2011 ...


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“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”
― Jane Austen

I like that quote.  I like that the word "home" isn't defined, until you write the description for yourself.

During the past two months, our family has learned that home truly is where the heart is.  It didn't matter whether it was a hotel room in Wichita, Cleveland, Jersey or a lounge in an airport ... wherever the five of us were ... there "home" was.

Often after dinner, or a trip to the grocery store, I would say "time to go home!" ... to which one of the littles would respond "HOME?  Home is in Delhi.  Home isn't HERE, mama!"

Eventually they realized that I would never tire of explaining to them that for that time and place, home was where we laid our heads at night.  Soon enough, they would ask ME if I was ready to go home (meaning, the hotel room!)

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My last Reverb10 prompt ... and answer ... to share with you ::

Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

TOTALLY that I am more patient than I ever thought I was.  More capable and able to think first before reacting.  I would have NEVER said this about myself.  I'm traditionally quick to speak, quick to lash out, quick to slay someone with a cutting remark and quick to express myself ... when sometimes (and more often than not) silence is much more respectable and relished.

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Which brings me to my small list of resolutions for 2011.  I don't do resolutions.  I forget them long before I even have an opportunity to fail them.  I write them on some random slip of paper, and then forget where I've placed that piece of paper.  I beat myself up for goals that aren't reached and get annoyed when I fail. 

This year ... for 2011 ... I'm looking a bit more internally and aiming to capitalize on the small steps that were started in 2010.

The short list?

1. to think before reacting

2. to blog more intentionally ... which practically means "to blog less."  It is difficult to balance what I share with you, my readers.  Do I blog honestly about the hardships of living in India?  Do I paint a glamorous picture of what it's like to have a houseful of staff?  Do I share the silly stories of the kids' every daily move?  Do I share the trials and tribulations of my personal venture to better myself?  Do I just write about the Ps and Qs of moving a family overseas?  I think that in 2011 I will limit myself a bit in what I post, and simply be more intentional about the words that I do share.

3. to spend individual time with each kiddo ... doing something that makes their heart song sing.  It is easy to get caught up in the daily ratrace and rut of raising kids.  Get them to school, finish homework, accompany them to lessons, ballet, activities.  Schedule playdates, plan meals, take baths, cut toenails.  Get haircuts, put on bandaids, kiss away tears.  It is too easy for me to forget that I actually enjoy spending time with them ... and they each have such different likes and things that make them excited, that I want to be better about that this year.

4.  running, yoga or some other combination of something good for my body.  It might be massages every couple of months, or reflexology from my awesome friend Caitlin.  It might be drinking more tea and less coffee.  We'll see!

5.  to spend more time with people I like ... and to be better about sorting through invites and social engagements that don't result in a benefit for me (sounds ridiculously selfish, but don't you find yourself exhausted sometimes by functions and gatherings that you don't really enjoy anyway?)

6.  gratefulness ... practiced daily (this can be as simple as telling one of your staff members that you appreciated ______ (insert your "X, Y, Z" here) or sending an email to your mother-in-law letting her know that you are thankful for her work in raising your spouse, or sending a note in your kiddos' snack bag letting them know you're proud of them, etc., etc.)

I liked what Ellie said about resolutions ...  especially this ::

Mostly, New Year's Resolutions are geared towards doing less of something.   We are an indulgent society.  We are programmed to want more, but the things we want more of tend to make us obese, addicted and in debt.

There are lots of things we need more of in our lives:   compassion, down-time, gratitude, peace of mind, kindness, laughter.

Instead of a resolution that revolves around self, try one that revolves around others.   Try complimenting a stranger, calling an old friend, reaching out to someone who needs help.   Donate your time to a charity.   Read an extra book to your kids at night.  

Find at least one thing every day that spreads some love and compassion into the world.   Even when faced with negativity, spread kindness.    Someone cuts you off in line?  A cashier is rude?  The server is late bringing your food?

You have choices on how you react to things:  indignation and annoyance are the more obvious choices, of course.   Patience and compassion, however, break the cycle of negativity, bring you peace of mind, and are paid forward in beautiful ways.

There is a lovely concept in Buddhism, that every person you meet, every person you know, is a teacher.   Each interaction you have with someone has a ripple effect:  if it's angry or negative, it spreads negativity and anger out into the world.  If it's gentle and compassionate, it spreads peace and compassion into the world.

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    The last thing on my list of goals for 2011 is to journal in a more efficient way.  I used to journal with a passion.  I had  several bookshelves of journals.  Then one day I told myself that I needed to "grow up", move on and start over.  I burned every last one of those journals.  I regret that choice almost daily.  I have handwritten journals that I started during each one of my pregnancies.  The entries stop - unfortunately - at about the 8 3/4 month mark for each kiddo.

    I have an obsession for paper.  I love moleskin journals.  I smell leather books and inhale the richness. I currently have a nightstand full of half-started journals from varying moments in my life. In the recess of my "I would love to" reality lies a crazy vast library of completed journals ... that my kids will one day be able to sift through and read ... and gain insight into just who their mother was.

    Sometimes I tell myself that this blog is my journal, but if I'm honest with myself ... it can never really be that.  I chose to blog publicly about our experience living overseas, and in that decision, determined to filter my writing and the words that I share with you. So while I will continue to blog here, I need to find something that is a bit more personal, honest and raw.

    I love the way Karen journals ... and have started a similar type of journal myself.  It is chaotic, real-time, practical and meaningful ... all at the same time.  I'm hoping that with her encouragement to just capture all of life in one place, that I will do away with my brief love affairs with deep and thoughtful journaling (what I've tried to do in the past) and instead just write ... grocery lists, quotes, chinese fortunes from cookies, lyrics to songs and ... dreams and aspirations ... all at the same time and in the same pages of one book.

    What is on your list of goals for 2011?  Do you set resolutions?



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