Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Beginnings in 2014

Me and hubby on New Year's Eve
Angela, Kelly, and me hanging out while the dudes shot fireworks on New Years.
  There is just something magical about the start of a new year that renews my faith in the goodness of people and gives me hope for the future.  I love how the New Year begins.... with a midnight toast alongside good friends and family and a kiss from your sweetheart (which I got this year for the first time in a while since my hubby is always working New Year's Eve).  It's just hopeful.....and I feel like the New Year brings about that deep down desire that everyone has to be a better person.  People may not know what "better" may be or what they may need to be "better," but I just think that everyone wants that in some way for themselves.  Many people follow the age old tradition of making New Year's resolutions or goals for themselves to better in some area of their life.  A common resolution is to lose weight or get out of debt, etc. I think I just love New Year's, because it's the one time of year everyone tries really hard to be better....not worse, not just okay, not mediocre...they try to be better.  Now, of course, I'd say a good 3/4 of people probably don't keep their resolutions, but I don't think it's really about that anyway.  Life isn't about checking off a to-do list  or tracking weight loss data from week to week. Those things aren't bad, of course....if list making was an Olympic sport, I would be Michael Phelps. (I'm Type A...what can I say?)  And I've been known to keep track of lbs lost too because it can give you a sense of accomplishment. But you can't measure your worth based on whether or not you kept your New Year's resolution.  I truly believe even people who don't keep their resolutions (including myself) learn something along the journey, and that's what counts.  I most definitely haven't kept all the resolutions I've ever made, but I can safely say that every year I learn new things about myself, about my friends and family, and about life..... and then I get wrapped up in the business of life and I forget some of those lessons, and then I end up rediscovering the same truths and life lessons all over again in new ways. 
  I have noticed that some people are very cynical about making New Year's resolutions.  "I'm just going to break them anyway...what's the point in even trying?" I've heard some people say...or "I like myself just the way I am...I don't need to change anything."  Well, while I think it's okay to like who you currently are as a person, I truly hope that when I look back over my life in 10, 20, or 30 years that I will honestly be able to say that I am wiser and more mature in my faith.  I once heard a sermon where the pastor said, "It's true what they say....that God loves you just the way you are.  However, he loves you entirely too much to let you stay that way."  I thought that was very profound.  I  know that God loves me for who I am, and I am so blessed to be able to call Him my Savior and Lord, but if I know anything about Christianity it's that our purpose in life is to strive to be more like Christ and to live out His perfect will for our lives....and that doesn't mean to just keep doing what we're doing. Life would be pretty boring if we didn't grow, change, and acquired wisdom as we got older with each passing year.  Now, I'm trying my very hardest to freeze my face at age 27 (thanks Mary Kay), but I do hope that my mind, my heart, and my soul change a lot over this next year and every year. 
    For the last several years I have just had a fire light under me starting a few days before New Year's, and I get this instinct to just cleanse my entire home of everything unnecessary.  I go through closets, cabinets, clear off shelves, go through every item of clothing I own, re-organize drawers, file stuff, vacuum the collection of crumbs that have accumulated between the couch cushions, throw away the expired ranch dressing from March 2012, etc.  You get the picture.  It's quite the process and usually doesn't come without some disagreements with the hubby over what is and is not "necessary and useful." Haha.  But it has always been worth our time and effort and helps us to start out the new year fresh.  Hubby sometimes gets perturbed with my instinctual New Year's cleansing routine, but he does appreciate the end result.... a clean and happy home. We usually end up donating bags and bags of stuff to Goodwill that we never end up missing, as well.  My general rule of thumb is that if it hasn't been used in the last year or two, toss it.  Things can be perfectly good and even brand new, but if they are not being used, they don't serve a purpose and clutter up your life.  For instance, I have like 10 overnight type bags on the top shelf of our closet. They are all cute, they are all in good shape, and some are even brand new (free gifts with purchases,etc) but who needs 10 bags that all serve the same purpose??  Who has room to store 10 bags?  Not I....  So last year I got rid of 3 or 4.  I didn't miss them.  This year I got rid of a few more, and I'm pretty sure I won't miss those either.  
    Aside from deep cleaning and purging, I do have some resolutions or goals I want to work on this year:

1) Live simply, be content, and stop living in comparison 
     - It is so easy in the world we live in to convince ourselves that we need a lot of "stuff" to be happy, but we really don't.  From every outlet (tv commercials, internet ads, Facebook, that "Jones" family we always want to keep up with) we are being bombarded with the message that we need more. Some things, of course, are actual needs, and others are not.....and learning to decide which is which is the hard part.  But I want to be more purposeful in being thankful for what I have and being content.  It's so easy to compare your life to others now, but if it wasn't for the Facebook, blogs, and other social media these days, we wouldn't even know what "others" have in the first place. 

2) Be Positive
     - I think that I generally am a positive person, and I try to always see good in people, but just like anyone sometimes my circumstances get the best of me.  I tend to be a very logical and methodical thinker, though, and sometimes that doesn't always elicit itself to positivity.  Positive thinking is not always easy, because we are human and sometimes we start getting all Debbie Downer on the situation at hand.  But being negative never did nobody no good.  Haha.  (That just literally physically pained me to use incorrect grammar...just FYI).  Positive people are way easier to be around.

3) Pray every day
     - I think I probably do this more than I think I do because prayer doesn't always have to be head bowed and eyes closed in a quiet room....prayer can be just talking to God in your mind or literally talking out loud to Him in the car as if He's sitting beside you.  Prayer isn't always formal, and that's okay.  But I want to be more purposeful about it.  I need to be better about praying more specifically too....naming individuals and asking God for what they need....  healing or comfort or guidance, etc.  

4) Cook at least 3 meals per week
    - During the school year I totally stink at this.  I'm so hit or miss...  I'll do well for a week or two and then things will get busy and we'll end up doing Mexican, or cereal, or meeting friends/family for dinner for a week straight so we don't have to cook.  I love meeting people for dinner, but it gets expensive and I feel like it should be more of a treat, not an every week thing. But in order to cook well, you have to plan well, and that means getting my meals planned and grocery shopping done.  Before I was married, meal planning and grocery shopping seemed like no big deal, but it is a lot of work. I thought Pinterest would help me keep my recipes organized, but all it does is distract me and pull me into an endless abyss of craft and home decor ideas from people with perfectly airbrushed and edited blog photos which brings me back to Resolution's a vicious cycle.  Darn you, Pinterest.

   I think I'll stop while I'm ahead.  I actually have a few more, but I don't want to overwhelm myself.  As usual, this blog post is getting super long.  Brevity is not my strength if you haven't noticed already.  I can't help it....I'm detail oriented.  Maybe I should make that my New Year's resolution for next year...shorter blog posts. 
    Well, Happy New Year folks!!  May you keep.... or at least learn...from all your resolutions!!!!

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