Stop Putting Off

I’m awake and mostly ready for work because Greg called me when his shift ended to ask what he could bring me for breakfast. The man gets my pregnant self.

But it got me thinking (as down time when you can’t fall back to sleep) does. Why didn’t I just get up and shower so we could spend a few moments together before I rushed out the door? Bank a few moments in our relationship checking account, if you will. Our early morning talks have become the favorite part of my day. He’s usually chatty and I am sleepy but awake and ready to spend precious moments with him. No more putting it off, put in extra me time before he arrives so we have more we time.

And as my rabbit hole way of thinking does, my mind raced in the shower. What else am I putting off?

That prenatal massage he got me for Christmas and taking a prenatal yoga class. These are two things I promised myself I would do. Today, my goal is to get these scheduled. If I keep putting it off, these babies will be here and I will forever have guilt that I never treated myself to these things I have always wanted to experience.

Scheduling my glucose test. I am 99% sure I don’t have gestational diabetes, but that lab work script has been sitting in my home office for two weeks now and I have two weeks to report to my doctor how it went. Oops.

Picking coming home outfits. If things keep going the way I am going, our last two kiddos will question why all they wore their first month was a white onesie snagged from the hospital.

Reading my book list. Because I seriosuly think my maternity leave is a time to read. Huh.

Getting Arianna and Evan in soccer. They ask all the time and I say someday. Why can’t that be now? I thought I was “raising a happy and healthy family”?

And this is just the tip of my thoughts. I’ve been thinking lots about how this pregnancy, save my hip issue that landed me in the ER screaming, has been (thankfully) uneventful, these kids could arrive sooner than I’d like and these things I want to do before we meet them won’t happen if I keep putting them off. So, today’s my day (post busy workday full of meetings) to do this. To stop putting it off.

What are you saying someday to and are going to stop putting off now?

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Hey feet. I can somehow still see you...

Romans 8:32

Romans 8:32 reads:

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

This verse has been on my mind for seven days now. The pastor at a church we’ve been trying out used it as part of his sermon on how the church gave 2014 as they looked toward what 2015 would bring. It really struck a chord with me because I feel like giving has been a big part of my life, but I struggle with the second half – having faith that God will provide the things we need in return.

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I paced back and forth as I watched my uncle, aunt, cousin, brother, dad, best friend, and husband load our whole life from my parents’ garage into a 26 foot truck. There was nothing I really could do but watch, but it bothered me. It bothered me that four (or six) people really need all that crap and that I’d held it on for so long. (When it was just me and Arianna, it took a 24′ truck + a Silverado + a Durango all packed to the gills to get us moved from South Carolina to Pennsylvania.) It (the stuff) just seems so unnecessary, yet I look all around our home and see why we needed 95% of the stuff that was on that truck. Yet I worried.

I worried because I didn’t want the roads to get icy and the truck be in an accident, causing people I loved to be hurt. I worried because I wasn’t sure that we’d ever get it all unpacked in a day (not only did we, but we were able to set up a good deal of the furniture that day and have the boxes put away six days later). I worried because it was my stuff (in theory) and I wasn’t doing any lifting. I worried that we had made the right decision with this house, 35 minutes from my work and requiring Greg to go back to work in order to afford it plus two new mouths to feed. I worried because I worry.

But you know what? God provided. He gave us a house with a bedroom for every single one of our kids + a space for relaxing + a space to watch the kids in the yard where I don’t get bit by bugs + a garage to keep the snow off our cars + a home office for me. He gave us a house that needed no painting, no flooring, no major fixes (save the disposal and dishwasher which have had me in a tizzy the past two weeks). He gave us a house that will have years of love and laughter flowing through it. He gave us a house in His time according to his plan, even after ours had sold. I didn’t need to worry.

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It’s hard to see that when we give it helps pave the way for our futures – especially when giving stretches the limits. It’s hard to give when we live in a selfish “me me me” world. It’s hard to give when you think that the people around you aren’t really hurting. It’s hard to give when all you can give is a kind word and a hug but you know someone needs far more than that.

This year, as I am trying to see all of God’s blessings and become overwhelmed by them, I’m going to also try to give and trust more. Worry less. Have faith. Give not because I want to be blessed but because it’s right. And I’m hoping to surround myself with more people like that to inspire me and to push me forward, to help me be the me I am supposed to be.

2015: The Chocolate Covered Strawberry

I just had an emotional moment in my kitchen. 2014 is gone, 2015 is here. It’s time to think about new things that a new day, a new month, and a new year can bring us. It all started with me eating the chocolate covered strawberry then it kind of spiraled into pulling out my computer (on a holiday, something I told myself I wouldn’t do) and getting words out.

You see, I ate this amazing chocolate covered strawberry. It was the last one of six that Greg got me for Christmas from my favorite local chocolatier (yes, we have those in Kittanning). The chocolate was still perfectly crisp, the syrup from where the chocolate and strawberry meet overwhelmingly sticky and the berry just the perfect amount of bittersweet. It really was probably the last day to have enjoyed it, and enjoy it I did.

Just like I enjoyed 2014. So it got me thinking back across the year and about my writing. There were so many things I was proud of that my ‘lil family did and that I shared with you, and some things I didn’t (which I regret). Arianna started Kindergarten and went to three different schools in the first 11 weeks (due to our moves). Evan began Head Start and has amazed his teachers (and parents) with his smarts and independent personality (he’s not just the “Repeat” in the “Pete and Repeat” pair of last year). Between our frugality, becoming timeshare owners, and my Thirty-One business, I was able to pay in cash to take Greg to Aruba as a surprise for our fifth anniversary (and I think think this is the only photo I shared). Greg rocked at getting our home prepped to sell, sold, packed, and moved. We all worked out together, the adults became Beachbody Coaches (until I got pregnant and sidelined) and ran 17 miles of the Pittsburgh Marathon relay, because we want to LIVE WELL and together. We went to Disney with 19 other family members (wait, no blog???) a month after we lost our Grandma. We traveled to Wisconsin (and desperately want to go back) and camped at one of my favorite campgrounds for 4th of July. I fell in love with Columbus and applied for a job there (but God kept us in Pittsburgh for two good ‘lil reasons). We did so much together, grew and became stronger. We’ve been a family for almost six years now — something I would not have imagined six years ago today.

But then after I ate that amazing strawberry, I started to think about how I was still hungry. How I needed a ‘lil something more because it wasn’t dinnertime and everyone else was napping. It led to eating week-old banana bread (which was an underwhelming sensory experience after that berry) and to me really thinking about choices and how sometimes we can’t take them back.

Like what I write about here on this blog. Yes, it got me wondering if I should hush my voice out on the internet and no longer share our lives with you. Wondering if I was enough to really write our story. And that’s how I ended up in the rabbit hole of reading 19 pages of content and feeling just as underwhelmed as I felt after eating that stale bread. There was a lot of sponsored content (which was good for a few extra perks in the year) but not nearly enough meat from our lives and way too many cell phone photos (when I have a perfectly good DSLR that needs to re-earth its presence). It made me want to make 2015 the year of the Chocolate Covered Strawberry and not the year of the banana bread, to make every moment worth tasting and enjoying, and not to follow it up with something underwhelming and dull.

So I sat down to reflect and to write, to think about where I want this year to take us. It will start with my word of the year, “overwhelmed”. My hope is to be overwhelmed with God’s love in our lives and to be able to reflect on the blessings with joy and not “meh” reactions. Let’s bring some more love and light into the world around us and not be so down on ourselves…we are enough and we are worth that chocolate covered strawberry. Let’s be overwhelmed with joy in 2015 – you with me?

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On the Path

Tonight, there are 31,000 words I want to write. So many things I want to share with you that I just don’t know where to start. The good news is, this is my space, and I’ll share them all as I get the time. There are lots of things to talk about (like our APRIL trip to Wisconsin, Aruba, Greg’s parents’ visit, putting our house on the market and all the fun that’s been, the kids going to school), but my mind is not really on them tonight. Nor is it on the two new projects I really want to kick off (a blog solely dedicated to my lifestyle journey and a book I’ve really been needing to write). But those are all things that have me on the path to where I want to go.

And sometimes, like I am in the photo above, it’s good to just sit my butt in a chair, toes in the sand, and not have a care in the world. (Founder and CEO of Thirty-One, Cindy Monroe, would call that what her husband and mine d0 – “playing in the grass”.) But tonight? Tonight I have 31,000 goals and not a clue which one of them I want to start in on.

But I am on the path and know that there are big things out there for me. I just have to find my niche, as a friend and coach told me. Once I do, the fact that I lead with my heart will shine through and big things will happen.

Along this path, I am also learning about patience. God has a plan, it’s waiting in His time to find the answers. One of the major things is something that could be very good for my family, but it will take some prayers and is definitely taking patience. But I know that I am on the path to a career I love, one way or the other. Frighteningly, a co-worker told me today that I essentially have 41 more years to work before I can retire…and I don’t like those stats.

What I do like, however, is that this mama has goals. She’s taken a break here in July to sit in the sand and think. She’s taken a trip to be with 15,000 other women like her to dream. And she’s set some pretty incredible goals. It’s just getting her feet on the path and asking for God’s guidance and Greg’s patience with her has the journey continues to unfold.

While I do not know what tomorrow brings, what school district our kids will be in when school begins, or even if I’ll be able to go to the annual Resting Place retreat, I do know this one thing: God has me on the path to something that I cannot wait to experience.

And that? That is enough.

Some Time for You

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I heard something profound this week. Something that really stuck out to me.

Give yourself permission to be a better me so you’ll have a better we.

It hit home, and ever since, I have been rolling those words around in my head.

Over the past few days, that has meant that I put time on my calendar for me.

Personal time on my way home + gym or ymca classes.

Reading.

Organizing.

Being still.

Praying.

Saying no.

Leaving work mostly at a decent hour.

Resetting my eating habits again (my body loved this and rewarded me with a loss of 3.6 this week).

…The only thing missing was a run (because I totally switched up my workout schedule which likely led to the loss, too). But it is ok. The road is calling me in the morning. 

And I can’t wait to keep having more time for me…so I can be a better mom and wife.

Go. Block yourself at least 15 minutes a day for the next 7 days. You will be glad you did.

Alive

Hi, friends.

If you haven’t been able to tell,  life hasn’t been the same around here.

This already busy mama took on an assignment at work that is keeping me there longer than usual and working on high visibility stuff. A certain dad has had to take on more around the house, including some bedtimes without me there for the routine.

It’s not been easy on us, but I am torn. Truth be told, I love what I am doing…stress and all. Problem is, I am not as great at balancing as you may think.

Even though I have been busting my butt since June 2010 to take care of my body, I haven’t taken care of my mind. It never shuts off. (case in point? I am writing this on the recumbent bike because I don’t have the time to write my heart out anymore.) My mind is not in the right place, and that’s mine to own.

It’s a work in progress, this whole loving yourself thing. I know many people love me, but I am my own worst enemy. I need to let my past be where it needs to be, nailed to the cross. I need to look at this everything I have been blessed with and give thanks. But I am struggling. 

When we lost Wendy, I entered a place in my mind where I was very dark, but I likely didn’t let anyone know. Part of me still holds that.

I have anger toward my past self and how I could let myself remain in a situation that was unhealthy and unsafe. I’ve talked to a counselor about it and have prayed to find forgiveness…but I am still not letting go.

Even looking at Greg and Arianna, I get sad because I don’t feel like the person I was when they became my world deserved to have these two amazing people in my life.

And sweet little Evan. He thinks he has a happy mama who has always been under 200 pounds (not recognizing the mama holding him in pictures of his first months of life). It’s like he’s the purest thing I have, but raising a three year old BOY is intense.

Phew, man. Got all my crazy out. I am working on all this, especially when I am out on runs. Trust me. There has been Christian music on my radio since January.  I am going to focus more on yoga once training for the 2 fifths is done. I’ve been praying more than ever in my life (and I am a PK, so it’s a lot of prayer).

And this morning I am super thankful I am alive to tell you all that while life isn’t always easy, it is beautiful.  I am alive. I am thankful for my husband who has held me on the kitchen floor and let me cry and cry and cry some more on days that all the feels are too intense. He’s kept me going more than you’d think. 

I ask that we all are gentle with each other today. You never know someone’s inner struggles. Lift the people in your life up, don’t pull them down. Breathe.  Pray. Be thankful.  Know you are not alone. Talk about it.

Not just preaching…learning from myself, too. It’s a journey, this alive thing.

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She is in for this living thing. And for that, I am thankful.

A Tough Time of It

Somehow, someway, the past 5 weeks have completely whisked by. It’s hard for me to believe it is mid-March. March 15, to be exact about it.

The past 5 weeks have been spent head down deep in a project roll out (that hasn’t been free of bumps along the way, nor do I know when I’ll get back to my “normal” work routine). Sometime during the past five weeks, the team I used to work closely with moved to another building and my “stuff” moved to my new cube in another building.

I’m not saying I’ve not had time spent building new relationships – that’s quite the opposite. The thing is, I’m missing the daily conversations I got to have with my close work friends. It’s been two months since really having girl time. We’ve not been doing as much with my family (thank you, winter and busy schedules). And I’m kinda having a tough time of it when it.

There, I said it.

I don’t feel alone. Frankly, sometimes I have to tell the kids and the dogs to “please not be so overwhelming”. I’m spending long days with a pretty awesome team of (primarily) women working on this roll-out. I’ve been building my business. I’ve gotten a chance to see some of my blogging friends a few times this month.

I just don’t feel connected outside of my four walls. 

I’m trying. I really am. Spring is coming. I’ve been out for a few runs the past two weeks. I’ve treated myself to some good coffee (oh, how I’ve missed good coffee). I painted my toenails and nails.

It’s time to turn this feeling around and get my chin up where it was back in December. Who is with me?

“Still Not Wonder Women”

Disclaimer: I was sent information and opted to share it with my readers. Opinions within are my own (and the author’s).

My faithful readers know that I’ll be the first to admit that wearing the cape in my family isn’t the easiest thing. When I read Deborah Spar’s article, “Women, Despite Being Leaders, Are Still Not Wonder Women“, you can believe I was feeling it.

If trying to do it all as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and co-worker sounds like you, perhaps you were be interested in checking out the article above and Deborah Spar’s new book, Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection (which can be found here on her site).

I know I’ll be trying to get myself a copy and get the spare time to take a good read of it, especially after the past few whirlwind weeks!

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Hope

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I know it seems totally odd to see a spring photo when we’re just about to get our first snow. But hear me out.

The past few weeks…months…have been hectic. A whirlwind. A trial. I’ve eluded to that. Every day since mid-October, we’ve woke up wondering what craziness was coming our way that day.

But, there is hope. There are lessons that “Storms make trees take deeper roots“. That things are going to be okay.

And we are ever so thankful for these signs.

Like this photo, found while searching for photos to help me share my weight-loss story. This photo reminded me of the hope and wonder of spring and of all the amazing things that are out there for us if we are patient and just believe.

So tonight, I have hope. And peace. And love.

Dignity and Respect

I’ll start this post off by telling you this has been a tough week for me. Most people saw the “Becky Willis: Professional” who had a smile on, was networking, was building career opportunities, was laughing with co-workers, was answering phones during high volume hours, was pulling data quickly, and was spur-of-the-moment costume changing for a co-op work group off-site meeting. Few of you saw ‘Becky’, but she’s trying to make a comeback. I had the pleasure to attend a Chatham Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship breakfast that was enlightening and motivating last Friday morning. I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts on the event with you; however, my heart has been heavy because I’ve been wondering if the ‘Becky’ is the ‘Becky’ the world really needs to see. My reflection on Candi Castleberry-Singleton‘s Making the Workplace a Better Place for All-With All of Our Differences” will hopefully engage and inspire you like it did for me, and help us all live in a world where there is dignity and respect

Candi Castleberry-Singleton inspired me last week. She spoke from her heart, and although she integrated some lessons she’s learned as UPMC’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, her words and goals for the world we live in are what meant the most to me. The overarching theme of the morning was that we need to have diversity and respect.

There are many definitions for diversity, and Candi even noted that it’s not a global word. Regardless of how we define diversity (and inclusion), it doesn’t matter. “What matters is how the people feel” and if the company (or people around them) are committed to it. This got me thinking – you hear diversity and acceptance a lot, but are we really there?

Candi challenged the women (and three men) in the room to think about our own relationships. Are you surrounded by others just like you?  (For the record, I was there with my cousin. We are a lot alike, so I was sure to point that out to Candi afterward, handing her my ‘lil Burghers business card and telling her to check out my pages and be sure I do surround myself with people who are not “just like me”.) Naturally, we gravitate to people just like us. It’s comfortable, and I totally agree with Candi that that’s why our closest friends lack diversity. But for me, people “just like me” aren’t necessarily white professional women. They are women and men of all sizes, shapes, colors, backgrounds, education levels, interests, and jobs. That’s the way I like it…and for the most part, they are all welcoming like me (hence the forming of my inner circle).
She challenged us to try to see the difference “between being the cashier and the person”, that sometimes the company or the title make a person act a certain way. We should think about this the next time we are out in public.
Her lesson letting people tell their stories was another that I enjoyed. Sure, we all can usually relate to someone’s story because YES, it does happen to you. The problem is that we miss the message because we tune out the message and miss the fact that the story doesn’t happen to you in the same way. Think about this next time that you say, “Oh yeah, I’ve done that before” when a friend is trying to tell you about their bad day in the rain, okay?
While we want to live in a diverse and included world, we have to think about what we are doing in every interaction. Are we listening? Are we putting down technology and hearing the real message? Are we considering the person as a whole? We have to make relationships work to promote this world we (should) want to live in.
She went on to talk about how just having diverse people in the room doesn’t mean it’s working and right. We have to build relationships, give each other dignity and respect, and all be involved. Her challenge to resist the urge to push back was a great one, too. Just because people say something to you about your skin color, religion, job, whatever, doesn’t mean it’s right to just stay silent and move on.
Candi repeated this lesson: 
We’ve been given this day to use as we will. You can waste it or use it for good. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, just like every day. Let it be something good.
Finally, she gave the audience three things to do:
  1. Get new friends.
  2. Listen without comparing.
  3. Take it. Self, partner, kids, work, community. We are all responsible.

The main takeaway was that we have to build dignity and respect to live in a truly diverse and inclusive world. My thoughts around Candi’s speech are nowhere near as eloquent and moving as she put them; however, I hope they’ve made some sense. Greg and I want to be sure our kids are aware that yes, they are different; however, that doesn’t make them wrong or that people should treat them any differently because of it. Let’s hope we can succeed at this challenge.