2017: what lies ahead

I have a lot of goals for this year (many of which are not written here), and I’m okay with that. I love entering into this reflection period and looking ahead to all that God might work in us during this next stage of life. 2016 was another great foundation building year for our family, but still with many changes. I commented to Kevin the other day that it still feels like we are in the pre-planning phase of our life (which probably sounded quite negative to him), but it’s true. We’ve done so much, and yet some days feel like we still have this massive mountain ahead of us to climb. Of course, that is life. But there are specific ways we want to live our life while climbing that mountain (careers, children, a house, etc.) and we are just not quite there. And that’s okay! This is how God is forming us. And I really believe that He is preparing us for something wonderful. Our road is not common, and people often don’t understand while we are still pursuing these lofty dreams. But we know why.

So for 2017, I’m really hoping to develop better routines for the life stage we are in right now! And if God calls us to something else, we adjust. That’s how life goes.

Actively work towards our professional goals

  • Learn how to use our new used mirrorless camera
  • Put more energy into the blog (aka write more substantially)
  • Open up Etsy shop with Kevin’s art (step one of many other steps!)
  • Develop Kevin’s website further

Nurture my health (physically & emotionally)

  • Take a fitness class this winter to get out of the house
  • Limit coffee to 3x/week (unless I find I need to eliminate it entirely…been down that road before)
  • Read at least 2 books per month (get a good variety of spiritual, educational, & leisure)
  • Continue to purge & cleanse¬†our life (been working on this for a while, and it’s going well!)

Go deeper in the spiritual life

  • Intermediate social media fasts (weekly)
  • Daily, non-negotiable prayer routine
  • Find a spiritual director! (They have been so elusive.)
Cultivate new & old relationships
  • Step outside my comfort zone in this new city and try to make quality connections with others
  • Send birthday/special occasion¬†cards ON TIME
  • Call family members more frequently
  • Accept limitations and do not feel guilty when I’m truly not able to do something for someone else

Invest completely in our marriage

  • Create a formalized routine for breakfast/dinner together
  • Take a class together (maybe some sort of dance, like we did when we were dating)
  • Take walks together in winter (it’s the only season we struggle with)
  • Find new ways to pray together daily
  • Take a trip together (with any luck – to Quebec! again!)

I’m quite excited for 2017. And I am so grateful for this time of year. While in some ways it’s really just starting a new calendar, there’s a deeper level to is as well. And to begin the year in the octave of Christmas! That is not coincidental. May God bless us all in this new year!

P.S. – my Saint of the year (using this online Saint generator) is St. Catherine of Genoa!

 

2015: learning to be present

While in Duluth, Kevin and I were on the way to adoration and chatting about the year to come. We’re super excited for 2015 and all the possibilities that lay before us. Lists and “resolutions” aside, we wanted to think seriously about how we can grow in virtue this year. I’m sure we can all think of a particular vice we have or a certain virtue we are lacking. I can think of a ton for myself. But as the wise Ron Swanson once said, “never half-ass two things; whole-ass one thing.” That’s applicable here, right?

I proposed Kevin and I each come up with a virtue the other should work on (which could have gone horribly wrong), but we actually each said what the other was thinking.

Be present.

Surprise, surprise. I need to work on being present. Big picture: I need to not be continuously planning our future (out loud AND in my head). It doesn’t matter that I enjoy it and that it brings me temporal satisfaction, it can often rob me of the gift of the moment. Not to say that planning isn’t good and necessary, but there’s a line that often goes unnoticed and that I pass by several miles. I have learned time and time again that no matter how much I plan, if God’s plan is different, it will win out (and praise Jesus for that). There is an amount that we can do, but ultimately it has to be left up to the hands of our Creator.

I also need to take care to be present in the little things. I was reading the Popcak’s book “Just Married” about the first five years of marriage. One part struck me about people’s love styles: audio, visual, and kinesthetic (related to the way in which we learn as a child). Being a very visual person, I often find myself unable to relax or enjoy the moment if my environment isn’t to my liking. While there are great things to being visual, I can get so caught up in it that I bypass good time that could be spent with others (or even in prayer).

So a few attainable things to work on:

  • Abstaining from cleaning/preparing when better time would be spent enjoying time with my husband, with others, or in prayer.
  • Learning to enjoy leisure in it’s truest form (there’s lots more to say on this one).
  • Pausing frequently to thank God for the graces of the moment.
  • Be more intentional with prayer time so I’m not looking at the clock or anxious about “the next thing.”
  • Leave the life planning to specific times that both Kevin and I have set aside for it (ie: don’t bring up big decision topics on the bus or over breakfast).

The more I’m able to be present, the more, I hope, I’ll be able to notice God’s subtle movements in my life. Grace is all the time being poured out onto all of us, but we have to receive it. And contrary to what many people may think, receptivity is an active virtue. Also, by being attuned to God’s daily graces, I hope to cultivate more of a heart of gratitude. So in a nutshell, that’s a big thing I’m working on in 2015.

Anyone have any exciting things they’re working on this year?