1. January Goals While I don't usually do New Years Resolutions, I do feel like there is some much needed life refining to tackle, so I have set some goals for myself for this month in the areas of finances and health.
After many years of not seeing eye to eye on finances, several years ago Mark and I finally dug ourselves out of credit card debt and agreed on a money system that works best for us. I admit - I have had a lot of growing to do financially. I struggled early on as a stay at home mom with the concept that I wasn't getting paid for my work, but I still deserved some tangible compensation. Great theory, bad consequences. (It was much worse when I was working. Then I really did buy all the things I thought I deserved. Picture wandering into Best Buy to pass time and coming out the proud owner of a big screen TV. Not pretty.)
These days I pay cash for everything. It works out really well, and it has become almost a game to me to see how far I can stretch the monthly funds. This month my financial goal is to stay in budget (obviously) and to cut back on the number of times we eat out. Sounds easy, but it takes a lot of planning to do both. For instance, Jude's birthday is this month, so I need to factor that in. And to avoid the drive thru I need to plan meals ahead of time. I also need to prep them ahead of time if I want to actually follow through since I am usually at my most tired around 5ish.
When it came time to set some health goals, I felt immediately overwhelmed. There is so much I need to do, and I have no idea if any of it will really help! But I have to start somewhere, so this month I am going to increase my fruit and veggie (mainly veggie) intake each day, drink more water, and research probiotics. Next month I may try and tackle designing an exercise plan I can actually do, but right now I am starting with the very, very basics.
(OK, for any of you "leadership" types, I know the difference between a goal, a strategy, and a timeline. But here's the deal. I don't work in corporate America, and in my home a goal will do. Try to let it go.)
2. My dog really needs outside time. When we got Marshall I committed to walking him each day. Rain, shine, snow, heat - I was more consistent than the post office - he got a walk. Sometimes twice a day. But I have had a hard time lately keeping up with it (and continuing to exchange oxygen and CO2 effectively). I have noticed lately that Marshall is struggling, and I realized tonight it is because he isn't getting his daily walk. I feel just awful when I think that he has been stuck in this house (with the exception of going potty and coming right back in ) for days without a walk. He has been so out of sorts, so tonight I came home from the grocery store, bundled myself up, and headed out with the MooMan. He was thrilled! I need to get back to walking my dog every day.
(Brief pause while I chug some water.)
3. Facebook is addictive, but YouTube is maddening. I recently started a Facebook page (OK, let me clarify. Ang started my Facebook page and I took it over before she could post false rumors about me.). I have had a lot of fun! I have gotten in touch with friends from high school and can stay in my friends' business much easier. I love it!
YouTube on the other hand is driving me to drink (not so bad if it's water in the mug...). I made my very first slide show on my new Mac, and I really want to post it here. I got some friendly (or not so friendly since he is my arch nemesis) advice on how to upload this thing to YouTube and then link it to the blog, but I have spent three nights trying to figure out the process correctly and as you can see, I am no closer to sharing my slide show. Maddening. Completely maddening.
4. More than a gift, it's a treasure. We had a wonderful Christmas here. The boys got a Wii. Mark got paintball equipment. I got a MacBook. But by far, my most treasured gift this Christmas - maybe any Christmas - is a book from my Grandma Ruth. I adore my Grandma Ruth, so she could give me a stick of gun and I would cherish it, but she went above and beyond for her grand kids this year. Gram wrote "The Book of Ruth" - the story of her life and gave each of us a copy. It is so precious to me! I learned so much about my Gram - what life was like during the Great Depression, what kids did for fun back in the day, and even how she first met my grandfather. This book is filled with answers to all the questions I knew I would regret not asking her about once she is gone. I have had fun sharing it with Jude and Cal. They were most impressed by the story that she was run over by a car (literally run over - her uncle backed over her and she didn't get a scratch!) when she was 4. In total awe, they both said, "She's so awesome! She got run over by a car!" And Calvin asked wistfully, "Did I get to be run over by a car when I was four?" The Book of Ruth is amazing and wonderful and I will treasure it forever. My Gram rocks.
4. Really interesting thoughts from a really interesting book. I bought a book the other day at a Christian bookstore called "The Beginner's Guide to Intercession" by Dutch Sheets. I don't know much about this Dutch Sheets guy (his name sounds like a jump rope jingle), and I have stayed away from reading "Christian" growth books, but this one caught my eye. I have developed such a heart for prayer since I got too tired to actually "do" any other ministry. Here is a big reality check for me - I am fairly certain I am way more useful to the Kingdom on my knees too tired to "do" than I ever was running around too distracted to pray. (Sometimes my spiritual immaturity shocks even me.)
I am only on the first chapter, but some of the things he writes are jumping out at me. Thought I would share some quotes here for you (both) to ponder!
"Of the three possible motives and starting points for prayer - communing with God, our needs, and the needs of others - we often begin with the second or third...No relationship built around "using" another person becomes lasting and meaningful. On the other hand, loving relationship built around true communion and the pleasure of friendship always result in the serving of one another."
"Prayer and intercession should be all about friendship, relationship, and partnering with our wonderful Father. Every one of us would rather be a partner than a hired hand."
"If our first motivation in prayer is to get our needs met, prayer will simply become a way of "using" God."
Relationship is something God is reminding me about. I was in the car the other night and a song came on the radio. The lyrics - "I love you more than the sun and the stars that I taught how to shine. You are Mine and you shine for me too." - hit way deep down in my soul. Sometimes I get so busy doing the Christian life thing, and I forget to settle down in the arms of God and let Him remind me of His great love for me. It is all about relationship. ALL about relationship! God loves. The rest is details.
5. Man down! Man down! While I have been typing this, the boys have been playing Star Wars Lego on the Wii. Calvin apparently believes that not just the remote in his hand controls the game, but the motion of his whole body. He jumps, leans, walks, twists, and stretches while he plays. He was so focused at one point that he kept backing up until he finally backed into the coffee table and fell over it backwards. Man down! Man down! (Of course he kept right on playing!)
Enough randomness for now!