2019!!!!!!!!

50mm | f5.6 | 1/160 | iso160

The first day in 2019 began in CA! Any year that begins by the ocean has to be a good one! In my first yoga class in 2019, the instructor talked about goals: 17% of the population have goals. 14% of those have a plan in mind but are unwritten. 3% of those people write down their goals. The study stated that those with goals are 10x more successful than those without. And those that write their goals down are 3x more successful beyond that 10x. The study she was quoting wasn’t referenced in class—but it definitely worth putting to our own test!

some NEW YEAR goal inspiration I have found:

  • These books: THE LIST by Yuval Abramovitz (the idea is a fun one…an more than anything got me in a mindset of thinking up dreams and possibilities) THE SELF DRIVEN CHILD by William Stixrud (totally changed my parenting approach in 2019)
  • episode #76 from the RISE podcast by Rachel Hollis
  • this checklist
  • this planner
  • I can’t stop thinking about this podcast- training ourselves to think! I LOVED IT!
  • another podcast…but really! I think I am going to have this episode on repeat for awhile.
  • The challenges given in this talk. As the year 2018 was drawing to a close I felt spiritually disconnected. Doing my best to keep the challenges suggested in President Nelson’s talk, I have felt a shift in my heart. A shift from cynicism to faith. A greater desire to seek spiritual sources. My heart drifted from some distractions that were pulling me, not in a necessarily bad place, just away from my goals.

I would love to know what is inspiring you at the start of this year! I am ready for 2019 to be the best year yet!


50mm | f5.6 | 1/160 | iso160
50mm | f5.6 | 1/160 | iso160


illuminating the fog

50mm | iso 320 | f2.5 | 1/800

I have been in a fog of:

I can’t, I don’t follow through, there isn’t enough time, who do I think I am?, I don’t know how, it’s too much, too hard, not important

Are you exhausted just reading that mess?  These thoughts that run through my mind repetitively create feelings of discouragement and weakness…and they are a total lie.  They are a deception.  They propel me to inaction and distraction.  

35mm | iso 320 | f2.5 | 1/800

In the past, I have tried to fight the inaction and distraction with checklists, schedules, and guilt.  I haven’t seen much any change or benefit from that strategy.  It’s time to change my way of thinking.  I read today, 

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.”

Henri Matisse

My new thoughts to illuminate the fog:

  • I follow through
  • I have gifts to offer the world
  • I know what to do

The feelings these new thoughts will create are confidence, success, and focus.  The actions that follow these thoughts will be a desire to rise early and hit the ground running, to keep the schedule I have made for myself, work with intention and make and keep BIG goals. 

stand your sacred ground

I happened upon Brooke Castillo’s 5-minute emotional makeover last week.  I listen to her podcast regularly but had never heard this podcast.  I decided to give it a try.  I had been feeling a lot of anxiousness lately and thought it would be great to get a handle on it. or understand it. or get to the bottom of it.  or something.

As I went through her steps, I noticed quickly that it wasn’t anxiousness at all, it was fear.  That seemed really clear to me- but what am I afraid of!?  I had done this in the evening.  The next morning, I still recognized the fear-but had no idea what I am actually afraid of.  What is the sentence that I am telling myself that is causing the fear that I am feeling?  I said my prayers, like usual, and pleaded, “please tell me the thought I am holding that is causing my fear.”  I began to journal and the thought came immediately-

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Memories became clear.  Instances, especially growing up, where I was given a strong message…be small, be quiet, blend in, don’t stand out, don’t disrupt.  be small.  I think society, especially in my era, was  IS a strong teacher of this to girls…and some of us are really sensitive to it…and jump in…believing every lie it has to offer.  be small.

I thought about it for a few days.  What do I want to replace that thought with?  What is it’s opposite?  BE LARGE?  BE BIG?  BE BOLD?  maybe.

I ran across a thought (from Brene Brown) that I loved…here (who I didn’t follow by the way, and I am not sure how I got to her page. I follow her now!)IMG_2215

I thought of this photo I took of Kate and Ellie in Southern, CA.  I love their stances against the powerful waves coming their way.  It’s my new phone screen saver.

I look at it over and over again.  Every time I open my phone.  DON’T SHRINK!  Don’t make myself smaller than I am.  Don’t diminish who I am or what I want.  DONT’ PUFF UP!  I am not better than anyone else.  I don’t have anything to prove.  Give and love so that we are all standing together…being us-  STANDING OUR SACRED GROUND.

10 day social media fast

 

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135mm, f3.2, 1/500, iso100

President Russell M Nelson, President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, invited the women of the world, (8 years old and up) to participate in a 10-day social media fast.  He said, “I invite you to participate in a 10-day fast from social media and from any other media that bring negative and impure thoughts to your mind. Pray to know which influences to remove during your fast. The effect of your 10-day fast may surprise you. What do you notice after taking a break from perspectives of the world that have been wounding your spirit? Is there a change in where you now want to spend your time and energy? Have any of your priorities shifted—even just a little? I urge you to record and follow through with each impression.”

Although the talk was given Saturday, October 6th, I heard it on October 7th and began my fast on October 8th.  It was meant to interpret individually.  I had already discontinued my use of TWITTER.  I was receiving no benefits from it personally and found that my feed was at least 80% negative, so I quit.  Or actually, attempted to.  As my inactivity requirement was approaching, allowing my account to terminate, I received a notice that there had been activity on my account that re-activated it.  That was not done by me.  (suspicious) I need to go through the process again.

FACEBOOK was another platform that I had been off for quite a while.  Recently I participated in a social media course that taught me a lot of benefits of FACEBOOK.  I am still skeptical but can see how, if used properly, it could be a great resource for me.  It was also really helpful when trying to contact family and friends after my father’s passing.

My personal fast would be centered on INSTAGRAM.  As I said, I began my fast on October 8th.  I fasted from IG for a full 7 days until my father passed away on October 15th.  I was grateful not to have that distraction that week before my dad died.  I was more present with him and all of my family those days.  Although I was 3 days short of the 10-day fast, I began using it again to post about his passing and connect with family.  I felt that I had done enough to re-set my social media outlook.  About a week later I read a post that my friend had written about her experience.  I realized that I had missed the point.

I had neglected to pray much about it…or really reflect on my experience.  I decided to try again, this time observing what the fast was changing for me.  Were my priorities different? Is there a change I want to make? And then record and follow through my impressions (which I am doing now).

MY PERSPECTIVE:

1.) SOCIAL MEDIA IS GOOD.  I believe in the goodness of social media. It is a resource that allows us to connect with people all over the world.  It is a wealth of knowledge, information, friendship, and inspiration.  It is AMAZING!  In church meetings I have attended that have approached the subject recently, the negative sides of these platforms have been the main focus.  I really do have some understanding of the downsides.  I really dislike the manipulation built into each platform, for example.  There is a lot of negative content (which is in my control to follow or not).  Those downsides, for example, have motivated me to discontinue TWITTER use.  They have motivated me to completely restructure how I use FACEBOOK and have also caused me to modify how I use INSTAGRAM as well.  But I really do see many more upsides for me in INSTAGRAM, than I do down. I can reach out to friends quickly.  I can connect with them, learning about what is going on in their lives without occupying too much time like a phone call or personal visit would.  (That does not mean btw that it replaces personal interaction by any means. But can you imagine if you tried to personally connect with every friend you have on social media via phone or in person?)  I believe strongly in documenting and sharing our lives with others…and INSTAGRAM is a great method for that.  I am choosing to focus on the goodness found there.

2.) SOCIAL MEDIA IS SOCIAL.  I was awakened to this by Rowe Timson in her class SERIOUSLY SOCIAL.  Imagine you have been invited to a party at your friend’s home.  Would you stand on the periphery just observing…watching conversations, observing the other invitees without any engagement or not saying a word?  Now I am a bit of an introvert, but I wouldn’t do that.  It’s creepy right?  How many of us behave that way on social media platforms?  Do we scroll through mindlessly observing…pressing a few likes…and then check in minutes later to see if anything had changed?  That is typical and perfectly acceptable in our society…but is it good for us?  I know it isn’t good for me.  I have committed myself to follow people that I would be willing to correspond with and to only go on if I can give my time and attention to actually socializing on social media.  I will be more engaged with the people I follow and those who follow me.   I browsed past IG posts before I took Rowe’s course, and there were several instances when people reached out and commented and I didn’t respond in turn.  I regret that I was distracted and didn’t go back to engage with them…give them the respect they deserve.  I will be more social on these platforms…not for better numbers or to improve algorithms, but to treat people the way I want to be treated.

3.) SOCIAL MEDIA IS A POTENTIAL BUFFER.  This isn’t true for everyone but is very true for me.  I love Jody Moore’s recent description of a buffer (found here).  If you have an extra 45 minutes, I highly recommend listening to that episode!  Basically, I use INSTAGRAM, ice cream, chocolate and eating out to buffer the negative emotions in my life, which is why I have 20 lbs to lose…and have spent too much time mindlessly on my phone.  Mindlessly is the key word there.  There is PLENTY of productivity and creativity that the phone has allowed me to accomplish, but overall my habit was to use it for mindlessness and distraction, unfortunately.

To combat the mindlessness and use social media with intention I have decided to implement new strategies:

  • only log in if I have time to be there with intention– the intention to be SOCIAL
  • notice if I have a purpose to be there…or if I am checking in on social media in order to check out of my real life.
  • participate-posting and adding content that will benefit those who see it and myself
  • being real…by real I don’t mean only talking about my failings, I mean sharing struggle (and triumph!).  I really like pretty pictures, but I don’t want to create an image of perfection and filters. I won’t use “filters” to change my face…but I will definitely continue to use photo editing software to enhance my photography.  (I edited the street sign and electrical wires out of the photo on this post for example)  I will also share methods and information that can benefit others to improve their photography too.  I will be more open and sharing…but NOT dumping all of my problems on the world of IG.  This is a tough balance and one I will keep trying to work on being authentic.

I am really grateful for the invitation to complete this fast.  I am grateful for the time it gave me to look into the faces of those I love.  I am grateful for the new perspective I have and how it will benefit my life.  I will also observe with compassion anyone doing anything different (my children for example), then I am choosing to do.  These changes are what I NEEDED and not necessarily for anyone else.  Have you participated in this fast?   Please post your thoughts or link in the comments.  I would love to learn more from your experience.

discomfort is the currency

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95mm (70-200mm lens), f2.8, 1/400, ISO400 | NSL, UT: Tunnel Springs Park

When deciding between two or more things, ask yourself-

“What moves you towards who you want to be?  Fear is not a reason to not do something.  Most of the things worth doing, we are going to be a little afraid of doing.  Discomfort is not a good reason not to do it.  Discomfort is the currency of getting what you want in life.”   -Brooke Castillo

This is from one of my favorite podcast episodes of all time.  Do yourself a favor and listen to episode #206 of The Life Coach School.

drew itself near

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24mm (24-70mm lens), f2.8, 1/250, ISO6400

“Why would your creativity not love you?  It came to you, didn’t it?  It drew itself near.  It worked itself into you, asking for your attention and devotion.  It filled you with desire to make and do interesting things.  Creativity wanted a relationship with you.  That must be for a reason right?” -Elizabeth Gilbert

This is an excerpt from BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favorite books of all time.  I love the message of believing that any creative idea that comes your way LOVES YOU!  Why wouldn’t it?  And why would it come to you if it didn’t?  I am working hard to forget the excuses…and embrace ideas that come my way…and KEEP EMBRACING them when obstacles enter my path.  I am ready to ignore excuses and love creativity right back.

I know what to do

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1/200, f2.2, ISO250, 50mm | my home

The thoughts rolling through my head-

I want them to lift me,

point me to my goals,

feel my successes,

and have a vision greater than today.

Instead, they are-

shielding me,

protecting me,

keeping me safe.

But safe is boring.

Being unseen is diminishing.

I am ready for more.

Ready for…

“I can”

“I know what to do”

“life is amazing”

“I have beautiful things to offer the world.”

I know what to do.

not looking for applause

“If your intentions are to impress people or to get the big applause at the end then you are taking, not giving.” -Teitur
(found here)
To remember to share myself with the intent to give, letting go of what I will receive…that is true magic.  I have been a guitar student off and on (much more off that on unfortunately) for almost 20 years.  When I watched this TedTalk yesterday, my mind went, although this is true for almost any aspect of learning and interest, straight to guitar performances.  I only performed for my family, teachers and recitals.  I immediately felt a difference when other people were in the room (especially teachers and recitals).  My fingers fumbled, my voice weakened and quivered.  That was a large reason that I gave up learning with a teacher.  How limiting to allow a misguided motive change the direction of an opportunity to grow.
Yesterday in Ellie’s guitar lesson I saw the same struggle in her, although to a lesser degree.  I decided that I would make a better effort to play with her as she practices.  We had our first session yesterday. I held her back in a few ways, but in more important ways, we kept each other with a focus of sharing and giving.  Our minds didn’t go near any intention to impress.  There was joy in learning for me, and truly if I can focus on a motive to give in all aspects of my life- the work in practice will be so much sweeter.

 

 

stand still

ISO 800, f 1.4, 1/100: 35mm

Miles above the earth, flying around 600 mph is where I recently found the insight and inspiration to BE STILL.  I was sitting in the middle seat on our flight home from Washington DC.  Danny and I had enjoyed the most wonderful time.  I was anxious to get home, hug our girls, check on Mozart and dig into the crazy schedule of the coming week.  My book was boring me so I turned to the monitor in front of my seat.  After a few games of Solitaire (and frankly not playing very well) I continued to browse the monitor.  I found TEDtalks, which almost always interest me.  I sat in my seat and listened to THIS talk.

“So, in an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.”  -Pico Iyer

I have recognized the value of stillness many many times…a heart of peace after attending the temple, a clear head after a yoga session, prayer, enjoying a quiet walk.  One of the stillness ideas that inspired him was an Internet Sabbath- a full day completely unplugging from electronic devices.  As I listened to him, I was re-energized in taking stillness seriously.  Lately I have felt distracted and busy, feeling like my wheels were spinning at maximum speed, yet I was staying still.  In seat 40F I made some quick decisions to put this into practice in my life and not just recognize it as a good idea.  Some ideas I want to experiment with—

Internet Sabbath- I will turn off electronic devices on Sunday, my family is already with me and it is the weekday I already enjoy recognizing as the Sabbath.

Device schedule- 
wake up-until kids leave for school…leave devices alone and use cell phone on a need basis (no internet browsing)
3:00 p.m. (when the girls get home) and later just use my cell phone as needed (texting, communication, etc…)
9:00 p.m.  turn my devices (iPad and phone) in for the night.  If my phone rings or a text dings attend to it…but other than that leave it alone (aka don’t waste an hour browsing Instagram, Facebook, Pintrest, etc…)

Morning routine-
wake up, do morning pages (I love these and learned this practice from The Artist’s Way and I have let it go lately), prayer and scriptures (study by topic with paper scriptures and journal instead of iPad)
We are going to watch this talk as a family tonight.  What everybody needs as far as creating stillness in their lives is COMPLETELY different.  I look forward to learning what Danny and the girls feel like they can do to apply this for them.  
This morning my scripture study was STILLNESS.  I found Exodus 14:3.  The Lord turned the hearts of the Egyptians against the people of Israel so that they would know that HE is the Lord.  The children of Israel flee with Moses into the wilderness.  They feel trapped, the Egyptians have “marched after them.”  The children of Israel lamented to Moses- they would rather live in servitude to the Egyptian than me killed by them!  Moses gave them the reminder I found on the plane last night-
“Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…The Lord shall fight for you and ye shall hold your peace.”
I may not walk across the Red Sea on dry ground BUT I will be led, protected and guided if I like Moses-
fear not
stand STILL
SEE the divinity of the Lord

update:  Danny loved the talk but the other girls weren’t sure if they understood it.  They did come up with an idea after we discussed the talk…
Danny- spend more quiet time while driving, find time to step away from his phone
Ellie- create alone time every day
Kate- spend time in the backyard every day
Sophie- spend time reading