Wednesday, October 28, 2015


I'm retraining my focus on this season of awesomeness, where every time I drive down my local streets, I'm in awe of the beauty that Mother Nature presents....vibrant greens from returning rains, brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows, misty mornings, all contrasted against the gray browns of the local fences and abundant trees. To say that I live in a beautiful area is an understatement. My hike last week had the dogs running through piles of fallen leaves as I enjoyed listening to the crunch they created underfoot.

There are a multitude of other things I'm grateful for this season as well:

--Family. Having my parents closer has actually been a joy and it's been nice to be able to go down at least once a month to spend some quality time with them, Granny, and my older siblings. I've continued to enjoy the occasional dinner with my local aunts and grabbing coffee/happy hr with any of my local cousins.

--Health. That for the most part my health is stable and strong. I can still manage miles and hold planks. And that for the most part my relatives and friends are also healthy.

--Friends. From girls monthly dinners, to my male buddies who I also see routinely, to the couples I've watched grow closer over the years, to my old milspouse ladies and childhood cronies, I feel incredibly blessed that my social network is so active and extensive.

--Dogs. My two furry ladies continue to be such incredible daily companions. They've coated my life with fur and kisses, they're happy to wake up in the morning and generally make me feel like I've won the lottery every time I come back home, they keep me motivated to keep active and they're some of the best trail buddies I could have asked for.

--Work. It's exhausting, but it's also rewarding. I'm doing things that I love and that I truly care immensely about. I'm working in a career that seems well suited to and for me. I'm inspiring others and helping them figure out their own life and work paths.

--Finances. As much as I wish it would all be taken care of already. I'm incredibly grateful for the current financial situation. I'm no longer short on money and my debts are reducing.

--A Home and Resources. I have heat available to me, a house with plenty of room to share, comfy furnishings, clean water & sanitation. My vehicle gets me from point A to point B with all sorts of great safety features and it just got a full servicing with a clean bill of health. I'm well educated and have been taught to think for myself. I'm knowledgeable and resourceful. I have a wealth of food available for my needs plus the option to grow and harvest some of my own.

--The Dude. Who I'm still enjoying, who is still cracking jokes, who seems to have an immense amount of patience and puts up with the chaos that I can create. He's also frequently tired, has his own quirks, and I wish we could spend more time together, but I'm enjoying the moments that we do get. No idea how far this will continue, but I appreciate what he adds and the similar mindset that he holds.....and his sparkling blue eyes, let's get real...I appreciate those too. :)

--Sleep. I'm grateful for deep zzzs, glorious deep sleep. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Yeah, but.... of the short term individuals who crashed here for a few weeks in September was a former student who was in between housing and had no other options. He had just gotten out of a relationship and as the housing/rental market in Portland has gotten tighter, it was taking him a bit to find something worthwhile in his budget. During his time here we had several "deep" conversations, but one of the lessons he imparted onto me was that of the "Yea, but...." clause. His ex-girlfriend was one who apparently operated under the "Yea, but..." frame of mind....there was always an excuse, always an exception, etc.

Somehow today it dawned on me that as much as I tend to be a "stop and smell the roses" type of person...I also take the "yea, but..." mentality to a Basically, I am my own worst critique and my expectations are always aiming to be higher. I also tend to hope or expect that others in my life will operate "up to my standards," and this can create a whole realm of other issues :)

There tends to be a thin line at times between not doing enough and on the other side, doing and expecting way too much. I feel incredibly fortunate that just when I tend to over-push or exhaust myself...something or someone tends to come along that nips me back into a gentler frame of mind.

I've had people in the past ask me what I'm striving for. The truth is that I aim to strive. Striving is part of what makes me who I am. I like to push myself outside my comfort zone in some ways, I like to run that extra mile a lot of the time, I'm constantly working on being a better, stronger version of myself. That doesn't mean that I'm dissatisfied. It just means that I prefer to be working toward something rather than not heading in any particular direction. I want to soak up moments of life (even though frequently I need to remind myself to truly SOAK it in...).

Today reminds me of the balance that must exist however. Yesterday I was so stoked at my level of productivity. I woke up after a solid sleep. I finished grading everything for one institution, had a solid lunch and made time to catch up with my housemate who had just returned from a weekend away, I spent the next four hours prepping for today's lecture, then took the dogs on a 2.5 mile jog (finishing off our mileage goal for the month), all before cleaning out the gutters, picking up the yard, showering, eating a solid dinner, and then allowing myself time to read until later in the evening for fun (although always work related). Ironically, as happy as I was at yesterday's productivity, today I woke up tired, drained, feeling like my lecture didn't go as planned, wanting to use my in-between hours to work but instead taking a nap, worrying about how quickly I can make financial goals, etc....and that's when the notion of the "Yea, but...." came to me and how much I need to work on loosening up and reframing.

I had a GREAT day yesterday...yea, but now today's exhaustion is frustrating. (Not every day is going to feel like a million bucks.)
I spent solid hours prepping....but felt like the students weren't as satisfied. (Not every lecture is going to feel like I nailed it. The students still learned.)
My finances aren't where I want them. (I still paid off a pretty decent chunk of money in the two months of these contracts. The debt WILL disappear, be patient.)

Instead of "Yea, but.."ing about how things should be or could be better, I would be a whole lot better off if I would continue to focus on granting grace. Allowing for "off" days, rest days, and recognizing the work and strides that actually have occurred.

So here's to continuing to straddle that thin line, but doing so in a better frame of mind.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Ha...well complete and total fail on goal #1 for the year, ie regarding blogging 5x a month, but I'm okay with it. Sometimes we give and take in life...and I made great progress on the other goals and experienced so much life in the missing moments.

Between August/September's road trip and now, I've started working both adjunct jobs and am still adjusting to the extra prepping, etc. I like to start the term off solidly prepared with all lectures, exams, assignments pre-created, but this year that hasn't exactly happened. Each week then I am prepping a LOT of the time, grading a LOT of the time, and thinking about work a LOT of the time. I'm teaching my usual four courses at my normal institution, altering and teaching a new-to-me course at the new institution, and mentoring 9 students in their program. I'm also researching and planning the work trip to Argentina in December, creating 2 new courses to run at the new institution next term, and altering an older course into a new hybrid format for my overload term at my normal institution. All in total, I am scheduled to teach 10 classes winter term and still mentor the same students....just call me crazy, but somehow I feel like it's totally going to work out okay. Because by then it truly WILL all be prepped and the pieces ready to roll! (In fact, really most the course prep should be done in the next month or so anyway...)

The house has also had a lot of changes with a lot of overlap that occurred within the same one to two week span. The final summer housemate moved out in the beginning of September and her room was taken by a return gal who will be here for at least six months. Reg D was crashing in the guest room off and on for most of August and half of September...and then I also had another individual who was here for two weeks while he needed a place to stay. In that same period of time, I rearranged the rooms so that the furnished rental room is now the largest room (where L is) and the middle room became my office. Luckily Reg D had a cast away desk and the summer housemate left shelves so my office got outfitted for zero dollars--just the way I like it :) I also redecorated the den, which meant painting, Reg D fixing the futon, a new TV console, rearranging furniture, a slip cover for the Ikea chair, and pictures from my travels hung on the walls. L and I have settled into a sort of routine and it's been nice to just have the two of us in the house actually. I'm attempting to transition to not subletting rooms anymore, so L will probably be the last long-ish renter.

Somewhere in August I started dating again....and a month ago I met someone who might just pan out to be someone. I'm not going to say much more...but I'm actually a little bit hopeful with this one....and luckily he thinks it's great to spend dates in nature, helping me get in some running miles, cooking dinner together, or just having me hang out on the couch grading while he works on projects around his home....

Somewhere in the last week, I feel like I'm slowly creating a routine that is helping...and I'm also working on getting back into the groove with the things that make me feel like ensuring I get regular time in nature, decent sleep, good nutrition, some solo moments, and that the dogs and I get in some regular miles. I'm learning to listen to those moments when I'm just not going to be productive and instead letting myself veg out on the back deck or create time socially. It always works out that the days when the productivity is free flowing, much more gets done than the average day anyway so I've been banking on those moments for surges of work and then granting reprieves for self-care on the days when the brain is just not wanting to go there. Amidst the busyness, I still appreciate the stillness and the awesome simplicity of existence. :)

I also feel incredible grateful in this season. Yes, there's so much I still wish that I had time to do....canning did you say?! :) Yardwork? Day dreaming?! :) But when I compare this life to where it was and how I felt three years ago, I truly am amazed at how it has evolved. That's not to say it's going to stay this awesome and that additional changes might not be on the horizon or things could again fall to pieces, but I also recognize that strength is there, doors always somehow eventually open, and I'm surrounded by a wealth of amazing individuals via family, friends, and acquaintances. I truly couldn't ask for much more.

In terms of other goals, I'm so glad to finally get a real paycheck again soon and am so glad that I budgeted just enough to cover most expenses in the three months of less income...well minus the road trip but.....between the two jobs that credit card (including the awesome road trip), my car, and hopefully a spring time trip to NOLA will all be paid in full late spring of next year all while still making a tiny bit of headway on those student loan payments also. I'm already day dreaming of when I can do the happy dance regarding the credit card and another one with the car :) and then starting to sock away on the student loan payments :) Beyond finances, so far this year, I tried snowboarding lessons and gave hot yoga a go. I traveled/taught/served in Africa and also finally visited Matt & Haley in Canada. I exposed people to new outdoor pursuits and took the dogs on more than two backpacking trips. I've enjoyed & embraced who/what I have, continued to rent rooms, and focused on regaining health/balance. My car loan will be within that $4k range by end of year and the credit card made it to 75% earlier this year (although didn't maintain but SHOULD be paid in full by March). I passed my massage exams, worked part-time as a LMT, and still provide the occasional assistance for family and friends. I'm still working on exploring spiritual community, but I also tackled a few items from the larger three years list like: transitioning into international health (and it does look different than I imagined), exploring other areas of Oregon (Central Oregon trips including the Painted Hills), and figuring out how to truly be open to a different life partner. I also got to include the amazing road trip from this summer, spent time exploring multiple national parks, completed my first solo backpacking trip, figured out how to car camp comfortably, and made great headway on getting my financial independence in order. far it's been a pretty remarkable year!

Hoping that the next few months come together just as nicely and I'm looking forward to all that 2016 could potentially have in store....while absolutely enjoying all the moments inbetween!