#Living

I talk a lot about life-balance because I believe I'm better in every area of my life when I've taken time to rest — physically, spiritually and mentally.

Backstory: I've always worked. My first job was at my grandparents' general store and Texaco station. I was store clerk, replenished groceries and dry goods, changed tires and oil, replaced wiper fluid and pumped gas. I was also the janitor because I love things to be organized and squeaky clean. My family had a farm so I worked on the 20+ acres of land before and after school, on weekends and every day in the summertime.

It didn't matter that I was a small girl, when it came to work we all pitched in. I hauled hay bales, drove a tractor, donned coveralls to spray our fruit trees and cleaned ditches. There were no excuses and everyone pulled their own weight.

My tenacity and work ethic was passed down from my grandparents (small business and farm owners) and my parents, both of whom have multiple Masters degrees and are driven, "get it done" kind of people. My mother started out as an elementary school teacher and retired as SUPERINTENDENT of her school system while my father has started and run several successful businesses.

That said, I've worked non-stop and never paused to play, rest, or entertain the idea of a balanced life until late last year.  (Play? Who had time for THAT? Balance? Rest? Really? There were things to get done! Hills to charge! Things to achieve!)  

So, what changed?

On November 8, 2015 I met Jimmy and we quickly became an inseparable couple. He's an artist through and through and immediately appreciated and encouraged my then-stifled creativity. He politely suggested I take a step back, look at life's big picture and believe the "impossible." It was scary letting go of Type-A habits but with a little nudging and a whole lot of love, I learned the benefits of "rest" and what LIVING really looks like. 

I embraced this new found perspective and made some BIG life changes.. The result? In addition to getting my health and sanity back, I am overwhelmingly happy, I've fallen in love for the first time, AND — because I'm now able to offer the very BEST of myself — everything I do achieves greater results. I will never go back to living stretched, stressed or overwhelmed.  

In closing, I offer this:

Schedule in time for REST and reap it's replenishing qualities. (You can only live on "11" for a little while before your "best you" is compromised!) Follow your heart. Live NOW. Take risks. CHASE. YOUR. DREAMS. 
Give yourself permission every day to stop and breathe. LAUGH OUT LOUD. "Clean house" by removing those things in your life that drain or hurt you. Write down 5 things you're grateful for. TRAVEL. Offer a prayer of thanks for the open doors as well as the closed ones. Tell someone that they matter. Give yourself a hug. Smile. Help someone in need — especially a kid.

These things will plant "happy seeds" and you will ultimately harvest joy. 

I promise.

Until next time,

JM

PS — Here are few links to some amazing videos Jimmy has put together from our adventures over the last year.  I hope they inspire you schedule in some time to rest and begin fully #LIVING.

(The one labeled "Bridges of Madison County" was part of my birthday gift from him and it's my absolute favorite.)

Mammoth Cave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEswrSy8Buc&feature=youtu.be

Darby Canyon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi72MHA4Jx0

Yellowstone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHgbc2ljmio

Bridges of Madison County: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx5EobfE9Ao