New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday. *Charles Lamb

New year’s resolutions…what? I don’t even remember my resoltions from last year, I guess that means I didn’t keep them! But seriously, this year is going to be different. (That’s probably what I say every year, but I wouldn’t know since my memory doesn’t reach back that far). My resolutions this year are few, but challenging:

  1. Lose this 30lbs of extra baby weight! (No easy task indeed)
  2. Complete the 13.1 “Indy Mini” Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis on May 7th (Corresponds with losing the baby weight)
  3. Re-promote Rachel Thompson Photography as a business in Maryville, TN (Re-build clientel)
  4. Pay off $10,000.00 in student loan debt.

So there they are. I’ve had resolutions in the past and I haven’t worked hard at keeping them. But I’ve also never had a game plan. I was an expert at letting life “happen to me”, instead of “happening to life”, as my dad likes to say. Just recently I’ve started to learn how important it is to treat your life like a raging bull. Take it by the horns and TELL IT WHERE TO GO. Because you know, bulls can be very stubborn. And so can your life. If you’re not careful, 2…3…5 years have slipped by and you have nothing to show for it because you were waiting around for something great to happen to you. Well…it doesn’t work that way. You make great things happen for yourself! I finally know what I want out of life and I know what I need to do to get there. I just wish I would have figured this out about…oh..10 years ago. I’m getting a late start, but a late start is better than no start at all.

I want to know your new year’s resolutions, what are your dreams for the upcoming year and how do you plan to reach them? If you’re one of those people who refuse to set new year’s resolutions because you’re afraid of failure, let me just share some words of advice from Dave Ramsey…”If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time!” Trust me, I’ve done this, and it’s true. Be brave this year! Be bold… but remember, set resolutions, not absolutions or you’ll set yourself up to fail. Give yourself room to mess up, forgive yourself and start over. Take your resolutions day by day…..”today I will run 2 miles”……”today I will avoid junk food”……because like my Indy Mini, a resolution is a marathon, not a sprint.

Happy New Year’s Day!

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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Expectations are for the Birds

            I’m sitting in a slinky urban cafe in downtown Denver, Michael and I have just ordered our frothing cappuccino’s sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon. We’re warming our hands on our trendy mugs and taking in the comforting smells of espresso and coffee. It’s overcast and lightly drizzling outside, tiny raindrops tinking on the window next to our booth. We have just gotten engaged, we are so in love, we are here for pre-marital counseling. Easy Peasy, pre-marital counseling…who needs it…I think to myself…but it’s just a formality and it must be done, if for no other reason than to put my parent’s minds at ease.
       Lee Cole, walks in, shakes and closes his umbrella and apologizes for being late. Lee is a jubilent fellow, an elder of our church and long time friend of Michael’s.  He throws his head back and laughs heartily when his umbrella snaps back open at it’s own will… one can’t help but smile when they’re around Lee. We proceed with our marriage counseling session consisting mostly of jokes and laughter mixed in with bits of encouragement and foresight.
       Lunch is winding down and Lee has to head back to work, we finish our drinks and Lee asks for the check. As he’s putting on his Columbia jacket, Lee turns to me in the booth, pauses… and asks…”Rachel…what are your expectations for this marriage?”
I balk….”Expectations?”  I wasn’t “expecting” this question…what were my expectations? What did he mean? I expect what every person expects out of a holy marriage…so I answer, “I expect to love wholeheartedly and to be loved in return”.
       Michael and I have now been married for 5 years. A very tough 5 years. My earlier expectations were definitely met, I was never short of being loved in this relationship, but I’ve only now just begun to realize what expectations I really had going into this marriage, most of which were not, and have not been fulfilled. Leaving me, naturally, feeling very “un”fulfilled. That day in the cafe, I had a distinct picture in my mind of what “marriage” should look like. Now I realize this picture was my expectation. I expected for us to make good money, either seperately, or together. I expected to buy a house. I expected to live in a place we both love, a beautiful place, surrounded by close friends and family. I expected to go on a vacation at least once a year. I expected to have children before the age of 29. I expected to have problems, but only minor ones and I expected we would face those problems head on, holding hands, skipping through a field of flowers while singing kumbaya. While I knew perfection was unattainable, I expected our lives to be close to it. I expected.
       After 5 moves to 5 different states in 5 years, consistant financial struggle, living with parents and siblings while being jobless, dealing with major;almost detrimental issues in our marriage, going through depression, anxiety and numerous different sessions with therapists, having grown no real roots and having no really close friends or a church family, and finally ending up in Lubbock, Texas…the LAST place on earth I would ever choose to live….thousands of miles away from any family….I realize, expectations are for the birds.
       When Michael and I married, I had expectations I didn’t even realize I had. I had a vision, and now, when that vision hasn’t panned out…I have become very unfulfilled, lonely, discouraged and disheartened. How could this happen to us, when it seems as if all the young married lives around us are running like well-oiled machines…good jobs, good money, family vacations, big houses, nice cars….when will it be our turn? What’s wrong with us?
       The truth is, I still don’t have the answer…do I just learn not to expect? I would love to hear from people reading this post, your stories of expectations….did you have expectations going into your marriages? Your careers? Did those expectations pan out? Does your life look like you thought it would look? I hope it does. All I know is from here on out I’m going to try not to have expectations. For me, they have been very harmful. I’m going to set goals, and work to reach those goals…but not expect anything. Like my new business Rachel Thompson Photography…I’m working at it, I have a few weddings booked, I’ve shot a few sessions and I’m going to be happy for what I have accomplished so far.
       Please, tell me your stories of expectations in the comment box! I would love to hear them. 🙂 But don’t worry, I don’t expect anything from you…
Posted in July 2010 | 29 Comments