Christmas & the New Year

I woke up early this morning, and chanted for an hour. Afterward, I went with John’s parents and his brother to a Catholic mass in Morgan Hill. I said a silent prayer for John’s sister who died last summer. I also said a silent prayer for John and both of our families. I read a message from President and Michelle Obama earlier today. At the end of the message, Michelle Obama encourages us to spend the holidays with our friends and family. I liked her message, and I think the holidays are a great time to get together with family. My parents and brothers will be together in DC, while my husband John and I will be here in Gilroy with his family. The last Christmas I spent with my family was 3 years ago. We met at my brother’s house in Jackson Hole. It was a great Christmas with tons and tons of snow. We went hiking, snowmobiling, and swimming in Granite Creek Hot Springs while it was snowing!

My husband and I are hoping that my mom and dad, and maybe even both of my brothers will visit us next year after we move into our new home in Sunnyvale. We’ll finally have a guest room! We’re looking forward to moving next spring, and inviting over our friends and family to visit. We’ll also have an office so that I can work on my writing from home! If I can continue to ignore the voices, and not allow myself to be influenced by them, I think everything will go well for us. Happy Holidays!

From Today Onward

Honim Myo. In Japanese, this means “from today onward”, or “from this moment on”. Honim myo is one of my favorite Buddhist sayings. It is especially encouraging to me, because when I think about living “from today onward”, I am able to start each day with a renewed determination. I renew and refresh my hopes, goals, and dreams for my happiness, and for the happiness of others. This morning, I specifically chanted not to hear voices anymore. I’m not sure if this will happen, but I’m going to keep chanting not to hear voices in my head. Maybe some day I won’t hear them!

I am also going to make a new list of goals and determinations for 2012. The last time I made a new list was in July of this year, so I think it’s time to make a new one. I type up my list, and put on my altar so I can see it while I chant. This helps me to stay focused. I will include John, myself, and both our families and friends. I am also going to include some financial goals, as well as health-related goals. I try to be specific, but it’s hard to write down every little detail. It’s also hard for me to prioritize my goals, because everything is equally important! Maybe that’s a good excuse to chant more! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m looking forward to Christmas dinner. John’s brother is driving up from L.A., so we’ll have a full house. I’m very fortunate to be a part of such a warm, loving family. I used to be nervous when John would bring me to his large family gatherings. Now, I look forward to talking to everybody! Merry Christmas!

 

Writing Down Specific Goals for the New Year

I started off the morning by chanting for a little over an hour. My goal is to chant at least two hours a day. I hope to do most of my chanting first thing in the morning. That leaves me with the rest of the day to focus on writing, cleaning, and miscellaneous shopping. This morning I was chanting for John’s excellent health. I am also going to chant to be able to earn a stable income with my writing, and to continue to improve the way I manage my illness. When I chant, I try to be specific about my goals. I want to set a financial goal for myself for the new year. I started reading the book I bought on how to achieve financial self-sufficiency as a commercial freelance writer. I’m going to finish reading this book, and then set a monthly and yearly income goal for myself. I am very confident that I can do it!

I haven’t decided how much time I’ll spend working on my memoir. I have a few pages written, but I’m going to continue writing my blog posts every day, and also start freelance commercial writing. John wants to start a home-based business that we can work on together, but so far we haven’t thought of very many ideas. If I earn enough money writing, John can retire early and do whatever he wants! I think that if I can manage my illness, ignore the voices when I hear them, and not worry excessively, then we’ll both be able to move forward in 2012.

I’m Doing Better At Managing My Illness

John and I returned from Fort Collins on Wednesday, and today he went back to work. We’ve been going back and forth quite a bit, trying to decide if we want to buy a house or condo in South San Jose, or stick with the a manufactured house we like in Sunnyvale. It’s a tough decision for us, but I think we’ll be better off in Sunnyvale.

I’m still working on improving my communication and social skills. I met with my therapist last Thursday, and we talked about the difficulties I’ve had communicating with John. I explained to her that if John says something that makes me angry or frustrated, I often shut down, rather than telling him what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling at that particular moment. When I shut down and stop talking, John often doesn’t know why, or he thinks I’m hearing voices. My therapist said that I need to be more assertive, and work on verbalizing my thoughts.

My illness and the voices have put a big strain on our marriage. My schizoaffective disorder has affected us both emotionally, psychologically, and financially. We are both committed to our marriage, and we really want to be happy together. This year, I am going to focus on earning a stable income with my writing, as well as my mental health. I am managing my illness, and am able to ignore any voices that I do hear. We’re looking forward to the new year!

Christmas Shopping In Estes Park, Colorado

Today John & I drove to Estes Park with my mom & dad. We ate pizza for lunch, did some window shopping, and drove into Rocky Mountain National Park. My dad bought a few different flavors of saltwater taffy. I tried a lemon-flavored piece, and it wasn’t even sour! We also explored a Christmas store with a huge variety of Christmas tree ornaments. I really liked looking at all the unique types of tree ornaments the store had on display. There was a small collection of musical instrument ornaments toward the back of the store. I recognized a violin, an alto sax, a soprano sax, and a grand piano. The miniature violin ornament even came with its own miniature violin case!

While John was showing me an ornament that he wanted to buy for our tree, I heard the John Lennon song “Let It Be” playing in the background. This song reminds me of my husband, because his favorite band is the Beatles. John also bought an angel for our sister-in-law, a snowflake for his parents, and a Family Guy ornament for his brother. We’re doing most of our Christmas shopping while we’re here in Fort Collins!

We enjoyed ourselves, and had a good afternoon, but I seem to be having trouble communicating. I have always been a quiet person, and tend to listen to other people talk, rather than join the conversation. Now, I have trouble following my family’s conversation. I wait for the perfect moment to join the conversation, and after I’ve finally thought of something to say, the moment has passed. John worries about me when I am not talking, or if he thinks my mind is somewhere else (listening to voices). I heard one voice last night, but I ignored it. Now, I think John & I will move forward together. We have a few more days to enjoy here in Colorado, and when we return to Gilroy, I’m going to start working on my writing again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to earn money by writing!