Last February I listed out six priorities for the year that I think I'll probably end up sticking with for the new year as well. Even though I'm not making any new resolutions, I am continuing to evaluate my priorities. So here's how I did on each in 2011 and what I hope each will look like in 2012 - this may be very long:
1) My relationship with God. 2011 was a hard year for me spiritually. In the very beginning of 2011 we left our church, the church we had been members of for three years and a church I had attended as a child. We didn't leave under good circumstances, something that was not a reflection of the church as a whole, but of a few people within the church. I really struggled (and still struggle) with forgiving those people and moving on. We stopped attending church for a while, but got back in the habit mid-year and wound up joining a new church. We love our new church and our small group - several of the couples even live in our neighborhood.
In 2012 we'll keep working on getting to know these people. Luke has started playing bass in the worship band and I start my first nursery rotation on Sunday. We're also doing a Bible study together as a couple and, hopefully tonight, I'll be starting another Bible study with my good friend Laurel.
2) My marriage. After posting this is in February Luke and I really made an effort to start spending more time together. We started doing more things as a family with the dogs and really bonded over those activities - therapy dog training for Chief and agility courses for Dexter. We planned to attend a FamilyLife Marriage Conference in the fall, but wound up distracted with holiday plans and Sugar Bear's wedding and didn't make it.
In 2012 we're really hoping to get away just the two of us for a short vacation. We don't have any other specific plans, but I'm sure we'll figure something out. Any ideas?
3) My family. In 2011 we spent a lot of time (and money) on our sweet boys. Sly is still alive and in amazing health for being 16 years old. He's an easy pet - food, water, and snuggles and he's happy. The little boys took up a lot more of our time (and did I mention money?). We put in a fence in the spring to give them space to run around and had both of them neutered and their stomachs tacked to prevent bloat. Dexter started his agility courses and Chief got his Canine Good Citizen certification and started doing some therapy work with foster kids.
In 2012, we will hopefully complete Chief's Therapy Dog International and Therapy Dog Incorporated ceritifications and continue to work with kids. Chief also joins me on my walks every morning and is an amazing companion. Dexter is still doing agility and Luke is considering having him compete if he continues to do well.
4) My health. In 2011 I tried several times to get motivated to exercise and just didn't do it. Nothing seemed to work, even knowing that Sugar Bear's wedding was coming up and I would be standing in front of everyone next to her skinny little self. Seeing the pictures from the wedding was a huge wake up call. I was also very, very sick in December. I lost about ten pounds just from being sick and saw a huge difference in the way I look.
In 2012 I'm hoping to finally find the motivation to get in shape. Instead of setting a weight loss goal or motivating myself to be thinner, I'm thinking of my mental health and the benefits of exercise and treating daily walks like a stress and depression prevention prescription. I'll walk 40 minutes to an hour a day, no excuses. So far, thinking of it this way has made a huge difference. In the past ten days I've walked every single day, a total of 25 miles. I've also got a group of friends holding me accountable to check in every day on my walks. Their encouragement is making a huge difference.
5) My hobbies. In 2011 I was able to spend a fair amount of time on my hobbies. I did more painting and art projects and fewer furniture projects than I had planned. I read fewer books than I read in 2010 but I read more pages total. I also saved over $1000 by reviewing books and buying from our used bookstores. Oh and we did a lot of work on the bookcases in the library, getting the arranged by color an adding on to them.
In 2012, I'd like to continue with my art projects but also add in some more furniture refinishes. I'd also like to add bookcases and a desk to my bedroom. As far as reading is concerned, I've set my goal at 125 books for the year and, as always, to out-read my total page number.
6) My house. In 2011 I worked hard on getting my house in order and keeping it that way. I had my ups and downs, but I'm pleased to say that right now my house looks good. I can have company over and not be ashamed or be hiding things in closets and rushing around to clean at the last minute. Things look good. We also made some major home improvements in 2011 - a new air conditioning system, the addition of a piano, and the fence.
In 2012 I hope to keep up the cleanliness of my house and continue to organize things in practical ways. My kitchen cabinets and pantry could use a major organization rehaul, as could Luke's office and the guest room/my craft closet.
Whew! If you've made it this far, congratulations! If you're just wondering when I'll get back to reviews, look here tomorrow!