My Beautiful Struggle + [story]

Time to evaluate

It may have been mentioned before how much I enjoy a healthy bit of self-absorption reflection. Thus, the yearly list. I've been pondering the 2011 List, but before I can see where I'm going, I must reflect on where I've been. My Ways to Make 2010 Better Than 2009 List, in review, with commentary.

1. Perfect a mac & cheese. FAIL. But not for lack of trying. There simply is no replacement for velveeta. Instead of finding a replacement I pretty much gave up the mac altogether. So, win for lessening the intake of processed food product, fail for no alternative.

2. Follow through, think ahead. There are times where I can find significant gains in this area; I can't think of a specific time where a friend, coworker or family member was miffed by my lack of follow through. But then again, we had family pictures at the church yesterday, which may or may not have resulted in tears on my part because we had nothing to wear that coordinated as a family. And I had been in Kohls earlier in the day. With a gift card. And Kohls bucks. So, this category isn't an out-and-out win, but progress is a good thing.

3. Daily reflection. Win (for the most part). The blogging helped significantly and I told husband this evening that I'd like to continue the growth by verbally reflecting over dinner. I'm seeking out the question to pose each day that might prompt such reflection. ("What was the best part of the day? Favorite part? How were you blessed? What do you have to be thankful for?"... there are so many options)

4. Read to Henry. Win-win. Win. He made this so simple by demanding action over 100 times each day. Fail on my part for complaining about it at times, but I do realize its importance and overall enjoy the activity.

5. Kiss husband daily. I'd have to go with a 75% passing grade, but always room for improvement. Crazy, huh, that this simple act can't be an easy A?

6. Connect & contribute to St. Paul's. Win. I've taken up a role of teaching Sunday school for adults and also am enjoying my time Sunday evenings with the youth.

7. Develop 1 spiritual habit/discipline. FAIL. I blame myself completely because I was not specific in my goal. I'd like to try this again and have 2 days to come up with the specific discipline in which I should involve myself.

8. Learn to knit. WIN. Made it by 4 days. I'm 4 inches into my first scarf. Don't laugh. The road to a thousand mittens begins with a single potholder.

9. Grow another garden. WIN. Though the crop was lackluster, we had tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and a bumper crop of herbs (basil, oregano). We planted green beans and those were a flop - note to self: next year, plant BUSH beans, not pole beans. And I think I'd like to add some squash. And a few more herbs (rosemary, parsley).

10. Run. While not a flaming success, I did run. Several times, even pretty quickly after having a baby. So that's a success. Just getting myself out the door is a huge success, let alone completing several miles. Without peeing myself.

11. Go on 5 dates. After a quick verbal replay, husband and I decided we hit 5. It was close. We had to count gift cards. So we'll say it was a success, but an area in which we can continue to improve. Go ahead. Donate a gift card. Or babysitting.

12. Wine with a friend once a month. Well in January-April and November-December, there was no wine. But I did enjoy good times with a friend. We even got into the habit of making a date, even if it was just to sit at home. It was a good investment of time.

13. Remove from vocabulary: "I'm tired. I don't have time. I don't have money. After XXXX I will...." Win. Well, I think I say it significantly less. But again, I spent 50% of my year pregnant, so the first was quite difficult. As was the last (in terms of "after I have the baby, I will be able to see my toes and wear pants with a zipper"). But I was able to nearly eliminate budgetary reasoning from my verbal bow-outs. And I don't think the lack of time seemed to be a huge issue.

14. Throw a good party. FAIL. I'm so frustrated by this. I totally bombed husband's 30th birthday AND graduation. Then he threw me the mother of all gatherings for my birthday. Ugh. I think I'll add this to the 2011 list and try it again. I could tell I was aching for a good hosting this December when I went all-out for book club. I keep telling husband that "in our next house" a dining room - complete with functional dining room table - is a necessity. But we probably need to eliminate "in our next house" from our vocabulary...

Overall, I'm pleased with my progress at making attempts to live a better, whole & happy life. I added a few things that I've been wanting to try and removed a few things that I seemed to use as a crutch for not enjoying life. Now onto some serious reflection for how to make '11 even better.