Monday, January 30, 2012

Big News!!


S and I are excited to annouce that we are expecting! We're so excited! It really is a dream come true for both of us - and we are overjoyed that God has blessed us this way.

Our due date is September 3rd - Labor Day, appropriately! (Does God have a sense of humor of what??) That means that as of today, I am 9 weeks along.

Our little bundle of joy is about the size of a prune today, but not nearly as wrinkled! He or she is really starting to take shape - bones and cartilage are forming, and small indentations on the legs are becoming knees and ankles. The arms, complete with elbows, can flex already! Plus, the tooth bud fairy has arrived and his or her little teeth are forming too!

As of now, we aren't planning on finding out the gender of the baby - all we want is a happy, healthy baby, and the gender truly won't matter. Plus, it'll be an exciting surprise for Steven to announce to our gathered family after Baby arrives!

How am I feeling? Well - not so hot. I have been experiencing the fabulous rite of passage known as morning sickness...or as I have come to know it, all day and night sickness. It's more of a lingering nausea than actual sickness, coupled with exhaustion like I have never known (which is saying a lot since I get up so early for work!).

That being said, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Anyone that knows me knows that I've wanted to be a mom for my entire life, and I just know that S is going to be a fantastic father. We are truly blessed and couldn't wait to share this with you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Can you imagine a world where every woman has a safe place to go for recovery?

I woke up really excited this morning. While I’m always passionate about the work I do here at St. Anne’s Home, there's something else that's got me pumped.

On February 2nd, 2012, thousands of area residents are going to show their support for their favorite nonprofit during Alabama Gives Day. On that day, every donation will help us further the important work of our organization.

Every day, a house full of women are getting the support they need in a safe environment to begin restoring their lives as they recover from their addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Women are working on being reunited with their families, returning to the work force, learning new life skills, and so much more…EVERY DAY! Watching them come out of their shells and have their hope renewed is an experience that should not be missed! Each and every one of these women is truly a miracle – one that wouldn’t be possible without YOUR support.

A donation of just $12 can pay for a day’s stay for one of our residents. A donation of $87 could cover one week, and $350 would insure her ability to stay for an entire month. Think of the impact YOUR donation could have in the life of a recovering woman! YOU could be part of her miracle!

What really has me excited is that this is going to be a big event, and everyone will be talking about who they’re supporting. Think “American Idol” and we're in the try-outs but need your support to make it to the top.

We need you to help us with these three things:

1) Mark February 2nd, 2012 on your calendar and add this giving link. http://www.razoo.com/story/St-Annes-Home

2) Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stanneshome and help build the buzz.

3) Spread the word! Forward this email to your family and friends along with a personal note as to why you believe in our work, and why they should give on February 2nd, 2012.

Help spread the excitement. Tell your friends and family why you think they should help us with their donation. Please be our champion, and help us see it to the top! We can’t wait to celebrate the difference your generosity will make on February 2nd, 2012.

Monday, January 23, 2012

We are ok...

It's an eerie morning here in Alabama. We were woken up in the wee hours of the morning by severe weather and deafening thunder. There had been reports of a pending potential tornado in our area for the overnight last night - and after the devastation of last April's tornadoes, everyone in these parts is more than a little edgy when they mention that there is even a chance of them.

As the sun has come up, the images of the destruction are coming in, and it breaks my heart. Even when we know it's coming, there's nothing we can do to stop or prevent a tornado. The best we can do is hunker down or get out of the way.

As for us and our family, we are alright. Our homes are alright. Every friend that I have is alright. This leaves me feeling incredibly blessed and grateful, especially after seeing and hearing about how many people are NOT in the same situation.

This morning, on the air, we've just been trying to disseminate the information as it comes in - the death toll, started at 1, rose to 2, rose to 3 - and hundreds are injured or displaced because of their homes being destroyed. So many families changed forever in the blink of an eye. Lots of people calling to get information because they can't get through to their families or places of business.

So, this morning, they are all in my prayers - and I hope they'll be in yours, too.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bathtime is no fun


I'm not sure why I have never let it sink in that I am just not a "bath" kind of a girl. In theory, it seems like a lovely idea - especially, when my adorable, loving husband S sets it up the way he does, complete with candles, music and rose petals (he really is too good to be true, sometimes...).

I haven't felt particularly well today, so I thought it might be a nice way to relax and feel better. He had run off to the store to get everything he was going to need to make us some dinner (I told you he's too good to be true!), and I had the house to myself. I ran the water, put the bath salts in, and arranged a towel for a pillow for my head.

When I tried to settle myself in, I remembered why I don't like baths. I am too tall. There's nothing relaxing about laying half in the water, and half out. Every few minutes, half of me would get cold, so I would have to switch halves. I'd have to have to fold in very unnatural ways to even fit half of me under the water, so I never really got comfortable, even for a minute.

Yet, I sat there for 30 minutes - trying to make myself enjoy it. Why? Because I feel like I "should". I do that to myself a lot. I feel like I "should" enjoy something, and then, make myself feel badly for not liking it. What a waste of time! I spent 30 minutes today, miserable...ON PURPOSE. I chose that. How silly is that?

I am going to try to be more honest with myself about what I enjoy and what I don't. It's not like anyone had a gun to my head telling me that I had to take a bath and like it. I put all that on myself. No one else cares if I ever take a bath again. Obviously, they will care if I don't bathe...but that's not going to be an issue, I promise!

Lesson learned. It was worth 30 minutes of unrelaxing bath to learn that lesson today!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gratitude list for January 19, 2012

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- A foot rub while watching TV tonight - who has a better husband than I do??
- cake from Olexa's in Mountain Brook - heaven in a slice
- time to catch up with two ladies I really like today
- cuddly dogs
- comfy pajama pants - best end to a long day

Dear God, thank you for all of the blessings in my life. I recognize that I am truly blessed since the things I listed are all luxury items - some times I can take for granted that my basics are covered. Since life is so good, I can get cranky over the smallest of things - please help me to keep life in perspective, especially regarding ______. Please protect my friend G and her husband as they travel abroad - and keep all of my loved ones, safe, sound and comforted. Amen.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Angel Walk



Today, I was witness to a "coining out" ceremony at St. Anne's Home - and an "angel walk". It was a beautiful ceremony - one that I had never witnessed or participated in, before today. It was moving and emotional, and there were more than a few tears from the more emotional woman that took part (i.e., me). I am a volunteer and board member for St. Anne's, so the whole house holds a special place in my heart - but today was more special than most.

At St. Anne's, most women stay for about three months, as they get their lives back in order and start their recovery and rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol. It is usually the bright spot of my week when I go there on Tuesdays for our weekly sessions. Getting to see the women slowly come out of their shells and start to feel more comfortable and happy in their sober skin brings me more joy than I can imagine.

The woman that coined out today actually chose to stay at the house for an additional two months in order to complete the therapy and recovery work that she knew was crucial to her long term success in remaining sober when she returned home to her family. Since I've gotten to know her pretty well over the past five months, she asked if I would come join them for her ceremony today.

It was called an "angel walk". The residents, staff, and invited volunteers lined up in two lines, tallest to shortest, facing each other at arm's length distance apart. Then, the woman that was coining out closed her eyes and stood at the back at the lines, and waited for the two women in the back to place their hands on her shoulders, right where her wings would attach. On a boombox, they played a very inspirational, musical version of the "Serenity Prayer" - which is a prayer near and dear to the recovery community. As we each placed our "wings" on her back, we leaned in to whisper a wish or good thought in her ear, and then, gently nudged her along to the next set of women, whose hands replaced ours, as her next set of wings.

This was repeated over and over, until she had about a dozen set of wings at her back - and dozens of kind wishes and words of love whispered in her ears. The women that participated in the ceremony were truly acting as angels for her as prepared to venture out in to the real world again.

I had goosebumps - watching this woman - who came to St. Anne's, convinced life would never, could never get any better - being lifted up, encouraged and loved on by all of the other women of the house, and the staff and volunteers. She emerged at the end of the line, joyful and proud - and we all felt uplifted by the experience.

I love the imagery of having our friends and loved ones as angels with their hands as the wings we need to fly. I am so grateful that I was able to be a small part of that incredible moment in her journey today, and I will never forget it. I hope she doesn't either.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The results of the Brussels sprouts taste test

Yesterday, I confessed that I was very fearful of trying Brussels sprouts - and that they were, literally IN the oven as I was blogging about it.

I had received many suggestions of how to prepare them, but the simplest one was just to cut them in halves (or quarters) and roast them at 400 degrees, after tossing them with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper (and I added some minced garlic).

Here's how that adventure went:

They started out looking like this:













Then, I started to cook them.

Step 1:

video

Step 2:

video

Step 3:


video

And, the grand finale - the taste test:

video

So, see? I had nothing to worry about! They were FANTASTIC! I cut off the camera before you could witness me eating every single sprout on that pan. I didn't even bother with a bowl or plate. (Classy, I know!)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why I am scared to eat Brussels sprouts


Last week, we did a segment on the morning show about things we have never done that might surprise people. To get the ball rolling and inspire listeners to feel safe to call with their confessions, I admitted that, at the age of 35, I have never tried Brussels sprouts. Does that surprise you?

Well, it surprised our listeners, too, and over the course of the past week, I have been handed recipes that I am "guaranteed" to love during meetings, emailed recipes for roasted Brussels sprouts by the dozen, and today, I was coached by a professional chef (and the director of a culinary school) on how I could cook them in a way that wouldn't be too scary.

I've had to think a lot about why I haven't ever stepped up to the culinary plate and tried them. Here's the history: my parents HATED Brussels sprouts. They are one of the few foods that were never served in our house. (I wish they had the same stance on lima beans, but I digress...) My dad didn't like them, at all, and my mom had basically OD'd on them growing up - so they vowed never to force them on their kids and never even offered them to us. Alright, maybe it wasn't a vow, so much, as a decision - but at any rate, we never had them.

Since I never had them as a kid, and knew of my parents' aversion towards them, I was never very motivated to try them on my own. We also never had asparagus or sushi growing up, but luckily, I had friends that encouraged me to try to those foods, and coached me on how to eat them - and it was love at first bite on both counts. One might think after those positive experiences that I would chomping at the bit to chow down on some sprouts.

Nope. I am scared.

There. I said it. I am scared to eat Brussels sprouts.

I have jumped out of planes. I have spoken in front of thousands of people. I have sung the National Anthem at sporting events. I've gone on blind dates. And yet - I am sitting here, scared to try the Brussels sprouts I have roasting in the oven RIGHT THIS SECOND. Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

I am scared that they will be so bad that I will never recover from eating them. With 35 years of time to think of how awful they will be, I am certain that they will taste so awful that I will be haunted for years by the ghost of the sprouts.

While that may seem ridiculous to you, it doesn't to me. That's usually how I feel about new things: that they will certainly be so awful that I will be haunted by the terrible experience for years and years to come. I worry that everyone will find out how awfully things went with ______, and will hate me forever for not liking it/failing. (And before you worry too much - I am not paralyzed by this...I usually can talk myself through it and try it anyway...but these are the thoughts that lead up to it.)

What I know to be true is my greatest fears almost never materialize - and when it comes to the BIG stuff like jumping out of a plane, I can usually go for it. Yet, for 35 years, I managed to avoid the sprouts.

Today, that ends. I am going for it. I will no longer fear this benign vegetable. I am roasting it in the oven, right now, and will try it. I have promised that I will report back on that tomorrow morning on our show, so my hand is kind of forced to do so. Nonetheless, today marks the end of an era in my little world, and I am pretty psyched about it.

Today, Brussels sprouts...tomorrow, who knows??

What have you been avoiding trying out of fear? Need some encouragment?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gratitude Quickie

Today, I am grateful for:
- my treadmill set up in my house - no matter what the weather is like outside, I can always go for a walk (and get caught up on TV!)
- epicurious - lots of fun recipes to try
- getting back to choir practice tonight - I have missed singing
- St. Anne's Home - the girls there make me feel useful and the staff there is doing great work with the residents
- today being a new day - I love that I have a chance at a whole different kind of day every day...just because yesterday was yucky, doesn't mean today will be!

Dear God, thank you for the many blessings in my life, and for the opportunity to stop and take stock. Please show me how to be of use to You and your kids. Amen.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So far, so good...


I read a study this morning saying that 75% of people have already "fallen off the wagon" - which made me feel pretty good about myself, since I am still going strong! (That's the award I am giving myself for staying strong 10 days into the year above...)

Here's my progress report:

- Sleep more. I have been trying to go to bed earlier, and to take a nap each day - and so far, so good. I am pretty proud of this one...and reaping the benefits of feeling less cranky already.
- Use my new treadmill. I am rocking on this one. On Saturday AND Sunday, I cranked out over 4 miles each day and spent over an hour total each day on the treadmill, including warming up and cooling down. Yesterday, I "only" did 3.5 miles for 50 minutes, but that's still way over my goal!
- Show more gratitude. Hmmm...I need to remember to do this one. So far, I haven't sent any actual thank you notes. I have made an effort to say "thank you" out loud more often, but no actual notes.
- Boycott all things Kardashian, whenever possible. Totally accomplished! Moving on...
- Travel to someplace I have never been. The plans are in place! As soon as we hear, for sure, about S's new job this week, we are booking the tickets to go to Vegas!
- Eat more real food. We cooked a LOT this weekend - most of it was homemade! I even made French toast from homemade bread.
- Focus on the positive, forget about the negative. Last Friday, I was pretty cranky about a situation at work, but I remembered to focus on the positive and write a gratitude list - and it helped to turn things around!
- Blog 225 times. This is #6 for the year - so, I am chipping away at this particular goal.
- Play. This weekend, we had a blast playing with our new XBox Kinect that S's mom gave us for Christmas. We played darts, golf, and tennis. We skied. We danced. All in our PJ's! Super fun!
- Be gentle with myself. As I learned last year, some times, it's even better to NOT stick to the plan than to force my way through on resolutions or plans. So far, this year, I feel like I picked pretty reasonable resolutions, so I am sticking to them. (Which is a way of being more gentle with myself, too!)

How are you doing with YOUR resolutions? Are you in the 75%? Do you want to get back on track?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tweaking a new recipe

Yesterday, I was feeling kind of domestic, so I decided to try out some new recipes - and I was really pleased with the results (and with the leftovers that I'll be enjoying today!). Sometimes, it doesn't turn out too well if I don't follow the directions exactly - but yesterday, I took a recipe I found on Pinterest (my latest obsession) - and tweaked it a little, by adding some cooked chicken into the mix at the end, and it turned out super yummy.












Ingredients

  • 2 cups (8 oz.) dry penne pasta
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded Italian-style four-cheese blend
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, adding sun-dried tomatoes to boiling pasta water for last two minutes of cooking time; drain.

MEANWHILE, COMBINE evaporated milk, cheese, basil, garlic powder and pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

ADD pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to cheese sauce; stir until combined.


Here's the link to the original: http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/143190/Penne-Pasta-with-Sun-dried-Tomato-Cream-Sauce/detail.aspx.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A begrudingly done, and specific gratitude list

Originally, I started this blog as a way to be more diligent about doing gratitude lists - taking stock on the many blessings in my life. Even when I am having a bad day, if I pause and take stock of how things are really going (instead of my usual M.O., which is to catastrophize everything and focus solely on the negative), I can carve out at least five things that I feel grateful to have in my life.

Today, I found myself in a little bit of a snit over a situation where I felt like I was getting slighted at work. It's an ongoing situation, and I've tried to have a good attitude about it for a long time. However, lately, I just feel like it's piled up to the point where I can't help but take it personally (despite remonstrances from my boss that it's nothing personal).

Rather than fall into the trap of "they are screwing me over", I want to focus on the positive aspects of my job, specifically, right now, so I remember how lucky I truly am.

Today, at work, I feel grateful for:
- Actually having a job that brings me a paycheck. Several of my radio colleagues were let go this past week at a competing radio station, which drives home - again - that I am blessed to be employed. Hell, my husband is even in job limbo right now, while his company restructures, so he's technically not working this week.
- Having a job that rallied it's resources to support me when I was searching for my lost dog, Chelsea. That was a harrowing experience, and they did everything they could to leverage the media resources we have to spread the word about her.
- A recent decision by the bosses to return us back to being on the air from 5am to 9am - it's been fun to be back on the air from 8-9am and to connect with our listeners again.
- Having coworkers that listen to me vent when I need to.
- To have a job where no one dies if I have a bad day - I have friends that are doctors and nurses, and if they have a bad day, the consequences are serious!

OK - that helped a little. I am glad it's Friday. Ooo! I can be grateful for that, as well! I am grateful that I have a job where I have most weekends off, including this one.

Thanks for listening. I feel much better.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

If you want bread, you have to follow the instructions....


One of my favorite presents that S and I received for our wedding was a bread maker. I envisioned loaves and loaves of warm bread on cold winter mornings. I pictured giving loaves of bread as gifts to loved ones and family for Christmas. I imagined sumptuous meals served with just the right side of a home made baguette. Life was going to be perfect with all of this homemade, yummy bread, right?

Wrong.

When I opened the box that the bread maker came in, I noticed the instruction manual, but paid no mind to silly little details in the front. Instead, I arrogantly flipped to the back to the enticing sounding recipes. I snapped the bread pan in place, loaded it up with the ingredients listed, and punched the appropriate buttons and settled in to wait on this fabulous first loaf of bread that I was sure to be eating in just three hours.

Do you know what I had in three hours?

Hot flour.

Apparently, it helps if you attach the little blade that stirs the ingredients together. I would have known that if I had read the directions, fully...and followed them. After three hours of waiting and listening to the machine make lots of fun noises, I was certain that yummy bread was inevitable.

It turns out that the adage: "If you want what we have, do what we do" applies to bread, as well as life, in general. If I wanted to have the yummy bread that I was hoping for, I needed to follow the instructions - all of them. I couldn't just flip past the parts I didn't want to be bothered to read and focus on the fun stuff (the recipes and results), and honestly think that I was going to be rewarded with the end result I was hoping for.

In order to make bread, I had to use all of the tools offered to me. If I want to have a life more like the one that a friend has, I have to do all that she does...not just the parts that come easily, anyway. I may not be as interested in the "boring" stuff like reading the directions, but if I want the good stuff, like yummy bread or better fitness or whatever goal I am hoping to achieve, I need to read them and follow them.

I am still trying to master the art of bread making. I've had some great results - when I remember to follow the instructions!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This year, I resolve to....

I usually love making long lists of New Year's Resolutions (see yesterday's post for more about why), but this year, I have had a hard time getting motivated in making my list.

Part of the reason is that I already do a lot of the things that are typical resolutions: exercise, stay in touch with friends, don't drink or smoke, etc. I want to recommit to some of those things, but I also want to try something NEW, too. So, I am having to think a little out of the box for 2012.

In 2012, I resolve to:
- Sleep more. After years of always saying "I don't sleep much", I am going to make an effort to turn that around. I will get in bed early enough each night to give myself a shot at a full night's sleep. I will nap when I am tired.
- Use my new treadmill. I am recommitting to exercising. I will hop on that treadmill, at least 4 days a week for 30 minutes each day. (S has offered to keep me motivated on this one - he said that for every I don't use it, he's going to pile one shirt on it just to see how long it takes me to notice.)
- Show more gratitude. Instead of just blogging about what I am grateful for, I will show/tell/demonstrate my gratitude outwardly. I will send thank you notes (thanks to Jon Acuff for the inspiration for that idea!)
- Boycott all things Kardashian, whenever possible. In my radio job, I cover celebrity gossip - but this year, I vow to keep mum about that ridiculous family as much as I can. Unless one of them hijacks a plane, blows up the White House or cures cancer, I hope to have a Kardashian-free 2012.
- Travel to someplace I have never been. Right now, we have our eyes on Vegas next month - but if that doesn't come to fruition, we will pick another US location and hit the road!
- Eat more real food. I don't mean that I want to eat more - I want to eat more real food. Less processed, more actual food. I will cook at home more, shop on the perimeter of the grocery stores more.
- Focus on the positive, forget about the negative. The universal law of the power of attraction has been alive and well in my life for years. Thoughts become things. I will focus on positive people, places and things - and more of those will come into my life, as a result. It's not ignorance to forget about the negative - it's a choice, a powerful choice that anyone can make.
- Blog 225 times. That works out to about 4 times a week. I want to grow this blog - and I know that regular entries will help with that goal as well. (By the way, if you wanted to "follow" me, you can subscribe to this blog by email too!)
- Play. We have board games, video games, card games - and we have a blast using them. We will turn off the TV - and play with each other! We will invite friends over to play, too!
- Be gentle with myself. I am my own worst critic, and I would never talk to a friend the way I talk to myself. When I stumble, bumble or make a mistake, I will forgive myself and gently try to get back on track. As I learned last year, some times, it's even better to NOT stick to the plan than to force my way through.

Most of those aren't very concrete goals - so, I'll have to find a way to keep track of them. Usually, I use events like anniversaries, birthdays and holidays to compare this year to last year, but I might need to find a way to quantify some of these. Any suggestions?

Are you making a list this year? How many items are on your list, if you are? Is your list different this year than last year?

Monday, January 2, 2012

The lesson I learned from failing on my New Year's Resolution

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have made a ridiculously long list of New Year's resolutions. They've ranged from traveling to a foreign country (which I did) to running my first half marathon (which I did!) to meeting the love of my life (which I also did!) to everything in between. I've spent weeks before the beginning of the new year, brainstorming, planning, scheming, until finally, on December 31st, I print out the dozen or more resolutions and post them everywhere in my house.

Why do I do this to myself?

One, life is short. I witnessed firsthand what happens when you wait for "later" to check things off of the list of things you've always wanted to do. My parents always had plans for the life they were going to live when they retired. My dad toiled away at his job, and my mom did everything in the world for everyone else in her life. The payoff was going to be that someday, when they retired, they were going to live it up, exactly like they wanted to. Unfortunately, their plan didn't work out exactly like they had hoped. My dad was lucky enough to retire at the beginning of 2000, but my mother passed away in July of that same year from cancer, at the age of 50.

After witnessing that, I felt driven to DO something each year - not wait until "later". My mother was an amazing woman - and I love the example of service to others that she left for me (and everyone else around her), but I wished, for her sake, that she got to experience more of the things she was putting off until "later". I didn't want to find myself at the end of my days on this Earth and regret having put experiences I wanted to have or accomplishments that I wanted to achieve until "later", because sometimes, we don't get to have a "later".

Another reason for my list is that I am a girl that likes to know the plan. I like to know what's going to happen, when it's going to happen, and how we are going to make it happen. When in doubt, I can always come back to the plan. When I am faced with a decision of how to spend my time, I can revert back to my list of resolutions and use it as a guide of how I want to spend my time. If I have decided that I want to run a half marathon, then, I need to get outside and run instead of sitting on the couch and reading. If I have decided that I want to read a new book every month, I need to sit on the couch and read instead of getting outside and running.

Both of those are positive reasons for wanting to make a list of resolutions for the new year, but this year, I discovered another reason that I like to make this annual resolutions list: I like to have a measuring stick to beat myself up with when I find myself falling short of the goals that I set. How self-defeating is that? I create the list - and then, use it to make myself feel bad if I don't adhere to it, perfectly.

In 2011, I wanted to run a marathon. I had run a half marathon in 2010, and wanted to step it up to the next level and run a full marathon this past year. I was training my butt off (figuratively and literally). I spent hours a week running. Early on Sunday mornings, I got up and ran with a training group - 7, 10, 17 miles a week. I ran through the aches and pains. I bought special running gear. I was into it.

Then, I got sick a few times in rapid succession - probably from being so worn out - and fell off of the training schedule. I was so frustrated with myself. I tried to get back on schedule, but my motivation was gone. I was so far behind on the training program that it felt like I would never catch up. It got to the point where I was resentful if I did run or I was resentful if I didn't run. It was a no-win situation.

Until one day, when I realized that no one was forcing me to run a marathon. I didn't have a gun to my head to finish this event. I wasn't going to lose my job. I wasn't being paid to run in it. No one was going to die if I didn't run the dang marathon. It was a self-imposed goal of which I fell short. I didn't have to run it!

This may sound elementary to you, but it was an epiphany to me. I quit running, and no one else cared. The relief that I felt from removing that goal from my list for the year was immense.

The lesson I learned from quitting marathon training was quite simple, but life changing. I need to assess my goals every day to see if they are still working for me, not just once a year. A lot can happen in the course of 365 days, and goals that I set on December 31st may not still fit into my life later on down the road. It's good to have goals as guideposts - but when they turn into baseball bats that I am beating myself with, it's time to reevaluate.

This year, I have been reluctant to set any resolutions on paper because I didn't want to set myself up to fall into the same trap again. However, I think I do want to set some goals for 2012 - ones that I will reevaluate as the year progresses. I'll post those tomorrow.

In the mean time, I'd love to hear from you - what lessons have you learned this year? Did you set resolutions for 2011? How did you do in achieving what you had hoped to? Is 2012 going to be a different year?