Posts Tagged ‘new year’s resolutions’

Two-thousand thirteen.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

A happy New Year
[Photo Credit]

Although I skipped over the usually obligatory Thanksgiving, advent, Christmas, and other end-of-year posts, I think New Year’s posts are some of the best in blog-land. There’s something so inspiring about reading everyone’s goals, focus words, and year-end reflections and accomplishments. (My 2012 year in review post WILL be coming soon, once my best and I have a chance to hash out the happenings.)

Some of these goals aren’t measurable or specific (we all know how “do ______ more” usually pans out)… but here are a few areas I’d like to improve:

  • Eating at the kitchen table. Right now we eat almost every night on our couch while watching Netflix (for shame!). This is because our kitchen table (first stop after the front door in our tiny apartment) is our clutter-catch-all, and we never want to both cook AND straighten the table. I’d like to use our cute placemats, pay attention to each other, have conversations, and get up from the kitchen table when we’re done (which I suspect will make cleaning up from dinner immediately a much more natural transition).
  • Start playing the piano again. My aim is once a week to start out. I figure if I do this, I will naturally want to play more than that, which is my eventual goal. To make this goal more measurable, I’ll probably decide on a few songs to learn and perfect.
  • Develop better routines. This is a biggie. It includes creating a rough weekly schedule that works with my highly variable work responsibilities, a cleaning routine that works for both of us, a gym routine and a morning routine. I started majorly slacking in the morning (and letting myself) when I got sick this summer, and now I can’t seem to drag myself out of bed until Eric’s almost ready to leave for work. Ideally I’d be awake with Bible read and tea/coffee had by that time, ready to start my work day.
  • Pick a few books of the Bible to read and re-read this year. I’m stealing this approach to a Bible-reading plan from this post by our good friend Paul. I’ve chosen Esther, Isaiah and Phillipians so far. Any suggestions?
  • Simplify and improve our eating. Eric and I have talked about wanting to start eating organic meats as a step toward improving the quality of what we put in our bodies. This means eating less meat in general and finding out where the best deals are, as our grocery budget doesn’t have much room to expand. We’ve talked about doing a CSA arrangement if we can find an affordable one. I love cooking, but grocery planning/shopping is one of my most hated chores.
  • Become a better photographer. This will probably involve working through some online tutorials, as well as practicing a lot. I’m looking forward to this goal as a fun one, especially with our new camera.
  • Work through a writing book slowly and do all the exercises. I tend to treat writing books as general inspiration, instead of really using them to practice skills. I have a couple awesome writing books right now, including On Writing Writing Down the Bones, Bird by Bird, and one from my mother-in-law called Writing as Way of Healing. I want to spend some quality time with each one.
  • Blog more consistently. I know I’ve totally neglected my blog this year. It was a strange year in some ways, especially with four months of sickness, which I think left me quite depressed in the low energy, just getting by kind of way. One positive is that that leaves me with tons of blogging material, particularly about my writing career, that I never got to in 2012. That should be enough to jump-start my new blogging habit.

Thanks for bearing with me through the breaks this year, friends.

2012 in review, coming soon! (PROMISE!)

brynna

Thoughts for a new year.

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

glittering snow[via Kinahmi]

I’m practicing writing with my new fountain pen, pondering the old and new, tending to a clingy kitty (who didn’t quite like that we made him sit in the car for 12 total hours and left him with a house sitter for a few days), and trying to create a few really meaningful and achievable resolutions.

My thoughts feel scattered today since it’s been a while since I blogged — the break was unplanned but needed — but I’ll do my best to focus, because I think that’s what you’re supposed to do when it’s a new year…

A word.

One trend I’ve seen in the last few years is that of choosing a word for the year. My problem with this is that I have a word hang-up that continues year to year – joy. I don’t think I’m quite ready to give it up just to have a 2012 word.  I explored joy in 2011 through study, though gratitude, through mindfulness and prayer. I have a plan to elaborate on this word and its significance to me in the continuation of the story of my name, which I hinted at through this poem last month.

Resolute.

I’ve struggled with the word conundrum and the idea of resolutions (and the discouraging thought of once again attempting to stop biting my nails — both that I believe it may be impossible and that there are far more important resolutions to make).  Yesterday an elder at our church gave an incredibly timely sermon on the last chapter of Habakkuk. He examined Habakkuk’s response to God after God reveals his plan for disciplining his people by raising up the Chaldeans to conquer them.

Habakkuk begins by appealing to God for relief. He then spends several verses recounting God’s mighty works in creating and delivering his people. He submits himself to God’s purposes (“I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us”).  Then he rejoices. Though he is about to lose his livelihood, his community, and all he knows at the hands of an evil conquering people, he says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” He knows that regardless of his limited understanding, his situation fits into the larger plan of a God who has been and will continue to be faithful. And he is able to say all this even without the knowledge of the Messiah come that we just celebrated this Christmas.

In 2012, I pray to be made like Habakkuk: bringing my laments to the God who cares for me and appeal to him for relief; remembering, always, his faithfulness and the promises he has made and kept; submitting my will to his; and rejoicing in him always, regardless of my circumstances.

Year in Review.

Last year, I got my first real teaching job. I celebrated my second wedding anniversary, signed up for a triathlon, attended my brother-in-law’s beautiful wedding, and read a lot of 7th and 8th grade core literature. I redesigned the blog and moved it to brynnabegins.com, moved into a new apartment in Portland, and began thinking deeply again about creativity and writing. I completed the aforementioned triathlon. I continued my quarter-life identity crisis. I officially launched my freelance writing business. I found out one of my best friends is pregnant! We celebrated Eric’s 26th and my 25th birthdays. I got a job teaching high school online while I work on growing my writing venture. I read and wrote a lot of poems.

The new year finds me searching. I feel a little dizzy, a lot excited, fearful. I still think the questions I’m asking might have been answerable several years ago, and it takes intentional grace-extending for me to move into fully accepting this season. I’m thankful for the removal of the numbness to creativity I felt for a couple of years up until this summer. I’m thankful that although I feel apprehensive and insecure, I feel awake.

…the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive. (Matthew Arnold)

Alive is a good way to start a new year. Here’s to living fully and celebrating the giver of breath in 2012.

Love to you all.

brynna