So It’s Been A While…

Yes, it’s been a while since I last blogged here. Did you miss me?

As many of you know that have been reading for a while, at the beginning of the year, I settled on my One Word for 2011 and it is “Discipline“. Little did I know at the time the enormity of that word and the impact it would have.

So here we are, 3/4 of the way through the year and I have some new insight to share.

I started out thinking that I would focus on the discipline in my writing, trying to write 15 minutes a day to start, trying to blog more, trying to write whatever it was that I had to say. And for the most part, I’ve kept up with that. The summer months were harder, between traveling and having an 11 year old to keep up with, sometimes finding those 15 minutes was a challenge. Yes, there were days that I didn’t get it in, and when I went for more than a few days of not writing, I found I really missed it. The cathartic release of being able to express whatever was down in the depths or just floating on the surface kept me going.

Skip ahead to May and I started working out with a trainer. Suddenly discipline took on a new look. 3 days a week for an hour I would work with him, in addition I made changes to my diet, added 1 to 2 extra days of cardio work outs, along with 30 minute cardio warm ups prior to the training sessions. 5 months later (and 2 vacations equaling to three weeks of not doing much in the exercise realm thrown in there) and I am 4 pounds away from my original goal. I am now fitting in to sizes I have seen since my high school and college days. I can honestly say at 45 I am in better shape than I was at 35, possibly even at 25. Not to brag, but when I started I could barely do 1 push up. 2 weeks ago I managed to do 100 push ups, 200 squats, and 300 crunches. Granted I was sore the next day, but the discipline of sticking to the exercise routine, the better diet (with an occasional scoop of ice cream or dessert thrown in there) has truly paid off. It has become a lifestyle change, which in some ways has even trickled down to the 11 year old and the choices she makes when it comes to eating, sometimes.

So now we come to the middle of October and I reflect back on discipline and how it has shaped my 2011. What seemed like a daunting word at the beginning of the year, now comes a little easier every day. And as we approach November I am gearing up for another discipline challenge. I will be taking part in the NaNoWriMo event. This is the National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words (approximately 1,667 words per day) by the end of November and you will have a novel. It may not be well written, but it is the beginning point.

So if you see me, and I seem a little off, just keep in mind I’m living in a novel world for the month of November. I have no idea what it will look like on the other end, but keep an eye on your local bookstore shelves. You might just find me there one day.

So how’s your 2011 been?

Bursting The Bubble

I have been trying for 4 days now to write this next post. The words are not lining up in a way that would make any sense to you the reader. After much thought, I decided to share a project I’ve been working on. A friend of mine, Mandy challenged a bunch of us earlier this month to do a self portrait. Here is a picture of what I came up with. (It’s been slightly modified by an app I have on my phone to give it more depth and texture, which I couldn’t quite capture with the elements I had to work with.)

It’s a canvas that I decoupaged with various items, including yarn, glass beads, words, paint, fabric, and ink. It’s a mish mash basically, but a fair representation of where I am in life right now.

I also created a “wordle” based on the words I used through out the “self portrait”.

I’m not sure where this is going yet. It’s a new chapter in the journey of life. But this is me. More to come…

Women of Faith “Over The Top”

In February 2010 I had the opportunity to see a condensed version of the Women of Faith conference at the Recreate 10 conference I was attending in Franklin TN. In just a few hours they gave us a glimpse of what they share with thousands of women over the course of two days, in multiple cities around the country, every year.

This year, Book Sneeze offered enrolled bloggers the opportunity to attend and review one of the events in their local area. I was chosen as one of them to attend the Seattle WA event coming in October. The line up this year for what is being called “Over The Top” includes Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Lisa Welchel, Sandi Patty, Mandisa, Selah, Katherine Everett and Andy Andrews.

Having seen and heard Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, and Mandisa once before, I was excited to see them in the line up again. I’m looking forward to this event and being able to share my experiences with you as well.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come.

The Girl In The Bubble

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, soul searching, and reflecting lately. A little of that is reflected in a recent post and more is to come in this post and possibly following posts. I don’t know yet how far this will go, or what it will look like. I’ve been hesitant to post this too, but I  feel that there is something in all of this that needs to be shared either with someone else or it’s just something I need to get out of my system. Either way, here it is.

Moving to a new place (if you’ve followed this blog for any period of time you know the journey, otherwise you can read more in the archives) has been an adventure. Having been here almost a year, I can now look back over the journey and see with clearer eyes what has transpired.

I’ve been reflecting recently on the past year, what all has happened since we began our “Great Adventure” and where we are now. Or more specifically where I am now. And where I’ve been for the past 14 years. Some of you may or may not be old enough to remember the after school specials, and the campy movies that came out during that time frame. One that sticks in my mind (and there are many for some strange reason) is the movie “The Boy In The Plastic Bubble” starring John Travolta circa 1976. It was based on a true story of a boy who had to live in a completely sterile environment, hence the bubble. Obviously he had to live in this bubble for health reasons, and that’s not the point of this post. But it does help to illustrate the point I want to make. Have you ever considered you may be living in a bubble? It’s easy to create one, not so easy to realize you’re in one though. For me, I didn’t realize the bubble I was in until after we moved. I can look back on it now and see how insulated and in some cases isolated I was during that time. Some of it was self imposed, some of it was due to the area and the prevailing attitude of the place. When you live in a town where you are made to feel an outcast because you are not born and bred there, over time it tends to affect your view of life and yourself. Unless you are one of those people with a self esteem made of an indestructible material, at some point you will be affected by this oppression.

A little background ~ I grew up in Pittsburgh. A large city, where when I was a kid they bused us white kids to the black neighborhood to integrate the school, many friends were of varying ethnicities, a vibrant nightlife that I took part of for many years, and a variety of other influences, both good and  not so good. Fast forward some years and I find myself living in a small town, in the south where (sadly) there were still klan rallies being held, in a completely unfamiliar place, new job that I really didn’t feel qualified for, and basically an outsider. You can imagine what it felt like – a fish out of water is not a far cry from what it felt like to me.

I made friends easily enough where I was working, since I was spending 14 + hour days there, where else I would I socialize. Thus, the beginning of the bubble. Add to that the nearest major city with any sort of decent shopping, restaurants, or ethnic groceries was over an hours drive away; another layer of the bubble is added. After a while, the job came to an end. The small company I worked for was bought out by a bigger company – which was a good thing and a not so great thing. Good because of a financial windfall, bad because so many of us lost our jobs. Good also because we were able to adopt our daughter, buy a house, and pay off our debt. Bad because friends that I had become close to moved away to find better jobs or other opportunities.

But now we enter the next layer of the bubble. “Stay at home mom” or SAHM for short. It was a tough transition going from independent, working and managing a team of developers who were relatively independent, to suddenly having someone depend on you for their every need. We had neighbors moving in around us, new houses being built, and new friendships were made. Other kids came along in the neighborhood that became playmates and classmates. Suddenly the world revolved around the activities of a child, no longer the adult. The bubble had changed, but it was still a bubble. All that I had dreamed of what pushed back yet again. There were hobbies that occupied some of my time, there were volunteer opportunities that allowed me some creative outlets. But the dreams of writing, creating, taking part in an industry that my heart had longed to be a part of so many years ago, was buried so deep, they soon became forgotten.

Please don’t get the wrong idea and think that there weren’t great times, and great friends as well, there certainly were. But there was something missing too. Something I couldn’t identify at the time. Something that would take me a while to realize, only after we left that place, got away from the bubble we were in, and began what was to become the next phase in life. More to come.