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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.

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I find it funny where some of my inspiration comes from. We were watching one of the new marvel movies (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) the other night as a family and toward the end of the movie there was one line that caught my attention. I’m pretty sure it’s because of where my mind was focused, and has been focused for the last several weeks, maybe even a couple months, not knowing which direction I should go in my business. The line went something like this – “If you aim at nothing, you hit nothing.”

I have felt a little at a loss as to the next steps in my business. I had been pondering and praying to figure out which direction to go, and pretty much just stabbing in the dark at a lot of different things. Recently my husband encouraged me to buy a printer, a very expensive printer that can print archival prints on a large variety of papers, as well as canvas, to use in my business. I thought he was crazy, although I had told him many times how frustrating it is to get an order and not be able to fill it for 10 days to 2 weeks because of the delay in printing. So I took a leap of faith in ordering. It’s not here yet.

But, in the mean time, I have felt very pulled, in so many different directions, not sure which way to go, and not sure if this printer is even a good idea. Then this line, one single line in a 2 hour movie, that I didn’t even watch the whole thing of, was part of my answer to the questions I had, and the wonder as to the direction I needed to go. Then, Tuesday when I was preparing my Seminary lesson for Wednesday morning, one of my favorite quotes from one of my Church’s Apostles, and one I had completely forgotten was part of the lesson material. It makes me grateful that the Lord is in the details of our lives.

This quote is by Jeffery R. Holland, and says, “To any of you who are troubled about the future…

“God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future – to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.

“God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.” You can read the full article here.

So, today I have been pondering where to focus my time. One thing I have noticed more this past couple of months than any other time in my life, is the lack of time. I cannot do everything that I want to do, so I need to focus on fewer things, that I can give more time to. I have thought as I have pondered today, that I need to get one thing going really well, and then once it’s going and getting easier to manage, then I can work on the next things. So, now to decide on what that one particular thing is, I have so many ideas, but I can’t continue aiming at nothing and expecting to get results, I am learning that.

How do you focus your mind and your time? What would you like to accomplish that you aren’t now? I would love to hear your ideas.

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I have two favorite weekends every year. The first weekend in April and the first weekend in October. These are what we call Conference Weekend in my Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have the opportunity to listen to the prophet of the Lord, as well as the Apostles He has called, and a number of the general leadership, both men and women, throughout the five – two hour sessions. There are 3 session on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. When I was a child, I didn’t always watch the Saturday sessions, and when my kids were younger we often allowed school activities and things to interfere with our Saturday watching. Fortunately, all of the talks are available on the Church website, usually within 4 or 5 days of the conferences. If you would like to read any of them, you can do so here. As I have gotten older though, I really like to listen to all of them. They bring peace to our home, guidance, and comfort, as well as much needed instruction in these crazy times we live in. My kids haven’t always enjoyed watching all the sessions, but the comment this year was, “Wow, this went by way too fast!” They enjoyed it as much as we did. So today, I will share several of my favorite quotes, and then one in particular that I really enjoyed the talk, as it’s something that resonates with me and is one of the things I wrote about in my first book.

These were some of my favorite quotes, but the one that struck me in particular was the last one on the right. There were a couple of similar talks, but I’m pretty sure it was Elder Dunn’s talk (I’ll find out in 4 or 5 days!) He talked about the British cycling team, and how they went from being the worst in the world to the best. It didn’t happen over night, and they continue to work on improving. But it did happen through consistent, incremental changes to every aspect of what they were doing. Not just equipment, or how they rode, but diet, how their time was spent, training, gear, everything was looked at and changed in it’s time. I would encourage you to go read the talk when it becomes available later this week.

We too have that same opportunity to change in our lives. We don’t have to make monumental changes. Those types of changes cannot always be sustained. But through consistently work on 1% changes in our lives, we can make huge changes in who we are, what we are, and where we are going over time. Amazingly, it doesn’t take as much time as we think it will, but often we have the perception that it will take a lifetime so we don’t even try. Don’t do that! Have the courage to make small change, because it is in fact, by small means that great things actually happen. If you haven’t read my book, you can check it out in the link above, and be watching for my second book, “Gratitude: Becoming a Happier You” to become available on my website this week. This book covers one of those small changes you can make in your life that will make a monumental difference in the very near future.

What kind of changes do you want to see in your life? What kind of small change can you start making today to achieve that change? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Weird title I know, but it does apply to my thoughts tonight. On Monday my boys had a great opportunity to go to what we thought, was a ninja competition. It was so much better. There wasn’t any competing, but what there was was awesome. My boys had the opportunity to meet 2 of their favorite America Ninja Warriors, the Eskimo Ninja – Nick Hanson, and Kingdom Ninja – Daniel Gil, as well as one we didn’t know as well at the time, but was pretty cool as well – Adam Rayl, and I can’t remember his tag line, but it’s something like Rock Solid. The gym was set up with about 20 different obstacles like the warp wall, the hanging doors, rope swings, rings, salmon ladder, etc. These kids were set loose on the obstacles and the Ninja’s walked around, helping, giving pointers, encouraging, cheering on and just generally making these kids feel like they were something special. I told Daniel Gil it was fun to watch him run, but it was so much more awesome to see him sharing what he does in such a personal way with all these kids. They were awesome.

But, that’s not what I watched that got me thinking about landings. In particular, sticking a landing, even if it’s not perfect. I was sitting closest to a set of 3 ropes that made up an obstacle. Each rope started on something, and ended on something, and you couldn’t touch the ground. The first one started on a pommel horse and ended on a mat turned on end that was about 5 feet long, 5 feet high, and about 2 feet wide. The second and third mats were about 2 feet high, 6 feet long, and 2 feet wide. Landing on any one of the mats didn’t have to be perfect, you could gracefully land on your feet or slide in on your knees or behind. But if you overshot or undershot you had to go back to the beginning and start over. It was obvious the people who had maybe swung on ropes before, or who had jumped from one object to the next, landing on a particular spot. But the ones that intrigued me were the ones who missed.

I started to notice a common theme with those who ended up off the mark. They wouldn’t let go of the rope. Not that the ones who stuck it totally let go initially, but the ones who missed just flat would not let go. As I watched I started to relate that to life. I came up with half a dozen different ways that that idea of letting go could apply to life, and you probably have some ideas how it applies in your own life. But I will relate one of those ideas here.

The goal of this obstacle was to go from point A to point B to C and then to D. None of the ropes would reach to any other points except the designated points in the area they were in, so you couldn’t skip around. This reminded me of life, of setting goals. So often we set goals that we know are good for us, that we know will bring us happiness. But for whatever reason, there are things in our life that we hang on to. Things that we should just let go, because they aren’t compatible with who we want to become. But we hang on because it’s comfortable. Because it’s familiar. What was also interesting to watch was how once they made it to the first obstacle, they let go, and they stuck the landing, whether on their feet, or their knees or behind or back, they had much more confidence that they could stick the next one. Once we let go of the things that are holding us back, we have much more confidence in our ability to succeed, it’s easier to recognize those things in our lives that are holding us back and to not allow them to drag us across the mat and off the other side.

The other impressive thing to watch was how determined people were. I am grateful for determined people. Not one person quit. Even when they had to start over, over and over again. They kept at it until they got it. We can do the same. When we don’t make it the first time, that doesn’t mean we failed. That just means we have gained some data. As people swung on those ropes they learned, swing a little harder off this one, lift the knees on this one, slow down as I get to the last one. There is so much data to any goal, especially those that we don’t succeed at in the beginning. We learn, we get back up, we grab hold of that rope, and then, when the moment it right, we let go and trust ourselves and our abilities.

This was such a good experience for me to watch, and my boys had such a great time accomplishing their goal of finishing all the obstacles that evening. They got to visit with some really down to earth, nice guys, who just happen to be people who my boys look up to, and they didn’t disappoint. I hope you read about this obstacle, see it in your mind, and look for ways that it might apply in your life. Let me know what you think!

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Today is the first day of school for my last 2 children. I have been reminiscing about how long it’s been since all of my kids were gone on the first day of school together. This is the first year in 7 years that I am not homeschooling at least one of my children. My girls are not currently in school, my oldest is gone on her mission for my Church, and my second is at a remote hunting lodge working until the end of September. This is only the third “first day of school” that I have been home by myself, as my kids were only in school at the same time for 2 years while in Elementary school. It’s crazy to me how fast time flies.

The first day of school is always exciting, a little bit scary, maybe some stress depending on how smoothly it goes. There are a lot of firsts in life that are the same way. In fact, I think most firsts are like the first day of school. I remember when I had my first baby. We were so excited! We had been trying for almost 5 years when I got pregnant, we had almost given up and had started to talk about looking in to adoption. But, when I went in to labor, things got real. And when I had to take that little tiny baby home, just me and my husband, I was terrified. Fortunately she turned out alright, even though we had no idea what we were doing. That first time though made the next 3 after that a lot easier, and a whole lot less scary.

First’s are like that. A bit scary, but once you pass the first, you become better at it, and it’s not scary any more. It’s no longer a first. Eventually, if we do it long enough it becomes an old hat, and we are more comfortable with moving ahead. Life has a lot of first’s, but fortunately, there are a lot of seconds and thirds, and so on. First’s are fun because of the excitement, even because of the little bit of stress and apprehension. But when you have done it more than once, like the first day of school, the first baby, or whatever it is, the second time around you have more confidence in your own abilities. That’s why seconds are great. But, if you remember and look back at all the first’s you have accomplished or pressed through, you can have confidence even when you are approaching a new first. You have done hard things, you know you can persevere through, and you can move forward with more of that excitement, and hopefully less apprehension or fear. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities helps you become a more resilient person. You learn you can adapt and change in hard circumstances, you learn that you can grow and learn, that you can have confidence in who you are and what you are capable of.

I am so grateful for the many first’s I have had in my life, and how they have shaped me into a more confident, resilient person. I am grateful for the opportunity to do hard things in my life, and for the ability to overcome and progress. Life is challenging, but we can each choose to be up for the challenge. What are some first’s you have experienced lately?