and broken bones. i mean sweater season, and wedding celebrations and gentle temperature changes. warm tea every night, less rushing around---an easier pace overall.

summer is an eclectic time for me. i can't say i feel balanced during summertime. it's stop and go. full of excuses: i am tired and want to relax but i can't just read by the pool all day!  it is too hot to run outside, but who wants to be inside the gym on a beautiful day? i'm hot in this outfit but i feel like humpty dumpty in that tank top. blah blah blah. the old story lives on: summer time has never been my favorite.

well. except for the vacations. and the farmer's market abundance. and the 10pm sunsets. and flawless beach hair. and grilling out. and postcards from far away places. and and and...

the cycle of discontentment can continue, on & on, if i don't ground my feet firmly in this moment, this day, this patch of time, this season. so august is my leap---my extension of my whole self into the time that is----rather than the skipping over of the end of summer because i'm so anxious to greet the Fall.

august will be an adventure itself: my sister will have her baby, paul & i will buy our first car together, i'll say goodbye to someone who has become a very good friend, and who knows what else! i am, however, leaping and skipping and splashing and hanging out with august as much as possible. because it's here. the one & only august 2010 we'll ever know.

it has arrived and my arms are open wide.