A different way to start the year

It has been one week since the new year began, and if you’re like me, you’ve read countless blog posts, news stories and websites that outline how to set and keep new year’s resolutions. But, if you’re like me, you also find setting year-long resolutions daunting and overwhelming. An entire year in which I have to do x, y, and z? Talk about pressure!

However, while reading last week I came across a post with an awesome idea, one that is reasonable and achievable: The 12 in 12 challenge.

Instead of deciding to conquer two, three or (as I would sometimes do) five+ massive resolutions in the year 2012, I would complete one commitment each month of the year. 12 goals in 12 months. Already sounds refreshing, right? At the end of each month, you get to decide whether you’d like to continue that behavior or move on.

Here are some examples:

  • Read for an extended period of time (30 minutes, an hour, etc.)
  • Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while
  • Go for a walk
  • Walk or ride your bike to work
  • Spend an hour totally unplugged
  • Give out hand-written Post-it note love letters
  • Pray or meditate
  • Write thoughts down in a journal
  • Be creative (write, draw, create figures out of Popsicle sticks)
  • Write a daily to-do list and stick to it
  • Drink 8 cups of water

You get the idea.

One of the things that I love about this idea is that it creates opportunities to add positives to your life: organization, healthy practices, free time, space to breathe and exhale.

For the month of January, my goal is to spend time with the Lord each morning. This requires waking up early and making moves in the a.m., but it has been absolutely fantastic so far, something I see myself continuing once the month is over.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I think people shouldn’t have plans or goals. Far from it! I definitely have over-arching goals for 2012, but this challenge is a great way to reduce the stress that may come with new year’s resolutions.

We may be a week into the new year, but it definitely isn’t too late to begin your 12 in 12! If you create a 12 in 12, let me know what you’re doing this January. If you have year-long resolutions, I’d love to hear about those as well.

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Weekend Retreat!

Tomorrow I’m heading home to Woodberry for fall break, exhausted from a monster midterm week. I’ll be bringing along three good friends:

Jeneva, who shares my love for hot coffee, good conversation and yummy chocolate!
Susannah, my hilarious and thoughtful roommate (This photo a blast from the past!).
Danielle, who co-leads a small group bible study with me and is a great little chef!

I can’t wait to relax with this ladies, sleeping, eating, stargazing, hiking, and spending some time sharing good conversation.

I sent an email to the girls the other day, just with details about when we’d be leaving and what we’d be doing. I copied my mom on the email, just so she was aware as well.

My mom sent this response that made me smile:

Hi Ladies,

I look forward to welcoming you to our modest retreat here in the Virginia Piedmont. Clean beds and some homemade goodies will be on hand. The leaves are starting to turn. It should be beautiful.

Please do let me know if there is some favorite food you like (or something you hate), and I will try to accomodate.

Drive Safely!

I love my mom, and her email was definitely my day’s confetti. I’m thrilled that she’s willing to host a hoard of loud, hungry college students despite her busy schedule. Such a blessing!

Right now, our home is full of empty beds waiting to be filled with lovely ladies, and we’re looking forward to some rest. I’m so excited for the weekend of lovin’ ahead!

Get your nuggets

We were created to share our lives with others. I totally believe that. In fact, in Acts 2 we learn about the community of Jesus followers who “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (verse 42).” The passage goes on to say that “all the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people (v 44-47).”

I totally believe that we were created for this kind of community, a place of sharing life, and our hearts, with each other. It’s necessary. However, that often is not our reality. We’re pushed and pulled to and fro by our responsibilities, obligations and expectations. We often ‘can’t make the time’ to fellowship with others.

BUT. I’ve found that receiving the soul food of community doesn’t have to include a huge chunk of time.

An hour-long walk here and a 30 minute conversation there are just as good. These little nuggets of time can be enough. You don’t have to devote an entire day or afternoon, so stop waiting. Call that friend for a quick chat. Meet weekly for an hour-long coffee date with someone who warms your soul. Take an evening stroll with your husband and children. Invite that girl you’ve hit it off with in class to come to your house and make dinner.

I’ve started walking Monday nights with Brittany, a friend I’ve known for just a few months. We meet up, walk for an hour and talk. nonstop. She’s a gem, and we relate to each other in so many ways. That short time together is incredibly refreshing, and I give her a squeeze goodbye completely energized and filled to the brim with lovin’, ready to tackle the mountain of homework that is inevitably waiting for me.

So, I want you to ask yourself – Are you getting soul food these days?

No? Get your nuggets, dear.

Don’t hit the snooze button

Good morning!

Today marked the first “don’t hit the snooze button” morning this week. And I’m off to a terrible start.

I formed a nasty habit this summer – alarm goes off. snooze button pressed. I lie in bed for five minutes. alarm goes off. snooze button pressed. I lie in bed for five more minutes. Repeat for half an hour or 45 minutes. But really. I’ve never been a big snooze-button presser, but this summer it started, for some strange reason.

Habits die hard, and my snooze happy habit has lead to many a wasted morning, and if you know me at all, you are aware of the bazillion things happening in my life. Therefore, early morning quiet times are more necessary than ever, and my habit has been standing in the way of that. Not only that, once I’m up, I regret not having done so sooner.

This morning was meant to be a fresh start, but sadly my snooze button was hit twice this morning. Baby steps though, right?

This whole snooze button challenge got me to thinking – in what other areas of my life am I hitting snooze? In what other areas of my life am I choosing to lay back in the warmth of my covers, despite the fact that if I get up and get moving, great things can happen?

I think about the areas of my life in which I choose to sit back and not participate, simply because being apathetic and sometimes downright lazy is easier and seems to be more comfortable now. But am I sacrificing amazing experiences, opportunities and interactions as a result?

SO.

Not only am I choosing to stop hitting the snooze button on my alarm each morning for a while (I hope…baby steps), I’m choosing to identify spaces in my life in which I do the same.

Are you hitting the snooze button in some areas of your life, choosing to remain comfy but later regretting your inaction?

Listen Up!

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”      ~ Earnest Hemingway

I’m a talker. Ask anyone I know, and they’ll tell you it’s the truth. Honestly, I can’t help it. Part of it is that I’m an external processor. It’s difficult for me to sort through information without talking out loud. Sometimes I see it as a huge negative, and other times I simply try to embrace it as part of who I am.

However, recently I’ve been trying to shut my trap and listen to those around me. It’s amazing how easy it is to be in conversation with someone and listen distractedly. We listen, but for me, that includes hearing only what I want to hear. Or that means listening, but also thinking about what I want to say next. Why is it so hard to get out of our own heads long enough to really focus on what others around us are saying?

Do you know that person who always cuts you off when you’re sharing a story or talking about your day, that person who always has to give their two cents, before you’re done giving yours, or who has to cut in with an, “Oh, I…” statement before you even get to finish sharing that awesome thing that happened to you? It frustrating, right? I think we’ve all probably been that person at some point as well. I know I can be that way sometimes.

Gretchen is currently studying abroad in Rwanda. I miss her terribly!

My friend Gretchen listens to me in a way that challenges me to listen to her in response. When I talk with her, I feel as though I’m saying something of the utmost importance, and it feels great to know someone is truly hearing the words I’m saying. I have her full attention. I’m challenged to hear her, and others, in return.

It’s difficult to close our traps and slow our minds long enough to hear those around us. BUT. Give it a try. Because I’ve been more intentional in the way I listen, Ive felt that conversations with friends have been that much more meaningful. The people I love deserve my undivided attention, and it feels great to honor that.

A Stunning Example

Dear Mom and Dad (aka Faquaad and Maquaad),

I can only hope that I have the kind of relationship you have. Nothing is perfect, of course, and there are definite flaws and faults there, but the love you have for each other is so evident to me – in the way you speak to, poke fun at and care for one another. Your friendship is stunning, and the love you have for Christ and each other is a beautiful example for those around you, including me.

You’ve raised seven beautiful children (if I may say so myself) and have provided for us in a way that we don’t deserve. We’re truly blessed. Just a few weeks ago, you celebrated 28 years of marriage, and I thought I’d share some nuggets on the blog that you shared with me.

Thank you for who you both are and for everything that you do. I’m one lucky girl.

LOVE,

Kellye (aka Fat Fat)

I LOVE THIS. Mom cross-stitched it shortly after she became engaged to dad.
Mom's bridal shower. I'm throwing it in, because LOOK AT THOSE GLASSES! yikes!
Mom's getting ready to walk down the aisle!
Beauty.
Aw!
I clearly inherited my beautiful smile from her. Thanks, mom!
My dad and grandfather before the ceremony.
My grandmother is on the left. I miss her. Isn't she a beauty?
Mom walking down the aisle with her dad!
Married!
Beautiful mama!
Grandpa and dad
So happy!
They're babies! Mom was 20, a year younger than I am now, and Dad was 22.
A staged photo. The car actually broke down, so they had to borrow another. Hah. Whoops!
Thanksgiving 2010
Dancing during my sister's wedding reception. Clearly loving life - and each other!
At the beach this summer. LOVE this photo.
You have a lot of kids, mom and dad...just to be sure you know!

Paralyzing Perfectionism

Why, hello there friends! It has been more than seven months since I last posted some confetti. YIKES! Let me tell you why.

I am constantly paralyzed by perfectionism.

Fun fact about Kellye Coleman – If she can’t do or say something perfectly, she runs in the other direction. She doesn’t even try. She freezes in fear, deer caught in bright headlights before what is certain to be a horrific crash. Yep, that’s me.

When I began this blog, I approached it in typical type-A, Kellye form. I had a plan for how, what and when I would post. I had a list of potential topics that was constantly growing, assembled with gusto and enthusiasm. But when my spring semester began to get out of hand, with more work than I’ve ever experienced – I shudder just thinking about it  – I diverted from the plan.

After a few weeks without posting, time not allowing me to do so, I abandoned ship in defeat. It wasn’t going as perfectly as I wanted. That wouldn’t do. So, let’s just give up altogether.

However, in the past few weeks I’ve really been challenged in regards to this perfectionism. God has been revealing to me just how self-centered I am, and my perfectionism is a perfect example of that. A recent sermon helped me see this. The pastor was speaking about doing  things from our own strength and will power. When we do this, and we succeed, it’s ALL about us – we take pride in that achievement and give ourselves the credit. On the other hand, if we fail, it’s an excuse for self-ridicule and loathing. It’s all about us.

However, if we rely on God’s strength, coming to Him and asking that He guide us in every thing that we’re doing, whether it’s cleaning the house, doing homework, training for a half marathon (I started training for my second one today!) or writing a blog post. If there is success, all glory and honor is His. If it flops, you are able to trust that it was for a reason.

That is how I have approached my last full semester of college, arms open wide, asking Christ to be, live and move in the middle of all that I do. It’s a daily prayer that has lead to a peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. There is no pressure for perfection, and I’m willing to approach situations without being positive that the result will be perfect. and that’s OK.

Are you paralyzed by perfectionism? Ask Christ to free you of that.

Have you asked God to guide you through the tasks, activities and projects you’re a part of? DO IT.

So, as I begin to post confetti again, I do so having asked my Father to be involved in the process. AND that means that I come without a pressure to post every day. If I only post once a month, so be it! If my posts are read by one person, so be it! It’s what He would have right now, and I can dig it. I hope you can too.

P.S. Feel free to let me know what you think of the new blog theme. Just thought I’d do something different.