Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ten Years Gone

It's the title of a Led Zeppelin song, actually.  If they were still around, I'd still love them, but I love the music they left.  Shall we talk about journals?

10-Year-Journal by Because Time Flies, Inc.

I have not received an assignment for Week 3 or any further information about the Positivity Project, so I thought in lieu of that, I'd share a bit about my current journal.  I've been a diary writer since fourth grade; at some times in my life I would write pages each day, and of course there are long gaps with nothing.  This journal solves the gap issue.  It's a ten-year format and it's a no-excuses way for me to keep up with my life.   Because Time Flies, Inc. publishes this journal.  Would you like a little tour?  The pictures are intentionally a little blurry to protect my own privacy, but if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

First, we have the section for Long-Term Planning.  I have this information in my annual planner, but it may be helpful to transfer some of that here since my planners get archived as the new year begins.

This section also includes some helpful information for making the most of your journal, and alternate uses for some of the sections that other writers have found useful.

Next, for me, is an important section:  setting goals for the year.  I do this each January so that I have something to aim for.  The big goals go here, and I break them down into tasks as the year goes on.  It's nice that there is a column to jot down if I've met or exceeded the goal; that's an empowering thing to fill in throughout the year and rather eye-opening in December if much must be carried forward.  It says a lot about balance if many things are left undone or unattended to.

2011 and 2012 goals.  I set these in January; others might add to them throughout the year.

Last comes the meat of the journal:  the daily pages with a few lines per day, each day, for ten-plus years.  Should you feel the need to write more, there is a spot to reference blank pages in the back.  I find that restricting my thoughts to a few comments each day clarifies things well for me.  I do have another rarely-used blank book for really writing things out, but this is meant to be a chronicle and an accountability tool.

June 23 and 24.  

Between this journal and my Planner Pad, I am able to more or less keep up with myself.  It's interesting to look back and see what was happening on the date I'm writing, or to see how we celebrated a birthday a few years back, or how a day first became significant.

Do you write a journal?  Do you like to write a lot, or is it appealing to have just a small amount of space for a day's events?  What works for you?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Project Positivity: Week 2 Work

It's time to dive in to the Project Positivity Week 2 assignments!  Here's what Kayla has for us this week:

WRITE a love letter to yourself. Yes, this may sound a little weird, but it is super powerful! It doesn't have to be mushy gushy, just write nice things about yourself and things that you love about yourself. This is important because it is extremely important to love yourself without any external people or things. How did it feel to write a love letter to yourself? Weird? Difficult? I know that I found it extremely difficult!

From my collection.  By Marianne Meade, 1938, a member of the editorial staff at Junior League Magazine.  So she was pretty much a Social Letters Ninja.

Ok.  Deeeep breath.  Here goes a love letter to myself:

Dear Amy,

Do you know you lucky you are?  Seriously.  Look around.  You live in a beautiful house, in a beautiful place, surrounded by people you love and who love you.  You get to choose how to spend your days, and from what I can see, you mostly choose well.  In fact, that's the point I want to make in this love letter:  that you are not actually lucky, but that your life is the outcome of a series of good choices and doing the right thing, choosing the right thing, even when it was really hard to do.  

I remember one time when it was a matter of choosing to make yourself happy or to ensure that others around you had peace and stability.  You chose to put the important others in your life first, and that has brought peace and contentment.  We can't know the future, or if another decision would have led to happiness in the end, so all I can say is -- well done.  

What you've learned best is that we never stop growing, learning, and surprising ourselves, even as we grow older and wiser.  I'm excited to see what the future has in store for you!  You are far more interesting and accomplished than you were 20 years ago, and imagine how fascinating, original, and fabulous you'll be in another 20.  



PRACTICE loving self talk. It's proven that we are harsher on ourselves than we are to others. Learn to forgive yourself and love yourself. Even if you make a mistake, tell yourself that it's okay, let it go, remember it for next time and move on. There is no point in calling yourself negative names or harping on things that you cannot change. What's done is done, love yourself and move on!

It can be really hard to practice positive self talk!  I'm my own worst critic and often don't even notice the good things that I do.   Let's all work hard on this... notice the negative and make a change, right then and there.

WRITE at least one thing that you are thankful for every day. This is something that is great to look back on when you are having a bad day.

Sunday:  Lazy morning family breakfasts
Monday:  Rain!  And not having to water gardens.
Tuesday:  My RailHawks winning 6-0 and hosting the LA Galaxy next week!  (I'm a soccer fan)
Wednesday:  Long, healthy walks with my dog Ivy.
Thursday:  Being a pretty decent cook.
Friday:  Season tickets to the RailHawks = being treated like a celebrity.  :)
Saturday:  Stable marriage and two-parent family; husband was away on business all week and it's a lot                        less chaotic with two parents here!

LIST things that you love about yourself and one thing that you would like to change about yourself. But make it something that you can realistically change and work on. We are not perfect, there are things that we wish we could change, so take charge and change it! There is no reason to be upset about something that we can fix ourselves, even if it takes a long time. Use this flaw to figure out how you can fix it and become a better version of yourself!

1.  My lifelong love of reading and learning.
2.  Courage to leave childhood religion for something more personally meaningful.
3.  Patience and persistence.
4.  Inheriting my dad's eyes and nose.
5.  Emotional intelligence.

My weight, so that I sail through middle age as a speedboat rather than a barge.  :)

EXTRA CREDIT Like you did last week, take time out to yourself. Take at least an hour to do anything you want. It's very important to be alone with ourselves doing what we want to do in order to unwind and decompress.

We got a Roku Box last week as an ongoing project to get rid of our satellite/Dish Network, which we hardly ever watch and pay quite a lot for each month.  I've had fun this week exploring what's available on there, and since passive TV watching would drive me insane, I have used up one skein of yarn already working my crochet ripple blanket.  Have a look:

Rippling along

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Project Positivity: Vision Board

Wrapping up my first week's work for Project Positivity with a picture of my Vision Board:

This was a lot of fun to do!  I've enlarged the picture so it's easier to see.  Somehow it got oriented sideways; the center part is a street scene from a European city where I always have a little bit more fun, and the other house pictures are from right here in the South.  Lots of good words sprinkled around to remind me who I am and where I'm going.

TAKE: an hour to yourself.   Delightful!  What I did was notice over the last few weeks that I needed a red throw blanket for my upstairs wicker couch in the master bedroom sitting area.  Rather than shop for it, I decided to make it really hard on myself and/or rewarding and make the exact, precise blanket that I want for that space.

You can see what the issue is:

Master bedroom sitting area.  Skein of yarn on the chair is a clue!

Or maybe it's more obvious here:

Something clashes here, and it's not the Lady of Shalott.

We have two sets of bedroom things.  One is grey with pastel colors and the other is red and white.  The blanket does not go at all, nor do we really need a blanket this time of year.  It will go in the closet until I finish crocheting a gorgeous little ripple throw that will keep me toasty until the duvets come back out in October.

I used my hour to get started on the afghan throw, realized I was doing the repeat wrong and ripped it out, and then got off to a fine start.  I'll find out by the time I finish the first skein of yarn if I've bought enough to last for the length of the blanket, which will be the length of the bed head to foot.  I think I'll be OK.

First few rows of a ripple afghan
I don't actually know how to crochet except for the foundation chain and the two types of stitches necessary to create the ripple pattern.  I made a similar afghan for my daughter's bed, so I sort of remember the stitches-- it was a lot easier to get started this time.

Extra credit is daily journaling.  Done, no problem!  I write in my ten-year journal every day to keep up with myself.  I'll make a post about it soon.

I hope everyone else is having a positive, fun, happy week!  Back very soon with this week's Project Positivity work.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Project Positivity: Goals

Another facet of this week's work is to set three goals for the four-week project.  One needs to be about project outcome and the other two specific to my life.

From social work school, we learned that goals need to be measurable and attainable.  Here are my goals, and how I'll know I've made progress:

This is my 10-year journal.  More on it in another post.

1.  My goal for Project Positivity is to create the habit of using writing, pictures, and/or a combination of both to positively influence my attitude about the things that happen in my life.  I'll do this through writing in my daily journal, blogging, and working on my Picasa account going through years worth of pictures that clearly show a lot of my life.
SUCCESS:  Daily journal, at least three blog entries weekly, and organized Picasa photos.
Cute summer dress from a couple years ago.  My son is about chin height to me now.

2.  Second, I'm reaching back to my 2012 intentions and breaking down one of those goals.  By the end of Project Positivity, I plan to weigh seven pounds less than I do right now.  I miss some of my cute summer skirts that are just a little too snug today.  I can put them on, but I wouldn't wear them anywhere.  Let's fix that!   I have a nifty new tool to help me out with this, and the good news is that it's working.  More on that in another post.
SUCCESS:  I'll let you know how I'm doing, but it's a number on the scale that I'll share when I arrive there.

Just a few of my learning tools.  

3.  Last, I want to spend some serious mental energy and time getting more proficient in Spanish.  I've started my third Spanish class since September, and this one is Spanish Conversation.  No ingles for four hours a week.   I'm happy to report that I understand everything the teacher says, and alarmed that I am so very bad at conjugating verbs in anything other than regular present tense.  I'll need to study that and increase my vocabulary.  The class goes until the end of June, and I have a LOT of work to do!   Being able to communicate in another language opens a lot of doors for me, and it is a positive improvement for me.  I think of myself as a lifelong learner and this is part of my lifelong education.
SUCCESS:  Completion of my verb workbook, my conversation workbook, and proficiency in speaking with some of the native speakers in my life who are amazingly tolerant of the liberties I take with their beautiful language.

Here we go!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


One of this week's assignments is to identify a personal mantra.  A long time ago, when I was in high school and beginning to suspect that there was life outside of Lutheranism, I read a great book on meditation, which I failed to note so I can't tell you what the book was.  I got a Sanskrit mantra from that reading that deeply resonated with me:  Ham So, which means "I am that."  It's one of the names of God, and inhaling on "ham," exhaling on "so," is meant to connect to one's inner spirit and inner voice of wisdom.  The book also described meditation as "holding hands with God," and the imagery has stayed with me ever since.  I'm terribly sorry I didn't record the name of the book; it was from the library and I checked it out more than once during that time of great growth.

So today, I'm thinking of that mantra and connecting it to the one I've chosen for now:

I am what I do.

Sadly, the shirt is unavailable.  

Ham So is "I am that,"  and this takes it out to what that is.  

It fits for the goals I'll be posting tomorrow:  I am what I do.  The choices I make and the behaviors that follow define who I am.  I'm driving here.  I had a delicious salad for lunch today, because that's just how I am.  All of life's little activities and choices as a living meditation.

See?   I am what I do.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Project Positivity

A few months ago, I was looking around the interwebs for some ideas/information about my Planner Pad, which is not incidentally the best paper planner I've ever found for my brain and life, and I have tried nearly all formats.  Anyway, I discovered this absolutely charming young woman describing and showing her Planner Pad on a YouTube video and realized at once that I'd found a kindred spirit!  Especially when she showed how she liked to decorate the black-and-white pages with flower stickers and colored pens; I watched more of her videos and found her to be a kind, sensible, compassionate, sweet person.

So I was thrilled when she posted this:

And of course I joined.  You can, too, if you're so inclined.  The first week's assignment is posted on her blog, and you can even get a Positivity Partner!  I've been matched with someone and can't wait to get to know her over the next weeks.

I'm going to think about my mantra and get a good picture of a vision board I did 12 years ago.  I will do another one for this, but it's remarkable how much the old board still reflects what I want and who I am.   I will sort through my 2012 goals and tailor some for this project, especially the ones that need some dusting off.  I'll be doing my assignments via this blog, which will dust it off as well, and perhaps build a better writing habit for me in the process!

So, welcome to my Positivity Project!  Please post in the comments if you're planning to participate -- I would love to read your blogs on this as well.