Friday, December 31, 2010

I Resolve...

Well, we've just about put another one behind us. Tonight we'll head to Bossier City and spend New Year's Eve the way we spent it last Nelda's house with a bunch of our awesome family. Ashley and I have discussed our plans and resolutions for the New Year at length. My purpose for writing this post is because I need accountability. I have read that if you make your resolutions public, you have a greater rate of success. I'm making my resolutions public, not because of this tidbit, but because of my own personal convictions. I believe that we all need people to hold us accountable. We need Godly friends and family to hold us accountable in our walk with the Lord. We need people to call us out if we're not living the way we KNOW we should be living. We need accountability in our jobs to help keep us driven and productive. The culture in our country has shifted to one of a HUGE lack of personal responsibility... People go on daytime talk shows and explain that it's not their fault that they committed some awful games made them do it, their momma didn't love them and that made them do it, daddy was mean to them and he made them do it. WRONG! You did it and you should be held accountable and suffer the consequences. I can't do anything about the culture or the people who embrace it, but as for me, I WILL BE ACCOUNTABLE!

So, here are my resolutions... I ask that if you are a friend or relative, and you see that I am not working towards or accomplishing anything on this list, CALL ME OUT!(In a kind and loving manner of course! LOL!)

1. In 2011 I will strive to seek God's face, not just his hand. I will work to increase the faithfulness of my prayer life, fasting, and study of the Word. I will work to take my walk with the Lord to the next level.

2. I will achieve a HEALTHY weight. (I don't want to set a goal of a certain weight or amount of weight loss.) I will eat less, eat healthier, and monitor what I am putting into my body. I will work out and achieve a level of physical fitness equivalent to my high school/college days.

3. I will put in the time and effort necessary to ensure that I can finish my bachelors degree in the next year and a half, or less.

4. I will work to achieve a more BALANCED life. I will work to be better at time management in the hopes of being a better Jesus-follower, a better husband, and a better employee.

These are just 4 specific, MAJOR priorities for my life in 2011. I have an overall desire to make sure that I live 2011 better than 2010. God willing and in His strength and grace I will be able to accomplish these goals and more.

I pray for a blessed and prosperous New Year for each and every one of you. I love you all and I am so glad that you are in my life. For those of you that I didn't talk to or see enough in '10, I hope we can remedy that in '11. God Bless!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Reflecting on '09 and looking towards '10...

I'll start this post with a with the disclaimer that I don't know how great it will be. The simple truth is that I am writing because I have recently felt a desire to start writing again, and not because I have some lofty topic to discuss. So, I thought I would write about what I've been thinking about, namely a review of 2009 and my thoughts for the fast approaching 2010.

2009 was a VERY good year for me. Well, at least it ended very well. I accomplished some firsts in '09. I drove from Kentucky to California by way of Dallas, and stood in the very cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. I saw for the first time the states of Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. I got to see across the Mexican border and witness firsthand the sheet-metal shanty-towns that line the border with Texas. I got to see the desert Southwest, I got to see the huge hay and produce operations of Southern California, as well as the upscale surroundings of the Laguna Beach area.

Shortly after California I purchased my very nice laptop, which has thus far proved to be a great investment. Nothing great happened between then and July, when I met the love of my life. July 2nd, I met Ashley at The Redmoor in Mt. Lookout and we had a wonderful time. July 4th, I took Ashley to see the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra's "Red, White, and Boom!" show at Riverbend. Obviously things went well from there because on 11/27/09 she became my wife. That is undoubtedly the highlight of the year.

A little bit before that, 09/28, I started a job with Pomeroy IT Solutions in Hebron, KY. I am currently an Analyst on the help desk for PPL, headquartered in Allentown, PA. Three months of working at Pomeroy under my belt now, and I'm really happy there.

So, 2009 will end for me in Louisiana spending some time with my amazing in-laws. Looking forward to spending time with everyone, and especially looking forward to the New Year's Eve party at Nelda's house. I started the year not married, in a different job, and a lifelong resident of Kentucky. I end the year married to the most wonderful woman in the world, in a great job, and as a new resident of Ohio.

Now one thing that was new in '09 and will carry into '10 is my fascination with Twitter. I mostly follow people who talk about religion/God/Jesus/Scripture, people who talk about leadership, and people who talk about the IT world. I think when you roll the three together you get a picture of what I would like to be: a Godly leader in the IT field. Lots of the leadership folks and some of the religious folks have been talking about writing down things you want to give up in the new year or things you want to accomplish in the new year. The emphasis seems to be on writing things down so that they are tangible goals, but also acting on them so that they can be accomplished. So I'll be working on a list of what I want to leave in '09 and what I want to accomplish in '10. I know that God has amazing things in store for Ashley and I in this new year. It's also a new decade, so maybe a good time to come up with my "1o-year plan" lol! Well, I think that's all for this evening, but look for my list of goals for 2010 soon. God Bless.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It Feels Like Christmas...

There is a song to this effect in A Muppet Christmas Carol, and it is one of my favorite tunes in the movie. This year finally feels like Christmas, after quite a few that most certainly did not. I asked my dad a while back if Christmas was ever fun again after you grew up, and his response was essentially that once you had children you derive some pleasure from watching them enjoy it. I had resigned myself to the fact that Christmas just wouldn't feel like Christmas anymore, at least not the way I was used to it feeling. Well, I know that the only constant in this world is change, so why should I think that Christmas wouldn't change?

I grew up the oldest of 5 kids with a mother who likes to keep Christmas decorations proudly displayed year-round. I remember sneaking peaks at Christmas presents with my siblings, I remember how proud I was to move from the kid's table to the grown-up's table at Christmas Eve dinner, and I remember a huge tree crowded with all types and sizes and color of ornaments. Things are a bit different now to say the least. Ashley and I have almost been married for one month. Our Christmas tree is a white ceramic one with blue tips, a blue star, and a light bulb inside. Not the huge tree my mother crammed full of mementos and memories each year, but it only differs in color from the exact same ceramic trees my parents and grandparents had. Instead of 5 stockings hung from a counter in the trailer we grew up in, and later the banister in our foyer, we have two artsy stockings hanging from stocking hangers atop the mantle of our fireplace. I'd have a wonderful Christmas fire roaring in it, but alas the house stuck for days after the last attempt. Mom and Dad are divorced, siblings are dashing off to other cities and states for Christmas with their in-laws, and cousins have moved or started dating people and may not make it for Christmas Eve.

Despite the many changes there are some things that are the same. We're still doing Christmas Eve at Granny's house, and most of the family who always attended will be there this year. Christmas Day we hope to have a meal with Dad and my brothers, and hopefully my step-mom and step-sister. The week of New Year's, after I finish my second dreadful weekend of rotating schedule at work, we'll head to Louisiana to spend time with Ashley's family and start a new tradition. I used to crave Christmas music from Thanksgiving until New Years, but this year I have really just mixed small doses into the eclectic mix that I listen to. It has snowed, it's cold, I've hated driving in it a few days, but my wife and I are happy and warm in our cute little house.

I think the renewed "feeling" of Christmas comes from a remembrance of what this season is about. Our Lord and Savior was born in a manger in Bethlehem so that he could die on a tree and give us the gift of Salvation when all we truly deserved was death. Since I began dating Ashley I have found a wonderful church home in First Apostolic Church of Cincinnati. They truly have their hearts and minds in the right place, loving and serving the Lord. Ashley and I have read the Bible and prayed together every night since we got back from our honeymoon, and I know that God is blessing our obedience. Things are so different from the Christmases of my childhood, but I've regained the feeling of Christmas. The feeling that God loved us despite ourselves, that peace on earth goodwill to men is still alive, and that I have been given gifts that money can't buy. I have a God who saved me, a wife who loves me, a family who loves me, in-laws who love me, a warm house, food on the table, and a puppy dog in my lap. I have more than I need, and I haven't unwrapped a single Christmas present yet. God bless each and every one of you at this special time of the year.