October is over. It is the gear up toward the holiday season. It can be a lot of fun but also quite stressful. Let's see how my goals fared this month. If you want to read about previous months' successes and failures, click the appropriate month: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October.
1. One arts and crafts time with the kids each month
Kaitlyn had to disguise a turkey for school so we worked on that together. Jackson wanted to participate so I gave him some materials to work with while I cut leaves and Kaitlyn cut and glued. Afterward she decided to turn the remaining leaves into a fall crown which she graciously gave to me.
We had some friends over for a play date and decided to make some playdough beforehand for the occasion. The kids chose the colors and mixed the food coloring into the dough. Kaitlyn wanted to make bracelets for her friends so we also got out the beads and went to work. I helped Jackson make his bracelet. The kids enjoyed these projects. Kaitlyn is really beginning to get into the spirit of making and giving things to others. She is excited about being able to give her friends gifts for Christmas.
My daughter asks if we can do a craft about once per week (the reason I set one of my goals this year to be a monthly craft even though I'm not crafty). When she asked most recently, I had seen a craft on Facebook that I thought we had the supplies for and could do immediately. It was a video of a woman making a star out of paper. I hadn't actually listened to the instructions and when I did (right after telling my daughter we could do a star craft) I learned that the woman used paper bags instead of sheets of paper. I decided we would try to go forward with the project anyway. We decorated fourteen white sheets of paper and then taped them together in pairs on three sides. We glued them together per the instructions, cut off triangles, and tested it out. I'd say it was successful and my daughter thought it was pretty cool (she already wants to make another one).
2. Blog at least twice per month
After October's mental block, the gates seem to have opened a bit for me to express things on my mind and in my life. I'm not doing another writing challenge, but trying to talk about what's going on with me. I wrote a post about a morning I spent in prayer, meditation and communion with God. I also wrote about finding tangible and meaningful ways to love others. I also shared a post about being reminded of where my worth comes from. I still desire for blogging to become a more regular part of my routine but balance is still elusive to me.
3. Grow in gratitude, contentment and generosity
Continuing to write regularly in my gratitude journal has helped me to stay reminded of all I have to be thankful for. November, obviously, had been a constant reminder of my blessings and freedoms.
As the Advent season has begun, I do desire to be able to enjoy the remembrance of Christ's birth and the hope that it brings. I desire to remain content throughout this season - content with where I am in all facets of life (geographical location, spiritual, physical), content with what I have (possessions, mental faculties, physical health, relationships), and who I am (imperfect, valuable, loved, accepted human being). That's a lot to try to be content about but if my heart is at peace and rest then I will truly have joy.
My biggest struggle with contentment has been in my relationships. Because I don't have family nearby, I have to rely on friends for my social life. I have periods where I feel frustrated that it feels like my family only hangs out with others when we do the inviting. I often wonder if others don't entertain or they just don't think to ask us to do things. More than likely they're in a busy season of life. I'm praying that God will help me find contentment in the relationships and social calendar I do have rather than the one I yearn for.
Since reading Listen, Love, Repeat, I've been trying to be a better listener in order to better discern ways to love, help and serve others. As Christmas approaches, my desire to be more generous has increased. I really want this Advent season to be marked by love and kindness and charity. I want our family to focus on blessing others, on looking outward rather than inward. My six-year-old is excited about the idea of giving friends and family gifts for Christmas. She even asked for chore opportunities so she could earn money to buy gifts for friends. My four-year-old is still focused more on receiving gifts, but that's probably to be expected.
What did you work on achieving in November? Did the Thanksgiving holiday cause setbacks? Are you prepared for working on your goals in December with everything else going on? It will take focus and dedication, but we can finish this year strong!