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5 Ways to Keep Your Goals in 2012

It’s day 7 into the new year. Almost a full week. You may have started a new morning routine only to get to Tuesday and you forgot you had a doctor’s appointment and didn’t quite get your work out in.  Is it all over? Do you throw the towel in and forget all about your goals?

It’s not about the resolution. It’s not about beating yourself up and trying harder next time. You’re not a failure destined to never change anything in your life.

I said I would contain the clutter. You should see my family room. Yesterday my little one decided not to take a nap and the afternoon felt like it unraveled and then scattered across my family room floor along with puzzle pieces, trucks and Tupperware.

My husband came home a few minutes early and took my son to run errands. Normally, I would just use the time to clean, pick up and get dinner ready. I stopped myself and decided to go to the gym. I spent a whole hour that I could have cleaned, organized and checked off a bunch of to-dos.  I did something for myself that helped me contain the clutter in my heart.  The toys were still scattered but my mind wasn’t.  I didn’t beat myself up that the house wasn’t in complete order. Tomorrow is a new day.

Here are 5 Ways to Help You Keep Your Goals in 2012:

  • Write it down and put it somewhere you look everyday (your mirror, your refrigerator or your car)
  • Commit it to God in prayer. Ask for help, strength and in my case willpower to back away from the chocolate!
  • Try to do whatever “it” is at the same time everyday and it becomes a habit.
  • Ask your husband or friend to be an accountability partner to encourage you in your goal.
  • GRACE!! Give yourself lots of it! Start again tomorrow. It’s ok.

Making goals is a great way to be intentional about making sure you do things.  However, don’t let them become how you measure your worth, determine if you’re a good mom or be the driving force for your day. It doesn’t leave room for you to hear God speak into your day that a friend just needs you to listen to the news the doctor gave her. It doesn’t leave room for the toddler who just needs to snuggle and read one more book. Make goals, keep them and give yourself grace to start again tomorrow.

Do you feel like you’ve blown it this week? Which of the 5 Ways to Keep Your Goals can you try this week?

On resolutions, goals & habits

 

It’s day 3 into the new year and it still has the fresh, new feeling about it.  There is expectancy, hope for change and renewed commitment to do or not to do. In my 20’s I spent more time figuring out the best New Year’s Eve plans instead of considering the Best Year Plan. I didn’t slow down or reflect long enough on the highlights of my year.  I put so much emphasis on the big event of ringing in the new year and before I knew it, I was back at work in my normal routine with maybe a resolution but no plan.

One year a friend and I spent time new year’s eve afternoon quietly reflecting on the past year. I took to paper and penned my hopes and goals for the year.  At the end of the year, I reflected back on that list and was amazed that many of the things I had hoped to do, not do, or change had become new habits. I expanded each year since in how I approach this and now look forward to the time.

It’s a time for me to quiet my heart, forget about my daily to do list, to pray and give God the new year.  I think back on highlights, sweet memories, and hardships. Reflecting on God’s grace, his provision and faithfulness always makes me grateful. I also use the time to set goals. I’m definitely a list maker and goal setter. If I write it down, I am more likely to do it. Here are the categories I use:

Spiritual

Marriage

Family

Health/Physical

Role as Mom

Financial

Business

Time & Talent

Myself

Books to Read

Something New to Try

I can honestly say that since I started doing this over 10 years ago, there are many things that have become lifelong habits even something as simple as drinking more water .  There are many more that I’m still working on and  that will probably make my list next year.  However, each year as I become more specific with how I will accomplish and measure success I’m finding I can be more intentional about my year. One of our family goals was to take our son camping for his first birthday. If we hadn’t written it down, we might have been more likely to say we’re too busy or too crazy  to try to take a one year old camping.  We did it and had so much fun, made great memories and started a family tradition.

Books to read is new on my list this year.  I’m an avid reader so I never thought to put that on my list.  If you’re a reader like me though, you have about 3 books on your night stand you plan to read, a few more on your desk and you always seem to pick up a few when you go to the library and then all the great books you hear about on your favorite blogs and websites.  This year I want to be more intentional about some books that I definitely want to get read so I made a list.

I know that lists don’t work for everyone’s personality. I also know that I may make plans and God has other things in store for our family and we are good with that.  It’s just a good way for me to keep myself accountable as I look over the list monthly and another way for me to grow.

Have you made any resolutions? Made a list of goals?  Started any new habits? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you plan for 2012.

2012: Tiddlywinks officially launches!

Welcome to the launch of Tiddlywinks!  A place to create, encourage and hope!

The start of a new year always feels like that brand new notebook with a clean, fresh page.  I’m always anxious about not wanting to write on that very first page unless it’s just right.  Like everything in life sometimes you just have to start somewhere and not wait until it’s perfect.

That’s definitely my weakness, not wanting to do something until I have it all figured out.  Well I don’t have this all figured out, but I knew it’s what I needed to do. So then why Tiddlywinks?

Bored end of summer days, restless for adventure my brother and I would go to mom, “We’re bored.”

She always answered, “Well, I’m sure I can find more chores for you to do.”

“No mom, I mean it, I’m really bored.”  Then she would tell us to go play tiddlywinks with man-hole covers. Her silly way of telling us to go use our imagination and find something constructive and fun to do.

So this is my space to use my imagination and create.  Me playing tiddlywinks.

When I am doing what God created me to do it feels as though my soul sings! Do you know that feeling? Do you have that one thing that when you do it, you know undoubtedly you were born to do?  Word, images, stories, books, pen and paper, creative projects yes these are things that make me come alive and then it happens, my soul sings.

So this is the space for my soul to sing, to create in a way I hope brings glory to God for the gifts he has given.  Maybe it will offer you some encouragement or hope or give you the inspiration  you need to go do the thing that makes your soul sing!

This year I hope you set out to find and do what makes your soul sing! I hope you’ll stop by from time to time and tell me what is making your soul sing!
What’s your first step?  What are the things you love to do?  

Simple Ways to Save Money

Simple Ways to Save Money

Use your library card!

I love the library. You can rent movies and books on tape.  You can check out music. Our local library sells past issues of magazines for .$50.  This is a great way to support your local library and not pay $5 for a magazine. I recently stumbled upon a great blog called The Great Read. She features something she calls Beautifully Balanced Collections from the library. She pairs together something to read, listen to, watch and cook. It will get your creative juices flowing and make you pull out that library card. She’s inspiring!

Save energy! 
We cut our monthly bill in half!  We contacted our electric utility provider and found out what the peak hours were in our area.  We try to run the dishwasher and do our laundry during non-peak times. We also adjusted our pool pump to run during non-peak times.  There always exceptions when you have a toddler and days when dirty laundry can’t wait. However, it is a great excuse to be able to say it was past 10 a.m. so it would cost too much to vacuum!

Eat in!
I can hear you, “But I don’t feel like cooking!”  Yes, we all have those days that’s why I try my best to plan ahead so it’s easy.  I once a month cook and put basics in my freezer so I can piece together a healthy meal.  If you don’t have time to once a month cook, make friends with the crock pot.  There are so many great healthy recipes out there and it always makes more than you need so you can invite friends over or bring a meal to someone.

Consignment Sales!
Our local area has a bi-annual consignment sale for children’s items.  When I was pregnant we spent $164.00 and bought brand new never used and barely used items that if we would have purchased brand new would have cost us over $1000. These are wonderful places to find clothes, books and toys too.  These are also great places to sell your gently used items if you don’t have someone to pass them on to or don’t need for another child.

Don’t say I can’t afford that! Coupon smart!
I used to think, “I can’t afford that brand of shampoo or food product. “ Now I realize I can often buy the better brand cheaper than what I usually pay for the cheap brand. Use sites like http://www.saveathomemommy.com/ and moneysavingmom.com.  They do the hard work of figuring out the deals. I just have my Sunday coupons organized, search these sites, and make my list for the week. I’ll be doing a whole day devoted to this later this month.

Starting to save money in lots of places on your budget at once can seem overwhelming.  Pick just one or two of these this week and it will give you the momentum you need to get started. Set a goal for something you want to save towards: an emergency fund, a date night with your husband or a vacation.  If your financial situation calls for drastic measures, I’d love to suggest you check out www.daveramsey.com.

This week be a saving grace to your family and save money!
What are some things you do to save money for your family? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Grace Full

When I would stumble over my own feet (I was 5″7′ by fifth grade) or clumsily drop something, my mom would tease that I should have been named grace because then maybe I would have been more graceful. I seemed to always manage to trip, stove a toe or cause some accident of sorts.  Had I only known then that I truly am grace FULL.

Full of grace given by my family who knows my shortcomings and loves anyways.

Full of grace given by friends who are far away yet when we pick up the phone no time is lost. They love in spite of months going by without speaking.

Full of grace by my husband who knows the deep ugliness of my heart and still sees beauty, that loves when I am unkind and short, who extends unconditional grace by believing the very best.

Full of grace by my savior who laid down his life so I might live GRACE FULL.

Today who can you extend grace to that may not deserve it, but needs it?  Maybe you need reminded today that you are GRACE FULL.

Should I ever forget

A letter to my son.

Should I ever forget what happened on 9/11/2001, I want you to remember.

Seared into my memory are images from that day, conversations with my uncle and that unexplainable pit in my stomach that something so evil had happened.

I thought it was a tiny plane that had a major malfunction when the first tower was hit.  I watched the second tower get hit live on television and I knew it was not an accident.

I yelled for my uncle who was at my house visiting,  “ Hurry get out of the shower.  Something terrible has happened!”

I stood in disbelief and shock as the first building fell, peeled away to the ground.  Helplessness, I felt utterly helpless and I reached for the TV as if I could hold up the building and keep all those people from their death.  Unspeakable evil.

We sat for hours watching horrible images as the story of what was happening unfolded.

Next winter my two friends and me made our way to NYC.  Something in all of us had to see Ground Zero.  We had to pay our respects to those that perished.  We had to say thanks to those who were cleaning up.  We walked past the old cemetery fence that had become the public memorial with flowers, photographs & cards all stuffed into the fence.  I remember walking out onto the plywood make shift observation deck and looking out over the massive area that once was the World Trade Center.  I can still smell the dirt and dust, I can taste the air, I can see the worker who I nodded thanks to and I can feel the sting of my tears on my cheek on that bitter cold January day.

With a sharpie pen, we wrote our names and words of encouragement.  I penned my favorite Scripture hoping that somehow, someone might take solace.  I couldn’t pick up a shovel and dig.  I couldn’t hug each family.  I couldn’t even make a meal.  I could only pray that the God would bring healing, hope, and peace.

My eyes locked with one of the workers and I nodded to my camera to ask permission if it was ok to take a photo. He shook his head no and I nodded back to say I understood. I mouthed thank you for what you are doing.  His eyes teared up and he made his way to me and my friends.  He said, “Don’t take my picture. Come with me. Tell others what you see.”  We walked over a few streets and he met us in golf cart and ushered us past the police officer guarding the entrance.

The images from television hadn’t captured the vastness of the gaping hole and the debris that was everywhere. Steel girders crumpled like straws.

He took us to the private memorial the rescue workers had made. Ladder company tributes, photos of lost police officers, it was too much to see and feel all at once. It was a private memorial for private moments and prayers lifted to God. Out of respect I didn’t take a picture, but I can still see the faces. I tried to show a brave face but I couldn’t contain the emotion. In an instant I was overwhelmed with emotions I still can’t explain and it happens each time I see photographs from 9/11.  He took us past an area of debris piled so high, nothing was recognizable. Each worker we passed had the same look of determination as they cleared debris.

The sun was peeking through the buildings to an American flag that workers had hung and then there it was, the CROSS. It wasn’t a sculpture that had been erected, it was steel. The way the girders fell, it made the shape of the cross.  The workers merely hoisted it up as a reminder that God was there.

I have a piece of steel rebar from Ground Zero that one of the workers gave me to keep. It’s not a souvenir, it’s not for a museum, it was for me should I ever forget. But now it is yours son, should you ever forget to pray for the men and woman who died that day and the families who lost loved ones.   Should you ever forget to pray for the brave soldiers that protect the United States and the rescuers who were courageous and selfless that day, let it be a reminder. Should you ever forget to give thanks that God was there on that horrible day, hold it tightly in your hand and remember His promise.

It’s been 10 years and today as I reflect and pray for all the families, I still remember it all.   Should I ever forget, I want you to remember.

All my love

Mom

Lightning bugs, flip-flops and summer traditions

Growing up back east there were a few sure signs that summer was officially here! The last day of school, the first lightning bug (firefly) sighting and digging your flips flops out of winter storage were all signs that summer had begun!  Summer was playing outside until our mom called us home or the street lights turned on at dusk.  It was then you pleaded for just a half hour more to stay in the yard and catch lightning bugs. It was endless hours of riding our bikes and playing outside.  My mom would load the entire neighborhood up in our station wagon and take us to Moon Park to play kickball.   

I’m so grateful for those fun memories of summer. Now that I live on the west coast and have a small son, I wonder what fun traditions will get him excited for summer to start.  We don’t have lightning bugs and the temperature is moderate so we don’t really pack away our flip-flops, but I think we have already started some traditions we’ll carry on each summer.

Picking fresh apricots off our tree and eating them, celebrating his birthday each June, ( I always wanted a summer birthday!) picnics at the park, family camp with friends, hiking in the mountains and making mud pies with the hose are just a few traditions we’ve started.

We also are excited for him to spend the summers as a family “doing for one what we wish we could do for everyone” in our community. My husband and I decided to start a family tradition in the summer to spend time giving so that our son grows up knowing the joy of giving his time to serve others. Our pastor in Atlanta challenged us with the phrase, do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.  We want to teach our son that although he can’t do for everyone that he can still make a difference serving one.

These are the memories and traditions we are making right now for our west coast son who will get to travel back east this summer to catch lightning bugs and wear flip-flops at grandma’s.

What are some of your favorite childhood summer traditions? What traditions have you started with your family?