Friday, January 23, 2015

Hopeful Ambitions: 2014 Goals Recap

So, before I share my goals for the current year, I thought I'd revisit the 2014 goal list and see how I did. Here they are:


1. Cook dinner three times a week at a minimum and start meal planning. Hmm. Well, we got better at cooking and I'd say we averaged three times a week. We didn't really commit to meal planning until actually right here recently. I still think we have a LONG way to go, but I've seen some improvement.

2. Read 30 books between now and January 1, 2015. This is probably the biggest joke on the whole list. That would be a hard nope. I read exactly nine books this year:
Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions-  Brennan Manning 
Immersion Bible Study: Psalms- J. Clinton McCann
A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live- Emily Freeman
Many Ways to Say I Love You: Wisdom for Parents and Children from Mister Rodgers- Fred Rogers
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child- Jonh Gottman
Real Sex- Lauren Winner
Finding My Way Home: Pathways to Life and the Spirit- Henri Nouwen 
On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 - Gerhard O. Forde
To be honest, I find this pretty disappointing. Seeing how I started in April, I basically averaged one a month. I'm not going to be so ambitious this coming year, but I want to do better.

3. Start a goodreads account for myself (and one for the kids). I did do this (I actually just have a kids "shelf" on my account) and it's been fun to keep up with.

4. Watch 10 new documentaries between now and January 1, 2015. I watched seven (including one made for kids)
The Loving Story
Slavery By Another Name
Brooklyn Boheme
Terms and Conditions May Apply
Prom Night In Mississippi 

And also these, which are documentaries in a sense:
Nancy and Tonya
The Price of Gold 

5. Practice some form of self-care daily. I (probably) did this daily. I wish I was a little more intentional with it and noticed the time and grace I was giving myself. I also wish that this looked healthier (coming in the form of a bubble bath instead of a dessert).

6. Learn to navigate the subway by myself. Well, I knocked this one out of the park. No, not really. Some days it's still hard. Really hard. But I've made it (and the buses, which honestly can be more complicated, but are really more desirable or necessary for some trips) work for us and it's really given me a lot of confidence in myself.

7. Get my nose pierced. Yep, and I've LOVED it.

I feel pretty good about my personal goals. And in some areas (like transit) I feel stellar. The only one that really bothers me is the reading goal. 


8. Have weekly planning/budget meetings with Peyton. This didn't happen really at all. Our budget up here was intentionally the loosest it's been in our marriage and so I don't really think that it necessitated weekly meetings. The weeks we did plan out together were far and above our most successful, happy ones in the city.

9. Have a designated lesson planning time each week. I started out really strong with this and then just naturally it sort of evolved into something different. Right now, I spend about twenty minutes, give or take, looking over the days lessons and listening what I want to accomplish. I really think it works better that way right now. At some point, I'll probably need to move to something different, but I've loved that part of my routine over the last six months or so.

10. Back up blog(s) monthly. Well, no. I back them up somewhat frequently (every few months when I think about it), but I wish I was more consistent about it.

11. Consistently upload pictures to the external and Flikr. Again, NO. Like I'm way behind. There are things I prioritized high above that this year, and that's fine (best, really), but I'd like to do better. I did keep up pretty consistently with my blog and I've kept up to date with adding monthly Facebook albums.

12. Work through Storyline and figure out if I could benefit from using a tool like these Power Sheets. I didn't do it. And I really have no excuse.

I'm a little disappointed in my organizational goals, to be honest. I like to make these things a priority because it makes me feel less stressed, but if there's an area to fail in, this would probably be my preferred one. 


13. Email Darlene (my close friend/mentor) weekly. I looked back over our emails and it averaged closer to monthly than weekly. Honestly, I'm okay with that, though, because they were meaningful and I felt like they kept us connected to the extent I NEEDED to be. Also, I've ended up emailing with two other close friends from home. One is a more recent thing, the other has been going on for awhile. One of these is a multiple times a week thing and the other is an almost daily thing.

14. Call/text a friend from home weekly. I didn't do this and I wish I had made more time for it, but as I said I've connected really deeply with some Mississippi friends through email and honestly, that's really a better platform for conversations at this point in my life.

15. Call Minnie on most weeknights that Peyton works. I didn't do this at all and it's been surprisingly okay. I talk to my mom a lot less than I thought I would (once or twice a week sometimes, sometimes more). I'm usually just kind of peopled out by the end of the day and I know that if I call we'll end up talking a long time. Which is great. I love it. But it can't be an almost every night thing for me. I do want to try to do better in these last few months here.

16. Write a hand written note twice a month. I didn't do this at all. It would have been really nice and I had plenty of opportunities to do it.

17. Write our sponsored child monthly, at a minimum. Not even close. Ugh. One of my most disappointing items on the list, especially because I had big plans to get the kids involved.

Again, I feel pretty good about these. Though I changed them up a bit, I think the spirit of the goals was met. I do feel really horrible about no writing to our sweet little World Vision girl more, though. 


18. Pray for Peyton and the children daily- in specific, passionate, and authentic ways. This is an area I think I could improve in, but the truth is I could always find room to improve in this area. I think I saw improvement this year and that's what matters to me.

19. Read to the children daily. I didn't really have to make this a goal, I don't guess, but I wanted to the reminder to prioritize it. As other schoolwork takes up more and more space in our lives, I want this to remain a priority. And I think it has.

20. Have a "date" (take-out) twice a month with Peyton. We didn't do this, but I'm okay with it. We honestly haven't found as many places we love as we did in Jackson (yes, I realize the irony that we prefered restaurants in Central Mississippi to New York City, but it is what it is).

21. Read five books together with Peyton. We read one book together and I read one book shortly after Peyton finished it. That is actually more than I realized until I started thinking about it. I would have liked to have read more together, and I'm sure that will be a goal for this year.

22. Prayerfully consider the next steps in family planning and decide in what direction we will move in that regard once we arrive home. We did this and as well as considering schooling, financial stuff, and where (in the Jackson area) we'd live. I feel like we're at a really good place and a place of peace. We are trying to figure out where (as in which Walgreens) Peyton will be working and also his schedule, but those things will fall into place.

23. (***See NYC Family Goals)


24. Daily pray, read Reflections for Ragamuffins and do some form of Bible study. I feel like my prayer live has developed a good bit, I've been reading my devotional regularly and loving it (though, I haven't always this year) and I have been doing a Bible study, but not as consistently as I'd like.

25. Find a temporary church home in BK- one that is manageable when I'm on my own with the children. Again, we knocked this one out of the park. No, in all honesty, though, the Lord did. We found not one, but two communities that we adore, and that I've been able to manage getting to with the kids when Peyton works.

26. Privately journal prayers and thoughts more often. I didn't really do this and actually Peyton mentioned just the other day that he thought it would be helpful for me. I think he's right and I should work on that.

27. Find some form of missional service to be regularly involved in around Brooklyn, or in the surrounding boroughs. We did! We became pretty enamored with the raw, genuine, earnest way we saw others serving at A House on Beekman and it was our great privilege to join alongside these new friends in ministry.

Obviously, this would be a category where it would be deeply important for my goals to reflect my heart and I think they did and I think I was mostly successful and that feels good. However, it also feels good to be at a place where I know, more than ever, that my worth is not tied to accomplishing anything and especially in this area, it has been accomplished. 


28. Take advantage of writing workshops, classes, ect. in the city.
Eh, I did this once. Well, really twice. One of much more beneficial than the other, though. I did do a lot of learning, though, I think (programs at the Brooklyn Historical Society, Mockingbird, and a photography class, for example). This is only relevant because I was just simply only willing to be away from my family so much this year. So, I feel really good about this.

29. Blog 4-5 times a week. Mostly, yes.

30. Write "creatively" at least weekly. Probably not even half the time. This will always be a goal (or at least it seems like it will be for the foreseeable future) because even though it's can be labor intensive, it's such an important part of me.

31. Become intentional about commenting on others' blogs. Eeek. I went in waves. And never very strong ones. I wish I had done better.

32. Read three books about writing/creativity. Not really. I read some good writers and I read Nish Wiseth's book about Story, but that was less about writing and more about just sharing your story.

33. Take pictures with my real camera at least once a week (in addition to the family picture). I failed miserably at this one. Actually, the failure could only be surpassed by...

34. Teach myself some form of hand sewing (probably cross-stitching). There was really no reason to add this to any list during the one year of my life when I live away from Minnie: picture smocking extraordinaire, crochet queen, crossstich boss. I mean WHY?

So, yeah, my blogging/creative goals was another area I could have done a good bit better in. 

***Now for the asterisks on number 23....we have some goals specifically for this year in the city. We have a few for "days off", but they're sort of included above (reading a certain amount, cooking a meal, and Peyton and I do our Bible studies together), so I'm just sharing the monthly and weekly goals. Anyway, here they are: 


- Meet up with new friends (i.e. we have several "friend of a friends" and shallow connections and we'd love to make those relationships more meaningful). Ideally, this will turn into more than once a month. We did this at least once a month, I'd say. And that has been really amazing.

- Do two "city walks". Not really. We've just found so many other interesting, exciting things to do. I don't have any regrets about not getting these in.

- Get outside our borough. What? This one is so funny in retrospect. We get into the city at least weekly, I'd say and we venture up to the Bronx a good bit to help out with A House on Beekman. We've been to Queens exactly once and never to Staten Island and that seems just about right.

- Be involved in some sort of missional activity at least twice a month. It was really weekly in 2014 and serving in the South Bronx is one of the things I'll forever remember about NYC.


- Go on at least one educational outing. I think we did really well with this one. We joined three museums (The Met, the Museum of Natural History, and the Children's Museum here in Brooklyn). We went to those a good bit (well, really not as much The Met) and we've done alot of other random things that popped up.

- Make a trip to either the (a) library or the Brooklyn Children's Museum. We didn't do this weekly all year. During some stretches, I'd say for sure we did. But when we didn't, I think it was because we were busy with other good stuff.

- Go on at least one "long" walk (two miles or more). Being married to Peyton made this a reality =) We walk two miles to church and back on the weekends he's with us. So that's four miles. It's nothing for us to walk a mile somewhere and a mile back. That probably sounds like no big deal to most people, but I'm in much better shape than I've been in a good long while.

- Try one new restaurant/eatery. Again, no. That has been one of the few struggles with kids here. Spaces are just small and we have this big stroller a lot of the time and it's much more difficult to pop in a place than in Mississippi. We probably averaged two new places a month at first and now probably one a month. Also because it just gets easier to go back to your favorite places you know work well. 

- Attend church. Definitely. Both places on most Sundays. I'm not going to lie, especially when Peyton is working, but really in general, Sunday is our hardest day. And I know for some people that wouldn't sit right. But it's been beautiful for us, really. We've gained so much from our two communities and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

So, I think we did REALLY well on our goals specific to the city. And quite honestly, it's partly because of that that some other things fell by the wayside. That's okay. We only have a year here and I feel like we prioritized things very close to the best way we could. Obviously, there are a few things I'd change if I could go back, but that's what this year is for =)

It's been a great year and as far as this kind of thing is concerned, one of my best (if not the best) yet. We (mostly) lived our priorities and we loved well and that is a lot to say for a year! 

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