Monthly Archives

February 2015

Yoga

Occupy the present

February 26, 2015

My gym always has really inspirational quotes on a board as you enter. This was the one that greeted me as I walked into yoga on Wednesday. It hit close to home that day.

I entered the yoga studio, unrolled my mat and tried to focus. I was in the advanced class for the first time, and I was nervous.

As we began, the instructor sat at the front of the room and relayed a story to us:

When she was little, she would go up to Valleyfair and visit the petting zoo. As in most petting zoos, you could pay to get food to feed some of the animals. She got a handful of feed and brought it over to the billy goats.

Being a fair child, she wanted to make sure each goat got the same amount. But one greedy goat kept pushing and butting in for more. She kept ignoring him, which he didn’t like, and before long he head-butted her in the stomach. Don’t worry, she assured us, she was fine. But it did take her by surprise.

Our thoughts are like those billy goats, she explained. There will always be pushy thoughts, ones that try to grab all your attention. If you ignore them, they’ll build and build and become a monster, but if you pay too much attention to them, they’ll get even more clingy and become a different kind of monster.

The trick is to find balance. Recognize your pushy thoughts and then let them pass. Let your quiet thoughts and ideas have freedom to be.

As she’s explaining this, it all is making sense to me, but in a very general way. Yes, recognize your thoughts and let them go, don’t let something overwhelm you, yaddah yaddah yaddah.

But then she struck a cord. “I am giving my all, and that is enough.” Don’t let these poses intimidate you, she said. Bring your whole self to the mat, and that is enough.

 DING! It all clicked. Don’t be intimidated by the others in the class; don’t let the poses be a pushy billy goat. Do the pose, find your limitation, and find the balance.

Occupy the present.

It was a fulfilling class. No, I couldn’t do all of the poses, but I did modifications that worked for my body. No, I wasn’t the most graceful, but I was there, giving my all, and that was enough.

Life snapshot

Plans

February 20, 2015

No, I haven’t forgotten about my blog. In fact, I’ve had it on my to-do list for the last two weeks, only I haven’t done any new projects or anything that seemed “blog-worthy.” Then I remembered it’s my blog and I can write whatever I want! I love having that kind of power.

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I just bought our first home! The past couple of weeks have flown by as we searched and finally made an offer on a house. Then we had to deal with contracts and banks and paperwork and the like. As we (not so patiently) wait for our closing date, we’re starting to dream about what we can turn our home into.

Besides the standard paint for a couple of rooms, we both have grand ideas for spaces of our own. One of the basement rooms will be turned into a training room for Mr. Ironman himself and one of the upstairs bedrooms will become my craft room! I can’t tell you how excited I am about that, to have a dedicated space to putz and do my own thing, no matter how ridiculous.

The yard of the house has two garden plots, and I am SO EXCITED! I ordered some seeds last week and they arrived a few days ago. I bought some soil last night so I’m more than ready to get those seeds started. I love planning out my garden, deciding what to plant knowing that whatever the plants produce will help feed us through the summer and fall.

And more exciting plans: we’re heading back to Ireland! For some reason, Keith thinks a half Ironman sounds like fun, so this weekend we’re going to start planning our trip with a dear friend. Touring the beautiful country of Ireland for a week sounds pretty good right now, as it’s just barely above freezing here.

 As my past has taught me, always plan with a grain of salt (does that even make sense? It does in my head, but that’s not saying much…). If there’s one thing I know to be true, the only constant is change. So here’s to making plans with every intention of them going awry and having a grand adventure instead!

Photography

Accountability

February 4, 2015

I’ve talked about accountability here before (see my Best Laid Plans post) and I decided I was going to do even more to be accountable for hobbies in my life.

 There are many things I enjoy doing: gardening, yoga, reading, pottery, crafting, the list is extensive. One thing I’m still very much working on is making time not only to do these things, but to improve them. Photography is one of my hobbies and I’ve always wanted to get better at it.

Thankfully, this blog is a great gateway for me to explore photography. And, thankfully, there are TONS of resources online to help in my endeavor. From unending Pinterest boards to Google searches, sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming.

That’s why I’m glad I came across a photography course from A Beautiful Mess. I know I refer to their blog a lot, but seriously, it’s a fantastic resource for learning and inspiration! They recently released a 52 week photography course. It sounds intimidating, but it’s great because you get to do the course at your own pace.

Each week has its own theme. The goal of the entire course is to make you stop and think about your subject, to capture the mundane moments of daily life and then to create small photo albums that celebrate your world.

Week 1, for instance, is Good Morning Good Night. The aim was to capture a piece of your morning or evening. Here is the photo I ended up selecting:

I’ve taken to ending my days with a cup of chamomile tea (I am absolutely in love with the little dried flowers!). Not my best photo, by far, but it’s a learning curve. One thing I’ve been working on is using natural light in pictures. That’s kind of hard to do in the evenings, but I tried. Also, the lighting in my house at the moment is a mixture of florescent, LED and who knows what which doesn’t help. I’m trying not making excuses, I’m using this to learn.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to taking more pictures and then to printing them and making mini-scrapbooks of my work. With everything being digital, it’s easy to upload pictures to Facebook or whatever and just leave them. And while I love Shutterfly and Artisan State, I’m incredibly excited to scrapbook hard copies of my photos!

I won’t be sharing all of my 52 photos (or maybe I will, who knows) but I do know that next week’s theme is Guilty Pleasure and I’ve already got some great ideas. You can look forward to some chips and guac pics next week 😉