Taking a Moment

Last heavy post of the week, I promise. But truth be told, this year has been a bit heavy for me. Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a heavy way. Lots of changes have taken place – states, jobs, downsizing from a house to an apartment, etc.

Adding one more item to this list is my new status as a Stay At Home Wife. Let me elaborate.

 I graduated with an integrated marketing communications degree in 2009 and held a couple of marketing internships before that. After graduation one of those internships turned into a full time job, which took me down the road of sales. Unemployment took me OFF that road, and back into marketing I went. Three years and another state later, I’ve found myself feeling really unfulfilled and lacking passion for the financial industry.

I began to dread going to the office every day. I had trouble sleeping and eating (which, is kind of a big deal for me – I’m truly a natural at both of these things). I couldn’t “leave work at work”.

You see, that’s not okay with me.

I struggled with the decision to leave my good on paper, comfortable job with a decent paycheck. I knew that I didn’t have it as bad as some people, but I also knew that I didn’t LOVE what I was doing with my life. And ultimately, that argument won out.

So I’m taking some time. Time to do some soul searching. Time to really think about the direction of my life. Time to recharge.

(Photo credit to our friend, Stefan Choquette Photography)

And honestly, I’m feeling pretty awesome about it. Obviously, I plan to return to the working world as soon as I have it all “figured out”, but for now I’m enjoying having extra free time to do what I want.

So far this has consisted of: going to barre every morning, walking the dogs, networking, sometimes getting in two work outs a day (holla), organizing our apartment, looking for a new place to move next month when our lease is up, blogging, soul searching, catching up with people that I love – I talk to my sister and best friend almost daily, reading, cooking, job searching and more.

The funny thing is that I know of a handful of people who have chosen to do this too this year. Is it an epidemic of non-settlers? Have we decided that won’t spend 40 hours a week doing something that we don’t love because life’s too short?

Whatever it is, I just wanted to share this little (BIG) part of my life with you all this month. Now whatever we’re doing, let’s have a fabulous November!

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Life’s Not Always Fair

I may have mentioned before, but for the past two years I’ve been reading a daily devotion by Sarah Young called, “Jesus Calling.” A friend that I look up to very much recommended it to me, and since then I’ve found that many of the women in my life are reading this particular devotional each day. It’s that powerful. 
(Haha – I had to.)
I just have to share today’s message with you, because I bet that it’s been oh-so-relevant for us all at one time or another in our lives. 
Young writes, “Do not expect to be treated fairly in this life. People will say and do hurtful things to you, things that you don’t deserve. When someone mistreats you, try to view it as an opportunity to grow in grace. See how quickly you can forgive the one who has wounded you. Don’t be concerned with setting the record straight. Instead of obsessing about other people’s opinions of you, keep your focus on Me. Ultimately, it is My view of you that counts.”
While I’m not currently going through a situation like this, I can remember many times in my past that I have been. Whether you are a believer or not, I believe this message is so true. We can’t control what others say or think of us and, honestly, it is none of our business! What IS our business is to be true to ourselves, and to choose grace. 
Recently I was faced with a choice when exiting a situation. Encouraged by my dad to handle the challenge with grace, I did so, and I feel so great about it. I was able to walk away from a stressful situation with a smile on my face, a clear conscious and a peaceful heart. 
More on this to come…
Have a great Monday and choose grace!

Life Lately

Life lately has been a bit interesting for me. And if I’m being honest, I’ve felt a bit uninspired over the past few weeks. A bit taken aback and disheartened. 
As many of you know, my friend, Kate & I launched our social media marketing company, The Social Avenue at the beginning of the month. Due to reasons that I will not go into, we have put a halt on that effort for the time being (as well as the foreseeable future). After months and months of work, to say that we are disappointed is a bit of an understatement, but on the positive side, this new change has shed some light on things previously hidden. 
I’ve learned many things about myself over the past couple of months, including:
A newfound love for branding. And I do mean love.
An ability to overcome fear & “go forth in the direction of my dreams”, whatever they may be.
The will to shut out self-doubt talk & thoughts.
A level of creativity I didn’t realize I possessed. 
The ability to truly not care what others may or may not think. 
The courage to fail, and sort of like it because it means I’m actually living.

Through everything I feel so blessed & truly lead to be on the path that I’m on. I’ve struggled, made mistakes & am coming out of it all with the knowledge of who I am and what I want from life. 

Forgiveness

Everyone has someone in their life that has hurt them. Sometimes, we even have multiple someones. Just like we, ourselves have hurt one or many people over the course of our life, whether intentional or not. 
And while I think it’s important to fully process our anger, sadness and any other emotions that arise, I think the most important thing we can do for ourselves after being hurt is to forgive.
I went through a difficult time in 2010. Not only did the man who raised me as his daughter abandon me only months before my wedding, I was also dealing with the loss of my first job out of college, meeting my biological father and issue upon issue with the group of people Cory & I had called our friends since high school.
Now that three years have passed, I look back & see that this was all part of God’s plan for our life. Every single hardship Cory & I went through together that year made us stronger individuals. The problems that were in our life at that time made our marriage more solid than I could have hoped for & most importantly, gave us the courage to unapolegetically be ourselves.
What I learned from that year is that it may take years to process & forgive, and that’s okay. We may never get the apology we feel deserve, and that’s okay too. But for our souls, it’s important to forgive anyways.
A couple of months ago (gosh – maybe six now?) I heard through the grapevine about something new going on in a person’s life that had hurt me in the past. And you know what my first thought was? It was “good for her!” 
In shock, I tried to analyze why I had such a positive reaction to the good things happening in this person’s life. “Why am I happy for her?” I didn’t understand it at first because our friendship had ended & I truly was happier without her in my life. 
Then I realized that I had forgiven her. Not only that, but in my heart of hearts I wished well for her. And that felt really good.
On that note it’s important to know that just because you forgive does not mean that you are opening a door to let people who’ve hurt you back into your life. No, you’re actually doing the opposite. You’re taking a lesson from the relationship or situation & you’re moving on to be a better person, leaving your recurring thoughts of them behind.
I encourage you to try it. Forgive something that you’re holding on to and keep wittling it down until it’s gone, no matter how long it takes.  
I promise you, your life will be much fuller once you open up space by letting it go.

Life After Masectomy

For those of you following my mom’s progress, here is the latest update. 
Surgery went well. 
Recovery didn’t go as well as expected, as my mom was more in pain than she had anticiapted, but a masectomy is a pretty big deal. She took two weeks off of work after the surgery & I was able to visit her during that time. She had four tubes in for drainage purposes, and those were a bit uncomfortable, but she was a trooper. 
Occasionally she went a little stir-crazy and got out of the house, but those outings were very brief because they took a lot out of her. 
After two weeks the doctors took two of her tubs out & gave her the okay to head back to work, which proved more exhausting than she expected, as well. Luckily, she works for an awesome couple (and has been working for them most of my life) & they were very supportive of her working half days, every other day, so as not to put too much stress on her.
Two weeks later the doctors were able to take out her last two tubes, which was a relief for her because they were a major source of her pain. The spacers that she has in her chest now are uncomfortable, so she is looking forward to those being replaced by implants this spring.

I personally think she just can’t wait to have new, perky boobs to show off.
(If you know my mom –  you clearly know I am just kidding. Kind of.)

As for further recovery, we were hoping to find out yesterday if she would need radiation or chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the tests came back mixed & we have to wait another two weeks to find out if we’re “in the clear.”

One thing I must mention, before I go, is how strongly my mom has felt God in this whole process. It’s the one thing she has been saying over & over & it has been amazing to see her calmness with her diagnosis & surgery. She has truly been the anchor keeping our familly together.

Thank you all so much for the prayers, food & support that you’ve given my family and please keep her in your prayers for another couple of weeks, while we wait to find out further treatment.

Fat Tuesday 2013

If you know me, you may have to read this to believe it. And actually, even then you may not believe it.
For Lent this year, Cory & I are giving up…
ALCOHOL. 
Hopefully this is more successful than last year, when I tried to give up gossip. You can read about that here and here
After reading my friend, Kate’s blog post about Lent, I started to answer my way through the 10 questions she posed. Some of the questions that really put alcohol on my heart were the following:
When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? 
For one, I might be thinner (bad thinking – focus on God!), but really, I will have restrained myself from something that I haven’t gone even a month without in the past decade. Don’t do the math, Mom. So how could giving this up for God not make me different?

Is there a habit or sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? 

Ha – Is this a trick question? 90% of the problems I’ve had in the past have been alcohol-fulled. Of course, alcohol has furthered me from God. It has also kept me from finding my true self for far too long & drinking too much at times has put hatred in my heart & allowing me to let a nasty, sharp tongue loose. 
What are some things in my life that I tell myself I need but I don’t? Can I give one or two of them up for 40 days? 

Assuming it would be too hard, I’ve never tried to go without alcohol. Not because I’m addicted, just because I love a glass of wine with dinner, a beer with the game & margaritas (or martinis) with girlfriends. I don’t NEED alcohol to have a good time & I might even save some cash $$ in the process. 
Think about it – if not every dinner out includes two rounds of drinks, that’s like $40 in my pocket. Bonus!

Why am I giving this particular thing up? How does giving it up draw me closer to God and prepare me for Easter?

This is something that will be hard for me & will test me, but I think I’m ready for that. Giving up alcohol for Lent will help me to rely on my relationship with God in times where I’m tested & strengthen me. 
And on Easter, I’m having a mimosa before church. 
Now there is the little matter of Sundays. Many Catholics indulge on Sundays and don’t eat meat on Fridays. Since Cory is in this boat with me, his stipulation is that Sundays we are allowed to indulge. Do as the Catholics do. And fine, I didn’t put up too much of a fight. 
So we will allowed ourselves to indulge in alcohol on only 6 occasions over the next six weeks and will not be eating meat on Fridays.
I hope you have thought this year’s Lent through & if not, there is still time. Plus, it is Fat Tuesday – perfect excuse to indulge before you go cold turkey!
Wine with dinner is (was) a staple in our house. 
PS – Just look past the jet lagged, sweaty just-got-home-from-the-gym look that we’ve got going on tonight.
Stay Strong, Friends! 

Loveland

This week Cory & I went snowboarding for the first time as Colorado residents. 
The first time I hit the slopes was in middle school with my youth group, as a skier. It was so much fun – even though we were terrible. I laughed so hard that I cried…and maybe more. : )
After that initial experience, I switched over to snowboarding, which I found much easier & liked even more.  
When I met Cory in high school, we began going yearly or so with our group of friends & continued that during college. Cory even took a job at Wichita’s only ski shop, The Slope (which was helpful when it came time to gear up & buy own own boards & other equipment). After we got engaged, we traveled to Montana & snowboarded together on a small mountain there, which was so much fun!
However, as many times as I’ve been (which really isn’t much – but enough to build on skills), I was never able to conquer my toe edge. 
But that all changed this week. I, Audra Dinell, FINALLY have a toe edge under my belt. Now it’s not strong, but it’s there. And all thanks to my sweet, patient husband who knew just what to say to coach me. 
So even though the forecast looked a bit blizzardous (that may not be a word, but I think it should be), we loaded up & headed out.  
Neither of us had been boarding in Loveland before and we were pleasantly surprised at how snug & cozy it was.
Although it was FREEZING – we had a blast!
Of course, we warmed up by stopping by the ski bar before we drove home. Spiked warm drinks are my favorite!
This month we plan on hitting up Eldora, our closest mountain. Photos to come!