How’s Married Life? My Messy Beautiful

Cochrane-Moore-701“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote. Though he was referring to 18th Century Europe, he might as well have been talking about marriage.

In the seven and a half short (but seemingly long) months since we said our vows, I’ve learned more about myself, relationships, and life in general than I did in the preceding 26 years. And what I’ve learned is not that love conquers all and “I do” is simply followed by happily ever after. I have learned that marriage, just like life, is messy and incredibly hard. But if I keep showing up, keep putting in the effort, there is also incredible beauty to be found shining through.

Nothing prepares you for the simultaneous glory and heartache that comes from committing yourself to another person for life.

I like to think I walked down the aisle with open eyes, prepared for what lied ahead. “Marriage is hard,” people tell you. That’s ok, I thought, I can do hard things. I’ve got this, I was made for this. We had been together for years, so we both knew what to expect. Or so we thought.

When we get too comfortable and confident, it seems that’s when life starts throwing curve balls. In a matter of weeks into our marriage, the curve balls started flying fast and furious, relentlessly pummeling the foundation of our marriage and our very selves. From a devastating loss to broken promises, from lies to issues with alcohol – the beauty we worked so hard to create was replaced in the blink of an eye with endless mess raining down.

Daily disappointments settled into the cracks of our broken hearts and shattered dreams. There seemed to be no space for beauty to shine through.

But seeds of hope, like wildflowers, bloom most beautifully in unexpected places; taking root through the sheer force of will to hang on under difficult circumstances.  And this hope is where the hard work of sifting through the mess begins.

Day after day we have to clear the debris and rebuild one block at a time. Day after day we have to choose to trust – ourselves and each other – and keep moving forward. Day after day we have to rediscover that person we chose to marry and learn to love them, to truly accept them in all their broken humanity, all over again. Some days one or both of us don’t think we can make it, and that scares me more than the mess itself. But we keep trying, keep taking tiny steps of grace; each step uncovering just a bit of beauty.

The beauty shows up in the unexpected and wildly ordinary moments. A glimpse of my husband’s face, alive with passion, as he prepares to pilot a plane. The soft brush of his hand on my hip as I wash the dishes. Working together, side by side, to weed the garden and make room for new growth. The magic of uttering “Thank You” and “I Love You” to one another, even on the worst of days. Sometimes it’s simply those precious few moments before we fall asleep as we hold each other close, our silent victory lap, we made it through another day.

When I get asked a dozen times a day, “How’s married life?” I know these are the things I’m not supposed to say. Hide the mess, sing out the beauty. I should, and usually do, smile and respond, “great!” But the truth is, beauty and mess coexist. It’s their inseparable intermingling that make life and love honest, real, and incredibly enlightening.

 

momasteryThis essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

Making Time

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In today’s fast-paced society, there seem to be limitless demands on our limited time, energy, and attention. With the continual emergence of new and better technology, along with the “there’s an app for that” mentality, there is so much more we are expected to do or know simply because we have the ability to do things quickly and simultaneously.

But there’s a problem with this idea of doing more at once, and it’s the concept of multi-tasking. I am exceptionally good at multi-tasking because I am exceptionally bad at focusing my attention on any single task. The problem is, though, when I multi-task I leave in my wake a slew of unfinished projects, along with the feeling that I haven’t really accomplished anything productive. I affectionately refer to myself as a half-assed multi-tasker.

I thought I was the only one who fell into this brilliant category, but it turns out humans as a whole aren’t actually as good at multi-tasking as we would like to believe. If we can’t do 7 things at once, then how are we ever supposed to accomplish the 7,263 things on our daily to-do (and want-to-do) lists?

Ironically my inspiration for time management came from one of the places where I often focus the least amount of time – creativity. For creatives like myself, time management proves to be even more difficult. We need to take time to tap into that mystical place inside ourselves and produce our own form of art, yet this need constantly seems to fall behind life’s other more pressing matters (who needs to cook dinner or get to work anyway?). But I read something by one of my favorite authors, Liz Gilbert, recently about the toll ignoring our creativity can take by manifesting in negative ways in other areas of our life. Her remedy for prioritizing this all-important creative need was to give it just a little time – to devote 30 minutes a day, even on her busiest days, towards her writing. Just 30 minutes – I can do that.

Then I realized I don’t have to limit devoting small blocks of focused attention only to my creative pursuits. This idea of time blocking may very well help me regain my time, sanity, and productivity. Rather than my usual mode of heading home with a list of tasks and no real plan, I’m going to block off specific and manageable chunks of time to focus on accomplishing a certain thing. 30 minutes devoted solely to cleaning the kitchen, 30 minutes spent just playing with the dogs, 30 minutes working on meal planning and grocery list.

One caveat to this whole plan of time-blocking is being realistic. For me that means not blocking out every half hour chunk of time to try to accomplish everything. The goal of time management is stress reduction, so flexibility is key. In a four hour evening, it would work to block out three half-hour periods.

Various tasks will of course take longer or shorter than the allotted 30 minutes, but that’s not the point. The point is to make a commitment to devote uninterrupted time to something and see what magic can be accomplished when we truly focus. As with all of life, it’s an experiment.

Do you have any fool-proof tips for time management? I’d love to know, because this crazy world seems to just keep getting busier…

Looking for Luck

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On St. Patrick’s day, when we all suddenly reach deep to find our Irish roots, there’s a lot of looking to traditions that will supposedly bring us the luck of the Irish. With some of the most beautiful countryside and kind-hearted people, I would say the Irish are a pretty lucky clan. But luck isn’t just found by a leprechaun, in a pot of gold, or under a shamrock. In fact, maybe luck isn’t something to be found at all.

Perhaps the secret to good luck is that luck is made. Though good fortune can certainly be helped along by hard work, true luck is made by a simple shift in perspective. If you believe yourself to be lucky, then you will begin to see all the luck that fills your life. Luck is not limited to the grand windfalls of wealth and health, but lives in the little miracles that make up your everyday. If nothing else, you have the luck of being alive today, and the luck of having your eyesight to read these words.

Where your eyes lead, your heart and mind will follow. So look for luck in your life, and like a four leaf clover, surely you shall find it.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

On Soulmates

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Do you believe in soulmates?

There’s an idea that there is one single person out there for each of us. When we find that someone, they will complete and compliment us in a soul fulfilling way. Wrapped up in one marvelous being we expect to find the ability to laugh hysterically, complete each others sentences, maintain constant romantic pursuit, cultivate a caring friendship of unlimited understanding, all while living harmoniously together for a lifetime.

Its a beautiful idea, but in my experience this notion seems to breed unrealistic expectations that are bound to disappoint. Still, I believe in soulmates.

Because what is a soulmate really? A soulmate is someone you connect with on the deepest level. Someone who ignites you in your innermost being. They are a companion for life, regardless of shifting circumstances. Soulmates are deeply concerned with one another’s well-being, inspiring and encouraging the other’s strongest self to shine.

So of course I believe in soulmates. But I don’t think we’re limited to just one.

I know this because I got to spend last weekend with three of my most beloved soulmates. Each of them touches a distinct place in my soul and inspires a particular portion of my character. My soulmate Becca is endlessly energetic with an infectious laugh, inspiring my child-like joy and fun-loving spirit. Her loving persistence and zest for life encourage me to pursue my passions. My soulmate Jill is steady and loving, embracing me with hugs that make my soul feel safe, secure, and infinitely loved. Who she is and what she does inspires me to love all the world and the lovely people who inhabit it. My soulmate Carolyn is compassionate and understanding, taking time to reach into the depths of my many thoughts and feelings. In this she inspires me to extend empathy to others and strive to understand them.

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The soul is a vast and complex place, requiring many characters to bring it’s best parts to light. So I don’t want to limit my soul to just one mate – I want to fill it with all the beauty that those closest to me bring into my life. Fulfillment on a soul level doesn’t come solely from one person, but from all the people who walk through life with you, continually weaving the tapestry of your story.

Thank you to each of my wonderful soulmates for joining me on life’s journey and making my heart sing along the way!

A Season of Meaningful Sacrifice

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Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent in the Christian tradition. Growing up I remember Lent as a season of deprivation. Like many other Christian families, we carried on the tradition of giving up something for the 40 days of Lent – something that might not be the best for us but nonetheless brought pleasure. This sacrifice is meant to accompany a period of purity and enlightenment in preparation for the Easter holiday.

For many modern folks, including myself, the common sacrifice is something of the edible variety. Over the years I have given up everything from sweets to burgers to sodas to alcohol. But I can’t help but wonder – does giving up favorite foods really bring me any closer to purity and enlightenment? And what’s the point of giving something up for 40 days anyway?

Lent conveniently falls a couple months after New Years, well after many of us have fallen off the wagon with our well intentioned New Years resolutions. It’s a great opportunity to re-evaluate where we are with the ambitious goals we set to start the year. If we’ve gone off track, using the six weeks of lent to refocus our efforts and give up a bad habit or adopt good one lets us punch the reset button. We now have a measurable amount of time to work towards a specific goal.

The season of Lent also just happens to coincide with the the beginnings of spring – a season of rebirth and renewal. As we breathe in the fresh air of this new and beautiful season, we can breathe out our stale complacency by challenging ourselves to give up something significant. Think of it as spring cleaning.

But why the 40 days?

Though there are many biblical reasons, I don’t think that Lent should be limited to Christians. Across numerous faith traditions, 40 days is shown to be a spiritually significant amount of time. In both Judaism and Christianity, the great flood was said to be the result of 40 days of rain. Buddha achieved enlightenment after meditating under a tree for 40 days while Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days in preparation for God’s mission. And the ancient Egyptians believed that it took 40 days for the soul to be delivered from the body after death.

Beyond the spiritual and historical perspective, 40 days proves to be significant in a psychological sense. Psychologist claim that it takes on average 21-30 days to form a new habit. Since I’m a slow learner, 40 days seems the perfect amount of time to cultivate a better habit by giving up a vice.

Still, am I really going to accomplish much by giving up chocolate? Probably not, so this year I’d like to give up something that will truly benefit my spiritual health. There are many habits I could get rid of or adopt to grow my soul, but since Lent is about being able to consistently stick with it for 40 long days, I decided on just two:

1. Giving up Ingratitude – Gratitude has been linked time and again to happiness and positivity, so it’s probably time I stop being an ingrate in my daily life. I’d like to be more mindful and not take the simple daily blessings for granted. To accomplish this I’m starting a gratitude journal to record 3 things daily for which I am grateful.

2. Giving up Excuses – This is a broad one, so to keep it realistic I decided to narrow it down and focus on giving up excuses for writing. I long to be a great, or at least consistent, writer, yet I so often find myself making excuses for why I can’t write that day, then the next and the next – not enough time, I don’t have a good subject, someone else already wrote about it, etc. If I want to accomplish anything as a writer, making excuses is a habit I really need to kick and just get down to writing. To thwart the excuses I have committed to writing something new every single day. While I won’t post everything, my hope is that urging myself to write even just a few sentences daily will help me produce more and better content – finding my own truth through words.

Are you giving up anything for Lent? Will you join me on either of these challenges? I’d love to know!

Weekend Wandering: Adventures in Asheville

Andrew and I are lucky to get to spend most weekends at home together. Still, with all the hustle and bustle of daily life, errands to run, and chores to get done around the house, it can be nice to get away and have a change of scenery. Though I love the life and home we’re creating, monotony gets stifling to me and I’m always seeking new experiences and explorations.

So this past weekend, for a breath of fresh air, we headed to Asheville, North Carolina to celebrate a belated Valentine’s Day / an early 6 month anniversary / any excuse to get away. Though I’d been to the beautiful mountain town of Asheville years before, I’d been longing to return with Andrew and bribe him to visit the Biltmoreand other city sites in exchange for feeding him endless local craft beers. A win-win really.

So we set off Saturday morning without a plan. While this lack of planning may bring stress to some (myself included at times), it also adds to the adventure. Armed with just a few friendly recommendations and a vague idea of where we might sleep that night, we were determined to drink in the best of the city in just one short weekend.

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We wandered through street musicians and artisan markets into the incredible Battery Park Book Exchange. This place is a library meets bar meets living room. Or if you’re a book lover like me, it’s simply heaven.

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All the books are previously loved and deeply discounted, and the place itself welcomes you in and makes you want to stay until you’ve read every book under their roof.

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But time was limited and stomachs were rumbling, so it was time to try local cuisine with a side of southern hospitality at Mayfel’s. Though surrounded by mountains, we enjoyed a lunch of shrimp po-boys, gumbo, and fried catfish that tasted as if it came straight out of the bayou. And the beignets… oh the doughy fried sugary goodness!

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After a bit more meandering and a tasty craft brew for Andrew, he indulged my inner book nerd once more with a visit to Asheville’s infamous Malaprop’s Bookstore. This local landmark has become a mecca for book-lovers and talented authors from around the world. So I was excited to score a signed copy of This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by one of my new favorite authors, Ann Patchett.

Though I could have happily stayed and read the evening away, the sunny skies and fresh mountain air beckoned us outside again. It was too late to soak in the beautiful weather with a hike, but just the right time to take it all in at an urban beer garden.

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Our lunch waitress suggested we visit the new and little known Ben’s Tune Up. This gem of a find has risen from the ashes of it’s former life as an auto repair shop to become an eclectic bar, beer garden, and sake brewery – the perfect open space to gather with friends and share some Asian fare and ginger beer.

And let your patriotism shine…

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On the recommendation of, well everybody, we ended the night with dinner at the delicious Curate tapas bar. If you’re like us and don’t plan, know that you will likely be waiting for over an hour to score a seat. But the wait is well worth it, and since the restaurant texts when the table is ready, we used it as an opportunity to explore even more.

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The beauty of tapas style dining is the ability to try so many different dishes. From chorizo and clams to croquetas, none of our mini meals disappointed. And you just can’t go wrong when you finish the evening with homemade raspberry sorbet and lemon thyme ice cream.

Sunday morning we were up bright and early for our day at the Biltmore Estate.

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Since I had been pestering him for months about visiting America’s largest home, my sweet husband surprised me with tickets for Valentine’s Day.

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To fuel up for the trek through the 178,926 square foot house, we began with a bountiful brunch buffet at the Biltmore’s Deerpark Restaurant. There were more amazing options than we could even handle, so we waddled out full and happy.

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Once inside the house, the magic and majesty of the mansion that I remembered from childhood overtook me once more. The grandeur, the design, and the detail are the stuff of dreams.

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The vistas of the Blue Ridge mountains encircling the property are breathtaking.

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And a beautiful terrace to relax and enjoy the views doesn’t hurt the charm either.

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After winding up grand staircases, down sprawling hallways, and through tapestry laden living rooms, we emerged from the house slightly humbled. Though it’s nice to visit, the upkeep of such an estate, especially without many of today’s modern conveniences, seems downright daunting.

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As the early evening sun settled over the mountains, it was time to return to the real world. East Tennessee was calling and new adventures, including a new dog, awaited us back home.

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No matter how brief, the break and breath of fresh air that a weekend escape brings is always wonderful. I’ve returned to daily life rejuvenated and only slightly bitter that I wasn’t born a Vanderbilt…

True Love

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Valentines Day… It’s one of those holidays that I have always simultaneously anticipated and a little bit dreaded.

Throughout my many single years, it seemed to be sad reminder of my singleness. It felt as if the holiday was created to convince me that I needed to find that person who would make me feel loved and cherished. And since I hadn’t yet, I questioned my lovability.

When I met my husband and started celebrating Valentine’s Day with someone I loved, I thought I was set – all my girlhood dreams of a romantic rose-filled holiday would be fulfilled. And though my admittedly non-romantic husband has tried his hardest and created some beautiful Valentine’s memories; if I’m being completely honest, almost every Valentine’s Day has carried with it a bit of a letdown.

Then I came to realize something. The problem wasn’t that I was single, the problem isn’t that my husband is not romantic enough; the problem is me. I set unreachable expectations about this day and how and when love should be felt or displayed. I make it all about myself. And in doing so, I kick to the curb everything that this holiday is supposed to be about – giving love.

As I thought about and looked into it further, I discovered that Valentine’s Day was not originally about flowers and chocolate and hearts. Though there are mixed accounts of the multiple “Valentines” for whom the holiday is named, one thing resonates through all the legends of Saint Valentine – bold and selfless love. There was the Valentine who martyred himself to save fellow believers and the Valentine who healed his jailer’s daughter just before his execution. These stories speak not of romantic love, but of a greater love that serves others, even under the most difficult of circumstances, without asking for anything in return.

So maybe we’ve been viewing Valentine’s Day all wrong. I’ve come to believe that the greatest love is love given, not love received. Isn’t it better to measure our worth not by how many dozens of roses we get on one day, but by how much love we pour out into the world everyday?

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- Vincent Van Gogh {Via}

So my challenge for this Valentine’s Day is to give love to everyone in every way I can. Sure my husband deserves my love (and a few extra smooches), but so do my family, my friends, myself, and all the wonderful strangers I encounter.

Here’s wishing you a Valentine’s Day filled with love in all forms. Sending so much love to you dear friends on this and every day!

Don’t Get Over It

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When bad things happen in life – big or small, your fault or not – it’a a common refrain to hear from yourself or others, “Just get over it.” Depending on the severity of the situation, it may not be directly said, but there is an implication in society that in order to be strong and independent, we just need to get over things and blaze our own sure-footed path forward.

But I’m not convinced that this is the best option in many cases, or even possible in some instances. Just getting over something implies that it doesn’t or it can’t affect us anymore, and sometimes that is just too hard in the current moment. To get over something means that we turn our back on the problem or the hurt – a hurt that really needs to be faced head-on.

So what’s the alternative?

Are we just supposed to “get under it” and remain in that place of pain and hurt, continually blaming ourselves or others? There are times when staying under it is all that we can do, but in the long run this method doesn’t prove any more productive than ignoring the issue and getting over it. It’s a pit rather than a path forward – and pits become dangerous and deep far too fast.

Life, especially pain and struggle, is like that old book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt - “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We’ve got to go through it!”  Through it is the hard way – filled with lots of slogging through messy mud and wading in deep water. Yet by going through it you really experience life – the good and the bad, the guts and the glory.

And that’s what life is really about isn’t it? The journey, the learning, the honesty of having dealt with and overcome obstacles. Anything else is just skimming the surface, and it’s in the deep blue of “through” that the beauty of life lives.

So if you’re experiencing a tough time, don’t cave to the pressure of having to get over it, but don’t let it crush you either. Hold your head high, be brave, and march boldly through.

Strengthening the Soul

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It’s that time of year again.  The time of year when we all head to the gym in an ambitious frenzy vowing to show up, build our biceps, test our endurance and reach our fitness goals. And that is so great – I’m a firm believer that health and wellness and simply getting out of your mind and moving is intricately linked to becoming your best self.

But if your goal for the new year is to become a better more whole more loving you (and who’s isn’t?) then you can’t neglect your spiritual and emotional health.  I’m no expert, but here are six elements I have found through personal experience to be essential to the betterment of my inner being.

  1. Face Facts – You know when you step on the scale and convince yourself that all of those extra pounds are merely the result of the boots and heavy sweater you’re wearing rather than the daily dozen cookies you ingested from Thanksgiving through New Years? Well looking at the state of your soul can be like that. We don’t want to see our faults, we make excuses and blame others and tell ourselves everything is fine because it’s painful to face the truth. Terribly painful. And that’s okay – because growth comes through pain. Like a field left fallow, nothing good is going to grow until that hard layer of earth is ripped open and plowed, allowing the best parts to come to the surface and sifting out the hard and fruitless pieces.  It is only through seeing our truth that we can transform.
  2. Know You Can Do It – When you take a deep look at who you are, you’re going to find so many faults with yourself. My faults could fill a list from here to the moon and back. To realize that can be completely daunting and make you question, “Can I really change all this or am I doomed to be a bad/unworthy/insecure (etc., etc.) person?”  It’s enough to make you lay down and give up. Don’t. Don’t believe the lies – live in the truth of your goodness and your unique beauty. Because the truth is you are good. You are human and you are broken and you are full of faults, but essentially you are good. If you believe you are a bad person, you will be. But if you believe you are a good person, nothing in the world can stop you from becoming your best self. No one ever succeeded in running a mile when they convinced themselves they couldn’t.
  3. Feed Your Soul – Just like eating a burger isn’t exactly going to propel you towards the gym, ingesting negativity will inhibit your spiritual strengthening. So block out the messages that make you feel empty – log off Facebook, quit complaining and comparing. It’s true what they say, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  Feed your soul with encouraging and uplifting words and images. Not sure where to start? If you’re a Christian, the Bible or a good devotional book (like Jesus Calling) are a great places. If you seek something more secular, Eckhart Tolle and Brene’ Brown are incredible teachers. There are so so many honest and encouraging and uplifting blogs out there to turn to. Some of my personal favorites are: Momastery, A Cup of Jo, The Happiness Project, Marc and Angel Hack Life, and The Happsters. Or just Google “inspiring and uplifting blogs” and you’re bound to find something great. Whatever resonates with you personally is what you need to read, and re-read, and re-read, and read one more time just for the heck of it until it sinks in and becomes a part of your being.
  4. Work Hard Every Day –  If you go to the gym once and walk on the treadmill for a half hour, that’s great, but it’s not going to make a lasting difference. You have to be willing to drag yourself up, pull your brain and heart out of the numbness of daily living and really work – read, write, meditate – whatever works for you. And don’t be mistaken – it will be hard work. Your calves may not ache and your biceps may not throb, but your heart will ache and your head will throb. But that’s okay, that’s part of the process. I’m a firm believer that all truly good things come through truly hard work. So make a commitment to put in the effort, block out time everyday and do something, anything that strengthens your soul and sense of self.
  5. Seek Out Support –  There’s a reason that programs like Weight Watchers and group fitness classes are so successful at attaining and maintaining results – they provide a support system and accountability. Though strengthening your soul may feel like such a personal and solitary journey – uncovering parts of your personality that you may feel ashamed to share with the world – it’s still so important to have support. Support of others who truly love you allows you to uncover those tough parts of yourself, while still knowing that you are loved and good at your core. Support helps you work through your fears, doubts, and weaknesses by providing a perspective outside of yourself. Support holds you accountable to making and sticking to the necessary changes in your life in order to become your best self.  Opening yourself to support allows others to believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.
  6. Stick With It –  Not seeing the results you want? Remember that life is a marathon, not a race. Even if you’ve been working out consistently for a month, it can take weeks upon weeks before you see noticeable change on the outside. But with each step you take, your insides are becoming incrementally healthier.  Again, strengthening your soul works in much the same way – transformation starts from the inside out. So though you’ll face times of frustration and setback, stick with it; then stick with it some more.

Often like an uphill climb, becoming your best self and cultivating true strength within your soul is not guaranteed to be an easy journey. But those glimpses of truth, beauty, and hope you’re sure to experience along the way make the struggle so very worth it.

Keep climbing friends – we can grow in strength in solidarity together!

In Pursuit of Passion

Passion and determination.  These are traits I truly admire in others. Why? Because they are areas that I feel slightly lacking in my own life.  I strive to approach things in life with both passion and determination, however, more often than not my passion burns hot and fast and I’m on to the next task before finishing the first.

Though I don’t (yet) have a passion to pursue with dogged determination, I am lucky enough to have a front row view from the sidelines of someone else pursuing their own.

My husband.

There has never been any question as to what Andrew’s true passion is – aviation.  I’ve heard the stories of Andrew as a young child thumbing through his grandfather’s flying magazines.  I’ve seen the proof in the pictures of his longtime love for all things plane…

AndrewNever have I see someone with such an intense and focused passion.  And although I can tire of hearing about ailerons and lift, of watching endless videos of flight on YouTube, I am endlessly impressed by his commitment to this crazy thing he loves.

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Andrew’s determination to pursue all paths towards flying has been steadfast and inspiring.  Over the years his efforts to become a pilot have been thwarted by everything from finances to job transfers to inaccessibility of airports.  Yet through it all, he has never lost his commitment to making it happen.  He’s saved, he’s studied, he’s learned the logistics of every airport in the area.  To many it would seem like time wasted; to Andrew it’s a mix of joy, purpose, and pure tenacity.

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And the magical thing that happens when you pour your heart and soul and efforts into something is that dreams come true. My husband doesn’t wait around for his dreams to be fulfilled, he tirelessly works to make them happen; which is such an incredible trait to see played out, and one that I envy (and strive for) more than a little. Because trust me, nothing about flying is easy, even for an aviation enthusiast.

So, at long last, I’m so glad to see that magic happening and his dreams coming true.  For the last few weeks Andrew has been back behind the yoke taking flight lessons. Yesterday, though it makes his mother and I cringe to think about, he took flight on his own, piloting the plane solo. Next stop is his pilot’s license and a lifetime of aviation adventure together.

So keep reaching for the sky…Andrew2With enough passion, determination, time, and effort dreams can come true – and there’s a whole lot of hope and happiness to be found along the way.

(Thanks for being an inspiration handsome hubs!)