- Be a "Missional Mom." “What is a 'Missional Mom'” you might ask. I, along with a couple of friends from our church community group, am currently reading “Missional Mom” by Helen Lee. In this book, Lee challenges moms to live with purpose, both at home and in the world. It can be pretty easy for moms, especially suburban middle class moms, to get wrapped up in the ideal of being the “perfect mothers”. Many of us are obsessed with the correct method to raise "successful" children. While trying to educate our children, cook healthful meals, involve our kids in enrichment activities, and complete the never-ending tasks of laundry and cleaning, we are left with very little energy to think outside of our family. In this book, Helen Lee challenges us to be missional-- to use "God-given gifts to bring happiness into the life of another" (p.27).
I found this book is particularly interesting for those moms (like me) who tend to fall into the cultural traps that our American society places on us--seeking a comfortable living for their families and looking to raise successful children. Lee pointed out that instead of seeking comfortable living, we should strive for sacrificial living, because "the more we seek after a life comfortable by the world's standards, we become more and more weighted down by the burden of seeking it" (p.54). In the subject of raising successful children, Lee challenged us to remember that God is the one that is in control of our children's futures and not us. She provides a lot of research about the effects of our “over-achiever” culture. On page 35, I found the following quote convicting: “Over-achiever culture...has become a way of life... When teenagers inevitably look at themselves through the prism of our over-achiever culture, they often come to the conclusion that no matter how much they achieve, it will never be enough. And the pressure steadily mounts.” She later says, “When we push our children to excel and achieve as their primary goal, when we communicate that their value comes from what they accomplish, we set our children up to swallow a dangerous fallacy: that God loves them for what they do and not for who they are. We also run the risk of a prideful pursuit in which we erroneously believe we can shape their future in ways the world considers most fulfilling and rewarding.” As an over-achiever myself, I think it was so important for me to read that now, so I can be prepared not to place that same cultural pressure on Luke and Abbey. As I continue to homeschool Luke and Abbey this next year, I will need to keep reminding myself of how I want them to value themselves. I want them to see me regularly serving others—and show them that it almost always means sacrifice, but that it is always most certainly worth it.
- Get back in Shape. Cancer treatment and surgeries have done quite a number on my body. I am SO ready to be back in shape and feel normal again. Drew and I seriously need to figure out how to allot time into each day for exercise!
- Eat more veggies. We made a huge overhaul in our diet over the past year and a half. We currently eat a whole, real food diet, that includes veggies and fruits each day. But, I still want to increase our intake of fruits and veggies and look for new and fun ways to eat our veggies each day.
- Launch a Photography Business. Those who have been following my blog for a while have really seen my love for photography blossom. While I have always had a love for photography, when we purchased our first dslr camera shortly after Luke was born, my passion grew considerably. Now that I have been at home with the kids each day for the past 2 years, I have the opportunity to practice my passion each day. I have been receiving more and more requests to take photos of friends' children and families. It has been a blast! I don't want to give it up. So, I figured, I may as well make some money on my hobby. Photography is an expensive hobby, and cancer was extremely expensive. So, maybe I can use money I make as a professional photographer to begin trying to pay for some of the cancer treatment and photography equipment. :-)
- Keep on kicking cancer in the rear. I never want to forget about how awful cancer treatment can be—this means I need to keep my body in tip-top shape and keep praying as I continue the ongoing battle with cancer.
- Get ready to homeschool! I have been easing into homeschooling with Luke this past year. I have been attending meetings with other homeschool moms and collecting tons of information. I have read several books and even taken assessments to determine the best curriculums for both Luke (as student) and me (as his teacher). If Luke were going to public or private school, he would actually not begin kindergarten this next year, but rather the following year. We are going to go ahead and start a “light” kindergarten curriculum next year (one year early). I figure that way, we can just take it easy and go at our own pace. I don't want school to feel rushed or high-pressure. I want him to enjoy it and not feel any of those societal pressures (like mentioned in resolution #1). I am so excited about this. I still plan on writing a post about the decision-making process and how God led us to choose to homeschool our children. I don't think that is the right decision for every family, but just happens to be for us. Honestly, it has been a very surprising journey to me, but I am grateful and excited and always reminded that His plans are better than mine!
- Stay in the Word daily and grow closer to God through regular “quiet times.” Enough said.
I hope that when I am writing my 2015 resolutions, God willing, that I can report success on these important 2014 resolutions. :-) Happy New Year Everyone!