December's Mini Elephants

Well, this month ended up being harder than we have ever had it, but ended up with the encouragement of making some progress. I am guessing that the first month back home, it was easy because we had people cooking meals for us, lots of support and encouragement, etc. But after all the flurry of getting back home, things have now settled down into real life. And that's hard sometimes. I wrote in other posts this month about some of the hard times we were (well, I was) encountering.
But despite those frustrating times, I do see some progress being made. Life is starting to become "normal" (whatever that means) again. I'm glad that I have set some goals that help me to move forward. Otherwise, I would probably just mire down in survival mode  instead of moving ahead.
So, how did I do? Let's see...
1. Finish memorizing Ephesians 6 and work on making it word perfect.
I did get finish memorizing, which is a big accomplishment. However, it isn't word perfect, that's for sure. 
2. Get back to exercising, 30-45 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This has been such a struggle this year.
Except for the week that my parents were here, I've been getting back into the exercise routine! Yay! 
3. Read Give Them Grace by Elise Fitzpatrick.
This was an excellent book that I'm going to have to go back and digest more thoroughly. I also was able to read Trust: A Godly Woman's Adornment by Lydia Brownback.
4. Blog at least twice a week on topics other than the adoption and reviews, with the goal of 10 posts this month.
Um. I don't think I did this too well. Maybe one post a week. 
5. Finish my school plans for Janna, Matthew and Jonathan for this year. (I still haven't finished yet!)
I think I'm satisfied with what I've got scheduled out. So much better than before! I even have some lessons for Anah written out! 
6. Continue working on incorporating Anah into our school day. I am training her to work alongside with the others, but this is not always possible.
We are making progress! Not perfect by any stretch, but she is starting to do some activities.
7. Introduce five new activities for Anah to add into our activity lineup. So far we have puzzles, coloring, books, lacing and beads, and singing time.
Maybe not five, but we've added playdough, signing time, and sorting by two colors
8. Continue adding new signs for Anah: all done, bathroom, help. She has learned more, please, and thank you so far.
She has managed to learn "all done." Still nothing for the others. 
9. Spend time individually with each of the kids each day, half an hour to one hour.
We have done pretty well with this one. Not too bad. 
10. Support my husband this month with his preaching assignments and by cooking for his Day with Jesus event on Nov. 10.
Daniel made it through! If you want to hear his sermon, you can find it at our church site (Thanksgiving, Nov. 18). He also shared the same message at two other churches in the area. That was a stressful time for us, but God saw us through it! 
11. Create a scrapbook page layout or two summarizing our Beijing vacation.
Didn't get to this at all. These fun things just don't get into the schedule. I need to work on that.
12. Clean out our spare room in preparation for my parents' arrival for Thanksgiving.
Well, I cleaned out some more floor space, but the room is still not prepared, my parents have come and gone, and it's still a mess. Thank goodness my parents are very flexible. At least I had clean towels and bedding.
For next month:
1. Work on getting Ephesians down word perfect.
2. Go through Truth in the Tinsel (10 days of it) with Jonathan.
3. Decorate the house for Christmas as a family and make a day out of it.
4. Read Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham, Jr.
5. "Attend" the one-day online event for my Twelve scrapbook class (which I started and did not complete).
6. Read aloud again to my kids after dinner. We started tackling some Sherlock Holmes and hope to finish the book by the end of the month.
7. Blog at least once a week. (I'm being realistic this month!)
8. Continue exercising, moving up to 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week by the end of the month.
9. Set new goals for 2013 (!!!).
10. Celebrate my husband's birthday as a family.
11. Go out for lunch with each of the kids individually.
12. Go out for one of our weekly dates. Maybe to watch The Hobbit?
As we wrap up this year, Lord, may I not focus on the things I did not accomplish, but rejoice in the things You have accomplished. Even if it is not my plans, I know that Your plans were done this year. I pray that this month will be a memorable one for our children, especially as Anah celebrates with us for the first time. May the little baby that was born be the focus and our joy this month. In Jesus' name, Amen.