Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One year work anniversary!

I cannot believe it.  It has been exactly one year today that I started working at Area Agency on Aging!  That is just crazy.  It  has been quite a ride, but I've absolutely loved it.  I might be biased, but I seriously have the best supervisor, trainers, and co-workers that a gal could ask for.  Everyone is so supportive and helpful, and fun to boot!  I' so glad I was hired on and have been a part of such an awesome company.  Hooray!

Beautiful flowers from my parents in honor of my anniversary!
In other news, April is almost upon us.  Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner.  I have such fun things coming up!  I can't even believe it.  This weekend John and I, and Mike and Ashley are going camping.  It might rain, and it's going to be bitter cold - but I know we're going to have a blast!  In April, John's sister, Katie, is hosting a jewelry show.  My friend Megan is having a baby shower, and my friend Anh is having a party in Chicago.  All of which are going to be so fun!

Then May rolls around and I've got another jewelry show and then the month of celebrating Christina and Danny!  Christina's bachelorette party is the 14th and they get married on May 28th and I get to read a poem at their wedding and I could not be more excited for them!

In June...oh man I am so excited for June.  Johnny and I are going to be visiting Ben and Kristen in Tacoma, Washington (John for a couple of days, me for a week).  I cannot even contain my excitement.  I am beyond thrilled.  It's going to be SO fun!  And I get to snuggle little Ayla till my heart is content.  Hooray!

In other news, I have officially registered for the "Couch to Tri" program that starts next week Tuesday.  I am excited and oh-so-nervous.  I am definitely not a swimmer, and I can barely call myself a runner.  While I've biked quite a bit (my 700+ mile trip in Australia), it's been years since I've done that (2009).  And I only have a mountain bike...so that's not gonna help either.  But regardless of all of that, I am still very excited and can't wait for training to begin!

Now on to goals.  I have been working on some goals and have revised some and created others.  Click here for my post about goals for the year 2016.

MENTAL:  I am on track for reading through Anna Karenina.  I've completed my March page goal and have started on April's.  (I have to read approximately 70 pages a month-ish).  I have yet to sign up for my social work exam, and I've been slacking on studying.  That's one thing I definitely need to work on.

FINANCIAL:  I'm still plugging along on paying back my car mechanic debt.  I make a payment every month, so we'll see if I can get it done by the end of the year (fingers crossed that I won't need any more repairs this year!)

PHYSICAL:  I am quite far from reaching any of my physical goals.  I gave up on Kayla Itsines' BBG.  It's just hard.  That's all I've got to say.  I got half way through week five of the twelve week program.  Oh man.  I have not calorie counted either.  I tried Weight Watchers for a hot minute but wasn't successful with that.  So needless to say, I have definitely not reached my goal weight.  This is disappointing, but I'm not giving up!  Hopefully the tri training will help some.  That's a new physical goal - to actually complete the triathlon.  And I want to incorporate drinking more water and eating more fruits and veggies.

EMOTIONAL:  I have not kept track of who I've been keeping in touch with, but I think I've connected lots with family and friends these past months!

SPIRITUAL:  I've got two chapters left of Celebration of Discipline.  Almost there!  Kayla and I are meeting on April 11th to discuss the second to last chapter.  Should be good!  Don't know what I'm going to read next. I'm almost done with Love Does by Bob Goff, and I want to read Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.  We shall see.

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So those are my goals.  I just gotta keep plugging along.  How are things with you fine folks?  Anything new and exciting to report?  Hope and pray that all is well!  Much love.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day y'all!  Did you know that if you're a protestant, you should be wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day?  Well, I wore both green and orange today to compromise!  Haha.  Just a bit of trivia for your day.  (Check out this site for more information).


So March has been very fun thus far.  John turned 33 on 3/3 this year - so I got the opportunity to travel to Dexter where he's from to celebrate with his family and friends.  On Friday we hung out, grabbed dinner, and went dancing with a bunch of his friends.  Then on Saturday we had dinner and hung out with his siblings.  It was a great weekend of celebration!

Then this last Saturday, John and I, Mike and Ashley, and our friend Amanda all ran a St. Patrick's Day 5K!  It was a blast.  It was so fun to get out in the sunshine with friends and exert some energy.  Here's a pic from our Saturday morning run.


So in relating to fitness, I need your assistance.  There is a "Couch to Tri" program starting at the beginning of April.  Click here to check out more information about the program.  It's a commitment of every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for about 3-4 months.  My question to you is...do I do it?!  I've always wanted to do a sprint triathlon and I feel like I do better with my fitness when I have a goal to work towards.  It's just such a huge time commitment and I want to be able to successfully do Premier as well.  I just don't know!  Thoughts?  Advice?  Wisdom?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Speaking of Premier, I had my first two shows this past week (shout out to my mom and co-worker Elizabeth for being awesome hostesses!).  They went so spectacularly!  I was so nervous going in to those shows but they ended up being so fun!!  My mom invited a bunch of friends over and that was more of a formal show where I did the "normal" presentation.  Then the one with coworkers was held at Martin's Side Door Deli Cafe and it was informal and I just kinda talked about the jewelry and Premier in a more low-key manner.  They were very different but both were a smashing success!  I can't wait to see all the great jewelry on my even more great friends and coworkers!  FUN!

On an unrelated note, I came across this webpage a while back that has "50 questions that will free your mind."  Here's the link.  I thought I would go ahead and answer the first five today!  I might do more later, I might not.  Just thought it was kind of fun.

1.  How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
This is a hard one because to be honest, I feel exactly like the age that I am!  I used to think I was an adult stuck in a 12 year old's body, but now I just kind of feel right in the right spot!  If I had to pick another age, I'd say maybe a couple of years younger...I am currently 28, so maybe I'd be closer to 24 in how I feel.  That would make sense to me.

2.  Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Clearly never trying is worse!!  Because if you never try, then you might never get the opportunity to succeed!  And if you fail once doesn't mean you can't succeed at it if you try it again later!  

3.  If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do?
That is a stinkin' good question.  I think maybe because a lot of the things we do are things we have to do to be an "adult."  Like pay taxes and bills and go to appointments and all that good stuff.  But just because there are things we have to do doesn't mean we can't do the stuff we like as well!  I always try to incorporate fun things into my life.  And I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to do lots of things that I like, especially including travel.  I love traveling.  

4.  When it's all said and done, will you have said more than you've done?
Ha.  Okay.  Umm...no I don't think so!  Like I said in the previous answer, I have been very blessed to have been able to travel the world and experience lots of cool things.  I have studied in Spain, biked 700+ miles in Australia; I did missions' work in Alaska for a summer; I've traveled throughout Europe.  Yeah.  I think I'm good.  ;)

5.  What is the one thing you'd most like to change about the world?
Oh wow.  I don't even know.  More faith in God?  Less poverty and struggle?  Less evil?  There is so much I would like to change.  But at this point in my life, I am more concentrated on changing one life at a time by getting to know people and sharing God's love.

What about you?  How would you answer these questions?  Are there other questions that peak your interest more?  I'd love to hear what you have to say!  I hope you all are having fantastic days today!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Kiss a leprechaun!  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

New challenges

Hey all.  I wanted to start out today's post by sharing a bible verse from Colossians that has been inspiring me a lot lately.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

I have been facing many challenges lately, mostly ones that I put on myself for personal growth.  It's been tough, but very very good.  Premier Designs jewelry is one of those challenges.  In addition to needing the extra income to help pay off my student loans quicker than in a million years, Premier has been a great way for me to connect with other women.  I have gone to a couple of trainings already and have been inspired by some very hard workers.  I have been challenged outside of my comfort zone in trying to get bookings and I feel like I am growing in so many ways.  It's been incredible.  I practice my show in front of my mirror and in front of loved ones (thanks Mom!) and I am growing more and more confident in myself.  What a neat experience.  If you want to check out the jewelry go to my website: emilycarlson.mypremierdesigns.com - the catalogs are there!  I'd love to host a show for you to help you earn free jewelry (and I'd be forever indebted to you!!  ;)

In addition to Premier, I am attempting to work on myself personally on a deeper level too.  I am taking an online art therapy course by Brene Brown, a social worker and researcher and all around amazing woman.  I am reading her book "The Gifts of Imperfection" along with doing some watercolor art therapy.  I am growing so much and learning so much about myself.  Check out the following piece I did:


The assignment for this was to choose two pictures in which, if you could go back in the past and whisper some encouragement to yourself, what would you whisper. The first picture is from a very dark time in my life when I was living in Spain.  Some day I will write about it - or feel free to ask me about it and maybe we can grab a cup of coffee together and I can tell you about it.  But, if you can't read it, I wrote "You are beautiful.  You are strong.  God is with you always.  He will NEVER leave or forsake you."

The second photograph is of me and my friend Anh when we were in our friend Kathryn's wedding.  Though it may look like all smiles and sunshine, this also followed a very dark time in my life.  The words I wrote there were "You are not crazy or unlovable.  You are wonderful and gorgeous and you deserve the world."  Some day, maybe some day I will write about these times in my life.  When I get the courage.  But yes, I was a waterfall of tears when I was working on these.  

What kinds of things would you like to be able to whisper to yourself in the past?  Is there anything you should be whispering to yourself now?  Any kind of encouragement or word of wisdom?  It's important to think about the messages we are sending ourselves.  As I learned in Latin class in high school "Cogito ergo sum" - I think therefore I am.  The messages you send yourself are so vital and important to who we are and who we become.

This online art therapy course focuses on living a whole hearted life.  I think with my breakup with my ex, that I am having a hard time being super vulnerable and open in my new relationship and I want to make sure I am being as open, honest, vulnerable, and wholehearted as humanly possible.  I'm hoping and praying that this course helps me through some of those hurdles.

Another challenge I have been giving to myself and working toward is getting healthier.  I have some poundage I would like to lose and I am working desperately toward losing it.  I am in a DietBet right now where I bet money against myself to lose 4% of my weight in four weeks.  I'm doing Weight Watchers to try and accomplish this and I am also training for a 10K in May with Johnny boy.  John, Ashley, and I just signed up for a 5K in a week and a half so that will keep me motivated to keep training.  I am trying!

A goal that I have not been very successful with is studying for my social work exam.  I work on it at least weekly in my supervision with my supervisor and a coworker, but I have not done any work outside of that to progress toward that goal at all.  I wish the exam weren't so darn expensive, otherwise I'd just take it to see how I'd do and hope for the best!  Prayers and encouragement in this would be greatly appreciated!  Or if you are taking it soon or know someone who needs/wants a study buddy - let me know!

I am continuing to read Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.  It is SO good!  It's definitely not a page turner, but good none-the-less.  I am also reading "The Celebration of Discipline" with my friend Kayla and that continues to help me grow in the disciplines of the faith - always a good thing.  I'm also reading "Love Does" by Bob Goff.  An incredible read.  Definitely recommend that one.  What else am I reading?  Haha, oh yeah, John and I are reading "The Reason for God" by Timothy Keller.  It's a book that makes you think, that's for sure.



Are you reading anything good?  What are you doing to better yourself?  Any recommendations or words of encouragement you can provide me with?  

Life in general, though I am working on a lot, has been extremely good.  Last weekend John and I went to Grand Rapids to visit my friend Christina and her fiance Danny.  We stayed in their newly purchased and gorgeous home and hung out with their little girl.  So fun!  We got to go to Ada Bible Church on Sunday - my old stomping grounds.  Then after church we went to The Electric Cheetah where I got the most amazing food for lunch.  Usually I get their mac and cheese but they had a brunch special of mini almost elephant ear type dough smothered with cherry preserves and peanut butter whipped cream.  OH MAN it was so good.  I asked for a spoon to lick up the rest of the whipped cream, that's how good it was.

Tonight, Mike and Ash and I are having a game night for fun.  Wednesday I've got the Randy Gariss "love series" again.  Then Thursday is John's birthday so I'm going to Dexter on Friday for the weekend!  That should be fun!!!  I cannot believe how blessed I am with everything in my life.  I am so grateful.  What are you grateful for?

Thanks for reading!  Sending you my love.