Saturday, January 23, 2010

Goal Check

We've been rocking along in this new year for about three weeks now, so I figured I better keep up my end of the "accountability" thing and do a little check-in on my goals for the year.  Here goes:

1.  To lose 15 pounds by March 31, 2010:  I haven't done my official weigh in for this week, but to date I'm down 4 pounds.  So far, so good.

2.  To walk 18-20 miles per week:  week one-19 miles;  week two-21 miles; and week three-19 miles.

3.  To read through the Bible by December 31, 2010:  I am up to date on my reading.  I'm loving this--isn't amazing that you can spend your whole life listening to sermons, reading parts of the Bible, doing Bible studies, etc, and still God can show you something you've never seen before in His word?  It's great!!

4.  To finish afghan by February 28, 2010 by doing one row each day:  My afghan is growing by the day!  I haven't always gotten my row done each day, but by the end of each week, I have at least seven new rows added to it.  It's so big now that I can cover up with it while I'm working on it!  I began the afghan very innocently as my first "back to crocheting" project (I learned as a girl, but haven't done it in YEARS!) and had no idea how big it would be.  Even with my long legs and 6' 1" frame, my shoulders and my feet can both be adequately covered at the same time, so I can't wait to get it finished and do some serious snuggling under it!!

5.  To do 30 minutes of personal development reading each day:  I have gotten this in most days.  It hasn't always been 30 minutes at one sitting, but by the end of the day, I've usually  managed it in spurts here and there throughout the day.  Some of my reading has been books that go along with the First Place 4 Health study I'm doing; some has been in parenting or homeschool or homemaking-related magazines; and some has been watching and not reading--Beth Moore on "Life Today" or videos for First Place.

6.  To focus on adding a dose of laughter to each day:  This is the one I'm struggling with the most.  I know I don't laugh nearly enough, and this week I could have exceeded my goal had it been "to add a dose of grumpiness to each day."  It occurred to me that maybe it could be as simple as choosing to laugh more in the day.  Rather than sometimes rolling my eyes at my kids' silliness , maybe I should laugh with them--even be a little silly myself!  I'm still working on this.

Overall, I feel like I'm doing great.  I feel good, I look forward to my 5:30 am alarm (most days, anyway!) to get me to my special chair for my cup of tea and my quiet time, followed by my exercise, and I love checking off my accomplished goals at the end of each day (I have them in my planner so they are always in front of me to see each and every day).

And for a non-goal-related bit of info....I ordered a new sewing machine this week for the first time in my life!  I've never had a new machine ever in my life, and I can't wait for my new one to come in!!  I'm busy dreaming up projects to get to work on as soon as it arrives!  When I click on the "track package" button on Amazon, it says I should be seeing it on my doorstep Tuesday....yippee!! 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mistakes

Have you ever done anything you later wish you could go back and undo, but of course, can't?  If you are human, I figure your answer to this is yes.  Such was the case for me last night.

I shared with you that we were taking our princess-loving daughter to see "The Princess and the Frog" last night (of course, her brother went along for the ride as well!).  For the record, I am VERY particular in what my kids watch and we rarely go to the movies.  If there is a movie we are interested in, I use Focus on the Family's "Plugged In" website to read their movie reviews before making a final decision on whether we will see the movie or not.  "Or not" is usually the case.

We had already decided to go see "The Princess and the Frog" before I even looked at a review (I mistake, I know), so I briefly scanned what the "Plugged In" reviewer had to say about the movie yesterday afternoon.  A mention of voodoo was in the review, but in my eyes, it was downplayed and didn't seem to be a big element of the movie.  I came away from the review feeling like it was recommended by the reviewer, and in the past I've been able to agree with and trust their reviews.

Until now.

I could not believe, in a G-rated movie targeted to princess-loving little girls, how dark, sinister, and evil this movie ended up being.  Yes, it had all the feel-good elements of a fairy tale princess story, but the voodoo portion of the plot and the darkness included in the movie greatly overshadowed anything that was feel-good about it.  I was so sorry that we went to see it and would NEVER have taken my children (at ANY age) to see it had I known how prevalent the "other world" side of the movie was.

As a result, Hannah ended up sleeping in bed with us after she kept waking up crying from dreams she kept having due to movie.  We never allow our kids to sleep with us, but in this instance, when I felt responsible for why she was having the bad dreams, I felt it was the right thing to do.

I'm so disappointed--in myself, in Disney (even though I don't always hold them in the highest regard anyway regarding what is moral and right), and especially in the "Plugged In" website.  For them to be a "Focus on the Family" entity, I continue to be appalled that their review didn't come with a "highly not recommended" stamp on it.  Again, I came away from their review feeling like they thought the movie was one worth seeing.  I plan to write them later today and let them know my thoughts on this issue.

This morning, Mark showed me this website called "Christian Spotlight on Entertainment."  Oh how I wish I would have known about this site yesterday.  Their review was quite different than the one on "Plugged In", and the "Christian Spotlight" review actually says that they do not recommend this movie because of its content.

Guess which website I'll be using in the future?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Giving Good Gifts

Our small town movie theater, which gets movies a few weeks after their theater premier, is showing "The Princess and the Frog" this week.  So we surprised Hannah (who loves ALL things "princess") yesterday by telling her that tonight we would all be going to see "The Princess and the Frog."  You can imagine the way her face lit up and the excitement that burst out of her little princess body when we told her!  And she's talked about nothing else since then.  In fact, the second she got out of bed this morning, she said, "Oh Mommy, as soon as I woke up I remembered we were going to see the Tiana movie tonight!!"

As a parent, there's just nothing better than to get to give my child a gift or surprise.  The delight and innocent excitement that they express is simply priceless.  As much as I love receiving gifts myself (and believe me, I do!!), giving my children gifts is even better.

There's a verse that I've been meditating on for the past two weeks that says this:
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"  Matthew 7.11
I don't like to be considered evil, but when you come down to the human condition, that's what we all are.  But even in all my "evil-ness", I absolutely LOVE giving my children good gifts.  Can you imagine how God must feel, then, to give a good gift to me, his child?  He must absolutely DELIGHT in giving me and you good gifts!

But did you notice the end of that verse:  "...to those who ask" ?  James 4.2 says "You do not have, because you do not ask God."

Why don't we ask?  Is it because our faith is too small to believe that God can do it?  Is it because He hasn't given us what we've asked before, so we've given up asking?  That never stops my children--they just ask all the more!

Do I believe I can ask of God anything I want and should expect to receive it?  Of course not. Even I, in my evil ways, don't give my kids everything they ask for.  Many of the things they ask for would not be in their best interests for me to give them.  I believe the same holds true with God.

But I do believe that we often sell ourselves short simply by not asking.  Or maybe we are selling God short and limiting his power at work in our lives by not asking.  Are there things in your heart that you desire, but you just haven't gone so far as to ask God for them?

As a result of a few books I have been reading over the past two weeks, I have made a list of seven things I am praying about daily and asking God to do in my life over the course of 2010.  They are big things--things I could not do own my own.  Things that can only happen with God's power involved.  In return,  I also have my own list of things that I feel I need to do daily in order to live the obedient life that God is calling me to.  I believe that obedience plays a key role here.  We have to do our part in life and be obedient to the things God asks of us.  I certainly don't reward my children's disobedience with gifts.  That would not be a good parental decision on my part.  I don't think God does, either.

I am anxious to see all that God has in store for me this year.  If you are interested in what I've been reading, you can check it out here. (I bought mine from Amazon.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reading Through the Bible

Some thoughts I've had the past few days as I begin my journey to read through the Bible this year:
  • So, what happened to the bodies of the people and animals who died in the Great Flood?  Were they just laying everywhere when Noah stepped off the ark (for his sake, I hope not)?  Did they wash into the oceans when the floodwaters receded (can't think that would be good for the marine life)?  Did God supernaturally remove their bodies from the Earth?  ????
  • Genesis 18 & 19--Abraham and Lot were both confronted by angels, and from what I read, neither of them seemed overly surprised by it.  Was it such a common occurence during that time or were they more surprised than Scripture reveals?  Do we have appearances of angels as frequently as it seems they did at that time?
  • Genesis 25--in these times, man's word was a binding covenant.  They never questioned it or had to have it in writing before it was binding.  What would our world be like today if the words that flow out of our mouths were as binding as they were back then?
And finally this from Genesis 24.50: 
"This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or another." 
I LOVE this faith--knowing it is from God and accepting it, no questions asked. 

May my faith be this strong--unquestioning, unwavering, 100% acceptance.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goals for 2010

I love fresh starts and new beginnings.  It's always good to be able to stop where you are, evaluate things, see what needs to change, and then forge ahead with a new plan.  That's what I like to do at the beginning of each year. 

I sat down last night and came up with a list of goals for 2010.  I don't call them "New Year's Resolutions" because to most people that translates into "eventual failure come February, March at the latest."  I choose instead to plan on success.

I've learned a lot about setting goals over the past few years.  Talk to any personal development guru, and they are likely to say that, among other things, goals must be measurable, have a beginning and an end, and be specific.  Most importantly, in order to increase your chances of success many times over, you must write your goals down and look at them frequently.

Accountability is also important in achieving goals, so I've decided to share with you the goals I wrote in my journal last night for 2010, beginning January 1.  Some of these will last throughout the year; others will be met (again, choose success!) and be replaced by more goals.  Here they are:
  1. to lose 15 pounds by March 31, 2010, using First Place 4 Health.  (Being 6' 1" lets me hide extra pounds easier than some, but I know those extra pounds are there.  Achieving this goal will result in me getting to buy a new Easter dress!)
  2. to walk 18-20 miles per week in 2010 either outside or using my Leslie Sansone DVD's.  (if you don't know who she is and need an exercise DVD, you should check her out!)
  3. to read through the Bible by December 31, 2010 using the reading plan my husband developed
  4. to set aside 30 minutes each day in 2010 for personal development reading on the topics of homemaking, finances, marriage, homeschool or health (it's amazing how many times someone will ask me, "how did you know that?" and I realize it's because I read a lot)
  5. to seek out a way each and every day of 2010 to add laughter to my day through a book, TV show or listening to a CD (anyone have ideas for good, clean laughter?)
  6. to finish my afghan by February 29, 2010 by crocheting at least one row per day
There they are.  It's a good start anyway.  And if, along the way, I need to reassess and revise, I can feel free to do so.  I'll do a "goal check" periodically to keep that accountability going and to let you know how I'm doing.  What about you?  What kind of goals do you have for the new year?