To observe, enjoy and create in everyday life

Looking Ahead

I've been quiet here on the blog the last couple of months. Part of that has been because of the holidays and just not having time to sit and write. These past few months were also full with work travel for my husband, doctor appointments for one of my boys dealing with some health issues and some house projects. We did a mini makeover of our front room which started with taking out a large cabinet that held a TV we never used. I also took out other smaller pieces of furniture and some wall hangings. After that I worked on rearranging the room to open it up and make it more comfortable. I am really happy with how it all turned out. I probably should have taken before pictures. Oh well, such is life. Other house projects we've completed have been a similar makeover to our family room (which included purchasing a some new furniture and culling unneeded items) and just some general purges in various rooms of our home. On the list for this winter is to paint our bedroom, the kitchen and an accent wall in our front room.     

Looking ahead to this upcoming year is exciting. I'm not a huge resolutions maker. I do however like to set goals for myself. I suppose they are not so different from each other, but somehow the wording makes a difference. One of my personal goals for the upcoming year is to get outside more (even on the yucky days). I tend to be a fair weather walker/gardener/hiker/etc. So, bundling up and getting out regardless of the weather will be good for me. 
Another goal is to step out from my comfort zone. I like my routines. I like doing things where I can predict an outcome and (mostly) guarantee success. To begin the year with this goal, I started with baby steps. I took a ski lesson with my boys over our winter vacation and went ice skating with my husband. I was nervous as all get out for both of these excursions. I survived the few falls without hurting myself, and I had fun! We'll see how soon I get back out and do these again.
A bigger step out of my comfort zone will be coming up next month as my husband and I travel to Liberia on a ministry trip. I have not taken this type of trip (Brandon traveled to Ghana for a ministry trip a few years back), but I am looking forward to the adventure of it. We will be going to visit a church that began an Empowering Women with Dignity Project two years ago. The goal is to visit the project first hand and to see how more of these schools can be created in Liberia. This program teaches women a trade such as catering, tailoring, soap making or fabric design so that they can then help to support their families. I am looking forward to meeting the people and seeing their work. All of these areas are ones I have an interest in, so it is all very exciting for me. This trip will then lead to some fundraising on our end to help fund the start up of more of these schools. 

Another yearly goal is to find space in the midst of an upcoming busy season of life. Some of you may know that we are part of a church start that began a few years ago. My husband is pastor, and I lead the children. We have been asked to also step in as interim leaders at another local church for what will most likely be the bulk of this year. We are excited to serve in this church. The people we have met so far have all been so welcoming and supportive. I know that this will be a good season for our family here. However, these additional leadership responsibilities will need to be tucked into our weekly schedules. I am working on looking through my current responsibilities and commitments to see what I can step out of or put on pause while we focus on serving in this church. This blog is an example of something that I will be contributing to less in order to create space in my days. It doesn't take much time, but there is the mental time attached to it as well. We'll see how it all works out as the months progress.
What it all boils down to is ensuring that there is still time for space to rest, family, enjoying the world around me, and not being over committed. As simple or as silly as it may sound, I think scheduling days or pieces of days with open spaces will help me reach this goal. I have begun blocking out mornings or afternoons, as I am able to, that will be set aside to create that desired space. Days to be creative, putter in the kitchen, read, hike, go on dates with my husband, whatever the space allows. I'm looking forward to the fullness and the scheduled space of these days ahead.

My last goal for the year is seeking clarity. This one is a bit less defined, which is either ironic or a good thing. Part of it will involve removing things from my life that cause life to be fuzzy or undefined. That can mean something as simple as better sleep and cleaner diet choices for more healthy, clear days. And it will involve more complicated things like considering what my months and years ahead hold for me as our boys get closer and closer to graduating high school and moving on to begin their lives. I know I still have a few years before that season (our youngest is a freshman), but I have been avoiding thinking about it all. To be honest, it makes me a bit sad. The bulk of my career has been the daily care of these amazing boys. What will my days be filled with when they have gone off to college or careers? I think it is time to think about this a little more and seek some clarity. I want to enjoy the years we have left with the boys at home, but I also want to start mentally preparing for the years when they won't be here. It is time to start clearly defining (or thinking about) what my days will be like. As I have jokingly said for years..."I will need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up." I've been a homemaker for seventeen years, and I have loved pretty much every minute of it. I certainly would not change a thing. I have taken on small jobs here and there as they have presented themselves, and I also volunteer regularly as a Master Gardener and lead in our church environments, but my main job has been running our home and family. The years ahead hold excitement for all of us really. Our boys are beginning to seek areas of interest for study or careers, and I will be seeking as well. I look forward to a year of clarity.

How about you? Do you set New Year's Resolutions? Or, do you like to rename them as goals like I do? Is life taking you on any adventures outside of your comfort zone this year?
I wish you all an amazing year ahead. A new year always feels so full of promise, doesn't it?