Monday, January 21, 2013



That is my word for 2013.

I have a very simple explanation for it:

It seems that most of my New Year's Resolutions focus on all of the things I am not. All of the things I don't have. All of the things that are out of my reach for one reason or another.

Sometimes it's taxing to focus so much on the don't haves. This year I want to focus on the haves.

Because even though we are in debt--still paying for Joel's schooling and Chloe's birth, most notably--we have so very much. Even if our paychecks went down a bit this year because of all of the fiscal cliff mumbo jumbo (which I promise I don't take lightly), we have so much in comparison to much of the world.

Even if I am not entirely pleased with things like my weight or my INability to keep the house perfectly clean, I have many, many talents which I do well and don't struggle with.

I want to focus on the things I can do, and do them better than ever.

I want to focus on the blessings I have, whether they be spiritual, physical, financial, or familial.

And that's it.

This year, I won't worry about what I can't do because there are so many things I can do.

So here's to an abundant 2013, in which I am more grateful than I have ever been.

For I have been richly blessed.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy New Year!
(An Accounting of 2012)

_DSC0030 family photo web
My family looking forward to the New Year.  Yes, I know you covet the green stove, but don't covet it from me because it isn't mine!  I covet it, too.  Thanks to Tim, our neighbor and friend, for taking our family picture and for having such a cool fireplace.

Obviously, the New Year is a time to reflect upon our goals and resolutions.  Every year I think about my weaknesses, and how I want to improve and set my goals accordingly.  The last few years I have chosen a word of the year, and I have liked how that has worked.

Lighten Up! was my "word" of 2012.  If you say it really fast, it really is one word:  Lightenup!  See?

Anyway.  I tend to be overly serious and critical of myself, so I wanted to first Lighten Up! and be more friendly to myself.  Maybe allow myself to have a little more fun without worrying about all the items on my to-do list and/or the dirty dishes. 

I wanted to lose weight (as I always do, every New Year of my entire life) so Lighten Up! also applied to the number on the scale.

I wanted to see the number on the debt part of our budget Lighten Up!

I wanted to Lighten Up! my mood.  The SAD that gets me in the winter is rough and I really hate it.

I hoped to cut the clutter in my life a bit.  To get organized and Lighten Up! all the stuff.

And most of all, I wanted to learn to say no and to Lighten Up! my dang schedule.

So how did I do?

Okay, I guess.  I am still far too critical of myself.  I still let myself look in the fat mirror far too often.  But, I have made many strides in learning to make peace with who I am, and, more importantly, where I am in my growth.

I did lose weight.  I learned that I needed to eat gluten-free to help my thyroid function better, and I did really well at going to the gym.  Having a friend go with me made a huge difference in getting myself there.  And that particular friend is such a light person, that she helped me overcome some of my seriousness regarding my weight.  And everything else.  Unfortunately, I fell apart during the middle of the year and had some serious issues with my foot and exercise became non-existent.  After a few months I was able to start it up again, but not to the extent I had hoped.  I became a green smoothie addict after receiving a Blend-Tec for my birthday. And, though I was able to maintain my gluten-free diet with no problem (you would be able to do it, too, if when you ate gluten you became as sick as I do!), I won't say that I ate as healthily in December as I had the rest of the year.  So maybe I gained a little weight back, but I'm still at a net loss, so I'm accepting that.

Oh the debt.  I hate it so! We paid more off than we ever have.  But we also began to pay for braces, went on an Epic Vacation, had  our washer and dryer die, and had to replace our water main.  So it didn't go as well as I had hoped.  But it could have been worse, and I am grateful we were able to pay for all of the aforementioned with cash.  And in September I began to use YNAB for budgeting, and I think we may have paid down more debt the last four months of the year than we did the rest of the year combined.  (It also helped that I took on a much larger work load, also beginning in September.)

Did I overcome SAD?  Well, no.  The way I've been feeling the past several weeks is definitely evidence of that.  But I'm always working on it.  I did get a dog this year, and silly as it sounds, Puccini has helped with my depression tendencies more than anything.  Even on the days where I have a really hard time getting out of bed, just having her cuddled up next to me (she doesn't get up until I do) makes me feel better.  I am working on some new natural remedies and am resolved to use my SAD light more often than I do.  I'll get through Black January if it kills me.

I hate clutter almost as much as I hate debt.  If it were up to me, we would not have all this stuff.  Stuff overtakes our lives.  Unfortunately, I live with four other people, and they have stuff and I have stuff and we all have stuff and clutter happens.  I made some great strides this year.  I donated lots of boxes to Goodwill, Consignment, and friends with girls who are younger than Sophia.  My office was very organized--for a while.  Though it is difficult to actually keep it that way, it is now much easier to pull it out of the mess than it used to be.  So that's something.  I have lots of big ideas to get my house more streamlined and clutter-free, but I lack the time to implement them all.  Which brings me to the next point...

I think I finally learned to say noRealizing that saying yes to everything meant saying no to my family, gave me the will to turn things down more easily.  Unfortunately, I have not yet learned how to back out of the things I have already said yes to, so perhaps I will now work on learning to do that graciously.  My schedule is still quite overstuffed, but at least it isn't quite bursting at the seams and I have the courage not to add more to it.

Two other goals I had for 2012 were to participate in Project 365 and read 52 books.  I rocked at Project 365, unless you count posting them.  I diligently took a picture every. single. day. of the year (I may have missed one or two, and I lost one when my iPhone died a terrible death, too.) The pictures I have posted (about half the year) are here.  Maybe it will be one of my 2013 goals to actually finish putting them all up.  I plan to put them in a book, too.  For now, I'm a little relieved that I don't have to take a photo every day.

As far as the books, I ended up reading only 37, but some of them were really long.  I just wish I had more reading time, though if I traded in all of my Facebook time, I probably would have more than enough.  My goal is only 40 this year...a bit more realistic.

Could I have done better in 2012?  Of course.  But I did okay, and I am at peace with that.

And yes!  I have goals (and a word!) for 2013, but I'm afraid this post is already way too long.  And though it may seem that one of my goals might be to blog less, I will try to at least write that post.  Heh.