living life, choosing joy

Category Archives: Goals

Sometimes I have a weekend that is just…nice. This was definitely one of them. The weather was great, we spent lots of time with friends and family, and I even scored some great deals :). Here’s a little peek into our weekend::

I visited my cousin Kaylee last Friday. She has two little girls, Mindy & Rosie…Benjamin is right in the middle of the two (age wise).

Such a sweet photo of Benjamin and Mindy holding hands and watching TV together. They also had a fun time playing together and giggling.

 Ben & Mindy - 08.09.13

We also discovered that Benjamin LOVES cooked carrots and zucchini! Yay for team veggies!!

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I also felt industrious on Saturday morning. So when Benjamin went down for a nap, I got busy cleaning the kitchen.  I cleaned under the sink (forgot to get a picture). But I was in for a surprise when I moved the washer…

Under Washer - BEFORE

Yuck!

But as a bonus, I did find some lids that had gone missing :).

Under the fridge was not much better…

 Under Fridge - BEFORE

But after a bit of sweeping and scrubbing, they both looked good as new.

Under Fridge - AFTER

under the fridge, after

Under Washer - AFTER

under the washer, after

Nathan and I got together with some friends for a game night on Saturday. And I made some yummy brownies to share (recipe coming later this week!).

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AND I picked up some great deals at the drugstores this weekend (you can read about my trip here).

We finished off the weekend by having dinner with my family on Sunday night…Nathan made the most delicious chicken pot pies — YUM YUM YUM!!

All in all, it was just a relaxing weekend, and I feel ready to take on the week! 🙂

So now, in an attempt to keep me on task with my annual goals of reading and projects, I have decided to share a few simple goals for this week.

Next week I will update on the progress I have made. So here goes…

1.       Read the Bible everyday (get back to following my plan for this)

2.       Finish “Don’t Waste Your Life!”, by John Piper

3.       Scan all photos from Nathan’s childhood album (and return album to his mom)

4.       Make 2 reusable bags out of old t-shirts

5.       Have one play date for Benjamin

6.       Go walking 6 days (either outdoors or on the treadmill)

7.       Pull out the Christmas stocking kit for Benjamin and read the instructions

8.       Go on a date with Nathan

How was your weekend? Do you set any weekly goals??


Goals PhotoI have been remiss in my goal updates for the past few months, and I am officially blaming the heat and the pregnancy! But I figured it’s about time to get back to it and at least update on my {little} progress this past month {or three}. So here goes…

My word for the year: YES

I chose this as my word because I really want to be more open to: change, trying new things, and to what God has in store for my life as I transition from student/employee in to staying home with the Benjamin full-time. So, when I want to say NO, but I don’t really know why (Comfort? Laziness? Close-minded-ness??) then I’m going to try and say YES instead…and see what happens. I’m kinda scared…but kinda excited too…to dare that I could be something or someone else, and NOT always be who I am right now…

{July Update: No real update here…I have let myself get wrapped up in little things and self-imposed drama and stress these past few months and have been neglecting saying “yes” to anything. I can make excuses, but it’s just me being “me”-centered, instead of allowing God to do a work in me and change that tendency of self….Wow, hopefully I will have a better update for August!}.

The rest of my goals…

Spiritual

1. Make Reading the Bible a priority EVERYDAY { My plan for succeeding has helped me a lot…but I got put of the habit in July, so I’m not doing too great right now…}

2. Prayerfully find a cause that breaks my heart {Ongoing…}

Family/Marriage

1. Take a Sabbath once a week {After writing out my plan to observe a Sabbath, I did very well at this one…at first. The first two Sundays in May were very successful while the last two Sunday’s were rather almost observed (we went to the store both weeks). Then…I completely fell off the wagon (so to speak) and stopped observing a Sabbath all together for the past two months. <sigh>. It’s hard to do it, but so worth it for the rest…and one I have been missing these past few weeks months.}

2. Plan Monthly Date Nights Out with Nathan {We went out once in July}

3. Be more intentional about mothering {After the morning sickness/nausea/near-death finally passed (yay!), I have been much more excited to play and read with Benjamin and keep up with him a little better. He has been enjoying our story times together, which is nice for both of us}.

Personal

1. Complete 1 Project per month (from my list, found here) {Worked on more homemade cleaners, including hand soap and glass cleaner; the dining room is mid “re-decoration” (hope to share some pictures soon!); and…that’s about as far as I’ve gotten :)}

2. Start & Maintain a Blog {still doing it!}

3. Generate Additional Monthly Income {I have been working at church the past few months, and definitely in July, helping with VBS and a few other special projects, so it was a good month for my additional income contribution!}

Financial

1. Pay off our current car payment {DONE!!!!}

2. Purchase a 2nd Car with cash {DONE!!!! FINALLY!!! I am so excited about this one!!!!}

3. Pay off Nathan’s student Loan {ongoing}

Educational

1. Learn How to Can {ongoing…I did can some Applesauce a few months ago…but I was still pretty confused about what I was doing…}.

2. Read 24 Books (see list here) that will improve my life {Completed 3 books from my list!}

How have you been doing on your goals for this year??

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Creating a plan to achieve my goal of daily Bible reading was immensely helpful last month. So I decided to outline a similar plan for another goal that I have been struggling with:  Taking a Sabbath.

Why do I want to take a Sabbath?

I want to take a Sabbath because I want a time to have quite and calm and REST! I want to enjoy my family and not always be on the go. And I want to be stable and healthy both physically and mentally, both of which are achieved by getting proper rest. I tend to run myself hard for a few weeks and then inevitably have a breakdown from improper rest. And does it really matter if I do 100 things this week if I’m too tired to enjoy them? I don’t think so. My husband frequently reminds me that life is about quality, not quantity of years.

Sabbath, defined.

For me, a Sabbath is one day where I don’t have any “have-to’s”, only “get-to’s”. I get to go to church, spend time with family, enjoy nature, take a nap, see friends, read, and generally enjoy restful activities.

I want this. I think about enjoying a Sabbath during the week and actually look forward to it. But then I get to Sunday…and I don’t allow myself to actually observe my Sabbath. {Note: a Sabbath doesn’t have to be Sunday, but it is the day that works best for me and our family schedule so that is why I chose it}.

Right now, I think I struggle with actually taking and enjoying a Sabbath for 3 reasons.

1. I feel obligated to shop the sales.

This one is crazy, I know. But Sunday’s are when the new ads for Target and the drugstores come out, and since I’m always looking for a great deal, I really want to jump on them. The best time to go is Sunday morning (usually before church if I can manage it).  But wait — I’m waking up EARLY on my only Sabbath of the week…to go score an awesome tampon deal that I probably don’t even really need?? Hmm…

2. I let technology control what I do.

I turn on the computer for “just a minute to check something” and end up spending time floating around the blogs and before I know it, 2 hours is gone. I do collect a lot of sales and organize my deals, but do I really need to do this today?

3. I inevitably have to do all those things I “forgot” to do on Saturday.

“Oh shoot!  I need to bake cookies for Monday!”,  “Great, I forgot to finish my Bible study homework for tomorrow”,  “Wait, did we have anything planned for dinner tonight?” Usually right around 6pm on Sunday night I have one (or more) of these thoughts. Can anyone else relate??

And these are all things that end up robbing me of my Sabbath.

So here’s my plan for the month of May

1. No deal shopping on Sunday.

{This one is going to hurt!}. I will wait until I have the car on Thursday and take care of any shopping and deal hunting then. If I miss the deal, oh well. There WILL be another deal again — I have seen it happen!

2. I will disconnect from technology on Sunday.

That means no online browsing, no printing coupons, and it means keeping my laptop put away for 24 hours. It also means not using my iPhone for online purposes – phone calls only (gasp!).

3. I will make a list on Friday of everything that needs to be done for Sunday (or Monday morning).

Do I need to do laundry for the weekend? Plan or prep dinner for Sunday? Anything due or needed on Monday? Do we need anything at the store? Am I going anywhere Monday morning – what do I need to have ready? Then I will tackle this list by Saturday evening so I can enjoy my Sabbath on Sunday.

To some, it may seem like a restrictive list (and to be honest – it kind of seems that way to me too!), but I am willing to try it and see if it sticks. I may end up tweaking it a bit later on, but I think I can try it for a month and see how things go. I just tell myself “I’m not saying forever, I’m just saying for-now”.

And so begins the great experiment!

Do you take a weekly Sabbath? {Or do you need to take one?}. What does a Sabbath look like to you??

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Goals PhotoSo here’s my goal update for April. I feel good about some parts…not so good about others. I think I will need to start posting my weekly goals on here to help me stay accountable. Because I really DO want to accomplish all of my goals this year. I really did thoughtfully construct these goals in order to make them reasonable and attainable this year. So…here’s how I did in April…(and I;m planning for May to be even better!).

My word for the year: YES

I chose this as my word because I really want to be more open to: change, trying new things, and to what God has in store for my life as I transition from student/employee in to staying home with the Benjamin full-time. So, when I want to say NO, but I don’t really know why (Comfort? Laziness? Close-minded-ness??) then I’m going to try and say YES instead…and see what happens. I’m kinda scared…but kinda excited too…to dare that I could be something or someone else, and NOT always be who I am right now…

{April Update: (I’m really excited about this one!) I said “YES” to…letting go and letting God. I had really been struggling with a particular relationship in my life…lots of hurtful words and anger. But anger is useless and was really only hurting me. I finally gave it up to God and said “Enough!” I asked Him to heal me from this cancerous anger in my body. I said “YES” to accepting His healing of my heart and mind. And you know what happened?? He freed me of it :). And I feel so good! Like a HUGE weight has been lifted off of me. God is so faithful when we just say “YES” to Him. He has so much to give us if we just let Him. 🙂}

The rest of my goals…

Spiritual

1. Make Reading the Bible a priority EVERYDAY {I am doing GREAT at this!! After writing about my plan for succeeding in this area, I have been faithful to read my Bible (almost) every night before bed. I wasn’t able to read every night, but when I missed one, I gave myself grace and just picked it back up the next night. So far its been one chapter each night, and I have really been enjoying my (slow but steady) progress through the New Testament!}

2. Prayerfully find a cause that breaks my heart {Ongoing…}

Family/Marriage

1. Take a Sabbath once a week {Still working through this one…what does a Sabbath look like? Hmm. Perhaps this will be my next goal to tackle with a plan… }

2. Plan Monthly Date Nights Out with Nathan {Missed going out this month 😦 }

3. Be more intentional about mothering {Definitely been spending more time playing with Benjamin, getting down on the floor and being silly with toys and games. Trying to let him be himself and NOT trying to control everything that happens. It’s been fun watching him change and grow. I think talking is right around the corner!}

Personal

1. Complete 1 Project per month (from my list, found here) {I worked on the Garage quite a bit this month and was able to get rid of A LOT…but that’s really the only update so far…}

2. Start & Maintain a Blog {still doing it!}

3. Generate Additional Monthly Income {Still earning some money through Ibotta, worked a few hours from home for church, and worked at a Prom doing clerical for a  photography company that I know. So not too shabby this month!}

Financial

1. Pay off our current car payment {looks like this is going to be MAY!!! But I will keep you posted :)}

2. Purchase a 2nd Car with cash {…June is the word, but…we’ll see ;)}

3. Pay off Nathan’s student Loan {ongoing}

Educational

1. Learn How to Can {I have the pressure canner and the tutorials. Now I just need the jars and some produce! This is another thing that I *think* (read: want) will happen this month}.

2. Read 24 Books (see list here) that will improve my life {No excuses here…No real good reasons either… I didn’t really read much of anything this month…sad :(}

How have you been doing on your goals for this year??

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So here’s the sitch: I have a great list of goals for the year. Some are coming along quite well, others are just OK, and still others I cannot for the life of me manage to get together and work on at all. What’s the deal? (Seriously, does anyone else have the same problem??)

For example: I want to read my Bible every day. BUT, what does that really mean? Is one verse OK? Does it have to be in the physical book, or is online OK? Should it be at least one chapter? More? (how much more??) Does my small group Bible study homework count? If I miss one day, do I fail at my goal?

You see my dilemma.

I am a very “by the rules” kind of person. I need an outline, a plan, a list. And then I have to be able to check it off. 🙂

So this whole “read every day” goal is not really a goal, but an idea. With this realization, I have decided to revise my goal mid-year. GASP! Am I allowed to do that? I say…“YES!” (Which also happens to be my word for the year – win-win!).

If you have set a goal that doesn’t seem to be working for you, here are some steps that I went through to help me make a better plan.

1.    Start with a Question

Ask yourself:  “Why is {insert goal here} so important for me to accomplish this year?”

For me, reading the Bible everyday has always been something that I would like to make a priority and accomplish every day. I have gone through seasons where it has been a priority, and seasons where I have sorely neglected getting in to the word daily (or even weekly).  My answer to the question: It’s time to stop saying it would be a good idea to read the Bible daily, and instead form a habit to make it a priority so that I can continue to grow spiritually and be a good example to my son as he grows up.

2.    Define what achieving your goal means to you {not someone else}

I define Bible reading as just that: reading the Bible. Not doing a workbook study (although those can be very beneficial). I want to read the Bible and have first-hand revelations through meditation on the actual scripture, and not worry about speeding through to complete a book (or the whole Bible!) by the end of the year.

3.    Set yourself up to Succeed

So I have defined why and what my goal means, but when will I actually do it? For me I decided that I can do this one of two times during the day: during morning nap time, or before bed. I would LOVE to say that I will get up earlier than the rest of the family, but in all of my experiments with rising early I have failed dismally, leading to the conclusion that I am just NOT a morning person {and I don’t really want to be!}. So instead, I can choose a time that works best for me, like before bed or during morning nap time.

4.    Give Yourself Grace

OK, this is a big one and one that I’m not very good at….yet. 🙂  I really want to make reading the Bible a priority, but sometimes life happens and I miss a day. My {crazy, type-A, controlling} self wants to have a meltdown, and make wild accusations that I have failed, why try anymore, etc. But instead, I can choose to give myself grace, and know that forming a habit is the most important thing to accomplish. Missing one day does not undo everything already done, nor ruin any future progress. As Lysa TerKeurst says in her book “Unglued”, “Imperfect progress is still progress!”

So here is my revised goal {because I like things in writing…and let’s be honest, a list to check off ;)}

I will make reading the Bible a priority daily by doing the following:

1.Read at the same time every day for 15 minutes – during morning nap time or before bed – {I will probably experiment for the first week to find what works better}.

2. I will commit to reading at least one chapter everyday starting with the beginning of the New Testament. I will remain open to reading more, but I will not pressure myself to do so.

3. I will not come unglued if I miss a day. Instead, I will give myself grace and get back on schedule the following day.

Now, I realize that this is just one of my goals, and I would like to achieve all of my goals this year. BUT, I would rather establish them one at a time. I will still be working on the others…and I may revise some others in the coming months. I just wanted to encourage anyone else out there who may have good intentions, but lack the follow through – like I do!

I am anxious to see my progress this month!

Do you have any goals that you need to revise so that you are able to achieve them this year? What are some of your tips for success?


Goals Photo

Was it just me, or did March seem to fly by?? It seemed like time actually sped up…maybe because Easter was so early this year.

Yes, in fact, I have decided that I am going to blame Easter. I shall take no part of the blame…in coming up short on my goals…It was Easter, really 😉

But down to business. How did I do on my goals in March, you ask??

My word for the year: YES

I chose this as my word because I really want to be more open to: change, trying new things, and to what God has in store for my life as I transition from student/employee in to staying home with the Boy full-time. So, when I want to say NO, but I don’t really know why (Comfort? Laziness? Close-minded-ness??) then I’m going to try and say YES instead…and see what happens. I’m kinda scared…but kinda excited too…to dare that I could be something or someone else, and NOT always be who I am right now…

{March Update: I said “YES” to…EXERCISING!! Finally, right? 😉 Nathan and I have talked in the past about starting to exercise again…about making a plan, making the time, etc. etc…. but had yet to get in gear and actually do it. But no longer! We have made a schedule (on a calendar!) and have already started using the garage as our gym twice a week after Benjamin is down for the night. So far so good! I’m actually really excited about finally saying “YES” to this 🙂 .}

The rest of my goals…

Spiritual

1. Make Reading the Bible a priority EVERYDAY {not doing too great at this one…I suppose I have not made it a daily priority…but I want to…any suggestions???}

2. Prayerfully find a cause that breaks my heart {Ongoing…}

Family/Marriage

1. Take a Sabbath once a week {Did A LOT Better with this one in March – yay! Still had some hiccups…it wasn’t perfect…but it was progress 🙂}

2. Plan Monthly Date Nights Out with Nathan {We went out once in March.}

3. Be more intentional about mothering {I’ve been playing more with Benjamin in the afternoons, having “conversations” with him while we take walks, and (recently) been staying consistent with discipline/consequences.}

Personal

1. Complete 1 Project per month (from my list, found here) {OK, I am in a similar boat as last month, been working on a lot of the projects…but nothing is actually completed. I made some cleaning supplies, worked on the baby book, scanned more photos, cleaned up part of the garage (the drum set is GONE!)…so progress is happening, I think I just lack a plan…hmmm…} 

2. Start & Maintain a Blog {doing it!}

3. Generate Additional Monthly Income {I worked at church one day in March, used my Swagbucks to buy Amazon gift cards, and signed up for Ibotta and earned $1.25 on an item that was already free after purchase. So, doing much better this month 🙂}

Financial 

1. Pay off our current car payment {ongoing}

2. Purchase a 2nd Car with cash {not even close}

3. Pay off Nathan’s student Loan {ongoing}

Educational

1. Learn How to Can {Found a great tutorial online, and *BONUS*, my sister in law has a pressure canner (!!) that she is letting me borrow. I DO have to pay her in applesauce, but I think it will be totally worth it – I’m VERY excited!!! 🙂. Look forward to post about my (hopeful) success in this area :).}

2. Read 24 Books (see list here) that will improve my life {OK, so I really *wanted* to complete at least 3 books, but…I didn’t :(. I completed 5 other books not on the list, and am part way through 6 others…but alas, not even ONE to cross off…AGAIN…boo :(.}

How have you been doing on your goals for this year??

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Goals Photo

So how did I do on my goals in February?? 🙂

My word for the year: YES

I chose this as my word because I really want to be more open to: change, trying new things, and to what God has in store for my life as I transition from student/employee in to staying home with the Boy full-time. So, when I want to say NO, but I don’t really know why (Comfort? Laziness? Close-minded-ness??) then I’m going to try and say YES instead…and see what happens. I’m kinda scared…but kinda excited too…to dare that I could be something or someone else, and NOT always be who I am right now…

{February Update: I said “YES” to volunteering for working in the children’s’ department at my church on Wednesday nights and “YES” to attending a parenting class with Nathan at church too! I will say that I wanted to say “NO!” but since I could not think of a compelling reason to decline, I decided to go for it. And I’m glad that I did! I met some new people at the parenting class, and now Nathan and I are talking about finding a couples small group — a conversation we may not have had otherwise :)}

The rest of my goals…

Spiritual

1. Make Reading the Bible a priority EVERYDAY {er, started strong…back in JANUARY! But have not been keeping up with this faithfully. I shall try again in March!}

2. Prayerfully find a cause that breaks my heart {Been really seeking this one…}

Family/Marriage

1. Take a Sabbath once a week {OK, this one is REALLY hard! But I am trying harder to get all of my stuff done on Saturday so that I can fully rest on Sundays. I am going to try being more intentional in March!}

2. Plan Monthly Date Nights Out with Nathan {We went out once in February}

3. Be more intentional about mothering {Been spending more time just playing with my little guy, and it’s been GREAT!}

Personal

1. Complete 1 Project per month (from my list, found here) {yikes! In typical Blythe fashion, I have started or am sorta-part way through several of the projects…I started scanning photos, the garage is about half-way done, I got new curtains for the Dining Room, and I have started a schedule of backing up my digital and scanned photos to an external hard drive. And yet, I still can’t cross any ONE thing off the list! I am determined to be better in March! :)} 

2. Start & Maintain a Blog {yay! I’m doing it! Now I just have to maintain it :)}

3. Generate Additional Monthly Income {I worked at church one day in February — every little bit counts!}

Financial 

1. Pay off our current car payment {ongoing}

2. Purchase a 2nd Car with cash {not even close}

3. Pay off Nathan’s student Loan {ongoing}

Educational

1. Learn How to Can {No real update on this as of now…I have been reading blogs and learning about methods and the pros and cons of the different methods…no real “action” has taken place.}

2. Read 24 Books (see list here) that will improve my life {I am unfortunately struggling to keep to the list! I have finished 9 other books (none from the list :() . I guess I just get too distracted by all of the other “shiny” books out there! I am going to work hard to finish 3 books from the list, since I have actually started at least 2 of them 🙂 }

What about you? How are you ding on your goals for 2013??