Saturday, August 24, 2013

headed out for a 10 day vacation

Yes, you heard me!  I booked a vacation.  Don't gasp.  I know its difficult to swallow and take a breath after that statement, because its unbelievable that I would do such a thing.  But you are going to have to believe me, because it is true!!! I booked a vacation...and it starts today.

Beyond just booking a vacation, in part of my resolutions made for this year to implement some new patterns and habits, I additionally made a commitment to myself that I would not work while I was away.  That is a loaded commitment.  Why?  Because I have felt the need to still tend to stuff related to work.  I thrive in my work.  I love my work.  I have felt that I really couldn't unplug and though I have always tried, my previous employers and now clients, know my faithfulness to take care of them and know that if they send me something to get done, it will get done.  There are times I have done portions of attempts at this well, but at some point on EVERY single supposed vacation break I have taken, I don't keep to that purpose.  I have promised myself this time will be different.  Though I expect this to be difficult and a challenge that I am going to have to be very focused about my commitment to, I am determined to do it for once.

I made plans a few months ago to do a Strategic Life Plan session with Chris LoCurto.  I learned of Chris when he was working at The Dave Ramsey organization.  I started following his blog and got to met Chris at EntreLeadership Master Series in November 2009.  For memories sake, here is a picture of us at dinner the 3rd night of the event:
L to R back row: Michael Easley [Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, TN - Dave Ramsey's Church], can't remember the name of the guy between us, me, Debbie LoCurto, Chris Locurto
L to R front row: can't remember the name of the lady, Robin Suslick and Dale Suslick
[if you want more photos of this awesome experience...go check out the EntreLeadership Album on my personal Facebook page]

I am a planner.  A detailed planner.  However, with several things going on with clients and in my personal life, I felt I needed to really take a different approach.  I didn't book my hotel on Expedia until this past Monday, 5 days in advance.  I had three ideas of things I wanted to do, but have refused to make definite plans because I do not want to turn this into a project and todolist that must be checked off and completed by a certain time frame.  I feel I need to chill.  Completely chill.  So outside of booking my hotel and coaching session, I have no agenda.

I knew that the drive time was approximately 10 hours to Franklin, TN.  I knew that I couldn't be on the road too late at night or I would start my trip off on the wrong foot and have extreme complications with my Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.  I aimed to leave at 9am, but as the week developed, knew I was going to have a really hard time accomplishing this because of the schedule of work.  I had a business trip Tuesday - Thursday, Friday, I was booked solid from 9am - 4.30pm with clients and then had my weekly acupuncture appointment to complete the week.  I needed to tend to the house, the pool, pay bills, get the car washed, vacuumed and fueled up, do laundry, wash dishes, pack, go by the bank and post office, and I wanted a pedicure.  Typically after each session of acupuncture [there are variables that can change this so I won't say always], I am very relaxed and want to sleep within 2-3 hours following my session.  I knew this was going to make it tough to do my tasks.  I decided all those things were going to get done and I would do my best to leave by 9am the next day, not stay up late the night before my trip and at the same time not leave too late in the day to delay my arrival.  As things ended up, I left the house today at 10.30am doing the bank run and post office on my way out of town.  [In hindsight, I should have packed not just for my business trip but for my vacation and that would have saved out on the stress at the end of the week.  I didn't, but that would be a good lesson to know and do for next time.]  I was on the road by 11am...headed town the highway, jamming to my Kari Jobe CD I bought at Woman of Faith, playing my favorite songs on repeat and then moving to the next one...I called a girlfriend from California and we talked almost an hour and a half.  I miss this chica and it was good to catch up in her world.  I saw her in February of this year, but we really haven't had a good little chat since.  I listed to the CD 3 times before I put in an audio book to listen too:  Good to Great by Jim Collins.

Photo: View from Honda Civic cockpit...gorgeous skies! Rocking this solo drive with worship music!!!
View from Honda Civic cockpit...gorgeous skies! Rocking this solo drive with worship music!!!
Here is the view passing through Memphis:
Photo: Passing thru......
Memphis, TN
I made it to my hotel at 9pm...this included two 15 minute stops for a stretch, bathroom and gas for my car.  I made really good time...and no, didn't exceed more than 10mph above the speed limit at any point in my journey in case you were going to give me a hard time about being a speedster.

This hotel is lovely!!!  The checkin process was smooth, the staff are nice, the sleek design and no fuss about things is calming, the endless amount of seating to sit and be cozy and lounge around, the layout that is not complicated or confusing, and the details all over this place intrigue me.  Yes, I am spending more than I do for Best Western each week at the only hotel in my clients city, but I also got an awesome deal on Expedia.  I would highly recommend Aloft Nashville - Cool Springs.

I got settled in my room and then decided to walk the grounds and check out the place. I took lots of pictures [which are still on my phone, I could do a whole post on just pictures.]  When you come into the hotel, the "lobby" is all one big open area that includes the seating spots in the section called the re:Mix, the W xyz which is the name of the bar that has some bites you can get, then snacks and food area called the re:Fuel, along with areas to use their computers or to plug in your own.  The hotel is 100% no smoking and they don't mean maybe.  After doing my tour, I felt like I wanted to hang out on Facebook for a bit and see the happenings of my friends...I have been deprived of Facebook this week.  When I do consulting and training sessions with clients for days at a time, I don't get much time to interact with people on my social media.  I was in the middle of this, all curled up on one of these cozy chairs, with my face in my phone, when I got asked to join this guy at playing pool.  I have no idea what my face looked like, but I am sure the incredulous look of "who me" was written all over it!  LOL!!!  I said, ummm, I have never played and hate to tell you this, but I don't know how.  I didn't move from my seat, pretty sure that he wouldn't want some dumb chic that can't play pool to bother trying to act like she can, but he didn't skip a beat and responded, well, sounds to me like a good opportunity to learn because it's not fun to play pool alone, it doesn't work too well that way.  I responded the only way I can learn is if you would be willing teach me.  He said, absolutely, come on.  

Learning to play pool is on my bucket list.  It has always looked to me like a game that had depended on strategy and skill of position and force to know how hard to hit the balls.  I got up and walked over to the pool table, in my mind wondering if he would really teach me.  He didn't waste any time proving to me he would.  He showed me how to hold my hands, how to hold the cue stick, what the purpose is of the cue ball, how to look at which balls are "yours", how to aim for the pockets, how to draw imaginary lines, where to look next, and how to strategize.  He did all this while carrying out the moves of playing the game.  I was impressed.  As things would go, my first ball to hit he said was a complicated one and he didn't give me much hope that I could get it in the pocket.  The honest thing is, he didn't realize who he was dealing with, I love a challenge and if you tell me I can't, I promise I will see if I can.  :)  Don't ask me why, I haven't figured that part out yet about myself.  My first hit, I got the ball in the pocket.  Wish I could say I kept up that winning streak but I didn't.  It didn't take long for him to learn that I was competitive.  Through the course of the game he asked a few questions and I kept my answers basic, not revealing much because you never know about people.  I didn't learn much about him other than his name, what he does for work, and that he has family here. ..all the things I asked.  We were nearly done with our first game when his friend arrived and he took off to hit the town.  I was left to finish the 3 remaining balls by myself.  But I can honestly say that I am thankful for Brad with Oracle who gave me a quick 30 minute lesson on playing pool...who knows when I will have a chance to practice the skill and perfect it further?  

Another bucket list check off!!!  ...and a great way to start a vacation with some fun!

However, it's another one of those times that I am grateful for my wedding band and my I Am Second bracelet.  You can't teach a girl how to play pool without seeing both!  And I mean that literally.  Your left hand is a key part of the game.    

Yes, God rules my world and it will touch yours too if you are apart of it, even for just 30 minutes!

I then got me a glass of Merlot at W xyz [the bar in the hotel] and spent some quiet time before bed in prayer over the week coming up...

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