Monday, February 25, 2008

Tying up loose ends

Last year my motto was "simplify". About the time January 2007 was over and February hit, I realized that it was time to simplify our lives. On pretty much every front: organizing, scheduling, moneying, and familying. (OK, moneying and familying aren't real words, but you get the picture)

We started with the most natural things like getting rid of stuff. And then we organized the stuff that we still had. This was easy because we were moving. When I packed our old house up, I just didn't keep anything that we didn't use. I gave much of it away, and trashed a lot, too. But when we moved I didn't want to take anything that wouldn't have a place in our new house.

Like every other normal person, I started with good intentions and got about 90% of the purging and putting away done. And then I got ADD and moved on to other things before I finished the job. So our garage and office became storage places for stuff that still needed to be organized.

When we moved houses, we told ourselves that it was just a temporary downsize until we got back on our feet financially. We hoped that in a couple of years we could look for a house that was more "us". It helped me deal with letting go of a house I loved. And for almost a year, I didn't give my heart to the new house. I still hadn't found places for some of our furniture, and I didn't put any effort in to making this house feel like home. I just made it functional.

Last year Honey was also in job limbo. He had a job, but it wasn't one that he wanted to keep long term. And so last summer, he began his current job. And, for the most part, he likes it. And after almost 9 months, he feels like he's settled for a while and we are no longer in this financial holding pattern of waiting for something better.

Now that we are almost a quarter of our way through 2008, it's time for a new theme. And during my month of rest, I prayed a lot about what this year would mean to our family. And over the course of the last few weeks, I feel like my motto for 2008 will be "getting settled in". We spent last year in transition. In so many ways we went from complicated and busy to simple. And now it's time to settle in. It's time to tie up all those loose ends that are keeping us from being in a peaceful place. 2007 brought so many changes to our lives that we need 2008 to learn how to manage our new life. We need 2008 to finish dealing with our stuff, to put a few homey touches on this house and call it our permanent home, to learn how to work with our new budget, to allow ourselves to enjoy this new season of life.

In January, Honey and I started taking the "Financial Peace University" class by Dave Ramsey. We are about half way through it, and so far, it's served as a great reinforcement to all of our current money morals. It's also been a great way to get us back in to the habits of saving, giving, and planning in advance for expenses. We had given up all of those things last year when our income was so unstable. We are looking forward to what he has to say about planning for the future and gaining insight about where to go from here.

And now that spring is just around the corner and there are no more weekly Community Group meetings that require our house to be presentable, we are full steam ahead on adding some of those "homey" touches to the house. The kind of touches that require your house to be a little "unsettled" for a short time, but the end result is totally worth it!

So, I'm curious. Do you have a motto for 2008? Is there a direction you feel the Lord is leading you this year? If so, what sorts of things are you doing to follow His lead?


Misty said...

first off, I for one think that "moneying" should be a word. I like it...
Second, that's a great theme. we are big (we being, me...) on themeing our years. I really felt, over december, as my husband was living on the other side of the country and there seemed no end in sight to our situation, I just felt like God kept reminding me to live intentionally. We had some amazing sermons about it, and, so my best friend and I both adapted that for our 2008 motto. Together (with our families) we are doing "every monday matters". We aren't saying "someday I'd like to..." but we are just doing it...

javamamma said...

God gave both my husband and I, the word 'discipline'. (each separately) I THINK that has to do with setting up some boundaries and not being so 'fly by the seat of our pants'. We'll see what God has in mind with DISCIPLINE though - bring on 2008! (and seriously? we're already almost a quarter of the way through? sheesh.)

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I loved reading this post, Jenni... a little bigger glimpse into your life. :) I'm going to have to think of a word for our year. I'm leaning towards "redeem" off the top of my head.

elena jane said...

you are so much more focused than i ever think i will be....the moneying theme is a good one. the getting organised one is great too. most of the time i feel like we are flying by the seat of our collective pants!!

Shelly said...

Themes are great to focus your efforts and filter your activities. You know on Facing the Giants where the coach challenges the player to do the death crawl blindfolded..."Just give you best and leave the results up to God. And if we win--praise Him. And if we loose--praise Him." My theme this year is giving Him my best in all that I do everyday, and no matter the outcome, praise Him.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as serving the Lord and not men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

SJ said...

Great post! Glad that you're going to settle in and tie up loose ends. I would also like to go through Dave's Financial Peace. That's great you and Honey are both on board with it. I've listened to some of his stuff from downloading it off iTunes.

I posted on my blog in response to your theme ideas, so you can go there and check it out.

A D said...

I have a theme if you want to call it but I have made it the theme of my life..."Walk in Love". That is what Jesus commanded us to do and I think it probably is the least obeyed.
So I have been for the last 2 years making myslef conscious of doing so in everything and with everyone.
The Lord put it on my heart to write a book on what God's Love truely is and means and how to walk in it.
I am almost finished and believe the Lord will use it to bless many people.
You are a good example of it and I really enjoyed visiting with you the other night at the pancake festival.

Shelly said...

I thought of something else...a friend of mine asks Jesus what she can give Him for His birthday each Christmas. This year it is prayer, and it has been interesting the opportunities He has given her. But that is her motto for the year. I thought it was a neat idea about giving Jesus a gift.

Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

The Brownstone family took FPU last year, and it was so great! Good for you!

Our motto would have to be...hmmm...that's a toughie! Not to take your old one, but I think that ours would have to be "simplify" as well. I guess it could be "decluttering" but that doesn't sound quite right for a motto! We are organizing and redoing!

Cheri said...

Hey! Haven't really had a chance to read your blog too much since I started one, but Larissa kept telling me to check it out. It's really good.
I want you to know that Jake & I have been praying for you the past year. I remember how heartbroken we were when we lost our "job" and the things that followed - lots of instability. It's so great to have that stability back and know what our purpose in life is now. It has taken a long time to figure that out.
Hope to keep up with you more now that I'm part of the "blogging" world!