here.

Hi.

I’ve been a stranger.  Like. TOTALLY a stranger.  Like. WOAH WHERE DID YOU GO stranger.  And it’s not that I didn’t want to visit.  In fact, I would have been here more often if I could get Siri to write my posts for me while I am driving.  Because I write LOTS in my head then.  Like at LEAST a post a day.  And then somehow, I start to work or hit the gym or text or SOMETHING and then I forget.  But please note.  I totally feel guilty.

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So. I applied for graduation and as of today – this moment – I have 234 days until I am finished. (I have a countdown on my phone that have to talk myself out of checking because I obsessively want to look at it every day. And I totally can’t help myself and I look again.) Two classes this summer, and two classes this fall. Pray. This semester I have taken three classes – Chemistry, Macroeconomics and Business Communications. And it utterly kicked my ass – not all the time, but definitely in waves. And I think that I have learned a little more grace for myself and for other people. In college (like real college when i didn’t have two jobs, a social life, a mortgage, rent, car, insurance…you get the picture!), I never understood how people could forget something so simple as HOMEWORK. I mean, just WRITE IT DOWN for crying out loud. And then now – twice I have gone to two different professors and explained that I forgot homework. Just forgot. Not that I didn’t want to do it. Not that I couldn’t have found time (something that I have this crazy talent for). Just plain ole’ brain-fart forgot. Neither one of them would allow me to turn it in late. But hey, oh well.
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So I find myself planning EVERY second of every day Monday through Friday. To the nano second. When I get home at 8 or 9p, I usually have an hour’s worth of stuff to do (laundry, dishes, prepare food, get my bag together for the next day, try to remember how MANY pairs of shoes, panties, and workout outfits I will need for the next day). And it becomes my power hour. I cannot sit down, I cannot stop moving until everything including washing my face and brushing my teeth is done. If I do, I cannot get back up. But with this regimented schedule during the week, I find my weekends EXTRA carefree. I have always been a fairly free spirit when it comes to playing. If I have the gas in my car, I will go do it. And for the past 3 months, my weekends have been super fun. Boo moved to Atlanta in March, I’ve been to Denver, the beach, dinner, railroad park, Regions stadium, bars I haven’t been to in years, random nights where I stay out later than I am used to, on blind dates and have just been happy. My poor roomates have remarked that I have the strangest schedule. Truth.

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Speaking of roommates, I moved into a house in February with some really awesome girls. Super sweet, super easy, and they handle my weirdness well. Nothing like roommates to make you realize how not normal you are. Or is that just me? I love having the company – and the ease of good roommates. I can only hope they say the same thing about me! I try…

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I’ve made some new friends lately. They are my age, single, and love to sweat it up. And I am starting to feel like me again. It only took me 6 years to get back to this point. But I know the journey from 24 to 31 has made me into SUCH a better version of myself. Kinder. Softer. Hopefully a little more knowledgeable and definitely more forgiving.

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March 6th was the 2 year anniversary of my divorce – and I can truly attest that divorce has a half life. It was some time in the last few months that I just felt, well, NORMAL. Not damaged, not angry, not blaming others, just normal. Praise God from whom all blessing flows, because without His Mercies, I would be in a ditch. I went to a Capitavating conference in Denver in March and it reminded me (as I need reminding EVERY DAY) that only God can put my broken heart back together. There are STILL times – few. FAR BETWEEN. But times that I get overwhelmed with the feeling of how damaged I am which leads me down the path of no one will ever love me into I’ll be single for the rest of my life and right back to how irreparable damaged I am. And don’t get me wrong. This heart has been shattered by SEVERAL men in my life and it is ugly and black and lifeless on its own. But God promises to repair it. to make it whole. And He assures me that I am beautiful. That He DOES see me, that HE is and will be everything to me that I’ve seen fail in the past.

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I also turned 31 in March. Don’t worry, I still continue to tell people that I am 30. I think that is a mix of not feeling 31 and how crazy packed life has been. My sweet loves took me to the beach for what was the best Birthday in a long while. It was FREEZING cold. But we drank wine, played Maajong, shopped (of course I was the ONLY ONE who bought anything), slept, watched Downton Abby, jammed to good tunes, cooked, and laughed. It was SO good for my heart. And there was this ONE cheese plate – I can’t stop thinking about it! Best meats, best olive oil, best cheese, best nuts…I mean. To. Die. For. And we drank more red wine than most people drink in a year. Not really. Well, yes really. Whatever. It was good.

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I’m trying not obsess about next steps. Here I am about to get my degree. Finally. Something that has kind of held me back. But not really. But kind of. And all my jobs in the past have been to push the ceiling on how far I could go without a degree. Like, DUH I don’t need one. But now? What do I want to do? I’ve utterly downgraded my life. And I wish I could downgrade it even more! So I don’t NEED to make money like I used to (staying in a job just to pay bills for stuff I don’t want. What I want is out of that cycle!!) You know that question? What would you do if money was no object? Yeah, I don’t know the answer yet. It’s mulling in my brain. And it looks REALLY different than what I thought it would be. I had planned on going to nursing school. Full. Speed. Ahead. Not that I won’t do that – I am not scared of it – that I won’t be able to finish or I am not smart enough. But as I pray desperately for God to help me see my path, what I DO hear is “wait”. Like, just get through this ONE step. Get to December. Get through 234 days. Just that. So. That’s what I am doing. Pray for that? Pray that I can figure out next steps. Or that I would be able to wait. How ever you want to pray for me – I will take it!

So here I am, friends. Back.

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And the 25th Birthday goes to….

THIS CHICK!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUNSHINE!

Wanna know why you should hang out with Rachel??

1) She is OBSESSED with her dog like I am.  And it’s funny because Abby has taken on some of Rachel’s neurotic personality!  Obviously not the running around and then spinning on her back-side part.  BUT last night, I was snapping at Abby to get on the couch?  And Rachel got up to move…..I think it is because they are SO in-tune.

2) And Let’s be honest – she is one of the most CREATIVE people that I know.  Yes, that is green hair!  And Orange!  And Pink! And Blonde!  She has been expressing her creativity since she was 15 years old.  One of the few people at Mountain Brook who dyed her hair!  And to this day, I have no idea how she got away with it in the dress code.  And she CERTAINLY didn’t get that from me!  I was always worried about getting turned into the principal’s office for dress code!

3) She LOVES, KNOWS, and UNDERSTANDS music.  I wouldn’t be half as “cool” as I am if Rachel hadn’t shared her love of music with us!  From the time she was little, she could find the most interesting and gorgeous bands!  I mean, she is ALWAYS sharing music with Becca and me, and I have no idea how she always knows the bands before they get popular!

4) She hates deer.  Like HATES them.  Like thinks that they are murderous freaks of nature.  Mainly because one jumped out at her on a dark road one time and didn’t just cause her to wreck.  It wrecked havoc on her car….and they had to cut her out!  Also, small little known fact…she may or may not keep her car pretty packed with stuff….and when they cut her out of the car they immediately put her on a stretcher and then into the hospital.  When we all go the to hospital, she may or MAY NOT have had some change stuck to her BACK under her clothes!  It was a piece of sunshine in the scary-ness of having our baby sister attacked by a deer!

5) Actually, this is NOT just about Rachel, but about the whimsey of my sisters.  They are ALL so much more funny than I am!  SO SO SO…..Below is a quick text exchange between Becca and Rachel in regards to what she wants for her birthday:

“You can ask mom.  I’ve told Jet a couple of rhinos

“sorry – I’ve told MOM a couple of THINGS”

B – “Is this Jet person a rhino dealer?  Would prefer a baby rhino or one that was full grown?!”

R – “I am thinking a baby rhino so that it could be trained.”

B – “Have you cleared this with Ruthie?  Will it live in the backyard?

R – “oh, of course.”

B – “I will look for the baby rhino first, but you might have to settle for a pair of boots as a rhino might be a tad out of my price range…

6) Her makeup – she had OODLES AND OODLES of make-up.  She introduced me and Becca to Urban Decay (which, heavens, i LOVE THEIR EYESHADDOW).   And she always wears like the coolest eyeliner.

7) Her bravery!  This chick LEFT the United States for a year with she was 18.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was 18, I wanted to hang out with my current friends. But she LEFT!  And went to England!  And hung out with SHEEPS!  And BY HERSELF!

And most of all, she is one of the most LOVING people you will meet!  She always over-looks her friends/enemies/family’s flaws.  She is the most forgiving person you will ever meet….

SO GO SEE HER at Regis in Brookwood, ask for a head massage and just enjoy the chatter of Rache’s Life!

LOVE YOU SISTER!

check check, 1-2-3

Easy as PIE right??  Making a life style change, I mean!  Trying to change my WHOLE outlook on how I view food.  What it does to my body.  How I work with one group of food versus the OTHER group of foods.

Just kidding.

NOT EASY.  I mean, like SO not easy.

So I turned 30 this past weekend (let’s give it UP for 30, yall!!!) I swear its going to be the best years of my LIFE.  I already like being 30, even though I still got carded at Publix and every single Mexican establishment I’ve ever been to.  Not so sure about bars any more since I’ve not stepped foot in one in YEARS.  Oh!  I didn’t get carded at Avondale Brewery this past weekend!  But that might have had to do with the fact I was wearing a tiara that said “Happy 30th” on it.  Nevermind….

Avondale Brewery

Side note before I get to the point.  ABC is flipping AWESOME.  Neat building, love what the Avondale Community is doing to drive traffic to that area, and just LOVE this side of town anyways.  I had a little bit of all the beers, but I happen to like the Saison, which is a Belgiun pale ale.  Mostly because it reminds me of summer.  Oh!  And I think that elephant is adorable.  Small fact I learned from my friend Danny this weekend – that is a Hops Flower underneath his foot (between the A and B).  I KNOW right??  You are learning SO much from my posting today.

SO back to the point.

Which was making a life change, by choice.  As we know (and NO need to revisit) there were several life changes that happened over the past year that I had NO control over, so I decided to be proactive and find out what this “Paleo” lifestyle is about.

In January, I did the 30 day challenge (WHICH, BTW took me almost 50 days.  Go figure.  And counting IS my forte!) and at the end of my time, just kinda STAYED “pure” in my eating because I was terrified in “going off program” (yes, that is a WW term).  But let’s be honest!  Eating 110% perfect EVERY SINGLE DAY is not realistic.  And it most certainly does not fit anyone’s lifestyle, unless you never leave your house again.  So I started adding some things back in….Cheese for example.  Then I made some Red Velvet and Brownie cupcakes for my birthday.  Then I went to (well….I’m not going to tell you ALL the places that I went! – BUT they were good!) SEVERAL places for my birthday, ending with Ollie Irene (GO if you haven’t tried it!!  GO THIS WEEKEND!) and waking up this morning feeling sluggish, bloated and yuck.

SO Notes about Ruth:

1) Cheese makes your GI go wacko.  I never understood when people said dairy didn’t agree with them.  But I think I was too far into my obsession to realize how my body reacted!  And since that was the first thing I added back in, it had a definite reaction on my body!

2) Beer (hops, grains, whatever!) makes me super hungsies.  Like, WOW. But Wine?  Not so much.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be giving up beer.  Not after I have encouraged you to test out the local brewery!  But I won’t be indulging quite as deep as I have in the past.  NOT A BAD THING, folks!

3) VEGGIES AND FRUIT are important!  And with birthday celebrations, I have had less time to plan meals.  SO IMPORTANT, or I just don’t eat right.  It’s like brushing my teeth.  I HATE doing it.  But I can’t just skip it!

4) I sleep better, workout better, feel better, have a BETTER attitude, clearer skin, and pants that fit (what?) BETTER.  All from planning what I eat!  Making sure that have the tools at my fingertips to make me successful.  Plus I lost 12 lbs.  By eating more mayonnaise, nuts, avocados and coconut milk than I ever have in my life.

SO now that you know all of these things that don’t really mean MUCH to you, but they make my life better by knowing them – here is my plan!  Going to go another 30 days since the last 10 have been, well, less than steller.  BUT ONLY 30.  Because I’ve got to take baby steps in how to make this successful and managable for life.

From Dallas and Melissa’s page:

The Whole30 is not a diet, a short-term fix or a temporary solution. It’s also not the Whole365.

We want you to use the Whole30 as a learning tool to gain awarenessof how the foods you used to eat were actually affecting how you look, feel, live and perform.

And then we want you to carry that awareness forward, and use your experience to change the way you eat for the rest of your life.

We encourage you to make educated, deliberate decisions about when, how often and in what quantities you include less healthy foods in your diet. We’ve written a collection of articles about how to accomplish this in a way that is sane, sustainable and healthy.

And JUST TO BE CLEAR – I am just unplugging and plugging it back in.  I don’t think I reaped the WHOLE benefits of the Whole30.  And I KNOW this can be a way of life.  But like everything else in my life, it takes a few times to STICK.

WOOP WOOP.  Here’s to life changes!

just touching base, right?

I miss you guys!  But don’t you worry, I have dedicated a post to the inner realms of my mind:

1) Do most people FILE their nails?  Or do they clip them?  I’ve always just been a nail biter, but in the last 5 years, I’ve rid myself of almost all of that habit!  I know, I know…its gross!  But I never said I was perfect.  (Actually, I am pretty close…Just have a few steps to reach there.)

2) I am having a hard time deciding where to eat dinner for my family birthday.  yeah, its comin’ up, and I am SURE you missed the 8,094 memos I have reminded you guys.  I can’t help it!  After my last year, I am SO glad to be rid of my 20’s and on to a new chapter!  Side note, a new co-worker informed me that 30’s are terrible.  He hopes that mine are better than his. (umm, they WILL BE, sucker!)

3)  Havin’ a sick dog is for the birds!  Last week was filled with non-sleeping.

4) Is it ALREADY TIME to launch the Q2 for Les Mills?  Aparently so, since they charged me for my new releases.

5)  Why is it that I can get obsessed with every type of exercise known to man, and some people HATE to work out.  I wish I could share my love with everyone!  Currently, I am loving Bikram Yoga down in Vestavia near the bowling ally.  If you want to come, just LET ME KNOW!

6) I wish I could wash my hair more.  I just don’t like to.

7)  Sleeping an entire 7.5 hours makes for an AWESOME morning!  I am ready to solve ALL of the world’s problems!  Just tell me what is going on!  I’ll fix your life ASAP!  I’m just good, and PERFECT like taht (see #1).

8) Saw WICKED two weeks ago.  It was MOST excellent.

9) I REALLY want to go to all of these awesome music festivals coming up (see here, here, here and here!  OH and one day, I will make it here: 2013 Glastonbury Festival.  Check out their amazing past line up!)

10)  I love Mexican food.  I mean LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

What I am eating this week:

Melissa’s Meat Muffins  (I used Italian Sausage – super SPICEY and its so. so. sooo good.)  Also, aparently I only like to make mini-muffins, in which case it yeilds like 48.  I think I had 12 this morning for breakfast.  Please don’t judge.  Also, Melissa has been SO AWESOME to offer yall a PDF of the recipe from her book.  For FREE!

Carrots

Tuna+Cracked Pepper Mayo+Avocado+Capers = super tasty snack

Cuties (I mean they are SO cute!)

Boston Butt, taco style last night.  The world is my Oyster for tonight!

GoGo Squeez – kinda obsessed how EASY these are for a snack!  And SO TASTY!  Obvi I don’t eat the Banana one.  But I LOVE the strawberry one!

big things are comin’

I always think of the song that Tony sings about Maria from West Side Story when change comes running down my world.

A few small things….

1) I start a new job on Monday

2) I am TERRIFIED of it

3) I’ve cried for two weeks straight not knowing if what I am doing is the correct path.  (It is.  I checked both the eight ball, crystal ball AND Jesus.  But mostly in prayer ;))

4) I’m turning 30 in 2.5 weeks  – VERY excited about that!  I think that I am having a Fiesta….THATS RIGHT.  And I may wear this dress:

(Well, that one is $5900.  But you get the idea.)

5) I may get a new phone.  I found a phone on the sidewalk last week, but it only works for Verizon.  So I’m listing it on Craig’s List to trade.  I really want an Android-driven phone as long as it has a keyboard!  I really cant write work emails without a keyboard.  REALLY.  I’ve tried.

6) I will get a computer at my new work that works!  I had an utter breakdown Monday and Tuesday.  I have a few things left to do this week but I seriously cannot get them down.  The IT dept said, “We can’t fix your computer, its F****.”  Literally.  That’s what the IT department said.

7) I zipped up dresses this week that I previously have BUSTED the zipper.  Thanks to Whole30/Paleo.  And my wrap-up post is comin’ along 😉  But just not THERE yet.  Also added benefits (cover your ears if you don’t want to hear good news) – my work outs are better, my sleeping is MARGINALLY better (I’m not a great sleeper) and my seasonal depression seems to be letting up, and I KNOW its not because of this beautiful weather we have been having!

8) I had the BEST Valentine’s Day Date with two of the loves of my life.  Bikram Yoga and some laughs!

9) My house is messy and I can’t seem to get it fixed up….Need help in that department!

10) I am OK.  “This is the day that the Lord has made!  I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  THAT and “Cast all your anxiety on Him who cares for you!” 1st Peter 5:7

ps – that verse was my Life Verse I picked out in Mrs. Plantenga’s 5th grade class at Lafayette Christian School.  Also unknown is that I was a cheerleader for the Basketball Team.  Dear lord do I wish I could find those pictures for yall. ohhhhhh I WISH.

Hope everyone is having an awesome day!!!  Laugh lots, remember you are a child of God, and tomorrow comes sooner than you want it too!

32 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UNTIL I TURN 30.  DUDE.  I am psyc’ed.  Like REALLY I am.  20’s wasn’t really my thing.  Like, kinda an understatement.  I see all my friends and family and GET that turning 30, getting older, REALLY IS BETTER.

Now that I’ve gotten over my whole, “I need to get married, have babies and be perfect” phase, I’m ready to be exactly who God wants me to be!  Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait until this dude or this dude or THIS dude sweeps me off my feet.  And of course, if all those hotties are busy, I’m open to applicants (and blind dates!).  But the thing is….I like where I am right now….MOVING FORWARD.

BUT THE REAL REASON is to write out my Bday list for you if you are ready to purchase things for me.  Only 32 days!  GET ON IT, INTERWEBS!

  1. iphone 4S.  YES I WANT IT.  YES I CANNOT HELP IT.  Ugg.  I’m not an “Apple” person.  But if we are talking about things I will never get but want.  It is on there.
  2. A bike rack for the car!  Its sitting inside the car…but pretty much never leaves the inside of my car.  Whooooops!
  3. A Vitamix….annnnd its pretty dang awesome.  But seriously, how can you justify getting one of these when my Hamilton Beach works awesome when making Mayonnaise.  But, for anyone that has seen Final Destination, I totally feel like the blade one day is going to hit my head and kill me instantly.  That, and I KNOW one day my garbage disposal will just “magically” turn on when I’m retrieving something out of it.  And then I remember that God holds the universe in his hand, and its NOT magic.  And then I am OK again!
  4. A Louis.  A real one.  Like not the kind you get in NYC.
  5. Obagi. I’ve been DYING to try this line.  And then two of my best friends went out and started using it and they look amazing.  FURTHER pushes my obsession of it.  Anyone else try it??
  6. Yoga Retreat, anyone??  Yeah, because that would be Ah-MAAAAAZING.
  7. In the grand scheme of Birthday Presents, the thing is these are things I would NEVER buy for myself, but want!  My former MIL had these plates for Christmas, and I just ADORE them.  But, spending $100 on something I don’t use all year?  Not happening.
  8. Annnnnnnnnd that is about the extent of my selfish wants.  Today, that is.

The thing is, I really don’t NEED ANYTHING!  Car has gas is in, the house is being paid on, my frig is full, my clothes are fit and cute, my shoes are fitting…I love everything about my life!  God is such a giving and good God.  He has given me MANY opportunities to live better.  Be better…Shine for HIM!  and yes, still working on it daily.  BUT.  all in all, He is a gracious and giving God who kept my foot on, and brought me back to a functioning Les Mills Athlete!  (loosely, i KNOW).

But.  Mark your Calendars.

MARCH 4th, 2012 IS GOING TO BE EPIC.