Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Long and Short Versions

Ahhh, a new year is here. January 1st - the day of resolutions. Even if you resolve not to make any, you've sort of defeated the process. It's a dawning of a new year, which always holds new hope, new promise, new potential. Unfortunately it's also a definitive launching pad for new failure or disappointment, but it's not much of way to start the year to focus on that.

2008 was not a great year, but my propensity for dismissing the negatives as quickly as possible make it hard to list all my reasons why right off, but there are a few that quickly come to mind - sort of the low points of the past year, good reasons to look forward to the year ahead and hope for something better. For starters, Neal had 2 surgeries, and although the first was supposed to be simple (and was elective) it was completely soured by the severe complications that landed him in the hospital for 4 days to the tune of $17,000. It was also very sad when the kids school closed, and for the little ones (Ethan especially) the transition has been laborious at best. (Though before Christmas break we seemed to be on an upswing - so there is the first root of hope that 2009 will be an improvement.) The sudden loss of my grandfather definitely was a very low point, and one that will take longer to overcome, but for no one more so than my Nanny. Sigh. We saw a lot of good people pass in the past couple of years... of course, for them that means 2009 will not only be "fine" but grand. It's those of left behind to muddle through that have more to overcome.

There was great division in my family in 2009, it remains, but for me I have found peace in it. Ecclesiastes 3:5-6 says "A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away..." there is a time for all of these things, and sometimes boundaries serve a good purpose. But who knows, perhaps 2009 will bring change to that situation too, I'm open.

On the smaller scale, or rather the literal one, I do belive I weigh a few more pounds than I did a year ago, which is rather disappointing, but I chose to do a lot of stress eating in response to the trials of the past year. No, it didn't accomplish anything positive, but I did it anyway.

My how I do go on... I titled this post "The Long and Short Versions" but clearly there is only a long version of introduction to what the title is about, resolutions.

Resolutions for 2009 (Ok, perhaps goals... or even hopes would be a better description, but why fight the flow.)

#1 Long Version - I would like to lose 80 pounds. I would be thrilled to no end to accomplish this goal, get back into the jeans I have hidden in the bottom of my closet that have not fit since the days that Phen Fen (or was it Fen Phen?) was legal. I'd like to get healthier and stronger and have more self discipline in both eating and exercise. (The attempt to reach this goal starts Monday, which is fully evidenced by the fact I spent all of today on the couch feeding my face.)

#1 Short Version - I'd like to get a little more active, eat better and lose some weight.

#2 Long Version - I'd like to make some heavy hits in getting our finances in better order, I'd like to get on a consistent budget, stick to it; get back to clipping coupons and cook at home most of the time, eating out only on rare occasions (this could probably go with Resolution #1 as well) I'd like to go so long without using a credit card I could forget what they look like (much less no longer have the numbers memorized) and pay off all our medical bills and credit debt.

#2 Short Version - I'd like to make positive strides in our finances, and be in less debt a year from now than we are now without any damage to our credit in the interim.

#3 Long Version - I would really like to have a solid and consistent devotional time, that includes faithful and dedicated prayer for the entire list of people I intend (sometimes promise) to pray for, remembering to check in and follow up and just being solid and consistent. I would like to read through the entire bible this year and not do it like I am reading a periodical, but rather with commitment and intention, and most of all expectation to hear from the Lord personally. I'd like to spend more time praying with my husband and kids and teaching and sharing the word together. I'd like to be abiding, and constantly swimming in the Lord and His presence instead of drying out and running back, jumping in to Him only to climb out and get dry and thirsty all over again. And I would like to consistently journal through the process.

#3 Short Version - I would like to have a daily consistent devotional time, even if it's not everything I'd like it to be, I'd like it to be every day.

I think I'm going to stop at the three, I mean why overshoot, I'll just defeat myself before I ever get out of the gate. Though I will say, I would just really like to grow, as a wife, mother, friend, woman of God. I'd like to look back over 2009 a year from now and see change, in me, through me, that's my hope. I plan to blog abot these resolutions as the year progresses, keep you updated and myself accountable. We'll see what happens.

Well, I'm going to cut this... well, short would be a misspeaking (miswriting?), anyway, I've got less than 20 minutes to get started on that reading the bible through in a year thing, so gotta run. Happy New Year! May your 2009 not be only fine, but blessed, in Jesus' name!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Post-Holiday Post

Couldn't really come up with a better title, and it actually took several moments to come up with the second "post." Sort of indicative of where my brain is at.

CHRISTmas was really nice this year, very possibly the nicest I can recall in my entire adult life. We had a nice morning over at my parents' house (after we opened all our gifts at home) but in lieu of participating in the annual family drama with my more extended family we came back home where I cooked my first CHRISTmas dinner myself and let the kids play with their new toys and just hang out. So amidst the chopping, prepping and cooking I got to sing a little High School Musical Karaoke and dance around with my daughter. I got to help my oldest son learn the ins and outs of music transfer through Napster and got to watch my younger son joyfully play the new games on the new PS2 Santa brought to replace the one that the family had quite simply worn out. It was a nice change to the annual tradition of me walking on egg shells and spending much of the day barking at my children not to act like... well, children.

Dinner turned out really god, but I'm not sure if it wasn't just because there were no ridges in my tongue from biting it all day long. I cooked things I'd never cooked before, but it still turned out like a festive holiday meal. Granted, it was ready later than I originally planned, but it wasn't like one of those infamous midnight meals I've heard about or anything. We ate at dinner time, the five of us all together in our own kitchen. I still had to make a few threats to get the asparagus eaten by Ethan... the prime rib and potatoes too for that matter, but it was still so much less uncomfortable and chaotic than any other meal in the past. It was a merry CHRISTmas.

But alas, the holidays have passed. The house is still a bit of a mess, and we have company coming for New Year's Eve. I really need to get it in order but just don't have the drive to do it. I'm so not a housekeeper, and having everyone here 24/7 doesn't help my inspiration. Neal being on bed rest isn't a lot of help either. It also doesn't help that I think the mess is really getting to him, but he is restricted from doing anything about it.

I'm starting to wonder if there are deeper issues at the core of the messes, and lack of drive to fix them in my life. My house is a mess, my weight is a mess, our finances are a bit of a mess. It makes me think how grateful I am for a Savior who loved and accepted me as such, a mess. Sunday as the associate pastor spoke he said something I clung to. God fixes our messes, even the ones we make ourselves. Which of course, to at least some degree is all of them. I'm glad God loves me even when I am a mess, and my house is a mess, and life is a mess.

I know I'll be making lots of resolutions about the messes in my life, losing weight, getting the house in order, getting our debts paid off, but I also know I really don't have any ability on my own to fix or clean up anything. So I suppose my biggest resolution in the coming year will to be better at yielding, to the Savior, to His will and to His power in my life. Father help me to, yet again, learn to surrender and abide.

Of course, I do have 11 people coming over tomorrow night who would probably appreciate a clean bathroom, so perhaps I should put my feet to my faith as well.