Wednesday, June 27, 2012

28 Days of Thanks

I mentioned in a previous post the 28 Days of Thanks Note Card Kit I received as a gift from the woman I met in Mount Dora last weekend. Basically, the kit comes with 28 notecards and envelopes. The idea is to send a card to someone each day with a note thanking them, telling them you are thinking of them or simply saying hello. She asked if I would be interested in trying this out and giving her feedback, as she is developing these kits to sell in her store. I obviously told her I would loooove to! Something I can take 5 minutes to do each day and know that it will brighten someone else's day is a no brainer to me. Who doesn't love receiving a hand written note in the mail? This is going to be such a simple way to show my gratitude for the people in my life.

Today is Day 1 and I'm psyched!

I started by making a list of people who immediately came to mind like family and friends. I even added one of my clients who I've worked with for almost 3 years. She has always been such a pleasure to work with and I know she would appreciate the note. I also included one of my doctors on the list. I had to choose one because let's be honest, I've had wayyy too many doctors in the last few years who have made a HUGE difference in my life. I'm leaving room on the list for people who didn't immediately come to mind. They could be people I haven't met yet or people in my day-to-day life that I may realize later on I need to send one to.

I'll be sure to give you lots of updates along the way to share my experience. I'm hoping this small daily ritual will be a reminder for me to be grateful for the people in my life, no matter how big a role they have in my day-to-day. I hope these notes bring joy to the people who receive them and maybe even inspire them to do the same for people in their life.

The store owner, Lynn, who created the kit, is also blogging about her experience with 28 Days of Thanks. Feel free to check out her blog or her store's website, which has a ton of really cute gifts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Weekend Perfection

I can't put into words how magical this weekend was. Actually, I can because I'm about to, but you get the point. It was perfect...full of fun, relaxation, dancing, new adventures and quality time with people I love.

The highlights:

I met my sweet momma in Mount Dora, a cute little town just outside of Orlando, on Saturday. We spent the afternoon browsing around the cute gift shops, grabbing lunch and getting the most delightful pedicure I've had in my life. My mom took me into the most adorable gift shop called Under the Cherry Blossoms to meet the owner, who she described as my female soul mate...haha. When she was in Mount Dora about a year ago, she met this woman and knew we would hit it off. We have a lot in common regarding our attitude and outlook on life.

As my mother usually is, she was right. We chatted for a bit and my mother and I picked out some really fun inspirational goodies. The store owner, Lynn, even gave me a "28 Days of Thanks" kit, which I'll have to tell you more about later because it is a new exciting project I'm about to start! I can't wait to get started on it and was so touched that gave it to me. If you ever get a chance to visit Mount Dora, you definitely need to check this place out. The ceiling of the store is covered in tissue paper cherry blossoms, each with an inspirational quote attached.  I absolutely love this idea!

The day was truly just perfect. These days with my mom are so important to me. No matter what is going on in life, I can always count on days like this for guidance, support, girl talk, relaxation and lots of giggles. We need to make days like this happen more often. I love that lady!

The most positive ceiling I've ever seen :)

I followed up my awesome day with my mom with a night on the town with one of my favorite girls, Laura. Between the UFC (I don't even know what that stands for) fight being on and the LMFAO concert downtown that night, let's just say the bars were packed and the crowd was....interesting. I can always count on Laura to have fun with me no matter what the conditions are. We ended up having a really fun night chatting and dancing. Girls nights are so good for the soul and I'm so glad we've been having more of these lately!
I'd say Sunday's theme was "Let's do something different." I asked My Sister's Ex (we are still just friends and my mom is probably shaking her head as she reads this) to go on an adventure with me. I didn't have anything specific in mind, just wanted to do something a little different than the normal weekend activities like movies, dinner, brunch, etc. He was all for it and told me he'd even come up with some ideas. His idea was to take me shooting. He's a police officer, so he is obviously pretty comfortable shooting a gun. Me on the other hand....I had never even held a gun other than picking up my dad's gun and putting it down right away because I got freaked out. In an effort to be fearless and open to new things, I told him I'd love to go shooting, but that I was a little scared. In return, it was my duty to plan something that took him a little out of his comfort zone. I decided on pottery painting because honestly, do you know any guys who have willingly gone to paint pottery?!?

Our day began with brunch, which included the most delightful Banana Granola Pancakes at First Watch (they are life changing, actually). Next, we were off to the gun range where I shot a rifle and a 40 caliber handgun. Eeek! I was so nervous to shoot and I've truly never felt so very out of my element.      

Just hearing all the gun shots as we waited to shoot had me freaked out and I hadn't even picked up a gun yet! I knew I'd feel a little better once I took my first shot...I just needed to get that part over with. I shot the rifle first and just like My Sister's Ex thought, I liked that much better than the handgun. Even though it was bigger and kind of heavy, it was much easier to handle and aim. I actually shot it pretty well and they said I did really well for my first time. I was pretty impressed by that and it's just another example of how we surprise ourselves sometimes. I can't exactly say that I am about to start hitting up the gun range on a weekly basis. I can't even say that I'll go back at all, but I'm so glad I went! It was fun to do something so out of the norm and try something new. Not to mention the fact that I'm sure he got quite a bit of entertainment out of my reaction to everything!

I can't even lie. I've never felt like such a badass before!

Our next stop was All Fired Up, a pottery place in Winter Park. We both painted coffee mugs and I'd say he was as out of his element as I was at the shooting range! I'm not much of an artist myself, so this isn't a normal activity for me, but you should've seen his face when the lady was telling us how to pour the paint, what to do with our brushes and all the different ways to design our mugs. It was pretty funny! We had fun but I'll tell you...painting takes a lot of you! By the time we were finished, we both needed a drink! We ended a super fun day with dinner and drinks at a place in Winter Park called The Shipyard Brew Pub.

This was such a fun day. I love surrounding myself with people who are open to being a little adventurous, trying new things and switching things up. It rained nonstop in Orlando yesterday, but that didn't stop us from having an absolute blast. Again, I'll refer to how frustrating it is to think of him as nothing more than a friend. Maybe that will change. Do those things change? I don't know. Either way, I loved this day and hope we can have more adventures like it! 

What a weekend! I sure wasn't home much, which I'm sure Blake wasn't too happy about (I made sure to give him extra snuggles and treats when I got home Sunday night), but I love that it was jam-packed with all kinds of fun adventures!

Have any of you shot a gun before? Were you as nervous as I was?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Birthday Thoughts for Scott

I feel like because you all followed along in my relationship with Scotty (The Umpire) from the beginning, I would share that today is his birthday. He would be turning 29 today.

I've come to think of his closest friends as friends of mine over the last several months and he is never far from my mind. I can't even begin to think of what a difficult day today (and most days are) for his family and others who were closest to him.

We were just getting to know each other on his birthday last year and I have such great memories of him from that time. You all know I didn't know him very long, but I hold our memories together very close to my heart, especially the ones where he wasn't ticking me off (okay, maybe even those ones).

I went to the cemetary yesterday to visit with him. This may come as a surprise because I am such a sunshine and rainbows kind of girl, but being at the cemetary, there is something very calming about sitting on his bench and having a chat with him.

I really try to keep myself from wallowing in sadness over him. I know he wouldn't want that and his friends have been such a good example of how to think of him and reminisce in a joyful way.

Visiting him yesterday morning during the middle of a thunderstorm, I wanted to keep that up. After sitting there under my umbrella for a few minutes, I tossed my umbrella to the side and danced around in the rain. I stood there twirling, smiling and laughing in the pouring rain. Did I look completely nuts? Probably. But from what Scott and most people know about me, I have to think he appreciated the birthday gift.

Would I prefer to bake him a strawberry cheesecake from scratch like I did last year? Absolutely. But knowing he was probably up there watching and laughing (and probably shaking his head in embarrassment for me) made me feel a little better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

on a mission.

Hello everyone! How's your Tuesday? There are so many other things I should be doing, but the A/C is broken in our office and I am doing everything in my power not to take a nap/leave/take my clothes off, so blogging is the next best choice.

I don't have a whole lot to report, but I do want to share some things I've been up to...

You all know by now that I try my best to spread happiness daily. I make a conscious effort to be a spreader of joy to everyone I come in contact with. While I don't always succeed at this, I try my best and I've seen the difference it makes to others. I've also seen how showing kindness to others can turn my day around and cheer me up.

Well, in the last month or so, I've really tried to take all of this to another level. It all started with the balloon adventure on my birthday. Handing out the balloons to strangers and seeing their reactions to the balloons and the positive quotes on each one really made an impact on me. It was something so simple, but actively going out of my way to spread joy absolutely made my day and made a difference in others' days. This got me thinking about how many other little things I could be doing for others on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

So...I'm on a mission. It isn't very clearly defined, but it's been a huge success so far. I've started making it a priority to conduct at least one Random Act of Kindness each day...something I normally wouldn't think to do. Here are a few I've done so far:
  • Everytime I go through the Starbucks drive-thru, I pay for the person behind me. This one is so easy and let's be honest, I do this a lot.
  • I picked up Chick-fil-a breakfast for my coworkers last Friday.
  • I tried to donate blood when I saw the bus outside the gym last week, but due to my hospitalization back in 2010, I found out I still have to wait a year before I can donate.
  • While buying food and toys for Blake at PetSmart, I've donated to their adoption charity.
I'm always looking for new ideas for Random Acts of Kindness. If you have any, please share them in the comments! I'd really appreciate it :)

Thinking a little bigger than RAKs...

I'm becoming a volunteer with Give Kids the World, a resort where children with life-threatening illnessses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations. I actually have my orientation tonight and I can't wait to get started.

My friend Laura and I are also looking into becoming Big Sisters. From what I hear, the process for this takes a little while but I think it will be totally worth it!

People tease me about my outlook on life, saying that I'm not realistic and that life "isn't all rainbows and ponies." I know all of this. I've experienced enough of my own "thunderstorms" to realize that life isn't always perfect. I've experienced pain and heartbreak. I've lived through a life-threatening health situation. I've been in a bad mood "just because" on several occasions. I have good days and not so great days just like everyone else, but I've realized that my "not so great" days don't mean I can't spread joy to others.

I'm on a mission to make a difference and I'm really excited about it. Really, really excited! :)

In the spirit of kindness and giving, some of my favorite quotes on the subject:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just Friends

There is a sweet, wonderful, successful man who would give you everything you’ve ever wanted in a relationship. He adores you, appreciates you for who you are, he would give anything to have a chance to be with you. He would never break your heart because he wants to give you the world. BUT…you don’t feel the same way. You know he is a great guy and enjoy spending time with him, but for whatever reason, you don’t see him as anything more than a friend.

Can any of you relate to this? Silly me…of course you can. We’ve all been there at one time or another. Doesn’t this make you crazy?

Wouldn’t life be a whole lot easier if we could simply give these relationships a chance…convince ourselves that we feel the same way and live happily ever after? Instead, we continue to hold onto people who don’t deserve us, feel things for those who aren’t available and fall for the ones who don’t fall for us.

It’s never easy falling for someone who doesn’t fall back, but it’s not any easier being on the other end. I’ve experienced both and both are equally frustrating.

I think it drives my family and friends a little crazy to see me go through the ups and downs of dating, but then not give someone a chance who would actually be really good for me. Trust me, it drives me crazy, too. Unfortunately, all we can do is follow our hearts. If we know deep down that we don’t reciprocate feelings for someone, we have to trust that instinct. Will things change down the road? Maybe. Perhaps one day we might look at this person in a different light. Or maybe we won’t.

Why the rant? I’ve mentioned him before, but My Sister’s Ex and I have become good friends and I’m really glad for that. While I’ve never gotten to a point where I could see a romantic relationship between us, he is someone I want to feel that for. Last week we went out for a few drinks to catch up and chat. I’ve had a lot on my mind and he’s dating a few people so we had a lot to talk about. He’s having a hard time committing to anyone he’s seeing. I tried to give him advice on how to figure out who he wanted to be with and I caught him up on my life. We had a really good night full of great conversation. When I got home, I got a message from him saying, “For what it’s worth, you are the girl I would drop everyone for. And I’ll leave it at that.”

So yes, that has me thinking about this dating conundrum. Have you ever fallen for someone you originally saw as just a friend?