Preparing for 2012

It’s been a busy day.  I’m determined to start 2012 off fresh.  So, I’ve been sorting, scrubbing, cleaning, going through clutter (it’s amazing how much clutter a family can have), tossing stuff…  phew!  What a load of trash we had this week.  But, I’m seeing progress.

I’m planning our New Year’s Eve dinner/evening and will start making everything that can be made ahead of time.  One of the things that I like to do is make homemade rolls and have discovered that I can make them the day before and let them slowly rise in the fridge overnight.  Then I take them out of the fridge to come to room temp for about 1/2 hour while the oven is heating up before baking them.  (This works really well, by the way, if you want to have sticky buns or cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning.)

We’re going to enjoy our New Year’s Eve celebration as a family.  I hope you enjoy yours.

Happy New Year!

We had a fantastic Christmas.  It was quiet, peaceful (well, as peaceful as it can be with two boys), and beautiful.  The weather during the week leading up to Christmas was definitely not my idea of “Christmas-like” since it was warm enough here to walk around with t-shirt, capri pants, and flip flops.  I found myself singing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”

For me, this week after Christmas is about getting ready for 2012.  I’m determined to get organized, to make some plans and work them, and to make a few changes that I’d like to see.  About 5 years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to make New Year’s resolutions anymore.  Usually, they were things that I didn’t have time or the inclination to complete after a couple of months although they were good ideas.  Well, this year life has changed for me.  I’m working from home now so have more time… no long commute to and from work (there’s an extra 2 hours a day right there), no overtime keeping me from my family, and no more all nighters or weekends in the office when deadlines had to be met.

Although I’m really big on constantly learning and developing and growing I realized that my thinking wasn’t quite where it needed to be.  Yes, I was going to school and reaching goals, but in a way, I was also letting life happen to me.  Well 2012, here I come.  No more letting life happen to me.  Time isn’t slowing down.  It’s speeding by.  It’s time to take charge of life, determine what means the most to me, and only accept responsibilities and activities that fit into my personal and family goals.  No more overloading myself.

So what does that mean in terms of actions?  It means reprioritizing my priorities, determining my purpose for this year, and doing some things for myself instead of wearing myself out.  (If Mommy is worn out, she doesn’t make a very happy, healthy or energetic Mommy.  I need to take care of me so that I can take care of my husband – the love of my life – and my boys.)  That’s what this week has been about for me.  I’ve not been feeling well, but as I’m laying in bed at night (not sleeping for some reason), I’ve been thinking and praying about how to plan, prepare and move forward.

Proverbs 16:9 keeps coming to mind.  “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  So, as I pray about the course my life is going to take, make plans, take action, and determine that I want my life to honor God, I know that He’ll do some pretty amazing things in my life and for our family.

I am excited about 2012 and I hope that you are just as excited about your new year.

Blessings,

Sheree

I Love Christmas

Hot chocolate, Café Zéphyr, Paris
Image via Wikipedia

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.  Usually we wait to decorate until a couple of weeks before Christmas and leave everything up until New Year’s Day.  So, today is the start of all of that.  I’ve spent time dusting and cleaning so that we’ll be ready.  We’re going out to get our tree this morning.  While the tree sits in place and it’s branches relax, waiting to be decorated, it will be time to put on the Christmas music and start decorating the house.  This evening… hot chocolate or hot apple cider, popcorn, Christmas movie, enjoying decorations/lights, and enjoying family.

Have a blessed day.

An Awesome Gift

It’s been 8 days since I’ve written.  Time goes by so fast that if we don’t purposefully plan certain activities, they simply won’t get done.  I’m often saying, “There are not enough hours in the day.”

The piano recital went well.  Doodlebug was the youngest player and one of a couple students who had practiced hard enough to play his song through completely without error.  Thankfully Mommy’s part in the piano duet went well also and I didn’t blow it for him.  (smile)

I woke up super early this morning.  In my quiet time I was reading a devotional that I thought had an awesome idea that I’d like to share with you.  (But, be forewarned.  Don’t take it on and promise it as a gift to someone unless you have the intention of actually doing it.)  I have been getting a daily e-mail update from Proverbs 31 Ministries (http://www.proverbs31.org/).  In today’s e-mail, Holly Good wrote about the best Christmas gift she had ever received in 44 years.  A friend of hers gave her an ornament, but also wrote a letter to her promising to pray for her every single day for the next 365 days.    Her response:

“Tears threatened to spill down my cheeks as I silently stood and hugged my friend.  Her written words were an immediate healing balm to my soul.  My mouth could not produce the thoughts I was longing to say aloud.  I calmly folded my sweet letter and replaced it in the envelope.  And smiled.  Someone would be praying for me every day!  Without fail.  What a gift.”  (To read the rest of the devotional go to http://www.proverbs31.org/ and click on “Read Today’s Devotion”.  If you’re looking this up after 08-Dec-2011, type in “365 Days of Blessing” in the box that says “Search Past Devotions”.)

That devotion had me thinking about prayer and commitment.  Prayer is a pretty awesome thing and we often take it so lightly.  Imgine… we have a way to speak with God!!  He’s not a genie in a bottle who grants us whatever wishes we want and then we ignore Him the rest of the time.  He’s not a buffet table where we can take what we want and leave the rest.  He is God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.  He created you and me.  And yet, He wants communion with us and provides a way for us to communicate with Him.  That is incredibly awesome.

So often prayer is all about us.  We ask God for what we want and then the prayer is ended.  That’s it for the rest of the day (except, maybe, for grace at the table).  But, think about all of the opportunities to pray to God.  Prayer doesn’t have to be formal and done in a certain way at a certain time. In fact, we’re told, “Pray without ceasing.” in I Thessalonians 5:17.  That doesn’t mean that we have to abandon everything and simply sit and pray.  But, we need to be mindful about our relationship with God.

All throughout the day notice things in nature that speak about God’s creativity and artistry.  Take a moment to praise Him for it.  When people come to mind, pray for them specifically.  Turn the radio off for a while and use your commute to and/or from work to pray (with eyes wide open) while you’re driving.  Sing praise and prayers to God.  When you’re going about your work (whether in a Corporate office, out in a field, in a volunteer position, or at home) ask for strength, ask God to keep you ever mindful of living a life of integrity, ask for opportunities (whether through lifestyle of words) to share Him with others.

Have a devotion time and make time specifically for prayer.  (Here’s where purposefully planning certain activities comes in.)  When you lay in bed at night and close your eyes, take time to thank God for all that He’s done for you and all that He’s given you.   It will amaze you how your perspective will change when you keep God and others in mind throughout the day.

Hopefully you’re praying faithfully every day for each member of your family.  But, if you’re so lead to commit to praying for someone else specifically 365 days a year, think about the gift that Holly Good wrote about in Proverbs 31 Ministries and give that gift for Christmas to that special person.  What an awesome gift!