My 2012… Intentions

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I seem to always make them, along with every other American with their head in the clouds, despite my distaste for them. And then 23 days into January, I somehow have already failed at every single item. And who needs a list staring you in the face telling you that you are a failure? I am a starter, not a finisher, unfortunately. I am doing 1,000 things at all times but finishing less than half and not doing the other half very well, at least not up to my perfectionist standards. I am a planner by nature but I rarely see my plans though. I make to-do lists but then I add so many things on the list that it is impossible to accomplish that many things in the amount of time given. And I am always adding to the to-do list. And when I do something that is not on the list, I add it so that there can at least be something on it that is crossed off. This is my life.  Sigh…

It is my recent goal to live life intentionally, not just letting life happen. If one doesn’t plan, things don’t happen. Well, things happen, but not the things you want to have happened. I recently read this resolve by Jonathan Edwards, written in 1723:

“I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.”

This is my dream, to honor God and live so as to glorify Him in all areas. I have made a list to this end. Things I can do much better, things I see in others that I want to see in myself, things I know that God desires for me. I want what He wants. I know some of these things are: discipline, devotion, organization, kindness, hospitality, servanthood, etc…

Rather than calling them resolutions (although at this point, I do feel resolved… but alas, it is December 31. The whole world feels resolved!), lets call them intentions. I have some intentions for 2012. I have expectations for what God can do in my life, in my family, in my church and in my neighborhood and town in 2012. Here they are:

Prayer
Spend more time with Jesus and be intentional about praying. I only have so much time and lots that I can do with that time. Although I can and do pray sporadically throughout the day, it is my intention to plan specific times to go into the closet and pray to my Father in secret so that I don’t neglect the strength-giving, trust-enabling relationship.

Sunday Night Planning
This is very new, but I intend to start personally planning my week on Sunday nights. When I am going to pray, what we are going to eat, who we are going to serve, how we are going to serve them, who I will write a card to, what we are going to learn in [home]school, what games and activities I can do with the toddler, what I will read that week, etc… I think this will help me to get organized at the beginning of the week and not just wake up Monday morning having all sorts of thoughts swimming around in my head. It will help me to be intentional, as well, and with my purposes to serve others… to actually do it and not just talk about it!

In addition to this, it is my husband and my intention to go over a ‘weekly agenda’ on Sunday night together. He can see where our budget numbers are at, what we have on the calendar for the week, who we should invite over for dinner, what we should do the next weekend, etc…  We will literally be on the same page. 🙂

Bible Reading
Justin Taylor wrote an incredible, and pretty comprehensive, post on all sorts of different reading plans for 2012. Pick one and do it! I have been doing Professor Grant Horner’s 10 chapters from 10 different books/genres for a while now. It hasn’t been going so well or consistent, but it is my intention to give this higher priority this year. This plan is pretty intense though, and I may switch to M’Cheyne’s. I just want to read the Bible and set myself up for success. Man shall not live by bread alone. (I spend a lot of time planning meals so that verse always hits home…)

House Cleaning
Confession: I am a terrible housekeeper. I now have a system, separated by days. Or at least that I’m supposed to do every day.

Mondays- Dust and wash all mirrors and glass doors, Budget
Tuesdays- Clean bathrooms, sweep, prepare for Community Group
Wednesdays- Laundry day!
Thursdays- Errands, Showers
Fridays- Deep Clean
Saturdays- Organization
Sundays- Rest, Planning

I also have a list I do every day, called my Daily 6:

1. Make beds
2. Wipe bathrooms down
3. Keep kitchen sink empty
4. Pick up after myself and have children do the same
5. 10 minute tidy before lunch
6. 10 minute tidy before dinner

Journal
My grandpa’s mother kept a journal. Every day. Every day! It is so incredible to read things that someone wrote 50-70 years ago. That seems impossible to me, as I have tried to do this. But I would love to pass this on to my kids and be able to read it myself when I am old and gray. So instead of fully documenting every word that my child says or any event we happen to be a part of, I am intending to- most days, anyway- write at least one sentence. I am also intending to keep it out, with a pen tucked inside, so that I actually write in it. This may turn into a Family Journal, one where anyone and everyone can write in it and we document everything in it. But for now, let’s start small…

I would also like to create a gratefulness list. One that the whole family can list things they are thankful for throughout the year. This can go in the back of the journal. I think it would be a great new tradition, somewhere around Christmas to New Years,  to read aloud some of the things we have been grateful for in 2012. How quickly we forget when trials come our way.

Family
Love and serve my family sacrificially. Play with my kids doing what they want to do even when I don’t want to. Make my husband breakfast and lunch for the next day even when I am tired. Discipline and train my kids when they need it, even though I don’t want to deal with their crying at the moment.

Marriage
Have date nights at least once a month. Our kids go to bed early in the evening so we have most evenings to ourselves. But evenings are quickly taken up doing other things than gazing romantically into one another’s eyes. It is helpful to get a sitter or to set aside at least one night a month (ideally one night a week, but we’re going to set the goal at once a month) to just be really together.

Health
Start GAPS diet and start fermenting more things. My aim is to heal my husband’s gout and psoriasis through diet and after researching, I think the GAPS diet may be the answer. Fermentation goes right along with it. Yogurt, Kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, other vegetables can all be tastily fermented. They add good bacteria/probiotics to your intestines which eats the bad bacteria and gives you the gift of health.

I am also going to start doing Pilates videos. I have done P90X (wayyyyyy too great of a time commitment for me), the treadmill (this would work if it wasn’t in the baby’s room!), and… nothing! So Pilates videos here we come. To quote one of my children’s favorite movies (Monsters Inc.): “Work out the flab that is hanging off the bed!”

Face Cleansing
Oil cleansing regimen for my face. Here is the new plan: 20% Castor Oil, 80% Jojoba oil. Steam face with warm water washcloth, rub in oil, rub off oil and rinse. Finish with Melon Seed oil (or other non-comedogenic oil) for moisturizing if needed (I need).  The idea is to exfoliate, remove dead skin cells and bacteria from pores and not cause your face to over-produce oil by drying it out with harsh cleansing products. I am 1 day in and loving it!  My face is glowing… and no I’m not pregnant! Hopefully simultaneous breakouts and wrinkles are not in my future, after all.

Family Jesus Time
Quiet times for the preschooler with the audio Bible and a journal. Instilling in a 4-year old how to spend daily time in the Word of God.

Do Family worship each night with the whole family around the Bible, prayer and singing.

Book List
Read every book on the 52-book List!

Study Scripture
Out of my Bible Reading, choose one thing monthly and study it in-depth. I have Logos, I should use it.

Hospitality
It is my aim to have company over weekly. Doesn’t have to be a fancy Friday night dinner. It can be Saturday morning breakfast or brunch. Or tea/coffee and dessert. Whatever… My aim is to think outside the box with the times and the people. Not just church friends (although, that’s certainly important!), but unbelievers, people who aren’t like me, people who need love, people who need food, and especially people who need Jesus! May my eyes be opened to needs and my house be open that we may share the love of Christ.

I have been doing this for a while, but again, inconsistently. So I would like to consistently (weekly) send cards/letters/little notes of love and appreciation and encouragement to people in my life.

Finances
Keep our family checkbook up to date so as to stay within budget in all areas. We already do this with clearcheckbook.com, which makes it super easy (and it’s free!). But I am a procrastinator and only do it monthly… or worse. I have to improve and discipline myself in this area.

See God Save
This is obviously God’s work and not mine, but my intention here is to pray for these people by name, regularly lifting them up and asking God to save their souls. It is also our calling to lift Jesus up, for He said if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. I want to more boldly and more passionately proclaim the name of Jesus to my sphere of influence. He is the only One who saves. Why wouldn’t I say His Name? He also said that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. It starts small but ends huge. I believe that God desires to save and will save souls in this town. His Kingdom will grow.

Follow Jesus and Love Him More Fully, More Deeply
Obey the simple commands of Scripture (simple, but not easy), believe the Gospel and add nothing to it, take nothing away from it, preach it to myself every day, as often as I need it, which is really every moment. Repent often, humble myself, love Him, show Him to the world and make Him famous this year.

Thanksgiving Menu- Check!

Thanksgiving 2011 is now 12 days away. 11 days for me, as we are having a feast with friends on Wednesday and a feast with family on Thursday. This means I had to get on the ball (Butterball?) and plan a menu. Which, of course, is not foreign to me. And I love it, just a little. But still, it had to be done ASAP or disorganization, stress, and caffeinated last minute-ness would ensue.

I offer a disclaimer right off the bat: There is white bread on my Menu. *gasp!* I am not an experienced Thanksgiving-er. This is technically my first one. So you can see why I would be a little afraid to try whole wheat or an alternative bread when other non-family member people are coming to my house to eat dinner. People who may or may not care about eating white bread. So I had to do it. However, with this one small exception, the menu is packed with REAL food. Maybe no one will know. Maybe no one will care. Except for the neurotic hippie. (That would be me.)

With that being said… let us proceed.

The Menu

Turkey
No stuffing inside the bird. Instead, lemon, orange, carrots, celery, thyme and butter. So I guess it is sort of stuffed… just not with bread.

Caramelized Onion Dressing
A classic stuffing with the addition of caramelized onions and parmesan cheese.

Cheddar Jalapeno Dressing
A dressing made with an Italian loaf, cheddar, jalapenos, and a lager beer for depth of flavor.

Green Bean Casserole
Not your grandma’s recipe. This one is made with fresh mushrooms, cream and homemade chicken stock, and topped with caramelized onions.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey
For the kids as well as the adults. Takes the marshmallow topping idea to a new and sophisticated level, gracing it instead with candied pecans.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Gotta use the gravy with something! Made with Yukon Golds.

Cranberry Orange Sauce with Maple Syrup
Replacing white sugar with maple syrup is always a good idea. So is combining cranberries with oranges with cinnamon.

Appetizers, Rolls and Dessert
I am passing this off to anyone and everyone who offers to bring something. Like our friend, the Pastry Chef!

I hope to be posting many of these recipes in the near future. I have high hopes; hopefully there is nothing to disappoint on that day. But who can go wrong with caramelized onions, butter and cream?!

New Blog Schedule

If you didn’t notice I went a long period of time without posting anything. At all. This was due to the craziness of life. But I think I could have made it happen if there was a schedule to keep. I am a schedule-oriented person. Why would the blog be any different???

Here’s my [tentative] plan, subject to change… and subject to name changes in exchange for more creativity and less-cheesiness:

Monday: Menu Plan Monday
Each week I post my “Real Food” Weekly Menu- breakfasts, snacks, lunches and dinners.

Tuesday: Tuesday Tip
Small tidbits of information about various things around the kitchen and in the refrigerator/pantry 

Wednesday: Weekly Dish
A recipe success to share!

Thursday: Book Review
I have a book list I’m working on finishing by year end. There won’t be a book review every week, but there will be enough to constitute it having it’s own day. 

Friday:  Fruit From The Vine (Devotional/Word Study)
A product of my time spent with The Savior.  

Saturday: Health Topic/ Article / A Closer Look
Delving deeper into myriads of foods and topics of concern for our health.