Breaking Down My Goals – Financial

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D w-Total Money Makeover BookSimply put – saving money is hard for anyone.  Including us.

This is the last post on “Breaking Down My Goals” for the Twelve Goals of Twelve that I’ve set forth for the year.


In the financial area, and because I’m trying to be open and honest with my children (and anyone else who reads this blog,) we should be able to save $12,000 by the end of December.

We are intending for that amount to be earmarked for purchasing a new-to-us vehicle in the latter part of 2017.

I don’t intend on giving a month-to-month blog post devoted to this goal.  I’ll probably just let you all know if we complete it by the end of the year.

There’s no plan for this other than continuing on doing our budget every month per the Dave Ramsey plan guidance he sets forth in his book, The Total Money Makeover.

We’ve been following that financial peace plan for about six years now, and it has brought my husband and I peace of mind like no other.

Our story is like anyone else: Six years ago we were in debt up to our eyeballs, we had car and home loans to pay, and we couldn’t save two nickels together even if we wanted to.

It wasn’t until we learned through the Total Money Makeover book how to control our money so it wouldn’t control us that we learned what the definition of maturity is in the financial world – Children do what feels good.  Adults have a plan.

I highly recommend reading that book or attending a Financial Peace Course in your area.

I’m preparing two class sessions for church based off the book now and I hope to get my thoughts out on this blog too.

Have a great week and may your financial dreams of this year come true!

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Breaking Down My Goals – Intellectual

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Simply put, I am doing many of my goals for 2016 as realistically as possible.

If you read my first post of the year, about how I’m calling this My Year of Twelves, you might have thought to yourself that it’s impossible.

No one can do that many things.

Well, that just tells me that you don’t know me personally.

And that’s okay.

I thank you for finding and reading this blog.

Out of all the goals I set for myself, I really think the hardest will still be to read 12 books this year.

I read a total of eleven last year, and I’m barely imagining to exceed that number by one. Heh.

What I think might be the most interesting piece of this equation is how I find myself wanting to strive in this area, but not finding the time to do it.

Well ~ we’ll see what the new year brings.  This year I’ve declared that it will be “Intentional” and I’m not going to back down.

The question remains to be answered: Who, what, when, how, where and why is the goal to read 12 books this year going to be accomplished?

My Who, What, When & Where –

The following books are currently in my library and I hope to either start or finish them.  Maybe this list is a little short, but I intend on making the best of the things I’ve got this year, which includes not purchasing more books until I’ve read these listed! 2016 Books

  • With my oldest son, I am currently reading the Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The three books are titled “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers,” and “The Return of the King.” (We read “The Hobbit” last year and it was phenomenal.)
  • Last year, I bought a book called “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?” by Brian D. McLaren that our church pastor recommended.  I started it, but admit-tingly, the language is not easy to follow for me and I only got to chapter seven.  (Does everyone know what the word “ecumenical” means? Page 37….)  Anyway, I plan on finishing this book this year.
  • I inherited two books from my mother that I am now ready to read this year.  One is “Sit, Walk, Stand” by Watchman Nee, and the other is “What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops” by Laura Story.
  • A book that got recommended to me by a co-worker is by Gerald Durrell, called “My Family and Other Animals” to read with my children. The title is just intriguing and I hope it’s as good as she says it is.  Hopefully I’ll get to it after the Lord of the Rings series, or use it as a small reprieve between the Lord of the Rings books.
  • I’ve had a book on my shelf for a while that I literally had to wipe the dust off called “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Susie Omartian.  This is a book that will also cross-over into my personal Spiritual Goal Challenge as I intend on reading through all of it and doing the prayers in the book.
  • The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss was recommended by my personal trainer and I’m all over learning new ideas to get things done more efficiently.
  • The last book shown in the photo and on my list to read this year is “The Lando Calrissian Adventures” by L. Neil Smith.  I started this book many years ago and never finished it.  As a Star Wars fanatic, I love the world created between the time when there wasn’t any movies made after Return of the Jedi.  I’ve read several books and have two more lined up in my library if I get through this one this year.
  • The first book I might actually complete this year is by Roald Dahl, called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” I purchased a Roald Dahl Collection Boxed Set last year, and this will be the second book we complete as I read it aloud to my family on a weekly basis.

If I’m able to get through the above books, I will have read a total of eleven.
I have a couple stand-by Star Wars books that I could delve into, but I also have a list a mile long of books I want to purchase and read when I can.

My How & Why –

I enjoy reading.

The hardest part for me is scheduling it “in-between” things.

One of the things that I recall from my childhood was my mother reading books aloud to my brother and I.  My mother read aloud to my brother well into the seventh and eighth grades, and I remember being “too cool” to listen to my mother reading as I was already a freshman or sophomore in high school.

As much as I regret not sitting by her as she read to my brother, she taught me the importance of reading and how valuable the time spent with my children will be to them after they grow up.

I use my children as an excuse now to read books that I didn’t get to read when I was younger.  This was the case with the Narnia series last year, and will be the case for the Lord of the Rings Series I hope to finish this year.

I also like to improve myself.  I like having control of things and it seems that while I realize the more I try to have control on things, the less control I actually have, there are areas of my life that can be controlled – such as diet, exercise, water consumption, and the knowledge I choose to incorporate into my life.  That last item is where reading really comes in.

Out of the eleven books I listed above, five of them are non-fiction.  I’m excited about that!  Three of them are listed as “devotional” but none-the-less, they are about self-improvement, and that’s the purpose of reading them in my case.

I’ll get those devotional books read, sometime, and somewhere.  It will be intentional, that’s for sure.

Do you have any books that are on your must-read list this year?  I’d love to know about it if you do!

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August Goals

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Welcome to my first post about goals since January.

I re-read that post and am pretty happy with this update!

Here are the goals listed in the January post:

My one word is:

gifts.

What I really want in 2015 is:

go to Hawaii.

What I really need in 2015 is:

to organize and simplify my stuff.

What I will share in 2015 is:

my talents and gifts.

In 2015 I will succeed at:

reading 12 books.

Here’s my update:

My gifts as a mother who loves her children and uses Pinterest to cook is still going strong.  I also started a garden after my mother passed and it’s feeding us and our friends plenty of tomatoes and a few carrots.

Carrots & August GoalsMy gift of compromising for the sake of others “feelings” is also going strong.

My gift of crocheting is being underutilized right now, but I sent one blanket to a charity and got rid of some yarn in the process.  That’s a solid win in my opinion.  I still want to get some U.F.O.’s done though.  That needs to finish up the rest of the year for sure.

I can report that I have organized my craft room!  Simplified?  Bah!  At least I can say that I don’t go to the craft store every week like I have in other years.  Another win!

Finally, my main concern in the January post was about reading twelve books.

With this blog post, I’m summing up the books I’ve read this year, and yes, I know I have some work to do for this goal.

With my nine year old child, we completed together the following books from The Chronicles of Narnia Series – “The Boy and the Horse,” “Prince Caspian,” “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” and “The Silver Chair,” all written by C.S. Lewis.

My oldest and I read the first two books last year, starting with “The Magician’s Nephew” and then “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”  (I’m not counting those for the year’s count, of course.)

The entire Narnia Series is amazing.  I have been not only engaged, but have cried with my son, been able to explain things that I as the parent need to explain, and have a new found appreciation for books that have been on my own list to read, but had no idea how beautifully well written they could have ever been.

My favorite out of the entire series has been Prince Caspian, as the book has a depth of love, trust, faith and hope that abounds through the pages.  We are currently reading the last of the seven books, titled The Last Battle.  The entire series has been magical, and I look forward to re-reading them to my two younger ones when they get older.

Another book I count as read this year, again with my oldest, is titled The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. 
A very simple, realistic type book, my oldest was probably a year too old to have this book read to him, but it was certainly a fun book to read because it was such a sweet, normal-child type of book.  The book reminded me that it’s in the daily life that we really have adventures.  We, as a people in general, don’t look at them that way though.  We think that getting a babysitter or going out to dinner couldn’t possibly an adventure, but in reality, it’s how we look at the experience as how exciting and fun it really can be.  My oldest was able to take an AR test (something our school system uses to get children to read more) and got 100% passing after we finished the book.  An awesome bonus.

My total of books read all the way through with my nine-year old is five (5).

FIVE BOOKS! YAY!  While that may not seem like much to others, I am truly excited to be able to report that.  We’ll be kicking out the last Narnia Series book probably within the month, and have to agree on what to read next.  I’m leaning toward the Roald Dahl Collection, but we MIGHT give the Lord of the Rings Series a try next.  I’ll talk about it with him as his next school year starts in late August and I think he’ll get more out of the Roald Dahl books than the Lord of the Rings in fourth grade.

I’ve been working on a book for over a year now as it takes space up in my crochet bag to read at swim lessons and other waiting rooms of the sort.  I have Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s Smart Money Smart Kids book that I’m just over three-quarters of the way read.  The book reads pretty quickly, but I’ve crammed other important books into it’s place over the past eight months of the year.  I looked back to when I reported first reading this book, and I’m slightly embarrassed to say it was the first week of this year.  Oh well, that just tells me that I have some more reading to do.

One of the books that has been crammed into my crochet bag was given to me by my trainer, titled Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally, by Dr. Kelly Starrett with T. J. Murphy. 
While looking at the book (when writing this blog post,) I gave witness to the fact that if I just put in about one more hour of reading on it, I’ll be done with it and can utilize the exercises in the book to help me run.

Goal No. 1 for August: Finish reading the book, Ready to Run.

Lastly, just this last Sunday prior to this post, our teaching minister challenged the congregation to read one or more books as a “book club” for the entire church body.  I picked up two books that day, one titled Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? by Brian D. McLaren.  I haven’t opened that book as of this blog post, but the title intrigues me and I certainly want to learn more about it’s tag line of “Christian identity in a multi-faith world.”

The second book I picked up was recommended by one of my friends, and reads more like a novel than a “church” book.  It’s titled Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Weber, and this book is not for the new Christ follower.

I’ve been a believer in Christ my entire life.  The author of the book Pastrix has a surprisingly similar upbringing in the Church of Christ, as I did, but that’s where the similarities end.  She has a funny, explicit, and often sad way of looking at things, but then again, don’t we all….

As I write this post, I am almost done reading the book Pastrix.  I picked it up on and it’s Wednesday.  I will finish it by next Sunday.  It’s that good.  It’s that well written.  And then I’m going to read it again and highlight all the points I agree with and may bring up in a future book club discussion.

Goal No. 2 for August: Finish the book, Pastrix.

Goal No. 3 for August: Begin the book Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?

Goal No. 4 for August: Continue to pray for good weather and safe passage to and from Hawaii.

I won’t be sharing when we’re leaving, but this is the month to get the one “goal” I listed as “what I really wanted” this year crossed off the list.

And finally, Goal No. 5 for August: Post at least five blog posts this month.

I feel like I’m cheating on this one a little, because I’ve already written two, (that’s including this one!) but it’s still a mighty goal for a full-time working mommy who does this for fun!

As always, I know I’ll get many things accomplished along the way this month and keep trying to complete projects.  But at least I’ve spelled them out!  Keep learning friends.  I hope you can check out many of the books I’ve been enjoying this year!


My List of Crocheted U.F.O.’s (Un-Finished Objects!)

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Completing my Unfinished ObjectsAs I pursue the fine art of completing crocheting projects, I bring to you the reality of the U.F.O. or Un-Finished Object.  I will try to update this page as I complete each project.  If you’re really interested, come check me out and friend me on Ravelry, as I post pretty much everything I crochet on that site.

Project No. 1: Coming from the Leisure Arts book called “Our Best Baby Afghans” is the first blanket I am completing (and is currently in my bag) called Pastel Waves.

Pastel Waves blanket from Our Best Baby AfghansI would estimate I started this blanket over eight years ago, before my first child was born.  <Big sigh.>  I’m starting with it first because it’s more than half-way through.  (That’s my logic anyway!)

Project No. 2: From the site Free-Crochet.com, this pattern is called the Amish Print Crochet Afghan.  This unfinished project is probably about six to seven years old, and I used scrap yarn to make most of it up to now.  I hope to complete this project and I will probably give it to my local homeless shelter, unless one of my family members want it.

Amish Print Crochet Afghan U.F.O.

Project No. 3: Lion Brand’s Glittery Shrug.  It’s an intermediate crochet pattern and I do like a challenge.Glittery Shrug U.F.O.A project I started as a crochet-along on Ravelry, I worked on this piece you see for months.  I’m not fond of smaller crochet hooks, but I’ve also never made anything for myself that I could wear on my body (only hats.)  I really like the color of the yarn and I hope to finish it soon, although I was a larger size when I started it.  We’ll just have to see how it looks when it’s done.

Project No. 4: Heart Squares – I couldn’t find the original pattern for this but I do recall it was on the back of a Jamie Brand Yarn label. I plan on completing rectangles to join these hearts with and crocheting an edging around the whole thing. Seems simple enough.

Heart Squares Stack of U.F.O.'s

Project No. 5: From the book The Ultimate Book of Scrap Afghans: Crochet, this pattern is called Hiking Trip, designed by Kelly Robinson. I was shocked to see how much this book was worth on Amazon.

Hiking Trip U.F.O from the Ultimate Book of Scrap Afghans

Project No. 6: Blooming Flowers – Another stash yarn project, I couldn’t find the pattern that matched this blanket exactly either! I’m going to have to find it, or write it up, as the closest thing I found in my library was from a book called Big Book of Scrap Crochet Afghans by the House of White Birches. The pattern it resembles the most, but I know is not exact, is Blooms at the Beach by Katherine Eng.

Beach Blooms U.F.O. ProjectI’m not really big on making motifs, but I know I started this project to use up my ever expanding scrap yarn pile. I learned that I get really bored sewing up motifs. I know I can’t be the only one.

Oh well. It will get done. I know it.