Wednesday, October 24

Building and Renewing

I have decided to reclaim October. As Octobers go, this one has been pretty traumatic. But I refuse to allow the prequel to my third-favorite month be ruined! I'm sure anyone reading this knows that a week ago today, I scratched my cat's ears as a veterinarian quietly ended his life. I, however, was not quiet. Not even a little bit. I hadn't been the few painful days leading up to that moment and I weeped through the next couple days. In fact, I am still suffering a nasty sinus/ear infection from all the liquids that were flowing through and out of my face.

Things still hurt a little. Darling, sweet, heroic Rush hid all reminders before I even entered the apartment right after The Event. But one time I went into the study and caught a glance of Sugar's empty water bowl. Ouch. Yesterday I walked into the downstairs bathroom and automatically moved my left leg out of the way because that's the side Sugar would always hurry past me to get to his food. Ouch. And then, of course, there's the guilt over noticing (and enjoying) every vomit-less, poop-free inch of my floor. I like leaving every door in my home open without fear of an 18-year-old cat peeing on anything I hold dear. And that makes me sad.

But even through all of this, I can recognize that my hoodie-wearing, pumpkin-loving, crisp air (er, well, we're getting there) month is slipping away and it's time to move forward. No matter that my eyes water periodically or that I still cannot hear out of my right ear (infection, remember?) So I come, dear readers, to set aside my story of loss and share my joy of creation:

A tiny little business has been growing inside of me. As performers, we are all somewhat self-employed. Some of you know I recently starting selling Usborne Books (AND WILL BE HAVING A BOOK PARTY IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO!! please come) and making my own hair accessories. This December, I am hoping to acquire an embroidery/sewing machine to delve further into crafting. Beyond that, I hope to teach private lessons from my own home in the not-too-distant future. So I've decided it is time for me to market myself. A friend from Samford is designing business cards for me and I have been working on a website.

My next task, that I would love tons of input on, is to brand myself. Just this weekend, I was inspired to give my "business" a name. It will pull everything I'm doing together and take me to a new level for marketing. But what should the name be? I've been playing with variations on my last name and here are some ideas:

Hoppy Arts: Live. Learn. Create
Art Hop: Live. Learn. Create.
The Artful Hop: Love. Hope. Create.
The Art of Hopping: Helping hopeful artists
Hopping Creations: Artists, Dreamers, and Doers
Hopeful Artists: A book, a dream, and a hop

...or some combination therein. Please share your thoughts on the names and taglines I have come up with so far and feel free to send in your own! I'm quite excited about our plans for the future, and I know I need to concentrate on that. As my Dove chocolate wrapper said this evening: A good love is delicious because you can never get enough. There will always be loss inside our hearts that grows with every passing soul. All we can do is be still in the Lord and praise His name for the time that we have together.

Monday, August 6

Healthy and Happy

I'm not going to pretend like Rush and I have been working out and eating well all summer. That would be a big fat (ha ha see what I did there?) lie. But there have been some serious, positive life changes happening, so that's good. Did you read my schedule for this summer in the last post? Yeah, we probably went to the gym a total of six times over the past few months. We ARE trying, and that's the good news, plus the food that we eat now is way better than before this journey began.

And now, I'm happy to announce, we just signed up for the Color Run! It's a 5k on Labor Day. Surely at least one logical person will read this and think, "no way can Emily do a 5k..." You are not wrong. I don't think I could possibly train up to running a 5k in a month. But that is not the point! This is going to be a fun day and my precious husband has promised to get me through it. Right there on the website it says: "You can run, walk, crawl, or cartwheel it if you wish!" And believe me, I realize I might finish dead last.

The Color Run!!

We've also decided to finally take the 10-day challenge that inspired our healthy and happy journey. Our 14 week mini pledges went great. It definitely makes you realize what is in your food! Thank goodness for Pinterest and all the great recipes available! I'm still working on the timing. We might start 11 days before the run so that we can celebrate that day, or we might use the run as our kick-off and start it the day after. We'll see.

The 10-day Pledge

As always, we would love for anyone reading this to join us in our adventures. Call me, text me, email me, Facebook me, or whatever! I'd love to know if anyone else has tried the real food challenge. And I'm sure some of you would enjoy the Color Run. We WILL cross that pink finish line! Even if I'm crawling.

Monday, July 30

"Be Still, and Know that I am God"

This time last year, I felt like I was on top of the world. Everything fell right into place. Nothing has changed since then. Well, not nothing. I have a beautiful nephew and I'm going back to school and I just had an outstanding summer. And still, I feel a little lost.

Speaking of summer, what a doozie this one was! The first two weeks of June, I taught different groups of 10 five-and-six-year-olds for 3 hours at a time at Red Mountain Theatre Company's workshop. It was intense and I loved it. The very next week I went to Huntsville to direct a middle-school musical theatre camp. The week after that, I was at Samford for my third year as co-coordinator at their Theatre Camp with 71 elementary-aged students.

In July, I had one week filled with two camps. In the mornings I was at Dawson Music Camp where I was the voice teacher, and then I went straight from there to lead Princess Camp at Gymboree Play and Music with 5 of the sweetest 3-year-old girls I have ever met. Busy busy busy, but that week was a blast! That very same week, I was in tech rehearsals for Legally Blonde the Musical with RMTC. Running the spot again, and I am LOVING it.

The past two weeks, I was back at Samford as camp co-coordinator. We had 11 teenage girls sign up so the three of us who started this camp 5 years ago were the only ones there all day. We had some theatre professionals come in to do master classes. By the end of the two weeks, our girls performed a scene from Hairspray, a scene from A Piece of My Heart, a scene from Wicked, monologues, the dance  to One from A Chorus Line AND an full-fledged 30-minute musical revue. It was awesome. I do not have words to describe how impressed I was by them, how proud I was of our work together, or how exhausted we all were after the performance.

So all of that is great. Legally Blonde closes this weekend, tomorrow I start back at Gymboree, at the end of the month I'll be starting classes, and in September I'll start my second year of teaching private voice at Dawson Music Academy with my brand new curriculum that I developed for camp this summer. Pretty awesome. And yet, whenever someone asks me what I've done since Hairspray, or what's next for me, I have no answer.

I guess this is my official update: I haven't done anything new and I don't know what I'm doing next. I have a lot going on and I'm very happy most of the time. Rush and I are looking into buying a house when I'm done with school. But then again maybe not. I'm planning on attending auditions, however that might have to wait until I graduate. I could look for another job, except I'm pretty pumped about the one(s) I have right now. I think I'll just stay still and quiet until May and see where that takes us.

Thursday, March 15

Birthday Week Success

Even though there have been a few bumps in the road, I'm definitely going to count our new journey as a success so far. We have not really begun our budget which is disappointing but it was too much to do all at once. The whole point of all this is to healthier and happier. Trying to stick to a budget when we were buying a gym membership and totally different food was stressing us out. So we'll wait until next month to start our budget, and I'm okay with that. We said that our new goals are not allowed to make us feel inadequate or guilty. Everything else has been fantastic!

It's amazing how different the structure of our meals were by simply requiring that there be two vegetables or two fruits. Instead of eggs with cheese on top for breakfast I would have cheerios with bananas on top and a handful of grapes. Instead of stopping to grab a grilled cheese sandwich and fries for lunch, I would have carrots dipped in a hummus and sandwich made of whole wheat bread, organic peanut butter, and blackberry preserves. This change has been so beneficial, in fact, that we have decided to keep this rule. We bumped it down to one fruit or veggie per meal as an absolute minimum but we strive for more than that. This week is our beverage week which is very easy for me. I rarely drink anything other than water or tea anyway (and it's not a huge change to switch from sugar to honey to sweeten it). Rush, on the other hand, is so ready for this week to be over. I'm happy to report that, despite his loathing, my brave husband is sticking to our crazy food challenge.

In the past 2 weeks, Rush and I have gone to the gym 5 times (and we're going tonight!). It's not a lot but we scheduled ourselves for only 3 times a week and I'm proud to say we've met our goal. That's three times the amount we used to exercise! We spend a minimum of 30 minutes on the treadmills and then we move to the weight machines. Still trying to get on a good cycle for those, but right now we're trying to do 50 reps on 5 different machines: abs, 2 arms, and 2 legs. When that's over, we get on the ellipticals for as long as we I can stand, minimum of 5 minutes. Hey, we're tired by then!

The cleaning schedule is hard. I hate to clean. Hate it hate it hate it. And of course, this being my birthday week, I feel entitled to do nothing. BUT we're still trying. Our apartment is way less dirty than it was and I'm proud of the progress we've made. For the most part, we've stuck to the cleaning schedule. Rush has been a hero in this department. If it weren't for him, I'm not sure any cleaning would have gotten done at all.

So reports are good! I already feel more energized and confident. It's hard work but I know we can do it. This is the best birthday present I could ever give myself! Of course, Rush's and my trip to the cabin on the lake this weekend will be quite a nice gift as well. Wishing you all healthy, happy, successful lives :D

Monday, February 27

Shouting from the Rooftops

I can't believe it's almost March. I've been trying to follow a vegetarian diet for 6 months now, and our nephew is 3 months old!  Rush is now a full-time employee at The American Village! He has been so blessed by that job already, but this promotion has turned it into a real career. I've been in school for about a month now and on the 18th of next month, I will be a quarter of a century old. We have begun the process of combining our Facebook pages and will soon delete Rush's old account. Our lives are about to change even further.

Throughout my life, I've often attempted diets or fitness plans. I come up with hard and fast rules for cleaning or building upon my relationship with God. You know, all sorts of schemes to better my life. I've always kept these things a secret. I figured if nobody knew that I'm attempting to become a healthier person (inside or out) and I fail, no one can judge me. I now want to adopt the philosophy that if you're going to make a mistake, make it loud! So not only am I sharing my decisions with my husband, but he's going to take on many of these challenges with me. We will keep each other accountable! And now, dear readers, I am sharing our hopes and dreams with you.

Last month, I wrote about my new journey to finish my work at Samford. Starting next week, Rush and I are joining Hoover Fitness and beginning the 14-week challenge from 100 Days of Real Food. We have also worked for hours to develop a budget and a cleaning schedule which we printed out and put on our fridge. I legitimately cannot imagine having any sort of organization to our lives. We've been working so hard, though, and have factored in everything we can in order to raise the possibility of success in these projects.

We would love for anyone to join us in any of these goals, particularly the Real Food Challenge. Just by reading that blog and similar sites/books/magazines, I have learned so much. I find it unlikely that we will continue a strict real food diet when the 100 days are up, but I hope it changes our eating habits positively. If any of you live near us and would like to join the gym with us, please do! I can't find the specific budget worksheet we eventually settled on but if anyone's interested, I'd be happy to look harder.

So, all of this to say, expect to see changes. And if you don't, well I guess we made a really loud mistake :)

Tuesday, January 31

Don't Sweat the Big Stuff

I'm currently working on quite a few projects that, a year or two ago, were giving me significant grief. All I had to do was take a little time, calm down, and now everything is falling into place. Yesterday I went to my first day of classes at Samford. I'm going back, and will finally have both the degrees I intended to get. I never thought I would even finish my theatre degree, let alone the one in music! But lo and behold God has directed my path in several different directions, all of which eventually led me right here.

Some time in the next few months, Rush and I are planning on getting internet in our apartment. It will be the first time we've had internet at home in two years. When we first got married, we could barely afford rent, let alone all those other unnecessary expenses. I can't tell you what a blessing that was to our relationship not to have internet or cable. We spend all of our time together talking and playing games or choosing a movie to watch together. 

I was prompted to write up this post when I was searching for a new emerald ring. You may or may not know that the beautiful filigree ring that Rush gave me when we got engaged was stolen from our car. It's been almost a year since I've seen that ring. After looking at thousands of rings online I came to the conclusion that I will never find one good enough to serve as a replacement. So I began looking for my exact ring. And I found it. Not only did I find My Ring, but I found the real version of it! Turns out Rush had gotten a knock-off. A gorgeous knock-off, but a knock-off all the same. We're saving up and hopefully by the time we get to our 2nd anniversary, I will have an even more perfect ring on my finger.

I just think life is pretty funny that way. Everyone always says not to worry about all the little things, but honestly, what's the point of worrying about the big things either? If there's something you can do about it, do it! Otherwise, just be patient and pray.