My routines have routines

Routine. Noun. A sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program. (Right from the good old dictionary)

Imagine you are starting the process of baking a cake. Maybe your mom has a big birthday coming up or one of your little one’s is celebrating their first, whether it’s a chocolate cake or Funfetti flavor- just follow me through this one. We are baking a cake (insert favorite cake flavor here). I personally bake my cakes from boxes, don’t judge me… those are the best cakes ever! I’ve gathered the box of cake mix, the bowl and pan, all the extra ingredients the box calls for and the electric whisk. I have intentions to follow the instructions, step by step until the cake comes out of the oven a golden brown with the aroma of Funfetti (or chocolate) floating through the air. If you bake cakes on the regular, you typically end up following the same steps every time. Kind of becomes a routine, right? Well on this fun occasion, the pups have lost their ever loving minds and are running havoc around the house, my phone is blowing up with text notifications about Facebook ruining lives again, and I’m on a very tight deadline to get this cake finished before the epic birthday celebration of the evening. I’m in a rush so I just start tossing the ingredients into the bowl, vaguely paying attention to the instructions on the box but also feeling like I know a little bit about what I’m doing. In goes the electric whisk as I flip up its switch, cake powder is everywhere. Maybe I should have read the part of the box where it said to mix on LOW. So much for following instructions. I still have this cake to finish and the minutes are ticking away. Throw the cake in the oven, wipe the sweat from my brow (apparently you can sweat while baking a cake), and walk away to attend to the dogs who have lost their manners and check my 24.5 texts- that half text was a “guess what” text someone sent my way and then proceeded to fall asleep without telling me, totally counts as a half. But guess what I forgot to set…? Cue trip to grocery store to pick up cupcakes while running late to the birthday celebration.

This is my life without routine.

Always in a rush to get things done before the deadline. Constantly running late to such deadlines. The simple inability to decide between chocolate and Funfetti cake mix! Making little mistakes that create huge messes that I am left responsible to clean. Never remembering the important things that I either told someone else I would do or told myself I couldn’t forget to do. Day in and day out always feeling overwhelmed, running behind, discouraged and like I’m letting everyone- including the dogs- down. My life without routine can be summed up with the vision of throwing me into an avalanche while I really believe I can still make it to the top of the mountain. That always works out well…

Routine gives my mind more availability to handle the anxiety that I face daily. I train myself into handling those daily activities naturally and before I know it, I’m brainstorming how I’ll write my next blog post while brushing my teeth instead of focusing on just simply getting my teeth brushed. So before I even walk downstairs in the morning, I’m feeling like a life conqueror, donning golden armor instead of the shoulders slumped second day of dry shampoo peasant. If I wake up at a pre-planned time every day, roll out of bed, change into an effort of an outfit, walk across the hall to the bathroom to brush my teeth, fix my hair and apply my face, take the stair case down to turn on the Keurig, keep walking down the stairs to get the dogs, let them out, and then make my cup of caffeine goodness for the day- I can nearly guarantee without an ounce of mental effort that I can check off each of those activities from my to do list each and every day. This already leaves me with more energy to fight off the negative vibes from that anxiety tribe that likes to follow my every move and focus on really having a great day.

My routines don’t stop at daily ones. I have a weekly routine for my boutique, a weekly routine for house cleaning, a weekly routine for the full time and, yes, we even have date night built into a routine. My routines have routines. Excessive…? Probably. But when you find something that works for you, don’t sweep it under the rug just because someone else shrugs their nose at it. If it works for you, WORK IT GIRL! Do whatever you need to do to give yourself more energy to fight back against your anxiety. If you are exhausted from juggling life all week, that depression monster is going to crawl out from wherever the hell that scary thing lives and eat you alive. The best way to take care of yourself and your mental health is to be well rested for the daily battle- and I don’t mean getting eight hours of sleep.

I have my days. Especially when my routine is thrown off. That is really the way to hit that big red flashing button that immediately sets my home base into lock down. Lock down consists of not showering for a week and attempting to cover it up with way, way too much dry shampoo. I should avoid lock downs at all costs, for your sake and mine. Those times that my routine has to be adjusted or is interrupted are extremely hard on my mental health. I can’t sit here and say YES BY GOLLY it is so healthy to not be able to be flexible or open to changes in my schedule. I’m working on handling changes to my schedule better and reserving more energy to handle those adjustments. Like I am developing a “routine” to put into play when my normal routine is interrupted- I am a planner for goodness sakes- cut me some slack! At least for now, I know when my routine is changed by force, I should be ready for a few things to happen. I know my usual strength will be on a hiatus until my routine returns. I know I will probably have to pull out more tricks to fight against that evil anxiety monster. And I also know that sometimes, I will fall victim to him and the monster will be spitting out my bones after being his main course.

It’s okay to not be okay all the time, as long as you keep fighting. If that evil monster gets you on a Tuesday, don’t let him eat you for Leftover Wednesday too. This battle is the most intense game of the season. Every defeat and low day is made that much less significant when you have the massive wins to celebrate. Days that my routine falls right on schedule are massive wins for me. Routines are my fixed programs to fighting back against my anxiety. Brush my teeth, put my face on, make my coffee and take on life with more energy to enjoy things like chocolate birthday cake instead of anxiety cocktails.

Here’s to the addition of writing regular blog posts to my routine!

OX,

Rachel

Is this the start or finish line?

Funny thing is the start and the finish line are both a similar bold white painted line straight across the road. One lines has large bold letters painted across it spelling out the word: Start, while the other line spells out: Finish. If only the lines were as clear in real life.

We are at a really weird place in our home owning journey. The spot where you think you found the perfect house and excitement is seeping out of your pores, but you are also trying to play it cool and avoid any deep attachment to the four walls that may be your future. At what point can you genuinely experience your excitement without fear? This process hangs in the twilight zone for what seems like years, but in reality is just a couple weeks long and it might be the worst form of torture I can imagine. Do I start planning where to put things or how we will make this house our home? It’s awfully difficult to push it to the back of my mind or ignore the risk of what could happen during the inspection or appraisal. I’ve never leapt over a hurdle, but I believe this is what it must feel like to have those muscles stretch as you attempt to gain enough air to clear the metal bar blocking your way.

These situations call for patience, which we have already established I don’t have much of, and faith. Whether you are religious or not, there is a general sense of “what is meant to be” about the future. If we are meant to start our lives here, the next few steps will land on strong and sturdy ground- even if they are some off balance, wobbly steps. I tend to live life by a more ambitious motto though which makes this even more difficult for me. “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me,” our cheerleader Miss Deanne is always reminding us for our businesses. And while I never heard the motto expressed in those words before, I realized that’s basically me in a nutshell. Tell me it cannot be done and I guarantee you I find a way to get it completed. I sit at the start line always ready to take off at full speed to win the gold medal, but this time I’m still not sure which line I’m staring at. Start or finish? Do I take off at full speed, picking out paint colors and packing up boxes? Do I start icing my legs, as I intently watch my future at a safe distance? If someone could just let me know, that would be fantastic and I could get on with my regularly scheduled life.

These are the real life, in real time moments in the world of Rachel Thrasher (don’t know why I referred to myself in third person, but it sounded good at the time). While I feel like I have the weight of that 800 square foot house on my shoulders, life goes on. It’s Thursday, which has been our date night every week since we started dating, so we have plans to see a movie. We have a weekend full of baseball and hopefully none of the frozen precipitation the weather men keep mentioning. Tuesday will be here before I know it and we will have one more hurdle behind us. But I won’t turn down any positive vibes or crossed fingers you might send this way! And maybe next week, we will brush off the dust off this line and find the word “Start” written in big bold letters.

Until the next report,

OX,

Rachel

Patience is not my virtue.

House buying is definitely not for people without patience.

My mother tells me while she was in labor with me, that the doctors told her not to push yet. “Stop pushing Mrs. Thrasher” I imagined they said. “I’m not!” she most likely blurted out frantically. Well since day one, I wait for no one. Especially not for the doctors and nurses- out I came screaming “HELLO WORLD”. And I haven’t learned much patience since.

I am a firm believer in going after something you want at speeds of 1000 miles per hour, only briefly coming to a slow stop to look for the next goal to come barreling after. It’s a blessing and just as equally a curse. I would love to be able to relax and rest up for the next monumental reach ahead, but it’s just not in my DNA.

That’s about how I handled prepping for house hunting. We needed our down payment together and we were already looking at magnificent mansions to purchase (just kidding- far, far from mansions, but in my mind anything was mansion-like compared to our current basement scenario). After a few weeks of nonstop, body battling work, we had the money in the bank. Mission accomplished! We would now find the perfect home and move right in!!! Apparently that is not how this works, as I quickly discovered.

We’ve been within hours to submitting an offer, only to find out one was already accepted and -nope- it wasn’t ours. We have gone as far to have a settlement date, then things were too risky for us to continue. At this point, we have looked at the same dwindling list of houses now for a couple weeks. I am exhausted.

Exhausted from being patient. We must wait for spring to show it’s beautiful self and for schools to end for more listings to show up. Did I mention patience was not in my DNA? I spend hours locked away in my mind thinking about packing my things up in neatly labeled boxes. Renting a moving truck to take our belongings to a new castle. Having our very first boutique open house in our very own space! But then patience and reality come barreling in, steam rolling my excitement and leaving the ruins as a subtle reminder that- we must be patient.

In the meantime, we will just keep stock piling boxes. Putting money away for our new home and new furniture- even a mattress that doesn’t come from Ikea! If anyone happens to run across my next goal, could you redirect it to me? It’s time to get that steam locomotive moving towards the next destination. And in the meantime, I will look up patience in the dictionary, learn every synonym for the word, and maybe in the process I will learn a little bit about adding it to my skill set.

Loss.

Here we meet again.

This is the intersection I try to avoid with all my power. The lights are broken and always blink, leaving everyone at it to make that painful decision about who gets to cross next.

That wasn’t the best analogy, but it describes the anxiety that comes with loss rather well. I avoid thinking about, pushing the pain back far beyond reach on the top shelf. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s not my healthiest decision, but when a loss brings back so much pain- it’s the way I cope.

This morning, we will say our final goodbyes to a wonderful man, the most loving father I’ve ever seen, and someone who inspired so many. I feel like I don’t have a right to mourn. I’m only a passerby in his life. He was the world’s most fabulous landlord and never failed to brighten our day when he stopped by to do a little more work to the already beautiful house. My heart is so sad though. I never wanted my dear friend to have to experience anything like this in all her years. I wish she never had to be as brave as she has been through her dad’s battle. And I really wish life didn’t throw just one last punch when they thought they were in the clear. I wish they could have a million more lunch dates, a million more cards for every occasion and a million more moments together.

I feel selfish for these wishes. I feel selfish for feeling pain. And I especially feel selfish for the anxiety I have thinking about stepping foot back into the place I had to say my final goodbyes to my Obachan so many years ago. All to say goodbye to someone I do not want to wish farewell to yet. Loss is a bitch.

How does one provide strength and love and courage to a friend experiencing such a great loss? Another struggle that I’m sure many of you have experienced. I feel like pushing my feelings aside and giving her the biggest hug is the only way I can imagine to support her. But it doesn’t seem enough. Nothing seems enough. These are times that I understand I have a fixer personality and that I just simply cannot fix it all. Another selfish thought.

Loss is the fire that burns a hole right through your soul. It leaves the edges smoldering for months and years until finally the embers start to go out and the pain gets to be a little lighter. But you are always left with this gaping hole, some try to fill it with whatever vices are nearby. For me, I just try my hardest not to lose anything else down the hole. Memories, jokes, facial features that seem to have gotten blurry over the years- some of those things, against my hardest efforts, have been lost down in the deep darkness.

Dear Loss- I wish you would just leave my loved ones alone. Stop causing them grief and sadness. Stop taking things away from them way too early. Just go away for a while. Love, Rachel

Just as a struggle with the words to type, I will struggle to dodge my emotions today. I will hold my friend so tight her heart will feel it. And I will just pray. Pray for peace and for a strong memory, so none of those moments or facial features are lost among the years that pass. I pray they live in her heart forever.

untitled was taken

I don’t know how new parents do it. They spend nine months growing a little human. But I think the hardest responsibility they carry is giving their child a permanent identity- naming their child. HOW DOES ONE DECIDE ON A NAME?!

While my decision was nowhere near as important as that serious business of naming a baby, if I wanted to start a blog- I needed to decide on a name. *Queue list of ridiculous name options* Yes, I make lists of every tiny idea that pops into my mind- I’ll judge the list later. This list of ridiculous names involved nearly every aspect of my life- my boutique, wedding planning, my career, my boutique again. But I kept dancing around the numbers that popped out like they were begging me to play tag with them- so naturally, I obliged. “Twenty nine” is decent but what happens after I turn the birthday page past twenty nine? “Twenties” is not awful, but again we are nearing the end of my twenties and I would like nothing more but to leave those in the past. So what decade was next? “Thirties” was promising! After all, I would be hanging out in the thirties lounge for a good while after this next birthday. URL taken. BAH- COME ON! I mean, who really wants their site to have a .blog or .net after it? Dot com is really where it’s at and I wasn’t willing to give in to the Christopher Columbus’s of the interwebs. Steal up all the dot coms so the little people can’t have any- how rude.

PAUSE

If this post so far has been increasingly confusing, I give you permission to bail now- it gets no clearer. Welcome to my thought process. It’s messy and chaotic, but if you find a good corner to snuggle up in, it’s usually pretty productive… in the very least entertaining.

RESUME

There I am staring at the word “thirty” written out in my hybrid version of print and lazy cursive circled three times. I started asking myself why thirty? What is so important about this decade that I feel the need to write all about it? In this moment, our two pups (Bentley and Jax) started chasing each other around the house as I jumped up to let them continue their chase outdoors, without running into the furniture every turn. It occurred to me… I’ve spent most of my life chasing after that something. Success, good grades, approval from elders, acceptance from friends, money- but it all really boiled down to chasing after a generalized idea I had baselined for myself years ago. I was supposed to be settled into my ideal adult life by the end of my twenties. I was literally chasing my thirties.

I grew up with this idea of what I should have accomplished in my first twenty-some years of living- a bucket list if you will. We spent most of grade school playing that darn MASH game- would I live in a mansion, apartment, shack or home? Who would I marry? How many kids would I have? What age would all of this adulting happen? I blame that game- it clearly does not tell accurate fortunes. Anyway, I decided thirty was going to be the deadline a long time ago. Little did I know, thirty would be just the beginning instead of the end. While I conquer wedding planning, house hunting, career ladder climbing, business growing, etc- I am really chasing my own unruly expectations. The chase is something I am finally feeling okay with though, after a lot of lost tears, I feel like I’m catching up. But when I finally pass my thirties, heck, I know I’ll be chasing right back after them hoping for a repeat.

So that is how this blog went from untitled to “Chasing my Thirties”. Not so important, but relatively important. Better to give the content some kind of context instead of leaving you there wondering- thirty what? What is she chasing?!

Here’s to long strides, no cramps and remembering- life is a marathon, not a sprint. This may be a slow chase, but it’s one I’ve slowly been getting closer to accomplishing! Also- note to self: I might want to actually get some running shoes if I’m going to pretend I know what running is about.

everyday is a good day

No, I haven’t lost it. Not every day is a good day, some are down right awful. But if you look hard enough, there is good in every single day. I woke up in the morning. I had food to eat breakfast, or at least coffee to drink. I had my two wonderful pups so lovingly barking at me to let them outside to relieve themselves. I had Bryan letting me know he got to work okay and asking how I slept. It may have started as a gloomy… and snowy… day. I may have gotten up earlier than I would have liked to prep all our inventory pictures for album release, but I had the opportunity to be able to do that.

Not so long ago, everyday was really rough. I never saw a silver lining because they were all covered in tarnish that anxiety had left on it. Things were not looking up, but I hadn’t learned the hard lesson yet. The lesson that taught me that I had total control over that. I was choosing to focus on the dingy clouds hovering over me. I eventually learned that the work needed to shine up that silver lining was well worth it. Just by switching that focus to the positive, I didn’t realize I would change my life.

Chatting with a friend today, who I now couldn’t imagine life without, I reflected on how far I’ve come. The lessons I’ve experienced first hand could help her understand what she was experiencing or was about to experience battling anxiety. Talk about a humbling moment. People experience all types of battles- with addiction, mental health, physical health, but we are all one in the same. If you handle the hand you’re dealt with fear of failure, you will run out of money in your pot. You cannot change the hand or ask for a re-deal because you don’t like the cards. You can only make the conscious decision to make something positive out of it. Ironically, I happened to be finishing the first book Bobby Bones, the country music radio host, wrote “Bare Bones”.

“Everyday is a good day” he wrote.

Everyday is a good day to focus on those opportunities and make something good out of them. And as I sit here and write this- exhausted from taking the hundreds of photos we may potentially post tonight that no one will see thanks to crazy Facebook algorithms- I realized today was another good day. I may not have things falling into place with house hunting, but I have the opportunity to really house hunt. We may sell zero items today, but I have the opportunity to run my very own business. I may have a weekend full of baseball ahead of me, but Bryan has the opportunity to coach and changes kids’ lives.

So I have decided that today was a really good day.

filling the empty page

first blog post. holy intimidating.

Let me start by explaining my why. Why start this holy intimidating blog that requires more work in my already full schedule? I feel the need to share. Through my journey of growing my boutique community- I’ve been able to experience so many different walks of life that intersect in the same park of struggles. The struggles vary greatly. But one thing that I have learned, is the residual anxiety can be crippling. I am not the first, nor the last, to go head to head with anxiety on a regular basis. And by listening to others share their stories, I’ve been moved to share mine. Not the story of where my anxiety came from, but the story of how I stare at anxiety in the face everyday and tell it to F off. You may insert any word beginning with F that you’d like.

Humor will join this journey just like the Tin Man joined Dorothy- a little squeeky but eventually you will get used to it. You might think- well Rachel, what place does humor have when talking about mental health? Oh, well let me just tell you- without humor, this girl would have lost it a long time ago. Humor is my shield that deflects any potential harm. If only humor deflected those really tasty looking cookies out of my view… one could wish.

Now this whole blog won’t be made up of every battle I have with anxiety, because LORD this would be five miles long every day. But it will be snippets of my life. Between the snippets of house hunting, business running, dog owning, wedding planning and all of the adulting that goes with those- there is bound to be something entertaining and  potentially helpful. And well if there isn’t, at least I won’t be left talking to my shadow about it! (For the record, it is REALLY hard to joke and not leave any emojis… come on WordPress- could we get some faces up in here?!)

So for now, I leave you to decide whether or not to subscribe as a follower- while I go decide what game we will be playing in our VIP group for Pi(e) Day Game Night and hope that I don’t end up showering whipped cream out of my hair later. Just another day in the Thrasher household.

OX,

Rachel