Friday, September 21, 2012

Reflections on 52 Things

My 53rd year is coming to a close and my 53rd birthday will arrive in October. As I hit the 52nd birthday I made a list of 52 things to accomplish at 52. I knew that I would most likely not finish all of them because life tends to get in the way sometimes with the best laid plans.....but.....I wanted to challenge myself to have a plan...something to be focused on the year rather than watching it rush by like many others and wondering what I did. I decided to start the challenge on October 1 of 2011 and go until my birthday in October of 2012 so I've almost hit the full year mark.

I started with a journal that I recorded all the items that had "52" in them and did a page for each numbering the pages to 52. Some of them I recorded faithfully like the books I was reading and others I quit writing down. This was partly due to the fact that as I started writing them, it felt like I was forcing them more just to write them down such as "do 52 things to show love to Russ and the kids".  Some of them were such random things which in my mind counted but looked rather contrived when recorded. So I quit recording those. Others like "watch 52 sunrises" were hit and miss because I wouldn't always write down every time I saw a sunrise or sunset. So in looking at my journal it may seem empty on some pages where I actually did a lot. It was quite fun though on the ones that I have been recording to see the pages fill up. I've completely finished reading the 52 books and writing the 52 journal entries. I'm almost done with 52 new recipes. It was motivating to see those lists fill up.

What have I learned? For one thing, having goals keeps me moving forward. There were times when I could have very easily last days of mindlessness on the computer but I would tell myself that I needed to finish my book so I didn't get behind.  Another thing I learned was that new habits can be formed by setting goals. I started the challenge with the goal to read 52 books. I made a rule along with that goal that 52 chapters in the bible would count as 1 book. I wanted to be reading my bible more and I knew that with a goal of 52 books I would end up putting casual reading over my bible reading. I decided that every morning with my breakfast, I would read my bible with a goal to read it entirely all the way through. I kept a pen with me while reading to find verses to underline that stood out to me in the chapters. I was amazed at how fast I was making my way through the bible. I would sometimes sit and read 10 chapters at a time. I gradually started seeing a habit forming to where I wanted to make sure I had my bible on trips with me so I wouldn't miss any days of reading. Now, I feel incomplete if I start my day without reading.

I've gone for an entire year without a cola and I really haven't missed them at all. I will probably allow myself to have them occasionally after my birthday but I think I will be fine without them. I went rock climbing with the kids and had a great time doing it. I hosted a Japanese dinner, visited two new states, and found many new recipes that will be family favorites for many years ahead.  I've written more letters, blogged more, journaled more and took more pictures. All have been items on which I needed to put more focus. I concentrated on learning new things and trying new things and forming good habits for things I really want to do more of.

I'm not sure yet what I will do for my 54th year. I'm leaning towards just a life at 53 smashbook in which I will post pictures, ticket stubs and record all the little things in life. I may set a small list of goals and continue pursuing the goals I accomplished this year with more writing, reading and focus on others. I'd highly recommend giving yourself a birthday goal once in awhile and see what you can accomplish. Who knows, I might just try again at 62.

You can see the "52" lists and blog I kept to record the year here

Thursday, September 06, 2012

...Another Little Man in My Life

Our lives were blessed with a second grandson, Mr. Ryan Clinton Barnhart on August 9, 2012. Cory woke me up with a phone call that they had gone to the hospital because Stephanie was in labor. We talked briefly and then he texted me about an hour later that she was progressing quickly. I barely had time to get dressed and he was here.  He didn't want to waste any time getting here. Her labor ended up being about 5 hours and she had a very quick recovery time. I didn't get to meet my newest love until he was two weeks old.  I made a ten day trip to Colorado on August 21 and stayed with them to help out with both boys and help to ease her into parenting two little guys. Everyone ended up sick the first week I was there and Liam was cutting his two upper front teeth so I had a busy week trying to keep noses wiped and everyone eating well.

Ryan is such a good baby.  Very calm and content. Rarely cries and has no problem burping after meals.  The first week went pretty smoothly and then he began throwing up with just about every feeding.  We tried everything we could to help him keep his food down from feeding smaller amounts at a time, burping more frequently and changing formulas. Nothing seemed to work and each day he was vomiting more frequently. I had to leave them on September 1 but they gave me regular reports that he wasn't urinating or having bowel movements. They finally took him to the emergency room early this morning and they found that he had a condition called Pyloric Stenosis. It's basically a blockage in the stomach flap that leads to the intestines (or something like that). He had to have surgery yesterday afternoon and is spending the night in the hospital recovering. I know it was a rough day for Cory and Stephanie watching their little man with IV's and wheeled off to surgery. I am thankful to God for his watchful care over Ryan and am happy to report that the surgery was a success and he will be back to normal soon. Big brother Liam isn't sure what to think of his new baby brother who is capturing some of Mom and Dad's attention away.  He's doing well with the adjustment though and I'm sure before too long they will be good buddies.  Welcome to our world Baby Ryan and may your recovery from surgery be speedy and painfree.