101 Things in 1001 Days

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Those of you who know me best know that I’m a list maker. I love a good bullet point – I try to make my notes from Sundays at church into lists. My friend Lucy at school was a paragraph girl where sentences rolled into each other, I’d look over at her business studies notes and see her beautifully flowing prose. But I’m the opposite. I love the reminder app on my phone – it’s full of books I want to read, prayer lists, answered prayer, house projects, garden projects, places I want to travel (categorised into 2 separate lists – Europe and Worldwide… obviously) and recipes to try. You can learn a lot about me by the lists that I make.

I’m also a goal setter. Miss Acheiver. A Closet Competitive. I care about completing the 2048 on my phone/ winning monopoly at Christmas/ beating my brothers when we’re playing sporting type games (sadly this doesn’t happen on most sporting occasions as they’re both bigger, stronger and more athletic than I…).

I’m a bucket list kind of girl too. A dreamer and planner. I value challenge and possibility and believe it’s important for people to better themselves.

A while ago I heard about this very cool project called 101 in 1001. It’s a list of 101 things to accomplish over the next 1,001 days. That’s just over 2 and a half years. For me, it’s a happy medium between a to do list and a bucket list. It contains the big things and the little things, the fun and fanciful things as well as the deep and meaningful. Many of my “one day” goals are perpetually on my to do list which means that although they’re important and things that I feel drawn to do, I never make time for them. By setting myself a deadline, it provides me with the incentive to do them. It allows me space to dream but helps me work towards them day by day.

I started mine on 1st Aug 2013 and finish at the end of April 2016. Here’s some things still on my list:

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And some things that I’ve done:

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What would you put on yours?

9 Types – The Enneagram

Have I told you about Enneagram? If I’ve had a conversation with you in the last 2 weeks – if we’ve had a meal together or a staff meeting or you’ve been stuck in a car with me – the chances are, you probably have heard of them. Some new friends introduced me to it when they basically had me sussed after 24 hours of knowing me. I’d heard about it in passing but never really paid much attention to it.

The Enneagram (pronounced “any-a-gram”) is an early Catholic personality profiling system that describes 9 basic types of people and explains why we behave the way we do and then points to direction for individual growth. It teaches that in early life, we learn to feel safe and to cope with different personal and family situations based on our natural talents and abilities.

A really brief overview as I’m not an expert:

1’s – The Perfectionist –  1’s are motivated by the need to right and perfect. They are realistic, contentious, particular and principled. They strive to live up to their high ideals.

2’s – The Helper – 2’s are motivated by the need to be needed or loved. They are loving, warm, concerned, nurturing and sensitive. They are emotionally expressive and focused on relationships.

3’s – The Achiever – 3’s are motivated by the need to be successful. They are energetic, optimistic, self assured and goal oriented. They fear being worthless.

4’s – The Romantic – 4’s are motivated by the need to be special and unique. They have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive and fear having no identity or significance.

5’s – The Investigator (or the Observer) – 5’s are motivated by the need to understand and perceive. They are introverted, curious, analytical and insightful.

6’s – The Loyalist (or the Questioner) – 6’s are motivated by the need to be safe. They strive to receive approval and to feel taken care of. They are responsible, trustworthy and value loyalty to family and friends.

7’s – The Adventurer (or Enthusiast) – 7’s are motivated by the need  to be happy and avoid pain. They are energetic lively and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world.

8’s – The Asserter (or Challenger) – 8’s are motivated by the need to self-protect and be strong. They are direct, self-reliant, self-confident and protective. They fear being harmed, controlled or violated.

9’s – The Peacemaker – 9’s are motivated by the need to keep the peace. They are receptive, good-natured, adaptable and supportive. They seek union with them and the world around them.

 

Shauna Niequist has written more in depth about the types here. Or for even more info you can look at Enneagram Institute here or 9 types here.

I’m a 3 and understanding this has helped me see some of the positives of my personality. Knowing that I can be task driven and competitive, I love being busy, that I thrive on striving for new challenges and goals, that I value feedback and affirmation has always felt like something to be ashamed of. It sounds vain and narcissistic, competitive and selfish. But learning what a 3 looks like at their best (optimistic, confident, industrious, energetic) as well as their worst (deceptive, vindictive, pretentious…eek!) has shown me habits and patterns of thinking that I have when I’m in health and also in stress. It’s confirmed aspects of my personality that I hadn’t acknowledged before (I value feedback good or bad, and I don’t like being interrupted… I really don’t!). It’s encouraged me to stop and rest, highlighted my tendency to adapt to whatever I feel would be valuable to that situation, as opposed to truly being myself. That I’m loved for who I am, not what I do and that my feelings are as valuable as my accomplishments.

I’ve found it hugely helpful in understanding why I do things, I can see a bigger picture of my coping strategies and am beginning to learn alternative behaviours. It’s added a whole new awareness of the way that I’ve been made and is helping me live in the healthiest possible way. I see my feelings and emotions in a new light, it’s encouraged me to create boundaries, it’s highlighted potential pitfalls and negatives habits that we’ve been oblivious to in our marriage and has given me insight in conversations around peoples motivations so it’s helping to improve my relationships.

So I’m a 3. My husband is a 9.  I shouldn’t inflict my desire to be busy on him as he values peace and relaxation and if I have an issue, I should engage in discussion with him but not confrontation. My close friend is a 6 – she values clarity and direct instructions, gentle reassurance and lots of encouragement. My in-laws are 8’s and 4’s. My mother in law appreciates it when I’m straight and direct, she would prefer that to me being diluted or vague. My father in law values compliments, particularly about the things that make him unique. He will always enjoy theatrics, humour and creativity no matter how much he’s told be sensible.

It’s valuable to get to know each type, not just your own and to learn some of the characteristics of relationships between those types. Next time I see you, we can sit down and work out which you are and I pray you’ll find it as useful as I have.

The Hesitant Blogger

I have been a frequent reader of blogs for the last 6 years. I’ve learnt a lot from blogs, picked up tips, been inspired, completed tutorials, sat crying in front of a screen, been compelled to action and turned up to events all from reading a blog.

I have been an infrequent blogger for about 5 years. Look at my archive. I’m a hesitant blogger. I start and then I stop. There are a lot of blogs out there why do you need another one? Blogging is something I’ve always liked the idea of doing but never really got round to. I keep personal journals and write regularly in those but publicly? Not so much.

But not one to give up easily and after various encouragement and conversations with friends, I’ve felt prompted to start blogging again. So here goes.

This blog is foremost and firstly for me. It’s a space to store my memories, stories, photos, collections and clarify my thinking.

I’m writing to play. I love to create and craft things. This isn’t limited just to writing. I enjoy the process of writing and crafting sentences together but on a blog, I can combine my hobbies; sharing photography and recipes, logging creative projects, DIY, books I’ve read, food, exploring and travel. I believe we were all made to invent and innovate, to craft and create and a blog provides blank pages to sketch and scribble on.

I’m writing to learn. At university I studied Reflective Learning; if you take the time to think about your experiences and what you’re learning, you increase your understanding. The nuggets of wisdom you pick up sink deeper into your being. My personality type will always cause me to rush onto the next thing and “do” all the time. In my experience, journaling and reflecting helps to steer me away from scattered and fragmented living. My hope is that writing will give me more clarity and focus, will increase my self-awareness and help me live intentionally.

I’m writing to practice. I’m an achiever at heart and I believe that everyone should seek to better themselves and live up to the potential that’s within them. I am no exceptional wordsmith, but perhaps I have it in me to be an adequate one. My writing is a work in progress, but I’m confident that the more I write, the better I’ll become.

I’m writing to collect – I collect things. Like a LOT of things. Pictures. Articles. Books. Photos. Useful and useless information. Ask my husband about the piles of bits of paper that we have in our house. On here, I can collect them all in one place (though I’m not likely to give up my random bits of paper anytime soon also…)

I’m writing to share. I’ve learnt a lot of helpful and practical stuff in my life through reading. I’ve been greedy in my consumption so it seems only fair that I share it – God loves a generous giver.

I hope it will be beautiful and that other people may find it meaningful also, but the rewarding part for me will be in the process of crafting this blog. It might be a way to connect with others who love Jesus and want to soak up the life he offers, or to collaborate with new friends looking for creative ideas and inspiration. But for me it will be my sketchpad. My notebook. My travel journal of the path I’ve walked. And that’s why I’m blogging again…hesitant but hopeful.