May 26, 2010

Slowing Down Part 1

My copy of In Praise of Stillness arrived this week and though I'm just a few pages in, I can tell I'm really going to like it. The stats alone are mind blowing and just reminders of how important it is to slow down. While the numbers of people suffering from health issues due to stress is shocking, it's more eye opening how hard our social lives can be hit.
"Inevitably, a life of hurry can become superficial. When we rush, we skim the surface, and fail to make a connection with the world or other people. As Milan Kundera wrote in his 1996 novella Slowness, 'When things happen too fast, nobody can be certain about anything, about anything at all, not even about himself.' All the things that bind us together and make life worth living - community, family, friendship - thrive on the one thing we never have enough of: time."
 I wouldn't call my striving to slow down a project. I want it to become a way of life. I know I can't magically step into the 1950s (although that would be pretty incredible). I have realistic expectations - except canceling our cable - I haven't convinced Todd that he could go without ESPN. That might be a losing battle!

But we're off to a good start. This weekend we had plans to tackle a lot of yard work, but we never quite got around to it. We were both exhausted and knew it would be totally fine to get to it another weekend. Plus, two of the cutest little guys you will ever meet had other plans for my husband.

So instead of pulling weeds, Todd shared with the boys who live on our street his knowledge of his first love: football. I just love this picture! (click to enlarge)

We're heading back to Missouri for Memorial Day weekend. It will be a weekend full of taking it slow. Todd's parents just sold their home, so we'll be staying with my family. My sister graciously offered us her bedroom and I can't wait to wake up to my dad's homemade biscuits and gravy. We're really looking forward to our trip.

Have a great weekend!

May 23, 2010

Taking It Slow

When life gets too busy, I get stressed. Really stressed. Just ask my husband. He can tell you about my many breakdowns that are brought on by the stress of busyness. Most of the time they're contained to our home, but I've been known to breakdown in the checkout lane of a grocery store. I can go full speed for a really long time, but once I hit the wall, I hit it hard and everyone around me feels the tremors.

I don't have any work trips on the horizon, so this summer I am going to be very intentional about taking it slow. I want to live out my daydreams of lazy summer days drinking lemonade on the front porch. For a little extra motivation in slowing down, I'm going to participate in a virtual book club with Anne Jackson. She is taking her readers through the book In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed.

Anne gives a great summary of what the book is about on her blog. I'm really looking forward to reading it. My copy should arrive on Tuesday, so I'm sure I'll be mentioning it several more times as I read through it.

Todd and I decided to get started on slowing down this weekend. Yesterday was just what we needed - a warm, sunny day that included a leisurely stroll around the Franklin Farmer's Market, a cozy lunch at Zoe's Kitchen followed by a long nap in the afternoon. For dinner Todd fired up the grill and made some amazing orange glazed shrimp with asparagus and I whipped up some incredibly refreshing watermelon margaritas.

We threw together some homemade guacamole too.

The benefits of slowing down are too numerous to count. Culture tells us that we need to be constantly on the go. Our bodies typically tell us otherwise.

As for me, I want to live a simpler, healthier, happier, slower life.

Can I get an amen?!

May 17, 2010

A Reason to Celebrate (and other updates)

Todd informed me today that it has been two weeks since I updated my blog, so I thought I better get around to it. The past two weeks have just been so busy.

Last week Todd and I celebrated our five year anniversary. Five years. Where did the time go? It feels like just yesterday I was walking down the aisle, saying I Do. I feel so very blessed to spend each day with my husband and best friend. We celebrated early in Destin, but really, I feel like each day with Todd is a celebration.

Okay, enough of the mushy stuff!

Todd and I couldn't celebrate our anniversary on the actual day because I was in Florida for work. I call it work, but sometimes I think, "I'm getting paid to do this?" Believe me, there are many times when I think "I don't make enough money to have this kind of stress," but this past week I was definitely feeling blessed to do what I do.

Tenth Avenue North celebrated the release of their latest record, The Light Meets the Dark, so we packed our things and headed to sunny Florida for three CD release parties in Tampa, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

We just had to visit Disney World while in Orlando. Thankfully the guys had a TV appearance at the Magic Kingdom, so we were able to make a quick stop.

After the guys performed to a full house in Orlando, we headed south to West Palm Beach where the band got its start. West Palm is beautiful. I had so much fun - one of the best work trips I've been on in a really long time. The band is always great to travel with, but this trip allowed me to really get to know Michelle, a coworker of mine. I'm so glad we were sent out together. It wouldn't have been the same without her.  Below is a photo from our dinner in West Palm. I sent it to Todd to let him know I was doing okay without him. Ha!

I've said it many times before, but I miss Todd terribly when I'm gone. This trip was much easier on me because while I was out, Todd was on quite the road trip of his own.

He and three of his closest friends set out to conquer three major league baseball stadiums in four days. While I was making my way all over Florida, Todd and his buddies went to Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee and Cincinnati. Whew! We were busy last weekend.

I was all for his "man trip." I wasn't too excited that one of the requirements for going on the trip was growing a mustache.  I made him shave the moment he walked in the house.

That's our last two weeks in a nutshell. We had a lot of fun, got little sleep and were both excited to be back in our own bed!

May 5, 2010

Nashville: The Flood

I don't really have the words to explain what I'm feeling and thinking about the flood that hit the city I have called home for the last five years. Because Todd and I literally missed it, it still doesn't seem real. But it's very, very real. Since I'm having such a difficult time finding the words, I'll let my good friends Jason and Christi do the talking. If you have a minute, visit their blogs. They will inform and inspire.

Photos courtesy of the Boston Globe

In somewhat related news, Whitney D'Armond, a good friend of mine who currently lives in Houston just launched a brand new online magazine with her husband. One of her first articles covered the flood here in Nashville. I'm so proud of her for chasing her dreams and making them reality. Seashine is a great magazine for young women looking for great articles on food, fashion and more.

As the flooding in Nashville begins disappearing from the headlines, your prayers are greatly appreciated for those affected by this disaster. And if you're in the area and able, get out and help your neighbors. We are the "Volunteer State" after all.  If you happen to be out with a shovel and broom in hand this weekend, we might just run into you!


May 3, 2010

A Day at the Beach

Make that three. Todd and I just returned from a weekend beach trip to Seaside, Florida. It was a bit strange celebrating our anniversary early, but we returned home relaxed, renewed and red. We both got way too much sun at the beach yesterday. The funny thing is, the sun only came out yesterday and there were more clouds than sun. We were fooled and now we're paying for it. Note to self: wear sunscreen ALL the time!

The trip would have been amazing even if the sun never came out. We stayed in an incredible resort right in the heart of Seaside and the amenities were out of this world. Complimentary bicycles, kayaks, and more. We road bikes to nearly every meal. We were definitely able to disconnect from work and just enjoy our time together.

Friends and coworkers had told us about a little community just east of Seaside - Rosemary Beach. It is my new favorite place. Todd and I decided that we need to return year after year. Because I took so many photos, I thought a slideshow would be the best way to display them:

You'll notice a photo of Tracery above. I have been following the owner's blog for months. It was great to finally see the store in person. I could have bought everything in there! Blogging has made me realize just how small this world is. While in Tracery, the owner told me that another of my favorite bloggers, Two Ellie, would be in later that day. Too funny.

While our vacation was just what we needed, I don't want to minimize the fact that disaster was hitting our city while we were gone. One of the biggest floods to ever hit Middle Tennessee hit Nashville while we were gone. It feels surreal because the sun was shining when we left and again when we returned this afternoon, yet our city is underwater. Insane. Prayers are definitely appreciated for those who suffered loss and are continuing to lose their homes, cars, etc.

If you're in the Franklin/Nashville area and are looking for ways to help, here is just one of many places to visit for information.

We're so thankful for a weekend away to recharge, but we're even more thankful to return to a home that wasn't harmed by the storms. To say we're blessed doesn't even scratch the surface.

Be back soon...