I recently got to hang out with three good friends. One I’ve know since kindergarten, one since fifth grade, and one since college. These are friendships that have lasted years, miles, and many changes and trials in life. I’ve learned from them. I’ve laughed with them. I’m sure there are tears that have been shed as well.
Meet Lindsey, Brandy and Ana…
What you might see here from your viewpoint are three women having a good time together. I see many years of memories and oodles and oodles of success. I caught myself at one point comparing myself to them.
Epic fail. Epic.
See, what you also are looking at there is a journalist and two assistant district attorneys. And then there’s me behind the camera… A fledgling photographer, blogger and bartender. At one point, I sat in silence listening to them talk cases and news reports from the Houston, TX area, and I found myself feeling very much the underachiever. For longer than I care to admit, I had a great big huge pity party. Who was I really kidding? I’m nowhere near as successful as these three women!
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until the next day that I pulled myself out of it.
I started to remember all the things I have in my “bag of tricks.” I started to remember that my life is pretty unique… and I remembered how a friend once told my husband he’d give his entire savings account to be on the Grand Ole Opry stage one time. I remembered how many amazing, amazing people I’ve met, some backstage the Opry!
I remembered how I head up my alumni club in Nashville. How I’m an active member of an organization that raises money for CASA. I remembered that people love my photography, and I’m only just starting to grow that.
I remembered that I am a damn good bartender (dammit, I am!), and I can just as easily rock a desk job. I have both creative ability as well as logical.
I have an amazing husband, loving family and more friends than I can count.
Success is not measured on some measuring stick that we all have to live up to. I might not be using my journalism degree per se, and I don’t put bad guys in jail. But I’m a successful women in my own right. It’s just different from the other girls.
I admire my friends, and I am so very proud of them!! I can not, though, compare myself to them. It’s not fair to me… nor to them. We are all unique, and it’s in that individuality that we can only strive to be better.
Mathew McConaughey gave an awesome speech when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor this year in which he said the person he chases is himself, 10 years in the future. I loved that. It really fit where my mindset was that night. I can’t chase success based on what others have done. I can only chase success based on what I have done, can do and will do.
1. Write a letter every month of the year. I sent my husband a Valentine, since we spent that holiday apart.
2. Get my passport. I finally researched how much it will cost, what forms I need, and where I need to go to send off my passport request. Since I believe step one should always be to do your homework, I feel like I took a good step forward!
3. Bookkeeping. Well after two great computer crashes within a month, this got held back a bit. But I finally got my Quicken up and running and rockin’. Now I just gotta figure out my Excel situation so I can get my bill pay spreadsheet back up and running.
4. Photography. Decided I would start a Lent Photo-A-Day. Granted this started in March, but I made my plan on what I was doing. Also, I went to a concert with friends and got some great concert photos! It gave me a great opportunity to tinker with my newest camera, long lens and different lighting. I was pleased with many of the shots I got!
5.Get back to what I weighed at my wedding. Well, I definitely lost weight last month. But by the end of the month, I plateaued. I’ve been holding steady just above my “comfortable” weight. So you know what that means? Its time to up the exercise a bit. I’ll definitely do that this month!
The season of Lent has begun! And call me crazy, but I’m actually excited for it.
Usually this season gets quite lost for me. Between helping my parents with tax season, planning our Aggie Muster, and then other every-day responsibilities… Lent just becomes one thing too many. A couple years ago, I just flat out said I wasn’t giving anything up for Lent. And I’ve often said I’ll do something, and then I don’t even do it on day one.
But this year… this year is different. This year, I’ve made myself a really easy but difficult Lenten promise.
To just do better in general.
Stop finding justification for things that I SHOULD do or not do. As a result my goal is to be healthier. To be more productive. To be kinder. To be more patient. To be closer to GOD. In a round about way, I really will do everything on my ideas for Lent list… just not to a super strict going to do just one thing perfectly… but try harder on all things.
I know I’ll make my mistakes. I know I’ll fail. But failure doesn’t mean giving up. Failure means you just have to try even harder.
I can do this. I WILL do this. No excuses. No justifications. Just do better.
Oh and do a Lent-long Photo-A-Day. I’m definitely doing that, too.
What have you decided to do?
Did you know that today is considered “Fat Thursday?” I didn’t until I searched “lent” on Twitter. Which of course sent me to Google. And the only real information I could find on it was from Wikipedia. According to that page, it is a Polish and German tradition. It’s not to be confused with “Fat Tuesday” but its not all THAT different, as best I could tell. Apparently you’re supposed to eat a lot of donuts today. Which isn’t going to happen for me, despite having a German heritage. But if you partake, rock on and enjoy. Have a cinnamon and sugar covered one for me.
But like I said, I am thinking a lot about Lent and I had a few ideas. Feel free to throw ideas out at me, or take some of these for yourself…
- Stop eating when I’m full… not when the plate is empty. I used to be GREAT at this back in the day. I need that habit back, and I think a LOT of things would straighten up behind that. I can make a conscious effort to do this through Lent, and hopefully in doing so, turn it into a habit.
- Give up alcohol. Or at the very least, cut it back dramatically. (I don’t mind a glass of wine here and there, or a beer now and then. But save them for “special occasions” within Lent.)
- Pretend I never found Lactose Intolerance pills. I think some of my sinus issues could be curbed if I cut out milk products for awhile. And I am sure I’d lose at least a few pounds doing so as well. So I am seriously considering cutting out/back my milk product consumption through Lent and see what happens.
- Photo-A-Day. I’ve skipped doing a Project 365 for this year, but I do miss that challenge of a photo a day. I thought maybe I could up the ante a bit. Four photos every day for Lent. A selfie, the sky/weather, something I am grateful for, and then photographer’s choice. How’s THAT for a challenge to improve some of my skills? Of course, I can take more than that, but definitely do those four every day.
- No soda.
- No chocolate.
- Spend money only on necessities and not on “wants.” (Good thing the new Eli Young Band CD comes out on Fat Tuesday! Oh wait, I could possibly justify that as a necessity. Right? Ha!)
- Eat out less. Cook at home more.
- Say a rosary at LEAST once a week.
- Say my prayers every single night of the week… even if it means forcing myself to stay awake to do so.
- Cut back Facebook time.
- Take a deep breath and curb the road rage.
- No procrastinating. (Maybe I can do this one next year…) (Oh I know that’s an old joke, but admit it… you laughed.)
- Get up earlier.
- Go to bed earlier.
- Put the cell phone in my purse when at a restaurant instead of on the table.
- Blog every day. Even if its just the prior day’s photos. (See what I did there? Multitasking.)
- No cursing. Or at least curse less. Ask myself if the statement REALLY need that extra oomph of point?
- Exercise more. Don’t just ride the couch all evening. Get up and move around! Even if its just straightening up the room. MOVE.
- Try new recipes. Healthy recipes.
- Drink more water.
- Cut back on the caffeine.
- No gossiping.
No, I’m not doing ALL of these. But maybe I can take a bit from here and there on this list. Maybe I should just resolve to “do better” and “make fewer excuses.” No matter what, I want to better myself.
What ideas do you have? What are you planning to do for Lent this year?
Its been a long time since I carried my camera around all day and took random photos. Today, I took on the challenge, and here are five of the photos I captured…
I am a pretty confident woman. Actually, I like to think I’m a very confident woman. A positive person. Someone who loves to smile and who loves to see others smile. I like to make other people happy, and I long ago found one of the best ways is through just a smile. And I’ve been told many times over that I have a great smile.
However, when asked what my favorite facial feature is on myself, I would always without hesitation say, “My eyes!” They were hidden for years behind thick glasses until, when in college, I finally got the nerve to get contacts. (I couldn’t, prior to that, fathom putting something IN MY EYE. But now, I can practically do it in my sleep.) Even so, when wearing make-up I’d choose to feature my eyes. I’ve leaned on eye liner for years to make them stand out, and, as always told in make-up rules, I’d leave my lips alone. A little gloss, or a neutral tone now and then, but on a whole I wouldn’t accent them at all.
Strange for someone who loves to smile, right? Strange for someone with confidence.
However, deep, deep down, in a place that I never gave any power, there was an insecurity due to my teeth.
Now, I am dead serious when I say that I never gave it much conscious thought. About the only time I really gave my teeth much power was when taking a self-portrait. Let’s see if you notice what I am talking about…
Yup. In photos, my teeth were my little hidden secret. And it is in THAT action that I admit they were an insecurity. Very few people would ever make a comment on my teeth. I generally felt that anyone who did had issues of their own and were making themselves feel better by pointing out MY major imperfection. But in reality, the few people who would say anything were always very nice about it. Asking with curiosity why I’d not ever had braces. Or, in one case, giving me a high five with a smile of their own to revel their own front gap! But it would never fail… it would take a few minutes to “shake it off” when my insecurity was brought out front to my attention.
All that being said, getting my teeth fixed has been very low on my radar for years. If I hadn’t fixed them by now, what was the point?
I have a great confidence already, and my teeth aren’t exactly on my radar. My family and friends love me as I am. I’ve never been held back in life in general (as far as I know!) due to my teeth. So… what would be the point?
Then last summer, in the midst of getting a lot dental work done, my dentist presented me with an offer/option. One of my front teeth had a cavity in it, and it would need some work soon. What if we put crowns over the front teeth, and he could reshape them to be straighter through those crowns?
For me, my stomach clinched at the thought of the cost. It would be a lot of money! What on earth would I be thinking if I did this!? However, the offer was intriguing. And after some discussion with my parents and my husband, I agreed to do it.
So one day last summer, I went into the dentist for some sedation dentistry, and I came out with temporary crowns on my teeth. That looked just like my old teeth. I had seen the proposed models of what my teeth would look like in the end, and it was nice! A definite improvement.
We will skip the silly reasons why it took almost six months and one visit to re-cast my molds for the crowns, but on Monday morning I headed in for the big reveal.
And I walked out with a perfect smile. My dentist went above and beyond what he’d proposed to do for me. I keep looking in the mirror and being taken aback by my new smile. I keep running my tongue over the back of my teeth, looking for the gap that no longer exists. Occasionally I notice forming words with my lips has changed. And now… I want to wear lipstick. My old teeth-based insecurity replaced by a new smile.
Here I am at 33 with a whole new look… and here’s the funny thing. Now I feel more motivated to shed the 15 lbs I’ve put on in the last 7 years. I want the rest of my body to match the new smile. It’s made me want to care about ME more. It’s given me a boost I never in a million years thought I needed.