31 December 2010

Reverb10 - 31 December

Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)

Story: To those who've earned my trust, friendship and loyalty, they are permitted to learn me. It's not that I put up a front; it's that I don't let just anyone see past my skin. I am very personal. I have very deep connections with very few people in this world, and I like it that way. I am strong, determined and independent. 

I wasn't sure where that story was going, so as I reviewed my Reverb10 posts, I came up with the following list of themes:

physical, emotional and financial health
motherhood, sacrifice and reward
"life begins at the edge of your comfort zone."
forgiveness and healing
prioritizing what I spend my time doing
still scared to let myself love

30 December 2010

Reverb10 - 30 December

Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What's the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?

Hands-down, the single most memorable, tangible AND emotional gift I received this year: HEIDI! (My puppy!)

29 December 2010

Reverb10 - 29 December

Prompt: Defining moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

I feel like I've already responded to this prompt (in another prompt). Basically 2010 didn't have any single super-defining moments. I let myself live a little, but I wouldn't consider it a moment or series of events. *shrug.

28 December 2010

Reverb10 - 28 December

Prompt: Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

Get rid of some debt. Scratch that. I want to get rid of a lot of debt. Time to kick Sallie Mae to the curb, or something. When I'm through with Sallie Mae, maybe I'll buy a house and invest in it. I'm not going to do the lists for this prompt. I know what achieving a goal feels like.

27 December 2010

Reverb10 - 27 December

Prompt: Ordinary joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

Time spent at the dog park with my German Shepherd pup, Heidi. Totally routine and ordinary since I go 4+ times a week with her. Seeing her happy makes me happy.

26 December 2010

Reverb10 - 26 December

Prompt: Soul food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth and touched your soul?

Harry Potter Pepper Imps and Butter Beer, and grilled chicken Caribbean Jerk Shish-Kabobs. Okay, that's the literal answer.

Soul-wise... well, my poor soul didn't have much of an appetite. Or I deprived it. I'm not sure which is more accurate.

Maybe I'm completely missing the crux of this prompt.

25 December 2010

Reverb10 - 25 December

Prompt: Photo - a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

This photo was taken, obviously, in Washington, D.C. I was spending the weekend with my cousins, and Lana showed me around the sights; she took this photo. (It took us probably 20 photos to get the jump and click timing to sync up properly, haha!)

This photo says "hey, look! I'm fun, I'm different!" I really like how my hair flipped out mid-air here; it is very 60-ish - one of my very favorite eras, and I am very old-fashioned, so it adds up well. The fact that the photo is in the nation's capital represents loyalty and community.

24 December 2010

Reverb10 - 24 December

Prompt: Everything's OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

No single moment like that is coming to mind. Probably because my life is riddled with question marks anymore. I suppose everything is okay, though. I have a fantastic job, a loving family, lots of friends, and two fun pets.

If I had to choose a single moment, it would be when I let myself go past one of my many comfort zones. I'm not going to go into specifics, but that's the closest I can do for this prompt. I don't particularly want to propel that into 2011. ...I don't know what to do about it, actually. But where things stand right now, well, they're okay.

23 December 2010

Reverb10 - 23 December

Prompt: New name. Let's meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

This is tough. I like my name just the way it is. At first I was thinking first name is different, but why couldn't it be a different last name? I won't reveal which last name I'd like to have; it's impossible on so many levels, anyway. So, in the end, I'll present myself with a different first name:

Hello, my name is Charlotte. People call me Charlie for short.

I've always liked older-sounding names with pretty pronunciations. I also really like when a girl has a guy's name as their nickname. Charlie is one of my favorites (think The Italian Job).

22 December 2010

Reverb10 - 22 December

Prompt: Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

I traveled between Florida and Indiana (home), and to Maryland for a couple of work-related trips, but I don't consider any of that to be true traveling. So, unfortunately, no, I didn't travel in 2010. In 2011 I am focusing on paying of some debt, so traveling will have to wait. However, I do have a trip planned to visit a dear friend in Iowa.

21 December 2010

Reverb10 - 21 December

Prompt: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

In five years I will be twenty-nine years old, nearly 3-decades-old. I would tell myself to work hard to get out of debt. To pray for guidance on my gut feelings. To let my hair down once in a while. And to love fiercely.

20 December 2010

Reverb10 - 20 December

Prompt: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

Let myself love the way I did once, a long time ago. Will I do it? If it feels right, yes.

19 December 2010

Reverb10 - 19 December

Prompt: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

A friend healed me this year. I had been ripping back scar tissue for nearly 2 years when, finally, I was able to let my friend help me spread salve over the wound, and leave it alone, so that it could heal properly.

18 December 2010

Reverb10 - 18 December

Prompt: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn't go for it?

I want to try to check Facebook less. Outside of sharing photos and planning get-togetheres (events), my life is not enhanced by Facebook. In 2010 I wanted to keep better track of my finances, and I did that with Excel's help.

17 December 2010

Reverb10 - 17 December

Prompt: Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

While I'm very good about forgiving others, I need to learn how to forgive myself. I will apply this lesson by being easier on myself in the future. I don't have to suffer because I made mistakes; I just need to learn from them and let them go.

16 December 2010

17th Annual Paws in the Park

The 17th Annual Paws in the Park walk is on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando, Florida. Last year Heidi and I raised $70 more than my original goal! This year my goal is $100, and I’m hoping to surpass it, too!

Above is a photo the Mutts on a Mission Pack Leader, Kurt Bouwman, sent me recently – it’s a photo of me and Heidi back in February of this year at the 16th Annual Paws in the Park walk. = ) She was so teeny and fluffy! If you want to read about last year’s event and see photos, check out this blog post.

I hope you consider making a donation to make a difference in the lives of thousands of animals by sponsoring or participating in the SPCA of Central Florida's Annual "Paws In The Park.” If you can’t give, but know someone who can, please pass this on to them - it can’t hurt to ask!

To Sponsor My Fundraising:

1. Please visit my Personal Fundraising Page and consider helping me by making a secure online donation now by clicking here
2. Click "Sponsor Me"
3. Continue with donation
4. Return to my sponsor page
5. Leave a message on my fundraising wall = )
6. When you make an online donation, I will be notified by email of your support and you will automatically receive an e-tax receipt from the SPCA of Central Florida.

To Participate with My Pack in Fundraising and the Walk:

1. Navigate to this website
2. Click "Sign Up"
3. Accept the waiver
4. Join as a pack member
5. Search for the pack name "Mutts on a Mission"
6. Select "Mutts on a Mission" team name
7. Click "Join this Team"
8. Continue with registration

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Thank you for your support!

Reverb10 - 16 December

Prompt: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

It was a gradual change. It started with a Inga's card that said "life begins at the edge of your comfort zone." that concept planted a seed in me somewhere, and towards the end of summer something else gradually changed in my life. It's been pretty good. = )

15 December 2010

Reverb10 - 15 December

Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Brought Heidi into my life and home. Chucky is training to become a NAVY SEAL. Sam graduated high school and is wrestling on a scholarship for Northern Illinois University. Mom and Dad are growing together as they adjust to an empty nest and more time with one another. I joined the ISLDP at LM. I started my master's at PSU.

I just needed one minute. = )

Heidi Update

Lots has been going on for my Miss Heidi. She had a vet visit yesterday that was particularly helpful. The crux of the visit was for her lip sore, which I accurately researched and found to be localized demodex canis mites. Don't fret; it's not contagious. $45 later the vet prescribed a gel to kill off the overly active mites. Did you know that all dogs have mites all over them that live in parasitic bliss? Gross, huh? Reminds me of the hippo and teeny tiny bird team... sort of.

Anyway, got the lip sore sorted out; should be healed up in 2 weeks. The vet also said he wanted to see Heidi pack on 5 pounds in the next 4 weeks. For months she's been holding consistently at 55 pounds. And, trust me, I have been working diligently to get her to eat regularly and consistently. I think she's developed into being a picky eater. Anyway, he recommended adding wet food to her dry food. So far it's worked like a charm. Hopefully this trick stands the test of time. I can already tell she's happier with a full tummy.

As Heidi has hit her 12-month mark, and being a German Shepherd Dog, she's been pushing some of my buttons. It's been a bit stressful being a puppy momma, but it's also one of those things where we're both learning. She's smart and is catching on quickly to what is acceptable and unacceptable. I think I'm going to see how she does outside of the crate this week while I'm at work. She's proven herself to be a good girl around the apartment for the last week and a half.

Saturday I took Heidi to a beautiful, hidden gem in Orlando: the Greenland Urban Wetlands. It's a walking park that used to be a landfill. Heidi was well-behaved, and I was able to let her off the leash for a while. Her, Bella, Mardigan, Gabbie, Carmela and Tito's Beagle had a lovely puppy playdate while Jessica, David, Heather, Chris, Tito, Doug and I got to visit with one another and enjoy cinnamon sugar pita chips! Mmm!

14 December 2010

Reverb10 - 14 December

Prompt: Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
Motherhood. No, I don't have a biological child. I have a puppy. And she is my world. I express my gratitude for her with treats, running, lots of peanut butter, fun photos, hikes, long walks, pineapples, and LOTS of time at the dog park.

13 December 2010

Reverb10 - 13 December 2010

Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

My next step is to get my finances even more in line. I have everything I can foresee budgeted in my budget for next year. I'll be making big payments and minimal, if any, charges on my credit card. My savings is going to be beefed up, too. I'm excited to gain more control on my money so it doesn't rule over me.

In addition, I am going to be working hard to get my Etsy shop, amara | 86, off the ground. I have items for sale, and have had many views, but no bites yet. I'm going to focus on advertising and photo work for appeal. It's a whole new world to me.

12 December 2010

Reverb10 - 12 December

Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

During the month of October I ran every single day. Sometimes it was just for 10 minutes, but usually it was at least 2 miles and up to 3.5 miles. My body was in great shape and I felt amazing. It wasn't exactly a moment, but my body was definitely integrated.

11 December 2010

Reverb10 - 11 December

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 

1. sweets
2. 3-4 days off between workouts
3. more OPI nail polish, or any, for that matter
4. super-schedule-structure
5. worry
6. pet illness
7. no more frivolous spending (doing pretty well with this, but it can be improved)
8. a million projects (need to finish started projects and cut back/prioritize future ones)
9. super-frequent-Facebook-checking
10. another dog, because Lord knows I've been thinking about it
11. guilt

Getting rid of these things, or at least minimizing and cutting back, will allow me to focus on more important things in my life, keep me healthier and will free up some money that was previously spent unwisely.

10 December 2010

Reverb10 - 10 December

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

I made a couple of wise decisions. Both have affected my life drastically. The first was to bring Heidi, my German Shepherd Dog, into my life. The second was to allow myself to begin to forgive myself about something that happened over 2 years ago. I'm tired of the weight and the chains, and since July I've been letting myself live a little, even if it's not a perfect scenario. (Sorry the second decision is so cryptic; it's very personal.)

09 December 2010

Reverb10 - 9 December

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Back in the late summer I went to a house party. The decision to go was quite unlike me because I knew what craziness was implied. The hostess' boyfriend is a local houes DJ, so the music was good. I don't remember much food, but I do remember there being plenty to drink! There was also some very good hookah. That was my first time smoking hookah in about a year; it was the first good hookah I'd had in a year and a half (nothing compares to The Hookah's hookah). I remember I wore my high-waisted jean skirt from Australia. I also remember that the zipper broke that night. I still need to fix that darned zipper.

08 December 2010

Reverb10 - 8 December

Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.

Organization. Hosting. Creativity. Old-fashioned. These are the words that came to mind when I asked myself how I am different and what makes others brighten.

Organization. Yes, I am OCD. Yes, I write everything down. Yes, I have time blocked off in my calendar for staying in and watching a movie. It's how I operate, and how I like to do so. I love check lists, and they do me well. Being ridiculously organized is how I get by. It's part of me. My passion for organization and order makes me different.

Hosting. I love hosting get-togethers, be it a movie night or a Thanksgiving dinner party. I love welcoming people into my home. While I'm still working on making introductions, the expansion of social circles still occurs. It makes me happy to think about how many people have made friends because I was there to help their paths cross. My passion for opening my home and bringing people together makes me different.

Creativity. I've always loved to make things, especially with my hands. Knitting, crocheting, sewing - these are some of my favorite crafts. As a girl I would make friendship bracelets (all of my embroidery floss was organized by color in my little case, of course). I have dabbled in jewelry, and I like to make my own cards to give to people for any occasion. My favorite part of being creative is seeing people's amazement at what I've made. It's fun to answer their question of "where did you get that?" with "oh, I made it myself."With the conveniences of today's world, hand-made goods are not as easy to come by. My passion for creating things makes me different.

Old-fashioned. In many respects I am old-fashioned. With regards to dating, etiquette, even Technology. I appreciate doing things the hard way instead of taking the short-cuts. I like to think about what life was like before all of the modern conveniences and advances. Once upon a time we used to have to pump water. Now we turn a knob. I'm not saying I want to live in the stone age; I am in the field of Technology, after all. I am, however, saying that my old-fashioned tendencies and preferences make me different.

Cable Knitting

I'm super happy. Tonight I finished teaching myself how to cable knit! Now I am able to do 25 more patterns from my Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Knitting book! Here is what I mean by cable knit:

07 December 2010

7 in 7

Original Post Date: 30 November 2010

I have the pleasure of knowing a great young man by the name of Zach Swee. He started doing something he calls 7 in 7. He does 7 things every day for 7 days. Actually, he's so disciplined and good at it that he now does 60 in 60! So impressive!

Anyway, I'm going to start out with 7 in 7. I'm going to start this Sunday, 5 December 2010. Here are my 7 things in no particular order of importance:

1. Floss
2. Read for one hour before bed
3. Knit a cup cozy
4. 30-45 minutes of yoga
5. Eat one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetable
6. Journal
7. Sew for one hour

Are you going to try it? What are your 7?

Edit on Thursday, 2 December 2010:
PS - my good Australian friend, Tamara, told me about Sebastian Terry. He is doing 100 Big Things before he hits 30. Check out his blog here to see what he's accomplished. His list includes sky diving naked, buying a stranger's lunch, delivering a baby - he's making waves for those with stale bucket lists!

Edit on Tuesday, 7 December 2010:
PS - my original 7 things were entirely too ambitious on the whole! Here are my revised 7 things:

1. Floss
2. Read for one hour before bed
3. Knit
4. 30-45 minutes of yoga OR 4+ mile run
5. Eat one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetable
6. Journal and/or post on Emovolution
7. Blog and/or post for Reverb10

Reverb10 - 7 December

Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
Oh, many places! My book club on Meetup.com has provided me a beautiful circle of friends in Orlando for whom I am forever grateful. I also joined a young Christian singles group and young outdoors enthusiast group on Meetup.com this fall, though the former has led to more community as I've been more involved there. I also started getting into volunteering a couple times a month, so I've discovered a lovely sense of community in that realm. Even within the workplace, in my leadership development program, specifically, I've found community. Lastly, my favorite place that I've found community has been the dog park! I've made many friends of the owners of Heidi's canine friends.

06 December 2010

Reverb10 - 6 December

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

I make a lot of things, but the last thing I completed was a knitted cozy for a cup. I used a pretty, soft rose-colored yarn and my pretty dark wood knitting needles with pearl-like caps. The pattern I used for the cozy is called Double Moss. It has raises and dimples. Here is a link to the item in my Etsy shop, amara | 86.
Creating things is a passion of mine. I get this artistic sense from my mother and her mother, my grandmother who taught me how to crochet. I love making things with my own two hands. I love putting time into something nice. One of my dreams is to see my Etsy shop take off and be a nice little source of extra income.

As far as clearing time in my week to devote to creating things, well, I'm working on that. I get mental blocks, such as "oh, I have to cut all that fabric, still," that hold me back. It happens to all of us, and I am working on getting a rhythm established to help push me through those sorts of blocks.

05 December 2010

Reverb10 - 5 December

Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

My grip on the boundaries of my comfort zones. I crossed some of my own lines. I also let go of some old memories that had been poisoning my life since the memories were made. They are figments of my past, and that's where they belong. It is fruitless to hold on to them because doing so won't recreate anything.

Also, the song "Let Go" by Frou Frou changed my life and helped me through hard times. = )

04 December 2010

Cup Cozy - Double Moss, M

I have a new item up on my Etsy shop, amara | 86: a cup cozy knitted with a double moss pattern. It is a medium-sized cup cozy. Make a statement at Starbucks! $8, $2 for shipping. Great for book worms and coffee shop lovers. Want one? Click here.

Reverb10 - 4 December

Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Heidi! Having Heidi in my life has given 2010 a sense of wonder. She has brought so much happiness into my life, and sometime's I'm amazed that I'm able to handle having a puppy along with all the other things I juggle in my life. It's wonderful how happy she makes me, though, because that in itself makes me want to giver her the best life a dog could ask for that much more. I love you, Heidi Bear!

03 December 2010

Reverb10 - 3 December

Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I'm going to come back to this one. I am in the midst of sorting through my favorite photos from 2010 for my Christmas letter. Looking through the photos will help me choose the moment I most felt alive this year.


I've decided there hasn't been a single moment in 2010 where I felt more alive than another moment. I feel alive when I do things for other people (donating my time, skills or extra money to a cause, as well as coordinating and/or hosting get-togethers with friends), when I am doing something extreme (water skiing and tubing, and running races), and when I am with Heidi (pretty much all the time).

As for 2011, I have a ski trip lined up for the end of January. I missed skiing last winter, so I'm super excited. It'll be a first for me in a few ways, too. Earlier the same month I am running my fourth half marathon with my Mom! We're aiming to break 2 hours for the 13.1 mile-long race!

02 December 2010

Reverb10 - 2 December

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Writing isn't a top priority for me. I'm not concerned with eliminating the other things that I put before writing. I'm not in a great mood. This is it for today's response.

01 December 2010

Reverb10 - 1 December

My friend, Kayelee, told me about this blogger thing called Reverb10. The idea is to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

My one word for 2010: "stirring." This year has shifted me in some ways; it has stirred my mind, heart and soul. A dear friend sent me a card that read "life begins at the edge of your comfort zone." I put that to play and started stepping out of my comfort zone. I've began questioning some things about myself, too. 2010 has been stirring.

As for 2011, I tried to think of a single word that doesn't apply to every year (adventurous, transforming, growth, renewing, etc.), but found that I wasn't really able to find a unique term. Of all the things I want every year to be, however, the word "present" stuck out to me. I realized that in the last two years I've been allowing part of myself to remain stuck in the past. I am making "present" my word for 2011 so that I may fully let go of some things, and fully live in the present. I also don't want to get too caught up in making plans for the future, so having the word "present" represent 2011 is spot on.

Pay It Forward Day

Today is Pay It Forward Day. If you're unfamiliar with the phrase, you should check out the movie entitled "Pay It Forward." Excellent movie; even better concept.

Today is meant to spark inspiration in people to do something nice for three people. The idea is that they would, in response to your kindness, "pay it forward" to three other people. And so on!

Today I did these three nice things for people:

1. I sent a colleague, Bill McNamee, a thank you note through a system at work that allows me to notify his manager that I sent the note. The thank you note was to thank and recognize Bill for the tremendous help he's provided me in becoming accustomed to a system we use at work called Unity.

2. Bought an ice skating package for a friend (includes entry, skate rental, popcorn and a pop).

3. Chipped a few dollars for the next guy at Jimmy John's.

Heidi's First Birthday

The Sunday before last I baked some yummy dog biscuits from scratch and took Heidi to her favorite place, the Waterford Lakes Dog Park, to celebrate her first birthday! She even let me get a photo with her wearing a party hat!

Becky, Bill & Angie celebrated, too! They even gave Heidi a present: a bone with meat filling! Delicious!

Carlos and Pabst wished her a happy birthday, too!

Some fellow Purdue and Colts fans, Chuck and his wife, and their dog, Maggie, had fun with us at her birthday party.

Here's a great shot of the pretty birthday girl!

My friend, Zach, came out for the party! It was so nice to see him after having traveled a lot in the last couple months.

Afterwards Heidi got down to business with the present from Angie!