Hello all! I know this is a little belated, but I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Things have been a little hectic/crazy for us the past couple of weeks–We moved out of our apartment in Rexburg, ID, we traveled to Turlock, CA for Christmas, then traveled to Denver, CO for Michael’s internship with a company called Dix Barrett & Stiltner. ‘Bug’, the tiny traveler, survived the long road trip around the West, and as luck had it: we all caught a cold. It took a couple of weeks to get over it (some longer than others) but we’re finally settled in our nice apartment in Denver and ready for the new year to begin. During these past couple of weeks, however, so much has changed in perspective for us.
I’m not usually one of those people that like to make New Years’ Resolutions and write them down and check back in at the end of the year to see if I am accomplished or a failure. In my opinion, it’s almost even more depressing than inspiring, creating even more unnecessary stress in my life. Hey! Don’t get me wrong–I agree: goals are always a good thing. Even big dreams are wonderful! As long as you’re reasonable about them and you’re in a position to be able to accomplish them. Otherwise, dreams would just be merely dreams. Nothing more. But, I do believe it is a good thing to strive to become a better ‘you.’ I’m not talking about running to the nearest YMCA or 24 Hour Fitness and work yourself to death to shed off those 5+ pounds you gained during Christmas break. Nor am I talking about your goal to become promoted at your work, nor your goal to improve your love-life. I wouldn’t even count those household projects you are putting down on your to-do list. No, I’m talking about the inside you. Think to yourself, “How do I become a better fellow citizen? A better wife/husband? Mother/father? Brother/sister? Daughter/son? Niece/nephew? Grandson/granddaughter? How do I become a better person for myself?” Those ideas that are coming to your head: that’s what you should really write down in your journal. Those are your real New Years’ Resolutions. Those are the kind of goals that would really make a difference in not only your life, but those around you. You can be inspirational to everyone around you. Inspire others to become better, too. It’s a contagious idea. It’s a great idea.
I want to write down my own New Years’ Resolutions on here, so that everyone will see. And, hopefully, I will become a better person not by the end of this year, but for the rest of my life.
1. I will be more happy. One of my most favorite quotes, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” (by Abraham Lincoln) I also love the movie ‘Pursuit of Happyness.’ The whole message in that movie is that while in the pursuit for true happiness in life, you can make the decision to either just sit there and die or decide to change your own fate and destiny. My life is not near poverty-level like that man’s in that story, however, I sometimes feel a little down every once in a while–and I want to change that. I have been sitting in a metaphorical fog for a long while now, and it is time for that to stop. I need to throw open the curtains in my own life, let the sun shine in my heart, and be more happy. I’ve got so much to be thankful for in my life–I’m so entirely blessed to have an angel like my daughter in my life, I’m so incredibly lucky to have met and married the most loving, caring, and silly man in the world, and I also have the most supportive family and friends a person could ever ask for. I know that if I decide now to become more happy, life will get easier. Hardships will be more bearable, complications will seem like little hills rather than mountains, and sad times will become as dark clouds dissipating in a clear blue sky. Let the sun shine in.
2. I will be more inspired. As of late, I’ve noticed I’ve been in a “I’ve heard this before” kind of mood. I know Heavenly Father has been trying to reach to me, to teach me important lessons in life. But, I’ve been unintentionally turning a deaf ear to Him simply because I somehow have let myself believe that I’ve already learned everything there is to know. I am sorely mistaken. There is a lot more I need to learn, and I’ve just only begun. I’ve decided I will become more inspired by doing these four things: I will decide now to be more open-minded to others’ thoughts and ideas; I will open my heart more to love anyone and everyone, for we are commanded to love one another; I will be more teachable–for I can still learn new things; and, lastly, when all is said and done I will still seek for more. With these four actions, I know I will become more inspired by those around me. I know Heavenly Father sends others into our lives for a reason, and I will strive to learn what it is I need to learn from them.
3. I will breathe. Yes, I am making a goal to take a breather every once in a while this year. I have been noticing I am growing into one big, green, stress monster and I think it is affecting those I love around me. With all of these changes in my life and my world, it is hard not to be. However, I can make the decision right now to not let stress bother me. I will find ways to relax and keep calm. I will find time during the day to go for a walk outside, I will try learning deep breathing exercises, I will try doing yoga or some kind of exercising and correct my posture, I will laugh out loud at many things–for laughter is proven to relieve stress, I will read more books and poetry, and, lastly, I will find a time during the day to spend for myself.
4. I will love more. I am usually a shy person and experiences have taught me that showing intense amounts of love to everyone usually results in embarrassment. But, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good thing. I will tell my daughter I love her everyday. I will play with her and show her that yes I will take time out of my busy day to sit down and play peek-a-boo. I will slow myself down everyday to cuddle with her for hours, if needed, so that she knows she has unconditional love from her mother. I will also show more love for my husband. I will little acts of service for him every day. I will find ways to tell him I appreciate everything he is doing for our family. I will tell him I am proud of his hard work everyday. I will leave little messages telling him how much I love him. I will create a peaceful, clean and uplifting home for him everyday. I will hug and kiss him everyday. I will still go on dates with him as often as possible. I will show more love to my parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. I will call and talk to them as often as I can. I will share with them all of my hopes and wishes. I will share with them all of our adventures and stories. I will be more loving to strangers around me. I will smile to anyone, for they might need a little smile to make their day a little brighter. I will open more doors for people, I will pick something that fell on the floor for someone, I will aid those that are injured and need an extra hand. I will do what it takes to understand what it truly means to love one another.
5. I will dance. Sounds silly, but maybe I need a little more silliness in my life. Every once in a while, it’s good for the soul to get up and start dancing to some music. I will do my best to turn on the radio a little more often, turn it up a little louder (granted ‘Bug’ isn’t taking her nap) and just enjoy it. Music has always been a huge part of my life–it channels emotion in you. It can make you happy and ecstatic and it can also help you calm down and relax. I will take Michael by the hand and pull him into a swing dance in the kitchen more often (we used to do that while we were dating–I don’t know why we don’t do that more often). I will try my best to exercise happiness in the best way I possibly can.
6. I will use my talents. I have been withholding them long enough. It is time I dust off the canvases, paints and brushes. It is time I find those piano sheet music and locate a nearby piano. It is time I warm up my voice and sing more often. It is time I stop hiding my ‘light behind a bush’ and let it shine. I’m tired of convincing myself I don’t have the time, the money, the energy, the space, etc. No more excuses. It is time I can let myself be me. For these talents I have developed all these 25 years define who I really am.
7. I will ask for help more often. I read a quote last night “I think many of us have a tendency to have our morning or evening prayers, and maybe even pray a few other times in a day, but not really pray. I’d ask you this question: When you face a new challenge in your day, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Where does your heart run first? I hope it’s to the Lord. That will be the case if your trying to pray without ceasing. If you’re not, I would say you’re “winging it” on your own. You’re trying to work through the day’s many problems with the hope that your prayer in the morning covered it all.” (by Gene R. Cook) As much as I hate to admit it, this person knew exactly what my problem is. I dutifully say my prayers, but maybe I’m not asking Heavenly Father for help the right way. We are told to communicate with Him constantly, to seek guidance from Him during the hard times. Maybe, when we are going through those hard times, that is when we need Him most. I told this Mike last night, telling him I’m guilty of not thinking of Heavenly Father for help initially. I usually first think, “What would Mike do? What would he say?” next I would think, “What would Mom do or say?” then I would go down the list and ask my dad, my sisters, my friends, etc. How come I don’t turn to the one and only person that would really know the answer?
8. Daily Scripture Study/Family Home Evenings. Don’t gasp in shock–it’s been a real struggle for Mike and me for the past while. Especially since the past year and a half our work and school schedules had been so incredibly weird, it made it hard to make a consistent schedule. We were just happy to be able to see each other at some point of the day. However, we plan on changing that. Michael and I bought a couple of books at Deseret Book Store “A Year of Powerful Prayer: Getting Answers for Your Life Every Day” and “Stand A Little Taller” by Gordon B. Hinckley. Our goal is to read one from each book every day to get a little something nice to talk and think about. These messages in these books include scriptures, quotes from General Conference talks, and other fun things to read. So far it’s been a little hard to remember to read them, but you know what they say: it takes 100 times for a habit to form. Maybe after day 100 we’ll finally get the hang of it.
9. I will be a minimalist. After packing up our apartment in Rexburg, I’ve realized how much junk we have in our home. Not precious heirlooms or useful items, junk. And I’m wondering: maybe the reason for why I feel so hectic and stressed is because I have a lot of things I don’t really need to have in my home. I’m not saying our home is anywhere near like those houses you see in the TV show ‘Hoarders: Buried Alive.’ But, I guess, in another light, you could say that I have become a hoarder inside my own self when it comes to organizing thoughts and feelings. I feel somewhat attached to that cheap, inexpensive, and ugly slinky because Michael and I won it at a Peter Piper Pizza arcade while we were in Mesa, AZ. I hung on to it because it reminded me of our first few months of marriage together. But, seriously, do I really need to hang on to it physically to remind myself of those memories? No. I can go ahead and file it, among other items and tokens, away in my memories forever and no longer clutter my mind. My goal is to de-clutter not only my home this year, but de-clutter my mind, my heart, my life. Put away the non-important things, and keep those that are.
And last, but certainly not least,
10. I will be me. I will no longer let anyone try to fool me to be somebody else. I will not be influenced to believe something I don’t, I will not be told what to say or think, and I will not be restrained to tell the world what I know and love. With this ‘politically correct’ world we live in, it is hard to be original and be yourself. In today’s society, it is hard to say “I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” It is hard to share to your friends that you believe in loving the sinner, but you hate the sin. People are literally shouting in our ears, “Be liberal and open-minded! You must tolerate others’ beliefs and opinions! You must accept us for who we are!” All I have to say is this: if you expect me to be tolerant, I will be tolerant. Only if you are tolerant of me as well. It goes both ways. For example: sure, I will accept that people who are gay have their rights to believe what they darn well want. I’m not stopping them. They have their own agency. However, I will expect the same respect back. I will expect that people will understand that I believe marriage should be between man and woman. I will not tolerate anyone telling me that what I believe is ‘wrong.’ I will not stand for anyone who believes that all Christians are unloving and horrible citizens of the US. I will not accept those who believe that their rights are more important than mine. Because those that believe these things are incredibly, ridiculously and horribly mistaken. Influence will not phase me. I will not let popular opinion change what I will vote for in politics. I will not listen to actors or musicians for what is morally correct or incorrect. And, most importantly, I will not allow anyone have me believe I am weak or little. I am a grown human being with American rights and a college-level education. I research what I vote for before I walk to the poll (which is more than I can say for half of the United States citizens), and I have my right to say what I believe–look it up in the Constitution. This is me. I am a Christian. I am a Latter-Day Saint (aka “Mormon”). I am Conservative. I am a mother, a daughter, an aunt, a niece, a sister, and a wife. I am a daughter of God. I am an artist, musician, and writer. I am a college-graduate. I am a teacher. I am a neighbor. I am a friend. This is me. Love me for who I am.
I hope those that are reading this will be inspired. My hope for you is that you will create your own list of things that you will strive to do this year to improve your life and those around you. These are just 10 things that I know that will not only improve my life, but will make me a better person. They will make me a better ‘me.’ Enjoy this January season–it’s a season of new beginnings, new ideas, and new solutions. And remember, we love you all.