new years eve 2012

we don’t always know where we are headed. our family, right now, particularly doesn’t know where we are headed. we have eighteen months invested in our boston adventure and can not decide what to do from here. we like it here. so, maybe we’ll stay indefinitely. we also like utah, and miss it very much. yet, when we think about living in utah again, soon, it doesn’t feel quite right either. not yet. but there are times when it’s painful how much we miss the people and culture in utah. we have always entertained the idea of living in southern california, and can easily see ourselves being there one day,  but as much as we adore this idea, it doesn’t feel quite right, yet. so, until we decide what to do and where to live, our family does have this focus for the year:

be your best self.

on the eve of the new year, before the festivities began, we had one of our “be nights.” this time focusing on our 2013 family motto. using these free printables from lovely lindsey, our family discussed the highlights and challenges of 2012, and what we each hope to accomplish in 2013. i strongly believe that if you share your goals with others, and vice-versa, you make a deeper commitment to reaching your goals.

new years resolutions free printable via lovely lindsey, seejaneblog

after we discussed our ideas for each goal… bad habits to break, books to read, places to visit, etc., we hung our list in the dining room on our chalkboard:

a clean slate for the new year via www.seejaneblog.co

i am going to keep these up on display for january to encourage support and focus. did you make resolutions for the new year? are you not a fan of resolutions?

here is my list, it’s still a work in progress:

a bad habit i’m going to break: staying up late. i’m going to attempt to make a new habit of early-morning yoga in february, to give myself more time during the day.
a new skill i’d like to learn: how-to edit/create videos.
a person i hope to be more like: stumped on this one. i have lots of qualities i’d like to improve, but can’t think of one person. ideas?
a good deed i’m going to do: not one good deed. i want to do more spontaneous good deeds. all the time.
a place i’d like to visit: Maine. {husband and i visited maine about twelve years ago, but we haven’t been as a family, yet…}
a book i’d like to read: CLEAN by Alejandro Junger, M.D.
a letter i’m going to write: i am changing this one to: essays. i am going to write my essays for college transfer applications. {because i’m currently doing everything in my power to avoid writing the essays.}
a new food i’d like to try: i can’t think of anything i haven’t tried! any ideas? suggestions?
i’m going to do better at: returning phone calls.

what would your list include?

{photos by me, Jane Rhodes}


happy friday!

well, let’s see… is anyone shocked that it’s june 1st today??? it’s already time for “the happiness project” friday! i’ll admit, i’m a little thrilled that the first day of the month is a friday, what a great way to start a month – with a weekend! we are almost half-way through 2012 my friends. are you happy with your year? are there things you would change? now is the time.

In June, Gretchen Rubin discusses friendship. what a perfect time of the year to make time for friends – summer! Gretchen starts the chapter with this, everyone from contemporary scientists to ancient philosophers agree that having strong social bonds is probably the most meaningful contributor to happiness. do you agree? disagree? Epicurus agreed, Of all the things that wisdom provides for living one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.

She goes on to say, You need close long-term relationships, you need to be able to confide in others, you need to belong. Studies show that if you have five or more friends with whom to discuss an important matter, you’re far more likely to describe yourself as “very happy.”

do you consider yourself a happy person? do you have five or more friends with whom you can discuss serious matters? i have felt that most of my life i have been surrounded by good friends. i am a bestie collector. however, there is a lot i can do to improve my friendship-skills. i can easily become self-absorbed in my own family and forget to care for those around me.

when making friends, you’ll find it easier to befriend someone who is already the friend of a friend. “Triadic closure,” Friendship thrives on interconnection, and it’s both energizing and comforting to feel that you’re building not just friendships but a social network. This may be why i love blogging so much — the interconnection with all of you! hands-down, this triadic closure philosophy is the best. i love connecting friends to friends, the bigger my bestie web is, the better.

So, since we are approaching the hump day for 2012 – have you purchased the book? have you read it? are you trying to be more aware of your happiness? i am going to conquer this month – join me! and, enjoy your weekend! xo.

{image by me.}


happy {good} friday!

wow. is it crazy how fast each month passes? writing these posts on the first friday of every month has really put time into a whole new perspective for me. when i think i have a month to do something it feels like plenty of time, but that is not the case!

if you are new to seejaneblog. you can catch up with what i’m doing by clicking here – January, February, and March!

for personal-housekeeping, my general list of happiness goals for the entire year so far are as follows:

  • get the house/life organized
  • no dumping
  • be jane
  • enjoy now

so dear readers, have you bought the book? {step one} have you started reading {step two} are you applying the ideas/goals to your daily life??? {step THREE!}

i believe in the idea that these goals are long-term and overlap one another. i started organizing our home in january after the holidays, and with the kids help, it is almost done. of course, this is a temporary-done, because life is a constant rotation of organizing and de-cluttering. passing around hand-me-downs/etc etc. it feels so good to currently be on top of this. kj was a little chief when it came to his room – he got rid of two bags of old toys + found two lost recorders from his music class at school. cleaning out the house is a great chance to take inventory on what we have/what we need/a whole lot of what we don’t need anymore.

  • with all this organizing, i was motivated to continue some more unpacking & home decorating. after 9 months, i finally hung-up sela’s name banner {above} and have been hanging other artwork around our home. i’ve been hesitant to decorate too much since we are in this home temporarily while we rent. yet, the more i unpack & decorate, the more I sense our kiddos are comfy here. so, it’s worth the work. i even find myself liking this 160 year old house more and more.
  • i have definitely slept more.  it’s very hard, but i just make myself stop what i’m doing & go to bed.
  • i have not started walking more – but i’ve become totally addicted to hot yoga. are you a fan?
  • still working on “no dumping” remember that means not to unload all of one’s personal problems on spouse. very challenging. in fact, i’d say i’m at an all-time low on this one. ugh.
  • growth – working on it.
  • be jane – i’m good on this.
  • work smart – working on it, creating ways to collaborate with other bloggers.
  • enjoy now – depending on the moment in my day, i am good or awful at this. how about you?

so. onto April! the theme in the happiness project for april is, Lighten Up – Parenthood.

because i am a parent to four children, i have a lot of notes written in this chapter – literally, in the book. lots of stars & asterisks by every other great comment gretchen makes. in fear of sounding redundant and writing a post that is a turn-off simply because of it’s length. the chapter can be summarized easiest by this paragraph found on the last page:

…my happier mood affected the household atmosphere. it’s true that “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and it’s also true that “if daddy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” and that “you’re only as happy as your least happy child.” Each member of a family picks up and reflects everyone else’s emotions – but of course I could change no one’s actions except my own.

i find that when conflict arises in our home, if i just hug that person, listen and keep hugging, perhaps turn on one of our families favorite “happy” top 40 songs – the mood will pass without any criticism being exchanged. yet, how often i do the opposite of this. i say something like, “…be nice to each other, stop being rude!” or something to that effect…

for april, i am going to lighten up. what will you do?


{all photos by me. this is not a sponsored post.}


happy friday

in january of this year, i started a new series.  the first friday of every month i talk about the corresponding chapter from the book, “the happiness project.”  january can be read here, and february here.

are you participating? how are you doing on your goals? it’s crazy how fast a month passes, isn’t it? i am still integrating january’s goals – still purging of unnecessary items in our home. still organizing. after all, this is an ongoing event for a family. it’s a constant ebb and flow of what we need and what we’re done with. i am STILL TRYING TO SLEEP MORE! oh, this is so difficult for me – i don’t have trouble sleeping. i am a great sleeper, over-achiever in fact. i have trouble making myself go to bed because there are so many wonderful things i want to be doing. i literally can’t turn off my mind from, “i should read about….” or “i should make……” or “i should do this now to save our family time tomorrow……..” anyone else struggle with this?

from february – i feel like things are underway – i have good goals set for growth + i’m trying really hard to not complain, a.k.a. “dump” on my husband and family – this was a little harder the past couple of days while i’ve been sick.

FOR MARCH – the theme is “aim higher!” sounds motivating, right? Gretchen starts the very first paragraph with this, “happiness is a critical factor for work, and work is a critical factor for happiness.”“the happy outperform the less happy.” i find this interesting. i consider myself to be a happy person. i know that due to my husbands work situation, we could get by financially without me doing anything outside of motherhood duties to bring any extra income into our family. i could choose to take care of my family and make no effort to go above and beyond what that requires. yet, in order for me to really be happy — i fill my time with a bajillion other “work” tasks. such as blogging, creating, designing for anyone who needs help with a project. i am constantly trying to learn more. and this extra work, makes me extremely happy. it fuels me to be better in every category of my life. i find that when i don’t have a project or something to focus my extra time on, i’m more irritated and less happy. the busier i am, the harder i am working, the happier i am. this life/work balance creates a huge core of happiness in my life. what do you think?

Gretchen asks, “what do i do in my spare time?” for me, that is art. paint. design graphics. craft. “people who love their work bring an intensity and enthusiasm that’s impossible to match through sheer diligence.” “enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.” as a mother, i have always integrated this philosophy into raising our kids. by the time our kids are 4-8 years old, i give them dozens of experiences trying different sports, different activities, then i observe what they love doing – and encourage those activities/hobbies. you will notice, that what kids do well – what they love doing – is what they excel at. don’t we all want to spend our lives doing just what we love?

in this chapter, gretchen stressed the point to, “Be Gretchen.” and one of my favorite points of this book is the emphasis to “be Jane.” if you have read this blog for a while, you know that i am not entirely active in my childhood religion. it took me till i was in my late twenties to be able to admit my true feelings out loud. and by doing so, i learned courage. it was easy for me to be true to my character, style, my interests, my food likes, what music i liked to listen to, etc etc etc – but it was almost impossible for me to admit how i felt about religion. life changing. but, once i did, i have been riding this sort of confidence high for the past 8 years. it was freeing, and self-inspiring to be honest. be jane.

“The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. If you do new things – visit a museum for the first time, learn a new game, travel to a new place, meet new people – you’re more apt to feel happy than people who stick to more familiar activities.” i think i was born with an itch to do this. hence, why i look forward to big moves, new homes, and constantly search for new places to visit. i get a natural buzz from new situations. do you integrate “new” into your life?

Gretchen goes on to talk about enjoying the fun of failure, and asking for help. “Benjamin Franklin, along with twelve friends formed a club for mutual improvement that met weekly for forty years.” how cool is that? sounds a lot like the sorority i was a part of in college… and, an online mother’s forum i am a part of here in boston. yet, in how many areas of our life can we use help? all of them? none? has our society evolved to a point that asking for help indicates weakness? help is also the idea of a community i just founded with shelby, the owner of Soel boutique in Provo, Utah. together, we have a vision of a community that helps one another, and have started, “utah bloggers.a community of aspirants, or in less elaborate terms, a “goals group.” yet, i could form SO MANY of these groups – a walking group, an eating healthy group, a i-have-a-husband-who-travels-for-work-often group. you get the idea. what “help” group would you form?

the chapter finished with a section on, “work smart” and “enjoy now” — for march, i am going to focus on working a little each day towards some bigger projects i am currently obsessing over + building my community. what will you do? have you read the book yet? i’d love you to join me on this 2012 happy high.

enjoy your weekend! xo.

{image by me, via}


happy friday!

friends, did you buy the book? did you read it? can you believe the first month of 2012 has already come & gone? are you feeling happier? how did january go? did you begin your 2012 quest towards happiness? did you start your happy high?

i am happy to report, i slept a little more than usual. and, our house is almost-in-order. this past week i tackled the kitchen – cleaned out the fridge/pantry/food cupboards, i re-organized my art cupboards.  i did the post-christmas clean-out! raided everyone’s closets, my oldest daughter has been begging for her own room since we moved here – so yesterday we were playing musical bedrooms – i am tossing, donating, and selling. since husband is out of town, i am planning a few final projects this weekend and then we’ll be organized for a few more months! it’s a lot of work, but feels so good!

i am still working on the walk*more goal. however, i did add a few walks to my regular work-outs this month, {woo*hooo!}

but, i’ll be honest, a clean-organized home makes me very happy. and these past few days i have a spring in my step because i am reaping the rewards of my hard work!

do you remember me saying that Gretchen Rubin was the closing keynote speaker at alt. design summit?!?

i was able to spend a few minutes chatting with Gretchen before she began, she is so lovely & radiates a genuine kindness.
she told the crowd to…

cram your life with things you love.

do you do that?


keeping with my first-friday-of-the-month-happy-friday theme, i will try to quickly discuss chapter 2 for february. this chapter is so good you guys! if you are married, and you own this book but haven’t read it – at least read chapter 2!

i don’t want to give-away everything in this chapter. so, i am going to only hit on a couple of my favorite parts in order to keep this short.

in the section of chapter two titled, “no dumping,” gretchen says, “I know Jamie {her husband} wants me to be happy. in fact, the happier i seem to be, the more Jamie tries to make me happy, and when i’m unhappy —for whatever reason—Jamie goes into a funk. so, as part of my attempt to be happy, I resolved, “NO dumping,” especially on Jamie. I would bring up my worries if I really needed Jamie’s counsel or support, but i wouldn’t dump my minor troubles on him.”

oh, man. this totally applies to my marriage. in fact, when i was reading this book, husband and I were traveling in the Philippines – i frequently read passages out loud to him. When this particular paragraph came up, i read it out loud to husband and he instantly cracked his sly smile. we are so aware of this. i don’t know why, but when i dump my minor troubles on husband, he spirals into an insta-funk. do you relate?

so, in this month of love that starts with our anniversary, i am going to resist dumping! {funny statement, yes?}

later in chapter two, gretchen quotes William Butler Yeats,

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth.
We are happy when we are growing.

can i get an A-men?!? oh, i love that!

she continues,

Contemporary researchers make the same argument:
that it isn’t goal attainment but the process of striving after goals — that is, growth — that brings happiness.

hallelujuah! that is just beautiful. my soul leaps at those words.


i’m adding: push myself to grow this month.
my list for this goal is big. it makes me think of a quote i’ve seen lately…


to summarize –

january {i will continue to work on these}

sleep more
be organized
walk more

+ february:

no dumping

what are your goals? in-between the Super Bowl this weekend or whatever you may be doing. take a few minutes to think about all of this – happiness, here we come!

see you monday – i’ll be posting my latest new-to-me goodies!

{images via, quote by me.}


happy friday!

friends, this past year i have been reading, the happiness project. have you read it? heard of it? it’s written by Gretchen Rubin and it’s based on,

“Why I {she} spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my {her} closets, fight right, read aristotle, and generally have more fun.”

there are twelve chapters in the book & this year, i’d like to highlight each of those chapters here on see jane blog.

on the first friday of each month, “happy friday,” i will introduce & discuss each chapter, starting with January and Chapter 1. I’ll give a little insight into what i was impressed with & what i plan on working on that month. I’d love you to join me, what do you think?

This is the type of book, that I read with pen in hand. by the end, i’ve marked up the whole thing, made notes, asterisks, exclamation points. in “getting started,” the first thing i underlined was this,

“…It’s like dieting. We all know the secret of dieting – eat better, eat less, exercise more – it’s the application that’s challenging. I had to create a scheme to put happiness ideas into practice in my life.”

love that. {remember, i am a goal-happy-kind-of-gal!}

Chapter 1 Boost Energy – Vitality.

In this chapter, Gretchen focuses on: go to sleep earlier; exercise better; toss, restore, organize; tackle a nagging task; act more energetic. She also states that, research shows, being happy energizes you, and at the same time, having more energy makes it easier for you to engage in activities – like socializing and exercise – that boost happiness. common sense, right?

I am following one of Gretchen’s goals for this month. go to sleep earlier. I love being a night owl because it allows me to accomplish so many things after my kids have all gone to bed, but while raising kids i don’t have the luxury of sleeping-in either, so i live on very little sleep at times. i also function alright on little sleep, but i realize for good health, i should be sleeping more. her book states, sleep is the new sex! ha! so funny.

another point Gretchen points out is, “start walking more.” i have always had this strange judgement towards walking. i expect myself to be running, so if i go walking i am disappointing myself. i will turn down a walk, just because i feel it’s not adequate exercise. and that’s lame. i want to focus on my regular workouts + walking more. especially since we are currently living in such a beautiful green, lush area of the country.

in the section under toss, restore, organize, gretchen says, people are finding their possessions truly unmanageable. we cleared out most of our clutter with our big move this year. but i realize, that since moving, i am still keeping a few items that we are not using & i need to toss or organize better. this is on my January list too!

it is by studying the little things, wrote samuel johnson, that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.

the first chapter is packed with more goodness than i mentioned here. however, those are the two items i am going to focus on this month. sleep + organizing.

what will you do?

happy friday!

{image source. this is not a sponsored post.}


what are you waiting* for?

share your thoughts.

{image from here.}


365 days…

i was raised in a religion that is goal-happy. and whether this is what influenced me or not while i was growing up, i make goals like some people breathe. really. it’s a natural behavior for me.

i make goals before i wake up of what i want to accomplish by 9am, what needs to be done later that day, what i expect to do this week, this month, this year, etc etc. i think about these goals in my head, i write them on post-it notes, i type them into my phone… i even make goals for the other members of my family. they love that. {myla, you want to make your bed, everyday. really, you do!}

and, i believe in monday mornings. passionately. every seven days you get a fresh start. every twelve months, you get a new year. it’s like this huge blank canvas waiting to be painted with a beautiful story.

can you tell i am thrilled about the upcoming twelve months… 365 days of life waiting to unveil itself.

{our family – last night, nye in nyc!}

a few of my goals for 2012:

I am going to love every second i get with my husband & kids, whether it’s preparing their breakfast, lunches, dinners, driving them to activities, snuggling at bedtime. i’m constantly overwhelmed with gratitude for the beautiful family i’ve been given.

I am going to focus on being healthy. no extreme weight loss plans, just happy to be alive – balance what i eat, enjoy the outdoors & exercise – often. i plan on trying lots of new things.

I plan on creating. all the time. lots of projects are bouncing around in my head. lots of hopes for this lil blog.

I am going to travel with my family & sight-see, and absorb all the world has to offer.

I hope to always be a true & genuine friend.

and that’s it for now. i am going to post more about this later this month. so, stay tuned!


what are YOU going to do this year?

i wish you all great success and hoping you all find what it is that you love doing…and do it!
…you’d be surprised what a little believing in yourself can do.


© 2014 jane rhodes.