I have avoided making New Year’s resolutions in recent years  because I don’t have a very high success rate. I start out strong, but unfortunately I loose momentum by early February when my enthusiasm fizzles out. I chalk it up to lack of discipline and plain ole laziness!

But this year I believe things will be different. The latter half of 2009 I got my hands on some excellent “self-help” resources and have been s-l-o-w-l-y working through the chapters. It has been a very rewarding, enlightening experience and now I feel I am ready to incorporate some of the things I have been learning into some good old fashioned “Goal Setting”.

Why “goals” instead of “resolutions”?

A resolution implies a promise. It’s pass or fail. It has an inflexible ring to it. A goal, on the other hand, is a specifically defined, reachable result. Reaching a goal is tangible progress on my objective(s).

For example:

Resolution: I will work out 5 times a week.


Goal: I want to loose 8 – 10 pounds of body fat by summer. I will incorporate exercise and activity into my lifestyle that will help me achieve the tangible goal of loosing 2 pounds of body fat per month until I reach a total of 10 pounds fat loss.
  • Actions I Can Take: I can find a walking buddy. I can join a gym and find an accountability partner to make sure I go 3 times per week. I can set aside 15 minutes (first thing in the morning) 3 times per week to hop on my elliptical to jump start my metabolism. I can schedule at least one 45 minute DVD workout at home over the weekend when I tend to avoid exercise. I can find / join a free on-line support group for encouragement, suggestions, information . . . etc.

So, now the question is, what goals do I want to set? Hmmmm . . . the possibilities are endless! I found an awesome questionnaire on a blog that I follow that gave me lots of food for thought. I haven’t finished answering mine yet, but I thought I would share some of the questions with you in case anyone wants to join me in goal setting. If anyone wants the complete list, leave a comment below and I will email you the entire list.

Happy New Year and may you achieve all of your goals in 2010!


Food for Thought
Compiled by Tsh @ Simple Mom

I. Personal Growth
1. What character traits would you like to see developed in your life this year? What are some specific steps you can take to develop these?
2. What are some of your learning goals for this year?
3. What books would you like to read this year?
4. What spiritual goals would you like to focus on this year?

II. Physical Health
1. What is one area of progress you’d like to see this year for maintaining or improving your physical health?
2. What are some tangible, daily choices you can add to your life that will improve your health?

III. Marriage & Family Life
1. In what ways can you grow in intimacy with your spouse this year?
2. What plans will you make to pray and/or have “family meetings” together? What books would you like to read together this year?
3. What will regular family time look like in your family this year?
4. Do you have specific planned vacation time in mind for this year? What needs to happen to make this vacation a reality?

IV. Goals for Your Children
1. What are ways you’d like each of your children to grow in the following areas?
a. Physically:
b. Emotionally:
c. Relationally:
d. Spiritually:
e. Educationally:
f. Other:

V. Money Matters
1. What is one specific area of progress you’d like to see this year in your financial health?
2. How much debt do you have? In what ways can you eliminate a portion of it this year?
3. How is your savings account? In what ways can you save more money this year?
4. Are you giving regularly? If not, in what way can you give financially this year?

VI. Relationships Outside the Home
1. In what specific way would you like to grow in relating to your friends this year?
2. What are some ways you can be of service to your immediate community?
3. Who are some specific people in your life that can use some encouragement? What will you do to encourage them this year?
4. Who are some people in your life that you admire? What are some practical ways you can positively use their influence in your life?

Today I went in to the local Subway shop to get a sandwich. The shop is a combination Subway and ice cream place. I didn’t eat in – just picked up something to go.

As I was paying at the register I realized something.

The entire shop was completely VOID of Christmas. There were no lights, no Christmas tree, no garland, no holiday music . . . absolutely NOTHING.  The realization stopped me in my tracks.  I was actually stunned.  I turned and asked the kid behind the counter about it and he seemed almost as surprised as I was.  It was as if it was the first time he had realized there was not a single acknowledgement of the season. I also asked the girl behind the ice cream counter why there were no decorations and she just shrugged and said, “Oh, yeah. I guess I should put up some stockings or something,”  YA THINK?

What in the world is happening? Where is the Christmas spirit?

Since my last post I have been trying to adjust my attitude regarding Christmas and I have been reminding myself to focus on the reason we celebrate it.  Last night for instance, I devoted my prayer time to giving thanks for the precious gift I have been given in Jesus. I tried to imagine what my life would be like without the gift of salvation, the promise of heaven, and the blessing of being His own. It would be pretty grim without Him.


He is worth celebrating every day.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m struggling. I’m torn. I have a love / hate relationship with Christmas.
 Did I say that out loud?
  Oh . . . I guess I don’t really “hate” Christmas. That’s too strong of a word. Maybe it’s more like, “I’m afraid I will not experience . . .
     That picture-postcard perfect Christmas with a beautifully decorated (live) tree that fills the house with the intoxicating scent of pine,
     Perfectly chosen, perfectly wrapped gifts that no one will re-gift next year,
     A crackling fire in the fireplace,
     Mouth-watering smells coming from the kitchen,
     A loving family gathered together around the piano singing Christmas carols in perfect harmony,
     A tangible gentleness that settles over neighbors, shoppers, co-workers, friends and strangers who are all on their best behavior in honor of the Christmas season.
     In short, am afraid I will be disappointed – AGAIN.”
I know what you’re thinking. “Really, H.A.! With unrealistic expectations like that it’s no wonder you’re afraid of being disappointed!”

Well, I can’t help it. I long for the ideal. I want to experience the TRUE meaning of Christmas. I want the love of Christ to fill my heart, my home, my family, my friends, my business, my city, my state, and my nation!! I want the miracle of Luke 2:13, “And suddenly to the shepherds there appeared a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth PEACE and GOODWILL toward men!'”

I want my response to be the same as those who experienced the first Christmas. Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Zacharias, the angels, the shepherds, Simeon, all basically had one response . . . praise and thanks and blessing and glory to God. The saviour of the world has come!

And . . .

I also want the Norman Rockwell / Thomas Kincaid Christmas. I miss having “traditions” to look forward to. For some reason I have never been able to create them. I don’t have a special recipe, an annual photo, a special party dress or an occasion to wear one! Last year my sister-in-law Rosanne decorated the house from top to bottom and believe me it was stunning. Not a single person came over! I tried to pull various entertaining opportunities together but because of the hustle and bustle that attends the holidays, everyone was just too busy with their own plans. It was sad.

I’m not trying to sound pathetic. I’m merely trying to process my love / hate relationship with Christmas.

Maybe this year will be different. Maybe I am being unrealistic. Maybe I’ve watched too many old movies.

What do you think? Any thoughts?

My friend Janna forwarded me a cool “redneck” email.  You’ve probably heard the “you might be a redneck” jokes by Jeff Foxworthy, right?  Well, the email I received from Janna offered a cool twist on that theme. I don’t know who the author is but the fine print at the bottom says, “By Design Publishing”. Check it out:

“If it never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, ‘One Nation Under God’, you might be a redneck.”

“If you’ve never protested about seeing the Ten Commandments posted in public places, you might be a redneck.”

“If you still say ‘Christmas’ instead of ‘Winter Festival’, you might be a redneck.”

“If you stand and place your hand over your heart when the National Anthem is played, you might be a redneck.”

“If you bow your head when someone prays, you might be a redneck.”

There are more, but I think you get the idea.

I guess I’m a redneck!  Who knew?

This date rolls around every year. It must. It’s set in stone. It’s my birth-date.

Its funny how differently one feels about one’s birthday as they get older.  I remember anticipating my special day with great joy and expectation when I was a little girl.  I loved being the center of attention and getting to be the princess for the day.  Thoughts of birthday parties, presents, cupcakes, and outings with friends are still fresh in my mind.  

Now things are a little different.  I dread adding one more year to the “how old are you?” question.  I don’t like looking too closely in the mirror and seeing those tell-tale signs of aging.  I’m sometimes anxious about how quickly time is passing and realizing that I might not actually reach my goal of becoming a movie star before my life is over!   And is it really possible that motherhood will never find me?


But then something sweet and wonderful happens.  I read an encouraging email from a dear friend telling me how important I am to them.  I listen to a cheerful voicemail of  the “Happy Birthday Song” sung by a loved one who can’t carry a tune in a bucket but who sings for me anyway.  I receive a funny card in the mail reminding me that age is just a number and as long as I still have all my teeth I have reason to celebrate!  My mom calls and tells me the story (again) of the day I was born.  And most importantly, the precious Spirit of God whispers in my ear, “You are relevant.  You have been bought with a price. You are Mine.  I love you yesterday (in-spite of your failures).  I love you today (as you walk out My plans for you). I’ll love you forever (because that is My promise).”


So today begins another chapter in my life’s story.

Welcome to my new blog spot! I am so glad you stopped by for a visit.

As some of you know, I have been wanting to start a blog for about a year . . . and today (November, 2009) I finally did it! I have no idea why this is such a strong desire, because Lord knows I really don’t have time for this.

In addition to being too busy, I also put this off for many months because I was very intimidated by all the other creative, interesting, beautiful blogs I have been following. 

But in the end, I decided I must give in to the call of my heart to express myself! My purpose for creating this blog is to:
  • have a place to connect with friends
  • share news, projects, and photos
  • have a place to think out loud and share the sometimes silly, sometimes deep reflections of my heart.

As you can see, I have divided my posts into categories so guests will be able to follow only what is of interest to them.  So, here I go. I hope you will stop in from time-to-time and share your thoughts too.