2012 Resolutions – Homemaking

This is my last post about resolutions/goals for 2012. Looking over last year’s goals, I realized I didn’t have any that specifically related to homemaking. I find that hilarious as homemaking is my full time job!

This year’s goals

  • Continuously improve my relationship with my husband
    • Date Night – Implement a monthly date night.

    • Have fun working through The Love Dare. I’ve heard great things about this book!

    • Read Love and Respect again, taking time to implement some of the counsel. When I read this book the first time, I was amazed at the amount of truth it contained and realized that I definitely need to respect my husband more.

  • Recipe book – I’ve already started one, but it’s gotten out of control. I think I have 20 loose recipes in the front that haven’t been put in protector pages yet. I need to take everything out of the binder, figure out what we actually like, and reorganize the entire thing. Eventually, I also want to type all of the recipes out in OneNote and print them again. Right now I have recipes cut out from magazines, printed from the internet, and copied from cookbooks. It’s a mess!

  • Daily schedule – This is the bane of my existence. I thrive on schedules, plans, and lists. However, my dear hubby works from home most of the time and his work center is set up in our living room. It is nearly impossible for me to stick to a schedule when he makes frequent calls to clients and coworkers. I won’t complain because I love him being home! But maybe we need to discuss moving his “office” to our spare bedroom so that I can be more productive without worrying about interrupting his work.

  • My blog – It needs a major overhaul. I have a new domain set up but I wanted to set up a new blogging template before announcing the change and redirecting the site. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about blogging templates! I will embrace the challenge and try to come up with something new.

  • Finances
    • Pay off our last two credit cards. We paid off one last night and only have two more to go. If no emergencies arise, we will be done paying off credit cards by the end of February!

    • Save up six months of living expenses as a full emergency fund. Right now we have a baby emergency fund but it needs beefed up.

    • Start paying off our massive student loan debt. This goal will be around for years.

I really look forward to accomplishing these goals. I fully believe 2012 will be a wonderful year!

2012 Resolutions – Personal

As I’m writing out my 2012 resolutions, sometimes I wonder if I’m overdoing it. Then I look at the types of goals I’m including and believe it’s all doable. Personal goals are on the bottom of the list, though, so if I find myself floundering, it will be something on this list that gets dropped.

Last years goals

  • Complete my reading challenges – honestly, I have no idea how I did on this. After a couple months, I stopped choosing my books based on reading challenges and instead picked books that struck my interest at the time. I had a lot more fun being flexible with my reading than forcing myself to read specific titles or genres.
  • Continue learning Japanese. Sub goals:
    • Read 6 children’s books in Japanese – I read one. This was much harder than I anticipated and it took me hours to read just that one book.
    • Study for 365+ hours total in 2011 – Success! I studied for 400.02 hours total. 11:50 on New Years Eve found me studying my vocab lists to push myself over that 400 hour mark. I am so happy with my total!
    • Study every single day. Monthly average of one hour/day – Partial success. I did study for an average of one hour/day but it wasn’t a monthly success. Some months I only studied 15 hours whereas some I studied 45 hours.

This years goals

Quilting

  • Participate in the Color Palette Challenge. Choosing fabric is the hardest part of quilting and I think this will help immensely.
  • Complete a quilt for me. I’m currently finishing up my fourth quilt and each one has been a gift. I really enjoying giving my projects away but I also really want my own quilt to cuddle under while reading a good book.

Japanese

  • Take and pass the JLPT in December. This exam (Japanese Language Proficiency Exam) is offered once a year and I’m aiming for level N3, which will prove that I have intermediate level reading and listening skills. I am not ready for this exam yet but I have 11 months to prepare.
  • Start reading materials written for native speakers. Right now, almost all of my reading involves materials written for those learning Japanese. I need to start reading websites, books, articles, etc. that are written by native speakers for native speakers.
  • Maintain my 1+ hour/day average but with more day to day consistency.

Reading

  • No specific goals but to continue pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. More nonfiction, more classics, less mediocre fiction.

I have one more area of goals to blog about – homemaking. I’m still working on that list so it will be posted once finished. Overall, I think 2012 is going to be a great year!

2012 Resolutions – Health

It’s funny that I’m writing this post today as I’m sick. Thankfully, it’s just a cold and I hope to be feeling better soon.

Last year’s goals

  • Participate in the SOS Kitchen Challenge – failed.
  • Run a 5k – Success! Not only did I complete three 5k’s, I also ran a 4 mile race! In October I ran my fastest 5k, just under 40 minutes.
  • Learn how to bake – I started this but got derailed over the summer.

This year’s goals

  • Become more fit. This is a vague goal but I have a plan in place. Right now, I am progressing through week 7 (of 13) of the P90X fitness program. Once that program is complete, I am going to focus on my running again, ultimately aiming for a 10k race this fall.
  • Learn how to bake. One of my 30 day challenges early this year will be baking everything from scratch. I can’t wait!
  • Increase the amount of local and organic produce in our diet. I have access to a lot of local produce and need to start taking advantage of it. Ideally, this will mean early Sunday morning trips to the farmers market.
  • Watch one documentary and read one book each month on health and wellness. We have a Netflix account and they have many documentaries available to watch online. There are also three libraries within 15 minutes of my house. Between Netflix and the libraries, I have access to plenty of material.

I am happy to say that last year I reached my weight goal, losing a total of 67 pounds. I know that weight alone is not an indicator of good health and I am hoping to improve both my fitness levels and my nutrition this year. Having better health will also allow me to be a better witness for God as it will improve mental clarity and honor my Creator.

I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service

Romans 12:1

2012 Resolutions – Spiritual

I love New Years. I love that we are gifted, all at once!, with a brand new year, month, week, and day. What a clean slate! I have a few goals in mind for this year, some specific and some general. I thought I’d separate each aspect of my life into individual posts and detail some of my hopes and plans. Of course, this is all dependent on the Lord’s will. As James 4:15 says, “you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'”

Last year’s goals

  • Study Genesis in depth – this goal was mostly met. I read all of Genesis in multiple translations but only completed the in-depth study on the first half.
  • Keep reading the Bible every single morning – success! I think I only missed 3 or 4 days all year. This morning time with God is vital.
  • Start a prayer journal – failed. Completely.

This year’s goals

  • Start a prayer journal. I really need to put a priority on this as I think it will make a huge difference in my prayer life.
  • Memorize 52 verses. I want to memorize 52 different verses of Scripture this year, one each week. That is a doable goal, one that I only need to commit myself to.
  • Increase the amount of time I spend reading the Bible every morning. Most mornings, I read two chapters. This only takes 10 minutes or so. I need to read more each morning and spend more time contemplating God’s word.

image courtesy of stockvault
My 30 day challenge this month relates to this last goal. I have committed to starting the year off with God’s word, reading nothing but God’s word. For the next 30 days, the Bible will be my only book. I really enjoyed my month of nonfiction last month, but I want to spend more time with God. When I start looking around the house for a book to read while I have a few minutes of downtime, I will pick up the Bible. When I read before going to sleep, I will pick up the Bible. I think this challenge will be both difficult and rewarding.

As today is Sunday, it’s time to pick the verse I’ll be memorizing this week.

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and song

Isaiah 12:2

What are your spiritual goals for 2012?

2011 Resolutions – Mind, Body, and Soul

I love New Years’ resolutions. In the past, I’ve made some very outrageous resolutions. As I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser!), my goals have scaled down to a more manageable size and become more specific. This makes it easier to actually complete them. This year, I kept my goal making to a minimum and included only things that I am actually passionate about.

Mind

  • Complete my reading challenges.
  • Continue learning Japanese. Sub goals:
    • Read 6 children’s books in Japanese.
    • Study for 365+ hours total in 2011.
    • Study every single day. Monthly average should come out to 1 hr each day, even if I study half an hour some days and 90 minutes other days.

Body

  • Participate in the SOS Kitchen Challenge. Use the monthly challenge to develop my cooking skills.
  • Run a 5k. I’ve been aiming for this goal for the past three years and have yet to run one. I ran the distance once, but I haven’t completed an actual 5k race.
  • Learn how to bake! My father in law gave me Baking for Christmas and I am really excited to get started. My priority is learning how to bake homemade, healthy bread.

Soul

  • Study Genesis in depth. This is the book I’ll be studying for the Operation Deeper Faith challenge, reading it in multiple translations (including one in Japanese).
  • Keep reading the Bible every single morning. Right now I am working through Proverbs.
  • Start a prayer journal.

Progress report – 2010 reading challenges

At the beginning of the year, I overextended myself by signing up for way too many reading challenges. *smile* It was too much, especially considering that I had signed up to read the entire Bible in 90 days. That didn’t leave much time for reading anything else, which I consider a good thing.

I’ve made good progress in some of the challenges, completed some already, and haven’t even started others. I had no idea it was so difficult to think of book titles with colors in them! Overall, on my 100 book challenge, I am exactly half done. That’s pretty good timing as the year is already half gone.

I’ve read too much Christian historical fiction in the past six weeks and I’m pretty burned out on it. I probably won’t be picking anything up from that genre for awhile. I haven’t finished a book in almost a week but I’m reading several nonfiction books concurrently. Nonfiction takes me a bit longer to finish than fiction reading.

I keep swinging from one end of the reading pendulum to the other. At times, I want to read as much as possible. Other times, I don’t want to touch a book with a ten foot pole. We’ll see how the second half of 2010 goes!

Christian Historical Fiction Challenge
1. Distant Dreams (Ribbons of Steel, Book #1) – Pella, Judith
2. The Outsider: A Novel – Gabhart, Ann H.
3. Bachelors Puzzle – Pella, Judith
4. Sister’s Choice – Pella, Judith
5. How Do I Love Thee? (Ladies of History, book #4) – Moser, Nancy
6. Just Jane (Ladies of History Series #2) – Moser, Nancy
7. Eighth Shepherd (A. D. Chronicles #8) – Thoene, Bodie
8. Her Mother’s Hope (Marta’s Legacy, #1) – Rivers, Francine
9. Michal – Smith, Jill Eileen
10. The Apothecary’s Daughter – Klassen, Julie
11. Lady of Milkweed Manor – Klassen, Julie
12. The Inheritance – Alexander, Tamera
13. A Lady Like Sarah (A Rocky Creek Romance, #1) – Brownley, Margaret
14. The Hope of Refuge: A Novel (An Ada’s House Novel, Book #1) – Woodsmall, Cindy
15. A Bride Most Begrudging – Gist, Deeanne
16. A Bride in the Bargain – Gist, Deeanne
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Biblical Fiction Challenge
1. Eighth Shepherd (A. D. Chronicles #8) – Thoene, Bodie
2. Michal – Smith, Jill Eileen
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Christian Non-Fiction Challenge
1. How Women Help Men Find God – Murrow, David
2. Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement – Spencer, Irene
3. 3:16: The Numbers of Hope – Lucado, Max
4. Radical: Take Back Your Faith from the American Dream – Platt, David
5. Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex – Dillow, Linda
6. Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment – Osler, Mark
7. Loving Your Man Without Losing Your Mind – Davis, Susie
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Jane Austen Challenge
1. Emma
2. Emma & Knightley: The Sequel to Jane Austen’s Emma – Billington, Rachel
3. Pride and Prejudice
4. Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma – Birchall, Diana
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Extra – (Related, but doesn’t count toward the challenge) Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders – Ross, Josephine
Extra – The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World – Sullivan, Margaret C.
Extra – Just Jane (Ladies of History Series #2) – Moser, Nancy

Colorful Reading Challenge
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Memorable Memoir Challenge
1. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Gilbert, Elizabeth
2. A Year in Provence Mayle, Peter
3. Sweet Mandarin: The Courageous True Story of Three Generations of Chinese Women and Their Journey from East to West Tse, Helen
4. Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement Spencer, Irene
Extra – A Thousand Days in Venice – de Blasi, Marlena

South Asian Author Challenge
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Chunkster Challenge
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Support Your Local Library Challenge – Almost every book I read is from the local library. If I read one that isn’t, I’ll mark it with a * in the list below.

100+ Reading Challenge
1. All Through the Night – Bunn, Davis
2. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia – Gilbert, Elizabeth
3. Distant Dreams (Ribbons of Steel, Book #1) – Pella, Judith
4. A Year in Provence – Mayle, Peter
5. The Outsider: A Novel – Gabhart, Ann H.
6. Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders – Ross, Josephine
7. The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World – Sullivan, Margaret C.
8. The Swiss Family Robinson – Wyss, Johann D.
9. Bachelors Puzzle – Pella, Judith
10. In the Time of the Butterflies – Alvarez, Julia
11. Sister’s Choice – Pella, Judith
12. Shanghai Girls – See, Lisa
13. June Bug – Fabry, Chris
14. How Do I Love Thee? (Ladies of History, book #4) – Moser, Nancy
15. The Wisdom Of Eleanor Roosevelt – Wigal, Donald
16. Sweet Mandarin: The Courageous True Story of Three Generations of Chinese Women and Their Journey from East to West – Tse, Helen
17. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto – Pollan, Michael
18. How Women Help Men Find God – Murrow, David
19. Mona Lisa in Camelot: Jacqueline Kennedy and the True Story of the Painting’s High-Stakes Journey to America – Davis, Margaret Leslie
20. Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage – Andersen, Christopher P.
21. Now and Always – Copeland, Lori
22. Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement – Spencer, Irene
23. Knit the Season: A Friday Night Knitting Club Novel – Jacobs, Kate
24. Emma – Jane Austen
25. Emma & Knightley: The Sequel to Jane Austen’s Emma – Billington, Rachel
26. Just Jane (Ladies of History Series #2) – Moser, Nancy
27. A Thousand Days in Venice – de Blasi, Marlena
28. Beguiled* – Gist, Deeanne and Bertrand, J. Mark
29. The Silent Gift – Landon, Michael
30. 3:16: The Numbers of Hope – Lucado, Max
31. Radical: Take Back Your Faith from the American Dream* – Platt, David
32. Pride and Prejudice – Austen, Jane
33. Eighth Shepherd (A. D. Chronicles #8) – Thoene, Bodie
34. Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex – Dillow, Linda
35. Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma – Birchall, Diana
36. Her Mother’s Hope (Marta’s Legacy, #1) – Rivers, Francine
37. Michal – Smith, Jill Eileen
38. The Apothecary’s Daughter – Klassen, Julie
39. Lady of Milkweed Manor – Klassen, Julie
40. The Perfect Match (Deep Haven Series #3) – Warren, Susan May
41. The Inheritance – Alexander, Tamera
42. Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment – Osler, Mark
43. The Inheritance – Alexander, Tamera
44. A Lady Like Sarah (A Rocky Creek Romance, #1) – Brownley, Margaret
45. The Hope of Refuge: A Novel (An Ada’s House Novel, Book #1) – Woodsmall, Cindy
46. A Bride Most Begrudging* – Gist, Deeanne
47. A Bride in the Bargain* – Gist, Deeanne
48. Loving Your Man Without Losing Your Mind – Davis, Susie
49. An Amish Gathering: Life in Lancaster County – Wiseman, Beth
50. Sarah’s Garden (Patch of Heaven Novel) – Long, Kelly

2010 Resolution – My Spiritual Walk

I love New Year’s resolutions. I love challenges, starting over, and pushing myself to improve. In the past, I’ve written out many New Year’s resolutions, most of which I was unable to keep. This year, I’m going to concentrate on several resolutions and make a plan to reach the goal.

The most important resolution of this year is to become closer to God. Without a personal relationship with God, my life is worth nothing. Sometimes I feel like I’m just going through the motions, attending church every week, and claiming to be a Christian. But I know that I struggle to act like one. Why? I believe it’s because I don’t know how to love without selfish motives. Jesus said that there are two very important commandments – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

I’ve decided to start the Bible in 90 Days challenge. I found this schedule online. I printed a copy and will be starting tomorrow. Yes, this plan encourages a very quick reading through the Bible. I believe that such a fast reading plan will help me understand the overview of the Bible, showing how God works throughout history. I’m hoping that reading the Bible in 90 days will help me understand how God continues to watch over His people.

I will also be attending Bible study every week. We are studying the gospels. We are currently reading through Matthew and read the corresponding stories in the other three gospels as we come across them. In this way, we can see how all four books tell the same story. It’s a great Bible study and I look forward to each week’s meeting.

Toward the end of the 90 day Bible challenge, I will start praying and thinking about my next step. I know another weak point in my spiritual life is prayer. I might look into keeping a prayer journal, as it’s something I’ve wanted to do in the past. Maybe I will study what the Bible has to say about prayer and what this means to me as a Christian. There has to be more to prayer than just thanking God for each meal.

Hopefully, with a specific quarterly emphasis, I can dedicate myself to smaller goals and enrich my spiritual life. God promises that if we seek, He will answer. That is my biggest prayer this year.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7, 8).

Lord, help me to find. I am seeking. Please give me wisdom, understanding, and help me to love both You and everyone I meet. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Deliver yourself like a gazelle…

What will it take to pay off my credit card?

Credit card balance: $1,589.25
Interest rate: 10.24%
Minimum payment: $33

It will take you 60 months to pay off your credit card.

“Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, and like a bird from the hand of the fowler” (Proverbs 6:4-5).

CHEETAH!
Hubby and I have been following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps for three years but suffered from several job losses as well as a temporary lack of discipline. Sorry, Mr. Cheetah. This gazelle has woken up and taken off running!

Our goal: to pay off the entire $1,589.25 balance by the end of November.

Ambitious? Yes. Doable? Yes. With much scrimping, a ton of contract hours, and some dedication, we’ll be waving goodbye to Mr. Cheetah. Sorry, but we’re no longer a willing dinner!

Motivation courtesy of bankrate and Dave Ramsey.

Habit Sunday

I didn’t do so well with my goals last week. The only one I consistently followed through on was the personal Bible study. If I’m only going to complete one goal, Bible study is the best one to complete. The others aren’t as important.

15 minutes of Bible study every morning – Completed every day
Making my bed – Completed most days. Did better at the beginning of the week and then started forgetting.
Keeping my sink shiny – Again, completed most days. I was doing really well with this at the beginning of the week and terrible toward the end.

I’m going to keep the same goals for this week. I want to continue my personal Bible study (I’m reading through Matthew in the Clear Word Bible). I also really need to get into the habit of making the bed and doing all the dishes daily. It’ll be interesting to see how I do this week, as hubby is out of town and won’t return until late Tuesday night. Then he’s working the rest of the week so I’ll be home by myself almost all of this week. Plenty of time for productivity!

Sunday Exercise Roundup

It seems that the only really interesting thing I’ve been doing lately is exercising. 🙂 Hubby and I have been exercising almost every day for the past five weeks. Here was the run down for last week:

Sunday
Week 5, Day 1 of the One Hundred Push ups program. I can’t do full push ups, so I’ve been doing girls push ups for this program.
Running – Week 1, Day 1 of the Couch to 5K program. Not too difficult, but feeling it. First time running in awhile. I can tell I’ve trained before, but it’s still hard.

Monday
Week 5, Day 1 of the Two Hundred Sit ups program.

Tuesday
Week 5, Day 2 of the One Hundred Push ups program.
Running – Week 1, Day 2 of the Couch to 5K program.

Wednesday
Week 5, Day 2 of the Two Hundred Sit ups program. I almost died during this training day. I don’t know why it was so hard today. I barely finished the workout and I was crying during the last set.

Thursday
Week 5, Day 3 of the One Hundred Push ups program. I have to say, I was really pushing out these push ups. On my last set, I did 40 of them without stopping. I’ve never done so many in my life!
Running – Week 1, Day 3 of the Couch to 5K program.

Sabbath
Rest Day

I weighed myself on New Years – 187.2 pounds. This is my heaviest weight ever. Since New Years, I have tried to get involved in various exercise plans, portioned eating, etc. But I kept failing. My weight would go down 3 or 4 pounds and then go back up to where I started. Thankfully, I never exceeded 187.2 pounds.

For the past 6 weeks, hubby and I have been actively following the 200 sit ups and 100 push up plans. Unfortunately, that’s not enough exercise to lose weight. Last week, I decided it was time to run again. In one week, I lost 3.8 pounds. I’m praying it’s not a fluke. But as noted above, I exercised 5 days last week. I’ve been drinking lots of water, exercising, and attempting portion control. It looks like it might be paying off.

My goal is to lose 40 pounds and run a 5K without stopping for a walk break. I know I can accomplish my goals. I just need to stick with the plan. Lots of water, adequate rest, plenty of exercise, and eating fewer calories than I burn. I can do this.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength
(Philippians 4:13, NLT)