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.)

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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?

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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.)

2018 Goals: Where Am I At?

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As always, last month went by in a flash. My 2 1/2-week-long winter vacation ended, and it was back to work for me, back to school for the hubby. We are thankful to have made it through the holidays and thereafter in generally good health. The break from work and school was so refreshing. I accomplished a lot less than I’d planned, but that doesn’t mean my time was wasted.

Speaking of school, it’s the hubby’s last semester before graduation! We had an eventful couple of weeks right before winter break; a few situations threatened his ability to finish school — a huge exercise in our faith and trust in God. Thankfully, those issues have been resolved, to the best of our knowledge, and the hubby is well on his way to be DONE in exactly three months and one day. He’s actively job searching, and we’re just waiting for what’s next, daydreaming and tossing ideas around all the time.

In the meantime, the Lord is providing me with plenty of work and more than enough reliable child care. On the hard days I complain and want to give up (truthfully, it’s not the only thing going on that challenges me), but it is good that we have this work. We are in a much better place than we were even a year ago.

We started going to a different Bible study during the week thanks to the hubby’s more open schedule this semester, and we love it. We’re making more friends and getting plugged in to our church more, something that I’ve felt was sorely lacking in our life the last couple of years. It’s a blessing. And it’s happening right when we might be picking up and moving, right? Ha! Well, if we stay put for a while, that will be one of many benefits.

We also started taking Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey’s class. Well, it’s more like I’m dragging the hubby to it (he is skeptical), but at least we’re getting some ideas on how to manage our money going forward. Our total debt is literally insurmountable without foreseeable years of serious work, patience, and a miracle or two. Yet another thing I must trust God with.

Here’s an update on where I am with my goals at the conclusion of “Chapter 1 of 12”:

God’s Word:

  • Go to bed early; wake up early :: Everything — EVERYTHING — I want to accomplish starts here. Why is it so difficult to discipline myself in this area?
  • Finish Matthew commentaries :: Slowly but surely.
  • Read three chapters of Scripture per day :: Finished Isaiah today; starting Jeremiah tomorrow. Also following little reading plans overseen by our pastor’s wife.
  • Fill up prayer journal by end of year :: This is the slowest of them all, but I’m hoping to change that this month if I can get my sleep schedule on track.
  • Keep phone away from bedside; spend less time on social media :: My dissatisfaction with social media is increasing. I have been choosing not to check Facebook so frequently, and my mind is much clearer. Tonight the phone MUST be physically distanced from me so I can fall asleep earlier and wake up faster. That habit alone is stunting the rest of my goals.
  • 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 30 Days of Yoga (by Yoga with Adriene) and absolutely loved it! Now I’m doing her Yoga Camp playlist. Daily yoga has made a staggering night-and-day difference in my well-being.
  • Spend more time walking/hiking outside (summer camping trips are right around the corner!) :: The weather has been so warm lately that I really don’t have an excuse for not being outside. Baby steps, maybe? I’m thinking once I reset my sleep schedule, I can take walks early in the morning or something. Ugh, everything depends on that darned sleep schedule.
  • Save up my pennies for some hiking gear :: The hubby gave me an REI gift card for Christmas, and I can’t wait to do a little shopping.
  • Eat more strictly paleo, larger emphasis on daily bone broth and vegetables at every meal :: Ehh, my diet’s been a little bit of a fail lately. I eat very healthily, but my body is giving me signals that it’s not quite good enough for healing (my skin is punishing me for eating wheat a few times this last week).
  • Coffee enemas 1x/week :: These are time-consuming, so I haven’t performed one in a couple weeks. Might go for it tomorrow morning before church if I make good progress on today’s to-do list.

Career (aim to complete by May 2018):

(I haven’t done any of these this month… for shame, I know! Running out of time!)

  • 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 :: Well, we’ve both shown up to every class so far, so we are one-third of the way done! There is no class tomorrow because of the Super Bowl; we are planning to have our budget meeting in its place.
  • Overhaul our financials and money management :: Lord knows I’ve been aching to do this since day one; praying the hubby will be responsive, diligent, and proactive in this.

Family Goals*:

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

  • Help hubby find a full-time job after his GRADUATION in FOUR THREE 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.)