Tag Archives: Resolutions

Looking back, looking ahead and looking around

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January.  Ordinary time.  Fresh off the heels of an awesome (although shorter) Christmas and Advent season.  A season that we decorate our house to the brim in celebration of a sweet baby who came to save us from ourselves.  He came to an unwed couple, on a long and dusty journey in a stinky animal shelter.  Yep, he nailed our lives right on the head.  Imperfect people on a journey surrounded by a world of stinky temptations.  He tops it off with the most magnificent light, guiding us straight to HIM, accompanied by wisdom, preparation and love.  What a way to start the year!

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From Thanksgiving to Epiphany, it’s a month+ long party and celebration!

And so, this morning, as I drink my coffee and enjoy my quiet time, I plan the day and week ahead and pause to look back on last year’s “Resolutions” and to ponder the year ahead.  I’m joining in a link up of 2014 with a lovely group of ladies and see that we ALL want a fresh outlook for 2014, each trying to be a  better person one day at a time.   I’ve joined in at In Honor of Design, however, they are all linked and you can get to a multitude of fantastic sites from there!

Looking back:

  • Losing weight.  Wellllllll, I’ve stayed pretty steady in the actual numbers department, however, I have definitely made a much more focused and consistent effort in actually working out this past year AND healthier dishes, snacks, etc.  I’m certain it comes down to portion size and/or stress eating, so always room for improvement.  I feel good though, so I’ll just keep on keepin’ on!
  • More Joy-filled and focused.  Hmmm.  I’m going to say that I  am honestly so task-oriented that the JOY gets lost in the day-to-day.  The fact that I am working on it is a good one, the fact that I am less that consistent is yet another area to just keep plugging along, one day at a time.
  • Use and learn my real camera more often.  Fail.  Flat out.  Although…..I have recently started pinning photo tutorials and joined a photo website (free) with a bajillion tutorials and areas to join in and have work evaluated in a constructive criticism manner.  This might just be the year…..

It would seem 2013 was a big fat failure in the resolutions department OR it would seem that it is what it is….life…not always perfect and just taking each day as it comes and try to do a little better the next time.  It’s precious time wasted to moan and complain about all the imperfect moments that I wish I woulda/coulda/shoulda done differently.  It’s taken me 43 years to figure THAT out and a daily work in progress.

Looking ahead:

My word for this year will be “Be Present”.  Okay, that’s two words, but it’s my blog and that’s what I am picking.  Rather than changing all these individual things and ideas and re-working the wheel and all, I just want to be present in whatever I am doing.  Chilling the Eff out on multi-tasking when I am with my family and friends.  If I’m making dinner, I’ll make dinner—not make dinner, start laundry, change clothes and pack lunch for the next day.  If I’m talking to my kids or husband, to stay put and talk, not talk and and half-listen while I putter around taking care of a million small details at the same time.  It’s going to be hard.  No joke.  Honestly, I’m going to have to take a couple of days to really think about what I can do to re-train my brain to just SLOW. DOWN.

Looking around:

There it is, though.  Now that I am done blogging this out, I can get dinner going…THEN get ready for work.  Because TONIGHT we have a game to watch, folks.  It’s going to be a great one!

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For more inspiration on 2014, go check out IHOD and the multitudes and get ready 2014….here I am!

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Starting over on a Tuesday…

That is so wrong!!  Everyone knows all new things start on Mondays.  Yet, we bring in 2013 on a Tuesday this year thus causing a conundrum of when to begin new habits, etc, etc, etc….Tuesday or the following Monday?  In all reality, it doesn’t really matter, does it?  Today is January 1, 2013, like it or not and the day will come and go whether we have “New Year’s Resolutions” or not; so….no time like the present, eh?

Last year, my plan for 2012 was:

  1. Eat healthier/exercise more….pretty much #1 on the list EVERY year and one year I will actually succeed.  “You never fail until you stop trying” Albert Einstein  And try, try again I will.  In reality, I did succeed at this, I’ve made MUCH healthier choices in my diet and have tried many new exercises, just haven’t succeeded in actually losing weight–however, I never said losing weight was my goal.  I shall mark this up to a success.
  2. Have more Quiet time.  My quiet time has evolved.  Hubby and I have been reading the Catechism with Flock Note and discussing it every few weeks.  I’ve been to Adoration more frequently and my spiritual reading has picked up with Choosing Joy by Dan Lord and Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  Both books are great for one chapter at a time to mull over and ponder.  I shall mark this up in the success column as well.
  3. Finances.  Clueing in Hubby and getting on the same page.  Done.  While we haven’t climbed completely out of the hole yet, we’ve stopped (so far…) the continued addition to debt and have begun backing up the train with a good plan to head into 2013.  Aaaaaand a 3rd success.  Of course, we will continue this journey together and I’m sure Dave Ramsey will be involved at some point (I hear what he’s saying but I just don’t know if I’m ready to jump in just yet), or not, Hubby’s pretty good at $stuff, either way…2012 was a good start, 2013 will be solid…I feel it.

Mentally, I really thought 2012 was a big fat FAIL on the resolutions, however, looking back I see that I actually succeeded in what I set out to do.  Sweet.

Heading into 2013 I’ve been mulling over my Goals/Resolutions/Plan for a couple of days and have also come across a few great ideas I may incorporate into reaching my own success in 2013.

Jennifer Fulwiler gives an analytical view of reviewing one’s “areas for improvement” and how to problem solve those areas.  I honestly never gave it a thought as to WHY I might not be succeeding in certain areas.  Seems so logical, I’m a little embarrassed.  Only a little though.

Jon Acuff gives a man’s view (but truly EVERYone can use this method) of breaking the year into smaller bites and attacking each goal one at a time within those small bites.  Brilliant and so realistic…I CAN do anything for 52 days.

Ann Voskamp challenges us to look for the Joy in everything and TO WRITE. IT. DOWN.  Finding 1000 Joys in 2013.  Even a chance to win a camera at the end of the year.  More importantly, Ann tells us that in focusing our eyes and heart on Joy we are certain to reap the rewards of:

1. a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)

2. progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)

3. higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)

4. closer relationships and desire to build stronger relationships (Algoe and Haidt, 2009)

5. Increased happiness…. by 25% — (Who wouldn’t want 25% more      happiness!) (McCullough et al., 2002)

After all that…what are YOUR resolutions?  Or do you just opt out and chalk it up to another day on the calendar?

As for me, my focuses for this year are:

  1. Losing weight.  Hubby has agreed to help me  and so with his help, our P90X library and various other weights and miscellanea I’m ready.  I mean, sheesh, the baby will be 10 this year for crying out loud!!
  2. Spiritually to be more Joy-focused and applying it to how I live my life, my marriage, my parenting and so on.
  3. Learn to use my REAL camera more efficiently and Photoshop Elements…which has been on my computer for 2 years and I still don’t have a CLUE what to do with it.  It’s time.  I love my iPhone but my real camera rocks.

Blessings and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

 

Goals. Part 1: Those pesky finances

In a recent post of mine, I outlined a set of resolutions goals that I want to focus on for this coming year.  After reading my friend’s post on GOALS, I loved that term and along with the original blog I read HERE on how to successfully manage and keep resolutions goals, I have begun to attack them.

Having had the house purse strings in my total control for 7+ years I am happy to hand them back to my hubby.  And I am reluctant. As we navigated those dark and murky waters of change several years ago and I went from a happy-go-lucky, stay-at-home mama to a night shift, full-time worker balancing family, sleep and work (in that order) I also had to have a quick lesson on family finances.  ICK!  Despising the checkbook and the whole organizing of bills, it was a chore I was thrilled to have nothing to do with for most of our marriage, happily acquiescing to my hubby all financial decisions–it’s his strong point, not mine.  However, once it was necessary, I realized how foolish I was to have kept my head in the sand for so long.  What a burden for one person to carry alone.  It was a conversation we never had with small children running around, one I never found important nor interesting.  Stupid girl.  Until it was important.  It occurred to me how many friends I had/have in this  situation and it was one I vow to not find myself in again.  It’s crucial to running a household and marriage, to be on the same page; balancing the budget sucks, however, to live within one’s means it’s imperative to know what’s coming in and what goes out.  In these past years of economic downturn, I am sure many, many people have learned this lesson the hard way.  Like me.  The left hand MUST know what the right hand is doing.

I did an OK job for the first 5 years of hubby’s incarceration.  We were with my parents and I was able to keep debt to a minimum or nil.  After buying our house a couple of years ago, expenses began to creep up and in and while nothing was ever late or unpaid, the debt grew.  Extravagance wasn’t an issue, just 4 kiddos and LIFE.   It is what it is.   And now it’s time to dig out.

Fast forward to 2012, and after having hubby home for 6 months and working, we are both in a good spiritual and mental place to discuss finances.  Lay it all open.  Full disclosure.  I looked forward to it as much as pulling off a band-aid.  But it is necessary to be united in this area.  Finances are widely known to be a MAJOR factor in marital discord and we’ve had enough of that for a long while, thank you.  Time to address the elephant in the room:

Luke 8:17  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

So we laid it out, put it on an Excel sheet (TypeA hubby), and have the beginnings of our “plan” to start chipping away.  It won’t be overnight.  It’s going to take some discipline.  I’ll tell you what though, it is an enormous weight off my shoulders to have faced that beast and shared that burden.  I know everyone has their own system and you do what works.  For us though, we share it all: income and expense.  For us, that’s what works.  And we march forward.   How about you?  Head in the sand or fully aware?  It’s a difficult topic and generally finances are off-limits as a discussion.  Unfortunately, I think that’s one of the reasons our economy got to be where it is, no one discusses finances.

Now onto tackling the remainder of the resolutions goals.  Quiet time in prayer and Health. To be continued…..

Winding down and gearing up…

As we wind down Christmas and our tree accelerates the dropping of the needles daily as ornaments desperately cling to crunchy branches, my mind turns to the coming of the new year.  While I’m not big on making/keeping “Resolutions”, I DO always seem to become reflective on things I’d like to improve upon in the coming year.  The New Year is always full of promise and hope, like new school supplies….unsharpened pencils, reams of paper, crisp folders; ready, willing and able to be molded to our choices.

Even though I am quick to claim I don’t make “Resolutions”, the truth is, of COURSE I do.  I just realize that I am only good at keeping them for a couple of weeks.  Since the gym is generally crowed until about February, I also know I have a lot of company in short-lived resolutions.  However, in the blissful, wide-eyed moments of promise and hope to come in the New Year, I feel propelled and motivated, especially after reading “5 Keys to Making and Keeping Your New Year Resolutions” @ The Hill House.  

My course of action for 2012 includes a few things:

  • Eating more healthy and exercising.  Quite the popular one.  Of course I’d like to lose weight, but the reality is that I’m not getting any younger and as my patients tell me daily, “It’s a B**** getting old!” I want to be in a good place to face those physical challenges getting older brings.  I want to run and bike and play with my kids and BEAT THEM in their games–yes, sometimes I AM competitive!  Therefore, in keeping with “defining the win”, my workouts will primarily occur at lunchtime, 3X a week and my eating will consist primarily of clean-er eating and learning how to ditch the processed stuff AND incorporate that into my family’s diet as well.  A HUGE task for sure, but some truly astounding payoffs as well. 
 Just as the story of Daniel (Daniel 1:8-15)  shows how eating clean makes for stronger, better, faster, it’s also indicative of the fact that everything we need to be properly nourished and strengthened is provided by nature, not Publix. 
  • More focused “Quiet time” in prayer and seeking time with Christ.  While my morning routine begins with The Daily Readings, it often ends there as well.  Since I am trying to cram EVERYTHING into my mornings (Quiet time, Exercise, Writing….) there is no singular focus on any one of them.  My quiet time has long sustained me, given me strength, peace, clarity and guidance; it’s time to return, focused and un-hurried to that precious time.  When I begin my day in prayer and focused on His will for me, everything else seems to fall in place.
Matthew 6:33  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  • Reintroducing hubby to the finance side of the family and tightening up.  As we can finally begin to dig out of debt with his job adding to the household income, his TypeA personality will be crucial to my tendency to slide…..it’s a team effort for certain and certain to experience growing pains, but  we will be able to balance each other  as well as the budget along with becoming better stewards of all that God sees fit to bless us with, and bless us He has.  Abundantly.

Luke 6:38  Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

In reaching for my main goals this coming year, my writing may or may not blossom.  Time will tell.  However, as this has always been more about keeping in touch and therapy for my heart, I’m sure I can always find time to bang out a post now and then; it’s just not a huge priority.  Yet.