I feel a little guilty for not blogging as much. I've been enjoying READING blogs, mmm, fun! Maybe I should have put blogging as a resolution??? :) Just kidding.
But here we go!
FRUGALITY: Yeah...yeah, I've done fine... but not as well as I could. Maybe I can get away with blaming it on Michael. I mean, he told me to find some cute clothes when we went to Utah! Heh heh heh...
Seriously, I haven't done any shopping besides that. We really are saving money.
And those purple heels, oh man, I love them!
HARP PRACTICE: Guess what! I teach harp lessons again! Yay! I may even get another student soon! (This even makes up for my beautiful shoes because it adds to our income! Yesssss).
Did you notice how I sort of skipped around the main idea of this goal? *big cheesy grin* I've practiced a few times, and that's it! Oh, I've been so naughty. And I've been loving it.
STRONG BODY: A+, for real! I've been wonderfully active! I exercise a few times a week, and I shovel tons of snow--have you ever cleared a trampoline of two months' worth of Rexburg snow? I'm surprised my back isn't broken. I hefted HUGE slabs of thick ICE piled with gobs of snow! I feel so proud of myself. And when I do actual exercise (as in, it has a special workout name like Pilates or Stepping or Something), I've semi-cheated and done it while watching half a movie with Michael and Ender.
Now to my favorite part.
Living With the In-Laws
This has been harder than ever, and I feel like I've done better than ever.
I realized some time back that while trials should bring out the true character in someone, I was only seeing the worst of myself. Either that meant an attitude adjustment or a character adjustment! Or both. (I was right--it took both).
It was way too easy to feel like no one ever saw me do good things. We're not supposed to do good things for the sake of being seen, but what if the only times you're seen are when you're taking a break after doing so many good things?! I would wash breakfast and lunch dishes, clean the kitchen, vacuum, sweep, clean the bedroom, do laundry, make a treat--and get EXHAUSTED so that I had to relax. Well, surprise! That was about the same time someone would come home and "notice" me sprawled on the couch with a book or vegging at the computer. I try to look all intellectual at the computer, but somehow it never seems to work. Maybe it's because I pull my legs up into the chair? It's like I don't know any other way to sit. I probably misjudged those glances, probably very terribly so. I must not have felt very confident of myself to think that way. And that's just weird, that's just not me!
Obviously, I saw there was a problem. That's why this subject made it to my resolutions list if anything did. I've prayed and prayed and prayed for help in this area... because...
- I miss cooking in my own kitchen, where things are tidied and organized according to my own special OCD ways.
- I miss living in a home that shows my personality all over it.
- I miss living in a home that's proportionate to my family.
- I miss having the authority of being the Matriarch of the Home. Does that make sense?
- I miss the independence of not being a "child" anymore, not living with the parents.
Sadly, I could keep listing things. I just won't. But it should be pretty clear, at least, that things were not easy. And they seemed to be getting harder. And I seemed to be feeling uglier, meaner, hating-er, lazier...practically an ogress! What was wrong with me?!
Michael got to interview at Pittsburgh, which meant going to the Salt Lake Airport. We decided I should take him and spend the weekend in Utah, away from "home" and finally with my own family. I spent nearly all my time with my best friend, Lynnae. We laughed, introduced friends, toured campus, wrestle-battled over...something...don't remember! And mostly, we talked. And talked and talked. In a short moment during all that wonderful talkiness, Lynnae said something about service making her feel better. I nodded, agreeing, and the conversation went on.
Maybe I wouldn't have ever remembered that moment again, but a prayer brought it back to me...
Coming back home was so hard. I didn't expect that. Michael and I were caught up in the excitement of Pittsburgh interviews for the entire drive, still full of energy and excitement as we pulled into the garage. Still smiling while recounting our adventures to the family over a meal. And then suddenly, as I crawled into bed that night, I felt crushed. As if my weekend's freedom had been stolen away. Almost as if I were thrown back into a dungeon. How could I feel that way? I love this family! They are kind and generous! They do so much for us! They love us! My prayers drove me to bitter honesty with myself. I wanted better strength over my Self. I'd seen a very happy Qait meet with friends and family in Utah. She still existed. She really shouldn't leave me now, not when I needed the Happy Me.
In a quiet moment of prayer stillness, I suddenly recalled Lynnae's conversation with me. Her voice, saying how service makes her feel better. I smiled feebly. There was my answer.
I've started small. Every day, I assign myself one thing I need to do for myself, and I give myself the challenge of doing one act of service. Anything. If that's all I can get done in a day, I still feel pleased with myself because I had some sort of purpose. It works! It really works!
If you really, really know me, you know how difficult it is for me to step out of my all-or-nothing frame of perfectionist mind and take little steps. Augh, it's always been SOOO hard for me to do that. But I'm doing it now!
More often than not, once I get started "serving," I don't stop! Once I do one important thing for myself, I don't stop! And I love that! But I don't hold that up as the standard. I remind myself that tomorrow, it would be okay if I only did one thing.
I have to think like that (even if I convince myself it's selfish or lazy), or else I will feel pressured and somehow turn into a yucky, ugly ogre-woman. I hate that feeling. It's one thing I really do actually HATE. (We shouldn't have to be jealous of our high-school selves for being more proactive and optimistic and resilient than we are now, right? Even though life is so different...)
So here's my check up.
- I will not let myself feel judged. If I assume I'm being judged, I'm judging the judger, right? Righto, Qaito. It's alright to relax if I've done my work. And somehow I've been blessed to see that it really hasn't gone unnoticed. Ooh. Double negative. Sorry.
- I will continue to clean up after my micro-family. Yes. Making the bed actually makes a big difference. It's no longer shameful to leave the bedroom door open. ;)
- I will ask for specific help in advance if I need it. (That's pretty hard). Yeah...that's why we haven't made our temple trip this week yet. We forgot to set things up, so we decided we wouldn't try to spring it up on the family. We're going tomorrow! Ugh. That's wonderful, we just don't like shoving it to Saturday. Like I said, it's pretty hard!
- I will find ways other than vocally to express my gratitude for the immense blessing all of this is! Yes, I want my own place REALLY REALLY REALLY BADLY but I will be patient. We have everything provided for us right now, nearly no expenses. That's pretty WOW. So I'll try not to forget that for even a moment. That's one thing service does!
You can make fun of me now for doing the traditional New Year's Resolutions! :D Of course, the real test is whether I can make myself stick to them more than one month, two months, etc.