New Years Resolutions .2012

Whether you make New Year’s Resolutions or not, there is something about the turn of the calendar to a brand spanking new year that gets us all a little more hopeful for a better outcome. Two Thousand Twelve wasn’t necessarily a bad year for me, but it definitely wasn’t what I thought it was. It started off with me having started a new position at work that was quite an experience. I felt on top of the world and terrified at the same time. My husband and I were barely connecting and I often wondered what was wrong with me. I was getting sick a lot. I did some travel- Vegas and Boulder, CO. When the fifth month of the year rolled around, I was burnt out with stress and uncertainty. I decided to take care of myself!

That’s what I’ve been doing for the majority of the rest of this beautiful 2012. I’ve reconciled with my husband and I’m happier than I ever have been with our relationship. It took a lot of looking inward to find forgiveness and love. I’ve been eating more cleanly and getting more exercise. I’ve come back to my first love- writing. I write every single day. I’ve set some boundaries with people, but I have so far to go. I’m trying to find what makes me tick.

Hello, 2013! This year is special because it’s exactly ten years since I’ve graduated high school and also ten years since I met who is now my husband. TEN YEARS! Man, time flies. So here’s what I wish for this upcoming year:

1. ACCEPT instead of judging. This will be a tough one for me because I have a natural inclination to write people’s stories for them. I see someone and I concoct what they must be. Defining and labeling a person is a speciality, albeit not one that I’m proud of it. Next time I catch myself doing it, I gotta slap my hand and say, ” Cut that out, Chanel.”

2. MORE ME TIME! This can be a lot of things. Walking, journaling, blogging, shopping, bubble baths, music, nature, spa, buying myself something small.

3. LOSING WEIGHT. I make this resolution every year. I did fairly well in 2010 with losing a total of 55 pounds. I was immensely proud of myself and I will do it again. Only this time, I have a very hefty goal. I’m going big (or, small in this case) or going home. My goal is a total of 85-90 lbs. Yes, I want to be thin, but I also strive for healthy.

4. FULFILLING WORK. I’ve been looking for work for quite a while now! It’s been much tougher than I imagined. But I know that there is a plan for me. I’m actually going into this year with much better energy and a more positive outlook than I have any other year. I know that I have the skill set and the know how to succeed and I will.

5. COOK MORE! I’ve been cooking much more than I ever have and I will continue that trend. As a type this, I have a lasagna in the oven. ( MY FIRST!) Eating out is not the way to go when your other resolution is to lose weight. So I’ve been researching healthier alternatives and recipes. Even if no one eats it but me, I will make healthy food.

Advertisements

December Photo Edition

Hiking.

Hiking.

December was full of moments that were fun and full of life. Not everyday was a picnic, but I feel that out of the last few months, this has been my favorite. I honestly do love the holiday season. It has been spoiled quite a few times with long hours, unruly people, and no plans. But not this year. I even cooked a few dishes for Christmas dinner.

I think that I was blessed to not have all that much to worry about. Because I’m not working, I did feel guilty about not being able to give gifts. However, my presence and my attention just has to be enough sometimes. If it’s not enough, then I guess I’m hanging out with the wrong people. I’m enjoying finding things becoming easier and meeting like-minded people. I’m hoping as this year comes to a close and the new year begins, that things will continue on a good path.

What are some things you enjoyed about this month? What are things you’re looking forward to in the new year?

At the River!

At the River!

Husband & I

Husband & I

Cute pillows I got on sale for 50% off. Gotta love after Christmas sales.

Cute pillows I got on sale for 50% off. Gotta love after Christmas sales.

Oh snap! Mike got all the guys in his family this shirt.

Oh snap! Mike got all the guys in his family this shirt.

Me & Michael on Christmas 2012.

Me & Michael on Christmas 2012.

Michael and I at the Grove.

Michael and I at the Grove.

 

 

Squandered Potential

I was reading another blog that was featured on a weight loss website that I’ve been part of for years. ( If you’re interested, the site is SPARKPEOPLE.com) The blog was a funny dialogue between a man and the universe. The universe comes to visit him in human form and they have a conversation about the state of things in his life and with society in general. The universe states, ” There’s nothing I hate more than squandered potential.” 

The universe delivers what he sees wrong with the world with a bit of humor but what he says is true. We can build infrastructure and develop technology, but we can’t seem to grasp the concept that building bonds and relationships with each other is key. We seem to understand a global economy ( money, money, money! $) but can’t understand that we’re all citizens of the world. We are so hung up on our differences that we aren’t seeing the bigger picture. I heard somewhere that we’re all 99 percent similar in our genetic makeup and only 1 percent different. That one percent sure as hell gets a lot of attention, doesn’t it? 

I have to admit in the wake of a tragedy such as Sandy Hook, I’ve been impressed with our communities once again coming together. The 20/26 acts of kindness also spread a smile on my face. We have so much potential to show that we are more spiritual beings and that we understand that small acts of kindness can reverberate in the universe. However, we get hung up on our egos and what we have that the next person doesn’t. We’re often lost in judgment and labeling. Whether we see a drug addict, a homeless person, a drunk, we describe them as a bad person. They aren’t. They are lost. By judging them instead of extending help, advice, kindness, we’re also lost. So much squandered potential. 

I also get hung up on accumulating material things. I also judge. I often turn that judgment on myself. But lately, I’ve been really trying to see the bigger picture. Perhaps I need the universe to pay me a visit as well. 

 

“Kid, you have Moxie!”

There was one person in my life that I never doubted their intention and his name was Ray. From the day I met him when I was sixteen, I was immediately taken in by his energy. He was a businessman who could negotiate like a pro, he never took anyone’s crap, and yet he was kind and generous as well. He was my mother’s significant other and even though they never married, I still refer to him as my stepfather. I never had the relationship I always wanted with my biological father so when Ray came into my life, I was blessed.

He saw in me what I wanted others to see in me. He saw that I worked hard in school and sat down with me to determine next steps (i.e. College). He told me about some schools he thought would be good for me. We wrote applications together and he never hesitated to write the admissions check. I knew that he knew what he was talking about and only wanted to see me succeed. To have someone take an interest in my future and not worry about the cost was a new concept to me.

After I graduated high school, I ended up attending college in the town where my mother and Ray lived. He didn’t want me to have to worry about paying for a dorm room my first year, so he set up a room in their house for me. Upon arriving, he took me to the store and said, ” Kid, go pick out a bedroom set.” I did. He paid for it and had it delivered. He let me use his SUV to go to and from my classes. If I wanted to meet up with high school friends on the weekend, he would hand me the keys and some cash and say, ” Have fun!”

He knew that from the age of 12 until I was 17 (when I graduated), I had not been treated well. He wanted me to know that not all parents are like that. That not all people are like those I grew up with. He wanted me to know that my future was my own and as long as I stayed on the correct path, he would be there to support me as the father I always wanted. When I met my now husband, he cautioned me and reminded me to take things slow. He stressed that education would take me far in life. He would say, ” Kid, you got moxie. You just have it. Don’t lose it.” He made me believe in myself.

In 2006, I decided to move to California. When I was debating whether or not to do it. Ray would say, ” Don’t live with what ifs! Do it! If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back. You know that.” It helped knowing that I had support either way. I moved. I ended up making it work here. When my boyfriend (now my husband) and I got our first apartment, Ray sent checks for the first four months for us to get things for our apartment.

In 2008, I got a phone call from my mom saying that Ray was not doing well. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had also suffered a stroke. I flew back to Pennsylvania and that same weekend, Ray passed away. I don’t even know if he knew I was there. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. I had lost the person who had given me a gift– loving me and believing in me and not expecting anything in return. I fell into a deep,dark depression.

I went to grief counseling and tried to work through it. It was hard. I ate to soothe myself. This was the year that I gained A LOT of weight. I just wanted to be numb. Life was going on. I still had to work. I still had to make a life. A person has been taken from the world and I’m still here. Nothing I did made me feel any better. So I just shoved it down and ate, and ate.

There are days where I look at my bachelor’s degree and I say a silent Thank You. I thank Ray for believing in me. There are days where I hope that he knows how much of an impact he had on my life. There are days where I wish that he was still around for my mom. I know it was hard on her, too. I think about him often.

I still hear him saying, ” Kid, you got moxie!” I hope that I can continue to live up to that. That I’ll never lose my nerve and vigor. That I’ll keep moving through this life making him proud of me.

Gratitude Monday

I had a wonderful weekend and I hope you all did, too. I always look forward to weekends as I’m sure most people do. 

Things I’m grateful for: 

– Smiling at my dogs in their winter sweaters
-Colder Weather = More Snuggling and Cuddling (always a plus in my book) 
– Massages
-Exercise in Nature
-Planning Meals
-Planning Christmas Dinner
-Typing on a new computer ( it’s amazing how much I can get done now!) 
-Coffee made easy by my Keurig 

I have a lot of little things to be grateful for. When you stop looking for these huge expectations, you start to realize that all the little things add up to be a pretty great day. 

The Results Are the Same Every Time

Do you ever do something hoping to achieve different results? Do you think that because you are changing that other people will also change? Do you give yourself over to the old behaviors because you feel like the relationship will never evolve? 

I did this today when I picked up the phone to call my mother. I knew that the conversation would be draining but I always think that maybe this time she will be more upbeat, more together, less judging, less passive aggressive. WRONG. She started off with her usual drivel about whatever ailment she has on this day at this time. She hogged the conversation not letting me get a word in edgewise. Typical narcissism. She complained about everything from not having anyone to spend Christmas with to the type of laundry detergent she is using that has a fragrance that is bothering her. Sounds like someone you would want to spend 45 minutes on the phone with, right? 

Yet, I pick up the phone every single time. She’s my mother and I’m supposed to love her. But do I have to like her? Do I have to accept her nonsense? Do I have to take her gifts she sends as a peace offering for the little digs she sprinkles in her conversations? Not necessarily. Today, she made sure that I knew that my brother had paid for her washing machine to be fixed and that she had received a giftcard from him. She said nothing about the Christmas card I sent her. Right now, I’m not working so I don’t have the means to buy anyone Christmas gifts. However, each year before I’ve always spent quite a bit on others on gifts. This is my year to take care of myself and find my peace. If I can’t buy you a gift, I’m terribly sorry that our relationship comes down to monetary objects. 

She is always comparing me to my brother. My marriage to his. Because she has done this, I started doing it as well. It has been incredibly damaging to my self esteem and to my marriage. I’m not him, nor do I want to be him. It’s funny that she sings his praises so much now because he was never there for her before. 

I guess I’m going to have to be less and less available to others and more and more available for myself. I should know by now that the results will be the same and to not put myself on the line for it anymore. 

Saturday Stack-Up

-Cuddling with the Husband & Dogs

– Taking a Walk in the Brisk weather while listening to Podcast

– Having my new computer set up with an updated operating system

– Toy Story 

– Falling Asleep under my Electric Blanket

– Having the Dogs take their annual picture with Santa

– Grocery Shopping 

Growing up and Gaining Life Experience

When we turn 18, we often have an idea of how we want our life to go. We are naive because we haven’t had any life experience. We don’t foresee the circumstances and people who will shape our lives in the future. We only know that we have certain expectations and ambitions. We believe that what we know to be true will always be true. 

However, as we grow older we see it doesn’t quite work out that way. People come into your life and surprise you. People grow and change. Elation and tragedy roll in to create the best experiences in your life and the worst. You adapt. You flex. You move on. But you are not unchanged. You watch others and want to emulate them, forgetting that what they have might not be what is best for you. You learn to love, you learn to let go, you learn to compromise. You begin to realize what feels right for you. 

You fall in love. You may or may not get married. You may or may not have a family. You get a job, you lose a job. You gain weight, you lose weight. You slowly remember the hobbies that you dropped when you were all consumed with your work. You watch the news daily and you see those that take lives. But you also see those who donate their time and money to enrich lives. You don’t see the world as black and white, it really is shades of grey. 

You love your husband. You love your dogs. You realize that there is more to life than holding tight to “how it should be.” You just want to be. You just want to be as loving and kind as you can without also being taken advantage of. You don’t need the fancy job, you just want a job that you can deal with and that may even bring some pleasure. You want to learn how to communicate more effectively. You want to connect. 

Life experience is to be treasured. What are some things that are different now in your life from how you thought it would be when you were 18? What are you grateful for? 

50 Things I Believe In

The things you believe in can tell a lot about you as a person. I recently ran across a list from another woman on a blog she wrote for a weight loss website I am also part of. I was inspired by her list and thought I’d attempt my own. 

1. That you have everything you need to succeed inside you, you just have to tap into it.
2. That we are more afraid of success than of failure. 
3. My Dogs are the best ( every dog owner believes this, I think) 
4. Reading is the best hobby you can share with children
5. Giving is always better than receiving, but there has to be some balance, too.
6. Nature is healing
7. Coffee is a slice of heaven
8. There are more good people than bad people in the world. 
9. Sparkly things will always put a smile on my face
10. Women have so much strength and yet because we are emotional, we often are made to think we are weaker. Showing emotion is strength, not weakness. 
11. If you can’t articulate with your mouth, pick up a pen. Get your story out there. 
12. The truth is always better than a lie, even if it hurts. 
13. You never truly know a person until you ask them about their childhood. 
14. The ego will lead you to do destructive things all in the name of appearance for appearance sake. 
15. A good night sleep will cure a lot. 
16. Television is mostly white noise. 
17. Connecting with a person is the best feeling. 
18. If you trust that you’re in the right place at the right time doing the exact right thing you should be doing, you will be. 
19. Ask and you shall receive. 
20. Asking for help doesn’t make you a burden.
21. Plan for the future, but live in the present. 
22. Always take time for yourself, never give that up. 
23. Women are scary when they are PMSing. Poor men. 
24. Men can do dishes, too. 
25. There will be a woman president in my lifetime and I will cry when it happens. 
26. Education is something no one can ever take from you. 
27. Do as much as you can, Learn as much as you can, and LIVE as much as you can. 
28. Forgive people. They are only human and they know not what they do. 
29. Walking is the best and easiest form of exercise for anyone. 
30. Life moves too quickly. 
31. You can’t outrun your problems. It’s best to deal with them head-on. 
32. Take lots of photos because one day you’ll look back and go, ” Wow, what an incredible lifetime.” 
33. Patience and Tolerance are severely lacking in today’s society. Everything is convenient, quick, and impersonal. Don’t be. 
34. Share your gifts with the world and the world will share its gifts with you. 
35. Traveling and seeing other cultures is the best university money can buy. 
36. I’ll always love Santa Clause and I will wave to him at the Christmas Tree Lot. 
37. The words, ” Snap out of it.” have come to have a very poor connotation for me. This is my truth and my life. I don’t just snap out of it. How about you snap out of being an insensitive asshole? 
38. Basketball games are entertaining. 
39. I have a very loud inner voice and a very soft spoken voice that others hear. 
40. If you’re tired, lay down. 
41. Volunteering your time is rewarding. Time is more valuable than money. Always. 
42. The more you are grateful for, the more those things will show up in your life. 
43. Writing is therapy. 
44. If someone doesn’t agree with you, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong. 
45. Driving is a pain in the butt. Can we get teleports already? 
46. Exercise always will make you feel better. 
47. Befriend people that don’t see eye to eye with you and you’ll soon learn how much in common you really do have. 
48. Work as hard as you can but never more than that. 
49. Remember that your body is just a vessel that carries around your soul. Both need nourishment. 
50. LOVE unconditionally. Yes, people will hurt you, disappoint you, make you want to scream. Love them anyway. It’s not really about them, anyway. 

Are you lifeless?

“I don’t think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed it’s beauty to them.” | Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

 

I couldn’t love this quote anymore if I tried. It’s true. The real soldiers in life are the ones who aren’t accepting it as ” this is how it has to be.” I remember when I was complaining to my husband about the long commute to work and he remarked, ” Everyone here in Los Angeles does it. ” Instead of screaming, “But I’m not everyone and I’m actually having a really tough time with this” I just accepted what he said as fact. Everyone does this and here I am– defunct. I so readily accepted what he said as how it ought to be. I must be wrong and defective. 

I unfortunately have surrounded myself with people who are more impressed with trying to achieve the status quo than to really examine what they want out of life. They may think they are impressing others with their car, their clothes, their whatever but they aren’t fooling those that actually value life. Drones that haven’t felt anything, don’t believe in anything, and tell you things that aren’t true. When someone says, ” but everyone….” run the other way because not everyone does anything. 

People are individuals. Individuals with preferences, opinions, likes and dislikes, thoughts, and beliefs. You can’t discount them because they aren’t your own. The people that do this are so afraid of being found out that their way of looking at life is complete bullshit. They build houses of cards. They are afraid to reveal themselves. I know because I was sucked into this trap. Whatever others believe must be the way because I didn’t trust myself enough to go my own way. But my gut knew. This whole time my gut knew. When something didn’t quite sit right with me, my instinct would try to tell me, but I’d shove it down. 

So when the quote speaks of regrets and of stumbling, I do believe that you can’t see the beauty of life without first becoming aware of what isn’t beautiful.