Feeling Grateful Friday – 1/22/16

I was browsing through one of my journals and I found a list titled: What I Want to Do Instead of Work. At the time the list was made, I was working a desk job that was definitely not for me and serving on the weekends (which I absolutely love). While I greatly looked forward to my weekends at the restaurant, the 8-5 grind of working for a company whose values didn’t align with my own was beginning to drag me down. The money was nice but the dread of Monday and the stress of absolutely no time off began to get to me. I ended up leaving my desk job that summer and it was just what I needed!

So, I thought, what better than to reflect on the list I made and check in with my progress since then.

What I Want to Do Instead of Work (March 27, 2015)

  1. Drink wine!
  2. Travel….all over!
  3. Write
  4. Dance
  5. Sleep
  6. Take a walk
  7. Play with my pups (I had 2 adorable Italian Greyhounds at the time)
  8. Make something
  9. Be bold
  10. Find my passion

Alright, let’s break that all down.

  1. As it turns out, I still drink wine. I love sharing it with people, making my own and everything about it in general. Off to a good start.
  2. Since writing that list, I have taken some small trips to Canada, spent Christmas in the Bahamas, and am in the process of planning trips to Colorado and Costa Rica, both of which I’ve never been to!
  3. I started a wine blog and then Exhale Gratitude not long after that. I am writing more than I ever have and seeing where it leads me.
  4. Oh, is there ever dancing. I hope my downstairs neighbors don’t mind.
  5. Now that I’m not working every single day and have a semi-flexible schedule, I usually get all the sleep I need.
  6. I definitely have time for lots of walks! During the week at least.
  7. Sadly, no more pups. One day though!
  8. I made 2 blogs, which are still continuing to grow with me.
  9. Left my desk job, stayed on a yacht in Canada, and stepped out of my comfort zone on multiple occasions. Bring on the boldness 2016.
  10. Writing is definitely one of them. Not sure if or how it will fit into a career one day but I’m a work in progress. Looking to take a writing course at a local college this spring though. 🙂

So, there it all is. I didn’t like where I was at so I changed it, simple as that. Granted, it has been anything but simple. It takes a lot of hard work to eventually get to where you want to be and I am continually learning in that process. I work 2 part-time jobs (both of which are great), volunteer, and am still wanting to devote more time to writing/blogging. I’m getting there though. I can feel it, which makes me scared, nervous, excited and unsure. I think that’s a good thing though?


Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc


I want to relish these moments, the ones where I look back at how far I’ve come. I’m grateful for those who pushed me, for the friends and family who told me to pursue happiness over security or status, and for each and every one of you who has told me to keep writing. The experience of having such uplifting people in my life is what I’m most grateful for, not just this week, but always.

Dream Big Baby Boy

On January 7th, 2016, I became an aunt to a beautiful baby boy. Though my sister lives far away, my heart was overjoyed at the sight of this tiny and precious gift. This is my letter to him during his first week in this great, big world.

Hi Jonah!

Welcome to this crazy and magical experience called life. My sweet and adorable nephew, I am your fun and sassy aunt Heather. You have other awesome aunts as well so just remember me as the hipster living in Washington.

Anyway, you are really lucky to have two wonderful parents. I would know since I grew up with your mom. (Do I have some stories for you. When you’re old enough of course.) As for your dad, he’s a pretty outstanding guy in my book. Since you are half of each of them, you are going to be one amazing human being! You sure outdid yourself there.

Where do I begin? For starters, your family is scattered all over the country, but we find a way to make it work. I think it’s because we love each other? Just teasing. Of course it is! We all have different schedules and busy lives and while it’s hard to see each other as often as we’d like sometimes, the times we do spend together are filled with love.

If you ever want to see what snow looks like (since you live in the South), take a trip up my direction and we can build all the snowmen you want. And throw snowballs at your parents too, because being your aunt I encourage such tom foolery. It’s in my job description.

I am so looking forward to whatever you bring to this life. To see what you create and watch you grow as a person. To get to know you as you develop a personality. To give you advice and guidance, even when you think you’re cooler than me. Oh, I can foresee the conversations now.”Seriously mom, Aunt Heather has wine within 3 feet of her at all times. She can’t know what she’s talking about.” Yes, your mother will probably enlighten you on my love for all things wine.

Here is some of my best advice I can offer you:

  1. Read my blog. As long as your mother says it’s ok. (And if she doesn’t, you just let me know.)
  2. A mother was talking to her son at the restaurant I currently work at. I heard her say, “Never date somebody who is rude to servers.” Absolutely 100% true. This is a great judge of somebody’s character.
  3. Chase your dreams sweet nephew! Be fearless in life. That includes relationships and whatever it is that sets your heart on fire. I truly hope you find it, whatever it is. It won’t be easy, I can assure you of that. But, it will be worth it. Remember, the best things in life take the most work.
  4. You might think your family is completely crazy and maybe even annoying at times, but I promise you will look back and wish you had more time with them. Cherish those moments! Even the ridiculous family outings and vacations. It isn’t actually about what you’re doing at the time, but more so about the fact that you’re all together.
  5. Love yourself, love your life and the rest will follow.

This song reminded me of you sweet baby! Can’t wait to see all you accomplish and become. I love you with my whole heart.

Peace with Your Ending(s)

Hi friends!! It has been a crazy and hectic week of travel adventures (and unfortunately some headaches!). However, I’m settled back home in beautiful, snowy Washington and loving it. Even if it is freezing! Being away made me appreciate home so much more. Looking forward to sharing travel experiences in an upcoming post or two! Wishing you all a beautiful and bright 2016.                    -Heather

One of the nights while I was on vacation, I had a dream about my ex. I realize the holidays can make it difficult to sort out those feelings of the finality of a relationship so I wasn’t quite sure how to interpret it. It wasn’t even anything worth discussing but the image of him in my mind had startled me. It sounds silly and trivial but I immediately went into my place of overthinking. I do that sometimes.

Later on in the afternoon, I asked my friend to make sure his family was alright because they’re from Texas and a bunch of tornadoes had touched down there. I was actually quite proud of myself for not initiating the contact. That evening, I gave some advice to a different friend who had been having dreams about her ex as well. She was just wanting to get some good sleep and put it all to rest. (No pun intended…I think.) One of the comments one of her friends had left really clicked with me. She said she used to have dreams like that and she felt it was her brain’s way of letting go and working things out. Whoa. Awesome sauce. Gold gem. Bookmark it.

Here’s the thing: The world around us is so set on telling us to move on after a breakup and while I absolutely believe in setting boundaries during this time, we tend to forget that the ending of a relationship also requires a grieving process. And a serious one at that.

Every shiny and wonderful moment you thought you had coming in your relationship was suddenly destroyed. Poof. Maybe it was a quick break-up or perhaps it was drawn out. It might have even been mutual. Either way, it really fricken’ hurt. And you know what? You have every right to feel everything associated with that. Nobody should tell you otherwise. You want to drink wine and watch Netflix with your BFF? You go right ahead. You want to start playing the field again? Go for it. You need to get in your car and drive across the country for clarity? Hey, you do you. No matter what you decide or how you mend your heart, just remind yourself that it will eventually be whole again. It won’t feel like it, honestly, for a long time. But when it does? That’s the beautiful part of it. The magic after the mess.

Find peace in your own time and in your own way. Don’t feel you need to go it alone or justify your decisions. Of course, take care of yourself and keep those positive reminders and people around. You are a magical, magnificent person capable of spilling that love onto someone else when the time is right. Trust me, you’ll know when that time is.

I could physically feel my heart get lighter that day while I was away. I’m aware that sounds rather ridiculous but I don’t really care. The pain of my last relationship didn’t envelop me anymore and I felt my heart making room for more love. Let it happen. Let it go. Breathe. Trust me friends, making peace with your past will only bring you one step closer to happiness in your present.