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Quote of the Day & a Word About Courage


Courage. This is a word I've thought about often in my 30 years on this earth. Many times I have heard, or spoken of, the courage of people in the military or civil service who dedicated themselves to protecting my freedoms,  serving my country, and allowing me to go about my daily life. But really, courage was something I learned about as a young kid moving schools and just dealing with growing up. It's not easy being the new kid and I have very specific memories of moments where I chose to be brave so that I would fit in or so that I wouldn't find myself alone.

This is the courage I've been reflecting on today. The courage to be oneself. I often say that I am happy for all the things my life has dealt me because I love who I am and where I am today. Of course, this doesn't mean that I don't still find myself encountering instances where I need quite a bit of courage.  And the more I reflected on this, the more I realized that more than ever, despite my generally feeling comfortable in my own skin and knowing "who I am", I look to find courage within myself to get through the day.

(Just in case you needed a little clarification - Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines "courage" as : mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty)

Here are just a few instances in which I found myself needing to muster up a bit of courage (all from yesterday, by the way):

  • I went to a coffee shop where  1. I had never been before and 2. at which there was no menu (annoying even though I usually just drink black coffee - what size do I order? do they have multiple kinds of black coffee? etc).... | New situations are always intimidating and require courage to say to yourself "I am not the only person who has ever done this for the first time" and "There are no dumb questions when something is new to me or anyone else for that matter."
  • Seeing my ex's engagement photos... | I've been, for the most part, single since this particular ex and I broke up several years ago (partly by choice and then the other part not by choice- ha!). Anyone who's been in the situation where someone they love moves on and finds what you thought you had with that person, with someone else, has experienced the need to muster up some courage to affirm that things really do happen for a reason. AND, of course you remember that amazing trip you took and they way you used to laugh together, but, oh, uh... remember that time he made you feel disrespected or the fact that he couldn't show up on time to anything and it drove you nuts? It takes courage to acknowledge that the other person has found something that they feel is the right fit for their life AND to acknowledge that they WEREN'T the right fit for yours.
  • Apologizing and trying to "fix" a situation in which I sent too many text messages to someone while under the influence of bourbon. and vodka. and a crush... | I tend to talk quite a bit. I am recognizing, over the last couple months, that I talk even more when I'm subconsciously nervous - especially when trying to make a romantic connection with someone. It takes courage to make these observations and acknowledge that sometimes you can be a little bit ridiculous ... (all with the best of intentions)! Finding the courage to recognize places in your life where you can make improvements or grow can be really difficult, but also the most rewarding!

The final thing I'll say about personal courage is this: each day we make the choice to be honest with those around us. Honest in being our true selves instead of someone we think someone else wants us to be, honest in that we are human and make mistakes, honest in not making excuses when we do make mistakes or don't give a situation our best self, and honest in acknowledging that each day we all deal with a lot of situations that may not be easy for us but that we find the courage to face because we are being our true selves, with all our downfalls and all our strengths.

Where did you find yourself needing a little extra courage today?


Family Friday: The Petersens

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Family Friday: The Petersens


I'm about to get personal with y'all. I'd like to tell you about my family.

I totally lucked out when it came to my family. I have the most supportive parents a girl could ask for... and let me tell you, I know that over the years that has required a lot.

I've always been a bit feisty and that showed in my teen years (as I recollect fights with my mom over things I can't remember what for). I've had several times in my life when I've been very very sick and needed quite a bit of taking care of (including a brain disease my senior year in high school that put me in the hospital and a wheelchair for a time). I dropped out of college halfway through my junior year. I got married too young to the wrong person and they supported me not only through the wedding but through a very painful divorce as well.

They've helped me move countless times (only once do I think I've done it without them). They supported my decision to quit my job and go back to school (and yes, paid my rent so I could concentrate on finishing). My car basically only gets fixed when my dad reminds me or simply takes it to the shop for me when I'm home visiting.

I was exposed to piano lessons, viola lessons, voice lessons... softball, basketball, soccer... girl scouts, school trips, vacations...

and all of these experiences have made me who I am today. I hope I'll make them proud because I want to show them how grateful I am for not only these things, but showing me unconditional love, allowing me to continually express myself and explore who I am in the world.

Now, I don't want to write a post about family without mentioning my brother Seth. Seth is much more private than I, so I'll make it brief and tell you, reader, what I tell everyone. My brother Seth is one of the smartest people I've ever met. He went to UVA and studied Psychology. The only thing he ever has said to me using that education is that I am "the most dependent independent person" he knows. Fair assessment, even years later. Seth joined the Navy after college and now flies F-18 Super Hornets. He's a back-seater, aka a Weapons Systems Officer. He lives in Japan. As a gift, he flew me out there to spend a month with him last spring. He's totally hilarious. Very tall. Blonde. Blue eyes. Single... ladies, let me know if you want to connect. :)

For the first time in a very very long time, my family was together this January. The Navy somehow got wind that it was my 30th birthday and decided that Seth should have to fly to Norfolk over the same dates I'd be throwing my birthday party. I knew this had to be documented.

So here, reader, are the results of my family being together for the first time in years, battling the freezing cold in Washington DC.

A special thank you to my super talented photographer friend Leigh Burnette, Who came from Virginia Beach for the occasion. Please check out his website

And one last thing- Mom, Dad, Seth- I love you.










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Reflecting on Throwback Thursday

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Reflecting on Throwback Thursday


photo credit: 1. my mom 2. Leigh Burnette Photography I love the idea of Throwback Thursday and have been participating off and on via my Instagram  (@SincerelyPete) for a few months. I enjoy looking back on where I was a year ago or 5 years ago.  I love looking at the pictures (and asking myself what was I thinking with that outfit?!), but even more so, it's interesting to reflect on who I was, where I was and what my mindset was at that time compared to where I am now.

I recently celebrated my 30th Birthday (a post about that party will happen soon!) and was doing quite a bit of reflecting on the path my life has taken, where I thought I'd be at 30 years old and how happy I am that my experiences have made me the person I am today.  I've had some serious struggles to overcome in my life made some "bad' decisions. But who hasn't? 

Here's the best thing about your past: it's brought you to where you are today and from here, you can go anywhere! I think it's important to take time to reflect on all my life experiences, the good and the bad, to see what the lesson is moving forward. Sometimes it's simple. For example, I want to lose weight so I start a diet and see some great results... then I eat a box a petit fours for my birthday and gain several pounds. The lesson? Simple. Moderation in all things, especially petit fours. 

happy birthday to me!

Sometimes it's not so easy. Relationships (of all kinds) tend to be real thought provokers for me. Honest reflections on behaviors can be difficult, but truly powerful. Because relationships are basically emotional entities, and we never want to blame ourselves for their failure, they can be especially hard to find the lesson behind. Take your time! Sometimes a lesson can't be revealed immediately. I have an ex-husband and a couple ex-boyfriends that I have sat and thought on the lessons they were supposed to teach me for years! Slowly I find those lessons revealed in new relationships and my ability to see how I want to be treated or how I want to act. (During this process I've also realized I've learned a lot about patience).

What are your thoughts on #tbt? Share below!

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My first passion in life, that I can remember, was music. I could be found playing pots and pans as drums and singing at the top of my lungs from a very young age. I carried a cassette tape recorder around and would record myself singing along to my dad's Beatles records. Piano lessons started when I was 4 or 5, viola when I was in 4th grade and in high school I  discovered that I was a singer.

When the time came for college, I knew that music was my path. I would study music and singing and then I would get a job in music, probably singing. See that solid game plan I had in place? I actually ended up dropping out of college and started working in hospitality. Music and singing were quietly filed away in a subconscious "hobbies folder".

Today, I do not in fact have a "job in music". I do still sing- karaoke mostly but also at home among binders of sheet music downloaded from the internet, on my parents piano, the same one I played when I was 5. I've been privileged to sing at some of my best friends' weddings and to hum lullabies to my newborn nephews. I realize in these moments that when I filed my music away into that "hobbies folder", other passions were also filed away. I took things that I felt true passion for- helping others (I was a missionary in Honduras), being part of a well-rounded community and bringing people together (I was always the kid running between her music friends, church friends, school friends and lifelong friends and inviting each to be a part of the other)- and subconsciously told myself that these things are "hobbies", not life pursuits or the way to make a career. My life's path wasn't going to be one of passion but a life of hard work, that I was good at, though may not ever love.

As some point in the last couple years, I recognized that being good at something that I wasn't passionate about just wasn't going to cut it. Happiness meant more to me. Doing something meaningful was important to me.

Now, I didn't make this decision in one overwhelming emotional moment of self-discovery (how awesome and less time consuming would that have been?!). I did however, put a plan in place to get myself moving in a different direction and to find those passions that I had pushed to the back of my mind's filing cabinet. I went back to school to finish my degree, choosing to study something business oriented in order to create a more well-rounded resume and background and to give me a springboard for future endeavors. While in school, I took the opportunity to work at a non-profit, which reignited the fire I had for working with people who are making life better for others. I developed a strong passion for my local community, for networking with local businesses and for bringing people together from different walks of life, simply to share a drink & a laugh together.

I am lucky to be able to pursue my passions via various career endeavors (which I fondly call "hustles") and I now recognize that the passions of my childhood are my calling in life.

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