Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fess Up

So, it's January 31st, and this means that I must evaluate how I did on my goals for the month. Let's start with the good stuff:

The Living Room
MAJOR success. I am currently sitting on my new living room furniture as I type this post. A full set (couch, loveseat, chair, ottoman) was gifted to us by Jer's parents, and a group of fabulous friends helped us move it up here. I cooked and baked while they worked, and yesterday we all celebrated by sitting on the comfy furniture and eating soup and bread and cinnamon rolls and cookies and veggies and...yes, it was good.

Incidentally, another success realized yesterday was the bread. I have been trying to get my sourdough starter to turn into an actual loaf of good sourdough bread, with no yeast, a nice crispy sourdough crust, and a good tangy flavor. It took several failed attempts, but using this method, I made an excellent loaf that was quickly devoured by the hungry visitors. More importantly, the husband (who requested the sourdough project many weeks ago) pronounced it a delicious win. Yay!

The new project is now to clean and sort through all the stuff that ended up in my office without a home. We were able to get rid of a lot of stuff and organize a ton, but there is still more to do.

Eat From the Pantry Challenge
Well, I would call this a success. The amount of pasta and canned goods present in our pantry has been reduced by at least half. Even with all the recipe experiments and the friend hosting I was still able to be very frugal with my food purchases as I used things up and portioned things out for lunches. I didn't throw away a lot of food but instead got creative with our CSA. We've eaten a lot of veggies this month, including salads. Salads are not my usual go-to item, but when you make your own dressing and toss in fruit and cooked chicken, it's a lot easier to enjoy!

I'm also getting a lot better at planning my menu and shopping. I can estimate how much my shopping list is going to cost, and decide if I can splurge or need to rethink my list, which keeps me within budget. Which leads us to...

We made a significant amount of progress here. We completed the refi on our house thanks to an awesome mortgage broker and moved some funds around to make good headway on debt paydown. We did some figuring this morning and are very excited about where we are going to be financially in a couple of years, and the freedom that will give us to dream about what God might call us to in the future.

While I did have my budgeting breakdown, we made a lot of progress getting details down and changing some of our habits. The whole process is really helping us make our money work for us instead of rule us.

So those are the successes. Now, there were a few items on my goals list that met with mixed results:

Okay, I wrote 5 posts for this blog and 3 for the family blog (with another in process), so I think I had a win there. An average of two posts a week is definitely an improvement for me. The personal writing was less successful though-I think I had one good journal entry and no fiction. And I certainly didn't spend time writing on a daily basis. That part of the schedule didn't happen. Speaking of which...

Scheduling and Working Out
These kind of go hand in hand, because when we are following our schedule, we both get good workout time. While in general I would say we did better sticking to our schedule, and I certainly worked out more this month than the previous three months (maybe combined) it was not a total success. Between coming down with a cold (me) and reinjuring old areas of debilitation (Jer) neither of us got the amount of working out we wanted. The first half of the month was pretty good-I worked out 3-5 times a week-the second half of the month was not. So we need a reset there.

Both of these areas saw progress, so I would not call them complete fails. What I would call a complete fail:

Thank You Cards
Cumulative number of cards mailed Dec 31st: zero. Cumulative number of cards mailed Jan 31st: zero. I think I might have addressed a couple more, and I started writing a few. No completions. Sigh. Well, I know what I am doing in February.

Speaking of February, here are my goals for the upcoming month:

1. The aforementioned thank you cards. No more talking, just doing.
2. Continue working out 3-5 times a week. Barring serious illness, this is a completely doable goal
3. Hangout with a girlfriend at least once a week. I find that I am missing my gals, spending good one on one time. Some of the highlights of January were the couple of coffee dates I had with friends, and I want to continue to have those.
4. Double dates. We had an awesome double date with one of my best friends and his fabulous new girlfriend last Sunday, and Jer and I both enjoyed ourselves immensely. We've got a list of friends that we want to hang out with and want to be intentional about making those dates happen, at least twice a month.
5. Clean out office. Yeah, now that I have a big stack of homeless items in my office, I need to find homes for it all.

Above and beyond these to-dos, Jer and I are really seeking to be in prayer more, whether that be individually, as a couple, or with friends and family. We've started tossing around the idea of hosting prayer nights at our house or something of that nature. Having a good place to host means that we can be more creative and intentional about reaching out and creating good fellowship. So that is a goal in process-a desire that needs to be given actions.

So there we are. I think that despite having to fess up to not getting some things done, I can look at my list of goals and call the month a successful one. And that is the benefit of having defined goals: you can celebrate the achievements.

Here's to a good month, and more to come!

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