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Sunday, January 31, 2016

My January Journey: not so much in miles, but in experiences...

Part One: A continuation of my New Year's Goals for 2016

Cooking. Watching. Reading. Finishing. Uplifting. Expanding. 

Cooking. Thanks to the power of Facebook shares, I saw a recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron for Chicken Enchilada Chili. I tried it. I even added my own flair to it. I really, really, and I stress REALLY like it. I had some just again today for a late lunch and it reheats beautifully! 

Watching. Tracks. I decided to Google search movies on Netflix about Photography and/or National Geographic Photographers. Tracks came up in my search and once I saw the plot line was a bit of a twist on WILD and A WALK IN THE WOODS based on a true story set in Australia, I was interested. Then, when I saw the leading lady was an actress I really enjoyed in the new Alice in Wonderland series, and that the photographer is played by Emo Kylo Ren himself, Adam Driver, I knew it was a must watch. And, I was right. GREAT FILM! This Netflix treasure is one not to miss! I may even put it on my "rotation" of movies, so I can revisit it for fun. (Had to steal my friend Juli's term there. She often mentions movies in her "rotation.")

Reading. When I went to visit my friend, Travis, in Dallas (blog linkhe was game to tour Southfork Ranch to live out a bucket list item I had. I have to admit, I loved the TV series and the cast. Larry Hagman remains one of my favorite characters, as well as someone I also knew from I Dream of Jeannie. When I saw his autobiography "Hello Darling" in the gift shop, I knew I had found my new book. I started reading it this past week and I love it so far. This man lived a very unique life! 

Finishing. I am still attempting to make sense of the mosiac project I mentioned in the last blog post, but I also picked up my journal of thoughts, quotes, scribbles, and doodles I enjoy. I am not sure why I put it down. Maybe I let the digital world supercede the analog world, which is something I need to fix. It's liberating to just doodle thoughts and quotes, to tape cut outs from magazines, and more. Tangible is good. 

Uplifting. I have been on a big run of writing letters of recommendation, nominating people for awards, and of all things...I gave my buddy a birthday card this January. I bought her a birthday card, a funny inspirational book called Tweet Talkin' and a few other things. Apparently, I was the only REAL birthday card (on paper!) she got. What!? Oh, my! See above: tangible is good

Expanding. I am trying to think of ways to put my knowledge and gifts to use after I retire from teaching. I used to just dream of living in a camper van and being a vagabond with a nice home base in Missouri, but now I feel like that would sustain me only so long. I need to give. I need to do things for others. I have an idea formulating that I am researching, and will write about later. However, I can say this: this weekend my socially awkward self made herself say yes to things. I invited someone out on Friday night that I haven't had a chance to really visit with for a long time. She and I had a good time (I think). Then, Saturday night, some people I know from Facebook who are chronic campers took advantage of the weather and camped at a state park near me. I went. It was AWESOME fun. I think I'd do it again. Camping in groups isn't that bad, afterall! Maybe next time I'll toss out a big invite and see who all comes! 

Part Two: A few images from the past few weeks that make me smile... 

Murphy is my #1 snuggle buddy. He's on a quilt my mom made me for my birthday. That's just the underside of it. I need to photograph the top of it sooner than later! 
Unseasonably warm last weekend of Jan? I'll take it!  
Murphy. Just because I love Murphy. 
My pop is so gifted! He made me this for my 42nd Birthday. My mom made me a beautiful quilt that I need to photograph soon, too. I love TANGIBLE things from the heart, don't you?
Karlene and I attended our first WinterJam. It was very uplifting!

Until next time, 
M of MK Designs

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Where am I heading in 2016? (I hope you join me!)

In 2015, you learned about my "agenda" and goals for the year. I had 11 very specific targets to hit. In the end, I was able to make nearly all of them a reality. I am very happy with the overall results. 

2016 will have a different twist on this concept. 

As the quote above states: "I want to become a woman who overcomes obstacles by tackling them in faith instead of tiptoeing around them in fear."

That quote is my mantra for 2016. 

At least once a month, if not more, my goal is to face the following obstacles with faith and not fear. 

Cooking. I have been fearful of it my whole life it seems (especially my married life). I want to get better at creating meals for myself and my family instead of depending upon others or restaurants so much. 

Watching. Well, it's high time I watch more than my phone screen or camera's viewfinder. I have access to so many great shows and movies. I need to expand my horizons without fear. So what if I end up not liking it? At least I tried! 

Reading. My reading of actual books has declined big time over the years. I need to get myself out there and focus more on books. I need to faithfully make the time to make this happen. 

Finishing. Oh my goodness, I have too many projects I have put to the side. Often, I end up doing so because I am fearful of how they are shaping (or not shaping) up. 2016 is a year to correct that!

Uplifting. In 2015 several of my goals were directed towards myself. In 2016, I want to faithfully take the time to uplift others on a regular basis. 

Expanding. I really feel based upon some of the things I choose to do (without fear, but in faith) that I will find a way to expand my mindset and knowledge of the world around me. 

I have already made a start on this for January. 

Cooking. For the first time in my life, I made a homemade stew! Soups I have been ok at, but now I can add stew to my list. 
Cooking, Watching, and Expanding...hey, I had never tried veggie/fruit juice!
Watching. Thanks to Facebook, I saw this article "23 Best Movies On Netflix You Haven't Seen Yet." I decided to try a movie from it. "The Kids Are All Right" was an interesting movie and I am pretty glad I gave it a chance. If you're homophobic (I am not) or hate "foul language" (again, I can face it), you won't be able to handle this film. However, I found it charming, enlightening, and brutally honest. There are many points in the film that touched my heart. This part for instance:

"I need to say something. Um, it's no big secret your mom and I are in hell right now, and, uh... Bottom line is, marriage is hard. It's really hard. Just... just two people slogging through the shit, year after year, getting older, changing. It's a marathon, okay? So, sometimes, you know, you're... you're together so long, that you just... You stop seeing the other person. You just see weird projections of your own junk. Um, instead of talking to each other, you go off the rails and act grubby and make stupid choices, which is what I did, and I feel sick about it because I love you guys, and I love your mom, and that's the truth. Sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most. I don't know why. I... You know, if I read more Russian novels, then... Anyway, I just wanted to say how sorry I am for what I did. I hope you'll forgive me eventually. Thank you."

Reading. This book (pictured above) is a must-read for anyone in education or who is the parent of a high-functioning autistic child. I picked it up fearful of what I would read, but now I am reaching a better understanding of how individuals with high-functioning autism work. It has been very eye-opening. I am thankful for it.
Finishing. I started this Mardi Gras mosaic years ago, and put it down. I was so fearful of where it was headed. I found it, added some black paint, and am back to letting the beads and glue come together. Hopefully, when it is finished I can find a home for it or an art show to display it in. I am going to stop being afraid of how it comes out and have faith... well, have faith it won't totally suck. :-)

Uplifting. I am currently working my tush off to get all my ducks in a row to nominate a current student for the Missouri Journalism Student of the Year, as well as nominate my Principal for Missouri Administrator of the Year through the state Journalism group I am involved in. Both are so deserving and I am excited to be the one to get the ball rolling. It's time to see other people recognized for their efforts. I hope they know that in my heart they are amazing people who put Scholastic Journalism first whenever possible. 

Expanding. I found myself at Casey's General Store eyeing the juice on the first Sunday of 2016. Feeling under the weather somehow didn't phase my idea of trying to "expand" upon my experiences in life. I picked up a fruit/veggie juice blend. Guess what? I didn't hate it. It was totally worth trying! Add that into my expanded understanding of all the time that goes into mosaics and how to best help kids with high-functioning autism... well, I feel pretty ok about this area. 

So, what will future blog posts reveal about this new "mantra" and focus for 2016? Only time will tell, and I am excited to see how it goes. Do you have any suggestions for what to attempt to cook next, read, watch, etc? Feel free to comment on my MK Designs facebook page, or right here on the blog. 

Until next time, 
~ M of MK Designs

Friday, January 1, 2016

Looking Back: 2015's Agenda Achieved!

For the first time in my life I made a detailed list of "goals" for the year.  I called it my 2015 Agenda

I posted it right here on my blog and on my personal facebook page. At times, I revisited the list personally and publically to see how I was doing. 

What did I learn from this? Well, apparently when I write a list out and make it public, THAT forces me to do it! 

Let's revisit:

#1. DONE! I was named the 2015 MIPA Journalism Teacher of the Year. See link:

#2. DONE! I was just named the 2016 JEA National Broadcast Adviser of the Year. See link: 

I have to admit I aimed bigger than I ever have in my career for numbers #1 and #2. I am so humbled. 
#3. DONE! My daugher and I camped so much more in 2015! We kicked if off in Hawn State Park in Missouri. Later, we ventured to parts of Southern Illinois, and even found ourselves loving Wisconsin! 
#4. SORTA DONE! My "hike more" goal had its moments where I was totally kick-ass. However, when I look at the big picture, I let myself down on this one. 
#5. DONE! However, this remains a constant work in progress. I have watched my daughter's empathy, kindness, love of the Lord, and her education blossom. I am proud of the young woman she is becoming right before my eyes. She can be so giving and compassionate. Also, she's becoming quite the little reader! For a child who used to fight me (on many levels) to open a book, this is a HUGE blessing! 
#6. DONE! New deck and new front retaining wall HAPPENED. My house is looking good, however my financial house is still a work in progress. Yet, I feel way better about things than I did this time last year.

#7. I don't know that I can call this goal done. I feel I have grown stronger in my Faith and learning more about the teachings of Jesus, but I know I have so much more room for growth. 

#8. DID IT and REFUSE TO STOP. I did spend much more time with my Grandma in 2015. Indeed, I saw her way more than I did in 2014. I hope to continue the trend. 

#9. My goals for MK Designs Photography feel half achieved. 

Here are the positives: 

I was in several art shows, had several new clients, and thanks to my friend Tyann Marcink I have business cards I am so proud of and my own domain: How cool is she? Her support of my work means so much to me.  
The biggest stretch I took with the photo gig is that I shared a booth with my friend Juli of at a Christmas Market held at Blumenhof Winery. I was able to get my name out there, meet people, sell several items, and more. It was a great experience. 
#10. I set a goal to be the best mom, teacher, daughter, friend, etc. I can be. I think under the circumstances... DONE. There is always room for improvement, but I did give it my all. Perhaps that is why #9's goal wasn't fully realized. 
#11. DONE! It took me until December 31st, but I finally have my bedroom (minus a little wall art swaps I want to do) ready! I finished the chalk paint/wax and distressing project of a dresser and headboard. Whew! 
There it is. 2015's Agenda Achieved, so what does that leave in store for 2016?! I'll be hitting on that topic sooner than later, but for now this image is a sneak peek into my thoughts and plans for the New Year.
Until we meet again, I am curious about what your thoughts are on making an agenda and sticking to it. How do you plan to make things "happen" in 2016? 

As always, feel free to comment or share this blog with anyone you feel it could be a blessing to! 

~ M of MK Designs 
Jan 2016