Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Life List...a work in progress

I have learned a lot about life in the past few months. My life has changed more than I ever imagined it would. I have always been a planner, type A to the max. I admit my OCD gets the best of me, and my inability to relax wears me out. But, I always seem to think I know exactly what I want, and that I know the best ways to get it. Boy, have I been wrong...but only a time or two. ;) OK, many more than a few times.

A friend of mine tagged me in a posting of this quote. We laughed about it at lunch today, but both of us recognize how relevant these words are to our lives.

There is no telling how many times I have read this verse, claimed it among my favorites, and shared it with others in moments of chaos. Yet, truly believing in what it says and living my life accordingly is easier said than done.
As a young girl, I played house, mommy, and school. Some of my earliest memories are coming home from elementary school and playing "teacher" to my imaginary students in my mom's office. I wore her high heels, old glasses, and broomstick skirts. I used an old American Flag stick as a pointer, and used her world map as my main education tool. I pretended to type my lesson plans on her type writer and kept track of my students' grades on yellow legal pads. I taught precious little elementary students all the basics of life. I remember wanting nine children at one time. I had a list with all of their first and middle names. I knew the age I would give birth to them and had a reason for spacing them the way I if I had control over that. I could have drawn you a floor plan of my dream house. I would have told you that I was going to graduate college in four years with a degree in education. I would meet the love of my life there, and marry that handsome hunk the following December. I would be teaching in my hometown, and start a family a few years down the road.

 Let me relieve and assure you that I DO NOT think nine children sounds so awesome anymore. I just don't have the energy. Yes, I realize I'm young, but I have probably changed just as many diapers in my 21 years as the Duggar momma has in her entire parenting career. I have no clue what my house will look like or what kind of home I even want anymore. I did not meet that handsome hunk, and there is no wedding in my near future, and children are so far off my radar, it's unreal. Though I graduated from college in four years, and I will be teaching in my hometown in the fall, I will not be teaching precious, well behaved, elementary students.

I have come to the conclusion that life is just so much easier when I stop making my own plans, and enjoy the natural ride of life. I could not ask to be in a better place right now. I have accepted a job as a middle school science teacher. This job is perfect for me. I love the school, the administration, and my co-workers. I am, admittedly, a science nerd, and look forward to the challenges ahead. I have rented my own home all by myself. I am financially stable, independent, and embarking on a journey of freedom that I have been waiting for as long as I can remember. However, in typical me fashion, I want more.

A few months ago, a friend and I started talking about Bucket Lists. We regularly share with each other our hopes and dreams, and decided to write them all down. So, we began thinking, jotting, sharing, and now we are publishing. With these goals out in cyberspace, there is a certain accountability to see them fulfilled. I wish I could say this list is complete, but it changes constantly. So here goes...

My Life List
1.      Create a website using html code.
2.      Learn how to use Photoshop.
3.      Start or join a book club.
4.      Take culinary classes, possibly gluten free.
5.      Design and publish a cookbook.
6.      Obtain my Fitness Instructor Certification.
7.      Read the bible cover to cover.
8.      Learn to sew.
9.      Shop at a farmer’s market.
10.   Grow my own herbs.
11.   Own my own business. Right now it will be a cafĂ©/bistro.
12.   Write my own wedding vows to say at me wedding in addition to the traditional ones.
13.   Publish an article in a journal.
14.   Become a better blogger.
15.   Read one book a month.
16.   Run a marathon.
17.   Compete in a triathlon or duathlon.
18.   See Italy, Ireland, Australia, and Switzerland.
19.   Be a Keva International supporter.
20.   Be a mentor to young women.
21.   Keep my health in check and live a lifestyle that promotes wellness.
22.   Be comfortable in my own skin. 

So, this is what I have, one goal for every year I've lived, and a very important one to grow on with my birthday coming up next week. I realize those aren't grammatical sentences, but there is something final about putting a period at the end of a goal. This Life List is ever-changing. Tomorrow, I may have ten more things to add. I may never cross some off, and I may cross a few off multiple times. I am embracing life for all that it is and opening myself to the possibilities. I won't put limits on how long I have to complete these goals.  After all, who knows where life will take me next.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chicago, a City of Bliss

 As a reward for graduating college, unmarried, tattoo, and baby free, my momma planned a family vacation to Chicago! We had the best time. Chicago may not be on the top of most people's travel list, but I thought it would be a neat place to visit. My family does a lot of traveling, so we have been to many of the popular cities. Now, I can cross Chicago off the list!

We did more touristy things than usual, such as riding up to look out Willis Tower, Navy Pier on 4th of July, Millenium Park for an evening concert, the Art Institute, an architecture boat tour, window shopping the Magnificent Mile, etc. But, we also took some time to see the city for what it truly is.

My favorite thing about traveling is seeing how the locals live. I love to walk their neighborhoods, eat at the local restaurants and watch as they live their daily life. I enjoy sitting at a park bench watching the young couples walk by hand in hand, families walking their dogs, and old ladies getting in a bit of exercise. There is nothing better than running through the streets at sunrise, and walking home on a full stomach after supper as the sun sets in the distance. Really, the world isn't all that different wherever you go. People are all very much alike. Their environments and circumstances mold their facades, but at our hearts, we are really all the same.

One of the things on my Life List (don't worry, that will be my next post), is to eventually own my own business. I want to have a bakery/coffee shop/ cafe wherever I end up living. I have spent the past few months creating a style notebook with some of my ideas for decor, menu items, and advertising. On this particular trip, I took lots of pictures of store fronts I like. I have no idea what will actually come to fruition, but these are some of my ideas. Let me know what you think!
I LOVE the flower sign

What a great sign

Chalkboard menu...mirrors add a nice touch
Rise and Shine, It's breakfast time!
Menu ideas, I like the lighting
Now, that is my kind of chandelier
Blue corner shop with porch dining
Store Front