DreamWard Bound- Tracking Goals

Last DreamWard Bound I talked about how I organized and separated my goals and dreams. This helped me easily see my priorities and make a plan to reach my ideal life.

I know being organized does not fit every personality. Some people thrive in doing work as it comes along or as they are inspired. Some people do not like making lists or tracking their goals in detail.

I am not one of those people. More and more I love organizing my goals and tracking them. I have spreadsheets with formulas and charts. I have index cards and notebooks.

These things help me track my goals, so when I feel discouraged and forget my past achievements I can look back. I can see where I started and how far I’ve come.

Having my time and goals tracked also helps me plan for my future. I can see that I only consistently write for about 4 hours a week and draw for about 3. I can see that I can increase my prayer and Bible study time by 0.1 hours a week, because I know how much I’ve spent on godly things in the previous week.

By seeing my patterns with time I can see where I can improve. I can also see how long it takes to complete a project, book, or activity.

I do want to clarify that although I have 5 sheets with a lot of charts for visual tracking I did not start with that many.

I started with a notebook and only tracked time I spent reading the Bible and my television watching. After a few weeks I added other goals and then I moved it to one sheet on my computer. Little by little I added things I tracked and organized the sheets more. I can now see the following:

  • How many hours I put into a certain category each week (writing, blog posts, church, Bible reading, prayer, painting/ drawing, reading, etc).
  • On average how much time I put into creative work, writing, or spending time with God.
  • What percentage I spend in my different categories.
  • How long it takes me to read a book.
  • If my physical endurance is increasing.
  • How many hours I’m spending on promotion and revenue for my creative life.

The take away from all of this is to start small with your goals and tracking, but let both grow. This will help you to continually be improving and moving towards your goals and dreams.

Pig Pen (Journey To Me)

From my birth to age 10 I grew up across the street from a pig farm. It was my family’s fame and my uncles ran it.

My sisters and I would run an play up on the farm. I remember climbing up on the stacked hay and talking with my sisters. We would pet the goats and watch the pigs. When my uncles, dad, or another adult was around they would pick up the little piglets to let us hold them.

Even after my family moved a town over we would visit my memere and the farm. We would still play and pet the pigs whenever we visited. We had farm shoes over my memere’s house that we would wear when the farm was muddy.

One day, when I was in middle school I brought a friend over to the farm and we played in the pen with the pigs. Most of the pigs stayed away from us. We still had fun in the slippery pen. We slid and fell many times, which to a child is a fun time.

By the time we had enough fun we were both covered in what we though was mud. We cheerfully went back down the hill to my memere’s home. She informed us that it was not just mud and she hosed us off before we could enter her house to fully get cleaned. Typically, we just had to take off our farm shoes. This time was different we were too messy to be allowed in the house.

I smile at the memory still. My memere still reminds me about the time my friend and I got covered in pig manure.

DreamWard Bound- Separating Goals

For a while I looked at my ideal life and dreams as part of a whole. When I created goals they were not organized and did not have clear categories. They were all lumped together in the ideal life I would write out.

About five months ago I needed to re-energize my goals and become dreamward bound again. I needed a change, so I tried something new.

Instead of simply writing my ideal life out as one whole thing then separate it out into steps or goals I could take, I separated my ideal life into areas first and then made a plan.

I wrote how I wanted my spiritual life, writing life, visual arts life, physical health, mental life, and relationships to look. I took that information and asked myself how close I thought I could get in 5 years. I may have lofty goals, but my ideal life write-ups are also my 5 year goals.

I took my 5 year goals and asked how close could I see myself being in 1 year, then 6 months, then 3 months. It was easy to break the 3 months into 1 month and finally weekly goals.

Since I like bullet points and lists here is what I did in step form.

  1. Section out your life (Spiritual, relationship, hobby, career, mental, physical, emotion, etc)
  2. Write an ideal life for each of the sections.
  3. Write out how close you want to be in 5 years for the first section.
  4. Narrow your goals down to the top 3 for the section you are working on.
  5. Organize the 3 goals to Level A, Level B, and Level C goals (Level A being the highest/ most important)
  6. Create 1 year goals, 6 month goals, 3 months goals, 1 month goals, and finally 1 week goals.
  7. Repeat until all sections are completed.

As I reach each milestone I make adjustment notes and assess if the goals and organization still makes sense. So far it has made sense and helped me stay on track.

I can keep track of my plan. I know that I should focus on Level A goals before Level B goals. I also know that my spiritual life is more important than my writing. which is more important than my visual art.

If you are interested in creating goals I would highly recommend sectioning your life into different areas and creating you ideal areas of life. You can then make a plan easier to get to you ideal life.

Cardboard Box Poem

Stepping into the box
I close the cardboard door
calling it prison.
Putting weights on top
I dragged to-dos inside
until there was no room to breathe.

When I heard no new box would come
I saw the disarray of my prison box.
The to-dos were holding the weights at bay.
There was no escape.

Then I saw my heart cracking,
Then I knew I had to slumber,
Then in the morning’s light I saw
I had put the weight on myself.
I could release the to-dos.
I found my breath and joy
watching my troubles prance away.

A Vacation In My Home (Journey To Me)

In Mid March of 2017 I had what I called “a fast from life.” I took time off work, did not watch television during the day, did not go on social media or the internet, and did a tradition fast of no food except for liquids. It was a time of reflection on life, self searching, and relaxing that lasted 5 days. In that time I wrote the following.

It is about one o’clock on a sunny Wednesday. I hear a bird chirping in the distance and feel a gently breeze pass through my open windows. I am sitting on the ground of my beige living room. My back is leaning against my grey recliner and my fuzzy teal pillow. I have a teal body pillow on my lap and a sense of being home in my heart. This is only a small studio, but it is perfect for me.

The fast that it is beige is broken up with my light wood furniture, grey chair, and silver lamp in my living. My office has no structured definition, but instead of light furniture it has a black desk, a black bookcase, and a dark wood chair, but my art supply storage is a happy turquoise. Plus, there is a gallery wall of my art and the art I have collected.

My bedroom and reading nook are up a ladder in my loft.

The bathroom is huge.

There is also a kitchenette with a stove top, microwave, and an unused toaster oven.

My home is complete and my own.

It is perfect and my own paradise, which is why I’m taking a vacation here. I wanted to take time to figure out myself and a plan for my life. I need direction and to know that I’m on the path God wants me to be on. My original thought was to go away – travel.

I would not be distracted by the fact the grocery store is only 15 minutes away and there is a taco place even closer. If I traveled I won’t be reminded of all the different forms of art I play with. In that same thought I wouldn’t have my art supplies or all the projects I’m working on. Plus, why pay for a hotel when I just want to feel my pen on paper, sleep whenever I want,and read the rest of the time.

It is the first day of my fast from life and already I am liking it. I slept til 8, had a massage, and read 6 chapters in the Bible. I am very relaxed and peaceful. This is how I want to start this experimental fast that will be focused on God’s future for me.

For the next 5 days if my mind wonders I’ll let it. It is free to roam the forest of my thoughts, but I will also put it to work while it is near. This way I will remain calm and relaxed while I pray and search for what God will have me do.

This was the first day of the fast and by the end I had a rough plan. I had things I would be giving up and things that I would be adding to my life.

As I review the list of changes, I am noticing that some of the negative things crept back into my life. Thankfully, all except for one have been removed again. I am working on most of the positives habits. I did slip on them, but once I got back on track with my goals I started to have all, with the exception of one, in my weekly goals.

Swan Attack (Journey To Me)

It should be known that I hate birds. It is partly out of fear and partly is because I think at least fowl and larger birds are evil. I can handle smaller birds and can stand pet birds, like cockatiels. Roosters, swans, and geese are not okay in my book.

I have had a few negative run-ins with birds in my life. The first one I remember is the swan that attacked me and my now step-sister.

Until I was 10 I lived across the street from my uncles’ pig farm. They also had goats and chickens. I would always go over there and one day I went with my step-sister.

We went into the goat’s area. It was a fenced in patch of land that was a bit rocky, but grass still grew.

I did not realize that a swan made a nest and laid eggs in the grass, until I got too close. The swan chased my step-sister and me. We scrambled up some rocks, since we could not get back to the gate. There was a thorny bush on the other side of the fence. There was a short argument about leaping the fence, since we would be jumping into the thorns. The evil swan was ready to attack, but no major injuries occurred. I believe we jumped the fence or one of my uncles came to chase the bird away.

I want to say my uncle chased away the massive bird with a shovel in hand, but I can only remember the terror of the swan’s attack with its flapping wings and the feeling of being trapped.

My Speech (Journey To Me)

I will be blunt, because there is no real way of talking about my speech without doing so. I have a speech impediment, where d’s and t’s don’t always come out right or at all. This is especially true when d’s and t’s are in the middle of a word and I haven’t said that word a lot or at all.

Growing up I hated that it was called an impediment. It wasn’t because any negative experience I’ve had with having a speech impediment. I hated it, because I blurred the syllables together. I couldn’t say what I had well.

After years of speech therapy, theater, and practice friends and most people have said they don’t notice it. I know how to hide it and speak to be understood now.

I still hear it. I may not consciously be aware of it with every word I say, but I know it is still there in the shadows. I especially hear it when I listen to a recording or when I’m speaking through a microphone.

I repeat the words my friends tell me, “It’s just how I sound. It’s just how I talk.” I remind myself it makes me unique and those who matter don’t fault me for it.

For a time I cringed my way through editing videos of where I am speaking, whether it was monologues, tips, or improv videos. I forced myself to get comfortable with my voice. It did help me become more comfortable with my voice and accept it.

Eventually the videos slowed to a stop. The improved self-esteem for my speech was only a bi-product and my goals that were the real focus of the videos were not in the foreground of my motivation.

I gave little thought to my voice or speech for a while. It was not interfering with my life and it didn’t seem like an issue. I could listen to my voice without cringing now and everyone could understand me. Part of my thought that the impediment was behind me. It was something I had not have.  It felt as though the struggle with my impediment was over or a tiny pebble in the shadows of a far corner of my mind.

The funny thing with the mind is if you shine light on a pebble it can grow. Even the slightest connection to it can create a boulder under the right circumstances. The pebble become a hurdle, which open wounds that should have been healed.

Partly from stress and partly because a light was shined on my speech, I now had to face my speech impediment again. Even though the focus on my speech had nothing to do with the impediment, I saw my insecurities surrounding it.

I now have to figure out why the pain of not speaking exactly like everyone else still remains and threatens to come out at the slightest reference. Why does anything negative relating to speech or talking brings me to tears?

On the surface it appears that the reasons are easily sen. I want to be viewed as smart, but I must first sound intelligent. If  I’m fumbling over words, stuttering and finding replacements that I can say my IQ appears to drop.

I do not want what I view as my weakness and flaw hold me back. When it does I feel all the times its held me back. I am reminded of going to speech classes, being taken out of regular classes to go to a special speech therapy class, and feeling the label of “different” on me when it was not my choice.

Even now when I gladly wear “unique” and “different” as a proud badge, being different in speech hurts. It transports me back to being a child who did not ask for the label or want it.

I always felt loved and do not remember anyone teasing me about my impediment. They would tease me and bully me for other reasons, but never for how I spoke.

I do not want to blame my short coming or not getting things in life on my speech impediment. Hardly anyone notices now and if they do they say it doesn’t change their view of me. However, when it’s noticed it changes my view of myself. I’m reminded of the shy little girl. I find my shell again and must fight the urge to get back in it. I do fight though and write instead of crawling into my safe shell.

When the time is right I will explore why my speech impediment still hurts so badly when it is in the light. It is part of me and should not hurt me, yet it still does.

For now I will again work on tongue twisters and vocal exercises to overcome my flaws. I will become comfortable with my voice once again. I will remind myself that I’m my own success person. I’m strong and I am loved.

The relationship with my speech is a journey that I may stumble along, but I’m at least making progress and discovering more sides of who I am.

My Heart (a song)

Here’s my heart
please don’t break it
It’s all I have
even though I didn’t make it

It was made
by the ones who love it
It was made
by the ones who tore it
It is made
by the smiles you give it
It is made
by the tears that heal it

So, here’s my heart
please don’t break it
It’s all I have
even though I didn’t make it

It’s built by
the walls of protection
It’s built by
the gates of trusting
It’s made by
fear of more rejection
It’s made bu
acts of affection.

So, here’s my heart
please don’t break it
It’s all I have
even though I didn’t make it

Thank you for reading this song. I hope you enjoyed it.