My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Reflection’

Trust Me When I Say…

…that even if your plans have changed, even if your timeline is different, even if this year has not unfolded the way you thought it would — you are not falling behind, but instead, are right where you need to be.

The course of our lives is not contingent upon things happening precisely as we think they should. In fact, it’s often the unexpected that opens us up to opportunities that weren’t crossing our radars, ideas about life, and love, and the world itself, that we hadn’t stopped to consider. If you know that it’s time to slow down, to simplify, to take it easier, to savor your days, to adjust your course — you are absolutely right.

You are not straying from the path, you are finally finding it.

You are learning that real growth is not always just constant forward motion. Growth is also staying still. Growth is deep rest. Growth is stopping to reconsider where you’re headed before you arrive there. Growth is letting yourself settle, it’s letting yourself blossom, it’s letting yourself see how much good is already in your life before you hunger for more.

You are allowed to take days to grieve, to do nothing. You are allowed to press your plans back until they make more sense. You do not exist on a single schedule, your fate is not to arrive at each set point at precisely the second you think you should. That’s not what you’re here for. That’s not what this whole thing is about.

You cannot miss the exit.

There are no wrong turns.

Life is a living, breathing thing — because it’s an extension of you.

It’s the ways in which you explore the corners and contours of your soul, the way you find pieces of yourself through love, through trial and error, through reaching, through supporting and learning and caring and doing good. Every part of our lives exists to teach us something. We are not only making progress when we are clearly, discernibly growing. We are also making progress when we take time to simply be.

The irony is that it’s often the plans that go wrong that teach us more, and show us more, than the ones that go right.

Those words even signify our perceptions of how we are meant to be in the world, that we cannot possibly do anything but what was pre-determined, otherwise we’re failing, and off-course.

The truth that I am asking you to consider is that even if all you did was wake up and keep breathing today, you did what you are supposed to do. Even if all you could manage was to take care of your most essential tasks, you have done more than many can. If you’re able to reach for something just beyond yourself, you should applaud yourself and feel profoundly grateful for your courage, your strength, and your grit.

You should not feel ashamed that you aren’t able to wake up and do that every single day.

Because you and I? We are human beings just trying to sort through the realities and imperfections of being on this planet, with all of these people, trying to coexist and make sense of it all and come out on the other end a little more okay than we were before.

Our lives are not defined by how clearly and seamlessly we reach each goal, but what we are able to savor from each day.

Who were we, and how did we show up, in the simplest moments, in the easiest ways? We are far more defined by the way we make others feel than the way we think they feel about us. We are far more impacted by learning to see what we have as enough as opposed to thinking we’re only okay once we have more. We are far better for taking time to rest, to regenerate, and seeing this not as a stagnation, but a beautiful, and essential, part of being who we are.

May this be the year that you learn slowing down is nothing to be ashamed of.

May this be the year that you realize your life isn’t on any schedule but your own — and you can amend that.

May this be the year you realize you are not only as good as your latest accomplishment was great.

You are not falling behind, you never have been.

The journey has only ever been about learning to find a semblance of peace each day, and it’s often in the quiet, in the unexpected, and in the simplest things that we are given the greatest opportunity to do just that.



Today began like any other day.

I woke up, hit my alarm two three five times, rolled out of bed and slowly greeted the morning. After I got done pouring myself one two three bowls of Frosted Flakes and two four five cups of coffee, something hit me.


I’m 30! As in, three decades, six whole hands, in-bed-by-nine and keeps-hard-candy-in her-pockets-at-all-times years old.


I want to preface this by saying that I’ve never really been one to harbor on the whole age thing. I’m one of those cliche weirdos who go around touting that “age is but a number” and “you are only as old as you feel.” And I’ve fully and wholeheartedly believed that.

But the big 3-0.


That’s kind of a big one.

As I sat there hovering over my kitchen counter this morning, I couldn’t help but get just the teeny, tiniest bit sentimental.

I’ve been a lot of things in my 30 years.

I started out at as the preemie baby, the girl who beat the odds.

I was a daughter, grand-daughter, sister and best friend.

I was a t-ball player turned soccer ace turned wanna-be track star.

I was a book nerd, writer, baseball nut and avid ice cream aficionado.

I was a student and forever-learner who would go on to become a college and graduate school alum.

I was a struggling young professional just trying to find her way, searching for an opportunity to make her mark on the world.

I was a girlfriend, an ex-girl friend and hopeless romantic (even though I would never admit to that last one).

I was an eternal optimist, dreamer, thinker and doer.

I’ve been a lot of things in my 30 years, but most recently, I’ve been me. Just me.

This ‘just me’ has been fortunate enough to have thirty years of memories.

Thirty years of experiences.

Thirty years of accomplishments and heartbreak and laughter and joy. Thirty years full of places I’ve seen, people I’ve met, lessons I’ve learned and moments I would drop everything for just to relive one more time.

Thirty years have certainly given ‘just me’ many things: my first gray hair, face wrinkle and a whole new appreciation for Spanx. But what I’m most grateful for, the things that make me genuinely excited about turning the big 3-0? Those are yet to be seen, heard or felt.

For my 30th year around the sun, I’m going to be chasing these things, the things that light me up, make me so happy I find myself smiling for no particular reason. I want to do the things and see the places and feel the feels that make me feel like the truest version of myself.

We all have the ability to choose who we are and what defines us, no matter what point in life we are in.

For this next chapter in my life, I think I kinda want to pick and choose my favorite elements from each past phase (*with mayyyyybe the exception of that whole crimped hair thang because no one needs to see that ever, ever again!) to curate a brand-spankin’ new one, one that’s filled with adventure, excitement, happiness, passion and full-on, hard-core life-living.

I’m 30.





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Our lives are made up of a series of moments.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to have thousands,

even millions of them.

There will be funny moments, sad moments,

moments you’ll want to forget.

Moments of anger, moments of passion,

moments spent deeply rooted in love.

There will be moments that alter you,

completely dwarf you,

moments that show you just how beautiful it is to exist.

You’ll even have default moments.

Moments that fall through the cracks.

Moments where you’re doing something so mundane,

you don’t even realize it is one.

Then there are the big moments.

Your goosebumps moments.

The moments that leave a blue hickey on your life’s neck.

These are the moments that crack you open and leave you wanting more.

These are the moments you’ll want to keep safe.

Hold on to.

This right here, this is a moment.

A tiny pinprick in eternity that is only yours to create.

Here’s to the magic you create.

Here’s to your moment.

29 in 29

The questioning, the learning, the mistakes, the discovery and frustrations—It has been a wild ride so far, guys!

But many, many life lessons later, I can wholeheartedly say I have never felt more comfortable being who I am today.I wake up excited to get my breakfast on! Well, that, and to experience what each day has to offer: to continue to learn something new, to be inspired, and to experience the awe that this amazing life has to give.

Today, I turn the big 2-9. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one!

So in celebration of this last year as I come close to bowing out of my 20’s, here are 29 Life Lessons that I’ve learned:

1. Learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Risks are where magic sparks, y’all.

2. Laugh. Play. Be … Love, love, love!

3. Be patient with yourself. All the quirks, the uncertainties, the aspects that make you different; they’ll come together, support you, and may even become your biggest asset.

4. No matter how many times you may think it’s okay to eat ice cream for breakfast, it is. It always is.

5. Most things that seem impossible actually aren’t. If you’d asked me three years ago if I thought I would be living in one of the greatest cities, doing something I love, surrounded by the best group of friends a girl could ever ask for, I’d probably LOL in your face. Sometimes taking a chance, a giant leap of faith and just going for it, despite whatever fears or apprehension you may have is the best and only thing to do. Always keep going after your dreams and don’t limit yourself.

6. Confidence comes from within. This is a really tough concept to understand when you’re younger, since it always feels like we’re waiting on other people to continuously boost our confidence levels and tell us we’re on the right track. But the most confident people are confident not just because others believe in them, but because they believe in themselves.

7. If you don’t even try, you’ll never have a chance at succeeding. I used to be one of those people who didn’t want to try anything new because I was afraid I’d fail at it. This fear held me back for a long time in all areas of my life, including my career and my relationships. Luckily, after a lot of soul searching, I realized that this was no way to live. No way, no how sista! Yes, trying new things is scary as hell. And yes, you might actually fail at times. But you also might succeed, or at least learn something important along the way. The risk is worth it.

8. Experiences are way more important than stuff. I’ll be forever grateful to my parents who were always focused on giving me memories and experiences rather than just a bunch of crap I didn’t need.

9. Read everything you can get your hands on. Sci-Fi books. Fiction. Poetry and motivational books. There are SO many good books out there, and they will all change you if you let them.

10. Being “cool” sucks. You should never stop doing or liking something just because you think others will judge you and think it’s uncool. Set your own standard of cool!

11. Love is a battlefield. But one that is worth fighting for. Always.

12. Failure doesn’t mean the world is going to explode. Part of the reason I used to be so scared of trying new things is that I was so incredibly afraid of failure. I really thought if I didn’t succeed, the world would end. I now know that’s (obviously) not the case, but it doesn’t mean that failure doesn’t feel like all of the worst at times. But can you imagine a life with no failure?! How boring that would be?

13. You will never learn how to successfully fold a fitted sheet. It’s best to just accept defeat now.

14. Be silly. Be kind. Be unapologetically you.

15. You will struggle to define many things in your life, but in time you will realize that the real meaning of life is in the journey, not in the definitions or the explanations.

16. Dream big. Don’t let your own or others’ limitations hold you back from going after what you really want. Following your dreams is scary, but living a life full of regrets is even scarier. Dream big and hustle hard. There’s really no other way to live.

17. Invest in a few good friends, they will always be your backbone and the ones you go to through thick and thin, and who will make your every days just a little (or a lot) more bright. To all of my friends (you know who you are), a million times thank you!

18. At times you will wonder why bad things are happening to you, quit wondering and start enjoying the little things in life, when you get your answers, you will understand that these bad times were shaping you into the person you should be. You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.

19. If nothing is going your way, put in some Hanson and rock out with your bad self.

20. You will struggle to let go of someone, but you will realize that holding on is worse. Either way you have to learn how to let go of things that are not meant for you.

21. Something will always scare you, even the things you wished for. Don’t let fear cripple you from living the life you wanted. Let fear walk with you until it finds its own way.

22. It’s okay to say no. Except when it’s the answer to the question, “Would you like dessert?”

23. It’s OK to be guarded, but don’t deny or run away from love just because you’ve been hurt in the past. We all have. And it is scary to put yourself out there after that happens. But I promise you: you will never regret taking a chance on love.

24. The Brewers will probably, most likely, definitely not be going to the World Series anytime soon, so sit back, relax, and enjoy being a part of something that’s bigger than you. Everyone goes through a growth spurt, even the major leaguers.

25. No matter how much progress you make, there will always be someone who thinks you are not good enough. Live to prove things to yourself, not others.

26. Forgiving someone is not weakness; holding onto hate is.

27. You may not always get what you want in life, but sometimes this could be a blessing and a sign to steer yourself in another direction better than the one you were on.

28. Yoga pants aren’t just a fashion trend, they’re a way of life.

29. And last but certainly not least, don’t give up. Ever. Someone once said it’s always the last key on the key ring that opens the door. It may take a few tries (or more than a few), but you’ll get there. I pinky-swear.



Things I’ve learned (or were minded of) in 2014


As 2015 gets ever so near (how is that even possible?! I just got used to writing 2014 on everything!), I thought it would be nice to take a hot minute to stop and reflect on some of the things I have learned and were reminded of this year. Looking back on the last 365ish days or so, I can’t help but be amazed at everything that has happened in my life, everything that I got to experience, places I got to go, people I was fortunate enough to meet and memories I was lucky to have made.

Here’s the 10-second Tom version of what’s gone down so far…

I completed grad school and finally, FINALLY got my Master’s Degree, moved across the country, got a new job, settled into a smashing new apartment (if I do say so myself), published a book (WHAT?! Still trying to wrap my head around that one), became a contributor for HelloGiggles (WHAT?! Still trying to wrap my head around that one as well!), joined an amazing new church, met some incredible new friends and reconnected with old ones. I’ve shared a million laughs, shed a few tears and gave a lot of hugs. Phew. Is that all?

This past year, I’ve also learned and have been reminded of just a few things in particular….

1. Nothing is ever completely as it seems. (I think in today’s age of social media, it’s even more important to remind ourselves of this on the regular.)

2. Always, always remember to take the cardboard out from under your DiGiorno before you stick it in the oven. Not that I know from experience or anything…

3. There is so much good in this world. The news and the media can sometimes make it a little difficult to find, but my goodness, once you start looking for it, you’ll see it everywhere.

4. Friendships are fluid. They change and take on different shapes and meanings, and that’s okay. It’s so wonderful to let old friends back in, and it really is okay to let the unhealthy ones go.

5. There will never again be music like 90s music. Sorry, 2014.

6. The size of your body, the clothes your wear, and the amount of makeup you have on (or don’t) does not determine your self-worth (like, it really, really doesn’t.)

7. Abandoning the “should mentality” is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

8. As George Michael so iconically put it, “You’ve got to have faith [faith, faith.]

9. Sometimes being a Milwaukee Brewers fan is hard. But I have a feeling 2015 is going to be our year. (Like I said, you’ve got to have faith [faith, faith.]

10. Adopting “F the Bullfunky” as one of my life mottos has served me well this past year. Life is way too short to sweat the small stuff.

11. I’ll never be cool. And I’m 110% okay with that.

12. Going after your dreams takes work. It’s hard. Like, the hardest. But you can’t stop. You can’t give up. (Again with the faith thing.)

13. I want to be BFF’s with Jimmy Fallon. And Emma Stone. Can my people talk to their people and make that happen?

14. Make sure you understand the basic principles of personal finance (I may have fallen asleep while it was being explained to me, but I finally know about–and have my very own–401K plan. I’m getting so old, guys.)

15. There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone.

16. It’s scary, and often difficult, to admit when you’re ready to make a major life change.

17. Dating is ALL of the worst. But it’s also kind of ALL of the best. How can that be?!

18. It’s important to surround yourself with positive, passionate people.

19. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

20. Try not to take life–or yourself–too seriously.

21. Nothing is coincidence.

22. it’s critical to pull your head out of your arse and listen to what God and/or the Universe are telling you. (See #21)

23. Never, ever apologize for being a “heart thinker.”

24. Forgive.

25. Make a point everyday to have a positive impact on someone else. It can be as simple as saying hello, holding the door open for them, or sharing a smile. You never know how these simplest of actions can turn someone’s day around and make them feel loved/appreciated.

26. Make a point everyday to give thanks.

27. Write love notes.

28. Give compliments. Accept compliments.

29. Encourage and uplift others.

30. And lastly, I think the most important thing I have learned this year is that there is still so much left to learn.

I’ve been so extremely blessed this past year and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next! Here’s to finishing off 2014 with a bang!

Question of the day: What are some things you learned this year?!

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Processing the Unbelievable

Hey guys…

I don’t get too serious very often, but today’s post warrants just that…

This Friday morning started out as any other Friday morning would for the students and staff at Newtown, Connetitcut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. With only a mere week until Christmas vacation, everyone was in the  highest of spirits, looking forward to classroom Christmas parties, gift exchanges and of course the full two weeks of no school that were to follow. Growing up, I can remember this time of year. It truly was the best; the countdown to Christmas was in full swing; homework was winding down and teachers were often so tired, their minds already set on “break mode” that they seemed nicer and were more lenient on us candy-cane and cupcake ladened students.

As Friday afternoon rolled around, the Newtown Public School District homepage remained sprinkled with fragile snowflakes and news of end-of-semester activities. The only seemingly out-of-place note on a page largely devoted to seasonal joys was an ominously glowing exclamation point in the upper right-hand corner. Alongside it was this message: “Afternoon kindergarten is cancelled today, Dec. 14th. There will be no mid-day bus runs.”

Kindergarten was canceled, as was the daily routine of all our lives, as early relief about an apparently thwarted shooting at this elementary school unfolded into the unimaginable horror of 26  dead –  21 of them children — at this K-4 campus. 3263291e-22f3-4978-86eb-fafb710bef8b_500

The story is all the more sickening in its cliches. Again and again, those who were interviewed said, “This is a nice town. This is a safe place. Things like this don’t happen here.”

Just like they said after Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after Aurora. After too many incidents to list, or even remember.

Again, we hear of a heavily armed and armored man dressed in black, of strict security measures supposedly in place, of stories of regular folks who vaulted into life-saving heroics.doc50cb44a377563897861327

The school’s principal and other staffer members are among those who lost their lives in this senseless and horrific shooting. Yet it’s difficult to think about anything beyond those youngest victims. Children between the ages of 5 and 10. Little kids who most certainly had “visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads” and thoughts of winter break — just one week away — pulling their attention from their studies. Children already looking forward to the day’s final bell, the signal to a weekend of holiday parties, parades and pictures with Santa.

Instead, the youngsters were abruptly wrenched from their high spirits by staff pushing them pellmell to safety, in some cases past bodies and pools of blood. Can you imagine?

I cannot even fathom.

Safety seems a relative word in the crushing aftermath of what these children witnessed — and what the parents of those dead children are suffering. Not to mention the families of the adult victims. That this happened in the midst of the holiday season only makes it all the worse.

It will be a long time before those of us who watched the story unfold — who saw the twisted horror on the faces of the escaping students and the heartbreak on the faces of their parents – will feel any kindling of holiday spirit.301998-connecticut-school-shooting

For now, we just numbly ask one another: When will this end?!

Something like this makes me reflect on my own life. No one knows what each day is going to bring, do we? These staff members drinking their morning coffee on their way to work this morning, the children grabbing their book bags and lunch boxes on their way out of the door to catch their bus, none of them knew the horror of what was to enfold just a few hours later. How could they? Nobody ever thinks that something like this could happen to them, something so terrible and unthinkable and completely heart-breaking. School is supposed to be a safe place, a secure place. Yet as we have witnessed over the past few years–Columbine, Virginia Tech, the Aurora movie theater–senseless acts of violence like this continue to occur.

This hate, this complete and utter hatred has got to stop!

How any one can take their problems or issues or lack of compassion out on innocent lives boggles my mind!

It is in these circumstances that remind me of how truly precious our lives are. My heart and my prayers go to the survivors, the grieving families and to the communities affected by this horrific tragedy.
I ask that you join me tonight in saying an extra prayer.I also ask that you say “I love you” to your friends and family, your co-workers and mailmen, your teachers and your four-legged pals. Give them a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back. Do it while you can. As often as you can.

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