Monday, October 17, 2011

Making it Count

It's been

nine months, 18 days
{41 weeks}
 {292 days}
 {7008 hours}
 {420,480 minutes}

since I first penned
New Year's resolutions
for 2011.

Christmas is already
seeping into our collective
consciousness through retailers,
magazines and the internet, so
it wasn't a big leap for me
to think just beyond it
to our next new year.


It's coming fast.

I've decided it is time to
take stock of the goals
that I set out, here,
before the rest of the
year slips through my
fingers like fine sand.

There were only six.

Sounds simple enough
to attain, don't you think?

Ah, but sometimes
it can be hard
to get simple

Here is my list.

1.  Make every moment count.

I can't say that I have made
every 25,228,800 seconds
that comprised 2011 so far,
count.  But I have tried to
focus more on being in each
moment instead of constantly
thinking ahead to the
next day
next week
next month
next year.

And I believe that counts
for something!

2.  Really SEE my children.
{Some days my son jumps down
the stairs in the morning and I
swear he has grown overnight....
How did I not SEE that?}

I have practiced this
deliberate observation
 repeatedly in 2011.

they often say to me as I
try to absorb their earnest
faces, filing away the dark
brown eyes of one and the
creamy complexion of the other.

Just looking,
I say with a smile, 
knowing they won't really
understand until they have
become parents, themselves.

3.  Remember to breathe.
Look around.  Just BE
from time to time.

This is the hardest one.

I feel that clock ticking 
~ tick tick tick ~
constantly and the 
stopping and breathing
and being
has got to be a
mindful choice.

But I have chosen it
more in 2011 than
in past years.

My favorite time to
just be
is when I take Gracie out.
It is dark now for her first
and last pit stops of the day,
which gives me two chances
to take in the vastness of the
sky, the moon and the 
winking stars.

I breathe in that brisk fall air
 and for a few moments ~
moments that count ~

I am simply present in
this life and nothing more.

4.  Pray more

Just like being truly present 
 in the moment, prayer takes
practice.  Similarly, it brings me
 peace.  I try to incorporate
prayer into my daily tasks.  It
almost becomes a sort of
meditation when I am

brushing my teeth
brushing the dog
folding laundry

and all sorts of other chores
that occupy my hands but
leave {most} of my mind
free for gratitude, praise and
hopes for those I love.

I will always be a student
when it comes to prayer,
but one who is eager to
keep practicing.

5.  Laugh more!

I suspect that my family 
would grade me favorably on
this resolution.  We have always
enjoyed a BIG laugh, but this 
year I've tried to let humor 
guide me out of a lot of different
 situations, which definitely 
led to more laughs within
 these walls.

And it has felt good.

Really, really good.

6.  Focus on gratitude.

I used to keep a gratitude
journal when my kids were 
quite little, but I lost the habit
somewhere in the chaos that
comes with raising a family.
This year I resurrected that
old journal and recently 
purchased a new one for the
whole family to start jotting
down small blessings
that speak to us.

We keep it open, pen ready,
in the kitchen, so many of
the entries seem to be

But it's all gratitude,
just the same.

For me, it keeps
in perspective.

Which makes life
feel like a wonderful,
magical, extraordinary

And in the end,
isn't that where we
want our resolutions
to lead us?

If you made resolutions
for 2011, how have you
done, so far?

Is your third quarter
grade one that pleases
you, or is it an 

There are still

two months, 14 days
{75 days}
{10 weeks}
{1800 hours}
{108,000 minutes}

to take each of the
6,480,000 seconds
left of 2011

and make them
for you.

Go for it.



Beth said...

Hi Suzanne, I didn't make any resolutions this year...sort of chickened out of it the last few years. I love yours though, and I smiled as I read about you "just looking" at the children. I catch myself doing just that most nights when I go and give my sleeping girl a kiss good-night.
Your resolutions seems to be about living a good life and I salute you girly.

Sherri B. said...

I really like your #6, having the page open and pen ready for the entire family to jot sweet thoughts down...What a blessing and a precious keepsake too.

Jean said...

What's a lovely post. Great thoughts for the year.

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Great thoughts, Suzanne. It sounds like you are really in the moment. xo Jenny

Hindsfeet said...

What a *Gift*, friend....thanks so much for this *beautiful* *mindful* perspective....


Maxabella said...

What lovely, meaningful resolutions you chose in the first place, Suzanne. I think you've done brilliantly in remembering them too.

You should link up your gratitudes on Saturdays at my place. It's a nice little linky and it's a reminder to always be grateful, no matter what.


lisaroyhandbags said...

I love this post! It sounds like you've been quite successful in your resolutions! I didn't really make any this year - just to be happier and be a good person. I think I've done ok on the good person part, as for being happier, some days are always easier than others. But as a whole, I think I'm doing ok. xo
Ps: I find my parents looking at me a lot whenever I see them :)

Felicity said...

You. Are. A. Marvel!

I love the genuine simplicity, thoughtfulness and goodness of each and every one of your guideposts for this year Suzanne - truly.

You have made me think hard about how I have grown and which areas need some consideration.

In our home we had a large art folio where we wrote messages of gratitude to each other. I popped it away earlier in the year as it was becoming a chore and that was definitely 'not' the intention. Your book of gratitude lists is a lovely twist that I would like to try.

Thanking you and waving from across the seas as the twinkling stars start to show in our sky and the begins to rise.


Happy Homemaker UK said...

I love the idea of a gratitude journal - what a great idea. I'd love my kids to have one too :) I recently read that we show love through touch, eye contact, and a smile. I try to do more of this with my family. I noticed your list is nothing that can be accomplished, but just improved upon - something that could be on your list annually (mine too, actually). Have a great week! XOL

LibbiesHome said...

Your resolutions sound like my subconscious desires. The one about really looking at your kids made me tear up - mine is no longer at home. How I wish I had studied his face more - would it ever be "enough"?
Thanks for yet another pause that refreshed. I hope you have a wonderful day!


I so enjoy your love of life, Suzanne. And what a great idea to have a family gratitude journal. We have done it for Thanksgiving (on a paper tree and we wrote each night at dinner on a leaf), but having it around all the time. . .love that idea.

Beautiful photos, too.


Jane said...

Oh Suzanne, what a gorgeous and reflective post. You are doing so well! Bravo you for your commitment and thankyou for sharing all this with us. J x

traci said...

i really love the idea of having the gratitude journal out for all to contribute. what a great idea. i don't write in mine as often as i should.


Can this be like cramming for exams...get it all in before the 31st!!! It seems like every year I make the same one...listen more. Cause when you listen, you learn. Thanks for another beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

I don't make resolutions, rather just try to be a better person from day to day along this journey called Life. :-) Lovely photos and words today. :-)

Stuff and Nonsense said...

'deliberate observation'

i love that phrase
and really
i love everything that you wrote here

so much so
that i am bookmarking this post
in order to come back
again and again

and the gratitude journal?

starting one

thanks for this post my friend!


bedroom chandeliers said...

so interesting. so important to be reminded of what is real important. love your resolutions. note to self: breath!

michelle said...

What a beautiful post Suzanne, I love all of your resolutions and the gratitude journal is something that I think we need. We all need to take the time to stop and think of what blesses us no matter how large or small.
Thank you for this.

Julie said...

PERFECT perfect post for me...yes a time to stop and reflect on this entire year that is now behind me, with a small portion left in a whole new place and circumstances...oh my...I would have to say your reminders to BREATHE are so memorable. This year has just been a storm, a stagnant waiting period, a roller coaster chugging up to the top of another hill, then coarsing down with wind whistling past my ears... literally holding in a scream it seemed so FAST!...a period of looking, listening, watching, waiting, waiting, waiting, working like mad, being very still to listen hard for the voice of God...and thru it all your posts were so poignant, meaningful for me to read. Thank you. You are an encouragement to many Suzanne. I love your post today. I am definitely coming back to read it again and ponder what's left of 2011 and all that God has already miraculously done.
YOU have yourself an outstanding Day. Thankful to know
HUGS {{{{{o}}}}}

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

I'd say you are doing pretty well with your new year's resolutions, my friend. I also am trying to be more prayerful and gratitude is rolled up into that one for me as well. I'm absolutely in LOVE with your idea of keeping a journal open in the kitchen for everyone to write blessings in! I wonder if I could get my kids to participate....thanks for sharing that lovely idea!

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

I love these, each one, because I think I could (or should) have written just the same ones. I'm so glad you pulled them out to remind yourself, and your readers, of the importance of taking time to really see the people and the world around you. What a beautiful heart you have, Suzanne. :)

michele said...

over the last 3 years there were times when someone would sweetly make a remark about their gratitude journal or remind me to count my blessings, and my stomach turned. my heart hardened and did not warm (i have to keep it real, suzanne). this is how depression/anxiety defeats me: there's a component of anger to it and a deep resistance to open the hands in gratitude, inviting joy and grace in. instead, i'm full of fear with my fists tightly closed. the heart closes. but i'm learning to fight a better fight. i pray. i cry out. and i allow God to supernaturally intervene and move as He pleases to allow all of these struggles to shape me into something better. to refine me and burn out all that is unlike Him. in 2012 i am going to work on MORE gratitude and LESS self deprecation. it has been my schtick for awhile and has been hurting me. i am going to try to let myself shine without fear and open up to the idea that somehow right where i will be able to bring Him more glory.

thank you for consistently inspiring me to discover parts of myself that would otherwise stay hidden. since i comment stream of consciousness style, there is always, always a new discovery.



p.s. have you read ONE THOUSAND GIFTS yet?

pretty pink tulips said...

As always, I love how you make me stop, think and evaluate, Suzanne!!

I feel like I can always do better when it comes to my children. Be more patient. Be more encouraging. Be there. In fact, I have decided I need to start each morning off with a short devotional with them. Do you know of any good books that you've seen? I want something short, upbeat to send them off into the world. Sometimes our mornings feel rushed, hectic...and since I don't see them again until the afternoon, I feel like I need this time to count. And, in this increasingly ungrateful world...I want to be raising boys who become men of great character.

So there you have it. My big goal of 2012!
xoxo Elizabeth

Lulu and Co. said...

My hopes are to finish the year strong with intention, deep calming moments, seeing my children with open eyes.Thank you for sharing your resolutions with us and wishing many wonderful moments with this year we have remaining!

Karena said...

Suzanne this post made me feel really good, because we have concentrated on many of the same things this year.

Gratitude, prayer, laughter, and yes the New Year will be here soon!

Pray for me as I am having a complete left hip replacement next week. So I will be out of action about a month.

Oh and I have a Designer Pillows Giveaway! I hope you will join! ( a great resource as well)

Art by Karena

Jemsmom said...

Is it horrible to want to just use your resolutions? I think they are fabulous and so relatable to me and my life. Enjoying my baby girl especially is something I think about all the time. She is growing so fast! Thanks for sharing and giving me things to focus on in my life also! Think of it as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! :-)

Olive Cooper said...

If you make resolutions it is wise to make a stop and check on them. I did not make them for 2011 but I did make three in 2007 when I retired. #1 to exercise daily, #2 to pray and have a daily quiet time, and finally, please do not laugh, #3 to floss my teeth. I am happy to report pretty good compliance with all three these past four years. I have number two and three down but number one is still hard to get to daily.

Susan T said...

I was having trouble leaving comments yesterday. A gratitude journal, what a thing. I never manage to keep my resolutions, but I would really try for that.

Posie Patchwork said...

Beautiful things to focus on. What a lovely blog you have here, you're my kind of gal. I have taken big steps to slow down lately, it makes a huge difference to your mind set & availability to your own family first, everything else second. Love Posie

Tiffini said...

I didn't make goals this year but I did choose a word...or it chose me:)
Fearlessly...I just went back and read my post and thank you for moving me to do that! I laughed..coincedence me working on fear at the end of each post..I think not!

Sylvia said...

Your words are always so beautiful,so right ,so inspiring ...
I have to be honest , I've never made a New Year's resolution , but I do have a " to- be list " (rather than a to - do list ). As a family , we have created a vision ( goal ) board which we revise and update every year ; I love the idea of writing gratitude journal and I love your list and message.
There are no ordinary moments ...

Biz said...

Hey Miss Ma'am,

I can't believe that was your New Years resolutions because it seems like just yesterday I read that post. How is it already 2-1/2 months until the new year again!
I hope you are doing well!


Whosyergurl said...

Usually, I breath a sigh of relief to see one year go and another new one come in. Like "shew! I get a second chance." I have a magazine article due for a new year's edition and will probably write on that very topic.
All of your resolutions are good reminders. I always have to remind myself to breath even though I do it all the time.
xo, Cheryl

Stitchfork said...

Suzanne I'd say you are the head of the class with living your resolutions! I need to take notes.
xo Cathy

Faded Plains said...

Great post...I need to work on #2 more...thanks for the push ;o)

Low Tide High Style said...

I love that you have accomplished so many things on your list. My resolutions have changed and morphed as the months have passed, but I'm happy none the less with my progress!

Kat :)

Teacup Moments said...

you chose such beautiful photos to go with this piece, Suzanne! and thank you for the reminder. i truly don't know where the year went, but thanks to you, fully intend to make the next couple of months count.

Ticking and Toile said...

Love all your posts Suzanne! I'm really trying to live in the moment......I find myself panicking about my kiddos growing up....and have to just relax and savor "the now". Great post!

Ticking and Toile said...

Love all your posts Suzanne! I'm really trying to live in the moment......I find myself panicking about my kiddos growing up....and have to just relax and savor "the now". Great post!

hometown girl said...

it sounds like you've done well. there are many things on your list that i try to practice, remember but it's not always a success. i too pray in the car and while doing chores. i find myself just observing the kids, and trying to memorize every little detail of the tiny moments of our days....thank you friend you are so special! xo susan

pollydove said...

Perfect. I love your goals ... I think I have tried to do most of these things this year too. You are truly inspiring though - GREAT reminders of the things that matter the most!!!

Lili said...

Your resolutions have so much substance to them. Generally mine were always the eat better, eat less, finish projects, get organized, etc. That's why I generally am lax about making them, but yours I see are ones that truly matter in life. Love the pray more and the gratitude ones especially. You are a great teacher by example dear Suzanne! xoxo ~Lili

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

HOW DID I MISS THIS POST? Oh how I believe in everything you have so beautifully written here dear one...I have learned as a teacher to take MOMENT BY MOMENT. To stop and think at that moment that a child is not listening, not understanding; it does take practice, like prayer. THANK YOU FOR COMING BY TODAY DEAREST SUZANNE! Anita

Rozmeen said...

Great post Suzanne!! Gives me lots of thoughts for the year!

wishing you and your family a blessed and happy weekend.
A big hug,

Linda said...

Your resolutions are really wonderful and life-affirming, and I definitely see all of them in you! The family gratitude journal is really special...

patty said...

i do, i just love the way you write. i think i need to start this gratitude journal for my family, as my children have one foot out the door (i'm clinging to their shirt-tails). *sigh*
and your moments... i've been thinking a lot about that, too, and am about to embark on a moment loving linky on my blog...
love to you