Thought(s) of the Day: Inspirational and/or amusing Nuggets of Wisdom

Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation in our hearts. Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ's birth, Christ is reborn in our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.
~Edward Hays

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.
~John E. Southard

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Runners to Your Mark, .....Set, ..... "

I can't tell you how many times I've heard those words throughout my high school and collegiate running days. And every time, I went through the same routine: I jumped a few times, bringing my knees up to my chest to get my blood pumping; shook out my legs, in an (unsuccessful) attempt to shake out the butterflies swarming in my stomach; adjusted and readjusted my starting blocks; crouched down into the blocks, shook out each leg one last time; and as the starter spoke the word "Set," I raised my hips and for the millionth time I repeated a number in my head. The same number I had been focusing on as I practiced each day that week. The same number I kept repeating to myself as I ran my warm up and stretched less than an hour before I approached the line on which I found myself now. The number of seconds in which I hoped to run the race. My Goal.

I think having goals is crucial to being successful. Goals are how we turn our dreams into reality. I like the quote by Diana S. Hunt, "Goals are dreams with deadlines." I couldn't agree more. I believe there are a lot of dreamers in life and dreaming is great. But achieving success requires more than just dreaming. It requires dreaming- and doing. I have found the best way for me turn my dreams into reality is by having goals and making lists. Yes, I'm a List Person. Chances are, if it's not on a list, it's not going to be completed. So in the spirit of lists, setting goals, and achieving success, I'm sharing a handful of my own personal goals for 2010 with you.
Goal #1 I want to be a better mother to my sons. I know this sounds cliche and vague, but let me explain. My goal is to be more present in my interactions with my boys. There's a huge difference between being in the same room as your child, and being Present. I want to focus on being alert and really listening to what they're telling me. Too often my communication with my boys is evaluative or demanding - "Have you brushed your teeth?" "Go straighten up your room." "Have you done this?" "Stop doing that." I'm always focused on the next task needing completion instead of just relaxing and enjoying the moment. I want to start slowing down when I'm spending time with my children. I want to really listen to them, to be alert and responsive to them.
I also want to be a more intentional and consistent disciplinarian with them. Being a single mother means shouldering most of the rule enforcement burdens. Sadly, I tend to let my frustration or exhaustion dictate my response to a rule infraction at any given moment. Whether I completely over react in a moment of anger, or exhausted, I completely ignore a behavior that shouldn't be tolerated, neither scenario is beneficial nor constructive to my boys. My goal is to strive to discipline them more consistently and deliberately so they'll grow into respectful, kind, honorable, productive young men.
Goal #2 Continue practicing forgiveness and resentment free living. I am undoubtedly convinced this is the only path to a happy, fulfilled life. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the perpetrator or the wrong act and everything to do with not identifying or limiting yourself with this event from the past. Life's just too short to carry resentment and pain- let it go. I love the story of the two Zen monks who were walking to a neighboring village. The country path had become muddy from rain. They came upon a woman trying to cross the road but was unable to cross it without ruining the silk robe she was wearing. One of the monks picked her up and carried her to the other side. Over five hours later, as they reached their destination, the other monk couldn't restrain his anger any longer and asked, "Why did you carry that girl across the road? We are monks and are not supposed to do things like that." The other monk simply replied, "I put that girl down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?"

Goal #3 Wipe out all of my debts and begin saving for a home of our own. This goal is clearly more quantitative than the previous two. Working full-time again has been a big adjustment for all three of us, but our eyes are definitely set on the big picture. Fortunately my debts aren't too outrageous and I hope to erase them by mid-year. Then I can finally start saving funds for our first home as a family of three!

Goal #4 I will run at least two road races this year. I am slowly but surely getting back into running. Actually I wouldn't really call it running yet- it's more of a jog these days, but that's okay. And whether it ever turns into "running" again or continues being a jog, I welcome the challenge and health benefits I'm gaining from my legs finally moving again. Two 5K's, here I come! I'll narrow this goal to specific (and hopefully attainable) finishing times as my body and I become reacquainted.

Goal #5 I will learn to handle and discharge a firearm. I'm sure this goal seems out of place with the others, but it's something I really want to learn. Not that I've ever been around them much, but just the thought of guns has always made me uneasy. This year, I really want to face that fear and become more comfortable around them. The past 18 months of my life have shown me more strength and determination than I ever knew I had. Might as well tackle a big fear of mine while I'm still feeling brave and confident! Wish me luck- and accuracy!

I wish you all the best in 2010! May we all use our determination, talents, and hard work to turn our dreams into realities. Happy New Year!

Come on, what are you waiting for? To your mark...........get GO!!