Monday, January 30, 2017

Social Media Free Sabbath

Yesterday I did something that NEVER happens.  I left my phone on my nightstand and didn't look at it all day.  It wasn't really a conscious choice I made at the beginning but then once I realized later on during the day that I hadn't looked at my phone all day I decided to keep it going.

Sometimes our soul needs respite and same with our minds. Social media and I have a love / hate relationship.  I love connecting with friends via this technology and even meeting new people I would never have the chance to meet in real life via instagram or this blog.  Yet, at the same time it feels like such a chore.  Hence the love / hate.

When I put the phone down and told myself I didn't actually have to browse through all my social media channels just to see if I missed something I was more productive, present, and able to actually rest.  We went to church in the morning.  Then over brunch Mike and I had a wonderful conversation about the homily and what we learned.  We really delved deep and shared our hearts.  I realized that when I am constantly checking my phone or thinking about checking my phone I am not fully listening or engaged.  I am there but my mind seems to do thirty things at once and social media influences that.

It was very nice to really spend the rest of my day being productive and reflective of what I learned that morning in church.  I got some good quality time with my bible and journal, thus fueling my heart and promoting a restful sabbath.

I don't know if this is something I will make a habit.  It seemed that when I most needed it this little social media break happened for me.  I am so grateful for the simple moments that I gained by losing / leaving my phone away from me for the day.

What do you accomplish or learn by going social media free?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On My Heart

Ever have one of those whimsical days where it just feels like your life is in a fairy tale or something close to it? I feel like lately those days for me are few and far between.  If I get the chance to have a wonderful outing or friend date I cherish it for months to come.

I have a very hard time slowing down.  I also have difficulty keeping in touch with people.  These two things I struggle with are probably the biggest cause of my anxiety sometimes.  Let me explain: I feel productive when I get a lot accomplished. I am also a fairly efficient person so the amount I accomplish in a day is grandiose.  The other day, at work, I had a few [rare] moments to myself where I had all my paperwork done and checked in with all the students I needed to for that day.  It felt so wrong to me.  So wrong to sit in my office to have a few moments to heaven forbid look at a news website and get my head out of my school bubble for a second.  I felt guilty for not being busy in that exact moment.  The nature of my job created that scenario but honestly I thrive in the thrill of going all the time and not knowing what sort of situation will pop up in a days work.  I get so driven, so focused, so in it, that I literally forget there is a whole world around me sometimes.

I come home from work and the first thing I do is workout.  My body needs it and craves it.  Then I tackle my life planner and at home to do list I have constantly building. I prep for the next day so I can be successful. Work on some blog posts or things and then it's off to bed for me.  I fall right to sleep.  I am on the move from 5:45 AM to the time my head hits the pillow.  I struggle with slowing down.

One of my goals for this year is to create more time for friends.  I crave community and love having deep conversations with people over coffee.  Yet, I struggle.  I am so go go go and focused on getting the tasks at hand accomplished that I hardly ever look up and think about other people [besides the fact that it is literally my job to think about others] Juxtaposition at its greatest.  Because I work so hard caring for my students and making sure all in my building feel important, cared for, and know they matter I am drained at the end of the day.  I do things that keep me strong and healthy and fueled for the next day. Again, I forget there is a world around me.  

But am I really fueling my soul? Am I taking the time to have days where I look back and say I am so glad I talked to that person or went to that event?

Being an intentional friend and creating more time for the people that truly matter and I love are so on my heart today.  You see; a friend from high school passed away this week.  She lost a battle with cancer at the young age of 27.  She had still so much left.  Now, I am the one with time left.  How am I going to truly celebrate this life that we get to live on this earth?  Every time I reflect on things that matter - people come to mind.  People matter.

I need my people to know they truly matter to me.  I need to show it.  Live my life outside of my to do list because it all matters and we don't know what time we get here on this earth.

How are you going to celebrate life today?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sometimes You Just Need a Walk in the Park

Thank you all for reading and following along with my Peru Series.  I had so much fun writing it and reminiscing on that incredible trip.  My sister is home safe now.  She will be taking some time to rest, process on her experiences the past two years, and adjust back to life in the states. I hope to get the chance to write more travel series posts but for now we are back to my life here in Charlotte!

The other evening, I came home from work after a long day and wanted to do something other than my normal fitness routine.  I have been following Tone It Up's New Year Challenge and have been so inspired to get out and move every day after work.  Typically I have my toning moves and a workout video I do in my room then I talk the pup for a walk around the apartment complex.

Finn, though, has been reverting back to when he was a baby.  He is terrified of cars!! I live off of a pretty busy road and it has been difficult walking him.  At first I just thought he was being stubborn and lazy because he has a very human personality.  Then I remembered back to the first place I lived with him.  I had to carry him to the greenway to go on a walk since he was so scared as a baby!

I wanted to go somewhere new to run, get Finn some good exercise, and explore more of Charlotte.  Freedom Park is pretty close to my apartment so we all piled in the car and tried to get there before sunset.  The weather has been funky here too.  I feel like winter is over already with how warm it has been.  We all had so much fun wandering around, enjoying the weather, and getting to experience a new place in Charlotte.  I have a feeling this park adventure will become more of a regular occurrence for us.  Finn loved watching the ducks as well as all the people that come to the park.

Sometimes you just need some fresh air and a break from your regular routine to feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the work week.

What is a new place you have explored lately? 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Peru Trip 2015: Exploring Cusco, Peru

This is the last post in my Peru Trip 2015 Series, just in time for my sister to arrive home from Peru.  We are heading to the airport soon, signs in hand, and ready for a family reunion full of hugs. You can see the other posts in this series here:

Tacna: Part One
Tacna: Part Two 
Arica, Chile
Cuisine & Christmas Celebrations 
Ollantaytambo (The Sacred Valley)
Machu Picchu

We spent about day and a half in Cusco before heading to the airport to wait for our plane to Lima then off to the states. We all were moving pretty slow at this point during the trip.  Cusco was the perfect place to just wander around the city and take it all in at a slow pace.

We spent a day walking through churches and museums learning so much about the culture and history of this beautiful city.  There was a very distinct line in the history of this country.  The Incans and their vast Empire then after Spanish colonization.  To this day that era is so significant.  Cusco looks very European and the country now is a strong Catholic country. The churches, buildings, monasteries, and museums were all so gorgeous.

In order to get as much done as possible we covered a lot of ground in this city.  Walking up and down the cobblestone streets to see all of the markets and places we could.  By this point in our trip, like I said, we were tired, but also the food wasn't agreeing with us anymore.  We ate at an irish pup in hopes that we could just get some good old fish and chips - wanting as bland of food as possible.  Also, speaking of food, I don't drink soda but on this trip good old coca cola was definitely my drink of choice.  The water isn't the best to drink here.  The Peruvians are partial to Inca Cola - looks like mountain dew tastes like bubble gum, definitely not my cup of tea.

On our very last morning there we took a taxi up the mountain to some Incan ruins above Cusco called Sacsahuaman [prounounced: sexy woman haha!] This fort was one of the last standing battle grounds against the Spanish because of it's incredible architecture but also geological and geographical location to protect the city below. Now when you go there the best part is the view overlooking the city. 

After our last adventure, we packed up our things and headed to the airport for a long long night full of travel and phase 10 to pass the time waiting.  
This trip was nothing short of incredible.  Reflecting on it a year later has brought back so many wonderful memories.  I will always cherish this adventure that we got to take to the wonderful country of Peru.  Thanks for reading along with me during this series. 

What are some of your favorite travels and adventures you have gotten to experience?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Peru Trip 2015: Machu Picchu

More posts on the Peru 2015 Series:

Tacna: Part One
Tacna: Part Two 
Arica, Chile
Cuisine & Christmas Celebrations 
Ollantaytambo (The Sacred Valley)

I'm going to be honest.  It was very difficult to narrow down my pictures for this post.  I am owning it and fully acknowledging that I have a significant amount of photos here, but there is truly no other way to visit one of the wonders of the world and not take a million pictures.  Even these don't do it justice.

Just as it was hard for me to pick pictures for this post, it's even more difficult to find the words to describe this day of our trip.  I have already admitted to being a mountain obsessed girl and once again these Andes mountains blew me away.  One of the most profound things we heard before heading to Machu Picchu was someone told us to pay attention and be quiet while we were here because she [the mountain] will speak to you.  They were right.  I have never walked through a clearing to a view and been brought to tears like I was here.  This day, this trip, this mountain, being in the presence of mother earth was truly an honor.

We left Aguas Calientes early in the morning to get on our bus that drove us up the mountain. Oh my.  If you want to fully appreciate your life; get on this bus.  I don't know how they did it.  It looked to me like we were driving on a steep hiking trail and these buses just whip around those curves like they are auditioning for the Fast and Furious.  By all means don't look out the window because you will see your life flash before your eyes as you stare down thousands of feet of cliff and mountain side into rushing river water. Then you get to the top and all is well because it's Machu Picchu and nothing else matters than the rush that you are there, after kissing the ground of course.

We picked a tour guide at the entrance to lead us through.  It was really interesting to walk around and learn about the history.  One fact - Machu Picchu was like a university.  The best and brightest of the Incans came to learn and study there.  They made huge astrological discoveries and their water system and agriculture was mind boggling. Basically how Machu Picchu sits, its a natural fort.  It is also the last point on the Incan trade trail before you go into the jungle [the Amazon]

We spent the majority of our day hiking around getting to see as many views and angles as possible. Taking it all in and basking in the moments that we were so blessed to spend on this mountain.  This mountain holds so many stories and such rich history that we cannot even begin to understand or explain.  I am just so grateful that I was able to be a small part of it.

By the evening we were back in town, we had to catch a train that took us back to Cusco.

Up next - just in time for my sister to arrive home tomorrow; the last part of our trip: Exploring Cusco 
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