Hello, dear friends! It’s been a couple of months since I’ve shared my thoughts with you. At the end of last year, my husband’s contract with the Marine Corps ended, and we have moved back to our home state of Oklahoma. The new year has brought MANY changes, mostly revolving around the fact that Hubby is going back to college to finish his Bachelor’s Degree and it is now my opportunity to shine within a career. Our jobs, education, finances, home-life, and familial and social duties have taken a drastic turn. A few years ago, I stopped making new year resolutions and instead began focusing on challenging myself in all aspects of life. I set goals… some minor and insignificant… but all created to help me learn, laugh, and live a little differently each year. In the chaos of change that this year has brought, it feels more important than ever to use these circumstances to my advantage and set some new goals. Today I’m going to share these challenges with you all in an effort to hold myself accountable. If you have any suggestions for how I can best accomplish these tasks, feel free to let me know below in the comments!
- Begin a volunteer group for teens and adults within my church. Since I was a child, I have loved volunteering. I was fortunate to have parents who heavily pushed me to volunteer, always making sure the well-being and happiness of others were a priority. Volunteering made me a better person, and it brought about so many wonderful experiences in my life. This year, I want to lead teens and adults within my church into volunteerism. Throughout the year, I’ll select organizations that actively need workers, set up shifts for our church members, and transport them there if necessary. My hope is that the teens especially will have their eyes opened to the needs of those around them and find solutions to help those people.
- Complete one or two in-depth studies a month. Although I regularly read my Bible, I don’t often study and research topics as I should. Each month, I’d like to devote time to complete one or two very detailed studies, furthering my walk with God and allowing me to gain wisdom and grow as an individual.
- Learn more about other religions. Our society changes drastically every day. I believe it is imperative that we understand all religions, their background, how they affect cultures, and how they change those who follow certain practices. My challenge is to become more understanding of other religions so that I can compare and contrast them to Christianity and better communicate with those who follow them.
- Obtain a Masters. Ever since finishing my Bachelor’s Degree, I’ve felt as though something was missing from my life regarding education. My original goal was to obtain a Masters in Journalism, but that quickly changed after I became a military spouse and multiple moves interfered with college. Last year, after working as an executive director of a literacy council, I had the immense pleasure and opportunity to build community partnerships with both the local college and county libraries. Seeing the dedication, hard work, and impact that libraries and their workers have on communities really brought forth a desire to enter that sector by obtaining a Masters in Library Sciences. I’m still fully deciding on whether or not that is my final choice for furthering my education since I’ve also greatly been drawn to business and public relations due to my time working within a nonprofit. Either way, I hope to enroll in college again this coming fall and am extremely excited for this particular challenge.
- Write enough poetry to publish. Over the years, my dreams have changed and then changed again. One thing that has never changed has been my desire to publish poetry. I truly want the satisfaction of creating something memorable and beautiful and having that out in the world. This year, I will do what I haven’t done in many years– pick up the pen and return to my poetry roots.
- Focus more on quality time with friends and family. As an introvert and also a workaholic, it’s so easy for me to kick back in the house on weekends and shut down socially. For the first time in five years, I’m finally back home and surrounded by friends and family. This is a wonderful thing– and also a draining thing at times if I’m being completely honest. This year, I want to focus on managing time better so that those close to me know they are important in my life. One way I’ll accomplish this is by hosting Unplug Nights, where all our closest friends can come over and enjoy food, conversation, games, and more, all without any of us having access to our phones.
- Leave work at work. I’m a workaholic, and not always in a way that is healthy. I often feel our society pushes us to constantly grind and seek after the next goal in our careers… but that is another blog post entirely. It seems I often spend my energy worrying about tomorrow’s problems and trying to accomplish tasks far in advance. This year, I will challenge myself to learn to prioritize better and know when to leave work at work and be more of a Mary in a Martha world.
- Start investing. When it comes to finances, I feel infinitely blessed. Not because my family is rich… in fact, Hubby and I have lived below the poverty line for years now… but because we have no debt other than a mortgage and have always been able to fund emergencies, even if it meant a great deal of sacrifice on our part. This year, with new career opportunities for the both of us, I am excited to use extra income to build up mutual funds, retirement funds, and investments. Learning about those topics has been confusing at times but also rewarding, and I’m excited to see all sorts of nest eggs grow and produce and know that not only are we taken care of, but we have the ability to help others throughout our lives as well.
- Bake more bread. Need I say more? I can’t wait to explore the art of bread-making and share the results with friends and family.
- Create tea blends from an herb garden. One great thing about our new house is that it has plenty of room for flowers and raised garden beds. This summer I plan on trying my hand at drying and creating my own unique tea blends.
- Consistently blog. I’m not sure why I had the brilliant idea to begin this blog right before we moved across country. Now that we are more settled, I’m ready for the challenge of posting consistent, creative, and informative content here.
So that’s it! Those are the ways I’ll be challenging myself throughout this new year in an effort to learn and become more balanced and happy as a person. What are some of your goals? What are some of the biggest struggles you want to overcome this year? I’d love to chat with you down below in the comments!