Monday, December 30, 2013

Goals for the new year.

Well, it's that time again.  Every year I try and write goals for the following year.  Last year, life was so busy that I never really got around to writing my goals. Maybe that's part of why it seemed so chaotic all year.  I can definitely say if you had told me I would be working on my Master's by the end of the year, I would have told you that you were totally out of your mind.  But here I am almost a month into the Master's program.  We just never really know what life has in store for us.  Thank God that he does. I know I could never have survived this past year without that knowledge.  So, I'm ready to start working on my goals for this next year.  I start by breaking down the different areas of my life.  What things would I like to accomplish in each of these areas?  First and foremost, I want to draw closer to God.  I know with the addition of school, my time will be more limited than it has in the past.  But I definitely want to find a way to increase the time I spend communing with my heavenly father.  I have a couple of new apps that give me the Bible in a whole new format.  I may switch to one of these tools away from my hardcopy book.  Even though I prefer reading from an actual book, being able to take my Bible along will make it easier for me to spend time in the Word wherever I may be.  I plan to find a good devotion app that I can use on a daily basis, and while I started reading through the bible this past year, I have not gotten all the way through it, so I will continue with that program throughout this new year.  When I write my goals, I usually try to break them down into steps to help get the habits engrained in my routine.  That way I can accomplish my larger goals.  I build in rewards as I go for making those small steps towards those goals.

Another goal I will be working on this year again, will be weight loss.  I definitely need to work on this as over this past year I was diagnosed with diabetes, so getting more weight off can only help my control of the diabetes.  I don't really have a plan for how this weight will come off as last year, I started the program that has worked better for me than any other, but during this past year, they closed their doors.  While this program worked the best for me, I will have to find another way to accomplish the weight loss.  I would like to say that by the end of the year I will be at goal weight, but that would truly be unrealistic, so I will break it down into manageable chunks to be able to attain my goal.  And along the way I will build in rewards for accomplishing those steps.  So, for my weight loss goal I would like to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year.  In order to do that, I will have to get better at logging my food intake and increasing my exercise.  So, by the end of January, I will be consistently logging my food into a food diary.  Again, I have an app that I can use for that, so I will start logging everything I eat again.  Another step that I need to take there is eating more frequent meals consistently.  Not only will that help with my weight loss, it will make huge gains for my diabetes to be able to do that.  It is a circle because the low blood sugar contributes to the weight gain by allowing my body to think it is in starvation mode.  So, by the end of January, I want to be consistently eating three meals a day with 2 snacks.  If I can accomplish this goal, I will order myself a new stamp set.

My other goals will include financial goals.  One of my biggest goals this year, will include adapting to my reduced budget, as well as trying to save some money for Christmas next year.  I have already started a program there of trying to save money over a 52 week period to have the money for the Christmas presents next year. In addition, I am going to make more gifts this next year, as those I made this last year were definitely a hit.  I would like to start saving for an emergency fund.  I'm not sure I will be able to accomplish that while the budget is so severely limited, but I am going to give it a good effort.

I will include some goals on where I would like to be with the remodeling of the house.  As well as some goals relating to developing better organizational skills and routines that help me keep things less cluttered and increases the comfort level of my home.  This will involve doing some major reorganization and decluttering.  I definitely will have some goals to help me reclaim my craft room over the next few months.  I need to have a place to work on my school away from the family.  In addition, I will have some goals that pertain to how much time I spend working on school work.  In order for these goals to get accomplished, I will actually plan time in my calendar for these things.  I also write up goals for me time. One of the things I have difficulty with is taking time for myself to just relax and do things that I enjoy.  I find it hard to take me time when there seems to be so many other things that need to be done in my house.  So, I actually have to build that into my schedule and set some goals to get me on track.  I feel good about writing my goals this year. I feel like I've been wandering in the dark this last year without any set goals.  I put these goals in several places.  I will put them into my electronic devices where I can look at them from time to time, and I will print them off and put them in my control journal where I keep my routines so that I can look at them there as well. 

Will I accomplish all my goals for the year?  Probably not, but if I am moving in the right general direction, then that is what is important.  These goals are not an all or none proposition.  They are just guidelines where I want to go.  If I don't reach all these goals this year, then I can revisit them and include some of them again next year.  But the biggest things will be developing the habits that move me in the direction of my goals.  I find this activity is better than writing resolutions, that expect me to make changes overnight.  That is never a realistic view.  It takes approximately a month to develop a habit and make it stick, so expecting to make an overnight change sets us up for failure.  I hope this post helps people see how to go about goal setting.  I will put some of my goals up when I finish developing them along with the steps I need to take to get myself to the goal.  But we have to continually reevaluate our goals and see if they are still something important to us and the progress we are making towards them.  I will post a few examples of my goals after the first of the year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

December In the Craft Room

December has been an interesting month. We celebrated Christmas in a whole different way this year.  We usually have income to buy most of our Christmas presents, but this year, we had to do things a little differently due to decreased funds.  While I've been continuing with my physical therapy, I'm still not able to go back to work. We were approved for some government assistance, we were able to get 54.00 in SNAP assistance.  This makes life interesting to plan our meals.  We received a letter right before Christmas that that amount will decrease to 104.00 as they are somehow not allowing my husband's medical expenses.  I'm planning to appeal that decision, but we'll see where that goes.  Fortunately, we have gotten other assistance besides going to the food pantries.  After the last experience at the mobile food pantry, we were unable to go on there the last time they came to the area.  They are not going to be coming to our area as often as they had been in the new year.  We did go to the other two local food pantries, but I noticed that the amount of meat these pantries are able to give out have decreased significantly.  We will figure out a way to make do.  I'm working on new recipes to use some of the items that we would not normally purchase that have been given to us.  We did get some assistance for Christmas from Community Partners that took me shopping at Aldis on two separate occasions with 100.00 to spend.  That has helped us considerably.  in addition, some secret Santa donated money and our local grocery store delivered approximately 200-250.00 in groceries about 3 weeks ago. The food that they delivered was nice in that they brought a fair amount of meat and even some little extra things that I haven't been purchasing on our severely limited budget.  We also applied for a program for Carolena to have Christmas presents called the Reindear program, and they provided her with a digital Barbie, several outfits, a couple of pairs of pajamas, a pair of shoes and a pair of snow boots.  In addition, the local fund provided us with a large box of canned goods and a 30.00 gift certificate for our local grocery store to purchase meat.  These donations, helped to restock my severely depleted stores of food.

For the items that I gave for Christmas this year, we only gave gifts to our children and grandchildren.  My children received some of my home canned foods, such as apple butter, strawberry preserves, and blueberry butter, along with some canned apple pie filling, turkey broth and canned turkey.  I also made up some spice mixes for them. I worked on cookbooks for the boys, but my printer decided not to work when I was ready to print, so I have to print those cookbook pages out and put together the cookbooks.  For the grandchildren, we shopped at places like Goodwill this year.  We were able to get a walking dragon and some trucks for Derrick.  Carolena got some movies from Goodwill and they both got a suitcase of clothes for dress up play.  After everything was opened, both kids played first with their suitcase of dress up clothes.  Some of these clothes I purchased at Goodwill and out mission outlet thrift store, and others I got at a local clothes closet, that give out clothing.  I had a couple of projects that I wanted to get done for the kids, that didn't get finished up, but I will finish those up here in the next couple of weeks anyway.  I just gave them as they were for the time being.  Carolena will enjoy helping me to remake some of the things to play with. Overall, I spent very little money on Christmas presents.  Although, with the added driving we have had to do, this will be an interesting week as we are down to nearly no money left until Jim's disability check hits the bank on the first of January.  Our activities will be severely limited, but we will manage.  I will post some of the before and after pictures of our projects as we complete them.  This next week I will be writing out goals for the new year.  These goals will be interesting.

I also started working on classes for my Master's program.  I decided that I needed to do that in order to have a chance at getting a job teaching.  So, to add to the busyness of the holiday season, I started classes on December 2nd. This didn't help me with getting everything I needed to do for the holidays done, but I felt it was necessary to help with having an income again. 

This next week, I will be posting information on my next menu plan along with recipes and I will be doing a post on goal setting.  Every year, I set goals in various areas of my life.  I try and look at the different areas of my life and set goals, which I also break down into smaller steps to make them less overwhelming when I'm trying work towards those goals.  I'll post how I go about that process and set up rewards along the way to help me achieve those goals.  I'll post some pictures of our Christmas.  I'll also be posting some pictures of how the house is coming along.  Jim and I spent the day of our anniversary window shopping for colors for our bedroom/bathroom suite.  We are trying to make a small retreat for ourselves so that we have a nice relaxing place to spend time.  The drywall is mostly up in our bedroom, and we are the stage of mudding and taping.  Soon to be followed by painting.  We have also looked at ideas for flooring and think we will be trying a new technique  for flooring, that will be much less expensive than the hardwood flooring we would like in their.  If it works and we like it we will be using it in other areas.  If not, it will at least have the floor mostly prepped for putting the hardwood flooring down at a later time when our finances improve.  We picked out the colors we want and were given a comforter with those colors for Christmas.  So, I'm ready to start painting and move in.  I'll be putting together pictures to post here soon of our space.