Dec 31, 2009


I spent a lot of time this week focusing on what the coming year will bring. Then, thanks to some wonderful blog posts (which I promise to link to and credit in the near future), I shifted gears and started to reflect on what the past decade has brought into my life. I started with thinking about what I've done, where I've been, who I've met. What I realized is that I have so much to be thankful for. For all its trials and tribulations, the past decade has been a pretty incredible one. Here are some of the highlights for me, mostly inspiring, a few sad, in no particular order:

1. I earned 3 different college degrees, including the last one which I think - at the beginning of the decade - only my dad could have foreseen.
2. I started a career in education that has truly altered the lens through which I view everything in my world.
3. I watched my brother become an incredible adult who not only inspires me to no end, but also makes me realize how lucky we both have been to have the family that we have.
4. I lost two of my grandpas and two of my grandmas, yet because of the intricacies of my family structure I still have two grandmothers and a grandpa alive and well.
5. I visited Europe twice, the first time on a study abroad program in college and the second time with my parents and some good family friends. I learned a lot about myself, the culture in which I grew up, and the inherent beauty of the human spirit.
6. I competed in my first (and second) long-course triathlon and my first half-marathon.
7. I gained 30 pounds, lost 35, gained 5, and finally began to develop a better sense of both who I am and how amazing this body is that I inhabit.
8. I gave up eating turkey and chicken. Then I gave up fish. Then I gave up dairy. Then I became a vegan. Then I realized that there is no way I think I would ever NOT be a vegan again. I know too much. I care too deeply.
9. I loved a lot, lost a lot, and found someone who completes my soul. In the process, I also quit my job and moved across the country.
10. I learned that my mom can not only be my inspiration, but can also be one of my best friends. And I learned that my dad will be my biggest supporter... no matter what.
11. I've stood by some of my best friends, including my brother, as they exchanged wedding vows. I also gained an incredible sister in the process.
12. I've learned that life is forgiving and for giving, that nothing hard will last forever, and that time really doesn't wait for anyone...

I could go on an on, but instead I think I'll stop. Happy New Year. Here's to a wonderful decade past and an exciting one ahead. Now it's 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve and I think it's time for bed.


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Dec 30, 2009

Since Today is Wednesday...

Since today is Wednesday, I thought I might actually write about what I said I'd write about on Wednesday - Financial Simplicity and Social Justice.

The truth is, I've been struggling in the area of financial simplicity all fall, which probably explains why I've been writing about it very little. I have, however, been reading and reflecting a lot about what I need to do to get myself back on track. It's amazing how the busier my days are the easier it is to give into those little temptations, like the Starbucks' drive-thru on the way to my early morning shift, or some new, adorable baby clothes for my best friend who is expecting a baby this spring.

That being said, I'm gearing up again to do the Compact beginning January 1st. I'm going to try it for a month, see how it goes, and then see whether or not I am going to extend it past that. A month of buying nothing new (besides food, clothes, toiletries, etc.) seems doable to me... especially after a holiday season where I realized time and time again how blessed I am in my life and how I have way more stuff than I need or even want.

I'm also going to continue paring down my personal possessions. Starting on Monday, I will resume giving away or donating 10 items a week. I already have a bag half-full of donation items sitting in my dining room.

Another thing I am going to focus on is reducing my grocery spending, without sacrificing quality. Since I've become a vegan this past fall, I have given myself some time to just adjust without focusing too much on how much I've been spending on groceries.

This may seem like a lot to tackle all at one time, but I really think that right now committing myself to doing these three things will get me back on track. I do want to be debt-free, and I know that to do that I will have to focus on reducing my spending and paying off those darn student loans.

Peace and Happy New Year!

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Dec 23, 2009

Christmas Wishes...

Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.
Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. ~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

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Dec 13, 2009

What I Have Been Doing in the Absence of Writing

I've been visibly absent from my blog the past few weeks. But I sure haven't been absent from my life or from my journey along the path of voluntary simplicity. Here's a little bit of what I've been up to...
I've been spending time with family and friends and enjoying the beautiful simplicity of being surrounded by so much love and acceptance. I've been reconnecting with my grandma who suffers from dementia. I've been learning that you can lose your memory without losing your spirit. I've been relishing in the little moments spent with her, realizing throughout the process that life is short and the ties of family run deep.

I've been reflecting a lot on how time and place are relative things and that, for the most part, I can find happiness in different places for different reasons.

I've been truly enjoying the work I've been doing and the freedom that it has allowed me to focus on me. I've been enjoying making small differences in the lives of young people who have so much to offer to this world, but who have been dealt life circumstances that most adults I know would struggle through. And I've been inspired by the way these young people get up every day and make the best of the hands they've been dealt.

I've been adjusting to weather in a place where it isn't warm and sunny everyday. I'm been learning the art of layering clothing.

And I've been thinking about the future direction of this blog and my commitment to write something of meaning everyday.

I hope you are finding peace in all of your days...

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