May 2012 in Review

42 more minutes until the end of May is official. I am up past my bed time and just starting to write this blog post. Honestly, I’m staying up because today has been a rough day for me, and I have been really good this month about improving my bedtime habits. There is no pausing time before June starts and I begin my June goals, but I want a break for just one night. I am giving myself grace.

I want to review the month of May. This past month, I committed to myself to work hard on my goals and do my best to accomplish them, even if I had to really force myself and discipline myself. I did work hard. I did not achieve all of those goals, and I can’t say that the month went perfectly. However, I am very satisfied with my progress and how much I have learned this month.

I learned that keeping goals that I set gives me self-confidence. Keeping goals that I set is one way that I can be honest with myself. In the goal-making stage, I need to be honest with myself about whether a perspective goal is realistic or not. In the midst of keeping any goals I set, I need to be true to myself and do what I said I wanted or what I said was most important. When I have reached a goal, I can reap the benefits of being able to say that I have integrity. My word means something, even when I am just talking to myself.

Now, I would not say that my integrity meter is very high if you only look at last month’s goals. But, what I would say is it is higher than it was before and gaining experience this month is a building block to accomplish and reaching more of my goals.

As I look back on the practical aspects of May, one of the first things that comes to mind when I ask myself “What worked in May?” is simply laundry. I knew that if I was going to be working on goals then the “have-to’s” of housework had to run smoothly. So, I tried to set up a laundry routine and each week I tweaked it as needed. I am proud to say that as I write this, I am pretty well caught up on laundry.

I think the reason that laundry did turn out to work so well is not because I stuck to my original routine without any flexibility, but rather because I took the liberty to tweak as necessary. I am going to be taking this approach to other housework goals that I set in the future!

So, pretty much that sums up my month of May. I want to leave May looking at what has been done, and not worry about the rest. Spiritually, I have become aware of several areas in which I really need to grow. As I leave May, I am not forgetting or ignoring those areas, but I am going to spend tonight remembering what has been for me on the Cross. I am going to Jesus for His cleansing power, to be washed in the blood of the Lamb; I am trusting fully in His grace this hour, because I am washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Goals for this week

I have a busy week coming up, but that does not mean that I want to forget about my goals or make no progress in my house or life. So, I want to post my most important goals for this week!

The every day goals:

  • Read a proverb with Ayealyn every morning and establish this as a routine.
  • Be in bed every night at 10:30pm
  • Meet all Swagbuck’s goals for the Swagbucks carnival.

Goals that require work throughout the week, but not everyday:

  • Knitting; get at least halfway done with dish cloth for Amanda.
  • Exercise by walking for 20-30 minutes three times this week.

One time goals:

  • Make Homemade Laundry Detergent.
  • Write Luke a Thank you note/Love Letter
  • Complete all “next actions” on emails in my inbox. Clear inbox.
  • Put away all my winter clothes; get out maternity clothes/switch over clothes.
  • Return Mom’s steamer to her.
  • Spend 1-2 hours planning my blog.

This week, I want to keep in mind that the goal is not perfection, just progress! I want to have a spirit of grace and joy in my home, not one of frustration and impatience.

Goals and Perfection

Every time I embark on a journey to achieve goals I have set for myself, I end up getting discouraged by imperfection. Multiple times in the last week I have become very aware of this fact; for instance one night, I was very tired by 8pm. I put my little daughter to bed, and I mentally insisted that I not go to bed and rest, but that I instead go downstairs and clean up the kitchen, vacuum the dining room, finish a meal plan and store list, then come back upstairs and clean the bathroom.

Now, when I am exhausted, I have a really hard time staying on task and focusing. By working on my goals, I’m hoping to improve my abilities in this area, however, growth does take time. Last night, all I managed to finish was getting the kitchen wiped down, the meal plan and the store list. Considering that those three things took me over three hours, I realize that I probably did have time to fit in a little more. But, I was constantly distracted, going back and forth to the computer, “jotting” ideas down and adding meals between sinks of dishes.

I was so discouraged because I just wondered how long would it be before I would be able to magically “get it all done”. I knew that I had not managed my time perfectly, but I also knew that I had made the attempt and I had accomplished the most important things on my list. I wondered “When is enough, enough?”. I pondered that question a little bit, but my head was foggy and could not come up with an answer. Even now, with clearer head, I wonder the same thing. When is enough, enough? How do I decide?

I have not come up with a way to draw a clear line in the sand about when enough is enough. I know there are times when I do need to get up and try to do better. I know that there are also times when I just need to accept some grace. I just do not always know how to tell the difference.

More than anything, what I really want is to be able to enjoy my family. I am writing all of this on my husband’s day off while he sleeps in because he worked all night last night. But when he and my daughter wake up, I want to be relaxed when I am with them. When I am pursuing perfection, I am anything but relaxed. My insides feel like a hamster running on a wheel getting nowhere and it drives me almost to insanity.

The solution is not to stop pursuing goals all together, but rather to pursue goals in God’s strength and resting on His grace. There will be times when I do not quite achieve my goals, and in those times, I need to be not frustrated, but rather, I need to be at peace, trusting in God’s ability to make all things work together. After all, God is far more interested in my heart attitude than He is in what my hands can accomplish.

 

Gratitude Expressed

As I reflect on the past week and look forward to the next week, I realize that I have much to be thankful for! Here are just ten wonderful things!

1. A God-given husband and a blessed-by-God marriage

2. Pandora Internet Radio which I can use to listen to praise music

3. A darling and happy baby

4. The power of the Holy Spirit

5. Romans 8!!!

6. Time to do the dishes

7. Wonderful in-laws and time with his family

8. Sunshine-y weather

9. Progress and learning in my homemaking journey

10. A growing baby bump

What I learned from Washing Feet

I just had three tween girls over at my house for a sleepover. As part of the sleepover, I gave them an unprofessional pedicure. I washed and scrubbed their feet with an exfoliating scrub, and then painted their toenails. One of the girls was hesitant once I said “feet”. She was embarrassed about her feet. I was quick to reassure her their was nothing to be embarrassed about after finding out why she was embarrassed.

I wondered if I should have insisted that we do our feet, because maybe it was insensitive to gloss over her embarrassment. But at the same time, I wanted her to know there was nothing to be embarrassed about. Each of us has physical characteristics that make us less than perfect, but none of them take away from our beauty as a creation of God.

I contemplated on the whole feet washing incident and compared it with how Christ washed the feet of the disciples. I realized that in some ways, Jesus showed just how much He is willing to see the good, the bad and the ugly in our lives by washing His disciples’ feet. After all, I think it is pretty normal for feet to be dirty, especially back in Jesus’ day. Those feet would have been outright disgusting. But Jesus dealt with the physical disgusting and He will deal with the spiritually disgusting.

Psalm 62:8 “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” I remember discovering that verse as a teenage girl. I remember being so excited about this particular verse because it meant that God wanted to hear me. Not only did God want to hear me, but He also wanted to hear everything in my heart. What a beautiful concept. Many embarrassing and even sinful things exist in the heart of a teenage girl, yet God wanted me to pour out my heart to Him.

God wants all of us so that He can have His will and His way in our lives.

Goals for May

My goals for May are as follows:

1. Bible Reading–continue to follow the plan for shirkers and slackers.

In regards to my spiritual life, I want to make morning devotions a priority. Lately, I’ve just been reading/praying/journalling at the end of the day, however, I want to learn to seek God first. So, morning devotions is a goal this month.

2. Exercise/Health–I will continue walking for a half an hour 3x a week. I need to get more focused on adding in fruits and vegetables into my diet however. One way that I will do this is to prepare fruits and vegetables to have on hand for snacking.

3. Spanish–I never got a Spanish resource from my local library, but I have a few resources on hold to be picked up this week. In addition, I will be attempting to listen to some Spanish Christian radio.

4. Book reading–I did not finish Career Renegade in April, so I will go ahead and finish it this month. In addition, I am reading a book about blogging. If I finish those and have time, I would like to read Purpose in Prayer by E.M. Bounds.

5. Writing and blogging–I want to blog 3x per week or approximately fourteen times during the month of May.

6. Relationships–this is a hard one, but I am going to put time and effort into spending time with two different girls my age who are also mothers.

7. Love Letters– I need to sit down and write two this month!

I also have two other goals for this month that are not related to my resolutions. I want to earn $15 in Amazon gift cards through Swagbucks. I also want to complete two knitting projects that force me to learn a new skill or stitch.

Hopefully, I will be able to report some progress at the end of the month!