November

november

November has come so quickly this year- and in fact, this year has gone by faster than any other year in my entire life. Brig and I have been married for 11 months now- how is that possible!? It seems like only days… and yet it seems like my life has never been without him. I am so happy to look back on our 11 months of marriage (and now 1.5 years total of courtship!) and find so much to be grateful and joyful about. I, personally, never thought I would be so happy- but I am that happy!

This November is going to be a good one, a sweet one. I can feel it! I am feeling the impact of all of the blessings Heavenly Father has given me in my life, and He’s allowing me to taste how sweet life really is when you love unconditionally and are happy with the possessions you have and the health you’ve enjoyed.

My little family is so much fun, and each day greets us with something new to be thankful for. Like this morning- I am so thankful for grocery stores that are so close and that are open early- because when you wake up and find nothing in the fridge or cupboards to eat, you can just whisk over to one and feed your family for only a few dollars. It made me think of when I lived in Liverpool, and we ran out of toilet paper… but none of the stores were open till 10:00! (We were having an out-of-country-experience!). Yes. I am grateful for early-morning grocery visits.

This is a good month for gratitude, and I think I will try to cultivate that part of me just a little bit more.

1. I am grateful for my handsome, charming, funny, intelligent, interesting, fun, and wonderful Husband

2. I am grateful that I can live in a safe city, a safe neighborhood, and a place that lets me have my puppies!

3. I am grateful for my friends- my new and old friends who have supported us and loved us in all of our “forms”

4. I am grateful for opportunities to give.. Like Birthdays! (Brig: I know something you don’t know!)

(Stay tuned for more stuff to be grateful for!)

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Tiff Graduates College!

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I made it! I can’t believe I finally graduated from college!

I received a Bachelor degree of Science in Behavioral Science. I learned a lot, made some friends, got good grades (Cum Laude!) and walked the walk.

My mom asked me what kind of memories I made during college. For some reason, it was a hard question. But, I think over the years I’ll remember these things:

1. Doing the whole first year of college with Danica  (ASL classes, yoplait yogurts, too much time between classes, driving in a tiny Ford Escort, math homework in her parent’s basement, talking about our fears of growing up, waking up super early to go to the gym… )

2. Not knowing what to major in…. over and over again.

3. Watching the halls get more and more crowded as the school became a university

4. Walking away from the testing center just “knowing” that you blew it

5. Working with Dr. Warne building a statistics test (yes- a type of math that makes sense!)

6. Group discussions in Dr. Draper’s office

7. Actually LOVING my classes: Learning Memory and Cognition, Lifespan Development, Stats, Grad Prep (actually, it was more like “Life Prep”), Personality Theory, Intro to Psychotherapy

8. Getting along with and loving my relationships with professors: Dr. Doty, Dr. Warne, Dr. Draper, Dr. Poulson

9. Going to a school that let you make the connections and do the things you wanted to do- like work on projects with professors, build a club, start a chapter of an honors society, talk to “higher-ups” in the department, seek mentorship, etc.

10. Having my thoughts and writing valued

And what about the things that I learned from going to College? I think that I mostly learned about life by going to college. I learned that there is so much information out there. Go get it! I learned to make relationships and friendships with people who know more than you do because you’ll grow by talking with them! I learned that I could have an effect on society and the world if I wanted to do so. I learned that I could achieve the grade or the quality of work that I wanted if I did the work required to get there. I learned that there are many opinions and types of lifestyle out there- and some really  are  flawed. I learned that other people are just as confused about things as I am. I learned that people can do wonderful, and terrible things. I learned that education is the key to overcoming poverty, powerlessness, social gaps, and ignorance.

I believe that my education prepared me to  start having an influence in the world. It gave me tools to learn more, curiosity to discover the answers to lingering questions, it gave me the confidence to identify false practices and teachings and reject them. It qualified me to work in new capacities and places. It gave me a place to start.

Though I might not exactly know what to do next, at least I started (and finished!) something good for me and my family.

Thanks UVU!

Announcing the 30 Days to a Better Woman Project

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” and The Art of Manliness’ “30 Days to a Better Man

Starting May 1st, I am starting Month 1 of my “Becoming a Better Woman” project! I am extremely excited to start working on this year-long project. My hope is that I can learn to overcome my challenges and strengthen my own character and relationships this year.

I am posting the 30 day itinerary on this post so that anyone else who would like to do this with me can start on day 1 no matter what day of the month it is, and so each of my subsequent posts about each day can be found.

“The goal of this project is simple: to encourage women to be better women in all areas of their lives. I’m sure all of us have made goals to improve ourselves. But often our goals become one of those well-meaning intentions that we plan to do…. some day. And if you’re like me, some day never comes, and you’re stuck in the same place of mediocrity you were before.” -The Art of Manliness

It’s always nice to start off with a directive, something concrete and written down so that you can get yourself in the habit of consciously accomplishing goals. That is what Month 1 of the “Better Woman” project is all about! So here is how it works: There is a specific task to accomplish each day of a 30 day series. Each task is geared toward introspection and action- to think about who you are as a woman and then to act upon what you discover! As I post each day, I will add a link to the list below so that you can easily reach the details of the daily project.

** If you are doing the 12 month “Becoming a Better Woman” project with me, then Month 1 also includes the goal of exercising daily and clean eating! **

And so here it is my lovely ladies:

The 30 Day Challenge to Becoming a Better Woman:

Day 1: Define your core values

Day 2: Get your diamond ring polished (or an important piece of gold or silver that needs it!)

Day 3: Research a womanly topic

Day 4: Increase your endorphins

Day 5: Cultivate your gratitude

Day 6: Start a Journal

Day 7: Update your resume

Day 8: Reconnect with an old friend

Day 9: Take a man on a date

Day 10: Find your VULVA (Values Unaltered by Life’s Varying Adjustments)

Day 11: Memorize a poem

Day 12: Give yourself a breast exam

Day 13: Create/Revise your bucket list

Day 14: Declutter your life

Day 15: Write a letter to your Mother

Day 16: Make a meal

Day 17: Create a budget

Day 18: Start a debt reduction plan

Day 19: Talk to 3 strangers

Day 20: Schedule a physical exam

Day 21: Perform an act of service

Day 22: Write your own eulogy

Day 23: Improve your posture

Day 24: Learn a Manual Skill

Day 25: PLAY!

Day 26: Take the Army Physical Training test

Day 27: Start a book

Day 28: Write a love letter

Day 29: Conquer a fear

Day 30: Have an “old-fashioned” girl’s night out

There it is my girls. I am excited to see what happens within myself as I make the habit of accomplishing little things each day, but most of all, I can’t wait to hear about what each of you experience! We are all different and are in different phases of life and I really believe that we can glean new perspectives from each other. Please post your experiences, questions, comments… whatever on the appropriate post of the day. I can’t wait to learn from each of you!

As I have been thinking about this over the last few weeks I have found myself growing in gratitude for being a woman. And more, I have found myself desiring to seek after “womanliness”. I think womanliness is different from the concept of femininity. Femininity brings to mind the characteristics that are generally associated with being a woman, such as softness and tenderness. However, femininity is a human characteristic. Men can be feminine. Womanliness on the other hand conjures a greater picture, which may include femininity. Womanliness includes characteristics that are needed to perform beautifully as a woman in society, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a grandmother. Each of these is separate from another and each has specific types of characteristics that make them unique. The characteristics required to be a wife are different from the ones needed to be a great sister (there may be some overlap of course). But the concept itself says that womanliness is a deep concept that needs to be developed and honed, like a block of clay or a blank canvas. For each of us to discover our inner womanliness we need to put in the work to become diverse, adaptable, educated, and ever seeking to become a better woman.

Let’s bring back the Art of Womanliness.

Book Review: The Happiness Project

“The Happiness Project”

By Gretchen Rubin

I happened upon this book by accident. Brig and I were at Target browsing through the book section. Typically, there just isn’t much to be said about the book selection at a chain store like Wally or Target, but this time there just happened to be a gem. I picked it up and thought, “This sounds uplifting!” and from that moment I loved every page.

This book is about a woman who is a writer, a mother, and a wife (in a small nutshell!). She takes a look at her life and discovers that she is quite content with what she has going on. She has 2 beautiful little girls, a good husband, a good writing career. But, despite her contentedness, she decides to see if changing little pieces of herself would make her happier. She then embarks on this year-long experiment where she makes specific goals for each month. For example, one month she decides that she would work on her marriage by nagging less and not expecting to be noticed for every little thing she does (she said she got upset when her husband didn’t acknowledge her efforts).

Through her 12 months of goals, she becomes more introspective, more grateful for the people and things in her life, more patient and more proactive. She shares specific stories of her successes and failures, which I appreciated so much. As I read, I felt empowered! I felt like she was telling me that I could change for the better and become happier too- even though I am extremely content with my life and who I am. She had a very unique perspective, and one that I needed. I am not someone who deals with very difficult things personally- I am healthy, happily married, happily employed, happy! Content! And Gretchen points out that she is that way too- healthy, happily married, happy in her career, etc. But why should that stop us from wanting to become more? Doesn’t this world need more people who desire to rise above content into the realm of happy?  Happy people, Gretchen reminds us, are more likely to reach out to others in a spirit of compassion and charity than all others. I think I’d like to be more like that.

This book has inspired me to do something similar. Please take a look at the “Becoming a Better Woman” page on our blog to see what I’m up to with it! Like Gretchen, I want to become more, and yet simply learn how to “Be Tiffani”.