Best Things: Saturday Edition

It's been a week that I have been writing my "best things" blogs.  And I like it.  So I'm going to keep it up.  It's a good practice for me, and a also a very good reminder about all the things I treasure in life.  

Yesterday was a fun one!  I was up early again, which I love.  One of the best things was sitting at the cafe table on the back porch, listening to bird song, watching the squirrels run around the backyard and the bumblebees pollenating the bushes.  Nature has a natural rhythm and music to it if you can be still long enough to listen. 

After I finished yoga, morning pages and my "best things" blog, I went over to one of my very closest friends' house to support her as she got ready to audition for the Voice!  They heard her album, and called her in to sing for them.  It was awesome to be able to support her and share in that experience with her as she said yes to an amazing opportunity.  

Once we sent her off, I had a little time to kill before I picked up my brother to head back down to Woodburn for more baseball.  I ended up stopping in a store called Bandita that was having a going-out-of-business sale.  I had been looking for a baja blanket to put in the trunk of my car, and as I drove by, I saw the owner rolling some up for sale on an outside table.  There were a lot of cool things about that choice.  I ended up scoring not only the blanket, but also some cool beaded earrings and some awesome, cheap guy t-shirts for my brother.  $1 a shirt?  You can't beat that!  I then ended up seeing two people I know.  One of the guys from open mic, and his wife.  And then also my other friend, whom I had just been with over at Jen's house. She did Jen's hair and make-up for the audition.  The shop owner said "I felt like I should get you guys some beer or champagne with everybody knowing each other".  Super-fun stop.

I had a few more minutes to kill so I decided to go over to one of the thrift stores in the Milwaukie area, The Salvation Army. I was looking for one of those little Playmate coolers, but didn't want to spend $20 for a new one.  I figured I could get one cheaper.  Maybe for baseball, or maybe for my own upcoming adventures.  I intend to start getting camping gear so I can take a solo camping trip.  I walked in to the store, walked to the back, and there sat exactly the cooler I was looking for.  $5.79.  Boom.  

I picked up my brother and off we went to Woodburn.  The gist of the baseball story is that my nephew had two games yesterday. They lost the first one, so played immediately after it to compete for fifth place and to go to State.  I heard the first game was horrible, the umpire terrible.  The second game was pretty brutal for the kids.  They were down 11-3 and had one more at-bat, an open inning.  I think they had played so much baseball they were done.  And it was super-humid.  But, in that inning, they came back and scored 4 runs.  They finished the game strong and for that I am very proud of them.  I don't think any kid was sad the season was over.  The coaches gave a great talk after the game, and they played one of the best games ever in Milwaukie early in the week in order to get into the County tournament.  Nine innings over two days.  It was awesome!  No one even thought they would make it that far with 4 or 5 kids on the team, nearly half, who had never played before.  

I dropped my brother and nephew off, stopped and got a rotisserie chicken and potato salad for dinner, came home and stayed inside in the AC all the rest of the day.  I binge-watched Ripper Street, catching up on all the prior episodes.  I did get a little sunburned yesterday, so I was quite happy to get inside and stay there.  It was another awesome day filled with family and friends, unexpected encounters and blessings.  More opportunity for me to learn to trust in the abundance of the world around me.  And to share in that with others.  

One of my favorite things, one of the best things is to watch people going for it and pursuing their dreams.  Stepping over fear and into the unknown of possibility.  Finding their niche and understanding who they are and what they can do.  And it doesn't have to be huge stuff.  It can be little stuff too.  Sometimes you make one tiny choice and it changes the entire trajectory of your life.  These were pretty big best things, and it was a privilege to be a part of them. 

Best Things: Thursday Edition.

According to my computer, it is 6:20am.  I have no idea why I've been up since about 4:30am today.  Partially the warm weather, the birds singing and the sun rising early.  But, also, my nephew has his first county game today in Woodburn at 9, so I'm going.  And I've got to pick up my nephew, his girlfriend and the baby so they can go too.  

I started off my day by doing yoga, and then morning pages.  Taking that 20 minutes or so in the morning to do yoga only makes my day better.  So I think that is going to turn into a "best practice" for me daily, kind of like morning pages.  I wrote another blog detailing my trip to Long Beach and intended to complete my TripAdvisor reviews. I intended to spend most of the day at home, but, well, my nephew called to see if I could take them shopping.  I finished up my blog, called them back and said yes!  When given the chance to spend the afternoon with the baby, I jumped on it.  And my nephew and his girlfriend, of course.  Even as warm as it was, Audree was so good!  Only getting cranky towards the very end. And I was amazed watching these two 17-year olds take care of this little girl like pros.  So one of the very best things was saying yes to spending some time with them.  After all, this is partially why I quit my job at Pier 1, so I was not at the mercy of someone else's schedule.

I gotta be honest, I've been struggling a little with quitting my job at Pier 1 and going full-time with Lyft.  It's scary chasing your dreams.  And even though I was making maybe $125 a week at Pier 1 (whaaaattt??? that's nothing!) in my mind I still had a "steady" source of income coming in.  I was worried about this and that and the other thing.  So, instead of using my typical escape hatch of tuning out and watching a show online, I decided to dig in and read some more of my "Money: A Love Story" book by Kate Northrup.  I poured myself a glass of wine and got to work.  

That was another best thing because instead of hiding from my fear, I decided to acknowledge it, but even more than that, I took some positive action to move me out of the "lack" mentality I had momentarily slipped in (I can't make enough money with Lyft to support myself!) into the mentality of understanding my fears and back into abundance (there is more than enough for me and everyone else) because the truth of the matter is there is enough.  I was worrying about all kinds of things and getting myself all worked up.  I had to do some writing exercises throughout the book, so for me, writing always bursts my crazy bubble.  The last best thing I did last night was put myself to bed around 9:30.  I knew I had an early morning, and I did not want to be tired.  There's one thing I know for sure about today-I'm going to Woodbury for some baseball!  Woohoo!!!!  

Trust That Shit.

No blog for nearly 3 weeks.  Ugh.  Why do I do this to myself?  I have all sorts of justifiable reasons but they all boil down to excuses.  In an effort to get myself back on track, this week, for 7 days, I intend to write a blog post every day after I write my morning pages.  Morning pages equals input, or talking to myself.  Blogging equals an output, talking to you.  I am great at input, but could stand to improve at output.  After 7 days, I will evaluate and see how this is working and go from there.  

A year ago this month I decided to take a huge chance and leave the "security" of the job I had held for the last 4 years.  I jumped into a situation where my employment was only guaranteed through the summer, but I asked for enough money to tide me over until I found something else.  I took the leap and never looked back.  I was sick of living life on someone else's terms and so I decided to cast off fear and go for it.  And you know what? That summer contract job lasted through the end of the year and allowed me to do some pretty cool stuff.  

In January I went to Ireland for a MONTH, and fulfilled one of my life-long dreams, staying in a cottage in another country for an extended-period of time.  I bought a camera and started getting into photography.  I took a road trip to from here to Idaho to Vegas, San Diego and the Palm Springs area with my best friend and her mom.  I took a road trip to San Francisco with my brother, and then flew down and had a weekend in wine country where we explored all kinds of wineries in Calistoga.  After I came back from Ireland, I was fortunate to spend a few more days in the Bay area, then went on to the Palm Springs area again to spend a few weeks dog-sitting.

I learned to trust in God, the Universe, Source, the Creator, whatever name the driving force of the Universe goes by that I would be taken care of, and I have been.  It is a strange thing when you cast off fear and set your sails for lands unknown.  I now am pretty comfortable with the not-knowing part of things.  If I can see for the next few months, I'm good.  Forget five-year plans.  Well, I do have one item in my five-year plan list.  To buy a home in Ireland.  Yes, I loved it that much I want to be a part-time resident.  I'm not sure how to make it work, but it is an intention I hold in my heart so I believe it will come to pass.  Maybe not how I think, but it will.

Now I am getting back into working.  I only apply for jobs working places I like.  I decided I will never violate my own heart again and take a job just because.  It needs to be in an area I am interested in (writing, travel, photography, decor, etc.) or I will not do it.  My dream job would be working for Airbnb.  I did apply, but they do not need me.  Yet.  I will keep after it, and it will become a reality for me.  

For now, I onboarded myself with Lyft, and I am working part-time at a local Pier 1.  Lyft will give me the freedom to work when I want, and not be confined to a 5-day, 40-hour work week.  Working as a driver also gives me lots of opportunity to get to know people.  After all the driving I have done, I might as well get paid for it.  The same with Pier 1.  I am getting such valuable training in sales and marketing (skills I sorely need) and I am getting paid for it.  A side benefit is I get to sell pretty things all day long.  What better source of inspiration for a creative than to be surrounded with beauty in a work environment? These doors opened, so I walked through.  

I would love to be able to tell you a five-step plan for quitting your job and living the life of your dreams.  But everyone is different.  And there is really only one step I can give you.  Trust.  Trust in yourself to know what is best for you, and be honest with yourself about your dreams.  Make a decision and then act on it.  Before the opportunity came up for me to work that contract job, I decided, whatever happened, I would quit my job by the five-year mark.  I had to give myself a year because I was scared to death to strike out on my own.  I wrote a resignation letter dated in the future, and wholly committed to quitting, no matter what.  No matter if I had a ton of money in the bank, no matter if I had zero.  And then trust the Universe will respond once you do that.  When it does, be ready, because it can be like a ripcord effect and you have to hold on tight.  

I have zero regrets about my decision.  Not even one.  It took me a long time, and I had to go through a lot of shit, but I understand now how to craft a life I love.  It took walking through fear to get to the other side and trust.  I still get scared, but I take a deep breath and proceed.  I remember a moment while walking the Cliffs of Moher on Ireland's West coast.  I came to a bend in the path and from far back, it looked like I would be stepping too far out on the edge of the Cliffs and I got scared and wanted to go back.  I have a slight fear of heights, you could say.  At 600-feet high, the Cliffs did not help with that.  But, I was living one of the moments I had only dreamed about and I would be damned if I would let fear have its' way.  So I didn't.  I made it all the way to the Southern tip of the cliffs and it was glorious.  

Trust.  It's that simple, and that hard.  Take that leap, and go for it.  My mom always used to tell me two things.  "You may never pass this way again", and "jump the fence".  Don't live on the other side of that fence, trust and jump it.  Magic awaits!