1. When was the last time you tried something new?
I've been trying something new this month - bullet journaling. I saw this on Rita's blog (SoulComfort's Corner) a while back and was inspired to try it this year. I'm still setting up some of the pages that will be used throughout the year as well as during January. Perhaps future months will be easier to set up once I know what works and what doesn't for me.
2. Who do you love and what are you doing about it?
I love my family and spend a lot of time at home so I can be available to help with homeschooling and managing the household. By providing a peaceful, quiet, and loving home where my family wants to spend time, I feel like I'm creating a place for each of them where they know how much I care for them.
3. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
It depends on the situation. Sometimes people will use tears as a way to get things that they want. In this case, I see it as a sign of weakness and being manipulative. If someone cries because they are genuinely sad, hurt, disappointed, touched, or frustrated - that's a completely different thing. In those cases, I see crying as a sign of strength and being free to openly express how one feels.
Sophia showing my mom a quilt I made for her 80th birthday.
She started crying when she realized that the handprints
were members of the family - my dad, her children,
their spouses, and grandchildren.
4. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
I would pick something I knew how to do well or at least enjoyed doing. Something related to cooking, baking, embroidery, homeschooling, or making window stars would be the things that immediately come to mind that I could teach someone else.
Three window stars that I made.
Treat others with kindness and respect; and be compassionate to people - especially those in need.
6. What impact do you want to leave on the world?
I want to know that others' lives were somehow better because they knew me or what I did for them helped them in some way. Much of the impact that I see myself making has to do with my daughters and what they are doing with their lives. By guiding them to lead a life of service, I feel like the impact I am having on the world is meaningful.
Sophia and Olivia volunteering at the nursing home.
7. What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?
Spending time with the dogs and cats usually helps me. As an introvert, sometimes I just need time alone to process what's happening that is making me sad.
Eenie and Lucy sitting together on the chair.
8. Is it more important to love or be loved?
I think it is more important to love and spread kindness to others. By thinking and doing things beyond oneself, a person can feel good about themselves and the impact they are making in the world.
9. Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?
That's a tough question because I think of my Dad, Grandpa, and uncle who all had Alzheimer's Disease. The old memories were what brought back good memories and helped them on difficult days. Yet, not being able to make new memories created its own host of challenges. I guess if you weren't able to make new memories, you would always have the old ones to enjoy. So, probably not being able to make new ones is the one I'd go with if I had to choose.
Sophia and Olivia playing in the flowers in Grand Marais.
This was taken in June 2006 - when they were 5 and 3 years old respectively.
They are now 17 and almost 15 years old.
How quickly time passes.
10. What do you have that you cannot live without?
Water. That being said, from New Year's Eve to January 3rd, we didn't have water. It was challenging because we had to go to the store to get bottled water. From using bottled water to flush the toilets, to use it for washing hands, brushing teeth, cooking, and drinking - every aspect of our life was affected.
I couldn't do laundry or wash dishes at home the way I normally do them. In fact, I just watched stuff pile up during these four days which was stressful.
The other big challenge was getting water for the horses. Thankfully, it wasn't the middle of summer when the weather is so hot and they go through a tremendous amount of water. Nonetheless, it was still difficult.
Bailey and Hoss eating hay in the east pasture.
11. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?
I would like to travel to Africa or Antarctica. These are the two remaining continents that I have not traveled to; and I would love to go to both places some day.
12. What three words would you use to describe the last three months of your life?
Challenging (doing the Whole30 for the first time), Renewal (foot surgery and subsequent healing), and Festive (Christmas season, adoption days, and birthdays from mid-November through mid-January).
My foot with the two titanium screws.
13. If you could ask one person, alive or dead, only one question, who would you ask and what would you ask?
I would ask my dad what advice he would give me for the rest of my life - each year and each decade - based on how he lived his life and what he would want to see for me.
14. What are three moral rules you will never break?
Three moral rules that I would never break include: don't kill anyone, don't intentionally try to create or cause pain in others, and don't vandalize or intentionally destroy other people's property.
15. If you were forced to eliminate every physical possession from your life with the exception of what could fit into a single backpack, what would you put in it?
The things I would put into a backpack would be my computer which has the majority of my photos on it; my phone so I could stay connected with family and friends; non-dulling pencil; paper; matches in a waterproof bag so I could light fires to make meals; plate; cup; silverware; and a few changes of clothes. If there was still room, I would pack one small item that belonged to or was given to me by my grandparents, parents, and family members.
16. What are your top three priorities?
The top three priorities that come to mind are: being present and committed to my family; to be loving owner of all pets who come into my life; and be a good steward of the land/nature.
Tops of the evergreens in the backyard.
17. Excluding romantic relationships, who do you love?
I love my daughters; sister and brother; and nieces and nephews.
My sister, me, and my brother.
18. If you could make a 30 second speech to the entire world, what would you say?
It would take me a while to compose a 30-second speech because I would want to make sure that the few words that I could use would be meaningful, inspiring, and relevant to whom I was speaking.
In lieu of what I would say, I found a speech that Bryan Dyson, the former CEO of Coca Cola, gave as a commencement address at Georgia Tech in 1996. Below are excerpts from his speech that I find are a good reminder for anyone:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them—work, family, health, friends and spirit…and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.
But the other four balls—family, health, friends and spirit—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same.
You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.
Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each together.
Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be pave.
Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find time. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings!
Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.
Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way."
19. What are 5 things I am grateful for in my life?
The top five things I am grateful for (in no particular order):
- a loving family who enjoys spending time together and laughing;
- pets who are excited to see me every day;
- a home in the country where I can see wildlife and beautiful sunrises and sunsets;
- wonderful memories of childhood, my parents, and grandparents; and
- an opportunity to homeschool my daughters and spend as much time as I with them.
Grandma, me, Mom, and Dad on my confirmation day.
20. What career would I love to be doing?
If I had the proper training (or could learn on the job) and a huge expanse of land and unlimited funds, I'd enjoy operating a wildlife sanctuary or a place where I could rescue animals and give them a good life.
21. Do you have a love of your life?
Yes; and I am very grateful for 27 years of memories.
22. Do you regret anything?
My biggest regret is putting my job, volunteering (more than I should have been doing), and others before my family at different times in my life. My life wasn't properly balanced, so although all these things are worthy, the time spent with them was put before my family. I can still hear my mom saying, "You're so busy, I don't want to be a burden." I cringed whenever I heard her say that when she was alive and I still do to this day. "Busy" isn't always a good thing.
23. What’s something new you recently learned about yourself?
I'm not sure if I've learned something new about myself recently. The only thing that comes to mind is that I'm learning that I don't enjoy being outside in the cold as much as I once did. It seems like with each passing year it becomes harder to get motivated to be outdoors when it is below 30 degrees.
I was ice climbing at Gooseberry Falls in February 2014.
The windchill was something like 20 degrees below zero that day.
It was a bit frigid.
24. What is your favorite smell?
Essential oils (lavender, ylang ylang, patchouli, and sandalwood) and Maja soap. I'm finding, though, that am liking more of the citrus essential oils in my diffuser - like tangerine, lime, grapefruit, and lemongrass.
Maja soap is the brand of soap that my dad bought for my mom. She would use it when she and my dad went out on dates. For years, I never knew what the soap was until I asked her when she was in her late 70s. She remembered the name and the Vermont Country Store still carries it.
25. What is your favorite quote?
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
26. What job would you never do no matter how much it paid?
Any job that has to do with sanitation and human waste.
27. What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?
The biggest category of things that I don't pursue as proactively as I could would be the arts. As much as enjoy being creative, I know my skills are lackluster compared to others. Sometimes it is easier not to try to learn something new rather than failing miserably...or at least that's the way I look at some creative activities I'd love to try. Perhaps one day I'll let go of the fear of failure and try gaining new skills and expanding my creativity.
28. Which one of your responsibilities do you wish you could get rid of?
The one responsibility - hands down - which I'd love to have someone else do is clean the house.
29. Right now, at this moment, what do you want most?
I would love to have all bills and the mortgage paid in full; and sufficient retirement accounts so that there would be no worry in the future.
30. When you look into the past, what do you miss the most?
I miss my parents the most. Not a day goes by that I don't think about them.
My parents and me on my dad's last Father's Day.