Resolutions for 2010

  • #1 Raise $10,000 For My Husbands Garage
  • #2 Spend 1 Year Without Cable Television
  • #3 Spend a 24 Hour Period in Complete Silence
  • #4 Loose 15lbs By Memorial Day Weekend
  • #5 Listen to only Christian radio stations
  • #6 Read the entire Bible
  • #7 Conquer my Diet Coke addiction

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Garage Fund: January Total

Our garage goal was to save $400 dollars by the last weekend in January. Today we counted up all of our change, and John took the recyclables in. I also checked the bank account and moved all of our left over money (we did NOT max out our gas or grocery budget) into the garage account. Our total for the month of January is:……… $817.48!!!!!! Double our original goal! Thank you GOD!! And thank you to everyone who donated change and recyclables, I think we are actually going to save $10,000 before the year is done! Only $9,182.52 to go….

February is going to be a little bit more difficult for us. Because of Christmas break and my recent layoff/demotion, my February pay check is going to be half of what I would normally make. We are also starting to get in all of the hospital bills from John’s December hospital visit. So, our February goal is to save just $100 and that will mainly be coming from recycling and loose change counting. By March we should have our tax refund so instead of focusing on the lack of savings we will get in February, I will look ahead to March.

Friday, January 29, 2010

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

After a couple days of discouraging money situations that threaten my #1 resolution, I have had a couple of encouraging situations that remind me to keep walking in the direction of accomplishing my resolutions.
I have been listening to non-secular music since December and I am now starting to notice the results in my children. As we were driving today I noticed that both my 7 year old and my 3 year old were singing along with the radio. I can’t express to you the joy I got from hearing them sing, “….I’ve seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new, that’s what faith can do…” as opposed to, “…dance, dance too much booty in the pants…” And even though my children do not fully understand the words that they are saying, the lyrical mantra that they are chanting is surly becoming a part of there psyche in a positive way, and I am excited to see how much they will be changed by the lack of the Sponge Bob jingle and immersion of praise and worship.
As for resolution #2, well, the revelations just keep coming. During my self imposed loosing-my job-grieving period yesterday, I noticed something peculiar. As I began to cry, I instinctually walked over to the couch and sat in front of the TV. After a couple of seconds I remembered that I do not have the option to watch TV, so I wandered around from room to room looking for something to occupy me. My husband was taking care of the kids, and making dinner so I could have this time, and here I was looking for distractions. I finally got on the computer and downloaded some old “Friends” episodes. After 3 mind numbing episodes, and one moderately strong cocktail, I had an epiphany. I was starting to feel better….or what I thought was better. I wasn’t crying anymore so that’s a good sign, right? But after being away from the computer for a couple of minutes I began to feel sad again, so, like an idiot, I wandered over to the TV! It was then that I wondered how many times I had “cured” my grief by way of distraction. I had allowed myself a grieving period and here I was trying to keep myself from feeling it. I guess it is only natural to not want to cry; no one likes the feeling of despair, but how can I really feel better if I don’t feel bad first? How many other tragedies in my life had I distracted my way through?
After this realization, I went straight to my bedroom where I spent the rest of the night thinking about how much I would miss my job and crying intermittently. I woke up this morning feeling better, a little dehydrated but better nonetheless. Nothing externally has changed. My dream job is still gone, I still miss my former students and co-workers, and my paychecks are still going to be cut in half, but it’s not the end of the world. It could be worse, and life will go on.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pity Party Time

Number one is being challenged yet again. Not because of utility bills this time, but because I got laid off yesterday. The superintendent cut my position because they did not see the need for 3 aids in a severely handicapped class. I literally went into a meeting at 10am yesterday and they told me, "This is the last day we will need you, but we will put you at the top of the sub list (as if that helps)." So, I went back to subbing today in mainstream world, same pay but only half the hours. Not that the money is what I am concerned about. As anyone that works with children knows, you can get very attached to the students, and they can get very attached to you, so moving out of the classroom can put an emotional strain on a person. This is even more true when you are dealing with mentally handicapped children because they don't fully understand why you have to leave.

I know that God has something else in store for me. I know that I was blessed to be in that class to begin with because the on-the-job training I received was very valuable. But I am sad. I miss the teachers I worked with, and I feel awful that I had to abandon the kids. So I hereby give myself permission to throw a pity party. I can be as sad and depressed as I want for exactly 24 hours. Then I will dust myself off and go back to my optimistic peppy self.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1 Step Forward, Two Steps Back

One step forward: Most of January has been an optimistic month for me. I have been loving my life with no TV or secular music. My sleep has improved, my mood has improved, and my husband and kids have had an amazingly positive reaction to the lack of electronic entertainment in our house. Our original goal to have $500 saved up by the end of January for the garage fund was already surpassed by the middle of the month and besides having a little trouble jump starting my weight loss resolution, all of my other resolutions have been looking promising, until today.

Two steps back: A question for my readers: Is Coke Zero the same as Diet Coke? Because after nearly a month of hardly any Diet Coke, I had a major Coke Zero splurge at the local pizza place soda fountain tonight. I thought the headache I have been experiencing all day was a withdrawal symptom from lack of caffeine. Turns out, it wasn’t, because my headache has actually gotten worse after gorging on Coke Zero. The next not-so-encouraging update is that I was working on our February budget (that is already tighter than I expected due to some unforeseen medical bills), when I received my gas and electric bill in the mail. After and entire month of sub-zero temperatures in my house (okay, so the thermostat is set to 69, but for a desert rat like me, 69 might as well be sub zero), our gas bill went up, from $88 to $118!!!! And after a month of unplugging everything that requires electricity and literally eating dinner by candle light, our electricity bill went up from $44 to $45!!! What the heck?!!! I feel like the last 3 weeks of my families discomfort has been in vain.

Now is when my New Years resolutions would normally fizzle, but since I had the brilliant idea of blogging about my resolutions (thus being accountable to my readers and feeling like a flake if I don‘t complete them), I can’t allow my goals to dissipate. I will keep plugging along even though I am horribly discouraged by our utility bills. One of the only things that is keeping me encouraged as far as the money resolution goes, is that next week we are doing our month ending coin counting and recycling. I have set our goal to $50 for coin income and $20 for recycling income, so anything over that will help compensate for the higher than expected utility bills.

Friday, January 22, 2010

#6 Read the Entire Bible

Another rainy day and a day off work…so I will work on resolution #6: Read the entire bible. I have read about 25 of the books completely and I have bounced around the bible during church, Sunday school and on my own since I was 8 years old and got my first bible. But I figured I should start fresh and read it cover to cover….I mean really read it, analyze it and truly understand it. But before I begin Genesis, I would like to start with some questions that I had about the actual document of the bible itself.

1. Where did the Bible come from? I casually entered this question into a search engine about 2 hours ago and was bombarded with tons of historical, and archeological evidence as to the authenticity of the bible and of its original manuscripts. It would be impossible to paraphrase all of my findings so I will give you some of the most helpful links I found, so that you can read them if you need proof that the bible is true.

2. Who wrote the Bible? Simply put, God. But instead of freaking us all out by bringing his giant hand down from the heavens and writing the bible in his own handwriting, he spoke to mere humans and told them what to write. The human authors of the bible include everyone from prophets to a tentmaker. They were all men and I am assuming that was because women during these time periods were not taught to read or write. Not to mention the fact that they were too busy drawing water from wells, making meals and clothing from scratch, and giving birth to prophets, disciples, and the messiah, to stop and put pen to paper. Here is a list of the books, the authors, and the approximate dates they were written.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy = Moses - 1400 B.C.
Joshua = Joshua - 1350 B.C.
Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel = Samuel/Nathan/Gad - 1000 - 900 B.C.
1 Kings, 2 Kings = Jeremiah - 600 B.C.
1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah = Ezra - 450 B.C.
Esther = Mordecai - 400 B.C.
Job = Moses - 1400 B.C.
Psalms = several different authors, mostly David - 1000 - 400 B.C.
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon = Solomon - 900 B.C.
Isaiah = Isaiah - 700 B.C.
Jeremiah, Lamentations = Jeremiah - 600 B.C.
Ezekiel = Ezekiel - 550 B.C.
Daniel = Daniel - 550 B.C.
Hosea = Hosea - 750 B.C.
Joel = Joel - 850 B.C.
Amos = Amos - 750 B.C.
Obadiah = Obadiah - 600 B.C.
Jonah = Jonah - 700 B.C.
Micah = Micah - 700 B.C.
Nahum = Nahum - 650 B.C.
Habakkuk = Habakkuk - 600 B.C.
Zephaniah = Zephaniah - 650 B.C.
Haggai = Haggai - 520 B.C.
Zechariah = Zechariah - 500 B.C.
Malachi = Malachi - 430 B.C.
Matthew = Matthew - A.D. 55
Mark = John Mark - A.D. 50
Luke = Luke - A.D. 60
John = John - A.D. 90
Acts = Luke - A.D. 65
Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon = Paul - A.D. 50-70
Hebrews = unknown, mostly likely Paul, Luke, Barnabas, or Apollos - A.D. 65
James = James - A.D. 45
1 Peter, 2 Peter = Peter - A.D. 60
1 John, 2 John, 3 John = John - A.D. 90
Jude = Jude - A.D. 60
Revelation = John - A.D. 90

3. How, when and who, put the modern day Bible in the order that it is in? Again, another question that I found tons of information about that I am to lazy to re-word. These websites can give you all the information you need to know:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here’s Why Numbers 1, 2 and 7 are in Direct Conflict With #4 (loosing 15lbs)

So, I might have to change resolution number four to: Loose 900lbs before Memorial Day weekend, if I continue on the path I am currently on. But it’s not my fault, I have plenty of lame excuses as to why I am not loosing the weight.

Lame Excuse #1. My number one resolution is to save money. One of the ways I am accomplishing this is by setting our thermostat to 69 degrees. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I was born and raised in a desert. Anything below 80 is what I consider freezing, so you can imagine the torture of 69 degrees. Freezing compels my body to crave fatty foods in order to pump up my fat cells (and probably add a few more) to keep me warm. After all, I am a mammal and most mammals have two jobs in the winter: to get fat and to hibernate. So I could legitimately argue that biology is preventing me from loosing weight.

Lame excuse #2 You would think that not having TV would keep me from eating, but in my case it has done the exact opposite. You see, when I did have TV, I never ate in front of it, because I am some what of a clean freak and I don’t want spills on the carpet or couch. So now that I am TV free, I am going through a bit of a boredom phase. Sure there’s the internet, but my computer is in the dining room…by the food. And there is only so much cooking, cleaning, and child rearing I can do before I need some down time. So now my down time is spend raiding the pantry.

Lame Excuse #3 My food down fall has always, and will always be sweets. In the past, I was able to control this mostly by Diet Coke. It has just enough artificial sweeteners to trick my brain into thinking it’s had a treat when really I have consumed no calories at all. This gets a little tricky when I am trying to conquer my diet coke addiction and I have significantly reduced my D.C. intake. I have tried to counteract this by drinking tea with Splenda, but I am missing the fizziness (I think I just invented that word) of my Diet Coke. I think part of the problem I am having is that I am trying to fill the void in me left by Diet Coke. Some food addicts experience an emotional void and try to fill it with food, no not me, I have a Diet Coke void and am trying to fill it with sweets.

Not-So-Lame Excuse #4 It has been cloudy and raining for four days now ( a phenomenon in Southern California)! This creates a multitude of problems for me. First of all, that means I cannot go on my daily 5 mile walk. Secondly, I am majorly lacking in vitamin D from going without the UV exposure I am so desperately accustomed too. Third, the darkness is making me depressed which makes me want to eat. And lastly, the darkness is making my body think it is bed time which makes me tired and lazy.

So I have reached my first major stumbling block in completing my New Years Resolutions list. Maybe I will gain some momentum again when the weather changes…but until then, I am off to the pantry.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Progress of #2, The Butt Marks in the Couch Are Beginning to Fade,and 5 Other Reasons Why Turning Off the Cable Was the Best Resolution I Ever Made

Picture to the left: This is how the kids are copeing with no cable..they are "playing" TV hahaha!! And here is how I am Copeing with no cable:
1. I am sleeping longer and better. I am no longer force feeding myself caffeine on school nights because I believe the announcer when he tells me to stay tuned for the best part of the sitcom coming up, “right after this commercial break.” Also, because of the lack of visual stimuli, I have found that my brain calms down quicker and I am asleep in less than 5 minuets after I lay down. I am sleeping more soundly as well. I hardly dream at all now, thanks again to the lack of TV images my brain has to process.

2. My kids and I can get ready for school/work in 45 minuets vs. the usual hour and a half. There is no more fighting in the morning over PBS or Nickelodeon. There is no more of me repeating, “Please get dressed” for the millionth time to my half naked couch potatoes.

3. I no longer have to explain to my kids what that woman on the TV is doing with no clothes on (thanks Victoria’s Secret), and I no longer have to explain to them (at 4 o’clock in the afternoon) why that one girl is kissing two boys, and I no longer have to wonder myself what a threesome has to do with a Dolce and Gabbana wrist watch.

4. Sponge Bob doesn’t wake me up on Saturday mornings…the kids laughter does.

5. “Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness” Matthew 6:22-23. Basically, everything you see, hear, and experience becomes a part of your soul. Surround yourself with good, and good will live within you, surround your self with bad, and bad will live within you. This can be applied to our daily lives in many ways, for me it was T.V. and music. Not that I was watching and listening to horribly violent or sexually explicit TV and music to begin with, but now that these forms of entertainment have been removed from my home, I realize now, just how much of what I saw and heard had become a part of my daily thoughts, feelings and moods in a negative way.

The Resolution List

Resolution #1: Raise $10,000 for my husbands garage
Start Date: 12/31/09
Finish Date: Garage built and paid for in full with cash by 12/31/10
How am I going to accomplish this goal?:
1. Stop buying COACH purses, and for that matter stop spending money on things we don’t need (my apologies to anyone who has a birthday, wedding or baby this year as you will be getting a homemade card and a hug),
2. Put any and all loose change in the designated change jar,
3. Reduce our utility and grocery bills,
4. Yard Sales, Ebay Sales, Craigs List Sales, car washes, bake sales,
5. Recycling,
6. Cancel the cable (thank God our Internet service is free!)

Resolution #2: Spend 1 year without cable television
Start Date: 1/1/10
Finish Date: 1/1/11
How am I going to accomplish this goal (without dieing of boredom)?:
1. Netflix rentals,
2. Book reading,
3. Blogging,
4. Oh and not to mention going to work, cooking, cleaning, keeping two children alive, and meeting the emotional needs of my spouse (how did I ever fit in time for TV in the first place?!).

Resolution #3: Spend a 24 hour period in complete silence
Start Date: Undetermined
Finish Date: 24 hours after the undetermined date above but some time before 2011
How am I going to accomplish this goal?: I will obviously have to orchestrate an entire day without my kids, my husband and work….that one should be interesting.

Resolution #4: Loose 15lbs by Memorial Day weekend
Start Date: 4/16/10
Finish Date: 5/28/10
How am I going to accomplish this goal?: The same way I loose my “winter weight” every year:
eat less and exercise more.

Resolution #5: Listen to only Christian radio stations
Start Date: 12/?/09
Finish Date: Undetermined
How am I going to accomplish this goal?: Set my dial to 91.7 (air1 the positive alternative), and leave it there

Resolution #6: Read the entire Bible
Start Date: ?/?/09
Finish Date: Undetermined..I don’t want to rush this one, but I would like to be done within the next couple of years. I have already finished 25 of the books
How am I going to accomplish this goal?: One page at a time.

Resolution #7: Conquer my Diet Coke addiction
Start Date: 1/1/10
Finish Date: I would like to declare myself non-diet-coke-dependant by the end of the summer lets say my birthday: 8/24
How am I going to accomplish this goal?: Good question. A 12 step program maybe?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why New Years is My Favorite Holiday

No, it's not the worldwide acceptance of public drunkenness, nor the hilarity of watching everyone trying to sing, "Auld Lang Syne" (as if they actually know the lyrics!) that endears me to my favorite holiday, New Years. I look forward to this worldwide clean-slate celebration for two reasons: One, the major lack of commercialism (when compared to it's sister holiday: Christmas), and two, I love the general feeling of hope that lingers in the air for little more than a week after everyone has gotten up off the bathroom floor, and finished regurgitating all 20 New Years Eve Jell-O shots.

For the first half of January, everyone you meet it out to change their lives for the better, and everyone around them is encouraging and understanding. Our daily vocabulary expands with phrases like, "Good for you!" and, "You can do it!" The co-workers that were chain smoking in-between appetizers, and singing off key to, "Play that Funky Music White Boy," just 2 weeks ago at the office Christmas party, are now passing you at the water cooler with rice cakes, Diet soda, and a nicotine patch. Now, what other holiday but New Years could evoke such a drastic character metamorphosis in the people around us?!

We all know of course, that the average American can only keep this facade up for about 10 days before we go back to reality. We will then spend the rest of our year feeling guilty and disappointed. Which in turn makes us comfort ourselves by major over-indulgences of the very thing we resolved to conquer (for me, it has always been some form of chocolate, and copious amounts of Diet Coke). But nonetheless, we manage to dust ourselves off a mere 11 and a half months later and make a new (or the same) resolution; convinced that this year will be the year. Which brings me back to why I love this holiday so much. Hope. Why do we think we can overcome our lazy human nature just 355 days after we have proven to ourselves how fleeting our motivation really is? The only possible answer is hope.

I am so fond of this holiday that I have decided to spend the rest of my earthly years creating resolutions for myself whenever the need for a resolution arises, instead of waiting for January 1st. I have also decided to blog about my successes and failures for the enjoyment of anyone who stumbles upon my blog.