New Year, New Word 2018

Happy New Year! 

Boy, 2017 feels like it flew by, but I tell you what, I'm ready for 2018! I've been doing a lot of preparation this last month looking ahead to everything I want to do this year and all I want to accomplish.

Thanks to my PowerSheets from Cultivate What Matters (Check out Lara Casey if you haven't yet! I really dig her positivity!), I got a jump start back at the beginning of December. Listen, I can make plans and goals, but sometimes it's easy to lose direction of where you're going in all the planning and goal making. This journal, and I love journaling, is something that just helps you figure out where the heck you're going and how the heck to get there. Plus, each month you've got a chance to keep yourself on track. That's some serious accountability, people. Now who doesn't like that?  

One of things PowerSheets helps you discover is your word for the year and I can't say I'm surprised by my 2018 selection: Focus

Focus (noun): the center of interest or activity; the quality of having or producing a clear visual definition; a device on a lens to produce a clearer image. Synonyms: center, heart, core

I spent all of last year really trying to be intentional, be conscious of what I said, what I did, and what I put into my relationships. Through that I felt like I started to really hone in on certain areas in life and other areas seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Making personal strides felt good and I knew I could use those to my advantage for whatever I was missing. 

To me, "focus" is not about putting my attention on one thing or making myself stare down one goal, never deviating from it. No, I see "focus" as a word that means working on or working through something to clarify that desire, honing in to make that desire a definite reality. I'm planning on this year's focus to be an opportunity to really strive on producing that vision, turning the lens of my life to sharpen a clearer image for my future. In other words, it's a work in progress. 

When you go to the eye doctor, there's always the part where they ask "one or two" as they flip a clear glass lens back and forth before one eye and then the other. They do this several times obviously to get a better understanding of what type of prescription you need for your peepers. It's all to help get your vision into FOCUS. What better analogy for life, right?

I'm working on getting things into focus for me, that's what this year is about and I'm stoked! I think it's going to take a combination of new year goals past: being brave enough to seek opportunities and try new things while also being intentional with my time and efforts as I pursue them. This could be a good thing or a year of incredibly uncomfortable growth. Either way, I think looking at this year as a journey will serve me better in the long run and that's what these goals and words are for anyway. 

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What's your word for the new year? 

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Dear 2017 Me

Dear 2017 Me, 

I know you, you're going to be spending the next few days thinking of that's going to happen starting on January 1st. What goals can I make? What I do today determines the year--where should I start? How can I take on all that I want to in only 12 months? 

Well, stop for a second. You're going to fly into a tailspin if you're not careful. A new year is just that, a new year. Take a second to remember your goal for 2017: to be intentional! 

You really did that!

You wanted to be intentional with your time. You practiced that as often as possible, focusing on work at work so you could enjoy more home life. You tried really hard not scroll mindlessly--and even if you did, you were conscious to put the phone down. Heck, you challenged yourself to new projects in the summer like sewing! You even broke out the ol' library card again to get back into reading. You found new ways to organize yourself and your priorities to help guide you. It all made a difference. 

You wanted to be intentional with your relationships. Having your husband in the same house really helped with this! You guys traveled together, took walks together, ate together, made plans together and it was all wonderful. I'm serious--there's no way you messed this up because you had a constant reminder in front of you and a desire in your heart to be present with your man. I think you guys did an awesome job this first year with this big change. 

You also made an effort to see your friends and spend time with them. This can get hard when everyone is busy with work or family things, but you made honest efforts to spend time with people you care about more often than you think. 

You wanted to be more intentional with your word. Follow through with what you said, don't just pay lip service. I think there was only one real moment that you felt like your missed this one. And you know what, you got back up and worked really hard to make up for it AND make sure it didn't happen again. I think that's the true lesson, making an honest effort to be better. I also think finding a new to-do list system really helped! 

So 2017 me, as you're looking ahead at the 2018 you and all that you want to accomplish this year, know this: keeping your goals simple was the best thing you could have done. It wasn't overly complicated, it was straight forward and something you could follow in many aspects of your life. 

Don't get too caught up in changing up your whole world in one day. Keep the lessons you learned this year and keep working them. You are a work in progress and as cheesy as it is, this life is about the journey. Set your goals. Be intentional. If you trip, get back up again and keep trying. 

This is going to be a good year--every year on this earth is a good one so celebrate it fully! 

Ā 

With love, 

2018 Me

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Hello, Hello, September!

Do you remember the (twenty) first day of September?

It's September, ya'll! Last month of the summer season but inevitably the time where everyone starts dreaming of fall. It's hard not to start thinking of cooler temperatures, baked apples, cinnamon smells and of course, pumpkin spice everything this month. We've still got 21 days until the actual fall season drops! Plenty of time to prep! 

School is up and going, we're definitely getting into the thick of it now. I've already got grading to do, a show in the works, and to-do lists like you've never seen. That's fall, folks. I like getting back into the groove of work and I've got a new focus to help me stay accountable with everything there is do. Sometimes you just got to look through a new lens! 

Looking ahead, I can already tell you this month is going to be dominated by work--it always happens that way and I'm 100% fine with that, but girl's got some goals over here for this month, too! 

Friday Five: September Goals

1. Little More Reading: It's easy to hop on your phone each night before you go to bed and scroll and scroll and scroll....and scroll. I feel like a zombie and yet my hand instinctually reaches for the phone. Best way I can think to break this habit it pick up an an old favorite one, reading.

Got some books you love? Send them my way! I got a library card burning a whole in my wallet! 

2. Gardening: It's surprisingly cooler here in Oklahoma these days so I might as well take advantage! We've got pumpkins coming up and our summer crops are on their way out. I'm looking forward to planting some mums in the front again and finding fall florals for our pots! 

3. Little More Time in the Kitchen: I've been enjoying flipping through my cookbooks and trying new recipes the last two weeks. I truly love meal planning and dreaming up delicious things to whip up for dinner.  What's even better is when I get to actually make each recipe up.

There's some baking about to go down. Expect food pictures. It's totally happening. 

4. Rearrangements: I've had an idea to rearrange parts of our house for a while now. I'm in the mood for a shake up, some organization and a little shopping. I'm thinking there's going to be some serious internet retail research for area rugs going on, maybe even house plant info to flip through, too (When Succulents Die--title to my future book on gardening. I dream of a house with more natural light. So do my plants). 

5. More Blogging: I think back on my first little blog often. I wrote almost daily about adventures and dreams, funny stories and thoughts I wanted to share. I've censored myself a lot lately or tried to fit a mold I'd like to be in--in reality, it just isn't fitting and I guess that's why I haven't been as active. Much like clothes, I've tried on a style and now I need to make it my own. 

Best way to find out my own? Just be me. So we're going to try that for a while. Some things might work and somethings might not. I might have to get out of my comfort zone a bit, follow what my gut is telling me, and we'll see what happens. Either way, I want to be on here more so that's exactly what I'm going to do! 

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Enjoy the long weekend, hug your family members, kiss your sweetie and love on those pets. With all the Hurricane Harvey craziness, this is a good time to take the time to be with those you love!  

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Mindless to Mindful

It's Lenten season, one of my favorite times of year, and this season I've tried to take away one of my biggest distractions: mindless TV watching.

More and more I've become that person that has the TV on for sound or background noise and it's become a real problem. Some things take me ten times as long to do because I'm distracted. I stay up late trying to finish that one show. I've binge watched on shows because I get sucked in to the storyline. Half the time I'm doing something else like surfing on my phone or trying to work on a project or grocery list and menu for the week, none of which is getting done a) well or b) in a timely manner. It's really silly. 

TV has become a sort of escape from things I need to work on but don't want to. Raise your hand if you fall into this category--I'm sure you're all raising them up high and let me tell you, there is no shame in the admittance of this. I love to escape in a good show. A good TV binge watching party is super fine...now and again. 

So I'm turning off the TV for a bit. I've set myself some limitations to keep everything in check: 

One hour of TV at night just to unwind. Weekends can be either two hours of shows or one movie, but not both. 

Man, that sounds so parental on myself--honestly, my parents didn't really set TV rules when I was a kid. We were never really home to watch anything so rules like that would have been moot. As an adult, I've got to reign it in! 

It's high time I give myself that time back. Do the work, do it in a timely manner, and do it well. Get chores done faster. Use free time to unwind with a book before bed, not the news. Take the time to call a long distance bestie (Karley, Esther, Megan, I'm looking at you! Shannon, Leigh Anne, you're on my list, too!). Maybe if I spent less time getting lost and more time putting energy into projects I've been wanting to do, I would be further ahead than where I am now. 

So that's my goal. Shut down the TV more often, don't deny a little relaxation, but use the time for more pleasurable activities. Become mindful of what I'm doing and ditch the mindless behavior for a bit. I'm hoping to feel refreshed come Easter Sunday! 

Are you participating in Lent? What are you focusing on the next forty days? 

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