Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two More things checked off my list!

Before Christmas I was able to check off two more things from my list.  I wrote letters to the people I love the most, bought a great camera and took a photography class. 

The camera:  This year I was awarded a great honor at my work when they deemed me 'Islander of the Year' which is the same as employee of the year.  This fabulous recognition came with a great prize - $2,000 that had to be spent on something fun.  So I bought a nice camera to start my passion of photography.  I did a lot of research and took a friend's camera on a test drive and decided on the Cannon Rebel.  Amber decided to get a new camera around the same time so we signed up for a photography lesson together.  It was awesome.  He taught us all about the different features/settings.  Now I am ready to go take shots like a pro.  First assignment will be on the cruise Logan and I are taking for his 30th birthday in a few weeks.  I can't wait to really break it in.

The Letters:  I was sitting in church a few Sundays ago where I heard Pastor Glenn talk about preparing our hearts for the holidays.  He made a great point that Christmas is not about material things, it is about relationships.  He also suggested that the greatest gift that we can give is ourselves.  This made me think about all the people I have in my life that impact me on a daily basis as well as help mold the person that I am.  I decided to write the most influential people in my life a letter expressing to them how they are my greatest Christmas gift.  These people were my Mom, Dad, Amber, Logan, Merissa and Lori.  I would not be the person I am today if it wasn't for each of them.  I spent some time thinking about what made them each so special and jotted it down in a note that I mailed to each of them on Christmas Eve.  It felt so great to tell these people just how amazing they are to me.  It felt even better when I saw their reactions!  I am truly blessed to have people I can count on and grow with.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why is it Important to Live Life to its Fullest?

I read this article today and thought it was a beautiful reminder about why it is important to live life to the fullest.  Even more motivation to complete my list!

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
"The point of living your life to the fullest in every aspect is not to increase your reputation; it’s to make your life count for God."

I read a book one time about how to figure out what your life’s legacy should be. It told you to imagine yourself going to your own funeral, sitting in the back of the church and listening to what everyone there had to say about you. The book encouraged you to think of what you’d like people to say about you after you die; that becomes your legacy and you should spend the rest of your life living so that becomes true.

Taking that approach is better than nothing, but honestly, it doesn’t matter what other people 
think of you. In the final analysis, when you die, the only thing that’s going 
to matter is what God says about you.

That is my ultimate goal for you as you prepare for your Decade of Destiny. 
The point of living your life to the fullest in every aspect is not to increase 
your reputation; it’s to make your life count for God, to invest it in what God 
says is going to make a difference.I believe that God put you here on earth 
for a purpose. God has given you a special SHAPE – Spiritual gifts, Heart, 
Abilities, Personality, and Experiences – that he wants you to use for his glory. 
And when we stand before him at the end of time, all that matters is what he’s 
going to say about how you used your SHAPE.

Just like the servant in Matthew 25:23, I hope God says to you, “Well done, 
good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put 
you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

That’s what you want said about you, and you want it said by God, not by 
other people.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I will Run for Wine!

I started running about 4 years ago.  And when I say run, I mean a slow jog.  And when I say started running I mean that it was a challenge to make it to the end of the street without being winded.  However, as bad as I was in the beginning, every time I went out there I got better.  First it was passing the end of the street and making it to the next stop sign.  Then it was running half a mile without stopping.  Then it turned into a hobby that I would do a few times a week. 

After running for a few months, my running buddy Amber and I decided to sign up for our first race.  (Amber was just as bad as I was.)  We signed up for the Gasparilla 5k.  After our first race, regardless of what our time was, we were both hooked!  We loved how it made us feel to actually finish something like that.  So here we are 4 years later with 4 5ks, one 10k and one 15k under our belts.  We were ready to train for the next level - a half marathon.

While looking around online at potential 1/2 marathons we discovered that Disney was going to be doing their Inaugural Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  How perfect!  We will run at night when it is cool and we get to eat and drink wine after it was over.  Doesn't get much better.

So the training began.  We followed the training guide that was posted online and tried to get in as many runs as possible.  However, training in the middle of summer in Florida is pretty brutal.  We would have to get up at 5a.m. on Saturday mornings to finish our longer runs before the sun came up.  But after months of training, this past weekend I completed my very first half marathon!

Who has two thumbs and just ran her first half marathon?  This girl.
The judges don't think so, but I think I'm number 1.
The race was very cool but at the same time challenging because it didn't start until 10:00 p.m.  I am use to running in the mornings.  Disney did a great job with providing lots of entertainment throughout the race to keep motivated.  I would recommend it to anyone.  My time wasn't quite as good as I would like it to be, but I can say that I accomplished my goal, and have already signed up for my next 1/2 marathon at the end of next month!  I am hoping that with the amount of training I have already put in, I can continue that path and exceed my time without a problem.  This is one thing I can cross off my list and also never forget.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I bought a car!

I finally did it!  I was always blessed growing up with my parents helping me out with giving me cars.  When I was 15 my dad told me that I was going to be buying my first car myself.  So I got a part time job working at Publix and spent many hours babysitting to save up.  I knew I wouldn't have enough by my 16th birthday but I was still determined to get one as soon as I could.  Then on my birthday my dad surprised me with giving me his old Explorer and telling me to use the money I saved up for gas for my car.  What a great feeling!  I knew the value of what he did because I spent every weekend looking at auto trader to see what I could afford.

After many dings and dents I put that Explorer through a roller coaster so for my 18th birthday I was given a new Saturn to take me to college.  While I was very happy with the gift, I always missed having a big SUV to drive around in.  The little coupe wasn't the same driving experience I was use to.  My brother was turning 16 around the time I graduated from college so we passed the Saturn down to him to get his first few years of driving a test and I was given another amazing graduation gift - a Mazda Tribute.  I was in an SUV again!  A little smaller and better on gas this time, but still the big car I love.

I drove the Tribute around for about 5 years which was great as I began working.  My first job only paid $23k a year, barely enough to pay for rent and food so not having a car payment came in handy!  But now, it has become time for me to grow up a little and take on responsibility.  I've always been very grateful for the gesture my parents made by making sure I had a safe car to get around in.  But now I am a grown woman with a good paying job and a husband to help out and I can take on the car payments.

After many hours of researching car reviews, 'building' cars online and going to lots to test drive various SUVs I finally found my new love - Black Betty!  Black Betty is a 2010 Honda CRV-EXL.  She has every upgrade I wanted and is a beautiful car.  It is very comfortable and got great ratings.  This is the first big purchase I've ever made on my own and I am proud of the decision that we made!  I can drive around for the next 10 years in a car that I can finally say that I picked out and purchased all on my own!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Before I die...

Here is the whole list. (Minus the 30 that I will do before I turn 30.)  Who knows, maybe I'll finish some of these things before I'm 30 too!

31. Buy an amazing pair of designer shoes
32. Learn how to play tennis
33. See a Broadway show on Broadway
34. Visit another country on a mission trip
35. Learn how to play at least one song on the guitar
36. ‘Pay it forward’ project
37. Find the perfect timeless cocktail dress
38. Crash a wedding
39. Go on vacation with just my girlfriends
40. Read the classic American novels:  (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Red Badge of Courage, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, Call of the Wild, Invisible Man: A Novel, A Farewell to Arms, Fahrenheit 451)
41. Tutor a child (not mine)
42. Watch the launch of a space shuttle
43. Live in a cool city
44. Cook an entire Thanksgiving meal by myself
45. Go to Australia and Scuba Dive in the Great Barren Reef
46. Sun-Bath in Rio-De-Janeiro and see Christ the Redeemer 
47. Take a surfing class
48. Cliff jumping
49. Kite Surfing
50. Kiss under the Eiffel Tower
51. Watch the 100 best movies of all time
52. Learn another language and use it in their country
53. Visit Italy and see an Italian Opera
54. Visit Spain and see the running of the bulls
55. Go on an African Safari
56. Go whale watching in Alaska and see the Northern Lights
57. Visit the Grand Canyon
58. Read the bible cover to cover
59. Be a mentor to someone
60. Get an article or book published
61. Visit Ireland
62. Fish in Costa Rica
63. Spend the whole day naked
64. Experience one of the big music festivals (South by Southwest, bonnaroo or lollapalooza)
65. Do a triathlon
66. Get my masters degree
67. Visit a real Dude Ranch out West
68. Go to a music festival in New Orleans
69. Go to the food and wine festival in Aspen
70. Go to a Superbowl
71. Go to a Kentucky Derby
72. See the Pyramids
73. Visit the Holy Land
74. Bike ride down a volcano in Hawaii
75. Walk on the great wall of China
76. Attend the Masters golf tournament
77. Ride down the Amazon River and experience a Rainforest
78. Diving/Snorkeling in the Galapagos 
79. Eat my way through the Mediterranean
80. Lay in a field full of real wild flowers
81. Sit at the foot of Angel Falls  (Niagara or Victoria will also do)
82. Take an RV road-trip to Yosemite National Park
83. Sit on a cliff admiring Machu Picchu
84. See the Taj Mahal in person
85. Ride in a hot air balloon
86. Be an extra in a movie
87. Grow my own garden
88. Experience the beauty of child birth
89. Drink beer at Oktoberfest in Munich
90. Spend New Year’s Eve somewhere glamorous
91. Go mountain climbing
92. Eat all the foods on the '100 things' you must try list.  I've already had 70!
93. Swim with whale sharks
94. Go spelunking
95. Go to Boston and see a baseball game
96. Watch a football game in Lambeau Field
97. See the statue of liberty
98. Go on a yoga/meditation retreat
99. Get backstage at a concert
100. Travel somewhere by train

I've already done so much!

Before I started my list I had a pity party for myself.  I was upset at the thought that 30 was happening sooner then I was ready for it and that I hadn't accomplished nearly as much as I hoped by this age.  Logan reminded me of how much I already have done.  After I was done making my list of things to do - I wanted to write down all that I have already accomplished as a reminder of how far I have come.  I visited a site where you can check off how many of the 100 things that you should do before you die that I have done.
  1. Attend at least one major sporting event: the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the U.S. Open.  (Rays in the world series baby!)
  2. Throw a huge party and invite every one of your friends.  (Our Wedding was the biggest party of our lives!)
  3. Swim with a dolphin.  (Biggest Grin on my face ever!)
  4. Skydive.  (Best thrill ever!)
  5. Bungie Jumping (Wasn't really on the list but I still think it was pretty cool)
  6. Spend a whole day eating junk food without feeling guilty.  (Can't lie - that happened a lot in college...and sometimes now)
  7. Make love on a forest floor. (no comment needed)
  8. Learn to rollerblade.
  9. Own a room with a view.  (Our condo bedroom views the canal - not shabby!)
  10. Give your mother a dozen red roses and tell her you love her.  (Not roses - but I send her flowers every year on her birthday and mother's day and always tell her I love her!)
  11. Be a member of the audience in a TV show.  (nickelodeon baby!)
  12. Fall deeply in love -- helplessly and unconditionally.  (Logan is my heart)
  13. Make a complete and utter fool of yourself.  (Can't even count how many times this has happened!)
  14. Sleep under the stars.
  15. Spend a whole day reading a great novel.
  16. Forgive your parents
  17. Find a job you love.  (I literally work in Paradise!)  :)
  18. Drive a convertible with the top down and music blaring.  (Did this a lot in high school - sorry Cindy.  And Logan and I did this driving from San Francisco to Napa.  Beautiful!)
  19. Learn to use a microphone and give a speech in public.
  20. Attend one really huge rock concert.  (Many rock concerts!  And many more to come...)
  21. Kiss someone you've just met on a blind date.  (Does it count if they kissed me unwilling?)
  22. Be able to handle: your tax forms, Jehovah's Witnesses, your banker, telephone solicitors.
  23. Give to a charity -- anonymously.
  24. Fart in a crowded space.  (Embarrassing.)
  25. Make love on the kitchen floor.
  26. Go deep sea fishing and eat your catch.  (Caught it, fillet, cooked and ate it all in the same day - all by myself!) 
  27. Create your own web site.
  28. Learn to bartend.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The List (30 things before 30)

1.    Start my own website/blog
2.    Cage Dive with great white sharks:  Failed Attempt. 
3.    Run a half marathon
4.    Stand up paddle surfing
5.    Have a passionate kiss in the rain
6.    Buy a very nice camera and take a photography class
7.    Take a cooking class
8.    Go ziplining
9.    Go on a trip just with my dad
10.   Go on a trip just with my mom
11.   Become actively involved in a charity I am passionate about
12.   Memorize my 10 favorite bible verses
13.   See the sun rise and set in the same day on a boat
14.   Learn how to ballroom dance 
15.   Do the Yuengling Brewery Tour
16.   Go vegetarian for a month
17.   Go somewhere to actually experience an Autumn (leaves changing and play in them!)
18.   Plant a tree on my birthday
19.   Sing a favorite song in front of a crowd of strangers
20.   Go to a matinee by myself
21.   Do something with all the hundreds of photos I have in random places
22.   Decide for good whether I want a tattoo or not
23.   Go car shopping, pick out and pay for the car I want
24.   Shoot a gun (at a gun range)
25.   Ride a motorcycle
26.   Write the people who I care about the most a letter telling them I love them
27.   Pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant
28.   Go paintballing
29.   Dedicate 3 months to getting in the best shape of my life and get photos done to remember it
30.   Go somewhere fabulous to celebrate my 30th birthday