Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wrangling: {Centered}

(A weekly round up. Once weekly, I am going to “wrangle” the past weeks’ happenings into a post filled with pictures, lists & general tidbits about the past 7 days.)

...And, yes, this is totally a Wednesday feature ... Maybe we can think of this as an April Fools' trick -- Surprise! It's Friday! Next week we'll be back to the regular schedule:)

A peek into my life this week:
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Oh my, I live for lazy weekend mornings. This past weekend was filled with caramel sticky buns (recipe here!), bottomless cups of hot coffee, and leisurely catch-up conversations. Hooray that we're almost to another weekend!

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"These Days" (to borrow a phrase from a lovely friend :)

For the past week I've been in a bit of a funk. 2 weeks ago, today, I was riding high: it was a Friday (which never fails to cheer me), and I had finished a whole week of waking early to run & do devotions. I was so proud of myself! I was making positive steps in the right direction ... each day getting a little closer to living my dream. For one hot second, I felt like I had all my (proverbial) balls in the air... and juggling them felt... effortless.

And then the next week they all came crashing down.

Nothing bad happened to cause me to get off track ... life happened. Fatigue pushed, and I didn't push back. I started hitting my snooze button again, and slacking on devotions. ...I knew it wasn't good for me, but, for the life of me, I couldn't manage to get myself out of bed at 5:14... or 5:45 ... or 6:15. Sigh. And the longer I went on like this, the more frustrated I became with myself. ..You know, when you take charge of your life & become the keeper and protector of your dreams, you're really the only one to blame when things start going awry. I felt like I was sabotaging myself. ...Needless to say, this past week was not a great week for my self-esteem.

I haven't talked about it much on the blog, but self-confidence & self-love is something I think about a lot. I think that it's hard not to think about these things (at least sometimes), as we are bombarded daily by both positive (see here!) and negative media influences. I believe that you need to love & respect yourself, so that you can give the best of yourself to others. But we all know that it's one thing to believe in an idea, and another to live it.

I know that what immediately pops into your mind when I say "self-confidence" or "self-esteem" is probably appearance. And while I do deal with periods of self-doubt and negativity about that (i.e.: it was not a good day last week when I shrunk my black "skinny dress pants" in the wash...), for the most part, that doesn't plague me half as much as "life comparison" does. My biggest downfall is when I think, "Boy, she's really got it together..." and I start picking apart my life from there. Rationally, I know that I will never know all the intimate details of someone else's life, and that what I see is, in large part, what they choose to show me. My faith tells me that I am beautiful & unique and loved; perfect in the midst of my imperfections. Yet I falter; and on the darkest days I find myself heartbroken, on my knees and crying out to the universe, "Am I enough?!"

As I "grow up", I am learning how to deal with these situations. It's trial by fire, for sure, but I am learning. I'm learning that it's okay to feel frustrated sometimes, if I allow my feelings to fuel me and push me toward positive changes. I'm learning that sometimes being discontent is a greater power nudging my heart and whispering 'There's something more for you. ... Time to move forward.' ... I decided to let yesterday be the day I turned the corner on my week of "down in the dumps". I'm going to give myself a little grace: no longer dwelling on my failures, but rather, loving myself & paying it forward.

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And now, to pull it all together and wrap this up in true Amy-fashion, here's a Good List for you :)

The "How-I-Pulled-Myself-Out-of-a-Funk" (& other things that just make me happy) Good List:

(Pre-dinner drinks with J. Killians, baby!)

1. Jon, my best friend. Making normal evenings "date night".... chatting together over a drink while we wait for dinner to heat up.

(Most flattering picture ever, hehe. Happy after my run)

2. I came home and went for a tough, but empowering, run yesterday evening. I was determined to sweat out all the 'bad energies' (doesn't that sound very "hippy" of me?) that had been clinging to me for the past week; determined to regain my balance, my center, my focus. I ran my little heart out & returned drained, but peaceful.
And it was good.

3. In the spirit of "loving myself" and paying it forward, I gave myself a manicure last night. Roll your eyes if you must, but having polished fingernails makes me feel a little more polished and together in every aspect of my life. It's the little things that make big differences.

4. Gracie snuggles.

5. Despite the snow that fell Wednesday afternoon and evening, our spring flowers persevere.

6. My present to myself late last week was a frosting bag & tips. (I know this is nerdy of me, but: Squee!!!) This represents so much hope & possibility to me-- I've always wanted to frost the perfect cupcake. I've been stock-piling cupcake recipes from Jenna for who-knows-how-long.... I'm so excited to spend quality time in my kitchen this weekend....

7. {re-focusing} I mapped out my weekend run today. It's a nice little 5k, and I'm excited to run it on Sunday morning!

8. Okay, so, as some of you probably know, yesterday was Opening Day. (Fine, I admit it, I didn't know until my boss came in wearing a Cincinnati Reds jersey... bosses are allowed to do things like that, even if it isn't casual Friday... or, you know, Friday ;) Anyway, yesterday afternoon while I was working, he turned on the radio to listen to the game. While this might have been annoying to some people, it didn't bother me at all. In fact, hearing "game audio" reminds me of my childhood: late Saturday afternoons in Carlisle. Of course, with Grandpa it was football, not baseball... but for a girl who hears 'game commentary' much like Charlie Brown hears his teachers ("Wop-wah-wah-wah-wohh..")it's pretty much the same thing. I remember the way soft dusk began to fall outside as my grandma bustled around the kitchen, prompting all sorts of warm & wonderful dinner smells to emanate from the kitchen. We would be upstairs 'playing barbies' (Me & Laurie or maybe even Heidi & my other cousins) and the sounds of the game would drift up. I close my eyes and it takes me back instantly ... and the comfort I feel is indescribable; except perhaps by a deep sigh of my heart.

Love that.
(not quite bread quality, but past when I attempt to eat them)

9. I'm sure you know by now that I am not a fan of bananas. ... But banana bread?! Oh my, Yes! These little babies have been patiently ripening in my kitchen (& actually, it looks like they still have a few days to go!)... just waiting for their minute of glory.

10. Remembering and keeping promises to myself.
"There are few experiences in life in which my physical and psychological abilities are as sharply defined as they are during marathon training and racing...The training and racing experiences have shown me sides of myself that I never knew existed. I've found perseverance, an ability to focus, stubbornness, compulsiveness, bravery, organization, a sense of humor, and a capacity for unbridled joy. "
--Gordon Bakoulis Bloch

Hope you are having a fantastic week, friends.
Any good weekend plans? Do tell!