HELLO 2020!

The best year yet!

I’m really excited about the new year. There are quite a few reasons why. Some are circumstantial and have brought happiness. I realize that’s different from the joy you have that remains even when everything is going wrong. But it’s okay to be thankful when things are going well! Another reason I’m excited is that I’m about to embark on some new adventures. Some I’ve tried before and others are brand-new. But the determination is fiercer than ever.

It seems a little “New Year’s Resolution-y” and I generally abhor NY resolutions. (Have you ever been to the gym on January 2nd?!) But the truth is, what better time to make a new change than the New Year?

So here are my New Year’s non-resolutions that have me excited for the coming year:

Balance: I’ve tried and failed for years to maintain a work/family/self balance. I usually give 90% to one and split the other 10% with the rest. But I’m determined to finally get this in order this year. I’ve created a calendar for the first three months of 2020. I’ve scheduled out work, church, exercise, writing, cleaning, ministry outreach, and date nights each week. I’ve given myself two small “me” treats each month and one bigger one, like an overnight trip.

Health: As mentioned above, I’m going to try to focus on my health. I’m not even setting weight loss goals or trying to kick my Coke habit at this point. I’m just going to move 4 times a week so that when we go places (like beautiful walking tours) I can enjoy it instead of praying for it to be over.

Teaching: In less than 12 hours, I will officially be teaching again. However, instead of going back in the classroom, I will be teaching online. I have 20 students in China who’ve signed up for classes through EF (ironically this is the same company I worked for when I taught in Seattle a few summers ago). I’ll teach them individually, beginning at 4 AM, three mornings a week and then again on Friday nights. I’m so excited, both to teach and to add some more hours to my day.

Prayer Life/Devotions: Because my online classroom is in the church building, I will have the perfect reminder in-between or after my sunrise classes to spend some uninterrupted time with the Lord. My devotional is on my desk, my accompaniment CDs are on the sound system, and Jesus is in my heart. I can pray, meditate, and worship before the sun comes up!

Outreach/Bible Study: In addition to our three weekly services and twice-a-month services outside of the church, I’m going to begin teaching a monthly Bible study and leading a monthly Ladies Night Out trip. I’m hoping that both will be used as outreach as well as to minister to the women in our congregation. I’ve also SCHEDULED my outreach trips to the nursing homes so that it does not get deprioritized. A current near-future goal is to do some door-to-door outreach in my community. We have some new families I haven’t yet visited.

Writing: I have three books being published in 2020, two children’s and one adult Bible Study. I’m going to continue spending a few hours each week writing new books, searching for homes for all of my existing work, and maintaining the websites and Facebook pages. If I can manage to not go back to sleep when my classes end at 7 AM, I can get quite a bit done!

ME Time: I’ve scheduled a couple of hours each week to take the dogs to the dog park, allowing me an hour to walk and/or physically play with him and another hour to sit with a book or movie on my tablet. I’ve also planned two half-days each month to go to a movie and have lunch on the beach. I may even spend a few hours just roaming the aisles at Books-A-Million. AND if I ever find some original Fisher Price Little People that don’t cost an arm and a leg, you might just find me one day sitting on the floor of my new classroom playing People. Just because I can!

Marriage: I’m listing it last not because that’s where it falls priority-wise, but because I saved the best for last! First, because I will have to be in bed by 8 PM, it’s important that I cut off all work and activities by 5. Also, by continuing to cook and clean, I’m ensuring that his needs and those of our household are being met. I’ve already made menus for the month, so that by planning ahead, it will not be as time-consuming each day. But the most important thing is that I’ve blocked off an ENTIRE DAY each week for us. Whether we are going somewhere for an hour or the whole day, he needs to know that my attention is solely on him for the entire day. We have some planned activities with small expenses (The Senior Bowl football game on Jan. 25 and a Historical Homes Tour) but we also have free activities (Ocean Springs Walking Trail and Picnic; Dauphin Island BBQ).

I believe that my 2020 schedule is going to make me a better wife, mother, and friend!

It’s a Balance

Like most things in life, a balance is necessary. Work vs. home life. Kid 1 vs. Kid 2. Time for yourself vs. time for others. We are constantly teetering on that beam, showing balance skills they’d only dream of perfecting at the Olympics.

Of course, we don’t do it flawlessly. We take our fair share of deductions as well. But we try.

Mostly because we have no choice.

Life is a tightrope-walking balance act from an early age.

I never cared much for the safety net below.

I’d run, never pacing myself, across that thin wire only to end up bruised and bloodied on the ground below. I’d climb that ladder, albeit a little slower each time, and take off at a trot once again. And fall. And repeat. A real circus act.

Until I finally reached the point where I needed the safety net. And the pole. Then, even, a harness. Sometimes I just stayed on the ladder never setting one foot forward.

But I got bored.

The problem was, I couldn’t do life hard AND comfortable at the same time.

And I wanted both.

At least medium well if we are comparing living to a fried egg. I need the adventure. I need spontaneity.

But I also need routine and the safety in the known.

So I’ve decided to introduce an algebraic equation into my life:

x= out of town trips and visiting grandkids (fyi this is the extent of my living hard…we might have different definitions of what HARD LIVING means)

y=special day trips (i.e. movie outings, beach, etc.), date nights, or special church events

z= peaceful days at homeĀ  (writing, cleaning, reading, cooking, chilling with the dogs)

20x + 20y + 60z = 100% BALANCED LIFE

 

I know it SOUNDS like I’m making a joke but I’m very serious! I’ve thought long and hard about this. Too much z makes me feel like I have one foot in the grave. Too much x will definitely get me there faster. Ys are fine but I need more. Especially more family time. So this is the formula I think I need in order to have a balanced, fulfilled life.

The best part?

Jesus is in the x, y, and z!!