What are your intentions?

For several years now, at the start of the new year, I have searched for and shared my “word” for the year. This has often been a word or phrase that I sought through prayer and/or by reading various books and articles to help guide my thoughts and actions for the year ahead. Although a lot of people do this, they enlist various methods for coming up with their word as well as different ways to use it or focus on it in the days ahead.

If you’re not sure how to get started, here are some thoughts from a few other writers/sources that might assist you in discovering your word or phrase for 2020 and understanding the benefits of coming up with one.

“Instead of a rigid New Year’s Resolution, a Word of the Year is your constant—yet gentle—reminder to focus on creating positive change. Use your Word of the Year to help guide your decisions and continue moving towards what you want.

The first step to manifesting anything you desire is awareness and intention. A Word of the Year will set you in the right direction by bringing more awareness to your intentions.” Elizabeth Rider

Dayspring.com asks, “What if you replaced your resolutions with truth from God’s Word? What if you chose to focus on this one theme all year, helping you filter decisions, calm emotions, and face each day with resolve?” They have a 7-question quiz to help you find your word that you might want to check out.

Heidi Kundin from Happiness Is Homemade provides some thoughts on the trend of choosing a word of the year – “I wanted to choose something meaningful that would guide me through the year and be a compass throughout life’s many decisions, something that would encourage me to be the best version of myself.” On her website, she provides a list of 150 Word of the Year Ideas (in scrollable or printable formats). If you’re drawing a blank, this might be a good place to get some ideas.

This year, I took my direction from some thoughts shared in Valerie Alexander’s First Wednesday Happiness Letter of the New Year, a weekly newsletter that I subscribe to. She shared the following:

“This time last year, I shared the exercise that my friend, the sassy Debra Trappen, created for the start of the year. It was to come up with a word that defined your intention for the year, then create an anagram of that word to guide you towards that intention. [Valerie has since noted with input from a reader that “anagram” is actually not the right word. It’s an “acrostic.”]

My intention last year was to worry less and accept more, so my word was TRUST, which turned into:
Take a deep breath
Relax
Unwind
Savor the Moment
Thank the Universe for all that you have and all that you are.

And you know what?
It worked!
I did worry less last year and reaped the blessings that came with all of those guiding actions.”

I have to admit, there have been times in the past when I have started out strong, but let my focus waver as the year went on. I liked the idea of the acrostic giving more definition to my word and providing me with some reminders of what might help me achieve it as well as measure it. After too many years of focusing primarily on work and professsional goals, this year I want to focus on a personal goal – to discover and experience more enjoyment in life. So, my 2020 word of the year is ENJOY!

I want to expect and be open to amazing things happening in my life; notice and be grateful for everyday blessings; take more day trips and other types of trips with my husband where we truly step away from work and daily expectations; enjoy nature more; and make/take time to be creative and have fun doing it. None of these things are difficult; they just take focus and making the right things … the things that really matter … a priority.

Think about what matters to you. What do you want to see and experience more of in 2020? What is your intention and how can you bring it about?

“Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively
every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life
with the spouse you love Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange For the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up,
grab it and do it. And heartily!” Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 (The Message)

Each Day Your Story Begins Anew

Imagine … We are, each one of us, the pen or the paint brush. And our lives, from this moment on, stretch out before us like a blank notebook or canvas.

We are like paint brushes.

Some may be afraid of all the “white space” before them … scared of making a mistake or simply uncertain of where or how to begin. They are hesitant to mar the surface that appears so perfect without their input. Yet others see the unblemished space before them as an opportunity to create the life they want, to begin anew.
What do you see when you look to the day ahead?

Some of the things you face each day might challenge your faith and your focus and affect the way you see the blank page/canvas before you; that’s why I think it’s important to begin and end each day with joy. I came across this book that some of you might be interested in. It is a daily devotional with thoughts from some best-selling women authors like Sheila Walsh, Beth Moore, and Lysa TerKeurst (click on the image of the book below to follow the link):

Joy for the Journey

 

Another wonderful author—Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista—had this to share about her own faith journey:

“I had to stop writing for anyone else.

Except me.

Don’t be afraid to write your story.

We each have one story to live.

It’s never too late.

To pick up your pen and begin a new chapter.

To find your voice.”

Gray_FindingWhitespace_3D

The overview of her book listed on Barnes & Noble shares this: “Whitespace. It’s the space on a page left unmarked. Untouched. Whitespace makes art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest.
Just like beautiful art, our souls need balance and beauty.

… Bonnie guides you to discover a better story for yourself, one that feeds your soul and makes room for rest. Infused with biblical encouragement and thought-provoking prompts, this book shows us how to create space in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faith—right in the midst of our stress-frayed lives.”

We all need and desire rest. Finding your own personal, spiritual whitespace is an important part of achieving this. And when you find this space … this spiritual connection … and spend some time there, you will find that it’s not quite so difficult anymore to put the pen to paper or brush to canvas.

God's Canvas

No matter who you are, how old you are, or where you find yourself in life, it’s never too late to start fresh, to write a new story or paint a new picture … to share your whole self, your real self with the world.

I read this in yesterday’s DaySpring Devotion: “As we learn each other’s stories—where we come from, what burns in our hearts, our hurts, our successes, our dreams—we are then able to connect better, understand each other, build each other up, and together glorify our Father in Heaven.”

Maybe today won’t go exactly as you planned. (It never really does, does it?) So, you’ll have to cross out a few lines or paint over some mistakes. Don’t let the mishaps define you or your life; they’re just part of the ever-changing story that you and God, together, can continue to create and shape anew each day.

“For we are God’s masterpiece.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

 

God's Story

 

Whitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com

Finding Focus

First touches of fall

First touches of fall

How sad that I haven’t written on my blog in almost a year. I knew I had been busy and that it had been a while, but it’s crazy how a whole year has slipped by on me. I hadn’t realized that it had been that long. That’s what happens when we don’t make time for the important things in our lives. We lose opportunities to create special moments that will provide us with memories we can look back on.
Recently, because I have been working so much, I thought about writing about the importance of making time to enjoy some of the little things like sitting on my back porch with a cup of coffee or actually working on some projects in my craft room.  When I started reading some of my past blog entries, I realized I wrote about this very thing last September. But I haven’t been able to follow through on it. That, too, is sad.

I am currently at a very busy stage in my work (writing, copyediting, proofreading, etc.), which I love. But some days I feel like I spend way too much time at my desk, looking at this:

My desk

when what I really wish I had more time to enjoy would be this:

The creek behind our house

The creek behind our house

So, once again, I find myself working on finding focus in my life. Or maybe it is more accurate to say adjusting my focus. I know what the important things are. I just need to find a way to fit them all into my schedule. I need to set priorities and stick to them. Bart and I both need to get back to working out (I’ve been off schedule on that way longer than he has). I’d like to enjoy a little more pleasurable reading time (I have been starting to fit that in again). I’d love to get back in the craft room (I’ll probably actually have to put something on the calendar to get that started). I would like to spend a little time outside of the house with friends (which is one of the last things I make time for). I need to give myself some down time where I’m not doing anything but sitting and relaxing (that one is hard for me). And I’d like to spend a little more time with Bart (that one is hard due to his busy work schedule).

The one thing Bart and I both make time for is our sweet Bella. She will be a year old this month. And though the first few months of puppyhood were trying times, as she required a lot of attention and maintenance, things are smoothing out and we have begun to establish our own rhythms for the day so that I can get done what I need to and she gets what she needs to be happy. One of the things that Bart and I enjoy doing together is taking Bella to the dog park. It gives us an opportunity to get outside, hang out together, and watch Bella have fun running around with other dogs. I truly believe that Bella is much more well adjusted and socialized than many other dogs I’ve met because of her frequent interactions with the various people and dogs at the parks and at doggy day care (we drop her off when we are going to be away from the house most of the day).

Bella

Bella

So, I know what my focus should be. Or what I would like it to be. The question is – Will/Can I make it happen?  What are some of your goals for finding/adjusting your days and your priorities? Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for how they make time for the important things in life when they have a busy schedule already? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Meanwhile, no promises about how often my musings will appear, but I am going to try to write and post more frequently in the coming months.