Friday, January 27, 2012

Books for 2012

Last year I made out a list of books that I wanted to read in 2011. There were 2-3 books assigned to each month. I enjoyed making the list out and dreaming of the good titles I would be reading.

At first the list went along swimmingly, but as the year progressed I found that assigning a specific book order to the year did not work for me. My interests changed through the year, as did the situations I was dealing with. Sometimes I wanted to read the next book on my list, but had not purchased it yet. Other times a book would be given to me, or a wishlist book would come from PaperbackBookSwap, and I'd read that instead of the assigned book for the month. All in all, I did a great deal of reading last year, but only read about half the books on my list.

This year, instead of assigning books to certain months, I'm going to share a list of books I would like to read in 2012. I will read more books than the ones I list here (my goal is at least 30), and I may not read ALL of the books I list here, but here are a few of the books I hope to read in 2012.


One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are--I'm pretty sure this is going to be a yearly book for me.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think--A wonderful time-management book from last year. Definitely worth revisiting.

The Power of a Praying Wife--Another yearly book. My version has 30 days of prayers for your spouse; I have seen other versions that include 90 days, for spouse, self, and marriage. Perhaps I'll purchase the new version this year.

New Books
Scars and Stillettos---Harmony Dust now runs Treasures, a Christian ministry to women in the sex industry. I regularly volunteer with a local off-shoot of this ministry, We Are Cherished.

Dirty Girls Come Clean--This book addresses a deep need in the church, and one that I have been passionate about for years.

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life--I have heard so many great reviews on this book that I'd like to read it for myself.

Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
--recommended by a friend, this looks like something I need!

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives--Maintaining the "margin" in my days is a constant battle--my husband can easily tell when I'm loosing the battle.

Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love--This book speaks to one goal I have for this year--to learn hospitality!

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption--again, too many good reviews to skip!

Monday, January 23, 2012

21 weeks and counting

As of a few days ago I have reached the halfway point of this pregnancy. Twenty one weeks. If the due date is correct (and I don't expect it to be *smiles*) I'll be holding my little one in 133 days.

So far the Lord has blessed me with a very healthy pregnancy. I've been nauseous sometimes, but it hasn't been especially difficult or frequent. My immune system is definitely lower than normal--but usually I only get sick if I'm already pushing it too hard. I've dealt with exhaustion, but that has largely cleared up in the last month or so. I still crash sometimes, but usually there's a good reason.

I'm often asked if I've had any food cravings. Not especially, unless ice cream counts (and my hubby can affirm that craving isn't pregnancy specific!). I'm leaving the option open, though. It would be a shame to get through this entire pregnancy and NEVER play the "pregnancy craving" card. ;-)

I have had a genuine food aversion--ground beef. Apparently it is normal for a woman to develop a food aversion to something she was eating a lot of early in pregnancy. Maybe if I'd realized that I wouldn't have purchased 40lb case of ground beef right after I found out I was pregnant...

As of about 15 days ago I felt Baby for the first time. The very next evening Richard was able to feel her also. I went from feeling nothing whatsoever to feeling kicks every morning and evening. Now I can feel them throughout the day. It is a relief to have a daily confirmation that everything is going well.

Another frequent question is whether we plan on having a sonogram to discover the gender. At this point, no, we aren't planning on it. However, Richard's Granny is very good at gender prediction (of the last 13 babies born in the church, she has predicted 100% correctly). While I might not go out and decorate the nursery based on her prediction, I'm certainly looking forward to what she has to say.

21 weeks

Altogether this pregnancy has been a quiet, healthy one. I've been busy, but everything has been low-stress. I'm just enjoying my time with my baby, and taking advantage of the last few months my hubby and I have of being "just us" (while there may be three instead of two now, at this point Baby is happy to do whatever mama wants to do. I know that's going to change in the near future! *smile*).

We are greatly anticipating meeting our little one for the first time in just a few short weeks.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Habits for 2012

The past few months I've been thinking a lot about habit development. It started when I found a free copy of Smooth and Easy Days, a compilation of Charlotte Mason's writings on habit formation. The e-book is only 45 pages, but it gave me a great deal to think about.

Shortly after I read Smooth and Easy Days, another blogger (MoneySavingMom) started a 21 day habit forming challenge--21 Days to a More Disciplined Life. While I didn't participate in the challenge myself, her posts were inspiring and encouraged me to focus more on this area of my life in the future.

As I went over this past year and my goals for the coming year, I realized that the most important goal I have for the new year is not a single major accomplishment. Instead, the most important goal I have for 2012 is the formation of a handful of lifelong habits.

I have elected to use Ann's 100 day calendar. Each day I write down the three habits I'm working on, and check them off as they are accomplished. 100 days of working on each action will make them well-established habits.

I plan to use the calendar three times this year, starting January 1, then the week after Easter Sunday, and finally the week following my second Anniversary (mid-september). This will allow me a two month break around the time that Baby is due.

Here are the habits that I will be working on this year:
1. Scripture Memory
2. Thankfulness (1000 gifts project)
3. Dishes done before bed
4. 5 pictures daily
5. Prayer journal
6. Plan the day the evening before (daytimer, set out clothes, etc)
7. 10 minutes journaling
8. 20 minutes exercising
9. OPEN SLOT (to be determined as needed)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Goals for 2012

Last year I shared some of my goals for 2011. As I read through that post I had to smile. While some of those goals did not become reality, many of them did.

 Reading my goals for last year reminded me of the reason I make those lists. Writing my goals out--whether for the day, month, or year--really does help get things done. An undefined goal can never be achieved. It is just a dream, a hope. When I take that hope, define it to words, write the words as concrete goals, those dreams can become a reality.

What I've decided to do with the goal setting this year, is to think primarily in terms of 6 months, instead of 12 months. I'm doing this for two reasons:

First, I found that last year some of the goals that I set at the beginning of the year did not reflect my priorities later on. I also didn't count on some of the major life changes that my husband and I faced .

Second, this year I know in advance a major life change that will come along about mid-year in the form of Baby. From my current vantage point I have no way of knowing if the second half of this year (post-baby) I'm going to be able to maintain everything I do now, or struggle to maintain basic tasks. There are things that I take for granted now, that may need to become goals 6 months from now.

Therefore, while my personal goals span the entire year, my other goals are "pre-baby" goals. I will revisit this post in early July to set my "post baby" goals for the second half of the year.


  • Finish the Quieting a Noisy Soul course, along with the scripture memory passages before baby comes (12 weeks left)
  • Begin memorizing a meditating on the Commands of Christ, plus at least 2 supporting verses per command. Finish two commands a month, or 24 in 2012.
  • Exercise 20 minutes a day, 4 days a week
  • Focus on habit development, using the 100 day Calendar (more on that in a future post)
  • Read at least 30 books

Marriage (6 months)

  • Go on one vacation with my man
  • Maintain a regular weekly date night. 
  • Read at least 1 book together

Baby (6 months)

  • Organize home so it can run "without me" for a couple weeks
  • Have 3-4 weeks worth of meals in the freezer (breakfast, lunch, supper) by May 1
  • Prepare "nursery" in an orderly fashion
  • Take prenatal vitamins (yeah.... it's gotta go on the major goal list... :-P) 

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family 

  • Make hospitality a part of our lifestyle. Host community group bi-weekly, invite company monthly (more, of course, is better!)
  • Write one letter per month (preferably two)
  • Continue Keepers. Plan two awards banquets, two semesters, plus monthly summer activities led by another individual while I'm on "maternity leave."