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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 29

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#29. Get back into the letter-writing habit again. You know — the snail-mail kind.

When I was younger, I liked to write letters.

Some of my friends can testify to that. I think my longest one was about 19 pages (front and back).

These letters were probably really, really boring.

Like, “On Wednesday, I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Speaking of sandwiches, do you know anything about The Earl of Sandwich? Or The Sandwich Islands? Our car is way too small. When we go somewhere, I end up sandwiched between my brothers in the back seat and it’s just not very appealing. Speaking of peels, I had a banana with that sandwich I mentioned a minute ago. Apparently some people like having banana slices on their peanut butter sandwiches? Inconceivable! Peanut butter and banana? Say what? No, no. Bananas are better left on the side.

“Speaking of left sides, spiral bound notebooks are not cool at all, on account of the spiral being on the left side. Terribly inconvenient for us lefties. Who came up with that idea anyway? Know what else is terribly inconvenient? I was trying to do my penmanship lesson the other day, and because I’m left-handed, the letters got all smudged and I got an inky pinky in the process.

“I got a pack of new pens with pink ink the other day. I just love pink ink. It makes me as happy as any [*moody pre-adolescent*] girl could possibly be. I’ve been writing in my journal with pink ink every third day because I have some pens with purple ink and green ink too, and equality and civil rights and all that jazz. It just wouldn’t do to have the purple and green feel like I was a raging racist…..

A couple of weeks ago, I went to this meeting and they had this funny prayer thing at the end where everyone was supposed to hold hands with someone. This big African American guy grabbed my hand. I’m 11 and this guy is holding my hand. But, I’m not a racist so I just stood there and thought about how brave I am for letting this stranger hold my hand.”

You get the idea….. Blibber-blabber about everything and nothing. Probably none of it made a whole lot of sense. And I tried very hard to be an equal opportunity writer so my inks wouldn’t feel left out. (Just kidding!)

Nowadays, I don’t send a whole lot of letters. I pretty much flunked out on this one, except for the occasional “Hi, how are you?” note or a thank you note.

I really, really like this goal because a few days ago, I got this in the mail:
image

Receiving this note was so encouraging and it made me smile on the inside. I’m all about encouraging people and making people smile, and that is a good enough reason to get going on this goal.

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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 28

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#28. Visit at least one family member per month — unless the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Let’s say that the weather has been rather uncooperative.

Or, I could just tell the truth and say that since I work a lot of weekends, it’s hard to get out of town much these days.

That and the fact that I do live in South Dakota where it’s blustery, cold, rainy, snowy or icy about 8-9 months of the year and that doesn’t help matters much either.

When I wrote this goal, I thought it would be nice to have a family dinner once a month. They’re all in the same general area and I’d just have to drive 2 hours north, stop at that Pizza Ranch or one of my brothers’ houses, have dinner and chit-chat or play a game or something. Maybe I’d stay the weekend. Maybe I’d just stay the day.

It was a lovely idea, really.

Why did I not actually do this one?

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s:
#25. Pay cash for a high-quality, gently-used, fuel-efficient, American-made car.

I commute roughly 250 miles per week and where I come from, when you have to drive 25 miles each way for something, you’re going to be driving through about 22 miles of…. nothing.

22 miles of fields.
22 miles of sunshine.
22 miles of wind, ice, fog and blowing snow.
22 miles of skunk stink.
22 miles of -0° F temps.
22 miles of mist, rain, hail and tornados.
22 miles of pheasants, deer, and tumbleweed that might cross your path.
22 miles of school bus stops and kids running across the road to hop on the bus.

Winter around here can be very cold and very treacherous.

The first winter I had this job, I was very much concerned with the fact that it was possible my car could die on the side of the road and I wouldn’t be able to get to work anymore.

I intended to save scads of money for the purpose of purchasing said gently used, fuel efficient, American-made car.

I had my eye on this:
image

Ford Escape.

Because, you need lots of room for
3 Tire irons
Full-size spare
3 blankes
Sleeping bag
Bag chair
Extra set of windshield wipers
A shovel
5 quarts of oil
A gallon of antifreeze
HEET
Flares
A mini air compressor
A floodlight
First Aid kit
CPR mask
A toolbox
Snowboots
2 jacks
Scrubs
An overnight bag

Because you never know what might happen when you’re 22 miles from anything.

Because it’s 4-Wheel Drive.
That might come in handy somewhere along 22 miles of ditches on either side of 22 miles of black ice.

Because with a 15 gallon gas tank and fuel efficiency of 29 MPG, I can get to work and back 9 times before having to fill up.

I was all gung-ho about this until it turned out that I had to move last January.

And then I bought a house.

My gently-used, fuel-efficient, American-made car fund currently stands at about $0.

In case anybody is interested, here is a link to a video on how you can drive new cars without having a car payment!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 20

After a long break because I was really busy….

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s: Day 20

#20 Find something to be thankful for every day.

According to this article,

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood by reducing the stress hormone cortisol (in some cases by 23 percent). Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol play a major role in this.

It’s really simple to find the beauty in the small things.

A gentle rain on a warm day.

Flowers blooming.

Babies’ giggles.

Witnessing one person being kind to another.

I love seeing those things and they bring moments of joy and gratitude.

I love the little things.

The problem is the big things.

Loss is a big thing that obliterates all traces of the little things. Loss of a relationship. Loss of a job. Loss of a family member. Loss of health, home, and anything that’s dear — loss of any kind brings waves of sadness. Waves of cortisol, mentioned in the quoted article, which lead to waves of anxiety, waves of depression, waves of weariness and waves of illness. The little things easily get buried in the uncontrollable waves that come with loss.

I find the most rest and small ripples of gratitude at work. Sometimes, my little guy will reach over and touch my hand and in that moment, I feel like I’ve been touched by the hand of God. He is so gentle. So unassuming. It’s like he just wants me to know that I’m not alone. Sometimes he’ll look up at me and tell me something in his own little language — something I can’t linguistically understand, but my heart knows he’s telling me his most treasured secrets. It’s those moments when gratitude and joy bubble up and calm the waves of pain and heartache.

And so, today, I’m grateful that I get to work.

What are you grateful for today? Leave a comment and let me know!

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 16

30 Things to Accomplish in my 30s: Day 16

#16 Something about eating breakfast every day.

I love breakfast. I don’t eat it every day, but I do have an unhealthy obsession with IHOP and I’m willing to eat breakfast any time of the day or night.

That being said….

This one is a huge fail.

The only time I eat breakfast is when I go to my friend’s house for brunch, or when I eat at IHOP or Perkins, which could happen at any time of the day.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 15

30 Things, 4 Years Later: Day 15

#15 Blog about the other 29 things on the list.

I think my original plan was to publish a new post every week.

Nope.

I’m really bad at this game.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in 30 Things

 

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