Monday, January 9, 2017

Twenty Seventeen

I love the new year, don't you? It's like new pencils at the start of the school year or the first page of a new book or the world after it snows and the sun is shining and all the world glitters. Sigh with me, won't you? *Inhale**Exhale* Ah! Lovely!

This year I've got some goals, do you? I recently wrote a review of last year's goals which I gave a mediocre performance and finished less than half of my sixteen items. I decided not to set number this year, just in case I couldn't get to seventeen. What I chose to focus on instead was areas where I wanted to improve or areas I found lacking.

First, Shakespeare. The Great Bard himself. I have a Bachelor's in English and I have never, not once, taken a Shakespeare course. I vaguely remember in high school watching the Romeo and Juliet (the one with tights) my freshman year, attending a school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (where I had a crush on Puck) my sophomore year, doing a spoof on Julius Caesar (where I cut out paper ears for Antony's speech) my junior year, and watching the Reduced Shakespeare Company my senior year. At college, the year I was supposed to take the course, the university offered an author symposium on Jane Austen that could be taken in place of Shakespeare. True Austen aficionado that I was I promptly signed up for that course, and almost regret it now. I'll never be able to truly regret Miss Jane but I do feel my education was insufficient (in more ways than my lack of Shakespearean knowledge) and that I am responsible to fix it. So though my goals are in no specific order, my first is to study Shakespeare.

Another area where I lack is that of the gospel. I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (let me know in the comments if you would like to know more about the Church or my conversion) and since I converted from a position of basically zero knowledge of the Savior and God and that that knowledge has grown minimally in the six years since my baptism, I would like to feast more fully upon the Word and better understand the Atonement. Last year, I read the entire Bible and we read almost the entire Book of Mormon as a family. I was called as a teacher in the women's organization and have been so lucky to read and study the current council of our prophet and other leaders and now I've been called into the children's organization where I teach simple doctrinal principles. But that still feels like it's not quite enough. I would like to gain greater understanding of Christ's life and how to emulate His teachings. This form of study would include reading the Bible again cover to cover, the Book of Mormon cover to cover, and studying in smatterings the Doctrine and Covenants, and works by Church leaders and others on specific topics chosen throughout the year.

Next up, budgeting. I recently read Rachel Cruze's new book "Live your Life Not Theirs." I highly recommend this book. Cruze is funny and serious, loving and critical, and above all honest. It felt like we were having a conversation, a pretty personal conversation actually, about finances and at times I found myself answering out loud and also texting my husband in an anxious panic. I think making sure that our finances are looked at regularly and setting a monthly budget would be most helpful for us to get where we'd like to go.

Record keeping for myself and my kids - Last year I bought four record books for the kids. Nothing fancy just some blank notebooks that I could fill with words about how much I love them and how much they stress me out. I read about the concept in the book 5 Spiritual Solutions for the Family. Record keeping and family history has always been something I've been interested in (as my Archives degree will testify (I think family history and familial ties are very important) and I would like to give my children a tangible gift of there growing up years, because if they are anything like me they will have terrible memories. I've included photographs and anecdotes. I have a few pages written in each and would like to be more regular in my chronicling their childhoods.

In addition to writing to my children, I would like to write more to others. I know I enjoy receiving mail from loved ones and would like to send more letters, especially birthday cards. Who doesn't love a note of cheer for their birthday?

I have a little bit of a soda problem and so getting that under control is of the upmost importance to my health so after much deliberation I've decided to quit cold turkey. I tried last year and did not succeed but this year I will. I just know it.

Amusingly, I'm noticing that my explanation of goals are getting shorter and shorter as I go.

By and by I would like to attempt to finish some crafty-like projects this year. I didn't quite finish any last year, something I sorely lament now. I will have (at least) three cross-stitch projects going in the foreseeable future and would like to finish one this year. Surely, one is feasible. Similarly, I would like to finish a quilt. I have lovely fabric just sitting in the box and my poor husband's 50 states quilt has sat near completion for almost two years, whoops. So I'd like to finish a quilt and a cross stitch. 

In past years, I have had marginal and resounding success with trying new recipes. I've set the goal at 12 in hopes that carefully considering these recipes will encourage them to become a regular part of our meal plans. I received a wonderful book for Christmas and this one comes out around my birthday. I gain considerable pleasure cooking in the kitchen and would love to devote more time to trying new recipes. 

And finally, 52 weeks of Family Home Evening. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have been asked to set aside one day a week, typically Monday, to have a family night where lessons on gospel instruction are given and family's make sure to spend quality time together. In the past, we've done alright at being consistent, but as my children grow older I can see how valuable this activity is not only the gospel instruction where the children participate in teaching, but also the quality time spent playing games (we love games at our house) and just being together. 

So those eleven items made my resolution cut. What made your list?