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Making Time in the New Year

The days are long, but years are short... Can that adage be applied to months as well?

When I first told my husband that I wanted to work on my mother's unfinished projects, he had two reactions. First, he was super supportive and loved the idea. (Yay!) But second, he asked me, "Do you really think you have time to do this?" (Always the realist.) This is because he knows that I constantly over pack my schedule. I love being busy, but it's difficult to squeeze more into the day.

"I guess I'll have to make time," I replied.

My philosophy is that if something is important you make the time to do it. However, that is so much easier said than done. I feel like I blinked and nearly THREE months went by like someone snapped their fingers.

To be honest, this kills me. I cannot stand when someone (let alone myself) makes a public proclamation about a new project they are planning and then doesn't follow through. For real. Writing five posts over a month and a half and then having a three-month break is the definition of not following through. But I am determined to make my dream for this blog a reality. So I'm picking back up where I left off. Here's an update of what's been going on:

The holidays without Mom

Starting off the elephant in the room because people kept asking me how I was doing.

No surprise here. They kind of sucked without my mom here. Sure, I was surrounded by family and we had a great time, but I will always miss seeing how my mom's face lit up when she watched her kids and grandkids open presents. And she wasn't an over-the-top materialistic gift giver. I would actually say the opposite. She preferred small homemade (or locally-made) gifts. Christmas to her was so much more about the story of Christ and celebrating our gift of life. But I could always tell that she got so much joy from witnessing joy in her family.

On a more positive note, a wonderful surprise for Christmas came from my Aunt Teresa (the same aunt who helped me with the craft show in September). A few days before Christmas, a small package came to our house with two small presents. I put them under our tiny little Christmas tree and waited until Christmas morning to open them. (Okay, I opened them on Christmas Eve. But you always have to open one present early, right?)

In them, were two beautiful ornaments each with special meaning behind them.

Two small angel ornaments. The left one has wings, a halo and is holding a cross-stitch project, and is decorative with pink, blue and green designs. The left one is simplistic. No wings, no halo and no face, but she is holding hearts.
Ornaments from my sweet Aunt Teresa.

The angel on the left was actually meant for my mom. My aunt had purchased it months ago - well before my mom passed away unexpectedly. It is from an artist that my mom loved and it's holding a little cross-stitch project, which represents the art she did with fiber. My aunt could have easily saved this treasure as a momento of her sister, but instead passed it along to me. I will certainly cherish it for a lifetime.

The figure on the right matches similar ornaments given to my brothers. A small token to remind us that we have an angel watching over us, and a way to remember our mom whenever we see it. My heart is filled with love from my aunt. These came at such a perfect time.

Derrick is lifting Jessica with one arm in front of a small pond surrounded by trees. The trees range in color from green to red and are reflected in the pond.
Our Christmas card taken behind my brother's house.

Changes at Work and Centurions

The other part of life that has been consuming my time is my day job and the professional development program I am part of. I'm not big into making excuses, but I want to be honest about what I've been up to. And I will say it was a lot harder for me to balance my career and this project at the end of 2019 than I thought it would be.

At work (I work at an advertising agency in Kansas City), I am transitioning into a new role. I am currently the Director of Content Media, but am moving into a strategic planning role (title TBD) that will focus on new business and brand planning. We're working on it, but it is dependent on finding the right person to back fill my current position. A month and a half later and we're still vetting resumes. I'm crossing my fingers that we can get someone hired and in place by February. But until then, I'm doing both roles, which I love the projects I get to work on. It's just a lot!

Simultaneously, I had the busiest part of my year for the Centurions program during November and December. Every month, we have a full day of programming where we learn all about an important topic or issue in Kansas City. Each on of these days is planned and coordinated by a small group of us. My event was in December and while we had eight people to spread the work load around, it still consumed our time in the weeks leading up to it. (Not to mention that Thanksgiving was in the middle of that.) It went fantastic and I love how the day turned out. But again, it was a lot!

Group of eight young professionals sitting in two rows on wooden risers.
Centurions committee for our December Task Force.

Progress on the Sweater

As I sat writing this, I contemplated how much I should include about all the things going on outside of my work on my mom's projects. I want this blog to focus on how I can connect with her through her work. And to be honest, talking about work and other things in my career seem like excuses to me. Like, if this was really important I would carve out more time for it. But I also want to be real and this is what's been going on.

However, even though I haven't posted in a while, I have made progress on the sweater! I am almost finished with the main part of the body. Next will be switching to the pattern for the area around the sleeve and neck holes.

I've enjoyed working on it, but I admit that this portion became monotonous after a while. The same eight rows repeated for nearly 15 inches. At least each of those eight rows were different. It forced me to pay attention to what I was doing.

I also learn the importance of paying attention to the gauge or tightness of the knitting as I went along. I know that some rows are tighter than others. I tried to make sure every row had slack in it. According to the fair isle videos I watched that is vital to making the finished product lay smoothly and allows the pattern look its best. All in all, I think it's turning out well so far.

Bring it Back Now

So back to the idea of making time. When you're an overachiever like me (read: I try to do too much), it's really about deciding what's worth your time and staying motivated. Then you have to take time for your priorities. If you've heard of the concept of "Pay yourself first", I like to apply that to time as well. Give yourself time for your own goals before meeting all the other demands in your life.

With that in mind, I started a new routine this week. I am now waking up at 5 a.m. to spend an hour for myself each morning before starting the rest of my day. I'm only on day 6 and I already feel much more at peace. It has been an eye opening and mind-shifting experience.

Before, I would take care of everyone else first before spending any time on myself. But this always resulted in me being exhausted at the end of the day, never having the energy to do anything for me. This cycle caused me to constantly feel like I was letting myself down. I felt like a disappointment to myself and those close to me, even though they didn't even know it.

This hour in the morning is not a ton of time, but it is liberating. I didn't do it in one setting, but because of this new hour each morning, I was able to write this very post and feel good about it. I wasn't letting any one down because I still got to all my other duties after my hour, but I am also not letting myself down, which is most important.

Cheers to the new year!

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