Getting Things Done: Doctors and Bloodwork

One of the things on my (massive) To-Do List was to schedule a physical and get blood work done. I haven’t been to get blood-work done since I was about twelve. (I know). I did actually had blood drawn when I was nineteen and in the ER for stomach pain, but I don’t know what they tested in that blood test. I just remember that they told me my levels were all normal. I am assuming it wasn’t anything like blood-sugar, cholesterol, or the traditional “clinical” blood-work.

On Monday I decided it was time to bite the bullet. I knew if I went ahead and did it I’d at least have it done before tax-season got into full swing, and I’d be able to go into any baby making with a clear conscience. I normally dread the doctor. I’ve been known to actually cancel appointments because I was having a bad day and couldn’t be bothered with going to the doctor on top of it all.  Somehow though, I didn’t dread this appointment at all.

On the way over to the doctor’s appointment I found myself feeling a little nervous. And honestly, looking back, I can’t tell you what for. I really can’t. (Which is probably a good thing). I was listening to K-Love on the radio. (I turned in on after Christmas since I was missing my Christmas music, and then they kept mentioning this “30 Day Challenge” and I’d already been listening to it for about 2 weeks straight so I figured, why not?) And while some people might not buy it, I just prayed and asked God to please just take away this small bit of anxiety I was feeling and I asked him to please just give me an easy appointment. I was only about 60 seconds away from the doctor’s office by the time I finished my request.

When I walked in the door I was literally greeted the second I walked up to the window. Even though my insurance and name had changed I was processed quickly and given paperwork to fill out. Before I could even finish filling out the paperwork the triage nurse came for me and we started the blood pressure, weight, and entry questionnaire type things. When she finished she told me the P.A. would be in with me shortly and honestly within 5 minutes she was there in the room with me. I got a small lecture about my weight (I’m at the top of my BMI- which I knew, partially it’s because I’ve gotten lazy about exercising, partially because I do genuinely just have a big frame). But that was it. Other than that she had nothing negative to say. She gave me paperwork for routine blood-work which she doesn’t expect to see any huge problems with based on my answers to her questions.

I hate blood work but I am oddly (or maybe not so oddly) at peace about having done. I plan on asking the phlebotomist to just take whichever arm she wants and then asking to let me please just be in my own world. I’m a little worried about what the results might be, but I am trying to again put my faith in God (just like I did for the doctor’s appointment) that everything will come back fine and that even if something is off, it will be easily manageable. I got the (almost) exact appointment I wanted, for 7:45am on Monday.

If you’re wondering why I am sharing this with you the answer is that I wanted to share the fact that I conquered a fear. (Well, I’m technically still in the process of conquering it.) And I conquered my fear by asking God for help.

 

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Be Emily

One of the biggest tenants of The Happiness Project book, was to be yourself. The author constantly was reminding herself she just needed to be herself, do her thing. Well here’s a confession. I have no idea who I am. I spent most of my life trying to make other people happy and make friends that I’ve never really felt like I knew who I was. I am super pale and have a visiion problem and so I think I’ve always been too afraid to be myself because I already stood out enough as it was.

Over the last few months I have come to realize though, that I want a baby. Bad. i want a family. I am probably romanticizing it but I really, truly, want to start my family. A few months ago I went off birth control and added short term disability coverage at work. Basically that protects me from having to go on maternity leave without pay.

I find myself being held up by what other people will think. My husband and I are definitely going to “try” this cycle. I am current on the 2nd day of my cycle, and we are hoping that either this cycle or next I will get pregnant. I know it’s not realistic to think it can happen in two cycles but I’d love to have a baby in October and November so I am praying. I have been so much trying to focus on God and hearing His message, and just praying that if it is meant to be I will be a mommy in 2014.

I am only 24 (I’ll be 25 next month), and I feel as though my parents aren’t ready for me to have kids yet. And here’s the thing, that shouldn’t have any bearing on what I want, but it does. I love my parents, and I want to always make them happy, and so I worry that if I have kids before they’re ready, that on some level they will be disappointed in me.

My parents have never been the type who were excited by those milestones in their children’s lives. They weren’t excited when I had my first boyfriend, or when I announced (at the age of 20) that I was engaged. I think by the time I was 23 and got around to having my wedding they were happy- but it felt forced on some level to me.

My sister is four years older than me. She hasn’t had much luck in the dating world. About a month before I got engaged her and her boyfriend of about 3 years broke up. I think in some ways my family is still grieving (five years later) for her and that loss. But at the same time, we have to move on. Just because I’ve gotten married before my big sister and will (God willing) have children before her, doesn’t mean that we should all go around walking on egg shells.

I still can’t help but feel as though this would be so much easier if I wasn’t upsetting the natural order of things. My sister should have gotten married and had kids first, and if all of that had happened it would be so much easier on me. The truth is I’m scared. I’m scared I’ll be pregnant and won’t feel the excitement from my family. I’m scared that it will hurt. I’m scared that I’ll always remember it.

When I got engaged I remember how happy I was for myself, but it was shadowed by the fact that I knew my “best friend” would be supremely jealous and wouldn’t actually be happy for me. I still remember that, even more than 4 years later. I just don’t want something like that to happen with my pregnancy too.

I think I am ready to be a mom. I still have a lot of learning to do in life. But I am ready to experience pregnancy, and growing a little baby inside me. I am ready to learn the patience that only motherhood can teach. I am ready to get up at three in the morning and nurse my baby quietly in the dark. I am ready for the dark circles that tell the world I was up all night nurturing a life that might some day cure cancer. I am ready to teach my baby to view the world as a blank canvas. I am ready to cultivate a love for life. I am ready to teach a little girl how to tie her hair up in bows, or a little boy how to make racetracks. I am ready to read to my little darling every night before bed. I am ready to look my husband in the eye, and proudly say, “We made that.” I am.

Week One Update

Well guys, it’s January 11th. I’ve been working on this project about a week and a half now and I feel invigorated- but still a bit lost. I thought I’d let you know how some of my plans have been going.

The Resolution Chart

The resolution chart is helpful, but limited. I will probably try and use one each month but I have found that I do better at things on it that are tangible. Let’s start with the first resolution, the sixty second rule. For 5/7 days I have met this goal. I’ve realized that the days I am not doing this I am tired. For example yesterday the hubby and I spent literally 7 hours cleaning things out and throwing things away upstairs. I didn’t wash my coffee mug out or clean out my smoothie jar. So something I need to work on is making sure I am feeling rested.

The second resolution was to Obey the alarm. I have actually done this all but one day. I am beyond surprised. And I have to say getting up when my alarm goes off, so that I can enjoy my mornings really has made my weeks run a whole lot smoother. Plus I am getting in 20 minutes of reading before work- which I love because often after work I feel too drained from the day to read.

“Exercise consistently” was another of my resolutions. I have met this 3/6 days. I know that some days I was so invigorated by the idea of cleaning things out that I’d rather spend my time working on those tasks than exercising. So that is partially to blame. But I think this also goes back to being tired. When I’m tired I don’t want to exercise. I need to ask myself if I am really tired, or if I don’t want to do something. 3/6 days isn’t bad- but it could be better. I hope to see improvement in this as the month goes on.

“Act Energetic” is the worst resolution I could ever have made. In Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” I know for a fact that this was one of her goals. But it’s too abstract for me. I’ve given myself check marks on it most days but I feel like it’s hard to judge. I have tried to remind myself at work that if there was a task I didn’t want to do because it was too tedious or tiring, that I was really tired, that I was mostly feeling dread and honestly I felt much more able to conquer the task once I told myself that.

“Use to do lists” was the last item on my list. And MAN has this one been helpful. Every day when I get to work I make a to do list of the things I need to do that day, and I’m able to add to it as the day goes on and people randomly ask me to do a short task. It makes me feel much more organized about my day at work, and I actually feel like I am accomplishing things when the day is said and done.

Time Blocking

I mentioned this in one of my posts last week, and I actually only did it for two days. I find that where I have an office job each day, the idea of time blocking doesn’t really work. I think it’s important to write down a list of things I want to accomplish in the day and then just decide when I will do them. For example; I know that each day I want to read 20 minutes. And I have started to map out monthly what hours I will work at my job- to meet my goal hours. Based on that I know where a huge chunk of that day is. I make a list two weeks out of what we’re having for dinner so I know what I need to do when I get home from work. And from there I think it is just important for me to decide when I want to allocate the time to accomplish the other things in my life.

Going back to the “reading 20 minutes” each day item. On Friday I knew I would be working from 7:30-4:45pm. I knew that I’d leave home about 7:15 and return home around 5. Dinner was simple, an oven pizza (our Friday tradition). So, the question was to ask myself when I’d want to make the time for reading. I was realistic and said in the morning. So I allocated the 20 minutes in the morning. I found the time to do it.

Overall

In general I feel like I am definitely working towards my goal of getting organized this month. I am going to do a few more posts about how I’ve organized different areas of my life in the next week or so. I definitely feel like I am getting ready to have a fresh slate and a nice clean start. I am still trying to figure out who I am and what my goals in life are. I know it’s silly but I have spent most of my life being such a chameleon that I feel like I hardly know myself at all. Please leave any advice you might have in the comments, and as always definitely let me know if you or someone else you know has a happiness project I can follow along with.

Who am I?

I’m coming to my blog today and to ask my readers (if I have any) for some help. One of the big tenants of Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” was “Be Gretchen”. In short, she wanted to focus on devoting herself to things that she enjoyed doing, and not trying to do things because she thought she should. Some corollaries to that would be, “Just because something is fun for someone else doesn’t mean it will be fun for you.”, “What is right for someone else isn’t necessarily right for you.”, and “Everyone has different passions.”

My problem is that I don’t really know who “I” am. I feel like I could write you a list a mile long of the things I don’t like (peas, yellow clothing, summer) but I can’t really identify the things that make me happy beyond some really trivial things (the color pink, glitter, coffee). Part of the problem is that I feel like I stifle my interest in things because if I’m not tapped into them, they can’t be taken away from me.

Does anyone have any exercises that they can suggest to hone in on the things that matter to you, your opinion on things, and what you truly want from life?

January 2014 Resolution Chart

One of the tools that Gretchen Rubin used in her happiness project was the use of a Resolution Chart. When I was starting to work on my project this past weekend I wasn’t sure if I would be able to. Yes, the idea is great, but I didn’t know that I could summarize my goal enough that I’d have little steps I could work on each day, that would still be in line with my goal. I know it sounds silly but I really was having trouble.

In the end I decided I thought that the practice was too good of an idea to skip out on. I did my best, but they don’t all perfectly fit with “organization”. Either way, I thought I’d share the resolution chart I made.

I did mine by hand because I find the act of creating something somewhat relaxing, and I honestly thought I’d be more invested in it that way. I added a bible verse in the corner to make me smile, and to remind me that God is going to support me in my process.

Resolution Chart

January 2014

The Resolutions

Sixty Second Rule

This is straight out of The Happiness Project, but also a principle I’ve heard before. Basically, if something will only take 60 seconds just go ahead and do it. Examples of this might be washing out a mug, putting a load of laundry away, or even wiping down the counter in the bathroom every day.

Obey the Alarm

Basically, get up WHEN the alarm goes off. I have a bad habit of setting an alarm for an early hour with plans to do things before I get to work, and by the time that it’s time to get up and it goes off I “change my mind”. I argue with myself and tell myself that I am just “too tired.” No more. This month the goal is to get up with the alarm, and get moving. This is one of my resolutions because I think waking up later than I planned sets my day off with disappointment. Sometimes the only reason I set my alarm early is to have a cup of coffee and read. Yes, I could do that in the evening so it’s not a big deal if I sleep in but I’m always disappointed I did.

Exercise Consistently

This idea vaguely came from the book as well. In short I want to exercise 20 minutes 6 times a week. Rest on the 7th day. I should be able to do this. And more importantly I will never be sad that I did. Today I ran 2 miles, and tomorrow I might do some free weights and ab work. I can do 20 minutes a day.

Act Energetic

This one is what it sounds like. I just need to do it. I think I may need to make this a mantra more than anything else. Every time I start to feel “tired” (thus getting crabby or mopey) I need to tell myself to just act energetic, and get to the root of why I’m actually tired. Normally its more to do with dreading something I need to do!

Use To-Do Lists

I mentioned in my last post that I am using a daily planner. That in some ways serves as a to-do list. As well, I am going to start each morning off at work by writing down what I need or want to get done that day. According to Gretchen’s book, the simple task of just checking things off can give you a boost of happiness.

Does anyone reading this have any advice for me? And ways to remind myself to act energetically? Any 20 minute workouts that you do? Let me know, please!!

Getting Started

When I started reading The Happiness Project, and knew I wanted to start my own I decided that I needed something tangible to get more excited and invested in the project. Something of a simple craft almost. I decided almost immediately that I wanted a binder to keep track of my happiness project. Yesterday while the hubby and I were grocery shopping I ran to the office supply section and picked out a binder and some markers to start my project.  Currently my plan is this, get the binder set up and start planning.

Since my goal for January is getting organized, my first order of business is to plan the month, and each day try and plan my day out. Often times I personally feel like I can get nothing accomplished because there is so much I want to do that I assume there is no time for it.

My first step is going to be to plan out my hours for work for the month. I am a CPA and as some of you may know, January starts our busy season. At my office we gradually work into the work weeks extending by doing something like 40, 45, 55. I believe this past week was our 40 hour week, and next week we’ll be asked to do 45, and then I believe after that we are in full swing and asked to do 55 hours. I know 55 hours sounds like a lot, but when you think that you stretch that over 6 days (normally Saturdays are half days) really, you’re working only about 10 hours of your day. That means, that even once you consider that you might sleep for 8 hours, you still have 6 whole hours to yourself. And sure, some of that time is spent doing things like getting ready for work, making breakfast, commuting, and making dinner but if you’re honest with yourself normally those things take up no more than 2 hours, and you still have that 4 hours left. And when you think about it, four hours is a big chunk of time that you can dedicate to doing things that make you happy and energize you. So in short, my first goal is to look at my month and decide how I can structure my days so I don’t feel the weighed down under the burdensome sound of 55 hour weeks. Because yes, it is a lot of work, but there are a lot of hours in each day.

To aid me in these projects I found some really cute tools that I think will be pretty beneficial. The first is a calendar (reusable really) for each month of the year. One that I’ll write down important things that are going on in our lives (anniversaries, vacations, weddings) and roughly schedule out my work week hours. If you’re interested in doing the same I’ll link the calendar template I used here. I like that this calendar is blank and could theoretically be used again year after year. If you aren’t planning on keeping yours in a binder you could actually slip it in a page protector, put it on your fridge and use a dry erase marker on it and recycle them for a couple of years.  I like that it will give me a big picture view of the month so that I’ll realize that yes, even though I’m busy, I will have time to accomplish things.

The second tool I am going to take advantage of, for a trial period of one week, will be a daily time blocking sheet. I like this idea because at the beginning of each day I can sit down, map out the day, and find time to do the things I want to do. When you give yourself a schedule you are much less likely to waste time. I know I personally waste an enormous amount of time on my smart phone refreshing apps like facebook, twitter, and instagram. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t, or you shouldn’t, use those things but if I give myself a schedule I might check them less frequently. I don’t really need to know immediately that a friend’s toddler has the sniffles. Sure, it is nice to know those things and keep up with people- but it’d be a better use of my time if I looked less frequently. The daily planner template that I am using can be found here. I like that it prompts you to start with your to-do list too. It’s hard to plan your day if you don’t know what you need to do.

This is still the very beginning phases of my project, but this is my start. When I’ve got my notebook a little better underway, perhaps once January has really been started, I’ll do a separate post exclusively on that. Best wishes to anyone else on their happiness projects!

My Happiness Project

For months I have been meaning to read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve thought for the longest time that it would benefit me so much. I am the type of person who strives to constantly improve, and happiness has always been something that I have been neglectful of. This past Tuesday as Nw Years Eve settled in in full force I finally had an opportunity to reflect on the past year and contemplate how I wanted to make changes in the coming one. I decided on New Years Day (albeit a bit late) that I wanted to read The Happiness Project to start my year off right, and undertake my own happiness project.

The next day at lunch time I ran to Barnes and Noble with a friend and picked up both the Happiness Project (book) and the 5 year journal. Every spare moment I’ve had since then has been consumed with reading this book. I am only about half way through, but in some ways, I am trying to savor it and process everything I am reading. I am determined to make changes this year.

Since I started the book after the new year, I felt a bit behind her on starting my own project. I wanted to start right away, but already four days of the month have passed by. So what I decided was this, January’s focus would be on Organization. January would be spent organizing my project, organizing my home, organizing my work, and organizing my life. From there I’ll move on to the next 11 months to work on different areas of my life in each of those.

I am beyond excited for this project. I feel so incredibly energized by the prospect. I can tell already that it would be anything that is going to change who I am, but it will be a great exercise in self improvement and self reflection, and hopefully out of it, I will find greater happiness.

Look forward to more posts on this subject, and more posts about the mini-projects I’ll be attempting as part of it. Anyone who has any advice or has done their own project please feel free to share your insights! Blessings for a very wonderful new year to all!

2014

I find it fitting that for months I thought I left this blog in such a way that any one who read it would wonder where I’ve gone to and all along the last post actually makes it somewhat clear, that perhaps it was time for a hiatus.

However, I am starting fresh. It’s 2014 (how the heck did that happen) and it’s time for betterment. I’m going to do a few posts in the next few days reflecting on the changes I want to make, and doing a tell all kind of confessional, and then it’s time for improvement.

I just wanted to come here and let everyone who is still subscribed to this blog know what is coming.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and blessed 2014!

A Failed Experiment

When I was in high school (or even middle school) and I would write a paper or essay that I was particularly proud of, I’d ask everyone if they wanted to read it. I would be bursting with pride and just needed to show people what I’d done. I’ve become pretty proud of my blog. While most of it is just story telling, it is something I put my time and energy into. So on Friday, wanting to get more exposure, I decided to buy a 5  dollar credit on StumbleUpon. The way it worked is that I entered information about my blog, picked a target demographic, and it calculated how much it would charge me for each view it guaranteed. All in all I think my five dollars provided about 30-40 views.

I was convinced that getting people to interact with me on my blog was simply a matter of exposure. More people needed to see my blog, and then more people would stop by to comment and give feedback. It turns out I was wrong. On Friday I had about the 2nd highest views for one day as I’ve ever had, and not one person commented, liked a single post, or decided to follow my blog. In my head all I see is the saying, “Money can’t buy you friends.”

One of my inspirations for this blog, Rebecca Kelsey (see her blog here), told me to blog for myself and then the rest would fall into place. I should have listened to her advice.  People are only going to follow your blog if they like your voice and your content. I just thought I’d share the little lesson I’d learned with everyone else so that you don’t take for granted the power in any blog is the voice of the author, not the views.

Gratitude Friday: August 16th, 2013

I’ve decided to start my first “regular” post here on “The Coffee Darling”, Gratitude Friday. Each Friday I will pick a handful of things from the past week to share my gratitude for. There won’t be a set number, because I feel like things lose their genuineness when you do that. Please let me know what you think of this idea!

1- This weather– I live in the midatlantic and for the past three or four days the weather here has been absolutely gorgeous. We had highs in the mid seventies, maybe up to eighty, with lows in the mid-fifties and low-sixties. It has been such a nice reprieve from these crazy humid days where the “feel real” temperature has been close to one hundred. They’ve been a great excuse to roll down the windows, and turn up the music. This weather reminds me that fall is on it’s way, arguably my favorite season of the year (I could write an entire blog series on why I love fall). It reminds me to just slow down and take a deep breath.

2- Support– I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it on here before, but a few years ago, probably three or four at this point, I used to make videos on YouTube. They were mostly beauty vlogs, and every day life vlogs. I made videos for probably about a year. I wasn’t super successful but I did get up to 1,500 subscribers which was an accomplishment to me. One of the girls who befriended me was Kim, or Rubenesquex3 At the time we were both starting out, but now she has almost 65,000 subscribers (although she deserves many more). And do you know what? She still follows me on twitter. She still responds to my tweets. She has even tweeted out my blog to her twitter followers, twice. I don’t think I can explain how much that means to me. I know the idea of social networking is you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, but it still means so much to me that she takes the time for me. So many girls on YouTube let their success change them and wouldn’t still support me, so I can’t quite express how grateful I am for the support. It’s hard to find your place on the internet, so people supporting you and helping you really makes a difference.

3- My Gym Membership – When I first started my job I asked my Dad if he would talk to his friend at the gym, to see if I could get a lower than advertised rate. I’m never the type to do this, but my Dad offered and if I could get the membership for $35 dollars instead of fifty, I would take him up on it. He talked to his friend and his friend gave me the “corporate rate” even though I wasn’t part of a company. I paid that price for a year- even when there were entire months that I just couldn’t make it to the gym. About a year ago the company I work for decided to get a corporate rate for all the employees who wanted to sign up- I said I’d switch to the company plan so that we could get a lower rate as an office. Then it was announced that the company would pay half of our gym membership; so instead of paying $35 dollars a month I pay 17.50. I am so grateful for that. Gym memberships are pricey. I love my gym. They are right across the street from my work, and only about a ten minute drive for my house (which is partially because I actually go the speed limit). I’ve started taking yoga, pilates, and spin classes there and I really feel like I am getting a bang for my buck.

What are you grateful for this Friday? Is there anyone you want to thank? What do you think of these posts? Are there any other “regular” blog series that you would like to see?