I’m feeling a little shellshocked about the many celebrity passings of 2016.
Like many other kids from my generation, I grew up processing life through the music and comedy I listened to and the TV I watched. Struggling with constant conflicts with my biological family, and lacking any real extended family or faith community, I needed to feel part of something and I found it in 70s sitcoms and music. They were my family when I struggled with feeling loved and accepted in my own home. So when they inevitably pass away, it hits hard.
It’s only natural that we’ll be hearing about more and more deaths of musicians and celebrities with every passing year. What gives me pause is that many of them aren’t too much older than me and in a few cases were even younger.
While it saddens me and reminds me that time is indeed slipping into the future, it also makes me ponder how I really want to spend my time and what I want cut out what’s unnecessary. God willing, I’ll be 55 this year and my time on earth grows shorter. How can I redeem it and make it count?
I’m spending a little time this Christmas break setting intentions for 2017. Intentional goals are a kind and gentle way of setting priorities.
- Read the Bible through. I’m embarrassed to admit that although I’ve been a Christian since 1988, there are some sections of the Old Testament I’ve never read and have never read it through as a whole. I’ve tried many times but got lost in Exodus and the business of life. I’m trying to do things a little differently this year. I found a plan that I think will be a good fit, and I’m going to make good use of the audio capabilities of YouVersion. I’m also using the Message translation because I just need a different voice.
- Resume health and wellness goals. I lost 25 lbs. In 2016, about halfway to goal. I probably could have gotten there sooner but I went off track quite a bit the second half of the year. I love yoga and am happy to do it most days but I need to add some cardio to the mix a few times a week because I lose weight faster when I sweat. Also I’m aiming to add two hot yoga sessions at the gym a week because as much as I don’t like the instructor’s style, it does push me past my limits and I feel great afterwards with reduced pain and spasm.
- Learn photography. It’s been a dream of mine to be a photographer for a long time but life always got in the way of my getting a DSLR or even having the time to learn. I’ve found a great photography course that I have already learned so much from. I’m kind of wondering if I’m really too old now to expect to go pro but it’s definitely a fulfilling and creative pastime for me. I’m also working on learning Photoshop with the hope of adding graphics and printables services to my business down the road.
- Reduce time spent on social media scrolling. I’m as hooked to my phone as anyone else and I spend far too much time randomly scrolling my social media feeds. It can really get in the way of productive reading. I just bought a Kindle paperwhite for this purpose so that I’d have something productive to read when in the car or sitting around waiting rooms. After this election season (and the sure to be ongoing drama in 2017…) I just find being online too much to be really draining. For me, there’s too much information to consume and process. I try to follow positive people for the most part but I can’t get away from the lingering sadness I feel when I see pics of people with big extended families or moms who aren’t chronically ill being able to do things with their kids that I can no longer do. Social media can be a blessing when it connects me with others who are struggling, gives me a writing outlet and a chance to earn a little extra money but it’s a curse when it triggers sadness and depression.
- Get outside. Chronic pain is a constant presence in my life that limits walking, which I used to love to do. I also hate the Florida heat and I find myself indoors far too much. One good thing about having an active Jack Russell terrier is that it does force me to get outside several times a day but I need to do more than than that.
- Pray. Somehow this fell by the wayside this year. I’ve been operating in “independence” mode all on my own strength. It’s a major character flaw of mine. I still want to be a badass New Yorker, but I often think God allowed me to become a disabled special needs mom so that I would see my powerlessness, learn to depend on Him more and see His provision in everything.
- Practice acceptance. Living with chronic pain has meant giving up a lot. It isn’t easy. I’m continually learning life lessons on accepting what I can’t change and the living the chronic life as best as I can.
- Practice gratitude. No matter how I’m feeling or what’s going on aroundme, there’s always something to be grateful for.
- Live one day at a time. I’m one of those big picture people who is constantly thinking what the next step is. That’s a given as a special needs mom…we tend to worry about the future more. We do have to plan ahead. But I have to learn not to overthink everything and accept each day and what it brings.
- Create margin in every area of my life. After 20 years of raising 4 kids, homeschooling and the household chaos that comes with being a special needs family, there is a whole lot of mess and clutter in every part of my house. Not sure if I should just tackle a draw at a time or attempt a program like this one (which might doom me to failure) or this one but every box taken out of the house and found drawer space is a victory.
One more thing…I’d be remiss in not mentioning that I’m entering my 32nd year of sobriety. It’s still one day at a time. Living these intentions to the best of my ability will keep me in a good mindset which is essential to long term sobriety.
P.S.I like to use my bullet journal to keep track of what I don’t do so that I don’t succumb to overwhelm and put too much on my plate.
My friend Candace at Mercy is New likes to call these intentions Grace Goals. While everything seems possible during holiday or summer break, the reality of life WILL happen. Baby steps are all we really need to take and keep moving forward in grace with intention.
Oh wait, there’s one more intention. I’ll be joining Candace’s community to study Woman of the Word in January. I really want to develop as a Christian writer and share the reason for my hope. That starts with more systemic study of the Bible. You can find more info here.
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