A New Year, A Fresh Start

January 1 – that day that we all hang so much hope on.  And it begs us to start fresh – a whole year ahead with seemingly unlimited potential.  And some years I have concrete resolutions and some years are more ambiguous ideals.  This year calls for some concrete goals.  After a year of feeling like life was all over the place and yet so many things in life gaining momentum as 2013 came to a close, I am excited about the potential that 2014 holds.  So, goals have been set – ten different facets of life, five typed pages of goals and plans (held loosely, of course, because God has His own plan and mine make Him laugh, I’m sure).

I won’t share my whole five page plan, but I will hit the highlights of each area.  If I remember, we’ll recap in 11 months and 28 days or so.

First, my word of the year – gentleness.  In the fall, the Lord laid this word on my heart as something to focus on in the coming year.  I am not always gentle, particularly with my words, and I am learning that the truly strong and the truly Christ-like are models of gentleness.  I am praying the Lord will help me grow in this area this year.

1. Spiritual growth

  • Read through the Amplified Bible this year.  I’ve read through the Bible in the past, but I’ve never done this translation.  I love the nuances of the Amplified, so I’m excited to see what new light this sheds on God’s word.
  • Get back to rewarding the girls for Scripture memory.  I don’t like bribing my children, but if I’ll pay them to clean the yard, it’s probably worth incentivizing them to hide God’s word in their heart.  Time is slipping away and they need that truth deep within.
  • Limit mindless screen time.  I wasn’t sure where to put this one, but the spiritual growth category seemed like a good place because this has the potential to impact every area of life.  And this may be one of my hardest goals for the year.  Matt and I both have a **horrible** habit of zoning out on our phones and I’m watching it bleed over into our kids and it just.needs.to.stop.  So, I’m starting with me.  I’m not proposing never being on my phone or never zoning out with it, but I am committed to being more intentional about when I am on a screen.  Some of my other goals will require more screen time, but it will be purposeful.  Staring at Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest multiple times a day for no reason other than to zone out – that needs to stop.

2.  Marriage

  • I won’t be specific here, but as I’ve said before, our marriage took a beating last year.  My goal this year is to make it a priority to nurture our relationship and restore it to what it was and make it even better than it has been.

3.  Parenting

  • Practice gentleness (see above).
  • Slow down to hear the girls’ hearts.
  • More consistent times of reading aloud.  All of my girls still love to be read to.  This is important and I need to make it more of a priority.
  • Continue to seek out times to spend with each girl alone.

4.  Fitness

  • Continue to improve our eating habits and work on helping the girls understand why real food is important.
  • Build back up to consistent running and workouts; 2013 was brutal in this department.
  • Train for and run a half marathon.  Due to injuries and illness and the fact that the Kansas weather decided it was January in November, my January one is not happening unless I walk most of it.  I really want to do one again for real.

5.  Intellectual

  • Read 1 book/month from a different genre.  I have a list of different topics to read on; I’ll share as I reach this goal.

6.  Writing

  • This place is a haven for me.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to come here and share and for the encouragement so many of you offer by sharing your lives with me.  I am hopeful that I will be able to post somewhat more consistently this year and possibly grow this space, if the Lord wills.

7.  Essential Oils

  • A year ago I would have never guessed what a huge part of my life essential oils would become or what a blessing they would be to my family.  I am hopeful that 2014 will bring a greater understanding of oils and how they work with the body systems as well as more opportunities to share oils with those around me.  God is opening many doors in this area of my life.  As long as He opens them, I want to keep walking through them.

8.  Computer Projects

  • I always have a rather healthy list of things that need to be done on the computer.  I’m hoping that if I chip away at that list systematically this year, I will start 2015 with a clean(er) slate.  My biggest challenge is always the digital photo clutter.  Since I make all of our photobooks on the computer and haven’t made any in about two years, I have some catching up to do.  **sigh**

9.  Home Projects

  • A new house means lots of projects on the brain.  I know we will get some things knocked out this year, but I want to be somewhat systematic about it so we don’t end 2014 with a dozen partly-finished projects rather than a few completely finished projects.  And then there’s Pinterest, my constant tempter with its new ideas of things to spray paint and hot glue.  I’m looking forward to summer and the chance to do some of that again.

10.  Friendship and Hospitality

  • One of those areas we struggle in but want to do better.  Life is so busy and we often feel like just keeping the seven of us that live here connected is a full time job, but one of our reasons for buying this house was the opportunity it would afford us to allow the girls to have more friends over and encourage us to have more friends over as well.  So here’s to a year of hopefully seeing more of some of you!

So, that’s my (abbreviated) list.  It’s ambitious, but I’m hopeful that if I’m diligent at least some of it will get accomplished.  What are your goals for 2014?  Don’t feel like your list has to be this aggressive.  I absolutely love Ann’s list yesterday.  I plan to use her printable as a guide for my days this year.

More than anything, I want to go where God leads this year.  That’s what this whole thing is about anyway.  I’ve been praying over this list for a few weeks and this is what the Lord gave me.  He may also take it all away tomorrow.  But I know that a loosely held plan is better than no plan at all, and so the plan is laid out and offered back up to Him.

For His Glory ~

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