Adventures in Imperfection

Wait Gain Goals for 2016

I never know what might wake me before the alarm clock.

Sometimes it’s a wayward text from Verizon or Joann fabrics. The sound is off, but the vibration from the nightstand is enough to stop the dream waves.

Perhaps it’s my husband. A shift, a shake, a sharp intake of his diaphragm and then me waiting for him to breathe again. Counting the seconds between respirations like I used to with my babies when I was sure they’d die in their cribs. Me hovering and moving my ear to their chest, listening for signs of life and then finally laughing at my foolishness and forever-present anxiety. Their baby bones a contrast to the man who’s occupied my bed with his gentle snores for almost twenty-five years.

Usually, it’s a pet knocking me out of bed.  A spoiled German shorthair pointer that puts his feet or man parts on my face when he decides that I’m taking up too much space.


Those are the typical wake-up-too-early nights. A norm, a pattern, a restless comfort.

Then there are the three a.m. moments when words start to swirl in the spaces behind my eyes, and a story is born. Phrases tickle at the synapses and paragraphs crash like a tide until I’m staring at the clock waiting for a reasonable hour to make the happy trip downstairs to my writing desk. The blessing and curse of a light sleeper, and wanna-be writer.

The story that follows has been writing itself for weeks. Taking its time, filling my mind with ideas, mantras, and plans. And I’ve purposefully waited to share it for a reason.



Hang back

Sit tight

Lay low


Wait….just wait

For the two previous years, I have chosen the wrong “word for the year.” I wanted balance and failed twenty-four months in a row.  I’m not a procrastinator. I address issues, problems, e-mails, phone calls, and text messages the moment they present.

I don’t want anybody ever to have to wait for me. Without even realizing it, I’ve made others’ lives more difficult and stress-filled, because I’m such a nutcase to be around. Here’s how this is going to play out.

Work:  To be all things to everyone, I said yes to almost every appointment. In some instances, that meant seventeen to twenty-hour treks with accumulated e-mail reaching triple digits each day–the Canadian border one day and in the Ozarks the next. I ended 2015 exhausted, with unused vacation days, and still disappointing more people than I helped.

Wait mode for work looks like this:

  • Waiting to accept appointments until I’m at home with full view of my calendar
  • Waiting and giving myself extra days to answer e-mails
  • Asking more questions: Do you need me there or want me there? Can we do this over the phone? Is this account a priority?
  • Dropping the anxiety and guilt that accompanies the times I have to say no to an appointment, a project, another teleconference.


Home: Changing habits at home will be more subtle. Taking a breath, sticking a cookie in my mouth, so I don’t pepper my people with questions about homework, assignments, or relationships the moment their shoes hit the kitchen threshold at the end of the day.

Instead, I’ll adopt the W.A.I.T principle–Why Am I Talking? While I’m not typically a conversation hog, I do have the tendency to think ahead when somebody is speaking to me. Always wondering, “How can I fix this? How can I help? Is there travel time involved? Do I need to volunteer? Do they want advice? Do they feel okay about this? Are they hurting? Did I hurt them? OMG! What if I hurt them? Is he hungry? I bet he’s hungry. What should I make for dinner?”

So many words in my head, when I should focus on the amazing person talking to me. I need to pause, wait, ponder. Instead of going into problem-solving mode:

  • Have they had time to decompress?
  • Am I listening?
  • Is what I have to say valuable?
  • Is it credible?
  • Is it helpful?
  • Is it just to hear myself talk?

I practiced while on vacation, and did okay. International travel gets me revved up, and I still snapped at people. But, I was aware and did slightly better on the trip home. Baby steps.


Volunteering:   Ask me to help is tattooed across my forehead and the darned ink is red. I need to stop and pause before saying “Sure! I can make a hundred burritos for tomorrow! Shall I bring a cooler of ice and water, too?”

“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” ~Brene Brown from Rising Strong


  • Do I need to do this, or do I want to do this?
  • Am I volunteering because it’s the right thing to do, or because I don’t want to disappoint anyone?
  • Am I keeping my boundaries? Will it inconvenience my family?
  • Do I have the time and energy to do a good job?

Maybe this will help those of you who are volunteer-happy, too.

Well, hello Louisa! via

Worrying: This is not easy peasy. My mom called me a worrier as a little girl. I’ve learned that the adult version is non-medicated, full-on anxiety. When I feel that knot in my stomach and tightness in my chest, I pledge to pause and make the brain ask better questions.

  • Is this problem real or imagined?
  • What are the objective facts?
  • Are you making up stories in your head again?
  • Have you removed the emotion?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen? Do you really think it will?

I almost chose Be Still for my WOTY You’ve heard about the people in my life who tell me to stop being such a hummingbird. It’s not in my nature, but I seriously considered it. I ruminated for several days until I found this in my Instagram feed – from one of my favorite HGTV celebrities Joanna Gaines. Right below another favorite–Ree Drummond.

I pay attention to signs. Especially those sent from the Universe.

But, I’m not gonna wait forever: Where I refuse to dilly-dally:

  • Telling my people – I love them,  need them, value them, miss them
  • Making my dreams come true – writing, publishing, gardening, being self-employed
  • Making my home a beautiful and inviting place to live and visit – flowers on the table, bread in the oven
  • Cooking and eating good food
  • Going on vacations with great friends and family
  • Being there when somebody needs me, or knowing when they don’t
  • Signing up for a race, going on a hike
  • Soaking up the sun or bathing in moonbeams

In true New Year resolution form, it boils down to priorities and mine are decidedly different. If you notice it takes a bit longer for me to respond to comments, answer the phone, respond to a text…you’ll know I’m savoring moments, being mindful, and getting lost in this one precious, wonderful life.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Summer Day —Mary Oliver



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PSS: Hello new followers! Yes, I’ve noticed you. Please share your comments and personal Words for the Year–I love hearing from you.

76 thoughts on “Wait Gain Goals for 2016

      1. You are so right, Ray. Someone shared last year that they didn’t see balance even as something good – more like an oxen yoke with a constant struggle to keep it level. Yep. I get that now.


  1. Oh yes on the waiting. I started playing around with waiting, much as you describe here and only recently. Like waiting to reply to an email once I had time to consider what it said and meant. Or waiting to communicate something or buy something. Many times I decided not to buy or communicate it at all. No regrets in waiting when I’ve managed to do it. I too am a former child worrier (which always makes me think warrior). A work in progress and such a beautiful thing that is, I think…progressing. Thanks Michelle for this lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Kristen!
      Do you have any idea how excited I get when your lovely face crosses my screen? I always know you’ll have something magical to say.
      “Waiting to buy” was something I instituted about three years ago and it’s an amazing habit, right? I have so much less junk in my house because of it.
      And, it’s always nice to meet a fellow/former worrier – think warrior is an awesome term.
      Thank you for always being here. I’m eager to head over and read your latest post (I can’t spell it, but I’ve been singing it in my head ever since I saw your title – my mom used to sing it to me on the porch swing!)
      Much love to you and yours!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely forgot to chime in with a me too re: getting up super-too early. 4 am is the norm these days, which allows me to write and workout and send emails at an ungodly hour (but never texts). Some mornings I even sleep til 5 but the cats don’t care much for that. Your dog pic is adorable.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. WAIT!!

    such a great word…, and yes, now i see why it took a while, you were waiting to share it! Good job.
    That Why Am I Talking…omg, when i first read that (some Anne Lamott scripture) it began a transformation in my relationship with my son…I am convinced that is what started it. I had been learning the wait, the sacred pause…but not with him. Just after I started that practice I actually had a chance to thank her in person for the WAIT…incredible.
    Anyway, great word….
    i’m off to instagram follow you, i didn’t even know you had an account! My name is different so i’ll introduce myself there
    and now…..
    WAIT for it……
    Love you my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ‘sacred pause’ – oh, I love this, Michele. It’s so true and so applicable with our sons. And Ann? Well. she’s the bomb diggity.
      I knew this would make you chuckle after asking when I’d post my word.
      Seriously, I have you to thank for the entire process. Until you, I didn’t realize how powerful one word could be.
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
      And for making me laugh out loud like you always do.
      I found you over at Instagram and sent a follow request of my own. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He think he’s been left for dead this evening–out in his pen with coyotes howling in the field behind us. Our other pooch is more the size of your dog – I can’t imagine life without either one.


  3. Michelle, have a wild & precious 2016! I followed you on Instagram. Boy, those are artsy, beautiful shots you take:) I know you won’t judge my iPhone snaps too harshly. I’m new at it. Can’t wait (your word) to see what you’re going to do with your Instagram next. Hmm? I have a few guesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think iPhone photos are magic! Most of my are iPhone, too. I love your feed – anyone who loves pets and kiddos is a friend of mine. But then, we were already friends.
      I hope your new year is off to a great start. I haven’t been over to visit you in a while, and I’m feeling a much needed Angie Fix coming on. Thank you for taking the time to hop and say hello and for the Insta follow. I’m much more social over there – a perfect spot for introverts with an itchy camera finger. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a beautiful (and attainable) goal! I’ve gotten in the habit of when I’m not doing something I think I want to be doing, asking myself why I’m not doing it. What’s getting in my way? Here’s to your success in waiting! To me, it feels like taking a pause to honor yourself; and that’s a wonderful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Learned that one from a class in clairvoyance. We were to ask, “What’s blocking or preventing me from…..” and use our new intuitive tools to get an answer (practicing on each other). Anyone can do it in the space of getting the monkey mind quiet and allowing the heart to answer (in meditation, in prayer, in nature, etc.). It’s one of the most helpful questions I’ve ever learned. Take it and run with it!


  5. I love this post and I need to probably print it out and wallpaper my office and bedroom with it so I can read it and live it.

    I think my word of the year is going to be moving,…

    Actually moving…
    moving on to a different career path…
    moving on from past hurts…
    moving myself to increase my fitness and reduce stress..
    moving closer to being OK with myself (or OK enough)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ❤️❤️❤️

    “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

    ― Dalai Lama XIV

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will! I’ve enjoyed the first couple weeks because of what I’m calling “Permission to Procrastinate”….it’s liberating!
      That said, I think I’ve waited too long to replenish groceries…my boys have been surviving on cracker crumbs for the last couple of days…


  7. I think many of us can relate to much of what you wrote. I’m pretty good about not saying ‘yes’ to everything and no longer feel too guilty if I say ‘no,’ but I need to work on not feeling everything I do has to be done to perfection. Because that’s an impossible endpoint. When I find myself spending too much time on something I should have long ago finished, I remind myself that “perfectionism is the enemy of done,” a variant of a Voltaire quote.


    1. Right on, Carrie!
      Perfectionism is the enemy of so many things.
      And I so appreciate your sentence around others relating. The Why Am I Talking applies in writing, too, and I was hoping that this piece didn’t feel completely about me. I get tired of me 🙂


  8. I’m only half way down the post when I hear these words “I am enough!” It is a mantra that I told myself I was going to live by back when I did the Brene’ Brown course. I even have a picture on my Twitter account, my phone and my computer with those words written on my hand! Remember her telling us to do that?? You and I are so much alike it is a little frightening! LOL!
    I need to stop and think of the reasons I am doing something. Why do I HAVE to do it? WHY did I do it? What was my motive? What would happen if I DIDN’T do it? :-/
    Case in point… The week before my surgery I got completely overwhelmed because I had all these things I thought I HAD TO DO~ I was stressed and anxious! Then I went to see a wonderful friend who also happens to be my art teacher. She made me stop… she took my hands in her’s and prayed with me and made me just stop! This was 2 days before my surgery. After we prayed she said “You need a massage!” I was like.. “Are you kidding me! There is no way! I have too much to do!” But somehow I managed to pull it off. It did indeed help. I have the greatest friends!
    Nope.. didn’t get everything done and somehow the world kept spinning and the sun came up again the next day. 😀
    I admire your goals and they are some of my own. Just remember “You are ENOUGH!!” Each day, you did enough! (speaking to myself here also) 🙂
    Love ya… 😉


    1. You are amazing, C/K! And not because you are so much like me (totally scary!)
      What a blessing to have an amazing friend to make you stop in your tracks and guide you through. Us crazy folks need less crazy folks to help – my best friend as well as my husband are a HUGE help in this arena.
      I think it’s so cool that we both took the Brene art class – I’m ready to do it again!
      And now, that surgery…are you recovered and feeling well?
      I treasure your words and friendship – thank you for always taking the time to stop by, read, and comment. Love you, too! Xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am recovering and healing nicely… still a little self conscious of my scar (since it is on my face) 😦
        It is a process and one I have been going through since Labor Day weekend when my accident happened. But it will be fine and good as new when my surgeon is done tweaking.. yah! 😀
        I look forward to posts by you. I am so bad at writing right now, but I have a Public Speaking class starting next week. I have a feeling I will be doing a lot more writing for that so I will post more. Life kind of has me by the short hairs right now *sigh* but it’s my own fault! Wait,… I AM ENOUGH! Right?? 😉


  9. “Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?
    Who can remain still until the moment of action?” Lao Tsu

    That is the one that reminds me (often ignored) that waiting is needed more often than not. You’ve set yourself quite a set of challenges. It will be interesting to hear how that goes. Hmmmm – word of the year? drawing a blank on that one – have to think, or wait for it.


    1. You are a wise and clever man, Robert. You make me think and laugh out loud, too.
      I love the Tsu quote – it’s given me an idea for my Instagram project.

      “Have to think, or wait for it.”
      I look forward to where you land.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment…and for giving me another idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It always boils down to finding why you feel the way you do Michelle….as in, if you feel ‘obligated’ to do something, ask yourself ‘how does it make you feel if you said no to them’. If you say ‘I don’t want people to think badly of me’ and ‘it makes me feel uncomfortable’, then it all comes back to a fear of being rejected.
    Now ask yourself why do you feel that way. We pick these fears up in our childhood, usually from a parent who we perceived to have treated us poorly and we then block them (emotionally), because of the fear of being rejected and hurt by them, and then carry that on into adulthood. Forever trying to please people so that we don’t get that painful rejection, even though we are doing the craziest of things and running ourselves ragged.
    There are many different ways that we build these fears, but it is in having the courage to look within and ‘see’ what is truly in our hearts. A good indicator of a fear is when we get upset about how we are being treated.
    The one thing that constantly happens in your life to really upset you…go there, look deeper, that is your journey to freedom. Once seen for what it truly is, you release it as it no longer has any power over you in that understanding. Then a freedom like no other 🙂
    Great post Michelle, as always, your lovely chirpy self is displayed for all to see. Maybe that is your New Years Word…’freedom’….which is another word for allowing you to be loving to yourself, and what this journey is all about.
    Have a great day, it is the first day of the rest of your life…live it with love, accept you for exactly who you are, warts and all (and no, I can’t really see any warts :), and most definitely not a nutcase :), just a very beautiful sensitive lady finding her way in the world ). Thank you for sharing my friend.


    1. Hellloooo, my friend!
      You are spooky insightful and considerate. How do you get it right every time? Christy noted the click she felt after she read your comments a couple of weeks ago, and I have to agree.
      “Release” “Freedom” “Journey”
      Once again, you’ve inspired me – even though my reply is short, I just want you to know that I’ll be coming back to read your comment frequently. Your insight always helps me so much – I’m sure it does others, too.
      Thank you, Mark xo

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Love the title of this post. And WAIT is a great word. I love your goals. My sister is a volunteer-crazy person as well. She is always complaining to me about how hectic her life is…and one day I just looked at her and said, “Why are you volunteering for four teachers when you only have one kid in elementary school now? There are other parents the teachers can get, but they’ll never ask them to help if you always are their go-to girl.” Now she just works full-time at the school and gets paid, instead of volunteering full-time and getting crazy.


    1. I love that you are the voice of reason for your sister – we all need that person in our life. In fact, I always appreciate your perspective on many things. You have a sense of peaceful calm and an amazing sense of person and loads of common sense. True gifts. Again, feeling very blessed to call you a friend. Xo

      PS: Love your Instagram feed. It looks new!!!


      1. You have the gift to uplift people. Your family is very lucky to have you loving them so thoroughly. And yes, I just started Instagram very recently after my son-in-law taught me how to use Canva to do pictures. So I’m slowly learning that venue and liking it. Your pictures on your feed are gorgeous. Maybe in the future I’ll get a nice camera so I can take better ones. My phone camera right now isn’t even worth using it’s so bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awww….you just made my night, Char. Thank you!
        Thanks for note on Canva…I’m going to do some experimenting with that, too.
        Most of my photos are taken with an iPhone, but I do have a nice camera. I hope to use it more this year, too!


  12. Such, SUCH a beautiful word, and so right for you. I love that you even waited to write about it until you were absolutely sure.

    I wish you all the luck, and all the waiting, in the world 🙂 (I’m glad you didn’t pick patience…I get frustrated when I see anyone has that, because it’s something I think is important and something I completely struggle with) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am totally with you on the patience thingy. I have none…or very little. The word “wait” is my patience-lite version!
      Right now, I just need to stop and thank you for the incredible gift of friendship you gave me in 2015. Your smile, positive spirit,and ever-present graciousness and humility blessed me more times than you’ll ever know.
      I couldn’t WAIT to tell you. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehehe well, I’m humbled and honoured and astonished. I feel as though I’ve been a very bad friend lately, and I’m sorry about that. Being a better friend is on my ‘to do’ list, right after all the other Somehow Very Insistent things which take my time (when I’m not just frittering it away)…and this is why my word of the year will never either be ‘purpose’, because if I ever stop to question that…EEK!

        I like the idea of ‘patience-lite’. It sounds much more manageable.


  13. I love Mish’s “sacred pause”! Maybe pause will be my word. I still haven’t picked one. I did tell my kids’ school that we’re not doing any fundraisers until our house sells and maybe for the rest of the school year but it’s probably not a good idea to choose NO as my word. I like pause better. 😉 xxoo


    1. I choose NO for fundraisers every time!
      There’s a freedom in “no,” too! In fact, my friend chose YES one year and then NO the next. It was awesome and liberating!
      Best wishes as you embark upon the whole moving, buying, selling adventure. I wish I was further along in my daydream…I’d throw a Chip and Jo Jo approach into the mix. (If you don’t watch Fixer Upper–you gotta! You just gotta!)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Every word of this resonated for me. The only reason I wasn’t on a flight last week is because my doctor grounded me due to a health scare New Year’s Eve. And even though I haven’t undergone the MRI on my head yet, I chose to fly this week – 5 hours to Vancouver – because I’m stupid like that. I couldn’t live with canceling two trips and disappointing more people. Crazy.

    I will re-read this and try to incorporate your tips into my daily routine. (She say as she tries to get caught up on WP reading, in her hotel room, knowing her inbox awaits, with its accumulated 100+ unread emails today while in an all-day strategy meeting.)


    1. Nancy! Nancy! You have been on my mind! First because I have three of your posts sitting in my inbox like a gift waiting to be opened. Secondly because I know we must be cut from the same cloth. The flying, the meetings, the strategy discussions – it weighs constantly. And now to hear that you’ve had a health scare – yikes!!!
      Please please take care of yourself – think of the important people you’d disappoint if you weren’t around.
      But, I know, easier said than done. Maybe we can take those baby steps together. Xo

      Ps: I will be over to read your latest entries soon!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve had a really productive 2.5 days, so in retrospect, I’m pretty glad that I made the trip. (Note, I’m also glad that I didn’t die in-flight, so I’m quite happy in general.) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Shocked immediately upon reading this, “Then there are the three a.m. moments…staring at the clock waiting for a reasonable hour…”.
    I think it would interest you to check out the link at the top of my first post of the year.

    I too have been exploring the world of this philosophy I recently discovered as W.A.I.T.
    I have to say being a bit of a chatterbox myself it’s not easiest of disciplines to recognize and abide by. Love the post, your energy invigorates and perplexes me. Sorry, I don’t have an Instagram to follow you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough to where you lead me to today. Thank you for leading me back to your post. There’s a magic in those early morning hours…and a great place to practice WAIT in order to listen to what happens next. Thank you, friend. I haven’t been getting updated posts in my inbox, so I gotta see what happened there. I’ve missed too much!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Mama, you have a bead on things that fascinates me. I have a motto for 2016, by the way.

    From Here.

    Okay, maybe it’s not my motto for 2016, but it’s my motto this week as I gather and re-energize and come back and all that good stuff. Listening to my body, inside and out. Looking for the balance and knowing it when I’m there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your motto – it reads like a mantra and I’m looking for those these days. Do you care if I steal? “From Here” works in so many circumstances. What a great way to take a breath and realize. Thank you…looking forward to your 2016. From here…

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Waiting to hear your husband’s next breath ? You sound like my wife… I get a sharp elbow in my sleep at least 3 times a week. “What the hell?” I ask her. “You weren’t breathing,” she returns. I was sleeping for God’s sake… now I know it’s hard wired at the factory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! Totally hard wired, Tegon! It just means we (your wife and I) care.
      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read. And thanks for reconsidering a new story – I know it’ll be great!!


  18. love this post. you totally hooked me with ‘paragraphs crash like a tide…’ =)
    i think ‘wait’ is such a powerful word, especially in this age of instant gratification, SIRI, amazon prime, and nonstop cell phone use where people don’t know how to sit and wait anymore. and love what those ‘wait’ implications mean for your daily life and new year. beautifully written. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, new friend! Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to share them. It makes my heart happy to know that you understand exactly where I’m going with my word. Oh, the phone! The durned cell phone – it serves its purpose, but the temptation to hide it in a drawer is there every day.
      Thank you again for writing – I’ll be heading over to check your site out, too. Michelle


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