Spreading the Love

It’s funny – all month long, I have felt this incredible sense of guilt around not setting aside time to write in this blog.  When I set goals, I have expectations about how they will unfold and what my end result will be.  It’s hard, but I have to learn to let go of those expectations and just enjoy the journey.

Though it’s been awhile since I’ve written, my year of living with intention has not subsided.  February was my month to reflect on and strengthen my relationships, and I feel great about the way this intent played out.  I went into this month expecting to be the one making thoughtful gestures to friends and family.  Instead, my family and friends showered me with love and kindness.

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Below are the activities I wanted to accomplish this month and a little bit about how each played out.

Email or call an out of town friend I haven’t spoken to in awhile. I didn’t have to take the initiative on this one.  I received calls from 2 beautiful friends from college, and received an email message from another.  I hadn’t spoken to 2 of these friends in over a year.  It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to pick up with someone after so long and go on like you were never apart in the first place.  Friends like that should be treasured.

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Plan a date with my boyfriend.  One of the many things I love about Nick is his willingness to experience things with me – even things he may not be super excited about.  I had been dying to see a couple of the rotating art exhibits at the Riverfront Museum, so I decided to drag Nick along.  We ended up making a day of it – he beat me in literally every athletic game in the IHSA exhibit (my vertical leap is so pathetic), and we went to see Gravity at the Giant Screen Theater.

Nick took me out on his date of choice later in the month.  We drove up to Galena, IL for a day of skiing.  It was my very first time!  I came away with several bruises, but I had a blast, and will definitely be going back!

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Call or send a letter to a relative.  I sent a letter to my amazing cousin/friend.  Isn’t it cool when you can call someone your family and your best friend?

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Send postcards to several friends.  Snail mail is just so fun.  Seriously, it is.  It feels so much more personal than an email, facebook message, or a text.  I really enjoyed writing letters to friends – I’d love to set aside more time to do it in the future!

Go out to dinner with the whole family.  I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this yet – this was my BIRTHDAY MONTH!!  I invited my immediate in-town family to dinner at Sugar.  I had such a wonderful time, and was reminded – as always – of what a wonderful family I have been blessed with.  I definitely missed my brothers though – they always keep it interesting! 🙂

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Rearrange my office.  This one may seem random, but I thought it was important to remember that we have relationships with more than just people.  It’s amazing how much our relationship with space can affects us as well.  Bright, colorful, and clean spaces can lift my mood in a second.

I took rearranging my office to the next level – I moved out of my shared office and into a private one!  Though I miss being able to shout out random thoughts to my co-worker, I am really enjoying my new space.

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Grab a drink with someone I want to get to know better.  Though there is something to be said about meeting new people and expanding my friend base, there is also something to be said about strengthening friendships that already exist. Originally, I thought the “someone I want to get to know better” would be someone I knew hardly at all.  Instead, I unintentionally learned something new about a current friend.  It was a good reminder that there’s always something more to learn about people, no matter how long we’ve known them.

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Surprise a friend with a thoughtful gift.  I dropped the ball on this one.  It was totally in the back of my mind, and then it just never happened.  No worries, though – I will follow through with it this month instead.

Cook a meal for someone.  Another one of the many things I love about Nick is his willingness to eat absolutely anything I cook.  And I cook some weird things.  I made us a barbecue chicken quinoa salad one night (Nick actually loves this and specifically requested it), and butternut squash mac and cheese another night (we will not be having this again LOL).  I also prepared a superfood cereal for Hannah and me one morning.  It is delicious and super healthy!  Here is the recipe:

2 TBSP chia seeds
2 TBSP hemp seeds
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup raisins
1 apple, chopped
1 banana, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1.5 cups almond milk

Refrigerate for 10 minutes to 12 hours.  I made mine in a mason jar the night before and ate it the next morning.

Offer to help a friend with a task.  I offered to shovel the driveway at my house.  I actually just wanted to play in the snow and get some exercise…but I also knew that the roomies would super appreciate it.  It was a win-win for all!  And the next time it snowed, one of my roommates scraped off my car in addition to shoveling the entire driveway!  If you can’t tell, things are working out quite well in my new home!

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Let someone I know I care for her and why.  I accomplished this in some of the letters I sent out.

Compliment someone.  I tried to give out at least one genuine compliment each day.  I feel like sometimes I see things I admire – whether it’s a character trait, a piece of clothing, or a talent – and I forget to share my admiration out loud.  It’s so important to build each other up and recognize the unique gifts that each one of us offers to the world.

There are so many other relationship related things that happened this month.  Here is a list of some of them:

  • Volleyball teammates treated me to dinner at the Creek
  • My roommates treated me to dinner at Public House in Peoria Heights.  They also surprised me with gifts – chai latte Keurig cups and a to-go mug.  Best present ever!
  • Came home to a present waiting at the door – it was more chai latte Keurig cups…my friends really do know the way to my heart.
  • One of my volleyball teammates stopped by to drop off a birthday card.
  • Nick and I celebrated Valentine’s day at the Harvest Cafe in Delavan.  The food was AMAZING.
  • I discovered that one of the paintings I have had in my home the past 7 years was created by a woman I met last year who happens to also be the woman who inspired me to create this blog.
  • I visited a friend in Chicago.  We spent the weekend eating amazing food, shopping, and catching up.

Good lord, I felt special this month.  Thanks to all of my friends and family who wished me a happy birthday!

I know we are already into the second week of March, but I still need to finalize my list of activities.  I will be back with that ASAP.  The theme?  Culture!

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