It's important to work that muscle, the brain. So what I'd like to do this year is focus on one book a month related to the areas 2-8 below to challenge myself and improve in these areas. In order to ensure that I do this, I'll likely be posting a booklist to keep myself on track. This could be challenging in itself as I have taken to the habit of reading several books at once, but would like to discipline myself to focusing and really concentrating on one at a time.
In the process of attaining this knowledge, I hope to gain something much more valuable: Wisdom. Minister's wives are often sought after for counsel and many just expect us to have the answers. Growing up in a Christian home, I have to say I have been sheltered from many of the difficulties in the lives of non-believers. This falls under my Service area as well, so I'll deal with it more there.
However, I am inspired by Proverbs 8:12: I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. Each of these characteristics I welcome more of in my life. Proverbs 2:11-12: Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men.
Diabetes runs in my family. I've already had gestational diabetes and if I want to have any more children (which I do), I know I have to be in top physical shape to help decrease the risks of any further pregnancies. I also suffer from sciatica, the stress of which could be reduced by losing some weight. So my main goal is to lose weight and in the process learn to practice a healthier lifestyle.
Exercise is a must. I'm hoping for 20-30 minutes of walking each day, at a minimum. If I can do more - great.
As for nutrition, I need to concentrate on carbohydrates due to diabetic risk. But overall I'd like to reduce the amount of white sugar, white flour, hydrogenated oil or animal fat and highly processed foods (snack/junk food) in my diet.
I'd like to incorporate a time in my day where I can read the word and pray each day. Currently my tendencies related to Bible reading is feast or famine. I'll miss reading one day, but then read an entire book of the Bible the next day. I'd like to strike a better balance. With Miss Baby's schedule more predictable now, I think that will be more likely.
As for prayer, I tend to be an all day prayer person. Praying in intervals throughout the day as I'm busy in the house. I'd like to be able to sit down and develop a prayer journal and reflect and do a bit more listening with God.
It's so easy to become secluded from other people when you're a mother of young children. This fall I decided to venture out and join a Moms group. However, my husband and I have discussed reaching out in fellowship to the young couples in our congregation that have recently married as well as to other parents of small children.
Our plan is to try to invite 1-2 couples over once a month for an evening of fellowship. Here is where I liked to explore hospitality and creating a welcome environment for our visitors a bit further.
I'd like to use my career experience to bring additional income into our home to help with our finances. However, I don't want this to overshadow or infringe greatly on my dedication to my girls.
I will continue to seek out opportunities to do this, but also consider my other areas of strength and interest as well.
I know my plan isn't very clear here, and perhaps I should just leave this to concentrating on exploring and defining my options in the next few months and being open to opportunities as they arise.
The balance of discipline and instruction are important to me. I feel I need to prepare myself in this area and set up guidelines to help me be an effective parent. See further discussion here .
I'd also like to establish some family traditions over this next year now that Ms. Toddler is getting old enough to start appreciating them. Centering them around the holidays, I'd like to establish some creative and fun activities for the girls to practice. This will fall into homemaking as well.
Also, just paying them the attention they deserve and remembering to set aside chores and other responsibilities, making them a priority - such as reading to them nightly, playing with them more etc.
This is a big one. Hubby and I have weathered a challenging couple of years. The birth of two babies and several deaths in the extended family over the last two years has kept us preoccupied, not to mention our obligations to the church. I know we haven't taken enough time for just each other and I'd like to work harder this year at nurturing my marriage.
A reference check through the NIV on marriage, husbands and wives have led me to focus on the following areas: Love, Help and Submission.
A. Love. Titus 2:4:...Train the younger women to love their husbands.. I'd like to very simply express my love for my husband more through word and action on a daily basis. Whether it be an hug or a simple "I love you.", I'd like to make it a point to do this daily so I remember not to take him for granted. After 10 years of marriage, now's a great time to start the courting all over again.
B. Help. Gen 2:18 tells me that I was made to be a help to my husband. Proverbs 31:23 also says: Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. I truly want to be a help and not a hindrance to my husband's life and ministry. I'd like to be more positive in my words, building up my husband. Also, I'd would like to make home a haven for him. He holds a secular job and works for the church voluntarily. I'd like to create a comfortable home environment, a haven, from the everyday pressures of his responsibilities outside of our home.
C. Submission. Ephesians 5:22-33. This goes hand in hand with the first two. Words and Actions is the theme here. But a few verses as a reminder for myself: Prov 19:13-14: A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping...but a prudent wife is from the Lord. And I Peter 3:1-6..a gentle & quiet spirit.
I'd like to try doing a lot more cooking from scratch. I'd like to at least try to make pasta, bread etc. I would also like to start a garden this year, and will need to do some research on this.
There are so many areas to consider here, it has been overwhelming for us. However, we would like to focus our energies to one area, and are currently praying that God will show us that special area of need. I'll update once we've pinpointed it.
I also feel like I've neglected the ladies in the congregation who I know look to me for much guidance. With 2 babies in less than 2 years, I became a bit unavailable, but would like to make myself more available to them once again. There's a book I have in mind, and on my shelf, that's been collecting dust for a while to help me in this area. It's definitely going on the booklist!
Wow! That's huge! A bit scary too - now I'm accountable for all of these! Well, believing - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!