2018 – My list(s) for a new year

Planning 2018

My greatest wish for the year: Contentment – stop over-analyzing everything and enjoy the present moment

A thing I’m looking forward to: Travel (Hawaii) and planning my wedding

An important change to make: Being on my phone so much + intuitive eating/exercise

A new experience to try: A spiritual healing event

3 Words to Guide me in 2018

  • Simplify
  • Enjoy
  • Focus

Top 3 Goals for 2018

  • Daily scripture/devotional
  • Increase yoga skill/practice
  • Overall healthier relationship with food & exercise

My Wishes

A book to read: A lot. Goal is 20+ this year!

A movie to watch: The Greatest Showman

A place to visit: Portland, OR

A new skill to learn: Self-defense & become more proficient in Spanish

A thing to buy for myself: New luggage

A kind thing to do for others:  Make “mercy bags” or at least have extra snacks in my car for when I see homeless at the stoplights

#GOALS

For Me:
  • less alcohol & dessert = sugar
  • cook at home more vs. eating out
  • boost my confidence
  • more “self care” time
  • less judgemental
For My Family:
  • visit my parents more
  • call my brother more
  • call grandparents monthly
  • write letters to my grandparents
  • grow closer to my fiance’s family
For Work:
  • be on time/early each day
  • do less “non-work” things (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) while at work
  • get to know other people in the building beter
  • less procrastination, more preparation
  • attend networking events and conferences
For My Passions:
  • blog – post regularly and build a following
  • carve out more time for reading
  • reading, crafting
  • re-vamp my Etsy shop
  • de-clutter and donate (EVERYTHING) so I can simplify my life

That really just skims the surface, but using this format was really helpful and thought-provoking. I used the same template as my 2017 year in review post. You can find the templates I used here.

Happy 2018 + planning!

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2017 – My year in review

Remembering 2017

Favorite memory of the year: getting engaged (in October) to my awesome fiance, J!

Greatest challenge of the year: Dealing with/overcoming the return of my binging and purging episodes.

An important lesson I’ve learned: Not to judge based on others’ outward appearances and to be more compassionate

The best thing I’ve done: Started trusting myself more, relying less on others’ approval

Top 3 Things I Liked About 2017

  1. Getting a new – job, house (moving out of my parents), friends, boyfriend (now fiance), and family
  2. being able to travel (a lot) especially to England
  3. Coming back to the Church and being able to speak and share my story at a retreat in the fall

3 Words to Describe this Year

  1. Busy
  2. Blest
  3. Renewed

My Favorite Things

Favorite Song: “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Beber (don’t judge me)

Favorite Movie: Wonder Woman

Favorite Book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Favorite TV Show: Parks & Rec

Favorite Place: “Top of the World” in Laguna Beach, CA

Favorite Activity: Working out

Monthly Reviews

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October 

November

December

~~~

Bring on 2018!

*I used this page as a template for this post

December Days

You’ll see why I was SO glad I could have a little time off from work the last week of December. It was a month full of parties and celebrations. Stress and joy. What a great way to end an amazing 2017!

Christmas decorating
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Celebrated dad’s birthday by going out to lunch and then the Kimbell Art Museum​

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Christmas concert at church with my dad and fiancé, J

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Young Adult Advent Retreat at church

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J’s colleague’s Christmas house party

Painting with a Twist with Friends

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Family Birthday Party

Hosted a Christmas Party for people who support us at work

California – J’s company holiday party, lunch in Manhattan Beach, then had dinner at Blue Plate Taco in Santa Monica. Hiking and lunch at Laguna Beach the next day Whew!

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Manhattan Beach
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Manhattan Beach
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Manhattan Beach
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Manhattan Beach
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Santa Monica
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Santa Monica
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Santa Monica
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Grilled Fish Tacos
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“Top of the World” – Laguna Beach
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Laguna Beach
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Grilled Shrimp Salad from The Cliff Restaurant
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Laguna Beach
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Laguna Beach

J’s company’s (local office) holiday dinner at his favorite steak house

My office’s Christmas party (where I could actually enjoy as an attendee)

Christmas Eve/Christmas Day Celebrations with the family – dinner, mass, Christmas light viewing, and presents

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Our First Christmas Together
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New Luggage for our Upcoming Adventures!

Celebrating the season with friends. I had been so busy with work, family, and travel the past few months that I hadn’t gotten to see my friends in awhile, so it was nice to catch up!

NYE – Saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi, then kept it simple at J’s mom’s house with family and friends, playing a new game I got for Christmas, “What do you Meme?”

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Movies/TV
Luther, Season 1
Elf
Christmas Vacation
The Santa Clause
The Crown, Season 1 (re-watched) 
White Christmas
The Christmas Card
Love Actually
Home Alone 2

Books
The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard (reading for work)
Better than Before​ by Gretchen Rubin
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

What were the Highlights of your December?

 

I’ve been reflecting…

Recently, I’ve spent a great deal of time in reflecting. Mainly on the past year – Where I was. Where I am. Where I am going.  Saying that “a lot has changed” over the past year is an understatement. I was laid off from my job in January (2017), met and started dating an amazing guy, did a great deal of traveling (mainly with him), started a new job (which I LOVE) in June, moved out of my parents’, and got engaged in October.  Whew! So many wonderful blessings!

Last Christmas I never would have imagined that my life would look the way it does now – and that’s a good thing. I remember wishing for a job I didn’t hate and a boyfriend who wasn’t a jerk. Having a tough couple of years really lowered my standards… I thought that a “happier” life just wasn’t in the cards for me.

It can be hard to look back one year let alone two or three. Even last year I was in a much different place physically and emotionally that I am now. Calling off your wedding weeks before the “big day,” which also meant breaking up with a substance abuser and ending an overall very unhealthy relationship, while simultaneously moving back with parents is a lot to process all at once. My eating disorder behavior was out of control and my weight was at an all time low. I was a zombie, so lethargic, depressed, and lonely. At 26 years old I would cry myself to sleep, often crawling into my mom’s bed for comfort.

Needless to say, I struggled a LOT. I got tired of feeling so hopeless (and I’m sure the few people that were around me that I hadn’t pushed away felt the same). I knew something needed to change and I wasn’t going to get anywhere sitting on the couch.

I struggled forcing myself to “be social.” My counselor encouraged me to go to events even when I wouldn’t feel like going and to give new things a chance. It felt like torture. I literally had to force myself to go to events. Particularly a young adult church group a friend had told me about. I hated it at first, it felt so uncomfortable. I wanted to run back to the comfort of my bed and Netflix even though I would regret not going out later.

It only took a few weeks for my efforts to pay off. Volunteering with hat young adult group is how I met my fiancé. Oh, how he has turned my life upside down (in a good way)!

But even being with him doesn’t guarantee happiness. A lot of demons from my past, things that I thought I had gotten over have come back to haunt me. He’s kind and patient, but doesn’t always seem to understand why certain things are still hard for me or I’m not super happy 24/7.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I “deserve” all of the things I have now. I know, I know, I hate the word “deserve” too… I think about all the ways things could have gone wrong and wonder what my life would look like now if I stayed with my abusive ex and gotten married. There’s very little use thinking about the past like that, only that it makes me cherish what I do have now. But I’m human things like that still cross my mind from time to time.

I think the hardest thing for me right now is when I’m encountering people for the first time. Those who didn’t know the “old me.” They act jealous and say things like, “Oh, your life is perfect – great job, you travel all the time, awesome family, and a fiancé who adores you.” Yes, yes I do have all of these things, but they didn’t magically come to me while I was lounging on a beach. I worked hard to be where I am now. Becoming more involved in the church and counseling helped. What people didn’t and don’t see was/is the nights I spent sleepless and crying in bed, the literally hundreds of employment applications I completed, the bad dates and rejection from other guys, the mental struggle to gain and maintain weight. I mean, I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

I am constantly reminding myself that this is MY life and not to take things others say in their naivety too heart. They don’t know and don’t need to know where I have been for me to feel deserving. Our struggles make us who we are. I appreciate them for getting me to where I am now, but I also need to release things/people that can still pull me back to a place of hurt.

This year has been a year of growth and I am very honored for all the ways I can see God using me. 2018 will be another busy year. I don’t know what all is in store for me, but I do know that I will be grateful. I will continue to weed out the negative/toxic things and people from my life (which is so much easier said than done). And probably most importantly, learn how to fall in love with myself and life even more so I can confidently do God’s will.

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Thankful November

Enjoying fall!
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All Saints/All Souls Day
A&M vs. Auburn Game
Georgia to visit family
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Thanksgiving

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Saw The Nutcracker with some friends
Painting with a Twist
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Movies/TV
Stranger Things 2
(There were others, but my brain can’t remember at the moment…)
Books
The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard
Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

What were some highlights from your November?!

The Dress

So tonight I did a thing.

I tried on my old wedding dress. The dress I planned to get married in a little over two years ago. The dress that has been haunting me while hanging in my mother’s closet.

I used to want nothing to do with it. Even seeing the bag and knowing what was inside of it was too painful.

Even though I was in an unhealthy/abusive relationship with my ex-fiancé, it was a difficult decision for me to call off the wedding. That dress brings back a lot of memories from that period in my life.

During my last dress fitting, I weighed 20 pounds less than I do now. I was sick, starving, miserable. Gaining the weight back has been a journey full of ups and downs even though I know that restoring weight it what I needed to survive.

I didn’t want to try on the dress and it to be too tight. I would get upset and want to lose weight – even though I am not planning on wearing it to my “new” wedding.

I’m not sure what exactly made me have the urge to try it on.

Surprisingly it “fit” better than I thought it would. It’s snug in certain areas, but that’s a good thing.

I guess the point of this post is about how I confronting one of my fears: my old dress being too tight. Then having to challenge the negative body image self-talk that would inevitable start: too fat, I need to lose weight.

I definitely am not trying to lose weight to fit back into it. I actually liked seeing the curves and shape vs. sharp bones. Muscles vs. the frail arms that looked like they could break at any moment.

I still work on accepting my new body every day. Instead of sucking me back into unhealthy thought patterns, I am proud on myself for how far I have come and all that I have to look forward to.

I am finally starting to look forward to shopping for a new dress with a new, healthy, mindset. I am looking forward to trying on a gown that celebrates my body and the new steps I am taking in life!

P.S. I opted to not include pictures – before and after – as I know they can be triggering

An Over-Abundant October

Hello Friends! It’s been awhile hasn’t it? I know that I keep saying how I will get into a better routine on blogging and I don’t. It’s frustrating. I want so badly to make this a habit, but life keeps getting in the way. I know I need to cut myself a little slack. I have a full-time job and the past month as been busy with “extra-curricular” activities such as planning a retreat, family, and travels (which you will see below).

 Honestly, on the nights I do get home and have nowhere to be, sitting behind a computer is the last thing I want to do. I am going to figure out different times to write. I am hoping that finding times when writing feels more natural instead of forced will help establish a routine. I know that I am more motivated in the morning which may mean getting up a little earlier. Either way, this (writing/blogging) is something I want and I am willing to test out different means to get it done!

So without further ado, here’s what I was up to in October, thought I’m still in disbelieve that today is NOVEMBER. I started working on my Christmas budget and had a mini heart attack, but that’s another story…


Helped serve dinner for the men’s retreat at church

Put on (and gave a speech at) a Women’s retreat at church that I have been planning for 5 months

Went to the Arboretum with my brother and sister-in-law who visited from Georgia

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Work Conference

Attended a gala with my colleagues

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Got ENGAGED

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Second trip to College Station to go to the Aggie game

My boyfriend’s fiance’s birthday – special dinner at his favorite steakhouse, then family celebration

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Halloween

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Movies/TV

  • Arrested Development, Season 1
  • Bella
  • Stranger Things 2
  • This is Us, Season 2

Books

  • The Soul of the Apostolate – Jean-Baptiste Chautard,O.C.S.O
  • Goodbye Ed, Hello Me – Jenny Schafer

Swamped September

September shaped up to be another busy month. It was full of good things – new experiences, bonding with friends, and work events. Unfortunately hurricanes and natural disasters took away a lot of “good things” for many, many people. Reflecting on this, trying to put myself in others’ shoes, has helped me to be more gracious about what I have (both material and non-material). If I’m struggling with a bad day, I focus on shifting my perspective and offer up a prayer to those who are going through much worse situations than I am.
NYC Trip/US Open – seeing all the sites and eating all the pizza!
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Labor Day
My first time in College Station & my first Aggie football game
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Work team retreat
Stephanie’s (my college roommate) post-elopement reception
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Brunch with my roommates
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First day of autumn – my favorite season
Kept busy with work events
Movies/TV
Arrested Development, Season 1
Call the Midwife, Season 2
The Zookeepers Wife
Wimbledon
Books
The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

October Goals:
Read more
Reconnect with several friends I haven’t seen in months
Train for the 5K I’m doing next month (up to 2 miles at a time)

August Activities

Summer has come and gone and now I’m about to get into my busy season for work and life in general. Bring it, fall!

Seattle and Lake Chelan for a friend’s wedding

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Celebrated 6 months with my boyfriend

Caught up with old friends & spent time with new friends

Had my first facial

Stayed busy with my church group, planning for our fall retreat

Went back to counseling

J’s Abuelita’s 87th birthday party

Solar eclipse

Car accident…

 

Movies/TV

​Twin Peaks​

Moana

Arrested Development, Season 1

Ozarks

Call the Midwife, Season 2

​Trading Places​


Books

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Anniversary of Anxieties

When your heart rate still spikes when you get calls and messages from unknown numbers. Holding your breath every time you open your email or Spam folder. Yet being confused when your therapist mentions that it can be normal revisiting traumatic past experiences. PTSD? No, that is for soldiers and people that survive natural disasters.

Well, yes, maybe I do still wake up from nightmares and find it hard to go to certain places and feel comfortable. I get frustrated that I’m not completely “healed” despite all of the work I have done.

Today marks another year of when I finally got up the courage to leave an unhealthy relationship with my ex-fiance. I am frustrated that I’m not completely “healed” despite all of the work I have done.

This time of year can be challenging. With him not respecting my wishes to leave me alone have escalated over the past few months. I have received so much love and support from family and friends, yet I spend most of my time drenched in anxiety.

I have turned to food and alcohol for comfort. I know that I need to continue gaining back the weight I lost, but become uncomfortable (and frustrated) when the old clothes that used to fall off of me are too snug.

How much longer will this last? I thought he was gone. I thought my unhealthy relationship with food was done.

I have found myself relying more on prayer and taking solace in the saints. Praying for peace, healing, a life of renewal.