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Is it really 2014?

I remember when the calendar turned 2000 … hum, now I sound old!

That is how it is with time … it moves so very quickly … faster with each year … you could almost say that Time Flies. And that was the most viewed post this week, published on the first day of the new year. A post, and a then-and-now picture of my kids that was my eyes-wide-opened reminder of the race of time.

Also this week were :

Look Closer
(those who are older were once our age too)

Word of the Year
(a challenge to choose a word, rather than make a resolution, for the New Year)

Forward
(what direction are you entering 2014 looking?)

What do the Stats Say?
(a little thank-you … to you)

Blessings on your week,
Carole

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Forward

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Today I am simply providing a link for you to click, then read the words of a guest writer.

It is still the New Year, and we are still thinking back at all was done … and not done, in 2013.

So today, please click on the link to http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/12/how-to-move-forward-into-the-new-year-when-you-feel-like-you-failed-the-last-year/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HolyExperience+%28Holy+Experience%29, where blogger, writer, speaker, mother, wife Ann Voskamp shares a good word to focus on this new year.

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Today is the end, and tomorrow the beginning of a calendar year.

If I were to make one New Years Resolution that I need to follow through with, it would be to awaken EVERY day viewing it (that day) as a brand new start.

Last week I got a head start on resolution-type promises. I attacked areas I could improve in my marriage, as a parent, and tried really hard to put my goals on the page that I might have with regards to my walk with God. Today is the easiest list to write, but maybe the most difficult to get around to actually completing … the goals I have for my own life.

So, here they are, my goals for my own Earthly existence for 2013:images-4

  1. Finish editing my book – Well I thought that it would be completed by the end of summer, but it is so far not done. I need to finish it this year … for me, and then I will see what I want to do with it after that.
  2. Continue with weight loss – Last June I saw the picture and was sickened by the image staring back at me. That photo brought me to tears also brought me to an awareness of my need to lose the weight that has been hindering living fully, and I must continue in this downward direction.
  3. Increase physical activity – This has been the most difficult part of trying to improve my overall health. I know that weight would drop faster, and more consistently if I was more active. Surely I can make time for three walks a week to start.
  4. Read one book each month – Another goal that means I need to ‘make time’ for something.
  5. Think before I speak – Is there any more that needs to be said about this? I think not!
  6. Call my parents more regularly – This is one thing I need to do, for them and for me. I will aim for every two weeks …
  7. Stop procrastinating – This one really applies to all of my goals for 2013! In all things in my life, from finishing my book to responding to phone calls, I need to just get it done.
  8. Take more time for girlfriends – This one does not come naturally for me, but it is one that I know I benefit from when I do it, and it feeds my heart and soul so greatly.
  9. Get away for a writing weekend – Just me, my laptop, a place to walk, and time to pray …
  10. Dream – I need longer term goals to plan for and dream about, not just surviving, but aiming for more out of life, this I need.

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I first saw the following list of “20 Instructions for Life” credited to the Dalai Lama, but have since discovered that he is not the creator of the list, but that it comes from H. Jackson Brown Jr. in his  Life’s Little Instruction Book. images

Whoever this list originated with, it is a brilliant list of goals, of things to aspire to each day as we live our lives. It is a great list to ponder as we prepare to turn the calendar on the end of 2012, and into the beginning of the New Year.

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s:
–  Respect for self,
–  Respect for others and
–  Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

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As the Christmas celebrations wind down and the New Year looms nearer and nearer I am in the midst of saying good-bye to the successes and failures of 2012, and saying hello to the goals for success in 2013.

The goals for 2013 that I have shared so far have been about my Earthly loves … my family. They are the ones who I consider to be such sweet gifts from God.

images-3For today, though, I am considering my goals in my walk with God.

These goals are not easy to come up with, compared with my goals for my marriage and goals for my children. Maybe it is because I feel rather ‘pious’ in considering trying to improve in my walk with God … as though that is possible, not because I am so ‘good’, but because He is truly so good to me.

I could say that my list includes goals like reading my Bible everyday, witnessing to at least one person each week, or doing random acts of kindness for total strangers. All of those are good goals, but is that what God desires of from me?

The more I have tried to write goals, the less valuable them seem to be, in comparison to the grace, the freedom and the love that God offers to me (to us).

As I understand that the point of doing this in regards to my relationship with my husband or my relationship with my kids, I realize that my goals in those relationships are intended to improve my relationships with those people … they are self-improvement goals, for my benefit. I hope to improve something in their lives, thereby improving my own.

As I ponder my goals in my relationship with my Savior, and consider how I might improve my relationship with Him, I realize that there is nothing that I can do to change it, increase it, improve it. My relationship with my God is not dependent on my changes, or my actions, or my goals. My relationship with God has always been complete from the first moment that I handed the keys of my life over to my heavenly father. From that wonder-filled moment I was reunited with my Creator, and there was no altering my steps from that moment on.

Each day I awaken with Him in my first breath. He guides my every step, and when I side-step Him, He is still right beside me. He makes me aware of His presence in the wind through the trees, the joy of watching my children grow and learn, the scent of my hubby when he kisses me goodnight. He never leaves my side, whether I walk through rain or sun.

My goal for 2013, in my walk with God …

is to believe Him when He says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)

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So, I am now at day number two of my Top 10 Goals for 2013, and this time the focus is hubby.

He REALLY does not appreciate posts about him, that mention him, that use him as an example … so, in honor of his preference that I not write about him … heck, I’m just going to do it anyway!

P&C Cropped

He has to forgive me … comes with the whole “love, honor and … forgive” 😉

Here are my Top Ten Goals for my Marriage for 2013:

  1. Do not go to bed angry – I mentioned this yesterday in regards to our kids and it doesn’t hurt to say it again, “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26).
  2. Get away – make time for at least one night each season to get away together, sans children, as a couple. It is so easy, with all of the demands of life, to forget that the family we created started with us, just us, and for this family to continue we need to invest in us.
  3. Respect him – As I write it I just know that some poor, misinformed lady is going to interpret respecting your husband as some kind of response to an archaic male dominated patriarchal society or religion. That is NOT what this is about! He is a child of God, like me, and as such I need to respect him …
  4. Make his life easier – I am sure that there is at least one thing I can do each week to make his life easier … from answering the phone (instead of letting him, because it is always for him), to doing his dinner clean up once in a while (not too often, as I do not want him to get too used to being relieved of ‘his’ chore).
  5. Thank him – so often when we live with someone it is so easy to forget our manners. Please and thank you are words I know I need to use more often with my man.
  6. Let him decide – … and be okay with his decision! My hubby knows that if I say “you choose” his whole future is at stake. I need to trust him to make a decision, and trust the outcome!
  7. Surprise him – there is nothing like veering from the normal, everyday, meatloaf every Monday stagnant way of living to bore a couple to mediocrity! Start seeing excitement and refreshment in someone else. I WILL surprise him … and the details of that, well those are between the two of us 😉 .
  8. Remember the past – I need to reflect on those days, so many years ago, when we only knew adoring love (aka, before we were married 😉 ) … not bills, crisscrossing schedules, and to do lists.
  9. Forget the past – we have baggage, and that is a reality, but the past is the past, and needs to be left there. We cannot move forward if I keep looking back.
  10. Plan for the future – “Where there is no dreaming for the future, the marriage relationship is dead” (that is the Carole Wheaton interpretation of Proverbs 29:18) … enough said.

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If you are reading this, then yes, you have survived the chaos that can be associated with Christmas Day.

For me, Boxing Day means two things; one is that I am ready to take down the tree, and clean up the house, and the other is that I start to think about next year.

Over the next few days, my posts will be related to my thinking about next year. Each day I will share Ten Goals that I have for myself, my children, my marriage and my relationship with God.

Today, I am starting with my ten goals for 2013, related to my three children.

Wheaton+Family-38-2-1602627366-O

God has blessed hubby and I with three healthy, productive, God-fearing/loving children. There was a time when we wondered if we would even have children with our own DNA. There was a time when we understood contentment with one, believing that our chances of carrying another to term would never be. There were dark and sorrow-filled times, times when we cried out to God, times when we grew to understood that today we only see a part (1 Corinthians 13:12) …

As parents we have taken those experiences, that pain, of the past and promised to not forget the gifts that these children are to us. Oh, we fail – daily we fail as parents, but our hearts desire is to not take them for granted, not forget our responsibility to be active in their lives, and to daily hand them back to their Creator.

My goals, as their mom, for 2013 are:

  1. Be intentional in spending at least one time per month with each child – they are individuals, and I need to know them individual
  2. Pray with each more often – so easy when they were young, but it is still such a beautiful thing to lay our burdens at His feet together
  3. Be more involved in assisting them with school work (even unsolicited … mostly unsolicited) – I often am so desiring that I give them independence in their school responsibilities that I forget that they still need help, and I am able to help them!
  4. Tell each child, every day, that I love them – I cannot just think it, for their benefit I need to give wings to my thoughts
  5. Do not end the day, or go apart angry – this applies to so many relationships (every relationship). There is wisdom in “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26)
  6. Laugh with them – Oh how sad to spend a day living under the same roof and not sharing a laugh together … what sweet memories laughter provides!
  7. Tell them why I love them – not just ‘I love you’ but ‘I love how you ….’, ‘I love that you ….’
  8. Tell them that I am proud of them – I do believe that success breeds success, and if I let them know of the successes I see in their lives, I believe that it will magnify their ability to do even greater things
  9. Praise their father, in their presence – although hubby and I do not parent exactly the same, we are one, united front when it comes to our kids, and our kids need to know that we love each other, and that we respect each other … and thinking it is not enough … I need to give words to my thoughts.
  10. Give them wings – I cannot hold them too tightly, I need to hold them with enough flexibility that they can come and go. God’s example to us is to give us the choice to come to Him … there is no better parenting example! And there can be no greater gift than having my child choose to share their life with me.

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A new year is a new beginning. It is a fresh, clean canvas. It is unmarred by blemishes or errors. It is empty.

Really, this blank slate of a new year is void of one of the most valuable parts of life … memories.

If today, January fifth two thousand and twelve, I were to say, “what is your favorite memory of 2012?” you might say something about a New Years kiss (unless, that is, you fell asleep before the clock struck twelve), or a fantastic New Years day football game outcome (but you probably would NOT be too excited about the outcome of the World Junior Hockey Championship, if you are from North America).

Memories are the icing on the cake of life. It is our memories that help define our past, and help to focus where we wish our future to go. It is our negative memories that become our nightmares, and our positive memories that become our daydreams. Our memories keep places, experiences and people of the past alive.

It is in the next fifty-one weeks that we will live and make memories. Memories for ourselves, and memories for those we love and memories for those whose lives intersect our own. We will make good memories and bad, happy and sad, joyous and regrettable. Some will be spontaneous, and others will be intentionally planned.

This year is still fresh, still unwritten, still void of memories. Lets commit this year to being intentional about making memories that are good, for yourself and for others.

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A new year is like a new love relationship …

When a relationship is fresh and new there is so much excitement, so much possibility.

But, a new love relationship cannot be fully enjoyed if we continually look back to life before this love entered our life. If someone in a new relationship continually reminisces about previous love interests, the future does not look so attractive.

Similarly, a new year is fresh and there is great excitement and possibility. It is a clean slate, on which you can write your hopes, dreams and intentions (and resolutions).

But, as this new year gets going it will be tempting to talk about the events of the past. The amazing Valentine’s truffles that you enjoyed last year, or the tiptop physique you had a few years back (like a decade or two ago), or the year you read through the entire Bible (which, coincidentally, coincided with the college course you were taking on ‘reading the Bible in a year’), or how well behaved your children were when they were little (you cannot remember where you left your wallet this morning and you expect me to believe that you can remember how well behaved your children were forty years ago?).

So, lets focus on where we are going, and on what is ahead. It means we need to embrace the reality of life today, and this year, not living in the past.

Looking back happens, but to move forward we need to be facing forward, not glancing back!

“One thing I do:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

I press on toward the goal

to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

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Many of us awake today, January 1, 2012, on the same day that we went to sleep. Whether we were at a rousing house party, a midnight mass, dancing with friends, drinking a warm cup of milk alone in the quiet of the night, or watching the ball drop in New York City (live, or, more likely, on the tube) we saw the new year in.

Now, like that empty notebook paper on the first day of school, we start afresh. We arise to a new day, a new month and a new year.

So, what are we going to write on this fresh page of 2012?

Last week I went to a movie with my girls. We saw the movie New Years Eve, and I have to say I loved it. In the words of the character played by Katherine Heigl, “there’s gonna be more celebrities here than rehab,” and that is certainly the case with the cast line up for this movie.

I was nervously expecting there to be awkward scenes causing regret on my part for taking my daughters (especially the fourteen year old). Not only was it relatively UN-awkward for me as a mom, but it also left me with a something to ponder.

The following is the final narration in the movie,”it’s OK to listen to your heart.  I know it’s risky.  Go ahead and take that leap.  There are so many things you can’t control:  earthquakes, war, famine.  It’s important to remember the things we can control, things like love and forgiveness.  … Love in every one of its forms.  Loves gives us hope.  Hope for the New Year.”

It IS important to remember the things we can control … and most of those things that we can control have to do with our choices. So, for 2012, lets choose to love. It is only one resolution, and yet I think it could change our whole year.

Happy New Year!

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