A year ago, I bought myself a FitBit watch, and grew accustomed to wearing it within a couple weeks, just like my friend Abby said I would. It had been years since I had kept the habit of wearing a watch! Mostly because I always had my cell phone with me, and it’s not like I really needed to keep track of time minute by minute. I have clocks throughout the house anyway, and the digital one on the car’s clock radio works just fine for me, thank you very much. But I have grown to actually really enjoy having a watch, especially because it means I don’t have to be pulling my phone out of my pocket every time I want to glance at the time… which is also particularly helpful, as I don’t necessarily always have it on me, since I like to practice the “foyer phone” mentality (so described in a recent Simply Convivial email by my friend Mystie) by treating my cell phone as a house phone rather than an additional appendage. Its home is in a pocket of my purse, which has its home on a hook by my desk in the kitchen. The kids all know how to access it and how to use it, and only once has one of the kids accidentally called 9-1-1.
But I digress.
My wrist is now a happy home for the watch. Which happens to count my steps, in addition to keeping me informed on the current time and reminding me to move if I grow too sedentary and showing me when a text message arrives. And while I do not have any firm or lofty goals like “lose ten pounds this year” or “go down one dress size by 2022,” I would like to continue striving toward reaching my daily (6 days a week) step goal. In fact, I would love to do 150% of my goal three times a week. I’m not sure I can do it, but having a little friendly competition does help. I am not the early bird at getting my steps, but I do like to get a quick walk in a couple times a day, and I love walking stairways after putting kids to bed or walking circles in my family room as I read aloud to the kids in the afternoon… or listening to an audiobook while I sweat on the elliptical in the basement every now and then.
I do like to take steps.
I enjoy the feeling of stretching, growing, progressing, hitting goals.
And another way I am trying to take steps this year is in my continued reading habits in pursuit of personal education & study. I have shared before about my Scholé Sisters reading challenge, and my decision to dive in over my head by adding a Literary Life reading challenge as well. A friend of mine at Redeemed Reader gleefully told me that I may as well try to fit all of those things into a 100-book reading challenge. We will see if I can squish and squash my books into that. Could be fun! I used to have my kids participate in the Read Aloud Revival read aloud challenge every January… but this year we finally outgrew it, as it felt completely obsolete: my kids all read aloud constantly! To each other, to themselves, to me, even to their great grandma. They ARE still doing the Ticket to Read reading challenge that earns them free admission to a nearby amusement park (it only requires ten hours of recreational reading, which my kids accomplish lickity-split on the regular anyway), and they will certainly want to sign up for reading challenges at Barnes & Noble and Pizza Hut again… as always… because they are avid readers, so they may as well enjoy some perks along the way.
As a busy mama of five super active (including some officially hyperactive, and gifted, or 2E) kids to educate and shape and discipline and disciple… not to mention supporting my husband with his company (and in four weeks he will officially be working from home fulltime), running our home, showing hospitality, and my part time ministry doing Paideia Northwest conferences every year… I actually need to practice good planning and lots of self-discipline if I want to keep up with my own education through the pursuit of reading and study.
How in the world do I accomplish this?! By taking the appropriate steps. By walking the journey alongside friends. Sharing reading lists and thoughts on the newest books we have finished. By writing down what I want to read, keeping a TBR (to be read) stack on my bedside table as well as a virtual list of audiobooks in a queue. And by giving myself other little reasons for taking each step (each book), one by one.
One of my most recently accomplished incentives was knowing that three friends of mine would be reading Salt Fat Acid Heat together. And since I have been wanting to read that for a while, it was a great reason to simply take the step of reading it. What a wonderful book! I really loved it. And now if I hear these three friends talk about it in the future, I will have a great idea of their conversational context, and just might be able to insert an occasional intelligent comment of my own. (No promises though.)
And my newest incentive was being asked to speak at a women’s retreat this spring. A knee-jerk reaction of mine was that I could toss together the two sessions without studying or planning or prepping much… but that is not what I want to do. I want to be stretched and grown and studied. I want to revisit books I have read before, and read a couple others that seem pertinent. And not only do I want to read these things as steps toward being well-prepared for public speaking in two months, but I also would love to blog my way through some of the thought processes.
So these are some steps I am taking in 2021. Physical steps to care for this physical body God has given me. Educational steps to grow the mind and spirit God has given me. Please walk with me as I take these steps, one by one, regularly and consistently. And please share with me what steps God is putting into your path! I love to see how He is at work.