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Defeat is a funny thing. It can define your attitude and your perception. It can hinder you or build you up. It can define how you live your life.

Last week, I hit the trail hoping for a good jog. I arrived around 7:00 p.m. looking for lots of shade and little sun. No luck. It was a pretty warm week with temperatures over 100. I pumped myself up for the run with some good music and began the 4-mile trek.

Nothing could really prepare me for the humidity and lack of wind that I was presented with. Summer runs concern me a lot. I’m always drinking plenty of water during the day and going for my outdoor workout sessions later in the evening. It’s a fairly good schedule. I’m so concerned with concentrating on how my body is feeling, so I don’t end up with heat stroke or fainting on the side of the trail. It’s a big fear of mine right now.

With all that running in my mind, I ended up walking most of the trail. I did do bursts of jogging that didn’t last too long. My mind just kept going back to my fears. I felt completely defeated.

As I was walking, I realized I shouldn’t let defeat get in my way. Even though I wasn’t jogging like I wanted to I was still going to complete those 4 miles. Yes, I was still a bit discouraged, but I was glad that I wasn’t going to give up. I made the decision to walk, but I was going to cover the same distance no matter what.

That’s the beauty of defeat. It’s only defeat if you let it. I go through so many emotions when I’m working out. Can I meet my goal? Will I be happy with my results? What else can I be doing to better myself? What other things can I try so I don’t get bored? I’ve taken on the challenge of working towards a healthy, active lifestyle. It’s not always easy.

Within the last year, I’ve really worked towards hitting the gym hard and finding ways to get outside and be active. Whenever I feel defeat coming on, my first thought always goes to one thing. I don’t want to start over. Too many times I’ve worked out for a few weeks then taken several weeks off. It’s a routine I was way too familiar with and I was looking for a change. I made that change and I work at it every single day. It’s not always perfect. I have days where I fall off a bit, sometimes even weekends, but I continue to work at it. I think that’s the point. You must always continue to work at bettering yourself. It’s a fight, but I’m not letting it defeat me.

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First off, Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there! A special shout out to my pops!

Have I told you I love finding new link ups? Yeah. It means I have found a new blog and I’m seriously stalking them. Creeper? Naw! The wonderful Neely of A Complete Waste of Makeup joined with Ashley of Ashley’s Carnival Ride to bring all of us bloggers the Sunday Social link up.

Sunday SocialTheir first week was last week. Of course I missed the first one. Oh well. I’m here for the second week and that’s all that matters.

This weeks questions:

1. Favorite movie of all time? Life is Beautiful: Roberto Benigni plays a Jewish man who uses his humor to protect his son while trying to survive in a Nazi death camp. The most beautiful, heartbreaking story I’ve ever seen.

2. Favorite movie quote? “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!”

3. Best movie to watch for a girls night in? How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

This scene is by far my favorite. From the BS game smack talk to the grandfather tootin and sleepin. So cute. These two will always be my favorite on-screen couple, except for that one time they made that terrible treasure movie. That one deserved to be slapped by a wet fish.

4. Best breakup movie? (500) Days of Summer

Okay, this is my other favorite on-screen and off-screen couple. PENIS! Go watch this. You’ll understand why I just said wrote that.

5. Favorite celeb eye candy? Dave Annable and James McAvoy. I couldn’t pick just one. I like that cute, dorky look.

6. Which movie stars closet would you like to raid? Most of Rachel Bilson’s style.

Fun huh? If you want to link up, too, just head on over to Neely’s or Ashley’s blogs. Such a cute way to learn about new bloggers.

What’s up guys? It’s been a while, huh?

I’m currently catching up on my dvr and scarfing down a delicious burger. I need to deal with my laundry and do some cleaning, but Glee comes first.

Europe was absolutely amazing. Amazingly challenging, but totally worth it. So, to keep things a bit easy today since I’m a bit exhausted from the lack of sleep, I give you Europe through my Instagram lens.

Hopefully, I’ll have regularly scheduled posts by the end of the week. I missed you all.

[1] Mapping it out

[2] Boarding Pass

[3] British Airways

[4] Big Ben

[5] Underground: The Tube

[6] Broadway Musical

[7] Traditional English breakfast

[8] Bodean’s BBQ

[9] Skyline

[10] Near Buckingham Palace

[11] Versailles

[12] Eiffel Tower

[13] French desserts

[14] Amsterdam Canal

[15] View from breakfast

Stick around. I’ll have a few more posts on my big European adventure.

Follow me on Instagram, my bloggy friends. Username: amberlb88

*FYI: This is a longer post than normal.

My mother is my rock. So, when I moved out in mid-January her and I both had a rough time with it. Sure, I was stoked to be back on my own and free from the rules of my parents, but it still pained me. My mother is the best. I’m sure everyone says that about their mothers and if so, then that’s awesome! She has protected me, provided for me and simply loved me unconditionally through life’s triumphs and mishaps. I was never the poster child of greatness, but she always seemed to have her stuff together.

When I was young, I loved to run through and play under store racks. Shopping was boring to me (gasp! not anymore though) and so I’d go off to la la land and hide under the clothes racks. I’d play a game of hide and seek (with my mom unaware or so I thought) yet somehow my mother always knew where to find me. *I asked her about this recently and she said she ALWAYS knew which rack I was hiding under. DARN!*

When I was young, I would complain about sitting in the car for too long. Long drives for any child without entertainment is just a situation of disastrous proportions. So, my mom would always say, “If you pedal, we’ll get there faster.” Now, I understand there aren’t pedals in a car, but my 5-year-old self didn’t know any better. Immediately, I’d start pedaling (more like stomping my feet on the floor of the car). My mother remembers how much I would just giggle and giggle about how awesome it was to help mommy drive.

When I was young, I was dramatic. Very small things and situations would cause me to respond with wild gestures, screaming and/or pouting and stomping. My pediatrician seemed to notice this one day at an appointment. “Amber, you’re going to be an actress someday,” he proclaimed. Boy, that would have been cool. Can you imagine? Me! Attending the Oscars, accepting the award for Best Actress. I’m sure my acceptance speech would be just shy of a Meryl Streep monologue. Perfection!

I could go on with these stories for a while. Let’s just say I put my mother through a lot of hoops growing up.

Recently, I was visiting with my parents and I made a comment about how much hard work it can be to maintain your home and everything that goes with living on your own like laundry, cooking, cleaning, dusting, pet duties, trash duties, etc. I was aware of the hard work it takes since I had lived on my own when I went to school for two years. This time, though, I was paying the big bills.  Anyway, I told my mom thank you for all that she has done for me and I appreciate her love and support. She loves to hear that I”m sure.

So, today I wanted to take a step back and appreciate my mother and to share with you the lessons she thought I wasn’t listening to and luckily they are the one’s I hold close to me.

“Remember who you are.” This one stuck with me early on. My parents divorced when I was very young, like less than a year old. So, when it was time to deal with the custody issue my mother had to give my brother and I up every other weekend and 2 weeks during the summer. When Friday came along for my dad to have us, we would wait for his van to pull into the Hi-Vee (a grocery store in Iowa) and my mother would always say, “Remember who you are.” Basically, be true to yourself. If something doesn’t feel right then walk away. My mother always worried about us during those weekends and truthfully she had every right to when we would come home with scrapes or rug burns. She wanted to emphasize that you are you and no one can change that except for yourself.

“Always do your best.” This one was constantly ringing in my ear throughout grade school and college. My mom was willing to stay up late during school nights to make sure we finished our homework or project. In high school, yes high school, I recruited her help (and my step-dad’s) to construct a bridge entirely made out of newspaper. It was for my Physics class. There’s no way I could have done as well in that class if it weren’t for the help of those two working late hours rolling newspaper and gluing all the bridge pieces together. I still think the phrase applies today, so it’s an oldie but goody.

“Be honest.” This one is pretty simple. I wasn’t always honest with my mom. As kids, we try to get around things or say things to get what we want. All kids do this and we’re all manipulative little twerps for it. The point is to quit doing that stuff when we’ve wised up. I think I have.

“Learn something new everyday.” This one has become my favorite lesson. I think I took advantage of it during school, but now that I’ve finished (maybe) I’ve realized that I need to continuously stimulate my mind. It’s what makes you you, right? I want to build my worth. I want to learn skills that I can take elsewhere in my life. I want to be able to teach as well as learn. We, as a society, should be willing to teach others and learn from others. That’s what makes a great community. The willingness of others.

“Remember what I taught you.” This one seems to sum up this entire post in a nutshell, but I remember numerous times these words coming out when I was going out of town. She’s basically saying everything above in when concise sentence. She’s pretty smart like that.

So, I congratulate you if you are still reading this. Thank you. These are the lessons that I will take with me for as long as I live. These are the lessons I teach to you. And I hope to someday tell these lessons to my children.

This weekend has been an eye opening one for me. I feel I am a good judge of character and there is something to be said for respect.

In the last couple years, I can count the number of times I’ve had to make a decision regarding someone in my life. Saying goodbye and moving on was a choice that proved to be a good one. It’s usually a simple one. We didn’t have the same values or I noticed I was changing and didn’t like who I was becoming.

I met lots of different walks of life in college and it’s where I grew the most as a person. By the end of my undergraduate education, I knew what types of people I wanted to surround myself with.

I think I finally have things straightened out, but there’s one more thing I seem to have not considered. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m starting to realize that I trust people too easily. Does that make me a fool? No.

I always give people the benefit of the doubt and I always respect others until they prove otherwise. I’ve noticed that I put certain people on a pedestal and I made an assumption that turned out wrong. That’s the thing about assumptions. It’s a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen WITHOUT PROOF. Assumptions get us in trouble and for my case it’s made me question something I thought was good. I made the mistake for making the assumption, but of the two parties, I was least at fault and, truthfully, placing blame doesn’t get me anywhere either. It’s a lose lose situation.

Perhaps this will help though. So, here’s what I have to say:

We’re all in a fighting struggle in this life. Remember that.

We’re NOT perfect. Apologize. Forgive.

Respect will get you a long way in this little world.

Don’t tear others down. Where does that get you?

Calling other people inappropriate names is wrong. Quit it.

Don’t hold grudges. They’re just a symbol of weakness.

Be. Honest. ALWAYS.

Build and create your worth and skills. Throw away the gossip and drama.

And last be certainly not least…talk less and

LISTEN MORE

I know I’m not perfect at these, but it’s a reminder that I’ll take over building and holding in the anger that has overcome me recently. I’ll continue to make mistakes in my life, but the idea is to learn from them and add the good to the above list.

So, this week and every other week just BE KIND.