One Little Word :: January

My word :: T O D A Y

Definition :: 1. adv. on this present day; nowadays, in modern times. 2. n. this present day; modern times.

Thesaurus :: n. this day, the present, our time, this moment ... not yesterday, not tomorrow

I chose this word because :: I'm easily overwhelmed, which leads me to give up easily. This year, although I have lofty goals for myself, I'm hoping that breaking tasks down and taking baby steps will help me accomplish more. Dealing with things one day at a time is manageable, and I believe that focusing my energies (mental, physical, emotional, creative) on incremental change will be beneficial in the long run.

Quote :: "There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live." -- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

In what way is this word already a part of my life? Every morning when I wake up the first thing I think is, "What am I going to do today? What's going to happen today? How do I feel about today?" And before I go to bed, there's at a least a moment when I reflect on how today was, whether it was the kind of day that will be motivation for another great day, or whether it's a day to put behind me so I can start over the next morning.

More // Less
More moving forward // Less looking backward
More positive thinking // Less negative thinking
More listening // Less formulating responses
More kindness // Less snarkiness
More patience // Less yelling
More enjoying // Less worrying
More creating // Less hoarding supplies
More reading // Less interneting
More moving // Less lounging
More thanking // Less complaining

What do I most fear in 2014? My biggest fear is that I won't change at all this year; that I'll continue with bad habits and negative thinking.

What am I most excited about in 2014? The possibility of really conquering my negativity is most exciting to me. Living with a more positive attitude will have such a far-reaching effect, not just for me but for the way I treat my family. I know that my negativity has leached out in hurtful ways and it's probably caused Rupert to worry about me sometimes.

Intentions ::
mental :: Positivity. Positivity. Positivity! Not letting the things that are out of my control bring me down. Focus on what I can change/affect and not sweat the small stuff. 
physical :: Move as much as possible, whether it's a 10-minute walk, yoga, or something more intense. Work my way up to running a 5K again. The important thing is that I feel good in my body, regardless of weight.
emotional :: Taking a moment to take a breath before I speak or let my emotions get the better of me. I really want to show my kids (and Rupert) more love. Be cognizant of my moods so I don't let them steer me in the wrong direction.
creative :: Get back into scrapbooking via Project Life and complete some sewing projects (like basic window treatments and cushion covers). Regain the joy in creating something with my own hands.  


Still cold ...

Are you getting tired of my cold weather posts yet?

The weather gods are constantly looking out for the kids: All of our Snow Days have butt up against a weekend or a holiday! This week, the kids had Monday off for MLK Day, Tuesday off for staff development, and today there's no school because of the weather!


Science Olympiad :: Frederick County Invitational

Ian joined the Science Olympiad team at his school and, although he's on the B Team, he's done quite well in the two invitationals they've been to so far. Today he medaled in both events he participated in at the Frederick County Invitational: 1st place in Solar System and 2nd place in Shock Value. Of course, it wasn't a solo effort; he worked hard with his partners to gain the knowledge needed to do well on the tests.

I think the thing that I was most pleased about, though, was seeing him interacting with his schoolmates. Changing schools during middle school is never easy and Rupert and I worried a bit about Ian's transition. It was really reassuring to see him dragged off by his friends to play cards the second he arrived at the invitational venue, and to see him high five-ing his partner after they got their medal. His social well-being is what he'll remember and take away from this experience more than any plastic medal.


The coldest it's been in 20 years

I'm going to feel really bad sending Ian out tomorrow morning (before 7am) when it's 3 degrees out! And it figures that it's going to be a clear day and freezing tomorrow, but warm (relatively speaking) and cloudy later in the week!

Updated January 7, 2014 :: Yup, it was cold this morning! Maybe not 3 degrees, but can you really feel the difference between 3 and 7 degrees?


First snow of 2014

I stepped out of the supermarket yesterday and was greeted by a flurry of big fat snowflakes (note the melting flakes in my hair). I was a bit surprised despite Maya having told me that morning it was going to snow and the brief precipitation I felt as I was walking toward the market 20 minutes earlier.

Driving home was actually my first time driving in snow, but it was no different than driving in a light drizzle since the snow wasn't sticking. I knew the storm that hit the Midwest and Northeast was pretty bad, but I didn't have any idea it would hit us in the Mid-Atlantic as bad as it did. The temperature plummeted and the snow kept right on falling ...

[After it stopped snowing, the sky and snow made the neighborhood brighter than it usually is late at night. This picture was taken without flash.]

[Waking up this morning, I was greeted by the rising sun made all the brighter by the whiteness of the snow.]

The kids were delighted that it was another Snow Day, making it a three-day weekend. I had intended to get some shopping done today but decided against going out since I'm a bit freaked out about icy roads. Instead, I spent the morning reading in bed. Despite the blue sky and sunny weather, it was a gusty morning and the wind made it "snow" again: accumulated snow from the roof and treetops was blown loose, swirling up and sideways and back again. I could see the tiny flakes in the sunlight and watching it was not only mesmerizing but calming as well.

I managed to drag Ian out of the house for a few minutes in the afternoon to go on a walk to the cemetery behind our house. I've been meaning to go for months to see what it's like on the other side of our backyard, which we can only glimpse from our bedroom window. Although it's right along a major street, it's its own little world with gravestones from the 1800s to early 1900s, some toppled over, some surprisingly new looking. Clearly, it's not visited very often (in fact, I've only seen signs of (live) human life once since we moved in six months ago) and, strange as it sounds, I just wanted to let my "neighbors" know that even though I don't know who they are, they aren't forgotten; even briefly, I think about them everyday.

The snow does that to me. Not to be punny, but seeing even a few inches of snow freezes time for me and makes me rather introspective. No deep thoughts, but it gives me the chance to pause for a moment and think about something other than myself.


One Little Word 2014

My favorite scrapbooker, Ali Edwards, has been leading a year-long workshop called One Little Word (OLW) for several years now. The premise of the project is to choose a word in January that will help guide you through the year, whether it's towards self-improvement or to encourage you through a year that might be difficult. From Ali's blog:
Having a single word to focus on each year has made a difference in my life.
In 2006 I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January – a word that I can focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. My words have included play, peace, vitality, nurture, story, light, up and open. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another. They’ve been imbedded into who I am, and into who I’m becoming. They’ve been what I’ve needed (and didn’t know I needed). They’ve helped me to breathe deeper, to see clearer, and to grow.
What do you do with this one little word?
You live with it. You invite it into you life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.
Each January, when she blogs about her word, I think about choosing one too. And, in typical fashion, I don't follow-through and I muddle along for the rest of the year with no guiding principle to help me become a better Me.

2014 is going to be different, my friends. My plan is to find ways to hold myself accountable. So I signed up for the workshop, and I thought about my word and what I want my life in 2014 to be like (or not be like). A lot of the pain I bring upon myself comes from my inability to let things go. I dwell on the past. I focus on the negative. I worry. I know all of these things prevent me from enjoying the Now and just plain being happy. 

I seriously considered choosing "Let It Go" as my word, but if I could change my personality and just let things go, I would've done it a long time ago. Fundamentally re-tweaking the way your mind works and how it deals with things is a process, a long one at that. I feel like choosing "Let It Go" as my OLW would've set me up for failure. I needed to start off with baby steps, and to take this life change one day at a time. In the end, although it's a bit counter-intuitive, I decided on a word that's not a verb: TODAY. 

When I wake up in the morning I can ready myself to deal with one day. When I go to bed at night, I can rest assured that I either made a positive step toward my goal, or I can start over the next morning if I've had a bad day. TODAY is manageable. And that's what I need: realistic expectations based on my past actions, incremental change, and permission to mess up sometimes.

Let's see how this goes, shall we?