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Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I stole a quote from a very dear friend of mine, Julie Kempler, and turned it into a hashtag. #ilikehashtags #ithinktheyarefunny And yeah, all right, maybe not every single thing has to be amazing this year (amazing diaper change? amazing zillionth load of laundry?), but I am an optimist and I like a nice, cheerful, catchphrase. So #yesplease, #onlyamazingthingsin2014!

2013 was a big one. We celebrated Calvin's first birthday and dealt with James' second motorcycle accident. We celebrated Henry's birth and coped with his diagnosis of Dup15q. James completed his PhD and got a new job. James and I both turned 30. The celebrations far outweighed the challenges, but they were very big celebrations and very big challenges.

We've got a lot on the horizon for 2014. We want to get Henry any support he may need to help with his development. Calvin will likely start speech therapy, and may be starting preschool in the fall! We've got plans to do some home-improving so that we can move into the bigger space upstairs. And we hope to do more camping trips and hikes and other family fun outings! Trying to wrap my head around all our hopes, dreams, plans, and goals for this year is pretty overwhelming. I've got my share of worry and fear about the things that will be hard. But in an effort to let go of worries and hold on to hopes, I'm starting a couple of new New Year's traditions to give myself concrete ways to focus on gratitude and optimism. Because #onlyamazingthingsin2014!

My awesome cousin Beverly shared this "Magic Moments Jar" that she made for her family. The idea is that each day you write down nice/funny/special things that happened on slips of paper and add them to the jar. Then at the end of the year you can go back through them and remember all those magic moments.
To make hers, Beverly bought a candle lantern and some sparkly label paper and letters/numbers.

Inspired by this idea, I made a journal version with the same intention: to record special moments throughout the year and look back on them in the future. I decided to put a quote on the cover to serve as a title. The words I chose come from a quote attributed to Mother Teresa:

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." 

I love this quote because it makes me think that small things done with love and positive intentions can add up to something great. So maybe we can all do great things after all. It reminds me that all the small things I do all day matter, and that even big scary goals can be achieved by doing one small thing at a time. 

This is a brown paper Moleskine decorated with washi tape (I <3 washi tape!).
My hope is that the journal will help me record moments that are clearly magical and force me to search for magic moments even on days that feel blah or worse. Like yesterday when James' train broke down and he had to do a project meeting by phone and I got to the boys' joint doctor appointment without the Ergo and had to lug the big bucket car seat to carry Henry and then I caught the virus Calvin had... Not a good day! Not even a blah day! But it also happened to be the day that Henry first pulled his hanging elephant toy with enough strength to make it play music. And my cousin Hartley was kind enough to stop by and check on us when he found out I was sick. See? Magic moments. 

In an effort to deal with my new role as a mom of special needs kids, I have been seeking out some self help books for parents like me. (Any recommendations??) I've just started reading More than a Mom by Heather Fawcett and Amy Baskin. This inspired me to sit down and start writing some lists (I love writing lists. It's weird. I could keep a journal of nothing but lists of things). I wanted to write lists of goals and dreams... maybe ones from before I had kids that I might like to revive, maybe new ones related to this new phase of my life. I wanted to write lists of things I am good at and things I enjoy, things that are important to me... things that create my identity. I wanted to write lists of things or people from which/whom I can draw strength or lean on for support. So I sat down to start working on this and I began with headings, titles, for these lists. And then the titles started to rhyme. And then they evolved into a poem. And then I thought maybe other people might like a poem like this to start the new year by collecting their thoughts about self and dreams and support.

So here is my New Year's poem, and keep in mind that each line is meant to be the title for a list.

In case anyone out there wants to actually use this, here's the poem again with a bit of an explanation for each line:

Big dreams that are worth pursuing... 
Large scale goals and dreams, maybe old ones to revive or new ones to be brave about. For me, fixing up the house is a big dream. Going back to work one day (not this year!) as a literacy specialist is another one.

Little dreams that are worth doing...
These would be like smaller goals, not quite as grand, but things that are still important to you. For me this includes things like adding more crafts and recipes to the blog and taking the boys on more family outings and trips.

Strengths and talents to take pride in...
I'm not always good at being confident in my own skills, so I really wanted to take a look at what I think I am good at.

Friends and family to confide in...
This is just a reminder of who you know is there for you when you need them. It's a way to feel gratitude for those people and to remind yourself that you are not alone.

Heavy things to leave behind...
This is kind of a downer, but for me it helps to think about the things that are weighing me down in order to let them go. I have to feel the weight before I can really understand why it is so heavy and why I need to let it go. These are really vulnerable things, but I'll share one. I worry about what other people will think of me as a mom. There are so many different ways to do things as a parent, I fear that others will think my ways of doing things are wrong. This worry makes me feel guilt and shame even when no one has actually said or done anything to me. It's totally self-inflicted. It is just a manifestation of me questioning my own parenting. In order for me to trust my own instincts and choices as a mom I really have to move away from the idea that I need to please other parents.

Heartfelt hopes to keep in mind...
This is a place to think about those hazy dreams and wishes that you can't exactly pave a way toward achieving, but that you hope and pray for all the same. These are the things that lift you up and help you set positive intentions in your actions. For me they are things like the hope that Calvin will love preschool and that his classmates and teachers will love him. And the hope that people who interact with Henry will appreciate his specialness.

Things that bring me joy and cheer...
I am happy to report that this is by far the longest list I made. And I think it is important to really think about what makes me happy. Just like the list of friends to count on, it is a way to feel gratitude for each thing on the list and to remind myself to look for these things every day and find ways to cultivate them. Here are a few from my long list: Henry's smile and Calvin's toothy grin, going fun places as a family, getting together with our friends to play board games, and of course my morning coffee! (And late morning coffee... and afternoon coffee... Ha ha just kidding! Or am I??)

Ready for a bright new year!
It felt a little cheesy when it turned into a poem, but I do think that writing these things down helped me envision good things for the coming year and focus on the positive and hopeful instead of focusing on the uncertain. I really need that right now!

The year is only two weeks old, and I hope that yours is off to a good start :) So #cheers! And #happynewyear! And #onlyamazingthingsin2014!

1 comment:

  1. This is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I feel inspired!