Pardon me while I get serious for a second. And a little bit cheesy. I love Cathy Zielske. I do. Her books are a big part of why I fell in love with this hobby.I love her sense of humor, her willingness to laugh at herself, her talent,her taste in music…okay, i think you get the idea. Geez,could I sound any more lame? HA!
But it's true. I'm blessed to be able to call Cathy a friend. She has been a great encouragement to me, and brought me MANY laughs.
I am thrilled that she agreed to do a guest post for my lovely things series. Thank you SO much, my friend.
Change. (Have you heard? It’s the new self-love.)
Quick: what do Weight Watchers, running and marriage counseling all have in common?
If your first guess was torture, try again.
Need a hint?
The thing they all have in common? Love. But not just an all-encompassing, garden variety kind of love. No, these things are a bit more focused. The over-arching thread? Self-love.
Not seeing the immediate connection? Let me tell you three stories.
Story Number One: In 2006, I wasn’t living the healthiest of lives. I smoked a pack a cigarettes a day, lived on as much fried food as I could wrap my lips around and the idea of exercise involved clicking my television’s remote control. I had just turned 40 and it was time to face the music: the way I was living was really out of line with someone who purported to “love” herself.
I mean, really. Think about that level of self-destruction. Nothing in the way I was living actually reflected the idea of self-love. Nothing in my life at the time was congruent with someone who actually cared for herself.
So I made changes. Hard changes. I quit smoking, I joined Weight Watchers and I decided to get on the wagon of self-care. It’s taken a while for this lifestyle to stick, but making the effort to change some of my bad habits was a tremendous gift to myself and my potential longevity.
Story Number Two: After quitting smoking and making some real positive changes, I had to go and introduce some not-so-positive ones. I decided to try some new ways of not loving myself, namely, to abuse food. And oh, once I got started on that one, it was hella hard to stop. I ended up packing on a good 40 pounds to my 5’6 frame and in 2009, I knew: something’s gotta give. Believe it or not, I decided to start running.
In my life up until this point, the only thing that would cause me to use my legs to run would be something like an oncoming avalanche, or a wild boar chasing me down the street. Running was something I decided back in the 7th grade—when a lap around the track caused my heart to beat so wildly against my chest that I was convinced I would surely be the first 13-year-old to suffer cardiac arrest in P.E. class—was not for me.
But guess what happened? I ran for one minute then walked for four. Then I ran for two. And then three. And in about two month’s time, I was up to running for 30 minutes non-stop and something really big started to happen: I started to view myself as person with fewer limits. From previously believing running was something only insane people did to realizing that I had the strength and stamina to run a 5K in under 40 minutes, I experienced a mental (and eventually physical) transformation.
I changed the way I viewed myself and in the process I realized that if this was possible, what other things could I do that I’d previously deemed unattainable?
Story Number Three: After 20 years of marriage, my husband Dan and I were tired of the same old fights and the same old scripts. We knew that a) we had something special, but that b) it needed a little tinkering. So a few years ago we jumped in feet first to work with a developmental therapist to tackle our issues.
Imagine my absolute shock to learn that the way I’d learned to be in the world wasn’t exactly conducive to living a responsible, adult life. I had thought counseling would be a lot like refereeing. You get this. He gets that. You do this. He does that.
But the core of what I’ve been learning (and still am in the process of learning) is that in order to really develop a loving and caring relationship with my husband, I need to change a lot of my attitude and my processes and my purposes in life. But by doing the work, and making key changes and understanding the hows and whys of who I am in the world, I’m able to work towards being a loving and wise person who offers love and understanding to myself and others. This will be the key to a fulfilling life and marriage.
These three stories link because they all share something in common: change. Specifically, the willingness to change, which is rooted deep within our attitudes and beliefs about ourselves.
I’ve learned that if I’m truly offering love to myself, the only way this will happen is to be willing to look at some of the inadequacies in my life and take the necessary steps to make the changes that are needed. At the same time, realizing that any time you step out of your comfort zone in the name of making a change that you need to make, you are ultimately doing a really brave and valiant act of self-love.
Make no mistake: change is not easy. Change takes work and commitment and focus. But change can be a way to give yourself a new level of love and understanding you may not have previously experienced.
When I think of the changes I’ve made over the past several years, I’m often flooded with a sense of love and pride and self-worth. It’s something I would wish on everyone I know.
Who knew that self-love would be such a huge byproduct of change?
I’m happy to say that now, I do.
Cathy Zielske is a graphic designer, online instructor, fitness afficianado and blogger who writes about life, love, scrapbooking and less chub on her blog, found here... She likes to pretend like she’s looking off into the distance, laughing at something funny that someone said when in reality, there’s no one there at all.
i have known elise for a long time. i am so proud of how she has handled paul's first deployment…with grace,honesty,and strength. i know you will all fall in love with her just like i have. i can't wait for the day i see elise+paul reunited. they are both very blessed to have each other.
I am so excited to be joining in on Stephanie's LOVEly things month. I have read this blog for ages and have always admired Stephanie's strength and positive attitude as she dealt with Jimmy's deployments. I didn't realize those early days that I'd eventually end up married to a deployed military man and going through some of the same things. Life is funny like that.
Stephanie asked me to write today about how I have shared love with my husband, Paul, over the past six and a half months while he's been deployed to Afghanistan.
The first thing that I have to say and perhaps my favorite part about love is that every relationship is different.
What works for some couples doesn't work for others. And that's awesome. That's what makes us unique as people and what makes some couples really click. Paul and I are a very "clicked" pair.
We are on the same wavelength and have been for years. No one gets me quite like Paul and because of that, I was so nervous about the time we'd spend apart. And then I became more scared when I started getting advice from all angles about how to make it work.
It was impossible to prepare for that first deployment when I didn't know what to expect. So I sort of blocked out all the incoming information and reminded myself that it was about just the two of us.
And then Paul left.
I remember so clearly standing in that airport. I expected to break down. That's a lie. I expected a full panic attack shut down. And then something crazy happened. Paul lost it. My Paul, my rock, lost it. That snapped me back pretty quick (have you ever noticed that only one partner can panic at any given time? The other always shifts into "comfort-mode.") and I knew Paul needed me as much as I needed him.
I also realized right there, in the international terminal of LAX, that this was going to be 100 times harder for Paul then me. He was going out into a scary place where he knew no one. He was going to be responsible for the health of 700 service men and women. He was going to face extreme weather and homesickness. He was stepping off into the real unknown. That was an important perspective shift.
I made it my mission to show Paul love and support. Since he has been gone, I have mailed him over 120 cards.
I scoured etsy for cards that would make him smile. I found funny cards, supportive cards and a few R-rated cards. I sent a card almost every day, with long letters scrawled into each. I always ended with a variation of : "You're awesome. I love you. I miss you. Be safe."
We have also exchanged thousands of emails. I email him links to funny news stories. I email him hilarious tweets from famous people. I email him photos of the random stuff I see while I am walking around. I do my best to share the daily stuff.
I know that it's the mundane details that he misses the most.
And sometimes I just type my daydreams. Plans for the future. Plans for next summer. We have been making arrangements for a road trip as soon as he's home. Talking about that stuff gives us something to look forward to and is a reminder that we're not stuck apart forever.
Paul celebrated his 29th birthday while deployed. And I wanted to do something that would make him feel like he wasn't alone.
I kept thinking about how people would see on facebook that it was his birthday and they'd write on his wall. I liked the concept of people showing love, but I wanted it to mean more than just a line in his email inbox.
So I emailed our friends and all of our extended families and had them send birthday cards for him to me. Then I gathered all the cards and stuck them in a box that said "Don't open until December 15th."
We were able to video chat as he opened the box filled with an outpouring of love and support and birthday wishes. He was surprised and overwhelmed, like I hoped he would be.
He opened the cards over a period of about a week and told me again and again how much it meant to him.
I love Paul.
And Paul is who he is because he signed up to be a doctor with the US Navy. I have not been perfect in dealing with this. I have broken down over the phone or email a few times and I know that has made Paul's time away more difficult. But most days, I have stayed upbeat because it is so much better for us both.
I love Paul more today than I did on August 5th in the LAX terminal. I am so proud of him. I am SO excited to throw my arms around him and welcome him back.
He works so hard for our family, our future and for our country. I know a bunch of cards can't make up for that. But I also know that he knows I love him and am rooting for him, praying for him and supporting him everyday. And I think that helps.
Elise Blaha Cripe is a crafter and blogger who lives in Southern California. She has been in love with Paul for almost six years and married for almost two. She is anxiously waiting for his return and in the meantime has been turning her house into a craft museum. You can connect with her on her blog,twitter or pinterest.
hey guys and happy wednesday!
i have four guest authors stopping by this month to do posts on things or people they love. i left the theme open to them and told them to interpret it however they wished!
my first guest is jessica turner of the mom creative.
have a great day and enjoy! xo
My name is Jessica Turner, and I write the blog The Mom Creative. I am a a busy mom who works full-time, loves my hubby, wrangles two kiddos (a 3-year-old named Elias and a 7-month-old named Adeline), AND tries to fit in some memory keeping in my (little) spare time. Today I am going to share five FAST memory keeping ideas that I love.
1. Project Life: This is my fourth year doing Project Life and I can honestly say it is the best thing I do with my pictures.
The kit makes it easy to print your photos, journal some thoughts and be on your way. I love that it is still paper scrapbooking and a tactile process, but also the freedom it gives me to not feel guilty because I am doing SOMETHING with my photos.
The kit also allows me to fit scrapbooking in my busy life. This year I am going a step fiurther with my Project Life album and adding more "bits of life" like receipts, artwork and mail.
To download my free list of 100 bits of life you can add to Project Life, click here. Each week I invite Project Lifers from around the world to link up on my Project Life Tuesday carnival. It is so fun to see so many different approaches to this project.
2. Journals for your kids: I created these simple photo journals on Paper Coterie. Every once in awhile I will write a memory, thought, milestone, etc. to my son, Elias, and daughter, Adeline.
I also love that these journals contain my handwriting, which I know will be something that will make these books even more special to my kids someday.
I should point out that I am NOT a journaler and sometimes go several weeks in between writing in these. I am okay with that because I know it is about what I DO do, not what I don't.
Each time I write in the journals I think, why don't I do this more? It doesn't take much time and I know what a special keepsake the journals will be to my kids someday.
3. Journal MY story: I received the book, Reflections of a Mother's Heart and love the simple way it encourages me to write down my own story.
The book is divided in to 12 months, with 12 questions a month. You certainly do not have to start it in January though! Every page has a question on it.
Sometimes I do it before bed, sometimes while sitting in the bathroom while Elias is in the bathtub. It doesn't take long to answer a question (probably about five minutes), but I know that the book when I have finished it will be a beautiful keepsake of stories I otherwise wouldn't have recorded.
As memory keepers, I think that when it comes to our own childhood and early adulthood we often don't record much of our own memories. Instead, we start in the place where we are. My story is important and this simple tool is helping me to record pieces of it.
4. Videos: I know it might not seem like memory keeping, but making videos definitely is a form of documenting your story! My phone has a video camera on it and I will often just pull it out and record a short video of my son or daughter.
It isn't fancy, but I know these clips will be treasured when they are older. Check out this list of video ideas you can make with your kids. (Stephanie is AWESOME at this!)
5. Photo Books– Since having kids, I have found it easier and less time-consuming to create photo books for large batches of photos than to make mini scrapbooks or lots of scrapbook pages from one single event.
Typically I use the 8×8 format. It is a very manageable project-size and not too time consuming to complete a book. (I can often get a book designed in one sitting).
Thanks again to Steph for letting me post today. I hope these ideas help spark some new and quick way for you to memory keep in your own life.
For more memory keeping ideas, check out the series I did in October called 31 Days of Memory Keeping. Also, I hope you will take a minute to check out my blog and/or like it on Facebook. In addition to memory keeping, I write a lot about motherhood, frugal living and faith. I hope to get to know many of you!