Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beauty of Thy Peace

I've never been much for New Year's resolutions. I feel that if you have something in your life you'd like to change... just do it. Don't wait for the new year to roll around. But over the past few months I've been developing some new goals for my life, and figure now would be a good time to share them. Plus there's something about announcing them publicly for the entire virtual world to read that gives me a little more motivation for reaching them.
2009 has been great year for our family. When I think about the person I was when I watched the ball drop a year ago, and the person I am today, I realize just how much has occured over the last 12 months, and how much I've changed and grown. I think. I definitely have a lot more growing to do. And there's no better time than the present to buckle down and focus on becoming the woman I'm called to be.
I'm reading "Let Me Be a Woman" by Elisabeth Elliot. She's one of my favorite "inspirational" authors and even though I read this book several years ago, now that I'm a wife and a mother her words take on new meaning. Last night I happened to open up to the chapter on "Self-Discipline and Order", in it Elliot quotes a hymn by John Greenleaf Whittier (if you're like me, and didn't grow up in a hymn-singing church, you may recognize this as one of Tim Hughes' songs):

Drop Thy still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

The chapter is less than two pages long, but when I first read it nearly 5-6 years ago, I underlined the final chapter:

The way you keep your house, the way you organize your time, the care you take in your personal appearance, the things you spend your money on all speak loudly about what you believe. "The beauty of Thy peace" shines forth in an ordered life. A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul.

Over these next few months, there are four areas of my life that I'm planning to "get in order":

1.) Our home.
What a blessing it's been to be home with Jack this past year. I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but never really thought about "why" or "how." When we found out we were pregnant with Jack, the original plan was for me to continue working for at least another year or two. But thankfully, God had other plans, and opened a few doors that I had never dreamed existed. It hasn't been an easy adjustment, there's a lot of things I miss about being a career woman and there are a lot of things about being a homemaker that I wasn't prepared for, but I'm getting better and am busy creating big plans for the future. This year, my goals are to
--follow-through with my daily and weekly chore chart (I've had one hanging on my fridge for the past year but haven't been so disciplined with keeping up with it.)
--be better with menu planning, stockpiling my pantry and being prepared to host guests
[Inspirations: Babywise Mom, Once a Month Mom and Jon's amazing Aunt Julie and Uncle Bob, who never seem surprised by unexpected dinner guests :)]

2.) Our finances.
Early last year I read Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover" and was so inspired to become a better budgeter with the overall goal of being debt free. I had never even heard of Dave Ramsey until last year, but I began to notice that many of my favorite blogs have the same philosophy. When Jon was working on the ship, and was deployed every 2-3 months, I was in charge of the finances. Since he's started his land job he's taken them over. But I really want to take them back! :) I was reading one of my blogs several months ago and one commenter mentioned that she wanted to be a good steward of her husband's hard earned money. Her words really stuck with me. Ever since then I've always had Jon's long, hard work hours in the back of my mind when spending money. Sure I bring home a little bacon as well, but but if I can become a better manager of our finances every bit I save adds to our value. That said, this year my goals are to
--work my way through the Financial Peace coursework before Baby #2 arrives. (Our church is offering the FPU classes this year, but between Jon's work and school schedule we're not able to attend. So I was very excited when my mother-on-law lent me her kit to look over these next few months.)
--become a better steward of our finances and actively seek out ways to cut costs
--tighten the budget (We have a decent budget that has served us well for the past 3 years, but I'd really like to tighten it up a little - Dave Ramsey style!)
--pay down debt and build up our savings
--become a savvy shopper and better coupon collector
[Inspiration: Money Saving Mom, The Happy Housewife, $5 Dinners]

3.) Our son.
So, I may have mentioned that Jack is slightly wild and occasionally active. Having a routine really served us well during the newborn years ... it was also a lot easier when all he did was eat, sleep and stare at colorful objects. Oh yeah, and poop. But things are different now and I've failed to keep up with the changes. This year, my goals are to
--implement a new routine with daily roomtime/independent playtime
--start working on character development and self-discipline (I thought 1 was too early for this sort of thing but spend 10 minutes in our house and it's obvious that babies are born sinners just like the rest of us!)
--create a family code (a.k.a mission statement, Jon and I have been talking this over for a while now but we just need to get it down in stone.)

[Inspiration: Babywise Mom, Duggar Family Character Qualities]

4.) My spiritual walk.
This seems to be on just about any list of goals I've ever made. But I suppose it should always be that way. It's not very likely I'll ever be content with my current spiritual walk. Then again, shouldn't we all be striving for more? This year I plan to
--spend time in the Word daily (Jon just bought a new Smith Wigglesworth devotional that I've been eyeing up. I prefer devotionals to reading the Bible through in a year, but I do enjoy a daily dose of Proverbs!)
--maintain my prayer journal (I've been so erratic with this, but I love reading back through my old entries and seeing how God has moved. Gotta be more consistent!)
--pray for my husband and son EVERY DAY (Have you ever read "The Power of a Praying Wife"? It's sooo good, I almost want to stop typing and go read some more. And the author has a book on praying for your son too.)

I think that's enough for this year. My intention isn't to be overwhelmed with lofty goals but I really feel that a more ordered and disciplined life will bring peace to our family. As Elisabeth Elliot says, "Freedom begins way back. It begins not with doing what you want but with doing what you ought - that is, with discipline." Cheers to the new year!

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