Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Love the Questions

I have been wanting to write a new post for awhile now... something about Christmas, something about the New Year, something about family and friends and all of the things I've been learning lately.  But I have been so busy and had so much on my mind lately that it's been hard for me to organize my thoughts.  
Much of what has been on my mind involves questions about the future- relationships, work, finances, plans... so much to think about.  And we are impatient people.  We like to know now what is going to come of something, where to focus our efforts.  We don't want to go down a road that will end up in us being hurt, or disappointed.  But sometimes we have to let go of the urge to figure things out and just embrace the uncertainty of this adventure called life.  We have to stop worrying about which path we are taking, and focus instead on enjoying the journey.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves ...
Don't search for the answers,
which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.

rainer maria rilke

Saturday, December 17, 2011


This has been one of the things on my dorky dailies list for the month of December, but I am way behind.  Or at least, that's what I thought.  Today I read an ebook by Amy Parmenter called "Know Where To Go."  It's a short book about making changes to have a more fulfilling and happy life.  She shares six steps to make positive change in your life:
1- Consciousness- you have to come to a realization of who you are and how you got here
2- Reflect- take a long hard look at yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, needs, desires, faiths, and fears
3- Emote- focus on how you feel about who you are individual aspects of your life
4- Aspire- with a fresh perspective, make your mind and heart open to new possibilities
5- Try- make goals to try instead of to achieve, it's far more enjoyable and less intimidating
6- Emerge- move forward with direction, a positive attitude, and confidence
She ended by stating that her father is an artist, and that she had always bemoaned the fact that she didn't have a creative bone in her body.  Like her, I applied the word "creative" to art, music, etc.  But creativity is simply the ability to create new ideas, and that can apply to every area of our lives.  It wasn't until she pointed it out that I realized the first letter in each the six steps spell out the word CREATE.  May we each use our God-given creativity to create a beautiful, fulfilling life!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Make More New Friends

Last time I wrote about this topic it was something I really struggled with.  I mean, full-blown anxiety struggled with.  And while meeting new people and turning them into friends is still a challenge, I realize that I have grown a lot in this regard since my post 10 months ago.  Good thing, huh?  I mean, that is the whole idea of this blog- to make personal progress.  I feel pretty rich in the friend department right now, and while some of that is due to my own efforts, a lot of it has come by Divine intervention.  
A couple weeks ago I started a new job, organizing a blog tour for a Christian author.  At the time I had never even heard of a blog tour.  But now I am contacting new people every day and trying to connect with each of them on a personal level.  It was slow going at first, but now a few days into it I have met some of the most beautiful people and feel like this whole new world of friends has opened up to me.
I love those moments where we can see God's hand in our lives, bringing opportunities that help us learn and grow and people who will inspire us to become our best selves.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~Albert Schweitzer

Monday, December 12, 2011

Talk on the Phone

I... hate... talking on the phone.  Through text or email you can think about what you're going to say.  In person you can read someone's facial expressions and body language.  When you're talking to someone on the phone, you've got nothin' but your words and theirs to convey thought, feeling, expression, and concept.  Not cool.
Nevertheless, sometimes we must communicate through this method, and i am trying to accept that.  Tonight I talked to someone I'd been meaning to call for two weeks... and it was lovely.
I don't know why I work myself up about these things because despite occasional pauses or stuttering, my conversations usually go pretty well, sometimes dazzlingly well.  And yet...
So I did a little research tonight.  Turns out that people who talk on the phone regularly are usually better at socializing in general.  (Hm... another problem of mine.)  I also found some dorky fun tips for talking on the phone:
1.) before you call, think about what you want to say/ask.  (Duh.  But if you are like me, you may spend too much time thinking about it and psych yourself out.  Don't do that.)
2.) try to relax (you mean, don't get hopped up on Redbull and pixie stix?  Oh... that's what I've been doing wrong.)
3.) get into a conversation (gee, why didn't I think of that?)
4.) be honest (no problem there, I am usually TOO honest.)
5.)  (Ready... this is my favorite...) If there is an awkward pause, say "Can you hang on a sec?" and pretend like you are stepping away to do something until you think of something to pick up the conversation again with.  (That. is. brilliant.)
And so, people in my life, I am trying to overcome my phone aversion to improve my relationships with you.  Because I love you.  I love you so much, I will even talk to you on the phone.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Follow Your Heart

I always have a lot going on in my mind, but lately it has been especially crazy.  I've been seeking others' advice, people I love, trust, and admire.  But at some point you have to stop asking other people what you should do and listen to your own thoughts.  A good friend of mine once told me he admired me because I know who I am and what I want.  This is wonderful, but it doesn't necessarily mean life will be simpler for me.  Just because I know who I am doesn't mean I don't want to change things about myself.  And just because I know what I want doesn't mean I know how to get it, or if I'm even meant to have it.
Everyone has dreams that never come true, a career path they don't follow, a place they never go, people they never meet, talents they never develop, things that they want, big or small, that they will never get.  But at the same time, God is placing new people, places, events, opportunities, and learning experiences in our path on a daily basis.  Who knows what will happen if we can follow our hearts and seize these moments?

Your time is limited, so dont waste it living someone elses life. Dont be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other peoples thinking. Dont let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. - Steve Jobs

Friday, November 25, 2011

Give Thanks

Predictable topic given the time of year, I know.  But hey, this is a good policy all year long.  I've talked a lot about the importance of gratitude, how much a positive, grateful outlook affects how you feel and how you live your life.  I started out my Thanksgiving Day by making a list of some of the things I'm grateful for, and then I had  We went to my aunt's lake house in Georgia and shared a delicious meal with extended family.  The highlights were playing a hilarious game of "Apples to Apples" with my siblings and cousins, and the 15 min or so my adorable 84-year-old grandmother sat on my lap and we talked and laughed and caught up on each others' lives.  Even the 2 hour drive there and back was fun.  I don't know how it's possible, but my family can make even lame games like name that tune and helping my dad with his crossword puzzle a hilarious exchange of witty banter.  I settled in for the night feeling truly blessed.  If only every day could be like that...

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.  ~Meister Eckhart

Monday, November 21, 2011


So I popped over to my parents' house tonight to see what everyone was up to, and they were watching this home movie from 1993.  It was Christmas morning and our... outfits... were... awesome.
Oh the days of scrunchies and sweatpants and neon graphic tees.  Oh the perms and bangs and haircuts (I don't care what you say Mom, Dad totally had a mullet.)  We also watched a clip of 3 yr old Brittany (in the middle in this pic) feeding ducks by the lake, and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever.
Looking back is not only fun, according to medical and psychological research studies, it also boosts memory and cognition and strengthens relationships.
Reminiscing can also help you make meaningful connections from the events of your life.  When we see where we've come from, it gives us a clearer vision of who we are and what we want.  So spend some time walking down memory lane for awhile, and enjoy the view.

“What can ever equal the memory of being young together?” 
― Michael SteinIn the Age of Love

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nov 15: Live Your Life

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "We are always getting ready to live but never living."  How sad (and true) is that?  While looking back to learn from our experiences is good, and looking ahead to plan for our future is important, we need to learn to live in the moment as well.  This is something that comes particularly easy to me.  In fact, I enjoy living in the moment so much that it can seem that I don't remember anything or worry at all.  This is something I'm working on, a balance.
Anyway, for those of you who don't have this "gift," here are some of my tips for living (and loving) the moments in your life:
1.) Start the day off right.  I try to start every day with prayer, scripture study, journal writing, and yoga.  This always makes me feel peaceful, centered, invigorated and ready to face the day.
2.) Be interested.  Take interest in the people, places, events, music, food, sights, sounds, etc. around you.  It's the details in our lives that make them rich and full.
3.) Challenge yourself.  Whether it's mental, physical, or spiritual, keep raising your expectations.  Not too much, you don't want your goals to be unattainable, but they should be high enough that you grow in the process.
4.) Get away.  Traveling broadens our horizons and breaks down old ways of living and thinking, which can open us up to new possibilities.
5.) Take risks.  In the end, it will be things we didn't do that become our regrets.  Taking risks like going for things we really want, trying something new, telling someone how we feel, makes us stronger.  And even the risks that don't turn out the way we want will be for our learning and experience.
6.) Follow your passions.  Make sure the things you love are a part of your life in some way, on a daily basis if possible.  If your passion is Italy, you may not be able to go there every day, but you could try out an Italian meal, spend a few minutes learning an Italian phrase, or browse the internet for articles or pictures of Italy.  Even if all you do is think about your passions each day, you attract more of that to your life, which makes you a happier, more fulfilled individual.
7.) Cut things from your life that are a waste of time and energy.  (self-explanatory)
8.) Face your fears.  Courage is not the absence of fear, it is action in spite of fear.  Whether your fear is socializing, speaking in public, or spiders, facing them weakens their power over you, avoiding them makes them stronger. 
9.) Count your blessings.  Recognizing the beauty of nature, the love and comfort of friends and family, the excitement of new possibilities, and the joy of life reminds us how happy we already are.
10.) Have faith.  One reason I seem to never worry is that I know that despite any efforts I make, all things are in the hands of God.  I know His plans for me are far greater than any I could have for myself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nov 10: Catch Up

So between me housesitting and my sister having a life, we hadn't really talked in over a week.  And so tonight she came over and we talked for hours- out on the porch while I drank hot chocolate, on the couch when it got too cold outside, in the kitchen while we dared each other to drink Malta and try ginseng candy (disgusting).  Last night I had another friend over for dinner and a movie, a friend I greatly admire but hadn't spent any real time with in months.  It's amazing how quickly a gap can be bridged once you make the effort to actually spend time with someone. 
I was thinking about this tonight, how much we need the people in our lives, and yet sometimes we forget that, or get caught up in our own lives, or grow apart.  It's normal for us to change, we have to in order to progress.  And some relationships, if stressful or destructive, may be better left distant.  But when we have someone in our lives who brings us joy, or comfort, or who accepts and loves us for who we are, it's important that we do our part to keep those relationships alive and well.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~Albert Schweitzer

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nov 5: Get Away

I know I do it to myself.  I'm a problem solver, and I will involve myself in anything no matter how frustrating or stressful or obnoxious if I think I can help.  But lately all of my "helping" has been taking a toll on me.  At what point do we have to step back and let people solve their own problems?

Luckily for me, God often provides exactly what we need most, in the exact moment we need it.  And so I am embracing the opportunity of having two back-to-back house-sitting jobs spanning about five weeks.  My days will involve occasional time with family and friends, and tons of time to myself.  Which is exactly what I need right now.

Take some time for yourself, even if it's only a few hours, and do something that brings you joy :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nov 1: Get Serious About a Goal

There are so many things I'd like to change about myself and my life, that I often find myself paralyzed.  Where to start, when to start, how to proceed, which goals are most important, how to break goals down into manageable tasks, this is all very overwhelming to me.  After watching "Limitless," I often wish I could take a little magic pill, one that would unlock the channels of my brain, help me focus, know exactly how to proceed.  But unfortunately, there is no little magic pill.
So I am left to fight against my weaknesses and figure things out for myself.  I decided that since it November, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), I would get serious about writing again.  I signed up, started my profile, and I'm psyched to dive in. 
My challenge to you is to pick something you've wanted to do for a long time, anything from getting a college degree, to developing a new talent, to losing weight for an upcoming event.  Whatever you choose, dedicate yourself to achieving this goal, and don't let anything get in your way.  For awesome tips on achieving any goal, check out this article:

Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want.Robert G Allen

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oct 26: Everybody Calm Down

Wow.  Dealing with so much drama today.  Usually I can kind of separate myself from all of it, be surrounded by it, and yet have this inner calm, and deal with the situation.  But today I got so defensive of a loved one and so frustrated that this ignorant, selfish person was attacking them, that I lost it.  I was heart-pounding, hands-shaking, nail-spitting angry.  So now I am trying to calm down.  It's really hard, once you've let yourself get all worked up.  But getting angry doesn't solve the situation. 
I've been looking up tips online for controlling anger, calming down after a confrontation, etc., and I have found some interesting and diverse tips.  From things like prayer, journaling, venting to a friend, taking deep breaths, getting exercise, burning lavender or vanilla candles, to unique things like tearing paper and beating a couch with a plastic bat, there are plenty of options and one is bound to work for you.  I do know one thing: after you've calmed down a little, you must deal with a situation, not ignore it, if you expect to feel better.
So here's to calming down and dealing with things in a more dignified manner. Horray...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct 24: Get in the Spirit!

It's my favorite time of year- Fall!  When the air is cool and crisp, harvest colors appear, and the calendar is filled with festivals, haunted houses, corn mazes, and costume parties.  My mom is wonderful about decorating for holidays, and so our porch is strewn with pumpkins, a skull, a black cat, and orange lights.  Tonight we carved pumpkins. (The picture is unfortunately not one of them, but one of the coolest carved pumpkins ever, and a good movie as well.)
So I was thinking tonight about how important it is to get into the spirit of the events in our lives, to embrace the holidays, birthdays, and anything else that comes our way, because that is what makes life rich.
Here are my top picks of movies that inspire the Halloween spirit:
1. The Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile
2. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
3. Chucklewood Critters- Which Witch is Which?
4. Disney's Halloween Treat
5. Casper
6. Hocus Pocus
7. Monster House
8. The Haunting
9. The Others
10. The Shining

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oct 21: Open Up!

So... this week has brought a few changes to my life, one of which is a new job.  This one change has brought other changes, like meeting new people, learning new things, getting up at ridiculous times.  And perhaps all this change has given me a little more confidence, because the other day I dealt with what might have been an awkward situation in a very new and refreshing way.  So it got me to thinking about much change helps us grow, how stretching out in new directions creates more opportunities for good things to come into our lives.  I have always loved change in most areas of my life, but in one particular area, that of opening up socially, I keep reverting to my comfortable old solitary ways, which a. is not healthy and b. makes people think I am a snob.
Anyway, in order to further my progress (and because I am a dork), I looked up some suggestions online, here are some of my favorites:
1.) try new things (sounds familiar), trying new food, music, places, meeting new people, joining clubs, all these things make you a more well-rounded and interesting person, which builds confidence
2.) volunteer (again, familiar), focusing on the needs of others makes you focus less on your own insecurities
3.) be friendly and approachable (this is the hard one for me, not because I am mean, but because I am often in my own little world and mostly happy that way, but we all need balance)  smile at people, introduce yourself, ask people about their lives
4.) jot down notes about people so that you can follow up on important events in their lives, it shows that you care about them
5.) face your fears (tough), most of the time when we don't socialize, it is out of fear. Conquering our fears, a little at a time, builds confidence and opens our lives up to new possibilities.
p.s. just realized this is my 100th post, hooray!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oct 19: Look Up, Step Up, Cheer Up!

This is something I heard in General Conference and LOVED!  I decided to make it my quote for the month and try to apply it to my life.  The idea is that when you are more positive and try a little harder, you will be happier.  For tonight I'll focus on part one of this concept: Look UP.  To me this has several meanings, such as looking to God- His love for us, his desires and plans for us, and what we are capable of with His help.  It could also mean to think with an eye toward the future, instead of being distracted or bogged down by present cares and circumstances.  It could also mean to be more positive, something I've been working on for a long time.  Here are some good suggestions I've found in my research:
1.) Accept that there are problems. (Ignoring them does not make them go away). 
2.) Make some small, achieveable goals.  (Where there are no goals, there is no progress, which can lead to negativity.)
3.) Count your blessings.  (The more you do this, the easier it gets to name more and more things, and you will be amazed at how many you can come up with.)
4.) Avoid negative influences.  (We can't control the attitudes of others in our lives, and it can seem like the more you try to be positive, the more negative others will seem.  But if you tell your friends, family, and co-workers what you're trying to accomplish, most will curb their negativity for you.)
5.) Surround yourself with positive images, colors, and music. (Yellow, orange, and pink are all happy-making colors, and I love listening to "On the Sunny Side of the Street" by Billie Holiday when I need a pick-me-up).
6.) Get involved in positive activities.  (Volunteering is the best way to gain a positive outlook, because you are focused on the needs of others instead of yourself.  Any wholesome group activity- sporty, artistic, intellectual, spiritual, etc. is good too.)
7.) Try new things.  (The more things you try, the better you'll know yourself and the richer your life will be, which leads to fulfillment.)
8.) Plan things that you can look forward to, follow through, and then document the occasion. (Studies show that the anticipation of an enjoyable event is often more intense than the event itself.  Following through with plans shows you that you have power to make things happen.  And documenting the event, by writing in a journal, taking pictures, or sharing the story with others is like reliving the experience.  It releases endorphines, making you feel positive again and again even though the event is past.)
9.) Realize that what you focus on becomes your reality.  (Thoughts become actions, which affect your circumstances.  Think negative, get more negative.  Think positive... you get it.)
10.) Last but not least... Make a commitment to be happy and remind yourself of it often.  (Happiness is not a destination we arrive at, it's a way of traveling.  It requires a conscious effort.)

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”  - Aristotle

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oct 17: Begin Anywhere

  Wow. So there is an obvious time gap between this post and my last one (in case you missed that).  I am happy to say I have made progress in several arenas since then.  But sadly I have become slack in others, such as this blog, which I love and miss.  Going back and reading my old posts makes me realize that this blog has been like therapy for me.  That blogging about my problems and challenges, and then researching solutions, finding a visual and an inspiring quote, has helped bring some focus and clarity to my life.  I am sorely lacking this lately.  I have been feeling very inspired, but have had trouble channeling that into something productive.  The more time goes by, the harder it is to jump back into something: church, school, a job, a hobby, anything.  And if you're anything like me, you WAY overthink the whole process, causing further delay.  I waited so long to start blogging because I had so many thoughts since then that I didn't know where to start.  I felt like this post had to be powerful, had to somehow redeem me for all the time I missed.  But then I realized how silly that is.  It doesn't matter where I begin, only THAT I BEGIN.

"Not knowing where to start is the most common form of paralysis.  Begin anywhere." - John Cage

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26: Get Some Inner Peace

My friend and I went to see Kung Fu Panda 2 yesterday, and two words have been reverberating in my head ever since, "Inner Peace."  It's something I've been trying to achieve for a long time, ever since I read "The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire." 
It can be hard, in the hustle and bustle of life, as appointments and "to do lists" and calendar days fly by, as our differences cause us to clash and collide, as disappointments and frustrations deride us and we feel restless, upset, or hopeless, to achieve and maintain that inner peace.  This weekend was really fun, but it also involved some serious conversations, and a lot of thinking about things that are lacking from my life.  Sometimes we think we have things figured out, only to have a thought or realization that throws everything up in the air again and has us trying to put together a puzzle we've already put together, dangit!  When moments like this arise and we feel ourselves on a precipice of change or big decisions, it can be wise to pause, reflect, and gain some inner peace.
I love to turn to writing, reading, and meditation, but a nice long talk with my Mom also helps.  We are impatient creatures, but it helps to slow down, take a deep breath, think things through, and realize that answers usually come when we need them, things work out if we are true to ourselves, and the Master is aware of every possibility our lives contain.

“Anything is possible when you have inner peace.” Shifu

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June19: Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

So I have been here a few weeks now, and though we have been to some really beautiful places and done lots of fun things, I am definitely at the mercy of my friend.  She's a wonderful person, but we are very different.  She doesn't like to explore the way I do.  I dragged her along paths, on long rides, and into cathedrals with me, but in general she just has no interest and would rather stay home. 
I was stuck between being her guest (where I don't really know people and the area and should mostly keep by her) and being myself (inquisitive, restless, and anxious to wander).  I thought things might get kind of ugly.  But today I had a genius idea that has led to a major breakthrough.  I printed out a google map of the neighborhood- Itea Court in Regents Park, all the way to Browns Plains (where the mall is and where I have occasionally persuaded to walk with me, even though she hates walking).  There are 9 parks on this map, 9!  And I am pretty good at finding my way around when I have a map.
So this afternoon I got my ipod, my camera, and my map, and I headed out to explore!  I was gone for about an hour, walking along neighborhood streets, south to the market corner, east to Acorus Park (where I found a 1.5 k Green Loop, along a beautiful natural trail, and just before dark arrived back at home.  I marked my path on the map and it's gratifying to see where I've been and how much is left to walk.  It has become my new goal while I'm here to walk as much as possible and go to all 9 parks.  And I thought, this is a great thing to do no matter where you live or how many times you've walked your streets.  Print a map of the neighborhood, or a neighborhood nearby, and find some treasure...

Monday, June 13, 2011

May 15- June 12: Wherever You Go, There You Are

Well, it is the end of my 12th day in Australia! Yes, folks, I am finally here.  Unfortunately it has also been weeks since my last post.  There have been so many events and moments packed into these past few weeks that I hardly know where to start as far as small changes and lessons learned.  Australia is not how I imagined it.  Outside my window are lush hills with tropical trees and flowers, just like in Guatemala, and in the city are Parliament buildings, clock towers, and cathedrals, just like in England.  And so rather than feeling like a whole new country to me, this place feels strangely familiar.  My friends' family have been welcoming and I am already feeling quite at home with them.  There are many days of change and discovery ahead, but first I would like to discuss the biggest lesson I've learned so far:  Wherever You Go, There You Are.
Or in other words, you can start with a whole new army of shampoos, body sprays, face washes, even clothes and accessories.  You can start a new day, a new week, a new month.  You can travel to the other side of the world, live in a place where no one knows you, and you are surrounded by new things.  And yet, you are still You.  Every time I embark on a new phase of life, I have so many hopes for making changes in my life, and this newest adventure was no different.  However, I quickly discovered that I would have the same struggles here as at home, or anywhere.  To make real and lasting changes, they must come from a place deep within.  They must start as a spark within us and be fanned with enthusiasm and persistence.
And so, here I am, still me, liking to stay up late and sleep in, inconsistent and flighty, just in another country.  I wanted to become another person while I was here, but what I should have focused on was being a better version of myself.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 10-14: Keep Moving Forward

Oh, man! Things have been crazy.  It seems like the more things stack up in front of me, the harder I try to avoid them.  I didn't write or paint all week until tonight!  Somehow other little projects and "to-do's" crept in and took over.  Some of them- like getting my visa and straightening out a banking error, were pretty important.  Others, like watching "Taboo"... not so much.  Why do we do that?  Well, as preparation for my RS lesson tomorrow, I have been finishing a book my Dad gave me over a year ago.  It's called "The Artist's Way- A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity."  I started reading and absolutely LOVED it!  And then I moved to St. Aug, started a job, got distracted, (and according to this book, was probably subconsciously blocking myself from progression).  Anyway, my lesson is on developing talents, and I realized this book has a lot of things to say about that.  So I have plowed through it, enjoying every delicious word and concept.  I've learned that often it is not laziness that keeps us from doing things, but fear.  We are afraid of looking stupid, we are afraid of attention, we are afraid of a moment, a person, a situation, not being good enough, and so instead of comforting and reassuring ourselves and taking baby steps and actually progressing, we obsess, worry, and avoid.  Well, no more.  The way to overcome this fear is affirmative ACTION.  And so after days of reading, thinking, avoiding, tonight I sat down and wrote.  I worked on my lesson, and I started those last two pesky paintings I've been avoiding.  I'm not at the finish-line... but I've taken huge leaps in it's direction.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9: Fight Fatigue with Action

So today my sister and I were really sleepy, and our bed was laying there all comfortable-looking and tempting, but we knew we'd feel better (and sleep better tonight) if we didn't take a nap.  So instead, we mustered up our energy and enthusiasm and went to a friend's neighborhood pool.  Because I am completely out of shape, I didn't swim as many laps as I wanted to, only 14 for today.  But hey, got some exercise, got to talk to my sister about some exciting things coming up, even got a little sun:)  All in all, it was a great choice to go.  Most things are like that in life.  We feel exhausted one minute and could easily take a nap or lounge in front of the t.v., but with just a little determination, we can push ourselves in the other direction- the direction of Action.  And with Action, comes change.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8: Happy Mother's Day!

Went with my family to their ward today, so that we could all sit with my Mom on Mother's Day.  She's a very affectionate person, always hugging, kissing, rubbing our backs, stroking our arms.  Today as she put her hand on mine in my lap, lightly stroking my hand with her thumb, I looked down at her hands.  They are not the hands of a young woman, but they are beautiful.  I thought of all the thousands of dishes they've washed, clothes they've folded, band-aids they've applied, meals they've prepared, cold rags they've put on foreheads, diapers they've changed, and tears they've dried.  I thought of how lucky I am to have a mother that's so easy to love and appreciate.  All of us have a mother, but not all of us have a mother as amazing as her.
When I think of all she's done for me, and sacrificed of herself for the happiness of each of us instead, I wonder if I will ever know that kind of love... if I will ever be that selfless.
I couldn't pick just one quote about mothers, so here are a few that I really like:

I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine - she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights.  ~Terri Guillemets

A mother's happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.  ~HonorĂ© de Balzac

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  ~Washington Irving

It's not easy being a mother.  If it were easy, fathers would do it.  ~From the television show The Golden Girls

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 7: Make Lemonade

Today as I was out delivering flowers for Mother's Day, I passed a kid selling lemonade.  I happened to be incredibly thirsty, and so I got 2- one "pink" and one "yellow."  He was so excited to be getting business and was so polite and cute, it made my day.  I thought of some of the crazy things my sisters and I did when we were little to make money.
I guess as a kid we see things on such a small, simple scale, that even the prospect of a dollar here or there can excite us.  A grown up would look pretty ridiculous out in front of their house selling lemonade, but a kids can pull it off.
"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."  That's a famous saying we've all heard, which basically means to turn a "sour" situation into something good.  Of course, "unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade's gonna suck."  So luckily, we get lots of that too.  Somehow, we have to mix the sour and sweet and make it into something delicious:)  Today, think of something "negative" in your life and how you can use it to make something sweet.

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6: Make a Joyful Noise

So... delivered flowers for Kuhn today.  It was kinda stressful at times because some of the deliveries had up to 10 arrangements, some are heavy, some are slippery, it rained half the day, my map book had pages missing, I wasn't sure where I was going, had to deal with a couple cranky people, etc.  However, I also had fun.  I love driving, and since I've been back in Florida and without a car of my own, I haven't been able to do it as much as I would like, especially on my own.  When I'm on my own I can talk to myself, sing, brainstorm, make up song lyrics or sometimes snippets of scenes for books, I love it!  Plus, I did meet some sweet people as well.  One lady was particularly adorable- she was elderly, talkative, so excited to get flowers, and felt sorry for me that I'd had to deliver in the rain and for so long (delivered my last one at 9pm).  Above the entry to her driveway is an arch that reads "Joyful Meadows."  On the way out, it reads "Make a Joyful Noise."  After meeting her and witnessing her cheerful demeanor, I could tell that this was not something she just randomly placed above her driveway, it was a philosophy that she lived by.  It stuck with me the rest of the evening.  I definitely believe in karma- in the sense that we get out of life what we put into it.  If we exude joy (whether by laughing, singing, or positive conversation), we will receive more joy from others.  So get out there and make some joyful noise!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5: Celebrate Something You Usually Don't

So... we have never... ever... celebrated Cinco de Mayo, mostly because we aren't Mexican.  But hey, we love any excuse to have fun and do something a little different.  So tonight Brittany and I made a delicious Mexican feast of enchiladas (from a box), a 7-layer chip dip (w/ refried beans, cheese, cream cheese, salsa, lettuce, and tomatoes), daquiries (virgin, of course, we use Sprite... mmmmm, so refreshing :) and strawberry pie.  Now, I don't know if all those things are actually Mexican, I'm pretty sure the strawberry pie isn't, at least.  But who cares?  The point was, we had fun.  Dad even helped a little.  And it was super-freakin' delicious, AND my brother wore this awesomely ridiculous black sombrero with gold designs on it while he read to us about the origins of Cinco de Mayo (which I obviously didn't listen to very well, except that I remember the celebration started with Mexico gaining their independence from the French.) And so, for us, Cinco de Mayo meant eating delicious food, watching "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (which always makes me appreciate my life more), drinking fabulous beverages (which we garnished with fruit slices), and spending time with the family.
     So as I thought of my post topic for tonight, I thought, wouldn't it be great if I celebrated more things in life that I usually don't?  Not just holiday's that may not relate to my culture or religion, but daily occurrences in life.  Today, for example, I worked with my Dad, published 2 posts, submitted 2 more (a jump-start on next week), and found out I got a raise at Visitsouth.  I guess I could look at tonights' dinner as a celebration of that (though all the article stuff was after that).  Or... I could get another piece of that strawberry pie and go to sleep (the sweetest celebration of any long day :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4: Learn About a Place You Want to Go

So I am slightly obsessed with travelling.  I have jumped at every opportunity to go to a new place.  I love the new sights, sounds, smells, and experiences found in a foreign place.  I learn so much about the world and myself when I step out of my life and into a world of new possibilities and faces.  My wanderlust is only occasionally satiated by an actual journey.  The rest of the time, I must be content to read, watch movies, listen to music, try food, or meet someone who can teach me about other places and cultures.
Lately I have been feeling very restless.  And who should sweep in to spirit me away but one of my best friends, Bethany from Australia.  There is a lot of preparation to do before I leave, and I am trying to portion it all out into manageable but progressive installments of work.  However one preparatory project is to learn more about this fascinating country.  I was talking to her today about the travel guide I got, last year, I think.  Australia was a far-off dream to me then, a shadowy possibility.  Now it is only 27 days away, and I can hardly believe it!  Anyway, I told her I am such a dorky tourist, with my maps and photos and child-like wonder.  She said "No, you're not an regular tourist, you'll have your very own aussie guide family!"  So I told her I'd talk silly and slather vegemite all over my face so I could blend in.  "Um... not quite."
Learning about a place you want to go not only educates and encourages, it can really help adjust our priorities.  Travelling to upstate New York, riding my bike through beautiful Selkirk Shores State Park, I learned to appreciate natural beauty and quiet.  Travelling to England, walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen, I learned to appreciate literary history.  Travelling to Guatemala, bathing in streams and seeing extreme poverty, I learned to be less demanding and more appreciative of my pampered American life.  So take some time to learn about a place, any place that interests you.  Get lost for a few hours in a completely new place, even if it's only in your mind, and see what you find.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 3: Divide and Conquer

 This post is not about math (thank goodness).  I am thinking a lot about all the things I need to get done before I leave.  And as I was telling a friend, I feel like I should be stressed, but I am strangely exhilarated.  However, I know I need to really focus and prioritize to get it all done in time.  And so after making a list (which is getting longer every day), I am setting a few daily standards for how much I need to get done each day.  Today I took my first bite of the elephant and it tasted pretty good.  I lined up some VS articles, started the third temple painting, and got lots of research done for Australia.
Anyway, if you are having trouble balancing several projects, try out some of these tips: 1.) Grab your calendar and make sure important deadlines and events are all on there, it's good to be able to take a look at the month as a whole before you strategize.  2.) Make a list of goals/projects, and use abc's or 123's to prioritize them.  If you are feeling overloaded, you might have to drop or postpone a few of them.  3.) Devise a chart to monitor your progress, and reward yourself as you go.  4.) Allot time for each project, and give that time the focus it deserves.  If you have a thought that pertains to another project, make a note and continue with the project at hand.  (This one is tough for me, as I am easily distracted.)  and 5.) Sometimes when it's crunch time you have to suck it up and work hard to get things done.

"The Secret of getting things done is to act."  ~Dante Alghieri

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2: Welcome Incredible Blessings With Gratitude

Received the most amazing news in the world today, and had no choice but to write about it as I am totally freaking out!  A little over a year ago, I was living in Idaho.  I didn't know that many people at the time, but I took a chance and went to a party, figuring it would be a good chance to make some new friends.  Now, I am not an outgoing person, and I felt awkward a good portion of the evening.  However, I pushed myself to at least try to get to know someone.  In a manner completely unlike me, I struck up a conversation with this random girl, who also looked shy.  Before long we were finding out all kind of similarities between ourselves, and were excited to have made such an unexpected friendship.  We made several attempts to hang out, but things never worked out.  Then she went home to Australia and a few months later, I moved home to Florida.  When she randomly called wanting to visit, I was a little hesitant.  I mean, we didn't spend that much time together, and we didn't know each other that well.  But she came and over the next few days, it was official.  We were absolutely meant to be friends.  And now she is mailing me to Australia to visit her and her family for 3 months!  I guess it just goes to show that extraordinary things can happen to us only after we step outside our ordinary comfort zone.  If I had been my usual self that night, I wouldn't be friends with this amazing person now.  I cannot express enough how much this girl means to me, and how overwhelmed I am by this generous gift.  Hopefully some day, I will be able to repay her.  Until then, I plan to enjoy every moment with her!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1: Rinse and Repeat

Ah... welcome, May!  You have been much anticipated.  After the rise and fall of the New Year's newness, it's helped to reassess and begin... again.  I've been glancing through this years' morning pages and these posts, thinking of all the good, bad, ups, downs, and opportunities the year has brought already.  And though I have a really long way to go, I have faith that the best is yet to come.
It can be kind of frustrating to realize that the changes we try to make or the things we try to overcome keep popping up again and again in our lives.  It can seem like we aren't making any progress at all, it can be really hard to keep up enthusiasm, and really easy to give up.  It's important to take a look at our strategy and either try a new tactic, or just a better attempt at the old one.
My dailies list has gotten so big- 15 things now that I'm trying to do every day.  That's a lot of things!  So tonight as I make my dailies list for the new month, I'm going to "rinse" the things out that are distracting me from accomplishing more important things.  But there are some things, like daily prayer, scripture study, and meditation, that definitely need to stay.
The trick is knowing what things to cut out of our lives (even though they may be good), to make room for the things that really matter (the things that are best.)  So I am attempting that yet again.  I am aiming for only 6 dailies.  Maybe 7.  Okay, we'll see...  One thing is for sure, sometimes you have to clear out the weeds so the flowers stand out.  In the words of Ing, "Downsize... Purify.  Streamline, find your center."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30: Play Nice

Tension has been building between me and my sister.  It got really ugly yesterday and when she left to go out for the evening were pretty much hated each other.  A couple exchanged texts confirmed that we were going to have a serious talk about all of it.  And yet, when she came home, hours later, it was so late at night and we were both so tired, we kind of had a mutual unspoken agreement not to get into a heavy conversation about it yet.  We were so nice to each other it was as if nothing had happened.  Our moods were light, our conversation was unstrained, and today we hung out (while chaperoned by her boyfriend and our other sister) at a wedding, some sightseeing, dinner, and chillaxing with the family.  All the while, we talked, laughed, and felt completely comfortable.  I think both of us realized that even though we do need to clear the air, 1 a.m. was not the time to do it.  NEVER have important, emotional, or serious discussions late at night, it almost always ends badly.  A busy day full of fun things like today was, was not the time either.  Now when we do discuss it, we will have had time to reflect.  We'll be calmer, have better, more compassionate perspectives.  Hopefully.  Anyway, I thought it was kind of weird because this has never happened to me... ever.  Usually I resolve issues as they come, or I can't enjoy time with them until we've each had our say, made our apologies, and it feels like some healing has occurred.  I don't like things to feel aggravated and unresolved.  But sometimes I guess you have to just grow up, put your egos aside, move forward, and play nice.
If you're angry at a loved one, hug that person.  And mean it.  You may not want to hug - which is all the more reason to do so.  It's hard to stay angry when someone shows they love you, and that's precisely what happens when we hug each other.  ~Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course, 1997

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29: Explore

Had a really bad migraine (have had off and on for weeks now) last night, so the last thing I wanted to do when I got up this morning was go work with my Dad.  But I'm so glad I did, because not only was it pretty painless (only took a couple hours and I got a yummy lunch out of the deal) but we got to talk a lot and then because I was stressing out about submitting two articles for, he took me by GTMNERR (Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve) and Fort Mose Historic State Park (which I'd never been to).  I couldn't stay long, but I got a thrill gathering my pamphlets, walking quickly through (and vowing to return when I could take my time) and getting some good pics.
     It's amazing how our lives can become so insular with the daily stresses, emotions, and worry that permeate our lives.  If we aren't careful, we can become a completely self-absorbed, self-obsessed, detached person, oblivious to the wonder and beauty around us.  Sometimes we need to take a few minutes, or hours, or even days, rediscovering life.  So go someplace new, take a different route when you walk, turn down that untraveled road, you never know what you'll find.
     I am a girl that loves to explore, but I don't do it often enough.  I go through phases of loving a place and walking it's road, getting to know it as if it's a person, sometimes missing places as if they are people I have loved and lost.  And as time goes by and I visit some places over again, some of them seem so different, depending on what we've both been through since the last time we met.  I hope I can keep my gypsy spirit, because some of the best things in my life have come to me because of it, and I'm sure there's more amazing things to come.

We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.” ~T.S. Eliot

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28: Reach Out

So, I have been having a hard time lately, as some of you know.  And I am in the preparation stages of a major revolution of spirit.  I mean, that is the idea of this, after all.  So today I was trying to catch up on some things, among them my overdue dailies.  And one of them is to "reach out."  This is something I made a priority to remind me on a daily basis to reach out to the people in my life that I love- through visit, email, phone, text, or a letter, and to see how they are and let them know I am there for them.  Most of the time not a whole lot comes of it, but it is still a rewarding experience that helps me keep in touch with people and not be too anti-social.  This month, however, since I have been in my dark funk, I haven't been wanting to talk to or visit people, even people I love.  But today I went out of my way to reach out to about a dozen people I'd been thinking about but hadn't talked to in awhile.  Turns out a few of them had been going through some of the same things I had.   I got to talk to a couple of them on the phone, and it made me realize how much I love and miss them, and how lucky I am to have them in my life.  So reach out to those people in your life, at least one a day.  Mix it up a little, clear your mind, and see who pops into your head.  You may be answering a prayer.  Or they may answer one of yours.

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”  Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27: Get a Life

This was the original title I wanted for my blog, not sure why it didn't work... I read it a while ago in a book by John Bytheway, and have since adapted it into a memoir I'm working on.  But I digress... In the book, titled "What I wish I'd known when I was single," he advises that while we are "waiting" for "the one," we should get a life.  And by that he means that we shouldn't be "waiting" at all, but should be actively pursuing career, education, trying new things, developing our talents, and anxiously engaged in a good cause.  Ironically, sitting around "waiting" for someone or something amazing to drop into our laps, makes it even more unlikely to happen.  Who wants to be with someone who isn't accomplishing their own amazing goals, but is waiting for someone else to fulfill them?  And who wants to give an opportunity to someone who is bogged down by discouragement and self-doubt?  Indeed, without putting ourselves out there in every way available to us, how do we even meet these people or find these opportunities, let alone get rejected?
Anyway, this post feels a little discombobulated, but I watched a movie this evening that brings it all together, I think.  "Hello Dolly!" has been one of my favorites since I was a kid.  In fact, my Aunt owned it, and I'd watch it every time I went over until finally she said, "Um... why don't you just take it..."  So I did, and when I wore it out, I got the dvd!  Dolly is a passionate and confident woman who, despite her thriving social connections, is seeking a deeper companionship.  She sings a song called "Before the Parade Passes By," about joining in the parade after being on the sidelines for awhile.  These lines...

I need got a goal again
I need got a drive again
I wanna feel my heart coming alive again

...perfectly exemplify what I want for my life right now.  I am trying really hard to get back in the parade of life, one step at a time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 15-26: Snap Out of It!

Well, as you can probably see, I have gotten pretty behind in blogging. So behind and out of it, in fact, that today I actually had to sit down and have a long think about why I am trying to do this in the first place.  I knew when I set out, right?  I certainly know why I stopped.  I have given up.  Not just on blogging, on lots of things in my life.  And so I am trying to snap out of it.  What does it mean to snap out of it?  According to "The Free Dictionary," it means "to move quickly back to one's normal condition from an undesirable condition, such as depression, grief, or self-pity."  Now I'm not sure that I have a "normal condition," but depression, grief, and self-pity?  I have been all over that.  Lately things seem to be getting worse and worse, my efforts have been getting more and more feeble, my enthusiasm has been dissolving.  "Loss in things that used to interest me?" Check.  "Difficulty concentrating?" Check.  "Feelings of sadness, guilt, insecurity, worthlessness, irritability, and restlessness?"  Check, check, check, check, check, and check.  Do I like admitting this? Absolutely not.  Can I change it?  Definitely.  
So after being grounded for way too long, I am preparing for takeoff once again.  Checking engines, securing seat-belts, testing the flaps, blah blah blah...  Here we go again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 2, 4, 6-14: Once More, With Feeling!

Ever feel like just when you're starting to put your life together, like a giant, beautiful puzzle, some stupid kid runs into the room, screaming, with peanut-butter on his fingers and slathered all over his face, and runs right over it, scattering the pieces and losing a dozen under the couch?  No?  Too specific?  Well, that is how my life is feeling lately.  Just take the date title of this post- if that isn't confusing, I don't know what is...
So, making things up again and getting back on the wagon... Here are some thoughts from the days I missed: 1.) If you're open to it, spiritual inspiration is always trying to reach you when you need it most.  2.) Good food and music are like salve to the soul.  3.) Light and knowledge are spiritual gifts that enable us to act and move.  4.) Being grateful for the good things in your life brings you more good things.  5.) Give things a chance, because you never know.  6.) Keep trying.  7.) Get lost in an incredible performance (Hello, 5 Browns!)  8.) Keep trying again.  9.) Go on an adventure (and make the best of it when things don't quite turn out like you'd planned.) and 10.)  Keep trying more.
Ah... that feels better.  All caught up!  (Well, kind of.)  I think that I've missed some really good post opportunities, because so much has happened.  Today I was kind of down.  I was thinking of all the things I need to do, feeling stuck and trapped and depressed.  But then I gave myself a mental slap in the face, because I refuse to be in a bad mood just because it's easy.  And THEN... after buckling down to work for 3 solid hours, I rewarded myself with a piece of chocolate.  And b/c it was Dove, it not only tasted amazing, but  had a quote inside.  And it just happened to say, "Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances."  Like I said before, inspiration reaches us when we need it most.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5: Be You

I had a great conversation with a friend the other night about the importance of being yourself, specifically when it comes to close, personal relationships.  Being unique, quirks and all, is something we should cherish, not try to hide.  If we find ourselves "switching hats," as he put it, then there is something unbalanced and untrue about the way we are living.  And how many times have we been disappointed by someone in our lives who turns out to be different than they'd  led us to believe?
In "Harold and Maude," a movie I love for it's poetic wisdom, off-beat humor, and originality, they visit a beautiful field full of flowers.  At first Harold says that he'd like to be like one of them, because they're all alike.  But Maude is quick to correct him, "Oh, but they're not," she says.  "Look.  See, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some to the right, some even have lost some petals.  All kinds of observable differences.  You see, Harold, I feel that much of the world's sorrow comes from people who are this (she says, holding a single, unique flower), yet allow themselves to be treated as that (she says, gesturing to the entire field."
     May we all try to be our true selves as often as possible, to bring all of our costumes we use throughout life- mother, daughter, sister, wife, professional, spiritual, into harmony with one another.  May we try to live out of a balanced consistency of spirit and character, and never be a stranger to ourselves.  May we try to love ourselves and each other for our unique differences, and work together, like different colored crayons, to create a more beautiful picture.  And may we each find someone who can love and appreciate those differences without seeking to "bend or remove" parts of our character.  That is my prayer for all of us.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3: Be Wise

Let me start off by saying, I do not consider myself a "wise" person, by most standards.  I don't have a degree (yet), I'm not very advanced in years, there's a lot of aspects of life I've never experienced, and in many ways I am very foolish.  For example, I am horrible at sticking to things.  I've had over 20 jobs in my 10 years of working.  I'm also very impulsive.  If I want to do something, (within reason) I do it.  It doesn't matter if it isn't rational or responsible, I get the urge and then I act upon it.  I'm also quite careless.  I'll go out and do something spontaneous and fun, like climb a volcano or walk alone at night or drive through the mountains in a blizzard... without the slightest hesitation or fear that something might happen to me. In fact, just last week I went for a walk to get pics for an article, unaware that the slight sprinkle would turn torrential and the wind would end up turning my umbrella inside out a dozen times.  Luckily, others were looking out for me, and my Dad picked me up, mentioning that there was a tornado watch in effect, and "What was I thinking?"
     I've been thinking a lot today about wisdom.  According to Wikipedia, "Wisdom is a deep understanding and realizing of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time and energy."  Or in other words, it is not merely to have intelligence, but to apply that knowledge in making our decisions.  This can apply to all aspects of our lives- relationships, financial, health, spiritual.  Imagine if, when we were faced with a decision, we took a moment to reflect, to draw on our reservoirs of experience, knowledge, and observations, and to then make a decision.  Surely, our lives would be completely different, ever-rising before us an escalator of progression, rather than a set of stairs that we keep jumping up and down.  (This reminds me of the "Doe, Ray, Me" song in "The Sound of Music", my fellow nerds out there will know exactly what I mean:)  Through exercising wisdom, we can avoid many of the trials and temptations of life, and experience more fulfillment, peace, and happiness.

“O be wise; what can I say more?” (Jacob 6:12).

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1: Be a Friend

It's funny the way our friendships change over time.  My first friend, no doubt, was a toddler.  I've no idea who it may have been, but we were likely joined by similar interests such as drooling or putting things into our mouths.  As I got older, my friendships became a little deeper, based on things like common values, shared memories, mutual respect, compassion, and loyalty.  It's strange how sometimes we can get so close to someone, we think they'll be in our lives forever.  But that isn't always the case.  
     And while we can be uplifted and gain a lot from our friendships, we can be hurt by them too.  Sometimes it can be hard to forgive or to let that person back into our lives, or to open our lives up to new people.  There's always a 50/50 chance they'll hurt us too.  We don't want to be made a fool of.  True friends will know our most embarrassing secrets, our worst qualities, our terrible weaknesses.  And while we can't control what they will do with all that power, we can control what we will do with the power they give us.  We can decide to be loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, and supportive of them.  If we are lucky, they'll do the same for us.

Real friends are those who, when you feel you've made a fool of yourself, don't feel you've done a permanent job.  ~Author Unknown

March 31: Crunch Time

No, this is not about doing crunches (thank goodness).  But rather about what happens when we wait until the last minute to get things done.  I'll admit, I am the kind of person who gets a sick kind of thrill from the rush of doings at the last minute.  Though it stresses me out, it can be kind of fun to gamble away time, hoping things will come together at the last minute.  Most of the time, thankfully, they do.  But is it really worth it?
     According to Wikepedia: no.  "Procrastination may result in stress, a sense of guilt and crisis, severe loss of personal productivity, as well as social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments. These feelings combined may promote further procrastination. While it is regarded as normal for people to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning."   
     Geez, calm down.  I mean, what's the big deal, right?  The dishes will be there tomorrow, there's plenty of time to (insert thing you don't want to do here) later...  Except that the contrast between starting early and waiting until the last minute when preparing for something important (like a test, a talk in church, anything) is so huge that it shouldn't even be a question.  However, today I rode that little rush of pressure to catch up on my overdue dailies of the month, and boy, was it effective!  I caught up a weeks worth of reading scriptures, a weeks worth of walking, and almost an entire months' worth of working on my book, all in 1 day.  Ah... the things we can accomplish when under the wire...  I'm so glad I finally did those things, and I'm not sure why I put them off for so long....

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.  ~William James