The Turning of the Page

I don’t necessarily believe in putting the past behind me.

I suppose I do to a point; there are simply some things upon which it is fruitless to dwell. We certainly cannot change the past, but for better or worse, our past remains forever a part of who and where we are today. At the same time, though, we need to turn the page and move on to the next part of our story. It is not progress to throw down the book and stop reading because the events of a particular chapter are not as we might like. If we do not continue to move forward, we will never find out what the next chapter brings.

Making the transition from past to future feels much like turning the pages of a book. Once we’ve moved beyond each paragraph, page, and chapter, the words we have read remain part of our experience. They affect us, change us, and help us make sense of the next thing we read. Likewise, the words we have yet to read lie before us waiting to be taken in, savored, and made part of our experience. The only thing that comprises our present is right now, the moment in which we turn the page and move from what has been to what is yet to be.

As we turn the page from 2016 into 2017, I find myself tremendously grateful. This has been a good year for me and for my family in so many ways. We are healthy. We are safe. We have enough of all the things we need to sustain us and then some. We are blessed with friends and family near and far who love us. We have grown as individuals and as a family. I could not be more thankful. And while my little brood has certainly had our share of challenges and disappointments, I know that we have soldiered through and made great strides toward accomplishing our goals.

I am painfully aware that there is much trouble and sorrow in the world right now. I am aware that many people have found 2016 to be a harrowing year in many respects. Too many are not healthy or safe. Too many are lonely and separated from loved ones by distance or other means. Too many live in fear and pain. I suppose knowing this makes me appreciate even more the good that we have felt this year after several years of challenges for all of us.

In 2016, I chose the words Calm and Control to guide me through my days. While I will very likely never call myself a calm person, I definitely think that I have found a better sense of both inner and outer calm this year. I also realize that it is nigh unto impossible to be in control of every (or really any) aspect of life, but I have found strategies to help me better manage what aspects I can. I am better for it. My family is better for it. Better is good.

I would not say that any of us is “finished.” Like Franklin and Thoreau and Emerson and so many others, I believe that living life as a work progress is a good thing. Rather than striving for a state of completion or finality, the human spirit thrives when striving always to better the Self. As I look back over the words I’ve chosen each year for the last several, I can see how each one continues to weave in and out of the ways I think and live. Focus. Focus. (Yes, I chose this one twice.) Progress. Calm and Control.  Like all else, while they may not be my primary tasks, they remain with me.

And now it is time to look and move forward. As I turn the page on this year and begin the next, I know my word for the year will be Balance. I find myself saying it often lately and so it must be on my mind, at least subconsciously.

Balance is necessary in all things and balance exists in all things. There is no darkness without light, no failure without success, no sadness without joy. We all worry about how to balance home and work life, kids and relationships, work and play, family time and alone time, eating well and enjoying a pizza…and so much more. As we move forward in a world filled with so many things to worry and frighten each of us, I know it is important to seek the good and the positive, to find the balance that absolutely exists.

To focus solely on what is terrible can only prove harmful, just as never turning the page of a book can only leave the end of the story unknown. I, for one, would rather keep reading. I want to know what happens. I want to know how the story ends. And then I want to read another…and another…

At this time of year it is easy to talk about starting over and making goals. But I believe that every month, every day, sometimes every hour is an opportunity for a fresh start and a new goal. If moving through life is like turning the pages of a book, then there is always another page to turn, another story to tell, another book to read.

There will be challenges ahead; I believe they are necessary to help us find the victories. And so I wish each of you a story filled with challenges that will ultimately bring you health, happiness, love, and (perhaps most of all) peace in the days ahead.

xo.

 

 

 

#10Thankful – Another Year Older

So my blog and I both had birthdays this week.

My blog is four years old. Imagine that. And me? Well, I’m four and then some. Birthdays have a way of prompting retrospection, don’t they. At least for me. I often find myself reflective around birthdays – take time to consider where I’ve been, where I’m going…just think.

So for starters, I’m thankful for another year of life and one that has brought many changes and surprises. It’s been a year of progress (my One Word, as I recall) and that is always a good thing. I spent time on my birthday with the people closest and most dear to me. I received many thoughtful cards and messages and gifts – all of which really touched me in so many ways. And the Hub started the day off by leaving me several little birthday notes in places he knew I’d find them. Too cute.

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I am thankful for CSA produce! I know I put that on here every week lately, but it really is awesome. I love having the fresh produce straight off our local organic farm fields. And it makes meal prep kind of easy, too. The ingredients are supplied; I just have to put my creativity to use and figure out how to use them.

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This week we had another round of the sugar snap pea pasta we had last week. It was delicious. Again.

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The new carpet on the stairs remains (knock wood) unspoiled by Rotten Cat deposits. We are very happy for that. And the dark color keeps the stairs from looking filthy the minute one of the Rottens drops even one black hair on it. I suppose the down side to that is that it’s easier to forget to vacuum…but we’re working on that not being the case.

I am thankful for things like Shark Week and Hallmark’s Keepsake Ornament week during which they show Christmas movies on TV in July and fireworks and summer theatre excursions…all the things we enjoy together as a family that help maintain and strengthen the bonds we already share.

We’ve accomplished a few more small projects around the house this week and have plans in place for many more as the summer unfolds. Maybe it’s a throwback to my years as a teacher or just to having time off from school in the summer as a kid, but to me summer is the time to work on projects and improvements. I’m not much of a spring cleaner, but summer gets me going.

I am very glad to be tackling at least one of my writing projects this month. Yup, I signed up for the CampNaNoWriMo thing during July and have committed to getting a few of the books I want for my kids’ book series written, edited, and illustrated before summer is over. My goal is to start shopping for some readers and (hopefully) a publisher come fall.

I’ve also been doing a tremendous amount of reading just for pleasure, something I used to do quite voraciously and over time due to college and work and marriage and work and buying a house and having a kid and grad school and just all the things I fell out of the habit. I have a huge list and pile of things I want to read and I’m so very happy to be working my way through.

I am always thankful for Kidzilla and the Hub. They are my loves, my life, and they make every day beautiful.

And now I am thankful to finish this list and get on to other things. I didn’t do so well at getting around to read other posts last week (sorry!) so I hope to do a better job in that department this time around. It won’t be until after the long holiday weekend, though, for sure. We’ll be off doing…

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Your turn – what are you thankful for this week? What are your favorite summer activities and habits? You know the drill – share ’em or link ’em. And don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts in the link-up by clicking that blue button down there.

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TToT – I’m Back!

Did you miss me?

I was a little surprised when I looked at my last TToT and realized that I skipped two weekends in a row. TToT is not something I skip. But I did say I was taking an Internet break during the holidays and apparently I was serious.

I really did take a break – I barely thought about the cyber world and just barely paid attention to messages. I missed the people that I usually connect with. But overall? The time away felt freaking great.

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That said, 2015 is in the bag, so are the holidays and all of their stress, and by the end of this weekend all the Christmas decorations will be stored away for another year. I’m done and ready to move on.

So let’s commence with the thankfuls… Continue reading “TToT – I’m Back!”

Calm and In Control

I swore I wasn’t going to do this.

I was not going to write an end of the year wrap-up post, or a list of my favorite books, or favorite moments of the year. I was not going to make any New Year’s resolutions (aside from the perennial one I make to stop swearing) or post any goals related to weight, writing, water consumption, or anything else. I find the whole concept – much like all of January – just…ugh.

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But I have done the word of the year thing for the last few and I definitely liked it. I suppose I didn’t do much with my 2015 word, Progress – at least not here on the blog – so I figured picking a word for 2016 was probably a wasted effort. But it’s not.
Just because I didn’t actively or regularly report on my word doesn’t mean I did not make Progress in many ways throughout the year. And as I recall, I chose Progress as a theme for me, the Hub, and Zilla – whether they liked it or not. In many ways we have all made significant progress in the last year. I’m calling all of that success.

But I’m kind of done with 2015 so let’s move forward, shall we?

See? Progress… Continue reading “Calm and In Control”

FTSF – I Have No Proudest Moment

I have no proudest moment to share with you.

I am terrible with superlatives. Favorite? Best? Proudest? Worst? I am always struck dumb when asked to name only one. After thinking about this for days, I find myself reaching the same conclusion once again.

I can not name any one proudest moment. Continue reading “FTSF – I Have No Proudest Moment”

Once Upon a Year or Two Ago

Sometimes it’s nice to take a look at where we’ve been.

Every now and then I take a look through photo albums, old letters, piles of filing in my office that need to be handled…but I haven’t done much backward observation here on my blog. Today’s as good a day as any, so come along with me and let’s visit the ghosts of blog posts past… Continue reading “Once Upon a Year or Two Ago”

What Was that Word Again?

About this time last year, I chose my One Word for 2014.

Well, maybe I re-chose it. Or perhaps it chose me. My word was Focus. I knew I had not reached all of my goals in the area of improving my focus during 2013, so I wanted to recommit. And I did.

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I worked on improving my focus in several areas. And then, somewhere around partway through the year, I stopped updating and posting about my word. I guess it would be just too obvious to say I seemed to have lost my focus. Continue reading “What Was that Word Again?”

Focus on Routine – Crafting a Plan

It is very difficult to focus on improving our daily routine when every other day is a snow day. Or a delayed opening. Or something.

Seriously, how are you supposed to get into any kind of rhythm when there just isn’t even a beat to follow? And hasn’t been one since like…Thanksgiving?

There has been one distinct benefit to the disruption and the down time. I’ve had a whole lot of time to work on the de-cluttering and a whole lot of time to think about what is and isn’t working and how to proceed from where we are now. I have some ideas… Continue reading “Focus on Routine – Crafting a Plan”

Focus – Still Distracted but Moving Forward Anyway

So here we are, four days into February. Time to check in on my One Word goals and move forward into the next part of the plan. This year I’m working on Focus.

For January, I decided (with a little help from Steve over at Do Something Cool) to focus on removing distractions rather than getting more focused on one particular thing.

First the bad news: I finally settled on how to approach my January goal about halfway through the month. That didn’t exactly set me up for great success, did it? Two weeks to accomplish the monumental goal of removing the piles and projects that distract us from our home? Oh, and right after I got going on that an felt like I had some momentum going…the perfect storm of deadlines set in and I found myself missing out on my fifteen minutes a day plan on more than a few days. So are all of my piles of distraction gone? No.

But stick with me. There’s good news, too. Continue reading “Focus – Still Distracted but Moving Forward Anyway”

TToT – Later, January!

Goodbye, January! I’m so over you. Why? Because Polar Vortex, that’s why. I never thought I’d be so happy to see the temperature read 32 degrees in my life.

Let’s get right down to business.

First, I’m going with the theme of being thankful for others’ happiness. Monday of this week, the Fab Hub took a trip to our favorite mountain to stomp around in the snow. He’s been talking about doing this forever. And so he seized a moment and went.

20140127_10401020140127_104322Well worth the trip, I think. Continue reading “TToT – Later, January!”