The View from Where I Sit, Part 2.

As I look out at our very large, very overgrown backyard, I can’t help but think,

“Man. I’m really glad Dennis will take care of most of this.” Ha.

(No, but really.)

Let’s back up a bit. So in February this happened:

 

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Then not too long after, this happened:

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And the past few months have been a flurry of house buying, engagement pictures, house selling, contractors, wedding planning, Home Depot, MORE contractors, MORE HOME DEPOT.

By the end of 2015, I will have changed my marital status, my last name, my address, and perhaps most importantly, finally become an Amazon Prime member.

Not going to lie, I worry a little bit that this year is filled with so much good stuff that future years are bound to be a disappointment. But deep down I know that’s not possibly true. There is still so much to discover and learn about life. And I’m looking forward to having some one else to explore all of that with.

And from where I sit today?

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This is the actual view from our bedroom. It’s a real problem because all I want to do is sit here all day and drink coffee and write.

Everything’s looking pretty lovely.

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: 4 Years

This morning I woke up and had a notification from WordPress.

“You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago. Happy Anniversary!”

Well isn’t that something.

4 years of sugary drinks and life lessons. I love when people still tell me that they want to wait to have their first one of the season with me. Makes me smile every time.

Life posts are my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures of my outfits, or my food or the weekend’s adventures too. But deep conversations are my favorite. And the inspiration that comes from this time of year is the best.

This past week was pretty bad. I mean, bad. And in the midst of me being completely frustrated and hard on myself, I got this sweet note from a friend I’ve known for a long time. She’s one of those friends that I (sadly) don’t talk with often, but our lives intertwine and we find ourselves getting to randomly reconnect.

FB Message

 

What’s funny about this is that she is hesitant to say how much she enjoys reading what I write, and I am usually hesitant to write because I assume no one wants to read it. Ha…oh life.

That’s where The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles grew from, my desire to write but with a short-term commitment (in case I ran out of things to say.) But as luck would have it, I apparently have a lot to say.  And I’m so so glad it’s grown past that.

So what do YOU have to say, friends? How’s your November starting? How’s your joy going? Let’s not waste all the good in this time of year. Share it!

 

The Girl in the Mirror.

Hello, sweet friends.

I was feeling kind of introspective this weekend. Do you ever have those moods (No? Just me? Thought so.)

A couple of weekends ago I volunteered to model in a photo shoot for a local Columbus designer and blogger, the lovely and talented Allie Lehman.

When she sent me the shots, I was pretty impressed with myself. (Ok, I’m not going to lie. I couldn’t stop looking at myself.)

Hello (2)Damn, girl. You’re kinda hot. 

It’s not every day you get the chance to have professional photos taken. It’s fun!  Feeling pretty is fun. Getting “likes” on your new profile picture is fun. Looking like I just showed up in a park, with perfectly curled hair under the perfect beam of sunlight is fun.

But totally unrealistic.

Then I started to feel a little bit of guilt sink in. We all know this is how life in the year 2013 works; we post the best and the brightest moments of our lives online. We filter everything. We get jealous of the lives we see people live, even though we probably haven’t actually lived real life with them for years (or maybe ever.) There are studies which show we’re actually more alone and miserable even though we’re more connected than ever.

So I wanted to make sure I was real with you. I love that girl up in those photos. But I’m also totally crazy in love with this little lady…

In case you’re wondering, my shirt says “Jump on Board the D-Ship”…we made them for our Discipleship Team in college…we thought we were REALLY witty…

It’s really important to me that you know that. And not so you’ll think that I’m some self-righteous, got-it-all-together, saint of a human.

But because I want to make sure you know that life’s not about the wrapping. I love to talk about clothes and hair and makeup, style, shoes, you name it. It’s fun to me. It’s a way to express yourself – kind of like art. But I don’t go to those things to feel complete. I think it’s necessary that you love yourself without all of that.

And I would be doing a disservice to you, and myself, if I just hid behind a computer and pretended to be that first girl all the time. If I just sat here and only shared my filtered, edited, cream of the crop parts. Trust me, I have a lot more mediocre moments than I do picture-perfect ones.

Let’s be real, people! This is life; good, bad and fresh-out-of-the-shower-with-wet-hair. Life’s too short to hide your true self and try to be someone else. Go take a good long look in the mirror and repeat after me. Damn. You’re kinda hot. 

A Really Long Post in Which I Give My Opinion on Life and Hope You Don’t Hate it.

A couple of months ago someone very dear to me, a student/friend/fellow young woman said to me, “Teach me how to be like you. Independent and confident.”

My gut instinct was a very short, abrupt response.

Ha.

If only, sweet friend. If only you knew the girl who crawled her way to today. If only you saw the behind-the-scenes version of me that sometimes can’t muster the courage to climb out of bed. If only.

But…then I decided to accept the compliment and produce an answer. Because if I do say so myself, I have managed both of those things. Not always with class and grace, but they have their moments. And when you realize you’re a role model, it makes you stop and think about why you do the things you do.

I didn’t give her a complete answer at the time, I had to put some more thought into it. Independent and confident…also quite often perceived as stubborn and intimidating (even by those who intimidate me.) There is a fine line to walk between being strong and being a *jerk (*fill in your expletive of choice.)

So in no specific order, here are my thoughts…

1. Know who you don’t want to be. I’ve been {fortunate?} enough to grow up around some situations that have shown me exactly who I don’t want to be in life. Habits I don’t want to have. Choices I don’t want to make. People I don’t want to settle for. For some, this could be a poor influence; I have been able to say, “I know there is better” and pursue it. Strong examples come in all forms.

2. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Yes, I cringe at that word but I push on! My mom and I adopted that phrase a few years ago. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Suck it up. Get your hands dirty. Don’t sit around and wait for someone else to do it for you. And trust me, the satisfaction you’ll have after succeeding is well worth it.

3. Accept what makes you unique and embrace it. Because everybody has some weird in them. And it’s awesome. I’m an only child, I secretly want to be a broadway star, a mom and a pastry chef all at the same time,  I care about people too much, I have a short leg, I’m obsessed with my cats and I dance awkwardly all the time. You’re turn, go!

4. Trust your own decisions. Last year I bought a house on the spot. ON THE SPOT after looking at it for 10 minutes. Was that crazy? Perhaps. But was it my decision? Sure was. Trust yourself. You know what’s best for you.

5. Love yourself enough to be ok with you. This goes along with #3. Nothing gets under my skin more than a person who can’t recognize how amazing they are. We have been programmed in our culture to be self-critical. We get put up against impossible expectations. Are you great at everything? NO! But are you good at something? YES. Build on your strengths. Be competent in your weaknesses, but don’t count yourself out because of them. One of my favorite quotes…

6. Be confident enough to show your flaws. You know what? People will love you more because of them. Take that mask off right now and be real and vulnerable. (I know it’s hard.)

7. Allow yourself to fail. And after that, allow yourself a night of bawling into your pillow and eating a lot of chocolate in between sobs and thinking life is never going to be more than it is in this exact moment. Then, pull it together, put on some mascara , lipstick and some kick-ass heels and start a plan to fix it. Trust me, you’ll always come up with a better plan in heels.

8. Decide whose opinions matter. This is an important filter to discover. Everyone is going to have an opinion for you. And you’ll drive yourself absolutely insane if you try to appease all of them. Create an inner-circle; those people who you trust and know you can rely on. Listen to their voices. Use them as a compass. Identify those people who just like to give their two cents and those who actually have your best interest at heart when they speak. Listen to the latter.

9. Identify a difference between need and want. Be the girl who can be confident in herself on her own. Sit in a quiet room and learn to be content with your own silence and your own thoughts (it’s not easy!) Be the girl who wants a great guy to take her out to dinner but is perfectly ok taking herself out if he can’t be found. Be strong enough to want people in your life but not need them in order to find self-worth. Other people should enhance you, not complete you. It is an extremely powerful thing to be comfortable relying on yourself.

10. Don’t be afraid to love. It’s a fact of life, people will disappoint you. We’re human. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love them with everything you have inside you. You’re never going to find anything more fulfilling than caring about those around you. Take a chance. People are so fascinating. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience that.

11. Smile because you’re worth it. Taking a note from L’Oreal Paris. Smile. Right now. Go take a good, long look in the mirror and be happy with the person staring back at you. You’re not perfect (guess what, ME EITHER!) You make mistakes. You fail. You hurt feelings. You get your feelings hurt. Give yourself some grace. Give other people some grace. Recognize that you are a human and that everyday is going to be an education in life. Don’t take it too seriously. Something is always going to go wrong and that’s ok. As long as you are willing to get back up and keep moving forward, you’ve succeeded.

Now, do I really think I have this all figured out? Nah. Do I think I ever will? Nope. But I am happy to share what I’ve learned in my few, short years. After all, I had people do the same for me. Without them, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

Happy day, lovelies. Go out and be strong today. I love you.

Those Winter Blues.

Let’s all be real here for a hot second. It’s winter. In Ohio, that means it’s cold, it’s dark by 5 p.m. (which if you aren’t aware, is the time we all get out of work and actually see the outside) and the motivation gauge is usually on empty. It’s the winter blues. A funk. Depression. And though I am not a psychological or medical professional (and if you are having extensive difficulties, you should definitely see one of them) I thought I would share a few of the ways that I try to keep myself moving during these winter months. I’d love to hear any techniques or activities you have! I’m always interested in new ways to find inspiration and motivation.

1) Get some people time. I will openly tell you I am one of the most introverted people you will meet. I love me time. I NEED me time. But I also know that when I let that get off balance, it gets ugly fast. I know that if I’ve gone too long without real social activity, I’m in trouble. Don’t let that happen! Right now…call, text, Facebook message, tweet a friend. Set up a little hang out date. This is one of my first go-to ways to pull myself out of a funk: I fill my social calendar. I think you’ll realize that when you spend time with others, you want to spend more time with others, and that makes even my little, internal self jump for joy. It also keeps you from sinking into yourself. And just as it helps you, your presence is beneficial for the other person; because you’re pretty stinking awesome.

2) Get outside! Vitamin D my friends. Even if it’s cold (let’s be real…it’s cold.) Take a walk at lunch. Sit on your porch for a few minutes. Take a moment, breathe and get some fresh air. It’s an instant mood changer.

3) Dance it out. I mean it. You’d be shocked by what 15 minutes of shaking your groove thing can do. Don’t worry, no one is watching. Just have fun and laugh at yourself. Find yourself a good Pandora dance station (I have a Beyonce “Single Ladies” station) and go for it. My favorite is to dance while I’m cleaning my house…and sitting in my car…and sitting at my desk…and waiting in line at the store…ok maybe this one is my favorite tip 🙂

4) Be task oriented. I love to-do lists. In fact, I need them to function. I mean, I make to-do lists when I’m on vacation to make sure I don’t miss anything. And when I’m having a bad day, or I’m lacking motivation, usually having at least one task to work towards keeps me moving. So I’ve been trying to break up my lists into small, daily projects. I don’t have to do everything at one time, that’s overwhelming and then I give up. It’s just small steps. Today, pay bills. Tomorrow, emails. Another day, run errands. Little things can result in a lot of forward motion.

5) Write a love letter. Over Christmas break I stumbled upon this amazing project, www.moreloveletters.com. It was started by a young woman when she was struggling with depression. It’s an act of anonymous encouragement; literally writing love letters and leaving them for whomever should stumble upon them. How fun?! You can learn more about the organization and how to be a part of the letter writing if you go to the website. I just got my first request for letters (they send a monthly list of people who have requested letters for someone they know) and I can’t wait to get started! You can’t imagine how encouraging another person can really benefit you as well.

What about you? What do you do to keep yourself going?

Today, revisited.

Approximately a year ago I wrote the following post about one of my students, who lost her mom after a valiant fight with cancer. A year later, my feelings couldn’t be more true. I continue to be proud and impressed by the young adults I spend my days with. They challenge me everyday to live in the moment and be better than yesterday.

So, I thought it worthy of a re-post. To remind us to keep loving, wherever you may be in life, because you never know where it will take you.

Today my heart broke. Today I cried through a memorial service for a woman I never knew; a mom of one of my students, who lost a battle with cancer last week. Today I stood in front of some one I met three years ago, as a 17-year-old high school student; one of several hundred I would come to know that year, never thinking that I would be standing with her during one of the hardest points in her life. I also watched her peers, students who not too long ago were strangers, stand up and support her. I have never been more proud to know these students. I was so inspired by the message encompassed in the service. Today I’m reminded of the journey life has taken me on the past few years and the purpose it serves.

Today my frustration over “I feel like my job is my life” paused for a few moments. Because yes, my job is my life. It’s not just how I pass the time in my day. It’s not just a mindless motion I go through. My job is the people and relationships that have become intertwined in who I am. It’s the idea that we can never really know the impact we’ll have on another human being or the roll we’ll play in their life.  My job is to love. 

And so is yours.

I was reminded of the phrase “You may be the only Jesus some people will ever know.” How true. Each of us exists in a specific place for a reason. Use that time well. Encourage. Support. Savor all that people are. Show some one what it means to be loved well. Take advantage of the opportunity to leave a mark on another person, no matter how small. Because it’s not about our plan, it’s about His plan. And we each have a part to play in it.

While discussing the news of the above situation with a friend last week, we had the following exchange…

Me: “…I get way too emotionally attached.”
Lindsey: “No such thing as being too attached.”

Thank you, friend. You’re right. We can never care too much. But it sure would be interesting if we all tried. Maybe we should give it a shot?

You can read the original post here.