Category Archives: general goals

The Little Things

I’m not a fan of forwarded e-mail – “Why You’re Like a Pumpkin to God,” or “Cats in Costumes” – no thank you.  I’m lucky enough that my friends and family realize this and rarely pass them on.  This one did happen to squeak through, though, and it is one of the few I really am glad I received.

The Little Things

As you might remember, the head of a company survived 9/11 because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring doughnuts.

One woman was late because her alarm clock didn’t go off in time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of an auto accident.

One of them missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.

One’s car wouldn’t start.

One couldn’t get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot.  He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.  That is why he is alive today.

Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone – all the little things that annoy me – I think to myself,
This is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.

Next time your morning seems to be going wrong, you can’t seem to find the car keys, you hit every traffic light, don’t get mad or frustrated; it may be just that God is at work watching over you.

I know there’s a lot of controversy about this message – just Google the first line of it to see all of the complaints – but I think it’s a beautiful thing to think about when you’re likely not thinking your finest thoughts.

A New Career, Perhaps

My husband recently started an on-the-side job as a web writer.  He was presented the opportunity through work.  It’s something he’s always been interested in, so after mulling it over for a while, he decided to go for it.  He’ll keep his usual day job, and then on weekends or when he has downtime at work, he’ll edit and revamp the existing web pages (about 300 of them!).  This is something he’s been interested in, and an opportunity like this doesn’t come along every day.  If all goes well, it may lead to a possible permanent position as a web writer for him.  If nothing else, it’ll be a few extra dollars in time for Christmas!

This’ll be a bit of a change in our family life and downtime.  Previously, we had divvied our chores fair and square, worked about 40-50 hours a week each, and had plenty of free time to spend together or alone.  This adds quite a few hours to the work week for Paul, and actually for me, too.  Before taking the new job, we discussed the possibility sharing the workload, as we were certainly going to share in the profits.  (What’s mine is yours and all that jazz, right?)  While Paul’ll be doing the bulk of the work, I’ll throw my two cents in on each page before he begins it.  It’s small change compared to the hours he’ll be putting in, but it’s something!  In addition, I’m planning to let him slack on his household chores so he has more time for writing.  It’ll mean I have a few more dishes to wash, lawns to mow, bags of trash to take to the curb, and gas tanks to fill – those are traditionally Paul’s job.  (I stopped just short of cleaning the bathtub and taking permanent litter box duty.)  I don’t mind the extra work – it’s a temporary gig, lasting only through December.  I can handle several extra chores for a few months.

When January rolls around, a few things could happen.  Scenario 1 – Paul’s employer could decide to hire a web writer, and Paul could transition part or all of his work time into web writing.  Scenario 2 – A need for a web writer isn’t founded, so he could go back to working his regular job. Scenario 3 – A need for a web writer isn’t founded, but Paul loves the work so much that he decides to become a freelance web writer.

In the first two situations, our lives would revert back to “normal.”  The third scenario could shake things up a bit, but hopefully in a good way.  We’ve got our dream world all planned out, if Paul ends up liking web writing as much as he thinks he will.  I would stay home with the future babies and help Paul with minor editing work, perhaps teaching part time to carry insurance, while he worked from a home office as a freelance web writer.  He could come down from the office at noon and eat lunch with us, and his commute would be as long as it takes to climb up the staircase.  In my ultra dream world that ignores realities, I’d be able to forget that insurance costs money, be a full time home maker, and have the patience to homeschool our children.  In my ultra extra amazing dream world, Paul’s novel would be published, move straight to number once best seller, and neither of us would ever have to work again.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

Before Baby

In no way, shape or form am I pregnant.  Or even trying to get pregnant.  (Though I must admit, if a little one came along I wouldn’t be the least bit disappointed.)  Inspired by a post by Kathleen over at Project M, I’m trying to enjoy our childless days to the fullest.  I’m not making a list of all the things I’d like to do before baby comes along, but rather I’m consciously enjoying the moments that may become less frequent in the future:

  • Having the house stay clean after I pick up.  Or, if it doesn’t, I know there’s no one to blame but myself.
  • Leaving out nick knacks, keeping small objects lying about, and generally not worrying about anything in our household being swallowed.
  • Cooking meals based on adult tastes that I really enjoy.
  • Waiting until the last minute to do… well… anything.  Leave for the dentist, grocery shop, go on a date.
  • Meeting up with friends whenever, wherever we’d like.  No babysitters to rely on, no sick child to stay home for.
  • Sleeping  on a very regular schedule – going to bed at the same time, having an uninterrupted rest, and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Reading books for an hour at a time.
  • Listening to my Playaway while I clean.
  • Eating dinner late in the evening.
  • Staying at work until I’m finished, or at least until I’m ready to stop for the day, even if it’s hours after the school day ends.
  • Focusing on my Happiness Project.
  • Taking the opportunity to be selfish once in a while.  (What an awful thing to enjoy, right?)
  • Shopping at a leisurely pace.
  • Blogging uninterrupted whenever I please.

I could make a list about about twenty times as long about all of the wonderful reasons I’d love to have a child, but I think if I focus on enjoying the era that I’m living in, I’ll be happier (and so will my husband!).    I really do need to focus on my happiness project, as I mentioned above, since I do have the time.  I’m getting a bit lax on it, particularly this month.  So here I go to get my tush in gear for a walk, as I’m supposed to focus on staying fit.  Not a stellar workout, but certainly a start!

My Happiness Project

Inspired by The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I’m in the process of creating my own.  I’ve specifically been looking at her “Twelve Commandments” and resolutions.  While I don’t have my own commandments set in stone yet, I did come up with the categories for my resolutions (one per month for eleven months, with the last month trying to succeed in all eleven).  I drew from the goals that I had set when starting this blog, but did some major tweaking.  I’ll set the resolutions month by month, based on the category.  There’ll be more to come soon, but here’s a teaser for now!

April – Organization

May – Friendship

June – Passions

July – Leisure

August – House and Home

September – Work

October – Love

November – Charity

December – Family

January – Health

February – Money

March – All

The Happiness Project

After months on the library waiting list, guess what I picked up today?  The Happiness Project!  I am beyond excited.  I’ve been a fan of Gretchen Rubin’s blog for a while.  It’s inspiring, and I have used tips that she’s shared; however, I haven’t actually put her ideas and advice into an action plan.  After reading only one chapter of her book, I think I’m ready!  My own blog is actually the perfect outlet for documenting my own happiness project, and I’m already on my way with the goals that I developed when I started blogging, so I already have a head start.

The premise her happiness project is this: the author picks eleven general resolutions, and focuses on one per month.  In January, for example, Rubin works at increasing her energy level.  She then breaks down that goal into manageable, concrete tasks (in this example, they are: go to sleep earlier, exercise better, “toss, restore, organize,” tackle a nagging task, and act more energetic).  Each day, she checks off each task that she accomplishes.

I’m planning to take the next several days to get my resolutions planned, and will begin my own happiness project in April.  I’m excited to begin!

On the Bookshelf

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Goal Update

It’s about time … *shudder* … to check in on my goals.  All of my goals.  Which I have been “working towards.”  In theory.

It’s not so bad, really.  I think I’ll find that I’m not doing quite as well as I thought, though, which is the reason for the shudder.  Here goes nothing…

1)  Make delicious, home-made dinners a non-event

OK, this is the goal that I’m probably doing the best on (so I’m really glad it’s first!).  I’ve gone from burnt grilled cheese sandwiches and soggy PastaRoni to oven fried tilapia and martini mac and cheese.  My current goal is to find some lighter recipes to try.  Grade: A

2)  Buy and make quality pieces for our home

I’ve given more thought to the amount of time any given item will last, and if it’s worth putting in a few extra dollars for a better product.  Sometimes it’s not – a book at Half Price Books will be the same as a book at Barnes and Noble – but if it’s something that will be an obvious quality difference (for example, the watch H wears daily), I’d rather buy one that will last.  I try not to balk at spending more on an item I know we can get for less, and instead focus on the quality.  We haven’t had any major purchases in the past few months, though, so I’ve only put this into action on a small scale.  Grade: B

3)  Continuously improve our marriage

I read The Five Love Languages (and I’d highly recommend it to any person, married or not), and I’ve put a good dent in my second reading of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus.  In a stroke of what can only be called brilliance, I put that book on the shelf behind the toilet.  Best marriage move  yet.  That may be an exaggeration, but it really has been a success – I could never convince H to read a marriage book so frequently otherwise.  Grade: A

4)  Be confident in my appearance

On the positive side, I’ve started wearing makeup on a regular basis, and I’ve started styling my hair once in a while instead of pulling it back every single day.  I haven’t been able to lose the weight that I wanted, though, so I’m disappointed most of the time  I look in the mirror.  Grade: D

5)  Be proficient on the sewing machine

I haven’t spent much time on this goal, so there’s not much to report.  I’ve only done one sewing project in 2010 (an apron), and it turned out well.  It’s nothing that I couldn’t have done in high school, however, so I’m going to have to give myself poor marks for this goal!  Grade: F

6)  Keep an organized, clean home

I’d say the house is organized.  We have a place for everything, anyway.  Everything in it’s place?  Not so much.  H is organized.  His jacket is never on the floor, his books are never left lying about, and his keys are always on the key hook.  I am a little more scatterbrained.  If I can see my desktop, it’s a good day.  I am working on it, though.  Whenever I get a spare moment, I play a game where I put away five things in every room.  (We only have six rooms, so it doesn’t take long.)  It’s made a difference.  Cleaning doesn’t happen quite as frequently as it should, but it could be worse.  Grade: B

7)  Act instead of plan

I used to waste a lot of time blog surfing.  I truly mean waste, too – I was subscribing to every semi-interesting blog that I came across, which quickly snowballed into over 250 subscriptions.  I’d fill up to 1000+ items in three days if I didn’t keep on top of it .  I’d spend hours just hitting next, next, next, next, on Google Reader.  I am very proud to say that I’ve kicked the habit!  I do still love reading posts, but I found a way to dramatically reduce wasting time on blogs that I wasn’t getting anything out of.  This left me with quite a bit more time to live in the real world, and I am getting only quality, interesting information daily.  Grade: A

8)  Keep a healthy household

After hundreds of dollars in dental and eyecare bills, I’d give myself an A just to make myself feel better about spending so much.  And that’s AFTER insurance.  We also joined the YMCA and have been regularly attending.  My $1 per half hour plan has been largely successful.  I’m still using and loving it, and H has made such a good habit of working out that he doesn’t even need to use the program anymore.  We’ve cut out chocolate and chips for Lent.  Next up: portion control and cutting the calories!  Grade: A

9)  Be confident in our finances

I use Mint.com to track all expenses, and I know where nearly every dollar goes.  That’s not to say that I rigidly follow our budget, however.  Something always seems to come up that we weren’t expecting, or that I thought would cost less.  I also would like to have a better “big picture” idea of finances.  H typically handles all larger transactions (stocks, mutual funds, etc.), and I do day to day items.  It would be better if we had a little more overlap… or at least if I had a better idea of our finances on a whole.  Grade: C

10)  Be a friend

After a long hiatus, I’ve made friends with Facebook once again.  As much as I dislike it in theory (more on that later), it does have quite a few redeeming values, and at this point I’ll use it for the purpose of being a better friend.  Also, another good mark: by the end of this weekend, I’ll have spent time with three different groups of friends – a really good weekend for me.  I’m still not making the grade, though.  One of my best high school friends moved into a duplex about a mile down the road two months ago, and I’ve seen him ONCE in all of that time.  Grade: B

11)  Give back to the community

Big fat failure.  Nothing else to say about this one.  Grade: F

That wasn’t so bad!  I think I need to check in on my goals every month – it has been eye opening, and it’s motivated me to get up off of this couch and get going!