Back at It

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“When a thing beckons you to explore it without telling you why or how,
this is not a red herring; it’s a map.”
Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road

And for that, I must deem 2016, the year of the map. I gathered with friends this weekend and given that it’s January, the topic of resolutions made it’s regular recurrence. The comments ranged from, “I don’t make them so that I can’t break them” to “I’m going to the gym three times a week this year.” Truthfully, there is plenty that I’d like to accomplish this year and yes, that I plan to achieve.

“Uncharted territory,” I said. “The parts on the maps of our lives that we don’t understand. In cartographer’s language they call these places sleeping beauties.”
Christopher Barzak, The Love We Share Without Knowing

I am also willing to allow for flexibility – the presentation of that which is not yet known and therefore that which we can’t plan on in advance.

“Plenty of blanks in the world’s charts. There will have to be a lot surveying before all of them are filled in.”
John Blaine, The Phantom Shark

Instead of resolutions, I’ve moved to the world of guiding principles; that compass in the center that helps me make decisions about how to spend my time and what is more valuable than our time? Having a set of guiding principles in front of me not only helps me feel more grounded but creates a barometer to evaluate the week ahead ensuring that I remain attentive to the things that are meaningful.

“Whether an island such as Easter Island can be considered remote is simply a matter of perspective. Those who live there, the Rapa Nui, call their homeland Te Pito Te Henua, ‘the navel of the world’. Any point on the infinite globe of the Earth can become a centre.”
Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands

My guiding principles are simple; health (spiritual, physical, and mental), family, a learning agenda, friends, community service, travel and yes, writing. The nature of Agrigirl will change a bit as I work to introduce topics that are grounded in placemaking and to share some of the work that I’m doing in my PhD. With a first semester under my belt, I’ve been introduced to a wide range of great writing and had the opportunity for research. I’ve missed writing and I’ve missed connecting with all of you – my blogging community.

I’m looking forward to reconnecting and I want to hear about your guiding principles for the year to come. I want to reflect in December on where our maps have been filled in. What are you planning for 2016?

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44 Comments

  1. Welcome back! ;->

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

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  2. My door is always open! ;->

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  3. So nice to hear about your guiding principles which are very similar to mine. I love writing and I do work on my health, family, friends, community service and travel. Not sure how much travel we will do this year. We are working on finding a new ‘forever home’ in Scottsdale or Tempe. Fingers crossed that a Scottsdalehome we put an offer on last night goes through!

    Our daughter just received her acceptance letter into ASPIRE academy – a gifted/advanced middle school in Tempe. She is so excited, she even shed a tear or two. So touching that my 11 year old cares so much about education. I’m hoping that feeling will last for a lifetime.

    I trust you are on your way to having a fabulous year!

    Reply
    • Thank you Danielle and the best of luck in your new home. I love that your daughter is placing such an emphasis on education! I always tell my kids that it’s the one thing no one can take away.

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  4. I love the idea of guiding principles rather than resolutions. For many years now, I have kept a list on my refrigerator door: Family, Art, Garden, Exercise, Education. It helps to remind me of my priorities when other things pull at me. I always start the new year, though, with a stack of new self-help books and a string of new plans. I’ve already finished a five-day clean eating regimen, I’ve committed to blogging every day this year, have plans to complete one hundred small paintings before summer…besides all the home repairs, garden improvements and diet and exercise goals that always make the list. Argh!

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  5. Glad to be reading you again. Looking forward to reading more!

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    • You’re so kind. Thank you for coming by. Do you have guiding principles?

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      • Yes. I don’t really do resolutions. I think of parts of my life I’d like to do something different with and move in that direction–pretty much the way you are doing.

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  6. So happy to see you and read your thoughts and words! I am excited to hear what you are discovering and will share with us. 🙂 I don’t do ‘new years’ well. I have trouble with goals. BUT, I feel my word for this year is ‘poured out’ and God has me on a ‘no stress plan’, so that is a good start! 🙂 My mom is dying, but she is at peace and He is carrying us and keeping us covered. Hope this wasn’t too much info!!!

    Reply
    • That’s a lot to deal with Debbie. God will see you through. My spiritual health is a main priority for me this year too.

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  7. Sally

     /  January 18, 2016

    Always, congratulations Tammy on forever inspiring all of us. I am as well on fire to reunite with my spiritual and physical self. I am hoping to achieve all of my goals of helping and healing self and others through old and new knowledge and learning thru all my mentors and Spiritual guides. You are so welcomed back. I have missed your blog!
    Congratulations on your first semester!

    Reply
    • Thanks Sally. It ended up being more of an undertaking than I envisioned but I’m happy with the results.

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  8. Welcome back! Glad to hear you plan to carve out some writing time.

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  9. I like your guiding principles. I probably should have some–but I think that I’m still at the resolutions stage. 🙂

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    • I think principles make it easier to work with all year (oh and I tuck a few goals in) but not sure I resolve to do anything.

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  10. I love the concept of guiding principles. I try to be guided by keeping myself happy and content which means everyone around me gets the best I have to offer. All the best for 2016 🙂

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    • The saying in my house is “when mom’s happy, everyone is happy.” Thanks Tandy. Happy New Year to you!

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  11. Lisa H

     /  January 19, 2016

    Welcome back, Tammy! I have missed your posts!

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  12. Glad to see you back, Tammy! I’ve missed you! I haven’t been blogging much, either.

    Setting guidelines is a wonderful plan, because it directs us to look at the larger picture — Achieving or maintaining good health, rather than just weight loss, for example. I’ve been spending a lot of time on my photography, but need to take that in a different direction. I need to decide what I want to accomplish.

    I also need to look at why I blog and why I really have slowed.

    Part of my joy in blogging was interacting with and learning from other bloggers like you, Tammy!

    Reply
    • One of the greatest surprises and joys in blogging has been the opportunity to meet others like you and several other of the commenters. I’m so fortunate – sounds like great fodder for a post!

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  13. Hi Tammy and Happy New Year—like everyone else commenting here, I was glad to see you back and hear your voice in your words. I actually read this yesterday, but wanted a little time to think about my guiding principles, and where they may take me this year. Bill and I are on the cusp of a down-sizing life change (this year we are building a smaller, more efficient home that better suits us, and selling the home we’ve lived in for the past 16 years) it’s a good time to evaluate what is important, needed, or cherished, and what we need to let go of. (big metaphor there!) It’s been (and still is) a lengthy process, but liberating. Otherwise, I’ll keep plugging away at writing–some blogging, another cookbook forming, and a food memoir to find a home. Like you, it’s the intersection of food and community that interests and excites me. My best, Nancy

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    • I often think of doing a down-sizing Nancy. We are not at that place yet but I can tell that it will come and like you, I find much of that liberating. It’s so exciting that you’re on to your next writing project. We have your cookbook in our kitchen!

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  14. Great to see you writing again, Tammy! I hope you are enjoying grad school. And I love the concept of guiding principles rather than resolutions – I’ve never heard of anyone breaking their guiding principles by February 1st 🙂 Happy 2016!

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    • I hadn’t thought of it like that Mary but I don’t know that one can break their guiding principle without feeling really badly! Happy New Year. I hope this year finds you well aligned with your guiding principles wherever they may take you!

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  15. Meg Smeck

     /  January 20, 2016

    I really like the “guiding principles” concept you shared, so much so that I passed your post on to our four adult children! This past summer, all six members of our family was blessed to be led though Gallup’s Strengths Finder as a family group by certified coach Mary Sue Ingraham. We learned so much about ourselves and each other which has really broadened how we understand and relate to each other. Individual goal setting and reflection is always great, but the family interaction around who we are and where we want to go was so powerful in a new way. It was an investment in each other that will be paying big dividends for years to come and helping each of us contemplate our next college semester or 12 months. Someone recently shared with me that unless you write your goals down, you are apt to only achieve them by accident. I’m glad your GPs are in writing, out there to encourage all of us and achievable because I know you!

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    • I just did the Strenghfinders with my work team Meg. I enjoyed it and think they did also. It’s been a great way to think about who to pair for assignments. I love that you did it as a family. Maybe that’s a plan for us in the summer. Thanks for passing this along and for believing in me.

      Reply
  16. What a great metaphor for resolutions! It makes it seem normal to feel lost at times while trying to “get back on course” and achieve them! Welcome back!

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    • We all feel lost at times but finding our way back efficiently is the key – or should I say the compass?

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  17. Great to see your blog again…I hope to be posting more frequently this year. And continue work on my memoir (Started 7 years ago).

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  18. Lovely to hear from you again, Tammy. I would love to commit to going to the gym three times a week (if only to get some value out of my membership), but I’m not sure that level of commitment is going to be possible. I admire you for doing your PhD – best of luck with it xx

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    • Thank you Charlie. I love watching the adventures of your family because you are as busy as we are! Thanks for taking us along as you roll.

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  19. Welcome back! I love this approach to new year resolutions and goals. My resolutions always seem to recycle, year after year. This year it’ll be trying to find a little more space for my own endeavours, outside of kids and home.

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    • Hi there! It’s so great to hear from you. And it looks like your little family has kept on growing! Congratulations! What’s Freja’s sister’s name?

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      • Matilda! And she’ll tell you that she’s 4 and a half (like Freja) but she’s really only two. !! She always has to be the leader and she can do everything herself. Whew. She’s quite a handful!!

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  20. I chose a word for 2016. Flow. As in take the oars out of the water and flow. Trying not to resist. Working on a PhD–whew–you go agrigirl!

    Reply
  21. Loved the quotes… Look forward to reading more of your adventures for this year 🙂

    Reply

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