Sunday, January 5, 2014

Excited to Join Bloglovin

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Plus, the newest shots for Project365:

Today, January 5

Meet Secura, January 4

Now, for the record, I won't be posting all cat pictures, but the top one just melts me! And since I introduced Ringo to the world, it seemed unfair to simply leave Secura in the shadows!

It is a chilly Sunday here, and the cold makes me so grateful to have a solid roof over my head, working heat, and little fuzzy faces to snuggle up with. I'm making progress on "The Lean" plan. Day one was to drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water, Day two focused on eating a hearty breakfast, and Day three's (today) commandment is to eat an apple. I'm going to stick to these three items for the next few days before moving on to day four to better establish them in my daily routine. I also went to the gym yesterday and ran on the treadmill in a 5:1 minute run/walk ratio. It was difficult, and I'm sore today, but I'm also thrilled to return to running. My next workout is Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it, although at the moment, my muscles are happy for the rest!

Is anyone else working toward wellness goals right now? What steps are you taking to create a healthier you?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January's Intention

An ice-defying fountain downtown; a little photography fun on New Year's Eve.

Simon and Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy in New York" is my current soundtrack for this blog post, courtesy of a "sunny winter days" playlist on, which is a brilliant online "mix-tape" website. I'm pretty sure the website will provide the soundtrack for my whole year; I can always find a playlist to suit my particular mood and be exposed to great new music at the same time. That's not a plug or ad, by the way, it is simply one of my new favorite things!

Anyway. Onto this month's focus: Intentional Wellness.

That is exactly like it sounds: my particular focus for January is personal wellness, most specifically physical wellness. Now, for the record, this blog is not intended to be a weight loss or health blog (*psst* Its an intentional living blog), but it my come off that way as I work on January's focus. If reading about health and wellness isn't your thing, I encourage to come back in February where my monthly focus will transition to another aspect of life (still deciding on the focus, although I've narrowed it down to a couple).

To help my in my Intentional Wellness journey, I've picked up the book "The Lean," by Kathy Freston. It is a guide to lasting wellness and aims to build healthy habits. I'm going to be candid with you about why I picked this book specifically: Ms. Freston gradually leads her readers to embrace a healthy vegan lifestyle. My husband and I are both vegetarians, and this year we aspire to go "vegan at home." The great thing about this book though, is that it is also about so much more, and it walks you through a 30-day process of adopting healthy habits. She also packs in the facts and research to support each step she suggests, which I love.

I'll be blogging regularly as I go through each day. My health is of critical importance to me, and it is integral to leading a life that I love, which is why it gets all the attention this first month.

Now, in addition to following the 30-day wellness plan, I'm going to start running again. Last spring I ran two 5Ks, and I loved them both. It was invigorating, as well as both life- and self-affirming. Running last spring really just made me feel good and feel grateful for what my body is capable of. Over the hot, hot summer and busy first semester of teaching, I gradually stopped running altogether, but instead of swimming in regret over them, I'm just going to pick it back up and hopefully build up my endurance for some 5Ks this spring. I can't wait!

Finally, as I blog about all this health stuff and embracing the very physical aspect of life, I'll also be trying to keep up with Project365, which I'm attempting for the first time this year. To that end:

January 1st: A message from my love
(Yeah, that's him in the background.)


January 2nd: Meet Ringo. Yes, his face really is that
big and beautiful.

Tell me, what kind of intentions are you setting for 2014?

An Intentional Year

I've decided to dub 2014 the year of intention. I want to live a more intentional, more engaged, less passive, less consumptive life.

Before the new year proceeds too much farther, I'll be removing the blog posts previous to this one to begin anew.

I started Dec. 31st with the idea of making New Year's resolutions, as so many do, but of course, a voice in my head condescendingly reminded me of just how many resolutions fail before January is half over. I contemplated that. I seriously considered throwing in the towel regarding goals for the new year. And then I thought, "Well, that's stupid. Goals are important. They give us direction."

I kept dragging my feet over the resolution thing, however, so, after consulting with my husband and receiving some sage advice, I decided to try a different tactic. For the year of 2014, I'll be setting monthly intentions, with definitive concrete steps and mini-goals to assist me in following through. Very few, if any, months will have "end goals," but each one will have a specific focus. And here is where the blog comes in. I want to write about my progress, to increase my mindfulness of my own choices and experiences, and recreate my habitual writing practice of yesteryear.

Mostly, all of these intentions will support the ultimate wish for embracing the present and living more fully, of being bold and hopeful and ridiculously enthusiastic about this life I'm so deeply grateful for.

In addition, expect to see my experiments with fledgling photography, which is my primary creative endeavor outside this blog. I have a DSLR for the first time, and I'm just loving playing with it and seeing what it can do.

This is going to be a brilliant year, but I don't plan to look too far ahead into it. It is the 2nd of January, and what do we have, except for today? So here's to embracing the present, and I hope you'll join me on my journey to live my most intentional year yet!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

28 and a Couple Weeks

A couple weeks ago, I turned 28.

It is going to be a good year.

One of the best things about my late twenties is that I'm not very insecure anymore, I know myself, and I am confident. I am figuring out what I want in life. So is my husband, and our wants and goals jive completely.

We're lucky like that. So many couples that find each other so early in life (we started dating when I was 17 and he was 16) find themselves torn apart when they become adults and discover that they want different kinds of lives, that their adult paths don't necessarily mesh. Instead, our separate visions blend together better and better as time goes on.

Similar to another blogger that I follow, I've begun to make a 28 at 28 list, 28 things I want to do while I'm 28. I've already checked one awesome thing of the list: Go to a dueling piano bar. It was a blast. I went with the hubby and some friends from college, and we all had such a good time. My list isn't complete yet, but it is growing.

I'm also celebrating fall to the fullest. Last night Dan and I went to Pumpkins in the Park, and I loved it! It was a total Halloween fun fest, good times for all ages. We went through a cage maze with strobe lights and lurking creepies. I'll admit, I screamed more than once. I also went on a hay bale ride for the first time; that was fun, albeit cold. The stars were SO bright and endless.

Since I wrote ages ago, I've become a middle school teacher. That's a wild ride. I think I've hit a good rhythm with it though. I'm not sure how much I'll write about that as I try to renew this blog. It is an important part of my life, but the first couple months showed me how important it is to build and embrace my life outside of teaching, so that's probably what I'll focus on here.

We live in a small city, and it seems likely we are constantly learning more about what it has to offer. Its also a good trial, since Dan would LOVE to live in a bigger city, and I've always been pretty nervous about the idea. Now I'm more than willing to embrace the possibility, and this is a good chance to experience a toned down version of that!

Maybe my favorite thing about all of the recent changes in my life that shortly preceded turning 28 is that they have spurred Dan and I to really think about all of the possibilities ahead of us and begin to narrow our focus to those that we definitely want to pursue.

And all this is the foundation on which the new jumpstart to this blog rests. I want to chronicle 28 more faithfully that I have the few years of my life, especially with this new start and all the things going on around us.

I most enthusiastically welcome you to come along with me on the journey!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Five and One Intervals

So the day before yesterday, I bumped up my running intervals from four and one to five and one. In addition, I still completed 6 intervals, so I increased the length of my run 6 minutes. As a result, my overall run went from 24 minutes running, 6 minutes walking to 30 minutes running, 6 minutes walking.

It didn't kill me. It also wasn't easy.

I got through it with a few techniques. (I should add in here that I've been battling with either allergies or a mild cold, which has certainly added to the challenge.) So.

Internal boost #1: At the beginning of my run, I told myself that the 6th and final interval was optional, that if I only did five, I'd still  complete a total time of 30 minutes while increasing the challenge by running a bit more. So I said to myself if I couldn't complete the sixth one, it would actually be alright, because that interval would be a bonus interval.

This is a funny way I have of tricking myself. Sometimes, when my muscles are still warming up, my lungs don't seem to have quite caught on to what I'm doing, the beginning of my run is a struggle, so I'll tell myself, "Well, just make it to point X, and you'll be doing alright." Even as I think this to myself, I know that unless I'm feeling pain that indicates overuse or injury, I certainly won't be stopping at point X. I know all the while that I intend to complete the whole damn thing. BUT, by giving myself the option to stop early, I help myself over that mental hump of thinking, "I can't get through all of this today." Also, and this might be funny, but I begin to become competitive with myself with a sort of inner dialogue: "What, you think I need to quit early? Pssh, you quit early, I'm in this for the long haul."

Internal Boost #2: Sometimes it helps to have a mantra for those tough minutes when I just want to look at my watch constantly to see if I've made it to my minute of walking yet. So I saw this once, maybe on Pinterest, and it has become my mantra when I hit my second-to-last interval and feel as though I'm running on fumes:

"Your mind gives up before your body does."

Pretty simple, right? But it is the equivalent of saying, hey, even though you think you're exhausted, you're body is still capable of a helluva lot more. Because running, or any physical pursuit, is not just about training your body. You are also training your mind.

So there you have it. I have some other exercises that I use to help me through runs, things like visualizing running along the ocean or imagining someone I love running beside me cheering me on. Sometimes just the act of building those mental images distracts me enough from the physical discomfort. But, ultimately, it is basically all mental. I mean, I do physical things, like warm-up walk, brief stretching, plus a cool down walk and more elaborate stretching, and I try to keep my core tight while I'm running and adjust my gait when I need to. My point, however, is that the mental work is just as important (sometimes moreso) as the physical work.

And that is where I'm at now, up to five and ones for this week. I'm proud that I am staying consistent, and I'm feeling so motivated by the 5K coming up. My goal is to finish it in under 40 minutes, which probably doesn't seem like a lot, but it will be a great accomplishment for me.

As an added bonus, I've lost 5 1/2 pounds and moved in a notch on belt, which is pretty exciting as well.

I love the idea that running is becoming a basic fact of my life, and I am feeling lighter, both mentally and physically.

More to come as I add some cross-training, work to make sure that I am eating right and enough, and build some much-needed body confidence, so stay tuned!

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Signed Up for My First 5K Today

On April 27th, I will run in the Wild Goose Chase 5K Fun Run to help raise money for a Wetlands Education Center here in Kansas.

This will be my first 5K.

I am excited and nervous.

Let me let you in on a little (not-so)secret: I'm not going to be able to run throughout the whole thing. I'm not quite there yet, but you know what? I got tired of putting off signing up for one, and I love the cause and scope of this one. So. Want to know where I'm currently at in my running?

My intervals are currently 4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking. Tomorrow when I run, weather permitting, I will bump that up to 5 minutes running, 1 minute walking, which, hey, might just kill me. Kidding. We'll see. So, the way that I'm going, the best I can hope for is that two weeks from now I'm running 6 and 1 intervals, which means, depending on my speed, I'll run around 30+ minutes of the race and walk 5+. Not too damn shabby if I say so myself.

And you guys. Seriously. Who cares if I have to walk a bit because I'll be participating in my first 5K!!

I've been talking about doing this for years, and now I'm following through. Hu-zzah. :D

And. AND. Care to know what I'll be building up to from there?


A small town color run on June 1st!!!! That's right, a color run. Despite my English degree, I can't think of the words to describe how psyched I am that that is on the horizon.

In one running book I have, the author advises the reader to have a few races lined up at a time so that you're always working toward something. To that end, I have one last race to mention that I might give a go if the first two are as fun as I hope they'll be: a bigger city, official Color Run in September!

That's right, I just can't wait to have colored powder thrown at me while I run 3.2 miles. Seriously though. I CANNOT wait.


So, I'm revamping this blog. I'm not sure what my intentions are for it yet, but in the immediate future, if you're reading this, expect to hear about my adventures with my newest pair of New Balance running shoes.

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Favorite Mary Oliver Poem

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

-Mary Oliver