Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Happy New Year! How was your 2012? Are you glad to see it go because it was full of struggles, or was it your best year yet? Or was it a mixed bag of both? I fall into the latter. We were not struggle-free, but many good things happened as well.
I think in 15 1/2 years of marriage, these last 3 years have been the hardest for us financially. Will works 2 jobs, I work one, and 3 incomes still don't make ends meet sometimes. There were many times this past year where I thought we weren't going to make it, but God always provided a way and our needs were met. Something that has weighed heavily on us is our house payment/situation. We have been underwater (meaning we owe more than it's worth) so we couldn't sell it and move some place cheaper. We were not in a position to let it go to foreclosure and then declare bankruptcy. So we've been praying for a long, long time that we could get it refinanced thru the Making Homes Affordable Act. For the first year or so of that program, we were not eligible. But then the govt. starting changing the process and easing up the regulations. In September of 2012, we FINALLY got approved. We closed on the refi at the end of November, and it worked out that our first payment is not due till February 1st. We have been able to pay off some debt, take care of some home and car maintenance items that we had to keep putting off, and provide gifts for our children at Christmas that otherwise we couldn't have made. There were some other unexpected blessings through this process as well. God came through in a BIG way for us in this situation.
The other main change for me in 2012 was my health. I have been very overweight for years. At the end of 2011, I had a dr's appt. that opened my eyes till how bad things really were. I made a vow that I would get it together in 2012. What really motivated me was the fact that I turned 35 in July, and I knew if I didn't start living healthier and get the weight off now, it would only be harder as I got older. I decided that 2012 was going to be "my year." So I started meeting with a nutritionist, began taking Zumba classes, and eventually joined a gym. I enter 2013 at 34 pounds lighter than 2012, also having lost 30 inches and 5 pants sizes. I was even able to go off my blood pressure medication after many years. I feel better physically than I have in years. I actually see muscles and definition! My confidence in myself has grown as well.
In November and December, I "fell off the wagon" as it were when it came to healthy eating and exercise and gained a few pounds back from my lowest weight loss point. No excuses to make, I simply failed to do what I knew needed to be done. I could moan and groan and beat myself up about it, or I could get back on track doing what worked for me. I went to the gym yesterday for the first time in 2 weeks and took a Zumba class. It felt so great!
I don't believe in making "resolutions." I think resolutions can be so easily broken. People stop doing whatever they set out to do after one perceived failure, and then just give up. Also, it's also easy to SAY you desire to change something, but what is your PLAN to get there? I am setting "goals" for 2013. By making goals and setting a plan to achieve them, I think you can always start over to get things accomplished. Because I am a visual person and a list maker, it's also good to see my goals in black and white, and by publishing them here for you all to see, there is a deeper sense of accountability.
So, my goal for the physical part of my life is to lose 30 pounds by the time I leave for Royal Family KIDS Camp on August 4. This is a camp sponsored by our church for foster and other at-risk children. This is a physically as well as emotionally challenging week. The campsite is very hilly. The last couple years I went, I was so out of shape physically that I could not walk up one particular long, steep hill. I was always riding in the golf cart. If I can walk up that hill all the way, even if I have to stop a few times on the way up, I will feel so empowered. What is my plan to accomplish this goal? I will go back to the things that have always worked for me:
1. Use Sparkpeople.com to not only track my food and exercise, but for the other components as well. I need the accountability.
2. Measure out my portions. I have a food scale and I will use it. Some may think it's silly, but you have to do what works for you.
3. Exercise at least 3 times per week. With our crazy schedules, it is hard for me to get into the gym 3 days a week, but I have equipment and DVDs at home that I enjoy. I will get back into doing those on the days I can't make it to the actual gym.
I also have a goal for my spiritual life. I want to be a better small group leader for the ladies of my church, and be the best Dean of Women at Royal Family (oversees the female counselors, or "cousins" as we call them) that I can be . I need to study God's Word more to accomplish this goal. My plan to achieve this one:
1. Join with my church in reading the Bible through in one year. We start today! Our whole family is participating. My husband and I both have the adult version of the One Year Bible, and I bought the kids' version for our children.
2. I will get back to reading a devotion every night before bed. Some people do this in the morning, but I am NOT a morning person and cannot focus enough. Again, you have to do what works best for you.
To close, no matter what happened in 2012, we must remember that it is now LAST year. Let's not get bogged down by failures of the past. Embrace this NEW year and the chance at a fresh start that it brings. But also remember, we don't have to wait till January 1 for new beginnings. Each day is a fresh start! God's mercies are new every morning! Life is a journey, and we are all works in progress. My favorite quote, from Joyce Meyer, sums it up: "I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be!"