Summer training

I used to pride myself on my body and work ethic on maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Since I’ve grown older and the more responsibilities I’ve had to tackle on, I’ve realized that I’ve majorly neglected my body. This school year was a little rough for me because I found myself with a lot on my plate. It’s nice to keep active work wise, but once May hit me I realized that I had entered a mild state of depression.

Self-doubt and even self-worth slowly started to climb into my head. I tried my hardest to ignore this vague feeling by mounting another task or by simply taking a nap. I would look at myself in the mirror after a long day and I would just feel self-conscience about who was looking back at me. Needless to say I was depressed. Great! I didn’t have time to be depressed. What I didn’t realize was that me not giving myself a chance to fully acknowledge the fact of what I was feeling, was just making things worse.

As the school year came to a close I was determined to go back to my daily routine of at least running a couple of miles of running and so came today as the first day of “Aley getting her life on track because she cares about herself.” It felt nice to run a total of .5 miles. It felt nice to squat a total of 5 times. It felt good do a total of 20 Russian Twists. Yay!

And… with sweat coming down my face, I smiled to myself, and that ladies and gents felt good!

I know sometimes we get caught up with work and our daily lives consume us, that we forget what truly makes us who we are. I encourage you to take the time to breath, to enjoy yourself, to get back in the gym, get back to tending that garden, to reading that book, to those bubble bathes, to laughing, to pausing, gosh darn it you deserve it. Don’t ignore signs of fatigue, loneliness, guilt, worthlessness.

Listen to yourself. Please yourself. That’s the only person that truly matters.

I’m here for you, as always,

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  • Sports bra= Adidas
  • Leggings= Bally Brand found at Kohl’s
  • Running shoes= Nike
  • Jacket =Adidas
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Life itself

It seems so selfish to go about my life as if I’m the only one who worries, is stressed out, is busy, or is conflicted. I feel as if every time I blog I have to boast about how busy I am or how complicated my life has been because of this or that.

Today upon opening my e-mails, our administrator informed the school about a recent death. He was a student. He was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend.

Suddenly everything that I’ve been dealing with lately seemed so small.

We were asked to talk to the students about anxiety, stress, and depression.

So here’s my chance to be uplifting, inspirational, caring, kind. And…. I blew it. I read talking points. The students just stared at me like deer caught in taillights.

The truth is, it’s hard to talk about suicide. It’s hard to know what the right thing to say is during a time of confusion. Pain like this is tough. I feel for my students because they are young and life is giving them difficult challenges. Some of them are having to grow up too fast. Some of them are oblivious to hardships. Some of them are independent. Some of them don’t feel they have a voice. What’s harder is that as a teacher, an adult, a mentor, I can’t always relate to them. This is where I’m conflicted because I’m at a loss as to what to say, how far can I invade their personal bubble, how long do I stay present?

It seems that during a death like this there are a million and one questions everyone asks, like why, just for starters. And me? I don’t have all the answers to the way the universe moves.

I sat back down after my award-winning speech on “I’ll be there for you,” and contemplated my struggles, my fears, my moment of depression. For one second, I realized that when depression kept turning off the lights in my life, I wanted to drown myself in sorrow. I wanted so desperately to feel. When that intoxicating desire to feel something took over I was a goner. Next thing I knew I was in the shower shaving my legs and the razor “accidentally” cut my ankle. I didn’t flinch. Instead, I watched as a tiny river of red ran down my leg and into the drain. After that I was addicted to that feeling. Why? Because I could feel something. I wasn’t numb anymore.

So it was back to the shower, time and time again. I never cut too deep, just enough to feel. I was playing with my life. It wasn’t until one evening my mom came home from work and hugged me. She said, let’s go get ice cream. Beyond my endless eye rolls, we went. We had a conversation about nothing. She talked while she savored her chocolate ice cream cone about how growing up she always wanted to explore the African jungle. I asked her why? And she said just because it’s something I know I’ll never get to see. I was puzzled. Why on Earth did my mother have a dream that wasn’t worth achieving. Intrigued, I asked her to explain?

She went on to say that sometimes we have a dream so big and unreachable that it gives us hope. It makes us get up every morning and work hard. It makes us cling to ourselves and to make peace with knowing that God’s will is what we should want.

God’s will. God? Oh yea? (smirk) Then the light switch got turned back on.

I suppose the point of all of this is that sometimes we feel like nothing will matter, like nothing makes sense, like nothing we do can help save a life. Who knew a hug, ice cream, and a unreachable dream would save my life. Give it meaning.

Maybe I should have talked to my students about my struggles to find hope. On the other hand maybe the talking points were enough. Everyone is different. Everyone loves, thinks, acts, feels, and moves differently. That makes us who we are. For me during a time of struggle, like this one, it’s not to necessarily try to understand, but to be there. To help by lending a listening ear. To be present. To be a smile. To be in this life.

On Sunday during church sermon it was said that we always hear the famous words of Mother Teresa, “God wouldn’t give you anything you can’t handle,” and it’s true in a sense. But in reality we should consider God not giving us anything He can’t handle. So we should give Him our troubles. He’s ready. He’s able. He’s for us. Give it to him. Or give it to me and I’ll pass it on to Him.

As always,

12 reasons

Micah came to hug me before school today. In hand he held beautiful lavender tulips. All to my liking. Like most days, when I see him, my heart flutters. But this morning was different as we’ve hit a milestone. One Year. Twelve Months. It’s been such an amazing journey with him. We both agree that it hasn’t always been easy and sometimes we’ve questioned if we like each other. But, through it all our love remains constant, caring, forgiving, and everlasting.

Today, we share what we’ve learned from each other during these 12 months.

12 Things I’ve learned about love and Aley:

Things I’ve learned about love…

  1. Love means putting someone else first, but still being yourself. You do not need to try to be the person you think they want. If they love you they want you as is.
  2. Love can be something as simple as watching soccer on TV instead of hoops.
  3. Love is knowing that you still want them to be yours even when you are fighting or upset.
  4. Love makes you see people differently. When you like someone you look for what is wrong with them, when you love someone you look for what is right with them.
  5. Love can be silly.
  6. Love is holding someone accountable to the person they should be.

Things I’ve learned about Aley…

  1. Aley is beautiful. Even though she does this blog she doesn’t believe it all the time. When I first met her I knew she was pretty. Now that I know her I understand her beauty.
  2. She says yes too much. She feels bad telling people no. I’m guessing that’s the only reason she went out with me.
  3. Sometimes she’s crazy.
  4. She cares so much about family. Not just her parents and brothers, but extended family as well.
  5. Watching her swim is comical. She treads water as well as a brick.
  6. She is everything I want.

12 Things I’ve learned about love and Micah:

Things I’ve learned about love…

  1. Love is the cure of all fears, doubts, and insecurities. Letting someone into your heart is scary, but the right person will know exactly how to be your safe haven.
  2. Loving someone’s flaws draws you closer to them. We are all flawed.
  3. Love tells you it’s okay to be crazy
  4. Love is universal it knows not of age, culture, or language
  5. Love is accepting
  6. Love is complicated yet so simple. Sometimes following your heart leads you to find a passion filled so much reward and promise.

Things I’ve learned about Micah…

  1. Micah’s devotion to Jesus is admirable.
  2. Micah is passionate. He will always give you a 100%.
  3. Whether he admits it or not, he owns way to many shoes, even more than I do.
  4. Micah likes to eat, even when it’s my no good cooking.
  5. When I first met Micah, I didn’t think he was human. He’s handsome beyond measure and he’s organized. That intimidated me. Now that he’s let loose, I appreciate his perfect imperfections.
  6. He’s everything I need and more.

A shower

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It’s not customary in our family to have bridal showers, so this is my first. My cousin is getting married in April and we are fine tuning all the details that are leading up to her wedding day. There’s a lot. One of those includes a shower that took place this past weekend. Friday I didn’t post anything because I was busy decorating and helping put this all together.

My cousin’s Maid of Honor had the genius idea to decorate the place with a lot of pearls, gold, and pink! She was far more creative than I could ever be. Thank goodness for people like her. I’m excited to share more wedding related items until the big day.

Until then, enjoy these pictures of the decorations of her Bridal Shower.

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This Love

When it comes to falling in and out of love, I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’ve been hurt, terribly, but I’ve also hurt others out of spite.

However, there is one thing I actually did well, and that was falling in love with Micah!

My love life hasn’t always been easy, but with Micah, even fighting is worth every moment. He and I are completely different. Some of those differences are evident. We come from different worlds and we were raised under different circumstances, but all the while these things make us appreciate one another. He’s sentitive, gentle, and kind, while I’m harsh, intimating, and almost at a glance mean. It’s true, couples balance each other out, and we are no exception.

I was a fool to think that I knew what love was before I meet Micah, oh I was deeply mistaken. I’d gladly go through every ounce of heartbreak again if I knew God had this wonderful person waiting for me at the end of the storm.

Yesterday, Micah and I celebrated 10 months of dating. Yes we’ve only been dating for 10 months. It doesn’t seem like much, but in reality it seems like such a lifetime. Every day, I fall more and more in love with him for so many reasons, I decided to make a list. The list will lead up to No. 1 and the most important aspect of my love for Micah.

10. His personality: Micah loves to laugh at his own jokes and while at times they are beyond ridiculous, I’m quiet fond at them now.

09. His smile: Sometimes when I’m not looking, I’ll turn and just catch him smiling at me, that smile is the best one. It literally weakens me. It makes me feel giddy. Oh man and if there’s a wink to follow (and there usually is) I’m a goner.

08. The way he listens: I’m a talker. I gossip, I complain, and I vent. Bless Micah for always listening even when I have to talk about the most unthinkable girl situations.

07. How much he cares: And not just about me, but how much he cares about his job and students, his family, his friends, his athletes, and his person as a whole.

06. His good looks: Micah is easy on the eyes. His eyes sparkle. I could stare into them for hours on end. His lips are to die for. I could watch them for hours, especially when he’s talking about some sporting thing. His looks makes me feel insecure and at times vulnerable, but he unwillingly makes me feel confident too.

05. His drive: Whether he knows it or not, his will to grow into a better person motivates me to do the same. He’s so driven and passionate about his future. He’s a man with goals and in turn his attitude about life helps me challenge myself.

04. He’s learning Spanish: English is my second language hence my parents don’t speak English fluently. It’s tough on Micah. It’s on my parents. But together the three of them are inter-connecting by the grace of God. It’s so endearing to see him interacting with my parents in this way. We practice Spanish verses and words from-t0-time because he wants to learn. For that reason, I’m so grateful for him. His effort to make my parents feel special by doing this makes me love him even more.

03. He’s attentive: But, not overbearing. It’s just right and as if by magic he knows when I need him and when he just needs to stand back. He gives me space, but he also shows me he cares even when he’s 110% busy. There isn’t a part of each day where I’m unsure if he’s thinking about me.

02. He’s proper: Micah’s got good manners. He’s respectful and also very polite. He knows his rights from his wrongs and isn’t afraid to point out when I’m failing. He’s got a good head on his shoulders.

01. He’s a man of God: If there’s one advice I can give a girl looking for their Prince Charming it would be to look for a man who loves Jesus. Through Micah’s devotion to the Lord, I can see how genuine, truthful, faithful, and loving he really is. He loves Jesus and the word and strives everyday to be a disciple. In turn, he leads me and my faith to the cross. Any preconceived ideas my mind may make up are quickly diminished because of Micah’s faithfulness in Jesus. This is the main reason, I fell so much in love with Micah. It’s true what they say a man who loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to say so, is attractive. So ladies find a man that puts Jesus in his heart. That’s a man worthy of your love.

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I celebrated Valentine’s Day in red. I bought this dress about two years ago at Dillard’s. I love the detail in the front and on the neckline. It radiates romance and passion. Both things that I feel for Micah. I paired the dress with neutral heels and copper earrings.

#3 Living with you

I wasn’t able to post about an outfit today because I had after school conferences.

From time-to-time I’m busy talking to student’s parents, but often not there’s some down time. That’s lovely at times. Because I’m having some time to think I want to share with you all what’s been on my heart lately.

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I’ve realized (not that I didn’t already know) just how much Micah has touched my heart. Without back tracking to the past; I can honestly say with all certainty that, my bear, has healed all wounds. It didn’t take him long as every time I gaze into his deep blue eyes I’m fascinated by his being. He makes me feel secure, even when we fight. He makes me feel beautiful, even without makeup on. He makes me feel smart, even when I can’t remember the multiplication table of 7. He makes me feel special, even when everything is going against me or us.

He’s probably going to kill me when he reads this post, but even so he makes me feel confident enough to express who I am.

*Weather update, cause I guess I’m that obsessed now, today was in the low 30s. Tomorrow we will be the 50s. Friday it will be a warm 80! Sheesh.

Powerful

I’ve been absent for more than a week and I’m not complaining.

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Believe me, what I went through wasn’t anything too alarming, on the contrary, this situation helped me build up my survival skills. It didn’t work much, but at least now I know that those skills are nonexistent.

None-the-less,  southwest Kansas experienced a trace of the Jupiter Storm winter front that I’m guessing a lot of states across the nation underwent. Nothing to crazy happened in my area of Kansas other than more than 5,000 homes were powerless for approximately four days. (I’m being sarcastic, it was pretty bad) Our linemen worked day in and day out to get everyone’s light restored and it all worked nice and dandy during the day, but then the harsh night would set everything back.

We lost power about Sunday around 11 a.m., school was cancelled Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so I didn’t have to necessarily wash my hair or be presentable because trust me, I didn’t leave my house much. Finally around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, we had power. I slept with a night light just because I could.

But before the power came back on, I did nothing. Yippee for me.

At one point in time, all the laziness I was feeling got to me people! The pleasure of doing nothing wasn’t fun anymore. Man, I was worn out from being worn out. I started out reading. When that bore me, I colored. When that put me to sleep, I slept. When that began to make feel restless, I stared into space. And when that happened, my mind went where it didn’t need to go, but I took it there, probably on purpose because there wasn’t anything left to do.

Thankfully, the church I attend had a “Parish Mission” where Deacon Ralph Poyo shared his devotion for the Lord and his knowledge of sin, love, and mercy. It was truly insightful. Then he hit me with the truth. He talked about these walls we put around our heart. The ones we use to shield our true emotions. The emotions I often hide so that my family, friends, co-workers, and even Micah won’t see. Yes, I admit, I put up that wall thinking I’m okay.

But according to Jesus Christ, it’s not okay. Deacon Poyo went on to explain that God wants to help heal us of insecurities in our lives because the only way that we can fight against sin is with the truth. Wow, powerful. So now he’s got me thinking. God already knows my struggle. He knows what my insecurities are. So what? Who else will care?  However, if I don’t communicate, if I don’t seek to reveal the truth I’ll never make my family happy, or worse, Micah and I won’t be happy. Fair enough. I don’t want that to happen.

So, while I’m sitting there again in the dark with all of my evil thoughts and emotions, my good ole pal insecurity comes back to lay with me. He’s pretty strict. He loves to tell me that I’m no good. I’m not smart enough. I’m not talented enough. I’m not pretty enough. For the most part I take punches, I put a smile on my face, and I tell the world that I’m okay. I’m living a lie because deep down inside I’m broken. Shattered. Alone.

Except, I’m not alone. At that moment, the words Deacon Poyo said came back to uplift me. We always ask where is God in the mist of our self-destruction? I always thought, because I’ve heard it said that He’s with us, ever present and that is still true. But the good Deacon said, no He’s on the cross. Shivers.

Then I imagined Jesus on that cross, my sins nailing Him there. If I just give Him my struggles, if I just reveal the truth, if I just invite Him into my heart, and believe that He’s there for me; then I can push those insecurities away.

How hopeful and powerful. While it might be difficult to understand how to withhold from sinning or from putting up those walls of darkness up; it’s time we begin to understand just how much Jesus loves us. I mean just look at the cross.

Sure the tunnel is dark, but there is a way out, there is light and at the end He stands there holding the light of eternal light.

How did you weather the storm? And if you were in some sunny beach tell me all about it, I’d like to be all kinds of jealous.

The storm pictures featured were taken by friend and colleague Trista Fergerson.

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