Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Where did the last 2 months go... Concussion, Sri Lanka, and General Crazy

So it has been just over 2 months since my last post. So many things have happened in the last few months and there have been numerous times I have wanted to post. I have written many posts in my head and just not had the chance to sit and write them. Several things have happened in the last 2 months.

1. I got a concussion... funny story actually. I decided to take my new camera to the zoo for some practice. I didn't have my kids and let me tell you it was one of the most peaceful afternoons I had enjoyed in a long time! Don't get me wrong I love going to the zoo and hanging out with my kids, but there was something so relaxing about being at the zoo and just wandering around with my camera (picture from that day at zoo below). I also realized I wasn't rushing to do anything... I was just meandering along the paths at my own pace with no schedule. It was amazing.... Until I ran into a pole and got a concussion...

Yes, you read that right. I ran into a pole while walking and hit my head so hard I got a concussion. I wasn't on my phone or texting or doing anything at all except not looking where I was walking. As soon as I hit my head I knew I had hit it pretty hard because it took a good while before I could see straight again, but I had no idea the severity. The next morning Matt could tell something wasn't right. I was having trouble speaking and I couldn't focus my eyes well. I spent the weekend resting and went to the doctor on Monday. He confirmed I had a concussion and a fairly severe one at that. I was ordered to spend one week with no screens and pretty much total brain rest. So put my phone, computer, tv away and spent a lot of time sleeping and coloring. I was still having some trouble at the end of the week and it took a good 2 - 3 weeks before I was feeling like myself again.

This was a good detox period for me. I mean obviously I was completely removed from technology for a few weeks and we probably all need that sometimes. The biggest negative besides just not feeling like me... was I got so behind in life. I got behind in doing work for school, I got behind in maintaining my housework, I got behind in helping kids with school work, and just generally did not get to do a majority of things I had planned to do.

Even though I got so behind however, the most necessary things got done and life moved on. I definitely have much greater sympathy for anyone who suffers head trauma though! Dealing with that concussion was one of the hardest things I have had to do! (The fact that I ran into a pole and got a concussion probably does not surprise most people that know me well... that is pretty typical accident prone me!)

2. Relatively quickly after the 3 weeks of recovering from the concussion I left for Sri Lanka. I had about 1 week after feeling mostly recovered to get ready and it was so busy! I spent 10 days in Sri Lanka (gone from home almost 2 weeks with travel time to and from) and it was AMAZING! As always I felt like I was home while I was there. It just felt so good to be back and see my friends again and make new friends. Truly there are people there who have become family to me. I spent time at a National Park with some great friends/family and had an amazing time taking pictures of God's amazing creation, seeing beautiful animals, playing games, chatting and just enjoying 3 of the most peaceful days I have had in a long time (picture to the left is from the National Park). After that I spent 1 week helping conduct a conversational English program at the Faculty of Engineering University of Ruhuna. The program as always was a lot of fun and I am very glad to have made some new friends this time as well. As always the trip ended way before I was ready, and it was time to come back home. The only bad thing about this trip... I ended up with some allergic reaction to something and had the worst rash all over me! It kept getting worse and as we traveled home for 48 hours it spread and continued to get worse. As soon as I landed I had to see a doctor to get some treatment/relief. I have been home a week and half now and am still slightly itchy. I would take the rash and itching any day if it meant more time in Sri Lanka. Love the place, love the people, and love my family there. I can't wait to have Matt and the kids meet the places and people that have found such a special place in my heart!

So between these two major happenings in the last few months all the weeks in between have been just as eventful. I feel like things have just not stopped... so much is happening on all fronts... school changes... home changes... family changes... personal changes... sort of like fighting a war each day and the war is taking place on so many fronts... and while one front may be managed the one to the south is falling apart etc.

I spent a lot of time thinking the last few days... those of you closest to me know why I may have been doing so much thinking. But, in the time I have spent thinking the last few days I was reminded of the lyrics to the song Unstoppable God.

"Unstoppable God
Let Your glory go on and on
Impossible things
In Your name they shall be done
Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns unstoppable
We'll shout Your praise forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable"

I love the reminder of this... the God I serve, the God I believe in, the God who is the God of any person in the world (anyone... no matter what culture or background you come from) who choses to accept Him, is a God who does impossible things. A God who is in control no matter what crazy things are happening in life. It doesn't matter what chaos is happening God is still in control. There is nothing happening in this life that He is not already aware of... and while I might feel like things are out of control... and things are spinning in a thousand different directions He is way way bigger than all of that. Nothing shall be impossible for Him. Things that just seem so out of my control and so just impossible to me are not for Him, and what is amazing is that I am a child of this Unstoppable God and He says that as a child of His I also have amazing power.... His power through me. I know that whatever happens in this life is to further His kingdom because His kingdom is Unstoppable... and He has a plan for me so much bigger than I could ever even imagine. If I shout His praises and spread His love in everything I do then I am doing what I was created for. 

And really, all that matters is Him... all that matters is that His love is made known to every person on this planet... It is so easy to get just lost in the junk that is this sinful fallen world. I know I need a reminder often that He is so much bigger than all of that, and He has such an amazing plan... I can't wait to see it unfold. The good... the bad... all of it... makes the journey beautiful.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I'm holding a funeral...The things I don't want to do... but do anyways...

Recently I sat down with someone whom I greatly trust and that person pointed out a few... let's say flaws... or maybe weaknesses in me. While these conversations are always hard, nothing he said was a surprise to me. I know the things that this person mentioned are things I do. Things I don't want to do, but do anyways. I can be so stubborn and hard headed... and well... this tends to lead me to respond in ways that are very not loving or Christ-like... or maybe you would never even know, but in my heart a bitterness is growing.

Sometimes I tend to just ignore what I know is right and push forward with my own agenda. This can cause problems in my marriage... in my work... in my relationships... and in just the opinion others have of me. I can't stand that I get so stuck in my ways about things. And honestly, I've posted about it before, it's my heart. It gets in the way... it gets attached to an idea... and to change that is like ripping my heart out. And then, other times, it's my heart again, not being attached to something, but being so concerned about causing another person pain, or a problem or just not being able to please everyone. So when I get so insistent on an idea, I may be giving one person everything they want, but not someone else, and I struggle with that!

So, again, nothing in this conversation I had was false, and nothing was new to me. The question in my mind, was how do I fix it? How do I change a part of me that has been a part of me for a long time.... I have to say, I have gotten better. There are things about me that I knew were a weakness that I have improved on. My hard head has softened just a little, but I tend to still forge ahead doing my thing many times without thinking. Sometimes I question if that is a bad thing, I mean some people may even call it initiative... my husband may disagree with that description though. I guess when it really comes down to it, my stubbornness and attitude that comes into play through that is a sin. And while I often will brush it aside, it is a sin that really has to be dealt with, and I am not sure how to fix it.

Romans 7: 15 - 24 says, "I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?" 

I read this passage and man it really hit me. This is exactly how I feel. "What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise!" YES!!! This is so true! I don't want to act in a way that leads someone I trust to have to sit down and point out my flaws, but I do! And what is so bad is I knew what they were going to say, I wasn't surprised! SO then why do I act that way??? And yes, it is true, I know the law, I know what God's command says, but yet I keep sabotaging my best intentions! Why??? So I feel very much like the end of this passage states, "I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope." Where do I go from here? Where do I go from the place of I know what to do, but yet I do what I don't want to do. 

Well, thankfully verse 24 is not the last verse, there is a verse 25. Romans 7:25, "The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different." 

Jesus, Jesus knows the answer, Jesus is the answer. When I feel at the end of my rope, and question who can help me... the answer is Jesus can. 
1. He paid the price for my sin. So while I get so frustrated and hate myself for my sin, because of what Jesus did in dying for my sin, I can know that God does not hate me. And I can still spend eternity in heaven with Him. (This doesn't mean I should ignore the fact that I sin however, I should still try to improve...) 
2. Jesus is there to comfort when I just don't know what to do I can pour my heart out to Him, and he will answer. Jesus knows, he has been God in the flesh. He knows what it is like to have to fight sin. 
3. Lastly, I don't have to be perfect... Jesus was the only perfect person. I need to stop focusing on myself, and more on what God is doing in me for others. 

Romans 8:5-8 says, "Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored." 
I don't have to try to focus on fixing myself, I need to be focused on God. I need to remember that God's Spirit is in me... and think what it is God wants me to be doing. The Bible is clear about what I should be doing in my relationship with my husband, in my relationship with my kids, in my work, in all that I do. 
Romans 8:12 - 14 goes on to say, So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!" 
It is time to give my stubborn, I am going to do this my way, attitude a funeral. I have a new life, I have had a new life since I acknowledged that God sent his son Jesus to die for my sins and I said I want to follow you for the rest of my life and bring glory to your name. So, then why do I let this part of me live that I know should have died so long ago. 

So it is time for a funeral. It is time to say, What is it you want God? Even if it hurts...(I mean dying is never pain free... someone whether the deceased of those left behind feel some sort of pain)... even if it means that I will have to let go of some things that I have been clinging to for awhile.... the stubborn, do it my way, do it myself attitude has got to be buried, and the do it God's way has got to be born and cared for and grown. 

My way may be all adventurous, but to truly be beautiful, God's way has to be a part of the journey too. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I lost 15 pounds in 20 days!!!!

The end of my juice reboot has come! I have been juicing for the last 21 days and I feel amazing!

1. I am proud of myself for sticking to the juice! (Thank you to my friends (you know who you are) who kept me going when I was sure I was ready to quit!)

2. All the symptoms I was having of just feeling awful are gone! All the reasons I was going to the doctor before are no longer there! I would like to get my blood checked again in a few weeks to see if I am still having an issue blood work wise, but I feel completely back to my old self and even better than before!

3. I have made huge strides toward one of my 2016 goals! I have lost 15 lbs (about 7kg for my metric friends)! I still would like to loose another 21 lbs (about 9.5 kg). So, I have set another goal for myself of losing that by my 31st Birthday! (September 3, 2016 if you didn't know).

So, how did it go? For the most part the 21 days was easy. I was never hungry (except the one day I didn't have the juice I was allowed to have, so 'duh' I should be hungry). After the first few days I didn't really have terrible cravings, other than craving chewing! The foods I wanted most.... kiribath and lunu miris (milk rice and chili/onion sambol... doesn't it look amazing!) and a banana! And I will be honest... I plan to eat both those things pretty soon this week!

The hard parts... prepping all the veggies and fruits for juicing. Just the planning involved took some work. And cooking dinner for my kids every night and packing their lunches and making their breakfast. There are so many times when I would normally have a bite here, lick a spoon there, lick my finger here.... I mean it is crazy! I didn't realize how bad it was until I stopped myself every single time. The smells were really hard... fresh pizza, hot bread, brownies, teriyaki meatballs... Every where I turned I smelled food... but you know what, I am currently sitting in Starbucks and normally the smell of coffee would drive me insane! I would have to have a cup of coffee and not just plain black coffee but a Carmel Macchiato and of course I always got nonfat milk and sugar free syrup to watch the calories, but really did I need it... NO! And now that smell of coffee, I barely notice it. There is nothing in me that says get that coffee...As I write this, I am enjoying the last juice of my 21 days and a hot herbal tea. AND I feel COMPLETELY satisfied. The Cupcake store around the corner... no temptation anymore. The smell of the pizza place outside... no temptation.

That has been the best part about this I think. I have done all kinds of diets, cleanses, watching what I eat, counting calories etc... and I have never been able to kick the cravings like this did for me. I think because sugar was always a part of those things, or coffee, or caffeine, or they only lasted 3 days, or not long enough. I decided to go past the initial 15 days because I was feeling so good, and I chose 21 days because they say it takes 21 days to break a habit. And wow, did I have some habits to break!

Each day involved a breakfast juice, coconut water as a mid morning snack, a lunch juice, an afternoon snack juice, a dinner juice and a dessert juice. However, there were most days I didn't have the dessert juice, and some days I only had 3 juices. I was full more than I ever thought I would be. I also juiced things I never thought I would! Beets... let me tell you... I don't like Beets! But now, I think they have grown on me... I kinda like em. Cabbage... Really... juicing cabbage? But it turned out okay! I of course had my favorite juices, but there were only 1 or 2 that I just couldn't stomach. Overall, they were all pretty tasty!

So where do I go from here? Well I have decided a few things.

1. I feel so good now, I don't want to lose this. So I will be avoiding dairy, meat, processed foods and grains, added sugar, and junk. Will it be forever? For some of those things... yes... for others no.

2. This week will be a transition period. Tomorrow I won't be just jumping right in to eating again... breakfast will be a smoothie, I will still have coconut water for my midmorning snack, I will have juice for lunch and my afternoon snack, and dinner... exciting steamed veggies! The rest of the week I will slowly add in some foods other than fruits and veggies. Lentils, Rice, Nuts, Eggs, Beans, Almond Milk, Coconut Milk... but I will be staying away from those foods mentioned above.

3. I think I will add in fish in a month or so. But I plan to stay away from other meats for the time being. (We will see how long this lasts!)

4. Staying away from the added sugar in things will be hard. It is in everything, but kicking the sugar addiction is one of the things I am so grateful for. So, while it will be hard, I plan to do everything in my power to avoid this one. Dairy will be hard (not as hard as sugar), but it's another I plan to avoid as long as possible.

5. The processed foods, well convenience foods have always been a part of my life. Especially since having kids. There is something so easy about grabbing a bag of snacks and going. But, I think that is where I ran into a problem. I started compromising what foods were ok and what foods weren't because the food was easy. But now, I spent half of Saturday shopping and prepping food for kids lunches and meals this week... and then I spent all afternoon today doing the same thing. Is it easy? No. But will I be grateful that I spent time cutting veggies and fruit now, and making my own grab and go packages of healthy foods... YES! I will be so thankful because it saves time, but also because I know the food I will be eating is good for me....

Ultimately, while there were some really tough days... I am so glad I committed to 21 days of juicing. I don't want this to be just some "thing" I did... I want it to be a life changing moment. One where I look back 20 years from now (hopefully 20 lbs lighter!) and say... that was one of the moments that changed my life. That moment made me a healthier person who has more energy for her family and friends... who a has a long time left to enjoy this beautiful journey.

Friday, January 8, 2016

When Life Gives You Lemons... Make Green Juice!

One of my goals for 2016 is to lose some weight and get in better physical shape! I have been working on this goal for a few years now, and I am constantly going up and down. Well the last 4 months or so I have been steadily gaining weight, and just not feeling well. I have had some medical tests come back showing that things were just not right with me as well. As I kept visiting the doctor, we kept noticing issues in my blood work, but nothing that pointed to a definite diagnosis. 
As the doctor threw medicinal solutions at me and said, "I don't know if this will for sure fix your problem, but let's just try it." I asked myself... "do I want to be some medical guinea pig?" I didn't want to just try some medicine as a shot in the dark... especially if we didn't have a conclusive diagnosis... so I started doing some reading (I am sure doctors hate google!)... and I came across a website... Reboot With Joe. 

Joe made a documentary called, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and wrote I book. I watched the film, read the book, and began thinking about all the things he said. It wasn't something I had never heard before, but it was the first time I had seen the information presented in that way. So, Joe's idea was to juice for 60 days. He had some health issues and well... was just Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. While I may not be what someone would consider Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead... I am slightly overweight and feel totally bleh most of the time. So Joe's results really made me curious. After Juicing only for 60 days Joe felt great! He looked great! He was off his medicine and was just doing great! And he had inspired me to see if this could be something I could do. 
The idea behind a Juice Reboot is to reboot your system. We fill our bodies with so much processed junk and sugar and just way to much food! So by rebooting and drinking only fruit and vegetable juice then the body can stop going crazy trying to process a whole lot of junk that we aren't even designed to process and start to remember what it's like to process food the right way again... (that's my super short explanation... check out for the whole scoop). 

Well then, I was ready to give this a shot after I read the book and watched the film. I mean I had tried everything else I could, and I knew I wanted to try something and not just feel like I was getting no where. While a 60 day reboot would be somewhat extreme especially for me, starting with a 15 or 30 day reboot was much more manageable and according to the book, ok to try without a doctor's supervision. So I recruited my Dad (always one of my biggest fans and supporters) and watched the film with him and we decided we would both give the 15 day Reboot plan a try and then see how 15 days went before deciding whether to go longer. My biggest hopes for what I wanted out of the 15 days was to lose some weight (not gain anymore!) and to see a significant difference in how I felt (ex. more energy, less symptoms I have been experiencing etc.). I was ready to get started! 

So then what does a 15 day Reboot look like? The idea is strictly fruits and vegetables. No sugar, No grains, No Dairy, No Meat.... All things I love!!!! But also where I have gotten into trouble eating so many things that just really aren't good for my body! The Reboot begins with a 5 day transition period. Which I wasn't sure how I felt about at first. I kind of just wanted to jump right in to juice, but the plan suggested starting with some soups and salads as well to ease into the juice only diet. Then the last 10 days is juice only, and if continuing with days 16 - 30, those days would also be juice only. 

How has the Reboot been going? Well, I am on day 5 of the 15 days. This day brings about the end of the transition period. I have really enjoyed the transition period even though I wasn't sure how I felt about it. The vegetable soups and the salads have been so good! I am glad to have these ideas to add to my arsenal of recipes for after the Reboot is over! Generally, the day has begun with 8oz of hot water with lemon and ginger, then Breakfast has been a smoothie made with leafy greens and some fruit and water/coconut water. Then mid morning is a juice made with mostly vegetables and fruit... no sugar or anything added but the fruits and vegetables. Then lunch has been soup or salad mostly. I made an acorn squash and apple soup and a green veggie soup... and all the ingredients in the soup are vegetables and some seasoning with vegetable stock. The Green soup is absolutely my favorite!! I will be making it again and again! The afternoon snack is another juice, and dinner is usually soup or salad again. The prep work was a little more daunting then I thought but it was manageable and I have honestly enjoyed everything I have eaten or well... drank. 

After 5 days I wasn't sure what the results would be. Really, I didn't know if I would even make it 5 days. But, I can say I did make it 5 days! Day 1 was tough... I felt sluggish and slow and had a headache. Day 2 was harder... the cravings were hitting me hard. Day 3 - Day 5 have just been getting better and better. I feel better, I don't feel as tired as I had been feeling before I started the Juice Reboot, and believe it or not I am not hungry. I thought with just fruits ad vegetables and juice I would be starving! SO, what about the weight loss... well on day 5 I have lost 5 lbs! I know that it comes from making such a drastic change and water weight and blah blah blah... but you know for me this is huge. I have been doing everything I can the last 4 months to lose weight and just gaining, and to actually do something and have lost some weight is a huge motivator for me! Maybe I have just woken up my metabolism enough that I can keep making a positive change. 
Things I have learned from this first 5 days: 
1. I eat way too many little bites of everything throughout the day. I realized that I am a constant grazer! When I make the kids breakfast, I take a little bite. When I pack lunches, I take a little bite. When I walk through the house and see food, I take a little bite. And often I do it without even thinking!

2. I crave sugar like an addict! Breaking this addiction of sugar is going to be huge! I love sweets and chocolate and baked goods and all kinds of things! I love to cook them and I love to eat them. While these things are ok in moderation I think the problem becomes when out body craves them and we can't say no or we don't recognize when we have had enough. What has been hard about this is we just came out of the Holiday season and my house still has all kinds of treats laying around. Walking past the treats and not having one is soooooo difficult, but I have managed it so far and the cravings are definitely less intense. 

3. Eating food is connected to my emotions. I am an emotional eater. There is something satisfying about eating certain foods. The feelings I get when I eat some foods is what I am addicted too more than the food itself. So many things that aren't good for me are like comfort food, or what I like to eat on a bad day, and I realize that it becomes my go to solution. I tell myself that I deserve it or that I don't have time to make something healthy so I use my go to comfort food solution as a quick and easy option, and then I fill my body with junk. This is the hardest habit to break. I want to eat so many things that I absolutely know I shouldn't and even 5 days in not busting out the chips and salsa, or eating a slice of pizza or my favorite fast food meal is difficult. 

4. I eat because I am bored. Munching on food because I think I am hungry when really I am just bored is something my eyes were really opened to. These last 5 days I have just kept my water bottle near by and when I think I am hungry I drink a bunch of water and realize I wasn't really hungry I was just bored! I also need to clean up my snacking choices to be more plant based things vs. processed things. 

I would say so far this is working. Five days in and I am feeling pretty successful... I loved the quote, "when life gives you lemons... make green juice!" because I feel I had given my life lemons by eating such junk and getting my body to the point I am/was at. So I decided to make some green juice, and it tasted really great! Cheers to the next 10 days! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Goodbye 2015 Hello 2016

The new year has begun, and with that brings the return to "real life." The school I teach at part time has a unique model and we have had 4 weeks off from school (some students get off 5 weeks!). While I had high hopes of accomplishing so many things for this new semester while we were on vacation... I accomplished very little. While a 4 week break sounds amazing... going back to work is like jumping into a bath of ice water. All of a sudden my system is in shock! I have to get my brain back on track to write lesson plans and create activities. In 2015 I felt super motivated to get school work done and was excited and motivated about what I was teaching. As I sat down on January 1st of 2016 and began looking at the material I would be teaching I feel like I just stared at it for an hour and didn't see anything but a blur of words. I know the more time I spend working on it the more excited I will get about it and the creative juices will start flowing, but it really is like that ice bath... my body is rapidly trying to adjust to a drastic change in temperature and I'm moving at frozen speeds...

This got me thinking though about what do I hope for this year for me as a teacher. When I went to University I never had any intention of becoming a teacher. As a little kid I never said "When I grow up I want to be a teacher!" Teaching really became a means to an end for Matt and I. We were young marrieds, had a little baby who had just turned 1, and we were graduating from University. We had both been substitute teaching to make extra money, and we needed a job... and we needed it quickly. Teachers were in high demand at the time, so we just sort of fell into the teaching profession. I think I thought it would be something I did temporarily, and here I am 8 years later still teaching. While there are things I really love about teaching, I often wonder what else is coming? Will I always be a teacher, what else will I do in life? My favorite parts of teaching are when I get to challenge the students to think about their lives, and what God has in store for them. I like getting to be creative, but so much of what I do I feel like I am limited to this little box, and anyone who knows me knows I don't like staying in a little box...

So this year in 2016, I want to discover what else is in store for me. If it is continuing to teach, how am I going to make teaching fit "me" and fit who I am. And if it is something else, how is teaching going to fit with that "something else." I want this year as a teacher to be fun for me. I want to not worry so much about the details of all the requirements that must be done paper work wise, but just enjoy working with the students and have fun with them. I want them to walk out of my class knowing that I care about them, and knowing most importantly that God has a plan so big for their life! As I think about the "how" of this goal I really want to come up with some concrete things I can do to make it happen.

But not only do I have goals for 2016 in my teaching life. I also have goals for me personally...
1. I want to lose some weight (I know the most cliche new year goal!) but really I want to get healthy. I have been struggling with feeling good lately, and have been having some medical issues and I want to find a way to just feel good again! (More on this to come in next post!)

2. I want to visit at least 2 places I have never been before. I love seeing new places and I feel like it makes me grow as a person every time I encounter new people and places, so this year the goal is at least 2 places (more is always better).

3. I also want to read my Bible everyday. I've always read at least one verse a day, but I want to make it a habit to read even more. I would love to really get in the word and memorize scripture more as well. So I will be reading more and memorizing more and for sure it will help me with my other goals as well.

4. I want to learn Sinhala. There are a lot of languages I would love to learn, but Sinhala will be a start. I have lots of friends who speak it (more than any other language so might as well start here), and so my goal this year is to learn enough Sinhala to be able to have a basic conversation. To be able to hear what others are saying and make an educated guess on what they said... and if I could become somewhat fluent, well I wouldn't be disappointed.

5. I want to deepen my relationship with my husband and kids. I want to intentionally invest time each day into them. More than just the usual time. I want to make this year a year that we look back on as a husband and wife and as a family and say that was one of our best years ever. Regardless of the punches life throws at us, I want us as husband and wife and as a family to be so close that we feel like nothing could ever separate us.

I know I have some other goals for this year, and I don't feel quite ready to put them in writing because then it becomes and official goal. As long as it is in my mind floating around I don't have to commit to actually accomplishing it. SO more on all these other goals to come in future posts because well... that is a goal as well... to be more consistent in my blogging. Mainly for me... just to have a place I put down my thoughts so here we go... Welcome to 2016... what beautiful adventures does this year hold.