Friday, January 02, 2009

Resolutions are yucky

Why are resolutions yucky? Because they feel like a burden, not a load, a burden. What's the difference? A load is something that takes some effort, but is still manageable and is simply part of everday life. A burden is something overwhelming, unbearable, that causes us to stagger and stumble. Maybe some of it is that December is a busy month for me. In January, my main goal is just to get "back on track", not to add new responsibilities. Maybe part of it is that I know I have at least two months of dark and dreary winter days ahead of me. Winter is not the time for me to be enterprizing. But, probably it is because I know how difficult, impossible, it is for me to keep brand new goals that I lay out for myself in January.

And yet.... It is a appropriate to spend some time reflecting on what is important to me. Just what are my goals and priorities, and how am I doing in fulfilling them? So, I'm not making resolutions this year. I'm confirming the things I want to continue in doing and tweaking the things that have veered slightly from my goals. My scripture verse for this process is..."So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Col 2:6-7)

So, my first priority should be to my spiritual walk. I have the intention of sitting down each weekday morning with my notebook, my Bible, and whatever devotional book I'm using to guide my morning quiet time. I'm fairly consistent with this. I'm currently using Women of the Bible as my devotional guide. I find that I'm identifying with imagining what each of these women must have faced and their responses to their life's circumstances. From there I can draw parallels to my own life and applications. I'm also trying to foster the habit of putting a verse or a thought on a post-it note on the bathroom mirror to see and reflect on my devotions during the course of the day. This coming year, I want to
Continue in my morning devotions with my notebook and my hot cocoa and my pink pen
Continue putting a verse or a thought on the bathroom mirror and Tweak this practice by reading it and reflecting on it more regularly. (Sadly, I put it there and then never "see" it again.)
Tweak my ongoing connection to God by having short prayer conversations with him through the day.

My second priority should be to my husband and my marriage. Notice I'm using "shoulds" here. These priorities don't always wash out in this order in practice. And, I'm rather ashamed to admit I'm not sure what this looks like on a regular basis. I try to keep time set aside in the evenings for spending with the Jedi. This is difficult on weeknights because so many other activities pull us in different directions. But, I try to be conscientious about how I'm using what little free time I have in the evenings, to make sure that I'm doing things with the Jedi, even if its just sitting with him and watching tv. And, because our weeknights are so busy, I try to guard what I do with my Friday and Saturday nights. Its really easy for me to want to schedule and do all kinds of social things on the weekends, but doing so seriously cuts into time I have with my husband. I'm trying to take the approach of not, do I have this Saturday free? But, what else do I have scheduled on other Saturdays this month? I'd really rather not be scheduled 'away from home' more than one, sometimes two Saturdays in a month. (And yet, there are still months where its a challenge to be home one saturday a month.) The Jedi's primary love language is acts of service . Let me tell you how much "acts of service" is usually below my radar. Fortunately, having dinner cooked each night means a lot to the Jedi. I can usually follow through on this one. Having the house relatively picked up, and the laundry done and put away also means a lot to the Jedi. Those of you who know me, or who read my blog regularly, know how much I struggle with these things. Neither of them are really that important to me personally. Laundry I do cause we all need clean underwear. Housework I do cause we can't live in a pigpen (though we come close sometimes. Kidding. Sort of.) But the Jedi hates clutter. And the Jedi twitches around incomplete projects. And yet, the Jedi married me. Clutter and incomplete projects are practically my middle name. Punctuality is also important to the Jedi. (Christopher Robin is laughing her head off right now. Go ahead, laugh.) I'm including all these things, because I do want to make sure my marriage and my relationship to my husband is strong. And to do that, I might just have to make sure I'm looking beyond my own needs and making sure he's needs for love and affection are also met. (And yet, quality time is my primary love language, and you'll note that spending time with the Jedi was listed well before acts of service was ever mentioned.) Despite this fact, I'm going to
Continue to make sure to spend time with the Jedi in the evenings and on weekends.
Tweak and get back to meal planning so that dinner is not a last minute dash for something semi-edible to get on the table a few minutes before we have to be back out the door.
Tweak and get back to getting afternoon routines completed so the Jedi returns home to some degree of order. This week we haven't even been home before the Jedi arrives, and we certainly hadn't picked up the chaos and clutter we created during the morning before we left. And dinner was a hodge-podge affair every night this week. Which means,
Tweak my afternoon errands so that I'm home by 4:30. Tuesday can be an exception since we do grocery shopping that afternoon.

My third priority should be to my children. This one is going to be a long and complicated assessment, since its so multifaceted. Do I break schooling into a separate paragraph? Or is schooling part of mothering? Grrr. I'm just breaking right to my list of continues and tweaks.
Continue encouraging the completion of the morning routines. I think these are helping to make our day start out smoothly, are teaching responsibility, and are simple, effective, straightforward.
Tweak getting our afternoon lists done. This goes back to tweaking getting home by 4:30.
Not that getting chores done is the most important part of mothering. Just the easiest to list right now.
Continue encouraging Sweetling in her chapter by chapter reading of the Bible.
Tweak, as in DO and START, Toa of Boy's daily devotions. yes, that's right, its January and I never got his devotional book ordered for him for the school year.
Continue to support, encourage, and be involved in the children's ministry at church.
Continue to let my words be apples of gold in settings of silver. I want to affirm, encourage, and build up my children. I want any redirection or correction to be done in loving guidance.
Continue to laugh and have fun with my children. yes, Sweetling, this means chicken dance.
Continue to build memories by making the ordinary extraordinary. Yes, yes, this is completely achievable. Laundry isn't, but the extraordinary is. We have family traditions that are important to us and we constinently try new experiences (especially in the summer.)
Tweak some way of recording those memories and experiences. Both children love to look through the few scrapbook pages they have and Sweetling loves to read and reread the Christmas memory books. I need some way of doing a scrapbook that's simple and manageable on a regular basis. And the time and the space to do it in.
Continue to support their growth in their individual gifts, talents, and interests. For Sweetling, that means time to write on Webkinz Insider, time and encouragement in Tae Kwon Do, time with friends and God's Girls on Friday. For Toa, that means time to be active, legos to build and be admired, plenty of paper and drawing materials for spontaneous sketches and art projects and the space in which to display his creations.
Tweak a space and system to display Toa's artwork. He needs a bulletin board or clipboards or something. He hangs his own stuff in his room and on his door. And I have a door for him in the school room that we hang papers on every month (then photograph at the end of the month and refill the next month.) But he has so many drawings every day and every week. He doesn't like sketchbooks by the way. He likes looseleaf paper to draw and create on. I also need to buy him a set of crayons at least every month. They get lost and broken and used up so quickly.
Tweak praying for my children every day. I pray with them at meal times and bedtimes, but I need to pray for them daily.

School needs to be its own category. I'll come back to school, because in looking for the name and author of the devotion book I wanted for Toa, I found a post about my homeschool agenda for the year. I think it was a good agenda, and I want to reread it and re-evaluate how I am doing on it.

So, does school count as priority three, priority three-a, or priority four? this is why numbered lists break down for me. Moving on anyway.

I need to take care of myself so that I can take care of others. I'm thinking this has several components to it.
I need to continue my devotions and increase (tweak) my conversational prayer life. I already hit on this one.
I need to continue in dance. The Christmas dance was a huge commitment, but I love the creative process and the unique form of worship that dance gives me. In fact, during sunday services, i feel more connected to the worship music when I can close my eyes and visualize a dance that would go with the song. Dance makes Tuesdays more busy, cause we do school, grocery shopping, Sweetling's TaeKwonDo, dance, and my TaeKwonDo. But dance is not one of the things we're cutting out of Tuesday.
I need continue to appreciate the beauty of the natural world. Walks in the wood don't happen often and so aren't practical on a regular basis, but looking at the sky, noticing the play of light on the maple tree branches, watching the squirrels in the yard, these things renew my spirit. I like having a 'beautiful something' to put in my list of seven praises in the morning.
I need to continue to blog and tweak giving myself some freetime and the permission to write bad fiction that no one is going to read. I think that was one of the appeals of NaNo. It didn't matter the quality of the writing, the applause came from *doing* it. I want to write at least once a week, preferably twice a on my blog and one for just pure fiction for the heck of it.
Ok, this doesn't fit in a continue or tweak category, but I just told the kids that we're doing school upstairs until March. I don't like being in the basement in the winter. Its cold, and despite the two megawatt fullspectrum bulbs, it feels dark. Maybe its a tweak, since its an adjustment.
Tweak getting up at a regular time each morning. I feel so much better about the day when I feel like I had time in the morning to shower, do some simple cleaning, and have some time to myself.
Continue in Tae kwon Do. I feel stronger and healther and proud of myself. I need to
Tweak finding time everyday to stretch. I feel tight and sore on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (from TKD) and I need to stretch out each day or I'm losing some of the benefits of TKD. *WHEN* I will do this is an unanswered question.
Tweak my eating habits by consuming more fruits and veggies and limiting my hot cocoa to breakfast and evening.
Tweak being better about getting *me* to the doctor. I'm all about getting the kids in for check-ups, but can't even remember when was my last pap smear.
hmmm. Tweak my academic reading. I haven't been keeping up with Sweetling's history reading, so I want to start reading the chapters she's reading. I'm not keeping up with her literature reading either. She's finishing up Tom Sawyer, but I haven't read that since I was a girl. I need to reread that so I can discuss it with her. Ok, both of these are motivated my schooling, not by personal growth.
Tweak keeping up with current events. Even if I just spend five minutes a day reading some of the lead stories on a reliable news site.
Tweak becoming more politically involved. I need to check out Obama's and educate myself so that I can feel comfortable and confident enough to participate in the forums. As a homeschooler and a conservative, I am a little worried about what direction education might take in the new administration. But, if I don't stay involved and connected, I've forfeited my voice and my opinion through my silence.
Drat, there's no "continues" in this category.

My friends. This is a category that I always fall short in. I have awesome friends who are always there for me. I'm less than awesome at being there for them. I might, in fact, be the sucksers. I need to tweak calling them on a regular basis, which should mean about once a week. I need to work out when this is going to happen. Again, its the when that kills me. I should also tweak emailing far-away friends once a month. I've been lazy with this thinking that I can give people my blog address, and that this excuses me from maintaining contact. Bad me. I also feel like with the loss of the wednesday morning Bible study, I've lost touch with friends at church whose company I really enjoy and whose input and prayers I really treasure. I'm not quite sure I know how to tweak this to fix it. And again, no continues in this category.

My siblings. This sort of overlaps the friends category because it has a familiar refrain. I have awesome siblings. I want to be a better sister and a better aunt. I need to tweak making phone calls and sending cards and letters. I need to talk Taters into coming over for dinner once in a while. Smurf and I always have a good time together, and its sad that we get together so infrequently. Sure, its easy to blame her crazy school demands, but still.

My extended family and other loved ones. Like Vaya. Who I never see but could and should spam her email box. And Mama Maddie (no, this is not my mother) who I should drop emails too and send photos too. And Nana, again, the woman is in want of photos.

My house and home. Yeah, notice this came last. Cause it involves cleaning and decluttering. Maybe I should drink a cup of mid-day hot cocoa while I consider this.
Continue keeping the kitchen clean. This means multiple times a day the sink needs emptied and wiped. The counters and stove needs cleaned. The table needs cleared and cleaned.
Tweak and get back to cleaning the bathroom every day. I was doing this, and then
December happened and I lost that good habit.
Continue sorting laundry and getting it started on Sunday afternoon.
Tweak getting it folded and all put away by Monday night.
Tweak doing room rescues in the afternoon. This was part of the afternoon routines that fell by the wayside.
Tweak decluttering the closets and shelves and such. Tweak in this case being start. I can add ahalf-hour of grab and toss to my Sunday afternoons. I think we'll start in Sweetling's room. Her drawers are so stuffed she can't close them, and I know there are clothes in there that don't fit her anymore.
Tweak actually doing some gardening. Yes, its January. Yes, once again, I'm full of delusions of what my yard *could* look like. And yes, once again, Saturday mornings become the targeted time slot for working in the yard.
Continue in clipping coupons and keeping the grocery budget under a tight rein. Which means
Tweak getting coupons clipped AND filed on Sunday, and
Tweak doing the CVS list Monday night, and
Continue keeping track of what I spend in pocket excel on my phone, and
Tweak having some system of keeping track of what I have and what I need or am low on, and
Tweak where I'm storing all of this stuff, and
Tweak making regular donations to the food pantry ministry at church.

And that's a ton. See, I started out NOT going to do resolutions because they were too overwhelming. And instead I ended up with a list that no one can keep track of. (And I haven't even gotten back to my Homeschool Agenda.) I think I know what I'll do. I'll follow the example of Benjamin Franklin. I'll pick one virtue a week to work on. I'll post my progress on Sunday. Maybe I'll sign up for the New Me support group on Cherry Soup. There is, after all, a cool button. Though, hers is primarily health and fitness based, and my tweaks span the spectrum. We'll see.

What to pick first? Its a toss up between getting up on time, which I did two out of the four days this week, and being home by 4:30, which I did two out of the four days this week (but likely won't manage today, so may as well say one out of four.). Can I work on both? They are both important, and rather connected. If I don't get up on time, there's no way I'm going to get through my day in a timely fashion. So really, I should work on that one first. Ok. (and, if I don't go to bed in a timely manner, there's no way i'll get up on time.)

Goals for this week and next:
Get up by 7am (and be out of the shower and dressed by 7:30.)
Review my homeschool agenda on Sunday.

There. Those two goals are totally doable.

1 comment:

Impossible Mom said...

But the Jedi hates clutter. And the Jedi twitches around incomplete projects. And yet, the Jedi married me. Clutter and incomplete projects are practically my middle name. Punctuality is also important to the Jedi. (Christopher Robin is laughing her head off right now. Go ahead, laugh.)

Yes...I was rolling. *grins* Yeah, you never start small. I always just say I'm gonna try and be better. it works....sometimes