Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I know that I said I'm not going to focus so much on the future that I forget to appreciate the here and now BUT there are some things in the near future that I'm very excited about!

Friday, June 10th - Nathan finishes his last final of his first year and summer begins!
Saturday, June 11th - Going to see Cirque Du Soleil in Eugene with my sweetie!
Tuesday, June 14th - Going up to Seattle to see Geoff and his girlfriend and my grandma
Wednesday, June 15th - A quick visit to Tall Timber Ranch and Leavenworth, then making the drive to Moscow, Idaho to see Mom and Dad until the 20th!!

Other things this summer I'm very excited about: Seeing Tawnia, Mindy, and Aaron when they come to visit us in Oregon, going on hikes, the 4th of July, going backpacking, and getting Joshy ready and excited for pre-school! Yay!

So much to look forward to. Somewhere in there, I should also finish the playhouse - gotta get it done before the boys are in middle school!!

Well tonight Nathan won't be home until late - he is proctoring for a final exam that doesn't start until 8pm, so he'll be home sometime around 10:30. While I do miss him, and bedtime routines are a bit more hectic, I tend to be much more productive after dinner when he's not there. I think that's partly because I can't hang out with him, but since he is usually studying much of the evening anyway, a big part of it is that I don't have the feeling of accomplishment knowing he's coming home to a nice clean home, so I'm not quite as motivated.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A "Can-Do" List

I've always been a big fan of To-Do lists - I LOVE checking things off, though when the list seems neverending or some things stay on it for weeks and weeks...I don't love it as much. Part of my advice to myself (see my last post) was to think of all the things I can do in a regular day that make me happy, so I listed a bunch of them. Then I made a check-off list. I'm not going to do this forever, but for awhile at least, I'm going to keep track of how many of the things on my "Happy List" or "Can-do List" that I do each day. The things on it are not always things I enjoy doing, like taking out the garbage or scrubbing the toilet, but they are things that I feel happier when I have finished them. When I look at my list at the end of the day, and see that I have played pretend, read stories, exercised, cleaned up my home, read my scriptures, said my prayers, cooked a good meal, called a good friend, gone to the park, etc. that is when I feel contented. When I haven't checked many of those things off my list, that's when I feel grumpy or low or negative. So the point of this list is to visually give me ideas of what will leave me feeling happy at the end of the day, and what will make me happy throughout the day. My assumption is that I won't NEED the visual reminder for long, but it is very helpful for now.

This way, I don't think to myself, "Well, I'll be happy when Nathan graduates and we move out," but instead I think, "Well, I'll be happy when I've exercised and had fun with my boys and got my home in order and went on a date with my sweetie, or went on a hike, or wrote in my journal, or posted on my blog, or worked on the playhouse..." If I focus on a year from now, I'll miss THIS year. If I focus on all that is good and wonderful and new and fleeting about THIS year, I'll be happy.

At church a couple weeks ago, at a women's conference, I went to a class about finding Joy within. The wonderful teacher described that to be joyful is a choice...things might make you happy, but you must choose joy. She said that some of her most profound joy was found in some of the most difficult times in her life, and it is all about making those choices within yourself, not being a passive recipient of the good or bad or boring or monotonous or fun or easy things that life throws at you, but truly seeking out and finding joy however you can.

C.S. Lewis also wrote a book called Surprised by Joy. I studied it in college, and I own it...I think it would be a great time for me to read it again. Right now I'm finishing up the Chronicles of Narnia...I think I'm on book 5 of 6 now. Sounds like Joshy is fighting bed time, so I should go attend to that now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Good advice

Ever since having Joshua, which threw us for a loop in terms of schedule of big life events (meaning that we'd planned for Nathan to finish school and me to work for another year or two before we started having children), I've had a lot of clarifying moments... Times like when I realized that life would never be the same, would never go back to "normal," that this was normal now, or when I've had to change my attitude to be more grateful or just times when someone puts things in perspective for me. Those kind of times. I've been doing ok at sorting out my thoughts in my journal sometimes, which does help, but not enough.

Sooo, I came up with an idea that seems to have been incredibly helpful to me. Instead of musing about what's going on...or summarizing or describing, or whatever, I tried something else. I gave myself advice, like as though I was someone else. Maybe it seems silly, but I was literally like, "Ok, Amanda - here's what you need to do," and then lectured myself in writing. It was great! All I had to do was think of it in terms of what I would say if someone else had just been telling me about where they're at. I love giving advice...well most of the time...and it is a lot easier to give advice about other people's lives than actually to get your own stuff together, you know? So I gave myself some good concrete advice and I've followed through with it.

Very psychological, I guess...cuz really I do know that it's just me telling me stuff, but it made a big difference and I highly recommend it.