Saturday, December 11, 2010

WHO is the reason for Season? The answer might surprise you!

Guess what’s on my mind today?


Ha ha…I know, surprise surprise, right? It’s on everyone’s mind. It’s everywhere we look. Sale ads, commercials, decorations, even the cold temperatures and snow constantly remind us that December 25 is just days away. Like many of us, I’m concerned about where our focus is concentrated this time of year. We get so easily sidetracked by the gift lists, the shopping, the decking of the halls, the party planning and attending. Even those of us who want to avoid the commercial-consumption-filled-Holiday find our schedules overloaded. Maybe they’re overloaded with good things like Church services, volunteer opportunities, and family events, but overloaded is overloaded. So, the question is, what are we all very likely missing as we look forward to celebrating Christmas day?

Amid the Christmas rush… In the middle of the mounting bills…In the insanity of our schedules…What are we all losing sight of?

All together now…We’ve forgotten the reason for the season!

But, what exactly IS the reason for the season?

Right now you’re probably thinking…DUH…Jesus is the reason for the Season! Haven’t you seen it plastered on coffee mugs, t-Shirts, bumper stickers, and Facebook statuses?! Jesus is the Reason for the Season! Just ask anyone who believes in more than a big red-suited guy who delivers presents with the help of eight (or nine depending on whether they need Rudolph’s red nose, I guess) mammals who have no business flying outside of the magic of North Pole. Of course, Jesus is the reason for the season!

Would you hate me if I say I don’t necessarily agree with that?

Before you write me off as misled, heretical, or just plain CRAZY…let me reassure you. I believe Jesus Christ is THE son of God. He is the King of Kings and the Savior of the World.

In fact, I would say without hesitation that Jesus is the Creator of the Season.

There would BE no Christmas without Jesus. He is the Creator of EVERYTHING!

The Bible says, “Through (Jesus) all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:3

“He came into the very world he created…” ~ John 1:10 (NIV)

So, yes, Jesus is the Creator of Christmas.

I would go even further to say that Jesus is the Focus of the Season.

What He came to do is amazing! I hope to never lose sight of what Jesus was committing to by coming into the world as a baby born in the humblest of circumstances.

“He appeared as a man. He came down to the lowest level. He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death. In fact, he died on a cross.” ~ Philippians 2:8 (NIrV)

So, yes, Jesus is the Creator of the Season and Jesus is the Focus of the Season! He is the Who, the What, the When, the Where, and even the HOW of Christmas.

But, my friend, we are the WHY!

So, that’s why I believe the Reason for the Season is…


“He came into the world…for you.” ~ 1 Peter 1:20 (NIrV)

Isn’t that incredible? The Creator of all that is, the Master of the universe, the Lord of all, gave up equality with God and chose to come to that low level as a human being. He chose to live a humble life in order to show us the way to do it. He chose to die in a horrific way…for YOU!

But, maybe you’re a little like me and you can’t imagine that you could be the reason for this Season. Maybe you look at others and see Wonder Woman or Superman when you feel like the Queen or King of Chaos! I can so relate to that.

And, maybe you’re asking, why me? Why would Jesus come into this world…for me?

Well, my question is, why not you?

You are a child of the one true God. You are His creation. And, besides, all that stuff you try so desperately to hide from the world, from your friends, your family, and maybe even from your spouse…He already knows. He already sees. Every impure thought, every time you say those hurtful words to your loved ones, every time you try but fail, every time you fail to try…God knows, God sees, but He LOVES you anyway.

David the Psalmist understood this well. He got the fact that God knows us, INTIMATELY, inside and out. He had some understanding of the fact that it’s pointless to hide anything from God. In fact, he wrote about it:

1 Lord, you have seen what is in my heart.
You know all about me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You know what I'm thinking even though you are far away.
3 You know when I go out to work and when I come back home.
You know exactly how I live.
4 Lord, even before I speak a word,
you know all about it.
5 You are all around me. You are behind me and in front of me.
You hold me in your power.
6 I'm amazed at how well you know me.
13 You created the deepest parts of my being.
You put me together inside my mother's body.
~ Psalm 139, 1-6, 13 (NIrV)

So, yes, God created you, He sees you, He knows all there is to know about you. Even things you don’t know fully yourself. But, here’s the exciting part…He LOVES YOU!

“The LORD your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love.” ~ Zephaniah 3:17 (CEV)

So, why not you? He created you; He knows you, and HE LOVES YOU!

AND, He knew this was the Only Way!

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard...” Romans 3:23

What is sin anyway? Isn’t it simply choosing to go our way instead of His way?
So, yes, we’ve all done it. If we’ve ever even entertained a THOUGHT that goes
against what He wants for us…we’ve sinned. So, we were all headed to eternal
separation from God.

But, He provided a way…

“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:23 (NLT)

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6 (NIrV)

And, you know what’s seriously cool? He planned it all along!

Sometimes I fool myself into thinking God had to scramble for plan B after Adam
and Eve chose to disobey and take that fateful bite of fruit. Sometimes I imagine
God saying to Himself, “Oh great! I created this perfect place for them. I gave
them everything they need. All I asked was that they not eat from ONE little tree.
But did they listen? NNNNnnnooo! Now I’ve got to figure out another way to get
‘em into heaven. Why don’t they just LISTEN?!”

Isn’t that ridiculous. This is God we’re talking about here. He’s all powerful, all
present, and ALL KNOWING. He knew we would choose to sin. And, He
PLANNED a way to save us from ourselves from the very beginning!

“Long before God laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ…He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” ~ Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)

I don’t know about you, but this gets me all jazzed up. I AM THE REASON FOR THE SEASON. Doesn’t feel so strange to say that now. Why don’t you practice it? Go ahead…don’t worry about your co-workers, or the other customers at Panera, or even your family. They need to know this truth, too. So, go on, shout it out! Or, at least say it out loud. And, then maybe share the good news with someone close by. Can you imagine the encouragement you could give with those words? YOU are the Reason for the Season. Jesus is the Creator of the Season, He is the Focus of the Season. He is the Who, the What, the When, the Where, and even the HOW. But YOU are the Reason for the Season!!!

I don’t know what you’re facing today. Maybe you’ve received some really bad news from the Doctor. Maybe your child is hurting. Maybe you don’t know how you’ll provide food and heat this month, let alone a “MERRY” Christmas. (If you know of someone in this position, make sure you nominate their need to be met at!) But, there’s one thing you can be certain of. It was BECAUSE OF YOU that Jesus came into this world. And, He would have done it if YOU were the only one to believe it, ever. YOU mean that much to Him!

So, on the days we feel like Wonder Woman or Super Man (or Lego Batman on the video game my husband and daughter are playing right now) OR the Queen or King of Chaos…these are the words that can get us through…WE are the Reason for this Season!

LOVE to you this weekend, and here are some words from one of my all time favorite Christmas songs to help you as you trudge through heartbreak, the mall, or both…

We Are the Reason
by David Meece

As little children we would dream of Christmas morn
And all the gifts and toys we knew we'd find
But we never realized a baby born one blessed night
Gave us the greatest gift of our lives

As the years went by we learned more about gifts
And giving of ourselves and what that means
On a dark and cloudy day a man hung crying in the rain
Because of love Because of love

And we were the reason that he gave his life
We were the reason that he suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all he could give
To show us the reason to live!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Daddy's Influence

Hey Dad, ever wonder what kind of impact you have in your daughter's life and on her heart? Well, what I saw today is proof of a Father's incredible influence. Our 4-year-old had her final ice skating lesson. And, let's just say ice skating has not turned out to be Alyssa's favorite thing. She has repeatedly told me she's ready to give up on ice skating, that the skates hurt her feet, and that she wants to go back to gymnastics. But, we had made a commitment to eight weeks of classes and she agreed to push through to the end. As a treat we took her to see the Disney Princesses on Ice as they twirled through Peoria last weekend. Alyssa loved the program but still held firm to her decision that after her last ice skating lesson this week, that was it! Of course, that trumped my secret hope of her watching the magic on the rink and deciding that ice skating IS her life's dream after all. But, alas, we have accepted the simple fact that Alyssa made it through one round of ice skating lessons and will probably never sign up again. We're OK with that...really. Totally OK with it.'s final lesson was anticipated as more or less a sigh of relief. We made it. We persevered! But, it didn't turn out that way at all. Alyssa skated stronger and faster than she had ever before. She laughed and giggled instead of turning to me with that "are we done yet?" look. Instead of trying to think of reasons to get off the ice, she was gliding, dipping, and marching with the best of them. What made the difference? DADDY came to ice skating today! It was amazing the difference in Alyssa's overall level of eagerness simply because Jeremy was there watching her. Daddy definitely made all the difference. Isn't that the story of a little girl's life?

You know, after today's experience, I can't help but think about opportunities for a Dad to impact his little Princess's heart by taking her to a special event like the Father/Daughter Purity Ball put on by the Christian Center. It's a once-every-two-or-three-years event. Yes, you have to get dressed up and yes, there will be dancing. But, can you imagine the way a girl's life would be impacted by this special one-on-one time? I know my heart yearned for something like this as I was growing up. And, I'm so glad to see my own little girl through the eyes of my husband who simply adores her! You can create these special moments in many ways, but if you'd like more information on the Father/Daughter Purity Ball coming up in just over a week...visit

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, Alyssa was really glad Daddy watched her today but, no, she still doesn't want to sign up for another round of lessons. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time to play the grace card...

Jeremy and I had a chance to preview a new movie coming out in February 2011. Last night we arrived at the Rave in Peoria, bought our popcorn, and settled in prepared to see a heartwarming film but also something that would be a little underwhelming when it comes to story line and acting. I don't want to sound pessimistic, but generally Christian films can tend to have great heart and intentions, but because they have to deal with a low budget, etc., the overall product is sometimes a little less than excellent. You love the message and the themes, but maybe not everything else. So, we weren't setting the bar too high. In fact, I think we both went into it thinking we needed to LOOK for the good in what was probably going to be the typical low budget film that we wish could be produced at a major Hollywood-production level. Well, we were surprised on all counts! Instead of just heartwarming it proved to be challenging and instead of a poorly written script and not-so-great acting, we watched what could be a real life event taking place in any city across the U.S. And, there were a few strong performances as well. The two lead actors deserve major kudos as does Academy Award winner, Lou Gossett, Jr. who plays a small but crucial role in the film. There's a little violence and blood, in case you're concerned about that kind of thing. The film also deals with some tough issues, but doesn't real life? It's not for the little eyes and ears, but for older kids/teens it could be OK. All in all we are excited to encourage you to see The Grace Card if you can when it comes to theaters on February 25, 2011. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what these folks from a church in Tennessee have put together. To find out more about how your church, small group, or organization can support the movie, log on to

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

People blow me away

The other day Alyssa and I were in the car when she heard on the radio a spot about Vision this week on 91.5 WCIC.
"Mommy, what's that?" She said.
"What, Vision?"
"Oh, that's our fall fundraiser. Basically we let people know about the need we have for money to keep the radio station on the air everyday. And, we ask people to help us with that need."
Alyssa (crinkling her nose and forehead in that adorable way only a preschooler can), "Well, they need to come up with a different name for that because that doesn't sound like FUN at all!"
Me (trying not to laugh because she's at the age when cracking up at the cute things she says make her very upset), "It's not a FUNraiser, sweetie, it's a FUND-raiser! We raise FUNDS, which is another way of saying money!"

You know...I can understand my girl's 4-year-old logic. It really doesn't SOUND like fun at all. Asking people for money? It actually sounds dreadful. But,'s not. Somehow it's a blast!

I love fundraiser time. Sure, it's longer days. Sure, my husband and the rest of the full time staff works 1,000 hours overtime preparing for Vision. But, once we open up those mics Tuesday morning...the party begins.It's kind of like a big family get together at Thanksgiving. We have lots of company and so many yummy temptations that I have to ban myself from the kitchen! It's a special time.

Beyond the fun of having a full house of volunteers, it's simply amazing to see how people sacrifice to help keep the music going at 91.5 FM! The volunteers give their time, SO MANY listeners give financially at all kinds of levels and usually it's something that constitutes a major sacrifice for their individual budgets, restaurants donate food and drinks, masseuses offer free massages to our staff and volunteers. It's all about the magic of people who stop saying why they can't help and just start...helping! They see what they CAN do and do it. These people blow me away and I want to be like them when I grow up.

So, whatever you're doing this week to help with Vision on 91.5 WCIC...thank you! Whether you've donated food or services, answered phones, made a pledge, prayed for us, or all of the above...your gift and sacrifice is not taken lightly. We know you give because you believe in what God is doing through this radio station. He notices your act of kindness and so do we.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Things I love about my Hubby!

I'm sitting here in semi-darkness listening to Jeremy snore and for some reason it's making me feel thankful. So I thought it appropriate to jot down a few reasons I'm thankful for my husband.

1. He's here
2. He loves me
3. He loves our daughter
4. He makes me laugh
5. He gave up going to workout tonight because he wanted to have time with Alyssa
6. He's awfully handsome
7. He kills spiders and other icky bugs
8. He puts up with all of me; good, bad, & ugly
9. He's a good kisser!
10. He just stopped snoring

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I think we've found a TRUE star!

Did ya see America's Got Talent last night? Can I just say...WOW?! I mean most of the You Tube Submissions were not the best due to poor choice of content, nerves, or just plain weirdness that gave me nightmares (thank you dental floss man). But, the final performance of the night was one of those once in a lifetime events that I'm so glad I didn't miss. Not only is 10-year-old Jackie Evancho one of the most talented singers I've ever heard....EVER...but she was so full of grace, poise, and charm mixed with enthusiasm, humility, and innocence. What a sheer joy. I'm so excited to follow this little lady's career. I think it will be long and successful!

Didn't catch it? Well, here it is, enjoy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I love my job!

In this day and age most people are probably happy just to have a job. Times are tight. The recession's end has yet to show real evidence of itself. Hopefully we're starting to see a turning of the tide but, still, simply having and holding on to a job, ANY job, right now is a true gift. So, having and holding on to a job that you LOVE is a treasure beyond imagination. And, that is where I find myself today; gratitude and joy swirling around in my heart so fast that sometimes I get a little dizzy. I'm sure you've noticed the dizzy times quite often. ;) Anywho, I just had to express my love for my job and tell you that I can't wait to get back on Monday. Jeremy feels the same way but I won't let him post on the blog. (Ha! Just Kidding!) We are both so excited about the fact the we are excited to return to work after a wonderful vacation. Thanks so much for Doing Life with us and please join us Monday afternoon at three. Oh, and we'd love to know what you love about YOUR job. Post a comment and we might get to read it on the air next week! See/Talk to you soon!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A few thoughts on some spilt milk...

Last week I was making Mac and Cheese for Alyssa, my four-year-old, and she wanted to help. Not wanting to dash her passion for “cooking” I said, “Of course you can help!” Well, the problem with that is there’s really not a whole lot to do besides boiling the water, putting in the noodles, draining, and adding the cheese and milk. And, the majority of these steps involve standing over a hot pan and stove. So, naturally, I wanted to be extremely careful as she “helped” me pour in the noodles, stir them up so they didn’t stick, and so on. I mean, learning to work around a hot stove is important but it’s not really one of those skills you want your pre-schooler to acquire by making mistakes and winding up with a severe burn! Admittedly, I’m a little overly cautious in these situations.

Finally we had successfully boiled the water and the noodles, drained the water, deposited the noodles back into the pan and all we had to do was pour in the milk and the cheese…we were SO close to being done. I told Alyssa I could finish up while she sat at the table but she was determined to see the lunch mission through to the end. Again, not wanting to thwart a chef in the making, I said, “OK, get back up on your stool, CAREFULLY, don’t touch anything, Mommy will help you pour the milk into the pot.” She followed directions precisely. But, Mommy’s arm got in the way. Somehow between trying to help her climb back up on her perch, trying to protect her from the hot stove, and trying to hold the ¼ cup of milk up and out of the way I misjudged something. I didn’t realize I was holding my arm too low over her head and when my sweet girl stood all the way up on the stool she had no way of knowing that she would bump – ever so slightly – into the arm holding the milk. And that’s all it took. It was just one quarter of a cup of milk…and my daughter had just barely bumped my arm…it was really more of a gentle nudge…just a small amount of liquid came out of a very small container…and yet – it seemed to go EVERYWHERE!

Milk splashed onto the hot stove top, immediately scalding. Drops of milk hit the counters, the floor, the sink, the utensils that sit next to the stove. I stood there in disbelief for a brief moment; shocked at how far reaching the damage appeared to be. Of course Alyssa thought it was her fault and I had to assure her that although Mommy needed her to go in the other room for a few minutes so the mess could be cleaned up, it wasn't a mess that she had caused. Then I went to work mopping up. A good 5-10 minutes later, I was finally done and still in amazement. The measuring cup sitting innocently on the counter was still practically full and my mind still couldn't grasp how so little milk could have splattered so far and wide! How could such a small bump on the arm cause this incredibly small amount of liquid to cover so much territory?

That's when the AHA moment finally hit me. (At least if I had to clean up burnt milk from my stove top I could actually get something out of it, right?) Just then I realized that's exactly what happens in life. I thought of the place in the Bible when Jesus says, "Out of the abundance of the heart (the) mouth speaks!" And I thought of all the times I'd listened to men and women talking on this passage about how whatever a container is filled with is exactly what will pour out if it spills over. The reminders that what you fill your heart with is what will spill out any time you hit even a little bump in the road. But on this day I learned something more. I knew that when we hit bumps in life whatever's inside of us - good or bad; positive or negative; fair or foul - is exactly what will come out...BUT the AHA came when I realized that even if it's a teeny tiny amount of what's inside of us that does spill can still go EVERYWHERE! Even one kind or unkind word can go a long way and make a big difference in someone else's day or in their overall impression of who we are and what we're made of. Or, more importantly, one word can sometimes rescue or destroy a person who has come to a critical point in life. In Proverbs we read that a harsh word (A Harsh Word - even just one) stirs up anger while a gentle answer can diffuse a situation. We can never really know how big an impact even the smallest frown or snippy reply can make. Or, on the other hand, how much joy a quick smile or short kind word can bring. And, we can never know how many people can be impacted by such a seemingly insignificant act. A small splash can hit a lot of spots! And, sometimes the spots can't all be wiped clean!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fears to Faith

I've been going through the book Real Moms Real Jesus by Jill Savage with some friends on Wednesday nights. Last night one of the discussion questions centered on the fears that we have that we need to hand over to God, believing He is in control and will bring about the best possible outcome for everyone involved. I have a couple of fears that came to mind immediately. #1 - My loved ones who don't know God...what will happen to them? Will they make an eternal-life saving choice before it's too late? In many cases I've been asked to back off and am trying to respect that request. But, many times the absence of opportunity to discuss leads to lots of opportunities to worry. Not good! Jesus tells us not to worry. But, does He mean even about this? Yes, I think, definitely. It's so hard though. Prayer is my only option here. I know that sounds ridiculous even as I type it. Prayer is the most powerful option. It gets me out of the way and leaves room for the Lord of the Universe to work. I know I know I know I KNOW! But, oh what a temptation it is to worry and fear. #2 - It's too late to have another baby...hasn't happened in the year or so that we've been trying...I'm gonna be 40 in a couple of weeks so even if we get pregnant there are so many risks! I know so many friends who have struggled with infertility or secondary infertility. Never thought I'd have trouble getting pregnant after having our precious girl four years ago. I CANNOT CONTROL THIS...even with counting the days on the calendar and taking every "opportunity" we can. Life is a miracle, it's a choice by God to decide to give us a precious gift. So far, we've only received that gift once and that may be all (unless we adopt someday of course). But, oh how I WANT to be in control. I want to be pregnant...with a boy...who would be born happy, healthy, with no defects. Why do I feel so guilty for wanting that so badly? Why do I get my hopes up every month just to be disappointed? I believe this is a kind of fear...a fear of something NOT happening...really that's the case with both of my fears isn't it? But, God KNOWS...God LOVES...God CARES!
So, there you have it, my struggle to let my God turn my fears into faith! Thanks for challenge, Mrs. Savage!
~ Jill
PS - One of the Carpet Installers just told me I'm thinking too hard! Ha ha! ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Simply Available

I was talking with Catherine from the morning show yesterday about something that's been challenging me lately. Somehow we got on the topic of showing love to others and what keeps us from doing that more often. For me it was the waiting to see what new and exciting thing God has for me to do instead of looking at what I can be doing right now. For Cat it was the feeling that it's easier to do something anonymously or from a distance, like sponsoring a child through Compassion or sending a check to the Red Cross, than to actually invite someone into her home or life on a personal basis.

I think for both of us it comes down to taking the time to really LOVE the people around us. I'm talking about really digging in to get to know them, their families, and their struggles. Looking someone in the eye, truly listening to them, and making my life less about busyness and more about human beings. Why is this SO hard?

I don't have to look far for ways to put this into action. My next door neighbor is a single mom expecting her second child next month. I can show up at her door (literally three feet from mine) and say, "I'm here to do whatever needs to be done." And, when the baby arrives...I can show up and say..."I've got go take a power nap or just have a few minutes to yourself." I'm not much of a cook, but I can make an extra large batch of spaghetti and deliver half of it before my family digs in.

So why is this my most commonly uttered 'helpful' phrase: "If there's anything I can do...just let me know!"? Hello! I've had a child...I know what I wish someone else would have done for me in that newborn stage...or what someone else DID that meant the world to me. Saying "If there's anything I can do..." is like saying "If the sky is blue tomorrow let me know and I'll come see how I can help, OK?" A single mom with two kiddos...of COURSE there's something I can do!

This is just one example. I can think of many times when someone's started opening up to me in any given situation and I've had to cut it short because I had somewhere to go, something to do. Now, that's a tough one. We all lead really busy lives these days and we usually are rushing from one place to the next. And secretly most of us are hoping that when we shout out that friendly, "How ya doing?" the answer will be a very quick, "GREAT, you?" But that's not always the case. Sometimes that other mom at Pre-School or the friend I bump into at the grocery store really needs a listening ear. I guess the key here is to really work my schedule so that there's time to be simply my family and to people in general. Maybe it means getting up at 5 am to do my afternoon show prep so that Alyssa and I can go to a park later that morning. Then I'm available to play with her or we can invite one of her friends and his mom and I can truly focus on really talking with that mom. Or maybe it means getting to work early to catch up with the person at the desk next to mine so I can get my work done and still have time to find out how things are going in her marriage or with another situation in her life. Perhaps it's over lunch in the break room. It doesn't take money or a lot of special planning. It just takes TIME.

Love in the form of TIME! WOW - what better way to show someone I value their life than by taking the time to be a part of it! I don't know exactly in what ways this is going to unfold in my world...I just know that I want it to unfold!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year...a C R A Z Y challenge!!

Hello! Thanks for reading my "crazy blog" as my husband of almost 9 years would call it. Jeremy thinks I'm a little loopy for choosing to make a New Year's Resolution that will not only be very hard to achieve but also is very much out of character for me. You see, I have resolved that in 2010 I will get my four-year-old daughter outside to play for an hour a day. In Peoria, IL. You know, now that I read it, I think it's a little crazy as well. I mean it's like 10 degrees in Peoria right now and the wind chill makes it feel like, oh, about NEGATIVE FIVE! So, a wee loopy it does seem to make a resolution of this caliber. But, I am not going to back down.

I am, however, going to construct a few parameters. But, before we get into all of that...let's look at the WHY! I was saddened the other day when I came across the National Wildlife Federation's web site and realized that the current generation is the first to grow up almost completely INDOORS. I also found out that, according to the NWF, the average American child spends as little as only four minutes a day outside!! I remember thinking, "How could parents allow their kids to stay inside all the time? Don't they know that kids need to be outside...that they need to connect with nature...that they need sunshine and Vitamin D...that they need to get their bodies moving?" Then I had to take a little look-see in the proverbial mirror. And, well let's just say, OH BOY! I far too often find at the end of any given day that Alyssa and I haven't taken time to get outside at all. She now asks first thing in the morning, "Can I have a picnic and watch a little TV?" And, I have never in my life been accused of being an outdoors enthusiast! So, it's not "those parents"'s ME. I am a huge contributor to the fact that our nation's kids are growing up not even realizing the huge outdoor adventure they're missing.

So, it's time to get serious. And, the way to get serious is to make a goal. I've learned at my Weight Watchers meetings that you can't just say what you'd like to see happen, like, "I'd like to lose 50 pounds." You have to identify the steps you're going to take on a daily or weekly basis in order to make that goal happen. So, I want Alyssa to grow up loving the outdoors and spending lots and lots of time there. How am I going to make it happen? Well, now it's time for those parameters.

The Goal: Getting my daughter and myself outside an hour a day to play in 2010

Parameter Number One - This applies to the weekdays (Monday through Friday) only

Parameter Number Two - This applies to weekdays when the high temperature is at least a balmy 25 degrees and less than 100 degrees. And, of course, if it's dangerous to be outside because of a tornado warning or a heavy thunderstorm, I will not put my daughter in harm's way.

Parameter Number Three - The goal is to spend at least 60 minutes outside but I will not beat myself up if winds up being 30 or 45 every now and then due to schedules or whatnot (I like that word and never really used it before...whatnot).

Parameter Number Four - I can spend the entire time playing WITH Alyssa or I can pass off a portion of the time to Daddy (Jeremy) on vacation days or we can schedule an outdoor play date during which she will play outside with her friends and I will have some much needed time to sit outside and chat with mine (the other mommies).

Parameter Number Five - I will endeavor to introduce new ways of playing. For example, I've never taken Alyssa sledding. The winter's definitely the time to do that. And, we have friends who do an annual outdoor treasure hunt using their GPS devices. I want us to try at least ten new ways to play outside in 2010!

So, there ya have it. Crazy or not, this is my goal for 2010. I'd love to know what you think and if you'd like to take this loopy challenge with me!!!

Even if you don't wanna sign on for ALL the craziness, maybe you can just decide to get out there more this year in a way that works for you. Take a picture of yourself (with your friends or family if you want) playing outside this winter and send it to us. If we post your photo on the 91.5 WCIC web site, we'll send you a reusable bag with the station logo, a t-Shirt, and some other fun stuff! The easiest way to get your photo to us is to email us through the Doing Life with the Traceys page on! Have fun playing!