Monday, January 19, 2009

I Resolve...

This is a belated New Year's resolutions post. I was inspired awhile ago by this, but alas the weeks got away from me and I am only now attempting to post resolutions. I find it very, very difficult to make resolutions each year, mostly because I am paralyzed by fear of this reality: I will not accomplish all of my resolutions. I am sort of a perfectionist. But I am plagued, as most perfectionists are, but an inability to live up to my own desires/standards. As a result, I tend towards extremes... either I am relaxed about things to a fault, or embrace legalistic and life-sucking expectations for myself and everyone in my path . Whew! Now that I've bared my soul and revealed my goal setting glitches, I'll share my plan for this year.
I'm just starting to understand that in the christian life grace and personal responsibility are wound together, and we cannot completely exchange one for the other. I know that I am a sinner saved by grace, and only God's grace. But the Bible is also clear that we should be using our time wisely (Ephesians 5:15-16), which suggests some personal involvement. I hope that making some resolutions will help me to use my time more wisely. In it all though, I must remember that I am dependent on God's help to do any good. When I am leaning towards legalism or the other direction of laziness, I am not trusting God to help me! Depending on God to accomplish what He has called me to, is an overarching goal this year.
I've asked for input from Eric to assess what resolutions would be most valuable to our family, to him, and myself. These are what I've come up with, roughly listed from least important to most important.

10. Teach Eva to read. She has a perfect grasp of what reading is, knows most of her capital letters, and knows the sounds that some make. She can write her name, and is constantly asking me how to spell different words. Once or twice she's even sounded out a really short word. For some reason, I haven't given much formal attention to Eva's interest in reading, but I feel like I should seize the day since she has so much enthusiasm. However, my general "less is more" attitude remains, so if her interest wanes or reading proves difficult, I won't be disappointed. It is certainly not a critical life skill right now!

9. Communicate with other women more. I plan to start some new routines this year (more on that later, I'm sure), and within these routines I will have a time set aside for calling, emailing, or old-fashioned writing the women in my life. I am bad at maintaining friendships and pursuing other women. At the top of my list are the women in my small group at church and my family.

8. Always have a batch of Kombucha brewing. This week I unveiled my latest attempt at herbal tea kombucha, and we loved it! Correction: The girls in the house loved it. We like to drink the stuff, and I notice a slight improvement in our immune system strength when we're regularly consuming it. I don't know why I don't keep a batch brewing so there's always something to drink. It's so easy!

7. Purchase a grain mill and begin baking with fresh ground flours. I'm giving myself until the end of February to decide on and order a grain mill. After that, there will be an adjustment period while I learn how to use the thing and how my recipes respond to fresh ground flour. Also, I would really, really like to start soaking my flour before baking, but that involves majorly reworking my recipes or finding new ones. In an attempt to make achievable goals, I am baby-stepping along, starting with purchasing the mill.

6. Teach Hope to be a good sleeper. Folks, I've tried a lot of methods to help Hope be a big sleeper, and so far we've made little progress (although, I do celebrate any progress). She's not the worst sleeper ever, but she still only gets about 6-8 hours in a row at night. After the long stretch, she gets up once or twice and must see us, face to face, in order to go back to sleep. Eva was easily doing 12 hour nights by 10 months, but here we are and Hope is almost 16 months old! Eva sleeps through Hope's wakings, but the other three of us would really benefit from a good night's sleep. My goal is to make a plan that will have her sleeping well by the end of March... that's about two months away. Any of you experienced mamas out there want to lend some advice? As I said, I have tried a lot, but I am open to any suggestions!

5. Laundry!!! I used to feel good about how I do laundry. "A load a day keeps the chaos away" (thanks FLYlady), but I'm finding that it doesn't always do the trick. My new plan is to still do just 1 load per day (unless we've had company or the stomach flu or something), but insist that it get IN the dressers each day. You see, I've gotten lazy and tell myself that just having the clothes clean is a good thing. But then clean clothes sit in the family room, sometimes folded sometimes not, piling up until it is a major job to get them put away. This week, I started folding the laundry in the upstairs living room. I am much more protective of this space, making sure it is neat and tidy each night. If there was laundry sitting around upstairs, it wouldn't last long. So far, my new plan is working and we've put away up to three loads a day this week! By the way, this was Eric's #1 concern as we discussed resolutions...

4. A big goal: the Marathon. I have always admired people who follow through on things, especially when it means diligence and self-discipline over a long time. Last fall, I started feeling like I am not diligent. Worse, I never, ever accomplish something that is DONE. Laundry, dishes, cooking, raking are only done until the next time. I am frightened beyond belief to put this into print: I plan to run the Twin Cities Marathon in October. This will mean daily training, and hopefully a completed race. And it means that I really, really don't want to get pregnant until at least November. We are taking measures to ensure this accomplishment!

3. Devotions. Since about 10th grade I have struggled to have daily time reading the Bible and in prayer. 2008 was a significant improvement, but I still lack regularity and desire in this area. By God's grace, I hope to have daily devotions in the morning before the girls are up. If we have a wretched night's sleep resulting in no morning devotions, I will have to give up part of afternoon quiet time. I really enjoy my time alone with God, so I don't know why it doesn't happen each day. Here's to a new year with increased consistency.

2. "She rises early..." (proverbs 31:15). It seems to me that the main key to making most of these resolutions work, will be getting more time in my day. Believe it or not, for me rising early will mean 6:30 AM (pitiful, I know). But that is one whole hour earlier than I rise now!

1. Going to bed early. And the real key to making ALL of these resolutions work, will be getting into bed by 11:00. Good thing I am putting my hope in God, and not myself because this one will be tricky!

Well, now that I've gone public with these resolutions, I hope that you'll check in on me once in a while and see how it's going! Just letting you all in on my plan will probably help me to be more diligent. I've read some of your resolutions already, but what about the rest of you???

If you're interested, here are a few links to blog posts and articles that were helpful for me as I thought about my new resolutions-


Setting Goals that Work

5 comments:

Erin said...

Quite the blog, sister dear. i am still contemplating running that marathon with you...a few things to consider yet.

Becca said...

You're not invited to run the marathon one month after giving birth to (potentially) two babies. You can do it after your second child turns 2; we'll cheer you on! :)

rob said...

I have a laundry tip: I set up a card table in our laundry area. I do the laundry and then sort and fold it all right there and then stack it in each person's own pile. I love it because the laundry is done, it is sorted, it just needs to go up to a room. Or it can just stay piled and sorted so nicely in the basement if I want it to. It has worked for us in that the laundry doesn't get stuck in our bedroom on the floor or in laundry baskets in our room.

What a list Becca...I started laughing because I would never be able to do most of that in more than a year. Here's to it!

Love, Katie (from the sidelines)

Sara said...

Becca,

You are so inspiring. I'm so glad you have a blog to inspire me.:) Selfish, huh? So, I am absolutely impressed with the marathon goal, of course. I'm intrigued with the laundry, devotions, getting up early and going to bed early too. WE are so much alike, it's a bit scary. I too, don't finish many things because of the perfection thing. I have contemplated the marathon goal too or rather 1/2 marathon (which is equally as scary to me). Anyhow, I like the getting up early thing. Do you have anyone to hold you accountable?

Sara

P.S. Erin has no idea what's coming does she? A marathon one month after a baby. Yikes-you better start filling her in. :)

Becca said...

Katie,
Thanks for the tip! And, I know you could make a list much longer than this and do it. Most of these things are things you're already doing anyway ;)!

Sara,
Do you want me to call you at 6:30?... though you probably have to be up earlier than that for Gavin. You should post your list. I'd love to see what is on your mind and heart!