Head Start on New Year’s Goals

Every new year, my wife and I escape for a part of a day together and set some goals together.  we set personal goals, family goals, financial goals, spiritual goals, etc.  We do this together, because it maitains unity between us, brings us a little closer in our thinking and planning, and it’s pretty fun too.

I was thinking that I would get a head start…not like this is a competition, but I’ll probably have mine done before her.  Heh, heh, heh!

I like goals, but I don’t love them.  I’m a very fly by the seat of my pants, spontaneous, live life in the now kind of guy.  I’m artsy, not extremely self-motivated, and self-describe myself as “chill.”  Ya know – nothing gets me too excited or bothered, and things can easily roll off my back.  No worries right!?!?

Since I am so, goals are very important.  I don’t love them, but I do like them.  I like looking giving the impression that I am responsible, prepared, and attentitive.  None of these could be accomplished if I did not set goals, which is why I like them.  I also like a challenge, and think that goals should be realistic, but should still drive and stretch you a bit further than last time.  So, I present to you my personal reading goal for 2009.

I’m not sure I have ever read this many books before, but Iwill try.  I really like antique books.  The broken in hardcover, cracked bindings, thoughts that wonder where this book has been before it was in my hands.  I have decided to attempt to read 20 of the “Classics.”  I found this list from a fellow blogger.

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin by Mark Twain 

2. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque 

3. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle 

4. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 

5. Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

6. Uncle Toms Cabin by Harriet Beacher Stowe 

7. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

8. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

9. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

10. Jane Eyre 1984 by Charlotte Bronte 

11. My Antonia by Willa Cather 

12. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

13. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane 

14. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

15. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

16. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens 

17. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

18. The Sound and the Furry by William Faulkner 

19. Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

20. A Separate Peace by John Knowles  

This should be exciting.

How many of these have you read?

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

Diggin’ for Treasure…Arrrr where’s my Booty

I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine’s day, and had someone/someone’s they could share some love with. Having someone to love, not just romantically, is really what I think being human is all about.
My wife and I had a great night out. My parents watched the chillins’, which allowed us to have some time together. Alone time is rare, but much needed, especially when you have two little ones.
We started the night out at one of our “hot spots,” Olive Garden. Big ups on their Zuppa Tuscana. That itself was a big to do. We decided that it would be better for Erica to head up there and get our names in, since they don’t do call ahead or reservations.I rushed over to my parents to drop the kids off, and got a call from Erica. She told me there was a 75 min. wait, and suggested I try Texas Road House. Well, everyone in the city of Springfield must have been trying to call them at the same time. I tried about 15 times with only a busy signal.

I dropped off the kids and had a thought,”Chinese.” Who goes to a Chinese Restaurant for Valentine’s day anyways? I called, and they weren’t busy. I realized that nearly 30min. had already gone by. By the time I got to Olive Garden, Erica tells me that there is only 10 minutes until we can be seated.

To make this long part of the story short…We shared a appetizer, and both enjoyed our entrees. The point of this blog though is not focused on our dining plans, or how that all worked out.
We ended the night going to the movies. We saw “Fools Gold.” It was fantastic, and certainly worth the price of the ticket.

The movie hit me in a few ways. First it reminded me of one of my Life Goals. I have set a goal for myself that I will be part of some archaeological expedition. Whether it requires an ocean dive, or a shovel in the sand, I will at some point have some part in unearthing history.

The second way this movie hit me is that it reminded me that love is a very powerful thing. The two main characters in this movie are married. The man is an immature, treasure hunter. He cannot hold a steady job, has large debts strung throughout the world, and a wife that is fed up with it all and divorcing him.

The wife is a beautiful, intelligent, motivated…well, you get the point. She loves this guy despite the fact that he seems to be a loser.

Now, love is powerful, but human love is not perfect. It has limitations, it can fail when needed most, and can hurt even when the intention is most noble. Yet this movie reminded me of the ability that mankind has to share and express love with one another. It reminded me that love is not a feeling, but a choice that we make each and every day of our lives.

It’s incredible to think that God loves us like this woman loved her husband. She chose to love this buffoon, even when he acted like a complete idiot. She admired him, even though he had weaknesses, which to most were glaring.

I can really relate to this. I think most of my weaknesses are extremely obvious to most people, and yet God loves me with a fervor, a passion like none other.

Have you ever experienced a love like that? A love that looks passed your faults right to your needs, right to your heart, to your very soul? A love that is deeper, truer, and unwavering?

If not, I invite you to look at John 3:16, and read about the love that God has always had for you.

Living Out Loud
Al