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Friday, January 02, 2009

Going Public With New Year's Resolutions

It's questionable enough to make New Year's resolutions, but it's pretty close to foolish to make the resolutions public.

However, I am both questionable (at times) and foolish (much of the time), so I thought I'd share what I'm thinking about for 2009.

First, I'm making two personal resolutions. The first is to taper down my television viewing to just one hour a day. TV is a personal weakness and I have often neglected other things in order to accommodate my TV schedule. I don't have any delusions about eliminating TV altogether, but I really need to cut back. (The TV is off at the moment, thank you very much.)

The second personal resolution is to get my 50 year old physical and track my health better. There are particular aspects to the 50 year old physical that will make this difficult to accomplish, however, it needs to be done.

Next, I'm making two professional resolutions for my work at Timbercrest. The first is to finish the paperwork necessary for my National Certification. I don't know why this is so hard to do. It's just paper. But it's so easy to put off.

My second professional resolution is to take all my vacation time. And comp time. I am notoriously negligent of my own needs for rest, yet I preach it all the time to my staff. In 2008 I only took about two and a half of four weeks available to me and barely claimed the comp time I should have. The price has been excessive weariness and chronic ennui. The people who live at Timbercrest and the people with whom I work deserve better.

Next, I'm making two professional resolutions as pastor of Peoria Church. The first one is to try and better equip Church members for the disciplines of living the Christian life. I think this will mean better connecting both Word and Sacrament to people's lives, their families, jobs, homes, friendships, etc. In order to do this better, I'm going to have to work on this better myself.

My second pastoral resolution is related to my second Timbercrest resolution: taking better care of myself spiritually. To this point, my pattern is to get all spiritually fired up during the "fasting seasons" - Advent, Lent, Sts. Peter and Paul, and Dormition - and then let those times carry me through the rest of the year. Of course the problem is one of balance. So, I need to practice ways of maintaining a sense of spiritual balance all year. (I already know plenty of ways to do that - it's the practice of them that I need.)

Finally, and certainly not the least important, are my two resolutions relating to Karen. I'm listing these last because I think if I can make a dent in any of the ones above, then I'll be doing a lot toward being a better husband. Watching less TV, keeping better care of my health, taking more breaks from work, and developing better habits spiritually should all help in the husband department.

But I have two specific resolutions relating to Karen. The first is to be more open to her needs for quiet time. I tend to want to fill the empty spaces with jabber. I need to develop more respect for her needs to unwind from work, where her full roster of special needs children keeps her busy.

My second "Karen" resolution is to keep up with the garden this year. In the last several years, our perennial flowerbed has been a nice way of beautifying our home, but in 2008 I let it get away from me. It became a large weed bed more than anything. So this year, it's back to the flowers. I want to create a better quiet space for Karen outdoors - she loves to sit on the swing and enjoy the view.

So that's it. "No resolutions for your kids?" you might ask. Nope. I think if I can work on any one of these, I'll be going the right direction to being a better father, too. And besides, they're adults now: they should be making resolutions for me, right? :-)

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