Favorite Passages: John 6:63-69

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“…It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

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2018 Goals: Where Am I At?

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Another month gone by. Another 30+ days’ worth of interest and excitement… and HEAT. My goodness. Like, suddenly it is 110 degrees every day. I’m over it and ready for fall!

Speaking of fall, I am super excited for the school year to begin, because we found a little private school for our daughter that is just right for our needs. As the summer has rolled along, it’s become evident that she has outgrown the nanny life and needs an education outside the home. I cannot be in charge of it while we rely on my income to pay the bills, so off to school she goes! I am just praying I can work enough to cover that tuition bill every month.

The hubby’s job is going well. He is, what, six weeks in already? Time flies! His position involves a lot of “busy” work, though, and he is already antsy for higher manager-level positions. He just does not thrive while under a lower manager’s thumb and while he watches his department not meet its full potential. So it’s on our minds to keep an eye out for other jobs. Texas is back in the conversation. Lord willing, the timing will work out that a door will open by the time our apartment lease ends next May. Our rent, and now additional utilities, now totals over $200 more per month than we paid this last year. How do people even do it here in Southern California? It’s a miracle we’re still here. Every darn month is a miracle. I made my first payment toward my student loans this month too. So it begins.

But maybe it’s good that we’re still here in California. There have been family issues and hardships occurring. Perhaps being geographically near family will be instrumental in sharing burdens and building new bridges over past hurts. I also love our current church body. Unlike our time in Vegas during the first half of our marriage, it is not a spiritually dry season. God wants us here for purposes maybe unknown to us but known and predetermined by Him to be just right and part of His perfect plan. In spite of the financial struggle, I do not want to waste the time and resources He’s provided for us here and now. That includes the plentiful resources we have for biblical counseling and godly friendships.

Work has me burning the candle at both ends right now. It makes me feel a little isolated and always “behind” (and being behind is not just a feeling; it’s my reality), but God is blessing my efforts with great jobs, great agencies, great attorneys, and small successes here and there. It’s the confidence boost and momentum I need to increase my skill and earning capacity. Often I step back and look at my life and wonder what I’m doing, how I’m living this urban life and putting on this professional front when I feel like the opposite inside. My past self never imagined I’d be here. God could flip it upside down at any moment; thus I refuse to take it for granted. There’s been a noticeable shift in my life, though, since I accepted what seems to be His will for me right now, that I work and use this time to develop my career. Who knows? Maybe a time is coming when I will need to fall back on it. Or maybe I’ll lose my fingers and, like Job, God will take it all away to refine my soul. I don’t know. TODAY I will use what He’s given me.

God’s Word:

  • Go to bed early; wake up early :: The hubby’s work schedule was adjusted to begin an hour earlier each day. I haven’t adjusted with him, but maybe it’ll be easier when the weather cools off and the days shorten.
  • Finish Matthew commentaries :: Only read a little in Matthew 8-15 this month because I started reading a book on conflict resolution, which I plan to finish soon.
  • Read three chapters of Scripture per day :: Finished the whole OT after starting in Job last fall! So I went back to the very beginning in Genesis and will work my way through, hopefully finishing by the end of this year.
  • Fill up prayer journal by end of year :: I’ve been in my journal less this month, but mostly because of time constraints. It has been on my heart to go back.
  • Keep phone away from bedside; spend less time on social media :: This is basically my only unwinding strategy at the end of each day or during rest periods, so I’m checking a lot, but not really interacting.
  • Openly share more spiritually-directed thoughts with my hubby and with others :: I guess I’m getting slightly better at this. 

Physical Health:

  • Daily yoga at home :: Nope. I feel too stressed and tired to do anything physical at home.
  • Spend more time walking/hiking outside (summer camping trips are right around the corner!)
  • Save up my pennies for some hiking gear
  • Eat more strictly paleo, larger emphasis on daily bone broth and vegetables at every meal :: Just doing my best these days to eat real food, not necessarily strict paleo or anything. I’d really like to go low-carb since I’m experiencing unstable blood sugar but don’t know if I’m ready to dive into that again yet.
  • Coffee enemas 1x/week :: Had to do this quickly the other day to assist with a bout of food poisoning, but otherwise have been totally inconsistent.

Career:

  • Register for and earn RPR certification :: The next registration period is coming up soon. I don’t care if it goes on the credit card; it NEEDS to happen this year!!
  • New business cards and rates sheet after RPR certification :: Soon??
  • Finish self-directed software training :: Guess what! I finished a big portion of it a few weeks ago! There are new sections demanding a lot of dry reading, but I will be relying on the information contained very soon.
  • Improve audio recording setup :: Nothing to show here.
  • Attend online classes/seminars for CEUs and realtime training :: Time is running out, so I’m going to have to shell out for this stuff soon, ready or not.
  • Start realtime reporting :: I have found small ways during each recent job to build my skills in this area in preparation for sharing a live feed with attorneys. And what do you know? I’m seeing instant results! My work has become easier as a side benefit. Maybe by 2019 I will actually meet this goal!

Financial Peace*:

  • Attend FPU with the hubby and apply its principles :: A Dave Ramsey post appeared on my Facebook news feed just yesterday, captioned, “If you’re married and you want to take control of your money, the FIRST step is getting on the same page with your spouse.” And you know what? I’VE TRIED. I tried again just the other day. He is not open to making improvements. I can’t change his mind/heart about it. We may never have financial peace. We may never be wealthy or even comfortable. We may live our whole life making just enough to stay afloat… or not! Maybe catastrophe will strike, and that’s what it’ll take to hopefully make a change. Our whole marriage may be years of his liberal spending and my trusting God to provide for actual needs. But this is not my mistake, not my burden, not my fault. He, as the purported leader of this household, sets the tone for how our little economy functions. And until he steps up and changes our trajectory, we are not going to be productive. So I will pray and do what I can while remaining submissive to keep us going.
  • Overhaul our financials and money management :: I’m going to cross this off, because technically I’m the one whose money management is being overhauled. Accepting to live under poor stewardship is an impossible pill for me to swallow. But this is where God has me, just like everything else in my life, and if He gives me the gift of faith to live in submission to His will, then I can do it. The poor stewardship is a symptom of a greater pervasive problem in my hubby, something only God can address. In the meantime I will also enjoy what God provides by spending a little on myself, something I’ve always had a hard time doing. 

Family Goals*:

  • Help hubby find a full-time job after his GRADUATION :: Work is going all right for him. Every day is a little different, but looking for another job is on his mind. 
  • Get pregnant with Baby #2 after that job is found :: In due time, Lord willing.
  • Find a new place to live and finally close this chapter of our life :: Looks like we’ll be here for some time. We’ll re-evaluate at the beginning of next year when we have to consider renewing our lease or not. 

*(These are contingent on lots of things beyond my control, but they’d be the most fun to cross off this list.)

 

2018 Goals: Where Am I At?

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Another 30+ days gone by in a snap. Overnight things have become different, for better and for worse.

My husband made two trips to Las Vegas scoping out job fairs. A few opportunities seemed good, and one seemed ideal, but nothing came of it. The door to Nevada is closed for now. In between job fairs, however, my husband was interviewed and hired at a company somewhat local to where we live now. This is the beginning of his third week there. It’s been an adjustment, but things seem to be going well. Having a little more income, a steady routine, and a productive hubby is so nice. I can’t stop working yet, but maybe next year.

Last week I started touring kindergarten programs for our daughter. As much as I wanted to homeschool her, I think this is where God is leading our family. She is getting too big, and I am too busy during this season to provide her education, not to mention the fact that she is extremely social and hungry for knowledge. Multiple people have voiced their opinion that non-homeschooling might be better for all of us. I agree; however, this whole process is outside my comfort zone.

We went on our camping trip just over a week ago, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I drank in every minute of that warm sunshine and breezy mountain air. Daily quality time was spend with family, old friends, and new friends in the great, beautiful outdoors. We climbed rocks and mountains, splashed in rivers and lakes, walked through the trees and meadows. My daughter adapted right away; camping is so good for kids! We both got filthy and sunburned and sweaty and bug-bitten and still had the best time. I actually cried in the car on the way home because it was so hard to leave.

My husband’s parents are experiencing a major financial crisis plus a death in the family. A dark cloud has settled over us all. The words of Job and the song Though You Slay Me have been running through my mind. This is the first time since we married that I’ve watched my husband’s family experience real hardship. We hope to be of support however we can, although our own financial discomfort may prevent financial assistance if they were to need it.

Life is just never dull. This morning I intended to take action on a bunch of tasks for the week, but my daughter woke up sick with a cold, and I’m feeling exceptionally sluggish. At least there’s a mid-week holiday. As long as I make progress on my transcripts and have dinner ready when the hubby gets home, the rest can wait.

God’s Word:

  • Go to bed early; wake up early :: Just what I expected: As soon as the hubby has to get up and be gone early in the morning, the entire household is positively affected. I wake up with him, prepare breakfast and coffee, and then settle down to read the Bible after he leaves. It’s wonderful. Still navigating the mornings I work, though. There are more elements to juggle within a delicate time frame.
  • Finish Matthew commentaries :: Read some more this month, but didn’t finish the book I’m in. Just trying to be consistent, a little bit each day.
  • Read three chapters of Scripture per day :: Finished Daniel, Hosea, and Joel. Starting on the rest of the Minor Prophets and will travel back to the early OT in hopes to finish Esther by year’s end.
  • Fill up prayer journal by end of year :: I’ve spent more time in the journal lately. Pressing needs are driving me there. (What a encouragement that this still hasn’t changed.)
  • Keep phone away from bedside; spend less time on social media :: This is basically my only unwinding strategy at the end of each day or during rest periods, so I’m checking a lot, but not really interacting.
  • Openly share more spiritually-directed thoughts with my hubby and with others :: I guess I’m getting slightly better at this. 

Physical Health:

  • Daily yoga at home :: Nope. I feel too stressed and tired to do anything physical at home.
  • Spend more time walking/hiking outside (summer camping trips are right around the corner!) :: I am a slow hiker, as last week proved, but I don’t give up or complain. That’s what matters on the trail.
  • Save up my pennies for some hiking gear :: I used my new Vibrams for all hiking and walking up in the mountains, and they were fabulous. After the 12-mile day, though, I wore flip-flops and had pretty sore feet/legs.
  • Eat more strictly paleo, larger emphasis on daily bone broth and vegetables at every meal :: I’m about 80% paleo these days. I haven’t made a batch of bone broth in months even though the bones and veggie scraps have been in my freezer ready to go. Today it’s happening, and we are having soup for dinner.
  • Coffee enemas 1x/week :: Haven’t done this in a long while now. 

Career:

  • Register for and earn RPR certification :: The last registration period came and went. I could have paid for it, but a lot of our extra funds were sucked dry this month for reasons that I will not speak of here. Let’s just say this is a problem in our household that has nothing to do with me.
  • New business cards and rates sheet after RPR certification :: Soon??
  • Finish self-directed software training :: *laughing*
  • Improve audio recording setup :: Nothing to show here.
  • Attend online classes/seminars for CEUs and realtime training :: Again, no idea how to find time or money for these, but I do need them.
  • Start realtime reporting :: Feels so far away. Will pursue once the above goals are met.

Financial Peace*:

  • Attend FPU with the hubby and apply its principles :: Gosh, I’m embarrassed for us. The information is all there for us. But unless BOTH hearts are moved, we’ll get nowhere. Very difficult.
  • Overhaul our financials and money management :: *laughing… and crying*

Family Goals*:

  • Help hubby find a full-time job after his GRADUATION :: He did it! I played no part in it; a friend of ours put a good word in for us. But it is full-time, not too far away, and provides *just* enough money to get by in case I have to stop working. 
  • Get pregnant with Baby #2 after that job is found :: In due time, Lord willing.
  • Find a new place to live and finally close this chapter of our life :: Looks like we’ll be here for some time. We’ll re-evaluate at the beginning of next year when we have to consider renewing our lease or not. 

*(These are contingent on lots of things beyond my control, but they’d be the most fun to cross off this list.)

2018 Goals: Where Am I At?

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What a month it’s been. The hubby graduated! The ceremony and party flew by in a whirlwind. We’d been waiting for years for these moments; suddenly they’re history! Following the festivities, we unwound for a whole week at a vacation rental on the beach. This being my first actual vacation away from home longer than a weekend since starting my career, I learned just how unhealthy not vacationing is. My body took a full three days to adjust (and who needs to adjust to doing nothing on purpose?). I visited an old friend and drank delicious cold brew by the fireplace while watching surfers, sailboats, and sea life out in the waves. Hours at a time. I chilled to the max… as much as a wife/mom can chill, that is.

Work has taken over my life since, and I’m feeling the need for another retreat. The hubby agreed to let me take our daughter on a camping trip with my family in a few weeks, about which I am 110% thrilled. THRILLED. God is providing the work I need to stay ahead on cash flow, which will free us up for the road trip and time away. I. can’t. wait. to share my love for mountain camping with my daughter, to create memories with her like I have with my family. If I could only take one trip a year, a June camping trip in the Sierras would be it. I don’t need to see the world; I just want to pack up the car and head north to the mountains! Bye!

Home life has been tough. The hubby is searching for and applying for jobs every day. We are applying for work either within driving distance from our current home or in Las Vegas. We still miss NV terribly and wonder if we are being called to go back. It’s a subjective feeling, of course, but the hubby will be driving there next week for job fairs and an interview he scheduled the other day; if something good comes of it, we’ll go! He has been stressed and bored at home, which interferes with our rhythm and, well, peace. The man needs to work! God knows. If nothing comes up over the summer, we’ll be putting our daughter in public school kindergarten (so long as administration approves of her medical vaccination exemption). I find this both terrifying and relieving.

On the bright side, whether we stay in CA or move to NV, we’ll be relatively close to family for some important events, like my brother and sister-in-law due for their first baby in October, and my other brother (hopefully) getting married before the year’s end. A family reunion-type party and possibly another backpacking trip are in the works too. We’ll just wait and see what happens.

God’s Word:

  • Go to bed early; wake up early :: Look at that. Getting busier, not less busy, actually brought this about! I wouldn’t say it’s been real productive in the Bible department, but if I keep this sleep schedule momentum, it just might work. I woke up naturally at 5:15 this morning after a night of comatose slumber and constant vivid dreams. Long days of work are eliminating all things unnecessary out of my life, including late nights on my phone looking at memes and old vine compilations. I’m basically falling asleep before hitting the pillow.
  • Finish Matthew commentaries :: Read several chapters this month! I’m about halfway done with book two of four in Matthew, hoping to finish the current one by the end of the month. All this vacation time is helping.
  • Read three chapters of Scripture per day :: Finished Ezekiel and am one day away from finishing Daniel. Once finished with the minor prophets, I may begin again in Genesis.
  • Fill up prayer journal by end of year :: I’ve spent more time in the journal lately. Pressing needs are driving me there. (Same this month too.)
  • Keep phone away from bedside; spend less time on social media :: Thanks to the need for sleep, I’ve cut back a little bit.
  • Openly share more spiritually-directed thoughts with my hubby and with others :: Oh, boy, do I ever have some thoughts to share! Ha, that hasn’t changed either.

Physical Health:

  • Daily yoga at home :: Nahh.
  • Spend more time walking/hiking outside (summer camping trips are right around the corner!) :: Nahh. But maybe I should if I don’t want to be the slowest hiker on the trail. But with a 5-year-old, I have an excuse, I guess, to be slow.
  • Save up my pennies for some hiking gear :: I spent them! I bought some FiveFingers at REI with my monies and will be picking them up today! I’ve wanted another pair (it’ll be my third) for a long time, and now actually need it for real trails. ((excitement))
  • Eat more strictly paleo, larger emphasis on daily bone broth and vegetables at every meal :: Food is still a stressor, but in a way it’s been easier because I’m just eating the same way that my daughter has to (basically paleo with some gluten-free grains). My skin has been happy for the first time in years, but that may also be because I splurged at 100% Pure recently.
  • Coffee enemas 1x/week :: I missed last week again but will try again tomorrow or the next day.

Career (aim to complete by May 2018):

  • Register for and earn RPR certification :: Registration opens up this month for the July RPR. I’m finally going for it. If we potentially move to NV, I need to be certified there; and even if we stay, I need to raise my rates and have a good reason why.
  • New business cards and rates sheet after RPR certification :: SOON.
  • Finish self-directed software training :: I don’t know how I’ll find time for this between 200-page transcripts and a family to take care of, but okay, sure.
  • Improve audio recording setup :: I need new batteries.
  • Attend online classes/seminars for CEUs and realtime training :: Again, no idea how to find time or money for these, but I do need them.
  • Start realtime reporting :: Feels so far away. Will pursue once the above goals are met.

Financial Peace*:

  • Attend FPU with the hubby and apply its principles :: An imminent cross-country move is no longer a likely possibility, so we are saving what we can and planning to pay off what debt we can in the meantime. Moving to NV would certainly be an expense, but not overwhelmingly so. Some good news is we paid off one of our two cars! Interesting how this is working out. In spite of our efforts (or lack of them), “Supernatural Forces” are making the Baby Steps happen. We have the minimum emergency fund. The next car is our next smallest debt that we will be rolling over payments into. I’m confident we could pay it off by the end of this year if we work hard! Then we can finally knock out our student loan debt and BE DEBT FREE in our 30s! Wouldn’t that be something? You’ll see just how much of a “something” I’m talking about when I eventually share the dollar amount of debt we started at this year!
  • Overhaul our financials and money management :: Temptation to take full control or act independently in this regard plagues me constantly. I know I could do a good job, get us in a better place, etc., etc. But there is a wall when I try to do it openly, and my conscience won’t allow me to do it secretly. God knows.

Family Goals*:

  • Help hubby find a full-time job after his GRADUATION :: The aforementioned opportunity fell through, so, like I said, we are looking locally or in Las Vegas. It’s only a matter of time! We’ll see!
  • Get pregnant with Baby #2 after that job is found :: Most days, this excites me. But it means I will have to wean myself off cold-brewed coffee. Don’t want to be addicted to high levels of caffeine while TTC or nursing. My basic hipster soul and supersonic steno brain can’t even.
  • Find a new place to live and finally close this chapter of our life :: Our long-time upstairs neighbors upped and escaped moved out yesterday! Now we only have one neighbor left in the building who has been here longer than we have. Unfavorable changes are happening, costs are rising, adding to the pressure. God knows.

*(These are contingent on lots of things beyond my control, but they’d be the most fun to cross off this list.)

2018 Goals: Where Am I At?

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My husband is going to walk and get his diploma on Friday. And I’m going to scream. By God’s grace (and frequent kicks in the pants), he did it.

We have felt every single day of the last five years drag on by, yet here we are, suddenly at the end. Wow. God brought us all the way through… all the way through a lot more than just school. My husband tried giving up, like, with real effort. He actually dropped out of school intending to flee in another direction. We looked for alternatives, other places to live, other jobs to get, other open doors, anything to get out of this mess created by what were, in retrospect, foolish decisions.

But God didn’t allow it. No doors opened. Nothing budged. Every time we had money, it was sucked up by a bad month. Every potential job lead was snuffed out. Literal physical pangs of homesickness for our (cheaper, freer, friendlier) prior living conditions plagued us. We’ve watched our debt grow and grow. We couldn’t have more kids because only my irregular self-employment was keeping us alive. Our marriage would tank and then thrive, tank, then thrive again. Health problems, mental health problems, and hospital visits peppered each semester. Threats of expulsion for poor performance or delayed tuition payments were events we came to expect at least twice a year. So many late nights, bad days, bad weeks, isolation, confusion, failure.

And somehow we’re here, planning the party, gap and gown hanging in the closet.

God knows and provides what we need in every season. The blessings He’s given us over the last five years didn’t fully harmonize with our ideas and desires, but I can’t help but acknowledge their value, for we wouldn’t have had these things otherwise: Our closest friends were made while living here. Pastors, professors, counselors, and mentors have surrounded us in our struggles. Spiritual growth has been a huge boon for me. I am absolutely not the same person I was at this time five years ago. In many ways, my husband isn’t either, for which I am beyond thankful. We’ve been geographically close to our families (from which issues are not absent, but God may use those for good someday too). We’ve gone on some great road trips. We’ve watched our beautiful baby grow safely and healthily into a beautiful child. God brought me through my own schooling in His perfect timing and has allowed my work to sustain us for over three years now (and the educational experience from this alone has contributed to much maturation and growth).

There’s a quote I pinned on Pinterest a while back that has run through my mind frequently:

“If you think you have blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this: 

You, my friend, are not that powerful.”

(Lisa Bever)

We could have accomplished the same goal a different way, but to me our path has been clear — weird and exhausting and risky and crooked, but clear. God will make the next step clear too (hint: He Himself is always the next step). We have some pretty big hopes for the next stage of life, but His ways are not our ways. For now, this week, in spite of stress and work and fatigue and friction, I will take time to reflect and celebrate and express gratitude.

God’s Word:

  • Go to bed early; wake up early :: I’m about ready to give up on this. Everything feels out of control.
  • Finish Matthew commentaries :: Haven’t gotten far this month.
  • Read three chapters of Scripture per day :: About halfway through Ezekiel.
  • Fill up prayer journal by end of year :: I’ve spent more time in the journal lately. Pressing needs are driving me there.
  • Keep phone away from bedside; spend less time on social media :: Definitely negative progress here. Today the hubby and I are not friends. NOT friends. Everyone is posting romantic “coupley” things on social media, and I am so done. 
  • Openly share more spiritually-directed thoughts with my hubby and with others :: Oh, boy, do I ever have some thoughts to share! 

Physical Health:

  • Daily yoga at home :: Nahh.
  • Spend more time walking/hiking outside (summer camping trips are right around the corner!) :: Nahh.
  • Save up my pennies for some hiking gear 
  • Eat more strictly paleo, larger emphasis on daily bone broth and vegetables at every meal :: Food and feeding people is such a stressor right now. I am not eating poorly, but it’s not “healing” by any means. But now I have doctor’s orders to feed my daughter a certain way with fancy supplements and all this stuff. Really? Now?
  • Coffee enemas 1x/week :: I missed last week but will go for it in a couple days.

Career (aim to complete by May 2018):

  • Register for and earn RPR certification :: Nahh.
  • New business cards and rates sheet after RPR certification :: Nahh.
  • Finish self-directed software training :: I started ONE self-training video. Does that count?
  • Improve audio recording setup
  • Attend online classes/seminars for CEUs and realtime training
  • Start realtime reporting

Financial Peace*:

  • Attend FPU with the hubby and apply its principles :: We sort of are. If you’re talking long-term big picture, yes, we are saving money and working on the debt snowball. But at this time we have to save up everything extra for a potential cross-country move, so the debt snowball will be stalled for at least a few months.
  • Overhaul our financials and money management :: The hubby has been taking more initiative in checking on the budget and planning for the future. The spending is still somewhat unhinged, but progress is progress. And I’m over here struggling to find both the time and money to shop for actual needs like clothes and shoes…

Family Goals*:

  • Help hubby find a full-time job after his GRADUATION in FOUR THREE TWO ONE MONTH TWO DAYS :: One opportunity has presented itself over the course of this last year that we have been cautiously pursuing. We doubt this company will offer a salary high enough to accept, but the Lord’s will in this regard will reveal itself probably later this month.
  • Get pregnant with Baby #2 after that job is found!
  • Find a new place to live and finally close this chapter of our life!

*(These are contingent on lots of things beyond my control, but they’d be the most fun to cross off this list.)

2018 Goals: Where Am I At?

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He is risen!

It’s Easter Sunday, the climax of what’s been a mellow weekend. The hubby has been in a mood for the last couple of days (and let’s be honest: I have too), so we are taking it easy at home. We are not with family; we didn’t decorate and hunt for eggs; my daughter doesn’t even know that Easter baskets are a thing (but she was disappointed that we didn’t have an egg hunt); Mommy indulged in a three-hour afternoon nap, so takeout’s for dinner; we barely made it to church as a family this morning because of health and mental health and, you know, inner struggles.

Real life is real. I am thankful for fellow friends who are enduring hardship and being honest about it, not trying to be so extra, especially on days like this that are expected to be special but, in reality, aren’t for many of us.

Nonetheless, Jesus’ resurrection was worth celebrating this year more than ever, even if the celebration was, for me, mostly private heart-worship before the Lord. Celebrating such a holiday does not come naturally to us humans; it must be fought for, and not once a year but on a daily basis. Easter Sunday, if you’re honest, will mean very little to you if you aren’t seeing the value of the gospel each day, each hour.

As each Easter Sunday rolls around, though, I personally am able to evaluate how my celebration has changed since the last time. I don’t know exactly what growth/maturity happened since last year, but I know my understanding of and appreciation for the gospel is deepening. It’s becoming more personal, more valuable, more necessary. The resurrection was a past event pioneered by Jesus, but it is also a future hope for all of us who have believed this strange gospel. May we live in a way that matters for eternity!

God’s Word:

  • Go to bed early; wake up early :: Since I’m gaining weight and not feeling good and wanting to be nimble for summer activities, it’s past time to get serious about this!
  • Finish Matthew commentaries :: Slowly but surely.
  • Read three chapters of Scripture per day :: Finished Jeremiah and will begin Lamentations/Ezekiel in hopes of finishing them both this month. Also going through an interesting daily run through Psalm 119. My time in the Word hasn’t been early in the morning, but it’s been fairly consistent.
  • Fill up prayer journal by end of year :: There’s been more success here this month. Due to several pressing circumstances and disappointments, I have been drawn to go before God in prayer more than ever.
  • Keep phone away from bedside; spend less time on social media :: I don’t trust myself or my wake-up light as my alarms, so I’ve kept the phone and charger by the bed. Bad, bad, I know. I’m getting so tired at night, though, that I haven’t been up very late looking at memes.
  • Openly share more spiritually-directed thoughts with my hubby and with others :: I have been somewhat of a coward in this regard, maybe too-gently trying to encourage my husband during times of stress and discouragement.

Physical Health:

  • Daily yoga at home :: I stopped yoga this last month and am super regretting it. Time to return to the mat with another month-long challenge!
  • Spend more time walking/hiking outside (summer camping trips are right around the corner!) :: I still don’t know how to incorporate this without adding stress to my life. I love movement. I love the outdoors. But there’s so much else to do… sigh.
  • Save up my pennies for some hiking gear :: I received an unexpected REI dividend in the mail, so now, in addition to my Christmas gift card, I indeed have a few pennies to spend. I’m sitting here hoping that whatever job/moving situation we have this summer will allow for at least one hiking trip. This spring weather has me hankering something fierce for a road trip to the mountains.
  • Eat more strictly paleo, larger emphasis on daily bone broth and vegetables at every meal :: So I’m experimenting this month and seeing if my family is happier when I just serve meals with wheat and dairy. The husband’s going to do it anyway, so why fight it? We all want/need to eat a different way, and mama ain’t got time to please everybody.
  • Coffee enemas 1x/week :: I stopped for nearly a month, but am back with it every Saturday morning.

Career (aim to complete by May 2018):

(I haven’t done any of these this month… AGAIN! For shame, I know. But I may report differently in April.)

  • Register for and earn RPR certification :: I came so close to registering this month, but then we ran out of money. Like, no joke. We have just enough to pay our taxes and then a small emergency fund. That’s it.
  • New business cards and rates sheet after RPR certification :: Believe it or not, I did start composing a rates sheet. Haven’t submitted it for any negotiation yet, but it’s in the works.
  • Finish self-directed software training :: I spent just a few minutes doing this!
  • Improve audio recording setup
  • Attend online classes/seminars for CEUs and realtime training
  • Start realtime reporting

Financial Peace*:

  • Attend FPU with the hubby and apply its principles :: We finished the class! I am glad the hubby is convicted about getting our debt paid off. However, we still disagree with how to handle our money (read: our possessions/lifestyle) on a monthly/weekly/daily basis. It’s tough.
  • Overhaul our financials and money management :: Right when we take a step forward, it’s at least a half-step backward. I wonder what God is up to.

Family Goals*:

(I don’t expect these to be solved overnight; nothing to show here either… yet)

  • Help hubby find a full-time job after his GRADUATION in FOUR THREE TWO ONE MONTH :: I can’t even believe it’s just one month. Party planning time! Next time I update, we’ll be saying goodbye to his school forever! He did it!!! We pray God will provide the hubby with a good job somewhere. The opportunities are there; I’ll just trust Him and continue waiting patiently, stewarding what we have as best I can in the meantime.
  • Get pregnant with Baby #2 after that job is found!
  • Find a new place to live and finally close this chapter of our life!

*(These are contingent on lots of things beyond my control, but they’d be the most fun to cross off this list.)

2018 Goals: Where Am I At?

Standard

February was lovely (except when it wasn’t) and now March is here, the first month of spring. We just had some rain and cool 50-degree weather (SoCal’s “winter”), so the sidewalks are damp and the local mountains are dusted with powdered sugar (that has basically disappeared within 48 hours). But the world is looking alive again… with opportunity, with possibilities, with adventure.

And things are getting real. We’ve had some refreshing high-quality family time lately, probably the result of building anticipation. Lengthy discussions are taking place as we form a mental flow chart of what the rest of this year could look like. Pray for wisdom if you read this. While we “hurry up and wait,” we have to make big decisions about where we’ll live, what we’ll do, how we’ll survive thrive, and what we’re going to sacrifice — because no matter how we slice it, something big is going to be sacrificed — for our long-term goals. We are pricing out neighborhoods to rent in, pricing out cities to pursue work in, reaching out to everyone we know who might have connections, mentally packing up the house and planning a move.

Are we nuts? We don’t even have job offers yet. Half of me wonders if we’re just crazy and desperate; the other half wonders if God is putting this urgency on our hearts on purpose. Maybe it’ll be sudden. I’m up for the adventure, but I’m not quite as emotionally prepared as I thought I’d be. Big changes don’t happen without all emotions — grief, excitement, regret, peace, frustration, sadness, happiness, confusion, uncertainty, exhaustion. I will feel them all and it will be fine.

On the other hand, if we’re stuck here a while longer, we will also be fine. Antsy, yes, because we could change our financial structure in a more constructive way outside of California. But we are making it, and it will at least buy us time to save up a good chunk of change for a big move.

Whether overwhelmed or underwhelmed, I’ll be back next month to write my update. Through it all, Jesus is enough forever.

God’s Word:

  • Go to bed early; wake up early :: Seeing that it’s almost 11:00 pm as I publish this, clearly I haven’t been successful. But I’m working on it.
  • Finish Matthew commentaries :: Slowly but surely.
  • Read three chapters of Scripture per day :: Started Jeremiah. Talk about depressing! Also following little reading plans overseen by our pastor’s wife.
  • Fill up prayer journal by end of year :: There’s been some success here. I really enjoy praying through writing. Now it needs to morph into a necessity, not just a leisure activity.
  • Keep phone away from bedside; spend less time on social media :: I’ve gone back and forth with this. Today my phone failed me completely and didn’t ring the alarm I set, but thankfully it didn’t affect the morning too much.
  • Openly share more spiritually-directed thoughts with my hubby and with others :: I acted on the few opportunities I had to do this, thankfully.

Physical Health:

  • Daily yoga at home :: Yes! I finished the Yoga Camp playlist. I think I liked the 30 Days challenge more because it was a little more of a physical workout. I’m not feeling motivated to start another challenge yet, so I may shake it up and do something else. I tried Camel Pose for the first time in my life, and it rocked my world.
  • Spend more time walking/hiking outside (summer camping trips are right around the corner!) :: This is exactly what I had in mind: daily walks. I’ve gained a little weight this last year because of all the sitting I have to do for work, so the motivation is there.
  • Save up my pennies for some hiking gear :: This may go on the back-burner (GIANT BLUE SADFACE), but we’ll see what happens this spring.
  • Eat more strictly paleo, larger emphasis on daily bone broth and vegetables at every meal :: So have you tried the fresh organic green beans at Costco? Like, I was more interested in those than in my homemade chocolate chip cookies… which I ate most of this week after baking a batch for a hospitalized friend. I’ve been feeling pretty good but, like I said, have put a few pounds on in the hip area, so it’s time to get moving outside.
  • Coffee enemas 1x/week :: Been pretty consistent here!

Career (aim to complete by May 2018):

(I haven’t done any of these this month… AGAIN! For shame, I know. But I may report differently in April.)

  • Register for and earn RPR certification
  • New business cards after RPR certification
  • Finish self-directed software training
  • Compose a rates sheet and raise my SoCal rates
  • Improve audio recording setup
  • Attend online classes/seminars for CEUs and realtime training
  • Start realtime reporting

Financial Peace*:

  • Attend FPU with the hubby and apply its principles :: In the beginning, the hubby was convinced this was a waste of time, but he told me tonight that he’s actually enjoying it. And he’s interested in the class now, is asking questions, seeking advice, and doing good things with our money. You guys, it’s magic. Magic is so happening right now.
  • Overhaul our financials and money management :: While we still don’t agree 100% on some things, a lot of change for the better has taken place. I hope and pray this trend continues!

Family Goals*:

(I don’t expect these to be solved overnight; nothing to show here either… yet)

  • Help hubby find a full-time job after his GRADUATION in FOUR THREE TWO MONTHS!
  • Get pregnant with Baby #2 after that job is found!
  • Find a new place to live and finally close this chapter of our life!

*(These are contingent on lots of things beyond my control, but they’d be the most fun to cross off this list.)