My Goals for 2012

Last week I wrote a blog post sharing 5 keys to Making and Keeping your New Year Resolutions. This week it’s time to go public with my own resolutions.  I was inspired to really make progress towards getting physically fit this year by The Show Me Cajun. I don’t know that I’ll be posting my progress as much as he is, but I will be checking in on his blog every week for inspiration and encouragement.  So without further ado, here are my goals for 2012:

Targus Stylus and Pen (Amazon Affiliate Link)

1. Lose 75 Pounds (That’s about 1.5 lbs a week). I’ll be keeping up with my eating habits by tracking all of my calories through the lose it app on my iphone and working out at the gym 3 days a week and of course goal number two won’t hurt either. Of course I’m checking in with my Doctor and already have a check up scheduled for early January.

2. Walk/ Run 500 miles (that’s about 10 miles a week). Just four laps around my neighborhood is a 5k (3.2 miles). I plan on walking the neighborhood at least three times a week and plan to walk on the treadmill at the gym on the days that the weather prohibits me from walking outside. I also plan on using the from the couch to the 5k to get into running shape and be running the 5k each morning by May.

3. Write 200 pages on a book manuscript (that’s about than 4 pages a week.) I’ll be sharing my progress here in a similar fashion to what I did with my goal to read 100 books last year.  Though I won’t share the full manuscript initially, I will share excerpts and let you know where I am in the process.

4. Write 3 blog posts or more a week. My blogging has come in spurts. Some weeks I post every day, other times I’ve gone almost a full month between posts. I hope by setting a minimum number per week that I’ll have a goal and be more faithful.

How about you? What are your goals? Any advice on mine?

3 Things I’d Do Over If I Were Starting My Blog Today!

So I’ve been blogging here on wordpress for just around 3 years and I got to thinking… What would I do different if I were to start a blog today? In essence what have I learned? While I have learned many lessons from blogging, three stick out to me the most:

1. Write for a Broader Audience in Mind. Many of my posts are very specific in nature to an audience with a specific palate. While I think these posts relevant and good I think they would have been better had I written them with a larger audience in mind. For example the following posts are pretty theological in nature, but what would they look like had I been sensitive to people outside of my religious background? I wouldn’t water down the content, but perhaps clarify terms and be sensitive to “outsider” reading.

2. Use points and embolden text more often. Many people will skim the article to see if it has the content they are looking for. Points and emboldened text highlight the main message of your article and allow people to perceive you message. This also helps clarify my writing. When I know that I’m trying to pull out specifically meaningful content it changes the way I write and I’m told that I communicate better.

3. Interact more with other bloggers. My first few years of blogging I stayed minimally connected to a few other bloggers. I wish I had reached out more, commented on other sites and developed friendships with other bloggers earlier in my writing.

So what about you? If you were given a few do-overs what would you do different? Any Advice you would add?

For Unto Us a Child is Born!

It is Christmas! As a Christian this is a special holiday for me and my family as we celebrate the moment when God stepped into humanity.  Today is a special day to remember the message of the gospels… God is not far off and He can be known. Jesus stepped out of Heaven and into humanity to reveal God, remove our sin, reconcile us to our Creator, and ultimately prepare an eternal home where we will abide with God forever (never to be separated again). Below is a picture of a painting by Botticelli and 3 of the Gospel accounts that talk about the history and meaning of the birth of Christ. Merry Christmas!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them (Luke 2:1-20, ESV).

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel (Matthew 2:1-21, ESV).

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (John 1:1-18).

There are several more passages throughout the scripture that talk about the theological aspects of God becoming a man, but these are the ones traditionally read and remembered at Christmas time. I am open about my faith and willing to carry on a friendly dialogue with friends and honest skeptics.  What are your thoughts on Christmas?