Wednesday, December 26, 2018

You're Invited to 19 in 2019!!

How long is your "project to-do list"?

Perhaps your list is a mile long, filled with tasks such as clean out the garage, digitalize the family photos, work through your yarn stash and finish all of those as-yet-undone projects, read the Bible in one year, grow our own vegetables this summer and can enough to get through next winter, and read the entire Kinsey Milhone series.

Perhaps, though, you're like me. Perhaps your list isn't so terribly long, but it's still a bit overwhelming for one reason or another.

Last Wednesday ("It's the Most Intimidating Time of the Year") I promised I'd share an opportunity with you, so here it is. You are cordially invited to join my Facebook group "19 in 2019"!

This group will not "coordinate" with my blog posts; it is an entirely separate entity, and I hope you will check it out and join us.

So what is 19 in 2019?

First, it is NOT another to-do list or obligation or chore.

Instead, it is a group of individuals who want to make some changes in 2019, but they want to do so in a place where people support & encourage each other and in a way that is fun and free of stress and judgment.

I've done this before -- in 2016 and 2017 -- and we had so much fun, but with all that was going on in my life in 2018, I just didn't get it going again. I missed it and decided to make it a priority again this year. 

Here's how it works.

First of all, there are no rules. The following are guidelines for you to adapt and mold to fit your own situation and personality.

Each participant will choose 12 "challenges" -- one for each month. They can be things you want to do (ex: take a 15-minute walk every day), things you want to stop doing (spending hours each day mindlessly surfing the net), or things you want to change (eat 4 vegetables a day instead of the 2 you currently eat).

You will also choose 6 "treats" -- one for every 2 months (Jan/Feb; March/April; etc). The "size" of the treats is unimportant; examples include a Saturday spent in your pajamas with a great novel and snacks, a massage, buying that scrumptious yarn you've had your eye on, etc.

Some people tie the "treat" to the challenges, but I don't do that. I give myself the treat whether or not I complete the challenges for those 2 months. You also don't have to wait until the 2 months are over; treat yourself when you need or want to!

Finally, choose 1 larger, more challenging task to complete before the year ends. One person painted their entire house (inside), and I really need to digitalize 28 years worth of photos and memorabilia!

Some people choose all 12 challenges and the 6 treats at the beginning of the year and make no alterations; others choose them at the beginning but make adjustments; other people just wing it and set the challenges and treats as they go along. Remember, do what you want -- there are no rules!

A few "maintenance" details you need to know.
1. The group is a closed group, meaning anyone who searches FB can find the group and request to join, but non-members cannot see what is being posted.

2. I will be moderating as closely as possible, checking in at least twice each day; I will remove and block anyone who doesn't play nicely. :)

3. I will be opening threads every month and every 2 months so you can share your challenges and treats.

4. I will be posting encouragement, funny memes, etc., at least once a day almost every day. My goal is to share something uplifting every single day, but I know that sometimes life doesn't go along with our plans, so I'm going to do the best I can and extend grace to myself when I don't meet my goal.

So there you have it! I hope you'll head over to Facebook 19 in 2019 Group and join the group. I'll be opening the January challenge and January/February treats and 2019 mega-challenge threads on Saturday!

Before you go, please share any questions or comments via a comment. I love to hear from you :)

Friday, December 21, 2018

With (FMF)

I'm very excited to again this week join a talented group of women who connect each Friday in an online, unedited flash mob free-write based on a one-word prompt from our fearless leader Kate Motaung. My timer is set for 5 minutes; let's see where the word "with" takes me.

I don't know about you, but all too often I allow my mind to scurry and scramble around, formulating a whiny list of all my "withouts". I'm without the firm, toned upper arms I used to take for granted. I'm without minor aches and pains.  

Perhaps you know what I mean. Perhaps there have been a few "without" thoughts circling the edges of your mind. Maybe even establishing a permanent seat front and center. 

But as 2018 nears its end, I have the opportunity to focus on all my "withs". 

So what and who have been with me these past 12 months?

I've been blessed by the presence of so many things.

My new home in a safer neighborhood, appliances and machinery and electronics that make my life so much easier, a more open schedule now that I've retired, health insurance at a great rate, good reports from the doctor after checkups and the like, an absolutely delightful retirement party thrown by my son & daughter, a working fireplace (oh, how I love it), great books -- fiction and nonfiction, clarity of thought, creativity . . .

I've been graced by the presence -- face-to-face and electronically -- of so many people. 

My son and daughter, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, coworkers and student and (for the most part) their parents, supportive/encouraging/intriguing/challenging/funny Facebook friends, a fantastic handy-man, Bible Study Fellowship ladies,  some very new lady friends at the church I've been visiting regularly . . .

Ironically, writing this post about my "withs" is aggravating me just a bit. 

I want to write and write and write . . . my cup overflows.

What and who are with you? I hope you'll share a few things via a comment. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

It's that Most Intimidating Time of the Year!

Andy Williams (yes, that Andy Williams -- the sweater-loving crooner) wrote the words we all know and even sing but too often don't really live.

Ask 100 people to describe in just one word their own December and Christmas season and you'll undoubtedly hear words like: rushed, chaotic, stressful, busy, and demanding. Very few, if any people, will say, as Mr. Williams sang, that it's "wonderful".

(photo courtesy of Pinterest)
So many of us are busy shopping and buying and ordering and wrapping; grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning; and rushing to and fro picking up last-minute necessities, attending parties and programs, and simply hustling and bustling through this season of the year.

Even if we pause now and then to soak in the beauty and wonder of this most-precious season, those moments are all-too rare and fleeting for many of us.

So when you read the next paragraph, you might be tempted to stop reading, to say "I don't have time right now to think about that!"  But give me just a few minutes of your very-busy day; I believe I have something to offer that just might help you as we approach Christmas and, just  seven days later, a new year.

Once Christmas is past, we turn our attention to New Years and to New Years resolutions. I don't know about you, but I quit making New Years resolutions about 10 years ago. I had been horrible at keeping them anyway, I reasoned, so what was the point?

But about 4 years ago, I came to the end of the year feeling unsettled, out of focus, and somewhat rudderless. My mode of living was reactive; I spent the vast majority of my time just going through the motions, responding to outside circumstances without much thought, and as a result, the precious gift of that previous year had not been very productive.

I decided to make some changes, but I knew that a set of lofty resolutions weren't for me, so I came up with a plan. No resolutions, no lofty goals that looked great on paper but were nearly impossible for me to sustain for a long enough period to make any real difference.  A simple and very fun plan.

And then I put it into practice for one year.

It worked! I was more successful some months than others, some days more than others. Overall, though, at the end of that year I looked back with a sense of accomplishment and peace. And yes, it felt wonderful!

Just as importantly, I learned so much that year about a topic that had for the previous 8 or so years become dear to my heart -- reacting positively to a major life change through life redesign.

It's the topic I had planned to write about when I started this blog several years ago. But I wasn't ready several years ago. I had to live through the process myself for several years before I could write about it. As a result, the blog floundered, I wrote in fits and spurts, trying to make it work. And it really didn't.

But that was all part of the process, as I can see now.

So what does that mean? It means I'm ready now. I'm ready to focus on life redesign after a major (positive or negative) life change. I'm committed to sharing with you every Wednesday something that can help you make needed or wanted changes in your life.

I hope you'll join me and be an active participant in my little blog this coming year. I hope you'll subscribe so you don't miss any posts but that you'll come here and share your own thoughts and experiences. I also hope you'll share this post with your friends.

Next Wednesday I'll be sharing an exciting opportunity for you. It won't cost you a single penny, you won't have to download or purchase a single thing, and it involves something designed to help you -- and me -- redesign our lives so that at the end of 2019 each one of us can look back at the previous 12 months and say it really was a wonderful -- and fun and productive -- year.

I do have one little assignment for you. It might take you a minutes; it might take you a bit longer than that. But however much time you invest, I ask that you do it thoughtfully, with deliberation and intention.  Before next Wednesday, write down the answer to the following prompt:

          List, in order, the priorities that you want to guide your daily life.

In other words, don't look back at how you prioritize things now and how you allot your time and resources now. Instead, what are your true priorities, the ones you want to live by.

Once you've come up with your list, I hope you'll share something about it with us via a comment here on the blog. Your list itself may be very private, and I understand that. Perhaps you'd like to share how this little activity went for you (was it harder than you expected? easier?), or perhaps you'd like to share something to help or motivate others who are thinking about their own priorities. Or perhaps you feel comfortable sharing your actual list.

Whatever you feel comfortable sharing, I hope you'll do so through a comment.

And don't forget to check back next Wednesday. I'll share my own list and an exciting announcement!

(photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Still (Five Minute Friday)

I'm very excited to again this week join a talented group of women who connect each Friday in an online, unedited flash mob free write based on a one-word prompt from our fearless leader Kate Motaung. My timer is set for 5 minutes; let's see where the word "still" takes me.

It's been awhile since I've been part of the Five Minute Friday (FMF) group. I'm out of practice, feeling awkward and intimidated by the timer ruthlessly counting down the precious seconds allotted to me. 

I realized as I typed that sentence that it's been awhile since I've been many things: myself, at peace, comfortable in my own skin, healthy, filled with joy . . .

And I realize, too, that for far too long I've been still. 

Oh, I've been moving. Sometimes I've gone through the motions. Other times I've rushed frantically here and there, making rash decisions, working to counteract those rash decisions . . . 

But really, in all the ways that count, I've been still. 

Not moving from my place of mourning, of looking back at what's been lost, of regretting decisions made, of wanting somebody to tell me or show me how to fix things or, better yet, fix them for me. 

Two weeks ago, in one of those moments of rushing around, trying frantically to fix a predicament caused by a decision that seemed so right at the time but turned out to be nothing but a far-from-effective bandaid, I experienced a proverbial thunderbolt realization.

I do not want to continue on the path I am on. 

And so, these past two weeks, I've been still. With a journal and my Bible. With a list of Bible verses on a large sticky-note inside my planner. With a heart that longs for joy and relationship.

I've learned so much. 

And now I'm ready to move, but to first be still.

To pause and be still, to consider where I'm headed (as opposed to where I've been), and to move forward. Productively. Positively, Unalone. 

Today, this entry, is my first step. 

(photo courtesy Pinterest)