What with it being the season of resolutions I thought it fitting to look back to 2011 and list some of the things I actually got right. It wasn’t easy. Seems coming up with things I ought to improve upon is a much easier task. That said, looking at my list, I guess I didn’t do half-bad last year. Here’s to raising the bar (if ever so slightly) in 2012.
1. We sponsored a child through Compassion. He’s a 15-year-old orphan from Rwanda. Learning about his life there and praying for him regularly has not only grounded our family in realizations about the world beyond us, but so, too, has it reminded us just how blessed we truly are.
2. I exercised with regularity. Typically, I work-out four or five days out of the week. My activities of choice are kickboxing and weight training, but I could definitely use some variation in my schedule. I’m not so much into dancing (which rules out Zumba) but I’m open to suggestions if you have something that works for you.
3. I didn’t pay a single dollar in credit card fees. That’s not to say that we don’t use our credit card–boy do we. We use it to pay for EVERYthing, from groceries to gas. I keep track of every purchase throughout the month and pay the whole balance off before the billing cycle ends. The beauty of doing so is that we earn between 1 and 5 percent cash back on our purchases, which, for us, equates to roughly $800 per year in absolutely free money. Score!
4. I read to Jayce nearly every day. At five, this boy is not only reading independently, but he also still loves to be read to. I think our having read to him since he was an infant has instilled in him a love of literature, which is such a huge building block in encouraging lifelong learning.
5. We took further steps towards ridding our leftovers of toxins. By investing in a couple sets of quality glass food storage containers we’ve all but stopped using plastics (which can leach BPA). I hope to dispose of our lingering unsafe plastics in 2012.
6. I wrote a second novel. A good one at that ;)
7. We prioritized experiences. We’re definitely a family that values experiences more so than things. Jeff and I don’t own an iPad or the latest versions of iPhones or even a single e-reader between us. We do, though, enjoy experiencing adventures with our family. This year, we soared on a zipline through a Colorado canopy, swam with dolphins in Grand Cayman, cruised with three generations, rafted the Animas river, and visited local vineyards to taste their handcrafted wines. We toasted marshmallows over a campfire, visited my grandparents at their winter home, and floated across the sky in a hot air balloon. It was a good year.
8. We planted a garden for the second year in a row. While we’ve definitely had some output, these last two years are probably best described as learning ones. We hope that 2012 will bring us a more fruitful harvest!
9. I organized our pantry!
10. I honked less. I tried really hard to extend more courtesy to people on the roads, in public places, and on the phone (yes, including telemarketers). I’m definitely going to continue working on this one during 2012, but generally speaking, my patience for and tolerance of people who get on my nerves has increased, which is definitely a biggie for me.
I challenge you to try doing what I’ve done in this post. I’m curious if you, too, find it easier to pick yourself apart rather than identify your strengths. Post a link in the comments if you blog it; I definitely want to read it!