Posted in Family, Words to Live By

2016- My Year of Gratitude

A year has passed since I made the decision to take a pass on resolutions and choose one word as “the” word for the year as part of One Word 365. That word was FOCUS and I failed miserably. I started the year off with the most honorable and sincere intentions. Focus seemed like just the word for me. I pinpointed the 4 areas that needed focus and wrote out my game plan.

From Day 1, it did not work. I tried for nearly 3 months, making lists to help achieve the goals I had set to gain focus and every week I was carrying most of the goals over to the following week. I finally abandoned the project mid-March, feeling like a failure. I wasn’t sure where I went wrong.

Then 2015 rolled to a close and my Facebook feed was filled with resolutions-both funny and serious. It brought that F-word back to mind. What to do? Go back to resolutions I would abandon the 3rd week of January? Commit to FOCUS? Try a new word? Nothing?

I read my 2015 opening post- Hello, 2015!– once again. A few things jumped out at me. I began 2015 exhausted- both mentally and physically. 2014 had been filled with so many blessings…..so much to be thankful for. And when I looked back, it was all a big blur- so many major milestones in my children’s lives…in MY life. It was such a major year and I had spent the majority of it just trying to survive.

2015 turned out to be one of the most trying years of my life. I found myself being tested in ways I did not think possible and I was forced to take a closer look at myself and a few toxic relationships that I was holding on to. I had to face truths that I did not want to believe.

In previous years, I would take part in a month of gratitude every November- posting something I was thankful for on Facebook daily- but in 2015, I couldn’t face it. I didn’t feel very grateful and was heading down a slippery slope. The year ended on a particularly low note.

And then New Year’s Day happened. It wasn’t exciting or even noteworthy. My little core group was all together. Michael and Jasmine were off work, as was my husband. Kris, Andrew and CJ were all off school. And me and Beej just were… But we were all together and it was a peaceful day. No one fought. All my kids and the little guys were under one roof and no one was grumbling… at least not too much. Everyone just existed together and it was nice.

AND I felt it.

AND just like that I knew what I needed to do. I knew what went wrong last year. And I knew what my 2016 word was- GRATITUDE.

Last year my perspective was all wrong. Instead of focusing on all the great things in my life, I was concentrating on fixing things. I was faced with weekly to-do lists to make my life better or change certain aspects. I was going about it all the wrong way and somewhere along that path I stopped appreciating those millions of small things that made my life so much better than I realized.

The more I looked into this “new” way of thinking, the more it felt right. And right in a way that FOCUS had not.

gratitude

I’m not sure what form this will take.  My ultimate goal for 2016 is to take note of those little things and really appreciate each and every one. I’m hoping by doing this, that the rest will fall into place. In a perfect world, I will have a weekly gratitude post….. I’m feeling optimistic!

What does the beginning of the new year find you doing? Are you making resolutions? If you are a regular resolution maker, did you have a successful 2015? Or is your focus on one word? If so, what is it? OR are you just going with the flow and letting life happen?

Happy New Year!

-Kat

 

Posted in Challenges

In Need of a Kat Nap

“Good Night”- The Beatles. Written by John Lennon. Sung by Ringo Starr. This is my go-to ‘good night, go to sleep’ song. What? You mean you don’t have one? I have songs for every occasion, every situation, you name it. (But I think that’s another post…..or maybe a challenge…) I like this song. (I know- big surprise- Kat likes a Beatles song written by John.) I like the dreamy feel of the melody, that it was said that John wrote it for his son, Julian, as a lullaby, that Ringo is singing it and you can clearly hear the vulnerability in his voice….. it’s a good feeling.

2015 appears to be off to a less than auspicious start for me. My dreams of beginning the year with my word- focus- clearly in sight and mind began to slip away rather quickly. I don’t like big social functions. I really don’t like hosting parties in my own home. I can’t find the word that aptly describes how I feel about having a party in my house where the majority of my guests aren’t really speaking to me. This is how my year began as I was preparing for my son’s graduation party, complete with a sick dog and crabby kids. Throughout Michael’s party, I was only focused on one thing- for it to be over. I feel bad about that but it’s over. Immediately following the party, I had agreed to watch the little guys so their parents could grab some much needed time together. That’s where the word SLEEP comes to play.

It took a few years but my husband and I finally worked out a good teamwork strategy when dealing with the kids, especially in those new baby days- divide and conquer. Old habits die hard and with a 5 year old and 5 week old to care for, we easily slipped back into our roles with him taking CJ and me in charge of little Beej. In theory, it was a great plan. The only problem was that it’s been 19 years since I dealt with a newborn and those late night feedings and sleep deprivation. When you add in my own paranoia, I barely slept.

So, maybe I didn’t actually climb into the crib, but remember, my babies were tummy sleepers, so I would keep bending closer and closer, laying a hand on the baby’s back to feel him breathing, until I would finally use enough pressure to cause the baby to squirm. Then, and only then, could I rest easy.

Two nights, little sleep……. results in no posts, an incomplete (incoherent) Kat Got Your Tongue Challenge post…. and no goals established…..and a smattering of “likes” on some of the blogs I’m following but very few comments. AND one very cranky Kat.

I have suffered from insomnia and bad sleep patterns for 25 years. It isn’t coincidence that my sleep issues can be traced back to my first pregnancy when I was no longer able to sleep on my stomach. I have always been a light sleeper but losing my favorite sleep position just did me in. Little did I know, I would never get it back.

Can I share an ironic little bit of Kat-trivia? Back in my early 20’s, I would talk to my friend, Rob, on the phone while he was at work. He was always referring to this one guy who worked for him who could sleep anywhere. This guy became a common topic of discussion. How was it possible to sleep at a construction site sitting in a hot truck? It seemed like this guy slept at every opportunity. I just didn’t get it. Little did I know- this guy would become my brother-in-law and I was going to marry into a family of people who seemed to worship sleep. I strongly believe that if they could just sleep through life they would die happy. (I still don’t get it. Sleep is good and all and you need it to function but life is for living….not sleeping….just my thoughts on it.)

I went to bed at 7pm last night. I kept falling asleep on the couch so it was time. I slept. (Thank god!) And then I woke up at about 4am with post ideas running through my head. I found myself being nagged by the unfinished and two day late Kat challenge. I needed a to-do list. That schedule wasn’t going to write itself. (I had to set up a meeting for Friday. Andrew needed new shoes before he leaves on Saturday. Those party supplies need to be put away. )   And it wasn’t long before I knew that I would not be going back to sleep. I tabled the unfinished challenge post for another day.

And I came to the realization that I need to add a component on the “Me” section of my goals where I work on giving myself a break. In the middle of being totally exhausted, my internal running commentary of all the things I should be doing was causing some major mental and emotional draining, similar to those apps that are running in the background on your phone, draining your battery. Yes, I needed to come up with a plan, a list, something……but if it didn’t officially begin until next week, it wouldn’t hurt anything. And maybe those extra days to get back on track would actually give me the boost I need to feel inspired and ready to face the year. 🙂 Who knows- I might actually get some much needed rest, too.

katgotyourtongue This post is in response to Kat Got Your Tongue Challenge- Sleep

Posted in Other

Hello, 2015!

I am happy to say goodbye to 2014. It wasn’t a bad year. You can read about the highlights in my post- 2014, Oh, What a Year it Was! It was a very important year in the lives of all my children. It was filled with a wedding, graduations, big moves, college and a new baby. Since these were major life events for my children, of course they were also important for me.

As a parent, you tend to put your children’s needs first. Although all three of my kids are now legal adults, they all needed me last year. I have to say that in 24 years of parenting, I have never felt stretched so thin before. I love my kids more than anything else in the world and I wouldn’t change a single minute of the past year. I knew it was going to be a busy year and I thought it might be a little tough. I didn’t have a clue. This was the most physically exhausting and emotionally draining year of my life.

The only thing I really did for myself was start this blog. In the nine months since I published my first post, it has been something I have cherished. I didn’t know where I was headed, what I wanted it to be, or if I could even stick with it, but I did! There were times when I was writing posts on my iPad while we were on the road and in the month of November, most of my work came from a hospital room with my daughter-in-law. But I stuck with it and I’m proud of myself. It could have been so easy to set it aside and promise myself I would get back to writing when things quieted down.

It’s a new year and it’s time for change. After a year spent devoted to my children, it’s time for me to claim some of my life back for me. I brought up the topic of resolutions vs. goals in the last Kat Got Your Tongue challenge and many bloggers have posted one or the other or their decision to do neither.

I have chosen my word for 2015. Although I was overwhelmed by the possibilities earlier this week, I knew deep down inside what my word for the year needed to be. FOCUS. It’s time for me to gain some focus back in my life.

My goals will be centered around the following areas-

Me- Finding time for myself and taking care of minor health issues will be the driving forces behind these goals.

Writing- My blog will take up a big part of this section. I expect my blogging goals to be a bit flexible, depending on the area of focus. Working on appearance, posts, organization, social media and blogging community will keep me busy. The longer term goal in this area will be preparing for NaNoWriMo 2015.

Family and Friends- With so much of my time caught up with my kids this past year, it’s time for me to reconnect with my friends and family.

Home- I’m going to form an action plan to aid in de-cluttering and organizing my house. I would like to start work on making my home office a place where I can work and relax.

Some of these will be much simpler to accomplish than others. I see a lot of scheduling in my future but after a year where I had little control over my schedule due to everyone else’s commitments, I look forward to seeing a calendar filled with my own things. My next step is to have a more detailed list so I can prioritize and have goals in place by next week. I’m hoping that having weekly goals and checking on the progress of those goals will help to keep me on track. In turn, my goal is for all of this to help me stay focused and gain focus.

Donna Andrews writes the Meg Langslow mystery series and the main character, Meg, always refers to “my-notebook-that-tells-me-when-to-breathe”. I’ve always thought that I needed one of those and now seems to be the right time.

What are you doing to ensure you are successful in reaching your goals or keeping your resoluntions?

Posted in Challenges

Kat Got Your Tongue- Resolutions vs. Goals

resolutions vs. goalsYes, it’s that time of year again. New Year’s Resolutions. Either you love ’em, hate ’em or really don’t care. Where do you fall in the mix?

I gave up on making resolutions so many years ago I can’t remember when the last time was that I did it. The word tended to make me cringe. Was I a slacker because I didn’t make resolutions? Did it imply that I was so secure with my life that I needed to make no changes? I can tell you that I’m no slacker and my life is a mess.

I have wanted to get more organization in my life. In the past crazy year, I felt like I was a pinball being bounced and skyrocketed from one thing to the next. While it appears that there was a lot accomplished in this year, I felt frazzled, overwhelmed and scattered for most of it. I decided that regardless of how I proceed, there needed to be more planning involved.

As I thought about this, I googled “resolutions vs. goals” and I read a lot of different thoughts on the topic. I found this- The Daily Echo: Resolutions vs Goals-Wanna vs Gonna on Vimeo. I like how simple and straightforward it is.

I was catching up on reading the blogs I follow, which is quite easy right now because everyone is very quiet, when I came upon a post from one of my new favorite bloggers. Seraireland writes on Living Intentionally Simple (can I interject here that it was the name of the blog that attracted me- this is something I’m working on doing in my own life). Her latest post addresses the topic of resolutions and goals. She shares a process for goal setting that she has used for the past three years based on oneword365, a concept where you choose one word as your focus for the year and create goals geared toward that word.

I really like that idea. I think it’s attainable. My plan is to come up with my word, goals and well… a plan.

Welcome to Kat Got Your Tongue Challenge- Resolutions vs. Goals- Do you do either, both or none? Would you like to share them? I would love to hear from you! To learn more about the challenge, please read below-

katguidelines

katgotyourtongue

mm

Posted in Challenges

Kat Got Your Tongue- Focus

focus2

This week’s prompt is FOCUS! How do you stay focused?

I hope you will share your thoughts with me. You can see what I have to say about the topic below!

katgotyourtongue

katguidelines

FOCUS

I’m having a problem with focus. Just trying to write this week’s challenge (which I actually wrote for the first time on Saturday), I’ve changed the topic 4 times. Finally, I settled on “Focus” because I was struggling so much. The truth is that my mind is racing out in so many different directions right now that I can’t concentrate on this post. So, fellow bloggers, how do you keep focused? How do you quiet your mind? Any tips for me?

Weekly Shout Outs-

This week I would like to thank the following bloggers for participating-

~Deborah over at Notes Tied on the Sagebrush . You can read her response to Saturday Mornings here. While you are there, please be sure to look at all the cool things she posts throughout the week.

~ Julie at Julie Powell- Graphic Artist. Julie responded to the Theme Song prompt with a very interesting soundtrack list. You can read it here. I have just recently started following her and I really like what I’ve seen.