January 23, 2006

Planning

I was wondering how many of you plan for your next school year in January? How many wait to plan until the summer prior to starting? Just curious.

I have been thinking about our next school year. I guess I am a January planner. The year is new and I am busy thinking about goals and what I want us to accomplish. Maybe it is just the excitment of looking forward to doing something new. I am not sure but I always seem to pull my books, cataloques, and other school resources out mid-year and begin to think about our plans.

My son will be in 8th grade next year. Technically, 7th, if we had kept him in the public school system. He is 12 and will not turn 13 until September. We held him back a year because we had to do so. My DH wanted him to begin school at 5 but the state said no, so we had to listen to them. Well, we could have homeschooled but we were so unsure of ourselves and felt that we couldn't do a good job. I mean, it is not easy to homeschool an only child.

We pulled him out of public school mid-way through 5th grade. He started the year as a 4th grader but was at the very top of his class and both the teacher and administrator felt he should be promoted up a grade. This turned out to be pretty disasterous for us (socially, morally). Anyway, we couldn't very well move him down a grade for homeschool, so we just kept him in the same place. I adjusted our curriculum to suit his needs and for the most part, he has continued to excel at every level.

I don't think I want him to start 8th grade in the fall, though. He is big for his age, almost as tall as his Dad (5'8.5). I have been told that he will probably be 6'4" or thereabouts once he is finished with school. It does put us in a quandry because he fits in with the older kids but socially he is really a year behind them.

Anyway, I am thinking about next year and also high school. I don't want him to graduate early so right now I am planning on doing two years of 8th grade. Of course, he wouldn't know the difference since we homeschool. But this would give him an extra year to mature before he heads off to college. I think he needs it. Well, his mother needs it. LOL!

January 21, 2006

E-friends

The other day, my e-friend, wrote to me to ask me some interesting questions about homeschooling. She and I correspond often, usually about our homeschool, how our kids are doing, or just to encourage and support one another. I love having her as a friend because she always seems to write to me at the very moment when I need a word of encouragement.

I don't have a lot of real friends - not sure why that is - but it has always been this way with me. I have a lot of acquaintances, mostly mom's from church and my home school co-op group. But they are not close friends. We see each other at church, Awana, or PE and we chat and enjoy our time together. But then we go our separate ways and will not meet again until the next week rolls around. That is ok - we are all busy and frankly it is hard to make the time to be a real friend anymore. With a busy family, schooling at home, parents to care for, work, and church volunteer activity, it seems that every day is filled to the brim with something that 'must be done.'

Geting back to e-friends...I have met some of the nicest mom's over the Internet, mostly through my online e-groups like for Ambleside Online. I have e-friends from all parts of the US, Canada and abroad. It is a wonderful thing, the Internet. It bridges the distance gap and brings people together in the most amazing way. I am able to chat and share and pray with Mom's in Texas, Oklahoma, California, Canada, New Zealand, just with the click of a mouse. God is so good. He knows how very much we need companionship and how in our 'rush rush' world, the one thing that seems to be missing, is a sense of community. Sure, we can build our community in the local church or in a small town or city. But we can also be a part of the global community called "The Church". Just think...some day we will all be together in Heaven and I will be able to give all my e-friends a big hug because I will know them, really know them. I may never see them in this life, but I will know them in the next. That is just a mind-boggling thought.

Home is where the heart is...

This morning my mom called me and said she was coming over with some bagels and asked if I would put the coffee on. I said yes, of course. I am really blessed to have my parents live very close to us. They are 2 minutes and 35 seconds down the road - yes, we actually timed it one day. They come over often and make themselves a very big and real part of our lives. We love having them near and so while I was waiting for her to come over, I decided I had better do the dishes. I know, my mother, wouldn't really care that I had dishes in the sink from last night, but it bothers me, so I did them. I like to think when I do dishes and I started thinking about the perfect day. What woudl I consider to be my best - most perfect day? Silly really because everyday is wonderful and I am so blessed with my life. But my mind was wandering and I was imagining my perfect day.

For me, my perfect day actually happened a long time ago. It was shortly after my son was born. He was napping in his room and I was sitting in my favorite chair, cup of tea in hand, afghan on my lap, cat on my lap, book near me, and staring out the window into our beautiful garden. It was raining and it was chilly outside. The grey skies didn't bother me because it was one of those nice soft rains. Not too hard so you cannot see outside, but hard enough so you can see the rain coming down.

It was warm and cosy in the house and I was very happy. My cat, Junior (now buried in our AZ backyard), was purring very loudly. You know, that "I am so happy to be a cat" kind of purr.

I can remember looking at my garden and thinking how lovely it looked. I had worked very hard to build it and over time, it had really become a joy to me. I was a new gardener and built my first 'square foot' garden after watching a program on TV. I ended up building 4 - 16 SQ garden boxes so that the yard didn't look so empty. Those boxes provided produce for us, our friends and family, for many summers.

It is funny how memories work. I can almost hear Junior purr, I can feel the cold against the window, I can smell the Chamomile tea, I can experience the warmth and happiness of that moment. I hope that that moment never gets lost because it brings back such happy thoughts of a home far away and a time long past.

Well, just as I finish the last dish, I hear the familiar "yoo hoo" at the door. It is mom and we are going to sit and chat and have a bagel and a cup of coffee.

What is your perfect day? Do you have a special memory that brings you joy and happiness?

January 19, 2006

Changing Horses in the Middle of a Stream

Changing horses in the middle of a stream
Gets you wet and sometimes cold
Changing faces in the middle of a dream
Gets you old
Oh, gets you old.
Looking farther than you'll ever hope to see
Takes you places you don't know
Search for someone you can't ever hope to be
And still you go
Oh, still you go.
Don't you think it's kind of sad to say,
Don't you think it's gonna change?
Makes you think you'll have to stay inside
For a while.
Changing horses in the middle of a stream
Gets you wet and sometimes cold
Changing faces in the middle of a dream
Gets you old.

~Dan Fogelberg, Changing Horses

Ok, so I have just dated myself. I admit that I am a long-time Fogelberg fan. I remember sitting in my brother's Chevy Chevelle (1972) in the dead of winter (in Chicago), waiting for my mother to finish shopping, and singing to Dan Fogelberg on the radio. I have every album he cut, still on the shelf of my closet. I used to listen to his music over and over again. Once I got a cassette player, I recorded all those albums and put them on tape. I still have a couple tapes left and whenever we are taking long driving trips, Fogelberg's Souvenirs and Netherlands, will eventually be pulled out and played.

The purpose of this post is to talk about changing horses, aka school focus, and the song just popped into my head (funny how that happens). My son is happily studying Year 7's Middle Ages and for the most part, we are very satisfied with our choice of curriculum. I have doubts, though, about my methods for schooling him. Not that I doubt Charlotte Mason or classical education, but rather doubts about how I am teaching him, how I plan and use our time. I wrote about the past couple of days over on The Little Red School House and how we are struggling to get back into the swing of school. Today was another lost day and DH is getting worried about me (not about DS, mind you!) He has good reason to worry because in my hyper-scheduled world and oh-so organized lifestyle, when I seem to dive off the end and get lost, it is usually a sign that it is time for a progress-check.

I have been thinking about creating more structure to our schooling. I have my schedule and to-do list, but I have been thinking that I really need a laid-out, follow it to the tee, plan. I don't want to change our curriculum and believe that schooling through 'living books' is the best way to learn and live. I want to just put some feet on our day so that we are a bit more grounded. This may not make a lot of sense but it is something that I have been thinking about a lot and thought I should write it down. Somehow, writing things down, gives purpose to the thought and can help you see through the fog and actually begin to deal with it (rather than as some lofty idea just floating around the ozone).

Anyway, now that I have D.F. in my head, I think I need to hear his voice. I am off to listen to my tapes and maybe will receive some clarity by slipping back for a moment into my former less-harried and less-complicated life.

"Changing horses in the middle of a stream...gets you wet and sometimes cold...but still you go...and still you go."

January 17, 2006

A Day In My Life

I have been blogging around today (while DS does school) and have been thinking of creating a homeschool blog/journal for our curriculum. My idea is to have a blog where I can post what we do every single day - sort of an online journal. I think it would be great to see it all planned out and to be able to follow along each month and see where we have been and where we are going. I am just not sure how to go about doing it.

That's whats been on my mind today. I wish I could be really deep, you know, deeply thinking and deeply invested into something of value. This is not to say that I don't consider my role as wife, mother, homeschooler to be valuable - I do. It is everything to me. But there is a part of me that wants so much to be 'deeper.' I have committed myself to self-education (through my Arete Classical Study group), am reading the Bible more consistently, studying Apologetics, but something seems to be missing. I am not sure what exactly. I have been in prayer over it, questioning the Lord and asking for His guidance. I just feel like I need to be doing something, thinking about something, writing about something...I don't know. Have you ever felt like you were in the wilderness and were totally safe but just in a fog? That is how I feel. I don't feel lost or confused (I am at peace) but I have this sense of something more. It is really weird and hard to explain.

Well, today, I had a vision of getting everything figured out. I thought I would just make myself figure it out -- you know apply the 'little grey cells' and make them work! So far it is 1:00 and I am still clueless.

Things I have accomplished today:

Got up
Got Dressed (yea!)
Cleaned the mouse cage (Yea!)
Had Breakfast
Checked email and read my web logs
Got DS started on school
Hid from a sales person who pounded on my door (didn't want to talk to them about fixing our peeling paint)
Told DS to stop riding his scooter in the office
Priced out some new curriculum
Checked email again and blogged some more
Checked DS's school work
Felt lonely and lost so I blogged some more

Ok, so only a couple more hours to go...

How was your day?

Poll Question - Youth Groups

I was blogging around today and landed over at Spunky Homeschool and read a recent post regarding the purpose and function of Youth Groups. This was not the first post I had read on the subject (both pro/con) but the first post I had read over at Spunky Homeschool. Anyway, I thought it was very interesting and since it is a topic very-near and dear to my heart, I was wondering what you all feel about Youth Groups? I guess I am asking for a little advice.

My only is 12 and has been attending a small Youth group near our home. It happens to be at a church we also attend but are not 100% confident we will continue to fellowship in. My issue is this -- while I heartily agree with many of the points Spunky makes in her post, I have a problem in that our family "youth group" consists of a whopping 3 members (me, Dad and DS). What do you do with an only child? We are home all day long and in our neighborhood we have no kids to play/hang with. So DS spends a great deal of time with me (of course, Mom loves it) but I know he is missing out on friendships and desires to spend time with other kids.

We had hoped that by attending a small group near our home, that DS would make some friends. This has not happened. He has been consistently participating in activities since July and has yet to be invited to anyone's home, party, or event. Now, I will admit that we haven't reached out in the other direction, mostly because DS says that there isn't anyone he really wants to invite over. I think most of the kids that come are already into a 'clique' of sorts and since most are not homeschooled -- they see one another more often during ps days.

It is a strange problem for us, in that we want so much for DS to have social friends and not be solely a homeschooled kid. Any parents of an 'only' homeschooled child out there with advice to share?

PS. DS is involved in other outlets - like PE through our local homeschool group. He is not athletic and prefers to spend time on the computer (he is quite a whiz at html/flash and other programming stuff), music (he is a gifted musician), and writing/drawing. Should I be concerned? Help!

A Related post> Changing Churches posted here in July 2005

January 16, 2006

Spring 2006

I thought I would share what we are currently working on for our Spring Semester.

Bible

Continuing our study through the Book of Isaiah. We are using Calvary Chapel's Sunday School Curriculum outline for pacing and their Q&A worksheets for discussion and memory work.

History

Sir Winston Churchill's The Birth of Britain (Vol 1 of The History of English Speaking Peoples); Joan of Arc by Mark Twain; In Freedom's Cause by G.A. Henty. We are studying the reign of Edward I.

Literature

Ivanhoe by Scott; The Once and Future King, Book I by White; Taste of Chaucer by Malcomson; Age of Chivalry by Bullfinch; and History of English Literature by Marshall.

Poetry - not very consistently I should say - we did do a Medieval anthology and are supposed to be reading Tennyson and Keats. Probably will play catch up later on.

Science

Observing God's World (A BEKA) instead of Apologia General Science -- basically the same text, just slightly easier. Next year we will do AP - Physical Science.

Nature Study

Lay of the Land by Sharpe and Life of the Spider by Fabre. Home study -- habitats of mice (we have two of them!)

Math

Continuation of Saxon 8/7. Hope to finish by summer but probably will not do it. Next year, Saxon Algebra 1/2 or maybe just jump into Algebra. We will see.

Music

Daily practice in piano (1 hour), Violin (30 minutes); musical history - yes but could do better. Reading Flemings Art and Ideas for both Art History and Music History.

Art

Studying Vermeer this term - reading Fleming. Hope to begin a drawing program.

French

Learn French Now - cd's. Not bad. Like them better than Rosetta Stone. DS has a good ear for French.

Latin

Ugh! Skipped it again but hope to do Lingua Latin 1 this summer, followed by Lingua Latin 2 for 8th grade. Would like to take Henle Latin in HS.

Citizenship - not really. We have a hard time with Plutarch and Ourselves. I have read both but it is just 'one more' thing to do each week. We usually skip it.

PE

Participating with Athletes in Training weekly.

Grammar & Composition

Easy Grammar 5/6 is working well. Hope to stretch it over two years and then use Warriner's Handbook for HS. Writing weekly narrations but not specific assignments yet. Hope to begin Wordsmith next year.

Geography

Beginning Marco Polo for geography. Finished The Brendan Voyage (2 thumbs up) and now moving onto another area. Cannot find How The Heather Looks locally so MP will have to do.

Shakespeare

Read Henry V - good as always. Next up is Hamlet. Oh...love it!!

Overall progress is very good. DS is doing well, liking all the books. Least favorite subject is math (go figure)!

January 13, 2006

How Great Thou Art...

"He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord]." Isaiah 53:11

***I have been meditating on this verse for several days now. I am utterly confused where it says that "{Christ} shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord] Amp". I cannot quite get my head around this last part -- that not only did Christ bear my sin and my guilt but also my consequences. Does this mean simply the consequence of my sin -- death -- eternal separation from God or does it mean all the consequence (death) as well as the pain, sorrow, and suffering that comes when we disobey God. It is a marvel to think that not only has Christ suffered for my sin but also for the consequence of my sin. Not that I am spared from the actual suffering of my sinful actions but rather that his suffering was complete -- it contained every aspect of the sin, from temptation to conception to birth to life.

My finite brain is struggling to grasp the significance of this truth. I understand it but do not fully 'get' the awesome significance of it.

"Lord, help me to understand the power of your sacrifice so that I may live with trembling heart and gentle steps. Keep me from sinning against you and from making choices that will lead to suffering and pain and sorrow."

January 12, 2006

Why I like blogging...

I have only been blogging for a very short time now. I have some blogger-friends who are long-time bloggers. They write the most interesting things and I feel so very inferior to them. My blog is just a jamble ramble about things in my life. Nothing earth shaking going on here...nothing to miss. I wish I could write really awesome and fantastic posts - posts that would make people stop and think. Now that would be something!

**

I have read some posts recently and one topic seems to keep surfacing...and that is the desire to read God's word and to study it more intently and with more consistency. I find these posts to be very encouraging to me. I am a student of words -- not of the WORD, per se, but of words. I like to read and I read a lot of different things. I can spend hours reading, researching and just browsing through books, magazines, internet articles. I have a problem, though, reading His Word. I cannot stick to any routine and find that I play 'hit or miss' more often than not. It is not something I want to do -- but just something that happens.

Well, something really interesting happened to me the other day. We recently started school again and just to change things up, I decided to read the Bible to my son. My son is not little and is more than able to read the Bible on his own. As a matter of fact, he has for the most part, read through almost half the Old Testament and half of the New Testament. I am not sure why I thought that reading it out loud (at this stage in the game) would matter, but I just did it.

Something really amazing happened. We are reading the book of Isaiah, not the easiest book to read mind you. We are working our way through the Bible and began Isaiah right around Christmastime. My son was eager to have me read to him -- funny huh? It was just wonderful - I read, he listened. We talked. I felt the most wonderful presence while we took the time to read God's word. My son listened closely and actually asked questions! WOW! It was such a warm and loving moment...reading His Word together.

After our Bible reading...I decided to read one of his literature books out loud. I haven't read out loud to him for a year or so because he is such a strong reader. But I chose a book (his least favorite) and decided I would read it. He was quite surprized that I wanted to do it and asked me why? I simply said that I felt that there were points in the book that needed discussion and that when we read them together, we both can learn at the same time.

The very same thing happened. Our school day just zoomed by and we both enjoyed ourselves. So the very next day, I did the same thing and got the very same result. This entire week has been such a blessing to us. DS and I have spent more time together and have really enjoyed studying with each other.

I know this post might come off sounding like my son does his own school -- that is not really true. He does a lot of his own schooling but there are things we do together. HSing has been really great for him and he loves being at home. I have noticed that our routine has gotten a bit stale and that he was struggling a little with his focus and keeping on task.

Anyway, I was really encouraged by his response to my attention. I plan on reading to him each day for the next semester. I plan on us reading the Bible together every day. I think the time expended will reap great rewards (even if only in Heaven).

I would encourage you to spend time today sharing God's Word with your children. If you homeschool, I would encourage you to invest your time into your children's day -- not just as teacher/guide, but as ready and willing participant. I think you will find as I did a special and wonderful blessing in the time spent!

Glory to God in the Highest!

Glory to God in the highest!
Glory to God! Glory to God!
Glory to God in the highest!
Shall be our song today;
Another year’s rich mercies prove
His ceaseless care and boundless love;
So let our loudest voices raise
Our glad and grateful song of praise.

Refrain

Glory to God in the highest!
Glory to God in the highest!
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
Glory be to God on high!
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
Glory be to God on high!

Glory to God in the highest!
Glory to God! Glory to God!
Glory to God in the highest!
Shall be our song today;
O, may we, an unbroken band,
Around the throne of Jesus stand,
And there with angels and the throng
Of His redeemed ones, join the song.

Refrain

**Lately, I have been thinking about what it means to give Glory to God. It is an odd thing really, to even think that we could begin to give Him Glory. I mean, I am weak and fragile and oh so very broken...and He is so GREAT and HOLY. How can I give Him anything? It is an awesome thing to wonder about because even though I don't really understand how to do it, I have this unmistakeable desire to do it. God, in His magnificient wisdom, has even planned on how to give Himself Glory through the flawed and futile efforts of His creation. Amazing.

Words to ponder...

CHARLES H. SPURGEON QUOTATION

"We judge of a man's zeal when the purpose has been long in his heart, and he has most industriously followed it through a long period."

Blog Game - Thanks Tootlepip!

I was over at Tootlestime's Blog and decided to play the Blog Game.

Four Jobs I have had in the past:
1. Website Designer (current job)
2. Children's Ministry preschool director
3. Software/Hardware Contract's Administrator
4. Computer Operator and PC Technician

Four Movies I watch over and over:
1. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
3. Sense and Sensibility
4. Brigadoon

Four Places I have lived:
1. Phoenix, AZ
2. San Jose, CA
3. Hazel Crest, IL
4. Bakersfield, CA; Rochester, NY; and Baltimore, MD

Four TV Shows I watch:
1. CSI, Miami, NY
2. Law and Order; Criminal Intent
3. ER
4. As Time Goes By (and most anything British)

Four Places I have been on vacation (this year):
1. Glacier Park, MT
2. Yellowstone National Park
3. Zion and Bryce, UT
4. Grand Canyon, AZ

Four Websites I visit Daily:
1. My own (homeschool)
2. My business website
3. My blogrings
4. Ambleside Online and all my Yahoo Groups

Four Favorite Foods:
1. Italian (Lasagna, Pizza, Pasta)
2. Chinese
3. Pastries and anything that goes with tea or coffee
4. Soups of all kinds

Four Places I'd like to be:
1. Right where I am
2. Scotland
3. England
4. Australia and New Zealand

Tag, you're it!

"Raising Cain"

I happened to catch part of the PBS documentary called "Raising Cain" tonight. This special attempted to explore the educational challenges facing boys in our society today. The creator of the documentary attempted to expose the problems with our educational system when it comes to teaching boys. It was quite interesting (although I didn't agree with the entire program) especially when it was noted that boys generally require significant 'recess' time to be able to help them learn and focus in the classroom. The program also exposed the extent of the ADHD disorder, citing that nearly 60 percent of all cases involve boys and that most are medicated from the time they enter the public school system.

As a parent of a boy (my only) I sympathized with both parents trying to raise boys and the teachers who are faced with the challenge of teaching them. My own child was labeled as "hyperactive" and I was encouraged to medicate him early on. My child was hyperactive -- there is no doubt in my mind about that one. He was a non-stop bundle of movement, always curious, and always on the go. However, he was not 'attention deficit' and could play on his own for hours or put together puzzles, legos, or other toys without becoming distracted.

My DH and I decided not to pursue medication -- and this post really isn't about whether or not to medicate a child. I found the program interesting in it's portrayal of how boys are educated in the US public school system. It was sad to see little boys sitting in desks, heads down, or disrupting class, when really what they needed most was plenty of time out of doors.

God created boys to be active. He made them to be powerful and strong warriors. He gave them unique abilities to lead and care and plan and organize. Boys have a special place in His world. They are not like girls. They need to be taught how to learn -- but need to be taught using methods that work for them.

We chose to homeschool our boy and it was the very best decision we could have made. Our active boy has grown into a studious and thoughtful young man. He is special. He is very bright. He is all boy. We believe that God has a plan for his life and that his particular gifts are his for a reason. Our goal is to teach him in a way that suits his personality and unique giftedness.

My heart goes out to the many young boys that suffer in the public school system and are forced to learn in a way that benefits the teacher and not the child. I think we are doing a huge disservice to our boys and in a not too distant future, we are going to reap the harvest we have sown.

January 3, 2006

Thought for the day...

You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence.

--Psalm 16:11, NLT

January 2, 2006

Today's Word...

The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.
--Lamentations 3:25, NLT

January 1, 2006

Overall health and fitness

I was watching PBS tonight and happened to catch a medical doctor speaking on improving overall health and fitness. I regret that I didn't catch his name but his message sure stuck with me. If I had to admit it, I would have to say that generally speaking, my health and fitness level is pretty poor. I lost about 35 pounds in 2001 (Weight Watchers) and have been successful at keeping all but about 8 pounds off since. My fitness level, though, is pretty lame. In fact, during the past year, it has been non-existent.

This year, I really do want to lose those stubborn pounds and improve my overall health and fitness level. I am not an exercise person and do just about anything to avoid breaking a sweat. I used to be more active but over the past couple of years, I have just allowed work, school, homelife, etc. to crowd out taking care of myself.

I have been experiencing some personal changes -- mostly perimenopausal type stuff. I also suffer from depression and mood swings and have some stress related disorders (chronic back pain, IBS, CFS, etc.) I try very hard not to let these things take over my life but honestly somedays it takes all my strength and desire just to get the minimum done. My doctor and everyone I know tells me how important DIET and EXERCISE are to my personal ills. They are right, of course. I know it. But for some reason I have just not wanted to do anything about it.

So...tonight I decided to make 2006 a year of health and fitness for me. The guy on TV summed up his presentation with the following list of things you can do to improve overall health and fitness. I was impressed as they were commonsense like and seemed doable to me (the one who loathes sweating).

1) Get enough sleep every night (6 or more hours)
2) Drink 8 glasses of water a day
3) Replace coffee with green tea
4) Exercise moderately (20-30 minutes per day)
5) Reduce stress through prayer or meditation (15 minutes per day)
6) Take C-Q10 and CLA every day to boost immunity and flush system

This I can do. They guy promised that simply by drinking water and green tea, you can lose up to 10 pounds in 6 weeks, without modifying your diet any. Moderation is the key.

I can do moderation. I can do this.

Resolutions and such...

I am not much for making resolutions and keeping them (well, I usually make them...just don't keep them!) so in a way it seems kind of silly to go through the ritual once again this first day of the new year. But, this year, I have decided to be more proactive and to actually attempt to keep my New Year's Resolutions.

In no particular order, my hope is to:

1) Lose 10 pounds (always trying, never successful)
2) Work on improving my attitude (keeping a positive outlook) daily
3) Getting fit - working on improving my overall health and fitness
4) Read something inspirational, thought-provoking, and challenging every day
5) Deepen my devotional life (prayer and study time)
6) Organize and use my time better (especially during the daytime)
7) Be kind to everyone I meet (thinking of others first)
8) Allowing no other god's before the One True God
9) Tell those close to me that I love them and appreciate them (often)

and lastly, to be consistent at writing in my blog each day.