Habit Forming

July 18th

My African mantle

One of the many reasons I’m looking forward to my new job is the fresh start — the chance to set the pace for an organization, work hard, dig in my heels and really get to know a new arm of public health. I am fighting the feeling of being overwhelmed by this new challenge and am instead trying to focus on the happiness I find in learning, dedicating myself to a cause and feeling like my work matters.

Mozambican capulanas

One of the happiest times of my life was in college when I was running the student newspaper. I was taking a ridiculous course load and easily putting in 30-40 hours a week at the newspaper. Essentially I lived in the Com building and at one point even had my own key so I could come and go as I wanted. The joy came from feeling so dedicated to doing my very best. I felt like the newspaper that printed each week was a direct result of my leadership and the amount of effort I was or was not willing to put into the project. There were weeks when it was great and there were weeks when glaring typos made the front page headlines. Still, I loved being in the trenches and two of my closest college friends were right there digging next to me. I think the fact the three of us struggled together to make this newspaper work each week is part of the reason we are such good friends today.

Love these

I hope to find and create that type of joy in my new duties. In the meantime, I’m trying to tidy up things at my current desk and leave gracefully. This job has been very good to me during the last five years and I will remember my time here fondly.

Makes me want to eat more salad

New job, new energy, new resolve. I ran across this quote the other day that pumped up my spirits:

African nativity

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character.
It will become your destiny.”
Rabbi Hillel

African Jesus

I’m watching my habits and making some important changes. I find focus is an all or nothing game. When I’m in the zone, I’m eating healthy, spending money wisely, spending time in prayer and keeping God first.

Stone angel from Nicaragua

But oh, how I wish these things were routine and not something I had push myself to accomplish each day. In the meantime, I’m celebrating the little victories and learning from my elders.


Mortar and Pestle

* A few of my purchases from my summer travels: Nicaraguan pine basket, capulanas from Malawi and Mozambique, elephant salad tongs from Mozambique, Mozambican nativity, stone angel from Nicaragua, mortar and pestle from Moz.

Posted in
Faith, Goals, Good to Great, Journal
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26 Responses

  1. A wonderful post Kelli. Yes, giving our all to something brings the most rewarding joy. The new challenges you face in your work can only make you even better. And can only do good for more people.

    Beautiful purchases from your trip! The fabrics are gorgeous! I love the stone carved angel. DAvid and I have some African stone carved pieces we just love. The masks are great as are the kitchen related tools and servers!

  2. A new job–such a positive transition! You’ll do great! A new beginning. 🙂 Love your African treasures. Thanks for the photos. I especially love the angel!!! (And, of course the nativity!)

  3. Every time I read your blog I feel so inspired! I don’t really have the words to express it, but thank you. I am sure you will be successful in anything you do.

    Those fabrics are gorgeous, can’t wait to see what you (and Finny) make!

  4. Your pictures are inspiring, but nearly as much as your words. This job will be such a positive thing for you. I know I’ve said it before but thank you so much for being you. I am always looking for strong and real women to tell my girls about. I want them to know they really can do anything, big or small they don’t have to feel or be perfect all the time. You are one of those people, vloser to perfect than not but still it works. : )

  5. I love that when I look back at the happy times I had working at the paper in college I still see so many of those fabulous faces present in my everyday life.

    Almost validating how truly great those times were. Because, if they weren’t so great, would we all be so close still? I doubt it.

    To good times…

  6. Jen in PA July 18, 2008

    I know the job was good for your soul, but look at all the cool stuff you’ve gotten from it! And isn’t that more important??


  7. You are on the right track Miss Kelli. Can’t wait to see all the good that is to come.

    Watching your path inspires me to keep on going 🙂

    Love the things you collected on your travels. And I immediately copied down that quote.

  8. Long live PWBATTCCA!
    Congrats on your new job, I am very excited for you and hope to catch up soon. Countdown to touchdown in the US of A: just about a month now! Your nephew Vinny is nearly five months!!

  9. I love the treasures you bought. & what great memories you have of your past job and onward to the new ones you’ll make.

  10. A very inspiring post Kelli………


  11. Nice post.
    Those salad tongs are cool! What a great find.

  12. Wow. As usual, thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kelli. :o)

  13. My mom collects nativities, and yours is a beauty. Also I love the quote.

    All the best to you in the new job! I admire your sense of dedication and focus. Transitions can be a little bumpy, no matter how welcome they seem to us. Give yourself plenty of grace for the ups and downs of a new environment.

  14. Beautiful Pieces!! When do you start the new job? ANy time off in bewteen (like you need it I guess). I am excited for you!

  15. Hey is that my reflection I read! 🙂 I love the salad spoons, absolutely beautiful! Wonderful art! My bro brought us ebony bowls from Tanz they are beautiful, and two animals for Rory! I love that stuff!

  16. Thanks for the link to the Warren Buffet quotes. I found this one interesting- “Secret # 7 Making money isn‚Äôt the backbone of our guiding purpose; making money is the by-product of our guiding purpose.If you‚Äôre doing something you love, you‚Äôre more likely to put your all into it, and that generally equates to making money. – Warren Buffett”

    As a teacher, I stereotypically am not associated with money. I assume that public health works are not so high paying either. But, over the years I have loved what I do. I have invested in my education. I have learned just how truly LUCKY I am. This has seriously decreased my wants. And, surprise, surprise. I find that I have money for everything I need and some of what I want. So I guess I am rich after all.

    Best of luck at your new job.

  17. When you start to feel overwhelmed in your new job (we all do), remember this post, remember the smiling faces of the African children in your photos and memory. Love your purchases, the nativity is my favourite.

  18. This is an inspiring post, thanks. It is hard sometimes to stay focused and positive…..BTW. LOVE the African nativity scene!

  19. Nancy H July 19, 2008

    I’ve got goosebumps for you as you start the new job but I’m sure you will be very successful; measured in happiness, peace, joy, etc.(and hopefully just enough cash-o-la to fund your creations and travels!)
    Your words “I‚Äôm watching my habits and making some important changes. I find focus is an all or nothing game. When I‚Äôm in the zone, I‚Äôm eating healthy, spending money wisely, spending time in prayer and keeping God first.” really hit home with me since it sums up my goals for the past few months so beautifully. Thank you dear girl.

  20. love your preparation to your new job. photos are your pieces are lovely.

  21. Adoro essas capulanas:)

  22. now job? how’d i go and miss THAT? you’re not moving, too, are you? i’m sure you’ll be an asset to any organization that you join.

  23. I just read your guests posts on eluckypacket. Great job! I’d love to meet you for coffee or dinner and see your pictures and hear your stories if you’re up for it. ~D

  24. Oh Kelli, what wonderful finds you brought home with you! 🙂 I am excited for you to start your new job too.

    Maybe we should make a shopping badge? You would earn it for sure with all the African loveliness you found.

  25. Kelli – good luck with your new job – probably the right time to make a change from what you say, and the way you were feeling.

    And wonderful, wonderful posts and pictures from your travels, they are a joy to see.

    Be well.

  26. i relate to this post so much, kelli. it’s amazing how when you find something that you truly love, you can dedicate yourself to it completely– it feels less like work and truly a labor of love. this summer i have felt fulfillment like that in my work for the first time ever, and i feel like i’m just glowing from it– it reminds me that no matter how hard this gets, it is the right path 🙂 xox