Taking Up Dreams Again in 2015

Like many of my holy days and holidays over the years, my New Year usually comes and goes with a steady hum, riding the reliable waves of adrenaline. By the time I hit January 2nd, the surge of temporary energy has usually passed, my resolve to become resolute hits the wall of reality, and I smile wanly at a new pretty planner which originally showed so much promise... but in the end, just looks pathetically like the old one.

Can I talk to you about how years of chronic illness coupled with the demands of family life can challenge a soul? Let me preface it by saying that I regret nothing. But it would not serve anyone to hide the reality that a heavy sense of failure settles in and begins to feel startlingly like grief. That is the effect of chronic fatigue and physical pain on a heart that longs to run a Pinterest-worthy household but so often had to focus on simply surviving the day.

With my dietary changes and the elimination of an unreasonably crazy club sports schedule, I have been given  new wings. New hope. And new challenges. I still consider myself a low-energy mama and do have periodic relapses but I feel much more myself these days. I have a new opportunity to run a household in a way that doesn't look like perpetual survival mode. An opportunity to rise. Why do I call that a challenge? Because... well... it is like starting all over again.

If I sound overly pathetic, please remember that I am reducing a life of joy and crosses to a tiny blog post. Consolidating the challenges to make a point. My life has been blessed and God has been standing in the gap for me at every threatening chasm. Huge, huge blessings. But I have a specific purpose here...

I dared to hope a little more this Christmas. It was with a great deal of incredulity that I realized that the heavy boulder upon my back - the one that was called pain and illness - was much smaller than it had been. My eyes began to open a little wider and slowly, slowly, slowly... I began to unbend front my hunched position. It is hard to stand up straight after being under a weight for so long. And although I certainly feel the burden of mortality and the effects of years of damage to my body, I am indeed standing up straight.

The big question remains... What now? How do I live in health? It has been so long.

I finally gathered up my courage to pray bigger and allow an earthly hope to grow. I prayed for a saint to be my patron for 2015 and St. Vitus took up the challenge. Among other things, he is the patron against oversleeping. Very funny, Vitus. Well played. So I prayed about wakefulness and alertness and a more organized life. I dared to dream of more for my days and I felt God calling my soul to RISE.

I picked up our Bible concordance and flipped to the word "rise"... wanting desperately to know if Our Lord had ever spoken it. He had. I turned to Matthew 17... the Transfiguration...

{The disciples} fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, Rise, and do not be afraid. And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone."

And isn't that all. Isn't that everything? To see only Jesus. Rise!!

Just a few chapters later in Matthew, Judas gives in to despair and unceremoniously ends his own life. The antithesis of Jesus' dream for us.  I am often like Judas, so focused on my own failure that I take my eyes off the Savior. I ask HOW? How, Lord, is it possible that I can reach you through my failures and deficiencies? I am too lost, too broken, too weak. And He says...

"Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'?" {Matthew 9:5-6}

And so I rise at His command. I take up my cross, my matt, my hopes and my dreams... Rise... and walk.

While I was in the midst of chronic fatigue, I relied heavily on the ability to dump everything into a digital home until I was able to gather the energy to sort through it. Paper planners were beyond my capacity. But I love paper and pens and the act of writing and planning concretely and I finally have the courage to return. I still love my Evernote and use it regularly, but it is a season of more.

So I have invested in multiple discbound planners (leather for me and vinyl for household), a paper punch, and various printables and accessories that give me tremendous hope and joy (insofar as earthly things can). The most reasonably priced option I found was the Staples Arc system. (If you are looking for the best deals, go through Ebates to Staples, Amazon, or ebay to combine with specials or coupons you might find. It costs nothing but gives a cash back percentage on many online stores. It seems like small change at first but if you use it regularly, it adds up so nicely.)

I really only need a week-at-a-glance style planner page and lots of space to jot notes, so I designed my own that I could date and modify as needed. The leather and vinyl Arc planners both came with blank journal pages and so I alternated my weekly planner printable with a blank page. This is where all of my lists, brainstorming, and daily notes go. My month overview is in the front of the binder but those are easy to find free online.

This came together so well that I really wanted to share it here. I have included the printable PDF's to both my personalized 2015 weekly planner page and also a blank page below, so that you can customize your own. Patron saints, quotes, Scripture, word of the year, children's drawing, whatever your heart desires.

The Arc paper punch is an essential investment for me since most of what I put in my notebooks will be printed at home. It allows me the freedom to completely customize. 

Just a note to consider before printing 52 of these... I spaced the margins to suite my discbinder system and not a three-ring binder. It seems like a three-hole punch might overlap the lines a little but I did not test it out. If you're not sure, give it a test print first. You can probably adjust your printer margins slightly if you want it perfect. The pics below are just screen shots. Click on the PDF links for the high quality versions.

My 2015 Weekly Printable Planner...

2015 Blossoming Joy Weekly Planning - RISE! {PDF}

Customizable 2015 Printable Weekly Planner...

2015 Blossoming Joy Weekly Planning - BLANK {PDF}

As much as I would love to say so, these tools are not a magic pill for a perfectly planned life. But boy... they just make me so ridiculously happy. May God bless you in the New Year and may the peace and love of Christ reign in your homes! 

** This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a percentage if you purchase through my site. But every item linked here is something that I use regularly and find useful within my vocation.

Posted on January 9, 2015 and filed under DIY, Liturgical Year.