There are only so many places where I can be fed in my schedule. I live off scraps of time sandwiched around school runs and children’s appointments. Do I have time to read, let alone for a reading challenge? It’s much like every mom’s experience. For a variety of reasons we are stretched thin putting so much of life ahead of ourselves and our needs. But I know from experience you can only run on empty for so long before it backfires. Learning about self-care, learning to care about myself, has really become a priority for me. This past year I’ve put a lot of thought into what works and what doesn’t. I’ve made a couple discoveries, but with each season we add and subtract different components of our operating system and at each change how well I am able to take care of myself changes right along with it.
I chalk the fluidity of my circumstance up to the newness of this transition to working in the home loving and nurturing my family. Ha! Staying home to tend the family and manage the children’s treatment plans. Don’t get me wrong, I was blessed to retire early from the military and took a 180, dropping all pretense of a professional career to teach myself how to run a house. Wow!
In my quest to make this dog hunt I discovered a circle of moms, managing larger families from a Christ-focused perspective, that not only blog about their experience, but publishing products and e-courses to pass along what they found successful. Initially, I was all about the free printables, but the deeper I got into the community the more useful and informative I found their contributions to my journey. Relying on these women as my virtual mentors and peers I’ve begun to reshape myself and my home life. There are many successes I can point to in 2017’s metamorphosis and I am positively giddy at the prospect of digging into my 2018 goals… What does this all have to do with reading? Keep pulling that thread. You’ll get there. Because, it’s on! The 2018 Christian Reading Challenge for Women has begun and I’m already two weeks behind… How did we get here, Kindle Paperwhite in hand, ready to download the first of 26 juicy little morsels?
I mean, here I am on the edge of my chair with excitement about the coming year. Excited to have 2018 goals thank you, Cassie at Moms Choose Joy! Her 7-Day 2018 Goal Setting Virtual Workshop was a revelation. It walked me through the process of goal setting in a way that really peeled back the onion for me to discover my top three focus areas and then guided me through breaking them into workable goals that are so much smarter than a mere SMART goal. It’s how she frames it that brings the entire concept into focus. I was skeptical to start and dragged my feet a bit until I was watching all seven classes in two days to finish the exercises before the videos expired! And it was AWESOME!!!! I didn’t even finish all the worksheets, but I got through all the exercises I needed to see where I was headed. Hooray! Bring on 2018…
Finding My One Word
I drew the line at picking a “Word of the Year.” Too hokey, right? Then I couldn’t escape the topic. Everywhere I turned all I saw with “Word of the Year” this and “Word of the Year” that. So, I printed Cassie’s worksheet on how to narrow down the entire English language to one word that capture everything I expect out of myself in the coming year. And somewhere along the way I was like, “yeah, that’s my word!” Cool! So now I have goals and a word, what next? Resume life as usual. Read some blogs. Listen to some podcasts. Think of what the next best thing I could do to maximize my day-in-day-out effort to give my family the best of myself.
Jami Balmet, front and center! Full disclosure. She doesn’t know me from Eve, but I love her stuff. She shared in her Homemaking Ministries Online Conference this past year that she listens to podcasts to break up the day as she goes about her more mundane tasks. Face it, staying home by yourself, while everyone else goes out into the world can be kind of lonely. So, as a starting point I subscribed to all of Jami’s podcasts and the podcasts of the moms from several of the blogs I frequent, thank God for email subscriptions or I’d lose track of everyone! And there Jami was, sharing her Word of the Year as it relates to her 2018 goals! I’m in heaven! I’ve researched myself full circle!!! I immediately break down my goals into mini-goals related to my Word of the Year! EEEK!!!
Accepting the Reading Challenge
And then I’m listening to several podcasts of Jami’s I’d kind of back-burnered, because I couldn’t see how they related to me. I’m a mom of three school aged children on the Autism Spectrum. Why would I need a reading challenge? I read all the time. Had I learned nothing from my Moms Choose Joy experience? So, waiting for my daughter in the kiss-and-ride line I begin listening to Jami’s 10 Favorite Books from 2017 podcast. It was the lesser of two weevils. All the way through I’m taking so many notes that I just end up on her website reading the show notes. And there again is the reading challenge… I call “uncle” and am blown away… blown… away…
Every book is carefully considered on a variety of topic areas designed to grow me! This is like Miracle Grow for the world weary mom. And there’s a downloadable toolkit!! I mean, all that content and something to three-hole punch… It’s too much!!! Am I going for Level 1, 13 books, one every four weeks? Or am I going to Level 2, 26 books, one every other week? Neither! I’m going for the full 104 books Jami and her husband have challenged each other to read. You’ll have to listen to Jami’s podcast to hear the back story, but I’m so jazzed about the 26 curated offerings that I want to devour them and shoot right past the moon to the Orion Nebula! All this for the simple fact that I don’t want to be left behind and miss something….
It’s on, Jami Balmet! The 2018 Christian Reading Challenge for Women!!!