Start your New Year's Resolutions early. Make monthly, weekly, and daily resolutions that resolve may become a habit.

Earlier this month, Dr. Stephen Pont tweeted a link to a short video on healthy eating through the holiday season. What I learned from viewing his interview is that genius and brilliance are everywhere, disguised as everyday speech. Part of why I wanted to share this with you is because I have often overlooked words of wisdom that I could have appplied to my life in order to start changing it for the better. People are creatures of habit, I am no different, so a resolution of mine is to trade my bad habits, for lesser evils. A friend of mine that I have written about recommends taking baby steps, but it wasn't until another friend of mine showed me how to do this that I understood I needed instructions.

Information, good, bad, and mediocre is abundant. I need a filtering system to discern what is good, what is great, and what I need to avoid. As of the end of this month, I am deactivating my Facebook page. Although I have many e-friends there, I find myself depressed by the lack of ability to connect with people in a meaningful way. Possibly I will feel this way about other communities I belong to, I've pulled back from E2 recently, not because I am hurt, mad, upset, offended, or anti-social, but because I have been evaluating how I spend my time, where I spend it, and how that impacts the rest of my life. I could write more than I do, but I've been thinking about that to. Why do I write, what is my message? Is writing destroying other relationships, can I write and manage healthy personal growth?

I think the answer is yes, if I can learn to be disciplined. Although I would like to formally review The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I can share a few things I've pulled from my reading: you must be a principled person if you are going to succeed, and feel good about yourself. Possibly the greatest compliment I have ever received came from a member of this site that I know slightly. This person mentioned that I was an example of quality, and today, I realize that I want quality of life, and quantity of experience. A while ago I stopped purchasing baby carrots on a regular basis. That probably seems minor, but now I decide whether a carrot is good enough to feed my family.

Getting rid of those slimy bagged, overpriced baby carrots made room for whole, more easily stored, longer lasting, fresher tasting food. In the past, I ate food, now I want to nourish my body, and feed it with the best quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that I can afford. Sure it takes some time to scrape the large carrots, but a five pound bag of whole carrots lasts much longer than the small bags. I'm trading convenience for quality, I'm saving packaging by keeping those smaller bags out of landfills, and I'm saving resources by investing in whole carrots that don't need much processing. I'm taking a longer view, because I want a better, greener, healthier planet for everyone.

The next step would be to grow carrots myself. Getting into gardening is on my list of things that I want to do in 2013. I've reached out to my friends and family that can teach me, I've been reading different blogs, and today I am going to stop by the library for some books on getting started. Gardening will save my family money, it will bring my family closer to the food that they eat, and it will take me away from the electronic distractions in my life. I don't expect it to be easy, I'm sure I'll be frustrated along the way, but learning occurs when I make a decision to leave the comfort of my old ways to embrace a way of life that will lead me closer to where I want to eventually be.

Part of me wishes that I had posted specific bills so I could have tracked my getting out of debt process. The other day I opened a new bank account. I'm going to consolidate my assets so they are housed under one roof. I've been setting aside money for myself, giving my first fruits back to God via my church, and listening to CD's on financial management. A girlfriend of mine loaned me a Dave Ramsey CD to preview. Our church is offering his course, I would like to attend, but I'm not sure if that will happen or not. A CD that I listened to suggested paying children for physical and mental exertion. My husband pays the girls to scrape his car windows, and to hand in book reports which has been an interesting experiment.

Maybe someday I'll see if I can get my daughter to post some of her reports online. I will share the opening sentence from a review on a Charm Club book she read. Keep in mind that for years I've been annoyed and irritated that she's reading Charm Club books instead of things that will expand her mind. When my husband said he would pay for book reports, the girls wanted to know if they could write on any book. My idea was that they needed to persuade their parents that the book being critiqued was worth their time. Here is the first sentence of the first report she wrote: "The Charm Club fairy book is good to read because it teaches you when you make mistakes in life you should never give up."

This past summer my youngest daughter wanted to sign up for a gymastics class. Since she had never taken one before, I was hesitant as the class was for two hours a day, Monday through Friday. The first couple of days were the worst, she complained that her arms hurt. Her stomach muscles hurt when she laughed, I tried to encourage her when I could, but when my oldest daughter was admitted to the hospital, she took priority over everything else. My youngest stuck with gymnastics, she finished her six week class, and it was hard to see how upset she was on the last day when she was passed over for an award. Soccer season started, but she kept turning cartwheels, and standing on her head.

Gymnastics runs for 12 weeks, it was almost $400 to send her, but last Friday I went to watch her at class, and the smile on her face as she walked across the bar was priceless. She can now do one handed cartwheels from the right and left sides, and today she is going to her first Pre-Team practice. Pre-Team is for the girls who hope to one day compete. Both the husband and wife who run the small upstairs gymnastics classes have told me that Jane is good. A statistic I read said that pound for pound, gymnasts are some of the strongest athletes as they are constantly moving their body weight, and after watching my daughter complete four pull-ups, I believe it. If you want washboard abs, well developed upper arms, and muscular thighs, invest in gymnastics. What these children are able to do mentally and physically is astounding, I only wish us grownups weren't content to sit there watching our children bounce around.

Lately my oldest has been into archery. She excels at sports where form and aim are important, she can be aggressive, and I am really proud of how hard she practices when we are playing catch in the yard. The Love and Logic program advocates focusing on the areas where your child excels, this has been excellent advice, and can be applied to any relationship. Foster the positive, notice the good, and everything will start rising. Now when my children bring report cards home, I heap praise on where they shine, and don't really worry about their math grades. I hated math, they hate it, and their math grades are the school's problem, not mine. Love and Logic advocates setting boundaries which has helped me tremendously.

When the girls laid on the floor giggling instead of getting ready for church, I told them not to worry about it. I went to church by myself, strolled leisurely through the health food store, and I had planned on telling the girls how much I enjoyed the service, but forgot. Monday afternoon I picked the girls up although they normally would have walked down to the library together. Jane goes to gymnastics on Monday, but that afternoon, I told the girls that I was very sorry, but that gymnastics and the library were for girls who had gone to church the day before. I had them wait in the car while I went into the library by myself. I had packed an uninteresting, but nutritionally complete snack, and I took my time lingering over titles while they thought about the consequences of their decision to skip church.

Another thing I've been doing, is thinking about the people in my life. There is a relationship coach that I follow on Twitter. He says that men want women for their resources, their money, or their body. I'm not really interested in sharing any of those right now, so I'm going to view people who approach me differently than I have in the past. If men aren't interested in friendship, and that's what I want from people, then maybe I have to let go of some of those guys that I've talked to and relied on for emotional support in the past. Now, I'm not saying that every man I know has an agenda, but I've been evaluating relationships in terms of give and take, and what I want out of life, and I've decided that if the relationship is not giving me what I want, and fostering a healthier me, then I have to find a way to move forward.

A while ago someone on Twitter approached me about contributing to a baseball blog. Something about the offer, which seemed to be genuine, made me uneasy. I sent a message to a person I trust who informed me that the deal was probably legit, but the offerer was rumored to have a reputation that I didn't care for. Going forward, I'm going to search for people of integrity. Principled people who encourage me to get back on track if I slip off the road less traveled. The other day I discovered that doing the right thing can give you a high that rivals any chemical or herbal substance without damaging me financially. Now, I can't remember what I did that was right, but self-restraint and will power are muscles that get stronger every time you use them.

I have many ideas for future topics, but I wanted to share these things first. If I consistently do things that are in line with my priorities, other distractions fade into obscurity. I will miss playing Words With Friends, and there are neat people that I will miss if I don't go on Facebook ever again. But, by severing my ties with a site that is unhealthy for me, I am opening up room for improved relationships with my own flesh and blood. Before my daughter started writing book reports, I thought that parents were supposed to teach their children well. If you pull anything away from what I have written, please recognize that wisdom is all around you when your ears are tuned to the proper frequency.

Be well,


A baseball friend of mine featured something I wrote involving the time spent with my oldest daughter after she came home from the hospital. Check it.

If anyone has recommendations for good life-management type software (for lack of a better category) for iPad, suggestions would be most appreciated.

With my frantic, probably-amateurish job hunt combined with my ongoing juggling-of-freelance-and-soon-to-disappear-day-job, and, oh yeah it's almost Christmas, I've been not-so-slowly turning into a stress monster, and my brain has helpfully risen to the occasion by developing some form of ADD. I am writing notes to myself so I don't lose track, but pretty soon I'm probably going to look like that guy from Memento.

I can carry my iPad around without it looking like a security blanket for a crazy person if I can keep the rocking and muttering to a bare minimum, but it would help if I could shake it like a Magic 8 Ball every so often and say "Oh, iPad, what the fuck was I supposed to be doing right now?" and it would say, "Lucy, print that W-9 and fill it out" or "Lucy, go edit some science" or "Lucy, post office, now!" Probably the voice activation part and shaking would be totally optional, but you get the idea.

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