Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My 2015 Resolutions

I've finished planning my 2015 resolutions!   I mentioned how I went about it this year in this earlier post.   I'm taking a new approach, and am trying to make resolutions that will help me feel the way I want to feel this year, rather than being a list of habits to break or places to visit or pounds to lose.  I'm going to post the list here, and then make weekly updates to hold myself accountable and stay on track.  I hope you'll join me each week!   

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gratitude - Day 363-364 - Dec 29-30, 2014

All our family visitors have gone home. The kitchen has been emptied of sweet treats that were delicious but too tempting for my own good. The laundry is busy washing towels and sheets, and the wrapping paper and glitter and cookie crumbs have been vacuumed up.   The house looks neat again. 

Creating My List of Resolutions

As we approach the end of the Christmas season and head into 2015, it's time for a little reflection.   A look back and a look ahead.  Normally I don't really make a list of "New Year's Resolutions" per se, but for some reason, this year I'm feeling a real and urgent need to set some direction for myself in the coming year.   I don't know why.  But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that I need to listen when my heart is telling me something.  And right now, it's definitely telling me to get myself organized for 2015.

I've had two major influences this year for how I'm going to approach my resolutions.   One comes from the Desire Map concept, originated by Danielle LaPorte.   I'm intrigued by the concept of making plans based on How I Want To Feel, rather than what I want to accomplish.   I want my life to  feel good, not be a list of things to do or stuff to accumulate.  I've been mulling over the last few weeks, thinking about what feelings I experience now that I want to keep experiencing, and what feelings I don't yet experience but want to.    It's been in the back of my mind for a while now.

The other influence is Mavis Butterfield's 2014 project where she came up with a list of 12 things she wanted to accomplish in the new year, and then she posted weekly about her progress against that list.    I like the idea of publishing my list, and reporting weekly on my progress.  Not because I have anything to prove to anyone, but because getting into a regular practice of reviewing my resolutions will undoubtedly keep me more faithful to the list than if I just declare it in January and never return to it again.  I like the idea of a regular check-in, and publishing it on the blog makes it more real and more official, somehow.

Right now I'm working on creating my list.  Here's my process:

1.  I created five categories:    Self, Family, Home, Friends/Community, and Sweet Adelines.     I wrote them all down on a sheet of paper, leaving lots of room for brainstorming under each category.

2.   For each of those categories, I'm writing down how I want to feel this year within that category.   For example, under the "Family" category, I want to feel Loved/Loving, Connected, Fun, Supportive. Under the "Sweet Adelines" category, I want to feel Artistic, Invigorated, Challenged, Creative, Fun.  And so on, for each of the categories.  There's no right or wrong answer here.  There can be overlap between the categories - you'll see "fun" show up on almost all of my category lists.  

3.   Next, I'm brainstorming.   I am listing what kinds of things I can do so that I can end up feeling the way I want to feel.    This step is a true brainstorm - no judgment or evaluation of the ideas yet, just list anything that comes to mind that could contribute to the feelings I'm seeking.   For example, under the Sweet Adelines category, if I want to feel Challenged, then I could take vocal lessons, try new kinds of music, take on a more active coaching role, etc.   I'm making a big, long list of ideas, and really putting some "crazy" ideas down that will stretch me and put me a little bit out of my comfort zone.

4.  Next, I'm rearranging, organizing, and prioritizing the list of things to do.   This is the step I'm at right now.  I've got way more ideas listed than I'll realistically be able to do, mainly due to time and money limitations.   So I have to make some choices about which ones will be most likely to help me get to those feel-good feelings I'm looking for.  What do I really want out of my 2015?   What things will really help me get there?   I'm paring down my list, choosing things that might cross categories, choosing things that will stretch me, or will most likely satisfy my wishes for feeling good.

5.  Next, (when I'm done with step 4), I'll make my list of Resolutions, and publish them here.   I'll do a weekly check-in here too.  I'm committing to myself to not lose sight of my goals, to give myself the gift of follow-through.   I'll have the weekly chance to evaluate and re-evaluate, and if things aren't working I'll be able to change things up to get back on track.

I'm in the middle of Step 3 and Step 4 right now.   In the next day or two, I hope to have this process complete, and ready to publish.

This is by far the most thorough and involved New Year's Resolution activity I've ever completed.   It sounds like over-kill maybe.   Too structured?  Too intense?    I don't know.   Maybe.  But maybe it's just what I need right now.   I'll give it a go, and check in later to see how it feels.

How about you?  Are you making any resolutions for 2015?  Or do you swear off resolutions?  Are you doing something else to guide your path through the coming months?  I'd love to hear about it.  Please do drop a message in the comments, let's chat!

Linking to:

The Hankful House - Get Your DIY On

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Gratitude - Day 360-362 - Dec 26-28, 2014

We've been spending the last few days just hanging out with our grown kids, our future daughter-in-law, and my husband's father, and it's been wonderful.  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Advent 2014 - Christmas Day - Celebration

"As we find ourselves wrapped in the season of wonder and light, the astonishment that is life ignites our spirits, and we feel, if merely for a moment, that we are as we were meant to be.
"May we hold fast to this sliver of mystery, this truth upon which we set the whole of who we are. May we call ourselves back to it time and again, until we are filled with the wonder that is our life– its hope, its peace, its joy, its love. Infused, then, with all that we are, may our energies be given to the transformation of this world–from despair into hope; from darkness into light; from fear into love. May we be bold. May we be daring. May we be love."

by Greta Vosper

Gratitude - Day 357-359 - Dec 23-25, 2014

Amidst the busyness of this holiday, the noisiness of the gathered family, the continuous dishwashing and cookie decorating, the bits of wrapping paper and ribbon, I'm so grateful for all of my blessings.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gratitude - Days 355-356 - Dec 21-22, 2014

I've been enjoying the last few days and reflecting on how our Christmas this year is different than years past.   We're all older, there are no young kids who are bouncing with excitement of the season.  No school concerts, no scouts or church youth parties, no trips to Toys R Us for us this year.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Advent 2014 - Week 4 - Love

"As this season of sparkle and bright unfolds around us the welcome beauty of love is found, woven into the simplicity of every moment. 
"May love flow from our hearts with abundance filling every moment with the season’s gifts of hope and peace and joy. May it be shared truly and deeply that all who encounter it?be charged with its message and become, themselves, the agents of love. And may our children, who love without reckoning, teach us the truth of this most precious gift–we are nothing without each other. Let us live, then, in the blessing of love."

by Greta Vosper

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gratitude - Day 354 - Dec 20, 2014

Today was an excellent day, one of those days where everything just falls into place nicely.  I got great news about my friend's recovery process from her brain tumor surgery.  My daughter is here for winter break.  My father in law arrived for the Christmas holiday.  My husband is recovering from his flu bug.  I had a great chat with my mom.  I got a lot of Christmas gift and candy preparations taken care of. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gratitude - Day 352 - Dec 18, 2014

Warm home.   Plenty of clothes.   Gas in my car.  My car.  Food in the fridge.  Access to excellent health care.  Family members who love me, and to love in return.  Friends to share fun times and special memories.   

A Little Bit Of Winter Cleanup

I took an hour or so this morning to get out into the yard.   It's one of the great things about living in the warmer southern climate - there's good weather for gardening almost all year long!

I've had a large box of daffodil and other spring bulbs in my back porch for a couple months now, awaiting time and energy to get them planted.  Well, today I put a huge chunk of them into the ground, and did some general yard cleanup while I was at it.

Advent 2014 - Week 3 - Joy

"As this season of “sparkle and bright” unfolds around us the transforming wonders of joy await discovery like shimmering sugar crystals on a favourite treat. 
"May we create joy in all our surroundings as we share gifts, meals, and simple pleasures with family and friends. May the easy gift of a smile bring the power of joy’s touch to those we meet through these busy days. And may we experience the joy of this season as though with the eyes and hearts of children that we might be transfixed by power of what could be."

by Greta Vosper

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas at Walt Disney World

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful four night, five day vacation at our favorite place, Walt Disney World.  We've been there a lot of times, but never at Christmas.  Being the big Disney fans that we are, it's been dream of mine for a long time to visit during the holiday season to see all the decorations.  So this trip was really a dream come true!

Gratitude - Day 351 - Dec 17, 2014

I'm thinking today of my friend who recently was diagnosed with three cancerous tumors, including one on her brain.   She had surgery a week ago to remove the brain tumor and has been recovering since then.   Now she's moving to a rehab center to do some occupational therapy, because even though the surgery went well, it turns out of course that you can't really just cut a tumor off of your brain with no side effects.  Her body is missing some of those brain cells and needs to re-learn some things, like how to keep her right arm from floating around randomly in space, and how to walk steadily, and how to keep track of time, how to read her Facebook timeline.   You know, the important things in life.

Gratitude- Day 346-350 - Dec 12-16, 2014

I spent these days in Walt Disney World with my dear husband, and it was a wonderful trip!   We enjoyed a slow pace, no rushing allowed.  We took in all the beautiful sights of the Christmas decorations that are everywhere, and we enjoyed special holiday attractions and events, and of course lots of delicious foods at new-to-us restaurants and some tried and true favorite places.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cozy and Comfy Christmas in the Study

Welcome to the coziest room in the house! 

Gratitude - Day 342 - Dec 8, 2014

I'm thankful today for a friend who always makes me smile and who has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know.   

I'm not at all thankful for the horrible diagnosis of Stage IV cancer that she received last night.

Christmas in the Living Room

Welcome to our living room at Christmas time!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Advent 2014 - Week 2 - Peace

"As this season of “sparkle and bright” unfolds around us, the silent prayers of peace lie like stars hidden in a clouded night. 
"May we inspire the world with peace. May we touch it to our lives that in every place of stress, frustration, or fear, we might feel the presence of peace easing our hearts and transforming our lives. And may we share the its healing power with our children, that they might become the inspiration through which peace makes its way to a new yet-dreamt-of world."
by Greta Vosper

Gratitude - Day 341 - Dec 7, 2014

I had a chance this weekend to rehearse with my quartet and sing at a Christmas party this afternoon. The weekend was a quickie trip up to Baltimore - I left home on Friday 4pm and arrived back home tonight at 10pm.  But it was just right.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Gratitude - Day 339-340 - Dec 5-6, 2014

Another couple of days, and another string of sorrowful news.   Friends whose family members are suffering from cancer.  Friends who experience horrific medical issues.   

When will it end?   Why so much suffering?

I must take this time to reflect on my many blessings, and enjoy every single moment of this life.  It's so fragile.  

So thankful today in the midst of this sorrow.

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I'd love for you to share in this project.  What's making you feel grateful today?
Please leave a comment to share your thoughts today.

Christmas Village Display

Our Christmas Village display is up!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gratitude - Day 337-338 - Dec 3-4, 2014

Do you ever stop to think about how joy and sorrow coexist in the same world?   It's probably the most fundamental dichotomy in life.  How can celebration and despair exist in the same space?   In the same moment?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

White, Gold and Green Christmas Tree

I'm excited to share one of our Christmas trees today.  This tree is in the Bonus Room which is a large TV room above our garage.  This is an "extra" tree - Santa will visit a different one in the living room, so this one is just for my own creative enjoyment.  :-)

Gratitude - Day 336 - Dec 2, 2014

Today was another good day.  OK, pretty much all the days are good days, aren't they?

Gratitude - Day 335 - Dec 1, 2014

I'm grateful for the arrival of December.

This song perfectly sums up the reasons why.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent 2014 - Week 1 - Hope

"As this season of “sparkle and bright” unfolds before us, the glimmering promises of hope lie like boxed jewels awaiting an adoring light. 
"May we hold fast to hope’s patient possibilities. May we lift them high that they might catch the light of our dreams and shine bright in our broken world.And may we instil hope’s challenge in the hearts of our children that they, too, will live it into meaning–pouring their lives, as we do ours, into making it real–for themselves, for each other, for the world.
by Gretta Vosper