The granny square house shoes: I did not care enough. And so I did not concentrate on following the instructions on how to make them because I don't like patterns. And that's because if I have to concentrate too hard on something as simple as working with granny squares, I get unhappy.
Applying eye shadow? Not important enough.
Social skills? Apparently not important enough.
Saving money? Yes.
Being healthy, and keeping Cody healthy? Oh my lands, yes. When I told him he had to be my friend forever, I was being literal.
Various domestic arts and crafts projects? The glitter glued to my living room floor speaks for itself.
When something is important enough, you try harder. You try and you think and you rearrange and you pray and you notice what works and what doesn't. And I think trying doesn't get nearly enough credit.
We're in the second week of the new year. Everyone and their mothers are still talking about changed eating habits and they're either really inspired or perfectly miserable. And so many of these people will have reverted to their old ways before March. That always gets me. They go back to their old ways because it wasn't "working" or something.
But it was working! You were exercising and eating well! You were doing it!
But if you're exercising and eating well because you want to lose weight or get a six-pack or reach a number on the scale with the expectation that it will fix everything and those things don't happen, well.... Try again next year.
And we know this, logically. Remembering it is another thing altogether.
Sometimes it's easier to do something just for the sake of doing it.
I exercise and eat well because I want to be well, and to have some protection against the hundreds of genetic treats that await me later in life. Seriously, Cody and I are like time bombs of expensive and debilitating genetically linked maladies.
Do I want I six-pack? Of course.
Am I going to do crunches? No. Just give me health and fitness. I'm not busting out a two-piece any time soon.
But trying is everything. If you try to eat well, and make smart choices, you're eating well. It becomes a habit. If you're trying new things, you're generally learning new things.
Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that there was some sort of attainable Golden Mean. That if we tinkered and worked and arranged everything just so, then everything would be perfect.
No such luck. You try. You fail. You rethink. You try something else. Take notes.
My friend, Kelly, wrote a note over the weekend about an article she read on teaching. A recent study discovered that the most effective teachers are the ones who are constantly changing their plans in an attempt to be better. They're trying. (Duh.) That I found this article through someone who honed her study habits every stinking semester is no surprise. Kelly has always been smart, but her extracurricular pursuits and color coded note cards and folders and desire to try even more are what make her one of my academic heroes. Even now.
I'm convinced that always trying harder is pretty much the most important and effective thing we can do.
It's why the best homeschool moms I know will pick and choose from various curricula to make a lesson plan, and then, if necessary, chuck it all when the next kid reaches that grade level because of different learning styles.
It's why my parents treat all their kids differently and why they treat Dallas the most differently of all.
It's why my teacher friends go beyond what's required and review files and try and teach and do and don't complain about bringing in stuff from home or buying things themselves.
It's why my husband goes into work and says, "We could make this" five times to his mom so that he can try one thing. It's one reason why he was hired in the first place.
It's why I get excited when my sister tells me she's training for a half-marathon, but roll my eyes when I read someone's 15th blog post about it's really time for a change (chick who deleted me last week, I'm looking right at you).
Try. Re-try. Don't just sit there and wring your hands when the one plan doesn't fit you.
Come on. Be my hero.
Every little thing counts.
It's like being happy. It's not always easier to be positive, but it's generally more pleasant.
I am not an especially positive person. I also tend to be a reclusive misanthrope. So I try to find things that make me happy. And I try to spend time with happy people. And Laine and I try to find something humorous and exciting about every day.
And I try to be grateful. I can be as mean and witty and whatever as I want and there's nothing stopping me (especially on some days). But if I were to live this rich and charmed life without gratitude and passing on some of the awesome I'd not only be a jerk, I'd also be an idiot.
I love the idea of growing as a person, especially since I've (somewhat) made peace with the fact that I'll never grow...you know, really.
And since pictures are awesome, here's an example of how I mix it up at home and keep trying to make our home cute and cozy (as opposed to old and kind of ramshackle):
Fall pictures on my garland,Yes, I can see the fall leaves on the dining room light just as well as you can. I said every little bit helps, remember? I'm taking my time and making excuses. Hush.
which I love to the point of obsession.
which I love to the point of obsession.
And if my bossy words and crafty pictures weren't enough for you, here are some more good links about trying and doing by people who are more articulate than I am.
Make some things pretty.
Learn something! (Includes more links! Woo!)
Change your routine.
What are you trying to do?