Setting Family Goals

We have always been goal oriented people.  To know where you are headed and why helps in so many ways.  This year we sat down, not just as a married couple, but as a whole family and set goals for the year.  Some where event oriented, like visiting the Butterfly museum. Some were school oriented, Jamie said she wanted to (and I quote) “what to do with all those ABCs on the papers”- so she wanted to learn to read.  Some were individual, some were family. Some were task oriented and some were spiritual, like one of the kids wanted to learn how to explain that Jesus is a better choice than other things to their friends. 

Here’s our top 10 reasons why you should consider sitting down as a family and setting goals.  Goals for the months to come and goals for the year. Maybe even goals for a few years out.  Involve the WHOLE family.  You would be surprised how much kids enjoy this.  They just love planning on great things to come.   

1.) It helps you stay focused and say “No” to competeing affections. There are a lot of “good” things out there, but you have to make a choice.

2.) It is very motivating to you and your children.  Just like the excitement of preparation for a big holiday, kids LOVE planning on great things to come!  You will be pleasantly shocked at the drive that is instilled in your children!  As well as how much they learn in the planning process. 

3.) Peace. Sometimes the  chaos of life and all the choices that drag us in different directions makes our brains dizzy!  KNOWING where your priorities lie and having them written down is a huge source of peace and erases the chaos of choice making.

4.) See God answer prayer in your family. When something is just around he corner we get ready for it.  That usually means part of our preparation is praying for that upcoming thing.  When we pray as a family for the upcoming events that we have committed to for the year, we quickly begin to SEE so many MORE answers to prayer.  Why?  Because we are LOOKING!!!  God always answers, we forget to look.

5.) Blessing a family member–If someone in your family loves to plan and organize a calendar- Then this will be a HUGE blessing to them.  They love to know what they can count on!!!

6.) Your children will automatically reach higher and higher each time you sit down to talk. It started in our house with simple things like finish this book, go the the butterfly museum.  Then, it turned into bigger things.  Sophie’s story below is the perfect example.

7.) Meaningless, meaningless, meaningless.  Sometimes people feel like they are so “full of life” that it seems meaningless to them- what does it really matter in the end?  Goal setting is perfect to combat this!  You go from one or tow things all the way to running out of paper because your family plans so many meaningFULL things.

8.) Family Unity.  Our world divides up family members left and right.  From sports, to school, even church events.  They are all good things, but they divide up the family.  Setting goals helps you make sure that you work together as a family!

9.) Your kids will not just “know” but they will experience how much you value their ideas, goals, and opinions.

10.) You will grow in wisdom and stature. Truly you will. Throughout Scripture, there are countless examples of people “stepping forward in faith" in some great adventure” and then you see how much they grow.  In the end we grow to because we learn from their example.  THAT COULD BE YOU!  God calls us all to step out in faith.  What is HE asking you to COMMITT to,  not just “intend” to do?  You will surely grow by committing your time to Him!



We have this Christmas CD of beautiful harp music. Sophie listened to it all season.  When we set Goals in January, who knew that she was going to say “ I would like to learn the harp”. Wow, really? Yes really Dad & Mom, I really do. Alright, lets write that down.  Anything else?  Yes I would like to meet Betty-Ashton (the harpist on the CD). Well OK Sophie!! That sounds Like a great goal. Now what do we need to do to reach that goal? We must insert that Sophie is not normally an initiative taker and surely doesn’t like new things-  this was a HUGE goal! So we set about planning, learning what it would take, writing letters, etc.

Then  in early spring Sophie began lessons.  Her violin teacher “just happened” to be friends with a harp distributer in the area who “just happened” to give lessons and have “just one slot available”.  They “just happened” to have a student sized harp we could rent as we learned and “just happened” to live nearby.  And Sophie “just happened” to see HOW AMAZING God’s perfect timing is when you pay attention and how NOTHING “just happens” in life!!!  Of course she had already been taught that, but now she had a life story to prove it!

Then this June, for Sophie’s 9th Birthday. She met Betty-Ashton. She wrote to her just after the new year.  She found out she lived in Nashville, not too far from where we go to a homeschooling conference and Emi & C-Dub live!!!  Then, to Sophie’s shock, Betty Ashton offered to meet with her for an afternoon free of charge!!!. She went to her home, got to hear her play, learned that Betty Ashton started playing when she was 9 too,  learned about teaching & harp therapy, learned how to make the harp sound like a spanish guitar, and even got to play on her harps.  She went home with a t-shirt, a new CD of songs composed by Betty Ashton, and IMMENSE JOY and ENCOURAGEMENT.  She set a goal.  She worked toward it.  and WOW- how blessed she was when it came to fruition!!!!

Sophie's first day on her harpNashville- ok so we HAD to stop for ice cream!!!Mom & SophieBetty Ashton on her concert harpSophie playing a beautiful blue electric harpBetty Ashton & Sophie

A Day called “May”

There once was a day called May

It was filled joy and play

So much to do it made time fly

All the days passed in a blink of an eye

There once was a day called May


Here are a few of the May highlights from our family:

We had the privilege of being a part of Nauna & Nat’s wedding in New York.  Jacob had his first ever “live” performance to play cello for the ceremony, and Sophie got to stand up in the wedding.  We all had a wonderful time seeing friends from Mom’s childhood, and visiting with family.  We even got to play on their BIG grassy hill with their new dog Fritz, and a little baseball too!

Look we are all celan and no one had katchup on thier shirts ....YET!!Jacob's playing Joyful Joyful We Adore TheeNat & NaunaJoel & Nat enjoying some R&Rbatting with uncle C-DubJamiesamsarah

Then we traveled to Ohio/PA area to see the extended Martin family.  What a BLAST!!! We stayed at Uncle Dave & Aunt Betsy’s.  They have a HUGE & FAST new zip line, plus a trampoline!  We had a great time catching up with family.  We were also blessed to see our dear friends, The Ellis’s and their four little kids, who just started in the pastorate. 

What could be cuter?cousins!!aww look- Jefferson and baby KatieSean and Joannatrampoline funUncle Jay, their new baby Colten, and SamThe Cousins!!!!

Stay tuned for Zip line pix……soon to come!


Then we were off to Nashville!  Where we spent time bowling with Emi (mom’s sister) & C-dub.  They have a lot of friends that are musicians.  So while the other kids played, Jacob interviewed a few of them on their instruments and techniques! There is always time for nurf gun training.  In addition, Sophie had the privilege of spending the day with Betty Ashton a harpist (that we will place as a separate blog entry).

Josiah in actionJamieSophieJacob getting info on how to read drum musicJill teaching  the art of nurf gun shootingC-dub teaching Jamie how to aim!

Then we were off to our homeschooling conference. The kids had such a great tie making new friends and seeing old ones, as well as learning about the blessings of God. The family’s highlight was seeing Robert & Clayton perform on dueling pianos!  WOW AMAZING!!!  Dad and Mom got to hear some great teaching and were thankful to reconnect to friends met in years past.  I see a few road trips coming up!!!  To see some great pictures from the conference, our friend James Staddon took some great shots.  Click here- Pix from Nashville from James

To see some great shots of real guns (verses nurf) check out The Neely’s recent blog entry- you can click here-  The Bigger Gun!!! by the Neely’s  


Stay tuned for Events on a Zip line and A Day of Harpping with Sophie