living my ideal life:: may updates

I'm not even going to SAY how crazy the past month was, or how time flew. I'm assuming you know that already. Instead, I'm going to focus on the mystery of how God works. I've always heard about how life happens in seasons:  busy seasons, chaotic seasons, slow seasons, transitional seasons, you name it. There are happy times and hard times and all kinds of times in between. (ESPECIALLY at the start of a marriage -- we're a living example.) God is miraculous with His timing. He gives us what we need time and time again. When Drew and I had the (miraculous) opportunity to leave the country and enjoy a week's worth of uninterrupted time together last month, we assumed it was because Drew would need it, having just survived his first "busy season" as an accountant and starting into the season of studying tremendously hard for his impending CPA exam. Little did we know HOW MUCH he would need it. Not because of tax season (which was surprisingly pretty easy/painless for him) and not even because of insanity studying (although that time will come too soon now, too). We had no way of knowing that the email waiting in Drew's inbox, which he checked the day before starting back at work, would inform us of some crazy and unexpected news: A last-minute immediate business trip with no definitive end. The week he returned to work after our little respite, he was rushed off to a city four hours away to work tirelessly (often 12-hour workdays). Two weeks turned into three weeks, which turned into six and eight... Lots of uncertainty. Lots of time apart. He does get to return to me on weekends, and I had the opportunity to join him in the city and work remotely for one week's trip (last week). But it's hard. This is our first time since marriage that we've been apart for such long intervals so frequently. It's challenging, trying to readjust to life and routines. As a sister of a military wife, I know this is a piece of cake in comparison to a deployment or even business trips far enough away that companies can't justify sending spouses home on weekends, so I'm certainly not complaining. (I absolutely respect the wives and husbands who know that reality all too well, especially when children are involved and there's the constant risk of peril.) I don't have to worry that Drew's going to get injured in combat, and I do have the luxury of seeing him for a couple days at the end of every week. But it is still a challenge. A small hurdle. And definitely pushes Drew's limits, taking so much out of him.

I rest in the comfort of knowing that God saw this little bump in the road before we did, and provided us with such an incredible opportunity to spend time together before this particular season. He has never given us anything we couldn't bear -- and he continues to provide us with comfort and new ways of changing our hearts to be more like His while we're away from each other. We're no longer taking for granted evenings where we get to eat together, or sleeping beside one another at night. It's a lesson in gratitude, in finding new ways to encourage each other from a distance, and a test in faithfulness. Will we turn to God in these times of need, or try to take everything on, ourselves? I hope we stumble upon the wisdom to turn to Him, the ultimate provider. As it says in that beautiful song Oceans by Hillsong United: "You've never failed and you won't start now."
With that said, here are some updates on my little goals:
 
Huz & I before a dear friend's graduation dinner earlier this month! Isn't he dapper?!

Huz & I before a dear friend's graduation dinner earlier this month! Isn't he dapper?!

  • Exercise:  As of this week, I've been trying to get out of the box in my workout endeavors. I went running for the first time this YEAR yesterday, and it was surprisingly easy, considering how much my breath quality has improved from consistent yoga. I'm not the best runner and it's not my favorite activity, but I'm happy to try something new and see how it goes. I'm hoping to use the extra "free time" I've accumulated while Drew's out of town productively, and exercise frequently. What excuses do I possibly have now?
  • Tidy Home:  I'll be honest:  it's hard for me to justify keeping a clean house when I'm the only one in it. Admitting that makes me cringe a little (didn't my mother teach me anything about taking care of myself?!)... but that is the honest truth and I will certainly try my best to make that NOT so true in the coming weeks. Fortunately, I had a dear friend over to the house for coffee this morning, so I was up early vacuuming, straightening up the rooms, finishing laundry, and tidying/cleaning everything to be a presentable host. Drew's arrival this evening was another incentive. (I'm telling you -- having anyone over here is immediate motivation! Maybe I need a standing home date every week?)
  • Beautiful Workspace:  I'm still a total slacker in this department. We haven't been using our A/C, so all the heat in our house rises to the upstairs. It's enough to feel like I'm working out of a sauna. I love warm weather, but I may have to postpone working upstairs until it's full-on A/C-necessary.
  • Looking Presentable:  I finally re-blonded my hair a couple weeks ago, and you have NO idea how much that does for my motivation to get dressed cute. I've been breaking out the Lilly dresses on a regular basis, wearing pretty frocks and heels, and retiring the leggings and cardigans somewhat, which makes me feel fresh and renewed. Hello, summer!!! I'm afraid that in a few weeks' time all I'll be able to bear are shorts and the lightest weight jersey dresses, but maybe I'll keep up the dressing-up efforts. One can always get it a valiant effort!!! (Breezy summer nights are perfect for lightweight dresses and wedge heels, after all.)
  • Eating Healthy:  Vacation and travel got me all screwed up on the healthy-eating front. I'm trying to master moderation, but I really need to try Rick Bayless' "everyday eating" methods. He believes in adopting a "grocery store perimeter shopping" model for everyday meals (nothing processed, only natural foods that mostly come from the earth) with a good dose of occasional feasts. It's kind of the 80/20 thing. I'm not so good at extreme dieting or complete abstinence from indulgent foods, so hopefully this will be a wonderful marriage of healthy with moderation. 
  • Faith Building:  I got immersion baptized at our home church a couple weeks ago!!! We started the process to become official members, so that was one of the requirements. We're going to a PLACE class next week to find out our spiritual/personality strengths and weaknesses (to see how we can best serve the church), and I'm really looking forward to it.
  • Going Outside:  I've done excellent in this department! From vacationing to coffee dates and dinners al fresco, running and taking walks outside, I'm getting my fair share of Vitamin D!
  • Undivided Husband Attention:  Since Drew's been away during the week, we're working on really taking full advantage of our time together when we ARE together. I don't anticipate finding anything more appealing than him this weekend!!!!!
  • Preparing for Success:  One advantage of time apart means I can really focus my energies on preparing my business for success. Last week, when I was secluded in a city where I knew few people and had a LOT of free time on my hands (12+ hours while Drew was slaving away), I spent a good deal of my days sitting in Starbucks, working on back-end business stuff and taking care of big projects for my 2013 & '14 clients.
  • Making Time to Dream:  Oh, dreaming. I do this halfheartedly. I got over my burnout quickly and have started thinking about potential upcoming projects, working on business branding updates, and that kind of thing. Plans are in the works!
  • Cooking/Learning Domesticity:  Drew has absolutely mastered the art of biscuit-making, so I got to enjoy a lot of HIS domesticity in the past month. I think my next project will be a scratch coconut cake. I need my great-aunt's legendary family recipe! YUM!

musings on my ideal day

I've struggled a bit with thinking up and living my ideal day. It's hard for me to put to words exactly how I'd like to spend my days, and things rarely ever seem to go exactly how I'd want them to. Especially with my event planner schedule (SPORADIC!), two days are never identical. I could be writing blog posts for the week ahead, running errands for styled shoots, emailing vendors about events, tweaking elements of my website, planning for the future, going through business finances or legal documents, executing events, or meeting with potential clients. Even my workday can vary -- my set office hours are Monday - Thursday 9AM - 4PM (weekends reserved for event dates or precious family time), but rarely do I completely adhere to these.

Some days I would say things were as ideal as I could have them -- productive work hours, getting important things done, running vital errands, having difficult but necessary conversations. There are certain elements that definitely characterize a day as "ideal" (exercising -- particularly through hot yoga, eating healthy meals, taking walks, staying on task and focused, not sleeping in, etc). But defining a specific blueprint is HARD for me.

Sparkly things, pretty fabrics, gorgeous colors and textures, fresh flowers, emotional moments, animals, glamour, windows open, and candlelight are a few things that bring me joy. I can always wear a sparkly necklace, work on a lovely project that requires some sewing and construction, keep fresh flowers in the house, admire my pets, open windows, dress up and light candles... those are easy ways to make my life more "fired up" in the moment. 

Other things I might incorporate in my "ideal" day (while I'm trying to define exactly what it is)....

  • exercise, feeling ALIVE {hot yoga, dance class, going for walks, yoga with Drew, running, etc}
  • keeping a tidy home {cleaning up after my messes, staying more attuned to how things ACTUALLY are -- since I tend to live in my head and miss what's actually in front of me!}
  • maintaining a beautiful workspace {organizing things to functional usage, keeping inspirational photos or books or whatever at hand, taking care to surround myself with pretty things & collateral}
  • dressing up & looking presentable even when I'm home alone {swiping on some mascara and blush can do wonders for my motivation, and donning a pretty, professional-looking outfit not only looks good for video blogging, but makes me more productive!}
  • eating healthy, life-giving foods {natural, fresh, delicious foods give me more energy than sloppy, carb-rich junk}
  • reading books about faith {relationship, self-improvement, or just general informative spiritual books always lighten my load and remind me how to live!}
  • praying!!!!!!!!! {God is so good and faithful -- but we have to ask for the desires of our hearts and stay in tune with His vision!}
  • going outside for fresh air {does so much for the spirit!}
  • cuddling my cats {little pick-me-ups}
  • giving my husband my undivided attention when he's home {does so much for our relationship!}
  • making time for home-tending {ultimately, my first priority is to be a good and Godly wife, as well as the manager and "tender" of our household. I'm not as satisfied or happy when our house looks like a disaster and there's a mile-long to do list hovering over Drew & me. ...Not to mention he's not happy either.}
  • preparing for success {so much of action is in the groundwork laid before you take the action. I'm more likely to go work out if my clothes are laid out, my water bottle is filled, and my yoga mat or tennis shoes are by the door. Drew's more likely to get to work on time if we've ironed his shirt the night before, set out food for lunch, and gotten his things together in advance. I do better in client consultations when I've got everything I could possibly need with me, at the ready.}
  • making time to dream, to visualize, to think up amazing things {I LOVE working on creative projects, exercising my skill sets and honing new ones, and dreaming -- it fuels my creativity like none other, gives me something to work towards, challenges me to bring things to life, and makes my work better!}
  • cooking & learning new domestic skills {this goes hand-in-hand with home-tending, but creativity is ALSO fueled when I'm learning new things, exercising my imagination in new realms, and both Drew and I get to benefit from the end result in these endeavors! Be it learning how to sew Euro shams (something I've needed to tackle for months!), hang shelves, or roast a whole chicken (which I mastered for the second time last night -- woot woot!)... these things also challenge me and make me a better person all-around!}

I feel like that's a pretty good groundwork. It may not be a set schedule, detailed down to the very minute... but it does give me some ways to measure how my days are on the ideal-o-meter!!! What things do you want to incorporate into your life to make it ideal? Post in the comments below! :)