Intangible Characteristics

There are so many things I need to JUST BEGIN in order to be the person I want to be that seem so….intangible.  It is easy to think about, write about, and perhaps even put into action things that that I can see, touch, do—like getting a fitness assessment, taking more photographs, or reading more good books.  But then there are those other things.  The things that, for the lack of a better word, are the intangibles—things like being a better listener, learning patience, being proactive instead of reactive, trusting my instincts, and developing a habit of positivity.  You know—the things of character.

However, just having this space to write and thinking on a more regular basis about the things I want to improve and who I really want to be has made JUST BEGINNING with these intangibles so much more…tangible.

I find myself in what would normally be reactionary moment thinking, “How can shift this reaction so that I can JUST BEGIN to be a person who is proactive rather than reactive.”  Or, “What positives can I find in this uncomfortable situation that will get me one step closer to being who I really want to be?”

I guess when it comes right down to it, JUST BEGINNING this blog has really helped me take a step in the right direction of making those intangible qualities a part of my being.


Looking on the Bright Side . . .

I think we all know at least a few of those people.  You know the ones. . . people who seem to be happy regardless of their circumstances.  One of these is Julie–a work-study student that worked in my office about 12 years ago.  She always had a smile on her face.  I never heard her complain. She expected the best and I think , because of that, she probably got the best at least 90% of the time.  And, because of her great attitude, she was probably happy about that other 10% too.

This kind of optimism is something that I have long admired.  Don’t get me wrong–I’m a generally happy and optimistic person.  I do, however, find myself getting mired down in negative happenstance from time to time.  I want to do better.

So, in the spirit of JUST BEGIN, I’m trying to put this into action today.  Based on circumstances, today may not have been the best day for a new beginning in this area.

  • (not bright side)$500 worth of plumbing
  • (not bright side)a flooded bedroom along with all of the needed cleanup
  • (bright side) a friend lent me his Bissell carpet cleaner which made all the difference in getting the water up
  • (not bright side) Plumber knocked over a cabinet he was moving which landed squarely on the borrowed machinery, smashing it to smitherines.
  • (bright side) he pulled his credit card out and we ordered a replacement part immediately–along with leaving his contact info so that he could buy a complete replacement if needed.

I’m trying.  I’ve JUST BEGUN to do my best at finding the silver lining.  I’ll be interested to see if it makes a noticeable difference in my contentment and happiness after practicing this for a couple of weeks.

How about you?  Are you able to find the good in most things?  Do you have any tips or tricks for making this a way of life?



Those of you who know me well may recall that I used to write at with two of my friends.  I was reading through some old posts there today–waxing nostalgic I guess–when I came across the following post.
It looks like this blog JUST BEGIN has been percolating around in my subconscious for years 🙂  Here is something I wrote on September 27, 2010.

Just Do It!

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know the ones.  They start out with a jolt when you realize that you’ve slept through your alarm.   You jump in the shower thinking you can still make it to work on time and hurry through your morning routine only to remember that you were down to your last clean pair of drawers the day before and now they all sit in the washing machine in need of a tumble dry before they can be worn.  You hustle through the rest of your morning routine, a little less made up than usual, hair not looking as coiffed as you would like, but you are dressed and presentable and excited as you realize you will only be about ten minutes late for work—the Gods of morning prep have smiled on you yet again.  About two hours (and fifteen interactions with coworkers) later your morning break buddy pops in your office to see if you are ready to go to the quick stop and the tired look on her face quickly turns to one of horror and concern as she points out to you that your lovely red button up shirt is on inside out (how that happened, I’m still not sure).  Things are bound to get better from here, right?  Let’s hope!

Sometimes, it seems as though my life is like the movie Groundhog Day and the scene described above, with slight variations, is my every day.  They leave me feeling so far from the person I really want to be.   I want to be a morning person.  I want to be someone who is always put together and looks her best.  I want to be a fit and healthy athlete.  I want to be a good sister, daughter, friend, and employee.  I want to be good at my job.

Like Karen, I’m a dreamer and a planner but I sometimes have a struggle when it comes to putting my plans into action.  There always seems to be something that distracts me or derails me.  I’m frequently waiting for the next best time to start or for circumstances to be optimal.  There have been times when I wonder when and how anything is ever going to change.

On days like today, when frustrations are high and I feel like I am a million miles away from the person I want to be and I’m living the same unsatisfactory day over and over I wonder what it will take to actually get me to that grand destination where dream meets reality.  Have I, in typical Teresa fashion, made the answer out to be so much harder than it really is?

Dreams are great.  We need to them to set ourselves moving in the right directions and to give us something to shoot for.  Plans are necessary.  We need to think through the details of how to get from Point A to Point B, what tools are at our disposal, how we will fit our plans for this dream in with the other dreams in our life.  Yes, dreaming and planning are both good and necessary.

But when it comes right down to it–when push comes to shove–we just need to BE the person we want to BE.  Don’t wait for a perfect time to execute your plan.  Don’t wait for the stars to align before you take action to accomplish your dreams.  Simply DO.  BE.  Act AS IF you are already the person you want to be.  It doesn’t have to take place on a grand scale.  The next time you are faced with a decision, simply be the person you want to be.  Respond to your situation, one decision at a time, as if you have always been that person you want to be.  This is my new plan.

I AM a morning person.  I AM someone who is put together and looks her best.  I AM fit and health.  I AM an athlete. I AM a good sister, daughter, friend, and employee.  I AM good at my job.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

A Few New Beginnings

In the spirit of not making grand plans but Just Beginning to move in the direction of my dreams, I have done the following:

  1. Completed a “fitness assessment” through my work wellness program (details forthcoming).
  2. Attended 2 photogrpahy workshops, signed up for another, and have been taking pictures like a mad woman.  Moving swiftly in the direction of starting a business (details to come).
  3. Signed up for a singles conference (oh my…what have I done) 😉
  4. Attended a religious women’s conference and was spiritually fed.
  5. Quit my high protein diet and am taking major steps towards a plant-based diet (more to come soon).

What I’m pleased to report is that once I open my heart to the idea of moving in a particular direction it seems like so many things fall into place and make it easy to “just begin.”

I’m excited.

Have you “just begun” anything lately?  Please share!



I saw this posted on facebook today and decided I needed to share it here…..


“Why Wait? Life is not a dress rehearsal. Quit practicing what you’re going to do, and just do it. In one bold stroke you can transform today.” -Phillip Markins

A Slow Beginning

One of the things that I am learning is that it takes me a while to warm up.  It seems very opposite the title of this blog.  At the rate I’m going one might think I should have named it “Just Warm Up to the Idea.” 🙂

However, I think it brilliantly represents my whole point.  Start where you.  Take a step in the right direction–even if it is a baby step.  Once that is complete, take another.  And…before you know it you will be running.

I am happy to announce that I have actually begun!  YAY!  (I know–so exciting!)

I recently began a new diet/exercise regime.  I’m not convinced it is the right one for me.  I have seen some success, but I think I went into it with a bit of naivety.  One of the lessons I really need to learn is to trust myself.  Believe that I have the knowledge and power to make the best decisions for me.  I’m using this week as a vetting point and Tuesday of next week will be my own D-day of sorts for this program.  My beliefs that have developed over the past 40+ years of dieting and learning about what is best for my body are a bit opposed to what I have been doing and I’ve been struggling with that a bit.  I’ll go into more detail once I’ve made a final decision.  But at least for now…I have begun and I’m moving, however slowly, in a positive direction.

The second thing I’ve begun in to grapple with my finances.  I recently enrolled in Financial Peace University  and have been consistent with my attendance and homework.  Debt is scary.  The thought of living without the safety net of credit cards is scary.  But…for now I’m moving in the right direction and I believe I can do the hard things it will take to get out of debt and have financial freedom.

The third thing I am working on is developing a talent.  For as long as I can remember I have loved taking pictures.  I have a Polaroid from the Christmas that my brother and I both got new Polaroid cameras.  My love started there and has been an on-again off-again hobby over the past decades.  I recently decided that I need to make an opportunity on a weekly basis to develop my skill at taking pictures and in learning how to edit the photos I take.  I have been blessed by having friends and family let me take family portraits and by other friends and family going on photo excursions with me on the weekend.  I love it.  I fully expect to get to heaven and learn that I was an artist in the preexistence.  It makes me happy!

And….I’m finally posting to this blog.


Rough Start

As you can see by my lack of recent posts, I’m having a hard time getting things moving.  I know! I know!  JUST BEGIN!

So–as I put together a few posts that are more thoughtful, I will leave you with this thought of the day:

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started. ”
-M. Twain

This weekend I will be sharing with you my “bucket list” of sorts.  I’ve been dreaming about all of the things I want to accomplish in the 2nd half of my life and it has got me really excited to JUST BEGIN something!  Putting this list together is the first step.

The Beginning of Just Begin!

Welcome to Just Begin!

Have you ever wanted to change something in your life?  I frequently think about the things I want to change.  I even go so far as to plan these changes.  Grand elaborate plans!  Plans that encompass every possible variable.  They really are wonderful plans.

However, my history with these plans is that they frequently remain just that–plans.  The minutia of the planning wraps its hairy little tentacles around me and lulls me into believing that I’m actually taking action–that I’m trying.  After all, I have this great plan!

This week I was reading this article by Dr. Doug Lisle.  I realized that I don’t need to wait until I have the perfect plan in place before I take action.  I don’t need to weigh 125 and have the perfect body before I decide it is ok to date.  I don’t need to know all of the rules of racquetball before I go on the court (there’s an actual real-life story about this one that includes dating).

Let’s face it, if I wait until I’m perfect or the circumstance is just right or  I have the just-right plan in place–nothing will ever change.

Thank you Dr. Lisle for helping me see my situation through this new filter.  So, this blog will be a place for me to document my efforts to Just Begin on the many changes I want to see take place in my life.  Wish me luck!



NOTE:  All posts prior to this one were imported from my old blog, Teresa Takes Charge.  Name and blog are moving and changing–just like me! 🙂

Take Charge Athletic Ambitions

I’ve put a lot of thought into deciding what it really is about this endeavor of losing weight and getting fit that I want to focus on. Can I really be an athlete? Is that my ambition?

When you hear/read the word athlete—what do you envision?My first inclination is to think of the Olympics or of professional or collegiate sports. That is a pretty elite group and let me assure you that my ambitions are not so deluded as to believe that I could ascend to the level of these elite athletes. However, I think there is room in the definition of the term athlete for the ordinary human being to push past barriers (real or imagined) and accomplish amazing things—athletic things.

One definition I have read is that an athlete is a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or games requiring physical skill—a person who has a natural aptitude for physical activities. Over the next several months I will be training and setting up opportunities to prove to myself that I can improve my physical agility, stamina, and strength and return to a position where I can participate in sports and tap into my natural athletic aptitude. Even at my current weight, I know deep down that I have a natural aptitude for athletic things.

So, yes. I consider myself an athlete. Or, at the very least an athlete in training. One of the explanations of ambition that I really like is: “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.” YES! I have athletic ambition! Please join me as I push past barriers to reach my athletic ambitions.

Double-Fudge Sunday, Anyone?

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to throw your hands up in the air and retreat into a double-fudge Sunday?  Yeah.  It’s one of those.  I’ve been trying really hard lately to be positive and even when things aren’t going quite as I would like them to I look for the good.  I’m having a hard time holding that perspective today.

I’ve been working hard to put a dent into my debt.  It seem as though every time I get close to having my $1000 emergency fund in place (as per Dave Ramsey’s advice) something happens and I need to use it.  I’ve spent the last 2 years trying to get $1K saved.  Seriously?   No progress gets made on the debt. L

So, last month I felt like I was finally getting there.  I got paid for a photo gig (that I’m still not finished editing) and I managed to have some other funds building up.  I had decided that I need to pursue taking family photos/senior photos, etc. in order to make a few extra $ to throw at my debt.  Life was good.  Until…

  • My garage door broke
  • My car was well past its 30K mi service and I had to get it taken care of (traveling next month)
  • Sprinkler broken
  • Dr.  bills

You get the picture.  Life is still good…just more challenging that I was wanting at this particular moment.

All-in-all I’ve been able to stay pretty positive.  I am grateful I had money available to cover the above-mentioned yuck.  That is a blessing in and of itself.  And, they are all just material things.  It really could be much worse.

Last night, though, my camera died.  I can’t even explain how sad this makes me.  I called the local distributor and it will be a minimum of $200 to fix it—likely more.  It hadn’t finished downloading all of the pictures from my last shoot—luckily the local camera shop will pull them from my SD card for me.  My long-range plans include upgrading to a better camera body, so I’m thinking I’ll just save my $200 and be without a camera for several months until I can afford something different.  It will be like missing a limb and will force me to think outside of the box, yet again.

While my initial though last night at midnight when I finally gave up on trying to make the camera work was to dive head-long into that double-fudge Sunday I mentioned earlier, I choose to think of these things as a challenge.  I am not defeated!  I’m smart.  I’m strong.  I’m resourceful.  This is yet another opportunity for me to stretch and prove to myself that I can handle it.  Saying this doesn’t mean I’m not discouraged.  I am, but I only have control over so much.  And…who knows?  Good things could come from all of angst.   Right?