Each year, for the past few years, I have chosen a special word to keep me focused on those areas of my life which need my attention.
This past year was the of JOY. In other years, I have chosen FOCUS, CONTENTMENT, and LOVE. I will freely admit that I often begin strong at the beginning of the year with these words, but soon falter. I did a little better with focusing on JOY this year -- even in homeschooling -- and my desire is truly to make this a God-honoring, life-changing experience. It honestly frustrates me on New Year's Eve to look back over the year and see how much time has gone by when I have not stayed focused.
So for a moment, I considered ditching the whole idea of choosing a word this year. I had no idea what my word would be. Why choose a word that would be rendered meaningless with a few months anyway.
Instead, I thought I should just focus on a few goals for 2013. There are several I have in the back of my mind -- for home, homeschool, and for me, personally. As I've been jotting these rough goals down on paper, I began to notice a common thread . . .
create a memory jar to help us remember our blessings
create a tighter schedule to keep on track with homeschooling, homekeeping, quiet time
create a blog planner to be more organized
create a scrapbook for all those pictures I take
create a budget to make sure I'm being as frugal as I need to be
create better and healthier meals for the family
And then I remembered that a couple of months ago, I did a word study with Ben on the word, create. I wrote these words that day, my definition for create --
To create is to cause something that was once non-existent to have life. It is the act of shaping and molding something into being, that did not previously exist.
Doing this word study, we both got the sense that more important than creating is realizing that we were created. We were created because God wanted us here to praise Him. He gave life to us, two people who did not exist and would not if it were not for Him. And He didn't just create us and then leave us to fend for ourselves. We are His workmanship and just like an artist fine tunes his work, God is fine tuning us. He continues to create (shape, mold, plan, scheme, give us new form) daily, in our earthly lives and within our hearts.
And I knew at that moment that my word for 2013 will be CREATE. I realized that every goal I had jotted down was a leftover creation from the past year (or more) that I had not done a good job of fine tuning. I had created these goals and plans for a purpose, and now I need to continue to shape, mold, plan, scheme, and give new form to these areas of my life. More importantly, I desperately need for God to create a new heart in me . . . and so does Ben.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence. And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:10-11)
So the year 2013 shall be our year to create -- shape, mold, fine tune -- our lives, on the inside and out. And to that end, here are a few tangible ways you, my readers, can watch (and encourage) that to happen.
1. You'll probably notice a shift right away on the blog. It's time to get back to the basics of why I created this blog 6 years ago to begin with -- to record our homeschool journey and minister to other homeschool moms. There will be fewer reviews and giveaways, and more meaningful content meant to encourage you and give you a better sense of our lives, both as a homeschool family, and as children of God. I haven't decided yet whether or not I will continue my Blogging through the Alphabet link-up on Mondays yet. We still have 10 weeks left until we've finished the alphabet though, so for now, you can still expect that.
2. I shared last week about creating a Memory Jar for each of us. In mine, I will keep small slips of paper to write down things I wish to remember. Ben will keep small items to help him remember. I think his ticket stub from The Hobbit is the first thing to go in his jar! While I won't be sharing every week what we're putting in our jars, I do plan to mention it quite often throughout the year, as a way to share gratitude, funny things Ben says, and some of our adventures.
3. I also just shared the other day about creating a Project Life Scrapbook to better organize our photos. This is one thing I am very excited about! I have one scrapbook finished since Ben was born -- his first year. I have boxes of photos and even more on my computer hard drive. While I know I have lots of catching up to do, I will definitely end 2013 with a lovely record of our year. And hopefully, I can begin organizing photos to scrapbook the other 11 years I need to catch up on as well. I'll be sharing about my Project Life Scrapbook every other Tuesday.
4. In our desire for God to create a clean heart within us, I'll be sharing our journey to memorize 100 Bible Verses in 2013. Using the book, 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart by Robert J. Morgan, Ben and I will be joining my friend, Shanna, and about 300 other friends in this endeavor. I'll be sharing some tips and our progress on some Wednesdays and I will likely combine this with some kind of Word Study, perhaps studying one word from our memorized verses for the week.
5. On Thursdays on the blog, I will be teaming with my sweet friends, Kelli and Sam, to create a new link-up in order to share some tips and ideas on being a Frugal Family in 2013. But let me offer a disclaimer here. I have SO MUCH to learn about this myself. That's why when Kelli asked if I wanted to join her for this endeavor, I jumped at the chance. And yes, I said, "link-up." We are hoping you will all join in as well. I NEED for you to join in, so I can learn from YOU! Be sure to stop by tomorrow when I'll be sharing how to stretch a roast into 3 meals!
6. Ben and I will continue with savoring Fridays as our day to create fun memories in our homeschool, but I won't be hosting that link-up any longer. Instead, I'll save Fridays for writing about whatever is on my heart to share with you. It maybe about our fun school day, or a field trip. It might be a weekly wrap-up or perhaps just something God is teaching me. I'll leave it open for His leading. I may not post on Fridays at all. Chances are there will be some reviews here and there though.
7. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I will be sharing my journey to create a healthier lifestyle for all of us. Our diet is icky. There's not nearly enough excercise on my part and all of us have health issues that can be addressed somewhat with changes to our diets.
I've been dabbling for a few months with a nutritional challenge from ExFuse -- The Shapeway Challenge. Life keeps derailing me in this process, but as a part of my goal to shape, mold, and give new form to my body, I'll be working much harder at this. Even with my on again-off again trial with Shapeway, I have managed to lose a few pounds and gain some energy. If you'd like to join me, you can follow this link for more information. My friend, Stephanie, is passionate about health and ExFuze. She can answer any questions you have. I hope to share more about my progress with you in 2013.
I've also committed to begin training to walk a half marathon in April. I'll be up front right now and tell you that I do not think I can do it. With my Lupus and Fibromyalgia, I'm not even sure it's a good idea to try to walk 13.1 miles. But I will do the training to the best of my capabilities, and at the minimum, hope to walk the 2- 5Ks that lead up to the mini-marathon. In the process, I hope to create about 50 lbs. of melted fat.
In the midst of all of this, real life will be happening and Ben and I will hopefully both be growing, learning, creating, and sharing the journey with you. I might even create more art!
Thanks for being here -- for reading and encouraging me. For allowing us into your lives. We are grateful for you and pray that 2013 will also be a year for you to create.
Did you choose a word for 2013? Please share it in the comments!