This Is Why You’re Not Getting a Christmas Card From Us This Year (or maybe ever again)

6 12 2012

No More Christmas Cards explains how we came to our decision to NOT send Christmas cards this year.

So, the winner of what would have been our Christmas money was Safe Haven Family Shelter, by almost a 3-1 vote.  I was introduced to Safe Haven almost two years ago, and since then, both Caleb and Jason have joined me on various occasions to help provide dinner for the residents.

Besides the money issue, the other reason you are not getting a Christmas card from us is because this is it!  SURPRISE dear readers!  We’re going all-digital this year.

Many of you keep up with us via Facebook anyway, so you already know our year in review.  For those who don’t, here you go:

The Huddleston 2012 Year in Review

Matthew continues to teach physics and launch high altitude balloons at Trevecca Nazarene University.  He loves his job, and even took on the challenge of hosting a national high altitude balloon conference at TNU in June.

He finished his first (and possibly, probably, hopefully last) full marathon in April.  His goal was an ambitious 4:00, but he made it around 4:25.  This is incredibly impressive considering he only “trained” once each week . . . most of the time.

He has also completed several mud runs, the latest rage in running races around the country.  Now that he’s in a new age bracket, he will probably start placing and winning some nice prizes.

On a heavier note, Matthew’s dad, Mark, was diagnosed with colon cancer in October.  He had surgery just a few days after.  The doctors thought they got all of the cancer, but subsequent tests showed a spot on a lymph node.  He is currently undergoing chemo therapy once every two weeks for six months.  His doctors remain very optimistic, but we’d still appreciate your prayers for complete healing and for strength and endurance for Mark and Martha during this time.

Kelly (me) continues to teach technology and journalism/graphic design at Franklin Road Academy.  I also love my job.  I did NOT do a ½ (or full) marathon this year, and I feel great!  Triathlons are my new thing (My First Triathlon).  Having successfully finished three of them, I can no longer qualify for placings in the Beginner category.  However, being really a really weak swimmer, mediocre bicyclist, and slow runner, I wouldn’t qualify for placings in any category anyway.  Maybe when I’m 80 and still doing triathlons will I win something.

Gourmet cupcakes are my newest indulgence so if you are ever looking for a gift . . .  (I also love chocolate and a good extra sharp cheddar cheese.)  However, I really need to be eating more fruit and vegetables, so a membership in some sort of fruit-of-the-month club would be a better gift.

Matthew and Kelly’s (our) international trip this year took us to Nicaragua in July.  We met another one of the kids we sponsor through Compassion International.  Always an eye-opening, life-changing event, you can read about it here:  Open My Eyes.  You can also read about the amazing amount of fun hell we had as we hiked a volcano on Ometepe Island.

Next year’s trip is another once-in-a-lifetime trip:  india!  For three weeks we will traverse a good chunk of the country in June.  The first 10 days or so will be spent in Chennai and traveling up the Indian Ocean coast of south eastern India, mainly to visit two more kids they sponsor through Compassion International (link) as well as spend some time with a friend who pastors a church in a small village there.  During the second half of the trip, we will get to play tourist:  visit the Taj Mahal, ride elephants and camels in the dessert, visit Agra, Jaipur, New Delhi, and take a boat tour along the Ganges River in Varanasi, the heart of the Hindu culture.  Expect great blog posts to come from this adventure.

Other big news for 2012 included placing membership in a new church, Priest Lake Christian Fellowship.  Our former home church group, the Gathering, fizzled out as families found new churches around the Nashville area, so we started looking, too.  Being less than a mile from our home was a great benefit, but the people were the main draw.  We have never been to a more humble church where the Holy Spirit is so alive and thriving among its members.  It’s inspiring and challenging and moving each week.

Caleb is in fourth grade at Franklin Road Academy and continues to love school and excel in his academics.  To brag on this child for a moment, he has yet to receive a B in any term grade since he started PK.  He’s got his Daddy’s brains and aptitude for math and building things.  Caleb continues to love all things Star Wars, but his Pokemon obsession (thank goodness!) has come to an end.  If you know of anyone interested in buying a 700+ card Pokemon collection, please let us know.

Caleb’s newest obsession is legos.  The kid lives and breathes legos, which we are fine with.  He actually builds some really cool things, like a working flashlight—complete with an on/off lever and working bulb.

Caleb is also learning to play the recorder and trumpet, and we (as in Kelly) are trying desperately (and futilely) to get him to sing “This Song is Just Six Words Long” by Weird Al Yankovic in the Fourth Grade Variety Show in January.  Weird Al is another recent obsession of Caleb’s, and being the cool parents we are, for his birthday we bought him tickets to see Weird Al in concert in April when he comes to Nashville.

Caleb is a Webelo scout this year, and is a popcorn selling machine!  He sold over $1500 to win first place again in his cub scout pack.  He won an archery set, 8% of his total sales in cash, a $50 Walmart gift card, an LED head lamp, a patch, Predators’ tickets, and a trophy.  (Don’t get me started on winning trophies for something like selling popcorn.  Let’s just say, I’m not a fan of the practice.)

Caleb’s most exciting adventure this year, though, was his ER trip that led to a hospital stay for a couple of days at the end of August for pneumonia.  Despite this bump in the road, we are still tremendously blessed.  His asthma and allergies have plagued him something fierce this fall, much worse than normal.  We have an appointment with an asthma/allergy specialist next week so we are praying for something to help manage this better.

Jason started preK at FRA this year, and is loving it.  Being the second child, we did not work with him on things like the alphabet, drawing, writing, or reading much (hardly at all) before he started school.  Thankfully, the kid has a mind like a sponge and is taking off in the writing and reading department.  He also loves to draw.

Jason, too, is obsessed with Star Wars and legos.  At three he could recite entire scenes from Star Wars.  I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed by this.  Did I mention he was three at the time?  The kid can build lego creations with the best of them . . . well, maybe not a working flashlight yet, but he can build really cool spaceships, race cars, jails, mouse traps, and monsters.

Jason and Caleb took their first official swimming lessons this summer.  Lesson 1 involved Jason crying and screaming for the full 45 minute session.  He had snot running out of both nostrils to his belly button when I picked him up.  He only cried for about 15 minutes of lesson 2, and by lesson 3 he was actually excited to go.  Now, of course, the kid is terrified to put his head in the water, which reminds Kelly of herself as a child forced to take swimming lessons.

Packer, our dog, continues to love to eat anything that falls on the floor including baby spit-up (true story) as well as grass to later make herself throw-up said baby spit-up.  She loves to sleep during the day and wake us up around 4:00 a.m. to pee and play.

Finley Bubbles the VIII, our beta fish, didn’t last the year.  At this time, we are uncertain if we will buy Finley Bubbles the IX.

Hopes and prayers for 2013:

  • Good health for everyone
  • A safe and amazing trip to India
  • Jobs we love
  • Caleb and Jason would continue to grow and mature in their faith, following Christ
  • Matthew and Kelly possibly beginning a new Marriage Builders home church group
  • Kelly hopes to begin working on her MBA at Trevecca in the fall

As we reflect back and look forward, may we always remember WHY we celebrate.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
-John 1:14

Love and prayers to all,
the Huddleston Family

PS.  If any of you find yourselves in Nashville and need a place to stay, we’ve got plenty of room and love house guests.


Developing a Servant’s Heart

25 01 2012

A couple weeks ago, I bought a Contributor newspaper from a homeless man on our way home from school.  This is a monthly occurrence, and Caleb is almost always in the backseat when I purchase a paper.  The exchange typically goes something like this:

     Me:  Caleb, quick!  Get my wallet and see if you can find a $5.00.

     Caleb:  Okay!  (fumble, fumble, fumble)  Here!  Did we get it in time?

     Me:  (Rolling down the window and signaling to the vendor) Yes.  Thank you for your help, Caleb.

     Vendor:  Thank you Miss, and God bless!

It’s usually short and sweet, but two weeks ago, the conversation didn’t stop there.

(Caleb is well acquainted with the Contributor and its mission.  The Contributor is a street newspaper that seeks to provide diverse perspectives on homelessness as well as provide the homeless and formerly homeless with a source of income as they sell the papers.)  Our conversation continued:

     Caleb:  I can’t wait till I’m older.  I’m going to buy one of the newspapers every time I see someone selling it.

     Me:  Why wait?

     Caleb:  What do you mean?  I can’t drive.

     Me:  (laughing out loud just a little)  No.  That’s not what I meant.  Why do you have to wait until you’re older before you can help them?

Silence ensued, but I knew a seed had been planted.  The wheels of Caleb’s mind were furiously turning.

     Caleb:  What if we took my giving money and I could buy them a meal?  Or, we could go shopping, and I could buy a bunch of snacks and make a bunch of bags and give them to a bunch of people.

     Me:  I like this idea.  What would you put in the bags?

As we talked the rest of the way home, we settled on the following items for each bag, figuring this was within his budget from his Giving envelope:

  • 1 bottle of water
  • 1 apple
  • 1 travel-sized container of apple sauce
  • 2 granola bars
  • 4 snack-sized candy bars
  • 1 plastic spoon
  • 1 napkin
  • 1 note from Caleb simply saying, “God bless you!”

Caleb was SOOOO excited by the time we got home.  He couldn’t wait to tell his Dad that night or his teacher the next morning.  (I also couldn’t wait to brag on my son to my friends, either.)

We went shopping at both Walmart and Publix.  Caleb was able to double some of his offerings in each bag thanks to Publix amazing BOGOs that week.  Then we set up a little assembly line on our kitchen counter.  When all was said and done, Caleb made 15 bags.

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grocery list and receipts

grocery list and receipts

assembly line

assembly line

working on the assembly line

working on the assembly line

the goodies for each bag

the goodies for each bag

completed bags

completed bags

We handed out the first three bags yesterday on the way to and from school.  To say Caleb was excited is an understatement.  I actually got a little teary-eyed seeing witnessing Caleb’s pure joy when the last guy came back to the van and personally thanked Caleb for blessing him.  Caleb now keeps his eye open for anyone on the side of the road we can help.

Over the past couple of weeks while talking about this and planning it with Caleb as well as sharing about this with others, God has reminded me of a few of my responsibilities as a parent.

It is my duty as a parent, before it is anyone else’s duty, to develop my child’s heart.  

  • If I want my sons to be giving, generous, servant-hearted men, I must model those same attributes for them.  Caleb joins me on just about every volunteer excursion I undertake, from serving meals at the Ronald McDonald House, Hope Lodge, or Safe Haven Family Shelter to dropping off items at Goodwill to bringing food to families with new babies to helping pick out food to donate at school food drives.  I must be willing to give of my time and resources to bless others if I expect my children to do the same.
  • If I want my children to be financially responsible adults, I must set the right example with how I spend my money.  Do we live in debt, or do we purchase only what we can afford to pay for in full with cash?  Do we use our financial resources for selfish gain, or do we choose to honor God by giving back to His kingdom work a portion of what He has given us?  Caleb will be the first to tell you he didn’t initially like the idea of having to stash away some of his money for Saving and Giving.  He will also be the first to tell you now that he’s seen how that money can be used to bless others, he is completely on board with the plan we set up for him. The plan:  Caleb puts $1 away into his Giving Envelope and $1 into his Saving Envelope for each $10 he receives through his allowance, extra chores, or gifts.  Since we began this financial discipline system for him a little over a year ago, he’s amassed about $30 in each.  This was his first major Giving project.  (Read more about How to Train Your Child in the Ways of Financial Discipline.)
  • Developing a servant heart and financial responsibility are not one-time conversations.  Today we discuss the importance of giving and saving as well as spending wisely.  In the years to come those conversations will morph into more complex issues such as balancing checkbooks, whether or not to use credit cards, taxes, etc.  My parents and I still talk about money issues, for which I am very grateful.  The positive example they set for me in my youth is now being passed on to the next generation. 

I am so proud of my son and his developing servant heart.  He thought of this idea on his own, paid for the food with his own money, put together the bags himself, and only needed minimal guidance to bring it to fruition.  I eagerly look forward to his future and what God has in store for his heart.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
–Proverbs 22:6

2012 Resolutions

5 01 2012

Being the list-maker, goal-setter, and all-around do-er that I am, I LOVE coming up with New Years Resolutions.  I actually began thinking about my list in November.  My focus verse for the year is from James 3:17-18.  I want to be the kind of woman that embodies this type of wisdom, and yet I struggle greatly in so many of these areas.

 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive,
full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

Spiritual/Relationship Goals

  • Have a dynamic marriage.
    • Stop what I’m doing and greet my husband with a hug as soon as he/I get home from work each day
    • Pray together every night
    • Monthly dates
  • Read through the Bible
  • Fast 1x/week
  • Give at least 16.5% of our pre-tax income to charitable organizations (hopefully more)
  • Volunteer somewhere at least 1x/month

 Exercise/Activity Goals

  • Participate in an average of 1 race/event each month (I actually have 13 on my radar for next year and am looking for more!)
  • Run/walk 2-3x/week (6-9 miles)
    • Get back to a sub-10-minute mile
    • Do a sub-30-minute 5K
  • Bike 1x/week (6-10 miles)
  • Swim 1x/week (.25-.5 miles) 
    • Learn to swim freestyle (Out of everything on my list–this one is the most daunting to me.)
  • P90X Ab Ripper 3x/week
  • 40 perfect pushups by my 40th birthday

Nutrition Goals

  • Eat 2 servings of fruit
  • Eat 1 serving of vegetables (not counting potatoes)
  • Consume less sugar
  • Drink more water

What are your goals for 2012?

Giving to God (first, last, or not at all?)

14 02 2011

“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.”
–Proverbs 3:9

This is my third post in a short series on financial discipline.  You may want to read through Training Your Children to be Financially Disciplined and Budgeting for Beginners before proceeding on this post about giving.

Excerpt from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (pages 196-197):  a conversation between the author and his friend Rick.

Rick:  “Part of the benefit of giving a portion of your money is it makes you think about where your money goes.  God does not want us to be sloppy with our finances, Don.”

Don:  “But I need money for rent.”

Rick:  “You also need to trust God.”

Don:  “I know.  I just think it would be easier to trust God if I had extra money to trust him with.”

Rick:  “That wouldn’t be faith, then, would it?”

Don:  “No.”

Rick:  “Well [ . . . ] I want to tell you that you are missing out on so much, Don.”

Don:  “So much what?”

Rick:  “The fruit of obedience.  When we do what God wants us to do, we are blessed, we are spiritually healthy.  God wants us to give a portion of our money to his work on earth.  By setting aside money from every check, you are trusting God to provide.  He wants you to get over that fear, the fear of trusting Him.  It is a scary place, but that is where you have to go as a follower of Christ.”

I love what this passage says about our relationship to money and our relationship to God.  The two are very intimately intertwined.  What we do with our money is a mirror image of our relationship with the One who gave us our financial resources to begin with.

Every American dollar and coin has the phrase “In God We Trust” on it.  Do we really trust God enough to follow his commands on giving?

(There is a difference between giving and tithing.  Does the New Testament command us to tithe?  No.  Does the New Testament command us to give?  I believe so, and I’ll address this a little later.  First, I’ll address tithing.)

The Bible has much to say on the topic of tithing.  A tithe simply means tenth.

The tithe first appears in Genesis 14:20 where Abram gave to Melchizedek a tithe (10%) of all he owned.  Later in Genesis 28:22, Jacob made a promise to give God a tithe of all he owned if He brought him back to the land.  The tithe appears time and again in the Levitical law exhorting the Israelites to give of their firstfruits back to the Lord.

“A tithe of everything from the land,
whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees,
belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”
-Leviticus 27:30

“You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil,
and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep.”
-Deuteronomy 18:4

See also Exodus 23:19, Numbers 18:12, and Nehemiah 10:35 for more on tithing.

While the New Testament is strangely silent on tithing, it has plenty to say on giving.

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.”
-Romans 12:13

“On the first day of every week,
each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income.”
-1 Corinthians 16:2

“In the midst of a very severe trial,
their overflowing joy and extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
For I testify that they gave as much as they were able
and even beyond their ability. . .
See also that you excel in this grace of giving.”
-2 Corinthians 8:2-3, 7

“Remember this:
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.”
-2 Corinthians 9:6-7

We are called to give generously, cheerfully, and with intentionality, but how much you give and to whom you give is entirely up to you. 

Sometime within our first year of marriage, my husband and I made the commitment to give 10% of our income with the goal of increasing that number 1% each year.  We’ve made good progress overall, only having to backtrack with pay cuts and new babies. 

In our monthly budget, we give to God first.  Some may disagree, but I am personally convicted that God set up a very simple system of determining how much we are to give, and the tithe is the place to start.

So then, since my husband and I are convicted to tithe, the question becomes: pre-tax or post-tax tithing?  This is a sensitive area for some, and I have been asked by many over the past years about my thoughts on this.  Simply stated, I am convcited that we are to tithe from our total income, pre-tax.

My conviction on this comes from two main sources.  First, I cannot ignore all the scripture that talks about giving of your firstfruits.  I believe the contemporary phrasing for “firstfruit” would simply be “gross income” (or pre-tax income).

Secondly, when you base how much you give on your net income (post-tax and other deductions), things get complicated.  In America, we have a tiered tax system.  The rich give a higher percentage of their total income in tax, the poor give less.

Some examples (keeping the numbers basic and simple).

  • Wealthy Family’s household income is $1,000,000.  After taxes, they bring in approximately $650,000 per year.  If they commit to giving 10% of their net income (take-home pay), they are giving $65,000 per year which amounts to 6.5% of their gross (total) income.
  • Poor Family’s household income is $10,000.  This family is in the 10% tax bracket.  They too, commit to giving 10% of their net income, amounting to $900 for the year.  However, this equals 9% of their gross (total) income.
  • Middle Class Family’s household income is $100,000.  After taxes, they earn around $75,000.  Committing 10% of their net income to giving equals $7,500 for the year, or 7.5% of their gross (total) income.

Under this sysem, the very wealthy family gives 6.5% of their total income while the family living below the line of poverty in America gives 9%.  Something to consider. 

After I became a Christian as an adult, I was convicted that my lack of giving was a lack of faith on my part to trust God to provide for me as He promises.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly
 so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work.”
-2 Corinthians 9:8

“Command those who are rich in this present world
not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain,
but to put their hope in God,
who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds,
and to be generous and willing to share.
In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves
as a firm foundation for the coming age,
so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
-1 Timothy 6:17-19

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,
that there may be food in my house.
Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty,
“and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven
and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
-Malachi 3:10

Our job is to be wise stewards of our finances, to trust God with our money, and to give to him and his work generously.  God’s job is to provide for us abundantly.  That is his promise if we trust him.

“In God We Trust”

24 01 2011

US coin“In God We Trust.”  Have you ever really thought about what those words mean and why they are on every single American coin and currency?  Do you ever think about how God wants you to use that dollar before you actually use it?

We’ve all been taught not to give homeless people money because they may buy drugs or alcohol.  True—they certainly might, and many will.  We’ve been taught that if you want to feed them, buy them a meal at McDonalds.  If you want to clothe them, drop your old, worn wardrobe off at a shelter.  But by all means, DO NOT GIVE THEM ACTUAL MONEY.  At least, this is what I have been taught many times over by well-meaning individuals, books, news articles, and even church groups.

However, my perspective on homelessness and especially how to help the homeless has changed dramatically after reading two books in the past month:  Same Kind of Different as Me and What Difference Do it Make? by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  These books chronicle the lives of two very different individuals.   Denver Moore was a modern-day slave, sharecropping in the deep south until he hopped a train to Texas one day where he lived on the streets for years.  Ron Hall was a millionaire art dealer.  Deborah Hall, Ron’s late wife, brought the two men together, and the results were mind-blowing.  Through their growing friendship, Denver taught Ron much about the homeless community—how they live, work, con, and simply try to survive from day-to-day.

In one eye-opening passage in What Difference Do it Make? Moore wrote, “When you give a homeless man a dollar, what you really sayin is ‘I see you.  You ain’t invisible.  You is a person.’  I tells folks to look at what’s written on all the money they be givin away:  it says ‘In God We Trust.’  You just be the blessin.  Let God worry about the rest.”

Moore recanted several stories to address this point.  In one, Hall really wanted to give a homeless man some money, but all he had was a $20 bill, and he certainly did not want to give that much to a man who appeared completely intoxicated—slurring his speech, and walking haphazardly about the streets.  Moore encouraged him to hand over the money, and so Hall did.  As they left the area, Moore told Hall that the man had recently had a stroke, which of course explained why the man’s behavior was the way it was.

Moore told another story of a homeless man who did in fact go to a bar to get hammered after receiving some cash from a well-wisher on the street.  While in the bar, he struck up a conversation with a woman who eventually persuaded him to return to his home and apologize to his family.  She drove him to the bus station, paid his fare, and he was received like the prodigal’s son by his family.  Despite the fact that he chose to use his money to buy alcohol, God turned the situation into a blessing.  This man turned his life around. 

In reading these accounts, I am reminded of these scriptures:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish
what is now being done.”
–Genesis 50:20

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”
-Romans 8:28

So the next time I see a homeless person, if I am able, I will give them some cash.  I am not the judge of how he spends it.  God is.  My concern is simply to “be the blessing and let God take care of the rest.”

Hope Lodge

16 11 2010

I was surrounded by about 40 adult cancer patients.  Many were bald or had head scarves or hats on.  Most moved very slowly and needed the help of a walker or cane.  Some were very upbeat and positive.  Some were discouraged and seemed to know they didn’t have many more days left on earth.

On Monday, November 15, I had the privilege of participating in a group dinner for residents of Hope Lodge—the adult equivalent to the Ronald McDonald House (RMDH).  (Read about my experience:  The Blessing of Cooking for Strangers.)

A little background first.  Hope Lodge was begun by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to “offer cancer patients and their families a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city.”  The Hope Lodge in Nashville has 42 rooms, and there is usually a wait list.  Like the residents of the Ronald McDonald House, some stay for months at a time during their treatments.  Others stay for just a few days at a time.  There are 30 Hope Lodges around America.

This was a much bigger project than the RMDH.  There were 15 volunteers—strangers to one another—who came together to provide a home-cooked meal for these patients.  Unlike the RMDH, groups are not knocking down the doors to provide a meal.  Other than the twice-monthly meal that Hands On Nashville coordinates (the group I was with), the Hope Lodge residents don’t get a home-cooked, free meal very often.

Their gratitude was overwhelming to me.  Such a simple act—providing a warm home-cooked meal—meant so much to them.  And a meal spread out among 15 people doesn’t even equate to that much work for any one person or family.

I left with my own sense of gratitude that my family is healthy.  I needed this reminder, that despite our occasional colds and allergy issues, we are very, very blessed.  I take our good health for granted far too often.

Finally, I left feeling completely refreshed after a long, busy day at work.  Sadly, I am too often exhausted and worn out after a service project, but not this time.  I’m not sure what the difference was, but I am grateful.  I am already signed up for next month.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
-Matthew 25:34-40

Re-evaluating My New Year’s Resolutions

27 07 2010

Yesterday I was thinking about the New Year’s resolutions I made for 2010. 

  • Read through the Bible
  • Start a prayer journal with Caleb
  • Try one new recipe each month
  • Eat one non-potato vegetable each day
  • Turn off TV/no reading during dinner (most nights)
  • Run 1/2 marathon and a few other races
  • Increase giving 1/2%

My current status on these items:

  • Read through the Bible:  On track!  I began in Genesis 1:1 on January 1, and I’m currently on Jeremiah 32.  I did this in 2009 as well, and it was amazing!  I hope to continue this every year.
  • Start a prayer journal with Caleb:  Not so on track.  Looking back, our last entry was May 17, but the one before that was February 28.  The plan was to write our prayers down every night, and then pray through them on the way to school the next morning.  I’m not confident this will go anywhere this year, but it’s worth re-evaluating.
  • Try one new recipe each month:  On track!  Most dishes have been amazing and only one has been an epic failure.  It involved cooking chicken breasts in a crock pot with lemon slices on top of them for eight hours.  Eight hours is way too long to cook chicken with lemon.   
  • Eat one non-potato vegetable each day:  Mostly on track.  I still need more veggie variety in my diet.
  • Turn off TV/no reading during dinner (most nights):  Not so on track.  I really don’t care about the TV, but I do read a lot while eating.  I seriously need to break myself of this poor habit and refocus my energies on my family during that time.
  • Run 1/2 marathon and a few other races:  On track!  I’ve run a 10K, the Nashville Music City 1/2 marathon in April and am signed up to run a 12-member relay from Chattanooga to Nashville (189.1 miles) in November, and will probably run a 5K or two this fall.
  • Increase giving 1/2%:  On track!  Our goal this year is to give 15.5% from our gross income.  I actually think we may exceed our goal!  Financial discipline leads to financial freedom leads to an amazing place to live.
  • I would love to hear what your News Year’s resolutions or goals were and what your progress is.