Today's Friday Five is all about the good intentions that seem to come with each year's "fresh start." For me, the summer is typically my time of the ending of something and the beginning of something else. Between 20 years of school and that schedule or the Conference year in the church that always started and ended in June, January was simply the chance to breathe after the chaos of Christmas and the midpoint of my year. But this year is different because this is the first year that I can remember when I haven't found myself and my life somewhat controlled by one of those schedules. There is something new and hopeful about this year and this time in my life. Here's hoping it sticks! So without further ado, my Friday Five.
1. Start by sharing your success stories with us: In the past, what resolution has been the most successful? What change have you made that has been the most beneficial, to your mood, health, finances, or other way of being in the world? As previously stated, January 1 has rarely represented much of a beginning to me, so resolutions haven't ever been a huge part of my life. A couple of years ago I started a list of 101 things in 101 weeks and while I accomplished a lot on my list, my most important learning came from NOT achieving my goal.
2. What is one thing you hope to do differently this year in regards to health, either physical or spiritual? If you are satisfied with your current status in both areas, perhaps you would be willing to share something you have already done (or regularly do) to care for yourself? My resolutions this year all all about health in various forms, but the one I most want to do for myself is the physical, which is training for and running a 5k. Although not completely satisfied, one thing I do regularly to care for myself that is incredibly meaningful is a yoga class on Thursday nights. The small but devoted community has a special place in my heart and while the class itself is good for my body, the real benefit for me is the tea party we have at the end where we can all sit and talk and laugh and where my spirit is refreshed!
3. What is one thing you hope your family (of origin, of choice, however you define your primary place of mutual emotional sustenance) will do differently this year? A new tradition for birthdays? More vacation time? Game night? Feel free to really dream about ways to deepen your connections with those you love. Well, as stated in my other resolution list, I want to spend some time "unplugged" with my husband, but my real dream for my family for this year is that it will GROW! In addition to our journey through infertility testing and treatment, this month Jeff and I will begin taking the classes required to adopt a child with special needs from the foster care system. I am already praying daily (and have lots of people joining me in this) for the child or children that will be joining our family, but in addition to welcoming them into my heart, I'd love to welcome them into my arms! Feel free to add your prayers for all of us!
4. What is one thing you hope your community of faith will consider doing differently this year? New music? Different approaches to preaching? Rearranging the furniture? If you are in a position to introduce change, share some of your enthusiasm and/ or anxiety with us! Since I am not currently a part of a community of faith, my big change will be to join one! I'm really excited about this one.
5. In what area would you most like to learn to be gentle with yourself? For what would you most like to forgive yourself? Share your ideas and strategies for extending yourself the kind of grace we know we are assured of. Honestly, I'm not really sure. If there is one area where I feel like I have really grown and improved in the past year or two, it's this area. I know I still take on the burden of guilt that isn't mine to bear, but it is much less often that it once was and I am not able to think of any one specific area where I need to allow myself a good deal more grace. Of course, check with me again once I am a mother and I'm sure that will change!