A Letter to Myself. An Ode to Self-care.

 Dear Jamal,
First of all, calm down. What are you doing getting yourself all worked up about nothing? When things are out of your control, remember, they’re out of your control. Do your best in the moment to ground yourself, dig deep into self, and use that energy as fuel. If you don’t like something, change it. If a certain environment or group of people aren’t good for you, or helping you achieve your goals, cut them out!
You’re a stubborn Scorpio, so you think you have all the answers. There’s something you’re forgetting to do, though, in all this misery and darkness you’ve been hiding from the world… Take your own advice. MAKE A CHANGE. I mean, seriously, bro. What are you waiting for?! Be responsible in your decisions, of course, but you’re too young and full of inspiration to waste away in your current state. Go for it.
In the end, you have to remind yourself that you have a beyond supportive husband, family, and friends who would slay anyone who got in your way. Spend too much time pondering on the “what ifs” if you want, but you’ll only have yourself to blame if you stay here. You have a tendency to put others before yourself, but it is to your detriment most of the time.
You can’t be a man of the people if you’re not taking care of yourself. I charge you to make a change and to fight through these dark clouds you’ve been surfing. Look forward to brighter days, greater love, and more adventure than you can ever imagine. The time is now, Jamal. It’s your time.
With love,
Jamal
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Let’s Take it Outside

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Going on a walk is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  You can clear your mind, get some easy, low-impact exercise, and enjoy some fresh air. If you were a fly on the wall in  our household, you’d notice that we’re very scheduled and don’t take much time for ourselves outside of the living room. This has improved with time. I tend to play with my schedule a ton, and most of the time it’s to my detriment. I do my best to fit in any tasks I have to complete, worry way too much about when I will hit the gym, and never end up getting through all I want to accomplish. Today I’m focused on being active. Screw everything else for a moment. Today, I will go on a walk, get some fresh air, and get to what I can when I can.

Weekly Goals 7/16/18

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I’m not going to lie – it’s been tough getting back into a productive groove outside of the 9-to-5. I’ve started making simple goals to help keep me on track during the week.
 
This method has been helpful because it reminds me to slow down and maintains balance. I tend to take on too much at once, and if any of you are the same, you know the pressure that comes along with that.
 
We’re all our own worst enemies! Keeping a small, low-pressure list of goals keeps me feeling accomplished and reinforces purpose.
 
This tool helps build up the strength and momentum required to take on more during those really tough weeks.
 
So… What’s on your list this week? Let me know in the comments. Is this a tool you use in your weekly routine?

A Quick Getaway

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(Reynold and I in front of IU auditorium)

 

Sometimes you just have to get out of town. S and I decided weeks ago that we would take Friday off and spend a weekend in Bloomington. Bloomington, Indiana is the home of Indiana  University – Go Hoosiers! – and is where our story began. This makes it an easy place to visit if we need to escape the city and relive the college glory days, as it’s only and hour south of Indianapolis.

We decided that we  didn’t want to let too many know that we were in town. Reconnecting and refocusing our energies on each other, at times, can mean tuning everyone and everything out for a moment. This is not to alienate or disrespect those in the area, but to share valuable time with each other  and have a private adventure away from our cozy couch. We did stop by a good friend’s house to visit with her and her son, but we hadn’t seen her in ages! We had to say hello.

 

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The weekend was nice and simple. Before checking into the Hotel, we got to hangout with Reynold – our pup – at one of  our favorite Bloomington spots, Crazy Horse, and walk the B-Line trail. Later that evening we enjoyed dinner and drinks at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants and turned in after a couple more drinks at the hotel bar.

We spent the next day walking around campus with puppy, exploring shops, and recounting all the wild and crazy times we had as undergrads. I really got a kick out of walking all over the IU campus with our dog – it’s like I was taking my kid to orientation or something, haha, showing him the beauty and glory or IU’s campus. Saturday evening was a very enjoyable and relaxing time for the both of us. We’d planned to go out, but somehow, we never made it out the door 🙂

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Sidebar: Orientation is currently going on at IU. If you didn’t know, I was an IU orientation leader the summer of 2007 for the university and to this day say it was probably the best job I had. It was fun and exciting for me  to spend a summer greeting our new students and parents; getting them excited about the adventure they’d begun. I smiled every time I saw a group and spotted one or two orientation leader t-shirts in the middle of the crowd. Has it really been eleven years since I was in that t-shirt? Goodness.

The weekends are never long enough, but we appreciate any bit of time we can spend with each other. A quick weekend trip down the road is inexpensive and a fun way to experience the escape of a vacation without breaking the bank or taking too much time from work. Could we have used another day in Bloomington? We could ALWAYS use another day. Have any of you ever taken a little staycation with your significant other? Share your experience with us in the comments! We’d  love to hear 🙂

J

Weekly Audit 4: Face the Scary Stuff

Every couple goes through a rough patch at some point in a relationship. Maybe it isn’t a rough patch, but a period of discovery. What’s the topic on the table? Do you have something you’ve been meaning to ask your partner but just can’t? Why is that?

S and I have learned to communicate whenever possible if there’s conflict. Communication is still probably the most important key in a relationship, but just because you can talk doesn’t mean there isn’t any lingering darkness from time to time. Maybe you’re just in your head, right? Get to the bottom of whatever it is. 

Don’t get me wrong, every talk doesn’t have to be sitting around having therapy sessions every night, but it’s important to check in with each other. Go on a walk and chat. Explore a new bar; someplace vibey and romantic.

Not every conversation needs to be heavy, but addressing any hurt feelings, disagreements, and new territory in your relationship is of the utmost importance if it’s going to last. 

There’s always a slight feeling of, “ugh, I don’t want to talk about this yet…” but you have to get over it – come into the light! Face the scary stuff in your relationship. If love is present, the support and love of  your partner should help you through the conversation.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH YOUR PARTNER OR FRIENDS, AND SHARE YOUR RESPONSES IN THE COMMENTS. Ciao!

Weekly Audit 3: The L Word

How do you say I love you? Is it the way you look at each other or in the little isms in your day to day with each other? Think about this for a second. How important is it to you that you hear the words I love you, and if this does matter to you, how often?

S and I aren’t terribly expressive in person. We say I love you here and there – sprinkling the phrase throughout the week, but not necessarily each day – and this isn’t something that’s been an issue for us.

 

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(This picture was taken the night we first told each other we loved one another… Awe.)

I tend to show love with physical contact, while S translates the little things as me caring for him. For example: I’m not a big toucher… Family, friends, I won’t really hug you unless I haven’t seen you in quite some time. I’m the complete opposite when it comes to S. I’ll mess with his hair or sneak up on him in the kitchen; hugging him from behind. My favorite is holding a free hand while he’s driving or resting my hand on his leg.

S usually tries to bat me away as he’s got a different love language – acts of kindness. He stays pretty busy so I try to accomplish whatever I can in our home – chores, errands, taking care of our fur-child – before he even has to think about it. Whenever he has a moment to relax and decompress, I make sure he can enjoy it fully. 

Don’t get it twisted though… I usually save the hardwood floor cleaning for him 😉

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH YOUR PARTNER OR FRIENDS, AND SHARE YOUR RESPONSES IN THE COMMENTS. OFF YOU GO!

(If you haven’t already, I suggest you dive into finding out what your love language is… do that here.)

Who Doesn’t Love Baby Horses?

Happy Easter, everyone!

Is everyone enjoying their families and friends? Cool. S and I were able to make it down south this weekend to visit the parents and spend some time with other members of the family. Weekends go by entirely too fast, but even a day or two with family – whether that be blood or chosen – is a treat.

We’d all had pretty busy days prior to this weekend, so the bunch of us found ourselves going to bed at 10pm – struggling to get through the Villanova and Kanas final four game. Just before we put our phones down for the final time that night and the lights went out, mom informed us that a new baby horse had been born.

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I’ve always found it so fascinating how newborn animals are up and walking mere moments after they’ve entered the world. This calve is the mother’s first and all is going well. She wasn’t sure at first when it came to letting the baby nurse. She kept circling the newborn, not letting him get close enough to nurse. Dad was able to hold the mother still until she fell into the role of mother. Cool, right!?

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And look at this one. What a face!

I hate to get back to the regular work week, but alas… I hope you’ve all had a gorgeous weekend.

This isn’t Spring.

Mother Nature decided to cancel all our plans this weekend, and I’ve gotta say, I’m not mad about it. The calendar tells us that we’re currently in the first days of spring, but the six inches of snow S and I got in our area suggests otherwise.

This was going to be one of our busier weekends in a long time. It was S’s birthday weekend so we had Saturday daytime activities planned, a friend’s 90s party that night, and a baby shower on Sunday. I already hate driving, so once the snow confirmed I wasn’t going anywhere this weekend, I refilled my champagne and got cozy on the couch.

 

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Recommended Snow Day Items:

  • A cocktail, wine, or bubbly adult beverage.
  • Netflix, Hulu, or your preferred streaming service to start a new show or play catch-up on something you’ve already started.
  • A short “to-do” list: Don’t be all the way lazy. Try to get some things done around the house!

I was able to get a head on some chores and now I have extra time to work on personal projects – which is always nice. S got to have a very relaxed birthday weekend filled with video games. Reynold is happy to have had all of his dads’ attention this snowy weekend.

Have a good day!

— J

What’s the Tarot Say?

A Cinderella reading for real! What do the cards have in store?

1.Past. The Nine of Swords. This card represents dark visions or a period of depression. Only now do I feel like I’m off the roller coaster. At least for a moment. I was fighting to breathe before.

2.Present. The Six of Pentacles. Growth, prosperity, generosity. S and I are both on a roll in career and personal life right now. This current moment in time is a humble reminder to keep working hard and not take advantage of any opportunities that come our way.

3.Future. The Four of Pentacles. Control, possession. This is fabulous news for the home and bank account. Be mindful, however, of becoming too controlling or possessive. Wealth is but a concept, so don’t let material foolishness drain your soul. Noted.