Friday, December 27, 2013

Looking Ahead: 2014

I admit that I'm not really anxious or ready for a new year to get here.

It's not that I don't like fresh starts, new goals and visions, cleaning and organizing (yippee!), and the other ways to kick off another season in life. 

It's just that 2013 was pretty awesome. No, it wasn't easy-peasy and full of roses all the time. But my family of four really just enjoyed life these last 365 days. 

We took our first road trip together. Jack stayed home for the first time this summer since he became a teacher. I turned 30 and ran a 3rd marathon to celebrate my third decade of life. We are serving our church in an awesome and new way, by Jack teaching the college kiddos on Sundays. Mackie started "big girl" school. Brax learned to vocalize his thoughts - and keeps on truckin' in the word department.

We cherished life's little moments this year - more than ever before.

And I can only hope we can pull it off in 2014.....

....when Jack starts his master's degree this summer.
....when I jump into an added morning/hours in the office and away from my babes (bittersweet).
....when Mackie goes off to school even more in the fall (99.9% sure we're doing preschool for another year, but it brings an additional morning at school).
....when Brax continues to transition from being my baby/toddler boy to an actual little boy.

Another year means another year closer to my babies not being my babies anymore and leaving our home for school....for college....for life. 

Call me sappy here, I know. I just really want to make it count now more than ever since time is really ticking away with Mackie and Brax is split second behind.

That being said, type-A me loves having new goals/visions to look forward to in the coming year (though why wait until Jan. 1st?). Some highlights include:

Bible Growth: I'm excited to jump into MacArthur's James study book to really dig into a book of the Bible. I'm also going to attend a Wednesday night women's study at our church while Mackie goes to Kids Club. I haven't done a women's study in quite some time and am looking forward to the fellowship and refreshing encouragement one can only get from sisters getting into God's Word together.

Home Planning: Meal planning/budgeting/cleaning definitely have taken a back-seat in the priority department lately. I'm eager to use the remaining days of my vacation to organize the house and set up a cleaning system, meal planning and prep work system, and set some specific budget goals and priorities for this coming year (a minivan may be making its appearance in the Conkling house in 2014!). 

Kid Fun: I always post these really cute things to do with the kids throughout the weeks, months, and holidays, but rarely follow through with them. I'd really like to create "bucket lists" each season (or month) with the kiddos that we can enjoy together - either as mommy-dates, daddy-dates, or family of four dates. We started with a Christmas break bucket list and have had so much fun crossing things off the list left and right...the goal is continue this throughout the year!

Running/Fitness: I'm kicking off 2014 with a Jan. 1 half-marathon and haven't trained much (eek! talk about slow going!), but I think it's a good testament of where I'm at right now with running. After finishing my third marathon this past May, I realized that the full marathon just wasn't cutting it for me. I wasn't satisfied with my time (though it was a PR), but overall, I just was burnt out, tired, and sick of the super long distance races. I still feel this way and have no desire to do another marathon anytime soon (or ever). 

I do enjoy the 10K and half-marathon races, so there will be the beloved Easter Sun Run 10K in April (with Mackie joining us for a 2-mile fun run/walk after our race!), and Jack and I will be celebrating 9 years of wedded bliss with a tough, hilly half-marathon in KC the weekend of our anniversary (he must REALLY love me!). I'm sure I'll do the Titan 10K in July and another half-marathon and 10K in the fall, too. It'll all depend on budgeting, family schedules, and overall health. 

I'm focusing more this year on stretching/core work/strengthening to complement my running and keep me healthy in the long-run. I'd also like to cross-train more after this half-marathon and before I start training for spring races, as I need that "off-season." 

Date My Husband: I'll admit it right here - Jack and I are terrible about going out on dates. We really have put this on the back burner and it's not great for our relationship. Our idea of a date is heading downstairs after a rough day at work/with the kids/practice with a bowl of popcorn and watching whatever junk is on TV before falling asleep. Totally not cool. We both are guilty of putting each other last on our day's to-do lists. I really want to get into the habit of going OUT on a date at least once a month - we'll start there. We may even get a jar where we pay ourselves or put any extra cash/change in there to take with us on date night (or pay a sitter when the awesome grands aren't available). 

That being said, I pray that I'm a gracious wife, one full of mercy and grace and bridles her tongue (and actions!) when hubs is working late, studying long hours, and just not as available due to working hard to support his family and advance his career. I'm honored and proud to be his wife and I pray that my actions and words reflect my adoration toward Jack.

Hostessing: One thing I'm not great at is having people over on a whim. I'm too scheduled. Too type-A. Too want to be in charge of everything...have enough time to clean my house...want to know every.single.detail. Well this year I really want to work on opening up my home - whether it's for laid-back get-togethers with the college kids, coffee dates with friends, or offering a warm meal/bed to sleep on/ear to listen to someone who really needs it, I want to serve Christ by opening up our home and serve others in this way.

There you have it...some highlights and visions for my 2014. Of course human dreams/visions/goals change and I ultimately pray that God uses me for His wonderful glory in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead - AND that I graciously and excitedly submit to whatever HIS will is for my life. 

What are YOU planning to do for God's glory in this coming year?

May you have a blessed time of reflection and looking back on 2013 and forging ahead into 2014. Happy New Year!

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