Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Goals and Why We Should All Set Them

Do you have New Year's resolutions? Do you set goals?




I usually shy away from resolutions that set me up for failure (drink less coffee, exercise more often), but I do love setting goals. Setting goals is important for me, and really I believe for all of us, because of how we are wired.

We need a point on which to focus.  As busy as we all are, if we don't focus on at least one goal per day or per week, we can easily run off in about fifty different tangents and side roads and never get anything significant accomplished or never get where we're going.

Not sure how to start?  A lot of moms I know use their phone or tablet for tracking tasks and goals, but I use an old-fashioned planner because I just really like it so much better. I write down daily, weekly, and monthly goals. I keep moving them forward if I don't complete them, but I do keep them on my list until they are satisfied or I change my mind about their importance.  

If daily goal setting seems like overkill to you, then choose weekly or even monthly.  Just do it, and if you are able to cross off the goal as having been completed, then set another one.  Work until you accomplish it and you will feel so good about yourself. 




I also set annual goals each year, just a way to focus on the overall end goal that I am trying to reach.  For 2014, my goal is this: To simplify my life in a way that will allow me to know God more fully.  

That sounds really good on paper, but it is going to take a whole lot of work, a ton of discipline, and me learning to saying "no" more often in order to simplify my crazy life. 

I trust God in this new season and new year, and I'm so thankful that God doesn't stop blessing us because our situations change each day, each month, each year.   





I'd love to hear your plans and goals for the new year! If you need some inspiration on how to focus more in 2014, and how to set realistic goals, I encourage you to check out these wonderful bloggers below who are keeping it real as we start the new year: 




























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Monday, December 30, 2013

It's a Beautiful Life--2013 Edition

January--We started this year off just as we finished 2012--with the adoption of one of our beautiful foster babies--the first little girl we have had the honor to love. She is so beautiful and went to a gorgeous family.




Later in the month, Abbey got the flu.  It was awful and she was down for several days and I felt helpless as her asthma kicked into high gear. 

February--Not to be outdone, right after Abbey got over hers, I got the flu as well and was down for about seven days and not back to normal for another five weeks. I returned to the doctor and finally received a steroid shot that helped me progress a little faster. As a chronic pain sufferer, those types of setbacks just take FOREVER from which to recover.  I continued to work and homeschool on a very scaled-back level, but was completely exhausted most days. 

Sadly, this same month Hannah and Adam quietly suffered through a miscarriage, and it just broke my heart. It is so hard to see your babies hurting, even your 23-year-old babies.

March--We did something we have never done before--we went camping for Easter weekend! It was such a fun, fun time away.  We caught fish, laughed, laughed, and laughed some more. We enjoyed old friends and made new ones, and we want to go back every Easter now! We had a beautiful, impromptu worship service right beside Lake Eufaula on Easter Sunday. It was a very special weekend, despite the awful-sleeping beds in that camper of ours!






May--Michael and I became foster parents for the sixth time to a precious baby boy who was so mild-mannered and easy going. I was in love immediately (as always). We enjoyed loving on him for a few short weeks before his adoption in late May. 





Our family got to go on a real vacation for the first time in a long time, so we surprised Abbey with a trip to SeaWorld in Orlando! She was thrilled and definitely in her environment. 



While in Orlando, I worked at a Florida Homeschooling Convention booth for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and got to meet Dean Butler (aka "Almanzo Wilder" from Little House on the Prairie) in person. We had talked business on the phone for several months prior, but it was still very fun to meet him. 



June--Not long after that trip, with much prayer and contemplation, I made a major decision to quit my full-time job with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine as a senior sales rep and Gena Suarez' assistant. While I know it was the right decision for our family, I sure do miss my coworkers and my clients.

Part of my decision to quit TOS stemmed from much prayer and consideration over helping my husband expand our woodworking business, Woodworks by Brooks, to beyond local orders. I began the tedious process of building a website and opening an Etsy store.  
Weeks went by and no orders, nothing. You could hear the crickets chirping. But then one day we heard "Cha-ching"--no, literally, we heard that sound because I had downloaded the Etsy app on my phone and when you make a sale, it goes, "Cha-ching." And once the orders started, they kept coming, and we have been so blessed! We have shipped orders as far away as California and as far north as New Jersey. 


September--Abbey and I began homeschooling her 5th grade year together.  We have been blessed with some REALLY great curriculum, and I love how we have a great routine going on.  I love being her teacher because I am learning so, so much as well. 




Our biggest news of this month was that Hannah and Adam announced they were expecting again.  Hannah was terrified, of course, because of her previous miscarriage, but she got to the doctor early and started monitoring hormone levels early and often. We've never been so excited about morning sickness! :)




October--My middle sister came to visit for two weeks from Houston, and we had so much fun together. My older sister joined us for a few days and hilarity ensued. I love, love my sisters. They absolutely tortured me as a child, but we are the best of friends now and I can't imagine my life without them. 




Michael and I became foster parents for the seventh time to a precious baby boy.  He stole our heart and a few of our brain cells to boot. He had horrible colic and cried. I mean a lot. Like eight hours a day. Despite the challenges, we loved being able to love him and help him every day.  




November--Michael and I became foster parents for the eighth time. That's right--we had two newborn babies at one time. This sweet little baby girl was so fat and so sweet! Oh my goodness, we loved having her in our home.   Both she and Baby "James" were adopted shortly before Thanksgiving and are both thriving and growing well! (But I sure do miss their sweet faces here.) 




December--This month, we found out Hannah and Adam are having a little girl! Oh, so exciting for all of us! I can't wait to spoil another grandchild, who will be named Swayze!!  




Overall, 2013 has been a really, really good year for us, and we do not go a day without thanking and praising God for bringing us to a good place in our lives.  We know that no matter what 2014 may bring, He will never leave us nor forsake us. 

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Want a sneak peek into other adventures of some of my homeschooling friends? Well, a few of them have also written posts about remembering real life in 2013. Grab a cup of coffee, and have fun browsing the fun blogs below! 




























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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Scripture and a Snapshot--12/29/2013




"But the godly shall flourish like palm trees and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon." Psalm 92:12

     Yes, I realize the photo above is not a picture of a palm or cedar tree, but there were towering pine trees on our campsite, and this verse came to mind. God truly does allow the godly to flourish. I love looking up through the trees and seeing them reaching towards heaven, praising the Lord in the only way they know how.  It reminds me that I should praise Him constantly because He blesses so richly.  



***Click the cute button below for more photos and verses 
to inspire your soul: 






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Friday, December 27, 2013

What's this Blog Title All About Anyway?

Coffee--Boy, oh boy, do I love some coffee!! I have been drinking it since I was 14 years old.  Don't even know how I got started, or why I thought I needed it (probably late night studying sessions), but I have rarely been a day without it.  Call it sad or weird or normal---just don't take my cup of Joe while you're deciding!! Coffee!!



Cobwebs--I try desperately to keep my house clean.  Most days there's only four of us here, and I still struggle to keep it clean.  The amount of dust that settles in this house in a day's time is incredible! And our really high ceilings make wonderful nooks for the resident spiders.  I try hard not to look up during the course of my day. And don't even get me started about the dust on the ceiling fan blades! Cobwebs!!




Curriculum--I am a self-professed curriculum junkie.  I love how creative people can get when it comes to writing and teaching homeschool curriculum texts and studies.  I can't imagine not homeschooling, and I love finding that perfect curriculum for my youngest.  She is a wonderful student, but will quickly let me know when something isn't working for her.  I don't necessarily change something immediately just because she fusses, but I do love researching new curriculum choices for her.  Curriculum!!



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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Beauty Captured--12/26/13

A Christmas Eve fire, just right for roasting marshmallows! 







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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Scripture and a Snapshot~~12/22/2013



And while they were there, the time came for her delivery, And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7 

God gave us all we need in the manger that night--ALL we will ever need.



 Joining Miranda and Jennifer, hostesses for the following link-ups: 

and 


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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Scripture and a Snapshot~~12/15/13



The greatest gifts this Christmas can't be wrapped--the joy of family and the gift of Eternal Life through Jesus Christ. 

“Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel told her, “for God has decided to wonderfully bless you! Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him ‘Jesus.’ He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God. And the Lord God shall give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he shall reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom shall never end!” Luke 1:30-33



Scripture and a Snapshot is a link-up hosted by Jennifer at A Glimpse of Our Life.


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Friday, December 13, 2013

Random Five on Friday~~12/13/2013





Five Random Facts about Christmas in My House: 

1)  I love Christmas! I grew up somewhat on the lower-income side of the American economy, but Christmas was absolutely my favorite time of year. While I didn't get all the things some of my friends got, I still remember feeling so blessed. 







2) My children really don't know what it is like to do without, but we do try hard to limit the amount we spend on them. I'm not great at sticking to that soft rule, but I do make an honest effort each year. I just keep finding that ONE MORE GIFT that would be perfect for them. 




3) Ever since I can remember, I get terribly depressed on Christmas Day after the presents are opened.  I want to do it over and over again. I just love watching my family open their presents because I have spent so much time finding them JUST the right gift. 





4)  For all the bad in the world, Christmas and Christ remind us that there is a lot of good in the world. I cling to that hope well beyond the holiday season. 



  


5) Just when I get sad thinking about how my youngest will soon grow out of some of the magic that is Christmas, I remember how blessed I am that I have two grandchildren (my oldest daughter is due in May 2014)  coming up that will keep ALL of us enjoying the beauty of the season for years to come! 



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Come join the Random 5 on Friday Link-up! 




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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Scripture and a Snapshot ~~12/8/13





"See, the Lord comes from afar, aflame with wrath, surrounded by thick rising smoke. His lips are filled with fury; his words consume like fire." Isaiah 30:27. 


 Click the button above for more inspiration! 





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Friday, December 6, 2013

Random Five on Friday~~12/6/13



Five things I love about December: 

1. Advent. The joy of Advent; of expecting the birth of Jesus and overwhelming enormity of what that blessed event means. 

2. Joy. The joy of knowing I have just the right gift for my family members.  I take a lot of time to pick something they will treasure, and I don't buy just for the sake of having something to open. 

3.  Food.  I love to eat, especially sweets, and the South is full of good cooks who love to share their goodies with friends.  I love gifts that come in the form of food. I love making food with my family. And I love the fellowship that comes when we choose to share what we make with others. 

4.   Hallmark Movies.  What? Don't judge. I love a sappy, sweet, predictable love story. There is so much sadness in the world, and these sweet movies get me in the spirit of the season, and allow me to watch something fun with my 10- year-old daughter without cringing about cuss words or scantily-clad women. 

5. Chaos. I know this is a weird praise, but you have to know something about me: my brain normally does not function well in chaos. I need my house to be straightened up as much as possible all day long. It doesn't have to be spotless, but clutter bothers me to no end.  But in December, somehow my uptight brain relaxes, and I have learned to enjoy the decorations and the rearranged furniture (especially for misjudged live Christmas trees that take up the whole room).  
It's a link up! Click the cute birdhouse to learn more! 









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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Beauty Captured~~12/4/13

The joy of the season. . .my grandson's fascination with all things bright and beautiful. . .






Don't miss any of my posts! Subscribe in a reader or check out my Facebook page. Subscribe to this blog and have each post delivered straight to your inbox! ©2013-2014 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. www.coffeecobwebsandcurriculum.blogspot.com

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