Summer bucketlist 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's June 1 and it's a whopping 40 degrees in Ohio today. Cool, but refreshing. It certainly doesn't feel like summer is just weeks away. 

It's been a few months since I posted. I'll save an update for later but in short, in May: one of my sisters graduated from college, my cousin graduated with her masters, my other sister graduated from high school and yesterday I got back from Pittsburgh following another cousin getting married. Things have been so crazy.

Also, depression and anxiety have hit hard this month. Despite all the sweet, wonderful family time, I think being busy and not having much time to relax has weighed on me. I feel like I always need to be doing something. And if I do have an evening home, I should be catching up on house work, you know?

So I'm going to make an effort this summer to do some fun things in hopes of lightening things up and caring for myself in some small ways.

1. Lake day: we're about an hour south of Lake Erie. My parents have a rental home there and my grandparents live on the lake as well. I'd like to take a Friday or Monday off, load up my dogs and grab a book for a day of relaxation.

2. Hammock time: I got the best hammock for Christmas, but the weather hasn't allowed for much time in it yet. I need to make a point to hang out there on the weekends.

3. Frozen yogurt dates: with how crazy this month has been, Cameron and I have not had a lot of quality time together unfortunately. I'd like to make a point to have a weekly (or every other week) date, like frozen yogurt. Healthy and delicious!

4: Volunteering: our local Arts Partnership's summer event series starts Friday. I volunteer with them regularly (one of my best friends from college is the event director there and we started working with them in college). I love being involved with our community and it raises money for arts programs in local schools. 

5. Shoot more: Cameron is a country boy. I'm a city girl. He enjoys target shooting, hunting and competitive archery. I got a bow a few months ago and I'd like to shoot a lot this season so we can enjoy that together. 

What's your summer look like? Any plans or bucket lists?

Thoughts on Marriage

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lately I've been thinking a lot about this marriage of mine. The ups and downs, ins and outs, how we function on a daily basis, etc. It's still a bit weird to me to be someone's wife even more than a year later. 
For example, the other night we were watching tv and I heard a name I liked and I said to Cameron, "that would be a beautiful name for a baby girl," and he agreed. It stopped me in my tracks a little bit. The idea that we are married and could start a family anytime we want (not that we couldn't have done so before being married, but you know). 
One of my favorite pictures from our wedding day. The moment my soon-to-be husband first saw me. 

We have our good and bad days, but the good far outnumber the bad. Last night I was laying in bed as Cameron was finishing folding his laundry and I thanked him for making his recent job change, knowing it would be for the best financially. He said it was a no-brainier and thanked me for appreciating him, even though he can be hard to love sometimes. 
In moments like that, the bond between us feels so strong, almost palpable. There's this energy holding us together as if our marriage vows were some magnetic force. I sat there and let myself feel it, the nerves on my back standing at attention as it shivered its way down my spine. For that bond I am so grateful. Certainly I have my days (and he, his) where we struggle and argue and just in general don't want to be around each other. But despite that, there is still that bond, propelling us forward on our path together.
The small moments are where I feel it the most. The co-folding laundry, passing dishes from me to him to be loaded in the washer, me sweeping with him mopping behind me. The teamwork and the strength and the cooperation never cease to amaze me. And I hope it never will. 

Conscious Update 1

Monday, March 9, 2015

At the beginning of this year I chose a word. A power word, word of the year, whatever you'd like to call it. My word for 2015 is conscious. I chose conscious because I want to force myself to be aware of myself, my surroundings and my purpose.

I ordered this amazing art from Kristin at Lovely People (seriously her work is amazing. I have a wedding portrait and a power word from her shop. Incredible!) as a reminder to hang it my office.

Anyway, why we're here. I want to hold myself accountable so I want to try to stick with at least monthly updates. Clearly that hasn't gone well since I am just now getting around to doing a January and February update, but we all know how January went for me so...

January: my goal was to focus on less screen time, more people time.
Reality: Meh. I did okay. It's so hard because you don't realize how much technology affects you until you make an effort to put it away. For example, my phone might as well be surgically attached to my hand (#mediaproblems), our tvs are on essentially from the time we get home until we go to sleep (and longer, I use the sleep timer so I have some noise/light to fall asleep to) and my laptop is pretty much always open.
But, thanks to my conscious effort, I was able to cut back on that at least a little. Less Facebooking, more yoga. Less tv watching, more us time with my loving husband. Less phone playing, more dog playing!

For the record, not all of these are ours. The far left and far right belong to us. The middle two are my sister's and brother's.
February: Cultivate meaningful relationships
Reality: I am really proud of my progress this month. I reached out to four friends and hung out with each one on at least one occassion, three of the four more than once! I'm at the point in my life where I need those healthy, genuine friendships that will really bless me. And I think I'm well on my way there.

This picture has nothing to do with this point. We just had some anniversary pictures done the weekend after our anniversary and I'm mildly obsessed with them. 
My goals for March (and April, in case I don't get around to it...again).

March: Further my efforts to be social instead of be on social media. I plan to limit myself to less than half and hour of non-work social media time. Along those same lines, I want to consciously get together with those four friends again and maybe one more during the month.

April: This month I'm taking a different approach. Of course I will continue my anti-social media efforts, but also try meditation. What better way to be conscious than truly reach into and calm my mind and just let myself be?

Any advice for a first-time meditator? Or any advice of focusing on consciousness at all?

One Year Later: our first anniversary

Monday, February 16, 2015

Yesterday Cameron and I celebrated our first anniversary as a married couple.

It amazes me that it's been a year. It feels like it's flown by, but at the same time it feels like just yesterday we were at the church preparing for the biggest moment of our lives.

Our lives have changed a lot since we got married. We buckled down and committed to one another, which required sacrifice and effort. Marriage is hard, but it is the biggest blessing. And of course, all good things require effort.

How I got so lucky as to be given the privilege of having this man as my husband I will never know. He loves me unconditionally, cares for me always and works (what seems like) without ceasing to make a life for us. He is the most hardworking, caring man I know. And somehow I get to call him mine.

So reflecting on the last 365 days, I am thankful, humbled and in awe. Marriage has made a better person just in one year! I can't imagine what the rest of our lives will bring us. And whatever that is, I'm glad I get to do life with this guy.

Good riddance, January

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January was a rough month. It felt like it went on forever. It was cold. There was grief and sorrow and frustration.

Last year my aunt asked me to spend the day with them and take their pictures. They got a bunch of fun photos and I got some sweet memories. Win-win. This was my favorite. Everytime he laughed she'd just gaze at him. Their marriage was an admirable, and one I'd like to base my marriage off of. They had it good for 41 years.
My uncle died January 26. If you've been following along, he was diagnosed with cancer 2+ years ago. Doctors were unable to find the origin of the beast, making it difficult to treat. 

At first, chemo and radiation did the trick. The tumors were gone, praise God! But then they came back, bigger and more resistant to treatment. This cycle continued for two years, until treatment was no longer an option. Pain set in, his body started shutting down. First the tumors on his spine took his ability to walk. Then it was lower body movement, then his arms, then speech, and so on. It was a painful last few months. 

He died on a Monday. Late Saturday night they called my dad and his brother and sister to tell them it would be soon. His breathing was swallowing, his circulation was decreasing and he was unresponsive. He was not on any machines, his own lungs inhaling and exhaling and his heart still pumping. 

Those last two days were hard on my dad. Watching his brother die, and silently wishing it would just end so he could go home to heaven. But his heart pumped for two more days. Just after sunrise that morning he passed. My family went up Monday night and all the signs of my uncle being there were gone. No hospital bed, no hospice nurses, no ply wood on the carpet used as a track for a wheelchair. 

Sunday was his service. It was short and sweet. The minister was a neighbor of my aunt and uncle's for more than 20 years. It was so nice to have someone who really knew Bill telling the story of his life. It just meant more. 

The last time I saw him was in November at my grandma's 97th birthday party. At that point he was still able to walk, but was visibly in pain when doing so. I was sick when the family got together the week after Christmas, not wanting to risk exposing him to my germs. I didn't see him bedridden, and I didn't seem him in an unresponsive state. For this I am grateful.

So when you ask me about January, that's how I will remember it. Sure there were 25 days before January 26, but it's sort of like being in college again. I remember the idea we all had that whoever presented last was the person whose presentation we'd all remember, simply because they were last. The presentations before then were obsolete.