Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, Thanks For The Memories!

Happy New Year's Eve!

A part of me can't believe an entire year has come and gone. A year full of challenges and triumphs, growth & healing. And another part of me feels like just yesterday, I was ringing in 2011... a fresh start.

For someone who struggles with change like I do, I'm never nostalgic about New Year's Eve. I'm always ready to usher in a new year.

I guess some of it is knowing it's inevitable; a new year always comes at midnight on December 31st.



And a lot of that comes from a foundation rooted in faith; hope for the future.

My heart could burst today, this final day of 2011, with all of the blessings of the year.


I turned 27.


I adopted a sweet little nugget.


These people... my second family.


I fell in love with a sweet little nugget. 


I swam.


I traveled to San Diego.


It snowed.


I drank (lots of) wine with my best friend.


I watched my baby brother graduate high school.


I produced a variety show.


I baked pies with The Pioneer Woman.


I finished a sprint triathlon.




He turned two.


She turned one.


One year anniversary.


Freelance project.... that continues well into 2012.

What an incredible year!

Goodbye 2011; thanks for the memories.

2012- here we go!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Enjoying The Best Days (Resolution #4)

I feel like I'm living some of the best days right now.

It's not perfect- but life shouldn't be, I've decided. But these days... they're really, really good.

I feel like I'm on the cusp of change; professionally, personally. There are moments I'm living out now, things I'm planning in 2012 that I know are and will be once-in-a-lifetime, and for that... I'm so thankful, so blessed, so happy.

So I'm taking my time. Today, this perfect, beautiful day off, I'm slowly drinking my blueberry tea latte and reading blogs. I'm letting the temperature tick up just a few more notches before I take my beautiful new bike on it's inaugural ride around Tulsa.


I spent the past week spending time with family, catching up with old friends, making plans with new friends. Game nights, coffee dates, lunch breaks, drinks by the river and dinner with dear ones. What a good, good life.

So you can see why I'm in no hurry to speed through these resolutions of mine for 2012; it's hard to think about the future when life in the present is so sweet!

I have my resolutions in a certain order to blog about (surprised, anyone?) but for today, this pretty day with lots of thankfulness in the air, I'm skipping ahead a few resolutions.

Resolution #4: Have A "Me" Day As Often As Possible

That resolution seemed fitting today. Because it's the days you don't have to hurry, hurry, hurry that you have time to reflect on all of the wonderful, good things in life.



I want to do more of that in 2012. I want to remove myself from my "duties"- if just for a day- and spend a little time on the couch. A lot of time outside, running or biking. Have a mid-day mimosa with a friend or just spend some quiet time thanking God for all of it.

I am ending the year with waaaay too many un-used vacation days. That's OK; I wanted and needed to immerse myself in work in 2011. I was licking my wounds, so to speak, after a tough end to 2010. And it was a good thing; I learned a lot about myself in a work environment, grew into my roles in the office. I picked up a freelance project or two and I started the long, steady, uphill climb to making my professional dreams come true.

And in 2012, I want a day- every now and again- to re-center, to enjoy life, to enjoy the perks of working so hard.


With a struggling economy and a single income, it's hard at times to justify those days off. Work hard, and harder still, becomes the mantra.

So taking those days won't come easily to me; but I will do it nonetheless.

Because I'm living some of the best days right now- and I don't want to miss a second of it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Outdoor Entertainment (Resolution #3)

The countdown to 2012 is officially on! I somehow have been... tricked? coerced?... into entertaining a few people, so I will spend the next few days in house-prep mode. Cleaning, stocking, liquoring, decorating.

That's the best part about having a house; entertaining.

I've decided not to become particularly OCD about entertaining. (Shocking for me, I know.) A house is just floors and walls and paint; but a home is memories and warmth. This house had 65 years worth of memories before I moved in; who am I to bring that to an end? I love having my tiny house full to the brim with friends and family. Laughter. Good food. Wine.

Even when that wine- red, of course- ends up on my new burlap table runner that I adore.

Actually, when I think about it- I usually stop "entertaining" moments after guests arrive. I make sure they see the food and drink, I take their coat, I point them to the various wings of the house (ahem- Kitchen. Bedroom. Bathroom. The end!) and then we all just enjoy each other's company.

That's my favorite part- the enjoying.

This house lets me enjoy. I can curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee; take a nap in the guest room. I can dance in my kitchen and drink a glass of wine on my back porch.

Which brings me to resolution #3:

Spruce up my backyard and start a garden!

I've spent a lot of time working on my house this year... and in 2012, I'm taking it all outdoors.

New patio furniture. Extended deck? Vegetable garden in far left corner.

I'm taking inspiration from The Pioneer Woman's raised vegetable garden. Surely I can grow the necessary ingredients to make my own salsa?!

It may be a silly resolution- but one I'm going to try my hardest to tackle.

And in 2012, we'll enjoy each other's company outdoors!

A Cinco de Mayo party with fresh salsa... now that's a resolution I can stick to.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Surprises & Blessings

Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas!

This has been one of my favorite Christmases to date. I probably say that every year- but we have had such a great few days together as a family.

Six Flags with the siblings... candlelight Christmas Eve service... good food & wine... lots of games... gifts, of course.

One gift being...


.... a "new to me" bike!!

Yes, for those of you following... this was the bike I contemplated buying a few months back. The one I decided to "pass" on for the time being so I could save my moolah.

The bike everyone surprised me with!

I am beyond thankful and happy and excited! I took it for a test ride yesterday... and I can't wait to bring it back to Tulsa and start training for the next triathlon!



Of course Maizy hasn't had it too rough while we've been in Plano. She has had lots of play time with her grandparents, aunt and uncles, ribbons and bows and paper galore. Spoiled much? (Guess I'm one to talk!)

It's been so wonderful to have a few days of much needed down-time. I have eaten too much, laughed too hard and been as lazy as possible- and loved every second of it.

Tonight is our last night together on "Christmas break." (Pesky work!) We're going to see a movie, play another game or two and enjoy being together.

I'll continue my resolutions for 2012 this week; but for today, I'm fully living in the now!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Adventure (Resolution #2)

I've noticed something as I get older.

Yeah, I know- 27 isn't exactly a ripe old age to reflect on lessons learned. But, here's what I know.

As I get older, my gut reflex is to be cautious.

I save extra spending money. I am careful with my heart. I weigh my adventures wisely and thoroughly. I think things through, make lists, analyze the pros and cons. I do a lot of praying- and even when every part of my being says "jump!"- my instinct is to stay on the shore.

It's nice and warm on the shore. And the drinks have umbrellas!

That's not to say I'm always cautious. I have been known to throw caution to the wind a time or two. In fact, I pride myself in following my gut & speaking my mind.

But what about adventure? What about dreaming big and living large?

In 2012, I want adventure. I have some bigger adventures planned; but I have a few very tangible, smaller adventures in mind, too.

And THAT brings me right back to my list of resolutions!

Resolution #2: Go Camping!

Yes, camping! I went as a girl scout. And I vividly remember camping in a friend's backyard at a birthday party once.

My dad came to pick me up halfway through the night.

And I do get scared of pitch black dark and bugs.

But! All these things aside, I want to go camping!
With my new "sporty" attitude in place (ahem) I think the idea of hiking, biking, pitching a tent and braving a night in the great outdoors sounds like just the exciting (and affordable!) adventure I'm after.

I've found a willing group. And we've scouted out a few desirable locations.
I'm in need of a tent (this North Face seems my speed)... and probably a new flashlight.

So let the camping commence!

(And let there be plenty of pre-cooked food!)

(And a bottle of wine or two!)

Adventure + the great outdoors. What could go wrong? :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fit For Battle (Resolution #1)

As this week wraps up, I find myself more & more eager and anxious to be home with my family.

It's been a tough week. Shouldn't the week before Christmas be easy? Everyone in a festive mood, work projects low priority, thankfulness abounding?

Even our beloved family cat Belle ran away for a brief period of time today! But she returned, so all is well.

Oh well- it's not about how we feel, but about the reason for it all, right? When you put it in perspective, it all fades away in light of the glorious gift we received Christmas so many years ago.

On that (lighter) note- let's talk resolutions!

I'm officially kicking off my "12 Resolutions for 2012" and I'm starting with...

....drum roll please...

Resolution #1: Complete A Race Every Quarter


Fitness has become a huge priority for me this year. I found that when I started working out regularly- not only did I lose the pounds I started to begrudge but I also saw instant health benefits. My stress level become lower. My breathing, easier. I felt lighter in general- better able to maneuver the ups & downs of life.



I started to crave the rush of endorphins I felt following a good run, a challenging bike ride or a refreshing swim. Training for a sprint triathlon allowed me to challenge myself in ways I never imagined. Truly- the memories of the day I purchased a helmet and swim cap will forever live with me- first and foremost because this fair-skinned, red-headed non-athlete was, finally, an official athlete.


So in 2012, I want to commit to a race every quarter. So far, I have two lined up: The Indoor Whole Person Sprint Triathlon in January; and the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon in May.

And dual training for those races at the moment? Challenging. But in the best way possible.

Challenges will always come our way- even the week before Christmas. It's how we handle it that matters.

And when I feel healthy & fit- as I hope to in 2012- I feel ready to tackle any challenge that comes my way.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011: A Year In Review

OK... I made a liar out of myself.

I was supposed to do a 2011 resolutions recap yesterday...  and begin by "12 Resolutions for 2012" today.

But life got in the way- a blah Monday, need I say more?- and everything got pushed back a day.

Today is a NEW day... and we're going to recap some resolutions from 2011!

As I said the other day, I am a believer that resolutions aren't meant to define us, or confine us, or make us feel like failures. It's just a healthy way to launch a new year with some great goals in mind. I was successful in many of my goals; and I am carrying a few of the important ones into 2012 with me.

Warning: This is a long post. There are many links. But it's a great "year-in-review"- so enjoy!

I'm sad to say I did not find a permanent church home this year. I attended numerous church services, but didn't quite find the right "fit." I'm discovering I might be a bit too picky on the church front; so I'm opening my heart a bit in 2012 with a full list of new churches to try out. (2012 spoiler alert!)

I am happy to say I did grow tremendously in my relationship with the Lord this year. I found a deeper peace & sense of joy this year than I've known in a long time. My dreams have new life, my fears have less weight. I could go on and on about this wonderful relationship- but I think if you've read my blog this year, the proof is in the pudding- er, writing.

I traveled to San Diego this year with my mom & sister in tow! We had a fantastic trip; just the vacation I needed. I also learned a lot, as I attended the BlogHer convention. Next year? A few more trips on the books! (2012 spoiler alert #2!)


While I did not run the Tulsa Run due to a conflict, I did reach my goal weight! 15 pounds lighter this year than last. Swimming, biking, running... oh my! Again, it's all in the blog, folks. :)


OH boy, did I follow through on this one. I was honored to produce a second variety show- "Show & Tell With Peter Bedgood"- in March. I produced an excellent event called "Tulsa Plus" in July. And I started a freelance project- "True Blue" in January. In fact, we are celebrating our one-year anniversary of teaming up in just a few weeks with the premiere of a show we've been working on all year! Details to come!

My financial goals are a continuous work in progress. I'm proud to say I re-started a 401K this year and I made several sound financial decisions.

No and No. But there's always next year...!

This will always be a priority. This year, I watched my youngest brother graduate high school. I took tequila shots with my dad & co-workers. I traveled with my mom & sister. I proudly watched my other brother anchor a sportscast every Friday night. Those are just a few highlights- but nothing matters more than the O'Donnell Six.

I've learned a lot about friendship in 2011. There were ups and downs, but as I get older- I worry less about how many friends I have and more about how many true friends are supporting me. Those are the people I will always give 100% to.


Check and check- and oh so proud! My edits might be... ahem, rough... but I can do it! I can splice, dice and make your videos look nice! (HA.)


This became less important to me as the year progressed; although I still find history fascinating and I'm always willing to learn more about writing technique, I find myself perfectly content to use Google. :)


Many parties were thrown in this house this year! Late-night brainstorm meetings over red wine, backyard cocktails in the Spring, pre-parties before big events. I am so thankful for this little piece of heaven I get to call home- and not just because it's a fantastic place to entertain!


I always strive to do this. If I can find it locally- or homemade- I'm all over it!


Ah, yes. Play the movie forward. It took me the first few months of 2011 to get going on this one. But finding Maizy, a nice date (or two), a slew of new projects and a lot of faith forced me forward. And now, I'm willingly going that direction.


Resolution #15: Hurry Up & Slow Down
Couldn't we all stand to do this more? I am ending the year with over 20 un-used vacation days! I am going to stay... this might be a carry-over resolution, in more ways than one!

There you have it! 2011- a great year in review. Join me tomorrow as I kick off my new resolutions for 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Comfort and Joy

Happy Sunday before Christmas!

This time next week, the O'Donnell family will be in full Christmas mode. We'll be well-rested after a Christmas Eve of music and candlelight at church, cream cheese clam dip at home afterwards. We'll wake Christmas morning and line up at the top of the stairs- youngest to oldest. We'll stumble downstairs in a tradition as old as our house to open presents, eat egg casserole. Spend the day celebrating the birth of our savior and the gift of family.

What a precious day. Hurry up, Christmas!

I have been SO absent lately- I know. This week was busy like no other! Between Christmas get-togethers, meeting up with new friends, working on my freelance project, fixing homemade dinners, Christmas shopping, squeezing in a couple of runs- and a little thing called work-there just weren't enough hours in the week.

But! I come with good news of great joy! (HA.)

Starting Tuesday, December 20th... I kick off my "12 Resolutions for 2012!" Tomorrow, I plan to do a recap of my 2011 resolutions- the successes and failures- and then we'll kick off a fresh new batch of resolutions for the coming year.

I personally love resolutions. Like goals, they motivate me and challenge me. If I don't succeed- I don't beat myself up. But it's nice to have a vision for yourself over a 12 month period. Do you have resolutions? Why or why not?

Lately, I've had a real sense of "everything is as it should be." I feel that way about my job, about my relationships. I feel that way about my finances and what I believe God is speaking into my heart. Just a complete sense of calm- that life is marching forward just as it should. A true sense of comfort and joy, so to speak.

Part of it is the season. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of a baby that saved the world. Comfort and joy takes on a whole new meaning when you let that story soak in.

Another part of it is just knowing- and accepting- that a great year of change is coming. I can feel it.

2011 was a year of stabilization. The things that rocked my world in 2010 were memories of the past; 2011 allowed me to regroup, find a new rhythm.

I think 2012 will bring a lot of change; but for once, I'm ready.

Whether we make resolutions or not, whether we enter a year of great change or a year that allows us to regroup- we have the ultimate gift of comfort and joy that we received that night so long ago.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

To Do, To Don't, To Try

Have you ever had a week that went by so quickly- but the events of the week seem like they happened a year ago?

That's what happened to me this week. Last weekend was Bedlam; it was a sweet 1-year-old birthday party. And I tell ya- those two events could have happened 8 months ago.

In the past seven days, I...

*Had a delicious girls' night Italian dinner
*Had my review at work
*Had a nice sushi dinner with a cute guy
*Went to my work Christmas party
*Held a newborn baby for 3 hours
*Braved the mall
*Ran many miles, biked many miles

Whew! Maybe that accounts for the shortage of blog posts?

I read this article by Michael Hyatt this week on the art of "trying" to do something.

He says, whatever that "something" is- either do it. Or don't do it. But don't just try.

At first read, that article stressed me out. It's hard to commit 100% to something. It's intimidating to go full force ahead into anything- whether it's committing to run a half marathon or test the waters of a new relationship.

But then the alternative- don't do it. That phrase rarely enters my thought process. I hate feeling like I didn't give something my all- or that I quit too early, possibly disappointing someone else- or myself. Ugh, quit- that word really is a tough one.

But on second read, the article was freeing. If you commit to something 100%- and you fail- you didn't really fail. You gave it your all.

And if you decide not to give something 100%- you decide it's not worth any percentage, actually- you're not failing. You're just deciding it's not something that adds to your life.

I'd argue that trying isn't all that bad. He gives a few examples... like are you trying to fix your marriage? Or are you fixing your marriage?

OK, I'll give him that one. But there are many things I try to do every day. I try to blog every day. I try to exercise every day. I try to have quiet time every day.

Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn't. It's not a failure in my book either way; it's the heart behind it that matters.

In my opinion? Let's do what we want and need to do to be happy. Let's not do the things that make us unhappy. And let's try to find some middle ground, too- because we're all just human.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Inspiration

Wow... what a weekend! Birthday parties, long runs, plenty of couch time, several Blueberry Tea Lattes and a few surprises mixed in there. December is certainly shaping up to be an interesting month- and if I say so myself, a great way to wrap up 2011- a truly great year!

Tonight, I had a meeting for my freelance project and it hit me just how great his year was. I was sitting there over a glass of wine, chatting with my "client" (who I should really just call a dear friend) and I was struck by life's blessings.

This year could have been really difficult. But instead, it was full of surprises. Mainly, I surprised myself- in the best ways possible. I am so thankful for 2011; what a great year to reflect on.

This weekend, I started working on 2012 resolutions. Like last year, I am going to blog about my 12 resolutions for 2012, a "12 days of Christmas" blog special. I also want to share how my 2011 resolutions shaped up.

Hey, reflection is good for everyone!

Tonight, I want to share an article by Brian Klems I loved this week- 7 quotes from great writers. These inspired me this week, and reaffirmed yesterday's post on writing and blogging.

I especially like #5 by JK Rowling; I think it's inspiring for both writers and bloggers.

1.
“Oftentimes an originator of new language forms is called ‘pretentious’ by jealous talents. But it ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”
—Jack Kerouac

2.
“[The writer] has to be the kind of man who turns the world upside down and says, lookit, it looks different, doesn’t it?”
—Morris West

3.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
—Harper Lee

4.
“The only obligation any artist can have is to himself. His work means nothing, otherwise. It has no meaning.”
—Truman Capote

5.
“In truth, I never consider the audience for whom I’m writing. I just write what I want to write.”
—J.K. Rowling

6.
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King

7.
“I think I succeeded as a writer because I did not come out of an English department. I used to write in the chemistry department. And I wrote some good stuff. If I had been in the English department, the prof would have looked at my short stories, congratulated me on my talent, and then showed me how Joyce or Hemingway handled the same elements of the short story. The prof would have placed me in competition with the greatest writers of all time, and that would have ended my writing career.”
—Kurt Vonnegut


Hope those quotes give all of you bloggers a bit of inspiration this week!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blog Challenge Recap

Two days without posting- and I've missed it!

After completing my 30 days of blogging challenge Wednesday (and thank you for all of the sweet notes!) I decided to take a couple of days "off." I didn't commit to how many days off, because I hate that- saying "I need approximately 5 days off from blogging starting now."

So after two days, here I am- back in action. Rested and ready to go!

Throughout this blog journey, I kept a running list of things I learned about the writing/blogging process as I went along. As competitive as I am (once I commit to something, I'm in, no matter what!) I also wanted to learn something, too- I wanted to become a better writer and blogger out of the whole experience.

I say writing and blogging because I think there's a tiny distinction between the two. More on that in a minute.

First, I want to share a quick "state of the union," so to speak. What's up in my world.

*I have yet to decorate for Christmas (today? tomorrow?)
*I am obsessed with Blueberry Tea Latte at QuickTrip
*I LOVE running in the cold, cold weather; bike riding is a different story!
*My late winter/spring is already shaping up with half marathons, projects, trips and showers... oh my!

A quick snapshot of my life at the moment. Now, onto those blog lessons!  Here's what I wrote down during the last 30 days of daily blogging:

-Blog before wine

-Daily blogging is more than just a recap of your day; it’s research & time commitment

-Adding value to other people’s lives- via articles, links, etc.- builds followers

-Engaging in other people’s blogs & lives builds followers

-Building followers is not the end goal

-I am a writer who blogs; this means, I want to write great content

-Sometimes you have no motivation; blog anyways

-Blogging is like doing a sprint tri: you have to put all of the pieces together before the big race

-Finding daily inspiration is key (exercising, reading, TV, prayer, etc.)

-Write for yourself, what interests you

-Writing a day/weekend recap is OK, too

There you have it! My running conversation with myself on daily blogging.

As you can see, I started this project thinking... I hope I gain more followers!

And I ended this project saying... I'm doing this for me.

More on that blogger vs. writer thing: To me, a writer is someone who puts together an educated piece on something. I could be fact or fiction- but there's an element of research to it. A blogger, to me, is someone who writes for herself, and who writes to commune with her followers, and who shares pieces of her thoughts and life with people.

Out of this experience, I felt the need to grow as both a writer and blogger. I want to write thought-provoking things, funny things, personal things. I want to share my passions with the world- whether that's through a well-crafted blog post or a simple picture.

I came to have such a huge appreciation for Lindsay's Lounge. This platform allows me to grow as a writer, a blogger- and a person, too. It's a megaphone for my life.

THANK YOU for reading and commenting and following! My dedication to this little piece of my world has never been greater.

Enjoy your day! I'm off to tackle those Christmas decorations...

or maybe just hunt down a Blueberry Tea Latte instead. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goals Achieved

Wow, I can't believe it's here!

As of this blog post, I have officially published 30 blog posts... in 30 days. One for each day of November. The BlogHer NaBloPoMo challenge is complete.

To be honest, I'm sad. I really enjoyed this challenge. I savored the fact that I made a commitment to my blog- one I had to keep every day- and I made it a priority.

That's the best part about setting a goal; maybe you aren't competing with anyone but yourself, but it's a challenge nonetheless. You've committed to something, and you're going to see it through.

I find that I thrive on goals. Whether it's in the fitness department (a sprint triathlon in January? Let's add a potential half marathon in February to the mix!) in the spiritual department (a daily devotional keeps me on track) or in my professional work life (checklists are my life)- I love to set goals.

I'm finding every day it's OK to be flexible with those goals; in fact, I think that's an essential ingredient to healthy goal-making. You must acknowledge that you aren't perfect, and if you can't run 13 miles (some days even 1 mile is a killer!) or finish that Bible study or check off everything on "the list" in a day- it's OK. We're only human.

But when you've crossed something off the list, or run that 3 mile stretch that seems so impossible when you start out, the sense of accomplishment, the sense of a goal achieved, gives you the biggest rush and thrill.

This NaBloPoMo challenge was my half marathon, my daily devotional, my checklist and so many other things all rolled into one. It was a goal; a commitment; a priority; and now, a success.

Thanks for reading! Thanks for being a part of my journey.

Throughout the course of this challenge, I kept a running list of "lessons learned" by blogging every day. Tune in tomorrow for my thoughts!

In the meantime, set a goal for yourself for tomorrow. Even if it's to take 5 minutes of time for yourself; goals come in all shapes and sizes and are equally important.

There aren't always medals at the end- but completing a goal, no matter how big or small- is such a sweet victory.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Crayon Box

Today, I officially added a new color to my box of crayons.

The name?

"Social Media Savvy."

OK, a bit over the top. But let me explain.

I currently manage Facebook and Twitter for my company and our parent company. I also manage YouTube accounts for both. On the side, I manage FB & TW (Twitter, duh) for my freelance project.

And sometimes, when there's time, I like to Facebook and Tweet on my personal accounts, too.

WHEW! That's a lot of coloring.

Today, I merged all of those onto one fabulous platform, Hootsuite, for better management and efficiency.

And with that "stroke" of genius (go with the coloring theme) my life became ten times easier. I became not just good at social media, but social media savvy.

And it's a glorious color, let me tell you.

 I love social media; it's my one-stop-shop for news, interesting articles to read, Bible versus to reflect on, a chance to see what my friends are up to and an opportunity to network with my peers.

Don't worry; I think one-on-one communication is always the way to go. It's like the red crayon- always necessary in a box.

 But move over green, yellow and blue- social media savvy is the new primary color.

Not just according to me- but to Craig Leavitt, CEO of Kate Spade, as well.

Talk about color!

Kate Spade has always been a bright place- and their Facebook campaign is no different. They get it.

I found a few quotes from Mr. Leavitt especially insightful:

"In terms of investment, it’s in human resources. We have young people who live and breathe social media and are immersed in it every minute of every day. We allow them to lead and trust them in this space."

"The Kate Spade girl aspires to lead an interesting life — to engage in the arts and literature and travel and adventure. We talk about those things on social media because that’s who she is, and she wants to hear about what her peers are doing."

 
"I also think that [social media] is a unique space, and you have got to make sure the people who are most connected, the ones who access it every day, are empowered to be leaders in this environment. Often they are the youngest members of a team."

Isn't that great?! First of all, I love the "Kate Spade Girl"- who loves art and literature and travel and adventure. That's a great way to tackle social media; determining the "voice" behind the post/tweet.

I also love his thoughts on your social media savvy being the young members of a team- invested in all things web- but vitally important. It gives me confidence in what I'm doing on the social media sphere.

Being a producer once meant- very simply- putting together a show. You had an editor, a director, an audio director, a graphics department, talent, and a "web person" to help you out. That's what made your team, your box of crayons, so to speak.
 
Today, a producer needs to be able to do it all. I can't do all of it well; ask my colleagues about the videos I've "edited" I make them sit through.
 
I don't always stay in the lines; that's never been my style.
 
And I certainly know my strengths and weaknesses.
 
But I can edit. I can write. I can manage audio and help design graphics. I can switch a show. And now, I can add social media savvy to my box of crayons.
 
... Just don't ask me to host anything. Every box has its limits.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Momentum

Do you ever feel like if you sit down... you just won't get back up? At least for several hours, if not an entire day?

I had one of those days today. Not because it was a bad day; it was actually a surprisingly nice post-Thanksgiving back-to-work day.

But I arrived at work at 6:15am... and never stopped. Until about an hour and a half ago, when I crashed on my couch.

In all honesty- it was really a struggle to get up and locate my laptop in the kitchen to write this post.

Here's the rundown:

*Early work (in the studio by 6:15am)
*Produce all morning
*Doctor's appointment
*7-mile bike ride
*Grocery store
*Turkey Tacos for dinner (because defrosting turkey later in the week is too much effort; fresh from the store is better.)

It makes me think a bit about momentum. How we can be rolling along through a day- or even a season- of life, going going going, without taking a breather. And then you sit down... and the air whooshes out of you like a balloon and you're down for the count.

Lately, I've been reminding myself to appreciate each day for what it is. For who I am, today. For the friendships I have at this moment. For the job I have, for health, for safety. There have been times I get so caught up in the future that I forget to just enjoy the now.

So even though there are days we need momentum to keep us going (seriously, I took a brief nap in the shower earlier) I always want to remember to stop and appreciate the day. Big and small moments. Good and bad things. Momentum can only carry us so far before we become immune to life's best and worst moments. They all need to be absorbed. Days, moments, seconds always need to be reflected on.

If that time of reflection happens over a mid-morning cup of coffee... or a bike ride... or in the shower... or during an hour or two curled up on the couch, momentum at a complete standstill... all the better.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Parking Lot Lesson

Ah, home!

It's so nice to be back in Tulsa. I love being in Plano with my family- but as I mentioned yesterday, I love being in my house, too. There's always a nice sigh of relief when you pull up and the house is still intact. No earthquakes, tornados or gusty winds tore it away!

Because, we all know that's completely possible in Oklahoma.

When I got home, I ran up to Petsmart. I was at a standstill in the parking lot (it's right next door to Best Buy, which is packed from here until Christmas) and there were a lot of cars, people, etc. milling about; I was at a standstill until I could pull into a parking space.

An older gentleman was offended that I was "paused" on the crosswalk- and decided to make his point by ramming his shopping cart into my car.

We had an unpleasant exhange of words in the parking lot- to which I told him he was the "rudest person I'd ever met."

A real zinger, huh?

I drove away seething mad, with a million coulda-woulda-shoulda's. Should have screamed "Happy Holidays" accompanied by a rude gesture. Should have taken a picture of his license plate. Should have cursed him out. Should have continued yelling in the parking lot like the lunatic I'm sure I appeared to be.

Obviously, this would all have ended with zero satisfaction. It was a blessing in disguise that he drove away when he did, leaving me red-faced and furious- because I could have said some hateful things I would have later regretted.

It made me think how the holidays really do bring out the best and worst in people. Some people find joy in every Christmas song on the radio, every line at the mall, every candy-cane mouthed child they come across.

Others become scrooges, shaking their fists at the lines, turning off the radio, scowling at small children.

And ramming shopping carts into cars.

I felt myself become a scrooge of sorts myself after the shopping cart incident. I was completely impatient the rest of my drive home, whizzing around slow drivers at lightning speed. Christmas music took a sour edge. I decided today was not the day for the tree to take it's place in my house. And I thought to myself, we have a month of this left to go!

'Tis the season. It's important to remember, as we kick off December this week, what "the holidays" are all about.

Some of us will remember while listening to carols on the radio; others of us will be reminded by the echoing sound of shopping cart slamming into beautiful, silver (and freshly washed, I might add) Volvo.

But the lessons are all around us. Some are rejoicing this time of year, others are hurting. I'll say a special prayer for those hurting tonight, who find so little joy this time of year.

It's easy to become indignant and righteous and feel like we need to make a point when things don't go our way. But at the end of the day, it does no good. Being kind and being forgiving- that's what it's all about.

A bit of chipped paint on the car is well worth the lesson that came with it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Home Times Two

It's my last night in Plano.

It's always hard when my time in Plano wraps up- especially when it includes time with my favorite people, delicious food, great cocktails- and many blessings. I'm sitting here on my parents' couch, watching SNL with my dad (asleep in his chair) and just soaking in my last night. No matter how old I get, it's so hard to leave home.

But I have to say- I'm excited to head to my home tomorrow. It's sad to say goodbye, but it's also nice to have that feeling of missing home. I can't wait to see my little house, decorate for Christmas, let Maizy run around her own house, rediscover her favorite spots.

And even though the past few days have been non-stop crazy busy, I feel rested and renewed. It's so wonderful to spend a few days out of your routine.

And, that's saying a lot, for someone who needs a routine.

I ran different routes than usual. Drank mom & dad's coffee. Ate giant meals, surrounded by family, not worrying about how many calories I was consuming. Checked Twitter/Facebook/Blogs just once (or a couple- but no more!) times a day. Saw Breaking Dawn. Went to dinner with a friend. Ran the Turkey Trot. Played Mario Party with my siblings. Took a nap on my parents' couch.

So as I sit here on that very couch, it's nice to know that in just a few short weeks, I'll be back for Christmas- for more favorite people, delicious food, great cocktails- and more blessings. And another nap or two on this very couch.

But in the meantime, I'm looking forward to running on my trail; brewing a cup of my coffee; sleeping in my bed; and appreciating that I have two very special places to call home.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Maizy's Thanksgiving

I have so much to blog about!

Like, how much food I've eaten over the past 3 days.

Or how I'm dreading a bridesmaid dress fitting tomorrow after 3 said days of eating.

But you know who's having the best time of all?



This girl.

Maizy's Thanksgiving holiday includes:

*terrorizing my sister & I (sharing a room) every night
*her favorite- breakfast
*running up the stairs and downstairs
*her second favorite- dinner
*sleeping on my sister's head
*lots of visitors (all for her, of course)
*taking daily naps with my sister (do you see a theme here?)
*looking out the window




We're having a great getaway.

Maizy has never been more spoiled and loved on than she has the past three days. And we still have another day and night to go!

She is going to have serious withdrawls when we get back to Tulsa.

So am I; after eating five meals a day, my pre-Christmas "diet" is going to be a rude awakening.

Oh well. We still have one more day and night- and we're going to enjoy it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Progression of Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are enjoying a day with friends, family- and a lot of food.

Or just a wonderful day of solitude, reflecting on your blessings.

Here in Plano... we're having pie!


You start with a delicious filling of apples, cinnamon, lemon and lime juices, sugar and flour.  You roll out two perfect discs of dough... one for the bottom, one for the top.


You lay your second disc of dough on top of your filling... and cut out festive fall leaf shapes.


And you bake it to perfection... ready for guests to enjoy. With a giant scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Our guests will soon arrive... and we will feast on turkey, broccoli cheese casserole, mashed potatoes (sweet and regular), green bean casserole and fruit ambrosia.

But most of all, we will laugh and enjoy each other's company, recounting all of our blessings of 2011!

Over a big slice of homemade apple pie, of course.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Intentional Living

Tonight, the whole family loaded up into the car and headed to church for a special Thanksgiving Eve service.

My dad plays guitar in the church band- so we went to hear the music, listen to a sermon, see old friends, and of course- give thanks.

We also spend a good amount of time with a severe case of the giggles, due in part to our constant need to harmonize every song and hymn we sing. That's a story for another post.

The sermon wasn't standard; you would think the focus would be on giving thanks- and in a roundabout way, it was.

But instead, Father David talked about the gift we all have of knowing we have a Father who is orchestrating the events in our lives. It's not coincidence. The things we experience- both good and bad- are all bringing us into closer fellowship with God.

That's a huge thing to be thankful for- that we have a God who is constantly seeking a relationship with us.

Messages like that always hit home for me- especially sitting in a pew with my entire family.

The blessings we are surrounded with are no accident; it's not coincidence.

Tomorrow, I will give thanks for a lot of things. But most of all, the fact that God has a very intentional plan for my life- and I have so much hope for how that plan will unfold, what my role will be... and how it will all continue to play out for many Thanksgivings to come.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Festivities Begin

We packed up the car and hit the road for the holiday.

You know... THE holiday.

Thanksgiving!

And this is how we celebrated upon arrival:


Well, just me that is. Maizy's too young for martinis.

Here's to a great week with family, food... and a martini or two!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rescue

We all go through seasons in life where we sink or swim.

As I get older, I'm seeing we all have times where we're swimming into the waves, strong and steady, no fear of sinking. And then there are the days we need a life raft just to stay afloat in calm waters.

I've been so blessed the past year to find my "life raft" in a number of ways- family, friends, faith, exercise, creativity, a new kitten, a new house. These things all came floating into my life just when I needed a bit of rescuing.

Yesterday, I started swimming again as I train for a sprint triathlon in January. I love swimming. I love drowning out all outside noise, sinking myself into the water and stroking my way across the pool. I feel so powerful when I'm swimming; it's kind of an out-of-body thing. I don't really see myself from a birds eye view when I'm running or biking- but when I'm swimming, I do.

In a triathlon, the swim portion always comes first. Maybe that's because they don't want you to exhaust yourself biking and running before jumping in a pool. They don't want you to sink.

I'm a strong swimmer- and I'm currently swimming into the current, unfazed. I'm tackling new challenges, pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I'm happy and content. I'm jumping into the deep end, and I'm not sinking.

It's so hard watching someone who is sinking, struggling to keep their head above water; in fact, it feels like you're on a life raft watching the Titanic go down.

It's in these moments you realize you have to be a life raft to someone else.

I have let certain friendships drift away, because that person is incapable of getting out of the life boat. They don't reach out a hand, or come to the rescue.

I have been rescued before. And today I'm jumping into the deep end.  

Because I can, because I'm strong enough to. And because I'm ready to do some rescuing back.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple Thanks

The week of Thanksgiving is finally here! Just two quick days of work, then Maizy and I will pack up the car and head to Plano, Texas to eat turkey with the family.

We have big plans this year. Church on Wednesday night for a special service (my dad will be playing guitar); Turkey Trot bright and early Thursday morning; of course, a delicious day of feasting and thankfulness; shopping and Breaking Dawn Friday.

If I have any say about it, there will also be about 15 games of Scrabble squeezed in there.

My mom has gotten really into "beading" this year- and she makes some pretty cute jewelry, I might add. A few months ago, she pulled out some of my nanny's (mom's mom) pearls- and this week, all of the girls in the family- my mom, sister, aunt & cousins- are going to make some new jewelry out of her pearls. Great idea, huh?

I can't wait to be surrounded by family, food and fun.

So much to be thankful for.

In the meantime, I enjoyed a low-key weekend. Lots of sleeping for this girl- early bed time both nights, napped yesterday afternoon, slept in this morning. I guess my body needs it after those early days last week.

Today, I cleaned my house top to bottom; there's nothing better than coming home, after spending a few days away, to a clean house. Plus, it will be ready for Christmas decorations next Sunday!

I also went for a swim (600m) in a pool as warm as bathwater. The Indoor Whole Person Sprint Triathlon is just two months away; training officially kicks into high gear!

I'm wrapping up this cold, lazy afternoon by tackling some scripts for a series of commercials for my client (wow, client- what a word!) with a chai tea latte in hand.

This post has no deep thoughts behind it today, no underlying message. No articles to reference, no pictures to discuss. Just a recap of my day, my weekend, and my thoughts on the week to come.

It's nice to put it all on paper, to look at all of the little and big things we do in a day.

So much to be thankful for- simple thanks.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Flexibility

When I was in high school, I was on the dance team- the Plano West Senior High School "Royales"!

Every Friday night at the football game, we did a halftime performance. These routines ranged from poms to streamers to props (ladders, fences, etc.) to hoop-la's.

If you've never seen a Texas drill team performance at half-time, you probably have no idea what a "hoop-la" routine is! (Picture giant round circles adorned with shiny strips of ribbon, flying in the air during a dance routine.)

We had a certain number of dances we would rotate through week by week- one being the kick routine. The kick routine was always pretty intense. It required a lot of stretching (we had to kick our sequined hats) and usually included a jump split or a split contagion of some kind.

I was never good at the splits. I was terrible, actually. It took extreme amounts of stretching on my end to make it happen. I even have a hamstring muscle that acts up every now and then- I'm convinced the result of a jump split gone wrong.

But as I've started to run more frequently and for longer distances, I've noticed my flexibility has improved greatly. I stretch every day- whether I'm going for a walk or a bike ride or a run. I've noticed I can touch my toes easier than ever. I've noticed my palms touch the ground when I bend over. I've seen positive results from stretching- from working out kinks in my muscles to overcoming lingering aches and pains.

Stretching- and flexibility- has become as important to my fitness routine as running.

Ironically, I'm not a particularly flexible person- not just physically, but characteristically.

Some may call it bossy, others call it stubborn. I just think I have a passionate personality.

Case in point: my business? Broadcasting auctions on the Internet so people can bid on properties across the country.

Before a big auction, I produce a 20 minute "pre-show" to educate viewers on the properties up for bid, how the bidding process works, etc.

Think of it like Sports Center; the pre-show before the big game.

I put days worth of work into this pre-show. I carefully write a script. I select videos to air during this time- many of which I have helped produce. I have a vision in my head of how I want this educational, entertaining show to go before the auction begins.

And if anything happens to mess that up- an auction begins early or late is the usual culprit in my business- it really sends me into a tizzy.

I say, I refuse to cut out of this video early because it will mess up my show.

They say, auction is our business. Deal.

I never handle these moments with grace. I fight tooth and nail until I realize the big picture is to broadcast the auction. The pre-show is extremely important; but the auction is the star.  So I begrudgingly cut my pre-show short.

And then the inevitable post-show recap: you need to be more flexible.

It's a definite weakness of mine. I'm stubborn. I'm passionate. I'm determined- and I'm not always right.

Flexibility doesn't happen because someone tells you it needs to be so. I can't suddenly become more flexible anymore than I can pop into a jump split at a moments notice.

But with practice- stretching my muscles, taking deep breaths, looking at the big picture and the end result- I know it's possible.

I know I can step back and look at what's best for the show as a whole; a growing moment as a producer.

Flexibility takes time and work, but it's always worth it. 

But no matter how flexible I become... I make no promises on the jump split.
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