2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Looking Back

2014 has been a milestone year in my life. God sovereignly transformed my life sometime around Easter in the biggest way possible… He saved me from my own self-righteousness and unbelief. What I had previously thought was the Christian life, was really a false sense of hope and a works-based religion. You can read about that in My Personal Testimony.

Consistent with being a “new man”, my desires have changed radically this year. I spend a lot of my free time reading about Theology or watching sermons online. I have endeavored to “catch up” on the meat of Christian faith that I have missed out on, and it has been good. I have read God’s Word more consistently and with more fervor than ever in my life. I am truly thankful to my Lord and my Savior, Jesus Christ for this year.

A Different Kind of Resolution

My wife read an article about closing out the year writing letters to Jesus and placing them in your stockings before packing them away for the year. We thought it would be a good tradition to try out, so we all wrote letters of resolution to Jesus. In that letter I wrote my sincere commitments to serve and know Christ. It included overall statements, such as the desire to serve God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I also wrote practical things, such as continuing my daily time of reading the Bible, praying and studying.

So my public New Year’s Resolutions this year look more like changes in habit that I would like to implement in my life.

Continue reading 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

2013 New Year’s Resolutions

Bilbo-The-Hobbit

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring)

I thought it appropriate to use this image and quote taken from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring) and the recent release of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for my New Year’s Resolution post. My wife, kids and I went to see the movie together and thoroughly enjoyed it. Anyway, each year has the potential to hold something new, perhaps something adventurous. While I don’t particularly feel that it will at the moment, the future is unknown and as Bilbo stated, “there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Continue reading 2013 New Year’s Resolutions

2012 New Year’s Resolution(s)

Spock Cyclops

Ever hear that song, “The Future’s So Bright” by Timbuk 3? [Video] The catch phrase goes, “the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.” That is a little of what I feel like looking forward to 2012. We have taken some excellent steps towards becoming debt free, I have a great job, I’m training for my second marathon, I’m growing closer and closer to God… it seems like a year of possibilities (at least at this moment).

So with further ado about nothing, here are my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions.

1. The Greatest Command

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

I am not saying that I am a “law” man or a legalist. I fully believe that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, and not from myself. It is a gift of God, not by works, so that none can boast. (Paraphrased from Ephesians 2:8-9).

However, living as Christ lived is a worthy enough goal. I’ve been stewing over this verse for the past 6 months or so and have decided that this is what I want to focus on this year.

What does it mean to love the Lord your God with all your heart? What does it mean to love the Lord your God with all your soulall your mindand all your strength? What does that type of love and devotion look like in my every day life? What does it look like in the morning before I’ve had my coffee? What does it look like when I’m frustrated with something at work? If I were to truly act out this commandment in my life, how would my priorities change or my life for that matter?

That’s it.

Don’t you think that one is big enough to be the only resolution for this year? lol I think so. I thought about listing some others here, just as a blogging placeholder, but they haven’t really changed from last year. So I’ll just list them out here more as “continuing goals” for this year. They are:

  1. Practice My Talents – More specifically, the piano
  2. Run in my second marathon
  3. Get rid of the gut – I mean it this time!
  4. Pay off debt – We are going to hammer on this one until the debt monster is finally dead!

Well, I hope you and yours have a very Happy New Year and an excellent start to 2012! God bless.

2011 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! It is once again that time; time to make resolutions, promises and goals that we’ll never keep. I’m sure all of the health clubs out there love January because of the most likely number one resolution made: lose weight. I considered skipping this year, but I’ve been doing this for several years now and have actually made good progress towards goals that I wanted to keep. So here I am once again, making my list. Without further ado.

1. Die

Yes, you read it right. My number one resolution this year is die, but not in the natural, mortality sense. I hope to work this year on dying to my self (not myself but my “self”).

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Luke 9:23 – 25

That was Jesus speaking… you know God incarnate, the creator of the universe and everything in it. What does that mean, “take up their cross daily”? The cross was the means of carrying out Jesus’ death sentence. So we must kill ourselves every day? In Romans it says:

…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

So what does it mean to “count yourselves dead to sin”? I’m positive that I don’t have the complete picture. I do know that I love God and want to be in His perfect will, so I will be striving to live this out in my life. How? By attempting to put myself aside. By considering others higher than myself. By serving the needs of my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my church. We humans are extremely self-serving creatures. God knows that this is destructive in our lives and He asks us to lay it aside so that He can give us life more abundantly.

2. Practice My Talents

…more specifically, the piano. God has given us all talents and we should be striving for excellence in those talents, whether that means serving people, encouraging people, administering, cleaning or playing the piano. I have realized that I play the piano every Sunday (almost) and have gotten somewhat lax (ok, completely lax) in my practice. I don’t take regular time to fine tune the talent that I use to praise and worship my God and King. I am resolving to fix that this year and make it a regular habit of practicing my instrument.

3. Marathon #2!

Yes, I completed my very first marathon this past year (November 14, 2010). That is the health/fitness goal that I am most proud of. This year I would like to repeat the feat. However, my new goal for this year will be to complete the marathon and NOT collapse at the end resulting in an E.R. visit. Of course that means I need to get back on my feet and start training again, but I’ve had some physical setbacks via my right foot being injured.

4. Get Rid of the Gut

I seriously thought last year that training for and completing a marathon (26.2 miles) would result in this stupid gut or spare tire disappearing from my midsection. Seriously! I was woefully mistaken, however, and the gut remains. So while last year I quietly included this into the “running a marathon” goal, it gets its very own resolution this year. This also means that I will need to specifically target my midsection with exercise that is not just running. Look out six pack abs, here I come!

5. Pay Off Debt

This will continue to be a resolution until it is all gone. I absolutely hate being in debt to other people and count myself as a slave to creditors, without financial freedom, until such time as I pay that last bill and shed the shackles of debt. We have done well this past year, but I plan on attacking debt with a vengeance this year. It needs to get gone!

So there you have it, my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions. Do you have any resolutions this year?

2010 Resolutions : Looking Back


It is New Year’s Eve 2010 as I am writing this. I figured I’d take just a moment to look back on the resolutions I made for this year to see how I did.

1. Work on my relationship with God

Check! Though I can’t really take credit. I was discussing this with my wife last night and was having some difficulty as to whether or not I should even have included this item. In Philippians 1:6 Paul writes, “… being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

So yes I have grown closer to God, but I don’t think I really had a choice. The scripture makes it clear (at least to me) that He who began the work in me, that is God who called me to be His child (Ephesians 2:8-10), will complete it. I don’t have a choice in the matter. He will complete it. I think it’s just up to me whether it gets completed the easy way or the hard way; I can participate and willingly follow God or I can rebel and choose my own path so that God disciplines me.

2. Work on my relationship with my wife

I believe I did alright on this front. Though I can always stand to do better. I’d like to say that I loved my wife as Christ loves the church, but that is an impossible task for a broken sinner like me. However, I do love my wife, even more now than I ever have in history.

3. Be consistent with my children’s music training

Fail! The intent of this resolution was that I personally be more consistent in teaching my children piano. However, halfway through the year we got the children involved in home school band and they have really done well there. So it’s not a total loss. They are learning music and having fun, which is the important thing.

4. Run a marathon

Check! Yes, I did! I am actually quite proud of this one. You can read more about it in this article.

5. Pay off debts

Check! We actually paid off two of our outstanding debts this year and have continued to try to stay afloat.

So that’s it. So long and farewell, 2010. We are looking forward to a great coming year in 2011.

2009 New Year’s Resolutions Update

ga_output_image

January 1st of this year I posted a fairly aggressive list of New Year’s Resolutions. So how did I do? Well, I’ve only really succeeded at one of the resolutions. I guess that is better than none, right? It is now coming to the close of the year 2009 so I figured I’d list them all out again and see what happened.

1. Running / Training

STATUS: SUCCESS

For this resolution I had several sub-goals. They were:

  1. Run the 15k portion of the Pensacola Double Bridge Run – DONE!
  2. Run in a half-marathon – I’m actually registered and ready to run in the Kaiser Realty Coastal 1/2 Marathon this saturday (November 28, 2009). I’ve trained very hard for this and am ready. I did have a running partner, my father in law, who unfortunately is having some medical problems which will prevent him from running with me. I know he is going to get back to it quickly though and we’ll soon be running together again. I’ll post my results next week!
  3. Train to run in a marathon for 2010 – I had hoped to already be past the half marathon at this point, but I’m fully confident that I’ll be able to run in a marathon next year. The Pensacola Marathon has been moved to November so I may be picking another one that is in the first half of the year. We’ll see.

2. Scripture Memorization

STATUS: FAILURE
I had a fairly lofty goal of memorizing the entire Gospel of John. Later in the year I had actually modified this goal of memorizing just the portion of John that is commonly held as Jesus’s Farewell Discourse (John 13:31 – John 17:26). So how did I do? Terrible. I had memorized most of John 14 before the start of the New Year, but haven’t only made it to that entire chapter… and that is a bit rusty. So is there any hope? I believe I might be able to get another chapter (15) under my belt if I really get to it, but I seriously doubt I could manage the entire section. That’s OK, though, I’m still forging ahead even if at a snails pace.

3. Obtain my 2nd degree black belt in TaeKwonDo

STATUS: FAILURE
I got as far as contacting my old studio and inquiring about times and cost. I don’t really have the finances in order to be able to drop money into something that I’m not going to stick with and I don’t think I would have devoted the time into this that I needed to. So… maybe next year!

4. Try to write a book

STATUS: FAILURE
LOL – that’s about all I have to say. Attempted? No. Going to? Probably not.

5. Pay Off Debts

STATUS: FAILURE
Well, we made some really good progress in the first part of the year and paid of a couple of our debts. Yay! However, the second half of the year (following the flooding of our old house and subsequent search for new headquarters) has gone miserably. Not only have I not made progress towards this goal, I’ve gone pretty behind on several of the debts and am feeling like a terrible failure at anything having to do with finances at the moment. At this point the only thing I’m holding on to is the hope of another decent income tax return to get our heads above water again. Sigh

6. Improve Church Website

STATUS: FAILURE
The site is pretty much the same as it was. No work done, no time, no effort. Again… sigh.

7. Learn entire 48 Tai Chi form

STATUS: FAILURE
Well, I learned about the first 12 steps but that’s about it. This went the path of so many other resolutions and just fizzled out after a month or so. I could conceivably knock this one out before the end of the year, but that would take a pretty focused effort which I doubt will happen.

8. Increase Quality/Quantity of Blogging

STATUS: FAILURE
I’ll go ahead and “sigh” at the beginning on this one. I’ve actually done severely worse this year than previously. Let’s look at some numbers on just the main two of my blogs (Technology Site and Family Site (this one)).

franzone.com

Total posts in 2007 = 285
Total posts in 2008 = 182
Total posts in 2009 (to date) = 37

family.franzone.com

Total posts in 2007 = 43
Total posts in 2008 = 37
Total posts in 2009 (to date) = 12

Wow… not only fail, but epic fail! There’s no way I could catch up on this one, but I can at least try to start making regular posts. Why? Hmmm… I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

9. Journal

STATUS: FAILURE
LOL – I probably made one or two journal entries. Oh well, I just don’t think I’m the journaling type.

10. Build Something!

STATUS: FAILURE
Yeah, I’ve still got a huge list of TO-DO items that have had no love. Maybe next year.

11. Resolutions/Goal Tracking

STATUS: FAILURE
This one kind of goes hand in hand with #8 above, so it is an obvious fail.

So What Now?

Well, holiday season is about to be in full swing so I don’t think any of these will get much love except for my running which I’m pretty adamant about. I may make a few feeble attempts to take some steps on a couple of them before the end of year, but that’s about it. Will I set more resolutions for next year? I’ll have to get back to you on that one too. I know I’ll at least keep #1!

Resolution 1) Running / Training

Well, this year I have “resolved” to increase my training in the area of running/jogging. In my original post I specified 3 goals that I wanted to reach. I’d like to take a little time to talk about these goals in detail, how I will obtain the goals and how I’ve been doing so far.

 

1) Pensacola Double Bridge Run (15k)

It’s been my goal to run in the Pensacola Double Bridge Run for several years now and something always seems to come up. One year I was injured so I couldn’t run. Last year, I was in Alaska… Brrrr. This year is my year! I know it. So how am I reaching the goal?

For one, I just registered for the event (February 7, 2009). Spending money usually motivates me to complete something as I can’t stand to waste money.

Pensacola Double Bridge Registration

Second, and probably most importantly, I have been training. I had some issues with my feet back in November and December; however, after buying some new shoes I am back on track. I try to run at least three times a week now, four if I can manage. Those usually include shorter runs during the week which I work on speed/pace. Then I’ll run a longer distance on the weekend; this past weekend I ran 8.5 miles! Here are some graphs of my progress from Nike+.

This just shows the days on which I ran and how far I ran.
runs-jan22

This was my last run, during which I set a new personal best for the average minutes per mile (9′ 13″). Go me!
run-jan22

 

2) Half Marathon

On the road to running a full-on marathon (26.2 miles) I would like to run in a half marathon this year (13.1 miles). I’ve seen some training programs online that include a marathon training program that is around 4 – 6 months. I may just jump into one of these training programs knowing that I’ll reach a half marathon along the way, or I may pick one specifically for the half marathon. I haven’t decided yet. My focus right now is the 15k run so I’ll re-focus after that and get on track! I also need to find an event to run in.

 

3) Train for a Marathon in 2010

I want to take my first marathon seriously and carefully. Seriously meaning that I really want to do it. I want to train with that goal in the forefront of my mind and have obtainable milestones along the way. Carefully meaning, I don’t want to be injured! So I’ll be taking my body’s feedback in constant consideration and only pushing myself up to a safe point. Of course as I discussed in the last goal I’ll be choosing a training program. These are generally created by people far more experienced than I am, so I want to glean whatever wisdom from others that I can.

 

Summary

Well, that’s it for now I suppose. I am running a bit behind on one of my goals to track my resolutions. I’d planned on blogging about each one during the first 2 weeks of January. Oh well, now that I’ve started hopefully it’ll be easier. Thanks to all who continue to support and encourage me! God bless.

News Year’s Resolutions – 2009

ga_output_image

I usually do not make any New Year’s Resolutions at all. At most I’ll say something general like, “I want to get in shape” or “I want to journal more this year”. But I don’t ever make an intentional list and try to actually do what is on the list. This year is different. I’m not entirely sure why, but I just feel particularly motivated to obtain some goals during this new year and so I wanted to start out by publishing them. This should give me something to look at and keep me somewhat accountable to try and meet my expectations. So without further ado… the list.

1. Running / Training

This goal is somewhat general in that I want to continue/increase my running training throughout this year. But there is more to it than that. I have a few sub-points or milestones that I want to achieve this year, which will require some consistency in my training.

  1. Run the 15k portion of the Pensacola Double Bridge Run
  2. Run in a half-marathon
    (perhaps just personally record it on my Nike+ if I cannot find an actual half-marathon race)
  3. Train to run in a marathon in 2010
    I want to run in the Pensacola Marathon in 2010 so I’ll need to be training towards this throughout 2009.

2. Scripture Memorization

I want to memorize the first 14 chapters of the Gospel of John. I’ve got most of the 14th chapter memorized, so this will leave about 13 chapters throughout the year. I figure I can do a chapter per month and perhaps pick up the pace a little as I go along to squeeze in that extra chapter. We’ll see.

3. Obtain my 2nd degree black belt in TaeKwonDo

I’m currently a (rusty) 1st degree black belt in TaeKwonDo and I’d like to get back into it and test for my 2nd degree.

4. Try to write a book

Yeah, this one is kind of off-the-wall. I’ve always wanted to write a book; not real sure why. Perhaps this will be the year that I give a try.

5. Pay Off Debts

This is a big one and one that I’m serious about. I’m sick and tired of being a slave to creditors and ready to get out from under them. To be a bit more specific I am targeting to pay off any of our high-interest credit card and loan debts. This would not include our automobile loan or student loans (we don’t own a house).

6. Improve Church Website

I currently maintain my church’s website (Grace Community Church). I have several enhancements that I’ve been wanting to get to. They include:

  1. Praise and Worship Management Feature
  2. Improved Look and Feel
  3. Custom User Features (for posting News, Events, etc)

7. Learn entire 48 Tai Chi form

Don’t ask me which Tai Chi it is, I’m not sure right off hand. I bought a DVD called Simplified Tai chi Chuan with Applications (YMAA). I want to go through the whole video and learn the entire 48 Forms so that I can start encorporating them into my health routine (or maybe I’ll decide I don’t like it).

8. Increase Quality/Quantify of Blogging

I don’t have any real goals and/or metrics for this one yet, but it is something that I want to work on. I’ll be ironing out the details (goals) in an upcoming post.

9. Journal

I have a nice online WordPress installation specifically for private journaling. I just have to use it. Of course I say this every year, so we’ll see how it goes.

10. Build Something!

I have about a dozen different software projects that I’ve written down that I’d like to do. This year I hope to pick one and actually see it through to completion. Look out Google! I’m coming for you. lol

11. * Resolutions/Goal Tracking

One resolution to rule them all, one resolution to find them, one resolution to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them. This is my extra-credit/bonus resolution that’s sole purpose is to ensure that I stay on track and meet (at least some of) my resolutions and goals for this year.

So there you have it. Quite a list considering I never do this. In the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting more detail on each (or some) of the above resolutions. In these posts I’ll be refining the definition of what I am trying to accomplish, the milestones that I’ll be looking to meet and the steps that I’ll need to take to make the mark.

So have any of you made your New Year’s Resolutions for 2009? How do you plan on meeting your expectations for them?