No Sleep til 30.

The theme of 2014, friends. Absorbing every moment of this, my 29th year of life. (However, if any of you know me, you know I can’t even stay up past midnight, so I will definitely be sleeping.)

It’s hard for me to even type that title out. But I did it. How did I blink and it’s already the last year of my 20s? I bet my parents are wondering the same thing…

On one hand, there’s the list of things I always assumed I would have accomplished by the time I turned the big  3-0. But as my lovely friend Deanna always likes to say…”You know what you do when you assume…” And as I’ve spent my fair share of time being angry and frustrated about things outside of my control, I learned one very important tidbit. It doesn’t change a thing.

As I was thinking back on them, my 20s have been a pretty stellar decade. I’ve earned two degrees and have a diverse career that I have come to love. I’ve lived on my own, bought my own car and become a homeowner. I’ve witnessed some of my best friends marry their life partners, have adorable babies and discover just how beautiful life can be. I’ve been privileged enough to travel, take vacations, and frankly live a comfortable life (something I try not to take for granted.)

Now I don’t have some kind of bucket list or countdown to accomplish in this coming year. I’ve never really been a fan of those types of things. But I do want to honor it and give it the recognition it deserves. Closing out one decade and moving into the next is a big deal. And I don’t want to look back and feel like I just ignored that.

In 2013 I focused on being alive. On remembering to go after the things I wanted, remove things that didn’t serve me well, and overall just stop settling for my own mediocrity. And, if I do say so myself, it went fairly well.

This year, let’s focus on the moments. On soaking in every memory, no matter how small. On cherishing the details. Let’s not miss a second. More pictures. Less screen time. More deep breaths. Less fear. More slow motions. Less impatience. Eyes wide open. 

Happy Birthday to me. No sleep til 30. 

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Stayin’ Alive.

I’m running out of witty titles for this series, can you tell?

As the year is winding down (good golly, can you believe that?) I thought I should do another check-in on my One Word 365 challenge. It’s been awhile, right?

This year has certainly been Alive (my word) though at times I’ve felt like I might be on life support. A few highlights of my journey…

– In March I took a new job for the first time in almost 5 years. It was hard. I cried for days. Sometimes I still cry about it.

– And then 6 months later…I took a different new job. (Good things always happen when you’re not looking, right?) Entirely new field. Entirely new responsibilities. But, oh so much fun to learn.

– I got involved with the Komen Young Professionals Board and Dress for Success Columbus. One of my goals this year was to get involved with a nonprofit where I could not only give to a local cause I care about, but also use some of my professional skills and event planning interests. Bingo!

– Not only did we start dancing again and The Movement Mission was formed, but I’m choreographing a piece for our show in February. This dance has been in my heart for nearly 5 years and it’s slowing figuring itself out. It’s nerve-racking but also so satisfying to put yourself out there.

– I started making intentional “me” time…simple things like quiet times in the morning, actually taking a lunch hour, going to yoga, early Saturday morning walks. Things that refresh my heart.

– I’m going to NYC for Thanksgiving with my momma and I CANNOT WAIT! Macy’s parade, Broadway, the Rockettes and so much holiday fun. If you have suggestions on places to visit or eat, please leave a comment!

– I really started to look my relationship with God in the face. I stared down some bad choices I had been making the past few years and made some hard decisions. I decided to stop throwing a temper tantrum with Him and pursued Him instead. And though I don’t completely feel fixed, it does feel incredible not to feel like I’m constantly swimming against the current. It feels good to see beauty in the world again.

And now we’re almost to my favorite time of year…Peppermint Mocha Season! I’ve been pretty selfish this year (which I don’t always think is a bad thing. You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others) but these last months of the year are my favorite to look outward and focus on relationships and others. Are you ready, people? November is coming! Let’s do it big this year.

The Movement Mission

Have you ever had something that makes you feel completely alive? Something that is a safe space you can retreat to?  That challenges you but you look forward to that? Where you feel completely like yourself but yet sometimes you can’t believe it’s even real?

The Movement Mission.

The Movement Mission came from my good friend Christina and her niece Michela. It grew out of a desire that they, and many of us, have had for years; to dance for ourselves and for a purpose. It’s a group of 30 or so women (we’re looking for some men to join us!) of various ages, backgrounds and technique levels. It’s a place where we come to move  and support each other. A place where we dance for ourselves, not necessarily for an audience or a class of students (many of the women are dance teachers.) It’s a place where we dance for a bigger purpose…more on that in a bit.

Photo by Klatte Photography, http://www.klattephotography.com

About half of us came to be part of TMM because of a previous group, a dance ministry Christina started with our church about six years ago (yowza the years have flown!) Joining this group of women was where I rediscovered my love of dancing, which I had hidden down inside since I was in elementary school, thinking that I wasn’t “really” a dancer. It unlocked a passion inside of me that I had been stifling for years. It showed me that dancing is often my therapy. My way to connect with the Lord and worship. My “me time” in a world where I usually spend my days giving to everyone else around me.

And now we have come together as a group to share our love and dance for a cause. Currently, that cause is the Bonnie Lavric Scholarship at Dublin Dance Center. Christina, Michela and many of the women involved with the group are teachers or students at Dublin Dance Center, and that is where our ministry group has danced since we started. Bonnie is an amazing woman whom I only had the pleasure of meeting a few times, but who lives on through stories of those who love her very much. Bonnie lost her fight with cancer several years ago and the studio supports a scholarship in her honor which is awarded annually to some of its dancers.

The inaugural Bonnie Lavric Cancer Benefit Concert will be held on February 8, 2014. We dance not only in Bonnie’s honor, but also in celebration of so many we all know have fought cancer. We dance to raise funds but also to inspire. It will be a great night of heart, dance, music and a variety of performances.

More details on tickets and times to come. We’re also looking for more musicians/dancers/performers who want to participate…so if that’s you, please get in touch! We’d love to have you as part of this story.

What’s your thing? Your place that makes you come alive. Your Movement Mission. If you don’t have that thing yet, I challenge you to start seeking it out. You’d be amazed how it can change your life!

That Time James Gave it to Me Straight.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you take a good, long look at yourself and you’re like…

“Oh man…that’s ugly.”

Now let’s be clear that I’m talking about your internal self; because you, my sweet friend, are gorgeous no matter what. 

I had one of these epiphanies the other day after a conversation with a friend that left me feeling a little convicted. There’s a disconnect sometimes between what we I believe and what  we I portray our my beliefs to be to others. It’s so easy to get swept up in other people’s opinions, the gossip, the negativity and all those other things you think will get you accepted. 

Big life transitions (for me, my recent job change) have a tendency to make you analyze yourself. It’s a chance to start over and re-vamp problem areas. After the aforementioned conversation, I went to my home base, the Bible, to do something I honestly haven’t done much of lately. Read it. 

And of course, per usual, it kicked me in the stomach. In a good way. Right there, in the pages of James, were the words I needed to read. The ugliness I have let grow in myself for far too long. That’s the interesting thing about toxic behavior…you don’t realize how big it’s getting until it’s grown out of control.

Take a read with me (this is long and kind of random, I apologize. But it just kept jumping out!)

James 1:21-26
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

James 2:12-26
“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

James 3:3-12
“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

James 3:17
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

My tongue is ugly. How about yours? And my actions? They sometimes stink too. 

Words AND deeds. Both are part of our faith and beliefs. You can’t be fully committed without both, as in any relationship in your life. And on the same note, both affect each other. They can build each other up or they can tear the other one down. Hypocrisy is not a fun place to be, but it’s often where I find myself when both my tongue and my actions aren’t aligned.

But I think this is all part of The Year of Alive, right? We grow by moving forward in places where there is work to be done.

And as I tell my student tour guides…”Think about what is going to come out of your mouth before it comes out of your mouth.” Is it really what you want people to hear? Would someone who has never met you before understand your message? Do your actions match what you’re saying?

Suppose I better listen to my own advice, ya think?

MonthlyOneWord150

I’m linking up with my One Word 365 friends over on Only A Breath! Be sure to check out the monthly updates.

Happy Friday…love you friends!

A Pulse Check on Being Alive.

About two months ago I chose my word for 2013…

And now that we’re at the almost-two-month mark, I thought it was about time for a heart check. The lovely Melanie hosts a monthly link up for the One Word 365 community, so be sure to check it out!

So, Alive. The dictionary defines it like this…

I think 2b is my favorite: “Still active in competition with a chance for victory.” Now there is some life motivation…VICTORY! There’s some Friday motivation, people!

Also, key words like “alertness” and “energy.” These are things that are sometimes hard to keep up in the winter months!

January was a pretty active month. There was lots of birthday celebrating with friends, new activities, ate at some great new restaurants, got back into yoga. 2013 got off to a great start! As we moved into February though, my focus shifted away from myself as life got busy. Free time became recovery time from the hectic week and the alive meter started to dip quite a bit.

But as we head towards March, I’ve got some big changes on the horizon (more on that to come.) And though they scare the crap out of me right now, I’m excited for some new challenges and I know that change is necessary.

I’m also looking forward to a few other goals as I progress through my year of being Alive.

  • Getting involved as a volunteer for a local organization or cause
  • Finally setting up an office in my spare bedroom and getting that space organized
  • Church shopping (I hate that term…almost as much as I hate feet and the word “birthing” but, hey, it fits what I’m doing)

So that’s my pulse check. How’s your year going? Be sure to link it up!

MonthlyOneWord150

I’m Alive in Lyrics.

A few days ago, I had a new blog friend, Lisa (stop by and give her some love!), comment on my Alive post. She mentioned a song that I had honestly never heard of. But then I looked it up and it really IS perfect for where my desire to explore alive comes from. So I wanted to share it with you. I love song lyrics; and I hope that they encourage you to continue exploring your beautiful life!

*This song became even more perfect when I looked it up and realized I did in fact know this artist…he is the former lead singer of my good friend Lindsey Jo’s FAVORITE band (I mean, that in the most intense way possible. I spent a large part of my college life being educated on them.) Life is so ironic.

Peter Furler – I’m Alive Lyrics

When I was locked inside my head
When I was lost in a maze of doubt
You called my name and woke me up
You called my name and led me out

And when I chased one more mirage
‘Til I was tired and parched again
You gave me one more cup to fill
And sent me one more desert rain

I’m alive, I’m on fire
And my spirit burns with desire
You set me alight, bright-eyed
And with no way to hold it inside
I wanted to thank You
Thank You, thank You

I was sure of all I knew
I knew the world was mine to claim
I had directions printed out
And then I hit a wall of shame

Out there alone and left to die
Cut off from You, my sole supply
You shed Your tears for me and then
You took my hand and raised me high

I’m alive, I’m on fire
And my spirit burns with desire
You set me alight, bright-eyed
And with no way to hold it inside
I wanted to thank You
Thank You, thank You

I wanted to thank You
Thank You, thank You
I wanted to thank You
Thank You, yeah, thank You

2013: The Year of Alive.

It’s here already. Holy moly. Is it me, or did 2012 go faster than any year on record?

Anyway, it’s here. December 31, 2012. Out with the old, in with the new right? We’re winding down the holidays, closing out the books, reflecting and setting new goals for a new year. Just like every other year.

Just like every other year.

I have a confession. I’ve been in a rut. Like, a massive crater of a hole. And the reality is I dug it myself. I’ve been comfortable (which is by no means a bad thing.) I have good friends, a good job, good parents, a good house…you get the picture.

It’s all good.

But I’m not ready to settle for good. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been o.k. with life just being comfortable. I mean, I worked a lot of years to get to comfortable! I survived high school, I freaked out through college, and somehow managed to crawl through the past few years transitioning into adulthood (which, PS, no one tells you is going to be the HARDEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE. Praise God for our friends.) Let’s not lie, it’s still hard. But, as I’m about to turn 28 later this week, I have had a realization.

I’m not dead.

(Alright, I can see this is where you start thinking that I’m being a drama queen. “No Heather, your life is not over just because you’re in your late twenties.” I know, I know. But you should try spending majority of your time with college students…trust me, I feel old. There are slang words and dance moves I don’t know!)

Annnnnyway. I’ve been treating life like I climbed to the top of some grandiose mountain top and here I shall now stay and find a way to be content. Because clearly this is all there is.

Um, excuse me. No. (Sometimes you have to get a little sassy to life.)

For years I’ve been hanging onto one of my favorite bible verses: “Be still, and know that I am God;…” Psalm 46:10. And yes, it’s still one of my favorite verses. Contentment in God is one of the core truths of life. However, not too long ago we were talking with our life group and I remembered one of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever heard in my life.

Pray and move. 

For the love of it all, be still for a time, but then do something! Talk to God about it. Pray, pray, pray all day, everyday. But do something as you’re praying. Faith in God means faith in the reality that He will divert any plan that isn’t His. He’s not going to let you do something harmful to your life as long as you’re in Him. Pray and move.

Ok, so this was a really long, drawn out way for me to get to my point. My point is, I’ve been trying to change my prayer. Away from my usual: “Why is this happening?…what do you want from me?…what am I supposed to do now?”

Do you see the main problem there? Yep. That’s right. Me.

So now here’s the new goal: “What do YOU want my heart’s desire to be?…what do YOU want from me?…what do YOU need me to be doing?”

Ahhhh. Better. I’m by no means claiming to be the queen of praying and seeking (on the contrary, I’m actually really bad at it) but I’m trying.

So this is probably about the time you’re wondering about the title of this post, am I right? What does Alive have to do with anything? Well, remember what I said? I’m not dead. Yippee!

Alive is what this year is about. In all sense of the word. Celebrating being alive (this week is dedicated to that…Birthday Girl!), finding passions that make me come alive, rejoicing in the fact that I (and YOU) are alive, and FEELING: joy, pain, hurt, love, anxiety, all of it. Being real and being alive. Experiencing new things. Not just sitting and being content. And of course, all with some sass and sarcasm (come on, this is me we’re talking about.)

This has been one of my favorite quotes in recent years…

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 
–Howard Thurman

So here we go. Alive in 2013. Who’s with me? Will you explore being alive? Will you try something new with me? Will you choose your own word and share it with me?

I decided to be part of a blog project this year, One Word 365 (see the logo over there —> Look, and come back to finish reading!) It’s a community of people who each choose one word to live their years by and share their experiences. I started following it last year and decided to jump on board this year.

I believe in this year. And my goodness do I hope it goes a little slower than last year!

Here we go, loves. Here we go.