Feeling Grateful Friday – 11.3.17

Hey friends! Long time, no words. Every now and then I like to do this thing where I list what I’m grateful for. After all, that’s what I’m all about here at Exhale Gratitude. On this lovely 3rd day of November, here’s what’s got me feeling all sorts of grateful.

  • MY GUY – (Heads up! This is a little sappy. :))There really is something to be said for falling in love with your best friend. I took a trip out to Michigan to see him this past week and it was perfect. Not perfect in the sense that everything went perfectly or we didn’t have disagreements. But perfect in the sense that no matter what, he values communication and keeping that dialogue at the forefront of our relationship. I’ve never had that before and unhealthy pasts create unhealthy habits until they are broken. He has shown me that and so much more. Discussions on our hometown, old friends and where we went to school but also knowing that despite everything we’ve seen each other through, we strive to show the other how much we care. I’m the happiest girl because I have realized a great deal about standing on my own outside the confines of a relationship, as well as what a man and partner looks like.
  • NEW ROUTINES – Ok, so this has only started TODAY but I’m holding myself to taking morning walks in my neighborhood at least 3 times a week. If you know me at all, you know that the cold weather and I do not get along. Being cold is right up there with the texture of coconut and pulpy orange juice. That being said, I will 100% not enjoy being stuck inside ALL winter. So, I’m bundling up, tuning into a Podcast/Audiobook and seeking a change in scenery. It felt really good. I even found a free little library nearby! The tiniest deviations from our normal routines can often bring the most simple displays of happiness.

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  • GETTING BACK TO YOU (ME) – I’ve been stuck and it’s been unbearable at times. Awful anxiety and trying to figure out why. After some tests, discussions with people who love me, and serious introspection, I truly feel like I’m coming back around. Just like the seasons of nature, we too burrow away at times. Our leaves fall as we change into something new for the spring. It can be subtle or it can be a bit more prominent. Our bodies are super smart and when we haven’t dealt with something, it plays out in different ways. There is nothing wrong with admitting when we are struggling. In fact, it needs to be done more than it is. We are human and with that comes facets that we are still trying to understand. Be kind to yourself in your journey and lean on those who love you most.

I wish you all a beautiful weekend filled with gratitude for whatever is igniting you right now, even the smallest moments that are pulling you through what you may be facing. Wishing you lots of love and goodness.

 

Feeling Grateful Friday – 5/5/2017

And just like that, it’s May! I don’t know about all of you, but there is an abundancefullness (oooh….I like this made-up word combo) of goodness to be grateful for right now! A little gratitude to start off the month sounds perfect to me!

  • Beautiful weather. For reminding me of the fact that even though spring brings rain, it also brings sun! (And some extra warmth this week, getting me all fired up for summer.)
  • Flowers for days! Seriously, you go to bed one night and when you wake up, the world is painted in a gorgeous array of colors. It makes me so happy!
  • Hikes. I feel I am now gaining an appreciation for this incredible beauty that we are blessed with in the Pacific Northwest. I’m exploring more of what’s in my own back yard and I most certainly love what I see.
  • Friends. For pushing me out of what is comfortable. For loving on me when I don’t feel I deserve it. And for looking out for me when it seems I might be getting a little lost. I am so thankful that each one of you has been placed in my life.
  • Struggle. Yes, you read that right. Would I ever imagine a day where I would be thankful for this? Absolutely not. But, through life changes we are challenged and our new self replaces the old. For the relationships that ended. The projects I pursued in reckless ambition, only to realize I wasn’t completely prepared yet. The moments where mentoring challenges me so greatly that I am left in tears. And to silencing the inner dialogue, whispering, “You can’t.” Each of these has added defining features to the work in progress that I already am. I am stronger, braver, more confident, and even on my worst days, feeling for the first time, like my very best self. Without struggle, the view from the mountain top is just another pretty postcard.

Happy Friday Friends! Go find something to be grateful for. 🙂

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Palouse Falls

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Coffee & Community

My allergies have set in this week, depleting my energy levels and all-around making me feel like garbage. This was not the post I originally intended to write but now and then we have to adjust to that which we’re capable of in that moment. Hoping the fogginess of this congestion will lift soon because I am missing feeling healthy.

I lead a community group through my church. When I saw the lack of the very niche I was seeking (post-college, no kids), I felt compelled to start one. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have never seen myself as much of the leading type. But, when we stretch and spread our wings a bit during our growth process, doors that were once locked now become open. The experiences and situations within my own life were shaping me to step into roles that I had initially never envisioned fulfilling. How beautiful that we are given precisely what we need.

What does this group look like? Our skills, talents and backgrounds are varying but our desire for community is the same. From students, to those in science, hospitality and non-profit work. Twice a month, we gather for coffee and discussion. Though I’ll admit, we didn’t always look this way and have only found our footing in the past month. Our little group was challenged with scheduling conflicts and a brand new leader (Me!) who was still learning the best way to navigate this course. But, I’m thrilled to have found a formula that works for us.

This week, I am feeling grateful for these women and the opportunities that we have to10334253_10152224498548763_6726641651941934601_n learn from one another. That we can challenge each other in our faith, continuing to stretch more and more. It isn’t about the coffee (though delicious!), the equally amazing baked goods or making sure we answer all the questions. It’s the stories we share, the way we become vulnerable in those 90 minutes together, catching each other when necessary. It is the simple fact of devoting our Saturday mornings to this when we could be sleeping. Once upon a time, when I first started this group a couple months back, I thought of giving up. I was incredibly discouraged, leading me to feel stuck and unworthy of leading. I am so glad I listened to those around me and didn’t quit. (Back to that whole reaching out thing again yeah? ——>Yoga Practice & Lessons in Grace)

If there is one thing I have learned in this life at all, it is this: We are led to that which our life story has prepared us for. It might not look how you thought it would and the characters could be completely different than when you first began. I know the uncertainty is frightening and the fear of failure feels heavy. But man oh man when you launch and fly! That makes it all worth it to me. I am blessed by that which I have already received from these incredible women in the short time I’ve known them. I couldn’t help but think that we are roasting our beans of faith and character, preparing to make them into delicious cups to pour into others down the road.

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Cafe Bombon in Spain. Oh how I miss you!

 

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?

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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.