Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesdays are for Dreaming

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,
live the life you always imagined." ~Thoreau

This quote is used ubiquitously: on magnets, mouse pads, t-shirts, and coffee cups--and for good reason! It does, after all, suggest that we have the ability to possess the life of our dreams, to accomplish the aspirations of our private heart. The unfortunate truth is that we get knee deep in the humdrum, mundane details of life and can find ourselves unassumingly unsatisfied. But the beauty of Thoreau's quote is self-evident: we are not victims of circumstance, we have a choice!

As mentioned, I used to teach college writing. {This is the first semester I decided not to go back.} It might surprise you that the majority of the demographic I taught was first generation college students that came from very tragic home lives. In fact, if you're imagining a version of Dangerous Minds, you wouldn't be too far off the mark. {Oh, the stories I could tell!} The sad thing is that it is very difficult to get these students to think beyond their current set of circumstance. In response, a portion of my curriculum was devoted to exploring dreams and goals. After instructing this over and over, it occurred to me that I could be more pragmatic about this in my own life.

So.... {yes, after all that preamble I am finally getting to my point} the first Tuesday of every month I set aside an hour to devote to my goals and dreams. As a mom, it can be so easy to lose the me in my life. So, I share this with you not with any sense of authority, but because this has given me a deep sense of satisfaction and even freedom in my own life.

Thus, since all deep thinking is best done with some sort of caffeinated beverage, I venture to Starbucks. Soy Misto in hand, I first write down all the things that give me a sense of joy in my life. {I also thank God for those.} Then, I write down all the things that I find frustrating or wish I could change. From there, I dream about what an ideal life would look like for me one month, six months, and one year down the road. Then, I look these things over and make a to-do list. This is where I had my personal epiphany because whether it's our marriage, our work, our friends, or our parenting, we always possess the power within us to manifest positive change. From there, I write a one week, one month, and 6 month to-do list. This is a very spiritual process for me, and I also pray over the desires of my heart and ask God for vision. {Proverbs 29:18} Finally {and for me this part is very important} I set a time in my phone once a week to pray over my goals, and I also set a time for next month Tuesday.

Having done this process for about 6 months, I can tell you it's highly gratifying! I can look over my old goals and see them being accomplished. I find myself living the life I told myself I wanted to live. It's a wonderful feeling! So, whether you're feeling stuck with your house, your work, your marriage, your parenting--whatever it is that is important to you--I'll be praying that God meets you this week and guides you in the pursuit of your heart's desires! Love and blessings!


Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

what a lovely and inspiring post! I find when I make lists and goals for my life I have so much more peace, optimism and energy. Looking back also allows me to see the clear path of accomplishment and and God's hand in the tackled obstacles, definitely inspiring in the face of the sheer drudgery of life.

Jessica Haley said...

Yes and poor Kristy's 15-20 loads of laundry. I have 2 kids, so I know it's not an exaggeration!

Jen, how about a chat tonight? Would you mind emailing me the time you prefer and your phone #? I will be there! I promise!

Alisha said...

This is an amazing post! You have definitely made me evaluate the things in my life.
From the moment I became pregnant with Jude I felt "me" slipping away. Becoming a mother I have forgotten that I have needs of my own.
You have inspired me to take time for me, to set some goals that I want to accomplish or changes that I need to make to help me become the women I set out to be years ago. Thanks Jessica for writing this. It is truly inspiring :)

LaDawn D said...

Jess, you are an inspiration in SO many ways; it is hard to express in words! I have been dealing with the hum drum of life and wondering what God has planned for me in the coming months, and I think maybe I have to be more assertive in finding "me" to actually be a part of that plan. I am going to give myself a little time to make my own goals and then I am going to set out to attain them! Once again your honesty is touching. There is a reason I can't go but a few hours without checking for an updated blog post...and it's not the shoes:) (Although I truly adore the shoes!) Its a spiritual re-awakening and a feeling of comfort that comes from your lips and hits me straight in the heart. Thank you for giving SOOO many women a renewed spirit and vision in their own lives, I don't think you realize the impact your life is making on others!!! I thank GOD that I have found this blog and that I am renewed by yourself and ALL of the women that comment here.

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
-- Allan K. Chalmers

Mande said...

Thank you for this Jessica. I have gotten away from goal setting and devotional time since I decided to be a stay-at-home mom over 2 years ago. I have forgotten just how important this time is and I realize it is within my grasp to live the life I have imagined......blessings to you Jessica.

Megan said...

What an empowering post. My husband is in the RCIA program at our church after years of "thnking about it" he finally acted. I find myself praying more now than I have in a while. I never gave thought to praying for our goals and I am looking forward to setting aside time in my life for this process. I have to say that every week I feel better as a mother knowing that there are other mothers going throught the same issues as I am. All of your followers are just wonderful to share their own struggles and I am happy to be a small part of a wonderful community.


Amy said...


Over the last 2 days, I have felt the Lord dealing with me about making some big changes in my life. I cannot tell you how timely your writen thoughts are.

Thank you for sharing!

Katie said...

Bravo- thanks for writing exactly what I need to hear. Now I need to "do".

Ariana said...

Awesome idea. I will have to start that. I found a really neat website called mainly for the kids (chore charts) but it also has personal goal setting too. The kids are doing great with it:) Do your kids have chore charts?

Jessica Haley said...

You gals are all so kind and definitely a blessing to my heart! {Thanks for the quote, LaDawn.} The great thing about sewing is that it's a good time to pray specifically over the things you mention in your comments/emails.

Ariana, chore chart--ha! Lands no! I wish I would say yes b/c that was my intention but other than helping put their own toy back in the toy box--no chores. It is frequently an effort just to get Aidan to sit at the table for dinner. However, I was shocked the first time I saw Mia take her empty snack bowl and load it into the dishwasher at 18 months! It will be easier with her... not that Aidan should be let off the hook.

I'm curious what other moms have to say about this issue.

LaDawn D said...

Oh Mylanta...chore charts:) I think about them often (trust me) but just can't seem to get them done. Maybe in fear that they simply won't work with my too busy kids or that I will somehow become a bit crazed by the things "undone." My 7 year old is a BIG help...when she has something she wants anyway;) Currently she is on a roll with her small list of chores...put away the dishes from the dishwasher, make her bed, and pick up the play room with me every night. BUT, she really wants this huge bouncy ball that I think is just ridiculous...she gets a dollar a day if ALL of her chores are done without whining... and tomorrow she is going to the store to buy her own ball ($6). I think this way works best for me because she is learning how expensive the toys she wants are!!! When it's her own money she doesnt want to buy a $50 item. She looks at me and says how many days do I have to do my chores to buy that? If it's more than 10 days she is over it! hehe

I would love to hear other mothers successes!! If chore charts work, I will set it as a goal to complete!

Megan said...

Our chore chart works, oh, about half the time. we have it set up for the days of the week, the same chore each day plus one "helper" chore. the daily chores are pick up toys in room and put your dishes in the sink. "helper" chores are helping vacuum (which they love to help hold the vacuum with me) help unload the dishwasher (they get out all the plastic items) and help clean-up the family room (like putting toys in the toy box or reaching for items under the coffee table) My girls are 4 and almost 3. I think the important thing about our system is that they are helping. they don't do things on their own yet besides pick up their toys, but just having them get a feel for vacuuming and dishes will help them for when they are ready to do it on their own. We have it set up as a star system too, since kids obviously have days where they want to do NOTHING, so every time a chore is completed we put a star next to their name. and if they get all their stars we go do something fun like the petting zoo or extra time at the park, whatever it is that week that sounds most fun for them. They learn consequences as well, if they don't get at least 5 stars that week they can't have the reward. It was hard at first but now my 4 year old counts her stars and my 3 year old ask if there is any other helping she can do. What works for my family won't for others and vice a versa. I have to say though that the kids are told their chore for the day 3 times only and then if they don't do it no star. I don't believe in forcing them to do it since they are so young, but once again if it's not done no star. This is the way I keep a little of my sanity, now if only they were old enough to start doing laundry....... :)


Amy said...

uh yeah, no chore chart here. You would think as a 4th grade teacher who lived by job charts in her classroom, I would be using one at home. Nope

My sister bought me an adorable Melissa and Doug magnetic chart and it hangs in Jake's room unused. My kids are too young for it still, I think- maybe next year.

Sorry to disappoint! ha

Sarah said...

Jessica - I just found your blog via a friend and I am in love with your talent! I have a little girl who is turning 3 this month and a 10 month old son - I already bought some clippies and I feel like I am becoming a blog stalker!

Your posts, esp. this one is very inspiring. I find myself with no time to myself and it pushes me to realize how important it is to set goals for myself..and give myself a little time to find the "me" in myself!

As for the chore charts - I think Addy (3) is too young. Great idea just dont have the time nor the energy - maybe when the kids are older. My 3 year old loves to put her toys away as she sings a catchy song "Clean up, Clean up, everybody do their share; clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere." As long as someone is "helping" her and she is singing, then she is happy.

Jewllori by Lori said...

Christ in you, the hope of Glory!!!

I am totally on this journey myself, of seeing things I would love to see changed and reshaped in my life, do just that!! God is amazing gracious isn't He!? Thanks for the inspiring way of how to do this tangibly!! I admire you for taking the time to share this with us all.

Love Lori

Jewllori by Lori said...

OH and chore charts...I think my kids are too young to get the concept, but would love to try once I think they can get it! We'll see how well it goes then.

Stacy (aka Lexiesmum) said...

Your blog always brings a smile to my heart, and the amazing women who comment here reassure me that I am not alone in my daily struggles.

I am a new mom and already feel a loss of my true self. Actually, to be quite honest, I'm not even sure if I know who my true self is anymore. I struggle each and every day when I go out the door to work, leaving my little angel behind in the arms of her grandmother. Lucky as I am to have family take care of her, the pain doesn't get any easier. I would LOVE to find my passion, and create a career that would allow me to stay home.

Thank you Jessica for giving me hope, and letting me know that mommy's wishes and dreams are still obtainable.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you have read David Allen's "Getting Things Done", but it has changed my life. You may have figured this out on your own, but he offers very practical plans on how to organized in such a way that 'get creative' is built into one's weekly plans, along with the short-term tasks that allow you to move toward your long-term goals (like who you want to be when you grow up). I highly recommend it if you are looking for ways to perfect this journey. Cheers.

Tammy Taylor
(sorry to post anonymous - registering appropriately is on my to-do list)

Jessica Haley said...

It's so wonderful to read all your encouraging comments! Please know that I do pray over them while I sew :)

It's been a hectic time here... Arranging details for the photoshoot for the website and my studio... busy, busy. I feel out of touch. I'll try and check back in and respond to the other comments late this evening or first thing tomorrow. :)

Kasey said...

what a beautiful post Jessica!!

Jessica Haley said...

Okay, this is off the topic of chore charts, but any tips to deal with this: ...aside from banning the children from the living room... which has crossed my mind.

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

tips to clean it up or tips to prevent?

Jessica Haley said...

Any or all of the above. See, Aidan drinks a chocolate suppliment drink for breakfast. Some of it was leftover on the counter in the kitchen. Loving brother that he is, he shared some with Mia, who was sitting on the couch. And, it is actually A LOT worse than the pictures. {Use Ctrl + V to copy and paste the link}

Anyway, I think I'll feel better if I hear other children making ridiculous messes... just so I know I didn't get some special breed of extra messy children. Jenny P's yellow paint on the carpet story was pretty good... :)

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

how about red sharpie all over the walls, sofa, chair and rug?

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

or how about the time a can of white paint was spilled and tracked all across the living room burgundy rug....or the time my sister was painting and kicked a can of navy blue paint over on the brand new hardwood floors. Then there would be the time that a small child decided to attempt changing their own diaper ontop of the guest bed covered in a brand new family heirloom quilt my great grandmother had just made...the contents of that diaper were found all over the bed, walls and floor. Oh and did I mention this all happened in the time span of two days?

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

as for tips to prevent, what about giving it to him in asippie style cups that doesn't leak if dropped or turned upside down? Oh and one more story to make you feel better, a few nights ago, I put a lot of effort into dinner and made homemade chicken pot pies...I made five pies and only three ever made it to the table. I left the kitchen for a minute or two and came back in to two small children standing in the kitchen with the two pies flipped over on the floor, their contents smashed and strewn me when I saw, you didn't get a special breed of extra messy sounds like the same thing as over here!

Amy said...

Oh the stories I could most recent:

On Thurs Jake dumped half of the costco size Tide powder in the dryer, WITH the clean clothes. I had to vacuum it out, but its still there. I think I need one of those shark things? I do have a good one about battery acid and little fingers...won't post here unless CPS reads your blog haha.

I have almost the identical white couch. That mess could be mine. Do you use Oxyclean{spray and powder}? I have found it will get anything out {Crayon, pee, pizza grease, coffee, even tea} course you have probably already figured that one out.

sorry. Don't you love sat morns that start out like that??

Jewllori by Lori said...

I have a carpet stain buster from NORWEX natural cleaning products that would take that out lickety split! Sorry that happened, ugh so frustrating!

I have many a story to share, but just recently was scrubbing out and repainting over a bunch of pen that my son drew all over my new painted kitchen cupboards. As much as I dislike the ingredients in Magic Eraser, it is a dream come true for things like that...

<3 hugs <3

lisao said...

Thank you Jessica for sharing this. I do believe in the power of writing down goals and manifesting your life in the direction you want it to go. Thank you for reminding me that I do have a choice.
Have a great weekend!


Jenni said...

oh my word - your poor couch! yikes!

the other day, while posting pictures on the blog i wondered why the kids were being so quiet...

...kyan was writing all over lola's face and exposed body parts with a pen! she was just sitting there so good letting him! i grabbed my camera (figured this had to be posted as well!) and snapped a few shots! then blogged some more!

figured out that tea packets (brewed or run under water) do the trick! so happens that it takes out pen and sharpie off your body!

know you are not alone!

Mande said...

Yikes! Jessica I just saw the sofa. I am a fan of Oxyclean- powder, spray, all the above. It has been a lifesaver here a time or two. My son is somewhat "accident prone". We have at least one episode a week similar to these stories- just recently the white carpet in our living room had a battle with a red juice box, and the juice box won. So sorry about the sofa.

Sarah said...

I have heard that the tea packets work too! I would try that first. You cant do too much more damage than is already done!

My 3 year old has been into tracing her hands on paper. She decided over the weekend to trace her hands with magic marker all over our we have about 20 hand prints all over our green couch. I heard alcohol does wonders as is comparable to a magic eraser! That is just our latest!

LaDawn D said...

Can't see the pics of the couch, but I can assume that you have chocolate drink all over it:) I can totally relate! We bought a brand new kitchen table (the one I have been dreaming of for like 3 years) and about a week after we got it my 18 month old grabbed a fork and scratched a beautiful little pattern into the wood...I will have to try to match the stain!?! Should be interesting!

I love that we ALL get to go through these "fun" little messes together as a group! It is very uplifting to hear other stories of excitement at home;)

LaDawn D said...

Oh My WORD!!! I just got to see the pic on your twitter account...I have absolutely NO idea how to fix that-except maybe a new couch:) tee hee All of my future furniture is going to be black and chocolate least until the kids are at least 10!!!

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