Saturday, January 18, 2014

It's Jan"YOU"ary!

It’s a new year… officially 2014.  Wow!  Time flies.  For many this month is a time of reflection and goal setting.  It’s a time for YOU to determine what you want to focus on or accomplish this year.  It’s Jan“YOU”ary.  I challenge you to take this month to focus on YOU.   Come up with some simple goals to shoot for throughout the year. Make a list and keep it simple.  If you never set a goal, you will hit it every time!  Step out and try something new. 

A goal is simply… a dream with a deadline Who do you want to be in 2014?  What do you want that person to look like?  Start there…  Here are some inspiring quotes I read on the subject of setting goals:

"All our dreams can come true --if we have the courage to pursue them."  - Walt Disney

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." - Henry Ford

"Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want."   - Robert Allen

"Living without an aim is like sailing without a compass."   -John Ruskin

Think through the past year and specifically the past three months. Jot down what you want to maintain, improve, and change.  It might be to begin eating right & exercising, taking a class of interest, starting a new hobby, saving for a vacation, focusing on getting debt-free, mending a broken relationship, or being more purposeful with your time.  What are your personal goals?  How could setting goals and shooting to meet those goals change your year?  I dare you to try it and see for yourself.

I am working on this process.  I usually have things figured out by the first week of January, but I’ve been sick a lot this month which has been frustrating.  It’s really hard to focus on things when you don’t feel well.  My plan is to have all of my goals for the year written out by the end of this month.  My list will include several areas of goals:  spiritual, physical, mental, family, financial, ministry, writing, etc…   Each person is different.  You need to list out the areas that are important to you.  I haven’t gotten everything figured out yet, but here are some of the ideas I am fleshing out…

I want to read several books this year.  I made a list of specific books to read, so I actually do it.  Some are ones I heard about and others were recommended.  I am going to start small and add more if I finish this list.  Here it is so far…

~Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
~Developing the Leader With in You by Maxwell
~Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
~Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst
~Balancing it all by Candace Cameron Bure
~God of the Underdogs by Matt Keller
~God Meant it for Good by R.T. Kendall
~You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado

I also want to read some e-books on my phone while I wait to pick my kids up from school or in waiting rooms at doctor’s offices.  I want my waiting to be productive, since I do A LOT of it!  I don’t want to waste a minute.

Two specific books on my list have peaked my curiosity.  The ladies that suggested these had no idea that I am in the process of writing a book on the very subject of their recommendation.  It’s a Bible study that draws parallels from my own life while studying the life of Joseph.  Needless to say I am very excited about reading them.  Perfect timing!

This year I want to become an official writer… not just a part-time blogger.  I want to finish my book and get it published.  I also want to set specific writing goals for my blog, writing e-books, discipleship resources, and the like.  I’m still working out the details on this one.

I want to have family nights, more sit down meals, date nights with my kids & husband (all separate), and read specific books together to help us grow more in God. 

I don’t know about you, but my family gets all caught up in their boxes…  TV, Computer, Laptop, Phone, IPod, Video Games, etc…  It seems like at times it takes away rather than adds to our family.  It sucks them in and it’s hard to bring them back to reality.  My thought is that each month that has 31 days, on the 31st day of that month we take a MEDIA BREAK (Project: 31). We UNPLUG for that particular day. That’s about 6 times a year!!!   I know we may need access to our phones somewhat, but I would like to see us unplug from as much as we can.  It’s in my ideas for goals.  Maybe we could plan a special family night with NO media or go somewhere fun together.  I think we need to do MORE than this to UNPLUG from media, but this may be a good start for our family.

There are other goals I am working on, but they aren’t all fleshed out to put on paper.  Physical goals:  I want to get down to the size I was when I got married by my anniversary in July so we can re-do our wedding pictures (rent a dress & tux).  Spiritual goals:  I want to grow closer to God this year.  I am taking the 14/14 challenge this year… spending at least 14 minutes a day with God.  

My boys:  I want to set goals to help prepare them for the future.  My husband and I are making a list and calling it…“Mentoring to Manhood” goals.  We want to make sure they are adequately prepared for the real world.  I’m still working on this list, but some things you might find on it are… learn how to change a tire, iron clothes, and balance a check book.  We also want them to cook with us more often so they can learn and become comfortable.  This list is full of practical every day stuff and is ever growing…

These are some of MY goals.  I encourage you to write some of your own.  Choose the areas you may want to focus on and make a list of things you want to shoot for.  Put it somewhere you will see often so you can work on them.  Something new I am going to do (so I follow through) is to make a Checkpoint time to re-evaluate my goals to see how I am doing.  I may do a 3 month, 6 month, and 9 month check-up.  I am serious about being intentional and disciplined this year so I THRIVE in every area of my life.

I hope all my random ideas for goal setting has some how inspired you to become more purposeful and intentional this year with YOUR LIFE.   Take it one day at a time, one goal at a time, and adjust them as you go if they seem too overwhelming for you.  When you enlist God’s help in accomplishing your goals, nothing is impossible.

Philippians 4:13 says…For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Nothing is holding you back now, but YOU.  It’s time to start thinking, praying, writing, and believing God for an amazing year.  Your life may never be the same!

Living to leave a legacy,


Monday, January 13, 2014

A Year of THANKS!

Wow!  It’s hard to believe it is a new year.  2013 was a year full of thanks for my family.  At the beginning of the year we determined to watch for, write down, and thank God for all of the awesome things He did through out the year.  When we prayed for things and our prayers were answered… it went in the “Thanks Jar”.  When we received unexpected checks in the mail or we accomplished something we had been working hard for... it went in too.  It was fun watching for things to be thankful for.  I’m not saying everything went WELL in 2013, but we did find a lot to be thankful for. 

We were SO surprised New Years Day to find piles of papers we had collected over the year to read.  A new tradition for us had begun… collecting thanks through out the year and then reading our “thanks” on New Years Day.  It was awesome and overwhelming all in one breath to see how very present God was in our year.

Our year was filled with lots of ups and downs…. After 4 months of pain, various tests, procedures, and doctor visits, I had my gall bladder removed.  I finished my last class (American Lit.) online to complete my degree after 18 years of waiting.  I celebrated 20 years of marriage to an amazing man.  The incredible house we were blessed to rent, sold and we had to move.  My doctors all agreed after special treatments in the fall of 2012 that I was officially in remission with my autoimmune disease.  This list went on… the boys got almost all A’s on their report cards, they BOTH made the basketball team, they made new friends, etc… God opened doors for us in many ways.

It was emotional to read each piece of paper and see the piles we still had yet to read full of thanks.  God is good.  This is a new tradition we are keeping.  A Year of Thanks!  I challenge you to become treasure hunters looking for all of the good things God is doing in YOUR life.  Take it a step further and write it down.  Save it up all year round and read your thanks on New Years Day just like us.  What an awesome concept!  Below you will find my original post and how I found the idea.  I pray your year will be amazing and full of thanks!

Living to leave a legacy,


My husband has a new name for me… he calls me the “Pinterest Queen.”  I finally gave in to join the Pinterest craze in the fall.  I kept seeing posts on Facebook of creative ways to do things, fix things, clean things, or make things and I couldn’t take it any longer and gave in to join.  Since then I have made SO many awesome creations.  Some have gone well while others have ended terribly.

 One of my projects could have ended disastrously, but luckily didn’t.  My goal was to do something creative with a mason jar.  I had seen pictures on Pinterest of candles placed in a mass of coffee beans which peaked my interest.  I decided to attempt it one night.  I poured the vanilla cream beans into the jar to fill it half full and then added the votive candle.  I pushed it down into the mixture of beans just like the picture.  It was perfect and smelled awesome.  I lit the candle and walked away to allow the aroma to fill the kitchen.

Later my husband exclaimed, “Why does the kitchen smell so strongly of coffee?”   He is a coffee drinker unlike me, but hadn’t made any.  He knew I had the candle burning, but it was EXTREMELY strong smelling.  He rushed into the kitchen to find my jar of coffee beans… ON FIRE!  It didn’t smell like smoke, or anything burning, the smoke detectors didn’t even go off… it just smelled like strong coffee.  We snuffed the “small” fire out with the lid and went on with the night.  My husband looked at me with a smile and said, “I think you need to chill a little with the Pinterest thing.  I don’t know if I can leave you unsupervised in the house again. Who knows what might happen.”

 I have steered away from candle projects for now and have moved on to new things.  I saw something awesome on Pinterest that I am definitely doing this year.  It’s a “blessing bottle” of sorts.  It’s a way to collect and record all of the ways God has blessed us over the year.  God has done some amazing things in 2012 and I don’t want to ever take His blessings for granted.

The boys and I have a morning routine we started over the past year.  Before they leave for school each day we read a devotional book together and pray for needs.  I ask each boy what they would like to pray for and then we all take a turn praying.  Some things we have prayed for over the past year were needs, some were wants, some were healing for the sick, new jobs, and more.  The boys have been persistent in their prayers each day.

They were shocked when God started answering their prayers.  The blessings started to pour in… free camper, free flat screen TV, larger house, new job, money given anonymously when we needed it most, the sick getting well, people we prayed for who didn’t know God giving their lives to Him and more…  They were so excited!

Philippians 4:6 says…
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (NLT)

That is what we are going to do this year!  We are going to plan ahead to have thankful hearts.  My “blessing bottle” is made now it’s time to start collecting.  This is what the excerpt from the Pinterest post I read about this whole idea said…

 “Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on New Year's Eve, empty it and re-read all of the amazing things You have done in your life that year...I love this!!!”

I challenge you to find a way in 2013 to be thankful for all that God does in your life.  I don’t want to miss one blessing.  Happy New Year friend.  The best is yet to come!

Living to leave a legacy,