Monday, December 31, 2012

Taking Stock of 2012

The end of another year is here and just as I've done for the last few years, I'm taking a few moments to look back at my progress on the goals I set for 2012. These goals are really mostly guidelines for me to keep moving forward through the year rather than hard and fast rules about what I need to do. They probably aren't that much interest to my readers but I do it because I find that setting out broad goals each year helps me to keep things on track and gives much needed structure to my year.  Blogging about it makes me more motivated to work on the goals and holds me more accountable for my time.

Last year, I structured my goals into several categories: Spiritual, Health & Lifestyle, Family, Financial, Hobbies and Home.


  • Implement an appointment time for prayer and study
  • Use a good study guide for bible study
  • Support one person in reaching their goals
  • Make one loan to a female entrepreneur in a Kenyan village
  • Cultivate and nurture Christian friendships
  • Implement an appointment time for writing & gifts to my sponsored children in Kenya
  • Continue to keep in touch with childhood spiritual leaders

I made good headway in all of these goals though there is some room for improvement. I managed to meet all of my spiritual goals but need to improve on consistency of appointment time for prayer and study. One thing I added to these goals over the year was reading my Bible chronologically and I will continue with that goal in 2013. One thing I found helpful was reading at night rather than in the morning.

I supported 2 people in moving forward with their post-secondary goals this year and helped two women with their business goals. I had been saving pennies as a way of raising funds for Kenyan women. I will no longer be saving pennies because the Canadian Government has abolished the one cent coin and it will no longer exist as of  February 2013.  I will miss the penny coin for many reasons.

I've made a decision not to continue providing post secondary or business assistance to Kenyans in the foreseeable future.  My hope is that the assistance I was able to provide will be enough to encourage the receivers on their respective journeys.  I will continue to provide help to Kenyan villagers in various ways as the Lord leads and enables.


  • Continue to learn about diet for diabetics & incorporate pulses, grains, dark green veggies into cooking.
  • Learn to make artisan bread
  • Make more multigrain bread
  • Get more Omega 3 EFAs, vitamins, fiber & antioxidants
  • Implement an appointment for stretching
  • Ride my stationary bike for 30 minutes 3x per week, increasing to every day
  • Resume weight training
  • Continue with my swimming lessons
  • Take a water aerobics class
  • Laugh more
  • Learn new computer skills
  • Upgrade my skills on smart phone/tablets, etc.
  • Clear up computer files and photo files
  • Continue to broaden my base of friendships & participate in my various group meetings & get togethers

I was not successful with several of my health and lifestyle goals; mainly those goals which required physical activity. I did continue to learn more about incorporating healthy eating habits, and getting more Omega 3 EFAs, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants in the diet but this did not help me achieve weight loss or better blood sugar levels.

Looking back over 2012, I see that I was hampered more often than not by long periods of constant pain and inability or limited ability to walk or exercise.  This again made weight issues very challenging,

In 2013, I hope I can make more progress in a fitness regime and find some way around my pain issues.  I am not on pain killers or anti-inflammatories.  Over the year I tried several different approaches to naturally combat inflammation but it didn't seem to make much difference to my pain levels.  I simply have to keep trying in 2013.  I did undertake some steps to radically reduce some stress in my life and that can only help my overall health (and blood sugar levels). 
I was also able to upgrade my skills on my smart phone and my computer tablet, though I didn't make much progress in learning new computer skills like Photoshop.  I did make a new website/blog for Missions of Hope, Kenya. However this is no longer published as the volunteer heading the missions is in a life transition right now. Perhaps it will be revived in future and so the work is not for nothing.  

Sometime during the year, I killed my computer hard drive, about the 4th time in 5 years that I've completely lost my hard drive. It is always a headache when that happens as it means lost money, lost time and lost files. I spent a fair bit of time trying to recover as much as I could. There wasn't much time or interest left in the year to learn new computer skills.

Locally, I made several new friends and participated in a number of group gatherings as well as organized a few of my own gatherings, outside of my home and inside my home.

New things added to my list of things to accomplish in 2012 included: undergo eye examinations, find a new dentist (and get a treatment plan in place), do all the paperwork to get a new CPAP machine, schedule a course of massage and foot reflexology.


    • Continue regular schedule of communications & attend to needs
    • Implement a regular schedule to write spiritual memoirs
    • Conduct necessary research for spiritual memoirs
    • Plan a vacation for my niece
    • Continue to make contact with relatives who are shut-ins
    • Plan a trip to visit extended family, for missions or personal trip

    Saving pennies for Kenyan women~May 22/12 - $89.55

    It was important to really focus on my family this year due to ageing relatives and their various health needs. In May, I was able to visit my last living uncle before he passed due to complications of surgery related to colon cancer. The trip to see him with my brother pleased him greatly. (At the same time, we were able to meet several other relatives and see how they are doing). Our comfort is in knowing we will see my uncle again some day but understandably his daughter who saw and spoke to him every day, misses him a lot. She paid a visit to my own mother in October and that was a wonderful surprise for my mom. 
      I made a good start on writing my spiritual memoirs but have a lot of work yet to do to research some of it with my mother. Due to mom's health this cannot be done at my own convenience and I pray that I will be able to get what I need soon. Also the progress on actual writing was hindered by mobility issues since I was unable to get to my writing group in the latter part of the year. 
      One of my goals was to keep contact with elderly relatives and childhood spiritual leaders. I tried with limited success to keep in touch with two older lady relatives. Mostly when I called them they were not at home but I did try. More recently I made contact with one and let her know that I would like to visit her when the weather warms. She is very excited. I'm excited too as I will see some new to me countryside.
      I also wrote several times in recent years to my former Sunday School teacher. I hadn't heard from her in a long while and recently her daughter wrote to let me know that she found my address when packing her mother's belongings. She is moving her mother in with her own family due to the memory loss. It was touching to hear.
      Finally, I planned a vacation for my niece to come and visit me over the summer and to spend her birthday with me. She was thrilled when we went to see the theatre production, "Mary Poppins" and also enjoyed our picnic and our travels on the small ferry boats around Granville Island. I had initially planned for a one week visit with my niece but she ended up staying for two weeks.  We had a nice time together despite my mobility issues.


        • Continue to pay down debt
        • Budget "to zero"
        • Live below income
        • Save more
        • Continue saving in the snowflake jar fund for miscellaneous projects
        • Think two or three times before spending
        • Continue to implement strategic charitable giving
        • Review insurance coverage & investment matters
        • Investigate & buy silver

      I managed at long last to purchase some silver coins for my long term needs. I also implemented budgetting to zero on a monthly basis. This made it difficult to meet the on-going missions needs in Kenya.  Consequently, this type of budgeting didn't work if I wanted to help the Kenyans with some immediate and pressing needs. These needs also made it impossible to pay down debt despite living well below my income.

      I managed to continue to save some modest retirement funds but couldn't manage to save anything in a bank account for other needs.  Fortunately I received some tax refunds to help me with some household needs.  In 2013, I will be implementing a more stringent regime of charitable giving so that I am able to meet my own obligations as well as continue giving to the mission field.

        • Read one or two books per month
        • Create an edible garden
        • Crochet a doily or a baby outfit
        • Knit slippers (1-2 pair), possibly learn to knit sweaters or socks
        • Finish the knitted baby blanket
        • Make dishcloths for gifts
        • Learn to machine quilt
        • Consider sales to raise funds for charitable giving
        • Use up stash of materials before buying more

        I was able to complete a number of creative works though I did not stick to my list of intended projects. Instead, I made many dishcloths, hats, scarves and blankets; all of which went into my Etsy shop. I had hoped to raise funds for charitable giving but haven't sold anything.

        I learned that buying all the supplies (some second hand but most of it new) even on discount, and careful shopping,  is rather expensive. I bought a lot more fabric than I intended as it seemed I never had exactly what I needed. I learned a lot by trial and error about how to go about future projects and purchasing what I need.

        It is probably not the best use of my time to make things unless I want to take them with me to Kenya on a missions trip since I was not very successful in sales. Either that or I need to figure out how to market my products or simply let my product development and sales develop more organically.   I am not the kind of person that will set up shop in a temporary stall to sell things. However, I am happy to have learned how to make new things and have already given some of my crafted items away.

        I surpassed my modest reading goal of one or two books per month and started reading the Bible from front to back after I completed 25 books for the year. 

        I was able to put in an edible garden and a lot of container flowers.  My edible garden had tomatoes, corn and peppers.  The peppers and the tomatoes did very well but the corn wasn't edible. For some reason the corn did not mature this summer unlike other summers.  I will reconsider what to plant next summer.


      • Complete major decluttering project

          Yeah, I completed the HUGE decluttering project that seems to have gone on forever. I managed to get rid of all my excess clothes left over from my working days. Rather than continue to try to sell them on line, I bagged them all up and gave them away. Kitchen items, craft it and knick knacks were all bagged up and given away through my local chapter of Freecycle. I am still working on offloading some paperwork and excess photos.

          Additions to my list of the activities for 2012 included: renew patio space and replace some pieces of old furniture and  several small and large appliances.  Patio furniture was repainted, and new purchases included an umbrella for the patio table and a bird bath for the little birds to enjoy. A much needed sofa and chair were also purchased in the summer and kitchen appliances were purchased in the winter. I was very blessed to purchase all these items at good prices. I make it a point to carefully look for sales and the best quality within my budget I can so that whatever I have will last me for years to come. The last time I had a new sofa or appliances was several decades ago.

          At first blush, it seemed my year was filled with health challenges and little accomplishment.  But I tried to stay positive and keep on forging ahead as best I could.  I can hardly complain with all the terrible things that have been in the news all around the world.  As I age, I am mindful of the Bible teaching to be "content".  I try to keep a balance about what I'm feeling and doing and am learning to "go with the flow", though this is easier said, then done.

          After I've reflected over the year, I realize that my progress was or better than satisfactory.  I was able to accomplish a lot of the household tasks and creative tasks that I've been wanting to accomplish for a very long time. I was hampered in my progress by health challenges but am grateful to God.  He has helped me not only survive the year but get through some challenging projects and assignments.
          As I move into 2013, I pray for better health, not just for me but for loved ones and the many people I've met through blogging who also suffer from ill health.

          May 2013 be a blessed year for each of you and may our Heavenly Father grant you peace, good friends and good health.
          Happy New Year!


    Jo said...

    My dear Penny, you are such an inspiration with your goals and the honesty with which you reviewed them throughout the year and now again on this post. You also inspired me to pray more, to read more [books] and to knit dishcloths! Thanks for the patterns and the encouragement. These items are a source of fascination to all who see me working on them (normally men) and greatly therapeutic. You also encouraged me to de-clutter my life/home which I did here in Tanzania in October and again in December when I was in SA. I'm nowhere near "empty" enough yet, but as you say it's an ongoing project. As we're on the other side of the world from you, we are an hour away from 2013, but I wish you health, happiness and contentment for the coming year. Bless you dearest Penny. (((Hugs))) Jo

    Joyful said...

    Hello dear Jo, I wish you a very Happy New Year from across the world. It's amazing how people can inspire one another from across the world just doing the things they do on a daily basis. It is an encouragement to me to to read about what others are doing and learn new ways to do things or to improve upon things. It makes it more fun when we realize we are not alone in these tasks. I just found out that a lap blanket I made has been garnering favourable reviews and one woman has asked for a replica of one I've made. that made my day. Hugs. xx

    Saucy Siciliana said...

    You are so nicely organized Joyful! I should learn from you. Those are very nice goals you set yourself, we should all really think about others, especially in these difficult times. I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

    Julia Bentley said...

    It sounds like 2012 was a very productive year for you!! You also took on a lot of things and seemed to accomplish them! Good for you!! Many blessings to you on the year to come.

    Anonymous said...

    Happy New Year my friend!
    2013 is here now... Let's make the best of it.
    Your friend Pat...

    Joyful said...

    Hi Francesca, thank you for your visit. I do find setting goals helpful so I hope you try it too. It is also important to think about others even while we ourselves may be going through trying times. Have a wonderful New Year my dear. xx

    Joyful said...

    Hi Julia, yes, at first I didn't think I accomplished a lot in 2012. Keeping a general plan and reflecting back on it helps me to see what I spent my time on. I send you and your family my very best wishes for a wonderful and blessed year in 2013!

    Joyful said...

    Indeed, Pat! Let's make the best of another wonderful year we have here with family and friends. God bless you and your loved ones in 2013 and give you a marvellous year to remember. Hugs. x

    Vores have said...

    Hello Joyful
    Happy New Year - great picture.
    Hope you are well into the new year - here crashed it loose with fireworks all day until at. 3.00 in the night. Tilde was terrified.
    Wish you a good day :) Hugs Hanne Bente

    eileeninmd said...

    You have done so much good for yourself and others in the year 2012, congrats! I wish you all the best in 2013. Happy New Year!

    Gattina said...

    Happy New Year to you too ! Beautiful firework !

    Roan said...

    Happy New Year! Good luck with your goals. Love the fireworks.

    The Professor's Wife said...

    Thanks for the Christmas and New years wishes! You are such an amazing woman - I love your spiritual goals - so beautiful. On your exercise goals, could you make it more manageable, like walk as far as you comfortably can in a day? That helps me as energy levels can flucuate so much.

    Joyful said...

    Hello Andrea, thanks for dropping by! As far as exercise goes, I do walk as far as I comfortably can when I am able to walk. When I have a little more stamina, I get on my back and I start with only 10 minutes. I will stay like this until I can manage more. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

    Joyful said...

    Happy New Year to you, Hanne. I'm sorry that Tilde was so terrified. I heard only a very few fireworks/firecrackers right at midnight. It didn't go on so long. Not like Hallowe'en where it was tiresome. Hope you are having a great day and a wonderful start to your New Year ;-)

    Joyful said...

    Happy to see you Eileen! May you have a wonderful and blessed New Year.

    Joyful said...

    Happy New Year, Gattina. Hope you are enjoying it so far ;-)

    Joyful said...

    Happy New Year to you too, Roan. Best of luck with re-entering the blogging world!

    Denise said...

    Have a very blessed 2013.

    Joyful said...

    You too my dear! xx

    Sr Crystal Mary Lindsey said...

    You have worked out every aspect for a successful New year. So Good!! Well Done!
    I haven't done anything yet. I am praying for the Lord to direct my path's as he never fails me. There are some things I hope to do, and if they are His WILL then I will get there. Each day is lived as His servant. I am seeing more and more the need for humility, kindness, a gentle spirit and to have more trust. Happy New Year to you Penny. God loves you, and my love is sent today. xx

    Joyful said...

    Thank you so much, Crystal Mary. I pray the Lord will lead my path and yours also. Each day is a blessing. Happy New Year & God bless you and your household. xx

    Sabine Gimm said...

    A happy new year for you and your family. Hope, all your wisches come true ♥
    Many greetings from Germany

    Joyful said...

    Hello Sabine, I receive with gladness your greetings from Germany and send you all my best wishes for a fabulous 2013!

    Jan said...

    I have visited before to read your post here but seem to have been in a rush and not commented. I wanted to visit again to read properly. I love the way you keep track of all your goals and are so clear about what you want to achieve during the year. You certainly are a great example. I Did try to follow your example last year but lost track of how I was doing. I'm being a little bit more organised this year and will be setting goals in all these areas. I have loved reading about your progress and how things are going for you. xx

    Joyful said...

    Hi Jan, thanks for your visit. I do love to set my goals each year. I find my blog is a good way of keeping track of what I'm doing in terms of achieving goals or helping remind me why I didn't achieve them ;-) Whatever I don't get to in one year is moved to the following year, if it is still something I want to work on. I hope you have a lot of success in 2013 in meeting your goals.

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