Sunday, January 14, 2018

Welcome Home Piper!

Two days before Christmas, I got the call. And four days after, I got what I'd really wanted all year long.

I loaded up my car with blankets, food, and water. Brought a collar, harness, and leash. And I drove five hours to a rural area in Birch Tree, Missouri; a town I'd never even heard of.

And I picked up sweet Piper, a four month old cockalier puppy from a rescue.

I'd fallen in love with her ad on Petfinder a few days prior. She had originally come from a breeder, but the breeder didn't want to use her in the future due to her mixed breed. And so she was sold at a puppy auction, where a rescue lady found her and swept her away.

She lived a few days with that woman until it was decided that this little pup was not a farm dog. She was a social dog; one who needed to be in a big place with lots of friendly people. She liked to run. She liked to play. But she loved to snuggle.

And upon reading this description thoroughly to search for a catch, I'd already decided that Nashville would be the perfect place for her. A big place. With lots of friendly people. In an apartment where lounging, napping, and snuggling were heavily valued.

My application was thrown in among a pool of five within the first day of her ad being up on the internet. Four days later, the applications had been processed and the rescue agreed with me. Nashville would be the perfect place for the little cockalier.

In our two-week time together, little Piper has received her name. She has learned to eat out of her own bowl at mealtimes, instead of scrambling to compete with other puppies for food. She has learned to wear a collar, walk on a leash with a harness, and chew on her toys rather than her gate, the sofa, or anyone's shoes. We're still working on potty training, but it hasn't even been close to the nightmare I thought it would be.

She has played in my apartment's dog park. She has met lots of new people. And she has taken many, many naps.

She's also been named the loudest snorer in the world by my boyfriend, Dylan. ...And he's not wrong.

She has been tested to make sure she is healthy, and been given the medicine to make sure she stays that way. She is vaccinated, spayed, and microchipped. She has also been positively labeled for some type of neurological disorder that affects her face muscles on one side...she can't blink her left eye! But we have already made an appointment for further consultation next week.

In two short weeks, she has been given more than she ever knew a dog could have. She is very cared for. She is very looked after. And she is very, very loved.

Welcome to Nashville, Piper.

It's only been two weeks, and I already don't know how I ever survived without you.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

New Years Resolutions: Made Easy

Fireworks crack and confetti explodes. Toasts are made with champagne. Everyone runs to their loved one for that coveted kiss. Celebrations ring out across the world in one-hour delays, toasting that the upcoming year will be better than the last. The party eventually ends, you eventually go home, and you eventually fall asleep.

Which means you eventually wake up.

Suddenly it's mid-morning on January 1st, and the reality of actually implementing the New Years Resolutions that you toasted is sinking in. You want to eat less chocolate. You want to make time for yourself this year, instead of letting work consume your life. You've had your gym membership for three years now, and this year, by God, you're going to actually go. 

You make it to about January 3rd. Maybe.

It's too much, too fast. No one ever chooses something attainable, like pausing for 10 minutes during your lunch break to breathe or meditate. No one ever chooses something minor, like get rid of all the clothes you never anymore over the course of the year. And no one ever seems to choose one thing, so they're trying desperately to change five die-hard habits all at one time.

So I decided to steal an idea from a friend. I have 12 resolutions set over the course of this year. I will complete one in January. In February, I will continue my January resolution and add one more. In March, I will continue January and February's resolutions and add one more. You get the gist. So I'm adding on one habit every 30 days. And (hopefully) this will help me actually keep some of my resolutions made from 2018.

Bethany's New Year's Resolutions for 2018

January - Complete a daily devotional sometime each day before bed.
Get back in the habit of daily quiet time! This is something I really slacked on since spending so much time on a competitive winterguard team in college. My job is stressful and my life is busy, so I want back in that daily quiet time with God.

February - Journal something (big or small, long or short) once a day. 
Get back in the groove of journaling. I used to do this every day and when life got busy, I just...quit. I missed out on documenting some of the most exciting moments of my life because I let this habit slide. I don't want to miss anything else!

March - Work out once a day.
Not too ambitious... I hate the gym. I do not run. I play Zumba games on my Wii!

April - Blog once per week. 
Always a goal. Not always a success. I want my blogging schedule back on track...for you and for me!

May - 30 minutes of yoga before bed. 
Keep up my flexibility, balance, posture, and focus. Without winterguard, all these things are falling to the side. Yoga will help me keep these skills up, while also re-centering my mental state for the next day of stress at school!

June - Explore one new Nashville place per day. 
I haven't taken advantage of this city as much as I should! One of the things I was most excited for when I moved to a bigger city was the fact that I would never be bored. Then I got used to working, going to school, and running errands in between a full time work schedule, and I ended up valuing Netflix in my sweatpants more than I did adventure after work. These summer months will allow me, as a kindergarten teacher, to explore my awesome city like I wasn't able to do last summer since I was trying to find ways to cover rent while looking for a teaching job.

July - Fully potty train Piper, along with commands come, sit, and stay. 
If achieved early, add more! Whether I enroll her in a class or try to work at this myself, I want her to have these basic commands down by the end of the summer! If she gets them too early, I'll just make July's goal higher. Maybe high five? Shake? Or a more specific training class?

August - Self care shower every night. 
Lots of heat, bath bomb, aromatherapy, etc... Not all of the above at once, but showers have become my relaxation piece at the end of each workday. I want them to remain my relaxing reward, rather than become another necessarily routine task. By adding a little somethin' extra to my shower each night, I can ensure that this stays my "me-time" of the day.

September - Listen to 1 new song each day. 
I want to be able to keep up with my music man! He listens to so. Much. Music. And I'm never able to keep up the music conversation on his level! Though I never expect to reach music-producer status, I do want to be a bit better at it than I am now, and listening to at least one new song each day is a good step in the right direction.

October - Walk -at least- 30 minutes each day. 
When the weather is nice, I really enjoy taking walks outside. Earbuds in...and I'm mentally singing, dancing, and putting on a whole show in my mind. I can bring Piper along, too!

November - No Negativity November 
Only positive self talk. This is hard to do in the context of my own mind, but as far as negative comments about myself? I don't want to hear a single verbal one! (I'll have to try to start this a few months earlier to try to catch the habits before I'm committed to it as a resolution.) But this one will be well worth the effort for the sake of my mental state and overall confidence in myself!

December - Pay off all Move-To-Nashville debts!
I moved to Nashville in May...and didn't get paid until August! So what are those three months of living expenses on?! You guessed cards. Life may hit me hard in other areas...but I want all my move-to-Nashville debts paid by the time I've lived here for a year. Six months would be even better!

I would love nothing more than you for you to steal some of my resolutions, or make a list of your own. (I'll give you a free pass on starting late in the year.)

Share your own resolution lists or monthly plan with me on facebook, twitter, and instagram!

Here's to 2018, beautiful. May you find more love and confidence within yourself than ever before.