Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reach For The Stars

December 28: Achieve. What's the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you'll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

My word for last year was balance. I have picked a new word for next year, but what I really want most from 2011, is balance. I haven't reached that point yet where I feel like everything in my life is on an even keel. I may  never get there, and I realize that, but I think I can do better. There are definitely areas of my life that need work. I would like to get to the end of the year and not feel like things are crazy and stressful and out of control. I like to imagine that when I get to that point, that I'll feel content. Peaceful. Like things are OK, and everything's how it should be.

Monday, December 27, 2010

An Open Letter To My Son

December 27: ordinary joy

Dear Corey,
For the past several years I have written a blog post about your on your birthday. Some of them were sappy, and some were entertaining (to me anyhow), and then there was that year with the big cake... but none-the-less, each year I have written one. Mostly I write them for myself. A reflection on the past year, or the past however many years you've been alive on this earth, and how I am feeling about all of it. You took me be surprise however, when you announced that you were going to go read your birthday post on my blog, especially as I hadn't written it yet.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Food For The Soul

photo from November: Harvest Dinner
December 26: Soul Food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth and touched your soul? (author: Elise Marie Collins)

It wasn't a certain dish, or any one food that touched my soul this year, it was a food event. I have already blogged about this event here, but looking back on 2010, this day, this dinner with my friend and her family, was the food that my soul needed. Typically, except for Uncle Christmas, or a summer cookout, we have one or two people over to dinner at time. Usually, it's my good friend C, or it's C with one of her family members who's visiting. Our summer cookouts always feel a little stressful (could be the time of the year, the people we invite, the weather not cooperating.. who knows), and this  year for Uncle Christmas, all my brothers decided we should order out Chinese, and all I did was some baking. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words

December 25: Photo-a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose the one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about yourself. (author: Tracey Clark)

As the family photographer, you find that more often than not, there aren't that many photos of you. Just today, The Boy™ picked up and snapped some pictures of me while I was learning how to use Ms. Thang's new Rip-Stick board in the kitchen. We were having a jovial time, and he said, after taking a picture, there aren't that many pictures of you. Well, you don't say.  I went back through all the pictures of me from this year, of which there are few, including the ones from this morning, and I have to say, this one, taken the day after my new niece was born is my favorite.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Long And Winding Road..

December 24: Everything's OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? How will you incorporate that discovery into the next year? (author: Kate Inglis)

It might have been early in the year, sometime during the winter. I was standing at the front door, looking out towards the nut tree where my bird feeders hang, and watching the birds play in the snow. The Boy™ came up behind me and hugged me and put his chin on my shoulder. As I stood there in the quiet, I remembered back to where we had been a year earlier. How our relationship had been put through the ringer, and somehow, we managed to come out of it in one piece.  Not whole, and certainly in need of some healing, but we had pulled through. As I stood there, I realized that as awful as it had been, and as hurt and miserable as I was during most of late 2008/early-mid 2009, right there with him was where I wanted to stay. Forever. That we could have been where we were, and I could still feel safe, and loved and home...right there in his arms, said everything I needed to know. The second half of 2009 our relationship was still shaky. We were trying to work through where we had been, and feelings (mine mostly) were still raw and vulnerable and while I was trying really hard, sometimes it was like walking on egg shells.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Name Game

December 23: New Name. Let's meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (author: Becca Willcot)

I hated my name when I was growing up. When I was at school, and starting a new grade with a teacher, and we did attendance for the first time,  there was always a discussion that went like this, "Beth xxxx".  "Here". "Is your whole name Elizabeth?" "No." "Bethany?" "No." "What is it then?" "Just plain Beth." :: big heavy sigh here ::  Even now, when I give my name as Beth, sometimes I get, "Legal name?".. that is my legal name. If I'm giving you my name for something important, and it was more than just Beth, don't you think I'd tell you?!? Arrrggg. Anyhow, that was then.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Would Walk 100 Miles

December 22: Travel. Where did you travel in 2010? How and or where would you like to travel next year? (author: Tara Hunt)

The Boy™ and I were planning on taking a big trip this year to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. I was socking some money away each month in anticipation of the big event, and we even went out and bought a set of real luggage. We were thinking of a trip to the Mediterranean, and I had already started scoping out places we'd stay and things we'd do.  Then the contract work The Boy™ was doing ended and our financial situation changed, and that extra money that I had been saving, just wasn't there any more.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Much Longer?!?!

December 21: Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the years ahead? (bonus: write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (author: Jenny Blake)

I couldn't help but think of the song Five Years Time by Noah and the Whales when I read today's prompt.  In five years from now I will be 41 years old. I will have celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary that year, hopefully by going on a big trip off this continent. I will have a son about to turn 21 years old, and be of legal drinking age. With any luck, he will be pursuing his dreams in a swanky college for highly intelligent people. I will have an 18 year old daughter who will just have graduated from H.S., and will hopefully be attending some swanky culinary school in her life dream of being a chef. For the first time in our married lives, The Boy™ and I will be alone. It's crazy to even think about, and more crazy to think that it will only be 5 years from now. Five years really isn't that long. I haven't considered until right now, that I will only have my children here for such a short time. There is so much that I still want to teach them, and share with them. I don't know what to tell my future self, other than to slow down. Spend more time together. Do less yelling. Let stuff go. Laugh together. Share things. Make this time together something that they will want to remember. Love them.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ummmm.. No

December 20: Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: will you do it?) (author: Jack Nickell)

Some of these prompts are hard. Not because the answer to the question is hard, but because I don't know what the heck to write. I didn't skip doing anything this year because I was scared etc. I ran a half marathon that scared the heck out of me. I got a summer job when all I wanted to do was stay home and soak up the sun in my garden. I have done the hard scary things. There may be things I haven't done out of pure laziness, like running these past few months, but I like to think that I don't let myself stand in the way of what I want anymore. I used to be that person. I think I've grown into someone a lot better. Like, Beth version 3.0 or something.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

When I Get That Feeling....

December 19: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?  (author: Leoni Allan)

I came here intending to post that I didn't receive any healing in 2010. I didn't have an area of my life, or a relationship that was in need of healing, other than with my mom, and I already blogged about that.  I sat here, and started typing, and decided that if I posted that, and went on to write about it, I would be a liar. I didn't intend to be a liar, I just had a moment of forgetting. That I could forget, says a lot about where I am now compared to this time last year.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do or Do Not. There is NO Try.

photo from last night: ready for the semi-formal
December 18: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did/didn't go for it? (author: Kaileen Elise)

It seems I always have a list of things that I want to do and try, and not enough time to get to them all. Next year I want to start snowshoeing on a regular basis. I hate winter, and I think if I had an outdoor activity that involved snow that I enjoy, it might make it more tolerable. I want to learn how to make a quilt. I'd love to be able to buy a decent bike and start biking on the days I don't run. I want to try my  hand at spinning yarn. I want to try and run a full marathon. Will I get any of these things done? I don't know.

This year I ran a half marathon. I learned to sew. I went away with husband for our anniversary. I learned how to be a better friend. I tried to be a better mom/wife and while I may have made a bit of progress at both of those things, I'm not sure I succeeded at either. Next year, I will try better.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

December 17: Lesson Learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (author: Tara Weaver)

In order to answer this question, I have to first ask myself, "What did you learn about yourself this year?" and then from there decide what the best thing was. That is a tricky question.  What did I learn about myself this year? I learned that I might be too hard on my kids, especially my son, and I need to be more understanding of his plight as a teenager and cut him some slack.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You've Got a Friend...

December 16: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (author: Martha Mihalick)

I have been blessed with an amazing friendship over the past several years with a person whom I never would have "picked" as a friend for myself. Not that I didn't think this person would be a good friend, or was a great person.. but at this age in my life, I had resigned myself to having "old friends" and "people I know from work or around town".

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do You Remember....

December 15: 5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in 5 minutes. Set an alarm and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.  (author: Patti Digh)

Holding  my brand new niece for the first time. The joy I felt when seeing The Boy™ after he had been gone for almost 5 days. Working at the blueberry farm this summer. Saying goodbye to Millie. Ashley making honor roll for the first time in Middle School. My niece Victoria saying goodbye to me and giving me two fat smooches right on the lips. Finally finishing my craft room. A healing phone conversation with my mother. Running, and finishing a half marathon. Being at Sheri's wedding. Learning how to sew. Going to Boston for my birthday. Our anniversary trip.

* I did this without looking at my 2010 photo folder first, to get a glimpse of what went on this year. I pulled all this from my brain, and am sure I probably forgot a few important things, but this is what came out in 5 minutes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In The Quiet and Calm..

December 14: Appreciate. What's the one thing you've come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (author: Victoria Klein)

This question seems like it could lend itself to a lot of hokey answers: my husband, who's stepped up to the plate in more ways than I can list this year; my health, which I am truly blessed and grateful for when so many around me a sick with cancer and other awful things; my job, which is getting a little stressful due to some school board decisions... and so on and so forth. But all of those things, while I am grateful for and appreciate them... aren't what I'm most appreciative of. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

When I Grow Up.....

December 13: Action. When it comes to aspirations, it's not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step? (author: Scott Belsky)

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead." ~ Louisa May Alcott

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Body What?!

December 12: Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integration with your body? Did you have a moment when there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (author: Patrick Reynolds)

 I will readily admit that when I first read this question I didn't understand it. I believe I was looking to literally at the word integration, and I wasn't sure I "got" what this question was asking me. So, I did what all 2010 web users do, and I went to Google. I punches in 'body integration' and came up with this website. It told me that 'mind body integration is the process of learning how to be more conscious and present in the moment and to then be able to live a more full and joyful life.' I didn't search any further, because really.. I get that.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kickin' it to the Curb...

December 11: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (author: Sam Davidson)

The answers to this question will be a work in progress until I have all 11 listed. Here goes:

1.  Obligations. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against obligations.. I've just got too many of them. I always feel obligated to do this, obligated to this. I can't say no when someone asks me to do something. I really need to work on this. My life has gotten crazy and I have far too many things going on to keep track of them all. I need to become that person who says no, and is OK with it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Letting Go...

December 10: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you've made this year, and how did it play out? (author: Susannah Conway)

I only get to see my mother once a year. Her convent is very generous and gives her two weeks of vacation, and she usually comes up the last week of July/first week of August. Up until a few years ago, she would spend one week with me, and the other week with one of my brothers. A few years ago, in 2008, we had a HUGE falling out. I mean huge. It wasn't over any one thing really, it was a gradual build up of a lot of little things that just keep building and building. Looking back, I relate myself to a pressure cooker. Over time, years actually, all of these little things just kept making me angry, and instead of dealing with them and discussing them (past experience had taught me that would go nowhere), they built up inside until the lid blew off. What an explosion it was. Things were said, feelings were hurt, and I ended up telling me she couldn't stay here next time she came to visit.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

We're Having a Party....

December 10: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (author: Shauna Reid)

I was all ready to post about how 2010 was the year without a social gathering, when I remembered that one of my coworkers got married this summer. Only one other of our friends from work was invited, and so we attended together. We figured if we were going to show up to a gather of near 300 people, where we only knew each other, and the bride and groom, it was best to stick together, so we went as  each others date.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In the Eye of the Beholder

December 8: Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights other people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different-you'll find they're what makes you beautiful. (author: Karen Walrond)

I put off answering this, because at first glance I thought the question was, 'what makes you beautiful?' and I don't feel beautiful, ever, so I wasn't sure what the heck I would write about.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

It Takes a Village....

December 7: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (author: Cali Harris)

I'm ashamed to admit that I've connected the most this year, with my Facebook community. I have reconnected with old friends whom I hadn't actually gotten out of touch with, but we would send a few letters or cards now and then.. and now we can chat on a regular basis and keep up with each other.

Monday, December 06, 2010

She's a Crafty Thing

December 6: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but need to clear some time for? (author: Gretchen Rubin)

I've been trying to make time each week to at least make SOMETHING, and finish it. I've got an uncanny knack for starting projects, especially knitting ones that take a long time, and then moving on to something new and exciting before they are finished. In fact, one of my 2011 goals is going to be to finish at least half of my old projects before I start any new ones. Just last night, I made another project for the sewing class I signed up for over the summer. This was actually supposed to be the third project I made, but I skipped over it to make a set of bibs for each of my nieces. When I first signed up for the class, I wrote down the supplies for the first 3 or 4 projects, and after lunch with some friends, went fabric shopping. One of my friends came with me, as the store was having a "going out of business sale", and  as I pondered whether or not I liked this fabric, mentioned that she really loved it. She doesn't sew, so I made a show of saying that I liked it too, and I thought I'd get it for one of my projects. This was the first sewing project I did, where I felt like I really knew what I was doing. I didn't have to rip out any seams. I didn't get frustrated with any part of it. I hemmed all the raw edges on my own, as I went which wasn't part of the instructions, and I'm tickled with how it came out. I also knit her a pair of fingerless gloves, and have to come up with a clever way to wrap it them up.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I Am A Quitter

December 5: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (author: Alice Bradley)

On looking back at the blog entries from this past year, of which I'm sad to report there are few of, I realized that I never came and blogged about quitting steel drums. Way back in March, I posted my last post about drumming, and made mention to how much time it was sucking out of my life, and that was it.

Sometime later in the spring.. in fact it was the weekend of the Made in NH Expo, when I couldn't go play because I had a migraine headache and the thought of playing 6 large bass drums made me want to curl up in a ball and cry.. I realized I needed to be done. It was taking up too much time, and I felt like I was having to choose between the kids and their activities, and rehearsals and gigs, and no matter what I choose, I felt like I was failing at something. I was also looking at having to work all summer, and try to fit in Steel Drums and couldn't figure when my family was going to ever see me. That is far too much stress for what started out as something "fun to do in my free time."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Wonder of it All...

December 4:Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeff Davis)

Maybe a better question would be, "Did you cultivated a sense of wonder in your life this year?" I have been thinking about this all day, as I saw the prompt this morning, and I don't know if I have an answer yet. The closest thing I can think of... is having small children in my life again. I have 2 teens, and for almost 12 years, they were the only children on both sides of our families. There were 2 yrs between when my nephew Max passed away and my niece Victoria was born. So for almost 14 years, my kids were it. Having my niece, and now a brand new baby right in time for the holidays, has been such a blessing. You forget how sweet and fun little children are, and what a blessing they are in your life. Hearing updates from my MIL, and my niece's mom, is really such a highlight for me. They live 1.5 hours away, which while it isn't *THAT* far, in the craziness and chaos that is my life.. we don't get to see them as often as we'd like. We have a visit planned over the holiday break, and I cannot wait. There's just something about a little hand gripped around yours, or a small child's head resting on your shoulder that just puts everything right with the world.(yes I made the hat.. there is a matching red/white sweater to go along with it, in the spirit of the holidays)

Friday, December 03, 2010

One Moment In Time....

December 3: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

When I first read this prompt, I have to admit I was a bit frustrated. How the heck was I going to remember anything that happened this year that fit this description when it's been crazy, and busy, and full of long hours of working. Then I remembered. I ran a half marathon this year. I ran 13.1 consecutive miles on a Sunday morning in September, without stopping except 1x to take a quick potty break. I had never run more than 9 miles at any one time, and that was only a few weeks prior. I have to say.. that was one of the most amazing days I've ever had. You can read about the pre-race here, but I never did come back and blog after the race.  

Thursday, December 02, 2010

No Truer Words Were Ever Penned....

December 2Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

Most of the writing that I do these days, is here, on my blog. As you can see from my lousy posting totals for this entire year, it's not much, if anything at all. I spent an early morning shower thinking about this the other day (I do my best thinking in the shower, it's quiet), and realized that Facebook has been the downfall of my blog. Before, if I had something to say, or pics to share, I came here. I blogged my pics, and my stories and shared what I was thinking and feeling in one post, and moved on. Then I discovered Facebook, with it's status updates and photo albums, and my blog went quiet. See, Facebook is fast and easy. One quick line, or less than 2 mins, and you can have an update, a video with a link, and/or a new photo album created. Blogging takes a little more time. You have to format your thoughts, type them all up, add the pics (and Blogger's been a bugger about this on my end as of late) and then publish it. I can send status updates from my cell phone. Creating a post about what's on my mind from my phone seems a little long, and tedious. I wasn't proud of this realization, nor am I proud of the amount of time I am sure that I waste on any of the various computer actives that I embark upon each day.  Do I want to give any of them up however? No. What I do want to do, is use that time more productively. Do what I intended to do, then close the cover of my laptop and go do something else. That's the thing I need to work on the most. Shutting the cover.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

To Sum It All Up.....

This month, in an effort to blog more, and reflect back on my year better, I've signed up for Reverb 10. It's an annual event designed to help you focus on where you've been through the year, and think about what's coming next. Right up my ally. Each day of this month, I am dedicated to posting an answer to the prompt, and because ya'll know that photography is my first love, I will be posting pictures from my daily December 2010 life. Win-Win if you ask me. So, here goes. Day 1.

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

Long time readers of my blog will know that I participate in Ali Edward's One Little Word project each year. I usually start out the year really strong, and then as it goes on, and life gets more busy, my word falls to the wayside. My word for this year was BALANCE. I went back and read the blog post from when I shared my word. My goal was to take a hard look at my life, and see if I could find a balance between the busy and the every day. Looking back on this past year, I think I have fallen short of my goal, but for the first time in a few years of having a word, I didn't fail altogether.