what did i do in march?

Do you ever have periods in life that feel slow? Where progress is made, but you don't seem to process it? To feel it?

I want to start noticing my progress. Start noticing my successes. I think it will make it easier for me to continue positive changes and see where I'm lacking in a few areas.

Confession: My current job isn't really my dream job.

I think I've let that thought slowly convince me that because my current job isn't my dream job, then my life can't really be my "dream" life. So why try?

What a load of crap.

So here goes. Here are things that I (or we did) in March.

I won our Oscars challenge.

I tackled butternut squash.

We celebrated Fat Tuesday with margaritas.

I finished Leviticus and moved on to Numbers. I am loving Numbers!

I finally finished painting the black dresser mint.

I started quilting.

I started getting up a bit earlier.

I watched the Bachelor finale, with girlfriends and champagne.

We had a fancy date on the first day of spring.

We finally watched Hunt for the Red October. And loved it.

I saw the Veronica Mars Movie. And loved it too.

I made big progress on The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay.

I announced this blog on Instagram. (Big goal for myself.)

Tabitha and I went to our first Pure Barre classes. Then promptly bought the DVDs. That class is $$$!

We had a peaceful Starbucks reading date. Gift cards rock.

We decided to eat clean as much as possible.

I cut my closet in half.

I donated the rest.

I renewed the Sentra's registration.

I got through a crazy week of tours at work.

I said goodbye to a favorite co-worker.

I packed like a madwoman for our first solo camping trip.

It was successful!

I won a few games of Settlers of Catan with friends.

I had a clean house, each and every weekend.

I learned to better delegate chores to my hubby...

... Resulting in better weekends.

March, you were full and good.

she and he: march

She is officially quilting.

He is so ready for contacts.

They are counting down the days till their next vacation.

(54 to go)

Community episodes have been in the weekly rotation.

She's still on the fence about it.

He's all in.

Eating healthier is getting easier and harder, all at the same time.

She is overwhelmed with clean meal planning, but taking baby steps.

He is becoming less of a picky eater.

Many Rosa's meals were consumed.

$10.36 goes a long way.

She had a great time reconnecting with college friends.

He is pumped about his MLB fantasy draft team.

She's doing better at keeping up. And documenting more.

Warm weather, come soon.

friday favorites

1. Crisp mornings and warm afternoons.

2. My new Sam Edelman's Petty booties. I've had a cheap Target pair for the past two years and was ready to commit to an investment pair. (That's typically how I buy most shoes/expensive purchases) I can't recommend these enough! Hardly any break-in time and such good quality.

3. Cutting fabric into quilt squares.

4. An unexpected gift card.

5. Divergent AND Veronica Mars in the theaters this month!

camping, for the win

We're back from a quick, 24 hour camping trip and I miss it already.

Mostly I miss uninterrupted time with Tyler. Any other married folks depressed every Monday morning?  There's something about T I M E with Tyler that makes me fall even more in love. It's a good thing we just got started on forever...

But camping.

I realized as I was writing up my incredible camping list that I had incredible parents. My parents loved RVing. We traveled in our RV all the time. When I was younger, this embarrassed me. "Why can't we stay in a hotel?" I'd whine. Now the cheap-o in me sees the sheer brilliance of traveling with a tiny home behind your truck.

And because we spent all that time traveling and camping, I am an expert camper. I know what to pack. I know what to wear. So I sweetly reminded my husband that not all girls come with such training, and boy oh boy is he lucky. (He rolled his eyes at this.)

I just need camping.

There is something serene and boring about camping. And sometimes, I just need some boring in my life. I can always find something to do at home. A dress to be mended. A corner to mop. A fridge to clean out. A budget to tweek.

In nature, not so much. Nature leaves more time for t h i n k i n g.

And I needed it. I needed time with Tyler. I needed time by the water. I needed to eat simply again. I needed that 90 minute drive.

Camping, you were just about perfect.

what teaching zumba taught me

I was an athlete all through high school which means I never really owned my fitness. I just did what my coach told me to do. When I arrived in Texas as a college freshmen, I had NO idea what to do for my body. Running wasn’t fun anymore. I was tired of fitness. But I knew I needed to do something physical, something healthy.

And then I found Zumba. And I fell in love with it – the loud music, the laughter, the community, and how I felt so incredibly sexy after each class. Fast forward five years, and I’m an instructor with a class of my own. Teaching Zumba has been more challenging than I ever thought, and it’s taught me a lot about life in general. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1.       Pursue things that make you nervous.

After I graduated from college, I missed challenging myself. I missed being pushed by professors, presenting papers, and feeling butterflies in my stomach. So teaching Zumba became my new challenge. It was something I had always wanted to do, so I did it. It might seem like a trivial accomplishment, but it wasn’t to me. And your accomplishments aren’t trivial to you. Find something that makes you nervous. Find something that invites a bit of risk into your life.

2.       You aren’t as anonymous as you think you are.

After my first class, I realized that teaching and participating are not the same thing. Not only was I given responsibility, but I began to notice everything. When someone wasn’t into my class, I noticed. When someone was mocking me, I noticed. When girls were mean to each other, I noticed. I realized that as a person, I am not as anonymous as I feel. When I talk in church, text during a meeting, or giggle through a presentation, others notice. My body language is telling them that I don’t value their time. Now I try to be as respectful as I can in all situations, because someone else might be doing what makes them nervous.

After teaching my very first class

3.       You don’t have to shake it well, you just have to shake it.

I have so many people tell me they can’t do Zumba. “I don’t know how,” they complain. “It’s too scary,” they lament. Excuses. Some of my favorite people in my class aren’t very good dancers. But they come, week after week, smiles on their faces, dancing to good music. They leave feeling sexy, confident, and high on endorphins. So you think you can’t be a wedding photographer? That you can’t go back to school? That you can’t read classic literature? I challenge you, to try.

4.       Keep your focus.

It’s easy to remember the moves to each of my songs. Until I stop thinking about the moves. To teach successfully, I have to constantly be thinking about what move comes next. Trust me, it has taken countless missteps to realize this one. My life is like that too. I can’t be prepared for what comes next if I’m not thinking about it. A week of meals doesn’t come together unless I focus. I can’t be the wife I should be unless I focus. A good life takes a lot of focus. It takes intention.  

5.       Encouragement MATTERS.

I had someone ask me the other day, “Are you one of those teachers that is always saying encouraging things during class?” Heck yes I am one of those teachers. Why? Because encouragement works. When we are three fourths of the way through a class, all it takes is some happy shouting and I can visibly see the difference in my class. It re-energizes them. Yelling “Come on ladies!” during squats can keep a girl from quitting. Your co-workers, peers, and friends need encouragement too. Encourage someone when they have done something right, encourage your spouse when they’ve had a rough day a work, and encourage the checker at Target when they seem down. Encouragement is one of the biggest blessings you can give.

6.       Be yourself. People like it.

It took me several months before I was really comfortable in class. Comfortable enough to throw in a silly dance move or tell a joke during a break. And you know what? My students liked it. They liked seeing me be me. This is so incredibly true in life. When I let myself shine through, not an idea of what I should be, people like me more. As humans, we can sense when someone is being genuine. It encourages others to be genuine too. And there is nothing more fun that seeing a bunch of girls, being themselves on the dance floor.

7.       Vulnerability is really hard. But necessary. 

Standing up in front of twenty girls and shaking your hips is really vulnerable. Writing this post is really vulnerable. When I put myself in front of others, it invites criticism. And criticism can be a really scary thing. But I wouldn’t be a Zumba instructor if I wasn’t standing in front. And I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t put words on a page and post them. Moving forward in life and achieving goals, that takes vulnerability.

I once had a few girls come to my class late, only to spend the hour laughing and mocking the moves. It really hurt my feelings. I felt foolish, naked, and I wanted to stop teaching right then and there. But in reality, those girls probably just felt uncomfortable being new, and didn’t know what else to do. That was my vulnerability wake up call. I could either quit teaching, or I could surpass the negativity and keep on dancing. I’m glad I kept on dancing.

I just had a mild panic attack as I looked over our budget for June 2014.

The month we live on my income alone.

I cried.

We are so comfortable now and I'm so scared of the future.
But I know that God will provide.

And after reading this, I feel much more at peace.

"I will say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.'

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord."

Lamentations 3:24 - 26

Photo from my last trip to Phoenix. It felt sunshiny and hopeful.

book report, january

Here's my wish - I wish I could travel back in time, back to my fourth grade self and tell me: "Write down every book you read. Keep it in a journal. A spiral. Write them all."

But I can't. And I didn't have the foresight to start a book list all those years ago.

So I'll start now.

Here's my January book shot. I had a lot of vacation time, so I got a lot of reading done. I've started using #my2014inbooks to keep up with what I've read. So far it's my hastag. No one else is as clever as me? ;)

The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel
Good. I mostly started reading it because I noticed that Keri Russell was in the TV movie. I LOVE me some Keri Russell. The story moves slowly, but really does raise an interesting question: Why does love (if it really is love) make us risk it all? And what happens if the person you love isn't trustworthy?
The book goes into detail about the Japanese interment camps during WWII and that was the most interesting part of the story. I haven't read a lot about that aspect of American history and I appreciated the research that went into the novel.

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron just gets me. There is an entire essay dedicated to the obscene amount of time women spend getting ready each day. And since I've read the title essay, I really have noticed how different older necks look compared to younger necks. I need to take better care of my neck.

But in all seriousness, Ephron is a master when it comes to making the everyday mundane interesting, comical, and important. Reading her work makes my life seem richer because she is just as concerned with how much light her apartment gets as I am. She creates a communal aspect about her work.  She is every woman. Read it.

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
No joke, I picked this book because the cover said, "Anyone suffering Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms will find an instant tonic in Daisy Goodwin's The American Heiress."

And it was just that. As I was reading, I kept thinking, "Oh, that's why that happened in Downton Abbey...." Goodwin does an amazing job of explaining the British tradition and its major clash with American money. I enjoyed the commentary on servant/master relationships and the pros and cons of marrying for money back in the day. Great beach read. Or fireplace read.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
This was one of my favorite Christmas presents and I knew it would be a great read. I'm not much for scientific language, but Susannah breaks everything down in such a clear way and writes her story more like a thriller and less like a memoir. I don't want to spoil anything, because the diagnosis is so satisfying, but read it. If nothing else, you'll finish thankful for your health and more conscious of your body's signs.

Sidenote: My copy was autographed by the author! Target had a few special copies.

where we are now

Where we are now is Lubbock.

Where we might end up is another story.

I was talking to my hairdresser today, and she was telling me about her and her husband's recently unexpected move. At the end of the story, she sighed and said, "So that's it. I guess the rest isn't for me to know right now."

The rest isn't for me to know right now.

I've really struggled with not knowing lately. Which is strange, because I've never known what was going to happen before. I'm not quite sure why it bothers me know. Perhaps because I have more to loose?

Tyler is going back to school. I will keep working. In two years, Lord willing, he will finish.
And the rest isn't for me to know right now.

I think I'm starting to feel okay with that.

things in my life that have thrown me for a loop

When our electric company exponentially increased fuel costs. Without warning.

When I started dating Tyler two months before college graduation. After I planned on graduating single.

When I discovered Christmas in South Korea is a couples holiday, not a family holiday.

When my parents divorced.

When my parents remarried. Each other.

When I saw my first iPhone.

When I attended my first middle school dance.

When I used a sewing machine for the first time.

When I had my first kiss.

When I realized Chuy's had the best happy hour in town.

When I realized water's importance to my day-to-day functioning.

When I almost failed college biology.

When I passed college biology with a B.

When I discovered used books on Amazon. 

When I realized Tyler was the only man for me, on a plane, bound for a year long commitment.

When I realized I could quit that year long commitment.

... And each and every time God shares truth with me.

my ideal morning

A while back, Nancy Ray posed a question on her blog: What does your ideal day look like?

Not your dream day (mine would definitely not include waking up for work) but the type of morning routine that makes you smile. That energizes you. What type of routine has you bouncing in your seat on the way to work? What sets a great foundation for your day?

Here's mine:

  • Wake up before 6:45. Any later is inviting rush into my schedule
  • Coffee
  • Quiet time to journal, read my Bible, and spend a few moments praying
  • Select my outfit the night before (and iron/steam if needed)
  • Pray with my husband
  • Make a smoothie or take time to pack breakfast
  • Leave for the office by 7:45

Not too complicated, is it? But I'm surprised how often I skip something on the list. Honestly, I'm usually up 10 minutes too late and my whole morning gets thrown.  When I rush, I don't share my heart with God the way I should. When I rush, praying with my husband always gets pushed to the back burner. When I'm rushed, I don't leave the house looking as put together as I would like to be.

So much rushing can be eliminated by preparing the evening before and being intentional with my time each morning.

But that snooze button is so tempting, isn't it?

So my goal for the next forever is to work at getting up when I should. To be intentional with my evenings so that I can be joyful in the morning. I love mornings. Let's do this.

friday favorites

 1. Rifle notebooks. I know everyone and their dog has one, but that doesn't make it any less pretty.

2. Settlers of Catan on the iPad. So nice for just one or two people. (So that's where all my nights have gone...)

3. Eggs in purgatory, thanks to Eating Whole with Lauren Brimley.

4. To-do lists from Brim Papery.

5. Sunny mornings.

the senses

I love the smell of
Our lavender wax melts. Smells like spring, even if the weather isn't participating.

I love the sound of
The coffee pot brewing each morning. We have an automatic timer and it makes me happy every day.

I love the taste of
The quinoa coconut granola I made last week. (Omitted pumpkin seeds, added coconut)

I love the sight of
An empty kitchen sink.

I love the feel of
Cuddling on the couch. Best ever.


Sundays are the best. We have an early church service, so we're done by 10:30. It makes the day feel like an extra Saturday, but with no errands, no chores, and no agenda.

I'm always ready for another Sunday.