Looking Ahead…Intentionally

It’s that time of year! The time when we look back at all of the accomplishments of the past year and all of the misses too. It’s also the time that we look forward…to what may come, to what we want to see happen, to the goals we have set and the dreams we have dreamed.

2014 is going to a big year, isn’t it? Regardless of whether I participate. Regardless of whether or not I step up and dream my dreams and set my goals and go after them. This year is big. Every year is. We can either choose to look forward (live and move and grow and challenge ourselves) or look behind (stew over regrets and missed chances and mistakes).

I’m looking forward.

And in 2014, here is what I’m looking forward to:

1)   Reading. I’m joining a challenge over at Jon Acuff’s site called the Empty Shelf. Empty out a shelf on your book shelf and fill it with books as you read them. Watch it fill up. There are ways for us techies to participate as well and virtually fill up our bookshelves if need be. No excuses. I always said that after I graduated and my book of “choice” wasn’t a textbook anymore that I would be a reader again. I did pretty well during the summer but once school started up I lost track again.

2)   Speaking of reading: My Bible reading plan has gotten out of whack (along with any other plan I’ve had) since I started working full time again. I’m planning on using this reading plan here. I specifically like how they have consolidated various readings such as the Gospels so that I’m not reading the story of the 5 loaves and 2 fish 4 times over.

3)   Devotionals with my children. While I’m fairly consistent in having them a few times a week with my kids, either individually or as a group, I feel a bit of a slacker on this one as well. Recently I found this devotional book and downloaded it for free on Kindle. It’s currently $5. 38, but that’s still a steal! I also love reading daily devotionals that draw relatable truth out of scripture that my kids can hear, take in, and then live out. One book that we’ve enjoyed and will continue to enjoy this next year is Josh McDowell’s  One Year Book of Josh McDowell’s Family Devotionals.

4)   Clint and I want to cook and eat better. One of the sites that we’ve looked at utilizing in our home is  100 Days of Real Food’s site. There are mini pledges available and there are ideas on ways to cut various foods out of your diet and how to do them on a budget. One thing we want to do more of is use our crock pot more. They have a link to over 100 recipes on their site for the crock pot. Yippee!

5)   Allrecipe.com. In addition to eating healthier and creating better meals, I’ve begun organizing them online. I created an online profile at allrecipe.com so that I can find and store recipes as I need them. It’s a virtual recipe box. Love it! And…it goes even further if you want. It helps you create weekly menu’s and grocery lists based on those menu’s. Um…sign me up! Oh, wait, I already did J

6)   Travel. Every year we get better at this. But every year we also make plans that always seem bigger than our means. This year we’ve already sat down and made plans and budgets for what we intend on doing. Clint and I are taking a trip with some good friends to a city we’ve always wanted to see. Clint and I are planning on going to NYC. I’ve wanted to go since I was young. And our family is planning a vacation to go see friends and family we haven’t seen in a while over summer vacation. In addition, Clint has to take a residency trip for his PhD and we will be picking a location that we’ve never been to before. We are so excited for everything we’ve got in the works and can’t wait to share these experiences together!

7)   Exercise. I sound like a broken record, but every year I get a little bit better at making this resolution stick. Last year I did a couple 5K’s and beat my time each time. I also began running on the treadmill and exercising at least a little bit every day. As with #1, I went a little down hill once the school year started and I was working full time. But my intention is to carve out time daily for exercise. Some days more than others but I think if I can carve out at least 20 minutes I can get at least a mile in on a daily basis. One of the ways that has helped tremendously in the last year is using My Fitness Pal. I use it mostly on my iPhone but it is available in a plethora of ways.

8)  Blogging. I’ve, again, really struggled with making this a regular part of my life and day since starting working full time. In the last month I’ve started finding ways again. I can’t believe it took almost 4 months to figure out a way to find time to write again! But, I don’t want that to happen again. I care very deeply about writing and about my two sites and I intend on making them both a priority. For this site, my main purpose is to just share life and to share updates on this list of things that I’m working on.

 9)   In case you didn’t pick up on it, I’ve used a word a couple of times (intentionally) and the last thing on my list is that this year, like last year I’m going to be doing My One Word. My word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL. I think sometimes it’s too easy to make plans and not follow through. To have dreams and not work towards them.To have ideas of how we want our lives to look and then not have the reality match up to the picture in our minds. I really want to aim for intentionality this year. To be intentional in all the things that matter. To be intentional with my family. My friends. My walk with God. This list.

It’s been very difficult to create a “new normal” for my family  in 2013 and this new year is about figuring out what matters most. Of course, I know what matters most – God. So, let’s break it down a bit. It’s about prioritizing. It’s about putting first things first. It’s about giving time and attention and focus and effort to the things that I want in my life and learning to intentionally let go of the rest of the things that just don’t fit.

So, here’s to 2014! A year of intentional growth, challenge, change and success!

Do you make resolutions? What’s on your list?

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