You may recall I decided to participate in Nicki’s Live the List Challenge. Here’s the list, with our completed aspirations crossed off:
Have a picnic at Crawfish Springs
- Take a day-trip to Atlanta
- Go to AWA (Anime Weekend Atlanta)
- Go bowling
Move into our own place
Fix the van (Mind you, part of it was forced)
- Work towards getting Meredith a license to drive
- Visit Florida
- Get White Castle (NOT the freezer aisle stuff)
- Go to the mall in Chattanooga
- Hold a Cultivate 2012 conference
- Pay down our debt
- Transfer some or all credit card debt to a 0% introductory APR card
- Make Electrate Editorials a viable business
- Go to the moves as a family and/ or as a couple
Find a local place that sells orange blossom honey
- Test out local pizzerias
- Try Choo Choo BBQ
- Go to One-Eleven
Make muffins with Tati
Teach Rob how to cook
- Rob wants to learn how to hit two baseballs with one bat
- Teach Tati how to jump rope
- Take the kids to a baseball game
- Potty train Brian Jr.
It doesn’t look like much, but it was a fun year — and we still have an entire month left in 2012 to accomplish more goals. Whatever we don’t get to this year will be added to next year’s list. We definitely want to keep trying to live up to Nicki’s challenge, and we were very grateful to cross off wishes on our list.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers! Today’s the set day in our country for which we sit down with family and friends over big meals to give thanks for all that we have. My family celebrated on Tuesday because I was scheduled to work today, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still going to observe the tradition of thankfulness on this day celebrating gratitude. Here’s a list of all the things I’m thankful for this year:
- We have our very own place to call our own, with our very own kitchen that we don’t have to share with anyone else.
- I’m still employed and helping my family regain our financial foundation.
- Our van still works and provides us the mobility to get from Point A to all our other points in life.
- My children are more than spoiled by relatives — they have much to be thankful for (and to clean up).
- We’re enjoying four seasons.
- My community loves and supports us.
May your Thanksgiving (or ordinary Thankful Thursday) be a day of appreciation and gratitude!
Too many times I find myself worrying about what I don’t have. I worry about what I owe, how fast the clock is ticking, etc. A conversation I had with my husband made me realize I’m not looking up enough to see that I have enough. We have our very own place to call our own. This time last year, we were desperately hoping for something like this to appear from line air. We have our van, despite the fact that it nearly died on us in August. Our community rallied around us during our time of need and helped us manage to get through that rough time. Family helped pay the cost of fixing our van. We’re alive. We have food. We have clothes. The kids have more than enough toys — too many toys, actually. We may not have our own house on our own land where we grow our own food. I may not be making money by my own ventures. But for right now, we have enough. I have a job that contributes to our bills and necessities. We have enough of what we need, and I’m content with enough. Enough is plenty. Enough is comfortable. Enough is cozy.
Tuesday was my birthday, yesterday was Halloween, and Saturday is my youngest’s birthday. This week is always a lot of fun for our family. I’m always grateful to have cake, dress up, and have lots of fun. I may be getting older, but I’m of the opinion that one is never too old for cake, candy, and dressing up. I’m also of the opinion that giving children a good example helps them grow into fun loving individuals. Seeing them learn how to enjoy life fills my heart with joy and gratitude. I also appreciate the warm, fuzzy feelings I get from seeing my littlest’s reactions to his cake and presents. I think I enjoy his birthday more than my own because his little face just lights up with such happiness.
I’m also feeling thankful for the month of November. I’ll be attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I plan to write a series of shorties — “small stones” — with the hopes of reaching a novel length. My first eBook didn’t go over as well as I’d have liked, but November brings the chance for a new opportunity. December brings even more opportunity. I start my December Cultivate 2012 prompt series. For the entire month of December I’ll be evaluating my life and planning for my future. I’m very excited about it, and I’m even more excited to share this experience with my readers. If you’d like to review the prompt list on November 30th and daily prompts throughout December, you can subscribe to the mailing list: eepurl.com/pRFHb. I may even spruce up my webpage for Cultivate 2012. Admittedly, I’m a bit more about utility anyway.
Today we went to the Chattanooga Zoo with my grandparents. We spent a lot of time together looking at all the animals — leopards, peacocks, various primates, and of course the capybara. I’ve grown a fondness for the adorable 3.5′ tall creature that resembles a guinea pig. And this little guy at the zoo was more than cooperative today. He seemed ready for a photo-shoot, which was good — I was itching to capture his cuteness. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera and had to improvise with my phone’s camera. I’m just extremely grateful I had a means of taking his picture and got to spend quality time with my family. We had a lot of fun looking at all the animals and petting the goats in the petting zoo. I also enjoyed having lunch with my grandparents at a great local restaurant (The Terminal Brewhouse has some gluten free options and wonderful homemade root beer). I hope your Thursday was filled with many things to be thankful for!
Nothing really spoke to me for this week’s Monday Meditation post. I was feeling… less than myself. Tuesday brought more of the same, leaving much to accomplish on Wednesday morning — and so I never took the time to capture even the smallest bit of beauty for a picture post. However, yesterday and today I somehow found some much-needed space to simply exist with myself — to be with myself in comforting solitude. I internalized.
These days, moments of solitude are quite rare indeed — I’m the mother in a family of five, and I work with a lot of people 5 out of 7 days a week. “Alone time” just doesn’t typically happen for me. But when that alone time comes — when those moments of solitude finally arrive — I gratefully bask in the peaceful silence. It gives me time to focus on the rise and fall of my breath, the signals my body’s sending, and the obvious answers to my questions. (In one such moment of solitude, I discovered that I deserve more credit as a problem-solver than I previously believed.) Some times we just need a moment to breath. The answers might be clearly sitting in front of us, waiting for us to take notice of them.
It is with great joy and relief that I can share that we once again have a vehicle. In early August, our van overheated and stopped running. The diagnostics gave us a quote that left us stranded in the mountains of Northwest Georgia with no end in sight. Fortunately, we seem to have landed in an area that still believes in Southern Hospitality and community. I have been incredibly grateful for the assistance we’ve received from friends, as well as getting to know them better along the way. Yet there’s something to be said about not needing to think about scheduling a ride when it’s time to go to work. There’s something sort of special about being able to load up the family, turn up some of our favorite songs, and go for a drive just to spend some time together. I missed that time with my family — well, maybe not the screaming and whining parts, but you get the point.
Two years ago, this wasn’t something I’d worry about. Two years ago, I lived in a city with fairly decent bus service. But now we’re here, and now I’ve lived life without a vehicle in a rural community. It’s easy to go car-free when you’ve got public transportation and everything within a reason distance. Riding a bike 7 miles one way along a treacherous mountain road to get to work? No thank you! Give me my gas-hungry, money-hungry vehicle any day. It grants me the freedom to live in a such a beautiful area.
The weather we’ve had the past few weeks has been decidedly pleasant. The temperatures have stayed below the 85 degree mark, making for great outdoor time. My family and I have been spending a lot of time together outside. I enjoy writing on my porch or deck in the evenings, staring up at the bright stars periodically. We’ve also been opening the windows and letting the breeze be our air conditioner. While air conditioning and heater are a couple of the greatest inventions ever, nothing beats fresh air, sunshine, and pleasant breezes.
On top of the pleasant weather, the leaves are beginning to take on hues of yellow, orange, and red. It’s still subtle, but soon fall leaves will paint the landscape. It inspires me to add apples and pumpkin, cinnamon and cloves, and hot chocolate and cider to the menus. I’m looking forward to bringing out the sweaters and scarves. It really is the little things that make our quality of life better.
The month of August was incredibly trying. On August 6th, our van broke down. The head cylinder and gaskets broke. It was an expensive problem that required me to reach out to others in a very big way. Luckily, my community is filled with very caring, loving people who’ve shown me that kindness still exists. Friends and co-workers (who are more like extended family at this point) banded around my family and helped us get back and forth from our respective obligations. I’m incredibly thankful to have such a great community here, and I’m even more thankful that they’ve all touched my life in such a significant way. Without their aid, life could have become very, very scary.
I’m also very thankful for a relative who happened to have a nest egg ready to take away the burden of some of my student loans — after fixing our van, at least one loan will be paid off in full, the other paid down quite a bit. Not only will we be on our wheels again, but we will have freed up some monthly debt to begin snowballing the rest of our debts. I’m relieved and grateful to know that these rough days should be behind us.
Where I live, spring has come early. Spring is the perfect season for cultivation — the ground is thawing, rainstorms come to water the ground, and the sun stays out longer to shine down love and happiness. Gardeners head outside to weed, till the soil, and plant seeds. Here’s the March Cultivate 2012 prompt:
What would you like to weed out of your life? How can you till the soil of your life? What seeds would you like to plant this month?
I’d like to weed out some clutter that I don’t feel like packing and unpacking. Yes, I still have that decluttering project that I keep putting off in true procrastinator fashion. I’m digging through the dirt, turning everything over, in hopes of finding a good place to plant some seeds of serenity, sanctuary, and comfort. I’ve set an April 1st moving date in the hopes that local landlords will cooperate with regards to a new home that fits my needs and budget.
I have a lot of things planned for March. I’ll be crossing some items off of my List throughout this month. I’m looking forward to spring and all the new opportunities and freshness that comes with it.