This is my personal blog to help keep family and friends up to date with our projects. Feel free to follow along!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

deep thoughts with Jen: part 1

I have so busy lately, I haven't had much time for blogging, but there's so much I want to blog! As 2009 turned into 2010, I did a lot of reflecting over the past year and thinking about the new year. Quite frankly, 2009 sucked for me. We were in an unemployment situation for almost a year, and along with that came real estate woes. We dealt with things one day at a time, and made it through those hard times relatively unscathed. As you probably know, we made a big move, got a new job and a new house, but the feelings of being displaced, caused by a year of house showings and having your things packed away, is still wearing on me, as I'm sure it is the entire family. We've been in our house for several months now, but I'd say we're still only about halfway settled into it. All I can say is that it's overwhelming and I'm very ready to move past this phase.

Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand. by you.

Last year, my friend Lisa blogged about choosing a single word to represent what you want to achieve for the (new) year. The words she's chosen for the past few years have been happiness, change, and acceptance. I was so inspired after reading her post last January, I desperately tried to come up with a word for myself, but just couldn't do it. All year long I thought about it. In hindsight, the word that would describe 2009 best would be chaos. How sad is that? Really, truly, that is what 2009 was. I think I did a pretty good job of keeping up the facade that everything was normal and fine, but it was hard. Even as it happened, we thought we were doing ok dealing with everything, but looking back, it's obvious that the stress of that chaos chipped away at us and some of our relationships. The word that best describes how I felt would be distracted. Even today, I struggle with being distracted by things that keep me from having and doing what I want and love.

With the new year, I am only looking forward. I want to leave the chaos behind. I have even chosen my word for the year, and we're only a few weeks into it! Just being able to find that special word when I could not do it, as hard as I tried, last year speaks volumes to me about where I was in my mind last year and where I'm headed this year. My word for 2010 is.........focus.

If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. by you.

Focus is what I want for myself this year. I want to wade through the chaos; get rid of the bad stuff and get control of the good stuff, so that it doesn't overwhelm me. I want to focus on my house and make it into a loving and creative home for my family. Not being able to really "live" in our house all those months it was on the market was really depressing for me. All those months, my kids couldn't have special spaces for themselves and we couldn't do a lot of things together because that energy was redirected into cleaning and showing the house. The twins went from cribs to toddler beds, babies to toddlers, in that time, but we just didn't have the money or energy to put into making that transition special. It was so hard to deal with the idea that my children had been robbed of a year of their childhood. It might seem a little overly dramatic, but really, that's what I feel happened. It could have been so much more special for them if we hadn't been in that situation. That's why house projects are so important for me right now. My children deserve those special places. All of us do.

Obviously, I want to put more focus on my family. The kids are growing so fast and I don't have much time left with them before they go off to school. The challenge I've faced since our move, aside from all the distractions, is that I'm unfamiliar with the area, so it's just plain hard to find things to go do. Not to mention that the first 3 months it rained non-stop and now we are dealing with a never-ending supply of snow. I'm excited about getting out and exploring together and I know it will happen more and more as the weather improves. Quality time at home will also improve as the house projects get finished up, eliminating a lot of chaos. Of course, I also want to focus on my marriage and strengthening it. We will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this summer and have plans for lots of traveling *alone*, which we are both looking forward to very much. One of the greatest things about moving to where we are now is that we are close to family so that we can do things like that. Hopefully we can squeeze in a bunch of dates this year, which are a rarity for us. I also want to put more emphasis on us parenting together and spending time together as a family, not just me with the kids.

From where it originated, there the soul is blended again. by you.

2010 is going to be the year that I focus on me! With everything that's transpired, I've lost a little bit of myself and I've recently realized I haven't felt good about myself in quite a while. As always, I want to focus on losing weight and being healthy and active. I am feeling like this year might be the year that I actually stick to it and complete my 100lb loss that I began over 6 years ago. I want to focus and finish it!

I have also been thinking a lot about my photography. Before we went through those tough times, I was so immersed in my photography, shooting constantly and improving because of it. I've lost some of my enthusiasm for it and I WANT IT BACK! Over the past few (like 10+!) years, I've been trying to get myself focused on building a business with it, but after some serious thought, I am going to redirect that focus onto the photography itself this year. I want to learn and love it again the way I did before. I've gotten sloppy with the little bit of shooting I do now, and I want that to stop. Of course, I will jump at any opportunity that comes my way to shoot for other folks, but I am going to put the focus on rediscovering myself as a photographer first this year. I've put off building my photography business for soooo long, it can wait a little longer. I feel a little bit guilty about this decision, but I know it is the best one. I also know that when I *do* put the focus on my business, it will be much better because of this.

Since I won't be putting much focus on my photography business this year, I can put some focus on building a business with the my sewing! I really just do it to make a little spending money and spoil my friends, but I feel that my etsy shop has been successful enough to warrant more of my time and attention. With all 3 of my young children at home, sewing is much easier for me to manage than editing photos for clients, so it really is something I want to focus on growing this year. Really, the only thing holding me back right now are the distractions that I want to get rid of anyway. And time.

In the hour of adversity be not without hope For crystal rain falls from black clouds. by you.

I am hoping that putting all this focus on things in my life will help me to clear my head and find focus in my life, in general. Something that I started last year, that was good, was a mission to become a giver. I'm not sure why I started it and I don't think it was an intentional thing, but I've been very aware that I've been doing it and I think I've done a good job with it. This year I want to push myself to become an even better giver. I want to put focus on becoming totally selfless about it. There are lots of reasons for giving, but I want to get to a point where I'm doing it just for the sake of giving. It sounds easy, but when you are honest with yourself, you realize it is actually very difficult. Giving is something I will be discussing more in-depth in future posts. It is something that I am becoming very passionate about and that makes me feel good.

Part of the reason I want to explore giving is because I want to focus on my thoughts about spirituality and all that other, good, deep stuff. I don't consider myself a very spiritual person, but I am very inspired by those who are, especially when they are moms just like myself. Again, Lisa is at the top of my list of spiritual, inspirational people. She always has been. She takes the time to think about deep things (and blog them), sharing her thoughts as inspiration for others. Recently, she did a post where she covered some really profound thoughts. You can read more of it here, but here are some highlights:

- Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is about.
- Make peace with your past so it doesn't screw up the present.
- What other people think of you is none of your business. (!!! wow!)
- However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
- If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

Even just the name of her blog...happiness is never stopping to think if you are... is so thought provoking. Another very spiritual person that I've recently gotten to know is Aimee aka HomeSpun Threads. She shares her struggles as a mom and the way that she manages the hard times with prayer. Even if you aren't one who prays, the thought behind it is quite profound and very inspiring. If you read her post here, you'll see what I mean. Have joy instead of searching for it. Please, please, go read it! Although I don't consider myself very spiritual, I very much would like to be and I know that people like Aimee and Lisa are in my life to help me find that side of myself.

cloud critter by you.

Phew, that's a lot of deep thinking! I even peppered it with random photos to make it easier to get through for you. (You are welcome!) Until next time...


Smith5 said...

Wow!! Jen, this was so deep.

I really hope your achieve your 2010 word FOCUS and all of your goals. You are amazing and I sometimes wonder if you realize how very talented you truely are. I will do what I can to be there for you as a friend just as you always have me.

PS.. I love what your friend Lisa wrote. She seems amazing.


~Lilly~ said...

Jenny, you are my insiration :)

~Lilly~ said... about distracted :)

Lori Anne said...

Do you really know how awesome you are!?!?! I hope you acheive all that you set out to do for 2010! And WE get to spend one "adult trip" together...I am so excited about that! You are so creative and supportive and awesome! Love ya!

The {G} Family said...

I agree with the first commenter! All of your FOCUS ideas are great, but you should try extra hard to focus on loving YOU the way ALL of US do!

JAR Photography & Design said...

Aww Jen, I loved reading this... i can't wait to read more. I love your goals and your determination is so strong that I know you will overcome them all. I know you guys had a rough year but I have a feeling 2010 is going to be a good year, for everyone. :)

thousand words photography said...

jen, i love this!! i'm so happy you shared it!!! i love that you are focusing on you and your family. when it's all said and done...that's the only thing that truly matters.
i have all the faith in the world that your 2010 is going to be amazing. good things happen to good people...and your are great people!!!

giving, i think, would be my word....inspired by you!!!!


meg manion silliker said... are wonderful. through and through and never ever doubt that. just through your words i feel your humor your struggles your tiredness your's all GOOD. remember that. IT'S.ALL.GOOD. your photography is beautiful and by putting your biz on hold i bet you'll find you're busier than ever. that's usually how it works. your sewing is incredible. you are a wonderful mother to those three beautiful girls and i know your husband is so grateful to have you by his side.
you'll get through it one day at a time one step at a time one stitch at a time and one click at a time.
my word this year is true. i want/need to be true to me and through that i hope it will filter through my life.
i am thrilled our paths have crossed these past years and adore you every step of the way.

Heather said...

I love the idea of choosing a word for a resolution. What an amazing word, focus, can become when you give it this much thought.

Good luck with everything you set for yourself this year. I want you to know that I have truly enjoyed reading and getting to virtually know your new family this last year.

May God bless your family this year in so many ways that you can't even count them.

Heather H.

Lisa Johnson said...

I am completely speechless. YOU are the one that is an inspiration to me. I am so thankful that God placed us in each other's lives back in High School when we needed each other and that we've been able to reconnect. I hope you know I think the world of you. You are such an incredible mother to your 3 sweet girls and an amazing wife.

You are so talented beyond belief. And I'm not just talking about the sewing and photography. You have such a talent with words and expressing yourself. You have such a talent for making people around you feel important and special and loved.

I feel bad that I wasn't a better friend to you and didn't know about all of the struggles you went through last year. If you ever need anything (if you need to vent or just need someone to listen) please know I am there for you!


Sarah said...

Whenever I read your blog I feel amazed that we don't know eachother in real life ;-) we have so much in commmon and I feel so much of what you are saying here. YOu are amazingly talanted and such a loving mother. I am inspired by you all of the time and look foward to watching your FOCUS this year and sending you lots of happy thoughts

Anonymous said...

Wow...I am currently at a loss for words. Thank you so much for sharing. You truly will never know how your words touched me. Just know that it is all good and I so appreciate it.

Here is to a wonderful 2010. May we all find that 'focus' we are looking for. BTW my word is 'stability' which kind of works along with that 'focus'. Also, may we all find that spiritual warmth. I know for me it is there when I am quiet.

You are an amazing woman Miss Jen, and for all you have given me unknowingly I truly thank you!!


Megan DaGata said...

Catching up on your blogging ma'am and this one was inspiring. As you can tell 2009 wasn't the best for me either, but 2010 will be focused on contentment. Because for the first time in like 10 years I am truly happy. I will blog about it eventually. Whenever I get back to a real PC.

You're are amazing as always!