Monthly Moment: April 2015

My friend Veronica Roman recently invited me to join her new linkup group, Monthly Moment. This invitation provided the perfect excuse to get back into a blogging routine. My posts have been scattered since starting my full-time job at Elon and I still find myself searching for my blog identity.

Veronica says share a single photo to capture a moment for the month that you want to pause and savor. My one word for 2015 is mindfulness, and this monthly linkup will provide another avenue for me to reflect on positive experiences in my life and be more mindful.

When I look back, I remember that April has been a challenging month and an amazing month at the same time. There are a few things not represented in the photo I chose but worth mentioning. My family celebrated the life of my one of my biggest heroes, Mama, and I also made forever memories with friends from all areas of my life, including seeing Kenny Chesney on the front row in Greensboro and road-tripping to Athens, GA to be with CSAA cohortmates again.

But for my monthly moment I chose an image from my best friend Taylor’s beautiful wedding. The wedding reunited my close group of college girlfriends (we currently live in 4 different cities) for a long weekend. This time together reminded me that no matter what happens or where we are we will always be the best of friends. And that I always have something to learn from these amazing women.

Chandler and college best friends

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Mama’s Advice

Today we are celebrating the life of my sweet grandmother “Mama”. She left us a very special book of memories as well as her favorite quotes and other advice. I will cherish these stories forever and recommend everyone take the time to record special memories like this for their loved ones.

Here are some of Mama’s favorite quotes:

Grandma book

“Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings”

“Be true to your own self”

“The honor that is lost in a moment cannot be restored in a hundred years”

“The journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step”

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

“Dream dreams and act on them”

“Some things that happen are good, but there are going to be bad times also – I want you to learn how to deal with both” – Kathleen Zimmerman Thompson

Childhood picture of grandmother

I loved all of my time spent with Mama – she taught me to care for others before myself, to always write handwritten notes, and best of all she taught me how to cook her most delicious recipes – including macaroni & cheese, chocolate chess pie, and homemade biscuits. I am very thankful for all of the time we got to spend together. Love you Mama.

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30 Things to Do Before I’m 30

One of the best daily emails in my inbox is The Listserve – every day one random person is chosen to win the “Listserve lottery.” The subject of the posts vary and I always find myself entertained, inspired, or learning new information. One of my favorite posts was December 23, 2014: 30 things to do before I’m 30. The writer, Rachel from London, inspired me to make my own list!

30 things to do before I'm 30

  1. Run a marathon
  2. Find an organization to volunteer with on a regular basis
  3. Visit 5 cities I’ve never been to before
  4. Go to 10 concerts
  5. Visit a winery
  6. See Wicked in New York City
  7. Run a Disney race
  8. Explore 10 new breweries
  9. Take a calligraphy class
  10. Go camping
  11. Help organize a 5K race
  12. Take a week long vacation
  13. Play 18 holes of golf
  14. Fall in love
  15. Take a job risk
  16. Try cycling
  17. Find my signature cocktail
  18. Read 50 books
  19. Read 10 classic novels
  20. Learn to swim laps
  21. Have a picnic
  22. Clean out my closets (seriously clean out my closets) and donate to the Bargain Box
  23. Go skiing
  24. Purchase NC State season football tickets
  25. Try 5 new foods
  26. Plan as many trips with my girlfriends as possible
  27. Visit Savannah, GA
  28. Take a spontaneous/unplanned trip
  29. Hike beautiful places of North Carolina
  30. Go to a music festival

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One Word 2015: Mindfulness

mind·ful·ness, noun
  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

This year I am choosing one word to guide my actions and focus in 2015. If this is something you are interested in doing, check out #oneword2015 on Twitter and join me in Sam Davidson‘s challenge to come up with one focus word for the year. 2014 put me at a crossroads in some ways, and 2015 will be the first year in a very long time (20+ years) that I am not in school for any part of the year. The timing is right to be more mindful.

Mindfulness image

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you”

During this year of mindfulness, I will:

Be non-judging
Practice moment by moment awareness and acceptance
Grow with my faith
Care more; worry less
Be patient
Pay more attention to what is happening here and now, not necessarily what is wrong or right, good or bad
Have a beginner’s mind
Approach everyday things with curiosity and savor them
Trust others
Forgive mistakes – big or small
Be generous
Show gratitude for good moments and grace for bad ones
Practice compassion
Make peace with imperfection
Embrace vulnerability by trusting others (and myself)
Accept and appreciate that things come and go
Let go
Reduce stress
Strengthen my mind, body, & soul
Re-evaluate my priorities
Realize and experience the good in me and what’s around me.
Acknowledge the bad and be wise enough to know whether or not it’s worth worrying about
Spend more time with friends, less time on my phone doing stupid things
Be present when it matters
Say what I mean, mean what I say
Care more & worry less
Do more good
Be intentional with the people I care about
Love well, live well, and realize a life more abundant is not about abundance of things but of life

Have you chosen one word for 2015? If so, please share in the comments and join Sam’s One Word Group. Cheers to 2015!

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PS – Tis blog post I found on Twitter helped guide my thinking about mindfulness and what it would mean for me this year.