Favorite Passages: Isaiah 55:8-9

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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.

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“So True!”

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I absolutely detest that phrase.

So much so, that I actually haven’t spoken or written it in years. I refuse to.

Either something is true or it is not true.

Maybe it’s profound or accurate. So say those words instead.

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.

Favorite Passages: Job 23:10-17

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But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.

My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside.

I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food.

But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What He desires, that He does.

For He will complete what He appoints for me, and many such things are in His mind.

Therefore I am terrified at His presence; when I consider, I am in dread of Him.

God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me;

Yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face.

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.

2017 Goals: Where Am I At?

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Summer went out with a bang! August was hot, busy, and wild, but also slow and painful during the times our family came down with summer colds. It’s still hot, but the days are shortening. Fall is around the corner, I pray sooner rather than later.

The hubby was doing so well with his internship, and then it suddenly went belly-up on the very last day. So it’s looking like his career won’t be with that company, unfortunately, and we’re back to the drawing board concerning a job for him. Still don’t know where we’ll end up or what we’ll be doing a year from now. I trust the experience was not a waste and the Lord will provide what we need even though none of it makes sense. The hubby’s back in school — has been for a couple weeks now. It’s the beginning of his last year!

I didn’t get to work much in August because our daughter kept getting sick, just one virus after the other. Praise God that I could work at least on the hubby’s days off once a week, and each of those jobs turned out to be good ones that will make up for what I lost. These are hard days, y’all. Even if things turned around overnight and life was comfortable/”stable,” the future would still not be certain. So I guess it’s better to be in a place where we more readily depend on the Lord. We still have a lot to be thankful for about the last five years.

I don’t know if it’s me, the age, or something else, but parenting our four-year-old has been super tough. By mid morning every day I’m already drained. (I might also be drained because of a newly discovered thyroid problem, but there’s a lot of research yet to do.) There are no shortcuts with parenting when you love your child, and I know someday all of this will be just a memory. So I try not to idolize “me” time too much (blaming all my problems on the lack of it) or dwell on the negative and the constant inconveniences. As time goes on I find myself more and more frequently in a place where I am wholly inadequate for handling, let alone redeeming, another sinful soul. Thank goodness Jesus has done that already.

Last week we did a little out-of-state traveling to somewhere cool and green, and then the highlight of my year: backpacking! It had been ten whole years since my last trip, and I loved every hard minute. My pack needs to be lightened and I need to be in better shape for next time (Lord willing there’s a next time), but it was so much fun and so beautiful and peaceful and just what my soul needed. The trip was tightly bookended by major stressors, so I’ve taken off an entire week from work and socialization just to rest, catch up on transcripts, and nurse my sunburn and sore calves. I’m on fire, though, for next summer already, whether it’s slow comfort-camping or rugged backcountry hiking. It’s absolutely my niche; I don’t love any other hobby as much.

Contentment. Agh, it’s been such a struggle. Contentment as its own topic hasn’t really crossed my mind at all. I figure I just need to keep running after Jesus and I will find it. Now I’m starting to think about next year and what things I should work towards in 2018. There will be a lot more focus on the heart.

Obtain Texas CSR license and RPR Certification; get familiar with my realtime software; proactively incorporate more briefs. I am slowly incorporating more briefs while on jobs, but not sitting down at home and practicing intentionally. Ain’t nobody got time for that. RPR? The only really good reason left to take it is the licensing reciprocity it allows me in many other states… something I WILL need by next summer if the hubby finds a job in another non-Texas state. 

Pay off credit cards and at least one car. We were so close to paying off the big card, but we weren’t able to after all. We actually ended up adding some charges to other cards, which loads me down with guilt and frustration. But my paychecks this month were good, and I am pretty confident I can cover at least my own remaining balance right away. It was that pesky backpacking trip and (blissful) shopping at REI. At least we have almost everything we need now!

Make music. I didn’t make any music, but I did buy some! Found another rare song I like enough to spend money on and listen to over and over until I’m sick of it. 

Act on the home project urges. Still working on Phase 2 of the Beauty and the Beast canvas. Can’t wait till it’s finished! When I start Phase 3, I’ll have to make another trip to Hobby Lobby (what a chore!). Now that it’s September — the first month of FALL! — my creative juices are pumping and I need outlets, so that might be kind of dangerous.