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I am resolved….

main-calendarYep, it’s that time again.

Resolution time.

New year, new opportunity to renew commitments to myself.  Looking back over the past few years, I realize that my resolutions have focused mainly on self: lose weight, get more organized, spend more time in Bible study.  All are good, wholesome (and hard-to-keep) commitments, but ultimately, every resolve revolves around little ol’ me.  And the longer I live, the longer I realize it’s not about me.

Don’t get me wrong.

This year, I do plan to run, stretch and exercise.  A lot.

And study scripture and pour out my heart to God.  Every day.

And organize a lot more stuff.  Starting with my closet.

But more than that, I resolve to…

  • be a friendly face to more people I meet.  And to be a better friend to those I already count among casual acquaintances and close confidantes.
  • show my faith in action to others.  To live with more integrity. And show more of the grace and mercy I receive when I fail.
  • honor my family with more thoughtful menu choices.
  • honor God in more ways.  And let Him show me those ways.
  • look for opportunities to make our home the most pleasant place for family and friends to gather.  More frequently.
  • spend more time enjoying the company of those I love.  Because time is the one thing we can’t make for ourselves or save up for a rainy day.
  • and to look harder for the good, in those I meet and in whatever situation I find myself in.  Because whether you look for the good or the bad, you will find it.

I heard this quote recently during a sermon, and it seems a fitting way to sum up my resolutions.

“Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”
–Jonathan Edwards, 1722

So what are you resolved to do this year?  Do share…it increases your odds of following through on them, you know!

Happy 2013,
Terry

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How would I characterize my efforts to focus on my New Year’s resolutions last month? Well, much like those announcements that occasionally come up when you’re watching television. You know,

“We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this special broadcast.”

In my case, the “special broadcast” was spring.  Last month was a blur. I could make excuses longer than my list of resolutions but I’ll sum it up like this. Life, as in plants and Bible curriculum writing, were at the top of my to-do list in my spare time, along with keeping up with my mother-in-law’s health issues.  They all cut in line ahead of my resolutions.

Reading my Bible?  I haven’t read ANYthing outside of Bible class and worship.  No magazines, no books, not even the back of a cereal carton  And unfortunately, no serious individual Bible study time.

Exercise?  The month was a roller-coaster of hit-or-miss at best.  One week, I logged a whopping 20 miles on the elliptical AND I’ve been up and down on my knees countless times to dig in countless plants.  My bum knee hasn’t forgiven me and probably won’t for a while. At least yoga is still my friend.  I’m not stepping on the scale for a few more weeks – I don’t need it to tell me what I already know.

Prayer life and cultivating the fruits of the spirit?  Well, if there’s anything positive that comes from being down on your knees pulling weeds and planting, it’s that you have a lot of time to meditate and pray so I took advantage of the situation to do both.

I did manage to keep my desk clean, but only because I have temporarily relocated to Mr. Official’s man-cave to work for a few weeks since I need repeated access to the printer and my aforementioned knee has made it clear it doesn’t want to traipse up and down the stairs every time I print off something.  So when we’re up, we’re up – and when we’re down, we’re down.

The planting frenzy is over. The lesson-writing and printing is almost over.  Memaw’s health is more even-keel, at least right now. This month *should* be less intense.  (Watering and weeding will take up some of my free time, but there isn’t the all-consuming pressure of having flats of plants starting pitifully at you, knowing their life is literally in your hands.)

How are your resolutions coming?  Are they still going strong, or fading slowly from view?  The best news is we don’t have to wait for next January 1 to resolve to change something in our lives.  There’s nothing magical about making a resolution on that date; as you can see from my monthly checkups, there’s nothing that will make a resolution take root except your own willingness to keep pushing yourself to make it happen.

Happy resolving,

Terry

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And here we are, 90 days into 2012. Are you still hanging tight with your resolutions or are you struggling to recall what they were?  (We’ve all experienced that before.)  This year, I’m sticking to my guns better than most years, but as you’ll see there have been some bumps along the way this month.

1. Cultivate a daily prayer life.
My goal last month was to make prayer and Bible reading a priority first thing in the morning.  I’m 1 for 2:  prayer yes, Bible reading, no.

2. Read the Bible through in 2012.
There’s no way to gloss over the fact I’ve completely fallen behind on this.  Truth be told, I haven’t read ANYTHING in the last month – no magazines, no books, no nothing, except online stuff that is directly related to work and blogging.  And every day I fall further behind, I cringe because it means I’m two readings behind.  So instead of trying some marathon make-up reading, I’m dropping back to one reading  a day, and trying Seinfeld’s “don’t-break-the-chain” starting today.  Here’s hoping it works. Stay tuned, update in 30 days.

3. Exercise at least 4 days a week and drop the last 15 pounds I want to lose.
A success!

  • Week one, I managed yoga, pilates and two hours of weights;
  • Week two consisted of a 3-mile run, yoga, pilates and an hour of weights;
  • Week three two four-mile runs and yoga and pilates;
  • This week, three days of running (12 miles total), plus yoga and pilates.

My goal weight is 110. I’m back to 121, which doesn’t sound like much of a stride, until I explain my weight bounced up to 125 early this month, a delayed reaction to last month’s overindulgence in sweets; it prompted an introspective look into my psyche a few days ago.  The running helps; I just need to figure out how to still squeeze in an hour or two of weights a week while maintaining the early morning runs.

4. Get my desk organized and keep it that way.
A qualified success.  I’m still wrestling with the way I deal with incoming mail, but I have a basket to hold it now until I cull out the bills and toss the junk, pretty much once every week to ten days.  My blotter has stayed visible all month.  Woot!

5. Cultivate the fruit of the spirit in my life.
This remains the hardest goal to measure progress against, but I find myself dwelling more on my daily walk with God and looking for ways to encourage others.  I’m thinking that counts as progress. 🙂

So how are your resolutions doing? I came across this photo not too long ago, and it rang true: stop giving up

If you need to start over in April, that’s okay – just commit to making it the last time to start over.

Happy resolving,

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The stuff that weighs me down

“If I could just lose this handful of fat and that handful of jiggle, I’d be happy,” I thought as I showered the other morning.  Just as suddenly as the thought appeared, I recognized it for the elusive, beguiling lie it was.  If I miraculously sculpted off those areas, I’d then focus on some other droopy pooch or flabby spot.

The hard, cold truth hit me.  If I got rid of the areas that bug me most, I’d just be thinner.  Not happy. It was more reminder than epiphany.  I *know* these things, on an intellectual level.  But I grew up hearing (and accepting, on some level), the cynical mantra:

You can never be too rich or too thin.

–Wallis Simpson

(Sidenote:  Who knew it was Wallis Simpson who quipped that?  And my, isn’t she just the right person to epitomize that philosophy?)

I have finally realized the quote is not merely cynical; it’s a big, fat, lie.  Ask any doctor or anyone who has struggled with anorexia or bulimia:  you can be too thin.  As to being too rich?  Solomon, the richest (and arguably wisest) man on record, said it’s all vanity.  Fleeting.  Ephemeral. Here today, gone tomorrow.  There’s nothing wrong with being wealthy, but if accumulating more and more wealth is what drives you, you serve a vile, fickle master.

For those who don’t know me well, you might be surprised that my weight is this much of an issue with me.  Even at my heaviest, I looked deceptively healthy, even though my weight was veering toward the clinical definition of “obese” (the curse of being short.)  At my thinnest, I am still at the upper end of where the charts say I should be.  Slender but not skinny.

Do I want to be skinny?  No.  The emaciated “look” idealized among the glitterati of models and celebrities is scary.  But I do understand the relentless pursuit of thin-ness: with every five pounds I’ve lost, I can always find another five pounds I’d like to drop.  (Don’t worry – as often as not, it’s the same five pounds that returned home for a holiday visit.)

So why write this?  It’s about accountability.  My third month resolution check-up is coming up.  I’ve stepped up the exercise regime to include 10-12 miles a week on the elliptical.  I am slowly seeing and feeling the effects; as always, it never happens quickly enough.  And I write this to encourage anyone else struggling with body image or life choices and priorities.  Take heart.  And take steps every day to be better and change your life to be healthier, physically and emotionally. But never forget that happiness is temporary.  It will not come from achieving a certain size or shape or magical number in your bank account.  It will not come from money, or anything that money can buy.  Contentment is the true goal, and it comes from learning to accept and love yourself as an imperfect soul, striving to be better every day that God gives you breath.  And contentment is something that you may need to rediscover rather frequently.

Happy seeking,

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January flew by!  How ’bout those resolutions? I think the first few days are the easiest, but then the next few weeks are the hardest.  For better or worse, here’s where I am:

1. Cultivate a daily prayer life.

New journal has many names and sermon notes. Even so, getting into a daily routine is an area for improvement.

2. Read the Bible through in 2012.

On track – I’m even doubling up on my readings (more later.)

If you’re an attention-challenged Bible reader like me, try the One Year Bible (you can even get it online for free.)  Each day you get a little Old, a little New, a few Psalms and Proverbs.   I spent most of January dazed and confused in Chronicles, but the familiarity of Acts and Romans kept me going.

3. Exercise at least 4 days a week and drop the last 15 pounds I want to lose. 

  • Week one,  I managed five workouts:  elliptical, weights and yoga.
  • Weeks two and three were a bust: a pinched nerve in my back kept me incapacitated.
  • Week four  success!  Elliptical, Pilates, yoga and a 5K walk/run.

My initial weight was (gulp)  almost 125 pounds.  I should weigh 105-118 pounds and I’m determined to get back to somewhere around 110 and maintain it. Currently I’m hovering at 120-121.

4. Get my desk organized and keep it that way. 

During the first week, I cleared my desk off;  today my  2012 desk calendar is still visible! My desk is the catch-all for mail and miscellany.  Any suggestions on dealing with the daily deluge?  Please share – my desk and I could use all the help we can get 🙂

5. Cultivate the fruit of the spirit in my life.

How do you measure the love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in your life?  Something tells me this fruit is a really slow grower.

What would you like to change this year? The perfect time to start is (always!) now – share your resolutions so we can encourage each other!

Happy Monday,

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