May Memories

I decided to take a break from my daily personal growth exercise to catch you up on what else has been going on in my life. If you’ve been following along with my blog then you know that I am overdue for a monthly review! Last month was full of many blessings and opportunities for personal growth. I have continued to move forward with hope despite the frustration of being unemployed. I do so by making the most of my time off, doing things that would be harder to do if I had a full-time job. As you will see, I’ve been doing so with family, friends, traveling, and spending more time reading.

Me and my boyfriend J’s 3 month anniversary – he isn’t an OU fan, but was a good sport when I gave him the bag

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Cinco de Mayo

Church women’s retreat – Christ Renews his Parish (CRHP)

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Mom’s surgery

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Mother’s Day. I took my mom for an early mani and pedi since she was out of town recovering from her procedure

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Dallas Arboretum

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Hair cut

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10 year anniversary of when I graduated high school…

Top Golf to celebrate J’s brother’s birthday

Family birthday celebrations – J’s brother and nephew

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I started taking Zumba classes at my local gym

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Chicago/Lake Geneva, WI trip with my boyfriend to visit some of his old roommates for Memorial Day weekend

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More dead-end job interviews…

Brother and sister-in-law visited from GA. I hadn’t seen them since the beginning of January and, as my brother and I are close, I was excited that they could finally meet my boyfriend (P.S. my brother approves!) We all had fun at the Ranger’s game together.

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Movies/TV

Parks & Recreation, Seasons 6​-7

MacFarland

Finding Dory

Grey’s Anatomy, Season 13

Books

The Children by Ann Leary

The Assistants by Camille Perri

The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls​

Food Freedom Forever​ by Melissa Hartwig

The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern

Day nine: proud

What are you most proud of?

Most proud of? Another tough question… I think an all encompassing answer would be my strength – both mental and physical. After battling eating disorders for over 10 years, I have kept my maintained my weight the highest it has been in seven years. Keeping the wight on has led to many other gains. The ability to run a 5K and develop muscle mass by weight training are a few physical feats that concurrently increase my mental strength.

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What are you most proud of?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day eight: beating fear

When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

Anxiety is fear. I have anxiety. So much so that I take medication for it. Weaning myself off of it/trying to become less dependent on the pills makes me anxious. There are times when breathing, praying, yoga, etc. still can’t calm my brain. I think it’s safe to say that my anxiety can take over my life. It’s pretty constant, but there are certain situations that cause my heart to race more than others. One of them being group settings. Hello, social anxiety!

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The past 5 months I have been making major strides in putting myself out there. I began going to a young adult program at a new church where I knew NO ONE. I started volunteering for a new ministry event that they were putting on and ended up meeting my boyfriend because of it (I like to think of him as my “reward” for making myself vulnerable).

Dating my very social boyfriend means that I have met a LOT of new people. I hate small talk (but I feel like I’m slowly getting better at making actual connections with people) and going to back-to-back group events with family and friends doesn’t seem as exhausting it was in the beginning. However, as an introvert, I still need time where it is just the two if us to recharge.

My boyfriend had mentioned a retreat that he went on several years ago and the positive impact it made on his life. He kept encouraging me go on it as well and to sign up when the next one was announced. I kept brushing it off, telling him that I am sure it’s a great experience, but I didn’t feel ready. Long story short, I ended up going on the retreat last month. I honestly didn’t even want to go. Again, I didn’t know anyone or anything about the format. It ended up being a life-altering experience that I am beyond  grateful that I pushed through my “fear of the unknown” to go.

Though the retreat was wonderful, I still struggle going to our weekly “retreat team” meetings. I am still mentally processing all of the emotions that I experienced throughout that weekend. Hearing other people’s stories each week can be tough and emotionally draining. Listening to them also tends to drudge up issues from my past that I wish would just go away already. But that’s how you grow, right? Facing fear head on. No hiding.

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Yes, I would be afraid to go skydiving, get a tattoo, and drive in a 200 mph race car. Those are fears – I’ll call them “outer fears.” I admire people who do those things whether they are fearless or it takes them courage to follow through. Just because my fears might be “inner fears,” doesn’t make them any less scary than “outer fears.”

Overcoming both are huge milestones to be celebrated. Every time we do something that we are afraid of (within reason) we prove to ourselves how strong we are and gain the confidence to continue challenging ourselves and moving forward.

When was the last time you conquered something that you were afraid of?

P.S. Thanks for keeping up with my personal growth exercise!

Onwards & Upwards…

Day “seven”: habits

What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?

Today’s questions are much easier to answer! They are things that I’ll start to get better, but then fall off the wagon…

  • Break: late night eating (mainly curbing my sweet tooth)
  • Start: daily yoga and reading a daily devotional

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What habits do you want to break and start?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day “six”: relax

I somehow managed to mess up the question order of this personal growth exercise – oops! I’ll get back on track ASAP…

How do you like to relax?

I have always found it challenging to relax. I constantly feel like I should be productive. I don’t do well with downtime. For me, doing something “relaxing” and practicing “self-care” often start with the best of intentions. However, I usually end up multitasking and become more stressed out than I was before I began. When I finally give in (with a lot of effort on my part) to “single-tasking”, a few of my favorite ways that I take it easy are:

  • Crocheting while watching one of my favorite TV shows or movies. It can become stressful to try to concentrate on a something that I haven’t seen before while also focusing on a project. I am much more relaxed while having background noise and visuals of something familiar on.
  • Reading a good book
  • Writing – anything: lists, random thoughts, doodles
  • Smelling a fragrant candle and watching the flame flicker
  • Going on a walk or yoga/stretching

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I’m sure I can list 10 more things, but I’d say those are my main stress outlets!

I would love to hear your go-to relaxation methods!

Onwards & Upwards…

Day “five”: qualities

Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

To answer this question, I am going to revert to one of one my previous posts. The timing is for this post is perfect as I saw Maria and her parents today. Her father, Bill, has Alzheimer’s disease and I have witnessed the toll it takes on her family, particularly her mother. Even when times are challenging, both of these women’s hearts are full of kindness, patience, and humor – qualities that I think are necessary to be a decent human being and to live a happy life. Perseverance and a strong faith are also characteristics that I strive to have. The list goes on and one, but these are a the main qualities that I desire for others to see in me.

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What qualities do you admire in a person?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day four: meet

Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?

I was having such a difficult time coming up with an answer for this question – noticing a theme here? I keep over-analyzing all of my answers… I sought the insight of family and close friends and here are what they said:

  • My Boyfriend, J – The Pope
  • Mom- Mother Theresa
  • Dad – Jesus
  • Brother – “doesn’t know”
  • Sister-in-Law – Jackie Robinson

Who I would like to meet goes back to the people and eras that I was interested in as a child. I have always been interested in early U.S. history. The first settlers and pioneer days have always fascinated me. I would love to meet one of the early explorers like Captain John Smith or one of my favorite writers, Laura Ingalls Wilder. It would be interesting to hear their side of the story and what life was like back then.

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As far as meeting someone living. I would jump to the other side of the pond to meet Queen Elizabeth II. I became obsessed watching “The Crown” on Netflix earlier this year and then went to London in February. She has been through and seen so much in her life. I can’t imagine becoming a queen at the age of 25!

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Who would you love to meet (living or deceased) and what would you ask them?

Onwards & Upwards…