It is January 1st, 2016. Last night we enjoyed time with family, playing games and toasting with our sparkling apple cider to the New Year of 2016. Today is the time to reflect on the year of 2015, recognize the blessings that have come our way, and to verbalize our thoughts and hopes and goals and dreams for the coming year.
In 2015 my goals and hopes were to follow the advice of the late President Gordon B Hinkley, as he often counseled us all to "Try A Little Harder". There are several areas of my life that I am continually trying to improve, and this past year I have tried a little harder to be a little better in all of these areas. I have done better in some areas than I have in others, and even though this past year has brought some sorrows and some new challenges, it has also brought many blessings, I like to think that I have made some progress in these areas. After a bit of pondering this morning, I think that this year I want my focus to be on Order. Remember the scripture I set to ponder back on October 19th?
Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
Order - Order in my home has not always been at the top of my priority list, and I do admit that for the past year or so it has crept even lower on the list than usual. However, my Dear Husband and my children have been a great help to me the past little while in encouraging me to become more orderly here at home. We are well into the emptier nest stage of our life with DD4 now in her third year of college away from home and only DD1 still here with us in our house. Just yesterday DS1 and DD1 spent the day helping us to clear out and declutter several items and old appliances from our home and our garage, and earlier in the month we were able to go through several closets and donate several large boxes of clothes and books to charity. There is still much to be done. I plan to continue spending time each week during this year to sort through, declutter, organize and set in order our home and many other aspects of my life.
Scriptures and Prayers - This year I have challenged myself to once again read the Book of Mormon. I don't read nearly as much fiction as I have in the past (full time work and other interests seem to take up more of my time), but I always try to read from the Book of Mormon every day. I'm excited to be teaching about the Book of Mormon in Sunday since it is my very most favorite book ever, and hopefully I will be inspired to study it more in depth that I have sometimes. Mostly I just feel better when I read from it every day. I consider the scriptures to be my "letters from home" and my prayers to be my "phone calls" to my Father in heaven. I can't imagine my life without either one.
Temple - 2015 has been a year with many temple related blessings for our family. We were able to attend the temple last May when DS2 and DDIL were sealed to their newly adopted son, our first DGS1. Just this week were able to be with DD2 as she attended the temple for her very first time. I have not yet taken the time to find a nice little book to keep track of my temple attendance and combine all of my notes from past journals and notebooks where I have written down names that I have performed ordinances for as I intended to this year, but I still want to do that this year. I was able to reserve serveral family file names for temple work to be done, and would like to invite family members to help me with this work. I also plan to spend more time organizing some of the many years of family history research notes of my dear mother, and hopefully finding some names to submit for temple work to be done. The temple closest to our home will be closing later this year for renovation, so I will need to make even greater effort than usual to make the time to attend at least once a month. I will miss being so close to be able to attend more often, but hopefully I will be able to do so.
Quilting - I have attended a few quilting classes this fall that have been organized and taught by a good neighbor, but have not made much progress on my unfinished quilts. Perhaps I can find some time to work on them this very weekend? I would love to have my sewing area and quilting supplies a bit more organized and ready to go, all in one place. As we clear out and organize different areas in the home, perhaps this will become closer to being a reality too.
Promptness - I have been doing better on this one, for the most part. It is still a temptation to me to try to do one more thing, sleep for 10 more minutes, or whatever before leaving for work or other appointments. I did make a concerted effort during the switch back from daylight savings time to get up an hour earlier each day and use some of that time to better prepare for the day. It did help. I just need to keep it up!
Save and Prepare - We have been blessed this past year with some pretty good pay raises, and have been able to save a little bit more than last year. Our food storage is a little bit bigger. It will be big priority for me this year to keep our finances in order, to track our spending and our budget, organize our files, and continue to save, decrease our debt, and increase our food storage.
Service and Love - This has been a hard year for my siblings and I as our dear mother became ill at the first of the year, and we soon found it necessary for someone to always be with our parents to help our father with her care. I was blessed to be able to visit with them almost weekly and spend a week with them while others were on vacation, Since my dear mother's passing I have still been fortunate to visit almost every single week. There are always many opportunities to serve others. I have also been blessed with a new visiting teaching companion and new sisters to visit. It is good to have changes and to get to know new people and have new opportunities to serve.
Family - I'm very proud of my family, my husband, and my children. They again have each been able to accomplish good things this past year and many have found new and better work opportunities. They do much to watch out for each other and encourage and help each other. I love and appreciate and admire each of them so much, and will continue to think of them and pray for each of them every single day. I would love it if we could all get together again and enjoy some quality time together at some point during the coming year.
Writing - I did meet with local little writing group several times this year and have made progress on the revision of my book with input from other group members and with an increased push during NanoWrimo in November. However, this year I think my main writing emphasis will be more on organizing my own personal and family history stories in one place. When my mother passed away and I accepted the responsibility of writing up and presenting a sketch of her life for her funeral, I was very grateful for her handwritten personal life history. I began writing my own while in college and have written snippets to add to it a few times during the years, but I now feel a need to finish a more complete history.
Health and Fitness - This is a new area this year that I am trying to set more in order. I have been blessed with good health and strength throughout most of my life, especially as an adult, and have for the most part just tried to listen to my body and respond to its needs. But I have recognized in the past few years that I could do better at caring for myself, eating more carefully, exercising more, and taking the time to get enough sleep. I am participating in a National Diabetes Prevention Program through my work and am keeping detailed records of my food intake and minutes of exercise each day with the hope of creating better health habits. I do have several high risk factors for diabetes, and would like to keep myself as healthy as possible for as long as possible. DD3 also gifted me with a new FitBit for Christmas so I can track my exercise and sleep. So, here it goes!
Gratitude - I count 72 gratitude posts that I have posted on this blog this past year. That is even one less than last year. Again, I know that I can do better. I can also do better at sending notes and letters and words of gratitude to the many friends and loved ones who always do so much for me and for my family. I am blessed. So check back to see how I do at expressing my gratitude!
This has been an extensive post, so I strongly doubt that anyone has read through to the end. If you have, kudos to you! At any rate, these are my New Year's Day thoughts on how to improve and better order my life during 2016.