Monday, September 30

7 Resolutions (Just a Little Early)

This year, I'm getting a head-start on my New Year's Resolutions for 2014. I have never been very good (okay, I've been awful) at following through with them in the past. And normally I like to wait until the actual day (it feels more like a clean slate that way) to start my resolutions, but just like with repentence, you can wipe your slate clean any day. So I'm starting now. Because (as a Sister Meagan Demers told our ward during a talk many years ago), "today is a good day to start good habits."

1. Don't buy any clothes for myself for a year. Just don't. Why would you do such a thing?! you might be shouting at your computer screen. I'll tell you why--because I don't need them. I don't need to follow trends and I really don't care about them (I'm sure you knew this if you've seen how I dress). I want to save money. I want to gain a better appreciation for what I have. I want to force myself to find new ways to stretch my wardrobe. I want to simplify my life a little. I want to actually follow through with a New Year's Resolution, because truthfully, I can't remember if I ever have before (have followed through, I mean...I pretty much make them every year). Also, Dalin doesn't particularly enjoy when I give him clothes anyway (though he always wears what I buy for him the next day which makes me feel really good) so I may extend this to him as well. Tenley will be the lucky one in the family because I will definitely need to buy her clothes this year, as we have almost none for a one-year old yet! Last, Dalin really liked this idea and (unsurprisingly) agreed to go along with it.

2. Study the scriptures daily. I should be reading God's word daily anyway, but I've been inconsistent pretty much my whole life. I've had stretches where I went for a really long time achieving near perfection of this goal, and then there have been other times where I've seen my copy on the shelf and guiltily looked away intending to read it later, but I want to be steady and sure. I remember when there was a time in high school where the Book of Mormon truly was my favorite book. I learned to love reading it. I'm being perfectly honest here when I say that I love the scriptures, but not as much as I should. I should cherish reading the scriptures above almost any other daily activity, but all too often I look at it as a chore or as just another task I need to complete. I want to, as beloved prophet Gordon B. Hinckley suggested, have "a love affair with the word of God." This reminds me of a story I feel like I should share.

When I was a senior in high school, I applied for a college scholarship from the Cheryl Lynn Walsh Foundation. This was a scholarship based partly on merit and school activities like most, but primarily, it is a scholarship based on kindness. As part of the selection process, we were required to be interviewed by a board of about a dozen or more people. I was incredibly nervous and like everyone else, practiced coming up with answers on the spot to potential questions. I don't remember much about my interview except that I was asked: What is a book that has inspired you? Put on the spot, I think I blushed as I my thoughts first went to Harry Potter (not because it's inspired me but because I love it) and then to a book called Three Cups of Tea which I had been reading recently for my Middle East class. I started to describe Three Cups of Tea to the group, when suddenly the Book of Mormon popped into my head. I am not sure how smoothly I did it, but I told them I want to change my answer and proceeded to tell them how the Book of Mormon has inspired me. In short, I bore my testimony of Jesus Christ and the teachings within the Book of Mormon. I had been given the perfect opportunity to share the gospel in a small way and I am so glad I did not waste it. I found out at Senior Awards Night that I had won the scholarship. I was called up on stage and presented with a huge silver bowl-shaped award (which I have in my hands in the picture below with my grandparents though it's hard to tell). Anyway, the point is, I didn't just say that the Book of Mormon inspired me--it truly has changed my life and made me into the person I am today. And I need to study it continually if I want to really know it.
3. Be the best mom and wife I can be. I am going to try my hardest to have patience with my sweet daughter and my amazingly wonderful husband. I am less perfect than either of them but they are still so patient with me and quick to forgive. I need to follow their examples a little (or a lot!) better. 

4. Pray more. I think I might know just the thing to help me with this. If you haven't heard of this idea, you should try it sometime. You put something small, like a dime or a button, in your shoe and every time you feel it there, it reminds you to pray. It might seem like you're doing a lot of praying at first, but I believe the point of it is to get you to become more prayer-oriented. And when has there ever been such a thing as too much prayer?

5. STUDY MORE, waste less time. These two go hand in hand for me. Undesirables #1 and #2: Facebook and Pinterest. Blogger could potentially make the list as well, but I generally don't consider this a waste of time. Facebook and Pinterest however...I sure love going on them, but I tend to feel more guilty than good about the amount of time I spend on those. So I'm limiting myself. Plus my online classes are suffering as a result of the time spent elsewhere and it's gotten to the point where I've started to not care and that's not good!

6. Save money. My first resolution should contribute to this I would think, but I also want to apply for WIC, and become a smarter grocery shopper. I've gotten better (something about having a frugal husband who hates grocery shopping might have done that for me...) but there is a great deal more I could do. I always say I'm going to start couponing, but all those times were lies I guess because I have yet to do so. (Though, admittedly, I did take the time to clip tons of coupons, just actually using them is the challenge.) I told Dalin about this resolution and told him we need to be more cautious about not buying junk. "Name one thing that falls into that category," he told me. "Hmm, let me think," I said, "Maybe that talking Uncle Si doll from Wal-Mart that someone bought." He gave me a very grinch-like smile because he knew I was right.
7. Focus on thinking well of others. I think I'm pretty good at being nice. I like meeting new people and I don't mind talking to strangers. I look for the good in people and try to give compliments when I admire something about someone. But it is much harder to guard one's thoughts about people. There are things I think to myself that I would never say aloud but then I realize I shouldn't be thinking those things at all. I do my best to remember that everyone is a child of God, but sometimes--okay nearly every time--I get in the car and suddenly everyone is obnoxious and out to annoy me. I am going to do my best to control my thoughts in this area and try to focus on the good. Even when I'm furious at all of the horrible drivers.

What are your resolutions? (Have you started thinking about any yet?)
What do you think about mine? Can you think of any for me to add?

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