With a heart full of grace, and a soul generated by love…

Happy long weekend, everyone! I was able to enjoy an especially short week this week since New Hampshire had a snow day on Wednesday and I had taken Friday off to make the most of the long weekend. Well, that and to do a little celebrating with Justin since on Friday we had been dating a whole year! Yep folks, this commitment-phobe has had a boyfriend for a whole year AND has kept a balanced checkbook since November.

So I need to be honest, this week I really was not so good about trying to be healthy this week. I canceled my gym membership (in my defense, I had gone once in the last 2 months, so it didn’t make sense to keep paying for something I don’t use… and in 2 weeks I’m getting a wii fit so I will at least still have some exercise). I did make an effort to eat more fruits & veggies, but I think I canceled all that out when Justin & I went to dinner on Friday night. Since dating for a year was a pretty big deal for the both of us, we got all dressed up (and can I just say how handsome he looked in a suit & tie!) and went to Fratello’s , an incredibly amazing Italian restaurant here in the Mills. Lately we’ve been hooked on watching The Sopranos so it was pretty fun to get all dressed up, order a fancy bottle of wine, and pretend like we could actually afford to be there on a regular basis. On Saturday we promptly went grocery shopping for healthy meals, so we’ll see where this week takes me. While the snow has put a damper on my walks for now, I can still work on adjusting what I eat.

This week was full of lots of fun and excitement. On Tuesday night/Wednesday, New Hampshire was nailed with massive snow storm that made me feel like I was back in Michigan. There were over 300 schools and businesses closed on Wednesday, and I was lucky to be part of that 300. Since it’s obviously been a while since I was in school and I haven’t gotten a work snow day in a few years I felt like a kid again! I forgot how truly exciting it is to get up, turn on the news and see you’re closed, then go back to bed. When it came time to move the car for the lot to be plowed, Justin and I sure had fun playing in the snow!

It was so nice to be able to spend a day in the middle of a pretty stressful week just relaxing, watching The Sopranos, and working on a puzzle. Speaking of things that make me feel like a kid again, I got a new pair of glasses on Thursday. I’m not going to reveal how long it’s been since I last saw the eye doctor, just know that it was far too long and I’m still getting used to the stronger prescription. I don’t know what it is about glasses, but I get sooooo excited whenever it’s time to get a new pair! Maybe it’s feeling like I get to re-define my style, maybe it’s just knowing I’ll be able to see clearly again. All in all I’d say this was a wonderful week full of lots of happy memories.

As I’m sure all of you are aware, tomorrow is MLK day. During my time at City Year New Hampshire I developed a strong appreciation for the sermons and speeches of Dr. King, especially The Drum Major Instinct. What really drew me to this sermon is the idea of redefining greatness. Here is an excerpt that really hit home for me, and I try to keep near and dear to my heart.

And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, (Everybody) because everybody can serve. (Amen) You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. (All right) You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. (Amen) You only need a heart full of grace, (Yes, sir, Amen) a soul generated by love. (Yes) And you can be that servant.

What a powerful statement. King goes on to continue to move my soul all the way through the sermon and at the end I think he nails exactly what it is to me that defines a full life:

If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.

So here’s to the long weekend, and whether you are working, or doing a service project, or just relaxing tomorrow, I challenge you to redefine your idea of greatness, and to live your life with a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.

What exactly does a more happy, healthy, and full 2011 look like?

Look at me being all proactive and writing more than one post this week.  Woo-hoo!  So I’ve been thinking the last few days about what exactly a more happy, healthy, and full 2011 looks like.  If anyone has the answer and wants to share now would be the time… really, though, I have no clue.  That’s the thinking that pushed me past my long pondered thoughts about starting a blog to actually setting one up.  I think what a happy, healthy, and full life looks like in January is going to look different than it does in June and that will even look different from July.  I think you get my point.

No, don’t get me wrong, 2010 was a great year.  I got to spend a the 09-10 school year living with my sister while she was an AmeriCorps member with City Year New Hampshire, I started dating the pretty cool Justin T in January ’10, I got my first apartment on my own in June ’10, I made it back to the mitten I so fondly call home in July AND December ’10!, I discovered Dansko Clogs in September ’10 and now have happy feet, and I even got back into physical therapy for my ankle in July ’10 and gained a whole 6 degrees of motion!  Now that’s what I call a good year.

While 2010 was a really good year, I think I can do better.  Gaining control of my weight is going to be a biggie for me this year.  I saw an ankle surgeon in Boston last summer, and he said that for every pound overweight you are that’s 3 extra pounds of pressure on your ankle.  Holy crap!  Even just 10 pounds off my frame could take 30 pounds of pressure off my ankle.  Now we all know I could afford to loose more than ten pounds, but it’s all about baby steps, right?  Right.  Being realistic I know that I’ll never have a bikini body, but is looking good in shorts and a tank-top so much to ask for?  I think not!  I’m also going to try and take a stab at my emotional health too.  I tend to be a bit of a worrier and stress out A LOT.  My boss often jokes that his goal is to give me a gray hair by the end of the school year.  I am bound and determined to make him fail!  At 26 I feel I am far too young to start going gray.  So let’s see where being more organized and detail-oriented get me.  But as Justin often tells me when we travel anywhere for more than a few hours I need to stop planning so much and just enjoy.  That work-home balance is something I need to be better about putting into practice….

I suppose that’s enough about what I think will indicate success at a more healthy 2011.  Check back in the next few days on my thoughts about what a more happy and more full 2011 look like!

Here’s a great artist you should check out — Xavier Rudd. I first heard him on one of my favorite TV shows, Weeds. I kind of forgot about him until more recently when he’s been popping up on my Pandora. Messages is one of my favorites of his, but all his music is great. Enjoy!

Here goes nothing…

Well, welcome to my very first blog post.  I’ve never been a very big fan of new years resolutions.  Mainly because I’ve never been able to keep one for more than a month or two.  I’ve done all the standards… ‘this year I’m going to stop drinking’ or ‘this year I’m going to go to the gym at least 4 times a week’ or ‘this year I’m going to balance my checkbook’ and every time I give up by mid-February (although I’m proud to say I’ve very diligently kept a balanced checkbook since I opened my account with Granite State Credit Union on November 2… That’s got to be some sort of record!).  Last year I had the brilliant idea of implementing 1-2 good things for me every month so that I had a slow transformation to a better me, but of course I didn’t write down my good things and lost interest by March.  This year I’m taking a different approach.  I’m not setting a specific goal.  I just know I want to be more happy, more healthy, and live a more full life.  What helps me feel like I’m taking steps towards my goal I think will look different each month.  That’s what this blog is for.  At least once a week I commit to writing about my adventures to live a happy, healthy, and full life.  I figure writing it down and posting it online will help me keep this goal at the forefront of my daily meanderings.  Even if I’m the only one reading this, I can embrace my inner-narcissist and think that at least one other person out there is reading this and they’re cheering me on.  Or perhaps someone out there is finding motivation they need to take the steps towards making their own goals for happy and healthy lives a reality.  1 post down, 51 to go.  Let’s see if this commitment-phobe can stick with writing a weekly post for an entire year.  Here goes nothing…

As a little thank-you for stopping by, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite music, quotes, books, etc… things that make me happy. Here’s a video from ‘Fistful of Mercy’ which just so happens to be a band I can’t stop listening to these days. Thanks to NPR Music for bringing Fistful of Mercy into my life!