So a while back I took a leaf out of my guru Gretchen Rubin’s book Happier at Home, and assigned myself twelve areas of my life that I wanted to focus on. How could I make these areas of my life better or add to my happiness?
I love Gretchen’s approach; she doesn’t take ‘health’ and decide to radically change her diet and assign herself a gruelling exercise regime. Instead she focuses on a few practical things that could make that area of her life better. Check her book out, I thoroughly recommend it, and it might just change your life.
In November the area I chose to focus on was Spirituality . I am a practising Christian, and my faith is a very big deal in my life. But God can get a bit left out at times when life with my two tots gets crazy, so I wanted to carve out more time to spend with God.
My goals were to:
- memorise a scripture a week
- prepare for Advent
- read a couple of Christian books
- have daily devotions
I didn’t think these goals were too lofty, but I bombed out of two of them.
Daily devotions are not a problem – I actually managed to cement this into my morning routine well before this monthly challenge began. I read Scripture and a devotional over breakfast each morning, and often spend my exercise time in prayer. D and I pray together every night since the day we married, and it’s a lovely way to end the day.
I was more prepared for Advent than I’ve ever been, thanks to running an Advent study at my church. I ran the study throughout November, rather than December because my study was all about going into the Christmas period mindfully and trying to eschew the consumerist spectacle that it has become. I made the resources for the study myself, which meant I had zero time to read any Christian books, but I probably read the equivalent of a couple books while doing research for my study, so I’m gonna call it a win.
I failed to memorise a scripture per week, but then I have trouble remembering my own phone number so perhaps it was a silly goal in the first place.
In December I kicked my monthly challenge’s butt. This was my ‘family traditions’ month. I decided what I wanted to do with my tots to celebrate Christmas, and had a good think about what else I want to hold as special days with my family throughout the year (Waitangi Day, Matariki, Easter and Parihaka Day to name a few…).
My goals for December were:
- Teach the children Christmas carols and the Christmas story
- Prepare them for St Nicholas Day and Advent
- Make presents with the children for them to give away
- Donate a gift to a child in need
- Decorate the house
We ended up decorating the house super-early as Sausage missed being in our town’s Christmas parade due to illness. She had a great time helping me decorate the tree, and I got my hands on some not-too-cheesy fake greenery to decorate our mantelpiece with.
My MIL found a great Christmas carol CD which I pretty much played on repeat for the whole month (fortunately I love carols, I know it’s akin to torture for some people). Sausage knows most of them by heart (she will recite Away In A Manager whether you want her to or not), and I suspect Chip knows them all too, if he could say more than one word at a time.
Sausage really ‘got’ the Nativity story this year, and that the point of Christmas was to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Both kids LOVED lighting Advent candles – so much that we have carried on and are having candlelit dinners each night now! You can read more here for specifics about Advent with toddlers.
Chip was too little, but Sausage made biscuits which we gave away to friends and family, and she chose a gift that a charitable organisation here ensures goes to a child in need. Some lucky girl woke up to Elsa and Anna dolls, which Sausage picked out and willingly handed over.
So far I have found some monthly challenges easier than others (January is possessions…) and am looking forward to cracking on with the next challenges.