Thursday, March 03, 2016

March Goal Post

Goal update time!

In February I wrote:

1. Finish the cottage on Winter Garden--I would have if I had not ran out of thread! Have about 100 stitches left
2. Get Mind Independent and Free to 30%--about 28%
3. Complete one Bride Tree ornament--only 1/2
4. Read 6 Books (3 non-school)--YES.  I read (non-school): Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lachs by Rebecca Skloot, Anne Frank Remembered by Mieps Gies, Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, The Invisible Man by HG Wells, H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant and Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  All the books this month were very good--and the reason I did so little stitching!  For school we read Daughter of the Mountain by Louise Rankin, Theresa of Calcutta by D. Jeanene Watson, William Carey by Janet and Geoff Benge, and Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman.
5. Blog 3 times (let's be realistic)--even that wasn't realistic!
6. Memorize 2 verses--yes
7. Maintain lower sugar intake in diet--yes

For March my goals are:

1. Finish the garden to the right of cottage on Winter Garden
2. Get Mind Independent and Free to 35%
3. Complete one Bride Tree ornament
4. Read 6 Books (3 non-school)
5. Blog 3 times (I'll try again)
6. Memorize 2 verses
7. Maintain lower sugar intake in diet

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Power Exchange

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."
Alice Walker

I don't know where I saw this quote, but I jotted it down (like I do so many quotes that I like) and quickly moved on to the next task. The quote kept nudging the edge of my thoughts. I would look at it, and then put it aside again, and again.  But it won't let go.

The truth is, I tend to get caught up in the routine of my life and forget that I have any power. I fight the cycle of get the teenagers to do their homework, pull the four year-old off the furniture, make the meals, do the laundry, and maybe, if I work it in, read my Bible or seek to help others outside our home. Then I collapse in bed only to get up and do it all over again. And I wonder why I have this restlessness that says "things don't have to be like this." I don't want to be controlled by the routine. I want to be a transforming factor in my life not a conforming minion.

I've been doing interesting reading these last few weeks about injustice and ethics (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lachs by Rebecca Skloot) and extreme courage in a time of absolute evil (Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped Hide the Frank Family by Miep Gies and Alison Leslie Gold). That part of me that fueled the social worker of the past wants to be a righter of wrongs. But the pragmatic person sitting here is not sure she could be a voice for justice anymore. Notice I said could be, because right now I'm pretty sure I am not.

This week I've been following the Compassion bloggers who are in Ecuador. I'm overwhelmed, again, to see the poverty...and the hope...that these bloggers bring to their readers. Once again, I'm challenged. As a Compassion sponsor I act on a belief that an organisation like Compassion can and does release children from poverty. I am happy with how I see my small funds go to help children. I love receiving the letters and pictures that show that they are growing and healthy. I cry and I pray when I receive letters that say that they have been ill but are still going to school. I write letters because I hope that I give some encouragement. But it takes trips like the current Ecuador trip to remind me that what we are doing is sharing the power we have with those who don't have it. Shannan Martin has absolutely wrecked my world this week with her posts, but this one about not losing hope has reminded me that there is a reason why I sponsor kids.

As I've mentioned before, we are studying Acts this season at church. Sunday we were looking at Acts 15. We were challenged by the questions--"Do you believe the gospel is good news?" and "If you believe it, are you living it out?" We were further challenged to consider the choices we make, and in areas that are not sin-related to consider if our choices are helpful or beneficial to others in their walk with God or toward God. It is a reminder that I hold a power to help and to encourage or to distract and to discourage. My choices matter. And I need to not forget that power. Because even if I am acting in such a way that says I am powerless to affect big changes, the decisions I make are impacting others. I want that impact to be intentional and God-honouring, not incidental.

So as I think about a year of taking what God says Seriously!, I am thankful for the reminders that I can be a voice for those in need and that the choices of my life speak volumes about justice, equality and hope. I want to be intentional that they are speaking for God's justice and God's hope. Giving people God's power is an exchange I can be happy to make.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

February Goal Post

Well, I did not get off to a storming start of posting on the blog in 2016.  I find myself staring at what I've written and thinking that it is not very original or even readable.  Maybe this month.  But in an effort to stay on track with goals, here they are:

In January I said:
1. Start Drawn Thread Winter Garden as my January start, and complete house on it--started and house is 25%
2. Mind Independent and Free to 30%--maybe 25%
3. Complete one Bride Tree ornament--no
4. Read 6 books (1 non-school)--Yes--7!  School related I read Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster, Mary Jones and Her Bible, The Sherwood Ring and A Heart Strangely Warmed to Jewel. I read The Land I Left Behind to Flower. Just for me I read Nightingale and The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde.  Jewel proclaims that the Sherwood Ring is one of her all-time favourites, so that is a success.  I really enjoyed Nightingale as well.
5. Blog 8 times--LOL!
6. Memorize 2 verses--memorized one, meditated on a 2nd but would not claim it is memorized
7. Cut sugar intake by 75%--yes

My February Goals are:
1. Finish the cottage on Winter Garden
2. Get Mind Independent and Free to 30%
3. Complete one Bride Tree ornament
4. Read 6 Books (3 non-school)
5. Blog 3 times (let's be realistic)
6. Memorize 2 verses
7. Maintain lower sugar intake in diet

Monday, January 04, 2016

My first 2016 Goal Post

One thing I know about myself, if I really want to take a goal seriously, I need to write it down. And if I doubly want to take it seriously, I need to publish it. I like to reach goals. I like to mark things off my list. And it encourages me, rather than discourages me. So, I once again begin the year with a review of my master 2015 list and my January goals.
2015 Goals:

Cross Stitch:
   Complete--Drawn Thread Summer Garden--yes 15 Mar 2015
   Complete Mirabilia Fairy Moon--yes 20 May 2015
   Complete the 2015 RR (including the quilting)--yes

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  Complete Bride's Tree Ornaments--only completed 2 more, so have 10 to do this year
  Complete Christmas Ornaments for the kids, plus exchange--Yes, I even did one for me

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  Complete the Seasons RR--not a stitch
  Get NRR2 to 50%--no
  Finish 1 UFO--no
  Start and get to 50% International Hearts--actually completed July 2015
  Start Mind Independent and Free--started 11 June 2015, at 25%
  Start another Drawn Thread garden--delayed for my January 1 start of 2016

  Read 50 books including school-related--actually read 79 (I upped this goal in September to 75 when it was obvious I would meet it)
  Post 100 times on blog--only 29
  Memorize 24 verses--24 verses reflected upon, about 12 truly committed to memory
  Lose 24 pounds--no

Overall, I am very happy with my 2015 progress on goals. Looking forward to 2016. As always, I have a master list, but will only post monthly goals.

January 2016 goals:
1. Start Drawn Thread Winter Garden as my January start, and complete house on it
2. Mind Independent and Free to 30%
3. Complete one Bride Tree ornament
4. Read 6 books (1 non-school)
5. Blog 8 times
6. Memorize 2 verses
7. Cut sugar intake by 75%

Saturday, January 02, 2016

My first memory verse of 2016

As I seek to seriously memorize Scripture, here is the first verse:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

That is something to take seriously!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

It's another new year! Seems the older my children get, the faster the years fly past. I ended 2015 mostly happy with how my year of "Harmony" had progressed. As I wrote about in November, God continues to challenge me to line up what I believe with how I outwardly portray myself. That, I believe, is a life-long learning journey but I feel that I am making progress. December was taken for pure family time. We took a family cruise to celebrate 20 years of marriage. My Dad and his wife joined us and we had a wonderful time just being together. Am amazing massage may have brought some much needed harmony to my physical body, but time away making memories with my family brought much needed mental and spiritual harmony. That word will continue to inform and encourage 2016.

As the year was drawing to a close, I was putting much consideration into my word for 2016. For over a month, I contemplated a continuing thought about living the gospel, demonstrating practical Christianity in light of a hurting world and helping the girls (especially the girls, Tree is still young for these concepts) to understand that gospel-living is of utmost priority. (Or, at the very least, I need to be making it priority.) But I was stuck. They were great ideas, but the were not a concise word. And, I need a word--something simple to keep in front of my scattered mind.

I've thrown around several words, all lacking on some level:
diligent--it did not seem to be teen-friendly, and as I said I want my girls to also relate
intent--this word was overdone in these lists a few years ago, by myself and others, and has lost some of its intent
gospel--just put out there that this year was about good news. This was the strongest contender but it wasn't inspiring me to live a certain way or change anything

Then, in a recent sermon, just as He does each year, God drew my attention to my word. The speaker said something about the Magi took the search for the new King seriously, packing gifts and traveling long distances to honour him. He then asked, "Do we take our pursuit of Jesus seriously?"

There was it was! My word. I cannot begin to tell you how many dozens of times a day I hear my teen ask (sarcastically, of course), 'seriously?' Everything about her questions whether we are serious about what we say. It is a teen-friendly word to challenge diligence and gospel-living. It is my challenge for 2016. What will it look like? Here are few things that I hope will take root:
* I want to take my pursuit of God's heart through Bible Study seriously.
* I want to seriously memorize Scripture.
* I want to seriously consider what it means to be the temple of God--and to take serious care of that temple physically, mentally and emotionally.
* I want to open my eyes and heart to the plight of the weak and poor, and seriously pursue doing things that make a difference.
* I want to have serious discussions with my children--about Scripture, about life, about living for Christ in a broken world, about their hopes & dreams.
* I want to take opportunities to have serious discussions with friends and strangers alike.
* I want to live with an intentionality that allows others to see that I take Jesus seriously.

We live in a world of a lot of competing ideologies. I need to be intentional about what my motivations are. My kids will hear ideas and recommendations that sound like edicts from all types of people who take their beliefs seriously. I hope that when my kids look back they can say the same about what they learned at home through both word and deed. This year, I'm taking that mandate SERIOUSLY.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

November Goal Post

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In October I set the following goals:
1. Finish piecing a quilt top for anniversary/Christmas present and sandwich for quilting--yes, and 1/2 the quilting is complete
2. Cross stitch an ornament for an exchange--almost finished
3. Choose patterns for kids Christmas ornaments--ideas but no patterns
4. Blog at least once a week, preferably twice--about 75% met
5. Memorize two more verses--only 1
6. Read 4 school books and 2 books just for me--4 school books  and 1 for me book
7. Finish shredding last 4 files of the boxes reviewed--yes

For November I want to:
1. Finish quilting the Chrismas present
2. Finish exchange ornament
3. Stitch ornaments for the kids
4. Christmas shopping
5. Christmas cards ready to mail by 27 November
6. Meet with a new friend weekly for encouragement and playdates
7. Read 4 school books and 1 book just for me