i am an awful journaler…. i start a new one each year. even if i only got through a fraction of the last one. something about a new year, fresh start, new intentions and resolutions. and although i realize that buying a fresh journal has yet to inspire me to actually journal more, i will keep with the routine because it just feels like someday it will happen. someday i will actually fill a journal in a year.
this year, though, i have gotten a good start on the journaling. i used the questionnaires from simplemom.net HERE and HERE to help process the last year and look towards this new one. they have been awesome in helping guide my thoughts, memories and goal-setting.
i ended 2010 on a very negative note; worn out, stressed out and burned out on just about every front. physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. although we had such positive things going on around us (namely lots of wonderful time with john’s family and my mom), i had just taken on way too much since Nadia’s birth and found myself starring at the end of my rope around the first week of January.
i decided i needed to get at least 24 hours of alone time somewhere, somehow, to just focus, process, journal and rest. i emailed several retreat centers in the area, looking into renting a cabin in the mountains and even downtown DC hotels. in the end, i got connected with a sweet couple who had a furnished basement apartment up in the mountains in West Virginia who said i would come out and stay. so Nadia and i headed northwest and hunkered down in a mountain cabin apartment with a wood burning stove and it was beautiful. just perfect. those first 4-5 hours i journaled so much my hand cramped up. it felt soooo good to finally be able to have time to think, process, write, pray. without interruptions.
i had a lovely dinner with the couple living there and then went back down to read and write some more. and then they came. in droves. the stinkbug demons. something about turning the lights on in the place made them start attacking me. flying straight at my face, crawling on my journal and books and legs. it was gross. stinkbugs don’t usually ruffle me. sydney routinely carried them around this summer as pets until she dismembered them. but i had never been around them when they actively attacked. they don’t bite, they are just hideous. i felt they were demonic. sent by Satan to steal my peace and rest and make me tense and on edge. it worked.
although i slept fairly well, i woke up having a severe allergy attack, thus thwarting my plans to journal and write more (hard to write when you have to blow your nose or sneeze every 30 seconds for an hour straight). instead of getting frustrated, i just decided that the 4-5 hours of good focussed processing time was well worth the trip and i headed out by noon. very thankful for that time.
in the process of thinking back over the last year (one of the worst years in the recent past for me), and looking forward to how i desire 2011 to be different, i kept seeing a recurring theme pop up. these became the basis for my goals for 2011.
1. health – physical, spiritual, parental, relational and marital. doing whatever it takes to move towards a healthier state this year. starting with physical. doing some diet adjustments to try to reboot my immune system, which appears to be just shot. when you get a cold that won’t go away for 8 weeks, and then a weird face rash, you know your system isn’t doing the job it was created to do… namely, fight off infections. when you start the day on a benedryl hangover, its a bad omen for the day. sick and tired of being sick and tired.
2. stress – de-cluttering my life and days to eliminate stressors that don’t need to be there. getting organized, getting on a routine/schedule of sorts is my goal this year. for those that know me, you know how un-scheduled i am. and honestly, up until the recent past, that has worked for me/us. now, it doesn’t. so i must adjust. discipline myself and do something that is out of my comfort zone in an effort to eliminate the stress of rushing, wasting time, not getting things done, being harried for no reason. God help me.
3. motherhood - i have an incredible mom. i have no regrets looking back to my childhood. only awesome memories. but she wasn’t a hands-on “fun mom.” i don’t remember playing with her or even reading with her. ever. i am sure we did, i just don’t remember it. she introduced me to the outdoors at a very early age and all i remember is growing up exploring the outdoors and the world around me on my own. i was an only child. i enjoyed it. i spent my days on my horse, exploring the property we lived on, imagining. but that was a different day and age. i don’t live out in the country anymore. my kids live in the city. there are more than one of them. therefore all of this is completely brand new to me. no frame of reference AT ALL for dealing with sibling stuff. i, like my mom, am not a fun mom. not very hands on. which in our case, is not a good thing. we don’t have 5 acres for the girls to explore and play independently on. it stresses me out to think of cooking with or doing messy crafts with them. just being honest. as a result, my kids have sat in front of the tv watching shows on netflix and dvd’s for a good chunk of their lives. its not what they are watching that is the problem, it is how much and why they are watching it that is the problem. and its my problem. this is another change that needs to happen this year… one that is so far out of my comfort zone that it will be purely the Grace and Mercy of God that enables me to do it.
4. slowing down/being present – this goes hand in hand with the other goals/issues. it stresses me out when i rush. when i am running late (which is alot) because its usually because i haven’t managed my time well and have wasted time. there is no need to rush. do i want my kids to remember their childhood as a whirlwind of rushing out the door to rush down the street to rush into school late? or to be yelled at to “hurry, hurry, hurry and eat eat eat so we can go go go”? i think not. slowing down means i am intentional with my time, resources, days. a schedule will help in this arena as well…. yes, i need to schedule play time, meal time, tv time, quiet time, free time, snuggle time, creative time… time for things that actually matter. i am anxiously awaiting this book… and Ann’s post and trailer on her blog sums up what i am trying to say: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/01/its-all-for-you-one-thousand-gifts-and-trailer/
and so here i am. halfway into the first month of 2011 and i have already fallen way short of my goals. my hopes. almost daily. but there have also been victories. little ones. but consistent ones. and that gives me hope. “where there is no vision, the people perish,” the ancient writing goes. well, i have vision. that is a good start. i will not perish. i will press on. i will cash in on those new mercies available to me every.single.day.