Pairings Retreat: From Dream to Reality

One day, shortly after the beginning of the new year, my friend Cristina from Your Personal Producer and I were on G-chat as we normally are, sharing our dreams for 2018. She was in a funk and I was in a post-Paris high! 2017 had seen some serious ups and downs for both of us and we didn’t want 2018 to end up being the same old song and dance. You know…dream big at the beginning of the year, start off strong and lose it somewhere around mid-April.

In a moment of honesty, she blurted out: (paraphrasing) “I wish I could just get away. Go on a retreat and get my thoughts in order for 2018.”

And I said “Let’s do that!”

The funny thing is, it’s usually me who dreams beyond my reach and usually she steps in to tell me: “That’s possible.” But on this day our roles were reversed and soon our dreaming turned into a game plan!

She threw out a concept, I took it and threw things back at her and an actionable plan formed not only in our minds and on our proverbial cocktail napkins, but also on a shared Google Drive folder that would soon become an actionable itinerary for the retreat of our dreams.

Pairings Retreat

We started off with the dream of a beachy, intimate retreat filled with instagrammable drinks paired with vision board creations. Photo sessions paired with content calendars. Adorable products from bakeries like P is for Pie and brands like band.o to inspire our own creative juices. It all came together like the stories you hear of visionaries in restaurants spit balling ideas and then…one day, we have Twitter. Or in a parent’s garage and all of a sudden…Apple is born.

In fact, Cristina and I have this thing that happens to us when we really get going on an idea on G-chat. One of us will type out an idea and hit send only to find the other person has thought of almost the exact same thing as well. Leading to a lot of “GET OUT OF MY HEAD” and “HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?”

In moments like these, we are so like-minded that our dreams and visions become transcendent. Like somehow God is planting ideas in both our heads and because He had the good sense to make us friends, He’s smiling at His handiwork when we, humble creations that we are, realize how our ideas fit together just as they are meant to!

So fast forward through all of our pre-planning and big dreaming to the retreat itself.

Road Trip Reunion:

Cristina flew in early Tuesday morning. We didn’t want to skip a beat or miss precious time enacting our respective visions. I grocery shopped and product sourced ahead of time with a handy shared shopping list on the G-Drive (the thing that helps us get all things done.)

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for blogger by Cristina and Liz

The drive to Madeira Beach is about 2 hours from Orlando, so we had plenty of time to get our thoughts in order and make some plans ahead of our scheduled time of making plans. Plus, we had a chance to get important friend catch-up time in there as well, which is vital to a partnership like ours! We strive very hard to strike a balance between best friends forever and business partners. And that comes with equal helpings of dream casting and venting about elements of our everyday life.

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Werk Werk Werk:

Once we reached our destination, we were in for a penny, in for a pound. We wasted no time unpacking the car, setting up our rooms and our work spaces, making our first round of drinks and getting our hair into sensible work pony-tails. We had a quick lunch on the beach of Publix subs, because Publix subs are the be all and end all of sandwiches for any home grown Florida girl (and we both are!)

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for bloggers by Cristina and Lizzie

Next, we set about our goal setting. With the help of some materials Cristina brought along, we began to ask really tough questions about our goals. What we wanted to achieve in life? What was stopping us? What did we allow in our lives that caused road blocks we may not even be aware of yet? What emotional juggernauts did we each have to work on and overcome in the coming year to make space for big dreams? So…no big deal. Just the extremely big, life-altering questions of the every day life, right?

Visionaries:

Following that, we set to the task of vision boarding. Cristina’s board was and all-encompassing snap shot of the life she wants to create for herself. A sensible 11×17″ format that would fit nicely in her carry on and be easy to take home with her.

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My vision board…well, you know I don’t do anything the “normal” way. Mine turned into more of what I like to call, a vision journal. Each page representing a different aspect of my personality that I wanted to highlight or work on or change altogether.  (more to come on vision journaling!)

Sunsets are Non-negotiable:

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After getting a whole lot of WERK done, we made a rule about Pairings Retreat…Sunsets are non-negotiable!! So we walked out to the beach (which was mere steps away from the front door of our beach cottage) and watched as the day sank into nighttime. Sunsets are the best way to end a day, IMHO. They remind you that there is beauty waiting at the end of whatever you just went through. And they reminded us to consider that the world has so much to offer.

Winner, Winner, Pesto Dinner:

When pairing up with a Forever Friend and future business partner, it’s nice to combine skills. Some of which I have, some of which she has and some of which we share. But making a delicious Pesto Chicken Pasta for dinner…that’s all Cristina!

Throughout our day we were cognizant of the moments when we wanted to hunker down and get through our list, as well as making room for moments when we needed a little R&R to refresh us for the hard stuff. Pairings Retreat quickly became about so much more than scheduling blog posts and creating actionable plans for our future. It was only the end of day one and already we both had the feeling that we had stumbled upon something really special.

Second Verse, Better than the First:

We awoke at a reasonable hour in the morning on Day 2. Actually, I got up a little earlier to go sit on the beach and watch the day break. Breakfast was mimosas and bagels from Brooklyn Water Bagel, a local place in Winter Park and a favorite place of mine (shop small!!!)

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for bloggers by Cristina and Lizzie

We analyzed our schedule for the day over breakfast and made some adjustments. We wanted to have more time for photo sessions and wanted to take advantage of the weather in the morning. Being flexible in the midst of a set schedule became really important for us. We had things to accomplish, but we also wanted to be free to move with the day as we needed to.

Snap My Picture:

Cristina has gotten very good at taking my picture. From our days of working on my web series in New York to her constantly being my photographer for fitness series and fashion posts. Me…I’m not as good at it. But this was a chance to stretch myself. I’m usually the one in front of the camera, because I like to be there. She’s usually behind it, for the same reason. But Pairings Retreat is about challenging yourself. Creating what you need. And learning that the walls you have to climb are only as tall as you let them be. Learn to climb and you don’t have a wall problem anymore, do you!

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Photo by Cristina Fowler
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Photo by Cristina Fowler
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Photo by Cristina Fowler (she really is good at this game!)

Working Lunch:

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We continued to bump things around and change our schedule as our needs dictated for the day. Lunch became a working lunch. We put the finishing touches on our vision boards and started in on our writing session. Whatever that meant for each of us. We are both bloggers, but I took that time to continue filing out my questionnaire about my future, which became addictive and illuminating. I didn’t realize some of the things that were coming up in my answers and it allowed me a perspective on my future that I had not considered yet.

Treat Yourself:

Who among us isn’t energized by a treat? The mere mention of a cupcake in the vicinity and I perk right up! Prior to the trip, I had procured a couple special treats for us. Pies from P is for Pie, cupcakes from Small Cakes Cupcakery and extra large Hershey’s chocolate bars for each of us (milk chocolate for Cristina and dark chocolate for me.) We had a drink pairing for each portion of our day and delectable meals lined up around every corner.

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for bloggers by Cristina and Lizzie

We didn’t over eat. We didn’t get drunk or binge on sweets to the point of sugar comas, but we did enjoyed our time together to the fullest and took time to treat ourselves as we worked hard and got our check lists done! This is now a founding principle of Pairings Retreat. TREAT YOURSELF!!

Bring Me that Horizon:

As I  mentioned before…sunsets are non-negotiable at Pairings and we took the chance to get another photo session in before the sun took it’s bow for our last night on retreat.

On the Town:

To add a big, shiny bow to our fabulous and very productive 2-day retreat, we went out to dinner Wednesday night. We couldn’t believe we had only started the morning before. We had gotten so much done!

There’s something about fresh seafood on the porch of a beach town restaurant that is especially rejuvenating. We had more fruity drinks and more delicious desserts. And we talked about how we wanted to expand our idea for Pairings. What if we offered this experience to more bloggers who were looking for what we had found here?

To the Future:

It’s funny. After a certain age, things like camp and sleep overs and getaways become hard to come by because of life circumstance or frowned upon because of age. 30-something women don’t have slumber parties anymore. Adults don’t go away to sleep over camp. We grown-ups have it all figured out, after all. But I call shenanigans!!

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for blogger Cristina and Lizzie

We need to get away sometimes. We need to recharge our batteries away from the people who spend the most time using our batteries up. We need time with other creatives to spark our own adventures and dreams. That is exactly what Pairings became for us.

And even better, that is what Pairings can be for you too!!

If that sounds like just what you’re looking for, then…Stay tuned!

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for bloggers by Cristina and Lizzie

Used Cows and Crumpled Flowers

Let’s talk about sex.

A very personal topic, to be sure.

And I’ll be straight with you, internet. I’ve never had it. I didn’t have it on prom night or experiment in college. I didn’t have a Bradshaw-esque one night stand in New York City or make a really bad drunken decision. (Well, that’s not true. Bad decisions were made and alcohol was involved, but still…no sex.) I didn’t have a long term boyfriend who I wanted to share that with. And through a series of events, romantic missteps and my own personal choices I have kept my V-card. Sometimes not for lack of trying to change that status, to be even more honest with you (why stop now.)

Most of the time it’s been a decisive choice I’ve made not to share that with another person. But I have to tell you…the literature out there (Bible notwithstanding) is quite poor on reasons why a man or woman may choose to not have sex before they’re ready, interested, married, old enough, smart enough…the list of reasons goes on. And the advice about having it isn’t any better!

Let’s start with the worst advice out there and work our way through it!

“If he’s tastes the milk, he won’t buy the cow.”

Let’s keep being honest here…boys aren’t being told that they are cows that have to protect their milk. The double standard surrounding sex has been around for a very long time. Women wear white on their wedding day to signal the purity coming to the marriage bed…where’s that declaration from the groom? Not only is it nowhere to be found…it’s frowned upon for a young man to be sexually pure after a “certain age.” And women? Well, we cows have to protect our milk or no respectable man will want to…buy us? Who thought this was a healthy narrative regarding sexuality? I’m not sure when this phrase was born, but I know it’s long past time for this one to die out! And yep, I’ve had had someone tell me this before!!

“If you have sex your ‘flower’ will get crumpled.”

I think the TV show ‘Jane the Virgin’ handled this one really well. But for real…virginity is not a flower. It is not something that can be trampled or crumpled by consensual sex with another human being. There are plenty of ways that sex can go wrong. But deciding to have it is not the end of your world and you certainly shouldn’t be made to feel like a tossed gardenia after making such a choice. And what about people who didn’t make a choice to have sex…are they damaged goods too? Think about how harmful that phrase is to someone who has been raped!!

“You should wait because of the other person.”

This has always been one of my least favorite reasons to wait. Personally, I don’t want a pregnancy scare…I don’t want STD’s…and I don’t want the emotional attachment that comes with having sex (no matter what anyone says to the contrary) and all that has nothing to do with some imaginary future partner that I am definitely not waiting around to find. So the idea that a pivotal life decision should be made for anyone other than me, myself and I is just as absurd as the idea that I’m a prized cow with precious milk that needs protecting.

“Lady in the street, freak in the bed.”

Let’s not pretend that conservatives who believe in waiting for marriage are the only ones who’ve mishandled information about sex. The liberal side hasn’t done a great job either. The idea that a women should be one thing when you meet her and another thing when you sleep with her is ludicrous. And are men supposed to be gentlemen in streets, but turn into animals in the sack? This one is silly at best and dangerous at worst. If I’m a lady in the street, then you take me home and I Fatal Attraction you…is that supposed to be sexy? And what about those of us who are what you see? Yeah…I say no to this one!!

Look…sex is a messy topic. (This much we can all agree on.) And parents, pastors, teachers, politicians, news anchors, celebrities, liberals, conservatives…everyone has a hard time talking about it. I can’t blame them for that. I have a hard time talking about it too. Writing this post about sex on a blog that my friends and family read…uncomfortable. But it’s important and what I want to do is share with you what I wish had been shared with me when I was younger.

Here’s the really personal part…another reason I’ve never had sex is because it terrifies me. Can you blame me? I can’t let my flower wilt! I can’t let the milk spoil! I can’t lose my purity because that scares the “good guys” away! And even if I decided I wanted to have sex, I have to be one thing when a guy meets me and another thing when it gets intimate.

Here’s what I think…since you came all the way over here to my mind palace…Sex is good, great, exciting, WONDERFUL! I believe God made sex. I think it’s ok to want to have sex. The when, the why, the how… that changes from person to person. And if you are religious, then your beliefs may play a very important role in your decision making process (mine do!) One of the most important parts is that the people involved in the decision to have it are on the same page and should agree about having it. And above all else, we as a society should stop using phrases involving cows, flowers and freaks to describe it. Enough already!

For the love of all that is good…we have to change the way we talk about sex for future generations. We just have to!

Not My Timeline

Look, whether you are a passenger on the Trump Train or are currently working on your protest signs for the next march, you cannot deny that there has been a shift, a change in the winds. But instead of getting Mary Poppins, we got hatred, derision, division, fear, riots, protests, strikes, trolling, name-calling and more.

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Photo from MattForney.com

A lot of us are asking, “Why, God? Why?” But listen, God didn’t vote for Trump! So, I think what it boils down to is that we are simply asking the wrong question. We have to step back from the ledge and examine why and how we got here to begin with. And I think I have the answer…

Someone messed with our timeline, guys!! Look, I like think about what I’d do with a time machine as much as you do! Quick, top 5 time periods you’d travel to. Quick, top 5 dead people you want to brunch with. We’ve all fantasized about warning the Titanic about that pesky iceberg, assassinating Hitler before he has a time to wipe out millions of Jews and bearing witness to some of history’s greatest hits.

But as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. And someone just got greedy.

Someone went to all the trouble of building a time machine and it worked. They went back! But, instead of being a careful observer, they tinkered with the timeline leaving us with what can only be described as the beginnings of a dystopian 80’s film.

The thing is, this person will eventually have to return to our time and they’ll discover what they’ve done. It’s up to us to cut them off at the pass and commander whatever contraption they’ve managed to create.

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Photo from bustedtees.com

So whether it’s a flying Delorian that runs on gigawatts, a giant blue police box that defies space and time, a brass sled, a fancy necklace, a wormhole, an old pocket watch or something a bit more sophisticated like in Terminator…it’s up to us, my fellow Americans, to be vigilant.

We must find this meddler and put to rights what has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

So…if you see something, say something. We can come back from this. After all, if Marty McFly could fix his timeline, there’s hope for us!! I have to believe there’s still hope.

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Dear Inspiration,

Dear inspiration,

Dear spark of imagination,

Dear intense, unfailing dedication to sharing my inner conflagration,

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Where have you gone today? Correction, where have you been for a while now? I remember the days when we would sit in Central Park, me with a pen and paper, you swarming through my whole being, igniting the cobwebs in my mind and turning every silken thread into a tapestry of thoughts. These days my thoughts feel less substantial. My writing less inspired. My blog sadly missing you and your flare for the dramatic honesty.

Something was lost between New York, California and Florida. Perhaps you lost track of me in my travels. I tend not to stay in one place for long, if I can help it. The fault is yours, for I travel to experience more of you. But lately when I sit down to write, what comes out is a cacophony of words that have no cohesion. A maelstrom of thoughts with no clear conclusion. Where have you gone, my inspiration? Did I leave you in New York? I thought I felt your breath on my neck when we went to California. Every sunset we saw together would inspire poetry. I wasn’t seeing those sunsets alone was I?
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I know, I know…sometimes you visit me in the wee hours of the morning, when I’m still drunk on dreams. But what you leave behind, I cannot seem to grasp. The mere whisper of magic…the faint scent of the divine. I wish I could lasso your power and harness your energy. I wish I could keep you in a bottle and pour you on when I need you most.

But you are not to be caught in my fisher’s net. You, imagination…you are fierce and wild and will not be tamed by a mere mortal. Even one who thinks as highly of you as I do. Even one who puts a store of dreams in the mention of your name. Even I don’t deserve to keep you locked up, like a tiger in a zoo. Locked up and caged where you do not belong.

There are others who call upon your influence. Others who need you as much as I do. And I know you have to answer their siren call, for their call is no more important than mine. You have to be in so many places at once. God made it so. The way He made it so Santa Claus could travel through the night and need no rest till his work is done. You, too, are undaunted by the call of your duty to the dreamers of the world.

Galaxies are created in your name. Brand new worlds uncharted by human cartographers are discovered. Characters spring to life, upright and fully functioning in the minds of the creators, your offspring. Those who write and draw and sing and dream. Those who make empowered speeches that inspire others to write and draw and sing and dream. This is the evidence of your majestic influence. The bright colors splashed upon our world to brighten dull days and give bold words to mundane moments. You, the paintbrush of God himself, are hard at work in someone else today.

Don’t forget to return to me. Don’t forget your faithful friend. I await your return with eager anticipation. My pen still finds the paper in your absence. My voice is not gone. I use the remnants of what you left behind when last we were together and I will write and draw and sing and dream until the day you come back to me.

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You’ve Got Mail Challenge

At Nerd in the City (@nerdinthesand on Instagram) August is You’ve Got Mail month. Which means that I am sending and encouraging everyone to send more mail…you know, the old fashioned paper and stamp kinda stuff. Take a look at the prompts below.

You've Got Mail snail mail Instagram challenge Nerd in the City blog post August 2016

I used to love getting mail, back when people still did such a thing. So I decided to bring it back in style. Have you ever written your congressman, Mickey Mouse, The President of the United States? Did you know you can mail a flip flop on it’s own with a stamp and an address?

Mail is fun guys. There’s still plenty of month left, if you’re interested in joining. And you can always go back and do the prompts that have come and gone. It’s never too late for fun and whimsy.

Take a look at the mail journey so far…

Day 1: Buy Stamps

You've GOt Mail Instagram Challenge Harry Potter Stamps August blog post

Day 2: Note of Encouragement

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Day 3: Write a Love Letter

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Day 4: Write the President (it’s his birthday)

You've Got Mail Instagram challenge Dear Mr. President Day 4 blog post

Day 5: Mail a package

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Day 6: Send a story (I missed this day and am still working on it.)

Day 7: Write to Mickey Mouse

You've Got Mail instagram challenge Dear Mickey Mouse blog post

Day 8: Write a grandparent

You've Got Mail instagram challenge Dear Grandma blog post

Day 9: Send a photo

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Day 10: Send a postcard

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Day 11: Write your Congressman (I did it, you can check!)

Day 12: Send a thank you

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Day 13: Send a Round Robin

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Day 14: Send a letter covered in stickers

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TODAY!! Day 15: Send sympathy

Happy mailing! And if you want mail from me, email me your address. I’ll put you on my fun mail list: nerdinthecity01@gmail.com

Having a Moment

I was recently described by someone as “busy…in a good way.” As in, always working, always going, always doing, always trying. I do think of that as a good thing. I like to stay busy. I like to think of new projects to try, new songs to write, new blogs to post, new Instagram challenges to complete, new workouts to do. Busy is a very good word to describe me.

Last night when I got home from my long, busy day, I looked up and the moon was so bright. The stars were so pretty. I felt compelled to lay down in my drive way and just stare up at the sky, listening to one of my Spotify playlists. I can’t tell you the last time I just looked up at the stars and thanked God that He made them for me to look up at.

There were days when I was living in New York City that I begged God for a chance to stare up at the stars. But the lights of the city blind us to how bright the stars can be. The moon isn’t quite as awe-inspiring when  you’re standing in the middle of Times Square. So after 8 years, I forgot to stop being busy and to look up.

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But last night I remembered. I couldn’t even take a good picture of what had my busy brain standing still. That gif I found is cool, but it’s not what I was looking at. My phone couldn’t accurately capture the beauty of the moment. We live in such a technologically advanced age and still, transcendental moments like that can’t truly be shared with a photograph. There’s something about the experience that just can’t be translated by pixels.

Do you know all the things you miss when you don’t stand still for a moment? Florida is hot and in May, well, it’s not the hottest it can get, but it can be pretty sweat inducing. But at 10pm  when you’re not moving a muscle and you are lying on the ground watching stars, you can feel a breeze. I actually got a little chilly on a May night in Florida. I could smell Jasmine that has overtaken the fence and I could hear planes as they flew by, taking people to destinations that I dream of seeing one day. As the people on those planes slept on their night flight, I watched them and heard them and smelled jasmine and felt the breeze.

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When I was little, I used to think the crescent moon was a completely different moon from the big round one. Of course, as I got older, I learned about lunar cycles and how the light of the moon changes with seasons and ocean tides. And how the crescent and the full moon are the same moon. They just look a little different.

I laid there contemplating how when you watch clouds, you actually have something to watch because clouds change shape as they move through the sky, but stars are constant. They sit proudly in the night sky. They don’t have anything to prove. They don’t need to entertain.

I laid there for 30+ minutes and walked away with probably as many bug bites on my arms and legs, because that’s what happens when you lie on the ground feeling breezes and smelling jasmine and watching planes and contemplating stars. You don’t even realize you’re being bitten, because the beauty of the moment outweighs the pain.You don’t care because something bigger is happening. You have become a part of something bigger. In that moment you aren’t just a girl lying on concrete, staring at the stars…you are a Queen of Narnia. You know the path is before you and the world is behind. You have transcended even just for a moment to be a part of something good and true and something you don’t even understand because you are a soda can and God is the ocean (thanks Francis Chan.)

I’m sad the moment ended, but moments have to come to an end. That’s the nature of moments. That always makes me think of the Sondheim musical “Into the Woods.” My second favorite musical of all time. The baker’s wife has a moment in the woods with Cinderella’s prince and after it’s over she wonders…”What was that?” Moments leave us wondering why we can’t have more of them. But then she sings some of my favorite lyrics in Broadway history…

“Oh, if life were made of moment,

Even now and then a bad one-!

But if life were only moments,

Then you’d never know you had one.”

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Return to Blogland

You know what’s hard to do? Write a book about boys and dating when you currently have no interest in boys or dating. I know, I know…I wrote an entire 40 episode web series on boys and dating. So…there’s that.

And I can’t really describe to you what’s changed. The fundamental paradigm shift that’s happened in my brain and body that led me from wanting love and marriage to wanting nothing to do with them. We’re definitely in uncharted territory over here.

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It’s a particularly difficult realization to come to. Finding out that a book consisting of all my funniest stories revolve around the men that I’m not with. The guys that I’ve kissed. The boys that I do not miss. Every time I sit down to write, I think to myself “Is my life all about boys? Is the sum of my life’s work, the roster of  dudes that I’ve been involved with one way or another?????” When I think about it, I make this face…

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And then this mentally happens….

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And before you know it I’m on a full-on shame spiral where I am left examining all past mistakes through a very judgmental microscope. It’s not pretty. No one wants to be around that level of Debbie Down. I don’t even want to be around me sometimes.

Here’s what I know…I left New York for a reason. It wasn’t where I needed to be anymore. And I’m the kind of person that has no problem changing my circumstance. When things go bad or are no longer healthy for me, I change them. I move or get a new job or join a gym or stop drinking soda. It’s often as simple as that. I moved because I wanted to be able to find someone and fall in love…that was the reason. That’s what I said in the last episode of my web series. Remember…

That was not the truth. I think I thought it was the truth at the time. Is truth a relative thing? It was true then, but it’s not true anymore. Does that make it a lie? Was I lying to myself when I said I just wanted to fall in love? Cause right now…I know that I don’t. It’s the last thing I want for my life. This messy existence I’m currently living, love would only make it messier, if that’s even possible. And I have plenty of tangible, understandable love from my family and my friends. But romantic love? No thanks.

No wonder I have writer’s block, since what I’ve given myself to write about are stories about something I no longer want. I still want to share my experiences with you, world. I want you to benefit from my experiences. To learn from my mistakes. To understand me better by understanding where I’ve been. But I’m having a hell of a time doing it. I’ll be lucky if I have any hair left for my picture in the book jacket…

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In the meantime, while I figure it all out, I’m going to attempt to return to the blog I love. The blog I have neglected lately. The blog I started long ago and often take for granted. This is my brain on blog so, read at your discretion. And if you choose to, thanks for coming along for the ride!!

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God Rest Ye, Merry Stormtroopers

5 years ago I wrote some nerdy Christmas Carols for my family…

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I always dreamed of recording them one day and this fall while I was out in California, a reunion with an old friend started me down the path to seeing that dream realized.
Thanks to Kevin Porter of Flash Grove Music for interpreting my vision and making it a reality!
Thanks to Jessica Eriksen of Blue Moon Photography for helping me with the photoshoot!
And of course thanks to my brother, Jeremy Twachtman, who in the final hour was able to get a video ready so fast my head may have spun!

It takes a village to realize a dream…
Merry Christmas, enjoy and if you like it pass it on!!

If Weird Al and Taylor Swift had a love child…it would be me! (Let that sink in for a moment…)

*All Star Wars characters are owned by Disney! I’m just a fangirl showing my love!!

Finding Inspiration

I’m a pretty inspired person. I find inspiration in music. I find it in movies. I find it in books and blogs and friendships and in daily quiet time with God. Out here in California I find it when simply gazing at the sunshiney sky or a perfectly placed palm tree.
But sometimes the well runs dry.
So I made a list of the things that usually help me get my inspirational groove back.

Step 1: Turn to God
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This is usually the first place I turn. I admit, sometimes it takes a back burner in the quest for motivation and inspiration. But it should always be first. My favorite devotions are “My Utmost for the Highest” by Oswald Chambers and “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. I try to do these consistently. When I reach a stagnant moment, I will always have a place to turn.

Step 2: Make a List
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After placing my path back in God’s hands (time and again) I try and list the dreams He’s placed on my heart. The passions that I can’t shake. The “unreasonable,” “unaccomplishable” musings that fill my brain and heart constantly. In list form, they seem much more attainable!

Step 3: Watch any and all Marvel movies
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For some reason the MCU really sparks my imagination! I dream of being a superhero. I dream of saving the world. And after watching Captain America or Avengers, it just seems easier to accomplish.

Step 4: Walk, Run, Jump, Spin
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When I’m in a season of laziness and drought, it’s easy to forget or ignore the things I love most. Happiness doesn’t seem attainable in the darker moments. But I love working out! I really do. I had a guy at Crunch gym, a guy who was trying to sell me on a membership by the way, tell me that people work out to lose weight or gain weight or look better, but never because they love it. To which I responded, that’s nice…show me to my spin class. Cause I love spinning!! The feel of aching muscles, muscles that you may have forgotten existed is what keeps me moving.

Step 5: Read
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In addition to my Bible and my daily devotionals, I love to read biographies and autobiographies of inspiring people. People like Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn and Bobby Kennedy and Mindy Kaling and Ellen Degeneres and Rock Hudson and Felicia Day and Amy Poehler and anyone else who strikes me as an inspiration. Their stories inspire my own.

Step 6: Write
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How can you expect to write about life if you aren’t living one. Staying home and catching up on 11 seasons of Supernatural may lead to some searing pieces about the show, but it won’t give you life experiences or insight into the greater struggle. So do all the other steps on this list and then write it all down. Share your life with people. Or take up a challenge like #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) I’ve never written a book in my life…but I’m gonna try it!

How do you stay inspired when inspiration seems lost?