So here it is, June already, and oh my how I’ve wanted to get back here into blog land. But. like the global weather patterns of late, my life has been unpredictable, busy, and extreme. My last round of finals wrapped up recently and really stretched and challenged my ability to manage time and homeschooling. I’ve written dozens of blog posts in my mind while laying down to bed at night. My family reminds me that this is a common theme with me; thinking that I’ve said or done something but not actually saying or doing it. Naturally, the window of time I have right now to write this post is very limited but I’ve managed to find my way back here and I am still determined to persist in my goals. Progress, not perfection. It’s 2018 and PERSEVERANCE remains my motto. Contemplating now that perhaps 2019 should be about consistency but not convinced yet that declaring it would be classifiable as a ‘smart goal’ Specific, yes. Measurable, yes. Achievable, debatable. Realistic, in my dreams. Time-bound, well, time seems to be the trouble. I do too many things because busy is what I like to be. Minimalism does not appeal to me or deliver the type of peace or serenity that others claim to desire from seeking simplicity.

May especially has been extra busy, as in busy beyond balance and that is sometimes the way things go. So busy, in fact, that I readily surrendered the opportunity to really stop and celebrate turning 50! I slowed down just long enough to enjoy some genuine gratitude for my family and friends who casually surprised me by commemorating another year around the sun with me. A true blessing. I enjoyed a beautiful hour of everything 50 as in long-stemmed roses, Starbucks dollars, minutes in massage therapy, etc. I feel so fortunate! For as long as I could remember, I always wanted to be 40! “Life begins at 40” is the common saying and for whatever reason, I fully embraced the ideology. Honestly, 40 was none of the things I imagined it would be in ways I never imagined possible. All of my 40’s were everything I never expected them to be for better and worse. I am happy to be 50 now. 50 is my new 40! A new opportunity to reach some of those goals I had hoped to achieve in my 40s. I’m off to a promising and hopeful beginning. It can be so easy to allow circumstances and events beyond our control to pull us off course. Sometimes, unexpected events can be so significant as to wholly redefine our entire outlook, heart’s desires and life purpose. I have at times envied those rare individuals who seem to be destined from the day of birth to conquer a given journey; those whose path is so clearly defined that there is hardly a hiccup of confusion about their life’s meaning. It simply has not been so for me. If there has been anything consistent to my life it has been the necessity of determination and adaptability.

Similarly, my favorite things list is also ever evolving and adapting. New adventures keep me busy and occasionally those unforeseen destinations lead me to sweet re-discoveries but it’s not always easy to predict what’s coming. That is why it would be difficult for me to list my favorite things in a fixed or concrete context. Which is why I am having the idea to write about my evolving favorite things. Actually, I’ve made these mental lists many times over the last few months to share here. Unfortunately, those lists will likely remain filed away in my thoughts for now  like the many times when I’ve thought I’ve done or said something before but not actually materialized it. One of the important aspects of setting ‘smart goals’ is evaluating them after they’ve been set and applying any new wisdom to setting better ‘smart goals’ going forward. Originally, I had hoped to blog something quick once per week. Now I am committing to at least once per month and hopefully more often will be a bonus. I remain determined but flexible. All is not lost in losing a few recent weeks of posts to my mental archives and being unusually busy. For me to persevere I must continue to evaluate my goals and set new goals that are smarter. I am determined now to journal some of my “favorites of the moment.” I believe it will help me to be more consistent by knowing that I already have a defined topic. So here goes a list of my current favorite things and I’d love to hear about your favorite things also.

1-Essential Oils, of course, doTERRA! I absolutely adore this company. From the mission, culture and product quality to the science and philanthropy. doTERRA Balance, Serenity, InTune and Past Tense have been my favorite blends lately; reliably seeing me through some significant trials, time crunches, and intensive studies. I keep all of these oils in my bag on a regular basis. Balance and Serenity are also always at my bedside. I diffuse Serenity at night and apply Balance to my neck and feet. InTune and Past Tense help me stay focused when I’m studying. I also diffuse Rosemary to help improve my memory and recall during exams. If I had only one thing I could take to a deserted island, it would be a big box of doTERRA essential oils! I rely on them daily and they are effective and safe for all ages, as well as, useful in almost every situation. You can learn more about these favorites of mine at my doTERRA Essential Enthusiast site 

2-Lists and Ideas- It’s true. I am a list lover. I am far more productive in my days when I am checking things off a list. I have lists of ideas and ideas for lists. It’s complicated but essential to my sanity. Some may find comfort in simplicity, I tend to be more content with activity and even clutter. The sheer barren nothingness of minimalism is a concept I find extremely stress provoking in much the same way that I imagine a white padded room and straight jacket could be. I’d love to hear from some others about how they manage their lists and their ideas both from the perspective of maximizing and minimizing. Ultimately, its a balancing act but there are plenty of variations in beween about what balance looks like.

3-Goals and goal-setting strategies- Let’s face it, I am probably not alone in needing help with productivity. I’d just like to be busy more efficiently. Rather than pruning my lists, I’d rather refine my process. Busy is a friend to me. Busy is a favorite thing.There are so many who would seek to convince us that slowing down is the secret to happiness. I passionately disagree. I am in favor of finding balance in the busy-ness of life. We only have this life to live and our hours are numbered from the first breath. I desire to make the minutes count and the more I can fit into this life, the happier I am. I am curious what your favorite goal setting and productivity tools are both personally and professionally? I haven’t done a lot of research on the topic but I know it would be beneficial. This is a topic near the top of my list of future blog posts. I like setting goals so that will inspire me to learn more about goal setting strategies which is why this topic landed in my list of favorite things today.

4-Coffee,Tea and Travel- Seems an odd combination possibly but the grouping is quite cohesive for me. Especially lately as I’ve been traveling frequently. Everywhere I go I look for local coffee and tea shops. Just in the last few months I’ve added a good number of new places to my ‘been there, done that list.’ Some highlights of recent favorite additions would include the Wild Iris Coffee House in Prescott, AZ. I visited during a study retreat trying to meet a tough timeline. Honestly, one of my favorite coffee shops that I’ve discovered in my journeys. Plenty of room at the table and just enough peace to study. Quaint atmosphere and quality menu. We also stopped in at Magnolia Farm’s and Magnolia Table in Waco, TX. Food was delicious. Atmosphere was phenomenal. I celebrated my birthday with breakfast! We then made a quick detour to Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter. It’s really hard to drive through New Orleans without stopping! And I would be able to add the Coffee Box in El Paso, TX except that I didn’t actually get to enjoy the pleasure of having any coffee there, just a brief sighting of the bright orange container box building as we were waved through traffic. We were pushing hard to get through a 17-hour drive to arrive home and at my insistence, we hopped off the highway for a bit in hoping to try out Coffee Box. I never could’ve predicted that El Paso would be setting up for a local street festival. We missed the opportunity by literal seconds as the detour cones were being laid down upon our arrival. Bummer. We had to drive a few more exits to the nearest accessible Starbucks.

5-Clothing- The fact is that I’ve always loved clothing. This is one those favorites that falls under the category of re-discovery. Sewing was a favorite activity when I was younger and had more time for such hobbies. I LOVE that I can sit here writing this blog post while watching the latest runway fashion shows on the tv in front of me. I used to fill sketchbooks with design ideas and in high school, I enjoyed classes in sewing and fashion design. I’ve sewn a few gowns and outfits since then but finding time to be consistent is quite a challenge. I wish that shows like Project Runway had existed back then. I really had no idea how to pursue a meaningful career in fashion and I was easily distracted by business and science. I really find pleasure in playing around with dressing up and designing. My fashion enjoyment is less about rules and more in the realm of creative ideas and personal expression. I was lucky to have younger sisters who were willing to let me dress them up and take magazine-style fashion photos. Given that my parents had to develop the film, it wasn’t a hobby that was as practical or accessible as it is today with digital technology. Being a boy mom since then (which I also truly treasure), I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to fashion, but recently I’ve been able to dabble again. I’ll be writing a lot more on this topic with the evolution of Shop Spirit and Soul and other fun, soon-to-be-empty-nester fashion-oriented projects I’ve been contemplating. Until then, thank you for visiting and I’d love to hear from you.

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