Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

It's been a long time since I last posted. With the rumors of FB converting to a paid subscription, I decided it was time to become reacquainted with my blog. As the title of this post implies, I'm reflecting on my new year's resolutions today. This is usually the time of year that many people begin to abandon their once earnestly-created resolutions, but by God's grace, I haven't abandoned mine yet. I love new year's resolutions and a lot of prayer accompanies the formation of those specific resolutions. This year my resolutions consisted of:

1. Spend quality time in the Word every day.
I have three very different 90 minute preps this semester at work and so knowing that was quickly approaching (the semester started February 1), I knew this needed to be at the top of my resolutions. I am a very task-oriented creature and I knew with an increasingly demanding schedule, my time with the Lord would be reduced to half-hearted prayers muttered on my way to and from work, before meals and bed as I focused on my "almighty to-do list." And I refused to let this happen. I want my life to be lived for the glory of the Lord and it's impossible to do that in my own strength.
Thus my emphasis on the Word and quality time with the Lord. Although there have been a few days where my time in the Word consisted of a cursory glance at best, I have kept my Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan by my bed every day and that has served as a reminder to get in the Word before racing off to work and before going to bed. I even put up a few post-it notes around our apartment reminding me to make God my #1 priority.

2. Become debt-free by December 31, 2010

Ah, to be debt-free. Ciaran and I started listening to/watching Dave Ramsey on TV last March after discovering his methods at my local library through one of his books, The Total Money Makeover. Ciaran and I have begun what we think is shaping up to be an awesome financial journey. We listened to The Total Money Makeover book on CD on one of our trips that winter to Freeland/Saginaw and we began to embrace the commitment to becoming debt free as soon as possible. We crunched numbers again in December and committed to continue to keep living ultra-frugally and the hope was to become debt free by the end of this year. This month during our second budget meeting of the new year and after much prayer, we've decided to temporarily suspend our debt snowball and to take all of the money that would go toward the debt and put it into our emergency fund savings account. I am expecting to be pink-slipped at the end of this school year and now there is a possibility that even Ciaran could be pink-slipped. With this knowledge, we feel it is much more financially responsible for us to save up in case Ciaran does lose his job. If he doesn't lose his job, then we will empty out whatever money we saved over these next couple months and apply it directly to our debt and hopefully we'll be right back on track. So although this resolution appears to have been forsaken, it really hasn't. Our goal is still very much to become debt free before the end of the year.

3. Merge to living solely on Ciaran's income.

This resolution is closely tied to the previous, but deserves it's own separate place because of its importance to our future. As we became more acquainted with Dave Ramsey and his "Total Money Makeover" we also began to adopt his mantra of "Live like no one else, so one day you can live like no one else AND (more importantly) give like no one else." The essence of this is that we will be content with living below our means (living like no one else...or more accurately: living as a minority of the population do) so that one day we won't be living paycheck to paycheck and be able to give to those in need. Since we were married, Ciaran and I have purposed to live on just his income and save whatever I make. It has yet to happen, some 17 months later. Some months we have been very close and other months, not so much. When we committed to becoming debt-free, it gave us the motivation to use most of my paychecks to paying off debts, but we still haven't completely arrived. And now that layoffs could be around the corner, we really need to step up our resolve!

And just when we thought February would be the month we would finally achieve this resolution...I found out that the front two tires on my car need to be replaced. Oh well, here's hoping by March we'll be able to live off of only Ciaran's income! :-)

4. Exercise a minimum of three times a week
And lastly, I always have to have a fitness resolution. I've met this every week so far except the week of February 1st because I got a nasty gastrointestinal virus that week that left me pretty weak. I needed to have this resolution because exercise always seems to be the first thing to go when my work week gets intense. And I notice such a difference in my work ethic and general mood when I don't exercise. So to keep my motivation, I've been ordering workout DVDs through our Netflix account. I love variety and this really helps knowing I'll get one new workout to try a week.

Well, that concludes my new year's resolutions update. And for those of you who are very familiar with my priorities in life and are looking at that list and wondering where Ciaran is in those resolutions....hehe, well we're only 17 months into our marriage so it's still a honeymoon. By God's grace, I haven't needed to have a resolution yet for keeping him a priority second to the Lord. My time with him keeps me sane and balanced. I feel incredibly blessed to have such an amazing husband. Between having the Lord and Ciaran in my life, my days are very happy! Hehe, so that's why he's not there. I do try and find new ways to encourage him every day and support him, but that's more like a fun game for me! So there's my quick disclaimer. ;-)

OK, this post is incredibly long. I promise, subsequent posts won't be this lengthy. Have a wonderful Saturday!