Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Welcoming 2012

It's hard for me to believe February is here already. I've kind of been in denial that 2012 is underway. Last year we rang in the new year with an at-home date where we talked about our hopes and dreams for our family in 2011. We crafted a family mission statement and my guiding word was "routine". It was all very purposeful and refreshing.

This year, we hung out with family, shared a quick kiss and midnight and then hopped into bed since our toddler would still be up at the crack of dawn the next morning. As soon as we got back to Pennsylvania, we hit the ground running with new commitments like leading our small group on Weds. night, preparing for another 10 hour trip, and (David) teaching Sunday school for 2 weeks. Not to mention taking down Christmas decorations, unpacking and reclaiming order in the house.

So perhaps it's not surprising that January was almost over before I felt like we had a chance to step back and evaluate how last year went and beginning planning for this year. David and I tend to use our long drive to DC for pain clinic appointments as an opportunity to catch up, regroup and plan. Last week, we carved out some time in between preparing our lessons to discuss family life. Here's what we found:

Recaping 2011
Developing a routine with a new baby and a 1000 mile move was no easy task. In fact, when our conversation first began, I thought we had made very little progress at all. However, as David guided my memories back to what life was like in our very first months of parenting, I could see a huge difference. The growth of a family rhythm is like the growth of child, it's something you're immersed in, and it's hard to see without looking waaay back for perspective. It would probably bore you to list all the teeny tiny goals our family reached, but it was so encouraging for me to hear David's perspective on how I've grown as a home manager in the past year.

While we still have much we want to improve upon this year it's nice to have figured out ways to minimize dishes, keep the clutter from completely taking over, cook healthy meals almost every night and still have lots of time to spend with Caleb.

Moving forward in 2012
Although 2012 has had a very busy start, David and I are both so thankful for the way our commitments have forced us to put down our books, turn off the TV and spend concentrated time reading the Bible and praying. I've seen a huge difference in how much I talk to God throughout my day and my attitude towards disappointments and frustrations. Less time spent with entertainment and more time spent with God is definitely a trend we'd like to see continue this year.

Now that I've developed a pretty good routine for keeping the basic household tasks up-to-date (who knew rinsing dishes immediately could be so helpful?) we have 3 major home-related goals this year:

1. Declutter and deep clean the house. As we began to learn last year, a house with fewer things is a house that is easier to enjoy and maintain. We are planning (as in, need to pick dates on the calendar) a room-by-room declutter and deep clean as our spring cleaning this year. I'm dreading the effort required, but know the results will be worth it!

2. Develop a paper management system. My desk is supposed to be our home management hub. With no system to organize the receipt, bill, file and shred piles though, you can imagine the pile of paper that has resulted. Not to mention all the little stacks of paper shoved in various corners of the house before company comes over...I'm nervous about this goal because it's going to involve building a new habit, which is always a challenge, but I can't wait to not worry if I've misplaced a bill or wonder where a receipt is!

3. Make our home "ours". There are so many decorating projects David and I have had on the back burner because we felt overwhelmed just trying to keep the house clean. Our reward for taking care of these not-so-fun tasks will be to finally get to do some of these long awaited projects.

I can't wait to post before and after pictures : )

Finally, a personal goal of mine is to make David and I's marriage my biggest priority after my relationship with Christ. I must confess that all too often, we put our time together and cultivating our friendship behind other obligations. Interestingly, the focus on cleaning our home is a big part of that goal because David especially needs the peace and calm of organization to relax. I enjoy it too, but not in the same way. Just as he gives me the gift of long conversations, I want to give him the gift of service this year. Neither comes easily for us, but what could be worth more effort than truly speaking to our spouses heart?

I've never been big on making new year's resolutions, but the start of a new year has become a great time for us to take a step back, assess what worked well last year and what needs some tweaking and plan to live more purposefully with the time we are given. I hope 2012 is off to a great start for each one of you!

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