Friday Flashback: A Slow Start to a New Year

6 Jan

By Renée Gotcher

This week I’m participating with a homeschool blog link-up called “The Homeschool Mother’s Journal” hosted by The Homeschool Chick. I love that this week The Homeschool Chick Sue’s post is called “My Year of New” because it’s not about your typical “New Year, New You” gonna-fix-everything-that’s-wrong-with-my-life reflection. In fact, Sue’s year will actually be marked by a lot of  “new” — new experiences and changes on the horizon which she alludes will be revealed soon — and because of that, the word “new” seemed an appropriate theme.

I was glad to hear that, because for the first time that I can remember, when the clock struck midnight and ushered in 2012, I had nothing “new” on my resolutions list. In fact, I hadn’t even started a resolutions list. I have avoided every “New Year, New You” how-to article that’s dropped into my inbox or passed through my Facebook or Twitter news feeds. It’s been an intentional avoidance — which is completely contrary to my personality. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a plan for this New Year. Let me explain…

In my life this week…  I resolved not to make a New Year’s resolutions list! What?!? For as long as I can remember, I always been a big “New Year, New You” girl. From my former magazine publishing days and business as an independent beauty consultant to my family and personal life, I’ve always been goal-oriented and strategic about planning my work and working my plans. I’m a list-making, live-by-the-planner, problem-solving kind of girl. That’s just how God made me.

So what’s changed? I still have plenty of homeschool/work/life to-do’s on my list and areas of weakness that need to be addressed — many of which are recurring issues like exercise more/eat better/declutter the house/don’t watch the Bachelor/etc. Then there are personal goals that I’m passionate about (and I believe God has placed on my heart) which never saw the light of day in 2011. If I’m being honest, there’s actually quite a lot I should tackle in the New Year!

But here’s the thing: Try as I might to find a bible verse to support me in “resolving to be the best I can be” in 2012, I simply couldn’t. I’m not saying that God doesn’t ask us to be good stewards of what He’s given us (food, family, health, talents, etc.) or that He doesn’t call us to live a purposeful life (though I do believe it’s His purpose, not ours). What I did find was a call to seek Him first (Matt. 6:33), to be obedient to His Word (Deut. 11:13-15), to make knowing Christ the goal (Phil 3:8), and to be transformed — not conformed — in order to live out His will (Romans 12:2).

So that’s where I’m going to start. I’m going to examine the items that would normally be on my resolutions list and dig into the Bible to discover what God already has to say about them — I will seek Him first. I’m going to take the list to prayer, and ask God to show me what belongs there, what doesn’t, and what He wants me to add — I have a feeling that list will grow short. Then I’m going to ask Him to show Himself strong in my weaknesses, so that as those things that remain on the list are (hopefully) accomplished, He alone is glorified. Because the truth is this: It’s not about me, it’s about HIM!

I did make one resolution: To go back and restart/finish Beth Moore’s “Jesus, 90 Days With the One and Only” personal bible study my fellow homeschooling sister Cristina gave me a few years ago for Christmas. It’s been attempted, it’s been put aside, it’s been lost, it’s been found, it’s been packed for moving and it’s been discovered 18 months later in a box one of the girls randomly opened in the basement recently. JUST IN TIME. I have a feeling that a lot will be revealed if I just start there!

In our homeschool this week… we are still on a break from a typical school schedule. Truth be told, I didn’t want to get started until the house was restored to some kind of order, and the girls weren’t ready to let go of the Christmas decorations. Finally, Tuesday was the appointed day to take down the tree, pack up the decorations from around the house, and vacuum up all the pine needles and bits of wrapping paper and ribbon still lingering here and there.

While the experience of Christmas was still fresh in their minds, I did have the girls do a couple of writing assignments. First they wrote an essay on their personal highlights from this Christmas. It was fun to see who liked what and what stood out from our “homeschooling Christmas” activities from their individual points of view. The second was a letter to Jesus expressing what celebrating His birth meant to them. My middle daughter Claire — my sentimental girl — asked me if she could keep that one private, so I let her write it in her journal. It was hard not to try to sneak a peek at that one!

In the meantime, we’ve been putting back into order our school area — which is also our dining/front room and got a lot of Christmas use — and other areas of the house that are in full use for school time. Library books have been dug out to be returned, cubbies have been purged of unnecessary contents, supplies boxes have been restocked with working pens and glue that’s not dried up, and games that have been out and in use during the vacation are back in their boxes and on the shelves.

It’s Friday, and things are looking good! The school area is ready to go. The family room and kitchen have also been restored to working order and are even cookie-crumb free again (thanks to me and an hour with the shop vac). The girls are excited about getting back to work on upcoming unit studies and projects. And I’m finally back to a homeschooling frame of mind. Bring it on!

Quote of the week… Does anyone know where my well-planned day went?”

— Me, calling downstairs to the girls as I am frantically trying to locate my homeschooling planner at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. My husband’s laughs could be heard from across the hall. “Did you hear what you just said? Now that was funny!”

And so begins our 2012 story.

— Renée Gotcher is an entrepreneur, writer, wife & home-educating mother of three daughters: Audrey, Claire and Elise. Renée was homeschooled during her last two years of high school and started homeschooling in 2010. She currently resides in Castle Rock, Colorado.

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5 Responses to “Friday Flashback: A Slow Start to a New Year”

  1. Rosanna Ward January 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Love the quote at the end. I totally needed to hear what you had to say. I am constantly trying to do too much and God’s plan for me and my family gets lost in my busyness. I believe that God’s plans are best but it is so hard to let go of the controls. Several years ago I came up with an eternal Resolutions/Goals outline. It is on my personal blog. (http://roseofgrace.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/rosannas-goal-outline) I fail every year, last year worst of all, but I keep on trying. That is what the New Year is all about for me: another chance, a fresh start. That is kind of why I like Mondays and September. I always seem to need fresh starts.

    • Renee Gotcher January 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks for sharing Rosanna! I read your outline from 2011 — good stuff on there, and like you said, many things that can be backed by scripture to help motivate you! Your list looked a lot better than what my typical lists would look like. Mine were usually broken down into business, family and personal — and although many of the goals are things I still hope to do (like stick to my daily devotional, pray more, serve more, etc.), my biggest problem in years past has been this:

      1) Wrong priorities — I would usually focus on work first, because it produced the money we needed, and leave everything else to a “when I have time” status. Totally wrong order! In practice, I did not put God first and as a result, I got burned out & stressed out from always working on my business, at the expense of family & faith. Just the fact that I put off homeschooling so long to keep time for my business shows how messed up my priorities were!

      2) Wrong list — My biggest struggle, which I’m now realizing as I’m about to turn 40 later this year, is that I’ve spent a lot of my life convincing myself that things I wanted to achieve were also things God would want me to do. Be successful at my business, earn money that my family needs, keeping a good house and having great kids, and staying on top of things that the world applauds us for. It never occurred to me that I could be wrong and doing things God didn’t want me to do, and missing out on the things God was calling me to do for His eternal purpose.

      This New Year’s I finally said, I can’t do this the same way anymore! I know where it leads, and it’s not where I want to go anymore. I have got to start with God first, and see what happens with the rest. Though in prior years I’ve achieved a lot that people can applaud me for, at the end of the day I know that I’m not where God intended me to be and that it’s my fault for not letting Him lead me.

      We should keep each other accountable on this, if you’d like! It would be nice to keep in touch with someone on the personal stuff too. What do you think?

  2. Lisa January 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Your school area looks wonderful– all neat and organized. Could you please come here? lol. 🙂

    I love your approach– look to the Bible for answers to the questions/resolutions you may have. Awesome. I need to do that more, for I have a definite hard time discerning what is God’s Will in my life. I just wish he’d hit me with a 2×4. Then, I’d get it. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!
    Many blessings,
    Lisa

    • Renee Gotcher January 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Hi Lisa!
      Thanks for your comments and for sharing where you are as well. As for the school area, there was a time that I was a total neat freak and very organized, so when I get the chance to “start fresh” I can usually make things look pretty great. It’s keeping them that way that is the challenge, so we’ll see! 🙂

      As I mentioned in my reply to Rosanna’s comment above, this year was somewhat of a turning point for me with the New Year outlook. I have realized in the past year that I’ve wasted a lot of precious years with my family and my spouse all wrapped up in the wrong goals. Not that any of what I achieved wasn’t “good” stuff, but my approach was wrong and as a result, God wasn’t able to use me and there was a lot of negative fallout too. It’s a long story that I have written a little bit about in my personal blog, http://reneegotcheranewchapter.wordpress.com, but at least I’ve come to realize that I can’t keep approaching life the way I have in the past.

      I agree with you that at times it’s hard to discern God’s will for us, I still don’t think I know 100% what I’m supposed to be doing right now other than homeschooling. I am trying to learn to wait on Him, be still, and stop being busy making things happen just because I want them to. It’s definitely not easy and not my personality! I will be praying along with you that God truly leads you and your efforts this year and makes the path visible and clear for you too! Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday Flashback: (Sort of ) Getting in the Groove « nextgenhomeschool - January 13, 2012

    […] that there’s no such thing as a “well-planned day” in our house (see my Quote of the Week from last week). Here’s what we did […]

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