Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year's Lists

I've got a plethora of new year's grading and writing deadlines, so these few days of supposed "down time" are actually some of the busiest I've had in a while! In the midst of all that, however, I'm contemplating some new year's lists.

I'm not a big new year's resolver. I don't make huge resolutions or very detailed ones. I do sometimes find this is a good time, however, to look again at my priorities and how I spend my time, and to try to set some goals and get a bit more organized. This year I seem to be in a bit of a list-making frenzy.

Here are some of the lists I'm currently making (mentally and/or soon-to-be on paper). Some of them, as you can see, lend themselves to larger organizational other words, the lists aren't just an end unto themselves!

Short-term lists:

*** My year-end list of books I've read or am in the process of reading. I usually compile that list based on my notes here and on the reviews I've written for epinions. Last year in early January I posted a list of my favorites (in various, self-appointed categories) for the year, and I hope to do that again this year. Usually that list helps me think about what kinds of reading I hope to accomplish in the new year.

*** Spring term kindergarten list. I need time to sit down and plan out (at least in broad sweeps) the next few months of school time for the sweet girl. I have a general idea of where I'm going and what books and other resources we'll be using, but I need some more time to pull all that together.

Short-to-medium-term lists:

*** First Grade book list. Lord willing, we'll be able to continue our homeschool journey in the fall (we are trusting God to continue to provide a way!). I'm already working on my book list for the coming year and thinking about ways I can find and utilize different resources (purchases, libraries, loans, downloads) in order to keep costs down. I love making this list because it excites me no end to think of the wonderful things the sweet girl and I will be studying and exploring together.

Please pray that I will not get bogged down in worries about how our continued commitment to homeschooling is actually going to happen. God continues to provide me work from home as we need it, often right when we need it, and it's no good fretting in advance even when I feel clueless about how he's going to do it the next time around. We're manna-gatherers for sure! Pray also that I can find ways to save toward some of the book and curriculum purchases we do need to make. I've been hanging onto my epi-earnings (helped immeasurably by their generous end-of-year bonus) in the hopes that I can use them for that this year, and not have to spend them on creditors, car or health insurance.

*** Money-saving ideas. With the preceding paragraph in mind, you're no doubt not surprised to see this here. Our debt burden and increasing out-of-pocket health care costs, combined with our less than lucrative (at least monetarily...we are so rich in every other way that counts!) vocational choices means that we have to get really creative this year about tightening our belts even further. I have been trying to come up with a list of ideas to save us money each week and month, in the hopes we can begin to chip more at debt and be freed up to give more as we're called. If you've got good, creative tips or web resources on saving money, generating needed income, or budgeting, pass em' on!

*** Address list. This sounds silly...after all, we live in the information age and I'm supposed to have this kind of data all handy somewhere, right? But we don't. My mad scramble to find email and/or postal addresses for a number of people this Christmas made me realize just how unorganized our personal address list is. A lot of that is due to the fact that the last time we did a full-scale organized list, it was on a computer that now sits almost unused in our bedroom (an old computer that has no way of "talking to" this computer). This is the year for me to get old stuff OFF that computer and to re-organize a contact list for what we like to call our "life community" -- people we've known and loved during so many different seasons and places.

Medium-long-term lists:

*** Genealogical information. This one is related to the above. About a decade ago, D. and I did a lot of research into our families' histories, some of which bore great fruit. We organized some of the info. in hard copies (charts, pictures, etc.) and those boxes are sitting in our closet, awaiting further organization. Some of the data made it onto a budget software program on our old computer, once again, "non-transferrable." Eventually we'd like to get a better program, but in the meantime, I'd be satisfied with just getting the information we have into accessible and easy to find formats in binders and plastic folders.

*** My writing files. Ah, the never ending project. I haven't organized my writing files in so long it's embarrassing. It's also embarrassing how often I can't find a story, poem or other piece I've written, or a project I started and would like to re-visit and work on again. This really needs to happen. One reason I realized that anew is because D. and I worked on a series of narrative monologue and poems several years ago, which were presented (in rough form) as an advent program at the seminary. Seven years later, this advent, we got to thinking about them again and began talking about ways we could revise them, add to them, and perhaps even think about submitting them somewhere for publication...only to discover we can't find the file anywhere. Still looking! I hope to really dive into some writing projects this year, both old and new, so this organizational goal feels important.

*** Birthday and Christmas scrapbooks for the sweet girl. I keep promising myself these will get done. I really want to work on them this year!

Well, I'm sure there are more lists I could think of...and have thought of...but these are the ones coming to mind for now.

How about you? Do you make lists and plan organizational projects for the new year?


Erin said...

Oh, man, I am so with you on the address book thing. I had most of my addresses on my computer that blew up over the summer, so I had a heck of a time finding a lot of people. There were a couple cards I never got out because I couldn't find the address!

Wasn't that Epi-bonus great? Very nice surprise to come home to that day! As for my goals for the year...

* I want to make at least one video with a couple friends of mine before one of them moves away, probably this summer.

* Figure out how to play the guitar. I really kinda dropped the ball on that last year.

* Join the ERG club my dad, aunts and uncle have formed and actually stick with it.

* Write. A lot.

* Come up with something to sell at the new flea market-type place that opened up by the mall.

Those are the main ones for the moment... Happy new year!

Beth said...

Great goals! I love it. I have some other goals too -- I'd like to do some recorder lessons with the sweet girl, and either find or start a homeschooling group we can connect with once in a while. Plus writing lots. Yes. I totally agree. I've decided this is definitely my year to WRITE A LOT. I will be 40 this year (yikes!!!) and it is time to write some of these stories that have been dancing in my head, some for a decade or more.

Loved the epi-bonus. I was seriously grateful for it. I'm trying to get better at turning out quality reviews more quickly, because I really need to generate any income I can from home.

Thanks, btw, for responding to this...and to so many other blog posts this year. I know I don't have many readers, and it's just nice to know someone is out there listening. :-)

Hope your vacation was (is?) good!

Edna said...

Hi! Just wanted to pop in to assure you that you might have more readers than you think (or at least that some of us are thinking about what you write). Many of us might just be "lurking" and not commenting. Actually, this is the first comment I've posted to the blog of someone I don't know! I enjoy reading your posts, especially about books and homeschooling.

In many things our lives are different--I'm single, not a writer, not a mom--but I also love books and the Lord, and I teach first grade. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I hope your new year is blessed!

Beth said...

Edna, thank you so much for popping in and posting such a thoughtful comment. I've not really tried to "publicize" this blog much, since it's mostly a place for personal reflection and inner musings, but I have discovered that it's a real encouragement to realize someone's on the other end listening!

I too lurk on some blogs...I think one of the neatest things about the blog world is finding people whose lives are so different than my own, and yet, as you mention, in many ways grounded in foundational things we share. Like a love of the Lord, of teaching, and of books!

A blessed new year to you too!