PSA: Make a New Year’s Day Checklist

used batteries ?Before I get into this post, I just have to say that I found on amazon something quite humorous. Did you know people sell used batteries on the internets? I had no idea.

Anyway, I’m trying to make a habit out of a few things to do on New Year’s Day:

  • Change Batteries: and I mean everywhere in the house. Most importantly are the smoke alarms. Almost just as important are the remote control batteries for our TV, stereo, and DVD player.
  • Trash Expired Stuff: mostly medicine, vitamins, and food. Really anything with an expiration date. I just find it easier on New Year’s Day to find expired items. I don’t have to look at the month or day of expiration. I just look at the year! Hooray!
  • Backup Computer: should do it more often than once a year, but New Year’s Day is a good time to do it also.
  • Watch Football: hey, how did this get so far down the list?
  • Bible Reading Plan: I have a plan to read the Bible chronologically. I like that better than cover-to-cover straight through or those plans that have you jumping all around the Bible. Read it like a story in chronological order is much better.
  • Clean the Coffee Maker: I mean a good cleaning. Wiping, filtering, just whatever. Get that sucker cleaned up!
  • Self-clean the Oven: that is if it’s cold enough. You know, when you lock it down and it gets to like 700 degrees and chars everything inside? Tip: put your cast iron skillets in there during self clean!

Notice that although there are several things listed, they don’t take a lot of my energy. I like accomplishable tasks with minimal effort!

Do you have a checklist for 01-01-08?

Read the Bible Chronologically in a Year

BibleThere are a lot of books, reading plans, and online resources to help you read through the Bible in a year. Many of them move you back and forth between reading parts from the Old Testament and parts from the New Testament. I’m not really a fan of those because I feel like I’m missing the bigger story.

One of the things that almost every plan has is a checklist for every day (read this today, read this tomorrow). Though I’m a box checker, when it comes to reading just about any book, I can’t do it that way.

So I have my own plan by reading it, not cover-to-cover, but in chronological order with no check boxes! My reading the Bible chronologically plan (PDF) is one I found and tweaked a bit many years ago. I’ve made it available so you can print and fold the paper in half and use it as a bookmark…or for notes.

The idea is not to check boxes every day, but give yourself plenty of grace reading what you can when you can. However, to do it in a year you need to average 3-4 chapters a day (that’s just the math of it all).

I’ve only done it once many years ago but it was great. I’m planning to do it again in 2008. Here’s some tips to doing this:

  1. Read a translation of the Bible that is easy to read. My favorite for this is the New Living Translation because it’s accurate and easy to read. You can read any version but the point here is to not make it hard on yourself (for me that would exclude the KJV (too hard) and The Message (a paraphrased book)).
  2. Give yourself plenty of grace as you work through it. Some days I didn’t read, other days I read a lot. I never gave myself a hard time about it and ended up finishing it in about 10 months.
  3. Read for the story, not the details. You’ll find a lot of details as you go, but the advantage of going in this order is you see the overall story. Read for that — more like a novel.
  4. The most common complaint about something like this is reading books like Leviticus. Well, here’s my advice: read from a higher level. Don’t get bogged down into the details of the text. See the overall picture of how God wants to take care of His people.

So I’m going to give it another shot in 2008. Anyone want to join me? Just download and print the reading the Bible chronologically plan (PDF) and read along.

Christmas Eve in Florida – A Reading

One of the most beloved Christmas poems is Twas the Night Before Christmas. But since we’re experiencing our first Florida Christmas, the poem just wasn’t relevant enough.

So I rewrote it. Or translated it. Or whatever you might call it.

May I present to you, for your listening enjoyment, Christmas Eve in Florida.

Oh yeah, feel free to download it and put it on your iPod or play it for your family or whatever. I have high hopes for my podcasting career!

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas Adam!

Merry Christmas Adam!My family and I have a small and kind of silly tradition today. We wish each other, and everyone else, a “Merry Christmas Adam!” today because it’s December 23.

You see, tomorrow is Dec 24 which is Christmas Eve. Adam was before Eve. Therefore today, Dec 23 must be Christmas Adam!

Yeah, it’s silly, but it’s a fun little tradition for us.

Christmas Rabbit Trails

Last night I was on a Wikipedia Rabbit Trail. You ever been on one of those? You look up one thing then as you read you click on something else and before you know it you’re off on all sorts of tangents.

Well I do it sometimes and it’s kinda fun. I run across all sorts of interesting things as I piece together a bigger picture.

Last night it was about Christmas. Actually it started with ‘xmas’. I was looking for confirmation of my memory that it’s actually a ‘normal’ way to do it since X is our English version of the Greek letter chi which is the first letter in the word Christ. So X-mas is really shorthand for “Christ’s Mass” or the celebration/festival/service for Christ…and xians have been writing it like that for centuries!

Then I read about Yule. It’s the ‘pagan festival’ that Christmas ‘adopted’. In the Scandinavian area after the harvest was done and the days were short, they picked a time to have a winter festival usually starting around December 25. They started by burning a huge log and when the fire burnt out, the festival stopped. Often it took 12 days. During that time they exchanged gifts, sang, danced, decorated pine trees and used other evergreens like holly and mistletoe as decorations. When Christian missionaries went to the area, instead of telling them to stop the celebrations, they instead used the traditions as illustrations to tell the story of Jesus.

Something else I found interesting is how international our western Christmas traditions are. The Christmas tree is German, Santa Claus is Turkish (well, St. Nick was a Turk), Poinsettias are Mexican, and mistletoe is Scandinavian (though I think we came up with the Grinch).

It was the German, Martin Luther who first put candles on a Christmas tree (really, what was he thinking putting fire on a dead, dry tree?!?!). But protestants at the time didn’t celebrate Christmas much. They thought it was too Catholic. The Puritans in England took it to the extreme and so when they came to the New World in the 1600’s, they banned Christmas in Boston among other places. In fact, Christmas in both the Colonies and in England started to decline in popularity and it really wasn’t until two pieces of literature published in the early to late 1800s brought Christmas up out of the doldrums: the book A Christmas Carol and the poem Twas The Night Before Christmas.

I purposefully didn’t provide any links in this post. It’s all from memory from what I learned clicking around Wikipedia.

Try out your own Wikipedia Rabbit Trail. If you do, blog what you learn and track it back here.

Wikipedia Rabbit Trails can be fun!