Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

Happy 2018, friends!!!! I’m so excited to introduce y’all to my friend Amy Lloyd today. We met back in 2010, when we were living in Washington, D.C.

Back then, Amy was busy with two little ones just as I was. Even then she was singing, which is her passion. But here’s a little known fact: Amy used to be a staffer on Capitol Hill. Her background is actually in writing. She was working on the Hill the day of 9/11…y’all help me convince her to share that story with us next! (You can do the convincing in the comments section below.)

Psst! Also check out the links to amylloyd.net to hear her beautiful voice!! (What Child is this is my favorite!!!)

Today Amy is here to talk about our New Year’s goals and the more satisfying, encouraging way that she has found to plan out her year and keep her focus straight.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions

guest post by Amy Lloyd

 I have a love-hate relationship with the New Year. I love the fresh start and the excitement of a new chapter waiting to be written. Oh, the possibilities! However, over the past few years, I have found the New Year’s goal-setting process to be extremely counter-productive. I stress over priorities for the coming year. Then I become irritated with indecisiveness. And, finally I rehearse each failure from the previous year as I write that same goal once again.

 

I think we all agree time is a gift to be used wisely, and I still believe that setting long and short-term goals is a great tool to help live a life intentionally. I won’t go into how to set goals here. There are plenty of other blog posts with those details this time of year. (And if you cannot find something free to read, there is a billion dollar self-improvement industry pushing products and services to help you.)

 

What I am here to say is that Providence does not always work on a calendar year, and you don’t have to either.

 

What if your current season in life or profession does not move on an academic or calendar year? I am a mom and a singer. Although there are some aspects that work with a calendar, often both of these occupations require a lot more patience than a calendar year to see results.

 

Or, what happens when God’s plan is to turn your world upside down with some kind of trial? In the last four years I have had a major surgery with lengthy physical therapy, we have relocated to Indianapolis after living in the Washington, DC area our entire adult lives, and my husband has worked four different, very demanding jobs.

 

A year ago, I had almost given up on the New Year. In an effort of self-compassion, I decided that I would wait until February to do my annual goal setting…or possibly not make them at all. Then, on December 29, while scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I saw the headline of a post by my blogging friend Moriah that read: I DON’T DO RESOLUTIONS. I was curious. Her blog introduced me to #oneword365.

 

Moriah explained that she picks one word that she applies to all aspects of her life for the entire year. Simple. Profound. Game-changer!

 

I decided I was going to try this. While being incredibly indecisive on picking my one word for 2017, on January 1, my teacher Peter posted on his blog that he was not making resolutions. Instead, he was making “renewals.” That’s it! My word for 2017 was renew.

 

I loved that the word renew reminded me of Bible verse that says: But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV)

 

I needed to renew my strength in all aspects of my life so desperately. I was determined to apply my one word, so I wrote it as a reminder every day in my Panda Planner. Consistently writing my one word was key. Although I highly recommend a written journaling planner, the same concept works for a pocket or wall calendar. After a year of writing my one word again and again, I can look back at 2017 and be encouraged that the word renew permeated my life.

 

So, what did I do with those long and short-term goals? I renewed them, which helped me prioritize and gave more purpose. My goals are long-term fixtures that are evaluated as needed as God guides and directs my life.

As I wrap this up, you might be curious as to what word I have chosen for 2018…my new word is steadfast. I started with “discipline” (too harsh), then debated upon “consistency” (too boring), then I was reminded of a book I read, A Steadfast Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Steadfast means abiding, determined, enduring, persistent, relentless, resolute and unwavering. I am looking forward to studying this word more and applying it in 2018.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! (Psalm 57:7, ESV)

Maybe you set goals but want to try one word to help your focus. Maybe goals are not your thing, but one word is simple and something you can do! The #oneword365 blog says: Remember – Your one word is intended to be your guide, not your harsh standard. It’s not about doing more, but about being who you were created to be.

 

If you choose a word for 2018, I would love to hear about it! Comment below, on Facebook, or send me a message through my website. Happy New Year!

 

Amy Lloyd is an Indianapolis-based worship artist. When she is not driving her daughter to ballet, she is driving her son to tennis. True to her central Illinois roots, she is a St. Louis Cardinals baseball fanatic. For bookings and to check out her music, go to www.amylloyd.net. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @lloyd_amy_.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 4 Favorite Homemaking Hacks for 2018

I love Christmas break. Time off from spelling tests, chauffeur duties, graded papers, packing lunches, and best of all I’m not desperately rushing everyone to not be late…..oh how I love time off.

We always spend a few days at my parent’s house and a few days at Alan’s parents’ house, and it’s such a blessing to spend time with them and soak up the rest and good conversation.

With people you see on a daily basis, it can be easy to fall prey to simply talking about your shared problems and the annoying people you have to deal with. Ha! We all have them.

But when we get together with family at Christmas, we can re-focus on what matters and gain wisdom from others. We can always do that during the everyday too, of course, but I get the best ideas when I have some time and space to read and think!

Daniel and his favorite cousin at Christmas. They were born only a month apart.

I am reading 2 books and taking 1 online course that I’m gaining immensely from. One is on grocery budgeting and the other is on marriage. The course is about planning.

Alan even found an app for us to use for grocery shopping that has also been hugely helpful. I wanted to pass those along to y’all.

The Books

1.) How to Win the Grocery Game

I’m including an eBay link above for that one, which I do not make any money from. I just found the eBay price to be slightly better than Amazon.

This is an extremely practical book about saving money on grocery shopping. However, it was written in the 1970s and is extremely outdated. I’ve had to look for more modern ways to implement some of the strategies in this book, but it’s the strategies and the meal planning tips that make the book worth while…..if you can look past the insane price amounts on everything. You have to ignore those since this book is from the 70s!!

I’ll share with you a modern app I’ve used to help me do one thing from the book later in this post.

2.) Created to Be His Helpmeet

The above link is to the Amazon Kindle edition, but it is available in paperback on Amazon and other sellers as well. I do earn a small percentage when you buy through this link.

This book doesn’t even attempt political correctness with words like “hillbilly ugly” and “submit”. Ha! You have been warned.

But I’ve found it to be practical and helpful, a solid reminder. It has also helped me understand my husband better, as she divides men up into three groups: command types, visionaries, and steady men.

The book is about becoming a kinder, more helpful wife, and by doing that, you can’t help but improve your marriage, even if you’re married to the Grinch himself. I’m only 1/3 the way through it, but so far it has helped me to straight up be a nicer person at home with my husband.

I also love that it’s written by an older woman. She has walked through all the phases of life, and she’s sharing what she has learned.

Us with Alan’s side of the fam. Greg was MIA this year due to food poisoning. You were missed, Greg!

The App

As I mentioned above, I’ve found a more modern way to implement the grocery strategy, but it isn’t foolproof. I’m not sure if the database is leaving out all the goods from stores like Aldi and the Pig because they came up less frequently than I expected. Some work may still need to be done there.

But if you want an easy way to compare everyday prices at one store with sale prices from the circulars, this is an awesome app.

It’s called Basket.

You type in your grocery list. It gives you options for brands and lines them up by price. Try it out. You may end up spending hours on it like Alan and I have.

We put in our entire grocery list, and then we hit “compare prices”. It showed us that the cheapest way to get all our groceries at one store was to go to Walmart. However, the real issue was that Walmart was the only store that carried every item on our list.

To get the best savings, you can tell it to break it up into 2 stores. That gave us Walmart and Food Depot. In the list, it breaks down which items we should buy at Food Depot and which ones we should purchase at Walmart.

Wow, huh?

It was funny how it would switch stores as we put more groceries in!

However, Alan found that not all of the prices and sizes were available at Walmart, so checking your weekly circulars is still important.

I think this is a good tool, but it doesn’t truly replace searching through the weekly grocery ads.

 

Christmas morning

Chore Looping

Another exciting tip I got this Christmas is “chore looping,” which my sister-in-law, Amy, told me about.

For those of us who have trouble with other methods of keeping up with house cleaning schedules, chore looping is the way to go.

You make a list of tasks, like this:

  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Scrub master bath.

etc., etc. Add whatever rooms you have.

Then you work through it until you reach the end and start over, and it doesn’t have to be all in one day, all in one week, or even all in one month. You just work through the list as you are able.

Some tasks you have to write on your list more than once, like scrubbing that bathroom that all 4 boys use…bleh…

For Example:

  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Scrub master bath.
  • Vacuum.
  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Tidy up dining room.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Tidy up living room.
  • Dust the house.
  • Scrub hall bathroom….lol…again and again and again…

…And the list goes on until you’ve covered all the tasks you can think of.

Some days you do 3 or 4 of them. Other days you do 1 or none at all. It just depends on when you have the time!

If you do marathon clean, then you skip the repeats. I almost never marathon clean. Why? Because it’s exhausting, and I was always hoping I’d be affording a maid by now….lol

Daniel helping with the Men’s Pancake Breakfast at church

I’ll save my excitement of my new Brilliant Life Planner and accompanying online planning course for another day. I can’t wait to show it to you. In fact, I’m definitely going to do a Facebook Live all about this planner this week, on my Stories of Our Boys Facebook page.

I hope you all had an absolutely fabulous Christmas and are as excited about the new year as I am! Actually, I’m pretty nervous about 2018. Moving…deep breaths…deep breaths…I’m going to need all the organization I can accomplish!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”    Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

God Blesses the Faithful

A rare snow day in Georgia! Caleb wisely decided to get out there before it all melted, which it all did, by 8:30 am.

I’ve been enjoying reading in the Old Testament lately. This morning I was reading about how Joseph died and the next Pharaoh didn’t know Joseph, but he certainly noticed the ever-growing size of their population of Hebrews.

“Immigrants.” It’s a problem as old as the ages, and yet we have all either had ancestors who were immigrants or have been immigrants ourselves. Immigrants– Outsiders– people who are different than the rest.

Pharaoh decided to do away with them slowly by killing off the baby boys, as they were born, so he called in the two midwives–see women have always had more power than we realized–and asked them to kill all the boy Hebrew babies.

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard that story, but what about Exodus 1:20-21, where it mentions what God did for the midwives as a result of their faithfulness in not killing the babies.

“Therefore, God dealt well with the midwives…And it came to pass because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.”

The King James Version says He made them houses. The New International Version says God blessed them with families of their own. The two are in agreement. The KJV just says it in the Old English way, which I sometimes misunderstand and need to read a more modern English version.

John David’s gingerbread house. I had the most fun making this with him!

But I take great comfort in this reminder from Exodus 1:20-21. When we honor God in our choices, he blesses us.

Sometimes the blessings take time, like how Joseph was sold into slavery and ended up in prison, but he worked his way out. In due time, God blessed him over-abundantly, putting him in charge of all of Egypt and reuniting him with his family.

God does bless our faithful actions.

drawing candy canes

And that makes me think of Christmas, the time of the birth of Jesus, because this gift blesses our faithfulness with the hope of salvation.

So I’ll try not to stress too terribly much about the gifts and the money because that’s not what this is about, is it?

It’s about God blessing us–the whole world– with faith, hope, and love, a baby born on Christmas day to save the world from punishment. There is now no condemnation for those who believe.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 243