Favorite Passages: Psalm 34:8-10

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Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack!

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

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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.)

2018 Goals

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Happy New Year!

The hubby suggested we stand on our right feet when midnight rolled around so that 2018 “starts off on the right foot.” At least we started the year together… with laughter!

Listed below are my goals for this year. In 2017 I really let go of self-imposed expectations. Overnight change is a fallacy. Not just that, but I believe every day is like New Year’s Day. Every day is a new shot at living our best to God’s glory, being the best stewards of what He’s given us, living so that our image reflects His image. That is our human purpose, why we were created. And If I really want to change something about my life, I’m going to work toward it now, no matter what year or month or day of the week.

And really, anyone can modify behaviors or change habits and be super-disciplined. But the only real, lasting change happens in the soul, the heart, the inner man. Our hearts don’t change — can’t change — without Jesus giving us completely new hearts. He alone effects and sustains real change. It’s my job to respond and cooperate and obey and repent and trust Him in faith. Whatever my current circumstances, it’s my job to seek first righteousness and what furthers God’s kingdom. He knows my earthly needs, my family’s needs (hint: it is just more and more of Himself), and the world’s needs. He promises to meet our needs (albeit on His terms) when we seek Him first.

Wherever I am — down in the pits, in the mindless and mundane, or high on cloud nine — I can rest in that. There is never not an opportunity to seek the Lord; He transforms our ordinary, broken, flawed, painful lives into beautiful opportunities to know Him, to know True Love, and to look forward to being in His presence someday.

God’s Word:

  • Go to bed early; wake up early
  • Finish Matthew commentaries
  • Read three chapters of Scripture per day
  • Fill up prayer journal by end of year
  • Keep phone away from bedside; spend less time on social media
  • Openly share more spiritually-directed thoughts with my hubby and with others

Physical Health:

  • Daily yoga 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
  • Coffee enemas 1x/week

Career (aim to complete by May 2018):

  • 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
  • Overhaul our financials and money management

Family Goals*:

  • Help hubby find a full-time job after his GRADUATION in FOUR 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 two are contingent on lots of things beyond my control, but they’d be the most fun to cross off this list.)

2017 Goals: Where Am I At?

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I thought I had posted for November, but it turns out I just saved a nearly finished draft without publishing it. I’ve noticed a pattern there. A couple of times this month (that I can remember, at least) I’ve composed but not sent important texts and emails. I’m losing my short-term memory. I think a side effect of working in steno is losing your ability to remember things because your job is to literally hear everything and not listen to any of it. I’ve successfully learned how to switch off that part of my brain, but too bad I haven’t quite learned how to switch it back on again.

Next week is finals week for the hubs. And you know what? I should have known it wouldn’t come without major drama. Between marriage hurdles, school assignments and overnighters, long hours typing and editing, helping friends in need, parenting, caring for a sick dog, church events, upcoming holidays, making sure the bills stay paid and everyone eats three meals a day and has clean socks and underwear (and the list goes on) it just wouldn’t be a full grown-up experience unless something big loomed over us too, overshadowing the smaller daily struggles.

(Goodness, look at that list. No wonder I never feel like exercising.)

Suffice it to say we are in a situation that threatens to end or delay the hubby’s graduation… or put us another several thousand dollars in debt. Choose your poison, right? None of it is our responsibility or within our realm of control. We will know more what direction we’re heading in a few days. I trust the Lord and am using this confusing, discouraging time to seek Him, His kingdom, and righteousness, because I know He will meet the rest of our needs in the way He sees fit. And what an incredible blessing it’s been to draw near to Him, dependent and small.

Isaiah 55:8-9 has been running through my mind after our pastor reminded us of it last Sunday:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Mulling over, pondering, meditating on, chewing, tasting these verses has brought me great comfort. It’d be nice if things worked out in a way that, you know, makes sense and follows the formula and brings a predictable, secure result. But our God isn’t really in the practice of doing things that way, so who knows what interesting, amazing, bizarre events will happen next?

Contentment. Isaiah 55:8-9. I have not “become content” this year, but I’m crossing it off the list because the Lord is enough, and right now I am experiencing it. He’s the treasure to be found when trials come.

Obtain Texas CSR license and RPR Certification; get familiar with my realtime software; proactively incorporate more briefs. I spoke with a videographer the other day who urged me to take the plunge and start realtime reporting. We’ll see how things play out with the hubby’s tuition issue. I plan to keep this volume of work up until he finds a job, so if I test for the RPR, transition to realtime reporting, pay for some training, raise my rates, and invest a little bit more in my career next semester, it might be very helpful (if not essential) to our family’s well-being. If I can’t get pregnant until I can stop working, I may as well use that time to further my professional self.

Pay off credit cards and at least one car. This hurdle remains too high to climb over, especially at this time with hubby’s tuition thing. Dave Ramsey, I’m on board! Hopefully I can get the hubby on board too once this half-decade-long education fiasco is over with.

Make music. Guess what! It didn’t happen till the end of the year, but it happened! I picked up my ukulele not once but TWICE, tuned it, and strummed a few things on it. Because why not? I’m going crazy anyway, so I may as well throw in some pretty-ish noise. “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” has been stuck in my head. Gosh, how I wish the Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt duo was available on iTunes.

Act on the home project urges.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. I’ll be taking time off work at the end of the month so I can bake cookies and sing carols and laugh with loved ones… and try to think about what my goals for 2018 will be.

2017 Goals: Where Am I At?

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Has September come and gone already? I have been THANKFULLY so busy with work that time is flying!

The hubby is back in school and is just keeping up with assignments. He signed up for a job event where we are hoping and praying maybe a good opportunity will present itself! Unfortunately, his grandfather passed away about two weeks ago and we attended his funeral today.  Between that and the Las Vegas shooting, death has been on my mind… or rather how thankful I am that because of Jesus I have hope for life after death, life that does not end and carries no pain or sorrow with it, life that is fully satisfying because it is spent with the only One who truly satisfies. So I’m squeezing my daughter a little tighter, kissing my hubby a little longer, and just trying not to get weighed down by the little things.

The Lord, as we hoped, has provided more than enough regular child care for us. We have a great new nanny and another nice family with kids our daughter can play with. It costs money, but I have so much work right now that it’ll pay for itself quickly. Our girl seems to be doing really well with all these people in her life instead of being stuck at home all day, so we are relieved. Steady child care is the backbone of our lives at the moment, so praise God for giving us what we needed to keep the bills paid!

Contentment. Right this moment, I am content. Except that box of cookies from Trader Joe’s is looking a little tempting right now…

Obtain Texas CSR license and RPR Certification; get familiar with my realtime software; proactively incorporate more briefs. No effort here. Actually working has kept me so occupied that I haven’t even been able to do anything else properly.

Pay off credit cards and at least one car. Well, the big paychecks are going to start rolling in, so hopefully we’ll be able to say we made progress by the end of the year. Whatever. At least our holidays might be comfortable this year.

Make music. I sang in the car today! And I also introduced our daughter to some vocal exercises that maybe we’ll work on together also in the car. Her ear needs a little training, and I could use some scale work myself. Easy way to get a little music in our lives.

Act on the home project urges. Phase 2 of the canvas is complete! I actually took time to be creative with some fall decor too, and I love how it turned out. I consider this goal met and look forward to more opportunities as the holidays roll around.