My eyes.

I’ll have to move on from the physical in this journey soon enough, but I also want to appreciate what I’ve got in my body because it goes with me everywhere on this journey.

My eyes are a steely blue, sometime grayish, and sometimes bright blue, often changing based on the light and what I’m wearing. They really are the window to my soul, but that has more to do with my handling of my emotions than my eyes, but I consider it a benefit of my eyes.


Number 5 address plate on an old stucco building“5Things” is a regular feature here on Finding 300 each Tuesday. Margaret is my cousin, (and Kelly’s Aunt), and a great friend to me. She’s enjoying her grown children who are blessing her with adorable grandchildren! She took up the challenge to write her 5Things very quickly, which I appreciate!

I feel daunted by this mission…I think the imperfect human-being in me has gotten used to not acknowledging my finer points…I must admit, though, that I’ve got a couple…

1) My faith I’ve got to say that being a Christian is the most important fact about me, and when I’m lost, I fall back on that to remind me what direction I must go. Jesus is my compass and my comfort.

2) I am a musician Give me an instrument and I’ll learn to play it, open my mouth and let me sing, especially when it’s with a group! My ear is well-tuned to pitch and my body knows tempo. It’s a complete joy for me to make music.

3) I feel words deeply Yes, this can have a negative effect when the words are hurtful, but words can make my heart soar too. Let me hear an “I Love You” and I am good-to-go no matter what.

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DJ backlit by streams of lightI’m a good DJ.

Most of my friends now probably don’t know this about me, but I rock at DJing events. I was a complete last resort for my brother, who owns his own DJ business, desperate for help because he couldn’t do a wedding on his own (and didn’t have the number of friends to call on back then, he was still in high school). He said I would be bossy (I was the bossy older sister, usually) and that I wouldn’t be strong enough to carry the equipment. I was quiet, let him tell me what to do, used the muscles I had been building in college and kept up. I made good suggestions for songs based on the feel of the crowd, and learned from him. I had a knack for feeling out the crowd and could pick the songs that made everyone want to keep dancing.

That sealed the deal, he loved me. My brother used to pay me to come home from college to help him, and if I tried to bug out, he’d up the ante, nice guy that he is. He eventually said that all he needed was trained monkeys to set up the equipment and then I’d do the DJing for him, and he’d be set!

Occasionally I’ll pull out my skills as opportunities arise–like briefly on New Year’s Eve–though often not long enough for people to know what I’ve got.

But I’m looking forward to the next chance I get to be the DJ.

Pic by BryanSereny from flickr.
5 made out of the same material as flip-flops“5Things” is a regular feature here on Finding 300 each Tuesday. Kelly is my cousin’s daughter, but I’m closer in age to Kelly than her mom. It’s fun to get to be the cool-ish older cousin, because hanging out with Kelly is a lot of fun.

Unlike the last guest poster, I immediately found the task of finding 5 things I really like about myself rather daunting when Katie asked me to post. I’ve never been a terribly confident person, but I agreed to do this because I know the importance of loving myself, especially in a world that constantly bombards women (and men) with the idea that we’re not good enough. If we were, why would we need the latest this or that? But I digress.

1) My spirit I started with this one because today is a day that I need to constantly remind myself of the tenacity inside of me. I write this post from the school library during my lunch break of my first day of classes after a semester off. I’ve given myself the challenge of 15 credits this semester while only attending classes 2 days a week and working the other days of the week. I know that I can do this; my fighting spirit means that I will try not only to survive the semester, but make it my best semester at UWM thus far in terms of academics (not my strong suit in previous years). Each class today is a stressful, daunting overview of the work I’m going to have to put in over the next 15 weeks, but I will prevail!

2) My creativity It took me 3 years of college and 4 changes of major to realize that my creativity is one of the strongest characteristics of my personality and that I wanted to make a career of it. As an art student, lapses in creative inspiration terrify me, but the high I get when it all comes flooding back at once is the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.

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My hair.

I have been blessed with amazing hair. You might look at it and think, sure, that’s nice hair, but what’s the big deal? Well, it’s fine but there’s a whole lot of it. It’s really straight, and takes a cut extremely well, so it doesn’t just hang there. And with a good cut and a little product, it takes only a few minutes to style and look great. Show it a little love, and it gives it back to you in spades.

Katie and Melanie embracing in a hug on her wedding day

My hair on the left, and my friend Melanie on the right. Isn't she a beautiful bride?

It’s hard to wax poetic about my hair, so I’m going to keep this one short, but know that I like my hair.

View from the summit of Mount SneffelsMy determination.

I’m only 7 into my 300 and I’m finding this hard; not the coming up with things (yet), but continually putting myself “out here,” especially when I feel the way I do today…like sinking my teeth into an overly frosted cupcake would make life better, but I know it’s only really because I’m extra addicted to sugar at the moment, and bloated from Aunt Flo’s visit. A shower would help too, but the plan was to take one after taking my girls to the pool; hubby didn’t think that would be a good idea because it is so cold tonight–probably one of the coldest of the winter here in Minnesota–and it was already after dinner at that point. I haven’t really talked with an adult all day, save for a few minutes of meal planning for this weekend with my dad (‘rents are coming to visit this weekend). I suck at motivation lately because I stay at home with my girls, and frankly, who ever really feels motivated to do housework or cook, at least day in and day out? Maybe if you’re a BO (born organized) person, you do, but I don’t. {And if you have any housework motivation tips, please share!}

But I’m not going to give up so quickly! I’m going to email some friends shortly, and let them know about my project here, so I can help build momentum and support. And then I’m going to go to sleep at a reasonable hour so that I can get up and get ready for my ‘rents visit (i.e. clean, clean, clean!).

I know how important this journey is and will be to my overall mental and emotional health. And if I give up, it will be like so many other things in my life I’ve given up on, which were ultimately about giving up on myself (at least those that would have been worth continuing). I’m not giving up on my marriage despite extremely large past bumps, I’m not giving up on parenting because they whine a whole lot, or because we didn’t have the perfect start to our life together. And I’m not giving up on myself and this project, either.

Oh, I’m not giving up on retraining myself to put only one space between my sentences, as I learned today my two spaces between sentences are extremely incorrect! Please forgive my past transgressions in this regard. Determinedly, I’m working on it. 😉

Pic by of the view from the summit of Mt. Sneffels, which is over 14,000′, and taller than Pike’s Peak. I have been in this same spot, but my photos are the old-fashioned, undigitized version because I hiked it in 1998.  That took a lot of determination to hike up and to come down–on the way down my group got horrible headaches from the altitude changes. If you look closely, you can see Telluride’s ski runs carved into the center mountain in the background.
Sculpture of a number 5“5Things” is a regular feature here on Finding 300 each Tuesday (starting today).  I really appreciate that Shelley was game to be the first “5Things” guest blogger.  In Shelley’s own words, “I’m windy as hell,” but I love what she has written here.  And if you like what she writes, definitely go check out 1–or all 3–of her blogs, all of which are good reading and informative!  {Links at the end of the post.}

I originally thought that Katie’s task to write five things that I liked about myself was a pretty easy request until I sat down to start framing the jottings that I had placed down on paper. My life (probably like everyone else’s) is full of contradictions: I have spent most of my life as an overweight woman, but I’m pretty damn healthy and enjoy things like hiking and have participated in four 5Ks. I am a hard worker, but I left an industry that I loved and I was near the top of my game to pursue a relationship with the man whom I eventually married. I consider myself a writer, but I’ve been working on the same novel in fits and spurts for over five years.

But despite my contradictions – I’m thrilled to participate in this … so here goes:

1) I love my legs. Unlike the founder of this blog, I don’t have the greatest ankles on the face of this earth, but these legs have walked all over the world. When I was 20 and a junior in college, I had the opportunity to spend six months studying in Malta as part of a study abroad program hosted by my college. To be blunt, on that January evening when I boarded a flight on Icelandair, my legs almost didn’t want to walk down the hallway towards the plane, but after those moments of sheer fear, my legs found themselves in Reykjavik, London, Rome, Israel, Tunisia, Amsterdam, Paris … not to mention the neighborhoods that I called “home” in Malta for the six months when I was a resident on that Mediterranean island. Domestically, these legs have found me in other amazing locales – many wonderful hikes around the Midwest, random road trips with friends and family … I am so lucky for the ability to be mobile. I do not take it for granted.

2) I like my independent spirit. “I am proud that I raised such an independent daughter,” my mom once said to me, “but to be honest, there are days where I wonder if I did a little too good of a job.” My mom said that to me sometime in my 20s. Read the rest of this entry »