Monday, October 8, 2018

I Should Have Learned Some Russian

Well I have reached a new low as it has now been 9 months since my last blog update. While I was going to wait a little longer this time, I was thinking more like July or August. Oh well...lots of grace for myself and just continuing to move forward. Not my most thorough update ever, but I did get some big things crossed off at least.

#140 go to 10 Pacers games (7 done)
The Pacers were a whole lot of fun to watch this year. After they were roundly criticized for who they got in the Paul George trade, it was so cool to watch this team come together and play with such a selfless attitude. Plus it was pretty awesome to see what a great season Victor Oladipo had and how he embraced the city. Looking forward to this next season starting up soon!

#131 let someone plan a trip for me
Ashleyne and I headed back down to Orlando to go visit Kristen and it was great not having to think about any of the details for this trip.

#173 go canoeing or kayaking
Kristen's apartment is right on a lake and it was so relaxing to paddle out and sit there in the stillness with just the breeze blowing across the water.

#252 go barefoot for a whole day
I had a nice chill day that only required walking down to the lake and out to the parking lot to pick up pizza. Now that is a pretty good combination in my book!

#124 go to Disney World
I hadn't been to Disney World since high school. It started out as a crappy rainy day, but it was a nice day of walking around Epcot (which Kristen's friend got us in for free!) and eating lots of delicious food.

#287 don't watch TV 1 day a week for 50 weeks
This was just a good thing for me to be intentional in at least once a week unplugging from needless background noise.

#13 read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
I love the story of Les Miserables, but the unabridged version is LONG (a theme with a lot of these classics, which is why I still have so many of them to plow through) so it took me awhile to get through it. I also got to go see the show in March with my friend Hannah. It was so well done- every song was amazing, the set was great, and the company was fun. I never get tired of seeing it and it has such beautiful themes running through it of grace, mercy, redemption, and selfless love. "To love another person is to see the face of God."

#126 go overseas
It is hard to sum up 10 days and how much impact it can have on your life. Although they only scratch the surface, here's a link to my letter that I wrote after I got back and some pictures from the trip.
 Our team at the airport

 Right after we arrived in Kyiv (Kiev)

 My buddy Sophie- we sent daily recaps via Marco Polo back to the US

 Ali & Svetlana who are both in the US but from Ukraine

Hanging out waiting for the metro

YWAM base where we stayed

 A fun outing to the water park for the kids on their last day

 Tearful goodbyes

 One of my favorite pictures from the trip with Dima & the girls

Here's a great video that Kohen made of our trip. It makes me cry every time!

#288 find the right hat (in process)
We hung out a mall one afternoon and my friend Jordan tried to help me find the right hat. I would say that the search continues.

#203 attend an opera
The Kyiv opera house was beautiful and I enjoyed Eugene Onegin, although we only stayed for part of it since it was 3+ hours and it had been a very long week. They had a little bit of ballet in it too, which I loved watching.

As a little extra enjoyment for my dedicated readers, here's a picture of me working on my Ukranian model pose. Definitely a future career possibility. Actually this is just what happens when I'm asked to stand and pose for more than a few seconds. I get uncomfortable and can't hold still when someone's looking at me. Truly lovely neck positioning. : )

#272 participate in a competition
Yay for climbing buddies!! Climb Time had a climbing competition that was a little intimidating, but a lot of fun. It was a great night hanging out with all of the other members. Aaron & Carolyn are two of my favorites and I actually just got to see them get married a week ago. Just because we look so much prettier than we normally do when we're climbing, here's a wedding picture with our other climbing buddies Sheena & Ryan.

#142 go to 10 Indians games (8 done)
A beautiful night for a church outing and hanging out with some of the youth!

#202 do something artistic
We all know that I am not artistic in the least. So I went into this outing at Painting with a Twist with my friend Julie with very low expectations. I was looking forward to hanging out with her and not caring how my painting would actually turn out.
Oh, the best laid plans. I had a nervous pit in my stomach the entire time and was totally stressed out. And that was with not caring how it turned out! There is something seriously wrong with me.
I think if I had been facing forward throughout the process I would have gotten my dimensions more accurate to how they were supposed to be and not having to try and fix things as I went. Also, turns out that I managed to select one of the hardest paintings that they have. Of course.

Our finished products
(Side note: my roommate says mine looks like a mushroom cloud, which is now all I can see.)

#33 read John Adams by David McCullough
For some reason, this one took me a long time to get through. It was really interesting though since I didn't know much about John Adams' life. I think a lot of people tend to romanticize the Founding Fathers and everything that took place back then, but government & politics were definitely really messy from the very beginning.

#132 visit Brown County
This is my friend Gail. We sort of have a random friendship- she and her husband Chris used to go to church with me and she worked at the Curves where I worked out. And I went to a party at her house once celebrating her ridiculous hiking abilities. (FYI she has currently hiked about 1,200 miles of the 2,189ish miles of the Appalachian Trail. Yikes.) We've maybe seen each other once in the last five years, but it was so much fun spending the afternoon with her down in Brown County. It was a beautiful day to ride around in her purple Jeep (have I mentioned how cool she is??) and see some of the places she goes hiking down there. Such a great way to spend a day off.

So the countdown is now at 30 months until I turn 40!! Time to get serious about working on this list and getting things knocked off of it. Thanks to everyone who's been helping me get things completed or offered to help in the future!

Monday, January 15, 2018

I am a Spartan...sort of

Haha at this rate, I think by the end of my 10 years my updates may be coming about every 6 months or so. My pace seems to continue to slow down, but let's give a big cheer for grace & continuing to plod along! So here's what the last 4ish months have contained:

#214 visit a craft fair
This was a fun little outing with my cousin Jenna while we were up in Michigan. Love spending time with her!

#243 take a risk
My cousin Jillian has started competing in Spartan races (basically big scary obstacle courses with lots of running in between). So this crazy group of siblings and cousins decided to support her and check out what she does by running in a Spartan Sprint with her the day after one of her races. But don't let the name fool "sprint" they still mean 20+ obstacles and 5.5 miles long. I thought it best to train hard in preparation for this so the month before it I ran about half of a 5K. So...yep totally prepared.

As an extra fun bonus, it was at the Michigan Speedway so at one point we climbed to the top of the stadium and back down while carrying a 30 pound sandbag around our necks. Then later we climbed flights of stairs back up to the top and back down. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what it was like:
 Holly, cousin Geri, me, Travis, cousins Jillian, Jenna, and Brandon
It was really fun that some of Jillian's Spartan buddies joined in with us too. This is Rod, Hannah, and maybe the back of Zach's head in the background. They were great!
Don't get the idea that I was actually having fun here...I'm pretty sure Travis was just saying something ridiculous.
For every obstacle that you didn't complete (some you only got one attempt), you had to do 30 burpees. If you haven't done a burpee before, let me just tell you that they get old in a hurry. I failed 5 of the obstacles: spear throw (I was surprisingly close on my attempt!), rope climb (knew there was no way that was happening), and a few upper body ones. The only one I failed that I felt like I should have done better on was the swinging rings. Luckily, people that completed the obstacles could help you do your burpees so I didn't actually have to do 150.
Getting close to the end! We also had a couple of obstacles that required hoisting up or dragging things and those were actually pretty good ones for me. Other obstacles included crawling a long distance under barbed wire, carrying a big bucket full of dirt around a course, and lots of climbing over walls. I had a good streak of bruises up the inside of my right thigh since you can see from the picture that was my wall leg. : )
Final fire jump!
Love my siblings!
 Yay for family!! Overall I would say I was less sore afterwards than I anticipated. It did take me about a week for my calves to completely loosen back up because of all the stairs we did. The stairs were rough on the bad knee, but it mainly held up fine. The only terrible thing that came out of it was that my neck freaked out a couple of days later (I'm sure as a result of carrying the sandbag around it to the top of the stadium and back down) and it took a couple of months for it to get back to normal.
 Here's the fancy medal I got for completing the race.

In the end I'm glad that I did something that was so challenging and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I came away even more impressed by Jillian & her friends and what they're able to accomplish. I've gotten to know some of them a little bit more and they're a really encouraging group of people that push each other and help each other strive for big goals.

#8 read The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas
I like Dumas a lot and although this book was a bit of a different feel from The Count of Monte Cristo or The Three Musketeers series, I would definitely recommend it.

#37 read Life Beyond Measure by Sidney Poitier
Sidney had a fascinating life and this was an interesting read in the form of letters written to his great-granddaughter Ayele. He wrote a lot about his background growing up poor in the Bahamas, the racial issues he dealt with in America and the film industry, and being a humanitarian. He also talked a lot about his views on spirituality, science, and the world. I felt like some of that started to drag on a bit, but overall I really enjoyed learning more about his life.

#77 read Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
This book was full of constant reminders of the truths I need to listen to from God. And if I'm so concerned with busyness or doing, and not just being with him, it's easy for me to not hear what he's saying.

"Now I know that the best thing I can offer to this world is not my force or energy, but a well-tended spirit, a wise and brave soul."

"What I ache for these days is space, silence, stillness, Sabbath. I want to clear away space and noise and things to do and things to manage. I want less of everything. Less stuff. Less rushing. Less proving and pushing. Less hustle."

"The very thing that makes you you, that makes you great, that makes you different from everyone else is also the thing that, unchecked, will ruin you."

"Here's what I know: I thought the doing and busyness would keep me safe. They keep me numb. Which is not the same as safe, which isn't even the greatest thing to aspire to."

"The natural world is so breathtakingly beautiful. People are so weird and awesome and loving and life-giving. Why, then, did I try so hard for so long to get away without feeling or living deeply?"

"I remind myself what is true: that God loves me, and that there's nothing I can do in this new day to earn more love- nothing. And also that there's nothing I can do in this new day to ruin or break that love- nothing. I can't imagine anything more life-changing for an earner like me. That love is secure no matter what, no matter what, no matter what. No matter what I do or don't do, no matter whether I succeed or fail, no matter if I perform well or fall apart. When I begin the day drenched in that love- that centering awareness of my worth and connection to God- the day is different."

"Saying yes means not hididng. It means being seen in all your imperfections and insecurities. Saying yes is doing scary things without a guarantee that they'll go perfectly. Saying yes is telling the truth even when it's weird or sad or impossibly messy. Saying yes is inviting chaos, and also possibility. Saying yes is building a new future, regardless of the past. Saying yes is jumping in anyway."

#164 buy new running shoes
Well I still need to buy new running shoes, but for now I'm crossing this off my list since I bought climbing shoes. Yep, apparently I'm a rock climber now! Holly became a member at Climb Time back in April. I would go hang out with her and then eventually started climbing with her occasionally. It turns out that I really love climbing! Which is amazing since I'm not that great at it and I don't typically love activities that I'm not good at (yes, I realize that's the perfectionist in me, but don't worry, I continue to tell that inner critic to shut up!). 

So I became a member in October, bought myself some shoes, and climb 1-2 times a week. Even though I'm not great (apparently lack of flexibility, balance, endurance, and strength doesn't make you a natural climber), I love that I continue to see improvement and even have the chiropractor commenting on the muscle definition that I've never had before. It's a super encouraging environment and the other climbers are a lot of fun.We also love having people come join us to be our climbing buddies!

#277 play Pandemic Legacy for a year
I thought we had taken pictures throughout the year, but this is the only one I could find. Holly and I have really enjoyed playing Pandemic since it's a collaborative game- that tends to make us less competitive and mean. Pandemic Legacy is played over the course of a year with 1-2 games a month. There were advent calendar-looking pages where throughout the game it would have you open them to find new rules to add, or boxes to open with new pieces, etc. so that the game just changes constantly. I was the Quarantine Specialist for several months and then by chance, it turned out that she was a traitor. It was so sad to see her destroyed...did I mention that there's lots of tearing up cards too?? I got season 2 for Christmas this year, so hopefully we will do a better job of saving the world than we did last year.

#209 build something out of wood
Sometimes it's the spontaneous craft projects that make this list so fun. My friend Ashleyne wanted to make a menorah for her friend Ashley so I was her trusty assistant. As we all know, my crafting abilities are below average so I would say this turned out reasonably well for us. I have a hard time cutting straight lines in wood, so semicircles were a bit of a challenge, as well as drilling holes in tiny pieces of wood for the candles to go in. But yet another fun bonding experience!

#251 set something on fire
Clearly, the thing to do after enjoying a game for a year is to make it into a Christmas Day bonfire. Despite the fact that it was windy and my father only had matches (seriously, no lighter or lighter fluid anywhere to be found??), I eventually got it going and had a lovely little fire. This may have to become an annual tradition.

#125 use my Holly Binder for a year
If you need a refresher on what my Holly Binder is, you can look back at the post from last January. I did a pretty good job of following through on my goals for the year and now get to look forward to cashing in on some of the rewards...another freebie to cross off, a meal of my choice cooked by Holly, help crossing other items off my 300 list, etc.

#46 read A Girl and Five Brave Horses by Sonora Carver 
If you've never watched the movie Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, it is a must-see. We loved it growing up and my sister-in-law Heather gave me this book for Christmas. I still love the movie even after reading this...she later said in life that the only thing true about the movie was that she rode diving horses, went blind, and continued to dive horses. This was an interesting, quick read.

Just a little over three years left and I'm still on pace! As I mentioned in my Facebook post, I have an open suggestion box and would love any new ideas of things you think I should put on my list before my decade is up. And if there's anything you want to be a part of, let me know!