Happy New Year

A New Year, a New Chance to Grow

It’s already 3 weeks into the New Year and been pretty busy so far.

So many thoughts and ideas to put into action.

In previous years I would always sit down a few days before the end of the year and make out of checklist of things I wanted to attempt or accomplish in the next year, I never call them my resolutions.  Since a resolution is defined as “…solving a problem…” it would not be correct to say that making changes are necessarily to solve a problem.  Life is not a problem to be solved but an opportunity to make the most of what time we are given.

Checklists

I have been doing them since I was a kid.  Yes, even at the age of 12, I was organized and into making lists.  Way back then, I would make a checklist of things to accomplish in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years out.  Yeah, rather ambitious.

Throughout the last 23 years or so my focus has always been on my family.  So my checklists would be centered on them and their needs.   I had begun slowly moving away from what I wanted.  The last 3 years had been the most difficult and I had quit making checklists.

A military career coming to an end along with a 17 year marriage and realizing that my nest would soon be empty. All the while, struggling with depression and anxiety, contributing factors to some of the major personal life changes. Then the loss of my children’s father, my ex-spouse, toward the end of 2016.   I spent the last 5 months contemplating it all and seeking out counseling to help with my internal thought processes & responses to everything.

It’s been eye opening to face my own shortcoming, faults, depression and anxiety but it has been a necessary one in order to help me to continue to grow and make more of an impact on the rest of my life.   So this time I didn’t sit down and make out any checklists heading into the New Year instead I began thinking about plans for my future and how I was going to accomplish them.

Purposeful Thought

It’s been a long time since I sat down and thought about what I wanted to do.  I was just going through the motions and not really focused on one thing.  My counselor believes it was the depression others that know me were accustomed to me being constantly on the go.  I remember once a guy telling me “You are the busiest stay at home mom I’ve ever seen.” I thought that was kind of funny because I was really only at home during the evenings to cook meals, clean and take care of my family.  During the day I was out trying to conquer and save the world.  Volunteer parent, self-employed, part-time student and American soldier.

Then in 2008 my life became a little more hectic and beautiful at the same time.  I discovered cake decorating and sugar art.  This art form actually became a saving grace during my darkest moments.  I could still see beauty among the darkness and so wanted to surround myself with it.  The excitement of discovering a new technique, new gadget or seeing someone else’s beautiful work became the seeds to an idea that one day I could make this my business.  This also helped to relight the flame to finish my business degree something I have been trying to accomplish for 18 years.  Now I’m down to my last 18 hours so 2017 is my year to push through and complete it. Possibly begin pursuing a Master’s degree going into 2018.

Planning and more planning   

As I go along right now it is still an ongoing process making adjustments to my weekly routine to encompass my two teenage children plus my two young adults but since they are all older now I don’t have to constantly be there for them and they prefer it that way too. 😀

I realized one day, as I was looking through my schedule, how much time I actually have to do the things that I want to do. The only issue was planning and motivation.  So the first thing I have to do is plan or set up a schedule to incorporate cake and sugar art into my weekly routine.

My usual process when I set out on any project is to first begin with a calendar to incorporate everything that has to be accomplished during a normal week and then I can fill in the gaps with building additional skills and learning.

Calendars.jpg

Research, Research and more Research

In order to stay on task and determine what kind of skills I want to build on requires making a learning plan.

I have many books and magazines online & in print to peruse through to gain both knowledge and ideas.  There are also numerous websites where I can gain inspiration.  The possibilities are endless.

So the first thing I am working on is similar to a calendar I built previously but instead of just the general topics that I listed for the week, it will be broken down into specific projects under that same general topic.  The end goal is to build a portfolio of sorts that not only showcases what I learned but can provide the basis of lesson plans for future classes.  These will hopefully make their way on this blog as well.

project-calendar

Organization: To do or do not, there is no try

I may have misquoted that wise old Jedi but the message is still the same.  When you have a busy household with children sometimes the only way to keep things going is through being at least somewhat organized.   Good habits are easier to build than breaking old ones.  Fortunately, I spent a majority of my adult life being regimented and organized via the military.  This way of thinking helped me through countless college classes, kid’s functions & activities and just daily routines.

So the transition into sugar art and crafting hasn’t been that difficult.  Recently, I started feeling up to organizing my sugar art and crafting items. Hopefully this will aid in staying on track with everything that I want to accomplish.  There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to work on idea only to be sidetracked because you can’t find the necessary tools or they’re not conveniently located to the work space.

The left side is my sugar art supplies and right is my crafting area.

When organizing it’s also a good time to do some spring cleaning and remove the items that are not being used anymore either to give away or sell.

Momentum and Flexibility: Finding and Keeping

All the best laid plans always look good on paper then life happens. 🙂

That’s when being flexible and just going with the flow of everything is the best policy.  It’s something I have always known but struggled to live by.  Sometimes I became unhappy or mad about things that didn’t exactly go as planned.  I would be down about it and eventually pick myself up to continue on, that’s really all you can do.  Stopping to analyze the situation and finding the best alternative always works.

So as I go along, I may find a particular sugar art project that I’m just not good at or struggle with but that’s a part of the learning process.  You attempt it, struggle with it but keep practicing until you either become proficient or at least better at it.

For example, on the left is the very first tiered cake I made on my own and the right is my most recent cake class that I took.  There is a world of difference between the two.

Hopefully you, the reader, found some useful information out of all of this.  I know time management, organization and planning are not everyone’s cup of tea.  A simple to do list either on paper or in one’s thoughts are sometimes all you need.  A huge organization system isn’t always necessary, an unused box or plastic container is great for keeping all your supplies in one place.  Finding ways to make things easier is sometimes better if it’s kept simple.

Happy New Year!  Best Wishes Always!

Let’s get that momentum moving and happy caking!

Suzanne

 

 

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