Here’s to my 7,129th day.

Last weekend I was encouraged by my mother-in-law to reflect on my life thus far on our earth and ask myself if I’m truly living out my days to their maximum potential. I realized that I have been living on this earth for a mere 7, 129 days. During this time I have learned to walk and talk, know right from wrong, treasure relationship with friends and family and become fairly educated. I’d like to think of myself as an engaged and important member of our world but in comparing my mere 7,129 days to human existence… it feels pretty insignificant and I am remarkably humbled.

I was enlightened to the idea that I have no idea how many days I have left here on earth. Even if I am blessed enough to live until I am 88, that is still only a mere 32, 120 days!! In light of humanity, that just does not seem like a whole lot of time to make a world changing, earth altering, universe shaking difference! I have a relentless goal to live out every ‘today’ in a way that makes a difference. To be a difference that changes the connotation of ‘YOLO’ from meaningless pleasure to vital importance. To be a difference that battles upstream in a society flowing downward and that holds humanity up to higher standards. To make a difference in anybody’s life would be an overwhelming success.

This morning I am only certain of today; my 7, 129th day of being alive. In this context it seems of the upmost importance that I make today count towards something that is bigger than me- to make a difference.

It’s the little things.

Over the past few days I have been trying to think of something significant to write and post… Although, I don’t feel like anything that significant has been happening to me lately.

The only real lessons I’ve learned in the last little while have been small;

  • Always put parchment paper under chicken when it’s cooking or the marinade will never come off (a new cooking pan is now on my list)
  • A coat rack hung beside the front door makes a world of difference.
  • Colorful flowers really bring life into a kitchen
  • Sometimes when life gets out of control and your house looks like the remains of World War III… It’s okay to ask for help. (This blessing award goes out to my little sister who helped me clean and reorganize my whole house after my midterm exams were over)
  • My oven gets hotter on the left side then the right… useful information when making cookies

As I’m considering all the little lessons I’ve been learning every day, I’m realizing that it’s the little things I’ve been so appreciating lately; the little moments of sun, the budding flowers just starting to bloom, the few minutes of quiet time with my husband at night, hugging my dad when he comes to visit, calling my mom on her way home from work, taking . (I am fairly family orientated as you can tell).

When I’m concentrating on the little moments all of a sudden my world slows down and I am left in complete awe of the beauty of this life. It overwhelms my heart to really think about all the opportunities I’m given to love, learn, grow and teach; and I don’t want to miss a thing… not even the little things.

Do you even lift?

As many of you know, fitness and nutrition are a huge part of my life. My husband being a personal trainer; we spend a significant amount of time in the gym every day. I was thinking today about how all the crazy folk in the gym make up one of the most encouraging, accepting and motivating communities I’ve ever been a part of. With the hope of giving you a little motivation to hit the gym or push your goals even further, here are some of my favorite things about working out:

  1. A work out is always an accomplishment. No matter how absolutely terrible your day was, you can always feel proud and accomplished after hitting the gym. It is sometimes the only part of my day when I feel like I got anything productive done but, sometimes that’s all I need to feel proud of myself at the end of the day. I know that I worked hard for something that is bettering myself as a person and healthy for my body.
  2. You meet people who encourage you, push you and motivate you to better yourself. Once you get in the gym, you fall into a support system that holds you accountable and keeps you pushing forward. On those hard days, my gym friends pull out the greatness in me that I’m struggling to find. They’re always there to remind me that dreams and goals are limitless and there is always room for improvement.
  3. A workout is an outlet for stress. I find on those hard, frustrating days when nothing seems to be going right or maybe I’ve been in an argument with someone… I just bike it out. I’m always amazed with how my perspective changes after a really good bike! I get that adrenaline pumping and the bad part of my day doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
  4. You rock your body. I found that as soon as I started working out again after a significant amount of time off, I felt way more confident in myself right away. I know I’m making an effort to look after myself and be healthy. Investing myself into an active healthy lifestyle produces results I can be proud of!
  5. You can apply lessons about lifting weights to every area of your life. Working out is a process much like every other area of your life where you have a goal and dream. It takes work, patience, time, energy and devotion. You learn what it is to really work for something. You learn what it is to push through failures and off days. You’re determination and motivation to succeed increases and then you can reap the benefits of hard work.

And one of my personal favorites:

  1. You can eat more food. Actually, you’re greatly encouraged to eat more food when your metabolism picks up and you’re lifting every day. I love eating good healthy food and I can also feel good about eating a treat once in a while… or everyday if your me and have minimal self-control. Hehe

I encourage you to find a work out buddy and hit the gym. Even a few times a week makes a huge difference. Take care of your bodies friends; it’s the only place you have to live.

…. Do you even lift?

We’re still rollin’.

A few times over the past week I have been reminded of this story so I figured I’d share it;

When I think back to younger days, some of my most treasured childhood memories are working in the garage with my dad. Quite a few years ago now, my dad started building a Shelby Cobra from a kit and I spend quite a few hours helping him in the garage. That car turned into my outlet, especially after it was finished and driveable. Throughout high school whenever I got overwhelmed and stressed I would go for a drive with my dad. We drove all over the lower mainland together; the wind rushing over my head cleared my thoughts and rejuvenated me every time.

One day in particular, I was swamped with trying to study for finals and sorting through some drama going on with my friends and family. My dad noticed me stressing at the kitchen table and offered to take me for a drive. We drove for a long time and came across an area that was just being developed. With no one around, we raced down the newly paved road that would one day be lined by houses. All of a sudden, the road dipped and the car kind of flew for a moment and then crashed back down onto the pavement, sparks flew out from under the frame. My dad however, didn’t miss a beat. He continued down the road completely unfazed. I on the other hand, sat there quite stunned. I glanced over at my dad and asked “Isn’t that bad?” He glanced over at me with a sly smile on his face;

“We’re still rollin’.” Is all he said.

And that was all he needed to say. Without even realizing it my dad may have taught me one of the most memorable lessons. It also happened to be exactly what I needed to hear to get through that stressful day.

Sometimes things happen that scratch your paint, bend your fender or loosen your bolts. Life tries to get in the way and make you pull over. I learnt that day that I can choose not to let those uncontrollable situations slow me down. I’ve still got four wheels and a gas pedal; which is all I need to keep going.

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Success.

I often feel that my husband and I subconsciously fall into a mundane pattern in our weekly schedule. There is so much we are trying to work towards and it manages to take over every minute of the week! It’s really easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when it feels like we’ll forever be stuck at the beginning; that beginning stage that requires an extra huge kick to get everything rolling.

My husband has been working especially hard lately at his dream to run a strength and conditioning business. It seems like a long time coming that this has been in the “dreaming” stage. Lately, he has been dreaming up a fitness clothing line… after a lot of research , time and hard work, I am so excited to celebrate with him the first shipment of Define Athletics ® clothing to our doorstep.

We sat on the floor in our little living room surrounded by little piles of sweaters, T-shirts and tank tops in slight disbelief; it’s a beautiful thing watching your dream become a reality. These boxes of clothes are a huge reminder that there is a bigger picture.  All the time and energy does pay off and there will be a season when we will reap the benefits of “the beginning”, a season of success.  

Dear me,

The other night I was out adventuring with a friend and talking about married life. In the midst of our conversation she asked me something that no one had:

“If you could go back in time before you were married, what would you tell yourself that you know now?”

The question kind of caught me off guard but I tried to answer it the best I could. Today though, I feel now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’d like to elaborate on my previous response. So, this post is for you my beautiful friend- here’s the letter I would send back in time to myself if I could;

March 29, 2013

Dear me,

Congratulations on your engagement! I know the journey it took for you to get here was everything but easy but you should be proud of this decision to move into the next chapter of your life. As you can probably guess, the next five months of your life is going to turn into decision making, preparing, creating, planning and most of all… waiting. During this time don’t forget, a wedding is a beautiful day but a marriage is forever. Use this season of being engaged to invest into “forever”- prepare for the day after the wedding day. A marriage is what this is all about isn’t it? On the other hand though, when you get home from your honeymoon and you realize all the things you don’t know how to do, remind yourself that “forever” is a lot to prepare for. Give yourself a break, take a breath and call your mom. She will always know the answer.

Every day will turn into a relentless battle with selfishness. Up until this point, you’ve only ever had to think about yourself! Make decisions slowly; remember that your time and energy are not only yours so be purposeful. Look forward to the future because I promise it does get easier. Coordinating two people as one will become more natural. Try and dwell on the good moments and times when you get it right- these are the only times worth holding onto.

Remember that just because your growing up doesn’t mean you have to be a grown up. A house isn’t a home until you sit on the counters or dance on the table. Make forts in the living room and have sleepovers. Don’t wash the dishes after dinner- save them for later just because you can. Put every colour in your closet on at the same time and make him take you to dinner. There is always time in your day for something “awesome” no matter what your schedule is like.

Once you’re moved out and set up, there is going to be a lot of pressure to make money, get school finished and start your career. These things are very important but don’t let it control you. Make time for each other and for friends and family. Make time for meaningful conversation and questions. Do something every day to be after his heart. I know you’re thinking right now that you couldn’t know this man better then you do right now but trust me, there are many mysteries to be solved. Invest your time into the things that truly matter- in time you’ll figure out what that looks like.

Once in a while, plan a girls day! Go out with friends and have girl time. Remember what it’s like to miss him. You will appreciate his presence so much more when he’s been gone even for a little while.

Most of all remember you can do this. Take the encouraging things people say in this time and forget the negative. Be wise about whos opinion you hang onto. There probably isn’t a “right” way to head into the biggest decision and change in your life this far. When you wake up every morning chose love above everything else and without even thinking about it everything else will fall into place.

All my love,

Me <3

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Thankful for the hard times.

This morning I woke up later then I should have expecting another day… Another day of school and studying, another day of traffic during a long commute, another day of trying to cram in time to hit the gym, of not knowing what to make for dinner and another day of rain. I scurried around the house gathering my things and rushed out the door just in time to drop my husband off at work. It was then that I realized my eyes were hurting so bad because of the beautiful rays of sun shining in them. I was taken aback by the beauty of this day.

As I drove to school I felt an over whelming thankfulness for the sunshine. There has been so much rain recently that I had just assumed that today would be more traffic in the rain. I am so much more thankful for the sun today because of the rain.

I realized it’s like this in all areas of my life:

I am thankful for my health because I’ve known sickness.

I am thankful for my car because I am all too familiar with public transit.

I am thankful for happiness because I’ve known sadness.

I am thankful for mountains and fields because I live in the city.

And, I am thankful for the sunshine because I’ve been stuck in the rain.

It’s because of all the undesirable situations and suffering that I can know true joy in all the little things. The feeling that arises when a situation goes from bad to better is undeniably great.

I suppose because of this fact, I am also thankful for the hard times.