Sunday, January 06, 2008

Simply resolute

Last year, I decided that I wasn't going to make a ton of specific resolutions at the New Year. Mainly because I always feel that I can only ever really focus on just one of the eight or ten goals I was in the habit of making, and that didn't help me feel very successful. So, last year, I decided to focus on one word, and let that govern the way I lived.

The word I chose for 2007 was care.

And, as the year has passed, I think I definitely was able to get rid of much of the apathy I had been feeling before. I did (do) care much more about my family, my health, my home and my happiness. Certainly, I had many overwhelming moments in which I retreated back to my hole of indifference, but I was able to emerge more quickly and more ready to care again. All in all, I really like the way this one word helped me to live.

I have been thinking quite a bit about what I want my goal to be for 2008. At first I thought it should be an action word: do. Now that I have learned to care a bit more, I thought I should work on getting off my duff and doing. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don't necessarily have a problem with doing. In fact, I probably do too much. Not always the right things, mind you, but I am always doing something.

With that in mind, I decided that this year I need to focus on simplifying my life. My life is full to overflowing, and I need to find a way to give myself the opportunity to focus on the correct priorities instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done, and then completely shutting down after a particularly difficult day. So often, in my rush to finish everything and then some, my children and my husband get pushed off to the side, and I don't like that.

You may have noticed that I haven't blogged in a while, and by now you've probably realized why. I am not sure if I will blog as much as I did last year, or if I will go back to the twice a week posts I did for the two years before that. I enjoyed the way that blogging helped me to care more, but I am not certain it will help me to simplify. So we shall see.

I have already begun to do many things necessary to simplify. Joel and I spent several hours revamping our family goals in such a way that the kids will be our first priority. It isn't easy to work around the crazy schedules we both have, but we will find a way to do it. We have also committed to being much more wise with the little bit of money we have. We did a pretty good job last year, but this year as the grocery and gas bills only rise higher and higher, we need to make a much more conscientious effort to tighten our belts and live more simply.

As for me personally, I know that the simplification I so desperately need includes going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. It includes spending less time on the not so important things and more time on studying the Gospel and with my children and husband. It includes making sure I have time to recharge myself and truly enjoy life.

While I wish my new simplicity could include cutting the amount of voice students I have in half, it can't. In fact, I may need to add more in order for us to make it. Hopefully, by simplifying in other areas, this particular part of my life will not bring as much stress and dread to my weeks.

Finally, we are making a huge effort to pray and fast for a new job for Joel. We both know we will not be able to live like this for another entire year. Joel has already started the application process and we are moving forward with faith that there is something better out there for him this year. The single best way to simplify our lives is to be in a situation where I will not be required to work and Joel will be able to support our family by working only one job instead of three.

I have already felt more peaceful and more able to cope with the curve balls that life is constantly throwing at us (like Chloe breaking her wrist yesterday). I have felt a renewed energy and zest for life as I declutter both my home and my mind. Of course, school doesn't start until tomorrow, so we'll see how I do then, but less has definitely been more this past week.
Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. I am so proud of you Lara. You have always had a sense of what you needed to do, and growing up, when I would "have" to talk to you about it, you always had come to that realization shortly before, and was just beginning to formulate a plan. You are a great example to many of being "real" and "imperfect". And that we can achieve greatness in spite of.

  2. Lara - I am so touched by your blog entry today. We just came home from church and I have been thinking the same thing about simplifying my life to be more in tune and in focus. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and for being so open and honest about it. I admire you more than you know. Today's blog post was just the icing on the cake. And although I'll miss your frequent blog posts, I understand why. Thanks for being a great example! - Deb

  3. Here are my little hands clasped in faith that you guys will move to the Bay Area. :)
    Simplification is harder then I initially thought it would be in my life -- I really liked Elder Oak's talk though, it helped me realign my priorities a lot.

  4. Love your blog entry....Christopher and I are trying harder this year to simplify our spending habits as well as simplify our living....we live in a society where people are surrounded by things and the more things they have the better they feel about's a wonderful feeling when you can get to the point where you don't need things to make yourself feel good...we are learning....I think it's a lifetime process...
    May I suggest a book "Change your thoughts, change your life. The wisdom of the tao (dow)" written by Dr. Wayne Dyer

  5. Sorry Hilary, but they are moving up here closer to all of us, hee hee!! ( our little hands are clasped too!, may the best woman win!)

  6. Oh yes, I can relate. I am trying to take steps to simplify too... but I am not as goal oriented as you are, nor do I feel that my husband is on board.

    But any improvements I can make in this area, so I will continue onward. Baby steps!

    Good luck. Hopefully we will still hear from you periodically. I really enjoy your blog.

  7. This really is a year where less can be more. I really want to pair down all of our outside activities. It can sometimes get out of control with all the running around. I do not enjoy my kids as much when I feel stressed. I hope I can be less stressed and more relxaed this year. Good lauck with job searching. We were there not too long ago!

  8. I love how you pick one focus for the year and work around that. I am excited for you. Thanks for saying what so many of us think about!

  9. I loved this post, Lara. There's always something about a new year that makes us more reflective. I guess it feels like a clean slate of sorts, but I totally relate with your need to simplify.

    There are so many distractions that keep us from doing that which is most important. And then there are things we just have to do. I'm certain Joel will get a great job this year. He has to-he's too talented! I loved seeing you all over the Holidays. Ouch for Chloe! (Mom said it was Sophia!)

  10. Love your post. I am trying to simplify too. It will not be easy though. Hope Chloe is feeling better after hurting her wrist.

  11. First - - big **hug** for Chloe, and second - - big **hug** for you.

    Simplify. I whole heartedly agree. I constantly define my role as being 100% a mother, a wife, and I have been asked many times what are my "other hobbies" or "other interests".... To them I say NONE! The role I CHOOSE to play in life is what brings me true joy. To do a good job (some days better then others) I have to put in 100%. There is little left over for more, and the "little" there is, I have to be VERY careful in what I fill that time with.

    Hang in there with your job situation. I will pray with you. Fast with you. Amazing blessings can be on the horizon, and we never know it. We have been in your shoes, WERE in your shoes for years. And then - - last May, we were given the raise of a life time. My husband quit his 2nd job about 2 months ago, and we're enjoying the smooth ride, while we've got it.

  12. I love your word! I love that you actually have resolutions. I never do them and I wish I would. Maybe that should be my resolution ;p

  13. This was so well written as your posts always are. You are one of several people who are talking about the need to simplify in a society where we tend to try and do too much.
    I was really amazed at the schedules you'd described in prior posts and wondered how you and Joel found any time to yourselves or with your children. It must be difficult to imagine what could come next, but I'm sure your prayers will be heard. Maybe it will say for you to move back to the Phoenix area? (My personal preference for your answer.)
    Good luck with your resolution for the coming year.

  14. Sending (((hugs)))... and I love the idea of just a word to motivate you. Love it. Good luck with everything. :)