Friday, December 31, 2010

Reverb 10 - December 29 - 31!

December 29 – Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)
I'm sending you a blizzard, messin' your vacation up!
I'm not sure I had a defining moment this year - I had a whole lot of damn fun this year and I'm excited for 2011. If I had to pick something that happened this year that changed my life it was this week, when Ryan and I had our vacation cancelled because of the Snowmagedden.

We we're all set to fly to New York on Monday morning and have a few days in the city to take in the sights. A mega blizzard had other ideas.  Instead of crying about it, we decided to move our vacation to our hometown, which is also where we currently live. It was a blast - we saw a burlesque show and ate at tons of restaurants we wanted to try, but have never made the time. The zoo was visited, we took naps - it was a perfect vacation and it cost about 1/3 of what NYC would have cost. 

This week, to me, defined us as a couple - we're always game to make the best of something, which is super important to make a marriage work*. 

(*we've been together for 9 years, married for 5, so I'm pretty sure I don't know everything about marriage - I just know this works for us).

December 30 – Gift Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

That's easy: surprise 5 year anniversary shower. It was unbelievable! 

December 31 – Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Author: Molly O’Neill)

Holy crap - this is deep. How do you know what you're core story is? Isn't part of personhood being contradictory? Also, isn't saying "I'm this kind of person" akin to telling the world "Ok - I'm really wanting to come off as this kind of person, but I'm not quite there yet. Maybe declaring it will make it so!"? 

Looking back over this month of posting, one thing is clear to me: I'm happy. Not always, not all the time cheering "WOO HOOO!!", but honestly, most of the time I am like that. I'm loud, semi-obnoxious and always laughing or making a joke. I'm a happy person and I'm lucky to be here - my life hasn't always been this enjoyable (mostly because of my own damn doing). It makes me just want to be nice. To everyone. Even the ones who thing I'm A) stupid or B) disingenuous*. 

Another thing that struck me this year was that I need to be better about letting stuff go. I simply can't cling to anger, resentment or negativity as I have done in the past. This year I've made a real effort to improve this and guess what: my life has become so much better because of it. Duh Sarah. Duh.

So how can you share being happy with the world and not act like a jackass who's lording their happiness over everyone else? Help them be happy too. Make them laugh, share good times and make sure they know you like them - everyone likes to be liked, especially when it's sincere. You would be surprised how little some people hear compliments - try handing a few out now and again. Just be nice**. 

*I don't care what you think, I'm going to be nice to you so hard you won't know what hit you!
**Also, don't drive like a jerk or cut in lines. That makes people super mad - I get downright muderous when people do either of those things, and I'm a pretty nice person.

Reverb 10 - December 27 and 28

Don't let his adorableness fool you - he can
clear the room with a toot.
December 27 – Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: BrenĂ© Brown) 

My most joyful experience is laying down in bed with Ryan and Tex. They're my little family and it makes me nearly giddy to hear them offering up the dueling banjos of snoring. It's cute and it makes me feel so safe - like my life is all curled up in that bed resting. It's a wonderful feeling to be next to the ones you love and to feel like everything is ok at the moment. 

The coolest thing is that I get to do it every night, even if one of them occasionally farts up the bed.

December 28 – Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

Next year I want to be content. That's it - I don't have to have a mid-blowing personal revelation or some crazy adventure, I just want to be happy and to enjoy life. 

I remember hearing this young girl (not young, young - just a bit younger than me in college) lament that some people are doomed to live an ordinary life. I was kind of drunk at the time, so my reply probably sounded like "You're stupid" when what I meant to say is "We should all learn to be happy where we are." There are so many people in the world - in our own community - who wish and pray that they could have an ordinary life. Whether they have been hit by tragedy, crippled by poverty or just miserable in general, they would most likely be completely fine with just having a family, having a decent job and sleeping in a warm bed.

My life is ordinary, but the fact that I get to wake up and live it everyday is awesome. That's all we can ask for, right? All the rest is just details. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reverb 10 - December 26

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

Man do I love food - LOVE IT! This year I don't remember a particular meal, but I will never forget Dexter night. 

On Sundays our friends would get together to eat a potluck-style meal and watch Dexter, the show about America's favorite serial-killer who also happens to be a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Homicide Department. Yes I agree that's oddly specific, but it's a damn good show. 

Communal meals like that really bring people together - you get to share your favorite recipe, tons of jokes and some time with your friends that you might not otherwise get. Between all the commitments of life - work, school and just getting things done (groceries are needed, the dog needs to be walked) - it's easy to let friendship slide, but if you build in time each week, it's something to look forward to!

Reverb 10 - December 20 - 25

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas - we were blessed with two great families to split our time with: Ryan's and mine. I love both of my families so much and I'm so glad we get to spend time together and that we didn't lose anyone along the way this year.

One thing struck me this year and that's exactly how blessed I am. There should come a time in every person's life when they are humbled by love and it's happened to me twice this year - when our best friends threw us a surprise 5 year wedding anniversary (it was one of the very best days of my life - possibly the best) and this Christmas when I unwrapped a new coat.

The coat was beautiful - olive green and made of soft wool. It was warm too - I tested it in the harsh Texas winter (LOL). But it occurred to me in a very tangible way that I'm a lucky person - I get to wear a new coat! Not an old coat, not a used one, not a donated coat - a brand new coat. Some people never have that day and it hurts my heart. Next year, I'm going to buy 3 new coats and donate them somewhere so others have that same experience. 

OK - on to the prompts! Make a cup of coffee and settle in, because I'm obviously wordy today!

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

This year was a real turning point for me in my life. I have really enjoyed most everything and have done my best to experience it all. One thing I regret is not meditating more - I am going to sit more in 2011!

December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

Dear Future Self - don't worry so much! As the great Van Wilder said "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but doesn't take you anywhere." Just enjoy life - it's going to be over sooner than you think and worrying is going to make you miss it. Sarah

CC: past self, present self.

December 22 – Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

Herding sheep in Ireland!

Travel is awesome. You learn so much about other people, the way they live and more about yourself. I love telling the stories of trekking through Ireland and eating through Italy or, more importantly, getting engaged in Venice (Hi five Gabbo - engagement? Nailed it!)

This year we have gone a few cool places: Mexico, Ireland, England - and I would love to visit a few more in 2011. One place I would love to visit would be the west - I would love to see parts of California and the Pacific northwest that I have never visited before. I love globetrotting, but it's time for the Gabbarts to see a bit more of the good ole' USA.

December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott) 

Gertrude. Not only is my favorite sewing blog by a lady named Gertie, but my grandfather used to call me Gertrude and my sister Josephine. I have no idea why he did this, but it's funny to me and strikes me as a damn cool name. How many people have you met named Gertrude that aren't 80 years old? 

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Author: Kate Inglis)

Ryan and I made a garden this year - it has been a life long dream of mine to have a garden in the backyard and it finally happened! Thanks to the help of Ruthie, gardening expert and best birthday gift giver ever (she gave me a year of garden consultation) and Ryan's dad (he lent us a truck), the Gabbarts now have a veggie patch in the back and were able to grow cucumbers, salad and tomatoes. 

Sitting in the back yard watching the garden and relaxing brings me to that "everything is going to be ok" spot every time. It's the stillness and the quasi-natural setting that eases my mind - both are powerful tools to use in coping with anxiety (which I have a touch of) and becoming a more balanced person.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Author: Tracey Clark)
Max, my sister's boyfriend and awesome photographer dude, took this of Ryan and I getting surprised with a 5 year anniversary party.

We were both so blown away by this incredible kindness, that I started crying shortly after this shot was taken. Can you imagine how much people have to love you to plan a party, make all the food, drag your parent's away from their compound in the country and keep it a secret? It's no small task and we felt no small amount of gratitude for friends like ours!

This photo makes me want to be a better person and a better friend - to give others that amazing feeling that day gave me. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Weigh in Monday - 12/20/10

I'm skipping WW today because I slept a bit too late :o( Next weigh in Monday will be on January 3 because they're closed for the holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reverb 10 - December 19

December 19 – Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leoni Allan)

Falling down is a constant in my life. I have many, many scars from skinned knees, banged elbows and ill-conceived climbs up brittle tree limbs. It hurts when you fall and it seems to take F O R E V E R to heal. I once took a dive off the front porch thanks to a pair of too tall heels and it took a year for the ache in my knee to go away, not to mention the gigant bruise and scraped-to-hell knee. Everything eventually returned to normal, but it took some time.

It's the same with all the teasing, bullying and general meanness that we have all had to deal with at some point in our youth. It stings, it leaves scars and it gives us hang ups about being ourself. Its easy to trace our adult issues to the awful things that someone said to us way back when. The biggest victory is to be ok with who you are - to heal those old hurts through loving yourself for who you are.

Time does heal all wounds. Each day we learn to live better in our own skin and, to me, that's healing. Being comfortable with who you are is a way of stitching up all of the hurt you have suffered from those who didn't understand you; and it happens day by day, piece by piece, drip by drip. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reverb 10 - December 13 - 18 (AKA the "Sarah Sucks at Keeping Up!" edition)

Oh lawd people. I'm terrible at keeping up this week - between work, holiday shopping, holiday making, sleeping and seeing the hubster, I took a blogging hiatus. 

December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)
I don't know yet. There are so many things one can do in life and it can be daunting to choose your next path. I'm interested in trying something I have never done before - something that challenges and scares me!

December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)
I really appreciate the people in my life. I love my husband, my dog (he's a person to me!), my family and my friends - and I hope that I can somehow show them how much they mean to me. 

Another thing I am grateful for is the small comfort that I have in my life - I'm very lucky to have a warm home, new shoes and clean clothing. There are so many people in the world - even people in our own communities - who don't have these luxuries. After volunteering this year with Interfaith Ministries delivering dog food to low-income seniors, I have a lot more appreciation for all the blessings I have had in my life. 

December 15 – 5 Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)
 Oh noes! I want to take it all with me! Two experience that stick out most have to do with both my husband and animals. For my birthday, I met a giraffe! Well, like 3 giraffes, and we were able to feed them. It was the coolest birthday present ever and in every photo I look like I'm going to pee my pants with excitement!

The second experience was one I have previously blogged about: flying a f%^&*ng hawk! It was so very awesome and I will never forget what it was like to have that big ass bird on my arm.

December 16 – Friendship How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)
Friendship should always change you. I heard in college that friendship is a a school of virtue (not sure who said it and Google is not telling me) and it's true: you should learn to be a better person thanks to the lessons your friends teach you. 

Through Alla I have learned to be more thoughtful (she always remembers special occasions and pulls out all the stops to make people feel loved), Erin taught me fierce loyalty, which she no doubt learned from her awesome family, and the importance of knowledge (whether it be knowledge of politics, economics or the significance of Twilight), and Ruthie taught me that you only get one life - use it well. 

But for all the things I learned from friends, I learned the most this year from a friendship that ended. Like everything in life, nothing lasts forever and sometimes its better to have things that don't work end, instead of dragging on. To burn up hard and bright, rather than go forever. 

December 17 – Lesson Learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)
I learn hard. I'm a thick, stubborn person and I need to get slapped in the face by something to have the lesson stick. Nearly 30 years into my life, I have finally (sorta) learned that I can't please everybody and that no matter how nice or accommodating I am, someone is going to be pissed off or disappointed. I can't take it personally - I can only do my best, be myself and let the cards fall as they may.

December 18 – Try What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)
2010 was the year of going for it - I took a meditation class, a class on printmaking, and one on burlesque dancing (so much fun, so much fail on my part - I'm not meant for gyrating the jiggle! HAHAHA). We traveled, we met giraffes and we celebrated 5 years of marriageness/happy time. 2010 rocked my socks off.

In 2011, I'm going to keep it up - I'm planning on making my own wardrobe and only buying what I can't make (still figuring out what the limit to that is!), I want to take some trips and give some other projects a whirl. I can't wait to get started!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weigh in Monday - 12/13/10

Beep beep! All aboard the gain train! This week I gained again - a whole 1.2 lbs. I don't wonder why either - between holiday parties and several big eating days this week, it's a wonder I didn't gain more. 

The holidays are a rough time to be on any weight loss program - between the treats people give out to the lavish buffets at many holiday shindigs, there is always an opportunity to stuff your face and gain some weight!

That said, I'm bummed about this, but not too much. I feel much better than I have in a long time, I feel stronger that I ever had (thanks Mandy!) and my clothes fit so much better right now. I KNOW I'm on the right track, I just need to button up my eating habits and I'll be able to start losing again.

Today's weight loss gain: 1.2 lbs
Total weight loss: .6 lbs
Pounds left to lose: 29.4

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reverb 10 - December 9 - 12

December 9: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

That's easy: the Etsy Party that Sew Crafty co-hosted with Etsy Houston - it was awesome! We had over 200 Houstonians show up and craft with us while enjoying food, wine and the company of other crafty people! 

December 10: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I read the Happiness Project early last year and it was one of the wisest books I have read in a long time. The thing that stuck with me the most is the idea of doing one resolution at a time. 

Working on only one resolution at a time is genius. Pure genius! Most people I know, myself included, jump into a laundry list of actions to take on in the new year and quickly burn out by February 2nd. 

It's overwhelming to try and tackle everything you want to improve at once - it's like trying to remodel every room of your house on the same weekend. If you tear down all the walls, rip out the plumbing and start messing with the foundation, you're not leaving yourself any space to live. 

Doing one resolution at a time gives you the space you need to live in the change and make it part of your life. 
*Buy the book - it's awesome!

December 11: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 

I'm a bit torn about this prompt. On one hand I think it's awesome to look back at things you need to change for the upcoming year, but on the other, I love what Happy Katie had to say about moving forward positively by listing 11 things she wants to do in 2011. 

My natural state is compromise, so I'm going to do 6 things I'm going to do more of in 2011 and 5 that I'm going to eliminate!

More of this in 2011
1. Walking - it's the best way to get in shape and clear your head. As my friend Ruthie said, it's cool to think you can still be doing it at Angela Landsbury's age! Fitness she wrote... 
2. Eating right - I love veggies and fruits. I also love pork cracklings (Stella Sola you vile temptress!) and ice cream. Lately, I have felt like a happy medium has been reached between the two and I would love to keep that going!
3. Loving my husband - loving someone is a choice you make every day. Each year I'm married to Ryan, I love him even more and we get along even better. 
4. Volunteering - it feels good to help other people. I used to think that was a bit selfish - helping others so that you feel better, but then I heard something Gil Fronsdal said on Zencast about extending lovingkindness to yourself and remembering that doing good isn't about a stoic morality but instead a connection to others. Connection to other people should feel good or you're not doing it right. (That's what she said. BAM.)
5. Sitting quietly - I took a meditation class in January and haven't meditated since January last year. It's for no other reason than I'm lazy and "Don't have time!" It's a BS excuse and I am going to sit more next year.
6. Bring back the positive - I have swung wildly in both directions all my life: nice, but subservient doormat person to "Oh no you didn't!" yelling at line cutter at Target person. I want to be more balanced in 2011.

Less of this in 2011
1. Negativity - I want to be less negative. This is usually on people's list, so I am totally with you on it being a cliche. One of my favorite quotes was from a college professor who said "Original ideas are overrated. Things become cliche because they are true - I'm not interested in original, I'm looking for truth." 
2. Alcohol - I enjoy drinking, but lately I've noticed how bad it feels on my body. Even after one glass on wine, I notice that it's harder to sleep and I feel groggy the next day. Occasionally, I'll have some wine or a cocktail, but during the week or every week, no thanks.
3. Sleeping so late - I sleep way to much and way to late most days. Getting a jump on the day by getting up early will give me time to meditate and time to walk!
4. Being on the internet so much - I check my email like 20 times a day and constantly monitor Facebook/Twitter for my business, which is good for times of responsiveness, but bad for getting things done and bad for having a peaceful day. I need to set more boundries and limit my internet time.
5. TV time - my default is staring at a screen and it's robbing me of valuable time I can spend doing what I love to do like sewing, hanging with my family or walking!

December 12: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Riding my bike always makes me feel alive. I used to be really scared of it - scared of falling off, getting hit by a car, by popping the chain and having to drag the bike back home. I'm a major chicken and biking was just sooooo dangerous to me!

When I started riding again, something changed after the second time and I started to feel like a kid again. I noticed butterflies fluttering in my neighbors gardens, the sound of kids kicking a ball in a vacant lot and the "whooosh!" of the wind against my helmet. When I'm on that bike, I feel like one connected being. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 7 and 8 - Reverb 10

December 7: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

The internet. I am so glad that my friend Erin convinced me to get connected to other people through social networks because I would not have otherwise been able to grow friendships with so many different people so easily. Houston is full of fun, cool, interesting, funny and crazy people that I have met in person and got to know better online. 

Also, I found this, which has made my life better in so many ways...

December 8: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.

I remember being 10 years old and talking to my dad about how I was ugly. I loved fashion books and magazines, but I didn't look at all like the beautiful women I saw gracing the pages of those books. They were so tall and lithe, two things I was (and still am) definitely not!

He said something to me that I won't ever forget. Instead of just saying that I was a pretty little girl and not to worry about it, he said "Look at you. You have green eyes and beautiful auburn hair. I bet those women have to dye their hair to make it look like yours - it's so shiny and pretty!"

For some reason, that made me understand different. Something about those words have given me license to feel beautiful even though I don't look like everybody else and it helps me see the things that make others beautiful too. 

UPDATE: I just realized that I totally whiffed it on answering this question so I'm going to expand my answer. 

I've always been a bit different. Not in the quirky, movie heroine (Zooey Dechanel I'm looking at you.) different  - weird. I'm a bit weird. I have a perpetually derailed train of thought, think poop jokes are funny and sing to my dog all the time (I realized I was doing it just this morning while walking him. My neighbors think I'm crazy.)

As a result, I have a lot of compassion for people who are weird, embarrassed or are having a hard time. I can't stand to see people uncomfortable or hurting, so I do my best to lay my pride on the altar of shared human connection and try to make them laugh. At me, at something silly, at a fart joke - anything. 

Yes that might make me juvenile or make them think I'm an idiot (this happens a lot! It's hard to be nice and have people take you seriously), but I'm always reminded Gretchen Rubin said in the Happiness Project: "It's easy to be heavy, hard to be light." It's very true - it's so much easier to be cynical than it is to be fun, kind and easy.

 Cynicism needs only to tear apart other's ideas and beliefs, but doesn't require a person to put themselves out there. It's like a suit of rude armor, deflecting people's insecurity back on themselves and protecting the cynic from any connection with other people. If you can't tell already, I'm not a fan of cynics and I think that this quote sums up why:

The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad. Henry Ward Beecher

Ok - enough hating on cynics. All of this small rant boils down to one main point: vulnerability makes people beautiful and it helps us love each other for who we are. We're all different, all a little sensitive about our quirks, but the people who love us do so because of, not in spite of, these quirks (ex: I talk too much and so loudly, it bothers me, but my husband thinks it's cute).

I love being different. It makes me, me :o)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weigh in Monday - 12/06/10

Well I sucked at tracking this week and gained .2 lb as a result. That's ok though, I was a little thrown off by the new PointsPlus plan and I'm back on track this week!

Next week I'm losing dammit!

Today's weight loss gain was: .2lbs
Total weight loss: 1.6
Weight left to lose: 28.4

December 5 and December 6 - Reverb 10

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

At the Gravity Bar in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
Letting go is not an easy thing for most people. We hold grudges, gossip, tear apart situations and mull over what went right or wrong. I'm no different and this year I have struggled with letting go of the urge to be perfect. 

For the past 3 years, I have felt the constant pressure of being a perfect business owner, a perfect wife, a perfect friend all while staying slim, calm, peaceful and well dressed. It's hard to realize that you will never have it all together. Never. There will always be open loops in your life and you will always be failing at something, even if you are straight up winning at everything else. 

I'm not perfect, but people love me anyway so I have to let perfection go. 

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

This is the top, but this is not my mom!
I just finished making my mom a shirt for her birthday. Confession time - her birthday was in September and I gave her a card with the pattern image on it, then proceeded to take super long to make it. However, it looks pretty good and I thought of how much I love my mother the whole time, so I consider it a win! 

The top is made of a deep-purple - almost plum - silk shantung and it wraps around the front and ties. It came out a lot better than I expected and I hope that she loves it as much as I loved making it.

Truth be told, I deal in making. And I love that. There is something almost holy about making things with your hands. It's meditative, creative and methodical. It gives you time to think and makes you connect your hands to what your brain is doing - all at the same time. Each time I sew something, I feel calm and free. 

Sewing is like my church and I try to go to church everyday. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December 3rd and 4th - Reverb 10

December 3: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

What the hell am I looking at?
We were in a small town called Cong in the west coast of Ireland. Me, my husband, my sister, her boyfriend and their friend Mina, and we were riding bikes. Terrible loaner bikes from the castle we were staying in (Castle. Yeah I said it - it was AMAZING!). My butt hurt, my legs hurt and I was nursing a cold. Oh, and it was like 40 degrees. 

Super awesome lake near the castle.
We were rocketing down a steeper than it looked hill, sans helmets*, and I remember feeling the wind on my face, every bump on that dirt road and feeling exhilarated. For a few minutes, the world just fell away and I felt like a kid again (I could hear the sound "Wheeeee!" in my head the whole time). 

Then we went and flew falcons. FALCONS! Rough life right? Ireland is awesome.
L-R Jason the Falconer, my mom and me - flying an MF-en falcon.

Each time I look at the photos we took that day I get giddy - it's a day I think of when my current day is failing in it's ability to be awesome. And I also watch this video of my family and remember that life is so much better with good company.
*(I know. The Irish aren't known for their bike safety. I once saw an old man with a sheep - a SHEEP - in his bike basket riding down one lane of a two-lane highway near Galway.)

December 4: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Well for starters, I flew a falcon this year, which was pretty wonderful. Look at the above photo - I look like I just won a ticket to the all puppy/all cupcake parade. The falcon-ing, the bike riding, the Ireland exploring all boil down to one thing - learning.

This is Dingle the owl. We didn't fly him because
he doesn't like people other than Jason. So emo.
Having a sense of wonder means that you can't be a know-it-all. You have to be open to learning something new and be open to letting things happen. 

Full disclosure on the biking: I was nervous and kinda pissed off about going at first. I had a cold, was like 20 lbs overweight and was worried about falling off the bike. Thank God my natural stubbornness didn't prevent me from having one of the best days of my life. 

Is stubbornness preventing you from doing something wonderful? 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb 10 - December 1: growth and December 2: clutter

Reverb 10 is an amazing exercise in reflection for people across the internets. Using daily prompts, people are getting in touch with what 2010 was all about to them and it's fascinating to see what others have experienced this year. Here's my stab at figuring out what my year meant to me! 

**I pulled a Sarah and totally missed yesterday's prompt, so I'm going to make it a twofer today!**

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)


That's my word. I realize it makes me a little sound crunchy/Buddha-on-the-mountaintop/new-agey/self-helpish, but honestly growth is the most significant word for me this year. My business grew. I grew. I grew rounder (hence the Weight Watchers - win!). Through growing, I gained friends, lost friends, but I started to be more authentically me.  I'm just glad that I was able to explore so much this year and grow into being myself, which has taken me almost 30 years to be comfortable with.

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Oh Lord - this is a doozy. It would be easier for me to name all the things that contribute to my writing, since everything else takes away from my time to flesh out ideas. I do have to say my #1 creative foe is the internet. How can anyone concentrate with so many LOLCATS out there to see?