Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gaining in 2014

I realize, as another year comes to a close, that's I'm really, really good about making goals for myself and even at putting them out there for the world to see.  I am not, however, very good at sticking with them. I realize I need some form of real accountability. I need to be held to the fire to make it happen. Every year for the last 5+ years, I've said "I'm gonna lose weight this year."  Funny thing is that in 2012, I succeeded. I lost 40 lbs that year!  I've also said many times that I'm going to spend more time with God, exercise more, and be better wife & mom.  I've said I'd be devoted to my life's goals of writing a book and becoming a conference speaker & presenter.  I've made some lofty goals over the years, but really, if I'm honest have not been successful in reaching those goals.  That's a tough pill to swallow, but I promised when I started this blog to be sincere.  So, this is me being sincere.  I'm human and sometimes, I fail. Thankfully, God still loves me (and many of you do too!). Whew!!! I am eternally grateful for THAT!!!

In 2012, I lost 40 lbs.  In 2013, I gained 47 back. Yikes!!! How could I let that happen?  I let those awful bad habits creep back in to my life and I lost all focus and dedication to my health.  I've even tried to recommit several times this year...keyword...tried.  Fell short. 

I've said before I wanted to run a half-marathon and then sat my big booty on the couch and didn't make it happen.  Why?

I've said before I'm going to write a book.  My book.  My story.  I believe with all my heart that God has given me the experiences of my life so I can impact others and I know that it will honor Him for me to share that story in the written word.  Unfortunately, I just haven't forced myself to do it. What's holding me back?

At least 2013 wasn't a complete loss. I did have a goal of speaking more and this year I was blessed to be a paid speaker at two separate events.  What an incredible experience!!! I am truly humbled and honored to be able to connect with people in this manner and I'm praying God will open more doors for me, in the future.

The year 2014 starts in about 3 hours and its time for me to decide...will this be another year of the same ol' same ol' or will this be a year of "LET'S DO IT!" ???? (Where's the Magic 8 Ball when you need it, huh?)

I'm praying for strength, endurance, perseverance, focus, and determination and I'm looking to God in my journey for the coming year.  I'm making my goals for the year more measurable and they're all goals I can track and check off as I go...so I can see progress.  I'm not focusing on what I want to lose, but instead, I've decided to make goals that will help me gain something positive in my life. 

In 2014, I plan to
1) Spend 10 minutes w/ God each day. (and, I'm going to commit to doing this BEFORE I check my smartphone apps or email or bank account! If I can spend way more than 10 minutes checking these things each day, I can definitely spend 10 minutes with my Father.)
2) Eat at home more/Cook more (menu planning will be key).
3) RUN in three 5ks and one 10k race. (I'll be one of 4 featured moms on the journey to a 5k in a local family magazine www.MetroFamilyMagazine.com from February to April...how's that for accountability???)
4) Blog at least 2x/month on Sassy & Sincere AND When Foster Care Goes Right
5) Write 12 pieces for www.FosterFocusMag.com
6) Book 4 paid speaking engagements as a conference or workshop presenter.

What will you do in 2014 to impact your life in a positive way?  Share your goals in the comments section here.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The "F" word at Thanksgiving?????

A few nights ago, I was sitting with my kids watching a little TV and I had this thought "Maybe its not about me."  So, I grabbed my laptop, trying to push away the thought and I was going to write a fun little blog post, or work on my newest magazine article. Determined to not spend too much time entertaining this awful little thought. I mean who really wants to admit it isn't about me? As I opened "My Documents" I scrolled across a letter I'd started months ago and never finished because it was just too painful...too raw...and too challenging.

First, let me give you the back story.

Last spring, I heard my new friend Amy Little of Beautiful Truth Ministries teach on the importance of repentance and forgiveness for the family tree and future generations.  A pretty run-of-the-mill sermon topic, huh?  

Well...no.  Not this time.  

I really didn't like her message, at all.  In fact, I have NEVER approached a Bible teacher after the message to say "I don't agree with this" in my life! Until that night.  

Yep. I sure did. I walked right up to Mrs. Amy and said "Excuse me, but I'm really struggling with this idea." 

What I really meant was "This is totally and completely wrong!" 

Of course, trying to be the good little Christian girl at Thursday night Bible study, I was not going to say that! How could I be so rude?!?!  So, I "churched" it up a little but the heart-feeling was still there.  I didn't like what I'd heard and I was not going to own it!!!

So, what was the big deal about Mrs. Amy's message? She was preaching on the section of scripture that talks about the sins of the father being visited on the children.  She had the gall to suggest that each of us needs to repent for the sins of our ancestors and to seek forgiveness, on their behalf.  

Forgiveness! The new "F-bomb".

Are you kidding me?!?!? I was the victim of my ancestors and my parents and I have spent my whole life learning to not own their sins as my own and I am not about to start repenting, on their behalf, now.  Why should I? I mean, shouldn't they be apologizing, repenting and seeking forgiveness from me?  I should not have to apologize, seek forgiveness, or to repent for any of their actions.  Right?!?!

I left Bible study and told myself to just forget the whole thing...that was not God's message for me.  It did not apply to my life.  Her message was intended for someone else and God did not expect me to do this.  Afterall, I was not living a life like them and my children are happy.  I'm not angry at the world and I don't believe the world is out to get me. I have turned things around and I've taken the opportunities to find stability, success, and real happiness in front of me. 

Then, a few months later, I got the call that my grandmother was ill and may not make it.  As I was driving the 6 hours to try to see her again, in case she passed (because I don't get to see my family all that often), I was thinking about my family and the relationships that are strained in so many different ways.  I thought about all those people who never speak to one another and I thought about the distance between these people I love, but never see and never really talk to.

I was reminded of the message I'd received in the spring and I was forced to reconsider whether or not God really had intended that message for me.  

Fast forward to October and one phone call that seemed like so many others before.  Same ol', same ol' as they say.  

Then, November. The month for Thanksgiving.  The month for gratitude...to recognize God's blessings on our lives and to give Him praise.  Yes, I'm grateful, but this year, I've been a little hard-pressed to put words to it...feeling a little put-off by all the "Today I'm thankful for"s.

Months have passed since that Spring Bible Study and I have tried to, on occasion, acknowledge this message over my life.  Or, have I? 

If I'm totally honest with myself, I know there have been moments I've thought about it and prayed about it and even knew, that yes, I should repent and seek forgiveness on behalf of my family, for my heart's sake and the sake of future generations, but I've not really, truly done it...yet.  Why not???

This week, as I'm sitting with my kids and I open my laptop, and I see the letter...it hits me. 

Now, is the time. So, I type out the rest of that abandoned letter from months and months earlier.  I typed it but did not print it. I don't know if I will.  I don't know if its maybe something I need to say, rather than mail. I am worried about how it will be received, or if it will be faced with more resistance and "yeah, but" or if I'll be cut-off and told "I'm not doing this" again. Perhaps, the writer in me just needed to put the words to paper - to see them in print. Only God knows where the entirety of this letter will go and how things will turn out.

I want to humbly ask you to do two things with me, this Thanksgiving week (and beyond):

1) Please pray for me, my heart, and my family as I work to trust God in all things - including real Forgiveness for my family - my ancestors, my immediate family, and my future generations. Please pray for me, as I begin to pray that God will do a good work in me and not others in my life. That can be a scary process, kind of like open-heart surgery, but I know its in my best interest.  I know God is the ultimate-healer and I will trust him with my heart.

2) Consider the pains and hurts that may be infecting your family.  Are there viruses impacting your family tree that should be repented to God? Are you, somehow, passing these viruses on to future generations?  (Remember, there are lots of ways infections of pain, mistrust, and sin can be passed on, not just in the exact repeat version.) Do you need to seek Forgiveness?  Do you need to offer Forgiveness?

I pray you will allow God to work in your heart this holiday season and that you will be open to Him, in all ways...even when you're thinking "Are you kidding me?" 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Truth Is...

As I logged on to the computer today to pen a new post, I scrolled to the bottom of the blog page and found two comments that, while masked in Christian "love", were fully intended to be insulting and hurtful. I'll admit that I was deeply hurt and I was deeply impacted by these comments.  It took me about 5 hours to get over it and to stop dwelling on the pain and the sting of the words, to stop questioning whether the words are true and to stop wanting to know who posted the comments.  Obviously, its someone who knows me in real life. Obviously, its someone who believes that I've done something wrong. Obviously, its someone who feels like I am still doing something wrong.  What isn't so obvious is this person's role in my experience, and that we will probably never know, because like most hurtful comments posted online, they were posted anonymously.

So, after wiping my tears and dusting myself off from this fall, I would like to respond with the truth, and then to move on with my originally planned post for today.

Copied from: http://leadershipfreak.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/truth.jpg
The truth is that I appreciate any and all prayers sent up on my behalf.  One can never be covered by too much prayer.  Thank you for thinking of me as you pray.

The truth is that I am sure I have needed to be forgiven on many occasions. I am not perfect.  The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  If I have personally hurt you, I am deeply sorry and I would ask you to please contact me, directly, so that we may try to work out any hurts that I've caused to you.

However, if the actions that you're speaking of have anything to do with my decision to tell my story - either as a young person or now - I will not apologize for that decision. I will use the experiences of my life to honor God's presence in my life and I will attempt to do that as respectfully as possible. I will speak only the truth, as I remember it, and I will always focus on the awesome blessings that God has brought into my life far more than the hurts.  I will be an example of overcoming adversity and I will not be ashamed, nor will I hide the truth of my experience.  It is my experience and I have every right to share it, in order to show my gratitude for God's presence and protection over my life - many times over.

The truth is I've had therapy. Years and years of therapy. I've attended countless sessions of group and individual therapy.  I've spilled my guts and my tears more times than I can count and it is through this process that I've learned it is healthy to tell my story and to share my experiences with others - good and bad. I've also learned what is my fault and what isn't. I've learned how to accept responsibility for my actions and to be open to feedback and criticism. I've learned how to look for opportunities to grow, personally and professionally. I've challenged myself to look at my world through the lens of truth and it was hard. It was painful but it was also exhilarating. I left my therapist's office for the last time with the knowledge that I was "okay" and that I was capable of doing amazing things, knowing that my past did not need to define my future, and knowing how to have trust in the world around me. 

The truth is I AM A POSITIVE FORCE FOR GOOD.  I am a Child of God. I am a devoted wife who is ultimately faithful to my husband. I truly desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman and I am happy to be his helpmate in life. I am an amazing mother, even on those days when I am not such a great mom, because my children are happy, healthy, and safe, and they know I love them, unconditionally.  I am an awesome social worker who impacts the world for better.  I am a loving, loyal, and committed friend who would give and do anything for anyone, if it is in my power to do so.  I know these things to be true because of the positive relationships in my life. I know these things to be true because of the people who love me, for who I am, good and bad. 

I also know that I will continue to be a positive force for good because God tells me so.  He has a calling on my life and He has a plan for me.  He promises me so in Jeremiah 29:11, which says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". 

The truth is I am very aware that there are many things of which I am unaware.  I will discover them and learn from them or grow from them in God's timing and I'm okay with that. I am aware that I am not perfect and that I will make mistakes every single day. I am even aware that sometimes my emotions get the better of me. I am also aware that I have lots of room for improvement. I am aware that I am in constant need of relationship and that I really need affirmations in my life.  I am aware that I won't always receive affirmations and, it is during these times when I need to turn my eyes toward Jesus for the affirmation I seek.  He will always provide. 

Finally, the truth is I am many things, but damaged is not one of them - anymore. I was saved from this state a long time ago and many times over. First, when I was saved from my childhood. Next, when I was saved from the daily thoughts of self-doubt and self-loathing. Then, from the willingness to be held down in the pit for the rest of my existence, and finally, when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my ultimate Savior.  On that day, any damage that existed in my heart was fixed and I AM DAMAGED NO MORE. 

The truth is I am accepted. I am Secure. I am Significant.  You can read more about these affirmations from scripture in this simple, easy to read PDF from  http://www.gracewired.net/documents/affirmations.pdf and in the Holy Bible.  I would encourage you to do your own digging into these truths, because,

The truth is...

You are too, if you believe in Jesus Christ and in His power in your life. 

Thank you for taking the time to comment, because you have given me the opportunity, during a week when I've really been feeling attacked from several different directions, to be reminded of these truths.  For that, I am sincerely grateful to you...whoever you are.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Definitely Not "Mom of the Year" Today

The title of this blog is "Sassy and Sincere" and when I started to write a few years ago, one thing I promised myself is that I'd be real.  I'd be honest. I'd be sincere. I'd talk about the good and the bad of being a woman, a wife, a mom, a social worker, a Christ-follower...of living this thing we call life.  Today is a day I need to be real.  I need to admit my faults and to confess my sin. Today is a day when I admit that I can love Christ, love my family, and love my children and yet I can still feel like I'm losing it!  Today is a day that I acknowledge Satan grabbed hold of an area of my life and I let him run with it.  Today, I need you to bear with me and to just let me vent my heart.  If you've ever felt the same way, let me know...we all need someone to hold us up every now and then, right?

I came home from work a little late today, already feeling a little defeated because I didn't feel I accomplished much during my day.  I shouldn't have, perhaps, but I decided to give myself an hour and stopped at my favorite nail shop for a touch-up before vacation.  Of course, that combination means I'm now feeling a little overwhelmed.  I arrived home and pushed the button to open the garage only to be immediately reminded of a mess and was a little frustrated that I couldn't park in the garage.  Entering the house, I'm reminded again of the laundry that we didn't get finished over the weekend and then I entered the kitchen to be reminded that the kids have been snacking all day.  One step into the living room tells me its been a day of pillows & blankets, computer & XBOX, and general "do nothing-ness".  Walking into the girls' bedrooms tells me the house is way too small for all the stuff we have and a peek in the bathroom tells me the kids forgot to rinse the toothpaste from the sink and to take their dirty laundry to the laundry room.  A peek into the boys room reminds me that I neglected to pick up all the hangers tossed to the floor during an impromptu closet purge over the weekend and I see the boys had apparently had a small lego battle, leaving behind a mess of legos on the floor.  Walking into the master bedroom tells me my husband attempted to help with laundry but didn't manage to get it put away and that I haven't efficiently put my jewelry away upon removing it for at least 3 weeks. 

Basically, it was like a small tornado had hit my home and left behind a path of family-like destruction!

Oh, and let's not forget the boys were apparently really getting on one another's nerves today because they were in all-out bicker mode.

Good times.

In an effort to, perhaps, deny my part in all of this I tried to pull the kids into "clean-up" mode which hailed a range of high-pitched squeals and whines almost worth of dog-whistle tones.  I still find it amazing that none of my children made the mess...and yet, a mess there is.  Can anyone relate to  "I didn't do it!" "But mom, I didn't get anything out!"  "Why should I have to clean it up?"  and so on.  My answers of "because you live here" or "I didn't do it either" go unheard.

About a half hour goes by of trying to make dinner while trying to get the kids to pick-up and I fail.  I lose it.  I yelled.  I barked orders.  I refused to listen.  I blamed it all on everyone else and I denied my failure to prioritize and to adequately adjust to life as a working-mom. 

This is the first summer in 12 years I've worked.  I feel like I've missed the whole summer and I feel like I've failed my kids.  I have missed spending time with them and I've failed at keeping up with my duties at home. I have even allowed Satan to tempt me into blaming my family!  I've forgotten to acknowledge that my husband has done far more laundry than I over the past 3 months and I've neglected to admit my laziness at home has led to way more fast-food or restaurant meals than has been healthy for our waistlines or our budget. I've just not managed myself or my time well.

As I tried to regain my composure, only half-succeeding, I sat the kids at the table over spaghetti and we developed a list of chores.  We wrote several of the chores onto strips of paper and drew 3 per child.  These chores will be put back each Sunday and the family will re-draw.  We also assigned "standing chores" to each family member...things we will each be responsible for each week, with no rotation.  Each child had equal say into what they will take responsibility for in their shared bedrooms and Mom and Dad were assigned larger chores as well.  I gotta tell ya...I've always hated the idea of a chore chart...thinking "just do the chore you're told to do during family cleaning time".  I may be changing my mind!

Finally!!!  After each child drew their chores (which they seemed to actually halfway enjoy doing) and having an agreement that each child will re-draw on Sunday, each child went their own way and completed their little list!  It actually seemed to work and the house no longer feels like a disaster zone. 

Prayers and fingers crossed we can and will stick with this plan.  We need this thing to be successful and tomorrow, we need to have a much better day! 

Friday, July 26, 2013


Has it really been over 5 months since I last posted?  I have to ask myself why I can't stay away from facebook for more than a day or two?  Convenience, perhaps?  The fact that I can post in the flash of lightning from my fancy phone?  (Remember when beepers were cool?)  Or is it a crazy obsession with telling all my business to the world? Probably a combination of all of the above!

Okay, well...5 months...there's a lot to update, so let's get started.

I realized all too quickly I'd taken on way too much last fall when I started working 3 jobs plus tried a home-based business in direct sales. So, in April, I made a change. I left my position with a foster care agency and jumped full-time into a position as the Training Director for the Oklahoma CASA Association. I'm loving it!!! While the decision really was difficult and I didn't necessarily leave the former position as neatly wrapped up as would have made me proud, I know it was the right decision and I'm very happy in my new full-time role. I'm also very grateful that it isn't all that "new" since I'd already been working with OK CASA for a year or more, as a contractor. God opened up an awesome door and I walked through it.  Thank You, Jesus!  I'm still an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma and am so super proud to work with budding social workers, to inspire them to find a passion, and go for it!  Its truly a very cool thing I get to do. Oh, and now I say, with a smile "BOOMER SOONER!!"

I’m also working on my book and on developing my speaking & training business, on a very part-time basis, so I don't lose site of the family priorities again. I’ve recently started writing for Foster Focus Magazine and am a fairly regular contributor to that magazine.  I am making a lot of connections all over the country and believe God  is opening some incredible doors for me to get my message out there.  It’s an exciting time, for sure.  (If you haven't read Joel Osteen's book "It's Your Time", you should!!!  Totally amazing!  Find it here.)

Our oldest son, Shawn, is now a teenager!!! He turned 13 last weekend and we celebrated with a big paintball party. I will never understand the attraction of that game, but he and his friends loved it...little paintball welts on their torsos and all!  Now, when I look at him, I have to allow myself to accept he becoming a young man, which ain't easy for this momma to do. He’ll be in the 7th grade this year and will play football at school.  He loves to hunt and fish with Dad and is definitely a “redneck” boy at heart. He has grown & matured so much in the past two years…I’m amazed every day.  

Our younger son, Derek, turned 11 in June and will be in the 5th grade.  Since moving to Oklahoma, we’ve noticed some learning issues with Derek and finally were able to get him assessed.  He has some characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome, but doesn’t meet full criteria.  His primary issues are in sensory integration, so we’re learning how to best help him focus and to deal with the constant sensory stimulation from the classroom and environment. Praise God his struggles aren't more severe, but it does make me more empathetic to the families of kiddos who do have to fight hard in their world.  We finally have a good IEP for him, so I’m hopeful 5th grade will be a success. He had an awesome teacher last year who worked with him a great deal and he managed to pass all his subjects! On a brighter note, Derek is a total goofball!!! He is HILARIOUS and makes us laugh every day…especially when he breaks into random dance or a rap…a while back he had “apple-bottom jeans” stuck in his head and sang it all the time.  It was too funny!  

Chloe, my little mini-me, is now 9 and is a huge animal-lover. This month, she attended a horse camp and we have to admit we created a monster by letting her go.  She already tries to convince me we can put a horse in the back yard with the dog.  We decided to sign her up for weekly riding lessons and she is in heaven on a horse!  Its fun to see her so passionate about something and the way she talks to her horses is great.  She talks about becoming a veterinarian someday, and I can totally see her working with farm animals more than anything else.  At least, she talks about going to KSU for vet school (Go CATS!). (Yep, still a Wildcat fan, too!).  

Sarah is 7 and is a natural-born dancer & diva.  She loves ballet, tap, and jazz and cannot wait to take hip-hop classes.  She has a special little attitude that comes out and I know she gets it from me.  Ya know, I always joked there was a touch of “black” in me and I see it in her, too…you should see her roll her head while snapping her fingers!  Just yesterday, she was trash talking me as we were playing in the cold water springs near Sulphur, Oklahoma and I refused to jump off the waterfall into the frigid waters.  She stood on the rock, popped her hip, snapped her fingers, and rolled her head as she told me exactly how big a wimp I was and how she was not scared!  She’s yet to learn when its cute and when its just rude, though, so we’re working on that.

Justin is still with FedEx and still likes it, okay, I guess. He is still on 2nd shift, which sucks, but we’re managing.  We're seeking God's plan for him in this area and are waiting for God's direction.  We will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in October.  Hard to believe we’ve been married for 15 years and have been a couple for 19 years!!!  

Our lives are even more awesome now because his two oldest nieces have both had babies.  I am loving up on those precious babies any chance I get. Little Rorie is now 4 months old and that cutie Luis Enrique is now about a month and half old.  Since Aunt Serena doesn't get to love on them too much, I admit, I hog them as much as I can when I visit! Babies are so much fun.  I hope to be as close to each of them as I am to their mommas...two of my amazing nieces!  

What's your update?  How is God challenging you? How is God blessing you? What doors are opening or closing for you?  Fill me in, friend!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Conflict Sucks!

Matthew 18:15-17 ESV
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

We've all been there...the moment when a conflict arises and you don't really know how to handle it, but your emotions take you down a path you know isn't best.  It sucks.  Truly sucks.  Its far too easy to say things, in the heat of a moment, that are hurtful and unkind, and probably don't even represent your deepest feelings, its just the "heat" talking.  The adrenaline just takes over and causes the filter between our brains and our mouths to stop working. 

Unfortunately, the world of social media and email has only added to our problems. I can't tell you how much drama has entered my life via facebook in the 4+ years I've been on that wonderful site!  This weekend was no exception...stupid conflict over misinterpretations and misunderstandings...a total breakdown of adult communication that has had some pretty serious outcomes.  Everything is okay, now, but the pain of it all really stings.  Things were said that cannot be unsaid and feelings were hurt.  Even when it isn't intentional, it never feels good to hurt someone's feelings, does it?

So, I turned to the Bible, to determine if I had handled the conflict, during its growing stages, as best I could.  I read Matthew 18:15-17.  I asked myself "Did you talk to the person in private?" Yes. "Did you talk to the person again, with witnesses?" Yes.  "Did you tell the 'church' (larger group)?" Yes.  "Is the person willing to listen to the issue and work it out?" No. It doesn't appear to be the case. 

Okay, I've done all I can.  I've prayed for God's guidance and have tried to apologize for the things I've done to contribute to the conflict. I've offered to continue the discussion, in a new tone, to no avail.  So, a decision was made. A painful decision and one that is definitely not the easiest decision to follow-through with, but nevertheless, the best decision.  Now, its time to just move on. 

Sometimes, relationships can be salvaged after conflicts. Othertimes, they cannot.  The last line of this portion of scripture says "And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."  God is simply telling us not every relationships can survive a conflict and he tells us to move on.  He doesn't say dwell on it.  He doesn't say let it fester. He simply says the relationship is different - move on.

So, that's what I'm doing...moving on.  This piece of my life's puzzle will teach me something and I'll seek to learn all I can.  Its okay. I'm at peace with it.  

Conflict isn't pretty, but God tell's us exactly how to handle it, doesn't He?  Good to know He's really right there...on top of it.

A New Year Means...

You know the routine...all through December you spend your time thinking about what you'll "start" on January 1.  The cultural obsession with "New Year's Resolutions" is something that many of us buy in to - myself included!  Every year, I tell myself "This is the year I ___________". Fill in the blank - get in shape, exercise more, lose weight, read the Bible cover to cover, never say a swear word, never raise my voice at my kids.  The list goes on an on.  I am that person who will make a list of 10 or more things I want to change about my life during that year.  There have even been posts on this blog about all that I'm going to do. 

Typically, about 6 weeks in (or faster), my "resolutions" become the newest list of efforts tried and failed.  Its another list of all the things in my world that I lacked committment to accomplish, those things I allowed to fall out of priority. 

Can you relate?

So, this year, I'm approaching things differently. Instead of making personal resolutions for changes I want to make that will only reallly benefit me, I'm thinking of our family. I'm approaching the issue with my whole family.  We're discussing ways our family can improve. 

We're also approaching our goals with the same goal-setting/outcomes development approach I might use in my social work programs.  Make 'em measurable and attainable...take the larger overall goal in mind (the big picture) and break it down. Allow yourself more than 1 year to implement the full change, in those larger areas! Allow room for improvement and growth year from year.  Remove the pressure and Be Realistic.

Our list for the year:
1) Attend church at least 45 weeks this year! We fell into the trap of being "sporadic" attenders last year and are committed to re-focusing on our woship with fellow believers this year..even considering leading a small group and volunteering in the youth ministry.
2) Eat healthier through a great reduction in the frequency of meals out (maybe 1x/week limit!), sugar, and pop for the family, while I'm going to get a little sneaky on the vegetable front so the kids don't know their eating something good for them!
3) Move more...I really, really, really want to be a runner by the end of the year...we'll see where that goes.

That's it...a small list...a manageable list of goals. Measureable, so we can see our progress and actually achieve the goal. 

What's your list?