Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Report

Our Young Women's Lesson on Sunday was about goal setting. The teacher asked us to write five goals we would like to accomplish in the next five years. I admit that I found the task slightly intimidating. It was an odd sensation really. I began carrying a Day-Timer in the 8th grade and upgraded to an actual Franklin Planner by the time I was 16. For years I was married to the book and to my plan and to my will. Then I had a baby and left the work force. Oh, schedules and lists are still a part of my basic Type A sensibilities, but if I have learned anything about a five year plan it is that LIFE HAPPENS.

Even as I wrote down my goals--realistic, achievable, ambitious goals--I thought I heard the sound of Heavenly Father giving a little chuckle. Does this sound sacrilegious? I'm sorry. I don't mean it to be. It is just that sometimes I think God watches our plans with a wry smile, knowing so much better than we do what is ahead.

I don't think it means that we shouldn't make goals and plans, nor that we should work to realize our dreams. Maybe it means that I need to be more mindful of what the Lord wants for me.

As I look at my goals from last year, I see that they involve a lot of day to day improvements, and my goals have really helped to guide my behaviors this year. Yet, at the same time, they haven't helped me with any long term plans. Where do I see myself in five years? What do I want out of life? Why is it so hard to find answers to these questions? (Answer: because my diet has consisted of chocolate, Martinelli's, egg nog and homemade rolls for the past week. Not exactly brain food.)

So here is my analysis of how well I did this year. My new set of resolutions will show up some time next week.

1. I will read my scriptures over breakfast each morning and before doing any other reading for the day.

I did better with this one than I did last year. In the spring I purchased a set of inexpensive scriptures and began marking them according to the referenced scriptures from the conference talks. This system has given me a goal for my daily-ish study and I like the organization of it. I have also listened quite extensively to the conference talks from this year on my iPod when I do my early morning paper route.

2. I will spend at least 15 minutes daily reading to my baby.
I'm certainly more cognizant of this now, but still not as consistent as I need to be.

3. I will cook one new recipe each month.
I haven't posted these as regularly in the last few months, but I think it is safe to say that I did accomplish this one. We have a few yummy new dishes in our regular repertoire of meals and this was a fun undertaking. I just finished reading (yes, reading) a cookbook that I got for Christmas (make that 49 books) that originally started as blog. And yes, the cookbook reads more like a blog. Anyway, she has some wonderfully fattening recipes I'm looking forward to trying in the coming months. I enjoyed this read so much that I've added the Pioneer Woman to my blogroll and axed Feminist Mormon Housewives. Ah! Liberation!
4. I will continue reading my stack of classics.

I actually read a few different ones than the ones in the stack. By my count I read anywhere between 5 and 20 "classics" this year. It depends on what you call classic. My definition is pretty liberal too, twenty it is!

5. Plantboy and I will find a way to get our 10th anniversary trip.

And we did! Remember how awesome it was?

6. I will not count down until my time as Enrichment Leader has been served, nor will I grumble about my calling.

I was released in March, just as I'd come to a lot of really positive and helpful conclusions. Isn't that always the way? I'm sure that at least one of my 2010 goals will involve my current, and much more difficult calling.

7. I will not stop writing.

I didn't, but I have slowed down more than I wanted to. I did self-publish, sort-of, a manuscript read by my book group. I also sent out a manuscript for review by several of you. Thanks for the feedback, by the way. Those of you who have not submitted anything, try to get that finished in the next month, will ya? Thanks. I need to make this goal a lot more specific.

8. I will not use the line of credit on my checking account even once this year.

Okay, I did a few times, but only a couple of times on accident and only a few more times on purpose. This is huge for me.

9. I will not spend more than one hour in any given day between Blogger and Facebook.

Uh. No.

10. I will not let distance keep me from attending the temple at least once each quarter.

Done. But it isn't enough. I miss more regular attendance like a sharp ache. I am in a place right now that I feel like weekly attendance would be wonderful. I might have to compromise with 6 times a year.

Not a bad year all in all. I'm grateful for the lessons I learned and improvements made, incremental as they were. The year end contest (see previous post) will run through the first week in January. I will post the winners when I post goals for 2010. Yes, yes, I know I don't NEED to do so, but I think it really helps to keep me honest when I see them written down, and reporting about them keeps me on track.

I'll finish here with extended family pictures (mine) from Thanksgiving this year. They are a good snapshot of what we all looked like in 2009. Okay, I lied. This blessed photographer re-touched them beautifully--especially the close-ups and made me look like I'd been to the wigmaster. Poor Padawan spent all morning throwing up and still got dragged out into the freezing cold for pictures. And hour later, this meadow was coated with a thick layer of snow and completely dark. Yes, that light sky is totally fake. Thank you, Photoshop.

Aren't my parents still cute after forty years of marriage?

Who needs Botox and zit cream when you have software that lets you make perfect skin? My mom looks like our sister. I think our photographer felt obligated to doctor this one. When she got really close to us I said, "Uh-oh. Pore shot." In the final I don't even HAVE pores.

I don't know why, I but just love this picture of me and my sister. I think it is that death grip hug she has on me--she clearly loves me but isn't quite sure if she wants to strangle me too. If you think we look different, don't worry, the differences go way deeper than that. ;) Still, we are bound together by our shared history and strong personalities. I call her three times a week. She also has three sons--maybe we are both destined to have only boys so that we stay close to one another. Maybe neither of us is willing to have six kids to find out.

I chose this picture of me and my sibs because of the way that orange shirt accentuates my holiday gut. No wait, that can't be the reason. I chose it because as the photographer encouraged us to walk over toward the nasty, moldy hay bales my older brother said in a really nasally voice,"I can't I'm allergic . . ." to which my younger brother, without missing a beat, replied, "Yeah, to the Hantavirus." I just love my brothers.

My understanding of the color scheme was autumn colors. Most everyone else wore blue, though there was a healthy smattering of gray and pink also. The result, the big group shots look a bit disjointed, but the individual families turned out quite good. I mean, except for my poor swine-flu baby.


Jenny said...

Actually still HAVING an early morning paper route absolves you from any other imperfection on your 2009 list.
GREAT family!
Happy Christmas week!

heidikins said...

Huzzah for lists, I love this one--I can't wait to see what you'll be up to for 2010.


Melanie said...

I feel kind of like you do: how can I know where I'll be in five years? Of course I plan and do the best I can, but I've learned that ultimately it's Heavenly Father who directs my life. My goals tend to be focused on behavioral changes and "bucket list" types of small things that I'd like to accomplish during the year. I like to put small things like visiting such and such museum or spend time looking at the stars - it gives me an excuse to do small things that make me happy, and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I get to cross them off of my list.

Yankee Girl said...

We had that lesson last week and I was at a total loss about what I want to accomplish in 5 years for the same reason you listed: life happens (and not at all the way I thought life would happen). Instead I resorted to thinking about what kind of a person I want to be. I think my goals this year will be a mix of helping me to become that person with a few fun items that will give me something to check off.

Janssen said...

I love reading people's goals. . .can't wait for the next ones!

emandtrev said...

Great list. I've been thinking about mine--with equal parts (or not) of trepidation and zeal.

I love your family pictures. You all look beautiful and your autumn colors are perfect.

Last but not least, I read a review just last night of the Pioneer Woman cookbook. It was positive. I'd love to hear your thoughts once you have time to read more and try some of the recipes.

Lady Susan said...

The blues look great with the fall colors of orange and yellow. So pretty!

Dickey said...

What a gorgeous family pic! Beautiful colors and people. ( BTW I am a big fan of Pioneer Woman)