1. One arts and crafts time with the kids each month
December always seems to be a crafty month for me because of the Christmas holiday. I joked with a friend on November 30th that my daughter would ask to do a craft for 80% of the month of December. Three days in and we were sitting at 100%. The first day we did not do a craft because I could not think of anything at all. The second day I remembered that her great-grandmother had sent her home from Thanksgiving with a beaded wreath ornament craft so the three of us completed that one. On day three I got her set up to make a bracelet or necklace with another kit her great-grandmother had given her as an early Christmas present. She ended up making a bracelet for her best friend (I love that most of her crafts and projects become gifts to others. They other day she took a cardboard box out of the recycling bin and turned it into a guitar of sorts and gave it to her brother.).
Jackson wanted something to do as well so I gave him paper, markers and stamps and he went to town making a picture of bad guys (his current passion). The requests slowed down after that but we still managed to get in quite a few artsy, crafty, and/or baking activities to celebrate the holiday season.
We made candy cane reindeer for the kids to give away to their friends. It was my planned craft for December and the kids were excited about it. They, of course, wanted to eat them (my husband has gotten them addicted to candy canes) but they gave most of them away to friends.
We invited friends over to decorate sugar cookies. I definitely consider that an art activity as they are allowed to be as creative as they want to be with them. I also enjoy decorating the cookies and seeing what I can come up with. Along with those we made a variety of other cookies and even rice krispy trees which was fun.
A friend gave us a kit to make origami star ornaments and I helped Kaitlyn with those. They were a lot like the paper stars we made in November.
Another friend asked if I would bring a craft for our kids to do together because one of hers is like Kaitlyn in that he would do crafts all day if allowed and she is like me in the craftiness department. I tried out a dyed snowflake craft with Kaitlyn to make sure it would work and then took all of the supplies over to her house. Kaitlyn and my friend's son were the only kids that wanted to participate in the craft and they were so gung ho, making five or more snowflakes apiece. Definitely a success!
2. Blog at least twice per month
The beginning of this month I continued to wrestle with my feelings of loneliness. After writing about my feelings, I had a few conversations with others that helped get me in a more positive mindset so that I could see my blessings and choose to focus on those. God is really working in my emotions and thought life. I am excited to see how he continues to grow and change me as I seek him more. I also wrote some thoughts about a book I had the privilege to read and review before it's official release in January.
I am also glad that I worked on writing this year. It is a passion of mine and something I want to be more consistent in. Setting the goal helped me to be more purposeful and gave me a chance to explore various topics. I learned more about creating graphics (when I realized that you have to be careful about using others' photos without expressed permission). I hope that I can continue to grow in consistency and skill.
3. Grow in gratitude, contentment and generosity
All three of these attributes are related. As I express gratitude for the good things in my life I grow in contentment of where I am and what I have. This contentment and gratitude combined gives me a desire to serve and give to others out of my blessings. December with it's season of love, joy and hope tends to increase the desire to bless others in meaningful ways.
Continuing to express my gratitude in written form has benefited me. Writing is always a great way for me to really understand my thoughts and feelings. Journaling the things I am grateful for gives me a positive outlook on my life and God's love for me. I plan to continue with this practice of Immanual Journaling.
Last month I admitted that I was struggling to feel contentment in my relationships. God has given me insight as I've wrestled with my feelings and I am feeling more appreciative of what relationships I do have as well as considering what my life might look like if God did give me what I think I want. I pictured a busier, more stressful social life with less time to continue to deepen the good relationships I currently have. My trust in God's plans and timing has increased which has helped me to feel more content in where I am and what I have.
There were many opportunities to be generous to others in December. My family and I took advantage of some of them and also created our own opportunities. I really do think that I have grown in significant ways in using my resources to serve and bless others.
I was concerned that such an intangible and immeasurable goal would be a real challenge but I am glad that I set it and worked on it throughout the year. I think it's good to consider qualities you would like to be a solid part of your character and look for opportunities to grow in them.
I was quite challenged by my goals this year but am proud for having made progress in most of them. I know I stopped memorizing scripture partway through the year. I aimed high and did not achieve that one but that's okay. I'm giving myself grace and acknowledging that I set more goals than I could manage.
How did you do this year? What goals did you set and how did you do? Have you chosen a goal for 2017? Share it with me and we can encourage one another next year (once I figure out what my new goals are)!