Now, I've read Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People before and loved it! It's been a few years and I've forgotten to "keep my saw sharpened." I'm too busy cutting down the forest to stop and sharpen my saw, let alone, step back far enough to make sure I'm still in the right forest. :o) I'm too busy in the thick of it to notice the big picture. I'm taking some time at the close of 2011 to reevaluate where I am and where I want to go. It's time for some new goals and a plan for achieving them.
As I've pondered this topic over the last several weeks, I've narrowed down a few specific areas that I wish to improve upon this year. 1) Spiritually (God's love): I want to feel God's love for me. I know that He loves me, but I want to feel it more. There are times I feel so lonely. I feel that Heavenly Father doesn't care what happens to me in the least. It can be very discouraging. I've determined that sincere PRAYER + earnest SCRIPTURE STUDY = PEACE, LOVE, JOY, and PERSONAL REVELATION. As I journey through the scriptures this year I will be looking for God's love for me manifest in the pages of history. I would like to recognize His hand in my life more often and to notice the promptings I receive from the Holy Ghost. I plan to document His hand in my life either in my personal journal or here on my blog as appropriate.
2) Personal Relationships (honor my husband): I have realized that I do not honor my husband the way he deserves to be honored. I am so sorry for this Luke! I want to cherish him as my King and treat him as such. I want our marriage and relationship to be THE most important thing in my life next to my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Erika does a great job describing why and how she prioritizes her marriage above all else on her blog here. Specifically she mentions how to :
- Prioritize our marriage above our children
- Prioritize our marriage above outside activities & friends
- Prioritize our marriage above our parents and in-laws
- Prioritize our marriage above ourselves
- How I make our bedroom our sanctuary
I've also recently read a book called Fascinating Womanhood. It is not an easy book to read, and I don't mean the language or syntax is difficult to understand. I mean I wanted to throw it across the room a few times! Indeed, I did slam the cover closed more than once with an exasperated, "HMPH!" Then I would rant to Luke about one thing or another for a good ten minutes about how incredulous it was. :o) Then I would simmer down and realize that "the guilty taketh the truth to be hard." I am not saying that I endorse the entire book (yet! ;o) ), but boy! did it get me thinking!!! I'll probably refer to specific principles of this book as the year progresses and I put it "to the test" so to say. I must say, that when I put the book on hold at my local library I was expecting a book about femininity and how to embrace womanhood more fully (something severely lacking in our society). I was not expecting a marriage-fixing manual. But I'm sure glad I brought it home and read it. I plan this year to put the principles into practice in honoring my husband and his roles in our family (and my roles in our family).
3) Still in Personal Relationships (love my children): Surprise! I want to love my children - On Purpose! :o) Luke and I picked up a book at my mom's garage sale this summer when we were visiting Michigan. I remember my initial response to this book was something resembling extreme apathy and major lack of desire to read it (did I just say the same thing twice? :o) ). It sounded so stupidly cliché. A lot of "parenting" books are so full of... junk, for lack of a better word. I thought this was going to be one of those eye-rolling-I'm-so-glad-I-know-better-than-this books. Boy, was I wrong!!! The book is called How To Really Love Your Child. It sounds so corny, doesn't it? Getting over the gag-reflex, this book was INCREDIBLE!!! It is so spot-on with my new way of thinking about living on purpose. It emphasizes three main facets for showing love to your children (anyone really) - eye contact, physical contact, and focused attention. I want to spend time each day with each child really loving them. Sometimes, sadly, we are all just living in the same house and don't know what each other is doing/feeling. I want to change that!
4) Health and Physical Fitness (sleep): It just wouldn't be a new year without some sort of fitness/weight resolution would it? ;o) One of the very first goals I will be focusing on in earnest is that of my health. I have realized that after four children in 8 years, 8 months of marriage (as of Dec '11), I have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for... ALL OF IT!!! It took about six weeks after our wedding to become pregnant and I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding or both! since then with 14 months of nursing while being pregnant and 10 months nursing two children simultaneously! I. Am. TIRED!!! :o) I have not had my body to myself since our honeymoon (when it wasn't really mine then either ;o) ). Now I'm not complaining about this. I LOVE being a mother and wouldn't change the choice to give complete control to the Lord for when and how many children He sees fit to bless us with. I'm just stating that I am physically exhausted right now (probably why I'm not pregnant yet, though I would love to be) and would like to be proactive about it in stead of reactive (cause that's not pretty!) Beginning by January 1, 2012 I will:
124 Cease to be aidle; cease to be bunclean; cease to cfind fault one with another; cease to dsleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be einvigorated. (Emphasis mine.)I figure if I can just accomplish this one task of going to bed on time so as to get up on time, so many other things will naturally fall into place. I mean, it says, "arise early that your bodies and your minds may be INVIGORATED!" Just getting up in the morning will help tremendously in being able to accomplish all that needs to be done and leave room for the other things in life. It's all about balance. We all have the same amount of time allotted to each of us each day. There are only 24 hours in every day, no more. That leaves 8 hours for sleep/rest, 8 hours for work, and 8 hours for wholesome recreation. I want to find that ideal balance. I'll go into more detail in a future post about how I plan to achieve this balance. For now, this means my bedtime will become no later than 10:00 p.m. If you find me online later than that - remind me of my goal please! :o)
5) Health and Fitness again (no more sugar): We have a pretty healthy diet for the most part, but I desire to be more diligent about it this year. Luke and I have discussed completely giving up refined sugars and have decided to bite the bullet this year (pun intended - sorry! :o) ). As soon as our Christmas treats are gone we will no longer bring anything into our house that is made with refined sugar. Refined sugar to us means: white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, agave nectar, artificial chemical sweeteners (Nurtasweet, Splenda, etc.), and so on. (I am eating a chocolate orange as I write this! Haha!) We will only use raw honey, stevia leaf extract, sucanat/Rapadura, or pure Grade B maple syrup as sweeteners. This means if it comes in a box, bag, jar, bottle, etc. we probably won't be buying it. :o) It does mean a little more work on my part. There are almost no breakfast cereals on the market that don't have some amount of sugar in some form added to them. (Not that boxed breakfast cereal is healthy or should be eaten anyway, it's just an example.) I have plans for changing up the way all of our grain products are prepared also, but Luke says only one major dietary change at a time! :o) Sugar is the worst for us here right now (not that we consume that much of it, but it has the highest priority to change - some of us have gained a bit of weight over the years and considering the rest of our diet is fairly decent, we're investigating the effects of cutting the sugar cord altogether).
6) Health (Emma's teeth): I've been researching how to heal and remineralize teeth. Emma has had problems with her teeth practically since they came through. She got them early on and I don't remember them not having brown spots on them. The decay has worsened. The brown spots have grown and are on more teeth now and she has some "chunks" missing in some. These spots are on the outside of her smile on top. It is not from inadequate hygiene practices. She has been brushed just as much as our other kids who are unaffected like this. I'm currently reading Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition. I plan to put into practice the principles outlined in this book to see what we can do to help her with this. She has never complained of any pain at all. I have some major reservations about modern dentistry which is why we've not pursued anything along those lines.
7) Balance and Prioritization: I've mentioned this a bit already, so I'll be brief here. I want each day to be balanced with priorities taking their proper place in the day. I have consulted Luke as to his idea of what my most important responsibilities should be each day, when I was reading Fascinating Womanhood (she recommends prioritizing your day also). His response was very revealing. His top priority for me then was to be sure that school happened each day for the children (we home educate our children). That was followed by me being happy and looking nice each day (clean clothes, hair combed, makeup if I felt like it, etc.). His last request was for food. :o) As I asked him recently to tell me his top three priorities for me in a day his list was exactly the same with one exception. I had moved to top priority and the kids came in second; food was third. :o)
8) Education: I want to be sure to do a good job with the kids' schooling. Lukey will be entering third grade next fall and will begin standardized testing. I'm a bit nervous even though I don't put a whole lot of stock into testing. It's not a very accurate portrayal of knowledge at all, but it's the way "we" do it, so it will be done. It can be helpful to find areas of weakness to improve on. My reason for wanting to do well teaching is not because of the testing! :o) But because I want my children to have a great education. I've struggled this first few years just trying to settle into a "way" to do it. I have a really hard time making decisions. I tend to want to know every last detail and option before moving forward and forget that you can have a superb outcome from a huge variety of paths - there is no one perfect way to do it. I struggle with that. I just need to find the path that works for us. If you are planning or even thinking about home educating your own children, please don't wait until they are "school-aged" to do your research!!!!! When Lukey was born, I knew I wanted to teach him at home and I thought I had forever before he turned five! Well, by the time he actually turned five, he had two little sisters for me to care for too. The research didn't happen until it was time to start! Hence, my indecision still in my third year of doing it. :o( I think I'm making major progress though. I've found some resources lately that I think just may help me find exactly what I'm looking for. :o) In the meantime, my goal is to keep moving forward and having a devoted and regular time for formal lessons and enrich our lives to make every day a classroom of life.
These are not listed in order of importance. It's just a starting point for my new year. I will not tackle every last detail all at once and burn myself out (as I am prone to do - I'm such an "all or nothing" kind of girl!), but will work diligently with each item. Some of them will overlap. Here is a great challenge from President Thomas S. Monson, the world's current prophet of God.
"At the advent of a new year, I challenge Latter-day Saints everywhere to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life—a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings. Just as we learned the ABCs in school, I offer my own ABCs to help us all gain the abundant life." (Click here to read President Monson's ABCs for the abundant life.)
What are your New Year's Resolutions/Goals? What will you do to achieve them?