Saturday, April 30, 2011

There will come a time when you think everything is finished.
That will be the beginning.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ten things I LOVE about being on a Jury

With all the negative feelings out there about Jury Duty, I want you to know there is definitely a silver lining! As I head out to day four on the jury, I thought I would share with you what I have loved about these last few days.
  1. The sun is up before me.
  2. I have SO much time before I have to leave in the morning. (Court starts at 9am!) I have time to do laundry, write out bills, get the house clean, blog, catch up on email, make phone calls, read a little of my book, and still have plenty of time to shower, get ready and sit in traffic all the way to Santa Ana!
  3. Jeans, teeshirt and tennis shoes--every day!! (This may be the best one.)
  4. No pantyhose and no SUITS all week!!
  5. Nice walk each morning from the parking garage by Eddie West Field (Mater Dei plays all their games there--and always has! A little bit of nostalgia for me each day...) I just love the LIFE going on down each street near the court house...the whole area is bustling at 8:30 in the morning!
  6. An hour and a half for lunch! Hello! Lunch every day is pure JOY! I've had a friend pick me up each day and we have AMPLE time for a lovely leisurely lunch before having to get back to court.
  7. The nights are so LONG when I don't have to head to bed at 9pm! I've been able to go out and NOT watch the clock!
  8. I am learning so much and seriously seeing a side of life I really never knew existed. None of the court scenes from movies can hold a candle to what I've heard the last few days. Of course I keep wanting to yell out, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"
  9. I also have an amazing new respect for lawyers! Dear Jesus! They earn every cent they make.
  10. It's making me TRULY appreciate my very simple, enjoyable life.
And, honestly...I can't wait to get back to it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fade to back...

"Someday I'll forget the color of your eyes, the sound of your voice will be unfamiliar.
Someday I'll forget that I once loved you, the feelings will have faded.
Someday I'll will have faded away."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yes, that's it--I am serving with pride. All week even! I'm so proud!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Upwardly (im)mobile

This morning, as I woke up in my 869 square foot apartment, I couldn't help but look around and smile. I realized, now that I have lived here for about a month, how well I sleep here, how happy I am to wake up here and, how 'normal' it's beginning to feel to be here now. It's actually kind of nice. Besides being bright and open and oh so quiet, everything has been put away, put in its place and organized. It feels like I live here!
I like the apartment (even the three flights of stairs to get here) and I LOVE all the things inside. My things--my treasures--my stuff! This may not be where I spend the rest of my life, but it's the perfect 'stepping stone', it's a place to sit down, a place to take a breath and a way to save over $2000 a month. Yes, TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS.

You know I've spent the last four months downsizing, minimizing and simplifying in every way--my belongings, my home, my life. I love the fact that every single thing I own is right here with me in these 869 square feet. And it's not cluttered or crowded...nope, it's actually quite perfect.

I was thinking of the term 'upwardly mobile' the other day and how completely immobile you actually become as you achieve more and more worldly 'success.' You move to a bigger house, then a bigger one, buy more furniture for that house, and more for the next one, more TVs, clothes, shoes, purses, art, knick knacks, cars...and so on and so on and so on.
As far as being 'mobile', well, you're not at all! To move, you have to pack for weeks, hire an 18 wheeler and pay thousands of dollars to have everything moved to the next place. It's just not for me. Not anymore, for sure.
How much stuff does one person really need?

I have made, quite literally, a dozen car loads full to the Goodwill in the last few months and I sold most of my furniture and 'collectibles' on Craig's list. I can quite honestly tell you that I have not missed one thing. My mother asked me the other day about a quilt I had and I told her I had given to Goodwill--along with several other blankets and throws. She was a bit upset--but I had never used it. Never! Most of those blankets had been folded up in a drawer for six years. My thought is that, hopefully, someone is snuggled up in each of those blankets tonight.

I spent the last few days unloading boxes and putting the remaining few things away. Everything has a place and a use, or it is no longer here. And it feels fantastic. Clean and light and simple. (And I still have more to go through and thin out...)

As I sit here each night in this new little place I call home, on my ONLY couch, watching the Dodger game on my only TV with my feet up on my 'hope chest'--a gift from my parents for my high school graduation--(my only coffee table)...I feel like this is it. This is what life is about.
So comfortable and quiet and simple and easy.
And, I might add, totally mobile.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It really is, you know...

This is just one of the many signs I have in my house. It's probably my favorite cause, through its simplicity, it says so much. It was a gift from Allison a few years ago...and it means even more since she and I have watched the movie together dozens of times and say so many things that come from the Baileys and Clarence and the streets of Bedford Falls.
(She's about to close the library!!)
Tonight I moved the sign to get a book off the shelf, and as I held it in my hand, the "WONDERFUL LIFE" written in the background popped out! I had just returned from working out and having dinner with a friend and was watching the Dodger game in my new little apartment. I read the words and smiled. I felt so happy and grateful...and so peaceful. It feels so good to feel so good.
Life keeps changing for me, but it is still getting better every single day! It took me a little time to realize how really 'wonderful' it has become...even after this last move! Here's the deal, regardless of where I sit today, there is nowhere I'd rather be.
People often ask me if the grass is greener.
I don't think I'd ever even had grass until the last four or five years...
Maybe peacefulness is the only thing that can truly provide that proverbial "grass".
But let me tell you, it's not only GREEN, but lush and full and soft and beautiful...!
And, tonight I am laying down in it, rolling around on it and soaking in its remarkable beauty.
I just keep saying, "You know what Julie Hibbard? You really have a wonderful life!"
I know!
I know...

I've been searching so long...

So here's the deal...
I'll admit...I am searching...I'm hoping...
And I am OH so ready...
I am looking for a long term commitment.
Yes, I'm putting it out there...I am!
I'm not sure exactly what I want, but I definitely know what I don't want.
There's absolutely gotta be that 'this is it' chemistry!
But, let's be honest, at this point in life, I'm really just looking for comfortable, beautiful (inside and out) and peaceful...
(ok, and a few more things...)

Of course I have my list of necessary criteria.
Yes, an actual checklist.
I've worked long and hard on a list of 'must haves', 'can't haves' and 'would be nice ifs...'
But (you know, it is true)...the really good ones are taken.
Sure, once in a while even one of THOSE becomes available...but they're very quickly snatched up.

Can I be transparent here? Yes, some look really GREAT on the outside, but are really 'not so great' on the inside...On the other hand, many are not necessarily attractive to look at, but on the inside (if I get that far), they're truly amazing! I am left to wonder, "What can I live with?"
And, so, I start to let a few things slide...and again, at this point in life, I understand that 'compromise' is probably inevitable.

Truth is, I'm often disappointed within just a few minutes. Admittedly, I'm kinda impatient and a little bit stubborn and I (think I) know exactly what I'm looking for! To take it one step further, I admit that I'm not very good at seeing potential. If I don't feel the chemistry--pretty much immediately--I get out quickly.
I have to feel it. I just do!
Still, I must admit, I always get very excited about the prospects of a new one...

And so I'm shopping around.
Yep, there are so many choices. I am looking for all the good stuff, but not ignoring flaws.
And trying hard not to be too picky!!
I'm learning to be patient and, deep in my heart, I know the right one is going to come along.

Cause you know me, I fall in love fast. And often, when I find myself saying, "This is it...the one I've waited for!" I soon find out...yep, no longer available.
Seems like there is always someone else who has more to offer. Or I'm just a bit too late.
Not meant to be, right?

I'm not giving up...they say there's another one around every corner!
And I know the right one for me is out there! How great will that be?!

Yep, I am in the market to buy a new home.

Wait...what did you think I was talking about?

Monday, April 18, 2011

We wove Wego Wand!

It was an amazingly enjoyable day with Elijah at Lego land...

I'm not busy

Not much frustrates or angers me, but I do feel quite a bit of tension when someone starts a conversation with, "I know you're busy...."
For the love of God, I'm off work by 2pm each day and have only myself to take care of. I do 2 or 3 loads of laundry a month and usually have a yogurt for dinner. Come on...I'm currently living in an 800 square foot apartment--all of which can be vacuumed from the same electrical outlet! I'm not busy!
After finishing up 8 hours at a job I LOVE, I come home, take a nap, go for a walk, and then maybe go to dinner or a game with friends or my family. Sure, I do have the occasional (albeit infrequent yet always entertaining) date with a man every once in a while too--but, honestly that's about it. That is certainly not busy.
Yes, I DO have an amazingly enjoyable, full, happy life and if you want me to go somewhere or want to plan something with me, I might not be immediately available...but that's NO PROBLEM! I will just need to take a look at my schedule let you know when it will work for me.
That's not's actually efficient and organized.
Truth is, I spent most of my life being truly busy--working, going to school, raising kids, doing homework, running a household, making dinner, lunches, etc, etc--I honestly never really had a spare second. All of that, yes, kept me BUSY.
These days...yeah, not so much. I have MORE than enough hours in the day to do all the things I want and need and love to do.
Now, if by busy you mean that I am disciplined and productive and organized and scheduled, that I get everything done with intentionality, then OK, I'll give you that. But I think being "busy" is a negative way to describe that. 'Busy', to me, sounds frantic and frazzled and chaotic. There is no way I am any of those things. I always think 'busyness' is used as an excuse for not being organized or not getting something done.
We all have the exact same amount of hours in a day...plenty to accommodate anyone, and accomplish anything...if you truly want to.
I may be active, but I am definitely not busy. Gratefully, I do have a full and intentionally well planned out schedule for each day and week, and I that is why I have a calendar on me at all times. If you would like to spend time with me, tell me when it's good for you! I will see if that date and time is open for me, and if it is not, I am sure I will be able to consult my schedule and find another day that will work for both of us.
I know I can work you in and that I will enjoy each minute of our time together!
Cause I'm not busy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wake up call...

On the days that I work, I am up by (and usually before) 4am.
A fresh pot of coffee and my warm laptop await me...
It's my favorite way to start the day.
Gotta say, I'm never sleepy...and, once I get to work by 5:45 or so each day, I am certainly not alone.

And...even on my days off...I'm up early. I try to sleep til at least 6am, but I'm often lured out of bed by the amazing aroma of coffee and the anticipation of what awaits me on the computer!
I'm certainly never sleepy and, oh, I freaking love being alone.

As a bonus, early risers are proven to be more productive. I often have my grocery shopping done, my oil changed, errands run, I log three miles on the treadmill, and have two loads of laundry done by 9am or so.
Sometimes I even do all that and then head back to bed.
Not because I'm sleepy or alone...but just because I can.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Still amazing after all these years...

“Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.”

There is no mistaking it and no way to hide it...
I'm much closer now to 50 years old, than I am to 40...
And I wouldn't have believed it 20 years ago, but I am SO happy about that! I am in a better place in life today than ever before, happier and WAY healthier than I have ever been. I have to admit, this is the best season of my life (so far...).
As I ran around at work yesterday saying hello and greeting every single person by name, I marveled at how GREAT it is to be at my stage of life. How fantastic it is to be MY age! I feel a JOY in life that I would have never been able to know when I was in my teens or twenties...or even in my thirties for that matter. I have an appreciation for work and health and the daily joys of life that definitely wasn't around in my first few decades of living. And as I worked and laughed and enjoyed my day, I started to think of other reasons WHY I love this season of life so much...
For your enjoyment:
  1. I am passionate about my job and APPRECIATE every second of being at work. I KNOW I am GOOD at what I do and that there is NO other job position in the world that is a more perfect use of my strengths and gifts. (I swear it was custom-made for me.) And I get to marvel at the beauty of the Pacific Ocean every single day.
  2. I feel a level of respect from my coworkers, not because of my age, but because of my life experiences and ability to deal with stress and pressure without being fazed. I know that they look to me for answers and opinions and encouragement and, seriously, NOTHING is more fulfilling than that.
  3. The 'thank yous' I receive at work--from guests and fellow associates--are more valuable to me than my paycheck. Feeling appreciated on constant basis is absolutely priceless. (Would have NEVER thought that at 30.)
  4. Here's a good one--I LOVE when someone says, "NO WAY your kids are 26 and 28 years old! You look amazing!!" No doubt, one of the best things I ever did was become pregnant at 18. (Sure would not have said THAT at 25!)
  5. At this point in life, I know what matters...and what doesn't. I know what's worth stressing over--and it's very little, I know, now, that living simply and on my own is LOVELY and more enjoyable than I ever thought possible.
  6. OK, as long as I'm being honest--another thing I love about being my age--I get hit on every single day! Mostly by men who are many years younger. Seriously! And, sharing that openly and with confidence is reason #7 why I love being my age.
  7. Like John Mayer suggests, I say what I need to say. And what I want to say. Often.
  8. In the last few years I have learned to not take anything personally. Nothing.
  9. I know now to trust my intuition and my gut and I know how to make good decisions. I learn from my mistakes and no longer beat myself up for the past. Couldn't have said that at 25 either. No way.
  10. I have GENUINE, amazing, invaluable friendships. I have people who have been in my life for more than 30 years and more! They comfort me, love me, call me on my sh*t, keep up with me, make me laugh, let me cry and have LIVED LIFE with me all these many many years...with joy!
Personally, I know that I will never get old. I can run circles around most of the people at work who are half my age. I do my best, every day, to share my love for life with them, to encourage them and to assure them that, for all of us, the best is still to come.
Life is good.
And the cool part is, it just keeps getting better.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Control Seek

Lately I have heard so many people complaining that their life is "out of control." Not that I completely have my sh*t together, but I am usually not very sympathetic. Sure, life is full of surprises, not always good ones, and it does tend to throw a curve ball or two at you once in a while, but MUCH of life is actually very controllable.

I think one key to feeling better about life--and yourself!--is getting a handle on and taking control of what you ARE able to control. I was thinking about this yesterday and came up with a list of things that are, quite frankly, in your control. Honestly, when you stop making excuses and make an effort to take control of these very controllable areas of life, SO many other aspects of life amazingly begin to fall into place. Here's my list of things you CAN control: 1. What you eat and drink. {Yes, you can, indeed, control this.} Just put the cinnamon roll down. 2. What you spend and what you do not spend. Work intentionally on paying off {or at least attempting to and working toward paying} all debts. Stop eating out. Stay out of Target. 3. Being clean! Get up and shower and get dressed every day. You are only as productive as you are dressed to be! 4. Keeping your car clean and in good repair. {This is an easy one and I SWEAR it makes life better!} 5. Getting rid of clutter! Getting rid of STUFF! Organizing your home and space. "Messy bed, messy head." I promise, if things are in order around you, things will be much more in order inside you. This is even more important when you live in a smaller place, asI have learned to be even MORE organized since moving into the 800 square foot apartment. I have to CONTROL what comes in...and continue to take things OUT. 6. Returning phone calls/emails/letters. Keeping communication open and flowing with friends and family. Get a handle on this! Be responsible for keeping up with people. 7. How much you exercise and take care of your body inside and out. Go for a walk for the love of God! 8. What you read and how much time you watch television. {No TV til the house is clean!} 9. Being prepared and organizing your daily scheduling. Plan your meals, make a grocery list and go shopping. Run errands and get things done! Being productive makes you feel so good! 10. THINKING POSITIVELY! Moving forward! Making DAILY steps toward being in control. You truly are in control of your life. If you feel like you're not, figure out what you can do to get it back. By controlling the things you CAN control, you will add power and confidence and peace to your life. No more excuses! Take control.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bring it on!

Friday, escrow closed on my townhouse. I am no longer a homeowner.
The {very} POSITIVE side of this is, I am 100% debt free...and I did it the 'right' way!
A clean slate. A new beginning {again}.

I am EMBRACING this change...this new season and I am loving living lighter and much more frugally in this new {little} apartment.
And I am SO grateful for the JOY and NEW things that are {undoubtedly} coming my way.
Yep...{yet} another fresh start.

There will come a time when you think everything is finished,
THAT will be the beginning.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Turn, turn, turn...

The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to take the turn.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

That's it!!

I just got back from dinner...and a long, deep talk with a friend.
It was excellent! (The dinner AND the talk!)
Amazing actually...

I had this incredible sudden revelation on the way home:
Do you know what the GREATEST thing in life is?

Knowing who you truly are
Liking that person--a lot.
And being that person--all the time.

Yep, that's it alright!
And it's pretty darn great.
{i'm working on it...}