Thankful Thursday: Catching Up

Is there any feeling more glorious than crossing items off your to-do list? Okay, maybe the endorphin rush after a long run (oooohhh, it is so good), but little else can compete with the feeling of getting.shit.done.

On today’s Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for Catching Up.

On what? Work, volunteer tasks, house projects, and even with friends. This week has been all about let’s do this, knock it off the list, we’re accomplishing stuff (except fat-butt Tuesday). And lunch with a fun friend, brunch with a wild bunch, and instant messages with one of my fave people ever has me floating high on some kind of cloud-nine with lots of check marks and happy faces swirling about.

I think someone spiked my coffee.

Today is a feeling of accomplishment … and although those accomplishments mostly revolve around simple things like chatting with friends, ordering shirts for a work event, or finally steam cleaning my carpets, I’m celebrating them anyway.

On today’s Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for feeling like I’m starting to catch up. What have you caught up on this week?

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Mind Over Matter (Even if the Matter is Your Butt)

Yesterday, I woke up happy. In fact, I felt great. I took note that my skinny jeans (which are a little too tight) felt pretty good and not-so-tight. I was happy with my outfit choice and I looked and felt refreshed.

Feeling ambitious, I stepped on the scale thinking I must have lost a few pounds to feel so great (the issue is already clear).

Well, to my shock, I had actually gained four pounds from two days prior. Four pounds. Huh.

I tried not to let it bother me. But, it did. I kept thinking, “How could I possibly have gained weight? I have been eating healthy. I missed a few workouts, but had an active weekend. How could it be possible that I’m getting fat?” (Fat… from four pounds… really? You can see how the issue is building.)

Within an hour, I found myself reaching for a muffin.It doesn’t matter,” I thought. I’m gaining weight when I eat healthy so why not eat a muffin. Why bother trying?

I didn’t drink that much water. “Puh, drinking extra water clearly doesn’t help my fat-butt anyway and I’m tired,” I said to myself. So, I relied on coffee for most of the morning and found myself nearly falling asleep at my desk after lunch.

Around 3pm, tempted by trail-mix in the break room, I caved. I gobbled down the trail-mix with the lingering, Why bother? You’re getting fat anyway,” thoughts in the back of my head.

By the time I left work, I was tugging at my too-tight jeans and wallowing in self-pity because I felt gross.

We ate dinner as a family and, instead of playing with the little dude, I put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the TV because I was too tired to do anything else. I mindlessly munched on chocolate chips and spent the evening on my laptop.

By the time I put my tiny guy to bed, I couldn’t wear my skinny jeans anymore because they were so uncomfortable. I ate more chocolate chips.

I put on baggy jammies and went to bed disappointed, down, grumpy, and feeling exhausted.

All because the scale said, “You gained four pounds.”

I took a perfectly good start to the day and let my own perception of what an extra four pounds meant create negative self-talk, dictate my food choices, impact my activities, and result in a pretty awful day.

It’s sad and unfortunate.

Don’t be like me. If you feel good, embrace every part that feels good. If you don’t feel good, don’t let negative thoughts impact your choices or drag you down. You can feel better with good decisions, a little positive thinking, and some movement.

Mind over matter does work – both ways. Choose the positive way.

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Thankful Thursday: the Skimm

the-skimmI’m gonna admit it. I’ve never been fully up-to-speed on current affairs. I’m the one who quietly shrinks away from the group conversation; suddenly becomes interested that, uh, really interesting thing right over there; or just nods and puts an inquisitive furrow in my brow (as if I totes know what you’re saying) when international news, politics or economics discussions come up.

But all that changed when I found the Skimm. This handy little email service delivers the top news stories in an easy-to-read, entertaining and very digestible format. If you’re a busy lady (or a man) who needs to stay in-the-know on world events but doesn’t have the time or patience to scour news sources on the daily, I’d sign up right now.

Then, let me know if you like it, we’ll grab coffee and talk about stuff that’s happening in the world. On today’s Thankful Thursday, I’m thankful for the Skimm.

What are you thankful for today?

 

Thankful Thursday: A Short Week

Oh my, it’s been awhile since we had a Thankful Thursday around here! I have to admit, I missed it. And on this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful that it’s kinda like Friday!

The thing about a short week is, it’s rarely just the one day that feels special. The whole week seems to be impacted by the idea that everyone is taking off the same workday. It’s kind of magical (or maybe I’m just delighted by simple things).

On today’s Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for this short week because:

  • Meetings have been relaxed and casual.
  • I get an extra day with my main men.
  • Waking up on Monday was sort of like waking up on Tuesday.
  • I can have more than one post-game IPA after my soccer game tonight.
  • We get to have a whole weekend. And then we also have Sunday.
  • #WorldCup2014
  • Singing Happy Birthday to America.
  • Getting caught up at work since so many folks are out this week.
  • Fireworks.
  • Spending Friday in the Poudre Canyon.
  • Grilling with friends.
  • Cooking family breakfast three days in.a.row.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Maybe a quick Friday 5k.
  • Dressing up the little one in red, white and blue.
  • Waking up today was definitely like waking up on a Friday.

I hope you enjoy your short week. Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

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Top 3 Principles to Apply to Work (or Anything)

Back in 2005, I was a Catering Manager for a small hotel in Wyoming. A few months in, I was introduced to a company who threw elaborate employee events. I helped them select entrees, design the best room schematic, and even provided my recommendations for decor and entertainment (let me tell you how I much truly LOVED this job). I started off doing their holiday event, then did a couple of staff meetings and then they asked me to do their Summer Picnic.

The day of the Summer Picnic came. We had planned a scramble on our Executive Golf Course and big BBQ bash under huge canopy tents outside … and it rained.

And, I don’t mean it drizzled. It down-poured. It rained cats and dogs … and sideways. Halfway through their scramble we closed the golf course due to wind and lightening. Shortly after, power went down across town and in our hotel – which meant we had no kitchen. It was on this day that I learned the three most important lessons I know about being a professional.

1. At some point in your life, you will be the person who deals with the crap. So, suck it up and do it gracefully.

Of course, most of the time, I mean metaphorical crap. Answering the phones, working late on the holiday weekend, getting the coffee, etc. Everyone, in the early stages of their career, will have to be ‘that guy.’

However, in this instance, I mean actual crap. The hotel had these power-flush toilets that, no kidding, didn’t flush if the power was out. In addition to the guests of the summer picnic, we had the usual hotel crowd, restaurant patrons, and stranded travelers who were run off the road from the storm. It was a full house.

Turns out, the toilets did work if they were pressurized by a strong current. And so myself, and several other unfortunate employees, hauled buckets of water from the hotel pool to the bathroom and poured them down the toilets to pressurize them into flushing. It worked. And it was horrible. But, it had to be done. And at that point in my career, I was the person to roll up my sleeves and do it.

2. Even when everything is falling apart, remain calm.

The people who are most successful are not the people who never fail, but are the people who are the quickest to recover.

On the aforementioned rainy day, I couldn’t control the weather and I couldn’t control our power which meant I couldn’t get the kitchen to put out anything but our pre-made, cold food. Our event timeline was shortened because we only had so much time until the refrigerated food would be unsuitable for serving. And, of course, the sun would be setting soon.

So, we moved the whole thing inside, lit candles and served the chilled dishes. Our catering team stepped up the service and didn’t skip a beat when it came to half-empty glasses and discarded dishes. And I smiled and chatted with the company’s management team who ate cold food in the dark.

In a work or professional setting, the ability to put aside your feelings of anxiety, disappointment, and anger is key. It can be easy to let others see you panic. And, it can be easy to start barking orders out of mounting frustration and being overwhelmed. But, don’t. Take a deep breath and remain calm (you can cry in your car after).

3. Be accountable.

That day, I could have pointed fingers at the Chef and said they should have cooked the hot foods earlier. I could have complained that our back up generators weren’t functioning properly and it was the General Manager’s fault. I could have been grumpy and unhelpful because it was Mother Nature’s fault, not mine, and just cancelled the whole thing. But, I didn’t. It was my event and I was responsible for executing it no matter what.

If it’s yours, own it. Don’t point fingers (no matter how tempting or justifiable) and get the job done.

So, what happened?

One week after the soggy summer picnic in the dark, the company called and offered me a job as a full-time, in-house event planner. I stayed with them for over eight years and they helped me shape career path that I love. I recently left them (which was a tough decision) to start on a new journey but am still applying these three principles, along with the skills they gave me, to everything I take on.

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Oh, What’s In a Blog?

It’s been slightly over six months since my last post.

To whomever has been checking this blog regularly in that quiet period, thank you.

There are a lot of reasons that I’ve quit writing. The new job that I mentioned back in January has certainly has kept me busier than I expected. The narcissism that is all social media and personal blogging has held me back. The uncertainty in what value I can bring to an already cluttered internet has also stopped me.

But, I haven’t shut this blog down for a reason. I’m not quite sure what that reason is.

In the back of my mind, I’m always thinking about writing, wanting to write, wishing my writing was better and, of course, I online stalk other writers who I admire. But one question I keep asking myself is, does blogging even count as writing? And, if it does, am I providing any real insights, help, or value to others?

Full disclosure, deep down inside me, I have always hoped to write a book. Of course, I wrote a children’s book that lives on my laptop. But, I mean, I want to write a novel. A book that women can identify with, based on my limited life experience, only funnier and fictional. If I keep blogging, I’m at least practicing writing … but does it get me any closer to a book? Not so far. However, during my six month hiatus from blogging, I haven’t written one word. Not in a journal, not in a draft for a novel, nothing at all.

So, does blogging get me closer to a book? Unanswered.

The marketer in me asks, what do I hope to achieve by blogging? (What is the ROI?) Is it an image? Is this simply a platform to share what I’m proud of and to shape a picture of me in your mind? Maybe. But, is it real? Am I really the person I try to be online? A lot of studies suggest that few (and more likely none) of us really share who we are on Facebook or any social sharing platform. So, if I’m blogging about only my best self, does that elevate my writing, move my career forward, or make me a better mom? Does creating an image help anyone else?

It doesn’t.

To create value, you must be genuine. You must be passionate. You have to believe in your message. Oh yeah… you must have a message. Without a genuine, passionate perspective on something you’re truly obsessed with, what is your message?

That’s what I keep asking myself.

So, maybe this is a goodbye forever post. Or, maybe this a kick off to shaping whatever it is that I keep thinking I need to share with the world. If another post follows this one, it may be different than all those that came before it.

2014: The Year of Balance

Happy New Year!

Are we still saying that? It is already half-way through the first month of 2014… hard to be believe. Nonetheless, Happy New Year if I haven’t said it to you before today.

How are the new year resolutions going? I’m certain you’re all exceeding your own expectations.

Things have been a little wild in my corner of the world. The biggest news of all – I am starting a new job! I’m leaving my old company (which I’ll likely post about later this week) and will be starting as Marketing Manager of a new company next week. It’s amazing how life works out… I’m thrilled for a new adventure!

But, that’s not why I’m writing. Today, we’re talking about the new year and resolutions. Following my approach in 2013, I chose not to make resolutions this year. I know, list-lover that I am, it is odd to go against tradition on this one. But, I can’t shake the feeling that all the good from last year, as well as the ability to manage the bad, stemmed from my resolution to focus on the small stuff.

Yes, yes. Last year, I set out to accomplish all the little things – like flossing every night, regular exercise, and making my bed each morning,. Things someone in their thirties should probably have a good handle on, but I did not. I mean, who likes flossing? No one. But, my hope was that if I focused on little actions that they’d add up and turn into some big results. Luckily, they did just that.

2013 resulted in some major accomplishments and I’m so pleased with the year that I’d like to simply maintain all the good we were blessed with rather than reaching for anything new (except the job, of course!!).

So, in 2014, I’m focusing on balance. Last year, there were four months when all I did was run…. quite literally. There was several times where work was put before everything else. There have been more times that I can count when I look at my volunteer commitments and want to cry. Over the course of a year, it all evened itself out, but I know that my life was unbalanced at many times in efforts to achieve one thing or another.

In the new year, and with a new job, I hope to set realistic, achievable goals and set my boundaries and expectations early on. I hope to continue to workout regularly and make good eating choices even though I’ll be in an office again. I plan to spend less time on the computer and more time with my two guys and furry kids. I hope to limit my volunteer commitments to only those that that truly resonate with my values and not take on projects out of guilt, fear, or obligation. I’d like to take the little man on more adventures and be able to focus entirely on him and the moment – instead of having my mind race to other projects or tasks to do.

It’s already looking like a promising year and, I really believe, if I can maintain balance and keep the good from 2013 going, there’s no telling what could happen!

Happy New Year! What are your resolutions?

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2013: One of the Best

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Well, tomorrow is the last day of 2013 and, like most, I’m reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the year ahead. Unlike most, I can jog my memory for what actually happened in 2013 by reading my own blog.

And, I have to say, I’m quite pleased with the past year.

However, when I got to my New Year’s Resolution list for 2013 to see what I could cross off, I realized I didn’t make one. Gasp!

In the year that I bought a new house, vacationed in Mexico, hosted a Circus Party for my one-year old, saw Hillary Clinton speak, lost all feeling in my leg but then got it back, and then trained for and ran in the New York City Marathon, I didn’t set out to achieve anything.

I’m not really sure how to process this.

List-lover that I am, it doesn’t make sense that I accomplished anything without first writing it down. And yet, I can say that 2013 was probably one of the best year’s of my life. In fact, I really don’t know what to put on a list for 2014 because I’m not sure it can get much better.

Aside from my own achievements, this year was also the year my middle sister got married and my littlest sister got engaged. My dearest friends welcomed a new baby and we moved within a half-mile of each other. My brother moved across the country twice and is expecting a little boy next spring.

And the greatest news of all, my dad was diagnosed with stage 3 throat and tongue cancer and beat ithe is now 100% cancer free.

Yes, 2013 was full of surprise, blessings, change, and growth. You know, my spouse always says that 13 is his lucky number. It was his soccer jersey number when he was a kid and, oddly enough, both of the houses we’ve owned have had 13 in the address. After the year we’ve had, I think he’s right.

Let’s hope my soccer jersey number from when I was young, 14, will prove to be as good to us! I have a sneaking suspicion things are going to be great in 2014…. but more on that later.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you enjoy celebrating 2013 and have a wonderful 2014!

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Thankful Wednesday: Running

I’ve been wanting to write about the NYC Marathon since I got home from the race, but I keep getting intimidated by it. To express how I felt that day seems almost impossible. And, thanks to our digital world, I’ve already shared a lot of pictures, my race time, and other details about the race online in several formats (so sorry for the overkill!).

But, during this week of thanks, I have to express how thankful I am for running and especially for the opportunity to run the NYC Marathon. I finished the race in 3 hours  57 minutes and 3 seconds – exceeding my goal of 4 hours and 15 minutes by so much more than I expected.

Throughout the race my legs hurt, my left arm went numb and my feet ached, but the energy of the crowds and the excitement of running through the burroughs of New York kept me going. Also, a little prayer for special people in my life at the start of the hardest miles helped immensely.

When I hit mile 22, I knew I had a chance of finishing under four hours. And it was then that I started to really break down mentally and physically. But, lucky for me, that’s also when I hit Central Park.

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Literally thousands of people lined the streets with motivational signs and whistles, clapping, and loud cheers. On my left side, buildings reached up to the perfectly blue sky. And on my right, the golden leaves of hundreds of trees in Central Park sparkled.

When I saw the ‘1/2 Mile To Go!’ sign, I was passed by the 4-hour pacer and I became panic-stricken that I was going to miss my newly formed sub-4 goal. So, I kicked it into another gear … and pain shot through my knee.

At that moment, I realized I was literally giving every last piece of myself to get across the finish line. I put the pacer out of my head, confident in my timing, and gave all that I had to cross the finish. And, once I crossed, I cried.

Never in my life have I tried as hard as I did that day. Which, truth be told, may not be a good thing. But, it was certainly life changing. To know what could be accomplished and to understand what it feels like to fully give my all made me realize that I can do just about anything. If I try that hard in other aspects of life, there’s no telling what could happen.

Today I am thankful for running the best marathon and best race of my life. Running gives me peace, relieves stress, and keeps me sane. I’m thankful to have found a passion that compliments the rest of my life so well. Thanks for listening to me talk about the race one more time … I’ll stop now. :)

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Happy Thankful Wednesday! What are you thankful for today?

Thankful Tuesday: This Turkey

I think I’ve posted this silly image every year I’ve had this blog, so I apologize for repeating it once again. But, I just can’t help it. That goofball turkey face cracks me up every.single.time.

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I cut out this image and headline from the National Enquirer when I was in high school because it made me laugh until I cried. Somehow, I have managed to save it for years and years. And every time I look at it, that turkey makes me giggle.

Hope you had a terrific Tuesday! What are you Thankful for today?