Resolutions, Schmesolutions

My New Year’s “Resolutions” That Aren’t Really Resolutions

Throughout my life, I have found resolutions to be pretty useless.  So this year, I am going to work on accomplishing some goals.  Goals.  Not resolutions.

My first goal is to drink more water.  The more water I drink, the healthier I am and the better that Thrive will work in me.  (Also, the more trips I have to make to the bathroom.)

Next, I will endeavor to walk on my Treadclimber (aka the dreadmill) every single day.  This has transformed into what I anticipate will be a series of goals.  Weekly workout goals.  This first week I have started with a goal I named the 20/50.  20 minutes on the dreadmill and 50 squats every day.  This is how it works (ideally).  I do 10 minutes and 25 squats in the morning before work, the rest after work.  I get through these things easier if I break up the time.  Also, I’m hoping that starting with small goals will keep me from getting burnt out too quickly.  We’ll see how that goes.

Third, I want to blog at least once a week.  This has been a problem for me particularly when school is in session.  But seriously, once a week shouldn’t be such a burden.  And I really want to write more often because I enjoy writing down my random thoughts in this little creative space of mine.  It makes me feel…I don’t know what exactly, but I like the feeling.

I have other goals for the year that have started creeping into my consciousness, but these are my big three.  Why are these the big three?  Well, because they are the first things that came to mind and because after reflecting on them, I believe they will each positively impact other areas of my life.  Like a chain reaction of goodness.

no-resolutions

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Good Things (A Year’s End)

The end of 2016 is rapidly approaching, and I’ve heard and read many comments about how this year has been “the worst ever.”  To hear some people talk, it’s been the worst year in the history of the world.  Newsflash:  it hasn’t been!  Sure, bad things have happened, just like any other year.  It’s just life:  messy, not always easy, sometimes hard.  But we laugh, we cry, we live.  That’s what we’ve done this year and every year before, and it’s what we’ll do next year.  So, I am endeavoring to close out the year with a list of good things that have happened.  At least the good things that have touched my own little corner of the world.  (Disclaimer: This will not include every single good thing that happened to me this year.  Also, this list is in no particular order.)

The Broncos won the Super Bowl!  More importantly, Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl–the best football player of my generation and a darn good person.  He deserved to go out on the very top and he did.  It still fills my heart with joy and happiness for him.

I celebrated that SB victory with THOUSANDS upon thousands of fellow Bronco fans, with the team, and with a dear friend of mine at the official SB celebration parade.  I may never have the chance to do something like that again…it was amazing to be part of something so big (literally–did you see how many people were there?!).  Also, SOB (Son of Bum) looked/pointed directly at me.

sob

Serving as a Delegate…was entirely amazing!  It was something I never imagined I would have the chance to do and I absolutely loved every minute of it.  I got to attend the county and state assemblies, as well as the assemblies for my congressional and judicial districts.  While at these events, I had the opportunity to hear many candidates speak and even got to meet Senatorial candidate Darryl Glenn!  Being so deeply involved in the political process gave me a sense of such purpose and belonging at times; I hope that I can recapture those feelings in the future.

state-assemblymeeting-darryl

Volunteering for Marco Rubio was another first for me this year.  The first time I’d ever volunteered for a political candidate.  The first candidate that I truly believed in with all of my being.  He represents all that is still good in government and the kind of leader that we so desperately need.  (Working for Rubio is at the top of my list of dream jobs.)

rubaeo

Spring Break Skiing.  Went skiing for the first time EVER with my BCFFL over our shared spring break vacations.  The quintessential spring break trip.  She was “Marshmallow Flash.”  I was “The Pink Turtle.”  We ate dinner at Ollie’s (much friendlier than the one in Breck) where we had delicious food and learned heart-breaking news.  I was gifted O Boov, whom I treasure.  And neither one of us broke any limbs or body parts.  We made memories that will be treasured for a lifetime.

skiing

Going to the NCAA Tournament!!  This was something that I have wanted to do for my entire life, and this year I was finally able to do so with none other than the best sports companion in the whole world, my Dad.  After all, my love of college basketball is due to him.  It was amazing, even through my sickness.  2018, here we come!

ncaa-tourney

Josh Groban!  For the third time in my life, I got to see my favorite singer perform live and in person.  He literally has the voice of an angel.  Not to mention he’s incredibly funny and pretty easy on the eyes, as well.

Princess.  Towards the beginning of the year, I adopted a cat who’s owner had passed away.  She is the best furry companion I could ever ask for and I am convinced that we were meant to be together.

princess

Summer with my BCFFL!  My BCFFL spent a couple of glorious weeks with me this summer.  We went hiking, took a road trip to New Mexico to spend the weekend with our cousins (and eat Whataburger), cooked dinner together…she even ate lunch with me at work every day.

heads-up

My best friend got married!  I had the honor of serving as MOH for my bff’s wedding, which meant also planning a bridal shower and bachelorette party from a state away, which was a whirlwind but so much fun!

tp-bridebp

Two words:  Skating Rink.  After nearly a 10 year absence, Dad and I returned to a place where we both grew up…the Pretty Prairie Skating Rink.  It smelled the same.  It looked the same.  A lifetime (or two) of memories were held in the slick hardwood floors and sturdy brick walls.

skating-rink

Derek Carr and the Raiders.  This season has been nothing short of magical and miraculous for Raiders fans like myself who have loved the team through nearly a decade and a half of disappointing seasons.  It’s been an incredible journey and I’m just not ready for it to end yet.

raiders

Okay, so there’s my list of good things that happened in 2016.  It’s not every good thing that happened for me this year (if I listed every single thing that I did or that made me happy in some way, we could be reading for days).  But the point is that I feel better after having written out this list, because I can reflect on the people and things I found joy in this past year.  I encourage you to make a list of good things that 2016 brought your way, as well.  I bet you’ll feel better after you do.

Love & Light in the new year,

Liv

 

R4C16

I’m taking a minute on my break to share this article with you all because of how much it resonated with me.  You all know that I believe Trump is dangerous – dangerous for this country and dangerous for the party.  What most of you don’t know (until right now) is that I’ve resolved to vote for Hillary in November.  Yes, you read that right.  For the first time in my life, I will be voting for a Democratic presidential candidate.  This is only the second Democrat I will have ever voted for in my lifetime (shout out to Representative Dennis McKinney!).  You may think I’ve completely lost it.  But trust me, this was not an easy decision.  I’ve put a lot of thought and consideration into this choice.  And every time, I come to the conclusion that this world would be a more dangerous place with Trump at the helm of our country than with Hillary.

I recently discovered an independent, grass roots group:  Republicans for Clinton in 2016 (r4c16.org).  John Stubbs, the co-founder of this group sums it up pretty well with this statement from their homepage:  “Republicans can either allow Trump to rebrand the GOP as unstable, xenophobic and crude, or we can regain control of our party.”  As a Republican voting for Hillary, I am not abandoning my values and ideals – I’m fighting to keep them alive in a party I no longer recognize.  Because, even as I cast my vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, I will do my part to elect Republicans to the House and Senate – people who truly represent the party that I was once proud to be part of.

I’ve included the link to this article and I implore you to read it with an open mind.  And then afterwards, please give some serious thought to who you will be voting for in November, and why.  A vote for Hillary is a vote to stop Trump.  A vote to save the party that we once knew and hope to know again.  A vote against hatred, fear-mongering, and bullying.  But a vote for anyone else is a vote for Trump…and that is something we truly can’t afford.

 

Hello, September!

Goodbye August.  Hello, September!  And so begin the “-ber” months, and along with them, my favorite time of year.  Every month has its own special thing that I’ve grown to appreciate and look forward to (except January and February…they are just terrible, dreary, cold buckets of suck) – but these are my favorite.

September means that Pumpkin Spice Lattes (also delicious in Frappucino form!) are back at Starbucks.  It’s the start of football (high school, college, and NFL).  Temperatures start to turn crisp and the leaves begin to change colors.  We bring out the fall decorations. Visit pumpkin patches.  Drink hot cider.  Enjoy the last bits of warmth before the long winter sets in.  It is a beautiful time.  A time when God’s beauty is so prominently displayed that it couldn’t possibly be denied.

delicious autumn

Don’t Settle

Okay, so here I go with another somewhat delayed musing.  If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to let my writings sit for awhile, I like to let them marinate for a bit before I share them.  I believe this particular topic is something that every single person has struggled with at some point in their lives.  I truly hope that it resonates with you.

 

I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany, you might say.  I recently had a not-so-great day at work.  And it dawned on me (for the 100th time in the five years that I’ve been here) that this place, this work, does not bring me joy.  In fact, it goes beyond that and actually detracts from my overall happiness.  Now, I know we all have bad days at work, along with a lot of good days.  And most of the time we just have to push through it, make the best of the day, and do what we can to make the next day a better one.

But as some of my Facebook friends started weighing in on my question of “what do you do when you realize/know that deep down, your work doesn’t bring you joy, but rather, detracts from it,” something stirred inside of me at some of their responses.  Most people responded that work isn’t meant to bring us joy.  That it’s just a means to an end.  I agree that for many people, their job is simply a way to pay the bills—most of my own jobs have been just that.  But I have also encountered people that love what they do for a living.

When did we become okay with just settling?  When did we develop the mentality that we shouldn’t enjoy how we make a living?  Most of us will spend the majority of our time, the majority of our lives working—shouldn’t we enjoy that time as much as we can since we give so much of ourselves to it?  Now, I realize that sometimes we just absolutely have to do a job that we don’t necessary like in order to make sure the bills get paid, in order to provide for our families.  But even in that situation, shouldn’t we be allowed to aspire to something better, especially when that realization hits us?

I think we deserve more than we settle for.  I think we owe it to ourselves to not keep ourselves in an environment that breeds misery and discontent.  Now, I am not advocating that we all go quit our jobs after a rough day.  Sometimes it is just a rough day.  But when it becomes a pattern, I encourage you to look at the cause – maybe it’s your overall environment and maybe it’s God’s way of preparing you for a change.  If you find yourself in a situation where you know you need a change, start doing things in order to prepare for a new and better opportunity.  Don’t settle.  We all deserve better than we are willing to give ourselves.  We are worth happiness.  We are worth joy.  It matters.  You matter.  I matter.  Don’t settle for less than what God has intended for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

 

ten years from now

Finding the Joy

This is something I wrote a couple of months ago, but have never shared yet.  Joy is something I keep coming back to and thinking on in my daily life.  It’s something I’ve heard others in my life talking about lately, too.  So I think I am finally ready to share my somewhat outdated writings on joy.  I pray that it might help you in your journey to finding joy as well.

 

It’s easy to let this world bring you down.  To let people and circumstances that are beyond your control get in your head and make you feel less than you are.  I’m a perfectionist.  I take things personally.  I am hard on myself.  But when I really stop to think why it is so easy to feel so downtrodden in this world, I realize it’s because as children of God, we are not of this world.  I am not of this world.  It’s not my permanent home…it was never meant to be.  Maybe this is why I never really feel at home no matter where I am.  Maybe it’s why we feel like the grass is always greener on the other side.  When I think about it in these terms, it all makes a little more sense.

Often times we spend all of our time looking forward.  To the weekend, to our next vacation, to whatever the next big event is on our calendar.  Or, we spend time looking back.  Thinking of friends and family who are no longer with us, remembering how good life was before wherever we are currently.  I am guilty on both accounts.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with planning ahead and being excited for what’s to come or reflecting on fond memories.  But both of these things do become problematic if it is all we do.  If all we ever do is either look forward or look back, how can we be present in this moment?  And if we’re not present in the moment, it’s impossible to find the joy in the now.  Because the now is just as important as what is coming and what has been.  Maybe even more important, because the now will someday be what has been.  And tomorrow’s now is the very thing we are looking forward to.

Unless we are present in the here and now, we cannot find joy in where we are currently.  And after all, that is where we spend most of our time.  There truly is beauty all around us, all the time.  Some days we just have to fight harder than others to find it.  And that’s okay, because nothing ever worth having is easy, right?  Today, the sun is out and as it lands on my shoulders, it warms me up from the inside out.  It finally feels like spring and the warmth fills me with the hope of new growth.  I hear a familiar old song on the radio and smile at the memories it brings to the surface.  Today I found joy in a plethora of things all because of the warm sunshine. It was the spark that I needed to open my eyes to all of the good things around me.  Some days, joy comes to us.  But on other days, most days maybe, we have to fight to find joy.  But the fight is worth it.  It’s okay to be in a bad mood every once in a while…we aren’t perfect, we were never meant to be.  But don’t wallow in it for long.  Pull yourself up and look at whatever it is from the other side.

It’s amazing what a little bit of sunshine and a warm day can do.  I can’t promise to always be this positive.  Something I’ve learned along the way is that when you find the joy, when you have those moments that make you smile, make you feel that everything is worth it—hold on to them.  Hold on to them and bottle them up for the days when it’s hard to find the joy.  Because nothing lasts forever.

choose joy

Goodbye May, Hello June

Hey, May. You were really good to me this year. As usual, you are one of my favorites. May brings Pawnee, going home, spending time with old and dear friends, good food (Click’s & Whataburger!), keeping old traditions and making new ones, dominoes, walks around the loop. And so much more. You flew by really fast, as you tend to do. And I’m sad to see you go. But, I’m grateful for the good times I shared with you and I’m looking forward to the fun that June has in store. Until we meet again. xoxo

Renewing old traditions at the skating rink where we both grew up.
Arriving in Oklahoma, my semi-home state
How one opens wine while camping in Oklahoma when you forget to bring a corkscrew.
Because as many times as I see a Spark Show, I’ll never tire of the beauty and simplicity and majesty of the machinery that makes it possible
Our cornmeal grinding crew
Whataselfies. Because our tribe loves Whataburger.

Thrive Alive!

Today marks the 30th day that I have been Thriving!  When I first started, I was a hopeful skeptic.  I decided to try this thing because I knew I had to do something in order to live a more healthy lifestyle.  I wanted something that would help me lose weight (again) and keep it off.  I wanted more energy to deal with full time work AND school.  So I took a leap of faith and trusted a friend who had been experiencing great things with the product.  And I’m so glad that I did.

And yes, I have noticed changes in my first 30 days.  The most amazing thing I have noticed is that Thrive has given me more self-confidence.  I wasn’t expecting this at all, but it has allowed me to be more open to put myself out there.  Most of you reading this know that I’m an introvert…I’m pretty quiet and often shy around new people.  I don’t love crowds or being around a lot of people that aren’t in my “bubble.”  But Thrive has broken down those walls a little bit.  I’m still me, but I think Thrive is allowing me to be a better version of myself.  I’ve done some things that would have been uncharacteristic of me pre-Thrive:

  1. I called in to my favorite radio show and talked to the host for over 5 minutes and was on the air.  You may not think that’s a big deal, and in the big scheme of things it isn’t.  But for an introvert with a phone phobia…I was pretty proud of myself for doing it.  And I wasn’t anxious or nervous, so that was cool for me.
  2. When I was at the Super Bowl parade in Denver, I noticed a news crew walking by and yelled “GO BRONCOS!!”  (Normally I would have just kept my mouth shut and kept walking.  It’s part of my “don’t speak until spoken to” mentality.)  This prompted them to stop us (myself and my friend) and interview us about why we were at the parade, who we were excited to see, etc.  I was able to articulate my thoughts clearly to these strangers (and their camera) without being the slightest bit nervous.  This type of thing would typically really freak me out.
  3. I recently signed up to volunteer to make phone calls to South Carolina for the Rubio campaign ahead of their primary.  This is the first thing I’ve done to directly volunteer for a campaign in my life.  I’ve always wanted to be more active for the candidates I support, but I’ve always let my own insecurities hold me back.  Now, phone calling is not necessarily a fun job.  People hang up on you, yell at you, and I’m still struggling with that aspect a bit.  But I’m doing it.

Thrive has also helped me to be more healthy physically.  I have a love/hate relationship with my Treadclimber machine.  But I have been able to stick to a workout schedule more consistently.  This past week in particular, I have been waking up at 6 every morning in order to get in a 20 minute workout on the machine before I start getting ready for work.  After I get home from work I still have energy to get back on that machine and do at least another 10 minutes in order to round out my 30 minute daily goal.    This had led me to meet my Fitbit step goal more often, and has helped me to lose a little over 4 pounds since day 1 of Thrive.

I’ve also been making healthier food choices.  Because I’m putting all of this healthy stuff in my body from Thrive, I don’t want to sabotage it with junk food.  I also don’t crave as much of the junk that I used to (although I do still have my moments), and I drink significantly more water now.

So Thrive has given me improved mental clarity, better cognitive performance, a boost in my weight loss efforts, and confidence in myself.  And this is only in the first 30 days!  I can’t wait to see what the next 30 days bring!

thrive 30
Thrive is changing my life and it can change yours, too!

We are the champions…of the world… Pt 1

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Denver Broncos are the WORLD CHAMPIONS!!  Super Bowl 50 CHAMPS, baby!!!  (Please forgive my shouting, I’m still in celebration mode.)

I was fortunate enough to be able to get off work to go the celebration parade in Denver.  I was doubly fortunate to get to go to the parade with my wonderful, amazing, FUN friend, Kate!  We took Denver by storm and had an amazing day.  Seriously, everyone should have a friend like Kate.  A day spent with her couldn’t be anything but adventurous and filled with laughter–but that’s a whole ‘nother story!

So, come along with me and relive our day of celebration!

4 am wake up

Up at 4:00 am so that I could leave the house by 5:00 am (I was only a few minutes behind…) so that I could pick Kate up in Woodland Park by 5:30 am.  Whew!  We wanted to be early enough to get a good spot!

wreck

So remember when I mentioned that I was a few minutes behind?  Well, if I would have been on time, we probably could have avoided being stuck in this traffic, waiting on the wreck to clear.  Traffic was moving along at a crawl until the firetruck showed up and parked right across the road.  One big firetruck, a couple of ambulances, and a few police cars.  And did I mention I had to pee and that Kate was hungry?!

waiting

Here we are waiting for the road to clear so that we can move on.  You’d never guess that we were in need of food and toilet. HA!  We look pretty happy to be stuck in traffic.  But on the bright side, it was more time for conversation.

Anyhow, we might have been waiting 20 or 30 minutes, I’m not real good at paying attention to time.  But finally, we were able to move again and our highest priority was to find somewhere that would be open at 7am that had food and restrooms.  We got off the road in Castle Rock and decided on Panera Bread.  I was too distracted by my mission of finding a restroom to even remember to bring my phone in from the car, so sadly, no pictures exist of this stop.  We had a delicious breakfast and got back on the road.  County Line Park n’ Ride or BUST!

F lineHere we are after having just boarded the F Line to 18th & California.  The train wasn’t crowded yet and we were able to get a seat.  The train ride in was filled with conversation and laughter (such a contrast from the train ride we’d take later in the day) and we got off right at the 16th Street Mall, which, as it turns out, was right where we wanted to be!

SB headquartersAlmost as soon as we stepped off the train, we found the “Super Bowl Headquarters,” which of course, we HAD to stop at.  We bought fabulous orange feather boas and I got my official “Super Bowl Champion” t-shirt.  This other guy was obviously pretty excited to be here, as well.

After this, we meandered down 16th street. (Or maybe it was “up” the street, I don’t really know, I’m directionally challenged, you know.)  We passed several open spaces at the front of the parade route barricades, but kept going, on our way to the park, where we’d be at the end of the parade.  Along the way we ran into a news crew and gave an interview about why were at the parade.  I said I was there because it was a once-in-a-lifetime, history making event and to see Peyton Manning because he is such a classy guy.  When Kate was asked what brought her to the parade she answered “Olivia!”  She did go on to give an eloquent answer, but we laughed about that off and on for the rest of the day.

I just realized that this post is getting a bit long.  And if you’re still reading, you’re probably nearly asleep by now.  So I’ll pause here and bring you Part 2 later.

Stay tuned, and GO BRONCOS!

 

Colorado Girls

Today, I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a looonnnggg time.

I called in to my favorite radio show, talked to the host, and got on the air!  While I haven’t always had the same favorite radio show, I have always wanted to call in to one, but I’ve always let two things hold me back.  1) I have a bit of a phone phobia (it’s weird and complicated–don’t ask) and 2) I’ve never known what to say.

But today was special.  Today the Denver Broncos are World Champions.  Today, the “City of the Day” was Peyton, Colorado.  Today, I had purpose and confidence.  There was no stopping me.  Today would be the day that I would finally join the Fan Clan.

(A little bit of background real quick:  I’ve been listening to the Phlash Phelps morning show on ’60s on 6 (on SiriusXM!) for a while now.  Every morning while I get ready for work I listen to great music, fun trivia, and people calling in from all over the country.  For about as long as I’ve been listening, I’ve been wanting to join the fan club, too.  So today, I just did it!)

I looked up the phone number, dialed, and waited in suspense while it rang.  When he answered the phone himself, I was shocked and excited that I’d actually gotten through!  This was it…my big moment!  I had two main purposes.  To say “GO BRONCOS!” and share my appreciation for Peyton being the “City of the Day,” and to join the Fan Clan.

“I’ll poor candle wax on my radio dial.  No one else comes close by a mile.  Our man Phlash is second to none, and the competition bites the big one.”  That my friends, is just part of the pledge I had so much fun reciting this morning.  He topped off the segment by playing the Beach Boys’ California Girls and exclaiming, “Don’t you wish they could all be Colorado Girls!”  And so, without further ado, I am proud to announce that I am now #1917 in the Fan Clan!

My radio segment only lasted for about a minute, but we talked on the phone for over 5.  We talked about Cripple Creek, how I got interested in ’60s music (since I’m one of the younger listeners), etc.  I was blown away at how nice he was (just like in his on-air segments) and it was definitely worth being a little bit late to work for.  This is something I will not soon forget.  So thank you, Phlash, for keeping me company every morning and for making my day today!