Monday, December 31, 2012

The New Year Smell. 2013.

Ahhh, do you smell that? The new year smell? It's as awesome as the new car smell, but with even more potential. It's April freshness in the dead of winter, People! Get excited!

The start of a new year. My Zumba instructor reminded us today to be sure to be early for the next couple of weeks with all the "resolutioners" coming in. All the health foods and fitness equipment goes on sale. Calendars and organizational tools are in abundance in the stores. It's grand, all the goal setting and whatnot.

I don't typically make New Year's Resolutions. Not that I'm opposed to a mainstream cliche or anything; I dig a good bandwagon, but I feel like a failure most of the time, and I just don't need extra pressure.

My "resolutions" have been something like "to be awesome" or "NOT to get a W2 form" (This was 2010, so all work was henceforth volunteer.) These are legitimate resolutions and I achieved these goals with ease. Yay, me!

So, why now? A few weeks ago, Spouse challenged our family to write out a "Life List". Sort of a bucket list. We did, and, this little family project of his got me to thinking. I wanted to break some things down into smaller goals; this is what I came up with. Not all of these goals are on my Life List, just things I'd like to do in the next year.

I guess I'm writing this for the purpose of accountability and maybe even for inspiration. This girl is a sanguine in the worst way, so if I can make a community out of something, I'm will dern sure do it. The accountability and encouragement of friends is the best kind of carrot to dangle in front of me! Also, I hope it inspires somebody! I know when I read posts like this, I get motivated.

Still, I'm nervous to put this out there 'cause what if I flunk out of my 2013 Goals? All four of you readers will know!

Well, dang.
Here they are.
Some personal & family goals for 2013.

Twelve 5k's.
{Pinterest pic}
I'll run a 5k per month for 12 months. I got this idea from a friend of a friend. I love it. Running/jogging is sort of my nemesis. I do not find running awesome at all. But, it is awesome when I get to punch my personal best in the face.
Because of my relationship with the running, I do entirely too much starting and stopping. I really want to push myself to stick with this to see if I really can retrain my mind and body to enjoy running. I'd love to do a half-marathon one day, again for the sucker punch factor, but I like the goal of the 5k a month. This is a small, attainable goal that even my girls can do with me. Also, I'm intentionally not setting time goals. Again, I don't need the extra pressure- just doing this is a big deal. I've pinned the Couch to 5k plan for the kids, although they don't need to start at week 1, it just breaks the goal down for them. In a lot of ways, this is as much for two little girls as it is for me.
The first race is a good one. Choco Loco 5k on January 26th.
It's a race for chocolate lovers. Shut the front door. Go me!
{Pinterest pic}
I just like this one.
I'd love the online company! Y'all give it some thought! We can hold one another accountable. Who's in?

Memorize Psalm 139.
{Pinterest pic}
Twenty-four verses that can change a girl's life. Even a grown-up girl. Psalm 139 is the ultimate source to get our self-image in line with our Creator's image. I'm going to have my girls join me on this one.
Two verses per month. If we go faster than that, fine.
Again, anybody want to join in?

One Month of Scheduled Schooling.
Homeschool Barbie. I just find this cackle-worthy. {Pinterest pic}
We are pretty relaxed in our school schedule. We do not, by definition, unschool, we are simply  flexible. My spazmatic personality lends itself to an allergy to a rigid schedule. On the flip-side, the perfectionist-educator-mom has been taught that schedules are good for kids. I don't know if this is indoctrination or truth, but I can definitely see the benefit. I'm not making any long-term promises, but I want to commit us to a schedule for a month to see if it changes our lives. If it doesn't rock our world, I'm back to my spazzy ways. We will use our curriculums 4 days a week and we have "Friday School" with our group. Any other field trips/commitments will have to make it on the schedule. :) The [scheduled] exception will be an internship/mentorship that Meghan will be doing. She will have a separate schedule for internship days.


To focus us on our Scripture memory and school schedule, I'm semi-unplugging for that same month. By "semi" I mean from the social networks: Pinterest, Twitter, and the good ole Facebook. I will check emails and keep up with the blogging. Hopefully, some of you will be gracious enough to use those "Share" buttons at the bottom of the posts! Just be aware that I won't be able to see your comments on Facebook, just on the blog. :)

Handwritten Notes.
Art of a Handwritten Note
I am going to send at least one handwritten note/ card each week. I was so very good at this at one time. One a week is very doable and has the potential to change someone's day.

So, there you have it. Out on the blogosphere for all to see. Even as I am nearing the end of this post, that 5k jazz is causing me angst. This is also an exercise in commitment. Long term commitments are about like those rigid schedules I was talking about. Eh.

Guess I better get lace up, get to studying, grab a pen, make that schedule!

What about y'all? Any 2013 goals or resolutions?

Top 12 of 2012

A blog about blogs that I read suggested that bloggers repost a list of the most read blogs this year. This got me curious.

This was sort of a neat exercise, just to see what types of posts resonate with my people.

It says a lot about you readers, ya know. ;)

Here's the list of the 12 most read Spouseisms posts of 2012.

12.  Door. Closed. This was definitely in the top 3 worst days of 2012. A hard post to write and I didn't even like looking at it again just for this list.

11. Beautiful Singleisms. This is one that I hope readers share with some single folks.

10.  Straight Talk about THE Talk. This one, too. Talk to your kids before anyone else does.

9.  Paradox of Going and Leaving. Tough stuff.

8.  BIG BELIEFS, Little Beliefs. I wrote several of these "Beliefs" posts, but this one was the most read. I know why, too! Cause some of y'all straight up knew that somewhere in this post was the phrase "best sex"! Boom. Boost in readership right there. Just sayin'. I know what y'all are thinking!

7.  Revisitng Spouseisms for the Betrothed. Share them with newly and nearly married couples. Not everyone will agree with all, and that's okay. I still stand by them.

6.  Big C Church & Little c church. Loved this one.

5.  Spouseisms for the Betrothed See #7.

4.  Definition of a Bum. I dig when my Spouse writes.

3.  No Words. Whoa. Jesus showed up.

2.  Might + Should = Might Should Challenge to write for my friend over at Most Illustrious Mother.

1.   House Hunting as a Spaz. Our crazy search for a house was the most read? I don't know if I believe  it. Must be the wanna-be hackers. I had two random realtors post on my page. Gets on my blessed nerves.

So, there they are. Top 12.

2012 Reflections

<Cue appropriate year-end songs>

It's closing time. Open all the doors and let you out in to the world... [Performed by Semisonic]

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go... [Performed by GreenDay]

Of course, we could move on to the New Year's Day songs. 

All is quiet on New Year's Day, a world in white get's underway... [Performed by U2].

So this is the new year, and I don't feel any different... [Performed by Death Cab for Cutie]

Alright, alright.  Let's not be hasty. (Did I just say that? Weird.) 
Today is a day of reflection. We are sticking with year-end songs here.

And, my personal favorite: 
You must sing along or this post will self-destruct.

If I could turn back time, if I could find a way, I'd take back those words that hurt you. And, you'd stay... 

I do not need to tell you that that piece of lyrical ingenuity was performed by none other than the ever-ostentatious walking legend, Cher. 

It's absurd, truly, to think about what we've learned and experienced this year. I don't have a clue what's coming, but I know anything is possible. [Proof: I am typing this from my home in Texas.]

2012 taught us a few million things. It's been a ride on the roller coaster of "Follow Jesus". The experiences, awesomeness, and fun we've had are too numerous to count. Anyway, I've been reading all these posts & tweets about reflecting on 2012 and evaluating your life and habits, setting goals for 2013 and whatnot. 

OK. I'm in. I'll attempt to list 10 lessons, experiences, reflections, awesomeness, highs & lows--general stuff from 2012, in no particular order. (A 2013 Goals post will be later tonight.) 

Lesson: Following Jesus rarely looks like what you think it will look like. Dude. Sometimes what it looks like is that you are an indecisive spaztastic. North Carolina? Manila? ...Texas. Huh? You just gotta go with what only you and Jesus know. Fine, Jesus. I'm a spaz anyway. May as well be a spaz for you.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  James 4:13-15


Awesomeness: Blogging.  I'm writing. Writing to bless Jesus and somebody, even when I'm writing shenanigans. Writing stuff that will likely never make it the published list. Just writing. I encourage you to write, even if nobody reads  it.

Reflection: Criticism is not a fruit of the Spirit. I say this often, with reason. No body is more critical of me than me. 

Experience: The Suite Life of Meghan and Maddy. I think we will all look back on that time as just plain fun. In a quick calculation, I figured we've been in a hotel room or temporary housing 160+ days this year. 

Tough stuff: Losing friends. 

Awesomeness: My girls are best friends. This year has bonded them on new levels. How do we know? They gang up on us like never before. We could all learn from their strategizing.

Lesson: Being the new girl is hard. Even for super-sanguines. That's part of what's hard. Super-sanguines want to know everyone in the room already. I can find myself disappointed if I'm in a room with 200 people and I only got the names and life stories of 2 people. Silly. Learning this lesson has given us all a new sensitivity to what it's like to be the new person. Visiting all these churches and whatnot, I've learned to never assume the person is feeling at "home" there. Now I ask, "Is this your home church?" Boom. Door opened.

Not new realization: The Body of Christ is nothing less than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. From Florida to Wake Forest to Irving and Arlington to Manila to Houston, we've been loved, prayed over, served, missed, welcomed, encouraged, taught, and fed. All in Jesus' name.

Awesomeness: Fajitas. Son.

Less than awesomeness: Fajitas.  Must. Stop. Eating.

It's definitely been a year of "new" around here. We've learned so very much about ourselves and how God works in us. 

What about you? What was your awesomeness of 2012? 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Far From Home

Merry Christmas, Y'all. 

Sometimes, when you're far from home at Christmas, you get melancholy. When that happens, it's a good idea to look back at the awesomeness that the Lord has allowed the last few weeks.

The most wonderful time of the year: The Month of My Birthday.
Since I am Jesus' favorite, he shares his birthday month with me.
Sorry to you if you didn't already know about my being the fave. 

My beautiful friend, Sandy,  and I got to experience The Nutcracker Ballet with our respective girls for the first time.
Love having girls.
 Evidence of Jesus' favoritism toward me: I had really been wanting to take the girls to see the Nutcracker. We've have had an eventful year, though, and was having a hard time justifying the expense at Christmastime. My homeschool group had a scheduled field trip to see it, but it was too late for me to get a ticket with them (at a major discount!) Anyway, the day before the show, an email was sent out that there were three extra tickets. A woman that I've never met ended up blessing us with her tickets that she couldn't use. So wonderful. Thank you, Jesus.

San Antonio

Spouse had to work for a few days in San Antonio, so the girls and I tagged along.

Two girls who love posing for pics at the Alamo.
This guy looks like a spy. Just sayin'.
You know how some moms get irate when someone outs Santa? You know the moms: something about the kid's fantasy being ruined because a kid in the 4th grade blabbed. I've seen it happen. Mom gets fired up.
Wonder how those moms would feel seeing this Santa sitting on this bench outside the Alamo? I mean, wouldn't they be obligated to protect their child's fantasy by letting their precious little ones sit on that lap?

We took the scenic route home from San Antonio and went to Austin. We visited some cool shops and ate cupcakes out of a silver bullet in a parking lot called The Food Truck. I love that place and would gladly do my part to "keep Austin weird".

Ice Skating!

Homeschool group Christmas Party means making new friends.

We got Elfed!
Our community group from church left these two rednecks on our doorstep late one evening. They brought some goodies, too! Hilarious. (Pics above and below.)

Then, as part of this Christian hazing ritual,  Buddy the Nutcracker and his hillbilly friend, Bubba the Elf, had to be passed on. We are TERRIBLE elfers. Terrible. Spouse was so loud! Pretty sure we were "caught". It was so fun, though!

Had friends over.
Meg & her buddy, Seth.

Goodness, I am in love with these kids. 

Wii baseball.

Christmas Party.
Sandy had a Gingerbread house decorating party. Bunch of mommas and kids. Bliss.
Publicly fought Maddy over this one. I won.

Got lots of love from home.


Candlelight Service at BCF.
Jesus, Lord at the birth.
Making Jesus famous.

Maddy's first apple pie.
No-Bake Cookies for Daddy.

Gingerbread houses.
Spouse was a show-off. He made the least mess and the best construction.
A graham cracker manger with a pretzel stick playing the part of Jesus. He took scissors to a Gummy Sweet Tart and made the star. Ridiculous.
Happy Christmas Eve Fajitas.
After this fab dinner, we went to look at some serious Texas Christmas lights.

<Insert awesome Christmas morning pictures here. 
I can't. 
I accidentally formatted the memory card with the pictures from our very first Texas Christmas.
Brilliant. >

We got to FaceTime with family and open gifts. This invoked simultaneous cheer and sorrow in each of us in some way.

Meg burned her hand on the smoker and got herself a free ticket to the urgent care down the street.
Her pain tolerance has always amazed me. She is such a beast.

The following is a re-enactment of Christmas morning. Although, some missing items were already in the backyard and garage at the time of this re-enactment, the actors in these scenes have done their best to recreate the events as they originally happened.

Don't judge.
Meg reading Luke 2.

Merry Christmas! 

The man God uses to lead & bless this family.

And, in an effort to completely gross out my kids...

 Sometimes, when you look back at all the awesomeness, you see that there are so many reasons to be grateful.

It's Christmas.
Jesus came.
He was far from home.
He had a purpose.
He did what he came to do.
He had to leave his family. He had to leave people he loved.
Why would it be any different for us?
We came here. We're far from home. There's purpose in it.
We are going to do what we came to do.

Be Jesus here.