I'm going to read an interpretation of the Qur'an (anything not written in Arabic is considered an interpretation). Over the last few years I've heard pastors and other leaders in churches share information about Islam that I just knew was false, yet I never felt I was in a position to correct them since I haven't studied that religion. By reading an interpretation, I will get a better understanding and so can more intelligently defend false statements when I hear them. For this goal, I will give myself a time-line for finishing the reading, with a daily page quota that is realistic.
I'm repeating myself this year with the desire to stick more closely to a vegan diet. I'm still undecided on the issue of eating eggs from our farm but I will cut out dairy. I've never been a big milk drinker - it's cheese that has been my downfall. However, I don't eat that much cheese anymore, so it really won't be a huge change in my life. My plan is to go dairy-free for 21 days - and, if I choose to eat eggs, to not eat anything containing eggs from off our farm.
I'm also going to implement a media Sabbath. One day a week, I will refrain from going on the internet for a 24 hour period, probably from Saturday night to Sunday night. The internet is such a time killer and I would rather be actively doing something rather than passively absorbing information. I've pretty much abandoned social media (i.e., facebook) as I realized I really don't get anything out of it. There are a handful of people I want to keep up with but actually most of my friends aren't even on facebook or are like me and use it very infrequently.
A couple of months ago I looked at the way we were living and realized some of our actions didn't match our beliefs. The main problem was driving - consuming precious fossil fuel while at the same time contributing to the pollution problem. I talked the talk about energy conservation yet made frequent trips in the car, sometimes to just accomplish one thing. We've been grouping our errands and planning better so we're only making one or two car trips a week. I want to continue with this habit as a way of living my values. Of course, I will continue to monitor other daily choices and purchases to strive for less impact on the environment. I need to make the goal of more sustainability fit within the SMART guidelines.
Beyond goals, my wish for 2013 is to become part of a community of like-minded individuals, people who are concerned about things like the environment and social justice, people who actually think through a topic or issue and don't spew out the rhetoric they've heard in the pews or on FOX news - or even the official stance of the Democratic party. I want to discuss things rationally, using facts, while at the same time keeping a human face on issues. I want to talk to people who know that prayer alone isn't the answer - that WE are often the answer to our and other's prayers - and that you can pray any time and anywhere, even when you're actually DOING things. It's not an either/or situation. Earlier this year I became tired of tip-toeing around certain issues and trying to use the "right" language to express myself among some groups of people - each group and denomination has their own set of words that should be used or cannot be used. When I first moved here, I had a brief friendship (she moved away) with a woman, a pastor's daughter. She said she was tired of the "language" issue in this part of the world. She just wanted to have a normal conversation and be able to say things like, "I read something interesting" rather than "The Lord led me to read this...." I hesitate to even speak sometimes because I might say something as simple as "I wish" among the wrong people. I don't know if such a community is possible but I'm hopeful.