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MY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Hello world- well “another year has gone byyyy” (celine dion plug). I am now the big 2. 8.  My 27th year of life was popping at the seems with some hard lessons, new insights, a few extra pounds, sweet moments with family and a new awareness of myself. I can safely say that although harder, each year of my life has gotten sweeter and sweeter. So I have big hopes for this next one and am setting a few goals!  Some silly, some more serious. It’s kinda a long one so feel no guilt in skimming!

28th year goals- Giving you what my goals are and why they’re important to me.

1.Be confident.  I’ve lost a little bit of my nerve to just be myself. Example-wearing kinda mismatched clothes; dancing at random times; expressing and standing on a conviction even if I think it might make someone uncomfortable; being silly. Those are all me. And this year- they’re making a come back!

2. Laugh at myself more. –  I can be naive and gullible. Which leads me to say absurd and COMPLETELY wrong things. No more being embarrassed. I know what I know. And what I don’t know- I’ll learn.

3. Quit biting my nails.  Because it’s gross. And a bad habit.

4. “Funkify” my closet.  My style is eclectic. No eccentric but mixed up. One day I’ll be pretty in pink, the next sporty spice and the next edgy punk girl. I like this.  I tend to dress with my mood. I need more items that look less like others and more like myself.

4. Healthy Eating – Yes this year has come with about 5 pounds which I want to go away and am working on. But this year I don’t want it to be about weight but health. I wanna feel energized and alert.

5. Get Eden home. Not in my control. But I still want this and DESPERATELY hoping for it this year.

6. Get up earlier. If I can melt my way off the bed and onto the floor, stagger over the shoes/clothes from the day before, hit the bathroom and turn the light on then AFTER that I would LOVE mornings. They are kind of my “me” time. And as our family grows I bet the only time our home will be quiet. My goal is 5:15 Monday-Thursday.

7. Hug. I want people around me to NEVER doubt I love them, have missed them, want them around always, and that they are worth my affection.

8. Write more. Once I thought I might write a book. Maybe that will happen but just writing MORE would be a good start (Maybe I’ll blog like 5 times this year! 🙂

9. Learn to kindly discipline Meg.  We are in the stage of helping Meg be obedient. My hope is not to just direct her behavior but create heart change in her. Already many times I’ve had to stop a conversation or leave an event to show her what is acceptable and what isn’t. But she is worth me stopping whatever I’m doing and taking time to teach. Above all I want her to know I love her in her success and failure but I also love her too much to give her everything she wants (even though I kinda want to!)

10. Care for the older and elderly. I have neighbors who are older, some elderly, a few sick, a couple widowed. And I scoot in and out with a wave and an occasional card. But this year, I wanna go and sit and hear more stories and share more tea cookies and drink endless cups of coffee. I want to remind them their lives are not “over” and are still a benefit to society and me!

11.  Be more flexible. literally. Gonna stretch my way into some splits for my 29th year 🙂

12. Dance weekly. Weather it is with friends, Robby and me making up a dance to a song (Our first of which will be Whitney Houston “I wanna dance with somebody”) or just by myself getting dressed or Meg’s nap. I need more dancing!

13. Get rid of excess. Bout to be a major clean out at the Followells. I love a purge but am sentimental so it takes about 7 purges to actually get it all gone. Here comes the 7th and it’s gonna be a doozy!

14. Try new fruits. I want to expand mine and Meg’s palate. Each time I’m at the grocery store I’ll get a new fruit. First attempt at this I got pomegranate. SO SO GOOD!

15. Receive correction. It’s partly pride, partly being too analytical, partly being overly sensitive. But humility is not my first reaction to correction. I internalize way too much. This year I hope to receive correction more humbly.

16. Shoot more at weddings. I’m getting a little, tiny, microscopically, itty bitty bit better at shooting. I kinda am starting to like it. I need to take more shots, try more angles, get closer to my subjects, learn the mechanics of the camera and be more FEARLESS (plug to our photog friends out there).

17.  Go on 2 girls trips this year. From a girl with 3 brothers whose best friends were always mostly guys; I have learned and come full circle to the fact that I desperately need my ladies. And more concentrated time with them!

18. Make our house a home of prayer. I hope for our house to be a home for hurting, those needing comfort, sick, upset, struggling, confused, lonely and lost. Because we want to be a family that prays. And we want to be a family that opens our home- for anyone- always.

19. Cook every recipe in my 3 favorite cookbooks. The Homemade Pantry and both Catherine McCord’s Weelicious cookbooks are my FAVORITES! I love food and want to learn to use it, respect it, create with it and explore. So I’ll start with cooking through these 3 and see where that takes me.

20. Build something. With my hands. Nail, paint, create, saw, measure, mess up, start again.

21. Spend less, think more. We aren’t too frivolous but I think I could be more thought out and less spontaneous when it comes to spending. I want our money to make the most impact and want to take some time to think how we could do that.

22. Shoot more videos of Meg. Lord knows we have thousands (literally)  pictures of Meg. But her cute, squeaky, funny personality can’t be heard through pictures. I want to capture more of her silliness on moving camera.

23. Get out of my norm once a month. Whether it is volunteering, joining a cross cultural group, doing a new activity with Meg, hanging out with new people; I’d love to just get out of our comfort zone once a month. I think our eyes need to see the world around us is bigger than our day to day lives.

24. Spend more time with family. I have great parents- I want to see them more. My 3 brothers are full of humor, wisdom and love and I need that. My in-laws are precious jewels that I actually like. My Robby and Meg are most funny when put together. I want more time with all of these folks. I’ll drive, meet 1/2 way, Skype, face time my way to connecting to my family this year.

25. Drink “blacker” coffee. Just to cut sugar out. So I can EAT more of it than drink it. 🙂

26. Read. Read. Read. Blogs, books, government articles, magazines….

27. Finish what I start. I’m notorious for cleaning then getting tired, starting a project and shoving it in a closet; not cleaning up a mess. NO MORE! (or at least less 🙂

28.  Don’t beat myself up if everything on this list doesn’t happen.  Remember I’m human. Goals are awesome but only if they create a positive striving, not prideful completion. I’m gonna give these a go and see what happens!

Heres to 28, my friends.

much love,

jess

PS- Shout out to my Robby for loving me so so well. Among all the gifts he gave me today (and they are fabulous!) he and Meg are all I need in my day to day to fill my life with happiness (I do love some cheese! but it’s true!)

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