Merry Everything and Happy Always

image3Who doesn’t love a fresh start?

As the clock rolled over into another new year, we were surrounded by love, laughter and friendship, good food and champagne. I took a brief moment, almost as if I was standing outside and looking in, to take it all in. I saw a lot of happiness. I saw a lot of joy! I heard conversations. Heard screams of cheer and saw fireworks. I always seem to get nostalgic and semimetal in the New Year. I have always loved talking and thinking about the past year. It’s lessons. It’s losses. It’s new and second chances. What great things happened, how far we’ve come and what we have to look forward t0.

The hubs and I had one last official date of the year on the 30th. In a restaurant full of people, I love that somehow it can still be only us. A hundred people swirling around us and it’s simply he and I. Alone. We talked about the incredible year we had. A BIG year! A graduate. A lot of travel. The sell of a house. A move. A new career move.

Starting it off we had our last baby child gradate high school. That in itself was huge! Empty-nesters.

You know when you’re just starting out and you’re building your family…that word seems like an eternity away and then one day you wake up, and you’re there. It. Goes. By. So. Quickly.

image6Over the years of our life, he and I have had dreams and goals. We’d talked often about life after our chicks were gone and out of the nest. I am grateful and thankful that we have remained a constant with one another. Best friends who have grown up and grown closer over the years of raising a family. Always putting God first, then one another, then our family. We will no longer have carpools, school calendars, dance recitals, swim meets, football games, gymnastics meets, ski club, co-op, homeschooling, trips to craft stores for projects, teacher meetings and the mountain of other actives that accumulate while raising kids. What would life be like when it’s not full of running errands and helping with homework? We dreamed, he and I. We always have. We made goals. We looked forward to the future, all the while LOVING the time raising our kids, but looking forward to that chance to become just a couple again, someday. Isn’t it fun to dream with your spouse? To reach in and pull out one another’s heart and examine it? As we stepped into 2016, we knew that time was upon us. We did it! We celebrated our success at raising the last of our three kids to adulthood.

One of the plans was to sell our big house and downsize. After all….we would both rather collect memories, not things. Travel more and not be tied down to a house that is way too large for two. Not to mention maintenance; lawn care, snow removal. Not our thing. We’ve always thought there are better ways to spend our time. Mission accomplished. The move was tumultuous to say the least. The binging and purging was taking way longer for us than expected. We both felt as if while we were paring our house down, we were paring our life down. Letting go of “things” was so refreshing and it allowed for evaluation of every single aspect of our life.

image1After my JMT trip, I had already come back a changed person (more when I continue that post) I came back ready for change, ready to purge…everything. I had lived 3-weeks out of a tent and backpack. I had nothing but time to process unwanted garbage out of my life. When I returned I had a new focus and new zest for life, that when shared with the hubs, motivated him just the same. He didn’t need to be out in the wilderness to catch everything I was getting at. Taking 6 days to drive the coast after that trip was the best debrief I could’ve asked for. I shared my journaling with him and it came as NO SURPRISE that he and I were both on the same page. LET IT GO!! A fresh start was about to take place. The move….well, it was just the icing on the cake. It sealed the deal that everything we had talked and dreamed about all these years, was about to break free and come to fulfillment.

Our words for last year were Patience and Prepare. Every year instead of resolutions, we wait and listen for ONE WORD. Isn’t it just like our God to give us those two words? Patience and Prepare. WOW! Our ENTIRE year was lived out and based on the fulfillment of those words. I learned patience like I’ve never had before. Through all of my training and racing last year, through injury and sickness, I HAD to be patient with myself, with my body, with my health. Hiking days on end for long hours in the Sierras instills patience like I’ve never encountered. Selling a house…pushes it to the brink. But I knew that God had prepared me/us for all of it.

During the process of moving, we took the advice of those friends who have gone through the same thing. The ones who have dreamed big and had those dreams become reality, some selling their homes to travel and live by RV, some selling and moving different states to chase the sun and some who sold homes to live their dream of living on a boat. Talk about having to purge! We loved the encouragement. Loved the inspiration! The purging became so much more to us than getting rid of our stuff. I literally became clearing out EVERYTHING we felt was holing us back, holding us down, holding us hostage. Baggage. The trunks dragging behind that were getting too heavy to haul. Bad, unhealthy relationships, bills, toxic unauthentic people in our lives, old unforgiveness, walls that were built over time, that needed climbed over or broken down, unhealthy eating and drinking, missed workouts and missed opportunities, resentments. You name it, it was flushed out. God worked on our hearts as a couple and individually. He guided and showed us the way. And when it was done…..we felt a whole new sense of freedom. We felt …. Light. And as 2016 slipped away and 2017 came flowing in God whispered my word for the year: Intention. Be intentional.image2

image4Living with intention to me means, to live with purpose. To continue to foster the REAL in me, verses what people want of me. Live deliberately. Instead of thinking “I don’t have time” really evaluate if it is a priority, and move on from there. And if it’s not, to not allow guilt of any kind creep in. I want my actions to speak more than my voice. I want to be intentional with friends, giving them the undivided attention they deserve while we are together. I want to surround myself with people on fire for life. I want to be intentional in my food choices, my exercise, and the time spent doing the things I love: traveling with my hubs and soaking in salt water. I want things in my home to have a use and a meaning, not just “because its shiny” I want to wake up each morning with my aim focused to my Creator, to listen to what He has in store for me. I want to be a magnet for miracles and notice them everywhere, every day. I want to continue to notice the beauty and abundance that’s all around me. I want to dig deeper and deeper into the Word of God. I want to be intentional in my relationship with my hubs, honoring and respecting him everyday and being acutely aware to his needs and interests and fanning those in him. I want to believe good things are happening everyday. I want to be intentional to giving, to doing everything with a good heart and expecting nothing in return. I want to inspire others in my walk with God. I want to watch less TV and be outdoors more. I want to drink more water. I don’t want to “settle” for anything, realizing life is short and fleeting. I want to NOTICE more. I want to journal and pray more. I want to serve more and be aware of others needs. Spend time with those I adore.image5 I want to take more risks and love fiercely, even if others can’t return that love. I want to let go and let God, knowing I cannot control the uncontrollable. I want to soak in the knowledge that each day starts with new grace and fresh mercy.

This journey into a new year will be radical. Exciting and challenging! I already know it will be filled with more joy than we will know how to contain. Join me in raising a glass, to your ONE word, to your resolutions, to your new year, new you, new career, new marriage, new baby, new chapter or maybe even a whole new book. Get excited!  Flip the page.Processed with VSCOcam with p2 preset

 

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Happy New Year 2014

Wow!  I am in shock at how fast this past year has gone.  Twenty-Thirteen for us was an incredible journey of life, love and adventure!  Life moves fast, and we can oftentimes forget over the year what we have accomplished.  I made a little video on my Instagram of this past year with my family and it really brought it into perspective.

photo copyThe wanderlust in us was definitely fed as we traveled to Hawaii, Costa Rica, Seattle (a few times) Canada 2 times, Honduras, Oklahoma, drove the California, Oregon and Washington coasts and ended the year with a family Christmas ski trip to Big Sky, Montana.  What a year!  We feel blessed beyond measure!photo

As I sit here, I am in awe of how God designs us.  As a small child I always had the desire to travel, even though I came from a family that didn’t do a whole lot of traveling.  We camped often and made the trip home to Pittsburgh, PA every few years, but my parents never had the desire for “exotic” travel.  It was never their thing.  Wasn’t their dream.  Interestingly enough, it was always mine.  Same with my hubs.  His family was similar; not a lot of big trips, but they had their fare share of adventures.  He also from a young age had the hearts desire for travel.  God bringing the two of us together was no accident.  He created in both of us a heart for travel and adventure.  Had either of us been different, it might have not worked out for us.  Serendipity.  His providence.  God definitely knows what He’s doing.

tumblr_m27ph7F7bL1r6479vo1_1280We dream.  And we dream BIG!  I recently read something about dreaming that said 80 percent of Americans say they do not have dreams.  I’m not talking about night-time, as you slumber, dreams; I am talking about the type that you fantasize about, that you get excited and giddy and enthusiastic and passionate about.  The type that you sit and day dream about, or sit for hours on end with a cup of tea and talk to your hubs about.  Those kind of dreams!  This post that I read also stated “awakening and owning the dreams that God has placed in our hearts isn’t about getting stuff or attaining something.  It’s about embracing who we are and who He has created us to be.” (from the book Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge)  He has created in my hubs and I the dream of travel and adventure (among other things) He has placed in our hearts that desire and through our faith in those dreams, He has opened up ALL sorts of experiences.images

We have already been dreaming for this year.  We are already elated for what will be awakened in us.  We are moving into this year with renewed passion, courage, brave-determination and a confidence in He who planted our dreams.

I love the new year.  Think of those words: NEW YEAR.  You have the ability to start over.  Wipe the slate clean.  Let go of the past.  Forgive.  Imagine.  Move forward into your dreams.  What are they?  Have you sat down to consider them?  Have you made new goals?  Have you day-dreamed?  Sometimes our dreams can seem unattainable.  Sometimes, we hear a whisper of a dream in our hearts but are too afraid to go for it.  To have the unbridled courage to reach out and grasp it.  To allow ourselves to be unchecked, uncontrolled and unconstrained in our ambitions, desires and passions.

Do you have the dream of travel?  How about running your first marathon or half-marathon, 5K or your first mile?  How about learning something new?  Learning to swim or a new language or to play a new instrument?  How about learning to surf?  Jumping out of an airplane?  How about a Triathlon?  Maybe…even a chance to write for Runner’s World Magazine as I did this year (link here) Dream BIG!!

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What are your dreams for the New Year?

Goodbyes and Hellos

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Taking a few moments out of the first day of the year to do some reflecting~

Revisiting.

As I look back over the past twelve months of 2012, a great sense of gratitude floods my mind. Gratitude in knowing that it was a well-lived year. It was full of growth, some hard, but necessary. Full of new adventure, full of living life to the utmost, and full of the love and laughter of friends and family. I am grateful for many new friendships that sprang to life this past year, as well as the ones who have been in my life forever. I am grateful for my family that surrounds me every single day with so much love that it makes my heart want to burst. I am grateful for some hard lessons learned about life. I have learned the shortness of life and that no one is guaranteed tomorrow. I have learned that people aren’t always who they say they are. I’ve learned to not take anyone for granted. I have learned if you want something, go ahead and fight for it, walk right up to it, and go through it, boldly, securely…even if it ends badly…at least you tried.

I say every year that THIS was the best year ever, but it often seems like the current outdoes the past. And 2012 was no exception. It was a phenomenal year!! God is so good! And He knows just how to orchestrate a life for me, that is everyday, a blessing. I had more good times this year, than I knew what to do with. I just know there are a few more lines on this face from smiling and laughing my way through this year!

So “gratitude” is my farewell word to two thousand and twelve. Unimaginable gratitude.

 

Resolutions.

I have zero. I think we oftentimes have well-meant intentions, but find that they go by the way side. I don’t think that is the aim for most, but it happens. I have never used one day out of the year to make a proclamation of goals and dreams. I live that out daily. Year round. It works for me. My goals change, my dreams change, my intent to do things differently gets side-lined for something way more incredible. And I roll with it.

I do promise myself to continue being as authentic as possible. Knowing I do not need to change a thing about who I am, if I am true to self. Loving without abandon those around me (even and especially when my heart gets stepped on) and to continue to surround myself with people who are real to themselves and others, who are optimistic and treat those around them with love and compassion, and who know the best medicine in life is laughter and light-heartedness. (Because sometimes…all you can do is laugh at yourself) I promise to walk in unselfishness, without bitterness and to give wholly of myself to those I adore.

I vow to have great escapades, wondrous travel and new experiences this coming year, but to also take time to rejoice in the quiet and alone time of just sitting in the silence of my house. Doing nothing but staring into the still surrounding me.

I want to delight in the smallest of things. Seek out every miracle, no matter the size or happening, even in the negative, I will see the good.

I want to give new strength and energy to continuing on my quest of cooking more healthy meals. Dive in head first into the new training season. Log copious amounts of running miles, both on road and trail.

I want to be up on posting more on my blog…which oftentimes goes for long periods with no love.

I want to do some more experimenting with smoothies, and start juicing WAY more.

I want to spend more time on my knees in prayer being thankful for what I have and not asking God for anything more.

I want God to challenge me, everyday, again and again as He grows me even more and more into the person I am in Him.  And may I always hear His still, small, voice, and always walk the path He has for me.

I want to read even MORE than I do now.  Reading is learning.

I want to start working on learning to speak the beautiful Italian language.

What are your ideas and traditions in the New Year? Do you make resolutions? Do you make changes or stay just the way you are and want to be? I hope whatever your journey is, that you have an extraordinary and remarkable two thousand thirteen. I already know it will be unforgettable!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR

~~We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. – Edith Lovejoy Pierce