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Friday, January 28, 2011

Struggling with my One Little Word: INTENTIONAL #olw

Thank you Ali Edwards for your wonderful and honest blog post from January 26th: Daily Work at Home Rhythms & Things I have Learned. It was just what I needed to read. I have been struggling with the word I've chosen and that I felt called to me this year: INTENTIONAL.  This word has been mocking me since January started. I want to be more Intentional, to waste less time, to actively chose what to do and then to be doing that and not thinking about other things. I love the way you phrased it in your post:
 "I think one of the most important things in setting up your day is to be fully aware of your core values. If you don’t know what you value most it’s pretty difficult to keep that focus first and foremost in your heart and mind. What do you want your life to be about? How do you want to spend your time? What’s most important to you? If those things aren’t being nurtured it’s likely time to make some changes."
 Maybe the problem is that I haven't spent enough time thinking about what my core values are so therefore I can't be INTENTIONAL about focusing on them.  It is also possible that I butting my head up against perfectionism -- something that I struggle with frequently, or that I am being too hard on myself -- that maybe January is just going to be a slow, lazy, snowy, cold month. Maybe I should just stop fighting, and resign myself to being INTENTIONAL about taking it easy in January instead of mentally beating myself up for not making headway on any of the projects I want to get done this year. The whole point is to do something (or not do something) and then to be okay/intentional with that -- to not feel guilty about what I am NOT doing.

Thank you also Ali, for leading me to the blog Be More With Less: Life on Purpose by Courtney Carver. When I saw the title and banner on her blog I immediately re-focused on my word and why I chose it. Life on Purpose -- that's the essence of what I want -- nap on purpose, eat on purpose, be productive on purpose, spend time with Emma, Jim and Chloe on purpose, work when I'm at work on purpose -- reach out to friends on purpose. I've only just started to explore this blog, but I've liked what I've read so far -- though I am not ready to give up Facebook yet. The guest post on her blog on the 26th was Farewell Facebook by Rachel Jonat of Minimalist Mom.

Lastly thank you Ali for reminding me to read less, think less, and just do more. I too spend way too much time reading about systems, solutions, philosophies, decluttering -- and not so much time just doing it.  As you again said so well at the end of your post:
"I like to read about ways to bring peace and calm into our lives. But what I’m really working on is reading less about it and doing more about simply living that way. "
I remember reading this poem way back in High School and loving it and being inspired by it them. It's Welcome Morning by Anne Sexton. To me it really celebrates the essence of everyday life or ordinary sacred life which is so much of what Ali and other bloggers I read have been writing about. So, I'll close with this favorite poem -- I need to re-read it now anyway.....
There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry, "Hello there, Anne!"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house,
each morning,
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it
let me paint a thank you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning
lest it go unspoken.

The joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.
~Anne Sexton

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Continuing on nostalgic trip down memory lane

emma easter 2005, originally uploaded by jimbethmag.

It's cold and snowing and my daughter is decidedly pre-teen so I thought I would share this photo from Easter 2005 when Emma was just 5 and when the weather was decidedly less snowy and cold, on the front porch of our house in Athens. Don't get me wrong -- Emma is still a joy and lots of fun and a great girl, but I am not sure it gets cuter than this!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sledding, sledding and more sledding

Even though we only got about 10-12 inches of snow here in Barrington there is still plenty left on the ground. Emma was sick on Wednesday when it snowed and also on Thursday so this was her first day to go out and sled. It was also lovely and sunny and not too cold so Emma, her friend Ali, Chloe and I headed out to St. Andrew's Farm Field where there is a pretty decent hill. It's in walking distance too which is a plus.

Ali, getting ready for her first run
Emma at the bottom of the hill

Mom brought her coffee then sat it in the snow when she was done, and since she's pretty odd she took a photo of it

There were a few other kids out, but not that many

I thought the berries on this tree were pretty
Chloe and I took a walk around the field while the girls were sledding. It was tough walking in some spots as the snow was deep and hadn't been walked on much. Chloe didn't seem to mind at all and was having a great time. When we got back we sat in the snow and watched the sledding while Chloe sat on my lap! This field is one of my favorite places to walk with Chloe in all seasons -- it's so beautiful. I especially like it just before sunset. We all stayed out there for at least an hour and half before heading home for lunch.  Ali went home in the early afternoon and then one of Emma's other friends called to invite her to come sledding with them at the golf course, so off she went again. I didn't come this time as I was tired and cold from my morning outing. Chloe and I curled up on the couch for some reading and napping. Not surprisingly Emma fell asleep while watching TV with us this evening an hour before her normal bedtime!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just finished my January layout for One Little word class #olw

I just finished the digital scrapbook layout above for the class I am currently taking at Big Picture Classes. It is taught my Ali Edwards who is giving us terrific prompts and inspiration so we can document the word that we've chosen for 2011. There will be one prompt every month for the year. My word is INTENTIONAL. I had planned to do this as a paper/hybrid layout using up some of my paper stash, but as I was sitting on the couch this evening I felt inspired to try a digital version using Ali's outline of boxes and the word: Quotation, Synonyms, Definition and Because. It was just so much easier for me to do it digitally using my digital stash and the journaling that I had already written most of at the beginning of January in a Word document.  I still think that I want to do some of this project using my own handwriting and actually paper and ephemera, but I may just leave this layout the way it is.  I could also print it and cut it up into the blocks to put into the page protectors.  I am not sure what I will do at this point. Once again it is way past my bedtime, but the house is totally quiet, the dog is sleeping next to me and I guess I don't absolutely have to make up snow day hours tomorrow at work. ;-)

By the way registration for this class is open until the end of the year and the cost is REALLY reasonable. Plus Ali is so inspiring!

Monday, January 10, 2011

More Ice Skating

Emma is absolutely loving ice skating. She went again this evening with her friend Katie for the third day in a row. We've been going to Legion Way rink right here in Barrington. It's actually just a flooded parking lot that belongs to the town. There are lights and a shed with hockey sticks and snow shovels. It's dependent on volunteers to clear the snow and there's no zamboni so the ice can be bumpy in places -- but it's free and nearby.  Emma and I bought ice skates with some of our Christmas money. It's also nice to be able to do what you want -- no one telling you what direction to skate in etc... Last Wednesday evening when we went we were practically the only ones there!  Katie's Mom and I are taking turns driving them and skating. I am amazed by how comfortable Emma is on skates after only a half dozen times. She wants to take lessons now! Yesterday I watched her doing some simple turns and pivots. I did some more skating myself too, but then stopped to walk and hang out with Chloe. Here are some photos I took yesterday while Chloe and I watched the girls skate.

Off she goes

Emma and Katie (on the far right)

Emma and Katie talking

You can see one of the snow shovels used to clear the snow off the ice.
Everyone pitches in to clear the snow.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Books I Read in 2010

Well I still didn't get many books read in 2010, but at least I averaged over one per month -- I guess at a total of 21 that's almost two per month -- and considering all the digital scrapbooking I do, plus other activities, being a Wife and Mom and working part-time I should be happy with 21.  My ratings are from my GoodReads.com list and are out of 5 stars, and the titles that are in bold are books I read and discussed with my book group. So, without more comment here they are:

  1. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar, 4 stars
  2. A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot, 3 stars
  3. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton, 3 stars
  4. Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O'Connor, 5 stars
  5. One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus, 3 stars
  6. An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, 2 stars
  7. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving, 3 stars
  8. South of Broad by Pat Conroy, 4 stars
  9. Tinkers by Paul Harding, 3 stars
  10. Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult, 3 stars
  11. Little Bee by Chris Cleave, 4 stars
  12. Women Food, and God by Geneen Roth, 3 stars
  13. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, 5 stars
  14. The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, 5 stars
  15. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson, 5 stars
  16. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, 4 stars
  17. One Day, by David Nicholls, 3 stars
  18. The Likeness, by Tana French, 4 stars
  19. Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niggenegger, 2 stars
  20. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese, 5 stars
  21. The Venetian Betrayal: A Novel, by Steve Berry, 3 stars