Monthly Archives: December 2013

Final Resolution Check-in

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Final Resolution Check-in

In January, I made an ambitious list of goals/resolutions for this year. Since I was so “out there” with my list in the beginning I figure it’s only fair to be “out there” with my results. So here it is…but first this disclaimer. (smile)

It’s been a big year for us…we bought a business, I went back to school, Mom moved into her care home. Cathy visited, we had family meals, and lunch with friends. We traveled to New York and Tuscon, Chicago and New Orleans and Des Moines. I made half a dozen trips over the mountain for book club and warm visits with friends. And it’s been a pretty emotional year…which is always so draining, isn’t it? So I’m going to be honest about how I did with my goals because there’s no use pretending, after all that honesty will inform my decision making for the coming year’s intentions. But I will also remember that favorite quote of mine: “I will hold myself to a standard of grace and not perfection.” So here’s to honesty and humility with a little bit of hope thrown in.

I copied the post from January 1, 2013 and have added my new comments through out…

I am a list maker, a planner. Resolving is in my DNA. Beginnings get me excited–new year, new season, new project. So I am one of the 45% of Americans that make resolutions. I think resolutions get a bad rap though.

{Note: When I typed “bad rap” I wondered if it should be bad rap or bad wrap and because I am me, I googled it. I discovered a funny little entry about the origins of the phrase and just thought I should share. You can find it here. It’s really quite entertaining if you are even a bit of a grammar snob. I mean, how can you not love this:
“Popular use and “correct” use are rarely on the same temporal page, though it seems that inevitably popular becomes proper over time. The Internet just spreads the popular so fast that the young and web savvy (reliant?) often find themselves in trouble when they have to find the “correct” spelling or use of a term in a world that still relies on precedent to establish order and stability.”

And now I see I should say “bum rap.” But I digress…}

I was saying that resolutions get a bum rap. Too often we are overly ambitious in our resolutions: “I will work out over day in 2013;” or unspecific: “I will be a nicer person;” or completely unrealistic: “I will lose half my body weight in 2013.” Well-crafted resolutions can be inspiring and motivating and help us become the person we want to be. For me they help me identify my priorities and then provide reminders of the behavior that should accompany them. For instance, I value reading. And while I still give up more potential reading time to watching Law and Order reruns than I would like to admit, I will make time to read. I will not, however, choose harder or challenging books. I’ve been saying for about ten years that I want to read a biography of each of the American presidents yet to date I’ve only read four. This year’s resolution then is to read three–a vast improvement over my non-resolution reading but still well within my grasp.

In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin talks about the difference between goals and resolutions. You achieve goals, you keep resolutions. So if my aim is to change my regular every-day, walking-around life, then I probably want resolutions, not goals. She also talks about how the easiest resolutions to keep are, surprisingly, often the ones that require an every day commitment. It has to do with habits and routines I think.

For me, if it’s going to be something I stick with, I need two things: a way to mark my success (that ever illusive gold star) and it has to be cute. Last night I made a resolution chart for January. It has a place to track each of my monthly goals. And I designed it to match a super fun life-planner I ordered yesterday from Erin Condren. You have to see this site. It is soooo cute. But beware. I need everything.

Here’s the printable for my january resolution chart. And here are my resolutions: (nothing like committing to this in front of, you know, EVERYONE to keep me accountable!)

Note: This is now the third revision of the resolution chart. Nothing major, just a few small changes now that I’ve used it for a week.

Read

Yep–read it. But not every morning. As always, once I got a little off track I lost my motivation so it didn’t end up to be a daily reading thing. I think I read about three days total in October which means there were days I read two weeks worth. Not exactly the daily message I set out to put in place but I read the whole thing and think it was fantastic. If you’re looking for a simple daily read, I recommend it.

  • After a terribly sporadic year, I want to read through the Bible again this year. Here is the plan I am following. I chose one that has the books in order by when they were written.

Fail. Absolutely fail. I don’t think I got past Deuteronomy. But tomorrow is a new year.

  • I want to read at least 52 books this year. (I have about 300 on my “to read” list so even if I stop adding to it now, it will still take me years to get through the list!) I’ve set numerical goals like this before but this year I am specifying some of the fifty-two:
    …12 books for Book Club,
    …12 children’s lit’ books,
    …6  classics,
    …3 presidential biographies,
    …and this random collection of books that I am looking forward to reading/got for Christmas: Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, Seven by Jen Hatmaker, Holiness: the Heart God Purifies by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges, Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God by Francis Frangipane, Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chappell, Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

Yep, I read 55 books this years. But. Here’s how they broke out in categories:
6 books for Book Club,
9 children’s lit’ books,
2 classics,
0 presidential biographies,
Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist (LOVED this)
Seven by Jen Hatmaker (super good, you should read this too)
Holiness: the Heart God Purifies by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (excellent)
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges (also super good)
Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God by Francis Frangipane (mostly hard)
Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chappell (excellent but a little academic)
Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning (highly highly highly recommend)
and I just started Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott last night. (loving it so far)

Looks like I have some classics and presidential biographies to read in 2014.

Run

  • Right after I wrote the entry about why I run I completely fell off the wagon. The reasons to run remain unchanged however and so with all of America, I say, “I will get back to exercising.” My running resolution is two-fold: run at least three days a week and run at least ten miles per week. I’d love to be able to show you my mileage tracker next December with a big 500 on it!

Fail. Kind of. Who am I kidding? Fail, truly. I did not run 500 miles this year. I ran 197 miles. Nor did I run anywhere near three days a week. Here’s the “kind of” though: I ran a half-marathon in June. Training for half involves a lot of miles and lot of a long training runs, things I didn’t think I would do alone. So training for a half on my own feels like a pretty giant victory even though I didn’t get my miles or make my runs a routine.

Plan

  • I feel better when I have a plan so I want to continue making my weekly menu plan.
  • Evidently I would have been one of those mothers that comforts with cookies. I just feel better when there is something I baked available for those I love. So I want to bake at least once a week.

Plan? Mostly yes. Bake? Mostly no. My latest strategy on planning is to plan a month at a time. I make a list of four soups, four 30-minute meals, four salads or comfort foods or whatever category we like and then just plug them in, one a week until the month is full. And it’s still my quickest way to success with meal prep. Anytime there’s no plan we end up with scrambled eggs or take out.

And, I’m still thinking about meatless Mondays or something like that.

Practice

  • I have always loved lettering and doodling and graphics. I want to be more purposeful about those things. I want to intentionally put down my computer and practice lettering. I set my goal as once a week. Since I already know I like it, it shouldn’t be hard to reach that target. Incidentally, if you need someone to address your wedding invitations, shower invites, graduation announcements, change-of-address cards, etc, give me a shout. Maybe I will make it my lettering practice for that week.

My official lettering practice didn’t last beyond about January 30th but I found a fun way to make it part of my regular life. I put a graph-paper notebook in my purse and used it every weekend in church. More on this in another post…

So now I’m giving 2014 (eek!) some thought. I still want to live intentionally. I still want to read and plan and run and organize. And I want to set myself up for success so I’m trying to think about what each of those areas will look like. And I’m guessing 2014 will need a little honesty, a little humility, and a little hope.

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I didn’t exactly lie…

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I didn’t exactly lie…

Are you ready for true confessions?

I didn’t set out to be dishonest. Promise. And really, it’s more of an omission than a lie.

But here’s the truth…in all it’s awkwardness and discomfort, here is the hard truth:
Mom doesn’t live with us anymore.  And she hasn’t for quite a while.

There it is. I didn’t mean to not tell you. I just didn’t know how…at first I didn’t because it felt like Dad’s story to tell and I wanted to wait until he had told those closest to him before I just put it out there on the interwebs for all to see; then I didn’t because I wasn’t sure what to say or how to say it; and then I didn’t because I felt such a release of tension in our new setting that I felt horribly guilty–surely I shouldn’t be feeling good about this; and then I didn’t because, well, I hadn’t and now it felt like too much time had passed. And so in order to avoid this oddness, I kind of avoided my whole blog. (Please tell me other functioning adults use this avoidance technique too. Can I get an Amen?!?)

In the midst of all of this, I did go back to school and it was much more intense than I anticipated but I could still have found time to write if I wanted to. You can always find time for what you want to do, right? And then a few of my friends started blogs and they were so good and I did that paralyzing comparison thing and decided I wanted to avoid writing for other reasons too.

The thing is, everything that was true when I started the blog is still true: I have a dear husband who loves me well; an awesome family whose generosity, in all things, overwhelms me regularly; amazing friends who live life intentionally and inspire me to do so as well; none of those things have changed. And I still value the process of writing and the introspection that it requires of me. So here I am, writing again. But in order to really find my groove, I feel like I have to catch you up…so here’s the (belated) inside scoop.

Last August we moved Mom into a care facility for Alzheimer’s patients. If a thing like this can be good, then it is fantastic. The care-givers are kind. The facility is clean (with only a slightly odd smell that wasn’t evident to me at the very first–only now when I’ve been visiting regularly for months.) She is well-fed and well-cared for.

It’s about a mile and a half from home. Dad visits her every day and Delores and I visit regularly. Cathy came out about a week after Mom moved in so she got to see it too. We are completely united as a family that this is the right thing. So once again, as much as it’s possible for this to be good, it’s completely awesome.

And Mom is content. Heart-breakingly so. I mean, thank God that she is. The transition was, well, honestly there wasn’t really one. One day she lived at home, where she did for 40+ years and the next day she didn’t and she didn’t really seem affected by that. So we were really lucky that it was so smooth and easy and yet it breaks my heart that she is so not-mom. We lose her a little more every day.

So that’s us. And that’s my story. You’re officially in the loop.