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Renew

Goals are a funny thing for me. I tend to do better in my day-to-day life when I have goals to achieve. I also utilize my time more wisely when I have a clear direction for my day. But I also get distracted easily. Especially if my goal is a long-term goal. But I find when I am distracted it is usually because either we are super busy as a family or with my husband’s business, or I haven’t set my goals correctly, usually making the steps too big and I get discouraged and give up. So, every once in a while, I have to reevaluate and adjust my big goals, my everyday goals, and the progress goals just to make sure I am headed in the direction I want to go.

The past 3 weeks or so have been that adjustment. This summer was so busy, and the garden took up a lot of my free time, which was good and necessary, but I got out of the habit of doing a number of things, like keeping track of my eating and inflammatory foods, painting, exercising in a productive manner, etc. Getting back to school and back into a good routine also took a little bit of doing. I am not a morning person but have to wake up early during the week, which takes me over a month to adjust to at the beginning of every school year. I don’t know why I let myself get out of the habit, but I really love going to bed later, like around 11:00 instead of 9:30 and waking up around 7:00 rather than 5:15.

I feel like the past 3 weeks however have been so good because of the finally steady schedule and renewing or reenergizing of my goals. I use my time better, my house is cleaner, I have been making better, healthier homemade dinners, I have been exercising regularly in a more productive manner, and I have been painting! I love painting because it is so relaxing to me, and this has helped immensely to relieve stress and focus my mind. I love having direction, and I am so grateful to have the renewed energy that I get when I have direction and purpose to my days. The remainder of my post today will be pictures of my most recent paintings. Renewing my goals helped renew my inspiration, and I have enjoyed feeling that excitement to sit and paint everyday.

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Late

It is amazing what can be accomplished when you are extremely pressed for time. Take for instance this morning. I have my alarm clock set for 5:25am. I also have my cell phone set for 5:45. This one reminds me to say my prayers, but it’s also a backup in case my 5:25 one doesn’t go off, or I forget the night before to set it. I don’t really need the 5:45 one anymore to remember my prayers, and have thought several times about deleting it, but I decided I better keep it, just for the backup anyway.

When my alarm clock goes off at 5:25, I usually turn it off, ponder on what my day holds, check the weather, reset the alarm for the next morning and then get up and start my day, usually about 5:28 in the morning. I go down, make sure the boys are awake, go back upstairs and get dressed, teeth and hair brushed and then go back downstairs. We have time to warm up hot chocolate, say prayers, check out what’s going on in the world online, things like that. Then we start the car to let it warm up some, gather up backpacks and cold weather gear if it super cold and get out the door by 6:00.

This morning, the first time that I can ever remember it happening, my alarm clock didn’t wake me up, my prayer alarm on my cell phone did. I was slightly disoriented because it was the wrong alarm and I had to check two other clocks to see if I was actually reading my phone time correctly because my old phone used to mess up regularly. 5:45am and we needed to be out the door at 6:00! Had it not been my day to teach I could have fudged the leave time by 5 minutes or so, but not so today.

I raced downstairs and woke up the boys telling them what time it was. They immediately felt the alarm in my voice and realized what the implications of what was saying we’re. They are great young men and jumped out of bed and got busy rushing through their morning routines. I did the same. It’s amazing how much less time it takes to pick out clothes when you don’t have time, anything will work! No hot chocolate to slowly drink as we made our way through getting ready, just a glass of milk while making sure all the correct books were actually packed in the backpacks, grabbing keys, no time to start the car and let it warm up, and out the door only 2 minutes late.

What a crazy morning! Seminary went smoothly and everyone made it to school safely and I made it home after dropping kids off. I remember reading a quote one time, and I have searched for it and can’t find it, so I can’t give you the exact quote, just my interpretation of it. It said something like, “When you only have a short time left on this planet you only do those things that are the most important. Nothing else really matters.” That’s not exact, but you get the gist of it. This morning I was pondering on that as I was hurriedly getting done only those things most essential to me walking out the door. How much of my time do I spend doing things that have little or no consequence in life? Probably more than I would care to admit. That’s not to say that we don’t need down time, and sometimes that is the most essential part of my day. But I spend an awful lot of time doing things that don’t matter, like getting on social media when I should be cleaning my house or cleaning my house because that’s better than trying to fix my website, or whatever the case may be.

I have a list of priorities in my life, but a lot of those priorities don’t always take a lot of my time during the day, at least as far as the big priorities. I have found though, that when I start listing off some of the smaller priorities, I tend to not give my all or my best. I waste time on mundane tasks, or even just waste time on the internet when I should be painting, working on my business, or spending that little bit of extra time with my kids or my husband. This morning I realized that I need to focus better on what is really important and stop letting the unimportant, distracting parts of life distract me so much. So today, and the next several I will be focused on focus, on paying attention to where my time goes, and how much of it goes where. I am the only one that can change the course of my own ship, so if I don’t like the direction I am going, it is up to me to change course and do better. I am grateful that I have that opportunity and ability to do so. What did you spend your time on today? Was it wisely used?

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Injury

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Have you ever hurt yourself, severely enough that it hampered your ability to function to a small or large extent? Injuries are an interesting thing. At the very moment, you see all the things that you will not be able to do. While you are going through the process of discovering the extent of the injury, it can feel overwhelming the adjustments that you might have to make for a short, or extended period of time. Some people don’t ever totally heal from injuries, physically or mentally, not because they couldn’t regain ability, but because they choose not to proceed through the process required for healing.

I recently experienced an injury, well, I injured myself years ago, and didn’t realize the extent of the injury at the time. I didn’t go get it checked because I really didn’t have any more problems at the time. Have you ever noticed how when you are young, you can bounce back from injuries really quickly, but as you age, those same injuries sometimes come back to haunt you? That was the case here. I injured my rotator cuff 7 or 8 years ago, and unbeknownst to me, it didn’t heal correctly. Recently I had an inflammation problem and because of the calcium growth and the swelling, my rotator cuff started to get pinched, and as it was being pinched, it swelled more and more. My arm became almost unusable because of the pain when I would move it.

I hate going to the doctor but didn’t know what was wrong. When I lost almost all mobility in my arm because of pain I finally went to find out what was going on. That is when we discovered the old injury and the abnormal calcium growth where my body had “tried” to heal the tear in my rotator cuff. It’s interesting what my mind did ahead of that visit. I had thought it might be dislocated, maybe I had pinched nerves in my neck, maybe I had a bone spur, maybe I would need surgery, how would that affect my life? How would I adjust my schedule and responsibilities to accommodate? It is amazing what the mind will do when left without concrete answers and understanding. As soon as I found out what was going on and understood the process of healing, all those crazy ideas and thoughts were relieved, and I was able to make a plan.

It is always amazing to me what a difference it makes to have information. I have not had very many injuries or illnesses in my life, but I have learned how to take care of my body a little bit better each time. But the healing process doesn’t just occur, especially the older we get. Each injury that I have had has taken a concerted effort to regain full mobility back. Each time I have had days where I felt great, and days where I wondered whether or not I was going to ever get back to normal.

As I have had the opportunity to go to the doctor and physical therapist however, I have learned new things about joint, bones, and how my body works. Each injury makes me more aware of how to take care of my body. Each time I work to recover from and injury I actually recover to a better state than I was before I was injured. That is because I have been given and internalized new and better information. I have learned and applied what I was being told and taught about how to heal and become better. And because of that, the risk of injury that that same area is greatly reduced.

Physical injury is not the only place to apply this principle though. There are so many times in our lives that we make mistakes, hurting ourselves and others, not necessarily physically, but mentally and socially. When we realize that we have done so, we can take one of two steps. We can decide to heal properly and in turn help others to heal if necessary, or to disregard the pain caused and continue on as if nothing happened. Continuing on seems like the path of least resistance, but if we don’t figure out how to do better and become better, we will continue to make the same mistakes and, in some situations, hurt the same people, including ourselves, over and over again. And it usually becomes worse and worse until we lose “mobility” so to speak.

Just like going to the doctor for me was super scary, admitting when we need help in less obvious ways in our lives can be very scary. But the process of caring for, and healing will ultimately make us better people, teaching us how to heal and do better in the parts of our lives where we are weak. We can learn how to reduce the risk of injury to ourselves and others when we seek out help, listen to the professionals that are there to help us, and then apply the principles taught us that were put in place to heal and/or rehabilitate the broken or injured parts of us. There are no perfect people, but there are also no problems in our lives or injuries of any kind that can’t be healed, weaknesses that can’t be overcome. Seeking help is the scariest, most courageous thing anyone can do. I am grateful for the courage to get physical help, and for the courage I see in so many people around me getting physical, emotional or psychological help. I am also grateful for the ultimate healer, my Savior Jesus Christ, and for the knowledge that no matter what, I don’t have to face any of it alone.

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2022

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2020 was a difficult year for many people. There was so much social change, so much that we learned, so much to be endured. But there were some who had a great year, possibly the best year of their lives so far. 2021 was supposed to be easier, we as a people were supposed to get beyond the alone, supposed to get beyond fear and the unknown and get back to normal. For some, it was an even more exhausting and hard year than the one previous. But for some, it was again, a fantastic year, full of some hard, but many good things. So, what is the difference between the two people? I can guarantee each group had their fair share of problems.

People are now looking to 2022 to be a great year, but I have heard so much from people about how it’s already not turning out exactly like they want it to. Perspective is the key. I have noticed that when I am looking for something specific, I will always see it or find it. One day driving into Wasilla one of my kids commented that you never see orange cars. Well, that day we saw quite a number of orange cars and realized that it was just because we had never really looked specifically for “orange cars.” We have done this with many colors of cars and objects, the one that we really don’t see many of is purple cars, we’ve tried. Maybe it’s just our area though.

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It’s interesting to me how often this happens though. I know that I have seen it in more than just what I visibly see in my drives to town and back. When I look for the positive in my husband and kids, guess what I see? All the good they do. That doesn’t mean I don’t see the other things that can be frustrating, but they aren’t as prominent, they aren’t quite as important. Corrections need to be made in our lives and in the lives of our children, so we can’t ignore bad behavior. But I have found that when I am focused on correcting behavior and catching them doing something wrong, all I see is bad behavior and not only are they miserable because of it, so am I. When I set goals for myself and only see the ways I have failed that day instead of the small victories, I feel like I am constantly failing. I have also found that if I realize they aren’t failures, just learning opportunities, I am able to better adjust, reevaluate and move forward. It’s all about perspective. The way we talk to ourselves, about ourselves, talk about circumstances, challenges and opportunities in life will make our break our day, our year, and ultimately our lives. Have you ever seen someone let one small bad thing that happened in their day ruin the rest of the day? They could have had a great day if they had let go of the one bad thing.

2022 is a new year. There will be new challenges along the way, but there will also be really good, really great, and really awesome things that happen this year. But we will miss those things if we are focused on how bad 2022 is going to be, we will constantly be on guard waiting for the next problem. Having a positive outlook on life doesn’t mean that we can’t see problems. It does mean however, that we are able to look past the problems and see solutions. Not all solutions will work. But when we are looking for solutions, looking for opportunities, working toward a positive end goal, we will make it there, we will work through plateaus and problems that arise. We will see the end from the beginning and see the progress. Progress is motivating, and motivation creates momentum. This year can be as unpleasant or awesome as we each individually choose to make it, so choose to make it a great year. Choose to make each day a great day, and when things get hard, see the problem for what it is, a steppingstone, and find a solution so you can move forward. Each day is a new beginning, each day in a new opportunity. Make today a great day, from the beginning, or start over in the middle, or have a great evening, but see the good that happens each and every day.

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Embark

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How often do we want something, something big, but we allow fear to overcome our desire to take the first step forward? I have written a little bit about this subject before, but we are coming to the end of one year and starting a new year, and I have been thinking about fear and how it affects my ability to make changes and take the first steps in my goal setting.

This past year I have learned a lot about myself and the things I do to allow fear to stop me in my progress. Consequently, I have been able to push past barriers that have, in the past, been difficult for me to navigate beyond. I have learned that starting is the hardest part. Have you ever noticed, or maybe it’s just me, that when I can take that first step, when I can get out the door, or paint that first brush stroke of color on the completely blank piece of paper, that great things happen?

This life is full of so many new, scary adventures, that aren’t really that bad, usually, once we get going. But it’s often that first step that is so hard. That first step to more success in our personal lives, in our health and well-being, in our career or finding a new career, in our goals, or whatever scares us. Once we get that first step out of the way, well then, we’re in it and we can deal with the various challenges that arise, because we’ve already made that commitment by embarking on a new path.

I’m not sure yet what my new goals and challenges will be for 2022. When I started this blog, I thought I’d do it for a while and see where it went. I have enjoyed writing and enjoyed sharing who I am with you. I am going to continue with my blog, and I hope you’ll continue with me! I have a new printer, and new opportunities, some of them a little bit scary, that will play into the next step in my business journey. I said at the beginning of last year that I don’t set new year’s resolutions, and I still say that. I am not a resolution kind of person. But I do set goals, not necessarily at the beginning of a new year, but as I progress along throughout the year. That will continue. I love to see the progress that I make with each new goal that I embark on. With that progress, I love that it gives me the drive and determination to continue on to new, scary adventures that I can take the first step on.

So, with 2022 fast approaching, if you are a new year’s resolution kind of person, I hope you not only set those goals, but take the first step. And, if you’re like me, I hope you just continue to see ways to improve, no matter what time of year it is. No matter what, continue to improve each and every day, and never let fear determine who you are, or where you are going.