Archive for category Goals

On Being Sick

“Without the bitterest cold that penetrates to the very bone, how can plum blossoms send forth their fragrance all over the universe?”
— Dogen, from How to be Sick

I’ve felt under the weather for about a month now and with that usually comes a pause in my running and blogging. Unfortunate, I know. So about that…

Sunday at Wayfare (my unbelievably loving, accepting, genuine, and amazing faith community), Roger directed the conversation to what we center our lives around. Most of us “Jesus-followers” claim to be (or at least desire to be) Christ-centered although that often isn’t the case. So he asked what our lives do center around. What shapes our views, values, beliefs, or daily lives? What directs and influences how we live? I was shocked to find that the first the that came to my mind was “being sick.”

Each day revolves around how I feel and what I can handle that day. Lately fatigue has been plaguing me like none other. I find the pain I experience is the main cause and only compounds the tiredness. I can get enough sleep at night  and come home to take a two hour nap. Each thing I do seems to wear me out and I barely have the energy to do the essentials. So each day I plan when I have time to sleep, or try to figure out if I will have the energy for school, homework, etc. Will I have a break in between things? Do I have snacks to keep me awake? Can I squeeze in a nap? I have a doctors appt next week to discuss these problems but in between I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much my illness determines how I live.

I just started reading Toni Bernhard’s book How to be Sick which I think is going to give me a fresh perspective on how to accept illness and live completely within the reality of my limitations.

I want to find satisfaction within my situation. This is difficult to do, especially when I’m still trying to find a “cure” – still going to PT, going to get blood levels of vitamins and thyroid/adrenal hormones checked, trying new diets, trying different vitamins and supplements, trying everything. But. Life wouldn’t be interesting without a challenge. So here I go, trying to learn “how to be sick.” Wish me luck! 🙂

…more to come…

What does your life center around? Through illness or difficult times how do you maintain quality living?


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On Being: an old soul, a woman, an advocate, a runner, and a learner

I am a whole comprised of many parts. Here are some of them that I feel especially define me at this time in my life:

Old Soul: I’ve always felt older than I am… I used to drive an old lady car, I have old lady aches and pains, I get tired a lot faster than other people, I MUST get enough sleep to function, and while I enjoy the occasional night out, or house party, I often prefer a quite night in with movies and beer. I used to hate that I felt older than my age. Now I realize it’s who I am and it’s better to just embrace it, accept it, and enjoy it, rather than try to be someone else. Accepting ourselves for who we are makes for a much happier life.

Woman: March is Women’s History Month. There have been so many fascinating, successful women throughout history who have defied opposition and judgment to shape the liberated life I’m free to enjoy. Despite all these wonderful female examples (and my old soul self) I still struggle with what it means to be woman. The massive amount of stereotypical images and information about what women are/should be makes actual womanhood even more confusing. I’m gradually developing an image in my mind of the complex, delightful meaning of who I am and what I am capable of as a female, and embracing all of my womanly potential. It looks a lot like this description written by my good pal Krista (a fabulous and fearless woman herself): “Women are also strong, and talented, and wise, and meek. They can be confident or careful, sexy or shy. Women are athletic and creative and beautiful and fun.” She is currently writing a series about influential women in history on her blog, Reviving Identity. I’d encourage you to check it out.

Advocate: I have endometriosis. You all know this. And I will continue to tell my story to increase awareness. I’ve said this so many times and will continue to do so: “Without awareness, there is no cure!” The world’s most brilliant scientists still don’t know what causes endo (although they have several uncomfirmed theories). They still don’t have a cure. And millions of women continue to suffer (often silently) in pain. This is not OK! I am passionate about this issue (particularly since it’s personal) and I will fight for the rest of my life to increase awareness, funds, and research. March is national endometriosis awareness month and by this time next year I hope to have planned an Endometriosis 5K. It will be hard and challenging and I’m still not entirely sure if I can do it, but I’m going to do all I can to make this happen in an effort to raise awareness, and of course money, to donate to the Endometriosis Association.

Runner: As I mentioned above, I’d like to increase awareness through a race. Running is my anti-endo. The one thing that can really make me feel powerful when I’ve had so many times I’ve been laid up on the couch, curled up in a ball. Despite the pain, if I can get out and take one step, just one jog around the block, I’m releasing powerful endorphins (body’s natural pain killers). Often, after just 30 minutes of pounding pavement I feel some relief and, if nothing else, I feel mentally and emotionally stronger and empowered. Running brings me joy and clarity and a break from the hectic-ness that is my life. It is part of me.

Learner: I am officially immersed in the depths of nursing school and I will be until Dec 2012. I am brain-deep in books, education, theory, tests, clinicals, homework, etc… It is GREAT. and HARD. For the first time in my life I actually really have to try. School has always come quite easily for me and this is the first time I’ve ever felt challenged. This is AWESOME. and HARD. But I love it all the same. Through my education (as well as running), I continue to learn self-discipline and perseverance. Valuable life lessons, eh?

Well, that’s just a summary of what I’ve been thinking about lately and some of the different aspects of my life that I feel define me. What defines you? What makes you who you are? How do you learn and grow from these things?

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B is for Badass

In this yucky in-betweenish kind of weather my motivation to run spirals down the drain and gets all chopped up in the disposal. I can’t wait to run some races this year and really want to push myself to go farther and faster. In order to get to that point, I’ve got to put in the hard work. I don’t like hard work. But, it’s one those annoying life realities. So I dug out this old pic from Head for the Cure last year to remind myself that the work is worth it. If nothing else, the work is worth that calf muscle. BAM! 🙂 It’s the little things, right?

I think I need to post this picture on my mirror or something to remind myself what a badass I can be when I set my mind to it. This picture was taken at one of the highest points in my life. This was my second 5K and my second time proving to myself that I could do something I never thought possible. Due to a mild case of asthma and the ever-present endo pain, I never thought I could be a runner and consistently told myself that for years. This is where I proved myself wrong. And it felt AWESOME.

I hope you don’t think I sound boastful or vain, because that’s not what I’m going for. What I AM going for is some of that all-important positive self talk. If I encourage and believe in myself, I can do anything and nothing will stop me. I think that’s pretty valuable.

So here’s to motivation and goals and encouraging ourselves to be awesome. May you dream big and, more importantly, believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that your dreams can become your reality.

“Decide what to be, and go be it,”
— the Avett Brothers

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Workin’ it on out

I got my booty in gear today and ran a couple miles.

Hollaaaaaaaaaa! Look at me, keepin’ up with my goals and priorities. 🙂

So you know how I’m too much of a wimp to run outside in the winter, right? Thus, I ran at the community center today… on a treadmill. I’ve walked on treadmills before, but never ran. I was always (justifiably) afraid that my uncoordinated self would lose focus and fall off the back of the dang thing. But I mustered up some courage & balance today and tried it out. It wasn’t that bad! It was actually kind of fun, but weird because the whole time I was thinking “I’m not going anywhere! I’m running and I’m seriously not going anywhere!” I felt like it was easier to zone out though because I could just focus my eyes on one point and run, run, run.

I should note that I’m not just running for the sake of working out. I have an ulterior motive. Rumor has it that exercise might be able to help out endometriosis. Who knows, but I’m willing to try anything. (This is the same reason I eat sardines or herring at least once a week… something about omega oils…) So, fingers crossed, and hey – we all have our reasons for trying to be healthy right? Seriously, I don’t know many people who are in relatively good health who work out or eat well just for the heck of it. (Except my husband – he loves vegetables. Crazy.) It seems like there’s always a reason. Endo is mine. What’s yours?

Alright, well, time to go work on another priority: STUDYING!

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Time to Do Stuff

Note about yesterday’s post: feeling much better about the whole thing… still a bit sad, but grateful for the experience and very much looking forward to continuing to serve the individuals on hospice and their families. Even though the work is bittersweet I feel this type of thing is exactly what I want to do and what I’m made to do which is a wonderful, satisfying feeling.


So I’m finally figuring out what my schedule is like between the nursing program / work / volunteer activities. Now that I have an idea of what each day is like it’s time to attack my schedule with priorities, goals, and block out the time to accomplish them.

First up – priorities. My priorities for the semester include:

1. Be a kick-ass nursing student (i.e. get good grades [I have a passion for getting 4.0’s and that’s still a goal I have in the back of my mind but I don’t want to kill myself doing it], and perform well in clinicals)

2. Take care of my body

3. Maintain a great relationship with the hubs

4. Keep some semblance of order in the house.

5. Accomplish the above with enough heart and sanity left to give the rest fully to my volunteer efforts

That’s about it realistically and if I wanted to be reeeally realistic I’d probably cut down that list to 3 things. But I’ll roll with 5 for now.

Second – goals:

1. Dedicate a set amount of time each day to study for each class so I can stay on top of the material and not be cramming at the last minute (I know, this is a monumental goal)

2. Run or do yoga at least THREE times per week (NPR reminded me again today that to maintain health, prevent cancer, heart disease, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, we should all be working out for 2.5 hours a week. This is not a lot. But it feels like a TON.)

3. Set aside “fun” time to hang out with friends.

4. Keep my house clean

5. Eat healthy meals (I’ve been so busy that most of what I’m eating is coming out of the freezer lately, which is fine because I made [most of] the food myself so I know it’s healthy, but I need to be sure to supplement that with my fresh fruits and veggies)

6. Continue to use my planner (this is the only reason my life is kind of organized right now) and literally block out the time in it to do all of these things.

7. Actually follow what I write in the planner

8. Start making a t-shirt quilt

I’m going to stop at 8 goals because I don’t want to overwhelm myself. Anyway, I had to write this stuff down so I will actually accomplish it. I’m one of those people that needs a constant reminder of what is important to me and what I want to accomplish otherwise I get all scatter-brained and crap.

OK then, time to go do stuff!

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Balancing Act

Life is all about balance, right? At least that’s what I enjoy saying. But how good am I at actually balancing? Literally, not so well. Figuratively, even worse.

As part of my 30 x 5 challenge, I’ve begun practicing yoga. After only a few sessions, I’ve already fallen in love. Yoga is weird. I always thought so, and I still do after trying it. It’s a bunch of crazy looking poses, some of which are ridiculously hard to achieve. But (there’s always a ‘but’!), through all those oddly-named poses, those sometimes annoyingly slow transitions, those instructors that keep telling me to ‘focus on my breath’, I find peace.


It’s a practice that makes you slow down, forces you to still your mind. I (and probably 99% of America) can attest to the fact that I suck at slowing down and resting my heart and mind. As an anxious person I’m always thinking, often tense, easily stressed, and overly analytical. Practicing yoga makes me set that aside for a moment and breathe. Thinking of nothing but my breath and the pose and what I’m feeling. And it’s in that stillness where I can feel free.

Free to think (or not), meditate, and pray. It’s so hard for me to slow my mind down that I rarely feel in the mood to pray. Practicing yoga leaves me feeling still enough to draw close to God. Like that story about Elijah in the Old Testament, I find God is not in my hectic, crazy moments of life, but in the still ones. In a culture of busy-ness, I rarely take the time to find still moments. Incorporating yoga into my fitness regimen is helping me find more of those moments for which I’m so grateful.

If you’re wondering about my 30 x 5 progress, here’s the breakdown:

10/6 – 30 minute jog
10/7 – rest day!
10/8 – 40 minutes of yoga
10/9 – 70 minutes yoga workout
10/10 – 80 minute yoga
10/11 – rest day!
10/12 – Does walking around the mall with my mom count? Hope so! I’m not going to beat myself up for missing this day, I’m just going to borrow some minutes from the 10th to apply to this day. 🙂
10/13 – 75 minute vinyasa flow yoga session
10/14 – Two hour hike through the state park with Kris

Namaste, my friends!

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See Mel Budget

I wrote recently on the importance of financial fitness. The more I focus on my health in keeping up with the 30 x 5 challenge, I’m reminded of my goal to stay financially fit. I’ve done a lot of reading and searched a lot of blogs trying to find an easy way for me to budget and actually keep up with my finances. As with all things, I believe firmly in finding what works for you and sticking with it. I ended up looking at a lot of templates and ideas and making my own Excel spreadsheet to see all J’s and my income and expenses, mapped out. You can take a look at my basic template here: BudgetExample, inspired by resources on Budgets are $exy. I have columns for what is budgeted, what we actually spend, and the difference.

To keep track of the actual expenditures and incomes I chose to stick with the Intuit program Quicken, which I’ve used in the past. It’s pretty easy to use and is probably the best financial software there is. For the basic “Deluxe” edition, it’s an initial investment of $59.99 but if I stick with it I should get that and more back in the long run.


With the new versions of Quicken you can actually download expenses offline from your bank and credit card accounts which is AMAZING and saves loads of time. All I have to do is make a few adjustments and I can view any number of charts and reports about my spending. I can even input my budget info into Quicken and it will show me a chart of how close we’re staying to the budget and how much we’re saving. Nice! It takes some time, but there are several things I want to save for in the future and sticking with a budget is the only way to do that. I find that no matter how much money one makes it’s easy to spend it all if you’re not careful. The only way to avoid that is to make a plan, chart it out, and do it.

Happy budgeting my friends!

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