Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Being born a born procrastinator, I am a poor planner. Throughout my life things just well happened from my lack of planning.  My penchant for not doing so is often about avoiding responsibility. To not want to be disappointed when planning did not work out. While all my classmates were preparing for their futures, I put in my half hearted attempts.

Life after graduation continued to be a series of short sighted descions or whims. Despite my follies, God always had a bigger plan for me. Placing the people and places I needed in my life. Patiently loving me, guiding the course of my life.

Mid Week Motivator : Goal Setting

In just a short while we will be saying goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016! This year certainly has flown by for me at least! That being said, a few of my goals have been met and others simply fell to the wayside. As it happens in this journey called life

I’ve learned something crucial though about goals and setting them. Here are three things that have stood out to me.

1-We romanticize them. I know I have done this, fantasing about how I would accomplish it or what life would look like once I did. I can tell you that achieving a goal looks entirely different then what I had imagined. Only to end up feeling disappointed or sad that it was or over.

2- Achieving a goals or goals often means working towards smaller goals first. This part is often overlooked, look at what steps or gains you need to achieve before getting to the main goal. When I started running, I had to first run a lap without stopping before I ran a half marathon.

3- Goals can change and that’s ok. Here is the truth, our lives, schedules and dynamics can change. A backburner goal can become your main goal. You may find you have more time for one thing and not another. This may mean pushing back a due date or rethinking your strategy.

And one last thought, January first is not a deadline to start . While it does fit in nicely, it being the first day of the new year and all. But it isn’t necessarily the right day for you to start. [Tweet “start your goals at the right time for you. “]

Hope in the Midst of Grief

image

My mother died when I was thirteen. I
remember thinking that I should be crying but no tears came. Those came later, during the funeral and later during the burial. So began my journey in grieving.

My grandfather died a few years later after a battle with thyroid cancer. Then at sixteen my estranged birth father succumbed to lung cancer.

I walled myself off emotionally, physically numbing my pain with food.

I did not know God. To be honest, I did not want to know Him. I was too busy finding comfort in being angry. And listening to my Cranberries CD over and over. This was the nineties and their music spoke to my soul. In fact I still have those songs seared into my brain.

I was lost in a world of pain and grief.
Then I started to get to know God. I began to unravel all those years of pain and grief.

This year has been tough. I have personally been to at least three funerals. The difference between grieving now and back then is simply hope. I have have hope in a Savior who makes all things whole.

Hope as we hurt.
Hope as we question.
Hope as we learn.

I have had the privilege to witness God working in this with members of my church. First to see them fully trust in what God has in store. Not their plans but trusting in His. Second Glorifying our Lord in the midst of their pain. Of being willing to allow our church family to gather around them, instead of folding inward.

To mourn together.
To rejoice in the promise of the Resurrection as a family.

Grief will always be a part of my life. But what has changed is my hope and trust in my Lord and Savior. To understand the greater story beyond my own plans and desires. That in the midst of such pain can also be such Joy.

This scripture at the top keeps coming to mind in this season. His plans are greater than my own.

100 Days of Happiness

image

Recently I participated in posting about happiness in the everyday for 100 days. (#100happydays). The idea is to find at least one thing, person, food etc that gives you a sense of joy. This was a natural fit for me. It is an exercise in thankfulness. Looking at the everyday with fresh eyes.  Taking a second look at all that I do have and often don’t think about.

I practice thankfulness. On my computer is a file dedicated to a list of thankfulness. It now numbers in the thousands. Keeping this list has helped to create a new perspective about my life. As well as happiness itself. From the start we are told that happiness is attainable. A goal that will be achieved through accomplishments or status.

But is our expectations for happiness realistic. That by saying I will be happy I do this or meet the one we are actually limiting joy in our lives. What if instead we looked at happiness as a gift? As something given to us as a gift. What if we also stopped looking at perfection in our lives as happiness?

The truth that has been revealed to me about happiness is that it is often found in the midst of trials. Not in having everything in my life exactly where I hoped it would be, but in the messiness of it. Step back to discover  that one thing, moment, food or thought that brought you happiness. Once you find one, another will emerge and another.

Some days will be harder than others. It may seem impossible to find one good or nice moment in your day. However there is always one thing. It could of been that cup a coffee or a bad joke that made you laugh. There is something good happening everyday.

The last week of this were hard. I am grieving the loss of my cat Hershey. Even so, I found things and moments of happiness. Then were the days I played catch up, which is totally fine. Or even combining a few events or days together.

If you choose to do it, know you don’t need to post it. Unless of course you want to. Posting can help inspire others. I had some good conversations about what this was about.

In doing this I hope you discover how much you do have. That brings with a sense of joy in your life.

Organization Is Key

image

The other day, as I was finally tackling the disaster that my desk had become I came across a bill. A bill due that day that I had tossed onto my desk thinking I would just remember. Of course I did not because I was not organized. The photo up top is not my desk but in terms of messiness it is close to the state it was in.

So I began to straighten up my desk. As I did so, I realized that my desk was not the only thing disorganized in my life. How I have been using my time was in just a bad a state. I have to be more intentional about how I do use my time.
Especially as I seek work freelancing, writing for this blog and my fiction work. Not to mention all the other things in my life. My day job, volunteering, time with family and friends. And of course working out.

To combat this issue I pulled out some construction paper and a permanent marker. On one sheet I wrote out all my monthly bills, the dates they were due and amounts. Then on the other sheet, I wrote out the days of the week. Underneath each is exactly what I intend to do with my time. It is not any different from what I was already halfway doing. But now, seeing it written out helps me. I did not assign any times of day to my tasks, I often feel doing that makes it more stressful. While I do like To Do lists, I do not like them to be rigid. I enjoy flexibility in my life.

My hope in being more intentional and organized with my time, that it will lead to success. Success on the full sense of the word. To not only earn most of my income through writing by the end of this year. To also do all the things well in my life. Being a daughter, sister, friend. Balancing work, writing and ministry as well. Not to mention scheduling time to read, binge on Netflix and exercise. Allowing myself to reboot. Without ensuring that, then nothing can ever be done well.

This isn’t new for me, I have always enjoyed organizing things in my life. It’s the consistency in keeping them organized where I falter.

How do you help keep yourself on track?

Mid Week Motivator- Developing New Habits

It has been said that it takes twenty one days to develope a new habit. Twenty-one days to make a change in your life. The flip side is while you are creating new habits, at the same time old habits are being broken.

 

Lifelong, ingrained habits that you are now trying to break. Replacing with those new habits of eating better and exercising.

 

Remember this as you pursue this new healthy life style.

You will make new not so great choices, or fall back into what is comfortable.

This journey to health is about being uncomfortable. It means being sore from working out. It means choosing the healthy option.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable as you get further into this journey.

In time it will not be as uncomfortable as it is now. Keep pushing yourself to develope those new habits. Find comfort in your new habits.

In other words, keep on keeping on.

What new habits are you developing?

Five Year Goals

image

This is my five year plan. For most of my life I have not been a planner. I guess you can say I just let life happen. Part of it had to do with just not wanting to deal with the responsibility of life. The rest had to do with the grief I was still in the midst in from my mom’s and Pop’s deaths. I just did not see the point in planning for anything at all. For having hope in my future.
I have to thank Jon Acuff for starting the 30 Day Hustle group on Facebook, one of the members issued a challenge to post your goals for the next five years. Which I accepted.

For that I have paid a heavy price. Most of my adult life has been harder simply because of my lack of goals and planning. College was a haphazard mess, not understanding what it is I even wanted to do. Often hindered by my poor financial decisions. Some of which I am still dealing with today.

In writing my first novel I learned the important lesson of planning. I had preferred to just “pants” it as we say in the writing world. In rewriting the manuscript (TWICE!), I learned the importance of planning. To have goals to strive towards. Today I refer to myself as a “plantser”. Someone who plans out my stories but allowing room for the story to speak to me. My outlines leave room for the unexpected.

I had reached a point in my life where I desired to even have goals. Drifting in my life was no longer desirable. I wanted more.

It helped to have encouragers alongside me. Wendy, you are so much the reason I am where I am today dear friend!. As my career as a Writer begins to take off, I realized the need to have a vision for the next five years of my life. Hence the list up top.

It’s far from a comprehensive list. More of an outline really. It will most likely change as I continue to grow. I once feared making plans because what would happen when they fell apart? That may happen or my goals met in a different way. I once asked a friend, would she be open to achieving her goals if the how changed? That is where flexibility comes in.

I need to open to perhaps it taking less than five years or more than five years to cross these off the list. Just as I am open to my allowing my outlines to leave room for change. After all, there is my plan, then there is His plan. No matter the outcome,I have hope for my future.
How open would you be to your goals or the how changing?

Six Month Check In…

Is it June already? How did this happen?! It can’t be half way through the year but the calendar does not lie. Time swirls past me more and more quickly. I began to think on how my word choice for this year has manifested itself thus far. My one word 365 for 2014 is BOLDNESS. This is a movement where instead of a list of resolutions, a word is chosen to live and grow into for that year.

 

According to the Merriam- Webster Dictionary it is defined as /adj/ 1.Courageous Intrepid. 2. Impudent. 3.Steep 4.Adventurous, Free ( i.e. thinker) /syn/ dauntless, brave, valiant- boldly /adv/ boldness.

 

As I sifted through the past six months I began to wonder just how closely my life has resembled this definition. Had I been courageous? Yes, I put myself out there in a way that I had not before. After getting the anticipated answer, I felt free. I simply I had to hear what I already suspected.

 

Have I been Intrepid? Defined as resolute fearlessness, fortitude and endurance. I can also say yes to this as well. I keep going forward no matter what life throws at me. I have strength only because God gives me the strength to do so. From dealing with tough situations with the ones I love to a double health scare with my parents. Yes I have been intrepid.

 

Now have I been Steep? Defined as a verb it means to saturate. To learn. I am in the midst of learning all I can about becoming a professional writer. Checking out books from the library, joining up with classes and webinars as I can afford. Asking my friends who have their own businsees advice on the steps I need to take as a freelance writer.

 

Adventurous is the next definition. Have I taken risks? Yes, in starting my writing career that is a risk. By moving my blog to wordpress and figuring out how to grow this blog. I took a risk running my first half marathon. Taking risks means that the reward is not always in the results. It is in the trying. In the attempt. And in the next and next and yes the next. I need more of this in this my life. I need to take more risk.

 

Am I free? Yes I am free. I am free not because of my hope in my plan. I am free because of who I am in Christ. It is through Him that I have become so bold in the ways that I am.

Am I dauntless, brave and valiant? I hope so. I hope I am dauntless in my acts of love. Have I been brave? Yes I can be far braver than I have in my life so far. Have I been valiant? Yes in being brave and courageous in small ways.

 

Being BOLD does not always mean large, out loud acts. Often it means small acts of bravery that add over time. It means being willing to take risks that can lead to failure or disappointment. Being bold means letting go of things that can hold me back and asking the hard questions.

 

These six months of living boldly has shown me a lot. Embracing boldness as my word for this year builds upon my words from past years. They are more like building blocks than simply a word. My first word was YES and the next years was LOVE. Those words have helped me grow in my faith and therefore in my life. That is where I am for my six month check in for my year of BOLDNESS.