Happy New Year!
I'm one of those unfortunate people who loves making New Year's Resolutions, and usually gets carried away in the process.
Inevitably, I make resolutions that are unrealistic - being either too big, or requiring too many little pieces and parts. And I may have done this again this year, but at least I'm trying to make an improvement in how I make resolutions.
These are designed to encompass only those things that are the most important for me to do, and everything else... I'm willing to not worry about.
I don't know if you're familiar with Leigh Ann Dutton @ Intentional By Grace, but she has a lot of right ideas about life. The biggest ones being that being a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, a good employee... a good whatever... those things aren't going to happen by accident. They're going to happen because you are intentional about them, and by the grace of God.
So... resolutions this year boil down to being intentional about the things that are most important. This year, I've made twelve and managed to number them 1-7! (I'm a nerd, remember?)
Have a Baby! (Seems obvious, I know, but first things, first!) (Due late in January.)
Go into labor with a birth plan in place, and having mentally prepared for my second attempt at an unmedicated birth. (Pray for me, guys... the first labor was 23 hours... and this time, the baby is in posterior position, which tends to forestall labor, make it longer, and make it more painful (by bringing on back labor, which I hear is loads harder on mom than regular labor).)
Be prepared to take a couple of months off from blogging after baby comes. This means that I have two posts each week pre-written and scheduled from now until sometime after Easter. That way, I can spend at least the first two months of second-time new mommy-hood... just being mommy to my (soon-to-be) TWO beautiful little girls. ... I haven't actually managed to start on this. I've been so tired and achy during the last couple of months of pregnancy that I have been mostly sleeping away my opportunities to work on it.
Be intentional about Domestic Church.
Some time ago, Daniel and I attended a Domestic Church formation retreat, and we recently got word that a new circle was almost ready to form in the Baton Rouge area.
I've been told that the Domestic Church movement is "just being Catholic," but given the things I know about the movement, the seven promises (or gifts) don't happen without having some discipline and doing them on purpose.
After we got back from the retreat, Daniel and I were very good about praying together as a couple every night, and after a few weeks, it fell by the wayside when we had one minor catastrophe or another. I don't remember exactly what happened, but we stopped - and now it seems like we didn't have a good reason to me.
In order for us to see real fruit from participating in Domestic Church, we'll need to be disciplined about being intentional about it.
Be Intentional about Praying
I have long felt like there are a lot of people and things that are deserving of my prayer that I fail to pray for because I just forget when the time comes.
I don't think my wonderful brother-in-law and sister-in-law were thinking in this direction when they gave me a beautiful journal with bible verses for Christmas, but I'm working on setting it up as a prayer "directory", so I can be sure to pray regularly for those things and people that I mean to pray for (but all too often forget).
Right now, I'm working on making lots of lists. Relatives, Friends, Married Couples, Big Causes (Pro-life, Christian Unity, Persecuted Christians, ISIS, etc.), The Deceased, Those who don't know Jesus, and lots and lots of others.
I'm setting things up with things to pray for every week, a set of 50 days of lists of prayer requests (mostly because I have a lot of relatives), and a calendar of prayer requests (so I can remember to pray for people on birthdays and anniversaries and such).
I'm also hoping to set up a section of answered prayers, but I haven't figured out how to set it up well yet.
Be an intentional wife, mother, and godmother (new godson! So excited!).
I've occasionally found that I'm not the wife or mother that I think I should be. I want to be better, do better.
An acquaintance of mine has occasionally said that if she can't find twenty minutes a day to play with her kids, and the same to sit and have an intentionally loving conversation with her husband, the shame on her. I think that's a good place to start, in addition to doing Domestic Church to the best of my ability.
Be an intentional friend / sister / daughter / relative.
I've been finding that I tend to drift away from people. Not because I don't like them or don't enjoy spending time with them, but because I'm just lazy. I'm not generally the event planner for anything, and so the odds that I'll invite people over for anything but the most significant of events is pretty much nil.
I want to change this about myself. I want to intentionally be attentive to the people who matter to me the most, and I think that means that we need to be the ones reaching out more.
I want to send birthday and anniversary cards. I want to send Christmas cards (there's been a reason I haven't been, but I won't go into that.). I want to have our friends over for dinner (for no occasion) more often. I want to have our relatives over for dinner for no reason at all. Just to be more close to them. Just to say I love you. These are things that I want for my relationships. Nobody should be expected to invite me to do things, if I don't do any inviting first.
Be Intentional about Cloth Diapering.
I posted a while back that we're trying cloth diapers with the new baby. I'm really excited about the support I'm getting from my mom (even though she's not super excited about the plan).
Let me just say it right now:
I do not expect that doing laundry for cloth diapers will be pleasant.
If we are going to successfully cloth diaper a child from newborn to potty trained, I will have to intentionally make time to do cloth diaper laundry every day.
Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do all day is swallow a live frog, chances are it will be the worst thing you do all day.
There are a few things in my house that regularly fall by the wayside, chore-wise, particularly the laundry. (Yes, I realize that I am a person who does not like to do laundry... and cloth diapering will create more laundry!)
The resolution is to establish a list of daily "frogs" to knock out first, so that they get done.
The first two things on the list are:
(1) Cloth Diaper Laundry. Hopefully to be accomplished before the munchkins get up.
(2) Another Load of Laundry.
We'll see how this goes.
Be intentional about meal planning.
Sometime during November, I got the nesting bug, briefly, and I went through and cleaned the fridge. One of the other things that got my attention was meal planning.
Eating gluten-free (once I got all of the pasta out of my path and found a good brand of gluten-free bread) has kinda just happened to a certain extent - mostly because it matters more what I drink than what I eat nowadays. I expect that it will be harder - a lot harder - to be gluten-free with two little rascals running around.
|Copyright Shannon Ball 2015.|
... and after I made this epic printable, saw how well it worked, I used it... for about two weeks. But it was such a good system, I really need to get back to it.
Incidentally, this is a screen shot of it, here on the right. Let me know via e-mail if you'd like a copy, and I'll send it to you.
Be Intentional about Reading More.
I've made a list of books ten I really think are worth it to read. They're broken up into Parenting Books, Catholic Books, Classics, and American Classics. (They're actually a subset of a much longer list... but we're taking them ten at a time!) I'm going to be making an attempt to read one every month until October and then take November and December "off" so to speak.
Some of these are old enough to be in the public domain, and as such are available as free audiobooks on Librivox. I plan to make use of this! And... yes, I am allowed to "read" things on audiobooks. The first book is one that is mentioned in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Connecticut Yankee is my favorite book, and I really want to understand the reference Twain makes more fully. (I'm a nerd, remember?)
Be intentional about looking after my health.
For a while there, my Hashimoto's disease kind of took over all of my thoughts, and started staking out territory on this blog. I decided to be a bit preemptive, and set up a separate blog for that.
So far, I have done well with taking care of my Hashimoto's disease. (If you're not familiar with it, it's very similar to Celiac Disease.) Since I was first diagnosed in June, my antibody levels have dropped from 900 to 200, and that's just with cutting bread, pasta, and other "obvious" sources of gluten... and with reading labels to get rid of as much as I can. (Did you know that Blue Bell's Dutch Chocolate has wheat AND soy flour in it? So mad about that!)
I have chosen, so far, not to worry about sources of contamination, and also not to worry about those things that fall under the heading of "natural flavors" or "artificial flavors"... mostly because I couldn't keep contamination out of my own kitchen... and I still can't. That's on the docket for the new year, as we slowly acquire the pots we need to cook "gluten safe."
One of my sisters-in-law has given me a shiny, new, bright red toaster for Christmas (don't worry - I asked her to get it for me!), and in so doing, she has unwittingly determined the color of all of the gluten-safe cookware, cooking utensils, and everything else in my kitchen that is going to be kept "safe".
Once I start doing this, I'll have a more free hand to start removing sources of contamination from my kitchen... and after that, it will become more necessary for me to be vigilant about contamination in other places - other people's kitchens - restaurant kitchens... and that step is the one that looks daunting and difficult.
Start getting up before the rest of the family.
I have heard from so many people that getting up before the rest of the family really helps them get their days started right. They get up early, and by the time the rest of the family is up, they've already prayed, made the coffee, eaten one frog, and gotten breakfast on the table.
How much more awesome is that than rolling out of bed ten minutes before my husband has to be out the door for work, and four minutes before my two year old decides to let me know that she's ready to get up by yelling "Momma! Daddy! I'm poopy!"?
Lots more awesome. Acres more.
Right now, I think my target is going to be 5:30, but with a new baby on the way... we'll see how this goes.
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