2016 Goal Setting Part 2: What didn’t work + Gratitude

HERE is the Full Series of my 2016 Goal Setting Posts. So far I’ve taken a look at hard things that God brought us through, What DID work, some of my favorite things about 2015 and exciting things ahead.  Now I’m going to jump in a write about what did NOT work. These aren’t necessarily things that are bad that happened, or things I didn’t enjoy or I’m not glad I did… they are things that upon retrospect aren’t what’s best right now for our family or for me personally.

What worked in 2015-9

Wanting to have a back up plan: For the few few months of starting The Identify Network Dan and I were often combing job sites because we didn’t know how this was going to work. We felt like when we were doing that we were only one foot into this ministry that we were beginning. It left us spending energy we didn’t have on fearing that this wasn’t going to work out. It’s tough, we’ve had months that going into the month we had under two thousand dollars for everything!  Rarely since starting has the finances made since on paper or go according to plan. God worked on our hearts and at some point even when jobs called us back for follow ups we said… no, we don’t need a net. If God wants this to go in a different direction then we will go in that direction but it won’t be because we were scared to walk down this path all the way it led.

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Not having a menu plan: I think this was on my what didn’t work last year too. Maybe this year with the kids in school this might be a little more within my reach. Maybe. I think maybe having theme days might be more my speed. I am however so grateful for the meals that were provided to us once we brought Isla home! Such a blessing.

what didn

Weight watchers: I joined. I went every week for 3 months. I was encouraged. I loved it. I just didn’t DO it. So I couldn’t justify spending more money on it. Dan and I have very different eating habits that often sabotage each other. So we have to find something that works for us both. Generally something more paleo is more helpful for both of us.

Cleaning Cloths: Cloth Napkins work for us so I thought let’s get rid of paper towels all together and use cloths for cleaning and such too. I grabbed a big pack of yellow rags from Costco and we used them for probably 5 months. But they just aren’t for me. Once they get wet they get gross and too hard to keep what was on them separate… like, did this rag I’m using to wipe the table come into contact with raw meat during dinner prep? So I’m going back to Paper Towels and not feeling guilty about it.

what didn

Stress/Weight Gain/Hives… So I guess the last three things probably should just be grouped together. I’m going to blame the adoption process on this one though.  Stress. My body has a freaky weird way of letting me know I’m stressed without me actually realizing I am. One morning I woke up and was covered in head to toe hives. I tried everything I knew to do, as hives were not a stranger to me back in my working days as a wedding photographer, but nothing was working. NOTHING. So I ended up in the E.R. and they gave me four medications that I tried the lesser of until I finally had to take the Steroids. That took care of it pretty much that day… but by day 3 of my 5 day script, I had to stop. I was turning into a crazy lady. But they didn’t come back thank goodness. Since then I’ve been doing things to help with the stress load I’m carrying, little by little. A few weeks ago Dan and I went to a 2 hour professional counseling session and it was SO GOOD! (I think EVERYONE should go to counseling! But we had just let life take over.

what didn

Being critical of my husbands purchases:  You guys, adoption processes are notorious for making you want to control something, because you often feel so out of control about the adoption. I battle with wanting to be in charge and have things my way in our marriage already… but the past few months it was in super mode. Particularly in the area of making purchases. He’s a spender, I’m a saver. Both have it’s benefits and downfalls. Mine is that I nit pick everything he gets and can be so critical about it. I can justify my criticalness in the name of wanting to be wise, but really most often it robbed me of joys and blessings that God wanted for me. (and often I conveniently overlook all the areas he has made sacrifices).  For example, He bought a set of CD’s at a Shane + Shane Concert we went to and I thought we had a few of them already and commented about that in a critical way. Turns out we didn’t, and those CD’s have been like water to my soul the past month. God knew I needed the word sung over me in a way that my heart would listen and respond. Another instance was before I brought Isla home, he went to Target and bought a few throw pillows and a foot ottoman. I felt like it was not essential in such a time of financial unknowns…and fear kept me from being excited about them.  But guess what, I’ve used those things with every single one of Isla’s feedings and they have been more useful than a whole host of nursery stuff, like I’ve even told new moms to register for those things! When will I trust that I have a lavish God who is at work in even the things my husband buys instead of feeling like God’s provision is based on how cheap we can be.



Being cheap with God’s resources: I went to SC/NC to visit some mom friends and in both homes I was overwhelmed by the trust they have in a God who they are dependent upon to provide month to month. My friend Mandie Joy, She is a single mama who is raising two adopted girls from Uganda as well as being a foster mama to whomever God brings into her home. Her trust in a lavish God struck me hard and showed me how often I bring God down to the size of my essential needs and not trust Him with the desires and dreams of my heart as well as believing He is the One who places those very things in my heart!  She moved into a bigger house because God was giving her more people that needed a home. She wasn’t worried about the higher rent… or when she was, she took it to Him, trusting that He will come through. This isn’t to say that wisdom and sacrifice isn’t needed in our day to day views on finances…it is.  It is to say that God’s provision for me isn’t based on my frugality or to say it another way, that my sacrifice somehow earns His provision. So I want to dream in Big ways (which might be in small things) and trust a Big God with the finances of it.

what didnHomeschooling: IF both my husband and I were a committed unschoolers then this year would have been a success. I probably lean that direction (it’s a beautiful philosophy of education) but I’m also married to a teacher who loves structure and systems and so we kind of balance each other out in this area. I don’t regret one moment of this past year of studying my children and watching them learn. I just know going forward a change is needed. I tried doing Five in a Row thinking it would be a good starting point… and for some reason it wasn’t. I wanted it to be. And I do think that if I weren’t struggling in so many areas when it comes to discipline and order and health and ministry admin then it would probably be a good fit. But for now… education is going to be an area that we outsource to our neighborhood public school. Maybe that will allow me to focus on these other areas and live to homeschool another day… and maybe this will be what works for us year by year.


Music Camp:  Zoe LOVED it her first year!! And so this year we sent Zoe, Jack and Ezra to this week where they learn a whole musical and perform it at the end of the week. I want to say it worked for us. But honestly, It was a brutal week. It definitely wasn’t Jack’s cup of tea and even Zoe found the whole of it to be kind of overwhelming. That’s not a bad thing per se but looking back… I just don’t know we will do it again this coming year. It wasn’t as life giving for our kids as VBS was.

kids at music camp 2015

obviously ezra’s mohawk didn’t work…well not for mama! he loved it.

Not having Cable: Y’all we cut cable in order to cut our budget and it was fine and we didn’t miss it too much. But we found after 6 months we would end up renting shows or movies and that cost us about the same. We are movie/T.V. people I guess.  Dan and I often unwind watching shows in the evening. So we turned it back on…. and Dan’s kind of a political junkie so going into election season, well… we wanted to have it.  Shows we are Loving right now are  Madame Secretary, Code Black, and Blue Bloods.

We are also letting our kids watch the last farewell season of American Idol. I could just hear them in a few years going “what’s american idol” and realizing they missed out on almost 2 decades of the making of a musical star each year. So we record it and we watch it on Friday nights.



Texting/Emailing to try to solve conflict:  Doesn’t work unless it’s something like an office/work/communication type of situation and it can often make things worse. It’s frustrating because you can’t hear tone and you have something to read and re-read over and over thus making the hurt and confusion all the more lasting. As a writer I tend to want to try to explain myself through words and thus can forget that face to face when possible is always a better option.

what didn

What worked in 2015-10

Letting Gratitude Paralyze me:

This one I wanted to emphasize because it was a huge one that did NOT work this year…or in the several years past. And it HAS to change in the coming year!  There was so much that others did for us that I wanted to show my thankfulness in a way that really let them know just how grateful we are. SO… that started a reaction in me that wanted my Thank you to be on par with their generosity. And if I felt like it was inferior or small compared to what they did I would feel like it wasn’t worthy and thus would put it off until I felt like it was. This led to delayed communication, confusion to the giver as they probably felt like it wasn’t worth our time to say anything, being overwhelmed because I didn’t get the right card, didn’t have the right penmanship, didn’t have anything to offer back as a blessing…. so it would just go undone because I wanted it perfect.  See how distorted it gets??? But it’s something that I struggled with a lot.  This even applies to how I feel about God’s generosity to me… as seen in some of my above confessions. It’s not understanding how grace works at all.


For 2016 I want others generosity to free me to live out this life God’s given to us. I want to humbly enjoy to the fullest when others bless us and let them know even if it’s just a short text or email that they are loved and appreciated!! To trust that God is a much better blesser and knows their heart and their own needs and will abundantly bless them through their obedience and provide joy for us all!!!


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