2017 Goals in Review

Do you set personal goals every year? Then look back on them?

This is more of a random blog, from what I have recently posted, it’s a follow up to what I wrote exactly 11 months ago to this date in my blog, defining my personal goals for 2017 which came to mind again this evening, ironically, thinking about 2018.  It felt good to look at the goals I wrote a year ago and realize that I accomplished 95% of what I intended to do a year ago.  But from my perspective now, my goals could use a little elevation..more like a lot more elevation from 2017!  I guess that’s what growth is all about. Last year at this time, those goals were what I needed in my life, a year ago, but now it’s time to grow/push harder/further, make the goals more meaningful.  I think I gave myself the easy/feel good stuff to accomplish last year; not something that truly challenges me, it was more of a focus on quality of life; I certainly accomplished that, 2017 has been a year of fun and entertainment.

2018, for me, needs to be better though, a year with elevated goals; this is a little scary because results will be exposed at the end of the year once the goals are stated.  The things that matter to me haven’t changed, and I believe that we all need to make time for what matters in our lives, so I will continue incorporating time for these:

Faith | Family | Friends | Music | Outdoors | Travel | Architecture/Interior Design/Fashion | Health/Fitness | Personal Improvement

But for next year, the following needs more focus, here are my 2018 goals:

  1.  Increase the amount of “giving back”
  2.  Improve in providing value/service to others
  3.  Maintain consistency

It’s interesting looking back on a blog, especially when it’s about personal improvement, maybe I shouldn’t post this stuff!?

Phoenix, AZ – Abundant Sunshine and Happiness!

This past Memorial Day, a trip to Phoenix, Arizona trip was planned for a couple reasons:

  • I live in the Midwest and it always seems to rain on Memorial Day weekend here (and I wanted sunshine after a long winter and rainy spring)
  • Summer is my favorite season, but in the Midwest it can be chilly, cool, chilly or extremely humid around the end of May; it’s unpredictable in the Midwest, and I wanted warm weather

So Phoenix seemed to be an excellent solution: the dessert with dry heat and sunshine, and it was!  We chose the Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak for the extended holiday weekend; and it turned out to be perfect for us!  This resort is close to the airport so you don’t even need a car, we used a shuttle service  from the airport simply looking for a place to rest and relax; we didn’t intend to be sightseeing on this trip.

DAY 1 (Friday 5.26.17)

We arrived early, got settled into our room, then headed to River Ranch, the onsite water park, our view  perfect setting for R&R!  It was an early morning and we were tired so we had some BBQ at the Hole in the Wall then ended our day.

 

Day 2 (Saturday 5.27.17)

Started the day with a hike to Squaw Peak, gorgeous day and fun hike with Ken and Skylar from the resort, then relaxed pool side enjoying the lazy river, ending with a fun birthday, Italian dinner at Tutti Santi Ristorante by Nina, topped off with a shot of Sambuca with 3 espresso beans (which I was told represented the past, present and future) I recently searched and found the common representation of the 3 espresso beans is Health, Happiness and Prosperity.  Must try the family recipe for the Ravioli, it’s their signature dish!

 

 

Day 3 (Sunday 5.28.17)

We started with a Stretch and Relax Class at Tocasierra Spa in the morning with a wonderful instructor for the class; after the class, we asked her what suggestions she would have for “natural settings” and places to go for people who enjoy the outdoors, she suggested Slide Rock for the day, we also used the onsite workout facility, but unfortunately my son was too young (13 years old) to be allowed to use it so we went to the sports pool and enjoyed some volleyball and basketball!  We were so happy that we could rent a car for the day when we visited the concierge in the lobby; the car was onsite and ready to go for the next day; we decided to depart in the morning for Slide Rock State Park.   The concierge also told us about a fabulous airport restaurant in Mesa, AZ with incredible views, so we planned to visit there for lunch after Slide Rock.  The evening featured a dive in movie and the nights get cool, so we enjoyed sitting fireside and having smores to end the evening.

Day 4 (Monday 5.29.17 – Memorial Day)

Three days was enough time for all of us to enjoy poolside activities and we were ready to explore with our rental; the 3 hour drive to Sedona from Phoenix is beautiful once you hit the Red Rocks and heading to Slide Rock State Park was even more gorgeous  (click to view the trip); lunch at Mesa Grill was fabulous too!  We absolutely loved Sedona and spent time shopping at the retail there too.  By the time we got home, we didn’t have much more energy, so the next day we were treated to a Swedish Massage to end our visit, just before heading back home.

Day 5 (Tuesday 5.30.17 – Spa and Departure Day)Tocasierra Spa

We were so pleased with the resort and the staff and had a wonderful trip; it was a great long weekend visit and highly recommended.  We ran out of time to participate in the miniature golf, but night time would have been fun!

mini golf 2

Waiting

Thought and Questions on “Waiting”?

Personally, I’m not one to wait, “patience is a virtue” doesn’t  come naturally to me; I’m all about taking action. As time progresses, I’ve acquired more “tolerance”(the best descriptive word to me) for patience, even though it’s not natural for me and a continual struggle.

EXPERIENCES

Not waiting has given me some amazing opportunities: ones I wasn’t fully ready for, but worked out. On the other hand, it’s also put me in bad situations. So what is the right choice waiting or not waiting?

In 2017, I’ve made some changes, and realized that I probably need to work on patience and waiting.  For the first time ever, I searched “waiting” in the back of the Bible I bought and read the passages:

waiting-reference

 

Waiting and patience are not natural to me, so this is a change I will try.  Sometimes the application of what we read to our own lives is confusing…to me at least, but I’m trying!  I already heavily booked my weekends through mid June, so I’m going to try to hold back now and slow down.

WAITING

I can see “both sides” of this:

A) Patience and waiting can bring good things, like the examples in the Bible

however, I’m also a strong believer in:

B) If you want something, you have to get off your butt and work for it, you can’t wait for it…

So which is it?  Or does each one apply to different subjects?  Or is this taking it out of context?  Questions!!?

Pros

  • We get what we truly want; we don’t settle for something less.
  • Waiting means trusting in God’s timing; having faith…

it’s interesting that I bought this necklace awhile ago, maybe I was missing “a message” to me?

Cons

  • Experiencing patience: time feels like it’s slowed down, and not in a good way
  • Missing an opportunity (even though this is true, if we act on this, aren’t we are acting out of fear, which often leads to regret?)
  • Not taking action to achieve; Inaction – we aren’t using our time wisely if we wait? This is probably the one reason that I don’t often wait…

This past weekend’s message at The Crossing was about:  suffering > perseverance > character > hope ….maybe this thought I woke up with, on waiting, is something I need to explore more?  I don’t have the answers!

Trust & Obey

The past few weeks I’ve been posting on social media, on either Instagram or this blog, a summary of a Sunday message from church.  This past Sunday, the subject was “Trust & Obey.”  And yes, the second part is the hardest part, at least for me it is. This post is not a summary of the message, except for the Title, so if you want to hear it for yourself, click here.   The next few paragraphs are my self-reflection on this subject.

TRUST

I realized over time that I’ve had a strong faith, trust, in God throughout my life, even though I participated in different churches along the way.  I struggled to truly fit in at any prior church, but, in this past year I found that I connect most with Christian non-denomination.  For me, it’s because I believe that many Christian religions have commonality relating back to the Bible, but differences in interpretation and those differences in interpretation sometimes feel extreme to me so it was hard for me to fit in at different churches in the past.  This is a continually evolving experience for me and I intend to learn more as I proceed, but I finally feel comfortable at the Christian non-denomination church I’m attending, The Crossing.  The accepting and welcoming of all people from all backgrounds, religions, (even people who don’t believe in Christ are welcomed) is part of why I’ve continued attending; this appeals to me most at this church.  Accepting people as they are, but providing the means and opportunity, through the Bible teachings, to change, improve, take our relationship to the next level, in a non-judgmental way is how I believe God would want us to treat one another.  This doesn’t mean that anything we choose to do is okay or accepted, not at all, our recommended way of life is based on what is in the bible.  Acceptance means wherever our starting point is, it’s okay, even though it can be a very different place for each of us.

OBEY

Wow!  So true, this is the part where anxiety sets in for me. Rules and obeying are something that I’ve struggled with to be honest. I’ve always found a way to bend the rules a little because I’ve felt that rules are too rigid and not flexible enough for real life situations.  If I had to estimate, I would guess I follow rules 80% of the time and don’t follow rules 20% of the time.  Maybe the 80 percent would be a little higher, but I definitely struggle with rules, because I don’t see things as “black and white”; I see a lot of things as “gray” where different viewpoints have validity. Obviously this must be my next area to focus on growth and improvement in “obeying”.

I wasn’t going to share this, but it is relevant: earlier this year, I made, what I think will be, a life altering change.  I decided that I’m exhausted and confused trying to figure out life and haven’t always made the best decisions in hindsight, even though I felt like the decisions were appropriate at the time.  I give up! I’ve had good intentions and I’m not saying that I haven’t made any good decisions, because I believe I’ve made quite a few good decisions, and more good than bad decisions too.  But I still struggle with the bad decisions and don’t want to make more bad decisions if it can be avoided.  So because of my strong faith, I actually prayed asking Christ to take over my decisions in life, to lead me in the right direction.  I don’t know how this year will unfold, but I’m documenting things along the way, being honest about the good and the bad that happen around me and I intend to publish it at the end of the year, 2017.  All I will say right now is that initially after I prayed this, things improved, but then things began to fall apart and not go the way I preferred, but I’m sticking with this. I believe I will learn something from this experience and share it later.

FEAR

ALLOWING FEAR = A LIFETIME OF REGRET

The next time you feel anxiety, consider this:  Fear will give you a lifetime of regret!  What do you want?  There is a certain amount of fear that protects us from harm, but we should understand that limit:  Does it mean life or death?  If it doesn’t, then get over it, or we will regret avoiding fear, maybe the rest of our lives if we don’t get that second opportunity.

Facing fear translates to growth, learning new things, improving, becoming better, and experiencing life. Avoiding fear leads to life’s regrets.

My First Fear

I remember fear from very early in my life, my first memory of fear was pre-kindergarten. My parents enrolled me in swimming lessons because my dad had a fear of the water and neither of my parents were avid swimmers, so they wanted me to learn how to swim early. I remember standing at the edge of the high dive with the instructor and a couple other people in the water telling me to jump in. I stood there with my hands crossed, shaking my head “no.” (I’ve always been a little head strong.) It wasn’t so much the water that scared me, I always loved water, but for me, it was the fear of heights.  I stood there for some time at the edge of the diving board, the ascent up the ladder wasn’t bad, but the jump scared me more than anything.  I must have delayed the instructors long enough because someone was headed up the ladder to give me a push off the dive, which I didn’t want either, so I jumped!  Splash! It wasn’t as bad as I made it in my mind.  Because I faced this fear and jumped in, years later, at 17, I became a life guard.  I faced fear and was glad I did.

Pre-Teen Fear

My family visited my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in California and I fell in love with California, deciding I wanted to go to college there after that vacation.  I loved the ocean, the hiking, Disneyland and our camping trip to Yosemite National Park.

yosemite-camping-tripOnce again, my fear of heights surfaced.  We were hiking and my adventurous Aunt planned to hike to the top of “Puppy Dome,” of course I wanted to do it too, but knew I would be scared as well.  I can remember getting to the top, my heart was racing so fast, my body was lying flat practically glued to the granite, with my hands in the crevasses as we reached the top.  I don’t think I could stand, I was too scared, but I made it, with my Aunt’s encouragement and loved that I did that. The memory has remained with me my entire life.  I faced fear and was glad I did.

So later in life when it was time for college, fear set in again.  I had a boyfriend and I was afraid to leave my home state and pursue my dream of college in California because I feared the relationship would end.  I really liked this guy and chose to stay in town, rather than go away to college.  Big mistake!  My relationship ended with that guy and I’ve always regretted my decision of not going away to college and have thought about:  What would my life have been like if I had pursued what I really wanted, instead of acting based on fear?   I let fear take over me, and I regretted it, no second chance on this one.

Adult Fear

I still challenge myself by facing fear of heights:  zip lining, jumping off elevated ledges into water, scaling walls, climbing up the ladder to the roof hatch of a commercial building roof top, and by walking a parapet catwalk during a property inspection.  The fear hasn’t gone away, but each time, I’m glad I faced the fear; I don’t have regrets, and the fear lessens.

The physical fears I seem to face willingly, but often it’s the fear involving people that I don’t, and then regret it later.  In fact, there are several times where I’ve regretted not facing a fear, later in life, involving people. Facing fear is about becoming vulnerable; and when we become vulnerable, we are not protected; so, we are fearful.  This is not the way to live though, unless we want a life of regrets.  Just as any other fear, if we face it, we become stronger.

As an adult, I had the surprise opportunity to spend New Year’s Eve in Key West with a guy I really cared about, but I had planned a party with friends at my house and had sent invitations, not knowing about the surprise trip that was planned. I didn’t want to let my friends down, but being honest I preferred and wanted to go on that trip with him.  I stayed home out of fear of disappointing my friends, and believing I should stay independent, and I regretted that decision ever since.

Fear also leads to us to “Settle” for what we wouldn’t choose normally.  We begin to justify settling, to protect ourselves, so we don’t have to face the fear.  I believe lack of self-confidence is the reason we don’t face fear involving people. People with confidence face fear; they overcome the fear and therefore become more confident people. Don’t let fear be the reason behind decisions.

Being Independent to the extreme is Acting in Fear

Fear involving people is evident in those who want to do everything for themselves and don’t ask for help. I know that because I have been that person, most of my life: independent.  I still don’t like to rely on anyone, relying on someone makes us vulnerable, and being independent protects us:  we don’t need anyone!  I’ve always admired independent people, but there should be a balance in life, nothing to the extreme ever ends up good.  (This is continuous work for me, relying on others.)  If we let fear take over, we won’t grow, we can’t follow our purpose, or develop the gift we were born with. Fear sets limits.  If we limit ourselves, we can’t possibly be all that is possible, if we had no limitations.  Letting fear take over leads us to the:  “What if….?”  (Our regrets).

FACING FEAR = REWARDS

So next time, face fear:  stand up for beliefs, suggest that new idea, take a risk, say “no,” push ourselves to the next level, act with courage, speak your mind, be authentic/be you, go for it, ask for what we need, just do it,have that conversation, follow passions, take that vacation (work will always be there), ask “Will I regret this later, if I don’t do it now?”

I’m not saying be reckless, but if we want to live life to the fullest and be the best person we can be, don’t limit ourselves, don’t let fear control our actions:  Face fear and be rewarded!

LOVE

February is the “love” month, right?  (think Valentine’s Day), so I’m writing about Love.  It’s a few days before February, when I’m writing this, because I, once again, woke up with these thoughts in my head, so I’m documenting them.

BACKGROUND

If you read any of my prior blog posts from the end of December 2016, you will see that I set goals and an action plan for 2017 so this is part of my following through on them, relying on intuition as guidance, along with daily prayer and becoming more involved in church.

It took awhile for me to commit to acting on getting involved (the weekend before the class started is when I signed up), another thing I’ve never done before:  take an evening class at Church.  But if I am going to stay true to my action plan this is where it starts for me.

The class I’m taking is called “Body Life” through The Crossing and it’s about relationships, community, and purpose, this also ties in well with my reflections over this past year of my life.  I’m in the first week and the first week’s homework was reading and reflecting on a few passages from the Bible (both Old and New Testament) where the bible illustrates a “calling,” that time when a person recognizes the unique gift that God gave us before we were born (grace), and using or cultivating that gift to serve God’s purpose.  Although I know I received bibles in the past, somewhere, probably packed away, I didn’t know where they are, or if I still have them honestly.  So, I decided to buy a new one, and found a good one for me, because it has side notes (questions and answers) that further explain what was happening at the time, background information, or relating it back to today, and features a paragraph at the beginning of each book about why we would want to read a certain book (what to expect, what type of information we will see, etc.) which is helpful for beginners.  If you’re curious about this Bible version, it’s an NIV (New International Version), called Quest (click for an Amazon link to purchase): a question and answer study Bible.

ABOUT LOVE

Getting back to the subject of love, while I was reading the passages for homework, one referenced passage was: 1 Corinthians; which happens to be the book with the script read frequently in weddings, many of us have heard it before, beginning: “Love is patient, love is kind…” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8) and something clicked with me the next day after reading that, and I decided to summarize this passage with one word for each thought from this passage as a text overlay, adding it to a photo I took of my seasonal chalkboard message (the main photo).  This photo now serves a quick reminder or checklist to go back to at any time:  i.e. Are we showing love to others?  Are we in a loving relationship? Many people question our relationships at different times, i.e. what’s the status, how we are treated, or how we are treating others, so this summary is a good basis to evaluate love in a relationship.

Relationships are important for all of us because they help us get through life’s ups and downs.  Relationships aren’t always permanent either.  Another favorite relationship quote of mine is about each relationship (person) having a purpose in our life:

Opened book and hand drawing building sketches

People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime and the relationships that don’t last teach us something. Be grateful for the gift in every relationship!

If you want to read more from the Bible about marriage, being single and our ultimate purpose clarifying what status suits each of us, check out the book of 1 Corinthians.  And if you want to read about purpose, check out the book of Ephesians.

FEBRUARY AND BEYOND

Valentine’s Day. We all have some relationship status:  single, taken, married, divorced, or as I’ve seen a lot lately on Instagram: “building an empire” ha ha 🙂 but relationships still affect all of us and have impact. Remember, we can all do something or be someone who makes a difference; we aren’t in this world alone!

Have a Happy Love Month…and Beyond!

P.S.  If you need ideas for your someone special, visit my Facebook page, February 1st post, for the ideas, complete with a website link to shop.

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