Taking Time Away to Recharge

Since last posting on this blog, life has been full and intense. Grieving the loss of my mom, caring for my first foster child, and navigating through my 12-year-old puggle Percy’s tumor removal process were the most stressful life events I have encountered as an adult.

Don’t get me wrong: I had some wonderful moments during the past few months also. One really discovers their true-blue friends and loyal family members during stressful life events.

And I have come through those three big events even stronger. Everything has worked out. Grieving is a natural part of life, the child is safe and in a new place, and Percy has bounced back well from his surgery. Even though I became stronger, I still needed a break.

I have known for some time that I needed to prioritize taking some real time away. However, knowing and doing are two very different actions. Life seems to always get in the way of true relaxation.

Friends in Coachella Valley had reached out to me after my mom passed away and invited me out to stay for a few days. I finally took them up on that offer in February, when I booked a flight into Palm Springs for a six-day vacation in early March.

I booked the pups for doggie daycare and boarding, took inventory of my spring-weather clothing, shopped for travel items, notified work clients, and collaborated with consulting partners so they could assist if any emergencies arose while I was away.

During this preparation process, I realized I had not been outside of the Midwest since taking a road trip to Virginia in 2019. And I had not flown anywhere since February 2018. Yikes. Even given the Covid craziness and lockdown, I was overdue.

This trip was exactly what I needed. First, the change of scenery was amazing. Flying into the Palm Springs airport provided a breathtaking view of the mountains, valleys, and palm trees. Then, upon exiting the plane outside, I felt like I was in a park when walking through the open-air airport terminal.

Second, I am a girl who needs her sunshine, and I got plenty of it in California. The weather averaged 75 degrees each day, and the sun was almost always shining.

Third, I had a six-day break from regular adulting activities! No house work, dog walking, or driving.

And finally, this trip was something for ME. It was not in any way tied to work or family obligations.

I absolutely love California and had the most amazing hosts during this trip. We were busy seeing sites, eating great food, and taking in all of the great arts, culture, and live music that Coachella Valley has to offer. I was able to wake up without an alarm every day and easily drift off to sleep in the evenings.

I arrived home refreshed and restored and was not even annoyed by the little bit of snow that fell in the Quad Cities the next day.

Thinking about that vacation? Make it happen. Book the flight and accommodations now. After that, it’s more difficult to put it off until a later date. Once I booked my flight, I knew I was finally going to take time away.

Then work like heck to make sure no one needs you when you are gone. Letting go of the day-to-day stuff is necessary if you really want to feel rested.

Finally, a few new travel discoveries – which I realize I may be behind on, but nonetheless am listing in case someone else is behind the times like I was!: Use packing cubes in your suitcase (thanks to my bestie for recommending to me!); don’t check luggage (so much easier!); and utilize all of those online and text notification tools that the airline provides.

If you would like to see my vacation photos, follow me on Instagram @melissagesing!

Relaxing at the Denver airport.

Seester Sunday: Happy New Year!

I am continuing to catch up with posting our Seester Sunday updates. This post should finally bring us up to date. 😉


After a bit of an absence with Seester Sunday, we’ve decided to (try) to get back into the habit. This week followed a snowy Saturday that left us cooped up in the house most of the day. The kids were a bit antsy and honestly we didn’t do much. I spent a good majority of the day on the couch and J even cooked dinner (spaghetti-his trademark 😉  ).

All that to say we were slow getting up and about on Sunday morning and were LATE to church after de-icing the van and driving on slick roads. Kateri was the only one who got her hair fixed and Ruth wore her snow boots. We were even short one kid as Lucy was at a sleepover. We walked in and Ruth took off in Ruth-fashion running up the center aisle to where we usually sit…..except we weren’t sitting there because, as I mentioned, we were LATE and had to sit elsewhere. Ahem. Anyways, here’s what I wore:

 Who’s that handsome teenager standing next to me? Oh, that’s only my man-child, Gabriel. I somehow convinced him to get in a pic with me. In case you’re interested, he now can wear man-sized jeans, I buy his shoes from the men’s section and he no longer needs a booster in the car. {tears**}

My dress/tunic/long shirt thing is thrifted and old and some brand I’ve never heard of. I love it. It’s comfy and forgiving. It’s short enough that I don’t wear it in the summer but feel comfortable putting it with leggings. I can bend over and wrangle Ruth kids without my hiney showing. My leggings are run-of-the-mill from Old Navy and are much warmer than they look! Boots are my favorite grey ones from Famous Footwear that I’ve had for 2 years.   And that’s that!



So, the reason this Seester Sunday post is a day late is because yours truly did not get her act together in time for a Sunday post. While I do not ANY human children, nor do I have a husband, my life seems to keep me busy with other things.

I spent my snowy Saturday working at Barnes and Noble. What began as a part time seasonal job has become a permanent part time job that I absolutely LOVE. Hopefully I can continue to balance my bookselling job with everything else going on in my increasingly crazy life!

On Saturday night, I had an amazing first date at Centro, my favorite restaurant in downtown Des Moines. Then, I was invited to join this great guy for a second breakfast date on Sunday morning before mass. While I was home by 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night, I barely slept! Glad I still woke up early on Sunday though, because breakfast was awesome.

After breakfast on Sunday, I attended 10:30 a.m. mass at the Basilica of St. John. Then I came home for some office time. My client 50-50 in 2020, whom I currently serve as Executive Director for, has A LOT going on during these next two weeks! By mid-afternoon, I was off to Barnes and Noble for the rest of the day and evening.

I also wore a thrift store gem during this past Sunday. I found this dress at Phase 2 Consignments in Grinnell, just over a year ago. This photo is not from Sunday, because, as we have established previously, I did not have my act together this week:

This photo is from the Women Lead Change Dubuque Conference in November 2019, where I exhibited on behalf of 50-50 in 2020. Paired with my dress then and this Sunday were Silpada earrings, and brown tights and boots from Target. I do not wear a lot of jewelry, and earrings are my go-to accessory – in addition to my glasses!

Another note on my dress: I love cowl necks and things that flow openly. Nothing is worse than a form-fitting dress when you are having a day when you feel bloated or fat. Yes, we must be self confident, but we all have those days because we are human.

We look forward to posting together again next week!

UBWP: Day 25

Jen’s Wedding Day:  July 15, 2012

Today’s Date:  June 20, 2012

Days To Go:  25

“Ultimate Bridesmaid 48 Day Workout Program” is definitely not the best title I’ve come up with to date.  Must have been the bottle of wine I drank during Mad Men a few Mondays ago that blocked my ability to come up with neat – and short – titles/names.  I decided to shorten it to an acronym: UBWP.  I googled it to make sure I was in the clear, and the only thing it can really be confused with is Upward Bound Wichita Prep at Wichita State University or this rural development organization.  Different enough to not be infringing on any brands, I’d say.

The UBWP was a great concept.  And I have a feeling it will finally be put into action when I run the Bix @ 6 tomorrow.  I have proceeded pretty well with the baby steps.  However, going to Chicago, Waco, and then Kansas City – all in a ten day jaunt – was too much for even baby steps to deal with.  And then I get run down, and when I am run down and super tired, I just don’t care about something as lame as the UBWP.

I made an awesome discovery during this past weekend though.  That size 6 bridesmaid dress I wore in my sister’s wedding six years ago?  STILL FITS!  Woot!  Tried on the dress for Jen’s wedding and other than some adjusting to take it in up top (story of my life), it fits beautifully.

But no pigging out yet.  I still need to get a bit more toned.  My bestie Jen was very kind in choosing a dress that hides the belly pudge that I noticed in a photo I appeared in at the Romney event on Monday.  I hate the belly pudge.

So UBWP continues, or maybe starts soon, however you want to look at it.  I’ll be the first to proclaim I am a work in progress.  If you want true workout motivation and inspiration, check out my sister’s new blog.  She is the workout rock star.

Attempting to Become a Runner

I am not the athletic one in the family.  I am not the athletic one, period.  I even managed to not get a ribbon in one of the annual elementary school track meets in which I fully participated.  Oh wait, I did get a participation ribbon, which was presented to me under the auspice of being “under the weather” at our school-wide assembly that year.  How nice of my P.E. teacher.

I had moments when I wanted to be athletic, but then realized as I got older that we all have unique talents.  I am good at enough other things that I really can’t be mad at God for giving me no real athletic abilities.  And I also found watching sports to be more fun than participating in them.

I started running on and off about halfway through college when my roomie Amy inspired me to work out.  I wasn’t into the weights and stuff, but I loved the burst of adrenaline that cardio workouts provided.  My sporadic running and cardio workout phases have continued on and off during the past decade or so.

I never thought I’d run a road race, let alone the Bix 7.  But, as they say, never say never!  I watched the race – yes, people watch it like a parade! – in 2007 and knew right away I needed to try it.  Lots of people were walking, and I could at the very least walk seven miles.

It took me three years to finally do it.  I signed up last summer as a fast walker, waiting all by myself for the race to begin.  My sister and brother were way up front in the first class of runners.

Even though I was sore for a full three days after the race, I loved it.  Of course I could have avoided some of the pain had I actually trained for the race.  Since I had signed up to walk, I assumed no training was necessary.  When about the third old, old guy passed me, I decided to alternately run and walk.  Thus, the pain.

This year I am once again out of running shape, but I at least have run three of the four Bix at 6 races on Thursday nights.  The first one was very painful, as I did not work my way up to the seven miles prior to June 23rd.

Blisters on my heels from the June 23rd Bix at 6

While it’s tough to live up to the standards of my sister, brother-in-law, and brother when it comes to running, they are good sources of advice for things like avoiding blisters on my feet.  I learned Wright Socks do the trick.  I wore them at the next two Bix at 6 races, and the blisters are gone!

This morning my hamstrings hurt from the final Bix at 6.  I will miss the Thursday night races, and I must now rely on my own prioritizing and scheduling to ensure I keep up my training for the big day on July 30.

If you haven’t run a Bix 7 race, I encourage you to do so.  Not only is it a challenging course with lots of camaraderie amongst both runners and walkers, you get free beer and eats at the end of it.  And, for me, it keeps me running here and there.

2011: New Year and New Goals

New Year’s resolutions – so interesting.  Even Lindsay Lohan tweeted about her proposed fresh start in 2011.

I stayed in this New Year’s Eve, worked on some projects at home, and had a lot of time to think about 2010.  There’s nothing like picking up Christmas tree needles in your living room for an hour to really give you quality thinking time.  I assessed what went well and what did not and thought about where I want to be at the end of 2011.

Working back from December 31, 2011, I came up with several resolutions that will put me on the path toward my 2011 goals:

1. Spend less money on random, needless things.  I will still allow myself to have a Starbucks every couple of days – no need to get extreme here.

napa valley2. Become better at saving money to allow me to experience more things: more trips to see friends, more concerts, work at a Napa winery.

3. Spend more time around beaches and palm trees.

4. Eat healthier and exercise more so I look good in my bikini while doing #3.

5. Rock the SendOutCards business.  Even when other things in life take hold, make some time to focus on my business.

6. Continue to seek out positive people while eliminating unnecessary contact with those who are negative and drag me down.

7. Enjoy the journey!

New Year’s resolutions snowball from one thing into another and can become overwhelming, as my list above illustrates.  Rather than give up on my list completely, I am going to tackle it in pieces.

My first task is to utilize my slight OCD and Type A skills to create a financial spreadsheet for 2011 and track all expenditures.  Then I will continue my Dream List of items I want to spend any extra money on.

Regarding the beaches and palm trees, I’m keeping that one open to pursuing opportunities that may arise or have already presented themselves.  Yes, this one is vague for a reason…..more to come.

The eating healthy and exercising more item is a pretty typical New Year’s resolution.  I’m not hitting this item really hard – just going to take baby steps on it here and there.

Some of my SOC creations

I love working with SendOutCards and have made great progress with it during the past three months.  However, I can always be doing more, and I must constantly remind myself to keep the momentum going.

Just when I think I have eliminated negativity from my life, someone will sneak in with it when I least expect it.  Whether it’s a snide comment from my brother, or an acquaintance looking at me in disbelief when I tell him/her about leaving a high paying job to pursue new things, I don’t need to give either one the time of day.  Of course I love my brother, but I am allowed to set boundaries with him.  Same goes for people who don’t say anything, but instead show me the lack of support by what goes unsaid.  I will simply move along and prove them wrong as I become happier and more successful.  Those who don’t get it now may eventually understand, and some will never understand because they refuse to accept another viewpoint.  As one of my friends often says, “So be it.”

The most important thing is to enjoy the journey.  Too often I get so wrapped up in tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year.  And then I forget that most of the fun lies within the present.  I never know when my last day is coming.  Goals and resolutions are good, but working toward them today is even better.

I’ve never shared my New Year’s resolutions like this, so I am hoping it creates more accountability for my actions.  Committing to the action steps along the way can seem daunting without support from others.  It’s time to quit worrying about jinxing my dreams, and instead be open about them and enlist others’ encouragement.

And I am always here to encourage you too!