Family: It’s a Big Word

“Family” is the concept that looms largest in my personal horizon. I only realized it in terms of articulating it to myself in 2016. So, this is fairly new: to compose a complete view of why this idea of “family” is so central to my entire life.

I began to understand how it impacts so many of us, although in varying ways and  degrees.

Why Me, and Not You?

This is the place where I began to really think, rather than simply struggle.

First, I’m a sixty- something and have lived most of my allotted years. When it comes to family, I went big- I had ten children… and endured long – stayed married for 43 years as a stay-at-home-mom.

It is not an exaggeration to say that I have struggled in one way or another all that time. I never seemed to have really settled within myself. One perennial struggle was to have a cohesive family unit- when what I actually was part of was more like a “herding cats” scenario.

The Light of Dawn

This past year, as I found myself within that familiar cycle of trying to coordinate family get-togethers while everyone else was less than enthusiastic about making plans, I asked myself “Why?”

Why is it so vital to me that we gather together and build relationship, and the others (father and children) seem so indifferent, even resistant? It used to be couched in a “what is wrong with me?”/ “what is wrong with them?” emotional whirlpool, but a different perspective dawned on me.

What is different between us?

That I find the need central, while for them it is peripheral to the rest of their concerns. What explains this conflict of  priorities?

  • Because I am a woman, and a mom? No, that doesn’t explain it, others aren’t like this.
  • Because I made my life choices in that direction? No, it was the impetus, not the outcome.
  • Because I came from a broken home? Yes, that begins to explain it.

Not only did I come from a broken home, but I had no real place in my family of origin. I was a rejected black sheep. The reason is not important, but the effect was the key influence of my life. It colored everything.

My husband came from an intact family, as did my children. I believe they see that part of their life, being in a family unit, as a matter of course. It is settled for them.

My great struggle is seeing that such things aren’t settled by default, but must be grown and cultivated. I don’t apologize or dismiss the power of that insight. I do have one great flaw, however… what does such a family look like? How does it form, especially when given such poor soil?

I value family so greatly, because mine was lacking. I wanted to create family in my life.

I Don’t Have Answers, But I Get Inklings

In these big concept struggles of life, I move further from having the answers (as in “one size fits all”), but I get bigger inklings. And those help me. They create more peace and contentment, and make me much easier to get along with as they disconnect my need to fix the world from daily interactions with the people important to me.

10 Great Inklings

  1. We all have needs for acceptance and love, and it isn’t all about me.
  2. Keep trying to connect, and try to make the majority of connections loving, supportive, pleasant.
  3. Leave the past behind. Get to know the person that they are, now.
  4. Your needs, insights, and contributions are important, so are theirs. Blend, make recipes, value all the ingredients. Know when to leave certain things out of the mix.
  5. Be there. Be present. Be hospitable. Invite. Engage. Allow. Make clear boundaries.
  6. Choose to keep trying as long as fruit is possible. Know when to cut down the tree. This comes from Jesus’s parable of the fig tree. To pour yourself out into areas of life that don’t produce means that less is given to those that will. Be productive.
  7. Glean wisdom, but don’t compare.
  8. Stop the negativity habits; Encourage positive interactions, speech, attitude, gratefulness, and all things edifying.
  9. While oversight may be in your hands, control is not.
  10. You cannot change others, but you can change yourself. That may be the catalyst for circumstances or for others, but it is growth in your own life. It will result in true satisfaction.

My Contribution: A Sense that Family is Important

This lack that became driving force, struggle that became recognition, became what I contribute to the world. I gave it through defiance and by going to war against the norms of my generation. As a SAHM, with homeschooling, home birthing, attempts at homesteading, and having a big family on one (sometimes below average) income.

I don’t contribute the means or the goal, but the concept that a family has intrinsic value for everyone, in some way. That value is not dictated by method, numbers, or even culture.

If the value is dictated by anything, it would be a true understanding of love.

Regrets and the Future

To dwell on regrets is not useful or conducive to change. It only mires one in the past with a distorted filter. We have today, and that forms our future life… with family relationships or otherwise.

People give up on family. Too soon and too often, when it is the messy stuff of living that creates the full spectrum of being.

I believe this is why God has worded relationship with Himself in terms of family. There are many ways we relate to each other, but the closer we are the more we see it in familial connections.

Someone is a sister or mother to us, a father or brother, and a “significant other” is husband or wife. We can’t divorce ourselves from our need to belong. It remains, struggling and gasping for expression.

I want that expression to be a healthy one that promotes growth in each individual. I outlined what that means to me.

…So far…

 

 

 

Roadtrips

My life has changed.

While our children were little my husband rarely to never took vacations, and we couldn’t afford to travel anywhere, anyway. I centered my life around the home and gardening… then put lots of time into blogging. All those occupations were in sync with my intensive demands of homelife (raising ten children while homeschooling), allowing for creative expression while not requiring lots of money or absence from overseeing the needs of my family.

Now I find I am always on a trip somewhere.

It changed slowly with rare trips to places I never dreamed of seeing… I went to Hungary and Denmark, then to Brazil to attend my son and daughter in love’s wedding. With the advent of grandchildren, there have been increased trips to Georgia, mainly, but Florida and Phoenix were on the list as well.

In the past year we did something -twice- that had been on my husbands wishlist since I met him: a road trip across the nation, visiting the West. He still has the Badlands on his bucket list, but we checked off the others: Highway 1 and Mendocino, Bryce Canyon in Utah, America’s Loneliest Highway Rte 50 through Nevada.

I know some people blog while they travel, but I am an “in the moment experience” type of person. I don’t even like the distraction of taking photographs. I have moderated that and forced myself to take photos for the sake of memories and just because I want to capture some of the beauty that I see, but mostly I drink in the scenery, and let the atmosphere saturate my mind and heart.

The past few years have seen a great increase in travel for me… which may not be comparable to many others, but it is a huge change for me.

I find I like it.

I come back to loads of laundry to do, a marathon of weeding and neglected gardens, but it has been worth the exchange. Time spent by the ocean, seeing vast redwood forests, immense mountains of the Rocky ranges… these are mind opening, soul nourishing events.

So I don’t apologize that this season of my life leaves less room for the type of blogging I once did. My online life evolves and there is no pattern for the shape it will take. But, like all the rest of my life, I have shifted away from letting demands rule my life, and have created space for the simple act of living. Letting the flow of what creates an organic and vibrant participation of relationship and experience to take the forefront, to become my priority.

People figure more predominately in this way of life, and tasks become secondary. I don’t pretend to imply that it leads to being a successful blogger or to create worldly wealth. I do, however, feel richer, and may I say it? Happier. Or maybe happy is not the right word choice, I think the term “joie de vivre” is a more accurate term. The joy of life infuses this pathway.

My garden takes on a wild look, my blogs are temporarily neglected, but I have more to offer when following this roadtrip of life.

A few pictures seem in order here.

Colorado mountain stream by the highway
Dwarfed by the landscape.
lake tahoe
We fell in love with Lake Tahoe
photos
Mountainside Photo Op

My Legacy, True Grit

I was thinking about the legacy we leave our children. Not the type that is made up of stocks or bonds, or houses, but the kind that is a result of the DNA we passed to them and that more esoteric kind of legacy made up of passing on who we are. Some of my children want little that represents what I’m made of, and some highly regard it. But highly regard it or no, it is passed on to them in measures not of my making. Perhaps little of their making, for we do not choose what makes us, how we are arranged together or who we come from.

God makes all those choices and we can grow into what we are meant to be, called to be, best fitted for in life. I say that because another unchosen condition is the time and situation of the world we live within.

But of the qualities that I pass to my children, one of the foremost is my ability to withstand pain and endure. Built into me somewhere is the stubbornness and bravery of Scottish Highlanders and Hungarian Hussars. Faces of flint when needed. It sounds like a good thing until you realize one of the hardest things for such people is to remain open to others, especially those who seem bent on hurting and using you. I struggle to stay the course with people.

Grit is great sanding material, but not so good to get in your shoe in a long journey. A little oil of joy doesn’t hurt, and likely is necessary. I am learning to value joy for that reason.

I am courageous. I am a lightning rod.

I draw trouble and the wrath of the oppressor. It makes me a bit oppressive, myself.

I am giving and have a deep vein of compassion, but it is tempered with hard lessons.

I am easily misunderstood and most of the time I really don’t care about that.

I listen to my own inner convictions and keep my own counsel. It makes me strong, but also makes my mistakes big ones. I don’t have much emotional intelligence at times.

I feel others pain. Sometimes I find it crippling. Sometimes I am paralyzed by the sight of the consequences they must face.

I often want to give up and can’t. I don’t know if it is Sisu or just inflexibility.

I second-guess, and switch gears all too often. I lack consistency.

I have trouble being positive and affirming, and have all too often been in the habit of looking for the problems and faults. I am something of a control freak with a crushing sense of over responsibility which -oddly enough- contributes to the fact that I can be undependable.

I am firm in my convictions because it took me hard work to get there and lots of testing of the thinking and the truth of them. It is hard to convince me, and harder to make me let go of what I have become convinced of. The one place I am dependable, consistent, and steadfast is in standing in those convictions. A good thing for being the ballast in my relationships, because I don’t tend to trust people easily, but I will stand by them because it is the right thing to do. Some would say of my trust level in people, “not at all”. I am convinced of the depravity of man.

So it won’t surprise me how bad you are. And it is likewise the basis for my knowledge that I could just as easily be just as bad- or worse.

I keep turning towards God no matter how little I understand why things are the way they are and how difficult and fearful the choice looks. I stopped looking for other answers. What is clear to me might make it hard for me to see why you have your questions. But I don’t begrudge you your questions.

These are a few things I have passed on to my children by way of experiences, upbringing, relationship with them.
My language of love is more tough, pick yourself up, and learn to be self sufficient.

You can see how I am easily misunderstood (insert a laugh track here…cause no one is going to laugh at this “joke”).

But I love in a way that has your back even when I don’t believe in what you are doing or I see trouble in your chosen path. I’m good when all your fair weather friends have deserted you.

I don’t need you to tell me how “good…nice…wonderful” I am.

But I do need connection even when I don’t think so.

And this is all a part of my legacy to my children. Who I am, the impact and influence I leave, and how much I love them.

whether they like that or not.
funky white boy

Telling People They Are Awesome

My disclaimer on this post is that I’m going to use illustrations that come from my experience in the church, but don’t think that people act like typical people just because they belong to a certain socio-economic or religious group. If you do that, you are going to miss the whole point.

You’re Totally Awesome, Dude

Pixie Dust and The Wizard Behind The Curtain

Before I get to that story, let me tell you about an old blogpost I re-read from Kathy Sierra. Called “Pixie Dust & The Mountain of Mediocrity. The gist is that people use marketing techniques to game the system and it’s that “pixie dust” that is promoted to be the magic answer to the branding and promotion of ones product.

It is not unlike the last topic, taking to task the online and marketing Gurus who provide methods, for a fee, to making you and/or your customers (clients..fans….whoever you want to win over) an overnight success. Even if they are well-meaning, plenty of so-called experts aren’t really helping you to be what truly makes you awesome: being the best you can be, living to your potential, inspired to rise to greater heights of what you hope to be or accomplish.

Buzzwords, Buzzword techniques, and the fast path to wealth and awesomeness is something people will pay for, and that means a lot of gamers are going to enter the field to make sure they can take advantage of it. That also means there is going to be an aftermath of broken dreams, and the disillusioned.

Sierra succinctly sums it up:

There is a world of dif­fe­rence bet­ween hel­ping someone *appear* more awe­some and hel­ping them actually BE more awesome.

And that in some ways reminded me of a small, but rather sorry, experience I had a long time ago that left me with a distinct sense discomfort that helped shape how I like to deal with people to this day.

A Moment of Clarity

I had gone to one of those big Christian conferences that are comprised of all sorts of people from different denominations, cultures, and backgrounds. It was one that had really pumped up my own sickly and struggling grip on walking out my faith. It wasn’t called a Revival, but it was effectively working as one for me.

Maybe because of that, I was a bit more open, hopeful, and vulnerable to what people said to me. Anyway, after one of the services (there are several at this sort of convocation), a well meaning man spoke to me. He said something very positive, something like “I see you are -positive ‘blah,blah,blah’, and you will -positive ‘blah,blah,blah'”. I felt very encouraged, I felt that he had been moved by some inner insight to share that with me.

As the conference moved on I happened to pass by that man speaking to someone else, using the very same words, the very same expression, the very same way. They weren’t special insights meant for me. This well meaning man was gaming the system.

I suppose he felt this was his ministry of encouragement or something, but for me, it was a searing disappointment, because it didn’t feel real. It didn’t feel sincerely anything. I felt my sense of trust was breached and trampled. I didn’t ask for his words, and wasn’t even hoping or looking for them. He offered me something artificial, when I truly needed the genuine. He sprinkled around some pixie dust, because it had good effects on people. For him.

And to this day, as convinced as I am of the importance of affirmation and encouragement, if I cannot garner together the individualized and sincere words that are infused with my own sense of care and compassion, or affection or desire to connect… I don’t want to give a substitute. I don’t believe in “placeholder” love, that consists of words or token actions merely meant to make someone feel good for the moment.

That is a terribly selfish thing to do. It is pixie dust spread around to make the giver feel better about themselves. If you tell someone they are awesome with that motivation, spare them.

They are better off without your false words and insincere methods. The world is better off without them.

How To Tell Someone They Are Awesome

First -to outline the negative shape before drawing in the detail- do not tell someone how much they matter or how great they are when showing them is better. Words will often cloud the message, even if you intend to mean them. That too often turns into “meaning well”, and you know what the old saying is about good intentions.

If words are all you have, tell people something that you can follow through on… a generally inclusive way of telling them they matter and are awesome “I look for the beauty and glory in you”… because I look for that in all. And then make that your purpose, your own rule of life.

Do something for them that helps them be the best version of themselves.

Then when you tell them you think they are awesome, or that they matter to you, they will trust it, and it will build something meaningful into their lives.

Give them tools of value, words of value, and actions of value. Take something of yourself, and invest it in those tools, words, and actions. Infuse something of your love and care into what you give to others. That will make them feel awesome. Then you can tell them they are awesome and might even have an opportunity to share something that will make them even more awesome.

The outcome of that is what they do with that thing themselves, what they get to experience from it.

This has its way of spilling over and making us feel pretty awesome as well, but that is not the goal or the point of what we tell others, or what we share with them.

What Am I Really Saying?

What really works is love. Love is never cheap, and has no substitution. Everyone needs and wants it, and when you give words or anything to another person with real love attached, you give the world what it really needs.

Pixie dust looks pretty tawdry in the real light of day, and quite unnecessary.
Spirit of the Night

Spirit of the Night
Grimshaw, John…
Buy This Allposters.com

I Made Plans Today

January is my number one planning month. I like to plan, but in the past I had more plan than execution which always translates into disappointment and frustration. In more recent years, I moved into an action-oriented way of doing things which then resulted in the type of LaLaland distraction which I have always been prone to. Come to think of it, I wonder if my love of planning had some of its origins in how well it worked to help me cope with the outside world and its demands.

Whatever… that is an example of the rabbit trail kind of thinking that dogs my life 🙂

Back to telling you what I did today that relates to you- my dear readers, or happenstance visitors…

I made plans today that incorporated two activities and goals that are at the top of what I would love to accomplish this year:
Get Ready!

Better Health Better Blogging

Which I am hoping will help to accomplish

Better Success

You might be disappointed in how cliched, how prosaic, those goals are, aren’t these the goals of 99.9% of the people out there? Maybe not the blogging, but some part of their life like that. Health and fitness always rate right up there for most people. But for me, I linked the two, and outlined them on paper.

There is a part of my brain that is convinced that uniting goals and making connections between dissimilar parts of our lives leads to a better balanced and successful overall life.

‘Blogging’ and ‘Health’ goals have been at opposite poles for me in the past few years. when I spent lots of time blogging, or making websites (the involvement with sitting long periods at the computer), the worse the effect on my physical well being. I became sedentary, I snacked on food I usually don’t even like (always unhealthy processed, fat-laden, sugar-infused foods), sat in awkward positions, just to name a few of the worse side effects of loving to blog.

When I exercised, gardened, took walks and hikes, cooked from scratch… interacted with people, you know, real life activities, I not only did not write or work on computer related website-making or graphics, or any of the many tasks linked with blogging… I lost my place. That’s right, I had no idea of what I wanted to do with the sites or blogs, and had problems with the software. Updating, using plugins for function, fixing things that go awry, became a giant learning curve again.

That also is very much my natural personality default. Long periods of focus sharpen my thinking, as well as create the logic and connections that my mind works well with.  If other activities take me far away from the thought and concentration and I sort of forget everything.

So, I have decided to harness the power of blogging to sort through and create accountability in some of my desired improvements, including taking ownership of health. It isn’t enough to know the requisite knowledge of what to eat or how to exercise, etc. I need to incorporate the actions, and in a way that I don’t lose sight of other important goals in my life, like communicating with people.

So, I made my map for a couple goals, and this long dormant blog is going to be a part of this experiment.

My experiment in this years resolutions, which I confessed to my family in our conversation time on January 2nd, that I have not even formulated yet. Until I wrote my plan for the health/blog/outline, I didn’t even have much of an idea that I was going to focus on health this year. At least not in a real, organized type of way.

And do you know what inspired it all? God works in mysterious ways, I tell you: a Sam’s Club Advertisement magazine. Yes.
I think it congealed with the Copyblogger articles I was reading which lead to an INC article and BOOM! There I was making my plan.

I remembered I joined the affiliate programs for these businesses, so in the spirit of integrating goals, plans, and actions I’ll post my affiliate banners here. Perhaps at some point I will know how to sync serving my posts linked with business affiliations etc.that will be of real value to the readers. For now, it is just sort of a non sequitor random banner posting… just because reading Sam;s club’s ads sparked a whole new direction of my thinking in a positive way.

47296_Shop at Samsclub.com (120x60)

Inspired Theme

Intermissions

I’ve taken long intermissions on this blog. This isn’t uncommon with the blogging world, and often it signals the eventual Sleeping Beauty death of many blogs. For me, the long intermissions are more of a type of contemplation. This blog was never primarily about popular topics, although that sometimes became the gist of posts when my eye turned that way, instead the TrueGrit blog remains a repository of my private thoughts and opinions posted in a public forum.

I don’t always want to expose my broken heart. I don’t always want to exhibit disappointments or explain causes for anger. There is often a feeling of responsibility to give something of value and, therefore, optimism or resolution. You have to be in a certain state of mind to write that way, to prevent falling into some sort of false and hypocritical form of writing. Personally, speaking, that is.

And the truth is that once one distances from a blog that is personal in nature, more and more of the posts become exercise of the imagination. I mean that I imagine the post I will write, but then let too much time pass and it never actually materializes. Like much of my life, at times.

I have moved away from the tolerance of living that way. Dreams are all well and good in their place, but then one awakes with an actual hunger in the pit of an actual stomach. I think that is where I am in life right now. If I can incorporate a blog (and there are now many tools to help a writer with that) with living a busy real life… since that is where more of my efforts are propelling me, then it will grow. Otherwise the idea of folding it into a past chapter of life will finally be decided.

I don’t want to end this chapter quite yet. I just want to change it into a better form, more in keeping with today’s realities.

Life has many intermissions. Some we call vacations, some we call sabbaticals, some we call other names, and they are bridges between our active choices, but never a timeout from life… since life marches on and recruits each intermission into its history. Very often, as I have on this blog, we simply stay in a state of indecision which is not an intermission at all, but a passive type of decision- allowing something other than our active choice take the helm.

All I know right now is that I don’t want to live within the intermission, but to direct, act, and produce as creatively as possible a cohesive whole. Is life a journey, a stage, a destination, a plan, a What? Perhaps a continuum that somehow encompasses bits of all those concepts.

Marry Your Actions, Motivations, and Goals

More often than not we leave out an important partner in our planning and dreaming. People write books on this fact, and we often buy those books. But we tend to look at the whole as a project list of bits and pieces. Maybe that is where a vision board comes in, to bring together a visual map of all the components, including the all important motivation for the entire goal we started out with at the year’s beginning.

As I piece together the good advice of many successful people, the challenge is to apply it to a resistant part of my life. For the first time in years I began some art projects, even though I had to change the media to computer graphics rather than hard copy paper and pencil. Although I still would like to manage some of those projects in the coming year.

Motivations

Those are the things we pinpointed in our planning and envisioning as primary reasons we wish to go forward in a particular direction with the life and resources ahead of us. It is a common failing to lose sight of a goal, to let the vision fade, and get distracted by so-called “lef”. “So-called” simply because it is not always the necessary that intervenes, but very often the unnecessary that we are slow to recognize as competition to the real life we want to have. Recording our motivation in some way , providing reminders of the motivation will aid in keeping the eye on the main road we decided to take in the year ahead.

Motivation memory will also keep us from getting stuck in ruts or outmoded schedules, or even to help us to be flexible with the demands that arise. Demands can be an important part of refining our plans, which often are focused on ourselves, when our bigger vision will include our relationship with others. If we remember our initial motivation for a goal, and its plans, we are capable of making the decision needed to address the demand and in what timetable is best. Our basic nature will tend to swing towards our internal compass of needing to please others, or wanting to meet our own wants and needs. It is easy to get in the habit of answering one or the other, when a balance is needed. Plugging back into a motivation will help us rebalance when necessary.

Record your motivation for making goals:
I want to be healthier because I want to be more active and hike ( or play tennis or whatever)
I want to be closer to God (more time for prayer,grow spiritually,etc)
I want to garden ( because it has always calmed and centered me, I love the way being outdoors makes me feel, etc)

Those are personal examples of how my goals, plans and motivations marry to create something bigger than the parts, and propel me to be the person I most would like to be in the coming year.

Hoep these notes to myself are of help in creating a successful year of accomplishing resolution from dreams in the life of others,too ( that is one of my motivations for blogging!)

Goals + Motivations = Actions and might just be a marriage made in heaven.

A Planning Tool for Goals and Accomplishing Dreams

I came across an interesting concept, new to me, but not new. It is like making an idea board for your dreams, with the view of making them a reality in the coming year. It is called a vision board. It is a cross between idea maps and collage art which I find a fun idea, even if it doesn’t accomplish the original intent of inspiring motivation throughout the year. You can make your personal art and that is something quite accomplished in itself!

Magazine Photo Collage and Art Therapy are articles with helpful videos that explain the method of creating the boards.

Dream boards seemed to become popular with The Secret. Which is a book and subsequent movie I have neither read nor seen. But I am very interested in it now!

The thing about this kind of art is how easy and accessible it is. I used to regularly do collage in my childhood and pre-teen years. Looks like I may be reverting to childhood this year as I take a journey into creating a few of these boards for my own vision awareness. I already tried one just to begin (always a favorite way to incorporate a new activity into my life:jump right in!)

The Difference Between Goals And Plans

And how knowing that will make a difference for your 2012 resolutions

Everyone hates New Years Resolutions, it seems, or if they don’t outright hate them, they feel discouraged by the prospect of yet another set of resolutions biting the dust around, oh say, March.

I think that comes from confusing the intent behind resolutions, goals, and plans.

How do we turn our dreams into reality without being too cynical or pessimistic to even start. (One sure way to fail, or just get nowhere, is to not even start! And isn’t getting nowhere just another way to set up for failure, anyway?)

Goals.
Goals are general. We want to achieve something, reach a bar point or acquire something, or get to some life destination point. We set goals with those ideas in mind, and that is usually what we call our resolutions: I want to lose weight, get fit, or be more healthy in 2012. Those are examples of typical goals most of us have.

Or we might say “I want to have a productive business””, or garden, or “I want to make more money”. “I want to spend more time with family”, build my website popularity, change jobs, start school, …those are all goals. We have personal and professional goals and we are really hoping to see a difference in the coming year, or -more likely- make up for how we failed or came short the previous year.

But the reason so many of these goals bite the dust is because they just sit there without plans. Efforts are not plans… we throw efforts at our goals and our enthusiasm lasts for a time dependent on how much will power or focus we have, but rarely does it last throughout an entire year. And that means rarely do we see those goals to completion. Some people give up, others… jump on the hamster wheel for another round of aimless flailing.

Plans
Plans are the tools for making goals realities. They take the form of written notes, timetables, deadlines, schedule of actions, etc. They are specific and tied to either a set of accomplishments or a calender date (or both). Those tools are the feet for the goals actually getting somewhere, and this is where most people miss the boat. They don’t like the finality and specifics of plans. Plans make people feel tied to timetables and decisions, and that takes away some of the warm fuzzy feeling of the grandiose visions of how powerful their will is going to be to get their goal: be thin, be successful, be a better person, be smarter, whatever that goal looked like in their mind as they sat in an easy chair at the end of the (dreamstate) year. Envisioning is a powerful thing, but it is only daydreaming when not tied to real plans.

Plans organize and pace efforts. We all know of those well intended efforts that fill the gyms each January, and empty them by May. We get busy, we get lazy, we get distracted, and our efforts dissolve into days, then weeks, then months of little or no progress.

Ready to land on next year’s “hopes and dreams dump”.

But our plan and schedule of efforts, and plan to get back on track, as well as measurable watermarks of nearing the goal throughout the year create real progress.

Resolutions

What a New Year’s resolution really is: the combination of the visionary goal with the plan of action, backed by measurable efforts.

Those are the resolutions that will guide and focus the coming year and end with satisfaction that we moved forward with things that were important to us.

The brainstorming part of a the resolution process is what we start with each January First. What did we like or not like about our lives and purposes in the previous year? what would we like to see changed? What kind of person do we want to be? What relationships do we wish to cultivate? Character qualities? accomplishments??

As we brainstorm all the dreams and ideas, we then sift them into priorities, the into real plans, then into calender events which we perceive will move us forward to the goal point.

Are you ready to turn your wishes and hopes into resolutions? And your resolutions into reality?

Getting Back To The Basics

:: repost from 8/22/08 ::
I’ve been told a lot of things. Pray for this. Fast for that. Attend this meeting. Give. Serve here.Take care of the nursery there. Be nice. Be strong.Spank your kids. Don’t spank your kids. Clean your house better. Be involved. Be smart. Take care of yourself. But not too much.

I could go on for quite some paragraphs if I really wanted to and put my mind to it… those were just off the top of my head. I have deadlines, I have demands. I have obligations. And so do you. The difference between you and me might be the number of years we have been at this… or it might be that one of us tries harder, certainly some of you are far more successful than I am at all of this, but I’m sitting here thinking: what is really important? What should I have spent my time doing, listening to, and giving myself to? It isn’t that I haven’t tried to do “the right thing”. I have, and I find that that is the case for most people I know: we are trying to do what is best in any given circumstance.

But this Olympics thing has stuck that thought in my mind: we all run the race, but one gets the prize. In life, it is not a singular “one”, it is the qualifying one. The one who has enough focus, wisdom, and sense to know the goal and to strive to attain it. Olympic gold is not won by scattered energies and diversions. It is won through measured effort. You can’t work too hard to gain it, or you might injure yourself, burn out, or otherwise disqualify. You have to utilize your own gifts and focus towards what they are best potentialed to accomplish.

There is this little mentioned portion of scripture in the Song of Solomon:

Song of Solomon 1:6

Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected.

and then much later in the book:

Song of Solomon 8:12

But my own vineyard is mine to give

Many of us have labored for others dreams and goals, supported others plans and met their demands while neglecting what was ours, our responsibilities, gifts, ministries, and potentials. We thought our time would come, and others would then support us, but it isn’t always that way. We have to realize, and take responsibility for our own vineyard. We have to own it. And then we may properly give it… while having something truly worthwhile and cultivated, cared for as something precious, to give away to others.

If we don’t value what we are and what we have to give…. why would we expect others to be capable of that? We must put a value on our giftings, and develop our own callings in life. So many of us, especially women, expect for others to do this for us. And then we wonder why things don’t work out.

A vineyard is an interesting thing.”Wine grapes are an agricultural product and it takes about four years before a newly planted vineyard comes into production” ~Jenny Heinzen, director of winery and vineyard sales for WineryX Real Estate in Napa Valley

Continue reading Getting Back To The Basics