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Posts Tagged ‘resolutions’

Bread and Wine

I started reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.  I’m about halfway through, and I love this book.  How do I love it?  I will count the ways.  There will be more detail and gushing when I’m through with it, but for now, I’m just going to let this picture of my breakfast speak for itself (berry crisp – vegan and gluten free style).

Image

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The last twelve hours

The last twelve hours have been emotional.  I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.

A couple of  highlights, in case you missed it:

1.  I love you, Texas Senator Wendy Davis.

2.  Thank you, SCOTUS.  A promising start.

I almost wept at work.  Perhaps I should have taken a personal day.

In other news, I am in love with these biscuits.  They might be my favorite biscuits that I’ve ever made.

Now, I am going to get another cup of coffee and see if I can’t remain upright for the remainder of the work day.

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I love making lists.  I also love goal-setting.  Making New Year’s resolutions is like a drug to me.  I do it every year.

My resolutions this year were designed to give myself a break from the “stress” (if absolute joy is stressful) of having lists and keeping tabs on my progress.  Whatever need I felt at the time to do that…yeah, I’m over it.

So here is my revamp – mid-year – of my resolutions.  Some of you who have been around for a while will notice similarities to my resolutions from a few years ago – the “100 things” year.  I was re-reading those posts and remembering how much fun I had that year.  So I’m going to do it a little differently, but still…list-y.

(I am also going to include some things I’ve already done for these lists, because I don’t have a year at this point, and I am loathe to shoot myself in the foot from the onset)

I picked five things that make me happy/make me feel grounded and centered/make me feel like I’m actually doing something with my life besides waking, working, drinking coffee, and sleeping (not that there’s anything wrong with those things).

1.  Reading – 100 books.  I’ve already started on this goal, and Goodreads informs me that, while I have read 31 books so far, I am 15 books behind schedule.  But I will not be daunted.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to update every book that I read here, or if I will just give you what I love the most (or when I hated it and need to vent about it).  But you can follow me on Goodreads if you wish to get book-by-book updates, because that’s where I really keep up with it.

2.  Cooking – 100 new recipes.  My favorite thing about the “100 things” year was all the new recipes I tried.  Trying new things keeps me out of Food Rut, and this is important, because Food Rut is what puts me in the drive-through of Taco Bell, and nobody wins there (well, maybe the CEO of Taco Bell, but I think he’ll be okay).  I will update these here, because I will be super excited about them.  Fair warning – I am taking a Sacramental Baking Course.  Look for a post on my first sourdough when I get around to writing it.

3.  Writing – 100 hours.  Whether I’m blogging or working on one of the multiple fiction projects I have going on, I have to write to be sane.  I will be starting from scratch here, because I haven’t been logging my writing hours so far, but even starting now, I have twenty-eight weeks left of the year.  And November is National Novel Writing Month.  Even if it wasn’t, that’s only a little over three and a half hours a week.  The writing of this post puts me at 0.4 hours.  99.6 to go!

4.  Thanking – 100 admissions of gratitude.  Gratitude keeps me from being so cynical that I get sleepless and achy.  I may reminisce about a few of these, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if I had 100 MORE stories this year about how beautiful life can be?  Here are my first two, just from today:

4a.  I just got to encourage someone who assumed that a college degree was too lofty a dream for them to achieve that they could do it. That’s my favorite thing that’s happened this week.

4b.  This – oh, my soul – THIS.  Thank you, Jesus.  And more, please.

5.  Watching – 100 pictures.  Sometimes, I just go through my photos, and my day is better.  There will probably be way more than 100 pictures, and all of them might not make it to the blog.  But all of them will make it to the Facebook (here’s Spring and here’s Summer), where I basically live, so peruse and enjoy!

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Resolved, 2013

I have been dragging my feet on what my New Year’s Resolutions will be, which is unusual for me. I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want my goals for the next year to be by early December. Every time I have thought about it, though, it has stressed me out. I’m already so busy; when do I have time to do anything new? It was a rough semester, moving to the daytime desk position and teaching four classes instead of my usual three. My workload this spring isn’t going to be any lighter. All previous attempts to compose a list of resolutions so far have resulted in stress baking (you’re welcome, family) and the first three seasons of Smallville (you’re welcome, eyes). I want to continue to learn and progress in some way, though, so I sat down this afternoon to barrel through and come up with something to guide me.

And the word that kept coming to mind was “Stop.”

This year, I resolve to…

1. Stop being such a jerk.

The world was so mean last year. I know it was an election year, but I think it went beyond that. We as a culture seem to have all regressed to junior high, when we didn’t understand the difference between discussing an issue and attacking/belittling the person who disagrees with us on that issue. I would like to say that I rose above that trend, but I can think of a few instances where I gave into the temptation to be a little nastier than I needed to be to get my point across. My old debate coach would have been proud of my performance, but I am not. I don’t want to be a person who goes into discussions assuming that others only disagree with me because they are less informed. And even if, during the course of the conversation, it becomes clear that that is the case, I still don’t have to be an ass about it. At the end of this year, I want to look back and be more satisfied with how I deal with conflicts and disagreements than I am now.

2. Stop participating in Facebook drama.

I took a mini-vacation from Facebook drama in November when I was participating in NaNoWriMo so that I could focus more on writing. I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would. In fact, even with the 50,000-word deadline staring me down, November was the calmest, most peaceful month of my year. So in December, I decided to intervene in heated discussions only when a voice of reason was needed. Heh. Yeah, that’s so not how Facebook drama works. In person, it works beautifully, but on Facebook, it’s like pouring gasoline on a lit candle in a hayloft. People seem to use Facebook to say things that they’re thinking but would never say out loud in person, because they’re too shy or reasonable. To them, Facebook is their safe place to say whatever they want (I strongly disagree, but that’s a whole other post). So here they are, in the middle of their glorious rant, and then some fool (i.e., me) steps in and tries to get them to dial it back. They, however, do not want to dial it back, and suggesting that they do so pretty much equals volunteering to be their new target. So I’m going to revert back to my Facebook behavior of yore, when it was a happy place where I connected with old friends whom I haven’t seen in a decade, liked all their pictures of their kids/food/cats, and when I had time, tended to my farm.

3. Stop the compulsion to fill up every moment.

I noticed something disturbing in these last two weeks that I was on holiday from work. I’ve lost the ability to sit still. I might have taken a break from my jobs, but I haven’t slowed down. I’ve been multitasking constantly, even if it was as simple as watching a TV show while I ate a meal. I can’t remember a single time in the last two weeks when I just relaxed, and I bet that has a lot to do with why I’m so stressed out. I value efficiency, but this is ridiculous. I want to get back to the place where I can be calm regardless of how busy my schedule is, and the way to do that is by taking time each day to slow down for a few minutes. I don’t even remember what that looks like, so more on this later as I rediscover it.

4. Stop saying, “Yes,” just because I can’t think of a good reason to say, “No.”

Another thing that has contributed to my stressful busyness is that I’ve started agreeing to things only to find myself, on the day of the event, saying, “Why on earth did I say that I’d do this? I don’t want to do this!” And when I reflect back, the only reason that I can come up with is that I didn’t have a good reason not to, and I didn’t want to leave them hanging with a maybe. As committed as I am to avoiding maybe (i.e., the most useless, impolite RSVP ever), I would like to work on adopting the viewpoint that “I don’t want to” is a good enough reason to decline.

5. Stop making excuses.

The main reason that I have had difficulty coming up with resolutions this year is that I’m tired of making goals that I don’t meet. Every year, I set reading, writing, fitness, wellness, organization, and financial goals, and every year, I fall short of them. As much joy as I get from the process of pursuing these goals, a part of me can’t help but feel unsuccessful, and that part of me feels the need to justify why they weren’t fully met. But I’m not going to do that anymore, because the truth is that I make time to do the things that are really important to me. My reading/writing nook in my apartment is always tidy, even when the rest of the place looks like a tornado hit it, and keeping it that way is not even something that I set out to do. It stays that way, because I want it to stay that way, so I make it happen. I keep up with inputting grades, because I don’t like having the constant nag of knowing there’s still work to be done hovering over my weekend, so I make sure I get it done before the weekend begins. And yes, I would like to be in better shape and take better care of myself and keep the rest of the house tidy and clean and handle my finances a little better, and it’s not a question of time, because somewhere, someone busier than I am is accomplishing those things. I’m not going to set specific expectations, though, until I better understand what my priorities are, because clearly, they don’t involve any of those things, or I would be doing them already.

So I’m going to stop making excuses to myself and to others about why I can’t seem to achieve these things that I consistently identify as goals, trusting that when they become important enough to me, I will do what I need to do in order to be successful at them. Meanwhile, I’m going to start a year of observation. I’m going to keep a calendar of how I spend my free time, and I expect that it will reveal what my priorities have become, since they’re obviously not the things that I want them to be. I suspect that you can look forward to some extreme navel-gazing posts concerning the issue throughout the year.

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In preparation for the new

From Jim Palmer’s prompt:

1) What old and self-sabotaging story about yourself are you carrying around in life that you need to bury once and for all?

That I’m lazy.  That I need to defend myself when others jokingly call me lazy (in the sarcastic you’re-the-least-lazy-person-I-know way, because I actually work all the time, and my friends see this even when I don’t).  That I’m a failure, career-wise and financially, because I’m lazy.  That my house is messy because I’m lazy.  That I’m lazy and deserve all the negative consequences that I perceive as being a direct result of being lazy.

2) What new possibility is it time for you to begin courageously creating in your life, starting today?

Two things:

a) That I’m a writer.  I think that finishing NaNoWriMo gave me a jump start to this.  It proved to me that even working two jobs, I can do this.   I know that I can, because I did.  I mean, I haven’t revised/cut/edited, which is the harder work for me, but churning out 50,000 words in 30 days is nothing to sneeze at.

b) That I can have a home that is welcoming to others, and that it’s not the overwhelming task that I sometimes make it out to be.  I’ll say more on this at a later date.  I’m going to let it stew for a while.

3) You are not limited to the person you have become. Imagine a new way of being you that you get to create, which deeply resonates with your heart, soul, and spirit. Describe that person in writing.

She loves what she does for a living – not just the people she works with or the occasional task – but really loves the work itself.  She travels, even if there’s no one to go with her.  She’s not afraid to go alone.  She’s not afraid, period.  She relishes solitude when it is given to her.  She buys fair and locally when at all possible.  She is loved deeply and specifically by a special person whom she loves deeply and specifically as well.

4) The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Where is it in your life that you need to do things differently, and explore a new way of thinking or being?

Online dating.  I just need to stop.  There may be a good match for me out there on the intrawebs, but mostly, there are just trolls.  It affects my opinion of available men of a certain age, which may not be accurate or fair.  After all, I’m an available woman of a certain age, and I’m fantastic.  It’s not outside the realm of possibility that the same could be true of men.

Missing deadlines for calls for papers or writing contests.  It’s hard to get published if you never submit anything.

Buying more than three bananas at a time.  I just don’t eat them that quickly, and I say that I will make banana muffins if they get too ripe, but I will not.

5) Share one of the above items with others. In other words, share with a friend the story you’ve decided to bury, or share the new possibility you are creating for your life. Write a post about where you plan to do things differently in life, or new ways you are exploring what it means to be you.

Does this count?  Check.

Also, my goal for December and January is to work on an existing story and have two people read it.  So Maggie and Stefanie – expect emails by the end of January with a hefty attachment.

6) Do something symbolic to represent the significance of today as a new starting line in your life. Walk that bridge. Bury something in the ground. Cast something into the waters. Watch that balloon float into the sky. Create a collage that artistically expresses the significance of today for you. Get a tattoo that holds significance. Whatever it may be for you, do something that is physical or sensory oriented that connects you to the meaning of today for you.

I added more candy canes (oddly enough, my favorite Christmas candy) to my tree.  I’m physically adding more fun and sweetness to something that’s already beautiful, which I’d realize if I took the time to step back and look at it.

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