November 17, 2013

2014 Goal/Challenge

I am big on lists.
Maybe it's oldest child syndrome or my OCD/organization craziness.
Whatever the reason, I love them.
They help me stay sane.

I like to have a master list filled with variety.  Life changing things that will take time and smaller things that are more goal oriented.  I love Elsie's posts on goals, not that I follow them exactly, but they are a good jumping off point. I've realized that I work best when I have final goal in mind.  Whether it's a reward at the end, or something that I want to see changed in my life.  A bad habit broken or a good one encouraged.

Last year I decided that I wanted to get in shape and be able to run the Color Run.
I started running.  I needed the kick in the pants of having something to train for.  It was amazing and doing the Color Run was a big, big highlight for me.  I loved every second of it.  And, goodness knows, I need a goal or I won't work out (see: present day laziness).

2012 also included a daily challenge of taking 1 photo each day with my iPhone and posting it to Instagram.  It was a big goal and one that I was incredibly intimidated by.  It challenged me in my photography and in my discipline to complete a task every single day.  The day I posted my 366th (leap year challenge) photo was a fun, fulfilling day.  I did it.  Now I can look back on an entire year in photos.  I learned a lot about discipline and even more about goals.

My challenge for 2013 was to read the Bible through in a year.  It's something that I hadn't done since college.  It was one of those goals that seemed entirely overwhelming, but in a good way.  I know that time in the Word never returns void.  When I chose this challenge for the year, I had the goal of being more consistent in my time in the Word.  It was something that I had been being lazy about.  And it was a habit that I needed to get back into.
Honestly, with less than 50 days left in my reading, I will admit that reading the Bible in a year is not my favorite way to read the Word.  For me, it is much too rushed.  It feels like the old college days when I crammed for finals.  I much prefer to take one book at a time and become immersed in it, reading it slowly and taking the time to let it soak into my heart.
That being said, I love that it has created good habits.  I am back to reading the Word every night before bed.  Most mornings, I read a Psalm before I even get out of bed.  There have been days (weeks too) that it has felt like a chore and so very hard.  But more often than not, there have been weeks and weeks of sweet conversation with the Lord.
I was surprised to see how much I enjoyed certain passages like building the Temple and some passages of I & II Kings.  Things that can seem very detail oriented and dry were suddenly alive and breathing to me.  God's Word is alive.  And it felt alive.
I used the ESV Study Bible Plan in the YouVersion app.  It was incredibly convenient and easy to use.  I did really miss my physical Bible though.  Instead of saving bookmarks in the app for favorite verses, I started taking screen shots after I had highlighted verses that spoke to me.  Now I have a photo album full of scripture that encourages my heart whenever I flip thought it.  Love that.

This coming year of 2014, I have a new challenge/goal for myself.  I have noticed that I don't write as much.  It's obvious if you have read my blog in the past, that I don't blog as often (actually hardly ever) as I used to.  I also don't journal very much any more either, which I don't like one bit.  My writing has all but disappeared and I am not okay with that.  It's something I want to change.
About a year ago, this journal popped up in several different places.  I kept noticing it in stores and on blogs and it was suggested to me on Amazon.  I thought about buying it, but never did.  It definitely stuck in my brain though and I knew I wanted to do something similar for my yearly challenge.  I don't think one line is the best thing for me, as I can tend to ramble on when I get going, but that's my starting point.  One sentence written down each day.  It can be more, but it can't be less.
I'm on the hunt to find a journal with no lines (my favorite way to journal).  Mostly likely, I'll use a few of my favorite journals.  I want to make it easy, but challenge myself to write more than just what I ate that day or what the weather was like.  I did a similar challenge for myself when I did my sabbatical for 3 months and really loved it.

A new list.  A new challenge.  New goals and habits to create.  I'm excited to begin!

What about you?  Any goals/challenges for the new year to come?

November 01, 2013

California Road Trip: Big Trees

This trip was my introduction into the wonder of the Redwoods and Sequoias.  I have to first tell you that I have a deep love of trees.  I morn when they die/are destroyed.  I love their unique shapes and glorious shade.  I just love them.

Anyway, when I first saw the giant, GIANT things, I was in awe.  There is literally nothing like standing next to something that is tall as a skyscraper, yet is a living organism.  Its trunk is as wide as my car.  It appears to touch the clouds.  It is just inspiring.  I could have spent hours and hours wandering through the forest enjoying them.

We were lucky enough to find 2 separate Parks (Trail of 100 Giants [randomly unlocked National Forest Park area] and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park)  that were open (all the national ones were locked up: government shut down).  They weren't the big, famous parks, but still full of beautiful trees.

(Yes, that's me.  I had to climb a few stumps to even get up high enough to see out.)

California Road Trip Part 1, Part 2, Part 3