My Plan to Read Through the Bible This Year

Last week I proclaimed my goals for the year! Today I wanted to share a little bit more about how I plan to tackle some of them. Grand plans are nothing without action of course, and I thought I’d start with a goal many Christians set at the beginning of a New Year: read through the Bible this year.

My Plan to Read Through the Bible This Year photo via Lightstock

This resolution comes in many forms:

  • I’m going to read my Bible every day
  • I’m going to read a Proverb every day for the month
  • I’m going to get up early and have my quiet time

Whatever it looks like, it is certainly a noble goal. If my experience, and that of many of my friends, is typical though – it’s also one of the most failed goals.

Right up there with, lose ten pounds.

I have read the entire Bible in a year before, in fact, I did it in 144 days! Later that year, I was part of an accountability group where I learned about a different reading plan with me, the one I’ll be using this year.

It’s called the Professor Horner’s Bible-Reading System.

Stay with me, this is not a version of the Bible or a new translation or anything psuedo-Christian. This is simply a schedule you can use to read 10 chapters of the Bible each day over the course of about 8 months to read through the Bible this year.

Here are my favorite features of this plan:

  • You can use whatever version of a Bible you prefer
  • You can use the YouVersion app of this plan to read & track your progress
  • You read daily from Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, & Proverbs
  • You will never read the exact same ten chapters together as long as you keep reading according to the distinct lists
  • You can find little gems in sections that are, um, not as plot-intensive (all those begats and the dividing of the land to the tribes of Israel)
  • You have plenty of make-up time since it’s only scheduled for 8 months

For instance, earlier this week I was reading Joshua 18 and verse 3 pretty much jumped off the page:

Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?"

I mean, right in the middle of all the landscape of the Promised Land, God is using Joshua to remind the people that the land is already theirs! They are being disobedient by failing to go and do what God has designed for them. It was a reminder I personally needed to hear but it was right there in the midst of land surveys.

I started the plan at the beginning of the year and have definitely missed a day or two along the way. There have also been days where I read ahead of the schedule. I knew that I would give up on the goal if I said I would read every day. The first family or medical emergency and the perfectionist in me would have given up. (We did in fact, have such a crisis this month and I’m pretty sure God wanted me to get in the car and be able to pray with our loved one in person much more than He wanted me to be on a Bible reading schedule).

If you are considering the commitment to read the entire Bible, I believe this is a great plan to use since it takes very little time each day and keeps a variety of books mixed into the schedule. If you are looking for something that takes closer to 30 minutes a day and gives you a fast, overview of the entire book, try the Bible in 90 days format.

Either way, let me know when you get started and maybe we can encourage each other along the way on facebook. In the comments, I’d love for you to share the biggest lesson you learned if you’ve read the entire Bible before.

Blessings,

Tammy

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Table Makeover with Vintage Furniture Paint

Table Makeover with Vintage Furniture Paint

I had such great success with my Pink Dresser Project, I  knew I wanted to use the same paint, Vintage Furniture Paint, for a set of table & chairs we recently purchased cheap. The pieces had a beautiful wood-stain finish on the tops of both the table and chairs. The legs, apron, and backs were all a creamy white. Well, creamy white with a dash of kids’ paint and lots of wear.

Table Makeover Chairs Before

I’ve refinished tables before with great results, but I knew my friend Denise was a professional. She has the workspace, the materials, and the time to get projects completed. When her quote came in well under the budget I expected, I happily turned over all the pieces to her care for refinishing. Last week, she delivered everything and I am thrilled with the results.

Table Makeover with Vintage Furniture Paint Set

She did a marvelous job matching the straight-slat side chairs we already owned. Now, the more intricately designed chairs with the wooden seats are being used at the ends of the table.

Table Makeover ChairsI love to do projects on my own, it feels strange to pass off any kind of crafty thing to someone else…especially when it’s going with hard-earned cash. However, I have learned over the years that I can often come out with a better product and better use of my time, when I leave certain jobs to the professionals.

Denise completed the entire project, including pickup & deliver within days. I wouldn’t have even been able to start the project in that timeframe. She got the finish to nearly a perfect match to our existing chairs. She even supplied a small jar of touch up paint should we need it in the future. I was able to spend time holding appointments for my business and earning much more than it cost to have the table refinished.

Have you completed any makeover projects lately?

 

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10 Goals for 2015

10 Goals for 2015 at SkipperClan

Two thousand and fourteen brought huge triumphs for me.

I achieved the highest status to date in my business.
SkipperClan retired after twenty years in the Air Force.
Our youngest graduated high school.

It also brought a few challenges.

We moved for the third time in 38 months.
Our lender for our home purchase was disorganized and difficult.
celebrated my 39th birthday in a hospital ER with Bell’s Palsy.

Everyone faces challenges. We aspire to do great things, not just on January 1st, but hopefully throughout our days. I have said many times that I believe God put me on this earth to be busy – busy about the things that bring Him glory.

It was with this renewed focus that I considered the New Year. I originally wrote down 12 goals. After listening to every morsel of Michael Hyatt’s resources throughout the promotion of his Best Year Ever course, I realized I needed to consider shortening the list. I quickly realized that one of the goals was really just a task I wanted to complete. A couple of others were essentially the same. After the editing, I had 10 goals for 2015.

  1. become debt free
  2. read the entire Bible
  3. reach my goal weight by my 40th birthday
  4. join a local church and serve
  5. read fifty or more books
  6. develop 100 skin care clients
  7. complete a creative project monthly
  8. send items monthly to our sponsored child
  9. plan a dream vacation
  10. write and publish a book

That last one, whew! It’s a big, audacious, scary, crazy idea. Me. Write a book. If you have your doubts, please keep them to yourself since I have enough of my own. Part of me still looks at that list and thinks: really? all that in one year? mmm-hhhmmm

But this other part of me, this long-suppressed voice of a dreamer says it’s time for a do-over. Time to quit leaning on my strength and do things in God’s strength. Because when we accomplish those things up there in that big, scary list? We will have choices. Choices about where and when we work. Choices about where we live. Choices about who will be the recipient of random, anonymous gifts. Choices of the parts of the world we have never seen.

Yes, some of those goals have been around for a couple of years. Some of them have been talked about, a lot. I can’t say I am done talking about them, since I am obviously talking about them here. What I can say, is I will update you each month on our progress. I welcome your suggestions and encouragement.

If you’ve shared your goals, will you leave a link in the comments?

God bless,

Tammy

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My First Visit to CrossFit

Since I’ve been making some changes to improve my health like giving up diet soda, eating foods more in line with the Whole30 guidelines, and drinking more water – you know I was eventually going to get around to talking about exercise. What better time than January when everyone who even thinks about resolutions probably has some kind of fitness goal on their minds.

I’ve been hearing about CrossFit for about six years. I know this because that’s how long my sister in law has been going to her local box {that’s what they call the gym} and she l.o.v.e.s. it. If you haven’t heard about it, then I know you don’t have anyone around you who is a member. People who are committed to the workouts tend to talk about it a lot. To be fair, I think it’s because they get results.

My First Visit to CrossFit

We only recently moved close to my sister in law so the current bring-a-friend-free promotion was one of the first times we were able to give it a try. Also, my back hasn’t exactly been asking for such an intense workout the last few years, so I was glad we had set a date when my back seem to be cooperating.

The gym wasn’t glamorous, pretty basic really. That’s one of the things people love about CrossFit though. It’s all based around pretty simple concepts. Padded flooring helped minimize the impact during exercises like jumping rope. Simple equipment meant there were few obstructions as we moved throughout the gym. The workout is planned for you, but can be adapted. For instance, I can’t currently do traditional situps, so I did planks instead.

During my first visit, we worked out as teams of four. KitKat came along too and we definitely felt the intensity. For the warmup, we switched between squats while tossing a medicine ball onto the wall above us, then jumping rope. Four rounds later, I couldn’t talk and Kit Kat had to countdown to keep from losing her lunch.

Next we moved to the circuit type workout. Our team of four rotated every minute between four exercises: pull ups, burpees, rowing machine, and situps. I was impressed how well I did with the jumping pull ups and frustrated by my lack of core strength and failing at situps. However, the coach did a great job of watching us beginners and making suggestions as needed. He would give clear tips to correct form, offered the replacement of planks when I was on situps, and encouraged everyone to push themselves a little farther.

After everything I’ve heard about Crossfit, I found it to be an extremely effective workout. The coach and owner at this particular facility is extremely well trained and has a ton of experience. The workout is like having the benefits of a gym membership and a private trainer together every time you go. Given what 15 or more visits with a trainer per month would cost, I’m sure the membership is a much better deal. If you like competition this is definitely a great format. You can compete against yourself and other gym members.

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Choosing The Things You Love

Did you make big goals for 2015? Are you feeling like you’ve already failed? It’s about that time, just a few days shy of the 21-days-to-build-a-habit theory when people start dropping like flies.

You missed a scheduled day at the gym so why bother going on the weekend?
Your child was sick and you forgot your daily Bible reading so you’ve failed God.
You were determined to do a photography challenge but you forgot yesterday.

Why do we think we must do things perfectly in order to do them well?

Doubt and perfectionism and supposed-to’s will eat us alive and destroy our dreams…at least for us type-a, first born, achievement-driven gals.

Today I’m choosing not to give in to the doubt or any of the other nonsense.

I’m writing a few words here and publishing without worrying about the perfect Pinterest graphic or SEO check.
I’m playing with my camera for a while and capturing a few things which have inspired me the last few days.
I’m putting together a few dishes for the freezer and using my slow cooker instead of preparing an elaborate dinner.
I’m going to read and something on the dvr.

I’m going to give the creative side of me a chance to work by ignoring my tendency to schedule my days in great detail.

We might even take the motorcycle out for a spin…note to self, get a current photo of hubby’s motorcycle…

 

Quick and Simple Gifts for Your Sponsored Child

I know I promised to share my 2015 goals {I’m kind of still in denial that it is in fact, two thousand fifteen} but they will be up next week. Today I want to share what we are doing to accomplish one of them.

Quick & Simple Gifts For Your Sponsored Child

Honestly, it sounds strange for me to say ‘our sponsored child,’ but I realize that is what most of you would put in the google search bar if you were looking for ideas. {I did} In modern America, even the poorest among us is among the richest in the world. The hashtag #firstworldproblems is something we can use to at least help us gain perspective on problems we have that we know pale in comparison to those in other nations.

One of the ways we chose to make a positive impact for someone outside of our modern American culture, was to sponsor a child through a relief organization. A couple of the largest organizations are Compassion International and World Vision.

In our case, the church we were attending at the time was in fact working directly with one of the organizations to ensure a community-wide impact. The sponsorship organization found approximately 200 children in the same community for our church members to sponsor. In addition to that, our church partnered with a different outreach effort to work with local orphanages in the same district of the country. As the body of Christ, we were able to layer our outreach to have a strong and thorough impact on the community. I wish more churches worked with such big-picture thinking, but that is a topic for another post…

SO! We were given the opportunity to sponsor a child and it’s hard to believe we are over three years into that agreement. I absolutely adore getting her letters and cards sharing her appreciation for the resources she has directly through this support.

I also know that sometimes a little girl just wants something fun, something special that is all hers. I send several packages a year, but this year our goal is to send something fun once a month. I was inspired by a post a few months ago where some ladies were looking for ideas on gifts to include in Operation Christmas Child, where shoeboxes are filled with toiletries and supplies for those in need around the world.

Here is a list I compiled from that discussion. I hope these quick and simple gifts for your sponsored child will encourage you to send a little something fun for your child soon.

  • temporary tattoos
  • bubbles
  • stickers
  • glow sticks
  • erasers & pencils
  • mini art kits
  • crayons
  • travel tissues

Check out Operation Christmas Child’s Pinterest Boards for even more ideas. Remember that bulky items are usually not recommended for sponsored children as the larger the package, the more likely it will be taken before it reaches them. Here is a great board specifically for things not recommended.

Honestly, I believe from her responses, that our child loves getting the personal notes as much as anything else. In some countries, it’s hard to know if the gifts will actually make it through the sometimes corrupt mail and governmental systems. We don’t spend much, but I know the consistency of hearing from us has had a big impact. It’s not that we become parents to a girl we have never met, it’s more like we are a distant aunt, uncle, and cousins that provide encouragement and opportunity even if we never meet.

What ideas do you have to add to the list?

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Imagine Your Best Year Ever

Best Year EverThis post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. All opinions are my own and you can read more on my disclosure page.

Later tonight, registration closes for Michael Hyatt’s incredible course called: 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/register

Over 5,602 people have decided this will be their year by enrolling in this course.

By going through this process, you can have a laser-like focus and a clear plan of action for accomplishing the things YOU want in your life.

Imagine how that would feel.

Imagine walking into your office on a Monday morning knowing exactly what your priorities are, exactly what you need to accomplish during the day to make progress toward your goals.

Imagine how easy it would be to make decisions with this kind of clarity.

Imagine how easy it would be to say no with total confidence and absolute certainty to things that threatened to distract you.

Imagine what it would feel like to cross the finish line of your most important goal and feel the sense of victory wash over you as you reflect on all that you have achieved and who you have become in the process.

Imagine your closest relationships and how they will develop and grow when you are finally free from the tyranny of the urgent to give them the attention and time they deserve.

Imagine how it would feel to finally be in control of your health and your body for the first time in your life–to know that you are taking care of your most important asset and honoring the thing that will carry you to all the places you want to go.

Imagine having time to become more spiritually connected, to reflect, to be inspired, and to slow down long enough to experience beauty and joy and gratitude and all that makes life truly worth living.

Imagine knowing exactly what to tell yourself when the going gets tough and you feel discouraged.

Imagine having a plan in place that will help you get back on track when “life happens” and you start to lose momentum.

All of this is within your reach.  You just have to take the first step and get on board.

http://bestyearever.me/a7620/register

Just be sure you do it before tonight (Thursday, January 8th at 11:59pm PST) because that’s when registration for the course closes.

Here’s to your 2015!

Tammy

P.S.  Tonight’s deadline of Thursday at 11:59pm PST is firm so you will not be able to register after that time.  So make sure you do it today: http://bestyearever.me/a7620/register

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5 Strategies for Losing Weight

5 Strategies for Losing Weight

Last year I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. The number on the scale was nearly the same as it had been when I was nine months pregnant with our first child. I am not judging anyone else in that situation when I say: for me that was completely inexcusable.

Yes, my body changed after having children and no, I honestly did not want my 20 year old physique back. The extra weight was affecting my mood, my health, and of course, my wardrobe. Frustration I had for my own lack of self-discipline was leaving me short-tempered with those I love most. Frustration over the circumstances of our lives was leaving me so distressed that I found myself in the emergency room with Bell’s Palsy.

I knew that if nothing else changed, my attitude needed an overhaul because God did not put me on this earth for that kind of joy-less living. That was when I decided I could at least make small, baby-step changes towards the healthier living I’d experienced in the past.

I stopped drinking diet soda.
I started drinking more water.
I tried adding more fruits and veggies to my diet.
I read about the theories behind Whole30.
I started walking 4-7 times a week with SkipperClan.

I closed out 2014 a full 15 pounds lighter.

I’ll wait while the applause dies down…

Thank you, thank you, I may have done the happy dance a few times over these last few months.

I realized over the last week as I started to come back off of the high-sugar intake from holiday treats, that there are actually several other strategies I’ve been using to get healthier that have nothing to do with food.

Here are my 5 strategies for losing weight {that have nothing to do with food}

  1. Brushing my teeth, flossing if I’m feeling really munchy
  2. Going for a walk – I realize this is easier for me living in Florida, but maybe for you it’s 2 dozen crunches or squats
  3. Clean the kitchen and close the pantry – instead of having our daughter clean up after dinner, I will personally spend the time cleaning everything, wiping down the counters and physically closing the door to the pantry as a way of telling myself that the kitchen is closed for business
  4. Work on a craft – right now I have a detailed cross stitch project going and it requires a lot of concentration because of the way the pattern was printed
  5. Phoning a friend – or family member or anyone who can talk, we make voice calls so rarely anymore that it’s usually a great way to reconnect and distract me

These are a few of the techniques I have read about in the past but fully implement now to make sure I’m not eating out of boredom or stress. By eating meals that are balanced with protein, veggies, and a healthy fat {the basic Whole30 principle}, I know I have eaten what I need. These distraction and mental tricks help me make sure I am eating for health, I hope they will help you in the New Year as well.

12 Things I’m Not Doing This Year

I welcomed the New Year with open arms yesterday. I set big goals and I started on some of them in late December, just to remind myself that I can start a new thing anytime. God doesn’t wait for Jan 1 to do things, why should I?

Before I share those goals with you here, and before we get too far into the I-already-gave-up-on-my-resolutions many people will experience in the coming weeks, I wanted to share 12 things I’m not doing this year.

12 Things I'm Not Doing This Year at SkipperClan

It’s not because I don’t love people, it’s not because some aren’t valuable things, it’s not because I don’t ever want to do them again in the future…

It’s because if there is one thing I have learned in thirty-nine years, it’s that I can’t do it all, all the time. And more importantly, I don’t want to. It makes me a mediocre wife and mother when I over extend myself, not to mention I usually gain weight and lose patience in the process.

12 Things I’m Not Doing This Year

  1. Sending birthday & anniversary cards
  2. Working on goals other people have for me
  3. Putting on a facade of perfection
  4. Attending events because it’s expected
  5. Using a credit card
  6. Finishing books I don’t like just because I started them
  7. Watching tv at the expense of hobbies that bring me joy
  8. Believing the lies of doubt in my head
  9. Keeping negative people in my social media accounts
  10. Feeling old because I’m turning 40
  11. Listening to anyone who doubts my dreams
  12. Making decisions in fear instead of faith

So many of these habits are the chains that keep us bound. I put enormous pressure on myself to send cards for example, because I’m an encourager by God’s design. They make people happy and we get regular mail so infrequently anymore. I don’t want everyone to stop doing it, I may send them again next year, but it’s so freeing to just decide that I’m not doing it this year. It’s a good thing to send cards, but my resources are finite and I don’t believe it’s the best thing I can do right now.

Many of the others are examples of how we think and behave because it’s so widely accepted in our culture. If we have a facebook account, we are expected to friend everyone no matter how miserable they are or how they make us feel. We think people are strange who don’t have credit cards. {how do they travel? what about all those points and free miles?}

Next week I will be sharing more about my goals for 2015 and what I will be doing. I’d love to hear something you are not doing this year!

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Freedom {My One Word} for 2015

Hello 2015.

It’s so nice to see you, I believe God is going to use you and I to do great things together. We have a list of goals to accomplish.

2015 One Word

SMART goals.
Spiritual goals, financial goals, physical goals…

But I’ve done this kind of planning and didn’t have much success. 2014 and I had a rough time together. We lost our focus.

I knew your time was coming though 2015, and I’ve been praying about the work we have ahead of us. During that prayer and consideration, I found one word we can use to stay on track. One word from God to guide choices and actions.

Freedom MyOneWord at SkipperClan

Freedom.

Freedom from the opinions of those who don’t share our values.
Freedom from financial chains.
Freedom to live for Him.
Freedom for the weak and oppressed because of our generosity.

Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Ephesians 3:12
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

And, to intensify our focus for the coming twelve months, our verse:

Psalm 119:45
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

Let’s get started 2015!

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