Category Archives: adventure

lean into the unknown

six months into fort collins living – I went to a connect class at church today. it’s part of a four step process of learning about this specific local church, and diving into who I’m made to be at the same time – all of this prep to serve on the volunteer team.

i did not want to go this morning. i’ve been tired. like really really tired. and more than physical tiredness. i’m emotionally drained, spiritually apathetic. feeling sorry for myself and little entitled. i noticed my internal conversation this week went a lot like, “after all i’ve been through…this?”

so, i’m human.

and i didn’t want to go interact with people. i wanted to stay in the cycle of self defeat. why do we do these things?

good news though – i went anyway.

and when i arrived, the lady leading the group was stating her intentions for the day, that we would receive reminders, little sparks, (in my own words, synchronistic moments) that point us back to who we’re made to be.

i don’t know about you – but when apathy sets in, i build a thick wall against “feeling things.” against seeing them too – the small coincidences, or letting my heart swell with the vulnerable magic excitement of noticing – nope, not an option.

so with a puffed up chest, and you can’t touch me attitude, i walked into class.

“hmm,” i thought as she stated her intentions. i’ve closed myself off again. tired of feeling, tired of giving, tired of being open to pain.

and i allowed a portion of my guard down.

then we brainstormed the favorable qualities of a leader. she mapped it out on the whiteboard – “LEADERSHIP” with a circle around the word, then lines drawn out to the qualities we listed, “excellent communicator, servant hearted, inspiring, visionary, humble, altruistic, motivating…”

with her next question she erased the word LEADERSHIP, “how would you like your name written in the middle?” she posed to the class.

a few answered, saying it seems like a tall order, most said yes, it’s a high compliment.

then she wrote, “Amanda” in the middle.

again my mind went, “hmm.” out of the 25 people in the room, she chose to write my name, “ok, God, begrudgingly, i’m here. i guess i’m listening.”

we jumped into the lesson. first point she made – we hold ourselves back from incredible possibility. what holds us back? “insecurity, fear, inadequacy, reluctance” and then a bit about integrity (which after the past few years is one of my favorite topics).

and then she noted some values of this specific church: Jesus, a love for this city, family, radical generosity, sustainable rhythms, the importance of the details, and we are desperately dependent on the Holy Spirit.

i want to backtrack to “sustainable rhythms” because i was already planning ahead for my word of intention in July and SUSTAINABILITY came to mind. something lasting. something true; that forever kind of feeling.

and the paragraph under “sustainable rhythms,” went like this:

“we are passionate about going the distance and enjoying the journey. we work hard and rest well. we believe that work is God’s idea, that realizing a vision takes effort, that Sabbath is purposeful resistance against the rhythms of our culture, that recreation is restorative, and that health matters. we measure our pace, embrace our limits, laugh a lot, and trust God’s timing and provision.” 

“was this paragraph written for me?!” is exactly what i was thinking. “like what? how? how did they encompass all i’m searching for, all the themes scattered throughout my brain, and they even nailed the mic drop at the end – and trust God’s timing and provision.”

this is what has had me most sour lately. when some really really seemingly wonderful things have unexpectedly crept into my life and when these situations were climbing, obstacles overcome, the story was being made sweeter, grittier, complex, interesting, exciting, in ways – redemptive, and then –

nothing.

distance.

silence.

a screeching, confusing halt to what has been an incredible gift in my life.

cue the “WTF?” bubble over my brain.

however. because there has to be a however, people! apathetically, i dragged myself to connect class this morning. reluctantly, i opened pieces of me to receive. i (ok, unwillingly) heard trust and provision, and i let them in.

i remembered and can see how i’m in the exactly right place, and the timing is right on. because i can’t understand the pieces i don’t see, doesn’t make them bad.

i’m growing into who i need to be to accept the blessings meant for me in a way that is sustainable, in a way that is forever.

Jesus isn’t allowing easy because he knows my heart and knows i don’t want it that way. the gritty, deep, raw, everlasting, beautifully shocking, steadfast, full of grace, redemptive, hopeful, powerful, impactful story does not happen overnight.

multidimensional takes time, loads of effort, tremendous heart and will be well well worth the value expended.

God doesn’t draw us out to leave us here.

through no scheme of my own, i made it to fort collins. i’ve found work tailored for me and a church that feels more like home than anything i’ve known. i was eager to keep this option temporary, as this has been my pattern, but I see God at work.

maybe i can’t fully comprehend it all yet; and that’s ok. i’ll know when i need to, and i’ll continue to pour into what i’m doing and where i am and –

LEAN IN to all i’m becoming.

 

five years later & one week in

august 8, 2012 – when i searched WordPress and threw together my first blog post. LeGrand was an easy name to word smith and adventure was a given, so LeGrand Adventure it was.

nearly five to six years later (because time passes anyway) i’ve found myself at the beginning again. not really, though it does feel fresh, new, like starting over.

so here i am, harvesting the name from the experience and hushing the fears.

i played around with the idea of travel writing/blogging five years ago here: https://legrandadventure.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/what-do-i-desire/

in the gap between then and now, a lot of life happened. it probably needed to happen to accumulate the depth, wisdom, and motivation i’ll harness to put these words into action.

so, i’ll finally speak it. here it goes kids

in 2016, nashville became less familiar and i established new community in columbus, oh. over the course of 2017, i had fun calling myself a gypsy and living just a tad outside of responsibility – or in between nashville and columbus, often.

as 2017 rolled into 2018, situations and circumstances pruned distractions. well, i made the conscious choice to prune the distractions after taking cue from my environment.

in the small, deliberate actions, there was clarity. it was time. it is time.

you know the feeling when you’ve experienced a ton of heavy and chaos, and you can tangibly sense the lessons coming together like interlocking pieces spelling out the direction of your entire life?

no? well, i haven’t understood the feeling until now.

so at the end of last year, i made a decision. actually, i cried about not knowing what the hell to do and mid-pity party, my best friend called. now, she’s known me nearly twenty years, and she’s been witness to the biggest, hardest, weirdest (this may be it) seasons. i trust her judgement. we know each other on a heart level.

so when she called, the first thing she asked was, “what’s going on? how’s your heart?” exasperated, i flooded the phone line, “please, pleeease tell me what to do! columbus isn’t working and nashville doesn’t fit and i can’t stay in kansas city too long without feeling unmotivated. i need to move forward. i don’t feel prepared -”

“mandi, let me stop you right there…” exact words, i remember, “come live with us.”

wait what?” i’d been debating colorado eventually, when i felt more ready to kick off the mobile-lifestyle-adventure. in my mind, this was more of a march/april vision.

dana proceeded to tell me she had been reading a few days earlier and the idea hit her.

“we have a spare room and you need your people – and girlfriend we are your people too”

we were both in tears. i wanted someone to tell me what to do and she offered the next right thing on a freaking platter.

i was given time and space to think on it and we agreed we’d reconvene to talk logistics, but i already knew. this made the most sense when nothing in my current reality made any sense.

within a few days, plans were made. plane tickets bought. friends informed. with each forward step, the how became clearer.

and though i put super-intense, sometimes unreasonable pressure on myself, it’s only one week in and i’m beginning to see what this adjustment is all about –

and i want to share: 

  1. my vision of becoming a transparent author. this is it. learning, growing, sharing and over-sharing. sharing my frustrations, struggles, joys, mistakes – heartbreaks. i’ve noticed how reality and raw open up so much conversation, so much connection. and y’all – connection. i don’t know of any one thing more valuable.
  2. the tucked away dream of travel writing/blogging/ living as a responsible gypsy. because, we can all become beach bums, and then sustainability expires- what’s left? wonderful memories, of course. and my aim is to ask questions, do the research, and share how the dichotomy between adventure and stability can, do, and will co-exist in harmony.
  3. my need of reestablishment, reconstruction. if you’re healing incorrectly, it’s time to re-break and reset. and i wouldn’t say i was healing incorrectly – completely – but y’all, skipping parts of the struggle only wedges handicap in place of strength! so, through cursing the process, i still agreed to feel. it. all. knowing if i feel it all in real time, i don’t have to feel it all again later. surrender. open to taking the time, laying the foundation alone, finding me again. resilience.

“and it all starts to make sense…” -Nahko

also, i’ll be open with my vision:

  • jan – readjust, research
  • feb – repay, clear, research
  • march – see above, begin the hunt for a mobile-life-suitable vehicle
  • april & may – purchase vehicle, begin revamp adventure

sometime after may, i’ll wrap up the project and hit the road. this part is still hazy and unknown – beautiful. you’ll see the first step behind readjustment is research. this happens now, and questions are key.

pues, step one:

sustainability.

in brainstorming the “how-to,” travel and support yourself monetarily – what options have you found/experienced? for example, my best friend, dana, has the ability to take her life on the road via travel nursing. i could scout out new areas and substitute teach. and i want ALL the info. what opportunities make this type of lifestyle possible?

let’s begin this conversation.

 

 

 

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legrand adventure – the only kind to have

truly, madly, deeply is playing right now. is that the name of it? i know it’s by savage garden – ha. and i remember vaguely hearing this song at the grocery when i was a senior in high school.

god, that’s so far away.

even yesterday feels distant.

so i’m taking deep breaths and doing the next right thing. because that’s what oprah says to do. and the next right thing is another deep breath and allowing myself grace.

grace because i was only divorced three months ago, and i’ve been transient for over a year, and i’ve been freelancing during this time, and i broke up with my boyfriend and popped my tire in the same week. this week. today.

and i went to california and italy this year, all while transitioning, and new friending, and falling in love again.

i moved here and i moved to nashville and i moved back here again.

i said goodbye to my puppies.

action, movement, motion.

almost poetic as we transition into winter i’m finally pausing.

finally breathing.

finally acknowledging – damn, amanda – a break down is not weakness. in fact, it’s healthy.

a trauma research study stated divorce, moving, finding a new job, and losing pets all in the highest category of stress and life change.

so…

another deep breath. and two more.

this life is truly, incredibly beautiful. i see opportunity. possibility. growth. transformation. empathy. power.

i also see a trampoline down here at rock bottom. (i’m teasing, this doesn’t feel like rock bottom)

deep sigh, exhale, SMILE –

and move.

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Audacious

Last June I was reading Wild on my condo balcony. My health and fitness hobby was growing into what could easily become a career. My mind was searching for which direction I would go. Would I continue to teach in a local school district one more year or would I knowingly give up a steady paycheck because deep down I had faith and a feeling this will work? Do I have enough courage to make it work when the feeling has left me?

In my deliberation, I never once thought teaching was inferior, though if I was honest with myself and everyone else, teaching in the U.S. in a public school was on my list of “nevers.” I did not want to become a teacher, especially not an elementary school teacher. What happened though is, I really wanted to move to Nashville and it was something I could do.

Often we make choices based on what we think we can do instead of aiming for what is nearly impossible (and what we would clearly need God’s help in achieving).

So in weighing both of my options, I only had one true choice. Continue to dole out advice I was hypocritically to terrified to exercise in my own life, or fall in love with the fear knowing my dependency on faith would multiply.

After a few, long, deep breaths and uplifting conversations with Nigel, I made the phone call. I said no, and thank you, to an opportunity. A really good, amazing, fantastic opportunity, because when I evaluated my motivation – money was at the core. I started teaching to get to Nashville. I was still teaching because even though teachers are not paid a great deal of it, money is involved, and it comes steadily.

I knew this is what I needed to do. I knew in my heart when I was moved to tears at the bravery and audacity of this woman who decided to write an honest story about her experience in coming home and embracing who she is. Her account paired with the notion in The Compound Effect about doing things in a big way and going for the shock factor over what is comfortable, made up my mind.

I wasn’t sure what it would look like, but knew, this is how I wanted my story to read:

she had a chance to live her life and she took it

Now, six months later, the choice is still scary. I still doubt. I still question myself and my crazy. It would be so practical to give up and move on; I’m doing what I do well, but am I doing it well enough?

This morning I spent some time reading Love Does by Bob Goff. This was gifted to me by a new friend who I don’t even truly know, but the internet and life work that way.

Aside from the heart and humor within each story Bob tells, he also continues to remind me dreaming in an enormous way is important. Having faith because it’s unlikely and unpractical and outrageous, is important and even necessary.

Bob has used the adjective “audacious,” nearly ten times in his book. Of course anyone is welcome to use any word they prefer, and still because he keeps using that word of all words, I know to hang on. I know to keep going, keep pushing, because nothing worth doing is easy (it’s what they say, right?) And because I never want to leave this life a little short of what I could have been.

When I look at who inspires me, I see the relentless, passionate few, who no matter what – never freaking give up. And in doing so they arrive where they are headed. They embody audacity and true faith.

Living our day to day naturally dims this drive. We all become very comfortable. Life is convenient, even easy mostly. So I don’t expect you to fully understand what I’m saying. Because when I’m in the routine, driving to and from work, tired, only slightly passionate, I forget too. However, in these moments when I take one second and let some truth touch my soul – I remember. I was meant for more, I can feel it. You were too. Whatever it looks like for you, I’m not sure. But what I do know is you should always do a “soul check.” Ask yourself questions regularly. Reflect on who you are and who you want to be and listen to what’s inside of you. At your core you always know which path to follow.

Be freaking audacious. In your actions, your love, your life. Every day, forever. Amen.

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Year In Review

Honestly, today I’m cranky. I felt dreamy beforehand when I planned to post all that’s happened this year and now at the very end of the year, I feel there’s been a misstep. It’s the dressing room mirror’s fault.

Regardless, I started brainstorming my list. It made me smile. I guess I did kind of love this one.

  • had the opportunity to work with the sweetest ESL kiddos, during this time the idea of adoption was placed on my heart and will now shape a few things I am doing with the business in the near future
  • left that amazing job after being moved to tears in June, on my balcony, over a book. Had a stirring inside me I could not ignore and knew it was now or never and though I didn’t even realize, I’d been pursuing what was ‘easier’ this entire time. So I said YES.
  • felt more peace than before because of the decision to be myself unapologetically, found my voice
  • attracted more of my people because of the above bullet
  • paid off (almost all) debt. School loans, car loans, anything and everything else is diminished. We don’t own a home so I guess no mortgage can be celebrated – for now.
  • helped Lewis Howes launch his book, was apart of SOGA
  • came clear on my vision for Live Audaciously
  • became a personal trainer
  • helped my ladies shed a combined over 200 pounds of fat – online!
  • did a pull up, almost to two in a row currently!
  • live workouts with Tony Horton & Shawn T
  • read tons of books
  • practiced gratitude more often
  • adopted another puppy (Reg dude) Who am I??
  • met my nephew Gabe, had the chance to talk to my sister immediately after she gave birth (so many tears, so happy for her)
  • put on the guest list for an intimate house show by a musician I’ve followed for the past ten years, such an incredible experience.
  • I’m not telling you how the above bullet came to fruition but I really want to; it’s hilarious (so I’ll still make it a point, because it made my entire year)
  • visited the Oregon coast and the mountains and rode a train to Washington
  • met so many incredible people
  • attended two Dave Bazan house shows
  • FaceTime with family over the holidays (was bummed about not being there but had to look at the positive, still had a chance to drop in!)
  • witnessed my friend talk about her dream of designing a planner and see each step lead to now; launched and published!
  • witnessed my husband become more and more of who he is meant to be – you can tell, there is a peace and a confidence that arrive when you step into your true self
  • was always provided for and supported. So blessed, so thankful

I acknowledge what may have been a fantastic year for me may not have been for you. If so, I hope you find strength and peace tonight and know it does get better. Life is full of seasons and the above is only my highlight reel. There were frustrating, angry and off moments too. I also hope you find a moment to tease out the miracles this year held for you. May your next trip round the sun be blissful. xoxo

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2016 Health Overhaul

So, I’ve never been skinny, well, aside from the short period in 7th grade pre-puberty. I was pretty lean (and completely flat) but even then, I don’t remember being very “skinny.”

After life took it’s natural course and I began more of my growing, I was a normal weight for my size. A little thicker even. But like I said, never in my life have I been skinny.

So in those last two years of high school, when I quit cross country and wasn’t at all aware of what I am aware of now regarding nutrition and intake, I started gaining fat. I involved myself in other sports to try to manage my weight, but there’s no way around it, I was thick.

Post high school, my activity plummeted and I kept accumulating fat. I started to think I wasn’t meant to be in shape, that I was only a mediocre athlete so this is what I deserved (really??)

In 2007, I competed in a work weight loss challenge, lost 30 pounds running and eating lean meats and veggies. My understanding of how to take care of myself was growing, all the while, managing my body weight was an all the time struggle. I’m thankful I’ve always had to work for it otherwise I wouldn’t have grown the discipline and attention I have towards my health.

Around this time in my life my ‘go to’ workouts were Jillian Michaels DVDs and running. I bought her book Master Your Metabolism and learned all about how our hormones play an enormous part in how we digest our food, how our body functions, and how the food like products in the American Diet were to blame for hijacking our hormones and destroying our metabolism. I gave a good effort to eat mostly organic.

However, only with my health journey in relation to Beachbody coaching has it registered that true health goes far deeper than ‘mostly organic’ and running every now and then.

With said journey, I’ve cut out dairy most of the time (no milk. first – yuck, secondly – hormones!) I don’t break out like I used to since I’ve made this shift. My workouts are short and high intensity (work smarter).  One hundred ounces of water is a daily goal. Shakeology is a must to help my body absorb the right nutrients from my food and shed the rest. Nigel and I eat mostly lean meats and veggies. With my routine of training five to six times a week, eating well most of the time, drinking mass amounts of water, sleeping eight hours, being outside often, I am still missing something. I maintain my weight and I am honestly never sick and haven’t been for the past three years or more (not including allergies).

And in light of all of this, I know I can take it one step further. I know I’m not eating the way I should because relatively healthy is not an accomplishment. I want to devote 2016 to jumping into learning about my complete health. I want to transform completely form the inside out. So with this conviction, we will begin in January by dissecting everything we know or think we know about food. We will look at elimination diets and transition into a different kind of diet than we practice currently.

Please know this effort is about education. Knowing how my own body responds to certain foods and the optimal way of caring for it will only help me be a better coach, trainer, wife, and someday mom. I know I can level up when it comes to health and push to feel exactly how I want to + finally carve that consistently lean body I know is mine.

Also know, I’m not claiming to be a nutrition expert, only sharing our journey. If you want to stay posted these are the following themes we’ll be tacking next year: 

  • Jan: food
  • Feb: supplements
  • March: skincare
  • April: hygiene
  • May: cleaning supplies
  • June: clothing
  • July: environment
  • August: plastic
  • Sept: electronics
  • Oct: shopping locally, small business
  • Nov: gratitude
  • Dec: reflection
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Looking Ahead, Setting Intentions

Well, Christmas has definitely taken priority this week! I meant to blog through my ‘10 tips to prep for another year,” (most recent post) and have missed: clean house, give away & sell, organize, organize your closet, plan needs and budget. How about I circle back to those topics here this next week and into 2016?

If I pick back up after budgeting, we’ll be discussing setting new goals, which is a favorite topic and something that pushed me to do more this year (because I continued to check back on my progress). I’m a list maker and goal setter by heart but maybe you aren’t. Hopefully, in sharing some of my own ambitions, you’ll be inspired to start thinking up yours.

I had fun reflecting and setting new goals a few weeks ago as I asked those in my fit group to create their own vision boards and share them. I didn’t have a compilation of magazines to use and wasn’t thrilled about printing a ton of Pinterest photos so I did my own spin on a vision board. All that was necessary was a handful of sharpie markers, chart paper (from teaching) music and about 30 minutes. I’ll post a photo, but wanted to list (some) of my 2016 intentions below:

  1. daily gratitude + creative journaling + planer use
  2. WRITE. Blog through 2016 health overhaul
  3. launch Live Audaciously in January + partner with non profit by June
  4. READ. One book a month {health} related
  5. weekly date nights + weekly random acts of kindness
  6. two adventurous vacations planned by May
  7. public speaking + self publish plans set in motion by May
  8. be diligent in learning about adoption and homeschool
  9. help Nigel pursue his dreams (launch career by June)
  10. PRAISE GOD FOR EVERY MOMENT. Okay, I will forget some moments but I can never forget that all my striving is in vain if I forget what it’s truly about – 

I love when Lewis Howes said, “when you doubt yourself, you doubt your Creator.” When we take the focus off ourselves and realize we have something to offer from our own unique person, possibilities abound. You have a purpose. You have a story to tell. You have goals to set (and conquer) and a passion that is singly your own. Entertain these thoughts tonight. 

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30 for 30

As an adult, it’s so easy to push everything onto time. Everything. I didn’t have time. There wasn’t any time. I ran out of time. I wasn’t watching the time. I would do ____ if only I had time. This is perplexing as we all actually have the same amount of time. No one invented more time, however, again, it’s a matter of how we manage what we are given. 

Thirty books in one year shouldn’t actually be difficult. I decided on jotting this goal with the rest when I realized I hadn’t been actively reading (hadn’t been actively growing my brain in one of the best ways possible) since I had graduated college. I was only skimming articles. I had only been reading what was required, and my goodness, I’m 30 years old, why in the world can I not read when I want to read?! Well. Simply because I didn’t make time for it. Didn’t schedule it in. This was the goal to remedy all of that. 

Comprehensively, this seems noble. Like, heck yes, 30 books in one whole year. The reality is I read about seven books through August and now I’m cramming the rest in the last month of the year. I have 10 to finish.

Below I reflect on what I’ve read, what I have yet to read, and how I feel about this ambition currently. The book theme of the year morphed into a personal development + exploration and adventure. Interestingly, I feel this could be the definition of my life in 2015.

  1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Wilson – this one was slow but had a lot of interesting information. I liked to see how she mapped out her year and the revelations she came across. Probably the best book to kick off a new year. If you haven’t read it, you may want to give it a go, but don’t pressure yourself to finish because as I mentioned – s l o w.
  2. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – currently the best book I’ve ever read. Seriously. It took a minute to gain momentum in reading, but soon I couldn’t wait to finish the book so I could re-read it again. I haven’t yet because of my crazy book goal, but will be returning to it soon! If you want to live a better life – read this book.
  3. Today Matters by John Maxwell – oh how I love Maxwell! I started reading his work upon recommendation and now I’ll happily soak any wisdom he offers (through books, email, anything). Today matters, not yesterday or tomorrow.
  4. Be a People Person by John Maxwell – pretty decent book. Quick read.
  5. Wild by Cheryl Strayed – another life changer for me. Her honestly made every word rich and more valuable than it could have been if she focused on writing politely. I laughed, I cried, I related in so many ways. Nigel and I rented the movie afterward and came to the pretty frequent conclusion that is – the book was better.
  6. The Winning Attitude by John Maxwell – Attitude is everything and he explains it all perfectly. Read this one!
  7. Tribes by Seth Godin – this was a quick read. It’s a small book and I highlighted several concepts of his. Not earth shattering but worth picking up sometime.
  8. The Best of American Travel Writing 2013 Edited by Elizabeth Gilbert – I’m one chapter in and finding it difficult to keep reading for pleasure. This would be a better read under less pressure.
  9. Guide to Becoming Rich by Robert T. Kiyosaki – my dad used to read these books years ago and I always thought, “geez, Dad, money doesn’t matter why are you pursuing it so fiercely?” I could not have been more wrong. All of his books are on my ‘must read’ list because he has loads of financial wisdom.
  10. Cashflow Quadrant by Robert T. Kiyosaki – opened my eyes to why it is important to own your own business. How money is a mindset like everything else. You have to learn the correct way to think about it and then you will know how to manage it most effectively.
  11. The 8 New Rules of Money by Robert T. Kiyosaki – another eye opener! As a society, we expect our lives to be handed to us. We expect the government to take care of us, and we expect to live happily ever after. When so much is working against us, we need to learn to take ownership and to work smarter.
  12. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer – This book was hard to push myself through even though it was interesting.
  13. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer – I’ll admit, I’m not completely finished with this one. It’s taken back seat to other books I can breeze through more quickly.
  14. The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey – Not finished with this one either. It is thick. But what I love about it is that it discusses the importance of finding your voice and the importance of not buying into the scarcity mindset.
  15. How to Win Friends and Influence People – in progress
  16. The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes – Fantastic read, especially if you want to organize your life and develop a clear and succinct vision. You know – I even have one for you!
  17. Becoming Odyssa by Jen Pharr – I enjoyed this book even though I felt her writing was too polite (also see – too Christian). The story was fun to follow.
  18. Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell – Another I plan to re-read. Solid info that can be quickly and easily implemented.
  19. Put Your Dreams to the Test by John Maxwell – I’m a dreamer by heart. Good info but didn’t feel Earth-shaking.
  20. The Process of Living Your Dreams by John Maxwell – see above
  21. Do Over by Jon Acuff – this guy is hilarious. He also lives in Nashville. So when I saw on Twitter he was speaking at a local college, I decided I’d be there. Crazy thing – he gave everyone there a free book. I had already planned to read this so he made my life so much easier with that kind gesture! This book is a fun read. Lots of humor. Check it out.
  22. Start by Jon Acuff
  23. You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero – many of the coaches on my team have read this one and absolutely love it.
  24. Secret Laws of Attraction (unsure of author, could be a problem)
  25. I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones
  26. Thrive by Arianna Huffington
  27. Success Principles (author?)
  28. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
  29. The Go Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann – I wanted to end the year with a few books centered around something I found so invaluable which is generosity. I want to lead with love and generosity ranks close to number one on my list.
  30. Love Does by Bob Goff – This seemed like another perfect end of the year book. You’ll have to let me know if you’ve read it!

Those I’ve listed in italics are those I’m speed-reading through December 31st. I do not recommend it and don’t plan to hold myself to this type of standard in the future. Because of this, I’ll spend the month of January skimming through the notes I’ve made throughout these books. What good is digesting so many books if I’m extracting nothing from them? 

Lastly in 2016, my focus will be 100% on health from the inside out – this means I want to fill my brain with all those good health reads. I’ve heard suggestions like Grain Brain and Skin Cleanse. Any good books surrounding health you think I should put on next year’s list? 

 

 

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2015

I remember with good intention, wanting to reflect on my year in years previous to this one. I never seemed to have make the time though, and last year, I probably made fun of the idea. But guess what – as I’ve mentioned before – this year was the best so reflecting on what it’s been brings me joy

Growing up, I’ve had these convictions. I’ve had this passion. And for some reason, even with these things, I fell into a pattern dictated by everyone except myself. Little by little, I began to chip away the exterior, the pleasing face I wore because that’s what I was supposed to do. As a “Christian.” As a “good person.” As someone who needed a job to support myself. Pleasing. Following rules on the outside even though my inner monologue strongly rejected those rules. I am serious when I say, I thought growing up meant letting go (of who you wanted to be, of your ideals, of your expectations).

If I could pinpoint a date or year I began to shed the outside and step more into me, I’d say 2012. In 2012 I’d been married two years. We started into some real marital problems. While that topic is for another time, my point is that it was enough cause to step back and ask – what am I really doing here? In marriage, in life, at work, at home – all of it. I began to re-evaluate why, and more importantly why not? I began peeling back the layers of every decision and uncovering a similar core theme: I did or didn’t do often because I felt guilty. I did not want to disappoint someone. And the absolute worst – I was doing what I thought I was SUPPOSED to be doing. 

It’s a lie to say I only realized the flame in 2012. I’ve always had the flame, however in twenty twelve, I slowly began to add kindling. Piece by piece, with every decision toward me, I gave light to the fire inside.

And now, almost four years later, I feel the closest to myself I’ve ever been. My inner thoughts are lived out in action, my heart is at peace. 

Ladies and gentleman: My year, my goals, my thoughts in December. 

 1. Debt free by June 1st, 2015. This was fun. We knocked out all debt except 1k, then we added a few “k” to that in the form of my own education/professional development, so I’m going to say – win. I’ve learned so much about money and will continue to do so! It’s such an important subject. Don’t shy away from it because of a money misunderstanding. Learn how to manage it well (I believe this applies to all of the gifts we are given – manage them well).

2. Goal weight of 130# by May 12th, 2015. Another “learning goal.” I’m not at 130. I weigh more than 130. I’m made of a lot of muscle and I’m not unhappy with my weight now, but my goal going forward will be less numerical and more abstract, like, do you feel like a badass? Yes? Ok, then – win!

3. 10k in savings by December 31st, 2015. This one is comical. We legitimately had a plan to save this amount with ease and then I went and QUIT my job! That makes a difference. I’m in the growing stages of doing what I absolutely love, so can I call this a win too? I believe with absolute conviction that I traded instant gratification for delayed success. No, we didn’t save 10k by the end of the year, but I started early in building in growing in ways that will save me so much more for the rest of my life. So thankful.

4. Read 30 new books by December 31st, 2015. I will be writing more about this tomorrow. Currently I’m about ten books shy of my goal. This by far has been the most important. Because of one of these books, I felt convicted enough to take the leap and start my life now, instead of “buying time,” for another year. Check out the blog tomorrow for my book list and thoughts for each.

5. Take a summer trip to Portland, OR. Yeass. And it was beautiful. We rode the train on the coast up into Washington, stayed in a few Air BnBs, went to the coldest, windiest beach, took so many pictures, got lost in the mountains. Oh Oregon, I miss you.

6. Start writing that book. So this is one of the hardest. I love to write and I often make excuses to keep busy instead of writing – so how does that make any sense? An author I respect said something this year. He said the hardest thing to write is that first line, that first chapter, that first book. You just need to start. I’ve put so much pressure on myself regarding this goal specifically. I still didn’t know what to write about, where to begin. And as I take a deep breath, I’ll say, I didn’t begin in January. I didn’t begin in May. Not even in November. Instead I’m starting…now? Via this blog and the health overhaul I have planned for next year. The most important step in all decisions will always be starting, so like, this is me starting. Hoo-rah.

7. Start a personal website for BB and other passions. I did this right away. “Jumped the gun” and bought a domain name. Then used the site for a few weeks and forgot about it. How about we try this one again?

8. Sponsor 10 new coaches MINIMUM by December, 2015. Yeass! And my team is the freaking bomb. We have so much planned for 2016, be ready you guys. And if you’ve given thought to joining us – reach out now!

9. Shakeo + Workout + PD daily – Goal: 25/30 days of the month. This is funny. I set this huge, ambitious goal of almost daily and did absolutely nothing to track my progress. Guys, tracking is key! I’ll try better next year and I’ll go into it with the tools I need. (funmeetsfunction.com)

10. Be me, unapologetically. (Not as measurable, but it’s important to me this year!) I’m all smiles. And I lied before. This is the goal that was the foundation for all the rest. I was me and my heart and soul are at peace. Thank you, Lord, for another year.

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November 29th

In the midst of (unsuccessfully) studying for my CPT exam next weekend, I’m thinking about next year. Anyone else guilty of the same type of mind flow? I start a lot of projects and feel successful when doing them all at the same time. It drives Nigel crazy.

So, I’m thinking of next year and how I am going to launch a 100% health overhaul. I’ve mapped out posts to keep myself on track, and beginning December 15th I’ll be reflecting on this year and prepping for the next. But right now I need to study. Cannot wait to share all I’m learning!

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