Sunday, February 8, 2015

One Day At a Time

February. My least favorite month. And not just because my husband sucks at Valentine's Day.

February is traditionally the last full-blooded month of all-out winter. It just sounds like winter- "March" has a totally different vibe than "February". And where I live, February means it's the fourth month of cold and dark. Four months of getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark. Four months of spending the vast majority of the time indoors and covered up from toes to nose. Four months of cold hands, cold feet, and blowing the hair dryer under my shirt to try and get warm.

February is kind of like the last leg of a race, or the last few hours of an all-day road trip towards a vacation destination. You know there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it seems like you are never going to get there.

I struggle with keeping physically and emotionally motivated this time of year. All I want to do is crawl in bed and read a book or watch movies. I don't want to get out of my flannel sheets and fleece pajamas. My skin is extremely dry because I don't want to spend the extra time being cold and naked in the bathroom to put on lotion. I mean, the truth of the matter is I know that my hair dryer will reach over to where I sit on the toilet...

But earlier this week, I caught a glimpse of something I hadn't seen before work for quite some time. It wasn't the actual sun, but yet there was definitely a hint of sunrise beginning to show. Sure enough, as I paid closer attention throughout the rest of the week, I noticed that it wasn't quite as dark in the mornings and evenings as I traveled to and from work.

In fact, I have discovered that we are getting about 2 more minutes of light each day. Two minutes doesn't seem like a whole lot, but have you ever tried to do Plank for two minutes? It definitely feels like a long time then....

Tonight's picture represents staying positive through the last few miles of winter. When I look back at my posts from this week one year ago, one of them talks about how I was using a garden hoe to chop up the ice on the driveway- it was actually almost 50 degrees at one point today. So I guess it can always be worse. I booked a trip to Las Vegas the last weekend of the month with some girlfriends, and I will keep taking my Vitamin D gummy each morning. And before I know it, I'll be wearing my sunglasses to work. Come on Spring!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lordy, Lordy....

That's right. It happened. The Big 4-0.

Forty  years. How the heck did that happen? Wasn't I 28 and a new mom just a couple of years ago? If I let myself stop and think about it, it sounds so.....well, old. But, then I shake my head and tell myself that forty definitely is not in the senior citizen category- ok, maybe the "mature adult" division...

The truth is, I feel better about turning forty than I did when I turned thirty, or even thirty-five. I am in a great place both personally and professionally, and not everyone can say that. I couldn't say that at 35 even. And as it turns out, a fortieth birthday is much more fun than most:

On Wednesday, the staff on my unit at work put together a surprise lunch, with a theme of "40 is Gonna Be  Picnic". They brought in picnic food, including one of my ultimate weaknesses- fried chicken. One of the girls made a beautiful cake that rivaled fancy special-order ones, and there were cookies that tasted like smores- yum! I also got a picnic basket filled with goodies that showed how much they really knew me- protein bars, homemade granola bars, electrolyte water, a bottle of wine, Pomegranate juice, and a Wonder Woman coffee mug filled with chocolate. What a wonderful, personalized surprise.

Thursday brought a cryptic text from a friend, telling me to pick a weekend in March to celebrate my birthday. Whatever she has brewing is "more fun" in warmer weather, and I was informed there would be alcohol involved. Well duh...

On Friday, I booked a flight and hotel in Las Vegas for next month. My Black Friday Girlfriend has a big birthday too, and we decided we were due for a girl's trip somewhere warm. After much deliberation on hotels, we decided on the Monte Carlo, giving us a great location in the middle of everything- and by "everything" I mean shopping of course....

Saturday was my actual birthday, and as I sat on the couch drinking my first cup of coffee, my husband brought me a gift bag and placed it next to me. Eyeing it warily, I peeked inside and immediately started smiling.

Now, some women would want or hope for diamonds or other jewelry for their 40th birthday. Maybe flowers, or tickets to a Broadway show. Those are all fine, but my husband went for something instead that meant more to me than any of those things- he got me a Garmin multi-sport watch. It's big, and black, and plastic...and freaking awesome. I think it does more than my Iphone, and will be invaluable as I head into the next portion of my training for race season. It also showed me that he supports my goals, which is huge since my training sometimes means I miss dinner with him or wake him up at 4:45 AM when my alarm goes off to get to the gym before work. Who'd have thought a black sport watch could be so romantic?

Yesterday was a swim day. It was also my first swim in the new training suit that I had bought the day before. Let's just say that trying on bathing suits in January the day before your fortieth birthday was....well it was depressing to be honest. There must not be a lot of 5'10" swimmers out there, and especially not ones who weigh a solid 150-155 pounds. Most suits I tried on threatened to become a thong at the bottom half or a wrestling onesie at the top (if you have ever seen a wrestling onesie you will know what I mean...) with any movement, and those were the ones I could get over my hips. In my skinniest moments of my life I am 5'10" and 145 pounds- my body just doesn't get small than that. And I'm ok with that- obviously Speedo isn't. But as I pushed through my 80 laps, I realized that I am stronger than I was a month ago. My times are dropping (I know this thanks to my handy-dandy new watch), and I'm not wasted at the end of a session. I am in better shape than I was this time a year ago, with nowhere but forward to go. So "screw you, Speedo", I muttered to myself as I got out of the pool, pulling the suit out of my butt crack as I strode defiantly back to the locker room.

Feeling good, I  could not put up a fight when my husband suggested getting Bill's donuts for breakfast on the way home from the gym. Three donuts later at the kitchen table, I was so torn between pleasure and disgust that I had to close the lid of the donut box on the last donut to prevent myself from forcing it down.

That worked for about an hour. But damn that fourth donut was good.

The rest of my day was pretty uneventful, with a trip to my favorite pizza place- Uno's to finish the celebration of surviving another year. I am a deep dish lover, and theirs is the best in town. Plus, the two mixed drinks I had went down pretty good...

In the interim, I have received cards, texts, voicemails,  and of course many many Facebook messages wishing me a Happy Birthday. I am blessed to have such wonderful family and friends, who took a moment or two out of their day to say something nice.

All in all, I would say my fortieth birthday has been great. All of my girlfriends who have passed this milestone already ensure me that my forties will be the best time of my life. My children are either grown or at least able to mostly care for themselves, I get to play with grandchildren, my physical fitness is peaking, and supposedly my sexual libido is going to skyrocket- my husband got a look of excitement and fear on his face when I told him that...

Today's picture represents starting a new decade of life, as well as being thankful for family, friends, and a new watch to celebrate it with.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Against The Grain

I don't consider myself easily annoyed, but there is one thing that definitely is hard for me to swallow:

I hate it when my husband is right.

Luckily, it isn't something that happens too often, unless we are playing Trivial Pursuit- he's one of those people that knows just enough about every possible category. There will be some question that no one should know the answer to, and he just spits it out nonchalantly. Pisses me off...

But anyway, at the beginning of this week, my husband asked how my workouts/training was going. I was honest with him, and told him I was exhausted. Getting up at 4:45 AM to workout three times a week and doing two workout sessions most days was leaving me fatigued, drained, unable to concentrate, and even starting to feel like I was getting sick.

Then he simply said, "You're probably not eating enough".


 I gave him The Rock raised eyebrow. Didn't he understand that I was trying to lose body fat in order to be more "aerodynamic?" (Ok, the truth is I'd like to feel better about my thighs when I wear my bike shorts...).

He showed me a couple of articles that he had read, and reminded me that I was burning more calories than it was used to and my body needed fuel. I nodded and smiled, but remained stoic in the back of my mind that he was off the mark.

I mean, carbs are every woman's ultimate enemy! And he wants me to increase my fat intake? Riiiight. That sounds like a great way to get in shape.

So I laid in bed, exhausted,  and started looking up articles related to endurance sports and nutrition on my IPad.

And boy did it burn my ass that he was right.

Every article I clicked on talked about eating carbs and fats. Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories a day when in training.

That wasn't a typo. And he definitely doesn't have a muffin top.

Professional triathletes are eating 4000-6000 calories a day, and the majority of it from carbohydrates! Huh. I knew there was a reason I like this sport.

But there is a trick. The fat and carbs you consume need to be of a certain variety- Wonder Bread and T-bone steaks are not among those. But as I continued to research, and roamed my grocery store, I did find quite a bit more palatable food than you might think.

So for the rest of the week, I changed my eating habits. Muscle Cookie on the way to the gym or work. Slice of Ezekial whole grain bread with peanut butter and fresh berries for a snack. Brown rice with meat or fish and veggies for lunch. Protein bar or yogurt with berries for another snack. I also tried chocolate frosted shredded wheat and veggie chips for snacks. I increased my fluid intake as well, using lemon and peppermint oil to change up the flavor. I put strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries in a saucepan with a little water and cooked them just until soft, then mixed them in with oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, or on bread all week.

By Thursday, I was getting things done at work, and feeling strong through 2 workouts a day up, even until bedtime. On Friday, I wore street clothes instead of scrubs to work...and discovered that a pair of pants that were too tight a month ago fit perfectly. And, I felt stronger than I had in weeks at the gym, able to finish strong and without the psychiatric games of "how the hell am I going to ever actually do this?" going through my head. I begrudgingly hung my head and admitted to my husband that night that he had been right. Boy oh boy was that hard....but I figure I have to throw him a bone every now and then, right?

So listen to me ladies- if you start to do regular exercise (good for you!!), make sure to take a look at what you are (or are not) eating. Salads are great, but may not be enough. I know how hard it is to tell yourself that bread can be good for you- but oh my goodness what an awesome thing it is to pull out a square of brown goodness and know that you can devour it without guilt!

I'm not ridiculous about it, of course. I'm no Michael Phelps. I ate an entire container of Ben and Jerry's the other night (why do they insist on saying that there are 4 servings in that container? Do you actually know any woman who has made one of those last for four servings?!)- but it was their frozen yogurt Cherry Garcia instead of regular ice cream. I bought chocolate covered almonds, and put chocolate chips in my yogurt along with my berries most nights. I have always been a big believer of everything in moderation. This has allowed me to be much more consistent in my diet, allowing me to stick in the same general area on the scale over the last 10 years.

So tonight's picture represents going against the grain, and admitting that someone else was right. Feed your body right, and I am finding it will let you do amazing things. For many people, it shouldn't be about getting 'smaller" as much as getting "stronger". The stronger you are, the harder you can work out and the more calories you can actually burn. Because in the end, the truth is it's not about how you look in the bike shorts, it's about how well you actually ride the bike.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Not so 'Little"

As a child, being around tall people was just a way of life. My mom is 5'9 and is the shortest of seven children. I have five uncles, ranging in height from 6'0" to somewhere around 6'6". Funny enough, my grandma was not much over 5 feet tall, but Grandpa....

Let's just say Grandpa wore a size 16 shoe...

So it was no surprise when I quickly became the tallest toddler, preschooler, kindergartner, and so on into my school age years. People always assumed I was older than I truly was, which always delighted me-and pissed off my older (shorter) sister.

I had a few years in middle school that sucked pretty bad, as middle school for most girls does. I had a growth streak in seventh grade, going from above average height and pudgy to downright tall and skinny. On top of that, it was the 1980's and Aqua Net hairspray allowed young women to add on a couple inches to their height in bangs. So boys were pretty much out of the question for a couple of years, as I towered over even the star basketball player in my grade. But middle school is where I started to learn that my height could be used to an advantage in sports, and I discovered my love for volleyball and softball.

And no, I did not play basketball. I cannot shoot a basket to save my freaking life. And there's definitely too much running in basketball...

By high school, some of the boys had caught up and even surpassed me, and I was fortunate to live in a large community that graduated over 500 kids per year. That way, the odds of there being other girls my height and boys taller than I was increased much more so than it could have been elsewhere. My two best girlfriends were about my height, but my my sophomore year I resigned myself to the fact that I would most likely never wear 3-inch strappy sandals to prom.

As I became a young woman, I started to embrace my height. I liked being the one everyone looked up to- literally. I didn't mind wearing double-digit size jeans when most girls my age were in pants half my size, and I definitely never had to worry about getting in a fight- the only girls taller than me were already my friends, an alliance between tall girls that I don't even think we knew existed at the time. I had filled out from my scrawny middle school days, but not in bad ways- I was a strong athlete who just happened to wear a size 10 shoe.

Fast forwarding a few years, I met my husband while volunteering at the firehouse. He eventually asked me to be his date to the annual awards ceremony, and I admit there was a part of me that said yes simply because I knew I could actually wear heels on a date for the first time (he is 6'4").

Three years later, I took his last name. And so now, at 5'10" and 6'4" we are...The Littles. Yes, I know. Ha ha. And what's even better is that our son's pediatrician has forecasted him to be 6'7"...

As I get ready to age into a new decade of my life, I again am just fine with being tall. It's much easier now than it used to be for sure- stores now carry "tall" jeans, and size 10 shoes are much easier to find. But my height and build also allows me to swim like a fish, carry more muscle and energy per square inch, and pregnancy was not filled with sleepless nights due to a baby pressing on my diaphragm.

But there are other things too. At the grocery store the other day, I started to pass by an older woman in the laundry detergent aisle. I didn't notice at first that she was trying to reach the top shelf, as I was in my own happy world of grocery lists and coupons. But as soon as I heard the words, "Excuse me dear..." I knew what was needed before even looking up.

"Can I get something from up there for you?" I asked before she finished her sentence. It's not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. And that's just fine, as I am more than happy to help.

Tonight's picture represents using what you have to help others and being ok with how you were made. My massage therapist has a quote on her wall- "Love the body you're in. It's the only one you have". How true, in so many ways. Embrace what and who you are, and take care of what has been given to you for such a short time. I may never be able to sit comfortably in most amusement park rides, but the food on the top shelf of my pantry won't ever go unused!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Like A Good Neighbor

I live in the suburbs. It's a nice neighborhood, with homes on about an acre per lot that were built in the 1960's and 1970's. Many have been remodeled, and we have an array of personalities and age groups throughout our little neck of the "Creek".

That being said, I can only really say that I know a handful of my neighbors. Now, I can recognize them at the grocery and wave, but I wouldn't even know most of their names to say hello (in fact- one of my neighbors actually works at the grocery!) And each time that happens, it makes me a little sad. But admittedly, I haven't done a whole lot to change that, so I have no one to blame but myself.

One of the ladies in my neighborhood happens to also be a good friend of mine though. Our sons are the same age, and we have spent the last four years or so getting to know each other better and better. She is from the South, where I truly feel like I should have been born, and we have always a lot of ways.

Let me tell you, it can be handy to have a girlfriend that is also a neighbor. I have borrowed her car when I locked my keys in mine. And I have borrowed countless items for entertaining, from centerpieces to tables. In return, I have gone to the grocery for "sick supplies" when her son was ill and didn't want Mom to leave the house, and provided emergency crafting supplies from my stock when making last-minute football team treats.

Because that's what neighbors and friends do. Or at least what I think they should do. It seems like the days of "borrowing a cup of sugar" just don't exist as much lately (although my other neighbor did borrow dishwasher liquid last week lol). I wonder why that is- are we all too caught up in our own world, and has Walmart made everything a little too convenient? I think I'd be a lot more inclined to borrow a cup of sugar if the grocery wasn't only 3 minutes away...

Last weekend I decided to use up a ham bone from the holidays and make bean soup with cornbread. As I perused the recipe, I realized I was gonna have a lot of leftovers, and my boys just won't really eat leftovers- even after I freeze them. Still wanting to make the soup, I decided I would put the rest of it to good use.

I would give it to my girlfriend/neighbor.

I knew she had a lot going on that week in her life, and that having a home cooked meal to share with her son one night without having to cook it would probably be well received. Plus, as I mentioned before, she is southern- and what good southernly girl doesn't like ham and bean soup with cornbread?!

Before I took the care package to her house, I pulled out my stationary from the table next to my bed. Here is something else that we rarely do anymore- the written word. I couldn't remember the last time I had taken the time to actually sit down and write a small letter to someone- the box literally had dust on it. And I was surprised how much joy I actually got from doing it. It's not as easy as email- you can't re-write sentences, or use auto correct. You have to intentionally think about what you want to say before you write it- because let's face it- white out just looks tacky on a pretty letter...

I took the soup, cornbread, and letter- oh, and the trifle bowl I had borrowed- to her house and left it on her front porch. I walked back to the car with a little spring in my step and lift in my heart, knowing she would come home to something a little happy and personal without any specific reason for it.

So tonight's picture represents friendship and being neighborly. Next time you make soup, or lasagna, or a crock-pot meal, or a casserole, make two. Then take one with a note to someone- a friend, or the little old man down the street (I really need to learn his name), or the family with 5 kids who all have sports events 7 nights a week. It's such a simple thing- but can mean so much. And it will make your own heart happy too- trust me, I know. I came home from the grocery today to find my own little package- the container from the soup had made it back to me, as well as several other Tupperware containers she had borrowed, a coffee cup I obviously had left in her car...and three miniature Moon Pies with a thank you card.

Your'e welcome, neighbor (and now, I have the Mr. Roger's Neighborhood theme song running through my head...).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Not My Mother's Coupons

Growing up, I can remember both my mother and grandmother sitting at the kitchen table each weekend, a large pair of scissors in their hand, cutting out coupons from the Sunday paper. They would also peruse the local grocery ads, searching for what was on sale and planning the week's meals accordingly. I bet many of you have similar memories, maybe even involving a recipe box or photo album for storage and organization.

Things have changed for our generation in the coupon world though. The Sunday paper still carries coupons, but unfortunately many times they are on things that we really just don't need- packaged and processed foods for the most part, full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. God Bless America, right?

Coupons have become much more convenient as well. Is sitting at the table cutting paper too old-school for you? Your'e in luck- websites with printable coupons abound. And here you can honestly many times get coupons that are more worthwhile, especially on things for the home like toilet paper, shampoo, etc. Because unlike Pop Tarts, everyone needs toilet paper...

Many grocery stores are now sending you personalized coupon packs as well, using the "perks" card that you swipe with each purchase to tell them what types of foods you buy most and sending you coupons aligned with commonalities. This is another great way to gain coupons without the dreaded "sit and clip" session.

I have always been a bit of a penny pincher. I am grateful to be in a position where I don't absolutely have to rely on coupons anymore, but I just don't understand paying full price for anything that I don't have to. Therefore, (believe it or not), I have an organized stash of grocery coupons at the ready on top of my refrigerator. The only problem is remembering to remember to take the damn things with me to the grocery- I can't tell you how many times I've had a Homer Simpson moment (you know, saying "Doh!" and slapping your forehead) as I pull into a parking space at Kroger...

Lately, I have started to utilize my Iphone and Ipad to pull up coupons while on the go. No clipping, and no forgetting them on top of the refrigerator. I don't get the newspaper (who wants to read pages and pages of bad news every day?), so using electronic coupons allows me to take advantage of non-traditional savings, such as restaurants and craft stores (I saved 25% off my entire purchase at JoAnn fabrics tonight!).

Last night, the 11-year old wanted to go to Steak and Shake for dinner. Our usual haunt has traditionally been Friendly's, but the economy has taken our beloved Tuna Melt and ice cream sundae restaurant away. Hopping on my IPad, I found a plethora of coupons from what he has deemed as "our new place", so I printed them out and stuffed them directly in my purse (so I wouldn't forget them on the printer...).

We took along a friend of his, and after using three coupons our bill for three meals and milkshakes was under $20! Not bad- I don't think you could eat at McDonald's for that, and although it wasn't prime rib it was definitely better than most fast food joints.

Feeling smug, I started to fold up the rest of my unused coupons, when I noticed two women who were attempting to manage about 5 children. There was a mixture of ketchup and ice cream on the majority of their faces and clothes, grown ups included. Inspired, I walked up to one of the women and asked if she would like to have my coupons- "I'm not sure how much it will help, but just looking at your table I think there are a couple in here that would work".

After an initial little look of shock, she smiled and accepted my offer. Handing over my stash, I whispered, "You have a little something...right...there", pointing to the corner of her mouth.

"Thanks", she replied, "for the coupons too".

My pleasure- good luck getting them in the car after ice cream. Been there, done that, got the tshirt with ice-cream-puke stains to prove it...

As we were walking out, the 11-year old asked me if I knew those women. I told him no, and he looked at me oddly. "So you just randomly walked up to her and did that?"

Yup. And hopefully set a good example for my kid and his friend, as well as saved those ladies a couple extra bucks that they can use towards a bottle of wine for after the kids pass out in a grease and sugar induced coma.

Tonight's picture celebrates the coupon, as well as helping out a fellow mom. Not going to use a coupon? Hand it to someone who might, or leave it in the grocery on top of the item that it is good for. What an easy way to help someone just a little bit. I just got back from my second trip of the day to Kroger, after realizing there was only one egg in the carton and I needed 3 for dinner....They were $1.99, but after using my coupon app, they were only $1.49! Seems like change, but trust me- it adds up! When I hit $20 the company sends me a check- all with no clipping required :).

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Day 365

Wow. I did it! A positive post every day of the year. What started out as a simple New Year's Resolution to post a simple picture and positive thought each day, quickly turned into so much more. Within a week, a simple paragraph had turned into full stories and page-long discussions, allowing me a portal to express a skill I didn't even know I possessed.

What has been even more surprising has been the fact that people actually read my blog. Every day. Not tons of people of course, but anywhere from 30-60 people per day have taken the time to click on the link to my little part of the world, many times leaving comments for me that truly make me feel like I made a little difference in their day. For everyone who ever "liked" my posts, shared them so others could read, or left a comment- I am truly grateful and honored. Because without your encouragement, I'm not sure if this whole thing would have made it 365 days. It definitely wouldn't have had as much depth-  I understand now the feeling a reporter or pastor must feel, knowing that others are waiting to hear/read what you have to say. There is a certain amount of pressure, but not in a bad way. Mostly, it's motivating, and has truly helped me become a better person over the last year.

At first, knowing I had to write a post each evening forced me to look for something positive throughout the day. But by mid-year, I found that I wasn't having to look so hard. My whole outlook had started to change, and I discovered that life is full of wonderful little nooks and crannies of positive, if you know where to look.

As I peruse through my year full of posts, there are some themes that stick out:

1. Family pets are just that- family. They can be a pain in the ass at times, but in the end love you unconditionally. From Day 49: 

2. Be grateful for what you have. Heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, food in your grocery cart, your health, and of course, family. So many don't have one or even all of those things. From Day 25:

3. You can do it. Yes, you can. You can tile a bathroom floor, or run a half-marathon. Don't be afraid to try something new, even if it means you will look or feel a little silly at first.You will be amazed at what you can do if you just get off your ass. And make a list. Or a spreadsheet. From Day 243:

4. I have amazing friends. From Girls Night Out adventures to Midnight Volleyball, I have been blessed to laugh and have fun with some wonderful people. So don't turn down an invitation to be with others- it will do your heart and soul good. From Day 173:

5. My parents are awesome. They built a place in their basement to grow tomato seeds, welcomed us into their lake house for summer vacation, and have saved my ass countless times with the 11-year old. I don't know what I would do without them. I love you guys. From Day 88:

6. Talk to strangers. Not creepy strangers, of course. But I have had some of the most interesting and delightful interactions this year with people I have never met before. Older people are even more interesting, as they have lived through and done things that I can not imagine- they are living, breathing history books. I met the first female doctor in the town that I work, and rode bikes with an 80-year old who has biked across the country multiple times. From Day 302:

7. Take time to appreciate Mother Nature. For she is simple beauty at it's best. From Day 195:

8. Give back. I participated in events for Children's Hospital, breast cancer, heart disease, and women's shelters. It didn't take much- maybe some time and a few dollars. But it also helped others, as well as put my own life in perspective. From Day 349:

9. Be a role model. Walk the walk. Especially for your kids. Because I am living proof that we all grow up to be like our mothers...From Day 151:

10. Babies are miracles. There is no other way to describe it. I am a scientific-minded type of person, but pregnancy and babies just absolutely fascinate me. I am in love with Baby G, from the moment we heard he was coming to the moment I held him for the first time. I have also come to terms with being a.....Gigi. From Day 319:

11. Be silly. Have fun. Especially with your kids. They grow up way too fast. From Day 171:

12. Do what you love. I am fortunate to love the profession that I am in. Nursing is such a huge part of who I am, and I believe that you will be more successful when you actually enjoy your job. From Day 18:

13. Marriage isn't always wine and roses. Ok, reality is that I haven't gotten roses in years.... He will leave his clothes on the floor, and you will forget to take the trash out. But there are the times when he cooks you dinner and tells you "I love You" just because. That's what makes the compromises worth it. From Day 344:

And so I end the year with a new view of life. I hope that you have read one or two of these posts and smiled, laughed out loud, and maybe even stopped to think a moment or two about your own life. You now know more about me than most of my closest friends. In fact, my step-dad said the other night- " You sure do go into detail about some personal stuff..." (this was the post about being excited about a new bra). But my Mom immediately countered- "That's why people read it! It's real, and it's exactly what happens to everyone else or what we all think". I've never been too private of a person, and if revealing my thoughts on bras or crotch sweat has made you feel unalone in the world, then I figure I have done a good deed.

The question I have been getting on a daily basis lately though is whether or not APositive365 will continue. First of all, please know how much I appreciate you even asking- I never dreamed that this would take on the life that it has. I now have people asking me to be "friends" on Facebook because they have read my posts that others have shared on their own walls. But I also have to admit that it is quite a commitment, and as much as I enjoy writing it I am concerned that a daily message will eventually get harder and harder.

Last New Year's Eve, I made a resolution to start APositive365. This year, I resolve to continue it, but in a little bit of a different way. Starting January 01, 2015, I will try and do one purposeful Act of Kindness each week. Because wouldn't this world be a better place if we all did something like this? It doesn't have to involve money, for things like words and gestures are sometimes much more kinder than anything you can buy. I will also continue to look for the Positive out there, because I wouldn't want my new-found way of living to go by the wayside.

So look for a post from me at least once a week. I look forward to continuing to share my life with you, and to hopefully make other people's lives a little brighter- one Act at a time. Until then, Happy New Year. May the next 365 bring you family, friends, silliness, miracles, goals that are met, and beauty. Thanks again- it's been a wonderfully Positive 2014!