Plans and dreams for 2018

IMG_5969The sun is setting and the air is thick with a smokey haze.  Probably from people burning who aren’t supposed to be.  I’m sitting out here in the cool, watching my teenage sons and their neighborhood friends chase each other around in the yard.  The daylight hours of 2018 fade quickly.

2017 ended with me beginning to do some things I want to continue doing, some things I want to stop doing, and some desires to do some things differently.

Things I plan To Continue Doing


Since James and I both purchased obstacle course races for each other as Christmas gifts (the first one is the Spartan race, Feb.11th), I started a training program to attempt to get in shape and not die doing these races.  I plan to keep that up.

Spend Mondays With Grandma

When my Grandmother was diagnosed a few weeks before Thanksgiving with having cancer growing in her spinal fluid and her brain, I began spending time with her weekly.  This has been a treasure to me.  I started recording some of our conversations in hopes of writing a little biography on my grandmother to give to family members.  Spending time listening to another person’s story is always a good thing to do.  Spending time listening to the story of a person of an older generation is enriching!  I wish our culture did this more.  Spending Mondays listening to my 82 year old grandmother tell me her story is something I plan to continue to do as long as God gives her life.


I discovered Realistic Poetry on Twitter a week or go and began writing small poems.  I also began writing poetry again on my blog.  I even submitted a couple poems to Realistic Poetry for a contest they had running in 2017.  I used to write poetry quite often as a teenager, and I’ve written some occasionally through the years.  I want to continue developing skill in writing, and writing poems is one way I want to do that.  I also plan to continue writing here consistently as well as submitting articles to various publications this year.  Last year I submitted a couple articles to Desiring God.  And I plan to submit to them again this year.  But I also plan to submit to a nursing publication, a poetry publication and some other online and print Christian publications.

Pray With My Neighbor

I’ve been getting together with my neighbor in 2017 to pray.  It’s become a treasured time for us both.  We pray for our families, our pastor, our newly forming local church, confess our sins, cry for help, pour out complaints and fears and praise… it’s wonderful!


Things I Want To Stop Doing- And What I Want To Do Instead

Reading my Bible on my phone

I’m really thankful for the Bible apps on my phone.  I’ve developed a habit in the past couple years of reading my Bible on my phone every morning.  I get up early, make coffee and curl up on the couch in the silence, my iPhone 6 plus glowing with scripture in hand. The reason I want to stop doing this is mostly because of my kids.  When they see me on my phone in the morning they don’t know what I’m doing.  As far as they know I’m on Facebook.  And that’s the other reason I want to stop using my phone to read my Bible in the mornings: social media and the relentless notifications.  I confess I’m WAY too in tune with Facebook and Twitter.  Especially Twitter.  I scroll it like a news paper article and use it as my go-to information source. Not good.  Especially when I’m trying to read my Bible and Twitter is notifying me that someone liked my tweet. So, starting this morning actually, I pulled out my paper and leather ESV Bible and sat down with printed reading plan in hand and put my phone away.  It was good.

Buying Groceries When I Wake Up On Payday

I get paid every couple weeks via automatic deposit.  Getting paid has just become a transfer of numbers for me.  I don’t manage my income.  I just spend it.  I don’t plan.  I don’t budget.  I know it’s bad.  I don’t use credit cards very often and when I do I pay them off quickly.  It’s not that I’m out spending my income on frivolous things either.  My problem is I just don’t manage what God has provided me very well and that’s the truth of it.  I’ve heard it from the preacher, I’ve heard it in my readings, I’ve heard it in my heart when I come to the end of my numbers in the account on my screen and realize I need to change the way I deal with what God has provided me in the form of an income. I’ve tried doing budgets before and really what happens is I write it out and then I don’t stick to it. So I’m not saying I’m going to write a budget, but I am saying I want to stop the habit of spending anything out my account before stopping to plan out how I’m going to use that paycheck. Instead of going to the grocery store on payday morning, I want to spend some time looking at the amount I have, giving first to my local church, then other ministries and charities I’ve been giving to, and then plan how I’m going to use what’s left.

Some Desires, Maybe Dreams

Unlike what I’ve already written about exercise, writing, Bible reading and money management goals and changes I plan to implement this year, these are some dreams and desires I’m thinking about, committing to the Lord and looking to take steps in the direction of those desires and dreams.

Ministering Nurse

Minister in my community… and maybe beyond as a nurse.  I don’t know where this will lead, but I’m planning to finish my BSN this year in the fall.  After that, I’m not sure.  But I’m prayerful asking God to lead me as I feel pulled to the marginalized in our society.  Especially the elderly, the foreigner and the disabled.  I’m dreaming of what God might do for his glory and the building of his kingdom if I humble myself and open my life up like a conduit of grace as a nurse.  In a profession where the oppressive system based on fear, liability and even greed is weighing on the nurse’s shoulders heavily, I pray God would help me to see that I am free of all that.  I’m free to serve him and others no matter what the government, insurance companies, hospitals and attorneys do.

Start A Bible Study

I’ve been dreaming about starting a Bible study using the simple guide my old pastor gave me.  He taught me to ask questions when studying the scriptures that help keep the study God-centered, not me-centered.  The Bible is practically helpful, no doubt.  But the Bible is practically helpful because it takes your eyes off yourself and puts them on the One who made and saved us.  That changes everything.  I’ve been trying to remember what those questions were specifically that he taught me.  I’m probably wording this wrong but what I recall is something like this:

  1. What does the passage tell you about God?
  2. What does it tell you about the person or situation?
  3. How can you apply the passage in your life?

Write A Book?

I’m not sure exactly what about. And maybe a book shouldn’t be my goal.  But I want to develop my skill in writing and take steps to develop a book if God wills.  I’m dreaming about it.

Light For My Path in 2018

However things go this year, I have two sections of scripture in mind:

  1. 1 Kings 19:4-15. Elijah was scared and tired of being opposed.  He felt like the only one.  He hid and prayed that God would just end his life.  But God didn’t.  Instead, he comforted and strengthened Elijah and told him to get going.  I need to remember that this year.  I get depressed.  I get tired of being resisted.  I feel sometimes like I’m the only one and I pout. And hide under stupid things like broom trees and beg God to make things different.  But instead of pulling me out of the situations I’m weary of he strengthens me with his word and tells me to get up and get going.
  2. Psalm 33:18-22. My hope this year is not in my ability to endure, not in my marriage getting better, not in my kids doing what I hope they’ll do, not in my job or my plans or my country.  My hope is in the steadfast love of the Lord.  2018 is his.  His eye is on me.  He is daily bearing me up and has delivered my soul from death. His love will keep me through 2018.  He’s a good place to put all my hope.


14 thoughts on turning 40

Forty is a landmark.

No big deal was made of today, but I feel like it is a big deal. I’m forty. I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means.

Here’s fourteen of my thoughts and desires upon turning 40:

1.  According to the average life expectancy of a woman in the U.S.  I’ve lived half my life already.

2.  According to the Bible that’s about half the life of hot breath on a cold window-  a fraction of a vapor.

Indeed, You have made my days [as] handbreadths, And my age [is] as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state [is] but vapor. Selah -Psalm 39:5

3.  If I’m half way through my life, I’m taking on the motto, “It’s all uphill from here!”  Not downhill.  I want the high country for the last half.  I don’t want to coast my way to the end.

4.  Forty feels… comfortable in my own skin with a deep ache for Who I was made for.

5.  I want the gospel of Christ to be more precious, and treasured, and beautiful to me than ever before.

6.  I want to love my husband well.

7.  I remember standing in the bathroom, looking at my 13 year old self in the mirror thinking, “I wonder what I’ll look like when I’m 30?”  I never even thought I’d be forty.

8.  I want to speak of Christ and the good news of what he’s done to reconcile man to God boldly and with love.

9.  I want to be rid of the fear of man.  It’s snare has been attached to my foot too many of these forty years.

10.  I want to learn how to use power tools.

11.  I want to plant a garden and reap a harvest.

12.  I want my kids to see God’s power to save!  “Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.” -Psalm 90:16

13.  “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” – Deut. 8:2

14.  Moses was simply a dweller for forty years before God made him a deliverer.   Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.  And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.” – Acts 7:30

This is only the beginning.  You can do anything God… even with a half breath like me.  I want to be spent for You!  Apart from you I can’t do that.  May the last half of my days bring you more glory than the first.


My life-rythm is about as good as my dancing

(Connor’s work on his memory verse)

When I was 16 I wanted to be a ballerina. Somehow though, six foot and awkward don’t look very graceful in a tutu. I can’t dance. I want to dance. I like to dance. But if you saw me and my kids playing Just Dance4 you could come up with some good blackmail material. Shoot, I can’t even tap my foot to a beat for long.

My life feels sort of the same way.  I’m moving to the music the best I can, but my timing and rhythm are all messed up!  I’m always trying to get the beat back on track and I’m pretty sure if I would play just one song at a time, it wouldn’t be so bad.  But as it is I’m trying to keep up with my blogging, my journaling, my 1000 gifts journal, my goal to memorize Colossians in a year, my clean eating plan, exercising, Sunday school lessons… and the daily life stuff, not to mention spending time with my kids and husband.  I guess each of those things doesn’t necessarily need to be it’s own “song”.  It can be an instrument in the symphony God is composing out of my life.  I need to focus on the Conductor and not worry about all the instruments and just simply play the part He’s conducting me in now.

Mornings begin the rhythm… If I get that wrong, the rest of the day is not so harmonic.  I’ve been taking in the Word every morning with my black coffee and using the memorizing of Colossians as my daily bread. 

The month of January was dedicated to clean eating, grateful journaling, seeking Eucharistic living, heart-knowing the Word, and more consistent exercise.  By the grace of God, all those endeavors have been blessed with success.  More grace and mercy to keep moving forward please!

I know it was grace-given success because a root of bitterness got dealt with and seeds of gratitude are already bearing fruit: having contempt for contempt I chose to think on the good and so decided to call him my Music Man.  He loves to jam.  He walks around with his guitar.  He’s always reminding me, without saying a word, of that seemingly prophetic line in the song we walked down the isle as husband and wife to:

They say that the road
Ain’t no place to start a family
Right down the line it’s been you and me
And loving a music man
Ain’t always what it’s supposed to be
Oh Girl
You stand by me
I’m forever yours

I’m reading several books right now:  A Long Obedience In The Same Direction If God is GoodIt Starts With Food, Sacred Marriage, and Robinson Crusoe.  I keep bouncing from one to the next.  There are so many good quotes in them all.  I keep highlighting and underlining and dog-earing… good books. 

Baseball season is coming.  Connor and James do baseball.  I cheer them on and support in anyway I can.  Ryland looks for other player’s siblings who want to play a game with him.  Ryland’s been doing Crossfit kids.  He loves it.  I’m glad.  It’s the only physically active activity  he enjoys.  He also wants to join chess club and today told me he misses piano lessons.  It’s gotta be hard for non-jock boy with a jock dad and jock big brother.  Actually, he doesn’t seem to think it’s hard.  He’s perfectly happy the way he is. 

Sometimes I feel we could easily become a family where one child goes with one parent and the other child with the other parent.  I guard against that.  When it’s Connor’s baseball season we are there for him.  When Ryland has Crossfit or is involved with the chess club, we’re there for him. 

Since I spent the last 30 + days doing the Whole30 challenge I am now being encouraged by the Music Man to pursue cooking my clean, nutrient dense meals and bringing them to Crossfit gyms in the area to sell to fatigued post WOD-ers.  He suggests a morning, afternoon, and evening stop.  I guess he likes my cooking.  Smile. 

At first I thought he was just being nice, but he’s serious business.  So we’ll see where this goes.  I don’t even know where to start.  I guess three good, kitchen-tested recipes, say, a breakfast, lunch and dinner, might be a good place to start.  Then maybe just a giveaway after a WOD… hmmm, I feel a brainstorm coming.  I guess I’ll take a step of faith and go for it.   This is one of those things where I look up and think maybe the stars are aligned right…  The Proverbs 21:1 star, the 1 Peter 5:6 star, and the 1 Peter 3:1 star. 

I gave my notice at work that I won’t be coming back next year.  This was before the suggestion by the Music Man to get a “roach coach” (as he puts it) and start selling Something Real meals.  I made the decision to go back to work at a hospital next year part time and use the tuition reimbursement most hospital’s offer to finish my bachelor’s degree in nursing.  In 2020 it will be a requirement to even become a R.N.  No more A.A.S. nurses like me.  My priority is building relationships in my family and making a home, and whatever work I do for an income needs to support that, not tear it down.  Working as a school nurse has a very beneficial schedule for a mom of school aged children, but I’ve decided the trade off of evenings, weekends, holidays and summer break doesn’t make up for the daily life available and together.  As it is right now I feel like a part-time, seasonal mom and wife and a full-time school nurse.  That is the wrong order.  The Music Man is supportive of this and as I said, is even now encouraging me towards entrepreneurship.  Who knew?!  I know Who knew.  And He also knows what’s next.  All my plans are in His hands.  If the Lord wills, next year I will be working part time, working on my bachelor’s degree online, and hopefully helping out in a classroom once a week… my kids’ classroom!

If every morning and every evening and all day long I don’t come back to the lyrics of truth, when the seasons of my life change, when the many options surround me, when I want my life to be what it’s not, when thoughts barrage and lies slip in, I loose the beat and fall apart.  But if I can keep the beat of truth going all day and all night I might just be a dancer in His sight.