the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

On living purposefully.

Bee ButlerComment

After what can be summarized as one of the most difficult years of my life, I am very much looking forward to the new year. Because of that, I've been looking for foolproof ways to hold myself accountable and get the ball rolling on my New Years resolutions, and I've found a nice little questionnaire that seems like a good place to start, via That's Pretty Ace and Lara Casey.

(To get started, you can purchase Lara's book here, or read along online starting here.)

First, what went RIGHT in 2015? It's especially important for me to focus on positive aspects of the past year, because my blinders tend to leave me with nothing but the negative in sight. So, lets see.

The good things:

  • I got into Azusa Pacific University's Clinical Psychology Program!
  • I rebuilt my blog/secured my original domain and started writing again!
  • I celebrated one year with my awesome boyfrusband!
  • I paid off my old credit card and started the process of reopening my WFA!

Next, what went wrong, and what did I learn?

The not-so-good things:

  • I dropped two courses and took an Incomplete in the other two because of health issues.
  • I missed an absurd number of appointments and deadlines due to a combination of sickness and laziness (UGH, damnit, self).
  • I failed spectacularly at keeping my composure and practicing moderation, which led to quite a bit of disappointment and fighting with people I love.
  • I put on a pretty decent amount of weight (I'm trying to keep my cool about this).

I definitely learned that if I don't hold myself responsible for my actions, I'll reap a crazy amount of consequences. I understand now that I don't HAVE to have an opinion on everything, and the entire world does not need to be privy to my inner thoughts via social media (thanks to the boyfrusband for busting me on this one). I also realized that if I don't take the initiative, absolutely NOTHING will happen... and that keeps me stuck.

So, onto what fires me up:

'm a majorly visual person, so I'm very into SEEING the fruits of my labor. I enjoy walking into a clean room, being able to find my things because they're well organized, and having a space (like this blog) to air out my brain. If I can physically SEE my goals, I tend to stay on top of them moreso than I would otherwise. 

With that in mind, it's time to start saying NO to some things.
Next year, I'm saying NO to:

  • Excessive drinking (no beer, no shots, no more than 3 drinks at any time)
  • Dishonesty in all forms (stretching the truth, lying by omission, etc)
  • Wasteful spending (do I REALLY need that pair of shoes?)
  • Visiting the graveyard (i.e. looking at past pictures/conversations/people online and wallowing in self pity)
  • Comparison (I am not and will never be the picture-perfect person/girlfriend/daughter/sister/blogger/student, and it does no good for me to hold myself up against people who seem to be!)
  • Procrastination (oh my gosh, if I could have back all the hours I DIDN'T do something, I would have like, 8 months of the year ahead of me. NOT GOOD)

With all the space I've opened up by saying no, it's a good time to replace it with lots of YES.
In 2016, I'm saying YES to:

  • Daily Bible study (thankfully, I've got to give me a boost, and two new Bibles, too!)
  • Being THANKFUL. (There's so much good in my life that I pass by because I'm focused on the bad, and I need to start recognizing it)
  • Healthier choices (Lupus and depression are no fun, but there a ton of things I could be doing to lessen the pain. The weight I put on could also very easily disappear if I was just more thoughtful about what I put into my body and how I exercised)
  • Seeking friendship + community (I've lived in Carlsbad for over a year and still don't have any people to call my own. It's part of why I've been so stuck lately. I NEED TO FIX THIS! I need to find a church, too)

As a bonus, Lara encourages people to pick a "word for the year". Hers was 'win', but that doesn't really resonate with me. I'm thinking that 2016 needs to be the year of GROW.

Keeping that in mind, I need to define my "radical" for the year. What will the coming year look like for me in a really big way? 

I have to say, this one is daunting and scary. I have a bad habit of setting goals and forgetting them. This year, though, I have realized that I desperately need to DO something, not only to get up and out of the house, but to make some sort of income and help support my little family. My radical for this year is going to be finding and obtaining a career. Frick, reading that makes me want to pee my pants, but I know I've gotta start somewhere. Since I'm still in school, this is going to be tough, and probably not directly in my field, but if I put this in God's hands, I know that I can get there.

The last big thing is to find a song for the year. I cannot for the life of me pick just one song, because I have a million favorites, and the need for a single song tends to fade as my emotions change. Last year was supposed to be "Overcomer" by Mandisa and "Brave" by Sara Bareilles, but that was carried over from 2013, and it was difficult to hear those and not remember everything that happened then (it wasn't pretty). If I hear a new song soon and feel like it fits, I'll post it, but I'm not gonna force it, because if it isn't right, it isn't right.


WHEW. That was kind of exhausting. I'm gonna go read through some of my favorite blogs and try to get inspired to tackle all of the tasks I could potentially finish today. Here's hoping I can do it.