Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Process!

Derek wrote this about resolutions verses goals verses actually getting stuff done. He kindly agreed to let me post it here. That's how we roll. Happy New Year!! 

New Year/New Process
At this time of having a year anew we often decide to have resolutions. I want to share two concepts with you that every person should keep in mind as they develop resolutions. The first is focusing on the process and not the outcome, the second is developing healthy living skills.

Process not Outcome
When we think of resolutions we think of overarching abstract goals for what we want in the New Year, like, “I want to spend more time with family”, or “I want to lose weight”, or “I will be a better father/mother”, etc. These ideas while good are not specific enough to be of service in the day to day living that we are engaged in. These statements are all outcome statements, while you want a specific outcome the abstract outcome is neither specific nor is it enough to sustain change in the moment.

 Instead, focus on process. Process is to change the outcomes to specific behaviors I will engage in on a routine (daily, weekly, biweekly, etc.) basis.

Instead of “I want to spend more time with family” because it is too vague you would develop a set of habits that will increase the likelihood of spending more time with family. Some ideas include: “I will go to work a half hour early every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so I can come home a half hour early to play a game with my children”, “I will turn off my cellphone and my computer while at home”, and “Every day will begin and end with family prayer”.

 These are just three ideas of process, your process goals should be things you can maintain and be built upon with increased goals. Notice I said a half hour early not an hour or two early and only three days a week not every day.

The idea is to begin with something attainable that you can feel good about as you achieve the process goals and then over time you can increase those goals. Each individual will have different process goals to work toward attaining their desired outcome. Imbedded in process is the belief that you do not need to be PERFECT, you focus on IMPROVEMENT. Even having family prayer in the morning and night one day is better than not at all and it begins the process of having prayer every morning and night, it may not be every day at the beginning but it will come as you PRACTICE.

Healthy Living Skills
As you plan your resolutions you can focus on developing skills of healthy living. Healthy Living Skills are contained in the five categories of living: Emotional, Mental, Relational, Financial and Spiritual. You must first take stock of where you are and then plan a program of improvement where your goal is to improve yourself in each of the five categories with plans for ways you can grow little by little.

Within the Emotional category you might resolve to attend a yoga class to increase your ability to relax and not get overstressed, or you can resolve to spend fifteen minutes a day engaged in meditation practices.
In the Mental category you will want to set a goal for improving your knowledge or mental abilities. One goal can be to take one college course or to memorize a scripture a week.

The Relational category can be focused on improving an individual relationship, like having a fifteen minute conversation with my wife every night to discuss her feelings or improving a relationship skill, like practicing “active listening skills” once a day.

Financial resolutions should be something small, not “pay off all my debts” but something similar to “track my income and expenditures”. The tracking can build into paying off debts little by little or increasing savings at an achievable rate.

Spiritual growth should be a focus of every person no matter what level of spirituality they are currently. These can be as simple as writing a daily gratitude journal and use those entries in my morning and night prayers, or just setting a goal to pray first thing in the morning.

The goal is to improve yourself in each of the five areas, and bringing in the process not outcome concept you will begin with an activity that is achievable and can help you grow. Choose to only do one thing better in each category, do not get overzealous and set high expectations of change.

So, as you plan for your new year, develop process oriented healthy living goals. As you do, you will find your resolutions are both easier to maintain and they can grow all year long. These goals then become habits and you can find yourself not failing at a huge resolution but overtime growing and becoming better.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel HAS Come!

I find that Christmas music is such an excellent form of expression during the season. I DO NOT mean trite songs such as Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, fun though they may be.

No, I mean, that there is power in the notes, poetry and worship that is created through the music.

I can't eloquently express (despite multiple attempts at it) the depth or breadth of feelings, testimony and abundance of joy that attend during the Christmas season. It simply can not be expressed in mere words.

So, rather than continue blog silence while I try and fail to add anything of uplift to what is potentially the most wonderful and stressful, and expensive, and busy time of the year for us all, I think I'll share a bit here with words AND music. It's the only way I can think to adequately do the thing. I don't expect anyone to sit here and look/listen all the way through in one sitting, but if you can, great!!

Merry Christmas. I only posted three of the ones I WANT to post here, so perhaps I'll do another round soon. :)

What Child is This. by Lindsey Stirling

Child of the Night
By Holly Woolley
Of the night and hushed
Majesties of light.
Cool evening breeze
And single cry,
A mother’s tender arms
And eyes …
Unspoken grace adorns
Crude stable hay and
Humble cloth.
A King is born
In quiet manger
Without pretence
Or display …
No jeweled crown
Nor fame is found
In lighted
And whisper
Of a father’s tender
Murmur of His name,
The morning breaks
In quiet sigh and fame;
A dark and sleeping
World awakes
To never be
The same.

Jospeh's Lullaby by MercyMe

Joseph, By Gilbert Thomas

Who has not carolled Mary
   and who her praise would dim?
But what of humble Joseph
   is there no song for him?

If Joseph had not driven
   straight nails through honest wood;
If Joseph had no cherished
   his Mary as he should;

If Joseph had not proved him
   a sire both kind and wise
Would he have drawn with favour
   the Child's all-probing eyes?

Would Christ have prayed "Our Father",
   or cried that Name in death
Unless he first had honoured
   Joseph of Nazareth?

O Come O Come Emmanuel, David Crowder Band 

O Come O Come Emmanuel"

O come o come emmanuel
And ransom captive israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of god appears

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh israel

Oh come thou day-spring come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh israel

Oh come desire of nations bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid thou our sad divisions cease
And be thyself our king of peace

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh israel

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel has come
Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel has come

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel has come
He has come
He has come

O come o come emmanuel
And ransom captive israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of god appear

Rejoice rejoice
Emmanuel shall come to thee oh israel

He's coming towards us now
He's coming towards us now
He's coming towards us now
He always will