CGB Book Club: Good Morning, Good Life #2

This book club is being run by my friend, Cindy Guentert-Baldo, on her Facebook group: Llamas Love Lettering. She will be doing livestreams every Saturday at 9 am PST (12 pm EST), and will send out an email the prior Tuesday, so you know what to read.

Week 2! I just received the email notice for Week 3 this Saturday, which reminded me to post for Week 2. Last Saturday, I was at an all-day planner event getting set up for the new year.

Good Morning, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life

Our assignment this week is to read Chapter 1: Decide. Here are the questions that Cindy gave us to think about while we read:

  1. What is your “why”? Only share what you are comfortable sharing.
    I think I’m still working this out, but I want my life to matter, to have a positive influence on others.
  2. How did you feel when Amy shared what her “why” was? Did you feel a little judgy, or maybe relieved that her why wasn’t some Pinterest-worthy altruistic concoction?
    I guess I was a little surprised that she was so blunt about it, but it’s not a bad thing. She has a vision for her life and decided that acquiring the resources to make it happen is her motivation. Good for her. I just know for myself that acquiring wealth is *not* a motivator.
  3. What is it you truly need out of your mornings (really, out of your days)? Not what your family needs or your boss needs or your significant other needs… what is it YOU need?
    To be able to end my day with a sense of accomplishment, or to know that my day had meaning and purpose? I probably need more time to reflect upon this.

“The more you beat down your belief in your ability to know what is right for you, the more you start to think you don’t actually know.”

Pg. 28

Amy suggests removing some decision fatigue from your life, so you can concentrate on the important decisions. Some ways she suggests are to lay out your clothes for the next day at bedtime, creating a “usual order” for your morning beverage, and scheduling your exercise time.

She provides an interview with someone about his morning routine. My biggest take-away from that was when he was asked what helps him the most to get a productive start to the day. He replied that it was gratitude. “Think about the things that you are grateful for and you’ll be more motivated to do the things that you need to do.”

At the end of the chapter, Amy gives us 5 questions to help us discover our Why:

  1. What’s a moment that you remember being truly excited about something?
    I seem to be the most excited about interacting with others. It sounds silly, but I am a true extrovert at heart. Nothing makes me happier than being around others and sharing our experiences. Take this weekend for example: I went to Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village. It was super cute and there was a lot to do and see; however, it was made 1000x better because I was there with friends. I could really feel all of the joy, awe, and wonder of Christmas because I was sharing the experience. This is probably also why I blog, photograph, and post on social media: not for attention, but to be able to connect with others.
  2. Think of something that has sparked passion in you, what was it?
    My goddaughter and her sisters, photography, blogging, reading, being a part of the Planners Gone Wild community…
  3. What do you need more of in your life that you’re a little (or a lot) afraid to say out loud?
    Focus? I picked that for my “word of the year” since I allow myself to get distracted and sidelined a lot in my personal life.
  4. What’s the real reason you need more of those things in your life?
    We only have so much time. I’d rather fill my life with things that are truly important than with filler. I want to have made an impact and a difference (for the better) in other people’s lives.
  5. At the end of your life, what would you like to be able to say about how you spent your time?
    That I loved God, I loved others, and I gave 100% of myself every day.

My question to myself right now is:

If I had a lousy day and were sick and feeling miserable, what would it take for me to feel good about my day in spite of that? I think some part of that is to give myself the grace to not be on top of my game every day, but I think there is also some room to redefine what a “good day” looks like.

This reminds me of the concept of redemptive suffering. Even when you feel useless and powerless, you truly are not. See also: On Passivity vs Activity in Suffering.

See you soon for Part #3!

CGB Book Club: Good Morning, Good Life #1

This book club is being run by my friend, Cindy Guentert-Baldo, on her Facebook group: Llamas Love Lettering. She will be doing livestreams every Saturday at 9 am PST (12 pm EST), and will send out an email the prior Tuesday, so you know what to read.

Of course, I’m coming into this a tad late. No surprise there. The first livestream went up yesterday, so I watched the first few minutes of it, then paused the video so I could read the Intro (our homework), then follow along with the replay. And, I started writing this blog. Because I love to distract myself.

Good Morning, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life

Here are the three questions that Cindy provided for us to reflect upon while we read the Intro:

  1. Do you consider yourself a morning person? Why or why not?
    I do consider myself to be a morning person. This is when I am most productive and have the most energy. When on vacation, my roommates can attest that I’m generally one of the first people out of bed and out the door (and typically on my way to Starbucks…). I’m actually one of those *annoying* morning people who is super cheerful upon waking up. Unfortunately for me, I don’t generally have time to do all the things around the house before I need to go to work; and then don’t feel like doing them when I get home. #messyhouse #thankgodformymom
  2. What is it you’d like to get out of a morning routine?
    It would be nice to not have to run around stressed out in the mornings, and probably better for me if I have a routine of taking my meds, having more coffee at home ($tarbuck$), and in general, feeling more prepared for my day.
  3. Which of the five habits Amy discusses in the Introduction do you think is going to be the most difficult for you to incorporate?
    Rise. LOL! I’m notorious for setting a bunch of alarms, then justifying sleeping in longer. I even set my alarm to require me to do high-level math problems to get it to shut off. Turns out, they were too easy. *sigh* Plus, who wants to get out of bed when the house is cold??

“…To build the life I wanted, I had to do more than just show up for everyone else… I have to show up and choose myself.”

Pg. xii

Amy gives an example of jumping out of bed and immediately rushing to work, something which I do all too frequently. Mostly, because I only allot myself about 4-5 hours of sleep per night. 🙂

“What if the first task of the day was to make myself happy?”

This is an interesting question. I’m not particularly motivated by seeking out my own happiness. In “The Four Tendencies” language, I’m an Obliger and am primarily motivated by what I can do for others, and am best at keeping external vs. internal commitments.

The 5 Habits:

  1. Decide: Choose for yourself what you want your mornings to look like. A good “why” will help keep you motivated.
  2. Defy: Combat your personal obstacles.
  3. Rise: Actually get up. (LOL!)
  4. Shine: Build the morning of your dreams.
  5. Thrive: “We are here to live a life. Not just a morning.”

See you soon for Part #2!

You Can’t Force the Things You Love

Now that we are just over a week into the new year, this is the time for all those bright, shiny New Year’s Resolutions to start falling by the wayside. It’s the time where you cheat for the first (or millionth) time, where you let yourself not do something *just this once*, where you promise to double up tomorrow. It’s a slippery slope and the slide starts early.

This evening, I started reading Emily Ley’s book, “A Simplified Life.” I bought two copies of this book: one for myself and one for my best friend. We both have aspects of our life which are hectic and frustrating and often feel that each day has far too much in the To Do column than will ever get checked off as Done.

Emily starts by talking about our environment and how clutter can make you feel overwhelmed and defeated before you even begin. So true, Emily. So true. I was read in a little bit, and then when I turned the page, there were some questions for us to answer about our home and what kind of environment we imagine for ourselves. So, of course, I decided that I would answer these for myself, instead of just plowing forward in reading the book. But then, I didn’t want to write in the book, because maybe I’d want to read it again later? So, sticky notes to the rescue! I had to then get up and find some sticky notes. And a pen. And while I’m up, I might as well put the phone on the charger since it’s almost out of battery. And let’s move the phone stand from the office to the bedroom (I’ve REALLY got to go to the Container Store and get another one! I am SO SICK of moving it from room to room every day!). Then, I consider blogging my responses instead, since I want to get back into blogging more anyway. So now, I need to go back into the office to grab the laptop (Is it charged?!). Finally, I cozy myself into the chaise with my sherpa throw and go to my website. And I can’t remember my password. Ugh! Seriously? I try a few times, because I know basically what it is, just not if the current iteration has a number or a different capital letter or what special character I added (did I add one?). *sigh* FINE. I’ll get up. And go BACK into the office, because I know that I have the password on a sticky note by the desk (I think so anyway). FINALLY, I’m logged in. Back to the chaise and my sherpa throw. Well, maybe not the throw, after all. I’m kind of warm. But not too far away, in case I get cold. how about right beside me? Oh yes, the blog post. What did I want to blog about? Forget environmental clutter, all of this mental clutter exhausts me before I can even consider my surroundings. Not that the surroundings help. So.

What’s the title of this post? You can’t force the things you love? Right. Back to the topic. Somewhere between charging the phone and grabbing the laptop — when I was thinking that I’d like to blog more — I segued into thinking about the various things I wanted to get back into doing. Things that I make “resolutions” around. Things that I used to do a lot and enjoyed doing. Like blogging and photography. And how I rarely do these things any more. I thought about how they have been on my New Year’s Resolutions list for years now. How every year, I am determined to get back into my old habits and how every year I don’t succeed. Why not?

Why not indeed. I think it’s precisely because I make them into a resolution. I make them into an item to complete and check off. Instead of being something that I enjoy and that I’m passionate about, I’ve suddenly made it into a chore or an errand. Something ELSE that I have to do. But that’s not the way I want to feel about these things. I want to do them because I love doing them. Not because a prompt in #cy365 says that today is the day to take a photograph of something From a Different Perspective (not actually today’s prompt – I haven’t looked at today’s prompt yet).

So, maybe I’ll focus more on Enjoying instead of Task Completion. Goals are fine and can be motivating, but at the end of the year, will I be better off from having a bunch of checkboxes, but feeling as though I need a vacation from my free time? Or should I not worry about accomplishing anything at all and allow myself to relax. Can I allow myself to be happy with wasting a day without getting frustrated with myself? I don’t know.

But I do know that I cannot “list” myself into passion for any particular thing, no matter how pretty the paper or how many colored pens I use. (Blasphemy!) I would rather Experience and Live and Enjoy and Savor, than check off yet another box.

And then, perhaps, I can use my lists to dream….

New Kitchen Faucet

New Kitchen Faucet

It’s pretty much always the case that when I go to Home Depot, I find something *else* that I want/need for my house. I almost never walk out of there with only the items I originally intended on purchasing.

Nothing new with that yesterday. Plus, there’s just something about a sunny, 68 degree February day in Michigan that makes you start thinking about spring cleaning and home improvements.

I had several light bulbs which were out in the house and went to get those, as well as some drain opener for the tub (it *always* needs to be cleaned out).

I replaced all the burnt out specialty bulbs today. They had LED options, so I went with those. One chandelier kind for the front door fixture, and 5 small globe bulbs for the living room and the back door fixtures. The LED bulbs are a lot brighter than the traditional incandescents (I bought the 60W version), and I love the extra light!

While going to the back of the store for the drain opener, I passed by the faucet aisle and stopped to take a look. For a long time, the kitchen faucet was so leaky that when the water is turned off at the tap, there is a stream of water about half of the stream when it is on at full force! That’s not a “leak,” really. More like a flood. I suppose I could have attempted to repair the faucet, but figured this was severe enough to just go ahead and replace the faucet entirely.

I picked one with a removable aerator, so that I could still install the quick-connect valve for the countertop dishwasher. The instructions said that I only needed an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver. I picked up a small sized wrench in the hand tools section, as well as some clear silicone caulk.

I had left the house about 11 am, browsed for a while in Home Depot, then picked up lunch at Estia, a Greek food restaurant that is owned by Vanessa’s uncle Paul and his cousin, Jorge. (They have the best chicken lemon rice soup! I love it so much!)

After lunch, I changed the light bulbs in the living room and then started to work on the faucet. I cleared out the items from beneath the kitchen sink, got my tools out, brought over an old washcloth and towel, and used a muffin tin to catch any leaks.

I was stalled almost right away. At first, I tried to take off the faucet and it wouldn’t budge. So I watched a YouTube how-to video and saw that there were screws under the sink that I needed to remove, as well as the water lines. After looking at it, it didn’t seem to be too complicated. HOWEVER! The plastic nuts that screwed the water line onto the faucet bolts were very tight! I couldn’t budge them.

I called my dad and we determined that I really just needed to get the right tools. My adjustable wrench didn’t have a wide enough opening for the plastic nuts. It was about 4 pm, and I was due to be over at Jack and April’s new house for a Housewarming at 6 pm. I changed clothes, since I had been grubbing on the floor and was filthy, and headed over, grabbing a venti iced latte on the way.

Dad had started putting some hand tools in a box for me when I got there. We added some more items that I might find useful to have around the house. He looked at the instruction manual for the sink and showed me how to connect the spray attachment. Mom gave me some of the beef vegetable soup that they had made for dinner. I was still full from lunch, but can have it for lunch at work the next day (today). We talked for a while, then I headed over to Jack and April’s.

They had 9 people over, and I knew everyone! They are a great group of people. We talked for a while, had some dinner and dessert (Michelle, it was fantastic! Some kind of creamy thing with whipped cream and strawberries, and a golden Oreo base), played with Vivien, played games, and watched the guys wrestle. It was a very enjoyable night!

Jack and John Wrestling

As per my evil plan, I asked Jack if he would be willing to come over Sunday night, in the event that I was not strong enough, even with the channel-locks and larger adjustable wrench, to remove the water line nuts.

It was probably about 10:30 pm when I got home, and I had to be at work at 6:30 in the morning. However, I decided to try and see if I could get the sink installed. The sprayer’s hose sleeve was a little tricky, since it really needed to have someone hold it from above while I attempted to screw it tight to the sink. I managed to get it somewhat tight by deviating from the instructions and putting the sprayer and it’s hose down the hose sleeve. I then used the hose to pull the hose sleeve tight to the sink. It provided enough friction that I was able to screw the hose sleeve down. I’ll still want to have someone hold it while I tighten it up some, but since I don’t need to worry about its watertightness, it can wait a bit.

Finally, the moment of truth. I used the channel-locks and it took a minute to two to get the right angle. I was able to disconnect the water lines pretty quickly, and only a little water spilled on the right (cold water) side. Installing the faucet was pretty easy, also, although I had to deviate from the instructions again. They wanted me to put the faucet on the counter, then connect the hose for the sprayer. However, since the faucet was not tight to the sink yet, it started to tip over and fall when I started to push up on the quick connect valve to connect it to the center post on the faucet. So, I went out of order and tightened the faucet to the sink first, then installed the quick connect valve. (It took me two tries to get the sprayer hose right. The hose was very curly from being packaged, and the first time, I didn’t realize that it had wrapped around the drain pipe. I disconnected it and fixed it. I didn’t want to be pulling my drain pipe out trying to use the sprayer!)

After that, I just had to connect the water valves and tighten up the new plastic nuts with the channel-locks. The hot water line connected super easy. I had a weird angle on the cold water line, so it took me a couple tries and then laying down inside the other side of the cabinet in order to attach it securely.

Done!

I opened the valves for the water line and made sure there were no leaks. Then, I took off the aerator and ran both water lines for a little while to get out any debris. I reconnected the aerator and decided that it was a good time to do some dishes and let the water run for a while — just to be extra sure that it was not leaking anywhere. Everything looks good! So excited to have a pretty new, non-leaking faucet! I guess that means that I’m old now, that household things make me happy. I’m pretty proud that I was able to install it myself, too!

Faith Life at Work

Every Tuesday at our church (St. Anastasia), we have a Mass at 7 pm. Every First Tuesday of the month after Mass, we have Young Adult Night. We gather in Meeting Room B and typically have pizza, a talk, and some trivia (or other game).

Since Fr. Jim had forgotten to ask the Catholic Trivia guy to come out this evening, he devised a quick game of Modified Family Feud, using answers from Family Feud episodes from, like, the 70s or something. (Who replaces a TOASTER if it is not broken?)

Anywhoo, after our quick game where we never really heard who won, we heard a talk by Denis Veneziano, our resident Italian architect and part-time language instructor. His topic was “Holiness in Your Daily Work.”

20160706_092140
Disclaimer: This is the cover of a book I have sitting on my desk at work. I’ve been meaning to read it for a couple years now. There is no review of this book in this post because lazy and haven’t read yet.

I jotted down a few notes, then a few more, then decided that I had enough fodder to create a blog post and share with y’all, so here you go! 🙂 In bullet points, because my coffee is not working yet.

  • Genesis 2:15 states, “ The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  This tells us that work is not supposed to be seen as “a necessary evil,” but something which adds to the dignity of man as being in God’s plan for our lives.  Denis continues to point out that even Jesus worked for most of His life, and He is our example of what it should look like to live a perfected human life.
  • Because of this, we should ask ourselves:  What pride to we take in our work?  Do we see the work that we do in a supernatural light?  As promoting, or capable of promoting, the Kingdom of God and sanctifying ourselves and those around us?
  • Beware of “professionalism” — where your work becomes the end purpose of your life.  It can be important, but it is a means.  Your work is just one part of your life.  You certainly shouldn’t give it inordinate preference over other aspects of your life.  But don’t go to the opposite extreme either and not give it its due importance.
  • How can I use my time at work to sanctify myself and others?
    • I can pray before I start my work — dedicating my work day to God and asking His help.
    • I can dedicate individual hours during the workday for a specific person or intention.  This can make the entire day into something of a prayer.
    • I should show interest in my coworkers and try to help them as much as possible.  Before being a worker, I (and they) am a person.

What are ways in which you bring God into your workplace?

What struggles do you have in showing God’s love to your coworkers?

One final thought:

A holy person is

NOT

a perfect person,

but is one who gets up

one more time

than they fall.

Greektown!

After work, I caught Mass at Christ the King in Ann Arbor, then headed to Detroit to meet up with Allie in Greektown. We snuck into Old St. Mary’s, piggybacking in the building as others were exiting for about 10 seconds of Adoration.

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Allie had already eaten, as I was delayed in getting there, but she graciously had First Dessert while I had some delicious Pastitsio at New Parthenon.

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Next, we went about 2 doors down the street and salivated at all of the desserts and pastries at Astoria’s. Finally, we made our selections (each of us chose a macaroon and one other item) and sat down for more conversation. We ate our French dessert in the middle of Greektown with NO shame. 🙂 We talked for hours and I laughed until my abs hurt.

It was a perfect night: warm, but not hot; no humidity; a slight breeze. There were street musicians and a ton of people walking around. The city was beautiful. I left with my key lime cheesecake as a souvenir to be enjoyed at a later date. (Allie may or may not have had an entire day’s worth of leftovers to take home, including an eclair from Second Dessert.) Allie may be making Old St. Mary’s her home parish, and I definitely think I’ll be returning soon to check out more of what Greektown has to offer.

A Pretty Day at Work

It’s hard, sometimes, working in a building that has (almost) no windows.  I never know what the weather is like outside.  Usually, we can hear the rain (like a thousand cats on a hot tin roof), but whether it is overcast or sunny, hot or cold, is rather a mystery.

The smokers among us escape every so often and go outside, and there are a couple of people who take daily walks at lunchtime.  I tend to eat at my desk and work through lunch and take no breaks.

But today, I decided to order Jimmy John’s.  It was so pretty out, that I went back upstairs to grab my phone to take a couple pictures of the building.  (That and the Jimmy John’s guy was stuck at the gate and I had to call him.)

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My Black Friday

Friday morning. One of those which is so blackly frustrating that you are certain you are getting a foretaste of Hell itself. I have been having increased pain in my arm and it took a lot of crying and tossing and turning to fall asleep. Then, an amber alert went off at 2am, waking me again. No surprise, I woke up later than I wanted.

Getting dressed in new clothes always takes a little longer, due to the tags and whatnot. Getting dressed in new clothes with a messed up arm and hand is even worse. DELAY.

Blood glucose, which was low at the time of the amber alert, is now high. Decide it’s best to take insulin now, rather than in an hour when you get to work. DELAY.

Frustration after frustration happened in the short time I was getting ready to go to work. The final straw was when I could not find my glasses and spent 10 minutes looking for them. I wanted to do violence to something, but I couldn’t think of a proper target. Just one of those frustrations where you want to scream and hit something and fall into a puddle and sob until it gets better.

But I’m still running late.

And I have to scrape snow and ice off the car. With my painful, messed up arm.

WHY am I in Hell? What did I DO to deserve this?

The drive in to work was probably mostly fine. The normal morning rush and all that, but I was in a black mood (and knew it). I wasn’t driving with road rage, because I don’t do that. But there was plenty of profanity in my head for all. My apologies, fellow drivers.

I arrived in Ann Arbor with some time to spare, so I decided to stop at Starbucks to get some coffee and breakfast, as I had taken insulin before I left. While there wasn’t a lot of people in line at the drive-thru, this is the slowest Starbucks ever. DELAY.

I make it to work and to my desk with 2 minutes to spare, but I was already done with Friday.

THANKFULLY, I love my job and my coworkers, and I had a project to work on, so things improved greatly from there. I got to have breakfast, work on my project, take some calls, and prep for a professional certification exam I was taking in the afternoon.

I had sent a message to my Neurologist’s office yesterday about the increased pain and numbness and received a message back, adjusting my medications. I looked up the gabapentin online to look at dosing and saw that it peaks in effectiveness about 3 hours after you take it, and can make you sleepy. I was told to increase my dose to about three times what I was currently on. My boss noted that everyone will have to keep an eye on me, as I adjust to the new meds, and make sure I’m good with the changes before I tackle my long commutes. He asked when I was starting the new meds. As soon as I got home, I replied, as I had counted out my medication for the week and only had the old dose on me (which was fine). The suggestion was made that I start the new dose at home, where I can evaluate how it affects me. Which was my plan all along.

HA HA HA.

The drive home took TWO HOURS. It was grey and cold and rainy and SLOW. I had to keep turning the heat/defrost on, then back off as I got too warm. I was getting really tired, bored by the slow traffic and lack of distraction (my phone battery had died), and was feeling slightly nauseated from all the stop-and-go. And, of course, this was just about three hours from when I took my noon dose of medication. Never mind that it had never affected me like this before, but NOW I was being crushed with fatigue.

I made it home without incident, but I was crazy tired. I mean, like I was drugged (hahaha). I stumbled to and from the mailbox and brought packages in, took my dinnertime medications, and immediately fell into bed. I was asleep probably within 5 minutes of being home. I slept from 6 pm until 4:30 am, when my alarm went off.

AND THUS FRIDAY ENDED. Hallelujah!

(Sorry, everyone. I don’t have any pictures from Friday.)

Making It Happen for 2016

Make It Happen
A friend recommended a book to me, “Making It Happen” by Lara Casey.  As I was looking into the book, I found that it was part of a larger program to help you live more intentionally and realize your goals.  The more I read, the more I wanted to try her whole program, so I ordered the Powersheets bundle with her book.  Not being patient enough to wait for the order to come in, I also got the Audible version and listened to this in the car during my commutes to and from work.

I absolutely loved it!  She does an amazing job of weaving together advice and personal testimony while keeping your primary focus on what God wants for your life.

I identified strongly with Lara herself, and a lot of her personality traits are my own, so her advice based on her experience was immediately relatable to my own life.

There are 7 initial steps to get ready to Make It Happen.

Step 1: Evaluate Where You Are

The very first thing you do in your Powersheets is to fill out a page about yourself.  After your name, it says, “I am a (thing beyond a job title here) ___.”  I filled in that blank with “joyful mess!”  I guess that’s the best descriptor I have for myself at the moment.  Things to tend to be pretty messy and haphazard in my world (which hopefully will be helped this year), but I do tend to be optimistic and joyful, no matter what happens.

After this, I wrote, “In the past, I have ignored, neglected, and put off many things I needed to do but now, I’m ready to make a plan, evaluate what’s important, and MAKE IT HAPPEN!  The things I value most are the people I love, God, and my faith.”

Three words that describe me:  fun-loving, extroverted, and enthusiastic.

My home/personal space is usually lived in, chaotic, and a MESS!  (Probably my mom’s fault…  After all, she used to call me Mess Anne growing up….)

Favorite colors:  yellow, green, aqua

Favorite foods:  chips + salsa, Taco Bell, alfredo sauce, grilled cheese

If I could have someone else’s job for a day, I would be a travel photographer.

My favorite song right now is Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”  But check back in a couple days and it’ll likely be something else.

Person I would most like to meet:  Right now, I’d most like to meet Lara Casey.  I think we would become friends.  🙂

I get most fired up when someone encourages me or I’m challenged or pushed to soar.  I’m fairly extroverted, so it makes sense to me that I find strength and motivation from other people.

I get along best with people who – yeah, I checked off every option there.  I love people!

My best memories involve spending time with friends and family, experiencing something new, and doing an activity that I love.

I accomplish things best when:  (1) I have a cheerleader rooting me on, (2) someone else depends on me, or (3) I give myself a deadline.  The only one I didn’t check was the one that says, “I have quiet time and space to think,” because I am awful about sitting still.  I never do it.  I am horrible at meditation and listening to God.  But I know that I need to grow in this area.  Still, it’s important to know how I’m best motivated, especially as I try to stick to the plans which I’m making now.

Things I love to do:

  • Be with other people
  • Dance + listen to music
  • Watch movies
  • Read books
  • Take photographs
  • Travel
  • Give random gifts
  • Make others happy

I am most grateful for (in no particular order):

  • The people God has brought into my life
  • My cheerful disposition
  • God’s faithfulness and love
  • My job and boss
  • My best friend
  • My goddaughter
  • Fr. John
  • My faith

It is good to take these steps, these minutes, to reflect upon who I am, what I love, and what motivates me. It’s part of the process to determine what is really important in my life. I only have so much time and energy. If I waste it on something that I don’t really value, then what was the point? I’d be much better off to allocate my resources to things and people that are important to me.

Step 2: Plant the Seeds

I’ve made 12 categories of things that I’d like to work on in the next year:
Make It Happen

  • Blogging
  • Exercise
  • Faith Life
  • Finances
  • Food/Blood Sugar
  • Household
  • Personal Relationships
  • Photography
  • Reading Challenge
  • Thesis
  • Twidget Enterprises
  • Work/Professional Life

Step 3: Clear the Clutter

This section tells you to write down everything that is distracting you or holding you back from realizing your goals. In addition to knowing what’s important to you, what motivates you, and what you want to accomplish, it is good to know what obstacles are in your way. If you are aware of them, you can plan for them (to an extent).

For me, some of my pitfalls are if I am not feeling well or if I let myself become distracted or sidetracked. Plus, I also have a tendency to allow one “mess-up” to completely derail me. Right now, I don’t feel prepared for the next year and the challenges I’ve set for myself. But that’s okay. I don’t have to have the entire year figured out by tomorrow. I *can* figure it out as I go.

I want to change my thinking from “chasing perfection” to “chasing progress.”

Step 4: Meet Your Fears

I don’t have a ton of fears. The couple that I came up with are that I’m afraid that I’ll burn out or compromise my health, as I have a tendency to take on too much, work too hard, and not leave any time for myself to rest and recharge. I’m also afraid that I won’t follow through and that I’ll be in exactly the same place in all of these areas this time next year.

Step 5: Watch the Powersheets Video

There’s SO MUCH great information on her site, LaraCasey.com. Some of the things that stayed with me as I watched was that it’s okay to make a mess. She was talking of working in your Powersheets, but I take it to mean anywhere along this process. The Powersheets, my planners… All of these things are just tools, things that help me. I shouldn’t be concerned about keeping my tools pretty. I just want to make my life beautiful — for myself, and so that I can me a mirror of God’s grace and love to others. At the end of the day (or year), who cares what my planner looks like, or if my handwriting was bad? These things are not ultimately important. If I end the year having grown in faith and love and as a person, then my year will have been a success.

In doing her Powersheets, Lara got on her knees and read Scripture. I need this kind of inspiration. To have God be such a central part of my life. She recalled a passage in the Bible, right before Jesus selected the Twelve. In order to make good decisions, Jesus first spent the entire evening in prayer to the Father. Grounding yourself in prayer and the Word is so important.

In one of her Periscope videos, she talks of the song, Oceans:


While I was waiting for Oceans to load on YouTube, I had to watch an advertisement. It was for Zootopia, and during the ad there was the quote, “No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.” Which is SO appropriate for today and for this project!

Step 6: Decide You Can

This is a very long section in the Powersheets. Basically, you write out what has been working and what hasn’t, what you would like to prune from your life, and what you would like to cultivate. Then, you decide on goals (which I’ve written above). Remind yourself of what you want to achieve and why.

Step 7: Set Purposeful Goals

This is where you break down your goals into actionable baby steps, so that you have something concrete to work on and a way to measure progress on your goal. I am really glad that Lara has you revisit and tweak these goals every 3 months. It will help me re-commit to them (or refine/delete/replace them if that’s appropriate) and also see where I am, like a report card.

I’m so excited for this year and hope that you are as well!

God Bless and Happy New Year!

Make It Happen