Perspective

Nature Can Help Put Things In Perspective

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My long term work contract ended about two weeks ago and this is the first time in a very long time, I’m not employed. It’s unfamiliar and strange to not have something to get up and go to each morning (even if that means working from home). People have been telling me to enjoy it — relax and just go with the flow. It’s amazing how hard that is for me. The first week was nice, but now that I’m heading into the third week, my mind is starting to go deep. Lot’s of thinking about what I am going to do next. More like – what do I want to do next. I’m lucky that I’m not dead broke (yet) and we have health insurance. I suppose that gives me a bit more breathing room and freedom, but at times I certainly don’t feel that way.

Never Have Enough NatureI grew up with a mom who worked all the time –and I mean ALL THE TIME. There was, and based on my Mom’s current schedule, still is NO DOWN TIME with her. Even entertaining the thought of being home for a bit is uncomfortable. So, I’ve been living in a state of being uncomfortable which is well, uncomfortable. To help, I’ve been exercising and walking Trooper. I have always been told when you are feeling stressed or out of sorts, head outdoors. There is something calming and grounding about surrounding yourself with Nature. So, it goes without saying I’ve been doing my fair share of visiting Mother Nature lately for sure.

And as an added benefit, spring in Virginia is absolutely gorgeous. I’m lucky to live within walking distance to a really cool park, the W&OD trail. It’s the perfect place to walk Trooper, and soak up all the signs of spring. Even the smells are amazing.

I’m not saying that my walks are solving my problems, but they are certainly helping put things in perspective and are making me just feel better. So, my advice is if you are feeling like there is a big weight on your shoulders or just stressed, take time to get outside. Take your shoes off and walk around in some fresh cut grass, head to a park and swing, or heck, just garden.

As Thoreau said, “We need the tonic of Wilderness. We can never have enough nature.

Here’s a taste of how gorgeous Virginia is in the spring…

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Reading Should Be Without Rules

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Reading Without RulesAbout a year and half ago, I decided to start reading before I went to bed every night. I had long given up reading anything more than a magazine or a quick web article and realized I missed having some quiet, yet productive time each day. I don’t really have any sort of rules about what I read — and when I don’t feel like starting something new, I reread one of my favorite Outlander books. (I love them!)  I prefer reading books that help me escape into new worlds and experience different lives – Escape Fiction. Some people think that we shouldn’t read to escape reality. I’m not on board with that — sometimes a great story is the only thing that helps you hold on. Recently, I came across this quote:

“reading books is a waste of time if you don’t let them change you. If books really are “portals” then they should leave you somewhere you weren’t when you finish them. Somewhere enlightened.”  

My take: Read because you want to — no rules, no parameters. Read because you love it, you enjoy a story, relate to characters, it helps you cope with whatever is going on in your life, you love reading the written word. READ with no rules! I think reading changes you whether you are cognizant of it or not.

And turns out it’s healthy for you:

I loved this recent article about President Obama, who said reading helped him survive the White House.

“…talked about the indispensable role that books have played during his presidency and throughout his life — from his peripatetic and sometimes lonely boyhood, when “these worlds that were portable” provided companionship, to his youth when they helped him to figure out who he was, what he thought and what was important.”

When Breath Becomes Air

 

I just finished a book that has stayed with me, When Breath Becomes Air. It’s a non-fiction autobiographical book written by Paul Kalanithi, about his life and illness, battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer. It’s a quick read that packs a powerful punch. Sad, poignant, introspective — all words to describe it. I went back and reread parts after I was done because I wanted to feel the feelings again after reading the closing chapter which was written by his wife, Lucy.

Parenting: Does It Ever Get Easier?

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It’s no secret that I’m not the tallest person — I’m around 5’3. Scotty, my husband, is 6’3. I figured when we had kids that they would most likely be taller than me. So, while it’s not a surprise that HB is now taller – there is a milestone moment in parenting when it hits you  – your baby is now grown up. I had that moment recently and my super tall husband had to point it out —

Parenting: It Never Gets EasierWe were shopping at a local sports store and I couldn’t reach something –so I asked HB to get it for me and sure enough, she reached up and got it with no problem. It was not a noticeable moment for me – do you know how many times I have to ask someone to get something for me? I can’t count that high — short people are used to asking for help.  But Scotty – well he strolled by and asked “Did you just ask HB to get something up high for you?”  That was the moment when I realized it had happened. My first born child is growing up. Can we make time stop?

As much as I love who she is now, I wish I had that time back when she was a baby. I would have been less nervous with her and enjoyed the time more. Life really does happen so quickly and before you know it – they are up and grown and your roles change. Circle of life, I suppose. Parenting – it never gets easy – what’s hard just changes.

Other thoughts around Parenting

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Scotty posted this to my Facebook wall recently to let me know I’m not alone. I was once asked by a friend, “Does your husband know you are moving out?” after he saw my car.

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Challenging Times Lead to Empowering Lessons

Behold the View

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Climb the Mountain for the Challenge“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” ― David McCullough Jr.

I’ve been thinking about how much simpler life was when I was a kid. We didn’t have the constant barrage of distractions and choices were limited. If we were sitting on a train or travelling somewhere, what did you do? You slept, talked to someone, played some sort of game or simply got lost in your own thoughts. Now, our choices are endless for almost everything. It has created some wonderful opportunities, but it also has a lot of disadvantages.

Someone recently asked me why I think the world seems angrier and less tolerant. You could argue that the world isn’t any worse, we are just getting information from more sources so we are getting more of a full picture of whatever is going on. I don’t know, but if people have always been this angry, that’s pretty sad.

We are so connected that we don’t stop and just take it all in. I traveled into DC this week for work and while my co-worker and I were walking to the Library of Congress, I was stopping to take it in. I mean – it’s awesomely cool to walk around the monuments and recognize the history. I was snapping pics and just enjoying it even though it was cold and we were late to the meeting (through no fault of our own). I think it was annoying my co-worker, but you know what? People all over the world dream of seeing these buildings and being here. It was not going to kill us to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the view…

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You Are Not Alone

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“We read to know we’re not alone.” ― William Nicholson, Shadowlands

 

This quote, by William Nicholson, in the movie Shadowlands, is one of my all time favorites and I turn to it for perspective often.  Shadowlands, a 1993 movie based on the life and love of C.S. Lewis’s life, is a film I have watched dozens of times throughout the years and each time, it hits me deep. When the young man in the film tells  CS Lewis why he reads so much –we read to know we’re not alone, it said volumes.

cs-lewisIt’s a simple but true thought for just about everyone. The need to know we aren’t alone. There is no discounting the importance and power in knowing that there is someone else out there, in this vast world, who thinks, feels, or has experienced what we are going through.  It has the power to offer comfort, give us strength, calm our anxiety, and motivate and inspire us to change. Sometimes, it’s the one thing that pulls us through a rough time.

Sharing our mistakes, flaws, wounds is hard no matter who you are. The bravery required to open up, be honest,  and show your vulnerabilities is one of the hardest things for any of us to. Imagine then putting pen to paper and sharing these experiences beyond your closest trusted circle.  It’s not a small thing…

The ability to let down our defenses and share what really happens behind the social media filters is important. No one lives a trouble free life.  We all have hardships and successes. We all have flaws and things we love about ourselves. Life is about learning to live your best life in the peaks AND in the valleys and inviting people who make you smile, lift you up, and push you to be better along for the ride.

I am sharing these two stories below as examples of not being alone in our struggle. I know they have helped a few people already. Thank you Naomi and VP Joe Biden for being brave enough to share.

The Real Face of Depression

“The Real Face of Depression” to bring awareness to the world that depressed people aren’t just those in the corner crying and pulling their hair out like you see in most depictions, although sometimes we may feel that way. Depressed people are everyday people – they are your co-worker, they are your friend, your neighbor, and in my case, a fitness coach. We look happy on the outside, we have big smiles in our pictures that come up on Facebook, we are the new moms smiling and playing with precious little babies, we are top CrossFit athletes at The Games…”

Family losses frame Vice President Biden’s career

“The most successful and happiest people I’ve known understand that a good life, at its core, is about being personal. It’s about being engaged. It’s about being there for a friend or a colleague when they’re injured or in an accident,”  Biden told the Yale crowd, adding: “It all seems to get down to being personal. That’s the stuff that fosters relationships. It’s the only way to breed trust.” 

The Reality of Fear

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I came across 23 BRILLIANT LIFE LESSONS FROM ANTHONY BOURDAIN and thought so many of them were worthwhile. I especially liked this one…

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” 

Fear I think this one resonated with me because it’s the advice I would give my younger self. When I was in my twenties, I was so gripped with fear of instability that it caused me to see things in very rigid terms. The person I am today realizes clearly that that fear held me back from so many adventures and experiences.  They are the things I look back at and wish I had just jumped into the opportunities that presented themselves during that time. I guess that’s the beauty of hindsight though. I know it’s never too late to jump in and go for it but there are adult life responsibilities that have to be considered that prevent me from just dropping everything and going for it now. What I can do is take chances and travel when opportunities exist and encourage my kiddos to not be controlled by fear as they grow up and taken on the world. They can learn from the lessons I experienced…

This doesn’t just apply to travel either. How many things in our lives do we avoid or quit because we are scared? Scared of what’s on the other side. Afraid of change. Afraid of the unknown. I’m not sure who wrote the following “Reality of Fear”, but it definitely gives you some points to consider as you start to confront fear holding you back…

REALITY OF FEAR:

You’re not scared of the dark;
you’re scared of what’s in it.

You’re not afraid of heights;
you’re afraid of falling.

You’re not afraid of the people around you;
you’re afraid of rejection.

You’re not afraid to love;
you’re just afraid of not being loved back.

You’re not afraid to let go;
you’re just afraid of accept the fact it’s gone.

You’re not afraid to try again;
you’re just afraid of getting hurt for the same reason.
Reality of Fear

 

 

Happy 11th Birthday Baby Nate

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Happy 11th Birthday to my sweet, funny, stubborn, loving, sensitive little baby Nate.

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Twenty Years Ago

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Us 20 years agoMe, a recent University of Arizona grad starting a new job – scared and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.

You, an Arizona native, who had started a few months earlier thanks to your Pops, who left an application on the shop’s chain link fence.

We had both been on our own for many years – navigating our twenties without any sort of plan or guidance.

Ryan introduced us – in the break room.  I remember the warmth you gave off when you smiled. I remember feeling attraction, giddiness, and curiosity.

Our first date Feb 4, 1995– Chinese food, then dancing and drinks. We found out about each other.  I can’t remember a time after that where I didn’t feel special around you.

You ‘got’ me. I ‘got’ you. Our life began to flow.

We moved to VA. Got married in Vegas. Bought the house. Adopted Scully, the dog.

Three years into our marriage, we found out we were having a baby. Neither of us had been around babies growing up. Shocked by the news, we had no idea what to expect. Our family and friends were supportive and excited for us. It was such a fun and happy time.

Hannah Bea came into this world right on her due date. Our lives would never be the same. We became parents. Two years and one month later, Nathaniel Ryan was born. A girl, a boy; our family was complete.

HoaglundsWe became increasingly busy and had more demands put on us. Family, work, and life responsibilities constantly colliding – we began to lose track of time and failed to appreciate how preciously short life can be.

We got a big wake-up call, didn’t we? Cancer reared its ugly head. We quickly shifted the gears of life and put all of our power and energy into getting you well. As with most challenges you have faced, you stepped up with determination, humor and quiet strength.  It wasn’t easy, but you did it. Cancer Free.

Our life began to flow again. A bit different than before the big ‘C’, of course, but strong and steady all the same.  We moved forward with the gift of perspective.

Today, far from perfect, we are happy. We have a sincere affection for each other, rooted in love, laughter and security. There is no one else in this world I trust more or who makes me feel more at home than you.

Twenty years ago today, a wonderful adventure began…

Hoaglunds

Hoaglunds

 

Fake It Until You Make It

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I’ve always said that I will be honest when I take to this blog — the triumphs, the struggles, the shit times and the great moments of my life. So be warned…

The past few months I’ve been struggling. Struggling to remain focused. Struggling to get my ass in gear — I’m not sure what’s up with me.  have been making bad food choices on the regular even though I can tell they are wreaking havoc on my body.  I’ve been having crappy workouts –and even hit the snooze or skip the alarm all together, letting sleep win over working out at 6A.  I lost my mojo for CrossFit, have been doing boxing – which I love but it’s not giving me the workout ‘high’ I need every time. And it’s hard to get my body warmed up and full engaged to box at 6A.

I’ve been losing focus on things I have always loved which seems to make things worse. Before you tell me, I am going to talk with my doctor about my changing mood — but it’s an odd feeling. You know you ‘should’ do certain things and ‘want’ to do them but the effort to do them seems exhausting. Even calling the doctor at the first sign of trouble.. does that make sense?

Getting used to working full time is tough too. The entire house has to readjust to Mom not being home all the time to take care of the little things. Some days it seems overwhelming — I know I am being a Debbie Downer but not every day is sunshine and rainbows. I try to live by the Fake it until you Make it motto but some days it gets to me. Today is one of those days…

I am searching for a way to feel re-energized and refocused and so far haven’t had a ton of luck…

Me as Darth Vader

Halloween Party 2014

We are headed out on vacation at the end of this week to a sunny location so perhaps that will lighten my mood and of course even when I am not feeling like it – I hit the gym. I always feel better afterwards. Even a bad workout is a good workout.

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Boxing – Weds, Thurs, Sun, Monday

RIP To A True Artist: Oscar De La Renta

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One of the things I loved to do when I was growing up was to watch fashion shows on TV during my weekends. I can’t remember the name of the show, but it was essentially a show of the latest runway fashions and a look at the designers. One of my all time favorite designers was Oscar De La Renta. You could tell he adored a woman’s shape and his dresses were the prettiest things I had ever seen.  I haven’t thought about fashion in a very long time – but I have been trying to take a good, hard look at things that make me happy. I loved watching the artistic creations that amazing designers created –he was definitely an amazing artist. The world has lost someone very special…

RIP Oscar De La Renta

When you hear about the passing of certain people, it can bring back personal memories and moments in your life.  I can see myself sitting in front of my TV in my Mom’s house watching and day dreaming about being in the fashion industry. Of course that wasn’t how my life did turn out but that’s OK. After hearing about his passing, I came across this post: The Best Part Of Life Is Realizing Why It’s Better That Things Didn’t Work Out that really seemed to put things into perspective.  Read it and I’m sure you will agree…

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