a girl and her boy

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Category Archives: gratitude journals

Rules to Live By

12 Rules to Live by Robert Louis Stevenson
Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.

Make the best of circumstances. No one has everything and everyone has something of sorrow.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Don’t let criticism worry you. You can’t please everybody.

Don’t let your neighbors set your standards; be yourself.

Do things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.

Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than actual ones.

Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish enmities and grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.

Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about places.

Don’t hold post-mortems or spend time brooding over sorrows and mistakes.

Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.

Keep busy at something. A very busy person never has time to be unhappy.

* * *

Just a little something extra for today. I hope you are having a fantastic day!

The Power of Intentions – Make Your Life Happen!

“Every morning is a fresh beginning. Every day is the world made new. Today is a new day. Today is my world made new. I have lived all my life up to this moment, to come to this day. This moment… this day… is as good as any moment in all eternity. I shall make of this day… each moment of this day… a heaven on earth. This is my day of opportunity.” Dan Custer.

I seem to have something to learn about the power of intentions and positive thinking as the universe has put opportunity after opportunity to think about it, engage in it, and learn from it in my path lately. The quotation at the beginning of this post was in my email inbox one morning earlier this week. On Sunday at church, the message was about harnessing your power and the power of the Universe to set and achieve intentions, and the chapter in my manual on writing just happens to be talking about intentions and goals as well. Okay, Universe, here we go.

I have made much progress in life. I’m very happy with where I am and what’s in my life, in general. I have two postsecondary degrees in areas I am passionate about. I have a comfortable home and plenty of possessions to keep me entertained, progressing, and developing. I have health, youth, and energy to make big things happen. I’ve overcome some huge obstacles and learned many lessons about love, forgiveness, and faith.

Life isn’t over yet, and won’t be for many years if I have it my way, which means there is plenty left to learn and achieve. (I tell Gabe often that I want to live to be 120. He says that with technology and health advancements that it’s quite possible.)

After doing some financial planning with Gabe, I turned the page in the notebook to a fresh sheet and wrote down in concrete terms the things I am going to do in life. That’s right, no “maybe” or “someday” or “it would be nice if I could.” It’s all about “I will.”

Here is what I intend:

I will be financially independent and responsible.

This one is huge for me. I grew up in a family where money was always an issue. There was never enough of it and it was often misused. When I went off to college, having no real concept of how money worked, I got myself into credit card debt and constantly lived beyond my meager means. It took a long time and many hard lessons before I got myself out of debt, stabilized my finances, and learned how to manage money effectively. While teaching, I did very well to support myself and my former husband on my salary and somehow managed to save enough to live on for the first six months or so of living in Salem when I ventured out on my own after the separation. Now I’m in a financially stable committed relationship, but I wake up worrying at night about what would happen if something happened to Gabe, or if there were an even bigger economic upset. I am actively working on getting myself and our relationship set up so that we are individually, and as a couple, financially stable. I want to know that no matter what happens that we are going to be okay.

I will be professionally successful and secure in a teaching/editing/publishing position.

I want it and I’m working for it. It’ll happen.

I will obtain and maintain good health.

I reworded my usual goals because they were too narrow and I found myself constricted and limited. I have learned that if I focus my goals too much and organize things too well, then I “rebel” and don’t do it. I need flexibility and freedom to achieve goals, especially health related.

One big change I’ve made to work towards a lifetime of good health and physical strength is my “minimum” rule: it doesn’t matter what it is or how much, but I must do something physical every day. I can go on a long walk. I can do few sets of crunches and push-ups. I can go to the gym and lift weights. The goal is to move my body every day. This way of thinking has helped me get up and move every day for the last 19 days. I’m close to the 21-days to form a habit!

Beyond that, I have some very specific running goals for the next 24 months. I had to put off my races this past year because of the health situation, but now that I’m on the mend, it’s training time again. So, my general goals as I haven’t set up a training schedule or found races yet is to run a handful of 5k races this spring and summer, and by fall run a 10k race. Then over the next fall and winter, pump it up to half-marathon distance for the late spring or early summer next year and keep pushing for my first marathon in the fall/winter of 2012. That gives me, I hope, a decent amount of time to build up miles and strength for a marathon. Running-readers, what do you think? Prior to the illness, I ran 4-6 miles a day 3 to 4 times a week and long runs of 7-10 miles at my best. Since then, I’ve managed to get in 7-12 miles a week. Not much, I know, but it’s been something.

 

I miss running outside! I can't wait until it warms up.

As far as food goes, I’ve had so many different ideas on how to achieve health through food and it’s brought me to extreme decisions in the past. My new and best idea yet: moderation! Oldies are the goodies. I do fairly well getting in a fair number of fruits in a day, and I’m getting better with veggies. I’ve been a whole grain person for years now and had a period where I thought I wanted to dump them from the diet completely. Then I had to go off them on doctor’s orders for a few weeks. Now that I’m healthier and feeling good without the dairy and gluten, and thinking long and hard about my needs, what I want, and about world health trends, I’ve decided to keep them. That’s for me. Everyone makes their own decisions based on their needs and how their body responds. Do the best by your own body, folks! Treat it well!

I’m also going to start yoga! Woo-hoo! I got a great deal on 7 classes in Cambridge through Yelp. I can’t wait to have a yoga booty.

I will live a long and happy life.

This whole post is about intentions. I intend to be happy every day to the best of my ability. I’m choosing it. The long part, well, I’m hoping that by a positive attitude, a fulfilling and invigorating career, and a healthy lifestyle, that comes with some luck.

I will write and publish at least one novel.

I’ve been tapping away at the keyboard for at least 30 minutes each day on a new novel idea this year. I don’t know how good it is, but it’s progressing. You gotta write a novel to publish a novel. The best writing is rewriting and revision. It’ll come.

* * * * *

So what about you? What are your intentions? What are you going to make happen with your life?

Happy Thursday, folks!

Holiday Attitude Adjustment

Like many people, the holidays stress me out. They remind me of the terrible things in my past that I just don’t want to remember. I woke up this morning just wanting it to be sometime in mid-January. Each year I look to holiday decorations and making cold-weather gifts to perk me up, but it’s just not working as well as I need it to this year. So, I’m stepping it up. It’s time for a holiday attitude adjustment.

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Adventures and Conversations: Finding Joy.

I have a few things to share that made me proud and grateful in the last few days. I’m going to start with the most recent and go back in time.

I was poking around on Elephant Journal today looking through articles on yoga, meditation, and healing, and found a great article by R. R. Shakti called “Joy is a Choice.” I found so much good in the article that I posted it to my Facebook profile with a snippet from the article as the headline. Almost immediately, an old friend from childhood responded to it asking when he can begin his training, to which I replied that he can begin immediately.

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All New Thankful Thursday

Posting at least once a week really isn’t too taxing, so I made myself promise to post at least once a week, on Thursday, a list of what I’m thankful for. The focus will be in the last week, but, the spirit may move me to a more universal gratitude. Who knows.

So, today, the first of many Thankful Thursdays to come, I am thankful for:

  • The new group of people I spend Tuesday nights with that I found through Meet Up. We talk and share over coffee each Tuesday night.
  • AUTUMN! AUTUMN! AUTUMN! 🙂
  • The big basket full of wool taunting and teasing me.
  • Gabe. The most supportive, wonderful, handsome, and encouraging person I’ve ever dated.
  • My new little french press Gabe bought me as a gift.
  • The crepe pan also from Gabe as a gift.
  • The wide open opportunities for grad school here in the Boston area.
  • The time to heal and destress.

That’s my beginner’s list for Thankful Thursday. What are you thankful for?

Bits and Pieces

cozied up at home

I feel like writing today. It’s been a while.

It’s a chilly, grey, rainy day here on the north shore and my thoughts have turned to warmth and comfort. I pulled out a sweater from the tub I hauled down to the basement a month ago, slipped into some jeans, wrapped a scarf around my neck and settled into a book first thing this morning. It has been a while since the house has been quiet like this for quiet reflection and reading. I sipped on coffee made with lowfat milk and honey in my new Emerson mug. Perfect.

the house I rented in Maine

new transitions

My thoughts drifted back to autumns and winters past, the little comforts for chill days, and how different my present is, and how much greater the difference will be in five weeks. I went from renting a house in rural Maine were I chopped and split and hauled my own fire wood to soon living in an apartment building in the up-and-coming part of Boston with amenities I never dreamed of having at my finger tips. Worlds apart.

the roof deck of my new home

In Maine, I had organic farms and farm stands a few streets away, chickens in my back yard that ate bugs off my herbs and vegetables, and fruit trees. I was blessed with an abundance of food that could easily be traced to its roots. Boston has Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and farmers’ markets, too, but it’s different. I’m not sure which I preferred. Maine was wonderful, but living in Boston where I will be commuting to gather groceries by means of public transit will be a new and interesting experience. Maintaining my organic, green, healthy lifestyle in 750 square foot apartment in Boston has given me a new focus for blog writing.

I look forward to the new experience of getting on the silver line and having time to think and observe while going to gather food. I look forward to the bustling farmers’ market full of new and wonderful things. And I look forward to a new opportunity to start fresh and make more adjustments in my diet for a healthier life. This whole experience will be new. And I look forward to the challenges and opportunities it presents.

reading

I curled up with The Eyre Affair, a novel on loan from my friend Jose. I’m working on zipping through so I can return it to him at his farewell party in two weeks. I inadvertently slammed the book when I last saw him at a gaming event by saying something to the effect of I’m in the middle of a bunch of books right now and haven’t had a chance to finish it yet to which he replied something to the effect of so there are a bunch of books you like better than this one. So I’m trying to make up for it by actually finishing the book and coming up with an honest review of it.

I’ve been in a book gathering mood of late and have picked up the first four books of The Dark Tower, of which I’m in the middle of book two, an annotated complete works of Milton, the Divine Comedy, and the new instant classics of Little Women and Werewolves as well as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I’ll never have enough books. I’m doomed to living in a book-lined home.

hand and home crafts

Nothing much going on with needle crafts such as cross-stitching or knitting. Per usual, I have a ton of UFOs sitting around that need some attention. The hexacomb cardigan has been set aside until I have an opportunity to fix some errors using EZ’s “no tears” method. The hexacomb pattern became a spiral when I was under the influence of Vicodin. I haven’t had the spirit to fix it since I discovered the error.

gaming and geekery

I picked up copies of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII this weekend. I look forward to settling in and playing them through this summer. I also picked up the first volume of some comics:  Lenore, The Wizard of Oz, and The Dark Tower. I cannot wait to purchase the whole of each.

That’s what I’m up to and some of what I’ve been thinking about. I hope all is well with you!

Much love. Black Sheep.

Accountability and a few Thank You's

Blogging, it seems, is mostly about keeping oneself accountable. When I wasn’t blogging, I felt no “obligation” or “motivation” to do the things I enjoy doing and then talking about, y’know, running, knitting, crafting, reading, adventuring; in other words:  being mindful and observant and engaged.

Since dusting off the blog I’ve already found myself perking up some and looking to my big pile of UFOs (for non-crafters/knitters, that means unfinished objects) and half-read books and reflecting on my recent shenanigans out and about in the greater Boston area. So much stuff to take note of and talk about! So much stuff to appreciate.

Speaking of accountability, there are some big things I’ve done that I’m very proud of that I’d like to share:  I’ve almost been in the north shore area for a year (it’s been a full year since I started visiting, July will be my 1-year anniversary of living here) and I’ve managed to keep afloat financially. When I moved down here, it was after leaving my teaching position in Maine and leaping into the dark hoping to land on something solid. Now, I don’t have a teaching position (yet), but I have been able to earn enough to keep my bills paid and pay off my minor medical debts from last spring. Granted, I have had help from friends along the way with small floating loans, but I did it. I did it!

Last spring when I was meditating and sending out my intentions and asking for help, I asked for a teaching position, but knowing it takes a while to get established, I also asked for just enough income to meet my needs and to be of service to others. Whelp, I certainly got what I asked for. My current position is all about service to some of the neediest students out there. And I’m making just enough to make ends meet and set some aside for future months. I’m feeling my teaching position just around the corner, too. This fall. C’mon, cosmos! Let’s make it happen!

I’m almost done getting my Massachusetts certification. I’ve paid off my non-student loan/car loan debt. Stayed current (mostly) on my bills. Built a solid social and professional network. All while having a helluvalot of fun at the same time!

I want to thank the people (not naming names, but you know who you are) who have helped along the way. I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me and giving me a stern talking to when needed.

Choice.

I took this photo when I first moved here.

What a brave little flower growing alone by this house surrounded by cement.

I’m feeling a helluva lot better. I was in a pretty severe funk this past week. Got caught up in the past and forgot that although this stuff is pretty dark and severe, I still have a choice.

I can choose to be brave. I can choose to be positive. I can choose to be different.

To the Future!

"Lonely Horizon" by Adib Roy (Flickr)

"Lonely Horizon" by Adib Roy (Flickr)

I’ve been focused on the past a lot lately. While it is good to be reflective and aware, it is not good to waste today on yesterday when tomorrow is on the horizon.

I am master of this ship. I am captain of my soul. Time to get a grip.

In the past, I’ve tried a lot of goal setting and achievement strategies to varying degrees of success. The one I liked and was most fascinated by was the 101 in 1,001 days project. I began this challenge two years ago and let it fall by the wayside. I’m going to find my old list, dust it off, clean it up, and get cracking!

(Thanks for the kick in the arse, Am!)

Gratitude Journal Entry 2

Today is an easier day to list positive things for. I actually had positive stuff happen!

1.  A stipend I thought I had lost due to losing sight of a detail was put back on the table. I’m able to correct my minor mistake. I’m +$1000. I don’t know when it’ll come through, but hey, it’s coming my way!

2.  I had an insurance payment kick back on today’s paycheck. +$80.

3.  I got a 10% off one item coupon from Barnes and Noble which will go on AFTER my 20% teacher appreciation discount. I’m going to buy a book (or something) today! I love books!

4.  I got all my grading cleared off my desk. I’m completely and utterly caught up on that front. Just final projects and final exams left to grade.

5.  I have a great bottle of wine I’ll open tonight and have a glass of in celebration of today’s fortunate events. I’ll cozy up in front of my laptop with a glass of wine, M&Ms, a $1 lottery ticket (hey, why not! the stars seem to be in my favor today), and Season 1 Episode 1 of Dexter with some knitting.

Even though it is only 1:30 PM, I’m calling it a day. I’m good with how today has shaped up and I only hope that the evening maintains these good vibrations. And with going on a run, eating a delicious dinner, baking cookies AFTER depositing a fat check and buying a new book, I can’t see how my day could take a turn for the worse today.

About damned time! 🙂