Friday, January 01, 2010

A New Year, A New Start

"So I thank the Lord for giving me
a brand new start each day;
and I praise His Blessed name
for guiding me all along the way" - Amy Grant

This is something that I just LOVE about God. He gives us a new start, each day. Heck, sometimes its in each moment. I can stumble miserably, but God always lets me start again. And that's how I'm thinking about 2010 - a chance to start again. I have never liked the whole "resolution" just seemed to me to be a total set up for failure. So instead, this January 1st, I'm making myself some promises about things I am going to try to do more of this year.

1. to have more healthy, home-cooked meals - I fell in *love* with the idea of a slow-cooker this year, after reading an article about them in Oprah. It just seemed like a perfect thing for me - someone who isn't all that comfortable in the kitchen, is often crunched for time (usually just because of my poor timing and ability to coordinate cooking times for a whole bunch of meal components), and lets face it...can be a bit lazy, especially in the kitchen. ;-) I also discovered the blog A Year of Slow Cooking, by Stephanie O'Dea, and her book - Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. These are simple recipes, and she presents them in such a low-key, down-to-earth has given me a sense of confidence about this.

2. Doing more crafts with the kids - I got a bunch of great craft materials to use with the kids for Christmas. I'm really thrilled they seem so into crafts. Somewhere along the line I developed a very strong inner-critic about my creations...I hope these early projects with the kids will help them build a strong foundation of confidence and pride in their creations. I never felt particularly creative growing up, and yet each of us is inherently creative...I want me children to know this.

3. Play my dulcimer for my children - my poor dulcimer has been in storage for longer than I'd like to admit. So I got a brand new refresher book for Christmas...that just happens to include some great songs from church!

4. Live a more earth conscious life. Reduce, reuse, recycle more (in that order...all are great things to do for our Mother Earth, but it is better to re-use than recycle, and it is better to reduce. (That last one's a tough one). Remember the compost, and find a source for composting our waste that we aren't set up to compost right now.

Make good buying choices - recycled things, things that don't get thrown away, etc. Buy food and other items that are sold in as little packaging as possible, especially plastic packaging. Looking at all the egg-shell containers and plastic stuff than held things together was discouraging. Buy and eat organic, locally grown food. Purchase objects that are handmade by local and/or struggling artisans.

5. Buy and gift things that are globally conscious. Try to give as many gifts as I can that are eco-friendly (made from recycled materials, or at least from sustainable ones and with processes that are kind to the earth - - no plastic), and at best also benefit someone in need (things where a decent portion of proceeds from the sale of the item go to helping someone else, and/or handmade items from folks around the world who make these things as a way to support themselves and their family).

This one will be easier for me because I just love love love things with an international flair...although that isn't true for all of my gift recipients. I've collected a fair number of web resources for fair trade gifts and gifts made by our brothers and sisters in struggling nations. And I also like the idea of having things in the house that represent many world cultures to help my children learn of the bigger world outside their home, their town, and this one country of the many many on Earth.

(Thanks Neeka, for the inspiration for both #4 and #5 :-).

6. Figure out whether it is possible right now, and if so, cross-stitch, scrapbook, and and organize our pictures. I love to stitch, and have some projects for the babies. And preserving memories in a pleasing way is something that brings me much joy.

Heh. I have been reading some other folks' resolution lists. And it made me realize that while these goals are great, and will enhance my life....they aren't the most important goals, *and* they are the "easy, keeping busy" kind that allow one to ignore the more important stuff. So here's some more:

5. Be easier on myself when I don't do everything exactly the way I think I should be doing it.

6. Pray more. Rely on God more. Think more in every thought and action, is this what would most please God? Trust more that all indeed will be well.

7. Take more time to just "be" with my delight in all they are learning, discovering and doing. Pay more 100% attention to them, instead of doing lots of other "stuff".

8. Be more intentional in how I spend those few precious moments of 'me' time that I do vegging in front of the tv or zoning out on Facebook really always the best choice? ;-)

9. Truly relax. Just be quiet and still, and listen for the voice of God.

10. Love. Let go of petty resentments, jealousies and old hurts. Love as Jesus would want me to Love. (Geesh, these each got progressively more challenging but also more important, I think).

Enjoy 2010. With all that I am blessed with in my life, I know I will...if I can just get out of my own way. I'm going to try to embrace and enjoy these promises to myself, rather than let them just become more responsibilities I feel I"m not living up to. After all, each one of these things will make me feel better about myself and my world. So wish me luck with my promises to myself. I hope you've made some promises to yourself, too. You deserve it. Happy New Year!

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