Thursday, December 27, 2012

Planning for the New Year: New Year, New Me

Hello there! (Cough! Cough!) Oh, excuse me while I dust this thing off again. And again. I'm afraid this blog has been sorely neglected this year.You may know the old saying, Life gets in the way... It happens sometimes. Am I ready to pack it in? No. Not yet. While I do apologize for disappearing without notice way too many times, I'm not quite ready to give up on it. If you're still a reader, please don't give up on me yet. 
 Lately I'm not sure what the problem has been. I'd think of something I really wanted to say...and then when I get to the keyboard I'd talk myself out of it or just couldn't bring myself to write about it. Or I would get caught up in something that needed taken care of and time would slip right past me. 
  But enough of that. Excuses and explanations can only take one so far in life. Time to move on and start doing. 
   I'm a curious kind of soul. The closer it gets to Christmas, and then the days following, my mind starts percolating with ideas on the next year and what I plan to do with it. Partly because my brain craves perfection and it hasn't been attained yet and partly out of excitement (good mixed with bad) for coming attractions. We are not promised tomorrow, but a new year is potential tomorrows that is a gift. Does that make sense? 
  At any rate, my brain has been humming along, trying to make a loose plan for the year. Setting up goals I want to accomplish. It occurred to me yesterday (and not for the first time) that my goals for the coming year are more or less the same ones I tend to set each year. Write the book. Lose weight. Learn something new. Spend more time in the Word. Get organized once and for all. Invariably there are a few more thrown in but those are the main ones. Each year I make some progress but not to the point I'd like. Yes folks, I am a slow learner. I have learned in the past that making general statements is great but won't get you too far.
   I've learned that goals must be specific: I'm going to lose X amount of pounds (sorry, not going to fill in that number here on a public blog). Okay, that's a little better. We know what we're shooting for here. We know what we want, now how are we going to get it? Break the goal into smaller chunks that are attainable in a set amount of time, like a week or a month. Break it down as small as you need to and revisit it from time to time to see if something needs to be tweaked. 
  For example, for my spiritual journey (I'm not really comfortable with that phrase but I'm not exactly sure how to put it) I have listed three things I wish to study: Sanctified,  with Cindy Colley, the life of Paul, and women of the bible. It's a big thing I want to do, but January's goal for me is to catch up to current in the Sanctified study. I'm not waiting until January first to start, that one is beginning now. 
  I tried writing down goals for the year in several different categories -spiritual, creativity, hospitality, healthy, blogging, continuing education, organization, you get the idea. I have the main focus for the year, then I went back and wrote out beginning steps for January. I'm a list person and I like seeing progress on paper so I even have boxes to check off as I meet my goals. 
  I'm focusing on several different things I want to do this coming year, but I know surprises come up and with J some plans may change. So be it. The overall plan is to grow and stretch, not to be a slave to goals, declaring the year to be a failure if something doesn't work out the way I planned. 
  Yes, I did mention blogging was on my list of goals. In case you're interested, right now the goal is to get back to writing three to five posts a week.  Eventually the plan is to get back to writing seven posts each week but that's going to take a little work and planning. 
 Perhaps sometime soon I'll share my goals for the year. What about you? Are you a planner? Do you set goals or resolutions for the year? Remember, you don't have to wait til New Years to begin goals. Mine start throughout the year and I'm beginning next year's goals now. I've planned where I want to be and have some steps to follow. Will it get me where I want to be? We shall see.        

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Heart Aches

My heart aches for the families of those lost in the most recent of school shootings. If you haven't read or heard about it, you can here.   I can't even begin to imagine what those poor kids must have gone through, those who were shot and those who witnessed or heard it. As a mother it frightens me to know that no place is 100% safe. 
  Reading through the comments on Facebook and talking with friends, opinions vary from "no one should have guns" to if the teachers were allowed to carry concealed this tragedy could have been prevented. One sentiment was often repeated by mothers: I want to go get my babies and hold them tight." Although I lived in Colorado Springs at the time, on the day of the shootings in Columbine I wanted to do the same thing. All I wanted was to take my child out of school and hold him tight and make my way to my husband. 
  Some will want to use this senseless tragedy, along with other recent killings, as yet another launching pad for gun control. Bring on even more laws or better yet, ban all guns. While today is not the day for me to debate it, I will say this:
  1. Criminals rarely if ever are law abiding. Making laws only restricts those who obey them in the first place.
  2. When the first murder took place on this earth thousands of years ago, guns had not been invented yet. Most likely Cain's weapon of choice was a rock or his own hands. 
 3. Until we realize that children must be taught from day one to be kind to one another and to respect life, this wont be the last time innocent people have to die needlessly.
  Having said that, I ask that instead of arguing for or against weapons right now, we pray. Pray for the families of those who lost loved ones. Pray for the children and faculty of the school in Newtown, CT, and the town as well. And pray for this country, that we might all turn back to God and get back on the right track. And go, hold your kids tight.  We can revisit thoughts on guns and such another day.