A Step Back to Settle

It’s official. Summer is finally here and I’m not sure where the last two months have gone. How is it summer already?? Where did spring go? I must have missed it through all my jet setting around the country. Which brings me to my next point…

I’ve missed writing.

I’ve missed you!

I feel so out of the loop.

So, no dwelling on time lost. I’m back and I’m ready.

Even though I was traveling all over the place for work the last two months, I had some down time to work on a few personal items. Particularly those pertaining to my God-sized dreams for 2013!

I’m super excited about some of them and can’t wait to share them with all of you. Hopefully I haven’t been gone too long and can still jump in with all the gals over at Holley Gerth’s blog!

As I work on getting some new content up for everyone, I want to hear how you all plan to spend your first day of summer! (Or evening for all of you stuck at work!).

So happy to be home!

Always openly heartfelt,
Courtney

 

 

Letting Go and Pushing Forward

It was break through moment. One I had been working on for years and years and years. I could never quite seem to figure it out. I made all the tiny adjustments along the way, asked several people for advice, took some time off and even started from the beginning again. Nothing I tried ever seemed to work.

But on a breezy summer night, while the sun set and the fog rolled in over the hayfields, it happened.

I was just finishing what had been an uneventful ride up to that point. I was slowly collecting my thoughts and getting ready to head up to the barn for the evening. I let out pent up breath, sat up lightly, dropped my hands and quietly tapped my mare with my leg.

Her cadence changed, she softened her mouth, dropped her head and easily moved into an uphill frame.

Just to check that her sudden shift in frame wasn’t just pure luck and that I could recreate it, I urged her forward into an easy moving trot. We spent the next ten minutes floating around the arena in perfect harmony easily switching between lateral movements and direction.

My heart honestly wanted to leap right our of my chest I was bursting with so much joy. I was so happy I wanted to cry. To any other horse person what I achieved Friday night looked like no big accomplishment, because most riders start from that point in the dressage world. For me it was more than creating a simple movement with my horse, it was an acknowledgement to where I am in life.

You see, in order to create the exact movement I had to relax and release my hold on the reins and quietly, but consistently urge her forward with my legs. For too long, I have been holding my reins too tightly and not using enough leg to move forward. Both in which create an unhappy, stiff and non-forward moving horse.

To bring this full circle and explain how any of this applied to where I am in life, we have to look at two things: the reins and legs.

The reins to most riders are our handicap. They really do no good and in fact are very much our handicap, creating resistance and tension in the horse when we grip too tightly because we think the horse is moving beyond our control.

OUr legs on the other hand are what drive and encourage the horse to move forward simply put. It’s where about 25% of our communication occurs with the horse. If I’m not using my legs, I’m not communicating and I’m not moving forward.

So the point I’m trying to make?

I’ve been controlling and resistant to moving forward in specific areas of my life. Particularly career related areas. I’ve been holding on to the reins to tightly wanting to control each and every step of the way while my legs have been indecisive and practically non-existant in moving forward at all. 

Friday night’s ride opened my eyes and showed me that I finally had a breakthrough in my thoughts towards careers. I can happily say I’ve let go of all fears and resistance and am ready to push onward in life.

Happy Monday everyone!

Always openly heartfelt,
Courtney

 

 

I’m Back!

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Okay, so I’m finally back!

With today being my last day of travel for several weeks, I can finally sit back and have a conversation with you. It might be brief today, as I am about to jump back into another educational session at this conference, but it’s still time.

Deep breathe.

I had no idea I had been holding my breathe for this long! Since early April, I’ve been bouncing around from state to state for work. And you know what? It hasn’t been all that bad. Really. I like to travel. The most exciting place they have sent me as of yet? New Orleans, LA.

Now, I’m normally not a city person and I certainly don’t do well in muggy climates, but…I LOVED IT! Maybe it was just the historical aspects of the French Quarter or the beignets and cafe au laits at Cafe du Monde, either way, I want to go back! It was absolutely beautiful. I felt like i was back in the caribbean to some extent as I walked under vibrantly colored balconies dripping with flowers and moss. Seriously. It’s beautiful.

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And the food? Don’t even get me started on the food. If you’re a seafood lover or simply love cajun food in general, it’s pure heaven.

Now, I will be the first to admit there is a shady side to the town…yup, you guessed it, Bourbon Street. I think it’s worth visiting it at least once, just to say you walked it and saw all that there is to see. *Disclaimer: If you have children, do NOT take them for a walk down Bourbon Street.

Even though I know I wasn’t writing for my own blog, I did try to follow Holley’s blog and stay tuned in to what all of my fellow dreamers were up to! I look forward to jumping back in and sharing several updates with you ladies!

Always openly heartfelt,
Courtney

Off and Running… Again!

Okay, so this isn’t the post I was hoping to write today. I was hoping to write a meaningful and inspiring post while sipping my morning coffee and watching the sun rise over the gardens at home…

Instead, I slammed down breakfast carried my coffee up and down the stairs more times than I would like to count, all while trying to do laundry and pack for yet another trip.

Except, this one’s for fun! Not business…

I’ve been on the road the last two weeks in and out of hotels for work. I was in Indy for a conference last week, D.C. for a conference the first half of this week, and I’m pretty sure I’m jetting off to another conference somewhere next week and the week after.

My heads spinning! Although I must admit, I really do enjoy traveling. It’s just that the turn around time between trips has been only a day and if any of you know me personally, you know I freak out when I don’t have time to do laundry and press everything just so. (Yes, I like to pack neatly!)

However, this trip is personal. It’s a mother-daughter-sister trip. We’re off to one of the largest horse shows in the country to enjoy a weekend full of sunshine, great shopping, British announcers, stunning horses and some infamous Kentucky Blue Grass!

Don’t worry.

There will be SEVERAL posts next week with photos.

Until then, have a blessed and joyous weekend, friends!

Courtney

I Promise I Haven’t Abandon You!

Okay… so It’s Tuesday, meaning I need to update you on God-sized dreams (for this week AND last week! Eeek!)

I promise, promise, PROMISE to update all of you tonight on everything. I’m currently bouncing around the country for work and have been too tired to open my laptop at the end of the day.

Stay tuned and don’t give up on me! Updates are coming your way!

A Note to the Chihuahua of Fear

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This week’s God-sized dream prompt: It’s time to have a little talk with the fear in your life. Write a letter that starts out, “Dear Chihuahua of Fear, I have some things I’d like to say to you…” {Is this kinda silly? Um, yes, but that’s the point. Fear always tries to make us take it more seriously than we should.} So here we go…

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Dear Chihuahua of Fear,

You think you’re smug don’t you? Yapping and whining and fussing over every little thing that isn’t to your liking.

You make me run in circles making everything just right for you.

You’re needy.

You’re annoying.

Just when I finish fixing one thing for you, you have another need. Nothing is ever right. There will always be this or that to attend to for you.

Well, I’m done. I’m getting a Setter.

I need a companion, not a dictator. One that wags it’s tail and rushes to greet me everyday. They don’t care if my day was busy or boring. Whether I snapped or held it together. All they know is Love. Unconditional love.

So, farewell my little pest. I can’t say I’m sad to see you go.

Sorry I’m not sorry,
Courtney

Show Up and Run

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Never had I seen so much neon in my entire life. I thought maybe I had blacked out and was seeing spots. After all, I hadn’t gone to bed until 2am the night before and had woken up at 6am so it was entirely possible I was still asleep…

But no, the brightly colored moving objects were a group of 40 or so crazy people who had conjured together in the early hours of Saturday morning to go for run.

Nine miles out and back was the set course. Ha! That wasn’t going to happen.

If I was going to have save my ego and stick with the training plan I was following for my half-marathon, I was only going to run four miles. Two miles out and two miles back. I could do that.

I (foolishly) admitted out loud to a co-worker that I wanted to try to train for a half-marathon in the fall (don’t ask why… I’m still trying to answer that myself…). He asked if I had anyone to train with, having trained and run in several marathons himself, he knew how grueling and lonely long runs could get (especially when you don’t run with an iPod!). So he told me to check out a running group that gets together every Saturday and runs anywhere from three to twenty miles.

I decided to go, but I felt like the new kid in class…

What if I couldn’t keep pace with anyone?

What if no one even talked to me?

Would they know I was an imposter? After all…surely the folks prepping for Boston would laugh if they heard I was only running four miles as my long run…

What if I got lost on the route?

Well, I survived.

And I did in fact find someone to talk to.

And they did keep pace with me for my four miles (and then went on to finish their twelve miles!).

And I didn’t get lost.

By the time I finished and made it back to my car, I felt elated. I had challenged myself and came out alive on the other side (okay, running wasn’t going to kill me, but you can understand my hesitation, right?!?). People were genuinely happy to welcome a ‘newbie’ into their group. Call me crazy, but I think I’m going to join them again next week…

Always openly heartfelt,
Courtney

Because it’s Who I Am, That’s Why

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{We’ve talked a lot about “what” your dream is and now it’s time to tackle the “why” behind it. Why is your dream worth pursuing, fighting for and seeing through no matter what happens?}

Because it’s who I am, that’s why!

The words shouted at me as I read  this week’s God-sized dream prompt.

My dream is worth pursuing, because if I don’t, I simply won’t be me. If I don’t chase after it with everything I’ve got, what’s the point to anything?

We all have our own unique dreams. Our role is to follow through with them.

Easier said than done I know, but I find a little more of myself and who I’m supposed to be with every step or leap I take towards my dream. I wouldn’t know myself if I tried to follow someone else’s dream. It’s not my path and it’s not yours either.

Recently I have had a huge shift in everything I thought I wanted. I guess you could say I didn’t change my dream as much as I finally realized what that dream is. The thing is, it was staring me in the face the entire time. I just kept fighting it off with my own words and attempts to talk myself into a dream that wasn’t mine to begin with. I thought it was what I wanted (particularly in my college years), but now I recognize the real dream.

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I notice it in the things I think about consistently, the places I like to visit, and in the sights and sounds I love.

I know I’m not explaining this new dream in detail or giving any clues, but this week’s prompt was about the WHY not the WHAT, friends. I’ll share details in time.

It’s a curious thing this dreaming business, but then again, that’s what makes it so much fun!

Happy Tuesday, dreamers!
Courtney

Just A Day In The Life…

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{This week’s God-sized dream challenge: What’s a typical day in your life like right now? How can you see God’s hand in the middle of the “small” and ordinary too?}

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I sighed a sigh of relief when I read this week’s dream prompt. A typical day in my life? Now that I can write about!

  • 7:00am – Wake up! (Yes, I literally try to start everyday off with an exclamation point)
  • 7:15am – Sneak down to the kitchen and make coffee. If I’m lucky I can sneak back upstairs and do my morning prayers and reading before anyone else in my family talks to me…
  • 7:45am Breakfast anyone? More coffee, please!
  • 8:30am- 12:00pm Depending on the day… I’m either: Out at the barn riding and brushing our three horses or… working as an  event consultant, blogger and social media strategist. (I spend way too much time in front of a screen it’s not even funny.)
  • 12:30pm – 3:30pm Continue working on whatever has my attention. Usually I’m coordinating trade shows, researching blog articles or listening to the latest political happenings
  • 4:00pm Time to go for a run. When’s that half-marathon again?
  • 5:00pm – ? Me time. Read. Write. Blog. More Reading. Get caught up on Downton Abbey

It’s routine. And I like it. Planning out my days and knowing what’s coming next, brings a sense of relief and comfort. See, even when we dream God-sized dreams, He’s right there in the everyday moments with us.

Yes, we are sometimes called outside our comfort zones and are asked to stretch beyond what we define as our limits. But we don’t always have to be breathlessly chasing after our dreams as if we will never accomplish them if we’re not sprinting. Every morning I’m thankful that he has given me another day to follow the dream He placed in my heart when we were once face to face.

No, He’s right there in the day-to-day, moment-by-moment elements as well. He asks us to seek him right where we are. Whether it’s standing in front of the coffee pot willing it to brew faster before you fall back asleep standing up or in the quiet moments between dinner time with the family and me time. He’s right there. Always. Without fail.

Always openly heartfelt,
Courtney

Ever Feel Like You’re Having “One of Those” Weeks?

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Tuesday I wrote how in order to be more joyful we need to pin-point those areas in our lives that make us most joyful and continually expound on them. Well, even in the midst of joy it can seem as though we are being “brought back to earth” so to speak.

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You know what I’m talking about. Everything is going great. Our careers are running smoothly, family life is harmonious and uplifting, opportunities come knocking that we never expected. Life is blissful. And then…

We trip.

We tell ourselves it’s too good to last. Surely it’s not fair that I’m so happy and blessed when it seems others around me are so unhappy. We tell ourselves that maybe we don’t deserve to be this happy. After all, we did eat that extra cookie and skimp on miles during our weekly runs (oops, is that just me?). Or maybe the laundry didn’t get folded. You forgot to swing by the bank on your way home from work. The dog needs a bath. We say, “God, surely you didn’t mean for me to be this happy. Look at everything else I’m not doing!”

And that’s when Our Father gently sits us down and says to our hearts:
My child, you are focusing on all that you have not done. You’re creating your own downward spiral of unhappiness. Look to Me and all the blessings in your life, you can not help but to be joyful. For like attracts like. Let your joy multiply unto itself.

It’s okay to be joyful. We were created in His image and likeness so we could display his joy through our lives. We need not worry about those little slip ups during the day. They don’t need to turn into black holes of unworthiness and unhappiness. No, we can hold onto our joy. When you have your moments and trials amidst your joyful journey, remember this:

“He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone.” Matt 4:6

Be joyful, friends!
Courtney

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