on putting my shoes under the bed

A few weeks ago, I wrote about looking ahead and goal-setting for 2015. I had three over-arching goals for the year. Here they are again:

  • forming good habits and routines (self-care, family care, spiritual care & household duties)
  • writing (like it’s my job)
  • simplicity (less commitments, less stuff, etc.)

I can keep those things at the forefront of my mind fairly easily, but for me, I usually need more accountability and some tangible steps and objectives in order to be sure that I reach these goals. It’s as if I need to treat them as projects and then update the status of those projects to ensure my own commitment and progress.

For example, for the past two years, I have had a goal of reading at least 52 books each year. I keep myself on track with this by keeping a running list in my journal, writing a monthly blog post and this year I have been using Goodreads to track and post what I have read to Facebook. (I have actually quit posting to Facebook, but will publish a list with links here sometime after Christmas.)

During Ryan’s deployment, I had a goal of finding a theme or word for each month of the year and focusing my day-to-day actions around those goals. Having that planned really helped me get through the deployment and a tough year.

With my 2015 goals, I have decided that I am going to track those projects here. I am going to hold my own feet to the fire and not just make a goal, but also work toward it. I am fully aware that I can become legalistic and place a bunch of regulations and rules upon myself when I go about reaching goals this way, so that’s not what this is about.

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How I see this working out is this way. In 2015, each month, I plan to give several updates on the state of things. Here are a few I am toying with so far.

Forming good habits and routines…

Self Care:

I plan to take better care of me. I’d like to do a simple update on the ways in which I attempt to do that. For me, my goal is to be better about getting outside more to exercise, getting dressed in something presentable even if I don’t have plans to leave the house, and limiting sweets and grains in my diet. I am also planning a monthly “something” just for me ( a trip, a girls’ night, an outing of some sort).

Family Care:

I plan to continue being a committed teacher to the kids. I want to stay focused on their overall learning and academic, spiritual and emotional growth. One goal I have is to focus more on each of our children individually. I want to spend more time cultivating each of Thomas, Mae and Kate’s unique interests, gifts and personalities. Ryan and I are planning at least a once-a-month date night for every month of the 2015 year. I am also planning a monthly “Book Report” post and I plan to list the books that I read as well as the one’s my kids read. We heart books around here. I’ll add Ryan’s too if he’s up for it.

Spiritual Care:

This is an area where I have had some clarity over the past few months. I think I have finally come to realize that I can very easily have a tendency to mistake the work (ministry) I do on behalf of Christ as a replacement on the time I spend WITH him. My goal is to take on less in terms of official titles and responsibilities outside of my home as I have come to realize that I often allow the busyness, stresses and administrative components of those responsibilities to overshadow a heart and attitude of worship and reverence for the time I spend reading my Bible.

Household duties:

Over the past several years it has been important to me to keep our house fairly clean and “company ready.” Our children are finally at ages where this is even possible. One of my greatest passions is opening our home to show hospitality to others. I’ll keep tidying, I’ll keep candles burning and yummy food in the kitchen and hope to continue the practice of entertaining friends and family in our home. (We have a new-to-us dining room table and I plan to write a post about that in a few days!) I will also keep “apprenticing” the three young people in this home and continue to find more ways to pass the torch of some of the household chores. I’ve said for years, my goal as a home maker is to eventually work myself out of a job. I think I hear the couch and some bonbons calling.

Writing like it’s my job…

This goal is somewhat difficult for me to write about here publicly. Dreams always sound so ridiculous when you say them out loud. But that’s okay. I’ll keep this one a bit closer to my heart for the time being. I have been busy. I have been up early and up late. My fingers have been dancing on the the keyboard in a very intense and determined fashion. I have a goal. I have an outline. I have chapter titles. I have a word-count that is climbing daily. I have a time-table for finishing, for researching and proposing and submitting. That’s all I will say for now. But I am making it public, and making it happen. 2015 I am coming for you.

Simplicity…

Blame it on the Army or constant moving but I am continually evaluating the state of our belongings. I’ll just say that Ryan and I are almost to our one year Dave Ramsey anniversary. We have made some serious progress and changes this past year. And we want to keep moving in the right direction. One of the most significant behavior modifications we have made is truly understanding the difference between our “needs” and our “wants.” We still have a way to go and occasionally give into our urges for “stuff.” But we hope to continue better habits. For me, in particular, it boils down to contentment. I look around my life and think (often) that if I never bought another thing for myself or my house, I would still have an abundance of material possessions.

To be honest, one area of my own weakness, is spending too much time (and thereby, money) at Target and Marshall’s. It is mindless and since I don’t drink alcohol or smoke or gamble or have any other “real” vices, I enjoy treasure hunting at stores like these. I usually leave those places with something I “need” for the house or my closet. But I don’t NEED any of that. There are days that I even feel like finding good deals there or bringing home just one more home decor item or one more pair of shoes or a cute shirt or purse has become an idol in my heart.

In 2015, I am going to pair my self-care goal of getting dressed for the day with my goal of simplicity by wearing the clothes I already have. At least through the remainder of the winter I am vowing to not buy another clothing or accessory item for myself. I’ll re-evaluate this again in late March when spring is here. If possible, I’d love to keep going through all of the seasons. I plan to report here periodically on how this is going. The same goes for more stuff around the house. We have lived here six months and we have the house like we want it and it is adequately furnished. I will not transfer this shopping into more school related purchases, more kids clothing items, more gadgets.

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I have this hanging in our homeschool room. I need to fist-pump it when I am feeling weak.  I’m going to try my hardest to take good care of what we have and stop feeding the Marshall’s and Target beast that wants to live inside of me.

I know the meaning of simplicity is contentment. I have everything I need!

So that’s where I am with my 2015 goal setting and plans for changing some habits and realizing my goals.

Earlier this year, Denzel Washington said it best. I love this and hope to keep his advice in mind throughout the next 365 days.

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I love to hear what other people are planning and how they set out to do so. Leave a comment and we can be accountable together.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” {I Corinthians 7:17}

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10 thoughts on “on putting my shoes under the bed

  1. Karen Ward says:

    Eeeeek! That last part hit me HARD! I have been on a spending rampage for accessories lately. IG is the devil because these little IG “pop up” shops make it SO easy to buy. Just give us your email address! We will invoice you through PayPal! I don’t even have to venture out. I’m also going to re-evaluate whether or not I’m going to continue to read some of my favorite fashion blogs – oh Mix and Match Mama and Pinterest Told Me To, I’m talking to you.

    My “word” last year was calm. I think you’ve given me my word for 2015 – content. And I’m pretty certain you inspired calm.

    Love you, friend!

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    • claire says:

      I so understand the influence and “gimmes” that social media offers us. You are a precious friend Ms. Karen and I look forward to also following your journey toward contentment in 2015.

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  2. Kathy Milligan says:

    Again….this is really good stuff!! My goals this next year is to get myself in better shape and to be more intentional in my time with the Lord! I want to more physically and spiritually healthy!

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    • claire says:

      Thank you for your comment Kathy! I, too, want to be at my physical and spiritual best. I seem to always allow those two important things to take too much of a backseat.

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  3. Holly Wilson says:

    Claire, you are simply amazing! You are so real and encouraging! I want to be you when I grow up. And I am definitely excited about eventually reading what you are (secretly) writing this year! 😉 One goal of mine this year is to delegate more household responsibilities to my children instead of doing them myself. I feel like I do that because I want it done well (OCD problems) and it sometimes feels easier without their “help”…but how will they ever learn unless I teach them. I need your advice on how you do that without losing your ever-loving mind, my OCD sister.

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    • claire says:

      Well Holly, I’m not so sure my mind is in tact either, but we are all a work in progress, right? I have actually been using part of our “school days” to really take the time to show my kids what and how I want them to complete chores. They are all now proficient in doing their own laundry, start to finish; they can all load and unload the dishes; they can make simple lunches like sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and Ramen noodles. Basically if I were to die or become bed-ridden they could survive. When I think of the military-chaplaincy being a long-term calling for us, I realize that once our kids hit college age, they may possibly be living in other parts of the country from us. I want independent, confident, self-sufficient young adults. Gotta start somewhere. =)

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  4. Beth says:

    Thanks for sharing!!! Always love your posts! 🙂 Right now, I still feel like I’m in survival mode and thinking about all I want to accomplish and need to do in the new year is overwhelming. Ha! But I do long for simplicity in so many areas of my life. And I don’t want to feel bad or less-than for not doing it all or having it all! Also, I often feel like my life, or at least the current state of my life, is not important, mundane and I’m just not doing anything great! I know that’s not true and that being a mom is such a high calling. But I pray that God will use me to raise my kids to love Him. I also feel some direction towards leading a moms group or something??? Maybe God will give me some direction and open up doors if that’s what I’m supposed to do. I think I said all that to say… I want to make a difference. I want to make my life on this earth count. I want to get outside of myself. I know I need to simplify and reprioritize some things in my life. Sorry for rambling! Ha! Love you and pray that 2015 is your best year yet!!

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    • claire says:

      Oh Beth, thank you for sharing your heart too! I can tell you that there are so many (me included) who look up to you as a mother. I know you would make a great mom’s group leader. (MOPS Chapter at TMC?) I have often felt myself believing those same mistruths about what I do not mattering or feeling unimportant or insignificant. I know that is just the voice of the enemy trying to get in my head. You are a wonderful mama to Ansley, Cooper and Ellie. And girl, you still have a baby…cut yourself some slack. Wishing you a wonderful and joyful 2015! Love you!

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    • claire says:

      Thank you so much Gwen. I’ll tell you the part about spiritual simplicity and my need for more time with Jesus is something that your devotion a few months back really pricked my heart about. I still have that salmon colored sheet in my Bible and think of your inspiration and wisdom often. Hugs!

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