In case I haven't mentioned it before, I'm a planner. I'm a recovering perfectionist, type-A, driven, achievement-oriented, list-making lady. Grace is a challenge for me to wrap my brain around most of the time and an even bigger challenge for me to really receive, extend, and live in.
Life has a funny way of refining you, and the past couple of years have brought many challenges to those tendencies in me. Since moving to Nepal, life has felt in a nearly constant reactionary mode, which is a huge stretch for me. Letting go of to-do lists and control. It has grown me and continued me on my ever-deepening understanding and experience of the Father's grace!
But, let's be honest, I'm still a planner.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were able to get away a bit for the weekend, and I have to admit one of the best parts for me was being able to jot down a list of some goals for the upcoming season. I have prayed, and I know that I need to hold them loosely, but I am eager to be back in a season that feels intentional. It is a fine line for me between intentional and driven. I know that there are gifts God has given me, and I need to stay submitted to Him to continue to refine those gifts, as they are also the areas of greatest weakness for me. (Isn't it funny how that is so often the case?)
Just this morning, I heard a message on Pentecost, and the pastor was focusing on how we need to remember that is it not our own strength, not our own power that we need to live out of. That is hard for me to really remember often, so I'm making my list, I'm focusing on some goals, I'm setting out to be intentional in this next stretch, while at the same time trying to fully rely on God to carry them out or the grace to release them if He shifts directions on me!
All that said, here are my goals through the end of June:
* Review Nepali language lessons and catch up to the place I left off on our last trip (but haven't really touched since then). I really feel like it's important for me and would help Isaiah a lot if I got back into learning Nepali and working on it. It has been something that has kept getting set aside, and it's time to dive back in!
* Make some charts for Isaiah for chores and for media use. He does much better with things if the expectations and boundaries and very clear and he has some control in managing them.
* Have my quiet times in the morning. This might be one of the hardest for me because I am not a morning person, AND my kids are waking up ridiculously early these days, but I really want to start my days in the presence of God and not dragging into the day with eyes and heart half-open.
* Related to the morning times, and also a notable discipline for myself, is to set a bedtime for myself and sticking to it. I usually have a pile of things I want to get done after the boys go to bed, but I am realizing that my family needs me to be more present more than they need lots of stuff to get done.
* Exercise three times a week. Ironically, it's not that I don't like to exercise. Much more could be said on the inner workings of my psyche and things I internalized from the culture I grew up in, but it feels self-indulgent. Selfish. Ugh. But, my boys need to see it modeled, and I need to keep up that habit to be in good health, so I keep trying to reset my brain to see it as something that is not purely selfish. Starting small with probably 10-15 minutes, three times a week.
* Blog at least once a week. I like to write. Blogging has been a good outlet, and I hope to go beyond that in some projects, at some point, but for now, I want to make it a priority to set aside time to do that each week.
* Read a book. We read a lot of books every day, but I'm talking about one without pictures. One just for me to read. I haven't decided which one yet. I'll probably choose one of the many I've had on my list to read about parenting. Any recommendations for AMAZING books to read?
* Have one date night out and set aside one date night in. This is something we talked about before we came, but it has been harder to arrange than we had anticipated, for many reasons. I'm an introvert and can be a homebody, so while I love the quality time, it is also easy for me to default to just staying in, but I know that I always enjoy getting out for an evening just with John, away from what is essentially my workplace and the distractions of things to get done here at home.
* Set aside one time "off" and continue this monthly. I love my kids. They are amazing, but with homeschooling, I am with them ALL the time, and I have been remembering my own need to have a little time "off duty" every once in awhile, even if it is just to get out on my own to do some errands!
* Settle curriculum for homeschool for fall. I want to get our curriculum ordered so that I can bring it back with us from our trip to the States this summer, and I really want to get some plans mapped out for the year for both boys.
Writing it out kind of feels like a lot on top of the effort that daily life here (and anywhere really with two little balls of energy circling around me) takes. Humbly admitting my need for His strength to stay on track!