Intentionality in the New Year

 

It’s a new year! We have just landed in one of my least favorite months. Christmas is over and the reality of how much winter we have left to go sets in. This winter has been a bit brutal so far. It’s been going from bearable temps, to below zero temps, blizzards, and there was even an ice storm on Christmas Day thrown in there. We have not had much of the picturesque 20 degrees with light snow falling. However I really can’t complain. I’m used to driving in the snow at this juncture in life and I don’t usually have to leave the house when it’s blizzarding, unless of course, I’m picking the boy’s up from school. And really Fergus is so small that this is not a big deal. Also (don’t hate me) but the kid in me loves watching storms. There is just something beautiful and captivating in them.

Starting the New Year, for a lot of people comes new years resolutions. Now traditionally I’m not a huge fan of new years resolutions, for myself. Not that I am against them, in fact I think they can be great and a good kick in areas we know need attention. But for myself I really gravitate toward the law side of them. In the past I have made these detailed resolutions, and then I drive myself crazy, because I want to stick to the letter of the law in them… I mean after all I made it! I love extending grace to others, but when it comes to myself I tend to have more of an issue. My type-A personality comes out in spades…at myself! So I have shied away from doing this the last few years.

But this year I have been pondering the “New Years Resolution” again. Not because I want to make some strict guidelines for myself like, -drink 64oz of water –workout 5 times a week –read to the kids at least 20 min everyday –meal plan on the weekend for the week. These are all great things, but I realize that right now in life this stuff is not going to happen every week. Especially the ‘workout 5 times a week’! Ha!

However I do want to be more intentional. I have a few things that I’m really excited about that I believe God has placed on my heart, which I will share with you all.

One of them is this blog. Believe it or not, starting this blog has been a huge stretch for me. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and grown me. Mainly in writing about life and being honest and open in that. But also in technology! It took me forever to figure out how to get my site set up the way I wanted it! Thankfully I had my techie hubby around to help me trouble shoot! I want to be intentional in getting organized going into the New Year. This will also be a really useful device in helping me keep on top of things, and not letting this slip to the back burner as life gets busy.

Another thing that I’m excited about being more intentional in is Plexus. Not only is it a great company that makes top of the line health products, but all of the women (and a few men) who are ambassadors that I have worked with are so great and very encouraging. Their primary focus is to help people. I love that. I have talked a bit about how much it has impacted my life and Daniel’s. So I won’t go into the long details of that. (I will link below the blog post that goes into those details.) I have read and heard so many testimonies of how it is helping others as well. It helps with things like, Diabetes (types1 and 2), it provides energy, influences mood, helps in losing weight, and also gaining weight, skin issues, allergy issues, hormone imbalance and many more things. I’m not saying it will fix all these things for everyone. But because it gets to the root of the problem that a lot of these things stem from, it can have a big impact. And because of that I want to be more intentional with sharing about it, and in bringing some hope, tools and better health to others. One of the best parts is the routine is super simple! I mean, Daniel has no problem keeping up with it!

The last thing (but certainly not least) I plan on being more intentional in is relationships. This is a funny one for me to think about being more intentional in, because I crave relationship. I crave having deep friendships and conversation. It energizes and fills me up. But I get busy and forget to make it happen. I can tell when it’s not happening. I feel it. I start getting a bit stir crazy and won’t stop talking Daniel’s ear off. Poor guy… I need to be more intentional in setting up things like play dates, coffee dates, and having people over for dinner. The hope is that after Daniel graduates Seminary we will be taking a call at a church. And I really need to remember this one during that time. When I’m getting to know new people and a new area. I enjoy getting to know people and new areas, but it also puts me out of my comfort zone and I can let shyness and insecurities get the best of me in these situations, if I’m not being intentional.

As we start the New Year, I have been approaching these things in prayer. And I have only gotten more excited. However as I contemplate this, and start writing things down in my planner I realize I will have to write them down in pencil. And continue to commit my agenda and plans to the Lord. I believe that the Lord has given me these passions and hopes in my heart. But I also go into them realizing that I want to continue to seek His guidance in all the aspects of life. I want to be in a place where I’m sensitive and willing to change and adapt.

I don’t want to live them out through the law, but through God’s grace.

Blessings in the New Year!

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Link to our Health Story- This is a Story All About How…

Expectations and the Guilt that Accompanies 

 

The second Christmas challenge…

Another big challenge that I have been thinking about, is the expectations that come with this time of year. I think that the expectations look different depending on the person and family. But there are cookie exchanges, gift exchanges, Christmas cards to write and mail. There are family gatherings, and gatherings with friends. And then of course you have to add all of this on top of your normal week/work/school schedule.

How do we do it all?

We can’t. Or at least I can’t!

Something somewhere has to give. And then if you are like me, you feel guilty about it.

I was listening to a woman tell this story on a podcast the other day, about how she grew up in a very unconventional family, she then ended up going to college in a completely different area of the country than what she was used to, and married a nice man from the south. In her early-married years, she signed up for the cookie exchange at church. And on the flier it said to bring your favorite cookie to exchange. So she showed up with her favorite cookie… Oreos. The other women were so confused as to why she would show up with Oreos, a store-bought cookie. She soon realized her mistake as she looked around at all the home made baked goods, and got the “oh honey, that’s ok” from multiple women. She had never really liked baking, and in her previous community of friends this wouldn’t have been a big deal. But obviously that was a different story here. The next few years she continued to sign up for the cookie exchange and this time bake her own cookies. But at some point along the line realized she still did not like baking. It did not bring her any joy. So she made the decision that she was not going to participate in things like cookie exchanges anymore, instead she was going to spend more time at Christmas doing the things she loved.

I really like the concept of spending more time doing what you love at Christmas and letting go of those things that you really don’t enjoy. This idea is really a freeing concept to me. Focusing more on my giftings and less on the checklist.

My mom loves writing Christmas cards. In fact she is just great at remembering and writing cards to people throughout the year. I love that about her. This is a gift that she enjoys, and through it she loves on others. I on the other hand really, really struggle with writing Christmas cards. It is not something that comes naturally to me, I struggle to remember to do it, and I don’t really enjoy the process. My poor mother really worked hard getting me to remember to write cards and thank you cards. But even with the repetition of doing it when I was younger, with her prodding, it is still a huge struggle for me today. So when it comes to the big task of Christmas cards…. Well I have pretty much given up on those.

And in previous years I have felt really guilty about this. But this year I have decided to let it go. I’m figuratively waving goodbye to that guilt! Maybe I will do it someday. But for right now I’m letting it go. I will grab on to some newfound freedom in changing my expectations. I will wish everyone a Merry Christmas from social media. And I will cheer on and be thankful for those that do love to send cards!

It’s usually pretty much impossible to get away from every difficult situation or time at Christmas (or life). But I have realized I can have boundaries and change my own expectations of myself.

This is a great season to love on people or let others love on you! Let your gifts and abilities shine. And don’t get bogged down by unrealistic expectations.

Our traditions and Christmas’ have looked pretty different throughout the years. Some years we have been close to family, and in the more recent years we have been away. But in all that, we have found some traditions that we love to do together as a family. So I will share a few with you!

We love to make “hot”(warm) cocoa, put it in the boys water bottles, load up in the van and drive around and look at (hunt for) Christmas lights.

Another one is making krumkake with Daniel. This is Daniel’s favorite Christmas cookie. It’s a Norwegian cookie that looks a lot like a mini ice cream cone, highlighted with the delicious spice, cardamom. You can fill them with cream, but for the most part, we just eat them plain.

On Christmas Eve we love going to the candlelight service at church. We are still in the process of figuring a favorite main course for Christmas Eve dinner. So if you have any favorites feel free to let me know!

We have been carrying on this tradition from Daniel’s side of the family. On Christmas Eve we eat dinner by candlelight, and then we serve rice pudding with a nut hidden in it, and whoever finds the nut gets a prize. The kids love this. Then we read the Christmas story and Daniel gets out his guitar and we sing a few Christmas carols.

Christmas morning, there is a lot of opening presents, playing, coffee and then cinnamon buns (In fact I will have to share my cinnamon bun recipe, it is so delicious!). Christmas day has been pretty low key for us, just enjoying each other’s company. Until the meltdowns start with the kids. For all the fun extreme highs of the day, it seems that they cannot go without the extreme meltdowns later on! But it’s all worth it!

For now I will stick to what I love and what works for this season of life, baking for others, baking with my kids. Parties, Christmas movies and curling up on the couch with a book while it dumps snow (which is actually what my day looked like today).

And to all of you, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Filled with hope, and peace in the Lord.

 

Romans 15:12-13

And again, Isaiah says,

“The Root of Jesse will spring up,

one who will arise to rule over the nations;

in him the Gentiles will hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.