Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Are You Doing That on Purpose?

My mission this year is to "Live on Purpose."  I'm trying to look closely at my list of goals and breaking it down into obtainable steps.  This is all easy.  It's easy to make a big list of lofty aspirations; I even know how to get it done.  I want to lose weight, so I joined Weight Watchers and made the goal to run three 5Ks.  Easy.  The hard part is actually doing it!

Adam and I have a shared Google Doc with a list of Andrea's to-dos and Adam's to-dos.  We go through our yearly goals and put the little steps, the action items into my monthly to-do.  I want to run three 5Ks this year.  Last month I scoured the local running groups for upcoming fun-runs.  I registered for a March Hot Chocolate run and bookmarked two others for May and June.  The next step was to get moving.  I downloaded a Couch to 5K training program and printed it off.  Now for the tough step - actually doing it!

At our meeting last week (yes, Adam and I actually have meetings) I committed to working out three times a week.  Here's an excerpt of our "February 2014 Goals" page:

  • Meet with nutritionist -- Monday, February 10th at 1:00
  • Exercise three days/week
    • Week of Feb 1-7
    • Week of Feb 8-14
    • Week of Feb 15-21
    • Week of Feb 22-28

See what that hubby of mine did? He's breaking the month into weeks. I didn't think too much of it until he gave me a little FYI the other day. "Did you know that you have four days left of this first week? And you have three workouts to get in... so....." Then he left it hanging there until I said, "Yup, I'm jogging in the morning," like I had the whole thing planned out already. It was sooooo hard to get up and jog in 30 degree temperatures while my kids were sleeping. If the kids are still sleeping, that means I could still be sleeping. But no! I said that I was going to workout three days a week and my accountability buddy kept me accountable.

Adam and I on our first date, a million years ago.  Aren't we cute?!

So now I ask you: Are you doing that on purpose? Are you doing anything on purpose? Are you living your life with the purpose and drive to accomplish wonderful things? If you aren't, I suggest you do some soul searching, decide what's important and get to it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Do Something Scary

What do humans need to grow?  I'm not talking about food, water, sunlight and a secure, safe environment.  I mean to grow spiritually, emotionally, intellectually.  What do we need to grow?

I believe we need to challenge ourselves and sometimes do something that scary. Do something out of our comfort zone, that stretches us to new heights.

For ten years I was a member of the Clearwater Fire and Rescue Department in Minnesota.  I joined when I was an eighteen year old freshman in college.  I became certified in Firefighter I and II, Hazardous Materials Operations and an Emergency Medical Technician.  When I retired in 2011, I was a married, mother of two. I wasn't a great fire fighter.  Although I could hold my own, it wasn't my passion.  My true calling was as an EMT.  I was an amazing EMT.  My communication skills and empathy were used on every patient.  I knew some American Sign Language and could communicate with deaf community members.  My years as an elementary teacher and experience with my own children made me the perfect person to help children.  And being one of only a few woman made me an asset when helping women in labor or a victim of sexual abuse.

House Burn 2006
Front row, second from the right.

People that know me well are often surprised that I made it so long on the department.  I have been known to faint easily.  Yup, watching a gory episode of Grey's Anatomy once warranted my husband calling 911.  I passed out after watching a particularly disgusting scene featuring Seth Green and Adam couldn't revive me.  Super embarrassing!

Our son Reed was about eighteen months old when he tripped and split the skin under his lip open.  We got him in the car and I held pressure on his bleeding lip.  He fell asleep from crying so much.  The bleeding was under control and I passed out next to him in the backseat.  Again, Adam was very worried.  Later in the ER Reed was wrapped like a little burrito while the doctor was stitching him up.  He was screaming and crying for Mommy.  I mustered up the strength to hold him and kiss him, reassuring that it would be over soon.  Once finished, Reed wanted to be snuggled by me.  I hugged him and asked someone to grab him so that I could faint again.

The big bandage kept my little Reed from playing with the stitches.

I have story after story about my passing out.  It's quite embarrassing, but it's who I am.  I'm excellent in stressful situations, when the adrenalin is pumping and people need me.  But once the emergency is over, I'm unconscious.  It's just who I am and I accept it.  I could avoid blood and icky stuff like that, but God gave me the talent and knowledge of taking care of people.  I stay calm and give comfort to those who need it.  I know how to make decisions quickly and can truly be with someone when they need it the most.  Those ten years were challenging and sometimes painful, but they molded me into the person I am today.  I was stretched and grown.

When our boys were three and five, my crazy husband decided he needed more adventure in his life.  He wanted to try skydiving.  Heights don't really bother me too much, I've climbed three stories up on an extension ladder in very strong winds, with a three hundred pound man.  That was unsettling, but I made it.  Skydiving seemed like a really bad idea.  Who jumps out of a perfectly good airplane?  But because I don't like to be told I can't do something, I wanted in too.  Scariest moment of my life!  But I did it!

In 2012, I left the comforts of central Minnesota, a beautiful home, a wonderful church community, neighbors and friends and most importantly our family.  We left them all behind to journey to the Pacific Northwest.  It was incredibly challenging, painful even.  But it has again stretched me into a better version of myself.  The adventure here has been exhilarating.

A few weeks ago, I did something else that is scary.  I got a TATTOO!  Adam and I have been talking about it for a long time.  Being in Seattle and seeing all of the beautiful (and not so beautiful) body art encouraged me to take the leap and do it.  At sixteen years old, I went to a TEC Retreat.  It was the most powerful experience.  It has shaped my faith formation and continues to be a source of comfort.  The theme of the retreat was "I love you and you are Mine."  It's a song in the Catholic faith and one of my all time favorites and at my grandpa's funeral.  To have a constant reminder that God loves me and calls me to Him I decided to get this tattoo on my right wrist.  Do you see where the "you" is written?  That's where I was about to faint, I asked Asher (my tattoo artist) to take a little break).  I needed to take a few deep breathes and graciously accept an orange Tootsie Pop.  Then we continued and I'm so thankful I did.  Doesn't it look cool!??!

I hope that all of my goofy stories will inspire you to take the leap.  To do something that you are scared of.  Take a chance and do something you didn't think you could.  You might fail (or pass out) and you might succeed.  But taking chance is the only way to grow.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How To Get More Done

Doesn't it seem like we are always busy, but don't get a ton done?

Sometimes I feel like I'm spinning my wheels without accomplishing much.  I have read several blogs and books searching for help, and I'm here to pass on some tips.

First from Andrea Dekker posting at  She creates lists EVERYWHERE and is one of the most productive women I've ever heard of!  This article talks about creating a "Top-Five List."  She suggests that before bed, making a to-do list for the next day.  She then decides one the top five, most important items she absolutely wants to accomplish!  Andrea either schedules it into her day or sneaks it in between different activities.  Little moments that could be wasted by checking Facebook or thumbing through a magazine are instead used productively.  She runs a very successful blog and is a virtual assistant to several websites as well as a full-time mom to a wonderful little girl (and baby due in a few weeks).

I tried this tip last week and continued this week.  I use a 3X5 index card to write everything that needs to be accomplished in the next few days.  Before bed, I try to number the "Top-Five" most important tasks that I'd like to finish the following day.  This way I have guidance throughout the day.  Even if I'm crazy busy with the kids, I can carve out five or ten minutes to accomplish something small.  I can also consolidate errands when I have a clear vision of the tasks that I'd like to complete.  This is an absolute gem of advice!

The second helpful website is ChecklistMommy.  Again, I love this lady!  She's hilarious and sarcastic and working full-time and raising FOUR children!  I took this post about goal writing to heart.  I have a rather extensive list of goals for 2014.  Although I haven't written it on the wall like Sara Kate recommends, I am taking my goals very seriously and check back on my list daily.  I then add small (or large) steps toward my goals on to my daily "Top-Five" list.

I hope you can check out these two amazing bloggers and gather some inspiration of your own on how to accomplish more in your daily, hectic life.