Lily – the Strong Woman

Today, as we were exploring Vail Village, my friend April and I came across a store selling rugs, home decor and jewelry. Since I thought that was an odd mix for a boutique-esq store, we decided to check it out.

As we walked into the store, we found a beautiful mix of lanterns, rugs, homemade soaps and jewelry. And – not to be outdone by all the souvenir stores – there was a healthy mix of mountain/Colorado pillows and such. Cracks me up every time!

The proprietress of the store came over to show us some of the items and explained they were Turkish. There were gorgeous handmade items and beautiful Turkish carpets. (Which yes – Dana, Heidi and Jamie – brought back lots of memories of Turkish tea, rug sellers and April almost getting lost in Ephesus all those years ago. We were both cracking up reliving it!)

The lady let us wander around a bit and then came over to talk to us. She asked us where we were from and what we thought of the town. We came to learn that she was originally from Turkey and will be living in Colorado over the next year or so taking care of the store. Previously working at a Vegas location, she was new to the area. During our conversation, we came to find out she did not have any family in the States and how she had to do a lot of things on her own. She told us how she is exploring the area and learning what some of the towns are like.

She told us about a friend of hers whom she really looks up to – someone who bought a house, car and is very successful in other venues as a single woman. We spoke about taking care of your finances, your home, car, and basics of life as a single person and what that was like. She wants to invest in property and set herself up financially for her future since she won’t have family to help her out.

After asking us a few questions, she looks at us and says “You are strong women. You take care of things and you are hard workers. I can see this. Not many people know you are. You keep going.” Then the best part? “You come back tomorrow and I make you Turkish tea!”

I love meeting people who end up making an impact of you when you least expect it. Her name is Lily and she both inspired me and motivated me to keep living life and experiencing all I can while I can.

Do yourself a favor – ask a total stranger about their life sometime. They may end up surprising the heck out of you.

And if you visit Vail, stop in Lolo’s and say hi to Lily. You’ll be very glad you did.

Perspective

Do you ever wonder why you have to go through the things you do? Why life deals you certain cards than others in your life? Mostly the ones you never thought you would have to deal with?

I’m sure everyone feels this way at some point or another. And it’s normal – sometimes life plain sucks. Period. Not a whole hell of a lot you can do about it.

And, just like everything else in life, your attitude determines how well you deal with certain things. Sometimes we respond well, sometimes we fly off the friggin handle and light everything on fire.

What I’ve been learning over the past year or so gave me a different perspective. (Of course – it’s always different looking back right?) There will be challenges in our lives – in many different forms and venues. Sometimes you see them coming and some come at you like a Gibbs’ slap to the back of the head.

But there is always one constant – people notice the way you handle yourself in the midst of the chaos. How you deal or mask your pain. How you celebrate little wins because everything else is raining down in fire around you.

And the kicker? Most of the time you have no idea that they’re watching. That anyone is even paying attention to you. But through all of this – someone is learning just as you are – simply by watching you.

Maybe you’ve dealt with something in private. Alone in the pain. (Which stinks beyond belief – for the little I’ve dealt with this way anyway.) Your story doesn’t have to stop there – maybe someone else can gain experience through your struggle.

The cool thing about life is you never stop learning. There is always something new to check out or something you’ve never experienced before. And – along with that – comes another awesome scenario. The opportunity to TEACH. To show others that it’s okay to deal with (insert issue here) – that you’ve been through it and came out a stronger person. With more faith. With more empathy. Whatever.

I’m not sure why this is on my brain tonight, but it is. Maybe someone needed to hear it. Heck, maybe I did. Who knows? But I guess the point here is to not only learn from your experiences, but help someone else by telling your story. Or sharing your perspective. You just may help change theirs.

You’re You. Stop Trying to be Someone Else.

Do you ever stop and wonder – what would it be like to have “their” life? To look like “they” do? To have the family “they” do?

Guess what? You’re killing yourself. Stop it. Now.

We as a society tend to put labels on everything. “She’s had a great career. She has the cutest kids. This girl has the best boyfriend. This one has the best taste in fashion”..etc etc

There is nothing wrong with admiring good traits and/or the successes of others. Everyone is unique and has different things to offer as far as personality and friendship and life lessons (the good. the bad. And the ugly!) We need to appreciate those traits in others around us.

But our biggest downfall? Ourselves. Thinking we’re not as good as those other people. That we’re not as attractive. We’re not as successful. And on and on and on. (And I’ve learned it’s not just us women who do this!)

I recognize this because I’ve done it myself – for years. Time and time again.

But here’s the cool thing – I’m my own person. And I’m awesome. Because I do my thing. That works for me. Even if it’s not “your” thing.

It’s taken me forever but I finally came to the realization that my life may not have turned out the way I thought it would ten or fifteen years ago. And want to know the best part? I. Am. Perfectly. Okay. With. That.

Why? Well. A lot of my personal desires have changed. Some because of situations and some because I simply grew up. As you develop as a person, you kinda get to know yourself. Crazy, right?

I was promoted. I learned a new job. Bought a house. Worked on wellness and personal boundaries. Made new friends. Nurtured relationships. Learned relationships change. Some get deeper and more intimate. And some tend to completely change or even end. Friends move on. Some stay around. Then, just to make things even more interesting, I moved my fine self across the country to try it all over again. That’s life my friends.

But here’s what’s bugging me tonight. How much I used to compare myself to others and how easy it is to fall back into it when things get hard. How what you knew is not what you know now. How (if you get your head out of your ass) you realize you’ve already past that and learned your lesson.

So try this: stop thinking you don’t have this or don’t have that. Start thinking about what you do have and what you’re awesome because of it. Recognize your beauty and personal accomplishments. Strength comes in all type of forms. But like everything else, you need to exercise it to maintain it.

Be strong my friends. And stay strong.

It Takes A Village

12 weeks ago, a business friend of mine called me and offered me a job. At a new company. In a new state. Across the country. To many people today, this is not outside the norm. People do it all the time. Maybe not across the country, but people switch jobs and states more often than I realized.

As per my last post, you guys know I accepted the job and was making preparations to tie up loose ends and make the trek to Colorado. I knew I was in for a crazy eight weeks of preparation, but I didn’t know how hard it was going to be. Selling a house, buying a car, trying to end a job well, make arrangements to live in Colorado, not to mention training someone to take my job over and endless introductory meetings with clients and vendors.

Some of you know what my last day, 1/26 was like. I settled on selling my house, purchased a car, quit my job of 17 years, said goodbye to some people who mean the world to me, and left my home State for a new one. All on the same day. Talk about emotional!

Then came the goodbyes – they were the hardest of all. I am not a classic crier people – but I’ve cried more in the last two weeks than the last few years combined. Family members, friends, coworkers. People who love me and have been a big part of my life for a long time. I’ve shared memories and events (some of them life-changing) with so many people and it’s hard to think of life far away from them.

Looking back on the last few weeks, I realize even though it felt like I was making 638948736 decisions and doing everything on my own, there were so many people helping me and I was ultimately taken care of. From packing to cleaning to moving things to goodbye dinners to meals, there are countless people who came along side to help me on this journey. Once I left on my road trip, I had people like Dana and Josh and April letting me stay and hang out with them.

There were many reasons why I even considered this change and then went about it. Some I’ve shared and some only God knows why. The point is that I’ve learned a lot through these 12 weeks and here is one of the most important ones – God did not return void. I was afraid I was going to leave my past job under less than desirable terms a few years ago. But justice prevailed and I was able to leave on terms better than I could even imagine.

The other cool thing? Kindness gets returned people. I received cards, letters and gifts from people I had no idea how I affected. My momma always told me there “is never an excuse not to be nice to someone”. I didn’t always agree with her, but it became something I strived to do. Be nice. Even if they aren’t. It’ll come back to bite them and repay you in the end. Even if it takes years.

I have to admit something though – this is a epic adventure I’m on and somewhere I’m still excited about it. But leaving is HARD. I was a mess last night wondering “What the frig did I just do???” I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I didn’t expect to have a rough time with it emotionally. The brevity of my decision and the exhaustion of the past weeks finally caught up with me. My friend also pointed out that I am grieving the life I left behind. And she’s right. I am.

But again – here’s the thing. Were the last twelve weeks hard as hell? Yes. Was it hard making decisions by myself on things I only half knew? Yes. But did I get though it? YES. Am I still glad I did it? YES.

I have no idea what the next few months hold and what awesome things I’m going to learn and experience. But you know what? I’m going to take advantage of it and LIVE. And grow. (Although I feel I’ve had enough of that for awhile. Lol)

So don’t forget to be nice to people. Help out someone you know who is going through a change themselves. Look for those opportunities. You can be part of their village. And don’t be afraid to step outside your own comfort zones and make a change if it’s needed. Hey – if I can do it, so can you!