Relationship Focused Lent

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Lots of talk on this first day of Lent, “what are you giving up?” I think for some the sacrifice of giving up something you love during Lent in order to cause you to be more introspective is good.  I think however the true meaning in Lent and in these days of reflection are to get closer to God and clearer on what it is to be in His will.  I have done many different types of things for Lent.  This year I have decided to link my Lenten journey into my other journey that I am on this year of shifting my paradigm.

The relationship aspect of this shift is one of my most challenging.  So, for Lent I have committed to reaching out to someone each day.  It cannot be on Facebook or Instant Message or in email.  It must be CONVERSATION–either a phone call or coffee or lunch or something like that.  There are so many people that I mean to call or mean to see but it seems that in my list driven world, that just gets pushed to the bottom all to often.  I have a list of people that I want to call or see during Lent and I am excited about connecting.  BUT I also know that on some days this will be a challenge.  So my “give up” for Lent will be to give up looking at “people stuff” as an interruption to my day, my task list, the current “roll” that I am on.

I am in great hopes that this will be a warm and wonderful time of connecting with folks and a time of renewed friendships and relationships.  I am also in great hope that I will continue this practice of reaching out long after Lent is over.  I am in great hopes that my heart will be changed through this journey and I will really come into synch with #3 resolution of “relationships, relationships, relationships.”

What about you?  Do you give up something for Lent? Do you do something additional in your life like volunteer or focus on something you would like to change or improve upon? I will keep you posted on my journey; can you keep me posted on yours?

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2011 Goals

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My goals, resolutions, commandments are in a variety of places and formats.  The goals that I am sharing today, are those that both Mike and I came up with for 2011 after reviewing not just last year but our 5 years of marriage together.  As I have shared previously our focus has been very task and project oriented.  As we talked about the pros and cons of that we had a very heartfelt conversation around the lack of relationship focused activities in our lives.  Not only with friends and family but with each other.  AGAIN, just because you spend a lot of time together, love working together, gel in most everything and have fun, it does NOT mean that you are relationship focused.

So our “together” goals for 2011 are as follows:

  • Make everyday our wedding day
  • Respect and support each others personal goals
  • Relationships, relationships, relationships
  • Make our finances fit and solid
  • Build (our business) into a viable business with success in mind
  • Travel and explore new cultures, food and customs; include one out of country experience
  • Finish house projects with exit plan in mind

We still included our business and house projects in our goals, but they were further down on the list.  Since we are so “work” based, we felt that having those at the top would be equivalent to having brushing out teeth or taking a shower on the list.  We will still have planning on the business, goals, etc., but for our personal goals we needed to swing the paradigm in order to find a bit of balance.

In focusing on #1 that is where play and affection come in along with many other things.  BUT every day we are asking each other “you still want to married today?”.  The question is meant to be affectionate 🙂 and not meant to be an exit plan opportunity.  It is just a daily reminder to both of us that we would do it again and to find joy in the fact that we are indeed married.

What are your goals? Business oriented, project oriented, personal growth, relational or something else?  Are you trying something new this year?  Or was last year so successful that you are doing it again?

Wii/We time

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Playing more was a BIGGIE when looking at our life.   We also found that there is a difference between having fun and playing.

We love working together.  We love home improvement projects.  We love cooking. We love our businesses.  We have FUN doing all of these things, but is that really playing?  Nope it is not.  Playing to me is doing something just for fun even if no one else understands it and even if it does not result in checking something off of a to do list.  That was something lacking in my life.  Having fun yes; playing no.

So we resolved that together in 2011,we would play more and that play would be together play.  True play, just play and for no reason other than, well….play.

So last night we did something that in 5 1/2 years of marriage we have NEVER done together; especially at home on a weeknight.  No kids were visiting, the dog was sleeping, we had not even eaten dinner yet and we kicked the coffee table out of the way, tossed off our shoes and (drum roll please…) we played Wii.  Yes Wii!  I know many of you have done this for months now and may even be tired of it by now.  BUT we did not even own one until yesterday.

AND it was fantastic.  We laughed and played and munched and played and well let me just say that we will definitely be incorporating Wii into WE.

Paradigm Shake Up

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Resolutions…not so fond of the word or making of resolutions.  I do however understand that we need to make goals to achieve them, be a dreamer to reach our dreams and of course resolve to act a certain way or go after certain things in order to have some semblance of direction.

I also think, speaking for myself, that it is easy to succumb to routine, fall into patterns, and operate on cruise when we actually think we are in the fast lane, shifting and changing lanes.

Over the last week as my husband and I looked at our goals for 2011 and reviewed 2010, it became blatantly clear that we were operating in a comfort zone and our comfort zone consisted of to do lists, project lists, nagging task lists, time schedule lists and on and on.  We are great at projecting together therefore our comfort zone is projects.  We own 2 businesses so conversations and time is often spent there.  We are remodeling so projects flow from that.  But on the 3rd of January we began asking ourselves “is this all there is?”.  What about fun? What about friends? What about family? What about me? What about us?

That caused us to spend a few days in honest discussion of our paradigm of life that we had created.  I looked up paradigm and paradigm shift.  This is what I found:

  • Paradigm: an example serving as a model; pattern
  • Paradigm Shift: an example serving as a model; pattern

Honestly a paradigm seemed like a rut, something I just keep doing because it had become my pattern.  So, we decided to put the project list at the end of the goals list for 2011 and put other things first.  In other words, we decided to shake up our paradigm.  This blog will serve to follow us in that endeavor. I am certain it will be full of challenges and victories.  Hopefully it will also be full of inspiration and courage for you and others that want to break out of habits, defaults and routines. We don’t want to radically change what we do necessarily; we have a good life which hopefully will become clear in this blog as I continue to share.  BUT we do want to change how we do it, how we prioritize what we do and how we feel about it.

Please share with me your stories of shaking up your paradigm or being stuck in yours!